Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: 6PackBags Innovator 500

If you are reading this, you are probably familiar in part of 6PackBags. These are the bags that you see being carried around by fitness competitors from the big bodybuilders to the bikini competitors. While on the outside these bags look just like coolers, the inside they pack much more punch. I've been a user of the 6packbag since early 2013 when the Durus series was on it's way out to make room for the 2013 line that includes the Innovator 300 and 500.

To start, there are two different models of the Innovator. There is the 300 and the 500. The difference really is the amount of food that each of these bags can hold. Today I will be making reference to the 500 model.

If you are not familiar with 6packbags, let me tell you a little about them. 6packbags is a meal management system for really everyone, but the majority of the market is the fitness industry where meal prep and timing is crucial to success. We refer to it as a meal management system because these bags are able to hold multiple meals. In the case of the Innovator 500, 5 meals to be exact. The bag is designed to keep your meals cool throughout the day and have plenty of storage for other items that you may need being it shaker bottles, fruit, supplements etc.

With the Innovator series, 6packbags made huge improvements from the Durus series. The insulator lining is much thicker making it more tear resistant. Also compared to the Durus, the bag seems much lighter. This is likely due to the removal of the "storage block" which was part of the Durus. The Durus line including a plastic block that held the meal containers and had a built in compartment for supplements and snack items. With the removal of the "storage block", this had made room for a more easily removable shelf system that snaps inside of the bag it self. They have also changed the way you can store your pills. This is now a separate container like a tray from a tackle box that can be removed and thrown in your gym bag if you would like. It also has removable parts so you can make more room for bars or utensils.  The Innovator line also switched from more traditional ice packs to gel packs. These new packs seem to stay frozen much longer than the old ice packs.

The changes made by 6packbags to the Innovator line have all been great improvements. The new rack for the containers is nice and light weight, however it does make it more difficult if you want to use larger containers, unless you pull the whole thing out. They also replaced the old meal containers that would securely lock, with a more traditional Tupperware style container. This I imagine was mostly done for costs as the overall construction of the bag is much more durable than previous bags. As always, these bags are backed by a 1 years limited warranty, and the company does very well at honoring this warranty. I use my bag pretty much daily during the week, and it holds up great.

When it comes to pricing, these bags can tend to be a bit pricey. You have to remember that you are paying for quality though. But it would be nice to see these bags come down a bit in pricing. The Innovator 300 is $69.99 and the Innovator 500 is $99.99 .

Overall, I would say if your meal prep and timing it important to you, you should invest in this bag. If you are a person that goes on road trips quite often, this bag is going to save you money in the long run. You can eat right, and as 6packbags would say, Travel Fit.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Modify for your Benefit

Sometimes you run into a workout that you just can't do. Maybe it's because of range of motion limitations or pain restrictions, but that doesn't mean you have to completely skip that body part or exercise. You can in fact still get the same benefits doing something completely different.

Modifications of an exercise/workout can help you do build muscles or lose weight with a lesser stress than the original exercise. Take my issues for example. I have a bad back, this makes it very difficult to squat and deadlift. With modifications of my leg and back workouts, I can still work my legs and low back. When it comes to leg day, while I still try and squat, I go very light weight with it. I modify by doing leg presses at a higher weight and higher volume. While on squats I'm lucky to hit 205 LBS, my average leg press is 748 LBS. That is a pretty substantial difference. By doing a Leg Press, I am able to put much less stress on my back, and also have the support on my back from the bench. I am also able to do more strength days of pushing over 1000 LBS every couple of months.

So many exercises can be modified, look at classic push ups. If you can't do them from your toes, you are taught to modify by doing them from your knees. This is taught to us all the way back in elementary school. Many modifiers like the push up from the knees are also used to assist in building that strength to be able to do them from the toes. If you are doing assisted pull -ups, you are building to do unassisted pull-ups. But just because you are modifying, doesn't mean to not make attempts at the classic movements you are building towards. Like I said, I still do squats and deadlifts, but a majority of this work is done with modifications.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: Ripped Cream Coffee Creamer

rippedcreamlogoprotcofcrmr supermodThere are often times when you find a product that can completely change your life. Coffee creamer for many is that product. Personally I love coffee, but I can't drink it without creamer. Well coffee creamer obviously doesn't play well with the diet. That is, until now.


