Have you ever used myfitnesspal before? It’s a free calorie tracking app and it’s the one we prefer our members to use. It may not be the BEST app out there, but it’s certainly the one with the most nutrition information.
But, how do you setup an account in it and how do you put in your macros? Watch this video to find out! In it, I cover:
How to setup an account.
How to adjust your activity level and what you should set it at.
What macros we like people to be at.
Inputting a sample meal.
What the check marks mean.
And a lot more!
Check it out and let us know what you think.
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In this article I am going to give you the answers to the following questions:
When should you go see your Doctor about knee pain?
How do you stretch your ankles and hips (the common reasons why people have knee pain when squatting and knee pain in general) to help you squat and move better?
The two different types of squats you can do and how to perform each.
And a hell of a lot more!
I hope you enjoy!
Quick Squat Tutorial
This is a real quick down and dirty squat tutorial where I go over the two types of squats – The power squat and natural squat.
Tests to determine what’s causing your squat issue.
There are three easy tests we use to assess someone’s ankle and hip mobility (mobility differs from flexibility). Mobility refers to how easy a joint moves, flexibility refers to how easy a muscle can move. Think gymnastics for mobility and yoga for stretching. For our purposes, we want good mobility, but as far as you are concerned the terms can be interchangeable when discussing the squat.
First test – Can you touch your toes?
This test assess your straight leg ankle mobility. If you cannot touch your toes this doesn’t mean you can’t squat, but it certainly tells us some stuff…mostly that you have tight ankles in a straight leg position.
Second test – can you squat, hips below knees AND hold it there for 10 seconds?
This test is pretty straight forward – Can you squat without pain? If you want to squat…you need to squat! This test allows us to assess your overall tightness. Specifically, we are looking at it from the hips down. Can you get below parallel? Can you hold it there? Bonus points if you can hold it there WITHOUT SHOES ON. Not a necessity, per se, but that is something to work towards. Some people can bounce down and up with no problem, we don’t want that.
Third test – Can you squat with hips below parallel AND keep your toes pointed straight ahead?
This is another pretty straight forward test – Where are your toes pointed once you get into the full squat and what do your knees do? Do your heels come up off the ground (tight ankles)? Do your knees cave in (tight hips)? Do your feet turn out (tight ankles)?
If you cannot perform any of those movements WITHOUT KNEE PAIN then skip down to the last video on this page – When should you talk to your doctor about knee pain with squatting?
Start at the ankles.
Most knee pain can be attributed to tight ankles. What exactly is a tight ankle/how do you know you have tight ankles? Well…you probably do. Tight ankles and a tight upper back are the MOST COMMON joint restrictions we see at our gym. World renowned Strength Coach Mike Boyle (arguably the guy who brought functional training into the mainstream) always says – “You can always improve your ankle and thoracic mobility.”
There are two ways you need to stretch your ankles – in a straight leg and in a bent knee fashion. You have two muscles that make up your calf (gastrocnemius and soleus – One likes a bent ankle, the other likes a straight leg) both need to be stretched in two different ways.
Then go to the hips.
Hip mobility is the next thing to tackle. Poor hip mobility will cause your knees to do some wonky things during the squat as well as possibly cause lower back pain if you are trying to force yourself into the bottom of the squat.
When should you see your doctor if squatting hurts your knees?
Understand something – Most, as in over 95%, of your aches and pains can be alleviated through proper exercise selection, rest and good coaching/program design. At the end of the day, it takes time to heal things.
Case in point.
Having said that – If you perform these stretches, a few times per day, for 30 days and you still have knee pain when squatting, you might want to consult your doctor. These are just STRETCHES/MOBILITY exercises. If you came to our gym with knee pain, we would use these exercises PLUS strengthening moves that target the hamstrings and glutes. But, that is too much for this article.
Here’s a quick video on WHEN you should go see your doctor about knee pain with squatting.
There ya go! I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you squat better without pain!
Do you have knee pain? Let us help you! Give us 30 days and we will show you how to fix your knee pain while also getting some weight off of you, improving your energy and teaching you a lot of things about your body you didn’t know!
Have you ever heard that “Squats are bad for your knees?” Let’s bust that myth RIGHT NOW because it is FALSE!
Where did this come from?
First of all – there are NO studies to support this statement. Zero. None. There are a number of studies that look at the loading forces on the knee through various squat depths, however, none of them conclude that squatting is “bad for the knees”. This is just one of the studies I found.
“Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues.”
