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Are Pre-Workout Supplements Good For You?

When it comes to making gains in the gym, whether that be weight loss or muscle gain, many people often turn to supplements to help them reach their goals. A high number of gym goers use pre -workout supplements to enhance their training experience in hopes of getting a better training session. This “pre-workout” class of supplements are promoted to give you more energy and stamina to get through a tough workout.

Synephrine pre-workout supplement

While there is most certainly a time and place for the right dietary supplements, there are concerns with the majority of these pre-workout supplements, which essentially are stimulants.

Champion Strength Coach Rob Sutton recently posted a guest article on MikeReinold.com that discusses the health concerns of many pre-workout supplements, and for good reason!  Rob shares a very personal experience of how he really hurt his own health from this class of supplements.

Great info for everyone, click below to read the article:

 

 

Getting Over The Scale

Many women start weight loss programs to fit into their jeans better, look slimmer, feel healthier and feel more energized overall. While that 3 digit number on the scale can hold meaning to us when it comes to weight loss, it’s really important not to obsess over the number.

Why?

Because your weight does not account for the change in your body composition during your weight loss journey. The real number that holds true meaning when it comes to your jean size, health, and appearance is how many inches you’re losing, not pounds.

Checking that number on the scale frequently can be really intimidating and misleading. How many times have you started trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, but you check the scale and immediately feel stressed and anxious because of what it says?!

“Slimming down doesn’t always mean losing weight”, as described by a great article I read Losing Weight Vs. Losing Inches.  Women often gain a couple pounds when they’re eating healthier and exercising more, because they’re gaining muscle. Chances are if they took good measurements of their waist and limbs they would see a loss of inches, even when the scale doesn’t budge!

 

A pound of muscle is much smaller in physical size than a pound of fat.

fat vs. muscleA pound of muscle also helps burn calories while fat likes to hold on to them. Imagine replacing 2 lbs of fat with 2 lbs of muscle! I bet your “skinny jeans” would slide right on! But if you’re looking at the scale, it wouldn’t budge because you replaced the 2 pounds from fat to muscle. 2 pounds is still 2 pounds, it’s the composition that matters!

Inch loss = True fat loss!!!!

There may be other reasons why you want to lose weight. Here’s a list of common reasons why women really want to lose weight.

Fitness is a lifestyle- it’s 80% nutrition 20% exercise and 100% positive attitude

You can’t reach your goals without all three components, but I believe the most important component is feeling good about your decisions and your body (attitude!).

Throw out your scale if you have to in order to stop obsessing over that number, because it really is just a number. Inch loss is the real deal. When you lose inches, even when the scale isn’t budging, it’s telling you that you’re healthier, you’re leaner, you’re getting slimmer, you’re body is transforming. Along with those great accomplishments, you’re probably feeling healthier, more energized, and more confident too!   

Get some measuring tape, check out how to take good measurements, eat healthy, be more physically active, and most importantly….  have fun embracing the incredible journey of fitness :).  I wrote a blog post on the Best Breakfasts for Fat Loss, to get you jump started on healthy eating. 

You deserve to feel great inside and out! 

Best Breakfasts for Fat Loss

Trying to shed some pounds?  One of the most important meals of the day for fat loss is breakfast.  Now don’t get me wrong, making a trip to IHOP or Waffle House will probably lead to some weight gain, however recent studies have shown that eating a healthy breakfast can lead to reduced calories later in the day.  Skipping breakfast may actually trick your brain into thinking you want higher-calorie foods — foods that can increase your risk for weight gain.

But I get it, not everyone has time in the morning to make an awesome breakfast.

That’s why I wanted share some of my favorite quick recipes for fat loss breakfasts!

Breakfast Nutrition Tips

Here’s some important tips when it comes to the “most important meal of the day” and fat loss:

  • Calories matter, but it’s mostly about what you’re eating. Reach for less processed foods, more whole foods (veggies, nuts, lean meats, beans, legumes, fruits, and healthy oils)
  • Your first meal of the day should contain a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of nutrients to get your body going.
  • Busy morning? Make your breakfast the night before so you can grab it before heading out the door.
  • Breakfast should contain about 25% of your daily caloric intake, eat up!
  • Get your carbs from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Stick to carbs that contain plenty of fiber and are low in sugar.
  • Stick to eating your higher carbohydrate meal in the morning or after you workout.
  • Protein is your friend. Getting 1g of protein per pound you weigh will help maintain lean body mass, regulate your blood sugar, and encourage weight loss. For example, a 120lb female should eat 120g of protein per day (lean turkey, chicken, fish, nuts, legumes, beans, eggs, whey protein & low-fat dairy, etc.).  A scoop of protein powder can be very useful in the morning.  
  • Eat fat to burn fat! Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are important for your overall health and fat loss. The best choices to get your healthy fats in are: walnuts, almonds, olives and olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish like salmon.
  • To encourage fat loss during the rest of the day focus on eating quality protein in small meals every 2-3 hrs
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day

