Encouraging Muscle Growth: Exercise And Nutrition

A lot of factors go into encouraging muscle growth. Some factors are commonly known, such as work outs, endurance training, and more. However, some factors are less well known, but just as important. These include sleep, diet, helpful supplements, and activities to reduce inflammation. Today, we’ll look at an overview of these factors, all of which come together to promote muscle growth.

Workout Options

A commonly known aspect of encouraging muscle growth is working out. To encourage muscle growth, you have to work your muscles to the point of exhaustion to create micro-tears in your muscle fiber which will then grow back stronger than before. This can be done through a variety of workout routines, including high weight exercises, low rep exercises with an Olympic bar, or sprinting. For added endurance training, high rep exercises, body weight exercises, and distance running will help.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of fitness because our body does most of our regenerative processes at night during sleep. When you are awake, most of your energy is devoted to keeping your body functioning. At night, your body has the resources to focus on rebuilding muscle. Therefore, if you are not getting sufficient sleep, then eventually your body will not be able to heal as fast as damage is created.

Amount of Sleep Needed

The amount of sleep required for healing can vary from person to person, depending on age, activity level, and other factors. However, in general a minimum of seven hours of sleep is needed for average physical activity. If you are working out heavily, or must do a lot of physical labor during the day, then you may need closer to eight or nine hours of sleep at night.

Sleep Needs Change

As people get older, they need less sleep. From those in their late teens to those in their early twenties, up to nine hours of sleep may be needed for their bodies to recover, especially if they work out a lot. Those in their late twenties to late thirties may need slightly less, around eight hours of sleep. As your age increases, it becomes easier to function fully on seven hours of sleep or fewer, regardless of daily activity. However, this can vary by person, some people needing more, others needing less sleep to recover. Pay attention to your body and ensure that you get the amount of sleep that’s right for you.

Diets that Promote Muscle Growth

Another important factor in encouraging muscle growth is what you eat. It is commonly known that protein is an important part of healthy diet. It is also important to ensure that you eat enough antioxidants to combat muscle inflammation. Many antioxidants are found in vitamins, such as vitamin C and various B vitamins. Another important element to include in your diet is unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats. These ensure that you stay healthy and that your heart can get blood and oxygen circulated throughout your body.

Sources of Necessary Nutrients

Knowing what your body needs is one thing, but finding foods that carry those elements can be more challenging. Below are some suggestions for getting enough protein, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats.

Protein: Good sources of protein include lean meats, nus, and dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and eggs.

Antioxidants: Antioxidants can be found in various vitamins, such as vitamin C and others. Healthy sources for these vitamins include fruits, such as oranges (making fruit smoothies is a great way to get antioxidants). Salads also offer many great antioxidants. If you need to supplement your diet, vitamin C tablets are also an option.

Unsaturated Fats: Unsaturated fats are good for your health, and can help lower cholesterol. Healthy sources of unsaturated fat include nuts, seeds, certain grains, avocados, yogurt, and eggs.

What to Avoid

While some fats, like unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are good for your body, others can be detrimental. Avoid foods high in trans fat, and limit foods high in saturated fat. These fats can raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of developing certain health issues such as heart disease. These fats are found in high amounts in fried foods, such as doughnuts, and baked goods, such as crackers. Avoid these types of foods as often as you can.

If you would like more information about exercises and nutrition that encourage muscle growth, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

New Year’s Resolutions: Achieving Fitness Goals Part 2

One of the most important parts of meeting a fitness goal in the new year is planning how to achieve it. For those with weight loss or general fitness goals in mind, deciding what activities will get you to your goal can be difficult. Here are some tips on choosing the right activity to help you reach your cardio fitness goals!

Eye on the Prize

While New Year’s resolutions are aimed at the goal being achieved over the course of one year, remember that you don’t have to reach it by a certain date. This is especially important for number-oriented goals. Goals that focus on ensuring that you stick with the actions that will lead to the desired result are generally easier to keep up with than goals that only specify the end goal.

Do Your Homework

Before choosing an activity, you should make sure to do you homework in regards to what actions will best lead you to fulfilling your resolution. This could include a variety of things, such as picking a workout plan, or supporting exercises to add onto an existing exercise routine. Also consider looking into ways to increase your general physical activity through activities like extra hobbies or sports. Finally, for fitness goals, make sure that you factor health eating into the plans for reaching your goal.

Cardio Related Goals

For those who set goals related to cardio, select a workout plan related to your specific goal. A great activity for improving your cardio health is running. If your goal is to run a five, six, seven, or ten minute mile, then you will want to plan workouts that increase your endurance. A helpful endurance activity is to do sprints. Sprints have the most benefit, not only for increasing short distance run times, but also for increasing long distance run times. Weighted sprints are a great way to supplement this workout, though normal sprints are also helpful.

