All of the deliciousness of chocolate covered strawberries, plus muscle building whey protein!
Looking for a delicious new topping in your life? Give Big Slice Apples a shot!
Big Slice Apples is a one-of-a-kind product that began on an apple orchard in the late 1800’s but it wasn’t until 2014 that took their pouch form and went global. Essentially, they’re apple slices in a variety of different natural fruit juice sauces. Imagine an apple pie filling but a little more saucy and packed with flavor. By far my favorite flavor was their French Toast Apple Slices! Here are some different recipes I tried out (sorry no original pictures!):
1. Cinnamon Vanilla Greek Yogurt with French Toast Big Slice Apples
Mix 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1 packet of Big Slice French Toast Apple slices and add 1 tbsp. of reduced-sugar whipped cream with a light drizzle of honey. This healthy breakfast has all of the flavor of French Toast but it’s packed with protein, fresh fruit juices, apples, and a little honey to sweeten things up.
2. Banana Mango Hemp Seed Big Slice Apples over Oatmeal
Cook 1/2 to 1 cup of plain Oatmeal and stir in chopped walnuts and 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Then, add 1 packet of Banana Mango Hemp Seed Big Splice Apple slices over it and top with more chopped walnuts.
3. Blueberry Pomegranate Big Slice Apple over Frozen Yogurt
Freeze 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1 packet of Blueberry Pomegranate Big Slice Apple slices by stirring them together in a medium size bowl and placing it in the freezer, stirring every 30 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency. This is a guilt-free, low-carb, high protein way to enjoy frozen yogurt.
Cinnamon Vanilla Greek Yogurt Parfait (Recipe)
I had no idea what to expect when they sent me a variety box of their flavors but honestly, I was very impressed and will definitely be purchasing a gift box around the holiday season.
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.
5 Superfood Snacks to Boost Energy
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.
Does Your Pre-Workout Have These Ingredients?
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.
Can Vitamin C Help Heal Your New Tattoo?
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 you finally starting to notice the buzz about the Mediterranean Diet? Here’s what you should know
The “Mediterranean Diet” is essentially mainstream validation of new scientific information regarding the health habits of people from the Mediterranean region. In fact, I was writing up sample meal plans for clients with meals like “Mediterranean Chicken Salad” and “Gyros” fresh out of college where I learned about the benefits of popular Mediterranean food (olives, cheese, lean meat, and more). That’s my way of saying I was about the Mediterranean diet before it was cool. Here’s what you need to know about the Mediterranean Diet:
1. High Fat Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is chock-full of nuts, olive oil, fish, and other healthy, high fat foods. In America we generally view fat as “bad” because we walk around the grocery store and see things advertised as “low-fat”, “reduced fat” or “fat free” everywhere (now we’re starting to see that with Gluten). Research is beginning to show more and more that fat isn’t necessarily bad for you…more of it actually may be better for you. In moderation, fat from plant based sources like almonds and olive oil may help reduce the risk of heart disease and may even help burn fat by mobilizing the fat already stored in your adipose tissue.
2. Food Sources
The Mediterranean Diet is almost exclusively whole, unprocessed food sources but is particularly higher in lean meats, fresh dark green vegetables, legumes, fish, and whole grains. Some of the foods that make this list are salmon, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, chicken, asparagus, kale, spinach, beans and wine.
3. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Research is also beginning to show (over the last 5-10 years) that unsaturated fats from plant sources is helping to lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and balance good cholesterol (HDL) in people with high blood pressure and CVD. People from Mediterranean areas suffer from heart disease significantly less than Americans and think about it…they eat lean meats, plant based fats, whole foods and we eat fried everything, fatty meats (burgers, hot dogs, wings), and processed foods. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for Americans and it’s also one of the most avoidable diseases.
4. Complete, Nutrient Dense Diet
Look closely at a Mediterranean Diet meal and compare it to an average American meal. The Mediterranean Diet meal is generally well balanced with lean meat (4-6 oz.), dark green vegetables, fresh fruit, complex carbs, wine, and olive oil or nuts. All different colors, textures, and flavors are found on that plate. With more variety and more colors comes more nutrients and health benefits.
5. Wine-centric Alcohol Consumption
Studies have shown that 2 glasses of red wine per day may help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. Out of all your alcohol options, red wine is the healthiest due to it’s high level of antioxidants. While a craft beer may be delicious, if you’re left with the choice to opt for wine, you may want to consider it.
6. Not Calorie-Based
The Mediterranean Diet is based on a 2000 calorie diet. The meals aren’t pre-packaged and assigned an amount of “points”. The foods aren’t fortified with vitamins and minerals to make them more complete. The Mediterranean Diet is based off a whole foods, fresh produce perspective that values the quality of the food being eaten over the quantity available.
Take a Mediterranean Diet approach to all of your cuisines and you’ll be looking at great health and fantastic results. Bring high quality, diverse flavors and fresh ingredients to every meal you make. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for 90% of your food and then go through the aisles and treat yourself to the things you crave. Most people do it the other way around.
Need a snack? Ditch the chips and make one of these Superfood Snacks instead.
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.
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.
What’s better than breakfast for dinner? Dessert for breakfast. Try this Carrot 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.
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: