Your Monday Muscle: #9 Tibialis Anterior

Tibialis Anterior

The tibialis anterior muscle is the largest muscle located in the anterior (front) compartment of the leg. The blood supply to the tibialis anterior muscle comes primarily from the anterior tibial artery and its branches. In general, muscles of this compartment help to flex the foot in an upward direction at the ankle and also extend the toes.[1]

The tibialis anterior lies along the outside of the shinbone (tibia). The muscle attaches to the top of the shinbone and descends down the leg, following the outside of the bone. The muscle’s tendon crosses the top of the foot by the inside ankle and connects to two bones (medial cuneiform and first metatarsal) on the bottom of the foot.[2]

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the tibialis anterior muscle?

  • Pain in the big toe
  • Pain in the front of the ankle going up the front of the shin
  • Occasionally there will be swelling of the shin bone
  • Can contribute to shin splints
  • Can be a cause of weak ankles
  • Can contribute to drop foot which can cause tripping and falling [2]

Interesting facts about the tibialis anterior muscle:

  • Trigger points and a tight shortened tibialis anterior can make it difficult to pick up the foot and can contribute to ‘tripping over your own feet’.
  • Pain from trigger points in the tibialis anterior is sometimes diagnosed as gout or turf toe.
  • Is often the primary cause of  “growing” pains in the feet and ankles of children. [2]


[1] Tibialis Anterior Healthline

[2] Tibialis Anterior Muscle: Big Toe, Ankle and Shin Pain The Wellness Digest

Previous: Your Monday Muscle: #8 Vastus Lateralis


Friday Fitness Fact #8: Weight Loss



Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.

‘The following behavioural strategies could help your weight loss plan:

  1.  Schedule your day to allow adequate time for buying, preparing and eating healthy food. Set an alarm if necessary so you don’t get stuck watching TV or working at the computer.
  2. Stock up on healthy snacks that have a pleasing texture and taste. You may like the crunchiness of carrots, the tanginess of cheese cubes, or the smoothness of frozen yoghurt. Drinking a cup of hot tea with your midmorning or midafternoon snack may make it last longer and feel more satisfying.
  3. Communicate with family and friends and ask for their support in improving your health. Ideally, working on weight together with a friend or family member means you can encourage and support each other and help keep each other on track.
  4.  Stay “in the moment” while eating.  Avoid eating at the computer, while driving, or multitasking while you eat. Tune into the experience of eating, what tastes and textures you feel like, how satisfying the food is, and what it feels like to be hungry or full.
  5. Remind yourself several times a day of your weight loss goal and how important it is to you. You could paste a picture of a thinner version of you or write your reasons for losing weight on a note card that you keep with you, or put a picture on your desk.
  6. Don’t get caught in thinking traps that can derail you from your diet. If you feel that you deserve something extra for being good, reward yourself with an extra snack or a small dessert that only adds a limited amount of calories. If you have a bad day, don’t use it as an excuse to go off your diet for a week. Remind yourself that you need to get back on track as quickly as possible to minimize the damage.
  7. Tell yourself “I can do this.”  Research shows that self-efficacy, or confidence that you can succeed at reaching your goal, is a powerful predictor of future behavior. If you catch yourself thinking negatively, switch to thinking about other situations in which you successfully learned a new behaviorl. Visualize yourself resisting temptation or throwing the extra weight into the ocean to keep motivated.

These strategies, accompanied by a reasonable nutritional plan, and increased exercise should help you develop a new relationship to food and increase your self-control.’


To Lose the Weight, Change How You Relate (to Food)


Previous: Friday Fitness Fact #7: Resistance Training

Your Monday Muscle: #8 Vastus Lateralis

Vastus Lateralis

The vastus lateralis muscle

This muscle is located on the side of the thigh. This muscle is the largest of the quadriceps group (often called quads) which also includes the rectus femoris, the vastus intermedius, and the vastus medialis. Collectively, the quadriceps muscle is the largest in the human body and its purpose is to extend the knee. The specific task of the vastus lateralis muscle is to extend the lower leg and allow the body to rise up from a squatting position.

Trigger points in three of the four quadricep muscles are the kingpins behind many cases of knee pain and dysfunction. The vastus lateralis trigger points refer pain to the outside of the thigh, knee, and upper lower leg. They may also cause the “stuck patella” or “locked knee cap” conditions in which the knee cap fails to track up and down naturally during movements of the knee. While the pain from the other quadriceps trigger points is focused only on the knee joint, the vastus lateralis trigger points may also project pain to the outside of the thigh, which may also be confused with IT Band syndrome.

