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    Fighting the change of season
    Are you feeling blue these days? Are you feeling tired, even exhausted? Are you having sudden mood swings?
    Do not worry: these are the symptoms of a change of season! Transition from the hot sunny summer to the gray moist fall can have unsuspected consequences.
    The change of season affects both your mental and physical balance, and you should adapt your diet to stay healthy.
    As for your mental balance, the primary suspect for the mood swings is serotonin deficiency. Sunrays extensively provide serotonin during the summer, but with the advance of fall the serotonin level can go down, hence the mood swings.
    As for your physical balance, as the weather gets colder you begin to feel the need for caloric foods, sometimes even a greed for carbohydrate, chocolate and sweets, and you easily put on weight.
    You should take some little precautions to overcome this delicate phase. Try to keep the healthy lifestyles you had in summer: take long walks on sunny days, wrap up adequately on cold days, and beware of chills as the temperature drops rapidly at sunset. Above all: follow a balanced diet! My suggestions for this fall:

    Cereals – Fall has plenty of them! Oat, for example, is rich in protein, mineral and fat; it is a typical winter cereal because it provides heat during digestion. It is often used to make sweets and pastry creams, but you can use it to make soups, too. Buckwheat and millet are rich in protein and fats. Besides, millet is the only cereal containing seven out of eight essential amino acid, and it does not contain gluten, thus being edible for celiacs.

    Legumes – typical legumes (such as beans, lentils and chickpeas) help opposing the temperature drop. Cereals and legumes, mixed in hot soups, provide energy in the form of protein, carbohydrate and amylum, also cheering up our evenings.

    Fruits and vegetables – always eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. When grown outdoor and harvested in the proper season, fruits and vegetables offer unparalleled quality and taste.
    Some examples:

  • Pumpkin is rich with alpha-carotene, an antioxidant. It has antitumoural properties and it helps protecting the cardiovascular system. It contains vitamin A, B, C and minerals like calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese and zinc. Let me give you a little advice: include pumpkin in a various meal, containing oil and butter; you will make the best of the alpha-carotene properties.

  • I recommend chicory to those who have arthritis and rheumatisms. It has depurative and diuretic properties. It is rich in fiber, mineral and vitamin A, B2 and C.

  • Spinach is a good source of lutein, which, amongst other properties, protects against colon cancer. It is rich in folic acid, potassium and vitamin C and E.
    Cooking tip: always season your spinach and cook it briefly, to prevent dissipation of vitamins!

  • Broccoli and cabbages come in many varieties, all rich in folic acid, vitamin C and phytochemicals with antitumoural properties.

  • Not everybody likes persimmon. Nevertheless, this fruit is precious: it has detoxifying and diuretic properties; it is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium. It protects cells from free radicals, and it is quite useful to sportswomen as an energizer. However, remember: you must handle persimmon with care if you are overweight or diabetic.

  • Apple is a low-sugar and low-fat fruit, but it contains high quantities of pectin, that keeps the glycemic index under control. It contains minerals, vitamin B1 (opposing lack of appetite, weariness and guess what? Irritability!), B2C.

  • Pear has high fiber content, thus being a valid ally to your bowels. It contains minerals and unrefined carbohydrates: pear is not a problem for your silhouette!

  • Grapes are rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C, P and B6. They have strong antioxidant and antitumoural properties. Do not eat grapes if you are overweight: grapes are a highly caloric food.

  • Finally yet importantly, orange and mandarin help opposing seasonal diseases since they are rich in vitamin C. Their antioxidant properties will keep your skin young and supple; they will lower your cholesterol level and will protect your bowels from free radicals.

  • Special reference also needs to be made to oil fruits such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts. These little fruits are rich in lipid, protein and mineral. They provide heat and you can rely on them during fall and winter.

    Chestnut is the queen of your diet! It is rich in carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, mineral, vitamin and amino acid. Chestnuts do not contain gluten, and they are edible for celiacs.

    During the fall season, you need meat, eggs and cheese. These foods provide protein and, as a consequence, heat. However, be frugal with them: excessive quantities can be harmful to your health.

    Now a brief mention on vitamin C and probiotics.
    Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and antibiotic. It strengthens the immune system during the winter season. Citruses, kiwis, pomegranates, apples and cabbages are rich in vitamin C.
    Probiotics are bacteria that strengthen intestinal flora and oppose infections. Fermented food such as yoghurt, sauerkraut and sour dough bread are rich in probiotics.

