Muscle Sculpting

This the first of 3 health and wellness posts I’m collaborating with other writers on. I’ve enjoyed yoga for years and continue to find amazing benefits including flexibility and strength. More recently, I’ve been swimming more. Dave and I signed up for a sprint triathlon that’s actually in a couple weeks so we’ve been forced to swim more, ha, ha! While my swimming endurance is something I can definitely work on, I have liked mixing up my exercise routine and the benefit of using different muscles. Here are a few suggestions for muscle sculpting:

yoga

Most of us know that lots of aerobic exercises are good for heart health and weight loss. You might enjoy walking a lot, and perhaps you even go jogging occasionally. Did you know that combining these exercises with some weight work can help you to sculpt your body shape more easily? Of course, standing around with dumbbells doesn’t sound like fun, so here are some of the best ways to enjoy toning and building up your muscles:

Yoga

All you need for this one is a workout mat and enough space to put it down. You can find lots of really good Yoga poses online, or even join a class to get more from it. Yoga builds strength in most of your muscle groups. It particularly works the core muscle and can help to improve your posture. Did you know that Yoga can be used for relaxation as well as energizing? Best of all, it serves as the perfect warm-up to stretch all those muscles out well. Low impact stuff that’s fun and good for toning!

Kettlebells

This is the exercise that’s taking America by storm right now. Kettlebells are relatively cheap to buy and you only really need one. Start with just a couple of kilos, especially if you’re coming back to exercise. If you’re asking what muscles do kettlebell swings work, then you’re not alone. After all, it’s just one weight with one handle. How effective can it be? The trick is to use kettlebell swings to work your shoulders, back, and hips. If you don’t want bulky legs, this is perfect because it tones rather than adding mass.

Dancing

There are so many different kinds of dancing, but all of them demand a strong core and good posture. This immediately lifts your entire frame. As you’re up on your ball joints a lot, your legs, ankles, and glutes will enjoy a lot of toning. Best of all, the music motivates you to keep going. There are lots of dance exercise classes, but a standard ballroom, jazz, street, or ballet class will work wonders. Plus it’s social and lots of fun!

Swimming

Do you remember those pregnancy exercise in the water classes? Some people love them, others hate them. Now you’re back to basics, and it’s time to get in the water and start swimming! The movements you ‘enjoyed’ before are actually pretty good warm-ups. But it is the breaststroke and front crawl that is going to help you tone up your shoulders, arms, and back.

Laying on the sofa?

Yes, laying on the sofa can help you tone and even build up your leg muscles. This can be ideal for anyone with a weakened back. For squishier couch seat cushions, add a pillow or two under your lower back as you lay on the sofa. Now raise your legs in the air, one at a time. From here you can start to explore the range of movement in your hips that are comfortable. Leg pushes, splits and kicks can help push the excess fluid away from ankles and knees. And you’ll get some great toning if you perform these during your favorite soap opera each night!

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5 Ways to Counter Negative Self Talk

I came across this article and wanted to share it because I think at one time or another we could all use a pick me up! One of the points is one I’ve talked about as a monthly health tipdon’t compare yourself to others. I firmly believe everyone has something unique to contribute to the world.

5 Steps to Counter Negative Self Talk

By Aurora McCausland

There are plenty of outside forces that affect the way we view ourselves. Some can be good, but all too often, those influences make us feel insufficient, insecure, and alienated. Social media, for example, is an ever-present force, and it often turns negative despite our best efforts. It’s too easy to compare yourself to others and the best parts of their lives, since the best parts of their lives are the only parts they bother to post on social media.

The negative messages can get more and more pointed and heated, whether they’re flaming comments on your Youtube video, or constantly-undermining language from your mother-in-law. However, as bad as these voices can be, the worst thing is when your own internal voices start adopting that criticism. Here are some tips to help you identify and counter negative self-talk.

