The Lowdown on Protein Powders and Shakes

Woman drinking protein

While protein powders were once quite a niche product, they have now become much more mainstream, especially since the benefits of protein are being much more widely acknowledged. If you have been wanting to venture into the world of protein powders and shakes but do not know where to begin, here are a few basics that will help you to understand all that is out there.

Whey-Based Powders
Whey-based protein powders are the most commonly available, and are basically a milk product that has had all of its fat and carbohydrates removed. This means that it is quickly absorbed by the body, which is why many athletes turn to whey-based protein shakes for their post-workout recovery sessions.

Casein-Based Powders
Just like whey, casein is also a milk-based product, and is commonly used in the making of cheese. However, the difference lies in the way in which the body digests casein, as this process takes longer than it does with whey. While this means that they are not ideal post-workout, they are great for an afternoon or evening snack, as they will help your muscles to gradually recover overnight.

Protein powders

Combination Powders
If you feel as though you could benefit from both a casein and a whey powder, it may be worth looking into products that combine the two. This means that your body will be able to obtain an immediate effect from your shake, thanks to the whey, as well as long term energy for many hours afterwards, due to the casein.

Plant-Based Proteins
Even if you do not follow a vegan diet, plant-based proteins still have so many different benefits, making them well worth considering. These tend to contain antioxidant-rich superfoods, which will have the effect of boosting your immune system, enabling you to train for longer, and harder. They also tend to be kinder to the gut, and while many may feel as though they are not as effective as milk-based protein powders, recent studies have shown that plant-based proteins are just as capable of building muscle as milk-based proteins. Common examples of plant-based proteins include pea protein, which contains high levels of arginine, which is an amino acid required to build muscle, soya protein and hemp protein, which also contains many beneficial life enzymes and essential fatty acids.

An Energy Boost
While a protein shake on its own is fantastic for maintaining your muscles, it is not going to provide you with much energy, which is where all of the extra supplements come in. However, since you are only beginning to experiment with protein shakes, it would be easiest to skip the supplements for now and working on adding your own energy-rich foods to the blend. An easy way to do this is by using a protein powder in a smoothie, mixing it with ingredients such as oats, almond butter and coconut milk.

The world of protein shakes and powders can often seem intimidating, but even if you are not a serious athlete, you are still likely to be able to derive a few benefits from one. However, it is important to keep in mind that protein powders are supplements, and cannot replace your body’s need for a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Easy Post-Workout Snacks

hummus

The food that you eat after a workout is extremely important, as it needs to be something that will help your body to repair muscle tissue while replenishing your glycogen stores, which end up depleted after periods of intense exercise. If you have been looking for some new post-workout snack ideas, these are not only deliciously healthy, but incredibly satisfying too.

Hummus with a Whole Wheat Pita
Hummus, which is a dip that is made from puréed chickpeas, is packed with protein, and a whole wheat pita is a great source of carbohydrates post-workout, making this a fantastic, and tasty, combination. To add some extra zing to this snack, try incorporating some new flavors into your hummus, whether this be red peppers, jalapeños or beets, all of which will provide your body with some extra antioxidants too.

Pistachios

Dry Roasted Pistachios
While all nuts contain protein and healthy fats, pistachios have the highest levels of potassium in comparison to all of the other nuts, and since potassium is an electrolyte that you lose through sweat, pistachios make a great post-workout snack. To add more texture and flavors to this snack, toss some pistachios into a bag with raisins, along with some other nuts and seeds, making your very own portable trail mix.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
A large number of athletes tend to depend on protein shakes for their post-workout snack, but the taste of these can often put many people off. For a healthy and tasty alternative, try whipping up a peanut butter and banana smoothie at home, adding a small touch of protein powder, along with some almond milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon. The protein in your smoothie will provide your body with long-lasting energy, while the cinnamon will help to control your blood sugar levels after your workout. If you want to make your smoothie even more nutritious, experiment with adding some other fruits, or leafy greens such as kale or spinach, to the mix.

