All of the deliciousness of chocolate covered strawberries, plus muscle building whey protein!
Need to burn a little extra belly fat? Here are 10 easy ways to start.
Burning 1 lb. per week essentially boils down to burning an extra 500 calories per day. Whether that means eating 500 fewer calories or stepping up your exercise routine, it’s a lot easier than you think. Try any of these tips to burn 1 extra pound per week:
1. Substitute foods
One of the easiest ways to cut calories is to substitute some of your foods, not cut them out entirely. Swap sour cream with Greek yogurt, mayonnaise with avocados, eggs with egg whites. Of course the portions matter but these healthy alternatives are higher in protein and unsaturated fats, and are lower calorie options.
2. Add a few more minutes of cardio to your plan
Adding a little bit of more cardio to your workout routine every day can help you burn more calories each day, making it easier to hit that 500 calorie deficit.
3. “There is no such thing as snacking”
Try your best to eat in the form of meals. If you prefer to snack throughout the day, turn your plan into 6-7 small meals that you can eat every 2 hours instead of grazing throughout the day.
4. Mind your coffee
Do you always use cream, milk, and/or sugar? Try cutting your sugar and milk portions in half, or drink your coffee black (you get used to it). I’ve seen people put 3-4 packets of sugar in their coffee every day. It’s not an outlandish amount of sugar but that extra 50-60 calories per cup (before milk) can add up, especially if you’re drinking a few cups a day.
5. Watch your high-calorie food
That means anything with a lot of oil, or cooked in oil. Just because something is baked doesn’t mean that the oil all over it doesn’t count. Use olive oil or coconut cooking sprays for extra flavor with less than 1 calorie per 1/4 second spray. Then, use a tsp. of oil or butter if you absolutely need to.
How to Keep Yourself from Binge Eating
6. You booze, you lose
When Mr. OnlyEatsProtein&SaladAllDay or Mrs. Haven’tHadCarbsSince2003 tell me that they can’t lose weight no matter what they do, they usually fail to mention the bottle of wine/day they’re drinking. 1 drink = 100 calories or more. So, if you have several drinks per day and you cut out 3, you’re already down 300 calories per day. Only 200 to go and you didn’t have to do a thing.
Will Drinking Alcohol Make You Fat?
Top 10 Healthiest Beers
Going through your week feeling tired no matter what you do? Try these 5 easy ways to increase energy naturally.
Between caffeine crashes and sugar crashes you may feel like you can barely keep your eyes open anymore, AND IT’S ONLY 4 P.M. Here’s what you can do to increase energy naturally. Even though caffeine is a natural stimulant, we’re going to look at mainly caffeine-free options:
1. Do 20 minutes of cardio every day
Get your heart rate up and blood flow pumping as early in the day as you can. You don’t even need a gym membership. Do a quick 15-20 minute circuit at home, grab a jump rope and do 60 second intervals, or go out for a power walk or jog. Do this 4-5 days per week and you’ll instantly feel more energy throughout the day.
20 Minute Living Room Workout
2. Avoid simple sugars during the day
Simple sugars like juice, candy, sorbet, and pancakes are more likely to spike your blood sugar consequently leading to a blood sugar crash that will leave you feeling sluggish for hours. Avoid simple sugars and white breads by replacing them with whole grains, fruit, vegetables, oats and other high-fiber carbohydrates.
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3. Eat more high-fiber, high energy foods
Fiber helps regulate blood sugar and prevent insulin spiking which will help that inevitable sugar crash. High energy (high in healthy fat) foods like nuts will provide a large dose of calories to keep you going without spiking blood sugar. Try eating 1/2 oz. of roasted almonds with breakfast.
4. Eat 4-5 small, balanced meals per day
Providing your body with balanced doses of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, fat, vitamins, water and minerals throughout the day should prevent that mid-day slump associated with the 3 large meals per day diet. It’s like having adequate nutrition on a continuous drip into your bloodstream versus getting large doses in 5 hour intervals.
