Tag Archives: workout

The Bare Necessities of Supplements

As we all know, there are literally thousands of different types of supplements to pick from. They all claim to perform some sort of miracle and say they are indispensable. But are they really necessary? And do they really do everything they say they do?

It can be difficult to get the amount of nutrients you need every day. That’s why they are called ‘supplements’. Don’t forget they are just that…they are mean to supplement your otherwise healthy diet. They should not be used as a shortcut or a replacement.

In this post I’m going to cover what I personally consider to be your must have stack, with a few good extras to consider. Feel free to comment and tell me what your favorites are!

First off: PROTEIN! I think this comes before all others. If you aren’t going to pop any pills or use any other form of powder supplements, at the very least…use protein!! Even though it is best to get your protein from natural sources like chicken and tuna, a few scoops of protein can be both beneficial and convenient. Not everyone carries around a few extra chicken breasts in their bag, but it is easy to carry some protein powder. Protein is essential for both building and maintaining lean muscle while losing fat.

Multivitamin: This is your overall key to wellness. I personally hate taking vitamins…but there is nothing else you can take that has so much to offer for your health. I rate this right up there with protein. Take your daily multivitamin!

BCAA: Branch chain amino acids. BCAA’s assist in delivering protein to your muscles while at the same time preventing the protein from breaking down before it can be utilized. BCAA’s are great for pre-workout for cardio because they do not make you jittery and nauseous when your heart rate goes up.

Fish Oil: Fish oil is like multivitamins: it is good for your overall health. It is good for your heart, your bone health and has even been shown to help keep you in a good mood. Fish oil contains Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) that your body requires but cannot produce so it is very essential you are eating food or taking supplements that contain EFA’s (like fish or fish oil).

Calcium: Calcium is another must-have, especially for women. Most women do not get nearly the amount of calcium they need every day, which can lead to many problems later in life. In addition to it’s well known bone health properties, calcium has been shown to promote a lean physique. There are more varieties of calcium than you think. I prefer calcium citrate with vitamin d and magnesium.

Glutamine: Glutamine is essential for your post workout recovery. It speeds the recovery process while preventing muscle soreness. All you need is a little scoop to add to your post-workout protein shake to keep your muscles primed and ready for the next day’s weight lifting brutality session.

That does it for the absolute must haves. Here are a few extras to strongly consider:

Pre-Workout:This is a tricky one, and finding the right pre-workout can be difficult and frustrating. Pre-workout has a bad rep for making one jittery and can even make you throw up if you go too hard. That isn’t the case with all types though. Honestly you just have to try a few out until you find what you are looking for. I personally love 1.M.R. Vortex. It gives you great energy without making you feel like you are tazmanian devil and losing your mind on a caffeine high. It also contains fat burning properties, which makes it a great two-in-one product.

Fat Burners: CLA and caffeine products are the two basic choices. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) promotes lean muscle mass and speeds up your metabolism. Caffeine essentially raises your core temperature, causing your body to burn more calories. Many caffeine based fat burners also contain niacin, which does the same thing. Many people do not have a very good capacity for caffeine, so be careful when beginning a caffeine supplement. Too much can cause you to be dizzy, nauseated, and increase your heart rate too much. Think about it being like red bull or monster on steroids in a pill form. As with anything else the type of fat burner that works for you is a personal preference and one you have to figure out for yourself. Just be cautious and begin with the smallest dosage and increase it over the period of time specified on the product label.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article. If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment!


New Workout Plan!

How is everyone today? I started a new workout plan yesterday based off a 90 day preparation for Ranger school. If you are just going to the gym every day without a plan or just with a specific muscle group in mind, I highly suggest finding a multi-week plan. It really gives you something to look forward to and a means of tracking your progress.

Yesterday morning I did chest and yesterday evening I did some reps of dead lifts, shoulder presses, front squats, back squats, and bench presses to determine my 1 rep max for each exercise. Now that I have assessed where I am, I am looking forward to improving myself.

Today’s agenda is pushups, situps, pullups, and a 5 mile run. Wish me luck! 🙂

More to follow, this is a three month plan 🙂

100 Rep Squat/Leg Press Workout

This is a simple workout that I like to add to my leg days because it is a combination of both high reps and weight.

It sounds like a lot, but it is very simple. Here is how I break it down:

I start in the squat rack with just the bar, knock out 10 reps. Then add 20 lbs. Knock out 10 more. Keep adding weight until you get to 60 reps, then begin lowering the weight. Example:











I perform the same routine for leg press. In the facility that I usually workout in, there is no leg press machine so I improvise on a smith machine. Lay a mat down on the floor and raise the bar up a couple hooks. Lay down on the mat and adjust the bar until your knees are close to your chest like they would be on a leg press. Essentially it is a vertical leg press motion instead of horizontal. I actually prefer it to a leg press machine.

