The recent Rio Olympics had many memorable moments, from Michael Phelps' latest gold medal haul to the incredible performance of U.S gymnast Simone Biles.
But the Olympics also re-introduced us to a form of alternative medicine known as "cupping."
It was easy to notice the athletes who are adherents of cupping thanks to the large reddish or purple spots the treatment left on their skin. Those marks were made by the use of a vacuum seal on their skin that broke capillaries while drawing blood to the skin.
What Exactly Is Cupping?
Cupping actually isn't anything new as it's an ancient form of medicine that can be traced back to ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures. It has many purposes - including to help with inflammation, pain, relaxation, blood flow, and as a deep tissue massage.
How Does It Work?
Modern versions of cupping use a rubber pump to create a vacuum in a cup specifically designed for the purpose. Silicone cups are often used in today's type of cupping treatment and can be placed on different areas of the skin to produce a massage-like effect.
The vacuum inside the cup causes your skin to redden and rise as blood vessels expand. In "wet" cupping treatment, the cup is in left in place for about three minutes. After it's removed, the therapist will make tiny incisions in the skin, after which a second suction is used to draw out a small quantity of blood. It's rare to get more than five to seven cups per session.
What Does Cupping Treat?
Cupping, as mentioned, has many purposes, and some studies have shown that it's used to improve pain, stiffness, mobility, as well as osteoarthritis and chronic neck pain. For athletes, its benefits include relieving soreness and pain that can come with strenuous training and competition. In short, it's designed to speed up muscular and soft tissue recovery after strain and/or injury.
Does Cupping Work?
The jury appears to be out when it comes to the actual effectiveness of cupping. While its uses have expanded beyond sports therapy to include treatment of issues such as migraines and eczema, there isn't - as yet - a lot of scientific evidence that backs it up. On the other hand, there haven't been a lot of scientific studies done on it. However, a 2015 study said that it could help in providing pain management as well as treating acne. And, athletes like Phelps and other Olympians, are staunch proponents of its benefits.
Ralph Roberts is a nationally certified trainer who offers individual training, group training and sports training. If you are ready to get in shape and stay in shape, contact Ralph today.
When it comes to overall health in the U.S., the state of Texas ranks at 34. While there are many factors that go into this rating, below are some of the health strengths and weaknesses associated with the Lone Star State.
Some of the major strengths in the health of Texas residents include:
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If you're looking for low-calorie breakfast ideas, you're not alone. From waffles to pancakes, sugary cereals and beyond, breakfast foods are usually stuffed with calories. Don't fret. We've come to your rescue with seven breakfasts, 350 calories or less.
1. Breakfast Kebabs
Kebabs aren't strictly limited to dinners. With the right ingredients, you can make a tasty breakfast on a stick, courtesy of Rachael Ray. Gather these ingredients:
6 cherry tomatoes
Half an avocado (cubed)
½ teaspoon salt
5 balls of bocconcini
3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
Combine the eggs along with the salt and a tablespoon of cold water in a bowl. Heat the eggs in a skillet, cover and allow them to cook to a firm texture. This should take about two minutes. Slice the egg mixture into strips. Build your skewers with the egg strips, cubed avocado, cheese and tomatoes. Add the cilantro to top off the breakfast kebabs.
2. Green Egg and Hamwich
Green eggs and ham isn't just a kids' book. In sandwich form, it is a low-calorie breakfast for health-conscious adults. Here's what you'll need for this Rachael Ray treat:
1 ounce baked ham
1 split and toasted challah roll
5 teaspoons grated asiago
4 chopped basil leaves
4 chopped tarragon leaves
Whisk the egg, tarragon and basil in a bowl. Add the mix to a skillet and cook with a medium flame. Put the ham on the skillet and cook it for a full minute on each side. Let the cheese melt on the ham after flipping it. Move the ham and egg to the roll.
3. Cheesy Tomato and Bacon Strata
This tasty breakfast dish from Rachael Ray looks extravagant, but can be whipped up fast. Gather these ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened milk
8 slices of bread cubed into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces diced turkey
1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces baby spinach
8 slices bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Grease a baking dish. Place half the bread in the dish. Place the turkey, cheese, tomatoes and half the spinach on top in a layered format. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl. Pour this mix on the bread and sprinkle in the bacon. Cook at 400 degrees for an hour.
