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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to eat a healthy diet based on your own individual metabolism
Sometimes when you’re trying to get in shape, it can feel like working out is actually the easiest part. The trouble comes when you try to pick the right diet that works for you. Certain fad diets can actually be harmful, and you should always stay away from a diet that promises too-good-to-be-true results. But does that mean there’s one perfect diet that works wonders for everyone who tries it? The answer, as you may have guessed, is no. People come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come with different metabolisms.
Your metabolism is a general term for the chemical reactions that take place in your body, and your diet can govern how your metabolism functions. Like we said before, everyone is different, and people with different genetics may have different metabolisms. The trick is finding out your metabolic type, and then changing your diet to match it. People who eat right for their metabolic type may end up feeling better and improving their body composition.
The initial step is finding out your metabolic type. There are several questionnaires you can take that ask about eating habits and can help you determine what category you fall into. They generally take some time to answer, and should ask in depth questions about your diet and habits. You’d be wise not to take a two-minute quiz that claims to tell you exactly what you need to eat to be healthy. But once you have your results, you’ll fall into one of three categories.
The three categories are the protein type diet, the carbo type diet, and the mixed type diet.
- If you belong to the protein type, you should eat a diet consisting of roughly 45 percent protein, 35 percent carbs, and 20 percent fats.
- If you fall into the carbo type, then your percentages will be closer to 25 percent protein, 60 percent carbs, and 15 percent fats.
- And finally, the mixed type will take a more balanced 30 percent protein, 50 percent carbs, and 20 percent fats.
These aren’t exact percentages, and some estimates vary slightly, but they should give you a good idea of how you should loading your plate when it comes to mealtime.
Now that you have an idea of what your diet should look like, you need to plan out your meals accordingly. When you serve yourself, mentally divide your plate into sections, and fill it accordingly.
However, knowing your metabolic type and eating the correct diet is only half the battle. Your lifestyle is also important if you want to get, and stay, fit. Eating healthy is great, but pairing that with a sedentary lifestyle isn’t going to get you the results you want.
So when you get done with your next workout, don’t load up on foods that won’t get you the nutrition you need. Instead, reach for one of our delicious and nutritious protein bars, and visit Promax today to find your favorite!
Do athletes really need to stretch? The debate seems inconclusive, although there is evidence that stretching before exercise may temporarily weaken muscles.1 However, stretching after exercise is where you may experience benefits. It can reduce muscle soreness,2 and it can help maintain the normal range of motion in joints.3
However, for many of us, stretching just feels good, and biking presents its own particular circumstances. When you think about it, humans didn’t evolve to ride bikes, as we did for running and walking. So, since biking is not a “natural” movement, it’s possible for bikers to experience muscular imbalances and posture problems.4 Hip flexors are especially prone to shortening.
So, stretching after strenuous workouts may be advisable, especially for bikers. It can restore flexibility after spending lots of time in the same position. Think about it: When you’re crouched over, pedaling for hours, the muscles in the legs are probably going to get shorter; stretching may help return them to their normal state.
Stretching could also improve your mobility when you’re not on your bike, improve your posture, and reduce dysfunction in other parts of the body.
There are a few guidelines for stretching everyone should follow to get the most out of it and avoid injury:
- Only stretch when you’re warm. That is, after you’ve warmed up with exercise for at least 10 minutes, or directly after a workout.
- Stretch slowly and without bouncing.
- Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Avoid over-stretching, especially if you’re already pretty flexible. This will reduce the likelihood of making your joints go beyond their range of motion. Remember: you’re stretching your muscles, not your joints. Never try to make your joints move in a direction they’re not supposed to.
Here are some of the most recommended post-workout stretches for bikers:
Runner’s Lunge – While standing, take a big step forward with your right leg so that your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knee is stacked directly on top of your ankle, not ahead of it. Now straighten your back leg. You should be in a lunging position similar to a sprinter getting ready to start a race. Sink deeper into the lunge, hold, and then repeat for the other leg. This will deeply stretch your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
Quad Stretch – Use your left hand to stretch your right foot, and vice versa. While standing, bend your right leg so your foot kicks your butt, and grab your right foot with your left hand. Squeeze and hold the stretch when you feel it in your quads and knees. Release, and repeat for the other leg.
Calf Stretch – The yoga pose known as downward-facing dog is helpful here. Starting on your hands and knees, lift your butt up and back till your arms and legs are straight, or nearly straight, and your body forms an upside-down V. You’ll feel this stretch in your hamstrings; get an even deeper stretch by pedaling your feet, trying to get each heel to touch the ground.
