Fitness

Itchy Muscles? What Does It Mean?

Teen Fitness

I’ve recently gotten into yoga and have noticed that the next morning, I’ll sometimes wake-up with an itching sensation that feels like it’s coming from inside my muscle tissue. I didn’t know whether that was cause for concern, so I started doing a little internet research find out.

What I discovered is that an itching sensation isn’t necessarily a bad thing and that if your itching only happens when you exercise, you likely won’t have any other symptoms.

People complain of itchy muscles especially in warm weather or if it’s been a while since they last exercised. Exercising, especially cardio workouts like running, increase your blood flow and send a lot of oxygen to your muscles. The theory is that the blood vessels in your muscles are stretching beyond what they’re used to, and this wakes up the nerves around them.

And since the nerve signals that communicate pain can sometimes be closely linked with the nerve signals for itch, itching muscles could also be a way that your body is processing stress from working out.

So next time you workout and your muscle fibers start to itch, that’s probably a good sign. Just remember to keep stretching and not to push your muscles to the point of strains or tears.

VarCity Fitness Trends: Boxing

Boxing

Boxing used to be a grungy sport reserved for people who didn’t mind working out in a dark, damp cave. Then along came boutique boxing studios, and suddenly boxing’s sexy again. It’s now the sport of models and fitfluencers everywhere—and when it comes to a workout that incorporates cardio and toning, boxing is going to make a strong push to supplant spinning as the number #1 workout in 2019.

For starters, slamming away at a heavy bag is a full-body workout that can burn around 700 calories an hour (depending on your weight). But if that’s not enough to get your gloves on, people are also using the workout as an outlet for stress and to build self-confidence. Go ahead—let it all out!

Summer’s Already Here (gulp): Think 20-20-20 To See Results Fast

Summer Fitness Tips

Summer is here again and most of us definitely aren’t ready to be our best-beach selves. Need to see results fast? Try combining cardio training with some resistance training in a six-day-a-week fitness regimen. Do each component twice a week, for a total of six days, with one day off. And as with any new exercise regimen, speak to your doctor first.

Spend Two Days a Week Doing High-Intensity Exercise

Twice a week, do a high-intensity routine incorporating cardio and resistance for 20 minutes (including warm-up/cool-down).

Ideas: Warm up with walking for two to three minutes. Then do one minute of jumping jacks, then one minute of push-ups, then one minute of running or walking up a hill, then rest 30 seconds with easy walking. Repeat your high-intensity routine four times.

Then do a few minutes of stretching to cool down, for  a total of 20 minutes. Include the warm-up and cool-down, as both are important for any boot-camp/high-intensity routine.

Spend Two Days a week Doing Resistance Training

Twice a week, do resistance training for 15 to 20 minutes. You can use your own body weight for resistance training, doing squats, lunges, push-ups and triceps dips. The major bonus of resistance training is that because it builds muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat tissue does, your body continues to burn calories even after the workout is finished.

Spend Two Days a Week Doing Interval Training

Twice a week, do interval training for 20 minutes. Doing something fast, then slow, is an effective fat burner. Instead of going for a 10- to 20-minute light jog, for example, do a burst of sprinting until you are out of breath, walk for a while, then sprint again. Do this regularly and both your speed and stamina should start to increase. If you want to target your lower body run for five minutes, then do squats; run, then do lunges; run, then do step-ups.

VarCity Lifehacks: Make Running with AirPods Easy

AirPod Life hacks

Caroline V already gave us her take on running with AirPods.  The big takeaway was that while AirPods boast superior design, the smartest charging case and great Bluetooth hardware, the sound quality can suffer when the smooth plastic tips inevitably lose the noise isolating seal in your ears.  And while Caroline gave us suggestions for add-ons that help our AirPods stay in place, taking these parts on and off every time we want to charge isn't ideal.  

So VarCity scoured the internet and discovered our favorite lifehack for keeping AirPods sealed in your ears.  Using a hole punch and a roll of Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Tape, which is cushioned and grippy, you can strategically place tiny dots on your AirPods so they stick in your ears without slipping.  Best of all, the AirPods still fit in the case, so they can be charged without having to remove any tips.  And while it looks a little different, as you can see in the photo above, the tape is completely hidden inside your ear while you’re using the AirPods, so it’s obviously not a big deal.  Let us know how this hack works for you in the comments section below and be entered to win a free pair of AirPods!

