Our Spring Transformation Challenge Women’s Winner: Brandi Lish

unnamedOur women’s winner of the Spring Challenge is Brandi Lish! Brandi lost 19 pounds of fat and 7.6 percent body fat, and she gained .8 pounds of muscle!

Brandi’s fitness journey began when she met Lisa from Nutrishop out in the community, and the two started talking fitness and supplements. Brandi has Crohn’s disease, which comes with a lot of stomach irritation, and Lisa encouraged her to look into products she could take and a diet that would work for her. Once Brandi learned about the challenge, she thought it sounded like a great opportunity, and came in to meet Carly and DJ to get going! With her husband Cody also doing the challenge alongside her, they were ready to go.

“We got the lowdown of how it all works, and we’ve done other diets and challenges, and they were hard to stick to,” Brandi said. “This seemed like one we could make into a lifestyle and keep it, so we signed up and started it and really enjoyed it. The meal prepping wasn’t overbearing – it was doable.”

Brandi and Cody came into Nutrishop once a week to keep themselves accountable, and Brandi in particular wanted to see if she needed to change anything.unnamed (1)

“Carly and Lisa were awesome and supportive, and at one point during the challenge about halfway through my weight was creeping up and I wasn’t feeling the best,” she said. “They switched my diet up a little bit and I was back on the track of losing weight.

“They pointed out I was in the lead, and that really kept me motivated and wanting to continue on,” Brandi said. “I love my pizza and desserts and everything, but they kept me on track!”

Brandi did face her challenges – Cody recently graduated from college, and with that came a big party. Brandi asked us, “Can I have cake?” Carly put it to her this way: “Brandi – is $1,100 worth of prizes worth a piece of cake?”

“They really helped me keep myself focused,” said Brandi, who complemented her diet with training at Peak several days a week. She switched her workout schedule to the mornings, having never been a morning person, and found she loved the freedom it allowed her the rest of the day. She could finish her spin class or boot camp early in the morning, get her evenings back, and know she got her work in.

“I’m feeling a lot better after the challenge,” Brandi said. “I was kind of was in a slump of feeling down; I’d gained weight; I felt bloated and ‘ugh,'” she said. “I wanted to get back to my go-getter self. This has definitely helped me do that.”

Portion control and not having junk or processed food were the primary factors in her new outlook, she said. The food you eat definitely fuels your activity, and Brandi said she can feel that difference now.

“It’s hard – it can be hard to step in those doors and start something, but Nutrishop, after everything I’ve tried and done, is totally a family,” Brandi said. “They want you to have the life you want – they ask what your goals are, what will make you happy, and they help you get that.”

Science Agrees: BCAAs Are Awesome

FO_BCAAsport_WatermelonAs experts in the supplement industry, we are intimately familiar with concerns and questions customers and the paying public may have about products.

Do they work? (To wildly varying degrees, yes – buy the good ones.) Are they safe? (Buy from reputable vendors like Nutrishop, and they couldn’t be safer – we don’t hesitate to yank inferior products off our shelves.) What exactly do they do?

We like to turn to science and study when it comes to answering all of those questions. ln recent years, what’s come to light specifically about one certain supplement is extremely encouraging. Not only do BCAAs stand up as an excellent product for fat loss and muscle gain in non-biased, scientific review, but they routinely make regular customers’ shopping lists each time they visit us. A lot of products will come and go – only the best ones stick around when the hype wears off and results are all that’s left. And at the end of the day, BCAAs are always left standing.

What makes Branched Chain Amino Acids such an effective supplement? For starters, BCAAs are incredibly versatile.  Typically, supplements can reasonably claim to address one or two goals – strength, muscle mass, fat loss, or athletic performance. BCAAs can help with all of them. 

A randomized, double-blind study, published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, was performed to “evaluate the efficacy of consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during an eight-week resistance-training program.”  The conclusion:

Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink.

What does that mean? In short: Regular use of BCAAs as a supplement to your diet and training program make you leaner and stronger. Less fat, more muscle, more strength.

