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-

Pros And Cons Of Supplements

The fitness and supplement industry has bombarded us with advertisements and have recorded 122 billion in sales as of 2016. That number is expected to grow up to 278.02 billion by 2024, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.6% from 2016 to 2024, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Yea and we’re talking billion with a B. That is insane!

Now the big question is, what are the goods and bad of supplements? Well in my opinion, it depends on your goal, health status and what you’re looking for. Technically you could get gains without supplements but I do believe they have their part and can help speed up the process.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons here…

Pros

Helps speed up results
Depending on what you are looking for and what you purchase, the results can be introduced a little faster. A main reason for this is because of most common supplements holding an ingredient blend for recovery. For example BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) hold ingredients such as L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine and so forth. These are ingredients that can help in regulating the blood-sugar levels, promote the recovery of muscle and bone tissues, as well as the production of growth hormone. So they can add some nice benefits there.

Quality supplements are gold
Ask anyone who has been with the same supplements or company for a long time. Quality supplements and service are a great combo. When you get taken care of and are happy with how the products work and taste, it commonly ensures you that your purchase was worth it and they will continue you deliver good products with a high quality service as well.

Correcting nutrient deficiencies
For some out there, supplements are best to help with nutrient deficiencies. An article I read says “One analysis of US national survey data (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006) found that children and adults with high intakes of added sugars (>25% of energy intake; the upper limit recommended by the National Academy of Medicine) had lower dietary intakes of several micronutrients, especially vitamins A, C, and E, as well as magnesium. An estimated 13% of the US population have added sugar intakes above this cutoff level for added sugars and may be at risk for micronutrient inadequacies.” This is alarming, not only are our eating habits falling drastically and have been declining each year more and more but this type of habit leads to vitamin and nutrient deficiency. That can lead to a number of things, mental health being one big one. Mental health such as anxiety and depression can really be triggered by nutrient deficiencies. Another part of the article mentions “Very low dietary intake of a vitamin or nutritionally essential mineral can result in deficiency disease, termed micronutrient deficiency. Micronutrient deficiencies, especially iron, vitamin A, zinc, iodine, and folate, are prevalent in the developing world, affecting an estimated 2 billion people worldwide. They are a major contributor to infections and associated with severe illness and death”

Now let us look at some cons…

Cons

Bye bye money
As you seen in the opening paragraph of this article, the supplement industry has definitely made its way into our wallets. Some places you go, you’ll see supplements for higher prices so if you do want supplements go somewhere where they have a good price on them or look for deals going on. Bodybuilding.com and MuscleandStrength.com always have some pretty good deals. I get most of my supplements from MaxEffortMuscle.com which also runs quiet a few deals.

Not the same as real food
There is no way around this one. Supplements are just that, they supplement the body. They are not whole nutrients from real food. A lot of dietitians and health experts will say that you can’t get the type of nutrients whole foods offer from a supplement, I agree. Whole healthy food is numero uno.


Some supplement companies aren’t 100% truthful with the ingredients
An article I read revealed that “calorie counts on food labels, for example, can be off by 20% in some cases and still be in compliance with FDA regulations.” FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration.

With that being said, another article says “The FDA is not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe BEFORE they go to market.” I wanted to include this to give some background information on the FDA because it seems like they always get a bad rep. However when a supplement contains an ingredient that is new to the market, the FDA must be notified by the supplement companies manufacturers about it. The FDA will review the ingredient for safety, not effectiveness which is something that stuck out to me.

Conclusion
In my personal opinion, I enjoy supplements and believe they surely have their place depending on a couple factors. I wouldn’t solely rely on supplements to get you to your goals but think of them as a helping hand, aiding in recovery and other small task that can make a huge difference.

Whatever you decide to do, supplements or no supplements, I would do some research and talk to someone that has knowledge on supplements, vitamins and nutrition such as a registered dietitian or a doctor. Make sure you check with your physician and ensure you are all good to start any diet plan or taking any supplement.

Thank you for reading todays article, I hope this helps you! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and I would love to help you out.
-Alex Costa-

Additional resources:
-healthresearchfunding.org
-https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview

My Current Supplements (STRENGTH EDITION)

In today’s video, I am going over the supplements I am using to get ready for my powerlifting meet. In other words, I would consider this my strength stack to help me add strength and muscle. Let me know if you have any questions!

I am doing a Q&A over on any strength questions! Send me your questions and you may be featured in my Q&A video!

Have an awesome Monday!

-Alex Costa-

3 Protein Shake Recipes For ATHLETES!

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I like to share recipes on the website and think it benefits a lot of the viewers. Today I want to focus on giving my athletes out there a few choices of protein shakes that will give them the right nutrients for muscle repair, increased energy and they are cost friendly!

Lets say you don’t have any protein available at home or just don’t have a whole lot of money for that at the moment. I get that, some protein can be very pricey for the container so these recipes will NOT require a protein powder.

A common thing that a lot of young student athletes miss out on is the vitamins and minerals their body need for growth. They need to eat veggies, need to get fruits, a source of proteins, good carbohydrates and healthy fats to ensure they get the full potential of all of the nutrients. Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of pizza, ice cream and candy won’t hurt from time to time, they’re kids! Well a good amount of them. However I am here to help with health and wellness as well as everything else because when it comes down to it, everything starts with what we fuel our bodies with.

 

Now let us get to the recipes! It is very simple and we do not need a whole lot for them. I will place the ingredient and recipe list below .

