Why do I get headaches during intense exercise?

Posted July 19th, 2009 by Greg Crawford. Comments Off on Why do I get headaches during intense exercise?.

I know there are many times where you are either lifting weights, taking a class, or doing your own cardiovascular workout like running, where all of a sudden you get this sharp pounding headache.

So in this article I’m going to talk about why we might get headaches during exercise and what steps we can take to avoid them.

What happens during a headache?

Nociceptors (the ends of the pain-sensitive nerves) are stimulated by stress, muscular tension, dilated blood vessels, and other headache triggers, and send a message to the nerve cells in the brain, signaling that a part of the body hurts.

 Headaches typically target six main areas. These areas are the muscles of the face and head, the blood vessels at the base of the brain, and the nerves of the scalp, throat, face and mouth. Each affected area has a high number of pain receptors in the immediate vicinity.

 Different chemicals help transmit pain-related information to the brain, including endorphins – natural painkilling proteins. It has been suggested that people who suffer from severe headaches, or other chronic pain, have lower levels of endorphins than people who are generally pain-free.

 Here is a list of factors that might cause a headache to happen

  • Dehydration
  • Imbalance of electrolytes or other minerals.(ex: potassium and sodium)
  • Intake of too much salty foods and diuretic type drinks like coffee
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of blood flow or muscle spasms
  • Cigarettes


 Let’s take a look at some steps we can take to avoid exercise induced headaches:  

1.) Drink more water.

            -If you think your drinking enough water…try drinking more!  Cause chances are it’s not enough.  Don’t just drink during exercise, drink before and after to prepare your body for rigorous work.

2.) Lower your intake of natural diuretics

           -Drink no more than 1-2 cups of coffee per day

           -Eat less salty foods and processed meat

            -Do not add salt!  Train your taste buds to enjoy the food and not the salt!!

           –  Do not smoke!!!!!!!

3.) Supplement with electrolytes, vitamins and minerals

–          With today’s modern diet, chances are your body is imbalanced or deficient in certain nutrients.  Take a multivitamin and multi mineral as an insurance policy.  Capsule form is the best because they are more easily absorbed by your body.

4.) Naturally increase endorphins in the body

–          Before beginning intense exercise, warm up really well and listen to some motivational music.

–          Focus on your breathing and meditate first for a few minutes.  De-stress yourself before you stress yourself!!

–          Try to get more sleep!! At least 7-8 hours a night.  

5.) Stretch and increase flexibility

–          Stretch at the end of every workout.  This will improve flexibility, which will improve blood flow and recovery, which may alive vascular dilation in the head.

–          Try Yoga…Great for flexibility, breathing, and meditation.


Hopefully this knowledge will help alleviate those painful headaches.   If headaches do continue after taking all necessary steps than I would advise you to seek a professional and ask your doctor to look into this further.

Why Cardio Doesn’t Work for Fat Loss

Posted July 13th, 2009 by Greg Crawford. Comments Off on Why Cardio Doesn’t Work for Fat Loss.

Turbulence Training

Cardio exercise is such a strange thing. In theory, it should work
so perfectly well for all men and women, but as anyone who has
tried it knows, the practicality of it just doesn’t add up.

After all, some men and women do cardio 6 hours, 9 hours, or more per week, and still have belly fat to burn. On the other hand, it works just fine for others.

British researchers wanted to get more insight into this paradox, and studied 35 overweight men and women, who weren’t previously exercising.

(Reference: International Journal of Obesity 32: 177-184, 2008).

Subjects exercised 5 times per week for 12 weeks. That’s a lot of
exercise, but it helped the subjects lose an average of 8.2 pounds, which is great – I was positively surprised by the results.

So cardio will work for some people, however, in my experience, it works best in young men, who need the help the least!

Back to the study, the variance in fat loss between individuals was huge. Check this out…

The best subject lost a staggering 32.3 pounds in 12 weeks, while the worst subject actually GAINED 3.74 pounds.

The scientists think they know where things went sour. They
classified the subjects into 2 groups, called the “Compensators”
and the “Non-compensators”.

The Compensators were hungrier, and as a result consumed an extra 268 calories per day, all but wiping out their cardio efforts.

Therefore, the Compensators lost the least amount of weight, and scientists believe that was due to the huge “compensatory” increase in appetite experienced by this group.

Does your appetite increase when you do slow cardio? If it does,
research shows it will ruin your cardio efforts.

