#324 Rebuild Your Body

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The human body is the only machine for which there are no spare parts.

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3 Simple Steps to Rebuild Your Body

By Steve Edwards

One of the most frustrating scenarios we face is when we finally make that commitment to our health, begin to workout, and then find ourselves sidelined due to an injury. In part two of this series (click here for part one), let's look at what to do when we're faced with an injury.

Therapy and Workout Injury

It's common to see athletes return from being injured better than they were before they got hurt. This is because when you're injured, you are forced to rebuild your body the correct way. Failure to do this could lead to being handicapped for life. If you "rebuild" correctly, however, you can easily return from most injuries not only feeling fitter but better able to stave off injuries in the future. Here's a quick guide on how to come back stronger and faster if you're injured.

Examining your injury

The first thing we need to do is assess our injuries. We're going to throw major trauma out of this discussion because in those situations you need professional health care right away. In situations of major trauma, you should follow your doctor's orders until they give you the go-ahead to do things on your own. At this point, you probably still have some physical limitations to consider, but once your doctor releases you, the information provided below for minor trauma becomes relevant.

MusclesPain is generally associated with an injury, but all pain doesn't mean that you're injured. A fairly common occurrence—especially for people who haven't worked out before—is to confuse standard muscle breakdown for an injury. This may sound absurd, but it's not when you consider how the body becomes stronger. The kind of breakdown we instigate through training is, in fact, a type of injury. The only difference is that it's targeted breakdown to body parts that recover quickly. This is why recovery is such an important subject in fitness training. When you follow a workout program, the overload is progressive, meaning that the amount of breakdown increases over time. But when you overdo it during a workout, you create excessive muscular breakdown, which can feel like an injury.

Most other injuries that don't require immediate medical attention are called soft tissue injuries. These are referred to as sprains, twists, pulls, jams, etc., and are all different types of microtrauma to your ligaments or tendons. These injuries vary in severity. In some cases, you need to see a doctor to assess how serious an injury is—and whether it's something that needs medical attention. Minor cases are often left untreated. Leaving minor injuries untreated is an easy way to help an area turn into a chronic problem.

P90X® Results and Recovery FormulaBut whether you are beat up from training or have an injury, your recovery protocol is similar. All pain should be treated as an injury of some sort. The only variance should be in how aggressive you go about implementing the treatment listed below. For example, if you know that you have muscle breakdown from jumping too high during yesterday's P90X® Plyometrics workout, you can be less diligent about certain protocol, like icing the "injured" region. Ice would still help the injured area recover more quickly, but given that you know it's not a real injury, you can be certain it will heal 100 percent anyway. Incidentally, an after-workout shake like P90X Results and Recovery Formula that enhances quick replenishment can help you know if you're injured or just overdid it. A properly timed recovery shake will improve muscle resynthesis so that you're less sore.

So, essentially, there are two types of injuries. Major, which means that you need to see a professional ASAP, and minor, which you can (and should) treat yourself. Keep in mind that a minor injury can become major. Therefore, keep a close eye on how your home treatment is progressing. If things continually get worse, it's always better to get to a doctor—the sooner, the better.

Periodizational training for injuries

DoctorAs soon as you notice an injury, whether you've twisted your ankle or noticed that a dull ache in your elbow seems to be getting worse, your protocol should be the same. Just like an exercise program, there is an injury treatment program that will have you following steps and progressing in phases. Consider that in most cases, the type of injury doesn't matter because these steps are the same. If your injury isn't so bad that you need to see a doctor, these are the steps that you should follow.

Step 1: Post-injury ASAP

When you get injured, your very first step is to assess the injury. Is it bloody, are you disfigured, can you mobilize the area, etc.? Your first step is to address whether or not you need to get to a hospital. If the answer is yes, you want to get there ASAP because the sooner the treatment is started, the easier your recovery period will be.

BandageIf no doc is on your agenda, your next step is to immobilize the injury. Adding further stress at this point can exacerbate the injury. So when you've hurt something, the first thing you want to do is to stop.

Next, you want to keep the area from becoming inflamed. If you're away from home and you need to keep moving, this can become step one. Taking anti-inflammatory medication, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium should be the first thing you do, unless you have an issue with these medications.

