Why everyone should meditate

This topic might seem strange related to fitness. The thing is, when you are trying to achieve something, your 100 kg bench press, starting your own business or simply feeling better, you need to get your head straight.

The mental aspect of achieving is the most important one. The first thing that mediation can help you with is focus. When you have clarity in your mind, when you are focused, that is when you are getting sh** done. Meditation helps dramatically in reaching clarity, unclustering the sticky ball of thoughts that is stripping you of energy and time.

To understand the difference, here are the six types of meditation in a nutshell:

There are dozens of different sub – types of meditation but these six main categories made it easier to understand. An easy way to get started is to try mindfulness meditation with the Headspace app.

They have done some great research on the benefits of using Headspace to meditate.

  • 10 days of Headspace reduced stress by 14%
  • Northwestern University found that 3 weeks of Headspace increased compassion by 23% and reduced aggression by 57%
  • Irritability was reduced by 27%
  • Focus improved by 14%
  • Increases positivity and well – being
  • Improved job satisfaction

With Headspace you can start with super simple guided meditations. You can start with just 3 minutes. You have to remember that mediation is not a magic pill. It is a gradual process like learning a language: the more consistently you practice, the easier and smoother it will go.

I have used Headspace for the past year and it has fundamentally improved my focus and pretty much everything that the research says it does, it does. It is hard to stay consistent but it is worth it, just like consistently going to the gym.

Meditation in professional sports

Yes, to get you inspired we have a few examples of well known athletes/teams practicing meditation during their careers.

1. LeBron James

The 6 time NBA Champion uses mindfulness meditation as a fixed component of his training.

2. Michael Jordan

As one of the greatest athletes of all time, Jordan used mindfulness mediation to get into as he called it ‘the flow’. His coach George Mumford has written a book about this.

3. Kobe Bryant

The third super succesfull basket baller on the list, who credits meditation to his success.

"I think (meditation) is important because it sets me up for the rest of the day." -Kobe Bryant #quote #kobe #bryant #nba #sports #inspiration #motivation #meditation #player #kobebryant #quoteoftheday #meditate #awareness #experience #lightworker #insight

4. The Seattle Seahawks

During the 2014 season when the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll hired a sports psychologist to teach mindfulness meditation to the entire team.

Meditation is used in many sports and dozens of high performing athletes are reaping the benefits. Why shouldn’t you?

It is not only athletes who meditate, famous personalities such as J.Cole, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey and even Jerry Seinfeld practice meditation.

Jerry Seinfeld talks about his 41 year long practice of Transcendental meditation while being the executive producer, editor and head-writer as well as playing the main character in his famous Seinfeld TV series show (that me and my girlfriend love).

I hope you got some inspiration to try meditating for yourself. Like I said, Headspace has really helped me get into the practice and offers great guidance into mindfulness meditation. There are many more resources out there that can get you started.

I think meditation is a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals but also to just unwind and clear your head, it is a tool that can be used for many purposes. What would you start meditating for?

Share with us your experience of meditation!

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Whey protein leads to weight gain (what they got wrong again)

Let’s take a deep breath before this post. Done? Great.

It is absolutely frustrating researching about whey protein and its effects, harmful or not. There is so much half baked research floating around which makes it extremely hard to get a clear picture about the reality of whey protein. Whey is one of the best studied supplements in the world, it should be possible to get a clear picture.

I want to make sure that after this post, you walk into the world and you have zero doubts about the effects of whey on your body and everything that comes with it.

Let’s start with a kick – off question, what is whey protein?

What is whey ?

To be precise, whey is the byproduct that separates from cheese during the cheese – making process. The liquid that collects on top of yogurt, that’s whey protein which is roughly 20 %, whereas 80 % is casein protein. To make it a business, it is dried to kill off bacteria and sold in a powdered form in massive containers. Mostly sweetened. It also contains essential amino acids (EAAs), making it a high quality complete protein. Whey contains three important EAAs known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. These BCAAs are known to promote muscle growth and tissue regeneration.

Here is where they went wrong

Recently news put out by the abc7 newschannel, an american commercial broadcasting company owned by the Walt Disney Company, spread the idea that protein shakes may lead to weight gain, depression and shorter life span.

They based their claims on a study made by the University of Sydney. What they failed to mention is that the study found these results when BCAAs where consumed excessively. The results are also based on a study conducted on mice which were fed 200 % the standard amount of BCAAs. The mice which were fed this excessive amount became obese and had a shortened lifespan. The ones who were given normal amounts or less than normal amounts of BCAAs, saw no negative effects. Next to this, a mouse and a physically active human being are also a little different, or not?

