Once you’ve mastered a few workouts and some healthy meals, it’s easy to fall into a monotonous fitness routine. But after a while, don’t be surprised if you no longer see results. The same is true for your go-to protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer, a certified personal trainer and registered dietician, explains that while your favorite shake is packed with macronutrients, it’s probably lacking in a variety of micronutrients that your muscles need.
Macronutrients fall into three categories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are made up of vitamins and minerals that are essential to muscle repair and growth. After a workout, it’s important to make sure your muscles get everything they need quickly. A plain protein shake alone cannot deliver the well-rounded nutritional snack needed for continued results. Dustin Mark McNeer believes that the secret to long-term muscle growth is customizing your protein shake with additional boosters. It’s easier than you might think to take your post-workout nutrition to the next level.
Dustin Mark McNeer’s first suggestion is to try adding turmeric to your protein shake. The spice is naturally derived from the turmeric plant, and it is commonly found in food and medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. To get the maximum benefit, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder before blending. A pinch of black pepper is also known to help the body better absorb curcumin, the main active component in turmeric. You can expect turmeric to taste bitter and warm, but the flavor will be diluted in your shake.
Next, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that the baobab fruit makes for an excellent addition to any shake. Commonly eaten in Africa and Australia, the fruit from the baobab tree is citrus-like in flavor and loaded with vitamins. It is rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and zinc. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that all parts of the fruit are beneficial, including the seeds, which are a great source of healthy fat and fiber. Plus, it can help people who are trying to lose weight because it offers feelings of fullness. Dustin McNeer suggests adding one scoop of powdered baobab fruit to your next protein shake.
Omega-3 fatty acids often come in the form of fish oil supplements. However, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that they can also be consumed in a plant-based powder form. Many people don’t know that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a precursor of omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and flaxseed oil. It is derived naturally without any fishy flavor, making it a perfect addition to your protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer suggests adding 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed powder before blending!
Finally, consider boosting your gut health by adding prebiotics to your protein drinks. The body cannot digest prebiotics, but rather, they are used as food for probiotics. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that they can again be found naturally in dandelion greens, onions, garlic, asparagus, oats, barley, and cocoa. While not all of these ingredients would be ideal for a shake, cocoa powder can make for an excellent chocolatey protein shake. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that it can also be added to a warm cup of cocoa for a nighttime snack.
Personal trainer, Dustin Mark McNeer, explains the difference between good and bad inflammation, and how it relates to exercising.
When the body wants to protect an area from harm, it sends signals at the cellular level to produce inflammation. Personal trainer and dietitian, Dustin Mark McNeer, explains that inflammation’s main job is to remove harmful substances and heal damaged tissues in the body. At times, however, it can also cause damage.
Acute inflammation is our body’s first defense mechanism against cuts, scrapes, and stings, causing swelling and redness. Dustin Mark McNeer explains that it shows us something is wrong and enables us to address the issue. Typically, acute inflammation will only last a few hours and occurs around the site of injury.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not considered to benefit the body. It does not go away after a short period and is associated with autoimmune diseases such as asthma. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that in this situation, the immune system does not know when to stop protecting. It’s essential to address this health issue as early as possible before it causes damage to vital organs.
So, where does exercise come into play? Dustin Mark McNeer explains that through exercise, acute inflammation is created in muscle tissues. During a really challenging workout, muscles are “damaged” when stretched and used to their capacity. The body does its best to repair the damaged muscle tissues by circulating more blood through the area, which brings nutrients used to grow and repair the muscle.
Research has shown that exercising reduces chronic inflammation in most cases, which will reduce pain and keep your body healthy. Dustin Mark McNeer always urges clients to take ample time to recover because overtraining can lead to additional inflammation. With the proper approach, exercise can be a natural, long-term treatment plan for chronic inflammation.
Symptoms for the condition can vary significantly from person to person and include body pain, fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, frequent infections, and more. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends consulting with a doctor. However, there are steps that can be taken immediately to reduce chronic inflammation through changes in lifestyle.
