Tag Archives: inspiration

What Are The Best Times to Eat Junk Food?

The answer you want to hear is “all the time” but unfortunately we all know that isn’t the case. So what are the best times to eat junk food and why? There are two specific times of the day that I’ll allow…occasionally even encourage eating “junk food” and there’s a reason for it. I’m an advocate for eating clean 80% of the time  and living life the other 20% of the time. The 20% that you’re more flexible you should try to work around these times of the day:

1. First thing in the morning.

Let me make this clear, nothing feels better than eating a large, well-balanced breakfast consisting of fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbs. There’s just not. However, first thing in the morning is one of the best times to eat things like pancakes and jelly donuts because your insulin levels are low from 6+ hours of fasting. You may experience a sugar crash but that sugar is less likely to be stored as fat for two reasons. First, because your blood sugar is low from fasting your body is more likely to use that sugar. Second, you have the whole day to burn off that jelly donut. Again, you would get the same blood sugar spiking benefits from eating fruit in the morning.

What You Should Eat 2 Hours Before Your Workout

2. Directly after your workout.

An intense workout will deplete your muscles of glycogen (blood sugar) or at least burn  a significant amount of it. Post workout pancakes, Gatorade, donuts, Swedish Fish, and other high-sugar foods make great post-workout meals because they replenish glycogen quickly. This is why it’s common to see bodybuilders posting insanely delicious post-workout meals on Instagram.

What Should You Eat Post-Workout?

People assume dietitians and nutritionists will force them to eat celery sticks and boiled chicken but here’s some insider advice: dietitians teach you how to incorporate your favorite foods into your diet, not exclude them. It comes down to quality of life, balance, variety, and moderation. Learn the 80/20 Diet Rule, practice it, and stay active. Improving your health is really that simple, we just tend to overcomplicate it.

Want more advice?
Tweet me & follow me on Instagram. Plus, you can always check out the new Advice column on my homepage menu for advice on dieting, training and supplementation.

P.S.
Check out these awesome cheat meals:
Maple Glazed Jelly Pronuts Recipe made with Kodiak Cakes Powercakes Mix
Protein Cookie Cheat Meal in 15 Seconds
The Ultimate Kodiak Cake Pancake Stacks (Recipe)
Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie (Recipe)

Try these healthy cheat meal alternative!

Kodiak Cakes

Nuts n’ More

What is Unilateral Training and Why Should You Do It?

Unilateral training is defined as a form of training that only affects one side, muscle, or structure of the body. This effective yet often overlooked form of training adds several benefits to your routine. Whether you’re bodybuilding, powerlifting, training for sport, or just a weekend warrior, you should include unilateral training somewhere in your workout. Here’s what you’re missing out on:

1. Unilateral Training Creates Symmetry

Is your left arm bigger than your right? Or maybe one pec is slightly larger than the other. Chances are you’re left-side or right-side dominant. Unilateral training forces you to focus all of your attention on one limb or one muscle at a time. Over time your muscles will become more symmetrical creating a more balanced physique.

2. Unilateral Training Balances Strength

Similar to my first point, maybe one side is stronger than the other although not necessarily noticeably bigger or smaller. Unilateral training addresses this issue by forcing you to exert the same energy on each side of your body. Maybe you’ve noticed some people in your gym dumbbell pressing and one arm locks out at the top while the other arm only comes up about 80% of the way. Unilateral training helps you make sure you’re completing each rep on either side of your body.

3. Unilateral Training Works Your Core More

By placing resistance on only one side of your body you’re forcing your body to have to stabilize itself. To do so you have to activate your core to keep your trunk, hips or shoulders stable. Unilateral training forces you into an effective ab workout with each set, even if you thought you were only working your triceps, pecs or legs.

Click here for other ways to work your core without doing crunches.

4. Unilateral Training Creates Variety

Every training program needs variety to be fun and successful. Doing the same workouts over and over again becomes stagnant, eventually you’ll lose interest and progress. Try doing single arm lat pull down instead of your regular lat pulldown workout to spice things up and see some new results.

Click here for 3 more ways to break through plateaus.

