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Surprising Ways Alcohol Affects Your Workout

Alcohol

We all like to cut loose and have a few drinks now and then, and maybe you even use alcohol as a little reward for a hard workout. After all, you put in the miles during the day, why not unwind with a few drinks in the evening? Depending on your definition of “a few,” however, your imbibing could be a little dent – or a major blow – to your fitness routine. Let’s take a look at what alcohol does to your fitness, and when you may want to lay off the sauce.

  • Alcohol And Sleep

When people drink too much they tend to get sleepy. So alcohol must be good for sleep, right? Well, not so much. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a few too many drinks, you probably didn’t wake up in the morning feeling too well rested. Alcohol can actually prevent REM sleep, which is the kind of sleep your body needs to feel rested. And that lack of sleep will end up costing you in the gym, impairing your ability to build muscle and recover.

  • Nutrition

Alcohol is empty calories. You really aren’t getting any nutritional value when you throw back a few drinks after dinner. And that means you’re putting a ton of extra calories into your body without any kind of benefit for your workout. Many of your favorite drinks are packed with sugar to make them taste better, and just a couple could put you way over your limit for the day. Plus there’s the issue of those late-night pizzas or burritos. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and makes it a whole lot easier to give into your cravings after you leave the bar.

  • Dehydration

Drinking after a workout is a bad idea, simply because alcohol doesn’t contain anything you need to recover, but also because alcohol acts as a diuretic, forcing you to pee more often and dehydrating your body. You probably already need to rehydrate after a workout, so grabbing a couple beers to celebrate your new mile time is a bad idea.

Also, drinking the night before working out isn’t a great idea either, for pretty much the same reason. You’re going to wake up dehydrated and possibly with a hangover. Your performance is definitely going to be affected, and you just won’t get the most out of your workout routine.

  • Moderation Is Key

We know this all sounds pretty rough, but you actually can still drink alcohol and maintain a fitness regimen. It’s all about moderation. Drinking in moderation will lessen all of the effects listed above, and it can also raise good cholesterol and lower stress.

If you’re like most of us, you don’t want to give up your beer or wine completely, but you still want to see results at the gym. The easiest way to do this is by drinking in moderation and getting the proper nutrition for recovery. Check out our protein bars for a good way to get your body what it needs after a tough workout!

Posted in Nutrition, Sleep, Water | April 29, 2016

New Workout Tech For Spring And Summer

Workout Tech

Spring is here, and it’s time to shake off any bad habits you may have picked up during the winter and get back to your workout routine. That’s easier said than done, however, and you might find yourself a little under-motivated. If you’re feeling less than enthused about your workout regimen, then maybe it’s time to spice things up with some new high-tech help. The fitness technology industry is booming right now, and there are tons of different and fun products for you to choose from. So we decided to pick out some of our favorites and give you some ideas for the warm weather.

Gymwatch

Designed to be used during different types of workouts—machines, free weights, or bodyweight exercises—the Gymwatch can actually detect if you’re doing an exercise improperly and offer feedback and advice during your workout. You don’t always have the luxury of working out with a buddy, but now you can be confident in your workout even when your lifting partner is stuck in the office.

Jaybird X2 Bluetooth Earbuds

No matter how well your earbuds stay on your ears, there’s always the cord to deal with, and that can get surprisingly frustrating when you’re putting in a hard workout, or just going through a motion that gets them tangled. With the Jaybird X2 earbuds, there aren’t any cords to tangle—the earbuds play music via Bluetooth, and the battery lasts for 8 hours.

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

There’s no better piece of equipment for motivation than a scale, but your old one probably just tells you your weight. Is that the whole story? This scale tracks the weight changes of up to seven people—monitoring BMI and body fat percentage, as well. All the data is uploaded via Wi-Fi, and you can access is online, or on your smartphone for a little motivation on the go.

HyperIce Vyper

Rolling out with a foam roller is an excellent way to loosen up before and after a workout. The HyperIce Vyper takes this to the next level by incorporating a high-power, three-speed, vibrating motor. Your back and legs will thank you when you start using the Vyper after your most grueling workouts.

