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What Is a Pollen Allergy?

     What makes spring so beautiful for many people leads to misery for those who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms. Natural allergy treatments can be as effective and, in many cases, more effective than allergy medications.
Fresh cut grass, blooming trees and flowers, and weeds release pollen, causing seasonal allergies in an estimated 40 million to 60 million people each year. Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever and seasonal allergies that occur not just in the spring, but throughout the summer and into the fall.
While hay fever frequently begins at a young age, it can strike anyone, at any time. Sometimes seasonal allergy symptoms fade over the years, only to reoccur later in life. If you experience seasonal allergy symptoms in one location and move to a new area with different types of flora, your allergies may go away.
Every tree, flower and weed releases pollen, but not all individuals have heightened sensitivity or allergic reactions to all pollens. It’s important to pay attention and recognize what triggers your allergy symptoms. For some people, cottonwood trees and ragweed are the problems, while for others it’s grass or ragweed.
Research indicates nearly 75 percent of people in the United States that suffer from seasonal allergies are allergic to ragweed. Unlike grass, trees and flower that produce pollen in the spring and summer, pollen due to ragweed is often highest during the fall.
Nearly a third of ragweed allergy sufferers also experience an allergic response to certain foods. These include cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seedsbananas and chamomile tea.  If you have a ragweed allergy, avoid these foods and others listed below under “Foods to Avoid.”
Left untreated, seasonal allergy symptoms cause miserable symptoms, affect day-to-day activities and can spur asthma attacks. Approximately 80 percent of people with asthma suffer from seasonal allergies. Treating hay fever symptoms can reduce asthmarelated hospitalizations and emergencies.
The same pollen and allergens that trigger seasonal allergy symptoms can cause asthma attacks, resulting in wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. This condition is referred to as allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma.
People with compromised immune systems, COPD and other respiratory conditions need to manage their seasonal allergy symptoms to prevent further complications. Changes in diet, natural supplements, essential oils and lifestyle changes can help.
     Did you know that your risk of suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms increases dramatically if you have certain underlying medical conditions? Asthma, unmanaged stress, deviated septum, nasal polyps, recent trauma or illness, pregnancy, and even food allergies can put you at heightened risk.
These conditions, and others, can adversely affect your immune system functioning. Allergy symptoms are caused when our bodies release histamine in response to an allergen.  A strong immune system is key to fighting seasonal allergies.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, allergies are actually disorders of the immune system. The body over-reacts to harmless substances and produces antibodies to attack the substance. This is what causes the symptoms.

Foods to Avoid During Allergy Season:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Caffeine
  3. Conventional dairy
  4. Chocolate
  5. Peanuts
  6. Sugar
  7. Artificial sweeteners
  8. Processed foods
  9. Melons
  10. Bananas
  11. Cucumbers
  12. Sunflower seeds
  13. Shellfish
  14. Bottled citrus juice
  15. Echinacea
  16. Chamomile
  17. Wheat
  18. Soy

Foods to Enjoy During Allergy Season:

  1. Raw local honey
  2. Hot and spicy foods
  3. Bone broth
  4. Probiotic-rich foods
  5. Pineapple
  6. Apple cider vinegar
  7. Fresh organic vegetables
  8. Grass-fed meats
  9. Free-range poultry
  10. Wild-caught fish

Best Supplements for Allergy Symptoms

  1. Spirulina
  2. Quercetin
  3. Butterbur
  4. Probiotics
  5. Vitamin A
  6. Zinc
  7. Bromelain
  8. Stinging Nettles

Dr. Meg

lifting
When it comes to working out there are aspects that can make or break any particular day. A lot of times it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and forget things during WODs. Taking the extra few seconds to reset, controlling your breathing, keeping the best possible form – all things that we can lose focus on. Just as important as it is to keep up on the physical part of our training, it is just as important to focus on the mental part. Help out your mental game and follow a few of these simple, yet effective, tips to help you get through even the toughest WODs:

Clear your mind – Stress of work, busy schedules, and even the occasional drama can take a toll on us as individuals. One of the best things to do when going to the box is leave all of that outside the door. Clear your mind of everything going on for that hour plus because it is time to focus on what’s most important – you. It’s difficult to succeed at our task at hand when we are focused on something completely irrelevant. “The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee

Positive Attitude – Whether you have a good day or bad, one day does not make or break us, it’s what we do in the long haul that does. Simply keeping an open mind and positive attitude can make the world of a difference in how you feel . .  after all we do tend to attract what we project. Even if you are having a bad week/month things eventually will turn around. When we stop worrying about what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right is when everything will come together.