Best Breakfast for Fat Loss Recipes

I love these breakfast ideas because they are quick and a great way to mix breakfast up during the week. Reaching your fitness and weight loss goals should be fun, simple, and delicious!

Many of the recipes you can use for a quick and awesome breakfast take advantage of protein powder.  Here is more information on the protein and supplements we recommend at Champion.

 

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado Smoothie with Chocolate Whey Protein

Smoothies are awesome for packing in nutrition. This smoothie has plenty of protein, healthy fats and the right balance of healthy carbs. It’s so delicious, plus you can take it easily on the go!

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • A serving of whey protein (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 a small avocado
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • Large handful of baby spinach or kale
  • dash of cinnamon

*Nutrition: 36g protein | 28g carbs | 6g fiber | 14g sugar | 9g fat | 310 calories

 

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

This is one of my favorites, because you make it the night before and it’s right there waiting for you in the morning! Mix these ingredients together and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning eat it as is or heat up in the microwave.

Recipe:

  • ½ c. Oats (Plain old fashioned)
  • a serving of whey protein
  • ¾ c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbps Peanut or Almond butter
  • dash of cinnamon

*Nutrition: 31g protein | 34g carbs | 7g fiber | 6g sugar | 15g fat | 368 calories

 

Salmon Avocado Omelet

Salmon Avocado Omelet

Omelets are an amazing way to get your vegetables in early! I’m a big fan because you can put so many different combinations in them (all sorts of different vegetables, lean turkey, salmon, feta cheese, etc.). This is the lowest carb option on the list!

Recipe:

  • 2-3 whole eggs
  • Chopped red and green peppers, onions, any other veggies
  • 2 oz. Smoked salmon
  • ¼  small Avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of feta cheese

*Nutrition: 33g protein | 5g carbs | 4g fiber | 24g fat | 357 calories

 

Protein Pancakes

Protein Pancakes

Yup. I said it “PANCAKES”. The super easy, healthy, pancakes that will help you reach your goals.

Recipe:

  • 1 serving of whey protein (any flavor)
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • add a few slices of banana or berries
  • top with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter and cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free maple syrup

*Nutrition: 33g protein | 12g carbohydrates | 3g fiber | 9g sugar | 11g fat | 257 calories

 

*Nutrition facts are estimated and may vary depending on food brand (ex: different types of whey protein = different amount of protein and calories)

**All photos are original. 

 

Give these breakfast recipes for fat loss a try and let me know what you think!

2 Holiday Themed Smoothie Recipes

With the holidays season in full gear, here are two holiday themed smoothies to try this season from #TeamChampion member Lisa Caldwell.  Lisa is chef and nutritionist, as well as a personal training client at Champion in her spare time!  

 

2 Holiday Themes Smoothie Recipes

It seems like there is a new and improved smoothie every day, promising to lift your life, change your ways and make you better, fitter, stronger person after consuming it!  Why? Are we “doing it wrong” and this is the only way to mend the errors of our ways? Well, no, not exactly…

Think of it as the easiest way to get some foods with essential nutrients into your body that you might not be inclined to prepare and eat! (keywords, easiest way…).

Plus, add a scoop of protein and these become nutritious and muscle building and recovery machines!  Here are two of my favorite holiday themed smoothies to try this season.

 

Mint Green Smoothie

Mint green smoothieWhy is “mint” being singled out?  (Who doesn’t want minty fresh breath and a spring in their step!)

Mint is a great ingredient for smoothies that is bright and refreshing, and also provides you with nutrients that your body will be thrilled to use to repair joints, bolster your immune system AND masks the “green stuff”?  Mint has been touted to have a range of benefits: aids digestion, helps to decongest us when we have a cold, and has a calming and cooling effect on our skin.