Stop comparing yourself to others

If you find yourself comparing yourself and your life to other people, then you’ll need to remove the avenues where it makes it easy to compare yourself to them. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram and feeling bad because everyone else seems to have clean homes, then maybe you should stop following those individuals. It may seem harsh, but your mental health is important, and if you still feel bad, you can explain to your friends why you have to take a break from following them.

Seek support

Sometimes, just removing those influences isn’t enough to keep yourself from feeling negative towards yourself. Because sometimes, it’s a deeper problem than just wishing your kitchen was as clean as someone you follow on social media. Being negative can be the root of mental illness, and letting those negative thoughts fester will only make the problem worse. Talking about the issues can help you feel better, as long as it’s done in a safe space. This could be something that you’ll want to talk to a licensed professional about. Certain therapeutic techniques, like dialectical behavior therapy, for example, help you to target problematic habits and behavior so that you can start having a healthier outlook.

Holistic approaches

There are other things you can do to improve your overall mental health. Some people experience a better wellbeing when they engage in activities such as meditation, yoga, and regular chiropractic visits. These practices are great because not only are they beneficial to your body and your overall physical health, but they carry mental health benefits that will change your life. One of the keys to countering your negative self talk is to eradicate the problem at it’s root. The root of these insecurities is a weak mental state, and by exercising your mind and cultivating a positive environment, you’ll find yourself thinking more positive thoughts and enjoying your life more fully.

Writing therapy

If you’re not comfortable attending therapy, a great alternative is to engage in writing therapy. Writing therapy gives you a creative, and healthy, outlet to express yourself and your thoughts. There are great writing prompts and journaling programs that can help you make the most of your writing therapy practices. Many therapists actually recommend writing therapy as part of your regular therapy practices. Sometimes, the best way to understand your thoughts and the way that you feel is to talk through them. This can be through either talking to someone that your trust, or you can write them out.

Writing them out can sometimes be even more beneficial because some people find that they’re more comfortable writing about their innermost thoughts than they are talking about them. Your journal can’t judge you or make you feel uncomfortable by opening up, and that’s one of the most valuable things about writing therapy practices.

Surround yourself with positivity

You are what you manifest. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re messy, sloppy, ugly, or unsuccessful, you will become those things. If you tell yourself that you’re tidy, attractive, successful, and kind, then you’ll be those things. Your thoughts become actions, so make sure that you’re thinking good, positive things. It can be hard to just dispel your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, sadly it isn’t that simple.

Make sure that you are surrounded by positive people. If there are people in your life that are negative, then maybe consider spending less of your time with them, and seek out friendships and colleagues that are positive and make you feel good about yourself. Fill your home with beautiful things that make you feel peaceful, and listen to music that is uplifting and wholesome. Surrounding yourself with beautiful nature can be another great way to surround yourself with positivity. It’s easier to think wonderful, positive thoughts, when you’re in a beautiful atmosphere that promotes peaceful thoughts and feelings.

You don’t have to live with uncomfortable and negative feelings. There are ways to combat those feelings and start feeling comfortable with yourself and your life again. There are avenues to seek help or find the help yourself, you just have to consciously make an effort to be positive and start loving yourself and your life. 

Health Tip

health tips give a complimentThis month’s health tip is guaranteed to help you feel better and someone else! If you’re feeling down, a great way to feel a little better is to reach out and compliment someone. While you may not see the impact of your compliment, the recipient will remember it. Focusing on others is something that helps me to see outside my own needs and usually gives me a better perspective on any problems I’m having.

*more health tips here

7 Tips for Summer Sun Safety

We’ve been enjoying our first summer in Southern California, and especially the days the kids and I spend at the beach! Newport is the closest beach to us and we usually go about once a week for a few hours. I’m excited to share this guest post about sun safety. My favorite tip is the first one, which may seem obvious, but I’m always sure to slather sunscreen on myself and the kids with a combination of both lotion and spray sunscreen.

By Christine H.