Recently I was introduced to Ripped Cream Coffee Creamer. I was browsing through Instagram and found a post from NPC Competitor Wendy Lee Govoni. In this post she had received Ripped Cream, and I was intrigued. After reading up on the product, I immediately knew that I had to get my hands on it. After a few failed attempts at trying to locate it at some stores in Kansas City, I went to their site and placed my order. I mean, honestly, what person that is into health and fitness and drinks coffee wouldn't want to try this stuff!

So right from the get go, the service with the order was great. There was an issue with Paypal attaching my shipping address and I got a personal email from Robin, the president of Ripped Cream. She actually looked up this very website because of my email address and read my story. How awesome is that? Shipping took place very quickly, and if it hadn't been for the holiday, I would have gotten my package a little earlier. But again, great customer service.

There are two flavors currently of Ripped Cream, Lean Vanilla Bean and Chizzled Chocolate. Some of you might be thinking that chocolate is a bit odd to add to coffee, but I actually know people that mix hot chocolate mix to their coffee. Think of it as a poor mans cappuccino. The first one I tried was the Chizzled Chocolate with 6g of protein. It provided a nice round flavor, and the coffee, like in cooking, really enhanced the chocolate flavor. If it had a little hazelnut flavor to it, I swear it would have tasted like a coffee Nutella!

Next up was the Lean Vanilla Bean. This was an excellent flavor. It didn't offer anything shocking, other than the fact that it tastes just like any regular vanilla coffee creamer. But the 5g of protein provided is a huge change.

With both flavors, I still had to add sweetener. This didn't surprise me much, as most creamers don't actually sweeten the coffee. I also like my coffee a bit sweet. Overall, I would say that these creamers are definite buys. I don't see myself using any other creamer in the near future, unless I run out of this and didn't reorder in time.

You can order your Ripped Cream Coffee Creamer from their website or their Indiegogo Campaign.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

15 Minute Workout

2013-04-13 04.35.01Don't complain that you don't have time to workout. I am going to give you a 15* minute workout that is going to get you sweating and make you work for it! When I don't have time to put in a full workout, this is the route that I go, especially if I am looking to get my heart rate up. So go ahead and pick up some weights that you can use through this whole circuit. You want challenging, but the point in this is to keep the same weight through the whole workout.

To get a great workout in 15* minutes, we are going to stack several movements together. Form is not to be ignored though, so if it takes you longer, that is fine. We want to keep safe, but still get a good burn and workout in.

Grab your dumbbells and start with your hands at your side. I am going to break this down move for move, that way it doesn't get too confusing

  • First we will do a burpee/squat thrust movement. Bending over with a straight back, keep your core engaged. Keep reaching until dumbbells touch the floor, it is ok if you bend your knees here to accomplish this movement. Kick your feet back and hold a straight plank position

  • Now we are going to preform a push up as far down as you can go. Keep your body straight, and your core engaged. Remember, form is everything. If you need to do the pushup from your knees, that is ok. But you want to build up to doing a pushup from standard plank position.

  • When you come up from your pushup, we are going to do the renegade row. This movement is preformed by taking one arm at a time and pulling it towards your back like you are rowing and returning to starting position. You will do a single row with each arm.

  • Now back into a pushup.

  • After the second pushup is completed, come back into standard plank and bring your feet back to your hands and we are going to stand up. Make sure to keep your back straight as this movement is going to be along the lines of a deadlift.

  • When you reach the top of the movement of the deadlift, you want to supinate your hand position (Point palm of hands facing out in front of you) and we are now going to complete a single bicep curl with both arms at the same time. No alternating here. Hold this curl at the top of the movement.

  • From here, we are going to rotate our arms out to our sides, if done correctly, you should look like a goal post. Now we press the weights over out heads, and return back down to that starting position.

