Category Archives: Diet & Nutrition

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Gym Workout

Getting used to visiting the gym on a daily basis is a fairly difficult task to accomplish as is, however, getting stuck in a single exercise routine is easy. You’re probably thinking that any workout is better than no workout, right? Have in mind that getting stuck in an exercise routine is one of the main reasons why people stop making improvements and start losing motivation. Fortunately, there’s a number of ways you can elevate your workout routine and the following five are the easiest one to incorporate into your every life.

  1. Drink the right protein

You probably already know that drinking a protein shake after a workout helps muscles recover and promotes a healthy weight gain. What you might not know is that different types of protein produce different results. Whey protein’s concentrate and isolate forms are well-known for their excellent muscle-building properties, however, there appears to be an even better and far more effective form of whey called hydrolysate. The Journal of Applied Physiology featured a study in 2009 that compared the effectiveness of whey hydrolysate with micellar casein and soy protein. Whey hydrolysate, which is a broken-down form of the popular whey isolate, is not only absorbed faster, but also stimulates the synthesis of muscles to a far greater degree than casein and soy.

2. Stretch between sets

Stretching is a great way to maintain and improve flexibility, but unfortunately, a lot of lifters simply don’t give stretching nearly as enough attention as they should. Stretching decreases the chance of sustaining an injury during a workout and helps us increase our range of motion and prevent becoming bound by our muscles. Make sure to incorporate some basic stretching exercises in between sets. This will help you increase your lifting performance and allow you to do it more safely. For example, you can stretch your hip flexors while resting between deadlifting sets.

3. Find a gym partner

Finding a good gym partner is important for two reasons. First, a partner can motivate and push you to work out even when you don’t feel like it and can be a real life-changer when it comes to working out regularly. Secondly, every exercise you do needs to be done in a certain manner in order for it to be effective. Some exercises might be difficult to do, especially if you’ve never done them before. Your gym partner can act as your “spotter” and make sure that you’re doing your exercises safely and accurately.

4. Keep track of your progress

Trying to remember every exercise, every repetition and weight progression for each exercise is next to impossible. What you should do instead is make a detailed record of your exercise and lifting history and give yourself a visual representation of your progress. You can go old-school and use a pen and paper or you can simply download one of the countless fitness- and workout-tracking apps available in the store. Some apps even send motivational messages to get you pumped up before a workout.

5. Wear the right workout gear

Enclothed cognition is a term used to describe a type of mental shift one experiences when wearing a certain type of clothes. Clothing can have a profound impact on attitude and behavior and changing into a specific type of clothes allows people to “get into character” the same way an actor would get into character by putting on a specific costume. The very act of changing into your gym clothes or putting on a quality pair of bodybuilding shoes is enough to put you into the necessary mindset and mentally prepare you for the task at hand.

Simply going to the gym is not enough. You need to take every possible step you can towards improving your workout regime and keeping it interesting over time. No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, it’s important to have someone who will not only keep you company but also ensure you’re working out properly. Always wear the appropriate gear, stretch between sets and use whey protein after workouts to help your muscles regenerate more quickly.

 

Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped-Science.com and Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.  https://twitter.com/mrlukeidouglas

A Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

The low-carbohydrate dietary program basically means restricting carbohydrate consumption. The person who dares to embark on this diet is meant to replace easily digestible carbohydrates (which include sugar, bread, beer, candy and sodas, etc.) with a higher percentage of protein and fats (for example, meats, eggs, seeds, cheese, most fruits and vegetables, etc.).

The allowed amount of carbohydrate intake varies from one diet program to another, but the basic idea remains the same. Sometimes, they go far into no-carb territory that they can be called “ketogenic” diets. These sorts of diets restrict carbohydrate intake to such an extent that they can cause ketosis. This is a metabolic state in which your body has to start relying on ketone bodies in your blood. This is a stark contrast to a state of glycolysis in which, as the root of the word suggests, the glucose in your blood provides most of the energy.

In order to understand better how to put these facts into practice as fast as you can, here’s a brief overview of a low-carb diet for beginners.

How did we get here?

Are you old enough to remember the “fat” craze? For decades, we have been misinformed that fat is detrimental to our metabolism and overall health. This movement was filled with horror stories about cardiovascular diseases and cancer rates.

However, as it turns out, this had inadvertently led to another problem. Low-fat diet products were flooding the market. These supposedly healthy meals and snacks were actually filled with sugar which led to the beginning of obesity epidemic that has lasting consequences to this day.

What’s the twist?

As it turns out, the latest medical studies have reliably shown we have no reason to fear natural fats. In fact, fat is an important factor in a low-carb diet, and if you are one of those people that don’t trust contemporary science, try the diet out and you’ll have empirical evidence on your own body. When you minimize the intake of starches and sugar, you increase the intake of other foods, among others, foods brimming with natural fats, which you can eat to your heart’s content and still lose weight.

It’s a metabolic process that’s actually really easy to understand. When you avoid carbohydrates like sugar and starch, your blood sugar will stabilize at a particular level. This level is dictated by a fat-storing hormone insulin drop. As a consequence of this, fat burning increases and makes you feel less hungry. This naturally leads to weight loss, which basically means there are two major benefits of a low-carb diet – a lean body and blood sugar control.

What to eat, what to avoid?

