Sometimes, just working out alone is not enough to get you where you want to be in terms of muscle growth. You may be burning the calories, but you also need to make sure that your muscles are growing properly in order to see results – and this often requires the help of protein. Many fitness fanatics are turning to whey protein to take their workouts to the next level.
The benefits of whey protein
Whey protein, a high quality dairy protein, contains all of the amino acids that the body needs for muscle protein synthesis – the process by which individual cells construct proteins. Amino acids are known to stimulate protein synthesis and result in a positive net muscle protein balance. A study was done where 36 healthy and fit males were randomly placed into one of three groups: Whey protein and creatine, whey protein, and carbohydrate placebo during six weeks of resistance training. Those who received the whey protein, with or without the creatine, saw greater increases in muscle mass than those who only took the carbohydrate placebo.
Overall, evidence has suggested that whey protein, when combined with resistance exercise, can improve body composition. Your workout isn't finished until you pair it with a delicious vanilla or chocolate shake containing whey protein. Naturade 100% Whey protein powder supplies all of the essential amino acids and works to boost performance and energy. The leucine, isoleucine and valine in this protein meal are vital for tissue growth.
When trying to build muscle, it's important to combine your consumption of whey protein with healthy resistance training. Here are some strength training moves to pair with your whey protein to achieve the best results:
One-arm pull down
This exercise works both your back and biceps. Find a medium to heavy resistance tubing equipped with a handle on the end. Attach the end of the tubing to a door hinge above your head, stand in a semi-lunge position and pull the handle of the tubing straight down with one arm; pause and slowly return to a standing position. Complete about 12 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Find a comfortable surface, like a rubber mat or grass field, and stand with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your back straight and looking straight ahead, lower yourself toward the ground until you find your heels lifting off the floor. Jump up quickly, fully extending your legs, and land softly on the ground. During this exercise that works your legs, core and butt, making sure to keep those abs contracted for the best results. Do about 10 to 15 reps.
For this power exercise, you'll need an inflatable fitness ball. Your core, chest, shoulders and abs will be getting the best workout from this movement. What you need to do is kneel in front of the ball and roll out over top of it, walking your hands out until you're in a push-up position. Be sure to keep your body flat and your abs engaged. Proceed by lifting your hips up to the ceiling, rolling your feet onto the top of the ball. Your legs must be kept straight. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, tuna and halibut as well as nuts, plants and oils, play a crucial role in keeping the body healthy. Many may turn to fish oil to promote a healthy weight and a strong heart, but studies are showing that this fatty acid aids in decreasing joint pain.
According to research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, omega-3 fatty acids reduce stiffness in the joints by diminishing inflammation. New Zealand green lipped mussel - a source of omega-3 fatty acids - has been reported to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength and improve walking pace in people with poor joint health.
In a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 250 people with poor joint health were given doses of fish oil. Those in the study reported significant improvement in overall joint pain.
However, promoting healthy joints isn't all that these fatty acids can do. They have been shown to lower cholesterol, foster healthy blood pressure, keep a healthy heart and may even ward off depression. With natural wear and tear on joints, it's essential that you get the proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Here are some of the best ways to fill up on omega-3s:
If you struggle to get enough omega-3's in your diet, one of the easiest ways to up your intake is by taking a joint supplement like Naturade FlexAid Joint Formula. It contains 400 mg of omega-3 fish oil to support heart health and help to promote a proper inflammatory response. With an all-natural blend of two traditional plants with antioxidant properties, you may see reduced stiffness and improved mobility within as little as five days.
Fish is another great source of omega-3s and both EPA and DHA – two main types of omega-3s that should be included in your diet. Here are some popular seafood options and their total content of fatty acids:
- Salmon: 1,200 – 2,400 mg
- Bluefin tuna: 1,700 mg
- Crab: 200 – 500 mg
- Trout: 1,000 – 1,100 mg
- Lobster: 200 mg
- Cod: 200 mg
- Shrimp: 100 mg
Kidney, pinto and mungo beans are packed with omega-3s. Load your taco or burrito up with these, add them to a salad, into an omelet or make a bean dip!
While we know that Popeye loved this stuff, you may not be as enthusiastic about eating it – and that's okay! Luckily for you, there are some sneaky ways to get some spinach into your diet. Add a handful of the stuff to any fruit smoothie – the neutral flavors of the spinach will be overtaken by the dynamic and sweet flavors of the fruit. Replace half of your salad with spinach by mixing it in with the lettuce. Spinach also goes great on top of pizza – add some leaves to the sauce for some extra nutrition.