Here are some Unilateral Training Exercises to add to your routine!
+ Exploding Single Leg TRX Squat
+ Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Press
+ Single Leg Leg Press
+ Single Arm Behind the Neck Tricep Extension
+ Single Arm Dumbbell Row

unilateral training fitness diet nutrition

I may only do one or two Unilateral Exercises in my daily routine but it’s enough to make sure each muscle is equally strong and symmetrical on either side of my body. Balance is key. Try it out and see the difference for yourself.

The 25% Rule to Improving Performance

EXOS, an adidas sponsored company and leader in sports performance & corporate wellness, broke down the idea of training into four main components: Mindset (25%), Nutrition (25%), Movement (25%) and Recovery (25%). They are equally important and neglecting one will lead to a less effective training program. The only catch is that you HAVE to give each component 110% to be successful.

exos components nutrition recovery movement mindset performance1. Mindset

Do you have a generally positive attitude in the gym? What about on the field? What about at work? What about at home? Your mindset is the first step you must conquer in order to be successful. Are you prepared for change? Do you believe that you WILL succeed? These are all important questions to ask yourself and your answer should be YES to all of them. Do you know WHY you’re starting your program (and when I say program I really mean lifestyle)?

2. Nutrition

Are you fueling your body for performance inside and outside the gym? Are your meals made up of a variety of colors? Are you confident that your meals are consistent with a healthy lifestyle, with the ability to prevent disease and improve performance? Probably the most important question I can ask you is…do you know how to prepare meals? If not you could find easy tutorials online. Anybody can meal prep, it’s super easy. I use my 6 Pack Bag to store my meals, gym clothes, and supplements for the work day. It only takes me 15 minutes tops per night to prepare for the next day. This way I’m always on track and all of my meals are portioned correctly.

Click here to learn how meal prepping can save you thousands!

3. Movement

Does your routine meet the needs of your goals? Are you addressing your weaknesses and tackling them head-on? Do you change your exercises, in some way, every few weeks? Do you have a warm-up routine, a cardio routine, a strength routine, a recovery routine, etc.? It’s important to focus on addressing every aspect of training, not just hypertrophy and aesthetics. To piggyback off that last note, make sure you’re training for the sport you’re in. If you don’t have a sport then train for life. If you’re a powerlifter then obviously the majority of your training should focus on core strength and power. If you’re a bodybuilder then you train for hypertrophy, symmetry, aesthetics, etc. If you’re like me and you just want to be in above average, incredible shape with a lot of definition, power, size, but not in a competitive way, then your routine should include strength, endurance, calisthenics, and recovery.

4. Recovery

Are you always feeling tired and overworked? Do you sleep at least 6 hours per night? It’s time to focus on recovery. Not just of your body, but of your mind. Recovery means soothing muscle pain, decompressing mental stress, recollecting your emotions and feeling at peace.

If you answered “no” to any of the questions I asked in my points, then take some time to address that component. Maybe you need to focus more on recovery, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect movement to achieve better recovery. Balance is the key to success. Use these 4 components to improve your performance in all aspects of life.

How to Defeat the Common Cold, FAST.

You woke up stuffy, sneezy, and coughing. After dragging your feet to the refrigerator and searching for some citrus salvation, you pour yourself a glass of OJ with high hopes of defeating your cold. You may even have plans of making chicken noodle soup and abusing a pack of NyQuil. Your plan may work but it could take over 7 days to defeat your cold. I’ll give you several tips on how to defeat your cold even faster!

1. Get your Vitamin C from better sources.

Vitamin C is more of a preventative weapon when it comes to the common cold (as in consuming it while you’re already sick may not be a huge help), but you should still supply your body with this immune system boosting nutrient. Oranges aren’t your best source, believe it or not.This doesn’t mean you can’t drink orange juice and emergen-C, but there are whole sources out there that are even higher in Vitamin C than oranges. 1 serving of mini bell peppers packs in 270% of your DV of Vitamin C.

Emergen-C Super Orange, 1000 mg of Vitamin C, 0.32 Ounce, 30-Count

Can Vitamin C also help you heal your tattoos faster?

