Do Deadlifts

Deadlifts find their way into a lot of our clients programs because they can help fix/strengthen many areas of the body. They are arguably one of the single most effective movements you can do; benefiting people from all age ranges, skill levels and with varied goals. If you don’t have any limiting injuries, the deadlift is an exercise you should probably incorporate into your routine. Here are a few reasons we love them:

Three Principles for Training Smarter

When it comes to figuring out what to do in the gym, the good news is that there are a lot of things that will give you success getting from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be).

Top 5 Popular Supplements: Do You Need Them?

When it comes to reaching fitness goals, one of the most commonly asked questions is, what kind of nutritional/ fitness supplements should I take to help me get there? In some cases, consuming a dietary supplement may give you a slight edge on performance and aesthetic goals. However, the multi-billion dollar supplement industry is flooded with sexy ads that make false promises. It can be extremely overwhelming to make an educated decision on what to purchase. Take a look below at our top five most asked about supplements and whether or not they may be beneficial for you!

Protein Powder

A protein powder supplement is probably the most talked about supplement among individuals who are trying to get in shape. It is essential you get you enough protein to maintain and continue building muscle. Here’s why. When we consume protein, our body then breaks it down into amino acids. These amino acids have many jobs in the body such as helping to make up enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and are also the essential building blocks for muscle building and repair. While it is very possible to get adequate protein from food alone, a protein powder, in the form a protein shake can serve as a quick and easy meal replacement. According to the USDA, the most basically level recommendation for protein intake is .8 grams per kilogram body weight (or about .36g per pound body weight). However, this recommendation is based on preventing a deficiency (basically just to survive) and not necessarily the recommendation for optimal functioning and building lean muscle. Consuming more protein has been sufficient in helping people reach a more optimal level of physique, with intake ranging from 1.6-2g per kg body weight (~ .60g per pound body weight). If you’re someone who is too busy to have a healthy protein containing meal during the day, a protein powder may be beneficial for you. Protein supplements are also effective for men/women/teenagers who have a high calorie requirements due to high metabolism and multiple hour long sport practices. The good thing about protein powders is that they are available in both vegetarian and vegan forms and can come from other sources than milk. For more info on types of protein variations click here.

BCAA’s

BCAA’s or branched-chain amino acids are comprised of 3 essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. An essential amino acid can only be consumed as oppose to non-essential amino acids which can be produced naturally in the body. Because BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein, they are also found in protein supplements and help play the same supportive role as mentioned above. Interestingly enough, studies have gone back and forth on the effectiveness of BCAA’s. However, one study found that BCAA’s did have a positive impact on “enhancing exercise performance by exerting its influence on fatigue substances, muscle damage substances, and energy metabolism substances.” Many BCAA supplements do not have calories (or have very few) and are mixed right in water which makes them easier to drink pre/during workout than a more heavy protein powder. In addition, high quality formulated BCAA’s may include other added ingredients that can be effective. For example, The Journal of Nutrition states that there was some evidence regarding L-Glutamine in muscle recovery and an increased amino acid sensitivity. If you have long duration workouts, engage in longer endurance activities (biking, running etc.), workout frequently where maximizing recovery between workouts in important or you are in a caloric deficit due to dieting BCAA’s may be worth trying!

Pre-Workout

A pre-workout is the umbrella term that refers to any supplement that is recommended to be taken prior to exercise with the purpose of increasing your energy, workout capacity or performance during your workout. This is an attractive supplement to people who may feel tired or rundown and need the extra boost before a workout (seems like a lot of us would fall in this category!). Caffeine is a commonly used as a main stimulant in pre-workouts ranging from 0 - 350mg per serving. A study published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, concluded that pre-workout supplements can increase anaerobic power significantly when the main ingredient is caffeine. However, not everyone needs a preworkout. If early mornings or late nights are the only times you can workout, a preworkout may supply you the energy needed. Though, taking a caffeine based supplement at night may make it harder to fall asleep. Always exercise caution when starting to use a pre-workout. Some pre-workouts are specifically aimed towards overloading their ingredient list with stimulants. Because everybody may have a different tolerance level to the stimulants, start with a smaller than recommended dose to gauge how it makes you feel during your workout. Keep in mind that women and lower weight individuals may need smaller doses.

