Tag Archives: bcaas

Xtend BCAA Watermelon Jello Recipe

Enjoy this fresh, summery sugar-free dessert chock full of BCAAs!

Jello Recipe
Photo from: www.scivation.com/xtend-watermelon-jello-2015-09

The only thing better than dessert is dessert that you can eat without worrying about putting on slabs of body fat. This BCAA watermelon jello recipe does just that. It actually goes one step further by providing 7 grams of branched chain amino acids to help curb hunger, burn fat, and build/maintain lean muscle. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients
1. A large watermelon rind.
2. 8 scoops of watermelon Xtend.
3. 1/2 cup unflavored gelatin mix.
4. 8 cups of boiling water.

Instructions
1. Cut a large watermelon in half and scoop out the pink flesh leaving only the green-yellow bowl-shaped rind.
2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour the mixture into the watermelon rind.
4. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
5. Slice and serve.

Nutrition Info
Protein: 7 grams of BCAAs
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 0 grams

Full Disclosure: I did not create this jello recipe, I got it off of Scivation’s website. It looks awesome though and I’m definitely going to try it. I thought it was worth sharing with anyone looking to do fun new things with their BCAAs besides just drinking them.

Xtend BCAA Soda Recipe

This BCAA Soda recipe has 0 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 0 mg of caffeine, and is super easy to make!

BCAA Soda Recipe
Xtend Watermelon BCAA Soda

My BCAA soda recipe is so easy to make I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. You only need 3 or 4 ingredients to make a delicious, healthy soft drink loaded with amino acids to curb hunger, burn fat and build muscle. This is all you need:

Ingredients
1 scoop Xtend BCAAs
8-12 oz. Seltzer
1 cup of ice
1/2 lemon, lime or small orange (optional)

Instructions
1) Fill a shaker bottle with 1 cup of ice (or more if desired).
2) Add 1 scoop of any flavor of Xtend BCAAs.
3) Pour 8-12 oz. of ice cold seltzer.
4) STIR, don’t shake.
5) Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon, lime or small orange into the drink and drop in the rind (optional)
6) Stir again and serve.

Nutrition Info
Calories: 0*
Protein: 7 g amino acids
Carbohydrates: 0 g*
Fat: 0 g

5 Reasons You Should Supplement BCAAs

BCAA & Superfoods Recovery Smoothie

Scivation makes Xtend BCAAs in over a dozen flavors, with more on the way! Some of your options are:

  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Grape
  • Black Cherry (Xtend Perform BCAAs)
  • Mango
  • Fruit Punch
  • Watermelon
  • Pink Lemonade

And more! I’ll definitely be trying them all out, potentially mixing them with Polar flavored seltzer and adding fresh lemon or lime.

* 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar without fresh squeezed fruit juice.

Tips for Buying New Supplements

Your plastic scooper scrapes against the bottom of the container reminding you that you need to place an order for more whey protein, pre workout, BCAAs, fish oil or whatever your weapon of choice is. You’ve been stretching out your supplements to last as long as possible so you don’t have to empty your wallet on the stuff again. Here are some tips on how to soften the blow and spend as little as $25-30/month on your favorite supplements.

1. Understand the ingredient list.

If you’re looking for a whey protein supplement, all you need to do is look for a reputable brand (preferably one you’ve tried before) with a great flavor whey protein. A $20 tub of whey protein will produce the same effect as a $50 tub of whey protein if the primary ingredients are the same. I generally buy whatever is on sale at bodybuilding.com or amazon and I try to keep it around $40 for 50+ servings. I base my main decision off of point #2.

5 Reasons You Should Supplement BCAAs

2. Servings/Price.

If I can get a 70 serving tub of whey protein for $50 vs. a 50 serving tub for $40, I’ll choose the former because that’s the better value. The same thing goes for pre-workout (which generally comes in 30 serving containers). I generally don’t spend more than $20 on a pre-workout because that market is also pretty saturated and competitive.