Bottom line, everything in moderation. Do not over – consume whey protein or BCAAs, stick to the recommended doses. Double the amount will not give you double benefits. Maybe Walt Disney should have stuck to Micky Mouse instead of giving diet advice.

Whey protein is safe if you stick to the recommended dosage of it. If your overall protein intake is already high, think about taking extra whey protein twice.

Simple breakdown

The recommended amount is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and 56 grams per day for sedentary males.

If you are not sedentary, 1 gram per body weight seems to be a good amount. Let’s say your weight is 82 kg. Using my math skills, the recommended amount should be 82 grams of protein for the day.

1 scoop of whey protein is usually around 25 grams of protein, meaning 2 scoops equals roughly 50 grams. This varies per company and the size of their scoops. However, with 2 scoops you would have roughly 60 % of your recommended protein intake already. Let’s say you eat 2 eggs for breakfast (12 grams protein) plus 100 grams of chicken breast (31 grams protein).

12+31+50= 93 grams of protein

Image result for protein meme

As you can see it is actually quiet easy to reach you protein intake, and that is without dinner included or any snacks.

Some sources say that a range of 1.8 grams – 2.0 grams per day is safe if you are highly active which means intense exercise 6 – 7 times per week. If you want to see for yourself you can calculate your recommended intake here: Protein Calculator.

Now that we have some more clarity about amounts, there is some other things that need to be adressed.

Bitter sweetness

Whey protein without any sweeteners would not be sold. The reality is that whey protein would taste absolutely sh** without added sweeteners. They would be ultra bitter.

Most sweeteners are at least 200x sweeter than sugar. Meaning that only relatively small amounts are added to the powders. In addition, no extra calories are added from sweeteners. But there is evidence that sweeteners cause some problematic effects.

Some studies show that sweeteners increase cravings for sugary foods, as well as increasing the chances of developing glucose intolerance. Artificial sweeteners do not activate the same reward pathways in the brain the way that natural sweeteners do. This leads to the lack of complete satisfaction from food or in this case protein shakes and will increase cravings later.


One of the most used sweeteners is sucralose. It causes intestinal overgrowth of E.Coli, a harmful gut bacteria. Gut inflammation is increased and directly linked Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and bloody stool.

You will find that in most protein shakes, there is a combination of sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium, another sweetener 200x sweeter than sugar. It has the E-number 950 (E-950). Another highly controversial sweetener claimed to cause all kinds of health problems such as cancer, disrupting metabolism and weight gain. But of course, authorities in the US and Europe have declared it as safe to use.

Image result for sucralose protein powder
Source: melmagazine

Sucralose containing powders:

  • MuscleTech NitroTech Pure Whey Protein
  • Nitro Tech 100% Whey Gold
  • Gold Standard Whey 100% Whey
  • ISO 100%
  • Syntha 6
  • Combat Protein Powder
  • COR Performance Whey


About 65 % of the human population has at least a lactose sensitivity. Whey still contains lactose, if you are lactose intolerant, avoid whey. If you are lactose sensitive, take it easy with whey or choose an alternative. Many isolate whey protein powders are lactose free or contain only very small amounts. You can find alternative sources from peas, hemp, brown rice, cranberries, soy, eggs also.

As you can see from the map above, depending on your ethnicity your lactose tolerance varies. Here in Europe we are on the safer side but if you are from the Asia, the chances of you having lactose intolerance is much higher.

Where to start ?

  1. I would recommend that you avoid protein powders containing artificial sweeteners
  2. There is just too many risks. Calculate your max. protein intake per day
  3. Start writing down how much protein you are actually consuming (you will be surprised)

There are many alternative proteins without artificial sweeteners. Here is a good list that was put together by Workoutdigest.com you can start with.

If you are sensitive to lactose, focus on alternatives such as hemp protein. Sweeten it with raw honey, stevia or erythritol.

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Fitness and cannabis are getting married

Very bold title indeed. Let’s talk about cannabis today. Living in Amsterdam, going to buy a gram of weed is like having a morning coffee. Surprisingly, many native Amsterdammers do not smoke and have a negative stigma when it comes to coffeeshops and smoking weed.

However, cannabis is slowly going global, state after state in the US has jumped on legalization. Recreational use is now legal in 11 states and and medical use in 33. Canada had also legalized cannabis as the second country worldwide after Uruguay in October 2018. So what’s next?

