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Does Protein Before Bedtime Really Matter?

I’ve heard many times that you should always try to get an extra bit of protein before you go to sleep. The science behind this theory suggests that since you are not eating while you are asleep, having calories that come from a nice protein shake will avoid any time that you could lose muscle. I had always thought that the thought of a big protein drink before bed was nothing more than broscience at it’s worst. It looks like this could be a time where I have to admit that I was wrong, as new findings are showing many benefits associated with protein consumption before bed.

Especially when it comes to strength training, the findings show that having protein before you go to sleep actually helps it to be delivered in a better way. It stands to reason that I have likely missed out on years of potential gains, as I was never into having a meal before I went to sleep. I don’t like going to bed hungry but trying to consume a lot of calories, before I lay my head on the pillow, will usually have me tossing and turning for a good portion of the night. I have no idea why my stomach disagrees with the times that I want to have my meals but it looks like that is another hurdle that I will just have to get over. As for the choice of protein you should want to consume, there is more than one option. Many prefer having a nice casein protein to use before they go to sleep, as this kind has been shown to be more of a slower-releasing protein, suitable for keeping you anabolic all night. Of course, we have the standard whey protein that people have been using for years. If you don’t to spend any extra on a casein protein, a whey option would be perfectly fine to use.

time for proteinThe only real difference between whey and casein will be how they are released, with the whey releasing all at once into the body, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. If you are wanting an option that is suitable for vegans, they are being included in the spread of becoming more fitness minded, there are many vegan proteins available. Whether it be from peas, soy, or another source, any vegan in the world should not be at a loss for where to get protein that is made for their food beliefs. There is certainly nothing the matter with choosing to have your protein of choice in the middle of the day, or even first thing in the morning! Just because there are no additional benefits, other than the obvious, from consuming protein at night, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some kind of protein throughout the day, as before bedtime is only a small part of the day. To everyone who has been drinking those shakes before sleepy time, I have to congratulate you! It appears as if I well be needing to make some adjustments, as I am for sure going to be having a big glass of protein every night. I will have to make sure that I don’t end up brushing my teeth before the protein shake, as I remember how nasty those drinks are while you are trying to get rid of a cool mint taste from your toothpaste, gross!

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A New Challenge to Conquer: the Stepmill

A staple of gyms all across the world, the treadmill has been keeping us lean for ages. It seems that the attitude of getting to watch a television show while you walk in place is starting to die out, as some have favored a new challenger to the table and that would be the stepmill and it is not for the weak. When you see a stepmill in person, you can already see how it is going to be a different and tougher experience. With a set of two or three stairs that are always moving forward, like an escalator, the user can’t just stand there, otherwise they will trip over themselves. Social media is already starting to get behind the stepmill, with the most avid fitness enthusiasts bragging about how they had completed a workout on the stepmill.

When you have an invention that is so grueling that people are bragging about completing a single workout on it, you know you’ve got yourself a winner. The steps on this machine will stay at the same height, you don’t have to look down, which keeps you at a steady pace. Speaking of pace, a workout performed with using the stepmill will allow you less actual exercise time, since you have a wider range of motion, when compared to a treadmill. If you have an aversion to stairs and are always using the company elevator, the stepmill could be a way for you to get more used to using real stairs. There have been stair machines that have been used, primarily in the 80’s, but those machines were not as well-received as what we are seeing now.

I contribute the need of more being done quicker, as to why we have seen stepmills become must-haves for any fitness center. Due to having an irritational fear of elevators, I’m always looking for stars, whenever I can find them. If I do find myself in a skyscraper and I’m looking at taking ten plus flights of stairs, I have to put my elevator fear aside! When using a stepmill machine, as you can guess, your legs will have the most to gain from this activity. As far as I am concerned, what made the stepmill a machine that more of us have grown accustomed to all comes down to the design. In the past, the stair options we used to have would have two bulky and awkward looking pedals. Since the older machines weren’t built like actual stairs, it did require a great deal of balance just to stay on those old school stair machines. I can still remember the embarrassment that I felt as I was taking my pedals too fast and I ended up losing my balance.

