Let’s Get This Gun Show On The Road

Try these travel tips to stay fit on the go

It’s easy to fall behind when your routine is thrown out of whack from traveling. Jet lag, long meetings, on-the-go meals and not a decent gym in sight are just a few on the long list of sweat-inhibitors. However, it IS POSSIBLE to stay beefy on the road, and keep growing at that. As any disciplined builder knows, excuses are no excuse!

Here are some simple tips to maintain and add muscle while traveling.

BRING REINFORCEMENTS.

It will take pre-planning, but you MUST stick to your guns (no pun intended). Nutrition comes first. Stay away from fast food, keep your meal options simple, ignore the hotel mini bar.

Pack avocados, oats, cans of tuna, protein powder, almonds, snack bars and omega 3 supplements. These are easy ways to ensure you have constant access to protein and good fats.

Take it a step further by packing a smoothie blender if you can. None of this requires a kitchen, or even a refrigerator – so no reason not to!

If you aren’t able to bring an arsenal or hit up the local grocery store, take advantage of the healthy room service options. Stick to grilled chicken, salmon, steak, veggies, quinoa, eggs, spinach salads and the like. You can ask for these to be prepared however you like, sans sauces, butters and grease.

Extra Tip: Travel is a tempting time to leave your diet parameters behind. Fight the urge to splurge and hold yourself accountable by utilizing food and nutrition monitoring tools like My Fitness Pal.

NO GYM? NO PROBLEM!

There’s no secret about hotels and lackluster gym equipment. It can be downright disturbing to walk past a dimly lit “fitness center” and see vintage machines that will more likely hurt you than help you.

But Hey – weights are weights, and if they’ve got em – use em! It is not the time to be picky.

Still not happening? Here are some options:

  1. Pay the $15 and go to the local gym!
  2. Explore the city on a several-mile jog each day. In one of these awesome U.S. cities? You will definitely want to head outdoors!
  3. Weather won’t allow for a run? Pack a jump rope and/or resistance bands!!
  4. Be an expert on body weight exercises you can do anywhere. Want a serious challenge?! #IDareYou to do bear crawls down your hotel hallway (and post your pics to Facebook! #NutraKey!)

Top choice: Take a portable suspension trainer with you. They require nothing but a doorframe and yourself. These are excellent for endurance and metabolic workouts. You can tailor your exercises, just as you would at home, to be increasingly challenging – like you never missed a beat.

Bike stations are great for fitness while you travel to new cities
Take advantage of metropolitan city bike stations as a means to get around a new town.

TIME CRUNCH

If you find yourself in non-stop meetings or a seminar, you can still get sufficient work outs in. Do a quick warm up to loosen your tightest muscles, jump rope to get your heart rate going and then do some chins ups, planks, and push ups. The classics still work, when your time is limited. Look for 10-15 minutes spurts you can capitalize on. No excuses!

AND WHATEVER YOU DO . . .

Try and get some decent sleep despite time change and on-the-job demands. Blue light from your mobile device and laptop can mess with your sleep and cause fatigue, which is an enemy to your muscle growing goals. Rest encourages optimal muscle growth.

And lastly, FORGET the “fact” that it’s impossible to train on the go. If you think ahead and remain dedicated, you’ll come home in better shape than you left in!

HIIT IT!

Defy Your Genes with HIIT Training!

Whenever someone tells you it’s possible to lose weight fast, improve health in mere days, and get truly sculpted in minimal time, it’s likely this is isn’t entirely true.

That is, unless they’re talking about HIIT. In which case you better listen up, because this is REALLY good.

What Is HIIT?

High intensity interval training is just what it sounds like. It involves exercising all out for short periods of time, followed by intervals of rest. When we say all out, we really mean it. You literally push yourself to the max in the span of 20-60 seconds.

Promote Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

Even if you’re a hardcore fitness fan, it can be a real struggle to find the time to work out.

No matter how hectic your life is you won’t have many excuses to miss a HIIT session. When your workout takes about the same time as it takes to warm up and cool down, it’s gonna be a good day in the neighborhood.

