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Your guide to Health, Wellness, Yoga, Pilates, Boxing, & MMA
Supplements are integral to the daily routines of many fitness enthusiasts. Whether you're looking to increase strength, add muscle mass, boost your intake of vital nutrients or just replace fast food with a healthier option, supplements can be very beneficial even if you're just beginning your fitness regimen. You should begin your supplement shopping by considering the following questions:
- How will you be using supplements?
Are you looking to get lean and toned or are you aiming for size and strength? Knowing your ultimate fitness goals will help you narrow your search.
- What type of diet are you currently on?
Do you want to supplement your current diet or make significant changes to it? If you understand your current diet and have a good idea of how you'd like to modify it, you'll have an easier time settling on the types of supplements that will benefit you most.
- How busy is your day?
This will help you determine if you should consider bars, protein, gels and/or meal replacements.
Types of Supplements
The supplement industry has experienced phenomenal growth and now offers a vast array of products, so the search for the right supplements can be overwhelming to many consumers. There are a few basics, however, that have proven effective over the years and are now favorites among fitness enthusiasts of all levels.
Many convenient meals like sugary snacks and fast food are unhealthy. That's where meal replacement supplements come in. With a blend of good carbohydrates, calories and protein, meal replacements are a healthy and convenient option for a person who is trying to stick to his/her fitness goals.
Two basic uses for meal replacements:
- Weight lossUse meal replacements with low fat and low calories as part of a weight loss regimen
- Weight gainUse meal replacements with at least 30 grams of protein to supplement a weight gain (muscle-building) regimen
Brands: Labrada, Clif Bars, PowerBar, Kind Bars
Research shows that athletes and active individuals need more protein than do sedentary individuals. A crucial part of any fitness regimen, protein helps rebuild muscle tissue after intense exercise and supports the immune system. Academy offers the following protein supplements:
- Boost daily protein intake
- Increase size and strength
- Added to a meal replacement shake
- Used to create custom shakes (Ex: skim milk + protein powder + banana)
Simply Protein, MyoPro Whey and Labrada 60g
- Whey protein isolates and concentrates
- Excellent for post-workout recovery
- Rapidly absorbed amino acids for tissue repair
- Available in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry
Brands: Twinlab, Labrada, Met-RX, Cyto Sport
Creatine is produced naturally in the liver and helps supply energy to the muscles. It has become a favorite among fitness enthusiasts - particularly bodybuilders - for its proven ability to promote more intense workouts and faster recovery. Below are some of the benefits of creatine supplements.
Creatine is used to:
- Increase lean body mass
- Help with volumizationy
- Promote endurance during exercise
- Potentially assist in completing extra reps
- Potentially speed recovery between sets
- Allow for more intense training sessions
How creatine works:
- 2 grams per day is ideal
- Helps produce ATP and prevent fatigue
- Adenosine Tri-Phosphate - "energy machine" inside the muscle
- Supplementing with creatine may provide fuel to keep ATP working longer
Brands: Body Fortress, Twinlab, Labrada
Amino acids, the "building blocks" of protein, are important for general health and may help you attain physical goals such as building muscle and/or losing fat.
Benefits of amino acids:
- Help with muscle repair and growth
- Aid in mood, concentration and sleep
- May aid in immune system and general health maintenance
Brands: Twinlab (available in both liquid and tablet forms)
Thermogenic Fat Burners
Thermogenic fat burners help the body release fat to be burned as fuel. When combined with proper diet and exercise, fat burners may help to speed fat-loss efforts.
Benefits of thermogenic fat burners:
- Blend of thermogenic compounds shown in field trials to increase metabolic rate
- Higher metabolic rate equals more calories burned
- May help boost energy levels
- May help reduce food cravings
Brands: Twinlab and Cyto Sport
Yoga and Pilates
With a recent surge in popularity, yoga and Pilates have become the gold standards in the world of holistic exercise. Many fitness enthusiasts incorporate yoga and/or Pilates as part of their strength and wellness routines. Although the two programs emphasize different aspects of fitness - Pilates focuses on core strength, while yoga emphasizes whole-body conditioning - both promote strength, flexibility and overall well-being.
