13 Ways to Eat Well and Be Well (Infographic)

When it comes to living a happy, healthy and fit lifestyle, what you eat is as important as how you exercise. Do one without the other, and you may never truly succeed on your body transformation goals..

A proper  nutrition plan, comprised of nourishing, whole foods, should provide  the right balance of macro- and micro-nutrients needed to properly fuel your  workouts. Whether fat-burning or muscle-building, optimum nutrition will improve the quality of your workout — and the results.

The following infographic outlines the key pillars of our nutrition philosophy at Koko FitClub, and can help you create some good eating habits to fuel your workouts, too.

koko_fatburn_infographicd_v3b


Stay Koko Fit!

Nick Konarski
COO & Master FitCoach, Koko FitClub

Biggest Food Myth: I Never Have Time for Breakfast

6-3-i-never-have-time-for-breakfast-blog

It’s time you had a good breakfast. And trust me, you do have the time.

We all know how brutal the 9-5 work life can be. Especially when you have an ugly commute to wake up to. Or if you have kids to send off to school.

No matter your situation, it can be tough enough getting up and out without having to worry about what to eat for breakfast.

All clichés aside, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body just fasted all night, this meal determines your body’s energy source for the first half of the day.

Remember from our ‘Abs Are Made In the Kitchen‘ post, you are actually what you eat. So, what you choose to eat will determine the quality of your energy, overall mood, mental strength, and how you feel physically.

It’s important to start the day healthy, with protein-packed foods that will digest slowly to steadily release energy throughout the day, well beyond  the typical caffeine rush from your morning cup of coffee.

Here is a perfect and healthy meal prep recipe for healthy on-the-goers. Packed with protein, healthy energy, and amazing flavor, these guys are great to grab when you’re late and make for an easy delicious breakfast. For those who like things spicy, we have a couple of options for you. Enjoy!

PEPPERS AND PROTEIN EGG CUPS

Ingredients 

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Olive Oil
  • 8 eggs
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Onion
  • Jalapeno pepper (if you like spicy)
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350o . Slice up your onion and your green and red peppers. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the veggies with salt and pepper. Don’t cook them ALL the way through, they still have to go in the oven. Grab a muffin pan and spray the tins with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop your veggie mix in even amounts into each of the empty tins. Set aside.

Crack and whisk your eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Pour your egg mixture over the peppers in each of the muffin tins. Make sure there is an even amount in each one. Dice your jalapeno pepper and sprinkle some into each tin. Place the muffin pan, with all your ingredients into the preheated oven for 20min or until eggs are nice and fluffy.

You can keep these guys refrigerated for up to 4 days. Grab one, heat it up, throw some hot sauce on that thing (if you’re me), and eat on the go.

Make sure to wait at least an hour afterwards before hitting the gym!

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

Reinvent Yourself For Summer

reinventyourselfblog

What does it mean to reinvent yourself?

Most believe it must come from some kind of drastic behavioral change, that is not true.

Even small superficial changes can have long-reaching positive effects.

When you have a true reboot opportunity, there is no preconceived social identity to fight. You can be anything you think you can reasonably pull off.

For example, a makeover takes an afternoon, and once you are in new clothes and a new haircut, and navigate a first day at a new place with an uncomfortable “put on” personality, you grow into that personality like it’s a new pair of shoes.

Here’s 3 easy ways to reinvent yourself.

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE

Imagine what experiencing different cultures will do for your psyche and personal development.

There is nothing more prominent than the sheltered and oblivious mindset inherent in the people of first world countries or developed urban cities.

Breaking those barriers and going out and experiencing the world is certainly the best way to open up your heart to not only different ways of life, but the individual struggles of underprivileged areas and families.

If this experiential journey doesn’t give you a newfound appreciation for life, then who knows what will. Seeing what the rest of the world has to offer or how other countries work create a much more well-rounded person. It turns you into someone who has seen and understands strife, has learned to love themselves and the differences of cultures, nationalities, and religions.

There is a positive intrinsic change in who you are as a person after seeing your fair share of the world.

Break out of your secluded shell of a world, get out there and experience nature, people, food, culture, and struggle. You may not achieve full Enlightenment (as the buddhists will say), but you will definitely become a far more enlightened person.

Life is all about perspective.

CHANGE YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE

One of the easiest ways to reinvent yourself is to change a constant in your life. That constant can be your clothes, your make-up, your muscles, the way you talk, etc. Anything about your person or body that can be changed through altering habit.

The most common way we’ve noticed is changing your hair or your body.

A lot of people feel that their personalities tie directly with how they wear their hair. Different hair can mean a different persona – a whole new you (which could actually end up being the REAL you all along).

Blonde, brunette, short, long, shaved, mohawks, and mullets. Do what you’ve always wanted to do (although we strongly recommend against a mullet…)!

A person’s body image can also be a serious insecurity or hinderance in an individual’s life. Not socially, but personally.

