Scoop

Articles of interest from IHC’s Scoop magazine.

Beachside Glamour Tips

Weekend trips to the beach have long been de rigour among the cognoscenti. While the trips might be routine, your outfits certainly don’t need to be so here are some outfit suggestions to keep your style looking fresh, when the weather promises to do anything but.

Your style is also a great way to separate the game from the game changers so dress accordingly. The beach is no place for you to rock your much loved Chanel or Hermes bag so leave it at home and get your hands on a bright, fun, easy bag to tote your beach essentials in. It’s your new Sunday special.

 casualCasual Look

Keep things simple in classic white blouse and accessorise with a few pops of colour. The embellished shorts are laid back in a luxe way and the sparkly flats, bright bag from an under-the-radar designer pull everything together. The sunglasses? Step it up from tortoiseshell. Leopard print is the hottest new thing.

Topshop Embroidered Blouse, Topshop beaded shorts, Zara embellished sandals, Meredith Wendell bag, Chan Luu bracelet, Illesteva Leopard Print Sunglasses.

  luxe

Luxe Look

Polished and sophisticated, Missoni has long been the bright and distinctive cover up of choice from the most stylish women in the French Riviera, the Amalfi Coast and just about anywhere else that you find the bold and the beautiful.

Missoni Kaftan, Maison Michel sun hat, Musa embellished sandals, Karen Walker Sunglasses, Michael Kors Tote.

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Ivory Health Club at 24!!

Time flies………It is unbelievable that it is now 24 whole years Ivory Health Club had been in operation! The dream of years gone by is now serving a whole lot of people – young and old alike!  We do thank and praise the Almighty for having achieved so much in our history and reaching a worthy legacy that makes us justifiably very proud.

Ivory Health Company Limited was incorporated on 1st August, 1989 it officially commenced operations at Ikeja and opened to the public.

As the Proprietor and Developer, the original dream of  building  and commercialising a conducive facility for my own personal use – instead of jogging on the street, modelled on Holmes Place Health Club near my North  London home at Mill Hill, had  added  quality to my life and assisted a lot of friends rehabilitate themselves after strokes/heart attacks. Because I had chronic hypertension and high blood pressure I needed to be working out regularly on my Doctor’s orders.

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Sometime in 1987 we embarked on developing an exclusive Housing Estate just off Allen Avenue for the expatriate staff of George Wimpey & Co. (Nig.) Ltd, which had their corporate operational base at Oregun.   In those days when we came to view the land, we had to park our cars at Airport Hotel on Obafemi Awolowo Way and put on our “wellingtons” (rubber rain boots) to walk through a snake infested bush path to get to the land!  Allen Avenue was not in existence then and Lagos (no Lagos State then) was headquartered at City Hall!  As a proper Ajebo who returned from a long sojorn studying in the UK in 1985, my immediate comment was that who would buy land in this jungle! My Solicitor and brother-in-law (Rtd Justice S. O. Hunponu-Wusu) would, in his lackadaisical manner, comment that in Lagos there is no bush!  Taking his advice, I invested in the land and being the Financial Controller of the multinational civil engineering construction company, I had access to “free” road equipments hence I brought in machines to create access roads up to Ogundana Street, Folawewo and Community Roads.

Fortunately our Nigerian economy started having hic cups and the very British George Wimpey decided to pull out of Nigeria and abandoned the goal of a housing estate for its expatriates.  The Wimpey Board took the decision to re-sell the land.  Fortunately a British gentleman, Mr Hall was the BM of First Bank Nigeria, Investment House Branch, Discussing with him over a casual drink at Ikoyi Club, he informed me that he would approve a loan for me to acquire the land if I wished. I bought out Wimpey’s interest in the land.

A very good personal friend of mine in London – Mr Jim Teatum – became the Managing Director of the Nautilus Corporation headquartered at Charlotte in U.S.A. On one of his Marketing trips to Lagos he convinced me to build a proper Health Club on my estate development at Ikeja. We used to work out together in London at Holmes Place and other health clubs that used Nautilus world famous equipments. Nautilus Corporation assisted in re – designing drawings by Architectural firm of FMA and we had a world class health and recreation centre.

