Weigh In Wednesday – #100kreasons Week 2

It’s time for another reality check in the form of WEIGH IN WEDNESDAY! I created a new template to track my measurements, since bodybuilding.com went ahead and changed their website to a new format that doesn’t allow you to see … Continue reading

That #gymdoll Glow!

Has anyone else noticed that incredible glow you get when you are sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program? It’s simply enchanting! I have always been one of those girls who wished for a genie to grant me one … Continue reading

‘Excuses’ Is My Middle Name

What has been the theme of my life for the past month and a half? Making excuses. Constant excuses. My shoulder is injured; I don’t have time to go the gym with all these RMT appointments; It’s my birthday; It’s my work Christmas party; It’s my friend’s Christmas party; another work Christmas party; it’s Christmas….blah blah blah blah… Long story, I basically gave up on diet and just ate and drank anything I wanted. Amazingly, I didn’t really put on much weight but I didn’t take any off either. I was still going to the gym and doing some light cardio, but that just helped me to be able to binge more. The best part was the Christmas break when my parent’s house was hit by the ice storm and we had no power for over 80 hours. I ate a lot of chips and cheese…When you are freezing cold the only thing that makes it feel better is lots and lots of fat! Luckily, the holidays are OVER and I have enough motivation from my ill-fitting clothing to get my butt back into gear.

Just in time, Bodybuilding.com gave me 100,000 reasons to shape up with their 12-week transformation challenge! The last time I did one of these I got really into it and got into the best shape I had been in in years. I plan to do the same thing this time. No more excuses, as hard as that is. I find that it is really had to make others understand why you are choosing not to eat and drink unhealthy things, and that makes being social really difficult, but in the end it is always worth it.

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Over the past week I have been much better with diet and the gym, and I’ve been trying to experiment with new healthy recipes. I haven’t seen any changes yet, and I probably need to be a lot more strict to see that happen. I’ve started using my SparkPeople account to track my calories again and that is definitely going to help. I’m not a huge fan of calorie counting, but it is useful to know what you are really consuming. I’m hoping that will help me to get a handle on my dieting issues again. I’m going to continue to experiment until January 13th when the contest begins, then it’s all seriousness all the time.

I hope you join me!

Power Analysis: BSN N.O. Xplode 2.0

Yeah, baby. It’s N.O. Xplode 2.0! No one has gone through a serious workout program without hearing about this product. It’s a legend, even though sometimes I really don’t know why. Before I even started training seriously I had heard about N.O. Xplode. It has been copied by other Pre Workout Supplements as well, because that is always what is done with the best products. If you have ever wondered why some people are your gym are WIRED or in my case, seem super angry and determined, living in some crazy other world zone, N.O. Xplode is probably to blame, or thank, I have no idea. Just take one look at their advertisement and you will see what they are going for–ripped, strong, powerful. Of course, this can be kind of intimidating, and Pre Workouts should be taken with caution, but they can be very useful, and sometimes mean the difference between serious gains and lackluster results simply because of enhanced motivation. Here’s why:

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What is a Pre Workout Supplement?

A Pre Workout supplement is a powdery substance designed to help you push your body to the EXTREME. If taken before a lifting session, Pre Workout supplements are designed to improve focus and energy, allowing you to lift more and build muscles faster. Of course, caffeine has a lot to do with all of this added energy. Don’t fear, if you have a low tolerance of caffeine, there are decaffeinated versions of Pre Workout supplements that can be taken to achieve desired results.

Pre Workouts contain a similar formula of a few key ingredients (aside from Caffeine):

 L-Arginine to support oxygen flow and create a pump: this amino acid is a vasodilator, which means it may help your blood vessels expand within a normal range.

Beta-Alanine to promote muscular endurance, maximize protein synthesis, and decrease fatigue during your workout: this is responsible for your ability to push through a difficult workout. It is also the cause of the strange tingling sensation you will get when you take pre workout supplements!

Why Should I Take Pre Workout Supplements?

Pre Workout supplements are particularly effective at ensuring that you are able to push through a tough workout even if you are tired. They pump you full of energy, and make you feel like you can lift anything. Of course, lift with caution to prevent injuries (says me, clearly the expert…). Pre Workouts can also enhance focus and endurance during your workout, which helps you to push out more reps, support blood flow to the muscles, and create the pump that many bodybuilders crave. Pre Workouts can enhance results due to its ability to help you push through harder and further.

What Makes N.O. Xplode 2.0 Special?

I was initially terrified to try N.O. Xplode. I used to be very sensitive to caffeine, and I initially only purchased pre workout supplements that did not contain caffeine. I received a sample of N.O. Xplode, and decided to try it during Kris Gethin’s DTP leg workout, because I clearly knew I would need something to put me in another place. It was intense, but it worked. The first thing I noticed was the intense tingling feeling, which in itself made me want to work harder, just to get rid of it! I was able to push through a really intense workout, focused, and enjoying every step of the way. I have noticed that the formula has changed in the 2.0 version, and it is not as strong as it used to be, despite claims that it is stronger. Even the flavor is slightly reduced.

I did notice a pump, particularly in my forearms. They felt like they were going to pop even after only three sets of my first exercise. I do notice a difference in the quality of my workouts without it, but I find that I can’t take it any later than 5:30 p.m. if I want to have a chance to sleep before 3 a.m. It does achieve its desired result, it keeps me energized, and I find that it maybe goes a bit too far. It doesn’t give me the shaking feeling of an energy drink, but it has been known to make me quite angry at times, but that makes for a stronger workout.

