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Six Delicious Summer Snacking Alternatives

Beat Mindless Summer Eating

One of the biggest barriers to shaping up over the summer period remains the indiscriminate consumption of food – usually in the form of off-limits fare. Otherwise known as mindless eating or unhealthy snacking, this practice has most likely sidetracked more people from achieving their personal fitness goals than any other factor.

Such snacking is particularly prevalent over summer, a time when we tend be out and about more often and exposed to the delectable array of nutritional delights that everyone enjoys, but which usually end up on the waistline, contribute to much guilt and anxiety, and require extensive cardio to remove.

While countering mindless eating is a thing that we all know we should do, so many of us instead choose to throw down an extra 500 or so calories of junk when the urge hits, seemingly oblivious to the fact that our fitness success depends heavily on every morsel of food we consume. And it’s not just weekend warriors but also ‘seasoned’ lifters who fall victim to this all-to-common urge to splurge.6, 9

We should not feel ashamed for our propensity to eat sugary, fatty foods at will. In fact, this compulsion to stockpile calories as energy is a hard-wired human survival mechanism that has kept us evolving for millennia. However, because we did not evolve to sport perennial six-packs and sub-10% bodyfat levels (not to mention the fact that as a species we are less active than ever before), those seeking physical excellence must keep such ‘snacking’ in check. Read on to learn how best to enjoy a few hard-earned snacks minus the guilt and extra padding.

 

Six Delicious Snacking Alternatives

The best snacks need not be covered in chocolate and dripping with fat. Rather, like all other aspects of the dedicated lifter’s eating plan, quality nutrition needs to be the first consideration.

The following five snacks (really, superior quality supplements) will give you the feeling of loading up on off-limits fare with less chance of corresponding fat gain. Still, there is no reason to consume either of these in mass quantities but, rather, as a means to satisfy hunger pangs and to stay on track with your training progress. Best of all, with occasional snacking between meals, we are less likely to overconsume calories when it comes to eating larger meals.

THE BEST WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE ON THE MARKET

ISOFLEX remains the world’s leading whey isolate formula. High bioavailable and purer and more rapidly absorbable than any other whey product available today, it’s the gold standard in whey fortification and advanced muscle building.

What this also means is that ISOFLEX is particularly effective in filling us up and suppressing hunger (one of whey protein’s key attributes).1, 3 Best of all, ISOFLEX comes in a range of delicious flavors that are sure to satisfy and which double as a tasty treat. Mix in a little chopped pineapple (or other fruit) for a sweet snack to rival any off-limits alternative.

Due to its tantalizing taste and ultra-low caloric content (only five per serving), the amino-charged A-CUTS may be sipped on throughout the day, by the pool, or, as intended, before training (cardio or weights).

Rather than indulging in one of many high-calorie, sugar-dense, chemical-laden fruit or fizzy drinks, instead put some A-CUTS in your drink bottle and enjoy the best-tasting energy-booster on today’s market.

Much more than a great-tasting alternative to the ever-popular range of heavily caffeinated energy drinks, A-CUTS contains a broad selection of muscle building amino acids, specific fat burning ingredients, and natural energy enhancers. This makes it a superior choice for those hot summer months.

Whether coated in sugar, infused with fat, or containing a week’s allocation of blood pressure spiking sodium, popcorn remains a most popular snacking item enjoyed by thousands the world over.

Often touted as a healthy snack alternative, the truth is that popcorn is often anything but. While a tub of movie popcorn can contain up to 1090 calories and a massive 2650 grams of stroke-inducing sodium, microwave popcorn has all of the above along with a chemical called diacetyl, which has been linked to a disease called popcorn lung that causes shortness of breath and wheezing when inhaled. Then we have caramel corn, as sickly sweet and sugary as any form of confectionary.

Popcorn’s biggest problem is that it is so easy to consume. A couple of handfuls can be downed in less than a minute; before we know it, a whole tub has disappeared. If you love to snack on popcorn (and who doesn’t?) but wish to avoid the above ill effects, there is a solution: HEXAPRO Popcorn.

Touted as a ‘premium protein popcorn’, HEXAPRO Popcorn is as addictive as other versions of this popular snack food but minus the excessive calories. Air popped, non-GMO, gluten-free, and with zero trans fats, this product comes in two delicious flavors: dark chocolate sea salt and chocolate peanut butter. Best of all, it contains 10 grams of protein per serving, giving it the anabolic edge in superior snacking.