Yogurt parfait

Greek Yoghurt Parfait
Greek yoghurt contains just the right amount of digestible protein to help your muscles recover from a workout, and turning it into a yoghurt parfait makes it even more nutrient-dense. While this may sound like a complicated snack, it will only take you a couple of minutes to put together. Simply pour the yoghurt into a portable container, before topping with granola and berries, making sure to remember to bring along a spoon!

Sweet Potatoes and Grilled Chicken
If you have been working out at home and have access to a kitchen immediately after, then this hot snack promises to hit the spot. Sweet potatoes are a hugely beneficial post-workout food, as they are packed with so many vitamins and nutrients, as well as just the right amount of carbohydrates. Eating this along with some grilled chicken will not only create a well-rounded snack, but will also ensure that your body is receiving all of the lean protein that it needs.

Eating after a workout is important, and you should aim to have a snack within 20 minutes of your training in order for your body to optimally function. While you may feel ravenous after a particularly gruelling session, be sure to keep your snack under 150 calories, so that you do not undo all of the hard work that you have just done.

Best Workouts You Won’t Even Notice You’re Doing

Woman with dog

There is now a continuous influx of new studies that point to the many incredible benefits that regular exercise can bring, ranging from a lower risk of heart disease to a reversal of the aging process. While many may enjoy structured workout routines, these are not for everybody, so here are a few workouts that are guaranteed to get you fit, without you even noticing this happening.

Walking Your Dog 
Your dog needs exercise just as much as you do, so heading off for a long dog walk is a great way to take care of both of you. Being around animals in general also boosts your physical health and mental well-being in so many other ways, so if you are guilty of often letting dog walks slide, now is the time to change that. If you do not own a dog but would still like to enjoy the many benefits that come from spending time with one, there are now many services out there that enable you to borrow someone else’s dog for a few hours, or, alternatively, you could simply find a friend’s dog, or a neighbourhood dog, that would benefit from some extra exercise.

Woman with child

Playing With Your Kids 
Whether you choose chase, hopscotch or jump rope, playing with your children is a great way to boost all of your fitness levels while creating some long-lasting memories. Each of these activities are effective ways to burn calories, and will also teach your children about the importance of exercise from an early age.

Dancing 
Dancing involves moving your body energetically and continuously, both of which are perfect for keeping your heart rate elevated while burning calories. If you are wanting to learn a new skill at the same time, then a dance class would be ideal for you, but the same benefits can be had simply by dancing to some music at home. All you need to do is blast your favorite songs and let the beat move you, which will, when done on a regular basis, strengthen your heart, tone your muscles and improve your balance.

Gardening

Gardening 
Gardening for around 30 minutes a day can burn up to 300 calories, providing that you are actually moving around, digging and planting, rather than just standing still and admiring the view. Gardening would be classed as a moderate level cardiovascular exercise, and its benefits include everything from a healthier immune system to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. If you like the idea of gardening but do not know where to start, begin by sowing some seeds of a food that you love to eat, as the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing your own produce is a great motivator to spend more time in your garden.

Exercise is key when it comes to staying healthy, but this does not mean that you need to develop a structured exercise regime. Instead, by spending half an hour to an hour a day on one of these activities, you will be gaining the benefits of a regular workout without having to feel as though you are actually working out.

Simple Exercises to Tighten the Skin Above Your Shoulders

Loose skin can be caused by a number of different factors, from weight loss to aging, and, once your skin has taken on this looser appearance, tightening it back up can seem like quite the challenge. While there is nothing that you can do at home to transform your skin overnight, here are some simple exercises that, when carried out regularly and consistently, will help to tighten up the skin on your shoulders.

woman doing push-up

Push-Ups
While many people perform push-ups to work the major muscles in the chest, this exercise is fantastic for toning the upper arms and shoulders over time as well. It is a common misconception that this is an exercise that needs to be carried out every day, but this actually does not give the muscles enough time to rest in between sessions. Between eight to ten reps is ideal, with two days of rest in between. Place your focus on improving your form rather than increasing reps, and, if you need an added challenge after a while, look into weighted push-ups and decline push-ups. There are many other push-up varieties out there, and not only will these target a different range of muscles, but they will also add some diversity to your workout routine and make it much more interesting.

