Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guest Article from Alfred: Matcha Green Tea - The magic bullet for your physical and mental health

Hey guys,

Last week I got an offer for a guest article from Alfred who's passionated about matcha green tea and its health benefits. I was always curious about green tea and its benefits, but hadn't the time to research for writing a good article about it here at my blog, so I was very pleased to recieve Alfred's mail. After reading his post I was convinced that it really is a fitting topic for my blog and that you should learn more about it as well.

Have fun with Alfred's awesome article:

Tea has always been popular (in fact, only water is drank more often than tea in the world) and recently I’m sure you’ve noticed an explosion in the popularity of green tea, a magical elixir renowned for it’s innumerous health benefits. While green tea is getting popular outside of Asia, Matcha green tea, which has been the drink of choice for the Japanese for almost a thousand years, has been shown to have more than 137 times the amount of antioxidants that regular green tea has - yep you’ve read that number right! Made from grinding down the most tender and premium shade-grown green tea leaves, when you drink matcha you ingest the full tea leaf where most of the antioxidants are instead of just drinking boiled water of a regular tea. This simply means…. more antioxidants and benefits!

Matcha green tea is arguably the healthiest “superfood” on earth due to it’s high antioxidant levels. Compared to other “superfoods” such as goji berries and spinach, this drink blows them all out of the water when it comes to the amount of antioxidants per gram! Studies have also shown innumerous health benefits to drinking matcha green tea, from better looking to skin to an improved immunity system, it’s no wonder why the Japanese have considered it a sacred tea for so long!

Aid in Weight Loss:
It’s long been held that green tea aids in weight loss and according to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea increased the body’s rate of caloric burning by almost 4x! Unlike synthetic “fat burners” which has tons of side effects and can even be dangerous for your health, matcha green tea is a natural way to increase your metabolism as well as your body’s ability to burn fat off.

Boost Your Immune System:
The antioxidant catechins in matcha tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties that overall promote good health and strengthens the immune system. By protecting your body from damage by free radicals and similar compounds, matcha green tea helps keep the immune system running well and a healthier immune system is better equipped to fight against bacterias and viruses. Also, matcha is filled with potassium, iron, calcium and vitamins - essentially goods for your body. According to a study by the National Institute of Health with regards to green tea on the body, “The health benefits of green tea for a wide variety of ailments, including different types of cancer, heart disease, and liver disease, were reported.”

Improve Your Skin:
Green tea has been documented to reduce signs of aging including the reduction of wrinkles and giving an overall appearance of healthier skin. The antioxidants in the tea helps stop harmful substances attacking your skin and also reduces lipid damage and inflammation which will leave your skin glowing! Be aware, however, that these benefits are in large part preventative. Drinking matcha tea will not turn back the clock but will help keep you looking younger for much longer.

Prevent Depression and Improve Brain Function:
In a recent study, it was found that drinking green tea for more than a month helped improve cognitive learning ability and also symptoms of depression. According to the authors, “We propose that green tea would probably have the potential for normalization of anhedonia through improved reward learning and have implications for the prevention of depression. On top of that, matcha green tea has been found to be a calming agent as well as an energizer. Monks in Japan drank the tea so they could stay awake and concentrate but do it in a peaceful state during meditation. Research has now shown that the Theanine amino acid, found naturally in the teas, is the reason for this amazing combination.

With all the purported health benefits of drinking this wonderful tea, it is almost a no-brainer to pick up in your daily routine. From the boost of energy (without the crash and jitters of traditional caffeinated drinks) to the load of antioxidants filled in every sip, it is no surprise why matcha green tea has been so popular and sacred to the Japanese for so long. Although not yet extremely popular outside of Japan and still a bit difficult to find, matcha can be found at large whole food retailers and online at Amazon.com or specialty tea stores like teaglad.com. Go pick some of it up and see why the tea is getting so popular!

Author's Bio:
Alfred grew up drinking tea as part of his upbringing and has always enjoyed trying out all the different types of tea available in the world. After a trip to Japan and falling in love with Matcha tea there, he came home to beautiful San Francisco excited to share it with his friends and family but had an extremely difficult time finding it in the city. With his background in online marketing, Alfred finally decided to start an e-Commerce store to bring the world's tea to the front steps of everyone's' home at www.teaglad.com.
I hope you liked Alfred's article and share it and its information with all of your friends (maybe while drinking a cup of matcha green tea or a green smoothie with matcha ;) ).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chaos Training - A way to shock your body and boost muscle and strength growth

Hey guys,

I don't know if you've ever heard about chaos training days, but I guess everyone who exercises regularly should think about it every now and then.
Let me first explain what chaos training actually means in the context of fitness training. If you are like most people who work out on a regular base then it is very likely that you have a fixed training plan (either written down or just in your mind). You probabely have some exercises that you do over and over with a more or less fixed sequence. If you are kind of experienced in the field of fitness training (cardio and/or resistence training) it might not be a new thing for you to change your workout plans every 8-12 weeks to give your muscles some new impulses for further improvement and to fight familiarisation effects (that lead to plateaus, where your body won't adapt any further).That's already a big benefit compared to those who follow the same routine week after week and year after year.

To be clear about it, I'm not just refering to the same exercises but also to the same training principles you might follow like" always 3 sets with 10-12 reps in the same speed" or "always with a heart rate around 140 beats".

To give your muscles, strength and endurance an additional healthy shock with an enormous strong impact during your 8-12 week periods there is an effective method called "Chaos Training".

Actually it's pretty easy to explain and even easier to implement it into your "normal" workout periods. "Chaos Training" means in that matter, that you should do a totally different workout session that your body is not used to once or twice per month to set back the "system" and give it new improvement signals. To get a better insight let's look at some examples:

If you are doing a workout plan (like mine here) which is supposed to stay for 12 weeks with several superset exercises in a "3 sets of 8-12 reps, moderate speed"-style then a chaos day after 4 weeks could look like this:
Go to the gym and do whatever exercise comes into your mind (no matter if it's in your regular plan) and do it with a much higher weight than you're used to (maybe as a pyramid) with 4 sets of 3-5 reps (less reps because of the higher weight). Or you do the exercises in super slow motion (e.g. 10 sec per rep), or you can do just one set of each exercise you feel like doing with 30-40 reps (of course with a lower weight) as fast as possible, or you do just bodyweight exercises instead of free weight training (maybe a freeletic session like Aphrodite) or, or, or...

I, for example, do normally 3 sets of 10-12 reps with 176 lbs. (approx. 80 kg) deadlifts during my current workouts. On my chaos day I felt like doing deadlifts as well, but I did 1 set of 20 reps with 110 lbs (50 kg) as a warm up, 1 set of 8 reps with 220 lbs (100 kg) followed by 1 set of 3 reps with 264.5 lbs (120 kg) and a last set of 1 rep with 275.5 lbs (125 kg). This not only shocked my body and gave my muscles some new growing impulses but also showed me of what I'm actually capeable of (chaos days can help you overcoming psychological barriers as well). In the next training session I felt confident to raise the weight to 198.5 lbs (90 kg) for the 3 set of 10-12 rep scheme and it worked out very good.

Out of my experiance I can tell you that an out-of-plan chaos training day is totally worth a try every now and then to boost your confidence and your improvement!

To give yourself an effective workout without letting your body get used to a special treatment, I recommand you to change your training plan every 8-12 weeks and to implement 1-2 chaos trainings each month.

So just give it a try and I'd love to hear about your experiances with chaos training as well!