Safety Tips for Outdoor Fitness during the Winter

Healthy Rewards

As soon as daylight savings time goes into effect, it becomes harder to maintain an outdoor workout plan. Winter’s earlier sunsets, inclement weather, and freezing temperatures can be a dangerous combination for those who exercise outside. Handle winter workouts in stride by preparing for the worst with the tips below.

Follow Weather Conditions

Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head outside for a workout. If you have not already, it helps to download a smartphone app with real-time weather updates. That way, you’ll receive warnings when a surprise storm is on the way, which can be helpful while you’re on a run or bicycling outside.

Wear Reflective Clothing

With daylight savings now in effect, the sun sets earlier everyday. If your schedule can only accommodate evening workouts, it is important to stay safe with reflective clothing and accessories. For most workouts, a glowing running jacket or vest with reflective tape should be plenty. Other types of outdoor exercise, such as bicycling or skiing, may need additional gear.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

It is important to protect your skin from the sun, even when temperatures are low. During outdoor workouts, always wear sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays, plus protective lip balm. If there is snow on the ground, you can shield your eyes from glare using dark glasses or goggles.

Healthy Rewards

Dress Appropriately

In cold weather, your body works to stay warm by concentrating blood flow toward the torso, leaving your hands, head, and feet vulnerable. To prevent frostbite, make sure you wear protective gear on all exposed areas of the body:

  • Hands: Double-up for best results. Layer fleece or wool gloves on top of a pair of thin glove liners made from wicking material like polypropylene. This helps keep heat trapped inside both layers for protection. Plus, if your hands start to sweat, simply remove the outer layer.
  • Head: Wear a hat or headband to shield your ears from low temperatures and windburn. If the weather is extremely frigid, you may even want to cover your face with a scarf or ski mask.
  • Feet: Consider a pair of winter-only workout shoes in one half-size larger than you normally wear, to allow room for thick thermal socks. You can also fit foot-warming insoles inside your shoe for added coziness, which is especially helpful for skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts.

Know the Symptoms of Hypothermia

When planning to spend an extended period of time outdoors, make sure you’re aware of the warning signs of hypothermia:

  • Pale, cold skin
  • Sluggishness
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Mental confusion or mumbling
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate

Great tasting protein bars from Promax Nutrition provide the fuel needed to power any workout, during any season. Our bars fit easily in your pocket, offering replenishing protein on the go, whether riding the slopes or working it out on the track. Best of all, our bars are gluten free and never contain artificial sweeteners. Shop online today!

How to Set a Solid Post-Season Training Plan

Morning Run

Ahhhh. The post-season. A time for sleeping in, forgetting about training and eating whatever you want…..Not so fast!

First of all, YES, reducing the workload in the post-season a must. It’s time to shift the load through smart tailoring and allow physical, mental and emotional healing to occur. But simply taking months off with no plan and no structure will sabotage next year’s potential. Many athletes find themselves spending the majority of the new year trying to simply recover what they have lost.

Let’s be clear about one thing – it’s post-season and then it’s pre-season. There is no such thing as off-season. You cannot be successful by taking weeks and months off from all activity.

Typically, athletes plan to take some much-needed time off. However, without a structure in place, what was intended to be a few weeks of light sessions turns into a few months. Many athletes find themselves in the middle of January with a much reduced level of fitness and confusion as to how they got there.

You can’t build upon a base if you’ve allowed that base to deteriorate beyond repair. You’ll first have to rebuild the base, leaving little time to actually construct a successful season on top of it.

While the post season doesn’t have a lot of stress or load, there are specific things that you need to accomplish in order to set yourself up for success.

Your initial focus during the post-season should be as follows:

  • Initially, a complete break from structure, racing and training. Stay active but don’t “train.” No gadgets allowed. Don’t aim to hit training zones, pace, power or heartrate. Just be. Enjoy the freedom. Get back in touch with the “feel” of being active.
  • Allow healing. Reduced stress, reduced loads. More nutrition. More rest. More recovery. Embrace this.
  • Avoid building up fatigue. Fatigue will be counterproductive to the above bullets and will limit your growth.

After a couple of weeks of the above it’s time to smartly ease back into training. But we MUST get the focus correct. We don’t just jump into the same training we were doing before our last big race or event. The focus now is completely different.

