Eco-Friendly Workout Gear

Earth Day is April 22nd, so why not make your next gym session a little greener. There has been much more attention paid recently to the environment due to the threat of climate change. Recycling is on the rise, and clothing lines have jumped on the recycling bandwagon.

Why not green your workout with these three eco-friendly brands:

Prana

The first thing you may notice walking into a Prana store are the numerous bike racks customers use to commute. In addition, the walls of the store are made of reclaimed materials. The company first started seventeen years ago when it began shipping orders in surplus fruit boxes from local grocery stores. Today, the company has its own Natural Power Initiative in order to help create business practices that will lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

Alo

The name Alo stands for air, land and ocean. Using materials such as bamboo and organic cotton, the company takes pride in its eco-friendly style. As part of the company’s mission to “produce clothing that has minimal impact on the environment,” Alo operates under sustainable business practices. In addition, Alo uses solar power, hybrid cars and green office supplies. The company goes out of its way in order to do what it can for the planet.

Patagonia

Known for its earth conscious standard, Patagonia continues to grow along with its efforts to protect the planet. The company has started numerous campaigns to raise awareness and money for environmental causes. The company has started the Footprint Chronicles, which allows customers to track a product’s environmental impact. Patagonia has continually reduced its impact on the planet while growing exponentially.

While we can’t stop the effects of global warming and climate change in a day, we can take small steps in order to help protect our planet and reduce our carbon footprint.

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Compare and Contrast: Vegans and Vegetarians

Believe it or not, not everyone enjoys eating red meats, white meats and even fish. Though it may seem delicious to some, others find that eating these products goes against their environmental beliefs or dietary preferences and prefer to abstain from consuming animal products.

Two of the groups that prefer to abstain from eating meats and other animal products are vegetarians and vegans. Though the names might sound the same, and others may confuse the two, there are similarities but also great differences between the two.

Vegetarians

Being a vegetarian seems to be more popular than being a vegan. In the United States, 7.3 million Americans are vegetarians, and 22.8 million follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.

Vegetarians do not eat any meat, fish or poultry but they tend to consume dairy products and eggs, and they also tend to not eat products that contain gelatin or other meat-based products.

Different types of sub-groups within the vegetarian group exist. For example:

Lacto Vegetarians – vegetarians who consume dairy products but not eggs. They still abstain from red meats, white meats and fish.

Ovo-Vegetarians – vegetarians who eat eggs but no dairy products. They also abstain from red meats, white meats and fish.

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians –vegetarians who eat eggs, as well as dairy products but abstain from red meats, white meats and fish.

Vegans

The vegan diet is a little different from that of vegetarians. The main point of view of vegans is that animals are not only on earth to be exploited by man, and that commercialization of animals is directly involved with a fundamental and inhumane component of the lack of respect for basic life.

They don’t consume meat, eggs, milk, honey or any food that is derived from animals. Vegans also abstain from using any animal derived products like leather, wool and don’t condone the use of animal testing.

Approximately 1 million people of the 7.3 million “vegetarians” in the US are actually vegan. From a nutritional standpoint, the only difference between vegans and vegetarians is the vegan’s need to take Vitamin B12 and Amino Acid supplements since they have no dietary source for these supplements.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians can get all their supplements from eggs and dairy products but vegans cannot. One of the upsides to having a vegan diet is the minimization of food allergies or intolerance since it eliminates the most common allergens like shellfish, eggs and diary.

For more Nutrition blogs provided by Max Muscle St. Pete, click here!

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Take Your Workout Outside

Weekly yoga sessions, cycling classes or resistance training equipment can easily be tracked down at a gym or yoga spot.  But if you’re looking to spend some time outdoors and still work on your fitness, there are a few activities you can do around St. Petersburg, FL that can help you maintain your goals while getting some fresh air.

