Drinking enough water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Water keeps your digestion flowing and helps to regulate your metabolism. Did you know that drinking water can help you lose weight? By drinking a glass of water before a meal, you will already feel full, so you are likely to eat less. Staying adequately hydrated is also essential for healthy kidney function.
There is a change in the recommended guidelines for the amount of water that you should drink each day. The old guideline suggested drinking eight glasses of water per day. However, this general recommendation does not take an individual’s specific body type and weight into account. Drinking eight glasses of water a day may be too much for a smaller person, but not enough for a larger person. The new guideline suggests that you drink between one half ounce to one full ounce of water for each pound of your body weight. Please see the infographic below for an example of this calculation and more information about the importance of staying hydrated.
Most people who work out focus on the activity itself, like cardio endurance or achieving maximum reps in a weight routine, and often forget about the crucial “cool down” period. Stretching after training can improve flexibility and prevent sore muscles, and is as important to a workout plan as supplements or protein bars.
Why Stretching Matters after a Workout
Exercise results in muscle wear and tear, which can cause pain and soreness once the activity stops. Stretching afterwards will help limit aches so you don’t have to skip a day of training. Here are just a few reasons why stretching helps after exercising:
- Limits Muscle Tightness: Tight muscles take longer to heal. Get back to the gym sooner by stretching after exercise.
- Improves Flexibility: Stretching allows your muscles to reach their full range of motion.
- Counteracts Muscle Shortening: Tight and overused muscles can cause shortening over time. Regular stretching will reverse the effect of muscle shortening.
Stretching is most effective when using proper technique. Improper recovery can cause more harm than good. To ensure you’re making the most of each stretch, consult a personal trainer or DVD, or follow the below instructions for common stretches that cater to different parts of the body:
- Calf Stretch: Stand in front of a wall with your right foot behind your left foot, then slowly bend your left foot forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right foot flush with the floor. Make sure your back is straight and your hips are tilted forward. Hold each stretch for thirty seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
- Quadriceps Stretch: Grasp a wall or piece of exercise equipment for balance, and use your right hand to grab your right ankle and gently pull your heel up and back until you feel the stretch throughout your thigh. Hold for thirty seconds, making sure to keep your stomach muscles tight, and your knees close together. Switch legs and repeat.
- Shoulder Stretch: Bring your left arm across your torso, and use your right arm to hook the left elbow close to your body. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, and then switch arms and repeat.
Tips for Making the Most of Each Stretch
Frequency: Stretch after every workout, even the short ones! If you work out three times a week, you should stretch at least three times a week as well.
- “Cold” Muscles: Stretching after a workout ensures that your muscles will be warmed up and easiest to stretch. Attempting to do a stretch with stiff, or “cold,” muscles can cause injury.
- Stretch It All: A good rule of thumb is to stretch all major muscle groups, with a focus on the muscles you use most during exercise. For leg-centric activities, that means focusing on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves; whereas shoulders, chest, and back should be stretched after upper-body exercises like weight lifting, swimming, or tennis.
- Stay Relaxed: Use slow, gentle movements while stretching, and remember to breathe, exhaling as you move into the stretch.
- Don’t Push It: Hold each stretching position for no more than twenty to thirty seconds. Always keep still when stretching, as well – sudden movements can limit stability and cause injury.
Recovery after exercising should be a step in every workout plan, with as much focus on stretching as there is when finding the right exercise equipment or shopping for energy bars. For more information about how to make the most of your workouts, check back each week for tips from Promax Nutrition.
