What would you say if we told you there’s an exercise routine that burns fat, strengthens your heart, and builds muscle all at the same time, and only takes fifteen minutes out of your day to perform? Before you start telling us to get out of town, let us tell you straight up that this kind of training already exists. It’s called high intensity interval training (HIIT), and it’s the kind of workout for which we designed our Promax Pro Series protein bars to be a perfect match.
If the thought of a short but super-effective workout routine piques your interest, read on to learn more about the many health benefits of high intensity interval training.
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
The concept of high intensity interval training is a simple one – alternating between short bursts of high intensity exertion and periods of rest or less strenuous exercise. The most basic version of high intensity interval training looks like this:
- Run as fast as you can for one minute
- Walk for two minutes afterward
- Repeat for 15 minutes
For anyone who has trouble fitting a good workout into their daily schedule, HIIT is an efficient and quick way to get some exercise. That said, high intensity interval training isn’t just for people with busy lives who need to take workout shortcuts. In fact, doing high intensity interval training has proven to come with great perks.
The Benefits of HIIT
When studying the results of high intensity interval training, researchers discovered the following health benefits:
- Improves cardio health
- Burns fat and calories
- Builds muscle
- Increases metabolism
In other words, short HIIT workouts can achieve more results than an hour on the treadmill or lifting weights. Because high intensity interval training is about pushing the heart and body as far as they can go, high intensity interval training kicks the body’s repair cycle into high gear, meaning that for the twenty four hours after HIIT, it is burning fat and calories while also building new muscle and promoting the creation of natural growth hormones. Add that to the cardio strengthening that comes with the bursts of extreme activity, and it’s easy to see why high intensity interval training has become a popular workout choice for many.
How to Get Started with HIIT
Creating your own HIIT routine is easy: simply find some simple exercises that you can perform intensely for one to two minutes at a time, followed by mild activity or rest before starting again. High intensity interval training can include:
- Stair climbing
- Jump roping
- And more
One thing to keep in mind with HIIT is that the less equipment you use, the better. Interval training is all about getting the heart going as fast as possible. Equipment like weights and exercise machinery can get in the way of getting the most exercise in the shortest amount of time.
Another thing to keep in mind with high intensity interval training: it’s hard work. Even though most routines only last for ten to fifteen minutes, the point is to push your body into the anaerobic respiration, where your body needs more oxygen than breathing is providing, so it starts relying on energy sources stored in the body to keep going. Don’t let the short timeframe fool you: This is real exercise and it will feel like it.
Promax Pro Series Helps Power High Intensity Interval Training
If you’re using high intensity interval training to get in shape, then you need to start paying extra attention to the amount of nutrients you’re putting into your body. Promax Pro Series energy bars have been precisely designed to provide the exact blend of macronutrients needed to power high intensity workouts, while leaving out all the preservatives, trans fats, and other fillers. When you need to know you’re getting just the right servings of carbs and proteins to fuel your training, you can trust Promax Pro Series to provide you with just that.
Fad diets are unforgiving. Boring. Restricting. They ban specific foods or entire food groups, only allow you to eat certain foods, require special pills or supplements, and promise nearly impossible results. They are, by definition, fleeting. They’re trendy for a few months, maybe a year or two, until people realize that these diets simply can’t deliver the results they promise and move on to the next. Americans alone are estimated to spend $40 billion annually on diet programs and products, many of them fad-based.
As a fitness aficionado, you know better than to subsist only on cabbage, lemon water, or grapefruit. Still, it can be frustrating when your usual workout regimen has slower results than you want, or when you seem to hit a plateau. It can be easy to be lulled in by the siren song of Before and After photos of pudgy dads becoming hunky hardbodies and the promises of lasting effects.
Newer science shows that the concept of dieting really doesn’t work for anyone trying to lose weight or maintain a new physique. These fad diets should actually be called “fat diets,” because for every pound you lose on one, you’re extremely likely to gain back, plus some. This is because radically changing your diet is a temporary solution, rather than a sustainable lifestyle change. It’s a band aid fix borne of desperation; as soon as you return to eating normally, your body will boomerang back to its previous state.