Have Fun – Ever notice how some of the best athletes around are always smiling? That’s because they are having fun. Working out is a lot more bearable to get through when you are happy. Now if you just so happen to bust out a few dance moves or sing a bit of karaoke in the process. . . . lets just say I like your style! From the words on Jon Rohn, “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”Happy Lifting!
State officials say they’ve seen an increase in the number of ticks this year, including those carrying diseases.
The Connecticut Post reports that more than 200 ticks have been submitted for testing to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station in March, compared to 14 in March 2015. Officials say the number of ticks testing positive for the bacterium that cause Lyme disease is also higher than usual.
Experts blame a warm winter and a large population of white-footed mice, which can carry the Lyme disease bacterium and spread it to ticks.
The bacterium is transmitted to humans through tick bites and can cause serious health problems if left untreated.
Health officials say to wear insect repellent and to be vigilant about checking for ticks after spending time outdoors this spring.
Ticks are parasites that stick their heads under your skin and drink the liquid that you have in between your skin cells. The live off of you until they are nourished enough to go off and mate to create more ticks.
Don’t panic, while the tick may carry a host of bacteria that can cause infection, the risk of getting these infections is remarkably low during the first 48 hours. In the first 48 hours, they are just sucking in your fluids and growing in size. After about 48 hours, the Tick hits maximum size and starts to push the fluids in their body back into your body and then suck fresh fluid to replace it. It is this regurgitation of fluids back into your body that introduces bacteria into your system. So the first thing to do is to remove the tick as soon as possible.
Some websites say to use petroleum jelly to coat the tick then pull it out, however, the Centers for Diseases Control recommends specifically against this approach. If you shut off their air supply, they will start regurgitating the fluids into your body as they die. You want to use tweezers and pinch the tick as close to the skin as you can. Don’t twist, don’t jerk, just keep giving it constant and increasing backward pressure until it pops off. Then kill it and put it in a bag with the date you removed it. This way if someone wants to test it later on, they can. Wash with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine solution.
Should you call your doctor or wait to see what happens? Either is acceptable. The CDC recommends waiting unless you develop a fever, rash, or aches in your muscles or joints over the next several weeks.
For Lyme disease there is a rash with a red center, regular skin color, and then another red circle so it looks like a target. There are antibiotics that can help but it works better the sooner you get it.
Avoid ticks altogether by wearing long pants and log sleeve shirts, using bug repellent with 20% or more DEET or permethrin, stay on trails where possible, and check yourself and loved ones over for ticks when you come out of the woods.
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tick
I know this make appear out of left field and be rather gross in description, but I have heard too many stories in the last few weeks to warrant some research, offer some suggestions, and alert friends to be aware of the issue;)
Enjoy the outdoors but be safe.
Dr. Meghan

Music and training go hand in hand. Doesn’t matter if you’re at a globo gym, the box, or hitting up the trail. You are guaranteed to find someone training to music and when you have good tunes playing it truly can make a big difference. Here’s a good article from Catalysts Athletics about music and training. . . .

music

Music in Training: Is It Helping, or Making You a Whiny Baby?
Greg Everett

I usually like listening to music when I train. Most athletes I’ve known do. Typically the reason given if they’re asked why is that it keeps them motivated and energetic, and if memory serves, research has backed up the benefits of music in this regard (although who cares what the research says on this—you know if it has this effect on you or not).

But music is a luxury. If you consider it anything else, it’s a problem.

You’re not in the gym for a concert; you’re there to train, and if training isn’t your first priority by an overwhelming margin, you’re already losing. Noticing what music is playing, and even recognizing whether or not it’s something you like, is fine, and arguably it would be impossible not to do this.

