Making small adjustments to your day, like waking up 10 minutes earlier, can drastically change how many things you accomplish that day. The same goes for your diet; by changing small parts of your diet, whether it’s keeping proportions in mind, or drinking 1 soda a day instead of 2, you are making strides towards a better you. Some small, and we really mean small, adjustments that can be added into your everyday diet are…seeds! These aren’t seeds you plant in the ground; these are seeds that have been taking the world by storm with their powerful, nutritional benefits-chia, hemp, flax, and pumpkin (pepita) seeds.
Remember those Chia Pet commercials? Whether it was a Scooby-Doo head or Homer Simpson head, their plant-like hair was grown from chia seeds! Although Chia Pets used chia seeds, don’t eat those seeds – instead, purchase them fresh from a grocery store.
Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed-full of nutrition. They are high in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. Since they are high in fiber, they can help you feel fuller for longer, so don’t hesitate to add them to your yogurt, salads, smoothies, and even meatballs for an extra punch of flavor.
Looking for a way to up your protein intake to build more muscle? Hemp seeds are what you’re seeking. They contain a healthy dosage of amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own, plus they contain fatty acids which can boost your immune system. Like chia seeds, hemp seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your cardiovascular health.
Add these into your smoothies, cereal, and salads for a small hint of nuttiness. Plus, don’t be worried about hemp seeds and their relation to marijuana; although both are in the cannabis family, hemp seeds do not contain THC like marijuana.
Need an energy booster once you hit that mid-day slump? Packed full of magnesium to provide more energy are good, ole flax seeds. They also contain lignans, plant compounds that improve blood flow in the body, so they’re perfect for lowering blood pressure – and they contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can keep your heart stronger for longer.
When you buy flax seeds, don’t start sprinkling them onto your food – their shells are too hard, so either grind them or put them in a blender. By grinding them your body will be able to absorb all their nutritional benefits, whereas by keeping the shells on they will pass right through your body.
Pumpkin (pepita) Seeds
It’s fall and you know what that means – pumpkin is everywhere! Before you carve a masterpiece to place on your doorstep at night, don’t throw away all the ‘goop’ inside – save those pumpkin seeds. When you remove the white outer shell from the pumpkin seeds, you are left with a green seed known as a pepita.
Pumpkin seeds are great for those who have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes because of their high amounts of Vitamin K. Plus men can reap the benefits of eating pumpkin seeds–the oil from pumpkin seeds contains phytosterols, alleviating symptoms from having an enlarged prostate and the levels of magnesium can lower their risk of early death.
It seems like every month there is a new health craze – from the obsession with kale to using chia seeds every day, we are constantly seeing new trends pop up. One trend that has been escalating in exposure lately, and the resource is free, is drinking a gallon of water a day. There are posts online of women drinking a gallon of water per day for 30 days saying their skin radically transformed during those 30 days. But is drinking this much water recommended and safe?
The Proper Amount
Most doctors and dieticians recommend the usual eight 8 oz. glasses per day to stay properly hydrated, and from there, if you exercise or sweat, they recommend drinking the right amount to replace the water that is lost from sweating, plus from urination. So when looking at a gallon of water, this amount is actually twice the recommended amount.
“30 Day Water Challenge”
People have been trying this recent fad because – why not? Water is free from your tap (unless you have to buy filtered water) and you can easily fill up a gallon each day and mark the sides of the gallon for each hour or every two hours to monitor your intake. Some celebrities swear by drinking a gallon per day, saying that it helps their skin look flawless. Others swear that increasing your intake to a gallon per day will reduce the amount of headaches you have and boost your energy.
But is this all true?
Those who have documented their 30 day challenge noted feeling a little nauseous if they drank too much at once, and that their skin within the first few days began to break out due to the water pushing toxins out of their body. By the second week they began to feel more energy and less bloated from drinking the water. The third week resulted in a craving for water, so consuming a gallon didn’t seem like a challenge at all. The major takeaways from this challenge, by many, was that by the end their skin had improved, they had more energy, and slept better at night. Some also experienced less headaches and weight loss due to filling up with water every day.
While the challenge seems to bring with it many benefits, it’s important to know how much water you should be consuming personally. One person may actually require a gallon per day depending on what their daily activities consist of, whereas your own intake could be a lot more or a lot less. Plus athletes generally drink more water because water helps to build and repair muscles.