You'll want to ice and elevate the area immediately. Of the two, icing is more effective. Doing both is best. Getting ice on an injury as soon as possible is probably the best way to speed up your recovery. It's almost hard to believe how effective keeping an area iced and elevated post-injury are for speeding recovery. By taking the time to do this, even when the injury isn't too severe, you can change something that could become a nagging, chronic problem into something that is gone so fast that you forget you were ever injured.

Immersing a Foot in IceIce helps with standard exercise recovery, too. If you know you've overdone your workout, immersing the affected areas in ice will greatly speed up your recovery. It's important to keep in mind that icing small areas, like your fingers, can lead to frostbite because you don't have enough circulation to melt the ice in those areas. The smaller the area, the shorter the time you should ice it. For fingers, don't exceed 10 or so minutes. For larger areas, like ankles, standard practice is to ice for 20 to 30 minutes. Post-icing: Allow the area to be fully warmed before icing again. During the acute stage of an injury, you can ice up to 5 times a day or so. Don't get discouraged if you can't do this. Any icing is much better than none.

Now rest. During the acute stage of this phase, you don't want to do any other exercise. This will cause breakdown that reduces your body's ability to repair the damaged area. The length of this period depends on the injury. For an injured finger, you might be able to move into the second phase the next day. For a larger body part, you might need a few days or more of downtime.

Step 2: Recovery

AerobicsAs soon as you can, you want to get the rest of your body moving again. This helps speed your recovery by reversing the atrophy that begins once you stop movement. What to do during this step varies a lot and is entirely dependent upon the location of your injury. The only constant is that you don't want to stress the injured area at all. Other than that, you can do any physical activity you want.

Step 3: Physical therapy

This is where you target the comeback for your injured area. Visiting a physical therapist can greatly help because, well, it's his or her job to help you recover. The training done generally starts with simple manipulations of the injured area. Once these can be done without pain, the intensity begins to increase.

Physical TherapyPhysical therapy exercises stress muscular balance. That is, they tend to target both the large prime mover muscles of an area along with the smaller stabilizer muscles. Because you focus on these in combination—which often doesn't happen during sports or training programs because they are based on changing only how you look—you will often return from an injury more balanced than you were prior to the injury. This is why many athletes come back from injuries stronger than they were before.

It's impossible, in the scope of this article, to explain all the types of exercises you could do for injured areas of your body. There are many references on this subject, including physical therapists. Beachbody now offers a solution as well. Our Total Body Solution™ program covers basic movements that you would do for rehab. Keep in mind that you can also do these to help prevent injuries. Total Body Solution also has assessment movements that will show you if your body is out of balance.

Water TherapyYou know that injuries are really just a part of life, as is how we respond to them. If regimented protocol is followed, you really have no reason to fear injuries. They, like most things in life, are simply a part of the process of living. How we deal with them can make them worse, or turn them into a positive.

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, September 18th, at 1:00 PM ET, 10:00 AM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Steve EdwardsIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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5 Ways Supplements Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

By Aaron Lowe

We've all been there—we've busted our tails with intense exercise programs like Turbo Jam® and 10-Minute Trainer® and deprived ourselves of the foods we loved. We've even sacrificed our social lives in the name of fitness, but, many times, all that hard work hasn't paid off as well as we wanted or thought it would. Dialing in the exercise routine is often the simple part of the equation. Getting your diet right, for most of us, is the complex part. What can really help with reaching your goals are nutritional supplements, and here are five ways in which they can support your health and fitness program.

Working Out, Dieting, and Supplements

  1. Supplements provide nutrients that the body needs during and after exercise. When most of us think about taking a multivitamin, we think of it as basic nutritional insurance, and we are correct. But, there is a bigger role that basic multivitamins play. Your body has literally millions of biological actions going on at any moment, and all of them rely on nutrients from our diet to function. The body is very smart in its "pecking order" of distributing nutrients and will prioritize survival mechanisms over all others. What this means is that if the nutrients required to recover from a tough workout are needed for a survival mechanism, your recovery will not be as complete or as rapid because the body didn't get enough of what it needs. The final effect is that you may not be ready for your next workout, or your body won't improve at the pace that it could be improving. Simple insurance for making sure this doesn't happen is with a full-spectrum multivitamin like ActiVit®.

