Your Summer Fitness Gear Guide

This post contains affiliate links

Summer Fitness Gear Guide

Summer is the perfect time to revamp your fitness routine and grab some new fitness gear.  The products below are less typical than the average equipment you might have lying around, but may be just what you need to spice up your exercise routine this summer.


Wreck BagWreck Bags
Wreck Bags are weighted bags, perfect for all kinds of Cross Fit and other rugged lifting activities. Carry, toss, squat, press or slam wreck bags. The bags are made from a  woven polyethylene outer shell that will not absorb water and the handles are made from a soft webbing that should be gentle on your hands. The fill material is a shock-absorbing, recycled product that will not shift during use. Buy Wreck Bags Here (affiliate link)

 


Kettlebells
Kettlebells
Kettlebells are one of the hottest trends in lifting weights right now. From swinging to lifting, kettlebells offer enhanced gripping and weight distribution that other products just can’t match.  Check out Greatist’s 22 Kick-Ass Kettlebell exercises for some great ideas on how to incorporate them into your routine.  Buy Kettlebells Here (affiliate link)

 


Jump RopeJump Rope
Reclaim some of the fun you had as a kid and give the jump rope a try again. The benefits of jumping rope can be huge because it involves fast-paced, non-stop movement.  Another bonus to using a jump rope is that it is highly portable and fairly easy to do anywhere.   Buy a Jump Rope Here (affiliate link)

 


ConesCones
Cones aren’t in the fitness arsenal of many, but I really think they should be. Whether you use them to mark out distances, set up stations for Tabata-style workouts or use them to create obstacles, cones can definitely be useful in your fitness routine. Buy Cones Here (affiliate link)

 


Agility LadderAgility Ladder
Another piece of fitness gear that a lot of people don’t have is an agility ladder. You may only be familiar with this piece of fitness gear from watching professional athletes dance in and out of the squares during practice, but trust me, you can benefit from this tool too. An agility ladder can be used for jumping, running and coordination improvement no matter what your skill or fitness level.  The ladder gives you .  Buy an Agility Ladder Here (affiliate link)

 


Battle RopesBattle Ropes
Another hot trend in fitness is battle ropes. These heavy, sometimes weighted ropes can be used for a number of upper body, strength-enhancing exercise activities.  The ropes can be swung in multiple directions with different movements to target different parts of the upper body.  Some great exercise examples with battle ropes can be found on ONNIT.  They can also be used solo with an anchor/attachment to a fixed object or used with a partner.  Buy Battle Ropes Here (affiliate link)

 

FitbitFitbit
If you are looking to track your total movement, sleep and steps then a Fitbit might be just the tool you need.  There are a number of different Fitbit products that range from the fairly simple Zip that is more or less an advanced step counter to the way more high-tech Charge HR that tracks every move you make and even includes your heart rate.  Using a tracker like the Fitbit can be excellent insight into your activity and can give you an excellent baseline to set activity goals.  Buy Fitbit products here (affiliate link)

Photo credit: 7777 via photopin (license).

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Guest Post: The Difference between Whey, Soy and Casein Protein Powders

The Difference between Whey, Soy and Casein Protein Powders
Pixabay

Today’s article was written by guest author Rick Grimes. If you’d like to contact Rick please check out his social media and contact info at the end of the article.

If you’re at all into fitness, exercising, bodybuilding or just a general health enthusiast, then you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of protein. You may have even heard about it a little too often, considering the popularity of this, sometimes misunderstood, compound.

People love to talk about protein, especially protein powders. If you’ve ever stepped foot inside a gym, you’re probably aware of protein powder. It’s that liquid in those fancy shaker cups everyone is carrying around.

Protein powder is one of the most polarizing supplements out there. Some people take it, some don’t. Some people love it and others hate it. Some swear it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and others swear it’ll kill you in your sleep.

The truth is, protein powder is rather harmless and has plenty of benefits, especially for those of us who are staying active and beating up our bodies in the gym.

So let’s take a closer look into the three most popular and often used protein powders: Whey, Casein and Soy.

