Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What are agonist and antagonist muscles? (plus, a drink recipe)

OK, so this morning...holy fog in my path! Winter is coming more quickly than I'd like it to, especially since we've already had our first snowfall (which did not accumulate, thankfully). I know, I know...I live in Michigan and the lake alone does not qualify us for tropical weather year-round, so I can't really complain. I get it. I really do, but that doesn't mean I have to experience love at first sight with it every year. There is, however, one thing I really do enjoy when it comes to the onset of cold weather:

Chuggin' warm drinks. Especially when I'm running out the door with wet hair in an attempt to make it to my client's side on time. This particular brew was so tasty that I feel compelled to share the recipe with you, but let's talk about agonist and antagonist muscles first. If that's alright with you. (Yeah, I'm throwing a vocab lesson at ya.) According to Webster:

So what does that mean in the grand scheme of fitness things? So glad you asked: An agonist muscle works against an antagonist muscle.  Therefore, the agonist muscle is the one contracting. Or, lifting the weight. So the antagonist muscle is therefore the muscle opposing the actions of the agonist muscle.

You might generalize that last sentence to mean that an antagonist muscle stretches, or lengthens, while the agonist is working. So as the agonist muscle is flexed to create movement in a specific part of the body, the antagonist muscle is stretched/lengthened—and then flexed somewhat as that same specific part of the body is returned to its starting position.

Confused? Read the above one more time, then think about it in terms of the biceps and triceps muscles. As the bicep contracts to lift a dumbbell in a curl, the triceps is lengthened (because everything is connected). And as the bicep relaxes to lower the dumbbell, the triceps is shortened to help return the arm to its starting position.

Other pairs include your anterior and posterior deltoids, pecs and lats, left- and right-side external obliques and your quads and hamstrings. That said, you can use these pairs to build an awesome total body workout. Work your pecs and lats together, doing an exercise for one and then the other. Same for all the other agonist/antagonist pairs. Complete your desired number of sets and repetitions before moving on.

You might have already been doing this, sans the fancy vocab words.

And now that THAT'S over with, let's get to the recipe I promised you at the beginning of this post. It starts off with a request for one cup of Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk—you should feel free to use the chocolate milk of your choice. In addition, I went the instant route with my coffee. Substitute your favorite brewed coffee if you'd like. And then just eliminate the instant coffee. Note that I made mine in a travel mug, which allowed for more liquid. You might have to adjust the coffee measurements in an effort to prevent overflow.

Finally, the recipe:

Source: Loosely based on a recipe from (never home)maker

• 1 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
• 1 tbsp Maple syrup
• 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
• 3/4 cup boiling water
• 1 packet Nescafe Instant Decaf Coffee

1) Mix first three ingredients in a microwaveable mug, then microwave on "high" for about two minutes to melt up the peanut butter. Stir the ingredients until combined.

2) Add the coffee packet to the mixture, topping it off with the boiling water. (Or simply add your coffee.) Stir to mix completely, then enjoy!


Question: What is your favorite, go-to cold weather beverage?

1 comment:

Erin M. said...

Wow! Great article. I feel so much smarter :)

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