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Rubber Hex Dumbbells Chrome Fitness Coated Cast Iron Weight Pair 5 10 15 20 lbs

Rubber Hex Dumbbells Chrome Fitness Coated Cast Iron Weight Pair 5 10 15 20 lbs Price : 18.99 Ends on : View on eBay


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Price : 18.99

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Podcast Ep 48: Rebekah “BexLife” Borucki Replay!

This week the FBGs are taking a tip from Marty McFly and “going back in time” to our very first podcast episode with Rebekah Borucki of BexLife. The meditation guru, author, speaker and TV host certainly did not disappoint us. (Seriously, she is a big bucket of relaxing awesomesauce!) Bex gave us her best advice on […]


This week the FBGs are taking a tip from Marty McFly and “going back in time” to our very first podcast episode with Rebekah Borucki of BexLife. The meditation guru, author, speaker and TV host certainly did not disappoint us. (Seriously, she is a big bucket of relaxing awesomesauce!)

Bex gave us her best advice on finding your bliss when life seems a bit, shall we say, complicated and overwhelming The world is even a little crazier now than it was last year when we talked to her, so we thought our fellow FBGs would like to hear her message again!

Here are a few of our fave Bex quotes from this ep …

Podcast Episode 48 Highlights

  • Tips for finding time to meditate when life gets in the way
  • How she manages to be a mother of five and a business owner without losing her mind
  • Trying to stay hopeful in a world that can seem chaotic at times
  • Her amazing book, You Have Four Minutes to Change Your Life
  • Bex’s 21-Day Mantra Challenges
  • Tips for getting out of a personal funk (it’s not what you think!)
  • Plus, the latest news on why she decided to quit social media (for real!)

Also in this episode, Jenn and I talk about why we picked Bex as our first guest. Plus, we each share our dream guests to have on the podcast!

Get the episode with Bex here or below!

Get more info on our podcast here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode!

Who else should we try and book on the show? Post them in the comments below! —Margo

Want to sponsor the show? Yay! Drop us a note at advertising@fitbottomedgirls.com and let’s make the world a healthier place together!



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How To Dial In The Crucial Details Of Your Physique!

We are all familiar with exercises for the major muscle groups in our weekly splits. We tend to want to work the most prominent areas of our physiques. But to sculpt your muscles into a work of art, you need to touch up a few other areas that might not seem as spectacular. Throw these […]


We are all familiar with exercises for the major muscle groups in our weekly splits. We tend to want to work the most prominent areas of our physiques. But to sculpt your muscles into a work of art, you need to touch up a few other areas that might not seem as spectacular.

Throw these detail workouts into your split to put the finishing touches on your muscle masterpiece!

Neck

You might have wide delts and thick traps, but they won’t look that impressive if your head is sitting on a stack of dimes. And ladies, just like you won’t get big arms if you train them, your neck won’t grow to 20 inches with a few lifts.

Neck training can help you improve overall functional strength, improve your posture, and protect you from potential injuries. A strong neck helps protect the cervical spine and spinal cord, which is where impulses from the body transmit to the brain.

Here is a simple workout to help you train the neck without adding too much time to your workout:

Forearms

You knock out set after set to blast your biceps and torch your triceps, but what about the muscles below the elbow?

I know what many of you are about to type out in the comments: “My forearms get worked by holding the weights, bro.” That’s true, but it would actually benefit your whole arm if you complimented those upper arms with some direct forearm work, such as a farmer’s walk using dumbbells, kettlebells, plates, or a loaded trap bar.

Working your forearms can improve your grip strength and impact the overall appearance of your arms. Training them isn’t complicated either. This three-move plan can trigger muscle growth in a matter of weeks. Do this at the end of your arm workout, or on a different day if you want to blast your forearms when they’re fresh.

Inner and Outer Thighs

When you think about leg day, quads, hamstrings, and calves come to mind—and some of you might even think about the glutes. But you’re really only working the front and back of the legs. Be honest, how many of you work the abductors and adductors?

The inner and outer thighs are just as important as the front and back. The abductors pull the legs away from the midline of the body and allow athletes to move from side to side faster. The adductors bring the legs back into the midline of the body as well as pull them across. If you’re an athlete in a sport with kicking or a bodybuilder looking to fill out your legs, you need to pay attention.

We’re all familiar with the abductor and adductor machines, but those aren’t the only choices you’ve got. Get creative with bands and cables to work your inner and outer thighs, or lie on your side and use free weights.

Try these exercises on for size to help you complete your lean and developed look:



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Lift Like This And Grow Forever!

When I was a young lifter, I looked to IFBB professional bodybuilders for guidance on training and diet. Every day, it seemed, I would go online and look for videos of lifters like Jay Cutler and Evan Centopani to help me stay motivated and learn the best exercises to train each muscle group. At first, […]


When I was a young lifter, I looked to IFBB professional bodybuilders for guidance on training and diet. Every day, it seemed, I would go online and look for videos of lifters like Jay Cutler and Evan Centopani to help me stay motivated and learn the best exercises to train each muscle group.

At first, I would simply do exactly what I saw in the videos—the same exercises, the same number of reps and sets, and the same amount of time under tension. I’m sure you’ve probably been there! Over the years, though, I backed away just a little and began analyzing how these guys were training, as opposed to the simple X’s and O’s on the page. Then, I developed my own way of training based on the trends I saw from the most successful guys—combined with my own hard-earned experience, of course. I call this approach the 5 Pillars.

You can apply these pillars to every training, no matter which body part you’re working on, but the examples I’m using are specific to arm training—you’re welcome!

Pillar 1: The Isolation Warm-Up

The first pillar, warm up and isolate the proper muscle fibers, may be the most important pillar of all. When you first get to the gym, your body isn’t usually ready for heavy lifting. Just a couple of sets of body part-specific isolation work not only prepares your muscles for what’s to come, but also helps focus your mind on the workout ahead.

If you’re young enough, you might be able to get away with starting cold, but why risk injuring yourself and setting your training back for weeks or months just because you didn’t want to take the time to warm up? All it takes is one injury and you’re on the sidelines. Start with lighter weight and get a solid pump before you start adding more volume.

The purpose of these lighter sets is to warm up the muscle, but they can also help you fatigue the targeted muscle—especially when you focus on proper form and on squeezing hard throughout the entire rep range. I typically do 2-4 sets of 15-20 reps per set for my warm-ups.

Prescription: 1 movement per body part, 2-4 sets of high reps, at least 15 reps per set

Sample movements for arms: High-pulley cable curl, rope triceps push-down

Pillar 2: Heavy Lifting

Once your target muscles are fired up, the next pillar of training comes into play: heavy lifting. This is the “meat and potatoes” of lifting and includes familiar compound exercises such as bench press, squat, deadlift, pull-ups, shoulder press, leg press, and all manner of row variations. In the case of arms, it can include isolation movements that also happen to be the heaviest movement you’ll do during the workout, such as biceps curls or skullcrushers.

These exercises are great for building overall size and strength, but come with a much higher risk of injury. By warming up before you start these compound movements, you get a better feel for muscle contraction. This enables you to use less weight while getting the same or better result, and helps prevent injury. Read that sentence again.

Lift Like This and Grow Forever

Never sacrifice form for weight. That’s the difference between the bodybuilder who keeps going for years, and the one who bounces from injury to injury. If the weight becomes too heavy to get 10 reps, or if your form begins to suffer, drop the weight back down and crush the last set or two.

You always want to push yourself, but it’s OK to go back down in weight if it’s too heavy. This is bodybuilding, not ego-building.

Prescription: 1-2 movements per body part, 3-4 sets, progressively increasing weight to drop rep range from 15-20 per set to 10-12 per set

Sample movements for arms: Barbell curl, EZ-bar curl, preacher curl, close-grip bench press, weighted push-ups, dips, all manner of skullcrushers

Pillar 3: Active Recovery and Time Under Tension

Following the heavy compound lifts, I move to the “active recovery” pillar. Your muscles just took a beating from the last few exercises and you should be feeling exhausted. Instead of getting sloppy in training, give your body a slight rest. But by “rest,” I don’t mean sitting around or using this time to talk your way out of finishing your workout.

Use a lighter weight so you can work through the entire range of motion, keeping the muscle under constant tension throughout each rep. Go light, and don’t kill yourself. You’ve still got a lot of work to do!

Prescription: 1-2 movement per muscle group, 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

Sample movements for arms: Cable curl, cable push-down, Incline close-grip bench with EZ-bar

Pillar 4: Supersets and Dropsets

The best time to push yourself the hardest is as you finish up a workout, and there’s no better way to do that than with supersets and dropsets. You got a break of sorts during Pillar 3, so now you should be ready to pump your muscles full of blood and push as many reps as possible on each set. This is where you stop counting, and just keep working.

Lift Like This and Grow Forever

If you start to get sloppy here, reduce the weight or move on to another exercise. You should be absolutely exhausted after completing two or three of these kinds of sets. If you’re doing contest prep, this is also where you push caloric burn through the roof.

