caffeine and workouts

​​Does Caffeine Really Improve Your Workouts?

​​Does Caffeine Really Improve Your Workouts?

Looking to bring your A-game every time you hit the gym? Caffeine may help.


Caffeine makes it easier to exercise more intensely while feeling less pain and exhaustion; something coaches of elite athletes have known for a long time. Taking a caffeine supplement before a training session or competition improves performance.

How Does Caffeine Work In The Body During A Workout?

The main physiological effects of caffeine include an increase in alertness and stimulation, which can make exercise seem less unpleasant. It might also encourage the muscles to burn more fat. 

How does that work?  When glycogen reserves are depleted, muscles become weaker and less effective, which causes exhaustion. Muscles need glycogen, a stored form of glucose, for energy. However,  when muscles may burn fat, they are less susceptible to fatigue. Caffeine can cause muscles to burn fat more quickly, preserving glycogen reserves and extending the amount of time that muscles can function before becoming exhausted. This results in a more prolonged and comfortable workout. Additionally, some studies think that caffeine may affect muscles directly by increasing their capacity to generate power.

Stimulating Effects

Caffeine may take some time to take effect, though. Since muscles first switch to glycogen during longer endurance exercise sessions rather than shorter ones, the advantages are more visible. The majority of research has looked at caffeine’s impact on muscles after roughly two hours, but it is still unclear how long you need to exercise for caffeine to switch your body over to burning fat. The stimulating effects of caffeine peak an hour or so after consumption and can linger for three to six hours.

How Much Caffeine Do You Need To Consume?

The amount of coffee required to reap the rewards of exercise is unknown. Up until recently, it was believed that habitual coffee consumers would require an additional cup to reap the advantages of exercise since the body might develop a tolerance to caffeine. However, in a recent study by Brazilian researchers, even regular caffeine consumers—including those who consumed about three cups of coffee per day—were able to pedal more quickly and for a longer period of time on a stationary bike after taking a caffeine pill that had the same amount of caffeine as four cups of coffee than when they hadn’t.

According to these studies, if added properly, caffeine may be a useful complement to a fitness plan. Exercise professionals advise consuming a cup of coffee about an hour before doing out to see if the buzz makes it easier and less exhausting.

Sports Supplements

Nutrition Nation carries sports supplements that contain caffeine that will help you achieve greatness. Stop by and talk to one of our nutrition experts to get the lowdown.


By Leslie Radford, Advent Trinity Marketing Agency
man on treadmill

The 3 Most Common Challenges that Sabotage Fitness Goals (and How to Overcome Them)

The 3 Most Common Challenges that Sabotage Fitness Goals (and How to Overcome Them)

Many factors may affect your fitness goals


It takes considerable lifestyle adjustments to significantly alter your body composition (and keep it that way for the long run). Many people find this hard to do. Getting in shape requires dedication over time, and benefits are not always immediate. 

Here are the most common challenges to reaching your fitness goals and how to get through them.

The Most Common Factors that Sabotage Fitness Goals


One of the toughest obstacles to achieving your goals is fatigue, whether it be physical, mental, or a combination of both.

Energy is needed to maintain physical fitness: energy to get to the gym, energy to complete your workout, and energy to regularly make healthy meals. It can be challenging to continue the grind for an extended period of time when this is added to the other pressures of daily life.

The best course of action is to keep in mind that being fit is a marathon, not a sprint. Making moderate, deliberate changes rather than drastic, immediate ones when you first begin working out and eating healthfully will help you prevent early burnout and help you keep such habits over time.

Lack of Motivation

You were undoubtedly eager to get started when you initially started your fitness quest. No matter how good your motivation was when you first started, it will only get you so far once you’re in the thick of things.

So it’s common to lose sight of your motivation, which is a major factor in why you can start skipping workouts and reverting to unhealthy eating patterns.

You won’t always be motivated every second of every day, as even the fittest among us are aware of. The secret to accomplishing your goals even when your motivation wanes is to continue to hold yourself accountable (or have help from someone else).

Even if you aren’t constantly intrinsically motivated yourself, having to answer to someone else means that you have another source of encouragement. So even if you’re not feeling it, ask your loved ones, your gym buddies, or a personal trainer to help you stay on track.

Expecting Instant Results  

You probably won’t notice a lot of improvement day to day, even if you’re doing everything right and adopting all the healthy behaviors required for a sustained rate of weight reduction or body recomposition. Over time, maintaining your healthy practices will lead to those outcomes.

