BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are three of the nine essential amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. The essential amino acids can’t be made by the body and therefore must be acquired through the diet. Research studies report that BCAA’s help to promote muscle growth, aids in recovery and reduces muscle soreness.
BCAAs are found in a number of healthy protein-rich foods, including organic grass-fed beef, wild Alaskan salmon, pastured egg yolks, raw grass-fed cheese, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and nuts. One of the best sources, however, is whey protein concentrate, which has one of the highest concentrations of leucine.
The typical requirement for leucine is 1 to 3 grams daily. However, to optimize its anabolic pathway for muscle growth and repair, you need as much as 8 to 16 grams of leucine daily. One 3-ounce serving of whey protein has 8 grams of leucine (compared to just 1.6 grams in salmon or 1.4 grams in egg yolk).
This likely explains why whey protein concentrate has been found to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and has been called the ideal fitness food when consumed just before or after a workout.
Try to get your BCAAs from your daily diet by incorporating salmon, grass-fed cheese, pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs and nuts if possible.
However, consider using a whey protein concentrate if you are short on time or on the go. This can be a convenient way to add BCAAs to shakes, oatmeal, and yogurt for post workout snacks and meals.
Make sure when selecting your whey protein to look for a pure, high, quality product. Many protein powders can contain high levels of lead, arsenic and toxic ingredients. Check the product on the Clean Label Project website:
Divide participants evenly at the four stations- Instruct them to select the weight that is appropriate at each station. Have them perform exercise A at each station for 45 seconds and then switch to the next station (after completing all four stations of the circuit- offer water break and recovery) Then instruct them to go back to their first station with their same group and rotate them through exercise B at each station then C & D.
“Coffee and chocolate—the inventor of mocha should be sainted.” ― Cherise Sinclair, Hour of the Lion
I always look forward to my early morning coffee experience but in the past disliked the time it took to brew and the waste of making too much coffee. I love to start my day with a fresh, hot cup of coffee to get me energized for a quick, morning yoga flow. However, sometimes I’m short on time and don’t have the luxury of time to sip and savor my morning brew.
I was so happy when I discovered the Black & Decker Brew N Go.
It brews delicious, hot coffee in less that two minutes. And to top that off, you can take it with you in an insulated cup that keeps it hot on your drive to work. Although I normally love my coffee black, I experimented with adding some flavor to my morning brew. Here’s what I came up with:
1 heaping tablespoon of Charleston Coffee Roasters Organic Sumatra coffee
A (Black & Decker) Brew & Go cup of filtered water
1 tablespoon of organic hot cocoa
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of organic coconut milk
This recipe is so quick and simple. Put 12 oz of filtered water in your Brew & Go cup and pour the water in your coffee maker. Add one tablespoon of coffee to the filter. Once you’ve added your water to your coffee maker and your brew cup is empty, add cinnamon, cocoa mix and coconut milk to your brew cup.
Now simply place your cup in the coffee maker and brew. Your delicious hot steaming cafe mocha will be ready in less than two minutes. ENJOY!!
Also, if you drink a lot of coffee like I do, check out my article:
“Regaining health is more difficult an objective then becoming ill. Becoming ill is a random act of ignorance and regaining health is an intentional effort in frustration.” ― Richard Diaz
Although hereditary factors can play a part in some diseases, you have more control over your health than you think. Your body is an amazing machine designed to heal if it senses a threat, but poor daily food choices and inactivity can lead to permanent damage. There comes a point where your body gives in and stops fighting.
Once this occurs there is often damage that can’t be reversed. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and even coma. Heart disease and hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Your choices could leave you dependent on others for your care.
But the good news is you can change your future. You have the the choice everyday to make better decisions regarding your health.
Don’t wake up one day and regret the opportunities you had to create a healthy lifestyle, and live a better quality of life.
FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO CREATE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE :
Monitor your weight- Although it’s important not to obsess over the scales and weighing yourself daily, you do need to check your weight periodically. Gaining just a few pounds each year can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Make a point to weigh yourself once a week and log your results. If you notice a slight gain of a couple of pounds, then simply increase your activity and cut back on portion sizes. Tracking your weight on a regular basis will help you avoid extra pounds that can creep up over the years.
Remain active– Staying active is a key factor in improving health and maintaining an optimum weight as you age. Today more than ever, people tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Many people have desk jobs and find it difficult to incorporate exercise into their schedule. However, it’s important to remain active so you can enjoy a good quality of life as you age. Brisk walking is a great cardiovascular exercise and you may want to consider walking or biking to work. Perhaps you can fit exercise in by taking a walk on your lunch break or joining a gym close to work. Many gyms are now 24 hour so it’s easier than ever to fit workouts into your schedule. It’s important to find an activity you enjoy and schedule your workouts on your calendar.
