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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    From mid March to the first week of April every year, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments are held, it is referred to as the March Madness. It is aptly named so because the frenzy among sports enthusiasts to witness the champion of this tournament from among the many basketball teams from all over the country is simply mind boggling. These teams clash against each other over the course of three weekends in a single elimination tournament, and it is simply astounding to watch.

    Glued to their television sets with excited friends and family for company, there are parties happening every weekend during the season of March Madness. If you are one of those college basketball aficionados and plan to host a March Madness party at your place, then here are some healthy recipes to try at your next March Madness bash. The loud cheers will not stop with the competing teams on television, they would extend unanimously for your treats as well.

    • Popcorn

      This all time favorite snack can be made at home with a little oil or butter and topped with fancied seasonings such as cheese. Otherwise, if you want it a little spicy, then go the Indian way.
      For the cheese seasoning, take a couple of spoons of butter in a hot pan. After it melts, add some cheddar cheese powder and some salt to taste. Mix this well with homemade popcorn and it will disappear into hungry stomachs in a flash.
      For Indian style spicy seasoning, add a pinch each of turmeric powder, red chilly powder, roasted cumin powder, dry mango powder, and salt to taste in melted butter. Mix this thoroughly with the popcorn and enjoy it immediately.

    • Brown chickpea salad snack

      Wash and soak brown chickpeas in water for six hours. Steam this with some cubed potatoes and salt and then let it cool. In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, potatoes, finely chopped onions and tomatoes, a pinch each of turmeric powder and chili flakes, grated coconut, ginger, and some lemon juice. Mix well and then top this mixture with grated parmesan cheese and let your guests at the March Madness party enjoy this healthy snack.

    • Mango lassi for vegans

      If you are able to lay your hands on some juicy mangoes, then this delicious vegan lassi will be gulped down thirsty throats after all the cheering for the young players.
      In a blender, add two cups of mangoes, three cups of almond or soy milk, one-fourth teaspoon of powdered cardamom, two tablespoons of honey, and a few strands of saffron (optional).
      Blend until this becomes a smooth and creamy mixture and then pour in clean glasses, garnish with some fresh mint leaves, and see your guests queuing up for an encore.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    The NFL-style playbook is like a holy book to every quarterback. Each of them carries this veritable tome of paper bound by hard cover as a treasure trove of calls made of secret moves, pass formations, runs, receiver routes, and route trees to hoodwink the opponent.

    My playbook

    The NFL is a hugely competitive game where a suddenly executed hitherto secret call from the opposing quarterback can outdo carefully planned moves. Be it offense or defense, there can be so many moves. The opponent team is aware of the common moves. However, what about the moves that nobody knows about? The unique moves, pass formations, runs, routes? That is what you can carry in your NFL-style playbook. Such moves are carefully scripted by coaches and quarterbacks and are a result of their painstaking effort after every actual and video session. Your NFL-style playbook is unique and should be kept a secret lest the opponent should get an idea about your secret calls.

    The role of quarterbacks

    Quarterback is the leader of the offensive team and is responsible for calling the play. He stands directly behind the offensive line and directs the offense. However, he divulges his gameplay one by one so that the opponent is taken by surprise. He has to memorize all the moves that have been carefully drafted during the preseason encounters, training sessions, and video sessions. This is why the quarterback is one of the most glorified personalities in the entire NFL. A devious quarterback will also take the lead himself and run with the ball as part of game play from NFL-style playbook.

    Editions of the playbook

    An NFL-style playbook is like a dictionary and contains well over 500 pages. However, what sets them apart from dictionaries is that they need to be revised and reprinted almost every week. You would need about 100 copies for your team. Each team member needs to learn the moves from them, but it is the quarterback who has to memorize the selected calls.