Some helpful distance running workouts include meter dashes. For this exercise, start with the longer distances and slowly decrease the distance until you reach the shorter ones.

  • 200-300 meter run (x 1 or 2)
  • 100-200 meter run (x 2 or 3)
  • 50-100 meter run (x 3-5)
  • Repeat

The great thing about distance running is that there are a lot of workouts and a huge variety of cardio exercises. There are also many cross country workout plans if you prefer running longer distances. However, if you want to improve your cardio health but hate running, there are additional options for you.

Cardio Without Running

If you dislike running, then forcing yourself to do it all year for your resolution will make meeting your goal that much harder. Cardio is cardio, and while different activities will work out slightly different muscles, if you push yourself then at the end of the day you will still be making your heart stronger. Instead of doing something you don’t like, consider alternatives. Swimming is a great option to consider in place of running. Doing laps in a pool can be an excellent cardio exercise.

Stretching and Warm-Ups

Another option for meeting cardio fitness goals is to add a stretching routine into your activities. Stretching before any workout has proven to decrease injuries because it is a warm-up that makes your muscles more limber and more resistant to tearing during exercise. For cardio, some recommended stretching routines include yoga, or fitness yoga, though other routines will work as well, as long as they help you stretch.

Enjoy Your Workout

Whatever workout activity you choose, the important thing is that you stick with it. You are far more likely to continue doing something that you enjoy, so pick an activity that you don’t mind sticking with throughout the year. If you hate running but love biking, then bike. If you hate working out but love the competitive nature of sports, then consider joining a sports club and attending several times a week.

If you would like more information about meeting your fitness goals this year, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

New Year’s Resolutions: Achieving Fitness Goals Part 1

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, and every year millions of resolutions get broken. There are many types of resolutions that you can make, such as learning to play an instrument, cooking more, or taking a class. One of the most frequent resolutions is getting in shape. Fitness resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some people aim to lose weight, while others just want to feel more fit. Whatever the resolution, reaching fitness goals can be tough. Here’s some tips on keeping this year’s resolution!

Break Down Your Goal

When making a resolution, many people set their goals by the year, but this can lead to goals seeming far away and unachievable. Instead, consider breaking down your resolution into smaller steps that you can take week after week, day after day, and step after step. In addition, if possible, mold your resolution around actions, not results.

Action-Based Over Results-Based

It can be hard to know exactly how much activity is necessary to lift ten more pounds a month, or to lose five pounds a month. These are results-based resolutions, and they can leave you feeling like you have failed early in the year. To avoid this, consider action-based resolutions. These are resolutions made based on the activities necessary to attain your final goal. Instead of making the resolution to lose five pounds, make your resolution to go to the gym three times a week, or something similar. These are clear, actionable goals.

Don’t Forget Nutrition

If your goal fitness goal is based on weight loss, you’ll need to consider having some nutritional goals as well as ones involving physical activities. An easy way to keep an eye on your nutrition is to make sure that you eat healthy meals every day that provide a healthy amount of carbs and energy, but is not have on calories. Another important part of having proper nutrition is ensuring that you have some healthy, low calories snacks to hold you over in between meals.

Don’t Go Without Eating

Having healthy snacks to consume between meals is important because it keeps you from going hungry. Allowing yourself to go without food forces you to fight hunger pangs, which uses up a lot of your willpower. If you let it go too far, you will eventually be okay with eating anything instead of sticking to your nutritious meals. This temptation to eat anything, such as candy or junk food, can set back your goals. To avoid it, make sure that you have healthy snaps available.

Getting Enough Energy

If you exercise a lot, you’ll need to plan your diet around getting the energy you need while still have a lower overall caloric intake. Eating things with complex carbs such as pasta and oatmeal, good fats like nuts and eggs, and high protein foods like diary products and meat, will help you to get the building blocks your body needs to maintain your energy. In addition, high protein and vitamins are also important. These elements help your body repair itself from the damage it takes from exercise.

If you would like more information about keeping your New Year’s resolutions for better fitness, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Protein Supplements For Vegan And Vegetarian Diets

It’s commonly known that if you’re a heavy lifter, you have to eat enough protein. When it comes to protein, most people have it easy — just eat plenty of meat and you will hit your protein goals. But if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, then the choices of how you get enough protein may be more limited. In this article, we will be going over some different ways that vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein while maintaining their dietary needs.