    A last tip: to face the fall season try to stay outdoor as long as you can (but do wrap up!), stock up on sunlight, and take care of your nutrition: your mood will benefit and you will keep colds away.
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    Are Sweat And Weight Loss Connected?

    The time has come to refute one of the most widespread (and most harmful) misconceptions in fitness.
    Dear readers, the bitter truth: when you sweat you do not necessarily lose weight. In other words: you are very wrong if you think that the more you sweat the more you lose weight. I will show you why.
    Let us start from the beginning: sweat is nothing but a liquid that the sweat glands in the human body secrete. It is composed mostly of water, plus sodium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper (in small quantities), vitamins, hormones, urea, creatinine, amino acids, lactic acid and glucose.
    Did I make any reference to fats? You are right: I did not. Sweat does not contain fats, nor does it initiate a chemical reaction that burns fats. It does not serve as a crash diet.
    Through perspiration our body lowers its temperature, so it does not overheat during work or physical exercise. The human body is naturally maintained at a temperature of 96.8-98.6 °F (36-37 °C): this process is called thermal homeostasis (meaning balance ). During physical exercise the body temperature increases , and this could lead to energy loss , dizziness , dehydration and (in extreme cases) even to death . Sweat is one of the human body's cooling systems: liquids are secreted by sweat glands and excreted by pores (microscopic openings in the skin): they evaporate and dissipate excess body heat and maintain body temperature in an acceptable range. You can easily imagine how harmful it is to impede such a process.
    Nevertheless since the 80's many companies began to distribute and advertise unlikely devices to help weight loss through sweating: nylon jumpsuits, body wraps, K-Way and so on. Wearing such devices during physical exercise has no positive effects on weight loss and can represent a serious risk to the sportswoman. In fact they increase sweating considerably, but they keep sweat from evaporating, impeding thermal homeostasis. Body temperature rises sharply and the body overheats , with all negative consequences involved. Besides, with the body overheating you will be forced to slow down , and eventually to stop : in the end you will burn less fats.

    And now, some more tips .

    As you know, up to 65% of the human body is composed by water. You will suffer early symptoms of dehydration when you lose as little as 2% of water level. A 5% water level loss brings asthenia , cramps , nausea and respiratory distress . Besides, while dehydrating the body progressively loses the ability to control its thermal balance, and this leads to a vicious cycle I am sure you do not want to experience. As a result, helping perspiration is a crucial aspect when performing physical exercise: you should always ease thermal homeostasis with adequate clothing.

    During the average day the human body loses a half-gallon (2 liters) of water in urine, perspiration and respiration.
    You should always:

  • Drink a half-gallon (2 liters) of water each day
  • Drink small amounts of water when performing physical exercise, 0.04 gallons (0.150 liters) during each pause
  • Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which restore the balance of minerals and liquids

  • Just a little postscript : I am sure that, when you sweat a lot, you weight and you are pleased to discover that you have lost some pounds. Do not be deceived: what is missing is not fat , but liquids that you will reintegrate as soon as you drink.

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    Can we replace workouts with stimulators?
    Can we replace workouts with stimulators?

    No way!

    Advertising and the media try every day to convince the less informed that they could achieve by electrical stimulation what others obtain with hard work and dedication. A belief as far away as possible from the truth.

    Let us start with the basics: electrical stimulation is a process of voluntary muscle contraction, just like the ones that you repeat hundreds of times during an everyday training session. There is a little difference, however. When training, the brain itself suggests muscle contraction transmitting electrical impulses to the muscle through the nerve fibers. During electro stimulation, on the contrary, a hardware device generates the impulse to contract the muscles.

    Thus far, it may seem that the process is the same, after all, the only difference being the source of the stimulus. Indeed, it is so: electro-stimulation by itself has very beneficial effects on the human body if used in the right context with very specific goals.
    Electro stimulators play a fundamental role, for example, in resumption of sports activities after an injury, in preoperative physical training (maintaining muscle tone when it is impossible to train in the gym) as well as in postoperative physical therapy (recovering a specific muscle group). During physical therapy and muscle rehabilitation, we can only choose between muscle atrophy that occurs due to forced inactivity and maintaining muscle tone, to some extent.

