WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Push-Pull Method

Training antagonistic (opposing) muscles groups has been touted for years as one of the more efficient, effective ways to work out. It provides great blood flow and “pump” to the target muscle groups, enhancing growth and recovery. One of the more unrecognized benefits is that it can be used to train functionally in an extremely effective manner.

To some degree, many antagonistic muscle groups work almost in unison, with one flexing or working while the other stretches or relaxes. Consider a bicep curl: As you lift the weight, the biceps get tight, obviously, and at the same time, the triceps get a break; switch up this movement, to, say, a triceps pushdown, and the biceps become elongated and nearly taken out of the equation, only returning to flexion at the very top of the triceps movement.

back, chest, push, pull, workout, exercise, trainingTo apply this to a big-muscle group, consider a push-pull workout, which targets the chest, shoulders and back functionally when done properly. Supersets are a great way to get through these workouts, as multiple muscle groups can mean prolonged exercise sessions. The chest, triceps, shoulders and core all benefit from pushing movements; pulling movements strengthen the biceps, core, back and parts of the shoulder as well.

3 Supersets: 12 DB Bench Press/12 Bent-Over DB Rows. If you’re feeling like you really want to move, you can use the exact same dumbbells for both movements, never setting them down.

3 Supersets: 12 Incline BB Bench Press/12 Wide-Grip Pull-Ups. If you can’t do 12 pull-ups, either use an assisted pull-up machine (if you can’t do even 6-8) or go to failure.

3 Supersets: 10 Plyometric Push-Ups/12 Medicine Ball Slams. If you don’t have access to medicine balls (or the gym doesn’t like you slamming them into the ground), you can sub in Wide-Grip Standing Cable Pushdowns.

3 Supersets: 10 DB Flys/10 Inverted Rows. Perform your inverted rows on a Smith machine by lowering the bar, then simply pull yourself up, belly up and body parallel to the ground.

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Back Blaster

Some of the biggest muscles for both function and physique are found in the back, from the sweep of the lats that form the coveted V-taper to the strong middle back and traps that help you move serious weight.

You can perform this as a stand-alone workout, or add it in with another body part (chest, biceps, triceps, etc.). This workout is designed to address both size and strength in the back on two planes — vertical and horizontal — using primarily the 12-15 rep range. Keep your rest periods to no more than 60 seconds.

—Alternating One-Arm DB Row: 3 sets of 12-15 each, then 1 heavier set of 6-7.

—Wide-Grip Pull-Ups: 4 sets to technical failure, then 1 set to absolute failure. “Technical failure” is the inability to perform a movement with perfect form; “absolute” failure is the ability to do it whatsoever. See the difference?

—Standing Cable Pulldown: 4 sets of 12-15.

—Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 12-15, then 1 heavier set of 8.

Build Your Perfect Stack During NUTRISHOP’s July Sale!

Nutrishop July sale 2014There are less than two weeks left to capitalize on the NUTRISHOP July Special savings, and it will be the last chance before September to get prices like this!

To help you get the most value for your dollar, we’re putting together a list of the best stacks you can make depending on your goal. With progressive savings on non-sale items — 10 percent off any two items, 15 percent off three and an amazing 20 percent off four items — plus a 5-percent discount for VIP members, this is the perfect time to build your personalized supplement stack.

One reminder: A limit of one protein IS included in this deal! With that out of the way, let’s get to the stacks. First up this week, probably our most popular goal: Fat loss!

FAT LOSS STACK

Four items:

  • PRO7 or FORZA PRO
  • HYPERCOR
  • SOMNILEAN
  • DETOXIN

One of the most common questions we get at NUTRISHOP isn’t a surprising one: “How can I lose the most fat?”

Whether you have a lot of work to do to get down to a slimmer size, or you’re trying to get your abs to show, almost everybody has some fat they’d like to get rid of. We’ve got a stack for that.