Protein and Whey Powder

A great option for getting protein is in smoothies. There is a wide variety of foods that can be turned into a smoothie protein drink. In addition to any foods that you put in a smoothie, you can also add protein powder for an extra boost. For vegetarians, simple whey protein will do. Whey protein comes from getting all the protein and amino acids in milk and breaking them down into their base components.

Seitan

Whey protein is a great option for vegetarians, but vegans will need to find an alternative source of protein. One great replacement option is the use of seitan. Seitan is made from the proteins taken from wheat. Of course, this is mainly done using the gluten in wheat to derive the amino acids, so if you are also observing a gluten-free diet you’ll need to be wary of this type of protein.

Hemp Seed

For anyone who has Celiac Disease or whose body just does not handle gluten very well, there are alternatives to whey and seitan. One of those most natural, healthy, and least processed options is hemp seed. Hemp seed is heavy in protein and has all of the building blocks that your body needs. Hemp seed also has high levels of good fat, and a lot of the vitamins and minerals that modern humans lack in their diet. Magnesium, zinc, and calcium exist in especially high concentrations in hemp seed. Hemp seed also contains little or no THC, and is an all natural protein source.

Soy and Rice Protein

Two more common options available for increasing protein intake are soy protein powders and rice protein, though keep in mind that rice protein is likely to contain gluten. These are great sources of protein and offer an alternative to whey and seitan.

Additional Options

Another great source of protein is nuts and rich foods like avocado. Grains are a great option as well. Rice, wheat bread, cereals, and oatmeal are all very healthy options that contain grain. If your dietary restrictions allow it, dairy can be another option to consider. The most health conscious options include non-processed cheese, Greek yogurt, and fat-free milk.

If you would like more information about vegan and vegetarian options for increasing protein intake, or if you have other nutrition questions, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

The Important Benefits Of Cold Weather Workouts

When it comes to working out, people will go to great lengths to come up with an excuse to postpone it. This is why only 20% of the entire United States population gets the recommended dose of daily physical activity. During the winter, unfortunately, these numbers are even lower. So, why should you workout in poor weather conditions?

Better Performance

Those who expose themselves to low temperatures must become more resilient to go through a high-quality workout. According to the research conducted by the University of Oregon, people who are heat-adjusted will have more efficient workouts in the cold. If you spend most of your workouts in the regular-to-hot environments, your blood will have more plasma. Thus, once you switch to a less comfortable surrounding with snow and wind, you will be able to do more for longer periods of time.

Burn Calories Even Through Warm-Ups

When you workout in cold weather, you will usually shiver for the first 10-15 minutes. Nevertheless, even shivering facilitates calorie burn. Therefore, you will be able to capitalize on the very first second of your winter workout all the way to the end. How does this work? Well, since there will be a rather notable discrepancy between the outside temperature and your body temperature, your body will have to burn calories to keep you warm. Thus, shivering will help you compensate until you are properly warmed up!

Mental Endurance

Working out consistently is not easy, sure. Working out in cold weather is a whole new level of hard. Think of running while your throat is scratching because of the cold air that enters it upon every breath. Or lifting weights when the bars are nearly frozen and your hands feel as if they are dealing with icebergs. These conditions enable you to step out of your comfort zone and build the aforementioned resiliency. Once you are accustomed to this colder climate, your regular workouts will seem easier.

The Discovery

The thing about working out when it is warm outside and you have nothing but a short-sleeved shirt on is that it is easy to keep track of progress. For example, you can see how much you are sweating and use that as a frame of reference to your other workouts. The disadvantage of this is that it can turn into a mental barrier. With cold workouts, you will not really know how much you achieved until you take off those layers and see your body pumping below all the clothing. This can be referred to as the discovery stage when you realize that you just accomplished more than usual with less exhaustion.

Be Knowledgeable

If you are willing to try out a couple of cold workouts, you should beware of common myths that can get you injured. For example, all of the following would be tips to stay safe during this transition:

  • Get a proper warm-up;
  • Do not put on too many or too few layers;
  • Stay hydrated;
  • Finish with a stretch.

Doing all of the above will ensure that you get all the benefits of a cold workout, while minimizing the potential dangers. If you would like more information about cold weather workouts and fitness, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

The Importance Of Pre-Workout Nutrition Planning

Workouts are a big deal. They aim to recharge and revitalize your body. They aim to give you more energy as well. You can’t approach a workout session just like anything else, however. That’s because you have to prepare for it in the appropriate manner. Lack of workout preparation can often be a big mistake. If you don’t prepare for your exercise session properly, you could end up crashing and burning prematurely. Focusing on high-quality pre-workout nutrition can do wonders for those who want to take their physical fitness routines to the next level. Focusing on it can be great for those who want to make the most out of their valuable exercise time, too.

