Tag Archives: fitness

6 Ways to Burn 1 Extra Pound Per Week

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

 

8 Things You Need To Build A Home Gym Under $100

No time to use your $30+/month gym membership? Try a home gym instead!

No excuses, just plan and execute. Body weight training is a phenomenal, cost-free way to get in shape but it will only get you so far. You’ll want a few pieces of equipment to amp up your progress. Would it be helpful to have a bench press, squat rack, barbells, treadmill, etc.? You bet. But, if you don’t have the money to invest or the square footage necessary than I’ll show you how you can spend under $100 on a home gym.

20 Minute Full Body Home Workout

1. Body Weight Exercise List

Make a list of your favorite body weight exercises. Sprinkle in a few that you also hate, like burpees, jump squats, and mountain climbers (based on the reaction I get when I do group exercise classes and I tell people to do these exercises). Incorporate 4-5 body weight exercises in your routine for 3-4 sets each.

20 Minute Living Room Workout

2. Jump Rope

I like the jump rope because it takes up very little space, it’s a great exercise to do in high intensity spurts of 30-60 seconds, and it can pretty much be done anywhere. Invest the $10 (if that) in a jump rope for your home gym.

3. Doorway Pull-Up Bar

I just bought one of these but my roommates always had them and I used them constantly. Invest another $10-20 in a doorway pull-up bar so you can do a variety of different pull-ups, leg raises, dips, and push-ups (most are designed for multi-purpose use).

4. Ab Roller

Not only is the ab roller a tough exercise, but it can fit in a small box and costs $20 or less unless you get something fancy. An ab roller is a good way to escape planks, sit ups, leg raises, and crunches.

5. Resistance Bands

For $15 or less you can get a variety of different intensity resistance bands for your home gym. I like resistance bands because you can change the resistance based on where you step on the band so 1-2 resistance bands can actually go a long way.

6. A sturdy chair or raised surface

This won’t cost you anything unless you literally don’t own a chair in your home. Use a chair or the edge of your bed frame for exercises like dips, reverse crunches, step-ups, or other core exercises.

7. Trigger Point Rollers

Whether you use a foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, trigger point roller, tiger tail, or some other make-shift myofascial release tool, recovery is necessary and it deserves a place in your home gym. You can even spend 5-10 minutes before bed rolling out sore muscles if you don’t want to take away from your workout time because you’re under hard time restraints. These can cost you anywhere from under $1 to over $40. Budget however it makes sense to you but definitely consider adding some recovery tools to your arsenal.

4 Keys to Faster Recovery

8. Bodyweight

Because bodyweight exercises make up about 60% of my home workouts, I had to include them on the list. Learn as many bodyweight exercises as possible so you can change up your workouts every few days and hit as many muscles as possible.

Also Worth Looking Into

Kettlebells
A dumbbell set ranging between 10-25+ lbs (none of that 5 and below nonsense).
Battling Ropes (if you have the space for them)
Stability Balls
Bosu Balls
Core Balls

Chipotle Burrito Recipe

Healthy Mexican food on the go is possible with this Chipotle Burrito Recipe!

Chipotle burrito recipe

Although she is small, she is packed with flavor. This burrito isn’t like the 8 lb. burrito you’ll get at some Mexican joints but I made sure to pack it with tons of flavor and healthy alternatives. The ground turkey is cooked in coconut oil and lime juice for a truly tropical flavor. The tortilla is warmed and then spread with chipotle sauce and Greek yogurt. And, of course, she’s loaded with fresh veggies, salsa, and gooey cheese. This Chipotle Burrito recipe is full of healthy fats, lean protein, and is low(er) carb compared to traditional burritos. Here’s how to make it:

Cajun Shrimp/Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

Ingredients
1 large tortilla
4 oz. 93% lean ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped peppers & onions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. 6 Pack Fitness Chipotle Hot Sauce
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Enchiladas with Black Beans & Avocado Recipe

Instructions
1) Heat a large skillet on medium heat and melt 1 tsp. of coconut oil.
2) Add ground turkey and cook until the meat is browned and thoroughly cooked.
3) Add spices and mix to evenly distribute spices. Add 1 tbsp. of chipotle sauce to the meat and stir.
4) Warm a tortilla in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
5) Spread 1 tbsp. of chipotle sauce and 1 tbsp of Greek yogurt evenly around the tortilla.
6) Place cheese, lettuce, peppers and onions in the center of the tortilla.
7) Place meat in the center of the tortilla/
8) Fold the sides of the tortilla in and then fold a third side over the meat, tucking it under the meat, and roll the tortilla to form a wrap.

Nutrition Protein: 41 g
Carbohydrates: 38 g
Fat: 13 g

Stack this burrito with a tall glass of iced Xtend Pink Lemonade for a bodybuilder’s paradise meal! Check out my Instagram for more recipe ideas, workouts, and a products.

5 Ways to Increase Energy Naturally

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.

What Are The Best Times to Eat Junk Food?

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.

5 Caffeine Fitness Benefits

Protein Packed Vanilla Cinnamon Cappuccino Recipe

Check out my Instagram and follow me on Twitter to see what I’m up to!

8 Ways to Save Hundreds on Groceries

Save hundreds of dollars on groceries by following these 8 tips

Does your checkout total surprise you every week at the grocery store? Put yourself in control of your financial and physical health by knowing what to buy, how to buy, when to buy and where to buy. Check out these 8 ways to save on groceries:

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Thousands

 

1. Shop the perimeter

90% of your grocery shopping should be done around the perimeter of the aisles with the exception being for toiletries, paper plates/towels, etc. Reason being, the perimeter is made up of whole foods like yogurt, eggs, meat, cheese, milk, fruits, bread and vegetables. This should make up 90% of your cart every time.