    A versatile playbook

    A playbook that showcases both offensive and defensive play moves is the most versatile one. You need solid run schemes, passing formations, receiver running routes, etc., as part of the offensive playbook. The goal of the offensive team is to score. However, at crunch points, the goal is also to keep the ball in possession so that the opponent does not get any time to score. Similarly, the goal of the opponent is to prevent you from scoring. So as part of the defense team, you also need to learn strategies for run defense and pass defense. Depending on what you need, there are a variety of NFL-style playbooks. Get a copy for yourself and start devising strategies for your team. Make it a unique one by scribbling down strategies from videos of games and preseason games of your own team.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Come the Olympics, the fever of sports grips every die hard sports enthusiast. Since the time of the Greek Olympics, competitive sports have always held viewers enthralled as competing teams and nations pit their very best of their talents against each other.

    Various facts about the Olympics are in abundance, and more records are broken as well as new records are set with every new edition of the Olympics.

    Here is a quick look at some of the interesting and even, at times, strange facts about the Olympics.

    • Contrary to the long held belief behind the Olympics torch relay dating back to the Greeks, the fact remains that the tradition of the torch relay traces back to the 1936 Olympics that were held in Berlin and was conceived as a scheme by which the superiority of the Aryan race would be established for the world to see. Thus, the torch relay race that has come to be synonymous with the Olympics actually originated as nothing more than one more tool of Nazi propaganda.
    • Do you know that the popular Olympics logo of five intersecting rings in black, red, blue, yellow, and green was not randomly designed with a random choice of a color scheme. The designer of the Olympics logo used these colors for the express reason that one of these colors features in the flag of every participating nation.
    • The modern Olympics are all about team colors, but quite interestingly, the original Greek Olympics required the participants to compete completely naked. In fact, the word, “gymnasium” is derived from the Greek, “gymnos” and indicated a school where people performed exercises in the nude.
    • The youngest ever person to compete in the Olympics of the modern period was a young Greek gymnast named Dimitrios Loundras, who was 10 years old when he took part in the 1896 Athens Olympics.
    • Currently, while an athlete can be suspended from playing only when the blood alcohol level is high enough to cause injury, the first ever person to be suspended from playing in the history of the Olympics was suspended because he tested positive for alcohol before the pentathlon event.
    • The wrestling match between Russian Martin Klein and Alfred Asikainen of Finland in 1912 holds the record of being the longest spanning match of the Olympics till date, with Klein winning after a grueling 11 hours. Ironically, he was so exhausted from the long drawn match that he was unable to participate in the final.
    • The only person to ever win an Olympics game without even realizing that she was taking part was Margaret Abbot of the United States, who thought she was taking part in a golf tournament that was being held as part of the World’s Fair at Paris in 1900.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    When an individual is training for particular purposes such as weight loss, mass gain, bodybuilding, and athletics, investing in personal training sessions help to a greater extent toward obtaining maximum results on the unique fitness needs of the individual. The benefits that an individual can gain from personal training sessions are as follows:

    1. Learn – In a group gym class or when you are working out without any assistance, you may not know what is to be done as well as how much of any workout should be done in order to achieve the desired results. The primary lesson learned from a personal trainer is to know the dynamics of every equipment in the gym and unique benefits that are provided. Having a trainer to help develop a specific schedule also helps with a workout that is out of your comfort zone with adequate limits to periodically push oneself hard.
    2. Develop – Instead of being stuck doing the same routine, personal training helps in alternating routines and develop them over a period of time to achieve optimum results. For example, individual training for losing weight needs to have guidance to gradually start the routine and then workout hard with different forms of gym equipment as well as exercises and stretches to enable fat loss and appropriate weight loss.
    3. Goal setting – All of us want to gain the maximum within a few days of fitness training and we fail when our needs are not met as fast as desired. Having personal training sessions help to not only set realistic goals according to each individual’s body type but also help to set goals that help us achieve better results through customized routines.
    4. Motivation – When an individual works out on their own, they run out of motivation quickly. Having personal training sessions ensure individual attention, which in turn leads to motivation through various modes. These specialized trainers help the individual to keep going on tirelessly as well as not get deterred or waste their time at the gym or field. Moreover, they build self-accountability traits that will help the individual to get regular with their workouts over time. Some individuals who are just starting out will definitely need more motivation to get into the daily task routine, whereas another trained professional may need motivation to get out of their comfort zone.
    5. Beyond physical fitness – Personal training sessions are not only meant for developing and sculpting one’s body. These sessions help monitoring body development in a recorded format, help with following appropriate diets, suggestions for maintaining a better lifestyle, etc. These sessions also help develop one’s mental health with the help of motivation and encouragement from the trainer.

