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Making room for Brussels sprouts

If you turned up your nose at Brussels sprouts when you were a kid, it might be time to try them again. Tied with broccoli for providing the most folic acid and ranking first for the most vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids of all cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts are captains of cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. In fact, they contain phytochemicals that actually protect against DNA damage.

These nutritional stars don’t always get a lot of culinary air time thanks to their reputation for being bitter. Studies suggest humans have a genetic disposition toward either loving or hating their bold taste. Fortunately, you can learn to savor their flavor with some cooking tricks:

  • Stir-fry Brussels sprouts, sesame oil, soy sauce, onions, and ginger — flavors which tone down their bitterness and make for a sweet and salty Asian dish.

  • Cook them with bacon bits, chicken stock, garlic, lemon juice, and onions to neutralize their pungent punch and highlight their natural zest.

  • Drizzle steamed sprouts with a sauce made of butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, a dash of salt, and walnuts for a rich, sweet spin.

Make time for breakfast

As you scramble to get ready and out the door, is eating breakfast the last thing on your mind? A good breakfast serves up benefits throughout the day, boosting your energy and making you less likely to overeat later. Follow these guidelines to help turn breakfast into a daily habit:

  • Pre-prepare. Mix muffin batter or cut up fruit the night before.

  • Stick to quick. A whole-grain cereal with skim milk and sliced banana is fast and healthy.

  • Grab and go. Stock portable foods like apples, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese sticks.

  • Get to bed earlier. And while you’re at it, set your alarm to wake you up 20 minutes sooner. Then start your day with these fast and nutritious breakfast ideas:

    • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and blueberries

    • Yogurt smoothie (made with frozen fruit or berries) and a pumpkin-oat muffin

    • Omelet with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes, and a slice of whole-grain toast

    • Buckwheat pancakes topped with fresh fruit, and a small glass of low-fat milk

    • A quarter-cup of almonds with a banana and a whole-grain English muffin topped with peanut butter.

Family fitness

Are your kids getting the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need to stay healthy? A YMCA survey found that 74 percent of children aged 5 to 10 are falling short. Set a good example and join them in these fun outdoor activities:

  • Take a family walk after dinner.

  • Replace movie night with a game of bowling, miniature golf, or kickball.

  • Don’t forget about old-fashioned staples like jump ropes, pogo sticks, hula hoops, and Frisbees.

  • Plant a garden and share in digging, weeding, watering, and harvesting.

  • Turn your living room into a disco dance party.

  • Let your kids challenge you to a jumping jack competition or foot race.

  • Create an obstacle course in the yard and time each other’s progress through it.

  • Play badminton or ping pong at barbecues or picnics.

When your family picks up the fitness habit, you’ll all feel the benefits — from a livelier step to a mental boost.

Boys To Men - Four Supplements Every Man Needs In His Repertoire

Boys use supplements as motivation to step up to the plate and buy a gym membership. Men use supplements to forge their already powerful bodies into a fortress of impenetrable iron. <!-- <span> In part 2 of this 2 part series you will learn about which foods you can eat to lose fat and gain muscle! Read more! </span> -->
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As a youngster, you heard that food—and more food—was all a "growing boy" needs. As a man, you know that nutrition and training are the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle. But what if you want to keep growing?

If you're not quite "there" yet, maybe it's time to add the types of nutrients that can't be provided by food alone. You need supplements that incorporate quickly into the body tissues, prime you for intensity, and repair your torn muscle tissue.

Finding the confidence to step into the gym and lift with the veterans is no stroll through the park. The intimidation factor is real. It's probably the reason thousands steer clear of the gym, afraid to look weak and unseasoned. How do you combat the shrinking feeling and show the goliaths you're here to stay? Easy: with supplements that turn boys into men.

Supplement 1//

Boys can make it through the day on candy and caffeine. Men need a high-quality isolate protein powder stacked with rapid-digesting carbohydrates and amino acids.

Isolate protein powder delivers amino acids to working muscle tissues immediately. The fast-acting carbohydrates spike insulin levels, which pushes protein into cells and refills spent muscle glycogen. Some people prepare their own protein/carbohydrate post-workout shake, but if you purchase a protein powder that already has carbohydrates, or a carbohydrate supplement, it does a lot of the work for you.

Men often have higher carbohydrate requirements than women after workouts, because they have more muscle mass to support. Taking in these carbohydrates around a workout program speeds recovery, keeps you lean, and effectively builds muscle.

