November 2011

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With this hassle-free workout, you’ll sculpt your body faster than ever

Workout by Craig Ballantyne, M.S., C.S.C.S., Workout Photography by Beth  Bischoff

The Quickest Plan For More Muscle

A pair of dumbbells and a bench are all you need to drop unwanted fat and add eye-catching size.

The biggest obstacle between you and the body you want might come from an unexpected source: your gym. That’s because crowds can slow your workout—and your results. After all, every second you spend waiting for the chinup bar, cable station, or squat rack is less time you have for working your muscles or boosting your calorie burn. And isn’t there too much downtime built into your day already?

Don’t waste another minute in the gym. This fat-burning, muscle-building workout requires only a single set of dumbbells and an adjustable bench. The order in which you perform the exercises—along with the number of reps for each—allows the same pair of dumbbells to challenge each muscle equally. The upshot: There’s never been a simpler way to chisel a better body.

Directions

Perform each workout (A, B, and C) once a week, resting at least a day between sessions. Within each workout, alternate sets between exercises of the same number (1A and 1B, for example) until you complete all sets in that pairing. (In other words, follow a set of the first exercise with a set of the second exercise.) Rest 1 minute between 1A and 1B, but perform exercises 2A and 2B back-to-back, with no rest.

After you’ve done a set of each exercise pair, rest for 1 minute and then repeat the cycle until you’ve completed all the prescribed sets.

Workout A

1A
Dumbbell chest press (3 sets of 8 reps)
Lie on your back on a flat bench and hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight. Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, pause, and then push them back up to the starting position.

1B
Dumbbell bent-over row (3 sets of 12 reps)

With a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand and left knee on a flat bench. Keep your back flat and let your right arm hang straight down, with your palm facing in. Pull your arm up to the side of your chest by bending your elbow. Pause and return to the starting position.

2A
Dumbbell incline press (2 sets of 5 reps)

Lie on a bench with the backrest set at a 45-degree incline. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and your palms turned toward your feet. Lower the dumbbells to chest level, and then press them above your chest, back to the starting position.

2B
Dumbbell squat (2 sets of 15 reps)

Holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides, stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and squat as deeply as possible, keeping your lower back naturally arched. Push back up to the starting position without rounding your back.

Workout B

1A Dumbbell split squat (3 sets of 8 reps)

Hold dumbbells at your sides and stand with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 8 reps, switch legs, and repeat. That’s 1 set.

1B
Single-arm standing shoulder press (3 sets of 12 reps)

Stand holding a dumbbell at eye level with your arm bent, palm forward, and your other hand on your hip. Press the dumbbell straight overhead, and then lower it to the starting position. Do 12 reps on one side and repeat with your other arm. That’s 1 set.

2A
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (2 sets of 10 reps)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. With your knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, without rounding your back. Pause and then rise to the starting position.

2B
Dumbbell swings (2 sets of 20 reps)

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell’s handle with both hands. Extend your arms in front of your chest. Next, slightly bend your knees and swing the dumbbell between your legs. Bring the dumbbell back up to chest level as you rise. That’s 1 rep.

Workout C

1A
Dumbbell stepup (3 sets of 8 reps)
With a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing a bench. Place one foot on the bench and lift your body up to the standing position without letting your opposite foot touch the bench. Lower your body slowly and repeat. Complete 8 reps, switch legs, and repeat. That’s 1 set.

1B
Chest-supported incline row (3 sets of 12 reps)

Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie chest-down on a 45-degree incline bench. Let your arms hang straight down, palms facing each other. Row the dumbbells to the side of your chest by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades. Pause and lower the weights.

2A
Dumbbell curl (2 sets of 10 reps)

Grab a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and hold them at arm’s length next to your thighs. Curl the dumbbells toward your chest as far as you can without moving your upper arms. Pause, and slowly lower the weights to the starting position.

2B
Lying dumbbell triceps extension (2 sets of 12 reps)

Lie faceup on a bench, holding a pair of dumbbells with your arms extended above your chest, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and move the weights toward your ears until your forearms are past parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms back to the starting position and repeat.

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by Chris Garcia

Eating too fast is making your waistline expand, suggest two new studies presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society.

Men who consider themselves fast eaters have significantly higher body mass indexes (BMIs) than slower eaters, one study found. Men also eat faster than women, downing 80 calories a minute compared to just 52 for the fairer sex.

Researchers also found a connection between periods of emotional turmoil and faster eating, says University of Rhode Island professor Kathleen Melanson, Ph.D. When you are emotional, you pay less attention to what you are eating than you would normally. You desire the satisfaction of tasting food, which may drive you to eat fast, Melanson explains.

Eating fast doesn’t allow the nerve endings in your stomach—called stretch receptors—time to recognize when the stomach is full. You then overeat, leading to weight gain, researchers say.

So what can you do to keep yourself from shoveling down food?

  • Relax before you eat. Being stressed will make you feel like you need to eat quicker, said Melanson. One solution: Remember a vacation or time when you felt particularly relaxed. This tricks your mind into remembering the sounds, tastes, and feelings of being de-stressed.
  • Use smaller utensils, especially smaller spoons or chopsticks. Those who do consume 70 less calories per meal, according to a University of Rhode Island at Kingston study.
  • Savor the first three bites. When you pay attention and analyze the texture and the taste of food, you trick your mind into believing your stomach is fuller, says Jeffrey Greeson, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Duke Integrative Medicine.
  • Place your utensil in your non-dominant hand (if you are right-handed put it in your left, and vice versa). You will be more deliberate with each bite, making it easier to enjoy your food.
  • Sip water between bites. You will stay hydrated, keeping you from confusing dehydration with hunger and slowing the bites you take.
  • Talk to others at the dinner table. By expanding the conversation, you take longer between bites. Researchers at Flinders University found stimulating your mind keeps you from overindulging.
  • Add spice or hot sauce. Spice signals receptors in the brain and wakes it up to the fact that you are eating, said Greeson. It will also make you pay attention to flavor and drink more water.
  • Avoid soda and other sweet drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup. A University of California at San Francisco study found that the corn syrup blocks a key hormone that tells us when we are full.
  • Try black tea. A study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition found that black tea decreases blood sugar levels by 10 percent for 2 1/2 hours so you’ll feel fuller faster and avoid hunger later on.

