Tag Archives: muscles

5 Attainable Tips for Better Running

This post gives you 5 tips for better running!

HEY GUYS!

It’s been a while since I’ve given you a short + sweet + fresh piece of writing directly from my dome + head + noggin. I have been witnessing how impactful good form and lifting weights have been on my running routine and am inspired to share. Ready, set…BLAST OFF!

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  1. Lift weights! (The singlemost important)

  2. Shove Those Hips Forward

  3. Run With Your Muscles (think: shock absorbers)

  4. Knees Up

  5. Breathe Efficiently + Rhythmically (deep + full breaths + in through your nose + out through your mouth)

…and remember: we’ve got this one body for all of time. Enjoy the opportunity to take it for a spin!

Read more here.

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Recipe: Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie!

This post includes a recipe for a carrot cake protein smoothie!

Hey Everyone!

I’m off to the gym so I am keeping this brief–but this smoothie was so good that I have to share with you! This was a spontaneous creation (& Holy freaking cow–it’s better than the real thing).

I like to wing it in the kitchen (no measuring!) and this smoothie was done that way…

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Recipe: Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

Ingredients: 

All raw & organic:

-Almond meal

-Coconut manna

-Soaked cashews

-Soaked chia seeds

-Cinnamon

-Vanilla protein (I used Garden of Life’s Grain Free Vanilla)

-Stevia

-A handful of baby carrots

-Several cubes of ice.

Blend and boom! A healthy, rich, satisfying treat.

2 Key Moves for Toned Legs & a Firm Booty!

Toning your legs and booty doesn’t have to be a series of complicated & confusing movements. Nor does it require equipment. Using equipment is optional, and only includes one dumbbell or kettle bell (when you do it my way). You can stick to basic moves and still reach your goals and get the results you want.

Squats and Lunges

are two moves that will effectively target the biggest muscles in your body. Your leg muscles are dense and expansive, making them highly effective calorie burning machines. Furthermore, when you work these muscles, you are elevating your heart rate and increasing your metabolism. This will help your overall health, fitness and ability to keep fat off.

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Squats

There are many different squat variations; my favorite of which is the sumo (or plie) squat. Here are some key pointers to keep in mind while you perform a sumo squat.

1. Walk each of your legs out so they are a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.

2. Point your toes away from your body at a 45 degree angle.

3. Keep your posture strong with your butt back, shoulders back and chest out.

4. Bend your knees and drop your butt down so that your knees form 90-degree angles.

5. Do not let your knees drift farther forward than your toes. (Letting that happen will encourage knee injury).

6. Drive your weight down through your heels and push your body upright.

Sumo squats target the inside of your quadriceps and your glutes a bit more than a traditional squat does. Refer to the above picture for depictions of the correct form. Proper form is crucial in effectively engaging all prime movers (muscles) as well as preventing injury.

Advanced Variations:

As pictured, you can add weight to this move to make it a full body workout. Driving weight above your head in combination with the sumo squat move will engage and tone your shoulders. Making the move an explosive jumping motion is another way to exhaust those muscles for a quick, challenging workout (while also engaging your calf muscles). If you fancy yoga, you can hold this pose with weight (as pictured) and will feel the same burn!

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Lunges

Lunges are an absolute powerhouse move for toning the back of your legs and glutes. They also happen to be one of my favorite exercises. I love the added challenge of balance, especially when using weight. Just like in performing squats, there are some key pointers to keep in mind when lunging:

1. From a standing upright position, take a large step forward with one of your legs.

2. Bend & drop your back knee so that it touches (or comes very close) to kissing the ground.

3. Like in performing squats, do not let your knee exceed your toe.

4. Make sure you are maintaining a strong posture through the duration of the movement. Keep your shoulders back, butt back and chest out. As you fatigue, you will be tempted to lower your torso each time you drive your leg down. Challenge yourself to keep your torso perpendicular to the ground the entire time.

5. Drive your weight down through the heel of your front leg, push your body back to an upright standing position.

Refer to the above picture for depictions of lunge form.