4. Banana Smoothie
This smoothie has a mere 172 calories. It only takes a few minutes to make. You'll need half a banana, 5 ounces of non-fat yogurt and 1/3 cup of non-fat milk.
Peel the banana and add it along with the yogurt to the blender. Blend in the milk toward the end. Incorporate berries if desired.
5. Spinach Feta Breakfast
This breakfast is delicious, yet it only has 227 calories. Gather these ingredients:
1 ounce milk
1 cup chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
2 ounces feta cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups baby spinach
Cook the garlic and onion over medium heat for a few minutes. Add in the spinach and cook for two more minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk as the spinach cooks. Add the egg mixture to the skillet and cook on medium-low. Wait a minute before stirring in the rest of the ingredients.
6. Vegetable Omelet
This 132-calorie breakfast is absolutely scrumptious.
You'll need four eggs, a cup of peppers, a cup of onions, a handful of black olives, a dab of low-fat margarine and half a cup of mushrooms. Slice the vegetables, beat the eggs and melt the margarine. Fry the vegetables in a pan. Once they are tender add the egg mix. Cook until done and serve.
7. Breakfast Veggie Frittatas
These miniature frittatas have just 71 calories per serving.
You'll need five eggs, a tablespoon of low-fat milk, two cups chopped broccoli, one ounce of goat cheese and a cup of diced tomatoes. Mix the milk, eggs, chopped veggies and goat cheese. Put this mixture into muffin tins that are pre-coated with cooking spray. Bake the frittatas for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
If you need help getting into shape and staying on track with your diet, contact Ralph Roberts Training. We'll customize a workout regimen and nutrition plan that suits your individual health and fitness goals.
The average person has tried everything from trendy diets to intense physical fitness regimens in his quest to lose weight. Yet few people know that simply altering their posture has the potential to facilitate the weight loss process. According to some doctors, improving one's posture can result in losing two pounds per week.
The Importance Of Standing And Sitting Tall
When you were younger, your parents and teachers likely told you to stand and sit straight. But most of us reverted to our slumped ways, partially because we are forced to sit at a high frequency and maintaining correct posture takes effort.
Make an effort to sit and stand as straight as possible and you'll enjoy many benefits. Body posture really does impact the body as well as the mind.
Carry yourself in a more upright manner and you'll reduce the tension placed on your entire body. As a result, blood will flow better and you might even feel less stressed out.
Breaking Down How Improved Posture Benefits The Body
Aside from boosting blood flow, proper posture also engages the muscles along your core and your back. This engagement serves to tone these muscles and even build new muscle. When new muscle is created, more calories are burned, gradually resulting in weight loss.
The mere act of sitting and standing straight has also been proven to help burn calories. You don't have to perform any sort of exercise while sitting. Sit as straight as possible and you really will enjoy a more toned physique and start shedding pounds. This phenomenon occurs due to the fact that more energy is required to maintain proper posture as opposed to a flawed posture.
Sitting and standing tall even serves to guard against neck pain, backaches and other aches that have been linked to poor posture. Remove these pains from your life and you will find it that much easier to hit the gym at a high frequency. Spend more time in the gym and you will shed more weight.
Correcting flawed sitting and standing posture is only part of the weight loss battle. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off for good, reach out to Ralph Roberts. The expert assistance of a personal trainer will help you reach your physical fitness goals as quickly as possible. Contact Ralph today for a free workout session.
With your kids back in school or you swamped at the office, you may find yourself out of options for a snack and stop at the vending machine. When you have just a few minutes for a bite to eat and are starving, what should you choose?
The following are a few of the healthiest options in vending machines as well as the top foods to avoid.
Healthiest Vending Machine Foods
Trail mix and nuts
Nuts and trail mix offer a boost of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you full. Look for portion-sized peanut and almond packs and trail mix varieties heavy on unsalted nuts and dried fruit.
