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Sick of Your Indoor Workout Routine? Here’s How to Freshen it Up!

Workout Video

The pre-spring blues: few of us are immune to them. It’s fun to dream about summer weather, and it’s a great motivator to keep working hard to attain that bathing suit body you are working toward.

Now is not the time to let your routine get stale: It’s not good for your mind, or your body, since doing the same workout every day will lose its effectiveness. Here are some tips to mix it up, no matter what type of workout you like.

For Those DVD Disc Jockeys

A DVD is a great way to get a workout in without having to schlep to a class. But if you can narrate your go-to sweat session as well as Shaun T does, you know you’ve used it one too many times. Investing in a DVD library can get expensive though. Instead, check out DVDs from your actual library, find great options on Netflix or search for dedicated exercise stations on your cable or satellite provider. DVR a few to see what you like and then set a season pass.

If You Favor the Treadmill

Otherwise known as the “dreadmill,” a treadmill workout can get boring fast, unless you mix it up. The incline feature should be your best friend: you will burn more calories in less time, but it also seems as though it takes less effort. Another option is to incorporate intervals into the workout. Kick it up a notch for 30 seconds to one minute at a time, rather than sticking with a steady state of exertion. You’ll torch more calories and the time will fly as you clock off time until the next interval. And finally, nothing beats an engaging TV show to keep you going. Tell yourself you’ll only watch the next installment of your Netflix binge-of-the-moment if you’re walking, climbing, or running.

HIIT Enthusiasts

HIIT workouts (which stand for high-intensity interval training) scorch the calories while you’re working out, and the burn continues all throughout the day, even in recovery mode. A typical HIIT format will be an interval of one to two minutes, followed by one minute of recovery. For a full-body workout, alternate a cardio interval with a weight set. The beauty of HIIT is that you can literally do a different workout every day, by switching up the exercises you choose for your intervals. It not only keeps boredom at bay, but will continue to challenge those muscles with the surprise that comes from a new plan. Or, try a Tabata workout, where you work out hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, completing 8 rounds of each movement.

Weight Training

The same dumbbell workout can get boring. The best way to freshen up your weight workout is to invest in new devices to challenge the muscles and keep things interesting. Try using kettlebells, resistance bands, or sliding discs to challenge your body in a whole new way.

Take it Outside

Are you a summer runner, biker or hiker? Even in the cold weather you can take your workout outside! Running in the cold can feel refreshing, as long as you’re dressed appropriately. Or, try out a winter sport, whether it’s snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or ice skating. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

Whatever your preference, make sure you fuel up appropriately. Promax protein bars can help you power your way through any workout. For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.

Vegetarian Guide to Weight Loss

Vegetarian Diet

There are many ways to lose weight, but not all of them will provide other important health benefits at the same time. One way to shed excess pounds, slim down, maintain muscle mass, and potentially even get healthier overall is by following a vegetarian diet.

The Potential Weight Loss Benefits

According to the CDC, more than 65% of adults in America are either obese or overweight, but amongst those who follow a plant-based diet, obesity is under 10%. Also, the weight of a vegetarian is likely to be anywhere from 3-20% lower than that of an omnivore.

Researchers have concluded that you can lose weight when you switch to a balanced plant-based diet, even if you don’t make any changes to your portion size or exercise routine.

When you embark on a vegetarian diet, you can also enjoy an increase in the number of calories burned naturally after you eat. Plant-based meals are utilized in a more efficient manner, so rather than storing the calories as fat, they’ll end up providing the fuel your body needs.

Stick with Natural, Non-Processed Foods

Like any other diet, when consuming vegetarian or vegan foods, you should stick with whole food options, rather than artificial, processed foods, for the best results.

To get the most benefits from your vegetarian diet, you should avoid plant-based junk foods. Opt instead for a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, lentils, beans, and so on.

Even though it might be tempting and easy to consume a lot of the vegetarian versions of things like hot dogs, burgers, pizza, sausage, and desserts, it’s best to keep those to a minimum.

Get the Right Fats

One of the great things about following a plant-based diet is the chance to reduce your intake of unhealthy fats.

