Is Coconut Water Healthy For You?

Is Coconut Water Healthy For You?

If you’ve noticed, coconut water has become quite popular. One reason is that it’s touted as being quite healthy. Before we go into whether it’s really that good for you, you need to know what coconut water is. It’s actually not water, but the juice that comes from the coconut. When you combine that juice with freshly grated coconut, you get coconut milk. Many people use coconut water to replace sports drinks, since it contains natural amounts of electrolytes, such as calcium, potassium and sodium, but some people feel that plain water is just as good for rehydrating.

Coconut water might benefit heart health and aid diabetics.

There are numerous studies presently being conducted on the benefits of coconut water. Some have shown coconut water might be of benefit for lowering blood pressure and improving heart health. Diabetics may benefit from drinking coconut water. Not only is it lower in calories than traditional fruit juices, it also may lower blood sugar levels and help control blood sugar. Drinking coconut water has shown it can lower markers for oxidative stress.

You’ll get stronger teeth and bones if you drink coconut water instead of sugary soft drinks.

Coconut water contains calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. It can help stave off loss of bone density that occurs as people age. It’s especially important for people that can’t tolerate milk products due to lactose intolerance or allergies. Not only will you get a sweet taste from coconut water and coconut milk, making it a good substitute for soft drinks, you won’t consume as many calories or have to worry about the effects of sugar on your teeth.

Coconut water may be a beauty aid.

Coconut water is loaded with antioxidants and those help eliminate free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and even cause cell death. Cell death causes aging to accelerate. If you’re under stress, coconut water can protect your cells. Are you trying to lose weight? The manganese in coconut water can help boost your metabolism.

  • While drinking plain water is effective in helping to flush out kidney stones, drinking coconut water has been shown to be more effective. The potassium in coconut water can also help prevent cramps.
  • Coconut water contains vitamin C. That can boost your immune system and help you fight off diseases. If you feel a cold coming on, increase your intake of coconut water for this very important vitamin.
  • Coconut water has carbs that can give you a boost during your workout. You can drink it before a workout, sip it during a workout or drink it afterward to boost your energy level.
  • Gastrointestinal illness can lead to dehydration. Not only does coconut water replenish your minerals and fluids, it also has amino acids, which can help with the actual problem to eliminate the diarrhea.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

What's Your Prime Workout Time?

What’s Your Prime Workout Time?

Each person has a different prime workout time. There’s no right or wrong time, since it’s based on your internal clock. Do you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to face the day, or are you constantly hitting the snooze button, finally dragging yourself out of bed? The most important thing you can do is simply start a workout program, even if you have to adjust the time later for a time that works better with your schedule and your body.

Some people love working out before leaving for work, others find it better at lunchtime or after work.

There are benefits for every time of day. For those that choose the first thing in the morning, not only do they get to check it off before the day gets crazy, there are physical benefits. You’re fasting when you sleep, so if you workout when you first arise, you’ll get the benefit of working out on an empty stomach. Your body will be using stored fat for energy. It can train your body to burn fat more efficiently. To ensure you don’t break down muscle tissue, drink a protein shake or eat a small amount of protein and carbs, like peanut butter and apple, a half hour before working out.

If you want to train for aerobic events or improve your endurance, make sure you have adequate stores of glycogen.

If you’re training for a specific event, such as a marathon that requires endurance, working out at noon, the late afternoon or early evening can be your best bet. Your muscles and liver have the maximum amount of glycogen at that time. It happens after you’ve consumed a full meal with carbs, protein and fat two to three hours earlier. That store of glycogen ensures you won’t run out of energy during your exercise routine.

If you want to build strength and do power lifting, you won’t do your best when you first arise.

If you’re expecting to do your best when you’re pumping iron, don’t expect to do it when you first jump out of bed. Your body temperature is lower when you sleep and it takes a bit of activity before it rises. Also, the discs in your back are filled with fluid and that also goes back to normal after you’ve been up a while. Give your body time to wake up if you’re doing strength training, especially if you have back problems.

