Tag Archives: bodybuilding

10 Core Exercises That Aren’t Planks or Crunches

Tired of doing planks and crunches and still not seeing results? Try these 10 Core Exercises instead.


Core Exercises

If you’re doing planks and crunches for every core workout you’re going to want to change things up to see new results. These core exercises will target every muscle of your core ensuring you get the best results.

1. Cable Rope Crunches
Clip a double handled rope to a cable machine and set the weight to as close to your bodyweight as possible. In a kneeling position, holding the rope behind your neck, bring your elbows to your knees. Repeat for 15-20 reps. Make this exercise more challenging by twisting so you’re bringing your right elbow to your left knee, then your left elbow to your right knee, alternating with every crunch.

2. Hanging Leg Raises
You can perform this exercise hanging from a pull-up bar or in a roman chair. For this example let’s say you’re doing Hanging Leg Raises from a pull-up bar. Begin by hanging with your legs straight down. In a controlled motion, keeping your legs straight, bring your legs as close to the bar as possible. Return to the hanging position. Repeat for 15-20 reps.

3. Twisting Side Planks
Hold a stability ball in between your legs and keep your legs 6-12 inches from the floor. Sit up, reach diagonally (left arm to right foot) and touch the ball. Repeat, alternating sides, for 16-20 reps.

4. Windmill Leg Raises
Beginning in the same position as our Hanging Leg Raises, lift your legs up to the bar in a circular, clockwise motion. Repeat in a counterclockwise motion. You should be making large, 360 degree circles with your legs.
This is one of the hardest mentioned core exercises. Perform this exercise as slowly as possible. I perform them here on my Instagram. Try to go even slower than that.

5. Diagonal Medicine Ball Slam
Grab a 10-15+ lb medicine ball and start by holding it straight up over your head. Simultaneously throw the ball down on either side of your body and squat slightly. As you throw, you should twist your torso slightly so your right hand is over your left foot on one slam and your left hand is over your right foot on the other slam. Repeat for 15-20 reps.

6. Lumberjacks
Set the cable machine to a relatively light weight, with the handle up high. Begin with both hands holding the handle over one shoulder. Keeping your arms straight, bring the cable across your body at a 45 degree angle so your hands are now down at your opposite hip. Repeat for 15-20 reps on each side. Hold each rep for 1-2 seconds.

7. Smith Machine Sit Ups
Begin in a smith machine Bench Press position, with your feet flat on the bench. Keep your complete straight and sit up as high as you can, lifting your shoulder blades completely off of the bench. Hold for 1 second and return to the starting position. Repeat for 15-20 reps.

8. Ab Roll
Hold the Ab Roller with both hands and kneel on the floor.Now place the ab roller on the floor in front of you so that you are on all your hands and knees (as in a kneeling push up position). This will be your starting position. Slowly roll the ab roller straight forward, stretching your body into a straight position. Bring your hips as close to the floor as possible and pause. After a pause at the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position as you breathe out. Do this movement slowly and breathe.

9. Stability Ball V-Ups
Lay on the floor with your legs straight and arms stretched out behind your head holding a stability ball. Pick your feet up a few inches from the floor. This is your starting position. Keeping your arms and legs straight, bring the Stability Ball up to your legs, hold it in between your legs, and bring your legs back down to several inches from the floor. Repeat, this time catching the stability ball in your hands. Repeat for 15-20 reps.
Of all the mentioned core exercises, this is one of my favorites for beginners/novice level gym goers.

10. Turkish Get Up
Lie on your back on the floor and press a kettlebell to the top position by extending the elbow. Bend the knee on the same side as the kettlebell. Keeping the kettlebell locked out at all times, pivot to the opposite side and use your non- working arm to assist you in driving forward to the lunge position. Using your free hand, push yourself to a seated position, then progressing to your feet. While looking up at the kettlebell, slowly stand up. Reverse the motion back to the starting position and repeat.

