Boost Workout Results With BCAAs

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.

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Per Dr. Mercola, What Are The Best Food Sources Of BCAA’s

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.

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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:

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Inform Consumers

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Friday Class-45 Seconds Work/ 15 Sec Rest

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Have participants warm up for 10 minutes:

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.

Station 1 – Bench & Variety of Handweights

A. Chest Press

B. Tricep Press

C. Chest Fly

D. Tricep Press

Station 2 – Barbells – Variety of weights

A. Barbell Row- I like Supine grip on this.

B. Bicep Curl

C. Barbell Row

D. Bicep Curl

Station 3 – Mats

A. Pushups

B. Mountain Climbers

C. Sit- ups

D. Plank

Station 4 – Weight Plate

A. Alternate Front Lunges

B. Squat Overhead Press

C. Alternate Reverse Lunges

D. Squat Overhead Press

*Cool down and stretch for 10 to 15 minutes

Easy Cafe Mocha Recipe Brew & GO

“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.

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I was so happy when I discovered the Black & Decker Brew N Go.

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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

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1 teaspoon of cinnamon

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2 tablespoons of organic coconut milk

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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.

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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:

Healthier Coffee With These Four Tips

Your Daily Choices Can Heal Or Kill

“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

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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.

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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.

Six Week Challenge To Improve Your Fitness

Get a jump start on your fitness goals by incorporating this challenge into your day. It’s only fifteen minutes six days a week to boost your metabolism and improve your fitness level.

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Drink 20 ounces of water daily with your 2 snacks and with breakfast, lunch, and evening meals

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Circuit 1 (Perform 1 minute of each exercise) Repeat circuit 2x . Finish with the 5 minute yoga sequence

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday– Circuit 2 (10 minute high intensity interval workout followed by five minutes of ab work

Circuit 1:

Diver Push ups

Mountain Climbers

Tricep Push-ups

Plank Jacks

Jump Squats

Yoga (5 minutes)

Circuit 2:

Tues, Thursday, and Saturday –

High Intensity Interval Training- 10 minute workout

Five Minute Ab Workout

Ten Minute Yin Yoga Practice

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

Which Way Should I Go?

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“Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

 Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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.

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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.

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In an interesting article by James Clear  The Four Burners Theory , he reports:

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.

  1. The first burner represents your family.
  2. The second burner is your friends.
  3. The third burner is your health.
  4. 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?”

For example:

  • 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?

This line of questioning pulls your focus toward something positive (getting the most out of what you have available) rather than something negative (worrying about never having enough time). Furthermore, well-designed limitations can actually improve your performance and help you stop procrastinating on your goals.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Friday Motivation Ten Minute Abs

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!

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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 ClimbersI 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.

Perform this exercise for 1 minute

 

Stretch, Recover, and Hydrate

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Try my easy, healthy, green juice to help to hydrate and recover from your workout! Two Ingredient Healthy Juice

Three Amazing Quick And Healthy Breakfast Choices

  1. 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!!

Aging With No Filter

I’ve officially been calling myself a “snow bird” for the past several years.  My husband and I travel to Florida during the winter months each year to escape the cold weather and enjoy some quiet time at the beach.

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Although I thought I would be bored to tears and miss home; I’ve learned to embrace this time in my life.
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Now that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m considered a “senior” and a snow bird, I’ve found myself reflecting more on the aging process.  It blows my mind that in two years I will be sixty!?! Where has the time gone??  I still feel like I’m only in my forties and have to remind myself often that I’m now falling into the DREADED categories of: senior, geriatric, old lady, over the hill etc.  Yes, if you live long enough, not only will you have to deal with gray hair and wrinkles,  you will most likely be subjected to ageism.  Merriam Webster defines

Ageism:

Definition of ageism 

prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly

 

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Sociology In Focus reports:

Becoming older is a privilege denied to many,” the saying goes. But, are you excited about getting older? When I ask my students this question they often say things like, “No way!” and follow with a list of negative stereotypes describing older adults as sick, unhappy, slow, and sexually inactive. How do so many of us, including myself, come to this conclusion?

The aging population (i.e., individuals 65 and over) around the world is growing. In the U.S. alone, one in seven persons is now an older American, and this number is expected to double by 2060. As we’ve previously discussed here at Sociology In Focus with other concepts (seasonstime, etc.) aging is also socially constructed.

