The Locker Room: Tip 2

When You Should Bulk Up and When You Should Cut…

squat

This topic may be a no brainer to some, but for others it could prove challenging. There is a long standing history with the question of when one should “bulk up” and when one should “cut”. The perfect bulking season is during the Winter and Fall seasons. The reason why is because it is cooler outside and many family gathering holidays become present. This means that we are going to bundle up and of course eat more. With all the extra intake of food, training should be more intense to compensate. This could mean heightening your training level through increased weights or just increasing your reps, anything to get that major pump going. This is also the perfect time to set your supplement cycle, retrieving products that will help build muscle mass and regeneration. As far as cutting, this should occur in the hotter season, specifically Summer and Spring. This is the time in which we wear less clothing and the heat tends to make us perspire. With that being said, taking advantage of this in the gym is your best benefit. One should begin a fierce cardio regiment, while not losing sight of the gains attained in the cooler seasons. So cardio is important as well as weight training, but weight training should be lighter with more reps. You could also stack on cutting supplements.

Want to Add 12 Years to Your Life? Here’s How.

growing older6

People are living longer nowadays which has been scientifically proven.  With the advances in science, medicine, and technology, the life expectancy has steadily increased.  There was a small drop of 0.1 years in 2017, but that was the first drop in two decades.  To put it into perspective, in 1960, the average life expectancy was 69.7 years, and it is now 78.6 years.  That isn’t necessarily the largest increase that one would expect in over five decades, but its progression which is what we want.

Although people are living longer, that does not necessarily mean that people are living better.  What does that mean?  Well, those bad habits that we all have, but aren’t so easy to give up.  Some of those habits being far worse than others.  In a recent study done by Harvard, they’ve determined the top five GOOD habits that can add 12 years to your life because who doesn’t want to live to be 90 years old?  That’s a blessing.

Top 5 habits that can add 12 years to your life:

5).          Eat more produce

Fact:  Eating more produce can lead to a 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease, a 33 percent reduced risk of a stroke, and a 28 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Tip:  Incorporate more produce in dishes and not just eating them plain.  For instance, instead of just eating broccoli alone, you can incorporate it into a healthy stir-fry dish.

4).          Avoid drinking alcohol  

Fact:  Alcohol impairs judgement when consumed and can lead to drinking and driving, unintended sexual activity, and violent behavior.

Tip:  Set parameters on how much you will drink, mix a drink with a non-alcoholic beverage which will reduce your intake, and try to avoid triggers that may cause you to drink more heavily and frequently.

3).          Exercise regularly:

Fact:  Aside from physical health, regular exercise improves mental health as well.  It can improve your memory, concentration, and creativity.

Tip:  Walk your pet for an extra 15 minutes per day, 3x per day, which is 45 minutes a day, totaling 225 minutes a week.  No pet?  Walk on your lunch break with a friend or co-worker instead of remaining sedentary.

2).          Maintain a healthy weight:

Fact:  Annual medical cost of obesity related illnesses reached $147 billion.

Tip:  Many insurance companies cover visits to a Registered Dietician, so check with your doctor and insurance company.  This is an instance where seeing a professional can reduce having to visit the doctor more often.

1).          Give up smoking:

Fact:  The CDC estimates that adult male smokers lose an average of 13.2 years of life, and female smokers lose 14.5 years of life because of smoking.

Tip:  Replace urges with other mechanisms that can stimulate relaxation.  For instance, get massages every week or replace smoking with activities.  Smoking is an expensive habit.  Try putting money that is normally spent on purchasing cigarettes towards partaking in stimulating and healthy outlets.

Explosive Shoulder Workout

shoulder

Our shoulder muscles are of course not the biggest muscles on our body, but that does not mean that you should not go the extra mile when working them out. Our shoulders are an important part of our body, considered as a major joint. Unbeknownst to most, the shoulder allows a lot of movement in our body to take place, but this tremendous range of motion also allows it to be the most susceptible to injury. So it is also important to recognize your limits when working this muscle. Because I never like to devote a whole day to just one body part I usually include some back training with the shoulder workouts. Here is a shoulder workout that is guaranteed to deliver some effective results.

