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How to Bulk Up the Right Way

If you asked five different people about how to bulk up, you’d probably get five different answers. It seems like everyone has their own idea about what works. That’s because everyone has varying fitness goals and distinct body types. However, some foundational fitness principles stay consistent regardless of whether you’re trying to look like Superman or you’re just trying not to look like Spiderman (before he was Spiderman). In today’s blog, we’ll tell you how to bulk up the right way. The “right way” means these straightforward tips are based on science, not trends or taste. Let’s take a look! Fill up on whole foods, not fats One thing most people tell you about bulking up is, “Eat more!” But there’s something missing from that piece of advice. You need to eat more of the right foods. Your body certainly needs food (calories) to build muscle, but empty calories won’t give you muscle. Instead, they’ll turn into fat. Seek out whole, nutritious foods that make your body stronger and more energized. Not only do healthy foods strengthen your muscles, but they also give you more energy to push yourself harder during workouts. Harder workouts translate to better results, and that means more of the bulk you’re looking for. Work, work, work Lifting is an essential part of bulking up. However, it’s important to give your muscles a chance to recover after workouts and even between reps. Take at least one rest day a week, and definitely vary your workouts from one day to the next. If you work arms and shoulders every day, you’ll likely end up with an injury—and probably flabby legs, too. Don’t feel like you have to dedicate every workout to weights....

3 Healthy Lunch Ideas

If you think a healthy lunch can only be found at the salad bar, then it’s time to spice things up. Healthy foods come in more varieties than which type of fat-free vinaigrette you’re adding to your salad. It’s time to explore the options beyond kale, spinach and romaine. Treat yourself to some tasty lunches that are completely different from your norm, but just as healthy. Here are our 3 favorite healthy lunches:   #3.  Curried Chicken Pita With Cranberries and Pear 2 whole-wheat pitas 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, diced 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt 1/4 cup dried cranberries 1 medium pear, diced 2 teaspoons honey mustard 1 teaspoon curry powder 1 squeeze lemon juice #2. Stuffed Sweet Potato 2 sweet potatoes 2 oz. feta cheese 2 oz. black oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped 1 oz. oil packed sundried tomatoes; thinly sliced 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoons oregano (or 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped) 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste #1. Avocado Egg Salad 1 avocado; halved, pitted, and peeled 6 hardboiled eggs; peeled and halved 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup minced onion 2 Tablespoon chopped chives (optional) Go for More Don’t stop with these 3 recipes. Use them as inspiration for for more tasty lunches. Try topping your sweet potato with spinach and goat cheese next week. Or, make avocado salad with chicken instead of eggs. The possibilities are endless. Stick to healthy ingredients, and you’re sure to come up with something spectacular for your taste buds and your body. For even more noticeable results in your body,...

The 4 Best-Kept Secrets About Superfoods

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard of superfoods. Blueberries, sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, and kale top the list of foods that are — well — super for you! If you’ve jumped on the superfood bandwagon without so much as a glance back, we’re here to let you in on some of secrets that may slightly alter your course. Secret #1: Scientists don’t say “superfoods.” Did you know that the word superfood is not a scientific term? Marketers actually coined the word and now use it as a selling point for various foods. The main reason scientists haven’t latched onto the “superfood” terminology is because of how they go about testing foods, nutrients and their effects. When scientists conduct these types of experiments, they are not necessarily testing the nutrients at the same volume those nutrients appear in a particular food. In fact, they’re testing them at a much higher volume. Therefore, it may not be accurate to make statements like, “Because carrots contain vitamin A, eating carrots daily will help you see better,” the scientific study may have been testing particular compounds present in carrots at much higher levels than you would ever receive just by eating them. Do your research and find out how much of a particular food you’d need to eat in order to experience the claimed benefits. Then decide if that quantity is a realistic amount. Secret #2: Not all superfoods are super for you. Before you spend your entire grocery budget on every item labeled “superfood”, do a little digging to figure out if that food has the kinds of benefits you’re looking for. If you’re trying to lose weight, peanuts may not be...