Being too skinny, or too overweight, or too weak is only a perspective observation. Here at Koko we believe you should be happy no matter how you look, as long as you feel good and are living a healthy lifestyle!

Going to the gym, getting regular exercise, and eating right can have a drastic effect on who you become as a person. You can go from an Xbox junkie to mud run competitor in a matter of months, all you need is the drive and want to make a change.

The gym can inspire and give hope to people who have never been all too physical or athletic. It’s one of the biggest disposition adjusters at your disposal!

Change yourself physically, live differently, and watch how the new you flourishes.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Spirituality is not religion. It’s not a belief and it’s not learn through texts.

In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.

Amy R. Krentzman, MSW, PhD

Finding who you are in the universe, your place and what you are meant to accomplish has always been the never-ending quest of philosophers, religious leaders, free thinkers, authors, and poets.

The thing is that spiritual growth is an individualistic journey. You don’t need a deep-thinker to tell you who you are and what you’re meant for, that is for you to find out and you to own.

Meditation and yoga are good tools to use to calm your mind and become ‘at peace.’ It is said that this steady state of mind is the only way to really recognize who you are or to become one with the world and achieve true enlightenment (or ‘nirvana’).

However, not all soul searching is done as a buddhist monk. Becoming more spiritual or developing a spiritual life is open to interpretation. It can be as simple as switching from a 9-5 office job, to becoming a watercolor artist because that’s who you are and that’s what you life to do.

As long as what you are doing makes you a better and happier person, brings you closer to who you believe you truly are as a person, and helps you fin your place in the world.. then that thing can considered spiritual growth.

Maybe we’ll never know the meaning of life, but at least we can discover and grow with the  things that have meaning in OUR OWN lives.

Reinventing yourself is not an easy thing to do. But, if you don’t like where or who you are, then something has to change. Everybody deserves to be happy and if you’re having trouble making a change then seek help.

Get a hairdresser friend to chop your hair, find a coach to help you get started on your fitness journey, or seek out a meditation class or a book to help you get started.

No matter what you do, new experience change who you are for the better. Never stop growing and never stop being yourself.

And, as always Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

Why You Should Include Supersets in Your Routine

superset-blog

BUT FIRST… WHAT ARE THEY?

AboutSports.com defines a superset as “a combination of one exercise performed right after the other with no rest in between them.”

You’ll hear the term thrown around a lot by gym rats and fitness junkies trying to pump as much blood to their muscles as possible. But the truth is, they are a valuable asset to any fitness plan!

Supersets are amazing for gaining muscularity and building base strength. You can use them to vary your muscle movements or to hyper-target a particular muscle or muscle group.

If you really want to define and tone your body, supersets will get you there in half the time. Especially when combined with interval cardio training for optimal body fat loss.

5 TYPES OF SUPERSETS

1. Pre-Exhaustion

The most popular (and some say the most effective) type of superset is a pre-exhaustion. This is when you perform an isolation exercise on a particular muscle and then switch to a compound exercise for that same muscle.

The purpose of these is to exhaust the muscle being worked as quickly as possible, so that when it comes time to do the compound exercise, you have to engage more surrounding muscle fibers to push through the reps. These build stability and help stretch surrounding fascia tissue for muscle growth.

2. Compound Supersets

Compound supersets are of the same breed as pre-exhaustion, however both exercises are compound movements on the same muscle or muscle group. The benefit of these is crazy muscle growth.

They can be dangerous though, the more you shock your nervous system, the sloppier your form will get and sloppy form can lead to injuries. Koko intentionally leaves these types of supersets out of their workout plans to reduce injury risk.

3. Isolated Supersets

These are also in the same family as pre-exhaustion and compound supersets. Im sure you can guess how these are performed…

Two isolating exercises are performed back to back. The most common example would be a tricep pushdown coupled with kickbacks. These types of exercises will define the heck out of your muscles. Huge drawbacks however are the small gain in mass and minimal strength increase.

Strength and weight control are more important than ‘show’ muscles. These supersets are typically used by body-builders pre-contest to help cut out their shape and not necessarily for an overall health boost.

4. Opposing Muscle Group Supersets

Koko incorporates 2 forms of supersets into its programs. The first of which are opposing muscle group supersets. These supersets are one part isolation or compound exercise and second part isolation or compound exercise of the direct opposite muscle or muscle group.

Here is an example… You do 8 controlled reps of bicep cable curls (isolation) and then do 8 reps of a tricep pushdown with minimal resting time. According to Bodybuilding.com:

“[These exercises are] extremely effective because while one muscle is working, the other is resting. Since this type of superset allows your muscle to rest for a short period, it will allow you to build strength, as well as size.”

It also keeps the blood pumping in the same area of your body throughout the duration of the set. Strength gains for days!

5. Staggered Sets Supersets

Try saying that 5 times fast… These are when you combine a movement with a major muscle with a smaller and completely unrelated muscle.

A good example of this is to go from seated rows that work all of your back muscles and biceps to weighted calf raises.

