#104 Fitness

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- The Rub on Massage
- New Success Story: Kurt P.
- Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Tip of the Week

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live."

Marcus Aurelius (121–180)

The Rub on Massage
By Denis Faye

Is there no luxury on the road to fitness? The Coke and Fritos snacks? Gone. The hours spent on the couch watching Twilight Zone marathons? Finito. The candies, cookies, and ice cream? Done, over, kaput.

But past the sweating and grunting and celery, there is one thing you are allowed. In fact, it's a luxury you're actually encouraged to seek out: massage.

The most obvious benefit of massage is stress reduction. It's a tough world out there. A good rubdown can help both your body and mind face it. Furthermore, the more stressed-out you are, the more likely you are to succumb to illness. An obvious example of this is herpes. While the ailment itself is a virus, the sores are brought on by stress.

But the benefits of massage go even further than that. Over the years, researchers have found massage to be beneficial in treating everything from asthma to post-traumatic stress disorder, back pain to eating disorders, cancer to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

For athletes, including you Beachbody athletes, the soft-tissue manipulation aspect of massage promotes blood circulation, which, in turn, revitalizes your muscles and leads to faster recovery.

With this in mind, it's important to remember that massage won't do you much good immediately after exercise. Your heart's pumping and your blood's flowing just fine. It's not until two to six hours after a workout that a massage benefits you by getting that blood flowing again.

There are hundreds of types of massage, all with different benefits. Probably the best known in the United States is Swedish massage. Its kneading and long strokes move in the same direction as the blood flowing to the heart and have the primary purpose of relaxation through improving oxygen flow in the blood and releasing toxins from the muscles.

Another well-known form of massage is Shiatsu, one of the many Asian acupressure techniques. Shiatsu comes from Japan and literally means "finger pressure." It's done by pushing a series of pressure points, similar to acupuncture, to promote chi, or life energy, flow. Although it can benefit muscles, it's more intended as a healing massage for just about any ailment.

For the more masochistic, there's deep-tissue massage. As its name indicates, deep-tissue massage is a deeper, slower massage. It works against the grain of muscles to relieve chronic tension.

Similar to deep-tissue work in application, sports massage speeds muscle recovery, and is an excellent treatment for minor injuries such as strains. Every athlete, professional or not, should add this method to their fitness regimen.

Although it's nice to get a proper massage therapist to work your aching muscles, self-massage is also an excellent tool. While you and I don't have the expertise of a professional, we certainly know what hurts and what feels good on our own bodies. Rubbing that aching calf for five minutes can go a long way towards recovery. You can use long strokes in the direction of your muscles and also shorter strokes that work across your muscle fibers. Either way, when you actively work your muscles, you create better circulation and speed up the healing process. So next time you're sitting in front of the boob tube, maybe a savory snack isn't such a good idea—but giving yourself a much-deserved rub certainly is.

New Success Story: Kurt P.
Congratulations to Kurt P., our new Success Story for June!

Kurt restricted his diet to tiers 1 and 2 of Michi's Ladder, was diligent about taking the men's supplements, and lost an amazing 57.5 pounds and 22.5 inches with Power 90®.

To read Kurt's Success Story, click here.

Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
By Denis Faye

If you have half the sweet tooth we do, you're going to go crazy for Laurie B.'s oatmeal raisin cookies. As Laurie points out, they contain none of the "garbage" of store-bought foods. They're also low-fat and delicious! We'll be brushing the cookie crumbs off your Beachbody T-shirt and sending it along shortly, Laurie. Great recipe!

Remember that you too can be the recipient of a beautiful Beachbody T-shirt. Just send your favorite healthy recipe to and if we choose it, you'll have a T-shirt on the way!

1 1/4 cup whole grain flour
1 cup oats (preferably rolled oats, but instant oatmeal is okay)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 scoop (1/3 cup) vanilla protein powder
3/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and protein powder. In a separate bowl, mix apple juice concentrate and applesauce. Stir the wet mix into the dry mix. Fold in raisins. Drop batter by the spoonful onto a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Tip of the Week: Get Some Sleep
By Steve Edwards

About 40% of adults experience sleeplessness that interferes with their daily lives. Most U.S. adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night during the workweek. Sleep does more than make you feel rested. Lack of sleep affects your mood, as well as your cognitive and motor skill abilities. Two recent studies demonstrated a substantial drop in the body's immune system function after only a modest reduction of sleep. But following a good night's sleep, most immune functions went back to normal levels. So try and keep those times you're burning the candle at both ends down to when they are absolutely necessary.
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