Twisting Crunches For Incredible Core Results

Sporting a set of ripped abs is just about everyone’s goal. Millions of dollars are spent by companies advertising products that promise this specific result. Having strong abdominal muscles goes beyond just aesthetics though as your core is involved in just about every movement of your body and having a well developed one will help make anything you do that much easier.

As far as exercises for this beloved body part, none have received as much attention as the crunch. This small little movement has been responsible for more ripped six pack than probably all other exercises combined. Crunches work; there is no question about it. Some variations of crunches can be even more effective than just regular crunches alone. Twisting crunches help to recruit all of the muscles in the abdominal area and will give you an amazing working and get you on your way to a ripped and functional core.

The basic twisting crunch is performed similar to a basic crunch. Lie on the floor with your knees in the air. Crunch forward and twist ever so slightly to the left and then return back to the ground. Then, crunch and twist your torso to the right and return.

For an even bigger bang for your buck, you might want to try weighted twisting crunches. Adding weight to any core workout will dramatically increase the effectiveness of the exercise. Start off with just a small weight plate held behind your head. Hold the plate secure while crunching up and twisting your body. Be careful when performing these as the first few workouts will definitely make you sore.

Another great variation to the twisting crunch is the twisting crunch performed on an exercise ball. The fact that you will have to balance yourself WHILE performing the twisting crunch adds a fantastic dynamic to this simple crunch variation. I like to perform these without weights, because the stabilization required while using an exercise ball usually gives me more than enough of a core workout without even needing to take it to the next level.

Boxers and those in the military alike oftentimes perform military crunches just a little differently. These are often called “explosive twisting crunches.” The difference in these crunches is that once you crunch forward, you twist very quickly to the left and to the right many times before returning back to your original starting position. These crunches should be reserved for this with a significant amount of training and conditioning as they place extreme stress on your entire abdominal region.

One last variation of the twisting crunch requires you to bring your knees to your elbows during the twisting portion. This variation will help to recruit more of your lower abdominals and your upper thighs and hip area as well. This variation is perhaps is a favorite for many folks doing core workouts because of its ability to hit your entire core area in a very thorough way ensuring an overall abdominal workout.

No matter if you choose one or all of the exercises above, please keep in mind this helpful safety tip: DON’T PULL YOUR HEAD OR NECK WITH YOUR HANDS DURING THE EXERCISE! So many people, including experience fitness enthusiasts forget this one simple thing causing undue stress and potential injury to your neck and shoulders. Keep it safe and intense and you will have a rockin six pack in no time at all!

Improved Heart Health – One Of The Benefits of Apples

There’s a new study that supports an age-old saying… eating an apple a day is good for you, helping to lower heart disease risk factors. The benefits of apples seems to be a lowering of cholesterol levels and a pair of other key markers that are linked with the formation of plaque and inflammation of artery walls.

While we’ve all heard that apples are good for us… researchers cannot rest until they know precisely why this is. What particular substances might be locked inside that perfect package? Might we find it in other foods as well?

The latest study on apples recruited 160 female subjects (45-65 years old) and gave them either a serving (75g) of dried apples or dried prunes each day. The participants underwent blood tests to check for indicators of heart health at the 3-month, 6-month and 1 year point in the study.

At the end, the apple eating women saw total cholesterol fall by 14% on average, with LDL cholesterol going down by an average 23%. What’s more, levels of a chemical that’s part of the formation of plaques that clog the heart along with C-reactive protein, a well-known marker for inflammation both dropped by almost a third. The subjects eating apples even lost weight, about 3.3 pounds during the study period.

For our prune lovers out there… these women also saw some reduction in the heart health markers, but not nearly as much as the apple eaters did.

The apple’s effect on bad (LDL) cholesterol was a particular surprise. By six months the apple-eating subjects were seeing a benefit. Apples, along with apple juice, have both shown us incredible benefits from the active components apples come by naturally.

A meta-analysis has also be done on 80 studies published after 2005 that make some pretty impressive claims on the benefits that an apple a day can bring. There’s evidence that the tasty, crunchy fruit helps regulate blood sugar, control your appetite, safeguard the lungs and even protect the body from cancer.