Outdoor Yoga

Many weight lifters probably prefer to skip the yoga and go straight to bulking, but there is no doubt that working on your flexibility, core and resistance can greatly benefit your weekly routine. Pinellas Park Yoga Lovers is a group founded on August 13, 2012 by yoga lovers, and they are now to the point where they have over 80 participants weekly. This is a great chance to meet new people who are also interested in health and fitness.

There are many yoga groups around St. Pete and you can simply step in when you’re feeling up to it or you can make it a part of your weekly routine. Sometimes there is a charge for classes, but not all of the instructors charge. Though, the instructors may ask for a small donation.

Paddle Boarding

Though extremely fun, paddle boarding sure is a workout. There are plenty of meet-ups in St. Petersburg, FL where you can get a group together or simply show up ready for water sports. Many of these paddle-boarding groups also meet up for snorkeling and kayaking, which are great activities if you’re working on your cardio.

Kayaking

Kayaking is another example of a water sport that is a great outside workout. Not only does kayaking get your heart rate up, but you have to be ready for an intense upper body workout as well. You can pick from single kayaks or bring your buddy and team up on a double kayak.

Kayaking by the Pier and away from the shore is an awesome way to get in your daily workout while taking in the view. Try it sometime, we guarantee you won’t regret it.

Group Walkers

If you’re looking for a workout that isn’t too intense but you still want to get moving, a brisk walk is probably your best bet.

If you know you only have about an hour or 30 minutes for your walk, don’t stay indoors and stare at a TV at the gym when you’re on the treadmill.  Go out! There is nothing like a good sweat. Walking outdoors also allows you to pace yourself rather than adjusting the speed on the treadmill, and the gym won’t give you the fresh air, sunlight and view that you really want.

Beach Boot Camp

Have you ever tried running in the sand? If you have, you know how much harder it is than running on other surfaces, such as a treadmill or track. Running with this resistance, either from the sand or from knee-high water, can really kick up your workout.

Therefore there is no doubt as to why some boot camps choose to have their classes on the beach. The elements alone can help with your resistance training, plus the smell of the beach and the sunlight can’t be beat.

Finding your own way to workout outdoors won’t be hard in this beautiful city. Click here to see more health and fitness blogs provided by Max Muscle St. Pete.

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Who Should the Tampa Bay Bucs Draft in 2014?

It is almost draft time again, football fans, which means the teams that had a bad year last season are eating up all of the media talk, because they are holding the high draft selections.

Our Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a pretty poor season last year, especially considering the high expectations for the team, but that means we are in prime position to land a stud from this year’s draft.

The Bucs hold the 7th pick in the draft and will have plenty of options. Here are some players that we think will be available at 7 and will fit well on the Buc’s roster:

Kahli Mack, OLB, University of Buffalo

Mack is an explosive outside linebacker that can rush the quarterback with ferocity, stop the run consistently and hold his own in coverage. Mack holds a rare mix of talents, which is the perfect recipe for a headache for offensive coordinators.  If you put Mack on one side of the field and Defensive MVP candidate Lavonte David on the other side of the field, you’re giving Lovie Smith’s defense a lot of flexibility.

Blake Bortles, QB, University of Central Florida

Mike Glennon looked like the guy, but just like when any new regime comes in, Lovie Smith brought his own guy in Josh McCown who killed it last year for the Bears, but is on the wrong side of 30 without a great track record. So, if Glennon is not the guy and with so many holes filled already, why not grab a stud like Bortles if he falls to 7.

Bortles would only have to move a few hours to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from his alma mater, UCF. With a skillset that consists of no real weaknesses and only room to get better, Bortles could spend a year behind McCown and then take over after an Aaron Rodgers sort of start to his career. It also allows Glennon to be good trade bait for a decent draft pick. He’d fit well on the Texans if they go with Clowney at number one.

Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M

The Bucs did just sign Anthony Collins who should fit nicely at LT, but RT is still a weakness for the team. Mathews would make a great bookend on the other side of Collins and give whoever is behind center for the Bucs some real time back there. A son of a former offensive lineman, Mathews has been training to be a NFL player since he was a young kid. He has shown throughout his college career that he can dominate opposing linemen with his great hands, footwork and strength.