If you plan on including dairy products in your diet, do so in moderation. Ounce for ounce, there are four times the amount of calories, and nine times the amount of fat, in cheddar versus a skinless chicken breast, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can have a lot of cheese just because you’re vegetarian.

To successfully lose weight, stick with just one dairy-based meal each day that contains no more than an ounce of cheese, preferably organic. If don’t want to switch to plant-based milks, opt for fat-free organic milk.

You can also get plenty of desirable omega fatty acids by eating foods like nuts, coconut oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and avocados, as a few examples.

Focus on Protein

Getting enough protein can help you control your weight and maintain your muscles. Many people worry that a vegetarian diet won’t provide enough of this nutrient, but you actually don’t have to be concerned.

It’s recommended that protein make up 10-12% of your calories, and the majority of legumes, grains, and vegetables provide this naturally, so it’s easy to get enough protein when following a plant-based diet.

Of course, adding a delicious Promax protein bar to your diet is another great way to get the protein you need! All our bars are vegetarian, so they’re perfect for boosting your protein intake and providing yourself with some fun variety in your vegetarian diet.

If you’ve been having trouble losing weight, switching to a plant-based diet might help. As long as you focus on eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you’re likely to get all of the nutrients and results you need.

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

Sources:

http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/will-going-vegetarian-help-you-lose-weight
http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/a-guide-to-healthy-weight-loss

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Started with Muscle Hypertrophy Training

Muscle Hypertrophy

It’s time to get smart about building muscle. By getting the ball rolling with the right muscle hypertrophy training methods, and the use of protein bars to rebuild muscle, you can quickly see a big difference in your muscle mass and strength.

Muscle hypertrophy occurs whenever muscle cells grow and increase. When someone exercises a muscle, a jump in nerve impulses occurs that causes muscle contraction. This yields strength gains at first, and, later, results in increases in muscle size.

Muscle hypertrophy training typically refers to an exercise program intended to quickly gain muscle mass. This training focuses on physiological principles of hypertrophy and how to best exercise them in order to induce muscle growth.

Four Principles

There are four essential principles of hypertrophy training:

  • Mechanical load – This refers to the tension loading of muscles through exercise.
  • Acute vs. chronic stimuli – For mechanical loading to result in quick muscle growth, the stimulus applied to the muscles must occur on a regular basis. When undergoing hypertrophic training, exercise enthusiasts will need a regular schedule of exercise and recovery to obtain a successful result.
  • Progressive load – In time, your muscle tissue will adapt and become resistant to the mechanical load you’ve been exposing it to. When this occurs, hypertrophy will halt. For continued results, the mechanical load you place upon the muscles must increase over time.
  • Strategic deconditioning – This is another tactic for dealing with the halt in hypertrophy that can occur when the muscle tissue adapts to progressive load. In strategic deconditioning, you decrease the muscles’ conditioning to the load you’re applying.

Tips for Success

If you’re getting started with hypertrophy training, these tips can help increase your odds of success:

  • Commitment – To get the best results from hypertrophy training, you’ll need to carve time out of your schedule for regular training. Hypertrophy training requires a lot of work and a regular schedule, so you need a high level of dedication to regular workouts.
  • Deadlifting is your friend – The deadlift is a great exercise for pushing your body to grow. When you lift, make sure you keep proper form. Maintain a flat back and neutral head position so you exercise your glutes, leg muscles, and lower back.
  • Pound some protein – Getting plenty of protein before and after your workout will help in your recovery, as protein is essential to building muscle. Experts recommend consuming 20 grams of protein before a workout and 40 to 60 grams afterward. Gluten free protein bars are a great way to supply this nutritional need.
  • Push yourself – Take very limited rests while in the gym. Keep pushing yourself to use deep fibers in the muscles to deal with the weight load. This intense workout will help stimulate the muscles to grow more readily than a more leisurely paced exercise routine.

Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian protein bars.  Promax has a wide range of delicious products, with one sure to please any palate.

The Best Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

People choose to be vegetarian for many different reasons. While meat has its merits, it’s well known that a plant-based diet can have numerous health benefits, including weight loss, cardiovascular health, and more. There are several important factors to weigh when eating a vegetarian diet. One of the most important is protein – without animal meat, it could be very easy to ignore this staple of nutrition that is the fundamental building block of your health.