The Contour Elite Weight Loss System combines a powerful fat-burner with HYPERCOR, helps reduce stress-based cortisol with the nighttime supplement SOMNILEAN and keeps the body running clean and efficiently with DETOXIN. We’ll show how they all work together here, and later in the week show the benefits of each product in more detail.

By adding HYPERCORSOMNILEAN and DETOXIN to your diet and exercise regimen, the weight will come flying off and you will get a much healthier system. All three of these supplements are designed to work hand-in-hand with the others. HYPERCOR is one of the best mood-boosting, fat-torching supplements available, and we got a look at DETOXIN and how good it can be for “opening up” the body to better digestion and absorption, as well as waste excretion.

But imagine pairing the two together: You’ll get a clean, flushed system that’s primed for supplement uptake, and at the same time you’ll be powering it with HYPERCOR, which will really start the fat igniting. We know DETOXIN helps improve kidney function and therefore blood flow, for example.

HYPERCOR can take advantage of this within the system by efficiently breaking down the fatty acids and controlling the blood sugar without being bound up by those nasty waste products in the blood and organs that would have been there without DETOXIN. They are MADE to work together!

On top of those two, the Contour Elite Weight Loss System includes SOMNILEAN, a nighttime metabolism booster that further allows your body to burn fat at a high rate while you sleep. Insufficient sleep is one of the sneakiest reasons behind fat gain, and most people fail to account for adequate sleep levels when putting together a weight-loss plan. SOMNILEAN not only has indirect fat-burning properties that take place while you sleep, but it promotes deeper sleep and better sleep patterns, helping clear your head as soon as it hits the pillow. High levels of stress related to poor sleeping pattern promote production of a fat-producing hormone called cortisol, which signals the body to store fat.

That’s another benefit of taking this stack together: Both SOMNILEAN and HYPERCOR include ingredients designed to improve well-being (we’ve even had HYPERCOR referred to as a “happy pill” before!), reducing stress and the fat-promoting cortisol that comes with it. With a clear mind and positive energy, you’ll find you’re much more likely to achieve your fat-loss goals.

With all three stacked together, people seeking to accelerate their fat loss and digestive efficiency can really see the difference! Talk to any of the certified staff, and they will get you burning fat in no time!

NATURAL GROWTH HORMONE STACK

Four items:augment

  • AUGMENT/ARABOL
  • ANITEST
  • 1-XD
  • HGH-191

The Ursolic Acid and Arachidonic Acid blend in AUGMENT that makes it such an animal of a supplement goes perfectly with a few other products, and we’ll show how.

AUGMENT contains AA, from the Omega-6 family. This increases inflammation in the muscles for further breakdown and better repair, meaning more muscle mass — this is why AA holds a U.S. patent for it!

You can pair AUGMENT with the rest of NUTRISHOP’s outstanding anabolic growth line. 1-XD, which has been proven to increase testosterone in males by up to 42 percent, makes a perfect partner. Because AUGMENT not only helps increase muscle mass and the sensitivity to testosterone, it makes sense to stack it with a natural testosterone-booster like 1-XD. They complement each other perfectly.

ANITEST, which unbinds free testosterone within the body to make it more readily available, is also an ideal choice. Similar to how it works with ARABOL, ANITEST provides more of this essential muscle-building hormone and leaves it up to AUGMENT’s awesome uptake properties to put it to best use. Remember, just having extra testosterone isn’t enough. Your body has to be ready to use it. This is where stacking ANITEST and AUGMENT will really give you an advantage.

And lastly, everyone’s favorite nighttime supplement, HGH-191, also belongs in this stack. A great deal of growth hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone are released during deep sleep. The brain signals the sex hormones to release during this period, leading to full recovery during rest. HGH-191 helps induce that necessary deep sleep, allowing for better sleep patterns and a deeper sleep environment for the brain to signal muscle growth unimpeded.

THE TRAINING STACK

Four items:

  • BCAA SPORT
  • N’RAGE
  • N’SANE
  • N’FUZE

Starting with electrolyte-loaded BCAA Sport and finishing with the Training Trifecta, this stack is designed to turn your workouts into the most optimal training sessions possible.