  • No matter what time is your best, once you find it, be consistent. If you schedule your workout at the same time every day, it will become a habit. Make sure you treat your workout as you would any appointment.
  • Make sure your workout time works with your schedule. If your mornings are rushed, but you always have time after work, it makes sense to exercise then.
  • If you love the feeling of relaxation working out brings after a long stressful day, that’s the best time for you to workout. Some people actually find that the later they workout, the easier it is to sleep. Others find it makes sleeping difficult if they workout too late.
  • Don’t forget to grab something light to eat a half hour before a strenuous morning workout to supplement depleted glycogen. You’ll still burn fat, but have the energy to maximize your effort.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Just Keep Active

Just Keep Active

Even if you workout three times a week at Next Level Fitness in Irvine, CA, it’s still important to keep active when you aren’t at the gym. Studies show that even if you workout regularly, you’ll lose a lot of the benefit if you regularly sit for longer than an hour. If you have a desk job or are at the computer, take five minutes out of every hour to move. It can be something as simple as just getting up and walking around the room or even doing a simple exercise, like jogging in place. You’ll feel better, do your body a favor and be more alert to finish your mental work more quickly, since the movement stimulates blood flow.

Take time every day to do something active.

You can walk to lunch, ride your bike to work or just do a few warm-up movements in the morning. Exercise and that extra movement will boost your mood and make your day a little better. There was a study that followed people as they aged. It found that those who walked briskly and had a longer stride lived longer and had fewer physical problems.

Staying active provides many benefits.

The more active you are, the more potential there is for good health. A study following two groups of people, one group watched more than four hours of TV daily and the other watched less. Those with the highest sedentary activities, which was watching TV, had an 80% higher risk of dying of cardiovascular disease. Staying active can lower your blood pressure, improve circulation, improve cholesterol levels, aid in weight control and prevent osteoporosis.

Staying active can provide other benefits.

If you’re trying to quit smoking or kick another habit, staying active can be a huge aid. Exercise also improves cognitive functioning and helps you get more done in less time. Instead of interfering with your workload, it can make the job go quicker, whether it’s physical or mental. Any type of physical activity can also be an aid in controlling stress.

  • People who stay active tend to have a more positive outlook on life. That’s because it burns off stress hormones and replaces them with ones that make you feel good.
  • When you stay active, you’ll get a better quality of sleep and fall asleep quicker. Getting a good night’s rest is not only heart healthy, it also makes you more productive and energetic the next day.
  • When you live an active lifestyle, you tend to have a better self-image and improved self-confidence. You’ll walk taller, which makes others see you as more confident and often more capable.
  • We can help you live a healthier lifestyle. Our personal trainers will create a program specifically for your needs that will help you achieve the best you that you can be.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Be Your Healthiest Version Now

Be Your Healthiest Version Now

What is your healthiest version of you? If you don’t know or haven’t experienced the healthiest you for a while, it’s time to make a change. You could look better, feel better and enjoy the benefits of good health and more energy by starting today. If you take your car to the mechanic for regular oil changes and other maintenance, are you treating your body as well as you do your vehicle? If the answer is no, then you have to ask, “why not?”

Start by deciding what’s important to you.

Do you want more energy? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want a toner, better looking body or simply want to feel better every day? That’s a start on finding what the best version of you is. When you workout with a personal trainer, one of the first things the trainer will discuss is your goal. Once you know your goal, the trainer works with you by creating a plan that provides the steps to help you reach it. The “best you” is a very personal goal. You are unique and deserve a personalized plan.

Treat your body with kindness.

Let’s go back to the car analogy. What if you put water or sugar in the gas tank? Your car would cease running immediately. The same is true for your body. If you feed it the wrong fuel, it definitely will affect how you feel, how you look and your overall energy and health. Learning to eat healthier is one important part of being the best version of yourself. In fact, most trainers feel that a great body starts in the kitchen and that diet is an integral part of fitness.

