Understanding and Creating a Nutrient Dense Diet

You may heard the phrase “Nutrient Dense Diet” before. 

It’s tossed around plenty in social media but it’s never explained how to go about creating a nutrient dense diet to fit your needs. 

This article delves into the concept of a nutrient dense diet, a key player in the realm of healthy eating. We’ll also be discussing how to go about incorporating foods into your diet that work specifically for you. 

Let’s dive into it.

What is a Nutrient Dense Diet?

A nutrient dense diet focuses on foods that offer a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients relative to their caloric content.

These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, providing more “bang for your buck” in terms of nutrient value.

The Importance of a Nutrient Dense Diet

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle often leads to a reliance on processed and convenience foods, which are typically low in essential nutrients.

This shift has resulted in deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals, making a nutrient dense diet more crucial than ever.

Nutrient dense foods, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, counterbalance the trend by providing the body with the essential nutrients it often lacks due to modern dietary habits.

 

These foods not only fill nutritional gaps but also offer numerous health benefits.

They improve immune function, support healthy aging, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

By focusing on these nutrient powerhouses, we can combat the effects of nutrient poor diets and promote overall health and wellness.

Micronutrients: Food Sources vs Supplements

You may be saying though, that I can just supplement with a multivitamin (or a specific vitamin to fit your needs). Although in some cases that can work, we’re going to discuss why that isn’t always the best thing to do.

While supplements can play a role in filling nutritional gaps, obtaining micronutrients from whole foods is preferable.

Foods offer a complex matrix of nutrients that work synergistically, enhancing absorption and utilization by the body. This holistic approach is something supplements alone cannot replicate.

Plus, getting your nutrients from foods typically have micronutrients that tend to work well together.

Foods

For example, let’s take Salmon. 

Salmon is a decent food source with Vitamin D in it. 

When taking Vitamin D, it’s important to take it with a fatty food source. Salmon itself is a fatty food source so that benefits in the absorption of vitamin D. Salmon also has some magnesium in it too. 

You will notice this trend that the foods you eat will usually have an optimal blend of micro nutrients that work together fairly well. It’s not always the case though. 

Supplements

Now, with supplements, if you take let’s say Vitamin D by itself. You are missing key nutrients in magnesium and Vitamin K2.

What does this mean? You need to now take supplements for magnesium and K2 as well.

There is nothing wrong with this, but it causes you to take more supplements overall which can add up in costs. 

Key Micronutrients for Optimal Health

Let’s go over some micronutrients you should focus on:

  • Vitamin A: Essential for vision, immune function, and skin health. Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.

  • B Vitamins: A group of vitamins that aid in energy production, brain function, and cell metabolism. Includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12. Sources include whole grains, meats, and dark leafy greens.

  • Vitamin C: Important for immune function, skin health, and wound healing. Abundant in citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers.

  • Vitamin D: Crucial for bone health and immune function. Can be synthesized in the skin from sunlight and found in fatty fish and fortified foods.

  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

  • Vitamin K: Necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism. Found in green leafy vegetables, fish, meat, and dairy.

  • Zinc: Supports immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Found in meat, shellfish, legumes, and nuts.

  • Magnesium: Involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

  • Sodium: Essential for fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle function. Found in salt, processed foods, and naturally in some vegetables.

  • Potassium: Crucial for heart function, muscle contractions, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Found in bananas, potatoes, beans, and nuts.

  • Selenium: Plays a key role in metabolism and thyroid function. Found in Brazil nuts, seafood, and meats.

  • Iron: Vital for the formation of red blood cells and transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Found in red meat, beans, and fortified cereals.

  • Calcium: Essential for bone health and plays a role in muscle function and nerve signaling. Found in dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods.

  • Iodine: Important for thyroid health. Found in iodized salt, seafood, and dairy products.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential for heart and brain health. Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

There is plenty to focus on here.

However, you will be surprised how certain foods have a decent combination of these nutrients.

Foods That Are Nutrient Dense

So we understand the importance of a nutrient dense diet and we have a good understanding of the nutrients too.

Let’s now go over nutrient dense foods. This isn’t a complete list as there are many foods I can probably cover. 

However, I’ll do my best to list the most accessible foods that are nutrient dense that you can incorporate into your diet.

  • Oysters: Rich in zinc, vitamin B12, and selenium. Oysters are excellent for immune support, brain health, and metabolism.

  • Liver (particularly beef liver): Packed with vitamin A, iron, B vitamins, and copper. Liver supports blood health, energy production, and vitamin A metabolism.

  • Salmon: High in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, and potassium. Beneficial for heart health, brain function, and inflammation reduction.

  • Steak: Provides high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. Essential for muscle building, energy production, and immune health.

  • Fruits (such as berries, oranges, and bananas):

    • Berries: Antioxidant-rich, high in vitamin C and fiber. Support heart health and digestion.
    • Oranges: Excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Promote immune function and skin health.
    • Bananas: High in potassium and vitamin B6. Support heart health and energy levels.
  • Eggs: Contain high-quality protein, B vitamins, and choline. Crucial for brain health, muscle building, and overall nutrient intake.

  • Vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes):

    • Spinach: Rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Supports bone health and muscle function.
    • Kale: High in vitamins A, C, K, and antioxidants. Promotes heart health and immune function.
    • Sweet Potatoes: Packed with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fiber. Beneficial for eye health and blood sugar regulation.
  • Fermented Foods (such as Natto and kimchi):

    • Natto: Rich in probiotics, vitamin K2, and protein. Supports gut health and bone health.
    • Kimchi: Contains probiotics, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. Promotes digestive health and immune function.
  • Fermented Dairy Products (such as Kefir and Yogurt):
    • Kefir: Rich in probiotics, protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium. Supports gut health, bone health, and immune function. Known for its diverse probiotic strains.
    • Yogurt: Contains protein, calcium, B vitamins, and probiotics. Promotes bone health, and digestive health, and can aid in maintaining a healthy weight. Especially beneficial for gut health when it includes live cultures.
  • Nuts and Seeds (like almonds and chia seeds):
    • Almonds: High in vitamin E, magnesium, and healthy fats. Support heart health and brain function.
    • Chia Seeds: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Beneficial for heart health and digestive health.
  • Whole Grains (such as quinoa and oats):

    • Quinoa: Complete protein source, high in fiber and B vitamins. Supports muscle health and energy production.
    • Oats: Rich in fiber, protein, and magnesium. Promote heart health and blood sugar control.

Incorporating Into Your Diet

Now that we have a nutrient dense list of foods, let’s go over how to incorporate these foods.

  1. Start Slow: Choose one or two nutrient dense foods from the list that appeal to you or fit easily into your current diet. Incorporate these foods into your meals a few times a week. For example, if you’re not used to eating fish, try adding salmon to your menu once or twice a week.

  2. Keep a Food Log: Document what you eat and how you feel in a food diary. This practice is not just about tracking your intake but also about observing how different foods impact your well-being. Note any changes in your energy levels, digestion, mood, and overall health.

  3. Evaluate Your Responses: After consistently consuming the new food for a while, assess how you feel. If you notice positive changes, such as more energy or better digestion, continue including it in your diet. However, if a particular food doesn’t agree with you or causes discomfort, consider eliminating it.

  4. Understanding Subtle Effects: Sometimes, the benefits of nutrient dense foods are not immediately noticeable. A lack of dramatic changes doesn’t mean the food isn’t beneficial. Many nutrients work in the background, supporting long-term health and preventing future issues. If food doesn’t have negative effects, keeping it in your diet can still contribute positively to your overall nutrient intake.

