6 Incredible Clean Carbs Sources That Build Muscle and Improve Performance


Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your brain, body, and overall athletic performance, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbohydrate sources, aka complex carbohydrates, provide the long-lasting, sustained energy you need for prolonged workouts, such as running, cycling, and high-intensity functional training. They also help you build more muscle and optimize workout recovery. The question is, what carbohydrates are best for building mass, optimizing body composition, and improving performance?

The Problem with Simple Carbs

Chances are you’ve had a snack or chugged a sugary carb drink before a workout or run and found yourself gassed-out midway through your training. Simple carbohydrates and supplements such as maltodextrin, dextrose, and cyclic dextrin spike your insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.

Most people, athletes included, will have some kind of simple carbs an hour or two before their training session to get that midday pick-me-up. This stokes a vicious cycle that we call the blood sugar roller coaster.

After you finish your pre-workout snack, your body is flooded with carbohydrates, resulting in a short boost of energy, followed by a devastating crash and burn. Your body releases the hormone insulin to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your bloodstream. Insulin sends the sugar out of your blood into the liver and muscle and stores it as body fat, resulting in low blood sugar, which translates to low energy.

As a result, you have mood swings, feel hungry all the time, and/or become fatigued and have low energy. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. When you hear that certain carbs are “high on the glycemic index,” it means that they will spike blood sugar and insulin more quickly than other types of carbohydrates.

You Need Complex Carbs

Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs, due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin; they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread, and oats.

What are the best clean carbs for building more muscle and performance?

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars and are full of dietary fiber and micronutrients. They are chock-full of vitamin B6, which can help maintain brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can help with immune health and eye health.

2. Yams

Nutritionally, yams resemble sweet potatoes. Both are low on the glycemic index, making them good choices for long-lasting, sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. Yams, however, have a higher vitamin C content than sweet potatoes but not nearly as much vitamin A.

3. Oats

Oats are an amazing source of complex carbohydrates and protein that can help build more muscle and optimize body composition. Oats are classified as a soluble fiber, which can help suppress appetite and slow digestion. Several studies have shown that oats can also protect against heart disease, reduce chronic inflammation, improve gut flora, help with inflammatory bowel disease, and provide sustained energy.[1-4]

4. Clean Carbs

Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is different from other carbohydrate supplements. Other products use maltodextrin, dextrose, and simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, creating more body fat and giving you an energy crash.[5] Clean Carbs is made with 100 percent natural whole foods from pure complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, yams, and oats. Research indicates that your body burns rapidly through glycogen stores during high-intensity functional training, resistance training, and endurance workouts. Replacing glycogen after strenuous exercise is vital for optimal performance and faster recovery.[5]

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another great clean carb for mass building and weight management. Whether you’re shredding down or looking to increase size, brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates and will sustain a low insulin release for longer-lasting energy. Although similar, white rice is stripped of most of its nutrients and will trigger a blood sugar spike, as opposed to stable glucose levels.

Brown Rice

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only plant-based carbs that is considered a complete protein. With all the essential amino acids present, in addition to micronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron, quinoa is a great clean carb source for athletes.

  1. Chappell, A. J., Simper, T., & Barker, M. E. (2018). Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 4.
  2. Rebello, C.J., Johnson, W.D., Martin, C.K., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., Kurilich, A., Bordenave, N., Andler, S., Klinken, B.J.W.V., Chu, Y.F. and Greenway, F.L. (2013). Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(4), 272-9.
  3. Valeur, J., Puaschitz, N. G., Midtvedt, T., & Berstad, A. (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(1), 62-67.
  4. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662-675.
  5. Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A., (2018). Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients, 10(2), 253.


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Akili’s long journey to build the first video game as a treatment


Akili received FDA clearance for its first product, a video game intended to improve attention in kids with ADHD. Photo credit: Akili

After nearly a decade of work, Akili Interactive received the green light from the FDA to market its video game as a treatment for ADHD. It wasn’t an easy feat, and the company still has a long road ahead to get physicians and insurers to adopt its product.