Change Your Genes

According to a study done in 2012, intense exercise can change your DNA! It doesn’t matter if this exercise is short. As long as it’s intense, it will transform you.

Studies have shown intense exercise can change DNA expression!

The change that occurs to your DNA with intense exercise is just what you need to boost fat loss. It actually causes changes that activate proteins necessary for fat metabolism. Feel liberated yet?

Get More HGH

On top of that, HIIT targets a group of muscle fibers other exercises (aerobic exercise) don’t. This fiber is called your super-fast fiber, which is responsible for production of HGH (human growth hormone). And as you know, HGH is all about the muscle gains!

HIIT is highly effective and efficient at getting you where you want to be physically, especially if you’re cutting up.

Methods

There are several popular HIIT methods that can help crank your training up.

Safety First!

Depending where you are on a fitness level, you may not be able to do the full amount of reps. If you can only do 1 or 2 reps to begin with, that’s fine.

Don’t force yourself to do more as that can cause an injury. As you continue, you’ll work up to more reps.

*Safety Tips

  • Warm up and cool down
  • Work up to the recommended time and reps
  • Listen to your body
  • Higher intensity = longer recovery

Important: If you have any health concerns, please consult your healthcare professional prior to engaging in a HIIT routine.

Whatever method, or type of HIIT you use, it’s going to bring killer results. Get a plan and ditch those long boring workouts that haven’t been doing enough for you.

Get HIIT and get going! #idareyou

What are you waiting for? HIIT IT TODAY

Quit Stalling, You’ve Got This!

Learn How Tension and Metabolic Stress Can Help Build Muscle

You’ve sculpted one incredible physique for yourself! Burning fat comes easily to you at this point and you’re as dedicated as ever to your new bod.

There seems to be just one problem: While your muscle growth was exponential at the start of your body building ventures, it now seems like all you can do is maintain the same mass.

You’re stuck, and it DRIVES YOU CRAZY.

Here’s why and what to do about it!

SHOCK VALUE

It’s Not About How Much You Pump

Did you transform from average to beast in a matter of weeks? It’s because that once new regimen was alarming to your system.

With a blank-canvas body, it’s easy to quickly stack pound upon pound and shape your muscles with exponential results in a short time. Yet, as you bulk up your results slow down, and the course of action that got you to beefy status no longer works the same.

Sure, you still sweat like a fiend while lifting, and you feel pretty awesome, too. Your muscles? Not as easily impressed.

What you need instead is to recreate a (healthfully) shocking environment to make you pop.

You probably already know, muscle growth revolves around three interdependent components – muscle tension, metabolic stress and muscle damage.

When you determine YOUR NEXT GOAL, you can tailor specialty workouts utilizing the tactic which will suit you best.

A LITTLE CONFLICT IS GOOD SOMETIMES

Muscle Tension

Simply adding weight to your lifts, creates a shorter, more difficult work out for yourself – and not in a helpful way. Fact is, you are causing overload. Your brain tells your muscles to self-protect, making your workout ineffective and probably super frustrating.

In a nutshell – stacking on extra iron is less effective than increasing rep volume.

Instead, drag out the same exercises for longer periods of time, to force failure instead of overload. Your body will realize there’s a higher need for endurance, and respond by releasing a growth hormone to recondition the muscle.

Most importantly, MAINTAIN and SUSTAIN. Constant tension requires:

  1. Not breaking during your reps.
  2. Control throughout concentric and lockout postures.
  3. Keeping perfect technique.

PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE

Metabolic Stress

Metabolic stress triggers fiber recruitment. When your body is pushing its boundaries in additional reps, fibers used for everyday activity are fatigued, while other resting fibers are called to adaptation due to a new “stressful” situation. That stimulation enacts muscle growth!

fiber recruitment is a key to build muscle

DEMOLITION BEFORE RENOVATION

Muscle Damage

This is where you get creative. Sometimes the answer is adding a little more weight and one more rep a week.