The first circuit:

  1. The first circuit will start with a series of three sets of dumbbells. Grab dumbbells that are increasing in weight. (For example: a set of 30lb bells, a set of 40lb bells and a set of 50lb bells). Set these down in front of your chair. Choose weights appropriate for you and weight that you can push yourself to lift without too much strain.
  2. Next grab an Olympic bar and place around 20 – 25lbs on each side and also set that near your chair.
  3. Take a seat and grab the lowest weighted dumbbells and do at least 15 reps of shoulder press with the first. Then grab the next highest weight and do 15 reps of those and then the last set of weights and do 15 sets of those.
  4. After doing such lift the Olympic bar and do a shoulder press to lift up and down to your chest, not your back! Complete 15 reps of this.
  5. Repeat this entire process 3-4 times before moving on.

The second circuit:

  1. The second circuit will begin with grabbing a bench. Place the Olympic bar with an additional 5 – 10lbs onto the bench. Then grab 30lb dumbbells and set them down at the front of the bench. Grab 25lb dumbbells and set those down on the other end.
  2. Start at the 30lb dumbbells and sit down while doing fly’s. Lift the dumbbells from your sides while hunched over in the seat. Stretch as far as possible with arms extended all the way out bringing the weights between your legs when coming down and extending out again. Complete this 10-15 times.
  3. Immediately after lift the Olympic bar above your head and onto your shoulders completing a shoulder press 10 – 15 times with the bar touching the top of your shoulder every time you come back down.
  4. After doing this immediately afterwards lift the 25lbs to the front of you with the weights touching every time you bring them up with your arms extending as straight as you can get them. Do this 10 – 15 times as well.
  5. Follow up by crossing the weight in your right arm to the front of you and extending to your left side and then doing the opposite with your right arm. Do this 10 – 15 times with EACH arm.
  6. Repeat this entire process 3 -4 times before moving on.

The third circuit:

  1. Now we will throw a back circuit in the mix. Set up a 45lb plate on the hyper extension machine. A 45lb plate or two on the T-bar row machine and a 45lb plate on the Olympic bar for deadlifting.
  2. Begin with the hyperextension by placing your legs straight on the platform and bending over to grab the plate. Lift your body and the plate up with the plate against your chest and while bending down touch the plate against the floor, flat side. Repeat this 10 -15 times.
  3. Next use the T-Bar row. Bend over at the hips until your torso is about 45-degree angle to the floor (or on the platform if you are using the machine). Pull the bar up with both hands while keeping your back in its natural arch. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar until the plates touch your chest.
  4. After this begin the deadlift. Stand in front of the bar with legs spread apart. Bend over with your back arched and clutch the bar with arms parted at the side of your legs. Pull up straight and bend back slightly then come down slowly. Repeat this process for at least 10 – 15 reps.
  5. Repeat the entire circuit 3 – 4 times.

The fourth circuit:

  1. Adjust a bench so that it is slanted at about a 45 degree angle. Grab a light short bar (maybe 30 – 40lbs) and lay with your stomach pressed against the bench while lifting the bar with both hands in front of you. Make sure your arms are as straight as you can get them. Repeat rep 10 – 15 times.
  2. Follow this workout with your choice of any two shoulder workouts or if you want throw a back exercise into it.
  3. Repeat this 3 – 4 times and you are done!

Need Recovery After a Workout?

celltech

If you need recovery after a workout then you should definitely try CellTech: Hyper-Build. MuscleTech’s products have always been efficient, especially their protein blends, but this new post-workout called Hyper-Build is a very effective powder. Hyper-Build offers a 5-in-1 blend formula that includes creatine (which aids in regeneration and muscle growth), BCAA/Amino powder (decreases muscle degeneration, enhances body composition and minimizes cortisol response), electrolytes (regulation of fluids and stimulation of muscle and nerves), recovery powders and endurance powders. Overall, the powder improves muscular ATP regeneration, muscle size and strength, enhanced recovery between sets and boost endurance. This product is a must have after an intense training session.