Woman using dumbbells

Reverse Curls
Reverse curls are known for being able to really help with sagging skin, and are able to help to tone this back up. Hold a five to eight pound dumbbell in each hand, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep the dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing in before curling both hands and bringing them close to your shoulders. It is important to do this without bending the wrists, before ending it by lowering your hands back down to complete the repetition. This should be done in two sets of 20 in order to experience maximum benefits.

woman doing back extensions

Prone Shoulder Extension
The prone shoulder extension is another exercise that requires the use of dumbbells, and this is because weight training is the best way to fill out loose skin and tone the muscles around the shoulders. Lie face down and keep your arms by your side, with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing upwards. Lift your arms towards the ceiling, before pausing at the top of your range of motion and then slowly lowering your arms back down, stopping right before they actually touch the floor.

The shoulder is quite a vulnerable joint, which means that it is at a higher risk of injury than other parts of the body. While these exercises will be able to help in toning the muscle and tightening the skin, it is important to ease into them slowly, giving your body enough time to adjust to the new routine, as this will help you to avoid injury or muscle pain. You should also try to do some back and chest exercises before working on your shoulders, as your shoulders will still be involved in these other exercises, and will prevent them from being fatigued too early on in your workout.

Your February Healthy Lifestyle Reboot

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions out there is making the commitment to living a healthier life, but when February rolls around and people realize that they have not made any changes, it can be all-too-easy to simply give up, accepting yet another failed resolution. However, it is never too late to begin making adjustments, so make February the month that you do so.

Whole grain food
Changes to Your Diet
Just about everybody knows that they could be eating healthier, but giving up indulgent treats in favor of healthier alternatives never sounds appealing. The key here is to begin by making really small changes and gradually adding to these, as this will mean that you are far more likely to stick to your goals. A variety of foods is important, as each food has its own unique nutrients, so aim to incorporate a new ingredient into your diet each week. Whole grains are also much better for you than refined, so slowly work on swapping your white rice and white bread for brown versions. Sugar is an ingredient that you should really try to cut out, and this is another area where you are likely to be much more successful if you do this slowly, beginning by setting a limit on how many sugar-filled treats you can eat per week.

Exercise Motivation
Physical activity is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle, but motivating yourself to do some exercise can often be quite difficult, especially in cold winter climates. There are a few ways in which you can motivate yourself, and you are likely to need to try them all before finding which works best for you. Picking rewards for yourself after you have reached certain exercise goals is always a good idea, with the reward depending on how difficult the goal was. You could also set a few goals with some friends, so that you have their support when you are feeling uninspired. Alternatively, try to come up with a few ways to make exercise fun and enjoyable, so that you look forward to it rather than dread it. Learning a new sport could be exactly what you need to engage your mind as well as your body, or signing up for group dance classes will allow you to workout in a fun and laid-back environment.

Woman exercising
Deal With One Bad Habit at a Time
Just about everybody has a bad lifestyle habit that they would want to change, but trying to tackle all of these at once is only setting yourself up for failure. Whether you want to quit smoking and exercise more, or cut back on drinking alcohol, as well as caffeine, prioritize each one and pick the most important to deal with first. This will enable you to focus all of your attention on improving that particular habit, and once you have fully mastered this, you can then move on to the next.

There are always ways in which you can make your lifestyle healthier, but if you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed with this, then chances are that you are simply trying to do too much too soon. When working on improving your lifestyle, a chain of gradual, small adjustments are always easier to deal with than quick, major changes, so try to set yourself mini goals that you know you will be able to achieve.

Advice From Exercise Icons

There is so much fitness advice floating around out there, but, if you want to make some real progress, you need to pick the right people to take this advice from. These exercise icons, from Jane Fonda to Richard Simmons, all have a great track record behind them when it comes to fitness, so take a look at some of their most useful words of wisdom.

Woman working out
Jane Fonda
With 22 different workout videos produced, all of which have sold over 17 million copies, Jane Fonda is, without a doubt, legendary when it comes to exercising. In terms of fitness advice, Fonda has plenty to offer, with one of her top tips being that one needs to work out at least three times a week, on alternative days, for at least 30 minutes at a time, at least if you want your exercise to be effective. Your workout should also contain three different types of exercises, including stretching, resistance and aerobic exercises, the latter of which is the only type of activity that is able to remove the marbled fat that lies deep within muscles.