It’s summer! And that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather. However, as you spend time splashing in the public pool, picnicking at the beach, and hiking through the mountains, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the sun.

Here are 7 suggestions that will keep you sun-smart this summer:

  1. Wear sunscreen… daily! If you simply slather on some sunscreen when you go to the beach, you’re not doing enough to protect yourself from the sun. Sun has a major effect on your skin. In the short term, it can lead to heat rash and sunburn. But it has more severe effects over time, and it’s cumulative, as this article warns. Sun exposure leads to prematurely aging skin – wrinkles, and sunspots, and loss of elasticity. Even more dangerous, sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Some melanoma will be minor and simply require removal. Others can spread to the rest of your body and become life-threatening. Wear sunscreen every day, not just when you’re planning a big event outside and you’re worried about sunburn. You should have a daily face cream that protects against UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Sunscreen can’t do everything. Sometimes the best technique for protecting yourself from the sun is the old-fashioned one. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face from direct light and glare. Wear longer sleeves to limit your sun exposure. Also remember to seek out shade and bring umbrellas with you for outdoor events. It might seem counterproductive to cover up more when you’re hot, but it can actually protect you from heat stroke and exhaustion.
  3. Guard your eyes. Wearing a hat helps protect your eyes from UV rays, but you’re better off wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy. Much like your skin, your eyes can age prematurely with exposure to sun. UV rays can lead to a higher chance of cataracts and AMD. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so take a close look at your purchases. Do they say that they protect from UVA and UVB rays? If not, they might be even more harmful than not wearing glasses at all, since they encourage your eyes to keep the pupils dilated, which lets in more harmful UV light.
  4. Take precautions when you go camping and hiking too. If you’re in the woods or up in the mountains, you might not feel as hot and so you won’t think as much about how much sun you’re being exposed to. However, you’ll probably get more sun through the day than you usually do during just an hour or two at the pool. So bring sunscreen with you, and be realistic about the effects that the sun is having on you. Seek shade when possible, and drink lots of water. Sun exposure can also create fatigue in your body, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever slept really well the night after a day spent sunbathing. This might be caused by dehydration, and your body working overtime to regulate chemicals and temperature.
  5. Think outdoor events through. Often, fairs, music festivals, and things like amusement parks can cause a lot of health problems because people aren’t thinking about how much sun and heat they’re getting. The crowds can make things even worse, especially if you’re at a music festival or other event where people are in close quarters. So, as you walk into an event, look around and see where the medical tent is. Plan your time under shade. This link has some great suggestions for being safe at an outdoor event.
  6. Be aware of signs of overexposure. Sometimes, exposure to sun isn’t just about your skin and your eyes. Sun exposure can lead to fainting, or heat stroke. So recognize the symptoms and take care of yourself if you start exhibiting some of these problems:
    1. Dizziness
    2. Faintness
    3. Blackout
    4. Headache
    5. Trouble focusing
    6. Spots in your vision
  7. Hydrate more than you think you have to. You may not feel dehydrated while you’re out and about and being busy. But if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, you will get dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink water before, during, and after your time outside.

 

Sun safety is important, but so is making the most of your summer. It’s a great season to meet new people, try new things, and have some fun! This article has some great suggestions for things to do to get the most out of your time, whether it’s in the sun or not. So don’t let the warnings scare you away from doing what you want to this summer. Just be smart!7 summer sun safety tips

My favorite beach products here

My favorite way to stay hydrated here

5 ways to increase your self confidence

No matter who you are, there are always situations where you may wish for a bit more self confidence. I think I was pretty shy as a child and learning to speak to adults and really anyone is something I learned a lot on my mission. While I’m not the most self confident person in the world, I do feel that with practice, I’m able to talk to basically anyone. Here are 5 things that have helped me:

1.Firm handshake – a firm handshake can convey that you are a strong and confident person. You don’t need to use a death grip when shaking someone’s hand but you should also try to avoid the ‘dead fish’ handshake.