5. Limit your caffeine intake and space out doses by 5-6 hours
I couldn’t talk about energy without bringing up caffeine, no matter how hard I tried. The half life of caffeine is roughly 5 hours, so I generally try to space out my doses by 5 hours. Drink your first cup of coffee, tea, or energy drink first thing in the morning. Have your next dose about 5 hours later if you need it and try to cut that dose in half and see if that’s enough to spark some energy without keeping you up all night. Nobody said you have to fill your coffee cup to the brim every time.
Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe
Do you feel like you’re blowing your back out by trying to blow it up? Here’s how to build a bigger back
Your back is made up of several muscle groups, big and small, that contribute to the overall size, aesthetics, and performance of your back. In fact, powerlifters often cite back strength as more critically important than arm strength when it comes to their bench press. When it comes to back workouts here’s what you want to do:
1. Keep the basics
Pull-ups, chin-ups (yes there’s a difference), deadlifts, and rows are too important to neglect if you’re trying to build a bigger back. The back fly machine is not going to give you the results you want, but it is useful for supplementing back exercises.
2. Target every muscle
Your back consists of your lats, traps, teres minor, teres major, infraspinatus, rhomboids, posterior delts, serratus, and more. Pull-ups alone won’t isolate all of these muscles and place enough stress on them individually to make them really show.
3. Mix in a variety of angles
A simple turn of the wrist can be the difference between isolating your rear delts and recruiting several larger back muscles for an exercise. For example, you can hold a dumbbell in a neutral, supinated, or pronated position for a dumbbell row and completely change the feeling of the exercises.
Here’s a back workout to try:
*Each exercise pair reflects a superset.
Deadlift: 4 sets x 12 reps
Barbell Row (Palms facing up): 4 sets x 10 reps + a rest pause set
Lat Pulldown: 3 sets x 10, 8, 8 reps + drop set
Bent Over DB Fly: 4 sets x 15 reps
Weighted Pull-Ups: 4 sets x 8 reps
Straight Arm Rope Pulldown: 5 sets x 10 reps
Barbell Shrugs: 5 sets x 20, 15, 15, 10, 8 reps
Trigger Point Roll for recovery: 5-10 minutes.
Check me out on Instagram for more workouts!
Tired of running? Try one of these cardio exercises instead.
Don’t get me wrong, running is a great way to get back in shape but it comes at a cost. Running is a high impact activity that over time may cause joint pain. Also, depending on the type of running you do you may find better metabolism-boosting effects with these exercises:
Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss
1. Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell swing intervals are a great way to torch fat while also developing explosive thrusting strength, building the legs, core, and shoulders. Perform 5 sets of 30-60 second intervals with 30-60 seconds rest in between. This form of HIIT training will help you burn fat, build muscle and keep your metabolism boosted for up to 48 hours.
2. Mountain Climbers
Try adding 30-60 second sets of Mountain Climbers in between your lifting sets (instead of taking a break) to pump up your heart rate and burn fat in place of your resting sets. All of the cardio benefits of running without the joint impact.
3. Jumping Jacks
This classic exercise incorporates your core, hip adductors and abductors, calves and shoulders making a great way to warm up vs. jogging for 15-20 minutes. Do a few sets of jumping jacks to warm up your muscles and joints before you turn up the intensity.
Speaking of turning up the intensity…any time the word “burpees” is mentioned in a group exercise class I hear a collective, audible “UGHHHH”. These aren’t for the weak of heart. Burpees are a combination of a push-up and a jump squat. At your own pace, do 5-10 burpees in between your lifting sets or for several intervals for a full-body scorching cardio and resistance workout.
5. TRX Row
Give your legs a break. Build up your back and arm strength with TRX Rows. Perform 5 sets of 25-30 reps in between weight lifting sets or superset them with a lower-body cardio workout for a full-body workout set.
6. Step Ups
Target your quads, glutes, and core by doing knee-level step ups, meaning the platform you step up on should be at your knee or slightly higher to hit your glutes harder.
7. Body Squats
Body Squats can be done any time, anywhere. Build explosive quad strength while you elevate your heart rate and develop better balance and posture. Try doing 5 sets of as many perfect reps as possible in 30 seconds.