 

 

 


 

Workout Like a Teen Justin Bieber: Part 2

Justin Bieber Workout

In our 2nd installment on how celebrity trainers would work with Justin Bieber, we refer to a Men’s Health’s discussion with Brian Krahn.  Brian has been working as a trainer, journalist, and marketing executive to supplement companies for two decades, but mostly considers himself a jock who helps regular guys achieve the basic goals of getting leaner and more muscular.

The first change Brian suggests for Justin Bieber’s workout routine is he’d have him do four workouts a week instead of five, using the classic Ian King split:

  • Monday: horizontal push (pushups and bench press variations) and horizontal pull (rows)
  • Tuesday: knee-dominant (squats and lunges)
  • Thursday: vertical push (shoulder press variations) and vertical pull (pullups and lat pulldowns)
  • Friday: hip-dominant (deadlifts, swings, and hip thrusts)

“This would allow for more balanced and more frequent lower-body work,” Krahn says.  And with one less workout each week, a lean type like Justin Bieber would be able to work with higher intensity, while giving his muscles more time to recover.

Train for Your Body Type: Mesomorphs -- Part 4 of 4

Mesomorph Body Type

Mesomorph:  Muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells

You have the body type that finds it easiest to add new muscle and you don’t tend to store much body fat. Mesomorphs tend to take their naturally athletic builds for granted, which can result in diluted workouts and poor diets. Keeping in peak physical condition is often tempered by a scattered approach to eating and training.

The key here is to make the most of your body shape. That means following a progressive plan that will make you stronger and more athletic by increasing your power without getting too bulky. To fuel your workouts, you’ll need plenty of whole grains.

Are You a Mesomorph?

If you are, you’ll know it from the jealous looks. Mesomorphs look well built without setting foot in a gym, and pack on muscle the instant they pick up a dumbbell. If this sounds like you, you’ve hit the genetic jackpot – but you can make the most of your DNA with some tactical workout tricks.

What Mesomorphs Might Be Doing Wrong

Mesomorphs often won’t train as hard as they can.  Mesomorphs should try timed workouts, to give them goals to aim for and raise their workout intensity.

What Mesomorphs Should Be Doing

Mesomorphs should train athletically.  Try sprints, box and vertical jumps or other plyometrics.  Mesomorphs respond well to low reps and power moves.  Alternatively, interval sprints will pump up their metabolism and strip away fat.

What to Eat

Although the usual caveats apply, the good news is that your body will respond well to whatever healthy food you put into it.  A basic guideline for mesomorphs to follow would be to consume meals that are 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% lean protein and 30% healthy fats. So, for example, a plate that contained vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, grilled chicken and olive oil on wholegrain bread would represent a staple dish for this body type.

What Else?

You should also factor in recovery days.  Some light movements on your rest days will help get the blood flowing and keep you fresh.

Money Moves

You’ll respond well to power moves.  Try pairing a strength move with a power move that works the same muscles. For example, superset five reps on the deadlift with five on the power clean.

The Mesomorph Cheat Sheet

Do

  • Train like an athlete

  • Time your workouts

  • Set personal bests

Don’t

  • Take your body for granted

  • Eat whatever you like

Train for Your Body Type: Endomorphs -- Part 3 of 4

Endomorph Body Type

Endomorph:  Often pear-shaped, with a high tendency to store body fat

Endomorphs are adept at storing fuel, with muscle and mass concentrated in the lower body. The endomorph is the hardest body type to have in terms of managing your weight and overall fitness, but to get a more balanced physique, you should focus on developing your shoulders and stripping away excess mass from your lower body.  A low- to medium-intensity cardio plan will help you shift weight, as will a diet that’s high in fiber.

Are You an Endomorph?

If you have trouble shifting weight, the chances are you’re an endomorph, characterized by a relatively high amount of stored mass, a wide waist and a large bone structure.

What’s Going On?

