HUMPDAY HEALTHY EATS; PLAN AHEAD MEALS

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When life gets busy, planning your meals ahead of time, not only saves you time, but helps you avoid sneaking over to the vending machine at work or grabbing the first thing you see that will end up be less than healthy.  There are a lot of things that you can prepare now that you can grab later and still stay on track.    

Plan ahead breakfast:  Egg Muffins (makes about 12)  

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12 eggs Pepper Vegetables
(mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, kale, onion, peppers, any of your choice)  

Pre-heat oven to 350.  
Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.   Chop veggies.  Whisk eggs in a large bowl.  Add pepper to taste.  Stir in veggies.   Pour into muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.  

Plan ahead snack:  Pumpkin Granola Bars  

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2 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup pumpkin
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves ¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla extract  

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl.  Mix wet into another bowl.  Combine wet to dry really well so the oats get coated. Line a baking pan (8X8) with parchment paper.  Make sure the paper hangs over the sides.  This will make it easier to get them out.  Press the bars with your palms so they are packed well and evenly flat.   Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let the bars cool completely before cutting.  Store in an airtight container separated by parchment paper.

  Plan ahead Lunch:  Stuffed Bell Peppers  

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4 large green bell peppers
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey (or chicken)
2 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp Italian seasoning 2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 can diced Italian style tomatoes

Tomato sauce (enough to cover the bottom of a casserole dish Light mozzarella cheese, shredded   Preheat oven to 400.  Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise.  Discard seeds and membranes.  Place in a casserole dish – the bottom of the dish should be covered with a thin layer of tomato sauce with 1 tsp of the Italian seasoning.   Spray a pan with cooking spray, and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the ground meat and brown.  Add Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper to the meat mixture.   In a large bowl combine the ground meat, brown rice and diced tomatoes.  Scoop mixture into each bell pepper half.  Spoon more sauce over the top and sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese.     Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes to barely brown the tops.

CREATINE A BODYBUILDING STAPLE

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What Is Creatine And What Does It Do?

Creatine is a legal supplement that is readily available at just about all (if not every) supplement store. Some reported minor issues. These side effects are not noticed by everyone, and many people don’t have any of these symptoms at all.Creatine is also found naturally in our body as well as in certain foods. However, cooking food destroys most of the creatine in it. Therefore, a supplement is needed. The creatine found in our body is primarily found (roughly 90%) in our muscles. Creatine can be produced in smaller amounts by our liver and kidneys from amino acids. Creatine can also help increase protein synthesis which helps muscles grow.

Protein Synthesis

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The process by which nitrogen from amino acids is linearly arranged into structural proteins through the involvement of RNA and various enzymes. Protein synthesis is muscle growth. The more efficient you can make this process the more efficiently you can build muscle.Creatine helps produce energy which is vital in strenuous workouts. Creatine in the body increases the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)-which is a source of energy the body uses (particularly in the muscles) during short bursts of energy. Notice how I said “short bursts”.Creatine will not be an effective supplement for endurance athletes as they use a completely different energy system than when doing quick, rapid movements. Creatine also helps pull water into the muscle, giving them a fuller appearance.With so many forms out there, I recommend starting off with creatine monohydrate to see how your body reacts to it. Some people react very well with monohydrate while others are non-responders and need to supplement with another form.Creatine monohydrate is the most cost effective form of creatine if you are a responder. There are also many types of the supplement that you can try – powders, pills, capsules, liquid.

How To Take Creatine

I want to start off by saying this – since creatine pulls water from other parts of the body to flood the muscles, it is very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent problems that can occur due to lack of water (especially during warm weather months).Creatine can be taken both pre and/or post workout. 5g is all that is needed each day. Pre workout the creatine increases the amount of ATP in your body to help you push a little harder each rep and set all whilerecovering quicker.Then post workout if taking a dose of creatine (which is considered the best time since your muscles will absorb what you feed/give it after a workout to help with recovery), you will replenish the CP (creatine phosphate) in your body so when you need quick burst of energy again, it can quickly be turned into ATP for the body to use as energy and also help the muscles recover from the workout.Some people believe in “loading” creatine. This is simply where people take 20g of creatine a day for a week to saturate their muscles. This enables them to start utilizing the creatine much quicker than having to wait several weeks for the muscles to be saturated with creatine by only taking 5-10g a day.

