2016 is here and it has arrived along with a plethora of resolutions. Everyone seems to have one, and it seems to me like most of these resolutions are either health or fitness oriented. I am not sure when the “New Year’s Resolution” tradition started, but I am sure glad it did; it is a great way for people to get a fresh start and re-set goals! I love that everyone gets pumped for the world of possibilities that a new year can bring and that they feel the need to commit to be better selves.

My husband and I set new goals, and one of my top goals for this year was to commit to a new training program that would help me build muscle and transform my physique. I have wanting to gain lean muscle mass for a while now, and I have been going to the gym and lifting weights to do so. But it you’re a female, you know first hand that gaining muscle is something very hard for us to do.

After long hours of researching for a new program, I found a wonderful FREE training program on Bodybuilding.com that suited my goals. I felt really attracted to it and felt excited to try it. This program is called Kris Gethin’s Muscle Building training program and, as the name suggests, was created by Kris Gethin. Kris is a very popular body building athlete, and he developed this particular program over the course of 15 years while working with other experts and athletes. The program’s techniques and strategies were carefully perfected on Kris’ clients and on his own physique. I trust the man 100%, since my husband and I have already followed a 12-week training program of his a few years ago, and believe me when I say: our bodies were transformed.
Have you ever tried any of Kris’ training programs? If you haven’t yet… would you want to join me and start the program along with me? You so SHOULD. We would encourage each other along the way!

Due to my previous success with Kris’ programs, and due to my New Year’s resolution, I decided that the Free Kris Gethin Muscle Building training program was the perfect choice for me. After this decision had been made, my next step was to get comfortable and dig deep into all of the online information the program provides. I read the intro, watched the videos, and studied the plan’s nutrition/training/supplementation techniques. I did the majority of my “studying” while in Ecuador, since my husband and I were visiting my family for the holidays. It was perfect timing, because being away from my gym, eating out at restaurants non-stop, and participating in all sorts of naughty holiday-related activities (aka, drinking lots of wine), made me want to jump on the path to achieving my new goal right away. I was super ready!

The day after we returned to Idaho from Ecuador, I went to the gym and started Kris’ program. Since then, I have loved every new work out and have loved eating so clean. I am eating lots of protein, slow digesting carbs (such as sweet potatoes and broccoli) and great healthy fats. I love this kind of diet. Makes my digestion work perfectly and it really helps me see great results. Today is day 11 of the program, and I am still as motivated as the day when I started it.

One thing that has helped me stay accountable is being active on health-related social channels (such as BodySpace), using devices to help track my progress (such as my FitBit), and using online tools to track my nutrition (such as MyFitnessPal). These three things are huge for me; not only do I feel the support of a large like-minded online community, but I also know where I stand on my training and on my nutritional at all times.

Another thing that has worked out great for me is finding a workout buddy. In my case, that’s my husband; he decided to start the same training program with me at the same time. HUGE blessing. You have no idea how helpful it is to get your significant other right there to support you, encourage you, and participate with you on the same goal. I love it. And I recommend that if you can, you do the same. Encourage your significant other, a friend or a family member to jump on board with you on a health and fit related goal. It will not only be fun, but it will help keep you on track!

One thing that I have struggled with is the supplementation aspect of this program. I became Paleo because I am very sensitive to certain ingredients, especially to those that are non-natural. I love to eat real foods, foods that are organic and 100% natural. This is what works best for my digestion, it’s what doesn’t make me feel sick, and is what makes me feel my very best. I have had digestion issues, and after working closely with my doctor and with my nutritionist, we found that my body is intolerant to various foods. Which is why I stay away from all foods and products that have been highly processed. Supplements fall under the “highly processed” category, and when I read some supplements’ ingredients labels, I find things like: “signature blends” or “proprietary blends”. This totally sounds iffy to me, so no thanks…not worth the risk of nausea and major bloating.

Now, Kris Gethin recommends a whole stack of supplements to take while on his program, especially drinking protein shakes both after weight training and before cardio sessions. He recommends this because after a workout, your muscles are at a prime state to absorb protein…allowing muscle growth. I get it. Nutrition is a carefully studied science for bodybuilders; it is a crucial aspect. And because I know that, I have even considered taking Tupperware containers full of egg white scrambles or grilled chicken breasts with me to the gym, so that I can pound some immediately after the workout. And even though this option could work, I think that consuming protein in the form of a solid right after a weight training session and just before a cardio session (Kris recommends to take a protein shake after lifting but before cardio) might make me sick.

So realistically, what’s my other option? To find a VERY CLEAN protein powder supplement that won’t make me feel sick or bloated.

Well, guess what? I found a very simple and affordable protein powder option: Whey Protein Isolate from NOW Foods (particularly the natural flavor, as it’s the only option that yields the simplest ingredient combination). I bought it through SwansonVitamins.com; it was my first time using their site and I loved the user experience. It was very easy to navigate, easy to find the products I needed, and…they provide FREE shipping on any order over $50+. Saweeeeet – that’s my kind of online shopping! You should definitely go check them out if you’re needing supplements or if you want the convenience of ordering baking goods online.

For the last week, I’ve been taking a scoop of this protein powder in a shaker bottle with me to the gym on lifting days. I drink it all up right after I am done with my workout. And sometimes, when I’m craving something sweet, I’ll use it to make this Cacao Protein Shake recipe. It’s SO good.

Cacao Protein Shake
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20 ounces
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients on blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour in your favorite glass and enjoy!
Notes
Tools You’ll Need:
- High speed blender (I used a Vitamix)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Spatula
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving -- Calories: 320 Fat: 6 g. Carbohydrates: 40 g. Protein: 27 g.


Cacao Protein Shake
The cocoa powder I used.
Cacao Protein Shake
The whey protein isolate powder I used.
Cacao Protein Shake
The coconut oil I used.
Cacao Protein Shake
The honey I used.

Cacao Protein Shake Cacao Protein ShakeCacao Protein Shake

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