Ideally, you would want to stack N’SANE with N’RAGE, a premium blood flow enhancer that will optimize the delivery of your other supplements to the body and really provide a massive pump and vascularity, and N’FUZE, a concentrated dose of KreAlkalyn buffered creatine compound.

By stacking these three products, you will get the most effective total dosage of each important compound and allow them to work with the others to their maximum potential. You will not only be providing your body with the formulas necessary to increase results, but also its ability to shuttle those formulas to the muscles. The result: Massive increases in power on explosive lifts, focus and intensity throughout an entire workout, and the ability to recover faster and come back better-prepared for your next workout.

One thing you might notice between all three of these products is some overlap between the compounds — that’s why they work so well together. Both N’RAGE AND N’SANE contain L-Arginine AKG and the GlycoCarn compounds, but with staggered release timing and precise amounts of each, they complement each other to maximize the benefits of each formula.

Likewise, both N’SANE and N’FUZE contain the buffered creatine product KreAlkalyn, but again, in different levels of concentration so your body can handle and use the most creatine possible over the course of your intense workout.

HARD GAINER STACK

Four items:

  • GAINER7
  • KRE-ALKALYN/N’FUZE
  • NO-XP3
  • NATURE’S FUEL

As all skinny guys know, fitness isn’t all about weight loss. Instead, some of us have the opposite problem, where we can eat seemingly anything and work out tirelessly but not gain the muscle mass we’re after. If you’ve experienced this problem, the Hard Gainer stack is for you. A good introduction to a few key components of muscle mass gain, this stack will help put you in some bigger clothes in no time.

The approach: Start with a high-quality gainer like GAINER7 for an increase in calories and protein, and add the proven benefits of creatine with KRE-ALKALYN and N’FUZE, both of which improve strength and size. Coupled with an optimizing multivitamin like NATURE’S FUEL and a workout enhancer like NO-XP3, you will be equipped to have intense, muscle-building workouts with the nutrition to put on mass fast.

Sara Dominated Her Half Marathon With NUTRISHOP’s Help

When Sara McElhiney was younger, she says, she was the “big girl.” Fed up with the teasing, she picked up sports and begin to clean up her eating habits, and after school she began to get into distance running — which leads us to Sara today, running half marathons competitively.
“I changed everything in my life,” says Sara, now 25. “Running distance became a new hobby, especially after I was told I’d never be able to run 13 miles. The drive to prove everyone wrong, along with proving to myself I could do it, was enough to keep me pushing forward to become stronger and better.”
unnamedWe think it’s safe to say she’s arrived: Sara finished first in her age group (the competitive 25-29 class) in the recent Negative Split half marathon in Spokane, Wash.! Not only did she best her peers, but she bested herself, too. Her goal was to beat her last time of 1:56 by 2 minutes; she clocked in at 1:51.
“I was stoked to shave off more time than I expected,” Sara says.
Sara accomplished her goals with a sound diet and training plan, lifting four days a week, running four days a week and cross-training twice a week, while simply making sure she has six high-protein meals a day and that she doesn’t eat any foods with corn syrup. She also supplements with NUTRISHOP products like FORZA PRO, HYPERCOR and BCAA SPORT.
On top of the goods she gets from NUTRISHOP, she’s also been able to turn to us for some advice when she’s needed it.
“They are an awesome crew,” Sara says. “They always answer my questions and help me find whatever I need. Due to the crew and care they put towards their customers, I don’t go anywhere else for supplements anymore.”
Congratulations again, Sara!

Supplements for More Than Physique Athletes

fit-woman-running-outdoors1

At NUTRISHOP, much of our reputation for helping people achieve higher levels of fitness comes from our physique competitors — bodybuilders, bikini contestants and the like. It’s true that we do love helping these athletes hone their craft and shape their bodies. But we help with much more than simply how an athlete looks!

The body is all about movement and function — what can it do for us, and how can we help it perform better? Even those who don’t necessarily compete or exercise, who just want to feel better and be healthier in their day-to-day lives, make up a big part of our clientele.

