This Weeks Plan in my Erin Condren Life Planner

Here’s this week in my Erin Condren:

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And remember, here’s my referral link to get $10 off if you want an Erin Condren Life Planner! They’re the perfect thing for all those new years resolutions to get organized! http://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/amylinton0528

Update: Supplements – What to Take, and Why

Supplements are common ways that athletes increase their benefits from exercise. They can make the difference between a fit, lean physique, and a slightly doughy one (for lack of better words). But they can also help improve general nutrition and healthy eating. With this being said, keep in mind that nothing beats a clean diet and exercise. Supplements should be used to assist with goals, not take the place of healthy eating and physical activity.

A common question, is whether to take supplements in liquid form vs. a pill. Your body will absorb 98% of a liquid supplement, while sometimes only absorbing 3-20% of a pill. However, pills can be great if you can’t stomach the liquid, or for a grab and go type lifestyle. If opting for pills, look for those that come in capsules (think those clear plastic pills that are 2 halves joined in the middle, versus the hard pills with no coating).

Multivitamin:multi

A multivitamin should be taken first thing in the morning. I like to take mine after my first couple bites of breakfast, because I get stomach pain if I take it on an empty stomach. Your body needs13 essential vitamins to function, and adding a multivitamin to your daily routine assures that you get everything you need. Remember – it’s always best to get all your nutrients from whole foods, but a multivitamin is a good SUPPLEMENT to aid in your diet.

Fish Oil:fish oil

Taken in the morning, and/or with meals. Fish oil is comprised of essential fats (aka – fats that your body can’t produce on it’s own). Fish oil helps stabilize insulin; so that dietary simple sugars are stored as energy instead of fat. Fish oil can also help preserve muscle (ie – if you don’t work out daily, you will maintain your gains through your off days). The recommended dose of fish oil is 220 mg of EPA and 220 mg of DHA per day. Fish oil is sensitive to sunlight/oxygen, so look for a dark glass bottle, and a smaller bottle if possible (the more you open it for a serving, the more oxygen gets in). Krill oil is less sensitive to oxygen/light so it’s a great option.

bcaaBCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids):

Helps growth of muscle, fatigue, recovery. Last longer. BCAAs are great for helping maintain muscle mass while in a caloric deficit (help lose fat but maintain muscle). They may also help improve mood and increase workout intensity, because they compete with tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the brain. Serotonin can increase the feeling of fatigue (think turkey day naps), so BCAAs can combat that. The current suggested ratio is 2:1:1 (2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine, 1 part valine).

glutamineGlutamine:

Key roll in metabolizing protein. Helps body release HGH which helps metabolize body fat, increase muscle growth. For non-weight lifting individuals, glutamine also plays key roll in immune system – used by white blood cells to fight off infection.

 L-Carnitine:l-carnitine

Take in the morning on empty stomach. It acts as natural fat burner, and transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides, into cell mitochondria, where they may be oxidized to produce energy. L-Carnitine has also been shown to reduce fatigue and serve as an appetite suppressant as well.

Protein:protein

There are multiple types of protein, the most commonly known being Whey – a fast acting milk-based protein that is best at supporting muscle gain. Other types of protein include casein (longer acting – perfect for that late night protein boost to get you through the night). Try to get protein from food sources, versus a protein shake or bar. Protein shakes are good additions but females should try to stay to 1/day at max. Any more than that may add fat as well. The average recommended daily intake for women is 1g per lb per day.

Creatine:creatine

Creatine monohydrate is converted into creatine phosphate in the body to keep ATP levels up. This increases the muscles energy availability, enhancing the bodies ability to do more high intensity work. Creatine’s chemical properties mean that it carries a hydration shell. This increases the amount of water in muscles. Therefore, it’s recommended that extra water is consumed when taking creatine. If all the creatine isn’t absorbed, it floats around in body (bloat) until it’s removed in urine. Take before you exercise.

CLA:cla

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a fatty acid that has been shown to cause fat loss. It is found in dairy and red meat. CLA can help increase metabolism, and enhance muscle growth. Research does, however, show that the effects of CLA are most pronounced during the first 6 months of supplementation, and slowly plateaus for up to 2 years. CLA should be taken with each meal, and recommended doses range from 3.2 to 6.4g/day.

Fat Burners, pre-workouts, etc.

These are a category all their own, and I will go more in depth in my next post about them. Check out my post on Epiburn Pro, the newest fat-burning, appetite suppressant from USP Labs here.