But it now Here.

5 Hearty Salads

produce

So Spring is here and Summer is just around the corner. Everyone will be working hard to get those beach bodies ready in the gym and with working out comes eating right and healthy. Salad is a number one go to for clean eating, but sometimes we get bored of the leafy greens and vegetables, especially those who crave something more hearty. Here are some hearty and healthy salads that you can try…

1. Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Fruit

salad1

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool, and slice.
  3. Meanwhile, place pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pecans until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  4. In a blender, combine the red wine vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil, onion, mustard, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth.
  5. Arrange lettuce on serving plates. Top with grilled chicken slices, strawberries, and pecans. Drizzle with the dressing to serve.

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 567 calories; 46 g fat; 23.2 g carbohydrates; 17.8 g protein; 43 mg cholesterol; 428 mg sodium.

 

2. Avocado Shrimp Salad

salad2

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Stir together avocadoes, tomatoes, onion, and shrimp in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lime juice. Serve cold.

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 319 calories; 17.1 g fat; 14.9 g carbohydrates; 29.1 g protein; 196 mg cholesterol; 203 mg sodium.

 

3. Chicken Broccoli Salad

salad3

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine broccoli, chicken, walnuts, and green onions in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar together in a bowl until well blended.
  3. Pour mayonnaise dressing over broccoli mixture; toss to coat.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, if desired. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon to serve.

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 341 calories; 28.7 g fat; 12.8 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 28 mg cholesterol; 266 mg sodium.

 

4. Warm Steak & Potato Salad

salad4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and cover to keep warm.
  2. Preheat oven to broil or preheat a grill for medium-high heat. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Broil or grill steaks for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, and tarragon for dressing; season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide greens, tomatoes, and shallots among 4 plates. Cut warm, unpeeled potatoes into quarters; slice steak into 1/4 inch thick strips. Top salad greens with steak and potatoes; drizzle dressing over salads. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 359 calories; 17.6 g fat; 27.9 g carbohydrates; 23.2 g protein; 60 mg cholesterol; 409 mg sodium.

 

5. Chicken Fiesta Salad

salad5

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Rub chicken evenly with 1/2 the fajita seasoning. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix beans, corn, salsa and other 1/2 of fajita seasoning. Heat over medium heat until warm.
  3. Prepare the salad by tossing the greens, onion and tomato. Top salad with chicken and dress with the bean and corn mixture.

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 311 calories; 6.4 g fat; 42.2 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 36 mg cholesterol; 1606 mg sodium.

4 Healthy Breakfast Options

Now I am not sure about everyone else, but I am a man that likes to eat! When I think of healthy breakfast options my mind often wanders to foods that do not appeal to me and combinations that make me uninterested. Although breakfast is the most important meal, people often eat something quick that makes them hungry quickly after. Here are some options that are both healthy and filling for the average man…

Egg Breakfast Muffins

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This recipe for breakfast egg muffins is an easy grab and go option for busy mornings. The protein packed egg muffins are loaded with bacon, cheddar cheese and spinach for maximum flavor!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 egg muffins
Calories: 129 kcal

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cooked chopped spinach excess water removed
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 6 cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Use a Braun MultiQuick 7 Hand Blender or a whisk to blend the eggs until smooth, this will take less than a minute.
  3. Add the spinach, bacon and cheese to the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until eggs are set.
  6. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 129 – Calories from Fat: 90
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 200mg 67%
Sodium 220mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Protein 10g 20%

 

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

2

Ingredients

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts

 

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito

3

Nutrition Information

  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1 burrito
  • Calories: 297
  • Fat: 9
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 20g
  • Protein: 20g