Obviously, this is all about tax money. Or is it? What about the actual benefits of the “green gold”? The world of fitness is getting involved in the use of cannabis worldwide. Athletes are benefitting, new businesses are opening, connecting cannabis and fitness. Is this the next ‘big thing’? Let’s dive into it and see!

In 2018, CBD was also taken off the list of banned substances by the World Anti Doping Agency. Recently, U.S.A. Triathlon has become the first national governing body of an american sport to make a sponsorship deal with a CBD production company. If you don’t know, CBD is the non – psychoactive substance found in cannabis.

In fact, there is a new trend called CBD Yoga. The CBD retailer Standard Dose even opened a kind of cannabis wellness center in New York City. You have a whole selection of CBD infused products such as Japanese tea. In New Jersey the trend hits too. Where the Yoga instructors rub CBD infused gel on your shoulders while you are striking your poses. On the way home participants receive a CBD brownie for further relaxation.

It is proven that CBD has powerful anti – inflammatory benefits [1] and it makes sense to incorporate it into yoga as both have similar stress relieving effects on the body.

Cannabis is well known to dampen perception of pain, therefore it makes sense that many people are using cannabis to relax after a heavy workout session where every move stings. What about before exercise?

The high you get from exercise is actually from an endocannabinoid called anandemide. [2] Which means that your body naturally secretes the so called “bliss molecule” which makes you feel good when your exercise. So there we go, we do get high from exercise.

This is where it gets interesting. The cannabis infused workouts are a new trend. Apparently, it makes fitness more enjoyable. [3]

A study from Frontiers in Public Health from April 2019 shows some interesting results. More than 50 % of cannabis users claimed that weed motivated them to exercise. This was data from an online survey with over 600 participants from the US. 80 % of the surveyed even said that they used cannabis before or after hitting the gym, 67 % admitted to consume before and after working out.

Participants who got high prior to exercise recorded 43 minutes more activity per week compared to non – users. Although we personally believe longer does not mean more effective, these results could be due to the slower reaction time might have led to this.

We all know that certain strains of cannabis give you the ‘munchies’. This, in combination with exercise, could help you consume more calories after your workout if your goal is to gain rather than loose weight it could be of help. I am not saying to grab a box of pizza after the gym, choose good food.

Clifford Drusinsky, who has won trophies at nine major triathlons, is following his personal motto: wake up at 3 a.m. to train, get 20 milligrams of THC in an energy bar, 1 hour in the pool, 3 hours on a bike and a 13-mile run. “Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place”. I would need to go there too with this routine. But jokes aside. The man is successful. He promotes marijuana induced fitness at F.I.T.S. Conditioning.

Next to being a motivator for workouts, cannabis has also proven to lower your BMI and reduce obesity.[4][5]

Clearly, cannabis has a number of proven and perceived benefits related to exercise and fitness. However, many experts are still unsure if the use of cannabis before exercising is safe. It does decrease your reaction time your pain reception which can also be helpful to avoid injury during a workout.

Cannabis is also known to increase your heart rate by 20 % up to 3 hours after consuming. This is not a positive effect for athletes. It also depends on your personal reaction to cannabis. Some people might be seeing the positives and others only the negatives. Nate Jackson, the former Denver Broncos player, used cannabis during his 6 seasons at the NFL to handle pain. He says “Some people get high and their muscle memory locks in and they feel like they can’t miss, some people get high and fall apart.” [6]

We believe that post workout cannabis use is beneficial for recovery and relaxation. Pre – workout consumption is very debatable, I personally feel slower and unfocused. Let us know your experiences with cannabis and exercise in the comments. I am off for a workout.

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15 Squat variations to dominate leg day

The day has come. You walk into the gym, taking a quick and elegant sip from your water, you walk onto the treadmill and start thinking about the most dreadful workout of the week.

Should I just skip it this time? ‘Tomorrow is a better day anyway’ – you tell yourself.

‘Who does leg day on a Monday anyway, probably no one.’

I know, leg day makes you an expert of procrastination. Not sure about you, but I get bored on leg day. Variation of squats has really helped me not to. So next time you are wondering how to make it more exciting, think about these 15 squat variations and go for it. Why squats? They are probably the most beneficial leg workout you can do.

  • They are a functional exercise, making real life situations simpler
  • Target your entire body, especially your abs and lower back (its a win-win-win)
  • Increase your flexibility in your joints, which helps prevent injuries
  • Boost your athletic performance, jump higher and run faster
  • And of course, you get that perfectly round butt that nobody can resist

Criricalbench has put together a perfect video with demonstrations for every variation.

