Three Lifts to Make the Most of Your TIme

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While cardiovascular activity is important for overall health and function, it’s important to also incorporate resistance training for the sake of your metabolic rate, performance and muscle development. 

In any average gym, you will walk in to see room upon room of machines, weights, and freaky looking gadgets. Which ones are good and which ones are pointless?

The gym is really similar to the grocery store. There are a lot of packaged and processed things you want to stay clear from, for the sake of your body and health. The gym is no different. Every year, new machines are created that promise the hope of “better” abs, stronger legs or bigger arms. The truth is, the tried and true exercises for optimal muscle growth and/or strength development have not changed. 

The same lifts that were done in the very first gym known to man are probably the same three lifts I’m going to suggest you do for optimal performance. Being a competitive bodybuilder, Certified Health Coach and all-around-fitness geek, I have three main lifts I will never stray from. Take into account that I do not know about your personal body, so not all of these will be optimal for every single person. With that said, use your own judgment, and let’s roll.

1. Squats

With the correct stance and appropriate weight, squats will give you the most bang for your buck. Squats challenge your glutes, quads, calves, core, back and pretty much all the tiny fibers in your body you don’t consciously think about. On top of that, studies have shown that squats can increase testosterone levels (ladies…don’t let this deter you) and can help with overall muscle development. Squats create round glutes, a firm core and, might I say, a challenge! 

2. Deadlifts

Deadlifts have multiple forms, all of which are great. You can do traditional, straight-leg, one leg, Romanian, kettlebell, dumbbell and so on. The important thing to remember is to keep a flat back (rounding the back is what causes injuries short-term and long-term), holding the correct grip and keeping a level head. This exercise can be tricky because doing too many lifts consecutively can cause improper form and technique. When doing the deadlift, it’s important to push yourself but not to the point you get sloppy. Exert great force on every pull and watch your strength sore! 

3. Pull-ups

While this may look like an old school exercise, pull-ups are a great exercise for working your arms, back, chest and abdominals. There’s a reason it’s been around for so long! Whether you’re doing pull-ups or chin-ups, you can continue to challenge yourself by increasing the number of reps or adding a weighted belt. This exercise is challenging especially for women because of the way they (we) are built, but that’s not to say we can’t work hard and accomplish this awesome feat. The important thing to remember with pull-ups is to stick out the chest, focus on engaging the lats (back muscles) and to keep the shoulders back. So many people unintentionally round the shoulders forward but this is the fastest way to injury and incorrect form. 

If you’re not looking to spend much time in the gym, or if you want a few exercises to incorporate into your routine daily, start with these great movements. Staying consistent will result in tremendous strength improvements! 

And of course, after a strenuous workout, always remember to fuel up! Skoop B-Strong will supply you with the alkalizing, plant-based protein you need for optimal recovery, digestions and absorption!

http://healthyskoop.com

The Importance of Enjoying the Process

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When creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself, people often take one of two approaches. They either jump in head first, or they ease their way in with baby steps. When taking the former approach, it’s important to do it consciously and try to not become too overwhelmed.

Remember, change takes time. Not everything is black and white.

It’s really easy to become lost in the process and forget why you started it in the first place. When you’re too focused on what you shouldn’t eat and you forget about everything you can eat, you lose some enjoyment in making improvements. Similarly, when you try to go from zero workouts to six, you might end up too consumed, with no free time or social life. It’s not about being the best, it’s about striving to be better. And when I say “be better,” I mean feel better. I mean to live longer for your children’s sake or for your own sake.

So if you’re one of the millions of people that try to adopt a healthier lifestyle, than do yourself a huge favor and first, commit to it and second, commit to enjoying the process.

People often find themselves focusing on cleaning up their diet and hitting the gym or track, but they forget to celebrate the small victories too.

Every single victory should be recognized.

Believe it or not, getting solid sleep is an accomplishment in itself. When you get a solid night’s rest, be proud.

Every time you make a healthy choice for lunch when you could have had something not-so-nourishing, feel good about it.

Every day you wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal so that you can take your dog for a walk, recognize your effort.

None of these accomplishments are too small or insignificant for recognition. Your entire life is an accumulation of small victories. Appreciate your hard work every single day and always forgive yourself when you have an “off day.”

You’ll have some awesome days and you’ll have some not-so-awesome days. But either way, appreciate your body’s ability to live, eat and breathe and enjoy this awesome process that we call life!

Superfood Muesli Breakfast

Looking to spice up your breakfast?

