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5 Steps for Getting Six-Pack Abs

Workout Tips

Is there any better shorthand for a physically fit body than a set of well-defined, six-pack abs? For many people into fitness, a perfect six-pack is the ultimate sign of success, the thing they’ve putting all that sweat into. But what happens when your six-pack never appears, no matter how much work you put into it?

As with all things fitness and lifting, different bodies have different thresholds and different requirements for results. A routine that gives one person a six-pack in no time at all may never work for someone else. If you’re having trouble building your six-pack, here are some tips you can try to get the muscles you want:

1. Lose the body fat – If you’re doing thousands of crunches every week and still not seeing defined, well-toned abs, your ab routine may not be the problem. It’s a simple fact of six-pack abs that, in order to appear, you need to be able to see them. In other words, excess body fat may be hiding your abs from view. The target body fat ratio for men who want a six-pack is less than 10%; for women, it’s less than 18%. If you’re over those numbers, step up the cardio and weight lifting to burn off the excess body fat.
2. Don’t just stick to crunches – There’s a common misconception that doing a lot of crunches is all you need to build a six-pack. Like any workout routine that says one exercise alone will get you perfect results, the all-crunches approach is all wrong. Why? Because crunches don’t work the lower abs enough, meaning that other ab workouts like hanging leg raises are also required.
3. Give the abs a rest – Think doing ab exercises 5-7 times a week is going to get you a six-pack faster? If you do, you might instead be sabotaging your fitness efforts. If you work your abs every day, or even every other day, you’re not giving them the time they need to rest and grow. If you want that six-pack, only do ab exercises once every three days. Any more than that is probably too much.
4. Challenge yourself – If you’re not slowly increasing the difficulty of your workout, you’re never going to meet your fitness goals. Muscles grow based on a principle called progressive resistance. In order to develop, the difficulty of your workout needs to increase. That means upping the amount of weight lifted, the level of pressure applied, and the number of exercises done.
5. Protein, protein, protein – There’s a reason fitness buffs and professional sportsmen won’t shut up about the amount of protein they intake. Protein builds lean muscle and helps burn body fat; the body burns lots of calories just breaking the protein in your system down. Your body needs fuel to burn in order to build that six-pack – eat protein before your workout, and follow it up with protein and carbohydrates for your post-workout meal.

Need to add more protein to your diet? Promax protein bars are loaded with healthy protein, and come in many delicious flavors. Visit www.promaxnutrition.com today for more info, or to place your order.

Posted in Fitness, Gym, Nutrition, Protein | August 3, 2015

Different Types of Vitamins and Their Functions

Vitamins

Eating the right foods keeps our bodies working properly, thanks to a mix of essential vitamins. Found in many foods, from fresh fruits and vegetables to healthy energy bars, vitamins can either be water-soluble or fat-soluble. Here are some of the most common vitamins and the benefits they have:

1. Vitamin A: Found in animal sources as well as plant foods, Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and skin, as well as bone and tooth growth. To get your recommended dose of Vitamin A, eat plenty of retinol found in milk, cheese, butter, eggs, or liver. For sources of Vitamin A that are lower in fat, try vegetables like leafy greens, or orange-hued foods such as apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.
2. Vitamin B12: This vitamin is needed to make new cells, and also promotes healthy nerve function. A lack of B12 can cause memory loss and dementia, especially in older adults. Vitamin B12 can also help lower the risk of heart disease due to its help in breaking down fatty and amino acids. Add meats and dairy products to your diet for proper B12 levels, including poultry, fish, cheese, liver, and yogurt.
3. Vitamin C: Many people thank Vitamin C for preventing infections by promoting a healthy immune system. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption, and can only be found in fruits and vegetables. Many people also know citrus is a main source of Vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and kiwi. However, Vitamin C can also be found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens like spinach.
4. Vitamin D: The body uses sunlight to produce Vitamin D naturally, meaning humans who live in dark or northern climates may not be getting enough of this vitamin. To boost the amount of Vitamin D in your diet, try adding milk, cheese, and fatty fish. Vitamin D helps make bones and teeth strong and healthy, and can also benefit your immune system.
5. Vitamin E: Diets rich in Vitamin E may protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage. It’s found in healthy fats such as avocados, vegetable oil, egg yolks, nuts, and whole grains.
6. Vitamin K: This vitamin is required for proper blood clotting. Add dark leafy greens to your diet to increase your Vitamin K intake, such as collards, kale, spinach, turnip greens, cabbage, and broccoli.
7. Biotin: Crucial to maintaining overall health, Biotin increases absorption of protein, carbohydrates, and fat from food. It’s also helpful to keep bones and hair strong and healthy. Your body produces Biotin in the intestinal tract, but this vitamin can also be found in egg yolks, soybeans, whole grains, and organ meats.
8. Folic Acid: Needed for making DNA and new red blood cells, folic acid helps prevent anemia. Though folic acid is now added to most refined grains and foods like healthy protein bars, it is naturally occurring in legumes, liver, seeds, and greens like broccoli, spinach, romaine, peas, and okra.