  5. Gradually Diversify: Once you’re comfortable with one new food, try introducing another. Gradually diversifying your diet this way ensures a broad range of nutrients and keeps your meals interesting.

Example of a Nutrient Dense Diet

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Avocado

  • Eggs: Protein and fats, vitamins B2 and B12, choline.
  • Spinach: Iron, magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Avocado: Healthy fats, fiber, vitamins E and C.

Mid-Morning Snack: Greek Yogurt with Berries and Chia Seeds

  • Greek Yogurt: Protein, calcium, probiotics.
  • Berries: Antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber.
  • Chia Seeds: Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein.

Lunch: Salmon Salad

  • Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins.
  • Mixed Greens: Vitamins A, C, K, iron, fiber.
  • Almonds: Vitamin E, magnesium, protein.

Afternoon Snack: Nuts and Seeds Mix

  • Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts): Protein, healthy fats, vitamin E.
  • Seeds (Pumpkin, Sunflower): Magnesium, zinc, protein.

Dinner: Grilled Steak with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli

  • Steak: Protein, iron, B vitamins.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, fiber.
  • Broccoli: Vitamins C and K, fiber, folate.

Evening Snack: Kefir with a Banana

  • Kefir: Probiotics, protein, calcium.
  • Banana: Potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C.

Conclusion

A nutrient dense diet can be extremely beneficial for you and can even help you ditch taking vitamins altogether if done correctly.

When incorporating foods, it’s important to log them and note any dietary effects. Some foods may agree with you more than others.

For example, Liver for me gave me massive headaches. So I needed to take it out of my diet. Whereas something like Kefir often makes me feel satiated and has positive effects overall for my health. 

Take note of these things and notice how it plays out for you.

The Essential Trio: Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Vitamin K2

Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Vitamin K2 are just some of the supplements that you need in your vitamin stack.

These vitamins and minerals play pivotal roles.

Among them, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Vitamin K2 stand out for their unique benefits and interdependent functions. This article delves into the importance of each and why they should be consumed together for optimal health.

I’ll also be going over recommended supplements and my personal dosage pairings of them.

Disclaimer: The following information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for personal health concerns.

What is Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Unlike other vitamins, it functions like a hormone in our bodies.

It’s naturally synthesized in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, but can also be obtained through dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified foods.

Importance of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is crucial for various bodily functions, notably aiding in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, essential for bone health.

It also supports immune function, brain health and can influence mood.

A majority of people are deficient in Vitamin D3. As a society today, we stay inside more often and tend to not be outside as much causing such issues.

Unfortunately, a deficiency in Vitamin D3 can lead to several health issues.

Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, mood changes, and frequent infections.

Chronic deficiency can lead to more serious conditions like osteoporosis and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D3 also plays a role in testosterone production.

Studies have shown that adequate levels of Vitamin D3 are linked to higher testosterone levels, which is vital for muscle growth, bone health, and overall energy levels.

If you go to a doctor, you can easily request a Vitamin D3 test to get your levels checked.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a vital mineral found abundantly in the body.

It’s present in various foods, including nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.

Magnesium is involved in many biochemical reactions in the body, making it a cornerstone of good health.

Magnesium used to be more available in the foods and liquids we took but isn’t as much anymore.

There are many factors to the reasoning why:

  • Soil Depletion: Modern agricultural practices have led to soil depletion, reducing the amount of magnesium available to plants.
  • Food Processing: Processing and refining foods often strip away magnesium, particularly in the case of grains where the magnesium-rich outer layers are removed.
  • Dietary Changes: There’s a trend towards consuming more processed foods, which typically contain lower levels of magnesium compared to whole, unprocessed foods.

There are several types of magnesium, each with specific benefits:

  • Magnesium Citrate: Known for its bioavailability and used often for its laxative effect and to treat magnesium deficiency.
  • Magnesium Oxide: Commonly used for relief from indigestion and to alleviate migraines.
  • Magnesium Chloride: Easily absorbed and used for detoxing, metabolism enhancement, and kidney function improvement.
  • Magnesium Lactate: Often used as a food additive and is gentler on the digestive system.
  • Magnesium Sulfate: Also known as Epsom salt, it is frequently used in baths to soothe muscle aches.
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Highly absorbable and recommended for those trying to correct a deficiency, known for its calming effects.
  • Magnesium Malate: Known for its high bioavailability and energy-boosting properties. It’s often recommended for those with fatigue or fibromyalgia.

Why is Magnesium Important

The importance of magnesium spans from supporting muscle and nerve function to aiding in energy production.

It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Some symptoms can present themselves if you’re deficient and/or just not getting enough magnesium throughout the day.

Some of these symptoms include muscle cramps, headaches, mental disorders, and an increased risk of chronic diseases.

What is Vitamin K2?

Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a critical role in blood clotting and bone metabolism.

It’s found in fermented foods, and certain animal products, and produced by gut bacteria.

K2 helps in the regulation of calcium deposition, ensuring it reaches the bones and teeth rather than accumulating in soft tissues.

Vitamin K2, especially in an American diet is often absent due to the lack of fermented foods eaten.

Summary: Vitamin K2, crucial for blood clotting and bone health, is found in fermented foods and some animal products.

Why Vitamin K2 is Important

Vitamin K2 is vital for calcium metabolism.

It not only helps in building strong bones but also prevents calcification of arteries and other soft tissues.

Its role in cardiovascular health is increasingly recognized, making it an essential nutrient for long-term health maintenance.

Caution: While K2 is beneficial for most people, you should consult with your doctor first before taking it due to the potential effects it could have.

Some people who should be considerably cautious include:

  • Individuals on Blood Thinners: People taking anticoagulant medications (like Warfarin) should be cautious, as Vitamin K2 can interfere with the effectiveness of these drugs.
  • Those with Certain Health Conditions: Individuals with conditions like chronic kidney disease or those prone to blood clots should consult their doctor before starting K2 supplements.
  • Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: While K2 is generally safe, it’s always advisable for pregnant or nursing women to consult a healthcare professional before adding any supplement to their regimen.

The Importance of Taking Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Vitamin K2 Together

These vitamins/minerals all complement each other and are needed together to get the most out of it.

Vitamin D3 aids in the absorption of calcium, which is regulated by K2 to ensure it’s deposited in the right places.

Magnesium is necessary for the activation of Vitamin D; without it, D3 remains inactive and ineffective.

This trio works in harmony to support bone health, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being.

IMPORTANT

Taking Vitamin D supplements without adequate K2 can pose risks. Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption, but without K2 to direct this calcium to bones and teeth, it can lead to vascular calcification.

This is where calcium deposits in the arteries, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease. K2’s role in guiding calcium to the correct locations in the body is therefore essential to prevent these adverse effects.

If you are supplementing Vitamin D3, you MUST take it with K2 or at least it with foods high in K2. 

Anecdotal Story

When I started taking Vitamin D3, everything went well for the first couple of weeks.

After 2 weeks, I started to succumb to migraines, headaches, and vertigo. Not knowing the cause, I stopped all the supplements I was on and it went away.

I introduced Vitamin D3 again and immediately those symptoms came back.

I couldn’t find much about it until eventually I learned about the importance of pairing Vitamin D3, magnesium, and K2. 

For me, the pairing of magnesium specifically eliminated the headaches and vertigo.  

Recommended Supplements

Getting the proper supplements is very important. 

I’ll be giving you the specific supplements I take and the dosage. 

Again, please consult your doctor before supplementing.

This is not medical advice.

Vitamin D3 +K2 Supplement

Solaray Vitamin D3 + K2 Review

A fantastic Vitamin D3 supplement with much-needed k2. You can't go wrong with this tiny daily supplement to help bring up your D3 levels in an optimal way.

