So I’m a big proponent of eating whole foods over any sort of meal replacement.
But I also recognize that convenience is key to consistency and sticking with a healthy diet long term.
That is why I think that Protein Shakes can be a great quick snack or, every so often, a meal replacement.
While whole natural foods are always better, a Protein Shake can provide you with the protein and energy you need quickly on the go to fuel your workouts and help you build muscle and burn fat.
Below is my FAVORITE quick, healthy protein shake. I don’t have to make anything. I simply dumb ingredients into my shaker and go. It is a great pick-me-up and can even boost my energy for workouts on days when I’m dragging.
It can even be a quick breakfast when I’m short on time and have to drink something as I coach.
And the crazy part is, I’m not even a coffee/espresso lover and I’m addicted to this.
So what is my favorite…..my GO-TO Protein Shake – The White Chocolate Americano
So if you have an espresso machine at home, you can make this from scratch. I’ve also made a variation of this shake with the Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate from Trader Joe’s.
Both work well as long as you refrigerate the coffee or espresso and add water and ice to the shake.
When I’m being even lazier, I simply go to a coffee shop…In my case, Starbucks.
Below is my recipe, which would honestly work with a variety of Protein flavors. I’ve used Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Cappuccino…All can work.
Although my favorite is definitely the White Chocolate.
The White Chocolate Coconut Americano
(It’s a great way to refuel after my workout when I have to get right back to work!)
12oz Americano (espresso and water or Cold-Brew Coffee Concentrate 4oz coffee, 8 oz water unless you want it stronger)
1 scoop White Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (I used Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey)
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk
Put everything in your shaker and shake then drink!
If you need an extra pick-me-up, you can even use 16oz of coffee or espresso!
What are your favorite quick Protein Shake Recipes? How do you eat healthy on the go?
I think too often now we jump from one thing to the next, searching for the next great thing to get us huge results. And if something doesn’t get us drastic results pretty instantly we don’t stick with it.
But what we also don’t realize is that drastic results usually mean drastic measures. And when we go to extremes, we generally can’t maintain those extremes for long.
What generally works best is creating a program that implements small changes we can stick with – small changes we can build on.
We want to create a program that leads to changes that start to get us results. And as those results build, we can make small adjustments to keep the momentum going or even help it build.
If you find something that works, stick with it. But realize that you can always make little adjustments to that program to make it better.
Even if those results start to slow that doesn’t mean you have to scrap the program completely. It may just mean its time to adjust.
When you make small changes, you give yourself time to allow them to become habits. And habits lead to lasting results.
Plus sometimes all you need is a small change to get the momentum going again. And if instead you just completely give up and switch programs, you may have to start all over. Not only are you unsure if the program will work, but it may take another 21 days to create the new habits and really settle in.
Also, making small changes allows you to track what is working. If you are constantly re-writing the entire program, it is hard to figure out what in each program truly created the results and changes you wanted.
So stop jumping from thing to thing or making drastic changes. Create a program and make adjustments.
And freaking give it time to work! Things don’t happen instantly! If your progress slows, then make small adjustments.
But STICK WITH SOMETHING and make SMALL CHANGES to that program. That is the way to get lasting results.
You want to keep things interesting and give yourself variety, but you don’t constantly have to be reinventing the wheel!
And on a side note:
If you are looking for 30 Suspension Trainer Moves and 5 Suspension Trainer Workouts or a great 9-Week Battle Ropes Workout Program, check out my two new courses!
A few more articles to check out… (And then hopefully next week back to more regular posting!)
Ok first off, some DELICIOUS healthy Homemade Protein Bars – Vanilla Almond COFFEE Oatmeal Protein Bars. This are a great quick snack filled with protein. They are great for pre-workout as well not only because of the little bit of caffeine, but also because they have whey protein, a little fat and some carbs to energize your workouts!
Next…Battling Ropes! Check out these 22 Battling Ropes Moves and 5 Workouts to improve your strength and conditioning. Battling Ropes are a great way to improve your power and endurance. They are also a fun way to vary up your cardio routine!
Another great cardio option that requires absolutely no equipment and is also a great core workout is CRAWLING! Crawling is also great for everyone for the beginner to the advanced exerciser and can be done at home or out at the park. Try these 21 Crawling Exercises for a great core workout that will also get your heart rate up!