Prescription: 2-4 movements per muscle group, 3-5 sets of high reps with multiple drops or supersets. Don’t sweat the specifics; just chase the pump!

Sample movements for arms: All types of machines, hammer curl, alternating curl variations, cable movements

Pillar 5: Stretch

Now that you’re exhausted, it’s time to stretch the muscle fibers and start pushing blood and nutrients into them. This will help with recovery and muscle growth.

You can do this by performing isometric stretching, or by doing exercises that emphasize big stretches, such as stiff-leg deadlifts on leg day, or hanging from a bar on back day. Unlike isometrics, these exercises use weights or body weight to stretch the muscles past normal range.

Just be careful when you use weights to help you stretch. Go light, pay attention to form, and remember that the goal at this point is to stretch, not fatigue, your muscles.

The Systematic, Adaptable Way to Grow

The 5 Pillars approach provides a simple, structured approach to weight training that can work for both beginners and advanced lifters, while allowing you to incorporate all kinds of variety into your training. Done right, it’ll help you prevent injury, do some solid heavy lifting, and get the most out of your training for years on end.

Lift Like This and Grow Forever

When you link these pillars together, you should feel some of the biggest pumps of your life, leave the gym exhausted, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing you gave everything you had. Now go do it!



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Personal Trainer Shared Pic Hours Before Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Vicky Veness is a 30-year-old personal trainer living in Cheltenham, England. She lifts, runs, eats a healthy diet—and doesn’t smoke. And yet, a recent selfie of Veness’ went viral because it was taken hours before she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. At that advanced stage, the cancer that formed in the lungs has […]


Vicky Veness is a 30-year-old personal trainer living in Cheltenham, England. She lifts, runs, eats a healthy diet—and doesn’t smoke. And yet, a recent selfie of Veness’ went viral because it was taken hours before she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

At that advanced stage, the cancer that formed in the lungs has metastasized, or spread, to other parts of the body. Many people were struck that Veness looked normal and healthy in the photograph, which demonstrates one of the reasons lung cancer is so deadly.

“Early stage lung cancers typically do not cause symptoms, so most lung cancers are diagnosed after the cancer has spread too far,” says Eric Jacobs, PhD, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology for the American Cancer Society. “Some typically less-fatal types of cancer, like breast cancer or skin cancer, occur closer to the outside of the body and are more likely to be detected when they are at an earlier stage.”

In Veness’ case, she had been complaining to her doctor for months about what she thought might be asthma. As it turned out, even that vague symptom was a sign of advanced lung cancer, although it’s impossible to know for sure how her cancer would have been staged had it been identified when she first reported her symptoms.

Her post also raised questions about lung cancer among fit nonsmokers, who probably figured that’s one disease they didn’t have to worry about. We tackle a few of those questions below, and we wish Veness all the best as she undergoes her treatments.

How common is it for a woman like Veness—a fit nonsmoker—to get hit with a lung cancer diagnosis?

Her case is unusual, but not extraordinary. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 223,000 men and women in the U.S. alone will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. An estimated 10-15 percent of these newly diagnosed patients will be lifelong nonsmokers.

How dangerous is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is among the most fatal cancers. More than half of those diagnosed with lung cancer die from it within one year.

“The five-year survival rate is less than 20 percent, though survival rates are better when the disease is detected early,” says Jacobs.

Unfortunately, it’s seldom detected early unless by accident—say, during chest imaging for unrelated symptoms.

Unfortunately, it's seldom detected early unless by accident—say, during chest imaging for unrelated symptoms.

What can you do to avoid lung cancer?

If you smoke, stop. A current smoker has about 20 times the risk of developing lung cancer as a person of the same age who has never smoked. If you’re around others who smoke, get away from them. Their bad habit may be killing you.

Eating healthy food, exercising, and maintaining a healthy body weight are recommended regardless, but there is little evidence to suggest they reduce your chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer specifically.

Eating healthy food, exercising, and maintaining a healthy body weight are recommended regardless, but there is little evidence to suggest they reduce your chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer specifically.

If you’re an active, fit person, what signs should cause concern?

“People with a cough that does not go away or gets worse, or who cough up bloody sputum, should see their doctor right away, as these could be symptoms of lung cancer or other serious diseases,” says Jacobs.



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5 Flavorful Ways To Cook Protein-Packed Bison

Love beef but don’t love the fat it comes with? If so, you might want to check out that living symbol of the American West, the bison. Bison is a wild game meat, so it’s naturally leaner that most cuts of beef. Even better, these huge creatures are grass fed, which gives their beef a […]


Love beef but don’t love the fat it comes with? If so, you might want to check out that living symbol of the American West, the bison. Bison is a wild game meat, so it’s naturally leaner that most cuts of beef. Even better, these huge creatures are grass fed, which gives their beef a stellar nutritional profile.

Bison is a rich source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12, so it’s a perfect food for any bodybuilding diet. It’s also a wonderful source of lean protein and healthy fats.

Give any one of these five bison recipes a try. You won’t be sorry to added this lean meat to your diet!

1. Ground Bison Burger

Ground bison is an excellent way to consume this protein. It’s as versatile and easy to prepare as ground beef, only without the fat. Bison tends dry out, so this recipe uses healthy oils and other ingredients to keep the meat moist and tasty.

Click Here For The Recipe!

2. Bison Kebab With Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce comes from Indonesia and is the perfect complement to grilled meats. You’ll need a supply of bamboo skewers for this delicious dish.

Bison Kebab with Peanut Sauce

Click Here For The Recipe!

3. Ground Bison Meatloaf

If you love a good meatloaf but fear its high fat and calorie content, swap out the beef for bison for a low-fat, high-protein treat. Replacing bread crumbs with oatmeal provides a source of carbohydrate you can feel good about putting into your body.

Ground Bison Meatloaf

Click Here For The Recipe!

4. Teriyaki Bison Steaks

If you’re craving something sweet but tangy, this teriyaki bison should do the trick! Quick to prepare, these steaks are accompanied by a flavorful teriyaki sauce that’s low in both calories and sugar. Serve alongside a brown rice pilaf.

Teriyaki Bison Steaks

Click Here For The Recipe!

5. Bison Chili

Chili warms the heart and provides your muscles with all the nutrition they need in one dish. This chili is loaded with complex carbohydrates from the beans and low in fat thanks to the use of bison instead of beef. You’ll find yourself making it time and time again!

Bison Chili

Click Here For The Recipe!



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Yes4All Dumbbells PVC Hand Weights Dumbbell 2 – 15 lbs Pair Training Exercise

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1 Pair of Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells 2 Free Weight Lifting Metal Gym Pound Lot Set

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US Fashion Women Yoga Fitness Leggings Running Gym Stretch Sports Pants Trousers

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4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine? Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives […]


Are you one of those people who doesn’t do yoga because you think it’s not a good workout? You believe that flowing through a sequence of postures simply cannot bring you the same benefit that comes from a heart-pounding cardio kettlebell and interval-training routine?

Or maybe it’s the sitting still part of yoga that drives you crazy. Those long holds which constantly kick up a sea of emotions while sending your to-do list into a swirl around your brain is not your thing.

And you probably already have a friend or two who raves on about the amazing yoga class she just came from as a preamble to her ongoing attempt to convert you to the practice. Which gets a little annoying.

Well, don’t worry! I’m not going to try and get you to become a yogi. I’m only going to explain how including yoga in your regular exercise routine —like an add-on — will not only enhance your workouts, it will also make you happier in your life.

4 Ways Yoga Helps Your Regular Workouts

1. Breathing. Enter a yoga class and there’s a good chance you’ll hear an instructor counting breaths out loud. In fact, this may even be the scope of her instruction. Why? Because breathing is the foundation of yoga. In order to truly advance through the practice, you must be connected to your breath. It enables you to use your muscles more efficiently while allowing your body to move more fluidly. And guess what? The breath will do its magic outside of a yoga class. So if you’re a runner, connecting the breath to your stride will provide an even steadiness that gives you more control.

2. Stretching. You probably already know that your body needs a good stretch post-workout. And the five minutes tacked onto the end of class is fine if you’re looking to reduce muscle soreness. But in order to prevent injury, you want your muscles to be in tip-top shape so they are flexible and receiving optimum blood flow. Yoga as a cross-training exercise will help you do this. On your rest day, consider adding in a series of poses to lengthen your muscles, which will help keep them from pulling and overuse. Also, in conjunction with the contraction that comes from activities such as weightlifting, the stretching from yoga will give you a better range of motion. Plus, being more flexible (especially as you age) feels good.

3. Stabilizing and balancing. While you don’t need to stand on your head for 10 minutes a day, working on your balance is important for both your workouts and your everyday life. The muscles engaged while balancing help stabilize the rest of your body to prevent overuse that can lead to injury. Yoga as a balance practice teaches you to ground into your center, engage your core and lengthen the spine. So if you are a cyclist or Spinner, yoga teaches you to work from this center which will improve your form, posture and core strength.