A man knows to use the right tool for the job. Creatine is the primary component of the molecule that fuels exercise. Ensuring the body is saturated with creatine helps you across all training spectrums, and especially for athletics that require high-intensity bursts.

Pair creatine with nitric oxide and you'll stay strong through more reps and in endurance training. Oxygen efficiency is a primary determinant for exercise longevity, and nitric oxide dilates blood vessels so oxygen can flow throughout the tissues and into the muscle cells. Increased oxygen delivery enhances creatine delivery, too.

This 2-headed beast helps prevent fatigue and keeps working well into recovery, so you'll be ready to man up long after the boys head home.

Pre-Workout Supplement Recommendations

Supplement 3//

Boys play. Men approach their workouts seriously and prefer to lift heavy. But over time, the intensity associated with heavy lifting can wear on the nervous and immune systems. This can make you nauseated and affect your post-workout recovery.

Foods like beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, and beans all contain glutamine, but not enough to overcome the amount of strain put on muscles by lifting. Glutamine supplementation is vital for weightlifters, but not because of what it does during the workout. Think of it this way: You can't become stronger if you don't recover!

Adding 5-10 grams of glutamine to your post-workout shake, and another 5-10 before bed will have significant impacts on your results. It's one of the most effective supplements for men who train intensely.

Supplement 4//

One of the hard truths about being a man is that almost as soon as you become one, your testosterone levels start dropping. Exercise and lifting deplete your levels of zinc and magnesium, which can cause your levels to take another hit. What's a guy to do?

Maximizing testosterone levels in the body promotes faster muscle growth and recovery. Testosterone boosters help speed that process. The two most common ingredients in testosterone boosters are ZMA and tribulus. Taking these individually or as part of a supplement stack can boost natural processes in the body and increase results.

Then there's growth hormone, which kicks in at the onset of sleep. Test boosters, and specifically ZMA, which is often taken before bed, promotes increased testosterone levels and the production of growth hormone.

Aside from supplements, be mindful of natural ways to maintain high testosterone levels in the body. Get at least eight hours of sleep, take in healthy proteins and good fats, and rest appropriately between heavy sets. But if you've got the basics down, then it may be time to integrate a test booster into your supplement stack.

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The Best Supplements For Your Goals

No matter how hard you work out or how smart you are about your diet, there may be an area that could use improvement. Strengthen your supplement stack! <!-- <span> In part 2 of this 2 part series you will learn about which foods you can eat to lose fat and gain muscle! Read more! </span> -->
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From boosting cardio performance and accelerating strength to recharging energy, these ingredients - and the supplements you can find them in - help you get the results you want.

To Boost Energy

When it comes to energy, many people think of the jolt they get from a stimulant like caffeine in coffee or a pre-workout product like 1MR. And while we all love that pick-me-up, as well as the fat-burning benefits of stimulants, the type of energy we're talking about here is the long-lasting, calm variety.

Use the right supplements to keep you alert and focused, but calm and cool at the same time.

Green Tea Extract ///

Green tea is suggested for its possible ability to enhance fat burning. This is due to the catechins, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in the tea leaves.

This catechin inhibits an enzyme that normally breaks down norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter and a hormone related to adrenaline that speeds up processes in the body, providing a mild stimulant effect.

However, green tea also contains the amino acid theanine. Theanine enhances relaxation and provides a calming effect.

When combined with the effects of the EGCG and the small amounts of caffeine in green tea, this has been suggested to provide a calm energy boost and promote brain function.

Recommended Dosage: Take about 500mg of green tea extract standardized for EGCG 2-to-3 times per day to keep energy levels constant.

Citrulline Malate ///

This supplement is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid (malate). Clinical studies suggest that some subjects taking citrulline malate report less fatigue and experience an increase in energy production in the body by about 35%.

Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of citrulline malate 2-to-3 times per day for steady energy.

Conenzyme Q10 (COQ10) ///

This coenzyme assists reactions in the body that produce energy. So having ample amounts of it is critical for maintaining energy levels.

Japanese researchers surmised that subjects supplementing with 300mg of CoQ10 per day for eight days experienced supported energy levels during exercise and promoted recovery between bouts of exercise.

Recommended Dosage: Take 200-300mg of CoQ10 with breakfast every day to help support your body's production of the energy it needs.


