What Time Of the Day Should I Train?

When Should I Train??

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Unless you’re in an organized sport where your training time is predicated upon the sports coach, you have to decide what time you are going to get yourself up to go to the gym. Should it be first thing in the morning or before I go to sleep? Should it be during my lunch break? These may be questions that you ask yourself. But after considering your job, your perceived free time, or your spouse’s schedule, your training goal can be the key that helps you make your final decision. How your body reacts to training times can greatly increase the training effect of your workout program. With this increased knowledge you’ll be equipped to get the most from your training program.

Gaining Muscle

In order for you to gain muscle, you will need compound exercises at a high volume. In order for you to perform this work, you will need to be in a slight calorie surplus to give the body the nutrients necessary to build new muscle tissue while keeping fat at bay.  The time you train can further enhance this effect by supporting your training with the fuel it needs to do more work in the weight room. By choosing to train mid-day or late afternoon, you can assure that you have eaten enough meals to properly fuel the body to train while blunting the spillover effect of training too early. If you train at a high level early in the day then begin to eat, the exercise post oxygen consumption (known as EPOC) will go into effect. This just means that you will have an elevated heart rate all day to the body’s response to repair itself. This could mean that with a higher metabolism you could be spinning your wheels by burning more calories than you are taking in, which would put you in a caloric deficit. Simply put you could be actually losing fat when your goal is to be in a muscle building phase.

Take heed that you want the body to use all of the calories for the surplus that it needs to build muscle. One may not see a problem from training in the morning but take remember that by just continuing to eat more can cause your body to start gaining fat at an accelerated rate, fat that you would then spend months to get off again which could also sacrifice the muscle that you worked so hard to get

Losing Fat

Contrary to gaining muscle, you want to preserve the muscle that you already have while trying to lose as much fat as possible. This is where early morning or even fasted training could be most useful. When you sleep your body is in a fasted state and this is where fat is most vulnerable. When the body senses hunger it releases enzymes that tell you to fuel yourself. If the neural response to eating is not met by actual food from the outside environment, then the body will use its own stores (fat) to keep the body from going into starvation.

When you awaken in the morning on an empty stomach your body is in full gear burning fat. So by training first thing in the morning you can aid in the reduction of fat by making sure the calories you burn from your training session are used to burn fat, not help in the digestion of food from all day. Since caloric intake is the main basis of fat loss, all calories burned should be dedicated to fat loss. Of course, you would use a leucine-rich supplement such as SciVation ‘Quake’ to protect your muscle while training fasted, The EPOC effect will also help by burning more calories, granted you take care of your end of the deal by eating to your specified caloric deficit.

As long as you’re in a surplus to gain muscle, a deficit to burn fat, and you train hard the time of the that you train is not the most important factor. But this advice could be the icing on your cake of achieving your specific training goal.

 

Is Your Training Functional??

Is My Training Functional? 

What is functional training?

· Simple. Training that makes sense.
 

How to Make Your Training Functional (Applicable to Sport)

· The demands of sport require your athlete to move fast and make quick decisions.

o Your lifts/training should compliment those demands in their respective sport.

 

Example:

 

Soccer players are continuously accelerating/decelerating with quick bursts of speed in various planes of motion. Although, they may attain a total volume of 5-6 miles or running, it is broken down into a series of sprints.

 

When designing your training with an athlete that has these demands; make this a top priority in your programming. Create circuits that will train the athlete anaerobically with high intensities for short time durations and short rests that will in turn train them aerobically as well. In essence, you have specified the immediate demands of the sport (quick bursts and responding rapidly) and trained them to handle the aerobic demands (running for miles).

 

If you are new to fitness and sport performance, HIIT style training is a great place to start in learning ways to develop programs to fit the sport demands of your athlete. However, to my experienced sport performance professionals this is simply sprint/interval training, a long trusted art form that appears to be making a major comeback in the development of our athletes.

 

Remember this, if you train slow, you play slow. It is as simple as that.

 

Kyle Stevenson, USAW is a national championship high jump coach and  the head speed and movement specialist at SWXLLER. If you would like more detailed information on this topic, feel free to email  Koach Kyle at ksteve15@gmail.com.