LOW BACK AND HIP PAIN – Chances are almost all of you have suffered from low back or hip pain at one time or another. Whether you sit at a desk, spend hours on your bike, had a baby or have simply injured your back in the past, this post will help you prevent and alleviate your low back and hip pain. Included are moves to help you loosen tight muscles, restore your mobility and strengthen your underactive muscles. The key to preventing low back and hip pain is to strengthen your core and get your abs and glutes firing properly so that your low back doesn’t take over and do work it can’t handle. Check out the exercises and tips in this post and start including some in your workout routine!
And last, but not least, check out my new Full-Body Suspension Trainer Workout Program (shameless plug!). The new video course has over 30 Suspension Trainer Moves to work your entire body as well as 5 great Suspension Trainer Workouts. WOOT WOOT!
Just a quick summary with some great posts you may enjoy.
Check out these posts with some great foam rolling, stretching, activation and strength training moves. Get stronger and prevent and alleviate your aches and pains! WOOT WOOT! Enjoy!!
1. Alleviate Neck Pain with these 10 Tips! – Stretch out your chest, lats and upper traps while activating the big muscles of your back to alleviate your neck, shoulder and upper back pain!
2. The World’s Greatest Stretch – Warm up and get everything loose with this single stretch.
3. 5 Mini Band Moves for a Full-Body Workout – The Mini Band is a great $3 piece of equipment and a must-have if you workout at home or travel. You can work your entire body and get your glute activated using these moves (and the mini band video course linked out to in this post!)
4. 13 Sandbag Exercises for a Full-Body Workout – The Sandbag is a great functional tool to develop great core strength. You can use it to work your entire body with these 13 moves.
5. Tips to Prevent and Alleviate Foot and Ankle Pain – Use these exercises to prevent and alleviate foot and ankle pain. Your feet and ankles are your foundation. Pain and injury there can cause problems further up your body so take care of your base!
6. Dealing with Knee Pain – Here are some great tips to strengthen your legs and alleviate your knee pain. Follow these four steps to prevent knee pain – foam roll, stretch, activate and strengthen!
7. Sled Workouts – Try these sled moves and sled variations. The Sled is a great way to strengthen your legs (actually your entire body) while also improving your cardio.
There are lots of reasons why people start working out and eating better, but there is only one reason why they will stick with a program in the long run – LOVE.
Sounds weird to say “love” though doesn’t it? But that is exactly what happens.
You either fall in love with the routine and how you FEEL. Or maybe both.
Because, if you don’t enjoy and love your new habits, they aren’t going to stick.
The motivation of a big event, a New Year’s Resolution or even a doctor’s visit saying you need to get your ducks in a row is only fleeting unfortunately. Amazing that it is, but that motivation doesn’t last.
So if you don’t love or enjoy what you are doing, you aren’t going to stick with a healthy lifestyle in the long run. And the long run is what matters.
People always ask, “How long do I have to eat this way for results? How long do I have to continue to workout?”
And the answer is, “In some form or fashion…FOREVER.”
You don’t just eat differently for a few months and then go back to old habits. Or if you do, you are bound to end up right back where you started even if you initial got results.
Plus eating well and working out don’t have to be miserable…actually the SHOULDN’T be miserable.
You should find a balance that you enjoy and include foods and workout routines that you enjoy.
Being healthy doesn’t mean giving up everything you love to eat lettuce and spend hours in the gym…heck I hate lettuce….now cauliflower on the other hand…
Anyway, I guess my point is that you have to do things because you enjoy doing them or find a way to fall in love with the lifestyle.
Because the motivation to look better for an event is fleeting. Plus, honestly, while it can get you started, it isn’t very good motivation because you aren’t addressing the real issues of FEELING BETTER about yourself and becoming more confident.
Falling in love with the program and setting other goals is what makes you stick with the healthy habits long-term – it is what makes the process fun.
If you don’t enjoy the journey, you aren’t going to stick with your program very long.
And, as I mentioned above, the long-term is what leads to true results and you not only looking, but also feeling, the way you want to feel.
So stop looking for a short-term solution and figure out something you love that makes you feel good. Because that is what eating clean and working out should do – they should make you FEEL BETTER and be more confident.
Shoot…They can also, and SHOULD also, be FUN!
So how do you strike a balance? How have you made the process of working toward your goals fun? How did you fall in love with the lifestyle!?!
With a New Year, we start to consider all the things we would like to accomplish – all the drastic changes we would like to make.