In order to get there, you’ll have to avoid sugar-filled snacks, bread, pasta, rice, beans and potatoes, beer, bananas, rice (cooked), chocolate bars, candy, and sodas.

The foods you should consume include meats like chicken, fish and turkey, as well as eggs, vegetables that grow above the ground, natural fats like butter, olive oil, cheese. If you can afford it, avocado is really an excellent source of nutrients you need on a low-carb diet and it is considered by many to be a quintessential super-food.

Also, it’s important to note that you can eat as much fiber as you want and drink a lot of water and tea. Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up on coffee, it’s actually helpful, and if you need to get decadent every once in a while, red wine is totally in the green zone. With all the aforementioned foods out of the loop, you just need to eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s as simple as that. The times of counting calories are gone.

However, we all get that chocolate-bar craving from time to time. It’s downright impossible to resist the urge and the image of a delicious chocolate bar can be stuck in the back of your mind for several days. To satisfy this need, you can go with a low-calorie Optifast power bar meal replacement. Most of these nibbles are based on clinically-proven dietary programs that are supposed to manage obesity and they can come in all shapes and sizes – from berry crunch power bars to chocolate mousse or chicken soup.

The benefits of this diet are manifold. You’ll lose weight, calm your stomach, reduce sugar cravings and even reverse type 2 diabetes. It can even normalize your blood pressure, lead to less acne and help lessen the impact of chronic migraines. All these benefits can contribute to a significantly improved lifestyle and add to your longevity.

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Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped-Science.com and Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.  https://twitter.com/mrlukeidouglas

6 Tips to Protect Your Joints

When you’re working out, you should pay extra attention to your joints, especially weight-bearing joints such as knees and ankles, because they absorb most of the impact during strenuous bodybuilding training. Joint injuries are frequent in sports, and they ultimately lead to damage and disease, one of which is rheumatoid arthritis. Unlike back or hip problems that are characteristics of old age, joint problems plague people regardless of how old they are. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks that can help you stay injury free, and keep your joints healthy when you’re training.

Warm up and stretch

Joints connect two bones, and their surrounding smooth tissue, cartilage, as well as a lubricant, synovial, prevent friction between two bones. Warm-up exercises and stretching are essential for prevention of all kinds of injuries, including joint strains, dislocations, or sprains. Many people think that warming up is the same thing as stretching, which is a common misconception. These two procedures are complementary, and both are highly beneficial for improving joint flexibility and increasing mobility. A warm-up should start with joint rotations that will stimulate the production of synovial fluid. After warm-up exercises, comes stretching that will prevent joint stiffness, and ultimately injuries.

Watch your nutrition

Inflammations and excess fat are the greatest enemies of healthy joints. This means that you should eliminate sugar, processed foods, or carbonated drinks, from your diet as they stimulate inflammatory responses. Make sure to include foods rich in antioxidants, such as dark, leafy green vegetables, berries, or nuts as they can successfully fight inflammations. Orange vegetables are loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, essential for preventing rheumatoid arthritis and similar inflammation-related conditions. Fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, important for suppressing the production of enzymes that lead to cartilage erosion.

Do yoga or Pilates

Bodybuilding lifting and yoga are, practically, match made in heaven. A demanding and strenuous exercise regimen requires some kind of antidote, that can help the body to completely relax and recuperate. Although many weight lifters aren’t actually into Pilates, this low-impact training can actually help them improve their balance, as well as joint mobility and flexibility. Yoga is composed of various stretching exercises that can do wonders for sore and stiff joints, and improve the elasticity of the whole body.

Take supplements

Supplementation is one of the essential elements of any effective exercising regimen. Apart from regular supplements aiding muscle growth, there are those used for keeping your joints healthy. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced in the human body and it’s a major ingredient of the synovial fluid and cartilage, and its role is to protect your joints from injuries and make them more elastic. There are supplements that increase and retain hyaluronic acid in your joints, and they’re used to prevent injuries and disorders, as well as to treat them. A study has found that this supplement can alleviate symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. People who train a lot should make sure to take high-purity glucosamine in order to replenish the stores of this chemical compound, whose responsibility is to reduce osteoarthritic pain and swelling, increase joint mobility, and help repair the cartilage. Its production is reduced due to a natural aging process and sustained traumas, and this ultimately results in cartilage destruction, so it’s important to boost it with a high-quality supplement.  

Reduce stress

Believe it or not, but stress also contributes to joint issues and aggravate them. Namely, when you’re stressed, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, are soaring and wreaking havoc on your immune system. Apart from setting the fertile ground for various inflammations, cortisol has a negative impact on the production of collagen, a protein that makes connective tissues, by inhibiting its production and breaking it down. When you’re stressed focus on your breathing pattern and try to breathe deeply for 10 minutes.  Yoga is also beneficial for controlling cortisol levels, as this ancient practice incorporates meditation and diaphragmatic breathing.

Choose good shoes

As an athlete, you’re aware how important shoes are for your performance. When it comes to such high-impact activities such as bodybuilding, your joints are exposed to various loads that they have to absorb, meaning that they’re under a great deal of strain. That’s why it’s important that your shoes are comfortable, and that they provide support and stability. Unlike running shoes that should provide cushioning in order to absorb impact, shoes for strength training should have a thin sole in order to improve your balance.