2. Good posture – body language says a lot about you and your personality. Standing tall can make you feel and appear more confident even if you are feeling nervous. Pull your shoulders back because you are in charge.

3. Have a quick look to appear ‘put together’  – Doing something small can often help you feel more ‘put together’ with your best face forward and more confident. This doesn’t mean you have to be extra fancy or wear a lot of make up. Often looking your best can help you feel your best. I find that small things like having my nails nice or painted, I feel more ‘put together’. Other small ways to look and feel your best include brushing your hair, adding an accessory like earrings, putting on a lip color, cleaning your shoes from any scuffs, etc.

4. Whiten your teeth – smile with confidence by using a teeth whitener. My favorite is the teeth whitening system from Smile Brilliant (save $25 with code ‘jamtartmd25’). The trays are custom fit to mold to your teeth. It comes with whitening gels to use in the trays followed by a desensitizing gel. To see my previous results, click here.

5. Pretend that everyone likes you – whether it’s meeting new people or giving a presentation or speech, pretend that everyone already likes you and are friends.With this mindset, you can overcome hesitation, fear, or nervousness. Chances are that they like you anyway!

5 ways to increase self confidence

5 ways to increase self confidence

Romper from Carissa Miss, an awesome apparel shop where 100% of the proceeds goes towards the National Footsteps for Fertility grant.

Favorite Exercise Products

Before having kids, my favorite ways to exercise were running outside, cycling, soccer and yoga. Since my time is more limited, I’ve been lucky to find gyms with childcare options. We (the kids and I) go to 24 Hour Fitness every morning and I’ve enjoyed lifting weights, strength training and spin classes. Here are some of my favorite exercise products:

favorite exercise products

Fitness tracker – We’ve still been using our Alta Fitbits and I still enjoy tracking my progress. I feel like we do make more of an effort to move around and walk more. I read and enjoyed this article which rated 87 types of fitness trackers! Definitely valuable information for when we upgrade our current trackers.

favorite exercise products

Shoes – I’ve worn Asics running shoes since high school. I’ve tried a few different brands and always come back to Asics. They are great for my neutral foot position, arch and running stride. For running I prefer a little more sole support. For the gym, I like Nikes  since the sole is pretty basic and good for various types of exercises.

Yoga mat – I’ve had this Gaiam yoga mat for years. It’s been very solid and was affordable, I’ll probably have it for years to come.

Pants – I love Zella, Ahtleta and Lululemon 7/8 pants (or petite version). They have great stretch while keeping their form. They aren’t the most affordable but very high quality and worth the cost. I recently tried glyder apparel pants which are very soft and stretchy but don’t have as much form as other pants. For running shorts, I love Lululemon’s 4 way stretch shorts.

Tops – I love Lululemon tanks because they are lightweight and very soft.

Socks – I prefer ASICS socks, they don’t slide down or move around while exercising.

Hydro Flask – staying hydrated is so important to your overall health and I’m still loving my Hydro Flask because it doesn’t leak or collect condensation.

Nike backpack – I take a ‘sport’ backpack (similar to this one) to the gym to hold my water, towel, keys, and diapers.

Foam roller – Still one of my favorite products that is also very affordable! Foam rollers are easy to use and basically a free massage. I love using mine especially on sore hamstrings.

favorite exercise products

Foot roller– I found this foot roller at Homegoods for around $5. It’s a great, cheap massage for the arch and ball or your foot.  You just roll it under the sole of your foot (while sitting in a chair) and apparently you can use these cold or hot although I’ve only tried at regular room temperature. I love using it when my feet feel sore, especially after a long day of walking.

favorite exercise products

Blender Bottle  – This blender bottle is perfect for making protein drinks. I’ve still been using the strawberry protein powder I posted about here. This bottle does a great job breaking up and mixing the powder without any clumps. While I still don’t crave protein drinks because of their flavor, I’ve found that 1) it serves it’s purpose of filling you up with protein and 2) it tastes much better colder and when the foam has settled (from shaking it).