What are the pain and symptoms associated with the vastus lateralis?

  • Knee pain
  • Pain on the side of the thigh extending down into the front and back of the knee
  • Pain under the buttock extending toward the hip joint
  • Pain occasionally descends into the back of the calf
  • Locked knee
  • Extended walking increases pain in the thigh and knee

Fun Facts about vastus lateralis

  • It is the largest of the quadriceps muscles
  • Everyone has trigger points in the vastus lateralis.
  • ‘Growing pains’ in the knees and hips of children can often be traced to the vastus lateralis


  1. Vastus Lateralis.
  2. Vastus Lateralis Trigger Points: The Knee Pain Trigger Points,
  3. Vastus Lateralis Muscle: Hip, Thigh, Knee Pain,

[Previous: Your Monday Muscle: #7 Rectus Femoris ]

Friday Fitness Fact #6: Calories



You burn more calories in the 23 hours you don’t exercise, than the 1-hour you do.

21 Bizarre Ways To Burn Calories

These results are based on an average 68kg human.

  1. An average sized human will burn about 2400 Calories per day without doing any exercise.
  2. Singing in the shower can burn an extra 10-20 Calories per song, depending on the volume and pitch of your voice.
  3. Laughing for 10 minutes can make you burn between 20 and 40 Calories.
  4. You burn about 200 Calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
  5. Banging your head against a wall uses 150 Calories an hour.
  6. On average, brushing your teeth for three minutes will burn 10 Calories.
  7. Pushing a shopping trolley up the aisles for half an hour will burn over 100 Calories, this number increases with the amount you put in your trolley and the heavier it gets.
  8. One hour spent sitting in front of the TV burns around 65 Calories.
  9. Smoking a cigarette burns roughly 10 Calories.
  10. Dancing on a Dance Mat for 10 minutes will burn 50-60 Calories.
  11. Hugging for one hour can burn 70 Calories.
  12. If you whip your head back and forth to Willow Smith’s song, you will burn up to 50 Calories, depending on how crazy you go.
  13. A one minute kiss can burn between 2 and 4 Calories, depending on how intimate it is.
  14. A person will burn 7 percent more calories if they walk on hard dirt compared to pavement.
  15. You burn more calories than you consume when you eat celery.
  16. On average, if you walk your dog for 30 minutes, you burn 100 Calories.
  17. You burn more calories sitting in the cold, than heat.
  18. Chewing gum burns 11 Calories per hour.
  19. You can burn up to 350 more Calories per day if you fidget, rather than someone who remains stationary.
  20. Missing a night of sleep causes the body to burn about an extra 161 calories.
  21. Constant texting can burn 40 Calories per hour.

Source: 20 Bizarre Ways To Burn Calories,

[Previous: Friday Fitness Fact #5: Exercise]

Wednesday Wonder #1: Tongue


The Tongue.

D­on’t stick out your tongue if you want to hide your identity. Similar to fingerprints, everyone also has a unique tongue print!

The next time someone sticks out their tongue at you, take a closer look. See all those tiny bumps and ridges? “It’s the different distribution of size and shape, just as fingerprints,” said Bowyer, that makes your tongue unique to you and no one else. The bumps contain more than 10,000 taste buds, each one filled with microscopic hairs called microvilli. Microvilli function like tiny food critics, sensing if your meal is sweet or sour, salty or bitter, and sending reviews up to the brain.1

