Working out with weights will not cause joint pain.
Improper technique, insufficient rest, or poor nutrition might be contributing to your grief.
Joint pain is one of the most common problems among strength athletes. It’s something younger lifters rarely think about when lifting and too many seasoned lifters wish they had when they are forced to stop lifting due to years of stress on joints. Joints require mobility, stability, and motor control. Proper weight training has been found to improve joint health, return functionality and decrease pain. Regular exercise of the joints replenishes joint lubricants and builds cartilage. Stronger muscles from weightlifting exercises offer more support to the joints.
Joint pain can be a slow progression over a long period of time. Repeated injuries can lead to chronic joint pain. If you are experiencing pain from your weight lifting routine, you are probably doing something wrong. Chances are one or more of these factors can be attributed for your pain:
- ü Insufficient warm-up prior to lifting.
- ü Over training. They train too long and/or too often
- ü Using overly heavy weights/low reps more often than they should
- ü Insufficient rest/recovery time to allow joints, tendons, muscles to recuperate from intense work.
- ü Poor form and less than perfect technique during heavy lifts
- ü Inadequate vitamins and nutrients.
- ü All of the Above.
So let’s say that you are not guilty of the above 7 mistakes but still experience joint pain. It could be bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis or the like causing aching joints.
ARTHRITIS: Osteoarthritis, by far the most common to bodybuilders and athletes is caused by wear and tera on the joints. It is characterized by a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. The once smooth cartilage becomes rough and causes more and more friction and pain.
BURSITIS: Joints contain small fluid filled sacks called bursae. The bursae assist in muscle and joint movement by cushioning the joints/bones against friction. Inflammation from various causes (See above 7 mistakes!) results in a chronic pain called bursitis.
TENDINITIS: Tendonitis occurs when tendons around a joint become severely inflamed from overuse, micro-injury, etc. It is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders and other athletes and also the easiest to treat. But if left untreated, as when people just try to “work through the pain”, it can lead to much more serious problems.
Many medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or treatments like cortical steroidal injections, address only symptoms and not the cause of the problem. In fact, research has shown just the opposite; by merely masking symptoms, they may do more harm than good in the long run .
And the ever popular “stay off of it “ advice just does not fly with highly active people. The good news is that natural compounds and other dietary supplements may be helpful in supporting joints before, during and after lifting sessions. If you are a lifter, joints require optimal nutrition to help you perform and recover.
Supplements to Consider:
GELATIN: A growing number of studies now show that just 10 rams of hydrolyzed gelatin a day is effective in greatly reducing pain, improving mobility and overall bone/cartilage health. Knox (the Jello people) have a product out called NutraJoint. It contains hydrolyze gelatin, calcium and vitamin C.
- Diets rich in Vitamin C, D, and Calcium are important for optimizing joint health.
FLAX OIL: (Omega 3 Fats.) One of flax oils many, many benefits are those to improve overall joint health. Flax oil is high in essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish, flax, etc., have been shown in scientific/medical literature to reduce chronic inflammation of any kind. The recommended dose is 1-3 tablespoons/day. Boost your intake with fatty fish (tuna,salmon,etc. ) walnuts, and flax. If you can’t get it through food, supplement with 1-3 g of EPA/DHA per day from fish oil.
WATER: Drink more water. Water helps to lubricate the joints. Aim for ½ – 1 oz per pound of body weight per day. Or at least aim to drink 5-6 20 oz bottles of water per day.
FIBER: Focus on high fiber foods, and whole grains with at least 3g of fiber per serving. Fiber controls blood glucose and therefore helps to control inflammation.
GLUCOSAMINE/CHONDROITIN SULFATE: Researchers have found both effective for promoting joint health . Found in the body naturally, glucosamine is a form of amino sugar believed to play a role in cartilage formation and repair. Chondroitin sulfate, on the other hand, is a large protein molecule or proteoglycan that gives cartilage elasticity. Numerous studies have shown that regular use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate offers pain relief similar to that offered by anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, but minus the gastrointestinal upset that may accompany long-term use of these medications. A daily dose of 1,200 mg has been shown to reduce joint pain.