Avoid processed foods- Processed foods are typically high in calories and contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to weight gain. If you frequently eat out, try to select grilled lean meat without sauces. Select a salad, baked potato, or steamed vegetables as a side dish. Try to cook and eat most of your meals at home. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables when possible and experiment with healthy new recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
Do resistance training- Weight training is vital as you get older. Studies show that muscle mass declines with age. Muscle mass peaks around the mid-twenties; starts to decline in our thirties, and picks up speed as we age. Weight training helps you maintain a healthy metabolism and helps combat the loss of muscle tone as you get older. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week can play a major role in maintaining your strength and muscle tone. Therefore, if you are already strength training, you are on the right track! If not, it’s never too late to pick up a set of weights and get started.
Take control of your health starting today! Make the decision to heal rather than kill. It’s all about our daily choices.
Yin Yoga is a practice in which you hold lying and seating poses for three to five minutes. This type of yoga focuses on flexibility and restoration. Try my ten minute practice in the morning to loosen up tight muscles or to help you wind down before bedtime. Focus on breathing slowly in and out through the nose that will help create warmth in the body and promote relaxation. Try to clear your thoughts and focus on a mind body connection as you try to relax in each pose.
You’ll need a mat, water, and an optional blanket for a prop if needed.
Wide Knee Child’s Pose (Hold for 3 minutes)
Sphinx Pose (Hold for 3 minutes)
Swan Pose (Hold for 2 minutes on each leg)
Finish with an optional pose called Legs up the Wall 3 to 5 minutes
Where are you going in life? Are you on the right path? It’s an important question to ask yourself and you may be surprised at the answer. Without purpose or direction we become stagnant and feel empty. Have you considered what you value most in life? If you don’t know, then you may end up on the wrong path.
It can be a challenge in our busy lives to achieve balance when it comes to family life, career, and health. However, if you don’t know where you’re going, you may find yourself at some point in life, full of regrets.
Stop spinning your wheels and write down an action oriented plan with specific goals that will help you live your best life.
One way to think about work-life balance is with a concept known as The Four Burners Theory. Here’s how it was first explained to me:
Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.
The first burner represents your family.
The second burner is your friends.
The third burner is your health.
The fourth burner is your work.
One of the most frustrating parts of The Four Burners Theory is that it shines a light on your untapped potential. It can be easy to think, “If only I had more time, I could make more money or get in shape or spend more time at home.”
One way to manage this problem is to shift your focus from wishing you had more time to maximizing the time you have. In other words, you embrace your limitations. The question to ask yourself is, “Assuming a particular set of constraints, how can I be as effective as possible?”
Assuming I can only work from 9 AM to 5 PM, how can I make the most money possible?
Assuming I can only write for 15 minutes each day, how can I finish my book as fast as possible?
Assuming I can only exercise for 3 hours each week, how can I get in the best shape possible?
Consider writing down a small goal for each area of your life that you feel needs improvement. Here are some ideas:
Relationships– Take time each day to tell your loved ones how much you care for them. Set restraints on social media and use that time to spend with your family. Get in the habit of giving hugs more often. Read books, play board games, or put puzzles together with your children each week. Try and set up a consistent schedule to call your parents, siblings, and friends. Create special memories!
Career- This is a biggie! We all need to make money to live but if you hate your job, you will most likely be miserable. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work so it’s vital to find something that is compatible with your family life. Also, if you have small children, you will regret working 60 or more hours a week. That’s precious time away from loved ones that you will never get back. Consider your options for another job with better hours or maybe a work from home option. Set a goal to improve this area of your life by determining the pros and cons of your current working situation and where you can make small positive changes.
Health- This is an area many of us end up sacrificing due to time restraints. However, it’s easy to set just one or two weekly goals that can make a substantial difference in your health. Number one is the food you bring into your home. Learn to make healthier food choices when shopping for groceries. It’s important for your children to learn the relationship between their health and what they eat. Take them shopping with you and let them make their own grocery list of healthy food choices. Restrict splurges on fast food to special circumstances or occasions. Additionally, consider how you can add activity into your day? Ride a bike or walk to work if that’s an option.
Set your alarm an hour early and get your workouts on your calendar. Even a ten minute workout once or twice a day can make a difference. Determine specific days and times each week for physical fitness and stay consistent. You will never regret this.