Zepp Labs

Are you hitting the links or the tennis court now that the weather is warming up? Well, if you want to improve your swing, but don’t want to shell out money on lessons, then take a look at the Zepp Labs’ kit. This sensor fits onto the end of your club or racket handle, and tracks your performance, giving you feedback in real-time plus additional analytics once you’ve finished.

Getting back into a workout routine can be tough, but with these high-tech options, you can get yourself going again just in time for the warmer months. Remember, you’ll still need the right nutrition before and after your workout if you want to see the results you’re looking for.

Posted in Fashion, Gear, Running | April 28, 2016

4 Old School Exercises Making A Comeback

Weights

Technology marches on, right? We’re constantly trying new workouts, downloading new fitness apps, and jumping on the next hot trend that comes along. But is it really necessary, or did we figure out some of the best exercises quite a while ago? Sure, some fitness regimens from yesteryear have been debunked, but that doesn’t mean they’re all unusable. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—so here are some old school exercises that definitely aren’t broke. Throw them into your routine and see if you can feel the difference.

  1. The Forearm Roller

A lot of us end up missing our forearms when we work out. A forearm workout just doesn’t seem as important as an extra set of curls, but if you want your arms to look proportional, then it’s wise to get in a forearm exercise. The forearm roller is the best way to hit the muscles in your forearms, and it’s about as simple as you can get. On one end of a rope you tie a round wooden peg, and at the other end, a weight. Holding onto the peg with both hands out in front of you, you simply roll the peg until the rope is all the way wound, and the weight has nowhere to go. Then slowly reverse, letting the weight drop back down.

  1. Wide Grip Pull Ups

Pull-ups are a classic exercise that doesn’t require weights, but you can start adding difficulty by holding weights between your legs. Most people now favor lat pull downs, but the wide grip pull up is still a fantastic way to work your back, and with the addition of weight, you’ll see some real gains if you put in the work.

  1. Pushup Variations

You can’t really get more old school than the pushup. You might start thinking about warming up for gym class when you hear someone mention pushups, but they are still one of the most effective additions to your workout. But don’t just get down and quickly rep out as many as you can. Start doing decline pushups to get some variation, and just like the pull-ups, you can add weight to your sets to push yourself and build mass.

  1. Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row is an intense workout for your back, especially your lats. The trick is to make sure you get the largest range of motion, going all the way down and letting the weight pull your lats. This one has also gone out of style over the years, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

Some lifts and exercises may come and go, but one thing that doesn’t change is the need for proper nutrition before and after any workout routine. Whether you check out the latest workouts and regimens, or like to keep it old school, Promax has a protein bar for you. So whatever your fitness needs, Promax has you covered.

Posted in Fitness, Gym, Strength Training | April 27, 2016

Workout Gear For Spring

Running

Check out some of the gear you’ll need in the coming months.

Maybe you were cooped up in the gym, running on the treadmill all winter, or maybe the warmer weather is just calling your name. Whatever the case, you’re probably looking to get outside and exercise this spring. Compared to the winter cold, the weather might look amazing right now, but no matter how much we wish it were summer, we’re not quite there yet. Spring training comes with its own set of challenges, and the weather is issue number one. Depending on where you live, it may not be quite as warm as you’d like, or you might be getting buckets of rain every week. Fortunately, Promax has your back, and we’ve gathered together some of the best gear for your spring training sessions.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

Nike is hailing these as the future of running, and their futuristic look is pretty impressive. If you’re looking for a new running shoe this spring, you may want to check out the LunarEpic. The sock-like upper is designed to feel like a natural extension of your leg, and the one-piece construction is woven for maximum comfort and breathability on your runs this spring.

Adidas Run Pack-Dye Jacket

This women’s jacket is light and breathable, with an uneven finish that sets it apart from anything else out there. The jacket comes with thumb holes, a full-zip hood, and UV protection, so when the weather gets rough, you’ll be ready to run right through it. The lightweight material also packs easily, so you won’t have any trouble stowing it if the sun makes an appearance.