Creatine

Creatine is the most studied sports supplement and maybe slightly more controversial than the others listed above because people often mistake it for an illegal or unsafe substance. However,  of all the performance supplements it may have the biggest positive impacts on performance. Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in muscle cells. The thought is that, by taking creatine, we can increase our natural storage in the muscle, this will translate to more energy and endurance for heavy lifting. In other words, the idea is that creatine supplementation helps get those last 1 or 2 reps at the end of your set and therefore helps build muscle strength and size. It is often naturally occuring in meats. One study for that supplementing with 5g of creatine had a positive effect on strength and hypertrophy. If you are a casual, recreational gym-goer, there may not be a need to supplement with creatine. However, if you are training specifically to get really strong, you can be a candidate for creatine. Keep in mind that creatine supplementation, just like any other supplementation, can interfere with other medications so you definitely should consider consulting your doctor and making sure you are dosing properly.

Multivitamins

A multivitamin supplement can be used to supplement your daily routine if there is a concern that certain vitamins and minerals are not being consumed through food alone. If you are following a certain diet/lifestyle that requires you to completely eliminate certain food groups, you may be more susceptible to a deficiency in something. When choosing a multivitamin consider what vitamins and minerals it contains as they can be different across brands, also find a trusted brand, like Nutrabio, and consider adding it to your stack of supplements if you lack variety in your diet. If you are also following a calorically restricted eating plan and embarking on an extremely hard regiment, you may benefit from making sure you are replenishing with supplementation. A study on multivitamins showed, cardiovascular benefits associated with the intake of a multivitamin and immune response was also elevated when a daily multivitamin was consumed in individuals who did have deficiencies. A good rule of thumb is before beginning a multivitamin routine, consult your doctor to see whether or not you are a good candidate and how it may interact with any other medication you may be taking.     

Keep in mind the overall effectiveness of a fitness/nutritional supplement depends on many different factors. In an industry with thousands of different suppliers of a similar product, taking the time to research the one that is produced with the best quality byproducts and using the best procedures is important. Believe it or not, unlike food products, supplements do not need to be FDA approved for quality control. However, some supplements do seek FDA approval. These are great brands to consider. The other factor that influences effectiveness is your current diet and lifestyle factors.  No fitness supplement will make up for poor nutritional choices and half-assed training. Keep in mind, a supplement is just that, a supplement to your diet. Eat your fruits and vegetables, add lean protein to your meals, consume foods high in omega-3’s, minimize sugar and highly processed foods, get adequate rest/sleep, be consistent with your training and stay hydrated ---then you allow for a supplement to be at its most effectiveness.

To order any of these supplements click here to explore and shop Nutrabio and use our discount code: occam10

Measuring Your Success (Without the Scale)

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When it comes to your diet and exercise program, how important to you is your scale weight as a measure of success?

I’m sure we are not the only trainers who sometimes feel like we spend half our time actually getting people healthier and the other half of the time convincing them they are making positive improvements despite the scale not moving as much as they would have liked.

The scale can be a great tool for giving feedback and finding trends/changes with your body. It also can be highly variable depending on what scale we use, what we are wearing, what time of the day it is, what time of the month it is… etc. We also can put unrealistic expectations on how fast we expect the needle to move. In addition, some of us approach the scale with extra baggage and negative feelings about the number. This is a recipe for feeling negatively about yourself which could be quite unwarranted if you stop and look at other factors that reflect a lot of success. Regardless of the emphasis you put into your scale weight, here’s a reminder of a few other ways success can be showing up for you:

  1. Your energy has improved and/or sleep normalizes. Increasing activity and cleaning up your food choices can absolutely make it easier to wake up the morning as well as promote more productive sleep at night. We all know how important good quality sleep is for overall health and wellness.

  2. Your good habits have stuck and bad ones have dropped off.  Whether it’s creating new habits or ditching old ones, change is hard and should be acknowledged. This could be something as simple as putting less sugar in your coffee. Small consistent changes everyday add up and will lead to permanent improvements in health.

  3. A pain or discomfort has gone away or diminished. This is an important one to take note of! This can look like less low back pain at work, less knee pain during running or even the removal of regularly occurring heartburn.

  4. People are starting to notice. Sometimes our family and friends recognize positive changes before we do. It does feel good when someone says, “You look great, what have you been doing?” Soak it up!

  5. You notice strength and ability improvements. Being able to do movements you haven’t been able to do before (or in years!) or you’re moving heavier weights is a huge win. This usually will cross over to being better at doing activities in your daily life.    

  6. You keep showing up! If you have gone from working out intermittently to working out consistently, your cells and heart are thanking you.

  7. Your clothes are fitting better! Enough said.

It would be a shame to overlook any of these accomplishments because your “scale weight” is not where you want it to be or where you think it should be. Remember, no matter how small of a step you think you took, they will add up quickly.