Have fun dominating leg day.

Do you have any other squat variations in your repertoire?

Leave a comment below.

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Nutritional psychiatry part 2:

Why a healthy gut is the key to holistic health

In the first part of Nutritional Psychiatry we talked about the way the field is slowly becoming more popular and emerging as an alternative in healing depression and anxiety by using food as medicine.

It turns out that your gut and your brain are directly connected and if you want to stay healthy you have to make sure that your gut is healthy. How? Make sure that your gut bacteria are on the ‘good’ side. What exactly you can do we will explain to you in this post, read on!

Your body is a universe and more…

If you think the human body is impressive you are right. Our body is made up of approximately 37.2 trillion cells. That is nothing compared to the number of bacteria living within our gut. There are about 10x more bacteria living inside your got than there are cells in your body. [1] Now it really makes sense why the gut plays such an impacting role in our health.

An imbalance of your gut bacteria (microbiota dysbiosis) might lead to several diseases, such as nervous system related diseases, allergies, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. [2]

It was believed that there are about 1000 species of bacteria living in our gut. A recent research from the European Molecular Biology laboratory in 2019 confirms that there are nearly 2000 species of bacteria living in our guts. Fascinating, right? [3]

Depending on what geographic region you are from, this impacts the type of bacteria you have in your gut [4]. That is why certain people have problems with certain foods and others do not. There is not a one fits all diet for everyone which often being promoted. We must understand that there are huge variations between individuals in this concern.

Who are you really?

We now have the technology to find out what bacteria are home in our gut and what kind of food will make our own unique microbiome happy and which food to avoid. There are self – test kits that you can order to see specifically what is going on inside your ‘second brain’. If you really want to know what works for you and what doesn’t this is the perfect option.

There are a few companies out there such as atlasbiomed.com why will send a test kit directly to your doorstep. With the results you get a whole breakdown of what is going inside your microbiome as well as personalised food recommendations.

Making friends with your gut

If you need one friend, then it should be your gut. There are a few general things that you can do to start making friends with your gut. One of the most common diseases that people get is the ‘leaky gut syndrome’. This is when tiny holes develop in your gut walls and toxins start leaking through the holes into your bloodstream. This can trigger inflammation, allergies and autoimmune diseases. [5]

The really tricky thing about this is that people experience the many symptoms of a ‘leaky gut’ but do not know what is causing the symptoms. This leads into a battle against symptoms rather than the cause. What exactly causes the leaky gut, scientists are not sure. It is most likely a combination of the type of toxic foods we put into our body on a daily basis.

How to take action

Eat prebiotic and probiotic rich foods: Prebiotic fiber specifically supports the growth of good gut bacteria. You want as many as you can. They can be found in sweet potato, carrots, asparagus, squash and many others. Probiotics are well known and include more fermented foods such as pickles or kefir. Watch out with histamines, which are often in fermented foods. Many people have histamine intolerance. You can also get that tested. [6]

Do not confuse probiotics with dairy. Dairy should be avoided as it creates inflammatory proteins.

Avoid antibiotics as much as you can: Antibiotics are the worst thing you can do to your gut. They are equivalent of a nuclear bomb to the gut bacteria. Repeated use will deprive you of good bacteria which will lead to multiple health problems.

Cut back or cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners: There is not too much positive to say about sugar, except that it tastes good. Sugar feeds Candida albicans. They are a normal part of the gut flora but when Candida gets fed too much sugar, the bacteria population becomes imbalanced.

Avoid anti – nutrients: Foods such as soy, beans and raw cruciferous vegetables like kale and spinach. The most difficult anti – nutrient for us to quit has been grains. Unfortunately, latest studies keep showing evidence that grains are a key player in damaging your gut health. They contain, gluten, agglutinin, lectins and phytic acid. All these are not good for your microbiome. What they do exactly is a topic that we will explore in a future post .

A must do is to eat a diverse range of whole foods: The more diversity of food you offer your microbiome, the more resilient it gets. It will adapt and diversify too. [7]

Supplement with collagen protein: This type of protein repairs the gut lining. [8]

Lastly, don’t stress: Seriously, stress can impact your gut health just like the food you eat can, remember that your brain and gut are connected? Yes, the mind can do just as much good as it can do bad for your gut. Have you ever experienced upset gut when something horrible happened, you were sitting for an exams or about to have a real uncomfortable conversation? It is pretty obvious when you think about it but we often do not give it enough thought.