Fad diets lead to dehydration.
Rather than burning fat, fad diets usually help you shed water weight. Water does have weight, yes, but it’s also vital to healthy skin, proper digestion, waste removal, regulating body temperature, and allowing metabolism to occur.
You should be aiming to drink between six to eight glasses of water a day, and more if you’re working out frequently. If you have too little, you risk dehydration—which claims the gnarly side effects of weakness, dizziness, confusion, heart palpitations, and fainting. When you want to lose weight, water is your friend. To stay full and cut down on unhealthy snacking, drink one full glass before and one after each meal.
Fad diets are bad for your mental and physical health.
These diets are wholly unsustainable and set the dieter up for failure. This can lead to a pattern of yo-yo dieting, or gain and loss cycles. This is extremely demoralizing—particularly for anyone new to fitness.
Dieticians agree that crash diets also can lead to disordered thinking or unhealthy body image. “Punishment is not an effective way to make long-term, livable changes to your eating habits,” says registered dietitian Mary Bamford. “A sense of guilt and failure doesn’t help people keep the weight off. To make a change that matters, you need an approach that you can live with.”
Eating too few calories will lead to serious fatigue. When you restrict your intake, the body hits starvation mode and begins to dip into its muscles stores. Working out during this time is an almost sure way to get a nasty injury.
The Top Four Weirdest Fad Diets
The Cabbage Soup Diet
This is a gross one. While we like cabbage on occasion, this diet involves eating nothing but the boiled leaves in soup for a few days as a “cleanse.” While it’s true that cabbage is full of fiber, we say pass to this bland, mushy diet… and its shall we say, unpleasant side effects.
This fad diet seems to have come straight out of left field. According to the diet’s founder, each blood type has an ideal meal plan associated with it. For example, Type O allegedly shouldn’t eat dairy or wheat, and Type A should avoid most meats. There’s little, if any, science to back up these claims.
The Twinkie Diet
Mark Haub, professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, spent two months living on only snack cakes, Doritos, and Oreos to prove a point. He lost 27 pounds, because he took in fewer calories than he burned. This experiment legitimizes the growing If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) movement, but living on Little Debbies alone won’t earn you that six-pack. There’s more to food than calories, and it’s a quick route to “skinny fat” if you don’t pay attention to anything else.
The Baby Food Diet
The weirdest was saved for last. Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson is to blame for this one. The gist is that followers eat two jars of baby food a day and a sensible dinner. Apparently Lady Gaga was a fan at some point. For the average Joe, this is a terrible idea. Baby food is low on calories but high on sugar—not to mention that the texture is goopy!
A healthy weight loss plan involves a variety of foods, ongoing exercise (both cardio and strength-training), moderate weight loss goals of .5 to two pounds per week, and common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—unless you’re talking about the Promax protein bars, which won’t work any miracles, but will keep you full and fuel some great workouts. For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog.
When’s the last time that your strength workout made you want to jump for joy? Has it kept you continually improving by leaps and bounds?
Okay, enough jumping puns. Let’s get to the point. Plyometrics, or “jump training,” is the hottest trend to replace your monotonous strength training and make working on your fitness fun again. Think about how much fun you had as a kid on the playground, goofing off with your friends. Well, this kind of workout riffs off the movements of childhood games like hopscotch, skipping rope, and jumping jacks.
It’s a great break from the tedium of the same ol’, same ol’ lifting procedures or hamster-like cardio routines. The best thing about plyometrics is that it’s actually fun. But it’s actually also a killer workout: plyometrics is a high intensity, high energy, high payoff workout to help you train for sports that use explosive movements like basketball, volleyball, and tennis. It targets your legs and glutes most, and you can bring in some arm workouts by adding upper-body moves like medicine-ball throws.
There are tons of benefits to incorporating this kind of training into your workouts. It’s free and requires little to no equipment. You can take the show on the road and hit the park; if you’re feeling shy, you can get your jump on inside your home.
“Plyometrics burns the maximum amount of calories in the shortest amount of time while toning the body from head to toe,” says trainer Roya Siroospour, who created a new Miami plyometrics class.
