Here are 5 key essentials that will help you not miss out

Get the most out of your 2019 "Get Fit" regimen

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Kicking-off the new year with the new you? I'm sure you are well off to a great start with your new health program, breaking a sweat every day, eating the healthiest meals, or maybe even intermittent fasting. Then life is golden right? …. maybe not so much. Whether you haven't had time to stay consistent or you haven't quite started yet, life happens. But sticking to your new year's resolution is going to take commitment. So, this means coming up with a plan and sticking to it. And regardless of when you jump start into your goals, try to keep in mind no matter what you do in the gym or what you eat, the other key essentials that will put a bow on your health program would be the supplements you take to compliment your workouts and healthy lifestyle.

Here are 5 key supplements, you may want to contemplate adding to your routine:

1) Whey Protein

Whey protein is a milk protein that absorbs into the body quickly. When your body digests the protein, it will start to stimulate the repair of the tissue. For years studies have shown taking whey protein immediately or up to 30 minutes after is essential. This 30-minute window is known as an "anabolic window", which means it is a short period of time in which your muscles are like a sponge for protein. Although there are more and more recent studies coming out that suggests the 30-minute window is longer and may not be limited to after exercise. Let's face it, we all forget sometimes after a workout to drink protein. And when we do remember it is not always in that 30-minute time frame. While there are many forms of protein out there, whey protein contains a wide range of amino acids, which are absorbed quickly. And when you consume a protein like whey immediately after your work out, you're supplying the body with amino acids they need to repair and grow when it is most beneficial. Studies have shown that it can help with losing body fat, help increase strength and muscle gain. Whey protein also contains bioactive that may offer other health benefits.

2) Pre-Workout

Although there is a slew of pre-workout supplements on the market, you-have-to-do-your-research-here! For the record, I am a super fan of pre-workout, but hey it works for some people better than others. And I am a fan of it on certain days. Not everyone is going to be in the best mood to work out every day after a long day at work or whatever it may be. Sometimes we all just need that kick start to get in the mood and get going. So, on those days… yes pre-workout is a must. For those other days that I am dying to get into the gym and get my work out, I stay away from the pre-workout. One of the reasons, like most supplements, pre-workout formulas are not regulated by the FDA for safety. Also, only if the product is certified through a third-party regulatory body, like NSF or informed choice, will you know that the product contains what it said it contains. Those organizations follow a strict vetting process to verify the quality and purity of supplements. There are also ways to fuel to body with the right foods that give the body similar "pre-work out" boosts. A banana or a sliced piece of bread with some jam can give you 15 grams of carbs, and that slight boost you need.

3) BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of muscle. Three of the nine essential amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine which are eventually condensed into powder form for consumption. However, some protein-rich food products like dairy products, fish, meats, and eggs contain many BCAAs. These amino acids are super important to maintaining the muscle you have or are building. They help prevent your body from breaking down muscle and using it as energy (catabolism). The awesome part is you can drink BCAA's any time of the day, before work out, or after work out.

4) Beta Alanine or Casein

Onto another amino acid, beta-alanine. Beta alanine promotes and maintains muscle endurance and output, supports muscle capacity, and fights muscle fatigue. According to the International Olympic Committee, they have earmarked beta alanine as a supplement that can directly improve sports performance.

Casein is protein that is slowly digested into the system. This is primarily due to its structure since its coagulation in the stomach slows the rate of gastric emptying. When you sleep for a long number of hours your body is fasting. During your sleep your body is breaking down muscle fibers. If you are taking casein, it will help rebuild those tissues, as you sleep and as you lose muscle fibers from training.

5) Vitamins

While there are many vitamins out there, here are my top 5 for a healthy lifestyle:

Vitamin A- Healthy eyes, growth and development, teeth, skin

Vitamin B-Energy, Immunity, iron absorption

Vitamin C- immune system, repair of all body tissues, formation of collagen

Vitamin D-Strong healthy bones and teeth, great source of calcium

Vitamin E- healthy skin and eyes, blood circulation

Keep Track While You are On the Track

Which running app is the best?

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I was talking to a friend recently, who just picked up running. She wanted to lose 60 lbs. She had been running for a couple of months, but she was already bored. She, knowing that I had done a number of races, wanted my advice on how to get more excited about it. My advice: get a running app for your phone.

I was not being flippant or dismissing her, but was telling the truth. Running apps are super useful for recording your running metrics like distance, time, and pace. Running apps can sync to your playlists and heart rate monitors, FitBits, or Apple Watches. And of course, you can share comments and photos about your workout. After our conversation, I began to look at the different running apps and these are the ones that stick out to me:

Map My Run by Under Armour

I'm going to be honest. I was already partial to Map My Run because it logged all of my routes, but it has been a while since I used it. I also loved that it was a great journal for all of your workouts. Since I was regular on it, some great improvements have been made.

  1. Different activities- Change your activity from just a regular run to a treadmill run, group run, gym workout, or swim.
  2. Voice feedback -Keeps you informed of your distance and time.
  3. Mile Tracker- Keep track of the total miles run on the same pair of shoes. This lets you know when it is time to change.
  4. You could also choose to upgrade to get live tracking for safety, training plans, guided running, heart rate analysis, and predictive guided running.

Strava

Starva is more for marathoners, bikers, and triathletes. They use Strava to connect with their friends all over the world and compete. Because they are geared towards setting big goals, they do not offer a lot of perks. Only the basics are free. If you want perks, you have to do the upgrade. Here are some unique points about Strava:

  1. Easy notes- keep notes on each run through virtual "sheets" that automatically come up for each workout.
  2. Challenges- choose from many challenges and virtual races.
  3. Run Clubs- Connect with run clubs in your area and not just virtual

RunKeeper

After checking RunKeeper out, it looks like the one that is best for my friend. It seems like it is great for novice runners. It is oriented towards fitness goals with some competition. In fact, it seems experience based. Here is why I would say that:

  1. Voice Feedback- You have more choices with the vocal feedback. You can choose the accent, which stats, and how often you receive feedback.
  2. Easy to understand- Modules are step-by-step and with large print. This seems simple, but it means a lot to new runners.
  3. There are not a lot of perks unless you upgrade.

Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club is geared towards that in-between runner. They are kept motivated by challenges that they can join. They also are given awards and achievements for their milestones. These are milestones like your longest run to your fastest 5K. Other perks are:

  1. Mileage status- You can achieve a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum status.
  2. Buy shoes- You can purchase new shoes from the app.
If you are a new runner or are thinking about getting into running, I hope you can use this information. As for me, I look forward to giving each one of these apps a try.

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