It is never too early to take good care of your joints so that you are able to work out longer and more importantly remain pain free. Always begin your workout with range-of-motion exercises or an aerobic warm-up . Lift with perfect form. Ice your joints following exercise to reduce pain and swelling.
Joint pain should not go untreated. Don’t try to self diagnose. Be sure to get an opinion from a trusted sports doctor first to determine exactly what your problem is.
Good for you food with wholesome ingredients in 30 minutes.
These muffins use fresh, simple ingredients and pack a huge nutritional punch. They are high in protein, and contain a hearty blend of grains, fiber and healthy fats (from flax and nuts). Bake ahead for a terrific on-the-go weekday breakfast or anytime healthy snack that provides lasting energy and satisfies. Now you’re baking!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins with non-stick spray (or coconut oil). In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup oats
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder,
- 4 Tbsp Ground FlaxSeed
- ½ cup chopped Pecans (or walnuts)
- 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tbsp baking soda
- 4-5 packets of Truvia, or ~1-2 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
In separate bowl combine wet ingredients:
- 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or diced up fresh apple)
- 1 Tbsp Flax seed oil
- ~ ½ – ¾ cup of Almond or Coconut milk (or lowfat milk)
- Honey (to taste)
Combine wet with dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries and spoon into muffin tins.
Bake for 15-19 minutes or until center is cooked (toothpick comes out clean). 12 muffins.
This bread is packed with many health boosting, anti-aging and disease fighting nutrients.
This hearty bread makes for a healthy and satisfying breakfast or mid day snack that is high in protein and complex carbohydrates. The flax and walnuts provide heart healthy fats. The pumpkin and oats both contribute to making this bread both high in fiber but low in sugar. Pumpkin also contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals making it one of the most nutrient rich foods available…so much so that pumpkin is considered by many nutritionists as one of the top “SUPERFOODS”.
- 1 ½ c Low carb baking flour
- 1 c. oats
- 4 scoops ViSalus Vi-Shape Nutrition Mix (or 2 scoops Vanilla protein)
- 2 TBSP Flax Seed
- 1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
- 1Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tsp Baking soda/ ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce (or more)
- 1 whole, 2 egg whites, beaten
- ~½ cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 Tbsp Flax oil
- 3-4 Tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend (more or less to taste)
- 1 Tbsp honey
Optional: 1/2c walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one regular size (or 4 mini) loaf pan with non-stick spray.
Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry and stir well. Stir in walnut pieces. Pour batter into pan and place on center rack in oven. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.
Spread sliced bread with apple or pumpkin butter if desired!
Experiment with different fresh and frozen fruits and yogurt flavors for variety.
Berries should be a staple to your diet… One serving of berries daily will do much more than just keep the doctor away. They are after all, natures #1 antioxidant fruit.
This protein smoothie is excellent as a post-workout meal, breakfast or mid-day snack or meal replacement. It provides the perfect balance of protein – from the whey and yogurt, carbohydrates – from the fruit and yogurt, and healthy fats from the almond milk and flax seed. It is also a great source of calcium, antioxidants and fiber. And, if that isn’t reason enough to give this a try… it really tastes amazing!
Mix together well in blender or Magic Bullet:
- 1 scoop vanilla Whey Protein
- Fresh or Frozen Berries (Blackberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries)
- 1/2 container low sugar yogurt ( I like Dannon Light N Fit – Pomegranate Berry)
- 1 tsp milled Flax Seed
- 6-8 oz Almond Milk
- Crushed Ice/Water
Try different fruit combinations such as peaches, pineapple, melon, or banana as well as flavored yogurts. Substitute Soy for Almond Milk if you like. You really cannot go wrong with this one.
STILL NOT CONVINCED ABOUT THE POWER of ADDING BERRIES TO YOUR DIET?
….. READ ON:
You got to EAT FAT to LOSE FAT!
Dietary fats supply the body with the most stable sources of energy fuel and since they contain more calories per gram than protein & carbs they burn more slowly making you feel fuller longer. When you cut out fat, you replace the calories with faster burning carbohydrates which not only make you feel hungrier sooner, the “wrong” carbs will play havoc with your glucose (blood sugar) levels.
Fat cells are necessary for hormone regulation, storing energy, and providing cushioning for our internal organs. The problem is not in the presence of fat but the amount. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get 20%-35% of their calories from fats. At a minimum, we need at least 10% of our calories to come from fat. The key is to understand which fats are healthy and which are not so you can begin losing weight safely and successfully.