Recipe #1

This one in my mind is a classic favorite! It is full of protein to help your muscles repair themselves after workouts. The peanut butter and ice will help give it a “milk shake” texture which is delicious.

  • 1 cup of chocolate milk or normal milk, your choice. Chocolate will give it a little more flavor. Almond, soy & cashew milk is also another good choice of milk
  • 1-2 TBSP of peanut butter. Organic peanut butter is a solid choice!
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of whole oats
  • 1 Banana

 

Recipe #2

This recipe will leave your taste buds clueless on what just hit them! If you like fruits and juices then you will love this. The greek yogurt will provide some protein and thicken up the shake a little. There are tons of antioxidants in this one to help the immune system as well which is critical for athletes.

  • 4 oz. cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 2-4 TBSP – Plain yogurt – greek yogurt will have more protein

 

RECIPE #3

This recipe is a vitamin packed shake! It also uses water instead of milk for those who are lactose intolerant! The cashews will provide a little extra protein and healthy fats.

  • 8 oz of water
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of cashews or another nut (MAKE SURE YOU DON’T HAVE ALLERGIES)

 

The directions are simple just throw everything in a blender and hit blend. One thing I do want to mention is make sure you pay attention to ingredients and if there is something you are allergic to then substitute  it with something else. If you need help trying to find a substitute then just hit me up and I can help you! Obviously if you have protein powder then feel free to mix it in with these! The reason I made these without protein powders is because it is more cost friendly and some athletes may not like the powders.

I hope everyone is having a great week, thank you for coming and checking out this article. If you have any questions, concerns or comments just hit me up in the comment section below.

Alex Costa-

Whey Protein 101

Whey protein is one of, if not the most commonly sold protein blends out on the fitness market. There are some that are of better quality than others and some that have amazing mix ability and taste delicious! I want to give you the run down of whey protein so next time you go to make a purchase, you know what to look for and what it can do for you!

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What is whey protein?

Whey is a type of protein that is found in milk. Whey is usually found in the water like substance of the milk. There is 2 different types of proteins found in milk, one being whey which takes up only about 20% and the casein which takes over a whopping 80%. When the milk is sent to factories for the cheese production, they typically will use the casein blend into the cheese products and other dairy items. The whey is divided and separated to make into a whey protein powder. Now it can sound simple here but when whey is sent, they will typically break it down so it can be processed into powder or to use it for cooking purposes.

 

Why take whey protein?

Whey protein can boost your BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and protein intake! The protein has BCAA which is critical for building muscle. One of the branch chains that is included is leucine. This helps to increase muscle protein synthesis when combined with weight training. This can help you take in more protein and BCAAs into the muscles when they are broken down from working out.

Whey protein can help with weight loss! An article from AuthorityNutrition.com stated that “Protein can boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, and make people automatically eat up to 441 fewer calories per day”. This is usually caused by whey protein being so thermogenic. That is about the right amount of calories that you want to decrease when being in a calorie deficit during weight loss. There is always the common question when losing weight and that is “am I going to lose muscle?” Take a whey protein supplement and you can benefit by keeping muscle packed on while you see a decrease on the scale!

Whey protein can help keep your immune system strong! There is two things that whey holds called immunoglobins and lactoferrin which helps to keep the immune system strong! This has also been said to have anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. This makes it a pretty solid supplement choice for most ages.

Whey protein can help you feel full to decrease hunger. This is good news if you are wanting to lose weight. Protein is the most filling macronutrient and the whey blend actually is more effective than other protein blends. So in other words, whey protein can act as an appetite suppressant.

 

How to take whey protein?

A typical serving size of whey protein will consist anywhere around 25 grams of protein. Every bottle will have a nutrition label stating ingredients and macronutrients. Some that add a bunch of flavors will usually have added sugar for the taste, so watch for that. Another common question asked is “do I need to take a whey protein supplement to add muscle?” The answer will vary on the person asking. What I mean is some people get plenty of protein from real foods and do not need to spend money on a supplement. On the other hand, some people do not get their daily need of protein to add optimal muscle growth and repair to their training. This is where an extra protein shake can come into play! You can add 1-2 shakes a day with 1-2 scoops each shake. This can quickly add up to get you to the grams of protein you need. I believe that supplements are a good thing and can be of great assistance when we are on the go or don’t have enough to supplement our body at certain times. I would personally not completely rely on any supplement when you can get more nutrients from full foods. If you have a healthy diet, supplements can be a great addition!

 

Whey protein side effects and warnings?

As a lot of nutrition supplements, always read labels before use as well as discuss with your physician before taking anything. If you are allergic to certain ingredients like soy, eggs, milk then keep an eye on all proteins because this can be a popular ingredient for many powders. Whey protein powder might not be the best option if you have a lactose allergy. Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk and can be avoided by picking a different protein powder. Maybe try looking into a whey protein isolate powder if you suffer from lactose intolerance.

An excess amount of protein can sometimes lead to diarrhea and an upset stomach so make sure you keep an eye on how much you consume.

 

Thank you for stopping by to read my article! I hope that you learned something new today and come back. Tomorrows article will cover a recipe using a whey protein to add some extra protein into a delicious snack! If you are interested in online fitness coaching then send an email to costafitness1@gmail.com

 

Resources:

https://authoritynutrition.com/whey-protein-101/

Picturefit youtube channel – what is whey protein