 

To Build Strength

Muscle strength is important for every woman. It enhances every aspect of life, whether it's in the gym, playing sports, or doing everyday activities.

Of course, every Hers reader should know by now that they need whey protein before weight workouts for optimal performance and results.

Here are a few additional supplements you should also consider taking before workouts to help bolster and promote your muscle strength.

Creatine ///

Creatine's main mode of action is to promote the quick energy your muscles need during anaerobic exercise like weightlifting to allow them to pump out a few more reps. This helps you to be stronger in the gym.

Worried about getting bloated with creatine? While only a small percentage of people experience this possible side effect, newer forms like creatine hydrochloride (Con-Crēt) and Kre-Alkalyn provide all of the benefits with none of the bloat.

Recommended Dosage: Take 1.5-5.0g of creatine, depending on the form, 30 minutes before and again right after workouts.

Beta-Alanine ///

This amino acid is not used as a building block for muscle protein, but it is one of the most critical amino acids for muscle strength.

In the muscle cells, it combines with the amino acid histidine to form carnosine. Having more carnosine in muscle cells allows them to contract with more force and helps reduce fatigue.

Research suggests that athletes supplementing with beta-alanine may promote muscle strength and power more than those not using it.

Recommended Dosage: Take 1.5-3g of beta-alanine before and after workouts.

Betaine ///

Scientifically known as trimethylglycine, betaine is an important amino acid because it is a methyl donor.

We'll spare you the biochemistry lesson on what methyl units are, but we will tell you that they're very important for supporting health and performance.

Research suggests that some athletes taking betaine may experience an up to 25% increase in muscle strength.

Recommended Dosage: Take about 1,000-3,000mg of betaine, as trimethylglycine, betaine anhydrous, or betaine monohydrate before and after workouts.

Taurine ///

This is another amino acid that is not used as a protein building block, but it does perform important functions in the muscle that promote greater muscle strength and endurance.

Research suggests that muscles with lower taurine levels contract with less force than those with high levels.

Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of taurine 30 minutes before workouts.


 

To Improve Cardio

Carnitine ///

Carnitine is a critical component of the complex transporting system that brings fat into the mitochondria, where it is burned for fuel.

Several studies surmise that supplementing with carnitine supports the body in burning fat both at rest and during exercise. This is not only great for helping decrease body fat, but it also supports muscle endurance, as numerous research studies suggest.

This effect is further enhanced when taking carnitine along with caffeine.

Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of carnitine in the form of L-carnitine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, or acetyl-L-carnitine, 30-60 minutes before cardio workouts.

Caffeine ///

When it's tough to get motivated for some intense cardio a shot of caffeine can give you the gusto you need to bust out a tough session of HIIT or a long run. But the real reason we take a dose of caffeine before workouts is because it enhances the amount of fat you burn during the workout and your endurance, as research suggests.

Caffeine has been surmised to increase the amount of fat you burn during workouts. This happens because caffeine binds to fat cells. When it does this, it helps support the release of fat from the fat cells.

During exercise, this effect is enhanced and the increased energy demand of the workout burns up the freed-up fat for good. Not only does this help you lose body fat, but it also increases your endurance, as the increased fat burning spares critical muscle glycogen levels.

Recommended Dosage: Take 100-400mg of caffeine, depending on your tolerance, about 30-60 minutes before cardio.


 

Glutamine ///

This amino acid was once quite popular with bodybuilders. That's because it provides so many benefits that range from aiding muscle building to supporting the immune system. But we suggest you take it before cardio for two other major reasons - better endurance and greater fat loss.

Glutamine can blunt fatigue and increase endurance by helping to buffer acid levels that build up during exercise. In two separate studies conducted at Louisiana State University, researchers surmised that a dose of only 2 grams of glutamine helped support levels of the body's natural buffer bicarbonate over a 90-minute period.

Research also shows that taking glutamine 30 minutes before aerobic exercise increases the number of calories burned during that workout.

Recommended Dosage: Take 2-5g of glutamine 30-60 minutes before workouts.

Rhodiola Rosea ///

This plant has a history of use dating back to the ancient Greeks. It is considered a stimulant because it may support the body's resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors.

Because intense exercise is one such physical stress, rhodiola may help your body better adapt to it. Research suggests that rhodiola may act as an antioxidant in the body and promote energy levels in muscle cells, as well as support the amount of oxygen carried in the blood to exercising muscles, promoting greater fat burning.