Try this tasty gluten-free, dairy-free muesli. 

In a bowl, combine:

  • Gluten-free oats or quinoa
  • Coconut flakes
  • Blueberries
  • Almond slivers
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cranberries
  • Cinnamon

Shake up a serving of our B-Strong plant-based protein powder with 1 cup almond milk and pour over the top of your delicious superfood cereal. 

Enjoy!

Three Health Myths to Put to Rest

1. Fat makes you fat.

One of the oldest myths in the book: fat makes you fat. Contrary to popular belief, fat actually does a lot of amazing things, one of which is not automatically making you fat. Here is a list of some awesome things fat can do for your body:

  • Helps with nutrient absorption

  • Diets rich in omega-3 and monounsaturated fats reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes

  • Healthy fats improve cognitive function

  • Fat (all fat besides trans fat) keeps you satiated longer, resulting in less cravings

  • Fat acts as a lubricator, creating a healthy glow in the skin, nails and hair

Paired with a low carbohydrate diet, fat can become the body’s primary source of energy too, which will result in more body fat burning throughout the day, as well as outstanding energy.

2. Lifting heavy weights will make you bulky

Lifting weights does not “make” anybody bulky automatically. Lifting heavy weights is amazing for muscle development, metabolic speed and endorphins. If you want to gain mass, it does require work though. You must eat a proper amount of calories on a daily basis, get plenty of sleep and rest, and lift challenging weight. With a proper diet, you will develop muscle definition.

Developing muscle mass is an amazing thing! You can become stronger, faster and leaner with muscle. This is actually the “look” that so many people call toned. So don’t be afraid to get in the gym and lift some weight!

3. All calories are created equal.

Calories are made up of three macronutrients: fat, proteins and carbs. So it’s common sense that a calorie is not just a calorie. It’s either a fat, protein or carb, and all of those nutrients have different functions in the body. The quality of food also matters, in terms of optimal health; 500 calories of a fast food burger are not the same as 500 calories of grass-fed beef and a sweet potato. In a organic, grass-fed burger, you’re not getting hormones, antibiotics and steroids that you might be consuming in a fast food, conventionally raised burger. Food affects the way you think, feel, move and live.

All in all, remember food and activity is important! Food sets you up for mental and physical success, while activity will provide you with opportunities to experience self-accomplishment on a daily basis. Not to mention the good-feelin’ hormones you receive aren’t so bad!

How Much Protein do You Need?

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There are three macronutrients that make up the profile of the food you eat: fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Fat provides cognitive function, vitamin absorption and optimal digestion.

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy. They help things grow, such as muscle, and they provide you the energy you need to do daily activities.

So what about protein? Protein is an essential nutrient that you need enough of to repair cells, build tissue, and keep your body healthy. Protein is what keeps your nails strong, your hair thick and your skin alive.

Protein is not your body’s first choice as an energy source. That job belongs to carbohydrates. You don’t need to eat protein for your daily activity, but you do need to eat protein for your body to recover and repair after those daily activities.

So how much do we need?

This can be a tricky question to answer because every single person needs a different amount. It’s safe to say that generally, an individual needs anywhere between .75-1.5 g protein per body pound.

If you’re a pretty active individual, a safe place to start is with 1 g of protein per body pound. In this case, a 125 lb woman who is fairly active would eat at least 125 g of protein per day. A 175 lb male that’s pretty active would eat at least 175 g of protein per day.

If you are not active, you can get away with eating less protein. There will be less stress happening in the body and tissues, therefore there will be less that needs repairing and restoring. A sedentary person could eat around .75 g/body pound and sometimes even as little as .5 g per body pound.

If you lift weights, play sports, and/or have a fairy laborious job, you may need more protein, since your cells and tissues will need more repairing. This could be anywhere from 1-1.5 g/body pound depending on the activity levels.

Make sense?

Many people seem to think that eating protein will make you big. That’s pretty far from the truth. Eating protein, accompanied with eating a higher intake of carbohydrates, will help you build muscle. Simply said, carbohydrates make things grow, such as muscle, when it is paired up with protein. Eating protein on it’s own will not make you magically wake up big, so no worries there!

Hopefully this helps clear up any confusion you may have with protein. If you’re looking for a new, high-quality source of protein, check out our newest product, B-Strong. This plant-based protein powder is loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, brown rice and pea protein, and prebiotics. It’s nothing but good. Get more information here: http://healthyskoop.com

Complex vs. Simple Carbohydrates: What’s the Difference?