Prep time:  
20 mins
Cook time:  5 mins
Total time:  25 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 low carb whole wheat tortillas
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1- 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • few dashes of red pepper flakes, if desired
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mexican or colby jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup red enchilada sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook sweet potatoes: Pierce sweet potatoes with fork a few times. Place in microwave and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes or until cooked though. This may take up to 10 minutes depending on how thick your sweet potatoes are. Alternatively you can roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Once sweet potatoes are cooked, remove the skins and place potatoes in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork; set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, add black beans, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes if desired. Stir to combine then set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites together. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-low heat. Add in egg whites and cook. Fold every few minutes to get fluffy eggs. Once cooked, remove from heat.
  4. To assemble burritos, make sure you have warm tortillas; it makes them easier to roll. You can warm them up for 10-20 seconds in the microwave before assembling. Lay out warm tortillas and evenly distribute and spread mashed sweet potato on each. Evenly distribute egg whites, diced avocado, black beans, and shredded cheese on each tortilla. Next drizzle about tablespoon of enchilada sauce in each. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Tuck ends in, then roll up burritos. To warm up: Place on baking sheet in oven at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes or simply microwave them for a minute or two. Serve with sour cream, greek yogurt, salsa, or hot sauce. Makes 6 burritos.

 

Coconut Yogurt Quinoa Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large, 2 small)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (I used So Delicious Unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour (oats ground in a blender)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1 teaspoon extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. Combine the flax and water and set aside to gel while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together banana, applesauce, yogurt and syrup (add vanilla extract also, if using). Whisk in flax egg and set aside.
  4. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the wet and then stir to thoroughly combine (the batter will be kind of thick, but still stirable and soft).
  5. Fill each cup ¾ of the way full. Add water to the ones that are unused. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with quinoa flakes (and turbinado sugar) if desired. Let rest for 5 minutes before baking.
  6. Bake on the center rack for 24 – 26 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Resist the urge to not break into them; cooling them will allow everything to set properly. If desired, reheat in the toaster oven or in the microwave.

Supplement Box: Weight Loss & Cutting

supplements

There are a lot of great supplements available today to fulfill out goals to be healthy and live longer and happier lives. Some people fear taking pills with all sorts of unnatural additives, however, there are supplements available that contain many natural and necessary ingredients to sustain our bodies. For those who crave to lose weight there are a few supplements I have tried which have worked for me in the past:

1. Hydroxycut Organic

hydroxy

I found that the other versions of Hydroxycut were a bit strong, some mainly due to the increased amounts of caffeine placed in them. With Hydroxycut Organic I did not get the same effect as the others I had tried and bonus, this version contains essential vitamins and different natural energy blends such as green coffee extract and organic coffee berry. Capsules are also rapid release so it acts fast. However, it is recommended not to take these without configuring a reduced calorie diet and regular workout routine while also consuming lots of water. Purchase Hydroxycut Organic Here.

2. Ab Cuts CLA

abcut2

AbCuts has been a favorite for a long time. They are designed specifically to target the midsection which is where most men have problems losing their weight. The brand assists with body-fat reduction, healthy metabolism and antioxidants. Not only does it contain a healthy amount of CLA, but there are ample amounts of Omega-3’s, flaxseed oil and vitamin E. Different forms of AbCuts exists and you can purchase them Here.

3. Green Tea Extract

greentea

Consumption of Green Tea Extract or just green tea daily can help to reduce cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with high levels of blood fats or cholesterol. Fat burning benefits are the main reason for adding this to the list. It mixes catechins found in natural green tea with caffeine which revs up production of adrenaline, which pumps an individual up with confidence and energy.

4. Green Coffee Bean Extract

greencoffee

Green Coffee Bean Extract is an extract of un-roasted coffee beans. It has frequently been used as a weight-loss supplement and as an ingredient in other weight-loss products. I actually paired both this and the green tea extract, but I would not recommend that to everyone else or else you might be flying off the walls. The caffeine is intense, but can be withstood.

5. Pure Garcinia Cambogia

garcinia

Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit which is also a popular weight-loss supplement. Most claim that it blocks your body’s ability to make fat and curbs your appetite. Although the supplements did not completely “curb” my appetite, I found that they had begun to work after a month of activity although I did slack on my workout routine. I’m sure they are effective to others who stay committed to their diet and exercise.