When beginners start coming to the gym, it can seem like walking into a place filled with strangers who all expect you to know and follow a whole host of unspoken rules and traditions. While the “rules” will become a lot clearer after just a few workout sessions, there are definitely some workout etiquette rules that beginners should remember. Along with obvious rules of public decorum (don’t go into other people’s lockers to steal their protein bars, etc.), be sure to follow these rules for proper gym behavior:
- Respect the gear – One of the most important rules to pay attention to at the local gym is to treat the building and the equipment with respect. When someone new comes in and clearly doesn’t respect the gym or its patrons, they’re on the path to not being accepted and possibly being asked to go elsewhere. Use weights and machines as they’re intended, don’t drop or mishandle them, and clean all your gear after you’re done. No one wants to be cleaning up after you or mopping up your sweat in order to use the gym once they’re done. And remember: gym mirrors aren’t there for primping, pampering, or applying cosmetics. That’s what the bathrooms are for.
- Put away the phone – Everyone’s addicted to their smartphones these days, but the gym should definitely be considered a “cell free” zone. Unless you’re running a fitness app, there’s no reason you should be fiddling with or talking on your phone while using the gym equipment. People waiting for you will start getting impatient when it looks like you aren’t taking your workout seriously, and the people around you are likely to get annoyed pretty fast with your yakking on the phone. Remember, the gym is a shared space: treat the people around you like you would want to be treated.
- Be sure to share – Sometimes there aren’t enough machines or weights for everyone, and that means having to wait. If you find yourself waiting for a spot, don’t crowd the person you’re waiting for or bother them by trying to push them along. Instead, do some stretches or easy workouts that don’t take up too much walkway space while waiting for your turn. If you find yourself in the position of making people wait, on the other hand, don’t linger longer than necessary or try to prevent someone else from using a machine. That said, don’t let yourself be pushed around or pressured into giving up your spot or trying to do your workout too fast, either.
- Remember you’re in public – It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but people at the gym sometimes seem to have a hard time remembering that there are other people around them. While the gym certainly has more lax dress standards than most other public spaces, that doesn’t mean that you should be wearing something so revealing, dumpy, or gross that the people around you are embarrassed to be seen with you.
- Practice good hygiene – When you’re at the gym, you’re going to get sweaty and smelly, and there’s not much you can do about it. But that doesn’t mean you should completely forget your manners and good hygiene. Be sure to clean up after yourself, and try to be as un-gross as possible. Also, remember to wear your deodorant. Please.
Get more workout and exercise tips today by visiting our blog or contacting us at Promax Nutrition.
The Truth About One-Week Exercise Plans
Summer is nearly upon us. It’s time to panic – who’s ready with a fit swimsuit body and toned muscles? You may have skipped a few trips to the gym and indulged in some extra comfort food over the last few months. It’s time to get back in shape.
Many fitness blogs and even gym trainers promise a return to pre-holiday fitness in just one week of training. With a strenuous diet and strict exercise routine, they say, you can be beach-ready in seven days. Is it too good to be true? Let’s look at the facts.
Getting – and staying – in shape takes consistency. Studies have shown that dramatic results don’t happen overnight. Exercise must become a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle. Over time, with three hours of aerobic exercise each week, you will achieve greater strength, endurance, and health. But you should expect modest results each week you continue.
So after that summer exercise binge, expect to notice slightly stronger heart and lungs, sore muscles, and a little better endurance than before you began.
Moderate weight loss has a better chance of staying off. Similarly, studies have shown that people who lose a modest one or one-and-a-half pounds each week have a better chance of maintaining a healthy weight over a longer period of time than those who lose weight more rapidly. So don’t expect to lose ten pounds the week of spring break and not gain it back.
That does not mean you can’t jump-start your diet over spring break, though. To get a leg up on your diet goals, go ahead and maximize your first week’s losses. Drink plenty of water and consider cutting out sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods completely. With a healthy diet and no junk foods, you should see at least a pound lost and maybe more. If you then maintain your healthy eating habits over the subsequent weeks and months, the weight loss will continue while you establish healthy eating habits. That will all add up to weight loss you can maintain.
Combining exercise and diet changes for one week may produce some results. By all means, begin exercising again over spring break. While you’re at it, plan physical activities for your vacation time to remain active while building fitness habits. Invite others to participate with you to increase your enjoyment and better your chances of success.