“There are not a lot of words to describe it,” Akili CEO and Co-Founder Eddie Martucci said in a phone interview the day after the FDA cleared its product. “We’ve been in a mode of just proving out everything we have.”

Martucci, a principal at PureTech Ventures with a background in pharmacology, teamed up with former LucasArts Executive Art Director Matthew Omernick and UC San Francisco neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley to start the company in 2011. At the time, most of the big pharmaceutical companies were backing away from neuroscience.

It was also when people began carrying around smartphones.

“From day one, we were really taken with the concept that technology could deliver medicine directly. Games became a natural vehicle for us as we looked at best ways to deploy sensory and motor stimulus,” Martucci said. “We saw that need. We saw that there was nothing new. We said, if we’re going to bring something new, let’s go really dramatic.”


A big Endeavor

Akili first submitted clinical data from a pivotal trial of its video game treatment two years ago. The company sought clearance through the FDA’s de novo pathway, a regulatory process for new medical devices that are deemed low- to moderate-risk.

The company’s first product, EndeavorRx, was cleared on Monday to improve attention in children ages 8 to 12 with ADHD. The game challenges users to collect specific targets while navigating frozen rivers and lava lakes.

“The EndeavorRx device offers a non-drug option for improving symptoms associated with ADHD in children and is an important example of the growing field of digital therapy and digital therapeutics,” Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a news release.

Akili licensed the core technology behind the game out of Dr. Gazzaley’s lab. The game constantly adjusts as the user’s skill improves and is designed to provide challenges that activate the neural systems that play a key role in attention.

After building the initial set of algorithms, the company spent the last seven years running more than 30 clinical trials of the technology. The biggest of them was a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of 348 patients.

How do you design a clinical trial for a video game?

“There were so many complexities. It was the first time we were trying to study an interactive treatment,” Martucci said. “People would say you can’t study interactive digital treatments like medicine and you can’t get FDA approval for something like this. We disagreed with both.”

One of the challenges is designing a control. If the device is intended to be used with another treatment, such as medication, the control group could receive their regular medication while the investigational group could receive both the medication and the device.

Or, a “placebo” game could be used.

“Some people do better because someone is checking in with them. You try to control for those effects,” Manatt Health Partner Yarmela Pavlovic said in a phone interview. “You create a game or an app that isn’t expected to have a therapeutic effect but would replicate people spending time on a given activity.”

This is the approach that Akili took. The company partnered with Duke University to create a randomization scheme. Patients received a tablet with either Akili’s game or the control — a digital word game.

Results of the trial showed patients that played Akili’s game showed a statistically significant improvement in attention compared to the control, measured using the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA).

“We basically had to invent some of the blinding protocols. People would not know which treatment they were on,” Martucci said. “It’s one of the things we’re really proud of.”

The regulatory milestone also created a new category of digital health devices, which the FDA refers to a “digital therapy device for ADHD.” In the future, other companies with similar games will be able to file with the FDA for 510(k) clearance.


The next level

Our course, Akili’s journey is far from over. The next level will be to capture the interest of physicians and insurance companies.

As hard as it is to get FDA clearance, “In the end, I think the hardest part is getting reimbursement and distribution,” said Lisa Suennen, leader of Manatt’s digital and technology group, and its venture capital fund.

Akili plans to have its game prescribed like a medicine. A physician would write a prescription and the patient would receive an access code. They would then download EndeavorRx and use that code to activate the game.

One of the challenges is that there isn’t much of a system in place for this yet. Doctors can’t prescribe digital therapeutics on a pad.

More work will be needed to get insurers on board. Although they’re becoming more familiar with digital health products, as evidenced by Express Scripts’ first digital health formulary, it’s still not an easy sell.

“They’re perfectly happy to look. You have to do your work to figure out how to prove it to them within their own context,” Suennen said. “They usually want you to do a study with them. They want evidence that’s more directly relevant before they go far with it.”

Martucci had no illusions about this.

“The insurance community is always a battle for new products. We don’t anticipate it will be covered on day one,” he said. “Our goal has always been that this is a prescribed medicine, and it should be covered for patients. I don’t think it’s far off and we’re certainly committed.”