OR if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger, it meant starting out at your max weight for a set of reps, then lowering your weight for more volume, until you’re handling very little weight for a really long time.

Meaning, you could start with 10 reps at 225, and work your way all the way down to 25 pounds at 200 reps if you wanted to!

When you lift above your usual capacity, you create the good type of muscle damage that calls for a stronger, denser muscle comeback. As they say, “what doesn’t kill you . . .”

Ask yourself: where are you currently at and what must you do to get where you want to be?

Got an answer? Good! Set your mind and do what it takes to get there…#IDareYou!

Life After Leg Day

Life after Leg Day

Life after leg day got you like, “can I borrow your wheelchair, Grandma?”

Learn why you shouldn’t skip leg day, and how to recover from the aftermath.

You’ve Gotta Do It

Leg day gets a bad rap. This is mainly because it hurts so much, and probably because it impedes daily activities such as walking. Or moving. This being said, there are LOTS of reasons why you should be doing leg day. Here are three of our favorites:

Reason #1 Boost Hormones, AKA Get Ripped

Your legs have the biggest muscles in your body. This is important because working large muscles gives big love to your endocrine system. The endocrine system gets revved up and starts releasing lots of those crucial hormones like testosterone and HGH. Result? You get cut and defined. Skip leg day again? I don’t think so.

Reason #2 Reduce Lower Back Pain

The pain you experience after leg day, it’s brutal. Leg day pain may make it impossible to move for about three days. BUT, leg day will loosen those hip flexors and strengthen your hamstrings, two surprising contributors to that low down backache. You don’t have to be 92 to have low back pain. And please, don’t wait until you’re 92 to start protecting your back.

Reason #3 Run Harder and Stronger

A lot of people are running these days. Are you? What you do in the gym translates to the track, and vice versa. Leg day uses strength training to power up your ability to run, and loosen you up to prevent running injuries. Hit it hard on leg day, and you’ll be pounding pavement like a beast.

D.O.M.S!

All that pain in your legs keeping you from walking? It has to do with lactic acid. After you killed those lunges and deadlifts, delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S.) hits with a vengeance. Drop your keys? Have to get out of bed? You’ll be begging for mercy.

Answer? Get Over It!

Don’t face the pain alone. Use these smart tips for recovery and to prevent injury:

  1. Flood your body with water – water helps transport nutrients throughout your body and also flushes toxins. Get rid of pain causing lactic acid by drinking a lot of water.
  2. Use good form – because knees are susceptible to injury, it is absolutely vital to ensure your knees do not pass in front of your toes!
  3. Check out Innoflex as a means to promote joint health.
    Check out Innoflex as a means to promote joint health.
  4. Stretch – Before. During. After. Flexibility of movement can prevent tearing as you train with those heavy weights.
  5. Go free weight – your core will thank you. Using lower body machines will take away the benefits to your core.

What do you think? Are you still going to avoid leg day? Jump into those elevated reverse lunges with the euphoria of someone who knows they’ll survive life after leg day!

It’s Just A Number – Why Weight Isn’t The Point

Weight isn't important, good health is!

While the fitness culture is ever-evolving toward HEALTH, society is still fixated on APPEARANCE.

Gorgeous muscles and tiny waists seem to be the coveted prizes, and hats off if nature did it all for you, right? WRONG!

In a constant sea of diets, methods, plastic surgeries, and opinions, weight seems to be the chosen measurement of success and acceptance.

But the scale is a tool, not a tell all!

DEBUNKING FICTION

MUSCLE DOES NOT WEIGH MORE THAN FAT!

Shocker: heavier is potentially healthier!!!

You’ve heard it many times: “Muscle weighs more than fat.” This is a myth that has been circulated in the fitness world, so let’s clear it up:

Pounds are pounds. The misconception is that muscle is heavier, when in reality, muscle is simply denser and takes up less space than fat. In other words, fat is more voluminous.

Let’s say in a 6-pack of abs, each piece of the “pack” weighs a pound. You’d have six pounds worth of strong, lean muscle in a space where two flabby pounds of fat would otherwise fit!