Change your perspective on what success and advancement mean to you. Consider other indicators of progress in addition to the scale, such as measures and body composition outputs such as body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass. Also take a look at your performance progression (ability to lift heavier, increased stamina, etc.).

Make Your Fitness Goals a Reality

Plan the work and work the plan. Make small changes to your lifestyle and build upon them over time. Establishing healthy habits, looking beyond short-term objectives in favor of the wider picture, and tracking your progress in performance, body composition, and lifestyle changes along the way are the greatest ways to make sure you are doing what you need to achieve.

By Leslie Radford
Fitness Goals

Why Body Recomposition Should Be Your New Fitness Goal

Why Body Recomposition Should Be Your New Fitness Goal

Focusing on body recomposition rather than just weight reduction or muscle gain may be the best method to reach your fitness goals. 


Maybe your ultimate goal is to lose weight. Maybe you want to be more fit. Maybe both. When looking at your fitness goals, you want to consider your body composition. 

Body recomposition is a new way of thinking about physical fitness. Setting recomposition objectives might help you achieve improved overall health and physical condition without even stepping on a scale.

What Is Body Recomposition? 

Body recomposition is a fitness objective that focuses on improving the composition of your body. Rather than focusing on your weight, body recomposition goals consider how muscle and fat, the two major contributors to that weight, relate to one another.

Body recomposition goals for the majority of people include not simply losing weight but also gaining muscle mass.

Note that body recomposition progress does not necessarily reflect on the scale.

How To Approach Body Recomposition 

Can you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time? Absolutely. Body recomposition, like any other physical objective, requires a steady balance of nutrition and exercise.

Eating For Body Recomposition

Eating too few calories on a daily basis can lead to muscle loss as well as fat tissue loss. Restricting calories won’t help you gain. With body recomposition, you’ll want to be at a moderate caloric deficit so that you’re burning fat, but not so much that your muscles don’t have enough fuel.

Finding your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), or the number of calories your body burns every day at rest, is the easiest approach to figuring out how many calories you need. You may then organize your diet and exercise routine so that your daily net calorie count is slightly less than your BMR. 

When it comes to body recomposition, the quality of your nutrition is also very important. Make sure you get enough protein every day, especially after a workout. It’s a good idea to substitute low-quality carbs (highly processed, high sugar, low glycemic index) with healthy carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables while trying to lose weight. Choose healthier fats such as olive oil, avocado, and omega-3s over trans and saturated fats.

Exercising For Body Recomposition 

When resistance exercise is combined with a sufficient protein intake, muscle hypertrophy occurs. The repetitive contractions in resistance-based exercise (think weightlifting) start to tear down the fibers in your muscles. When you consume enough protein, your body can heal those microtears by replacing them with additional muscle fibers, resulting in growth. 

You’ll need a good combination of aerobic and resistance exercise to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. Ideal fitness regimens include a variety of exercises to keep your body challenged.

Consistency is key. When it comes to body recomposition, you should work out multiple times each week for the greatest effects. When you’re putting in work during your exercise, your muscles need a period of recovery in order to grow, so don’t skip rest days.

Think About Your Fitness Goals Differently

Focusing on body recomposition rather than just weight reduction or muscle gain may be the best method to reach your fitness goals. So, if you’re tired of looking at the same number on the scale every day, try changing your goals and tracking your body composition instead!

Talk to the pros at Nutrition Nation about designing a fitness plan.

The Importance of Getting a Body Composition Test

By Leslie Radford


blood pressure cuff on arm

How Exercise Can Impact Your Blood Pressure

How Exercise Can Impact Your Blood Pressure

One of the most effective methods to lower your blood pressure is to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. 

Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, according to The American Heart Association. When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke, and other health threats.

While hypertension may appear to be a frightening condition, minor changes to your regular routine might help you decrease and maintain healthy blood pressure. One of the most effective methods to achieve this is to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. 

Can Exercise Help Lower Your Blood Pressure? 

While exercise might cause your blood pressure to rise, this is only a temporary effect. To properly decrease your blood pressure, it may take up to three months of constant increased exercise. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise generally accounts for a reduction of 4 to 12 mmHg in diastolic and 3 to 6 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. It does this by strengthening your heart and allowing it to work more effectively and able to pump more blood with less effort. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower stress levels, which are both leading causes of high blood pressure. 

What Exercises Lower Blood Pressure? 