Stay Patient! What You Need to Know about Training

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The quick fix.

This phase has been the death of dreams for millions of people who seek out to live a healthier lifestyle. The Guru’s have their say, the local guy in the gym, and even your coaches have their philosophy if you ask them. However there is one word that is really one of the true secrets to overall health and fitness. That word is

PATIENCE!!!

Man! This is a concept that you have to understand. Whether you are looking to make the varsity team, competing for you first show, or getting ready to slay the beach, patience is a virtue that people of this generation have to take to heart. When it comes to nutrition, training, and the mindset behind it all, you have to let time do the work for you. There is a saying that time will pass, but what you DO WITH THAT TIME is what will ultimately make the difference.

Think about it like this: You know when you are passing a construction site? Ever notice that although you are not really paying attention a building is being built everyday? Eventually there will be a new apartment complex or school erected that will probably last for many years to come. The building took months, even years to build but overtime a beautiful structure was created. Alternatively, ever been too eager to build that desk from IKEA only for it fall apart because you missed a step? The same process happens for your body! Time will pass, but you have to be patient to do the things necessary within that time to achieve the results you want. This is the reason diets don’t work, running yourself into the ground doesn’t work, and going from extreme bootcamp to another doesn’t work. When you are patient however you have the confidence to know that you are building your own personal villa on prized beach front property. If you were an architect you would take your time to have your construction team build your vision to perfection right? Just something to think about.

Patience, yes it sucks I know. However when you are consistent and practice patience your results will come and they will LAST!!

 

~Swxller

3 Reasons Why You Are Missing This Exercise

When training it is the simplest of exercises that produce the best results. Sadly, so many people are caught in the web of misinformation, doing all types of variations of made up exercises that produces no adaptation on the body. If you are new to lifting it is imperative that you build a proper foundation regardless of your training goal. So yes I know you are waiting to know what this magical simple exercise is right? Read on to find out!

Im Only Making One Trip to Carry These Groceries 

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You ever wonder why when you pull this extreme feat of laziness, that you feel extremely winded? Well what you are doing is actually an exercise called the farmers walk. Farmers walks were originally thought of as a strict strongman event lift  and became a staple in the worlds strongman completion in 1983. Although farmers walks are one of the most functional exercise around, so many people neglect this simple exercise.So why is an exercise so basic and so effective at burning fat and gaining muscle rarely seen in gyms today?

1.Farmers walks strengthens your “pillar

When performing the farmer’s walk, you are activating a major number of muscles in your pillar. The pillar, which was first described as the core, compromises of the entire trunk region of your body from the hips to the shoulders. When you strengthen this area you greatly improve your body’s postural stability. The more stable your body is the better you can move in multiple directions, which can be advantageous if you are an athlete. Strengthening of the pillar also activates your transverse muscles. Forget about your six pack (although we will talk about that later), the muscle that you cannot see are the muscles underneath your “show muscles” that drive strength development. So if you wish to get crazy strong, you can’t miss out on this key movement

2. Reduced chance for injury

Squatting and always get “a thing”? You know, that thing, that little twinge that causes you to move to the leg press for a few weeks? Well that “thing” is a breakdown of the small muscles that help you stand up right. Farmer’s walks can help to clean that up tremendously and performing farmers walks for a length of time can actually increase numbers on your squat. The more preventive measures you can do in the gym to stay healthy, the better!

3. Farmer’s walks burn CRAZY amounts of BODYFAT

You don’t always have to run to do cardio. Performing farmers walks can strengthen your cardiovascular system, not to mention make you feel like you are literally about to die. My father actually has just been introduced to farmers walks, and just like a father, he underestimated its effectiveness. Pop went for the gusto from the start using 100lb dumbbells (PLEASE start off what with you can do, don’t do this ) and he told me that before he walked 30 feet he was huffing and puffing and has to drop them. Farmers walks do this by causing your heart to pump more blood to your muscles to perform the activity. Acting in the same way as running, you body recognizes this activity as cardio and overtime will create the same adaptation that sprinting will do in regards to body composition. Now this is provided that you are eating at a slight calorie deficit to lose weight.