The biggest benefit of these is that it is essentially a get-rich-quick scheme to bringing your underdeveloped muscles up to par with the rest of your body.

Someone who has not gone to the gym in a while most likely has disproportionate muscle strengths. Mixing in staggered supersets allows your smaller, undeveloped muscles to catch up to the ones you truly wish to focus on. Koko uses these sets to keep your muscles guessing. Shocking your system like this is a gateway to total body development, overall strength gain, and peak physical health.

SO… WHY SHOULD YOU BE DOING THESE?

There are benefits to each type of superset. However, they all share 3 common advantages. These advantages are also some of the key elements to a Koko workout and what gives our Koko system the ability to fit into your daily life.

First things first, making a workout out of supersets and circuits will help you finish your workout in a fraction of the time of other gym goers. The reason for this is simply because you are performing your workouts back to back and not resting 1-2 minutes in between. The time cut doesn’t sound like a lot, but adding it all up can knock a half hour off your gym time easy.

Performing your exercises back to back does more than shorten your gym time. It keeps your heart rate elevated for the duration of the workout. This means you’ll burn fat faster than a your typical ‘exercise, rest, repeat’ routine.

That elevated heart rate – when sustained throughout your workout – also provides aspike in your metabolism to keep you burning more calories all day long.

The bottom line is, supersets are an important thing to consider when developing workout plans. Some will help build strength, some will help you burn fat, and some will just simply make you look good! However, all will help you achieve proper body development.

Start with light weights first in order to assess your ability to perform these supersets. You can always find great coach as well. A Coach can show you how to perform these safely and include these in your routine the right way to achieve the goals you’re striving for.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

One Size Does NOT Fit All

onesizedoesnotfitall

For most people, your chronological age can be an indicator of many things. Your eyesight, your experience level, whether you can drink a beer or not, or if you qualify for a 401k.

But, did you know that your chronological age is not the only category of aging your body can be subjected to?

In fact, a 15 year old can have the same physiological age as a 55 year old. And two 25 year olds can have entirely different developmental ages (their level of cognitive and emotional maturity).

Recognizing the different types of aging is important for understanding your skill level.Koko, for example, takes into account your previous strength aptitude (training age), how old you are (chronological age), and even cognitive skills (developmental age) when developing your specific workout programs. By pinpointing where you stand on these spectrums, we can help you figure out how to start your fitness journey the proper way.

Picture this:

There are two clients, both 50 year old males. They’re both 30 pounds overweight and want to burn some fat because they’re heading somewhere warm with their families over April vacation. On paper they both look the same and want the same thing, but their activities of daily living are very different.

One has an office job where he sits at a desk. The other works in construction and is tackling physically exerting projects each day.

The issue is, we can’t solve their problem the same exact way because they’re two completely different training ages, or, the number of years a person has spent in training or various sports.

Let me explain…

The guy that works in the office is in a state of rest for the majority of his day. He is not contracting and extending the majority of his muscles, he is forgetting to stand up throughout the work day, and his body is in a sitting and hunched position for extended periods of time.

He is equally as de-conditioned as he is dysfunctional.

Guy number 2 is constantly in an active state. He works a job where he is always on his feet, is constantly alert for hazards, and his day involves lots of physical activity like heavy lifting, hammering nails, and climbing ladders.

He is well conditioned and used to physical exertion. However, he may be somewhat dysfunctional (in terms of form, mobility and stability).

So, what’s my point?

Well, while Guy #1 and Guy #2 are of the same age, weight, and share equal goals, theydiffer greatly in their strength, body fat content, range of motion, endurance, and much more. That means their training and physiological ages are different. Each need to start at different weight levels, different motions, and different types of exercises. It is most likely their daily routines will be no where near similar!

Workout programs are NOT one-size-fits-all. Just because that spin class works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects on you. Box gyms try to solve this discrepancy with group training.Group classes and training can be energizing and motivating way to stay engaged in fitness. But what is missing is the individualized attention.

What most people find so appealing about these options is the community aspect — the feeling that you are in it together. Unfortunately, since we all have different body types, needs and training ages, a group style “one size fits all” approach can be less effective for people who need a more personalized solution for their issues or goals….”

People flock to group classes because they are affordable and they’re not ‘going it alone.’ But, you are going it alone. The trainer isn’t stopping to teach you, as long as the majority of the group keeps up, they’re doing their job. Why pay for the class at all if you’re not going to do what your specific body type needs to do?

The fitness industry has a tendency to focus only on your ‘show muscles’. This is because the client (you) will see visible results in a short period of time and therefore will believe the class is working. That way, you’ll buy more group classes to work muscles you don’t actually need to work. Show muscles look nice, but they do nothing to make you live longer or move better.

The bottom line is – everybody has a different training age and body type. Therefore, everybody needs their own personalized workout plan to truly feel better every day and look better! What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. It’s all about personalization, and following the plan that is best for you.

The best way to find this plan, is to find a coach or a gym that works one to one and focuses on what you need.

Stay Koko Fit

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer

Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.