    On the other end, there is no scientific evidence that we can use electro stimulators as a surrogate of sports training. On the contrary, electro stimulation is ineffective to those who already perform regular training workouts.
    Moreover, you should never consider electro stimulators as tools for weight loss. I am sorry: you do not burn significant amounts of calories by electro stimulation. For this purpose, you need to set your mind to losing weight, not a machine!

    Just remember: if you do not contract your muscles under a heavy load (which is the case of electro stimulation), muscle strength and tone will increase very little, if at all.

    Therefore, to get real results, there is only one effective trick: choose a goal to achieve and work for it!
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    Andrea Marcozzi
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    Food improves concentration, how to feed your brain
    Are you going through a period of stress? There are various techniques to improve concentration during these periods, and experts insist that a good diet is the first step towards this goal. Certain foods can strengthen our memory and increase clearness of mind. Skipping meals due to lack of time, drastically reducing food intake when starting a diet or frequently eating foods which are not recommended from a nutritional point of view, instead of following a varied, healthy and balanced diet, are all behaviors that rapidly damage our levels of mental energy . If our diet is not correct, we can have an annoying sensation of bloating, and feel tired and slack. Studies have shown that a good breakfast improves memory and the level of attention. Students who eat breakfast, for example, tend to be significantly more productive than those who decide to skip it. The brain needs glucose, so it is necessary to ensure a good supply of this sugar. Foods placed on top of the list by the researchers in this case include: wholegrains, or alternatively three slices of crispbread or three wholemeal biscuits, a glass of milk, even soy, or yogurt and some fresh fruit.

    Concentration- boosting food

    The B vitamins (and in first place thiamine) are important energy nutrients as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iodine which play a key role in the proper functioning of the memory. There are foods that contain a good amount of these nutrients and therefore significantly help mental concentration: oat flakes, blueberries, eggs, oily fish, avocados, chocolate, green and black tea.

  • Oats are a complete cereal, rich in proteins, fats and vitamins, especially thiamine (B1), whose presence helps to redress the balance of the nervous system. Oatmeal has a balancing effect on the nervous system, and it is therefore recommended in case of nervousness, insomnia, or during periods of stress. Other features are: a feeling of satiety, a low-calorie content, high digestibility and control of cholesterol in the blood. It can be eaten at breakfast or added as you like to other dishes. The concentration is also linked to digestion, and oats give a great feeling of satiety with a minimum caloric intake. Oats can be eaten raw in muesli, while oatmeal can be used in biscuits and cakes and also to thicken dishes such as meatballs, fishcakes, soups or stews with sauce.

  • Fatty fish is known as a useful food for the brain, and today's research confirms that it contains phosphatidylcholine, an essential element to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Fatty fish such as trout, salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, the ideal fuel for the cells of the brain. Its deficiency has been associated with lack of energy.

  • Eggs, whose yolk contains choline, necessary for cell membranes and the transmission of nerve impulses. The yolk is also rich in vitamin E, which gives energy and helps the nervous system to function.

  • Nuts they also contain omega 3 and are, therefore, a good alternative to fish for vegetarians. Nuts also have significant quantities of vitamin E, another nutrient for the brain which is also antioxidant, and magnesium and potassium. Eat them as a snack, 4-5 at a time.

  • Avocados are a complete food, rich in monounsaturated fat, which helps to maintain and improve the level of concentration. They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, potassium (essential for the conduction of nerve impulses) and vitamin E which, as we have already said, helps the function of the nervous system, fibers and antioxidants. They can be eaten raw or cooked, although when eaten raw, they are of course, much more effective and healthy.

  • Tomatoes, whose content of the antioxidant lycopene - in addition to vitamin C - makes them valuable for the proper functioning of the brain. Cooking increases the content of lycopene in tomatoes, so, have for lunch a nice plate of wholemeal pasta and tomato sauce with a little olive oil that facilitates the absorption of lycopene.

  • Citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, etc..), blood thinners rich in the already-mentioned, essential, vitamin C.

  • Blueberries which, thanks to the powerful antioxidants flavonoids, are useful to safeguard the functionality of the brain, and to improve, just like vitamins C and E, the structure of blood vessels. Research shows that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and improve learning faculties. They are rich in antioxidants, which help to activate enzymes that protect the brain and improve memory, and potassium, a mineral necessary for the transmission and generation of nerve impulses. Blueberries have a low-calorie content, are rich in vitamin C and are a good source of fiber, potassium, iron and calcium. Some researchers believe that blueberries also contribute to strengthen the long-term memory.

