Research

Here's the latest on what science has to say about fitness, nutrition and overall health.

Sore Muscle Treatment: More Movement.

muscle-sorenessWhen I injured my hamstring a few years back, I was prescribed a common treatment called RICE – standing for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

However, new research by the same man who coined the term RICE shows that the treatment merely delays healing by reducing inflammation. In fact, the body’s inflammation response is important to the healing process. By icing an injury, an important hormone is blocked. You’ll still heal, but it’ll just take about a half day longer.

A half day can make a huge difference for competitive athletes who need to be ready for game day. For the rest of us, a half day won’t really matter much. And though icing can delay healing, it still helps reduce discomfort. For some people, that could be a worthwhile tradeoff.

But for faster healing results, the researchers recommend movement without pressure. If you injured your legs running, for example, taking a leisurely walk could actually help; it’ll keep blood flowing to your damaged muscles and boost recovery.

Moreover, the researchers found that anti-inflammatory or pain reliever drugs also delay healing.

As it turns out, our wise bodies are better suited for healing on their own.

P.S. Interested in getting a strong, lean and defined six pack? Download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program to get started with five 12-minute ab workouts!

The Downside Of Energy Drinks…

rugbycroppedEnergy drinks are more popular than ever, especially among athletes. In fact, more than 50% of athletes report consuming energy drinks before training or competitions. The belief is that these energy drinks can give athletes a competitive edge.

But is it true? And what are the side effects?

To answer those questions, researchers from Camilo José Cela University published a four-year study that evaluated the pros and cons of energy drinks on athletes. Top athletes from various sports consumed either three energy drinks or three energy drink placebos before competitions. Using GPS, dynamometers and potentiometers, researchers evaluated performance.

According to the data, energy drinks do have a significant positive impact on performance. Overall, athletes were typically able to boost performance by 3% – 7%. They ran further, jumped higher and had more endurance. In competitions where fractions of a second make the difference between winning and losing, the findings are notable.

But it wasn’t all good news. Post competition, athletes who consumed the energy drinks reported higher levels of insomnia, nervousness and stimulation. These side effects are typical for any caffeinated beverage.

It’s also worth noting that energy drinks don’t provide energy. Energy is often measured in calories. One calorie can raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at sea level. In that sense, energy drinks don’t have any more “energy” than other soft drinks. However, due to the concentration of caffeine, energy drinks have an energizing effect.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle size and strength, I recommend downloading Size Matter’s: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Is Breakfast REALLY The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

largeWhen we hear something over and over again, we tend to accept it as true. Case in point, most people think coffee is made from beans. In actuality, it’s made from seeds. While that’s a silly example, it’s always worth questioning conventional wisdom.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really?

A few recent studies are starting to cast doubts, including new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For the study, researchers from the University of Bath recruited 33 men and women and broke them into two groups. One group at a substantial breakfast before 11AM and the other group skipped breakfast entirely. Researchers recorded data including resting metabolic rate, cholesterol and blood glucose over a six week period.

What were the results?

As it turns out, researchers didn’t really find any measurable differences between the two groups. Breakfast skippers consumed fewer total calories over the course of the day. However, they also burned fewer total calories when compared to the breakfast eaters. Blood glucose was also very similar, though slightly more stable for the breakfast eaters.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that skipping breakfast is smart. Other studies have found that skipping breakfast increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 27% due to the likely connections between extended fasting, blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.

So, what’s the takeaway?

This newest study shows that there’s still a lot that we don’t understand. And while fueling our bodies with nourishing foods is important, some of the assumptions that we’ve made about breakfast might not necessarily be true.

What Is The Best Shoulder Exercise?

shoulder-workout---get-big--shoulder-workout-for-size---mens-fitnessHaving strong, bulging shoulders isn’t just sexy; it’s functional. With shoulder injuries impacting up to 69 percent of the population, taking advantage of a balanced and well-rounded shoulder workout can help reduce the risk of injury.

So which shoulder exercises are the best? The American Council on Exercise teamed up with researchers from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to find out. The findings were published in a recent study.

For the study, researchers compiled a list of ten common shoulder exercises. Next, a set of healthy, male volunteers were recruited. Each volunteer participated in one practice workout and then two test workouts. To determine muscle activation, special electrodes were placed on the three different muscle heads of the shoulder (front, middle and back).

After crunching the data, researchers found that different exercises were best for each of the different muscle heads.

To work your anterior deltoids (the front shoulder muscle that you see in the mirror), the dumbbell shoulder press is the absolute best. No other exercise came close. A distant second was the dumbbell front raise followed by battling ropes (which you commonly see in crossfit classes).

When it comes to the medial deltoids (the middle shoulder muscle), the 45-degree incline row and bent-arm lateral raise were the best performing exercises.

Last but not least, the seated rear lateral raise and the 45-degree incline row were best for the posterior deltoids (back shoulder muscles).

Keep in mind, while most people focus on the anterior deltoids (because those are most visible when they look in the mirror), it’s important to have equally balanced shoulder muscles for proper function, to minimize imbalances and to reduce the risk of injury.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the above exercises, scroll down below for some demonstrations!

Incorporate these exercises into your shoulder workout for optimal results.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Best for front shoulders)

ShoulderPress

45-Degree Incline Row (Best for middle shoulders/back shoulders)

InclineRow

Seated Rear Lateral Raise (Best for back shoulders)

DeltoidRaise

Run More, Live Longer.

John JeffersonWith more than 600 muscles in the human body, one thing is clear: We are meant to move! And thanks to a new study published in the American College of Cardiology, we’re learning how important movement – and running, in particular – is to a longer life.

Over the course of 15 years, researchers examined more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 to determine whether or not there’s a relationship between running and longevity. During the study, 3,413 participants died including 1,217 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease.

By crunching the data, researchers discovered that runners have an overall 30% lower risk of death from all causes. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, runners were 45% less likely to die compared to non-runners. On average, runners lived an astounding three years longer than non runners. Individuals benefited from running regardless of age, sex, body mass index, health conditions, smoking or alcohol use.

Moreover, researchers found that even slow or less frequent runners still enjoyed benefits. Runners who ran less than one hour per week experienced the same mortality benefits as runners who ran more than three hours. In other words, more running isn’t necessarily better from the perspective of longevity.

If you want to live longer, it’s time to get off your computer or away from your smartphone. Give yourself the free and wonderful gift of a good run.