Use any of these 10 Core Exercises in your next workout and see how much different they feel than just doing typical 30 second planks. Do a core workout 2-3 time per week, 5 sets of 15-25 reps or 30-60 seconds.

5 Superfood Snacks to Boost Energy

Need a snack? Ditch the chips and make one of these Superfood Snacks instead.


Superfood Snacks

Chips, cakes, and ice cream offer you nothing but fat, salt and sugar, and in overabundant quantities. These Superfood Snacks offer you fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy unsaturated fats that could even help you burn fat. Try these out:

1. “PB & J” on Ezekiel Bread

Toast a slice of sesame or cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread. Then, spread 1 tbsp. of natural almond butter and 1 tbsp. of raspberry preserves on it. This super-satisfying snack is the super-version of the classic Peanut Butter & Jelly on white bread.

Healthy Snack Ideas to Crush Cravings

2. Avocado Toast

Dominating the superfood world right now is Avocado Toast of all varieties. Toast a slice of 100% whole wheat or multigrain bread, then add 1/4 of an avocado (sliced) on top. Try topping it off with tomatoes, lox, 1 sunny-side up egg, or turkey bacon. The possibilities are endless.

3. Grapefruit & Honey

Taking a break from agenda of pushing my Loaded Apples recipe, try 1/2 a grapefruit with 1 tbsp. of honey instead of regular sugar. You get the health benefits of honey and some extra sweetness added to the fat-burning, high fiber grapefruit.

4. Sweet Potatoes w/ Honey & Cinnamon

I swear this tastes like eating a Sweet Potato Pie without any guilt and a fraction of the fat. Bake 1 large sweet potato and slice it down the middle. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and a drizzle (1 tsp.) of honey. Is there anything better than Superfood Dessert?

5. Date Bars (Lara Bars)

Lara bars are an amazing snack if you’re looking for a healthy fix. Made up of only 2-3 ingredients, Lara Bars are essentially just date bars with cashews, coconut, apples, almonds, etc.

What are the best fruits for diabetics?

Unbelievable Protein Muffin Recipes!

These superfood options are a great way to boost your energy and your  metabolism when you feel yourself crashing in the middle of the day. Pair them with a cup of coffee and get ready to feel 100% again.

Carrot Cake Protein Pancakes Recipe

What’s better than breakfast for dinner? Dessert for breakfast. Try this Carrot Cake Protein Pancakes recipe.

Carrot Cake Protein Pancakes Recipecarrot cake protein pancakes recipe

Imagine being able to eat spiced carrot cake bursting with autumn flavors without any guilt. What’s more, imagine being able to eat carrot cake after your workout to BUILD MUSCLE AND BURN FAT. Now that’s possible with this Carrot Cake Protein Pancakes recipe.

1/2 cup Flapjacked Carrot Spice Pancake Mix
1/2 cup of water
2 egg whites
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. lite maple syrup
1 tsp. coconut oil

1) Mix pancake mix, water, egg whites, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
2) On a coconut oiled pan, cook the pancakes on a low-medium flame until golden brown on both sides.
3) Plate and drizzle maple syrup.
4) Serve.

Nutrition Info
Protein: 30 g
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fat: 11 g

Want to make these Carrot Cake Pancakes even more Carrot Cakey? Make a cream cheese glaze or frosting:

2 tbsp. cream cheese
2 tbsp. butter (melted)
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Want more delicious pancake inspired recipes? Check these out:

Maple Glazed High Protein Jelly Donuts Recipe

High Protein Cookies

Must-Have Fitness Products

If you’re looking to get into shape or maximize your fitness potential then you need these fitness products

Fitness Products

The fitness market is saturated with apparel, supplements, and accessories making it perfect to get amazing deals on products that, just a few years ago, were nearly double the price. Fitness products like pre-workouts, shaker bottles, apparel and wrist wraps have been exploding in volume lately so make sure you snag some while they’re cheap. To make my point, pre-workouts about 5 years ago barely ran under $25. Today, you can buy great pre-workouts for about $15-20.Look into these must-have fitness products to capitalize on your gym membership:

1. Shaker Bottle

Specialty shaker bottles like Umoro, Cyclone Cup and Mixr are exploding onto the scene with innovative new ways to make hydration more exciting. You can’t go wrong with a classic shaker bottle though. For $2-5 you can stay on top of your hydration and save a ton of money if you’re regularly purchasing beverages at work. Definitely start here.

