For men and women who spend most of their time weight training and building muscle, there are several neglected areas of the body often overlooked. The reason these areas go overlooked is often from a lack of understanding about how they are essential for a complete body workout. In addition, many people tend to edit their workouts to just those muscle groups they are currently focusing on developing, like the abs, buttocks, and chest muscles.
Rather than wasting time, why not spend it working on the areas you often overlook?
Calves: Do you have a large upper body and chicken legs? This is because you are not spending time developing calf muscles. Incorporate some calf training into your regular routine and, before you know it, your legs will be just as popping as the rest of your body.
Forearms: The forearms typically get overlooked because people tend to use lifting straps. Leave the lifting straps out of your routine to get your forearm muscles building. In addition, add some wrist flexion and extension exercises to your routine.
Rear Deltoid Muscles (Rear Delts): Overlooking the rear delts can lead to problems later on. As your chest and abs increase in size, it causes your back to appear rounded and misshapened. It can also lead to problems with bad posture and other back problems. To avoid these issues incorporate some rear delt exercises as part of your upper body workout routine.
Hamstrings: Granted, your hamstrings do get some work with leg extensions and squats, but this is only minimal because the primary muscle groups these exercises help are the hips and thighs. Neglecting the hamstrings could lead to problems with your knees later down the road. Several hamstring exercises not only help build this muscle group, but also benefit the lower and middle back and glutes.
When you include these often missed muscle groups into your regular routine, you are sure to have a more balanced and even body. In addition to these muscle groups, one other type of workout most people who focus on weight training do not get enough of is cardio workouts.
Whether you are focused more on weight training or want a balanced, yet fit body, cardio is an essential part of physical fitness. The amount of cardio you require depends on your goals and could range from 3 to 7 times a week. Fitting in cardio workouts is not difficult, and you can even complete cardio on the days you work specific muscle groups.
To keep your energy levels up while you are working out, grab a workout bar or healthy energy bar. For more information about protein and energy bars in a wide variety of flavors, shop online at Promax® Nutrition today.
There’s no doubt about it – your basal metabolic rate decreases with age. While that’s probably not the best news you’ve heard today, you’ll be happy to know that there are several things you can do to speed it up a bit!
Here are 7 easy ways to boost your metabolism:
1. Eat all day long
Now, don’t get us wrong – we’re certainly not telling you to eat lots of unhealthy food throughout the day. But what you should do is avoid the traditional “3 meals per day” and instead opt for more frequent, smaller meals.
Whatever you do, don’t skip meals – especially breakfast! Not only will skipping meals slow your metabolism down – it can also cause your blood sugar to drop and make you more likely to binge-eat later in the day.
2. Get enough sleep
Feeling guilty about pressing the snooze button? If so, you’ll be glad to hear that skipping an early morning workout to sleep in may help boost your metabolism!
So get some rest, and then…
3. Do short workouts throughout the day
Instead of doing one long workout, try breaking up your exercise routine into several smaller workouts and spreading them out during your day. For example, try to fit in several 15-minute workouts if you can – it’s a great way to spend your breaks at work!
4. Grab a healthy caffeinated drink
The key word here is “healthy” – that means no sugar-filled sodas!
Instead, reach for some tea or coffee (drinking it black is the healthiest option). Since caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, it’ll give your metabolism a nice boost while helping you stay awake and focused at work!
5. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D
Research has shown that the vast majority of Americans do not get enough vitamin D. This is alarming because vitamin D doesn’t just help you avoid heart disease and other health problems – it gives your metabolism a nice boost!
In fact, the University of Minnesota studied vitamin D’s effects on the metabolism by testing two groups of people. The group that added 1000IU of vitamin D to their diets (as opposed to the other group that added no vitamin D to their diets) ended up losing 5 pounds in 11 weeks because of the way vitamin D helps the metabolism!
So, get some vitamin D by stepping outside for 30 minutes (or less, depending on your skin type and specific needs) or eating some fatty fish like salmon or tuna.
6. Drink enough water
If you’re dehydrated, you may burn fewer calories. For best results, aim to drink 8 or more glasses of water every day. Yes, it’s a lot of water, but the results are worth it!
7. Get your protein
Eating protein boosts your metabolism because your body has to expend a lot of energy to digest it properly. But you have to eat quite a bit of protein for this to work, so aim to consume some kind of protein at every meal. Your body will thank you!
Running in general is a great workout, but running outdoors is especially nice. You get to enjoy the fresh air, the scenery, and a few moments alone in your head – it’s a little break from your busy life!
But what happens when the weather won’t allow you to run outdoors comfortably? Or what if you don’t have a place to go where it’s safe to run outside?
If you’re like most people, you hop on a treadmill. And that’s good – treadmill workouts can be great for you if done correctly!
Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind next time you decide to work out on a treadmill at the gym:
When using a treadmill, try to avoid wearing overly loose clothing that could get caught in it. Instead, opt for more fitted clothes.
And, if you sweat a lot, you may want to consider wearing shorts as opposed to pants. If it’s too cold outside to wear shorts, just layer a pair of sweatpants over your shorts and take them off once you get inside – easy peasy!
Bring the right gear
Most people would agree that it’s a lot more fun to run when you’re listening to your favorite music. So, make sure you bring a pair of headphones that you can plug in to your phone while you run. If you’re the forgetful type, you may want to buy an extra pair of headphones or earbuds and leave them in your car so you never forget them when you’re going to the gym.
Also, bring a large bottle of cold water and a hand towel (some gyms offer these at no cost – check with your gym to see if they do). That way, you can stay hydrated and dry!
Starting off your workout by running quickly isn’t safe or good for your body. So, make sure you stretch a bit before your hop on the treadmill, and begin by walking or jogging on it at a slow speed. That way, you lower your risk of injury.
Use the incline
Increasing the incline while you run is a great way to intensify your workout and burn more calories without having to step foot off the treadmill!
Keep in mind that you’ll need to keep good form for the workout to be effective. Take your hands off the rails, and avoid leaning back. If you feel like you have to hold on or lean back, you may want to decrease the incline until you’ve built up enough endurance to handle more.
Try high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Interval training has become incredibly popular because it’s a quick, effective way to work out and lose more weight.
To do a HIIT workout on the treadmill, simply alternate running fast (really fast) with running at a normal pace. For example, you can try 45 seconds of running at your top speed then slowing down to your regular pace for 1 minute. Everybody has a different endurance level, so figure out what kind of HIIT workout is best for you specifically.
And don’t forget to include a source of protein in your diet, like Promax protein bars, to help your muscles recover from your treadmill workouts! For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.
Let’s face it. After a long, hard day at work, the last thing you probably feel like doing is working out.
So, you might find yourself wanting to catch up on some sleep instead of lacing up your sneakers and exercising. But don’t let your hesitation get the best of you! Keep working toward your fitness goals with these easy ways to motivate yourself to work out:
1. Give yourself an incentive
It’s tough to work out consistently because it can take months to see noticeable results. So, instead of waiting around for that time to come, treat yourself for working out along the way! Here are a few ways you can reward yourself for getting some exercise in:
- Tell yourself that, if you work out for at least an hour every day this week, you’ll buy some fancy new workout clothes this weekend.
- Every time you exercise, enjoy a delicious (and nutritious!) protein bar. It’s a great way to have a snack without countering the effects of your workout, and it will give you something to look forward to!
- Once you reach one of your major goals (weight loss, losing inches in your waist), treat yourself to a day at the spa.
If you want, you can even create an incentive system where each workout and/or healthy action you take earns you a point. At a certain number of points, give yourself a big reward, like a fun weekend trip or a nice new pair of tennis shoes!
2. Remind yourself why you want to work out
Whether you’re getting in shape for your wedding, trying to slim down to combat health problems, or simply want to feel better about your appearance, think about the reason you’re working out. Remind yourself of that reason every day so you can keep in mind how awesome you’ll look and feel when you reach your goal!
3. Join a class
Maybe you don’t like working out because your find it boring. Well, if that’s the case, it’s time to try a new workout method! Consider joining a fun class, like boxing, hip-hop dance, or yoga to get your exercise in without getting tired of it.
4. Take your workout one step at a time
If you go into your workout thinking about how long it’s going to take and how many different exercises you’ll have to do, you’ll easily become demotivated.
What you should do instead is think of your workout in small sections. For example, when you start, just think about the first workout you’re going to do. When you’re done with that workout, focus only on the next one. Seeing the workout as small steps will make it feel less like one huge, exhausting obstacle.
5. Sign up for a 5K race
Running in a 5K race is a great way to get some extra motivation to work out, especially if you’re the competitive type! There’s nothing quite like racing other people for a medal, and you may find that you enjoy running more than you think.
If you’re not much of a runner, bring some friends along and have them walk or jog the course with you. That way, you’ll still get a workout in and get to be around other people who prioritize fitness!
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.
Information posted on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Promax Nutrition Corp. (“Promax”) has compiled and prepared this information to help educate viewers about the importance of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors in maintaining good health. Promax intends to provide current and accurate information, but does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or usefulness of any information or resources listed on this Site. Promax assumes no responsibility or liability for any use of, or reliance on this information. This information does not constitute and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your physician with any questions about your health, and before beginning any exercise or dietary program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on this website. This Site has not been reviewed or endorsed by any governmental agency or certifying organization. Publication of links to third party websites and other information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of any Promax product.