Archive for December, 2013

Eggnog Protein Shake

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Nutrition, Supplements
Tags: , ,

Hey Guys and Girls!  It’s going to be a crazy week with all of the holiday festivities so I’m going to keep this one simple.  If you’re like me, you’re scrambling to get all of the last minute details finished.  I’m hosting Christmas Eve dinner, I have to finish wrapping the tons of hidden presents for my girls (who are now off from school for two weeks….aaaahhhh!), and I have to make sure that they don’t make a complete mess of the house or kill each other before the guests arrive.  Not only that, my oldest daughter’s birthday is 4 days AFTER Christmas so I’ll be hosting another party then….

So, in honor of the holidays, I decided to make an Eggnog Protein Shake for breakfast today.  Here goes:


  • 1 cup Liquid Egg Whites (please be sure to use pasteurized egg whites!)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (my favorite is Fage)
  • 1 scoop Top Secret Nutrition 100% Whey in Vanilla
  • The amounts of the following ingredients I’ll leave up to you (some like things a bit more “spicy” than others).  I prefer a healthy dose of the following:  cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, Butter Buds (or a pinch of another butter substitute of your choice).
  • Add several ice cubes and all the above ingredients to a blender and serve sprinkled with additional spices and cinnamon stick (if you want it pretty).

The recipe as stated is approx 300 calories, 8 grams carbs, 4 grams fat, and 52 grams protein.  You can either drink the whole thing or split it into 2 servings of 150 calories each.  As an aside, I’m not going to tell you NOT to add anything else to this (hint, hint :-)) so that option is completely up to you!

Hope you enjoy it!  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

With the holiday season in full swing, everyone is busy and time is limited.  Between work, social gatherings, shopping, cooking, company, and everything else in between, it can be hard to find time to fit in a workout.  Tabata to the rescue!  Without getting into too much detail, Tabata training can be applied to just about any type of exercise:  cardio (sprints, intervals on an elliptical/bike, etc.), body-weight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups), and resistance training (dumbbell/barbell/cable exercises).

Tabata is a total of 4 minutes broken down like this:

  • 20 seconds of max effort
  • 10 seconds of rest

It is essential to have a timer for this.  I use my GymBoss Timer but there are many apps that you can use on your phone too.  I just like the GymBoss because there is a vibrate option and it doesn’t interrupt my music 🙂  I clip it right to my shirt and go…


The 20 sec on/10 sec rest is repeated 8 times for one complete 4 minute Tabata cycle.  Ok, so enough of that; here is a quick shoulder workout that I put together today because I was stuck at home (snow day for my kids) and short on time (ahem, snow day for my kids).  So before the “Mom I need this” and “Mom I’m hungry” fun-stuff started, I decided to squeeze in a quick, but super-intense workout:

Make sure you are completely warmed-up before diving into this:  not only is it intense, but it is very high volume!  Ready and warm?  Don’t forget your Top Secret Nutrition Pump Igniter!  Let’s go!  So each of the exercises below was completed using the 4-minute cycle (8 sets of 20 on/10 off for each exercise).  I completed as many reps as I could in the 20 seconds.  Another note:  use a lighter weight than you’re used to.  The first 2 sets are deceptively easy but trust me, by the end, you are going to wonder why a 10 pound dumbbell is causing you so much pain!

  • Hang Cleans
  • Standing DB Shoulder Press
  • DB Lateral Raise
  • DB Front Raise
  • DB Bent-Over Raise
  • Behind-the-Back Barbell Shrug

So, with each exercise lasting only 4 minutes with a few minutes rest between each cycle, the entire workout lasted about 45 minutes for me.  It was fast, it was intense, and I literally couldn’t lift my water bottle to my mouth.  So, give it a try!  And, if you’re like me and have to wash your hair upside-down in the shower when you’re done, you did it right!

Anyone who has tried to “diet” or clean up their nutrition can usually get off to a fairly good start.  We’re motivated to make a change and that first day or two seems somewhat easy.  We may even be really good and manage to stay on track for weeks or even months.  Then what happens?  We might not be getting enough sleep, we’re stressed at our jobs, and now is the toughest time of all…the holidays!  So what do many of us do?  We start to cave….a little nibble of this, a couple of bites of that, and maybe an extra cheat meal or four.  The cravings kick in…once we get started, the downward spiral begins.  It’s ok bro, I’m bulking! 😉

Now, I’m not a nutrition expert but I do know that sugar can be addictive for some.  An overload of sugar will actually affect the brain.  Simple sugars and sweets will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar….and then, the dreaded crash; this sets you up for a pattern of more cravings and poor eating.  Enough about that…what the heck are we supposed to do?  Never eat a donut again?

