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Spartasport Forums keep you up to date with nutrition, exercise tips, general health  and supplementation info

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Check out the latest tips and information on nutrition

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Tips, discussions and ideas to promote general health, improve well being and a better lifestyle

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Keep up to date with the latest information on exercises that will help improve strength and cardio

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Keep up to date with ever changing world of sports supplementation. What works, what doesn't. Benefits of

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  • Spartasport
    Jul 21

    If you wake up in a panic because your belly is a little puffier than it was yesterday, you're not alone. Millions of people experience daily bloating due to poor dietary and lifestyle choices from days prior and wind up donning stretchy pants in lieu of skinny jeans. In fact, according to a 2014 article in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology, it's one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. While it may feel like an overnight 10-pound weight gain, gassiness and bloating can be corrected. Get your flat belly back with this all-day plan to beat the bloat. Note: All these times are approximate to give you a starting point to schedule your day. Depending on how your day is structured, you can vary this schedule to match. Start Your Day Off Right 6:30 AM: If you don't have any adverse reactions to caffeine, start the day with a cup of green tea. The National Institutes of Health advises that caffeine stimulates colonic activity . So if your morning bloat is exacerbated by constipation, a caffeine-stimulated trip to the bathroom may be just what you need. Plus, green tea contains loads of antioxidants. 7:00 AM: It may be tempting to skip breakfast, but eating the right type of food first thing can help your gut start to shrink. Consider fruits high in potassium, such as cantaloupe, or the healthy fats of an avocado on a slice of whole-wheat bread. Potassium may help remove excess sodium and extra fluid from the body. Staying consistent in eating habits can be a good way to help beat the bloat throughout the day. But don't increase the amount of fiber you would usually eat at meals — that could worsen your bloating. 7:30 AM: Start drinking water to flush out the bloat. It may seem counterintuitive to drink water to release water, but that's exactly what you should do! Dehydration can cause your body to retain water, so drink a glass now and carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. And try mixing it up! A 2008 review article in the International Journal of Chemical Sciences indicated that fresh citrus juice aids in digestion. A big splash of lemon, lime or orange juice may not only help ease the uncomfortable feeling in your gut, but it may also help promote increased water intake. 8:00 AM: Get your sweat on! Research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that exercise helped reduce the symptoms of bloating when excess gas is involved. In addition, exercise can help strengthen the abdominal muscles, leading to an overall tighter tummy. 9:30 AM: Eating smaller meals and including snacks throughout the day is a good way to avoid feeling uncomfortably full. Hydrate with water after your workout and grab a small post-workout snack. A good choice would be a yogurt with live and active cultures, often referred to as probiotics. Researchers hypothesize that since bloating can occur when the microbiota in the gut is altered, probiotics can help regulate the function of the gut, according to a 2013 article in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. Plan Your Bloat-Free Afternoon 12:30 PM: A nourishing lunch will help you get a tummy that's just a little flatter with every hour. Ensure you're not eating any foods that don't agree with you, and avoid foods that can cause gassiness and bloating, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. Try eating a low-FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) diet. Originally designed for people with irritable bowel syndrome, the FODMAP diet cuts out foods thought to trigger uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating. So opt for a quinoa salad with grilled chicken, cucumbers and tomatoes and a glass of lemon water. And give yourself time to eat slowly. Adding excess air, either by eating too fast or by sipping through straws, can exacerbate your belly bloat. You should also avoid carbonated beverages, smoking and chewing gum for the same reason. 2:30 PM: Find a way to de-stress. A 2014 article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology indicated that there may be a link between mental stress and bloating. Practicing good posture with slow breathing exercises or a short yoga class may help declutter your mind and reduce stress. And if you sit all day, maintaining good posture will help strengthen abdominal and back muscles leading to a slimmer midsection. 4:00 PM: When opting for an afternoon snack, skip the sugar-free foods, which often contain sugar alcohols and can cause digestive issues. It's best to stick with unsalted nuts, fresh fruit or carrots and hummus when looking for an afternoon snack. End the Day in a Healthy Way 6:00 PM: If the bloated feeling is still lingering by dinnertime, take the salt shaker off the table and stash it in the cabinet. Excess sodium can lead to water retention. It will not only keep you bloated today, but it also may set you on track for more bloating tomorrow. Make dinner at home, use fresh ingredients and cut back on processed foods to keep the sodium level to a minimum. 7:30 PM: Grab your water bottle and head out the door for a walk. Walking can help stimulate the digestive tract to release the air bubbles and gas that continue to build up in your GI tract. 8:30 PM: Avoid eating within two hours of going to bed to give your food time to digest properly. If your stomach is still feeling full, drink a cup of decaffeinated hot tea, such as peppermint or chamomile. 10:30 PM: While there's little research to support specific sleep positions to relieve bloating, some individuals find it helpful to lie face down to aid in releasing excess gas from their body and get back their flat stomachs for the next day.
  • Spartasport
    Jul 20