Here’s A Couple Dumbbell Workouts!

One of the best things I ever invested in for working out at home is a pair of dumbbells. I got them on sale, and they came with 2 “bars” and then 4 x 7.5 weights and 4 x 2.5 weights. The most I lift is about 20 lbs (unless I’m doing sumo squats) so these are perfect, as each dumbbell will be 20lbs.

So I’ve been creating and thinking up full body workouts to do at home. These are great for days when I’m too lazy to drive 20 minutes to the gym, or when I’m short on time (after working a 12 hour shift). Sorry the graphics are kind of lame, I’m still working on that aspect of the blog!

fullbodydumbbelworkoutfullbodydbworkout2

Change Up Your Routine: Glute Workout

Here’s a new, fun glute workout for you guys. It’s a nice change up of the usual exercises, I think! It gets you moving around the gym, using equipment in different ways, and experimenting. Let me know what you think!

rock hard buns workout

Glute Workout:

Superset 1:

Good Mornings

Bulgarian Split Squat (skip ahead about 59 seconds on this video to get to the exercise)

Superset 2:

Single Leg Press Down

Glue Bridges

Superset 3:

Seated 1-legged Leg Press

Plie Squat

Superset 4:

Standing Cable Curl

Abductor Machine (reverse)

Abductor Machine (normal)– make sure you lean FORWARD for this to really work your glutes

I like that these are supersets, but I also know a lot of gyms don’t make it convenient to do so. Either way, I like to organize them into supersets if possible!

And with all of these exercises, make sure you are driving through your heel to get the most glute activation!

My Daily Supplements

As the new year has finally kicked off, I think almost everyone I know has some sort of resolution/plan to improve their health. It might also have to do with Spring Break and Summer looming over us, as it’s all we can think about  with all this cold weather!

I can’t say that I am a supplement expert, or that I have it down to a science. But I thought I would share what I take (on as much of a regular basis as I remember) and the benefits that they provide my health.

Disclaimer: All these products can (and were) purchased at the Vitamin Shoppe. I may be partial because I used to work there, but I also believe of all the box stores (Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and Vitamin World) the Vitamin Shoppe has the best deals, and they train their employees to know about all their products, and strive to provide education daily to those employees.

Probiotic

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.41.40 PMAs far as probiotics go, I still have yet to figure out which is the best one to take. However, I tend to stick to the “middle of the road” options. This probiotic isn’t the cheapest, but it has 13 billion organisms, which is enough to convince me it’ll help my horrible digestive system. I don’t share this a lot, but I have a HORRIBLE digestive system. I’ve tried a few different things, short of giving up certain foods (gluten mainly) because I’m 12 and can’t stop eating toast or PB and J… And all my research says probiotics and enzymes (see next supplement) can help break down any food you eat, leading to a happy digestive system.

Digestive Enzyme

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.53.33 PMDigestive Enzymes are taken with each meal to help breakdown everything that you eat. Depending on what you require, there are different enzymes for you. This one that I take, helps breakdown carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fibers, and dairy. Yeah, my system is bad, so I need lots of help. To be fair I’m also crappy at sticking to a regime of taking supplements daily, so I have yet to see how much this really helps. That’s a goal for this year, to actually take them.

Greens Powder

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.57.08 PMThis is one of the things I throw in as often as possible. I don’t eat as many vegetables as I should, and it definitely shows. This powder, mixed into a smoothie, or protein, or even just mixed into apple juice gives all the nutrients of eating every green growing thing on this planet. Slightly expensive ($2 a day roughly), but worth it. Also helps get things moving…

Epiburn Pro

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.59.24 PMThis is a supplement that a lot of people won’t agree with, but if I’m being honest and telling you what I take, here you go. This is a fat-burning, appetite suppressing, caffeine pill. It’s a thermogenic, so it leaves you sweating, with freezing fingers and toes, raises your blood pressure… But it works. And I love that I can take one pill in the morning with a glass of water, and don’t have to drink coffee where my breath stinks and my teeth turn yellow every day. One pill is 100mg of caffeine – a little more than a cup of coffee. This is not for the faint of heart, or the caffeine sensitive.