Healthy Fats in Foods:
The healthy fats are the mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated. The fats to avoid are trans fats and saturated fats as they put your body at risk for many diseases. To help you distinguish the “good” from the “bad, remember that saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fats are found in avocados, peanuts, natural peanut butter, olives and olive oil (extra virgin).
Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish, walnuts, pecans, almonds, soybean oil, sunflower oil etc
Omega-3 Fats: the body does not manufacture Omega 3 fats, which means we must consume them either in the foods we eat or with supplementation. Omega 3’s burn fat by helping the body respond to a hormone called Leptin which tells the brain to suppress the appetite, increases thyroid output – which in turn increases metabolism Food sources for Omega-3 are: Salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, flaxseed, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.
Omega 3’s are also known to boost brainpower, ward off depression and decrease inflammation.
Other Good Omega-3 sources
- ground flaxseed
- oils (like flaxseed oil, linseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil and soybean oil)
- green leafy vegetables (like lettuce, broccoli, kale, spinach and purslane)
- legumes (like mungo, kidney, navy, pinto, lima beans, peas and split peas)
- citrus fruits, melons, cherries
Omega 6 oils are common in the diet and are not usually necessary to supplement. Raw almonds or sunflower seeds are a good source and a few can be eaten daily to ensure their supply.
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – Helps to burn fat and gain lean muscle at the same time. It is also found to boost
immunity and halt cancer growth. CLA also promotes cardiovascular health by preventing the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and around the heart.
CLA is found only in various meats & milk products – But remember CLA is a fat & will not be found in skim milk or non-fat yogurts (where fat has been removed). Consider also that the fat burning benefits of CLA may be offset by the higher amounts of bad fats in many cuts of meat. So if you are staying away from full-fat dairy products and fatty cuts of beef, you might consider taking a CLA supplement.
Studies have shown that CLA helps people to lose weight because it’s a good fat. Consuming it accelerates the body’s metabolic rate while slowing the body’s conversion of dietary fats into body fat. .
The recommended daily dose of CLA is 3-7 grams. If you supplement with CLA, be sure it contains 80% CLA to receive the optimum fat burning results.
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The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises that healthy Americans limit their intake of trans fat to less than 1 percent of total calories.
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Based on current data, the American Heart Association recommends that consumers follow these tips:
- Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, high-fiber foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy most often.
- Keep total fat intake between 25 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils most often.
- Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil most often.
- Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils or saturated fat.
- Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms. Look for ”0 g trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts label.
- French fries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that are high in trans fat. AVOID THEM!!
- Limit the saturated fat in your diet. If you don’t eat a lot of saturated fat, you won’t be consuming a lot of trans fat.
- Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Not only are these foods very high in fat, but also that fat is likely to be very hydrogenated, meaning a lot of trans fat.
- Limited fried fast food. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats will continue to be made by hydrogenation and will contain saturated fat and trans fat.
Something to take away from this blog:
When the body gets enough – (and healthy sources) of fat through diet, it will not feel the need to hoard fats by enlarging adipose tissue….hmm. Food for thought.
Best so far, (if I do say so!) Healthy and totally satisfies those chocolate cravings.
AND…nearly 9 grams of protein per muffin!!
½ c oats
½ c low carb baking powder
1-2 TBSP Coconut flour
3 TBSP Milled Flax*
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 TBSP Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
2 TBSP Splenda Brown Sugar
Baking Soda/Baking Powder
1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
4-6 oz unsweetened applesauce
2 TBSP low fat sour cream
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
~1/3 c water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients well. Add wet ingredients to dry. Adjust amount of water to achieve desired consistency for muffins. Spray muffin tins with butter flavor spray. Fill muffin tins approx 2/3 full and bake for approx 14-15 minutes, until toothpick comes clean.
Recipe makes one dozen protein packed muffins.
*Flax seeds are one of nature’s best health foods. They are one of the richest sources of omega-3. They also are rich in soluble fiber and contain high quality protein. Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E, and minerals iron and zinc, plus smaller amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are found in flax seeds.
(Look for future blogs about the power of Flax)!