It was developed in Soviet countries during the Cold War. The leading researcher was a Russian scientist called Yuri Yerkhoshansky. Dr. Yerkhoshansky published on the workout in 1964, but it didn’t take off in America until we saw Russia kicking butt at the Olympics. Americans took notes, revised the exercises, named them plyometrics, and the rest was history.
There are three phases: the eccentric phase involves rapid muscle lengthening movements; the amortization, which is a short amount of resting; and the concentric phase, where muscles are rapidly shortened. The three are repeated as fast as possible, and the goal is to decrease the time between the eccentric and concentric phases as much as you can. For the best workout, you should be focusing not on quantity of jumps, but quality of form.
It’s important to always warm up before exercising, and jump training is no exception. Prep your body by marching in place, jogging in place, stretching, and a few squats.
Here are a few basic plyometric exercises.
Squat jumps: stand with feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and jump as high as possible. Repeat rapidly.
Lateral jumps: place an object next to you that you can jump over. Jump sideways across it and then back again.
Power skipping: Just like as a kid, but with way more power—jump and lift your knees as high as possible and go again.
Box jumps: This is basically the quintessential plyo workout. Stand in front of a box or park bench. Jump onto the object and immediately back down. Repeat the jumps as fast as you can.
Follow the workouts with a cooldown, stretching, and a healthy dose of protein to recover. We recommend a Promax LS bar to regain energy without adding a lot of sugar to your diet.
There are a few points of caution if you’re going to give this workout a shot. It’s not going to strengthen your core at all, so be aware of your goals before changing your fitness routine. If you have any kind of nerve damage or arthritis, unfortunately jump training is a big no-no. It’s an awesome workout for both men and women, but if you’re pregnant, consider it verboten. Your growing belly will throw you off balance, stress your knees and ankles, and make injury very likely.
Deprivation diets just don’t work. Sure, on the first day you’re all gung-ho to eat plain chicken breasts with brown rice. But as the days go on, you start to crave a cupcake. A Big Mac. A Twinkie. A couple beers after work. “I’ve been good for a week,” you think. “I can have a cheat meal.”
But if you’re like, oh, anyone else, your cheat meal will probably turn into a cheat day, cheat weekend, a black hole where you feel like you’ve “ruined” your day with bad foods and might as well keep going. Strict diets aren’t sustainable.
Enter flexible dieting.
Also known as If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), flexible dieting is a way of tracking macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) to achieve your ideal body goals. According to flexible dieting, there are no such things as “bad” foods, just worse macro ratios.
Here’s how it works. One gram of each macro has a calorie value. A good rule of thumb is to eat one gram of protein per pound of your body weight, .4 grams of fat per pound of body weight, and 1.1 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.
Tracking this way means you can influence body composition rather than just aiming to lose or gain.
How to Start Flexible Dieting
Starting a flexible diet is one of the easiest nutritional systems out there. Forget no carb this, caveman that and just aim for the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your meals should be made with whole ingredients; 20 percent can be anything you want.
- Calculate your macros. There’s a great calculator here.
- Track your macros using a food registry like MyFitnessPal, which has the largest nutritional database in the world.
- Buy a food scale so you know exactly what you’re consuming, and log diligently.
IIFYM is effective.
The best diet is the one you can stick to. As shown by the Twinkie Diet, the quantity of calories you eat are more important than the “quality” of the foods you eat. No matter how clean you eat, if you’re having too much, you will not lose any weight.
Tracking gives you a sense of control over your diet and body, rather than causing you to restrict.
Flexible dieting is just that—flexible.
It sounds too good to be true, but when you use this nutritional system, you really can have your cake and eat it too. This leads to less food-related anxiety and sets you up for long-term success, rather than a short-term solution. The fitness journey shouldn’t be about losing weight, but about maintaining it—when you’re eating everything you usually would in moderation, you don’t have to reincorporate foods into your diet and then deal with the inevitable weight gain that comes with it.
Social events are less awkward when you use a flexible diet, too.
The flexible approach leads to less food-related anxiety, reduces the likelihood of developing an eating disorder, and sets you up for long-term success. You won’t be tempted to binge on “bad” foods if you have them in moderation.