This is my favorite supplement to take. It has the proper ratio of Vitamin D3 and K2.

I only take 1 serving which is 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 and 50 mcg of K2.

You can take 2 capsules if needed and are severely deficient. 

If you are interested in this product, check out our review.

Source Naturals Magnesium Malate

Source Naturals Magnesium Malate

A magnesium malate supplement without a high dosage for you take easily and more if needed.

I love this supplement because malate is perfect to take in the morning to help with energy levels (I also take vitamin D3 in the morning too)

I take about ~200mg of this. So it might be around 2 pills. Personally, 3 pills always give me gastro issues.

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate

A magnesium glycinate supplement without a high dosage to help relax you.

I take magnesium glycinate at night time before I go to bed. This supplement itself helps with my sleep and gives me extremely vivid dreams

I also wrote a review about this product. I can not recommend it enough.

I take about 200mg of this as well.

Overall, I take:

  • Vitamin D3 – 5000 IU – morning
  • Vitamin K2 – 50 mcg – morning
  • Magnesium Malate – ~200mg – morning
  • Magnesium Glycinate – ~200mg – night 

This combination has my vitamin D levels in a great range but I also don’t suffer any of the symptoms I used to.

Final Thoughts

The combination of Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and K2 is more than a sum of its parts.

Understanding their roles and collective impact can greatly enhance our approach to health and wellness.

Incorporating these nutrients into your diet, whether through food or supplements, can lead to significant health benefits.

How Much Protein to Intake After a Workout?

Intaking protein after a workout, especially when it comes to a certain amount is often either misunderstood or neglected.

Some people throw down over 100g of protein and some people don’t have any protein at all due to their schedules or they just forget. 

New research (2023) has changed the stance on how much protein to intake after a workout that we are going to cover.

 

Protein itself plays a vital role in our diets, especially when focusing on hypertrophy or retaining muscle mass. (Although, it should be an important factor in every diet regardless of goal)

So this article will go into understanding protein, its importance, how much we need daily, how much to take after workouts, and the optimal times to take protein.

What is Protein?

Proteins are organic molecules made up of amino acids. They’re essential for building and repairing tissues, making enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.

The human body can synthesize some amino acids, but others, known as essential amino acids, must be obtained through diet.

A complete protein source provides all the essential amino acids. Animal-based foods like meat, dairy, and eggs, and a few plant-based sources like quinoa and soy, are complete proteins.

Protein is a crucial building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

The Importance of Protein

Protein is vital for muscle repair, growth, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

It plays a critical role in building and repairing tissues, especially after exercise.

Adequate protein intake supports immune function, aids in weight management by enhancing satiety, and is essential for overall health and well-being.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Protein

Not consuming enough protein can lead to several health issues like muscle wasting, weakened immune system, increased risk of bone fractures, and more.

Protein is vital for a healthy lifestyle especially when trying to build muscle mass. 

How Much Protein Per Day

Before we get into how much protein to intake after a workout, we need to know how much to intake throughout the day.

The recommended daily intake of protein varies depending on age, sex, physical activity level, and health goals.

Generally, a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

For those engaged in regular exercise, the need increases to around 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram, depending on the intensity of the activity.

If you are curious about how much protein you need to intake per day, check out our macro calculator.

How Much Protein to Intake After a Workout

Post-workout is a crucial time for protein intake.

Considering how crucial it is, how much protein to intake after a workout?

There has always been nuance about how much protein to intake especially since there is an idea that your body only “uses” a certain amount of protein at a time.

This isn’t true, to begin with, but other people suggested that taking over a certain amount of protein doesn’t muscle protein synthesis plateaus after a certain amount of protein (depending on the person) which is more plausible. 

New research has shown that a higher intake of protein even after a workout can still lead to a greater and prolonged anabolic response. 

In the study specifically, this was with ingesting 100g of protein. The original belief was to max out around 40g-60g for a meal.

This study shows that you can intake any high amount of protein and still achieve great and even better results.

I believe getting 100g in one sitting is a bit difficult, but if you can get at least 40-50g after a workout would be ideal. 

However, you DO NOT need to worry about getting too much, which is great to know.

Optimal Times for Protein

So we know that taking protein after a workout doesn’t truly have an upper limit as of yet. We can at least conclude that you can intake more than half your protein intake in one sitting after a workout and it’ll have a benefit.

We also know consuming less than 25g of protein after a workout isn’t truly ideal either.

How about the rest of the day though?

To keep muscle protein synthesis elevated throughout the whole day, ideally, I would suggest consuming around 25-30g of protein per meal at a minimum with most of your protein intake coming in after a workout.

However, if you are someone who does fasting or doesn’t have time to spread out their protein, it’s still ok to get all your protein all at once.

The most important thing is that you get enough protein throughout the day. 

Timing of it (outside of after workout) is a smaller detail and there are ways to optimize it but you don’t miss out on exceptional gains because you missed out on a 2-hour window of intaking protein.

Final Thoughts

The amount of protein to intake after a workout is important.

Intaking over 40-60g of protein after a workout is ideal. Having even more than that shows that it doesn’t hurt you either and can be beneficial.

For the rest of your day, spreading protein is still ideal, but if it’s not, it’s not going to cost you significant gains in the end.

Make sure you are:

  1. Getting enough protein to achieve hypertrophy and/or retain muscle mass.
  2. The amount of protein to intake after a workout should be at or over 40-60g 

If you have those 2 points in order, you will be fine.

Can Cardio Kill Your Gains?

Can cardio kill your gains?

Cardio killing your gains is a tale as old as time.

It’s something talked about in the fitness world since iron was originally pumped!

Okay, maybe not… but it’s been a topic of discussion for a while and it’s something still believed by many. People avoid cardio for this specific reason.

We’re going to go over the origins of this, how cardio can potentially kill your gains, and how to avoid it.

The Origin of the ‘Cardio Kills Gains’ Notion

The belief that cardio might impede muscle growth has its roots in bodybuilding and strength training communities for what feels like forever.

The first reason comes into the bulk/cutting scenario. 

The average gym goer usually favors minimizing cardio to maximize muscle hypertrophy (gaining muscle), especially on a bulk.

Then, they abuse cardio on a cut, leading to potentially losing muscle mass.

The other scenario is even when they are bulking and incorporating cardio, they are either not seeing results or overreaching, minimizing muscle growth and strength.

Overreaching is when a person’s accumulation of training leads to poor performance. 

How Cardio Can Negatively Impact Muscle Gains

So, how can cardio impact you making gains?

Let’s go over it.

No Longer In a Caloric Surplus

If you’re someone on a bulking regimen and you incorporate cardio into your regimen, you’re going to be burning more calories than usual.

If you’re bulking correctly, you’re probably not in a large surplus of calories to minimize gaining fat too fast.

Doing cardio but not increasing your caloric intake to meet your new energy expenditure can result in you now being in maintenance and potentially in a deficit. 

Unless you’re a newbie, you need to have a caloric surplus to gain muscle. It is a very very slow and most times impossible process to gain muscle while at maintenance or a deficit. 

If you are a newbie, you make gains easier than people who are already trained. So newbies may see muscular gains even though they’re at maintenance or deficit. (Although, it would still be recommended if you’re trying to gain muscle to be in a surplus)

Overreaching / Overtraining

The other scenario is that you may be doing too much intense cardio that it is starting to hurt your recovery.

A negative impact on your recovery will start to cause your training to take a nose dive. You will start overreaching.

You will notice you don’t have much energy to work out, your workouts in general are weaker than in previous weeks and you lack motivation for training.

You need to incorporate cardio properly to prevent this from happening to you.

Strategies to Prevent Cardio from Hindering Hypertrophy

Now that we know some common reasons why cardio can kill your gains, let’s look into how we can fix these issues.