Academy sells a number of products that will help you with your yoga and/or Pilates routine, including mats, blocks, kits, and other accessories.
Brands: Gaiam, BCG, CAP Barbell, Venture Products
Boxing and MMA
Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts(MMA) are ideal for improving quickness, agility, cardiovascular health, and overall fitness. With the added benefit of improving self-defense abilities, boxing and MMA are great ways to exercise both the mind and body.
Long popular among both sports fans and fitness enthusiasts, boxing can help you improve quickness, strength, and overall conditioning. Academy offers the following boxing products:
- Boxing Equipment: This includes heavy bags, speed bags, and bag stands.
- Boxing Gloves & Accessories: Includes training gloves, punch mitts, hand wraps, headgear, mouth guards, and other accessories.
- Speed and Jump Ropes
Brands: Everlast, BCG
MMA training can be a fun and exciting way to get in shape and learn selfdefense. With MMA training, there are a variety of different activities you can do to keep your workouts fun and interesting.
Individual training is perfect for anyone, anytime, so long as you have the right equipment. Let's take a quick look at the essential pieces of gear you will need to get started.
- MMA training gloves: A quality pair of MMA training gloves is great for light bag work.
- Hand wraps: Hand wraps should not be overlooked when punching. Hand wraps not only offer additional knuckle and hand support but vital wrist support as well.
- Heavy bag or free-standing bag: Heavy bags and free-standing bags are available in a variety of styles and weights. Each has its own benefits, and your preference will have a lot to do with choosing a bag. Regardless of which bag you choose, it will be an essential piece of equipment to have for your MMA training.
- Heavy bag/boxing gloves: These are a must when striking a heavy bag at full force. A quality pair of 14-16 oz. boxing gloves is an invaluable tool.
- Shin/instep guards: Grab a solid pair of shin/instep guards to cover your shins and feet. MMA fitness is a full upper and lower body workout.
Partner training is a fun way to practice precision striking along with developing cardiovascular strength and timing. Partners usually take turns holding targets while the other strikes, which makes for a great workout. What you'll need:
- Focus mitts/punch mitts/Thai pads: A solid pair of focus mitts for punching and a durable Thai pad for kicks, knees and elbows is ideal for partner training.
- Shields: There is a variety of specialty shields that one can use in partner training to up the level of intensity. Body shields, uppercut shields, and kicking shields are all designed to support training on specified plans of attack and can add an additional challenge to your training.
- MMA training gloves or boxing gloves: A good pair of training gloves is invaluable for partner training. Grab a nice pair of MMA training gloves or a good set of boxing gloves of virtually any weight and you'll be ready to fire off your best combinations while your partner holds pads or shields.
- Hand wraps: Hand wraps are an essential item to have while partner training. Always properly wrap your hands before punching any surface, including focus mitts.
Sparring can be one of the most intense yet exciting elements of MMA training. Sparring will typically consist of either stand up boxing, kickboxing or on-the-mat grappling, but can include all elements of MMA for properly trained practitioners. Don't consider sparring without proper training; visit a qualified instructor in your community. When sparring, both practitioners should be equipped with the following essentials:
- Headgear: Good headgear should fit snugly but should not be uncomfortable. Most headgear is adjustable, allowing you to get just the right fit.
- Shin/instep guards: If you plan on throwing kicks during your sparring sessions, be sure to have a good pair of shin/instep guards available.
- Mouthpiece: Another vital piece of equipment, the mouthpiece is a must for anyone who plans on sparring.
- Heavy bag gloves: A good set of well-padded (preferably at least 16 oz.) heavy bag gloves will be needed when sparring, particularly when sparring strictly on the feet.
- Hand wraps: As with any training activity, if you plan on striking anything you'll need to get a good pair of hand wraps.
Brands: Century, Everlast, TapouT, UFC