In the health and fitness industry body image disorders are on the rise! Men and women alike are looking into the mirror and criticizing their bodies. Thoughts like ‘I am not big enough’ and ‘I am not lean enough’ are all too common but when do these thoughts become unhealthy? When do these thoughts start to signify a body image disorder? Have a read below to uncover the most common signs and see if any of these apply to you…

A preoccupation with physical appearance, with characteristics of anorexia nervosa and bulimia When your preoccupation with your body image becomes obsessive it’s time to take a step back or maybe even get help. Are you doing more cardio than necessary because you think you’re fat when you’re not? Other signs of this preoccupation may involve you feeling the need to punish yourself after you have eaten something you shouldn’t or depriving yourself of things you enjoy through fear of ruining your body image.

The belief that you have an abnormality or defect in appearance that makes you ugly Are you constantly finding things wrong with your appearance? If you are then it’s probably a good sign you have a body image disorder. Constantly criticizing your self isn’t right and it’s certainly not healthy in any way shape or form! Firstly it may be your nose, then your lips then your hair… it’s never-ending and it will put you on a slippery slope! Mirror, mirror on the wall… Do you find yourself frequently looking in the mirror, looking at your body and face while scrutinizing it? A constant obsession with mirrors is a sign of an underlining disorder – an unhealthy one at that! On the flip side of the coin avoiding mirrors altogether is also a sign that you may have a body disorder. Your relationship with mirrors should be normal and healthy. A severe dislike or obsession with your reflection are both signs that there may be something wrong.

Worrying what others think

Do you find yourself becoming extremely self-conscious and fretting over what other people are thinking of you? This can be a huge sign of a body image disorder. Being shy is one thing but going to great lengths worrying over what others may think of how they are judging you may be a warning sign that there’s something more sinister bubbling underneath the surface. Frequent cosmetic procedures with little satisfaction. This is a rather frightening one. Have you recently embarked upon plastic surgery but afterwards have spotted other things you feel need correcting? Plastic surgery can be a red light when it comes to body image disorder and the result is the more you get the more you want. Plastic surgery almost trains your brain into thinking that there are faults everywhere that need to be fixed. Surgery isn’t the answer and it won’t make you feel better about yourself. You will probably find that you are never satisfied with the results – so work on the inner problem not the pretend outer ones.

Refusing to appear in pictures

Refusing to be in pictures unless you have total control over them is something that can signify a body image disorder. Do you hate looking at pictures of yourself? Are you seeing things that other people aren’t? Maybe you are just completely refusing to be in pictures at all because they just make you upset with yourself. These symptoms may be indicating a body image disorder. You don’t feel confident without perfect makeup and clothes Refuse to leave the house and go to the gym without a full face of makeup applied? If you feel ugly without makeup and insecure unless you are wearing your best or some new clothes (or gym gear) then you may be suffering from a body image disorder. Body disorders can be a very consuming thing to happen and can result from a number of different life circumstances. They can affect many areas of your life and are not at all pleasant and you should seek help as soon as you can! Of course the above points are not the only ones that can signify a body image disorder, there are many others out there too!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply be in front of your TV and burn some
calories? Getting fit while you watch TV isn’t actually an impossible dream believe it or
not!

There are some things you can do but some of them don’t actually involve sitting
(some of them do though!) but you can enjoy doing a number of different movements without having to miss out on your favorite shows! Sometimes, you can even use the TV as a source of exercise!

HIIT Cardio

After you have done HIIT cardio during the day you can enjoy kicking back, relaxing and burning calories whilst you watch your favorite shows! High intensity interval training is an excellent way to burn calories long after you have finished actually moving. HIIT cardio involves a series of slow and steady intervals mixed in with some explosive fast-paced intervals. You can perform HIIT on any piece of cardio equipment such as a treadmill, a bike or a rowing machine to name but a few. You can also perform it out in the open running, walking or cycling. You will perform a 30 second steady state interval then immediately follow it with a 30 second sprint and then continue the pattern until you have completed a total of 15-20 minutes continuous movement. Because HIIT cardio elevates your heart rate it requires more oxygen post-workout to return your body to normal meaning you will continue to burn calories long after you have finished the workout.