When water is consumed rapidly, the body’s electrolyte balance can be thrown off and water can enter into brain cells, causing what is known as water intoxication. From taking in more water than needed, the sodium levels in the body dramatically decrease, leading to coma and death in some cases. Confusion occurs as a symptom when sodium levels drop to 120 mmol/liter, then drowsiness once it drops to 110 mmol/liter, and coma and/or other severe symptoms will occur if levels drop to 90-105 mmol/liter. The faster the intake of water, the faster the drop in sodium, and the more rapidly these symptoms will occur.
The main symptoms of water intoxication are confusion, drowsiness, and coma, but other symptoms also include inappropriate behavior, delusions, and hallucinations, all of which are symptoms of psychosis; since the symptoms are very similar, many mistake water intoxication for psychosis.
Drinking a gallon of water per day does have its benefits, but monitor your activity to determine how much you should be drinking seeing as some don’t actually need all that extra water. But when all’s said and done, a properly hydrated body is a happy body.
Have you tried this 30 Day Water Challenge? If you have, tell us your journey during the challenge in the comments below! Feel free to join the discussion on our Facebook page or get in touch with us directly.
With New Year’s just right around the corner, one of the most common resolutions people make is to get fit, shed the pounds they packed on over the holidays, and start living more healthfully. However, in just a few short months, over 95% of these people have given up on their New Year’s Day resolutions and gone back to their former habits.
Why do they give up? Because they start to feel pain and discomfort, and they do not feel like they can push any harder. Their muscles and bodies ache from exercising. They figure they can take a few days off from the gym to let their bodies rest. After taking a few days off, they go back to the gym, only to find they are losing their motivation. They do not feel like they can get back on that treadmill and walk another mile or do another set of weight lifting. Eventually, they end up talking themselves out of working out, with excuses like “It hurts,” “It takes too much time away from some other activity,” and so on.
The biggest way to avoid falling short on your New Year’s Day resolutions is to learn how to push through the pain and stay motivated. The old adage “No pain, no gain!” is entirely true. You have to remember that your body is going through major changes, and there are going to be muscle aches and pains. This simply means your muscles are becoming stronger. What can you do to keep motivated and push through the pain?
Listen to Your Favorite Music
While you work out, listen to your favorite tunes on your smartphone or music player. Your music selections can help push you along and distract your mind from the pain so you can reach your daily fitness goals.
Repeat a Mantra Over and Over
Pick a mantra you like, and repeat it over and over in your head if you find you are having difficulties reaching the end of your workout routine for the day. Select a mantra that motivates you and which keeps you going. You can even make one up.
Set Realistic and Daily Goals
One reason so many people fail their New Year fitness resolutions is because they do not set realistic or daily goals. Without goals, you will mindlessly wander through your workouts and quickly lose motivation.
Visualize How You Feel after a Workout
Think about how you and your body feel after completing a workout if you are considering stopping short of your daily goal. Most people feel a sense of accomplishment. Once you are done for the day, you can sit, relax, and do whatever you want.
Reward Yourself with a Healthy Treat
Make it a habit to reward yourself for reaching your daily goal with a healthy treat afterward, like a protein bar, energy bar, or fruit smoothie.
If you are looking for healthy bars to use as rewards after your workouts, you will find a wide variety of flavors available from Promax® Nutrition.
Keeping in line with your diet can be a real chore over the holidays. It’s bad enough that you spend more time inside when it’s cold, and are more apt to snack, but the holidays also bring bountiful feasts and get-togethers that are centered around food. Tips and tricks like eating nutrition bars instead of sweet treats can help you keep your diet goals in check while still making the most of the holiday season.
Don’t Dress for Comfort
The more comfortable you are in your clothes, the less concerned you are about how they look. Items that fit loosely around the waist are comfortable, but they also offer plenty of room for you to just keep eating.
Keep Hands Busy
Grab a drink of water as soon as you walk in. This gives you something to start filling up on, but it also keeps something in your hand so it isn’t as easy to just keep grabbing snacks. If you keep your hands occupied, you’re less likely to keep going for seconds (and thirds) on all of those unhealthy holiday treats.
Fill Up on Healthy Items
Holiday dinners can be fun, but they can also zap the energy right out of you. Snack on one of your favorite protein bars before you go to the dinner. And once you arrive, sip on some water and opt for the veggie tray. By the time dinner rolls around, you won’t be quite as ravenous.
