This Viral Video Shows the Most Bizarre-Looking Leg Cramp We've Ever Seen

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/bizarre-leg-cramp-video

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A video of what is quite possibly the most painful-looking leg cramp ever has gone viral. The 50-second clip, posted Monday by Angel Bermudez on Facebook, has racked up 16 million views and more than 177,000 shares.

"After the workout. Start to relax and then this happens. Painful yes it was," Bermudez wrote in the caption. The footage shows the muscles of his calf contracting and squirming, almost as if something were inside his leg, right under the skin.

Take a look, if you dare. (Warning: There's some NSFW language in the caption.)

RELATED: Here’s How You Can Use a Lacrosse Ball to Release Your Calves

"This is what a cramp looks like," you can hear Bermudez saying between grunts and groans, clearly in significant discomfort.

Plenty of commenters said they found the alien-like motion of Bermudez's cramp flat-out disturbing. But others had clearly been through similar pain, and were quick to offer advice: stand up and walk, stretch, eat a banana, drink more water.

Although we don't usually recommend following health advice from strangers on Facebook, in this instance, they're on to something. Those solutions might actually help.

Leg cramps are sudden and involuntary muscle contractions, and—even though they can hurt like heck—they're usually harmless. Leg cramps are thought to be caused by some kind of irritation or activation of nerves that tell the muscles to contract, and stay that way.

The irritation can be brought on by a range of things, from dehydration to a mineral deficiency, or even pregnancy. Ramping up your workout intensity too quickly, or over-training tired muscles can also lead to cramping. (For more on the possible triggers, check out "13 Causes of Leg Cramps—And How to Stop Them.")

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You can usually cure a cramp (especially one that comes up quickly after a workout) by hydrating with water, replacing electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat, and gentle stretching. But check with a doctor if you have frequent leg cramps that don't seem to be related to physical activity or your diet. Some underlying health conditions, like peripheral arterial disease and multiple sclerosis, can also cause leg cramps.

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These Are Tracy Anderson’s All-Time Best Ab-Sculpting Moves

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/tracy-anderson-core-workout

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The truth: The belly is a bad place to pack on pounds. That’s because excess visceral fat—found deep within the abdomen—increases major health risks (heart disease, type 2 diabetes, even dementia). One study revealed that normal-weight women with bigger bellies had a 48 percent higher risk of premature death than their slim-stomach counterparts.

Luckily, you can take control of that gut. "Cutting portion sizes, reducing saturated fats, and exercising more will all help," says Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine.

Adds Cynthia Sass, RD, "Foods rich in monounsaturated fats, such as avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, and nuts, have been shown to help ward off belly fat, as have beans, lentils, and peas."

Performing ab-centric moves is also key, says star trainer Tracy Anderson. But you’ve got to hit the muscles from every angle. "It’s not just about the front of the abs, the rectus abdominis," she explains. "You have to also get the obliques, the transverse abdominis—which acts as a girdle—and the lower back muscles working together."

This series does just that. Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat the sequence on the other side. Don't forget your 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week to watch your dream abs take shape.

Walk-Around Plank and Lunge

Start in a deep lunge with left leg forward (knee turned slightly out), right hand on floor, and left hand on left knee (A). Step right leg forward as you press hips up, coming onto left toes while keeping left knee bent (B). Return to "A," place both hands down, and extend left leg back and diagonally up (C). Return to "A" and repeat.

Alternating Crab Jump Hip Lift

Start seated with feet on floor and hands on either side of butt. Lift hips and extend left arm up (A). Lower hips slightly and step right leg back as you place left hand on floor; hop feet over to the other end of mat (B). Come into bridge position with right arm extended up (C). Continue alternating.

Lunge to Down Dog Arabesque

Kneel, then step right leg forward, place left hand on floor, and extend right arm straight back (A). Step right leg back until it’s fully extended with toes on floor; bring right hand to floor (B). Push up onto right leg, lifting hips and extending left leg straight up (C). Return to "A" and repeat.