Budgeting Your Supplement Plan

3. How long will the product last if you take it consistently?

If you have a 30 serving container of product that you use every day then you can expect it to last you 30 days (obviously). Are you going to take pre-workout every day? Probably not. You’ll probably only take it 4-5 days per week so it should last you roughly 6 weeks. Keep that in mind when you’re budgeting. If you only want to spend $30/month on supplements then look into the servings/price and how long the container will last you so you know exactly how much you’re spending on your supplements each month.

4. Do you need the supplement or is it hype?

The guy at GNC that sold you the 90 servings container of rare African mango skin extract that will “TARGET AND TORCH BODY FAT!” is just pumping up his commission. I’ve been ripped off and millions of other people have been ripped off like this. Look into only seriously researched supplements like whey protein, BCAAs, caffeine, and of course only consider reputable brands.

Does Your Pre-Workout Have These Ingredients?

My Current Stack

Xtend Perform BCAAs Black Cherry

Scivation Vanilla Whey Protein (30 g of protein/serving)

Neon Sport Volt

I do the majority of my supplement shopping on Bodybuilding.com and Amazon, hunting for the best deal. With Bodybuilding.com you generally get impressively fast shipping and some free goodies but at $8+ for shipping it’s really your best bet only if you plan on buying in bulk. With Amazon you can typically pay a little less and get free shipping but you don’t get samples, magazines or become a part of the Bodybuilding.com community.

Check out my Instagram & Facebook page for more advice!

 

Scivation Xtend Perform Review

The Scivation team sent me their brand new line of Xtend BCAAs, Xtend Perform. What separates this from their other line of BCAAs, and other brands’ BCAAs for that matter, is their new patented ingredient “Peak 02”. Participating in their 21 day challenge, I’ll be taking 2 scoops of Xtend Perform during my workout and recording the results over those 3 weeks. In addition, I’ll also be trying to achieve several personal goals: gaining 10 lbs, squatting over 400 lbs, and benching over 300 lbs relatively easily.

After using Scivation’s Xtend Perform this is what I’ve noticed:

1) 15 seconds less recovery time in between sets.

The buzz around this product is that their new patented ingredient Peak 02 is supposed to increase time to exhaustion by increasing 02 uptake. I generally take 45 seconds of rest in between sets supplementing with regular Xtend BCAAs. After taking 2 scoops of Xtend Perform every day for the past 2-3 weeks I’ve noticed that around 30-35 seconds I’m ready for my next set again. There are other factors that could potentially play into this as well though. I’ve significantly increased my calorie intake over the last 3 weeks, nearly tripling my carbohydrate intake which definitely has played a role in my increased energy.

4 Keys to Faster Recovery

2) Bigger pumps when stacked with my usual pre-workout.

Unlike point #1, which could be a result of my new diet, exercise routine, and then my new supplement stack, this point is undeniable. I’ve always stacked BCAAs with my pre-workout and never really noticed a significantly different pump. I’ve been taking 1/2 scoop of preworkout and mixing it with 1 scoop of Black Cherry Xtend Perform. The pump has been equal to or greater than the energy I typically feel with 1 scoop of preworkout alone. Less caffeine to me means less caffeine dependency come workout time.

Does Your Pre-Workout Have These Ingredients?

3) Overall better hydration.

Of course I could credit this to any BCAA product because they all require you to mix them in 16-24 oz of water and have hydration benefits. However, during my 21-day challenge, with my extra scoop of Xtend Perform, I’ve been taking in an additional 24 oz. of iced water that I can easily drink in about 2 minutes because the flavor is so good. As I’ve said in the past, many people find it easier to hydrate better when they drink cold flavored beverages rather than warm unflavored water.

6 Ways to Improve Hydration

4) Amazing Black Cherry Flavor.

I’ve tried Blue Raspberry, Lemon Lime, Mango, Fruit Punch, Grape, Pink Lemonade, Kiwi Strawberry, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Green Apple, and now Black Cherry, and I can honestly say that Black Cherry Xtend Perform is on my top 3 favorite tasting supplements of all time. I had low expectations also because I’m not a fan of cherry flavored ANYTHING. If no other points made you consider trying Xtend Perform, if you’re skeptical of the new ingredient (Peak 02), if you think BCAA supplementation is all hype, then try Black Cherry Xtend Perform just because it’s the best tasting BCAA supplement I’ve had to date (rivaled only by Blue Raspberry Xtend).

