My Pre-workout Supplements

A good pre-workout supplement can take your training to a whole-notha-leehhvall! The right sup can boost your strength, endurance, focus, and give those muscles a nice pump; who doesn’t want that?

Before I get into sharing my pre-workout stack I feel it necessary to share a short story regarding my past experience with some name brand pre’s.

A few years ago I started using pre-workouts for the reasons I stated in the first paragraph. I Dumbbellfound a reputable name brand and began taking it as directed. I felt like superwomen in the gym! I was moving faster, pushing harder, and training longer than I ever have. This high lasted a while; until it all came down to bite me in the ass.

I eventually became dependent on these pre-workouts and couldn’t imagine training without them. Sadly it got to a point where my sleep suffered – probably from the high level of stimulants most name brands possess. It wouldn’t matter if I took it at 5am or 5pm; I could no longer get a solid full nights rest. This snow balled in the sense I was still taking it to combat my fatigue from not sleeping; resulting in over-training, under-recovering, and no gain in muscle mass what’s so ever.

So please be cautious when supplementing with pre-workouts. To be honest, anything with a picture of a skeleton, or the word “explode” makes me nervous, as do some of the price tags.

Personally, my favourite pre-workout stack is one I can put together on my own. I purchase the ingredients in bulk and then toss them together about 20 minutes before I lift. If I had tons of money, I’d likely add to my stack, but here are -in my opinion- the necessities:

  1. BCAAS

“Branched chain amino acids or BCAA are the smallest sub particle of protein and are a chemical chain of the amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.. They are often referred to as the building blocks of protein. This particular blend of BCAA supplement is a 2:1:1 ratio of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine. Amino Acids are essential in the body and are produced naturally. When the body undergoes physical stress, BCAAs can be used as an alternate fuel beta-alanine-1lbsource to fuel protein synthesis and delay fatigue. They play a special role by being metabolized quickly and directly in the muscle where you need it most, not in the liver. By allowing the body to stay in a positive nitrogen balance and continue protein synthesis, BCAAs are best known for keeping the body in an anabolic state (muscle building). When taken around times of training, BCAA powder can be essential to keeping protein synthesis going and the body in a fuelled state.”

  1. Beta-Alanine

“Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid used to promote muscular endurance and improve exercise performance by being able to train longer and harder. By promoting high levels of intramuscular carnosine, it can delay the build-up of lactate burning in the muscles. It has also been known to increase maximal power output when training.”

  1. AAKG

“AAKG is a salt derivative of the amino acid arginine and alpha ketoglutaric acid. It is used as an exercise supplement to cause an increase in nitric oxide production in the body. This increased nitric oxide production causes the body to vasodilate blood vessels (increasing their internal diameter to increase blood flow) giving users the muscle pump effect and causing more oxygen and more nutrients to the target muscle. AAKG is an advanced form of arginine and is approximately 2 times the potency. Therefore if one was to take 6g of arginine, it would only require approximately 3g of AAKG to achieve the same effect. AAKG has been shown in new and ongoing research to increase anabolic activity and increase levels of growth hormone, IGF-1, and insulin, glutamine and other amino acid metabolites.”

  1. Creatine Monohydrate

“Creatine Monohydrate or Creapure Creatine Monohydrate is a natural substance found mainly in the skeletal muscle cells of the human body. Made up of three amino acids l-methionine, l-arginine, and l-glycine it is produced in the liver and to a small degree in the kidneys. It is used in the body to provide energy to all the cells in the body especially the muscle cells by increasing the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) available. This ATP that is created is used to fuel flexingall muscle contractions in the body via the Phosphocreatine Synthesis cycle. Although creatine monohydrate is not an essential nutrient, it is very necessary to intense training and physical strength. Creatine is used widely by athletes and resistance trainers to increase strength, power, endurance and explosive strength. Creatine is naturally occurring in foods such as beef but supplementing with exogenous creatine monohydrate is a much easier and more efficient way to increase creatine stores to induce more muscle growth and much more intense training. Creatine is among the most popular and effective supplements available and is very important to anyone looking to improve physical performance.”