There will be plenty of days in your life in which you struggle to get motivated for your workout or a particular exercise—you might be tired, hurting, or distracted by life outside of weightlifting—and on these days, the right music can change your mood pretty effectively.

In such cases, I don’t have an issue with you blasting that music to get yourself through a tough day. But I do believe that you have to have the ability to do it without music—whether that means complete silence, or someone else’s horrible, over-produced, auto-tuned nonsense that sounds like it was made on a drug store keyboard in his mom’s basement but somehow is earning him millions of dollars…

Here are a few of my rules regarding music and training.

Motivation As I said above, use music if it helps you stay motivated on days you’re more inclined to go cry on the couch and watch Lifetime movies than put your lifting shoes on [Note: lifters are people who lift; lifting shoes are the things they wear on their feet to do so.]

Focus Weightlifting requires a lot of focus. If you’re not training it every session, you’re falling behind. If you have a million things bouncing around your head while you’re trying to train, you’re going to have a bad day. In these cases, listening to music I believe can reduce those thoughts and distractions considerably—instead of a million things, you may whittle it down to as few as two: your training and the music. Obviously, this is a huge improvement. However, never allow it to be the primary focus. If you’re paying more attention to the song playing than your current or next set, get yourself sorted out.

Leave it Alone If you’re going to listen to music while you train, just listen to it. If you’re on your phone or whatever other futuristic device you’re playing music through after every song looking for the next song you want to hear, you’re violating the previous rule. Pick better musicians who can make more than one decent song per album and let it play through. Or use that technology and make playlists that you’ll listen to from start to finish.

Social Media & Your Friggin Phone I would rather, by orders of magnitude, have my lifters paying attention to the music playing than getting on their phones and looking at social media between sets. If listening to music while you train helps reduce your compulsion to scroll through millions of posts you’ve never needed to see, then please do it.

Shut Up About It If you train in a gym with other lifters, don’t argue or complain about the music if it’s not your preferred artist, genre, whatever. Get over it. Be a damn athlete and do what you’re supposed to do. As a coach, I’ve made it extremely clear that the moment anyone starts arguing or whining about the music, it’s getting shut off and they can all sit around and listen to themselves breathing.

Unplug Your Ears If you train with a coach or even just teammates, take those ear buds out. From a coach’s perspective, having an athlete wear ear buds in training is a sign of disrespect—it says I’m not interested in what you have to tell me during this workout. Maybe you believe that’s not true, but if your coach does, that’s what matters. That aside, your coach needs to be able to communicate with you quickly and easily. He/she shouldn’t have to go to great lengths to get your attention to get you to pull your headphones out so he/she can help you be less shitty at weightlifting. Act like you actually care. If you don’t want to hear what your coach has to say, quit working with him/her.  If you train in a gym with a lot of distractions and you don’t have a coach there working with you in person, by all means, plug those ears up and look as unfriendly as possible so everyone leaves you alone and doesn’t disrupt your training to ask you if you learned how to snatch using the scoop method or tell you that all the best Chinese lifters internally rotate their arms overhead.

The bottom line to all of this is pretty simple if you haven’t already picked up on the theme: Use music strictly as a tool to improve your training, not as another obstacle to progressing in a sport that’s already tough enough on its own.

On any given day, you can never really know how you are going to feel in the gym till you actually start working out. Sometimes you predetermine yourself for success, other times for failure. There are the unexpected PR’s that you never had any intention of getting, or rare occasions when your body says it’s done for the day and you simply cannot perform up to your normal standards. Then there are the golden days when both your heart and your body are synched perfectly together. It’s like you suddenly have super hero powers and can accomplish anything! Think we all tend to love those days.

No matter what kind of a day it is, it’s important to keep at it and work towards whatever goals you may have. Take the good, the bad, and the ugly and keep pushing towards a new tomorrow. Sure you may be angry or disappointed when a workout doesn’t go as planned, but it happens. Remind yourself that IT IS OK. Maybe tomorrow will be the day when everything comes together. That’s the beautiful thing about what we do, we never know. We can only keep trying.

