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How To Smoothie

Into smoothies and protein shakes? So am I! When I started to do my first couple smoothies, I wasn’t exactly sure how to start. I have always been one to do a traditional protein shake consisting of a scoop of protein and milk. So when I tried to wrap my head around putting spinach in that, the thought wasn’t making me jump with joy at first.

My mom and dad got me a ninja blender for smoothies a couple Christmas’ ago and that’s where I started to learn more about it. I tried a bunch of fruit and handful of greens in the first smoothie. I was so excited that I forgot to add any milk or water. Rookie mistake, I know. As I took my 1st sip and spit it all back out, I decided at that moment to learn more about the art of making a smoothie.

I tried a lot of different recipes and tried my own. Be ready for a bunch of failures if you try it yourself. Nothing wrong with it, don’t get discouraged at first. Just takes some time to learn how to properly mix up a solid smoothie.

As you start to get it all down, you can really spice it up with different ingredients.

I was looking through my social media feed today and saw a post from Precision Nutrition and loved it enough to want to share with you today! It was perfect for this article and really adds a visual to help you out!

One of my favorite ones to do is almond milk, chocolate protein powder, spinach, banana and peanut butter.

This post is from @precisionnutrition I love their content for nutrition 🥦

What’s a shake recipe you are thinking of trying out?

Like this content? Follow my gym page @Ironstrengthandconditioning for more health related tips! I post a lot of exercises, breakdowns, fitness/nutrition content as well as mental health content and plenty of helpful stuff for the athletes!

Have an amazing day!

-Alex Costa-

Healthy Recovery Bowl Recipe

Healthy Recovery Bowl Recipe

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a little bit of a busier weekend with it being more of a birthday weekend, woot woot. I finished an ab workout on Sunday and wanted something with a little carbs but not too many, I opened up Instagram and saw a recipe on my guy Dustin Myers page (go follow him @coachmyers_gutcheck). Great guy and amazing strength and conditioning coach. Anyway, it was a little different than this but not by much so I threw my own thing together and it turned out amazing! Full of nutrients and nothing that was going to leave me “too full” whatever that means.

Here’s a quick throw together recipe you can do within 5 minutes! All you need is:

These are the ingredients I used here above in the picture
  • Oats (half cup)
  • Almond milk (about a half cup or full cup depending on preference)
  • Almond butter (1 tablespoon)
  • Chia seeds (1 teaspoon)
  • Blueberries (I did a mini handful)

First you can take care of the oats and milk by mixing them and throwing them in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes. After you take them out, let it cool for just a moment then place a tablespoon of almond butter on top. Afterwards, I threw the blueberries in on one side, then came the chia seeds to top it off.

This snack is full of vitamins, minerals and many other nutrients to kickstart your day and give you some energy! This was delicious and only took a few minutes to put together. Try it out and let me know how you like it!! Also feel free to throw in different fruits and toppings to match what you are craving!

Have a great Monday!

-Alex Costa-

Strength Topic Q&A

I took some questions I got about strengtha dn put them into a Q&A video so you can learn from them! We talk about bench, vertical jumps and more! Hope you like the video and hopefully it helps you out!!


4 ADVANCED Speed Ladder Drills

I am releasing the 3rd and final video to this mini series for speed ladder drills! I hope you are getting the beginning and intermediate ones down so you can move to these. Try them out and let me know what you think! See you tomorrow for another video!

Throw all of these drills into a full workout with the beginning speed ladder drills and intermediate as well. You will have a speed ladder workout you can do through the week! Run through each drill down and back twice then move to the next one.

 

Have a great day!
    -Alex Costa-

BLACK FRIDAY!