The king of low-carb vegetables, this superfood not only contains a healthy amount of omega-3s, but it is packed with calcium, vitamin C, folates, iron, fiber and potassium. If you're not a fan of eating it plain, this stuff is easy to incorporate into stir-fry, salads, omelets and more.
Amid all of the things we hear about weight loss, it's hard to determine what actually works and what's better left ignored. Some say a mixture of cardiovascular exercise and strength training, while other say that weight loss starts in the kitchen. Others choose the diet route to shed the pounds, which can sometimes leave you with results that are subpar. Experts are now finding that there is something that actually may make a difference in creating a slimmer waist: Soy protein.
What is soy protein?
Soy protein is derived from soybeans and is considered a complete protein which contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. Soy is packed with both arginine and glutamine. Arginine helps promote muscle growth while glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Sometimes extreme stress and intense exercise like marathons can deplete the body's levels of glutamine – stored in muscles. This amino acid can help your immune system function and appears to be necessary for normal brain function and digestion.
Soy and weight loss
According to a new University of Illinois study, as intake of soy increases, weight tends to decrease. The study found that soy had a significant impact on the body by boosting metabolism. Researchers were surprised to find that soy did have an effect on regulatory hormones and their receptors that signal to the brain that the body is full, but the soy didn't work by reducing food intake.
The effects of soy protein on weight loss were also studied on obese subjects that were given a soy protein-based low calorie meal replacement beverage instead of a milk-based equivalent. Researchers found that a low calorie diet with soy protein-based foods vs. a diet with animal protein-based foods was more effective when it came to weight loss, lowering blood lipids and keeping the weight off.
How to get soy protein
You can easily incorporate soy protein powder into your daily diet through a meal replacement powder. If you have a sweet tooth, start your morning off with a vanilla or chocolate shake using Naturade Total Soy. This is a quick solution to help you reach your weight loss goals without compromising taste or nutrition. With 13 grams of soy protein and 24 vitamins and minerals, this delicious snack may help you on your way to weight loss.
However, there are more ways to get your soy protein than through a sweet shake. Protein powders can be added to almost any meal to give it a boost. Bake a few scoops into your favorite morning muffin or oatmeal. For lunch, whip up a bowl of protein-packed mashed potatoes and for dinner, mix some protein powder into your ground beef for a beastly burger. Once dessert rolls around, consider delicious options like vanilla protein cheesecake, rice krispie treats or a vanilla protein cake.
Other benefits of soy protein
According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, soy protein also offers many other ingredients that impact heart health. The journal reported that consumption of soy protein has been found to reduce serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides. Those with elevated cholesterol seem to receive the greatest benefit.
Vegetarians and vegans can also benefit from soy because it gives them an alternative way to obtain essential vitamins without eating any animal products or byproducts.
Smoothies full of fruits, veggies and protein powder can pack a punch and provide your body with essential vitamins, nutrients and protein that you may not be getting in your daily diet. Smoothies can even serve as a meal replacement that doesn't skimp on taste and still fills you up so you can reach your weight loss goals. Start off your day with a smoothie in the morning, or use it as a snack in the middle of the day. Either way, if you're using the right ingredients, you'll never get bored with the taste and you certainly won't get bored with the results! Here's how to make a delicious tasting smoothie:
Not only does fruit equip the body with antioxidants, it keeps the immune system healthy and adds extraordinary flavor to your smoothie. Choose at least two of your favorite fruits, like bananas, berries, pears, apples, watermelon, peaches, kiwis or pineapple. They can be fresh or frozen – either way, you'll be getting the nutrients and a great taste. If you want to make your smoothie even more healthy, opt to add in some leafy greens (we promise you won't taste them) like kale, spinach or arugula.
Give it a boost of protein
Protein powders are a great way to promote muscle growth and can even assist in weight loss. Naturade Total Soy comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavors, and is low on sugar and calories but high on dietary fiber and taste! Soy protein may even help to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. Other protein boosters that can be used to make a delicious smoothie include:
Thicken it up
One of the key elements of a great-tasting smoothie is consistency. You don't want it to be too watered down, but make it too thick and it won't taste much like a smoothie anymore. Add some extra ingredients can help get it to that perfect consistency while still adding more nutrients. If you need to thicken it up, add some Greek yogurt for that creamy texture and a boost of probiotics. If it needs to be thinned out a bit, pop in a few ice cubes for a chilled treat.