Consider what you value most in life and make a plan to make sure you take the right path. Because if you don’t know where you’re going than it doesn’t really matter.
I love teaching my Friday weight training class and try to put a different spin on it every week. Class will start with total body weight training and then I plan to finish with this quick and effective ab routine. Do this three to four times per week and tweak your diet with a specific goal to drink more water and eliminate processed foods. You’ll be surprised how quickly you start to see results!
ABS/ CORE CIRCUIT –
Perform each exercise for one minute and try to complete entire circuit 2x
1. Glider Plank Walk & Knee Tuck –This is one of my all time favorite. To work the abs efficiently you need to engage the stability of the core. This is done with gliders but you can use small towels under your feet or your socks will work to allow your feet to slide while performing the exercise.Perform this exercise for 1 minute
2. Burpee + Four Mountain Climbers –I love this exercise. It works the entire body and the mountain climbers really challenge your abs/core.
Perform this exercise for 1 minute
3. Up Down Plank –This exercise is tougher than it looks. Try leading with one arm for thirty seconds and then change lead arms to complete the minute. Modify on your knees if needed.
Perform this exercise for 1 minute
4. Plank Jacks With Knee Tuck-Love this but it’s a tough exercise for one minute. Challenge yourself!
Perform this exercise for 1 minute
5. Pilates Double Leg Stretch– Pilates is an amazing way to get your abs into shape and your core strong. Try this for 30 seconds, hug your knees into the chest and recover for 10 seconds and then finish with 20 more seconds of the exercise.
Avocado Toast- This is one of my favorite breakfast/ snack foods- I love to use Ezekiel bread and then add mashed avocado with a splash of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and top with hemp or flax-seed
2. Protein Oatmeal Bowl- This is another one of my healthy go to meals- I like to use a single serving of organic oats, scoop of your favorite protein, 1 tbsp of almond butter, handful of organic blueberries and top with flax-seed.
3. Spinach and Egg Breakfast Quesadilla – These are quick, healthy, and can be made ahead of time to warm up if short on time. Simple recipe includes – scramble eggs in tbsp of avocado or olive oil , toss in any optional veggies and then place on tortilla. Top with cheese and heat until cheese melted. Delicious!!
If your resolutions are to lose fifty pounds and acquire a six-pack in two weeks, you could be headed for trouble. Or did you set lofty goals and decide to run a marathon or sign-up for a triathlon this year? That could be a problem if you don’t have a clue how to get started and expect to dive right in without a plan.
It’s easy to have false expectations and become impatient when it comes to weight loss and fitness goals. Losing weight and building muscle takes time. Therefore, It’s imperative to set realistic goals and have a well thought out fitness plan.
Learn to avoid setbacks and injuries by following these four tips for success:
1. Hire a professional -If you’re a newbie to working out, it’s important to enlist the advise of a certified fitness professional. It’s vital to set a time frame, realistic goals, and write down specific steps to help you gain progress while avoiding injuries and setbacks. Your health is your greatest asset and well worth the investment.
2. Make sure you always warm-up, cool-down, and stretch before workouts –The warm-up elevates your body temperature and increases blood flow to your joints and muscles to safely prepare your body for your workout. The cool-down and stretching will help your heart rate return to normal and helps prevent muscle soreness and injury.
3. Learn the balance between overload and recovery -Over-training can occur when you don’t recover sufficiently from your workouts. Signs to look for can be an elevated resting heart rate, ongoing muscle soreness, irritability, weight loss, and decreased performance.
Per breakingmuscle.com Recovery Is About Creating Balance : Training is about creating enough of a stimulus to force the body out of its comfort zone, therefore making it get stronger, bigger, or more fit. This happens through a physiological process we call adaptation. As the body starts to adapt to the stimulus, the athlete or trainee has to keep pushing the body more and more in order to keep making progress. Many of those involved in the fitness industry understand this principle, but what gets lost in translation is that in order to create that adaptation to the exercise stress, athletes and trainees need to rest appropriately with proper recovery.
Therefore, always consult a fitness professional if you are unsure how to progress safely towards your goals
4. Have patience and enjoy the process– It’s easy to want to see results overnight or take shortcuts in your training, but patience is key. Your body needs to adapt safely to the overload in your workouts. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts by increasing the weights, reps or intensity of your workouts before your body is ready. You can’t expect to run a marathon if you haven’t done the work. You need to start with short runs and slowly build your mileage each week. Follow a well designed program that is specifically designed to help you reach your goals. Take some time each week to keep a journal of your progress and accomplishments It will be well worth it when you start to see your body transform or run over that finish line.