  1. Caffeine Caps*

“Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant in the body. Caffeine is found mostly in different types of seeds, leaves, and fruits. Caffeine in humans acts as a central nervous system stimulant which may prevent and/or ward off drowsiness and restore and keep you alert. Caffeine accomplishes this by causing the release of dopamine which is a chemical in the brain that keeps us alert, improves problem solving and pleasure.” (Canadianprotein.com)

I took each description off of the site I order these supplements from. It saves me a lot of money in the long run and I can’t help but feel like a scientist as I mix them together prior to my workouts. These supplements are pretty tasteless, but I often add a squirt of a flavoured water inhancer to get it down easier. If you decide to order from here, please use my link:

http://canadianprotein.refr.cc/KRT7T64

* The reason I put an asterisks beside caffeine is because I no longer include this in my stack. I’ve realized the high amounts of caffeine alone, or in other pre-workouts aren’t good for me. I am a very energetic person as it is and sometimes have issues with anxiety. This has decreased dramatically since I have stopped taking them. Also, I drink a lot of green and black tea so I’m sure I get enough caffeine as it is.

1. Canadianprotein.com,. ‘Canadian Protein: Canada’s Supplements Superstore’. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

Long lasting benefits of physical activity during youth

Long lasting benefits of physical activity during youth

Check out this short article! Studies reveal 3 key components to living well:

–  Being physically active as a young adult may help preserve memory and thinking skills.

– Exposure to natural daylight helps keep your weight in check.

– Think positively; the more depressed you feel, the more you’re at risk for heart failure.

BALANCE IS KEY

Whether you’re in your 20s or 60s, balance exercises should be part of your fitness training. We all need good balance to reduce the chance of falls, make climbing stairs easier, and to ease the task of getting up from a seated or reclined position.

I have the pleasure of training a number of adults that are well into their 50, 60s, and 70s, and I consider balance training to be of great importance in their personal fitness programs. I also include exercises that challenge ones balance in programs designed for younger people, because even they need work in this area.

Balance decreases as we age because of a combination of sensory, motor, and cognitive changes. Reaction time slows down, muscle strength declines after the age of 40, bone density drops 0.5% a year after the age of 40, and ankle flexion declines by 30-40% by the age of 70, increasing the chance of falls. Although no amount of physical activity can stop the natural process of aging, weight bearing exercises, good nutrition, and practicing good balance will certainly slow down this process and make everyday tasks more manageable.

My purpose of this article is to share with you some exercises I use with my clients to improve their balance and co-ordination. Here are some I like to incorporate:

1. One foot stands: Stand up straight with feet hip width apart. Slowly lift one foot off the floor, extending your arms out to the sides to assist with balance. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite foot.

1 foot balance

Variations: Stand on a mat or cushion to further challenge your balance and ankle stability. Stand on a flat surface and try this exercise with eyes closed.

Note: If balancing on one foot with eyes open on a flat surface cannot be held for at least 5 seconds, you are more likely to be injured in a fall over the next 3 years compared to those who can hold it greater than 5 seconds.

2. Hip Raises/Knee extensions on stability ball: Sit on top of a stability ball with your back up straight, arms extended to the sides. While keeping your hip and knee at 90 degrees of flexion, slowly lift up your right hip (keeping your knee bent). Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. During the second set, hold up your hip for 10 seconds, then extend your leg and squeeze the quadriceps for 10 seconds, flex the knee while holding the hip up for the final 10 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. For the third set, try extending your knee twice within the 30 seconds.

Seated SB hip raise

Variations: While keeping the feet planted on the floor (the wider the stance, the more stability) toss a light medicine ball back and forth. This will challenge both balance and reaction time.

Note: Some older adults may first need to practice simply sitting on the ball before adding the hip raises.