Akili may have gotten a small head start after the FDA temporarily loosened some regulations around digital health products in April due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Martucci said Akili did a limited release of EndeavorRx under this guidance.

“During that process, an early limited launch phase, we’ve been able to engage with the prescriber community,” he said. “Doctors care deeply about the data and about their patients. If they can look at the data, they support it.”


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Top 10 Foods to Build your Immune System: HealthifyMe Blog


The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus has disheveled the lives of people across the globe. According to doctors and scientists, the best defense against the coronavirus is to have a healthy immune system that can fight off the virus. While maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise helps in keeping your immune system stronger, there are also certain foods that contain essential nutrients and minerals that can help your body fight off pathogens, which are foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses, causing infection or disease. Our immune system contains proteins, tissues, and organs that carry out bodily processes and fight off harmful viruses. When our body comes in contact with a pathogen, our immune system triggers an immune response that releases antibodies that helps in killing the virus. Therefore, incorporating certain foods in your diet can be helpful in warding off deadly viruses including novel coronavirus. 

These immunity-boosting foods are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that help in keeping the cells active and healthy. Sadly, the majority of people these days don’t eat enough foods that are rich in such nutrients, thereby becoming more susceptible to several diseases and illnesses. Moreover, you have to understand that you can’t just eat a specific food and expect a quick boost in immunity. A truly healthy immune system depends on a well-adjusted combination of minerals and vitamins over a period of time, in addition to regular exercise and normal sleep patterns. 

With that said, let’s discuss the top foods that you must include in your daily diet if you want to maintain a healthy immune system. 

10 Foods that will Help Build Immunity

While there are plenty of health supplements available that contain the required daily dosage of minerals and vitamins for your body, it is advised to get them through natural food sources as much as possible. The following are the best foods to consider for immunity boosting: 

#1 Spinach 


Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in iron and vitamin C. They are essential for fresh blood production and keeping blood impurities at bay. Moreover, spinach is packed with nutrients like beta-carotene and antioxidants that improve your body’s disease-fighting ability. Thus, including spinach in your diet can help your immune system health. You can add spinach to a number of dishes. However, make sure that the leaves are properly cooked, as raw spinach can be hard to digest for some individuals. Spinach should also be included in your kids’ diet mandatorily as it provides them with essential nutrients to grow and secure a healthy immune system. 

#2 Turmeric 

Turmeric is a spice that has been a part of Indian cooking for centuries. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating inflammation of the muscles and bones. Most importantly, turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin which is a great modulator of the immune system. Several studies have reported that curcumin can modulate the proliferation and activation of T cells, and can inhibit oxidative stress-induced inflammation. 

#3 Ginger 


Ginger is a great food with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is a popular spice that can help reduce inflammation-related issues as well as help in the treatment of sore throat. Ginger has antiviral properties and can also improve digestion, and help maintain a healthy gut thereby strengthening the immune system. 

#4 Citrus Fruits 

Last but not least, citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit, and tangerines, among others, are packed with vitamin C that helps in boosting the production of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are essential in fighting diseases and infections. It also helps in removing free radicals from the body, preventing cell damage, which ultimately reduces your chances of having cancer.

#5 Almonds 


Of all the nuts, almonds contain high concentrations of vitamin E that plays a crucial role in keeping the immune system healthy. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that requires fat to be absorbed properly. Almond contains healthy fats that eases down the process of absorption. Vitamin E aids the production of red blood cells that boosts the blood flow to all parts of the body. This keeps your immune system stronger. You are advised to consume 4-6 almonds daily. You can eat it whole or soaked in water or add some crushed almonds in your milk for a tasty milkshake. 

#6 Yogurt 

Yogurt is considered a probiotic that is essential to your immune system’s health. It directly affects your gut, helping the good bacteria to thrive. Your gut health is directly associated with your immune system. Therefore, a healthy gut means a healthy immune system. While there are plenty of flavorful yogurts available in the market, you are advised to consume plain yogurt. Plain yogurts are free of any sugars, additives, and artificial flavors that can degrade the overall quality of the food. The best way to consume yogurt is plain or with rice, or you can drizzle some honey and also add your favorite fruits to it. 