Break the cycle!  Can you do it cold turkey?  Sure, but for many this is not a long-term solution.  A quick fix, yes.  Will you lose some weight, absolutely.  But here’s the thing.  It’s just too drastic for most people.  It can be a set-up for binge-eating and lead you back to your old ways.  So, here are some tips for getting sugar out of the way of your goals:

  • Baby steps:  Pick one thing a week to cut out.  Soda drinker?  This is one of the best places to start.  Swap out your soda for water, unsweetened tea, or anything else calorie and sugar free.  DO NOT switch to diet!  Diet sodas won’t help you break your cravings for sweets.  Same goes for artificial sweeteners.  After a few weeks, your taste and cravings for sugar will decrease.  Eat more fruit when you are craving something sweet.  Keep removing sugar a little at a time – put a little less in your coffee or tea each week and it becomes easier.  Once the sugar has been out for awhile, those sweet things no longer taste the same.
  • Make sure you are getting enough protein:  protein won’t spike your blood sugar as sweets will, digests a bit slower, and may help you feel full longer.  Have a chocolate protein shake or pudding in place of “the real deal”…I blend my Top Secret Nutrition 100% Whey with ice and almond milk (makes it nice and thick) and place it in the freezer for a bit.  It’s my version of a “Frosty”.
  • Fiber!:  Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; again, great for keeping your blood sugar levels more stable and keeping you full.
  • Exercise:  Enough said!
  • Get enough sleep:  I’ve said this in previous posts, but lack of sleep will trigger your cravings.
  • Drink enough water:  Hunger and cravings are often misinterpreted.  Make sure you are getting enough water based on your size, the weather, and activity level.  Feeling hungry or craving something?  Drink first and then re-assess.
  • If you absolutely have to have that donut and you’ve done everything in your power to avoid it….cut it in half or have just a few bites.  Sometimes, when you don’t give in (i.e. you’re being way too strict)…you become obsessed with that donut and the longer you hold out, the worse it will be.  One donut turns to 2, then maybe a piece of chocolate, your kid’s leftover cookie crumbs….you get the point!

In no particular order, I am also going to list what I call some other “nutrition-busters”:

  • Not eating enough – if you’re eating very low calorie and exercising intensely, this is a recipe for disaster.
  • Portion size – even if you’re eating all the “right stuff”, too much of it will still make you gain weight.  I suggest weighing or measuring for a short period of time so that you are able to get a better understanding of correct portion size.  You don’t need to do it forever (unless you want to), just long enough to be able to judge proper portions.
  • Nighttime eating – you’ve been spot-on with your eating during the day; it’s now after dinner and you decide to sit down in front of the TV for a little bit.  A scoop of peanut butter here, a few pretzels there…soon enough, you easily add another 600-800 calories of mindless eating to your day.  Sound familiar?  It certainly does to me!  What is it about the evening that makes us crave?  There are numerous reasons including hormonal fluctuations (including the feeding/satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin), environment, and additional sensory stimulation (hello Food Network, fast-food commercials…).  What has worked for me:  herbal tea, an evening workout, writing these blogs (can’t eat if I’m too busy typing ;-)), and having a healthy alternative if I’m truly hungry (I tend to have one late-night meal before going to bed anyway).  My latest experiment that I just started this week….intermittent fasting/feeding.  I’m shifting my eating schedule to allow more evening calories…stay tuned for this one!

My December Run

Posted: December 3, 2013 in Fitness

I’m all bundled up, got Cardio Igniter on my side
My jacket’s zipped up, my sneakers are tied
I have to give thanks to Top Secret Nutrition
I’m ready to go and now on a mission
Feeling the cold wind on my face
I begin to pick up the pace
My fingers are frozen and so are my toes
And now an annoying drip, coming from my nose
But I pay no attention I’m enjoying the scene
The leaves have all fallen and are no longer green
I take a deep breath, wipe my nose on my sleeves
And discover the stench of rotting leaves
I round the corner nearing the halfway mark
When I hear a growl and a loud bark
The dog starts running but the owner pulls him back
I nearly just had a heart attack
I’m at the bridge and there’s a sign on a chain
“Path closed” it says, then it starts to rain
So I turn around, heading back where I came
Mumbling under my breath every dirty name
Back around the water and now UP the big hill
I’m cold and now wet, ready to kill
So I start to run faster, but I run out of breath
And I begin to feel I’m nearing my death
A sigh of relief, I can see the main street
Faster and faster my heart begins to beat
I run up my road with a smile on my face
And nearly trip over my undone shoelace
I shake my head and hang it in sorrow
I’m a little crazy cuz I’ll do it again tomorrow…