Make lifestyle changes, which includes exercise and healthy eating.

While eating healthy and exercising play a big role in being the best version of yourself, so does staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep and eliminating bad habits, like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. If you’re tired, grab a glass of water, it will boost your energy level faster than a cup of coffee. Mild dehydration can make your energy level drop significantly.

  • If you smoke and want to quit, exercising can help you do that. Not only will you be helping yourself by quitting smoking, you’ll also be helping your body become stronger and stave off the weight gain that quitting smoking can cause.
  • Staying hydrated is particularly important the older you get, since you tend to dehydrate faster as you age. Even mild dehydration in seniors can cause symptoms of dementia or UTIs.
  • Getting adequate sleep is not only heart healthy, it helps you function better mentally and can be a benefit for anyone trying to lose weight. Lack of sleep makes your body produce more ghrelin—the hunger hormone and suppress the creation of leptin—the one that make you feel full.
  • Our trainers can help you become the best possible you, while also helping you reach your goals. In fact, once you reach your goal, they’ll also help you set the next goal to become even better.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Is Running In Place A Good Workout?

Is Running In Place A Good Workout?

If you can’t get to the gym, time is at a minimum or you’re cooped up overnight at a hotel, running in place can be a viable alternative to a good workout that focuses on all types of exercise and the entire body. You can modify your in place running by doing high knee kicks, jump squats and butt kicks to make it even more effective. Best of all, it’s good for those times when you’re at the breaking point and need to get rid of stress or simply have been sitting for long periods and need a little break.

Don’t expect all the same results as normal running.

When you run in place, you’re using different muscles, have a different stride and using different movements. You’ll still get aerobic benefits as you would if you ran outside or did some treadmill time. It’s hard to maintain as a longer workout, but a ten-minute session, three times a day could provide the half hour workout if you have no other option.

You’ll use a different set of muscles than you would for regular running, but that can be good.

Not only is your body not required to be propelled forward when you run in place, it’s not a good thing, either. So, you won’t be using muscles that place your foot ahead and pull you in a forward direction, but you will be lifting your legs straight up to build your glutes. It’s why avid outside runners may find running in place a bit wearing and uncomfortable. When you run in place, you tend to land on your toes more, which is both good and bad. It does build ankle and lower leg strength, but also can put more pressure on your hips and knees.

Boost your muscle strength when you run in place.

You’ll be constantly contracting your muscles and that improves not only strength, but also flexibility. It increases your cardiovascular health, too, by boosting your heart rate and improving circulation. While running in place works primarily the lower muscle groups, it also provides some exercise for core muscles and upper body muscles, especially if you pump your arms. Running place can also aid in weight loss by burning calories and improve your blood sugar levels. You’ll boost your lung capacity, too.

  • Running in place is harder on the body and doesn’t provide as much benefit as regular running. To do it safely, you need to focus on proper form and consider doing it on a carpet than hard floor or concrete.
  • If you suffer from knee pain, running in place will help make your knees stronger and may reduce the pain. Always check with your health care professional first.
  • If you want an exercise that improves coordination, balance and agility, running in place can be one of those. The more you improve your balance and coordination, the less prone you’ll be to injuries from falls.
  • If you want to improve your posture, engage your abdominal muscles, squeezing them tightly as you run. You’ll walk taller and help prevent back strain when you do.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Managing Your Health During A Pandemic

Managing Your Health During A Pandemic

Here in Irvine, CA, people are focused on staying healthy during the spread of the virus. We agree that managing your health during a pandemic is important, but also feel that it should be part of your life at all times. There are facts that are known about this particular virus that should make everyone take notice of their own health. Of course, age is a big factor and you can’t control your chronological age, but you can have an effect on your biological age. What’s the difference? One is how long you’ve been on the earth—chronological—and the other—biological age—is the impact your lifestyle and genetics plays on the damage and death of cells that causes the body to show signs of aging.

