How to Use the Winter Season for Gains in the Gym

We as human beings are creatures of habit. Earning gains in the gym by adding muscle and weight are typically seasonal. Another way of saying it is that they are a phase in your training protocol. I don’t care if you are someone who just started working out or if you have been at it for years, periodization of your workout protocol is critical. Many people use this time of year to increase their gains in the gym because we typically eat more, spend more time inside, and because of the cold weather we aren’t typically in bathing suits and similar apparel. These along with other factors create a great environment to hit the gym hard, train heavier than normal, and add 10, 15, 20 pounds or more during this season!

Let’s start with the training aspect: Gains in the gym for the majority of people are not easy to come by. Genetics play an obvious role in this but our training protocol is absolutely critical to create the catabolic effect needed to ultimately recover in a way that stretches your body to grow to be able to handle the type of weight you are attempting to push day in and day out. For example in a gain phase during a leg day I may do 6-7 sets of Squats ultimately finishing with a rep count of around 6. Keep in mind this would be before 4-6 more exercises would be accomplished each attempting in the neighborhood of 4-5 sets a piece. The goal must be to absolutely annihilate a specific muscle group in order for the rest, recovery, and repair process to take effect. ***I will include a sample workout split at the end of this post.


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Next let’s look at the nutrition component: It can be argued that the nutrition component could be ranked as the top priority (and I am not dismissing the vital nature of a sound nutrition protocol) but without the necessary training to specifically achieve massive gains in the gym you will not get the body prepared to begin the rest, recovery, and repair process. Nutrition provides the fuel necessary to complete these very difficult workouts along with the vital nutrients (both macro and micro) to recover and get you ready to go back into the gym fresh for your next workout. Now let’s look at some of my top bodybuilding foods. My favorite proteins that I use for gains in the gym are free range eggs, grass fed beef, wild caught fatty fish (like salmon), and an amino acid complex known as Master Amino Pattern. My favorite carbs that I use for gains in the gym are organic sweet potatoes, organic gluten free oat meal, wild rice along with other complex carbohydrates like barley (properly sourced). My favorite fats come from coconut oil, avocados, almonds, omega 3 oils (outside of things like fish I highly recommend a high quality fish oil). ***I will include a sample daily meal regiment at the end of the post.

Finally rest and recovery: To maximize your gains in the gym you must provide your body adequate rest/recovery along with hydration (I will explain why I added the hydration component in this section). First let’s look at sleep. Our bodies need a great night’s sleep to allow for the production of human growth hormone which happens primarily during early sleep. During REM sleep the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue. HGH circulates during this stage of sleep along with the ability to replenish immune cells. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and overall physical well being. I recommend to get about 8 hours of sleep a night to maximize these effects. Hydration through non-tap water is critical for flushing toxins such as lactic acid produced during strenuous workouts. Drinking plenty of water will help with your energy levels and reduce cramping that many people experience due to heavy workouts.

If you are serious about making gains in the gym then give these tips a try. Now stop reading and get to work!

Coach Steve

Steve’s bio: Steve Lynch has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. Through his career he has owned multiple personal training and lifestyle coaching companies. He has worked with thousands of clients and helped them with designing workout programs and healthy nutrition and lifestyle guidelines to live by. Steve is a contributor for the Lehigh Valley’s largest local television news station WFMZ and conducts live segments as a fitness expert and nutrition coach.

Daily Nutrition Layout
Gains Protocol (Days 1, 3, & 5)
Gains Protocol (Days 2, 4, & 6)
Core Protocol (3 days a week)

Holiday Survival Guide

It is that time of year! Enter my HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE that will help you tackle the typical issues people run into during this season. This time of year tends to be very emotional for most people. For some it is a time of joy and happiness as they are engaged with family and friends they don’t normally get to see. For others it can be a very sad and lonely time because of the lack of these strong bonds and relationships. Nevertheless, most people are engaged in activities and lifestyle adjustments they don’t normally particpate in (excessive alcohol consumption, overindulging on sweets just to name a few).