What is protein and why do you need so much of it?

So first let’s take a quick look at what protein actually is and why it’s so important for the human body.

I’m going to skip the technical definition that you can get from a quick google search and simply say that protein is one of the building blocks of our bodies. It’s in just about every single body part, from muscle and bones to hair and skin.

Protein is made up of 20 chemicals called amino acids. 11 of these are created by our bodies, but 9 (referred to as essential amino acids) must be consumed through food. This is why protein powder is so useful, it gives you a full dose of all 20 of these amino acids in a quick shake.

There are three major protein powders that you can utilize into your routine depending on your goals and a few other factors that I’ll go over below.

What is Whey Protein Powder?

Whey protein powder is the most popular of the three, most likely because it is the fastest digesting protein, making it useful for people who exercise heavily.

Whey is found in milk and dairy foods (as is casein). In milk, over 20% of the protein is whey.

Another reason why whey is popular is because it is classified as a complete protein, meaning it comes packed with all 20 of the essential amino acids that our bodies require. This makes whey protein a staple in bodybuilding, since it does just an awesome job of repairing and building your muscles quickly after your workouts.

Who can benefit from whey?

Whey protein powder is beneficial to anyone who needs extra protein in their diet, but especially those who need it to be fast acting. This can include bodybuilders, athletes, runners or anyone who performs a lot of intense activity that breaks down their muscles.

What is Soy Protein Powder?

Soy protein is the most different of the three, reason being is because it comes from a plant (soybeans) whereas the other two come from milk.

Soybeans have zero cholesterol and are very low in fat, making soy protein a good choice for the health conscious among us. Soy protein is often popular among women and vegetarians. It is helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol, risk of heart problems and helps to make other foods you intake more effective.

Soy is often not necessary if you’re taking a whey or casein powder and it is most beneficial for vegetarians/vegans who want the extra protein per day but don’t like the idea of it coming from dairy products.

What is Casein Protein Powder?

Whereas whey protein makes up 20% of milk, the other 80% is known as casein. The main difference in the 2 is that casein digests much slower than whey does in the human body. This has its benefits. Along with being anti-catabolic it also contains calcium which is crucial for bone health and body composition.

While casein is great for times such as, before bed and with meals, it’s slow digestion rate makes it a bad choice for pre and post training.

Who can benefit from casein protein?

Realistically anyone who is benefiting from whey protein can also benefit from casein. Many fitness buffs will recommend you take both. Whey before and after your workouts and casein right before bedtime or with your meals.

Since it is slow digesting, taking casein before bedtime is a great idea because your body is asleep for 8-10 hours and it can use that time to digest and absorb the casein which will reduce the risk of a catabolic state.

How to Pick the Right Product

Choosing a supplement can be difficult considering the amount of products out on the market right now. It can get confusing, especially for beginners. Luckily we live in an era of the most advanced information technology in history. Using the internet to narrow down your choices is a wonderful way to make sure you’re not wasting your money.

Check out Top 10 Supplement Rankings as a good starting point for your research. It lists the top 10 supplements by category and has some great selections for whey, soy and casein protein powders.

A few things to look for in a protein product:

  • The amount of protein
  • The amount of BCAAs
  • Limited Sugar
  • Price
  • Brand quality
  • User Reviews and Feedback
  • Reviews from blogs and youtube

Wrapping Up

Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the major differences between the 3 most popular protein powders on the market. But always remember, supplements are just that, supplements. The best source of protein is and always will be food and natural sources. Taking a protein isn’t dangerous, but it can be if you start to rely on it for all your nutritional intake.

Never let supplements be your main source of nutrition. Always meet your daily protein needs with healthy meats, dairy and vegetables and only add in a powder if you really need to. I’d recommend speaking with your doctor first also, they’ll be able to help you make a better decision on whether you actually need a protein powder in your routine or not.

Thanks for reading!

rick-grimes-author-avatarAuthor Bio:
Rick Grimes is an ex-soccer pro who is in love with health and fitness. He enjoys writing, reading, blogging, hiking and most of all fishing. You can find more of his work over at his supplement info website or his Google Plus page.

