Tips For Preparing For Your First Marathon

There are many reasons why people compete in marathons. It is a test of physical strength, determination, and it is an opportunity to support a charitable organization. However, if this is your first marathon, then there are several things that you need to be aware of to not only ensure that you enjoy your experience, but you do so safely.


Timing is Essential When it Comes to Marathon Training

It is recommended that 26 weeks is devoted to training, especially if this is your first marathon. Training will ensure that your muscles are conditioned for extended movement, can help improve endurance, and will mentally prepare you for a 26.2-mile marathon.

This is your first marathon – there will most likely be an issue leading up to the event. There are so many life events that can hinder training, especially if you have less than 26 weeks to do so. Traveling, sickness, and your job, can all hinder training progress. Extended training will help you accommodate if there are any hiccups during training.


Don’t Ever Run With a Full Stomach

It is recommended that you do not eat for about two hours before a marathon. If you do not wait long enough, the food will not be properly digested, and you may be a vomiting spectacle – or worse.


Do Not Endure Pain and Injury

Marathon running is largely automatic, with the same movement and same muscle group being engaged throughout the event. If something hurts while you are running for two days straight, then you should take a two-day rest. Depending on your physical fitness, it may be appropriate to take 4 to 5 days to ensure that aching muscles are properly acclimated.


Crazy Glucose Levels are not Your Friend

Glucose is your body’s go-to energy source. But the wrong sports drink at the wrong time can cause nausea and a sugar crash that can negatively affect your running. The best practice is to consume drinks that can replace some – not all – of the energy that is lost during the marathon as your body can only process so much glucose.


Happy Feet Make all the Difference When it Comes to a Marathon

Poorly made running shoes will only cause plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and poor form. After identifying if you have flat, high, or neutral arches, make sure to try on several pairs of shoes. Compared to street shoes, most running shoes would need to go up half a size.


Make Sure That You Pick the Right Marathon for Yourself

Outside of picking and choosing a marathon that is most important to you, you also need to be cognizant of any budget constraints and the time of year that the marathon will take place in. Costs can differ tremendously, but it’s usually best to attend a local marathon to shave off traveling costs. Fall races tend to be most popular, as temperatures will be cool and comfortable for longer runs.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissues. Amino acids also play a critical role in many physiological processes like muscle size and strength gains, brain function, mood swings, energy production, and recovery after a workout.


Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids

In all, there are 23 amino acids. Nine of these are classified as indispensable amino acids (IAA) and are usually called “essential amino acids.” What this means is that your body cannot manufacture them: you have to get them from food.

The remaining 14 amino acids are classified as dispensable amino acids (DAA) and are usually called “non-essential amino acids.” What this means is that your body can manufacture them by synthesizing other amino acids. You don’t need to get them from food.

Our Best Aminos will boost your performance by helping you work out longer and harder to stimulate gains, and they will also help you recover faster to support muscle growth


What You Need to Know about Protein Consumption

We get amino acids when we eat protein foods. We get protein by consuming meats, dairy products, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. With all these abundant sources of amino acid available to us, why do we need to buy protein powders and amino acid supplements?

The answer is bioavailability, which is the amount of available amino acids we can derive from a protein source.

Here are four critical factors that reduce the bioavailability in foods:

  1. The amount of fat in the protein source. While whole milk, for example, has plenty of protein, it also has less bioavailable protein than a food with less fat.
  2. The amount of cooking. Cooking often decomposes many amino acids.
  3. The form of food. Is the food solid or liquid?
  4. The efficiency of our digestive systems. Health, age, genetics, and other factors affect how well we can absorb the amino acids in food.

Since these four factors are difficult to control, bodybuilders take easy-to-digest protein powders and amino acid supplements to make sure that they are getting enough protein to rebuild the muscle tissue that they tear down after a great workout.


Here are some guidelines to increase your protein intake:

  1. Don’t substitute protein powders, bars, and tablets for regular meals high in protein. Be sure to also eat regular meals.
  2. Choose protein powders and bars that have a good selection of amino acids, particularly the nine essential amino acids.
  3. If you are using a free form amino acid supplement, get one that has a high dosage of the branch chain amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
  4. Take a protein supplement, such as BPI Sports ISO HD, immediately after a workout, ideally within 30 minutes of your workout. It is at this time that the body is most receptive to an inflow of amino acids. Whey protein is an example of a fast-digesting protein powder.
  5. Eat a balanced meal high in protein about two hours after your protein drink.