The gut should definitely be your best friend for the rest of your life if you want to live a healthy life and especially also keep up good mental health. We hope this helps you get started on making a new friend and creating a life-long co-operation. We’re am always happy to hear your thoughts on this. Let us know in the comments section below or send us an email.

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  1. sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603085914.htm
  2. tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13102818.2018.1481350
  3. earth.com/news/2000-bacterial-species-human-gut/
  4. ebi.ac.uk/about/news/press-releases/2000-unknown-gut-bacteria-discovered
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/leaky-gut-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-you-2017092212451
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325293.php
  7. https://www.pcrm.org/health-topics/gut-bacteria
  8. https://www.bulletproof.com/gut-health/gut-health-microbiome/#ref-13

Nutritional psychiatry: a new field with huge potential

When you are eating, you feed not only your body but also your brain. The new field of “Nutritional Psychiatry” uses food as prescriptions instead of drugs to swallow.

Once you have chewed your food and it slides down your stomach and into your gut, there is a whole lot of stuff going on that we do not consciously notice, at least most of the time.

Imagine you are driving in your new Ferrari (whatever makes you happy) and you pull up to the petrol station and have the choice between premium and standard fuel. Most people would choose premium because they want their “baby” to perform at it’s best.

Well, you have exactly the same choice, everyday. If you want your engine, in this case I am referring to your brain, to perform at it’s best, you have to choose premium fuel (food).

Foods that are high in refined sugars have proven to impair brain function, cause mood disorders and depression. Only in past decade, the medical field is starting to realise the connection between the food you eat and how you feel and act.

I mean if you would feed your car a can of coke it wouldn’t feel or behave well either, right?

Holy gut

Illustrator: Russ Tudor- [Source]

95 % of your Serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your sleep, moods and appetite. How well your gastrointestinal tract works is dependent on the amount of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria you have. These bacteria inhibit or cause inflammation, regulate your nutrient absorption and even activate neural pathways travelling between your gut and brain. In other words, your gut and your brain are directly connected! The amount of ‘good’ bacteria you have is directly related to how much ‘good’ food you eat.

Therefore, it makes sense that the condition your gut is in, is in sync of the condition your brain is in. A western diet has even been associated with a smaller hippocampus which is responsible for learning and memory. [1]

Multiple studies have now been carried out on how specific diets affect depression, a study from 2013 suggests that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts had statistically positive effect in intervening with depression. [2]

Another 2014 study compared the effects of a healthy diet with the effects of Problem Solving Therapy which is a treatment that includes antidepressant treatment. The results showed that the diet intervention and the Problem solving therapy had almost identical results of success with the cure of depression. [3] So why take drugs if you can just eat good and ‘avoid’ depression?

The SMILEs Trial

SMILEs stands for Supporting the Modification of lifestyle in lowered emotional states. This really interesting experiment was published in 2017 by Felice Jacka [4] and it deals with exactly what has been discussed by providing answers to the following question: Does healthy eating improve my mood?

The group in the study which was using diet for lowering moderate to severe depression showed significantly greater improvements in their moods compared to the other two control groups, where one was treated with psychotherapy and the other with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

In other words, diet intervention was more effective in treating moderate to severe depression than conventional used therapy.

Hope for the future…

If we continue finding evidence that diet is effective in curing depression, we will have the ability to get many people off medication with nasty side effects. Hopefully in the future, when one visits a doctor due to mood disorders or depression he will hand you a banana instead of a box of pills.

Stay tuned for the next post where we will show you how to build the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut.

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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4563885/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848350/
  3. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050338/(opens in a new tab)
  4. bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-13-114(opens in a new tab)

Top 7 free high quality YouTube fitness channels

How is your workout going?

Now, you can easily spend money on fitness related content, courses, subscriptions etc. but we have YouTube thank God, where you can find thousands, probably millions of free fitness videos.

With these 7 channels you will get everything you need to structure your workout to your preferences. They are all hand picked by us and include only channels that we personally used over the past 3 years. If you read our earlier post, you know that we’re fans of the H.I.I.T. workouts which give you the most value for your time. This is why most channels are based on H.I.I.T. workouts. However, all channels offer a whole variety of workouts, nutritional advice and more. Let’s dive in!

#1: The Body Coach TV (761k subscribers)

The Body Coach TV shows you how to workout anytime and anywhere with no equipment needed. When you are on the road or have no time for the gym, this is your way to stay fit. Joe has been at it since 2011 and puts out real quality videos.