4. Mindfulness. No need to get all fancy on this term, mindfulness simply means being present — which is the equivalent to keeping your head in the game. And this is the whole purpose of yoga: to stay connected to your body and breath throughout the practice (and in the rest of your life!). The discomfort that this can cause — like unwanted emotions — can be a turn-off to many non-yoga people. But really, this is key to living a fuller and richer life. If you can keep your mind present while you’re working out, you will have better results that can help build endurance and strength along with preventing injury. While most people probably do not want to pay attention to the aching hip on a run, if you use this discomfort as a sign to slow down, or even stop running, you could be protecting yourself from a muscle tear. On the flip side, if you feel a burning sensation in your quads, and you stay with it, you’ll push past your limitations which will thrust you across the finish line in the race.

Are you convinced? How do you think yoga could enhance your regular workout? —Elysha



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The 6 Grittiest Backside Exercises You're Not Doing

Whether you’re a powerlifter, a physique competitor, or just someone who wants to go through life feeling good and avoiding back pain, you need a strong posterior chain. Yes, things like barbell squats and deadlifts are important, but they’re not enough on their own! Muscles this important deserve a full support staff of assistance moves […]


Whether you’re a powerlifter, a physique competitor, or just someone who wants to go through life feeling good and avoiding back pain, you need a strong posterior chain. Yes, things like barbell squats and deadlifts are important, but they’re not enough on their own! Muscles this important deserve a full support staff of assistance moves as well.

Here are six of my favorites, plus a bonus move that looks too simple to work—but will have your backside screaming. Enjoy!

1. Traveling RDL Lunges

It’s no secret that Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a great hamstring and glute exercise. But there are definitely ways you can vary them other than just switching between dumbbells and barbells. One of my favorite variations is what I call the traveling RDL lunge.

Put simply, traveling RDL lunges are a version of walking lunges that are more hamstring and glute dominant. They involve taking a shorter step forward than you do when performing walking lunges, and a lot less knee bend but a lot more hip hinge.

2. Low Cable Split-Stance RDL

Performing single-leg RDLs with a dumbbell loads the glutes more in the bottom range of the exercise, when your torso is closer to parallel to the floor. Simply switching to a low cable allows you to manipulate the force vector involved, loading the glutes more in the middle of the range of motion, when your torso is more upright.

To perform these, set the cable at its lowest setting and position yourself so that the cable comes to you at about a 45-degree angle. Hold the D-handle with the hand opposite your front leg, and perform RDLs while keeping your knee slightly bent, perhaps 15-20 degrees.

3. Super Band Deadlifts

Powerlifters often attach bands on each side of a barbell, which serves to increase resistance at what is otherwise the easiest part of the movement. This is what’s known as “accommodating resistance.”

You actually don’t need a barbell to get the same benefit. One of my favorite RDL variations to use in high rep ranges, such as 15-30 reps or more, requires nothing other than a band.

If you’ve got a rack that accommodates bands, you simply hook the band under each side of the rack and go to town on RDLs holding one or both parts of the band depending on how much tension your strength allows.

The 6 Grittiest Backside Exercises You're Not Doing

You can also do band RDLs without a rack, using your own feet to anchor it, which is also very easy to set up:

  • Step 1: Step your left foot inside one end of the band and your right foot on top of the band, with your feet just outside of shoulder-width apart.
  • Step 2: Grab the other end of the band that’s on the outside of your right foot, pull it over your right foot, and loop the end around your left foot the way you did in the first step.
  • Step 3: Grab the middle of the band with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart, and begin performing RDLs in a fairly fast manner while demonstrating spinal control throughout.

4. Exercise Ball Glute-Hamstring Hat Trick

This killer protocol was inspired by a slightly different variation I learned from coach Juan Carlos Santana that he called “the triple threat.”

Like JC’s original version, this complex also involves three movements. Perform the following exercises back-to-back with resting, in any order you’d like, and feel free to experiment with different sequences:

  1. Ball leg curls: 12-20 reps
  2. Ball hip bridges, 90-degree knee bend and heels on ball: 12-20 reps
  3. Ball hip lifts, slight knee bend, and toes on ball: 12-20 reps

5. Bulgarian Split Squat and Single Leg RDL Combo

This combination of two proven lower-body exercises will have your glutes pumped and burning like never before.

Perform a rep of the Bulgarian split squat, lowering your body toward the floor while keeping your back straight and your torso leaning forward at about a 45-degree angle. Reverse the motion by driving your heel into the ground to raise your body back up to the starting position.

The 6 Grittiest Backside You're Not Doing

Then, perform a single-leg Romanian deadlift, keeping your back straight while hinging at your hips and lowering your torso forward toward the floor, keeping your front knee bent at roughly a 15-20-degree angle. Once your torso is roughly parallel to the floor, reverse the motion to stand tall again and complete the rep. Perform all repetitions on the same side before switching sides.

Make sure to keep your weight on your front foot throughout the exercise and do not allow your back to round out at any point.

6. Hip Thrust and Hamstring Curl Combo

Most fitness professionals and exercise enthusiasts are very familiar with the hip thrust exercise by now. But there are plenty of great variations on this movement! One of my favorites combines the hip thrust with a hamstring curl, giving you a lot of bang for your posterior-chain-training buck.

Position yourself between two weight benches, with your shoulders resting on one bench and your legs on top of another, so that your knees are bent at about 90 degrees and your ankles are flexed. Keep your toes up, so that only your heels contact the bench.

Drive your hips up until they form a straight line with your torso, making sure to extend from your hips, not your lower back. Pause for 1-2 seconds at the top of each repetition. Lower your hips toward the floor until you either lightly contact the floor or can’t go any deeper, thus completing the rep.

You can make this exercise more intense by performing it on a single-leg.

Bonus: Anchored Band Monster Walk

Have anything left in your glutes? Then burn them out this way. You may have tried banded lateral walks with a mini-band around your knees or ankles, but by attaching that band to a rack—or to someone else’s legs—you can give your glutes a unique stimulus.

The exercise itself is simple. You walk backward, taking big steps, while keeping a slight bend in your knees, allowing your glutes to do most of the work. When you’re walking forward, which is the eccentric part of the exercise, keep the same form as you did while walking backward by avoiding excessive pelvic rotation. These burn like crazy!

References
  1. McAllister, M. J., Hammond, K. G., Schilling, B. K., Ferreria, L. C., Reed, J. P., & Weiss, L. W. (2014). Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(6), 1573-1580.
  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Tiryaki-Sonmez, G., Wilson, J. M., Kolber, M. J., & Peterson, M. D. (2015). Regional differences in muscle activation during hamstrings exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(1), 159-164.



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Your Expert Guide To Vitamin D

You get a lot more from a day at the beach than just fresh air. For one, you get vitamin D! This essential nutrient, which is integrally involved in many vital bodily processes, is derived both from sun exposure, and to a far lesser degree from the food we eat. But even if you live […]


You get a lot more from a day at the beach than just fresh air. For one, you get vitamin D! This essential nutrient, which is integrally involved in many vital bodily processes, is derived both from sun exposure, and to a far lesser degree from the food we eat.

But even if you live in a sunny climate, it’s entirely possible that you’re not getting nearly as much as you should. If so, you’re probably in the majority, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that over half the population of the United States is deficient in vitamin D.[1]

Wondering if vitamin D supplementation is right for you? Read on!

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, but it’s not technically a vitamin. It’s actually considered a pro-hormone, and it is synthesized though the skin in a reaction to sun exposure. Once created, vitamin D acts on a number of cells and tissues throughout the body to stimulate growth and absorption of nutrients.

There are two common forms of this vitamin, D-2 and D-3, which are very different in both structure and function.[2] D-2 is synthesized through plant irradiation and has much less bioavailability than its counterpart. D-2 is not made by the human body, and has one-third of the uptake that D-3 has, making it much less beneficial for humans.[3]

D-3, on the other hand, is made both by the body and when taken exogenously, and is highly bioavailable. For this article’s sake, when vitamin D is discussed it is in reference to the more bioactive D-3.

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D is used by the brain, skeletal muscle, colon, bone, heart, adrenal glands, and even immune cells. It helps regulate mineral absorption, mood, and insulin sensitivity, among other processes.

It’s estimated that almost 50 percent of people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency, or at minimum, a vitamin D insufficiency.[4] Even though most of us have access to the sun’s powerful rays, vitamin D deficiency is common when skin is shielded from the sun, or in those with darker skin pigments.[5]

What Are the Dangers of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Stress Fractures: The role of Vitamin D in calcium and phosphorous absorption makes a deficiency in this nutrient a threat to bone integrity. It could be especially dangerous for those already prone to stress fractures and osteoporosis, such as distance runners, female athletes, and the elderly.