Then the second dream started, having abandoned the dream of an exclusive Housing Estate!

Since I was residing in a company house off Adeniyi Jones, I decided to build a small bungalow for my own use on part of the land. Like an English Gentry I wanted a unique name for my new home rather than just number – 1 Community Road. Over family dinner one evening, my wife Dr (Mrs) Femi Ogunsanya came up with “IVORY” rather than “Artemis” which I wanted. We all liked the name and so IVORY was born and we named our Ikeja home “THE IVORY”. The Mill Hill, London home became London Ivory and the Ibadan residence was also named as such. So developing the health club, the name IVORY HEALTH CLUB was unanimously agreed on by both of us and we immersed ourselves in creating a unique lifestyle!

I had a full time job as Financial Controller of George Wimpey and my wife was a Senior Lecturer at University of Lagos teaching Botany. We worked on our dream part time and employed Mr Okanlawon Martins – a keen sportsman and a former Nigerian Squash Champion – who was working with the Accounting firm of Onayemi Akinyemi Ogunsanya & Co where I was a sleeping Partner at the time. My wife and I agreed to sponsor Mr Martins to be properly trained for Health Club Management in London. We also made contact with a Washington DC Beautician and Hair Dresser – Brenda Olufuwa – whom we employed to oversee the development of the Female side of the club.

We recruited Mrs Elvira Adeyeye – a young pretty Russian lady married to a relation of ours to be in charge of the Front Desk.  We opened on a roll and the standard was very high indeed. We pitched our market at the very high end of our industry and after a market survey of charges we fixed our prices higher than anywhere else in Lagos. Our marketing was based on exclusivity and the slogan was if you had to quibble about our charges then you are not worthy of being our member. It worked very well.

I approached Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi (of Tanus Group) who was the Managing Director of the very popular Nigerian newspaper  group – Daily Times and Sunday Times (neither Guardian nor This Day existed then) to assist with a write-up on my dream – Ivory Health Club!  He visited the new club at Ikeja and was so impressed that he gave us the centre spread of one Sunday Times and the rest is history!  I must put on record that neither did Yemi charge us a kobo nor received any gratification from us – it was done on the platform of friendship.

Membership snowballed and we had to put people on long Waiting List to maintain the uncluttered atmosphere of the club inspite of having paid the club’s “astronomical” Joining Fees and Subscription.

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We caught the attention of important players in our society both on the personal and corporate level like Chartered Bank (now part of Stanbic IBTC Bank) ,  Cadbury PLC,  Guinness,  Nigerite, Berger Paints, Coca Cola and the list goes on.

The myth of Ivory was sown and it blossomed. We are indeed very grateful and appreciative of our members.

It was the Managing Director of Chartered Bank, our main Bank then, who invited me for a chat one evening and suggested that we opened another club on the Island.  Based on our performance and turnover at Ikeja the bank would support us.

That was the birth of the second phase of our ……… dream.

Through Mr Gboyega Fatimilehim of Diya Fatimilehin & Co we sourced for suitable site and bought the land on Muri Okunola on Victoria Island and in 2005 we opened our Victoria Island branch.

Unfortunately, we got the operational modalities wrong in Victoria Island. Staffs manning the place were not mature and responsible enough to handle such operation without adequate supervision. The place fell far short of the standard of Ivory and eventually it was closed down and the building was converted into commercial office building.

This affected the whole of Ivory and this spell of bad management resulted in reduced revenue base of the club and its profitability disappeared. Ivory reputation nose dived. Population migration from Ikeja to Lekki and VGC axis did not help us.

But the dream was never abandoned and it refused to die!  In August 2010, a new team was taken on board and the re-branding exercise began.

Just recently, our Public Relation Adviser – Dr Phil Osagie of JSP Communications – and a long term member of the club who moved to Lekki axis – visited the club. He actually turned back at the entrance to ask the Security personnel outside where Ivory had moved to? When he came in and told us what happened we thanked God that we were succeeding in re-positioning Ivory. Mr Eric Fajemisin of Stanbic Pensions had a similar story to tell as he went to ask the GGM if Ivory had been sold by the Proprietor – a reknowned Ijebuman!   Hence this new phase of Ivory’s growth.   We have ordered new and additional machines for Ikeja at a cost of close to U.S. $100,000.00 and we are now eagerly expecting the arrival of the state of the art machines and introduction of our new club charges. Then we should embark on the modernisation of the Spa section with new steam rooms and Beauty Treatment area as well as Male & Female Changing facilities to complete the upgrade of our Ikeja club.