Thankfully, I was able to grab onto the handles of the stair machine and only managed to leave me with a couple of scrapes and bruises. If you do decide to take the stepmill challenge, be prepared that is really is unlike any other workout that you have done. Set a speed that is suitable for you, pave yourself, and stay within your physical limits and you will have a set of legs that will be turning heads. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding stepmill where you live, they are taking off in sales and are popping up in new gyms almost every week. With the people behind this new and faster way of toning up, it’s likely that we won’t be seeing the stepmill go anywhere any time soon.

stair machine

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Is the Batman Workout Worth Doing?

Call me a bit late to the party but I was able to finally catch the new Batman film late last night. I’ll save my review of the film for someone who is qualified to do so. If you are on the fence about seeing this film, after hearing the largely mixed reviews, I still suggest giving it a watch. I’m not saying that you should go out and spend upward of twenty dollars to own it but give it a look, it was pretty good. Now, one scene that stuck out to me, as I’m sure it did with many other lifters out there, was Bruce Wayne’s intense workout scene. After I had watched what had seemed to be a training scene, like ones we always see in action movies, it took a few minutes for what I just saw to really set in. As far as I recall, the last time that we were treated to seeing how Batman really trains was a glimpse of some push ups in Batman Begins.

Call me someone who likes to nitpick, I never really bought the idea that Batman, protector of an entire city and a name that strikes fear into every evil doer gets his training in by doing push ups? Call me crazy but I would think that the Dark Knight who has a drive and budget unlike anything most of us will ever see, would simply be content with busting out one hundred push ups every morning. On a funny sidenote, one of my old friends who was obsessed with all things Batman, was inspired by hearing about the push up scene. I think that my friend might have had some serious disillusions that he was Batman, he took to the new push up routine like a fish takes to water.

After a few weeks, I think his drive had finally tapered off but it was amusing to see him so determined to become a superhero. In the newer Batman movie, with Ben Affleck at the helm, we see a very different workout routine, one that is far more closer to what you would imagine Batman actually performing. In the scenes, Bruce Wayne begins taking a sledgehammer to a tire, which could look out of place to many of us. I have been to a hardware store recently and I can safely say that picking up a sledgehammer is quite heavy. If you have ever had to swing a sledgehammer, you’ll know that it isn’t to do more than once or twice. When you are able to actively swing a sledgehammer onto a safe surface, like a tire, you have an environment created where you can swing a heavy hammer without chipping away at your nice floor. Next, we watch as Bruce Wayne is doing pull ups, with a twist on the old classic, he has a weighted belt wrapped around him. If you remember taking any gym classes, you’ll know how difficult doing a pull up can be, when you are adding extra weight, in addition to that of your body, you can see why this would be a hard exercise to really complete. Again, the viewer is seeing another exercise that is far better suited to the protector of Gotham than daily push ups. I will always love the Nolan Batman trilogy, which are still far and away the best superhero movies around, just something I thought I would point out.

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What Lower Back Pain Really Means During Crunches

As we get down to the foundation of what could be seen as the simplest work out routines to perform, it would seem like a no-brainer that the crunch would be included. To that, I say if anyone thinks that crunches are easy to do, I would suggest that they try them for themselves. I have never had an easy time doing abdominal exercises and crunches are no exception. Finding that I could get to maybe 10 repetitions, I would usually notice a sharp pain that would start in the lower part of my back. Ensuring that I wasn’t going to end up really hurting those sensitive muscles, I didn’t do crunches for a long time after those incidents. I had tried to transition myself into doing sit ups, which is a more conventional method of a crunch but found that I was still plagued by nagging back pain that would seemingly never go away.