Invest in a good exercise DVD

Exercise and fitness DVD’s are an excellent way to keep fit in the comfort of your own home. There are so many different ones to choose from dance DVD’s, to Plyometrics, full body circuits, boxing and everything in between. You can also enjoy exercise sessions with your favorite celebrities so you have no excuse not to get moving! DVD’s are an excellent choice for busy moms especially when time isn’t on your side!

TV Character fun

Here’s one to get you moving while you are watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with mixing things up a bit and having some real fun when you are watching your favorite show. In fact, it’s a great way to burn through some serious calories!

All you need to do is select a character or person and pair them with an exercise.

So, every time you see your selected character you have to do say squat jumps
for as long as they are on screen until they disappear again. Plyometric-based movements are usually best for this type of home workout! So it’s sort of like a drinking game, but instead of taking a drink every time the character does something, you do a workout set!

A movie exercise session

This is the perfect way to enjoy a bit of steady state home cardio – All you will
need for this is a piece of indoor cardio equipment be it a bike, stepper, treadmill
or anything else you fancy. Put on your movie; position the cardio in front of the screen and away you go! You can keep your brain occupied while you burn away that fat! You can stay active for the whole movie if you like or split it up or do it for half the movie – whatever you choose!

Circuit training

Hopefully you have a decent size room space because you can benefit greatly
from setting yourself up with a nice indoor circuit. You don’t need heaps of space to do this at all. Wherever your TV is you can set up mini “stations” that you go to in order to perform your specific cardio routines while your favourite movie or show is on. You can have a number of different stations such as a skipping rope, a squat jump station, and a press up station. You can even have equipment-based stations and use dumbbells, exercise/medicine balls, kettle bells or steps to enhance that resistance and get your heart rate up – all while you enjoy a good bit of TV!

Hopefully you now realize that there’s never any excuse to miss your favorite TV
show and sacrifice your exercise session! Where there’s a will there’s a way and a number of these ways are actually pretty fun! Invite a friend over or share your space with a loved one and make exercising and watching TV fun!

 

Marijuana is a substance, which is usually hot off the press for a number of different reasons.

Most recently it’s been hitting headlines due to its medicinal properties and its ability to cure various forms of cancer.

The sufferers of many ailments are prescribed marijuana because of its incredible properties, but in these instances, it’s prescribed by medical professionals.

 

So what exactly is marijuana?

Marijuana is often referred to as a number of different things, some of them being pot, weed, herb, grass, bud, ganja, to name but a few.

Its appearance often resembles a greenish-grey mixture and the most popular method of consuming marijuana is to smoke it in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints.

Whether you take marijuana for medicinal reasons as prescribed by your doctor or for personal reasons in your private life there are a few things you should know about how it effects your gym life, working out and your gains.

 

Here it goes…

 

It can give you a bigger BUZZ when you exercise!

In a recent study that was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers at the University of Sydney concluded that taking part in exercise can actually provide you with a stronger ‘buzz’ in your brain and a more potent feel-good factor along with an increased potency of the marijuana.

So exercise will trigger a bigger high for users.

The study discovered that levels of marijuana’s active ingredient were 15% higher on average after the participants had engaged in exercise.

This study proves that marijuana users can actually experience the same high when they exercise compared to when they consume it.

 

Marijuana can help to keep you stay focused  

Using marijuana before exercising can actually help to keep you focused when you are partaking in your chosen activity.

It has been discussed that marijuana is the ideal kinesthetic for integrating your mind, body, and spirit into exercise.

Also, you may not have known that marijuana and exercise both activate the same endocannabinoid system in your brain.

You are probably all too aware that exercise makes you feel great!

It releases endorphins, lowers the risk diabetes & heart disease as well as keeping obesity levels down.

Regular exercises can also help to alleviate stress and improve your self-confidence. Marijuana also activates the same endocannabinoid system in the brain.

 

Marijuana can actually help to raise your metabolism  

This might be one you haven’t heard of before but marijuana can indeed help speed up your metabolism.

You can actually achieve a fat burning effect before even hitting the gym!

Surprising, isn’t it? A recent study that was recorded in Men’s Journal demonstrated that the compounds THC and cannabidiol found in marijuana can assist in raising metabolism, speeding up fat loss, and lowering cholesterol levels!