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Eric Oram
Photo by Peter Lueders

In 1966, karate legend Joe Lewisrocketed to stardom by winning Jhoon Rhee’s U.S. Nationals in Washington, D.C. Incredibly, it was his first tournament, and he won every single point with only one technique — the side kick.

For six years, Chuck Norris ruled the karate world with his spinning kicks. He won virtually every major title between 1965 and 1970, including six grand championships. He retired, undefeated, in 1970.

From 1974 to 1981, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace dominated the full-contact karate circuit. His lightning-fast left roundhouse and hook kicks rose to legendary status as he stunned one opponent after another. He retired 21-0, with 11 knockouts. Superfoot, indeed.

Those champions and many more have demonstrated their awesome kicking abilities in and out of the ring. In fact, the martial arts in general are best-known for their kicks. Even Bruce Lee is remembered more for his dynamic on-screen kicking than for the intricate trapping and striking techniques of jeet kune do.

If kicking is the hallmark of the martial arts, it follows logically that to become a superior fighter, you have to learn how to deal with those seemingly indefensible lower-limb assaults. How do you stop a technique that, once mastered, appears to be unstoppable? One answer can be found within William Cheung’s traditional wing chun fighting system.

Mechanics of Kicking
The laws of physics hold that a force can have only one direction at a time. The longer a movement is committed to a certain direction, the longer it will take for it to change its direction. It has to run its course before it can move on to another path. When an opponent attacks with a kick as opposed to a punch, his foot must follow a longer path to reach you. Distance equals time, so the greater distance gives you more time to react. In dealing with kicks, then, the first step is to properly train your eyes, or visual reflexes, so you can readily determine how your opponent is attacking and which part of your body he is targeting.

Traditional wing chun teaches you to watch your opponent’s elbow to identify an upper-body strike — punch, palm strike, elbow and so on — because the movement of the elbow indicates the movement of the entire arm. The arm cannot move without the elbow going with it. The knee is to the leg as the elbow is to the arm. Thus, if you train yourself to watch the knee of your opponent’s attacking leg the instant he kicks, you will have the best chance of identifying the kick’s path and target.

If the opponent attempts to bridge the gap with a kick, he must commit himself to that direction of force. As a defense, you can do anything. You have not committed; therefore, as long as you are balanced and have mobile footwork, you are free to move in any direction. Your response should put you in the best position not only to defend yourself but also to counterattack.

Contingency Case
If your opponent executes a kick and it does not make contact — and it is your job to ensure that it doesn’t — he will leave you several openings to exploit:

  • Balance: When he kicks, he must balance on one leg — if only for a moment — and that means he is presenting an opening. In general, a person in a two-legged stance should be able to knock a person in a one-legged stance off-balance. Without a good base, it is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible for him to launch an effective blow.
  • The groin: In most cases, executing a kick will leave his groin open to attack. The vulnerability may exist only for a moment, but if your eyes are well-trained, you will see the kick from its inception and you will be ready to pounce.
  • The supporting leg: Because a force can have only one direction at a time, an opponent who commits to a non-jumping kick leaves his supporting leg virtually defenseless while his other leg is completing its motion. The knee and shin are the most common targets on the supporting leg.
  • The kicking leg: Whenever a kick is in motion, several pressure points on the underside of the leg are exposed. They are small targets, but you can train yourself to attack them with a counter-kick.

Defending against a kick is all about timing. While the opponent’s leg is committed, the above-mentioned targets are most vulnerable. From a balanced and neutral position, you can time your response so you act during this fleeting but critical moment. If you move too soon, he may change course and adapt. If you move too late, you may miss the opening and get kicked.

Step by Step
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Because distance equals time, you should protect yourself against the most immediate threat — a linear attack — by controlling the centerline (the path that connects the center of your body with the center of your opponent’s body). You have now created a shield covering the shortest attack route; your opponent must try to charge through it or find a way around it.

Say your guard covers your center but your opponent still attacks with a kick. You use your eyes to determine the path of the strike (linear or circular) and the target (the upper, middle or lower part of your body). Once you have identified the strike’s commitment, step off the path of the attack. Again, proper footwork is crucial for ensuring that you will move to the right place at the right time.
You then must block or deflect the kick on or near the knee. Whenever possible, you should strive to deflect the attack, bumping it slightly off its intended course, and not stop it. If you stop it, you will have ended the kick’s commitment and your opponent can now attack again. Obviously, it is important to keep the leg in motion for as long as possible to give yourself time to exploit the opening.

If, however, you do need to stop it, you must then attack the opponent’s balance by controlling his knee. Even though the kick’s commitment has ended, he will still have a difficult time initiating another strike right away because his balance is committed downward. Plus, the muscles that lift the leg are weaker than the muscles that lower the leg, so you have gravity and anatomy on your side.

Once the kick is controlled and the initial opening has been exploited, your objective is to close the distance (get inside kicking range) and position yourself to the outside of the opponent’s leading elbow to continue your counter. This combination of position and counterattack serves multiple purposes:

  • By stepping off the path of the kick — to one side or the other but not straight back — you are in an excellent position to counter immediately. The lack of hesitation before your counter puts him on the defensive, thereby taking him off the offensive.
  • Your position to the outside of his lead arm keeps you away from his rear arm because you are using his lead arm as a shield. Therefore, you are forced to deal with only one limb at a time.
  • Your control of his lead elbow enables you to manipulate his balance, making it difficult for him to attack again.