Your Expert Guide To Vitamin D

Depression: D deficiency could also cause you to feel sluggish, depressed, and maybe even “SAD”. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 10-20 percent of Americans may have a mild depressive disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).[6] This feeling of overall fatigue, heaviness, and insomnia, accompanied with weight gain, is most commonly diagnosed in the winter months.

It’s estimated that 1 in 7 people suffer from symptoms of depression at some point in their life, whether from SAD or other causes.[7] Some of these depressive symptoms can be caused by neurotransmitter or hormone imbalances. Vitamin D creates a favorable environment for the production of feel-good hormones and may help support a healthy mood.

Impaired Muscle Recovery: Studies have also touted vitamin D’s effect on skeletal muscle. A study out of Liverpool John Moores University found that six weeks of supplementation with 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D improved muscle recovery in the days after a tough workout.[8] If you train hard, especially if you’re prone to sprains and tears, it’s definitely worth considering taking supplemental vitamin D to help maximize your recovery and lower your chance of injury.

It’s worth noting that while not getting enough vitamin D can lead to these conditions, supplementing won’t bulletproof you. It can reduce your risk, but not eliminate it. And getting more than enough won’t give you any additional performance benefits above the normal range. In other words, once you’ve erased your deficiency, any extra vitamin D won’t continue to help you in your quest to become Wolverine.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 400-800 IU per day, but as Jonny Bowden writes in the article “D Up: The Case for More Vitamin D,” many adults could likely benefit from more—even if they spend ample time in the sun. Conservatively, 5,000 IU is a safe daily dose for adults and 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight is considered safe for children.[9]

Your Expert Guide To Vitamin D

Are There Any Side Effects? What Happens If You Take Too Much?

The upper limit of safe vitamin D supplementation is thought to be around 10,000 IU per day, and it’s much more common to be deficient than overdosing.[11] Still, watch out for warning signs if you take vitamin D supplements. Side effects of vitamin D toxicity include weakness, lethargy, headaches, and nausea. If you think you might be deficient in vitamin D and are considering supplementation, or if you think you might be taking too much, talk to your doctor.

What Are the Possible Interactions With Medications?

Vitamin D is considered a safe supplement with most medications, but always check with your physician before starting any new supplement regimen. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so interactions could occur from supplements that block fat absorption or from a very-low-fat diet. Corticosteroids are also known to decrease the absorption of vitamin D by lowering calcium absorption.[4]

Are There Any Dietary Forms of Vitamin D?

The main way humans get vitamin D is from the sun.

According to the Vitamin D Council, there are very small amounts of vitamin D naturally available in foods, and it is not likely to meet sufficient needs through foods alone.[10] These foods include egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver, fortified milk, and orange juice. Unfortunately, many companies claim to fortify foods with vitamin D but are simply incorporating D-2, the nearly non-bioavailable form of vitamin D.[3] So don’t believe every label you read!

Your Expert Guide To Vitamin D

What Are the Available Forms of Vitamin D Supplements?

Vitamin D can be taken though several different forms, including drops taken orally, and tablets or capsules. According to a 2014 study, drops, powdered capsules, and chewable supplements are all similarly effective, provided they contain the D-3 version of the vitamin.[12]

How and When Should You Take Vitamin D?

Because it is fat-soluble, vitamin D is best taken with a fat source or a meal. And even if you take a supplement, getting outside and being active is a great way to increase vitamin D levels in the blood naturally. However, if you live at latitudes above 35 degrees (which is most of the U.S.), or have dark skin, it’s possible you’ll synthesize less vitamin D through the skin, at which point oral supplementation is a good idea.

If you’re getting your vitamin D from the sun, the best time for increasing synthesis is midday, when your shadow is shorter than you. While it makes sense to go without sunscreen when vitamin D is the goal, normal sunscreen usage may not negatively affect the amount of vitamin D you synthesize, according to British and Australian studies.[13,14] But if you don’t wear sunscreen, you’re at greater risk of getting sunburned! In that case, stay in the sun for half the time it takes your skin to turn pink. Too much sun can destroy vitamin D in the skin, so this isn’t a license to lay out slathered in baby oil all afternoon.

Vitamin D is a powerful nutrient, and a lot of us would benefit from getting more of it. Don’t count on your diet to give it to you! Get out in the sun, and if you have doubt about that being enough, consider optimizing your intake with a supplement.

References
  1. Looker, A. C., Johnson, C. L., Lacher, D. A., Pfeiffer, C. M., Schleicher, R. L., & Sempos, C. T. (2011). Vitamin D status: United states, 2001–2006. NCHS Data Brief, 59(59), 1-8.
  2. Norman, A. W. (2008). From vitamin D to hormone D: fundamentals of the vitamin D endocrine system essential for good health. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88(2), 491S-499S.
  3. Armas, L. A., Hollis, B. W., & Heaney, R. P. (2004). Vitamin D2 is much less effective than vitamin D3 in humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 89(11), 5387-5391.
  4. Nair, R., & Maseeh, A. (2012). Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, 3(2), 118.
  5. Holick, M. F. (2007). Vitamin D deficiency. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2007(357), 266-281.
  6. Teegarden, D., & Donkin, S. S. (2009). Vitamin D: emerging new roles in insulin sensitivity. Nutrition Research Reviews, 22(1), 82-92.
  7. Seasonal Affective Disorder. (2000, March 01). Retrieved September 18, 2017, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html
  8. Popa, T. A., & Ladea, M. (2012). Nutrition and depression at the forefront of progress. Journal of Medicine and Life, 5(4), 414.
  9. Owens, D. J., Sharples, A. P., Polydorou, I., Alwan, N., Donovan, T., Tang, J., … & Close, G. L. (2015). A systems-based investigation into vitamin D and skeletal muscle repair, regeneration, and hypertrophy. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 309(12), E1019-E1031.
  10. Sources of Vitamin D 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2017, from https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
  11. Vieth, R. (2007). Vitamin D toxicity, policy, and science. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 22(S2).
  12. Traub, M. L., Finnell, J. S., Bhandiwad, A., Oberg, E., Suhaila, L., & Bradley, R. (2014). Impact of vitamin D3 dietary supplement matrix on clinical response. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 99(8), 2720-2728.
  13. Norval, M., & Wulf, H. C. (2009). Does chronic sunscreen use reduce vitamin D production to insufficient levels? British Journal of Dermatology, 161(4), 732-736.
  14. Marks, R., Foley, P. A., Jolley, D., Knight, K. R., Harrison, J., & Thompson, S. C. (1995). The effect of regular sunscreen use on vitamin D levels in an Australian population: results of a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Dermatology, 131(4), 415-421



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The Spark: Jennie Ward

Sometimes you get so used to failing that success doesn’t seem like an option. For years, Jennie Ward wanted get healthier, but she lacked the motivation—and having an unsupportive spouse didn’t help, either. Finally, motivation knocked on Jennie’s door in the form of her ultra-determined daughter, who’d made up her mind to enlist her mom […]


Sometimes you get so used to failing that success doesn’t seem like an option. For years, Jennie Ward wanted get healthier, but she lacked the motivation—and having an unsupportive spouse didn’t help, either.

Finally, motivation knocked on Jennie’s door in the form of her ultra-determined daughter, who’d made up her mind to enlist her mom and brother in a Bodybuilding.com fitness challenge that would change all of their lives.

Jennie’s commitment to do something for her family didn’t let her quit, and as a result, she did something for herself that she’d never thought possible.

This is Jennie’s story.

Age: 43, Height: 5’2″, Weight: 206 lbs., Body Fat: 50%

Jennie Ward Transformation After

Age: 44, Height: 5’2″, Weight: 155.6 lbs., Body Fat: 29%

What was your pre-transformation lifestyle?

I’ve been overweight most of my life. When I got married at age 16, I weighed 110 pounds. Two babies later, I was topping the scale at 224 pounds. My relationship was a mess and I used food for comfort. My husband at the time would tell me I was fat and ugly. He said no one else would ever want me.

I felt so bad about myself and my weight I believed I couldn’t make a life on my own. So I stayed to endure the abuse. After 22 years, that marriage ended.

I was 38 years old and living on my own for the first time. My life very quickly turned around. I’d gone back to school shortly before the separation and became certified as a caregiver. My weight went down to 180 pounds, just from the reduction in stress.

I met an amazing man. He didn’t care about my size. He also loved food as much as I did. So I enjoyed cooking a lot and we ate a lot. Before I knew it I was back up to 206 pounds. I had to change, but I had many excuses for why I couldn’t do it.

Why did you decide to transform?

Out of the blue, my son’s life fell apart. His relationship ended. He left his job to come home to be around his family. He was devastated.

My daughter, Melissa, came up with a plan to help us all. She told us about My Fit Squad.

She was convinced it would fix a lot of problems we were having. It would give her the money she needed to finish nursing school. It would give her brother something positive to focus on. It would give me the motivation I needed.

