Energy drinks are supposed to do just what the name implies — give you an extra burst of energy. As it turns out, most of that “energy” comes from two main ingredients: sugar and caffeine. A typical energy drink can contain up to 80 milligrams of caffeine (about the same amount as a cup of coffee). By comparison, a 2006 study found that the average 12-ounce soda contains 18 to 48 mg of caffeine.
Other than caffeine levels, how do energy drinks differ from sodas and sports drinks? Soft drinks are mainly water, sugar and flavouring. They don’t do anything for your body; they’re just supposed to taste good. Sports drinks are designed to replenish fluids lost during activity. They typically contain water, electrolytes and sugar. Energy drinks have added caffeine and other ingredients that their manufacturers say increase stamina and “boost” performance. They’re designed for students, athletes and anyone else who wants an extra energy kick.
Energy drinks became popular in Asia long before they reached the United States. In 1962, Japanese pharmaceutical company, Taisho, released its Lipovitan D drink. It was designed to help employees work hard well into the night. Lipovitan D contains taurine, the same ingredient found in many of today’s energy drinks.
The very first “energy” drink to reach the United States wasn’t really an energy drink at all — it was more of a hyped-up soft drink called Jolt Cola. The “jolt” in the cola was a lot of added sugar and caffeine. Introduced in the 1980s, Jolt Cola quickly became a staple of college campuses.
An Austrian businessman named Dietrich Mateschitz picked up on the cash potential of energy drinks while on a business trip to Asia. Along with two Thai business partners, Mateschitz started the company Red Bull GmbH, with the idea of marketing the drink to young Europeans. Many clubs on the American West Coast caught wind of the Red Bull phenomenon and began importing it to sell as a cocktail mixer.
Red Bull began distributing its drink in the United States in 1997. According to its manufacturer, revenues doubled each year, reaching more than $1 billion in 2000. Although Red Bull has consistently been the leader in the energy drink market, several other companies have launched their own energy drink lines. Many of them are endorsed by celebrities.
Some of the ingredients
…and what they do in the body:
- Ephedrine – A stimulant that works on the central nervous system. It is a common ingredient in weight-loss products and decongestants, but there have been concerns about its effects on the heart.
- Taurine – A natural amino acid produced by the body that helps regulate heart beat and muscle contractions. Many health experts aren’t sure what effect it has as a drink additive (and the rumor that taurine comes from bull testicles is false).
- Ginseng – A root believed by some to have several medicinal properties, including reducing stress and boosting energy levels.
- B Vitamins- A group of vitamins that can convert sugar to energy and improve muscle tone.
- Guarana seed – A stimulant that comes from a small shrub native to Venezuela and Brazil.
- Carnitine – An amino acid that plays a role in fatty acid metabolism.
- Creatine – An organic acid that helps supply energy for muscle contractions.
- Inositol – A member of the vitamin B complex (not a vitamin itself, because the human body can synthesize it) that helps relay messages within cells in the body.
- Ginkgo biloba – Made from the seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree, thought to enhance memory.
Looking at the ingredients, energy drinks appear to be part soft drink and part nutritional supplement. According to reviewers, the taste falls within the same range. People who have tried energy drinks have described the taste as ranging from “medicinal” to “molten Sweet Tart.” Although the manufacturers claim that energy drinks can improve your endurance and performance, many health experts disagree. Any boost you get from drinking them, they say, is solely from the sugar and caffeine.
Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical involved in sleep. When caffeine blocks adenosine, it causes neurons in the brain to fire. Thinking the body is in an emergency, the pituitary gland initiates the body’s “fight or flight” response by releasing adrenaline. This hormone makes the heart beat faster and the eyes dilate. It also causes the liver to release extra sugar into the bloodstream for energy. Caffeine affects the levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain’s pleasure center. All of these physical responses make you feel as though you have more energy.
Energy drinks are generally safe, but like most things, you should drink them in moderation. Because caffeine is a stimulant — consuming a lot of it can lead to heart palpitations, anxiety and insomnia — it also can make you feel jittery and irritable. Over time, caffeine can become addictive. It is also a diuretic — it causes the kidneys to remove extra fluid into the urine.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about HIIT high intensity interval training. HIIT combines short periods of intense exercise with short periods of rest. But did you know that boxing training is the most naturally HIIT training out there. With its round based and recovery training its a perfect form of HIIT
It is one of the best exercise protocols for fat loss. But do you know why this is the case? Below I lay out 10 physiological adaptations your body undergoes when you do HIIT so that you can completely understand why it’s so effective for fat loss.