Precision Blocking
Once you have identified the nature of the kick, you must decide which block to use. Traditional wing chun teaches two relevant rules:

  • If the kick is aimed at the middle or upper part of your body, you should use your arms to block. The specific block is determined by whether the kick is straight or circular.
  • If the kick is aimed at the lower middle or lower part of your body, you should generally use your legs to block.

These principles require you to devote minimal motion to defense. That, in turn, allows for minimal commitment on your part to do the block, leaving you neutral and ready to instantly launch a counterattack rather than committing your balance forward as you reach down to block a low kick with your arm. In traditional wing chun, the principle of “seizing the critical moment” depends on your ability to identify an opening the instant it becomes an opening. Then you must be able to move into the best position to block and counter. The opening could be anywhere, so you must be prepared to go anywhere at anytime. It is essential to train the right and left sides of your body equally. If you have a dominant side, you will have an imbalance — one that might not mesh with the opening.

Furthermore, when your eyes develop the ability to see a kick forming before it is launched, you may be able to employ a wing chun leg attack or jam as a pre-emptive block. They are the quickest ways to put your opponent on the defensive without committing yourself first.

User Beware
Wing chun rarely advocates the use of kicks as a purely offensive weapon to begin an encounter. If your opponent has not yet committed to his attack, using your leg first leaves you committed and vulnerable. Therefore, you should concentrate on employing kicks as a counterattack immediately after a block. Once he has committed to his punch or kick, he will not be able to exploit your openings as readily as you can exploit his. In addition, you should aim your kicks at or below waist level. That means your leg will be committed to the attack for as short a time as possible and serving as a component of your balance for the maximum amount of time.

Traditional wing chun instructors often use a simple metaphor to further drive home the essence of their art’s kick-killing methods: If a hammer is aligned with the head of a nail and moved with sufficient force, it will drive the nail all the way into the board. However, if you learn how to recognize the impending blow before it begins and develop the reflexes to respond instantly, you not only can prevent the nail from being pounded flat but can also ensure that the toolbox remains locked and the hammer never even sees the light of day.

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Build the body of a fighter with this fast-paced, fat-shredding routine By Mens Health

Photographs by Dylan Coulter, By Ted Spiker, Workout Photography by Beth Bischoff

When Martin Rooney trains clients at his gym, he’s not just focusing on bench presses and barbell curls. Rooney, the author of Training for Warriors, uses exercises that build speed and explosiveness, which means that his clients gain the strength needed for a first-round knockout as well as the endurance to go the distance. This workout can not only make you leaner and more muscular, but also leave you in fighting shape.

How to Do the Warrior Workout

Ignite your body’s fat-burning furnace and build muscle with this total-body workout 2 or 3 days a week. Perform the exercises as a circuit—one exercise after another—with little or no rest in between. Rest for 2 minutes after the circuit and then repeat it. Work your way up to three circuits. To shred your midsection, try Rooney’s hurricane workout (see Ultimate Fat Fighting) between training days.

The Workout

1 Judo pushups (12 to 15 reps)
2 Crossover stepups (12 reps)
3 Leaning shoulder flys (10 reps)
4 Medicine-ball pikeups (8 to 10 reps)
5 Mixed-grip chinups (8 to 10 reps)
6 Swiss-ball wall squats (8 to 10 reps)
7 Around-the-head plate drills (10 reps)
8 Boxer’s dumbbell speed twists (20 reps)

1. Judo Push-up
Begin in a traditional pushup position, but move your feet forward and raise your hips so your body forms an inverted V.

Keeping your hips elevated, use your arms to lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Keep your arms in close and maintain the tension on your upper body.

Then lower your hips until they almost touch the floor as you simultaneously lift your head and shoulders toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position. That’s 1 repetition.

2. Crossover Step-up
Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you stand with your left side next to a step or bench. Step up onto the bench with your right leg by crossing it in front of your left leg. Push up by using the leg on the bench.

Next, bring your left foot up, pause, and slowly reverse the motion to step down. Do all your repetitions, switch sides, and repeat.

3. Leaning Shoulder Fly
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your left side next to a squat rack or post, your feet together. Now grab the rack with your left hand and allow your left arm to straighten so that your body is leaning at an angle away from the rack. Let your right arm hang straight below your shoulder and turn your palm so that it’s facing your side. That’s the starting position.

Keeping your right arm straight, raise the dumbbell until your arm is parallel to the floor. Don’t raise the dumbbell above shoulder level. Pause, and lower it to the starting position. That’s 1 repetition.

4. Medicine-Ball Pike-up
Lie on your back with your legs straight and hold a medicine ball over your head with your arms outstretched.

Keeping your arms and legs straight, simultaneously raise them so your feet and hands touch. Flex your abs by rotating your hips toward your upper body. Lower your body to the starting position. That’s 1 repetition.

5. Mixed-Grip Chin-up
Hang from a bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, one palm facing toward your body and the other facing away. Pull your chest to the bar and pause. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull yourself up. Then slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Do the recommended number of repetitions, and rest. Flip your grip and repeat.

6. Swiss-ball Wall Squat
Stand with your feet slightly in front of your body and use your back to hold a Swiss ball against a wall. Keep your feet flat and don’t rise onto your toes as you lower your body. Keeping your back in contact with the ball, lower your body until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. (The ball will roll down the wall as you squat.) Stay in the down position for 5 seconds and return to a standing position. That’s 1 repetition.

7. Around-the-Head Plate Drill
Grab a weight plate by the sides with both hands and hold it just in front of your chest. The plate should start in front of your body. Keep your elbows bent throughout the  move. Raise the plate up and over one shoulder.