Let me not forget… farmers walks build a crazy six pack.. thank me later!

Although farmers walks are a simple movement, I never want to leave you without giving you information on how to perform. Check this video out below to see how to perform the famers walk. Once you watch the video, try this workout for a finisher after one of your training days:

Using two dumbbells, grab each dumbbell and walk a path down and back 50yds. Rest for 45 seconds in between, and perform for 4 sets

Farmers Walk

4×50 yd

:45 rest between sets

 

References

Carter, C. (2014). Why a Strong Pillar is Critical for Soccer. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://blog.sklz.com/expert-knowledge/strong-pillar-critical-soccer/
Spriggs, D. (2015). The Farmers Walk: Why You Should Do Them – Starting Strongman. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://startingstrongman.com/2015/01/27/the-farmers-walk-why-you-should-do-them/
Minor Bowens, CSCS is a sport performance coach at The University of Louisville and founder of The Swxller Company. A former division 1 two sport athlete and certified strength and conditioning specialists, Minor strives to provide readers with the most relevant information to help people reach their individual training goals. Following the philosophy of “growth mindset”, Minor works to improve the performance of his athletes and well as himself daily and believes that you have to “walk the talk.

5 Essential Exercises for Speed

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Speed is the name of the game in today’s sports world and every “guru” out there has their won specific set of skills that they promise will get an athlete faster. While some of these practices may or may not produce results, one can’t deny that a solid weight room foundation aids in speed development. We at Swxller have put together our top 5  room exercise for speed. Give them a try and put some heat in those wheels!

1. Power Clean

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Olympic lifting employs some of the fastest barbell speeds in the sports world today. The reason that these exercises have been used by sport specific athletes is that the clean produces a very high power output. this output has been linked to increased force production of the abdominals, hips, and trunk which has translated into increased speed for athletes. While complete mastery of this olympic lift is not essential, a weight that can provide enough stimulus to create a high power output is desired

2. Back Squat

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Lower body strength and power is essential to become a faster athlete. Strength in the muscles of the entire lower extremity help to produce the optimal stride frequency and stride length to increase speed. This old school lift has stood the test of time to produce not only lower body, but total body strength by engaging the core to stabilize the body during this exercise. Increases in strength from the squat has also been linked to gains in the ability to decelerate, which has an overall positive effect on faster sprint times

3. DB Step Up

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Unilateral strength is key when one talks about speed. When you run you are in what we call a “flight phase”. In this flight phase you are on one leg. It would only be logical that you would train to be stronger and stable on one leg right? Well the dumbbell step up is a great exercise to improve stabilization and strength on one leg and help to mimic the motion of the hip flexor while running.

4. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

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Although this exercise may seem to some to not make the cut, increased strength of the posterior chain, namely the gluten, are very important to increased speed of an athlete. RDL’s are a knee dominant lower pull exercise that will help an athlete straighten and control the swing phase of the sprint motion. It is important to strengthen the hamstrings and hip extensors as the hamstring is one of the most injured muscles in sports

5. Prowler Push

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Now we get into some actual running!! The prowler push exercise is great in that it forces the athlete to stay in a 45 degree angle that is crucial to efficient sprinting. The prowler push also helps to increase core activation, core stability, and strengthens ankle stability. The prowler is one of the best exercises for overall sprint mechanics are  should be put into your arsenal.

Add these exercises and you will see your speed increase in no time.

Swxller

The 5 Laws to Build Quality Muscle ~ Law 5: The SECRET

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Law 5 : The Magic Formula

 

Ah… The magic formula, the secret routine and nutrition regimen to build the perfect physique. This formula has been and continues to be sought after from fitness enthusiasts and supplement companies are racking in BILLIONS of dollars as a result. Well guys we at swxller have that secret and we are going to share it with you right now!!

 

The secret is.. (Shhhh so nobody can here us)

 

The secret is… laws one through four of this series!! Long story short, THERE IS NO SECRET! In law 4 we spoke on trusting the process to build muscle and quite frankly if you have the proper mindset (law 1) eat properly and CONSISTENTLY for growth ( law 2), train hard using compound lifts using the techniques of progressive overload (law 3), and remain consistent (law 4), there is no way that you cannot build muscle!! True enough there will be claims of the latest supplement or training technique that will miraculously pack on serious pounds of muscle, but understand that the human body has ultimately remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. ( even longer than that but that is a discussion for another day guys). The same techniques that have worked for the strong man of old as well as the great Arnold will work for you.

