The Five Ws of Fitness

Keeping your priorities straight when it comes to anything in life is a great way to maximize your experiences. The same holds true for your fitness. Identify what’s important when it comes to the five Ws — who, what, when, where and why — in almost anything you care about, and you’ll be able to achieve your best results.

We’re looking at each of those five Ws this week, one a day, to help you figure out the best way to address your fitness. Nobody’s the exact same, so we won’t pretend like one answer will work for everyone. But we can provide a way of looking at diet and exercise that you can shape to your life.

WHO

As in, “Who are you doing this for?” The answer seems like it should always be “me!” But that’s not always the case. For some, it’s about impressing someone specific (or many someones, in general). Maybe it’s about being able to stay healthy enough to play with one’s children as they grow up. For others, it’s about liking what they see in the mirror. But the bottom line is that when you can attach a goal or motivation to a sentient being — whether it’s yourself or someone else — you make it real and tangible.

Hold yourself accountable to your fitness plans by always remembering WHO you’re doing this for. Getting a workout partner or even a personal trainer is a great idea, so that there is another human being whose time and resources depend on you getting out the front door and to the gym. When you exercise with a friend or diet with a spouse, you can watch each other’s results as you progress. And, in our experience, success breeds more success.

WHAT

Simply put: What exactly are you going to do to achieve your goals? Getting motivated is the first step, it’s true, but without a plan in place your fitness objectives will never come true. Whether it’s piecing together a four-week workout, rep-by-rep, or setting yourself up to succeed with a diet plan you can stick to, you need to be able to figure out what steps will get you to your goals and what you’re going to do to follow them.

Take some time to sit down and outline your plan of attack. Draft a workout plan based on expert advice — form tips, workout ideas, challenging exercises you’ve never done — and your goals. If your main goal is to gain strength, a volume-based workout won’t help you much; if you’re trying to primarily lose body fat, you really ought to be engaging in calorie-burning training that includes aerobic exercise as well as weights. Perhaps the hardest part, and the part that reaps the most benefits, is constructing a diet. To that end, we’ve got you covered — as always, NUTRISHOP customers get free diet plans from the shop, tailored to their own personal goals.

WHEN

One of the most important things you can do to create a plan you can stick to is to isolate times you can dedicate to your fitness. The dieting pretty much has to be an around-the-clock endeavor, and truly where you’ll make the most noticeable strides. Plan your meals to the clock — every three hours, eat something and make sure it has at least some protein. Time post-workout recovery shakes and pre-bedtime mini-meals. Put in the scheduling work in the beginning so you can enjoy the benefits in the end.

It’s just as important to keep to the calendar and the clock when it comes to your training. Don’t skip scheduled gym days — that seems obvious — but what’s more important is scheduling them in the first place. Have a plan, know WHEN you are going, and make sure you do. It honestly can only take 45 minutes to an hour a day of intense training to see results, fast — if the only time you can squeeze that frame in is on your lunch break, work out on your lunch break. If you can only do it at 6 a.m., well, there’s your workout time, early bird. The point is: There are 24 hours in the day, and you only need 4 percent of that time to get in shape. Make it happen — write down the time, set an alarm, and go.

WHERE

There are times you’ll feel like getting in a workout at home, or in a hotel room, or any other place that’s not the gym. In an emergency, this is mostly OK. But truly, for the best results, you need to find a good gym or weight room that fits your goals and dedicate yourself to showing up every day.

Why? There’s a mental correlation between walking into a gym and, well, not doing it. Work out in your living room, and your brain will have trouble adjusting to having to work so hard in a place it’s accustomed to watching TV or reading the news. Just like you should avoid the bedroom at all costs during the day so your mind can associate your bed with sleep, you should try to keep your physical exercise to exercise-specific places — sporting fields or courts, trails, the gym — and away from places you use for rest or down time.

As far as the gym to choose, keep your goals in mind. Are you into aerobic exercise? You should probably look for an abundance of lap pools, treadmills and elliptical machines. Do you need to build muscle? Almost any place with an available power rack will do. The key is to find a place you feel comfortable enough to do your training, but just on-edge enough so that you can stay focused. The gym CAN be a social place, but you’re not there to socialize.

WHY

This is the question that will ultimately be your biggest motivator, and your biggest instructor. “Why am I doing this?” can be the difference between success and failure, whether it’s getting the last three reps of a set, getting yourself out the door on a day you don’t feel like it or choosing a homemade omelette over cold pizza for breakfast.

Being like a 3-year-old and continually asking “Why?” is actually a great way to go about achieving a higher level of fitness — in this particular endeavor, knowledge is power, and the more answers you have, the more ammo you have. Question why you want to keep your head neutral on all lifts, or why you don’t want to roll your shoulders when you do shrugs. Question why 15 minutes of high-intensity cardio is better than 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio. Then, find the answers to those questions. Learning how your body works and why certain techniques are better than others is an important part of your growth.

