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The Four Exercises To Reduce Lower Back Pain And Strengthen Core

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Low-back pain is a potentially debilitating issue that affects most active people at some point in their lives. One major downside of having low-back pain is how difficult it is to exercise and achieve your fitness goals, such as finally getting that flat tummy you’ve always wanted. Luckily, there is one exercise that can reduce low-back pain while simultaneously flattening your stomach — the plank

Because the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain. As the deep abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section tightens. When done properly, the plank not only uses the deep abdominal muscles, it also recruits the hip, shoulder and upper-back muscles.

HOW TO DO AN EFFECTIVE PLANK:

  1. Hold the elbows directly under the shoulders and place the wrists in line with the elbows.
  2. Push your body up into your upper back and hold your chin close to your neck (like you’re holding an egg between your chin and your throat).
  3. In this position, brace your abdominals—contract them like expecting a punch in the stomach, squeeze your gluteal (tailbone) and thigh muscles simultaneously while continuing to breathe normally.
  4. Hold a plank at least 20 to 30 seconds. (When using correct form, it is not necessary to hold it for longer than this amount of time.)
  5. Rest for approximately one minute and repeat three to five more times.
  6. Start doing the plank using the elbows and toes (feel free to drop to your knees if necessary) and progress up to a high plank when you feel you have developed the necessary strength.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING THE PLANK:

  • Allowing the hips, head or shoulders to drop
  • Holding both hands together (creating internal rotation and instability at the shoulder joint)
  • Holding your breath
  • Trying to hold the contraction too long—it is more preferable to hold optimal alignment for a shorter period of time than to hold a poor position for an extended period of time.

PLANK WITH HIP FLEXION/EXTENSION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Raise the right leg approximately 6 to 8 inches, hold for five seconds and then alternate legs. Start with three to four repetitions and gradually increase over time.
  3. To increase the level of difficulty, raise the right and then bring the right knee up to the outside of the right elbow; return to the starting position. Alternate legs for three to five repetitions.

PLANK WITH THORACIC SPINE ROTATION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Press the right hand into the ground, rotate both feet and hips to the left while raising the left arm off of the ground. Rotate the left arm down, then repeat the move to the other side, pushing the left hand into the ground and rotating the right arm up.
  3. Repeat for three to six repetitions on each side.

SIDE PLANK WITH FULL EXTENSION

  1. The first level of progression is to perform the side plank with the elbow directly under the shoulder. It is important to make sure the body is properly aligned and to enhance stability by contracting the abdominals (like preparing for a punch) and squeezing the glutes (butt) and thighs while pressing both legs together. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and alternate sides.
  2. From a side -ying position, press the right hand into the ground, and fully extend the arm while pushing both legs together and keeping the side of the right foot pressed into the ground. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and alternate sides.

PLANK-UP

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Drop the right arm down to the right elbow, then drop your left arm down to the left elbow; hold for three seconds. Return to the starting position by placing first the right hand and then the left hand on the ground. Repeat for three to five repetitions.

All structures require a strong foundation for optimal stability, and the human body is no exception. Improving strength of the deep abdominal muscles helps establish a solid foundation for the human structure. To enhance core strength, reduce low-back pain and flatten the stomach, it is important to use exercises, such as the plank, that co-contract all layers of abdominal fascia at the same time. For specific advice on how to do these exercises or any others, sign up for one on one private boxing sessions with Malibu Boxing.

This Year's Goal: You Want It! And You're Going To Go All Out To Have It.

You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma: which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied, is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work... is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. and don't settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.

You’re going to have some ups and you’re going to have some downs. 

Most people give up on themselves easily. You know the human spirit is powerful? There is nothing as powerful – it’s hard to kill the human spirit! Anybody can feel good when they have their health, their bills are paid, they have happy relationships. Anybody can be positive then. Anybody can have a larger vision then. Anybody can have faith under those kinds of circumstances.