5) Less sweet than regular Xtend BCAAs.

The only complaint I’ve heard from clients, friends, and family members that have tried my Xtend out of curiosity is that it’s too sweet. I mix Xtend with 24 oz of cold water and it’s still sweet. But again, Xtend is a product intended to increase hydration, recovery, reduce fatigue time, and so on. It’s not meant to go down in one shot like a pre-workout or capsule. Black Cherry Xtend Perform is definitely less sweet than the rest of the Xtend line though. 16 oz. of Black Cherry Xtend Perform is roughly as sweet as 24 oz. of other Xtend flavors.

5 Reasons You Should Supplement BCAAs

Check out my Instagram for updates on my 21 Day Challenge. Try it for yourself and use the hashtag #Perform21 and I’ll check out your progress!

5 Reasons You Should Supplement BCAAs

If you’ve ever taken a lap around the weight floor of your gym then you’ve probably seen a sea of shaker bottles filled with mysterious, colorful beverages. There’s a high probability that these fitness enthusiasts are drinking BCAAs during their workouts. BCAAs and other amino acid supplements offer a helpful boost on the weight floor, track, field, court, etc. Here are 5 reasons you should consider including BCAAs into your supplement circulation:

1. Regenerate lean muscle tissue.

The purpose of BCAAs is to help regenerate muscle tissue damaged by the stress of exercising. Sipping BCAAs continuously throughout your workout provides a steady, continuous drip of quickly absorbable leucine, isoleucine, and valine directly to the muscle for repair. The BCAAs I take, Scivation Xtend or Scivation Xtend Perform, also include Glutamine, Citrulline, and Peak02 (Scivation’s patented ingredient for their Perform line).

2. Maintain lean muscle while burning fat on a diet.

Preservation of lean muscle is critical when embarking on a fat loss diet. Sacrificing your hard earned results in order to burn a layer of belly fat is counter intuitive. BCAAs help you maintain lean muscle while you burn the layer of fat on top of the muscle.

Advice: drink BCAAs while you perform High Intensity Interval (HIIT) Training, Sprintervals, or Cardio Acceleration workouts to decrease your chances of burning muscle in the name of burning fat

3. Decrease fatigue time.

Needing 60 seconds to recover versus needing 45 seconds to recover is sometimes all it takes to spark significant changes in your physique. BCAAs help by buffering lactic acid build up and instantly repairing muscle tissue micro-tears. Amino Acids like Beta-Alanine, Citrulline, and Agmatine help buffer lactic acid and increase blood flow through vasodilation. Look for a Pre-Workout with Beta-Alanine and/or Agmatine, and an Intra-Workout with BCAAs & Citrulline.

4. Improve hydration.

Studies show that people generally drink more water when it’s ice cold and flavored (hence the explosion of water flavoring products over the last several years). Fill up your shaker bottle with ice, 1 scoop of BCAAs, and water and sip throughout your workout. Most BCAA supplements include a proprietary blend of electrolytes to help replenish what you sweat out.

Click here for more tricks to improve hydration. 

5. Decrease recovery time.

BCAAs help decrease the amount of time needed to recover following a workout so it may take 1-2 days to fully recover as opposed to 2-3/4 days. I generally enjoy a scoop of BCAAs with 24 oz of ice cold water on my rest days to help my body stay hydrated and repair beat up muscle tissue. I also follow my 4 keys to faster recovery and my 4 ways to heal sore muscles.

For more advice, recipes, and awesome workouts check out my Instagram and Facebook page! Follow me on Twitter now too: @acurtisfitness.

Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss

Jim Stoppani introduced cardio acceleration to bodybuilding with his Shortcut to Shred workout plan on Bodybuilding.com and since then I haven’t looked at cardio the same. Why spend 45 minutes jogging on a treadmill if you could do short bursts of cardio in between my weightlifting sets and see better results. Not only will you save time, but you’ll make better progress. Here’s how it works:

1. Pick a variety of cardio acceleration exercises.

My preferred cardio acceleration moves are step ups, exploding split squats, jumping jacks, sprintervals, jump squats, and kettlebell. Click here to see Jim Stoppani’s list. 

