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Those who drink alcohol, coffee, tea, and colas or eat chocolate are robbing their muscles of precious water, which can lead to a decrease in muscle strength and reduce muscle hypertrophy (enlargement).

Those who drink alcohol, coffee, tea, and colas or eat chocolate are robbing their muscles of precious water, which can lead to a decrease in muscle strength and reduce muscle hypertrophy (enlargement). Athletes should commit to consuming a minimum of 64 ounces (nearly two litres) of spring or filtered water each day, and more if they are exercising in hot conditions or perspiring a lot. Weighing yourself before and after workouts is an effective way to keep track of your hydration level. Drink enough water and you’ll make more consistent gains in your muscle-building efforts.
Protein speeds muscle growth

The consumption of pre- or post-exercise protein supplements, especially when combined with carbohydrates, increases the rate of muscle development after resistance exercise. Post-exercise rises in insulin speed the shuttle of amino acids into muscle cells, which in turn support muscle growth. According to Dr. DeAnna Levenhagen and colleagues of Vanderbilt University, this nutritional strategy may also help with adaptation and recovery from endurance exercise. They discovered that during recovery from 60 minutes of exercise, amino acids moved into muscles faster in subjects given a carbohydrate-protein supplement. A 2002 survey of 12 commercially available protein sources found whey hydrolysates more rapidly absorbed than free-form or whole proteins, leading to more rapid muscle growth, tissue repair, and injury recovery after intense workouts or competition.

Preventing shoulder injuries

Autopsies of individuals in their 70s reveal that more than 75 per cent of them suffered from untreated shoulder rotator cuff injuries. Incorrect form during training puts dangerous pressure on the connective tissues around joints. Prevent tendon and ligament injuries by avoiding wide-grip bench presses and overhead presses as they place excessive stress on the shoulders.
Always make sure you are warmed up before heavy lifts. To develop your shoulders and surrounding muscles, alternate exercises that train opposing muscles. Include rotation, rows, raises, shrugs, and fly exercises, preferably with dumbbells. If you develop shoulder pain, cut back, start icing, and use natural anti-inflammatories such as bromelain, curcumin, and arnica. Perform shoulder exercises with rubber tubing during your recovery phase.


More fitness information on page 132

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