To that end, we’ve come up with a list of the best products to use for athletes, specifically in endurance-dependent sports, those who might not be interested in getting on a stage to show off their muscular development but who would rather put their gains to functional use in competition, like races or athletics. We’ll be going through them with this running blog this week, two at a time.

The first two on our list are old standbys — frankly, they’d be great supplements for anybody.

1. PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS/FORZA PRO. Anyone who’s depending on muscle development and maintenance will find a need for protein in their diet; the problem is that it’s awfully tough to fill in with lean sources of protein throughout the day without loading up on calories. That’s where protein powders come in. PRO7 and FORZAPRO are some of the best-tasting, highest protein-to-calorie ratio supplements you can invest in.

How it helps the athlete: Aside from inherently adding more lean muscle mass, an increased protein intake has myriad benefits, including body fat loss. When you’re moving your body around in athletics, every pound has to pull its weight, especially if you’re competing in a weight class! Muscle recovery and optimization are key for any athlete.

2. BCAA SPORT. Further broken down, proteins, at their base level, are essentially made up of branched-chain amino acids. Your body can and will use these for energy, and finds them from food and even within the body — many distance runners, for example, appear to be very skinny and lean because while their metabolisms attack fat stores for energy, they also will turn to muscle and the amino acids in them for fuel. Supplementing with BCAAs provides a buffer of sorts, as well as helping maintain and even build the muscle in the body.

How it helps the athlete: On top of protecting the lean muscle mass the athlete has achieved or is working to improve upon, BCAA SPORT is unique in that it also includes an electrolyte blend that keeps cells hydrated, crucial for any endurance athlete. What makes it stand out from other supplements is that BCAAs are metabolized in the muscle, not the liver, for faster uptake — this makes it perfect before, during or after a grueling workout. Some studies have indicated that BCAAs help fight fatigue as well!

betabol3. BETABOL. Featuring HMB,  a naturally occurring compound produced when our bodies metabolize the amino acid leucine, BETABOL is an excellent choice for endurance athletes who need recovery. HMB’s main role has been found to be the repair, growth and preservation of muscle tissue, as well as the capacity to burn fat. The body spends precious resources with muscle repair — each rep you do results in microscopic muscle-fiber tears; the regrowth of these tears puts a huge energy strain on the body. Leucine is the only essential amino acid with the capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but it is essentially used primarily to repair muscle damage incurred while lifting. When it is metabolized, HMB is produced as a natural byproduct and aids in recovery.

How it helps the athlete: What if you could “free up” the leucine in your body to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to develop NEW muscle, instead of merely repairing the damaged tissue? That is precisely where an HMB supplement like BETABOL comes in. An increase in HMB is designed to allow essential leucine to build new muscle tissue, in turn burning more fat.

4. KARBOLYN.  A full dose of double patent-pending X-R3 Enhancement is designed to take your lean muscle gains to new heights by creating the proper anabolic environment for explosive power, strength, performance and muscle endurance as well as accelerating post-workout muscle recovery when used in conjunction with proper nutrition and a regular exercise program.

How it helps the athlete: The delivery of complex carbohydrates and Kre-Alkalyn (creatine) means more energy (via glucose and increased ATP), strength and power, on top of accelerated post-workout recovery. For someone needing sustained energy AND to promote muscle gain, like an endurance athlete, KARBOLYN is another solid choice.

5. GLUTAMINE. Glutamine’s properties as a recovery supplement help it target broken-down areas of muscle. This applies to weight lifters and athletes as a tool to reduce soreness by speeding up the process of muscle recovery. It is the presence of glutamine ITSELF in muscle tissue that is responsible for how sore you are after an intense workout. Even bed-ridden patients in hospitals are given excess glutamine to make sure their muscles don’t waste away while they’re off their feet. So, the more glutamine that’s available, theoretically, the less sore you will be.