For reducing blood pressure, a mix of aerobic activity and strength training is usually suggested. Aerobic exercise (often known as ‘cardio’) is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as “any activity that engages large muscle groups, can be performed continuously, and is rhythmic in character.” Resistance training, on the other hand, is described as any exercise in which your muscles are forced to operate against an opposing force. 

These two types of activities, when combined, help to reduce your total blood pressure. 

Not everyone enjoys running on a treadmill or pumping iron in the gym. You can find other types of exercise like yoga, walking, playing sports, biking, and using resistance bands to fulfill your exercise needs. No matter which exercises you choose, it’s important to find something you enjoy. 

Aerobic Exercise  

The American Heart Association recommends you aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. This can either be split as 30 minutes per day on at least 5 days each week or in shorter sessions of 10 minutes several times per day throughout the week.  

Resistance Training 

Newer research suggests that resistance training with bands or weight lifting can be used to supplement aerobic exercise to further reduce blood pressure. You should aim to complete 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each of the major muscle groups during your training sessions. Resistance training sessions should be somewhat spaced out throughout the week, to limit the potential muscle soreness. 

Get to Exercising

If you’re new to exercise, remember to take things at your own pace, don’t make it a chore or you won’t stick with it. Once you’ve become used to your new regimen, you can raise the intensity or number of repetitions. 

Blood pressure does naturally increase as we age, so it’s vital to stay active throughout every stage of life. 

Read “5 Benefits of Weight Training

By Leslie Radford
couple working out outdoors

Get Ripped Outdoors This Spring

Get Ripped Outdoors This Spring

With nicer weather on the horizon, it’s time to take your workouts outdoors.


Don’t stay cooped up in the gym this spring, get outside and spruce up your workout. No equipment is needed, just your body weight.

Using Bodyweight

Your body weight can be used to generate any number of training stimuli. Instead of using heavier weights and higher reps, you can:

Use explosive, jumping movements to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers. 

Slow down the tempo you move at, forcing your muscles to stabilize you for an endurance challenge (called “time under tension”). 

Do a circuit of bodyweight moves just as easily as you can do the machine circuit in your gym to burn more calories.

Circuit Training

Nutrition Nation Circuit Workout Chart

Other Exercises to do Outdoors

Medicine balls, park benches, stairs – these are all the “extras” you could incorporate into your outdoor workout. For instance, you could:

Stairs Workout

Intensity will vary depending on the size of the staircase. Try these routines from Johnson Fitness and Wellness:

Sprint or Walk every other step for 10 reps (20 total stairs)

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Sprint every step for 20 total steps

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Bunny Hop (feet about shoulder-width apart) every step for 10 steps

Walk back down for recovery and repeat for a total of 4 rounds

Rest 1 minute and repeat the above


Bench Push-Ups

10-12 reps

Place hands on bench in an incline position or, to increase the difficulty, place feet on bench and perform decline push-ups.


Bench Jump

10-12 reps


Cradle Squats

12-15 Reps

Hug the med ball into the chest and perform a deep squat


Kettlebell Swings & Squats

10 swings

1 goblet squat

15 swings

2 goblet squats

25 swings

3 goblet squats

50 swings

Rest 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds

Start Working Out Outdoors

This is a great list to get you started and adds variety to your workout on the days you want to get out of the gym and into some fresh air.

By Leslie Radford

anatomical view of the heart

The Muscle That Matters The Most

The Muscle That Matters The Most

You might be fit, but are you protecting your heart health? 


Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. It can even happen to someone as fit as a bodybuilder. 

In sports where the muscle mass of the large muscles of the body must contract at maximum capacity such as, for example, in bodybuilding, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman, the intensity of effort is the master and the heart muscle undergoes concentric hypertrophy. This is especially true of the left ventricle, which determines the ejection capacity. Therefore, it is possible to have a hypertrophic heart (thickening of the left ventricle). Dirty bulking can increase cholesterol and lead to heart problems. Over-dosing on certain supplements can even put your heart at risk.

It’s important to check in with your doctor, monitor your heart rate, eat clean, keep stress low, get plenty of sleep, and supplement appropriately. Let’s take a closer look at what that looks like. 


How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

February is Heart Health Month. Here are some tips to keep your heart healthy.

1 Know Your Numbers

According to the Group Health Research Foundation, healthy men and women should have their cholesterol checked every five years and their blood pressure checked every two years. Men should begin wellness visits at age 35 and women at 45.