#7 Kiwi 

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi is one such fruit that contains vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate in abundance. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. It also helps in boosting the production of white blood cells that fight infections. You can consume kiwi on a daily basis. The fruit contains tiny seeds that are edible and full of nutrients as well. You can simply eat it alone, put it in fruit salad, or make a smoothie out of it – the options are endless. 

#8 Papaya 

Just like kiwi, papaya is naturally full of necessary nutrients and minerals like folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. Potassium in papayas is known for keeping the heart-healthy. At the same time, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that boosts the production of white blood cells that helps in fighting infections and ward off diseases. 

#9 Green Tea 

Green tea contains excellent antioxidant properties that help the body detox toxins and other harmful elements. Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG or epigallocatechin that has been shown to boost immune system function. Green tea, since it is not fully processed, holds back the majority of its nutrients and minerals in the leaves. Experts suggest that you should consume 3-4 cups of green tea in a day as it will not only keep you hydrated but also helps in flushing out the toxins and other waste materials from the body while keeping the immune system healthy. 

#10 Sunflower Seeds 

sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients and minerals, including vitamin E, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and phosphorus. Vitamin E is considered a potent antioxidant that is beneficial for the immune system’s health. The best part about sunflower seeds is that it also enhances the flavor of the food you are preparing, due to its spicy punch. You can add sunflower seeds to your salads, soups, seasoning of certain foods like chicken, for sautéing, and more. 

3 Simple Recipes that will help Build Immunity 

Now that you have understood the best immunity-boosting foods, let’s discuss some recipes that will help you with the process.

Immunity boosting chicken and turmeric soup

chicken and turmeric soup


  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1  boneless skinless chicken breast chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder or fresh grated turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup spinach leaves chopped


  • Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat. 
  • Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic and continue sauteing for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped chicken and cook just long enough to brown the meat, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except coconut milk and stir well and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Add the coconut milk and serve hot. 

Immunity boosting drink


  • Ginger grated – 1 tbsp
  • Peppercorns – 2
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch stick
  • Cloves – 2
  • Star anise – 1
  • Cardamom pod – 1 crushed
  • Unpasteurized honey – 1 tbsp
  • Tulsi leaves – a handful

Boil all ingredients except honey along with a liter of water in a pan for 30 minutes. Have ¼ cup of this drink warm with a little bit of honey.

Kiwi, Lime, Watermelon Salad 

Kiwi, Lime, Watermelon Salad


  • Chopped watermelon – 1 cup 
  • Kiwi – 2 chopped 
  • Sunflower Seeds – 1 tablespoon 


  • Mix all fruits and sprinkle with lime juice and sunflower seeds.


While there is no one way to avoid any infection entirely, strengthening your immune system with particular food ingredients can go a long way to reduce your risk of contamination. The reason why we mentioned these 12 foods is that they are not only the best foods for immunity boosting but are also easily accessible throughout the year. Our immune system plays a vital role in warding off viruses and bacteria from affecting our body and causing damage. Consuming these foods on a daily basis will not only keep you healthy but also help you achieve a stronger immune system, thereby keeping you immune and disease-free. 


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Does Swimming Build Muscle? | POPSUGAR Fitness UK


If you want to build muscle, you need to strength train — but swimming is one form of cardio that can help inch you closer to your goals. “Muscle is built by repetitive motions, using the same muscles over and over again,” Cindy Dallow, PhD, a sports dietitian and triathlon coach, told POPSUGAR. Plus, unlike the air you pass through when running or walking, water provides a bit of resistance, mounting an even greater challenge to your muscles. “This activity stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is what increases strength, assuming adequate protein is consumed,” she explained.

So, whether you’re breast stroking or back stroking, as the laps add up, so will your muscle gains — at least in your upper body. “Swimming increases strength in some of the shoulder and back muscles,” Dr. Dallow said. Perhaps more importantly, “it improves aerobic capacity and cardiorespiratory fitness.” In one study, women who swam for 60 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks showed significant improvements in flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, in addition to losing body fat.