Aim to Chow Down Prior to Hitting the Gym

Don’t make the mistake of eating right before you begin your workout session. Don’t make the mistake of walking into the gym while scarfing down a sandwich or energy bar, either. Try to sit down and eat between 30 and 90 minutes before your workout. This can provide you with vital fuel that can help you take full advantage of your session. Remember, too, that you don’t want to begin your exercise feeling excessively full or bloated. That can lead to a lot of discomfort and sluggishness that you simply do not need.

Keep Your Fat Intake Low Before Working Out

Aim for pre-workout nutrition that’s not high in fat. Strive for fewer than 15 grams of fat if at all possible. Fat serves as a macronutrient that has the ability to decelerate the vital digestion process. This is precisely what you want to avoid. You should aim to make it easy for nutrients to access your bloodstream.

Consume a Good Amount of Protein

If you want to approach your workout session feeling like you’re on top of the world, it can be an amazing idea to consume a good amount of protein beforehand. Proteins can encourage muscle development well. People who want to optimize their workouts, as a result, should aim to take in a minimum of 10 lean protein grams. It can be a good idea to speak with a reputable nutritionist regarding your individual protein requirements as well. There are protein varieties that accommodate certain people better, after all.

Steer Clear of Excessive Fruit Intake

It may seem like a good idea to recharge with fruit prior to beginning a work out. Excessive fruit intake, however, is something you want to dodge. That’s because it can contribute to serious and unpleasant digestive woes. If you want to make sure you do absolutely nothing to interfere with the success of your workout, you need to keep excessive fruit intake at bay, plain and simple. Don’t go crazy with the fruit salad.

Focus on Your H20 Needs

Proper hydration is essential for people who want to approach their workouts feeling like a million dollars. Be sure to drink plenty of water prior to beginning your exercise session. Make sure you always have ample fresh and clean water on hand as well.

If you would like more information about workout nutrition strategies, visit STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.

Training Tips For Long Distance Running Events, Part 3

In our previous two articles, we have talked about running routines, rest days, and the proper ways to workout to train for long-distance running. In this article, we will discuss the proper nutritional dieting habits to keep in mind while training.

Nutrition

Another important thing to keep in mind for those looking to build muscle while training cardio, is that running and working out without eating enough protein, can cause muscle loss. When the body needs energy, the first thing it does is begin to break down the ADP in the body, which is either carbs broken down or essentially the basic sugars we need. This is used first, then your body will switch to trying to break down carbs and the energy stored in fat. But for muscle rebuilding, your body needs protein. When you are sore and your body is repairing the muscle, it will first try to use any protein available from recently eaten food. If it is not available, than your body will have the use protein from muscle not currently being repaired to strengthen the necessary area. You will still need to do weight-training or sprints to build muscle, but proper nutrition can ensure you don’t lost muscle.

This usage of stored or available energy is why they tell you to eat complex carbohydrates the day before heavy exercise. This is because the fact that it is not simple sugar or a simple to break down carb, it takes a while for it to be broken down, and when it is, it stores a lot more energy than other food sources. So the next day when your body needs energy, they are just being made available. Remember that there is a lot more than just pasta that has complex carbohydrates. These include green veggies like spinach or green beans, anything whole grain including bread and oatmeal. Potatoes and corn are great, which is a reason why lean meat like turkey or chicken and potatoes is such a perfect food for recovery. You need to keep in mind that you will be burning a serious amount of calories while training long periods of time, so make sure you get enough calories as well. A good idea is to look up daily caloric intake calculators, so that you can see exactly how much calories you burn in a day training the amount you do, and taking into account height and weight. This will tell you how many calories you need a day to stay at the same weight.

Lifestyle Habits

We already went over the importance of sleep in the last article, but it is part of building the right habits. To ensure you get your sleep on track, turn off phones and devices an hour before bed, don’t drink caffeine after 5, open a window to allow natural light to encourage natural wakefulness in the morning, and stay consistent, with workouts to tire you and your sleep schedule.

Avoid sugary foods, as that energy will only create crashes when you need energy the most. Avoid drinking caffeine for energy during runs, and avoid smoking or anything that damages the lungs. Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to repair muscle effectively, decreasing the amount of gains made during a workout. Hopefully with all of this in mind, you are well on your way to finishing(or kicking butt) at your first big race.

If you would like more information about nutrition and training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Training for Long-Distance Running Events, Part 2

As we continue covering training for a big race, we will be going over a workout plan, the importance of sleep and a bit on building muscle while doing cardio.