Jennie Ward transformation

Melissa got a dietitian, gym membership, trainer, and supplements for her and her brother. She was ready to transform. I remember telling them they weren’t going to beat me with their fancy dietitian and gym membership. I had my motivation! I went to work the next day and told my coworkers all about it. I was ready to transform.

Joining My Fit Squad with my children was what made me finally commit to transforming my body. We joined as a squad and I didn’t want to let them down. My daughter was convinced no one could beat her. She has the most willpower I’ve ever seen in another human. She gets that from her momma.

How has your transformation changed your life?

My transformation was very positive for everyone around me. I’ve influenced the people in my life to make changes and improve their own health. The ripple effect you get from a transformation is absolutely amazing.

Before my transformation, I lived to eat. I ate cheese, gravy, and white potatoes every day. I would sit in front of the TV for hours after work. I felt sick all time. I was always tired and suffered from headaches. I was using inhalers every day to help me breathe.

Now, I eat to live. I have more energy. I spend all my free time being active. My health has improved and I influence others around me in a positive way.

How did you accomplish your goals?

I started my transformation by going for a walk every day. I started spending 20 minutes of all my breaks at work on the treadmill, and parking farther away from where I was going so I could get extra steps.

Every evening my husband would drop me off on the side of the road on his way to work. It would take me an hour to get home. I did this rain or shine. There was no way I would be the reason Melissa didn’t win.

Jennie Ward transformation

My weight started coming off, and I remember that when the scale said 183 pounds, I knew I would succeed this time. I was consistent with my activity.

There were days after I started when I thought I couldn’t do it. I would get frustrated when the scale wasn’t showing results. Every time this happened, I’d take a new photo and compare it with the previous one.

The difference was plainly visible. This was all I needed to keep going. I learned to not care about the numbers, and concentrate on the differences in my body.

What supplements helped you lose weight?

Jennie Ward’s Supplement Stack

What diet plan guided your transformation?

I now make much better choices and I eat every 3-4 hours, but I still struggle with my nutrition. In order to stay on track, I have to do meal prep. This has saved me from cheating.

When my husband started his own transformation, it made nutrition a lot easier. I was able to get rid of all the unhealthy stuff in the house. We still allow ourselves to cheat from time to time, but we always go out of the house for the bad food.

Eggs

1

Egg Whites

1/2 cup

Almonds

6

Spinach

1 cup

Greek Yogurt

(nonfat)

1 cup

Crystal Light

1 stick

Protein Powder

1/2 scoop

Chia Seeds

1 tbsp

Brown Rice

1/2 cup

Tuna

1 can

Broccoli

1 cup

Cheese

(fat-free)

1 slice

Protein Powder

1 scoop

Almonds

6

Chicken

6 oz.

Sweet Potato

(small)

1

Asparagus

(spears)

6

Peanut Butter

(protein balls)

3

What training regimen kept you on track?

(Unless otherwise noted, sets 3, 5, and 6 are dropsets.)

Day 2: Shoulders and Triceps

1

Walking, Treadmill

2 walking sessions


2


What are your future fitness plans?

My next goal for my body is to have a bubble butt! After I achieve that, I will make a new goal. The sky is the limit. I hope to someday open a health, fitness, and nutrition camp for kids. That would be awesome!  

Do you have any advice for aspiring transformers?

For years I didn’t think I could do this. My advice would be to stop overthinking the process. Make small changes at first, while your body gets used to the idea. Remember, any change is better than what you are doing right now. This is absolutely possible. Just start today—you will thank yourself in a few months.

If you are anything like me, you don’t like to be in front of the camera, but you must take “before” photos. The scale doesn’t change every week. Some weeks you’re going to see an increase. Photos will give you the real story. They will give you motivation when the scale makes you feel like quitting.

How has Bodybuilding.com helped you reach your goals?

Bodybuilding.com gave me back my life, just by being there when my family needed something to cling to.

I read so many articles. I had so many questions about where to start: What types of exercise would be best for me? What types of foods should I eat? What types of supplements should I use? I found answers on Bodybuilding.com.

Jennie Ward transformation

BodySpace was the support I needed. It gave me a place to keep track of my progress, post my updated photos, and get much-needed feedback. It’s a place where I could interact with others who understand my newfound addiction, and who are just as passionate about changing their bodies.

The support is overwhelming. I didn’t feel ashamed of my photos, just eager to post the next update because I knew it would look different.

The different workout programs that you can add to your BodySpace calendar are fantastic. I will continue to try one after another until I get the body I desire. I wouldn’t have a clue what to do in the gym without them.



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Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Things For September 2017

“The 3D Body Revolution,” by Donald Driver with Jon Levey Recommended by Jeff O’Connell, chief content officer If your last memory of Donald Driver is seeing him haul in a rocket thrown by Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, or winning Dancing with the Stars, his new calling in retirement shouldn’t come as […]


“The 3D Body Revolution,” by Donald Driver with Jon Levey

Recommended by Jeff O’Connell, chief content officer

If your last memory of Donald Driver is seeing him haul in a rocket thrown by Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, or winning Dancing with the Stars, his new calling in retirement shouldn’t come as a total shock. He’s now a fitness guru, specializing in training other pro athletes at his Dallas gym. The record-setting former wide receiver is also set to release a new fitness book, “The 3D Body Revolution.” What does 3D stand for? Per the book jacket, it’s “…the determination to eat for weight loss; the discipline to achieve high-intensity, muscle-building workouts; and the drive to push yourself to be your best.”

You can start Driver’s plan at one of three levels, depending on your current fitness level. The book features a guide to clean eating, 25 recipes, and detailed exercise descriptions with photographic support. The hardcover work from Harmony Books hits the street on September 19.

Rothy’s Ballet Flat

Recommended by Heather Eastman, content editor

For all the fit girls out there looking for a comfy, versatile pair of flats to match a closet full of yoga pants, look no further than Rothy’s. Yes, they are a bit on the spendy side, but your feet deserve a comfy alternative to office heels. These remarkable shoes are made from recycled plastic water bottles—perfect for an earth-loving hippie like me—yet have a soft fit and incredible durability. And let’s be honest: For those of you familiar with how funky flats can get after a day of traipsing around the city, the only phrase you care about is ‘machine washable.’ Light enough to pack in your gym bag and perfect to pair with everything from jeans to dresses, Rothy’s are friendly for your post-leg-day calves and come in a variety of colors to go with just about any wardrobe.

Intek Functional Trap Bar

Recommended by Nick Collias, executive editor

This innovative new barbell takes the strengths of the already great trap bar, and makes them stronger. Most notably, it has an open back, making it easy to use for lunges, Bulgarian split squats, or even as a strongman-style yoke. It can also fit in a rack like a straight bar, making it an option for overhead presses or even floor presses, a move Dr. John Rusin recommends in his article “The Trap Bar Fix for 3 Painful Movements.” It also has longer sleeves than other trap bars, which means room for more plates (yay). In short, it takes a versatile tool and opens the door to even more options. Now that’s what I call “functional.”

Intek Functional Trap Bar

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

Recommended by Karen McGinty, editorial manager

Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it—PB2 is every bit as delicious as regular peanut butter! A 2-tablespoon serving contains just 45 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. I add PB2 to my protein shakes, pancake batter, and cookie dough to ramp up the protein without sending the fat and calories through the roof.

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

For a protein-packed bedtime snack that will keep your tummy from rumbling all night, whip up some protein pudding. Just combine 2 tablespoons PB2, a scoop of whey protein (I recommend chocolate), a scoop of casein powder, and 2 ounces of water in a coffee cup. Nuke it for 20 seconds or chill it in the fridge, then top with a bit of fruit or a sprinkling of walnuts.

New Balance In Transit Women’s Half Zip

Recommended by Shoshanna Cohen, content editor

To the rest of the world, fall is sweater weather. To those whose wardrobes contain more spandex than wool, it’s half-zip weather. Perfect for the season’s unpredictable temperatures, this versatile staple takes the edge off a cold gym or early morning run without adding bulky layers.

New Balance In Transit Women's Half Zip

This specimen from New Balance is the softest, coziest, most buttery half-zip you’ll ever wear, and the extra-deep zipper lets out heat when your blood starts pumping. The snug fit flatters your hard-earned body, and it comes in a range of not-too-sporty colors that work with jeans as well as gym tights for the days you can’t be bothered to change.



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Your Expert Guide To Stevia

Cutting back on sugar is one of the most simple and effective things you can do to jumpstart your body-composition goals, whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle. But we’re not gonna lie—the struggle to say no to the sweet stuff is also one of the hardest parts of clean eating. Stevia is […]


Cutting back on sugar is one of the most simple and effective things you can do to jumpstart your body-composition goals, whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle. But we’re not gonna lie—the struggle to say no to the sweet stuff is also one of the hardest parts of clean eating.