Exercise Before You Go
If you take the time to get some exercise in before the dinner, you won’t want to blow of all your hard work on unhealthy foods. Instead, you will be more alert and more interested in conversation or activities than you are when eating large quantities of food, plus you will have burned a few extra calories in case you wind up eating more than planned.
Play a Game
Much of the holiday eating that occurs does so because people tend to sit around the table chatting, with nothing else to do but snack on treats or leftovers. If you have a game to play, you will keep your hands and mind occupied so that sugary sweets don’t remain the focal point for the duration of the evening.
Push Away from the Table
Avoid sitting at a table that holds large amounts of food. Instead, find your way to the couch or another area that doesn’t involve temptations likely to thwart your personal health and fitness goals. This way, you can still socialize, but you aren’t constantly distracted by all of the snacks (and the smells that come along with them).
A large part of making it through the holidays with your diet intact is planning ahead. Keep your cravings in check by shopping Promax protein bars online this holiday season.
As soon as daylight savings time goes into effect, it becomes harder to maintain an outdoor workout plan. Winter’s earlier sunsets, inclement weather, and freezing temperatures can be a dangerous combination for those who exercise outside. Handle winter workouts in stride by preparing for the worst with the tips below.
Follow Weather Conditions
Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head outside for a workout. If you have not already, it helps to download a smartphone app with real-time weather updates. That way, you’ll receive warnings when a surprise storm is on the way, which can be helpful while you’re on a run or bicycling outside.
Wear Reflective Clothing
With daylight savings now in effect, the sun sets earlier everyday. If your schedule can only accommodate evening workouts, it is important to stay safe with reflective clothing and accessories. For most workouts, a glowing running jacket or vest with reflective tape should be plenty. Other types of outdoor exercise, such as bicycling or skiing, may need additional gear.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
It is important to protect your skin from the sun, even when temperatures are low. During outdoor workouts, always wear sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays, plus protective lip balm. If there is snow on the ground, you can shield your eyes from glare using dark glasses or goggles.
In cold weather, your body works to stay warm by concentrating blood flow toward the torso, leaving your hands, head, and feet vulnerable. To prevent frostbite, make sure you wear protective gear on all exposed areas of the body:
- Hands: Double-up for best results. Layer fleece or wool gloves on top of a pair of thin glove liners made from wicking material like polypropylene. This helps keep heat trapped inside both layers for protection. Plus, if your hands start to sweat, simply remove the outer layer.
- Head: Wear a hat or headband to shield your ears from low temperatures and windburn. If the weather is extremely frigid, you may even want to cover your face with a scarf or ski mask.
- Feet: Consider a pair of winter-only workout shoes in one half-size larger than you normally wear, to allow room for thick thermal socks. You can also fit foot-warming insoles inside your shoe for added coziness, which is especially helpful for skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts.
Know the Symptoms of Hypothermia
When planning to spend an extended period of time outdoors, make sure you’re aware of the warning signs of hypothermia:
- Pale, cold skin
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Mental confusion or mumbling
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
Great tasting protein bars from Promax Nutrition provide the fuel needed to power any workout, during any season. Our bars fit easily in your pocket, offering replenishing protein on the go, whether riding the slopes or working it out on the track. Best of all, our bars are gluten free and never contain artificial sweeteners. Shop online today!
Ahhhh. The post-season. A time for sleeping in, forgetting about training and eating whatever you want…..Not so fast!
First of all, YES, reducing the workload in the post-season a must. It’s time to shift the load through smart tailoring and allow physical, mental and emotional healing to occur. But simply taking months off with no plan and no structure will sabotage next year’s potential. Many athletes find themselves spending the majority of the new year trying to simply recover what they have lost.
Let’s be clear about one thing – it’s post-season and then it’s pre-season. There is no such thing as off-season. You cannot be successful by taking weeks and months off from all activity.
Typically, athletes plan to take some much-needed time off. However, without a structure in place, what was intended to be a few weeks of light sessions turns into a few months. Many athletes find themselves in the middle of January with a much reduced level of fitness and confusion as to how they got there.
You can’t build upon a base if you’ve allowed that base to deteriorate beyond repair. You’ll first have to rebuild the base, leaving little time to actually construct a successful season on top of it.
While the post season doesn’t have a lot of stress or load, there are specific things that you need to accomplish in order to set yourself up for success.
Your initial focus during the post-season should be as follows:
- Initially, a complete break from structure, racing and training. Stay active but don’t “train.” No gadgets allowed. Don’t aim to hit training zones, pace, power or heartrate. Just be. Enjoy the freedom. Get back in touch with the “feel” of being active.