Dynamic+ Run Ultralight Short Socks

These socks, available for both men and women, are made for running. They feature a perfect anatomical fit and minimal padding for a perfect fit that easily slides into even your tightest running shoes. They also have antibacterial odor reducing properties, and are made with polypropylene—which doesn’t absorb moisture into the fibers. These socks are perfect for your spring workouts, whatever weather you happen to be facing.

Under Armour Patterned Long-sleeve

Made from Under Armour Tech™ material, this long-sleeve has a looser fit than the compressions that many people associate with UA. The material is quick drying and incredibly soft, making it the perfect long-sleeve shirt for when the weather hasn’t quite warmed up as much you might like. The fabric also has technology to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes and keep you smelling fresh.

Spring weather can turn on a dime, but it’s up to you to get out and make the most of the warming weather if you want to get yourself in shape for summer. Getting yourself some new gear is a smart way to prepare for whatever spring weather you encounter. But you’ll also need some help recovering after a grueling run or workout, so head over to Promax and check out our protein bars. With so many great choices, there’s a Promax protein bar for everyone.

Posted in Fashion, Fitness, Gym | April 26, 2016

The 3 Worst Fad Diets Ever

Diet

Even the best workout regimen can be sidelined by a less-than-healthy diet. Eating right can be difficult work, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Stress, lack of time for meal prep, or just the lapses in willpower that we all see from time to time can derail a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, some people will always want easy answers to a problem that might not be so simple. This is the reason we see so many fad diets come and go every few years. There’s always a new diet that promises weight loss and a healthy lifestyle if you just do one or two things. People may initially see some weight loss, but fad dieters usually end up putting that weight back on. That’s because fad diets aren’t built for the long run. Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t a fad; it’s a lifestyle. That’s why so many fad diets fail, and why some of them can even be dangerous.

Here’s a look at the worst types of fad diets that get advertised online.

Any Type of “Detox” Diet

These diets usually revolve around the idea that your body is full of toxins that need to be flushed out. In doing so you will lose weight and somehow become healthy again. A big part of these diets is relying strictly on liquids for a set amount of time. Water mixed with lemon juice or cayenne pepper are usually part of it, along with juices so that you actually get some sort of calories. This is basically the equivalent of taking diuretics for a week or so, and yes, you probably will lose weight. Unfortunately, as soon as you start eating again, you’re going to gain it all back. Not to mention this is incredibly unhealthy and can even be dangerous.

Diets That Eliminate An Entire Food Group

Is your diet telling you that carbs are your mortal enemy? Or that you should only eat raw food? Maybe it says that dairy is completely unnecessary, and once you rid yourself of it, you’ll see the pounds falling away. Any diet that promotes one food or food group over everything else should be viewed with suspicion. Sure, you should probably eat more fruits and veggies, but that doesn’t mean you should eliminate every other food group. Most likely, you’ll be missing key nutrients, which will end up hurting you more than it helps.

Diets That Advocate Too-Low Caloric Intake

If you’re diet includes some kind of fast, or lowers the recommended calories below a safe daily level, you’re going to be disappointed with the results. That’s because fasting may help you lose weight in the short-term, but it’s dangerous, and the weight you gain back will be mostly fat. Instead of cutting your calories to dangerous levels, you should look to healthier foods to supply those calories.

Simply put, it may be easier to lose weight if you don’t even think of it as a diet. Start replacing junk food with healthier alternatives, like a Promax protein bar, and make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition. It may not be a quick fix, but you’ll feel better and end up losing weight and keeping it off. If you want to know more about living a healthy lifestyle, visit our blog.

Posted in Dieting, Healthy Eating, Nutrition | April 25, 2016

The 4 Most Dangerous Workout Myths

Workout Myths

Maybe it’s a guy at your gym who thinks he knows more than he does, or maybe it was your hard-nosed high school football coach—whatever the case, we’ve all had someone give us some less-than-stellar workout advice. Some people love to give advice about working out, but just because you heard it from someone who looks bigger than you, that doesn’t mean that it’s actually good advice. In fact, some advice and tips get passed on quite a bit, even if they can be pretty dangerous. You should always do a little research on your own, instead of just taking a random gym-goer’s advice. We wanted to dispel a few of these myths once and for all, so we’ve brought you our most dangerous myths—and why you should never listen to them.