Distance Workout Regimen

Proper training will rely on you having days you workout hard, days you go long-distance but slow, and days you completely rest. One of the days you rest should be a day before the day the race should take place. If it takes place on a Saturday, pick a Friday. In that scenario, you would want to run a fixed amount of miles during the week, with maybe a day for doing another workout style than just pure distance, but more intense with less distance still. Say 3 miles. You should have Friday off, but come Saturday, run 5-6 miles, slowly, and increase this number a mile or 2 each week. Sunday you can do some supporting exercises, focus on weight-training, or do other types of cardio like biking or do some sprints. Monday take off again. Tuesday, repeat. When you are training, remember to always stretch, before and after, and to take it slow.

The most important days are the rest days, though. This is when your body is building muscle and repairing itself. Make sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, as that is a very important part of your body’s regeneration cycle. When you exercise, you don’t just get sore from lactic acid. You get sore because your muscle’s have microscopic tears all over them, and repairing them can cause inflammation. And the only way that it can repair them is when you are sleeping. That is why you will often wake up more sore than you were when you went to bed, because overnight your body accumulated inflammation while it was repairing itself.

For Sunday, the day you do cross training, you have a lot of options. The pyramid style run mentioned in the first article can be used during the week or here, but you really have a lot of options here. This can be treated as a reward day, or an excuse to do some fun cardio. Bike rides are great. Sprints are great because they build muscle and endurance a lot quicker than jogging. It is actually quite a considerable difference. Boxing can be introduced, or really any number of sports. Sports are a great excuse to work out but still have fun. Some people use this as a day to weight train. If you have never lifted before, now might not be the best time to start doing heavy lifting. But it might be a good time to do low weight high volume exercises. Even if you are used to lifting, if you are training for distance stick to high volume exercises. Trying to lift too heavy can cause injuries to start to appear, as long distance is prone to causing injuries already.

Stay tuned for more info on nutrition and eating to build physique in our next article!s. If you would like more information about training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Training Tips For Long Distance Running Events

Practicing long-distance running right is a great example of putting in the right work and getting the right results. Training for a marathon is not a sprint, it’s a marathon in itself. You will need to focus on more than just the exercise (though that is very important obviously). Lifestyle habits will also help add up to better success. You will need to focus on diet, sleep habits, and more to train correctly. For those looking to gain muscle mass at the same time, additional practices will need to be followed along with traditional distance training.

Training Types

Exercising for distance running is different than training for a sport, weight-training, or aerobics. This type of training mainly focuses on building cardio, but you should still incorporate core exercises, high-volume weights, and body-weight exercises into your routine as well. There is also a difference between running a marathon and running a 5K. As the distance you will be running increases, you need to tolerate and train for different things. For a shorter race, it is your cardiovascular health that is more important, but eventually you need to train your body to handle the longer distances and increased stress by building muscle and skeletal resistance. Your joints will adjust, your bones will strengthen, and supporting muscles will form due to the planned stress you put on your body.

Interval Training

Commonly known as “pyramid workouts,” interval training involves running at different rates, different speeds, and different distances, in an effort to ensure you train for cardiovascular health and muscle groups. Sprinting is a great way to strengthen your musculoskeletal system, and in this workout you practice sprinting, jogging, and slow jogging or walking. You will want to make 10 laps total, but if you must start with 5 and take a break after, that is fine. Start with briskly jogging 200 meters, then sprinting back 100, then slow jogging or walking for the last 100 meters. At this point you should have returned to your starting spot. Repeat this 5 times. Feel free to mix it up for yourself.

Supporting Workouts

Core workouts can be a great help in encouraging a sustainable run stride and endurance. Some great options for supporting workouts include:

  • Elbow-Ups – Using a pull-up bar, hold yourself up with your elbows slanted, and lift your knees up so you’re at a 90 degree angle, then pull your knees up to hit your elbows, and lower them again into a 90 degree angle, and repeat. Feel free to use arm supports to hold yourself up.
  • Weighted Sit-Ups –Using a decline bench for sit-ups, weighted if desired by holding weight behind your head, start light.
  • Weighted Oblique Pull-Ups –Using an incline bench, begin these by sitting against the bench. Lean on your side, hold a 10-20lb weight in your hand facing the ground, and gently lower it to the ground then raise it back up, working out your obliques (“side-abs”).
  • Planks – hold for 90 seconds, or side-planks for obliques. Side-plank dips optional.

In our next article we go over retaining muscle, a distance workout regimen, and some basic nutrition information. If you would like more information about training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Why Does Soreness After A Workout Mean?

If you have worked out, you know the feeling that follows it the next morning. Your alarm goes off, and your whole body is sore. Some people hate it, others see it as a badge of pride, something that they earned and something that is proof they are working out hard. But there are a huge amount of misconceptions about soreness, what causes it, what it does, and how to deal with it. The more informed you are about its causes, the better you will be able to treat it.