There is some talk about a Dr. Karl Klein who back in the 50’s looked at the rising knee injuries in college football players. He concluded that deep squats were what was causing the issues. Hmmmm….could it have been maybe that players played both offense AND defense? This story then got picked up by Sports Illustrated after he released his findings in 1961. Then the American Medical Association came out with their position stand on squat – stating that squats were bad for your knees and should be avoided.
And that folks…was the early death of squatting. Thanks to Dr. Klein, SI and the AMA we, as trainers, had to listen to our clients tell us how bad squats were for your knees..for the next 50 years. All this was based on NO SCIENTIFIC STUDY. That’s an important point to remember.
Squats aren’t bad of your knees…the way you are doing them is bad for your knees.
Saying squats are bad for your knees is such a silly thing when you think about it. Every time you get out of a chair/take a dump/get out of your car – that’s a squat. As human beings we were MADE to squat!
From an evolutionary perspective – if we couldn’t squat, we wouldn’t have been very good hunters. Ever try hiding standing up? Also…did you know that the first firing position initially taught to rifleman in the military was to fire from a deep squat? That’s right!!! It’s much easier for you to drop down into a squat position and get back up into a run then it is to lay all the way down on the ground, sight, fire, then get up. Maybe not in hunting a deer, but certainly in a fire fight against an enemy.
The reason this was taken out was because people were complaining of knee pain. I’ve worked for the military, they don’t just throw out an idea and hope it works. This was a position that was used for hundreds of years that had to be changed in the mid 20th century due to people sitting more and not having good mobility and/or strength to perform this task.
Then you have the biomechanics perspective – our knee joint is a hinge joint, it’s made to go from a full straightened position to a fully flexed position. Black, red, brown, white no matter your skin color, we are all built the EXACT SAME WAY. So, explain to me why entire continents of people can squat ass to grass (that means all the way down in fitness talk) with no pain? Often times when I throw this out to people, the answer I get the most of is – “because they do it often.”
Where does the problem lie?
The problem that arises when people try and squat, i.e. the reason why people’s knees hurt when they squat is three fold:
Their form sucks.
They have poor mobility in their ankles and hips which leads to their knees getting beat up.
They have an underlying pathology of pain like arthritis (even if you have arthritis you can still squat safely and effectively) or a torn meniscus or something along those lines
Bad form folks. Don’t be like Jonny “I don’t know Squats”.
That’s it for part one. In part we will go over the two different ways to squat as well as how to fix tight ankles and hips AND when you seriously just shouldn’t squat.
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1) Drink 8 oz of water per hour in an airplane. You get dehydrated when flying due to the low moisture content of recirculated air in the plane.
2) Men are made up of about 75% water via women’s 65%. This is due to more muscle mass in males.
3) Your sweat rate will vary depending differences in the environment (heat and humidity), exercise intensity, exercise duration, mode of exercise (the less accustomed to the activity, usually the more work and sweat loss) and type of clothing (water absorbency).
4) You can lose up to 100 ounces of water in an hour of intense exercise on a hot and humid day, or as little as 3 ounces doing yoga in an air conditioned room for an hour.
5) With age, thirst becomes a less effective indicator of the body’s fluid needs. Seniors who have relocated to locations where the weather is warmer or dryer than the climate they are accustomed are also more susceptible to become dehydrated. They need to drink water regularly. Dehydration in children usually results from losing large amounts of fluid (such as from play) and not drinking enough water to replace the loss. An infant can become dehydrated only hours after becoming ill. Dehydration is a major cause of infant illness and death throughout the world.
6) Water is essential to consume during competition in hot environments. But what about cold settings? Dehydration is not as deleterious because cardiac output (heart rate x stroke volume) is higher in colder environments, thus enhancing cardiovascular performance. This is thought to occur because core temperature is lower
7) To determine sweat rate, measure body weight before and after exercise (wearing no clothes), the amount of fluid consumed during exercise, and the amount of urine excreted (if any) during exercise.
Sweat rate varies from person to person due to body weight differences, genetic factors, heat acclimation ability and metabolic (energy production) efficiency.
8) What are the differences in herbal, vitamin, purified, spring, mineral and artesian water?
a. Herbal water features flavors derived from herbs that tout health benefits associated with antioxidants.
b. Vitamin water is fortified with various vitamins and other additives, including a sweetener that adds calories to the drink.
c. Purified water is usually produced by some type of distillation process.
d. Spring water flows naturally from an underground source.
e. Mineral water comes from a protected underground source and must contain some minerals. This is what I like to drink the most of.
f. Artesian water is drawn from a well that taps a confined aquifer (underground layer of water permeable rock, sand, clay or silt).
9) Sweat is 99% water and 1% other trace elements and electrolytes.
10) Monitoring the color of your pee is still a good indicator for hydration status.
