Check out these helpful health and fitness links from across the internet:
I get asked for recommendations on products pretty regularly. In general, I agree with the philosophy that the only things you need to be successful on your health and fitness journey are an ability to work hard, consistency, and good clean food. That being said, there do exist certain things that can make your life much easier. Here are some products that I use regularly and why I use them.
Note: I am not compensated in any way for any of these endorsements. I use them because they work for me.
Let’s put a couple of myths to rest: high protein diets are bad for you. False (unless you have a pre-existing kidney condition). Extra protein does nothing to help fuel muscle growth. Also false. Read this link if you’re interested in more information right now.
That being said, getting extra protein in your diet can be tricky. Sure, you can eat chicken breast and ground turkey all day long if you like, but a quality protein powder is a huge convenience. I use and recommend the egg white protein from True Nutrition. Egg white protein is exceptionally bio-available, meaning the body knows what to do with it and can put it to good use.
In general, not a fan. Most of them are high-protein candy bars, which really defeats the purpose. Quest, however, has changed the game. Their bars have a limited number of ingredients (all of which are pronounceable), are exceptionally high in fiber, and have so few net carbs that they would be acceptable even on a ketogenic (Atkins-style) diet. Some flavors do contain sugar alcohols, so read carefully if you try to avoid them (gastric distress is the most common reason for doing so).
Liquid Egg Whites
100% pure liquid egg whites. The most bio-available protein you can get, shipped frozen to your door. Awesome stuff. Just beware that the container and pump will certainly occupy a bit of fridge space!
It’s quite the paradox – peanut butter contains healthy fats, but it’s so caloric that portion control is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, it’s also delicious – making portion control that much harder. PB2 is your answer. This is a powdered peanut butter with 85% less fat than the real thing. Mix it with water or add to shakes or other recipes, and you will likely never know the difference. An easy way to keep calories under control while still getting your fix.
High Protein Bread
I typically caution against all conventional breads, urging people towards a sprouted-grain version such as Ezekiel. The problem is that I can’t stand Ezekiel myself, so it would be hypocritical and dishonest to send everyone out to go get it (though if you haven’t tried it, you should – my opinions are just that, and yours may differ).
High Protein Bread from P28 is a great alternative. The protein content is high enough that adding just a small amount of meat to a sandwich will make a complete, balanced meal. They also have bagels (a little tougher, I’m still on the fence with these) and a host of recipe ideas on their website.
Carbohydrate replenishment during resistance training can be exceptionally helpful. The goal is to accelerate glycogen synthesis to improve performance and aid recovery – to accomplish this, your carbohydrate source needs to empty from the stomach very quickly (this also helps prevent gastric discomfort). Some people find fluids during exercise very tough to incorporate, and to those people I say: get over it. Really, if you begin introducing fluids gradually your body will grow accustomed to the feeling and before you know you’ll be pounding down fluids with no problem. Two products in this category:
Vitargo – the BMW of this category, but it has always been a little price for my taste
Bulk maltodextrin – now we’re talking. Ridiculously cheap, and still very effective. Make sure you mix it with enough water (20 oz. for a 70cc scoop) to prevent legitimate digestion issues.
So there you have it. There are certainly more good products out there and I’ll likely add a second part to this article in the future – and to be sure, none of these are essential for success. But if they make life a little easier, why resist?
My sister-in-law has done the impossible. The mugshot I use throughout this website was taken by her – and though I’ve been using it for a while and have looked at it more times than I would ever have cared to, I still think it’s pretty good! To date, it’s the only picture of me that doesn’t at least somewhat embarrass me. Sarah is a professional photographer in Salem, Oregon and let me tell you – the benefits of having a professional photographer in your family when you’re 3,000 miles away from them cannot possibly be overstated. Makes me feel like I’m still home whenever I get a new batch via e-mail.
Anyway, I was thrilled when Sarah offered to blog about taking better progress pictures. As she mentions in her post, progress pictures are an extremely effective tool in gauging progress, but only when done correctly. Check out her site for the full write-up here:
You can also see more of Sarah’s work on her Facebook page:
Jay is a colleague of mine at O3 Health and Fitness in Asheville. Jay is a versatile trainer with several years of experience. He’s also a fantastic kickboxing instructor!
This is the website of Wendy Roche, one of my colleagues at O3 Health and Fitness. A fantastic trainer, Wendy offers services for individual, partners, groups, and also teaches our 8:15am boot camp classes Monday through Friday.
This is the website of Samantha Pollack, our resident nutrition consultant at O3 Health and Fitness here in Asheville. If you’re in need of some additional help with your nutrition, some 1-on-1 time with Samantha may be exactly what you need.
O3 Health & Fitness – Home to the best trainers in Asheville – this is where you can find me. The studio is fully equipped with free weights, machines, cardio equipment, and just about every little device & accessory your body requires.
Skype.com – Make free Skype-to-Skype calls with other computer users with voice and video. I appreciate the face-to-face experience Skype offers and use this as another way to communicate with my online clients.
Plyometric Exercise List (Lower Body and Upper Body): Some workout programs will reference plyometric exercises. Plyometrics are commonly used to develop power for a specific sport or activity, but have applications for other fitness goals as well.
Exercise and Muscle Directory: A listing of exercises with text descriptions and short, small videos. A great place to start for beginners. Also has information on anatomy and movement.