For such times when a serving of popcorn or delicious amino-rich drink just won’t cut it, there is a new addition to the sensible snacking range: ALLMAX Protein Snack Bar – Sport. With a hefty 14 grams of power packed whey protein isolate per bar and nothing but real food ingredients (graham crackers, chocolate, and rich and creamy peanut butter), these high-energy snacks make the perfect treat when hunger pangs hit hardest.

Perfect post-training or as an ‘anytime’ dessert, ALLMAX Protein Snack Bar – Sport provides all the flavor (chocolate peanut butter and white chocolate peanut butter) without the significant sugar and fat content of regular snack bars.    

Much like its high-protein counterpart ISOFLEX, ISOFLEX CHILLER contains a full balance of bioactive whey protein fractions for complete health and sound immunity, along with today’s purest and most absorbable form of whey isolate. With zero sugar and fat and 27 grams of complete proteins per serving, ISOFLEX CHILLER is a mouth-watering addition to the ALLMAX protein range. Its citrus peach sensation flavor makes it quite possibly the best tasting protein of them all.

ULTRA-SLOW RELEASE MICELLAR CASEIN PROTEINCASEIN-FX

As mentioned, late night snacking is, in most circumstances, to be discouraged. There is, however, one great-tasing way to get that evening food fix without blowing one’s diet. In fact, it’s not only an excellent means to supressing hunger pangs and addressing those late-night sugar cravings; it also directly contributes to muscle gains and steady fat burning.8, 17

Hunger tends to hit hardest when we least want it to: in the hours before bed. Instead of grabbing for the ice-cream and cookies, blend up a smooth and creamy casein shake (one scoop of casein mixed with minimal water to give your protein-rich concoction a dessert-like consistency). ALLMAX CASEIN-FX, a superior pure 8-10-hour sustained-release micellar casein, fills this gap nicely. With its rich chocolate and vanilla flavors, you will feel like you’re eating dessert at a time when dessert is strictly off limits.

 

Top Tip

Top tip: if out with friends and it’s decided that fast food will be on the menu, chug down an ISOFLEX whey shake along with an ALLMAX Protein Snack Bar for a massive 40+ grams of high-quality protein to minimize hunger, keep muscle gains on the increase, and ensure fat loss remains consistent.1, 2, 4, 11, 18

With all of that being said, the fact remains that when people snack, they usually do so when the urge hits. If this is you, and the urge to snack hits outside of the aforementioned desirable snacking times, feel free to indulge in the below-listed items on occasion.

As well as being a far better option than loading up on fried chicken and chocolate, the additional quality calories consumed at such times may just be the metabolic jolt your body needs to reignite the fat burning process (the rationale being that re-feed, or ‘cheat’, meals work best when comprised of quality nutrients).4

 

When to Snack

The self-discipline that has kept most us in the training game for many years also ensures that we are more than capable of restraining ourselves when it comes to eating the wrong foods in excess.

But we also want to enjoy life and a big part of life satisfaction involves eating the foods we like. Unfortunately, these often come in the form of largely nutritionally-inert snacks. With precision snacking (conscious snacking done expressly to further fitness progress), however, we can enjoy great-tasting treats without ruining our health and expanding our waistlines. However, even with such healthier snacking, there are optimal times to indulge.

The best times to snack are not late at night, when most calories (clean or otherwise) are less readily burned as energy and instead are stored for future use. Another bad time is first thing in the morning, when we have the opportunity to prime ourselves for lipolysis (the preferred steady fat burning state) or glycolysis (carb storage and utilization, which more readily contributes to fat gain).5, 7, 8, 10, 16 By eating carb-heavy snacks (healthy or not) at such times, fat loss is more likely to be stifled and fat gain is more likely to occur.

So, what are the best times to snack? The short answer is: any time of day other than the aforementioned ‘no snacking’ times, but, ideally, around lunchtime, pre-workout, post-workout, and with evening meals. Pre-workout (around one hour before training) and post-workout (immediately following training) remain the best times to snack, as the extra calories will be used for energy and to enhance insulin production and glycogen replacement respectively.12, 13

 

What to Look for

While traditional healthy snacking options abound, there are certain items that are especially suitable for serious lifters, which are to be prioritized ahead of less desirable choices. Here, what the fitness focused must look for are foods that are both delicious and desirous but also nutrient dense and conducive to enhancing recovery and keeping fat stores at bay.

