Meet Mr. Endorphin, Your New BFF!

Endorphins help you lose weight!

Needing extra motivation for fat and weight loss? It’s time you met Mr. Endorphin. We think you’re gonna love him.

Dossier

Name: Mr. Endorphin

Occupation: Bringing euphoria and daily happiness to the masses

Description:

  • Stress fighter
  • Depression reducer
  • Sleep improver
  • Self-image booster
  • Anxiety defeater
  • Pain regulator

Location: Your brain. Also likes to run through your nervous system.

Modus Operandi:

Mr. Endorphin is the kind of friend who is always around, but needs a little encouragement. You know who I’m talking about. It’s that friend that seems quiet and reserved, but is really the funniest and most uplifting person you know. That’s Mr. Endorphin.

Examples of things you do that will encourage his appearance:

  • Killing it in the gym
  • Building strength, speed, and power
  • Running
  • Laughing

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The Science:

Mr. Endorphin loves aerobic and anaerobic exercise. According to scientific data, lactate concentration created by anaerobic exercise produces endorphins. Similarly, in aerobic exercise, the lactate production and elimination produces endorphins.

In Plain English:

When you exercise, Mr. Endorphin is your best friend. He’ll make you feel happier and less stressed, equip you to better face life, and give you a dose of euphoria without any side effects.

Conclusion

Exercising will make you feel better, and that’s a scientific fact. You should incorporate moderate exercise into your life at least three times a week. Once you start to develop a friendship with Mr. Endorphin, I think you’ll want to see him more often.

*A Brainy Tip:

If you loved learning about the role your brain plays in exercise and happiness, learn more about how your brain impacts hunger by going here.

Make Family Life Better: Exercise Together!

Including family can make exercising easier!

Your kids have probably been your motivation to stay fit and healthy. Why not exercise together? Here are 5 ways to integrate family exercise into the busyness of life!

Healthy Kids Make for a Healthy You

You know how great exercising makes you feel, so why not share the love? Whether you have toddlers, tweens or teens, research indicates children NEED exercise. Exercise will boost your child’s self-esteem, reduce their risk for obesity and build healthy bones.

Kids don’t know how damaging it can be to spend too much time in front of the TV. YOU DO! Teach them to put down the control and pick up a basketball!

The best way to foster a love for exercise, is to do it together. Let them see your joy in working up a good sweat and they will learn to love exercise, too. This will set your kids up for healthier lives!

Haven’t you noticed an adorable trend on Instagram? More moms are working out with their toddlers! What’s cuter than a toddler with their own (weight appropriate) bar bell?!

Start young and train for life!

Important Note: Don’t force your kids to exercise. Forcing them to exercise, or pushing them to overachieve, is harmful. A little encouragement or parental veto is fine. Just don’t take it too far.

Top 5 Ways to Exercise Together:

1. Take It Outside

Summer will be here soon. Plan to spend your afternoons and weekends outside. Running, biking, and swimming are great family activities. Get that Vitamin D BOOST!

2. Take Your Older Kids To the Gym

Dads, I know, the weight bench is your turf, but be willing to let your teens/tweens teach you a thing or two. Even though you’re most likely gym experts, letting them give you pointers is good for their morale.

3. Play Together!

It doesn’t matter what age your kids are, play together. Get out the football, soccer ball, or bouncy ball and have some active fun.

4. Go for an Adventure!

Take your kids on an excursion to the ocean, go mountain climbing, kayaking or even go on a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. Make it fun, and make it active! Turn off the TV and work up a sweat!

5. Afternoon Stretches

Your morning is probably too hectic for family stretching, so make it a tradition to do stretches when everyone gets home from work and school. Do a pre-dinner stretch to ditch the stress of the day.

Delicious Tip: As an active family, make sure you and your kids are getting the protein and nutrients you need. Power up together by putting a few scoops of V Pro Vegan Protein into smoothies! Your kids will have no idea they’re eating their veggies and protein…and loving it!