Incorporating these important vitamins into your diet will help you stay healthy and increase your performance while exercising. For a workout bar that packs essential vitamins and none of the unnecessary stuff like preservatives or artificial sweeteners, shop bars from Promax. We offer great tasting, high-protein energy bars for active people striving to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. For more information, feel free to visit our product page.

Posted in Energy, Gluten-Free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition |

Raising the bar: letting you know which bar to eat and when

Promax Protein Bars

It’s that time of the week again. You’re going grocery shopping and you’re making your list. When it comes to writing down what you’ll need to fuel your workouts, you know you’ll need a protein bar but you’re not sure what kind to choose based on the new type of workout you’ve picked.

In the past, we’ve gone over the right and wrong ways to use our protein bars, but now we want to talk about that a little more in depth and talk about the best workouts to pair your bar with. You wouldn’t wear a hiking shoe on a long run, and similarly, you should pair your bar with your workout accordingly. Here’s when to use each bar:

THE ORIGINAL

Features: 20 g of protein and a 2-to-1 carb to protein ratio.

Ah yes, our Original. When you see this bar, it’s important to think about its most important deliverables: energy and recovery. And that’s exactly when to use it.

It’s the morning and you’re on your way to the gym but realized this morning that you were out of your go-to breakfast food (eggs, say, or maybe you were missing the milk for your cereal). You don’t want to go into a workout without something fueling your body. This is when it’s great to grab an Original bar on the way out the door.

Or maybe, you made it to the gym in time for your late afternoon spin class and your favorite instructor is riding today. Score. Except for the fact that you have to get back to the office after and won’t be able to grab dinner until after your evening meeting and you need something to keep your body moving after you dismount the bike. On your way back to the office, grab an Original bar.

Whenever you need a boost of energy before a workout, or some nutrition to aid in recovery after, grab an Original bar.

THE LOWER SUGAR BAR

Features: 18 g of protein, a high amount of fiber, and less than 10 g of sugar.

Ever feel like your energy is lagging and you really need to boost your blood sugar? Even though it says “lower sugar,” this is the perfect bar to use to keep your blood sugar in check between meals.

Let’s say you had a good hearty breakfast this morning. But since then you’ve been running yourself ragged to get from one meeting to another. You’re looking forward to your post-workout running group meet up but you don’t even know if you’ll be able to survive a sit-down afternoon meeting at this point—you’re fading fast. Use an LS bar to keep yourself going until you can refuel with something more substantial.

Use it as an in-between meals snack. And if you are about to work out, feel free to use half before the workout, and finish the other half when you’re done your sweat sesh.

THE PRO SERIES

Features: 28 g of protein, whey protein as the primary protein source, and a 1-to-1 carb to protein ratio

This bar is for the serious athlete and to fit the schedule of a go-getter with that much determination, this bar was made to be used as fuel for the hardest-working pros.

Say you’re about to go for a training run. You’re preparing for a marathon and today is the day you have to run 16 miles, your longest run yet. You’ve woken up early, stretched and warmed up, and are checking things off your list. Since you’ll be active for over an hour and a half, you want to be sure to refuel during your workout. But you need something to take with you in your running pack that’s light and won’t be messy. Looking through your pantry, you can choose to pack a Pro Series bar.

You can choose to use it as a pre or post-workout bar for energy boost or recovery (like the Original bar). If you’re clocking 75 + minutes in your workout, this is the best bar to use and unlike our other bars, this one packs enough punch to be used as a meal replacement.

Now that you know how to use each bar, choose wisely. Luckily for you, we have so many flavors that we don’t expect you to ever get bored. Give each one a chance. We like to switch up bars with each new workout we try. What’s your current favorite? Feel free to tell us which bar is your favorite to pair with which workout!