It has been my experience that people overthink things and are so focused on the perverbial “dot” that they do not see the big picture. This is where my HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE can add tremendous value. Let’s say you have been going to the gym 3-4 days a week. You invested in working out with a personal trainer. You made serious lifestyle changes with your diet (maybe things like cutting out soft drinks, limiting alcohol consumption, eliminating foods like pasta etc). In return for these “sacrifices” you have lost body fat, increased strength, and boosted your energy (not so much of a sacrifice is it). On top of this you committed to journaling your transformation process. Most people journal to help during those times where you need to reflect on past mistakes in order to avoid future pitfalls. In short you have literally changed your life! Here is my first suggestion: You need to identify that the person you are afraid of becoming over the holiday season is actually not you at all but a shell of your former self. You have now transformed (and are continuing to transform) into a greater version of you. This visualization and realization will put you in a position of power over your former bad habits. That person is not you, that lifestyle is not your lifestyle… NO MORE!

Does this mean that you can’t “live a little” over the holidays? No not at all! In fact I encourage it for my clients! Why? Because I know the new you is not enticed by the things that the old you participated in. In fact when it pertains to the relationship I have with my clients I know they are capable of so much more than they expect from themselves. So when they re-engage in old behaviors, 9 times out of 10 they have greater control, “cheat” substantially less, and in turn amaze themselves and have the self realization that they can do this. They are no longer a slave to their former selves! This my friends is truly amazing to witness.

So be confident. Understand that you are not a slave to your desires. Enjoy yourself with your family and friends. Indulge but do not overindulge. And if you fall off the horse, get right back on it! This part is critical. Do not allow time to get away from you. If you allow it days will turn into weeks, and weeks into months. If you are in a good lifestyle routine (working out, meal prepping etc) and you deviate from it a little or even drastically, you need to get right back on your routine the moment you realize you have gone off track. Remember, tomorrow is a dirty word. If you have not established these critical lifestyle enhancements then get with a professional, develop a strategy and action plan, and most importantly get to work immediately!

I hope the tips I shared with you here in my HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE bring you peace and joy this holiday season.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year,

Coach Steve


Steve’s bio: Steve Lynch has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. Through his career he has owned multiple personal training and lifestyle coaching companies. He has worked with thousands of clients and helped them with designing workout programs and healthy nutrition and lifestyle guidelines to live by. Steve is a contributor for the Lehigh Valley’s largest local television news station WFMZ and conducts live segments as a fitness expert and nutrition coach.

Candy Cane Ice Cream!


Candy Cane Ice Cream! I can’t wait to share one of my new favorite recipes with you! This candy cane ice cream recipe is a healthier alternative to traditional ice cream and a satisfying treat that reminds me of Christmas. While it may sound like a lot of effort, I assure you it’s super simple and totally worth it! Dairy free, tons of flavor, and no nasty unnecessary ingredients.

Ingredients:
One can full fat organic coconut milk
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp raw organic honey
1 tsp organic peppermint extract
1-2 crushed organic candy canes


Whisk together coconut milk, egg yolks, and honey in a saucepan on medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens slightly. Then add peppermint extract. Cool mixture in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Once cooled, add to your ice cream machine and follow instructions from the manufacturer for your specific machine.

Once ice cream begins to freeze, add the crushed candy cane until well incorporated. Store in your freezer and enjoy in moderation!

A word about ingredients: Please note that we always use the most pure organic ingredients as possible in our recipes and we recommend that you do the same. I was able to find organic candy canes without any dyes or artificial flavorings at our local Wegmans. You can always check online if they are not available where you live. Remember these are also seasonal items so stock up around Christmas time!

Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

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The weather is getting colder and it’s time to bust out the fall/winter meal plans! Enter our warm, hearty and super healthy turkey chili recipe. This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare and lasts for at least two meals for our family of four which is a bonus if you are like me and don’t like the idea of having to cook every night. I love to serve our healthy turkey chili with paleo “cornbread” muffins which are also filling, nourishing and delicious. You can check out that recipe from one of my favorite natural health bloggers here.

As with all recipes you will find on this blog, we use organic ingredients whenever possible and we suggest you do the same…Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Olive Oil
1 large onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and diced)
3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 pound organic ground turkey
1 can organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (28oz) organic whole peeled tomatoes with juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
*Some of our favorite optional toppings include: Diced avocado, cilantro, labne

INSTRUCTIONS:

Soften onions and peppers in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and saute. Add the ground turkey and cook until white. Add your spices. While this mixture is cooking prepare your other ingredients. Add your tomatoes and their juice to a crock pot and break them into bite size pieces with a spoon. Next add your chick peas. Finally, add your turkey/veggie mixture to crock pot and mix well. Set crock pot to lowest setting and let those flavors melt together for at least 2 hours. Don’t forget to prepare your muffins and optional toppings while your chili continues to cook. Yum!

