About L-Carnitine

Taking L-Carnitine is known to:

  • Improve high-intensity work capacity
  • Increase athletic performance
  • Speed your recovery from intense exercise
  • Make your brain work better

Carnitine is an amino acid composite that is made of lysine and methionine. It is responsible for the transport of fat into the cells to be used for energy, therefore your body becomes more efficient in processing fuel and it will increase your energy levels.

Elevating carnitine will improve physical performance by burning more fat, sparing glycogen, clearing muscle lactate, and optimizing hormone levels.

For Carnitine to be effective, you need to make sure you have enough Omega-3 in your body. Omega-3s increase metabolic rate by increasing cell activity and fat burning. Carnitine is the delivery system for long chain fatty acids therefore the less carnitine you have in your body, the fewer fatty acids get into the cells, and you don’t burn them for energy. Instead they’re stored as fat. By elevating carnitine fat burning increases, you will have more energy and feel more motivated.

Carnitine fights visceral belly fat, that is known to be the toughest fat to loose. Raising your carnitine levels will fight this visceral belly fat gain because it increases fat burning.

Higher muscle carnitine levels help decrease pain, muscle damage and markers of metabolic stress from high intensity exercise by reducing lactic acid production, therefore you can have a greater work production because it will not feel as physically difficult.

Taking carnitine will also support an anabolic response to exercise by up-regulating the androgen receptors, which will speed up your recovery.

Carnitine can help prevent type 2 diabetes because of how it improves fat metabolism. It can counter the diseases of metabolic syndrome by supporting cardiovascular health while inducing fat loss.

The health benefits of foam rolling

The idea of foam rollers is simple: using your own bodyweight and agility you roll specific muscle groups against a firm foam roller to mimic a deep massage. You can control how much pressure you apply and you can locate and focus on problematic areas.

  • They improve blood circulation throughout your skin, muscles, fascia and even tendons and ligaments.
  • More efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level.
  • Lengthening of short, tight muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • Better posture, stronger core.

When we experience pain or stiffness around weight-bearing joints (hips, knees and spinal joints) a very effective approach is to increase the blood circulation around the problematic area through deep pressure work and stretches.

Sometimes short and tight muscles and ligaments are the root cause of pain and stiffness in the joints.

Some foam rollers and softer, others harder. However it is always you, who controls the pressure that you put on a certain area.

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How to boost the immune system?

The immune system is an interactive network of organs, cells and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances. The immune system works to neutralize and remove pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that enter the body, recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and fight against the body’s own cells that have changes due to an illness.

The cells of the immune system originate in the bone marrow, then migrate to guard the peripheral tissues, circulating in the blood and in the specialized system of vessels called the lymphatic system.

When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. It’s when the performance of our immune system is compromised that we face illness. Underactivity of the immune system results in severe infections and tumors of immunodeficiency, while overactivity results in allergic and autoimmune diseases.

Give your immune system a boost with these tips:

  • Supplement with echinacea: Research shows that one of the most significant echinacea benefits is its effects when used on recurring infections.
  • Supplement with probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria that help you digest nutrients that boost the detoxification of your colon and support your immune system.
  • Eat more ginger: It’s believed that ginger helps to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs due to its warming effects. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system,our network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
  • Eat more berries: berries are full with antioxidants, that are excellent for promoting healthy immune response.
  • Get more rest: restful sleep is absolutely essential for health and recovery. When you sleep certain protective cytokines in your body increase in levels, and inflammatory cells decline, which means that less sleep could result in a deprived immune system.
  • Have some garlic: it is great to avoid any cold, flu or other viruses. If you don’t like the taste of it, try capsules.
  • Aerobic exercise boosts immune system: people who are fit and active are less likely to suffer from illnesses and the symptoms are less severe.

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About ephedrine

The main ingredient in fat burners or thermogenics is ephedrine, a synthetic version of a chinese herb ephedra, or also known as ma huang.

Ephedrine is a drug, rather than a nutrition supplement. It is also used in low concentrations in flu and cold remedies (pseudoephedrine).

Ephedrine is chemically similar to amphetamines, which act on the brain and the central nervous system.

There is some evidence that ephedrine helps fat loss: partly due to an increase in thermogenesis, partly because it suppresses your appetite and partly because it makes you more active.

When taken as an ECA stack (ephedrine – caffeine – aspirin) ephedrine has a greater effect in terms of weight loss and thermogenesis. However the fat burning effect of ephedrine seems to decrease over time.

Ephedrine is judged to be safe in doses between 18-25 mg, that’s the amount that’s used in cold remedies. Doses more than 32 mg a day may triple your risk of bleeding in the brain. Prolonged use and higher doses combined with heavy exercise increase your risk of side effects, like increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, palpitations, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

Ephedrine is addictive, and people can develop a tolerance to it, which means you will need to take more and more to get the same effects. 

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About BCAAs

BCAAs are the most popular amino acid supplements. They contain:

  • Valine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine

 These 3 amino acids make up to one third of muscle in the body. The body breaks down muscle to get energy, especially during strenuous exercise, to get these amino acids.

 BCAAs are converted into 2 other amino acids:

  • glutamine and
  • alanine,

which are released in large quantities during aerobic exercise. They can also be used directly for fuel, especially when muscle glycogen is depleted.