Joints are extremely prone to injury, so it’s of vital importance to be careful and follow these tips in order to keep them healthy. Remember that joint injury can damage your cartilage beyond repair and ultimately result in various diseases, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped-Science.com and Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.  https://twitter.com/mrlukeidouglas

What Proteins Do For The Body?

Proteins are large molecules, composed of long strings of amino acids that perform various roles in the body. They make up approximately 20% of the total body mass, and they can be found in hair, bones, skin, muscles, nails, and connective tissues. Many crucial processes in the human body depend on proteins, and they’re instrumental in building new cells and maintaining existing tissues. In other words, they help in cell renewal and tissue repair. The human body wouldn’t be able to perform some of the most basic functions without proteins, so it’s essential to take them on a daily basis. Here’s an overview of what proteins do for the body and their benefits.

They boost the immunity

One of the most important roles of proteins is to protect the human body from various viruses and bacteria. Namely, when the immune system identifies these foreign bodies, it reacts by sending antibodies, which are basically a type of protein. Antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins, find and destroy the virus or bacterium, and prevent their multiplication. They’re the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens, which is why it’s crucial to strengthen the immune system. This can be done by eating high-protein foods which will help the body initiate new protein synthesis, the process necessary for the functioning of the immune system.  

They build muscle

So-called structural proteins are integral parts of every cell in the human body. As their name suggests, they provide cells with internal architectural support. Apart from the cellular level, the importance of structural proteins is to support the human body on the whole. Without them, it would be impossible to stand or move. Collagen is an example of a structural protein and it ensures the elasticity and regeneration of the skin, joints, bones, and cartilage.

It stands to reason that eating protein is fundamental for muscle growth, and numerous studies show that people whose diet is rich in high-quality proteins have more lean muscle mass. Hitting the gym is a must if you want to increase your strength, but only when it’s paired with an adequate, protein-rich diet. For achieving the best results, make sure that the various kinds of proteins are on your plate, such as:

  • Eggs. Start your day with a delicious omelet. However, you should be aware that eggs can lead to increased cholesterol levels, so the American Heart Association recommends no more than 4 eggs a week.  
  • Fish and seafood. These excellent sources of protein are also low in fat. Besides that, salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the heart.
  • Pork. This meat is rich in leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, which helps muscle recovery after a workout.
  • Dairy. Yogurt, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, or chocolate and milk are recommended not only because they’re full of proteins, but also because they contain high levels of calcium, necessary for healthy bones.
  • Soy. Dairy intolerant people can opt for this protein source, which is also good for preventing heart disease.
  • Mixed nuts. These healthy snacks are great for the overall health as they contain unsaturated fats. Still, sometimes they can be high in sodium, so opt for unsalted versions.  
  • Chicken and turkey breast. These lean meats are extremely popular with bodybuilders as they have the highest amount of protein among poultry. Just remove the skin and brine it before cooking.  
  • Protein drinks are the best way to replenish energy after a strenuous workout, and they’re especially effective for maintaining and gaining muscle.

 

The help you lose weight

There are several ways in which protein helps you lose weight and maintain your muscle mass.

  • The fact that proteins have a high thermic effect is a game-changer for any successful diet. The body burns calories during the process of digestion, and proteins burn twice as many calories as carbs. In plain English, it’s good for you to eat protein-rich foods if you want to lose weight. This so called thermic effect is why high-protein diets are extremely effective for losing belly fat.
  • Another reason why proteins should be included in a weight-loss diet is that they’re filling, so you can eat less food and calories, and still not be hungry. Of course, this can work only when it’s accompanied by a regular fitness regimen.      
  • In order for a diet to be effective, calorie intake must be reduced so that the body can start burning the fat that has already been stored. However, in many cases, such diets lead to losing muscle mass, too. Luckily, this problem can be easily solved by introducing sufficient amounts of protein to the diet. How much protein is enough? According to relevant sources, adults should take at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of their body weight a day, while for bodybuilders, the recommended intake is 1.2-1.7 grams.  

They help prevent cancer

Although there’s no definitive cure for cancer, there are some measures that can be taken in order to prevent this vile disease. Some research studies have found that whey proteins can suppress the development of certain types of cancer, such as colon and prostate. They increase immune levels and at the same time kill cancer cells. 180,000 women in the US fall victim to breast cancer each year, so a study has been conducted on rats to test the effects of whey protein. The findings say that 100% of rats that were put on a casein diet developed mammary tumors, while only 50% of the whey-fed rats were affected by this disease. Similar results were obtained for soy protein, as the incidence of mammary tumors was reduced by 25% in rats that were put on diets containing soy protein isolate.      

They help prevent osteoporosis

There’s a misconception that a diet high in protein isn’t good for bone health. According to this theory, during the process of digesting animal protein, acids are released into the bloodstream, and in order to neutralize them, the body uses calcium, some of which comes from the bones. Still, these findings have been disputed by recent research, which shows exactly the opposite, as it says that people who eat more protein have better bone density, thus being less likely to develop osteoporosis. A lower incidence of hip fractures has been observed in women whose diet is high in protein. However, eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is recommended in order to additionally reduce the impact of acids on bone density.