Fortunately, there are many ways vegetarians can incorporate protein into their diet. The infographic below details some of the most popular, easy to find sources of protein, such as:

  • Soy – An incredibly versatile food that is a complete protein.
  • Peas – These and other legumes can easily be added to many dishes.
  • Hemp – Hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids, plus lots of other nutrients.
  • Quinoa – Another complete protein that is easy to make.

Read more about these protein-packed foods below.

The Best Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

How Should You Incorporate Cardio Into Your Workout?

Cardio

Whether you like it or not, and many people don’t, cardio training is an important part of any workout routine. Cardio can definitely be tough, especially when you’re just getting started, and it lacks the glamour of strength training. That doesn’t mean it isn’t just as important for your health, however. You do need cardio training in your workout routine, but how often should you be doing it, and when is the best time?

First, recognize that cardio isn’t just going outside and running around in circles. You should take the same care in planning your cardio workout as you do in planning your lifting schedule. You wouldn’t go to the gym and slap as much weight on the bench as possible right away, so don’t do the same thing with your cardio workouts. Do your research and figure out a plan to put in place for your cardio workouts, just as you would with any other aspect of your health.

If you’re wondering when the best time of day for cardio is, listen to what your body is telling you. If you can barely open your eyes in the morning, let alone feel up for a run, you might just not be a morning person, and forcing yourself to workout as soon as you get up is probably not going to go well. The time of day really isn’t that important, but if you are going to run in the morning, don’t do it on an empty stomach. Your body hasn’t gotten any fuel for eight hours, so you have nothing to keep you going during your morning workout. You might think this will burn fat, but in reality your body will be looking to get energy from your muscles. So running in the morning is not a great idea if you’re looking to gain muscle mass.

Cardio before your weightlifting is also a big no-no. Running depletes your glycogen, which is your muscles’ source of energy. Without that energy, you just aren’t going to have the strength to push through the last few reps that will help stimulate muscle growth. This leads to a much less effective workout for building muscle mass. To be clear, in this situation the lifting is coming right after the cardio, without time to rest and replenish. Running earlier in the day doesn’t mean you can’t lift that same day, just get rest and proper nutrition before you begin your weightlifting.

So when is the best time for cardio? If you are lifting and running on the same day, your cardio should come after your weightlifting, but even then you should give your body some time to rest. The best thing to do is schedule your cardio and weightlifting on different days. If you lift three days a week, then run on three non-lifting days.

With a full schedule of weightlifting and cardio, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition for recovery and muscle building. At Promax, we have great tasting and nutrient packed protein bars to satisfy your recovery needs.

Keeping Up Your Motivation Any Time of Year

Motivated Woman

Dreary or sunny, rainy or clear, no matter what the weather, we can make up some excuse to skip the workout. But what inevitable follows is regret and self-loathing. This time, skip the guilt, save yourself from searching for a quick fix with bogus fad diets, and keep yourself motivated with our handy tips below.

Fight Aliens or Be a Superhero

No, really. Mobile gaming apps have come a long way. You can use your smartphone for so much more than Facebook and check-ins. When the urge to settle in with your phone or tablet hits, Superhero Workout will have you up and moving, completing twelve workouts, forty-two bodyweight exercises, and twenty epic missions in order to save the world.

Can you save the world, while avoiding the winter blahs, in the process? Run, Zombie is great for new runners. With this app, you prepare for a 5K while staying one step ahead of the zombie horde.

Online Fitness Tracker

Whether you post your fitness updates on Facebook or you use an online fitness tracker, having your goals and successes out there can help keep you pumped and ready for more. MyFitnessPal, DailyMile, FriendFit, and Map My Run let users track their progress. Put your competitive nature to good use. It’s hard to ditch the workout when you can compete with friends.

Monetary Reward

You’ve heard that you should reward yourself for working out. Well, these fitness apps take it in a different direction. CharityMiles tracks your distance, awarding you with 10 cents a mile for bikers, 25 cents a mile for runners or walkers—and then donates your earnings to the charity of your choice.