Focus on losing weight if you’re overweight.

Obesity plays a big role in your health, including your potential for developing a more severe case of Covid-19. People with heart disease and diabetes also have more potential for increased risk and severity. The risk for these diseases are also increased in obese individuals. If you’ve tried to lose weight before and failed, we can help you. It’s time to start eating healthier and making other lifestyle changes, such as adopting a program of regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, eating healthier and staying hydrated.

A healthy diet can provide nutrients that boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is beneficial, but unwarranted and excessive inflammation is one of the factors that can age the body faster and effect your potential for illness. Changing your diet can help reduce inflammation. Cutting out sugar should be the first step. Non-fermented milk products, processed meat and fried foods also promote it. Vegetables, nuts, fruits, beans, whole grains, fatty fish, coffee and tea are anti-inflammatory. Foods that benefit gut health, such as high fiber food, also help boost the immune system. Food high in antioxidants, such as blueberries can also improve your resistance to disease.

Stress and inactivity play a role in your health and resistance to disease.

Studies have shown that when obese people participated in a program of regular exercise, they cut the potential of upper respiratory infections in half, compared to the group that didn’t exercise. Stress also causes hormones to trigger that have a negative effect on the body and the immune system. When you workout, you burn off those hormones of stress, particularly cortisol that is linked to visceral fat, the most dangerous type. Exercise also helps you lose weight and lowers the risk caused by obesity.

  • Studies show a link between vitamin D deficiency and the potential infection and severity of covid-19. Eat foods high in vitamin D, such as eggs, meat and fatty fish and consider safe sunning or vitamin D supplements.
  • Besides traditional advice, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing, getting adequate sleep can help you. Sleep helps T-cells fight off infection.
  • Herbs and spices not only make your food taste better, some can help boost your immune system. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and orange peel spice up flavor and improve your immune response.
  • Add food with vitamin C or zinc to your diet. Citrus fruit, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, broccoli, strawberries and Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C. Oysters, red meat, poultry, whole grain, crab and lobster are good sources of zinc.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

You don’t have to eat cardboard flavored biscuits to get healthy, there health benefits from eating dark chocolate. That’s right! Chocolate can be good for you. However, you must remember that the amount you eat and the type of chocolate makes a difference. Not all chocolate is created equally and the healthy kind is the dark chocolate. It has less or no milk added and far less sugar. Less milk means less interference with the absorption of the polyphenols found in the cocoa bean and more of it. Dark chocolate also has a better healthy fat profile.

The antioxidants in dark chocolate can provide protection from free radicals.

Free radicals cause damage to the cells and the more cell damage you have, the more potential there is for illness and aging. Dark chocolate has polyphenols and flavonoids, plus other antioxidants. It offers more than wine and green tea. However, you need a higher percentage of cacao/cocoa in and dark chocolate to get the benefits. Chocolate that’s 70% or higher is best. Usually amounts above 80% taste too bitter to enjoy.

Protect yourself from cancer with dark chocolate.

Again, the flavonoids and antioxidants come through to protect you. While the flavonoids can help keep your body healthier, it’s especially beneficial to help prevent colon cancer. Animal studies showed that consuming dark chocolate reduced the growth of cancer cells and their spread. Dark chocolate also reduced inflammation, oxidative stress and blocked the cancer cell growth.

Dark chocolate is heart healthy.

You get several heart healthy benefits from dark chocolate. It has the polyphenols that are antioxidants and is high in healthy fat. In fact, eating small amounts each day could potentially improve your cholesterol profile, reduce inflammation and decrease platelet activity and prevent clotting. It helps reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow to both the brain and heart, too. An 11-year study of 20,000 people showed that people with higher chocolate intake had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.