Many single serving granola bars are under 200 calories and contain some type of whole grain, such as flax or oats, as well as nuts, which deliver a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Be sure to look at the nutrition label; some granola bars are very high in sugar and carbs.
Plain popcorn provides whole grains, fiber, and antioxidants for a delicious, low-calorie snack. Look for popcorn varieties that are air-popped with low salt, avoiding kettle corn and other varieties with excess butter and/or sugar.
Most people mistake feelings of hunger for dehydration. If it's been less than three hours since your last meal and your stomach isn't growling, skip the soda, which will only make you thirstier. Instead, satisfy your urge with water.
Unhealthiest Vending Machine Foods
Pre-packaged pastries and cookies
Packaged apple pies, cinnamon rolls, toaster pastries and chocolate chip cookies aren't fresh and contain anywhere from 250-350 calories each. The refined carbs and added sugars won't keep you full for very long and may even lead to a sugar crash. Most pre-packaged vending machine goods also contain corn syrup and added preservatives to extend their shelf life.
Typically the candy in vending machines is pure concentrated sugar, full of preservatives, flavors and artificial colors. Similar to the pre-packaged pastry goods, most vending machine candy won't keep you full and will lead to a sugar crash and even more sugar cravings.
Sipping on soda instead of water leads to an intake of extra sugar and empty calories, packing on pounds without satisfying your thirst. The sugar in soda is also bad for oral health and may lead to increased cavities. Steer clear of sports drinks and sweetened teas as well.
Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts works with individuals from all walks of life to help them get fit and healthy. From advising workout routines to snacking choices, he'll assist you with every aspect of your health. Contact Ralph today for a free personal training session!
Instead of eating from the vending machine, make sure to always have these healthy staples on hand!
If you suffer from arthritis, you do not have to give up on exercise. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, whether you are 25 or 75. It's possible to stay physically fit even though your body is plagued by pain and discomfort.
Although you may not be able to participate in all the sports you used to enjoy, you should not let your arthritis prevent you from staying physically active.
1. Stretching Is Key
Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will find that stretching is vitally important to a successful workout. Stretch before each exercise session. Stretching helps your joints and muscles respond much better to physical activity. Even something as simple as gardening counts as exercise. Just be sure to stretch out your knees, hips and ankles before you get down and dirty. Stretching after exercise is also prudent. Post-exercise stretching will ward off stiffness and reduce the odds of a limited range of motion.
2. Give Aquatic Sports A Shot
Aquatic sports are some of the best ways for arthritis sufferers to remain physically active. Even if you simply walk in water that is waist-deep, you will burn calories and increase your heart rate. Water is ideal for arthritis sufferers as it decreases the weight put on joints by upwards of 50 percent. If you aren't sure where to start with water sports, sign up for a class conducted at your local pool to learn proper form.
3. Transition To Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
Arthritis pain can be minimized by reducing the impact on your joints. Segue into low-impact aerobic exercises like light walking, water exercises, riding a stationary bike or even slow dancing. Avoid high-impact aerobic exercises and sports like basketball that require sudden stops, starts and changes of direction.
4. Engage In Tai Chi Exercises
The days of going all out at the gym or on the court may no longer be possible. This is the time to transition to exercises that feature slow movements. Tai Chi is the perfect exercise for those afflicted with arthritis. Its deliberate flowing movements will help you maintain your mobility and improve your quality of life. There is a good chance that a Tai Chi program is offered in your community. Sign up and you will immediately fall in love with the program's focus on slow physical motions, regular breathing and improved mental focus. Tai Chi might even relieve your stiffness to boot.
Exercising with arthritis is a challenge that you should not attempt to overcome on your own. Ralph Roberts Personal Training has experience working with clients with arthritis and can create a custom workout plan just for you. Contact Ralph Roberts today for a free personal training session.
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Alcohol may taste and feel good going down at first, but it has negative consequences in the ensuing hours. We're sure you've experienced this "pain." Though some swear by coffee as a hangover remedy, exercise is actually one of the best cures.
Working out after a long night certainly doesn't sound as appealing as sleeping in and gorging on a greasy burger and fries later, but it works.
