The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #138 – Neuroscience and Music, Brain Orgasms, and Proof That Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money

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Focus@Will – Neuroscience & Music

I thought I’ve blogged about this before, but I can’t find any record of it on my website. Anyway, Focus at Will has a large music library designed to help you focus when you need to, for example while working or studying. Their music has no lyrics and is designed so that it’s not distracting and there are various types of music depending on what you like. You can see the examples in the screenshot above. My coworker purchased a yearly subscription for $35 and he plays it on his speakers, so luckily I get to benefit too. I really like it.



Get More From Your Sprint Workouts

A lot of instructional sprinting articles skip the discussion about warming up, but as we get older, that’s an extremely important part of the whole exercise. This article goes over the warmup in detail, complete with video examples of all of the warmup exercises you should be doing. I really want to go to the high school track to give this all a go.



Ben Greenfield Recommends – Everything I Have Ever Recommended For Performance, Fat Loss, Recovery, Digestion, Brain, Sleep & Hormones

Last week Ben Greenfield did a free class on CreativeLive. It was awesome. My wife sat next to me while I watched it and she kept saying how he packed so much useful information into every single thing he said. He really is a super-smart guy. Anyway, during the course he mentioned this page which has pretty much everything Ben recommends for whatever you’re trying to do. This is a great resource.



How to Have a ‘Brain Orgasm’

This story is about something called ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, which for those who it works for, creates a very relaxing and mellow feeling, and for some it may even help with anxiety. To feel the effects of ASMR, you might need to watch “whisper videos,” listen to tapping or scratching sounds, white noise, or maybe even Bob Ross – it’s different for everyone. I watched and listened to the video on the page while I worked and didn’t feel a “braingasm” but I suppose I can understand how something like this can be relaxing for some people. I’m very interested in learning more about this, especially since occasionally I get some pretty bad high-anxiety.



Scary Non-Organic Ingredients That Are Allowed in “USDA Certified Organic” Foods

I had no idea that so many low-quality ingredients were allowed in foods labeled as organic. And with companies like Kraft, Dean Foods and General Mills working to dilute the standards of the organic label, who knows how bad organic labeled foods might be in time. The best thing we can do is to eat whole foods from local farms, avoid processed foods as much as possible, and fight against big businesses like Kraft who care more about money than they do our health.



More evidence that routine multivitamin use should be avoided

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how multivitamins are a huge waste of money. It’s mostly true. The points made in this article are good, but they don’t address the issues. Mira & Jayson Calton wrote a great article about this in issue A02 of BeMore! Magazine (page 7, “A Hard Pill To Swallow”). Some of the problems with multivitamins are that we don’t know the sources of each ingredient, some vitamins and minerals could be in amounts that are either too high or too low to be beneficial, and some vitamins might have poor absorption in the body. I don’t believe all multivitamins are bad, but you need to make sure that you are taking multivitamins that meet the requirements above. Even better, buy liquid or powdered individual vitamins that meet your requirements so that you know exactly how each one is made and working in your body.



Flower Shell | Indiegogo

Are you a gun nut who loves flowers? If so, you’ll probably love these shotgun shells filled with flower seeds. The company who makes these fill the shells with only enough gun powder to shoot the seeds into the ground. Fun idea, but you probably won’t be able to use them if you live in the middle of suburbia.



Frank Zane’s Leg Blaster

The leg blaster is designed by three-time My. Olympia Frank Zane and consists of a harness that sits on top of your shoulders which holds weight plates in addition to a platform that you stand on and hang on to, while you squat down to proper squat depth. It looks like a great idea for someone who can’t typically do normal barbell squats. A bit expensive at $650 + $145 shipping, but probably worth it for anyone who needs it.



Interactive: Snake Oil Supplements? The scientific evidence for health supplements

A great interactive infographic listing popular health supplements and placed on a scale based on how much evidence there is supporting the benefits of each supplement. Make sure to hover over each supplement you’re interested in to see why the supplement ranks the way it does. For example, you might notice Garlic is listed both at the very top of the chart and again at the very bottom. That’s because there’s strong evidence for garlic reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension, but almost no evidence of it helping treat people with advanced cancer. Click the bubble to be taken to the study.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #137 – Scoby Jerky Recipe, How to Use the Ab Roller Correctly, and Making Homemade Tempeh

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Kombucha Scoby Jerky

I had no idea that SCOBYs could be dehydrated and turned into jerky. I’ve heard of people eating them or feeding them to their dogs, but it sounds pretty gross to me. I haven’t made a new batch of kombucha in a while, but when I was making it regularly, I hated throwing away all of those SCOBYs I couldn’t use anymore. It just felt so wasteful. Next time I have an extra SCOBY, I’m going to try making jerky out of it. I’m a little scared…



How To Correctly Do Ab Wheel Roll Out Exercise

I’ve never actually watched a video on proper ab rollout form. I figured “what else is there to it other than rolling out and coming back up.” Well it looks like I’ve been missing a crucial step – activate those abs baby!



10 Effective, Easy & Cheap Biohacks For Everyone To Try.

My favorite thing about this is that all of these biohacks are cheap or even free if you already have some of this stuff around the house. Cheap isn’t usually the case with biohacking technology, for example with things like $1,000 brain trainers or the $600 Zona Plus which is used for improving artery function. I would like to try every single one of the tips in this post.



A Simple Technique for Beating Blisters

What a creative idea! I don’t get blisters often, but next time I do, I’m going to stick a sewing needle and thread soaked in betadine through the middle of the blister. I’ve never seen betadine in the store before, but then again I’ve never looked for it. I guess you can get it at Walgreens.