This is one of the many things that separates us from others. It’s the champions within each and every one of us. Good or bad, we refuse to give up. We will do things a 1,000 times till we achieve our desired result. Always analyzing what we were able to accomplish today, and looking forward to what we can do tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a new day. Our fresh start. New opportunity to move forward in becoming the best possible versions of ourselves. Our own goals, our initiative to get things started, or maybe to change directions in search of what we really want out of our workouts. Overall, adding to our quality of life. Take the unexpected successes, the struggles, and the golden days and use it to mold who you are. Always remember, no matter what happens today, tomorrow is yours to make great.

5 Diet Tips to Maximize Muscle Growth

By Adee Zukier

Showing off the muscles you work so hard for is not just about the way you train, but more importantly about the way you eat. Carrying more muscle relative to body fat will make our bodies tighter, help us burn more calories and fit into our clothes better. With that comes a sense of accomplishment and confidence from seeing our bodies change due to our hard work, sweat and determination.

When it comes to building lean muscle mass there are a number of aspects you need to think about. Of course, your training stimulates muscle growth, but your diet is also extremely important. The body requires nutrients in order to build muscle. If you want to pack on muscle you need to not only think about how many calories you are taking in, but also where those calories are coming from. Follow these 5 diet tips to maximize muscle growth:

1. Eat protein
There are a lot of opposing arguments as to the protein requirements for athletes. Recommendations range from .5g – 2g per lb. of body weight. At .5g per lb. a 150lb athlete would be eating 75g of protein per day, which is not very much at all. On the other end of the spectrum that same athlete at 2g per lb. is eating 300g of protein, which may be too much.

What we do know for sure is that protein is necessary for the building, maintenance and recovery of muscle. Protein will also help you feel full longer and aid in the burning of body fat due to its thermic effect; the body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs or fat.

The most important thing for you as an athlete is to ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet to realize its benefits, but not so much that it will keep you from eating enough of the other macronutrients (carbs and fat). I recommend 1g – 1.5g per lb. of lean body mass (the amount of weight carried on the body that is not fat). This is because fat cells do not have the same protein requirements as muscle.
What sources should you get that protein from? Try not to rely too heavily on supplements and mix up your protein sources to get a variety of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and digestive speeds.

2. Carbohydrates are you friend
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel. Carbs provide your body with the energy it needs to get through intense workouts more efficiently and directly than any other energy source. To put it simply, your body will break down the carbohydrates into glucose and either use it directly for energy or store it as glycogen for when the body demands it. In order to avoid the body using protein as an energy source, it is important to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet, especially around periods of exercise.

Before training choose slower burning carbohydrate sources such as sweet potato, rice, and pasta due to their ability to keep blood sugar levels consistent and avoid any crashes in energy. Try adding a serving of protein to this meal and amplify all those gains! Save the more sugary carbs for pre/during/post training to boost insulin and maximize the repair and growth of muscles post-workout. For those that follow a Paleo-style diet, carbs do not always equate to candies and grains. You can get your carbs from vegetables and fruit too!

3. Get enough calories
To gain any sort of body mass it’s important that you are in a caloric surplus, the same way that trying to lose body fat requires a caloric deficit. How to set this surplus is the tricky part and completely specific to the athlete and their needs. As a rule of thumb, choose an amount, stick to it and monitor your body weight as well as your body composition. If you are losing weight on the scale while your body composition remains the same you may want to consider increasing calories, if you are gaining weight as well as body fat adjust in the other direction. Contrary to popular belief, if the weight on the scale is going up it is not always muscle so take all factors into account!

4. Drink water
With all this talk of food, don’t forget to monitor your water intake. More than half our body is made up of water so any dehydration will lead to a reduction in the functioning of vital bodily processes. Although water may not be a direct source of energy the same way carbohydrates and fat can be, it is critical in the transport of nutrients to the cells. Without proper hydration it is likely that your training session won’t go as well as it could. Not to mention that your muscles will look bigger and fuller if they are hydrated appropriately.

5. Be consistent
Following these tips will get you on your way, but if you stick to the plan for a few days and then veer off track for the next few, you are unlikely to see any progress. Find a way to motivate yourself to remain consistent. Whether that is a particular coach, gym, training partner or program, stick with it and remember that there is no magic trick to replace hard work and determination. Changes in your body will be cumulative so keep at it and allow your body the opportunity to adapt!

 

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