    Personal training sessions help the individual to focus on their physical and mental health and fitness regime for success in the long term.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    If you are a crazy fan of American football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or soccer, and you enjoy hosting parties for friends and family during playoffs, then add to that thrilling combination a few mouthwatering recipes.

    Apart from large bowls of colorful fruits, freshly roasted peanuts, almonds or pistachios, and large pitchers of cold chocolate milk or minty lemonade that you could offer your guests, here are a few appetizing dishes that taste heavenly.

    • Pumpkin soup

      Place a large pot over medium heat. Melt four tablespoons of butter. Add one large cubed potato, a diced onion, a few cloves of garlic, salt to taste, and stir fry these for a few minutes. Add four cups of cubed farm fresh pumpkin to this pot, and after about 15 minutes when the vegetables become tender, switch off the heat and let this cool. Then blend into a smooth paste.
      Heat the pot again, pour the blended mixture and bring it to a boil. Switch off the flame, garnish with a pinch each of crushed pepper, nutmeg powder, and a shot of fresh cream. Add some fresh rosemary and serve hot.

    • Roasted cauliflower

      Cut a large cauliflower into bite size pieces. In a large bowl, combine two tablespoons each of chickpea/gram flour and rice flour, one teaspoon of red chili powder, a few pods crushed garlic and salt to taste. Mix these well and add a tablespoon of hot oil and enough water to get a batter like consistency.
      Toss the cauliflower pieces into this batter, ensuring every piece is completely coated. Place the cauliflower pieces in a preheated oven and bake until they become crispy. Make sure you lightly turn over the florets every few minutes. Serve these hot with a yummy yogurt blue cheese dip.

    • Yogurt blue cheese dip

      In a bowl, whisk together one cup of greek yogurt, one tablespoon of lemon juice, some finely chopped scallions and fresh parsley, one-fourth cup of blue cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. The protein and calcium rich yogurt blue cheese dip is now ready.

    • Brownies with peanut butter

      Heat a pan and melt 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add a cup of brown sugar and stir continuously. Stir in three cups of chocolate chips and keep stirring till they melt and combine well with the butter sugar mixture. Remove it from the heat and immediately add four eggs, four teaspoons of vanilla essence, five tablespoons of flour, three tablespoons of cocoa powder, and one teaspoon of salt and mix everything thoroughly.
      Pour this chocolatey mixture into a pan and slide it into an oven and bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. After the brownies are done, spread some peanut butter on them, dust a little powdered sugar on top, and let them melt in your mouth.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    An effective diet plan is as important as a regular physical workout that involves multiple training methods, which is essential for the maintenance of good health and fitness. People often search for the best post-workout recipes that offer a balanced combination of proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates.

    Here are some commonly asked questions about post-workout recipes and meal plans and their answers.

    What kinds of meals are recommended for an adult male post workout?

    The exact quantity and combination of foods that are ideal post-workout recipes may vary from individual to individual. It is based on the nature of workout and also other occupational and lifestyle factors. Here are some of the good and effective post-workout meal ideas to restore the glycogen that may have been lost in the muscles during the workout while also reducing the breakdown of proteins that are caused when engaging the muscles in workout.

    You could think of including omelet, tuna, salmon, whey protein, oatmeal, almonds and bananas in your post-workout recipes combining them with toast, crackers, cottage cheese, and so on. If you are a vegan, consuming nuts like almonds along with fruits is the best option.