2. Drink extra hot fluids.

green tea healthy detox dietTea, coffee, soup, it’s all good! The purpose of the hot fluids is to help thin the mucus which your body is producing to trap the bug that’s in your system. Drinking hot fluids will alleviate the hacking, stuffiness, and discomfort associated with mucus build up. You can also look into medicine like Mucinex, Nyquil, Cold Ez, etc., but I tend to take a whole-foods approach to conquering illness.

3. Hold off on intense exercise.

This is highly debated concept and a lot of weight lifters will scoff at people who stop lifting for a few days when they have a cold, but I let science dictate my approach. If your body has to focus its energy and nutrients to regenerating muscle tissue, then it can’t focus on killing the virus in your system. Give yourself 1-2+ days off when you feel a cold blossoming and give your body nutrients and rest.

4 Keys to Faster Recovery

4. Drink lots of water.

cut water weight scivation xtend jug clubStaying hydrated is critically important when fighting a cold. The hot fluids will help thin the extra mucus your body is producing for a while but drinking water consistently will help keep that mucus thin and will help mobilize it.

6 Ways to Improve Hydration

 

 

5. Salt Water Gargle.

This is mostly effective for sore throats, especially if you have post-nasal drip. If it feels like I’m swallowing glass all day (and night) I’ll be absolutely miserable.Considering this is my least favorite cold symptom, I thought it was important to include a tip on how to defeat this symptom.  Fill a glass up with 4-6 oz of warm water, mix in 1-2 tsp. of salt, and gargle the mixture over and over until it’s all gone. The salt draws out the “gunk” that’s dried up on your throat causing inflammation and pain. Afterward, you can gargle some mouthwash to kill any bacteria. It will also provide a cooling effect on the throat but the salt water gargle is really what helps the most so don’t skip that!

Check out my Instagram for more advice, healthy recipes and awesome workouts!

The Truth Behind IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)

If you’ve been on Instagram anytime within the last 5 years chances are you’ve noticed one of your fit friends post a picture of an ice cream sundae covered in broken up Pop Tarts and chocolate syrup with the hashtag: #iifym. The idea is that the sources of your macro nutrients don’t matter as long as you hit your day’s goal of carbohydrates, protein and fat. There’s an element of truth here and depending on your goal it may work just fine for you. But, here’s what you need to know about IIFYM:

1.IIFYM Pre-Workout

The best way to fuel for any sport/training session is to time your meals and make sure they consist of nutrition content adequate enough to meet your needs. 30 grams of sugar from ice cream acts very differently in your body than 30 grams of whole grains or fruit. If you eat 30 grams of sugar before your workout you’re most likely going to spike your blood sugar, subsequently leading to a sugar crash mid-workout. Not the best idea for any athlete that needs to perform for more than 30 minutes.

Click here for examples of perfect Pre-Workout Meals

2. IIFYM is a viable option in a crunch. 

What I like about IIFYM is that if your daily carbohydrate goal is 250 grams and you’re short by 100 grams without much time left in the day, then that ice cream sundae is an easy (and delicious) solution to your problem. Oatmeal is clearly better for you but it takes some serious emotional strength to sit and eat a giant bowl of plain oatmeal. Most people don’t have this problem, and if you’re looking to cut up, assuming you’re not one of the genetically gifted, a giant bowl of ice cream before bed isn’t going to help your fat burning goal by any meals.

3. IIFYM For Emotional Health.

I consider IIFYM to be the 20% part of my 80/20 Diet Rule. I think that’s the healthiest way to utilize IIFYM. There are people who make IIFYM 80% of their diet and that’s where you begin to run the risk of health complications. Giving yourself that 20% leniency rule allows you to fit some of the food you love in your diet without filling your body with processed junk food all day. It’s more for emotional eating satisfaction than physical, although there is the physical benefit of restoring glycogen stores.

In short, IIFYM should not be a guideline but rather a “break in case of emergency” excuse to meet your macro nutrient needs when you need a very occasional break from eating super clean. Here’s an example of the 80/20 Diet Rule with the 20% coming from an IIFYM mindset.