Fat vs Muscle - Muscle is denser than fat

A number should NOT be your goal – fitness should be! Whatever the number, so be it.

HIDDEN DANGERS

SKINNY PEOPLE HAVE HEART ATTACKS, TOO!!

“Skinny fat” is a trending term that’s been thrown around for years, and for good reason – it’s a real thing! If you have lightning speed metabolism and a tight waistline, but never work out – and you think you’re healthy…THINK AGAIN.

Mistaking thinness for health is often a detrimental judgment.

Subcutaneous fat is very visible (think beer belly), while visceral fat is hidden out of sight, lining the space between the abdominal organs and wreaking havoc. When it goes unnoticed, it’s assumed that a person is thin or “in great shape”, when really, it comes with a host of issues. Consequences include heart complications, diabetes, breast cancer in women, and the list goes on.

Any amount of visceral fat is harmful, whether you weigh 110 or 210, and can be banished through correct nutrition and exercise!

IT’S THE BEHAVIOR THAT COUNTS

YOUR CHOICES MATTER MORE THAN YOUR WEIGHT

Studies show that short term dieting for the sake of weight loss usually leads back to weight regain.

Some life sustaining habits that keep you in truly great shape are:

  • Appropriate consumption, good carbs, healthy fats and proteins
  • Hydration. Enough said.
  • Total body exercise INCLUDING CARDIO, that supports your fitness goals
  • Sufficient restorative sleep
  • Balanced hormones
  • Utilizing calories to your advantage by:

Creating a calorie deficit to drop pounds and sculpt lean muscle

OR

Upping your intake significantly to build mass

As every body is like a fingerprint, your eating habits and workout regimens should be tailored for your personal, individualized form of health (insert link to blog “One in a Million”). When these are maintained, your weight will follow accordingly.

TRUE TEST

IN CONCLUSION

Now that we’ve determined the scale does lie, the question shouldn’t be “Have I hit that magic number?” Instead, ask yourself “Am I healthy and strong?” If the answer is yes, THAT is success!

Do I Have To Reach Failure?

Muscle Failure can stimulate serious muscle building

You’ve seen the grizzlies at the gym who are growling as they pump iron before they let out a war cry and drop their weights.

They are training to failure – doing as many reps as possible until their muscles reach total exhaustion.

If you’ve considered this method for yourself, there are some things you should know before getting started!

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT

Fitness gurus across the industry differ on the subject of training to failure. Some believe it is quite literally no more than a set up for failure and asking for a wrecked body. Others swear by its hypertrophy rewards. Ultimately, there’s validity to both.

THE PROS

  • Overcome plateaus
  • Increase strength
  • Stimulate muscle growth

THE CONS

  • Increased chance of injury
  • Depleted nervous system
  • Difficult recovery

CAVEAT – you must be properly trained and correctly execute failure in order to see true results and avoid the cons.

IT ALL DEPENDS

As with many things in the fitness world, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to analyze whether or not training to failure is the best approach for your body and your goals.

Things to consider:

What are you trying to accomplish? Body building tends to focus on isolation exercise versus all out power lifting, so controlled repetition is much easier to achieve.

What’s your experience? Beginner, intermediate or advanced? If you are a novice to fitness, still learning your body’s needs and determining what you want, training to failure is most likely NOT your best starting point.

What motivates you? If training to failure will result in frustration and a sense of mental failure, it isn’t for you. If however, you love the challenge, and feel pushed toward new goals, you’ll have incentive to continue, and therefore reap the best results.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

There is major wisdom in listening to your body. Of course, you must push yourself to an extent to experience growth – that’s the whole point of working out, is it not? As the old saying goes – no pain, no gain. However, there’s a difference between a body that is in need of healthy challenge, and a body screaming out a warning.

When good form is sacrificed for output, injury is almost guaranteed. STOP the MOMENT you feel your technique falter.