⬇️⬛️BLACK FRIDAY⬛️⬇️
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@ironcrate is doing buy 1 Crate, get 1 FREE! Never done this before!
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The rest of the retail items in our store will be 50% off! Protein snacks, gym apparel and fitness accessories! Just use the code “BLACKFRIDAY” at checkout!
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Please share with a friend to help out my business! I’d love for you to go through and grab an Iron Crate or load up and make your own Crate full of gear and goodies! But if you can’t or it’s just not your fit then no biggie! I still love you and appreciate the support 🙏🏼💚 hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

How To Make A Decline Bench – (GYM HACK)

GYM HACK💥

Want to target that lower chest? A decline angle is a great way to start. However you may be in the gym and the decline bench is taken, but need to get going. Take some bumber plates if available and set up a mini stack. I would not do more than 3-5 plates depending on how it is set up. Place them under the lower half of the bench to set up a decline angle.

This is also a great technique for if you have a flat bench at home and want to switch it up. The couple things you need to watch and check are safety factors. Make sure the bench is stable. I typically test this by pushing the bench at that end and sit on it and perform the movement WITHOUT weight first to ensure it will not slide. If you have rubber gym flooring and rubber bumber plates, you should be good. PLEASE use caution when doing this. I would try to get a spotter to help by spotting the weight and have the spotter also keep an eye on the bench to make sure it doesn’t slide.

Share with a friend and get to work! 

-Alex Costa-

Follow the website and blog to make sure you don’t miss out on any content coming!⬇️

The Ultimate Christmas List For The Fitness Lover

It’s almost time for Black Friday! Which means Christmas is already around the corner. When shopping for someone that’s into fitness, there’s a couple things to pay attention to. 

Some people can be very picky. Not because they are a picky person but because of different factors that are involved in their training. Some things to keep an eye on and maybe ask if you aren’t sure is:

1. What kind of fitness are they into? 

Bodybuilding, CrossFit, powerlifting, yoga, etc. This can really help so you look in the right direction.

2. Supplement favorites?

Are they sensitive to caffeine, does whey protein mess with their stomach, do they have a flavor they can’t stand?

*DO NOT JUST TAKE A STAB IN THE DARK AND GRAB THE FIRST THING AT WALMART.

This can be an area where you might just want to avoid unless you have a really good idea what they use and like.

3. Do they have access to a gym?

This can decide whether to get some items or accessories for the gym or home.

4. Do they have this item already?

If it’s a supplement or subscription box then thats okay because it’s an investment that is made consistently. However if it’s a set of bands, do they have this set already? Do they need another set or should we grab something else?

So what makes the list?

Whether you have a family member, gym friend or you’re doing a random acts of kindness for someone into fitness, I plan of having you walk away knowing exactly what to pick for them! I have created a list of 10 items that you can’t go wrong with! Lets get started!

1) Fitness subscription box

Iron Crate

Every fitness lover finds monthly fitness subscription boxes super exciting! Think about it.. it’s basically a fitness Christmas each month! I love my monthly box I get from Iron Crate. We keep it exciting and fresh each month. We include the most trustworthy and highest quality products on the market. We also include workout programs to keep you busy in the gym and even throw in items that you can use such as shakers, gym accessories and fresh gear to wear!

Why try shopping for stuff and end up getting something they may not like when you can take out the middle man. We hand select the items each month and create a unique monthly Crate for our customers. We even take care of shipping too! 

The best thing about Iron Crate is that the retail value adds up to anywhere from $80-$130 each month but the monthly subscription customers only pay $39.99 a month for a box full of fitness goodies! So you can get up to $130 worth of fitness for only $39.99!

Go grab an Iron Crate for you, a family member or a gym buddy to make their Christmas! You can save 15% off your first Iron Crate with using the code “CRATE15” at checkout! 


Iron Crate

2) Healthy snacks

Healthy snacks are such a great choice! The best part is that it fits all categories of fitness! Iron Crate has you covered again. We also carry amazing snacks packed with protein that make great treats for any fitness enthusiast. One huge favorite is the protein candies we carry from MusclePharm. They taste just like M&Ms but without all the sugar that will affect your blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of protein and the taste is out of this world 🤤 I snack on these all the time when I’m craving chocolate.. which is almost everyday. Grab some items and fill up a stocking for your fitness lover this Christmas!