No Pain, No Gain

People use this saying for plenty of other everyday activities, and it’s supposed to mean something about the work you put in, and the result you get out. However, when it’s applied to an actual workout, this is terrible advice. You should never be feeling any kind of sharp or pronounced pain during or after a workout. That means something is wrong—either you have an injury, or you’re doing the exercise incorrectly. A little burning in your muscles after an intense workout? That’s perfectly fine, but actual pain is a troubling sign.

There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Protein

This one comes from some flawed logic about how our bodies work. Protein helps you build muscles, and you want big muscles, right? So the more protein the better. That just isn’t how our bodies work, unfortunately. For one thing, your body can only absorb so much protein at once. It doesn’t matter if you take three times the normal amount after working out, you won’t get three times the results.

Anti-Inflammatories And Working Out

There’s a persistent myth that NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) will decrease workout soreness if taken before a workout. In fact, it’s been shown that popping a few ibuprofen before a workout not only doesn’t noticeably decrease soreness, it can actually cause damage in the gastrointestinal tract and cause bleeding. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to the damage you do during a workout. Blocking that response simply isn’t a good move.

No Rest During Your Workout

This one claims that the best results come from high-intensity strength training with little to no rest in between exercises. The thing is, failing to rest causes muscle fatigue, and you’re more likely to fall into poor form during your lifting. Your body needs a short break between sets because the muscles need time to recover. This doesn’t include circuit training, however. In circuit training, you move quickly from one exercise to the next, but you’re working out a completely different muscle group, so the other muscle groups have time to rest.

Don’t be fooled by someone who acts like they know what they’re talking about, and don’t pass on advice unless you’re completely sure it’s correct. For more fitness tips, visit our blog, and while you’re there, check out our line of delicious and nutritious protein bars.

Posted in Fitness, Nutrition, Protein, Strength Training | April 9, 2016

How Music Affects Your Workouts

Workout Music

Ever get to the gym and realize you forgot your headphones at home? For some, it’s enough to make you turn around and get them, or just splurge on a backup pair. Exercising without your own music might seem unfathomable – and researchers have postulated several reasons for why this might be so.

Distraction – Music can enhance your workout by taking your mind off the physical strain of working out. It’s been shown that distractions take our focus away from the perception of pain – that’s why combat soldiers sometimes don’t know they’ve been shot right away, until the commotion of the fight has died down.

Pain Relief – Listening to music releases mood-enhancing hormones such as dopamine and opioids, making you feel good. These hormones are known to raise the pain threshold, so you’ll endure more in your workout.

Synchronizing with the Beat – At the right tempo, music can help your body move in concert with the beat. Music stimulates the part of your brain that controls movement. It helps your muscles continually move, and it helps them move more efficiently. Thus, you maximize your workout, and this in turn can increase your health and life expectancy.1 Specifically, upbeat music can:

  • Increase your heart rate
  • Reduce your blood pressure
  • Increase metabolism and energy efficiency
  • Reduce physical and mental stress
  • Diminish feelings of fatigue2

However, it has to be a specific kind of music. You could have two songs with the same beats per minute (BPM) – in other words, the same tempo – but they could produce different outcomes in your physical activity. Music that is more associated with “pop-techno” will produce higher physical output than music with a jazz or reggae feel, even if they’re the same tempo.3

Music that’s too fast, however, is not likely to have a positive effect on your workout, either. Experts seem to agree that the ideal range of beats per minute is 120–140; that’s where you’ll get maximum results. Anything above that, and the benefits are not as evident.

Workout Buddies

However, for activities that are a little slower or relaxed, such as yoga, you might want to opt for something a little more down-tempo and which matches the heart rate you wish to achieve during your workout.