20 interesting human tongue facts2

  1. Did you know that the tongue is the only muscle in human body that works without any support from the skeleton? Yes! It is known as a  muscular hydrostat.
  2. Our tongue is the home of our taste buds. When looked under a magnifying glass, hundreds and thousands of small bumps will become visible on the tongue. These bumps are known as papillae and are the actual home of our taste buds.
  3. The tongue is not the only place where taste buds live. Taste buds can also be found on the inside of our cheeks, on our lips, on the roof of our mouth and even under the tongue.
  4. There are approximately 10,000 taste buds in our mouth of which 8,000 live on our tongue and the remaining 2,000 are found in the places we mentioned in the previous point.
  5. There are specific segments on the tongue for sensing different tastes. The notion that different parts of the tongue are responsible for sensing different types of tastes (in other words, there are taste belts) is actually a myth. Our tongue can taste sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is actually a very new variant of taste discovered by a Japanese scientist who found that the chemical that is responsible for this taste is monosodium glutamate.
  6. Our tongue is the only muscle in our body that is capable of sensing taste and sending taste signals to the brain. Each individual taste bud has around 15 receptacles that are responsible for carrying taste signals to our brain.
  7. The tongue is THE STRONGEST muscle in the entire body. However, it is at the same time, one of THE MOST sensitive muscles as well.
  8. In terms of flexibility, the tongue beats every other muscle in our body! Because of this flexibility, the tongue is capable of easily manipulating food inside the mouth and is also capable of acting as a natural cleanser for our teeth after a meal.
  9. Our tongue has a unique property. It is incapable of detecting taste if it is dry. This means that if you place a piece of lemon on a dry tongue, you will not be able to tell that it is sour. The tongue gets its ability to sense taste only in the presence of saliva that keeps it moist.
  10. The colour of the tongue can tell a lot about a person’s health. Here are some colour indications about health: Pink Tongue = Good Health; White Tongue = Fungal Infection and Yellow Tongue = Stomach Problem or Fever.
  11. Tongueprints (actually tongue imprints) of humans are unique (very much the same as the fingerprints). Tongues of different humans are of different shapes and will have different number of taste buds, thus making the tongue imprints unique.
  12. The tongue has a really, really rough texture. Did you ever notice that while kissing someone?
  13. Women have shorter tongues compared to males.
  14. We mentioned in point 9 that a dry tongue is incapable of detecting taste. That’s because taste buds are capable of sensing taste only when molecules of the food (or whatever you put in your mouth) dissolve in water (our saliva consists of water). This essentially means that you cannot sense the taste of anything whose molecules do not dissolve in water even if you have a moist tongue. Ever tried tasting glass?
  15. Here is an interesting tongue fact – if you don’t keep your tongue clean, you will get bad breath. Why is it so? That’s because our mouth is the home of more than 600 different types of bacteria and a single saliva drop contains 1 million of those bacteria. Our entire tongue remains moist due to saliva. So, can you ever imagine the number of bacteria present on our tongue?
  16. Every taste bud on our tongue has somewhere between 50 and 100 taste sensing cells. No individual cell is capable of tasting more than one taste.
  17. About 2/3rd of the tongue is visible and the remaining 1/3rd is not visible. The part that is not visible is close to the throat.
  18. In Tibet, you can merrily stick your tongue out at others. It will not be considered rude or childish. In Tibet, it is actually a greeting.
  19. The tongue is more important than we think. It not only helps to taste food but also helps to talk, to spit, to swallow and even to kiss.
  20. The longest human tongue to ever be recorded was 10.1cm from back to tip. The longest female tongue to ever be recorded was 9.75cm.



  1. You’re more unique than you know,
  2. 20 interesting human tongue facts,



Your Monday Muscle: #7 Rectus Femoris

Rectus Femoris

Rectus Femoris.

The rectus femoris muscle is one of the four quadriceps muscles of the human body. The others are the vastus medialis, the vastus intermedius (deep to the rectus femoris), and the vastus lateralis. All four parts of the quadriceps muscle attach to the patella (knee cap) via the quadriceps tendon.

The rectus femoris is situated in the middle of the front of the thigh; it is fusiform in shape, and its superficial fibers are arranged in a bipenniform manner, the deep fibers running straight (rectus) down to the deep aponeurosis. Its functions are to flex the thigh at the hip joint and to extend the leg at the knee joint.[1]

Fun Facts about the Quadriceps and rectus femoris

  • Did you know that the Rectus Femoris is the strongest and leanest muscle in the human body?
  • Did you know that the Rectus Femoris is the only quad that isn’t actually attached to the femur (thigh bone) but actually is attached below the knee and to the pelvis. So it can both straighten the leg and bend the hip!?
  • The Latin full formal name for quadriceps is musculus quadriceps femoris, and the meaning literally translates to “four-headed muscle of the femur”.
  • President Bill Clinton had surgery in 1997 to repair the quadriceps tendon in his right knee, which he tore stumbling on steps.
  • Arnold Shwarzenaeger has just about as many muscle fibers in his quads as you do. They’re just thicker.[2]
  • The quadriceps are used for knee extension, cycling, climbing stairs. Squats or leg extensions on a machine will develop this muscle.[3]

There is a fifth muscle of the quadriceps complex that is often forgotten and rarely taught called articularis genus. In addition, recent cadaver studies have confirmed the presence of a sixth muscle, the tensor vastus intermedius.[4]


  1. Sportsmedicine: Rectus Femoris.
  2. Fun Facts – Rectus Femoris,
  3. Muscle: Interesting Facts, Names, and
  4. Quadriceps femoris muscle,

[Previous: Your Monday Muscle: #6 Brachialis ]

Friday Fitness Fact #5: Exercise



You can’t use exercise to target fat loss in specific areas.

