Research

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

Study: Listen To Music During High Intensity Interval Training.

Concept-2-Rower-Male-ImageWe know that music can be a powerful, motivating force in exercise. In fact, I previously referenced a study that found music can boost output by as much as 15%.

Unsurprisingly, most of the research around music and exercise has centered around traditional, steady-state exercise. Such as running on a treadmill at a set speed for 30 minutes. However, more and more exercisers (myself included!) have shifted to high intensity interval training due to it’s many benefits. By alternating between low intensity exercise and bouts of high intensity exercise, participants get more workout bang in a shorter amount of time.

But does music provide the same benefits for high intensity exercisers? When you’re engaged in a high intensity interval at maximum effort, does music even make a difference?

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario set out to answer those questions through a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. For the study, 20 healthy participants with no experience in high intensity interval training were recruited. After establishing a baseline, participants listed their favorite music. The participants then completed one high intensity interval workout with music, and another without. The output was then compared between the two workouts.

Regardless of music, participants felt that each workout was equally challenging. Despite that, output was significantly higher during the music workout. In other words, participants were able to work much harder – even though it didn’t feel like it.

Whether music distracts you from discomfort, motivates you to move or just makes exercise more fun, it can be an important tool to use during your workout.

P.S. To try my high intensity interval training workout, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout! You can do it right from the comfort of your home. But don’t be fooled… you’ll sweat like you’ve never sweat before!

 

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