References:

Image from: Image from: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/11/key-to-long-term-weight-loss-may-be-as-simple-as-more-fat-fewer-carbs/

10 Ways To Make Time (Not Excuses)

One of the most commonly cited reasons for failing to exercise is “lack of time.” Unfortunately, sometimes we can be made to feel like if we’re not a complete and total gym rat, we aren’t doing enough!

Exercises to Battle Osteoporosis

It’s likely you know someone who has had the diagnosis of osteoporosis or maybe it is something your doctor has put on your radar. This disease, which is characterized by a reduction in the density and quality of the bone, will effect roughly 55% of people 50 years and older. Osteopenia is a similar condition, however, it is the initial discovery that bones are weaker than normal.

A Healthier Pop Tart

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This recipe was really fun and had us feeling super nostalgic. After all, who didn’t love Poptarts as a kid???

Full disclosure, this is not the healthiest recipe we’ve ever posted but when you consider the ingredients in a store bought Poptart (see below), this recipe takes it from an ultra-processed food to a gluten free, lower carb treat made with all real ingredients. Enjoy in moderation!

Wild Berry Poptart Ingredients…Yikes

Ingredients For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 2 cups coconut flour

  • 1 tbs sea salt

  • 2 tbs sugar

  • 1 ½ cup grass fed butter ( cold, cut into pieces )

Ingredients For the Filling:

  • 2 cup sliced mixed berries (can use frozen berries)

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

****(OR just use quality store bought jam)

Ingredients for the Icing:

  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar

  • 1 tbs almond milk

  • Optional sprinkles :)

Instructions for pastry:

  1. Pre- heat oven to 350 degrees

  2. In a Kitchen Aid mixer or food processor, pulse all pastry ingredients except eggs to create crumbs. Once crumbs form, add in eggs and continue mixing so that dough like consistency forms.

  3. Divide the dough in half to make two equal parts. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and flatten discs, then chill in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes.

  4. Rollout one disc of dough by placing it between two sheets of parchment paper on a large cutting board. Starting from the center and moving outward, into a 9 x 12 “ rectangle (approximately), 1/8-1/4” thick. Place rolled out dough back in the fridge to keep chilled.

  5. Repeat step 3 with the second batch of dough (rolling out into a rectangle).

Instructions for filling (if not using high quality store bought jam):

  1. Place berries and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Allow to boil and then lower heat to med and allow to boil/strong simmer over heat for 20 minutes. Stir and smash berries as they cook.

Instructions for Icing: ( do this step while pop tart is cooling)

  1. Whisk together icing ingredients

Putting it All Together :

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  1. Spoon thick layer of jam over one set of dough, leaving a 1/2” border dough.

  2. Place second rectangle dough on top of jam cover dough. Gently seal the edges with a fork, as dough will be crumbly. Prick the top of the pastry with fork to allow steam to release while baking.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  4. Wait for it to cool, then ice pop tart and garnish with sprinkles. Allow icing to cool prior to eating! Cut into serving size pieces ( anywhere from 9 to 12 squares).






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Mastering Your Push-Up

When it comes to the basic, biggest bang for your buck exercises--we love the push-up. After all, a true test of strength is how well we can maneuver our own body weight. If you’re new to fitness or just haven’t yet been able to cross off “doing a full push-up” from your fitness bucket list, it’s time to hone in! These FOUR modified push-up variations will help you work up to the real thing.

It’s OK if you feel like you’re “not good” at push-ups! These modifications or regressions, which are slightly easier variations, exist to help you build the necessary muscles required to get you mastering a full push-up. Think of them as prerequisites.

The push-up is a great way to improve upper body strength, specifically the chest (pectorals), back of the arms (triceps), and shoulders (deltoids). It also requires a ton of core strength to maintain proper alignment. These are the areas we need to focus on whipping into shape.

Push-Up Technique

Regardless of the type of push-up you’re doing, doing it properly is the most important thing. If you feel like the modified version that you are doing is still too challenging to keep your form, that’s a good cue that you may need to regress down a level. Alternately, if you can perform 8-10 reps with excellent form and control, its probably time to level up.

Hands: Hands should be directly underneath the shoulders. How wide you choose to place your hands can vary. Different widths will target the muscles differently.  General rule can be to start with slight wider than shoulder width. (A closer hand position will work more of the back of the arm or tricep and typically is more challenging.) Pointer fingers should be pointing forward. It’s also a good cue to think of screwing your hands into the floor away from you thumbs. This helps stabilize the shoulders.

Head/ Neck: Gaze should be down, chin slightly tucked, so that we are keeping our head and neck in line with the rest of our spine.

Shoulders: These should be down and back away from your ears. You want to be pushing up throw your shoulders and not sinking through the middle of your back.