What Really Makes You Sore

A common misconception is that lactic acid is solely responsible for muscle soreness. That is actually not true. Muscle soreness is caused by your muscle fibers getting micro-tears that then need to be repaired the next day. It is also caused by the inflammation that follows these micro-tears. One of the reasons that ibuprofen and Tylenol help with the muscle soreness is because they are NSAID’s, or “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”, meaning they will go straight to the cause by reducing inflammation.

What Sore Muscles Means for Your Body

After these micro-tears happen, your body will begin to repair them. And when your body repairs them, they come back stronger. That is why soreness is considered important to muscle growth, though the actual pain goes away after a few weeks of working out. Lactic acid is actually important to the overall workout process as well. Lactate will help your body get more oxygen while you are working out, and help you work out longer. When it is present the next day, it is because it is being used by the cells to repair tissue damage.

Soreness Relief Using Massage

When massaging sore areas, the goal is actually not to just simply work out lactic acid either. It is mainly to increase blood flow and oxygen to the areas that need it, and the blood will carry the compounds needed to make your body feel better and any proteins needed for repair. But the idea of massaging your body to displace lactic acid is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. You should still aim to work the muscle all over, but do not apply too much pressure. A foam roller works best for this. A massage will actually help reduce cytokines, which are responsible for inflammation, and stimulate the mitochondria so they begin repairing even faster.

Soreness Relief Using Food

As for food, it is very common to get cramps during soreness. So eat plenty of food with potassium. Bananas are great for this. Free radicals also are responsible for soreness by causing oxidative stress. Plenty of Vitamin-C, which is an antioxidant, can help to reduce pain and recovery time. And of course, protein. If you are looking to lose weight and gain muscle, keep in mind your body still needs protein. And when your body does not have enough protein available from fat stores or recently eaten food, it will have to pull it from muscle tissue to make the repairs. This means undoing some of the gains you have made. So low-fat high-protein food is what you should aim for. Eggs are a great option for this, as well as turkey or any other lean meat.

Rest is Important

A small note, plenty of sleep is needed, as the main repairs are done when you are sleeping. That is why you often wake up sore, even if you weren’t after the workout the night before. All of the inflammation from the repairs will be present by the next morning, such that you feel it fully after sleep. But that is good; it means the repairs are happening. The more you sleep the quicker you will heal.

If you would like more information about post-workout relief, visit the professionals at STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

The Best Way To Return To Your Workout Routine

It can happen to anyone. Even people totally dedicated to fitness can have a vacation or even just the summer heat interfere with their workout routine. But it doesn’t have to be hard to get back into the swing of things. A few simple tips can make it a much easier experience.

A Lot Depends on Framing

It’s easy to see a workout as a responsibility that you have to get back into. But you should remember that workouts, while obviously involving a lot of work, are also an opportunity. It’s a rare chance to really focus 100% on your own health. There aren’t many times in the day when you can really make it all about yourself. A workout is a rare time in a day where you really have full permission to just focus on your own life.

It’s partially a time to really focus on improving your body. But it’s also a point in time when you’re allowed to just let your mind wander and consider the various things going on in the day. Basically, this all has to do with framing the experience.

When you have an event which needs to be performed than a lot depends on how you look at it. Framing it in the context of the positive aspects will quickly make it a far more enjoyable experience. Framing it as something you get to do rather than have to do will make it something to look forward to. It’s all a matter of focusing on the positive parts of the workout.

Put Some Work Into Planning

If you let yourself just work out when you feel like it then you can be certain that you’ll probably never feel like it. One of the most important things to remember about a workout is that it takes some time to get back into the habit. A workout can be the most enjoyable part of someone’s day. But to get to that point one needs to get over the initial growing pains. The joy of a fun workout is the reward for sticking with it during the first week or two spent getting used to it again.

It’s important to create a schedule that won’t provide any wiggle room. Everyone will have a different way of going about it. But for many the best way is really working it into a schedule. Tell people that you’ll be there so that it’ll be embarrassing if you’re seen elsewhere. Set an alarm as a reminder. Anything to make it obvious to yourself that it’s something that you’re not allowed to skip. Before you know it the workout will return to being something you don’t want to skip.

Remember That Your Body has Changed During the Vacation

This goes along with needing to force yourself back onto a schedule. An enjoyable workout is the reward for consistently working at it. But a few weeks is all the time it takes for muscle to begin fading away. You won’t be nearly as strong when you return so you shouldn’t immediately try to be. Nor should you be too hard on yourself if your muscle has faded. The new goal will just be working your way up to where you were before and then pushing past it. Again, a lot comes down to framing. Focus on the fact that you’re not starting from scratch and are closer to your goal than the vast majority of people who are starting from scratch.

