Category: Fitness

How to Get the Most from Your Next Workout

Working out — it is something that we all should be doing in order to live long and healthy lives. Unfortunately, many people do not work out enough. Others simply do not do a workout at all. Still others work out, but they aren’t working out in the manner that is best. For instance, they may be trying to lift too much, instead of starting slow and gradually progressing up in weight.. Promax is here to help you get the most out of your next workout because, let’s face it, our effective protein bars can fuel your workout, but they can’t do the workout for you!.

Make a Workout Work for You

Before we get into the tips for making your workout work for you, the first thing you have to do is come up with a workout plan. You may need a trainer to help you get started, but the important thing is that have a plan of attack that will help you to achieve your desired goals. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking action towards a long, healthy life, and strategize a game plan! Here are some ways to get more from your workout:

– Wear the right shoes. You may think that a pair of running shoes is perfect for every type of workout. You would be wrong. Running shoes are just that — made for running. So, if running is your workout of choice, or if it is a part of your overall workout plan, make sure you wear running shoes. Cross trainers are fine for lifting weights when you are at the gym, but these kinds of shoes are heavier than running shoes, and they don’t offer the same amount of support and cushioning. Choose running shoes for runs longer than 2 miles, choose Training shoes for your gym floor and boot camp workouts and for interval running.

– Know when to replace your shoes. Speaking of shoes, the average person can get about 400 miles out of a pair of running shoes. If you are on the heavier side, you can expect to get fewer miles before the midsoles have become too worn. Know exactly when you started using your shoes, then keep a running estimate of how many miles the shoes have. When you reach about 400 miles, it is time to buy shoes to ensure that your feet are always properly supported. Even if you don’t ever reach 400 miles, the man made materials of athletic shoes break down over time simply by being exposed to air. If your shoes are older than 6 months – irrespective of usage time – it’s time to spoil yourself with a new pair!

– Be consistent. Just like you had to choose a workout plan, you need to choose a time when working out will fit into your schedule. Research is conflicting; some suggest morning workouts when cortisol is high, and some suggest evening workouts to alleviate the stress from the day. Sometimes it’s just hard to arrange your workout at a convenient time. Therefore, the best time of day to work out is the time of day that you’ll actually do it! However, as long as you are getting off the couch and moving on a regular basis, the timing doesn’t really matter. Create a workout schedule that gives you the right amount of exercise at the time of day that is best for your busy schedule.

– Make sure you warm up before working out. This doesn’t necessarily mean stretching. What you want to do is get your body to a higher intensity level than when it is resting — but not as high as when you are working out. The name “warm up” is really misnomer. The goal of a warm up is to prepare your body metabolically for your workout. Take 10 minutes and gradually increase your heart rate through movement drills, walking or jogging around the block, or hoping on a piece of cardio equipment.

Contact us today at Promax to learn more about working out, fueling your body, and how our delicious, protein  bars can be a great addition to your healthy lifestyle.

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert@flickr.com

The Truth Behind 5 Workout Myths

At this point in your journey to a fitter, healthier body, you probably have a pretty good understanding of nutrition — or you are at least learning about it. You know that your body needs the right balance of carbs, proteins, and other nutrients before and after a workout. You know that you can find that balance in our healthy protein bars, or you can find it in a selection of other foods. You know that your body needs a healthy diet, in general, as well as an exercise routine. When it comes to exercise, that is where your knowledge may be clouded. There are certain exercise myths sworn to be true, and Promax is here to debunk the myths and keep you on the right track.

  1. You can spot-train certain areas of your body, such as your abs. Well, you can target any area you want, but if you are looking for a six-pack, it doesn’t really matter how many crunches you do. If your abs are hidden behind body fat, until you get rid of the body fat, you will never see your abs. Instead of focusing on specific target areas, concentrate on a more full-body workout that is going to reduce body fat — then you will start to see the results you want.
  2. You must stretch, or you could be injured. Studies have shown that stretching is not a necessary pre-workout routine. It can help a little, but it may not necessarily increase your range of motion. In some cases, stretching too much can make you a bit unstable, which could lead to an injury. Also, research has shown that intense stretching before strength workouts actually decreases a muscle’s ability to generate force. Try a quick warm-up exercise routine to get your heart pumping and your muscles warmed up.
  3. You burn more calories during cardio with weights. While this is true, it’s not so true that you need to make it a necessary part of your exercise routine. In other words, holding weights during your cardio workout is going to burn a few more calories, but not enough to make a huge difference. What it will do is put you at a higher risk for a possible injury. The human body isn’t designed to have heavy hands or feet! Find other ways of burning extra calories, such as hopping on the treadmill at a faster speed.
  4. Exercising about 45 minutes every day will keep you healthy, no matter what. Sure, you need daily exercise. However, exercise isn’t going to keep you healthy by itself. If you exercise for an hour each day, but spend the rest of the day eating junk food and watching TV, your body is going to show the effects. Focus on a lifestyle change, instead of just adding exercise to your daily life. Exercise and healthy eating go hand-in-hand.
  5. “No pain, no gain” is the way to go. The truth is that it is fine for your workout to push you to the edge of your comfort zone — and even out of it. But if you are feeling intense pain during your workout, if you are on the verge of losing consciousness, or are otherwise completely uncomfortable, then you are pushing yourself too far. Your workout should test your limits, but never to the point of severe pain. Know your limits, and slowly expand your comfort zone over time.

Contact us today at Promax to learn more about exercise myths, nutrition, and how our  healthy bars can be a great addition to your daily workout routine. 