Posted in Carbs, Fitness, Nutrition, Protein | July 30, 2015

How to Fuel: What to Eat and When Along the Course

Lake Tahoe

Primal Quest is anything but an easy feat. Along with the gear and mental toughness you’ll need to complete your adventure, you’re also going to have to make sure that you take care of your body along the way in the race. This doesn’t just mean wearing sunscreen and the appropriate attire for protecting against the elements but it also of course means making sure you’re nurturing your body with the nutrients it needs. That means protein and carbohydrates and also making sure you get in the proper hydration.

When Should I Eat Along the Course?

The answer to this really depends on what part of the race you’re on, but you can pretty much be sure that you need to constantly be thinking about refueling yourself. Sure, it’s going to be tough to do this—you’re often going to be so focused on getting through the next point in the course that nutrition may not be your top priority. But it should be.

Breakfast – All Day

As each adventure race morning arrives, a good type of protein to pull out of your pack in the would be the Promax Original Bar which has enough protein (20g) and carbs to fuel your day. And it also comes in great breakfast flavors like Greek Honey Yogurt and Lemon Bar which are always a great, light way to start the day.

Snacks

You’re going to be on the go non-stop for the entire expedition. That’s why we call it a quest and not a vacation. So what’s a good on-the-go item to use to pack in the nutrition you need? Promax has some great bars that will act as the perfect snack to keep your energy up. To do this, you’ll need the type of nutrients found in Promax Original bars or Promax Pro Series.

Promax bars are great to use for refueling during times of activity. They have easy to digest protein paired with fast assimilating carbohydrates. This will keep your muscles and liver fueled so that your brain can help you on the course. Promax Pro Series bars include a different protein matrix, paired with different carbohydrates. This means that these are particularly good for recovery. When you have some down time, the Pro Series bar will give you more protein in a form that is easily digested. Pro Series bars are particularly clean and are perfect for sensitive digestive systems.

When You Don’t Know What Time Dinner Is

Along the way on the quest you’re going to come across things like water paddling, mountain biking, rappelling, and more. Needless to say, you won’t be on your regular eating schedule like you would be living at home. Promax bars can be used as a meal replacement if you don’t have the option of fitting in a real meal. Promax PRO SERIES bars are especially good for meal replacement as they are packed with 28 grams of protein and easily assimilated carbohydrates.

What Are You Packing?

Every Primal Quest participant is going to need a special amount of gear and equipment. When you’re checking off you’re list, don’t forget to think about your nutrition needs throughout the quest, as well as your hydration needs.

Any other questions about how to prep for Primal Quest? Feel free to get in touch on Promax’s Twitter or Facebook for more advice!

Posted in Carbs, Nutrition, Primal Quest, Protein | July 29, 2015

Chunky Monkey Trail Mix – #MAXMunchies

 trail mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 Nutty Butter Crisp Promax bar chopped
  • 1 serving of each (28g)
  • Peanuts
  • banana chips
  • pretzels
  • 1 T dark chocolate chips (14g)

Mix it all together and enjoy!!!

ChunkyMonkeyTrailMix_Body

*Courtesy of DOer Kim Hoeltje

Posted in Blog, MAXMunchies, Nutrition, Protein | July 28, 2015

5 Apps You Can Use to Improve Your Performance

Fitness App in Smart Watch

We love a good ol’ fashioned workout. Your sneakers hitting the pavement or you hitting the weights in the mudroom. It’s not a bad way to train. That said though, we have so many technological devices and applications we can use now to track our performance and motivate us to push harder. We’ve taken the time to compile a list of smartphone apps for you that you can take on-the-go, right alongside your sneakers, sweat band, and Promax bar. (The best thing about all of these apps? They’re free.)

MyFitnessPal

Counting calories can be overwhelming and difficult to keep track of. MyFitnessPal makes it easy for you. When you create an account, you set a goal weight while noting your current weight, height, age, and gender. Based on this information and how much weight you desire to lose a week, the app sets a caloric goal for your day. You can log not only what you consume but also how much exercise you do, which type, and the estimated calories you’ve burned. If you’re interested in seeing how you burn off what you put in, then this may be a fun app for you. What’s great is that it learns and remembers what items you like, making it easy to count the calories in your favorite foods.