4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Weight-Loss Plan Isn’t Working

“It’s just water weight.” “You’re building muscle.” “It takes time.” “Everybody is different.” You’ve heard it all — the reasons you’re not losing weight. But these responses that imply you’re doing everything right are extremely frustrating. If you were doing everything right, wouldn’t you be losing? You need to know what you’re doing wrong so you can tweak your weight-loss plan. While we can’t tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong, we’ll do our best to help you figure it out by giving you some questions to ask yourself: #1. Am I actually hungry, or just thirsty? Many times, our stomachs feel empty not because they need food, but because they need water. Next time you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water. Then reevaluate your appetite. Also, get in the habit of drinking of a glass of water before you begin your meal. You’ll feel less hungry as you delve into your dish, which will help you slow down and eat less. With that said, make sure you’re reaching for water when you’re thirsty. Drinking a sugary beverage can be just as bad as eating a high-calorie snack. Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean the calories are free. #2. How much am I eating? What did you eat today? Seriously, tell me everything! For many, there’s a huge disconnect between how much we feel like we’re eating and how much we’re actually eating. Think about the handfuls of peanuts you tossed in your mouth the moment you got home from work. Sure, peanuts have great health benefits, but those calories still add up. Are you sampling your dinner as you prepare...

3 Healthy Breakfast Ideas That Fit Your Morning Schedule

Are you thinking about dedicating yourself to a healthier lifestyle this year? If so, we applaud you! Many people choose either to exercise more or to change up their diets, but the real key to visible results is to focus on both. Today, we want to share with you our three favorite healthy breakfast ideas! They’re packed with healthy fats and extra nutrition to help keep you going until lunch. Skinny Fried Egg Avocado Toast Avocados are a great addition to your breakfast routine, as they contain plenty of healthy fats. Added to protein-heavy eggs and a couple of slices of whole-wheat toast, you’ll have a delicious recipe you can reach for just about every morning. Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 1 Ingredients: 2 eggs (fried sunny side up) 2 slices of bread (toasted) 1 small avocado 1 teaspoon lime juice sea salt + black pepper parsley (optional for topping) Instructions: Prepare toast and fried eggs to personal preference Peel and mash avocado with the lime juice, salt and pepper. Spread avocado evenly on each slice of toast then top each with a fried eggs and additional seasonings you prefer. Serve immediately. Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl A simple, 7-ingredient recipe, this dark chocolate quinoa breakfast meal is one of our favorites and worth the prep time. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup and infused with rich cocoa flavor, it will provide just the reason you need to get up and get going in the morning. Prep Time: 5 Min Cook Time: 25 min Total: 30 Min Servings: 3-4 Ingredients: 1 cup (172...

How To Exercise Even When You’re Busy

We get it— there are just some weeks or months that get way too busy for you and it’s hard to find time to exercise. While we like to say you have to make time to exercise, the simple answer is, yes, it’s tough for us, too! The deadlines at work and unexpected family problems surround us more than we’d like, so today we want to give you some tips on exercising even when you’re busy. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel! Multi-Tasking It’s post-dinner, you’re about to sit down to watch TV, and all of a sudden the phone rings. This is the perfect opportunity to throw on some walking shoes and take a stroll around the neighborhood. If you have a feeling you’ll be busy at work for the next few weeks and can’t get to the gym, schedule family or friend phone calls after dinner so you can at least get in a thirty-minute walk after dinner. Not only is it great to walk after you eat, but walking is one of the best forms of exercise for all ages. Do Your Chores Household chores can also replace your exercise routine, simply because you’re constantly moving! Cleaning your bathrooms gives you a decent arm workout, while wiping down floorboards and vacuuming stairs puts your body in unusual positions, causing it to burn energy while working a little harder than normal. Park Far Away If you have a desk job, it’s tough to have mental energy when you get home to work out after thinking all day. We suggest parking your car in one...