Continue a clockwise rotation behind your head keeping the plate close to your body. Continue moving the plate on the path around your head, and return it to its original position after going over the opposite shoulder. Complete all reps moving clockwise, and then repeat, this time going counterclockwise.

8. Boxer’s Dumbbell Speed Twist
Grab a dumbbell with both hands and sit on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the dumbbell an inch or two in front of your chest and raise your feet off the floor. That’s the starting position. Now brace your core and rotate the dumbbell a few inches to your right. Maintain your lower-back position as you rotate your body.

Then rotate it to the same position on your left. That’s 1 repetition.
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Americans’ diets are getting worse. But make a few changes, and you can fill up on fruits and vegetables every day without even trying.

By: Brittany Linn

Eating Fewer Veggies Than Ever

Many Americans have been told since preschool that getting five daily servings of fruits and vegetables is essential for health. Despite this common knowledge, it seems we don’t eat fruit and vegetables as often as we should…or even as often as we used to. A recent Gallup poll found that only 55.9 percent of Americans are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days out of the week. Last year, the same poll showed that 57.8 percent of Americans were getting these servings. The 1.9 percent drop may not seem like much, but it equates to millions of Americans not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. To up your numbers, follow these easy tips and you’ll get your daily dose in no time! And remember to buy organic to avoid pesticides and toxic chemicals.

Think Outside the Bin

• Make them more interesting. Sauté some veggies with olive oil and add your favorite spices. Dunk them in your favorite dressing, hummus, or low-fat dip.

• Buy them small. Throw baby carrots or grapes into a bag and take them with you for an easy snack on the go. The tiny versions of most vegetables actually tend to be sweeter and have more flavor in each bite.

Load Up Your Basket and Your Plate

• Have a shopping spree at the farmer’s market. When fresh fruits and veggies surround you, you’re more likely to purchase them. To stock up, hit a local farmer’s market first (winter farmer’s markets are more popular these days) and buy as much of your food as you can there, where there’s less opportunity to also buy cookies or chips.

• Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Make that a habit, as depicted on the new USDA food guide, and you’ll be well on your way to getting one to two servings in a single sitting.

Slurp ‘n Snack

• Go ahead and slurp your soup. Soup is a satisfying way to serve up some vegetables if you’re looking for new menu options. Fresh pea soup is just as good with frozen peas as fresh, and get a taste of summer, no matter what time of year, with refreshing summer gazpacho.

• Eat them in other places. Eating your fruits and veggies away from the table can make them seem less like a mandate and more like just another snack. Keep some grapes or cut-up carrots handy so you’ll have something to munch on while you’re surfing the Web, flipping channels, or talking on the phone.

Cook!

• Cook more meals at home. Cooking at home more often gives you the option to use healthier ingredients, and it saves you money, too. Whip up some veggie-filled, freezer-friendly casseroles. Or comee up with a meal plan that lets you cook once and eat for an entire week.

• Put them in muffins and breads. Grate some carrots or scoop dried cranberries or raisins into your next batch of baked goods to add another fruit serving to your day. Try some Spicy Carrot Muffins, Zucchini Apple Bread, or Blueberry Bread.

Make Them Whole, And Visible

• Eat them whole. The peels of most fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which many Americans are lacking in their diets. Eat them skin and all and you’ll be getting extra benefits. (Not recommended for bananas or pineapples.)

• Keep them visible. If your fruit is in a bowl on the kitchen counter, you’ll be much more likely to grab it after your busy day, rather dive into the bag of chips hidden in the pantry.

• Go frozen. When you’re in the supermarket, always head straight to the fresh produce section, since whole, unprocessed produce is the ideal way to get every nutrient benefit. But whenever you can’t seem to get your hands on the real thing, hit the frozen food aisle for equally nutritious, and possibly cheaper, alternatives.

Mix ‘Em Up

• Whip up some smoothies. Whether it’s strawberry-banana, green tea and blueberry, or a fruit and veggie mix, smoothies are an easy way to drink up your fruit and veggie servings.

• Add them to entrées. With some experimenting, you can probably find plenty of opportunities to sneak some veggies into recipes you already make. Some ideas: adding cut-up veggies to a pasta dish   or stuffing chicken or fish with spinach, garlic, and spices.

Start Healthy

• Have some salsa. Snack on chips and fresh salsa, or add salsa to a salad or recipe. Make all kinds of homemade healthy salsas using fresh tomatoes or jarred, green or red, or even fruit!

• Try a healthy app. Next time you sit down at a restaurant, try a starter salad instead of a calorie-packed appetizer. That way, you will initially fill up on vegetables, and have less room for the extra fat and calories in the main course. Since most restaurant portions are way too big, bring home the extra to enjoy at another meal.

Get Creative

• Grill ‘em. At your summer barbecue, next to your standard grill-friendly foods, slice up a pineapple, peach, eggplant, or zucchini, and grill those, too! There are dozens of veggie-heavy meatless grilling ideasyou can try any time of year.

• Buy fresh, eat fast. If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll only have a few days to eat them before they go bad. This could very well be motivation to put them on your plate ASAP.

Have Your Cake…

• Try them dried. Even though eating fresh fruits will give your body more nutrients with less processed sugar, you can enjoy a small amount of dried fruit as a snack or salad topper and get almost as many vitamins and minerals as are in the fresh kind. Make sure you are aware of the portion size, though, because most times it’s only a quarter cup. You can also use dried fruits, like dates, as sweeteners in baked goods, instead of sugar.

• Then, have your cake with fruit. If you top your ice cream, pie, or cake with fresh berries, that counts as a serving, believe it or not. That’s not an excuse to eat extra dessert, of course, but it does make your dessert a more healthful. A better way to think of it is to have your fruit with cake. The majority of the treat should involve the healthy stuff.

