The 12 Days of Fitness

The gift of health is one you can’t go wrong with for Christmas. Over the next 12 days, we’ve got the must-have items for anybody who has a single reason to go to the gym — and they’ll all come in handy after New Year’s, when people are making new resolutions.

Whether you know someone who already is a fitness enthusiast or someone who could use the boost, any one of these items is great for both beginners and seasoned gym rats alike. Stay tuned throughout the week to see all 12 — we promise we’ve got much better ideas than turtle doves.

12. NATURE’S FUEL: Everyone can use a good multivitamin to fill in the cracks in their nutrition. This goes beyond “good” — NATURE’S FUEL is one of the most complete, easily absorbed multivitamin formulas available, provides an amazing energy boost and is one of the very first steps in rounding out a complete, healthy diet.

11. NATURE’S EFA: Fatty acids are essential to the body’s health, particular the skin, sex organs, hair and nails, not to mention a smart way to keep body fat levels low. The studies and research done on fish, seed and nut oils are overwhelmingly positive, and NATURE’S EFA is a powerful blend of each.

10. BCAAs: Branched-chain amino acids are a must for anyone trying to make a transformation to lean and strong, or trying to maintain the gains they’ve already achieved. The building blocks of protein, BCAAs are rapidly absorbed and not only prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown for energy), but they also aid in fat loss by helping use body fat stores for energy more easily.

9. NUTRISHOP Shaker Bottles: This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous one — having a handy shaker bottle on hand throughout the day is an excellent way to make sure you get not only enough water every day (most experts recommend you have 64 oz. of it daily), but also the easy access to both BCAAs, protein shakes and other mix-in supplements that we’ll get to later on this list. One for the gym bag, one for the office, one for the car — you really can’t have enough shaker bottles.

8. NUTRISHOP Gear: Paying top dollar for many things can be a wise investment — a car, a house, good shoes, etc. Overpaying for gym shirts is ridiculous! Why not support a local business and look good in the process? NUTRISHOP shirts are well-designed, comfortable and they look great.

7. NUTRISHOP Supplement Stackers: Convenient and useful, you can take your pre-, interim- and post-workout supps with you without lugging around the entire package or messy plastic baggies or Tupperware. Screw-on lids and easy-access openings on the sides make them both easy to fill and easy to pour into a shaker bottle — plus, a separate compartment for pill supplements.

6. NATURE’S FRUITS: The vitamins and minerals we miss out on can be alarming. Ever since we hunted and gathered, people have needed the energy acquired from fruits and berries — today, the need isn’t so immediate, and in fact the abundance of sugar makes it even less so. NATURE’S FRUITS is a perfect way to bolster the immune system without having to eat a bushel of apples every day.

5. NATURE’S GREENS: Like its fruity counterpart, this blend is formulated to help you fill in some of the most critical dietary gaps in the Western diet — vegetables. Because of veggies’ low calorie and sugar count, you actually could eat as much broccoli, spinach or kale as you wanted every day. Of course, very few people would want to do this. Proven disease-fighting minerals and vitamins are what make veggies so important — NATURE’S GREENS delivers it all in a delicious drink.

what make veggies so important — NATURE’S GREENS delivers it all in a delicious drink.

4. CREATINE. One of the most-researched supplements around, creatine has proven to be a stimulator of strength and muscle gain, and comes in many forms, from the ever-popular creatine monhydrate to “micronized” creatine to buffered forms of creatine. We recommend you check out N’FUZE, a KreAlkalyn blend that is a buffered creatine designed to reduce the amount of wasted byproduct created when consumed.

3. NATURAL HORMONE PRODUCTS: For men over the age of 30, testosterone begins its freefall and strength, muscle mass and libido dips while body fat decides it would like to hang around a while longer. Help the man in your life fight this process with 1-XD, HGH-191, ARABOL, ANITEST and more of NUTRISHOP’s top-of-the-line natural hormone replacement products.