And by all means, start your diet, too! Begin logging your daily calories and how much water you drink. Ask a friend to keep you accountable for healthy eating habits. Plan ahead healthy meals and snacks so you aren’t caught unawares and slip up.
By combining exercise and diet into your spring break plans, you should see modest results. If you include weight training for your abdominals, you may even drop one clothing size by the end of that week. Just remember – diet and exercise are lifestyle choices that will serve you well over time if you continue your healthy habits.
We work hard and our days are long. We wake up, spend hours at work and at the end of the day we’re exhausted. We make time for our friends and families when we can and it’s hard enough to make time for our workouts and training sessions. But we do, because just like everything else, they’re part of our lives. So what else are we forgetting? Nutrition. There’s more to it than what to do to fuel your body before a workout; we need to start remembering to take care of our bodies after our workouts, too. We know you understand why nutrition is important, but now we want to stress why post-workout nutrition is, also.
“But I Ate Before Training.”
Eating before your workout is great, and essential. Our bodies need the energy that food provides to push us through our routines. But guess what happens to that fuel? We burn right through it.
During our workouts, our bodies are breaking down both protein and carbohydrates as our muscles work and we push ourselves harder and harder. And as difficult as it is when we’re tired post-workout, it’s important to replace what we’ve spent so our bodies have the opportunity to recover. How do we do that? Post-workout nutrition.
Where do I Start?
You’ll hear a lot about weight to gram ratios here and things may seem to get a bit complicated. There’s no need to get involved with any weighty mathematics and ratios here. Let’s just start with the basics: carbohydrates and protein. How much do you need? Just remember the number 15-20. You only need to make sure you get about 15-20 grams of protein in after your workout, and make sure to mirror that with an equal amount of carbs.
We know that some of you are thinking that eating carbs after a workout may defeat its purpose, but it’s quite the contrary. When you work out, you use glycogen, which is what your muscles use for energy, which in turn, allows them to contract and do all the work they do.
When you’re training, although you may be working to build muscle, you are actually breaking it down. While the ingestion of carbs post-workout helps with energy stores—and so does protein—the main reason we eat protein is to take care of and repair our muscles. Will you still be sore after your workout? Probably (if you worked hard enough). But the important thing is to remember that you’re recovering, preventing injury, and preparing for your next workout.
When do I start?
The rule of thumb is as soon as possible. While some say it’s best to get your post workout nutrition in within a couple hours of training, we think it’s most effective to fit in your fuel within 20-30 minutes.
How can I get it?
Luckily for us, living in the 21st century no longer requires us to forage for our food, or hunt, for that matter, and so we’ve done the searching for you. There are several different ways to make sure you get your carbs and protein in post-workout and depending on how much or little time you have, you’ve got options.
Because most of us are nearly too busy to fit in a workout, the next thing we have time to fit in is cooking an actual meal. And while we wish we could, liquid shakes are an option to get nutrition to your body directly after a workout so that you can begin refueling and recovering instantly. Protein powders are easy to find in most supermarkets and nutrition stores and will give you bang for your buck as they’ll last you many workouts. Because they can be stored in dry environments, they are easy to keep in your car, at your desk, or in your pantry at home, but beware, they can get a little messy on the go if they leak.
While time is an issue, so is space and storage. Who wants to keep a meal they’ve cooked in an unrefrigerated gym locker? That could get a little gross. Instead, a lot of people are opting to throw a protein bar in their gym bag, briefcase, or purse these days. No matter where you’re going after the gym, the bars are the perfect quick and efficient way to get the nutrients you need. Promax even makes sure that the recommended ratio (that you shouldn’t have to calculate) is made for you, so instead of doing the math, you can enjoy the taste. If you’re having trouble choosing a bar, we can help you decide based on what’s most crucial to you.
No, we aren’t kidding. While bars and liquids are efficient and sufficient, nothing is better than whole foods. Whether you take the time one day a week to prepare a dish in bulk or take an hour one day on the weekend after a workout, it’s nice to treat your body and your mind to a good, nutrient rich, sit down meal.