We set these lofty goals and dream of all the things we can accomplish. Yet rarely do we actually breakdown our goals into achievable pieces and PLAN out how we are going to get there.
We seem to set New Year’s Resolutions with no actual plan to accomplish them.
And you may be thinking to yourself, “No…I always want to accomplish my New Years Resolutions.”
But stop and think about how often you actually consider HOW you are going to accomplish those goals. Usually you don’t. You just state or write down WHAT you want to accomplish and never really go any further than that.
Yes. You may be motivated and really want to reach your goals. But you aren’t setting yourself up to actually follow through if you don’t PLAN.
So on this first day of 2015 take time to not only write down your Resolutions, but also write down how you plan to accomplish them.
And break those plans down into bite-sized pieces. Give yourself SMALL STEPS you can take right away.
Don’t leave yourself with a huge goal that you don’t know how to start – that may even seem so daunting that you don’t know where to start so end up never moving forward.
Break it down and give yourself small manageable tasks to do that will add up to big results and help you get the momentum going.
Remember, even a small step forward is a step forward. And consistent progress in the right direction adds up!
So write down your New Year’s Resolutions and PLAN out how you will reach those goals.
Happy New Year and what small step forward are you planning to take in 2015 to achieve your Resolutions!?!
Here is another round up of some of the posts I’ve done on Redefining Strength. Some of these are MUST-DO MOVES while others are just some fun exercises to include to mix up your workouts in the New Year.
1. A Suspension Trainer is a great piece of home/travel workout equipment if you are willing to spend a bit more money. My personal favorite is the Jungle Gym XT because of the individual straps and nice foot cradle. Here are 10 Upper Body Suspension Trainer Moves.
2. Have you ever used the Landmine? The Landmine is an often underutilized tool at the gym, but a great way to strengthen your entire core. Try these 13 Landmine Moves and get in a great full-body workout using the Landmine at your gym!
3. The PLANK. The Plank is a great exercise to strengthen your core after sitting at a desk all day. It is a must-do move if you suffer from low back pain. However, while the Plank looks easy, there is actually a lot of “form” involved in getting the most out of this move. Check out this post on Plank Form (and some fun variations!).
4. Want to make your workouts more fun? Maybe you should try including Monkey Bar Exercises in your routine. Plus they are a great way to get in a workout while spending some time in the sun. Try these 9 Monkey Bar Moves and strengthen your grip, back, lats and core!
5. If you are taking on the December Glute Challenge, you may want to try some of these fun Glute Bridge Variations. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge, you need to include a few of these Bridges in your workout routine. Bridges are a great way to counteract the effects of sitting all day at a desk. They activate your glutes and open up your hips! Check out these 20 Glute Bridge Variations.
6. If you want to become more coordinated and move better in every day life, you need to improve your mind-body connection. And you can improve your mind-body connection through Agility Ladder Drills. Agility Ladder Drills force you to learn a new movement and do it as quickly as possible. Learning a new movement and then forcing yourself to repeat it as quickly as possible improves your mind-body connection. It teaches your mind to recruit the proper muscles as quickly as possible, which helps you not only move well but also react quickly – both of which are important to moving better in every day life! Try these 30 Agility Ladder Drills!
I think one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves when doing exercises is – “Where do I feel this?”
Because even if we have perfect form, we may not be activating the correct muscles.
Activation requires us sometimes to actually concentrate on getting the muscles working.
So when you do glute bridges, don’t just go through the motions….Think about squeezing your glutes and make sure to concentrate extra hard on getting them to work.
This focus on the muscles working improves our mind-body connection and makes sure we get the most out of the movement and don’t just go through the motions.
And not only does asking ourselves, “Where do I feel this” get us to make sure the correct muscles are activating, but it also allows us to know if we are doing a movement correctly.
If you don’t have a mirror to check your form, but you feel the correct muscles working, you are most likely doing the movement correctly.
So by asking yourself where you feel the move, you are making sure your form is correct and that the correct muscles are working.
You may even find that sometimes, even though you have the correct form, the correct muscles AREN’T actually working.
For example, glute bridges…Bridge up off the ground extending your hips. This could look correct, but that doesn’t mean your butt is actually activating. It could look right, but you could actually be loading only your hamstrings or low back.
The question is what are you working? Where do you feel it? When is the last time you thought about it? Or do you just usually think about bridging up as high as you can?
Height doesn’t matter. Feeling it in your glutes and consciously squeezing them as hard as possible is what matters.
So right now, try the glute bridge. Where do you feel it? Are you actually working the correct muscles?
No? Maybe adjust where your feet are. Try not to bridge up as high. Concentrate on squeezing your glutes. FEEL the move in the correct muscles!
By asking yourself where you feel it, you will get more out of your workouts.
And all of you trainers out there…You need to not only ask yourself this question so you can better coach moves, but you also need to ask your clients where they feel movements.
It will improve their mind-body connection and allow them to know if they are doing moves correctly when you aren’t there. It will get them even better results and improve their coordination.
FEELING THE MOVES HELPS YOU GET MORE OUT OF YOUR WORKOUTS!
So stop going through the motions and concentrate on where you feel movements. It will improve your body awareness and make your stronger and more coordinated!
P.S. If you are doing the glute challenge, you may want to try these 20 Glute Bridge Variations!
I don’t mind complaining. I don’t mind whining….As long as you try!
But I can’t stand when someone says I can’t.
Because when you say “I CAN’T” all I hear is – I DON’T WANT TO TRY.
Or even I DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT MY GOALS.
Yup…”I can’t” really just means you don’t want to try.
And don’t start making excuses about how that isn’t the case…Because it is.
Most of the time we don’t say “I can’t” if we’ve worked really hard and given it all we’ve got and things just don’t work out. Then we say “I tried,” or “It doesn’t work.”
Not “I can’t.”
“I can’t” is just us giving up. It is us saying our goals really aren’t worth trying.
It is basically us making up an excuse to keep failing at reaching our goal.
It is you telling me that I am wasting my time helping you because you are never going to accomplish your goals because you don’t have the right mindset.
Harsh…Yea a little. But true.
You are also wasting your OWN time working toward something if every time you encounter a problem or hurdle you say “I can’t.”
So what advice can I give you? Decide if your goals are worth risking failure! Because results come when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations and do things you don’t normally do.
And honestly what is really the worst thing that can happen if you TRY? You fail? It doesn’t work and you’re still stuck at the same spot you’re in now?
Well, you definitely won’t move forward if you don’t give it a shot and instead just keep doing the same old things.
Because you can’t expect a different result doing the same old things.
So why not at least TRY!?!
Why say “I can’t” before you’ve even given it a shot? If you really want to reach your goals, you’ve got to be willing to TRY NEW THINGS THAT YOU AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH!
So next time you think about saying “I can’t” consider what you really mean. Is it really that you “can’t” or is it more that you don’t want to or are scared to try and fail?
A small, easy, simple change can build toward HUGE results.
It’s because a small change has a low barrier to entry. It can get you started. And as you make it a habit and see even just the smallest result, that small change can transform your mindset and attitude.
And if your attitude changes, your actions will change as well. So that one little change can not only create results itself, but it can lead to huge changes in behavior and huge results.
That is why for December I want to do a 50 Glute Bridge Challenge.
Every day for the month of December, I want everyone to do 50 Glute Bridges..Any type of bridge that you want. (And yes…I do realize there are 31 days in December and am calling this a 30 Day Challenge…)
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or even super tough. Just something to get the butt cheeks activated and help open up the hips.
Heck even a two-legged, bodyweight bridge from the ground can benefit us all.
No this quick 1 minute workout won’t burn a bazillion calories. No this won’t completely alleviate all your low back, hip and knee aches and pains.
But it is a start.
And you may find that when you get down and give 50 Glute Bridges, you also take a second to stretch….Oh and maybe roll out.
And then maybe the 50 Bridges turns into some planks or sit ups too…because what the hey…you’re down on the ground already anyway….
The point is, 50 Glute Bridges every day is EASILY doable for EVERYONE. And it is a step in the right direction.
Plus it gets you thinking about moving – about doing the right things. And even a little bit of movement can make you feel better.
I firmly believe too that movement breeds more movement. Just getting up to do the 50 Bridges will make you want to move more and will lead to bigger changes.
So I encourage all of you to join us this December and take on the 50 Glute Bridge Challenge. You can do any variation you want and even have fun making up some of your own.
For a few posts about Glute Bridges to give you some variations to try, check out the articles below.
I hope you all join us and get ready to enter this New Year a little more active! Because even the smallest of changes can lead to BIG results!
(Shoot you may even find you want to work toward using heavier and heavier weight on those Glute Bridges as you progress through the month, which will really have some huge results!)