Most Effective Ab Exercise: The Plank

Plank on Elbows and Toes


The plank exercise ranked number 10 in the ACE study and is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as the stabilizer muscles.  This move is also great for building strength for pushups, an exercise that requires quite a bit of core strength.How to:

  1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

Benifits of Green Tea


Green tea is made from the leaves from Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates in China,[1] but it has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. Green tea has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea has been the traditionally consumed tea. Green tea has become the raw material for extracts which are used in various beverages, health foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetic items.[2] Many varieties of green tea have been created in the countries where it is grown. These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture,[3] production processing, and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease[4] and certain types of cancer.[5] Although green tea does not raise the metabolic rate enough to produce immediate weight loss, a green tea extract containing polyphenols and caffeine has been shown to induce thermogenesis and stimulate fat oxidation, boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate.[6]

The mean content of flavonoids in a cup of green tea is higher than that in the same volume of other food and drink items that are traditionally considered of health contributing nature, including fresh fruits, vegetable juices or wine.[7] Flavonoids are a group of phytochemicals present in most plant products that are responsible for health effects such as anti-oxidative and anticarcinogenic functions.[7] However, the content of flavonoids may vary dramatically amongst different tea products


Research and health effects

Main article: Health effects of tea

Green tea contains a variety of enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, vitamins, caffeine and related compounds, phytochemicals and dietary minerals. Numerous claims have been made for the health benefits of green tea based on chemical composition, in vitro and animal studies, though results in humans have been inconsistent and few clear benefits for humans have been demonstrated.[16] There is also evidence suggesting consuming large volumes of green tea, and in particularly green tea extracts, may cause oxidative stress and liver toxicity.[17]

A 2012 systematic review concluded the evidence that green tea can prevent cancer “is inadequate and inconclusive” but with some evidence for a reduction in certain types of cancer (breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial). Green tea may lower blood low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels, though the studies were of short duration and it is not known if these effects result in fewer deaths and evidence does not support green tea reducing coronary artery disease risk. Several randomized controlled trials suggest green tea can reduce body fat by a small amount for a short time, though it is not certain if the reduction would be meaningful for most people.[18] One study has found that green tea may actually damage DNA.[19] Green tea is forbidden for people with Multiple Myeloma(MM) if they use the drug Bortezomib (Velcade)or similar


Brewing and serving

Green tea leaves steeping in a gaiwan

Steeping is the process of making a cup of tea; it is also referred to as brewing. In general, two grams of tea per 100 ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per five ounce cup, should be used. With very high-quality teas like gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations.

Green tea steeping time and temperature varies with different tea. The hottest steeping temperatures are 81 to 87 °C (178 to 189 °F) water and the longest steeping times two to three minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 61 to 69 °C (142 to 156 °F) and the shortest times about 30 seconds. In general, lower-quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher-quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew, regardless of the initial quality. It is thought[by whom?] that excessively hot water results in tannin chemical release, which is especially problematic in green teas, as they have higher contents of these. High-quality green teas can be and usually are steeped multiple times; two or three steepings is typical. The steeping technique also plays a very important role in avoiding the tea developing an overcooked taste. The container in which the tea is steeped or teapot should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down. It is common practice for tea leaf to be left in the cup or pot and for hot water to be added as the tea is drunk until the flavor degrades.


Why Am I So Tired? 10 Causes of Fatigue

By  WebMD Feature

Do you feel tired all the time? Lots of people do. It’s a sign of our overbooked times.

Getting your energy back could be simpler than you think. Start by seeing if you can relate to the top three reasons for feeling drained.

Top 3 Reasons

The most common reasons for feeling tired are about daily habits.

1. What you eat. Reaching for caffeine and sugar can backfire, leaving you more fatigued as your blood sugar levels fluctuate wildly. Instead, go for a balanced, healthy diet replete with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. “Most people feel like they’re less tired if they eat a healthy diet,” says J. Fred Ralston Jr., MD, past president of the American College of Physicians. “Eating healthy also means you’ll carry less weight, and obesity is a big contributor to fatigue.

2. How much you sleep. You saw this one coming, right? Many people don’t get enough sleep. If you’re one of them, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours just before bedtime, turn off the TV before bed, and keep your bedroom quiet and restful.

3. How much you exercise. This is the biggie, Ralston says. His favorite prescription for plain old tiredness is regular, vigorous exercise. Finish at least three hours before bedtime, so you have time to wind down.

If you think that exercise would just make you more tired, there’s good news: Exercise breeds energy. Almost all the studies that have looked at this question have found the same thing: Sedentary people who start exercising feel much less fatigue than those who stay idle. It’s one of those surprising truths: move more and you’ll get more energy.

Ralston recommends getting 40 minutes of exercise at least four days a week, to get you going.

Do that, and a month from now, you should notice some improvement. Keep with it for three to six months more, and you should feel much better.

If you follow your exercise prescription for at least a month — and you’re also making enough time for sleep — and you’re still feeling lousy, look into other causes, Ralston advises.

Could It Be Something Else?