Peppermint oil – This combined with the foam roller are my favorite things for sore muscles to refresh them. I used to buy peppermint oil in a roller bottle at a drug store but recently found them for a better deal on Amazon.     favorite exercise products

How to prevent exercise injuries

After I was cleared to exercise after Tessa was born, I was super motivated to get back in shape and have my body return to its previous state. I got on a good schedule where I could exercise with the kids in a group with other women and then joined an awesome gym with great child care (Treehouse Athletic Club in Draper, Utah). I was feeling good, running well and getting my mile time down when…I hurt my knee. Then right when it was feeling better, I pulled my Achilles tendon pretty bad when we were in Texas. So I’m no stranger to injury and while the process is longer, I’m still motivated to become physically stronger. One of my biggest things I need to remember is to stretch well after and really dedicate the time to cool down. Here are some more solid tips to prevent injuries:

How to Prevent Injury as an Athlete

By: Maurine Anderson

Your risk of injury only increases the more physically active you are, so if you are an athlete, it’s vitally important to do what you can to prevent injury. Injuries can take months or even years to heal, after all, and some injuries will put athletes out of commission for good. An injury could even put you at risk for painkiller addiction. As this article points out, it’s a lot more common than you might think.

How, then, can you reduce your chances of injury in your everyday physical activity? Here are some vital tips on how you can prevent injury as an athlete.

Wear protective gear.

This goes without saying, but it’s worth the extra reminder. Whenever engaging in any sport that involves wearing protective gear such as a mouthguard, helmet, or shoulder pads, be sure you are wearing that protective gear properly. Risk of injury is especially high in contact sports, and your protective gear can be what makes the difference in how serious an injury is.

Take time off.

Rests days aren’t only for the injured—they are for anyone who engages in regular physical activity. Schedule your rest days and rest periods just like you would workout days and training days. Plan to take at least one rest day per week and at least one month off of training per year to help your body recover properly from physical exertion.

Warm up before every workout.

Many athletes do not warm up adequately before engaging in heavy physical activity. Your warm up should consist of light exercises that mimic what you will be doing in your workout. If you are preparing to go on a long run, for example, you should warm up by doing a very light jog. If you are preparing for a synergistic workout that involves a lot of jumping, you could warm up by doing jumping jacks. Gradually increase your intensity throughout your warm up until your heart rate is up and you feel mentally prepared for your workout. Be sure to incorporate some ballistic stretching as well towards the end of your warm up, once your muscles are looser. You should plan to warm up for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of your workout.

Don’t do static stretching before a workout.

On a related note, be sure that you do not do any static stretching before a workout. Doing this can will only increase your risk of injury but also harm your exercise routine and decrease strength. Be sure that any stretching you do before your workout is ballistic stretching and that it is done towards the end of your warm up when your muscles are warm.

Stretch after every workout.

It’s important after every workout to stretch and lengthen those muscles that you’ve been engaging. You should also gently stretch those muscles that feel tight after a workout, whether you engaged them or not. You could write an entire blog post alone on proper stretching technique, but in general, you should hold each stretch you do for 25 to 30 seconds, and stretch for a total of about ten minutes after your workout.

Eat a healthy, well balanced diet.

This is another tip you could write an entire blog post—even a book—about, but in general, be sure to eat a healthy and well balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Be sure to consult a specialist in sports nutritionist as well about taking in enough calories and nutrients per day to fuel your workouts and training. The right nutrition will promote better muscle recovery and fuel your body with the nutrients it loses during heavy physical exertion.

Eat properly before and after your workout.