2. Weight Lifting Belts

Depending on your routine you can get anything from a soft neoprene velcro-strap belt to a tough leather belt with a steel locking gear. Unless you’re lifting some serious weights (or planning to) I would start off with a neoprene weight lifting belt which will run you about $20.

3. Straps & Wraps

Invest $10-$20 in wrist straps for heavy, pull-motion lifting and/or wrist wraps to reinforce your wrists during push movements.

4. Supplements (Only the basics)

Don’t waste your money on supplements that you’re struggling to pronounce, look sketchy and are super expensive. Start off with the highly researched basics backed by science. Unless you’re looking to get into competitive bodybuilding you really don’t need to take pro-hormones, growth hormones or a medicine cabinet filled with supplements. Stick with a pre-workout, BCAAs, Whey protein or protein blend, and maybe fish oil or joint support supplement (if you need it).

5 Reasons You Should Supplement with BCAAs

My Top 5 Pre-Workout Supplements for Beginner-Novice Level Trainees

5. Functional Fitness Apparel

This means compression gear and other functional sportswear, not fitness fashion apparel. You could buy that too if you want but it’s not going to provide any real purpose…other than swag.

Think I left something off my list? Post about it in the comments section and I’ll add it!

Accelerate Muscle Growth with These 4 Techniques

Feel like it’s taking forever to see some serious gains? Try these 3 Techniques to Accelerate Muscle Growth!


Accelerate Muscle Growth

If you’re not including any of these training methods you’re missing out on some serious gains. Drop sets, rest-pause sets, run-the-rack sets and negative reps are major keys to muscle growth. Here’s how you can include them:

1. Drop Sets

At the end of your last set drop your weight by about 70% and complete several more reps immediately (no rest in between). You can perform a double drop-set by dropping your weight an additional 70% and completing several more reps immediately following your first drop set. This gives you the opportunity to work the muscle until failure several times instead of just stopping after your third or fourth set. Include at least 1 drop set to an exercise in every work out. Drop sets are an incredible way to accelerate hypertrophy.

Don’t Make These Top 5 Muscle Building Mistakes

2. Rest-Pause Sets

At the end of your last set pause for 10-15 seconds and rest. Complete 4-5 more reps using the same weight. Similar to the drop set, the rest-pause set gives you the opportunity to tax the muscle to failure several times. The difference is you’re keeping the weight the same and performing less reps due to the higher weight. Rest-Pause sets are a great way to build explosive power.

Top 5 Testosterone Boosting Foods

3. Negative Reps

Negative reps tax the muscle on the eccentric phase of the contraction. After you’ve completed on rep, slowly return to the starting position at a pace of about 5-10 seconds. Negative reps can make light weights feel significantly heavier. Add a few negative reps to the last few reps of every set to fully develop the muscle in both phases of the contraction.

Cardio Acceleration for Fat Loss

4. Run-the-rack Sets

Run the rack sets are probably the most exhausting of the techniques above due to the sheer amount of reps. Beginning with a light weight (lighter than you would normally use) begin your exercise at about 20 reps. Then, progressively work your way up in weight by 5-10 lbs until you can only complete about 4-6 reps. Once you hit that heavy weight, drop-set your way back down to the lightweight you started with taking only 15-20 seconds of rest in between each set. It should look something like this:

15 lbs x 20 reps
25 lbs x 15 reps
30 lbs x 12 reps
35 lbs x 10 reps
40 lbs x 8 reps
45 lbs x 6 reps
50 lbs x 5 reps
40 lbs x 8 reps
30 lbs x 12 reps
25 lbs x 15 reps
15 lbs until failure

4 Steps to Biger Arms

Try out all of these techniques to accelerate muscle growth and see which ones you like the most. I guarantee you’ll see huge changes in your physique and muscle quality by performing any of these movements.