We plan to open our Ikoyi branch at Mulliner Towers where we have secured space at the basement for a brand new health club.   With our policy of common membership ALL our members (with their Gym wear in the boot of their cars), would be able to stop and work out on the Island before facing the traffic on the bridge to the mainland!

For the future, we are discussing with Lonrho Group about a Joint Venture to expand into an 80-room Easy Hotel. With assistance from Capital Bancorp Ltd we are working towards bringing your Ivory Health Club Group to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and allow our teeming members to acquire equity interest in the Ivory Group!  The Proprietor will relinquish direct ownership and independent Managers will report to shareholders through its Board of Directors.  Our members made the Club so they should be opportuned to acquire long term interest in the edifice!

Welcome to new Ivory Health Club and long live The Ivory Group!!

The dream continues………………..!!!

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Maintaining Good Eye Health

Maintaining Good Eye Health

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Don’t take your eye health for granted. Protect your eyesight with these six tips:

Eat for Good Vision:

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Protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E may help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health:

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices

 

Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Quit Smoking for Better Eyesight:

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Smoking makes you more likely to get cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. Studies show that the more times you try to quit smoking; the more likely you are to succeed.

Wear Sunglasses for Good Vision:

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The right kind of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Too much UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration.

Choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare when driving.

If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses for more protection.

Use Safety Eyewear at Home, at Work, and While Playing Sports:

If you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles every time.

Certain sports such as ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection (such as helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses) to shield your eyes.

Look Away From the Computer for Good Eye Health:

Staring at a computer screen can cause:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty focusing at a distance
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain

Protect your eye health by taking the following steps:

  • Make sure your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and adequate for computer use.
  • Some people may need glasses to help with contrast, glare, and eye strain when using a computer.
  • Position your computer so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. This allows you to look slightly down at the screen.
  • Try to avoid glare on your computer from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
  • Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  • If your eyes are dry, blink more.
  • Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. At least every two hours, get up and take a 15-minute break.

Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly:

Everyone, even young children, should get their eyes examined regularly. It helps you protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best.

Eye exams can also find some eye diseases, such as glaucoma, that have no symptoms. It’s important to find these diseases in their early stages, when they’re easier to treat. Depending on your eye health needs, you can see either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care. They can provide general eye care, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery. Optometrists have had four years of specialized training after college. They provide general eye care and treat the most common eye diseases. They do not perform eye surgery.

A comprehensive eye exam may include:

Talking about your personal and family medical history, taking vision tests to see if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism (a curved cornea that blurs vision), or presbyopia (age-related vision changes)

  • Tests to see how well your eyes work together
  • Eye pressure and optic nerve tests to determine if you have glaucoma
  • External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation
  • You may also need other tests, depending upon your particular case.
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Fruit and cold water!

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Eating fruit  
   
We all think eating fruits means just buying fruits, cutting it and just popping it into our mouths. It’s not as easy as you think. It’s important to know how and when to eat.  
   
What is the correct way of eating fruits?  
   
It means not eating fruits after your meals! *
Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach.
 
   
If you eat fruit like that, it will play a major role to detoxify your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.  
Fruit is the most important food.  
Let’s say you eat two slices of bread and then a slice of fruit. The slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it is prevented from doing so.
In the meantime the whole meal rots and ferments and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil….
So please eat your fruits on an empty stomach or before your meals! You have heard people complaining — every time I eat watermelon I burp, when I eat durian my stomach bloats up, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc — actually all this will not arise if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. The fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas and hence you will bloat!
 
   
Graying hair, balding, nervous outburst, and dark circles under the eyes all these will NOT happen if you take fruits on an empty stomach.  
   
There is no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruits become alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruits, you have the Secret of beauty, longevity, health, energy, happiness and normal weight.  
   