All of these benefits have been suggested to promote improved endurance as well.

Recommended Dosage: Take 300-1,800mg of rhodiola 30-60 minutes before exercise.


Should I Drink Protein Before Or After A Workout?

People think of post-workout protein as the Holy Grail of workout nutrition. What about the pre-workout shake? Learn why you should never skip your pre-workout protein! <!-- <span> In part 2 of this 2 part series you will learn about which foods you can eat to lose fat and gain muscle! Read more! </span> -->
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Q
Should I drink my protein shake pre- or post-workout?

You can take in protein or amino acids pre- and post-workout, but if I absolutely had to pick one time, I'd say pre-workout. Sacrilege, you say! If you're more upset than a cat kicked off a ledge, give me time to explain before you claw my face off.

Post-workout shakes have long been considered the most important pieces of the workout nutrition puzzle. Recent research suggests, however, that ingesting protein and amino acids prior to training may be even more beneficial.

Hang in there, kitty. Here's why:

Fuel Your Muscles

Pre-workout protein, specifically the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), will help fuel your muscles during training. BCAAs don't need to be processed by your liver; after being absorbed, they head directly to your blood stream to be picked up by your muscles.

This is key because exercise causes the breakdown and oxidation of BCAAs. Providing BCAAs to working muscles will prevent the need for your body to catabolize the working muscle itself.

Increase Protein Synthesis

Adding protein prior to your training session primes the pump: It starts protein synthesis during rather than after your training session.

Pre-workout protein most likely increases amino acid delivery and uptake by muscles during training.

Taken alone or as part of a complete protein, BCAAs inhibit muscle breakdown. So net protein synthesis is elevated even higher!

Burn More Calories

A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise found that one scoop of whey protein prior to working out increased calorie burning over the subsequent 24 hours.

The exact cause of this increase in calorie burning is unknown, but it may be due to the added metabolic effects of increasing protein and modifying substrates (energy sources) used during exercise.

Don't wait for the eggheads: It's okay to reap the benefits of the what (increased calorie burning!) without knowing the why (exact metabolic cause).

 

Carryover Effect

There is also a carryover effect of nutrients taken in the pre-workout period. After ingesting protein, muscle protein synthesis can stay elevated as long as 3 hours.

This means that pre-workout protein allows you to double dip: You reap the benefits of elevated blood amino acids during your training session in addition to a carryover of elevated blood amino acid levels after your workout.

This elevation of blood amino acids will also help prevent excessive post-workout muscle breakdown.

This occurs partly through the reduction of the muscle-catabolizing hormone cortisol. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that starting your workout nutrition with a protein-and-carbohydrate shake 30 minutes prior to exercise led to a significant reduction in cortisol up to one day following the training session.

Fat-Burning Bonus

Taking protein (specifically BCAAs) alone before a workout is extremely beneficial during a low-carb diet. The consumption of pre-workout BCAAs, especially when glycogen levels are low (as they are during a low-carb diet), leads to an increase in fat oxidation (fat burning) during high-intensity exercise like interval training or metabolic resistance training.

 

The Winner: Pre-Workout Protein

The nutrients you ingest around your workouts are extremely critical to developing and refining your physique. If you skip pre-workout protein, you skip a chance to support intra-workout anabolism (muscle growth AND reduce post-workout catabolism (muscle breakdown).

Provided that you're getting adequate dietary protein throughout the day, I recommend BCAAs pre-workout. Their free form offers much faster absorption and uptake, which means your blood amino levels will be high when you hit the training floor.

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never get old

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Lou Schuler, an award-winning journalist and certified strength and conditioning specialist.

As someone who writes about strength training and nutrition for a living, I should've been prepared for middle age. But it wasn't until I suffered a dinged-up shoulder, an achy knee, a hernia, and a couple of torn muscles that I admitted five decades of life had finally caught up with me.

The same was true for thousands of my readers over the years. Middle age came early for my coauthor, Alwyn Cosgrove, a former international tae kwon do champion who's now a two-time survivor of Stage 4 lymphoma. (As Alwyn points out, there is no Stage 5.) All of us have bodies that could no longer do the things we once took for granted.

We needed a new way to approach our workouts. That's why Alwyn and I wrote The New Rules of Lifting for Life, which comes out April 26. The following are some of the lessons all of us who love to lift eventually learn.