Still, to better tone your body, you should keep up with your strength-training routine. If the gains weren’t motivation enough, it could help prevent injuries in the pool. “Many swimmers develop shoulder injuries, so having a strong upper body helps prevent that from happening, in addition to making them a strong swimmer,” Dr. Dallow said.


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How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle and Lose Fat?


Smiling woman carrying kettlebells during workout in gym

If you want to lose fat while building or maintaining muscle mass, you’ll need to do more than cut calories. Eating enough protein is key, because protein — or more specifically, a type of protein called amino acids — serves as the building block of muscle, Torey Armul, MS, RD, LD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in America, told POPSUGAR.

Still, you probably don’t need as much protein as you think. “Women who want to build muscle and lose weight should aim for 1.1 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day,” Torey said. It’s important to stay in this range because too much protein can lead to weight gain. So, let’s say you weigh 65 kilograms — you’d need between 158 and 255 grams of protein per day.

To make sure you’re hitting that goal, reach for healthy, whole foods rather than supplements. “Real food contains quality proteins and other important nutrients (like vitamins, minerals, and fibre) that also keep muscles healthy and help control your weight,” Torey explained. The best sources of protein are foods like nuts, beans, and eggs. Dairy, poultry, fish, and legumes are also solid options for packing in your protein, but remember that you don’t have to rely on meat or animal-based products to meet your quota. “Most of us are eating enough protein, but fewer are eating enough plant-based proteins, which play a major role in weight management and heart health,” she said.

Remember too that protein alone won’t help you build more muscle or lose fat. To accomplish this, you also need to work out regularly and make strength training an essential part of your routine. “By working your muscles and eating protein to rebuild them you can then add to and maintain muscle mass,” Torey said.


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How to build an information security governance committee model that works


Successfully implementing an information security program in any organization can be one of the most complex undertakings in business today. As a security professional, it is your job to find ways to protect company assets, reputation, and data, while avoiding any adverse operational impact to the day to day business.

We’ve all heard or said this one a million times by now: “Align the security program with the business.”

That’s a balancing act that requires a very careful approach and significant involvement from a wide array of stakeholders in order to successfully implement. Couple that with the need for adequate funding, staffing, and organizational support, and what comes out the other end is the state of most information security programs today.

That state varies very widely in maturity and success between industry verticals and from one organization to another. In all the complexity and diversity of programs one of the few consistencies that leads to success is proper governance and committee involvement. Before designing a committee approach, consider these three ideas.

Include the right stakeholders

The initial tendency when building a committee roster may be to invite those you think are strong supporters of the program, champions of information security, or leaders with whom you have well-built relationships.

These are all good ideas; however, it’s extremely important to step out of your comfort zone here and bring in some of the potential or confirmed resisters as well. One of the worst possible scenarios for a security program is to get governance support and approval after months of research, analysis, and preparation, only to have it blown up by a single resister with enough influence to do so.

Instead, get those people in the room and let their voice be heard early and often. If they are not strong champions of security, it’s just as important for them to believe they have a voice as it is for the rest of the governance group to understand what the program is up against. Design a committee team that challenges each other and the program regularly.

Timing is key

The frequency of security governance is critical and getting it right can be difficult. I tend to believe frequency relies heavily on the maturity of the program and the current state of the organization. Newer programs pushing significant change should be meeting with their governance committees much more frequently in order to limit surprises and capitalize on broad senior leadership involvement.

Annual meetings are not nearly frequent enough, and twice per month is likely far too often for most organizations. Each program has a frequency of meetings that is just right for the business and the program, but the rule of thumb should be no less than quarterly.

One approach I’ve found very successful is to hold bi-monthly executive committee meetings and host your sub-committees on the off months. This gives you the opportunity to take all sub-committee feedback and direction to your executive committee for awareness and approval.