By understanding the role amino acids play in helping you achieve your fitness goals, you will be able to make better choices on how to feed your body to build muscle, increase strength, and lose fat.

Benefits of Fresh Meal Delivery for Dieters

The past couple of years, meal delivery services have been spotlighted due to its convenience, ease, and efficiency. Not only are home delivery services particularly beneficial for those with a busy lifestyle, but many people on a weight loss journey can remove the guesswork of counting calories and other micronutrients by relying on a home delivery service.

For dieters, these delivery services may be hard to determine if they can be helpful. Some of the benefits that are sometimes overlooked by fresh meal delivery services include:

Food Dishes Free of Allergies

No time is wasted sifting through produce and reading nutritional labels when it is done via a meal delivery service. Most delivery services will be cognizant of allergies and other preferences via a questionnaire or survey. This will allow the service to create meal plans that are tailor-made, removing all allergens and its remnants in your meals.

Avoid Nutritional Extremes

Longform, sustainable weight loss requires a permanent lifestyle change. Home delivery services will help you gauge proportions and avoid extremes. One of the factors that contribute to obesity is the lack of knowledge when it comes to portions. Home delivery services will offer specific quantities, promoting an educational experience for dieters. Instead of relying on freeze-dried or frozen meals that may not have the freshest ingredients, you experience satisfying, proportionate meals that’ll improve satiety.

Custom Meal Plans

Many dieters subscribe to a certain diet plan to help with their weight loss. Many of these diets include Atkins, Mediterranean, Paleo, and vegetarian. Most home delivery services will be aware of these dietary preferences, offering meal plans that follow diet guidelines. Meal plans can also be used to supplement a current diet plan with variety.

Food Delivery Services

Many fresh food delivery services have garnered a following via smartphone apps, offering convenience at your fingertips. This has also lowered costs, with many people being able to fix healthy food delivery services into their budget. Many fresh food delivery services derive many of their ingredients from independent, local farmers.

Can Fresh Meal Delivery Services Replace Home-Cooked Meals?

This is up to personal preference, but most dieters find a balance between home-cooked meals and freshly prepared, home delivery services. Home-cooked meals will always have superior, fresher ingredients. However, home delivery services can be particularly beneficial if you want to augment your meal plan with a variety of meals and snacks that are conveniently delivered to your door.

What is Creatine?

Athletes use a creatine supplement because it enhances sports performance. Although available in organ meats, it’s hard to get enough in a dietary form to stimulate a noticeable improvement in performance. While the supplemental form of creatine is new, creatine itself was first discovered by Michel Eugène Chevreun  as far back as 1832.

This nitrogenous organic acid supplies energy to all cells when Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) replenishes depleted energy reserves. The highest concentration of creatine is in the blood, brain, muscles, and testes.


A Boost to Athletic Performance

Creatine has acquired an almost mythical status among athletes because of the many performance-enhancing benefits it delivers when taken in the right way through a proper loading cycle.

If you are a strength athlete, you will build more muscle mass because of increased intensity. You will also feel almost tireless and lift more than you could before. As a result of these benefits, you will be able to improve your workouts, adding more sets, reps, or weights. Your muscles will look bigger because creatine inflates muscle cells, and this inflation stimulates better protein synthesis and increases body weight.

If you take part in a team sport that requires a stop-and-go type of activity, you will feel less tired because your improved muscular contraction enhanced your performance. And, if you are a track and field athlete, you’ll sprint faster because of improved stamina and increased anaerobic capacity.

Besides improving performance, creatine also plays a significant role in recovery, too. Athletes recover much faster from their game or workout because creatine reduces inflammation and muscle cell damage.

Our Best Creatine contains six advanced forms of creatine for increased strength, muscle gains, and recovery.

Who Should Take a Creatine Supplement?