Pact offers a reward that will really motivate: you can earn, or lose, money if you don’t keep your fitness contract. It’s flexible, with a choice of three Pacts, so whether you want to eat more veggies, hit the gym, or make better food choices by food logging, Pact lets you earn cash for living healthily (and is paid out by the members who fail to keep their goals). Now your workout is really paying off!

Schedule a Regular Workout Time

Pencil it in. Figure out the best time for a workout—and stick to it! Keep your exercise items, like your shorts, shoes, yoga ball, Promax Protein Bars, and weights in plain sight. It will serve as a constant reminder that you will be using these things that day–and help combat any time crunch. Knowing exactly when you will use them is even better. Plus, by giving yourself easy access to them, it’s a lot harder to come up with reasons not to actually use them.

It won’t always be easy. Sometimes, you might slip up. Push through that workout! Use our tips to stay on top of your fitness goals—and hopefully keep any slip-ups to a minimum.

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

Why You Shouldn’t Be Skipping Leg Day

Leg Exercises

We all know that one guy in the gym who looks like he hasn’t hit legs in the past year. Broad shouldered and top heavy, this guy lives in fear of the leg machines. It’s a pretty universal gym stereotype at this point. We make fun of the guys who skip leg day because it’s pretty obvious their only concern is those upper body muscles, but deep down, a lot of us would love to take leg day out of the equation. Yes, leg day isn’t much fun, but there are more reasons for keeping your leg workouts going than just looks.

  • For starters, you’re not just hurting your legs when you don’t work them like the rest of your body. Squats and deadlifts have been shown to increase the production of natural muscle building hormones more than any other exercise. What you also might be forgetting is that squats and deadlifts work more than just your legs. Your arms, abs, chest, and back are all getting worked to some degree when you perform these exercises. Working small muscle groups in your upper body is fine, but squats and deadlifts improve strength in exercises directly related to these muscles.
  • You also need to understand that the larger the muscle being worked out, the more fat loss will occur. The largest muscles in the body are the quads and glutes, and working them out on leg day burns more fat in the upper body than just crunches and treadmills. While burning fat, leg workouts improve core strength, which means better overall posture, flexibility, and athletic performance. Some people skip leg day because it’s more difficult, or doesn’t look as impressive as throwing up weight on the bench. Regardless, if you want to increase strength and look your best, routinely working out your lower body is essential.
  • Speaking of athletic performance, nearly every sport you enjoyed growing up involved running. Having a strong lower body is critical to performing well in athletics, whether it’s a game of pickup basketball with your friends, or just kicking the soccer ball around with your kid. A well-rounded workout will provide you with better endurance, power, and balance. If you want to perform better in just about any athletic endeavor, skipping leg day isn’t doing you any favors.
  • Oh, and leg day isn’t just about squats and deadlifts. Leg day can also include sprint training. Sprint training is great, because it serves as an excellent way to increase cardiovascular fitness without sacrificing hard-earned muscle gains. You might say that you only doing strength training, but ignoring your cardiovascular health is pretty much the same as skipping leg day. In both cases you’re missing out on a much-needed portion of your workout.

We know it isn’t the most fun or impressive workout, but skipping leg day hurts your overall health, and keeps you from reaching your potential. And if you need some recovery for after your next leg day, head on over to Promax and check out our full line of protein bars!

Unique Diets That Actually Work

Unique Diet

When you’ve tried every diet under the sun, it’s easy to feel like nothing will ever work for you. Perhaps the diets you’ve tried are too conventional. It’s important to remind yourself that what works for others won’t necessarily work for you. Check out this list of unique diets that may be the right fit for you.

The Scent of Food

Several studies have found that smelling foods before eating helps to curb overall hungriness. Since our tastebuds rely so much on our sense of smell, it’s no wonder that the smell of a delicious meal feels so satisfying in and of itself. You can even try it with your Promax bar – they smell as delicious as they taste!

Visualizing Food

Another sense to rely on for weight loss is sight. Scientists found that when people visualize their last meal, or look at a picture of a meal they’ve eaten in the past, their appetite for a snack lessens. Time to find that awesome Instagram picture you took of brunch this weekend!