Speaking of subcommittees, make sure you have a few of these. If you design your executive security committee correctly, you’ll soon find out they are not the audience for all things information security. There are isolated issues that might not have the pizzazz to make it to your executive committee, but require some level of governance.

This is what subcommittee and issue-based committees are for. There is no harm in building several of these as long as your crossover in membership isn’t significant. Key stakeholders are busy and attending three to four committee meetings on security per month is not a good use of their time.

Let the committee do their job

The responsibilities of a governance committee include setting the program direction, making recommendations, reviewing and approving changes, and providing guidance that can help the security program navigate complex organizational challenges. What they are not gathering to do is sit around listening to an update on the program for an hour, nodding their heads in approval before leaving after a few “good jobs.”

Get them involved early and often in your presentations. There’s no harm in adding informational items to the agenda; however, find a way to incorporate engagement from the committee into those topics as well. If you’re providing an update on the effectiveness of your awareness program and reduced phishing simulation failures, ask them what they think the program can do moving forward to even further penetrate the culture of the business through awareness efforts.

Get your committee to feel personally invested in the program. They should all feel a sense of involvement and pride in the program success, and a dissatisfaction and responsibility in its failures. Ask yourself if the members of your committee would feel these things about your program. If not, you either have the wrong members or aren’t providing them enough opportunity to help set the direction.

Regardless of how you build your committee, having governance oversight within your program is critical for success. The decision for major changes in the state of security at any business should not happen in a vacuum. Doing so puts operations, projects, and morale at risk.

Instead, create a direction for the program based off of a combination of the team’s subject matter expertise and executive governance guidance and support. The results will be more thoughtful approaches to maturing the security posture of your business and far less resistance when it happens.

Most importantly, the business will own information security – not just the program.

Dan Costantino is the Chief Information Security Officer of Penn Medicine.


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Exercises That Build Your Butt


When it comes to booty gains, you don’t want to mess around. What if we told you that certain exercises you thought were making all the difference actually were working different muscles? We recruited the help of four trainers to break down exactly what’s wrong with certain moves like squats (yes, squats!) if your main goal is to grow your glutes.

Trainiac personal trainer and EXOS performance specialist Stephen Foster, CSCS, explained to POPSUGAR that oftentimes we do exercises intended for the glutes, but they activate other muscles instead. Stephen noted that when choosing exercises, it’s important to incorporate moves that focus on movement from front to back, side to side, and rotational.

Moves That Actually Aren’t Working Your Butt (or You’re Doing Wrong)

  • Squats: Almost all of the trainers we spoke to pointed to squats right away as an exercise that doesn’t target the glutes as much as you might think; rather, it targets your quads. Stephen said that squats are one of the best exercises to work the lower body in general (bonus: core engagement, too!). He explained that even though the glutes “play a huge role when squatting, due to positioning, the quadriceps eat up a lot of that work.”
  • Bodyweight Kickbacks (or Donkey Kicks): NASM-certified personal trainer Allison Tibbs said that kickbacks are a move that, if done wrong, actually won’t work your glutes. “While this exercise feels effective because you do feel the burn, most people do this move incorrectly. They focus more on the kick back and, in turn, they load up their lower back and hip flexors more than they do their glutes,” she explained.
  • Forward Lunges: Stephen said that, overall, forward lunges are great, but the error with this exercise is in the positioning. When you return to your starting position by propelling yourself upward and back with your leading leg, your body relies pretty heavily on your quads as opposed to your glutes. A minor tweak to make this work and shift emphasis to the glutes, he said, is to turn the movement into a split squat (which we’ll talk about later).

Ahead, check out moves approved by these trainers (and more) that will actually target your booty. Note: this is not a workout; instead, you can add some of these exercises to your next leg day or at-home routine.


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Russian Twist Exercise Guide | Build A Strong Core With The Russian Twist


Imagine a vertical line that runs through the body, neatly dividing it into halves. Any movement you make parallel with this line is done in the sagittal plane. Now consider the movements you make during your workouts and how many of them are parallel to this line. It’s probably most of them – from classic bodyweight moves like lunges and squats to free weight exercises like presses and curls. Then, when you do mix it up, the chances are you’ll start moving laterally, with side lunges or skater jumps. These are movements done in the frontal plane.