How do you #makelifebetter for your family? Getting the kids off video games and more active is nothing short of a miracle…share with us your secrets! Tag your photos to clue the rest of us in on all your creative family activities!

I’m So ‘Rucking’ Strong, Bro

So Rucking Strong

Ruck It

Go Ruck defines rucking in very simple terms: “To put weight on your back and go for a walk.” Rucking combines cardio with resistance training, so you’ll be seeing major endurance gains as you ruck. Rucking will build torso and leg strength as your legs and back bear weight over distances. You might even be able to sub this for leg day!

Maybe you can deadlift 150% of your bodyweight as a male, or 118% as a female. Add challenge to what you’ve already accomplished!

Can you cover 3 miles in 45 minutes with 30lbs on your back? Or better yet, can you do 18 miles in 4.5 hours with 50 lbs? This kind of rucking is standard military. Are YOU “Army Strong”?!

You already challenge yourself daily, whether in the gym or on the job. This is one way you can up your game, especially if you need to add some freshness to your training.

In The Trenches

Get up early, grab a bag with weights, lace up your shoes, and venture into the “wild”. The regular trek around the lake or through the park may loom before you. Maybe head to a local trail to ruck through the woods.

Extra Tip: Use your location’s landscape to make it extra challenging! Rucking through sandy beaches or on mountain trails will increase resistance and add gains.

Prepare to feel like you’re on a quest to destroy the One Ring or like you’re on a live-action Call of Duty Mission! The bag on your back will transport you!

Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1: Throw some weight into a bag (i.e. hand weights, books, wrapped bricks, ruck plate).

Step 2: Start out with a set distance and a lower weight (i.e. 10lbs or whatever your body can easily handle).

Step 3: Increase weight as you cover a set distance in less time.

Step 4: Increase distance!

Step 5: Join a ruck challenge!

Go ruck to build strength, endurance, and confidence!

Expert Technique:

  • Wear bag high and close to the body
  • Don’t hunch over
  • Avoid an arched back
  • Don’t run!
  • Have proper footwear

*Insider Tip

Challenge weight is considered:

  • 40lbs for people over 150lbs
  • 20lbs for people under 150lbs

Fellowship of the Ruck

When you’re rucking, you don’t have to go at it alone. The best part of rucking is doing it with other people. Whether you’re rucking with a bunch of friends in the woods on the weekend, or making new friends at a rucking challenge, your gonna be making swole mates.

If you do join a rucking challenge, you need to know it’s less about competition and more about teamwork. Rucking in this way won’t just test your endurance, it will stretch your leadership and communication abilities as you develop rapport with your team.

You’ve met your goals in the gym, now take it outside and get extra rucking strong!

Show off your rucking awesome photos on our Facebook page! #NutraKey #IDareYou

Hot Momma’s Fitness Secrets

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As a stay at-home-mom, getting fit feels impossible. Time and energy constraints are real hurdles.

Good news? With a bit of creativity, you CAN do it! While children are hard work, they can also be a fitness asset. Attitude is everything, ladies!!

Children Make it Fun

To help along weight loss, learn to have fun and just enjoy your kids. Laugh together! Laughter is great for endorphin production, which gives a natural high and reduces perception of pain. Laughter increases your heart rate 10-20% which helps you burn calories.

Simple steps to start shedding those lbs:

  • Have an exercise time with the children in the afternoon.
  • Strengthen back and arms by lifting and twirling the kids.
  • Work out when the kids are napping.
  • Put the baby in the stroller and go for a walk.
  • Work up a sweat by jogging behind that stroller!
  • Get a child seat and take the little one for a bike ride.

Fitness can be fun!

Oh the Possibilities!

Besides fun times with the children, there are endless fitness possibilities to explore right from home.

Check out the fun exercise videos online that show you helpful stretches, exercise ball routines, bodyweight training and even cardio moves. Have fun and experiment!

Plan Before the Kids Wake Up!

It’s worth getting up earlier if it means snatching a few quiet moments. Spend that time on meal planning. After work when you’re exhausted and the kids are starving, you’ll be glad you did. Food is the foundation to healthy living.
Just 10 minutes in the morning will get you on the right track to eating well every day!