When you need to drink fruit juice – drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT from the cans. Don’t even drink juice that has been heated up. Don’t eat cooked fruits because you don’t get the nutrients at all. You only get to taste. Cooking destroys all the vitamins.  
   
But eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it.  
   
You can go on a 3-day fruit fast to cleanse your body. Just eat fruits and drink fruit juice throughout the 3 days and you will be surprised when your friends tell you how radiant you look!  
   
KIWI
Tiny but mighty. This is a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E & fiber. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange.
 
   
APPLE
An apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants   & flavonoids which enhances the activity of vitamin C thereby helping to lower the risks of colon cancer, heart attack & stroke
 
   
STRAWBERRY
Protective Fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits & protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals.
 
   
ORANGE
Sweetest medicine. Taking 2-4 oranges a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent & dissolve kidney stones as well as lessens the risk of colon cancer.
 
   
WATERMELON
Coolest thirst quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. They are also a key source of lycopene — the cancer fighting oxidant. Other nutrients found in watermelon are vitamin C & Potassium.
 
   
GUAVA & PAPAYA
Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content.. Guava is also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Papaya is rich in carotene; this is good for your eyes.
 
   
Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer!  
   
Can u believe this??
For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion. Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.
 
   

 

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Do you really need 8 glasses of water a day?

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How much water do we really need? You may think six to eight glasses per day because you have probably read many articles and had discussions with your doctor to support that. But a Scottish physician has blasted that standard in a British Medical Journal article, stirring the debate about how much water we should drink and how much is too much and bad for our health.

Dr. Margaret McCartney argues there is no quality scientific evidence to support the recommendation, which she says can lead to over-hydration problems for some people.

Here’s what you need to know to sort hydration hype from good health advice.

Don’t skimp

The eight-glass formula doesn’t fit for everyone. It depends on your gender, size, and level of activity, other studies note. The Institute of Medicine calls for adult men to drink 13 cups of fluid daily (which totals three liters, or a little more than four tall reusable water bottles) and women to have nine cups (2.2 liters, or about the amount found in three reusable water bottles). That number changes according to lifestyle. The more active a person is, the more they will need to replace fluids. Larger people, pregnant and nursing women, and those who take dehydrating medications also will likely need to account for that by adding more water to their diet.

If you are active, it’s also important to account for your environment when calculating how much fluid you need. If you are exercising in temperatures that are very hot (likely leading you sweat more) or very cold (which can stunt your ability to sense dehydration), are an endurance athlete, or are active in a high-altitude area, you will probably need to up your water intake.

Don’t overdo it

The debate about how much water we really need to be drinking is centred around the risk of hyponatremia, or taking in more fluid that the body loses while sweating. It is a serious condition that occurs when there is not enough sodium (or salt) in the body fluids outside of the cells. This can cause swelling, including of the brain. Hyponatremia happens when a person sweats excessively in one stint, does not eat, does not urinate enough, and drinks a great deal of water. Symptoms include confusion, headaches, muscle spasms, vomiting, convulsions, and fatigue. In the worst cases, hyponatremia can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

There are exceptions for medical conditions and other situations, but athletes are often watched for signs of hyponatremia, especially those participating in endurance events like a marathon or triathlon.

Experts advise taking in some electrolyte-replacement fluids in addition to drinking water while you are exercising. However, you really only need a minimal amount to keep your body in balance and give you an energy kick. For example, it is recommended that runners out for 30 minutes to an hour take in three to six ounces of fluid every 15 or 20 minutes, including one sports drink. There’s also evidence that simply taking sips or swishing a sports drink will do the trick.

Don’t get sucked in to the sports drink hype

The risks of hyponatremia are steep, but take the hype about over-hydrating with a grain of salt. The multi-billion-dollar sports drink industry has pushed the idea that most people need more than water when they are active. However, some experts say that most people don’t need a lot of sports beverages, and that they often just add calories to diets. The CDC recommends choosing sports drinks that do not have added sugar, which can total 38 grams in just one bottle.

In May, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report warning that children should not consume sports drinks except when participating in lengthy sports competitions.