Benefits don’t stop there. In 2006, The Journal of Nutrition published a study that found BCAAs to play a role in reducing exercise fatigue – meaning that if you took BCAAs before and/or during your workouts, you could go more intensely, or longer, to get more out of your exercise. The same study found that “Branched-chain amino acids also positively influence the metabolic response of muscle to exercise.”

Translation: BCAAs slow your metabolism’s feast on your muscle tissue when you’re working out.

Even when you’re not training, though, BCAAs have the same effect. So if you’re taking a break, trying out anabolic fasting diets, going on vacation or suffering an injury that keeps you out of the gym, knocking back BCAAs regularly will help slow the muscle catabolism (your body using muscle for energy) or atrophy that would otherwise occur. That phenomenon was proven out in a study published in Nutrition Research in 2012.

It’s not snake oil, folks.

For years, the most-researched and trusted supplements in this industry were whey protein and creatine. Doubters cropped up all over the place at first, but as the scientific method consistently proved them wrong, these products clearly developed staying power. Well, it’s time to add BCAAs to that list. Study after study is showing that amino acids are not only just an emerging powerhouse supplement, but a must-have for all ranges of athletic ability – from elite athletes to first-day beginners.

Our Transformation Challenge Men’s Winner: Luke Dingman

IMG_0698Our men’s winner of our New Year’s Transformation Challenge is Luke Dingman! He lost 23.5lbs of fat and gained 1.3lbs of muscle.

“I’ve been wanting to get into shape for awhile. I planned a through-hike of the Wonderland Trail, and I don’t want to die when I do it.”

When Luke started, he set a goal to lose his pack weight – about 45 pounds – and that’s when his wife Emily told him about Nutrishop’s challenge. (Emily went on to tie for 9th place in the women’s category!)

“We went in and talked to DJ, and he’s awesome. He hooked us up with all the supplements and got us on the right foot. We followed the diet plan and it really worked out for me,” Luke said.

“I’m a horrible eater, but that’s changed. This is a new beginning for me. The first week I lost a ton of weight and after that it was steady all the way through.”

With Emily pushing him and vice versa, Luke was able to maintain consistent gains throughout the course of the challenge. It wasn’t without its trying moments – mostly in the form of temptation – but Luke resisted.

“We were both holding each other accountable. We’d both get home from the gym, look at each other and want to eat a piece of candy,” Luke said with a laugh. “There might’ve been a couple arguments here and there just because we were hungry, but really it was just a chance for us to support each other. We’d say, ‘We can do this, we don’t need McDonald’s or junk food.’ We really helped each other make smart choices and leaned on each other.”

Now that Luke has had such great success, he’s not going to slow down any time soon.

“It’s a life change for me, and I’m still trying to learn. I learn by doing, and I’m learning to become a better cook, learning how the body processes fuel,” Luke said. “It’s a huge thing – learning about macros and how the body works, it’s awesome. I can’t get enough of it and I still have a ton to learn.”

On top of the aesthetic and physical changes, Luke said he’s feeling better, “hands-down,” than he has in years. He has more energy and self-confidence, and he is in no rush to give it up.

“I don’t ever want to go back. I feel good,” he said. “I’m seeing results and it transfers to my family life. If I’m happy, the people around me are happy. That’s a great feeling.”

Our Transformation Challenge Women’s Winner: Lori Perry

IMG_0702Our women’s winner of our 6-Week New Year’s Challenge is Lori Perry! Lori lost 15 pounds of fat and gained 5.2 pounds of muscle, making a tremendous 6-week turnaround!

“It’s night and day. I sleep so well. I’ve had so much energy and I feel like myself again,” said Lori, who went from a vicious cycle of working 11-hour days – mostly out of her car – and eating fast food to becoming our challenge champion. “I’m a bubbly, energetic person and I really think I was borderline depressed because of the diet I was on. I had no energy. Making these fixes to your diet changes your outlook – everything goes in a positive direction and it feels awesome.”

In December, Lori was at what she called “rock-bottom” – she was eating too much junk food, and her long work days had her feeling too exhausted to exercise. One day, she and her daughter saw our flier for our challenge, and her daughter encouraged her to join. That was the beginning of Lori’s transformation. She came in, met with DJ, and got the meal plan, supplements (BCAAs, protein and a thermogenic fat burner) and advice to guide her along her path.