Something that applies to both squats and lunges: when you are driving your weight back up, the part of your foot that you are driving weight down into will target different muscles in your legs. For example, if you drive your weight down through your toes in performing a squat, you will feel your quadriceps (the front of your thigh) engaged, whereas if you drive your weight down through your heels, your hamstrings and glutes will be more engaged. I generally recommend pushing your weight down through your heels (as I love a great booty workout) but it also tends to keep your center of gravity more controlled and keeps you more stable. I urge you to experiment with both!

Advanced Variations:

Add weight! Adding weight ups the challenge, which makes you stronger, which makes you leaner, etc. You can also incorporate a trunk twist mid-lunge to challenge your core and engage your oblique muscles. To take it up another notch, try lunge jumps. In a lunge jump, you are propelling your body into the air each time you drive that front heel down. In other words, you are jumping up from a lunge position and landing with the opposite leg in front of you. This will incorporate your calf muscles and elevate your overall heart rate in a hurry. Like with merely any exercise, you can morph a lunge into a yoga move by holding this lunge pose for as long as you can. You will work the same muscles, while also improving muscular endurance and overall balance & flexibility.

Happy squatting & happy lunging–challenge yourself to get your patootie firmed up for summer time!

Pro Compression Sock Review

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Pro Compression Socks

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About Pro Compression:

“Experience maximum benefit with the Marathon full-length, graduated compression sock. Compression technology helps improve blood flow, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster, more efficient recovery. In addition to improving vascular performance, Marathon compression socks provide support to critical muscles and tendons, helping reduce inflammation and soreness.

Put it all together for the perfect sock for endurance, recovery and travel.

Features

Full-length, graduated compression design for maximum blood flow
Non-slip design, even after hours on your feet
Lightweight construction for incredible feel
Blended materials provide maximum comfort and support
Moisture control keeps you dry during your biggest efforts
Made in USA.”

My Thoughts:

To be completely honest, if you were to rewind a year from now, I would have been very skeptical of a sock like this and what it claims to do. I’ve always been a pretty simple runner with minimal gear and recovery aids.

All I know now is that I am absolutely a believer in compression socks since trying them out. I have worn them both during my run and through an entire night’s sleep. Both ways have proved to be beneficial to me. I love sleeping in them–they help my legs feel rested and fresh in the morning. When I wear them during a run, I always have more endurance in my legs. Typically on a longer run (10+ miles) my knees get a little bit achey at mile 7 or 8. With these socks on, my legs and knees feel fresher for longer. I don’t know and completely comprehend how that is. It almost doesn’t matter though–it just works and that rocks!

These socks have been an integral part of my marathon training (my race is April 26th) and I am grateful that I’ve had the chance to benefit from them amidst all of these miles. I would recommend them to any runner looking for that extra edge that gives them better/quicker recovery and extra leg endurance and comfort.

Like Pro Compression on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/procompression

Follow Pro Compression on Twitter: https://twitter.com/procompression

Pro Compression has graciously provided me with a code to share with you: Use “BLG14” at checkout at http://www.procompression.com/products/ to save 40% off of marathon socks & sleeves, plus free shipping (US address only).

I encourage you to join the Sock of the Month email list for great deals and new product announcements; sign up is located at the bottom of our home page: http://www.procompression.com/

Natural Force Organic + Paleo Workout Supplement Review

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Natural Force

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About Natural Force:

“Our mission is to tap Mother Nature’s bounty of raw superfoods to provide you with the highest quality training supplements ever created.

Just like you, we strive day after day training to improve our bodies and quality of life through hard work and proper nutrition. We formed Natural Force® because we were frustrated with the supplements available to us. We realized that the products we were using contradicted our principles of good nutrition with fillers, artificial flavors, and ingredients our bodies just didn’t need.