2. Perform your cardio acceleration exercise for 30-60 seconds in between your strength training sets.

For example, immediately after you’re done bench pressing, choose your favorite cardio acceleration exercise and go at it for 30-60 seconds. Give yourself 15-30 seconds to catch your breath, sip some BCAAs and then get back to benching.

3. Increase or decrease the intensity, duration and variety as needed. 

Now that you’ve become accustomed to this style of training it’s time to turn it up a notch. You can torch some more fat by increasing your weight, intensity, duration (up to 60 seconds), or variety. Try doing 30 seconds of one cardio acceleration exercise and then 30 seconds of another. Variety means you can target more muscle groups and shock your body.

Try out this sample workout and let me know how you like it!

Bench Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
Step Up: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Pec Fly: 3 sets x 15 reps
Exploding Split Squat: 3 sets x 30 seconds
Push-Ups: 5 sets x 20 reps
Step Up Knee Raise: 5 sets x 30 seconds
Pec Fly: 4 sets x 12 reps
Medicine Ball Slam: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Incline DB Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
Skip In Place: 4 sets x 30 seconds
Decline Cable Fly: 3 sets x 10 reps
Burpees: 3 sets x 30 seconds
Leg Raises: 5 sets x 20 reps
Mountain Climbers: 5 sets x 30 seconds

Total cardio acceleration time: 16 minutes;  this is realistically like doing 32 minutes of HIIT training not including the strength training portion. It’s very intense and very effective.

Check out my Instagram and Facebook for more workouts, awesome recipes, and product giveaways!

 

The 3 Keys to Hitting Your Fitness Goals

Your goals, no matter how big or small, long term or short term, easily attainable or seemingly impossible, can be met with these 3 keys to success. Planning is important and I almost always emphasize that in every post, but without these 3 keys your plans will just be plans. You need to take action. You need to adopt the mindset that you’re fully in control and that only YOU can make it happen. Here they are, in their simplistic glory, the 3 Keys to Hitting Your Fitness Goals:

1. Focus

Focus on what’s most important to helping you achieve your goal. If your goal is to burn fat, then focus your energy on doing everything possible to burn more fat. If that means getting up 30 minutes earlier and doing some cardio before work, then get up and focus on your goals. So many people don’t hit their goal because they don’t focus on it. They want bigger arms but they do their arm workout last in the week with little energy. Focus.

2. Discipline

This is actually the most important in my eyes. Lack of discipline is what causes most people to fail. Want to make more money? Stop spending it on things you don’t need (and probably will only use or wear a few times). Want to get in better shape? Control your cravings and your hungry. People scapegoat bodybuilders’ success by saying “well, they take steroids of course THEY look like that”. But, bodybuilders have an incredible sense of discipline. Steroids won’t do anything with vigorous training and a structured diet. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to get great results, you just need to discipline yourself. Track what you eat, eat foods that coincide with your goals, exercise, prioritize, plan ahead, no more excuses. Stay disciplined.

3. Action

Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and make the leap. Get into action mode. Use the focus you have to drive you forward. People may doubt you, they may not understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, they may not see the point, but it doesn’t matter because you’ve become OBSESSED with getting what you want. At first they’ll ask why you’re doing it, then they’ll ask how you did it. Most people are so afraid to fail that they never start in the first place. Don’t be passive. Take action.

bigger arms, keys to fitness goals, jacked, bodybuilding, fitness

I was inspired to write this after I watched about 10 people weigh themselves and say “this can’t be right”, then after barely probing them for an answer they said they’ve been skipping workouts and ate pizza and wings for the Superbowl. You can’t reach your goals without these 3 Keys.

Check out my Instagram page and Facebook for awesome recipes & workouts.