Now our focus is:

  • Build up the body. Lay the foundation in strength, technique and development that will allow your body to accept and excel under the high training loads that will come in the spring. This includes improvements in strength and functional fitness as well as technical improvements in all of your disciplines. Be patient here!
  • Do NOT build up fatigue in this phase. Listen to your body.
  • Keep life balanced. This is the time to ensure you are dedicating required time to the other pursuits of your life: family, career, friends, hobbies, etc.
  • Establish positive habits that will be the basis for improved performance gains: commit to fueling after every workout (grab your favorite PROMAX bar!); commit to proper rest and recovery; and commit to good nutrition throughout the day.

Your success in 2016 will be directly related to how well you are able to do these things.

The last thing, and perhaps the most important, is to COMMIT. Commit to the training. While a training session that leaves you completely spent afterwards feels great, the athlete that lives off of those rarely maintains consistency in those efforts. The truth is that day-to-day 80 percent efforts are much more valuable over the long haul. Commit to frequent, but shorter, training sessions. Keep showing up.

Success comes from consistency. Day to day, week to week and season to season.

 

 

How to Eat on Thanksgiving Without Ruining Your Diet

Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is coming, and that means one thing: you’re going to eat. A lot.

But that doesn’t have to destroy what you’ve built or what you’re working toward. That’s right – even in the midst of the chaos of Thanksgiving dinner, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the crazy amounts of calories you’re confronted with!

Instead, follow these simple tips for a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast:

Have a High Volume Workout Beforehand

If you know you won’t be able to avoiding loading your plate with holiday food, prepare for the event by working so hard you earn that food.

If you perform a strenuous weight lifting and cardio-heavy workout just before, or even several times in the lead up to Thanksgiving dinner, your body will be ready for that meal and will absorb its nutrients with gusto.

Eat a High-Protein Snack Before the Main Course

When Thanksgiving Day has arrived and you’re waiting for the announcement that the food is served, eat a high-protein snack to curb your appetite and prep your stomach for the feast ahead. That way, you won’t be ravenously hungry and willing to scarf down everything in sight when filling your plate.

Focus on Lean Protein and Vegetables

When the time comes to fill your plate, choose wisely. Go for the lean protein, which has the highest short-term satiating power to keep you fuller for longer. And you can’t be too liberal with vegetables, especially any leafy greens available. Your typical Thanksgiving dinner usually has a healthy selection of broccoli, collard greens, and maybe Brussels sprouts to fill in those empty spots around your turkey or ham.

Don’t Eat All Day

Because of the vast volume of food often prepared for Thanksgiving Day, there are likely to be tons of leftovers and new dishes being prepared throughout the holiday. You may be tempted to keep refilling your plate with the food still calling you into the kitchen, but you must resist.

Limit yourself to one large meal or two medium sized meals, and keep track of your overall calorie consumption like you would any other day.

Watch Your Alcohol Intake

At some Thanksgiving celebrations, you may find a large supply of alcoholic beverages available for the adults. But if you drink some, you don’t have to feel guilty.

Eat primarily protein for your calories. Both alcohol and protein have higher thermic effects that are unlikely to contribute to fat gain directly. Heavily limit your fat and carb intake by substituting them with veggies. Combined, these effects can even out what you consumed from alcohol.

Remember not to overindulge in alcohol, or you may encourage yourself to overeat.

Avoid the Dessert Table

Stay away from sweet desserts and anything that contains large amounts of sugar. Of course, you want a big slice of pie after your turkey, but if you’re serious about your goals, you won’t give in.

If you absolutely must have that piece of pie for your holiday to feel complete, make sure the rest of your meal is balanced by heavily restricting fats and carbs.

In Conclusion

If you’re dedicated to achieving the body you want, you won’t go easy on yourself on Thanksgiving. You may give in and eat all your heart desires, but you’ll do everything in your power to mitigate the damage afterward.

But remember, Thanksgiving is only one day a year. Treat it as a celebration of what you’ve accomplished, knowing that you’re about to make some serious progress thanks to the anabolic powers of food.

For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.

Sources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fast-before-feast-7-holiday-eating-strategies.html

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/10-tips-to-deal-with-holiday-weight-gain.html/

Rewarding Yourself the Healthy Way

Reward Yourself

If we know exercise is so good for us, then why do we always find ways to procrastinate our workouts? Sometimes the act of actually getting to the gym can be the hardest part of the process. It helps to create an informal reward system to stay motivated toward your fitness goals and work your way to better health. Rewards can be food-based, like incorporating great-tasting energy bars into regular workouts, or centered on larger needs, like a well-deserved vacation.