At the end of the day, the only person you truly answer to when it comes to your fitness is yourself, so you have the answer the to the question “Why?” Make sure it’s something you can adhere to.

Workout of the Week: Shoulder Strength and Stability

To get big, shapely shoulders, you have to avoid one problem: You can’t get hurt. Unfortunately, the shoulder is one of the most vulnerable and oft-injured joints in the body, so while it might take a lot of reps to build the deltoids, you have to make sure you’re not straining the joint and small group of muscles all around the socket — namely, the rotator cuff — in the process.

This workout helps you build strength, flexibility and, yes, size in the shoulders, so not only can you carry some heavier weight overhead and improve that upper body-to-waist ratio, but also stay away from injury rehab.

Shoulder Strength and Stability

Warm-up flys: 10 laterally, 10 to the front. Use light weight — you’re just getting loose.

Standing overhead press: 4×6. Make sure to lock out your back to protect your spine by keeping your chest up and butt out. The bar should go no lower than your chin.

Lateral raises: 4×15. Grab some dumbbells and, keeping your arms completely straight and the pinkie side of the weights up, raise them to just slightly above parallel to the floor.

Front raises: 4x15e. Alternate arms as you change the angle of your shoulder and where the weight is, in front of you. Keep the dumbbell in front of your body the whole time, lifting it to about nose height. Concentrate on not swinging using your body’s momentum.

Rear delt/reverse pec deck: 4×15. Most pec deck machines allow you to sit in them “backward” and move the handles so you can target your rear delts.

Internal/External Rotation: 3×10, per arm. Stand at a cable machine with a light weight (5-15 lbs.) on the stack and the handle about chest-high. Keeping your right elbow pinned to your side and drawing your shoulder blades back, grab the handle and concentrate on using just your shoulder to rotate the handle inward, across your body. That is an internal rotation. After 10 reps and without switching your stance, switch to your left hand, and draw it outward, from your right side to your left. That is an external rotation. Rotate your body and perform the same action, switching hands.

Thyroid Health Week

When considering health and fitness, it’s easy to overlook the importance of hormonal activity and function — we are so worried about food and calorie expenditure that sometimes we forget that hormones play a massive role in not only our physiology, but our overall health.

That is why we want to dedicate this week to thyroid health — what the thyroid is, what it does and how you can maintain its good health. Follow this blog entry all week as we update it with some of the best products available for regulating and maximizing your body’s important hormone production.

THE THYROID

The thyroid is a large endocrine gland in the neck that serves as a massive regulator of hormone sensitivity, protein synthesis and energy expenditure. It produces its own hormones that subsequently play a roll in other hormonal processes in the body. It can get somewhat confusing; the bottom line: Your thyroid is pretty darn important.

It produces, mainly, hormones known as T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). The big takeaway from these — other than important letters to win a Scrabble game — are what they do for your body. Namely, that is metabolism (a healthy, functioning thyroid works to improve it) and growth and development, all related to other hormones produced in the body, including anabolic growth hormone.

Stay tuned this week as we look into the best ingredients and products to keep the thyroid healthy!

DICANA

Dicana (3,3’ Diiodothyroacetic acid, protected by US Patent #7,919,533) is fueled by a powerful proprietary combination of patented Diiodothyroacetic acid isomers. These powerful, ground-breaking isomers represent the pinnacle in metabolic regulation as they are metabolically active on their own in addition to having a direct reversible pathways to the fat incinerating T3 thryoid hormone, Tricana, and T2!

Dicana is a potent non-stimulant metabolic booster developed to dramatically increase fat burning by raising basal metabolic rate, thus, increasing oxygen and energy consumption by the body. Dicana increases the rate of caloric burning through pro-thyroid mechanics, causing a shift from fat mass in favor of lean muscle. This is accomplished by strategically repurposing calories, increasing muscle protein synthesis while simultaneously annihilating body fat.

Dicana is found in the EVOLVE System sold at NUTRISHOP, in the form of DIOXITONE T4. That might seem familiar — yes, it’s referencing the same T4 (thyroxine) mentioned before when we were discussing the important hormones the thyroid produces. Remember, its purpose is to synthesize proteins, which in turn helps build muscle and — wait for it — ultimately leads to decreased body fat. This is how hormones can affect your physique and well-being, and Dicana can play a vital role in the process.

OTHER PRO-THYROID INGREDIENTS

In addition to Dicana, there are other options available for improving thyroid hormone production. Again, T4 and T3 are the main thyroid hormones responsible for protein synthesis, with some influence in body mass because of how they affect growth and development. HYDROSTIM, which contains sea vegetation like kelp (shown to provide iodine and even soluble fiber, to promote both thyroid hormone production and fat and cholesterol loss), is an option, as is diiodotyrosine — a precursor of thyroid hormone, found in some of our best fat-burners, including HYPERCOR.