Insulin sensitivity, or how well your cells respond to insulin, has a big impact on how well you tolerate carbohydrates, and whether those carbohydrates will affect your ability to mobilize fatty acids. Reduced insulin sensitivity means you need more and more insulin to do the same job. And since insulin is a storage hormone, when it’s high, it’s more difficult to lose fat.
Following just 2 weeks of HIIT, in which there was a total of only 15 minutes of exercise, insulin sensitivity was improved by 23%
Produces the Afterburn Effect
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the increased oxygen your body uses after an intense workout to erase its oxygen debt. It uses this oxygen to return the body to homeostasis.
That means it uses additional calories to perform tasks such as muscle repair and replenishment of fuel stores. EPOC is better known as the afterburn effect, which is the process of burning extra calories long after your workout is over.
When comparing HIIT to low-intensity exercise, your exercise intensity positively affects both the magnitude and duration of EPOC. In other words, the greater your intensity, the greater the afterburn effect.
Specifically Targets Stomach Fat
Yes, we all know that you can’t target fat loss per se. However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Doing sit-ups isn’t going to target belly fat.
However, there are things you can do that will change the way you store and mobilize fat. The way you store fat is determined by many factors – genetics and hormones being two big ones. And the type of exercise you do affects your hormone profile.
Doing HIIT can create a metabolic environment that stimulates a higher proportional release of abdominal fat. You still lose fat all over, but a higher proportion comes off in the midsection.
High-intensity interval exercise three times per week for 15 weeks was compared to the same frequency of steady-state exercise, and only HIIT produced significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and insulin resistance.
Improved Vo2 Max
VO2 max is your body’s max capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It is a great measure of physical fitness. Generally speaking, the higher your VO2 max, the better your fitness level. A higher VO2 max also means that you can exercise at greater intensities for longer periods of time.
The good news is that doing HIIT will result in significant improvements in VO2 max. This improvement can be achieved whether you are a beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete.
Creation of New Mitochondria
Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses that produce energy (ATP). In simple terms, they take the fat and carbohydrates you either eat or store and convert them to usable energy. The more mitochondria you have, the more efficiently your body utilizes the calories you consume.
The number of mitochondria you have can be increased by creating a demand for more energy production. In fact, HIIT is a potent stimulus for the creation of new mitochondria.
Boosts Favorable Hormones
HIIT High intensity interval training does more than just burn calories. It primes your body for fat loss by creating a favorable metabolic environment.
Internally, your body undergoes many hormonal changes in response to intense training. Specifically, HIIT boosts growth hormone and testosterone levels after just 10 minutes, and the amount secreted is correlated to your exercise intensity.
Growth hormone and testosterone are a potent combo for both fat loss and muscle growth. Engaging in HIIT will provide you with this amazing benefit.
Burns More Total Fat Compared to Endurance Training
Did you know you can burn more fat doing HIIT than your typical steady-state endurance training, even when burning a fraction of the calories? It’s true.
A study comparing a 15 week HIIT program to a 20 week endurance-training (ET) program showed that despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous fat compared with the ET program.
When the scientists adjusted the numbers so the calorie burn was equal, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the ET program
Builds Muscle While Losing Fat
Many people say you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. While it can be difficult to put on a large amount of muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, you can certainly accomplish both goals concurrently.
In fact, a 12 week HIIT program has been shown to increase lean body mass, while at the same time reducing total body fat, abdominal and trunk fat, and visceral fat.
The additional muscle will pay dividends by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that you’re burning extra calories at all times of the day. Build muscle and lose fat, all while exercising for less time. Seems too good to be true, but it is.
Increased Capacity for Fat Oxidation
During exercise our bodies undergo all kinds of chemical reactions and stress adaptations. Our bodies literally change from the inside out. During HIIT specifically, we make changes to our physiology that enable us to burn more fat.
Just seven sessions of HIIT over 2 weeks induced marked increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation during exercise in moderately active women. HIIT causes changes to your body that increases its ability to burn fat.