So what’s behind the apple’s amazing benefits?

Apples are full of a soluble fiber called pectin, that blocks cholesterol absorption during digestion and pushes the body to metabolize (and not store) the waxy substance. The peels are also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that works to prevent damage to cells from free radicals.

The benefits of apples can be achieved by eating any color or variety, so long as you eat the whole fruit, skin and all. Natural sources of nutrients are always better than supplements or components, like diced fruit in prepared packages. The whole has been proven, time and again, to be better. So no peeling. Seems like high time more of us recognized the truth behind the apple a day expression and made the healthful crunch part of our next snack.

Health And Wellness Quiz

Sometimes challenging your mind is as much fun as challenging your body. Take this health and wellness quiz to find out how much you know!

  1. Soy protein is the best way to build muscle. True/False
  2. Wheat flour is genetically modified. True/False
  3. Is it best to do full sit-ups or crunches? Full/Crunch
  4. How many calories will you burn walking quickly for an hour? 160, 360, 560, 760
  5. Drinking coffee will help you lose weight. True/False
  6. A farmer plants an organic canola crop next to a crop of genetically modified canola. The organic crop remains organic. True/False
  7. Organically grown produce is selling at a greater rate each year. True/False
  8. There is a limit to the number of chemicals farmers can use on a field in the US. True/False
  9. Diet sodas will help you lose weight. True/ False
  10. Yoga is the best exercise. True/False

Health and wellness quiz answers:

1. Interestingly enough, this answer is false. A recent study done at McMaster University and recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that skim milk works better than a soy drink at producing muscle in men. Since soy and milk proteins are both considered to be complete proteins, scientists don’t have a reason why milk produced almost twice as much muscle as the soy drink in the 10 week study.

2. At this time, wheat, rye and barley are not genetically modified. In 2004, an application to grow GMO wheat was withdrawn and Canada and the United States now only grow conventional wheat. Baked goods may contain other ingredients that are genetically modified. Soy is a major contributor with its oil, lecithin and flour sometimes mixed with wheat flour. Maize is also genetically modified and can be added in the form of corn syrup.

3. If you are interested in strengthening your abs, the crunch is the preferred exercise. A sit-up is the full range of motion where your elbows start flat on the floor and end up touching or going past the knees. A crunch is a modified sit-up, that raises the head and upper body off the floor, but stops at that point. A sit-up uses the leg muscles as well as the abs and can stress the lower back. Crunches put less stress on the body. Most people perform them too quickly. A better way is to rise slowly off the floor, hold the upper position for a count to four and lower slowly to the floor. Obliques can also be engaged with a diagonal movement.

4. A person weighing 170 pounds will burn 360 calories in an hour if they are walking a very quick 4 miles per hour. You will burn the equivalent of a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Whipped tall (their smallest size). Or you could have a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel. If you want both, you’ll have to walk another hour!

5. When you think of coffee, you normally think of the caffeine in the coffee. But when you are dieting, you need to think of the acid in coffee. Acid is hard on your digestive system. Drinking coffee, especially first thing in the morning is like dumping a load of acid directly into your stomach. If you add cream and sugar, you are making your system work even harder to diffuse and dilute non-nutritious substances. The best thing to drink when you are on a diet (and when you are not dieting!) is green or white tea. Green tea has some caffeine but it had lots of anti-oxidants which support dieting and are beneficial for good health.

6. A recent report out of Australia talks about genetically-modified organisms spreading to and contaminating a nearby field of non-GMO and organic crops. The organic farmer states that the GMO seeds traveled nearly a mile and took hold of 540 acres of his land. He has a certified organic farm and gets a premium for sales in Australia and overseas. The organic certifier is conducting an official investigation, but it looks like the Australian government is giving preferential treatment to the GMO industry and will look the other way. GMO canola has previously been banned in Australia, but in March 2010 was “unbanned” and believed it could safely be segregated from natural crops.