Consider these other drinks that carry the same benefits of electrolyte-replacement beverages but also have nutritional value or are less caloric:

  • Chocolate milk beat out water, sports drinks and regular milk in a recent study of what is the best post-exercise drink for our bodies. Lowfat milk has also been touted as an ideal remedy for muscles that have been rigorously exercised.
  • Coconut water is a non-fat beverage that has about half the calories of a sports drink while being high in potassium and antioxidants. Coconut water works best for average athletes.
  • Pickle juice is packed with sodium and, if you can bear it, can be added to water or made into popsicles for hot-weather workouts. There’s also scientific and anecdotal evidence that drinking a shot out of the pickle jar will help alleviate muscle cramps faster.
  • Beetroot juice has recently been recognized as a new “super drink” after one study found it helped competitive cyclists cut down their times by a few critical seconds. Not taking part in the Tour de France? Then keep an eye out for more research on how this alternative beverage might help weekend warriors.

Count other drinks besides water as fluids

It’s OK to include other drinks when you’re measuring how many fluids you take in per day. However, that isn’t a license to subsist on soda, coffee, and sugary drinks. Although caffeine in soda and coffee won’t dehydrate you, they shouldn’t be used to quench thirst or as a substitute for water. Add them to your fluid tally, but do reach for water more often than you pop open a can of bubbly stuff.

People, who imbibe, particularly wine and hard liquors, should also be aware that those drinks with high alcohol content can be dehydrating. Beer, however, is less dehydrating because it is predominantly water. Drinking a glass of water before and after alcohol can’t hurt fluid intake or the chances of avoiding a headache the next day.

Eat your water

you don’t always have to sip to stay hydrated. Experts say that 20 percent (or 2-1/2 cups) of the water we ingest comes from the foods we eat. Choosing the right water-rich fruits and vegetables will also add nutrients to your diet, fill you up, and may even give some oomph to your exercise.

Fruits like strawberries, cantaloupes, and peaches are packed full of water and potassium, which is the electrolyte shed when your body sweats. Adding more to your daily diet will help balance the fluids your body needs, regulate your heartbeat and circulation, and tastes better than chugging an energy drink.

Selecting foods that fuel your health while helping keep you hydrated will give you more bang for your buck. Watermelon offers a vitamin C boost, broccoli helps fight cancer, pineapple aids muscle recovery after a big workout, and yogurt ups immunity.

Sneak in the good stuff

If you’re up to your ears in cucumber salad or can’t manage to down another bottle of water, work in little ways to stay hydrated. Add slices of orange, lime, kiwi, or watermelon to a jug of water for a burst of natural flavor. Make a regular old glass of tap water feel fancier by adding fizz with a counter-top carbonator (sold for about $100 and marketed as home soda-makers, skip the added flavors to make sparkling water in your own reusable bottles). Take 10 minutes once a week to stock your fridge, car, gym bag, and desk with water bottles so it’s convenient to grab water wherever you spend most of your day.  Finally, you can up your fluid intake with one little step by simply adding a straw to your glass of water.

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7 workout mistakes to avoid

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You’ve put in the time. The sweat. Maybe the tears when you don’t see results. Quit blubbering. It’ll be fine.

Entering the weight room is the first step toward building muscle, but it’s not the last. What you do before, during, and after a workout can either negate your hard work or elevate your growth to a new level.

“Your personal habits, your social life, even which exercises you choose to do can take away from what you’re trying to build,” says Jeff Bell, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist and the owner of Spectrum Wellness in New York City. Bell and other experts helped us pinpoint seven factors that sabotage results. “Add them up and they could be why your muscles have nothing to show for all your time served,” Bell says.

Eliminate these seven saboteurs and then watch your muscles grow—with nothing holding them back.

Skipping the Basics

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Plenty of lifters believe that doing isolation exercises like chest flies and leg extensions is the only way to make their muscles grow. But basic moves such as bench presses and squats force several muscle groups to work together, imposing more stress on your body for bigger gains.

“Your body reacts to all that stress by having the anterior pituitary gland issue more growth hormone to compensate for the extra effort. Of course you need variation, but don’t abandon basic moves in favor of intermediate isolation exercises.