Forms Of Creatine

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Creatine Monohydrate,
Micronized, CreatineEffervescent, CreatineLiquid, CreatineCreatine With GlutamineCreatine, Ethyl Ester (CEE)Creatine Capsules, Creatine With Sugars Creatine With ProteinKre-AlkalynBy loading it is believed that your gains with creatine will come much quicker. The 20g needed during this period can be split up into 4-5 dosages spread out throughout the day if needed.It is also recommended to take creatine with a carbohydrate source to help it absorb much quicker. The loading phase is not necessary and your muscles will become saturated with creatine but it will take a few weeks for this to take place.You can also cycle creatine (some people do, others don’t). If you want to cycle creatine, a proper cycle would 1 month on and then 1 month off.But again, this is all personal preference, some people feel they don’t get the full benefit from staying on creatine so they need to take some time off to wash out the muscles and allow normal levels of creatine back into their muscles before going back on cycle and increasing the levels once again.

Safety

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I mentioned above some of the minor side effects. Again, these are very minor and not life threatening unless you don’t drink enough water, which if you are into health and fitness should already understand how important it is to drink water throughout the day.If you are a beginner, I’ll state it again – you want to take in a little more than half your bodyweight in ounces. Take your bodyweight and multiply it by 0.55. That will give you the amount of ounces needed each day (minimum).As of right now there are no known long-term side effects of taking creatine. Creatine has been studies for over 80 years and there are no signs to date which is very promising for the future of the product being around for the long haul. Products come and go and creatine is definitely here to stay.

HUMPDAY HEALTHY EATS; FOOD SUBSTITUTIONS

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We’re always looking for ways to make our favorite recipes healthier without sacrificing any flavor.  Just because we eat healthy doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to enjoy our foods and what we are eating.  With some substitutions you can reduce the fat, sugar, and calorie count of many of your favorite meals.  Below are ten suggestions for substitutions that we guarantee will make your next meal delicious and healthier.  

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1. Unsweetened applesauce for sugar:  you can substitute in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.

2. Unsweetened applesauce for oil or butter:  1 cup of oil would be replaced with ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce.

3. Chia seeds for butter:  combine 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 9 tbsps of water, let sit for 15 minutes creates a consistency to stand in for fat in baking recipes.  Substitute ½ the butter in a recipe with this mixture.

4. Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes: doesn’t need the milk or butter to get that creamy consistency.  Add some fresh herbs.

5. Rolled oats for bread crumbs

6. Spaghetti Squash for pasta (see a previous post for recipes using spaghetti squash)

7. Non fat plain Greek Yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise

8. Replace heavy cream with 2 Tbsp of flour whisked into 2 cups f non-fat milk

9. Ground chicken or turkey for beef

10. Black beans for flour:  drained and rinsed beans can be used in place of flour in recipes for baked goods.  Substitute 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of black bean puree.

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  There are lots of ways of replacing ingredients with healthier options.  Play around with your measurements and don’t be afraid to try something new.  You may discover that you even enjoy your meals more.

DO A FITNESS SHOW, YOU MIGHT LIKE IT

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There are more and more fitness shows popping up everywhere, mainly due to the amount of people wanting to compete. Whether it’s men’s/woman’s Bodybuilding, fitness,  bikini, men’s/woman’s physique or figure there is a division for just about anyone.

HOW TO GET STARTED

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I would imagine you already have a solid gym routine in place, and a pretty good idea about nutrition. The next step is to decide what category you want to compete in. Guys have really only two categories bodybuilding and the now popular men’s physique. Unless you are trying to be a model then there are a few other shows based on just that. If you hold a lot of muscle and train to be as big and strong as you can BB is a good choice for you. If you are more interested in being big but leaner than a BB, great abs and a awesome fake smile men’s physique is taylor made for you. Either way you must train like a beast and diet like a pro. Find a show 10 mo away to give yourself time to bulk up and diet down. With a little room for trial&error. Its a proccess not a destination.

THE LADIES

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For you ladies there is a wealth of categories you can pick from. Bikini; very fit and lean but not showing too much muscle striation. Figure; a step up from bikini, very fit, show some muscle size, depth and striations.  Physique; is more toward BB but not as big but the same conditioning. Symmetry like men’s physique is the name of the game, unlike men, legs are a big part due to the suit worn. And of course BB where size matters, thick muscle, balance, striation and fully developed legs.

FITNESS IS FOR EVERYONE

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Anyone who has ever stepped on a stage had doubts if they belong there, they just pushed fears aside and did it anyway. People only see the best of the best in magazines and media. Let me tell you on an amateur level you will see all shapes and sizes. Some striving to get to the pro level, some just to cross it off on thier bucket list. Either way its a great experience for anyone willing to try. I’ve done a show and I will do plenty more. The environment is addicting, the stage is fantastic and the networks you build are  amazing. People have a vision of meat heads in a room half naked and chewing weights. Its not like that at all. Everyone is nervous, everyone is pleasant and everyone is there for the same reason, to walk on that stage and be a part of something bigger than yourself. The first show isn’t about winning (if you do that’s awesome) it’s about going outside your comfort zone and pushing past your limits.