Make it a Habit
It’s difficult to make good nutrition a habit, but if you’re reading this article then you’re well on your way. Remember, if you were able to incorporate an exercise plan into your schedule, then you can surely incorporate a nutrition plan, too. When we eat well after our workout, it sets the tone for our meals for the rest of the day, and encourages us to continue our healthy habits. Enjoy your workouts, and after, remember to think proteins and carbs to replenish, recovery, and refuel.
How committed are you to achieving your fitness goals? If you are like most, your enthusiasm rises and falls with the weather, stress, and progress you’ve seen lately. It isn’t easy to give your all day in and day out. Over time, you could actually begin going backwards if you don’t take steps to ensure incremental growth.
You need an exercise partner.
Finding the right partner isn’t easy, and you may have experienced a less-than-perfect situation in the past. Why go to all the trouble of finding a partner and investing in a relationship? Here are five reasons you need to make the effort.
1. Your partner will help you stay positive. On those dark, cloudy mornings or at the end of a hard day at work, it is not easy to see the bright side of working up a sweat. That’s when your workout buddy’s smile and encouragement is just what you need to keep you going.
2. Your partner will help you focus on your goals. You set milestones and goals that were so important to you, but as time goes by, these goals can fade in significance. Your fitness partner can keep those diet and fitness priorities important in your eyes with frequent reminders and encouragement. That makes you much more likely to achieve your goals.
3. Your partner will help you maintain your technique. Another set of eyes on your stance and another set of hands during your workout can make all the difference. Your exercise partner can let you know about mistakes you are making and help protect against injuries. That’s a tremendous benefit to your workout safety and success.
4. Your partner will help you stay faithful to your workout routine. It’s easy to become lax when there is no one else involved, but as soon as you make an appointment to exercise with someone, you have instant accountability. You won’t want to keep your partner waiting, and you might even be embarrassed to “not keep up.” That’s why people with exercise partners see more progress than those who work out on their own. There is a lot of strength in just one more.
5. Your partner will be appreciative of your help, too. While you are getting these benefits of working out with someone, your workout buddy is getting the same advantages. You are giving just as much as you are getting out of the partnership. Not only will that feel good to you, as you know you’ve helped improve the life of someone else, but your workout partner will be grateful for that help too. It’s another case of feeling good while doing good.
So whether you work out with a family member, neighbor, coworker, or friend, find an exercise partner to help you be your best. It may take a little more effort at the beginning, but over the long haul, you’ll see lasting results and stronger, healthier relationship.
Get more workout and exercise tips today by visiting our blog or contacting us at Promax Nutrition.
It takes more than healthy eating and regular exercise to build a great basketball player. Your body relies on just the right fuel to build the healthy muscle you need to be at your peak. That’s why pro basketball players know protein counts.
But what exactly makes up the ideal diet for a top athlete? Let’s look at the nutrients you need to be at your best.
Your body uses water not only to hydrate your workout but also to build and repair muscles. Your muscle tissue is, itself, up to seventy-five percent water. Keep your muscles healthy and growing with adequate hydration.
Aim to drink about eight glasses of water each day. Before workout or a game, drink two glasses to start off well hydrated. During a big workout or a game, drink a glass every thirty minutes to replenish lost fluids.
You know protein is important, but are you consuming enough? You should be aiming for one to one-and-a-half grams of protein for each pound you weight.
To make sure you are getting the protein you need, make sure every meal contains at least one source of protein, including eggs, chicken, fish, and lean meat.
Protein is important for muscle healing and recovery. Make sure you carry protein bars with you so you can eat one within thirty minutes after a workout or game. This ensures you stay at your very best.
While protein is important, don’t neglect your carbohydrates. Carbs give your body the fuel it needs to run, providing the energy you burn for workouts, games, and daily life. So on heavy workout days or days you have a big game, maximize your carb intake. But then on off-days or light workout days, you’ll want to consume fewer carbs.