Why You’ve Never Done the Military Press

I’ve always considered the overhead press and military press the same thing but I guess they aren’t. I just recently re-incorporated the military press into my routine so I’m going to make sure I’m using this strict form that was mentioned here – stand erect, straight back, and heels together.



How to Make Tempeh

I’m not a big fan of soy products, but if I’m going to eat soy I’d prefer it to be tempeh. I don’t actually care for the taste of tempeh all that much, but I like the potential health benefits of it, due to it being fermented. Just like most other foods I make homemade, I’d like to make my own tempeh so that I know exactly what’s going into it and knowing that it’s entirely non-GMO. I hope to find a tempeh starter at my local Natural Grocer later this week.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #136 – How and Why to Block Blue Light, Why You Need Weightlifting Shoes, and Removing Mental Blocks to Learn Anything Faster

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Tutorial: Why and how to use blue blockers and low blue light bulbs

I just recently purchased pair of cheap blue blockers from Amazon (these ones) to use while on the computer at night and they were just delivered earlier this week. I put them on and the effects were immediate. I love them! As I did more research, I came across this article which talks about how blue light may contribute to an increased risk of cancer. Pretty interesting. I would really like to order a low blue light bulb and a pair of fit-over blue blockers now (because I have to expose my eyes to white light to take out my contacts before bed, so I would rather already be in my RX glasses), much to the disappointment of my wife ;).



The Environmental Costs of Corn-Based Ethanol

The corn farming industry is killing our planet and there isn’t much we can do about it other than forgoing the use of gasoline and playing a bigger part in the political processes that allowed this to happen in the first place. Those are some great things you can do though.



Why Everyone Should Squat In Weightlifting Shoes – YouTube

It’s hard to justify the cost of weightlifting shoes when they can only be used during one exercise, the squat, that is until you actually try them out. Once you own a pair of Oly shoes, you’ll never go back to barefoot or flat-shoed lifting again.



The McDougall Newsletter – October 2013

This looks like a great newsletter for anyone who’s vegan. This is the first time I’ve seen it, but it looks pretty damn good. Lots of great recipes and some cool tips too. Did you know that you can prevent tears caused by cutting onions by breathe only through your nose, without ever opening your mouth? Weird. I’m gonna try that one for sure.



Resistant Starch-Based Dietary Guidelines

I’m not familiar with the resistance starch-based diet. The author of this post calls his guidelines paleo, but it sure looks quite different than what most people in the Paleo movement would consider paleo. The most notable recommendations I see is that he recommends beans, potatoes and corn tortillas. Looks like a pretty good diet to me though.



Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum

I’m really digging the “Harmful or Harmless” series from Chris Kresser. I see xantham gum in a lot of vegan products, and I’ve always wondered if there was anything about it I should be worried about. It looks like it’s generally fine to eat, although people with digestion problems or sensitivities to wheat, corn, soy or dairy, from which it’s typically derived, should avoid it.



Difference between bodybuilding and powerlifting bench press style – YouTube

I had no idea that there was a difference between the bodybuilding and powerlifting bench press. According to this video, bodybuilding style is a wider grip and the bar touches above the pecs and close to the chin. Powerlifting style is closer grip (not close grip, just closer than bodybuilding style), the bar touches the bottom of the pecs and there should be an explosive push from the bottom.



Inner Game of Tennis – YouTube

This is a great video from the 70’s that show how a woman learned to play tennis in only 10 minutes. The Inner Game of Tennis is a book created by a Harvard English major named Timothy Gallwey. The teachings aren’t just about tennis, but about how to get rid of the mental blocks that keep people from learning the things they want to learn, whether it’s tennis, playing guitar or learning a new language.



Five Healthy—and Legal—Ways to Stay Awake Longer

Most of the time I read articles about how to get better sleep, but this one is about how to stay alert when you absolutely need to be awake. There’s also a great tip here about sleeping better too – your body doesn’t produce melatonin for 3-4 hours after being exposed to white light, so if you want to get to sleep faster, get away from white lights for a few hours before bed.

An Exercise Routine Based on The Top 10 Lifts to Optimize Musculature and Athleticism

barbell-squat

Recently, Bret Contreras wrote a post about what he felt was the most important exercise anyone could do, if you were absolutely limited to only doing one exercise. His answer is the low handle trap bar deadlift. He also came up with a list of the top three exercises (high bar back squat, conventional deadlift, and powerlifting-style bench press) and the top 10 exercises.

Since I’m not limited in the amount of exercises I can do, I created a routine based on all 10. You can download my template at the end of the post.

The only exercise I had to change is the trap bar bent over row because I don’t own a trap bar. I might also have to skip the farmers walk because I don’t own any farmer’s walk handles. The heaviest dumbbells I own are 70 lbs. so that might have to do the job.

I would like to point out that while this routine is based on Bret’s top 10 exercises, I created the rest of the routine entirely on how I wanted it set up. I’m not a personal trainer nor do I have professional expertise in the field of fitness.

I like three-day splits the best because they are easy to stick with, they give enough time for the body to recover, and working out any more days than that is usually unnecessary.

I went with 5-10 reps for each exercise because that’s the range typically believed best for hypertrophy, or at least that’s what Stan Efferding says, and looking at the size of that guy, I’d tend to believe him. The goal here is to lift the heaviest weight possible for at least 5 reps and if you can get to 10 reps or more, you need to add more weight. For most exercises, I strive to fail my last 2-3 sets at around 6-7 reps. A power rack is a must if lifting alone when doing exercises like bench press, military press and squats.

I grouped the exercises based on the areas of the body they work out.

So that’s it! Download the printable routine here and start tracking your progress.

I’m certainly open to any suggestions if you have any and if you end up using the routine, let me know what you think.