Make Substitutions

• Buy them frozen. When you’re in the supermarket, always head straight to the fresh produce section, since whole, unprocessed fruit is the ideal way to get every nutrient benefit. But whenever you can’t seem to get your hands on the real thing, buy frozen. Fruits and vegetables have just as much nutrition when they’re as they do when they’re fresh. Keep a few bags in your freezer so you always have some onhand.

• Buy them prepackaged. If it’s the hassle of preparation that’s holding you back from eating your veggies, buy them pre-chopped, pre-peeled, or in premade salads.

• Think jars. Jarred tomatoes, sugar-free applesauce, and or fruit preserves with low sugar will all suffice when fruit is too expensive or not in season. Be sure to keep tabs on the calorie, sugar, and sodium content of these foods, however, despite the labels.

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By: Adam Campbell

Maybe you’ve had sand kicked in your face. Maybe you’ve lost one too many attainable women to beefier guys. Or maybe you’ve read so much about weight loss that actually admitting you want to gain weight is a societal taboo. Whatever the reason, you want to bulk up. Now.

But forget about your alleged high-revving metabolism, says Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates. “Most lean men who can’t gain muscle weight are simply eating and exercising the wrong way,” he says.

Here’s your fix: Follow these 10 principles to pack on as much as a pound of muscle each week.

Maximize Muscle Building

The more protein your body stores—in a process called protein synthesis—the larger your muscles grow. But your body is constantly draining its protein reserves for other uses—making hormones, for instance. The result is less protein available for muscle building. To counteract that, you need to “build and store new proteins faster than your body breaks down old proteins,” says Michael Houston, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech University.

Eat Meat

Shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is roughly the maximum amount your body can use in a day, according to a landmark study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. (For example, a 160-pound man should consume 160 grams of protein a day—the amount he’d get from an 8-ounce chicken breast, 1 cup of cottage cheese, a roast-beef sandwich, two eggs, a glass of milk, and 2 ounces of peanuts.) Split the rest of your daily calories equally between carbohydrates and fats.

Eat More

In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. Use the following formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain 1 pound a week. (Give yourself 2 weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If you haven’t gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)

A. Your weight in pounds.
B. Multiply A by 12 to get your basic calorie needs.
C. Multiply B by 1.6 to estimate your resting metabolic rate (calorie burn without factoring in exercise).
D. Strength training: Multiply the number of minutes you lift weights per week by 5.
E. Aerobic training: Multiply the number of minutes per week that you run, cycle, and play sports by 8.
F. Add D and E, and divide by 7.
G. Add C and F to get your daily calorie needs.
H. Add 500 to G. This is your estimated daily calorie needs to gain 1 pound a week.

Work Your Biggest Muscles

If you’re a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if you’ve been lifting for a while, you’ll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs. Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, with about 60 seconds’ rest between sets.

Have a Stiff Drink

A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising. The shake contained 6 grams of essential amino acids—the muscle-building blocks of protein—and 35 grams of carbohydrates.

“Since exercise increases bloodflow to your working tissues, drinking a carbohydrate-protein mixture before your workout may lead to greater uptake of the amino acids in your muscles,” says Kevin Tipton, Ph.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Texas in Galveston.

For your shake, you’ll need about 10 to 20 grams of protein—usually about one scoop of a whey-protein powder. Can’t stomach protein drinks? You can get the same nutrients from a sandwich made with 4 ounces of deli turkey and a slice of American cheese on whole wheat bread.

But a drink is better. “Liquid meals are absorbed faster,” says Kalman. So tough it out. Drink one 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

Lift Every Other Day

Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest. Studies show that a challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis for up to 48 hours immediately after your exercise session. “Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re working out,” says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health exercise advisor and a former skinny guy who packed on 40 pounds of muscle using this very program.

Down Carbs After Your Workout

Research shows that you’ll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates. “Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels,” which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown, says Kalman. Have a banana, a sports drink, a peanut-butter sandwich.

Eat Every 3 Hours

“If you don’t eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body builds new proteins,” says Houston. Take the number of calories you need in a day and divide by six. That’s roughly the number you should eat at each meal. Make sure you consume some protein—around 20 grams—every 3 hours.

Make One Snack Ice Cream

Have a bowl of ice cream (any kind) 2 hours after your workout. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this snack triggers a surge of insulin better than most foods do. And that’ll put a damper on post-workout protein breakdown.

Have Some Milk Before Bed

Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes before you go to bed. The calories are more likely to stick with you during sleep and reduce protein breakdown in your muscles, says Kalman. Try a cup of raisin bran with a cup of skim milk or a cup of cottage cheese and a small bowl of fruit. Eat again as soon as you wake up. “The more diligent you are, the better results you’ll get,” says Kalman.

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Don’t be tricked by “natural” cereals. If you really want healthy choices, pick cereals from companies committed to organic ingredients.

By: Leah Zerbe

Healthy Cereals That Are Actually Healthy

Walking down the cereal aisle, you’re bombarded by all sorts of packaging claims touting amazing mineral content, vitamin enhancements, and superfood ingredient superstars. But the label most notorious for confusing customers is the claim of being “All Natural.”

To bring attention to this marketing gimmick, the Cornucopia Institute, an organization dedicated to responsible farming and marketing, analyzed “natural” cereals and created an Organic Cereal Scorecard to help health-conscious consumers find what they really want—cereals free of harmful artificial dyes and flavors, refined sugars, pesticide residues, and genetically engineered ingredients (things that are routinely found in “all natural” cereals, but not in certified-organic products).

The following list of 10 organic cereals represents companies that Cornucopia Institute recognizes as trustworthy and committed to organics, not ones out trying to trick shoppers.

Lydia’s Organics Grainless Apple Cereal

Nutritional perks: The cereal aisle can be hard to navigate if you’re eating a gluten-free diet. Luckily, Lydia’s Organics offers a line of grainless cereals, including this best-selling raw apple cereal packed with nothing more than organic apples, sprouted sunflower seeds*, sprouted almonds, raisins, walnuts, figs, and cinnamon. (Oh yeah, and a little love!)