Guest Post: The Most Commonly Forgotten Aspects of Fitness

The Most Commonly Forgotten Aspects of Fitness_miniToday’s article was written by guest author Tina Hamilton. If you’d like to contact Tina please check out her social media and contact info at the end of the article.

Personal trainers often show off the perfect, healthy lifestyle by living their best every single day. Of course, their clients crave these results and hope to achieve the same lifestyle on their own. People look to personal trainers all the time to create this lifestyle, but personal training often only covers a small portion of what it really means to be healthy.

In order to be truly healthy, a person needs to work not just on physical fitness, but every aspect of health and wellness as well that their personal trainer might not have fully explained. Here are some of the most commonly forgotten aspects of fitness.

Not thinking about bone health

Building muscle and endurance are common goals that personal trainers are presented with, but many people forget about strengthening their bones as well. It is equally important to think about bone health as it is muscle health. Everyone should know about these three new osteoporosis risk factors and what they can do to strengthen and protect their bones.

Not working on building confidence and self-love

Before anyone sets out to reach a goal of any kind, they need to decide first that they are worthy of achieving that goal. Too many people start a fitness routine based on self-hate and struggle to get results. It is essential to work on creating a positive self-image while working towards a healthier body.

Not working on balance

One of the most forgotten aspects of a fitness routine is balance. Balance is a necessary element that can not only make daily life easier, but can also help everyone strengthen their core and stabilizer muscles. Try doing an exercise or two every workout that challenges balance. These exercises may be frustrating at first, but the benefits will by quite obvious after only a few sessions.

Not working every muscle group

It is easy for anyone to get into a routine of a few specific exercises and forget to change things up every so often. This can lead to people forgetting about certain muscles or muscle groups, which can lead to imbalances or even injuries. Work to rotate each week between every muscle group and look for exercises that target more than one muscle at a time.

Not trying to eliminate stress every day

Stress is a huge factor in a lot of people’s lives. Stress not only can cause frustrations in daily life, but it can actually prevent people from reaching their fitness goals. Too much stress can cause a decline in muscle growth and essential nutrients needed to repair the body after each workout. Get stress in check to get the best results.

Not balancing workouts with the right foods

Many people will work both with their personal trainer and their nutritionist to create the best plan, but these two aspects do not always coincide. It is important to know what foods to eat when throughout the day to get the most benefit from them.

Tina Hamilton HeadshotAuthor Bio:
Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You also find her on Twitter.

Foodie Friday: Healthy Recipe Round Up May 2015 Edition

Foodie Friday_mini

It’s been forever since I did a healthy recipe round up so I thought today would be the perfect day to share some of the amazing recipes I have discovered and enjoyed lately.

From The Domestic Man: Samosa Mashed Potatoes.

Okay so… confession time. I have a crazy huge chef-crush on The Domestic Man. Russ Crandall comes up with the most fantastic recipes and this one is no different. Adding additional veggies and tons of flavor to mashed potatoes takes them from basic to the perfect single side dish to round out your meal. I’m thinking of serving these with another Domestic Man favorite: Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel).

From Nom Nom Paleo/The Homegrown Paleo: Lemon Ginger Meatballs.

Meatballs are a huge favorite of mine.  They’re an easy vehicle for tons of flavor and can be made with many different dietary needs in mind.  Additionally, it’s something you can make during meal prep and eat a couple times throughout the week without much fuss. These lemon ginger meatballs are packed with flavor from fresh herbs.  If you can’t get your hands on all the fresh herbs then you can try substituting them for dried versions, but I don’t think your flavors will be as bright and exciting.

From Fairyburger: Sriracha Slaw.

I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and cooking intensive recipes, but I’m certainly not opposed to super-easy ones either.  This Sriracha Slaw falls in the latter category and while it’s quick and easy, it packs huge flavor.  The addition of Greek yogurt gives this slaw a nice creaminess and tempers the Sriracha sauce just a bit.  Bagged coleslaw mix is what makes this recipe fast, but you can shred your own cabbage too.  I can see napa cabbage, red cabbage and even a sprinkling of sliced green onions taking this recipe to the next level.