Richard Simmons
Richard Simmons rose to fame in the 80’s, and while many expected him to fall into obscurity as the years progressed, Simmons is still making frequent appearances on television, and is an extremely successful fitness instructor. When it comes to his top piece of advice, Simmons stresses the huge importance that he places on setting rules for every part of his life, from eating to exercising. Simmons believes that not only is it important to workout every single day, but you must also always follow clean eating habits, and ensure that these rules are sacred to you.

Woman taking exercise class
Denise Austin
Dubbed as “America’s Favorite Fitness Expert”, Denise Austin is full of advice when it comes to exercising and keeping healthy. Austin believes that it is extremely important to keep your workouts fun and enjoyable, which is why you should frequently mix them up, seeking out new classes, techniques and routines whenever you can. Austin also places huge importance on strength and weight training, believing that the best way to keep your body looking and feeling youthful is to build muscle tone. Austin herself works out every day for at least 30 minutes, and usually does this first thing in the mornings. On the weekends, workouts take a more unstructured form, and can include everything from tennis with her husband to walking with friends.

Kathy Smith
Not only has Kathy Smith sold millions of fitness DVDs, but she has also written several successful books, and her top piece of advice when it comes to exercising is to view this as something that is non-negotiable in your life. Rather than giving in to excuses that you may make to yourself, from having no time to being too tired, find a way to work around these and make exercise a priority in your life.

Physical activity is such an important part of staying healthy, but many people simply do not get enough regular exercise. If you have been feeling unmotivated, follow the advice from these fitness icons and make 2017 the year in which you get back into shape.

OROGOLD Recommends Hot Workouts for 2015 – ORO GOLD Reviews

A brand new year is here, and it’s time to begin thinking about your overall health and fitness regimen. Maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon over the holiday season and have shirked your gym routine. Perhaps you haven’t given up on your gym routine, but it’s given up on you. ORO GOLD would like to help you get into shape with some of the hottest workouts for 2015. Included is a top favorite of ours here at OROGOLD that works well no matter what the year, but also introduce you to some new workout ideas that OROGOLD has stumbled across and would love to share with our readers.

Beautiful sporty woman is doing Pilates: upward-facing dog, Pilates

Pilates is one of our top picks here at OROGOLD. Not only does it strengthen and tone every muscle in your body, it provides weight loss, stability, and strength. Using the core muscles as the epicenter of the workout, you build lean muscle while losing stubborn fat once and for all. There are different levels of the exercises and workouts for people such as beginners all the way up to intermediate. You can even do these workouts in the comfort of your own home with some DVD’s and a floor mat. You may even be able to find some great Pilates workout videos online. Chances are, if you try it – you will love it!

Man doing pushups as part of body weight workout Body Weight Workouts 

This particular workout is forecast to be the number one workout program in 2015, body weight training and body weight workouts are an attractive alternative to joining a gym. They can be done by using your own body weight and minimal equipment, which saves you money and time on buying equipment and memberships. Things such as high interval push ups, pull ups, sit ups and crunches, as well as planks will allow you to tone and tighten all the loose and (for lack of a better word) jiggly areas in which you would rather not have any longer, and will also allow you to burn calories and fat at a high rate of speed.

High Intensity Interval Training High Intensity Interval Workouts

There are many people already hooked on high intensity workouts, but this is projected to be the second most popular workout craze in 2015. These types of workouts involve short, quick bursts of high impact exercise and then a very short resting period between sets. From there, there are many different reps and sets in which to complete and repeat. Usually, a timer is set to ensure each set or rep is done within the designated time frame. Many women love the energy they get from these workouts, and the fast results they see when doing these workouts on a daily basis. Even just 10 minutes per day can produce optimal results in a short amount of time.

If you are ready to take charge of your weight, health and fitness, give one or all of these workouts a try in 2015. Develop an exercise regimen that you will be able to complete at least twice per week aside from walking or jogging. Chart your weight loss and inches lost once per week. Always remember to drink adequate water – at least 8-12 glasses per day – which is very important to avoid dehydration, especially when working out.