So there you go! You might have thought that weed was counter-productive to your success but that’s not always the case!

 

But what about your gainz?

Are marijuana and bodybuilding a good mix or not?

Well, it has been debated that the consumption or smoking of it can lead to inhibited muscle gain, but why?

 

This is down to two factors:

Growth hormone

Human growth hormone is responsible for cell renewal and growth so of course, it’s probably the most vital component in muscular growth.

THC has also been found to reduce the amount of human growth hormone, which could have an effect on muscle growth.

 

Testosterone

THC is the primary psychoactive which is found in cannabis and numerous studies have shown that it can significantly reduce the production of testosterone.

Studies have proven that THC can actually suppress the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis or HPA, which can inhibit testosterone production.

As with most things marijuana is no different, you have to take the good with the bad.

You may have to look inside yourself, your personality, lifestyle, and goals when deciding if marijuana will inhibit your ability to perform your exercise or gym routine.
If you are a keen bodybuilding enthusiast then maintaining a healthy eating and lifestyle regime that compliments your goals is crucial.

The sad truth is that as much as you love a drink, alcohol can be your worst enemy for a number of different reasons.

That refreshing mojito or sensual glass of red wine may wind you down a bit at the end of a long, hard, stressful day but how is it affecting other areas of your life?

Unfortunately for you, alcohol can have a negative effect on a number of different areas in your life – from affecting your gym progress and weight loss to your private sex life.

Want to know more? Lets find out what’s really going on with each sip of that dangerous liquid that is known to suppress inhibitions…

Alcohol is TERRIBLE for weight loss

Alcohol isn’t just terrible for weight loss because some of it can be highly calorific, it’s because of the way your body handles it.

After you have had a night out or a night in drinking all your trusty favourites, your body will have no choice but to burn the alcohol as fuel first – sucks right!

So all that effort doing cardio will be wasted until your body has used all of the calories from the alcohol.

Unfortunately, while all of this is happening, your body simply wont tap into and burn any of its fat stores.

Of course, this doesn’t permanently stop weight loss it just postpones it significantly.

Your body cant store alcohol as glycogen to be used up later, so it virtually hangs around in your body until it’s burned – after it’s burned your body will then get back into ketosis/lipolysis.

It can STUNT your muscle gain & strength

Alcohol can be very damaging for bodybuilders, athletes and gym lovers alike. It can interfere with a number of different processes in your body.

It is metabolized very slowly so you can still suffer from its effects 48 hours after consumption. Alcohol affects muscle recovery because it interferes with the processes of protein synthesis.

Alcohol can disrupt your sleeping patterns and growth hormones, imperative for muscle growth. Alcohol can also cause vitamin and mineral depletion in your body as it makes it tougher for these to be absorbed. It just doesn’t seem worth it does it?

Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination as well as gross motor coordination. Moreover alcohol increases fatigue because your liver function is significantly impacted following its ingestion.

It negatively affects your sporting performance

Alcohol acts as a diuretic, and putting away too much of it can lead to you becoming dehydrated because as a result of drinking it, your kidneys work harder which will make them produce more urine.

If you then choose to exercise soon after drinking alcohol, this can make the dehydration more severe because you will also be sweating as your body temperature rises.

As a result of dehydration, alcohol also negatively impacts your aerobic capacity significantly reducing it.

 

Bonus:

Alcohol, sex & masturbation

 

Alcohol can also wreak havoc with your sex life! Quite frankly, sex and alcohol are just not a great mixture.

Alcohol can be a big contributory factor of erectile dysfunction in men. A lot of younger men out there don’t realize this because they actually think that alcohol increases their libido and arousal making them hornier!

It may well increase the desire, but it takes away from the performance unfortunately! Don’t forget alcohol slows down reactions in the body and mind too which will make masturbation a tad more difficult.

It may be a nice social activity to enjoy, having a few beers or cocktails but your body will be the one that has to pay for it eventually.

Alcohol can have a seriously damaging effect on the processes in your body, especially when it comes to muscle repair, gain and even weight loss.

When alcohol is in your body it’s removal comes before anything else, which puts you into ‘negative’ time in regards to fat burning. Do you really need it? Can you manage without it until you have reached your goals?