Fiber and Flexible Dieting
Fiber isn’t absorbed by your body; unlike other food components, it passes intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon, and out of your body. Fiber keeps you full longer, keeps your body movements regular, and reduces cholesterol. Foods high in fiber are usually dense with other micronutrients, too. You should aim to eat 14 g of fiber per 1000 calories eaten.
There are two kinds of fiber:
Soluble fiber dissolves when it makes contact with water. It helps the waste move through your body. Examples are fruits, lentils, vegetables, potatoes, and oats.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve or change form. This includes bran, brown rice, whole grain cereal, nuts, and seeds.
Unlike some other bars that contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, the fiber content in Promax LS bars has been confirmed by an outside lab. This third-party used reliable testing that was up to par with regulations from the US Food and Drug Administration, so you can be sure that Promax bars are part of a fiber-heavy diet.
But do they fit your macros? With several lines of bars that suit various needs—from low sugar to the Pro series that feature ratios of 37 percent protein, 37 percent carbs, and 26 percent fat—you’re sure to find one that you can fit into your flexible diet.
A scratchy throat. Runny nose. Hacking cough. You’ve got it all, thanks to some person on the bus who didn’t cover his mouth or wash his hands. Now you’re tired and achy, and it feels like you’ve been hit with the plague. All you want to do is take a NyQuil, turn on Netflix, and rest up after work—but what about your hard-earned results? You’ve been killing it on the free weights lately, and you don’t want to wreck your streak.
The question remains: should you take a few days off or should you work out while sick?
First, the best news: Active people get over illnesses faster than couch potatoes, and their symptoms are less acute. Nice! In fact, 30 minutes of regular exercise three to four times a week has been shown to raise immunity by raising levels of T cells. Congrats, you fit thing, you!
Next: there’s a difference between working out and moving your body. Working out is a structured routine, and it’s supposed to suck a little bit. When you’re working out, you should be feeling slight discomfort, sweating a bunch, and have a fast heartbeat. All of this raises stress levels in the body and ultimately builds your fitness level. Healthy bods deal with this stress, no problem. Sick bodies, however, can freak out when their compromised immune systems are hit with stress. When you’re sick, it’s probably best to choose low-intensity, solo workouts like walking, moderate biking, yoga, or swimming.
If you just can’t resist the gym and want to work out while sick, do your best to avoid spreading your contagion. We all know we should wipe off the machines after use– if you go to the gym contagious, this is doubly important. You need to use the correct etiquette, because sweat can carry mucus particles down your face and onto equipment, and cold germs can live on hard surfaces for hours. Eeeeugh. Share Promax Bars, not germs!
If you feel worse after your workout, that’s your body telling you to cut back. Reduce your intensity by half, or go for half the time you usually do. Make sure you’re also getting vital nutrients to speed up the healing process—drink extra water, bland foods, fresh veggies, and plenty of protein. In fact, your protein needs are higher when you’re sick, because it helps repair cells and maintain fluid balance. This is the perfect time to have a Promax Lemon Bar—it has 18 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help you recover fast.
When should you stay on the couch?
Do a “neck check.” If your symptoms are below the neck—chest congestion, aching, vomiting, or diarrhea come to mind—just consider running to the bathroom your cardio for the next few days. If you have a fever, that warning goes double: fever can cause dehydration, and raising your body temperature can make you more vulnerable to heart damage, which is no joke. Stay on the sidelines.
When you’re feeling better and want to resume your usual exercise routine, listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself. And don’t feel discouraged if you come back a little less harder/faster/better/stronger than before… resting for just one week can lead to a slight loss of strength and muscle mass, but it’ll return quickly!
In summary, if you feel too sick to go to work, you’re probably too sick to work out normally. Low-intensity movements are your friends at this time and will actually boost your body’s autoimmune response. When you get back to the gym, you’ll make up for lost time in no time.
While both are obviously important, you need to prioritize health over fitness when you’re sick. Feel better soon! For more information about how to make the most of your workouts, check back each week for tips from Promax Nutrition.