‘Targeted fat loss, also known as “spot reduction,” is a popular idea partly because it appeals to our intuition. After all, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that the fat you burn while exercising comes from the area around the muscles you are using. Yet a 1971 study conducted by the University of California, Irvine on tennis players found that this is not actually the case.’[1]

10 Myths And Facts About Burning Fat[2]

  1. You Must Eliminate Entire Food groups to See Results
  2. Endless Jumping Exercises are Great for Fat Loss
  3. Eating Twice a Day is the Best Way to Lose Fat
  4. You can Eat Whatever you want, as long as you create a Caloric Deficit
  5. Just Eat Less and you’ll Lose Weight
  6. All Calories are Equalso Eat Less and you’ll Lose Weight
  7. You should feel Exhausted at the end of every Workout
  8. You need to Work Out Every Day if you’re Serious about Losing Weight
  9. Intense Cardiovascular Training will Burn Muscle and Thin out my Legs
  10. You Don’t need to get Stronger to get Leaner

[1] Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality? at Yale Scientific, 2011

[2] 10 Myths And Facts About Burning Fat,

[Previous: Friday Fitness Fact 4: Muscle]

[Next: …]

Wednesday Wonder #11: Spit



You may not want to swim in your spit, but if you saved it all up, you could. In a lifetime, the average person produces about 25,000 quarts of saliva – enough to fill two swimming pools!

11 Squeaky-Clean Facts About Spit

Saliva consists of about 99 percent water. The other 1 percent is made up of electrolytes and organic substances, including digestive enzymes and small quantities of uric acid, cholesterol, and mucins (the proteins that form mucus).
Healthy individuals accumulate between 2 to 6 cups of spit a day. That’s without stimulation from activities like eating or chewing gum, which open the spit floodgates.
Your body typically produces the most saliva in the late afternoon, and the least at night. Salivation is controlled by the autonomic nervous system (much like your heartbeat), meaning it’s an unconscious process.
Salivation has five distinct phases, most triggered by the passage of food through the body. Not all of them are a good thing. The first type of salivation is cephalic, the kind that occurs when you see or smell something delicious. The buccal phase is the body’s reflexive response to the actual presence of food in the mouth (which aids in swallowing). The oesophageal involves the stimulation of the salivary glands as food moves through the oesophogus. The gastric phase happens when something irritates your stomach—like when you’re just about to puke. The intestinal phase is triggered by a food that doesn’t agree with you passing through the upper intestine.
There’s a reason the phrase “lick your wounds” came about. Spit is full of infection-battling white blood cells. And, according to a 2015 study in the journal Blood, neutrophils—a type of white blood cell—are more effective at killing bacteria if they come from saliva than from anywhere else in the body. So adding saliva to a wound gives the body a powerful backup as it fights off infection.
The calcium, fluoride, and phosphate in saliva strengthen your teeth. Spit also fights cavity-causing bacteria, washes away bits of food, and neutralizes plaque acids, reducing tooth decay and cavities. That’s why chewing gum gets dentists’ stamp of approval—chewing increases the flow of saliva, thus protecting your oral health.
Saliva acts like a solvent for tastes, ferrying dissolved deliciousness to the sites of taste receptors. It also keeps those receptors healthy by keeping them from drying out and protecting them from bacterial infection. Many people who have dry mouth (xerostomia) find their sense of taste affected by their oral cavity’s parched conditions. Because many medications have dry mouth as a side effect, scientists have developed artificial saliva sprays that mimic the lubrication of real spit.
A 10-second kiss involves the transfer of some 80 million bacteria, one study found.
Babies don’t start drooling until they’re two to four months old. Unfortunately, they also don’t really know what to do with their spit. They don’t have full control of the muscles of their mouth until they’re around two years old, so they can’t really swallow it effectively. Which is why we invented bibs.
The body’s fight-or-flight response is designed to give you the energy and strength needed to overcome a near-death experience, like, say, running into a bear, or, more common in the modern age, giving a big presentation at work. Your blood pressure goes up, the heart beats faster, and the lungs take in more oxygen. This is not the time to sit around and digest a meal, so the digestion system slows down production, including that of saliva.
In some ancient societies, saliva was used as a basic lie detector. In ancient India, accused liars had to chew grains of rice. If they were telling the truth, they would have enough saliva to spit them back out again. If someone was lying, their mouth would go dry and the rice would stick in their throat.