As important as stretching is, you need the proper nutrition to refuel your body after a strenuous workout in order to get the most out of it and rebuild your muscles. Make sure you keep a stash of energy bars or high protein bars in your workout bag. View our selection of workout bars here, along with more training tips for cyclists and all other athletes.
When it comes to training, there are very few ‘new’ mistakes being made. There is, however, a short list of common mistakes repeated over and over – often by the same athlete year after year. These mistakes will sabotage your training and limit your growth as an athlete. Commit to getting these right, take the long view of training and you will see true progression.
- Failing to Fuel Properly – At the top of the list is failing to fuel properly during and immediately following training. Proper post-training nutrition will enhance your ability to recover more fully and maximize your performance throughout your training. It will also enrich the other aspects of your life by improving your energy, overall health and body composition. It’s not a snack and not an option. It IS part of your training.
- Working Too Hard on Easy Days – The second most common mistake is going too hard on an easy training day. Research has proven that athletes do better when training at the ends of the spectrum, i.e. high intensity and low intensity. They typical scenario is that an athlete finds himself with an easy day of training, but due to an emotional reaction – lack of confidence in oneself or the training plan; or simply feeling really good and wanting to push things that day – trains at an intensity higher than planned. The effect is that tomorrow, when scheduled for a really hard session, the athlete can’t go as hard because of fatigue. The net result is that the easy sessions are too hard and the hard sessions are too easy – and the majority of the training ends up being in the middle, moderate level – which does the least good. Easy training is there for a reason. Not following the prescription derails your entire training plan.
- Poor Recovery – True growth, repair and rejuvenation happen while SLEEPING. Muscles don’t get built during the training; they get rebuilt [bigger] during the recovery. Sleep must become a priority. You will not be successful without this one.
- Inflexible Training Plan – Most training plans are laid out months and months ahead of time. They go into minute detail about every aspect of training. The harsh reality is that you can NEVER stick to that plan completely. Life is not structured in such a pattern. Life happens. Travel, work commitments, sickness, family and more all conspire to derail you from your perfectly planned training. Your training schedule must be flexible. “No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” Know how to adjust your training when life interrupts – because it will.
Correcting most of these isn’t hard to do. It does require you to look beyond today – take the long view of training. Have a progression mindset. Many of these are simply habits that need to become ingrained within our daily patterns of life. Some require us to overcome our emotions with logic and understanding.
We’re already well into 2016, and your New Year’s resolutions may be as distant a memory as your six-pack. But health and fitness goals can be revitalized at any time. All it takes is a little rearranging of your views – and some tips from the experts – to make some real, lasting changes to your health and fitness regimen that will carry you through swimsuit season and beyond. Here are some tips for increasing your self-discipline and boosting your health and fitness goals:
Remove Temptations – Willpower is a lot easier to practice when the things that make us crumble are absent. That may mean taking the cookies, ice cream, and soda out of the shopping cart and leaving them at the grocery store, or replacing them with a healthy protein bar. Then, in your moment of weakness when you want a midnight snack, you won’t fall back into old habits, and you’ll feel better about it in the morning.
Reward Yourself – Experts say that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of what we do. So, remember to give yourself regular rewards when you accomplish your goals. It increases the likelihood that your habit will become ingrained. After a workout, reward yourself with a low carb protein bar or a gluten free protein bar, and you’ll be motivated to exercise again in the future.
Focus on One Goal at a Time – Trying to do too much at once depletes us and makes us less likely to incorporate new routines into our everyday lives. Focus instead on picking up a new, good habit and, once you’ve incorporated that into your daily routine, set your sights on another.
Planning and Scheduling Is Key – Instead of telling yourself “I will get into shape,” ask yourself, “How can I arrange my day so that I make time to exercise?” Start thinking about ways to incorporate exercise into your life in new ways, whether it’s walking during your lunch break, adding 20 minutes to your dog walk, joining a class at the gym with a friend, or hitting the gym before work instead of after.
Be Nice to Yourself – Celebrate your progress, and don’t beat yourself up if you have a misstep. You’re human. Beating yourself up makes you want to avoid your goals, over time.
There are many other techniques and tricks to increase your motivation – get more sleep, meditate, etc. The key is to find what feels right for you, and work slowly over time to incorporate it into your daily routine, as opposed to making broad, sweeping changes instantaneously. The experts at Promax Nutrition have plenty of other tips to get the most out of your workout, so don’t forget to bookmark the blog!
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