The foods you eat before and after your workouts also matter. Before a workout, eat a snack that contains carbohydrates, such as fruit or whole grain toast. Foods that are also rich in fiber are great because they help control carbohydrate release throughout the course of your workout. Bananas are also great because they contain potassium, which helps maintain muscle and nerve function. Following your workout, eat a snack that is rich in both carbs and protein in the 30 to 60 minute time frame after your workout.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Drinking plenty of water is also important for helping prevent injury, as it helps keep your muscles lubricated. Plus, it reduces your risk of incurring heat related illness. Aim to 16 to 20 ounces of water at least four hours before physical activity, and then 8 to 10 ounces about 10 minutes before exercise. For longer and more intense workouts, you should consider drinking a healthy sports drink is rich in electrolytes and carbohydrates to sustain energy levels.

 

What are you drinking? 5 drinks that are good for you

With all the trends of specialty waters, sodas, juices, shakes, etc it can be confusing what is actually good for you without a lot of research. My personal preference is water – for every meal, ha, ha! I’m not a fan of milk because of the texture and taste. I even eat cereal dry which I know is weird! I occasionally drink juice because I try to limit sugar and sometimes drink herbal tea (my favorite is peppermint). We’re going on a staycation to the beach later this week. We’ll only be about an hour from our house but it’ll be nice to relax! Thanks, Maurine for guest posting today!

5 healthy drinks

5 Drinks that Actually Are Good for You

By: Maurine Anderson

There seems to be a lot of misconception in the nutrition world as to which drinks are actually healthy for you. Fruit juice, for example, is commonly deemed a healthy drink option that counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, yet many health experts are quick to point out that fruit juice contains little fiber and is full of sugar. According to multiple studies, in fact, fruit juice seems to have many of the same effects on the body that soft drinks do.

So what drinks are healthy, then? Here is a look at five drinks that truly are beneficial to your health.

Water

Water, of course, tops this list. Water offers so many health benefits that it would be impossible to name them all in this post. For the skin, for example, water helps bring nutrients to skin cells, maintains skin elasticity, staves off wrinkles, and combats disorders like psoriasis and eczema. For the heart, staying hydrated helps the heart pump blood through blood vessels and reduces risk of heart attack. This article, meanwhile, points out that water also promotes stronger teeth, as it flushes sugars from the mouth, cuts down on sugary drink consumption, and may even contain fluoride if it comes from the tap. Long story short, water is vital to helping every aspect of your body function efficiently on a daily basis.

In addition to all of these health benefits, it doesn’t hurt that water is the most affordable thing you could be drinking. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, you can always invest in a water filter pitcher or a water filter for your faucet. You might also consider installing a water softener as this article suggests, since hard minerals can alter the taste of your tap water. Try infusing your water with lemon juice or fruit for added flavor and health benefits!

Tea

Tea is another immensely healthy drink option. For starters, as this article mentions, drinking herbal tea or green tea is a great way to increase your daily water intake if you have trouble getting in 64 ounces of water each day. In addition, depending on the particular ingredients of the tea, it will offer a myriad of health benefits on top of proper hydration. Chamomile tea, for example, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, and astringent properties thanks to the dried chamomile flower it contains. Açai berry tea, meanwhile, can boost energy levels, improve mental sharpness, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and enhance nutrient absorption. Tea, in general, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a stronger immune system, a healthier digestive system, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and even reduced risk of cancer.

Note: One thing to keep in mind here is that too much caffeine can have negative effects on the body. So in this case, when it comes to caffeinated teas, you can have too much of a good thing. In addition, adding sugar to your tea will, of course, essentially negate many of the benefits you get from the tea.

Low-Fat Milk

Setting aside the fact that some people are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot digest milk properly, milk is another healthy drink option that is rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, which is known to promote strong and healthy bones and teeth. It is also often fortified with vitamin D, which regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and is hard to find in other foods.