1. The older you are, the more important it is to lift

Research at McMaster University has shown that strength training can reverse the signs of aging at the cellular by as much as 20 percent. But that knowledge doesn't do you any good unless you actually get into the weight room and improve the size and strength of your muscles.

2. No matter your age, the goal of strength training is to train something

Middle-aged lifters have a tendency to go through the motions. If you want your body to look or perform better, you have to train it to do more than it can do now. You need to increase the weights you lift, and the number of times you lift them, in a steady, systematic way. If you want to be leaner, you have to train your body to use more calories during your workouts. That means working harder and getting more accomplished from one week to the next.

3. "Working harder" doesn't mean beating yourself up every time

Training is a process of imposing stress on your body in calculated doses. Too little stress and you get disappointing results. Too much and you don't recover sufficiently from one workout to the next. It only works if you can train just as hard on Wednesday as you did on Monday, and at least as hard on Friday as you did on Wednesday. It's not like planting a garden, where it doesn't matter how sore you get after a day of digging because you have all summer to recuperate.

4. Kids are stupid. Don't train like one

The average young person has a profoundly unrealistic view of how the human body works. But so does the middle-aged guy with a 40-inch waist who sits on a bench working his biceps and triceps, when his arms would look 100 percent better if his belly were 20 percent smaller.

No matter your age, you get the most benefit from the exercises that work the most muscle in coordinated action, and do the most to improve total-body strength. Those exercises--squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, presses and rows--also burn the most calories, both during and after exercise, while you're recovering.

5. Heavy weights won't make you huge, but they can make you lean

Males don't have the market cornered on unrealistic expectations. The woman doing presses and rows with dumbbells smaller than her forearms is trying to do the impossible: "tone" muscles she hasn't yet built. She's worried about getting "too big," which is equally absurd. Muscle is hard to build at any age, for either gender, and it never happens by accident.

The good news is that the muscle-building process creates a stronger, leaner, healthier, and better-conditioned body even when the actual increase in muscle tissue is minimal. But it only works if you try to build muscle by using weights that are pretty close to the heaviest you can lift.

If the workout tells you to do 10 repetitions, for example, you need to pick a weight that you could lift, at most, 11 or 12 times. Studies show that adults typically choose weights that are much lighter than the workout calls for.

6. Muscle needs to be fed

The older you get, the more resistant your muscles are to protein. So you need a bit more to ensure you don't lose them before you're done using them. Government recommendations are useless. They call for 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories from protein. So on a 2,000-calorie diet, that's between 50 and 175 grams a day. Thanks Government!

A better standard for an adult lifter, courtesy of nutritionist Alan Aragon: Shoot for at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of your target body weight. If you weigh 140 pounds now and you hope to drop 20 pounds, you want at least 120 protein grams a day. Since a gram of protein is 4 calories, 120 grams would be a third of your nutrition on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, or a quarter of a 2,000-calorie diet.

7. A perfect workout should include five basic movement patterns.

The less you focus on exercises for specific muscles, and the more you focus on movement patterns that use lots of muscles, the better your body will look, feel, and perform.

On the following exercises, do 2 or 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Squat

In his book Athletic Body in Balance, physical therapist Gray Cook says that if you can't squat well, you can't really do anything well. It's the Alpha Move of strength training.

Best version for us: Goblet Squat

Photo Credit: Michael Dominic Tedesco

Hold a dumbbell with both hands against your chest and under your chin. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes straight ahead or turned out slightly. Push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Rise back to the starting position.

Push

Outside the gym, you use your entire body to push an object away, or push yourself away from an obstacle. But in the gym, we've invented pushing exercises to isolate chest and shoulder muscles, while disengaging the rest of your body. Alwyn and I want to return this movement pattern to full-body status.

Best version for us: Push-Up

Photo Credit: Michael Dominic Tedesco

Get down on the floor with your weight resting on your hands and toes, your hands shoulder-width apart, your arms perpendicular to the floor, and your body in a straight line from neck to ankles. Bend at the elbows as you lower your entire body to within an inch or two of the floor. Push back to the starting position. If you can't do traditional push-ups, elevate your hands on a bench or step. If you need to make it harder, elevate your feet.

Hinge

The ability to bend forward at the hips and lift something heavy while keeping your back and pelvis in a safe, neutral position can be the difference between a healthy, active life and an endless cycle of ibuprofen and orthopedic care. Being able to do this on one leg improves your balance and coordination.