3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs

It’s come to my attention that a lot of people struggle with a few key points when attempting to convert to a low carb diet. Let’s say someone is having chicken cutlet for dinner with a side of pasta and vegetables. Well the breading for that chicken cutlet is going to make up 1-2 servings of carbs and if you’re like most people you probably didn’t measure the amount of pasta you put on your plate. Your dinner alone could contain over 100 grams of carbs without you even feeling like you ate a lot of carbs.

These are the 3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs:

1. They have no idea how many grams of carbohydrates their body needs to maintain their current weight let alone lose weight.
2. They don’t know how to translate this into meals that provide the predetermined portion of carbs that they need in order to lose weight.
3. They may not know what foods are sources of carbohydrates. Yes, everyone knows bread, rice, and pasta are carbohydrates but few people realize that dried fruit and some starchy vegetables are high in carbs.

I’ve had clients say to me “I’ve been cutting out carbs for a few weeks now and I haven’t seen any results. I can’t lose weight no matter what I do”. Then, when I ask them what a typical breakfast looks like they say something along the lines of “yogurt with granola and fruit”. So what you just told me is that you’re cutting back on carbs but for breakfast you had a sugary protein with carbs and carbs.

In short, here’s my advice

1. Get an Idea of How Many Grams of Carbs You Need

You can use free tracking apps like MyFitnessPal to get a good idea of how many grams of carbs, protein and fat you should be eating, or you can consult with a nutritionist or dietitian for advice. Once you’ve figured out how many calories you need every day and how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat you need every day to maintain your weight, you’ll be one step closer to figuring out how many grams you need to cut to lose weight.

2. Cut the Servings of Carbs You Eat Everyday

Sounds a little obvious right? If you normally eat a bagel every day for breakfast doing something as simple as switching to half a bagel every day is enough to spark some results. This is by no means the most effective method, but it’s a method none the less.

3. Clean Up Your Carbs

Switching from white rice to brown rice probably isn’t going to spark the weight loss you’re after alone but it’s a good place to start. Let me be the first person to say that the commercial where they say “sugar is sugar, your body doesn’t recognize the difference” is the most misinforming piece of nutritional information of all time. Your body absolutely knows the difference between the sugar you get from a piece of fruit and the sugar you get from an iced caramel macchiato. Keep 80% of  your carbs from whole sources like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. They’ll keep you feeling satiated longer and they’re less likely to be stored as fat for a few reasons: it’s much harder to eat 100 grams of carbohydrates from vegetables than it is from candy, they won’t spike your blood sugar as much, and you’ll automatically increase your intake of fiber and micronutrients.

4. Use the Nutrition Info Label on Packaged Foods

A typical serving of carbs is about 15 grams. If you absolutely have to eat a processed, packaged food make sure you look at the nutrition info and see how many grams of carbs are in each serving and more importantly, WHAT IS 1 SERVING? 1 serving size of poptarts is one pastry…nobody eats one pastry. If you never check the serving size on the nutrition info label then you could easily be eating 2x the amount of carbs that you think you’re eating.

If you have any questions feel free to comment on this post. Check out my Instagram for low carb, high protein meals that are easy to make and a lot more exciting than eating salads all day. Like this meal (minus the wine and breadsticks):

surfandturf

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Shout out to my sister, Jackie, for this topic idea. She’s an awesome cook and sees people making this mistakes all the time!

High Protein Parfait in 30 Seconds

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast that you can bring to work look no further. This recipe takes 30 seconds to make and is packed with slow digesting protein and fiber to keep you fuller, longer.

Ingredients
8 oz. Plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup High Protein Granola
1 banana (6″)
1 tbsp. flaxseed or chia seed
1 packet of truvia

Directions
Scoop 8 oz. of plain Greek yogurt into a bowl or container
Add 1 packet of truvia and stir
Mix 1/2 cup of High Protein Granola with 1 tbsp. flaxseed or chia seed
Layer the granola/flaxseed or chia seed over the yogurt
Slice 1 6″ banana on top of the granola
Serve

Greek Yogurt Recipe

Nutrition Info
Protein: 37 g
Carbohydrates: 55 g
Fat: 8 g

This is a super easy and effective recipe. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

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