Get Pampered

Personal trainers recommend alternating workouts to avoid plateaued results. Switching between cardio and weight training daily, for example, will continuously challenge muscles and ensure increasing progress. Undergoing new forms of activity can result in sore muscles, so be sure to stretch often. You can loosen up even further by rewarding long sessions at the gym with a trip to the spa. Set a goal, like booking a massage appointment after you reach a new UFC weight class or karate belt color.

Treat Yourself

Many of us experience feelings of hunger from an intense workout. With the average adult burning nearly 700 calories after an hour on the treadmill,1 regular treats are well deserved. Create a goal, like visiting the gym five times every week. Each time you follow through, splurge on dinner at your favorite restaurant. Everything in moderation, of course, but this reward can be used to experience decadent foods that are normally removed from the average weight loss plan.

Go Shopping

Those who are working out to lose weight and gain definition should consider a points system with clothing rewards. Set a plan that corresponds with how much weight you’re looking to lose, and plan a shopping trip when you reach your goal.

Reward Yourself

Go on an Active Adventure

The best part of keeping up with your regular gym routine is seeing – and feeling – the results. As you whip your body into shape, you’ll be able to reach goals that never seemed possible before, like cutting your mile time in half or tackling the steepest hiking trail at your local park. Reward your progress with an active trip you’ve always dreamed of, like a weekend spent backpacking in the Grand Canyon.

Splurge on New Gear

Reward yourself for a job well done with a new piece of equipment that can improve your workouts. After a month’s worth of successful gym sessions, treat yourself to a new toy. Whether it’s a state of the art armband to keep your MP3 player hands-free for lifting, or a Fitbit to track each morning run, stay up to date with the latest devices to monitor your health and fitness progress.

While you work toward achieving your fitness goals with a custom reward system, stay energized with replenishing Promax protein bars. Each bar provides the fuel needed to power through long sessions at the gym, including 2:1 carbs to protein for strength and recovery. Our workout bars are safe for vegetarians, fully gluten free and kosher, and never contain artificial sweeteners. To learn more, please check out our website.

Sources

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999?pg=2

How Sleep Affects Your Athletic Performance and Recovery

Performance and Recovery

Sleep, or the lack of sleep, has a major impact on athletic performance, among other things. While many athletes are focused on things like finding the right energy bars to fit in with their caloric methods, they might be neglecting things like sleeping for the right amount of time.

What Does Sleep Do?

Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself and managing the information for the day. It’s like the late night filter that tosses out all the things you don’t need so that your body and brain aren’t full of useless information. It also helps repair tired muscles so that they can perform at their best on the next day. The recommended amount of sleep a person gets is 7-9 hours, but athletes in training should plan on sleeping more hours than that, since their bodies will need more healing and rest.

Performance Issues

Stanford University recently conducted a study to see how sleep affected performance in athletes. When athletes slept for 2 more hours than they normally did, their speed increased by 5%, while their free throw accuracy increased by 9%. Another study revealed that athletes who got a full night’s sleep experienced enhanced performance in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. While these studies touched on different details, it’s easy to see that sleep has a measurable impact on the performance of athletes, as well as an impact on what time of the day their performance is optimal.

Suggestions for Athletes

Just as athletes adjust their diets to include things like low-carb protein bars, they have to adjust their sleep schedule as well. If you are in training and therefore more active than usual, plan on going to bed a bit earlier. Remember that the body has to rest and repair while you sleep, so you need to give it ample time to do just that.

Avoid Sleep Aids

Sleep aids can impact the way you sleep and what your body does while sleeping. Instead of using sleep aids, consider developing a pattern that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Do the same thing every night to prepare your body for rest. You can even adjust your diet for this purpose. Just as you might eat energy bars to increase performance, consider drinking teas with natural relaxers to help relax the body and prepare it for sleep. Chamomile tea is one suggestion, but there are several other teas that also aid in relaxation.

Performance and Recovery

Sleep deprivation can reduce your level of performance, while added hours of sleep can increase it. You should always get a good night’s sleep, but when you are in training, it’s even more important to make sure you add a bit extra to compensate for the extra effort your body is putting forth. It’s especially important that you avoid chemicals that can impact your sleep at this time, like alcohol and caffeine. Treat your body right by giving it the proper sleep and nutrition it needs, and it will treat you right by performing to the standards you require.

Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars.  To learn more about Promax Nutrition products, check us out online.