Increase Caloric Intake

Increasing your calories to match your new energy expenditure is imperative to continuously make gains. 

Not doing so, as mentioned previously will leave you potentially in a maintenance or a deficit resulting in making it extremely difficult/impossible to make any gains.

I would suggest increasing your calories by an extra 100 for a week. Take your weight every day and average it out by the end of the week.

If you notice on average you haven’t gained any weight, increase by another 100 and do the same process above until you’re averaging the amount of weight you wish to gain week to week.

Decrease Intense Cardio or Deload

Decreasing intense cardio or deloading may be your best bet if you are overreaching / overtraining. 

Decreasing the intense cardio and swapping it out for Zone 2 may be best especially if you still want to incorporate cardio into your regimen.

If you still need to keep the intense cardio, you may just need to deload for a week and see where you are at.

If that doesn’t work either, you may need to reprioritize your goals and see what is most important to you.

Final Thoughts

Cardio itself doesn’t affect your gains. 

Cardio however does increase stress on the body and makes you burn more calories. Both of those can potentially hinder you from making gains either because you’re overreaching/overtraining or because your caloric intake is too low to make any gains.  

Increasing calories to meet your energy expenditure and be in a surplus is a must when incorporating cardio.

If that doesn’t work, either having a deload week or decreasing the amount of intense cardio may be your best options to successfully continue with your training.

How to Incorporate Cardio into Your Regimen

Let’s face it, for a majority of people, if you are already not into cardio, it’s most likely not in your regimen. 

This isn’t the case for everyone. Most people I know or talk to though seem to skip it.

When people do incorporate it, they seem to be more exhausted and tend to overtrain in general so they cut it out.

This article is going to cover how to properly incorporate cardio into your regimen without overtraining and how to reap the benefits. 

What is Cardio

First, let’s briefly go over what cardio is.

Cardio involves sustained physical activity that increases heart rate that is sustained for a certain amount of time.

It’s a cornerstone of a well-rounded fitness routine that has vast benefits to it.

Benefits of Cardio

Cardio is more than just calorie burning (even though that’s a benefit all by itself).

The benefits of cardio include lower risk of heart disease, enhanced lung capacity, reduced stress and anxiety, improved brain function, and better regulation of blood sugar levels.

Granted, some/most of those benefits you can get from strength training / lifting weights.

However, enhanced lung capacity and endurance are where you can reap the benefits the most if you are someone who is an active lifter.

What many don’t realize though is that your increased endurance will start to carry over into your strength training. 

Improved endurance during your strength training can help you lift more which can lead to overall better gainz. 

Different Zones of Cardio and What They Target

Cardio can be categorized into different zones, each targeting specific fitness goals.

These zones range from low intensity, which is great for fat burning and endurance, to high intensity, which focuses on improving cardiovascular capacity and strength.

Understanding these zones helps in tailoring a cardio program to meet individual fitness goals.

Let’s briefly go over all the zones and their benefits:

Zone 1: Light Intensity

  • Description: This zone is characterized by very light effort, like a leisurely walk. It’s easy to maintain and allows for conversation during the activity.
  • Benefits: Improves general health and recovery, and is ideal for beginners or for active recovery days.

Zone 2: Moderate Intensity

  • Description: This is a step up, feeling like a steady, comfortable jog. It requires more effort but still allows for conversation.
  • Benefits: Enhances endurance and aerobic capacity, burns fat efficiently, and is sustainable for longer sessions.

Zone 3: Aerobic Zone

  • Description: This zone involves more vigorous activity, like a faster jogging pace. The conversation becomes more challenging.
  • Benefits: Further improves aerobic capacity and cardiovascular endurance, starts to build anaerobic threshold.

Zone 4: Anaerobic Threshold

  • Description: High-intensity efforts like fast running or cycling. Conversation is not possible at this intensity.
  • Benefits: Increases maximum performance capacity, improves speed and power, and enhances calorie burn.

Zone 5: Maximum Effort

  • Description: This is an all-out effort, sustainable only for short bursts, like sprinting at full speed.
  • Benefits: Develops explosive power and speed, enhances athletic performance, and maximizes calorie burn in a short period.

You may have noticed I didn’t include HR (heart rate) zones for each.

This is because everyone has different HR zones for these zones. If you use an Apple Watch or another fitness tracker, it may tell you your HR zone.

Granted, it may not be the most accurate, but it’s a good ballpark. 

How Much Cardio You Should be Doing for Longevity

The amount of cardio for longevity balances between reaping its benefits and avoiding burnout or injury.

I like to primarily focus on Zone 2 and Zone 5 cardio due to their benefits.

 in a week plus around 20-30 minutes of Zone 5 cardio is best for most people.

How Much Zone 2 Cardio

Ideally, doing at least 180 minutes of Zone 2 cardio is best. However, I recommend trying to do 120 minutes first. You will still get good results and it won’t feel like too much all at once. Increase the time slowly.

While the Zone 2 cardio may seem like a lot, Zone 2 is fairly easy and shouldn’t impact recovery or performance. 

With Zone 2 you can break up into multiple 30-40 minute sessions. They can also be longer but shouldn’t be shorter than 30 minutes

How Much is Zone 5 Cardio

Zone 5 if not done properly can cause additional fatigue and impact recovery.

It’s recommended to get around 20-30 minutes per week.

I’d personally recommend doing this in 1 session but you can split it into 10-minute sessions throughout the week.

If doing it in 1 sitting, it’s recommended to do the 4x4x4 method for Zone 5 cardio.

This means:

  1. 4 minutes in Zone 5
  2. 4 minutes rest (zone 1/2)
  3. Repeat 4 times. 

How to Incorporate Into Regimen

Now that we know more about cardio, the different zones of cardio, and its benefits, how should you include it in your regimen?

Adding Zone 2 to Regimen as a Beginner

Assuming you don’t do much cardio and you’re just adding it to your regimen, I would recommend doing the following.

I would suggest first, starting with 2 20-minute Zone 2 sessions per week.

Within the next 2 weeks, increase this to 2 30-minute Zone 2 sessions per week.

2 more weeks after that, increase this to 3 30-minute Zone 2 sessions per week.

Lastly, increase to either 4 30-minute sessions or 3 40-minute sessions.

Mind you, this will only get you to the 120-minute mark.

To hit the 180-minute mark, you would need to either increase the times of your sessions (which is fine) or include more sessions.

Adding Zone 5 to Regimen as a Beginner

Now for Zone 5, if you are in decent shape already, I think the 4x4x4 method is perfect for you. 

It will give you enough rest time overall and 4 minute burst of high effort shouldn’t be too much.

If your cardio isn’t great, I would recommend doing 1x4x4 (1 minute intensity, 4 minute rest, 4 times) 3 times a week.

Once comfortable enough, increase time to 2x4x4 for 2 sessions a week. Afterwards, 3x4x4 for 1 – 2 times a week and then 4x4x4.

Scheduling and Adding Zone 5

Let’s say you’re doing a 4-day split of Upper, Lower, Rest, Upper Lower, Rest, Rest.

Let’s also say we’re trying to follow the guidelines of 

Your new schedule would look something like this:

  • Upper + Zone 2 cardio (40 min)
  • Lower
  • Zone 2 cardio
  • Upper + Zone 2 cardio (40 min)
  • Lower
  • Zone 2 cardio (40 min)
  • Zone 5 cardio (20-30 minutes)

If you are someone who likes to have a full rest day(s), then you can do something like:

  • Upper + Zone 2 cardio (60 min)
  • Lower
  • Rest
  • Upper + Zone 2 cardio (60 min)
  • Lower + Zone 5 cardio (20-30 minutes)
  • Rest
  • Rest

This means your workouts get longer, but that would be a way to incorporate it without removing complete rest days. 

