Bodybuilding.com’s Signature 100% Whey Protein Powder Birthday Cake Review

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For most of us stuck inside over these past few months, working out has been…. a struggle. Not having our gyms to lift at and weights to throw around has thrown most of us off. One thing that helps motivate me to get it done is something delicious to end my workout with. Most of the protein I was ordering was on backorder for a while now at most stores, so I decided to try a new flavor: Bodybuilding.com’s whey birthday cake flavor (mainly because it’s the top-rated flavor on their site from other reviewers).

Overall review: 9/10

Flavor: 9/10

Mixing: 9/10

Sugar: 8/10

Protein content: 9/10

Flavor and mixing

The first thing I noticed about this protein was how smooth it mixed and the great flavor. It’s the closest I’ve had to an actual cake flavor in a long time from a protein powder. I’m a sucker for sprinkles, so I love that they’re mixed in. Keep in mind, if you blend your protein powder with other ingredients, they’re going to get crushed unless you add it after you’re done blending. You’ll also want to keep mixing it as you drink it because the sprinkles sink to the bottom.

Unlike some other protein powders I’ve used in the past, this one is rarely clumpy or sticking together. It mixes smooth and doesn’t need to be constantly shaken to maintain it’s good flavor. I suspect it’s due to the types of proteins used, which we’ll cover.

The ingredient breakdown

Bodybuilding.com has a stellar reputation, and I love that they put right on their site that they don’t use proprietary blends in their protein. For those that don’t know, some brands essentially hide how much protein you’re getting behind the idea that they’re a “proprietary blends”. That’s not even exclusive to protein powders, you can even find such labels on things like multivitamins.

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Key Ingredients:

  • 25g of Protein (13 g from Whey Protein Isolate, 6g from Whey Protein Concentrate, 6 g from Whey Protein Hydrolysate)
  • 2g of Total Fat (1g is Saturated Fat)
  • 3g of Total Carbohydrate (2g of Sugars, 1g of Added Sugar)

The different types of protein:

  • Whey isolate is ideal for low-carb diets since it’s low in fat
  • Whey concentrate has a balance between the major macros (protein, carbs, fats) to give you the energy you need
  • Whey hydrolysate has been broken down into strings of amino acids (peptides) to make digestion even easier

Also included are digestive enzymes which can help you absorb 20% more protein than a drink without them included.

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Serving sizes

The 2 lb. jug gets you about 27 servings – so almost a full month of shakes if you take it daily. If you take two scoops per day, you’ll need two jugs or you can opt for their 6 lb. option.

When to take

The best time to take a protein shake is right after a tough workout, but if you’re not getting enough throughout your day, it can be good to take more when you need it.

For reference, you should be getting about 1 G of protein per lean body pound.

Where to get it

The best place to get this protein is straight from Bodybuilding.com’s website: here.

TriggerPoint GRID Textured Foam Roller Review

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If you’re someone who has aches and pains from lifting or doing any other type of physical activity, a foam roller can help immensely. I’ve used a ton of different kinds, but I’ve seen the most benefit from using a sturdy one like the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller. Some people might enjoy a much softer one since they’re less intense, so that’s just something to keep in mind when you look for one. Plus, there are some even more intense than this one and are just solid without any foam. In my experience, those hurt way too much (also I’m a sissy sometimes) and this one is a great middle point.

Using the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller

Thankfully, there’s no setup needed for the foam roller, you just take it out and start to massage your body with it. You’ll want to look up specific exercises to do with any foam roller you use, because improper use can injure yourself even more. Once you know what you’re doing, you simply just lay across the top and roll back and forth on the spots that hurt. What makes this foam roller different are the different textures around it. When you find a trigger point (which we’ll cover down below), you can use the different textures to work it out so it stops causing you pain.

You will need a moderate level of flexibility to use any foam roller. There are some out there with handles that might be better for you if you can’t hold your own bodyweight up in a plank.

Benefits of using a foam roller

Anyone who lifts should consider adding a foam roller to their arsenal due to the simple fact it can help keep you mobile for longer. Mobility is essential if you want to keep being active for years to come. I’m positive if I had known about better stretching, trigger point therapy in general, and foam rollers that I would have been a better athlete in high school. Instead, I was plagued with a ton of injuries, sprains, and strains which kept me out of at least a third of my games as a senior in high school.

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What is a trigger point?

Most people know about muscle strains and sore joints, but few people know about trigger points. However, trigger points are where most of us have constant pain and don’t even realize it. They’re essentially little built-up groups of muscles that have started to cramp up [1].

You can often figure out that you’ve found a trigger point when you’re pushing on your body because there will be referral pain. For example, I have one that I’m always working out on the top of my shoulder blade that refers pain up my neck. When they’re bad enough, a doctor will consider injecting them to alleviate the pain. If you can deal with them on your own, it’s even better since you can try to keep them from getting to that point. With trigger points, you can rarely be free of them forever since the research currently shows they’re natural and happen often.

The research is still a little murky around trigger points, mainly because it’s not a huge area of focus for research. It won’t completely alleviate any pain either, so don’t think trigger point therapy is some kind miracle answer, but it certainly can help.