Other products, like THERMOVEX, THERMOVEX PM and SOMNILEAN, contain guggulsterone (or guggul extract), which some studies suggest may help to regulate thyroid function as well as positively impact the body’s good and bad cholesterol levels.

 NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC

Finally, to wrap up our Thyroid Health Week, we want to explain the difference between natural and synthetic thyroid hormone production. In almost all cases (consult your doctor to be sure, always), we’d recommend a natural approach to hormone production over synthetic alternatives — Synthroid, as it’s commonly known, may indeed provide the T3 and T4 that the thyroid does naturally, but just like with synthetic testosterone, there is a price.

You see, the brain and other glands do all the signaling to the thyroid when it comes to promoting (or not) hormone production. Using natural ingredients that encourage that process is NOT medication — it only serves to optimize hormone production, and if you were to stop, say, taking an iodine supplement like kelp, your body would find ways to level off one way or another without damaging the receptors, glands and all the other processes involved in producing T3 and T4.

But, when a synthetic hormone is introduced to the body, the brain interprets this as an abundance — a surplus, even — of T3 and T4, and its response is typically to signal the complete shut-off of more hormone production. In many cases, once Synthroid is started, it cannot be stopped without the thyroid being rendered unable to recover and produce hormones on its own anymore.

For this reason, we again recommend sticking to natural options as much as possible when it comes to this very important part of the body!

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Amanda Goulart

Amanda Goulart frontAmanda Goulart back Amanda Goulart, 22

Coeur D’Alene

NUTRISHOP CDA customer Amanda Goulart was 21, and doing the kinds of things 21-year-olds like to do — partying, drinking and eating whatever she felt like eating. Not until the end of last year, though, did it hit her: She wasn’t healthy. She was overweight. And it was affecting her happiness.

“I was pretty closed off to the fitness world. I wasn’t interested in it,” Amanda says. “I was more consumed with eating and drinking, playing and having a good time. My body was not healthy, at all. I was 156 pounds and I decided I needed to change something and be healthier.”

That’s when Amanda met Toby at NUTRISHOP CDA through a business connection, and instantly, she had her motivation. A conversation later, and she was on board. She decided she wanted to do a fitness competition, with NUTRISHOP’s motivation and sponsorship behind her.

“Toby pushed me in the right direction, and I just said, ‘I’m ready to move forward,'” she says.

Starting in the middle of the summer, Amanda instantly began dieting and training, and didn’t stop. In the first couple months, she dropped 20 pounds and saw an instant change in her overall health. She says she “didn’t do anything but eat, work out and sleep,” and in the process, she learned a lot about herself.

“It was reallly hard. I was 21, and all of my friends were too, and all they do is party, go out, hang out in the summer sun, and I wasn’t doing any of it,” Amanda says. “I’d be running outside, running down trails, and if I wasn’t, I was resting or preparing food.”

At the time of the figure competition that Amanda was in on Sept. 28th, she was down to 124 pounds.

The work she put in is all hers, but she says the motivation came from Toby’s staff at NUTRISHOP.

“The teamwork there is amazing, with how much they invest in you. It’s awesome,” she says. “Once you have somebody on your team, helping you out, they don’t stop until you get where you want to go. I had a lot of accountability held, having it over me as good motivation.”

With a powerful supplementation regimen of Thermovex, Detoxin, BCAA, Nature’s Fuel and, of course, FORZA PRO protein powder, Amanda was armed to fight fat and transform her body and mindset. She learned how to make protein pancakes among other recipes, creating a whole new world of food for herself. Even when she wanted a cheat meal, she’d make sure it had protein in it. And the knowledge she gained from NUTRISHOP concerning her diet was a life-long lesson that she says she’ll have forever.

“I had no idea about how it worked. I didn’t realize the strategy behind meal planning and how to lose weight,” Amanda says. “It was interesting. I didn’t realize how unhealthy you can be when you don’t know anything about nutrition, and I didn’t realize how unhealthy I was.”

NUTRISHOP has helped give Amanda the knowledge to accomplish her fitness goals on her own, and she says it’s changed her life.

“I was very down on myself for how my body was,” she says. “Afterward, I felt on top of the world. My body looks amazing, I have so much more energy and I know I can motivate myself to do something when I want it bad.”

Workout of the Week: Mixed-Method Legs

Split-Squat

Never, ever miss a legs day!

In an emergency, you can skip arms day. Or shoulder day. Or forearm curl day. But never — NEVER — skip leg day! The huge muscle groups involved (glutes, hamstrings, quads) make a massive difference in your overall physique and also matter when it comes to body fat — the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism works. So please, we’re begging: Go do some squats.