The real challenge of growth - mentally, emotionally and spiritually - comes when you get knocked down. It takes courage to act. Part of being hungry when you've been defeated. It takes courage... to start over again.

Fear kills dreams. 

Fear kills hope. Fear... put people in the hospital. Fear can age you... can hold you back from doing something that you know within yourself that you are capable of doing, but it will paralyze you!

"Behind Every Principle Is A Promise"

At the end of your feelings is nothing, but at the end of every principle is a promise. Behind your little feelings, it might be absolutely nothing at the end of your little feelings. But behind every principle is a promise. And some of you in your life, the reason why you're not at your goal right now, because you're just all about your feelings. You're all on your feelings, you don’t feel like waking up – so, who does?

Everyday you say 'no' to your dreams, you might be pushing your dreams back a whole six months, a whole year! That one single day, that one day you didn’t get up could have pushed your stuff back I don’t know how long.

Don't allow your emotions to control you. We are emotional, but you want to begin to discipline your emotion. If you don't discipline and contain your emotions, they will use you.

You want it! And you’re going to go all out to have it.

It’s not going to be easy, when you want to change. It’s not easy. If it were in fact easy, everybody would do it. But if you’re serious, you’ll go all out.

I'm in control here. I’m not going to let this get me down, I’m not going to let this destroy me. I'm coming back! And I'll be stronger and better because of it! You have got to make a declaration. That this is what you stand for! You're standing up for your dreams, you're standing up for peace of mind, you're standing up for health... 

Take full responsibility for your life. Accept where you are and the responsibility that you’re going to take yourself where you want to go. You can decide that I am going to live each day as if it were my last!

Live your life with passion! With some drive.

Decide that you're going to push yourself. The last chapter to your life has not been written yet, and it doesn’t matter about what happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter about what happens to you, what matters is: ‘what are you going to do about it?’

This year I will make this goal become a reality. I won’t talk about it anymore.

I can... I can!... I CAN!

To persevere I think is important for everybody. Don't give up, don't give in. There's always an answer to everything.

Boxing Workout of Victoria's Secret Model: Adriana Lima

Train Like An Angel

We absolutely had to feature this video from the Victoria's Secret video series Train Like An Angel: Adriana Lima.

Supermodel Adriana Lima and Angel trainer Michael Olajide walk us through the workout:

Areo Box Upper Body Cardio - 30 Mins

Areo Box Upper Body Cardio - 30 Mins

Intro Combo:

  1. Jab
  2. Jab
  3. Cross
  4. Uppercut
  5. Cross
  6. Hook
  7. Cross

Jumprope Cardio :

  • Basic Jump Warm Up - 3 Min (knees slightly bend on impact)
  • Alternate High & Low Intensity - 2-3 Mins (knees straighter and shoulders tighten)
  • The Crossover -
    1. Cross Hands Across Body (keep hands down low)
    2. Keep Hands across the body and squeeze abs tight
  • rossover + Double Turns - 
    1. ross & Explode Up with a two turns of the rope (Double Turn)
    2. Double It Up - Crossover + Double Turn + Double Turn
    3. Non-Stop Double Turns
  • Side Open - (slow squat - side - open) - increase speed

Thank You Adriana Lima & Victoria's Secret

Your Why Has To Be Greater

From Mateusz M, Transcript:

You can write anything down if you want to, be brave enough to write every one of your goals down, but I'm going to tell you something.  Life is going to hit you in your mouth and you gotta do me a huge favor, your why has to be greater than that knockdown.

Buster Douglas got knocked down. Nobody ever got knocked down by Mike Tyson and ever got back up.

It was almost a ten count, he was stumbling... 4... 3... 2... 1 [Ding Ding] saved by the bell. And goes to his corner, and the whole world is like 'yep that's it'. Once he comes back out, that's it, Mike is just gonna hammer him. And exactly that, Mike Tyson come out like - I got him. I got this kid up against to rope.

"You can't give up, you can't give in."

