Gluten Free Fitness

5 Minute Plank Exercises

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5 Minute Plank Exercises

The Plank Exercise is known to be one of the most effective exercises for getting rock hard abs and staying ripped. Not only does this exercise strengthen your abdominal muscles, but it also works your hips and back. It requires no exercise machines or special equipment. The only thing you need is your body and the floor.

What is the proper way to do Plank exercise?

  • Lie with your face downwards on the floor or an exercise mat.
  • Place your elbows and forearms under your chest while placing your palms on the flat surface of the floor.
  • Push up off the floor onto your toes and rest on your forearms
  • Focus on tightening your abdominal while you maintain this position
  • Keep your back in a straight line from head to heels and ensure that your hips do not sag down towards the floor.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible until you can no longer keep your body in a straight line.
  • Bring your body back to the starting point
  • Start again and try to aim for 30 secs and do 3 sets.
  • Continue with the exercise while increasing the time.

Remember not to let your back and hips sag. The effectiveness of this exercise lies in you being able to keep your body in a straight line from your head to heels. Once you start becoming advanced, you can start trying to lift your leg, side arm lift or even do the exercise on your hands rather elbows.

Why Plank Exercises are awesome

Plank exercise is one of the exercises that falls into the least complicated category. Plank exercise is great for core conditioning. It is amazing how it helps you get your stomach ripped. Another benefit is the impact to your glutes, shoulders, and hamstring. What a great workout!  Bonus… planks also helps improve your balance.

There are some common mistakes most people make when it comes to doing plank exercises. Not doing it properly might eventually lead to injury, so it’s best to follow the proper guidelines to get better results.  The plank exercise will task your upper and lower spine regions; if these areas are weak, it may cause the spine to sway normally which can put compression in the vertebral column causing injuries. It is important to know your limits when starting out, so you don’t exceed them. This is the more reason why the 30-day, 5-minute plank exercise is excellent. It helps you to test your limits and help you improve daily. Apart from trying to hold a position for too long, another common mistake people make is placing your hands too close, making your head and hips drop and holding your breath. Work your time up slowly, if you can hold the abdominal plank position for at least more than 2 minutes and make sure you don’t push it.

Here are reasons you should make the plank exercise your main fitness program.

  1. Balance and Posture improvement

Simply staying in the plank position for some time requires you to work on your balance, which can further be enhanced by doing planks using the BOSU ball, or doing side planks. If you lose posture and position balance as you age, it is normal, and this is caused by the weakening in the core area. Planks are great at fixing this.

  1. Tones the abs region

The plank exercise is the foundation of the six-packs abs or the outer abdominals. These exercises will be in the core muscle of the stomach area. This will further contract the deep inner transverse abdominal muscles which also help in pulling in the belly button area.

  1. Builds flexibility

Your body gets stretched the first time you get into plank position; you will almost certainly feel somehow. Not only in the shoulder area but also the posterior muscle region. Also, the arches and the hamstrings of the feet down to the toes. Plank exercises offer the body a natural stretching.

  1. Reduces back pain

Any activity you engage in to strengthen the core muscles of the stomach area is certain to make your lower back stronger. This is because plank exercises require little movement while constricting all abdominal layers.

  1. Mood enhancement

The following plank exercises will help to improve your mood. Releasing the tension and stretching your muscles are invigorating to anyone who does this routine exercises. Hence, knowing that these things mentioned above will happen to you when you do plank exercises is something you will never trade for anything.

The plank exercise is of different variations, and these variations will help improve your abs workout and help you develop a more powerful belly.

Side Planks

If you like to focus more on your oblique’s, side planks need to be included in your workout routine. Be sure to include both sides for a shaped workout.  Let me show you how it is done. Rest on your single forearm and use your side such that your body is in a 900 position to the ground. One side of your body should face the floor, and the other should face up. Your thighs should be extended together with your feet crossed and staying in contact with the ground. Only the sides of your forearm and feet should touch the ground and not your body.

Stability ball

Ball balance boosts the intensity of physical routines when it is used during plank exercises. This is because you must task your inner core stabilizing muscles to keep your body stationary. The balance ball is not an object capable of maintaining balance which is why it is very effective.

Standard planks

In this variation, you assume a position which looks like a push-up. The difference is that instead of placing your hands on the ground, you rest on your forearms, such that you keep your back straight and your eye on the ground. Hold this position for as long as you can and keep breathing… very very important. Your abs muscle will be subjected to a significant amount of stress because the stomach plank works your primary and abs muscle tissues.

30 Day Plank Challenges is what will give you the abs that you have always wanted and this challenge is just enough to give you the super strong core in 30 days. Remember don’t push too hard as it only takes 5 minutes per day. This challenge is for only 30 days and it will give you the desired result for a healthy you!

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The Paleo Diet for Celiacs?