All of these are excellent exercises that will do you a world of good, but they do not prepare your body for another kind of movement you do regularly, especially if you play a lot of sport – twisting. Consider another imaginary line that cuts your body in half at the waist. Movements where you twist your upper or lower body parallel to this line are said to be done in the transverse plane, and the chances are you don’t do so many of them during your workouts.

Rectify that by doing the Russian twist, which works in the transverse plane and strengthens muscles that you might be missing with your straight-up-and-down crunches and sit-ups, such as the obliques. Regular Russian twisting can also help improve your posture and if you’re about to take up kayaking or canoeing with a vengeance, there is no better core exercise to prepare for life with a paddle.

How To Do The Russian Twist

Start by sitting on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Then lean back so your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keep your back straight at this angle throughout the exercise, as it will be tempting to hunch your shoulders forward. Link your hands together in front of your chest, then brace your core and raise your legs up off the ground. Rotate your arms all the way over to one side, then do the same in the other direction. Count that as one rep and aim for 20 in total, or set a timer for a minute and keep twisting till the beep goes off.

Russian Twist Variations

Grounded Russian twist

If the standard version of the Russian twist is proving too tricky, then you can rest your feet on the ground to make it substantially easier. Ideally you should start with your feet off the ground, knowing that you can always put them down during the set if you’re struggling to complete your reps with good form.

Weighted Russian twist

This progression is probably the most common form of the Russian twist done in gyms, and can be done with any kind of weight you have to hand: a dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, weight plate, sandbag – anything that you can hold in two hands as you twist from side to side. The extra weight increases the challenge to your core, especially when you try to twist back from taking the weight over to the side. For extra credit, try to gently tap your weight on the floor on each side as you twist.

Whatever weight you’re using, it’s important to ensure your body isn’t being dragged out of position during the exercise. Only your torso should be twisting, so if you’re struggling to maintain good form then reduce the weight or go back to the unweighted exercise.

Gym ball Russian twist

As the old saying goes, if you want to make a core exercise harder, introduce a huge inflatable ball. Supporting your upper body on an unstable surface during the Russian twist means that your core has to work all the harder to keep your form and balance. Lie with your upper back on the ball and your feet flat on the ground. Hold a light dumbbell or kettlebell above you with your arms straight. Twist your torso to one side until your arms are parallel to the ground, then twist to the other side.

Lower-body Russian twist

This variation shifts the emphasis of the exercise to your lower abdominals and obliques. Lie with your back and arms flat on the ground forming a T-shape, with your legs held straight up. Keeping your shoulders on the ground, twist your legs over to one side, keeping them straight. When your feet are close to the floor, but not touching, twist them back up and over to the other side.

Standing cable Russian twist

Using the cable machine to resist your twist provides a constant challenge to your core throughout the movement. Set up a handle at chest height on the machine. Stand side-on to the machine and hold the handle in both hands with your arms straight. Keep them straight and twist your torso to move the handle to the other side. Look forwards throughout – this will help ensure you move just your torso, rather than twisting your entire body.


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Does Running Build Abs? | POPSUGAR Fitness UK


Attractive ethnic female sprinter training in the city

There are a few things you can count on running for: a heart-pumping cardio workout, fat burn, a metabolism boost, and mental-health benefits, to name a few. Based on soreness after long or fast runs, it’s safe to say your legs are getting a pretty good workout, too. When it comes to your abs and core, though, things are a little more complicated. Beyond its other benefits, can we consider running a good core workout?

Running Activates and Engages Your Core

“I do think that your core gets certain benefits from running,” said Steven Mayer, MD, sports medicine specialist at the Northwestern Medicine Running Clinic. He explained that you “run from your core,” using it to balance and stabilise yourself. The more you use and engage your core muscles, Dr. Mayer said, the stronger they’ll get.