By the way, N.O. stands for nitric oxide. BSN explains its purpose here: “N.O.-XPLODE™ 2.0’s key ingredients support nitric oxide production, oxygen delivery, working capacity and electrolyte balance, helping you create show-stopping muscle pumps and vascularity and experience more rewarding workouts and performance.” 

I have only tried the Fruit Punch flavor, and it is very good. Most other pre workout supplements I have had have been absolute torture to drink. I would dread drinking them, sitting on the bench at the gym sipping them for up to 10 minutes just trying to get them down. This one is much more tolerable, I have never had an issue with it. I do recommend stirring it rather than shaking it, because I have had it pop the top off of my bottles before and everyone thinks the noise is something a lot scarier than a pre workout!

Shake and take with caution!

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Where to Buy Xtend?

N.O. Xplode is extremely popular, and should be carried at most supplement stores, like Popeye’s in Canada. I ordered mine off bodybuilding.com, typical.

Power Analysis: Muscle Milk Review

 Sometimes the hardest part of sticking to a diet or exercise regime is finding the time to cook meals, especially meals that will provide you with all of the essential nutrients to build and repair muscle. It is really easy to fall off the wagon because of cravings, or lack of preparation. Another huge issue that arises with a bodybuilding diet is monotony, food tends to taste boring, and protein shakes can become really boring when you are drinking them every day. If you are like me, you get really bored with protein shakes fast. At first, I will get a new protein and absolutely love it, and over time it becomes the enemy because I get so bored of it. It becomes really hard to motivate yourself to drink something that you can’t stand, so you turn to a chocolate bar, pizza, or some other craving. This is why it is extremely important to have meal replacement options, because there will be days that you can’t motivate yourself to cook, or drink a protein shake, and it is that moment when you need to be prepared so that you can prevent senseless cheating. My tried and true meal replacement favorite is Muscle Milk by Cytosport. I never get bored it this, I can drink it every day, and I still enjoy it. It is also filling, unlike a lot of protein shakes, and has a great macro nutrient ratio. Get your hands on some Muscle Milk!

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What is Muscle Milk?

Muscle Milk is a fabulous meal replacement option, meaning that it can be taken in place of food. This can be a life saver if you don’t have the time, energy, or cash to prepare 6 solid meals a day. Muscle Milk contains a blend of proteins (Calcium Sodium Caseinate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate, Whey Protein Concentrate), which are obviously key to building and repairing muscle. Since Muscle Milk contains a protein blend, you get the best of all world–slow and fast digesting proteins. Fast digesting proteins, like isolates, are soluble and enter  the blood stream quickly. What this means for you is that the protein contributes to greater growth and recovery due to protein synthesis. Slow digesting proteins, like casein, keep you fuller longer. This protein is perfect for meal replacement, as it is designed for periods where you cannot refuel quickly. Casein is also very high in amino acids, which help to speed muscle repair, promote muscle growth, and limit muscle breakdown.

In addition to protein, Muscle Milk includes fast-burning fats that help provide the caloric energy needed to fuel exercise and recovery. It also includes Omega 3, 6, and 9 fats, which are critically important for a healthy diet. Also, Muscle Milk is loaded with Glutamine (to rebuild muscle, serious key to bodybuilding) and other essential vitamins. It is pretty much the perfect go-to meal replacement shake. Check out the macros:

Muscle Milk Macros

Why Should I Take Muscle Milk?

Well, 6073 members of Bodybuilding.com can’t be wrong, and that is how many people have added Muscle Milk to their list of supplements on bodyspace. Muscle Milk keeps you full, provides you with essential nutrients, and tastes great. Also, it is lactose free, so it is the perfect meal replacement for those with lactose sensitivity. It contains no milk, despite the title, but it does contain a plethora of other awesome ingredients to help you build and maintain an awesome figure.

What Makes Muscle Milk Special?

The reason I continue to purchase Muscle Milk is the flavor, it tastes great and I haven’t gotten sick of it, which is saying a lot. I even bought a 5lb tub, which shows how serious I am about my love for Muscle Milk. I leave my Muscle Milk at work, because it is a simple and convenient meal to eat when you are in a rush. I particularly enjoy the Chocolate flavor. It is smooth, and mixes well. I also have the Chocolate Malt flavor, which is very similar to the Chocolate, I would suggest either flavor. I am yet to try some of the more exotic flavors, but I have my eye on the Red Velvet Cake and Raspberry Cheesecake.

If you are cutting down on carbs, I find that mixing one scoop of Muscle Milk with one scoop of Whey Protein Isolate of the same flavor is a very effective way to maintain the Muscle Milk flavor and texture, without the high amount of carbs. I take two scoops at a time for one serving, because I try to ensure that I am taking 30g of protein per meal. In two scoops Muscle Milk gives you 32g protein, 18g carbs, 12g fat. This is a very good ratio, especially for a meal replacement. It is also very low in sugar, with only 2g per scoop!

Where to Buy Muscle Milk?

Muscle Milk is a fairly standard product. I have bought it numerous times on bodybuilding.com. A 5lb tub is currently going for $48.98 Canadian, which means one meal will cost you around $1.50 if you take two scoops. Pretty decent. You can also find Muscle Milk at Popeye’s and other health food and supplement stores.

Don’t give yourself the excuse to cheat, make sure you always have a meal replacement with you!