So, what’s a healthy diet look like for the training basketball player? Balanced meals and snacks that include protein and carbs, and of course, plenty of water. Breakfasts of eggs and toast will do the trick, for example, as will lunches starring a sandwich with a protein like tuna or chicken. Dinners with another protein, such as fish or a lean meat, and pasta or rice, will round out your day’s meals quite nicely. And as for snacks, don’t forget to keep them healthy, too! Try some nuts and dried fruits, or a Promax bar and cheese slices.
As you can see, proper nutrition is the key to success on and off the court. But the athlete’s diet is anything but boring. What are your favorite meals and snacks to fuel your success? Share them with us by connecting with us on our social channels!
When we’re trying to get – or stay – in shape, it’s tempting to cut out snacks.
That’s just wrong.
Surprisingly, snacks are an important part of a healthy diet. Used wisely, they can help ensure you reach your fitness goals and maintain your optimal weight. It takes a lot of willpower to meet your fitness and weight-loss goals, and snacks are a surprisingly important ally. Just in case you didn’t catch them all growing up, here are several facts you may or may not have learned from Mom about how to snack.
1. Snacks help your energy pick up. Dreading the 3 o’clock slump? Be sure to stock some healthy snacks to renew your mid-day fuel. One quick snack can give you the same boost as that grande latte or can of energy drink, but with the added benefit of nutrients you need.
2. Snacks meet important nutrient requirements. It is unlikely you are getting all the fruit and vegetable vitamins you need in only three meals each day. By sneaking in some more during a mid-morning, late-afternoon, and even late-night snack, you are increasing your chances of maximizing your nutrient intake.
3. Snacks help athletes meet their increased caloric requirement. Whether training or bulking up for an event, many athletes need a larger number of calories than they can consume during meals. Get an edge on your diet with extra snacks. Many trainers recommend eating every two or three hours for maximum benefit.
4. Snacks can be so much more than a cookie. It’s important to choose snacks wisely to get the most of these important calories. Be careful to read labels carefully and select real, nutrient-dense food. Stay away from processed lunchmeats and prepackaged cookies, crackers, and chips. Instead focus on fresh fruits and veggies, high fiber foods, and protein. Purchase fresh produce and nuts in bulk and portion them out into baggies or small containers for quick grab-and-go bites you can feel good about.
5. Snacks of 200 calories or less help maintain a healthy weight. Snack this size offer all these benefits while helping to reduce the number of calories consumed in the next meal. They actually protect against overeating.
There are many ways to enjoy satisfying 200 calorie snacks.
- Delicious protein bar.
- Raw fruits and vegetables with nut butter or hummus.
- Berries and Greek yogurt. Sliced cheese with lean meat.
- Applesauce and granola.
- Baked sweet potato with cottage cheese.
- Melon with crumbled feta cheese.
- Whole grain toast with nut butter and honey.
- Roasted chickpeas.
- Wasabi peas.
- Dried fruit.
- Black beans and guacamole.
- Slicked chicken with cucumber and Greek yogurt.
- Small avocado with salsa.
- Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and red onion with feta cheese and drizzled olive oil.
- Air-popped popcorn and apple slices.
- Mixed berries with honey or yogurt.
- Dark chocolate chips with cherries, dried bananas, or berries.
- Pineapple cubes with shaved coconut.
Looking for protein bar that’s around 200 calories? Check out our range of great tasting LS Promax bars and see how function meets flavor.
There isn’t an athlete alive that hasn’t felt tired from time to time. Even if you aren’t overtraining, you likely experience occasional fatigue not only from your exercise routine, but also from the demands of your busy life.
There has never been a more important time to prioritize the healthy habit of sleep.
Every bit as important as diet and exercise, a regular seven or more hours of deep sleep is critical to long-term health. Doctors, psychologists, sports trainers, and coaches are jumping on the sleep bandwagon, prescribing sleep for optimal achievement. Not convinced?
Here are just six critical functions of your nightly rest.