I’ve listed out the science behind the benefits of HIIT, but that’s really just scratching the surface. High-intensity interval training also:
- Adds variety – there really is an endless combination of fitness activities that can be incorporated into a HIIT workout.
- Creates time efficiencies – you no longer have to slave away on the treadmill for an hour or more. The same benefits or more can be accomplished in under 20 minutes.
- No equipment necessary – no gym membership? No problem. All you need is your body to get a great workout.
- Boxing training – The best form of HIIT there is.
Affordable personal training or shared PT, is a great way to split the cost and still get results that you associate with an Elite personal trainer like Paul Carroll who has 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is a former British champion boxer.
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BOXING IS A TOTAL-BODY WORKOUT
A two-for-one cardio and strength workout, boxing targets the entire body, says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. “In addition to boosting strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, boxing improves a number of skill-related parameters of fitness, including balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility,” she says.
And with a potential burn rate of 13 calories a minute, boxing goes head-to-head with other types of cardio like running and cycling. Plan to punch away anywhere from 200 to 400 calories* per half hour. Thirty minutes of boxing in a ring torches 400 calories; 30 minutes of punching a bag burns 200 calories; and 30 minutes sparring with a partner blasts 300 calories, Matthews says.
*All estimates based on a 140-pound individual
BOXING INCINERATES CALORIES-FACT!
Perhaps the ultimate high-intensity interval training workout, most boxing rounds alternate between periods of maximum effort and active recovery. “It is both an aerobic and an anaerobic workout,” says Antonio Valverde, a boxing instructor and owner of Elite City Fitness in New York City. That means as the workout intensity increases, your body requires more energy than aerobic metabolism can provide, and suddenly you’re also in anaerobic training territory—the type of exercise that builds strength, speed, and power, and boosts your metabolism. So, compared to running at a steady clip, boxing burns more calories in less time.
BOXING FLATTENS YOUR BELLY
Want a serious six-pack? Skip the sit-ups and get in the ring instead. “Boxing is extremely taxing on the core,” Valverde says. “Your hips need to rotate in order to get full extension and deliver a more powerful blow.” And since you’re burning more calories than you would lying on the floor for isolated abs work, you’ll be ready to show off that flat belly sooner.
BOXING KNOCKS OUT STRESS
You had a long day at the office, or you fought with your boyfriend, or your mom’s driving you crazy—whatever’s got you ready to snap, boxing will help you calm down. “There’s nothing better to release some stress than punching a mitt or a heavy bag,” Valverde says. “The adrenaline that is released during boxing and the hormonal response far exceeds any physical benefits.” Not only is hitting something a healthy and productive way to help you let go of tension, the rush of endorphins released are also likely to make you happier too.
BOXING BUILDS GRACE
Fine-tuning coordination probably isn’t high on your list of gym goals right now, but it should be. Coordination helps you perform better in any workout and strengthens the brain-body connection, boosting your body awareness so you can tune in to how you’re feeling physically. While most exercise routines don’t do much in this department, hand-eye coordination is key for boxing. Punching a bag or sparring requires focused movements and amazing recall, challenging your muscles and your mind, says former championship boxer Michael Olajide Jr., author of Sleekify and co-owner of Aerospace in New York City
BOXING IS UPPER-BODY CARDIO
Most cardio focuses on the lower body. With boxing, however, your primary moves come from your upper half, making it a great cross-training option when you want to bust a running or cycling rut, or knock out some cardio that won’t tax your legs too much.
BOXING KEEPS IMPROVING YOUR BODY
It’s easy for your fitness routine to become, well, routine, but boxing will keep you on your toes. Unlike running on the treadmill, there’s always something new to learn. “Boxing is a never-ending fitness challenge,” says Olajide, who trains Victoria’s Secret models Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes. “No boxer who has ever gloved up has mastered all aspects of boxing, so when given a knowledgeable boxing trainer, it will never get boring.” And that means your muscles will never start yawning, so your body will continue improving too.
BOXING SAFELY PUSHES YOUR LIMITS
Forget tire flipping and box jumping—boxing can be a safer (yet just as effective and demanding) alternative to some of the riskier heart-pounding workouts out there. “Your body moves exactly the way it was intended to move, just at elevated speeds,” Olajide says. “Plus you can train with the same intensity and purpose of a competitive boxer in your home or gym. That’s not necessarily so for other fitness endeavors.”