#2: BeFit (2.97m subscribers)

BeFit has multiple personal trainers who get your blood flowing hard, offering a range from the ‘7 minute or less’ videos to yoga videos. There is a lot of material you can work with here. Thomas DeLauer is also there with some videos to give you some interesting health hacks.

#3: Fitness Blender (5.84m subscribers)

With more than 550 free fitness videos, Fitness Blender is probably the biggest free fitness content provider out there. The channel was created by the married couple Kelli and Daniel who have the goal of sharing unbiased workout, nutrition and health information. They felt like there was a lack of reliable fitness information on the web (us too) and decided to make it their mission to help everybody, regardless of their income, access high quality content.

#4: Bodybuilding.com (4.61m subscribers)

This one is pretty obvious. If you are more into the conventional way of staying working out, this channel is yours. These guys are really good at giving you workouts that make you BIG. If this is your goal, there are tons of videos focused on all the main muscles that you can build. Next to that they also put out good videos on supplementing and diet advice, mostly focused on building muscle of course.

#5: HASFit (1.15m subscribers)

Muscle Building, Kettleball and weightloss exercises are some of the fitness areas the HASfit channel offers. They have a huge variety of videos too. The best of HASfit are their 30 – 90 day fitness programs, from beginner to pro. For the nutritional side, they also include meal plans in these programs.

#6: Adam Rosante (7.25k subscribers)

Adam simply gives you the tools to take responsibility of your life. His no BS approach and super quick workouts are easy to follow. With his filming locations, he definitively beats all other channels. Enjoy!

#7: ScottHermanFitness (2.29m subscribers)

Scott shoots a good combination of body workouts and weight training. This is much more of an influencer type of channel compared to the previous six. He does some Q&A sessions in his videos where he answers his followers questions regarding workouts, supplements and nutrition. New videos come out every Tuesday and Thursday.

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This is why you should quit sugar immediately!

Sugar is everywhere now and in everything.

Before the 17th century trade began, sugar was worth more than gold. Sugar sculptures used to be made to be looked at but not to be eaten. Now a Coke costs 99 cents and a water 2,50 Euros. Imagine the difference in which we see and have access to sugar!

No wonder obesity and diabetes are on the rise and Alzheimer’s disease is being called “Diabetes Type 3 “. According to Lifescience.com, sugary drinks alone kill 184,000 people every year.

The World Health organisation also has some shocking numbers out there…

In 2016, around 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes whereas 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012. The number of people over 18 having diabetes has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014.

So why is sugar bad?

It is all about developing insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for moving sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells. When your body becomes insulin resistant, your pancreas cannot keep up with producing the insulin needed to move the sugar out of your blood. Congrats, you are now pre-diabetic.

People who are diabetic are twice as likely to develop dementia – hence the usage of the the term Diabetes type 3 instead of Alzheimer’s.

Insulin is also very important for the brain. It helps maintain the health and growth of brain cells. So the less insulin your body is able to produce, the faster your cognitive decline.

If you become diabetic, you have an increased chance of developing heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Moreover, high blood sugar also causes nerve damage by damaging your capillary walls which supply your nerves with blood carrying nutrients.

If this is not convincing enough here is more…

Sugar is a drug. Yes, some drugs are good but this one lights up the same areas in your brain like cocaine. Given that the average American consumes 82 grams of sugar per day, this is something to think about!

Sugar is a true killer…

After consuming foods high in sugar content, the area in your brain responsible for reward and cravings lights up. This in return makes you crave more sugar.

So eating sugar = craving sugar, which = eating sugar…

Now when you quit you will also go through withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, tremors.

Let’s continue the horror story. Your mental health is also affected by sugar consumption, namely depression and anxiety because your ability to produce serotonin is inhibited by sugar.

Dan DeFigio, creator of BeatingSugarAddiction.com, says that overconsumption of sugar, your gut functions are impacted, including digestion and immune cell formation.

When you consume a lot of sugar, your blood sugar spikes. After the spike follows the crash. This constant up and down causes anxiety. When your blood sugar is crashed, you are desperate for food making your body weak also called hypoglycemic state.

There is no doubt that sugar is a killer, but there are many different types, here are the ones you should avoid at all costs:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose (all juices)
  • Granulated white sugar (mostly the added sugar in processed foods)
  • Brown sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners (except erythritol)

Especially fructose is to be avoided, fructose is found as the natural sugar in fruit. So why is it bad then? When you eat fruit, you also consume the fiber that is present in the fruit which helps your body process the fructose. However, when fructose is consumed as an added sugar or in juices where the fibers have been filtered out, your body has problems to process the fructose.