Wide Receiver Mike Evans is also an option after the Mike Williams trade. Check back to Max Muscle St. Pete for more blogs on sports, health and nutrition!

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Tips on Picking Fresh Produce: Spring Season

Picking produce is like going to the gym, everyone has advice on everything and everyone’s advice is different. So, we’ve decided to put an end to the mystery and list what to look for when picking produce.

Here is some advice, focusing on produce that is in-season during spring:

Artichokes

Look for artichokes that have compacted leaves and feel heavier than they look. A good trick is to rub the leaves of two different artichokes together, if they make a squeaking noise they are a good pick.

Asparagus

Avoid asparagus that looks uneven or feels soft. Firm, even and bright is what you should look for. When we say even we are referring to smoothness and the stalks being the same thickness as the tips so you have an evenly cooked asparagus.

Beets

You want to look for a firm beet with slim taproots. Avoid beets with leaves that look like they are drooping and furry taproots.

Lettuce

Look for lettuce that has crispness and that doesn’t have wilted leaves. If the lettuce looks slimy, mushy or has any brownness, stay away. Look for brownness or dryness at the bottom of the head where the root is, if there is any it is an immediate red flag.

Oranges

The thing about oranges, and majority of citrus fruits, is that they stop ripening once they are picked so don’t try to be to tricky and buy a fruit thinking it is like a banana and if you get it before it is fully ripped it’ll last longer. Firmness and brightness is what you’re looking for. Remember to avoid bruised fruit!

Strawberries

You always want to get berries when they’re in-season. Berries easily mold so make sure to really look for any odd coloring or furry looking texture. Also, wetness at the bottom of the package can be a sign for potential mold.

Click here for more awesome Max Muscle St. Pete blogs. Also, click here to learn about what Max Muscle St. Pete offers.

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What is a Great Source of Protein Besides Meat?

Being a vegetarian can be a challenge. Vegetarians need to make an extra effort to make sure they are getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need. A huge part of the human diet is protein. Meat is one of the most common sources of protein for people, but that poses a bit of a problem for vegetarians.

So, what are great non-meat sources of protein? Legumes may be the best source of protein for not only vegetarians, but anyone really.

What are Legumes?

For those who don’t know, legumes are a plant that is mainly grown for their food grain seed. There are many variations of legumes.

Beans

A common ingredient in many vegetarian dishes and a great source of protein is beans.  A cup of beans can have anywhere from 10-25 grams of protein. And you can get protein from nearly any kind of bean, including black beans, kidney beans and soybeans. Chickpeas would actually fall under the bean category too, as their real name is garbanzo beans.

Nuts

Nuts are another type of legume and they really provide a good amount of protein. 1 cup of nuts can contain up to 65-70 grams of protein. One of the best nuts to get protein from is dry-roasted soy nuts, because their low fat content and high levels of protein.

Peas

Another great source of protein from the legume family is peas. Peas are low on fat and high on protein. The protein-to-fat gram ration can be as high as 15-to-1. Peas can be thrown as a side dish to just about any entrée and they also make a great snack.

Lentils

Lentils are the oddballs of the legume family due to their difference in shape. With nearly 50 grams of protein per cup and just 2 grams of fat, lentils make a great source of protein for someone trying to build lean muscle and cut fat.

If you would like to know more about health and nutrition, click here for our full list of Max Muscle St. Pete blogs.

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What Are Super Foods?

Super foods, you may have heard the term, you may have not, but one thing is for sure, no one really knows the exact definition of Super Foods.

Which Foods Are Super?

While there is not one specific definition for super foods,  there is a general consensus on what the term means. In layman’s terms, a super food is a food that is high in nutrition. Which foods fall under the “super” category is another story and differs in whom you talk to.