Purchase a home blood-pressure monitoring unit. Adult blood pressure is considered normal at 120/80.

Get a physical with full blood work in your twenties to help determine if you have any risk factors. Ask about your family history as well. Your risk of heart disease and stroke greatly increases if a parent has suffered from either before age 55.

2 Go to Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a multitude of health issues, including well-known contributors to heart disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and impaired glucose tolerance. The more active you are during the day, the easier it will be for you to sleep at night.

You can set up your sleeping environment to promote deeper sleep by removing all artificial light, installing blackout curtains, or downloading some relaxation sounds for extra sleep aids.

3 Get it On

Sex can increase your heart rate and blood pressure as much as climbing a flight of stairs would. One study suggests that men who orgasm three or more times per week reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 50 percent—which may be caused by the release of the hormone DHEA. Sex also releases beneficial hormones that reduce stress, cause relaxation, and improve sleep.

4 Don’t Exercise Excessively

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it’s recommended that you log about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week to keep your heart healthy. Some of you probably accomplish this in a few days! 

A review study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that some endurance athletes who exercised at very high intensities over a long duration were at a greater risk of developing heart problems than those who exercised more moderately.

As the saying goes, too much of any one thing is not always a good thing. Different exercises stress the heart in different ways, and too much of any one form can push you into the higher-risk spectrum.

Lifting 3-5 times per week is not going to increase cardiac risk for most people, and the same goes for those who run less than 30 miles per week.

woman exercising

Tips for Women’s Health: National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Tips for Women’s Health: National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Key Points

Eat healthily



Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages and is celebrated the last Wednesday in September. It focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.

Here are a few simple things that women can do regularly to ensure good health:

Health Tip #1: Eat healthily

woman eating healthy food

Eat more natural foods like a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Whole grains and high-fiber foods are great to add to your diet. Choose leaner cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.

If you’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, you might want to take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement to make sure you’re maintaining good health.

Additional diet tips:

  • Limit foods that are high in sugar
  • Eat smaller portions spread out over the day
  • Watch your carbohydrate intake
  • Eat a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables every day
  • Consume less fat
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Use less salt

Health Tip #2: Exercise 

woman exercising


Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. This will lessen your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among women in America. Aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, dancing) are good for women’s health in general and especially for your heart. Adding weights will increase not only the strength of your muscles but your bones. You don’t have to lift heavy and you shouldn’t be concerned with bulking up unless that is your ultimate goal.

Regular physical activity helps:

  • Keep bones strong
  • Prevent hip fracture (breaking your hip)
  • Decrease pain from arthritis
  • Prevent dementia
  • Maintain the independence to do basic everyday activities, like getting dressed, going to the bathroom, bathing, and eating

Health Tip #3: Self-Care

woman meditating

Self-care is something that many women struggle with. It’s their nature to take care of others first. But taking care of yourself is vital to your health. When you practice self-care techniques, you can manage stress more easily, boost your confidence and your immune system, and lower your risk for many diseases. 

Ways to practice self-care:

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthily
  • Get plenty of sound sleep
  • Sit in the sun
  • Read for pleasure
  • Journaling
  • Getting recommended screenings

Recommended Screenings: 

  • Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: Women ages 20 and up 
  • Pelvic Exams and Pap Smears: Women ages 21-65 should have annual pelvic exams and a Pap smear at least every three years. 
  • Breast Exams and Mammograms: All women should receive a breast exam every year beginning at age 20, even if it’s just a self-exam. Get mammograms from age 40-50, and every other-year mammograms after that. 
  • Osteoporosis Screenings: Women 65 and older 
  • Colorectal Screenings: Start at age 50
  • Skin Cancer: Women of all ages should develop the habit of paying attention to changes in the skin or changes in moles and birthmarks
  • Diabetes: Get regular screenings from age 40 onward
By Leslie Radford

10 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Personal Trainer

10 Things to Consider Before
Choosing a Personal Trainer

Criteria for Choosing a Personal Trainer

  • Credentials

  • Experience

  • Personality

  • Philosophy

  • Specialties

  • Reputation

A Few More Things to Consider:

Having the support of a personal trainer keeps you motivated and accountable when it comes to your workouts. A trainer can also play a role in helping you maximize your time at the gym, prevent injury and get consistent results. Know how to choose the right person to help you in your fitness journey and who will help you set the correct goals to achieve your desired results.