When you consume large amount of fructose from non – natural products, it becomes too much for your small intestine to process, so it gets into the liver and turns directly into fat.

It is important to understand that when your small intestine spills the fructose over to the liver, it also hits the colon. The colon is never meant to see sugar as it is supposed to be processed before it enters the colon, in the the small intestine. This over – spill damages also your microbiome (gut bacteria).

Where you should get started…

Start by checking the labels when you buy something next time and see if it contains any kind of sugars and how many grams. You will be surprised to find sugar in dozens of packages including some types of bread.

Avoid all low – fat sweetened yogurts, juices and granola. These are seemingly healthy foods but have tons of the white gold (sugar). One large glass of orange juice is already too much for your small intestine to handle, it is better to stick to real pieces of fruit.

Try using erythritol as a sugar replacement, it seems to be one of the safest alternatives out there.

Start by writing down how many grams you are consuming per day, you should not exceed 20 grams of sugar consumption per day.

Let us know how it goes during the process of quitting sugar. Have you tried to quit sugar and failed? We’re looking forward to hearing your sugar stories in the comments or per email.

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Train for only 30 minutes and live longer

Time is your most valuable asset, you have probably heard this before and it is true.

Unfortunately, time is our best friend and our worst enemy.

When we are in the gym it can often make us feel like there is not enough time to do your ideal workout, especially with our super busy lifestyle in this day and age.  

Working out for longer time does not mean you see better results, instead it is just a time waste that you could be spending on priceless Netflix binges for example.

So how do we make the most of our work out in only 30 minutes? Read on and find out.

1: Focus. You need every minute of your workout scripted. This means no bullshit during those 30 minutes, such as social media and chatting, your Instagram can wait.

2: The Circuit is the key – the 30 – minutes routine is based on a circuit workout.

3: At its core, this is a high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) workout. which means getting that heart rate up and keeping it there. It’s short but it’s tough. That is why most people prefer long and boring workouts.

The main goal of the workout is to strip away body fat and tremendously increase your performance. Remember that the workout is personal for you. You know when you are at the limit, the point is to get to your personal limit within these 30 minutes.

A H.I.I.T. training means that you reach 80 – 95 % of your maximum heart rate so make sure that you are in good health and do not have any complications that lead do death. So if you are just starting, be careful & take it easy.

Huge health benefits of H.I.I.T.:

According to to a study of cell metabolism from 2017, the H.I.I.T. training can effectively stop the ageing process on a cellular level. Your mitochondria literally grows. Mitochondria is responsible for energy production so without them you would actually die. Your blood sugar is also regulated and so H.I.I.T. is also huge in the fight against the diabetes disease.

H.I.I.T. also releases brain derived neutropic factor (BDNF). This protein is responsible for memory and learning but is also connected to the eating, drinking and bodyweight regulation.

The ultimate time saver!

Next to being responsible for incredible health benefits, the time H.I.I.T. saves you is incredible. If you want to go to the extreme, read the book “The One – Minute Workout” by Dr. Martin Gibala from Canadas McMaster University.

The 30 Minute Workout

Start with 5 minutes of a dynamic warm-up.

  • 1 – minute jumping jacks
  • 1 – minute inchworms
  • 1 – minute run on the spot
  • 1 – minute jumping jacks
  • 1 – minute plank hold

Round #1: Legs

  • 1 – minute high knees on spot
  • 4 – minutes (20 – seconds on, 10 seconds rest): squats
  • 1 – minute rest

Round #2: Arms

  • 1 – minute air punches
  • 4 – minute push-ups (2 minutes wide, 2 minutes narrow)
  • 1 – minute rest

Round #3: Abs

  • 1 – mountain climbers
  • 4 – minute Tabata
  • 1 – minute russian twists
  • 1 – minute rest

Round #4: Push your limits

  • 1 – minute run on the spot
  • 4 minutes – burpees
  • 1 – minute rest

Now cool down.

Walk for 2 – 3 minutes on the treadmill or outside if you can. You can also combine the walk with a few stretches on your way of the gym to save time.

So now it’s up to you. Of course, you can customise the workout to your preference, but remember that the important is to keep it at high intensity.

With that said, let us know how it goes by leave a comment or send us an email at fusionamsterdam@gmail.com.

As you can see from the post, we truly believe in optimising fitness and getting the most out of your limited time. That is why we are launching a new product in February next year – the Fusion Kinetic gym bottle. Check it out here.