Listen to me, many of you right now, life's got you up against the rope. You can't give up, you can't give in. Listen to me, if it was be easy everybody would do it. And if life has you backed up, I need you to do it, what Buster Douglas did.

Buster Douglas start fighting back!

And the world was shocked! Goliath has been knocked down, "what happened?" And they went to Buster Douglas, and they asked Buster Douglas simply, "what happened?" And Buster Douglas said, "Listen to me, it's really simple. Before my mother died. She told the whole world that I was going to beat Mike Tyson. And two days before the fight, my mother died." 

Buster Douglas had a decision to make. When his mother died, he could have died with his mother or make a decision, 'I can wake up... and I can live for mom' and he knocked Mike Tyson down. Simply because his why was greater than that punch. His why was greater than defeat! His why was greater than his and tribulation. And I'm telling you. 

If you don't know what your why is and your why isn't strong, your gonna get knocked down every single day!

11 Most Common Myths On Fitness, Exercises And Workouts

1. When You Stop Working Out, Muscles Will Turn Into Fat

It’s the most typical workout myth in the world. Muscle has never and will never turn into fat and neither does fat turn into muscle. During weight training, more energy is required, hence a bigger appetite. When a person stops working out, the need for extra energy stops as well. But because the stomach size has increased due to a bigger appetite, the need to feel full has become a habit. Those extra calories that were once used as fuel while training is now stored as fat. It may seem like the bulk of muscle has turned into fat, but the truth is that the body became fatter due to eating more than previously needed.

Be it protein or carbohydrates, both turns into fat when not used. Cutting back on training requires you to cut back on food consumption as well.

2. Food Eaten After 8 At Night Will Turn Into Body Fat

Not entirely true. For people who workout during the later part of a day, it is important to eat accordingly. Whenever there is a need for the body to repair and rebuild, fuel is needed and the body most actively repairs during during sleep. However, it is more important to eat healthier foods during the later part of a day like lean meat, unsaturated fats, vegetables and fruits to avoid the risk of unwanted fat deposits. Give the body at least 2 hours to digest the food before going to bed.

3. Six Pack Abs Equal Six Hundred Sit Ups And Crunches Daily

Everyone has six pack abs. Abdominal exercises do not lead to clearly visible six pack abs but fat reduction does. The first place that fat goes to in the body, is the last place fat comes off (tummy for men and hips, butt, and thighs for women). Spot reduction of fat has never and will never work. A whole-body workout like cardio boxing is a great example of a fat reduction workout.

A six pack abs is a definite want for any man working out for it is a social muscle. Ab exercises will definitely strengthen and tone the abs but does not rid the fat. A better use of time would be to spend it on interval cardio sessions and making sure that proper food is fed to the body.

I actually have a personal digital body fat analyzer that I use from time to time that gives me a rough idea of my body’s current state. Accuracy may not be as good as a DXA but it’s good enough for me. You can easily get one at less than $US 10 from online auction sites like ebay.

4. Stretching And Warm Up Isn’t Necessary

I hit the gym everyday. And everyday I’ll take up 10 minutes to stretch and warm up my body from head to toe. It is necessary to avoid sprains and injuries. Even after a good day’s workout, I stretch. It greatly reduces the severity of DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, which will be pretty much appreciated the morning after.

5. Supplements Will Boost Muscle Growth And Strength In No Time

There are only 2 ways to make the most gains in mass and might.

  • A good training program.
  • A well planned out diet.

Time and energy should be focused on the 2 methods mentioned above rather than on supplements that claim to be able to bring out the Arnold in you. Some supplements may have serious and irreversible side effects if taken wrongly. For example, steroids taken wrongly may lead to a loss of appetite, constipation, intestinal irritation, vomiting, nose bleeding, headaches, increased aggression and even liver cancer. It’s way better to attain the results we want naturally. Think safe, think long term. Our body’s health should not be taken lightly.