2. FAT-BURNERS: The top goal of just about everyone around the holidays is fat loss, and it happens to be one of our specialties. If you know someone who is trying to lose body fat, whether it’s that extra 5 holiday pounds they put on or something much more significant, HYPERCOR, THERMOVEX and LIPOCOR, among others, make great gift options to help get them on their way to a leaner body.

1. PROTEIN: We’ve said it before; we’ll say it again: Protein intake is probably the most critical aspect of gaining muscle and burning fat there is. It’s our No. 1 supplement for anyone — if you were to get just one supplement product for someone and didn’t want to risk getting something they couldn’t use, protein is the answer. PRO7 and FORZA PRO are our top sellers and are highly effective, great-tasting powders that make building muscle and burning fat that much easier.

Check The Frequency: The Three-Day Split

workout, three-day split, exercise, motivation, plateau

By Travis/NUTRISHOP CONTRIBUTOR

I’ve been through many kinds of workout programs — German volume training, low-rep/heavy weight, powerlifting-inspired training, football-type training, suspension, plyometrics, isometrics — and the one constant through just about all of them has been this: Intensity matters. When things start to stagnate, what I always find is that changing an exercise or a set/rep scheme scarcely has the same effect as changing the intensity of the training I’m doing.

Sometimes, a shift in intensity can come from lowering rest periods, or throwing more weight on the bar. For me, I’ve been through all that and it’s hard to consistently reproduce the feeling of intensity you get from a new training experience. Given that I’m hardly what any true gym rat would call a real expert — I’ve never done a bodybuilding show or a powerlifting contest, for example — the odds are good that if I’ve gone through this, so have you. While I’m certainly not the “lowest common denominator,” I believe many of my experiences are ones you’ve shared, whether you know it or not.

To break the monotony and boost the intensity, I’m choosing to switch away from a standard “daily” schedule — yes, bros, this sometimes will mean that Chest Day will not always fall on a Monday, and Arms Day won’t be on Friday — and go to a three-day split that puts an emphasis on not only doing more frequent work, but having to be smart about the work I’m doing so that I can maximize each workout for its full benefit.

There are a couple benefits to this. For one, I like shifting up my days so that not every Tuesday is a leg day, or every Wednesday and Friday is core. I simply believe it’s more fun and more exciting to have a new goal and a new outlook each time you hit the gym, to salvage some form of relative spontaneity. Structure is good — in fitness, in fact, structure is king — but a little bit of rebellion within the confines of that structure is, I believe, important for the mental side of hitting the gym. Because once the work is done, fitness should be fun.

The second benefit that I’m expecting from a three-on, one-off split is, of course, gains. Many studies are starting to show that frequent exercise of similar muscle groups (i.e., hitting legs multiple times a week) is more beneficial than a once-a-week plan with six recovery days. I like the challenge there. It makes me ask myself: “Am I really too sore to hit squats again? Or am I using recovery as an excuse?” 3-4 days of rest sure seems adequate, when you get down to it, and I like the prospect of further challenging myself in that regard.

Thirdly, as I mentioned before, it forces the trainee into smarter lifting. For example, say I hit my quads hard on my first legs day in my three-day split, doing squats, split squats and maybe some cleans. I know I have another legs day coming up in four days, so I can work in just enough hamstring work to get them activated, then when my next leg day comes up, I know I can go full-bore on deadlifts and other hamstring work while working through the slight soreness to activate the quads. It’s a more complete, less compartmentalized approach to exercise, I think. The body doesn’t work one part at a time, but sometimes we can train that way (isn’t that right, Curls Day guy?). If we’re going to do that, to me, it makes more sense to maximize the time spent doing it.

Without further ado, I’ll show the approach for this plan, and you’ll see how pliable it is to your needs. The big change, again, is the frequency of your exercise — at the least, we’ll have four workouts a week; at most, we’ll have six. Is this brand-new stuff? No. The three-day split is fairly common, in fact, and I have even done it in the past. But I do find that when I’m getting bored or stuck at the gym, coming back to it always recharges my efforts.