Hips/Core/Low Back: To keep it simple, you don’t want to be sagging through your mid section. This is an indication that your core is not active and hips maybe tilted anteriorly. On a proper pushup, the first thing to touch the ground would be your chest, not your hips. To accomplish this, think of tucking your “tucking your tall” to align hips properly.

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Feet: Feet width is personal preference. The closer together your feet are, the smaller your base which could potentially make the exercise more challenging. Start with your feet about hip width apart.

Listed in order in which we would progress with clients (from less challenging to more challenging…).

#1: Incline Push-ups on Smith Machine

#2: Negative Push-ups

These are great if you are on the verge of being able to do a full push-up or you can do a couple and want to work on increasing your repetitions. Rather than focusing on the “push” you are focusing all of your effort on the eccentric or downward motion. Start in a high plank. Keep a nice flat, “Table-Top” back. Lower yourself down, slow and controlled, fighting the resistance of your body weight. Try to lower down for a 3 or 5 second count. Here is where you use your muscles! Head, chest, hips, and knees all come down in one straight line.

Help yourself back to your knees, using little effort. Then, back to your high plank for another rep!

#3: Banded Push-ups

#4: Half Rep Push-ups

With this variation, you might feel like you are “cheating” because you are only performing half of the range of motion, however, it will help train your core to maintain positioning throughout the range of motion. It will also help improve your tricep strength when locking out at the top. It is great way to improve your push-up confidence because it means that you are almost there!

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HOTEL GYM WORKOUT 101

Typically, apartment or hotel fitness centers have limited space to work with therefore, they may contain lighter weights and less equipment compared to your local gym. Some people see this as a challenge to get a good workout in. We have the solution. The truth is that a hotel gym does not have to kill your workout vibe.

Fix Your Overhead Press

Before pressing weights over your head, there are definitely some things you need to know…

The ability to comfortably, and without compensation, put your arms straight up over your head is lost for many people. This is because it is a position we rarely find ourselves in during our daily life.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day...Or is it?

If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I would have tried to convince you that you NEED to eat breakfast, because after all, it was drilled into me that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. I, myself, was a big breakfast fan and I knew the research.

For example...

Do You Even Belly Breathe?

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even have to discuss diaphragmatic breathing because it is a naturally occurring process that every human being does naturally. However, as we spend large amounts of time stressed and in active, the muscles in our core and diaphragm weaken and our breath becomes more and more shallow.

Reflecting on the Arnold Sports Festival 2019

This year, I had the privilege of attending The Arnold Sports Festival from March 1-3. This three-day event is held every year in Columbus, OH and hosted by the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger. My role at the event was to work the Nutrabio booth, representing, promoting, and selling their products. While I’ve attended many events with Nutrabio over the last five years, the Arnold Sports Festival was by far the most electric.

Which Body Type Are You?

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and while much of that has to do with lifestyle and environmental factors, some of it boils down to the genetic “body type” we were born into.

30-Second Plank Rule

When it comes core/abdominal training, the plank is usually the go to choice for gym-goers and trainers. However, it is one of the most poorly performed exercises and most people don’t realize they are doing it incorrectly. However, There is a lot of really great ways to do planks and great ways to program them into your workouts.

How Ultra-Processed is Your Diet?

Every once in awhile, I’ll read a new nutrition study and think to myself, “Yea...no duh.” While this most recent study falls into that category, it serves as a great reminder that our nutritional choices do, in fact, become our biology. With increasingly evolving food technology, food choices and food categories have expanded, making it harder to make good choices. Not only do we have processed and unprocessed foods, but we now have the emergence of an entirely new category of “ultra-processed” foods.

365 Days Of Dining Out

Meet Mark! Mark is the owner and CEO of Nutrabio Labs, which is a supplement manufacturer of everything from protein powder to vitamins and minerals, and a plethora of other products for people who lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Being a good friend of The Body Shop Studio, Mark and I have shared plenty of meals dining out together. A few months ago Mark told me that he has eaten every single meal out at a restaurant for the last 365 days. No meals prepared at home. Moral of the story is that he still manages to look like this...

5 Ways To Train Better for Back Health

When it comes to factors that can limit your fitness routine, chronic back pain is high on the list for many. First and foremost, we highly recommend a doctor’s visit to address your back pain and immediately ditching the training motto, “no pain, no gain.” Trying to work through back pain without figuring out what the cause is and how to properly address it, can end in huge setbacks.

Exercise Order: Are You Doing It Right?

When it comes to organizing your workout, there is a method to the madness. Here are some basic principles:

1. Always Start with a Warm Up

Jumping into your workout right from the car is never a good idea. The goal of your warm-up is just what it sounds like, to warm up the muscle.