 

It’s so simple its scary right?? It may seem unbelievable but we assure that these laws will never fail you unless you fall within the 5 pitfalls we are about to share with you. If you have ever committed any of these mistakes don’t worry it isn’t the end of the world. We at swxller want to help you identify them early so that you can reach your goals.

 

You change your nutrition to what your friend is doing

 

You have the perfect plan, you have your meals all planned out, and then you friend calls you will this new secret they have found out to get big. Sound familiar? Understand that sound principles will always trump the latest fad diet that hits the market. If you want to build quality muscle you will need a healthy ratio of protein fats AND carbohydrates. So many articles and “research” claims to drastically cut one of these macronutrients, but this trend is extremely dangerous and will kill your goals and muscle growth.  SCIENCE shows us that 1-2g protein, 0.5g of fat and 1.5g of carbs per pound of body weight is optimal for positive muscle growth. You can play with these numbers and are encouraged to to see what works best FOR YOUR BODY, but DO NOT slash one macronutrient out of the equation.

 

  1. You are a walking pharmacy

 

You study bodybuilding.com like a phd student and the people at gnc know your name by hart. Don’t be this person guys. Supplements are just that, SUPPLEMENTS. The pharmaceutical route to get huge never lasts, is detrimental to your health, and can land you in jail if you fall all the way off the wagon ( steroids). If your goal is to build long lasting muscle there are only really a few supplements that you REALLY need. Those are a quality whey protein that has a very low sugar and carb content with high protein per serving. On a buffet? CVS brand whey protein has 26g of protein per scoop and only 6g of carbs and VERY low sugar for less than 20 bucks. You will also need a good fish oil for inflammation and another source of high quality fat. You will also need beta alanine and branch chain amino acids (BCAAS) for recovery and green tea to keep your metabolism running. These have been proven to be effective in building quality muscle along with the RIGHT DIET. You have to eat properly to grow, not be a walking pez dispenser.

 

  1. You are the ultimate muscle confuser

 

Or so you think! True enough you should change your routine to keep your body guessing what you are doing to continue to build muscle, but this doesn’t mean every 3 days! If you read law 4, it takes 90 days to see a true transformation in your body. If you are looking to build muscle however you simply need to change the amount of weight you are lifting and shorten your rest time. This slight change will have the same effect as completely changing exercises.  In the event that you are a complete novice, you need to master the basics before you want to hang from a flag pole like you see all over Instagram. Learn and master the squat, bench, military press, deadlift, pull up and dip. We assure that if you learn these exercises and do them well you will be a beast! Once these are mastered go ahead and do a million musle ups. But make sure you can do an ACTUAL strict pull up first.

 

  1.  The quick fix guy

 

Patience, patience patience. Read law 4 thirty times and burn this law into your head.

 

  1. The life of a yo yo

 

This mistake may be the worst of them all! You have followed these laws to a T and you have started to see gains right in time for the summer. You go to that pool party, day party and everyone is looking and asking you what you did! What’s your “secret” and they have to get on your level. And what do you do?? STOP. You start to rest on your laurels and after a few months you are back to square one. Sucks right? If you have made this mistake you have to understand that the fit lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. The body’s physiological response to added stress in the form of weight lifting is increased muscle. When you fuel your body properly along with this stress your body will begin to form and look the way you want it to look. However once you take this stress away and revert back to bad eating and sleeping habits, you body will revert back into the body you don’t want. You will cause your body to enter a catabolic state in which you will start to lose the muscle that you worked so hard to gain. When you embark on this journey understand that have one has to continue to practice these habits to continuously see improvement. Although cliche, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

 

 

We hope this this information helps you and be sure to let us know how you are doing using the hashtag #swxller on Twitter (@swxllerco) and INSTAGRAM (@swxllerco).