Beware of Overtraining

Overtraining in cardio can lead to exhaustion, injury, and decreased performance.

This can happen from doing too much Zone 5 or thinking you’re doing Zone 2 but you’re really in a high Zone 3 close to Zone 4.

Signs include prolonged fatigue, decreased motivation, and increased susceptibility to injuries.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, cut out a cardio session throughout your week. 

Cardio Before or After Weight Lifting?

To reap the best benefits from your cardio workout and not impact your gainz, cardio before lifting would be best.

However, this would assume your intensity would stay the same for your lifting, which for most, it wouldn’t. Performance would generally decrease doing cardio and then lifting. 

Considering that, I would suggest doing what works best for you. Even though cardio before lifting would be best, we’re talking about a small margin of benefit overall. 

Do Cardio That’s Sustainable for You

The key to long-term cardio success is choosing activities that you enjoy and can consistently integrate into your routine. 

Walking, jogging, cycling, stair master, elliptical, etc. are all great options.

I always like to recommend doing something low-impact that you enjoy.

For me, this includes:

  • Elliptical
  • Cycling
  • Air bike
  • Walking/jogging

High-impact cardio activities over an extended period can lead to various injuries if not done correctly.

But again, I would recommend doing what you find the most sustainable. 

Final Thoughts

Cardio is a must-include in your regimen. Knowing how to include it though is important and how much work you need to do without overdoing it.

With all the information above, you should be able to include cardio into your regimen without overtraining but also reap the benefits of cardio.

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health concern worldwide.

It’s often referred to as a “silent killer” due to its subtle symptoms yet significant impact on overall health.

While I’m not a doctor, I’m someone who suffered a bit from high blood pressure even though I was considered very fit and didn’t have any noticeable issues.

This guide will offer practical advice and insights on managing and potentially lowering blood pressure through lifestyle changes and how I did so for myself.

Again, this is not medical advice and I advise you to consult with your doctor if you’re suffering from high blood pressure.

With that being said. Let’s get started!

We will be breaking down some ways to naturally lower blood pressure. Some you may already know on a high level and others you may not. 

I will mark things as Anecdotal for situations where this personally helped me the most. 

Disclaimer: The following information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for personal health concerns.

Exercise

This may already be known to most of you, but regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

However, let’s break down the different types of exercise and see what works best (hint: it’s a combination of everything)

Strength Training / Hypertrophy Training

Strength training and/or Hypertrophy training plays a vital role in overall cardiovascular health.

It helps in building muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolic rate.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Having more muscle mass will increase your metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories at rest just from having more muscle mass.

Additionally, strength exercises improve the elasticity of blood vessels, enhancing their ability to manage blood pressure effectively.

Although I prefer/recommend 3-4 times a week to lift, 2 times a week should be the minimum especially if you are new to lifting. 

Exercises I would recommend to start with doing 2-3 days a week:

  • Squat
  • Bench
  • Deadlift
  • Overhead Press

However, this is grossly oversimplified. I would suggest contacting me on Discord for more information. 

Cardio

Cardio is any rhythmic activity that raises your heart rate into your target heart rate zone.

This type of exercise strengthens your heart and lungs and improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.

There are different heart rate zones. Let’s go over 2 main ones to get an idea of what they do. 

Zone 2 Cardio: Steady and Effective “Light Cardio”

Zone 2 cardio refers to low to moderate-intensity exercise where you are working at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.

It’s sustainable and comfortable, like brisk walking, light jogging, or cycling.

This zone is particularly effective for improving heart health and endurance, helping to lower resting blood pressure over time by enhancing blood circulation and heart muscle efficiency.

Anecdotal

Zone 2 cardio was one of the major factors for me to lower my blood pressure. I started doing stair master for 30 minutes twice a week and kept my heart rate around 130-140bpm.

I upped this up to 3 1 hour sessions per week. The results were outstanding to say the least. My cardio vastly improved but so did my blood pressure.

Everyone should be doing Zone 2 cardio. 

I would recommend doing at least 120 minutes of total Zone 2 cardio a week.  Preferably, you should break this out into multiple sessions, but if you can’t, that’s fine. 

I would also suggest something low-impact. Stair Master was a bit more high-impact. Elliptical, walking, and cycling are great.

The key is to find an exercise that’s low-impact but also one you can be consistent. Zone 2 cardio shouldn’t negatively impact your overall recovery (and if anything could help). 

I use my Apple Watch to track my Zone 2. Although it may not be super accurate, I’m sure it’s in the right ballpark of where I should be in terms of heart rate, but everyone is different.

Zone 5 Cardio: High Intensity

Zone 5 cardio is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where you work at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate.

These are short bursts of intense activity followed by rest or low-intensity periods, like sprinting or high-intensity cycling. HIIT has been shown to reduce blood pressure effectively, likely due to its ability to improve arterial stiffness and heart function.

You don’t have to spend much time in Zone 5 to see results.

I recommendation I hear frequently is 4 minutes in Zone 5 and 4 minutes recovering for 4 sets. 

Ideal Body Weight: A Balancing Act

Maintaining an ideal body weight is essential for blood pressure control.

Having a high body fat percentage (over 15-17% for men, 23-25% for women) can increase blood pressure overall.

For the majority, this is the common cause of high blood pressure.

Even a modest weight loss can have significant health benefits. 

To lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

If you need to find out what your caloric range is to lose weight, you can look here.

Diet

The role of diet in managing blood pressure cannot be overstated.

A healthy diet should be one where you’re not overconsuming calories regularly and you have an adequate amount of protein and fat in your diet. 

A diet also needs to be sustainable. 

Want to build your perfect diet? Check out this article. 

I can’t finish this section though without talking about the biggest micronutrient revolving around blood pressure… salt 👻.

Beyond Salt

The impact of micronutrients on blood pressure is often underestimated.

While reducing salt intake can play an important factor, something not talked about nearly as much is the ratio of potassium to sodium in your diet.

Foods high in potassium help balance the negative effects of salt.

Also, magnesium, found in leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, also plays a role in relaxing blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure.

Anecdotal

The first time I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, I was shocked.

I couldn’t believe it. I had a healthy weight, low body fat, not stressed or anything. I figured it had to be some other factor.

My doctor told me to cut salt out.

I did. 

I felt lethargic and frankly terrible throughout the day. I wasn’t consuming much, to begin with, either.

After doing research, I later found that potassium plays a huge role in regulating blood pressure. I tracked my ongoing diet to realize, I was barely getting potassium throughout the day.

I upped my potassium by a small amount and continuously tracked my blood pressure. A couple of weeks later it was lower.

I went to my doctor and he confirmed it was a significant difference. 

I don’t want to recommend a specific ratio to you as it’s still something being discussed currently. I would say this though, get an app and track how much sodium and potassium you intake per day.

Assuming you’re not already taking a lot of potassium, increase your potassium slightly by around 500mg for a week and see if you notice a difference in your blood pressure.

If not, drop sodium slightly as well (assuming you’re taking over 3g of sodium per day).

Note: Please be careful with increasing/decreasing such micronutrients. Consult your doctor before doing so.  

Impact of Substances: Alcohol and Nicotine

Consuming alcohol and nicotine can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure and long-term health issues.

Regular consumption of alcohol can lead to chronic hypertension, while smoking narrows your arteries, increasing blood pressure.

Cutting back or eliminating these substances can substantially improve blood pressure levels.

Caffeine can also cause a temporary uptick in blood pressure as well. Be mindful of how much you’re taking. 