In another example of cross contamination, Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada was visited by representatives from Monsanto (the creators of genetically modified canola seeds) to pay a “Technology Fee” to Monsanto for growing GMO crops. The unusual twist to this story is that Percy did not plant the crop. His organic crop was contaminated with seed from another field. Despite threats and heavy intimidation from the billion dollar company, Percy decided to sue Monsanto and in 2008 came up with a victory over Monsanto. He not only did not have to pay the “fee”, Monsanto was ordered to pay for the clean-up costs to his fields.

7. True. In 1990, the organic food business started at $1 billion. In 2011, the organic business surpassed $30 billion dollars and it grew by 9.4 percent that year. Organic is the fastest growing segment in the grocery industry.

8. False. There are limits to the amount of a single pesticide found in food, but there are no limits to the number of different pesticides that are allowed in food. This is worrisome, because some of these toxins work together and form more toxic substances together than apart

9. False. Health and wellness advocates will all tell you that diet sodas will help you “gain” weight. A study by Harvard Medical School found diet cola linked to double the risk of kidney disease. The high acid (pH3.2) is linked to a higher incident of tooth decay. The carbonation in cola suppresses the immune system by tying up calcium for up to 10 hours. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancer. Plus add in the fact that the body reacts to the lack of calories by wanting “more” calories later, messing up your metabolism and causing you to eat more.

10. True. In a 2010 study at the University of Maryland School Of Nursing, yoga was compared to aerobic exercise and health and wellness researchers were surprised at the results. Yoga came out ahead in improving balance, flexibility, strength, lowering pain levels in seniors, reducing menopausal symptoms and lowering stress levels. The researchers did state that this is not an “either/or” situation. There is room for both yoga and aerobic exercise, so don’t throw away those walking shoes!

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this Health and Wellness Quiz. If you get 9 – 10 answers correct, you are a Health and Wellness Quiz Guru! If you get 6 – 8 answers correct, you are a Health and Wellness Quiz Student and are on the road to learning about important health issues. Fewer than 6 answers correct and you’re a Health and Wellness Quiz Plebe and should make a point of reading about health issues that concern you.

Truth About Six Pack Abs – How the Traditional Ab Crunches Are Useless For Building a Six Pack!

Every health enthusiast’s ultimate aim is to get six pack abs. The reason is pretty simple- stomach is the toughest body part to be toned and a sexy, defined stomach is definitely an indication to a person’s excellent overall fitness levels. But it is funny to watch the gym trainers as well as health enthusiasts running after those ab exercises, spending 7-8 hours a day at times to reveal their six packs. I was a part of them once and used to workout for hours but the results never showed up.

It seems funny to me now because I have discovered this really effective plan that helps to get six pack abs without all those tiresome workouts and endless quests to get defined abs. Its amazing how those people who know nothing about the right ways to get six packs are running businesses, minting profits out of people’s naivety. Here are some basics about six pack abs which I am sure would give the right direction to your six pack abs journey:

1. Excessive Insistence On Crunches Is Useless.

The foremost thing to understand is that you do not lose out on the tummy fat with ab crunches. What these ab exercises do is to strengthen your body’s midsection or the “core”. While it is definitely important but only core strengthening would never lead you to washboard abs. So those ab crunches fail after a certain point.

2. Spot Reduction Is A Myth

Ab crunches aim at “spot reduction” or toning a particular area of the body by working the muscle underneath it while ignoring the rest of the body. But in actuality the concept is impractical. Give me a minute to explain how- you have ever seen someone with ripped six pack abs and flabby arms, love handles, big butt, etc. I bet you would never have because for the midsection to be toned, the rest of the body must be in perfect shape too. And for that, a holistic approach that combines appropriate exercising with a nutritious diet is required.

3. Stress On Weight Training Instead

Weight training to build the lean muscle mass is the best alternative to ab exercises to get six pack abs then. Lean muscles are the fat burning furnaces of the system and therefore aid the best in removing that layer of flab from the tummy to let those toned six packs to show up. Even those fat blasting cardio sessions would be of great help in this context. But please, get over that excessive reliance on working abs for that would leave you frustrated over reaping no results at the end.

For a detailed guide on which exercises to adopt and all other aspects of getting six pack abs, I would suggest that you read through this eBook that I have discovered. I found it really comprehensive and feel that it would help you wonderfully.