Plank With Knee Pull to Bridge

Start in a plank with legs wide (A). Rotate body to face right, coming into side plank as you lift left knee toward chest and slightly twist hips to tap right hand to left thigh (B). Return to "A," then step right foot over left foot to rotate torso as you push hips up into bridge position; extend right hand up (C). Return to "A" and repeat.

Parallel Knee Pull-In Side Plank

Start in side plank with feet and hips stacked, right hand on hip (A). Bend right knee and bring it up (B). Return to "A" and repeat.

Side Plank to Hydrant Arabesque

Start on all fours. Lift right arm toward ceiling and bring right knee toward shoulder so right thigh is parallel with floor (A). Swing right leg back, extending it (B). Lower right leg down so ball of right foot touches floor and place right hand on floor (C). Twist torso to face left, pushing hips up, extending left arm up, and reaching left foot to floor as you press into side plank (D). Rotate body back down to return to starting position. Repeat.

 

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For Some People, Too Much Protein Can Be Deadly—Here’s What You Need to Know About the Death of a Bodybuilding Mom

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/protein-overdose-urea-cycle-disorders

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An Australian woman has died after consuming large amounts of protein from food and dietary supplements, her family says. The mom of two had increased her protein intake while preparing for a bodybuilding competition, but doctors discovered too late that she had a rare disorder that prevented her body from properly metabolizing the nutrient.

Meegan Hefford’s death certificate lists the previously undiagnosed condition, called urea cycle disorder, as a cause of death, Perth Now reported Saturday, along with “intake of bodybuilding supplements.”

According to news reports, Hefford’s mother said the healthy and fit 25-year-old had “ramped up her gym sessions and gone on a strict diet earlier this year.” While attending college and working part-time at a hospital, Hefford would sometimes go to the gym twice a day.

Her mother also said she found “half a dozen containers” of protein supplements in Hefford’s kitchen, along with a detailed diet plan including protein-rich foods like lean meat and egg whites.

Hefford was found unconscious and rushed to the hospital on June 19, and was reported brain dead on June 22. It took two days for doctors to discover she had a urea cycle disorder, but she had reportedly complained about feeling lethargic and “weird” earlier in the month. Her mother said she’d worried about Hefford “doing too much at the gym,” and had warned her to slow down.

RELATED: This Is How Much Protein You Really Need to Eat in a Day

Urea cycle disorder is an umbrella term for a family of rare genetic disorders that affect about one in 35,000 people in the United States, says Nicholas Ah Mew, MD, director of the Inherited Metabolic Disorders Program at Children’s National Health System’s Rare Disease Institute. (Dr. Ah Mew was not involved in Hefford’s case.) 

People with a urea cycle disorder are deficient in one of six enzymes that help remove ammonia—a toxic byproduct that’s created when protein is metabolized—from the bloodstream. Normally, ammonia is converted to a compound called urea and is removed from the body via urine. But for people with urea cycle disorders, ammonia can build up in the bloodstream. When ammonia in the blood reaches the brain, it can cause irreversible brain damage or death.

According to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, this condition can occur in both children and adults, and cases can vary from mild to severe. Infants with severe forms of the disorder become seriously ill or die soon after birth, but it’s possible for children with milder cases to go undiagnosed.

Adults can also develop (or live for years with) mild cases, without knowing they have the disorder. “These people may have enough urea cycle function to get by on a day to day basis, until they hit some kind of perfect storm of events,” says Dr. Ah Mew. “Maybe it's a combination of illness or injury along with a large boost in protein intake, and it overcomes their ability to get rid of the ammonia in their system.”

RELATED: Does Plant Protein Build Muscle as Well as Meat?

However, Dr. Ah Mew adds, people with undiagnosed urea cycle disorders usually have some symptoms. “Typically, there’s some combination of nausea, vomiting, and inability to think clearly, particularly after a large protein meal,” he says. “It’s very rare for someone to feel completely healthy and suddenly fall unconscious.”