Try it: Lydia’s suggests topping it off with some organic almond milk for a well-rounded breakfast option that even vegans can enjoy!

Ambrosial Granola Venetian Vineyard

Nutritional perks: Selected as Prevention magazine’s Healthiest Cereal of 2011, this well-rounded breakfast option packs 10 percent of the iron you need in a day, 6 grams of protein, and a healthy dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Try it: With organic milk or in organic yogurt.

Farm to Table Ancient Grain Oatmeal

Nutritional perks: This isn’t your average oatmeal. Farm to Table’s ancient grain oatmeal blend incorporates grains like spelt and kamut, an ancient cereal grain related to durum wheat. Kamut packs up to 40 percent more protein than conventional wheat, helping you feel fuller longer.

Try it: Cook with milk on the stove top for a creamier texture, and then top with a bit of cinnamon and just a splash of organic half-and-half for a quick, healthy start to your day!

Grandy Oats Swiss Style Muesli

Nutritional perks: Adopt this healthy Swiss tradition for a fulfilling, nutrient-packed morning meal, full of oats, heart-healthy almonds and hazelnuts, vitamin C–rich apple pieces, and dates and raisins rich in trace minerals, along with sunflower seeds that reduce inflammation. Not only do you get all that nutrition, but muesli also has a low glycemic index, so you won’t get a mid-morning sugar crash.

Try it: Mix with organic Greek yogurt or top with organic, low-fat milk for a hearty breakfast that will keep your energy up all morning long. To be truly Swiss, eat it the traditional way, soaked in a little milk and yogurt overnight in the fridge.

Laughing Giraffe Cherry Ginger Granola

Nutritional perks: Known as “America’s Superfruit,” cherries, the superstar in this breakfast mix, are credited with everything from alleviating arthritis pain to keeping your heart in tip-top shape. The organic coconut oil provides a dose of lauric acid, a nutrient our bodies need to fortify our immune systems.

Try it: Enjoy as a cereal with your favorite organic milk, or just eat it right out of the bag when you’re running late for work in the morning!

Nature’s Path Organic Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon

Nutritional perks: Forget nutritional duds like conventional corn flakes. These organic flakes are made from protein-rich kamut wheat and bolstered by antioxidant-rich blueberries freeze-dried at the peak of perfection. Blueberries have been shown to improve memory.

Try it: With organic milk or, if you’re a vegan, try topping off a bowl with organic coconut milk.

Great River Organic Milling Highland Medley

Nutritional perks: The perfect healthy, hot cereal for cold winter mornings, this simple medley includes immune system–boosting, cholesterol-lowering steel-cut oats, hulled barley, and brown rice for a textured, hearty morning meal.

Try it: Great for cold-weather meals, this blend is also popular among campers for its no-nonsense, easy prep. Just boil water and add, and then customize with your favorite fruits and nuts.

Go Raw Live Granola

Nutritional perks: Packed with live, powerful phytochemicals that can ward off disease, the star of this breakfast blend, sprouted organic buckwheat, is known for it’s heart-healthy, energizing properties. Just what you need first thing in the morning! The organic raisins and dates provide a subtle sweetness without sending you into sugar shock, the way many conventional cereals do.

Try it: On hectic mornings, eat it right out of the bag! When you have time for a sit-down breakfast, the maker suggests enjoying the raw breakfast treat with organic almond milk.

Kaia Cocoa Bliss

Nutritional perks: You can get your cocoa fix without ingesting all of the artificial food dyes, refined sugars, and other harmful ingredients common to conventional items in the cereal aisle. This buckwheat-based breakfast also features immune-boosting coconut flakes, along with nerve-calming, magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds.

Try it: Scoop some into yogurt, or simply eat it straight out of the bag for a healthy morning meal or snack. Or top the mix with your favorite organic milk.

Two Moms in the Raw Blueberry Granola

Nutritional perks: This gluten-free bestseller is anything but bland in the taste and nutrition departments. The blend contains heart-healthy oats and buckwheat, but also millet, a grain common in bird food, but one that is loaded with trace minerals that helps build and repair human tissue, too! Apples, blueberries, almonds, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds are the stars of the mix, providing a balanced mix of protein and complex carbs that won’t spike your blood sugar and cause a mid-morning crash.

Try it: Eat it right out of the bag or mix with organic yogurt for a quick, nutrient-packed breakfast.

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by Sara Fogan

For many practitioners, one of the most challenging components of karate training is learning the nuances of the terms used in the dojo. Any instructor can offer a one-word definition of each Japanese word, and that can certainly lessen the complexity of what’s being taught. But often a quickie translation isn’t enough to convey the true meaning of the terms the Japanese chose to describe the concepts of karate.

Unfortunately, the average student seldom gives it a second thought. When he’s told that bunkai means “application,” that’s the end of the story as far as he’s concerned. Few have the time or the inclination to delve into the kanji characters that compose each Japanese word, says goju-ryu karate expert Chuck Merriman.

“The misunderstanding comes from just physically training in karate and not really studying karate,” Merriman says. “The important thing is the kanji. They can mean a lot of different things depending on how they’re written.”

That lack of understanding often leads to certain words being linked to the wrong meaning, says the Waterford, Connecticut-based instructor. “The true meaning of these words isn’t important if you only practice karate for exercise or sport, but for karate-do — the physical, mental and spiritual study of karate — it becomes very important.”

In this article, Merriman identifies 10 often-misunderstood karate terms and sets the record straight on what they really mean.

Bunkai
Misunderstood meaning: application
Actual meaning: analysis
Why it matters: When Merriman says bunkai is one of the most misunderstood terms in karate, he’s speaking from experience. “The first thing I do when I run seminars is ask people what bunkai means, and the first answer is invariably ‘application,’” he says.