They improve brain functions

Certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, carnosine, creatine, and vitamin D, which are essential for the brain, can be found in animal protein, and that’s why it’s irreplaceable for the normal functioning of the nervous system. Neurotransmitters, which are used to carry messages between neurons, are composed of amino acids, and since proteins, too, are composed of amino acids, they’re crucial for the health of these biochemical messengers in the brain. This means that a protein-rich diet can improve memory and cognitive health. In addition to that, serotonin, a mood- stabilizing neurotransmitter, and dopamine, which is responsible for controlling emotions and reward-driven behavior, can’t be produced without good proteins. These two chemicals are, basically, happiness hormones, and that’s why proteins are mood-boosting foods that can help fight depression.

Proteins play several essential roles in the body, and they’re the most important nutrients for building strength and size. Their proper intake also lowers the risk of developing certain serious diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and depression.   

AUTHOR BIO:

Luke is a guest blogger here on Ripped-Science.com and a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.
FACEBOOK / TWITTER

Bodybuilding Contest Prep: 3 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid

Contest Prep Mistake #1 – Time

You must give yourself enough of the above. Most people underestimate how long it takes to get in competition/photoshoot shape.

As a general rule, if you don’t have abs at the start of the diet, plan for 16-20 weeks. Otherwise you’ll have to crash diet, which will cause muscle loss and you’ll end up looking smooth and flat (in addition to becoming a public menace).

So, at first you must decide how many pounds you need to lose in order to get to the bodyfat level that you desire. From there on, plan your diet with a reasonable caloric deficit so that you will drop about 1-2 lbs of fat a week (it won’t be all fat, but that’s another article).

Keep training as you did before. I still go as heavy as I can, in order to keep as much muscle as possible. Higher reps with lower weights do not burn more fat, but will put you at risk for muscle loss. As for cardio, start adding it gradually as you go along.

It is also preferable to be in shape 2-3 weeks before the event. This will allow you to properly taper off from training. Someone with rested muscles will simply look fuller and better than the guy who was doing two hours of cardio until a day ago. At same time, being in shape early will give you a chance to post as many Facebook updates as your friends can handle.

Contest Prep Mistake #2 – Over-Reliance on Supplements, Especially Fat Burners

Here is how the typical contest prep starts: calories are being cut, cardio added or increased and a fat burner is being thrown in the mix with perhaps an estrogen blocker. Low and behold, the athlete loses weight, at least for a while.

The problem with that is: You don’t know what works.
Where do you go from here if you reach a plateau?

My approach is to keep some arrows in the quiver. At first you cut your calories by 500 a day. Your diet is responsible for 80+% of what you will look like, so it pays off to be meticulous in that department.

After two to three weeks of reduced calories, I start adding cardio for about 2×30 minutes per week. If you keep getting leaner while keeping your strength, stick with that approach. If not, I suggest cutting the calories further by 200/daily and adding a third cardio session. If your strength drops more than 15%, bump your calories (especially carbohydrates) by 40% for two to three days in order to upregulate the metabolism.

Finally, for the last 6 weeks you can use a fat burner to eliminate stubborn fat deposits. This will also help provide that extra boost of energy so you can make it through your workouts. I recommend to lay off the fat burner the last two or three days before your event since most of these substances can interfere with the carb load.

Contest Prep Mistake #3 – Last Week Changes

Here is where most people get confused and end up damaging themselves greatly by following some obscure last-minute sodium/carbohydrate/water depletion/loading scheme. The result is that they look worse than before.

Now to be clear –  water, salt and carbs will have an effect on your appearance, but a proper loading scheme will only make a good physique look great. It will not turn a mediocre body into contest shape in 7 days. In short, athletes who win shows look great the week before already. With that being said, let’s cover the big three briefly.

Carbohydrates: most athletes consume very few carbs the week before a show in order to deplete, and start carb loading on Thursday/Friday to store more glycogen in the muscles. The idea is to take advantage of the so-called “super-compensation” effect, where a carb depleted muscle sucks up carbs like a sponge thus creating a fuller and drier appearance. There is nothing wrong with that approach but there are many shades of grey.

I personally only do a mild depletion from Sunday to Wednesday before the show, where my carbs drop about 25-30%. Then I do a carb load Thursday through Friday and consume about 120% of my regular carb intake. Other people go zero carb for the whole week and only do a heavy load on Friday. For me, that approach doesn’t provide enough time to fill out, but you have to experiment for yourselves to see what works. Simply take notes as to how many carb days and what kind of carbs it takes to make you look awesome.

Here is the carb-load approach I used for my last show:

Sunday to Wednesday – I ate 150 grams of carbs as well as chicken and white fish for 300 grams of protein, fat was kept at a minimum.
Thursday and Friday – 3 meals of 4 oz chicken and 8 oz white potatoes, 2 meals steak and 1 1/2 cup of rice.
Saturday – Was pretty much the same, but I added salt.

Water: That is probably one of the most misunderstood subjects there is. Very often, water is being blamed for what really is fat. “Oh I am just holding some water.”  Think again.

Most people shouldn’t even try to manipulate their water intake. If your training/diet got you in great shape the week before, why change it now? If you feel you should use any kind of diuretic, legal or not, keep in mind that your muscles are mostly made from water and dehydration will leave you flat. Therefore, it is critical not to cut water out too early.

So what about the opposite: the dreaded spill over? Don’t despair, if you feel you have spilled it can be fixed by doing a light whole body pump workout. This will make you sweat and force the body to transport the water from under the skin into the muscle cells. Most people actually don’t spill, they were simply not lean enough in the first place.