Natural Values

Here at Natural Force, we value quality and honesty above all else. Our products are always comprised of the purest, highest quality, all-natural and organic ingredients. They never contain any coloring, flavoring of any kind, and no unnecessary fillers. Each and every one of our products has been carefully and intelligently designed to deliver superior performance for a specific purpose. In doing so, we strive to create a base of loyal and knowledgeable, lifetime Natural Force customers.

A New Approach

Next time you grab your favorite supplement, take a look at the container. Look past the flashy label to the list of ingredients. Do you know what all of them are and what they do? At Natural Force we are dedicated to using only the best ingredients directly from nature that provide you with the performance you need. Period.”

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Raw Tea

About:

Natural Force Raw Tea™ is a unique blend of natural herbs, roots, fruit extracts, and superfoods to help give you a naturally powerful energy boost unlike any other supplement on the market. Although it is natural, don’t let that fool you… its extremely powerful ingredients will help provide you with the energy and endurance you need to meet the demands of your grueling workout. It will nutritionally support a sustained vascular pump and improved sense of well being hours after you work out!

NATURAL FORCE RAW TEA IS DESIGNED TO:

  • Improve blood flow and circulation to the muscles for increased power and endurance.
  • Build, harden, and protect lean muscle mass by providing essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Utilize stored fat as an energy source to decrease body fat.
  • Increase mental concentration to keep you focused on your workout and goals.

CERTIFIED PALEO!

The first and only Certified Paleo Pre-Workout on the market. Certified by The Paleo Foundation. Train like a caveman!

MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS!

Natural Force is proud to offer the first line of training supplements ever made with organic ingredients.

100% BS FREE.

There are a ton of pre-workouts on the market, but lucky for you, you have found the cleanest one ever created. Period. Natural Force Raw Tea is entirely whole food based and contains no flavoring whatsoever. What is the point of a great diet if you continue to poison your body with chemical filled supplements? You don’t need fancy flavors or synthesized vitamin powders to get a great workout. In fact, we think using them does more harm than good, so switch today and make your training sessions 100% BS Free™.

FLAVOR:

Natural taste of herbal tea. No flavoring added… Tastes Great!

CONTAINS NO:

Coloring, Flavoring, Unnecessary Fillers.”

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Iskiate Endurance

About:

Natural Force Iskiate Endurance™ is a unique blend of superfoods designed to help provide you with sustained energy during your workouts.  It will nutritionally support intense physical endurance and help delay muscle fatigue so you can train harder and longer.  Let’s be honest: nothing is worse than running out of gas before the finish line.  Drinking Iskiate Endurance before you get there will help your mind and body stay completely fueled and operating at peak efficiency… no matter what you throw at it.

NATURAL FORCE ISKIATE ENDURANCE IS DESIGNED TO:

 

  • Help provide sustained energy for the body and mind from whole food sources.
  • Nutritionally support the delivery of energy efficiently through B-vitamins and minerals.
  • Assist in combating muscle fatigue by providing a full range of amino acids.

CERTIFIED PALEO!

The first and only Certified Paleo Pre-Workout on the market. Certified by The Paleo Foundation. Train like a caveman!

MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS!

Natural Force is proud to offer the first line of training supplements ever made with organic ingredients.

IS KIA WHATY?

Alright, so we know it is hard to pronounce… but this stuff is the bee’s knees! Our Iskiate (IS-kee-ah-tay), is a traditional blend of the finest organic chia seeds and honey, plus some other cool stuff for a Natural Force twist. This incredibly refreshing drink is inspired by the Tarahumara, a tribe of super athletes who would drink Iskiate during their runs of up to 200 miles on end without stopping. That is running for two days straight… talk about some serious endurance! The power of Iskiate lies in the carbohydrates, omega-3’s, and amino acids provided to help prolong physical endurance to a remarkable level. You can talk the talk, now make like the Tarahumara and walk the walk—or should we say RUN THE RUN!

FLAVOR:

Natural taste of honey & chia seeds. No flavoring added… Tastes Great!

CONTAINS NO:

Coloring, Flavoring, Unnecessary Fillers.”