3) Vitamin D

Out of all vitamins, this one is going to be a huge seller this year. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D. They say that this specific vitamin may help protect against becoming infected with, and developing serious symptoms of COVID-19. 

Healthline.com saysA new study that looked at 216 people with COVID-19 found that 80 percent didn’t have adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood

That is going to be one thing right off the bat that increases sales on this vitamin. Let me explain why this is a great gift idea other than that. Vitamin D is known for helping to have healthy muscles, bones and teeth. It can also help keep your immune system healthy, regulate energy levels and aid in brain health. The benefits of this vitamin are a tool most of us need, making it the perfect item to throw on the Christmas list this year.


At home gym equipment

It’s 2020.. the gyms have been closed down once. Let’s be honest, it won’t hurt to have a couple things at the house just to be safe.

Here’s a list of home gym items I would go with.

4) Yoga mat

This is a good option because for most fitness categories, you will typically want some kind of mat or padding on the floor. This can protect the weights, floor and the lifter.

5) Glute resistance band

Glute resistance band from Ironcrate.co

Let me explain why I LOVE these and think everyone needs one. Our glutes are naturally weak. Especially if we sit at school or at a desk all day. This can cause low back pain and issues with the hamstrings. This glute band can help increase strength in the glutes and hips.

If you are an athlete, this tool can aid you like no other. It can help pre-activate the glutes which essentially turns them on to increase strength during your workout. This can increase overall strength and lead to more muscle activation for bigger muscles and better performance.

I hear the girls in my gym talk about this all the time.. They want better and bigger glutes. This band WILL help if used properly.

I use this band for me and my clients before all of our lower body days in the gym. It is one of my favorite investments and I believe you will be just as happy as I was when you get one.

We sell these for an amazing price on Ironcrate.co , just click the button below and it will take you to the item on my website so you can pick one up before we sell out.

6) Adjustable dumbbells

Going with the adjustable ones compared to the ones that are coming already set at weights will save moolah. It also saves space which is a plus. You can get a good pair from places like Amazon or even Walmart. I would get a set with some kind of iron weights compared to the plastic weights. That is just my personal preference though. If you are on a surface where you need to take care of it, then plastic might be a better idea.

7) Resistance bands

This is a great gift idea. It is highly utilized by many fitness categories and has many functions making it a good tool to have at home.

There are 2 main bands that will pop up when you type this into the search bar. The ones on the left are great for exercise variety. If you don’t have dumbbells or any weights then this may be a better decision because it will give you more options. The bands on the right are very popular for other things. They do not have handles like the other set and are a closed band as to where the other set is open. These are great for athletes that do explosive workouts. It is also a great tool to have added in if you have a squat rack or bench set that can add band resistance. They will typically have pegs for bands on the bottom.

8) A good pair of wireless headphones

Notice I didn’t say Air Pods or Beats? This is one I would ask about if you think that person is picky because just like supplements or flavors, this can be one of those gifts that the person may want a specific pair. If you have the budget, I think Air Pods or Beats are the higher quality ones on the market. However, one of my brothers and sisters has a set of headphones that look just like Air Pods and operate at just about the same level, so if that person isn’t picky, those are a better option if you have a lower budget in mind.

This is personally one of the items on my list this year. I like my normal headphones but I find myself always in a hassle messing with the cord. I do a lot of work involving my headphones and don’t always want to carry my phone on me so I like the thought of not worrying about the wire getting in the way or getting stuck on everything.

9) Shaker bottle custom to their favorite interest

The shaker bottle companies have been changing the game lately with their special series they are always dropping. They have bottles with teams, super heroes, food items and yes even some with avocados working out on them.