Meal 1
Green Smoothie

Meal 2
Egg White Omelet w/  peppers, onions, reduced fat cheese, and spinach
Ezekiel Toast w/ raspberry preserves

Meal 3
Salmon
Brown Rice
Roasted Asparagus

Meal 4
Chicken Fingers
French Fries

Meal 5
Greek Yogurt
Roasted Almonds
Dried Fruit

 

6 Pack Bags Expedition 300 (Review)

Overview
“6 Pack Fitness creates iconic bags, luggage, and meal management travel gear for serious athletes, bodybuilding, CrossFit™ and fitness enthusiasts” – 6 Pack Fitness’ Mission Statement. After receiving the Innovator 500 as a gift and posting it on my Instagram repeatedly, I was headhunted by the6 pack bags expedition 3006 Pack Fitness team and given an amazing opportunity to work with them. Being an avid meal prepper with a degree in Dietetics and a career in the fitness industry, this was a dream come true. This review is going to focus on the Stealth Black Expedition 300 backpack though. The first bag they sent me after joining the team.6 pack bags fitness expedition 300

Features
1. Holds 3 meals in 3 Sure Seal Containers
2. Includes a mini Sports Nutrition container
3. A fleece-lined pocket for a laptop/tablet.
4. Fleece-lined pockets for sunglasses and accessories.
5. Side pockets for shaker bottles
6. A large storage pocket that I use for gym clothes, supplements, and shower supplies.
7. Insulated refrigeration unit that stays cold for 12+ hours.
8. A small front pocket that I use as a quick First Aid kit (bandaids, lip balm, hydrocortisone, Neosporin, eye drops, etc.).
9. Includes a small carrying bag for gym shoes.

Great for:
1. Gym use, especially if you work as a Trainer or Group Exercise Instructor.
2. Hiking
3. Beach Days (although the Innovator 300 or 500 is a better option)
4. Office (although the Elite Executive Briefcase is a better option)

To summarize, I would definitely recommend getting the Expedition 300 if you work a fitness related job where your days are generally 8-9 hours. I used to carry the Innovator 500 around with a separate bag for gym clothes and a case for my laptop. What I like most about the Expedition 300 is that it holds just enough meals to get me through work, enough room for a change of clothes, and a compartment for my laptop at just . If your days are typically 9+ hours I would recommend stepping it up to the Expedition 500. If you work a job where the dress code is more business/business casual I would recommend looking into the Elite Executive Briefcase because it looks more professional but still functions like the Expedition 300. I’ll have a review of the Innovator 500 up soon that will highlight the features and benefits of that bag versus the Expedition 300.

High Protein, Low Carb Seafood Zoodles (Recipe)

Wish you could eat plate after plate of spaghetti without gaining any weight? This could be your best chance. This mixed seafood zucchini noodle recipe packs in over 30 grams of protein with as little as 10 grams of carbs per serving. That’s about 1/3 of the amount of carbs per serving that you would get from pasta and at a restaurant you might get more than 3 servings of pasta with your entree! Check out this recipe:

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)
3 oz. shrimp
3 oz. calamari
1 large zucchini (shredded through a zoodle maker)
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1 tbsp. mixed italian seasoning
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Instructionsseafood zoodles zucchini noodles vegan vegetarian
1) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and chopped garlic on a medium flame.
2) Add shred
ded zucchini.
3) Add shrimp, calamari, and italian seasoning. Stir.
4) Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Stir.
5) Cook for 5 minutes and continue to stir occasionally.
6) Plate and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese.

 

Nutrition Info (Per 2 Servings)
PRO: 40 g
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Fat: 14 g

You have to try this recipe out! Let me know how you like it. Check out my Instagram and Facebook for more great recipes, workouts, and giveaways!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie (Recipe)

Check out this easy Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie recipe that you can make in under 5 minutes. I made mine as a pre-workout meal and it kept me feeling satisfied for over 3 hours! This is what you need:

strawberrysmoothie.jpgIngredients
1.5 scoops Strawberry whey protein
1/4 cup strawberries
1/2 medium banana
1 tbsp. chia seed
1/4 cup low fat vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions
1) Combine all ingredients in a blender.
2) Blend until contents are smooth and evenly dispersed.