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Recovery Nectar

About:

Natural Force Recovery Nectar™ is a unique blend of all-natural plant-based ingredients formulated to help maximize recovery, decrease soreness, and recharge your body. No other supplement on the market can give you a cleaner, more direct way to infuse your body with the nutrients it needs after your intense workouts. It will help you feel completely refreshed and revitalized.

NATURAL FORCE RECOVERY NECTAR IS DESIGNED TO:

  • Help repair torn muscle fibers through clean plant-based protein.
  • Assist in replenishing depleted glycogen stores, lost electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals to decrease recovery time and soreness.
  • Help recharge your body with nutrient-dense superfoods.
  • Aid in combating inflammation of joint tissues and boosting immune function.

MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS!

Natural Force is proud to offer the first line of training supplements ever made with organic ingredients.

A WORD ABOUT COCONUT WATER…

We use only the finest Organic Freeze Dried Coconut Water as the base for our Recovery Nectar. So you may be wondering, is coconut water the same thing as coconut milk? And the answer would be: not by a long shot. Coconut Water is the liquid inside a young, green coconut before it matures. It is at its peak electrolyte content when harvested during this specific period. In fact, Coconut Water contains over five different electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous) and has even been used intravenously during World War II to hydrate and save lives when medicinal saline was not available! Coconut Water is hands down the best natural sports hydration and recovery drink that Mother Nature has to offer!

FLAVOR:

Natural taste of coconut water. No flavoring added… Tastes Great!

CONTAINS NO:

Coloring, Flavoring, Unnecessary Fillers.”

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My Thoughts about what Natural Force calls “The Natural Stack”:

Such a breath of fresh air! This brand has wow-ed me from the beginning. In a supplement market ridden with garbage (for lack of a better word), Natural Force truly stands out to me. Organic ingredients (reading the label, you’ll see that these products are made up of one organic item after the next) and they are even Paleo friendly. Ok–where do i start?!

Trying out these products couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m training for my first full marathon, which will take place in a few weeks! I have been using these supplements daily, before, during and after my runs & workouts.

Here’s the thing about workout supplements (specifically, pre workout supplements). In writing about them, maybe you are expecting to hear that you drink this and you are just bouncing off the walls full of energy, ready to rock and roll. In reality, these organic supplements (specifically, the Raw Tea) have a much more practical, desirable impact on my body. It provides me with a steady uphill incline of energy and alertness. Theres nothing jittery about it & no skin-crawling feeling (strangely enough, I have experienced that with others that are full of malarky and sweetened with Sucralose). It provides a similar feeling for me that coffee does–but with even more vitality as a result of how nutrient dense the Raw Tea is. Supplements, perhaps, effect everyone differently. That said, this one does exactly what I would want it to–give me a gradual increase in energy and intensity. In regards to taste, it is herby with a subtle sweetness–pretty good!

I’m typically not a huge fan of refueling during training runs (during a race is a different story). When training, I want my body to be burning off fuel. Yes, my performance (pace) might suffer, but I train that way to stay lean. I have been using about half of the recommended dose of the Iskiate Endurance powder to experience it, but to not completely replenish myself. It tastes awesome and provides me with a noticeable refueling feeling. I am excited to use this on the day of my race–if I have any left! 🙂

Both the Iskiate endurance powder and recovery nectar taste especially delicious.

When I finish a run, I’m not generally very hungry right in that moment, but my body does feel in need of hydration and vitality replenishment. This recovery nectar is perfect for that. I mix it with water in a blender bottle and gulp it down within 10 minutes of concluding my run/workout. In regards to effectiveness, my energy is not as depleted as I feel it would be without taking it. I also have been running the most mileage and doing intense weight lifting & plyometic exercises without feeling the need for a recovery day. I can’t help but think that these supplements are to thank for that. And–how awesome to have peace of mind knowing that the ingredients are not crappy! So elated to have discovered this great brand–I HIGHLY recommend it!