The plan is below. Let the set/rep schemes dictate your weight — remember, your last two reps of each set should be a challenge.

Day 1: Chest/Back

Bench Press: 5×5

Pull-Ups: 5 to failure

Incline DB Press: 4×12

Seated Cable Rows: 4×8

Cable Crossovers: 3×8

Reverse-Grip Lat Pulldowns: 3×10

Day 2: Legs/Core

Day 2: Legs/Core

Squats: 5×5

Power Cleans (bar starts and ends on the floor): 5×5

3 Supersets: 8 Kettlebell Swings/12 total Suspended Kettlebell Split Squats.*

*This one can sound confusing. If you have access to a suspension system like a TRX or hanging straps at your gym, set them up so that the foothold is about knee-high, no higher. If you don’t, just set up a bench behind you. Either way, you will have a trail foot in the straps or on the bench, and your starting position will be the trail-foot side knee on the ground, the other leg out in front, in a split squat. Holding a kettlebell straight ahead over your shoulder (use the arm that’s on the opposite side of the leg that is forward), rise to a standing position, then lower yourself back down to the full squat, but not until the back knee is on the ground — you want to stay under tension the whole time. After six, switch both the trail foot and the hand holding the weight.

Smith Machine Calf Raises: 4×20

Hanging Leg Raises: 3×10

Planks: 4 sets of :30

Day 3: Shoulders/Arms

Military Barbell Press: 4×10

Arnold DB Presses: 3×10

Lateral DB Raises: 3×15

Internal/External Rotations: 3×10 each, very light

Preacher Curls: 3×12

Triceps Cable Pushdown: 4×12

Incline DB Curls: 3×8 (heavy)

Close-Grip Bench Press: 5×5 (heavy)

3 Supersets: Cable Curls (21s)/Skull Crushers x 15

Day 4: Rest

 

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Megan Burgess

Megan Burgess

A five-year Navy veteran, Megan was having a significant problem about a year ago: She was passing out while eating. After a glucose tolerance test that revealed she had diabetes, she still had no explanation for her symptom, plus she was developing others — IBS, acid reflux and skin changes — at her knee and ankle joints, the skin was turning black. Whatever was happening was extremely pervasive, and a disabled veteran like Megan could ill afford to keep running up hospital bills.

Ultimately, Megan was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, a disease with many of the same antibodies as celiac disease.

“I did the elimination diet, and a month and a half ago at an eye appointment at the Veterans Affairs office, I was hungry and wanted to eat something before I left,” she said. “At the hospital, they had tuna at the cafeteria, but only three bites in I found it had noodles. Not 45 minutes later, my eyes were rolling in my head and I felt myself almost passing out again. Just sheer will got me home, and once I was, I was on the ground for three hours.”

A fast diet correction was in order, and Megan came in to NUTRISHOP looking for help. She got a meal plan, some NATURE’S FUEL and FORZA ONE protein, and then started going to the gym every other day, beginning in June.

Before fall hit, she ended up losing 50 pounds by removing any and all grain sources, all MSG and all processed foods. Megan eats plenty of meat and 5-6 small meals a day — on dessert plates, even — and all the negative symptoms she had have all but reversed themselves.

The diabetes, skin changes, acid reflux and IBS — gone. The migraines Megan used to get, too, have been reduced by, she estimates, 80 percent or so.

“It feels great that everything is back to normal,” she said. “The help I got at NUTRISHOP has been absolutely essential. They’ve been very encouraging to me, with all my personal trials, and I go in to hang out with them half the time. Every time I discover something new, and they help me out with facts and planning. I can describe a symptom or issue, they can tell me what’s useful. It’s essential for me.”

Stories like Megan’s are the inspirational ones that make this line of work amazing, and we at NUTRISHOP are more than happy to help.

“I had a really complicated situation and they helped me feel a lot less overwhelmed,” Megan says. “They really helped me figure out what I could afford, just do a little at a time and I managed it.”