Provide a touch of flavor
For the final finishing touch, add a bit of flavor to your meal or snack. They can often be enhanced by adding a bit of honey, maple syrup, dates, vanilla extract, mint or cinnamon. These add a a burst of flavor to your smoothie without giving you all those unneeded extra calories. Cinnamon is also especially good for your health, as it lowers cholesterol, reduces blood sugar levels and boosts cognitive function and memory, according to Organic Authority.
Now all that's left to do is enjoy!
When you're on the go or it's late at night and you're looking for a quick snack, you're likely going to gravitate to something that's right in the front of your fridge and is easy to prepare. Often, these go-to snacks are processed foods, cookies and other sweet treats. The availability of these unhealthy items may be what makes it so difficult to stay on track with a diet or stick to healthy foods. The truth is, if you have healthier foods in your fridge, you're likely to eat healthier! Here's how to transform your fridge to start noticing positive and healthy changes in your body:
Keep your produce visible
We're always being told to eat more fruits and vegetables – but that's often easier said than done, mostly because veggies and fruits are hidden in drawers in your fridge. We may forget that they're there (or simply pretend to forget) and reach for whatever may be at eye level. Instead, put your produce in a big, clear container on the top shelf of your fridge. This way, whenever you open the door, it's the first thing you see. You may grab a handful of carrots rather than some leftover macaroni and cheese. To make it easier on yourself, you could even cut up veggies and fruits and place them in clear Tupperware containers. Then you will already have fresh, cut-up fruit that is fast and easy to eat when you're hungry or on-the-go.
You could also use your fresh produce to add to a tasty protein shake for a healthy snack or meal replacement. Naturade Total Soy, available in both chocolate and vanilla, is packed with protein, dietary fiber and great taste. It will fill you up and leave you satisfied without giving you with empty calories that will only make you overindulge later.
Stock up on fueling foods
Below the fruits and vegetables, load up your fridge with foods packed with protein and calcium. Things like nuts, pickles, hummus, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese provide your body with good fats – and many of them pair well with produce! Nuts like almonds and walnuts last for months longer when chilled in a fridge and they make for a delicious snack.
Replace sugary drinks
Replace all of those drinks packed with sugar, like soda and juices, with pitchers of water. If you find that you are looking for more taste, consider amping up the flavor of your water by adding fruit containing antioxidants to keep your immune system healthy and fuel your body. Try slices of lemon or lime, cucumbers or your favorite berries.
As men age, it's natural for testosterone levels to begin to decline. This decrease in testosterone not only has an effect on the sex drive, but it could lead to depressed mood as well as difficulties with concentration and memory. Testosterone is an important hormone in the body because it's responsible for inducing and maintaining male sex characteristics like sex drive and muscle health. Here are a few natural ways to give your testosterone levels a boost and enjoy all of the effects that come with it:
Increase zinc in your diet
Zinc is especially important for testosterone production, and eating the right foods is the best way to get it. Good sources of zinc include foods like shellfish, prawns, oysters, roasted pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate.
Take a daily supplement
Naturade Vitali-T-Aid Energy is a testosterone booster and may help to boost sex drive, performance and energy. This natural testosterone supplement was shown in two double-blind, placebo controlled, human clinical studies, along with exercise, to be both a safe and effective way to increase levels of testosterone in the body over an eight week period.
Being overweight may be having a negative effect on testosterone levels. According to Peak Fitness, overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with. In order to shed the pounds, start setting little goals for yourself. Swap out processed and refined foods for things like whole fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Watch the amount of calories that you're drinking throughout the day as well. Fancy coffee drinks like sugar-filled lattes and frappucinos can contain as many calories as an entire lunch.
Incorporating strength training into your routine may also be necessary in order to increase testosterone levels. Start off slow and build up to heavier weights as you go.
Get more vitamin D
Vitamin D increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. Getting enough vitamin D is often a problem for many during the winter months when they don't see the sun very often. If you can't get outdoors to soak up this valuable vitamin, you could opt to take a supplement or fill up on foods like fish, oysters, caviar, fortified dairy products, eggs and mushrooms.
Fill up on the right foods
There are certain foods that may help to increase the production of testosterone in the body. Some of these foods include pineapples, apples, alfalfa sprouts, red peppers, tomatoes and eggs.