11) Will drinking water help with weight loss? There is some evidence for men and women that water intake with a meal may help to promote satiety and take the edge off hunger. Water has no caloric value, however, stay away from flavored water as there is usually added sugar in that. Also, remember, water is the main vehicle for transport in the body as well as the catalyst for almost all chemical reactions in the body. Altering your fluid status would certainly cause detrimental effects to weight and would not help it in any way.
12) Sponging the head and torso with cold water or a water spray is a skin wetting technique. Although perceived to be performance enhancing, this practice has not been demonstrated to reduce core temperature or improve cardiovascular performance.
13) Expectant mothers and those who are breast-feeding need additional fluids daily to stay hydrated. Women at risk of gaining too much weight are encouraged to consume more water (no calories) and limit their consumptions of sweetened fluids (with calories).
14) Hyponatremia (“natremia” comes from the Latin word for sodium, and means “sodium status”) means subnormal levels of sodium in the blood. This may occur in prolonged cardiovascular events such as a marathon. Symptoms include vomiting, headache, bloating, swollen feet and hands, disorientation, undue fatigue and wheezy breathing. Fluid intake overload is the main cause of exercise-induced hyponatremia. An excessive loss of total body sodium is another cause or contributing reason. Medical intervention is necessary in order to clearly discern whether symptoms are from a heat disorder or hyponatremia.
15) The temperature of water does not affect how fast it’s absorbed into the body, nor does it make a statistically large different in calories burned, i.e. consume cold water to burn more calories. Yes, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.
Water, so simple (drink it!). Yet, so complex (how much?!). We’re gonna hit you with the down and dirty.
What’s the purpose of water in the body?
Water is involved in EVERY process in the body. It’s used as a transport medium; the majority of your blood is water. Think of that for a second: water helps transport OXYGEN and NUTRIENTS. That’s what red blood cells do; they carry oxygen rich blood to working tissues in addition to other nutrients. Low hydration = diminished capacity to carry oxygen and nutrients. That affects your cognition and brainpower just as much as it affects your physical ability.
Water is a lubricant. Not only does being well-hydrated help with joint pain (the discs between your spine and joints are composed of primarily water), but it also helps with digestion.
Water is a coolant, but most people know that already.
Take home point. The purpose of water is to keep us alive and allow us to thrive. This is done via the transportation of oxygen and nutrients, the cooling of the body, aiding in digesting foods and keeping our joints happy and healthy.
Dehydration: How does the body use water as a coolant, and what happens when we are dehydrated?
As water is lost from the body via sweat (cooling us down), blood pressure goes down, blood volume decreases resulting in a drop in stroke volume (volume of blood your heart pumps out per beat), and cardiac output decreases (how much total blood your heart pumps out per unit of time, generally a minute). For cardiac output think volume and force. When volume goes down, force goes up to make up for a loss of volume. Dehydration leads to an INCREASE IN HEART RATE, which is not good,.For all intents and purposes, a heart that beats faster isn’t ideal.
To make matters worse, as you get dehydrated, you actually end up sweating LESS. Well, there is a tipping point. That’s a sure fire sign of a heat-related illness. Sweating is a safety mechanism, except when sweating would kill you in the case of having LOW amounts of water. The body stops sweating in the case of heat-related injuries because you’re taking vital water away from organs, and it’s way more important to keep that heart pumping rather then cooling yourself off).
All of this leads to decline in mental and physical performance.
Take home point: Dehydration = higher heart rate, lower blood pressure, and less oxygen is delivered to brain/muscles resulting in decreased mental and physical performance.
How is water stored in the body? Bloating 101.
Water is stored in fluid within the cells (intracellular fluid [ICF]) and/or fluid outside the cells (extracellular fluid [ECF]). ICF is about 65% of total water; ECF (blood plasma, lymph fluid, etc.) is about 35%. Chloride, potassium, and sodium are three molecules that help maintain the balance between ICF and ECF. If one of those three becomes too concentrated in either ECF or ICF, the body produces hormones that help to bring the balance back. For instance, too much sodium in the ECF (think of ECF as a transport channel) will cause water to be pulled out of the ICF to bring the ratio of water to solvents in the ECF back to balance.
Pizza makes you thirsty, and it causes you to bloat up. That’s because the sodium from the pizza accumulates in the ECF, which then causes the brain to pull water from the ICF to signal thirst. You will then feel thirsty until the balance between ECF and ICF is restored.
What happens if you OVER drink? That means you have a greater amount of ICF now. That’s where the kidneys come in to bring the balance of ICF to ECF back.