    We've all been blindsided by a calendar alert at one point or another. Maybe it's a birthday celebration for a friend planned at the eleventh hour, or a surprise beach day (hello, bikini!). Maybe it's a date that's been looming for a while, and you were sure you'd be leaner or more toned or [insert goal here], but hey, we all get busy. So now you may only have a week, a day or just a few hours to prep — not enough to make any radical changes. But here's the good news: Whether it's skipping gum or loading up on potassium, there are more than a few small-but-effective tweaks you can make to your diet, exercise and beauty routines that can help you look and feel your best for the big event. Add these expert-approved hacks to your arsenal when the time-crunch is real. 1. Get Your Sweat On Sure, a solid cardio set can leave you looking just a little bit more toned, but the mood-boosting endorphins you'll reap are an even better reason to work it out before a big event, says Holly Perkins , a Los Angeles-based certified personal trainer and author of Lift to Get Lean . In fact, a sweat sesh both the night before and the day of is exactly what Perkins prescribed to supermodel Karlie Kloss before the 2018 Oscars. (However, if back-to-back workouts aren't part of your typical routine, choose one or the other to lower your risk of injury.) In addition to triggering a happy-go-lucky feeling, endorphins released during exercise can help minimize anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic . So if your big event has got your nerves on edge, use your workout to help get you back to a positive mental state. Bonus: Amp up the feel-good factor by choosing a workout you enjoy, suggests Perkins, whether that's a spin session, bootcamp class or some hot yoga. 2. Pull Out the Coconut Oil Oil pulling is becoming a popular teeth-whitening method among health-conscious individuals. A traditional folk remedy that dates back to ancient India, rinsing the mouth with coconut oil can help remove chemical and bacterial toxins from the teeth and tongue, according to a January 2017 article published in The Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine . There isn't extensive research to support the whitening effects beyond anecdotal evidence, but since coconut oil is relatively inexpensive and safe to swish, it's worth a shot. So, how does it work? Before you've had breakfast or brushed your teeth, swish a tablespoon of liquid coconut oil around your mouth for 20 minutes (yep, 20 minutes). Move the oil between your teeth, and try not to swallow it. Pro tip: When the time is up, spit the oil into a trash can, as it can clog the sink. While oil pulling shouldn't replace your regular oral care, adding it to your routine the morning of an event may give your chompers a brightening boost. 3. Swap Salt for Potassium Cutting back on sodium both the day of and the day before a big event can help reduce water retention, according to Laura Iu , a New York City-based registered dietitian-nutritionist and founder of Nourish New York, which provides nutritional coaching focused on intuitive eating and body positivity. Consuming high amounts of salt causes the body to retain water in order to dilute the sodium. Water retention can feel similar to bloating, which is why you may feel puffy after a night out, Iu explains. Potassium, on the other hand, can counteract this effect by flushing out excess sodium in the body. Iu recommends swapping salty foods like deli meats or processed cheese for potassium-rich sweet potatoes, berries or bananas to prevent any added bloat on the big day. 4. Hit the Sauna On the day of your event, hit the sauna to boost blood circulation and give your skin a healthy-looking glow, recommends SJ McShane , a certified personal trainer based in the greater Boston area. When you expose your body to high temperatures, extra blood flow is directed away from the organs and directly to the skin, according to Harvard Health Publishing . This can help your skin appear fresh and gleaming. Saunas and steam rooms are becoming a staple of self-care routines and are increasingly praised for various health benefits, according to Harvard Health Publishing. However, anyone with a heart issue should consult a doctor before spending time in such high temperatures. 5. Pump Some Iron Lifting weights strategically can help give your muscles (and confidence) added definition, according to McShane. Specifically, drop sets can help increase blood flow to your muscles and have been used by models and bodybuilders alike to give their physiques an added pump either a day or even several hours before an event, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). To drop set properly, begin with a moderate or heavier weight and perform an exercise (like a bicep curl or lunge) until you're unable to repeat another rep, according to ACE. Once you've reached this level of fatigue, rest just enough to swap for a lighter weight and again perform the exercise to fatigue. This high volume of work will increase blood flow to the muscle, giving you an instantly more defined look. Warning Drop sets can be a great strength-building strategy but should only be performed if you are a regular in the weight room. Pushing yourself to fatigue on a new exercise can result in injury, so exercise caution before hitting the weights. 6. Choose Your Veggies Wisely In addition to avoiding sodium-laden foods, you may also want to nix certain vegetables in order to fend off bloating. Veggies high in fiber slow the speed at which the body digests, making them great for weight management, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics . However, this same nutrient can also cause gas and bloating, says Iu. To prevent gas buildup, avoid fiber-rich broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. While cutting these veggies out forever is not necessary (and not advisable), avoiding them on the day or morning of a big event will help keep your tummy flat throughout the day, Iu says. 7. Shun Straws, Gum and Eating Too Quickly Another potential cause of bloating or intestinal gas is, simply, swallowing too much air, according to the Mayo Clinic . A buildup of air, while usually harmless, can cause your stomach to feel uncomfortable and appear bloated. Avoid activities that may cause you to swallow more air, recommends Iu. Often, these include chewing gum, drinking beverages through straws and eating too quickly. If you're feeling a gas buildup on the morning of an event — maybe last night's bean burrito coming back to haunt you? — add some turmeric or ginger to your breakfast to ease digestion, Iu advises.
  • Spartasport
    Jul 20