In fact, the word refers to analyzing a technique by looking at the overall movement and breaking it down into the individual components, he says.
“Bunkai is not the obvious,” he continues. “It’s like having an outline that’s not filled in.” Furthermore, it can change over the years as your body, experience and depth of knowledge change. There are three levels of bunkai, he says. The first, kihon bunkai, is basic. Everybody does the movement exactly the same way. It’s like learning kata, he says. The second is oyo bunkai. It refers to varying the movement according to your body size. The third, renzoku bunkai, entails a continuous action whereby you do one technique, then your opponent executes a different one. “It’s almost like fighting,” he says. “It’s a gradual progression, almost a free exercise, but it’s not sparring.”

Bushido
Misunderstood meaning: warrior way
Actual meaning: military-gentleman way
Why it matters: Based on the characters bushi (bu—military, and shi—gentleman) and do (way), bushido refers to a method of training designed to enable you to protect yourself and others, Merriman says. The Okinawan interpretation isn’t aggressive; it’s defensive, he adds. “Bushido is not, ‘Let’s attack those guys.’ The term sanchin means ‘three conflicts.’ The three conflicts are mind, body and spirit. That’s where the warrior comes in; that’s the battle. If you train properly, you won’t be so quick to take offense and jump into fights because you’re more secure in yourself.”

Dan
Misunderstood meaning: degree
Actual meaning: level, step or grade
Why it matters: When karate was introduced in the West, many people erroneously believed that anyone with a black belt was an expert, Merriman says. That may also account for their tendency to refer to dan ranking in terms of degrees. “It’s the furthest thing from the truth. There are different levels—from shodan, or first level, all the way up to 10th dan—[which mark your] progress throughout your career in karate.”

That’s one reason he’s a little skeptical when he runs into a 20-year-old boasting about his fifth-level black belt. “It doesn’t add up to the training time and experience you need to achieve that level of expertise,” he argues. “Of course, if it’s just for sport, everything is based on how many tournaments you win and what seeding you have. So, in that respect, you could be a 20-year-old fifth dan.”

Dojo
Misunderstood meaning: academy, school or studio
Actual meaning: “way place,” a location at which you study the deeper aspects of karate
Why it matters: Derived from the words do (way, or a philosophical approach to training) and jo (place), a dojo is not just “a building where you go to practice karate twice a week because you don’t want to go bowling,” Merriman chides. It’s a place where you learn a traditional art and acquire a new viewpoint on life.

Kata
Misunderstood meaning: prearranged set of movements
Actual meaning: form or shape
Why it matters: “Kata is much deeper than can be summed up in a couple of words,” he says. “It’s a way for a student of karate-do to set a pattern of training for a long period.”

Some styles of karate teach relatively few kata — goju, for instance, has only 12 short ones. But don’t be fooled, he says. When you develop the three levels of bunkai for each one, there are seemingly endless variations. “The analogy I use is that there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, but go look in the library sometime,” Merriman says. “You can apply the same idea to karate with a limited number of basics and a limited number of kata. The rest is how you develop these things for yourself.”

Kumite
Misunderstood meaning: sparring
Actual meaning: grappling or engagement of hands
Why it matters: Composed of two roots — kumi (grapple) and te (hand) — kumite refers to the instant a fight actually begins. It’s when you and your partner first make contact, Merriman says. “When you think about it, you’ve got to be standing right in front of each other when you touch. It’s important to understand the real meaning of the word to better understand what happens during oyo bunkai.”

Mokuso
Misunderstood meaning: meditation
Actual meaning: reflection and contemplation
Why it matters: Practicing mokuso gives you an opportunity to get in the proper mindset to train, he explains. “It’s not meditation in the sense of going off into another world. It’s reflecting on your past training and contemplating the training you’re about to do.”

Rei
Misunderstood meaning: bow
Actual meaning: spirit or soul
Why it matters: “For somebody practicing karate for exercise or sport, rei is merely a salutation,” Merriman says. “These days, people bow by nodding their head and slapping the sides of their legs, but that’s not the proper way to do it.” The bow must come from the abdominal area because that’s where the tan tien (the seat of the soul) is. “If rei is ‘soul,’ obviously the bow has to be done from there,” he adds.

Reishiki
Misunderstood meaning: spirit
Actual meaning: manners, etiquette or correctness
Why it matters: “[It refers to] the correct attitude — why you’re training and always keeping your mind on the path or way,” he says. For example, you’re expected to know and demonstrate proper etiquette in the kohai-sempai (junior-senior) relationship. “Your sempai always precedes you. You open the door and let him go first. Before you take care of yourself, you always make sure he’s taken care of.”

Sensei
Misunderstood meaning: teacher
Actual meaning: guide
Why it matters: Because it’s composed of the roots sen (before) and sei (life), the literal translation of sensei is “before in life,” Merriman says. “A sensei is somebody who guides another person. For example, if you went to climb a mountain, you’d probably need a guide. Why? Because the guy has climbed that mountain before, and he made it.”

It’s the same thing with karate. The sensei was once at the same stage of training you’re at, and he can show you the way up. If you understand what his role is, you will have a better idea of what you can expect from him and what he can expect from you, he says. “Think of it this way: A sensei is behind you, pushing you forward, not standing in front of you, pulling. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to progress,” he says.

Conclusion
Whether you practice karate for exercise or are a fanatic who’s interested in every nuance of the art, it’s essential to comprehend the true meaning of the terms that describe what you do, Merriman contends. “If you understand [them], it fills you with a feeling of having something more than just the ability to kick, punch and block.” And that’s what practicing karate is really all about.

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By: Michael Mejia

I was stuck. Thousands of biceps curls for months on end, and nothing. Not even half an inch. My arms had simply stopped growing.