Take home point: The body wants the balance of water to be tightly controlled. Any change to that balance will result in the body attempting to bring it back to balance via either consuming more water or eliminating water.
How much water should you drink on a daily basis?
Generally it’s quoted to drink a gallon of water. However, I have also heard drink 8, 8 oz. glasses per day, which would give you about half a gallon of water. That’s a pretty big swing! What does the research say? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established an adequate intake (AI) for total water to prevent the harmful acute effects of dehydration. Every day we lose about a liter from breathing, sweating, and bowel movements, which is about 33 ounces of water. Then we add in the average water lost through urine in a day, that’s 1.5 liters, or around 50 ounces of water per day. So, we know that we need to AT LEAST consume roughly 80 ounces of water daily to make up for the average loss.
The IOM AI for sedentary men and women (19-50 y/o) is 3.7 liters and 2.7 liters per day. However, we get about 20% of our total water from foods, so that means the actual intake is 3.0 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women., or about 100 ounces for men and 80 ounces for women. Obviously, if you’re excreting more water through urine, bowel, breathing or sweating, you need to consume more water.
Take home point. Total intake should be at least 80 ounces for females and 100 ounces for males. This is based on a sedentary person.
Drink three normal size mason jars per day and you should be totally fine for water intake if your sedentary.
How do you know how much water to drink before, during, and after exercise?
This is actually way easier to figure out then you think. Weight yourself before you work out to figure out how much you should drink post work out, and make sure you do this naked. Weight yourself again (naked) after your work out. How much water did you loose? You should be drinking about 1.5 liters per kilogram or 50 ounces per 2.2 pounds, which comes out to about 22 ounces per pound.
Take home point. For every pound lost during exercise, drink 20 ounces of water.
What about before exercise? That depends on what time of the day you work out. If it’s reasonable, consume ALL of the water for your day before you work out. This would be a good rule of thumb for an evening work out session. If it’s mid-day, shoot for 3/4 of your 100 or 80 ounces of water. First thing in the morning then go for at least 30-40 ounces. The research is fairly clear on this, but, rather then bore you with the research, let’s just stick to what you will actually pay attention to and do. General rule of thumb: drink 16 ounces of water per hour for females and 20 ounces of water per hour for males. More is probably better, less is certainly worse.
Can you drink too much water?
Yes, but, it’s akin to over dosing on vitamins and minerals. In over 20 years of being involved in the fitness field, I have NEVER come across anyone who has been injured or otherwise debilitated through drinking too much water. In fact, it’s almost silly to talk about it. The body has a lot of checks and balances for it’s various tasks. You would be peeing every hour if you were drinking TOO much water. So, while the easy answer is yes, the hard answer is, it’s incredibly unlikely.
Where do sports drinks and “enhanced water” fit into this?
Sports drinks, made famous by Gatorade are now sold everywhere and, are more of a bane then a boon. (Did you know the initial formulation of Gatorade has HALF THE SUGAR as it does now? They added more sugar to make it more palatable.) In my opinion, sports drinks do more harm then good. The goal of sports drinks is to replenish water lost through competing/practice, replenish electrolytes and start the recovery process earlier. It’s important to replenish electrolytes as we are just one big battery. Our system works because of electrolytes suspended in water to allow the conduction of electric current.
Generally speaking, you should consume a sports drink if you lost A LOT of water through sweating in a short period of time (playing a 90 minute soccer match in 90% humidity and 90 degrees would work). If your clothes are DRENCHED in sweat after an hour of working out, or if you’re going to be losing a lot of water via sweat through out the day (like construction workers and outside laborers) on an hourly basis then consume a sports drink.
Sports drinks are VASTLY over consumed on a regular basis. Little Becky or Bobby does not need a Gatorade after their pee-wee soccer match. Give them some fruit and water and they will be fine. And, you certainly don’t need it after a 30-minute spin class.
If you’re going to consume a sports drink then get the one with the least amount of carbs.
Take home point: You probably don’t need to drink a sports drink after you’re done working out, but you do need water!
Enhanced water is water that (generally) has electrolytes added to it and maybe some other things like B Vitamins. This could be the fruit infused water you buy at Whole Foods, or products like Propel, Vitamin Water, etc.
Enhanced Water? What’s next…enhanced Oxygen?
Generally speaking, stay away from 99% of enhanced waters as they have added sugar in them. Some of the enhanced waters have enough sugar to actually make a difference (like some vitamin waters) in your blood sugar and some of them don’t.
Take home point: Drink water. Maybe have some carbs and protein in it if you just did a resistance training session at a high intensity level. Maybe have some electrolytes in it if you just lost a bunch of water.