6. Your Body Weakens With Age

It’s all in the mind. Think old and you’ll look old and act old. The fact is, exercise doesn’t only improve your physique and rejuvenates your spirit, but also gives you a healthy perspective on people and the world around. 

With regular exercise, training and a low-fat diet, you’ll gain increased energy levels, leaner body mass and an optimum body fat percentage. With the big 90 around the corner, people still do experience renewed strength, increased mobility, stronger bones and greater flexibility by exercising.

7. The Longer Time I Spend At The Gym, The Fitter I Become

It's different for each person, but for me, it’s no longer than 30 minutes 5 times a week with a 15 minute warmup and 15 core exercise and stretching at the end of the workout. The focus here is on efficiency and effectiveness that works every muscle in your body. An average bodybuilder does not spend more than 1 hour working out. People who just don’t have the time to workout that much will lose interest and motivation to exercise, if the myth were true. The point is, any exercise, at all, done correctly is better than none.

8. If I Don’t Feel Pain In The Morning, I Didn’t Work Out Hard Enough

When we exercise or lift weights, our muscle fibers will tear a little. Muscle soreness is expected, but normally heals within a week. Anything more than a week is an indication of over working out. Committing to a fitness program will eventually lead the muscle into getting used to it. Changing a fitness program regularly will ensure that all muscles are worked on and experiencing growth.

However, what happens in the gym is only meant to PROMOTE muscle growth. The REAL process begins only when a person is RECOVERING. Pain should not be used as a measurement of a workout session’s effectiveness. Some soreness, yes, but not pain. Always remember to stretch before and after. Get enough rest and work on different muscle groups on different days. Rest a day if the muscles are still sore.

9. Avoid Drinking Water When Your Body Is Over Heated

An average human body’s water content is 60% for men and 55% for women. In my body, 86 out of 143 pounds are water. If the body’s water content drops 5%, it’s already considered dehydration. An hour of vigorous exercise is enough to drain a quart (~1 liter). Drinking before, during and after is pretty important.

During exercise, muscles generate heat that will cause a rise in body temperature. This heat is doused by water when it is carried in the bloodstream and pushed to the surface as bullets of sweat. It continues to drain water from the body until it is replenished. Thirst is already a sign of dehydration. Drinking water keeps the muscles oiled and the body productive. Here's how much water should you drink.

10. The Prime Time For Exercising And Working Out Is In The Mornings

Correction. The best time to exercise is the time that works with the individual’s body clock and fits their busy days. People working out in the morning are more likely to stick to their fitness plans as they are able to get it in before the various demands of life compete for their time.

Many, many people believe that the best way to lose fat is to start pushing your body right after waking up in the mornings, on an empty stomach. I say no. Exercise is meant for toning the muscle and burning fat. Inability to draw energy from the main source will only force the body to go to other sources of energy, which are your muscles and fat. More muscles are used up as fuel as their composition is much simpler compared to fat.

11. It Is Okay To Cover A Week’s Worth Of Workout During The Weekend

It’s much better spreading a workout all over the week instead of pounding the body during weekends. A weekend warrior will lose out on other health benefits. Blood pressure and glucose levels are temporarily lowered during each exercise, which are beneficial in the long run. Exercising regularly also keeps a person’s appetite consistent.

 

Water: Staying Safely Hydrated

Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.

How much water should you drink each day? It's a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Health benefits of water

Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink 8 glasses a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day." That's about 1.9 liters, which isn't that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations. Although the "8 by 8" rule isn't supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it's easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups (400 to 600 milliliters) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise.
  • Intense exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it's best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you're finished exercising.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
  • Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral rehydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. You may also need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions, such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases, may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters ) of fluids a day.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

You don't need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying safely hydrated

Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow — and measures about 6.3 cups (1.5 liters) or more a day if you were to keep track — your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you're concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that's right for you.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It's also a good idea to:

  • Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.

AUTHOR: STAFF @ MAYO CLINIC