Improving Your Mood – It’s well known that music enhances your mood, but studies have borne this out empirically. Social scientists have shown that music helps people think about who they are, who they want to be, and how to follow their own path to get there.4 Music allows you to shed negative habits of thought and get in a positive, cheerful mood – the perfect mindset for getting ready for a workout.

In addition to picking the right music, choosing the right nutrition to accompany your workout is crucial. You’ll want to replenish your body and give yourself the nutrients you need to repair tissue, build muscle, and rebound for the next time. View our large selection of protein bars, gluten-free bars, and other healthy energy bars. Paired with the perfect workout playlist, these will help you achieve optimal results, and you’ll feel great, too.

Sources

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-music-affects-workout_us_55d746a3e4b0a40aa3aaa9da
  2. http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/how-music-can-enhance-your-workout
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3707869/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741536/
Posted in Music | April 8, 2016

Workouts for the Perfect Beach Body

Beach

Just hearing the word ‘beach’ conjures up images of white sand, sparkling water, and – oh yeah, visions of tanned, in-shape bodies, as well. Unfortunately for some of us, that might not be a great depiction of our own body. Wearing three layers while struggling through another below-freezing day has a way of sapping a person’s will to hit the gym. But with the winter weather receding, you may be feeling a tinge of regret that you weren’t a little more diligent about your workouts over the past few months. Worry not, friends, because we’ve brought you some of the best workouts to get yourself in shape for those spring and summer beach trips. So once you’ve booked that condo, get started on these workouts, and you just might end up turning some heads on the beach.

  • Yes, we know that your first thought is probably going to be about your abs. It’s human nature. Just know that you won’t be getting a six-pack by only doing ab workouts. It just doesn’t work like that. That being said, working your abs is still essential to the process. So check out these three great ab exercises.
  • First is the spiderman plank crunch. Get yourself in plank position, then bring your right knee up to your right elbow. Return your right leg to the plank position, and do the same with your left knee. Shoot for a total of ten on each side.
  • Next we have the bicycle crunch. Lie on your back with your legs raised and bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your head, and bring your right elbow towards your left knee. At the same time, extend your right leg fully, then return to the starting position. Then alternate, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee. Do this slowly, rather than repping them out as fast as possible.
  • Finally we have the dip/leg raise combo. Suspend yourself over parallel bars, and then bring your legs up and extend them out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Hold that, and you’ll start to feel it immediately.
  • Okay, you can’t just crunch your way to some abs, so prepare yourself for a little cardio. Now, as with all of these workouts, you can’t just throw yourself into them a week before your beach vacay and expect results. That’s unrealistic and dangerous. For cardio, start running a few times a week, and become consistent. That’s the best way to shed pounds and build endurance. I know, it may not be easy, but it will be worth it when you show up on the beach.
  • Let’s not forget that upper body, though. Maybe time is short and you don’t even have a gym membership. What should you do? Pullups, pushups, and dips. Bodyweight workouts help burn fat and build muscle, especially if you use the 10 to 1 workout technique. That means on your first set, you do 10 pullups, then decrease that by one every set, until you finally end by doing one pullup. You’ll get one heck of a workout, and you’ll thank us when you’re looking your best down at PCB.

Start doing each of these exercises today, and by the time you’re packing your bags, you’ll feel much more confident about your beach-ready bod. Just remember – you’re going to need plenty of nutrition to refuel after these workouts, so stop by Promax today and check out our full line of protein bars.

Posted in Fitness, Nutrition, Strength Training |

The 5 Best Diet Blogs To Follow

Healthy Diet

In some respects, working out is the easy part of getting fit. Sure, you have to make yourself get up off the couch and put in the work, but you feel good after a workout—both physically and mentally. Plus, there are so many different ways to workout, so you can find what’s right for your fitness level and the time you have to put in.