  • At this point bring both arms back in front of you at the position after the dumbbell curl, and complete the eccentric motion of the curl, bring your arms back down to your side.

Now repeat the above 10 - 12 times and that is one set. You will do a total of 3 sets of this workout. Allow about 1 - 2 minutes of rest between sets and stay hydrated. Go at your own pace, but keep that heart rate up. This should get more difficult with each rep and each set.

Full Body Circuit

This circuit will get your heart rate up, and have you sweating before you know it. As always, when starting a workout you should consult your physician first.

  • Warm-up; This can be anything to warmup those muscles and stretch, try jogging in place for a minute or jumping jacks.

  • Weighted Squat with overhead press - Use dumbbells that you are comfortable with, no need to go heavy - 20 count

  • Burpee w/renegade row - use light weights, preform your burpee with your weights in hand. Hold plank position and one arm at a time, pull like you are rowing, focus on those lats - 15 count, each arm

  • Chopper Lunge - using a light weight or no weight, you will go into a traditional lunge at the same time as making a chopping motion to the side of the front leg. Do each side 15 times. (Be very careful)

  • Overhead Triceps Extension - Using a dumbbell you are comfortable with, hold tightly over head by one end, slowly bring dumbbell behind your head squeezing your elbows in toward each other and back up. - 20 count

  • Russian Twist - Sit on your rear, legs in front slightly bent, heels on ground. Remain looking forward and twist your torso from side to side for 20 count on each side. For added difficulty you can raise your feet from the floor.

After you complete this round, repeat 2 more times. Listen to your body and use caution when doing these exercises. If you are unsure of the move you can look it up online or email me. Enjoy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Gym Etiquette

It happens to all of us at some point. You walk into the gym and are about to jump hop on a machine to do cable rows, and someone has left a giant puddle of sweat behind! Were these people raised by wolves? Worse yet, is the fact that you are the only one in the gym! How long has that puddle been there? It can be very frustrating having to clean up after other adults in a public venue, so I bring to you this gym etiquette guide.

  1. Don't stink. Yes, I know you are going to the gym to workout, but there is no need to smell bad. You are going to have plenty of time to get all musky and smelly. Please apply deodorant before going to the gym. But don't overdue the deodorizers. Putting on perfume or cologne before hitting the gym can also make it unpleasant for others. Keep it simple, don't smell like trash when you go in, and you should be fine.

  2. Don't hog the equipment! I understand you want to get your workout done, but there are others that want to get their workout in as well. It's fine if you are the only one in the gym to hog what you need, as long as someone else doesn't need it. But if you workout in a small gym, be kind and share. Equipment can be very limited in smaller gyms, and everyone there has paid their dues to use that equipment. At the same time, don't get huffy if someone is on something you want to use, ask if you can work in between their sets. Most people should be fine. If you do work in, re-adjust the machines or barbell to what the previous user had it at too. They will think you for it.

  3. Re-Rack the weights! Yes, you just did a 300 LBS bench press, I'm so proud of you. But re-rack the plates when you are done. No one wants to clean up your weight mess after you have left. By leaving the weights on the barbell and other plate machines, you are cutting into someone else's precious workout time as well. And what if they have difficulties lifting a 45 LBS plate?

  4. Clean up! We are all guilty to a point I'm sure. You finished your workout and left without wiping down the bench or machines you just used. You left a nice butt puddle too. Take the time and wipe the machines down that you used when you are all finished with them. It's not that hard. Sure, we are all human and forget sometimes, but it shouldn't be constant. Also, throw away the wipes! No one wants to pick up your nasty wipes that you decided you could just leave in random areas of the gym.

  5. Finally, put the cell phone away! Cell phones are great, we can play music and track workouts on them, but they can also be a huge distraction. Invest in a cheap mp3 player for music and use a notebook to track your workouts and enter them in your phone later. It gets really annoying when people are texting or talking on their phone at the gym. This can also be very dangerous as well. Distracted lifting is no joke. Sure it's funny to see someone texting while on the treadmill right before they face plant, but really? Was that text that important.