Damage Control: The Supplements to Minimize Holiday Cheating

You like getting results when it comes to your fitness, but naturally, you also like eating holiday food that does everything in its power to unravel all the hard work you’ve done. You’re not alone — this is a common problem around the holidays. How can people possibly stick to some goals they set up way back in January when the dessert table is calling in December?

You might be surprised, actually. You can still gain muscle mass and keep working toward a better body, even as you cheat on your diet. You just need to be properly equipped.

GAINING MUSCLE

N’FUZE and AUGMENT: These two supplements’ ability to shuttle carbs into the muscle cell make them great to use during weight training if your goal is weight gain. Specifically, the thioctic acid (alpha lipoic acid), d-pinnitol, 4-hydroxyisoleucine and vanadyl in N’FUZE act as insulin mimickers — that is, they boost the speed of nutrient transportation directly into the cell. If you are going to cheat on your diet, at least pick a time: When you do it post-workout with a dose of N’FUZE, you are maximizing even your cheat meals.

As far as the AUGMENT goes, it helps shuttle long-chain fatty acids into the cell because of the l-carnitine tartrate it contains. Ursolic acid plays a role with oxidation and glycogen uptake, further improving the rate at which those nutrients can be moved from your bloodstream to the muscle cells.

The bottom line: By taking AUGMENT and N’FUZE and planning your cheat meals around your workouts, when your body can actually use the sugars for good.

LOSING WEIGHT

LIPOCORTHERMOVEXKETOLEAN7: What your body does with fatty acids and carbohydrates once they’re consumed makes all the difference between gaining body fat and avoiding the storage of more. Two big-time ingredients in all of the aforementioned products are CLA and l-carnitine tartrate, two ingredients discussed at length before in many NUTRISHOP articles. Let’s recap:

CLA works by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that shuttles fat from the bloodstream to fat cells for storage. Remember, fat cells never go away — they fill and empty, like a water balloon, and when new fat is consumed the blood-to-cell route is how it is stored as body fat. CLA inhibits the enzyme that causes that reaction, meaning a lower likelihood of body fat storage. The great thing about all three products listed above is that they stack, so you can take all three to maximize their efficacy.

A 2011 Dutch study suggests that L-Carnitine L-Tartrate can be used to increase muscle and impact muscle metabolism. Research has indicated that LCLT reduces fat mass — the actual size of the fat cells in your body — and increases muscle mass and reduces fatigue. So, the fact that all three supplements listed here contain LCLT is not a coincidence!

The holidays don’t have to mean “bulking time,” whether you’re a gym rat or consider yourself to be just moderately active. You can fight against the food with fat-burning supplements, holding you over until you get to your New Year’s resolutions instead of falling off the wagon at the end of the year like everyone else.

THE “DR. OZ RECOMMENDED HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS STACK”

Not everything said on TV is true, sure. But that doesn’t mean we should discount it all, either. This is the exact thought when it comes to considering garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract and raspberry ketones, all approved and recommended on-air by Dr. Oz. As a catch-all term for these, you could call them anti-inflammatory supplements, but in addition to that are other benefits.

They combine to prevent body fat storage and mitigate the effects you might otherwise take from cheating on your diet —  raspberry ketones help raise the body’s temperature by releasing norepinephrine and also limits the amount of available blood sugar by signaling the release of adiponectin. What this does is 1) create a warmer internal temperature that encourages fat melting and 2) limits the available blood sugar that is most easily converted to fat stores. The overall result is an environment that discourages body fat storage — which very much so comes in handy when holiday drinks and desserts are in abundance.

So, how to get some raspberry ketones? You could eat handfuls of raspberries…but that kind of defeats the purpose. Instead, check out DIOXILEAN 5, which has the ketones, garcinia cambogia and green coffee bean extract mentioned above, a great blend of ingredients that will help you stay lean and fierce throughout the holidays, even while your diet may not be at its best.