How to Burn Fat Drinking Coffee

Recently on the news I walked people through how I make my fat burning coffee. This is a ritual for me and I would encourage you to think bigger than just having a cup of joe to get your day started. Everything we do to/for our body will have an equal reaction. I look at this cup of fat burning coffee that kickstarts my day as a brainboosting critical component to get me started on the right track. The ingredients added to my fat burning coffee are carefully selected. Not just what they are but where they come from.
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For example if you decided to use a traditional stick of commercial grade butter vs the grass fed butter I described you would not get near the health benefit. In fact you would take something of high nutritional value and diminish it to the point of being unhealthy. Remember it is not just “you are what you eat” it is also “you are what they eat” and in this case “they” are cows. Take ownership of your life and please let us know how we can help you in your quest towards optimal health. Take a look at this article to understand what I am referring to:

Health benefits of grass fed butter

P.S Remember, this coffee that I make is part of a complete and methodically thought out nutrition plan. If you just start adding high amounts of fat to your diet without modifying other areas of your diet you may experience adverse effects such as weight gain. Have a plan and nail it!
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1) Boil water and steep desired amount of coffee in French Press (I use 6 tablespoons of coffee grounds and fill my frech press). Let sit for 4-6 minutes.
2) Take 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil, 4 ounces of coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of beef collagen, and coconut palm sugar to taste (if you use sweetener) and place in your blender.
3) Add coffee to blender and mix at medium-high speed for 45 seconds
4) Pour and enjoy!

This comes out to about 30 ounces of coffee and is a perfect amount for 2 people.

Enjoy,

Coach Steve


Steve’s bio: Steve Lynch has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. Through his career he has owned multiple personal training and lifestyle coaching companies. He has worked with thousands of clients and helped them with designing workout programs and healthy nutrition and lifestyle guidelines to live by. Steve is a contributor for the Lehigh Valley’s largest local television news station WFMZ and conducts live segments as a fitness expert and nutrition coach.

Pack On Muscle With This Nutrition Protocol!

I wanted to put together a simple, helpful guide for guys looking to pack on some lean muscle. Follow these muscle building nutrition protocol tips to maximize your gains:

1) First thing in the morning take in roughly 20-30 grams of protein from a quality protein shake. This provides quick uptake of protein to “brake the fast” from your sleep.

2) Breakfast should be about 60 minutes later. Scramble 5-6 organic, free range eggs. You can use some healthy cheese and vegetables such as peppers and onions in your scrambled eggs. Also have 1/2 -1 cup of oatmeal (use almond or coconut milk if you prefer milk in oatmeal.)

3) Mid morning between lunch you should take in another protein shake or bar (see me for information regarding which protein supplements will suit you best) with a piece of fruit. This should also been done between lunch and dinner. Nuts (such as almonds) are also a good source of protein and healthy fat. You can also snack on veggies throughout the day.

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4) Lunch should be a healthy source of protein (chicken breast, lean meat or fish) with healthy greens and veggies. Use olive oil as your dressing (this is a very healthy source of fat) and a complex carb like yams.

5) Dinner should mimic lunch (Protein, carb and vegetables)
It is okay to have beef (must be organic and grass fed). You do not have a weight concern (if you are following a muscle gaining nutrition program) and this will only provide you with more calories.

6) Before you go to bed have one more protein shake. This will provide your muscles further nutrition to feed on and also provide you with more calories.

This muscle building nutrition protocol is what I have used time and time again to add 10-15 pounds of muscle when I was going through my gain phase. I also utilize an amino acid complex known as Master Amino Pattern before and after my workouts. One last thought; your workout schedule will also provide some variation in this nutrition layout. See me for further information on how this needs to be addressed.

Set goals and make strides every day towards accomplishing them!

Bon Appétit

Coach Steve

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Steve’s bio: Steve Lynch has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. Through his career he has owned multiple personal training and lifestyle coaching companies. He has worked with thousands of clients and helped them with designing workout programs and healthy nutrition and lifestyle guidelines to live by. Steve is a contributor for the Lehigh Valley’s largest local television news station WFMZ and conducts live segments as a fitness expert and nutrition coach.