Nutrition Info
335 calories
Protein: 36 g
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Fat: 7 g

This is a great recipe if you want a quick protein-fix first thing in the morning, before your workout, after your workout or as a late-night snack. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Check out my Instagram and Facebook for more high protein recipes, awesome workouts, and a product give-away opportunities!

The 6 Fitness Fundamentals for Success

If you want to see great, lasting results, you absolutely need to get these 6 Fitness Fundamentals down. They’re tried and true fundamentals that guarantee success. Enjoy!

1. Focus On Your Priorities

If your goal is to put on 10 lbs of muscle, don’t be discouraged when you also put on a little fat. Focus on your first priority: gaining muscle. After you hit that first goal you can focus on burning that little extra fat you put on.  The point is to make a plan and then follow that plan religiously.

2. This is a Lifestyle, Not Just a Program

Some people see great results following a fad diet, detox program, exercise program, or whatever it was that they started. The problem is once that program ends they’re back to their old ways. Health is not a program. Fitness is not a program. This is a lifestyle and if you want the best results that last a lifetime, you should make your healthy living program a healthy living lifestyle.

3. What You Eat is 70% of the Battle

If you’re like the majority of people, you can work off a bad diet. Eventually it catches up to you. Whatever your goal may be, make sure you’re eating in a way that supports your goal. If you focus on your diet first you’ll see results no matter what.

4. Change Up Your Workouts

You probably noticed great results starting your fitness program for the first 3 weeks. Then what happened? You plateaued. You stopped seeing results so you started losing motivation. You lost motivation so you stopped going to the gym. Now you’re back to where you started. You need to change up your routine. Get a trainer, join some classes, look up great new workouts online. Your body adapts to routines quickly and when that happens it sees no reason to make a change. Try new variations of basic exercises, change up the angles you work with. Change your grip. Anything you can do to make your exercises more challenging and interesting is a step forward.

5. Don’t Go Crazy Tracking

I’ve seen great results tracking what I eat and what workouts I do. However, I don’t think it’s fundamentally necessary to obsess over these things the way people do. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t need a FitBit to know whether he was training enough or eating right. All you need is a good plan. Adhere to it as best as you can and you’ll get the results you’re after. If you don’t adhere to it you’ll know why you aren’t getting results.

6. Focus on Recovery

This is an important, often overlooked fitness fundamental.You need to pay attention to how you’re recovering. My 4 most important recovery techniques are Diet, Massage, Stretch and Sleep. Make sure you dedicate time every week (or every day if possible) to focus on recovering. Your body and mind will thank you.

Check out my Instagram and Facebook for awesome meals, workouts and advice! Plus, I give away free products and expose awesome, new brands.

Wilde Snacks Paleo Bar (Review)

Recently a company called Wilde Snacks sent me a case of their paleo bars to try. The flavors included Thai Chili Chicken, Blueberry Maple Turkey, Strawberry Black Pepper Bison, and (turkey?). I tried each flavor and came up with a list of things that I like about the product and what I don’t like about the product. Here we go:

What I Liked
– High in protein.
– Low in carbs and fat.
– Great packaging.
– Each bar contains lean meat, veggies, fruit and organic complex carbs.
– The flavors are interesting.

What I Disliked
– The consistency. It has too much of a baked-cookie, cakey integrity. This is something that would be perfect for its target market if I could really tear into it like beef jerky.

Conclusion
This product is great for the outdoorsy type of person who really enjoys snacks like beef jerky and sunflower seeds. The only problem I have with the Wilde bar is that it wants to be a baked good and it should really want to be a jerky product. It feels weird…almost creepy to bite into a soft baked good and taste meat. The flavor is there, the nutritional content is fantastic, but the consistency is what keeps this product from being phenomenal.

My Recommendation
Try the Bison bar. It had the jerkiest consistency, great flavor, it was satisfying and is packed with protein.

wildesnacks.png

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