You can use other tools, such as a lacrosse ball, to alleviate the pain on top of a foam roller, but in my experience, the foam roller is much nicer.

Features:

  • Comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Multi-density exterior
  • Rigid, hollow core
  • Comes with free online instructional video library
  • 13 x 5.5 inches
  • 500 pound weight limit

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Footnotes: 1.

https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/trigger-points.php

The Best At-Home Workouts for 2020 and My Favorite At-Home Workout Accessories

I don’t think I really need to get into the state of the world at the moment. (P.S. Does anyone know where toilet paper is NOT sold out in Denver? Orrr?)

Either way, for a lot of us, working out is a way to maintain sanity. To get out of our brains and stop the endless news cycle scrolling for just a second. If you have an at-home gym, you don’t need a lot of bodyweight programs out there because you already have the weights to continue on with your regular workouts.

For us gym rats, we now have no access to weights (stupid apartment living and not being able to deadlift above my neighbors), it’s time for body weight and band workouts.

I thought I’d put together some of the best at home workouts I could find from around the web, especially ones focused on more of a bodybuilding approach than Jane Fonda (although her workouts are epic).

1. Heidi Somers 5 week at home workout

You probably know Heidi Somers from her company, BuffBunny, but her workout programs are amazing. She currently has a free 5 week at home workout plan to get you moving. The equipment required is very little and you could easily DIY it! Here’s the link: click here.

2. Jim Stoppani’s workouts

Jim Stoppani has a ton of workouts, here are some of my favorites:

Full-body park workout: here.

Band workout (if you have bands): here.

If you want a membership to his site, it’s free for the first 30 days, which can help you get through at least a month.

3. Bret Contreras at home workout

Bret is also known as “the glute guy” and his workouts are incredible. Highly recommended. It’s old now, but check out this great bodyweight workout that doesn’t require equipment: here.

4. Brian Decosta

Brian not only has an insane work ethic in general, but as of posting this he’s posting daily bodyweight workouts on his Instagram: here.

If you’re looking for things to buy over the break to keep you going, there are a few favorites I have or have used.

1. The EmPack Backpack

While you could easily fill a jug of water and put it in a backpack, few things are built quite like the Empack. Not only is it high-quality, but it has handles all around it to make your workouts even better and use it as a great tool. It’s sometimes sold out on Amazon, but you can often find it still on their site.

2. Freetoo workout bands

I reviewed these on another site I write for, but they’re coming in handy so much during this time at home. Bands are great because you can carry them on the go and they don’t take up a lot of room. Check them out: here. I can’t fit dumbbells in my small apartment so, personally, bands are the way to go for me. I’d link some adjustable dumbbells, but as of posting this they’re sold out pretty much everywhere.

3. 5 gallon water jugs

Water jugs are a cheap and excellent way to get in a good workout a huge hit to your wallet. Here’s one on Amazon: here. It can help you get in your workouts that require heavier weights, especially if all the stores online are sold out of weight sets.

That’s pretty much it for some at home ideas to help you make it through. Stay inside, wash your hands, but get moving so you can stay calm through this. I’m also going to try and post some workout and nutrition ideas to my own Instagram, so come say hi!

20 Fitness Goals for 2020

With the new year here, most people are sitting down and figuring out their fitness goals and resolutions.

While most resolutions fail (because they focus on the outcome instead of on building the habit first), there’s still something exciting about a new year and all of the possibilities. While I’ve written longer articles on habit building and mindset tricks to keep you consistent in the gym, this will focus on the lighter side and some fun fitness goals you might want to hit this year.

Having a list of fitness goals is fun to help keep you excited about the year ahead and keep you going. Of course, this is just to spark inspiration and it’s best to set goals that you actually want to achieve.

Since 2020 is a fun numerical year, a lot of these goals will play on the idea of the number 20.

Fitness goal ideas for 2020:

  1. Go on 20 walks in new places or routes you haven’t taken.
  2. Lose 20 pounds.
  3. Stretch 20 days in a row.
  4. Do 20 pushups at once.
  5. Run 20K (aka do two 10k’s).
  6. Learn 20 yoga poses.
  7. Hit a 20-inch box jump.
  8. Swim for 20 straight minutes.
  9. Add 20 pounds to your best rep this year.
  10. Try a new way to work out 20 times.
  11. Try 20 new exercises.
  12. Choose walking over Ubering somewhere 20 times.
  13. Drink 20 sips of water a day.
  14. For 20 minutes in the morning, don’t check your phone but instead, list what you love about your life.
  15. Schedule 20 workouts in your calendar.
  16. Give yourself a compliment 20 days in a row.
  17. Try 20 new recipes.
  18. Hold a handstand for 20 seconds.
  19. Try 20 new fruits or vegetables.
  20. Eliminate 20 grams of sugar from your diet.
  21. Bonus! Journal for 20 minutes a day to relieve some stress.

Not everyone has the same goals in mind, so these are just ideas to spark you getting excited to take care of your body and mind in the new year.

Have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

Do you need to do cardio for fat loss?