There are two basic types of carbohydrates: complex and simple. 

Simple carbohydrates are those that are composed of one or two sugars. They are broken down in the body quickly because of their structure, and can range in nutritional value, depending on the source. Not to get too scientific here, but there are two kinds of simple carbs- monosaccharides and disaccharides. Fruit is a great example of a simple carbohydrate that you can enjoy regularly, whereas a piece of candy should be enjoyed in moderation.

Complex carbs consist of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. These include larger number of monosaccharides and disaccharides as well as cellulose, dextrin, glycogen and starch. You can find complex carbohydrates in foods such as gluten-free oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole grains, legumes, and fibrous veggies.

So when are the best times to eat these types of carbs, you ask? Anytime!

If your body digests and absorbs various carbohydrates well and you have more energy in your system with them, feel free to pair carbohydrates with your daily meals. 

With that said, it’s good to note that simple carbohydrates are best eaten right after an intense workout. This could be a banana and a post-workout protein shake. Complex carbohydrates can be enjoyed any time of the day. A great staple meal here at the Skoop office is a power bowl loaded with quinoa, avocado, salmon and spices!

Experiment with carbohydrates sources this week and let us know which are your favorite!

Enjoy.

Looking for a healthy boost to your post workout?

Chocolate milk + 1 Skoop of Chocofresh

This combo tastes amazing and helps you recover faster. Adding Skoop to your post workout protein is delicious too, and not to mention it turns your protein into the ORAC equivalent of 10 servings of fruits and veggies, fights inflammation, combats stress and improves digestion. 

Try it today with a money back guarantee

https://healthyskoop.com

ASTRAGALUS

Skoop ingredient of the day: ASTRAGALUS

"Astragalus, beyond being a great Scrabble word, is also great for your mind and body-supporting our ability to be more resilient to stress and enhancing virtually every component of our immune system. SKOOP is fortified with Astragalus so you can be the super hero you came here to 
be-live your A Game!” Dr. James Rouse 

Skoop only uses the finest of ingredients and nutrients in each and every bag. We chose to put Astragalus in our formula for so many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Astragalus has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as an immunity booster
  • Astragalus has been proven to help with chronic hepatitis 
  • Astragalus has helped with the common cold
  • Astragalus has some pretty cool nicknames, some including: bei qi, huang qi, ogi, hwanggi, milk vetch

Feed yourself some Skoop for the immense benefits of Astragalus and enjoy your immunity’s powerful strength!

Healthy Blueberry Skoop Muffins

Looking for a delicious breakfast recipe that won’t leave you tired and foggy?

Would you rather eat a nutritious meal, loaded with phytonutrients, antioxidants, energy and probiotics?

US TOO!

That’s why we created these blueberry muffins. If you’re all about the taste, but not about the “guilt” this treat might be right up your alley.

Plus, they’re great for kids and feeding the whole family. Enjoy these muffins first thing in the morning or save them for an afternoon treat.

Healthy Blueberry Skoop Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (GF option- gluten free oat flour)

3/4-1 cup almond milk

3/4 cup stevia (or 1/2 cup maple syrup)

3/4 cup organic applesauce

2 “skoops” of Skoop A Game (we used ChocoFresh but either would work)

5 oz Greek yogurt (we used blueberry!)

1 egg

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 small carton blueberries (about 1-2 cups)

Optional- Cacao nibs, coconut flakes, honey, dried fruit and/or nuts

Directions:

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl (only use 3/4 cup of almond milk to start) and stir well. Then mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir each bowl and then combine together. If consistency is too dry, add more of the almond milk until it’s moist. Add in the blueberries if you haven’t yet and stir again.

Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray and evenly disperse muffin batter into the pan. Your mix will make anywhere from 12-15 muffins depending on the size you like.

Place the muffins in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. 

When muffins are done, let them cool and then enjoy them with a nice glass of almond milk while you sit back and let the superfood effects kick in!

Peanut Butter Banana Super Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Super Smoothie

This smoothie is great for an afternoon pick-me-up, as well as a nutritional post workout shake. Enjoy this delicious treat guilt free, while still loading up on antioxidants, adaptogens, probiotics, and a broad spectrum of superfoods!

1 serving Skoop

1 frozen banana

2 T peanut (or almond butter)

1 cup almond milk (can use more based on consistency preference)

1/2 cup ice

optional- Chia seeds, honey and/or vanilla protein powder

Directions:

Mix in a blender and enjoy!