If you must know, I did cut my water late Friday afternoon and only sipped through pre-judging. Use what works for you. I have seen people jugging down a gallon backstage and still winning the show. Everybody is different.

Salt: salt, like water, is very much misunderstood. A sodium de-loading and loading protocol will only make a very good physique even drier and crisper. But, if you are not vascular the days before a show, it’s not the salt that is holding you back. Again, you are not lean enough.

Sodium is needed to ensure that the muscle cells can contract and relax. All this is done via low electrical stimulus from the nerves. If sodium levels are inadequate for neuronal function, then a muscle cell will fail to function properly. This is why long periods of cutting sodium out don’t make any sense.

Without sodium, you cant get a pump and your body will appear flat. Cutting sodium out on Friday and re-introducing it on Saturday before pre-judging should do the trick.

Some athletes don’t bother without it at all and still look great. Again, it is all about observing and paying attention to detail.

These are the three biggest pitfalls when it comes to achieving peak condition. With your newly gained knowledge you should be able to get yourself into top shape.

Top 10 Supplements For Bodybuilders (2016)

Ask any bodybuilder out there what supplements they are currently cycling through and you’re bound to get a different answer. What works for Joe doesn’t work for Harry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of supplements on the market targeting the bodybuilding and weight lifting circuit. It’s easy to get lost as you try to figure out what’s legit vs. just a bunch of hype.

If you choose wisely, certain bodybuilding supplements will easily be worth more than their cost by helping you achieve hardcore results. A bodybuilder’s biggest mistake is to ignore the nutritional supplement aspect of the sport.

Here at Ripped Science, we pulled a team together and spent months researching hundreds of supplements and came down to this ultimate Top 10 list.

Are you ready for it? The countdown begins…

NUMBER TEN: GREEN TEA

pure inventions

WHICH TO BUY: If you’re looking for the best green tea extract, liquid is better than capsules. Our top pick for you is nothing other than Pure Inventions Green Tea Antioxidant Extract.

WHY USE IT: Simply stated, green tea is your tool to shred fat. Green tea elevates norepinephrine levels which prolongs thermogenesis. Translation? You will be turned into a fat-burning machine.

NUMBER NINE: MULTI-MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS

solaray

WHICH TO BUY: We zeroed in on a product called Solaray Mega Multi Mineral which contains several times the amount of amino acid content than ordinary products. This product is also “reacted” with whole rice concentrate opposed to soy or yeast.

WHY USE IT: If you’re training hard, which you should be, then consuming a multi-mineral supplement is a good idea to reduce the effects of excessive ROS and inflammation produced from the intense training. You don’t want to risk being deficient in anything, do you?

NUMBER EIGHT: FIBER SUPPLEMENTS

raw fiber

WHICH TO BUY: We’re big fans of Garden of Life products and they just so happen to have a product called Raw Fiber – Beyond Organic Fiber. It contains 15 Raw Organic Superfoods and is sure to keep you in tip-top shape…especially in the bathroom.

WHY USE IT: With all the caveman portions of protein you’re eating, it’s important to get in some good fiber to help you get rid of toxins and also to keep your digestion in line.

NUMBER SEVEN: ESTROGEN BLOCKERS

equalize

WHICH TO BUY: Our research pointed us in the right direction when we discovered Equalize by ACN. This product uses ground-breaking ingredients to enhance testosterone and stop testosterone from converting into estrogen. Two other products we recommend are AntlerX IGF-1 and Alphatropin for the ultimate stack.

WHY USE IT: I don’t know one bodybuilder that wants an above normal amount of estrogen. Yes, believe it or not, men do produce estrogen and it can wreak havoc on your gains. An estrogen blocker is imperative to keep your hormone levels balanced and minimize muscle loss.

NUMBER SIX: GLUCOSAMINE AND CHONDROITIN

synotrex

WHICH TO BUY: It wasn’t rocket science for us to figure out which supplement nails it when it comes to joint health. If you haven’t added Synotrex to your daily routine yet, better go grab it. NOW.

WHY USE IT: Every bodybuilder knows the importance of joint health. If you don’t support your joints, you might as well sit on the bench. Over time, if you skip joint health, it will be a huge (and I mean HUGE) regret!

NUMBER FIVE: POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY

bsn

WHICH TO BUY: The post-recovery workout powder we salute is BSN’s Amino X.  This BCAA formula supports endurance during your workout and aids in muscle recover post-training. BOOM! You need this! Blue Raz is our favorite taste of the bunch.

WHY USE IT: All you hear about these days is pre-workout and how many scoops you took that day. But, equally important (if not more), is post-workout because if you don’t recover, how will you hit it harder and make gains? You follow me?

NUMBER FOUR: ANTIOXIDANTS

swanson

WHICH TO BUY: We searched high and low and finally found the supplement to win this category: Swanson Premium’s High Potency Antioxidants delivers a comprehensive collection of powerful antioxidants – including, vitamins C, E, selenium, SOD and more.

WHY USE IT: If your immune system is suffering, so are your workouts. You need antioxidants not only improve your immune system response, but to reduce oxidative stress. It’s time to challenge free radicals and stop them in their nasty tracks!

NUMBER THREE: OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

fish oil

WHICH TO BUY: We love fish oil, but we don’t like fish oil supplements that are not tested for heavy metals or impurities. We also don’t like fish that aren’t wild-caught. Thankfully, there is a wonderful product by AMRAP Nutrition that is the Fish Oil of champions.