Sleep Benefits You Need to Achieve
1. Deep sleep repairs heart and blood vessels. While you rest, your body protects you against the long-term damage of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This important repair work to your heart and blood vessels can only occur during sleep. Those who get less than six hours a night have a much higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
2. Deep sleep regulates appetite and metabolism. Each night, your body takes advantage of your sleeping hours to re-regulate your hormones, including those that control hunger. As a result, you will experience less hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Also, sleep restores a healthy metabolism, so you will more efficiently use the calories you do consume and put on less weight overall.
3. Deep sleep manages growth hormone. Not just for children and teens, growth hormone is key to adult long-term health. Your body uses this hormone to rebuild muscle tissue and bone, helping you heal faster, exercise safer, and live longer. You need this to repair damage done daily during workout and regular wear-and-tear.
4. Deep sleep minimizes inflammatory proteins. Guard against the aches and pains of arthritis with restorative sleep. Those who sleep longer are at less risk of osteoarthritis, and even chronic inflammatory arthritis sufferers experience a decrease in symptoms with more sleep.
5. Deep sleep maximizes the immune system. During sleep, your immune system is strengthened and restored, helping you fight off common illnesses and protecting you against disease. Conversely, those who sleep less than seven hours each night experience fewer sick days and are more prone to serious disease and disability.
6. Deep sleep improves brain function. One of the most critical of all sleep benefits is the tremendous renewal of mental ability. During sleep, your brain builds new pathways to work more efficiently, while memories are organized effectively for better recall later. This results in faster reaction time, better decision-making skills, less stress, and heightened sense of confidence during the day. This may be why athletes who sleep close to ten hours on a regular basis overcome obstacles and achieve their goals faster.
These are just a few of the powerful benefits of regular restorative sleep. Be sure to schedule seven to ten hours each night to ensure you are maximizing your health and making the most of every waking hour.
Picture it: you wake up, get dressed, grab an energy bar, and head out into the early morning light. Your purpose—running. Running is, by far, one of the most popular forms of exercise today. When you run, you can get your heart rate up quickly, helping you burn calories. Over time, your body will build up more stamina, and you will be able to run even longer distances. Running and fitness go hand-in-hand. However, if you are new to the world of running, it can seem a little intimidating. Here are 10 reasons why you should add running to your daily exercise routine.
1. Fewer doctor visits — When you are physically active, especially an intense activity like running, you lower your chances of developing breast and/or colon cancer. It can also help lower your blood pressure with just a few weeks of regular running.
2. Longer life — Runners have shown to have a longer life span than those who don’t actively run. They also tend to have fewer disabilities.
3. Burn, baby, burn — Running is one of the best ways to burn calories fast. A person who weighs around 150-160 pounds can burn up to 800 calories in an hour.
4. No limits — Unlike other exercises that require special equipment and locations, as long as you have a good pair of running shoes, you can run anywhere and anytime. Not only do you have freedom, you can also save lots of money on expensive gym memberships and equipment.
5. Mental health — Regular exercise, such as running, can keep you mentally fit, as well as physically fit, even reducing signs of dementia as you get older.
6. Be social — Running is a great way to meet new people. Whether you join a gym or just run at the park, you will find lots of other runners along the way.
7. Bring a pet — Running is a great way to spend some quality time with your dog. It’s also a great way to make sure your furry friend gets his exercise, too!
8. All weather — With running, you can run outside when it’s beautiful weather, and when the weather is yucky, you can hit the treadmill. You will never have to miss a running session due to the weather, because it is such a versatile exercise.
9. Keep calm — Running has been shown to boost the levels of serotonin in your brain, which helps keep you feeling relaxed and calm.
10. A good night’s sleep — Running, like other exercises, helps you to get a more restful sleep at night, which means you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the world.
Now that you have more than enough reasons to start running, go ahead and put on your running shoes—it’s time for you to hit the road to a long and healthy life.
To learn more about the benefits of running, and how our bars can help fuel your body before and after a long run, contact us at Promax Nutrition.
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