    What should you eat post workout so that you do not gain weight?

    While it is normal to feel hungry after a good workout, it is important that you opt for post-workout recipes that offer you an adequate amount of complex carbohydrates and protein. The purpose of a post-workout meal is to replenish muscle glycogen, and therefore, consuming foods like low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat skimmed milk is advisable. You can also include fruits like apples or melons in your post-workout meal plan.

    What kinds of foods are best avoided after a workout?

    It is recommended that post-workout recipes must not include high-fat foods like French fries, burgers and so on. After workout, you must also avoid consuming just raw vegetables, excessively salty foods like potato wafers or pretzels, foods that take a long while to metabolize such as bacon, artificially sweetened beverages, and simple carbohydrates like those found in doughnuts and pastries. Moreover, you must opt for energy-boosting sports drinks only if you feel extremely dehydrated. Otherwise, it is preferable that you supplement your post-workout recipes with adequate water and also include foods that are naturally rich in potassium such as bananas.

    Some of the good post-workout meal ideas are as follows:

    • Whole wheat dry toast with boiled egg
    • Cottage cheese with crackers
    • Bananas with some yogurt and dry toast
    • Salad with quinoa, walnuts, berries, and avocado
    • Grilled chicken with vegetables that are mildly roasted
    • Tuna or salmon with sweet potatoes and yogurt

    The key to a balanced post workout recipe is that it must include just the right balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to restore your energy while also not causing you to consume foods with empty calories.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Without getting into any generalization, it has been proven repeatedly that while men and women do enjoy playing sports or watching sports, the interest in sports is much higher in men, possibly on account of their special testosterone driven genetic makeup. The competitive nature of most sports that brings with it a certain adrenaline rush is usually enjoyed and sought after by men.

    It goes without saying that sports injuries are also common for a variety of reasons ranging from an inadvertent accident while playing or due to lack of warm up and preparation.

    Here are some of the most common sport injuries and recovery guidelines.

    Achilles tendonitis is an extremely common sport injury, especially among runners and athletes. This is caused by a rupture of the Achilles tendon and can be very painful. The region around the Achilles tendon swells and prevents free movement. It usually takes several months for a torn Achilles tendon to heal and possibly as much as a year or more for the athlete to return to his/her previous level of performance. In very serious cases, surgery to repair the torn tendon may be recommended, and recovery is contingent upon proper adherence to physical therapy as well as rehabilitation.

    Muscle strain or muscle sprain is also a very common sport injury, and recovery from such injuries is usually possible in a few weeks with adequate rest. Sprains and strains usually happen when the muscle ligaments are overstretched. Icing the area will ease the inflammation. Most doctors may prescribe a mild pain killer and rest. Usually, since the knees and ankles are the joints that bear the weight, rest is essential in recovery as even walking for a small distance can exert strain on muscles that are already fatigued. Simple exercises may also be done to prevent any reduction in joint mobility.

    In baseball, soccer, hockey, and football, a commonly occurring sport injury is groin pull, and this should normally subside by using a cold compress on the affected area and some rest. If the swelling persists, it would be advisable to consult a physician.

    A hamstring pull is another commonly occurring sport injury, and recovery from an over stretched hamstring requires adequate stretch. Ideally, the hamstrings need to be given complete rest and re-injuries are very common when men get back to playing without allowing full recovery to happen.

    Shin splints are usually characterized by pain running down the front of the leg from the knees downward. Recovery is normally hastened with the application of a cold compress and rest.

    Most sport injuries are caused due to pushing oneself beyond one’s limit and inadequate preparation. Hence, a large portion of sports injuries can be avoided with a proper diet and a disciplined exercise regimen.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    In the present times, a large number of people are turning toward a variety of extreme sports that while being dangerous and requiring mandatory safety precautions are nevertheless sought after by adventure enthusiasts looking for a thrill.