WHY USE IT: Fish oil is crucial to improve athletic recovery and is also an anti-inflammatory. Despite what you saw on a gym meme, you can definitely gain without the pain. Everyone knows that lubing up is always better! Your joints will thank you.

NUMBER TWO: CASEIN-WHEY PROTEIN

grow

WHICH TO BUY: You need to care about the whey you use. If you don’t use whey from grass-fed cows…you’re going to screw up your hormone levels. Thankfully, on the 8th day God created Xwerks Grow – the cleanest, nutrient rich protein you can drink!

WHY USE IT: I’m not sure this one needs an explanation. If you don’t know that this helps up your daily protein intake, and is a staple for bodybuilders worldwide, then you must be a newbie. Hit the weights, kid!

NUMBER ONE: CREATINE

creatine

WHICH TO BUY: There are so many to choose from, but after a ton (and I mean a TON) of research, we decided that Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Powder wins the gold medal prize. It’s packed with 99.9% pure creatine with no fillers or additives.

WHY USE IT: Adding this to your supplement regime is a no-brainer for bodybuilders. I’m not sure you can call yourself one if you don’t use it. In short, if you’re ready to have insane strength and power, this stuff is for you!

 

Game of Thrones Celebrity Reveals 9-Meal-A-Day Lifestyle

Thor Bjornsson (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) plays Gregor Clegane in the hit HBO show  Game of Thrones and his massive size isn’t based on a small diet plan.

The Mountain Who Rides posted on Instagram his entire meal plan:

7:30am Breakfast: Eight eggs, 200g of oats, blueberries, strawberries and avocado.

9:30am Second Breakfast: 400g of Beef, 400g of sweet potatoes, and a handful of spinach and greens.

11.50am: Glutamine and BCAA.

Noon Lunch: 400g of chicken plus 400g of potatoes, with greens and some fruits.

2:00pm Snack: A shake consisting of 50g oats or sweet potatoes, 2 bananas 150g Kelloggs Rice Krispies, frozen berries, a handful almonds, peanut butter and glutamine .

thor2
On Tuesday, Thor posted a video of himself on Instagram lifting 705lbs

2:30pm: Strongman training and more supplements.

5:30pm Snack: 60g of protein and two bananas.

6:00pm Dinner: 500g of beef with potatoes and greens.

8:30pm Second Dinner: 500g of salmon plus 500g of sweet potatoes.

10:30pm Late Night Snack: Six eggs with avocado, almonds and peanut butter.

Thor says that he drinks a lot of water throughout the day, plus juices to get in more calories. He also added that in addition to this massive food intake, he also snacks on more protein or a few more raw eggs in the middle of the night.

The Icelander has been Europe’s Strongest Man two years running and has placed in the top three of the World’s Strongest Man for the past four years. Perhaps, he’ll take the crown for the World his next go at it.

This is definitely a dietary lifestyle that isn’t for everyone!

Jedi Mind Tricks to Beat Your Food Addiction

With the new Star Wars movie hitting theaters soon, I found it appropriate to fully engage jedi mind tricks. It’s time to use the power of the force to beat your food addiction.

Food is a drug. This is an undeniable fact. Like cocaine, you can become physiologically addicted and the body shows withdrawal symptoms. The body will also feel a “high” in the brain after consuming food. Eating when you’re emotional (stressed) produces real, physiological relief like taking a Valium.

People are still suggesting to use willpower and discipline to fight cravings and beat food addiction, but that isn’t the solution.

You need JEDI MIND TRICKS.
Your entire approach has to be different from just “fighting it.”

Figure Out Your Eating Type – Then Dominate It

In Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink, PhD, he cleverly put many of us into five main categories based on our eating habits. Although categories aren’t new, his “catchy” category names can help you remember which kind of eater you are.

A. The Meal Stuffer – Meal stuffers eat primarily during mealtimes, but they stuff themselves and eat to excess. They often eat so quickly that they’re uncomfortably full after. These are the people with “great appetites” and often go back for seconds.

A man lying on a couch with sweets and popcorn in a mess

B. Snack Grazer – Snack grazers reach for food whenever it’s available. Convenience is usually the main reason. In other words, when food is available, they will constantly eat it as long as it’s there. Snacking is sometimes a nervous habit or something to do when bored. It’s popular for them to snack when watching TV, on the computer or reading.

C. The Party Binger – Party bingers usually work in corporate environments. Food is either a backdrop for business or fun and it’s easy to lose track of how much they eat or drink. Lots of social events, happy hours and business meetings equals lots of food and eating out.

D. The Restaurant Indulger – Restaurant indulgers are people who frequently eat out a lot at restaurants. Sometimes these are young college kids, other times they’re professionals who work a lot and don’t want to/don’t have time to cook. Thus, they eat out every day. Or, they simply enjoy restaurants – they eat whatever cuisine they want and don’t have to wash dishes. Restaurant dining is their simple life luxury.

Stress uomo in carriera

E. Desktop/Dashboard Diner – Desktop diners speed eat while multitasking on the computer or driving. They usually do it to save time, but also do it just to avoid the hassle of getting a real lunch. These people often eat alone and are more focused on the tasks they are working on opposed to what they are putting in their mouth.