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STOP AGING TODAY!!

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Put down the anti-wrinkle cream and grab your sneakers! You already know exercising is good for you, but did you know that it can stop the aging process in its track!  Read on to find out more about the fountain of youth which is just a high-intensity workout away.

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High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. Examples include Tabata training and running as fast as you can for 1 minute, then walking for 2 minutes.  This type of training brings your heart rate into the anaerobic zone (hard breathing and difficult to talk). Research shows that high-intensity exercise produces hormones that are key to slow down the aging process.

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 High-intensity exercise causes the body to release more hormones, such as human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor, which are responsible for increasing lean muscle mass and also have anti-aging benefits. HGH promotes muscle and effectively burns excessive fat. It also plays an important part in promoting overall health and longevity. While most forms of exercise are good for your body, high-intensity training seems to offer the biggest anti-aging benefit. The higher your levels of growth hormone, the healthier and stronger you will be.

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Once you hit the age of 30, your levels of HGH begin to drop off rather dramatically. The decrease in HGH drives the aging process.  Therefore, you want to maintain your HGH levels. The longer you can keep your body producing higher levels of HGH, the longer you will likely experience more robust health and strength.

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While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and High-Intensity workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Not only do you burn more calories during a High-Intensity Workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a high-intensity workout than you do after a steady-pace run. You lose weight, not muscle. 

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5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD EAT BREAKFAST

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1. Your Memory

By the time you get to your desk in the morning, chances are you’re already frazzled. You open up your email and are bombarded with the need to pack your short-term memory full of the most important things to get done, asap. More than one study done on adults (and young people) found those who had nothing for breakfast underperformed on short-term memory tests compared to those who’d had their first meal. Think coffee will give you the buzz you need? One study used a group who’d only had coffee. Their memory test results were poor too. You need food!

2. Your Energy

The longer you go without eating, the more your body starts to slow and shut down. It doesn’t take rocket science to glean that food is your body’s main energy source, just like gas is for your car.

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Without it, thoughts, speech and reaction time sputter and come to a standstill. Do you really want to find yourself in that position when the boss wants you to conduct a meeting in the afternoon with an hour of prep time? Or during a promotion interview? Nah, probably not. 

3. Your Concentration

Your brain does an interesting thing when it hasn’t had food for many hours (say the time between you go to bed and decide to grab lunch), it starts focusing on storing the energy it has left — as if you’re in a famine. This is when you start to lose your ability to concentrate. Not to mention headaches and hunger pangs start to take your focus away from what’s really important. Don’t let it happen to you. 

4. Your Impulse Control

Back to the studies: They show that when you don’t eat breakfast, you tend to look for high calorie, complex-carb snacks against your will. Researchers think your body craves the sugar and carbs because they’re a fast source of energy — they take less time to break down. If you don’t eat breakfast, you’re likely to go for the Snickers in the vending machine, even though you have that package of string cheese in the office fridge. 

5. Your Heart

Researchers have also proven that adults who have a years-long habit of skipping breakfast tend to have higher cholesterol, higher LDL and higher insulin levels.

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These are all precursors to heart disease and diabetes.Breakfast Dos and Don’ts: Here’s the rub. It’s not just about eating something, anything, shortly after you wake up. It’s about eating the right things. Love your cinnamon toast crunch? Your body and brain doesn’t. It’s better than nothing, but it’ll hold you over for minutes instead of hours and will have you reaching for a mid-morning doughnut faster than you can come up with an excuse for being late. Stock up on the following for breaking your fast instead: real fruit (not just fruit juice), oatmeal, nuts, cheese, low fat yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, eggs, egg whites and whole wheat breads. You can pair any of these things together for a breakfast that works and prevents all of the previously outlined issues. Make a breakfast burrito with eggs and a wheat tortilla. Hard boiled eggs and an apple are also a good combo. Low fat cottage cheese with fruit on top is delicious. But resist the urge to buy cottage cheese packaged with syrupy fruit toppings; they’re loaded with extra sugar.

Eating a healthy breakfast isn’t rocket science, but eating a healthy breakfast might enable you to understand rocket science. …There is to much information out there for us not to be educated about breakfast. Along with it does to many positive things not to add it to our day. If you have 3 min you have time to make breakfast.

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