    Here are some of the most intense extreme sports currently played by thrill seekers.

    A development on the concepts of skateboarding and snowboarding, the now popular extreme sport mountain boarding calls for a swift descent down a hilly terrain on a board with wheels.

    Zorbing is another recently trending variant of extreme sports in which you sit inside a giant inflatable ball and then roll down a hilly slope along with the ball.

    Kiting, which is also known as kitesurfing, requires the use of a kite that is harnessed to a snowboard that captures the wind and uses it to propel forward. It is an extreme sport that is especially exciting when a good strong wind is blowing.

    Parasailing is a form of extreme sports in which you are drawn along by a rope that is suspended several hundred feet over a water body. It gives a whole new spin on the more conventional beachside parasailing.

    You might consider scuba diving as a pretty tame diving activity, but its classification as an extreme sports comes from deep sea scuba diving in shark infested waters where unknown predators lurk in dark waters.

    Extreme pogo is an extreme sport in which you use a pogo stick to bounce to heights of over 9 or 10 feet totally redefines the conventional pogo game that is much loved by little children. In extreme pogo, the sheer height of every jump, not to mention the shock of every landing elevates extreme pogo to the heights of extreme sports.

    White water rafting using an inflatable dinghy or a kayak that has to be navigated through extremely turbulent waters that may spin in a whirlpool or descend down a steep gorge is another popular extreme sports adventure. White water rafting is being offered as an outdoors activity at numerous large river systems in America and across the world.

    While rappelling up a steep mountainside may in itself seem an extreme sports adventure, the now popular ice climbing pushes the adrenaline rush several notches higher for you have to climb up a slippery facade of a frozen waterfall or mountain without triggering an avalanche or slipping on the icy snow.

    For all of you who love the thrill of coping with heights, highlining is another form of extreme sports that essentially has you walking across a tautly stretched tightrope across large canyons or ravines with nothing but a safety harness to support you in case you fall.

    These are but some of the forms of extreme sports that adventure junkies have come up with.

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  • 02 Jan, 2018

    Any sport would have their set of serious players and passionate followers; football is also no different. A little more than a million people play the game in the country. Moreover, the National Football League (NFL), which is a well known American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the whole world. The championship game of the NFL is called the Super Bowl, and it is the most watched club sporting event in the whole world. The NFL annually earns a revenue of around $10 billion. The statistics are staggering indeed.

    Football is a sport that is played on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end by two teams that have eleven players each. Offense, defense, running, passing, downs, plays, turnovers, advance, end zone, touchdown, and field goal are prominent terms associated with this sport played using an oval shaped football. Wait, why are we discussing football here? We are curious about Fantasy Football, are we not.

    What is Fantasy Football? An interesting name, really. Fantasy football is a game in which participants play the part or pretend to be owners or managers of imaginary professional football teams in the virtual world of the internet. The opposing teams recruit their team members by being part of a Draft, which is also called the player selection meeting. All the players of a real football league are available and can be chosen to be part of these fantasy football teams. Moreover, the accumulated points are entirely based on the actual performances of the players in real championship games. Fantasy football is a type of sports gambling that treads on the fine line between being legal and illegal betting.

    The two types of fantasy football are called traditional and daily. Competitions in the traditional type are conducted by amateurs and can be based on every individual season; it can also run to many seasons if a keeper league is followed. In keeper leagues, each imaginary team can continue to own a certain number of players all the time. Each owner of a fantasy football league can select which players they would want to keep on their side.

    When competitions are conducted on a daily basis or on a weekly basis, it is categorized under the heading Daily. Organized and managed by commercial internet companies, these are basically simple betting games, and participants are charged a particular fee to take part in these games. FanDuel and DraftKings are the top rated companies that are associated with this type of fantasy football. Worth billions of dollars, this kind of betting is increasingly being recognized and is even becoming fashionable because the prize money on offer is incredibly huge, which is close to a million dollars on a weekly basis.

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