We couldn’t stop at just six fantastic, trip-worthy workout facilities, so here’s part two of our series, The 6 Most Iconic Gyms in the World. We’ve got a serious case of wanderlust, and we hope you’re as inspired to get to the next level of your workout as we are!
- St. Regis San Francisco – San Francisco, California
Sometimes, you’re on vacation and find that you’ve overindulged on room service and the hotel minibar. Well, if that hotel is the St. Regis in San Francisco, you’re in luck.
The city’s most awesome trainers are on retainer at this hotel gym, ready to get you back into the swing of things on the outdoor terrace or in the private yoga room. If you’re someone who needs a killer playlist to get your blood pumping, grab one of the handy iPods, preloaded with fantastic workout playlists.
If you’re searching for a runner’s high, the hotel concierge can provide options for the city’s most scenic running routes, and you can cool off in the outdoor infinity pool. Ahhhhhhh.
- Red Rocks Fitness – Denver, CO
Okay, okay, this isn’t a gym. But it is beautiful and a great place to get workin’ on your fitness. If you think air conditioned workouts are for wimps, why not take yours outside to the only naturally occurring amphitheater in the world?
Enroll in the Red Rocks Fitness challenge for a grueling 12 week program of five workouts a week while listening to music on these beautiful steps. There are also meal plans and personal coaching for those who want to get even more involved.
If you just want to find some Zen, there’s probably nothing better than Child’s Pose in this surrounding.
- Athletes’ Performance – Phoenix, Arizona
If you’ve ever fantasized about being a big-name athlete with crowds of adoring fans screaming your name, this is your place. Athletes’ Performance is home to the NFL Combine Program, where elite players come to make use of the hot and cold pools, onsite physical therapy, and exclusive underwater treadmill.
Beware, though: if you want to join, it’s going to cost you—the $16,500 to $30,000 yearly membership can make even the heartiest piggy bank squeal for mercy.
- GreenMicrogym – Portland, Oregon
How hard do you work out? Pretty hard, right? Well, do you think it’s hard enough to power a building? At GreenMicrogym, it can help!
At this cozy neighborhood facility, members produce the electricity needed to power the facility through specially designed fitness equipment. The gym’s founder, Adam Boesel, is a a personal trainer who designed a spin bike that makes it easy for anyone to help power their building with the power of their gym regime.
There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, but GreenMicrogym does the basics well—expect cardio, weights, personal training, and friendly service with a smile. This gym uses about 85 percent less electricity and has a carbon footprint 1/10th of the size of a traditional gym. Now that’s some motivation to push just a little bit harder.
- Brooklyn Zoo – Brooklyn, NY
If generic gym routines have got you down, it might be time to visit this New York adult playground. Brooklyn Zoo is a 4,500 square foot parkour studio. If you’re not familiar with parkour, it’s an exercise method of getting from one way to another using the obstacles in your path rather than avoiding them—think jumping, flipping, climbing, swinging, rolling.
The facility has plenty of unique structures to play on and even an adult-sized trampoline. After a few sessions here, you’ll be ready to be the action here of your dreams.
- Tiger Muay Thai Gym – Thailand
Wanna work swinging sledgehammers into your workout? At Tiger Muay Thai, no problem. Muay Thai is a fierce variety of Asian MMA that incorporates the whole body into a workout, and this gym is the most famous one in all of Asia for it.
For $3,444 per year for the deluxe membership package, you’ll also be fight hard, train mean, and be able to play with heavy bags, truck tires, and ground & pound bags, no big deal.
Enjoy the trip, but don’t forget to pack some protein to fuel your workouts and help you recover quickly! We recommend a healthy variety of delicious, nutritious Promax Bars, which can fit in even the smallest of carry-ons. Contact us today to learn more about how Promax Bars can keep you happy, healthy, and energized during your fitness vacation.
Most people have a bucket list: a list of beautiful places to visit, things to do, and people to meet that will enrich their lives and make them happy.
The average fitness junkie also has a separate list, one that includes his or her goals of miles to run, competitions to enter, and pounds to lift.
These two lists aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, some of the most iconic gyms in the world are also in some of the most beautiful places on earth. Here’s a list of the six most incredible gyms to schedule to visit.