As someone that loves a lot of different fitness categories, there is something about having a flashy shaker bottle or one that is custom to what your interest are that makes you feel some type of way. Remember that feeling when you got that fresh new Scooby lunch box back in 1st grade, and you couldn’t wait to show it off? Yea that feeling. So take note of what their interested in and search it up.

10) Smart Watch

Apple, Fitbit and Fossil have amazing smart watch products. No matter what category your fitness lover is into, the watch makes working out so much fun!

This is also a great gift to get a beginner because it can really keeps them motivated by little things like “filling the rings” on the watches. Basically it sets goals for you such as walking distance, calories burned, time standing, etc. As you accomplish the goals, it fills up rings on your watch. This is like checking off something on a to do list. It gives a great sense of accomplishment!

Lets WRAP this up, get it.. Christmas.. gifts..HA, not funny, I know

There are a lot of amazing products out there that are going to be brought to your attention due to high marketing around the holidays. This doesn’t mean you have to get the 1st thing you see on the commercials. Next thing you know, you’re getting a shake weight for your grandson that is into powerlifting. So trust me, this is a good list that can really meet expectations for all fitness categories.

Wanna see another list for a specific category such as athletes, cross fit, runners, etc? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you want to see! Also let me know if you have any items that you think should be added to the list!

Have a safe and fun Thanksgiving this week!

-Alex Costa-

My Mental Health Story

Anxiety in a picture

My name is Alex Costa and I have anxiety and go through panic attacks. I am more than anxiety and panic, I am a hard worker. I’m loving, confident, and thankful. 

Back when I was a sophomore in high school, I broke my femur in football. That year I also went through my 1st big heartbreak. I almost lost my father and on top of that, we had a couple of deaths in the family that were recent. Talk about life throwing you a curveball.

I remember sitting in class and getting dizzy. I felt more of an off-balanced feeling. I would be sitting in class and get really hot out of nowhere so I would always start wearing shorts even on the coldest of days. I wore shorts and was freezing cold going to school but I knew if I would go through this feeling, I would always get really hot and start sweating. So at least I wouldn’t be sweating during class.

Senior Year

I remember getting so scared. I thought I had things wrong with my head and started googling things which only made it worse. I would go to school and be worried about if I’d have these feelings come up again. It even got to the point that I was being more careful about playing football. I thought if I had hit my head, it would get worse. It affected my junior year slightly and my senior year heavily to where I was always concerned about what would happen if I took a hit to my head. There was no way I could play the game feeling like this. You can’t play football and play scared, it just doesn’t work. Football was my life and as my senior year came to an end, it felt like I watched my dream slip away right in front of me. At the same time, I had a relief feeling because I didn’t like my coach my senior year, he ruined football for me so I was also excited to be done. 

It wasn’t until my senior year I talked to the girl I was dating and completely opened up. I left nothing on the table and she mentioned something about anxiety. I had heard of the term before and never thought much of it till that moment. Her mother was a psychologist so we talked to her and she explained more about it to me. As I found myself opening up about this and finally getting a name for what was wrong with me, it was such a huge relief. It felt like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. 

From that day on, I started to make small progress. 

Fast forward a couple of years after I graduated high school and tried college. Notice how I put “tried”. It was not for me. I had anxiety in class and sometimes felt like I had to leave early. My heart would be racing, I would be sweating and have that dizzy feeling at times. It was impossible for me to focus with that. Oh yea, did I mention I was diagnosed with ADD when I was younger? So trying to focus on tasks for school was never my strong suit. I failed out after my 1st year which I never really talk a lot about. So this is me being open with it. It just wasn’t for me, I was distracted because I was talking to a girl I liked, I was going through anxiety, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in and its year one in college so I was always hanging out with friends. As I received my letter saying I was kicked out, I felt like a complete bum. I would wake up early, go workout, come home and nap till 12. My life felt like a joke. Finally I dedicated myself to a career path after speaking with a mentor of mine. I never looked back and was fully locked in.