Stevia is a natural, zero-calorie sugar substitute common in many foods. It may not be an identical match for the taste of sugar, but its sweet flavor is close enough to help many people stick to their nutritional guns. And as it turns out, stevia may even have additional health benefits. While the jury’s still out, stevia is emerging as a smart answer to your cravings.

Here’s the sweet lowdown.

What Is Stevia Made From?

Stevia is short for Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, a plant native to the South American nations of Paraguay and Brazil. There are over 110 species of the stevia plant, although only 18 have confirmed sweetness properties.[1, 2, 3] Stevia is naturally sweet, and is processed into powders and liquid drops that are used for sweetening foods. It’s considered a natural, safe alternative to artificial sweeteners.[1] However, recent interest in stevia has shifted from its use as a sweetener to its possible health-related benefits.[4,5]

What Does Stevia Do?

The active chemical in Stevia that contributes the sweet flavor is called stevioside. It enables stevia to be a non-caloric sweetener that’s 100-300 times sweeter than sucrose.[1,2] Stevia was officially accepted as a dietary supplement for usage in the United States in 1995, and today, it’s commonly used to sweeten everything from coffee and baked goods to protein powder.[2]

What Are the Benefits of Stevia?

Stevia has been consumed for centuries for medicinal purposes in South American countries, although its benefits have only recently been studied scientifically.[2]

The primary benefits associated with stevia include bodyweight and blood-glucose control. Recent studies have demonstrated the ability of stevia to help support healthy blood glucose levels, not just because it replaces sugar in the diet, but due to properties of the phytonutrients in the stevia plant.[1,5] Several studies have also shown benefits from sweeteners with zero or low calories related to body weight and calorie control.[1,4,5,6]

Your Expert Guide To Stevia

A growing body of research indicates stevia may also have many roles in supporting cardiovascular, dental, digestive, and immune health, due in part to the plant’s phytochemicals.[5] That’s not to say you should stop brushing your teeth and taking your blood-pressure meds, but when it comes to jazzing up your morning oatmeal, stevia offers more of a health upside than either sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Is Stevia Safe? Are There Any Side Effects?

Studies of the toxicity and safety of stevia have shown it to be safe for use as a sweetener for the general population as well as people with diabetes, and it doesn’t cause any known allergic reactions.[2] Still, like anything that’s great in small doses, it’s not a good idea to eat heaps of it at a time.[1] Talk to your doctor before using stevia if you have any concerns about whether it’s safe for you.

What Are the Possible Drug Interactions?

Stevia has no known drug interactions. One less thing to worry about!

What Forms Does Stevia Come In?

Dietary forms of stevia include Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni leaves and extracts. These extracts can be found in both powder and liquid states. Some of the powder forms of this supplement may include dextrose along with the stevia. These products are not pure stevia and may add small amounts of calories and carbs. In other words, they act a little more like real sugar.

Your Expert Guide To Stevia

Back in the day, people used to have to use dry stevia leaves to sweeten tea, or chew on them to unlock the sweet flavor. Now we can simply open a packet or bottle and stir stevia into drinks or food as often as we like.

Are There Any Alternative Names for Stevia?

There are several commercial sweeteners on the market that are made with stevia, such as Truvia and Pure Via. These products include other sweeteners along with the stevia. Pure stevia will generally be marketed as just stevia. Read the nutrition label if you aren’t sure.

References
  1. Goyal, S. K., & Goyal, R. K. (2010). Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
  2. Geuns, J. M. (2002). Safety evaluation of Stevia and stevioside. Studies in natural products chemistry, 27, 299-319.
  3. Lemus-Mondaca, R., Vega-Gálvez, A., Zura-Bravo, L., & Ah-Hen, K. (2012). Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, source of a high-potency natural sweetener: A comprehensive review on the biochemical, nutritional and functional aspects. Food Chemistry, 132(3), 1121-1132.
  4. Sharma, N., Mogra, R., & Upadhyay, B. (2009). Effect of stevia extract intervention on lipid profile. Studies on Ethno-Medicine, 3(2), 137-140.
  5. Thomas, J. E., & Glade, M. J. (2010). Stevia: it’s not just about calories. Benefits, 35, 36.
  6. Rogers, P. J., Hogenkamp, P. S., De Graaf, C., Higgs, S., Lluch, A., Ness, A. R., … & Mela, D. J. (2016). Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. International Journal of Obesity (2005), 40(3), 381.



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Podcast Episode 27: 'Possible' Pat Takes the Stage

Nick Collias: Hey, Nick here. Millions of people have used Bodybuilding.com’s 4, 8, and 12-week challenges to change their lives and we’ve got a great one coming up, but this isn’t the same old weight-loss challenge. It’s called “Mission: Possible” and we’re doing it together with ‘Possible’ Pat Brocco. Pat was over 600 pounds and […]


Nick Collias: Hey, Nick here. Millions of people have used Bodybuilding.com’s 4, 8, and 12-week challenges to change their lives and we’ve got a great one coming up, but this isn’t the same old weight-loss challenge. It’s called “Mission: Possible” and we’re doing it together with ‘Possible’ Pat Brocco. Pat was over 600 pounds and lost well over 300 of them. We had them on the podcast recently and you can watch his video on our YouTube channel as well. During this challenge, he’ll be sharing advice live, multiple times a week. The winners are whoever can lose the greatest percentage of bodyweight by the end of the year. This is important stuff. So, go to Bodybuilding.com/possible to learn more and sign up.

Hey everyone, welcome to The Bodybuilding.com Podcast. I’m Nick Collias, this is co-host, physique coach Heather Eastman

Heather Eastman: Hello.

Nick: …and today we have our first repeat guest, repeat offender. It’s Pat, ‘Possible’ Pat Brocco. Thanks for coming back.

‘Possible’ Pat Brocco: Hey everyone, how you doing?

Nick: I don’t want to dwell too much on backstory, because it’s all out there. You can read Pat’s story on Bodybuilding.com. You can hear our previous podcast. He’s done an 11-episode series on our YouTube channel, and you’ve shared a ton on social media and on PossiblePat.com, which you own now. That’s a good get. The last time we talked to you, I think you were something like four weeks out from a show, which is-

Heather: Almost exactly four weeks out. Yeah.

Nick: The WBFF transformation division.

Possible Pat: Correct. I went on to qualify for London, so … in three more weeks, no, two and a half weeks I’ll be in London competing for the crown of best transformation.

Nick: Okay and this was just a few years after waking up well over 600 pounds, too.

Possible Pat: Yes, correct.

Nick: That’s quite a journey. We talked about what would happen if you didn’t win-

Heather: You talked about what would happen if you didn’t win-

Nick: Let’s get the story though. First of all, who were you competing against when you went down there? This is in Arizona. Who were the people that were on stage with you?

Possible Pat: Just other weight loss people that wanted to step on stage. Maybe overcome some fears. Some people were still on their journey so it was a positive moment and when I first went on I thought it was going to be real competitive. I thought, “Oh, my god, I’m going to have to go against whoever it was,” but it was more like, “Wow. Your story’s awesome” and congratulating each other. London is going to be a different story, though. I’m competing in London.

Nick: Now, how is it set up? Like you go on stage, where is your story woven into it?

Possible Pat: It’s just as-

Nick: Did you bring a video or-

Possible Pat: It’s just as any bodybuilding thing. You get your minute and a half. You go onstage. You do your posing or at the time they’re reading your story, as you’re posing or if you want to just stand there whatever the case is. I posed. I didn’t work 14 weeks to not pose. So, I went on stage, I posed and they just told my backstory and from how I got from 605 pounds to where I was that day.

Nick: Wow, 14 weeks, though. At that moment when you finally…

Possible Pat: I mean it was 14 weeks of knowing I was doing this show-

Nick: Years of it-

Possible Pat: … but it was three years of prep for me. Everyone was like, “How long you going to prep for?” Three years.

Nick: When you’re standing on the edge of the stage walking out there…

Possible Pat: The audience went crazy.

Nick: Were you ready for that?

Possible Pat: At first, I was just like, what are people going to think? Do I look good enough? I have scars from loose skin surgery. I don’t look like everyone else and to be honest, people were amazed. It was a beautiful moment for me and I got to overcome some fears.

Nick: Mm-hmm (affirmative), but you’ve also done some modeling and things in the interim. You’ve done photo shoots for us.

Possible Pat: Yes, definitely.

Nick: It’s not like you’re, you’re not, this isn’t the first time that you’ve-

Possible Pat: Oh, no, no, it was-

Nick: … had to show yourself at this point, luckily.

Possible Pat: It was just … it was different. I had these tiny little shorts on, no shirt. Normally, I have shirt and pants on and-

Nick: Okay, so it’s the full on banana hammock?

Possible Pat: Then, it was like 200 people in the audience. I was like, “200 people get to see me in these booty shorts.” I was like, “And my fiancée’s here, great.”