Ashley Kelly, an Olympic runner and NASM-certified personal trainer at Bach in New York, explained that you use your core muscles during certain running motions, as well as when you’re absorbing impact and maintaining form during longer runs. Your abs are definitely in use and engaged during running, but as far as actively building them and making them stronger, Kelly said, running is not the most effective choice. In fact, she said, the relationship is actually inverse: “You need to first have a strong core to run strong, not the other way around.”

Both Kelly and Dr. Mayer agreed that even though your abs and core are important for running, they won’t get stronger just through running alone. “Running contributes to core fitness to at least a mild extent,” Dr. Mayer told POPSUGAR. “But if you really want to strengthen your core, you have to focus on core exercises.” Core engagement is more like a side effect of running, rather than the focus. And to build strong core muscles and abs, Kelly said, “It is vital to perform exercises that target those muscles specifically.”

Can You Make Running a Better Core Workout?

Still, there are a few strategies you can use to get the most core engagement out of your run. “You have to focus on breathing,” Kelly explained, inhaling deep into your diaphragm as opposed to taking short breaths from your chest. When you get fatigued, she added, try to brace your core, tightening it like you’re preparing for a punch in the stomach. That keeps your core engaged even when you start feeling tired.

And if abs and a flat belly are your goals, running can still be a helpful tool. It can help you burn fat, Kelly and Dr. Mayer agreed, including around your midsection, which can make your abs more visible. (This is dependent on diet, too; overeating due to post-run hunger can actually make you gain weight.) And the relationship between running and core strength is still an important one. “A strong and stable core helps improve running mechanics and stability in your knees, ankle, and hips, which minimises injuries,” Kelly told POPSUGAR.

So no, your runs alone won’t give you a six-pack, but they can definitely help reduce belly fat and make your abs pop. Core-specific exercises are still the golden ticket to stronger abs and can help you be a better runner, too. Start with this 10-minute ab workout for runners and see how much of a difference a strong core can make.


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Should I Restrict Calories to Build Muscle?


If building muscle were as simple as going to the gym, doing a couple of strength exercises, and eating lots of protein, we’d all be walking around looking like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Fortunately for The Rock, we aren’t coming for his top spot anytime soon.

Whether your goal is to be The Rock’s stunt double or you’re just trying to get lean and build muscle, it’s going to take time and hard work. For starters, you’re going to have to strength train, and by that we mean lift heavy weights. You’ll also need to adjust your caloric intake, eating more food to provide your body with fuel and reach your muscle-building goals. Another component to the muscle-building equation is recovery. It’s often overlooked, but stretching, foam rolling, doing yoga, and getting enough sleep are just as important as what you do in the gym.

We could go on for days about the dos and don’ts of building muscle, but for now, we’re going to focus on what you shouldn’t do nutrition-wise if you want to build muscle.

You’re Cutting Calories

“Many times, women are way too restrictive with their calorie intake,” Brittany Linn, RD, CDN, a clinical nutrition coordinator at The Mount Sinai Hospital, told POPSUGAR. “Especially when trying to build muscle, most women and men will need more calories and protein than they typically give themselves,” she explained. This number will vary from person to person, but Brittany recommends consuming 1.0 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day to build muscle. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, which is approximately 63.5 kilograms, you should eat 63.5 to 107 grams of protein a day (definitely use a food scale for measurements). Everyone’s caloric intake will vary, which is why we recommend speaking with a registered dietitian who can provide you with an exact caloric goal.

You’re Not Eating Enough Carbs

You’ll also want to avoid cutting carbohydrates. Yes, we know low-carb is all the rage, but if you want to build muscle, you’re going to have to sit out the low-carb trend. According to Brittany, “Carbs are essential to helping your body function at its best. Carbohydrates also give you the energy you need to fuel your workouts and your brain.” If you’re deciding between a low-carb meal or a bowl of pasta, we say go for the latter.

“There is no such thing as being perfect when it comes to your diet or workout routine,” Brittany reinforced. Instead of feeling guilty about your food choices and striving to eat perfectly, Brittany said to take pressure off of yourself. “We’ll all be successful no matter what. Building muscles takes time, commitment, and consistency, but being kind to yourself is always the first step in any successful life change.”


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