Question: how do you know if someone is vegetarian or vegan? Answer: don’t worry, they’ll tell you. This joke showcases the scrutiny that many vegetarians and vegans face in the modern world. While we all have known or heard someone who couldn’t talk enough about the benefits of going vegan or vegetarian with the smug pretension of a college hipster, the fact is that there are many health and nutritional reasons why going meatless is better. One of the biggest concerns, however, is how to maximize muscle gains if you don’t have the readily available protein in meat. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here are the top ways to help build muscle while being vegetarian (or vegan).
For many vegetarians, they define their diet with the absence of meat. However, not all vegetarians are created equal. While some choose to incorporate the root of that word (pun intended), many non-meat eaters are happy with processed junk foods in their diet. When it comes to fitness and nutrition, however, the key is to eat the right foods to ensure you get the proper nutrients. Some of the best non-meat foods for protein are:
Utilize Protein Powders
If you know anyone who builds muscle, you’ve probably seen a big jug of protein powder on their counter. If you’re vegetarian, it’s important that you decide at what level of vegetarianism you want to be. Some allow milk and dairy products, some are strictly no meat by-products at all. If you are in the dairy eating crowd, most protein powders are ok. If you don’t want any milk, though, you have to look for powders that are certified Kosher. Once you find a powder that meets your standards, you are ready to start bulking up.
Keep Things Balanced
One of the biggest challenges that any respecting vegetarian faces is a vitamin deficiency. Vitamins like Iron, Calcium, and Zinc are readily found in most meats, making it hard for a vegetarian diet to stay balanced. Thus, keep track of plants that have high concentrations of these elements, so you don’t wind up with a faulty system.
When it comes to building muscle on a vegetarian diet, it may take a bit more research and legwork, but at the end of the day, you can get the same results while being much healthier than your meat-eating counterparts. Going vegetarian means your recovery time is shorter, and your body regenerates much faster. If you’re looking to work out and build muscle, look no further than A4 Fitness. With gyms in West LA and Santa Monica, it’s never been easier to find a gym that can suit your fitness needs.
Your fitness routine should not end when you leave the gym. Taking care of yourself after your work out, is as important as the work out its self, so here are some things that you should do after your workout.
Rehydrate: Our bodies are 75% water and we need to keep it that way to stay healthy. After a long sweaty workout, you will definitely need to replenish your fluids. Skip the sugary drinks for plain water or something with electrolytes.
Refuel: Working out burns energy so a post work out snack is recommended. Opt for some fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your metabolism firing. Letting yourself go hungry after a workout may seem like a good idea- but you risk putting your body into storage mode. If your body doesn’t know when its next meal may be, it is more likely to store any food that you do eat later on.
Shower: This one may seem obvious especially if you’re living in a warm city like Los Angeles, but if you are juggling a heavy schedule, even a quick shower is a must on your to-do list after a workout. Not only will you feel refreshed, and smell better, you are also helping avoid getting sick or catching pesky ringworm- especially when the weather is hot.
Tend to your hurts: A hot shower helps sore muscles, but you may need a bit more. If you participate in a contact sport such as boxing, or if you are just naturally clumsy, you want to tend to any bruises or cuts that you may have acquired. Ice and Neosporin are great for tending minor hurts. Natural substances such as Arnica can help not only with sore muscles, but also with bruising.
Get Your Beauty Sleep: This is just generally important, but especially so if you are working out on a regular basis. Sleeping helps your body recharge and heal from the strain of your workout. A regular sleep schedule will also improve your mood and help you avoid getting off track with your fitness goals.
Staying fit is important, but so is taking care of yourself along the way. To make the most of your healthy lifestyle, make sure to work with an experienced personal trainer in Los Angeles or wherever you are.
If you have never been injured while training in the gym, you should consider yourself lucky and of course aim to keep it that way. Safety is a high priority in most formal gyms and fitness classes for a reason: injuries are difficult and, at best, will tend to set you back in your routine. If you do happen to get injured during your work out, here are some tips to minimize the damage.
If it hurts, stop. You may be tempted to try and push past the pain, but if something feels painful, or simply feels wrong, calling a time out is always the best choice. If you participate in a contact sport such as boxing or Muay Thai, you may need to stop the sparing session if you get hit.
Let your Instructor Know: Your instructor probably has experience dealing with a variety of injuries and can tell you what you should do next.
Assess the extent of your injuries: Most injuries are not an emergency situation. However, if you feel that you may need medical attention, you should figure out when and how to seek it out. For instance, if you’ve hit your head, you may have a concussion, which means that driving is probably not the best idea- especially if traffic can be an issue as it can be in Los Angeles.