  • Dark chocolate consumption may improve blood flow to the brain and potentially lower the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. One study showed food like dark chocolate, high in flavonol, improved cognitive performance and brain function.
  • Dark chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of stroke, in addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, since chocolate in your diet could reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • One study showed subjects in a study improved visual acuity and contrast sensitivity after consuming dark chocolate, but the study was small, so more are needed to identify how chocolate could improve vision.
  • The flavonols in dark chocolate already touted for their many health benefits can help protect your skin from sun damage. It can improve hydration, boost blood flow to the skin and reduce skin roughness.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Why You Might Feel Shaky After A Workout

Why You Might Feel Shaky After A Workout

If you feel shaky after a workout, you might be concerned that something is wrong with you. In most cases, there’s no need for concern. It’s quite normal and can happen for a number of reasons. Even though most of those reasons shouldn’t alarm you needlessly, there’s no reason to ignore ones that indicate a more serious problem. Learning the common causes is important and can help you avoid the shakiness. When you feel shaky, note any other symptoms that occur at the same time.

Holding your muscles in one position too long or muscle fatigue can be the problem.

The body is amazing. It has built in fail safes, like motor units that are activated for powerful movements and provide additional force. Holding muscles in the same position for a long time will activate them and cause shaking, just like muscle fatigue does. Muscle fatigue is often the most common cause of shaking. In the case of fatigue, it’s the slowing of firing motor units—muscle fibers plus a motor neuron. The more you workout, the more that firing slows and that results in muscle fatigue and shaking. It means you’ve worked those muscles to their maximum potential.

If your blood sugar levels drop, it can cause shaking.

A grueling workout can burn tons of glucose, leaving levels depleted. That can cause hypoglycemia—low blood sugar. It can cause all types of problems besides shakiness, such as fatigue, headache, confusion, weakness, rapid heartbeat and even emotional changes. Some people are extremely irritable when they have low blood sugar and even may explode in anger, even though they aren’t sure why.

What you drink or don’t drink makes a difference.

Dehydration plays a role in whether you shake or not. It keeps the electrolyte balance that is necessary for proper use of muscles and nerves. Sweating too much and not rehydrating can be your problem if you’re shaking, especially if it’s accompanied by fatigue, headache, dizziness or dark urine. While a cup of coffee before a workout can boost your performance, you can get too much of a good thing. Excess caffeine can make you shake, cause rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea and even high blood pressure.

  • Eating a snack that’s a combination of protein and carbs, both a half hour before working out or right after you workout, can help solve this problem of shakiness. You also need to eat healthy meals post workout.
  • Make sure you carry a bottle of water with you at all times and sip on it throughout the workout. You only need sports drinks with electrolytes if you’re doing an intense work out for longer than an hour.
  • Allow your muscles to rest after a workout. Don’t try to do too much in a short time. When you’re doing strength training, give your muscles a minimum of one to two days of rest.
  • If you have problems with shakiness at other times besides working out, check with your health care specialist to ensure you don’t have a physical problem or health condition.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Fend Off Muscle Loss Due To Aging

Fend Off Muscle Loss Due To Aging

You may notice many older people have less muscle mass. That’s because of sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging and related to a reduction in hormones. You can slow the process and even reverse it in some cases and many of my senior members at Next Level Fitness in Irvine, CA, prove it all the time. At one time, it was just accepted that you had to get older and more feeble as you age, but not today. While you can’t completely stop aging, you can slow and even reverse muscle loss with exercise and a healthy diet.

Even if you’ve never exercised, it’s not too late.

You might not be able to go to the gym and lift your own weight, half your weight or even ten pounds and running further than to the end of the driveway may be challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change that. Each person is different, so you need a program of exercise that is created for your needs and level of fitness. You can start out slowly, like walking a little more and a little faster every day and lifting 5-pound weights twice a week, then build to heavier amounts and more reps as you improve.

Exercising regularly has more than just benefits for the muscles.