The hormone cortisol is released when you're stressed out, which actually blocks the effects of testosterone. So if you're looking for a boost of the male hormone, find the best way to de-stress, whether that's taking a hot shower, relaxing on the couch watching TV or reading a book.
One of the most popular ways to shed the pounds and achieve your goal weight is to jump on the treadmill and start running. Running has endless health benefits including torching calories, boosting your cardiovascular system and toning your body. But if you're an avid runner, you may be aware of the fact that your joints can take a beating after a while. Due to the impact of running, your joints, knees, ankles and hips may start to feel uncomfortable. Here are a few ways to protect your joints on the treadmill so you can continue to keep your body healthy:
Run on a proper treadmill
If you're running on an outdated treadmill, it may not have the proper cushioning your joints need to stay healthy. Look into a more modern treadmill that cushions your joints with each powerful stride.
Have the right shoes
Just like having the right treadmill, running with the right shoes can also have a large impact on how your joints feel during your workout. If you're exercising with a pair of shoes you have had for years, chances are, they're not giving you the support and cushion you need to protect your joints. According to The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, you should be replacing your running shoes about every 300 to 500 miles. When you get a new pair, mark your calendar and keep a close eye on your mileage. When you replace shoes, however, largely depends on things like weight and fitness level. If you're running everyday, you're likely going to have to replace them sooner rather than later.
Look for a shoe that is going to give you proper support for stability and motion control. It's also important to wear the socks you usually wear when you run when picking out a new pair. Socks with padding around the soles are usually the best.
Take a joint supplement
Naturade FlexAid Ultra Joint Formula may promote joint comfort, increase flexibility and mobility, and even support a healthy inflammation response. This joint supplement may help to support an active lifestyle and help you to keep up your regular exercise routine without worrying about your joints. This supplement contains Univestin, which is a natural blend of two traditional plants that have antioxidant effects on the body and help to neutralize free radicals (which can speed up breakdown of the cartilage that protects joints). According to Natural Products Insider, participants of a study took 250 mg per day of Univestin and experienced a significant decrease in joint discomfort, while the placebo group did not.
Keep an eye on your form
You could have the best running shoes and the perfect treadmill, but if you're not keeping proper form while running, you could be doing further harm to your joints. Keeping the right form can minimize impact and maximize stability. When exercising, always land on the ball of your foot, not your heel. Remember not to overstretch your knees – always keep them at least slightly bent. Your feet should be landing directly underneath your body. If your lower leg extends out in front of the body, your stride is likely too long.
These days, we need all the help we can get when it comes to easing the stress of everyday life. Some find that meditation helps to de-stress, while others may lean toward a hot shower or relaxing on the couch. Stress can also cause issues with your stomach and your intestinal tract. Luckily, new studies are showing that probiotics may help in the fight against stress' effects on the digestive system. A study showed that in mice, probiotics could potentially counteract the negative effects of stress on the gut.
The effect of stress on the gut
Stress, be it mental or physical, can activate the brain's stress response systems, which in turn affects the body. Stress has a significant impact on gastrointestinal function. Symptoms due to stress could include heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting or even lower abdominal pain. According to research in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, stress can also alter the balance of bacteria that naturally live in the gut. This bacteria has an impact on immune function and may lead to changes in composition, diversity and number of gut microorganisms.
Results of the study
In this study, researchers from the University of Michigan found that stress wreaks havoc on the gut by inducing inflammation and reducing the number of inflammasomes, which are essentially guardians of the body and play a vital role in the body's innate immune system.
Researchers discovered that giving the mice probiotics seemed to reverse the effects of stress on inflammasome.
Other effects of probiotics
Similar studies show that probiotics not only help the digestive system, but have an effect on bone density in mice as well. Inflammation in the gut can cause bone loss and probiotics may help to restore that balance in the digestive system.
Maintaining a proper balance of bacteria in the immune system may also affect your overall health. According to The Huffington Post, research shows that probiotics may help obese people who have received weight loss surgery to maintain weight loss. Similarly, post-partum women who were trying to lose abdominal fat found that the addition of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium capsules helped to reduce waist size.
How to get more probiotics
Help out your digestive track and help to get your stress levels on track with Naturade Probiotics 30 B CFU. Containing 30 billion colony forming units, also known as good bacteria, per capsule, your intestinal health and immune defenses may be naturally supported. Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, both found in this supplement, may support natural immune strength and keep your body's defenses on top of their game.