Whey Protein

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 1.03.02 PMThis is the only product I don’t get at the Vitamin Shoppe, and that’s because they don’t sell it. I LOVE cellucor. And will likely switch over to their weight loss supplement instead of epiburn pro for my next bottle. I also get 25% off at cellucor.com from Christian Guzman. Whey protein usually upsets my stomach but it’s worth it for the protein benefits, and the flavor. My favorite from Cellucor: Cor-fetti. But every flavor I’ve tried is amazing. Bodybuilding.com also has 4 serving bags of each flavor so you can try flavors. I have a big jug of the Cor-Fetti, but little bags of Cinnamon Swirl, PB Marshmallow, and S’mores.

There are obviously thousands of other supplements out there, a lot that would probably help me (ie: multivitamin, vitamin B, etc). And I do take a multi-vitamin every once in a while, but I’m not consistent with a brand that I would tell you is my holy grail. I do like Optimum Nutrition’s women’s sport multi though, because It’s a small gel-cap, vs those ginormous tablets that are usual for multivitamins.

What supplements do you guys take? Any that you recommend?

Trader Joe’s Haul

A few months ago a new Trader Joe’s opened up relatively close to me, in Dewitt, NY. My best friend and I finally got our sh** together and made a trip up there. This was my second time going to Trader Joe’s so I was only slightly overwhelmed. I also went prepared with a list of things I had tried and wanted, as well as suggestions I found googling “trader joe’s favorites”.

Here’s what I got (In no particular order):

Alkaline Water water

I’ve been wanting to try alkaline water for a while now, and at the price TJ’s was offering, I figured now was a good time to try some.

Coconut Oil Sprayoil spray

Simple – non stick cooking spray, but coconut oil. I could probably find this anywhere else also, but why not pick it up here!

coconut milkCanned Light Coconut Milk

I like adding coconut milk to my smoothies in the morning, and canned always seems to taste better than carton. These were $1 each, so I picked up 2.

chocolateDark Chocolate Bar 

(To prevent myself from buying one of the large tubs of peanut butter cups or chocolate covered anything)

teaVanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea

I’ve heard good things about TJ’s tea, and this was one of the seasonal options.

orange chickenMandarin Orange Chicken

I’ve heard amazing things about this stuff, so I’m hoping it lives up to it’s expectations.

tikka masalaChicken Tikka Masala

I’ve also heard good things about this stuff. And I love the stuff I’ve gotten from Indian Restaurants, so hopefully this is a good alternative.

brussel sproutsShaved Brussels Sprouts

I like brussels sprouts, but I don’t like the size they are (I know, I’m weird). So I’ve heard the shaved ones from TJ’s are good. I’m planning on roasting these with olive oil, salt, and garlic I think.

chips

Milk Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Need I say anything about these?

Ready to Bake Pizza Doughpizza dough

I’ve heard this is good. I plan on using it to make homemade pizza.

bananasGone Bananas (chocolate covered bananas)

These are a staple. I love them. I like making my own at home, but these are cheap so they’re worth picking up when I make the trip to TJ’s.

muffinsBanana Chocolate Chunk Muffins (Protein!)

I picked these up on a whim. I hope they taste good. I love banana chocolate chip muffins, so as long as the added protein doesn’t throw the flavor off, these should be good!

srirachaTJ’s Brand Sriracha Sauce

I like Sriracha. And thought I’d grab a bottle to bring into work for all those times I want hot sauce.

Sweet Chili Saucesweet chili

I love sweet chili sauce. Hopefully TJ’s will be delicious.

trail mixBreakfast Trek Mix (single serve bags)

I love trail mix. But I eat the whole bag. So these are good to grab one and bring to work to eat for a snack. And if I only have one on hand, I can’t eat the whole bag.

ginger snapsTriple Ginger Snaps

These are said to be delicious. I love ginger snaps, and these have 3 kinds of ginger: crystalized, ground, and puree.

Avocadosavocados

These are cheap at TJ’s. And I need them to make smoothies, so I grabbed a bag.

What are your Trader Joe’s must-haves?

What do you recommend for others to try?

Any HORRIBLE products you’ve tried??

Christmas Tree Hunt

My Parents and I finally went and picked out our christmas tree last week. Here’s some photos. We didn’t do anything extra exciting, just drove a few miles up the road to a U-Cut Christmas tree farm, picked out a good tree, cut it down and hauled it home.

photo 2

photo 3

photo 1

And a week later, we still don’t have it fully decorated. Fail.