3. The Bird-Dog: Using a mat, get on your hands and knees while keeping your head facing down towards the floor (straight spine). Slowly extend your left leg and right arm, while keeping your back flat. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat by extending the right leg and left arm.

normal birddog

Variations: During the second set, slowly draw your elbow and knee together, hold for a second, then extend again. This exercise can also be performed on a stability ball, or from a push-up like position.

Birddog on ballpushup birddog

Note: This exercise increases core strength in both the abdominals and low back, as well as improves stability.

Ginger Powder Helps Type II Diabetes

Ginger Powder Helps Type II Diabetes

Holistic (or natural) nutrition has been an interest of mine for quit some time now. I am currently getting more information on a natural nutrition course which I will likely enroll in come the spring. Here is a brief article regarding a study which used ginger powder as a means to improve fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity in people with type II diabetes.

To help you better understand, or get further information on the contents of this article, here are a three more links:

What is insulin sensitivity – http://www.diabetes.co.uk/insulin/insulin-sensitivity.html

HbA1c – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003640.htm

Ginger – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

The Subway Sandwhich Deception

The Subway Sandwhich Deception

I really can’t say I’m surprised. I used to eat Subway thinking it was healthy, but it never failed to give me a stomach ache or make me feel ill after consuming it.

The more I learned about nutrtion, the less appealing this place became; refined sugars, GMOs, MSG, preservatives, and chemical additives are just a handful of things found in their “healthy” sandwhiches.

It is really unfortunate, many people view this place as a healthy alternative to other fast food restaurants, but it really isn’t. Making your own sandwhich and bringing it with you is for sure the better option.

Have a read….

Apples Can Prevent 8,500 Heart Attacks and Strokes Every Year, Study

Apples Can Prevent 8,500 Heart Attacks and Strokes Every Year, Study

It looks like there is truth behind the old saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away!”

Take some time to read this article based on findings that has been published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.

5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

It’s that time of year again!

Time for family, friends, decorations, Christmas music, gift exchanges, lunches, dinners, more lunches, dinners, and tons of desserts!

Keep your waistline in check with these 5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips:

1. Do not skip meals to save your calories for the big holiday dinner(s):

Skipping breakfast and/or lunch prior to a holiday feast is not a good idea. When dinner time finally arrives you’ll be so hungry and ready to eat anything (and everything) in sight, including all the fatty appetizers and desserts. Unless you are planning on filling up on lean proteins, slow digesting carbohydrates, and lots of veggies; I suggest you eat a complete and nutritious breakfast and lunch.

2. Drink plenty of water:

Skip the eggnog, take it easy on the alcohol, and drink as much water as you possibly can. Water will not only help with digestion, but it will prevent you from over-eating; thirst is often confused with hunger, so drink-up and you’ll eat less.

3. Start with the vegetables:

Starting your meal with a plate of vegetables will ensure you get all of your minerals and vitamins as well as take up some space in your stomach; leaving a little less space for the not-so-healthy foods. After you eat your greens feel free to enjoy a plate of whatever you like! (Be careful with all of the veggie dips and dressings though, most are full of unhealthy fats, so keep it clean if you can)

4. Do not  go back for seconds:

Minus the plate of vegetables of course, there is no need to go back for seconds (unless it’s more veggies). This will be harder than is sounds, I know, but after your first plate I’m sure you’ll be full. Why stuff yourself to the point of undoing your pants? Wait at least 20 minutes after eating, and if you are genuinely still hungry, go for a little more; or save that space for some dessert.

5. There is no need to consume every piece of junk food offered:

It’s difficult to say no to people, especially when they are offering you junk foods they have made themselves. However, if you say yes to every sugar cookie, slice of pie, and chocolate, expect to put on more than just a couple pounds. Be polite, and just stick to the treats that you only see once a year.

I hope this helps! Have a great holiday season everyone!

Snoopy Christmas