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Photo courtesy of cwcav@freeimages.com

How to Refuel after a Workout

When you have a long and strenuous workout, you want to start refueling your body as soon as possible. This is because there is a one-hour window when your glycogen replacement is at its fastest. While the replacement rate does continue at a slower pace for several hours, the best refueling results are within that one-hour window. No matter what level athlete you are – from beginner to professional – it’s best to start the refueling process as soon as you complete your workout. You can do this with one of our clean energy bars, which are packed with a great combination of easily digested protein and fast response carbs.  

There are other things you need to remember about refueling after a strenuous workout. Your muscles can be refueled in 24 hours, as long as you feed them the right amount of carbs and proteins. You just need to make sure you are eating to refuel; this should be strategic eating for optimal performance rather than eating just to eat. Make sure your calories are appropriate to your level of workout and energy needs.

What You Need to Refuel

You should refuel with both carbs and protein. Knowing how many carbs your body needs can be tough to determine. Your carbohydrate needs are dependent on the intensity and duration of your workout, as well as your body weight and body composition. Here are some general rules to help you keep your muscles energized and ready for action:

– If your workout is moderate intensity for 60 minutes or less, all you need is .25 – .50 grams of carbs per pound of your body weight in the meal following your workout.

– If you’re an endurance athlete and your workout lasts 1-3 hours, aim for .50 – .75 grams of carbs per pound of your body weight in your recovery meal. Then, aim for .25 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight in a meal 3 hours post workout.

– Extreme athletes who engage in activity for more than 3 hours per session need 1 gram of carb per pound of bodyweight in the recovery meal as well as two hours post session.

You also want to give your body sufficient protein in combination with the carbs. Combining your proteins and carbs within the first half hour after a workout will give you the maximum glycogen benefits. Aim for a 4:1 ratio of carbs and proteins – you want 4 grams of carbs for every 1 gram of protein.

What to Eat for Refueling

Now that you know how much carbs and protein you need to refuel your body, you need to know which foods make the best choices. You may not have a full kitchen available immediately after a workout, which makes our protein bars the ideal choice. Engineered foods, such as our protein bars, are designed specifically for fueling your body both before and after a workout.

They are a key component in refueling because they are made to be easy to digest, and they also contain the ideal balance of carbs and proteins. These scientifically-engineered bars are clean, healthy, and they take the guesswork out of counting grams of carbs and protein. You can easily eat a protein bar right after a workout and know that you are giving your body exactly what it needs to repair muscles and refuel for the next workout.

Drink the Good Stuff

Finally, when it comes to the right after-workout drink, avoid the sports drinks. Those are fine for drinking during extended exercise programs, but for refueling after a workout, you need a different composition of nutrient. Be sure to drink 8-10 ounces of pure, clean water with our bars to improve digestion and absorption. Other great refueling options include: low fat chocolate milk, bananas, orange juice and tropical fruit

Contact us today at Promax to learn more about our energy bars and how they can help refuel your body after a strenuous workout. 

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Workout Nutrition: What to eat before, during, and after your workout

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It is a common metaphor to compare our bodies to cars and it couldn’t be more true. Your body is like a Ferrari. You wouldn’t get on the freeway and drive without oil and gas.

Think of your body the same way. It needs very specific fuel and nutrition so that it runs optimally, performs, and gives you its best so that you can reach your goals.

The point of a workout is to go into it supremely energized and primed so you can challenge yourself beyond your current ability. Your body is a machine. Eating something before a workout gives you the foundation to work your hardest so you are building the most amount of muscle possible and getting the most from your workout of choice. This will help boost your metabolism and therefore create a flame that burns calories. When you become more fit, you have the ability to burn off body fat more efficiently.

You want a combination of easily digestible protein paired with a moderately fast carbohydrate. I suggest that you eat an easily digestible protein and carb-rich snack 30 minutes before you head out, such as a glass of skim milk, non-fat yogurt or a low-fat string cheese with an apple. With this said, the harder or longer your workout is, the more important the snack becomes.

After a long road trip, I like to fill my car with gas again before I get home. Our bodies are the same. A five mile run or one hour of weight lifting burns energy and “stresses” muscles. Post workout, it is essential to get food into your body immediately to refuel and begin the recovery process.

I often start this process while walking out of the gym locker room. The goal of your post-workout snack is 1) to provide fast proteins to muscles so they can begin the recovery process (this may help prevent muscle soreness, and will ensure a great workout tomorrow) and 2) provide fast carbohydrates to restore muscle and liver glycogen levels and to stabilize your blood sugar. After a workout, your body has a stronger propensity to refuel. Meaning, what you put in will be absorbed and utilized more effectively than if you wait 1-2 hours to eat.

The laboratory world of food science has proven that some foods get “assimilated” faster in your body than others. For example, dairy gets absorbed much faster than beef and table sugar gets absorbed faster than strawberries. It’s beneficial to choose a combination of protein and carbohydrate that will pass through your digestion system quickly so that they can be assimilated into your muscles, liver and brain.

You have a unique window after workouts where your body will utilize nutrition faster. Therefore, you want to choose fuels that partner with this process. Faster refuel means faster recovery. This is why sports nutrition products exist. Professional athletes know that their performance is dependent on fuel that is engineered to work with the needs of their body.

Real foods should be the cornerstone of your diet, but utilize scientifically engerineed foods immediately before, during or after workouts. This will help you maximize your workouts and fitness level. Try a Promax bar to provide you with the energy and protein to fuel and recover faster.