A Youth Obsessed Society

The U.S. has often been described as a youth obsessed society. Some have argued that aging is a fate worse than death. During 2014, nearly 13 billion dollars was spent on plastic surgery with the bulk of procedures performed on women 40 and older. The sale of anti-aging skin care products is also a booming business. U.S. consumers now spend more on anti-aging medications than on drugs for disease. Clearly people are feeling pressure to maintain their youth.

It’s no wonder that once we pass the ripe old age of thirty-nine, many of us turn to desperate measures such as Botox and plastic surgery. Therefore, along with our shrinking self-image comes a multitude of other potential issues such as an increased risk for health problems and immobility.

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  Heidi Godman Executive Editor,  of the Harvard Health Letter  reports:

Loss of mobility, which is common among older adults, has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences. “If you’re unable to get out then you can’t go shopping, you can’t go out with your friends to eat dinner or go to the movies, and you become dependent on other people to get you places. So you become a recluse, you stay home, you get depressed. With immobilization comes incontinence, because you can’t get to the bathroom, you can develop urinary infections, skin infections. The list goes on,” says geriatrician Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

The cascade of negative effects that comes with immobility can often be prevented or limited, according to a review in today’s JAMA. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at dozens of mobility studies published over the years. They discovered common factors that lead to loss of mobility, such as older age, low physical activity, obesity, impaired strength and balance, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. Less common red flags included symptoms of depression, problems with memory or thinking skills, being female, a recent hospitalization, drinking alcohol or smoking, and having feelings of helplessness. Individuals with one or more of these factors is at risk for immobility.

 

A greater risk of health issues and immobility reinforces the importance of optimizing your health as you get older.  For this very reason, I’m fortunate to be employed in the health and fitness industry that requires me to stay active and make healthy food choices.

However, along with that comes a increased focus on body image by my peers and clients.  It’s common to see images of young, muscular, fit people in health and fitness magazines, fitness infomercials, and television ads etc.  Furthermore,  most of my co-workers, and clients are in their early thirties and forties. Therefore I’ve begun to question how do I continue to work in the health and fitness industry at this stage of my life. How do I fight to keep up with a society that is consumed with youth, appearance,  and selfies?

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As a fitness instructor I constantly hear women comparing themselves to others, complaining about their age, scrutinizing their bodies, appearance, and fitness level.  Over the years, I’ve seen many resort to plastic surgery for breast implants, liposuction, face lifts, and Botox.  I on the other hand have decided against any nips, tucks, or enhancements.  I know it’s crazy, but I’ve accepted that I’m getting older and I’m determined to age gracefully the “good old-fashioned way!”

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At this stage in my life, I’m surprised that I find myself comfortable with my appearance, my body, and my fitness level.  I actually have more self-confidence than I ever had in my 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. My goal is to simply age with style and grace.  I plan to take care of myself by simply exercising and making healthy food choices.

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Simply put, my goal is to promote healthy aging.  I truly believe “age is just a number.”  Your lifestyle, food choices, and activity level play a huge part in how you age. The picture below is a picture of me and my dad when I was in my thirties.

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This is me age 35

Now fast forward twenty years to my current picture below at the age of 58. Yes I have wrinkles around my eyes and I look older but that is a part of life.  My point is that many people simply stop taking care of themselves as they get older.  It’s typical to slow down once your children are gone and we transition from a busy work career and family life to empty nest and retirement.  It’s this sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices that causes rapid aging, weight gain, and increased risk for disease.

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Although many experts report that losing weight after forty will make you look older, the truth is weight gain makes you look older.  Quite often as we age, weight accumulates in the mid section, which can put strain on the heart, muscles, and joints.  Ultimately these lifestyle choices increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes. The key is to maintain a healthy stable weight as you age.  It’s the yo-yo dieting and the drastic weight loss that causes the face to look drawn and appear more wrinkled.

 

So how do we maintain good health and a more youthful appearance as we age?  How can we live life in our golden years without filters, Photoshop, and going under the knife? As much as we would like to believe in magic weight loss pills and procedures. There are no tricks; these methods don’t work.

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We all age and no amount of liposuction, face-lift, Botox, or weight loss gimmicks are going to make us look twenty again. Learn to love yourself, your wrinkles, your age, and your life experience.  The answer to aging with no filter is simple.  All you have to do is work hard, eat right, and don’t give up.

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For more tips on aging gracefully check out my article, Age Gracefully With These Five Tips