1. Exercise and eat right
No kidding, right? Yet so many of us sabotage this no-brainer of a stomach shrinking plan. Study after study proves that eating a well-balanced diet heavy in fruits, veg and whole grains and low in fat and refined sugars, plus exercising regularly, will help you shed not only subcutaneous fat (the surface fat that makes love handles), but also the deeper visceral fat, which builds up around abdominal organs and can raise your chance of suffering high cholesterol, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes. And regular exercise not only helps you slim down your whole body, it actually shrinks the size of fat cells in your stomach.
2. Get down to your healthy weight
Losing that gut isn’t easy, but you can improve your contours (and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer) by lowering your overall body mass index A healthy adult BMI is roughly 19 to 25. You can do as many crunches as you want, but if you’re overweight, your abs will be hidden under a padding of fat. (By the same token, you can be naturally slim but still carry a paunch if you don’t exercise or eat right. Bottom line: think of Tactic #1 as the Golden Rule.)
3. Don’t be a stress head
Scientists are studying the link between stress and stomach fat. Heightened cortisol levels in blood, resulting from stress, seem to react with the body’s insulin to create visceral abdominal fat — and, in a double whammy, to also drive us toward fatty, sugary foods. Reducing stress may make it easier to say no to crisps or chocolate cake that go straight to the waistline. Try to find time to relax and chill at times of the day, a tip to if your daily commute is a cause of stress, wear an iPod or read a funny book to help you chill out on public transportation; if you drive, consider ways to reduce your commuting time.
4. Stop boozing, quit smoking
Think cigarettes keep you thin? Think again. Both smoking and alcohol raise the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. See Tactic #3 for a refresher on what that means for your stomach.
5. Hire a personal trainer
Embarking on a fitness regime is more likely to be successful if you invest in some one-on-one workouts with a personal trainer. he can devise a regimen that will give you the right amount of cardio plus strength training to help you tone up, and target trouble spots most effectively. And the faster you see results, the more likely you are to stay motivated — and active.
6. Skip the Pies, meet for sushi instead
A recent Japanese study found that fucoxanthin, a compound in brown seaweed, shrank abdominal fat in lab animals, and encouraged a five to 10 per cent weight loss. Human studies are next, but the scientists are excited. And you should be too, if you love Japanese food. Order that miso soup or seaweed salad. Not only do these low-fat appetizers contain seaweed, they’ll fill you up so you won’t pig out on that caloriepaloooza known as tempura.
7. Avoid trans fats like the plague
Yes, we already mentioned a low-fat diet in Tactic #1, but trans-fatty acids, found in many convenience foods, deserve their own mention. Trans fats are linked to cardiovascular disease, and, as if that weren’t enough, they literally go straight to your belly. A recent study found that not only do trans fats create excess visceral fat in the abdomen, they actually cause fat from other parts of the body to redistribute there.
8. Don’t believe the adverts promising miracle abs!
A study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that expensive ab-targeting home-exercise equipment is no better than (and in some cases, is worse than) good, old-fashioned exercises. Skip the gimmicks and work these three ab moves into your workout: the abdominal curl, reverse crunches and the Plank.
Tip 1. Hand Wraps:
Why wrap your hands?
The handwrap’s purpose is to protect a boxer’s most important weapon, his hands! The hands are made up of many small joints and small bones that could easily fracture from the impact of repeated punches. Handwraps are there to hold your hand together providing support for your wrists, fingers, knuckles, and the entire hand itself.
The handwraps are there to secure all your loose joints and moveable bones. The handwrap fastens all your joints together so the shock is better distributed across your entire hand. You don’t want your joints to be moving freely and independently when the hand strikes an object. You can suffer a fracture if joints are moving in their own direction.
That being said, now follows the steps to wrap hands correctly:
- Use the loop put over the thumb and wrap behind the hand
- 3 times around the wrist
- 3 times around the hand bringing it back down to the thumb
- 3 X’s through the fingers, this part pulls your knuckles together for support but keeps your knuckles seperated so they don’t collapse or break over each other.
- Wrap then over and across your knuckles 3 times
- Wrap over the thumb drawing it into the hand
- Finish off around the wrist and tie off.
- Congratulations a perfect hand wrap!
A perfect handwrap will tighten your fist when you close your hand.