Today’s Workout: (Get the .pdf here for easy gym use!)

Squats: 5×5. Head up, chest and butt out, shoulders back. Thighs parallel to the ground, drive from the heels. You know the drill by now. Go heavy, and get rested between sets.

3 Supersets: 5 box jumps, 10 DB Straight-Legged Deadlifts, :30 planks

Dumbbell Split Squat: 4×10 per leg. Use a bench behind you and put your trail foot on it. Keep the same squat principles in mind here — head up, chest out, etc., etc. Hold the dumbbells at your sides, or for a bigger challenge, above your head. Alternately, you can use a kettlebell, holding it elbow-up by your shoulder on the side of your lead leg.

Calf Raises, 4×20

 

No-Excuses November: How to Eat to Beat the Holidays

A buddy of mine recently got excited when he remembered it was November.

“Oh, yes — this is the month where you just eat pie the whole time!”

And he’s not totally wrong, is he?

Yes indeed, November — with Thanksgiving and winter feasts and warm comfort meals — does signal the beginning of some ultimate food temptation. Not to worry: We’ve got a road map to guide you through it all, from foods you can feel free to chow down on to treats you should avoid. And, you might even be surprised at a few of them.

Follow this blog throughout the week for a few of our best tips to holiday eating. If you think you just won’t be able to get through it all, and will definitely have a few “letdown” days, check out our guide on Preparing for the Holiday Health Apocalypse. But if you’re feeling up to a challenge, keep it right here.

CHOW DOWN

Ham, turkey, chicken. These are probably going to be on every table in abundance during the holiday season. And that’s a good thing. Lean meats should be the basis of a muscle-building, fat-burning diet, and assuming you don’t go crazy with gravy or mashed potatoes on the side, you can generally eat to your heart’s content when it comes to lean meat. And if your family likes, for some reason, to involve fish with the feast, that’s even better.

Pumpkin/pumpkin spice: Let’s not get nuts here — we are not recommending you eat nothing but pumpkin pie. However, cooked pumpkin is actually an amazing source of fiber and vitamin K, and you could do much, much worse than a slice of pumpkin pie (especially if you’re comparing it to, say, a chocolate mousse pie). Use Splenda, even, to make an even more guilt-free dessert, and don’t be shy with the cinnamon. Some studies suggest it’s a legitimate, powerful fat burner and good for blood pressure, too. Tell those pumpkin spice haters to get a new hobby.

Beans: Green beans, soups, chili, bean salad — there’s plenty of opportunities to work these hearty winter favorites in to any meal, especially in the holiday season, and we all know how effective they can be at, um…getting things moving. Without getting too gross, the fiber that allows beans to do their magic is essential to flushing unnecessary waste and toxins from the gut, and that means a more efficient digestive system. Bonus points if you can come up with a great baked bean recipe that’s not loaded with sugar, but really, there are endless possibilities.

Sweet Potatoes: Just don’t load them up with butter and that gross marshmallow cream. That’s nasty. Otherwise, bake them or make them into fries, and go to town.

STEER CLEAR

White Potatoes: Mashed, au gratin, whatever — these waistline-enemy spuds usually come with gravy and a second helping, not to mention butter, cheese or whatever else you may find smothering them. With no discernible health benefits and plenty of tasty, healthful alternatives, feel free avoid white potatoes at all costs.

Pecan Pie: Like pumpkin pie, this treat has a healthful, natural food in its name. But this one is absolutely loaded with sugar and butter, making it a calorie bomb that’s nowhere near as friendly as our pumpkin dessert. Shame on you, pecan pie, for using a perfectly good natural food against us.

Gravy: It’s not just the butter or calories that you should be worried about with gravy, but the sodium. One of the most overlooked nutritional downfalls is eating too much salt — it forces your body to retain water, bloating you up and causing discomfort. If you need to douse your food with something, try to cook more flavor into it in the first place with a dry rub or, post-cooking, get your hands on a dijon mustard, or a vinaigrette with olive oil.

PORTION CONTROL

Just about every piece of “eat this, not that” advice we’ve given above can be ruined if you, like so many others on Thanksgiving, decide that your plate must be completely covered and stacked high enough to block the view of your relatives around the table. No, not all calories are equal, but the fact remains: Even if you choose the “healthy” options at your holiday feast, it won’t matter if you’re eating twice as much as a normal meal.

The important thing to remember is that this particular meal is about family and visiting, not the food — that’s just a bonus (a really huge, delicious one). Take your time, enjoy your company, have a little of everything instead of a lot of some things and pay attention to your own gut. If you’re content, stop eating. If you’re full, DEFINITELY stop eating. And if you can’t follow any of that advice, well — enjoy yourself. And then get ready for a killer workout the next day.