The good news is that, evolutionarily speaking, you’re awesome when food was scarce, natural selection favored humans with fat-storing metabolisms. The bad news is that, now sofas and milkshakes are readily available, those genes are holding you back. Some experts suggest heredity factors might account for as much as 70% of your body mass index (BMI).

What Endomorphs Might Be Doing Wrong

First, the good bit: there’s no point in spending hours plodding away on a treadmill.  Ditch the long, slow, steady-state cardiovascular work, start doing more interval-based conditioning to strip away fat. Sprints and box jumps are great, but if you’re heavy to the point of being worried about your joints, then moves like the sled push are slower but just as intense.

And if you’re doing hundreds of crunches to try and shift your gut, ditch them now.  Spot-reducing just doesn’t work, you need to lose it from everywhere to see results.

What Endomorphs Should Be Doing

While much of the endomorph’s focus should be on shedding mass through aerobic exercise, we’re of the opinion that weight-training is best because it carries on burning calories long after your final set. What’s more, the calories you ingest during the recovery period will help your muscles grow rather than fuelling your gut. Therefore, we recommend doing four days a week of hypertrophy training (more weight, low reps) alongside your cardio.

Combine hypertrophy work – basically, muscle-building – with conditioning to strip away unwanted body mass.   A four-day split might go something like: Monday, upper-body hypertrophy; Tuesday, lower-body conditioning such as sprints or sleds; Thursday lower-body hypertrophy; and a Friday ‘repetition’ day on the upper body, when you’ll do lots of reps at relatively low weights.

What to Eat

From a nutrition perspective, a low-carb diet that still includes oats and brown rice should be complimented by a high protein and fiber intake.  Nutrients such as green tea and spinach will help with the fat burning process.  You’ll have to watch what you eat more strictly than people with other body shapes.  Get your carbs from vegetables and steer clear of processed bread and rice.

What Else?

There’s evidence that extra weight around the midsection indicates high stress levels or a low ability to handle stress.  Try to minimize the effects of the stress hormone cortisol by getting plenty of sleep and avoiding overtraining.  Also, avoid sports drinks.  They’re full of carbs and they’ll spike your blood sugar through the roof.

Money Moves

Work on bodyweight moves such as the press-up or chin-up, and moves that force you to use good technique such as the Turkish get-up.

The Endomorph Cheat Sheet

Do

  • Train with intensity

  • Watch your carb intake

  • Build your shoulders

Don’t

  • Do endless crunches

  • Jog for hours

  • Drink sports drinks

Celebrity Fitness Spotlight: Ariana Grande

*This image is being used for educational purposes only and has been reproduced in accordance with the Fair Use exception of Federal Copyright law. 

*This image is being used for educational purposes only and has been reproduced in accordance with the Fair Use exception of Federal Copyright law. 

If you’ve ever wondered how Ariana Grande maintains her incredibly fit look, well now we know.  Ariana Grande’s personal trainer, Harley Pasternak, just gave us an inside peak into the pop star’s ultimate workout secrets.  And guess what?  Ariana Grande’s routine is totally doable!

Harley lists Ariana’s top 3 workout moves, before adding that he likes to give Ariana ‘one exercise a day each day’ and suggesting fans should do ‘five sets of 30 reps’ of each exercise.

1. Reverse Lunge

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot back and drop knee down, before returning to the original position. Repeat by alternating each leg.

2. Pike Plank

Drop down into the plank position and look down at your shoes. As you do so, lift your hips and contract your abs. Then fall back down to a flat position.

3. Superman

Lie face down with your arms and legs extended. Lift your thighs and chest off the ground before going back down. Repeat this up and down movement.

Vegan Diet

And along with a whole lot of planking and lunges, Ariana also sticks to a strict vegan diet.  ‘I have been a vegan for the last few years and it has been a great experience for me’, Ariana previously told Mail Online. 

‘Ariana Grande, she’s vegan, and she loves daikon, lotus, adzuki beans – almost like a macrobiotic Japanese diet,’ Harley says. Oh, and she snacks on TONNES of blueberries.

And along with her vegan diet, Ariana says: ‘I try and live a healthy lifestyle; eating right, exercise and sleep are all so important. I try and stay really active all the time. I like to hike when I can and being on stage is a great workout.’  

So make sure we get lots of rest and stock up on blueberries!?  We got this!