Meal planning can make fitness easy.

Extra Tip: Finding it hard to keep yourself well-fed and energized? An excellent choice to help replenish your body’s needs is our Envie Greens Multivitamin. It’s packed with key nutrients like digestive enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids and greens you need to keep up with the kiddos!

Why The 5K Still Rocks

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How hard is it to run a 5K? It seems like everyone from your best friend to your coworker is signing up for the Color Run, or the Warrior Dash. Why would it be relevant to you? What if we told you that training for one will actually maximize your gym sessions?

Train For Lean Muscle

You’re constantly working on your muscles to be more cut and defined. Your WOD is brutal, and you’re seeing gains. Because you are focused on building strength and power, the 5K is definitely for you.

While some people run with the focus on finishing, you’ll run with the focus on competition. To do this means you are going to have to push yourself. This focus in your training will build strength, power and endurance.

Why is that? Building endurance as a runner will demand intensity. It’s the same principle as when you are strength training. You’re always aiming for heavier weight, shorter recovery, more reps. With running your aiming for faster, further, stronger.

Just imagine how you’re going to feel if you push yourself on both levels.The result? Long-term health, and sculpted muscle.

Learn to love the 5K and build lean muscle along the way

How To Train

Step 1: Find a 5K

The best motivation is to find one near you and register…NOW!

Step 2: Set a goal and make a plan

New to running? Push for a 30 minute 5K. Already a runner? Break 25 minutes. Find a goal that matches your fitness level, and take it a notch higher! Plot out what you need to do every day to meet that goal.

Train hard to prepare for the 5K

Step 3: Cross Train.

You don’t have to give up your favorite training just because you’re focusing on a 5K. This is a great time to identity your weaknesses as a runner. Do you have limited flexibility? What about your speed or your hamstring strength? Once you isolate your weakness, use cross training to defeat those weaknesses.

Step 4: Take time to recover.
You know this. Your body needs time for recovery, and running is no different here than other training. Listen to what your body is telling you. Take one total rest day. Take the second rest day for active recovery with low impact cardio.

Congrats! You're ready for your 5K and the lean muscle it comes with

The Difference

Training for a long distance marathon is admirable. But the 5K is going to be more accessible, easier to recover from, and more competitive. Training for the 5K will fit seamlessly into your regular workout while adding that extra edge you’ve been wanting.

NOT a runner? Train for a 5K Ruck! What 5K are you going to run? Share your training photos with us! #Nutrakey

4 Ways To Keep Getting Stronger

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You are in the best shape of your life. Your weekly progress is incredibly self-motivating (and probably provides you plenty of Instagram material, am I right?). So, what’s more frustrating than when all of a sudden you stop seeing differences in your physique, despite continued discipline in all things fitness?!

This can be a victorious moment, if you assess your strategy. Sometimes all it takes is a few key changes to get back on the upswing. Here’s how:

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

Take a look at your workout. Is it still challenging? Olympic feats become easy routine after you build strength and endurance – so you must essentially “shock” your body into new growth. Introduce harder or completely different exercises into your circuits.

Add a work-out day or two in the week, or change the order of your routines throughout. Make your reps longer, or more intense and varied. Switch up the tempo or the rest periods in between sets. Your body will rise to the occasion!

BACK OFF

It’s almost automatic to assume you aren’t working hard enough and increase your efforts. However, it IS possible to over train.

Hyper production of cortisol, a stress hormone, can be caused by over training and may lead to adrenal fatigue. To boot, high levels actually work against muscle regeneration and increase muscle protein breakdown. Talk about a slippery slope of frustration and failure!

Signs this may be you: fatigued, sleep deprived, illness (constant colds), experiencing pain, or feeling undernourished. Familiar? There’s a great chance that you are overdoing it, and need to back off! Try decreasing amount of reps, or amount of days in the gym, and correct your health.

The only thing more discouraging than no results is INJURY so don’t play games!