Explosive Chest Workout

Some of the best workouts are those that are continuous; you build upon your muscle with barely any rest in between sets or in between different workouts. Many of us struggle to keep that pump that we see right after we work out and there are many methods that we can use; even methods that weightlifters and other athletic builds claim they refrain from using. However, I will provide some useful workout tips that anyone can use to build and retain their pump.

chest

This month I will start with a chest workout:

  1. Warm-Up Bench Press – It is important to get your body acclimated to what is about to come so a light bench press is necessary. Advanced users may want to put on a little weight on the bar to start; about 25lb or 35lb on each side, but it is not necessary, you can do this part without weight if you want to. What is important is doing the full set of 60 reps in one shot, preferably without stopping.
  2. First Superset – After the warm-up comes the hard part; a whole slew of supersets of different chest workouts. This first superset starts with another BENCH PRESS; however, we will place 45lb -65lb on each side (25lb – 35lb for less advanced lifters). We will sit on the bench, but we will be on the other side so as to have your butt hanging off the seat. Basically, you will be lifting the opposite way, this teaches the lifter how to balance and control the weight without relying on the bar for support. This will be done in 10 -15 reps. Right after we will push back on the bench and do FLIES with dumbbells of your choosing. With the dumbbells extend your arms out (keep your arms straight) and bring them back up so the dumbbells touch one another. Also, this will be 10-15 reps. Right after this take TWO 45lb PLATES, align them perfectly and slip your hands through the openings on the side and lift those up 10-15 times. Immediately afterward attempt to knockout 30 PUSH-UPS. Repeat this entire superset 3 – 4 times.
  3. Second Superset – After the first set we will keep 45lb on the bar (lighter for less advanced lifters) and return to normal bench press position. Place hands on bar so that they are touching and lift for a CLOSE GRIP PRESS. Do this 10 – 15 times and immediately switch to a REVERSE GRIP PRESS in which your fingers are facing you instead of the other way. Keep arms chest length away from one another and lift 10 – 15 times. Immediately after this you will perform a WIDE GRIP PRESS. Place hands as close to the end of the bar as you can and lift 10-15 times. Repeat this superset at least 3-4 times.
  4. Third Superset – After the second set is complete grab an adjustable bench and set it at an incline. Grab a reasonable set of weights and do INCLINE PRESSES with the dumbbells. Do this 10-15 times. Once done DO NOT DROP WEIGHT, but press 5 more times coming up very slowly. Once done I usually use a partner for this, but you can do this near a wall if need be. We will do PUSH-UPS with claps. So you will push yourself up and clap with your left hand either with someone or hitting a wall, go down then push back up and clap with your right hand. Do this about 20 times. Grab a lighter set of dumbbells and lift them together in front of you with arms out about 10-15 times. Repeat this set 3-4 times.
  5. Fourth & Final Set – The last set consists of 3 sets of 10- 15 DECLINE PRESSES. After this is 3 sets of 10-15 DIPS.

The Locker Room: Tip 1

weight

The Plateau

We all try to work as hard as we can in the gym, pushing ourselves to the limit and trying the best we can to sculpt our bodies into an image that we can be proud of when we look into the mirror. However, there comes a time in many of our training regiments where the route that we were taking, and was once effective, begins to falter. This is called the plateau stage, where nothing improves and nothing is lost, but you remain in a place where you are only maintaining.

For those that have reached such a place and would like to go further, there is a simple solution: change your routine. You cannot hope to achieve gains or other body sculpting methods by doing the same thing all the time.  You have to switch it up and get creative. As a matter of fact, you may only be working certain body parts without realizing that new exercises could target areas you’ve never worked before.

One way to learn new techniques is simply by watching other people in the gym and making a mental note of any exercises they may be doing that is different from yours.  Pay attention to the parts of their body that are being targeted in the process. Another method is through extensive research. Look up different body parts in comparison to those you want to improve on and find workouts that fit. There is also the option of watching videos and documentaries about working out. I personally prefer the old school videos such as “Pumping Iron” from Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the workouts are more traditional and hardcore. You can also attempt to create your own fresh routines with all of the knowledge acquired from the three previous methods. These are just simple ways to get past the plateau stage.