- Hydropark Outdoor Gym – Dnieper River in Kiev, Ukraine
This park is full of benches, boats, and water attractions. The real attraction, though, is the old-school gym that puts the rust in rustic. The machines are made of salvaged scrap metal and used truck parks, but that doesn’t stop the city’s toughest fitness fans from flooding the park since the 1970s.
While ladies are welcome, this is totally a testosterone zone; it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of sweaty dudes in Speedos trying to get ripped.
- E at Equinox – New York
E is synonymous with luxury in the Big Apple, and that’s obvious from the moment you walk through the retina scanner at the door all the way to when you rinse the chlorine out of your hair with high-end Kiehl’s soaps.
An estimated $21,000 per year gets members access to unlimited training sessions with a personal trainer who will run you ragged while ensuring you meet your biggest goals. E also employs full-time exercise science experts who analyze members’ activity profiles, body compositions, and metabolic rates to make sure that they’re maximizing efficiency and minimizing injury.
- Green Fitness Studio – Brooklyn, NY
What do you get when you combine a Brooklyn hipster with a gym rat?
It sounds like the lead-in to a good punchline, right? Well, this fitness studio is no joke. Green Fitness Studio claims the title of first eco-friendly fitness center and combines its love of exercise with green, Millennial-friendly sensibilities.
It has bamboo floors, recycled rubber mats, water-conserving bathrooms, and energy-efficient exercise machines, along with a registered dietician and team of nutrition experts on staff. After your workout, you can hit up the local, organic, sustainable juice bar to go with your delicious Promax bar… after all, we don’t use any artificial sweeteners and we’re gluten-free, kosher, and vegetarian. A match made in fitness heaven!
All of these features led to Green being called the “best newfangled gym” by New York Magazine in 2010. Not too shabby!
- Nike World Headquarters – Beaverton, Oregon
Do the names Christiano Ronaldo, and Michael Johnson mean anything to you? These elite athletes trained at this 190 acre fitness center, which is tricked out with state of the art equipment and the biggest names in personal training. The running track is made from 50,000 recycled Nike shoes.
The only catch? This gym is 100 percent invite only… we’re pretty sure our invitation got lost in the mail.
- Illoiha Omotesando Fitness Gym – Toykyo, Japan
If you’re tired of the same ol’ multicolored climbing walls, it’s time to shimmy, streeeeetch, and climb your way to Illoiha Omotesando. Perhaps the most stylish climbing gym in the world, Illoiha combines Japan’s famous street fashion with traditional rock climbing.
This gym uses beautiful interior design elements to replace the faux bolders with mirrors, windows, deer heads, bird cages, and flower vases—all gorgeous pieces well worth reaching for! The idea is to “become beautiful through movement,” according to the gym’s website. Sign us up!
- Mizzou Rec Center – Columbia, Missouri
Man, it must be good to be a Tiger! This rec center is located on the University of Missouri campus rivals some of the biggest free-standing gyms and fitness clubs on our list. Students and staff have access to tons of amenities and facilities. There’s a boxing gym, Jungle Gym room with exercise machines, indoor track, Pump Room with free weights up to 200 pounds, 35 foot climbing wall, and a bouldering wall. Group classes and one-on-ones with nationally certified trainers are also available.
For those who like their workouts in water or just want to cool off after an intense time, there’s the Grotto: an indoor pool with waterfall, lazy river, steam room, sauna, and hot tub. Students can also check out equipment like towels, balls, and kettlebells for free with their IDs.
Have we inspired you to plan a trip to one of these famous gyms? Before you go, don’t forget to pack a suitcase with sneakers, your favorite water bottle, and some Promax Bars to fuel your fantastic workouts. For more information about Promax, check out our product page or our blog, then contact us to learn more about how Promax Bars can keep you full, lean, and mean during your world travels.
Summer is winding down, but the weather shows no sign of cooling. If you’re anything like us, you’re starting to dream of sweater weather, pumpkin spice, and cozying up in front of a fireplace. It’s easy to let yourself go—you start to work out a little less and eat a little bit more, and suddenly it’s New Year’s and you’re resolving to get back in shape. Use these tips to stay swimsuit ready even as the weather calls for sweaters instead and skip the usual weight-gain cycle.