Where such treats were once merely the stuff of dreams, today we have a large selection of mouth-watering snacks which double as superior supplements. From chocolate coated protein bars to creatine/glutamine/amino fortified zero-calorie candy to ‘enhanced’ popcorn and an array of delicious drinks designed to boost muscle gains, snacking has never been easier or more progress enhancing.

In fact, snacks that also benefit the body are the perfect scenario for results-focused trainees and, with a few select items (see below), easily incorporated. But not just any heavily hyped product will do. The lifter is encouraged to seek only those that feature the best ingredients, are quality-assured, and are lower in total calories from forbidden fats and sugars.

Also important is whether such snacks contribute to further snacking or serve their purpose of quelling the appetite and satisfying the lifter. Indeed, while regular snacking tends to encourage further mindless eating and does not entirely satisfy unforgiving hunger pangs, snacks that come disguised as quality supplements not only help to suppress appetite and discourage continuous gorging but also contribute to ongoing gains in size, strength, and fat loss.

Such items do this by giving the body what it needs along with what it craves. Once truly satisfied, we will no longer have the urge to keeping throwing down calorie-laden treats (sweets, cake, donuts and the like). And we’ll feel, and look, much better for it.

 

Summer Snack and Burn Workout

Though far and away a healthier option, sensibly snacking on the products above still means that an extra caloric load may have to be addressed. The following 12-week plan targets fat/calorie burning via its HIIT emphasis, so you may indulge in your favorite healthy (and, on occasion, not so healthy) treats without fear of compromising your hard-won gains.

SS = Supersetted

TS = Trisetted

DDS – Double Drop Set

Rest between sets (including supersets): 45 seconds

Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS

  • Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 25 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during high intensity phase).

Evening: Chest/Shoulders

  • -BB Bench Presses SS with Incline DB Presses: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -Flat Bench Flyes TS with Chest Dips: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -Machine Chest Presses: 3 sets of 20 reps per set
  • -Lateral Raises SS with DB Front Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -Bent Lateral Raises SS with Arnold Presses: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -BB Military Presses (to the front): 3 sets of 20 reps per set

Evening: Legs

  • -Medium-Stance Squats SS with Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -Leg Presses SS with Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 20 reps per set
  • -Wide-Stance Squats: 3 sets of 12 reps per set
  • -Standing Calf Raises SS with Donkey Calf Raises: 2 sets of 20 reps per movement

Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS

  • Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 25 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during high intensity phase).

Evening: Back/Abs  

  • -Pull-ups SS with Seated Rowing: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -Deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 reps per set
  • -Reverse-Grip Pulldowns SS with Bent BB Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -One-Arm DB Rows: 3 sets of 15 reps per set
  • -Stability Ball Crunches SS with Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps per movement
  • -V-Ups SS with Rope Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement

Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of AMINOCORE

  • Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 25 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during high intensity phase).

Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS

  • Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 25 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during high intensity phase).

Evening: Arms  

  • -Incline DB Curls SS with Spider Curls: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -BB Curls SS with Rope Pressdowns: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -One-Arm DB Kickbacks SS with DB Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement
  • -Lying BB Triceps Extensions SS with One-Arm Overhead DB Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement

Morning: Cardio – Following one serving of A-CUTS

  • Bike, Stepper or Treadmill: 25 minutes of HIIT, alternating between 30 seconds moderate intensity and 30 seconds super-high intensity (maintaining a maximum heart rate of between 140-150 beats per minute during high intensity phase).

Evening: Full Body Circuit Routine

  • -DB Curl-Press/Straight Bar Triceps Pressdowns/Machine Chest Presses/BB Curls/Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns/DB Rows/DB Front Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps per movement
  • -Goblet Squats/Leg Extensions/Lying Leg Curls/DB Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps per movement

Rest Day

 

Health Tip: Snacking to Avoid Overconsumption

Satiety, the feeling of fullness that continues after eating, is quite possibly the most important factor in suppressing caloric overconsumption, a major causal factor for obesity. As we have learned, between meals snacking has the potential to promote satiety and suppress overconsumption during subsequent meals.

Studies exploring the relationship between snack foods and satiety have concluded that foods high in protein, fiber, and whole grains enhance satiety when consumed as snacks.6, 9, 14, 15

As bodybuilders and fitness folk you’ll be wanting your snacks to be as healthy as possible. By occasionally consuming the above-listed snacks between major meals you’ll get the best of both worlds: a superior nutritional status and less in the way of caloric overconsumption.

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