[Read more at 11 Squeaky-Clean Facts About Spit by Shaunacy Ferro]


[Previous: Wednesday Wonder #10: 200 million litres of blood]

[Next: Wednesday Wonder #16: Sleep]

Your Monday Muscle: #6 Brachialis




The brachialis muscle is located in the upper arm.

It lies underneath the biceps muscle. It acts as a structural bridge between the humerus, which is the bone of the upper arm, and the ulna, which is one of the forearm bones.

The muscle is innervated by both the musculoskeletal nerve and the radial nerve.

In some people, the muscle may appear doubled. Also called the brachialis anticus, its primary action is to flex the forearm muscles at the elbow.

[Read more at Healthline]

What movements does the brachialis muscle control?

Bending the elbow

Activities that cause brachialis pain and symptoms:

  • Lifting heavy objects with a bent elbow
  • Picking up children
  • Holding up heavy tools
  • Working at the computer
  • Chin ups
  • Playing the oboe, clarinet, and saxophone

[Read more at the Wellness Digest]


[Previous: Your Monday Muscle: #5 Triceps brachii]

[Next: Your Monday Muscle: #7 Rectus femoris]

Friday Fitness Fact #4: Muscle

Muscle does not weigh more than fat

Muscle does not weigh more than fat.

“Technically, the statement, muscle weighs more than fat is false. The truth is that when placed on a scale, one pound of fat is going to weigh the same as one pound of muscle – just like one pound of bricks is going to weigh the same as one pound of feathers. Where the confusion comes in is that muscle and fat differ in density (muscle is about 18% more dense than fat) and one pound of muscle occupies less space (volume) than one pound of fat.

So yes, muscle seems to weigh more because there is a difference in the volume between the two. When a cubic inch of muscle and a cubic inch of fat are measured, the cubic inch of muscle will weigh more. As you add compact muscle mass to the body, body weight may increase. However, pound for pound, muscle and fat weigh the same and when tracking progress of a fitness program, it is very important to look at all markers of improvement, and not just the numbers on the scale.

These diagrams visually express the differences between muscle and fat densities

1) Muscle = more dense

Structure of a skeletal muscle

2) Fat = less dense

Cross-section of fat tissue

3) Cross section of a skeletal muscle (200x) showing the muscle fibres (red) and the fat cells (white)

Cross-section of muscle
Cross-section of skeletal muscle

Note that the fat cells are less dense than the muscle cells and take up more volume.”

[Read the rest of this article at]

15 Fun Facts about Muscles

  1. The biggest muscle in the human body is the gluteus maximus- your butt
  2. The smallest is the stapedius. It is thinner than a thread of cotton and is located in your ear
  3. The reason for goosebumps is the contraction of small muscles located in your hair’s roots
  4. You use 17 muscles in order to smile, and 43 to frown
  5. The fastest muscle group in the human body is the one responsible for blinking. Thanks to them you are able to blink up to 5 times a second
  6. You use up to 200 muscles in order to take a single step
  7. The strongest muscle in the human body is located in the jaw and its name is the the masseter muscle
  8. Your muscles are normally around 40-50% of your body weight
  9. Every half a kilo (1 lb) of muscle you gain, your body burns an extra 50 calories a day
  10. The fibres you already know about can support up to 1,000 times their own weight
  11. 75% of the muscle is water
  12. Producing human speech takes 72 different muscles
  13. The human tongue consists of sixteen separate muscles, not one as many people think.
  14. Did you know that your muscles have their own memory? This is why once you learn how to ride a bike, you can never forget it, no matter how long you haven’t done it.
  15. Muscles produce up to 85% of your body’s heat. In fact they produce enough daily heat to boil 2 pints of water for an hour.


Previous: Friday Fitness Fact #3: Dehydration