I started to ask around to find out why I was having such bad pain during crunches. The wisdom that a wise onlooker gave to me was something that I still haven’t forgotten to this day and it all had to do with the way that I was performing the crunch. After learning how to better position my body, I found that crunches and sit ups no longer had me bent over in pain. I had actually gotten to a state where I could do about 50 reps of crunches, every other morning. Although I was feeling the burn of a chiseled stomach, I really enjoy doing these exercises that would eventually find that I needed to change it up in order to stay on my intense regimen.

pain remedy for backRequiring you to be somewhat nimble, if you haven’t tried out the donkey kick exercise yet, I highly suggest that you give it a shot for yourself. This exercise, how’s its foundation and yoga but don’t let that scare you, once you get down the basics it is quite easy to perform. I also find that doing a donkey cake works out my cord better than the old-school crunches ever had. The exercise that I am mentioning will be sort of like a headstand so you will need to be somewhat inclined to balance yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the donkey kick add exercise down the first time, it took me many tries just to balance and find my proper hand placement. With a name like the donkey can’t, this exercise will have you taking off your feet in mid air, it is easier than it sounds. I don’t think that this is just some silly way to get you moving, you’ll likely feel your stomach muscles contracting within just a couple repetitions of this cake. You’ll want to keep it simple and not overdo it so the first time that you attempted donkey kick, only try to do 3 to 5 repetitions.

Abdominal muscles are thin walls and aren’t quite built in the same method that your bigger muscles will be. Keeping in mind that you will be continuing to constrict this wall built my muscles, going slow and steady is how to properly accomplish getting harder abs. Give these new workouts a couple of days to settle into and you will likely have those nagging lower back pains to become a thing of the past. It should never consistently cause you to be pain every single time that you exercise, it’s often a sign that you are not doing your workouts properly!


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Post-Workout Meals for Hardgainers

I often hear so many people who are concerned about having the best supplements that they often ignore the most important part of truly gaining more mass and that would be nutrition. It’s an unhealthy attitude when many who have just completed a big workout often times will ignore the critical window of getting protein into their body. Instead of having a nice meal prepared that will set them up to gain even more from all of their hard work, they waste the meal on junk food. Chalk it up to having an ego after you know that you’ve conquered a workout that was said in front of you but if you’re making bad food choices every time you work out, you won’t see the gains that you should be getting.

Even the biggest bodybuilders in the world know the importance of nutrition, it’s best to think of it having as much of an important place in your life as your training will. One bright spot that I can hopefully put into your day is that it’s been well known that chocolate milk is great for after workout recovery meals. Feel free to indulge in a big glass of chocolate milk but with that we’re also going to need some other elements of an important muscle building diet, namely protein and healthy fats. This might cause some of you to fight the urge to vomit on your keyboard but, if you can stomach it, tuna sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk are like a muscle building super meal.

I know for many that the combination of chocolate and tuna sounds nasty but once you try it, you’ll find that it’s really not that bad. Worse comes to worse you can down this meal in about two minutes and enjoy a nice cup of mouthwash afterwards. For those who are not wanting to dive into culinary extreme opposite ends of the spectrum, I’ve got another meal for you that you can try. Sharing together a nice glass of protein powder and milk, along with a high-protein cereal is a great way to have a post workout breakfast that will keep you energized all day. If you find that your body is sensitive to consuming milk, replace the milk in this writing with soy or almond milk. I’ve been able to try almond milk, as well as its soy product and can tell you that both are amazing alternatives to actual milk. I am always of the belief that anything can be improved upon, if you’ve got post workout meal is you’re trying that you really like, leave us an idea of what those meals are on our social media page.

I look forward to hearing from each and every reader that I can during the week and questions that I receive like what kind of post workout meals are best often give me a great chance to speak with each and everyone of you. I was able to talk about this with a group of people at a recent event and I heard some delicious ideas already. One of them was adding rice or sweet potatoes into a post workout meal, which is an awesome idea. If you need to fight off cravings for something like a candy bar, a sweet potato with just the right amount of butter can really change your perception of a vegetable.