When it comes to losing weight, most people imagine that they need to get on a cardio machine for hours at a time. If you walk into a gym at any time during the Spring season, especially before spring break at colleges, you’ll see tons of people running their butts off on treadmills.

Now that science and training have progressed, the common question is if people still need to do cardio to get that shredded body.

The short answer is no, you don’t get cardio to get a lean physique.

However, there are some things you should think about before you add it into your routine or cut it out completely.

How do you prefer to workout?

Knowing how you like to lift and exercise is essential to staying consistent in the gym. For myself, I’m not the biggest fan of cardio, but I do like to add it in for the mental clarity it gives me. Weights are my bread and butter at the gym, but there’s something so calming about doing cardio every now and then.

Most people, however, are not as obsessed with cardio as they are when they’re trying to lose weight.

If you dread cardio, you can keep in mind that it’s not essential. If you like cardio, you can keep it in your routine.

If you don’t like a type of exercise, you’re far more likely to quit. When I was training clients at my gym in college, the biggest thing was finding exercises they enjoyed instead of exercises I tried to force them to enjoy. I mean, some things were necessary (PLEASE STRETCH YOUR HIP FLEXORS, EVERYONE.), but for the most part, they were more likely to keep going if they enjoyed it.

Know that most people who look shredded lift weights

Cardio, while it has tremendous benefits for your heart, will rarely get you that ripped physique you’re imagining in your mind.

Fun activity: go to Google and search for “marathon runners vs sprinters”.

I’d bet a lot of money that the body you most likely have in mind as “goals” looks closer to the sprinter than the marathon runner. Most marathon runners are thin and don’t have a lot of muscles, because having a huge frame over long distances is not beneficial. (Also that much cardio will deplete a lot of your muscles.)

NOTE: I’m not saying all cardio will make you some small, tiny human that as lost all their muscles. A lot of bodybuilder bros are scared of cardio for that reason. It takes INCREDIBLE amounts of cardio over extended periods of time to hurt your muscles that much. Doing a handful of cardio to lose some weight is not going to take your six-pack and turn it into sludge overnight.

With that being said, cardio is not the most efficient way to lose weight.

Anyone who has done cardio and weight training knows that weight training can be far more strenuous. Yes, when you’re starting to get back into the gym, you’ll burn a ton of calories because your body is not an efficient machine yet.

Our bodies were designed to adapt quickly, so over time you need to make your cardio longer and more strenuous in order to receive the same benefits.

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After exercise benefits of cardio vs weight training

Current studies show that weight training helps your body burn more calories for the rest of the day (up to 38 hours!) after one good session. Sprinting is much closer to weight lifting, but rarely are people doing sprints in the gym.

When it comes to weight training, the more muscle you have, the higher your basic calorie maintenance needed to maintain that weight increases.

While building muscle takes time, if you stay consistent with it you’re going to see more benefits over the long term than you would with cardio.

Put simply, when you do cardio, your body becomes more efficient and you have to work harder. With weight lifting, your body becomes stronger and you burn more calories each day.

That’s not to say weight lifting is some easy thing you can breeze through and that it’s not hard, but the long-term benefits when it comes to weight loss are better.

When to use cardio

One reason I like to add in cardio when I’m losing weight is that I’m personally not a fan of sacrificing food to dropdown.

Every human has a certain amount of calories they need to maintain their weight every single day. This is called their basal metabolic rate.

To lose weight, you need to drop your total daily calories burned below that number. You can do this by either cutting your food below that line or increasing your exercise every single day.

I’m not saying that simply adding in cardio will remove the need for restricting food completely, but I am saying that between the two choices, I’m going to work out harder.

However, if you’re a person who is not as emotionally attached to food and cutting out your extra calories in the day through your diet doesn’t sound so bad, then you can go that route.

When you see the scale starting to get stubborn, adding in a dose of cardio here and there can help you move the needle again. A future article will be coming out on what to do when the scale gets stubborn, but for now all you need to know is that cardio can be a good tool on top of a solid program, but it shouldn’t be the entire basis of your program.

Types of cardio to consider

With all that being said, cardio is undoubtedly great for your heart. Just avoiding it completely to curl weights is not a good long-term strategy, either.

While just hopping on the treadmill or elliptical is the most common forms of cardio, there are some other types to consider:
Swimming – Swimming is considerably easier on the joints than running, especially on your knees.
HIIT – This is called high-intensity interval training and is essentially where you train at a high intensity (usually with weights) for short sprints at a time. For example, medicine ball throws against a wall for multiple rounds of 30-second spurts.
Team sports – when we’re younger, most of our parents sign us up for team sports. Whether you enjoyed it or not is one thing, but as an adult, they’re 10x more fun. Keep in mind, a lot of adult team sports include drinking, so that could easily damage your fitness goals, but there’s no doubt that keeping that competitive spirit alive can be a lot of fun.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. Cardio, just like other forms of exercise, can be a tool to help you hit your goals. It’s not an end-all-be-all to weight loss, so if you think you need to slave over your treadmill while watching GOT reruns, you can breathe easy knowing there are other ways.

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