From Chocolate Covered Katie: Peanut Butter Bliss Balls.

Chocolate Covered  Katie is a master of taking really bad treats and making them surprisingly better for you.  This, of course, does not grant a license for reckless abandon, but it helps make eating healthier fun.  As with most of her recipes these Peanut Butter Bliss Balls are very cutomizable to your dietary preferences.  Different sweetener and flour suggestions are provided so that you can make the perfect treat for your needs.  Because I am a massive fan of raw cookie dough, these balls are just right for when I get a sweet tooth.  If you enjoy cookie dough you should definitely give them a try.

I am a recipe collector of sorts and my bookmarks are brimming with both good for you and less than healthy recipes that I am anxious to try. I hope you enjoy the recipe round-up for today and if you have an excellent, healthier recipe posted on your site please feel free to leave a comment below!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Product Review: New Grip PowerPads

New Grip PowerPadThis post contains affiliate links.  

When the folks at New Grip offered a free set of PowerPads (affiliate link) for me to test out I was very interested.  I’d been using regular old Gold’s Gym gloves with pretty good results, but I’m always looking for anything that can improve my workout or serve me better.  From the pictures on the website I wasn’t really sure how exactly these PowerPads were supposed to work though.  Not a glove at all, the product is literally a pad to protect your hand.

IMAG0422_mini IMAG0424_mini
About:  
The New Grip PowerPad is neoprene foam pad that is about 1/4 inch thick.  The pad stays on your hand using an elastic band.  The pads are sized by height and wrist diameter and come in sizes XS, S, M and L.  I received the Hand Pad version of the PowerPads which covers the hand, but there is also a version that can be use with a wrist wrap that extends to your wrist and attaches to a wrist cuff.  The PowerPads are intended to replace traditional lifting gloves.

Initial Product Impression:  The moment I saw the New Grip PowerPads (affiliate link) I thought they seemed too simple.  How was this small foam pad going to do anything special I wondered.  I slipped the pad on and immediately realized I had probably made a mistake in sizing.  I went with the M based on height, but the pad seemed a little over-sized for my hand.  That being said, this was my error.  I have skinny hands and should have looked at the sizing and product a little closer before picking my size.  Also, the website indicates they are happy to exchange them for a different size should you order something that doesn’t fit quite right.  I think that showing the actual measurement of the product and telling you to measure your palm might help alleviate sizing issues.

Experience: I tried the PowerPads with a variety of different surfaces/settings to get a good idea of how they worked.  A straight bar, textured dumbbells and a smooth pull-up bar were all places I wanted to see how the PowerPads faired.  In each instance the PowerPads protected my hands better than any glove I have ever tried.  My grip was challenged by the thickness of the pad, but after a while I got used to the extra bulk.

The Good:
-Easy to clean
-No smell
-Improves grip with continued use
-Provides incredible cushion, especially on those awful textured bars
-Prevents blisters and rough skin associated with lifting weights
-Protects palm AND fingers
-Can be used for other stuff (I used mine while shoveling for extra cushioning and hand protection which worked perfectly)

IMAG0427_miniIMAG0426_mini The Not Good:
-The foam is a bit thick until your grip strength improves (may be part of the pad being a little over-sized for my hand)
-I’m not sure how long the elastic will remain tight
-I think finger slots might be a better system for keeping the pad on your hand

Final Thoughts:  These pads are a no-brainer for serious (and even not so serious) lifting.  At $14.99/pair you won’t be spending more than a typical pair of lifting gloves, but you’ll be getting a lot more benefit from these. The cushioning is awesome for anyone who wants to protect their hands from the wear and tear that lifting can cause.

Full disclosure: I received a free set of New Grip PowerPads (affiliate link) to try out and review. The opinions and reviews presented here are solely my own. I have received no payment or compensation for this review other than the product.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.