“DJ was so helpful, and so excited about the challenge – I felt like it was contagious!” Lori said. “I really got motivated to do it and I really looked forward to seeing my progress every week. I never liked the scale; now I love it.”

In the beginning, Lori’s progress was a bit slower – but she realized that her weight gain was actually a good thing, because she was putting on muscle, and also made the adjustment to a stimulant-free fat burner since she did her exercise in the afternoons. Her sleep improved vastly, and so did her results. Those fixes, paired with the support of her Nutrishop friends at the shop, had her on her way.

Lori had always gotten a decent amount of activity in, but nothing that she would consider real exercise. Once she started treated food as fuel, she found she had the energy to work in cardio and resistance training. Getting back to basics was a big step for Lori: more vegetables, better protein sources and a lot less junk food.

“They’re so motivating. They’re genuinely excited for everyone in there,” Lori said. “They’re so supportive. They never made me feel like any question was silly. They really helped me get back on schedule in my own life.”

 

Now that Lori’s established a routine, she can’t believe she did anything else before. She’s found that her meal prepping for the week makes things even easier than the drive-thru – and that’s not to mention it’s a whole lot healthier. Now she’s trying to get friends to join her so they can experience the same results.

“If I can do it, you can do it. It’s not rocket science,” she said. “You just need a little help getting started sometimes. I got mine from Nutrishop, and it’s been amazing.”

 

Brett Lost Almost 36 Pounds of Fat to Win Our Challenge!

img_0528We’re pleased to announce the men’s winner of our Fall Transformation Challenge was Brett Harris! Brett Lost 35.9 pounds of fat to take home the prize — and the Harris household came close to a clean sweep!

Brett’s wife Karrie tied for second — with the two of them pushing each other, Brett and Karrie are great examples of what dedication and support can do for you.

Three major factors helped push Brett to get involved with our challenge: First, he wants to keep up with his young kids and raise them to know their dad as a healthy person — Brett saw a recent family photo and simply didn’t like the way he looked in it. He also got the news that his blood pressure was much too high, and “that was an eye-opener,” he said. And lastly, Brett wanted to be able to go hunting with his brother-in-law without getting fatigued too fast. All three motivations came together with the fact that he and Karrie could keep each other disciplined.

“My whole life, I’ve fought my weight,” Brett said, “But now, I’m the same weight now I was probably in ninth grade, so I feel like I’ve set the clock back a few years. I knew what it takes, but I’d never done it in this short amount of time. Nutrishop gave me the meal plan and supplements I needed to achieve the goals I’d set for myself.”

Brett found that he was surprised that the Nutrishop meal plan created for his specific goals held his hunger over. A reliance on clean proteins, including ForzaPro shakes regularly, curbed his hunger, and that was the first indication to Brett that he would be able to stick with his new diet plan.

“As my stomach shrank, I wouldn’t feel as hungry and it became a lot easier,” he said. “That first week, I lost 13 pounds, and I was right down to a T. I didn’t cheat at all, and we did everything we were supposed to to reach our goals.”

It wasn’t always easy for Brett. A limited-calorie diet, by the end of the challenge, definitely took its toll on his moods — “A grown man’s just gotta eat more than I was eating sometimes,” he said with a laugh. And Brett likes beer — cutting that out to avoid the calories was difficult, especially after long days hunting, when he’d go with friends to beer camp or just want to relax.

“It was a challenge, but I knew I’d have to answer to myself at the end of it,” Brett said.

He said he and Karrie will definitely be doing Nutrishop’s next challenge, even if the extremely impressive results they got this time aren’t going to necessarily be the goal then. Brett said that it’s not only a bonding experience for the two of them, but it also helps the build good habits and stay in shape together as part of a healthy lifestyle.

“I’ll be excited during hunting season to hike for miles and not be huffing and puffing and sucking wind,” he said.

“Overall I feel great. I feel more confident. My clothes fit, some shirts I’ve left tags on for awhile because I couldn’t fit into them, I fit into them. I look and feel a lot better. I feel like I can keep up with my kids and I’m not a burden to my brother-in-law while we’re hunting.”