You’ll be protecting your body at the cellular level when you workout. Exercise causes the length of the telomeres to increase. Telomeres are at the end of chromosomes and protest them from damage, which protects your cells and allows longer replication with less damage. The more you exercise, the longer they are. Exercise increases circulation which helps your skin, heart and even ability to breathe better. A program of regular exercise literally keeps all cells in the body healthier and prevents muscle wasting.

Your diet plays a big role in the loss or gain of muscle mass.

If you don’t have all the building materials, you can’t build a house. The same is true of building your muscles. You need protein and other nutrients to do that. Seniors, particularly me, often develop anabolic resistance. That impedes the body’s ability to synthesize protein. Getting older means eating more protein. Consuming more lean poultry, fatty fish like salmon, plain yogurt and plant protein like beans is a healthier way to achieve that. For seniors, adding protein powder to smoothies is also an option.

  • Don’t compare your progress to anyone, even your younger self. You’ll see slower progress than you might have twenty to thirty years prior, especially if you’re a senior.
  • Always check with your health care professional first to see if working out is safe for you. Also let your personal trainer know if you have medical issues, so he or she can adjust the workout.
  • Make sure your program is varied. You need flexibility, endurance, balance and strength training. That ensures you a much safer exercise program and a healthier body.
  • Try HIIT—High-intensity interval training. It can get you back into shape faster and only requires you alternate intensity. Any exercise can be used. Just do it at a high intensity level and drop down to a moderate recovery level for the same amount of time or longer, then back up to high intensity.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Can Foods Make You Look Younger?

Can Foods Make You Look Younger?

You are what you eat and if you want to look younger and be the best version of yourself, there are foods that can help you do it. Foods contain not only nutrients for building healthy looking skin a more youthful appearance, but also antioxidants that protect each cell from free radicals. Free radicals cause cell damage and death and the more damage and death that occurs, the more potential for serious conditions, aging and even death.

Start with healthy fat.

Don’t be alarmed, you need fat to survive. Three anti-aging foods are extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish and avocados. Not only does olive oil lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, heart disease and cancer, it also helps your skin look younger. It may be the anti-inflammatory properties that protect the skin from sun damage and aids in retaining elasticity. Fatty fish contains long chain omega-3 fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties, plus aids in preventing sun damage. It has an antioxidant called astaxanthin that improves hydration and elasticity. Eating avocados also prevents damage from the sun and fight inflammation. It protects the skins DNA.

Eat those veggies for beautiful skin.

You need the building blocks to have beautiful skin and vegetables are loaded with nutrients. They contain antioxidants, so besides helping your skin, can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and cataracts. Yellow, red and orange normally are loaded with beta-carotene. It fights sun damage and free radicals that age skin. Think pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots as good sources. Any vegetable that’s high in vitamin C is a great antioxidant and good for promoting the production of collagen. These include red bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.

Spice up your meals and take years off your appearance.

Herbs and spices can add flavor and nutrients to every meal without adding extra calories. Cinnamon is one of those. It helps boost the production of collagen that causes the skin to be firm and elastic. Capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot, can also make you hotter looking by lowering the potential for age-related skin cell changes. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and can aid in the prevention of age spots.

  • You’ll save money and even your skin when you make your own bone broth. It’s high in collagen and is known to help reduce wrinkles and improve elasticity.
  • If you want to reduce the depth of wrinkles, one study noted how. A study following women who ate foods high in lycopene, such as tomatoes, had a significant decrease in the depth of wrinkles in just 15 weeks.
  • Have you ever had pomegranate juice or eaten their seeds? They’re rich in antioxidants that protect the skin and may even aid in repairing skin damage.
  • A tasty treat that may be forbidden in large amounts, is good for your skin in small amounts. That’s dark chocolate or cocoa. The dark chocolate with high flavanol content may improve smoothness, thickness and skin hydration.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness