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Tips - Protein Shakes, Boring Workouts, Yoga...
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Q. I need some help on 3 things - how do I spruce up protein shakes and my workout, and is yoga a good thing to do while on BFL? 

Protein shake helping with definition:
Well, actually that's the easiest question you have (other than the yoga one) so thank you for the nice warm up question. :-)

The value add of protein shakes is that they're REALLY easy to digest (meaning they hit the system FAST), and whey protein powders in particular tend to have low or no additional carbs or sugar - meaning you only get good stuff out of them. The absolute best time to take a protein shake (from what I've read) is within an hour or so of your workout. So, if morning is when you do your workout, then that's the time to party down with the protein shake. :-)

Why? Because AFTER a workout is when your body does most of the actual work of burning calories and generating muscle. If you don't have the right "things" (GOOD carbs and protein) floating in your system when all this repair work is going on, you don't maximize muscle build and fat burn. :-)

Sneak inserted side note: This is one of the reasons Betagen (specifically the creatine part of it) works - you take it so that it's floating around in your system - to be used in the generation of more muscle when the workout is done.

Boring workouts (Cardio):
Well, my first thing here is to answer a question with a question: What exactly do you do for your existing cardio workout? You mention elliptical - but is that all you do? Do you only do the same increases in intervals all the time?

The idea of HITT is that you are consistently increasing levels of difficulty; but never ending up gasping. Since I find that if I do the same cardio all the time, not only do I get bored, my muscles outpace my lungs I switch between 3-4 types of exercise:

Running - this can be on a treadmill our outside
Elliptical Trainer
Bike - stationary or not
My NEW thing is a jump rope. If you think you've got lung power, try and jump rope for 20 minutes straight. It taught me a whole new level of humility

HIIT Intensity Management (to go up and down the levels):
Types of cardio - if you're on elliptical all the time, try treadmill, bike or rowing machines
Resistance - Most of the above machines allow you to change what you are pulling or pushing against (like incline, or effort settings if available)

Measured Speed - When I do the treadmill, I have a personal 'rule' that a step up must be at least .5 miles per hour faster than the previous step (means I really have to work for it)

Focus of attention - This is something all athletes seem to learn at some point...consciously or unconsciously. You need something you can focus on to the exclusion of what you're doing - so you aren't literally counting down seconds. I put on the best loud fast music I can find (either real or just imagine your fav song in your head) and focus on that to the exclusion of other things, I can push myself further and faster. It's all about that positive thinking. If you're caught up in the beat; you don't sabotage your self by thinking how soon you can stop or how good stopping will feel.

Remember that you don't need to do them in isolation either - you can say that for each step up the intensity scale you will increase the resistance by one increment and the speed by an different increment. I like to do that on the bike and elliptical - so to go from a 6 to a 7 I increase the speed by a nice round number and push the resistance up at least one. One of my favourite tricks on myself is to push the resistance up 2 levels and the speed up 2 levels to get my 10 - that way I know I can increase my base speed the next week. :-)

Boring workouts (Weights):
*g* Here's my evil hat coming on…

Have you done the guerrilla workout? (It's in the files for this site)
Have you done Skwigg's burn out circuit? (http://www.skwigg.com/wow/id14.html)

Just want to do normal BFL weights; but don't know any new ones to use?
There are a ton of places to learn new exercises from, I just included two to start with:
http://www.bodyforlife.com/train_women.shtml
http://www.exrx.net/Exercise.html

Best things to use are free weights, because they work the most muscles; but they can also be the most intimidating if you aren't sure how to use them. Use whatever works for you and you're comfortable with.

If you can't make that last leap of weight - although we're supposed to go up in weight each time we reduce the number of reps, sometimes you can't. It's ok to just do the last set at the lower weight. If you can do a couple extra at the lower weight, do that, and maybe next time you can leap to the larger weight for that set.

How do I know I've hit my max - If you think you could physically do a few more reps at that heavy weight, you aren't pushing it hard enough. Now, that doesn't mean up the weight and loose form. If you are loosing form, drop the weight and push for good form through the exercise

Exercise is both concentric and eccentric - this means that you don't just DROP the weight from the hard position. Count to at least a slow two on both the up and the down motion. Visualize that muscle working, and the form as really good. It sounds corny, but it really does improve what you can do.

Changing it up - Your body will learn how to adapt to the exercises you've chosen. According to a primary bodybuilding site, the way to keep growing the muscle (not like Arnie; but just in a good way) is to change up the routine of weights you use every 4-6 weeks. That's just long enough for you to see improvements in the weights you're lifting, but not long enough for your muscles to get lazy.

Benefits of Yoga:

Yoga is AWESOME for stretching out muscles and focusing yourself. There has been literally a TON of research about how yoga is good for people.

Some of the common results from that research says that Yoga enhances the functioning of the respiratory, digestive, endocrine, reproductive, and elimination systems. Its effects on the emotions are equally beneficial: calming the mind, attuning us to the environment, and diminishing insomnia caused by mental restlessness. Yoga is highly recommended for people in competitive, stressful working environments, for those who suffer from headaches, back and shoulder aches, allergies, and asthma; and for anyone over the age of 40 (although the younger, the better).

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