By the end of these two exercises, you will be pouring sweat! Of course the weights listed here are only an example of the incremental increase in weight-do whatever challenges you! In my backwoods spoken way of putting it…if you aren’t ‘sweating like a pig’ after a few sets, you aren’t lifting heavy enough!

Have fun, and PERSPYRE!! 🙂

10 Less Common Sources of Protein

Protein is very important to a healthy lifestyle. It is one of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) that is necessary to survive. It builds and maintains muscle while losing fat. Whether you are just trying to obtain a healthier lifestyle or you are a regular gym fanatic, protein is essential to your daily nutritional needs.

All too often, we reach for the protein powder to meet our daily intake requirements. However, we should focus on getting as much protein from food as possible before resorting to supplements to take up the slack. Below are ten  lesser known sources of protein. Enjoy!

10 Oatmeal

“Eat your oats!” Your mom always tried to get you to eat that slimy stuff, although the amount of sugar you put into it as a kid probably outweighed the health benefits. However, if prepared correctly, one half cup of dry oatmeal is 6.75 grams of protein. Don’t make the mistakes you made as a kid by avoiding adding sugar as much as possible. To make it more palatable, try adding your favorite fruit. Honey is also a healthy option for adding sweetness. Eating it by itself is not the only option. Consider making a batch of a healthy version of oatmeal raisin cookies (again, think less sugar, or using an alternative source, like honey or fruit). Adding raw oatmeal to smoothies is a great option for sneaking in some oatmeal based protein if you don’t care much for the texture or taste because you will barely notice it in the thick consistency.

9 Leafy Greens

For those salad lovers out there, great news! All leafy greens are excellent sources of protein, while having the added benefit of being light to eat. Leafy vegetables are one of the few things you can eat a large quantity of without dealing with nutritional repercussions. Salads are excellent for eating before a meal for a nutritional filler so that you do not overeat during the main course on higher calorie food. There are several greens you can choose from. Spinach is sweet tasting and has 1 gram of protein per cup. It can be added to a salad, serve as a stand alone green in a salad, or added to any Italian dish fresh or cooked in. Kale is often an overlooked option, with 2 grams of protein per cup. Argula has .6 grams of protein per cup, however it is a slightly more bitter tasting green. Of course you can’t forget the most common greens used for salads: Iceberg and romaine lettuce, which offer .5 gram and 1 gram of protein per cup respectively.

8 Jerky

Jerky is an old American snacking favorite. Many people enjoy munching on Slim Jims or other jerky favorites. Since it is meat based, it is one of the best sources of protein you can find for a healthy snack. Everyone tends to simultaneously group ‘beef’ with ‘jerky’ but don’t forget there are many other meats to pick from. Here is a by-brand list of some of the most popular jerky and their protein content: Slim Jim Original Beef Stick: 1 package is 6 grams. Jack Link’s Teriyaki Beef Jerky: 1 ounce is 14 grams. Great Value Peppered Jerky: 1 ounce is 14 grams. Oberto BBQ Pork Jerky: 1 ounce is 10 grams. So the next time you are on that road trip and you stop to fill up the tank, think twice before you grab that bag of chips. Jerky is one of the healthiest snack options you can find, because it will satisfy you while fulfilling your nutritional needs instead of just being empty calories.

7 Cereal

When most people think of cereal, they think sugar. Take a walk down the breakfast aisle, and you will find it filled with bright boxes that contain sugar filled morsels in every shape to entice a child’s imagination. Re-think the cereal you ate as a child, and probably still eat. Though not popular, that small little section of whole grains is where you need to be headed. Don’t groan with discontent just yet; the Raisin Bran your grandma eats to get her fiber isn’t where it ends. Take a look next time you go to the grocery store and you will be surprised. There are two brands that are favorites of mine that both contain a high amount of protein in all their products. Post Great Grains cereal has two specific protein cereals; one of which is a blend of honey, oats and seeds, and the other is a cinnamon hazelnut mix. Both offer 8 grams of protein per cup. They offer other various tasty flavors, which have 4-5 grams of protein per cup. Another favorite brand is Kashi GOLEAN Original Cereal, which has 13 grams of protein in a cup.