Now that you know your own eating type, avoid going to the dark side. Prepare for these situations by having escape plans and strategically build your day around them.


An easy secret is to: (1) know your cues, and (2) avoid them. Spend time for 1-2 weeks recording a few things in writing:

  • What time of the day do I crave food?
  • What moods make me crave food?
  • In what situations do I usually over eat?
  • With what people do I usually eat the wrong foods?
  • What places usually end up causing craving? (Do you pass a bakery on your drive to work and “have” to eat a morning bagel with cream cheese?)

Swap the routine. So, let’s say you know that you eat food when you’re bored. Every time you start to feel bored, find something to do. For example, if you’re at home and you’re tempted to stream Netlix and grab a bowl of popcorn, instead turn off the TV and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Or, make a task list of home chores that need to be done and start checking them off one-by-one. Be productive.

portrait one sad man standing near a wall and covers his face

Do you suffer from mental chatter? I know that I do. I have a lot of self-talk going on when I try to fight food cravings. The more you focus on trying to talk yourself out of something, the stronger it becomes and the more it steals your attention. One of the easiest things you can do in regard to your mind is change your mental chatter.


Instead of looking at the ice cream and saying to yourself, “Oh man, that is my favorite flavor and tastes so good, ” tell yourself the truth, “I know I can’t have just one bite…I’ll eat the whole thing.” Next, remind yourself of your goals, “I will feel down on myself and totally regret this.”


I find that it’s helpful to not just “think” these thoughts, but to verbally say them. The mind is powerful, but what you say is even more powerful. Hear yourself say, “I don’t eat french fries or any fried foods” or “cheesecake will kill my gains.” It will quickly become part of your identity and pretty soon your mental chatter will end.

This doesn’t mean you can never eat a treat again. First, you need to fully control the addiction. Never “reward” yourself with food. Though it may seem impossible now, once you stop eating unhealthy foods, your body will eventually stop craving it. Sugar is the biggest food addiction, so when you conquer that one, be proud of your accomplishment.

The force is strong with you. Stronger than you think.

 

13 Alternatives to Peanut Butter

The love affair with peanut butter usually begins in childhood with the ever-so-wonderful PB&J sandwiches in your lunchbox. We would also slather that peanut goodness on apples, celery (ants on a log), crackers or just grab a big spoon and dig in. Today, the classic peanut butter we all fondly remember has competition from a variety of nut and seed butters. Some offer greater nutrition than peanut butter, while others are better left on the store shelf.

To help you pick, we’ve listed 13 nut and seed butters that include their nutritional information (based on 2-tablespoon servings):

pecan nuts in a rustic scoop against a grunge wood background

Almond – Nutrition facts: 190 calories, 18g fat (2g sat fat), 7g protein
Almond butter is a great source of omega-6 fatty acids and a better source of omega-3 fatty acids than peanut butter. Benefits: Almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, meaning they’ve got the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie and ounce. We’re talking potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. Other studies have found that eating almonds (the raw variety, at least) can help lower blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol, also known as LDL.

Close up of a coconut and grounded coconut flakes

Coconut – Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 18g fat (16g sat fat), 2g protein
Coconut offers minimal omega-6 and barely any omega-3 fatty acids. Benefits: For thousands of years, people have been eating this heart-healthy nut that supports the immune system, boosts metabolism and can even help prevent bacterial infection. Cons: There’s not too much protein in a serving of coconut butter and the saturated fat content’s pretty high. So be sure to spread a limited amount on fortified bread or another great protein source.

Close up of hazelnuts on the wooden texture

Hazelnut –  Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 17g fat (1g sat fat), 4g protein
Like peanut butter, hazelnuts are a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, but don’t offer too much omega-3. Benefits: Also known as “filberts,” hazelnuts are packed with the good stuff: protein, fiber, vitamin E, copper and manganese. Cons: The problem is that a serving of hazelnut butter has about half the amount of protein that peanut butter has; therefore, it’s best to pair the butter with fortified pasta or another protein-packed food item.

Bowl of Macadamia nuts, with shelled nuts in foreground

Macadamia – Nutrition: 230 calories, 24g fat (4g sat fat), 2g protein
Macadamia nuts have a lot more omega-6s than omega-3s, though not quite as much of either fatty acid as peanut butter. Benefits: Of all nut varieties, Macadamias contain the greatest concentration of monounsaturated fat (good for the heart). In fact, research suggests that eating macadamia nuts can help prevent coronary artery disease. Cons: Even though it’s the good kind, macadamias are still pretty high in fat, so try not to exceed the 2 Tablespoons serving size. They’re also relatively low in protein, so punch up the nutritional value with milk, fortified bread or even oatmeal.

pecan nuts

Pecan – Nutrition facts: 213 calories, 20g fat (2g sat fat), 4g protein
Pecans are packed with about 20 times as much omega-6 as omega-3 fatty acids. Benefits: It’s like a vitamin (and mineral) shop in a nutshell. Pecans are packed with vitamins A, B, and E, plus magnesium, potassium and a ton of fiber. And studies have found pecans can help lower cholesterol levels. Cons: Pecans are a little higher in fat than peanut butter, so consider limiting intake to 2 Tablespoons, as tempting as it is to eat an entire jar in one sitting.