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Are High-Protein Meals as Good as We Thought?

It’s likely that many people have seen one of the many diet commercials on television. Usually, these diets will range in difficulty but one that has remained widely used has been the high protein diet after all, we know that protein is great for building muscle and it leaves you feeling full so it sounds like all is well, right? Actually, eating all of those meets me aid in giving you a flatter stomach but it won’t protect you from a major disease that affects many people. Interestingly enough, there have been scientific studies done that show when you’re trying to lose weight, while eating a diet that is high in protein, you run a higher risk of potential of developing a diabetic condition. When you do switch to a high-protein diet, with the intent of losing weight, you are still cutting out important necessities that make up a balanced diet.

Grilling Out has it's disadvantages!
Grilling Out has its disadvantages!

Yes, it is true, that we do occasionally need sugars and fats, However, that’s not to say that fats should be consumed every day. If you can think back to the days where you learned about the food pyramid, these are the sort of guidelines that you want to be thinking about when deciding what to eat daily. While there isn’t anything wrong with eating meat, just try to limit your intake to a specific amount. When you set a required amount of food that you will be eating, you’ll be more able to easily adhere to these new changes, than if you were overindulging.

Another situation that you can apply to your own daily food intake would be to try and consumer more white meat versus red meat. I’m a big lover of steaks and hamburgers but you have to realize that you can’t eat that every day, there are just too many health risks associated with doing that. It isn’t great to consume meat all of the time, substituting a steak for a piece or two of grilled fish is a way to, at least, ensure that you are getting meat that is low in fat. If you don’t enjoy fish, there are other seafood options, such as: shrimp, oysters, and crab. I’ve known folks in my life that were repulsed by even a simple sniff of seafood so if you’re in need of a different white meat, think about getting some chicken or pork. Pork chops are an inexpensive meat type that you can do a lot with, provided you’ve got some spices and condiments in your home.

I love being a carnivore as much as the next person does but you have to know when it is important to set limits. In my younger days, I would not often spend any time worrying about what I was eating but take it from me, when you start getting a little older, every food choice adds up. Remember, food is our fuel and if we use bad fuel in a car, you can’t expect it to go very far. As it turns out, a high protein diet can be right for those who can still maintain a healthy weight. However, when it comes to losing weight with the aid of large quantities of protein, I would watch out for the looming threat of creating a diabetic environment.

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Ways to Beat the Boredom of a Long Walk

The main thing that I hear from people who have given up their current walking habits usually has to do with it being too boring. After all, no one wants to just walk a long distance in total silence for an undetermined amount of time. If this is how you have been completing your daily walking, it’s easy to see why you might feel less than motivated. I don’t enjoy silent walking, although some others do. The first thing that I will check to make sure that I have some sort of portable music player. If you haven’t yet attempted it, adding music to your walks really cuts down on time and makes them feel much shorter. Also, getting into a good song can really make you zone out and lose track of time, which is always good on a walk. You’ll hear this argued about that, in my opinion, having a beat that is uptempo should make up the majority of your playlist. I’ve got nothing against slow music and I’m actually a big supporter of it, just not while I’m trying to get out and walk.

You’ll want to make sure that you’re hydrated on your walks so I would at least have one bottle of water, maybe two. Even if you were outside walking in cooler temperatures, remember that you’re still exerting yourself and your internal body temperature will ramp up, in an attempt to cool you down. You’ll know to have water with you, when walking around in hotter temperatures, when the weather is more moderate it will be tougher to determine if you need water. It’s best to just automatically plan to have extra h20 with you. Now that you’ve got some good jams and your hydration is taken care of, I wanted to touch on the other crucial part of this plan which is setting distance goals. By having proper goals set, you’ll know when your over-achieving or when you maybe need to work on your endurance.