Lets fast forward again, maybe a year or 2 later. One day I was at the gym. It was before I was about to leave for DC to see my sister. I was sitting on the bench and started feeling my heart skip beats and felt very off. I had felt this before but for 1 split second. This was happening and wasn’t stopping. I instantly jumped up and was in a panic. I ran to the front desk to inform them about this, they were about to call the ambulance and I told them to wait. “Let me go outside and get some fresh air” I said. I calmed down and now was worried about my heart health. Woo, another thing to add to my anxiety. It happened a year after that again and it was one of the scariest days of my life. I remember laying on the ground outside of my gym at 5am and looking up at the sky thinking that was it. You really do see your life flash before your eyes in those moments. I wasn’t ready to go yet, I was like 21, I had so much to do still. 

I scheduled an appointment with the doctors and went to a cardiologist to do an ultrasound, EKG, and blood work. Everything came back okay and again, a huge relief but not satisfied because I didn’t know what the hell was going on with me. Was I broken? Was there something the doctors missed? 

Well, for your reading pleasure, let’s fast forward one more time, shall we? It’s August 21st, 2020, a year we will all remember for the rest of our life. It’s summertime and my friends invite me to stop over and hang out. I go over, we start talking and playing pong. My buddy and I were doing pretty good, although you guessed it.. My anxiety was also on my team. Let me paint you a picture of what happened next.

My heart starts to get faster, I have a feeling in my gut like I just finished eating a thanksgiving meal. You know, like where you feel so full you can barely move, breathe, and want to do nothing. Well, I finally said I needed to make a call. It was 12am so people probably thought I was a drug dealer at that point. I go out to call my parents because I was typically able to calm myself down. Well, no one answered and I call my sister, by this point my heart rate is getting faster and faster. I instantly think to myself, “oh no”. Yea, don’t do that if you have high functioning anxiety because it typically is like pouring gasoline on a flame. 

Well, the 2-minute drive back home felt like 200 miles away. I was speeding the whole time and every symptom of panic, anxiety, and fear showed itself. Heart rate is still speeding up, I’m losing my breath and can barely get a full gasp of air. There is something about not being able to breathe that sends your fear and anxiety through the roof. Oh yea, cause it doesn’t seem normal.

As I pull into my house, I remember unhooking my seatbelt and trying to get out of my car before I even put it in park. Raced inside and you would think everything settled down right? Wrong, it went down as the scariest panic attack I ever had. My heart was palpitating, skipping beats and wasn’t slowing down. I would dump ice cold water on myself and start hyperventilating as it shocked my system. I was praying, and wishing for it to stop. I remember thinking that maybe this time we would have to call 911. But would they even make it to me in time? I lost my breath every time my heart started to palpitate and skip.

Well after 30 minutes or so, it calmed down. It felt like 3 hours and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. My chest felt sore and I felt as if I looked death in the face that night. It was honestly traumatizing and was a huge set back for a while. To be completely honest, I am still recovering from that as I am writing this now. It was a downhill spiral of panic attacks and anxiety. But with this came a lot of positives.

I learned more about the topic of mental health than ever before. I watched video after video. Read article after article. Book after book and talked to a lot of great people in that time to understand this more. I felt completely hopeless at one point. I felt that I would never return to “normal”. That I was going to have this feeling of being trapped forever. Well again, WRONG. I am living proof that this mental barrier that you may be going through is temporary. The storm may come through but that sun will always come back out to shine on us.

As I learned more, I realized that I was doing this all wrong. I was fighting everything, most importantly, I was fighting myself. I was my own worst enemy. I learned a lot about going with the flow, not trying to make these symptoms stop but to simply ride the wave. I learned more about brain health and by doing so, your mind will follow. 

I am here to help you and show you that everything will be okay. I promise you will make it through it but the first step is making the initial effort to get help. And let me just say, there is NOTHING wrong with asking for help. I want this stigma to end. I am working with 2 councilors, I reached out for a psychiatrist. I am taking anxiety medication. Talked to doctors, talked to my family and it took a while but I finally reached out to my friends. These steps were the best thing I ever did for my mental health. I also started to learn more and create more awareness. I started to take care of my mind and body through better nutrition habits, mindfulness, exercise, and getting help. 