  • Coffee can stimulate and help concentration. It contains caffeine which is a xanthine, i.e. a phytochemical substance which has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. The stimulating effect of this substance is, however, in the short term. A moderate use of coffee (3-4 cups a day) can increase alertness and
  • concentration, reduce fatigue and improve work performance. It’s important to remember, however, that extensive use of caffeine leads to nervousness, restlessness, and insomnia.

  • Green tea is an excellent antioxidant and inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that damages acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. A couple of cups of green tea a day (preferably sugar-free and, above all, without sweeteners) can provide our body with the necessary stimulants without making us feel unnecessarily heavy. In addition, it contains no calories, fights fatigue and helps us to achieve a pleasant feeling of satiety.

  • Dark chocolate is another important stimulant which satisfies the desire or need for sugar in the body. It contains a natural stimulant, catechin, similar to caffeine, which helps to keep us concentrated. Experts say that a small, daily amount of chocolate is enough to feel its effects in the body.

  • And finally three small, but important, recommendations: hydrate yourself regularly (2 liters per day) because dehydration can diminish the faculties of the brain, breathe deeply using the diaphragm especially when you feel stressed and without energy because the brain does not work without oxygen. Do some exercise every day, even a walk in the park for twenty minutes is enough which, in addition to increasing the body's resistance, also helps the brain to release endorphins, substances that promote a feeling of well-being, the control of anxiety and tension, a better quality of sleep and, therefore, higher levels of mental energy.
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    Sport- The Anti-Diabetes Pill To Take
    Back in 1959 the Joslin Clinic already reported that physical activity, aerobics and sports in general, are an integral part of the treatment plan for diabetes, and that due to the synergetic action of insulin and muscular activity, physical exercise is considered a mainstay of the diabetes therapy.Many people already know what diabetes is, but not everyone knows that sport represents a tool for treating diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. In this article I want to make a small introduction in order to try to convey some information for understanding how important sport is to fight diabetes. I will, therefore, report some scientific studies, but also some examples of athletes with diabetes who won several gold medals, thus demonstrating that a disease should not be an obstacle in achieving one’s goals.

    There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes mainly affects young people, and is caused by the malfunctioning of the pancreas which regulates glycemia by releasing insulin, whereas type 2 diabetes is manifested by the resistance of the cells with respect to insulin, leading to difficulties with glucose in the intracellular environment and, consequently, a rise in glycemia. The latter type of diabetes generally occurs after the age of 40-50, but there is an increasing phenomenon of young people under the age of 20 who are affected by it. Among the main causes of this change in trend are excess weight and obesity, which are related to scarce food culture and the reluctance to engage in physical activities. Obesity can also Increase the risk of developing cancer. This is why here in roundfit we also deal with nutrition, to try to provide a complete service and to promote the principles of the Mediterranean diet, which is also suitable for those suffering from type 2 diabetes which has less dietary restrictions than type 1 diabetes.

    Diabetes and Sport - what studies say

    Improving one’s lifestyle by following a healthy diet and doing regular physical activity, results in a reduction of 50-60% of the risk of the onset of diabetes for people who are highly at risk, in those people who already have some intolerance to carbohydrates. Obviously, besides fighting diabetes, aerobic exercise has many other beneficial effects. Among these, it reduces the risk of coronary diseases, it greatly increases the sense of wellbeing and much more.
    For those who suffer from diabetes, it is recommended to practice sports that have a continuous and prolonged aerobic activity, without fits and starts, that is to say exercises of high-synergy activity and moments of complete deadlock. Sport and exercise act as a real anti-diabetes medicine. Several studies, including the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study, show that to prevent diabetes it is sufficient to walk for 150 minutes per week, and to choose the stairs instead of the elevator.

    Athletes who suffer from diabetes and won gold medals

    Sport is a successful weapon for young people with diabetes. I would like to mention some people who are important examples of motivation for me, such as the swimmer Gary Hall, Olympic gold medal, and the footballer players Paul Aaron Scholes and Nicolas Amodio. These champions have shown that diabetes must not be an obstacle for doing sports even at competitive levels.

    I want to leave you with one of the wisest quotes I've ever read:

    "Take care of your body, it's the only place where you have to live" Jim Rohn

    So no excuses, start training now!
    Posted by
    Andrea Marcozzi
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