Red Bull. Rock Star. Amp. Nos.
These are only a few of the myriad of energy drink populating grocery store aisles and gas station refrigerators the world over. However, these energy drinks are far from energizing, leading, instead, to a laundry list of negative effects.
That being said, it's impossible to ban such a practice. In fact, imbibing some form of stimulant is simply a part of human nature. South Americans chewed coca leaves, Asians drank tea and coffee reigned supreme in the Middle East.
Though you shouldn't swear off stimulants entirely, here are the safer options to turn to for a quick buzz.
For thousands of years, tea has been heralded for its health benefits, however the best part is the variety. You can get Lipton or you can head on down to the local hippie store and buy mixtures of dried leaves and fruit. To sweeten, honey is your best option as honey also comes with health benefits in the form of antibacterial properties. Some also believe eating local honey helps with allergies because it gets you to ingest weaker versions of local pollen thus acting in a way similar to a vaccination. How truthful is this? I really couldn't tell you.
When I say coffee, I'm not referring to Pumpkin Spice Lattes or double whipped cream, whole milk dessert creations passed off as coffee. I'm also not referring to drinking only coffee throughout the day. I'm talking about the straight up black drink. While this one is a bit more debated currently in terms of health benefits, there's still reason to believe it does stave off certain negative health concerns. Again, like tea, there are many variations (though, to be honest, the flavor differences are not that dramatic). Instead of sugar, use honey. If you want, a bit of milk goes a long way to really take away the bitterness.
Your body needs water to run correctly. The less it has, the more gummed up everything gets. Think of it like oil in your car. This liquid collects debris while lubricating the engine for a smooth performance. If this doesn't get changed out, performance declines because more shit gets lodged in places it shouldn't. Keep it that way long enough and eventually you'll kill your engine. As for your internal engine, the less water you have, the more energy your body spends keeping you going. Therefore, if you drink enough water, your body will need less energy thus feeling more energized.
As water cleans out the body, sleep cleans out the brain. It's the same idea.
If you have more weight to carry around, your body is going to overexert itself. While you don't have to become an Olympic athlete, you should at least fall within a healthy weight category for you age and height.
A Note on Alertness
Never forget that you will always feel a little tired, especially as you get older. No matter how many coffees you have and no matter how much water you drink, there will always be a sleepy feeling, and this is okay. If you had your body and mind going at 100% all the time every day, you'd wear yourself down and not be able to outrun a predator. It's merely a part of your body's natural inclination to save energy for moments when you actually need it.
A huge thank you to Azax for prompting this topic!
Vacations are expensive. To save money, we all cut where we can. If, for instance, you're off to an event like BlizzCon, one of the first things to go is the rental car. With buses and taxis running to the area from the airport and the event only happening in one location, there's really no need to shell out the extra cash when you can walk.
Therein lies the rub.
While fast food places surround you, it's not exactly an ideal situation for clean eating. And while you could cheat, you have worked damn hard to stay clean. This trip is not going to mess you up. However, every choice comes with a sacrifice, and for clean eating in this situation, that means traversing the unknown to find good food.
Here's how to stay clean.
Rule 1: 30 Minutes Max
To keep the journey sane, do not look further than a 30 minute walk. There's no telling what the weather will be like, and you want to give yourself time to enjoy the vacation outside of food shopping.
Rule 2: Only Chains
Specialty stores are not guaranteed to have meal staples. Targets, Wal-Marts, QFCs and other big name brands are. Because you want to minimize your time hunting for clean food, it's safer to go with locations that have a layout you're familiar with.
If you will not have a smart phone, do research before leaving.
Head to Google Maps, find your hotel location and search for "grocery stores". Once you find a store that looks good to you, write down the directions.
Let's assume you're lodged right around the Anaheim Convention Center. In 30 minutes from this point, you can walk about two Anaheim blocks. This means you can reach a:
Rule 3: Be Flexible
The season and region will directly influence the food that's available, especially when we're talking about veggies. If they don't have exactly what you're looking for, it's totally okay to compromise.
Rule 4: Ready-to-Eat
You won't have a kitchen. You won't have utensils. You won't have plates. You won't have bowls. Basically, there will be no way to cook save for the microwave. Because of this, get pre-packaged and ready-to-eat veggies, meats and grains. Should you have a can opener, you can extend into the canned aisle.
Rule 5: Know What You Need
If you've been eating clean for a while now, you can guesstimate how much of each macro you'll need to get through however many days you'll be in your hotel room. If you can't, do the math before you go shopping. This will make sure you either buy enough or don't buy too much. It will also get you thinking about what you want to buy - something you'll get to plan fully on that 30 minute walk.
A huge thank you to Lee for prompting this topic!
In short, BlizzCon was fantastic! The weather was perfect (as usual) and the atmosphere indescribable. It's always so exhilarating being surrounded by thousands of others that share a love of video games.
As the first post since the event, I'm going to write down a summary of where I was able to get to before having to take off.
30 minutes steady state cardio
Delts: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Military Press - 20 lbs
Barbell upright row - 30 lbs
Barbell rear delt raise - 30 lbs
Front lat raise - 5 lbs
Back : 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Barbell shrug - 38.8 lbs
Straight leg deadlift - 38.8 lbs
Bent over row - 38.8 lbs
30 minutes HIIT
Chest: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Bench press - 35 lbs
Incline bench press - 35 lbs
Decline bench press - 35 lbs
Triceps: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Close grip bench press - 18.8 lbs
Triceps extension bar - 15 lbs
Hamstrings: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Self-assisted inverse leg curl
Lying leg curls - 33 lbs
Deadlift - 60 lbs
Biceps: 2 Exercises - 4 sets - 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Barbell curl - 16 lbs
Drag curl - 16 lbs
30 minutes steady state cardio
Quads: 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Squat - 55 lbs
Leg Extensions - 55 lbs
Front squat - 38.8 lbs
Glutes: 3 - 4 Exercises - 4 sets - 12/10/8/8 reps - 60 sec active recovery
Hip bridge - 58.8 lbs
Bent knee good mornings - 38.8 lbs
All fours kickback
30 minutes HIIT
Repeat Day 1 weight routine
30 minutes steady state cardio
Daily Calories: 1700
Average weight: 113 lbs
What I Learned
Don't eat too little. I started freaking myself out 4 weeks before BlizzCon, dropped my calories to 1500 and was tempted to drop them further. Do NOT do this. Because I was depriving my body of energy, I began losing some serious muscle progress. I then bumped myself up to 1700 and started to gain muscle while still losing fat. Rule of thumb: if you feel like you're starving yourself on a cut, you probably are.
Change isn't fast. This is both for positive and negative change. I stopped working out about five days prior to the Con and will start working out again on Tuesday. That's two weeks of not working out and shoving my face with fabulously fatty foods I hadn't tasted in two months. Currently, I weigh 115 and still have that bitchin' leg definition I was so proud of before leaving. The point is to not get too upset with yourself if you can't stick to a schedule for brief stints of time. Just get back to it as soon as you can, and it's all good.
Take more pictures. I have a severe lack of progress pictures, and for that, I am sad. But it's never too late to start! Every month I will start posting progress pictures here as I get ready to take on some seriously buff Sonya cosplay next BlizzCon.
This blog is definitely going to continue, but I'm going to slow down the posts to about one each Sunday. And, as always, feel free to send me any topics you'd like to see or any success stories you have. It's great to hear!
As for next week: where to shop for food in Anaheim during BlizzCon - a great question I was asked while down there.
Until then! :D
Co-host of HeroesForge, founder of Battle to Be Better, gamer, singer and all around happy person.