Let your doctor know: Even if an injury seems minor, it is always a good idea to let your doctor know that you have been injured during your next checkup. Even if the information seems frivolous to you, there are injuries that take their toll in the long run. For instance, you should always let your optometrist know if you’ve been hit in the eye because that will allow the doctor to check for signs of serious conditions that may be long term consequences of the impact.
Give yourself some time off: It is imperative to rest after an injury. If you are uncertain how much time off you should take, ask your doctor and your fitness instructor to get an idea. Keep in mind, however, that everybody is different and that you may need a bit more time to recover.
Ease back into your routine: All of that time spent taking care of your injury can be foiled by pushing yourself too hard once you are able to work out again. It may be tempting to try to catch up and get back to the shape that you were in before the injury- but you run the risk of reinjuring yourself and having to take another break. Be patient with your body and, if you are working with a new instructor, be sure to inform him or her that you are recovering from an injury.
Getting hurt is never fun, but with proper care, you can nurse most injuries back to health, and get back to doing what you enjoy. When training for Muay Thai, Cross Fit, or Boxing in Los Angeles, pick the right gym to customize a program that works safely for your abilities and needs.
We all skip work out from time to time because life tends to get in the way. But on some occasions, we skip because we simply feel tired or just really don’t want to go work out after an already long day of work. Here are a few quick tips to encourage you to not skip out on your fitness routine.
Remind yourself why you are working out: Whether you’re working to lose weight or training in a sport like boxing or muay thai, remind yourself of why you started in the first place. Don’t be afraid to call on your support system - your friends and family - for a little bit of motivation. If all else fails, there are plenty of motivational blogs, quotes and videos on line.
Plan a treat: Having some sort of reward planed after your work out will give you something to look forward to, especially after a long day. Whether it’s taking a bubble bath or indulging in your favorite snack, plan on doing something enjoyable after your work out.
Pump yourself up: Listening to upbeat music can do wonders for your state of mind. So listen to something that makes you happy and makes you want to move. You’ll feel less tired and your mood will improve.
Think of the Endorphins: These happy molecules are released after a good work out and will give you a natural high. Remember how great you felt after that one really intense workout or Cross Fit class? You’ll actually feel better and probably be less tired, especially if your day job involves a lot of sitting.
Stop thinking about it and go: Sometimes, you just have to stop thinking of all of the reasons that you should skip your work out today and just drive to your gym. If you live in Los Angeles and have to sit in traffic, continue to not think about it until you get there. This is where it helps to have a personal trainer in Los Angeles, or be involved in a group class, like Los Angeles Cross Fit. Once you get in and get going, you will want to keep going.
Not every day in life is perfect, or easy. But you do have the choice of staying committed to your goals, and in the end, that’s a small battle that you will have won.
Muay Thai is a martial art form practiced throughout the world and has recently gained popularity as a staple style for mixed martial artists. If you’ve ever been curious about Muay Thai, here are some quick facts to get you up to speed.
History: Muay Thai is often called “The Art of Eight Limbs” because the goal is to hone each of your limbs into a weapon. The martial art originated during the 16th century with the fighter Nai Khanomtom and was initially known as Siamese style boxing.
Training: Muay Thai employs a variety of training techniques including running, jump rope and strength training. Because shin strikes are popular, many fighters harden their shins by repeatedly kicking a heavy bag. Striking can be practiced on pads that cover the instructor’s forearms- often referred to as Thai pads. Muay Thai includes punches, elbow strikes, knee, kicks, clinches and holds, and methods of defense such as blocking, redirecting and dodging. All of these are learned and practiced by fighters.
Competitions: A variety of competitions exists ranging from amateur to professional levels. Many fighters who study Muay Thai are also MMA fighters and may compete in both.
Gear: Boxing gloves, hand wraps, knee and elbow pads, head gear and mouth piece are standard gear for Muay Thai. Because it is a contact sport, the use of safety gear is definitely a priority for fighters and trainers alike.
Should I try it? If you are curious about Muay Thai in Los Angeles, I highly recommend trying it. The martial art is also a great, dynamic work out and teaches patience and discipline. Many students are welcoming and excited to share the martial art they love with someone new; so even if you learn Los Angeles has many places that teach Muay Thai and it won’t be hard to find a place near you!
If you made New Year’s resolutions, getting more fit was probably near the top of your list. So you signed up for a gym or fitness classes in Los Angeles and maybe even started a new diet. Thousands of people sign up for the gym every year in January but, by February or March, the gyms become empty. People stop working out because things get in the way. Be it work, family, an injury or a major like event. If you are sticking to your goals, great! But if you've fallen off the proverbial fitness wagon it is never too late to get back on.