- Allow healing. Reduced stress, reduced loads. More nutrition. More rest. More recovery. Embrace this.
- Avoid building up fatigue. Fatigue will be counterproductive to the above bullets and will limit your growth.
After a couple of weeks of the above it’s time to smartly ease back into training. But we MUST get the focus correct. We don’t just jump into the same training we were doing before our last big race or event. The focus now is completely different.
Now our focus is:
- Build up the body. Lay the foundation in strength, technique and development that will allow your body to accept and excel under the high training loads that will come in the spring. This includes improvements in strength and functional fitness as well as technical improvements in all of your disciplines. Be patient here!
- Do NOT build up fatigue in this phase. Listen to your body.
- Keep life balanced. This is the time to ensure you are dedicating required time to the other pursuits of your life: family, career, friends, hobbies, etc.
- Establish positive habits that will be the basis for improved performance gains: commit to fueling after every workout (grab your favorite PROMAX bar!); commit to proper rest and recovery; and commit to good nutrition throughout the day.
Your success in 2016 will be directly related to how well you are able to do these things.
The last thing, and perhaps the most important, is to COMMIT. Commit to the training. While a training session that leaves you completely spent afterwards feels great, the athlete that lives off of those rarely maintains consistency in those efforts. The truth is that day-to-day 80 percent efforts are much more valuable over the long haul. Commit to frequent, but shorter, training sessions. Keep showing up.
Success comes from consistency. Day to day, week to week and season to season.
Thanksgiving is coming, and that means one thing: you’re going to eat. A lot.
But that doesn’t have to destroy what you’ve built or what you’re working toward. That’s right – even in the midst of the chaos of Thanksgiving dinner, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the crazy amounts of calories you’re confronted with!
Instead, follow these simple tips for a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast:
Have a High Volume Workout Beforehand
If you know you won’t be able to avoiding loading your plate with holiday food, prepare for the event by working so hard you earn that food.
If you perform a strenuous weight lifting and cardio-heavy workout just before, or even several times in the lead up to Thanksgiving dinner, your body will be ready for that meal and will absorb its nutrients with gusto.
Eat a High-Protein Snack Before the Main Course
When Thanksgiving Day has arrived and you’re waiting for the announcement that the food is served, eat a high-protein snack to curb your appetite and prep your stomach for the feast ahead. That way, you won’t be ravenously hungry and willing to scarf down everything in sight when filling your plate.
Focus on Lean Protein and Vegetables
When the time comes to fill your plate, choose wisely. Go for the lean protein, which has the highest short-term satiating power to keep you fuller for longer. And you can’t be too liberal with vegetables, especially any leafy greens available. Your typical Thanksgiving dinner usually has a healthy selection of broccoli, collard greens, and maybe Brussels sprouts to fill in those empty spots around your turkey or ham.
Don’t Eat All Day
Because of the vast volume of food often prepared for Thanksgiving Day, there are likely to be tons of leftovers and new dishes being prepared throughout the holiday. You may be tempted to keep refilling your plate with the food still calling you into the kitchen, but you must resist.
Limit yourself to one large meal or two medium sized meals, and keep track of your overall calorie consumption like you would any other day.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
At some Thanksgiving celebrations, you may find a large supply of alcoholic beverages available for the adults. But if you drink some, you don’t have to feel guilty.
Eat primarily protein for your calories. Both alcohol and protein have higher thermic effects that are unlikely to contribute to fat gain directly. Heavily limit your fat and carb intake by substituting them with veggies. Combined, these effects can even out what you consumed from alcohol.
Remember not to overindulge in alcohol, or you may encourage yourself to overeat.
Avoid the Dessert Table
Stay away from sweet desserts and anything that contains large amounts of sugar. Of course, you want a big slice of pie after your turkey, but if you’re serious about your goals, you won’t give in.
If you absolutely must have that piece of pie for your holiday to feel complete, make sure the rest of your meal is balanced by heavily restricting fats and carbs.
If you’re dedicated to achieving the body you want, you won’t go easy on yourself on Thanksgiving. You may give in and eat all your heart desires, but you’ll do everything in your power to mitigate the damage afterward.
But remember, Thanksgiving is only one day a year. Treat it as a celebration of what you’ve accomplished, knowing that you’re about to make some serious progress thanks to the anabolic powers of food.
If we know exercise is so good for us, then why do we always find ways to procrastinate our workouts? Sometimes the act of actually getting to the gym can be the hardest part of the process. It helps to create an informal reward system to stay motivated toward your fitness goals and work your way to better health. Rewards can be food-based, like incorporating great-tasting energy bars into regular workouts, or centered on larger needs, like a well-deserved vacation.
Personal trainers recommend alternating workouts to avoid plateaued results. Switching between cardio and weight training daily, for example, will continuously challenge muscles and ensure increasing progress. Undergoing new forms of activity can result in sore muscles, so be sure to stretch often. You can loosen up even further by rewarding long sessions at the gym with a trip to the spa. Set a goal, like booking a massage appointment after you reach a new UFC weight class or karate belt color.
Many of us experience feelings of hunger from an intense workout. With the average adult burning nearly 700 calories after an hour on the treadmill,1 regular treats are well deserved. Create a goal, like visiting the gym five times every week. Each time you follow through, splurge on dinner at your favorite restaurant. Everything in moderation, of course, but this reward can be used to experience decadent foods that are normally removed from the average weight loss plan.
Those who are working out to lose weight and gain definition should consider a points system with clothing rewards. Set a plan that corresponds with how much weight you’re looking to lose, and plan a shopping trip when you reach your goal.
Go on an Active Adventure
The best part of keeping up with your regular gym routine is seeing – and feeling – the results. As you whip your body into shape, you’ll be able to reach goals that never seemed possible before, like cutting your mile time in half or tackling the steepest hiking trail at your local park. Reward your progress with an active trip you’ve always dreamed of, like a weekend spent backpacking in the Grand Canyon.
Splurge on New Gear
Reward yourself for a job well done with a new piece of equipment that can improve your workouts. After a month’s worth of successful gym sessions, treat yourself to a new toy. Whether it’s a state of the art armband to keep your MP3 player hands-free for lifting, or a Fitbit to track each morning run, stay up to date with the latest devices to monitor your health and fitness progress.
While you work toward achieving your fitness goals with a custom reward system, stay energized with replenishing Promax protein bars. Each bar provides the fuel needed to power through long sessions at the gym, including 2:1 carbs to protein for strength and recovery. Our workout bars are safe for vegetarians, fully gluten free and kosher, and never contain artificial sweeteners. To learn more, please check out our website.
Sleep, or the lack of sleep, has a major impact on athletic performance, among other things. While many athletes are focused on things like finding the right energy bars to fit in with their caloric methods, they might be neglecting things like sleeping for the right amount of time.
What Does Sleep Do?
Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself and managing the information for the day. It’s like the late night filter that tosses out all the things you don’t need so that your body and brain aren’t full of useless information. It also helps repair tired muscles so that they can perform at their best on the next day. The recommended amount of sleep a person gets is 7-9 hours, but athletes in training should plan on sleeping more hours than that, since their bodies will need more healing and rest.
Stanford University recently conducted a study to see how sleep affected performance in athletes. When athletes slept for 2 more hours than they normally did, their speed increased by 5%, while their free throw accuracy increased by 9%. Another study revealed that athletes who got a full night’s sleep experienced enhanced performance in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. While these studies touched on different details, it’s easy to see that sleep has a measurable impact on the performance of athletes, as well as an impact on what time of the day their performance is optimal.
Suggestions for Athletes
Just as athletes adjust their diets to include things like low-carb protein bars, they have to adjust their sleep schedule as well. If you are in training and therefore more active than usual, plan on going to bed a bit earlier. Remember that the body has to rest and repair while you sleep, so you need to give it ample time to do just that.
Avoid Sleep Aids
Sleep aids can impact the way you sleep and what your body does while sleeping. Instead of using sleep aids, consider developing a pattern that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Do the same thing every night to prepare your body for rest. You can even adjust your diet for this purpose. Just as you might eat energy bars to increase performance, consider drinking teas with natural relaxers to help relax the body and prepare it for sleep. Chamomile tea is one suggestion, but there are several other teas that also aid in relaxation.
Sleep deprivation can reduce your level of performance, while added hours of sleep can increase it. You should always get a good night’s sleep, but when you are in training, it’s even more important to make sure you add a bit extra to compensate for the extra effort your body is putting forth. It’s especially important that you avoid chemicals that can impact your sleep at this time, like alcohol and caffeine. Treat your body right by giving it the proper sleep and nutrition it needs, and it will treat you right by performing to the standards you require.
Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars. To learn more about Promax Nutrition products, check us out online.
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