  2. ZincSupplements can help support your immune health. Too much exercise can be as bad as too little, especially for the immune system. Pushing your body too hard, too often, and not allowing for full recovery is a recipe for overtraining, and that often leads to illness. Getting sick is not conducive to improvement in your fitness program, so you want to avoid it at all costs. Make sure that your body has the nutrients it needs to support immune function by emphasizing vitamins C and E; zinc and selenium; and beta-carotene. They are the major nutrient players in supporting immune health.

  3. Supplements can help control calorie intake. Following a strict diet with fresh, healthy meals rich in fruits and vegetables is a noble goal that we should all strive to achieve. For us folks in the real world, however, career, kids, and life in general are serious obstacles. It's really common to have one "throwaway" meal every day. That's the meal that we grab on the go and try to make up for with the next meal. The problem is that those throwaway meals add up and we rarely make up for them.

    Meal Replacement ShakeOne of the best ways to help you get through a busy day without hitting the local fast food drive-thru or vending machine is with a meal replacement drink mix, like Beachbody's Meal Replacement Shake. Keeping an easy-to-mix-and-consume drink handy at work and in your car is a smart way to avoid the fast food pitfalls. Not enough time to prepare that healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Enjoy a meal replacement drink instead. Eschew that fat-, sugar-, and sodium-laden meal that will put you behind in your program, and you'll be proudly marching forward toward your goals. It really is one of the easiest ways to support your health and fitness program.

  4. Supplements can help you safely burn fat when you're not exercising. What? Safely burn fat throughout the day? Is there a new pill on the market? No, but there is a substantial amount of research that suggests green tea enhances fat burning in the body without any negative side effects like jitters or sleeplessness. In fact, the same active ingredients in green tea that promote fat burning are also powerful antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage. What more could one want? When you do shop for a green tea supplement, make sure it's a standardized extract that provides a known amount of polyphenols (the active ingredients in green tea). For example, ActiVit Metabolism Formula has the equivalent of three cups of green tea in one serving and is standardized for 60 percent of polyphenols. That's one of the strongest concentrations available on the market today.

  5. CreatineSupplements can support lean muscle gains. Most of us think of taking in extra protein when we think about gaining lean mass, but taking creatine is arguably one of the best ways to increase solid mass. This supplement took the world by storm when it was first introduced over a dozen years ago. It's one of the few that has stood the test of time because it works, and it's safe. Where it differs from protein is that it's nearly impossible to get an effective dose of creatine from diet alone. One would have to eat many, many pounds of red meat to get the suggested 5 grams of creatine daily. A supplement is simply the only way to get the quantity of creatine needed to have a physiological effect. Period!

Always remember this: A complete health and fitness program includes a comprehensive nutrition program that emphasizes those nutrients that are critical for not only overall good health but to support the program. If your diet doesn't provide an adequate amount of the nutrients needed, a supplement can fit the bill.

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, September 18th, at 1:00 PM ET, 10:00 AM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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6 Ways to Find the Time to Work Out

By Monica Ciociola

Lack of time is one of the main excuses people give for not exercising regularly. Even those of you who have discovered the wonders of in-home fitness still find it difficult to juggle work, family, and fitness. We hear you asking for help, so here are six smart ways to find more time for your workout, whether it's Slim Training® with Slim in 6® or Tilting, Tucking & Tightening with Hip Hop Abs®. With these tips, you can maintain any fitness resolution you make all year long.

Work, Family, and Fitness

  1. Online ShoppingShop online. Now that you can basically order anything and everything over the Internet and have it delivered, consider doing some of your errands and shopping this way. Most major retailers have online stores, and provide shipping options. So there's no need to go to the mall or the post office.

  2. LaundromatFarm out some chores. Try dropping off your laundry for fluff 'n' fold—especially if you've already been spending money at the laundromat. You'll find that it doesn't cost that much more. Also, check out your local maid service. For a little extra money, you can save a couple of hours cleaning your home, not to mention the dozens of hours of procrastinating!

  3. SunriseWake up 30 minutes earlier. Work out before heading to the office. A little trick for waking up faster is to touch your toes as soon as you open your eyes—this brings blood to your head so you feel alert quicker. After your workout, you'll be more energized for the day ahead and hardly notice the lost sleep. Working out in the morning as opposed to midday or at night also saves you the double cost of showering, getting dressed, and making yourself beautiful.