Figure out what went wrong: The promise of a new beginning on new year makes us think that anything is possible so perhaps you we made unrealistic goals. Take a hard look at your diet and exercise plan and figure out what you can and cannot commit to - but be sure to be honest with yourself this time. Can you really cut out all sugar when you live for chocolate? Probably not. Moderation is key both for sticking to your diet and for avoiding in juries when you work out.
Enlist a friend: Having a friend take on a workout schedule with you not only makes it more fun but helps keep you from skipping days when you don't really feel like working out. Letting your friends and loved ones know about your goals is great, but having someone to keep you accountable and encourage you is even better.
Try something new: If you live in a large city like Los Angeles, you have no excuse not to try something new. Explore a work out style that you’ve been curious about, but may have been scarred to try. Many studios will allow you to try a class at no cost so be adventurous. Try a CrossFit class or, if you've always been a fan of martial arts and fighting, why not try boxing or Muay Thai? Changing up your work out not only gives you something new to look forward to, but it also helps work muscles that your regular routine doesn't target. You may also find something new that you really enjoy doing.
Whether you are trying to get back on the fitness horse or going continuing to work towards your goal, these tips can help you achieve what you set out to do. Just remember to be patient with yourself and to enjoy the journey.
MMA, or mixed martial arts has gained popularity in recent years as a sport, exercise tool and even as a method of self-defense. Unlike boxing, which is limited to punches, MMA is a combination of a variety of martial arts and includes kicks, takedowns and grappling.
Origins: There is no precise origin of MMA, thought it currently exists throughout the world in a variety of forms. The concept of a mixed martial arts competition originated during the early 1900’s but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that an organized league in the U.S was born. Originally, MMA was promoted as a competition between various forms of martial arts. However, fighters began to adopt several styles of martial arts at a time, pushing for new guidelines and safety regulations.
What does MMA include? MMA is a variety of martial arts. Most martial arts have a focus be it striking, take downs, or grappling. For instance, boxing and Mui Tai are focus for striking while Jiu-Jitsu and Judo are focus on takedowns and groundwork. Each MMA fighter will have his or her own strengths in a specific set of styles.
MMA today: Today, MMA rivals boxing and wrestling as a popular contact sport with a variety of gyms and competitions through the world. While men’s MMA has historically been more popular, the fighter Rhonda Rousey has recently put women’s MMA into the spotlight as well.
Rules: Over time, a variety of rules has been introduced- mostly to increase the safety of the fighters. There are nine weight divisions ranging from flyweight (up to 125 lbs) to super heavy weight (which ranges from 265 lbs with no upper limit). Rounds are typically five minutes long with short breaks in between.
How does a fighter win? In long matches, a victory can be decided by the judges. However, one can also win by a knockout, a submission or when the other fighter is not able to, or choose not to continue.
Training: You do not have to be a professional fighter to train in mixed martial arts. Many people who do train, do not compete. MMA is a great work out and martial arts can be a great self defense tool.
Whether you are curious about watching an MMA match or training, you should check out a local gym. Many gyms offer MMA-; if you are in Los Angeles, check out our MMA gym in West LA. Or, you can head to your local bar to watch the sport.
If you are like most Angelenos, living a healthier life style is constantly on your to do list. You may even have decided to enlist a personal trainer in Los Angeles to help you achieve your goals. If you’ve never worked with a personal trainer before, here are some things to look for when choosing the person who will help you get into shape.
The Big Picture: Unless someone else is taking care of your expenses, you will be paying the trainer that you choose. Not all trainers offer the same prices and range of activities. For instance, a trainer can be part of a large gym, with a larger variety of exercises offered or may work at a smaller facility. Figure out what your needs are and what you will be paying for.
Location: You do not want your exercise sessions to be proceeded, or followed by hours of sitting in traffic. Find a personal trainer who is located a reasonable distance from your home or from your work place so that you are not stressing before your work out. For instance, if you work in West LA, it is not a feasible arrangement to train with someone in Long Beach every day after work.
Availability: You want your workout schedule to work for you. While you may be inclined to compromise and try to work with a trainer’s schedule, this may lead to more missed or rescheduled workouts in the long run.
Knowledge: Most personal trainers are very knowledgeable in a variety of fields including anatomy and nutrition. Figure out what you need help in so that your trainer can guide you. This may include teaching you to perform certain exercises correctly or advising you on a good post work out snack.
Personality: Personal trainers are people first and teachers second. As such, each trainer has his or her personal teaching style. Figure out what style works for you. Do you need someone to be gentle and encouraging or will you work better with a drill sergeant?