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

What you choose to eat either lays the foundation for your progress, or can totally undermine it. Yes, duh. However, it’s easy to get stuck in a such a systematic rut. As your mass grows, your dietary needs to evolve as well. Listen to your body and respond!

Are you consuming enough protein? If there’s a stalemate between you and your muscles, try upping caloric intake to provide more “material” for your body to work with. Start with an extra egg at breakfast, protein shake in between meals and chicken breast for dinner to see if the additional boost is the trick.

ZZZZZZZZ

Further demands require more care. This means extra hydration, more post crush session recovery and extra rest, friend. Need we repeat? SLEEP is non-negotiable. Regardless of your superhero shape, you are not a machine. “Yes, I am,” you say. Fine. Even machines have OFF buttons.

Sleep is where restoration and healing occurs. In fact, this one practice alone may be the cause of your plateau, and may be the only thing that needs fixing! When you sleep, a growth hormone is released, allowing for repair and regeneration of not only your muscular system, but your brain function.

After all, your body will do what your mind tells it to!

Got some advice for those of us hitting plateaus? Share the wealth on our Facebook Page! #NutraKey

The Psychology of Hunger and Its Shocking Truth

The Psychology Of Hunger and Its Shocking Truth

An eight month study explored why simple calorie restriction and exercise has failed so many of us. The findings totally blew me away.

The Brains of The Matter

It turns out your brainstem, specifically the hypothalamus, might just be the culprit keeping you from losing weight. When you crave those cookies leftover in the break room, pre-dinner buttery rolls served temptingly by your favorite restaurant or a soda with your mexican food, it’s your brain telling you consuming them would be a good idea.

The hunger or fullness you feel doesn’t just come from your stomach. More often than not, these feelings come from your brain! This is based on multiple factors. Some of it is physiological, where your brain senses presence or absence of nourishing fats, protein, blood glucose levels, temperature, and more.

BUT, and this is where it get’s interesting, some of it is also your brain responding to a pattern of behavior you’ve established.

The Hypothalamus Plays a Key Role In Dieting and Hunger

Interfering with your hypothalamus will trick your brain into giving you misinformation (i.e. making you feel hungry and unsatisfied).

This happens in three main ways: a high carb diet, a low fat diet, and calorie counting.

High carbs increase hunger

Eating lots of carbs will make you hungry. Sneak in those little snacks of bread or pastries or cereal, and your hypothalamus will keep you in a state of perpetual hunger.

Fat reduces hunger

Because the 1980’s told us fat makes you fat, you probably STILL avoid fat. You order the skinny latte, the low-fat muffin, the fat-free yogurt, all in an effort to CUT fat from your middle. Instead, you interfere with your hypothalamus and ADD inches. Fat signals to your brain actually decrease your feeling of hunger. Remove the fat, and you feel dissatisfied.

Calorie-counting stimulates weight gain

This one I’ve experienced first-hand. The day starts with the best intentions. You skip breakfast. You skimp on lunch. You set your face like flint, and your mouth like a steel trap never to open. You get hungrier, but you determine to fight through!

Only…it doesn’t work. Somehow you find yourself driving home stuffing your face with sugary carbs. Science, and your secret binging, are telling you calorie restriction doesn’t work.

Set Boundaries, Slim Down

Bottomline? Let your hypothalamus do the work. Set the boundaries to reduce your carbs. DON’T restrict calories. When you set healthy perimeters (like adding fat and decreasing carbs) your brain will kick in and begin to function properly. One man did it, and lost 50 lbs!!

I know. It feels too easy right? Weight loss is just a constant uphill battle!

Good news is it doesn’t have to be. Practice a healthy mindset to eat clean and eat well. Say goodbye to food guilt, and hello to a new day of weight loss.

Set Your Boundaries and Begin To Fight Hunger

You’ve Achieved Your Goals. Now What?

The Next Step After Achieving Your Goals

Sometimes the biggest anti-climax is actually attaining what you were working towards. There are creative solutions to not lose ground you’ve fought for.