Roasted pistachio nuts seed with shell

Pistachio – Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 13g fat (1.5g fat), 6g protein
Pistachios are also a much better source of omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. Benefits: These super-nuts are full of fiber and potassium, and more protein than most other nut varieties. Some research even suggests pistachios can lower cholesterol and boost antioxidant levels.

soya beans on wooden surface

Soy – Nutrition facts: 200 calories, 14g fat (2g sat fat), 10g protein
Though a better source of omega-3s than peanut butter, soy nuts are also a better source of omega-6s than omega-3 fatty acids. Benefits: Soy nuts offer a hefty dose of protein (even more than peanut butter) and all essential amino acids. Plus the isoflavones in soy products may help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Fresh walnuts in the basket

Walnut – Nutrition facts: 174 calories, 17g fat (10g sat fat), 3g protein
Walnuts are a great source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, though they’ve got more omega-6s. Benefits: Look inside the shell for antioxidants, plus vitamins and minerals that can improve blood vessel health and help reduce inflammation. Cons: Walnuts are pretty high in saturated fat and low in protein, so consider limiting the serving size and sprinkling some other protein-power nuts, like pistachios, on top.

Brazil nuts on a spoon on wooden background.

Cashew – Nutrition facts: 160 calories, 14g fat (4g sat fat), 4g protein
While cashews have slightly more omega-3 power than peanut butter, they don’t pack quite as much omega-6. Benefits: Cashews have a ton of important vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorous and manganese. The nuts may also reduce triglyceride levels, especially important for those with diabetes. Cons: Cashews are lacking in the protein department, so add a glass of milk or another source of protein to the meal.

pumpkin and seeds on wood background

Pumpkin  Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 14g fat (4g sat fat), 10g protein
Pumpkin seeds pack more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. Benefits: After Halloween has come and gone, this superfood still makes an awesome snack in any form. Its best benefits include a ton of protein (more than peanut butter), fiber, potassium and beta-carotene, a nutrient associated with boosting the immune system.

sesame seeds

Sesame – Nutrition facts: 170 calories, 16 g fat (2 g sat fat), 6g protein
Like peanut butter, sesame seeds are filled with omega-6 fatty acids, and not so much omega-3. Benefits: Sesame seeds are a great source of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B1 and fiber. Research suggests the seeds can lower cholesterol levels and help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Heap of hulled sunflower seeds

Sunflower Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 16g fat (2g sat fat), 6g protein
Sunflower seeds don’t offer much omega-3 fatty acids, but they’re brimming with omega-6s. Benefits: Sunflowers offer a great source of magnesium and antioxidant vitamin E.

While JIF and Skippy are nice on your wallet, most of these alternative butters are less processed and better sources of protein and Omegas. You can usually find them located in the natural section of most grocery stores. You can also order most of these butters online. As much as I love a good PB&J, using almond butter instead of peanut butter is just as tasty. Give it a try!

Tristan "Lucky"


Written by: Tristan “Lucky”

 

Let Loose the Juice!

1
Joe Cross (Day 1 and Day 60)

This past week I visited my home town of Atlanta, GA and spent some quality time with my folks. While flipping through Netflix one evening, I stumbled upon a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  Of course, many people already know who Joe “the juicer” Cross is and how he lost a ton of weight and got mega healthy (even removing all of his medications) doing a 60-day juice fast.

Why does this matter to you? Let me get to the point in regards to guys who are already fit.

3
Athletes and Celebrities alike are Mega Juice Fans! They know how a healthy inside and outside is vital to everyday living.

Among his many plans, Joe also has a 10-day “Reboot”, and while this is definitely the opposite of our mighty meaty diets, it does something for our bodies that we need: flush out disease-encouraging toxins and help recharge our bodies to a healthy status.

In a nutshell, Rebooting your system by drinking 100% liquid sunshine or eating restorative plant-based energy will give you a hydro-boost to sustain vitality, fight disease and also lean you out.

Don’t worry, though, weight loss tends to happen in the people who have excessive weight to lose. If during the 10 days you feel like your losing too much weight, simply include juicing to eating a clean diet for the remainder of the days.

Joe says that, “People who are undertaking a Reboot for health reasons often worry about losing too much weight. It is our experience that Rebooters who are slim to begin with need to still be consuming enough juice and nutrients to keep their body healthy and their weight as close to stable as possible.”

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Dr. Oz isn’t the only medical professional who believes 100% in the power of juice.

If you’re feeling tired, have a mental “fog” and your body stops feeling “peak”, it’s probably time to juice up with the nutrients found in fruits and veggies to get your system running at supreme condition. If your body isn’t where it needs to be, you can’t lift at your maximum performance.

Juicing isn’t anything new. Celebrities have been doing it forever and people like Dr. Oz have promoted it for years. Another great documentary on Netflix to watch is Hungry for Change. Don’t you want to look good on the inside too? I know that I do.

I’m planning on starting my 10-day Reboot on Monday. My Breville Juicer is arriving tomorrow, thanks to my Amazon Prime account. Gotta love that 2-day free shipping! I’ll post an update with my results.

Joe’s Mean Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery sticks
  • 2 apples
  • 6-8 leaves kale
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 inch piece of ginger

My Favorite Red Juice

Ingredients:

  • 2 Beets
  • 6 Carrots
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 inch piece of ginger

Wash all of the produce, peel the lemon, core the apple, add all of the ingredients in your juicer and enjoy!

Tristan "Lucky"

 

 

 

 

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”