Coconut oil has many beneficial uses, one of which is its anti-inflammatory properties. The lauric acid found in coconut oil is what provides the anti-inflammatory benefits according to research. I use coconut oil for many things such as baking, frying and as a moisturizer but it was by chance that I found its benefits as a pain reducer. I have been dealing with some soreness in my hands recently – probably a touch of arthritis in my thumb area – and after using coconut oil as a moisturizer I found that my hand pain subsided a bit. I’m attributing this to the topical application to the thumb area and what I feel is anti-inflammatory benefits of coconut oil. Could I be way off base? Sure, but it’s certainly worth giving it a try for sore muscles and joint inflammation in lieu of NSAIDS, prescription meds or suffering through the discomfort.
I will recommend that you stay consistent with the application (you don’t need much) and apply the oil two to three times a day for a week and see if there is any noticeable difference. I also strongly recommend buying a high quality like Carrington Farms which I get at Costco. There are other brands out there of course, just find one that is unrefined organic extra virgin coconut oil and certified organic.
I constantly emphasize to my clients that they don’t merely want to get a resistance from point A to point B, they want to connect their mind to the targeted muscles and really FLEX them as they are going through the movement . I jokingly refer to them as becoming a “flexoligist”.
Here’s a simple example of what I mean. Stand or sit and let your arm hang naturally at your side. Now, with your palm up and your elbow fixed at your side, raise your hand toward your shoulder at a comfortable speed, pause, then lower it down. Again, have your hand and elbow as you just did but this time flex your biceps muscle as you are pulling your hand towards your shoulder, when you reach the top forcefully flex the bicep again and feel the contraction. Lower your arm down but again, flexing the bicep. You can feel now only the bicep tightening but the shoulder and the triceps muscle – especially as you lower your arm. Try using this method when you strength train and see if it doesn’t make a difference in the amount of resistance you use (you will use less weight but that isn’t a bad thing at all) but you will certainly feel and notice a difference in how your muscles respond.
If I were new to the exercise world in today’s day and age I think I’d turn and run and never look back. The amount of convoluted information that is found on the Internet is horrifying and dangerous, with a majority of the instructors of today having little to no knowledge of what they are doing. Entrusting your health to someone who appears to look the part pales in comparison to someone who truly has a deep understanding of aspects of what it takes to make YOU healthy and fit!
Just the other day I commented to one of my clients that he was looking leaner. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he took my advice by focusing on “getting a six pack”. He had me laughing because the six-pack he was referring to was a six pack of beer. Allow me to explain.
Alcohol is a part of our culture. Of course, not everyone drinks but those that do tend to have a glass or two of wine or beer at dinner, maybe a cocktail of sorts while socializing or just may find it part of their end-of-the-day ritual. Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption can work if monitored properly but sometimes it can get away from a person. Many times when people are struggling with losing weight, the first thing I ask them is how much alcohol they consume on a weekly basis. The extra cals from cocktails can add up and I see people gain pounds right away if they don’t moderate their intake. Obviously. it then holds true that when folks cut back on their alcohol consumption they tend to lose weight – quickly. This one particular client admittedly had become a bit too liberal with his beer intake and consequently, put on a few unnecessary pounds. I told him he needed to make modifications and gave him a six-pack limit. He was allowed a six-pack of beer a week and once he’s out he’s out until the next week so he can feel free to have a couple one night but knows that there will be a couple days when he has no beer and maybe by cutting back on his beer he may eventually get that real six-pack he so desires.
Sorry but this is not a secret way of defining the core, it’s a matter of me defining what I feel the core is.
For the last few decades, the term “core” has generally been associated with the abdominals and lumbar (lower back) region. Some folks may have even included the hips and thighs as part of the trendy “core” area as well but that’s neither here nor there. The trend in training the core has created an overly useless obsession with “guts and butts” classes, countless exercises addressing the abdominals, workout routines lasting not minutes but upwards of an hour all in the name of having a defined midsection. Hell, more and more people are suffering from weakened abdominals and having lower back issues due to the absurdly overused core training. Yes, the midsection/core is an important region to address, but guess what, so is the rest of the body. To me, the “core” is defined as the whole body: the front, back, left and right sides, top to bottom. All, yes all of your muscles and joints need attention and not specialized classes that make you “feel the burn”.
I find it a bit ridiculous to spend an inordinate amount of effort on an area that needs little attention – especially when a solid structured strength program is in place. The abdominals in particular work to stabilize the spine and if you believe that static work can strengthen a muscle (and it does), the abs and lower back are getting quite a stimulation when you are engaging other body parts. Hell, do a set of negative chins and see how sore your abs (along with chest, shoulders and triceps) are the next day from stabilizing you throughout the movement.
Am I suggesting that you not train your abs directly? No (although if you didn’t it would be the end of the world because no amount of ab work will whittle-the-middle unless you reduce body fat), but I am suggesting that you give more of your attention and energy towards training your entire body and treat your abs and lower back like any other muscle group.
It’s finally here, nice weather upon us here in Asbury Park, NJ and it’s great seeing folks outside recreating and having fun. I love the word recreating – broken down to its element of “re-creating” it has all the makings of some really good stuff. I’d like to make a few suggestions and offer a couple tips if I may to make your experience a positive one:
1) If you are just starting to get moving again after a long, sedentary winter, take it slow at first. Most injuries happen when you push to hard and too fast after not being active for a while.
2) Even if you’ve been active all winter, outdoor activities are much different than stationary one’s. For instance, running on a treadmill or cycling indoors tend to be a bit safer and easier than being outside with the same activities. Running and biking outdoors for instance will have you contending with the elements (wind, sun, temperature), motorists*, potholes and curbs, air quality and more so ease into things.
*A quick note regarding motorists. PLEASE do not assume a motorist sees you and PLEASE do not assume that if he/she does that they will stop or give you the right of way. Be on the defense but be respectful as well. Motorists, take extra care to watch for people and give additional courtesies and plenty of room when passing.
3) Stay hydrated. Always bring a bottle or two of water with you, even if you’re going on a short excursion. You may not need to drink for thirst all the time as people can over heat, feel like they may pass out or even need to clean a wound.
4) Have fun, regardless of why you are out there. Whether it’s to improve your cardiovascular system, help lose a few pounds, clearing your head or getting the kids out for some play time. In fact, join in with the kids and go down the slides, hang on the monkey bars and race them up a hill. It lends itself to a great workout, great fun and great memories.