DO IT RIGHT

If you are going to train to failure, do it properly! Incorporate these pointers into your routine if you decide to train to failure:

  • ADD MORE WEIGHT to your lifts each week. This effectively increases endurance and you’ll eventually fail at more weight, instead of more reps at the same weight.
  • GIVE YOURSELF A REST. Try this method for a month at most, and then take a break to focus on a different aspect of strength and do normal sets for a while. Add it back when you’re ready.
  • STICK TO THE BASICS. Failure is not the time to experiment with complex moves, as they require more technique and can increase risk of injury.
  • DON’T SLACK ON INTENSITY. Do each set with full commitment. There’s no benefit in failing after 100 reps of something that wasn’t remotely challenging for you.
  • HAVE A SPOTTER when bench pressing. This really is a no-nonsense, no brainer to protect yourself.

Hot Ropes

Try Battle Ropes for a Fat Burning and Muscle Building Exercise

This hot fitness trend will shock your muscles and promote fast weight loss. Find out how ropes combine strength with cardio, and reasons why you just gotta love the ropes.

Battle It Out

Ropes, also known as battle ropes, challenge your body by effectively targeting all your muscles. You can never get too much core, and doing ropes will assault your core like no other training you’ve ever done. Not only this, but ropes boost cardiovascular health and endurance.

Ropes Will Get You Moving

You can’t know how amazing ropes are until you try them for yourself. Here are some tips to get you started:

*Intensity Tip: Add intensity to your workout by allowing your rope to go more slack. Accomplish this by simply moving closer to the anchor. Too intense? Just move back out to make the rope less slack.

*Variety Tip: Ropes aren’t weights! So don’t go in for the up and down reps. Get your full body workout by moving in every direction you can. Make circles, whip ‘em, slam ‘em, make waves, and get your whole body moving and involved.

*Bonus Tip: Use ropes for your HIIT. You’ll love the explosive weight loss, muscle tone, and endurance it brings.

Low Impact, High Yields

Amazingly, most of the workouts you do with ropes are low impact. That means even if you’re a newbie, it’s safe for you to tackle. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not for hardcore fitness lovers!

*Safety Tip: While you want to push the limits, always be aware of what your body is telling you. When trying a new exercise, know what you’re doing before you go all out.

Battle Ropes are a low impact exercise with high yields

Ropes – Just Give Me A Reason

There are so many reasons you should incorporate ropes into your workout routine. Why we love ropes:

  • Burn Fat and Gain Muscle AT THE SAME TIME – No joke. You don’t have to do an hour of cardio and an hour of strength training.
  • Strengthen your grip – this will translate to better time on your 16.4, or better overall performance for tennis and football players.
  • Balance body strength – as you use both arms in rope training, your body will find its weakness, and bring you into a more balanced state.
  • Train anywhere! – Struggling to stay fit while you travel? Take your ropes with you.
  • Up your threshold – It’s killer to start, but your ability to handle that intensity will grow like crazy.
  • Slam your stress – If working out helps you ditch the stress and worries of life, wait till you try ropes. There’s no boredom here, and you can slam your cares in a way that kettlebells just won’t allow for.

It’s time for you to hit the ropes. Share your battle conquests with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Eat Clean Without Breaking The Bank

Eat Clean and Organic without Breaking the Bank

Budget is a large deterrent for some people meeting their health goals. It’s true that organic is pricey, and cooking can be time consuming.

The last thing you want to do, though, is cheat yourself out of good nutrition because of totally manageable factors like dollars and hours in a day.

Here are practical ways to nourish yourself cleanly, sufficiently, and inexpensively!

QUALITY

If you aren’t sure whether organic is truly worth it or not, remember – most produce is pesticide-treated, while meat and dairy are more lenient when it comes to chemicals.

All milk is antibiotic free and the jury is out on what counts as organic fish – so you probably won’t even find it!

Spring for organic fruits and veggies and use your judgment on the rest.

Especially watch out for what the EWG considers to be the Dirty Dozen! Always buy organic when it comes to these fruits and veggies:

Always buy organic when it comes to these fruits and veggies!

BUYING SMART

It’s much more effective to shop all at once for several meals, than to hit the store every day or even every few days. If you’re not careful, you can nickel and dime yourself into the red zone!