As long as you hydrate before, during and after a workout, you'll have an excellent chance of rebounding to your normal state of mind and body.
How A Sweat Session Alleviates A Hangover
The magic of exercise partially lies in the fact that it eliminates harmful toxins from the body. If you work out with enough intensity to break a sweat, most of those nasty toxins will exit through your pores.
However, taking it to the max with an intense CrossFit workout or a competitive racquetball match is a mistake. Exercising with extreme intensity creates so much movement that your body won't be able to recover in a timely or thorough manner.
Go for a light run outdoors or on the treadmill. Do a light weight training session with fewer reps and lighter weights than normal. The key is to break a sweat so those unsavory toxins have an avenue to exit your system. Soaking those toxins up with bread is not the solution, as tasty as that may sound.
Be Careful With Your Hangover Workout
Going all out during your workout while suffering from a hangover has the potential to backfire. Do not push yourself to the max after a night of drinking. Be sure to drink water and/or a sports drink with electrolytes to hydrate and replenish your system — the night of and throughout the next day. Also, be sure to consume some carbohydrates in the form of fruit and/or oatmeal at least an hour before you hit the gym.
Though coffee will certainly stimulate your system, it will also dehydrate your already water-zapped body. Do not lose sight of the fact that alcohol forces you to excrete water at a rapid rate. Provide your body with the proper fuel and you will greatly reduce the odds of a workout disaster in which your already-taxed body gives out.
Exercise Is The Ultimate Anti-Depressant
Exercise has the power to heal the mind as well as the body. Physical activity spurs the release of hormones and neurochemicals like adrenaline and endorphins. These “happy chemicals” make you feel better mentally and physically. This is exactly what you need in the midst of a depressing hangover.
If you are looking to improve your physique and overall mentality, Ralph Roberts Training is the answer. We can help you figure out exactly which exercises and diet plan are right for your particular body and physical fitness desires. Contact us today to schedule a personal training session — on the house!
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The average person's schedule is full of activities and responsibilities. From the eight-hour workday to family responsibilities, cooking and cleaning, we just don't have much free time. Plenty of people completely forego “alone time.”
In many of my Monday Motivations and Friday Reflections, I have stressed the importance of mental health. Taking time for yourself every week is a critical component of maintaining your health and empowering your mind. Here are five reasons you should reserve time for yourself every week.
Reasons To Find "Me" Time
1. Time for Introspection
When you are surrounded by other people, you’re constantly inundated with their opinions, questions and demands. You need time to perform some introspection. Use this time to ponder how you think and feel about the happenings in your life as well as the world around you. Give yourself this alone time each week so you can reflect on the past and plan for the future.
2. There Really is Value in Doing Nothing
Though society claims otherwise, there really is value to slowing down and taking it easy. It seems as though stimuli are bombarding us from every angle, whether it is kids, a spouse, pets, TV, radio or smartphones. The bottom line is that contemporary life moves way too fast. Spend some time on yourself and let everything slow down. Take this time to relax. Kick back your feet, recline and do exactly what you want at that moment. You can read, enjoy a delicious meal, listen to music or simply do nothing.
3. A Chance for Internal Growth
Perhaps the best reason to devote time to yourself is the chance to achieve inner growth. If you are constantly running from one appointment to another and interacting with people, you severely limit your chances to round your edges. Take some time for yourself and you will have the opportunity to change from a “static” person to a “dynamic” person.
4. Anxiety Relief
A steady stream of stimuli is terrible for your mental health. If you spend all of your time doing things and not thinking about what matters the most to you, you'll eventually become a nervous mess. Spend some time alone and you will have the opportunity to process all of the events that occurred during the previous days and week(s). As a result, you'll feel much less stressed.
5. Alone Time Boosts Your Physical Health
When you are surrounded by people you have few, if any, chances to exercise. We tend to gravitate toward others for socialization and fun. Spend more time alone and you will have the opportunity to exercise on a regular basis.
If you are unsure as to how to make the most of the "me time" you've reserved for exercising, give Ralph Roberts Personal Training a call. We will create a highly effective workout for your unique physical fitness needs and goals. Contact Ralph Roberts Training today to learn more.
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