Strive for Accomplishment

You’ve gotten this far through a lot of sweat and hard work. So now is the perfect time to take a step back, and understand what drives you. According to Psychology Today, accomplishment is about an internal goal. This is different from achievement, which is about meeting external standards. It’s the difference between the inspiration and the goal.

If you have a strong inspiration, or motivation, the emotional gratification of achievement will be much greater, than if you are just attempting to shed weight, gain mass, or get the gold. This means you are inspired to work towards something bigger than a tangible goal.

Know Your Motivations

For a lot of you, your motivation is family, emotional well-being or just how great you feel when you work out. These are fantastic motivations to keep you going from one target to the next. If you look at the bigger picture, you will be inspired to take it to the next level.

A New Goal Can Help Rechannel Your Focus

Get a Fresh Vision

Don’t make the mistake of taking time off when you hit your goal. You will lose your momentum. Sure, take some time to clear your head and even celebrate, but be careful! It’s easy to hit a slump and lose a lot of ground and motivation.

Take the time to think about what the next step should be. You faced 16.1 without muscle failure? Great. Take it to 16.2. You ran the 15K? Make it a half-marathon. Up your miles, or even better, up your effort.

Feel-Good Tip: Make helping others part of what inspires you to reach your objectives. Get sponsored for a charity run or introduce your favorite workout to the local Boys’ & Girls’ Club. Opportunities to pass the torch are endless.

#IDAREYOU to reach higher! What’s your new goal? Share your goals with us on Facebook or Instagram. Share with us #NutraKey!

Out With the Old!

Summer body prep plan

Calling all beachgoers! Cold fronts are on their way out, and thankfully so are the sweatpants. Any week now water-side parties will commence and it’ll be time to show off that physique once again.

Shed winter weight and claim your bathing suit body STARTING NOW!

GO WITH YOUR GUT

Setting aside those winter comfort habits is the first step toward detoxing, deflating and regaining your energy. So put down the Valentine’s candy!

Boost your water intake and say no to easy bad choices like bread and butter, excess sodium, sugary drinks (even sugar in coffee!) in order to clear out your gut and banish cyclical cravings.

TEAM PROTEIN

You know your body needs material to work with. While nixing the flagrant foul ingredients in your diet is great, you must have enough protein for your cleansing and exercising efforts to take hold. Otherwise you’ll be hungry and result-less!

If you’ve been lax about your protein routine, there’s no better motivation than thinking how your abs could look poolside in a couple months if you start again NOW.

We suggest V Pro, our raw plant protein powder. Consume this before, during and after workouts for energy, responsive sculpting and recovery! It’s a wonderful on-the-go alternative to ensure you’re well fed at all times, whether losing weight, toning, or building!

CARDIO INCLUDED

Weights aren’t going to cut it. Your heart needs to get involved. Where cardio is present, calories die! Cardio will help burn away that flab from winter hibernation to reveal your hard-earned muscles (that we know are there somewhere!)

KEEP IT CHALLENGING and consume enough calories to burn away. And BTW, if you’re serious about getting cut, you should FEEL THE BURN of your workout!

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

Unfortunately, you can’t target fat in a certain area. If you have a beer belly, doing nothing but sit ups won’t help. Your entire body has to toughen up for the cause of a leaner stomach. This means arms, back and legs all need a turn for shared success.

The KEY: Know your goal. Ladies! If your aim is to slim down and look toned in your bikini, then opt for metabolic workouts in order to sync and lean out your entire body and blast calories from top to bottom. Gents! If your goal is Grecian thighs, Roman abs and titan arms, you’ll need to layer metabolic and isolated circuits together. Again, you CANNOT target a beer belly, but you CAN intentionally beef up your best assets!

The good news is, you don’t have to commit two hours to the gym 7 days a week for results (although we like this option!) If you’re not quite ready for that gym commitment or if it’s not quite in the budget yet, don’t let that be an excuse! You can do massively effective HIIT circuits with little to no equipment right in your living room!

Excuse-less? GOOD!

Go ahead, break out the sunscreen.