    Stuffing your face with heavy cream and bacon is one way to follow a ketogenic diet , but it totally misses the point. At its core, the diet is meant to improve overall health and wellness and fight disease, with weight loss being an added benefit for some. What better way to do that then by eating lots of veggies and healthy plant-based fats? "A plant-based keto diet elevates our health to the next level and is something that most every person can do," says Will Cole , a functional medicine expert and author of the book Ketotarian . Still, there are issues to think about, such as getting enough fat and protein and avoiding nutritional deficiencies. Sticking to tried-and-true plant-based keto recipes recommended by the experts can help you avoid these pitfalls while staying satisfied. Benefits of Plant-Based Keto The nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet are uncontested. Eating both processed and unprocessed red meat is linked to an increase in death from nine different diseases, according to a 2017 study published in British Journal of Medicine . On the flip side, increased intake of fruits and vegetables is linked with a decrease in chronic disease and body weight, according to a 2015 review of research in the Iranian Journal of Public Health . Research presented at the 2018 meeting of the American Nutrition Society showed that eating more high-quality plant foods and fewer animal foods reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes and is associated with less weight gain and a lower risk of death. For a diet meant to improve health and aid weight loss, plant-based keto seems like a no-brainer. Potential Plant-Based Problems Many of the problems vegans and vegetarians face on a keto diet are the same issues they face on a plant-based diet in general. "I often see many vegans and vegetarians actually become more like carbatarians, eating a lot of grains and starches which can wreak havoc on their health long-term," says Dr. Cole. Functional medicine expert and neurologist David Perlmutter , M.D., agrees: "Vegetarians and vegans really don't have significantly more problems when going keto in comparison to a higher carbohydrate diet. In both situations, specific care needs to be placed on obtaining adequate amounts of nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA," he says. Foods to Restrict A lot of the confusion around a plant-based keto diet can be cleared up once you know which foods to avoid or restrict. In general, you want to avoid a lot of starchy and sweet foods including: Grains: quinoa, oats, wheat, rice — especially refined wheat and rice Starchy vegetables: potatoes, winter squash, peas and corn Beans and lentils Sugar, honey, agave and maple syrup High-sugar fruits: bananas, grapes, oranges and pineapple All processed grain foods, sweets and desserts Write this list down, post it in your kitchen and carry it with you when you go out to eat or to the market. "By arming yourself with education, you can shop with confidence and avoid these often unhealthy foods that make up most plant-based diets and know exactly what foods to buy that will keep you healthy and thriving," says Dr. Cole. Foods to Focus On It's true, there are a lot of carb-laden plant foods that shouldn't show up on your plate if you intend to remain in ketosis. But there are also plenty of foods that are healthy, satisfying and will help you reach your goals. "Do not be afraid