The following population will benefit from taking a creatine supplement:

  • People who enjoy sports, particularly strength athletes, like bodybuilders and power lifters.
  • People who are aging.
  • People suffering from a neurodegenerative disease.
  • People with low creatine in their diet, like vegans and vegetarians

Still, creatine is not beneficial for everyone. People with kidney disease or diabetes should not take it.


Is it Safe?

Recent research shows that creatine is safe. It does not cause any cellular damage, nor does it adversely affect the liver, kidneys, heart, or muscles.

When creatine received bad press, it was only because of the side-effects from taking too much. It occurred when athletes exceeded the recommended dosage on the label because they believed that if a little was good, more must be better.

This excessive consumption resulted in side effects. Although not dangerous, these side effects were highly uncomfortable. They included stomach pain, nausea, muscle cramping, and diarrhea.


Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Anyone who is healthy can use creatine. But don’t use it if you have kidney or blood sugar problems. It is especially beneficial for you if you’re an athlete. It can increase fat-free mass, muscle fiber size, myosin, and muscle mass. It will improve your strength, power, and sprint performance. What’s more, creatine makes it easier to recover from faster from any sport, and even enhances bone regeneration.

Tone Your Body Without Even Realizing It

Strenuous aerobic and anaerobic exercise is the reality for those looking for sustainable weight loss or muscle gain. However, lifting heavy things isn’t the end all and be all of exercising. There are various ways that you can exercise throughout your day, rev up your metabolism, and stimulate muscle growth without even knowing it.
Keep moving and stay restless. People who tend to fidget can burn up to 350 extra calories a day. A combination of tapping your feet, playing video games that require you to be on your feet, standing up during commercial breaks, and walking around instead of sitting when talking on your phone can quickly add up to several hundred extra calories being burned a day.

Consume some coffee. Not only can the caffeine content give you a pick me up, but it can also rev up your metabolism for several hours. A revved up metabolism will burn more calories when you are at rest. It’s best to drink the coffee without any additives like white sugar. Consider a splash of flavored milk to offset any disagreeable taste.
Steps will suffice. Use your pedometer and wear it throughout a typical day. At the end of the day, see how many steps you did that day and then pledge to increase the number by about a quarter of the total steps. These extra steps can quickly add up and augment weight loss.
Engage your core and straighten up. Good posture does not only make you look more confident and leaner, but it can inadvertently strengthen your abdominal walls since they will constantly be engaged.

Exercising Is More Than Just Physical Movement – It Is a Mindset

It’s important to note that these type of passive exercises does not replace more strenuous activities that will elevate your heart rate for an extended period. Also, the calories lost during these type of activities does not give you the excuse to binge on desserts and other disagreeable foods.

These passive forms of exercise can help you break through a weight-loss plateau, offer a bit of variety to your regimen, and can augment the results of regular training. Just remember that your diet is the main contributor to your weight loss journey – weight loss happens in the kitchen.



Is There an Association with Sugar and Your Hunger?

There are many reasons as to why we crave sugar, with it even having an evolutionary basis. The brain loves sugar – real-time MRI scans of the brain show that consumption of sugar leads to a release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s reward center.

Not only does your brain will inadvertently associate sugars with a pleasurable dopamine release, but many people also consume sugars as an emotional crutch, with the physiological activities of sugar in the brain being similar to that of a substance abuser.

For those on a diet to lose weight, sugar can be detrimental to progress. Here is how sugar is contributing to your weight loss plateau, and how banishing it can help not only your weight loss efforts, but also your overall well-being:

  • Sugar consumption spikes insulin levels. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, and the body responds to it by producing insulin, signaling to your muscle, liver, and fat cells to take in the excess sugar from the blood. When this energy isn’t used up, then it tends to be stored in the form of fats.
  • Destabilized blood sugar levels and cortisol. Cortisol has a catabolic and anabolic effect on the body.
  • A sugar crash can be disastrous to your overall well-being. When a large amount of simple carbohydrates like sugar is consumed, your body will become lethargic due to the abnormally rapid rise in sugars in your bloodstream. Some of the more common symptoms of a sugar crash include being excessively tired, irritability, and lethargy.


Control Your Appetite by Controlling Sugar Consumption

There are many macronutrients that dieters need to be aware of like calories, protein, and carbohydrates. However, sugar consumption tends to be pushed to the wayside, with other micronutrients like calories being overly glorified.