For whatever reason you choose, having goals that you can set for yourself is a way to have rules set in stone that will be vital to your success. If you plan on doing any walking at night, you’ll definitely want to wear clothes that make it easy to see you. If you’ve kept up with any news, needless to say, you’ve heard about all of those clown attacks. It’s best to keep yourself visible from oncoming traffic and other hazards that are presented to you, when walking at night. If at all possible, it’s always a good idea to try and walk during the day but I also know that not everyone schedules allow for that to happen. For anyone who is having trouble sticking with their plans for walking daily, don’t be discouraged early on.

A Solid Routine Isn’t Built in A Day.

Although we do walk every day, at least most of us do, long distances are not something that the average body is prepared for. Should you only find yourself able to walk a couple of minutes, simply create a goal of walking maybe ten minutes, for your future. Walking or jogging are both skills that will be improved upon repetition, meaning that you are continuing to walk or jog daily. As you continue into your walking routine, you’ll be quick to notice that there will be rewards, done through having increased endurance.


One Big Meal or Many Smaller Ones?

When trying to live a healthy lifestyle, what you eat will determine how adept you are to committing yourself. Even if you know the right foods to eat, knowing what times to eat them isn’t often thought of. Some will choose to eat one giant dinner, claiming that they are allowed to do so because of how long they waited to consume that meal. There are also other trains of thought that are all about dividing meals into smaller increments, eating five to six of these smaller servings per day. If you’re looking to gain fat, having a large dinner is how you would start adding on weight. When you don’t space out your food, you wind up with a belly full of fats and carbs that are moving too quickly to metabolize. When overeating, all of the food that can’t be processed in time have no choice but to end up being converted in body fat. Meal timing is an important concept that is easy to understand. Those who eat smaller meals, more often will have an easier time managing their weight, due to enough time being given for metabolism to burn off the food. It is a myth that someone who eats all day will end up getting fat, if that’s true, look at how bodybuilders eat.

I’ve watched Ronnie Coleman, one of the most awarded bodybuilders of all time, take down a number of meals in a day that I probably consume in three or four of them! If you’re not convinced yet, let’s look at my own personal feedback after trying these diets separately. I used to have a job that left me with only a small window at night to have dinner. It could have been the depression that was starting to set in from working such long hours (it was not a fun time for me) but I would just pig out for dinner, often eating two meals in one sitting. Over time, my body became used to one meal a day and it really took better habits to get myself out of that rut. After I finally started incorporating a set time for breakfast and lunch, I wanted to see if there were any benefits to the smaller meal school of thought. What I immediately noticed was how much I enjoyed not hearing my stomach gurgle all day!

Although you can form habits that will get you used to eating one meal a day, it isn’t good for you and you’ll have to fight through your stomach feeling like it is twisted in knots. While not impossible, it is definitely hard to try and lift weights, after fasting all day. As our bodies use energy from food to power us, trying to lift with no food in your body is like trying to use a bicycle with no pedals. Overall, I highly enjoyed having smaller meals more often, as opposed to waiting the whole day to pig out on one dinner. If you find that you are in the rut of bad eating habits, there is good news as they can always be changed. The wonderful thing about our brain is that it can adjust itself to new changes in life. If you think about it, having smaller meals does technically mean that you can eat more everyday, what could be more awesome than that?

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Are Step Trackers Slowly Waning?

With stiff competition, it looks like Fitbit is having a rough go with recent sales. It appears that there are some shifting mindsets that are causing the Fitbit to be the hot commodity that it once was. One reason I would attribute the slower sales of this device to would have to the time of the year. The weather is starting to turn cooler and parents are getting their pack all ready for school to be starting up. As our schedules begin to have more tasks added onto them, the worry of how many steps someone made falls to the back burner. I know that I still see many people with their Fitbits, or whichever brand you prefer, with their bands proudly displayed around their arms. I know that the Fitbit people must have done something right because I am seeing more devices trying to offer similar products. One troubling statistic showed that, after a while, people are just not hanging on for the long haul. I can easily see why users just drop off of the map after a while, it all has to do lack of determination.