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Paleo Diet for Celiacs?

I’ve been struggling mightily with this one.

Seriously, I just deleted a couple pages I’d already written, and then decided that was very stupid.

Here’s the thing.  I’ve said before that living healthfully and gluten free is a lifestyle, not a “diet.” I just hate the connotations that come along with the word diet.  There’s so many wacky “diets” out there.  And for some reason, whenever something is a “diet,” there’s always individuals who seem to latch on to the ideas or principles presented, as the next great thing that is going to cure cancer and clean your kitchen to boot.

In all fairness, the Paleo Diet in it’s purest form is a way of eating, not a “diet.”  It’s kind of exploded beyond that though.

Is that a hotdog?

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A few weeks ago, I was having a e-discussion with my friend about food, eating, and diet.  We share many of the same views about food in general, and she mentioned how she seems to find weight control more successfully and easily when following a Paleo-like diet plan.

So what is this Paleo, you may be saying?

According to Wikipedia (really, where else would you look,) “The modern dietary regimen known as the Paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various human species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.[1] Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts; and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.[1]

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That sounds pretty good, for starters, right?

Meats, veggies, fruit, nuts-this sounds like what I talk about all the time.  This Paleo thing sounds pretty good, right? And the fact that grains are excluded makes it a slam dunk for celiacs for, as we know and feel, grains carry the gluten that affect our intestinal wall.

Well, yes, kind of.

I  love the foods that they include – meat, seafood, natural oils, grass-fed butter, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  All naturally gluten free, all can be highly nutritious.  What I don’t like so much are all the exclusions – dairy, legumes, potatoes.  I like beans, and find them a good source of protein and carbohydrate.  Tasty, too.  Same goes for dairy, although I very much limit intake of dairy.  And no rice, ever?

Maybe it’s just the inner rebel in me, but if someone says I can’t have something it makes me want it more.

I’ve recently been reading more from Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple.  He’s taken a riff on Paleo, and called it Primal .

From what I’ve read, his approach is a bit more realistic, and flexible, which I like.  He even indicates that dairy and rice (gasp!) would be acceptable in certain circumstances.

Robb Wolf also has a bit more flexibility in approach, especially for athletes, and I like that quite a bit.  I recently listened to a podcast interview with him and if I am remembering correctly, his Mom has celiac disease.

Another person with some good stuff to say is Dr. Kurt Harris at PaleoNu.  He has a 12 step “getting started” which I like quite a bit, with the exception of meal frequency (I think it’s more individual than he indicates.)

Here’s one of my big issues with the Paleotards, and those non-obsessed, but following one principle I have issue with. Insulin secretion is not, in fact, the devil.

James Krieger did a great overview of insulin on his blog, which I highly recommend you check out.  Here’s the Cliffs Notes version: insulin is not necessarily bad, although it can be circumstantially, and if there is not a caloric surplus, (yes, calories do matter,) fat will not be stored.  I also very much like the analogy that Kurt Harris uses of insulin being like a bouncer at a club.  Logic and reason for the win.  Insulin in the face of a caloric deficit will not magically make you fat.

Also, there is no magic to eating in a Paleo fashion which will make you lose weight.

A higher protein intake is recommended, and that is something I wholeheartedly support.  However, there is no “metabolic advantage” to a higher protein diet.  As James Krieger so eloquently illustrated in another post on his fine blog, the magic isn’t magic… it’s satiety.

Satiety=feeling full.

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A lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet makes you feel fuller.

So, you eat less. The magic happens because you are eating less CALORIES!  Yes, it’s easier because you feel fuller, but it’s not magic.

So is the Paleo or Primal way of eating a good way to go for celiacs?

I think it’s a good start.  My personal approach is more moderate.  I do recommend, and personally choose, to eat whole, naturally gluten free foods most often. That does, for many parts, coincide with the Paleo approach.  However, I don’t like being exclusionary, especially to entire groups of food (like dairy, if you tolerate it.)

Accept no approach blindly.  Do your research, get educated, consult one or more professionals, and make an informed decision.  Don’t be afraid to take bits and pieces from different areas and make them your own.  Find what works for you and call it…. say, the Frankenstein Diet.  I like it. What do you think?

Have you put together your own Frankenstein?  Have you tried Paleo?  Hit it up in the comments!

Celiac Disease Testing and Treatment

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Celiac Disease Testing and Treatment

To avoid confusion on what celiac disease is; it is immune mediated systematic disorder whereby your body has a reaction to gluten. Gluten is found in all sort of wheat and grains and gluten damages the intestine villi. The risk factor in celiac disease is that most people do not know they have it.  Ask your parents or inform your children as it is hereditary. If you have celiac disease, the probability of your child suffering from celiac is 1 in 10.  Obviously, this is not a large ratio, but who wants to see their child suffer in any way?

Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can make you horrible because it can cause many deficiencies to the body. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of celiac disease:

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Poor absorption of calcium within the bone causing osteopenia/osteoporosis
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Poor balance because of lack of B12 absorption to the body
  • Fatigue
  • Growth problems especially in children
  • Skin rash

Celiac Disease Diagnosis

For starters, we are not a licensed doctor and are not diagnosing you in any way.  This is for informational purposes. Celiac disease is diagnosed from the symptoms you share with your medical professional.  Proper testing can see what is causing your symptoms or what the symptoms might be related to. Again, your doctor would do thorough testing to check if you have celiac disease based on one or more diagnostic test(s) that might include the following:

Antibody test:

  • Antibodies are immune cells that helps protect the body against infectious organisms. A blood test to detect the levels of these antibodies Anti-transglutaminase antibody: Anti-transglutamin antibody can be sensitive meaning if it is negative for you it is unlikely you have celiac disease but Anti-endomysia antibody: this anti body is very specific if it is positive that means there is possibility you have celiac disease. Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) – The tTG-IgA test will be positive in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet. This is called the test’s sensitivity. The same test will come back negative in about 95% of healthy people without celiac disease.

Stool sample test:

  • A stool sample test is also used to diagnose celiac disease by testing the fat content in the feces, reason is that if an individual is diagnosed with celiac disease fat is not absorbed by the intestine hence it would expel into the stool.

Genetic Testing:

  • People with celiac disease carry one or both HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genes, but so does up to 25-30% of the general population. Carrying HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8 is not a diagnosis of celiac disease nor does it mean you will ever develop celiac disease. However, if you carry HLA DQ2 and/or DQ8, your risk of developing celiac disease is 3% instead of the general population risk of 1%.

Blood test:

  • This is also used to diagnose if someone suffers from celiac disease or not, which include deficiency of vitamin D and vitamin B12 in the body. As antibodies affect villi present in the small intestine, which is very important in digestion, it prevents absorption of various nutrients in the body. This leads to nutritional deficiency, and luckily, can be seen only through blood test.

Endoscopy:

  • If all the above diagnostic test listed are positive, your doctor might need to perform endoscopy of part of the small intestine to check if the villi is damaged. If the villi are damaged, there is a likelihood the person is suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac disease can only be treated as there is no cure. Any one suffering from this disease would live with it for the rest of their lives. The most effective treatment is maintaining a strict gluten-free diet as this restricts the intake of foods, beverages or medications containing wheats, barley, oats and rye. This restriction is done from day one of the treatment plan in order for the intestinal lining and symptoms of celiac disease to be managed. Apart from this, your doctor might prescribe you with nutritional supplements to deal with the nutrients deficiency in the body but the case in which the rate of response to this treatment is slow, doctor would advise short term use of corticosteroids. Exercise is also important in dealing with celiac disease, here are some of the advantages of exercise in overcoming celiac disease which helps you both physically and mentally:

Your weight would be under control:

  • It’s not uncommon for patients with celiac disease to suffer from weight variations, either weight loss or weight gain. Whatever the case regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Achieving stronger muscles and improve bone health:

  • Doing exercise that helps build the bone muscle would strengthen the bones and helps weaken celiac disease. To achieve stronger muscles do more of lifting weights or climbing stairs.

Improve the circulation of blood:

  • Exercise helps to improve the circulation of blood, by this there would be better circulation reaching into the digestive tract which would help healing process of celiac disease patient faster.

Exercising would help achieve balanced lifestyle:

  • A balanced lifestyle is important for celiac disease patient which can be achieved through exercise. You should be reaching an optimal rate and reducing secondary developing conditions to help heal the guts (digestive system)

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It helps reduce risk of depression:

  • Depression and mood swing is common to patient with celiac disease. Doing more exercise helps reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. Exercise like running, swimming, or walking help get your heart rate in the zone.

Helps forget the condition for a while:

  • Exercise is very magical as it helps you forget your diagnosis, even if it is for a short period of time. A daily exercise routine would help you reduce emotional and physical problems with a bonus; your energy level would be boosted.

It is important to know that exercise brings lots of benefits to the body, especially with patients suffering from celiac disease. It is also important to seek your doctor’s advice before indulging yourself in any exercise program.

Prevention of Celiac Disease

There is no way to prevent celiac disease, instead, those of us with celiac must eliminate all gluten from our diet.  Those with gluten sensitivity should reduce, or possibly eliminate, their gluten intake too. The real genetic causes of celiac disease are still unknown, and there are no precautionary measures to prevent celiac disease. The most important thing to know is that the only way to lower your risk of having celiac disease is to know the risk factors: minimize gluten rich foods, go for early diagnosis and treatment, maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

Keep coming back for more valuable information on Gluten Free Fitness and don’t forget to leave your comments.

 

 

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