If you have a go to smoothie that you enjoy, try adding a few sprigs of mint. You might even get a “cholorphobe” to drink it! Yes, it’s that good!  Here is my recipe for a Mint Green Smoothie:

  • 1 Mango, cut in to chunks – Provides vitamins A and C, and fiber
  • 1 Orange (clementines or mandarins) – Provides vitamins A and C, and fiber… not getting a cold this winter!
  • 1 Handful of Baby Kale, Spinach or any dark leafy green –  Provides multiple vitamins and minerals, full range of pigments helping to repair us
  • 1 Pear – Provides simple and complex carbohydrates, water, fiber and a natural diuretic
  • 3-4 Leaves of Mint – Adds a nice, bright touch (masks the greens if you are new to it!)
  • 3 TB Hemp Seeds – **contributes too much to list here… check out below for more information!
  • 1-2 cups of Coconut Milk or Almond MilkMilks supply healthy fats, Coconut water supplies electrolytes and carbohydrates
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein – This is optional but recommended to help with recovery and strength gains
  • Optional – crushed ice and other dark leafy greens

Combine all ingredients into a blender.  Mix until smooth.

The Benefits of Hemp Seeds

  • One of the best vegetarian sources for a complete protein, which means it contains ALL of the essential amino acids
  • Has a balanced ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3s help to reduce inflammation in our joints when they have been overused
  • Great source of dietary fiber
  • High in Iron, and if it is combined with a source of Vitamin C, then it will be absorbed that much faster! Check out what the mango and the orange are bringing to the party!

 

 

Brilliant Butternut Squash Smoothie

Butternut Squat SmoothieHere is another great smoothie with the key ingredient being butternut squash.

  • 1 Mango, cut in to chunks – loaded with simple and complex carbs, Vitamins A and C, and fiber
  • 1 cup Butternut Squash – *being the featured item, read below…. the list is long!
  • 1 Handful of Baby Kale – superfood! Multiple vitamins and minerals, full range of pigments helping to repair us
  • 1 Pear – simple and complex carbohydrates, water, fiber and a natural diuretic
  • 4 Sprigs of Mint (leaves only) – helps to relax muscles, high in antioxidants, small amounts of minerals
  • 3 TB Hemp Seeds – Omega 3’s, Essential Amino Acids, Fiber, wide range of vitamins and minerals
  • 1-2 cups of Coconut Milk, Almond Milk or Coconut Water – Milks supply healthy fats, Coconut water supplies electrolytes and carbohydrates
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein – This is optional but recommended to help with recovery and strength gains
  • Optional – crushed ice and other dark leafy greens

Combine all ingredients into a blender, mix until smooth.

The Benefits of Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash is a significant source of the following:

  • B Vitamins (helps to convert glucose into usable energy)
  • Vitamin C, the backup Quarterback for all the other antioxidants (Vitamins A, E, Selenium and a multitude of pigments)
  • Beta Carotene, important for the health of our eyes. One molecule of Beta Carotene splits into two      molecules of Vitamin A.
  • Lutein and Cryptoxanthin-B are also present. These are pigments that contribute (yellow) color and the health of our eyes. Both need fats to be absorbed by our cells!

 

About the Author

Lisa CaldwellLisa Caldwell has been in love with food, cooking and nutrition since she can remember.

Her desire to perform at an optimum level in all of her athletic endeavors started when she was young, leading her to study food and nutrition on her own. She obtained a B. S. in Human Foods and Nutrition from the University of Maine at Orono. She explored the culinary world and rose to the rank of Executive Pastry Chef at Resorts and Hotels. Due to these experiences and years spent traveling for the sake of food, she spent time working with Whole Foods Market as a Healthy Eating Specialist educating customers on how to shop and cook. She now owns and runs Lisa Caldwell your Kitchen Confidant, a small business dedicated to sharing all she knows about food, nutrition and cooking with all who want to know more for the betterment of themselves and the people that they love.

Her primary objective is Nutrition Education and has partnered with the likes of Massachusetts Hospital Association, Tufts University School of Public Health, Google, as well as the local Rock Climbing gyms in the Boston Area. Opportunities such as these have enabled her to share and increase the awareness of how food and proper nutrition contributes to our athletic performance as well as our overall health. You can find Lisa climbing at Metro Rock Gym, Everett and Boston Rock Gym in Woburn and getting great advice at Champion Physical Therapy + Performance in Waltham. If you would like more information about her services, recipes or blog posts, check out Lisa Caldwell your Kitchen Confidant on Facebook or at www.lisaecaldwell.com.