 

~ SWXLLER

The 5 laws to Build Quality Muscle- Law 4: Patience

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Law 4: PATIENCE: Trusting the Process

In this week’s addition to the 5 Laws to Get Quality Muscle we look at Law 4: PATIENCE. Patience? One might ask, what does being patient have to do with building muscle and helping me reach my goal.

Well, lets start with the cliché saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Neither will this masterpiece of a body you are looking to achieve. Research has shown that for any particular adaptation process to occur with the human body as it relates to diet and exercise takes 21-28 days. Simply put, on average, it takes a minimum of one month of consistent training and eating a well balanced diet before you will notice a transformation in how you look or feel. Now, this is only the average timeframe, so since all of us are different, the adaptation process may take less for some while taking longer for others. Knowing this piece of information, when setting fitness goals allow a minimum of 90 days or three months to see significant transformations within you. Reason being is because you ensure that new habits have been created, and the additional days allow you to improve upon the new positive habits you have created. Thus resulting in an eye opening lifestyle that you were not accustomed to in the month’s prior.

But Swxller, I want results and I WANT THEM NOW! We hear you and we understand the eagerness, but understand that value, prestige, and wealth is built over time. Your body is the most expensive, sought after luxury in this world, so treat it as such. This is your temple, so let’s invest in it! Let’s look at the bigger picture of how we want to look, move and feel when we are 40, 50, 60+ years old. Forget about not fitting into this dress or having huge arms on the beach this weekend. Let’s be the one that a teenager or mid-20 year old can’t keep up with. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN LIFE! Will trusting the process and being patient be rough? Of course, wasn’t winning that championship tough? What about getting your degree? What about buying that house or new car? How about that relationship that was everything, but ended? You made it through; you came out stronger, and better than before, but it all took time to get to where and what you wanted. Reaching you fitness goals won’t be any easier, but it will be worth it. Share your struggles with friends, family or even us. We have been there; we know what it feels like when you have reached your breaking point. What makes us who we are is how we attack those obstacles and barriers head on. I’ll end on this note, for those reading this that are on payroll somewhere, you get paid, bi-weekly, monthly, semi-monthly, etc. Point is, you put in the work and you receive the compensation. Same rule applies here, trust the process, put in the work consistently with diet and exercise and you will receive the benefits every 3-4 weeks of each training block.

Patience = Consistency, not perfection

If you like this blog give us a shout via Twitter (@swxllerco) and IG (@swxllerco) and tell us what you think! Your feedback is important to us!

SWXLLER

The 5 Laws to Build Quality Muscle : Train for Growth

imageWhen you want to build quality muscle, the way in which train and lift weights makes ALL the difference. The name of the game to get the GAINZ is testosterone and believe it or not you can increase your testosterone naturally and exponentially by performing specific exercises that have been designed to develop hypertorphy.

Those specific types of exercises are…

  1. Compound exercises performed with free weights.

Of course you are excited about the latest fad, training regimen, wrap, or shake etc, but the old skool of pumping iron will always take a new student and show them how to get big fast. The use of free weights gives an athlete the tools to develop stability in the body by supporting raw free weights in space. By doing so the body has to adapt to a new stress along with the effects of gravity and that adaptation result is increased muscle fiber hypertrophy aka muscle growth.

Compound exercises are exercises that recruit more than one muscle group at a time and training in this way helps to develop transferrable strength by the movement pattern of the exercies. Examples of compund exercises are the deadlift, squat, military press, and olympic movements such as the clean and jerk and snatch. Training with these exercises not only helps to build core stability but also helps to increase flexibility and range of motion of the joints, help to induce osteoblasts (this helps to increase the strength of your bones), and recruits more muscle fibers to be broken down to recover. This recovery is what helps to build muscle so always remember that you grow when you REST, not when you are in the gym. (we will discuss rest in later articles.)

  1. REP RANGES

When training to gain muscle (hypertophy) one should understand rep ranges and how to manipulate your training to build an aesthetically pleasing yet FUNCTIONAL physique. At The Swxller Co. we beleive that EVERYONE is an athlete and although our primary focus deals with sport athletes, anyone who looks to gain size should train just as an athlete. Typically it has been said that training with weights at 75% of your 1 rep max anywhere from 8-12 reps will induce muscle hypertophy. This is true however you also want to train at HIGHER percentages as well with reps that are 5 reps and below. Training in this so called “power zone” especially with olympic lifts will help to build POWER and speed along with building muscle. Whats the point of having all of those muscles if you can’t use them right?