Adding something new to your routine isn’t easy, so you want to make sure that you take as many steps as you can to succeed. Before looking for a personal trainer, you should think about what your priorities are and remember to be honest with yourself. If you work diligently, you will succeed.
Over the years, we’ve talked with some people who were interested in Muay Thai training in Los Angeles, but they held back on attending classes because they don’t want to spar. We suspect that there are a lot of people we haven’t met who are intrigued with the idea of Muay Thai, but who don’t like the thought of having to fight.
If this sounds like you, we want you to know that you don’t need to spar to enjoy the benefits of Muay Thai training. You can simply come to one of A4 Fitness’s studios in Los Angeles and train with us without fighting. You can learn the techniques, work up a sweat, and meet fun people who also like working out, without ever having to fight another trainee.
The following are some myths about Muay Thai training that we thought you’d like to know about, including the myth that you need to spar to reap the benefits of Muay Thai practice.
Muay Thai Is Dangerous
Many people think Muay Thai is dangerous. While Muay Thai can be an aggressive and very physical practice, under the right conditions, and with the guidance of your A4Fitness trainer, it’s a safe form of training that rarely results in injuries.
You Need To Spar
No, you don’t need to spar to reap the benefits of Muay Thai training. Sparring is fun for many of our students. It’s a way to challenge themselves, show off their skills, and enjoy training with other students. However, fighting in a practice match or professional match is not a requirement of Muay Thai training. You can simply come to your weekly Muay Thai training sessions and challenge yourself by perfecting your punches and kicks against a pad or bag.
You Should Never Go All Out
Of course you should, if you want to and if you’re being respectful (and safe) with your sparring partner. You don’t need to take it easy if your opponent is skilled enough to handle your hard punches and kicks. During a match, you and your opponent will likely appreciate the intensity that comes with competitive training. If you’re training for serious competition, go ahead and train full-out, making sure you spar with integrity and understand the inherent risks that go along with this level of competing.
We love Muay Thai training, and we hope that you will to. But, even though we have a gung-ho crew of Muay Thai trainers, and trainees, in our Los Angeles A4Fitness studios, we also realize that Muay Thai training is not for everyone. So, remember that another myth about Muay Thai is that everyone needs to love it. If you prefer another type of training, come visit our studios and see what type of workouts appeal most to you. We are happy to help you figure out what type of training is best for your interests, skill level, and schedule.
At A4Fitness, we believe that the best type of workout for any individual is one that he or she feels excited about and motivated to participate in on a regular basis.
If you’re just as picky about the workout gear you use for your training sessions as you are about your everyday clothing, we have some amazing clothes and accessories we’d love to show you. We love finding tank tops, shorts, hoodies, mats, and even water bottles that make our fitness training in Los Angeles more comfortable and keep the planet healthy.
We thought you might want to know about the following eco-friendly workout gear that’s made with sustainable materials:
Alternative Apparel’s Sleeveless Hoodie
Throw Alternative Apparel’s Sleeveless Hoodie on when you head to your training session at A4Fitness. It’s a stylish hoodie made with Earth-friendly Mock Twist Jersey fabric, and it’s super soft. You can easily wear this hoodie to lunch or shopping after you train.
Yoga Democracy’s SUP Yoga/ Hot Yoga Shorts
Wear Yoga Democracy’s SUP Yoga/ Hot Yoga Shorts for cross-fit, personal training, or any other training session you love at A4Fitness. These close-fitting, high-waisted boy shorts are made from recycled nylon, and they’re super cozy for any type of workout.
Gaiam Organic Cotton Flow Harem
Gaiam’s Organic Cotton Flow Harem pants are relaxed pants suitable for a variety of workouts. They’re comfy, breathable, and perfect for moving. These pants are made with Eco Om technology for super-stretch and eco-friendliness and can be worn up on the calf or down at the ankle.
Patagonia’s Cross-Back Tank Top
You wear Patagonia’s Cross-Back Tank Top for cross-fit, MMA training, personal training, or boxing. This top is designed to be supportive and easy to move in at the same time. It’s made from a blend of 90 percent organic cotton and 10 percent spandex. It’s Fair Trade Certified and truly flattering, thanks to a self-fabric shelf bra for optional insertable soft cups.
La Vie Boheme Yoga Mat
Carry your La Vie Boheme Yoga Mat with you to your personal training session at A4Fitness if you want a thick, non-toxic, cushiony, and beautiful mat to stretch and work out on. This mat is made with 100 percent cotton and will likely be your favorite mat ever.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding thousands of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.