How it helps the athlete: Any athlete who has been through the rigors of training and competition will tell you the value of feeling fresh and strong; it’s another thing entirely to have your immune system and muscles recovering at full optimization. Glutamine’s reparative properties make it a must-have for anyone who consistently exercises at demanding levels.

6. NATURE’S FUEL. On top of the main purpose of actually getting what you pay for, NATURE’S FUEL stands apart from knock-off or cheap versions of a daily multivitamin with other blends that make it a powerful addition to anybody’s supplementation schedule. For one, it contains amino acids — we know amino acids are building blocks of protein, and we know that you can rarely have too many of them. Their role in NATURE’S FUEL is to provide your body with a little extra recovery ability, joining forces with the many vitamins and minerals that aid in the same process.

How it helps the athlete: With an amino acid blend, greens blend and antioxidant blend, NATURE’S FUEL is a complete multivitamin designed to cater to the competitive athlete. Immune function, energy and digestion all are important facets of physical health.

The Best (and Worst) Ways to Cook Your Food

Food is fuel. To maximize our health and improve our livelihoods, our goals when eating should be to get something out of our meals: nourishment, sustenance and health, be it physical or even mental.

We don’t believe empty calories serve a purpose here (save for the occasional cheat meal that actually can be so rewarding it releases endorphins), and it goes doubly for foods we sometimes force ourselves to eat just for their health benefits. Why do we eat vegetables? To some of us, vegetables are delicious and really round out a meal; to many more, they’re an unappetizing chore we have to get through to make sure we’re getting the nutrients we need.

So imagine how upset you’d be to find that the way you cook your vegetables is actually robbing them of their nutritional content?

Thankfully, research has been done on this very subject, and you don’t have to waste any more time wondering which method of cooking is best, or which you should avoid. There are two major things to consider in the nutrient content of a food: 1) What cooking does to the nutrients themselves, and 2), how bioavailable those nutrients are given the state of the food.

This week, we want our running blog to examine the effects of cooking (or not) on food’s nutrient contents, and show you which methods are good and which you should avoid.

WORST

Boiling. It seems so easy. You fill up a pot of water, get it rolling and chuck your veggies in. The water turns green, your vegetables get soft and edible and presto: You’ve got broccoli, or cauliflower, of whatever vegetable you just don’t have time to cook any other way. The problem: Boiling water leeches out a significant amount of the nutrients in vegetables (broccoli in particular), and away those nutrients go in evaporation — check the residue left behind in the strainer and the pot itself. If you are eating boiled vegetables for the health benefit, you’re sort of defeating the purpose.

Boiling your broccoli? You made a huge mistake.

Boiling your broccoli? You made a huge mistake.

Pressure-cooking. Starting to develop a trend here, aren’t we? It seems using water is generally not the way to go when cooking vegetables; in fact, research shows it’s one of the worst. One study: “Pressure-cooking and boiling lead to the greatest losses … In short, water is not the cook’s best friend when it comes to preparing vegetables.” (Source)

Raw. Well, kind of. It’s true, you preserve exactly what a vegetable is if you don’t cook it at all (though, have you smelled raw cauliflower? Phleghhh). The problem is that what many vegetables are is very indigestible cell walls made of fiber, meaning that those nutrients we’re working so hard to preserve actually aren’t bioavailable to us in the first place. Another Italian study found that cooking vegetables — not boiling — is beneficial, and actually increased nutrient content: “An overall increase of TEAC, FRAP, and TRAP values was observed in all cooked vegetables, probably because of matrix softening and increased extractability of compounds, which could be partially converted into more antioxidant chemical species. Our findings defy the notion that processed vegetables offer lower nutritional quality and also suggest that for each vegetable a cooking method would be preferred to preserve the nutritional and physicochemical qualities.” (Source)

BEST

Microwaving.  Yep, you read it right. Many have tried to argue for years that microwaving vegetables is “unnatural” and “kills” the food’s nutrients; ignore the naturalists and acknowledge that pretty much all food is dead (or dying) when you eat it. The key is not to microwave in water, as it will essentially have the same effect as boiling. It’s the water-soluble vitamins in vegetables that present the problem when cooking with water. Again, they simply get leeched out of the vegetable, defeating the purpose of eating one in the first place. One study went in-depth on the different methods of cooking and how they related to the loss or prevention of antioxidant content; its findings were this:

According to the method of analysis chosen, griddling, microwave cooking, and baking alternately produce the lowest losses, while pressure-cooking and boiling lead to the greatest losses; frying occupies an intermediate position.