  • Buy large cuts of beef and whole chickens, in order to stretch out your servings (more on that in a moment).
  • Buy frozen or freeze your own fruit for smoothies before they turn. If you purchase in bulk, you will not only ensure you’re going to the store less and therefore reducing spending, but you can also greatly reduce waste!

WEEKLY PREP

Think ahead. This is where shopping a week in advance, instead of meal by meal comes into play.

At the beginning of your week, decide to double, triple, or even quadruple your ingredients, in order to make multiple meals for the upcoming week’s lunches and dinners.

For example:

Cook an entire whole chicken with delicious, but versatile seasonings and herbs like salt, pepper, lemon and rosemary. Roast vegetables on the side, making some of those and part of the chicken, your meal for that evening.

Make salad for a couple of lunches, adding parts of the chicken sliced or shredded on top.

For a few more meals, use more of the chicken for a chicken salad or healthy club wrap, and eat the chicken and veggies as you did the first night later in the week so it doesn’t get boring.

When you’ve come to the end of the week, with some of the chicken and veggies still leftover, throw it in a bone broth and warm up for a flavorful, protein packed stew!

EXTRA TIP:

TWO WORDS: SLOW COOKER!

This old fashioned concept can be a life-saver during a hectic week. In the morning before you hit the ground running, load up a crock pot with pork shoulder, chicken or beef, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions. Throw in some seasonings of choice and get on with your life!

When you come home for the day, dinner will already be waiting and your house will smell like you’ve slaved in the kitchen all day!

#IDareYou to Lose It

Struggling to lose weight? I dare you to try this!

It’s that time of year when your New Year’s goal to “finally lose it” has been forgotten. Worse yet, you may just feel guilty for giving up so quickly. Again…(for the 3rd year in a row).

Shed the guilt and get back on track with 3 simple steps.

Step 1: See Differently

Research suggests losing weight won’t change how you see yourself. Say what?! It’s true.

STOP comparing yourself to those airbrushed swimsuit goddesses, look in the mirror and embrace where you are at today.

If you can accept your body, then the weight loss journey WILL BE one of hope and self-care rather than anxiety and stress.

Positivity is crucial when beginning any diet. Being positive carries over into more than just self image. Begin to foster an attitude of thankfulness, and gratitude. You’ll find how you see yourself and others begin to shift. This in turn will help you make healthy choices that lead to weight loss.

Step 2: Set Yourself Up for Success

I know you’re busy and so are the other 300 million Americans who buzz by us on the freeway. I’m not talking about regulating every move. Instead, help yourself be successful by making a solid game plan and equipping yourself to see it through.

Equip Yourself With:

Diet Parameters

Plan to shift to a clean food diet. This is the fastest way to see changes in your body! Don’t worry…clean food isn’t a desert of deprivation. “Clean” means no processed foods and no fast foods! Keep fresh fruit, healthy fats (link to blog “Healthy Fats: Are They For Real?”) like nuts, and veggies on hand for when you just don’t have time to cook.

A healthy diet is key to losing weight

Key Supplements

Losing weight isn’t just about the fat loss; it’s about bringing your body into a healthier state. You can encourage body health and promote weight loss through supplements.

We recommend our Liquid L-Carnitine 3000 to boost your weight loss by turning fat into energy:

Exercise Commitment

Unexpected things happen. Your daughter gets sick. You suddenly have 20 things on the calendar that weren’t there before. Make your life easier with a flexible exercise plan.

Quiet early morning walks, late night runs, lunch break gym stops…look for opportunities and seize them!

Helpful Tools

Start taking advantage of tools such as: fitness apps (Insert link to My Fitness Pal Blog), pedometers, or YouTube workout videos.

Step 3: Prepare for Setbacks

Weight loss is like everything else in life, you’re going to face setbacks. But don’t let a weight plateau or schedule change keep you from moving forward. You have a plan, you’ve made a commitment and your changing how you see things.

You can do this. #Idareyou to lose it!