If you’d like more information about workouts and motivation, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Healthy Snacks For Your Healthy Lifestyle

If you are in college and find it difficult to cook healthy meals all the time, then it’s time to get your pantry stocked up on healthy alternatives that are convenient and easy to grab on the go. That way you can stick to your budget and still eat fairly decent for the majority of the time.

No matter what you like to eat there are plenty of options out there as far as the healthy stuff goes. The good news is that even if you have a tiny fridge you can still have a decent stash on hand for when you get hungry because a lot of your snack options will be non-perishable.

Healthy And Fresh Snacks

If you have a bowl to throw some fruit into, keep it stocked with apple and bananas. They are delicious, affordable, and healthy. They are also great to take on the run between classes. Applesauce is another good choice and if you want a more portable option they sell convenient cup portions at most grocery stores. Just be sure to get the unsweetened kind.

If you are craving something not so sweet, then hummus and carrot sticks are a great way to get in your protein and fiber. Just don’t overdo it on the hummus and try to keep it to about 100-150 calories per serving.

Kale chips are delicious and good for you. Rice cakes are a great choice too. If you want to add some extra protein, add some almond butter.

Greek yogurt is another great way to get your protein in and it comes in many delicious flavors. If you want a more natural version you can add some honey or fruit and top with some granola.

Sprouted wheat bread with almond butter and a banana is about 250 calories. This is a nice twist on the usual peanut butter and jelly version and a lot healthier, too!

Pre-Packaged But Still Healthy Options

Stock up on soups. They last forever and are quick and easy to prepare. Just be sure to look for low sodium options.

Protein bars are a quick meal replacement option and you can throw one in your bag or purse for those days you have completely lost track of time and you are starving because you missed lunch. There are many healthy options that come in many different flavors.

Ginger chews are a great replacement for candy and two pieces are typically only 5g of sugar per serving.

There are many substitutes for potato chips such as veggie chips and chips that have been baked instead of fried, so you can indulge without feeling guilty after.

If you keep your dorm stocked with the healthy stuff you won’t have to eat out as much and you will stay on track with your nutrition. A lot of healthy snacks are portable so you can keep some on hand at all times so you will be prepared when hunger strikes. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your diet. Be sure to always pay attention to labels too, as they can provide you plenty of information about what you’re really eating.

If you would like more information about maintaining a nutritious diet, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Tips For Workout Motivation After A Long Day

Everyone experiences that moment after a long day at work or after attending classes. You will feel like all you desire is to go home, get yourself in bed, and watch movies, despite the fact that you had planned to go to the gym after leaving your office or school. Here are the five easy tips to help you get motivated to work out after work or after school.

Set the Bar Low

You can tell yourself you have to get to the gym and work out for just 15 minutes. That way, your chances of going are higher than if you have the mentality of all-or-nothing. If you decide to make your workout goal much easier, it helps you to get to the gym. Once you are at the gym, chances are you could change your mind and decide to stay a little longer. Also, it’s completely possible that you can get fit in a workout that’s effective in only 15 minutes.

Schedule Your Workouts

You can put your workouts on your calendar for the week and treat them like a business meeting. If you do this, you’ll be pondering about them and psychologically prepared for them. That also helps in making working out a priority. If your schedule lacks structure and is unpredictable, this will help you. Ideally, you can try working out the same days and the same time, to make sure that exercising is a habit. Seeing your workouts on your calendar could be extremely helpful.

Leave Things at the Office or School

If the location of your gym is near your school or office, after changing you can leave your work or school stuff and go to work out with your gym bag only. This way you will eliminate the temptation of shunning the gym on your way home; you will not have your stuff with you that you require for the night. You won’t go home, even if you’re tempted. If your gym is not close to school or work, you can do interval training close to your school or office building.

Try Group Fitness

If you join group fitness classes, it can keep you motivated. You’ll be looking forward to seeing the instructor and other participants of the class. The group energy will keep you going during the moments that you feel like quitting. You can do much more when working out in a group than if you are doing it alone; the group spirit definitely helps.

Treat Yourself as a Motivation

You can also try bargaining with yourself. If you are looking forward to that glass of wine or watching a movie after a long day at school or work, you could turn that treat into your workout reward. That will give you motivation whenever you feel like not going to work out.

Following these tips can help you to get motivated and make sure you don’t miss that workout session whenever you feel like you’re tired or not in the mood for going to the gym. If you’re interested in more workout motivation and ideas, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.