6 Nuts

Go nuts! In a good way, of course. Nuts are another common snack that are completely overlooked in the protein department. Peanuts offer 7.3 grams of protein per ounce.Cashews contain 4 grams per ounce. Almonds have 6 grams per ounce. Also, think of nut based products, such as peanut butter and almond milk. Nuts are great for munching on around the house or taking to work with you, but remember portion control. Don’t sit around with the whole container because it is very easy to overindulge. It is better to divide them into serving size portions in zip lock bags or small airtight containers. In matters of serving size, think of a child’s size handful. Nuts are also excellent for individuals on a diet because a small quantity will fill you up very quickly. Nuts also help with queasiness that occasionally comes with dieting. In other words for the dieters of the world, nuts can help you keep from going nuts and assist you in sticking to your nutritional goals.

5 Beans

Beans are known for their fiber content, however they are also  an amazing source of high protein. Boiled white beans (also known as ‘great northern beans’) have 17.4 grams in a cup. Pinto beans (also known as simply ‘brown beans’) offer 15.4 grams per cup. Lima beans have 14.6 grams per cup. Kidney beans offer 15 grams per cup. Many southern style home cooked meals feature beans as either a main or side dish. Popular recipes include white beans (flavored to taste with butter, salt, pepper, and onion), pork and beans, ham and beans, and brown beans (which can be flavored the same as white beans). Chili is also a popular dish that features kidney beans and pinto beans. Kidney beans are also good for adding to leafy salads, or you can specifically make kidney bean salad.

4 Greek Yogurt

You might have noticed commercials for yogurt and the advertising might have mentioned the protein factor. However, walk past the regular yogurt and pick up the greek yogurt. It is slightly more expensive, but worth the difference in price. Greek yogurt is essentially regular yogurt that has been drained and condensed, therefore it contains more protein. Because it is condensed, it is also thicker, richer tasting, and less runny than other yogurt. Greek yogurt contains 15 grams per 6 ounces. Yogurt is very convenient for eating right out of the container as a snack or part of your breakfast. Or you can mix in some protein rich cereal for a granola effect. Some salad recipes also call for unflavored protein. Yogurt is a great additive to smoothies for a thicker consistency. Frozen yogurt is also great for those with a sweet tooth who are looking for a healthier alternative to ice cream.

3 Hummus

Technically hummus could have been included in the beans section (it is derived from chick peas), but this tasty treat deserves it’s own highlight. Hummus has 19.8 grams per cup. There has always been a standing debate about whether hummus has a Middle Eastern or Greek origin. It is not popular in all parts of America, so you might not have heard of it. I had heard of it but never really thought about trying it until I spent some time in the Middle East and personally found it to be absolutely delicious. You can make it homemade rather simply with a can of chickpeas, or you can usually find it near the deli section. It is a very healthy alternative to chips and dip. In the Middle East it is common to eat it with a warm pita-like bread. However, if you are counting calories it is better to use whole wheat or spinach tortillas.

2 Seeds

If you appreciate the munching value of nuts, then it’s probably safe to say that you have eaten seeds at some point in time. Pumpkin seeds contain 8.46 grams of protein per ounce. Sunflower seeds have 5.48 grams per ounce. Even the sesame seeds that are sprinkled on your burger bun contain 1.6 grams per teaspoon. The poppy seeds on your muffins have a little as well: .5 grams per teaspoon.  Keep in mind the same portion techniques for seeds as for nuts: a little goes a long ways. It is very common for people to crack endlessly on a bag of flavored sunflower seeds, but be mindful because the sodium content can be very high. When you are carving your pumpkin for Halloween this year, don’t throw out the seeds this time. Rinse them off well, season them to your liking (you can go sweet with brown sugar and honey or think salt and pepper or even lemon garlic), and spread them thin on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on low heat until they are dry. Enjoy the free snack from a by-product of your decoration you would usually just throw out!

1 Rice

We see rice in so many meals that we eat. Whether you like brown or white rice, it contains 5.2 grams per boiled cup. There are so many options when it comes to eating this grain. You can prepare it similar to oatmeal, or add it to a stir fry. Keep in mind when eating fried rice that the protein content drops to 4.4 grams per cup. If you want to prepare a great breakfast wrap (or great for any meal), prepare scrambled eggs, then add onions, rice, and sliced almonds. Let it heat up together in the skillet for a few minutes, then wrap in a tortilla. Rice cakes are also a great snack to fill up on if you are looking for some crunch, and there are several flavors to pick from. The next time you go out to eat Mexican or Asian food, think of all the protein you are getting from the rice and the eggs that are cooked into it!

So next time before you grab your blender bottle, think again; and grab some protein filled food!