The 80/20 Diet Rule

2. Buy in season

Buy your favorite fruits and vegetables in their prime season. The best way to stay on top of this is to adjust your recipes to match the seasonal harvest.

3. Buy what you can in bulk

For dry foods you may even be able to do this online. If you’re going to eat oatmeal for breakfast most mornings then consider ordering it in bulk or larger than normal quantities to cut costs in the long run.

How to Meal Prep Like a Pro

4. Keep an eye out for surpluses

When I was 15 I used to work at a farmer’s market. I remember one season we had huge, overgrown cauliflower for nearly 1/2 price that grew up to 10-11 lbs. Keep an eye out for a surplus in groceries like eggs, fruits and vegetables that might cut costs down significantly, and then take advantage of those savings. These surpluses can generally save you 25-50% off or more!

5. Buy on sale

Doesn’t get much easier than this. Keep an eye out for good deals on foods you would get regularly. Every aisle generally has sales ranging from 5% to 50% off. If you’re able to buy most of your products on sale, even if it’s only 5%, those savings could add up to several hundred dollars by the end of the year.

6. Go in with a budget in mind

If you know you spend $100/week on groceries, then plan on making that your absolute maximum. Buying on sale, in season and in bulk will help keep your costs under that $100/week limit. Try to cut that number to $95/week and that $5 weekly savings will add up to $260 per year!

7. Hunt for promos/coupons

Using online promo codes or coupons is a tried and true way to save tens of dollars per week on groceries. If you save only $10/week by doing this you’ll save $520 by the end of the year!

8. Join a rewards program

Some, if not most, grocery stores offer rewards programs to incentivize shopping exclusively at their store. Stop & Shop converts shopping “points” to gas savings. I’ve had clients that have saved hundreds of dollars on gas by using rewards points to get $0.1, $.25, or $.50 off each gallon of gas.

I hope you found this helpful and you find creative ways to save money while living healthy and fit!

Build a Bigger Back

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!

10 Cardio Exercises That Are Better Than Running

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.

4. Burpees

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.

3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs

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.

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.

How to Meal Prep Like A Pro

Trying to get your diet on track but don’t know where to start? Consider this your step-by-step guide to Meal Prep

Meal Prep
instagram.com/alexcurtisfitness

There’s no one way to meal prep. Your best bet is to find a routine that works best for your schedule. If you don’t have much time during the week to prep, you may want to make extra-large batches on Sundays. If your schedule is a little more free, you can get away with prepping your food on Sundays and Wednesdays. I also prep day-to-day by bringing mostly quick, easy meals to work. Here’s how you can start:

1. Large Batch Prep Your Protein

Your proteins will generally take the longest amount of time to prep so you might as well start by getting that out of the way as soon as possible. Use a crock pot and cook several pounds of meat in it for several hours, then separate each portion in tupperware. This is an easy, hands-off approach and requires very little attention. You can also bake or grill several pounds at a time which works just as well, it just requires a little more attention.

2. Large Batch Prep Your Carbs

Carbs are generally easier to prep. Oatmeal only takes a few minutes, you can buy steamable potatoes, rice, and bread requires almost no attention at all. Cook several cups at a time of your carbohydrates of choice and separate them into tupperware, or pair them with the proteins you’ve already prepped.

3 Mistakes People Make When Cutting Carbs

3. Keep an eye on fats

Prepping fat takes almost no energy whatsoever. If you’re using oil, just use a teaspoon or tablespoon and add it to your pre-prepped protein/carbs. Nuts can be portioned and stored in separate plastic bags, containers or in the same tupperware as your protein & carbs. Butters should be portioned using a teaspoon or tablespoon and added to each dish. Avocado is really the only fat that should wait until the very last minute before prepping because they spoil quickly.

4. Only prep the hard stuff (if you’re in a crunch for time)

I love cooking, but maybe you don’t. My advice is to only prep the “hard stuff” like meats, (lots of) vegetables, potatoes, etc. You can always pack some whey protein, a sandwich, Greek yogurt parfait, and quick, healthy snacks the night before you get up for work.

I personally prep the night before I go to work, about 4-5 nights/week and have a few large batch prepared meals ready. I usually bring 3-4 meals to work with me and most of them only take minutes to prep. Here’s an example:

Greek yogurt Parfait
Prepped the night before: Greek yogurt portioned in a tupperware container, high protein granola portioned in a zip-lock bag, 1 whole banana stored in my bag.

AB & J on Double Protein Bread, Protein Shake
Prepped the night before: Spread 1 tbsp. of almond butter and 1 tbsp. of preserves on 2 slices of double protein bread and place in a tupperware container or zip-lock bag. Store 1 scoop of whey protein in a small container.

Chicken, Veggies & Rice
Prepared a few nights before: Store 4-6 oz. of chicken, 1 cup of veggies, and 1 cup of rice in a tupperware container and place in the fridge or freezer until the morning before work. Then, I put the tupperware in my 6 Pack Bag and bring it to work.

All of these meals are stored in the fridge the night before I go to work. The morning of, I put all of them in my 6 Pack Bag (Expedition 300) and bring them to work. Now I have 3-4 meals when I need them at work. I hope this helps you as you learn to meal prep like a pro. Once you start you’ll immediately see the advantages and understand why so many fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and athletes meal prep.