I am not here to say this is an easy fix because it typically isn’t, but I am saying you ARE WORTH IT. This is worth it. I am so happy you are here because I know how hard it can be. Please don’t lose hope. I am telling you, there is so much to try and so many things that can work. It just takes time and effort to find what works for you. This is why I wanted to bring the mental health page to Costafitness. I want to spread awareness, give you hope, give you things to try and I want to build a community that makes us feel at home. 

Let’s become mentally and physically healthier together. You are not alone and either am I. I love you, keep up the great work.

-Alex Costa-

Things will get better, I promise. Please keep trying and don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Iron Made Arm Workout


I know there’s a lot of stress right now with the election so what better way to simmer down and relieve stress than with a solid arm workout! Stop watching the news all day, take a break and get out of the house to enjoy the weather. Get some exercise, eat healthy food, practice some meditation and yoga. This is a simple way to relive a little stress that may be coming up.

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I put together a video you can watch while you workout so you can see form, sets and reps. I also included exercise tips on the video!

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Barbell curls 5×8

Tricep rope extensions 5×15

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Barbell skull crushers 4×12 

Hammer curls 4×8

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Bodyweight skull crushers 6×10-15

Seated curls 6×15

Band pushdowns 6×20

At Home Vertical Jump Workout

I know it seems hard to get a good workout in without a gym or equipment but it’s still possible! For my athletes that want to increase their vertical and those of you wanting a different workout, I have something for you!

This is a workout that can be done at home! I will be doing some more workouts like this, including speed workouts and more strength building, fat loss workouts!

I hope everyone is having a great day!

-Alex Costa-

At Home Arm Workout

Here is an at home workout you can do to help tone up! Use this video, pause, start or go back whenever needed! I will list the workout below and the video will be above!

Warm up:

  • Shoulder swings 30 seconds
  • Jumping jacks 30 seconds
  • Side jack knives 30 seconds each side

Repeat warm up twice

Biceps & tricep circuit
*do each exercise after another and go through this circuit 4 total times.

  • Dips 20-30
  • Bicep curls 20-30
  • Close stance push ups till failure
  • Tricep kickbacks 25
  • Hammer curls 25

Shoulders

  • Seated side raises – 1 set of 100 reps, as little sets as possible
  • Seated shoulder press – 1 set of 100 reps, as little sets as possible

Have a great day!

-Alex Costa-

5 Hygiene Tips You Need To Start Doing NOW

Today I am going over 5 hygiene tips you should really start putting into play now if you don’t already. Some of these may sound like no brainers but we easily forget about them. I go over a couple tips and hacks I think will be very beneficial for you!

Have a great day and please feel free to reach out and ask questions or give me ideas on what content you would like to see!

-Alex Costa-

Welcome Back! Let's Make A Change

Welcome back to Costafitness! Watch this video and you can get a very good understanding of what I will be doing to try helping you and all of our viewers. I will be making some changes to the website so don’t be alarmed if you see a few noticeable changes through the next few days and weeks.

Some things you may notice is slightly different content, other authors/ publishers and more focus on things that we currently need.

This seems like a good time to get back on here and try spreading more positivity, smiles and knowledge. You can expect a good laugh from time to time, content that will be valuable and a true understanding for fitness so we can keep making progress while we face world problems as a team. Let’s tackle this together and let me help you!

Let’s make a difference and listen to what we need to do to conquer this virus. You can help a lot of others out there by sharing this content published on Costafitness.org and telling your friends and family about it! Also sharing it on social media. Keep checking in daily for workouts and more content that is sure to help you in someway, shape or form. Also please reach out if you have any questions or ideas for content you would like me to cover!

Have a great day!

-Alex Costa-