8. Stepper Switch Foot
Set up a stepper with 4 risers (2 on each side). Place one foot on top of the stepper and the other foot slightly behind you. In one motion, explode off your back foot switching positions so the foot that was on the stepper is now behind you and the foot that was behind you is now on the stepper. Repeat for 30 seconds as fast as possible.
9. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Goblet Squats are a level up from regular body squats. Holding a kettlebell under chin while squatting allows you to place more resistance on your quads, engage your core more, and place extra stress on the biceps and delts.
10. Row Machine
This underrated piece of cardio equipment is probably abandoned in the corner of your gym somewhere. Several sets of high resistance rowing for 60 seconds or 250 meters at a time is a sure-fire way to burn massive amounts of calories in only a few minutes.
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If cardio feels like a chore that you keep putting it off then try mixing up these cardio exercises. If you do each one of these cardio exercises for 1 minute and take 60 seconds of rest in between each set you will have done a 20 minute, full body cardio workout that is guaranteed to burn more calories and burn more fat than 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill.
Enjoy this fresh, summery sugar-free dessert chock full of BCAAs!
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:
1. A large watermelon rind.
2. 8 scoops of watermelon Xtend.
3. 1/2 cup unflavored gelatin mix.
4. 8 cups of boiling water.
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.
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.
This BCAA Soda recipe has 0 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 0 mg of caffeine, and is super easy to make!
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:
1 scoop Xtend BCAAs
8-12 oz. Seltzer
1 cup of ice
1/2 lemon, lime or small orange (optional)
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.
Protein: 7 g amino acids
Carbohydrates: 0 g*
Fat: 0 g
Scivation makes Xtend BCAAs in over a dozen flavors, with more on the way! Some of your options are:
- Strawberry Kiwi
- Blue Raspberry
- Black Cherry (Xtend Perform BCAAs)
- Fruit Punch
- 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.
These 10 foods may help prevent, alleviate or cure your symptoms because of their surprising medicinal benefits
Every vitamin, mineral, gram of fiber, protein, carbohydrates and fat play a role in your body. These 10 foods have amazing medicinal benefits that you may notice immediately after eating them. Learn how to incorporate them in your diet whenever you can.
1. Honey: Anti-Bacterial/Anti-Fungal
From soothing sore throats to potentially preventing infections, honey is the multipurpose, swiss-army knife sweetener. Honey now could mean you may not need antibiotics later. How’s that for a food with a surprising medicinal benefit?!
2. Ginger: Relieves Nausea & Stomach Aches
Ginger is a natural antacid, laxative and has chemicals that make it a natural indigestion medicine. Sprinkle ground ginger in your tea next time you’re suffering from indigestion.
3. Cinnamon: Anti-Bacterial, Improves Blood Sugar
Cinnamon is a natural antibacterial and also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, cinnamon is often paired with sugary snacks and desserts that DON’T help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Sprinkle some on your yogurt to get all of the health benefits without packing on the excess calories.
4. Flax & Chia Seeds: Lower High Cholesterol
Flax seeds are loaded with fiber and omega fatty acids which help lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and cancer. Try sprinkling 1 tbsp. of flax or chia seeds in your yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, breadcrumbs, or anywhere else you can sneak them in.
5. Coconut Water: Dehydration
Coconut water is high in potassium and other vitamins and minerals making it a great option to prevent hydration. Try using it for smoothies, juices, or mix it in with your regular beverages to boost their nutritional content.
BCAA & Superfoods Recovery Smoothie
6. Coffee: Prevents Some Cancers and Parkinson’s Disease
Coffee is chock-full of antioxidants which fight cancer causing free radicals, and improves cognitive health.
Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe
7. Almonds: Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Almonds are a fantastic source of healthy, unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, magnesium and other vitamins which help reduce the risk of Type Two Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and cancer.
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8. Beets: Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
Beets are becoming a famous pre-workout staple in the bodybuilding world due to their ability to improve blood flow, lower high blood pressure and subsequently improve athletic performance.