StrongLifts 5×5

This one is great for weight-lifting aficionados. It motivates you to complete a 45 minute weight-lifting workout, three times a week. With 5 sets of 5 reps, it helps you know how much of a break to take between each set and when it may be time to add more weight. You can use it’s tracking to follow your progress. This app is a free way to motivate yourself to pick up the weights consecutively each week.

WOD Deck of Cards

A Workout of the Day is a big trend at Crossfit gyms across the country, but you don’t have to belong to one to get the same great workout. If you use the WOD Deck of Cards workout, you’re sure to get an entertaining, challenging, and new workout each training session—which is great, because we all know how boring some routines can get after a while. You choose 4 different exercises each time—one exercise for each suit. Then the cards are drawn and you have to complete that exercise. For example, if hearts represents burpees and you draw the 7 of hearts, you do 7 burpees. The great thing about this app is that it keeps track of how long it takes you to complete a deck each workout, so you can see how far you’ve come.

Argus

This app is great for the athlete who is data-crazy. You can track all your activity in and outside the gym and then take a closer look at your habits by analyzing the trends in your life, and adapting to improve your lifestyle. What’s better, is that you can find friends in your community that have similar habits. Need a workout buddy? Argus can help you find someone to train with. In fact, Argus is connected to other apps that help you track sleep, your glucose level, and your heart rate, too.

HealthyOut

One of the greatest challenges of athletes is when we’re out of the gym and out with friends. And let’s be honest, not all the people in our social circle understand our training commitments and the nutrition requirements we must meet. HealthyOut helps us to make good choices when we’re eating out. It tells the best options at restaurants and allows you to feel a little less overwhelmed about your choices.

What Now?

Now you have 5 more tools to help mix up your training sessions, track your progress, and motivate you to maintain healthy habits. Get to it! To read more fitness and nutrition related articles, check out our blog every week!

Posted in Apps, Fitness |

Cutty Strength

CuttyStrength_720

Posted in News |

Promax Smoothie

Fitness expert Sara Haley has created a simple, yet delicious and nutritious, Promax Smoothie. Watch to get the recipe so you can recreate this protein-packed goodness.

All you need is… your favorite Promax bar, almond milk, ice and a blender or Vitamix.

Happy Blending!

Posted in MAXMunchies, Protein, Recipes | July 27, 2015

Music and Your Workout

Man Stretching in Park

You wake up in the morning and lace up your sneakers. You are envisioning your perfect workout. How far you’ll run. How much you’ll lift. Your sweat dripping down your bicep. The grit of your teeth as you push the extra mile, lift the extra rep.

What kind of music is playing? Chances are you know this.

Why?

Listening to music during a workout isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. The Romans used to listen to music while rowing—they would listen to a drummer beat the drum with each stroke of the oar.

Music creates a rhythm and with a rhythm comes a tempo. Most athletes find a specific kind of music psychologically inspiring. But they also find that it ramps them up physically. Music can affect your body and mind in many ways that will end up improving your workout.

Immunity

 We are constantly testing our bodies and our bodies are constantly testing us. Unfortunately sometimes those tests come in the form of viruses and no one who is seriously training has time to fight illness, am I right? Lucky for us, music boosts immunity with the hormones that it releases within us. Speaking of hormones, it also helps reduce the level of cortisol our body produces, which relieves stress.

 Fatigue Reducing

 Have you ever listened to music with a face-paced tempo early in the morning? Doesn’t it make you feel a bit like you’ve had a cup of coffee? Music is a well known fatigue fighter and so it’s not a bad idea to pair it with a hard workout. You can even build a warm-up playlist that builds in tempo to get yourself excited.

 Heart rate

 Listening to music of a certain tempo when you work out can help to regulate your breathing, which is something we all need when we’re pushing ourselves. Next time you’re working out, plan to pick a song with a high BPM (beats per minute) and see if you can regulate your pace and breathing with the music.

How Should I Arrange my Workout Music?

We advise having a couple different playlists targeted the types of workouts you have. It’s good to have a basic warm up playlist that gets you motivated and a cool down playlist that relaxes you. But what else? We suggest you make a playlist by tempo. If you’re going for a more relaxed workout, like an easy run, do something with a lower BPM, maybe around 120 If however, you’re going for a harder workout, like something that is high-level intensity, try ramping up the BPM of your tracks to activate your heart rate and help push your limits.

How Often Should I Change my Music?

Try to change up your music when you change up your workouts. Just like your body will grow accustomed to certain exercises, your mind will grow accustomed to certain tunes, too.