Best version for us: Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Photo Credit: Michael Dominic Tedesco

Stand with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Balance on your left foot as you bend forward at the hips, extending your right leg behind you. Your right arm should hang straight down, parallel to your left leg and perpendicular to your torso. Return to the starting position. Do all your repetitions while balancing on your left leg, then repeat with your right, with the dumbbell in your left hand.

Pull

Your body is designed to use muscles from head to toe to generate force while pulling something toward you, as in a row, or pulling yourself toward something, as in climbing. But the gym goes against nature with machines that cut half your body out of the movement.

Best version for us: Standing Cable or Band Row

Photo Credit: Michael Dominic Tedesco

Attach a D-shaped handle to a cable machine and set the pulley to waist height. If you don't have a cable machine, use an exercise band attached to something solid. Grab the handle with your left hand and step back until there's tension in the cable or band with your arm straight and your body facing the machine. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent slight and shoulders square. Pull the handle to the left side of your torso without moving your hips or shoulders. Return to the starting position. Do all your reps, then repeat with your right arm.

Lunge

Most actions in sports and real life take place with one leg in front of each other. Balance and strength in this position improves mobility and develops the muscles that protect your knees.

Best version for us: Reverse Lunge

Photo Credit: Michael Dominic Tedesco

Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Take a long step back with your right leg and lower yourself until your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is near the ground. Step back to the starting position, keeping your torso upright, and repeat by stepping back with your left leg. That's one repetition.

-Adam Bornstein

The Healthiest Food in the World

The life of a editor isn’t the flashy existence you might expect. Most days I sit around at a computer starting as early as 4:30 a.m. and still find myself in the same position at 11 at night. My days consist of everything from writing and editing articles, to reading journals, writing scripts, interviewing the best experts in the world, and figuring out the type of content you want and need–all while (hopefully) educating and entertaining.

I love my job because I am able to help more people than I ever imagined, and I learn something new every day. But many of those revelations come from the most unexpected places. And that’s exactly what happened with my recent discovery of what I think might be the world’s healthiest food.

I'll be the first to admit that the “eggsperiment” was my idea, and on the surface it appears self-serving and biased. I've been eating many eggs for years, and at times my scrambles have included so many eggs that I if I told you the exact number I'm guessing you wouldn't believe me--or you'd question my sanity. I wanted to assess my dietary habits and see if there was something more to eggs. I thought I knew that they were good for me, but I had no idea just how many “hidden” benefits I’d discover. At the same time, this quest wasn't about me: It was a journey designed to help you understand the prevalence of food "myths" and the flexibility you have with any healthy eating plan.

You see, one of the biggest problems in the health industry is that we over-complicate diets. Food becomes stressful, problematic, and negative. That's the reason so many diets fail: We are victims of extreme measures and manipulated science. We try to boil down solutions into strategic, limited plans that are confusing, difficult to understand, and hard to follow. It's no wonder so many people struggle with eating.

That's why I did the eggsperiment. It's about understanding food, finding what’s healthy, and then doing what’s best for your body. Few have said it better than Dr. Yoni Freedhoff:

“Your real goal? Live the healthiest life you can enjoy, not the healthiest life you can tolerate. Yes, if you have weight to lose, you’ll have to make changes. But if you change so far from who you are and what you enjoy, odds are that it’s not a sustainable plan. Don't aim for your so-called "ideal" weight; instead aim for what I refer to as your "best" weight, which is the weight you reach when living the healthiest life you can actually enjoy.

Freedhoff's approach is both simple and brilliant--yet I'm guessing most people think that approach isn't enough to get in great shape and feel healthy. But this is exactly what should be done to see the type of results you want.

There are many health foods, but eggs stand out as one of the best.

Better health education was the motivation for the current project. This wasn't as much about eggs as it was simplifying the paralyzing "science" that surrounds most foods. If I could prove that eggs are healthy, it would open more doors and allow you to eat and enjoy another food. And the more doors we can open, the more people who will embrace "healthy" eating and live a better life.

With that in mind, here are 8 things I've learned (so far) about eggs, the evidence of how they are the healthiest food in the world, and why you should enjoy.