For some people, the dieting side of getting fit can be a little harder. Instead of pushing yourself to do something, you’re abstaining from some of the foods you’ve become used to, and replacing them with something different. This can be a hard cycle to break, and you’ll be constantly bombarded with fad diets that promise unrealistic results. This is especially true if you simply Google a generic term like “diets.” The internet is great for finding information, but sometimes the good stuff gets lost in the crowd. That’s why we’ve brought you some of the best diet blogs—so you can make the changes you need, and give your workouts the boost they deserve.

  • First we have Roni’s Weigh, a blog from Veronica “Roni” Noone. On Roni’s Weigh she discusses her own personal transformation—losing over 70 pounds—as well as tips on how to keep your whole family active, fit, and healthy.

 

  • Josie Maurer, of com fame, started her blog like many others. It began as a journal tracking her own weight loss journey in order to keep her accountable, and has blossomed into a funny and insightful blog that offers tips on what to do to lose weight, as well as what not to do. Her loyal fans enjoy the humor and personality that come through in her writing.

 

  • The Domestic Man is the work of Russ Crandall, a writer for Food and Wine and AOL.com’s Kitchen Daily. His blog promises paleo-friendly recipes inspired by traditional and international cuisines. And did we mention gluten-free? He updates the site with new recipes every Tuesday.

 

  • The Stone Soup adds a very important element to making delicious and healthy meals—simplicity. Most of their recipes have five ingredients or fewer, making them attainable for beginners looking for an efficient and nutritious meal.

With so many fantastic diet blogs out there, there really is something for everyone. Losing weight is so much easier if you don’t feel like you’re going it alone, and even the healthiest among us can always do with a new recipe or two. And after you’re done gaining inspiration from these blogs, head over to www.promaxnutrition.com to pick up some protein bars or check out our own blog—it’s full of the inspiration and information you need to transform your body.

 

Posted in Carbs, Nutrition, Protein | April 4, 2016

Is There a Proper Way to Breath While Doing Weightlifting Workouts?

Proper Breathing

There is much debate as to whether learning proper breathing techniques while doing weightlifting workouts is beneficial for your overall health and fitness. Even though there are variations on what are the best techniques to use, one common theme is there is much to be gained by developing the right breathing patterns.

The purpose of learning to breathe correctly is to create the right stability to help you get the most out of your workouts, while reducing your risks for injury, and being able to burn more calories and move more weight. Not to mention, to help you achieve a more physically fit appearance faster.

The generalized technique recommended for weightlifting workouts is to exhale during eccentric movements and inhale during concentric movements. If you are new to weightlifting workouts, you may not be familiar with these terms. That is okay, and we will look at an example to illustrate the two different movements.

For example, you are bench pressing weights while lying on your back with the weights being pulled down toward your chest and pushed up, away from your body. The eccentric movement is when you are pushing the weights away from your body and upward. The concentric movement occurs as you lower the weights toward your chest. Raising the weights requires more exertion, so this is a good time to exhale, while lowering the weights uses less exertion, and this makes it an ideal time to inhale.

Another way to remember this is to look at the particular weightlifting exercise. You should breathe out (exhale) whenever you are exerting effort into the exercise. In other words, anything that requires you to push, lift, or pull is almost always the eccentric part of the exercise and is the perfect time to exhale. The second part of the exercise movement is the concentric part, and it is the best time to take a breath and inhale.

Weightlifting Workout

However, if you find yourself short on breath, do not hesitate to exhale and inhale, even if you are in the middle of either an eccentric or concentric movement. You should never attempt to hold your breath, which is referred to as the Valsalva Maneuver. Some weightlifters do this, as they think it will give them even more stability and greater control during pushes, pulls, or lifts.

Yet, there are risks with this maneuver, since it increases the blood pressure, and can cause fainting and heart attacks. Even though you might encounter “professional” powerlifters who highly recommend this breathing technique, it is not worth the risks it poses to your safety and well-being.

Other beginner tips you can use to work on developing the right breathing patterns is to practice breathing in and out deeply before you start working out, and to use light weights during your workouts until your breathing patterns become second nature. Don’t forget to refuel the energy you burned during your workout with protein bars available from Promax Nutrition.

Posted in Arm Workout, Fitness | April 1, 2016

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