DIY Sharpie Mugs

Supplies:

                                                          
(1) Cheap, white mug
(2) Porcelaine markers (I’ve heard oil-based sharpies work too, but I had these already)
(3) A design
For my design I decided to “monogram” the mugs for my brother and his girlfriend. (The nerd in me just laughed because the letters I used are B and G, but for Brandon and Grace, not Brother and Girlfriend… wow). I printed them off the computer (I used the Rockwell font size 150). I then flipped them over and used a pencil to scribble over the outline on the back. 

I then flipped the letter back over, and taped it to the mug. I proceeded to trace over the outline with a pen.
After removing the “stencil” this is what you’re left with:

I then simply went over my outline with the porcelain marker. These things can be tricky – you shake them up to get the ink mixed, then I recommend dotting it a few times on a piece of paper towel (you can press down and the marker tip presses back into the marker, which can cause a lot of ink to come out). If you aren’t careful you’ll get a huge blob of ink on your project. Have no fear, if you mess up – rubbing alcohol will remove any mess-ups before you bake.

Then to make them a little more artistic and cute, I “filled in” the letters
My marker was slowly dying. Then I pressed it down a few times on a paper towel and it ended up gushing out paint, so the G is a little darker than the B. But I like the way the B looked so I left it.
I then finalized the mugs with a gold sharpie paint marker on the other side with a customization for my brother and his girlfriend. I’ll see how well that stays on after they bake.
Look for an update here in a couple days with a “post baking” picture!!!

Workout: Preparing For Hibernation

I love everything to do with the holidays. Cookies, candies, bread, you get the idea. So while it may be the easy way out to gain a couple pounds, put on a layer of fat, and wait the winter out… I’ve decided to make an effort this year to continue to go to the gym, do cardio, and lift… Coming out a better, more fit person in the spring.

I have a goal in the waaaaaaaay back of my mind to run a 10k. So I’ve been training to run longer distances, and slowly increasing my pace. I figure I have all winter to work towards it, so there’s no excuse.

The first part of my workout always involves a run. Currently I am following a “plan” that may or may not be successful, but so far I find it to be one that I can increase my pace on, as well as my running distance. The plan (see below) is set up as a run/walk, so you run for minutes vs. distance, which is perfect for increasing speed because I end up going further, but the same amount of time. Each “stage” lasts 3 days, so I increase my speed each day (i.e.- 6.2 day 1, 6.3 day 2, 6.4 day 4). Then the next week I start day 1 at 6.2 again.

Here’s the plan (from Victory Fitness)

I started on days 14-17 because that was my baseline, but the link will bring you to the full plan.

Day 14-17:

Walk 3 minutes: Run 6 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Run 4 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 3 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 3 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 1 minutes

Walk 2 minutes

Day 18-21:

Walk 3 minutes: Run 8 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Run 6 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 10 seconds

Walk 2 minutes

Day 22-24:

Walk 2 minutes: Run 10 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 8 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 2 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 1 minutes

Walk 2 minutes

Day 25-26:

Walk 1 minutes: Run 16 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 10 minutes

Walk to cool down

Day 27-28:

Walk 1 minutes: Run 20 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 1 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 1 minutes: Run 3 minutes

You can see the pattern the plan takes. It seems like there are doable jumps between weeks, even if they seem daunting before you try. I’ll let you guys know how it goes as I progress.

Then, after my run/cooldown I go lift. Currently I am working out at Planet Fitness, so if you’re familiar with the gym, you know the equipment I have access to. Depending on the day I will either focus on a muscle group, or do a full body lift. I also go with a friend who does legs a lot. I like to use some machines and some free weights.

Here are my favorite lifting exercises:

Leg press/squat:

Dead lifts:

Chest press:

Row:

Assisted pull-ups:

Lat pull-down:
Dumbbell flys:
Biceps curl:
Triceps kick-back:

Triceps dips:
Most of these exercises you can find out the proper way to do from the machine. But for the most part with free weights, keep your elbows close to your body (biceps and triceps), and use a weight that you can do 8-12 reps with. When I can do more than 12 reps with a weight, I increase. I have yet to get “huge” and “bulky” so I’m not scared to lift too heavy. I do shy away from doing too much weight with my inner thighs/hamstrings, only because those muscles seem to grow quickly on me, and then it hinders my running.

And most importantly, STRETCH.

Don’t forget to stretch any muscle that you worked that day. Foam rolling is awesome. 
Also, drink plenty of water, no matter what you’re doing. And if you do anything with strength make sure you increase your protein intake. Whether you eat some peanut butter, or drink a protein shake, get a little extra in right after your workout to refuel your muscles and help them rebuild.