 Foods high in BCAAs:

  • Meats: red meat is the highest in BCAAs. Other meats (poultry etc) are high in BCAAs, too because they’re primarily protein. Choose lean cuts, chicken breast without the skin etc
  • Eggs: they are packed with nutrition and BCAAs, and easy to add to your diet.
  • Dairy products are high in BCAAs: low fat cheese, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, frozen yogurt. Additional dairy options could be: cheese, cream and butter.
  • Liquid and powder protein: very popular source, easy to prepare, drink and digest. If you mix your whey protein with milk, you boost the BCAA content of your shake.

Taking BCAA supplements before and during exercise can reduce muscle breakdown. They may also help preserve muscle in athletes on a low carb diet. It will probably not boost your endurance, however taking 6 – 15 gr of BCAAs daily may help improve your recovery.

 Side effects: BCAAs are relatively safe because they are normally found in protein in the diet.

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The benefits of HIIT training

The benefits of HIIT training

There’s an ongoing debate about cardio: which one is more beneficial? HIIT or steady state cardio? It depends on your goal and even your bodytype. Some people can get away with the mind numbing steady state cardio – which is a lot more comfortable, let’s be honest. However it doesn’t work for everyone. If you have been doing that for quite some time it might have stopped working for you – because let’s be honest, your body will get used to most things and will adapt in time. Then it might be a wise idea to step it up to HIIT cardio.

Anyone can benefit from HIIT cardio: elite athletes and everyday people who just want to lose a bit of weight.

So what are the benefits of HIIT?

#1 When you perform high intensity training, glycogen is your preferred fuel that is stored in your muscles. To do more high intensity workouts we need a bigger reserve of muscle glycogen stores. This will allow you to train harder for longer. In addition it will allow for a greater carbs tolerance which means you can eat more carbs and store them as refuel, instead of fat.

#2 Improved aerobic fitness: your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles, enabling you to perform faster for longer.

#3 Greater fat burning: some time ago it was the ‘fat burning zone’ on the cardio machine. If you wanted to burn fat, you had to be in the fat burning zone. HIIT burns more fat, because the quicker you deplete your muscle glycogen stores, the sooner your body will tap into your stored fat for fuel. HIIT training depletes muscle glycogen stores because the main fuel for HIIT is glycogen.

#4 Improved capacity for exercise: if you’re doing high intensity – or I could call it metabolic type – weight training, HIIT can increase your capacity for exercise. By increasing our aerobic capacity we can go harder for longer which can help you burn more calories = lose more weight.

#5 Improved insulin sensitivity: One major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is reduced insulin sensitivity. If you have normal insulin sensitivity, then insulin can help you shuttle the carbs into your muscles, instead of your fat cells.

#6 You boost your metabolism and get an afterburn: Resistance training has a different effect on your body opposed to endurance training. Resistance training increases excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOS). EPOS describes the calories you burn immediately after the training session, also known as the ‘afterburn’ effect.

If you want to step up your training, want to lose weight or just need a change in your training routine, get in touch!

Bespoke metabolic type resistance training plans are available hello@tamaramakar.me

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Soy: good or bad?

Soy contains 26% protein. It has the highest protein content amongst the plants. It is also the highest quality protein amongst the legumes.
Grains are typically low in lysine, beans are typically low in sulfur, methionine and cysteine. However the level of sulfur amino acids is higher in soy than in other beans.
Soybeans are high in fats, too. Most legumes (except peanut) contains 2-14% of fat, soy contains 31% of fat. Most fats in soy is unsaturated.
A serving of soy provides about 8 gr of dietary fibre. However some soy foods are processed in a way that decreases the fibre content, like tofu or soy milk. Processing soy at a high temperature can denature some of the proteins and reduce their quality.
Soy provides important nutrients: calcium, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and selenium.

Interestingly, whole soybeans are rarely consumed in Western countries. The majority of soy in the diet comes from the refined products that are processed from the soybeans.

The fatty acids in soybeans are mostly Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. This can be problematic because too many Omega-6s in the diet can lead to inflammation and all sorts of health issues. For this reason, it is very important to avoid soybean oil (and other vegetable oils high in Omega-6) and processed foods that contain it.

The nutrition composition of soy products depends on the type of soy food. Refined soy products, like soy protein and soy bean oil might not be that nutritious at all.

There is some evidence that soy can lower cholesterol levels, although studies show conflicting results. Men who consume soy are at a lower risk of developing prostate cancer in old age.

Soy contains large amounts of biologically active compounds called isoflavones, which function as phytoestrogens… that is, plant-based compounds that can activate estrogen receptors in the human body. These isoflavones are classified as endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with the normal function of hormones in the body. The key isoflavones in soy are genistein, daidzein and glycitein. This can cause reduced estrogen activity due to the isoflavones blocking the actual, more potent estrogen from binding, or it can lead to an increased estrogen activity due to the isoflavones activating the receptors.

Animal studies show that soy isoflavones can cause breast cancer. There are also human studies showing that soy isoflavones can stimulate the proliferation and activity of cells in the breasts.
This may indicate an increased risk of breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women.

Even though men have some amount of estrogen, having significantly elevated levels is not normal. Therefore, it seems logical that increased estrogen activity from soy isoflavones could have some effects on men. Many believe that soy can reduce testosterone levels, but the effect appears to be weak and inconsistent.

The isoflavones in soy also function as goitrogens, which are substances that interfere with thyroid function. They can inhibit function of the enzyme thyroid peroxidase, which is essential for production of thyroid hormones.

It is important for women who are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding, to avoid soy and other sources of endocrine disrupting compounds.

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