1. Eggs Won't Make You Fat
I'm not going to reveal my final numbers until the process is done and all blood work is completed, but I'll tell you this--eating three eggs per day has NOT made my health worse. If anything it's made it better. I've been stronger, have lost body fat (not just pounds), and I feel spectacular. And I must mention, this has all happened despite the fact that I've suffered two back injuries and have backed off training during the process.

2. The Eggs-Cholesterol Relationship is Misleading
Eggs don't raise cholesterol the way you think. And when you combine eggs as part of a low(er) carb diet, it actually raises the good stuff (HDL) without doing any damage to the bad (LDL). Add that to an increasing number of studies that shows the cholesterol benefits of eating eggs, (see here, and here, and here) and it's becoming harder to deny the truth: Eggs are a "health" food and they don't cause heart problems.

3. Eggs are a Super Food
I know that we all become tired of marketing buzzwords like "super foods" and "power foods." (and yes, I take full responsibility to adding to that mess) But sometimes the label fits so well that there's no better way to describe what you're eating. Eggs fall into that category. Research has shown that eggs can do everything from improve your immune system to help your brain function better, as well as build muscle and make your skin look better. And the research continues to grow. Recently, Canadian researchers found that eggs have twice as many antioxidants as apples. Here’s a list of 8 benefits of eggs--backed by science--that make this food so uniquely valuable.

4. Diablo Eggs are Delicious
Part of this process has meant trying out many (many) new egg recipes. While I enjoy eggs, I also have a wife who eats many meals with me and her sophisticated taste buds require variety. She can't dig in on the Born Scramble every day of the week. Enter Diablo Eggs. This new spin on deviled eggs is a culinary treat. I don't include the chorizo, but if I ate pork, I would imagine it would only improve this dish. Check out this quick and easy recipe (it's a video you can follow) and let me know what you think.

5. Eggs aren't Just for Breakfast
I've now made eggs on pizza, on burgers (my new favorite), and even in oatmeal. Don't judge until you try them. In fact, we have a list of 20 ways you can add eggs to your meal. (I've tried 13 of them)

6. Cook Your Eggs to Unlock More Benefits
If you haven't read this smart post by Dr. Mike Roussell, you should check it out. It dissects some of the most common myths about eggs. And that includes the idea that uncooked eggs provide your body with more nutrients. Ever since I watched Rocky, I've been intrigued by the idea of downing a few raw eggs. (and by intrigued, I mean I tried it in my younger days). So are raw eggs more potent? No. In fact, cooking your eggs can ensure that you enjoy more of the nutritional benefits. Oh yeah--and the cooked version taste a lot better, too.

7. Cook your Eggs in (healthy) Fat
I used to coat my pans in butter, olive oil, or some sort of spray when making eggs. And then I discovered coconut oil and it changed how I prepared my meals. From an enjoyment standpoint, coconut oil doesn't make eggs taste different (which can definitely happen with olive oil). Great taste is always preferred, but coconut oil has been linked to dropping body fat, raising good cholesterol, and fighting off viruses (due to lauric acid). I'd recommend giving it a try, and see what it will do for your meals.

8. Eat the Yolk
Just in case this was lost in translation, I'm eating three whole eggs per day. Not just the whites. And the reason is simple: The yolk is the best part. Both in taste and nutrition. The yolk is where you find all of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) as well as the majority of zinc, calcium, folate, and memory boosting lecithin. And you can’t forget Vitamin B12, which has been shown to help with fat breakdown. And while the whites still offer protein, it's only slightly more than 50 percent of the total amount. The yolks are part of what give eggs the highest possible biological value, which is a measure of how well a food suits your body’s protein needs. So if you're looking for the healthiest way to eat your eggs, your best bet is to keep the yolk.

Bonus tip:
I'll admit that sometimes I can be a little absent-minded. I enjoy making hard-boiled eggs, but I frequently forget if the egg is boiled or raw. This is not a good thing. (I may or may not have accidentally tried to bite into an egg before) Your solution: Spin the egg on the counter. If it spins, it's been cooked. If it wobbles or doesn't spin so well, it's raw.

In the end, I'm not here to convince you to eat eggs. And for those who don’t like eggs or are allergic, you can still be completely healthy without ever enjoying scrambles, omelets, or hard-boiled variety. The point is to question and research what many people assume to be true, and blaze your own path. If I can help you merely consider a personalized approach to your own health and avoid dogma, then I’ll have done my job. My greatest hope is that you’ll discover you have many more good food options than you might have realized, and that healthy living doesn't have to be a bland and difficult process.