The Worst Ways To Lose Weight

We all know the feeling of getting on the scale and freaking out, or just not liking the number in general. Maybe you let yourself go this holiday season; maybe you let yourself go every holiday season; maybe it’s been a stressful few months; maybe you’ve never had the healthiest diet and you surely don’t like to exercise. But when the scale jumps up ten pounds or more, suddenly, you freak. This is when most people decide it’s time to do anything possible to lose the weight, and this is when things go downhill. Let’s talk about the worst ways to lose weight and why you should steer clear of them. Restricting Too Many Calories When people want to lose weight quickly, they tend to stop eating, or at least skip one meal a day. You may lose weight from this, but your damaging your body without knowing you are. For example, your muscle shrinks when you lose weight, and the less you eat, the more muscle that you’ll burn off. When you lose muscle, you go back to “skinny fat,” your metabolism slows down, your bone health decreases, and you have little to no energy while still battling intense food cravings. It’s better to maintain a moderate caloric restriction of about 20%, so you can lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week without sacrificing your health and muscle. Staying In A Deficit For Too Long It’s recommended to stay in a caloric deficit for about 10-12 weeks the most. If you start to restrict yourself longer than the 12 weeks, your metabolism slows down and you lose even...

8 Ways To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

If you’re anything like us, you know how hard it is to say, “No” to desserts and any other yummy complex carbohydrates. So when it’s Christmas time and all of the sweets and drinks are at your fingertips, how do you push through? Well, we’re here to give you some great expert tips on what you can do this holiday season to avoid overeating! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make it through!  1. Don’t Arrive To The Parties Hungry Be sure you eat! Whether you are preparing for a dinner party before Christmas or you’re heading out for that Christmas feast with your family, don’t skip a meal. While it’s still undetermined whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we highly recommend you eating a reasonably filled protein packed breakfast that will keep you full longer before you head off for the afternoon. Pro-tip: Starving yourself or skipping meals only makes you binge later. 2. Chew Your Food And Drink Your Beverage Slowly The great thing about celebrating the Christmas season— it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, so remember to finish your first bite before you start on your second and nurse your wine or beer slowly to truly enjoy (and remember…) the moment. Too many times during the year we indulge in our meals and snacks, not realizing how much we are eating until it’s too late. Be sure to chew, swallow, then grab the fork again. 3. Choose Your Glasses Wisely When you catch a craving for some delicious eggnog or other alcoholic beverage, look for (or bring) a tall, thin glass instead of a short,...

What To Expect When Hiring A Personal Trainer

So you finally decided to take the plunge and hire a personal trainer…we’re glad you took our advice! While you can’t go wrong with a personal trainer, there’s a few details you need to understand before you start your consultation and regular sessions with them. While this blog shouldn’t scare you, it should however, prepare you to take on each meeting with your personal trainer with an open mindset and an optimistic outlook. They’re Going To Ask A LOT Of Questions: The first session you have with your personal trainer will be the most informative session, for the both of you. In order for your trainer to customize your personal plan, they need to know everything in terms of health goals, fitness goals, and health and exercise history. Remember they want to personalize your workout and get to know who the person is they are helping. Throughout your sessions, they’re still going to ask you things such as how you’re feeling, how the workouts are going, if the meal plans are easy to follow along, and so on. Be sure to give them honest answers so they can tweak where necessary. A Fitness Test: This should happen after they get to know you. This fitness test allows the trainer to see where you currently are in your fitness journey so they can give you a plan that accommodates your current situation before they build to the hard stuff. The test will help both you and your trainer to come up with short term and long term fitness goals that are realistic and reachable. They Can Be Intimidating: Everyone is...

How To Set Realistic Fitness Goals

One of the many reasons you may not reach your fitness goals is because they are impossible to achieve in the amount of time you are giving yourself to complete them. Not seeing that number on the scale by a certain date or not working out as much as you said you would may discourage you; but fear not, you probably just need to sit down and write down your goals realistically. Don’t think you can do that or not sure where to begin? We’re here to help you find your way. What are your goals? First, let’s sit down and truly consider your goals. Do you want to lose weight or gain muscle? Do you want to lose some weight for a special occasion or do you need to dock thirty pounds? All of the answers to these questions will determine your overarching goals and develop your routine to help you get started on the right track. What are your specific goals? Needing to “lose weight” is too general of a term. You need to really be honest with yourself and figure out how much weight it is you need to lose and what you are going to do to lose that certain amount of weight. The healthy way to losing weight is dropping anywhere from a half a pound to two pounds of weight a week. So if you need to lose ten pounds, then it should take you up to ten weeks to see your results, if you stick to a healthy diet combined with exercise. Make sure you are accountable Some people think this is hard...