Find an accountability buddy.
The right training partner is almost as hard to find as the right spouse. You need someone motivated, relentless, ambitious, and with similar goals as you. It might take a while, but when you find them, you can keep each other on track all autumn long.
It’s more cost-effective to hang out with a cool, fit friend than to book extra sessions with your trainer, but if that’s your choice, go for it! You want someone who will push you to do better, but if you’re Jiminy Cricket, you don’t want Donkey Kong dragging you along and making you frustrated—and vice versa!
Set goals with deadlines.
It’s not enough to simply set goals when faced with the dreary winter days ahead, because then they can be pushed back. A better way is to set specific goals with dates during the year to stay on track. The best ones are concrete and perhaps cost a little money—for extra motivation.
We love registering ahead of time for photoshoots, contests, and races as motivation to keep ourselves svelte and shredded all winter long. This fun, healthy competition will give you a reason to keep going to the gym, celebrate your abilities, and keep improving.
Fuel your success with the right foods.
Eat the right foods that make it easy to hit your macro goals. We love a Promax bar in the morning with a cup of oats, a teaspoon of nut butter, and some cinnamon to fuel a kick-butt cardio routine and bolster concentration throughout the day.
You should also accurately keep track of what and how much you’re putting in your body. It’s easy to get a little sloppy in the colder months, but staying shredded is simple math: calories in minus calories out. If you’re just guessing how many pats of butter you put on your wheat toast, it’s going to be really easy to underestimate your macros and have too much fat.
In this case, “heavy” means challenging weights in the 5-8 range. When you lift, you should be doing something challenging enough that you couldn’t maintain it much longer than you already do. This is one of the easiest ways to bust plateaus, continually improve, and stay motivated in the gym.
Identify specific healthy habits.
Look at behaviors you do during summer that help you stay in shape. Be specific about these things and find similar ones for the winter. For example, if you spend summer eating mangos instead of ice cream and swim laps every day, try finding seasonal winter fruits and an indoor pool to keep up your momentum.
When you don’t feel like going to the gym, examine your reasons and stop making excuses. Are you really tired? Or are you being lazy? If you’re exhausted, take the day off. If you’re bored, find a new routine like joining a sport or downloading a new fitness app. If you’re being lazy, get your butt to the gym.
For more information about how to make the most of your workouts and maintain your summer shred, check back each week for tips from Promax Nutrition.
For men and women interested in health and fitness, yoga can provide a fun and healthy activity to combine with other healthy habits like gluten free energy bars, a regular sleep schedule, and better strategies for coping with stress.
Millions of people have tried yoga, and millions more are curious about how this Eastern mediation and exercise practice can provide stress relief, enhanced flexibility, and better muscle tone, along with a variety of other health benefits. Unfortunately, there are also many misconceptions about yoga and who it can benefit.
The following are the 10 most common myths about yoga and a little debunking to give folks interested in yoga some straight talk about how it can improve their health and well-being:
Yoga is not a real workout
Ask a yoga class after a vigorous session whether they feel they’ve had a workout. While yoga can often be less intense than other forms of exercises, there are variants of it that increase the heart rate and work muscles just as effectively as conventional exercise.
Yoga is a religion
While spirituality is a big component of yoga for many people, yoga itself is just a means of exercise and meditation. The precepts of yoga are compatible with just about any faith, and promote kindness and peace.
Only flexible people can do yoga
Yoga helps promote flexibility. For people who are a little stiff, yoga can help facilitate greater flexibility. While the more advanced levels of yoga do require quite a bit of flexibility, beginner exercises can help those of us who are less flexible develop this attribute.
Yoga is expensive
Compared to gym dues, at-home treadmills, and exercise gear, the investment you make in yoga can be quite small. All you need to do yoga is some comfortable clothes, a yoga mat, and a book or video instructing you on a few basic poses. Even yoga classes are highly affordable, and some community centers, churches, and other groups offer free yoga instruction.