Low glycemic index diets will be cognizant of sugar levels and how your body reacts to it, especially since there is a direct correlation between blood glucose levels hunger. Replacing highly sugary foods with foods that release sugars much more slowly can help promote a sense of satiety post-meal, as well as reduce subsequent hunger. Here is how you can reduce sugar consumption:


Increase fiber intake. Fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, as it is digested much more slowly than other types of foods. Keep in mind that the kind of fiber that you consume will also be necessary, with soluble fibers being more efficient at lowering blood sugar. Most leafy greens, whole-grain sources, and legumes are viable sources of soluble fiber.


Replace white sugar with stevia sources. A natural herb found in South America, stevia has zero calories but is 40 times sweeter than normal granulated sugar.

There are about 96 calories in two tablespoons of white sugar. If you drink one cup of coffee each day with two tablespoons of sugar, you’ll be consuming 35,040 calories over the span of a year. Not only will you be able to shave off 10 pounds over the course of a year, but your liver will also be healthier if you switch from white sugar to stevia.


Take up the habit of utilizing the sugars that you do consume. Put sugar levels to good use by exercising regularly. Glucose is a form of energy, so it makes sense to spend it via aerobic and anaerobic exercises in the case that you do decide to indulge. Regular exercising can also help improve insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream.

What is Whey Protein?

There are two proteins in cows’ milk: whey and casein. When you add renin (an enzyme derived from calves stomachs), it acts as a coagulant. The milk then separates the two proteins into curds (the casein) and a liquid (the whey).

Little Miss Muffet from the well-known nursery rhyme ate curds and whey, and so have you if you’ve ever had cottage cheese. However, cottage cheese has had most of its whey removed.

After separating the whey from the casein, the whey is filtered and purified. This process removes much of the fat and lactose. When whey is dehydrated, it becomes a fine powder. Most of us are familiar with this form. (Read a related blog post here.)


Whey Protein Benefits

You need protein to keep your metabolism running smoothly and to aid in muscle recovery after workouts. When you supplement with whey, it’s easy to meet your daily protein goals. Whey is highly bioavailable, and it contains all of the amino acids (the building blocks of protein), so it’s a complete protein. Your body absorbs whey quickly and puts it right to use, delivering nutrients to your muscles, and helping them to recover post-workout.

Many people believe that whey increases fat loss, but it is not the whey itself that reduces fat – it’s the addition of more protein to your diet.


Potential Side Effects

It is possible that if you are allergic to milk, you could be allergic to whey. Symptoms may include nausea, cramps, headache, and general fatigue. Even if you’re not allergic to milk, If you consume too much whey, you may also experience these symptoms. Keep in mind your daily protein requirements based on your body weight and nutritional goals.

If you have liver or kidney damage, consult a doctor before you increase your protein intake. Whey is not at all harmful to the liver or kidneys but can worsen pre-existing conditions.


Recommended Use

Making a whey protein shake is a great way to start your day whether you’re headed to the gym or the office. It’s easy to toss a scoop or two of whey powder into a blender bottle with your preferred mixer: water, almond/soy/coconut milk, or regular cows’ milk.

If you have time to make something a bit more substantial and you have a blender, try a smoothie. To your mixer and protein powder combo, add a few ice cubes and then add vegetables such as a handful of spinach or any leafy greens, a cup of fruit of your choice, and a healthy fat. You might pick half an avocado or two tablespoons of nut or seed butter. If you use frozen fruit, you can eliminate the ice cubes.

You can also get creative and add whey protein to cookies, muffins, protein bites, and more.

We recommend BPI Sports Whey-HD™ because it has 25 grams of protein per serving and does not contain any fillers or maltodextrin (a complex carbohydrate with a high glycemic index). It also gives you 5 grams of branched chain amino acids to combat against muscle protein breakdown, making your workouts more powerful. Whey-HD comes in a range of flavors, so we’re sure you’ll find one – or more – that you like! In fact, we think you’ll love this recipe for Coconut Banana Pie shake using Whey-HD.

Click here to learn more about BPI Sports Whey-HD.