Bacteria Diet

Not willing to lessen your food intake? Not a problem. This diet encourages you to keep eating. Specifically, you would have to eat foods that are rich in probiotics (such as yogurt) to induce bacterial growth in your digestive system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi do wonders for your metabolism as well. Those who stick with this diet can lose 21 pounds in 6 months on average. Bacteria never sounded so appetizing!

Cabbage Soup Diet

This is the mother of all veggie soups. Carrots, celery, green onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cabbage mixed together in a soup help you stay full while supplying some great nutrients. However, too much of anything is never a good idea. That’s why the concept of only drinking cabbage soup for a whole week doesn’t jump out as the best of ideas. While those who have attempted it claimed to have lost 10 pounds in that time frame, they are forgetting that there are essential nutrients to consume that aren’t available in soup or veggie form. Go to your nearest store, or order your Promax bars online to make up for some of those nutrients before going all in.

Eggs and Dessert

You’ve heard of eggs and bacon, and green eggs and ham, but what about eggs and dessert? A study from Tel Aviv University found that people who consumed a high-carb, sweet, and protein rich breakfast within their 1,600 calorie daily intake lost as much weight as those on a low-carb diet. Apparently, it’s the combination of the dessert aspect that controls your sweet tooth later in the day, and the protein that curbs your appetite, that helps with the overall weight loss.

So if you’re looking for just the right diet to help you reach your fitness goals, why not try one of these?  Others have found success with them, and you might just, too.

Still not sure which diet is right for you? Check out our ambassadors and see what they do for their bodies. And for more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.

Caffeine: Is It Healthy, and How Does It Affect Your Workout?

Caffeine

Most people get up every day and make themselves a cup of coffee to feel energized, and then they might have subsequent cups to keep them going throughout the day. However, coffee isn’t the only means by which you can give your body a caffeine boost. There are also many caffeinated teas, as well as soft drinks and energy drinks available for the same purpose.

But is getting so much caffeine every day really a healthy habit? Is caffeine a perfectly fine pick-me-up, as well as a great form of workout fuel, or could it be doing harm?

The Positive and Negative Effects of Caffeine on Your Health

According to the Mayo Clinic, the safe limit for daily caffeine intake is 400 mg. This translates to about four cups of coffee, two energy drink shots, or 10 cans of soda.

If you start ingesting a lot more caffeine (over 500-600 mg daily), you could end up with some unpleasant side effects like nervousness, irritability, muscle tremors, a fast heart rate, restlessness, insomnia, and an upset stomach.

Despite the side effects of high caffeine intake, when you consume moderate amounts of around 300mg per day, your body might be able to reap a few benefits.

In addition to improving your focus and relieving fatigue, some studies have found that drinking coffee, in particular, might reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as liver, throat, and mouth cancers.

Caffeine might also improve your long-term memory, as well as potentially protect your body against Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

The key is to consume caffeine in moderation, and try to get it from sources like coffee or tea, which contain other natural compounds that help maintain your health.

The Effects of Caffeine on Your Workout

Because caffeine improves circulation, even right down to the smaller blood vessels in your fingers, it can help deliver more oxygen to your muscles during your workouts, and this could help keep you going strong to complete more reps.

Caffeine consumption of around two or three cups of coffee about an hour before a high-intensity workout may even help reduce the amount of muscle pain you perceive. Combine this with improved oxygen flow and the protein packed into a Promax protein bar, and you’ll be able to accomplish more than ever during any strength training routine.

Even having a bit of caffeine after your workout could be beneficial. Rather than consuming carbohydrates on their own, opt for a combination of carbs and caffeine, as this could increase muscle glycogen after an intense workout. The more glycogen you have stored, the more endurance and power you’ll have the next time you exercise.

Do What Works for You

When it comes to caffeine, it’s all about moderation and listening to your body. While 300mg might not affect someone else, it may actually be too much for your body to handle. Find the happy medium so you can get the energy and power you need.

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

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271707.php
http://news.health.com/2014/06/19/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee-before-your-workout/