We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sparks our metabolism and gives us the energy we need to take on the day. But it's often simple just to have some coffee or grab a donut and run out the door. However, this may only leave your stomach loudly grumbling just a few short hours later. That's when you reach for the unhealthy snacks before lunch rolls around. Here are some delicious morning meals from Prevention magazine that are going to keep you full, satisfied and healthy:
Peanut butter and banana sandwich
When you roll out of bed in the morning, pop some whole wheat English muffins in the toaster, grab some peanut butter, bananas and blueberries. Spread each half of the toasted muffin with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and top each half with some sliced bananas. The blueberries can be eaten on the side for a little extra morning snack filled with plenty of antioxidants.
Amp up your cereal
Pouring a bowl of cereal with milk is often one of the easiest ways to eat breakfast in the morning. But it doesn't have to be a big bowl of bland. Add plenty of berries, walnuts or almonds to one cup of healthy cereal or granola and enjoy!
If you have a sweet tooth in the morning and often go for sugary drinks or puffy pastries, try preparing two frozen whole grain waffles and topping each with ¼ cup of nonfat plain yogurt. You could even try it with some Greek yogurt for a cool, creamy and refreshing taste that pairs well with waffles. Add your favorite toppings like more fruit, nuts and pure maple syrup. This meal may just make you love breakfast again.
If you're always in a hurry in the morning and never seem to have time for breakfast, whipping up a chocolate shake might be just what you need. You may hear chocolate shake and immediately think sugar, but Naturade Total Soy is low on the sugar and calories and is packed with protein and dietary fiber that is going to keep you full up until lunch. It may even help you lower cholesterol!
Toast and toppings
Pop two pieces of whole wheat bread in the toaster. Once they're done, spread some almond butter on and slice an apple to put on top. This morning meal only adds up to about 415 calories and provides you with a boatload of nutrients and fiber so you won't overindulge later.
We all know the feeling when the clock strikes nine and suddenly, chocolate, ice cream and pizza sound pretty good. Unfortunately, these delicious treats don't make the body feel as good as they taste. So we try to cope with the cravings. However, that sometimes leads to simply overindulging later. We try to convince ourselves that because we didn't cave in the night before, eating twice as much is okay the next day. Here's how to deal with cravings for those ultra addictive foods:
Find your motivation
If you have no reason to not eat that sugary donut, chances are you may just cave into your cravings. Whether your motivation is to slim down for beach season or have more energy in your day-to-day life, having a goal will make it more likely that you'll resist those foods.
Everyone makes mistakes
If you do indulge in an unhealthy meal or have that extra piece of cake, well, sometimes that's okay. Just don't let one mistake erase all of the progress you have made so far. Many have the mindset that because they ate one unhealthy meal or snack that their diet is ruined – it's not. Continue to eat healthy and don't make it worse by assuming that you've failed.
Fill up on the right foods
When you're craving sugary treats, your body may actually be wanting a different type of food altogether. According to Annemarie Colbin, founder of The Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine, here is what to really eat when you're craving the wrong foods:
If you're wanting sugar…you should be eating more whole grains and fruit and less meat, salt and dairy products. Substitute those sugary cravings for a frozen banana or a tasty vanilla shake. Naturade Pea Protein powder contains no animal by-products, artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors. With this meal replacement, you can get your fix for something sweet without all of the added sugar.
If you're wanting salty foods…you should be consuming more black beans and vegetables and less sweets, fats, alcohol and meat. To solve your salt fix properly, amp up your food with other herbs and spices or natural soy sauce.
If you're craving coffee…you should eat more vegetables and salad and eat less sugar, salt, grains and flour. Colbin suggested substituting regular coffee for grain coffee, which is a mix of grains, nuts, dried fruit and natural flavors that tastes similar to coffee.
Are you really hungry?
Oftentimes, your brain is just playing tricks on you to make you believe that you're hungry. Women's Health suggested picturing a sizzling steak. If you're actually hungry, the steak will sound good and you can go ahead and eat something. If it doesn't, you're more likely just bored than hungry. Oftentimes we can mistake dehydration for hunger. Instead, grab yourself a tall glass of water.
Clean out your shelves
You're more likely to satisfy your craving if you have it close at hand. If it's not there, you're likely not going to leave your house and drive to go get it. Go through your fridge and cabinets and eliminate any junk food that will only cause you to crave it. Fill it up with fresh fruit and vegetables as well as almonds, cheese, tuna, chicken and salmon.