Heather: It sounds like, because we spoke to you before the competition, you had a lot of apprehension, it sounds like you’ve gotten over that hump and now you’re going into, even though London is a bigger competition, you’re going in a little bit more … Would you say confident?

Possible Pat: More confident definitely, and this time it’s easier for me. Knowing that I can accomplish it made this time a lot easier. My workouts, the prep, everything is easier, because I already know I can do it. Sometimes we get faced with challenges and we don’t believe in ourselves. Once you believe in yourself and you-

Heather: Don’t tell me you doubted yourself.

Possible Pat: Not that I doubted myself, but it was just something new. I didn’t know that I can cut water for three days. I was just like, “Man, what am I going to do? I’m a fail and I’m a drink a gallon of water right before I go on stage. I’m not going to have no abs or nothing.”

Heather: Just checking.

Possible Pat: Some people do it like, I’ve seen people actually at that show just like, “I can’t do it” and just drinking water and I was just, I stood mentally strong. To be honest, it wasn’t really mental, it was the mirror. I was, “Oh, my god, I look like this. I don’t want to eat nothing. I don’t want to drink no water. I don’t want to eat a carb, nothing. I want to stay how I look right now.”

Heather: I do have to ask, what was it like right after the show, because a lot of competitors will go out and just binge. Did you knowing that you’d won kind of …

Possible Pat: I had … two donuts.

Heather: Two donuts.

Possible Pat: First time I had donuts in probably over a year.

Nick: Did you carefully pick the donuts out or was it like the first two donuts you happened across?

Possible Pat: No. The day before we went to this, best donut place I’ve ever been to in life. They had so many different donuts and I picked two. That one and that one.

Nick: Tell us about these donuts. These sound pretty nice.

Possible Pat: One was a maple glazed bacon donut.

Nick: Oh, all right. That’s pretty good choice.

Possible Pat: The other one was a … Captain Crunch donut?

Heather: What?

Possible Pat: Captain Crunch. It was like filled with Captain Crunch and it had crunch berries on top-

Nick: Not just topped with it. It was filled with Captain-

Possible Pat: Yeah.

Nick: Okay.

Heather: They do that?

Possible Pat: Everyone’s like, “Are you going to post a picture of that?” I’m like, “No. I can’t show my followers I’m eating this. Everyone’s going to think it’s all right.”

Nick: Then, you just, you had them for a day and you’re just like…

Possible Pat: I had that and then I went to dinner. I got a steak. I didn’t even get dessert that night. My son’s birthday was the next day. I didn’t eat cake. I did go to Vegas to take a week off and I had about three cheat meals. Came back and got right back on the prep.

Heather: Wow.

Possible Pat: I think it’s because I had another show coming up that I didn’t take a lot of time off. Maybe four or five cheat meals.

Heather: Okay, that’s pretty good.

Nick: Now, we’ve talked with a lot of different competitors at different levels on the podcast about their first time, their tenth time. What do you feel like, what’s the great lesson for you from this experience? As somebody who’s never done this sort of thing before, when it was over, what did you think like, all right, what’s the lesson I’m going to take away from this or share with all the people who are following you, who are not ever going to compete potentially?

Possible Pat: It’s definitely a challenge, but taking yourself through this challenge you really get to see that I can really design my body how I want to. I didn’t have much time from surgery to my show, it was under a year. Then, it was only six months of actually working out. So, the fact that I can do what I did in six weeks, I just tell people, “Imagine what you can do with six months or three years.” That’s just one of the beautiful things that you’re in control of your destiny. You’re in control of the way you look and how you want to be. So that’s what I got out of it.

Nick: Was family in the audience?

Possible Pat: Yes. My mom flew in from Philadelphia. She flew cross-country to come see me. My sister, my fiancée, and about 100 of my followers came and it was amazing.

Heather: Wow.

Nick: Really? Wow.

Possible Pat: Yeah. It was amazing.

Heather: That’s fantastic.

Possible Pat: I didn’t expect it. Then, at the end we took this massive picture of all of us just out front.

Heather: Very cool.

Nick: Is your family at this point, are they, are you still blowing their mind or can they, is there anything that can even surprise them at this point?

Possible Pat: I think my wife’s over it. She’s like, “Okay, I get it. You look good now. Get outta the mirror.” It’s not that I’m conceded or cocky or by any means, it’s the fact that I’ve never seen this person. Till this day I still see my body changing, and it’s all new for me. Every day I wake up and there’s something, I notice something different. The fact that I came from 600 pounds, it’s really new to me. Sometimes I amaze myself. Sometimes I may feel like I don’t look good and then I’ll see pictures. I’ll be like, “Did I really look like that?” Then, I’ll be amazed again. That’s what honestly keeps me wanting to keep moving forward to-

Nick: Blowing your own mind then.

Possible Pat: Yeah, results have been one of my biggest motivations, besides family and health. Knowing, just seeing the changes … It’s just, it’s a beautiful thing.

Nick: Heather spoke into this in the past, that this is no joke though in terms of how tough it is for a family, too. Prep is no joke.

Possible Pat: My son didn’t care. He ate Cheetos. He ate whatever he wanted. My wife, actually, she spent the last eight weeks with me prepping. She had a great transformation in the eight weeks as well.

Heather: Oh, good for her.

Possible Pat: She killed it. She absolutely killed it and supported me the whole way. It made her see the same things I was seeing. I mean, she went not having no abs to abs in eight weeks and she was like, “I think I like this.” Now, we’re working out every day, we’re, she’s still eating clean, which is amazing, because it’s the first time ever for her. She’s not overweight by any means, but she’s first time being fit. So, it’s been a growing experience for my family, even my son, sometimes, yeah, I give him Cheetos, but 90% of the time he’s eating chicken and rice with me. He loves it.

Nick: What you do, is you take the chicken and rice and you sprinkle the Cheetos on top.

Heather: There you go. That’s how you do it. Just this pouring of fairy dust, the Cheetos.

Nick: That’s right.

Possible Pat: Now, you have to hide the Cheetos, because if he sees them there’s no more chicken and rice. He’s going to pick one.

Nick: Bury it in the rice. Then you get …

Heather: That’s what’s so cool about your story is that you do have this long-term transformation for your followers who do have so much weight to lose, but then you also have shorter little, kind of like you said, your wife, eight weeks. Boom. She sees a difference. That’s kind of what’s so cool about it is that your able to appeal to such a wide audience because of your journey.

Possible Pat: Yes and I do, I am able to touch a lot of people, because, obviously, being 600 pounds and having 340 pounds to lose, I faced every journey. I faced the, “Oh, I have five pounds to lose.” “Oh, I just want to lower my body fat.” “Oh, I have 50, I have 100” … I’ve walked in almost everyone’s shoes when it comes to weight loss, unless someone had 400 pounds to lose.

Heather: See that’s …

Possible Pat: To be honest, I had someone that follows me and he actually did a challenge that I did a while ago and he was 700 pounds. He has, I think upwards of 450 pounds to lose. He’s in his journey. He hasn’t lost yet, but he’s down 200 pounds.

Heather: Good for him. Yeah.

Possible Pat: So, he’s definitely, definitely good guy. Definitely-

Heather: You showed him it’s possible.

Possible Pat: Yeah, definitely possible and I look forward to seeing him do it.

Nick: That was going to be one of my questions though. As we discussed last time, you’ve been in dialog with a lot of people who are on the before end of this where it’s like, “I need to do this.” What sort of stories have you been hearing from people about, “Oh, my god, I can’t believe what I achieved.” Somebody who maybe didn’t do everything you did, but has still been achieving something incredible.

Possible Pat: You know what? A lot of people have hit me up and said, “Since I started following you, I’ve lost 100 pounds” or “I’ve lost 60 pounds” or even, I talked to this young lady the other day in one of my lives, on Instagram and she’d lost 130 pounds. I’m getting to … a lot of people losing the weight and just stopping. That’s one of the things I don’t want people to do. I don’t want people to feel like, “Oh, I lost 100 pounds and I’m good,” because that’s how I felt when I first started. That I would lose the 100 pounds and I would be fine. I would be perfectly fine. I lost 100 pounds and honestly, I felt better. I looked better and I could have stopped there, but sometimes you really need to figure out what’s healthy for you and not just set a pound goal. That’s really what I want to show people. Take it all the way. Don’t halfway your journey.

Nick: Yeah, what does come next? If somebody’s like, “I don’t want to stop at 100 pounds weight loss, but I don’t necessarily want to go to the stage either.”

Heather: Right, yeah. I don’t necessarily want to compete.

Nick: What is the next step?

Possible Pat: There is, in my opinion, the stage is the last step. I’ve reached all my goals. I’m at a healthy body fat percentage. I’ve overcame diseases. I’ve overcame… every day activity. I’m healthy and I feel good. That’s where I want people to get to. It’s not necessarily about stepping on stage. It’s about taking your body to the point that, not only are you confident, but you feel and you look great. That’s what a lot of people need to chase. Not just the look, but the feeling. To be honest, a lot of people should get checked out, should really know where they need to be, because I have people that follow me that tell me, “I’m 5’4″ and I want to weigh 180 pounds.” I’m like, “That’s not right. You were 280 and you maybe 200 now. You may feel like, ‘Oh, 20 pounds I’ll be good,’ but 180 pounds at 5’4″ just isn’t healthy.”