I took the Taoist approach: I quit trying. Instead of doing direct arm work, like curls, I concentrated on my chest, shoulders, and back, hitting them with heavy-lifting sets of chinups, rows, presses, and dips.

That’s when it happened. My arms inflated.

Truth is, I hadn’t really stopped working my arms. I was working them harder than ever—by association. The exercises I was using for my chest and back were also enlisting my biceps and triceps, stimulating more muscle fibers in different ways than with the arm isolation exercises.

My realization: Changing the training approach is the trigger for blasting through a frustrating fitness plateau, in either muscle or strength.

Since then, I’ve experimented with dozens of rut-busting methods. Here I list five of the best. For maximum benefit, use only one technique at a time, for one exercise at a time, every 4 weeks. If you’ve been lifting consistently for a year or more, you’ll change the look of your workout—and your muscles.

Identify Weaknesses

Every guy, on every lift, has a sticking point: that part of the move at which he’s the weakest. Find yours and strengthen it, and you’ll be able to lift heavier weights, which will make your muscles work harder and grow faster. Your weak link is easy to locate: It’s the point at which your movement starts to decelerate.

The fix: “Partial overloads,” an idea from Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., a trainer and the owner of Results-Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. Set a pair of pins in a power rack, level with your deceleration point, so you start at your weak spot. Place the barbell on the pins and perform the exercise in the shortened range of motion. For virtually any lift, follow these guidelines: Do one set of 10 repetitions lifting about 70 percent of the maximum weight you can lift one time. Rest 3 minutes, then increase the weight by 10 to 20 percent and crank out two more sets of six repetitions.

Example: In the bench press, you’ll start at the slow-down point—about two-thirds of the way up, for most men. Each time you complete a repetition, allow the bar to rest on the pins for 2 seconds, then repeat. Wait 3 minutes after each set, and then finish with a full-range set of six repetitions.

Think Small

“Most men try to increase the load by too much, and stall their training programs as a result,” says John Williams, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Spectrum Conditioning in Port Washington, New York. Adding too much weight too fast disrupts your muscles‘ adaptation process, which should be gradual. A psychotherapist might call it baby steps. We prefer a much cooler term: microloading. It’s the simplest way to see immediate gains when you’re stuck in a rut.

The fix: Increase the weight by the smallest amount possible. This guarantees progress. “Psychologically, increasing your weight more frequently is tangible proof that you’re making progress,” says Williams.

Examples: Use 1 1/2-pound PlateMates for dumbbells instead of jumping up in 5-pound increments. On the barbell, use 2 1/2-pound plates instead of the 5- and 10-pounders you’d normally add on.

Do More

Hormones regulate almost every physiological process in the body. Stimulate the release of hormones through exercise and you’ll improve body composition and performance, says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., an exercise-and-nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut.

The fix: Start hormones flowing by doing more total sets and repetitions, and limiting rest periods to 60 seconds. But restrict this to a single exercise and switch moves every 4 weeks to avoid overtaxing your body.

Examples: Decide if you’re going for size or strength. For size, do five sets of 10 repetitions with a weight that’s 55 to 65 percent of the amount you can lift one time. For strength, do five sets of five repetitions with a weight that’s 85 to 90 percent of that amount.

Lift Light

Small blood vessels called capillaries deliver oxygen, amino acids, and hormones to your muscles, helping them recover—and grow—faster. Research has shown that heavy weight training decreases capillary density.

The fix: Do high-repetition sets with light weights (25 percent of the amount you can lift once) on your days off, targeting whatever muscle group is lagging. “It’ll increase the number of capillaries in your working muscles, allowing better nutrient transfer,” says Chad Waterbury, a strength coach in Arizona.

Examples: Perform a total of 100 repetitions with the light weight. So if your triceps are lacking, continue to do your normal workout 1 or 2 days a week. But you’ll also do 100 repetitions of a triceps exercise on the other 5 days. Use a weight that’s about 25 percent of the heaviest amount you can lift one time. Do four sets of 25 repetitions, or two sets of 50 repetitions, spaced throughout the day.

Move Faster

When you lift weights slowly, your body uses only whatever muscle fibers are necessary. As those fibers fatigue, others take their place, while the first ones recover and wait to return to action—it’s sort of a tag-team effort. So if you’re doing 10 slow repetitions, a fiber might work for the first three or four repetitions, be replaced by another, and then recover to contribute on the final two or three repetitions of your set. This limits the number of muscle fibers you’re using, unless you’re lifting near maximal weights.

The fix:Lift light weights fast. “Trying to move a weight as fast as you can forces your body to recruit more muscle fibers,” says Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., author of Turbulence Training. This will help you improve strength quickly, while challenging your muscles in a different way than heavy weights.

Examples: For exercises like the bench press, use a weight that’s about 40 to 55 percent of the heaviest weight you can lift one time. Do six to eight sets of three to five repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

Note: Sometimes you need to overhaul your routine to get your body to the next level. Men’s Health Personal Trainerprovides a multitude of programs to choose from, as well as customization options to keep your body from getting bored. Kick your routine into gear and join today.

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by Markham Heid

It’s a wonder your hand doesn’t melt off every time you top off your car’s gas tank! Roughly 71 percent of pump handles test positive for illness-spreading germs, according to tests conducted by scientists at Kimberly-Clarke (the company that makes Kleenex and a host of sanitary products).

The testers swabbed a range of frequently groped public objects in five cities, looking specifically for adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which marks the presence of bacteria or germs. An ATP level of 300 or higher means an object has a high probability of spreading illness.

The scientists found that gas pump handles narrowly out-germ’d mailbox handles, which were contaminated 68 percent of the time. Escalator rails, ATM buttons, and parking meters were also pretty gross.

The advice here is obvious: If you can’t avoid touching one of these surfaces, make sure to wash your hands or rub on a hand sanitizer afterward.

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