  4. Meal PreparationPrepare meals in advance. Try to get most of your meal preparation for the week done over the weekend. That means washing all your lettuce, veggies, herbs, fish, and poultry up front, and stocking complete salads-in-a-bag to take to work. You can also prepare individual slices of poultry and fish and various veggies for dinner. Also, make vats of soup, pasta, and brown rice that you'll be able to microwave throughout the week. Filling up on healthy meals and having low-fat, good-for-you snacks readily available at work will reduce the temptation to sample the goodies from the office vending machine.

  5. Fitness DVDsTake your DVDs with you. If you're traveling, make sure you pack your favorite fitness DVDs along with your laptop so you can work out wherever you are, whether it's at your in-laws' house, your friend's house, or in a hotel room.

  6. Turbo Jam® WorkoutPop in a 20-minute workout. Beachbody makes some superfast and effective 10-to-20-minute workouts for when you're seriously short on time. Try the Turbo Jam® 20 Minute Workout for an excellent calorie-blasting session, any of the 10-Minute Trainer® workouts for excellent muscle-toning and fat-burning results in as little as 10 minutes, and the Great Body Guaranteed!™ collection to focus on specific trouble areas in even less than 10 minutes. It's only about 10 to 20 minutes, but the rewards stretch far beyond that to stronger bones and muscles, a sharper mind, and a lower risk of developing cancer and diabetes. And remember, working out reduces stress. You'll enjoy your free time much more if you're healthy and energized.

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Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, September 18th, at 1:00 PM ET, 10:00 AM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Monica CiociolaIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Food Trivia IQ!

By DeLane McDuffie

School's finally in session! Remember these words? "Class, take out your pencils. We're going to have a pop quiz." Any unprepared kid hearing that was likely to grab a hall pass and "make a run for it." My favorite hideout was the cafeteria. So, in the spirit of roll call, long lunch lines, lunch ladies, and kickball in P.E. class, here's a quiz about something that we all like—food!

  1. CroissantsTrue or False: The croissant is a French creation. Contrary to popular belief, the croissant originated in Austria, not France. It was known by its German name, Kipfel. Back in 1683, the Ottoman Turkish army had the city of Vienna surrounded and on its knees. The Turkish army started to dig tunnels under the city walls, but the Viennese night-owl bakers heard the not-so-sweet sounds of digging and sounded the alarm, thus saving the city. After the Turks were driven away, the bakers commemorated the victory by making pastries in the shape of the crescent moon that was emblazoned on the flag of their nemesis.

  2. What drink is partly responsible for Thanksgiving and an early American settlement? You probably know that the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. But do you know that the Mayflower docked because of the stormy weather and a shortage of food and . . . beer? Yep. You heard right. Beer was thought to be healthy and nutritious while H2O was untrustworthy because it was often contaminated. Once they hit the shore, the Pilgrims wasted little time setting up a brewery. Thanksgiving Day football just wouldn't be the same without it.

  3. CoffeeWho helped coffee expand into the West? Long ago, coffee was all the rave in the Middle East and parts of Africa. However, when it first arrived in Europe in the late 1500s, Vatican priests didn't exactly roll out the red carpet. In fact, they wanted to ban the "evil" caffeinated beverage because of its Islamic connections. Then, Pope Clement VIII guzzled down a cup, loved it, and gave it his papal blessing. Europeans soon began knocking back coffee like it was going out of style. You and Starbucks can thank the pope for your morning joe.

  4. This medical doctor forever changed the way we eat breakfast. Who is this person? There was a doctor at the end of the 19th century who was completely focused on making Americans' diets healthier. His main concern was the effect that food had on the digestive tract. He wanted to create a low-calorie, ready-made breakfast meal that would be easy on the stomach and sent to families nationwide—thus the advent of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's toasted corn flakes.

  5. Cherry PieWhat do a cherry pie and a UFO have in common? The saucer-like Pluto Platter toy was invented by Walter Morrison during the country's UFO craze in the 1940s and 1950s. However, it was the Wham-O toy company's (distributors of the Pluto Platter) discovery of a group of Yale University students, who were playing a game that involved flinging around a bunch of metal pie tins, that led to the connection between UFOs and pies. As a player threw a pie tin, he or she would yell out the pie company's name that was etched on the pie tin's surface. The Frisbie Pie Company would forever link pies, flying saucers, and Frisbees together.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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