Testing Blood Pressure: Know Your Numbers

Regularly testing your blood pressure is key to managing it effectively.

Invest in a reliable home blood pressure monitor.

Test in the morning, afternoon, and night for consistency, and track your readings over time to notice any trends or changes.

This data can be invaluable for your healthcare provider to tailor your treatment plan.

Final Thoughts

High blood pressure is the cause of so many deaths in the world. Lowering it isn’t complicated, but there are plenty of misconceptions about how to do so we tend to focus on the wrong things (cut out salt). 

Weight lifting + cardio + Good diet + ideal body fat percentage = most likely ideal blood pressure. 

Again, before taking any advice from here, please talk to your doctor first. 

Jocko Greens Review

Jocko Greens is a notable product from the Jocko Fuel line, a brand established by Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL.

Jocko has a whole line of supplements that are overall great.

Jocko Fuel has decided to tackle the Greens supplement.

Green supplements are usually touted as being a superfood supplement to make you feel good, boost energy and focus, and many more benefits.

Some people think they are not worth the money and some think they are life-changing.

In this Jocko Greens review, we will be diving more into whether this supplement is good in general and if it has any effects overall.

Let’s dig into it.

Jocko Greens Review

A great greens drink that has good effects, a great nutrition profile and overall a decent price.

Nutrition Score (4/5)

This Jocko Greens review will go in-depth on the nutrition because that’s where this product will stand out.

First, Jocko Greens is low in calories and offers some protein and fiber.

Overall, it’s fairly basic and a low-calorie / keto-friendly drink.

Here is the breakdown.

Macro Breakdown

Nutrient Amount Per Serving
Calories 30
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Total Sugars 2 g
Protein 2 g
Calcium 50 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 40 mg
Potassium 140 mg

Jocko Greens Review Nutrition

As you can see, there isn’t anything crazy about the macronutrient breakdown.

However, that’s not where Jocko Greens shines.

The meat and potatoes (the kale and the nuts?) are in the micronutrients.

Let’s break that down.

Micronutrient Breakdown and Benefits

Ingredient Amount
Organic Spirulina 1,170 mg
Organic Wheat Grass 900 mg
Organic Kale 900 mg
Organic Spinach 900 mg
Organic Beets 360 mg
Organic Sweet Potato 270 mg
Organic Broccoli Sprout 180 mg
Organic Chlorella 180 mg
Organic Oat Grass 180 mg
Organic Cabbage 180 mg
Organic Carrots 180 mg
Organic Banana Powder 1,080 mg
Organic Pineapple 1,080 mg
Organic Apple Powder 450 mg
Organic Grape 360 mg
Organic Goji 180 mg
Organic Pomegranate 180 mg
Organic Acai Powder 90 mg
Organic Wild Blueberry 90 mg
Organic Cranberry Extract 90 mg

 

Organic Vegetable Blend:

  • Organic Spirulina (1,170 mg): Spirulina is high in antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Organic Wheat Grass (900 mg): Wheatgrass is a nutrient-rich young grass in the wheat family, containing several vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron and magnesium.

  • Organic Kale (900 mg): Kale is a well-known superfood, rich in vitamins A, K, C, and B6, along with minerals like manganese, calcium, and potassium. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients.

  • Organic Spinach (900 mg): Spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.

  • Organic Beets (360 mg): Beets are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. They have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow and lower blood pressure.

  • Organic Sweet Potato (270 mg): Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fiber. They are beneficial for eye health and can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

  • Organic Broccoli Sprout (180 mg): Broccoli sprouts are high in sulforaphane, a compound with potent anti-cancer properties. They also offer a variety of vitamins and minerals.

  • Organic Chlorella (180 mg): Chlorella is a green algae rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. It binds to heavy metals, aiding in detoxification.

  • Organic Oat Grass (180 mg): Oat grass is high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, particularly chlorophyll, which can help cleanse the body.

  • Organic Cabbage (180 mg): Cabbage contains powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and is also rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber.

  • Organic Carrots (180 mg): Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They have numerous benefits for eye health and can reduce the risk of cancer.

  • Organic Banana Powder (1,080 mg): Bananas are known for their high potassium content, which is essential for heart health and blood pressure regulation. They also provide vitamin C, vitamin B6, and dietary fiber.

  • Organic Pineapple (1,080 mg): Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that may aid digestion and reduce inflammation. It’s also rich in vitamin C and manganese, important for antioxidant defenses and bone health.

  • Organic Apple Powder (450 mg): Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. They have been associated with numerous health benefits, including gut health and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

  • Organic Grape (360 mg): Grapes are a good source of vitamins C and K. They also contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may contribute to heart health.

  • Organic Goji (180 mg): Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, fiber, and iron. They have been claimed to boost immune function and eye health.

  • Organic Pomegranate (180 mg): Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants, particularly punicalagin and anthocyanins, which may help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease.

  • Organic Acai Powder (90 mg): Acai berries boast an impressive nutrient profile with antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. They’re known for their potential to neutralize free radicals.

  • Organic Wild Blueberry (90 mg): Wild blueberries have a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to regular blueberries. They’re beneficial for brain health and can help in reducing DNA damage.

  • Organic Cranberry Fruit Extract (90 mg): Cranberries are best known for preventing urinary tract infections but also provide vitamin C, manganese, and several other micronutrients.

There are some other nutrients as well.

Other

Ingredient Amount Per Serving
Rhodiola Extract (Rhodiola rosea) (root) 50 mg
Ashwagandha Extract (Withania somnifera) (root) (KSM-66®) 50 mg
Milk Thistle Extract (Silybum marianum) (seeds) 50 mg

Let’s look at their benefits.

Rhodiola Extract (Rhodiola rosea) (root)

Rhodiola is known for its adaptogenic effects, Enhanced Mental Performance, and Energy and Vitality.

Adaptogenic effects means it can help the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical, and environmental stress.

Studies have suggested that Rhodiola may improve cognitive functions, particularly during stress and fatigue.

Ashwagandha Extract (Withania somnifera) (root) (KSM-66®)

Ashwagandha is renowned for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety in both animal and human studies.

Research also indicates that it can improve body composition and increase muscle strength.

Additionally, for men, Ashwagandha has been shown to support healthy testosterone production and reproductive health.

Milk Thistle Extract (Silybum marianum) (seeds)

Milk thistle is best known for its liver-protecting effects. It’s widely used in the treatment of liver disorders such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Silymarin, the active ingredient in milk thistle, has antioxidant properties that may help protect the body from free radical damage.

Some studies suggest that milk thistle may provide benefits to the skin, potentially helping to reduce the visible signs of aging.

Phew. 

Okay, let’s continue with the Jocko Greens review, specifically, its taste.

Taste (4.5/5)

I’ll be honest, most “green” drinks I have are not pleasant to drink.

Jocko Greens stands out with its palatability. Now, I’m not saying it’s good, but it is tolerable especially compared to others. I don’t feel like gagging.

This Jocko Greens review specifically covers the pineapple/coconut flavor.

It offers a decent flavor that is surprisingly easy to consume, making it a more enjoyable experience than many other green supplements on the market.

Effectiveness (4/5)

After over two weeks of consistent use, I felt this was a good time to do a Jocko Greens review.

The effects of Jocko Greens are very noticeable.

Now, I will say also this can just be a placebo, but there’s for me there was an increase in energy levels and a heightened sense of focus.

The overall feeling suggests that the supplement is indeed effective in enhancing physical and cognitive function.

Price (4.5/5)

When compared to similar products like Athletic Greens, Jocko Greens is more affordable at the time of writing this. It offers good value for its price.

This makes it an accessible option for those looking to incorporate a green supplement into their diet without breaking the bank.