Pretty much all fruits and vegetables are considered super foods. Also, some fish, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, seeds, legumes and dairy products have been known to fall under the category.

The Problem With Super Foods

The term “super food” is not a scientific term, it is actually just a marketing ploy. It is basically used as something to distinguish one food over another.

The big problem with the term is that it gets attached to all variations of the food. Yes, meat is extremely beneficial to you with its protein and vitamins, but if you’re getting processed meat that comes with unhealthy preservatives it is not so healthy or “super.”

Also, take whole grains for example, it is considered one of the most predominant super foods of them all, because it’s loaded with nutrients and vitamins. But did you know that many processed whole grain food items are just as unhealthy as other less nutritional breads? That is because there are high in sugars and when you consume foods that are high in sugars it can cause metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Green tea is another good example of something that is considered a super food and extremely healthy for you, but when it’s sold with large sums of sugar, which is very common in America, it completely derails the healthiness of it (just like the processed whole grain breads).

So, our best advice to you is to ignore the super food label and look at the nutritional facts on the product. For more health and nutrition advice, click here for the full list of Max Muscle St. Pete blogs.

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Great Fitness Apps

In today’s day and age we have the luxury of being able to carry a high-tech computer everywhere we go. Taken for granted much of the time, or until we lose it, our smartphone can be used for many different things.

In this blog we want to look at how your smartphone can help you reach your fitness goals. Specifically, we want to look at apps that are helpful in that aspect.

Here are some of our favorite fitness apps:

Map My Fitness

The app Map My Fitness focuses on tracking all of your activity. It uses GPS to record your movements and workouts. The app tracks the length, span, rate, speed intervals, elevation, calories burned, and direction on a responsive map.

App Best For: Joggers, Runners and Bikers

Available On: iPhone, Android and Blackberry

DietBet 10

DietBet is an app that allows for people to join in on bets that are centered on losing weight and getting healthy.  There are new games every month. If you can lose 10% of your weight in 6 months you win money.

You do have to bet money yourself and there are strict rules that prevent cheating, but it is a great app if you’re interested in losing a decent amount of weight. There is also DietBet 4 that is centered on losing 4% of your weight in 4 weeks.

App Best For: People trying to lose weight

Available On: iPhone

StrongLifts 5×5

This app will help you track all of your weight training. It makes tracking your reps, sets and amount of weight very easy. It also records weight changes and your workouts by the date so it’s easy for you to go back and track your progress. This App will even tell you how much weight you should be lifting for each different set and workout.

App Best For: People looking to gain muscle mass or create lean muscle

Available On: iPhone and Android

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Lose Fat

The Step-by-Step Plan to Getting the Body You Want

Everyone wants something different when it comes to the body of their dreams. Some guys want to bulk up, some guys want to look lean. Some girls want ripped abs, some girls just want to lose fat. What doesn’t change is that you need a step-by-step plan to get where you want to go.

Step 1: Set Goals

When trying to achieve the body of your dreams it is important to set goals. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before your run. Set a long-term goal of what you want to look like, what weight you’d like to be, and a deadline on when you want to get there.

Also, set short-term goals that you want to meet weekly or monthly, depending on how long your long-term goal is. If you’re trying to lose 20 pounds in a 5-month span, you might want to have your monthly goal be losing 4 pounds. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so take your time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Step 2: Workout and Diet Routine

This might take some outside help. Going down to your local Max Muscle is always a good move. You want to go somewhere that can help educate you on what workout and meal plans will get you where you want to be.

At a place like Max Muscle St. Pete, we will cater both a meal plan and workout routine to what you want to accomplish, your body type and your specific needs. Getting this part right is huge.

Step 3: Start Slow and Pace Yourself

Don’t jump into this drinking nothing but smoothies and running a couple miles every night, you have to build yourself up to that point because you will burn out. Start light, allow cheat days, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and slowly add to the workload. If you do that you’ll get where you want to be.

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