Protein Muffin Recipes That Are Unbelievable

Can you burn fat & build muscle while eating muffins?! You can with these protein muffin recipes.

Protein Muffin Recipe

I made these 4 Unbelievable Protein Muffin Recipes using Flapjacked Mighty Muffin mix, a little creativity and some suggestions from some of my followers on Instagram. Each muffin has 20+ grams of protein, less than 30 grams of carbs, and less than 10 grams of fat. A regular muffin has closer to 15 grams of fat, 35+ grams of carbohydrates and about 3 grams of protein. Try these out instead:

1) Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Muffin

Add about 1/4 cup of water to the Double Chocolate Mighty Muffin mix and microwave for 45 seconds on high. Once cooked, use your spoon to dig a small hole in the middle of the muffin. Add 1 tbsp. of peanut butter to the center and make a melted peanut butter core!

2) Molten S’mores Sundae Muffin

Add about 1/4 cup of water to the S’mores Mighty Muffin mix and microwave for 45 seconds on high. Once cooked, add 1 tbsp. of reduced fat frozen vanilla froyo on top to make a molten S’mores Sundae.

3) Apple Turnover Muffin

Add about 1/4 cup of water to the Apple Cinnamon Mighty Muffin mix and microwave for 45 seconds on high. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of brown sugar on top and add 1 tbsp. of diced apples to make a delicious Apple Turnover High Protein Muffin.

4) Maple Pumpkin Muffin

Add about 1/4 cup of water to the Maple Pumpkin Mighty Muffin mix (my personal favorite) and microwave for 45 seconds on high. Add crushed pecans and a drizzle of lite maple syrup on top for an classic Autumn breakfast (or dessert) and an unbelievably healthy and delicious high protein muffin.

My friends at Flapjacked sent me these samples after I won their Instagram giveaway and their strategy definitely worked because I will be a customer. I’m not sure it possibly gets much better than high protein muffins in under 60 seconds. Check out their pancake mix also. My favorite is the carrot spice mix. I’ll have a recipe up for Carrot Cake Pancakes soon, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter so you get it directly to your inbox!

6 Healthy Snack Ideas to Crush Cravings

Need a healthy way to crush cravings? Try any of these 6 healthy snack ideas:

These healthy snack ideas will crush cravings, promote a healthy body and keep you feeling full and energized all day! Made up of whole foods, these healthy snack ideas are mostly made up of roasted nuts, cheese, fruit, meat, yogurt, and vegetables. Give ’em a try:

1. Roasted Almonds, Low Fat Cheese & Fruit.

Grab 1/2 oz. of roasted, unsalted almonds, 1/4 cup of low-fat cheddar cheese cubes and a piece of fruit for a protein and fiber packed snack. The blend of healthy fat, fiber, complex carbs, and protein will keep your energy levels up for hours.

2. Small Cobb Salad.

Crush your hunger cravings by slicing one hardboiled egg over chopped romaine and/or spring mix lettuce, bacon bits, cucumbers, tomatoes, and diced low-sodium ham for a snack loaded with veggies and protein.

3. Veggies & Hummus.

Load up on vitamins, minerals and fiber by dipping your favorite vegetables in 2 tbsp. of hummus for a low fat, low carb mid day snack. Try it with sliced peppers, carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers.

4. Loaded Apples

Slice up an apple and cover it with peanut butter, granola and honey for an unbelievably delicious pick me up. This is my personal favorite of the 6 healthy snack ideas. Get the recipe right here!

5. Greek Yogurt Parfait

The slow-digesting protein and probiotics in Greek yogurt will surely keep you feeling great all day. Top it off with crunchy granola, sliced bananas and a little honey. Get the recipe right here!