runnerNot to call anyone out, I suffer from lack of wanting to move at times, we all do. The trick to getting over a lack of enthusiasm, is to not let it take such a hold over your life. I also would say that misconceptions about how long it takes to really start looking good has got some mistaken, expecting instant slim downs. Anything that has a tracker is going to have to do with progress that is continuously made. Honestly, if you are exercising after six months of taking up the hobby, consider yourself lucky. For many without the same level of seeing a task through to the end, they wind up just another lost statistic. Take it from someone who has started and stopped more exercises than you could think about, if you get back into the habit, you can always start over again. What holds back the majority is the false assumption that ending exercising, whatever ones you may utilize, means you have failed. I hate the word failure, I wish that it didn’t exist because it is so final. It personally affects me when I see someone start off with all of the potential in the world, only to squander it because they weren’t beach ready in a month. So what if you missed the last week of running, that’s what the next week is for!

It could stand to reason that maybe the ones getting their trackers knew that it was only going to be a temporary distraction, which is terrible. However, the current waning in the sales of Fitbit doesn’t mean that they are going anywhere. I love my Fitbit and always have it by me, as I’m constantly moving around (much to the chagrin of my friends) and I love knowing how much I’ve done for myself. Something we learn early on in life is to try and understand everyone else’s perspective, not just your own. Practicing what I preach, if anyone around you looks like they are just about ready to throw in the towel, with their exercising habits, set them straight. We don’t have to be mean to get others committed to their working out, just friendly encouragement, you will be amazed at how far that can take you.

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Benefits of Green Exercise: It’s Easier Than You Thought

We’ve covered many of the odd fads that come along, all in the name of fitness. If there is an action that gets people moving, it is likely that there will be a full-scale class centered around it. When I first heard the words green exercise, I had no idea what this could be. Does everyone sit around, dressed up in green wardrobes to exercise? Do we all go to the gym and paint all of the weights green, like a scene with the Joker in the art museum? The questions sounded weird but it wouldn’t have shocked me if any of them were what green exercising truly meant. As it turns out, the waves of good words being heaped at green exercising are there for good reason, it is so simple to start up!

I’ve wondered enough so it’s time to find out why this green type of exercising is catching on so rapidly. Sometimes, you don’t want to be trapped in a hot gym room, waiting for stations, dealing with all of the noise, and other grievances. Green exercising is all about getting outside and being closer to Mother Nature. Finding a nice day, which can be plentiful or non-existent, depending on where it is that you call home. Regardless, you won’t be building a squat rack and tossing weights around a park, the general vibe is more relaxed. Primarily, for those who are looking for a lighter fitness environment will be in good company with an outdoor style of workout. The great motivator for getting people to start trying out the green fitness way of life is that you can be in a group, or go solo, depending on your preference.

When In Doubt, Join Group Classes.

If you don’t have a clue, as to what exercises you should be doing, it might be best to look in your local area for classes that are being offered. For those who are intermediate or advanced aerobic masters, you’re probably safe to do exercise all by yourself, in the great outdoors. Even stepping out of specific exercises, even spending time doing your favorite hobby outside would still qualify as green exercise. Getting much needed fresh air and maybe even a nice tan in the process, green exercise is being seen as a better match for some, as opposed to stepping foot into a workout place. Those with a more noble mind then some, aren’t afraid to get out there and help their communities, adding a sense of accomplishment to your exercise. I may reveal my age here but I spent many days outside with my friends, namely because there wasn’t all the easily accessible technology back then, as there is now.

Green exercising won’t carry every great mental benefit, if you are in bad environments. For instance, if you live in a bad part of town, where there are not really many natural wonders, or trees, you won’t have as much of the psychological benefits. If you are planning on getting outside and get moving, no matter how nice or bad of shape your neighborhood is in, you will feel satisfied that you exerted yourself. Do I think that big city gyms will be shutting down everywhere, due to the takeover of green exercise? No, I feel that, as creatures of habit, we’re going to go where we don’t feel out of place.