You can view the price here.

Mixability (5/5)

One of the standout features of Jocko Greens is its excellent mixability.

It blends seamlessly into liquids without clumping. If you let it sit for too long, it may get slightly thick at the bottom, but it’s nothing too crazy and honestly, expected.

This ease of use adds to its overall appeal.

Jocko Greens Review Mixability

Jocko Greens Review Final Thoughts

Jocko Greens emerges as a top contender in the realm of green supplements.

Its combination of taste, effectiveness, and affordability makes it a compelling choice for those interested in green products.

If you’re considering adding a green supplement to your routine, Jocko Greens is worth trying. Its ease of consumption, coupled with the health benefits it offers, makes it a standout product in its category.

If you like Jocko products, I suggest checking out my review on Jocko MOLK

Jocko Greens Review

A great greens drink that has good effects, a great nutrition profile and overall a decent price.

Jocko Greens Review Score

Understanding Heart Health: Risks, Prevention, and Key Indicators

Understanding Heart health is a critical aspect of overall wellness, yet it’s often overlooked until problems arise. This article aims to shed light on the importance of maintaining a healthy heart, understanding the risks of cardiovascular diseases, and how to effectively manage and prevent them.

Disclaimer

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your physician or a healthcare professional for medical advice and before making any health-related decisions.

What is the Heart?

The heart is a muscular organ that is central to the body’s circulatory system.

It functions nonstop, pumping blood throughout the body, which carries essential nutrients and oxygen to every cell and removes waste products.

The heart also works with other systems, like the nervous and endocrine systems, to regulate blood pressure, heart rate, and overall fluid balance in the body.

Understanding Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) encompasses a range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. Common types include coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, and hypertension

Hypertension specifically is one of the leading causes of CVD.

Let’s go over blood pressure more and hypertension specifically to get a better understanding of how it affects your heart. 

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries.

It’s a vital sign, indicating the health of the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and recorded as two figures: systolic pressure (the pressure when the heart beats and pumps blood) and diastolic pressure (the pressure when the heart rests between beats).

Understanding Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when blood pressure is consistently too high. It’s often termed the “silent killer” because it can go unnoticed for years, causing damage to blood vessels and the heart without noticeable symptoms.

You will be surprised on how many “healthy” people have hypertension. I was once in this category as well.

Hypertension is typically defined as having a blood pressure higher than 130/80 mmHg.

Causes of Hypertension

The exact causes of hypertension are often complex and multifactorial.

Factors include:

  • genetics
  • age
  • diet
  • lack of exercise
  • obesity
  • consumption
  • stress
  • substance abuse (alcohol, nicotine are just some examples)
  • other underlying conditions

How Hypertension Affects the Heart

High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, which can cause the heart muscle to thicken and become less efficient, a condition known as hypertensive heart disease.

This increased strain raises the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

Hypertension can also contribute to atherosclerosis, where arteries harden and narrow, further increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Preventing CVD involves a combination of healthy consistent lifestyle choices and regular medical check-ups. Key strategies include maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco use, and managing stress. 

Those suggestions above are all very high level and you can even have those all in check and still have hypertension.

I’ll have a more in depth article that dives into ways to lower your blood pressure naturally as someone who once had high blood pressure even though I thought I had the above all in check.

Testing Heart Health

When visiting a doctor, it’s important to discuss heart health proactively. Ask for tests like blood pressure measurement, bloodwork  and electrocardiograms (ECGs).

These tests can provide valuable insights into heart health and help detect issues early on.

Let’s go over some blood work indicators to look out for though.

Blood Mark Indicators

Certain blood markers can indicate poor heart health. High levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides, or low levels of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), are red flags. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) can also indicate inflammation in the body, including the blood vessels.

  1. Cholesterol Levels:

    • LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein): Often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, high levels can lead to plaque buildup in arteries.
    • HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein): Known as “good” cholesterol, it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the bloodstream. Higher than normal is still not considered good though.
    • Total Cholesterol: The sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol.
    • Triglycerides: High levels are associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease
    • Total Cholesterol to HDL Ratio: Lower ratios are better. A ratio below 4:1 is considered desirable. Higher ratios increase the risk for heart disease.
    • LDL to HDL Ratio: This ratio compares the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) with the “good” cholesterol (HDL). A lower ratio indicates a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
    • Triglyceride to HDL Ratio: This is calculated by dividing your triglyceride level by your HDL cholesterol level. The ratio is considered one of the best predictors of heart health. A lower ratio is generally better. Ideally, this ratio should be below 2.
  2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP): This marker indicates inflammation in the body, including the blood vessels. High levels of CRP are linked with an increased risk of heart disease

  3. Blood Sugar Levels: High blood sugar can indicate diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease.

  4. Homocysteine: Elevated levels of this amino acid in the blood can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

  5. Triglycerides: High levels of triglycerides can contribute to the hardening or thickening of artery walls (atherosclerosis), increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
  6. Fibrinogen: This blood clotting factor can indicate an increased risk of heart disease. High levels can lead to excessive clotting and increased risk of heart and vascular diseases.

  7. Lipoprotein(a): This type of lipoprotein is similar to LDL but contains an additional protein. High levels can increase the risk of developing early heart disease.

  8. Apolipoprotein A1: This is the primary protein component of HDL cholesterol. Higher levels are generally associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

  9. Apolipoprotein B: The main component of LDL cholesterol. Higher levels are associated with heart disease.

Reading your blood work in isolation doesn’t tell the full story. Having the full context gives you a better idea of where you are at. 

Again, please talk to your doctor about all these markers for more details.

Genetic Factors in Heart Health

Genetics can play a significant role in heart health.

Family history of heart disease, especially in close relatives at a young age, can indicate a higher risk. Genetic conditions like familial hypercholesterolemia can also impact heart health significantly.

Final Thoughts

This article mainly dives into heart health and understanding heart health overall.

I’ll soon be discussing ways to improve your heart health with diet, exercise and stress management.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay on the look out.

 

Accelerator Energy Drink Review

This Accelerator energy drink review will be going over the fairly new product called… Accelerator!

This product is meant to help boost energy, productivity, and metabolism.

In a market that is saturated with energy drinks right now though, how does it stack up to the fierce competition?

Accelerator Energy Drink Review

An awesome energy drink that you can have for a pre-workout or before a more mentally challenging task. With a great nutrition profile and amazing flavors to choose from, it's a drink worth trying.

About Accelerator Energy Drink

The Accelerator energy drink is made in California. It has a vision of offering a healthier, more natural form of active energy.

 They prioritize natural ingredients, with electrolytes sourced from the ocean and caffeine derived from plants.

This ethos is reflected in their product, designed to fuel a variety of activities, from outdoor adventures to everyday conquests.

Knowing what we do about the drink, let’s dive into how good it is.

Nutrition Facts(4.5/5)

Nutritional Breakdown

In this Accelerator Energy Drink Review let’s break down the nutrition facts.

Nutrient Amount
Calories 10
Caffeine 200mg
Carbs  0
Sodium 170mg
Potassium 80mg
Niacin 16mg
Vitamin B6 1.7mg
Vitamin B12 2.4mcg
Magnesium 16mg

Accelerator Energy Drink Review Nutrition

With it having low calories and an adequate dose of 200mg of caffeine, it’s versatile enough to suit various energy needs.

The inclusion of a Vitamin B complex, magnesium, sodium, and potassium adds a hydration boost, making it more than just an energy drink.

As well, having a good sodium and potassium ratio is crucial. This product does a good job of combining both. 

How do these vitamins and electrolytes impact the drink though?

Let’s find out.