Real men don’t do yoga
Actually, men were the original inventors of yoga. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago by men in the East. Today, women do outnumber men in yoga classes, but, guys, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Yoga is a time-suck
A decent yoga session can take as little as 10 minutes. The great thing about yoga is that you can do it just about anytime, anywhere, making it very copacetic with modern lifestyles.
People with disabilities or chronic pain cannot practice yoga
Yoga can be quite beneficial to people with disabilities, or who suffer from arthritis or other chronic pain. It all depends on your specific circumstances and the program of yoga you undertake. Speak with a physician and your yoga instructor ahead of time to learn if yoga is right for you.
Yoga is for the young
Yoga practitioners come from all ages and walks of life. Many older people find yoga’s low-impact nature and emphasis on peace and reflection helpful.
Yoga is for hippies
Blue collar workers, CEOs, and a wide variety of others have found peace, contentment, and fitness through yoga.
There is only one form of yoga
There are actually quite a few yoga methods. Vinyasa focuses on breath, power yoga helps build strength, hot yoga uses heat to facilitate development, and hatha yoga is a slower form of the discipline.
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Let’s start out by saying this: Everyone has a baseline of maintenance calories that they need to just exist and stay the same weight. If you’re 200 pounds and your needed maintenance calories are 2,500, you have to create a surplus in order to gain weight. If you want to “get big,” you need to eat more than 2,500 calories: a surplus.
The differences lie in how many calories of surplus you create.
There are two ways to do this: clean bulking and dirty bulking.
Clean bulking involves a small surplus, like 100 calories extra a day or 15 percent over your maintenance requirement while continuing to meet your macros. This gradual pace will minimize gains in body fat while helping you put on one to two pounds per month. While you’re going to put on fat while bulking no matter what, if you want to stay as lean as possible while adding fat and muscle, go for clean bulking
Dirty bulking is taking in a much larger calorie surplus, usually without tracking macros, following a set diet, or doing cardio. This is done without regard to fat. Do this if you want to fill out but do not really care about the rate or ratio of fat to muscle you’re putting on.
You might now be asking yourself: why would anyone dirty bulk? Well, the basic premise is this: the more you eat, the bigger you’ll get. This is true, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get more muscular. People don’t realize that the body can’t build unlimited muscle in a set amount of time. In fact, it’s impossible for someone who’s been training regularly to gain 30-40 pounds of muscle in a few months or even a year. The only people who can gain even 18-20 pounds in a year is someone totally new to the gym, lifting weights, and training.
Why should I clean bulk instead of dirty bulk?
- The body can only build a set amount of lean muscle over a period of time. This isn’t a “more = better” equation; past what the body can do naturally, you can’t speed up the process any significant degree by doing it more. Any extra calories that you eat are just going to be stored in the body as fat.
- Dirty bulking can slow down your entire fitness process. It happens often: a skinny guy will want to get bigger and decide he doesn’t care about gaining excess fat. He bulks up by chowing down on Big Macs, brownies, and pasta with no regard to his macros. After a few months into his smorgasbord, he wakes up and realizes that he’s not happy with his body. He hasn’t come close to his lean ideal, but now he has the added problem of carrying around extra fat (usually in the stomach). Now our guy has two options: he can keep bulking and gain even more fat, or he can start cutting—which essentially puts him back at square one. For every pound or two of body fat you gain, that’s about a week of dieting and cardio.
- You’ll feel better overall. You’ll function better, have more energy, and reduce your risks of heart disease. Eating when you aren’t hungry and stuffing yourself when you are is a recipe for feeling bloated, tired, and sluggish. Clean bulking, on the other hand, integrates cardio sessions throughout the week to leave you feeling energized.
Okay, you’ve convinced me. How do I clean bulk?
Aim to eat about 15 percent more calories than you need to maintain your current weight. This is enough to build new muscle near your maximum potential but will keep fat gains at bay.
While you’re clean bulking, eat within your macros. Be sure to consume plenty of carbs, proteins, and limited amounts of fat. The meals should be very similar to what you ate while shredding, but in slightly more abundant quantities. We especially love the Promax Pro Series bars for when you need energy for a big cardio session.
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