Get in Shape While You Beat the Heat

Enjoy the Outdoors

Summertime is a great time to get in shape. There are so many things that you can do outside that are active and entertaining. You can ride your bike, walk, jog, swim in the lake, climb a mountain, go for a hike, and so much more. Whatever you are into, it is so much more enjoyable when you can do it outside in the nice weather.

Listen to Your Body

Exercising in the summer can come with its own set of challenges such as heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburns. It is important to really listen to your body and make sure that you are properly dressed for the weather and properly hydrated. You don’t ever want to risk getting heatstroke as it is a very dangerous condition. Just be prepared and don’t overdo it. When you sweat, you actually lose electrolytes, salt, and water. When you lose these substances, the balance gets disrupted, and when not properly maintained this can be a problem. Listen to your body and slow down or stop if you feel like you are becoming overheated, lightheaded, or dizzy. Dehydration and heatstroke are strong risk factors for some serious health issues such as kidney failure and in extreme cases, even death. Even so, this can all be avoided if you just stay hydrated, so always be sure to have enough water at hand.

Timing is Everything

Try to avoid the hottest part of the day, by restricting your activities to the mornings and evenings. You will be able to stay active a lot longer if you are not battling the heat. The hottest time of day is normally between 12pm to 4pm, so try to avoid working out in the elements between those times.

It Matters What You Wear

In order to beat the heat, it is best to wear loose and light-colored clothing. Wearing lighter colors helps to reflect the heat rather than absorb it, and a cotton material will help to cooldown the heat your body produces. An even better alternative is using athletic wear designed for hot weather.

Keep Your Skin from Burning

Don’t forget to protect your skin from the hot sun. Always wear sunscreen, even if it is overcast. You don’t want to end up with a nasty sunburn. The whole point of exercising outside its to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not to hurt yourself and possibly elevate your chances of getting skin cancer.

Stay Hydrated!

Make sure that you stay hydrated! Staying hydrated is as simple as drinking a cup or two of water and bring a bottle of water with you. Be sure to stop and take a drink every 15 minutes even if you don’t feel very thirsty. Keep the fluids coming! Be sure to drink a few extra glasses of water when you finish your workout as well. Always be sure to pay attention to how you feel. If needed, take a break, rest and let your body recover.

The Importance Of Staying Hydrated During Your Workout

If you’re seeking improved results from your workout routine, taking care of yourself properly will be at the heart of the matter. There will be few athletic professionals who disagree that staying hydrated is a big part of your workout routine. For anyone who leads an athletic lifestyle, or even for those who are trying to make a big change in their health, you may already see drinking water as a given while you’re partaking in your activity. What you may not realize are that the details behind hydrating yourself extend to all sides of your workout. That’s right, there’s more to staying hydrated than drinking water while you’re exercising. Hopefully this guide will shed a little light on the matter.

Remember to Think Ahead

While sipping an ice cold beverage while you’re working out can feel like a much needed relief, it’s not all that’s needed to become and remain hydrated before, during, and after your workout session. You’ll need to think ahead to stay on top of keeping yourself hydrated. This means drinking plenty of water long before you decide to exercise for thirty minutes to an hour and keeping it up throughout the day. What this doesn’t mean is chugging a liter of water right before you start, since consuming too much water (or any liquid for that matter) directly before going into a physical activity can cause cramping and uncomfortable bloating, which would slow down your exercise and be counterproductive entirely. It’s recommended by plenty of athletic pros that you drink around three liters per day, sipping on it throughout the day at a steady rate.

Proper Hydration During Exercise

Drinking a steady amount throughout the day can definitely set you off on the right foot but what about the proper method during your workout? While the right way to stay hydrated is up for a bit of debate, many athletic individuals will stick with a general rule of equal parts waste and equal parts haste. You can figure this out by weighting yourself before and after exercise, to figure out an estimate of how much water you will need during workout. You can go by this method and drink 16 oz. per pound lost or you can also go by another popular method and consume one cup of water for every fifteen minutes of workout time in low to moderate leveled exercise sessions. There are also workout drinks that have some boosting components that many write off as unnecessary, sugary drinks. For example, plenty of carbohydrate drinks are meant to help replenish your glycogen, which is exactly what your muscles are burning for energy. Electrolyte drinks are also good for replenishment when consumed in moderation.

The Aftermath of Hydration

A lot of people think they should consume a bunch of protein pre-workout but the truth is that it’s even more effective right after you’ve finished an exercise routine. When you add some protein powder to your water after you’re done lifting weights or running, the protein will help with the protein and muscle synthesis that happens post-workout session. Aside from helping with the catabolic state of your muscles, it can also help muscles heal.

If you’re interested in learning more about healthy workouts, contact STR8 Training, located in San Marcos, TX.