And while Hefford’s case is very rare, it does raise concerns about the potentially harmful effects of dietary supplements—which are largely unregulated in Australia as well as the U.S. Hefford’s mother hopes her death will serve as a warning to others not to overdo it with bodybuilding shakes, pills, and powders.

Medical and nutrition experts told Perth Now that protein supplements aren’t necessary for most healthy people, and that it’s better to get the nutrient from whole foods rather than trying to “trick your body” into building muscle. “This case is obviously tragic and illustrates that you may not know you have a health issue that alters the way you metabolise,” Australian Medical Association WA president Omar Khorshid, MBBS, told the news organization.

Most people eating a balanced diet will easily hit the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein, which is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day. But people who are very active, in middle age, or are trying to build muscle or lose weight are often encouraged to get more than that.

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Dr. Ah Mew says that anyone looking to optimize their protein intake in order to increase muscle mass should consult with an exercise physiologist or sports nutritionist about the healthiest way to do so. But he says for most people, an occasional protein shake after a workout—with protein powder or without—should not be cause for concern.

“It’s important for the bodybuilding community to know that anyone who has repeated nausea, vomiting, headache, after eating lots of protein should get their ammonia levels checked,” he says. “But if you feel fine, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to have an undiagnosed disorder like this.”

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5 Moves, 30 Minutes: Your Ultimate Kickboxing Workout

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/kickboxing-cardio-workout

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This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.

It’s time to give your cardio routine a kick in the you-know-what. Just like other cardio workouts, kickboxing offers all the benefits of a high-intensity routine, including better coordination, mobility and strength. You’ll not only knock your muscles into high gear, but you’ll squash the stress of the day.

RELATED: Undefeated: Kickboxing Workouts to Get You Strong

Anja Garcia, one of the lead instructors for Daily Burn’s new Undefeated kickboxing program (available now), guarantees this is one workout you can’t fake. “The choreography combinations force you to stay connected throughout the entire workout. And let’s be honest, punching and kicking helps get out any aggression, fear or sadness.”

Although these kickboxing moves will knock out major calories, they don’t skimp on strength either. “The punching and kicking helps to strengthen everything from your shoulders and back to your abs and legs,” Garcia says. “As with all your punches, it isn’t just about the upper body. So much of the punch also comes from your legs. You are working your abs and lower body, too.”

TRY IT NOW: Daily Burn’s Undefeated Program

5 Kickboxing Moves to Squash Calories and Build Strength

Before you jump in the ring, take a few minutes to review proper boxer’s stance. “Your foot positioning is super important as the power of the punch actually originates from the glutes,” Garcia explains. The traditional boxer’s stance is with your left foot forward, feet shoulder-distance apart. “Your feet should be in a staggered fighting stance with your back foot slightly out to the side so that you’re able to use your hips through the punch,” Garcia says. Next, bring your fists up to your cheekbones and keep your elbows in by your sides — also known as guard position. Your fists should be close enough to your cheekbones that your thumbs can touch them.

Guess what? You’re ready to rumble. For the kickboxing workout below, perform eight reps of each exercise and repeat for as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes.

GIF: Undefeated

1. Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut

Throughout the Undefeated program, you’ll do different variations of this classic combo. But to help you maintain form, here are a few pro pointers: “In the jab, the punch comes straight out from the shoulder. Imagine the point of contact being someone’s nose,” Garcia says. For the cross, utilize power from your back hip to strengthen your punch, and for the hook, keep your arm at 90 degrees, Garcia adds.

How to: Get into guard position (a). Jab: Extend your left fist straight with your thumb pointed toward the floor. Pop it back to guard position (b). Cross: Turn your right foot inward and bring your right hip and shoulder forward. Keep your elbow in as you punch your right fist straight out with your thumb pointed to the floor. Pop it back up to guard position (c). Hook: Lift your left heel off the ground to shift your weight to your right side. Bring your left elbow up to shoulder height, forming a 90-degree angle, with your thumb facing up. Pop it back up to guard position (d). Uppercut: Turn your right hip and shoulder forward. Punch upward with your thumb facing you. Pop it back up to guard position (e). This is one rep.