-Adam Bornstein

4 things you should do before every workout

4 Things You Should Do Before Every Workout

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Photo Credit iStockphoto

There’s a natural tendency to want to leap right into a workout. After all, who isn’t pressed for time? But failing to take the proper steps before each training session can sabotage your results, if not lead to injury and long-term ailments.

By planning ahead and warming up properly, you’ll have a more effective workout, be less susceptible to injury, and produce the results you desire. Here are four quick steps you can take to do just that.

Eat 60 to 90 minutes before training

Many people arrive at the gym without being fueled for their workouts. Whether you train first thing in the morning, worry about getting queasy while training or subscribe to the misguided notion that training on an empty stomach burns more fat, you are doing yourself a disservice by not filling your gas tank prior to a workout.

If you train just after waking up – the only time many of us have to work out – chances are you’ve gone as long as 12 hours without eating. Your body is starved and unlikely to perform its best.

A pre-workout meal will give you much-needed energy and stamina. Plus it drives metabolism by contributing to protein synthesis, the process in which cells build and manufacture proteins.

To boost strength, increase lean mass and burn fat aim for a pre-workout meal of lean protein and slow-acting carbs such as brown rice, oatmeal or sweet potatoes.

If your workout takes place just minutes after waking up, making even modest meal preparation impossible, try a workout shooter. Mix a scoop of whey protein with a glass of watered down orange juice to break your fast and provide the nutrients needed for your morning training.

Photo Credit iStockphoto

Use A Foam Roller 10-15 minutes before training

There’s a reason many pro athletes have deep tissue specialists work on them before games and practices. Such treatment breaks up knots in tissue, improves muscle quality, and increases mobility.

Most of us don’t have access to such experts, but thankfully we can get an effective poor man’s massage in the form of one of those long, foam tubes that likely are sitting in the corner at your gym gathering dust.

After just 10 minutes on a foam roller you will feel more limber and be able to perform exercises more effectively.

A simple way to foam roll is by starting from the bottom and working your way up. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out and the foam roller under one of your calves. Using medium pressure guide your body over the foam roller so it works it’s way over your calf muscles 6 to 8 times. Then switch over to the other calf. If you find an especially tense area, hold the foam roller there until the tension dissipates.

Use this same technique on your hamstrings, glutes, middle and upper back, lats, quads and chest. Do not foam roll over joints (like the back of your knees) or your lumbar spine (lower back), which can put you at risk for injury.

Photo Credit iStockphoto

Do Dynamic Mobility Work 5-10 minutes before training

There’s nothing wrong with static stretching, those traditional stretch-and-hold movements we did for 30 seconds apiece in high school gym class. But just as a warm rubber band stretches more easily than a cold one, we’ll save static stretching for after our workout.

Prior to training, we’re going to focus on dynamic mobility, full body movements where the stretch is held for only one to two seconds in each position. Recent research has shown that those who engaged in dynamic warm-ups produce greater long-term gains in mobility and flexibility, along with strength, than those who do static stretching or skip the warm-up altogether.

You either can develop a dynamic mobility routine to do before every training session or pick movements that work on the muscles that you will train that day. Either way, including 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic mobility work will elevate your heart rate and prime your muscles for the workout ahead.

Effective dynamic movements to include before you train are the Elbow-to-Instep stretch, which fires up the glutes, hamstrings, calves and ankles, a Scapular Wall Slide for your scapulae and shoulders, and a Side-Lying Extension-Rotation for thoracic spine mobility (see links at the end of this article for video demonstrations of each).

Photo Credit White Packert/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Workout Specific Warm-Up At The Beginning Of Training

Performing warm-up sets at 40 to 70 percent of your one-rep max for each of the major lifts you plan to do is an effective way to prevent injury, prime the nervous system and improve performance during your “work” sets.

If, for instance, your two big lifts of the day are the front squat and the bench press, you should perform two to three warm-up sets for each movement in the same range of repetitions that you are going to use during the workout.

So if you are planning to front squat 185 pounds for 6 reps, begin with a set of 8 at 95 pounds, then a set of 6 at 135 and finally a set of 4 at 160. This will provide the proper balance of being primed for your work sets without being fatigued by performing too many warm-ups. A rule of thumb is the closer to your max you are attempting to lift, the more warm-up sets you should do.

Photo Credit iStockphoto

Last updated on: Aug 6, 2012

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