First, Dustin Mark McNeer suggests eating healthy meals made at home. Restaurants, junk food, processed food, and fast food will contribute to inflammation issues. Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat certain things so that you can begin eliminating things that do not agree with you. Many people are surprised at how much better they feel after making simple dietary changes.
Next, include rest days when making your weekly workout schedule. By setting aside specific days to stay out of the gym, you will be less likely to overtrain. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that if overtraining is left unchecked, the body will always be in an inflammatory state trying to heal.
Finally, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends reducing stress at work and home. By letting your body stay in a fight-or-flight mode, it can contribute to inflammation. Instead, engage in calming activities that relax the body and leave it less tense. When the nervous system is not activated, growth, repair, and restoration can truly occur.
Certified personal trainer, Dustin Mark McNeer, explains what a muscle imbalance is and how to correct the issue.
Most people tend to use one side of their body more often for everyday tasks. Minor actions like brushing your teeth, using your smartphone, and carrying groceries can add up over time to make one side of your body more dominant than the other. When you get in the gym, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that problems may arise from muscle imbalances. It can hinder your fitness performance and put you at higher risk for injury.
Additionally, muscle imbalances are related to poor posture. Many people suffer from strain, chronic pain, headaches, joint pain, back problems, and more as a result of poor posture. Sometimes, the body will try to compensate for the imbalance, which results in overcorrection. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that when overcorrection happens, it can cause even more strain on weaker muscles.
Small muscle imbalances can go unnoticed for a lifetime. For other people, fixing significant imbalances means increased flexibility, strength, and endurance. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends various strategies to clients that help equal strength on both sides of the body.
The first step is to create a workout routine with unilateral exercises only. Dustin Mark McNeer explains that single-arm and single-leg exercises highlight muscle imbalances. By breaking it up, one side of your body won’t be lifting more weight than the other. In most cases, people don’t even realize they’re leaning to one side or relying on one side more than the other.
Next, always start your workouts with the less dominant side of your body so that you have more energy to complete the exercise. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends letting that side set the pace for your entire workout, which means always do the same amount of reps on both sides. Even if it doesn’t feel like enough on your dominant side, your main goal is to achieve balance.
Dustin Mark McNeer suggests adding full-mobility exercises to your schedule every day, which can improve flexibility. If one side of your body isn’t as flexible as the other side, it can contribute to muscle imbalances. Consider stretching for ten minutes in the morning before work, and for twenty minutes at night before bed. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that yoga classes can also be an excellent way for beginners to build natural strength and increase flexibility.
Finally, make an effort to do everyday tasks with your non-dominant side. Although it may be difficult or feel weird at first, you will build more strength and coordination over time. Dustin Mark McNeer suggests starting with simple tasks like grabbing items off the shelves at the store with your non-dominant side. Eventually, you can work your way up to more complicated tasks like brushing your teeth or writing.
All of these exercises will help you have more awareness of your body overall and will help you stay mindful of your actions. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that persistence and consistency are vital for achieving the results you desire. Once the good habits are put into place, these exercises will come naturally every day.v
According to fitness guru Dustin Mark McNeer, light workouts can actually lead to building strength.
One of the most common mistakes made by bodybuilders and beginners alike is training too heavy, too often. Although heavy sets do help you gain strength, it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing in the gym. Dustin Mark McNeer is often surprised to find out his clients don’t realize they should be incorporating lighter sessions into their weekly routines.
So how do lightweight sets contribute to a well-built muscle? When you perform higher reps per exercise, you are engaging in a hypertrophy technique. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that it works well to help you build muscle, but won’t do much to help you get to your next highest weight.
Fitness programs should contribute to both strength and power. Light workouts train your muscles to move weights faster, which in turn helps you reach your maximum strength potential. Dustin Mark McNeer explains that when you are in the bottom part of the movement in your exercise, your muscles are at their weakest. Light workouts help you move big weights, making you an efficient powerhouse. Start your mindful approach with Dustin Mark McNeer’s five power training tips.