Criteria for Choosing a Personal Trainer

Take into consideration the following criteria when selecting a personal trainer:


A trainer needs to be able to show you a fitness certification in their particular area of expertise. To become certified, personal trainers must pass an exam through accredited organizations.


A trainer who has been around the block a few times has likely tested and perfected his process for providing the best cues to help you get the most out of every single rep. Experienced trainers are not cheap, but you do get what you pay for.


Do you need someone who is going to give you constant positive reinforcement and cheerleading or will you fare better with someone who is more like a drill sergeant? Talk to the trainer and get a feel for her style to see if it jives with you.


How does the personal trainer develop his program? What beliefs is it based on? For example, is it gym-based workouts or meant to be done outside? Machines or free weights? Ask about philosophy and see if it makes sense for your goals and preferences.


Some trainers have specialties; others are Jacks of all trades. If you’re looking for something specific (i.e.: competing in a 5K or Olympic weightlifting), you’ll want to work with a trainer who specializes in those fields. Chances are that trainer will be more passionate about it if she is personally vested in the sport.


Good trainers will happy to share success stories, testimonials, and references. Ask around and see if others are getting results with a particular trainer.

A Few More Things to Consider

Cost, availability, location – these are a few more things you’ll want to consider when hiring a trainer. Can you afford them, are they available when you need them and are they close enough to you that you will actually utilize them?

Above all else, trust your gut. Look for a knowledgeable and experienced personal trainer who feels like the most natural fit. That’s the one to hire because she’ll not only help you reach your goals.

5 Benefits of Weight Training

5 Benefits of Weight Training

Blast Body Fat
Increase Overall Health
Strengthen Bones and Joints
Build Your Brain
Improve Confidence

Experts will tell you if you want to blast fat, gain muscle, and get in shape, you gotta lift weights. Here are 5 benefits of lifting weights that’ll convince you to pick up the iron.

1. Blast Body Fat

By building more muscle you can burn body fat all day long. Lifting weights can increase your lean body mass, therefore increasing the number of overall calories you burn during the day. The more muscle you have, the more calories your burn, the more fat you blast. And while it is true that you can’t spot reduce, a study found that women who lifted weights lost more deep belly fat than those who just did cardio. Lean muscle mass decreases with age, so it’s important to keep up a strength training regimen well past our prime to keep fat at bay.

2. Increases Overall Health

By increasing your muscle and decreasing body fat, you are also lessening your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers. One study showed women who engaged in weight lifting had a 17% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t and men reduced their risk for heart attack or stroke by 40-70%. You’ll also be reducing anxiety, easing depression, and increasing your happiness with lifting. The more fat that is stored in your body opens you up to all sorts of diseases and health issues.

3. Strengthen Bones and Joints

Weight lifting not only trains your muscles but also trains your bones. When you engage a weight, whatever muscle you are working essentially tugs on your bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bone cells. Over time, your bones become stronger and denser. Research has shown that lifting heavy weights consistently over time maintains bone mass and can even build new bone – which is great news, especially for post-menopausal women. You can target strength training exercises to areas that are most likely to fracture, like the hips, spine, and wrists.

4. Build Your Brain

Lifting heavy increases the production of many hormones, including IGF-1. This specific hormone helps stimulate connection in the rain and enhance cognitive function. One study showed that leg strength was positively linked with stronger minds. Therefore, they are less susceptible to the negative effects of aging.

5. Attitude Adjustment

Training with heavy weights is shown to improve your self-confidence. When you improve your strength, you give yourself an esteem boost. Physical strength can bleed into your emotional strength. By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows.

How to Calculate Macros

How To Calculate Macros

So how do I calculate my macros?

You can figure out your macros in a few simple steps. First, you must figure out your goal whether it is losing weight, bulking up, toning your body, or even building muscle. Once you have figured out what your goal is, we can move on to the next step. Remember that a healthy active lifestyle incorporates both exercise and diet. Here you can find many exercise plans that also help you find your macros if you are confused on how to do it. In addition, they provide healthy meal plans and videos on how to exercise.

Find your calorie requirements

The number of calories you need per day is a product of your age, gender, weight, muscle mass, and activity level. Eating more than this will cause you to gain weight while eating less will cause you to lose weight. To figure out the exact number, you can use a calorie calculator but be careful to remember that these tend to be very rough estimates that don’t take into account a multitude of other factors. There are many online calorie calculators, so see which works best for you. The number given to you is the amount of calories needed for main.

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