Griddling. As seen just above, the griddle rocks for preserving nutrition content in vegetables, and it also happens to be one of the tastiest ways you can cook them. Toss some peppers, onions, squash, asparagus, cauliflower and grape tomatoes in some olive oil (or not – some prefer to let the veggies’ own oil do the work), season and throw on the griddle. More appealing texture than boiled or steamed veggies, and of course, much more in the way of nutritional value.

Griddled vegetables taste great and are one of the healthiest ways you can eat them. They  also look awesome.

Griddled vegetables taste great and are one of the healthiest ways you can eat them. They also look awesome.

Baking. Another easy one to pull off; you can wrap a bunch of veggies in foil or cover them on a pan, toss them in the oven and let it do all the work. Again, don’t use any water, as it will evaporate those vitamins and antioxidants out of the vegetables. An easy dish that’s high in cancer-fighting nutrients, fiber and vitamins is a cruciferous veggie medley: broccoli and cauliflower (you can add baby carrots if you like, but not too many — they’re high in natural sugar) seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper, covered with foil and baked low and slow. (One note about garlic — it is the one vegetable that loses its antioxidant properties the most in all forms of cooking, except microwaving.)

 

Why Women Shouldn’t Do Intermittent Fasting

1204-sexy-core-1As research unfolds about intermittent fasting (IF), it becomes more and more compelling as a viable dietary plan for weight loss, leaner body composition and perhaps even muscle gain. However, it must be said, some of the research does indeed steer a certain group of people away from it: namely, women.

As we’ve stated before, one of the main reasons we’re interested in intermittent fasting from a fat-loss perspective is because it seems to promote increased insulin sensitivity — the studies we’ve looked at have all shown this trait, and it makes sense even dating back to our research on diabetes prevention. However, it also appears that the insulin sensitivity increase is gender-specific: Yes, males will get the benefit of a more responsive pancreas after periods of fasting, including sleep and fasted exercise. But a 2005 study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge shows that while glucose tolerance is unchanged after fasting, women’s tolerance actually decreases — impaired glucose tolerance is a form of hyperglycemia that is a precursor to diabetes — and insulin response is virtually unchanged.

Another bit of research, a 2010 study from the Institute of Food Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University in New Zealand, found that women also got little to no benefit from fasted resistance training, with men clearly displaying an advantage in skeletal muscle gain. (Source)

The theories as to why these changes alter the sexes differently, of course, relate to the relationship between regular food intake and hormone production. On top of quite a few IF responses from women who say that it caused them to have irregular periods, fatigue and stress, still more published works back it up. Tests in lab rats illustrate a picture of intermittent fasting wreaking havoc with females’ reproductive, sexual and hormonal systems:

In female rats: Any degree of nutritional stress (fasting or mere caloric restriction) causes increased wakefulness (during the day, when they normally sleep), better cognition (for finding food), hyper alertness, and more energy. In short, female rats become better at finding and acquiring food when they fast, as if their bodies aren’t as well-equipped to deal with the stress of going without food. They also become less fertile, while the males actually become hornier and more fertile (probably to account for the females’ plummeting fertility). Ovary size drops (bad for fertility), adrenal gland size increases (which in rats indicates exposure to chronic stress), and menstrual cycles begin to dysregulate in proportion to the degree of caloric restriction. (Source)

In light of the research and information available pertaining to intermittent fasting and its effects on female mammals, we can’t endorse IF as a sensible means for dietary planning for women. While the research looks promising for men, and many have reported great results from intermittent fasting, it appears women need to have a more steady dietary pattern, not only to achieve fitness results, but to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.