I WANT IN: Sign Me Up for Daily Burn’s Undefeated

GIF: Undefeated

2. Sweep, Squat, Kick

The sweep squat is a new take on the basic squat, engaging other muscles in your glutes and quads. But adding the kick also fires up your hamstrings, Garcia says. “The great bonus in this move is that the sweep down engages the core a bit more.”

How to: Get into guard position, feet shoulder-distance apart (a). Sit into a deep squat, while keeping your hands by your cheekbones (b). As you come up to stand from the squat, sweep your arms laterally to your left side and kick your right leg straight out (c). Repeat on the left side (d). This is one rep.

GIF: Undefeated

3. Jab, Cross, Slip

This move is all about good offense and defense. Here, Garcia says to step into the punch and then defensively slip back and duck away from someone else’s potential punch.

How to: Get into guard position. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart facing forward (a). Extend your left fist straight out with your thumb pointed toward the floor. Pop your fist back into guard position (b). Bring your right hip and shoulder forward to punch your right fist straight out with your thumb pointing the floor. Pop it back up to guard position (c). Keeping your hands in guard position, sit into a squat and duck your head, slipping it to your right side (d). Repeat on the left side. This is one rep.

SIGN ME UP: Start the Undefeated Kickboxing Program Today

GIF: Undefeated

4. Front Kick, Back Kick

Control is everything during this combo of kicks that also demands flexibility and mobility in your hips and hamstrings. Garcia recommends starting your kicks low at knee height before gradually going up to hip or chest height.

How to: Stand in guard position with your hands by your cheekbones and your feet in a staggered fighting stance (a). Kick your right leg forward, and then your left leg back, while maintaining upper body form (b). This is one rep.

RELATED: Need a Cardio Fix? Try This 5-Minute Kickboxing Workout

GIF: Undefeated

5. Uppercuts

Uppercuts are deceptively lower body moves. The real power behind them comes from your shoulders, back and legs, too. “Firing up these big burners helps increase your metabolism and makes kickboxing a total-body workout,” Garcia says.

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart (a). Pivot your right hip and shoulder forward (b). Keeping your elbows in, punch upward with your fists. Be sure your thumbs face you (c). Right then left is one rep.

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Protein carrot cake cupcake recipe

The latest from: http://www.womenshealthandfitness.com.au/diet-nutrition/recipe-finder/2307-protein-carrot-cake-cupcake-recipe

With hints of vanilla, cinnamon and salted caramel, and containing less than 13 grams of carbs, we doubt you will stop at one of these protein carrot cake cupcakes.

Settle down with a cuppa and a clean protein cupcake this winter, courtesy of WH&F cover model Heidi Cannon.

 

Ingredients (makes 8)

Cupcakes:

1 banana
1 cup shredded carrots
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup crushed walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 scoop of salted caramel protein powder of your choice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

Icing:

1/3 cup low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp. organic icing sugar
1 scoop salted caramel protein powder of your choice

 

Method

Cupcakes:

1. Shred carrots in food processor.

2. Fold in all wet ingredients.

3. Slowly add in dry ingredients to mixture and blend together (mixture will be fairly dense). Scoop out the mixture and place into individual cupcake tins. I recommend using a tin foil lined cupcake wrapper to make removal easier.

Icing :

1. With an electric mixer, blend cream cheese and salted caramel protein powder.

2. Slowly add in organic icing sugar and blend together.

3. Place in fridge for 10 to 15mins or until you are ready to ice the cupcakes.

 

NUTRITION  (per cupcake, depending on protein powder used)

Protein= 7g // Fat= 18.25g // Carbs=12.25g // Calories= 236

NEXT: Looking for more healthy treats? Try these mini chocolate pronuts today.

 

 

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The Best Ab Exercises You’re Not Doing

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/new-ab-exercises

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After a sculpted stomach, but having trouble making progress? Too often, we work our core in one direction (think: crunches, sit-ups, leg raises). But the ab moves below challenge the muscles in new ways, says Ashley Borden, a celebrity fitness trainer who has worked with Reese Witherspoon, Mandy Moore, and Ryan Gosling. Mix them into your workouts or do them in this order as an ab circuit; do three sets of each. 