Micronutrient Details

Sodium

Role and Benefits:

  • Electrolyte Balance: Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance in the body. It’s crucial for hydration, especially for individuals engaging in physical activity or workouts.
  • Nerve and Muscle Function: Sodium plays a key role in the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. It’s involved in the transmission of nerve impulses and helps in muscle contraction.

Potassium

Role and Benefits:

  • Cardiovascular Health: Potassium is vital for maintaining a healthy heart function. It regulates heart rate and ensures smooth muscle contractions in the heart.
  • Electrolyte Balance: Similar to sodium, potassium is an important electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance, especially in cells. It works in conjunction with sodium to regulate water levels in the body.
  • Muscle and Nerve Function: It aids in muscle function and nerve transmission, and is particularly beneficial in preventing muscle cramps during long periods of exercise. 

Niacin

Role and Benefits:

  • Energy Metabolism: Also known as Vitamin B3, niacin plays a significant role in converting food into energy. It assists in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Skin and Nervous System Health: Niacin is important for maintaining healthy skin and proper functioning of the nervous system.

Vitamin B6

Role and Benefits:

  • Cognitive Function: Vitamin B6 is essential for normal brain development and function. It helps the body produce neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain.
  • Immune Support: This vitamin is involved in the immune system function, aiding in the production of antibodies necessary for fighting various diseases.
  • Hemoglobin Production: It assists in the creation of hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Vitamin B12

Role and Benefits:

  • Energy Boost: Vitamin B12 is well-known for its role in energy production. It helps in the conversion of nutrients into energy, making it a key component in energy drinks.
  • Nervous System Health: It’s crucial for maintaining the health of the nervous system and for the production of DNA and red blood cells.
  • Cognitive Health: Adequate levels of Vitamin B12 are associated with improved memory and cognitive function.

Taste (4.5/5)

Theis Accelerator Energy Drink Review is specifically covering the  Rocket Pop flavor.

It’s a journey down memory lane, reminiscent of summer days and festive popsicles. Writing this currently (during the winter) makes it especially painful.

There are plenty of flavors to choose from including:

Accelerator Energy Drink Review Taste

Effectiveness (4.5/5)

This is a great and highly effective energy drink overall!

As we know from the prior breakdown of nutrition, the main energy kick in Accelerator Energy Drink comes from its well-balanced 200mg caffeine content, which provides a robust yet manageable energy boost.

This level of caffeine, derived from natural sources, is adept at enhancing both physical performance and mental alertness swiftly.

Additionally, the inclusion of essential electrolytes like sodium and potassium enhances this effect by ensuring optimal hydration and fluid balance.

These electrolytes are crucial for maintaining muscle and nerve function, especially before working out.

The vitamin B complex plays a pivotal role in metabolic processes, aiding in efficient energy utilization from food and supporting sustained energy release.

This is complemented by their overall health benefits, such as improved cognitive function, nervous system health, and red blood cell formation. 

Overall, with the combination of everything, you can easily tell why this is an effective energy drink.

Price (4/5)

While slightly pricier than some competitors like Celsius, Accelerator Energy Drink holds its own in terms of value, especially when compared to options like Jocko GO.

Prices can vary depending on the flavor and purchasing platform, with Amazon generally offering better deals than the main website.

Accelerator Energy Drink Review Final Thoughts

Overall, Accelerator Energy Drink is a commendable product that efficiently combines energy-boosting properties with a beneficial nutrient profile.

While there may be cheaper options available, its blend of natural ingredients and hydration benefits make it a worthwhile choice for those seeking a healthy and effective energy solution.

As well, if you are looking for a product with more tropical/summer flavors, this is perfect for you.

I hope this Accelerator Energy Drink Review helped you decide on the product. Feel free to support us by signing up for our newsletter

You can find other similar products here:

Accelerator Energy Drink Review

An awesome energy drink that you can have for a pre-workout or before a more mentally challenging task. With a great nutrition profile and amazing flavors to choose from, it's a drink worth trying.

Accelerator Energy Drink Review Score

Strategies for Goal Adjustment

Strategies for Goal Adjustment is the last part of a series of goal-setting.

You can check out the other posts here:

Without further ado, let’s continue.

When the new year rolls in, many of us set ambitious goals, fueled by the promise of a fresh start.

However, as the year progresses, our circumstances, priorities, and perspectives can change, making it necessary to adjust our goals.

Adapting your goals isn’t a sign of failure; it’s a realistic response to life’s unpredictability.

In this post, we’ll explore how to track your goals, assess the need for change, adjust them accordingly, and even add new goals while maintaining a positive mindset.

Tracking Your Goals

Effectively tracking your goals is the first step in managing them.

Here are some methods:

Digital Tools

Use apps and software designed for goal tracking.

They offer reminders, progress tracking, and motivational prompts.

Some personal apps I enjoy are Trello and Todolist. Sometimes, I just an Excel sheet as well to keep track of more high-level goals.

Journaling

A more personal approach, journaling allows you to reflect on your goals, progress, and challenges.

Journaling also allows for more than just goal setting. It can help you reflect on the now and help teach you gratitude.

Journaling is one of my favorite tools and suggest you use it even outside of goal setting. 

A digital solution for this is Reflectly

Vision Boards

Visual representations of your goals can be a powerful motivator and reminder of your objectives.

Regular Check-Ins

Schedule weekly or monthly reviews of your goals to assess progress and make necessary adjustments. 

This can also be done with a person too. This is mentioned in some detail in the Use Accountability to Achieve Your Goals article. 

Assessing the Need for Change

It’s crucial to distinguish between a valid need to change your goals and using challenges as an excuse to give up. Ask yourself:

Have Circumstances Changed?

Sometimes life throws unexpected curveballs that require goal reassessment.

This happens to everyone. So don’t feel bad if it happens to you.

Depending on this, you may need to drop the goal or adjust it to make it smaller.

Are the Goals Still Relevant?

Your interests and priorities might evolve, making some goals less pertinent.

Maybe you have moved on and don’t feel it’s necessary anymore. However, make sure this isn’t you giving up on it. Keep yourself accountable.

Is the Goal Unrealistic?

It’s okay to modify goals that are too ambitious or impractical.

Maybe you thought you started small and it was too overwhelming.

Changing to break down the goal further is never an issue and will sometimes keep you motivated for longer.

Is It a Lack of Motivation?

If it’s merely a dip in motivation, strategies to rekindle your drive might be better than changing the goal.

Read more on staying motivated year-round here.

Methods for Adjusting Goals

When a change is necessary, here’s how to go about it:

Break It Down

Simplify complex goals into smaller, manageable steps. 

This may seem redundant as we’ve mentioned this in previous articles and this one, but you will be surprised at how much a goal can be broken down or simplified.

Never be afraid of simplifying your goals if needed. 

Set New Timelines

Adjust deadlines to accommodate your current situation. Be realistic with yourself. Don’t cram if you don’t need to and adjust as needed.

Seek Feedback

Sometimes, outside perspectives can offer valuable insights on adjusting your goals.

Having a community to help you with your goals and keep you motivated and accountable is important.

Check out our Discord community for more information. Currently only available as a premium member.

Adding New Goals

When you eliminate a goal, consider adding a new one that aligns with your current aspirations.

This keeps your motivation high and ensures continuous personal growth. Reflect on what excites you now, and set goals that resonate with your evolving interests.

The Perspective on Quitting

Remember, you only truly quit and fail at something if you never try it again AND if you never learn from your progress.

Even if at a minimum you learned something from it, it’s considered a win in my book even if the goal hasn’t been met. 

Adjusting goals is not quitting; it’s adapting and staying committed to your growth journey.

Every step, no matter how small or redirected, is progress.