Where Do I Start?

We’ve compiled a list of 10 tracks to help you get started and included a variety of genres and artists. Try giving these a listen the next time you sweat:

  • “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
  • “Walk this Way” by Aerosmith
  • “Til I Collapse” by Eminem
  • “Move B**ch” by Ludacris
  • “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses
  • “Time of Our Lives” by Pitbull and Ne-Yo
  • “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX
  • “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit, Jess Glynne
  • “Bang Bang” by Jessie J/Ariana Grande/Nicki Minaj
  • “Go Hard of Go Home” by Wiz Khalifa

Now What?

 Now that you know a little more about the benefits of music to your workout, then you can get started putting a playlist of your own together. Visit our Facebook page or Tweet us and tell us about your most motivational jams!

Posted in Fitness, Music |

Age and Metabolism: What You Need to Know

Metabolism and Age: What You Need to Know

Many of us have heard the age old adage, “I’m not 20 anymore” or 15, or 35, or…insert any age younger than you already are. When you hear this, what comes to mind? For many, it’s the changes that come with age, one of them notably, being weight gain.

What are people talking about when they talk about Metabolism?

When people age, they throw the word “metabolism” around a lot. “My metabolism is slowing down,” they’ll say. Or, “my metabolism isn’t what it used to be!” And they’re right, but what do they mean?

The Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, is what most people refer to when they discuss their metabolism and what that is, is the rate that the body used energy to keep its basic functions working properly. By basic functions, we really mean the most basic—breathing, food breakdown, brain function, etc. So essentially, the amount of energy it simply takes your body to just exist; when people talk about BMR they are not taking into account any sort of physical activity like running, swimming, or otherwise.

As you age, your Basal Metabolic Rate decreases by about 2% each decade, meaning that your body needs even more energy to do the most basic tasks. What does this mean? Well, it means that in order to remain the same weight moving forward, you’ll have to intake less calories than you did before to remain at the same weight.

What can you do about it?

The bad news here is that there is nothing you can do to change the fact that as you age, your metabolism is going to decrease. The good news is that there is a way to combat the assumed results from the metabolism decrease, and that is exercise.

By staying fit and building lean muscle, you can create patterns that help you continually burn the calories and make up for the calories that your body no longer burns automatically for you.

Can I get my BMR tested?

Yes, you can. This test needs to be done at a professional facility where your oxygen intake and carbon monoxide output can be measured. If you’d like to find a center nearby you that than help you find your Basal Metabolic Rate, you can look here.

What else can contribute to weight gain as I age?

Ah, though metabolism is no excuse and very much a real reason why people gain weight as they age, there are also a few other factors that come into play here.

Stress

As we get older, there is no doubt that the responsibilities come piling on. Responsibilities often equate to stress. What does stress do to our bodies? Many things, including releasing the hormone cortisol which increases weight gain. Our advice? Find a way to be more relaxed and laid back when you start to become overwhelmed. It will help you in life and on the scale.

Sleep

Many young people take for granted how they can treat their bodies with regard to sleep. It’s easy to go out dancing and survive a day at work the next day on only 4 hours of sleep, right? As we get older, oh how the times do change. Our bodies need an adequate amount of sleep to work properly, which includes properly being able to store, use, and gain energy. Not getting enough sleep can add to existing stress and in the end, increase weight gain.

Fitness and Nutrition can help

So yes, we know that with age, comes weight gain. But there’s no reason to become overwhelmed by this. By ensuring that we’re getting the proper nutrition (read: the right amount of protein and carbohydrates), we can prepare our bodies for this transition as we age.

Along with proper nutrition, we should continue to challenge our bodies with new fitness routines. Remember, you’re not the only one experiencing this adjustment, so feel free to ask a friend or gym buddy to come along for the ride and share your challenges together. Do you have a story you’d like to share on how you overcame your struggle with gaining weight as you gained years? Feel free to share it on our Facebook page or contact us directly!

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/basal-metabolic-rate-changes-as-you-age/2013/03/05/d26b1c18-80f1-11e2-a350-49866afab584_story.html
http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/8-triggers-that-change-your-metabolism.aspx
http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=24491&sc=801
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16601270
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/59/2315/is-it-true-that-metabolism-decreases-with-age/

Posted in Carbs, Fitness, Metabolism, Protein | July 24, 2015

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