6. Homemade Trail Mix

Ditch the store bought trail mix. Mix a few ounces of roasted mixed nuts with 1/4 cup of dried fruit and 1-2 tbsp. of extra-dark chocolate chips. This should crush your sweet tooth AND your cravings.

5 Reasons to Meal Prep

There are 5 important reasons you should start to meal prep.


5 reasons to meal prep

If you want to save money, get better fitness results, eat better meals, never get “hangry”, and have fresh food “on tap” then read on. Making your meals in advance, whether that be 1 day, 3 days, or 5 days in advance, can have enormous benefits on your health and on your wallet. Here’s why:

1. Save Money

Bringing home-cooked meals to work can cost you as little as $2-3 for that meal. Compare that with closer to the average $10 that people generally spend on lunch and you can see how those savings can add up over time.

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Thousands

2. Get better fitness results.

Meal prep means you have more control over the exact amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fruit, and vegetables you’re eating. This puts you in the driver seat on the road to fat loss and muscle building.

3. Eat better meals.

When you meal prep you put yourself in charge of how the meals come out. You don’t have to be a great cook to make great meals. My recipes are easy to make (with the exception of some of the more extravagant ones) and take very little time. No disrespect to the classic bagel & cream cheese, but you could have a protein packed Greek yogurt parfait instead and be full way longer.

Cinnamon Vanilla Greek Yogurt Parfait (Recipe)

4. Never get “hangry”.

Like the Snicker’s commercial, are you not yourself when you’re hungry? Are you more irritable, sleepy, or light headed? When you meal prep you have access to high quality food every 3 hours which means just as you’re really starting to get hungry again you have a meal waiting.

5.Have fresh food on tap.

Piggy-backing off of #4, when you meal prep you have fresh food on tap. Being able to make your diet at least 80% whole food means you can eat high quality, nutrition dense food when you eat, instead of eating greasy pizza and calling that a meal.

High Protein, Low Carb Seafood Zoodles (Recipe)

I highly recommend checking out 6 Pack Fitness if you plan on getting into meal prepping. They make several lines of meal management bags ranging from backpacks and totes, to purses and briefcases.

Top 5 Muscle Building Mistakes

You could be stalling your gains if you’re making these Muscle Building Mistakes.

If you’re hitting the gym 4-5 days per week and giving it your all only to maintain your current shape, you’re probably beginning to get frustrated. Go through this list and think about whether you could be making any of these muscle building mistakes:

1. You’re not recovering properly.

Proper recovery is made up of a few components: rest, nutrition, and myofascial release/stretching.  Your body needs adequate rest (sleep) to go into “restoration mode” and begin the recovery process. Make sure you’re supplying your body with the nutrition it needs to successfully build muscle. Without the right resources you can’t expect to grow. Finally, using a trigger point roller, barrel roller, massage therapist, and even just stretching can help alleviate sore muscles, improve blood flow and increase recovery rate.

4 Keys to Faster Recovery

2. You’re not adding variety to your workouts.

You need to try new angles, new exercises, new set/rep patterns, maybe even a new routine to spark some change for your body to adapt to.

4 Steps to Bigger Arms

3. You’re relying too heavily on supplements to recover.

Your supplements are only there to help supply additional nutrition to your diet. Too many people rely on them. Having a post-workout whey protein shake is a good start but you might not be supplying your body with everything that it needs to recover. Try an 80% whole foods approach made up of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, and plant-based fats. Make sure you’re exceeding, or at the very least meeting your necessary caloric intake.

5 Reasons You Should Supplement With BCAAs

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Thousands

4. Too much break time in between sets.

Get your playlist together BEFORE your workout. Don’t spend time texting, looking for music, talking, or liking stuff on Facebook in between your sets. You should only be taking 45-60 seconds in between sets to recover (unless you’re powerlifting). Use that time for dynamic stretching, breathing, flexing (building mind-muscle connection).

5. You’re not working out optimally.

This could mean you aren’t hitting full ROM when you should be, you’re cardio isn’t intense enough, you’re not focusing enough on eccentric contractions or stressing the muscle enough within each rep. This mistake is very easy to make so be conscious of it.