In a nutshell use the recommendations above but train with a variety of percentages and rep ranges as well to build YOUR body. Everyone’s genetic makeup is different but in no shape or form is this a hinderance. This simply means some people will react to different training stimulus than others. Cookie cutter programs do not work.

  1. SETS

Simpy put 4-6 sets and 20-25 sets per training session is more than enough to provide a quality workout.

  1. TRAINING SPLITS

We like to keep movement as the foundation of our training so when you go to the gym your training program should be broken up into pushes and pulls instead of body parts. By programming in this way you will ensure that you hit each body part and create a balanced program. An example of such split would be

  • Lower push (Front Squat)
  • Upper Pull (Pull Up)
  • Rotational (Land Mine)
  • Single Leg Upper Pull (Barbell Step Up)
  • Horizontal Lower Pull (Bent over barbell row)

Try these recommendations the next time you are in the gym and give us a shout via instagram and twitter at @swxllerco!!

Be sure to tune in next week as we discuss our third law to build quality muscle!!

Schwarzenegger, Arnold, Bill Dobbins, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. Print.

The 5 Laws to Build Quality Muscle: 5. Fuel for Growth

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Whether you are working to get bigger to get on the field or court next season or just trying to fill out your favorite shirt, building muscle can seem like a complicated process. How do some people pack on quality muscle while others train at the gym for hours each day and still fail to see results? The answer my friend is that those people who are successful in developing Hypertrophy (a formal word for getting “buff”) have consciously or subconsciously followed specific laws that if followed will aid in you reaching your fitness goals. We have put together the 5 most critical laws of muscle that have been PROVEN time and time again to build dense lean quality muscle in the shortest time possible. Tune in each week as we discuss each law in detail to give you the most up to date information to help you reach your goals.
5. FUEL FOR GROWTH
Stop right there! You tried it and we are going to correct you before you even have the wrong thought. Do not under any circumstance begin to eat foods that are bad for you for the perceived “bulking” period that you have watched on the Internet. That philosophy is not only outdated but can lead to severe fat gain and health problems later in life. Keeping the foundation of a clean diet while manipulating the carb and protein percentages that you consume will give you the energy to help you achieve Hypertrophy. 
To build QUALITY muscle you will want to increase your portions of quality foods that you are already eating (see the power of the knife and fork series) and eat more frequently to allow your body to grow. When building quality muscle, protein sources such as beef, bison, and veal are ideal over chicken and fish because you want protein sources that have a higher amino acid content to feed your muscles. Nevertheless these protein sources should still be rotated during your week because your body will adapt more effiecntyly to a rotating fuel pattern.
Carbs such as sweet potatoes AND white potatoes, quinoa pastas, brown and white rice, and some bread should be used. Your fruits should still be a wide variety but bananas will be key during this period. This is because bananas will help to give you an added boost during training which is why it is recommended during your preworkout meal. 
Healthy fats such as olive and cocunut oil , almonds and walnuts, peanut butter and Udos oil are also very important. You want to ensure that your body still receives quality fats so it doesn’t hold on to so much fat your time to gaining lean mass. 
Caution: MASS GAINER shakes WILL mess up your liver. It is imperative to stick to REAL food when you want to build muscle. For the people who need to gain weight here is a simple shake you can take 2x a day along with your current diet.
  • 2 scoops whey protein isolate (We prefer Zija Prime 90)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 TBSP Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1 banana
  • 15 oz Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Honey
Add this building shake into your fueling during this period and you will not only gain quality weight and build muscle, but that weight will stick. Mass shakes and gainers are synthetic, so your gains will be synthetic as well. So many times athletes have went that route only to either end up sick or lose all the muscle they gained once they stopped taking that particular product. Don’t let that be you!
If you like this blog give us a shout via Twitter (@swxllerco) and IG (@swxllerco) and tell us what you think! Your feedback is important to us!
SWXLLER