Fix it: Write down the exercises in your routine to see what percentage of them are compound moves. “If it’s not in the range of at least 40 to 50 percent, then you’re doing too many isolation exercises,” says Bell.

Lunchtime Hoops

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Playing sports too often can sidetrack your muscle-growth goals. Muscles typically need 48 hours of rest to adapt to the stresses placed on them during exercise. “Engaging in extra activity also makes your body more likely to use any excess calories it has for fuel, and not for rebuilding itself,” says Bell. 

Fix it: “Pull your cardiovascular activity back to the bare minimum—20 minutes, three times a week—to see what effect it has on your body,” Bell says. If cardio is indeed stealing your muscle, you should begin to notice strength improvements—being able to lift more weight or complete more repetitions—within 2 to 3 weeks. If your primary goal is to increase muscle size and strength, and not necessarily to build your overall health, try pulling back further. Can’t miss a game? During your workout, ease up on the muscles you use most in your extra activity so they have more time to recover.

Smoking and Drinking

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You know smoking is stupid. You know you’re gambling with cancer, stroke, and other health issues. But did you know you’re also sabotaging your strength training?

“Smoking places carbon monoxide in your system, which prevents your muscles from getting as much oxygen to use for energy,” says Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., a clinical professor of medical psychology at Duke University. “The less oxygen your muscles have to draw from, the less efficient they are at contracting, which can limit their capacity for work.”

As for alcohol, it can cover your abs with a layer of lard and interfere with hormones that help build them. “Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can also keep your testosterone levels lower than usual and decrease muscle mass,” says Swartzwelder. 

Fix it: Quit smoking, and don’t worry about becoming a cold-turkey butterball. “Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week not only helps control body weight, but can also produce positive psychological effects that might diminish the need to smoke,” says Swartzwelder. Drinking moderately (two drinks or less per day) won’t harm testosterone levels and can actually improve your cardiovascular health, he says.

Starvation

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You need to eat after your workout. Right after a session, your body is hustling to convert glucose into glycogen so your muscles can repair themselves and grow. “If you don’t eat after exercise, your body breaks down muscle into amino acids to convert into glucose,” says John Ivy, Ph.D., chairman of kinesiology at the University of Texas. 

Fix it: After you work out, eat a high-carbohydrate meal—and don’t forget the protein. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a four-to-one carbohydrate-to-protein ratio can provide 128 percent greater muscle-glycogen storage than a high-carbohydrate drink alone. (They used Endurox R Recovery Drink in the study.) For even greater results, have a sports drink before and during exercise.

Late-Night Television

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If you don’t get enough deep sleep, your muscles can’t recover. Moreover, says Catherine Jackson, Ph.D., chairwoman of the department of kinesiology at California State University at Fresno, when you work out on insufficient sleep, you exercise at a lower intensity than you realize—but you feel as if it’s high. So your muscles are less likely to receive enough stress to grow. 

Fix it: Go to bed and wake up at set times every day, even on weekends, to keep your sleep cycles regular. Avoid caffeine—and perhaps exercise—for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Elevating your heart rate before bed can interfere with sleep, Jackson says.

Sugar

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Sugary drinks like soda can fool your body with a blood-sugar spike, making you prone to skip “other, nutrient-dense foods you could be eating,” says Bell. If your sugar habit limits your intake of muscle-building amino acids, it will sap the fuel you need for your workouts, says New York City-based celebrity trainer Steve Lischin, M.S., C.P.T. 

Fix it: Water and low-sugar sports drinks are your best bets. But sugar hides elsewhere. “Watch out for dried fruits, certain nutrition bars, and even ketchup,” Lischin says.

Dehydration

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For the active person, eating about a gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight helps build muscle—if the protein is processed correctly. “A high-protein meal has a slight diuretic effect,” says Lischin. When the body uses protein for energy, it has to remove the nitrogen component of the molecule to turn it into glucose. “This requires plenty of water,” he says.

Fix it: Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day and divide your protein among five or six small meals throughout the day. “Eating an average of 25 to 30 grams each meal is ideal,” says Lischin. “Not only will you put less stress on your kidneys, but you’ll also utilize more of the protein you’re ingesting by giving your body only as much as it can use each time.”

 

 

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