of vegetables!" says Dr. Cole. "There are so many low-carb and extremely nutrient-dense vegetables that are vital for your health." For example, Dr. Cole says dark, leafy greens contain B vitamins which are essential for methylation — "a biochemical superhighway that happens a billion times a second in your body that governs your hormones, detoxification and inflammation pathways." Here's an abridged list of non-starchy veggies that are keto-friendly : Radishes Spinach Bell pepper Pumpkin Okra Green beans Eggplant Cabbage Bok choy Broccoli Arugula Artichoke Brussels sprouts Carrots Swiss chard Kale Many of these vegetables are good sources of protein as well, which can help dieters fulfill their small, yet important, daily protein quota. When it comes to fats, Dr. Cole recommends loading up on healthy plant fats like avocados, olives, coconuts (and their oils), nuts and seeds. Some of the foods you can indulge in include: Coconut cream (sugar-free) Macadamia nuts Pecans Walnuts Hemp seeds Cocoa butter Nut butters Nut cheeses Plant-Based Keto Recipes You Can't Resist Finding a bunch of recipes you love and keeping them on hand makes it easy to stick to a plant-based keto diet, because you can rotate through them. You'll never be stuck without a plan, and you'll know that your nutritional bases are being covered if you eat a variety of these recipes throughout the week. Food blogs offers a wealth of tasty, easy-to-make keto recipes. Bookmark the ones you like and give them a try. Dr. Cole presents readers of Ketotarian with many plant-based recipes to choose from. "Some of my favorites from the book include coconut-chia breakfast pudding, an easy zoodle bowl with olive oil pesto sauce which is great for lunch, and I love the cauliflower tacos with extra guac for dinner," he says. On registered dietitian Abbey Sharp's website you can find recipes for Vegan Keto Pasta Alfredo , Vegan Keto Walnut Chili and Vegan Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie . Dr. Perlmutter offers up this quick recipe for a flavorful side dish tasty and healthy enough to be a main dish: Spinach With Scallions and Pumpkin Seeds Serves 4 1 tablespoon avocado oil 1 pound curly leaf spinach, tough stems removed Salt and cracked black pepper to taste ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds ¼ cup chopped scallions, including some green part Wash the spinach well. Using a salad spinner, spin to dry slightly. You want to have some droplets of water clinging to the leaves. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and, using tongs, toss and turn to just wilt. This shouldn't take more than a minute. Toss in the pumpkin seeds and scallions and serve immediately. "The pumpkin seeds and scallions add a little crunch and snap to the wilted spinach. You could also use toasted pine nuts, chopped walnuts or cashews in place of the pumpkin seeds," says Dr. Perlmutter. Always Plan Ahead A big part of the reason keto diets — plant-based or not — fail is because of lack of planning. Not knowing what to eat or not having anything prepared when hunger strikes can lead people to eat the wrong foods and not meet their macros. Take some time each week to plan for the following week . Choose your recipes, shop for the ingredients and prepare meals ahead if you can. If you aren't sure whether you're meeting your nutritional needs, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist for help planning your diet.