We can’t wait to see what Brett and Karrie do next — way to go, guys!

Monica Won Our Fall Transformation Challenge!

unnamedWe are very proud to introduce our women’s winner of the Body Transformation Challenge, Monica Oliver!
She started the challenge with her husband and sister-in-law, feeling like she needed to get back into a routine after summer left her feeling “blah.” She ended up losing 20.1 lbs of fat and gaining 5.3 pounds of muscle!
“It was a way for us to have some accountability and goals to meet together, especially for my husband and I, so we did the whole thing start to finish together,” Monica said. “I didn’t have any goal of winning in mind — but I also didn’t account for gaining as much muscle and losing fat the way I did. After the first weigh-in, I thought, ‘Yeah, I can totally win this.'”
 
Monica, like all our transformers, had her challenges: Work and life (she’s a mom, which is a full-time job itself) both presented obstacles for her to get through. But she and her husband kept each other accountable, and they powered through.
 
“We had our game face on from the beginning. We were committed 110% to eating right and not cheating and working out, and we held each other to it,” she said. “There was holiday temptation thrown in there, a lot of social situations with wine, maybe you’re tired, but it was about just sucking it up and doing it.”
 
Perhaps Monica’s biggest challenge was with her new meal plan — she admitted to panicking when she saw that she would have to eat six times a day. For someone who previously never ate breakfast and often had a hard time making herself eat, it was a leap of faith. It paid off.
 
“I think I ate more through the challenge than I’ve ever eaten in my life. I learned how to fuel my body how I should be. I found out how much I should eat and train to gain muscle, and that was huge. It was very scary to me to think about eating every three hours, but once you make it a habit, you realize you’re using it for fuel.”
 
Monica learned even more about herself in the gym, especially when it came to her own capabilities. She didn’t miss workouts, and the results showed.
 
“I learned I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. You go into a workout thinking, ‘There’s no way I can do that,’ but yeah, I actually can if I put my mind to it and be positive.”
 

 With Nutrishop behind her for support and advice, Monica was unstoppable! She found that she went from dreading her weigh-ins to looking forward to them, because she knew she had a positive environment and people who had her back.

“They were so helpful — that was the first conversation I had with Carly, right when I was starting the challenge, was about eating. She had so much useful information that worked specifically for me,” she said. “It was mind-blowing. The encouragement you get from everyone at Nutrishop is amazing. I started getting excited to go to weigh-ins.”

Monica said the whole experience started off as an aesthetic goal, but now realized she has more energy than ever, is sleeping better and has her whole family excited to be fitness-conscious.

“On top of just the physical part, where it feels amazing to play with my kids, not be drained, and know I look better,” Monica said, “there’s the emotional part of connecting with my family and making healthy choices together. It feels so good. There’s an incredibly positive energy in our house because of this.”

Once again, congrats on a job well done, Monica!

Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Mixed Methods

Size, strength and explosiveness – your training goals may vary, but if you’re after all three and you’ve got a legs day coming up, mix this workout in once a week.

A variance of rep ranges serves to address multiple goals: higher rep strict movements for hypertrophy, some heavier low-rep movements for strength gains and even some dynamic movements to improve your athleticism and explosiveness!

Romanian Deadlifts

4×12. Keep your knees only slightly bent, and keep your lower back flat and feet no further than hip-width apart.

Front Squats

5×5. Maintain a neutral head position, and keep your elbows up – eye-level, if you can – throughout the lift. Take a stance at least as wide as shoulder-width.

DB Reverse Lunges with added ROM

3×6 per leg, doing all reps for a single leg at once before alternating. Use a short platform (6-12 inches) for your front foot, and lunge backward. Let your back knee drop to an inch above the ground without hitting it.

Box Jumps, Broad Jumps or Jump Squats

5×3, max effort. Jump as high or far as you can for three max-effort reps. If you don’t have a box or platform, broad jumps and jump squats are perfectly suitable alternatives requiring no equipment.

Optional: Ab Circuit

Three tri sets – no rest between exercises: Crunches (30, 20, 15), planks (30 seconds), hanging leg raises (10, 8, 6)