Raw Coconut Water

Ever tried unsweetened and unflavored coconut water? Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Many health-focused athletes are starting to opt for coconut water to replace fluids after a run, instead of sugary and acidic sports drinks. It’s also a good source of fiber, which promotes better digestion. When selecting coconut water, just be sure that it’s raw and not pasteurized—the pasteurization process boils away many of the nutrients found naturally in coconut water.

100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice (When Enjoyed Properly)

Don’t get the impression that they cannot be part of a healthy diet. Pomegranate juice, for example, is packed with antioxidants that can prevent inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C that neutralizes free radicals and promotes cell repair. Beet juice, meanwhile, can lower blood pressure, increase stamina, and improve blood flow to the brain. Just be sure when selecting juice that there are no added sugars and that it is indeed 100 percent juice—and be sure to enjoy it along with plenty of water throughout the day. It can also be a good idea to dilute the juice that you drink with some water.

coconut water 5 healthy drinks

5 healthy drinks

 

Health Tip

health tips avoid comparing yourself to others

When most people think about health, they think about physical health – like eating well and exercising. Total health and wellness not only involves physical health but also emotional, social, spiritual and mental health. This health tip deals with emotional and social health. How people portray themselves (especially online and social media!) isn’t how they really are. Most people don’t post pictures of their messy house, when they’re having a bad day, when they haven’t showered, etc. but everyone has those moments! Comparing ourselves to someone else is never healthy or beneficial. It’s fun to catch up with people or make friends on social media but just remember that no one is perfect, despite their online or initial appearance.

My quest to find a good tasting protein powder

One of my top health and fitness tips is to fill up with protein after exercising. The calories your body burns during exercise need to be replenished. If you fill up with unhealthy food, your body will hold onto those calories. This is why it’s important to be careful what you put into your body. The less processed food is the best (hence the popularity of ‘whole foods’). Protein is essential to building muscle tissue and is essential for your body to function. You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, but doing small, important things like getting enough protein will definitely benefit your body and overall fitness. I have a few favorite post work out food items like protein bites, eggs, bananas, etc and also like protein powder drinks- but not all powders!

Protein Powder Basics

If you’ve ever walked into a supplement shop, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices, brands, types, etc. The protein powder I use is basic whey protein. I like that a protein powder drink has overall less calories and fat that a protein filled food meal. However, you cannot use protein powder or supplements as your sole method of caloric intake. For a large container, the price varies but is approximately $40-$50 dollars. This initially seems like a lot but I only use 2 scoops a day.

How Much Protein Should One Consume

You should aim for .36 grams per pound (of body weight). If you’re trying to bulk up, have an intense training/workout schedule, have a special diet, medical conditions, etc. this may be different for you. The amount of protein in 1 scoop of protein powder varies. Of the brands I’ve tried, they have 20-22 grams of protein.

How to Use It

You can add protein powder to things such as water, milk, oatmeal, juice, smoothies, etc. The only way I use it is with water to make a protein drink. I don’t drink milk because I don’t like the taste or smell. Many common protein powder flavors are sweet or dessert flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Unfortunately for me, all the dessert flavors taste gross! I’ve been on the search for flavors that have a decent taste and a powder that is easy to use in a BlenderBottle (ie it dissolves well and doesn’t clump).

So far, I’ve found 2 flavors that (to me) don’t resemble milk – strawberry and orange. I found the strawberry at GNC which has locations nationwide (or online) and the orange from BodyBuilding.com.

I add 2 scoops of protein powder to approximately 12-16 ounces of water. I add the metal whisk ball that comes with the blender bottle, close the top, shake the bottle about 30 seconds, let the foam settle, then drink. I actually really like the combination of both strawberry and orange so I’ll use one scoop of each. Lots of people like all flavors of protein powders and protein bars but it was important for me to find ones that don’t taste gross! These fruity flavors mixed with water taste like watered down juice or flavored water. There are tons of recipes for protein shake smoothies, I just always use water because it’s the fastest and easiest to make.

strawberry protein powder gnc

tire flips nike protein drink