Heather: That’s right.

Possible Pat: “You’re still overweight.” My thing is, it’s not a fight for, it’s a fight against obesity. Let’s lower our body fat percentages to a healthy point, not overweight. That’s really the goal. It’s not, if you want to step on stage. Just be healthy.

Heather: You’re really the only ambassador that can say that, because you’ve experienced both of those spectrums. A lot of fit people-

Possible Pat: 53% body fat.

Heather: … haven’t really gotten to feel-

Nick: 53.

Heather: … what 53% body fat feels like.

Possible Pat: When I first got it measured. Before, it was just like off the chain numbers like, I couldn’t even get it done, but after losing 100 pounds I was 53% body fat.

Nick: Now, there’s a challenge coming up that you’re doing with Bodybuilding.com as well that ties into all of this, right?

Heather: Yes. Tell us about that.

Nick: Tell us about that.

Possible Pat: So, we really want to give back and help some people like me or some people that have the 100 pounds to lose feel comfortable in actually joining challenges, because I know when I was 600 pounds, I joined a challenge, but I never posted. I didn’t complete it. I mean, even though I went on to lose the weight, but I didn’t complete the actual challenge. I didn’t try to compete, because I never felt like I was acceptable. Me losing 50 pounds versus someone else losing 50 pounds is a big difference, especially if they only had 50 pounds to lose. So, we wanted to really target a longer challenge, because normally challenges are eight weeks. We want to really give people time to experience what you can do with that time. If I’m not mistaken we’ll start it in October and it’ll go through the end of the year.

Nick: You can sign up before then.

Possible Pat: Yes, in August. August we plan on kicking off registration I believe, while I’m in London and hopefully when I get crowned.

Heather: That would be good. You’re crossing through all of the holidays, but kind of deliberately.

Possible Pat: Yes, you know what? That’s one of the things that … in my opinion is a great idea, because a lot of people battle with food. A lot of people that are overweight, that’s their comfort. That’s what they turn to and even during the holidays it’s what makes them happy during the holidays, even when I did my show, I remember talking about last time. First thing I thought about, “What am I going to cheat with?” I still had the mindset of when I was overweight, turning to food for, whether it’s me being sad or happiness. I want to show people that you don’t necessarily have to turn to food for that.

Heather: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s right, it’s about hanging out with your family and coming together. It doesn’t have to be all about the food.

Possible Pat: Yeah, and you really just … need to realize food has a purpose and it’s really just to keep you going, to fuel you. A lot of people get away from that, even myself. Maybe, through the 16 weeks, we help people overcome some obstacles that they’ve never been able to overcome and actually start looking at food differently.

Nick: So, over the course of the 16 weeks, what’s going to happen? What are you going to be doing?

Possible Pat: We have Halloween, so no candy on Halloween. Thanksgiving. I’m not going to tell people not to do Thanksgiving and hopefully, me and Bodybuilding.com can come up with some great healthy alternatives during the day. That’s what I do on Thanksgiving. My wife will tell you, she’ll make candy yams with marshmallows, brown sugar, and everything in them. Then, she’ll just make me a plain old sweet potato.

Nick: Which I still delicious.

Heather: Still delicious, yeah.

Possible Pat: Still delicious and sometimes we’ll add something to it that maybe doesn’t have as much sugar or maybe we’ll use an alternative. Then, we’ll do just healthy, instead of potato salad, we’ll do a quinoa salad. We have healthy options even though we still have the unhealthy options for everyone else that aren’t on the journey that really want to enjoy the food that day. My family’s really getting closer and closer to it all being healthy. To be honest … you have to learn. You may feel like, “Oh, these foods are great.” It’s because you haven’t experienced other foods. You haven’t tried other foods. You haven’t let your body adapt to them. Now, I have a quinoa salad, I’m like, “Yes, carbs.” They’re delicious.

Heather: Excited.

Nick: Now, over the course of the 16 weeks are you going to be offering advice, guidance? What are you going to be doing for people.

Possible Pat: So, obviously I’ve been thinking like after London, what’s next? What is Possible Pat going to do next? The challenge came … came to light. I was like, “Well, that’s great. Now I have something to do over the next 16 weeks. Not only, I’m going to do the challenge with people. So, when I’m in London after my show I’ll have a cheat week.

Nick: Cheat week.

Possible Pat: Yeah, cheat week.

Nick: Oh, you’re going to load it up this time.

Possible Pat: I have to experience London and-

Nick: There’s some excellent food for sure.

Possible Pat: Yeah, so I’m going to have a cheat week. When we start the challenge, I plan on reaching some new goals for myself and helping people reach their goals. We plan on doing Facebook Live, maybe twice a week, where we do live call-ins. We really help people figure out what’s going on. Why they’re not reaching their goals and help them get to the next level. We’ll be offering recipes, workouts, throughout the course of the 16 weeks. I really want, really trying to work on the 16 weeks building how to lost weight, not just … “Here’s the challenge. You got to do it by yourself. We’ll see you in 16 weeks.” We’ll post a motivational video every week. Sometimes when you are in my shoes, you need a little bit more guidance. Sometimes you just need someone in your face telling you, “Put the cookie down.” I just did a video the other day, “Hide the Cookies.” Sometimes we need to be told what to do and stop waiting and hopefully this challenge will get people started and stop putting it off till tomorrow.

Heather: Then, I heard that you also have the category that’s purely “most motivational” and that sounds like a shout out to the Pat from three years ago that was a like, “I don’t feel like losing 50 pounds is enough, but I’m still doing it. I’m in it.” So, tell me about that.

Possible Pat: Definitely. We wanted, obviously, there could only be one male, one female winner, but then there’ll also be a motivational winner. The person that just kept going the whole time, or maybe this person didn’t have a lot of weight to lose. Maybe this person was just there to support others, or just posting his workouts or his meals. Sometimes that really has, it’s like a domino effect. I tell people all the time, “You may be losing 20, 30 pounds” and people tell me, “Well, I haven’t accomplished what you accomplished,” but there’s someone watching you. Whether it’s in your office, a family member, someone at your kid’s school. They’re seeing you make a difference and it’s registering in their head that, “Oh, this can be done. He lost 20 pounds. Why can’t I do it?” So, most motivational.

Heather: Very cool. I like it.

Nick: How are the winners being selected? The male and female winners.

Possible Pat: We’re going to do most percentage of body.

Nick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Possible Pat: The weight you lost compared to your body weight.

Nick: Okay and over the course of 16, if somebody’s-

Possible Pat: Almost four months.

Nick: If somebody’s looking at that four months, what’s possible in four months for somebody do you think?

Possible Pat: So, in 90 days, which is 3 months, I lost 100 pounds. That was just me guessing. There wasn’t no one helping me. There wasn’t no one that I followed or looked up to, that I was getting advice from. Everything I did was purely online, just googling and we’re hopefully, we eliminate that and we give you somewhere to go, somewhere to feel confident, somewhere to look up these things, and somewhere that you wake up every morning and you’re like, “I’m a go to this page, because I know I need the motivation today.” I believe over 4 months, I ended up losing another 30 pounds. So, I ended up losing 130 …

Nick: Wow.

Possible Pat: 130 pounds in 4 months. It slowed down after that, but just starting and getting rid of all the sodas and sugars and pizzas and everything bad. That was step one for me. People don’t realize, once you eliminate that you’re going to lose weight. You’re going to lose weight and sometimes it’s not as complicated as people make it. They say, “You know what? I’m a juice for the next … 100 days.” I tell people, “Do a diet that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.” So, if you don’t want to fast for 16 hours for the rest of your life, or you don’t want to juice for the rest of your life, just do something you can maintain, because at the end of the day, it’s not just about going through these 16 weeks. It’s about going through the next 16 years, or 20 years of your life and living healthy and never going back to the old you.

Nick: So now, what’s the name of the challenge?

Possible Pat: Mission: Possible.

Heather: To be announced.

Nick:Mission: Possible”–I like, if legal allows us, right?

Possible Pat: Yes, if legal allows us. Yes.

Nick: At Bodybuilding.com and through Possible Pat’s many social outlets. Check it out people. Thanks again for coming by.

‘Possible’ Pat Brocco: I hope that we save some lives and change some.

Heather Eastman: Thank you so much! Absolutely.

Nick Collias: Absolutely.


‘Mission: Possible’ 16-Week Challenge

If you’ve thought that it’s impossible for you to lose weight and carve the body you’ve dreamed about, you’ve joined the right challenge. Possible Pat is here to guide you through the next 16 weeks and open your eyes to how you can transform your life—forever.



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