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9. Peppermint: Indigestion, Allergy Relief
The natural menthol in peppermint leaves provides soothing indigestion relief as well as allergy symptom relief including sore throat, headaches, and sinus congestion.
High Protein Peppermint Patty Ice Cream Recipe
10. Peppers: Immune System Support & Wound Regeneration
Peppers are higher in Vitamin C than oranges and most other fruits. Everyone knows that Vitamin C supports healthy immune system function but most people don’t know that Vitamin C also helps regenerate connective tissue.
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Now that you know that these foods have surprising medicinal benefits, try to add them to your diet however you can. Why take medicine when you can eat delicious meals instead?
Go ahead, fill up that second cup of coffee. Turns out there are many caffeine fitness benefits!
Caffeine is the most popular drug in the United States, especially as Americans look for new and convenient ways to boost their energy. There are several caffeine fitness benefits and lucky for us, there are many sources of caffeine:
- Energy Drinks
- Pre-Workout Mixes
- Yerba Mate
- Guarana Berries
Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe
While some sources are higher in caffeine than others, it doesn’t matter so much where you get your caffeine from. It’s matters more how much you’re getting (although obviously 100 mg of caffeine from coffee is easier/healthier than eating 1 lb of chocolate to get your caffeine). As far as the benefits of caffeine for fitness results go, here are 5:
1. Decreased Fatigue Time
In a study done with strength and endurance training athletes (TBA), athletes reported feeling less fatigued in between sets. Caffeine consumption did not result in greater power output however.
2. Increased Alertness
The caffeine jolt from a cup of coffee or a pre-workout will increase alertness prior to and during workouts. This is particularly helpful when strength training and being aware of weight balance, and when switching positions quickly during endurance training.
3. Increased Metabolism
Caffeine is present in most fat burning supplement complexes, but the metabolism increasing effect of caffeine is only temporary. Where caffeine really makes a difference is by stimulating an individual to get up and get moving when they might otherwise feel sluggish and want to sit. The extra movement stimulated by caffeine is more likely to help burn extra calories as opposed to just drinking more coffee to try to burn fat.
4. Increased Focus
An athlete with more focus can accomplish a lot more. Caffeine enhances motor performance and cognitive performance allowing an athlete to focus on their immediate goal with greater intensity.
5. Decreased Recovery Time
Due to the vasodilating effect of caffeine, more blood and nutrients are able to rush to sore muscles allowing them to potentially heal faster or at the very least feel better.
The 4 Best Ways to Heal Sore Muscles
250-350 mg of caffeine is generally where you’ll experience these caffeine fitness benefits but it also depends on your tolerance. Some people can barely handle 50 mg of caffeine and are better off using a non-stimulant, amino acid based pre-workout drink. Other people barely feel 150 mg of caffeine and can handle two scoops of a pre-workout mix with no problem. I generally have 1 cup of coffee (~100 mg of caffeine) in the morning and 150-200 mg caffeine pre-workout from either black coffee or a pre-workout mix several hours later to experience the caffeine fitness benefits. You may need more caffeine, less caffeine, or no caffeine depending on your needs.
Are your days jam-packed? This upper body workout is designed for when you only have 30 minutes to spare.
Don’t waste any time with this 30 minute HIIT upper body workout. Using half of your lunch break to fit in some gym time? Supersets, dropsets, and short breaks are all you need to get a super, upper body pump. Try this out:
Push-Ups: 5 sets x 10 reps
Pull-Ups: 5 sets x 10 reps
Rest: 30 seconds
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Dips: 4 sets x 10 reps
Straight Arm Pull Down: 4 sets x 10 reps
Rest: 30 seconds
Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Row: 3 sets x 12 reps
Rest: 30 seconds
Incline Cable Fly: 4 sets x 12-15 reps
Barbell Shrugs: 4 sets x 15 reps
Rest: 30 seconds
Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets x 15 reps
Bent Over Fly: 3 sets x 15 reps
Rest: 30 seconds
Sometimes people avoid working out all together when they don’t think they can dedicate an hour of their time. This 30 minute upper body workout is designed with that person in mind. Don’t have 30 minutes? Try this 20 minute home workout.