The most common reasons for feeling so tired all the time are those we’ve just discussed. Don’t start thinking that you’ve got a medical condition until you’ve tried those strategies and really given them a chance.

If you still feel exhausted, you’ll need to check with your health care provider to look into it. Chronic tiredness is linked to many different medical conditions, such as:

4. Anemia. “This is a very common cause of fatigue and very easy to check with a simple blood test,” says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, an Emory University clinical associate professor of medicine. “It’s particularly a problem for women, especially those who are having heavy menstrual periods.” You can remedy anemia with an iron-rich diet, heavy in meats and dark, leafy greens, or supplements if you have a chronic iron deficiency.

5. Deficiencies in key nutrients, such as potassium. Again, this is easily checked with blood testing.

6. Thyroid problems. Over- and under-active thyroids both can cause fatigue, Fryhofer says. A blood test for your level of thyroid-stimulating hormone can help evaluate your thyroid function.

7. Diabetes. People who have uncontrolled diabetes “just plain don’t feel good,” Fryhofer says. “If you feel draggy and you’re also having blurred vision or lots of urination, you should get that checked with a blood test.”

8. Depression. If your feelings of exhaustion are accompanied by sadness and loss of appetite, and you just can’t find any pleasure in things you once enjoyed, you may be depressed. Don’t keep that to yourself. Your doctor, or a therapist, can start you on the path back to feeling better.

9. Sleep problems. If you never feel rested, and nothing seems to fix that, you might look into visiting a sleep lab, especially if you snore. Snoring can be part of obstructive sleep apnea, in which people briefly stop breathing several times a night. There are treatments for that.

10. Undiagnosed heart disease. Tiredness can be a sign of heart trouble, particularly in women, Ralston says. “If you have trouble with exercise you used to do easily, or if you start feeling worse when you exercise, this could be a red flag for heart trouble. If you have any doubts, see your doctor.”

But again, start with the basics: your sleep, your diet, and your activity level. Sometimes the simplest fixes are all it takes.

Understanding the Infamous Pudge ( And How to Get Rid of It)

Trainer Tahir Jetter explains how to tame the belly fat monster

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Tips on how to minimize the pudge!

Many people are self-conscious about  stomach fat—the appearance of “the gut,” if you will. Of course, a certain  amount of abdominal fat is normal, and, depending on one’s age, genetics, body  composition, etc., some may find it more difficult than others to tone things  up. Still, no matter your situation, there are several things you can do to  minimize the pudge.

But, before we begin, a common misconception about shedding fat is that you  can do so by spot-training—only doing resistance exercises, (e.g. lifting  weights) for a given muscle group with the expectation that that same muscle  group will consequently emerge triumphant, overshadowing the unsightly specter  of any surrounding fat, once and for all.

Of course, if this were true, every person that only does “15-Minute Abs” three times a week would automatically have rock-hard abs after  several weeks.  Unfortunately, it takes more than that.

Things You Can Do To Reduce The Pudge:

1. Mind Your Diet. 

Your eating habits are heavily involved in your body’s ability to shed  pounds and develop lean muscle mass. Processed foods, saturated fats, alcohol  and refined sugars should be consumed as rarely as possible.  Lower your  calorie intake and find healthy foods you like.  Think whole grains, lean  proteins, foods with complex carbohydrates (fruits and veggies), and foods with  natural, healthy fats (nuts, avocados, fish, etc).

2. Manage Your Stress.

Easier said than done, right?  Although stress is an inherent part of  life for many, it’s also a huge cause of what causes the body to produce excess  abdominal fat.

In addition to the fact that your body regulates stress by releasing  excessive amounts of the hormone Cortisol (a  process which, over time, can increase the appearance of subcutaneous  ab-fat), stress also leads to over-eating.  Most times when we over-eat  because of stress, we aren’t making healthy food choices.

So find a ritual.  Meditate, pray, pummel a punching bag with a photo  of your boss taped to it, whatever you have to do.  If you’re a habitual  stress-eater, find yourself some healthy snacks so that you don’t opt for  unhealthy selections when the going gets tough.

Ever find yourself looking for candy, or other sweets when stressed? Try  some fruit instead.  Grapefruit, oranges, and other healthy snacks are a  great way to get an influx of robust sugars that will re-energize you while  helping to take the edge off.

3. Sleep

It’s common knowledge that getting a good night’s rest (7-8 hours) is good  for you, but doing so is also crucial to allowing your body to healthfully  process fat.

Research  has shown that adults who go without sleep for extended periods of time are  often prone to gain weight as a result of certain physiological imbalances that  develop, over time.

But, is that any surprise?  Do you ever find yourself over-eating on  any days that you haven’t much sleep?  If so, what sort of foods do you  eat?  How about exercise?  How often do you feel like exercising after  having pulled a series of all-nighters?

Then, of course, there’s:

4. Exercise

Working out preferred method for getting rid of ab-fat. It’s a well-known  fact that to burn fat, you’ve got to burn calories, but there are better ways  than others to go about toning up the stomach.

So what works for the abs, specifically?  Find out Tahir’s  favorite exercises next week!

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