When incorporating light training days into your weekly fitness routine, the goal is to give your muscles a quick power blast before resting and returning to heavy weights. They should not outnumber your heavy lifting days, but instead, complement them. If you don’t like taking a break from heavy weights, Dustin Mark McNeer suggests adding one power-focused exercise to the beginning of each workout.
Power focused exercises should be used with light free-weights that allow you to move quickly and cleanly. The heavier the weights, the slower you will move. Dustin Mack McNeer notes that an alternative to using free-weights is incorporating bodyweight exercises. For example, explosive exercises like jump squats or pushups.
When you are performing your light day workout, always exercise as quickly and explosively as possible while maintaining control. Dustin Mark McNeer personally likes going airborne during pushups for that extra pump. Other excellent power training tools are medicine balls, the smith machine, and elastic bands. The key is to make the exercise a fluid movement so that you don’t have to stop or slow down continually.
Dustin Mark McNeer does not advise his clients to participate in burnout sets. The right number of reps will leave your muscles ready for the next set. When reps are performed to muscle fatigue, you start to slow down, which defeats the purpose of attaining high rep speed. Many people feel like they don’t work out hard enough unless they feel sore and tired. However, Dustin Mark McNeer notes that fresh muscles produce fast movements.
Power days require longer rest periods in between sets so that muscles can recover. Explosive exercises need muscles to be at 100%. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends resting for 2-3 minutes during high rep exercises, even if you feel ready before that time. Since the goal is not conditioning or stamina, you won’t feel tired. However, Dustin Mark McNeer believes it is the key to energy for explosive sets.
According to Dustin Mark McNeer, you can increase your life expectancy by walking as little as ten minutes per day.
Most people hate running, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on cardio altogether. Personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Dustin Mark McNeer, explains that walking is one of the easiest and most beneficial exercises for athletes and beginners alike. Recent studies show that adults who walked at a moderate to vigorous pace for 55 minutes per week were more likely to live without disabilities compared to adults that remained sedentary.
Although all adults are recommended to exercise 150 minutes per week, Dustin Mark McNeer notes that even a little is better than none at all. Brisk walking helps people control their weight and maintain muscle strength, which in turn keeps joints healthy and functioning. Walking was even shown to have beneficial effects for people who have osteoarthritis.
To begin, Dustin Mark McNeer recommends creating a walking plan. Start with walking briskly for ten minutes each day, taking different routes around your neighborhood or local park. Once you can comfortably walk for ten minutes, increase your sessions by five to ten minutes. If you are struggling to raise your time, but want to maximize health benefits, consider taking your ten-minute walk two times each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Dustin Mark McNeer always advises his clients to listen to their bodies when deciding how long to engage in walking sessions.
Think of your walking plan as a long-term goal. Dustin Mark McNeer explains that exercising in short increments over a long period is more beneficial to your health than exercising in long increments for a short period of time. Slow movements can eventually build up into longer movements as you gain more flexibility and strength. Stay consistent and keep a journal of times and distances, so you know how much progress is being made. It can be challenging to recognize achievement without documentation.
Walking is considered to be a low-impact exercise and is much easier on the body than running. A brisk walk is accessible to anyone, anywhere. It can even improve your mood and mental health. Many people find enjoyment in walking while listening to positive and uplifting music, or even an audiobook. Auditory stimulation will make your walk go by faster and will leave you feeling refreshed at its completion.
Another great source of motivation is a walking buddy or walking group. A walking partner can help you stay accountable and reach your goals while offering support and companionship. If you don’t have any friends or acquaintances that are interested in joining you, take notice of other neighbors who are outside when you are. Even if they are walking their dog or grabbing the mail, you could take the opportunity to see if they would be interested in walking with you. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that there are even online groups and forums for people looking for support or a walking partner.
Everyone is different, so it’s essential to find a schedule and method that works best for you. The overall benefits of walking far outweigh the challenge of pushing yourself to get started or to find a partner. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends finding a personal trainer for extra motivation and personalized fitness plans.