Cardio Acceleration Supersets for Fat Loss


How to Get Sponsors on Instagram

Getting sponsors and being an influencer on Instagram is easier than you think.


get sponsors instagram followersIt doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re selling yourself as a professional on Instagram (or any other social media network) you should be networking with businesses in your field. People often ask me how I managed to sign off on deals with Scivation, 6 Pack Fitness, as well as have companies send me products to try and post about. I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how I got sponsors on Instagram, what I would do differently knowing what I know now and how you can get started.

1. Build all of your social media sites.

Going back I would have done this all at once. Now I’m playing catch up on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. I started only on Instagram with 30-40 followers and it took me over a month to put up my first post. I was probably doing 1-2 posts/week after that at first. Now I’m at over 20k followers (which is more than average but still not a lot) and post 1-2 times/day across all platforms. This is what you should do:

a) Start all of your social media channels at once and link them together.

b) Post 1-2 times/day on Instagram, spacing the posts out by several hours so you’re not dominating anyone’s newsfeed.

c) Post high quality, useful content. Learn how to use the filters to improve the quality of your picture instead of completely making them over.

d) Use relevant hashtags, and search relevant hashtags for people in your industry. ‘Like’ their content, follow them, leave genuine comments, etc.

e) Learn how to use all of the other social media sites as well. A simple YouTube search can show you how others have been successful building large followings on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. That’s how I originally learned how to get my following up on IG.

2. Build a genuine following.

As in keep your following as organic as possible. Don’t buy followers. I’ve done it and I definitely don’t recommend it. I bought about 5k followers on Instagram a couple of years ago and here’s why I condemn it now:

a) They’re either bots or inactive users. They won’t engage in any of your content.

b) Building your following organically is more fun, more challenging and more rewarding. It takes more time but you’ll have a legitimate community…do you really want to post content for robots?

c) It’s only fair that if a company is sending you free products to post about, that you do right by them and share it with REAL PEOPLE who might want to try their product as well.

d) Instagram and Twitter both remove inauthentic users from their sites so within a few months you’ll lose every fake follower that you bought. You’re essentially inflating a balloon that has a small hole in it already.

It felt like the right decision at the time as I had just finished reading about how big companies and celebrities do it. Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads, and Pinterest Ads weren’t an option at the time. I would recommend using those if you’re going to pay to play. $10 might get you 15 followers as opposed to 2000 followers but at least they’ll be real and engage in your content. The value in that is unlimited.

3. Network with the companies that you want to work with.

Now that you have a decent following (1000+), reach out to some of the companies that you’re dying to work with. When I wanted a supplement sponsor I reached out to dozens of companies I was interested in working with via email and DM. Here’s my advice on getting a company to work with you:

a) Offer them something by bringing something to the table.

b) Only work with companies that you believe in, trust, and have a good reputation.

c) Don’t jump at the first opportunity. Jump at the best opportunity.

e) Sometimes they’ll come to you. I signed a contract with 6 Pack Bags only after I had already been using their product for months, posting pictures of it and recipes with it. Kodiak Cakes sent me a case (6 boxes) of their Power Cakes mix after I sent them a DM saying “saw you guys on Shark Tank, congrats on getting a deal. Your product sounds amazing”. Nine Line Apparel agreed to work with me after I sent them a DM saying “I want to do a campaign to give back to veterans on Memorial Day”.

4. Don’t lose your authenticity.

People make this mistake way too often. The more ads you post and the less authentic the posts are, the less people will want to follow you. Even worse, they’ll just associate you as the guy who works for ___ instead of you having your own brand. Colin Wayne said that’s why he left Shredz. Posting 3-4 times a day about someone else’s product will make you lose your voice.  Kevin Hart said he’ll never let Nike or his other sponsors tell him what to post, when to post or how to post because it’ll ruin his authenticity and his connection with his fans.

I hope this post helps. If you have any questions please post them in my comments. I’d love to answer some questions about this in another post.