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Top 5 Highly innovative fitness apps that could change your life

Let’s face it – the world has changed in such a way that really everything nowadays is digital, so carrying a sheet of paper to the gym is really history.

If you want to track your workout, plan your workouts and review them, we put together for you a list of apps that you can use to get some inspiration or switch up your routine once in a while.

The following 5 apps are fitness apps that are using different concepts. Since you are reading this, we assume you know the most common apps such as Fitbit and MyFitnessPal (if you don’t, then you can download them anytime and try them out). My first fitness app was Fitbit. Soon after Fitbit entered the market, tons of competitors jumped in.

Between 2014 – 2017 there was a 330% increase in usage of health and fitness apps according to Flurry Analytics. Ironically, the use of Nutrition apps decreased by 29%. What do you think is the reason for this? (Let me know in the comments)

Fitness wearables are hot on the fitness market right now, about 42 million users in Europe and 22% (56.7 million) of the US population is using wearable devices.

There is no doubt that we will see more and more fitness related apps in the future. So, here are some of the apps that we believe have a great potential for the future and offer a great value right now.

#1: Sweatcoin

A few years ago, we didn’t care about cryptocurrency, but then, life happened and “boom” – you find yourself hooked on the idea.

Sweatcoin combines the idea of crypto and fitness which is something that immediately caught our eye. They are now the fastest growing health app EVER.

You sweat and collect their virtual currency which you can redeem for different services online such as Amazon vouchers, Audible or Tidal Headphones. At this moment, Sweatcoin has converted 6 billion steps into digital currency and counting.

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, just 20 months after launching, Sweatcoin has had more than 20 million users installing the app globally! Next to that, Sweatcoin managed to increase the activity level of its user by 20% over a time period of 6 months.

#2: Aaptiv

Aaptiv has been featured in Cosmopolitan and offers a threshold of thousands of workouts. The difference? A real human running coach will be with you while you’re working out.

If you love listening to some podcasts or music during your workout, this is a dream come true for you! Having the right music during workout can make a huge difference in the quality of your workout and also give you that extra motivation when it is one of those days (you know which ones – the shitty ones).

Aaptiv offers this opportunity to personalize your music taste with the workouts that they offer. Even offline, the podcasts and music are available for you.

Aaptiv is also very personal and has perfectly tailored programs for your fitness goals and a community full of inspiration for you to tank in.

They offer a 7 – day free trial after which you will start paying for it. However, the quality is fantastic!

#3: Strava

Voted as being the best app for runners in 2019, Strava is not only for running. It also includes tracking your performance at swimming, cross fit, gym workouts and many other sports.

It has the worlds largest trail network in it. If you are an outdoor person, you will want to check out the trails that Strava has put together, they’re really cool!

Based on competition, Strava enables you to see the performance of other members to. The company calls itself “the social network for athletes”. You can share your live location with your fellow athletes who can come and hunt you down on your run 😉

#4: Fitocracy

With this app, you can receive personal coaching from only 1$ a day.

Fitocracy makes it possible for you to access quality personal coaching for way less then you would usual spend (which would be about 40 $ for an hour for a professional personal coach).

The personal coach you will receive will do everything to take you closer to your fitness goals. It includes a fitness assessment, a nutrition plan, workouts and you will have someone to hold you accountable for the fittness workouts (or non-workouts in case you skip).

Next to being a great way to get fit for cheap, it’s also an opportunity for any fitness trainers starting their career to get some exposure and build a reputation. In the future this might be the only way your clients want to engage with you.

#5: Skulpt

Are you really trying to optimise yourself ? If the answer is yes, Skulpt is the answer!

Skulpt is based on a body fat scanner that measures localised body – fat percentage in 24 different areas. With this tool you can take your fitness tracking to the next level. The device also analysis the strength and the quality of these 24 muscle groups. This feature helps you see where you have to optimise and where you are doing good.

Even though it sounds like magic, Skulpt is backed up by real science, measuring your body – fat % with multiple electrode configurations in a matter of seconds.

Now that you have seen our top fitness apps, which one is your favorite? Or maybe you are already using one of them, if so, which one and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Fusion Kinetic works towards the goal of optimising your fitness lifestyle by delivering valuable content all around the topics of Fitness, Health and Nutrition! To make sure you receive the best content and do not miss out on life changing life hacks, join the Fusion Kinetic family by providing your email down below. Every week valuable emails will hit your inbox so keep your eyes open for new content!

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