So if your cardio program is not working for you, check your
appetite and calorie intake to see if you are “compensating” for
your efforts. If you are, you might be better off using a program
of high-intensity resistance and interval training (i.e. Turbulence Training) for your weight loss efforts.

As Australian Professor Steve Boucher has shown in research,
interval training increases hormones called catecholamines. And
increased catecholamines can reduce appetite, among other fat-
burning benefits.

In the real world, few people lose 33 pounds after 12 weeks of
cardio. Heck, few even achieve an average weight loss of 8 pounds with aerobic exercise.

So again, check your appetite, and consider giving high-intensity
exercise a go for your next workout program.

Check out Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

Turbulence Training

Adopt a healthy,fun,and fit lifestyle!

Posted July 8th, 2009 by Greg Crawford. Comments (3).

tropicalWelcome to my first official blog and launch of the new “It’s a Lifestyle” website.

This site was designed in order to position you to achieve your fitness and lifestyle goals by giving all the tools and resources available to improve the quality of your life.

Because we all want to be happy right?

I like to define our lifestyle as your time + the environment where you spend your time.  So a healthy and happy lifestyle is a balanced use of your time in a healthy and fun environment which enables you to achieve your goals.

So in order for us to adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle, I broke it down into 4 categories: 

1) Psychology:

  • Find your trigger point (Your pain)

                –  What is it that is really painful to you where you are going to finally say “I’ve had it”!  I can’t take how I         feel or look and I do not want it anymore!  Make a plan to move away from the pain

  • Take action!! 

                  –  This is the hardest part.  You have to act like Nike and “just do it”!  Don’t think of all the reasons why you can’t do it, figure out the reasons you can do it. Do not wait a day longer and like other important things in your life take action.

  • Seek help

                  –   Sit down and talk to a fitness professional, meet with a nutritionist, and try to surround yourself with positive people.

  • Stay motivated by making SHORT term goals

                  –   It might be simple things like the first time you could actually wrap the smaller bath towel around yourself and actually tuck it.  Or going from 3 push ups to doing 20.                                                                                                                     

 2) Time Management:

  • Invest in a good day planner and get organized! 
  • Schedule your meals and workouts around your busy schedule.
  • Make and keep appointments with the professionals that can help you achieve your goals.
  • Don’t try and spend hours and hours in the gym just to burn calories. Don’t do more, do it better.

3) Exercise:

  • Do at least 2-3 days of strength training.

–          For every pound of muscle you’re burning 50-60 more calories a day at rest.

–          Muscle will allow you to store more carbs instead of converting to fat

–          It’s empowering to feel strong and your body will feel tighter and more firm.

  • Perform interval training for your cardiovascular exercises.

–          Changing intensity levels from high to low intensities will keep you engaged and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.

  • Walking at a good pace on an incline for 35-45 minutes is probably the best and lowest impact form of fat burning cardio work, especially for beginners.

–          As you get more conditioned, make sure to progress your cardio workouts every 6-8 weeks by increasing speed or incline %.

  • Pick a day where you do something fun and different as a workout to keep you motivated and will enjoy.
  • Make sure you stretch at the end of every workout.

4) Nutrition:

  • Eat breakfast!

–          You haven’t eaten all night so you need to kick start your day with fuel and nutrients.

–          Eat a small portion of carbohydrates like a bowl of oatmeal or an orange with a protein like eggs or a high protein cereal with some low fat organic milk.

  • Have a protein shake with a small amount of carbs in it after your workout.

–          Within 30 minutes of a workout is the most crucial time to put these nutrients into your body to start the recovery process of what you just worked.  Your body is like a sponge so you will not get fat but use these important nutrients.

  • Do not go more than 3 hours without eating something small or putting something of value into your body.

–          This will keep your metabolism moving and keep your body from thinking its starving thus storing fat for survival.

  • Eat to perform!

–          Too many times we eat strictly for pleasure.  Think about eating so that your body is supplied to perform well during exercise and recover when broken down with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables when you can and stay away from processed and refined foods that not only add no nutritional value but also drain you of the nutrients in your body used to digest, recover, and repair.
  • Drink lots of water!!


Now let’s help each other out!  I need all my reader’s to comment on this blog and give me one topic or question you want answered to help you achieve a better life of health and fitness.  I will take the top 5 topics/questions and research,write ,and post in upcoming blogs. Can’t wait to see this!

Hello world!

Posted June 10th, 2009 by Greg Crawford. Comments Off on Hello world!.

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!