RELATED: 5 Ab Exercises That Blast Belly Fat

Plank to Knee Tap

Start in a forearm plank with body in a line from neck to heels (A). Touch both knees to the floor (B), then straighten legs again. Do 20 reps. 

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Single-Leg Hip Raises

Lie on back, knees bent and feet planted (A). Squeeze glutes and lift hips so they align with knees; extend right leg (B). Hold and lower, then repeat on other side. That’s 1 rep. Do 20 reps. 

Standing Dumbbell Rotation

Hold a dumbbell with both hands at chest height, arms extended, feet shoulder-width (A). Twist torso left (B) and hold, then twist right. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

 

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We Can't Stop Watching This Insane Human-Powered ‘Fitness Machine’ Video

The latest from: http://www.health.com/fitness/red-bull-most-creative-workout-routine

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In an crazy new workout video just released by Red Bull, 14 fitness personalities give a whole new meaning to the post-gym selfie.

The energy drink company tapped a team of elite athletes and coaches to construct a Rube Goldberg-esque "fitness machine." In the complex, choreographed routine, the super-fit talent use various moves and skills to power the contraption, which through the domino effect, eventually triggers a camera to snap a group photo at the end.

The project was inspired by Red Bull's "Athlete Machine" video, which went viral a few years ago. The new clip, filmed at Deuce Gym in Los Angeles, took 250 hours to design, and incorporates everything from cycling and weight lifting to rope climbing and hip-hop dancing.

The video's stars include Nike Master Trainer Holly Rilinger, Olympic rugby player Carlin Isles, and CrossFit competitor Colleen Fotsch, among others. 

We are seriously impressed!

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Here's How to Take a Perfect Vacation

The latest from: http://www.health.com/syndication/vacation-health-happiness

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This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Taking time off from work or the daily grind not only helps people de-stress and feel happier, but it also helps productivity and mood—as long as you do it right.

But the barrier to entry is high, since many Americans don’t even take their allotted vacation time. Fewer Americans are going on vacation now than in the past: Data suggests that Americans used to take nearly three weeks of vacation a year in 2000, but took just slightly more than two weeks in 2015. Even when people are on vacation, more than 60% say they keep working remotely.

Yet the benefits of vacation are clear. “We know that taking a break is extremely good for one’s mental health,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, an adjunct professor of gerontology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, who frequently writes about the benefits of vacation. “It puts you in a different frame of mind, gets you out of your standard patterns and can give you time with family.”

MORE: TIME Guide To Happiness

It also helps busy people hit refresh, in a sense. In one survey of 414 travelers, 94% said they had as much or more energy after coming back after a good trip, and 55% who had a low-stress trip returned to work with even higher levels of energy than before.. “It’s good to just get out of the day to day drudgery,” says Whitbourne.

The type of vacation matters, of course. If planned poorly, a vacation can actually lead to more stress. According to a 2010 report, a vacation where there’s lots of travel stress, like figuring out transportation logistics or feeling unsafe, can make vacationers feel less happy and more frazzled than they were before the trip. Taking the time to plan the trip can help ensure things run smoothly. In that same survey, 28% of people who said they had a bad vacation also said they left planning to the last minute.

Managing expectations is also key to having an enjoyable break. Your happiness will fluctuate during a vacation, after all. “If you understand people have different happiness levels over the course of vacation, that can give you some ideas for how to spend it,” says Whitbourne. “Have alone time or take a break, then come back together.”

MORE: TIME Guide To Happiness

And don’t forget to document your trip on your camera. “Take pictures, so that you can look back on them and the memories of vacation,” says Whitbourne.

Even if your trip seems to be filled with more mishaps than good memories, all is not lost: you can usually turn weird, bad or disappointing experiences into family jokes. “Everyone has those nightmare travel stories,” Whitbourne says. “But those can really bond families or partners.”

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