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Archives for June 2016

Top Three Plants That Support Brain Function

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There are a lot of supplements on the market that promise to improve our brain function and help us retain our memory. Everybody forgets things now and then, but for many, this seems to happen more often as we grow into adulthood, continuing as we get older. This makes the idea of a brain supplement really appealing.

But can they really help your brain function better?

What it really boils down to is the supplements you take and the ingredients that it contains. You know everything you put into your body affects the way you feel and the way your body performs. Well, the same is true with your brain and how it functions. What you ingest can impact how you think and well your memory works. Supplements can contain a number of ingredients that actually can help to improve your overall brain health.

Top 3 Plant-Based Ingredients You Should Be Consuming

1) Panax Ginseng – Studies have shown a lot of benefits for the use of ginseng as a brain supplement, as it has been shown to cognitive performance, secondary memory performance, speed, and accuracy of memory, improved simple reaction and improved abstract thinking. Plus, it has also been shown to improve exercise performance, which can be highly beneficial when you are trying to work out and stay fit.

2) Gotu Kola – There have been studies that have connected Gotu Kola to improved cognitive functions due to the effects that it has on the circulatory system, bringing more oxygen to the brain. It is because of this that Gotu kola can be especially beneficial to those later in their years as it can slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s.

3) Ginkgo Biloba – Taking this as a supplement can help with several different brain functions. Studies show that taking Ginkgo Biloba can help to improve memory, concentration, and alertness, as well as other symptoms associated with cognitive deficits, such as ringing in your ears and dizziness.

Supplements, such as MFIT — Focus your mind, that contains these essential ingredients, among many others that have been proven to improve brain function can have huge benefits if taken consistently, especially as you begin to age.

Nothing is more important to you than your brain health. It not only keeps you alive and controls every aspect of your body, but it also controls your ability to think, process information, personality, and memory. Brain health is essential to every aspect of our everyday lives, so why would you work so hard to make sure your body is healthy and functioning right, but not your brain?

MFIT — Focus your mind helps to improve your cognitive and brain function, prevent memory impairment, all the while improving mental alertness, concentration, coordination, and mental endurance. With better brain health, you get the advantage of being able to better support a healthy immune system, as it contains antioxidant properties.

References:

Kiefer, D., & Pantuso, T. (2003). Panax ginseng. American family physician, 68(8), 1539-1544.

Søholm, B. (1997). Clinical improvement of memory and other cognitive functions by Ginkgo biloba: a review of relevant literature. Advances in therapy, 15(1), 54-65.

Xu, Y., Cao, Z., Khan, I., & Luo, Y. (2008). Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica) extract enhances phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element binding protein in neuroblastoma cells expressing amyloid beta peptide. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 13(3), 341-349.

Do Grains Kill Your Gains?

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There can be a lot of mix-up about whether grains are good for you or whether you should stay away from them.

Continue reading after the video to learn:

  • Why gluten damages your gut
  • Foods you should be avoiding
  • Alternative grains for you to try
  • If grains will kill your gains

The main issue with consuming grains, especially those that contain gluten, and why they can actually kill your gains, is because they cause inflammation and problems to our gut health.

The most damaging of the grains are wheat, and this is because it contains the most gluten. The information that we have been told is often confusing and sometimes just downright wrong. For example, throughout the years we have been told that whole wheat bread is much better for us than white bread, but in reality, they two are actually very similar as in they are both bad. In fact, in many ways, whole wheat can be even more damaging than white bread because it contains more gluten, which is what we want to avoid, as it causes more inflammation.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and some other grains that are very difficult for our body to break down and digest. Because it is so hard to break down, this is what causes an inflammatory reaction within our gut and increases gut permeability. The more permeable our gut is, the more things that can pass through into our bloodstream that we don’t want in there.

Why does gluten do this? 

The gut is designed to only let thing into your bloodstream that will do certain processes, called tight junctions. So for things to get from the gut into the bloodstream, they have to be allowed in.

Our gut has little villi, which are little finger-like structures on our intestinal walls that help us absorb nutrients and wheat actually damages these villi. This is what can lead to leaky gut syndrome or a permeable gut.

By avoiding certain grains, you can prevent this issue, decrease inflammation and increased your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Here are commonly used items to avoid to: 

  • White bread – This bread is full of wheat, is heavily processed and has had everything pulled out of it, except for the starch, which is why it is white. When you pull everything out of the grain, it is called bleached flour, which means everything that this grain consists of is gone except for the starch itself.
  • Whole Wheat – In items made of whole wheat, such as whole wheat bread, every aspect of the grain has been utilized, and additional gluten is added, which is what we don’t what. We want to avoid gluten, not add extra. This is what makes wheat bread worse than white bread.Sprouted grains – If you are on one of our Custom Meal Plans you have probably seen sprouted grain bread and that is because this is the best type of bread that you can consume that does have wheat in it. That is because it is raw, in a lot of ways (besides the fact the bread is baked).

    What this means is the grains are considered to be more alive than you would find in other bread, and this is because they were sprouted before they were utilized. This helps to decrease the phytate and phytic acid within the grains. However, this can also have its issues, as it can stop the body from absorbing nutrients.

Now, here are some good grains that you can consume: 

  • Quinoa – Although it is often believed to be a grain, it is actually a seed, and when going for a seed, just as in grains, it is always better to get them in a sprouted form. Because quinoa is actually a seed, this makes it a great alternative for grains.
  • Oats – Although a grain, oats in their natural form do not contain gluten but are often processed using the same equipment that wheat is processed, which can add in the gluten. So, when shopping for oats, what you want to look for is a gluten-free steel cut oat. Steel cut oats will be better for you and they taste better. When you buy them, they are the entire oat, they have just been cut down.

What does all this have to do with gains?

For some people, they can consume grains, and it doesn’t affect their ability to put on muscle or get into shape. However, for many of us, certain grains can have a negative impact. We always want to steer you in the direction of being as healthy as you can be, putting your health first. And that is the goal of this, to provide information so that you can improve your overall health and quality of life.

Consuming grains that contain gluten and cause inflammation, that is known to cause damage to our guts and decrease the nutrients that we are getting from the foods we are eating, can slow your metabolism and keep your body from reaching its maximum potential.

By reducing the grains you eat that contain gluten and going with healthier items, your body will be able to respond in ways that it hasn’t before. You will have increased energy, you will feel better, lose more weight by increasing your metabolism, and you will be stronger.

The Verdict: Grains will not necessarily kill your gains (surface), but can have an adverse effect on your overall health. And since that’s what we are most concerned about we suggest you eat them in moderation.

You Define Your Purpose, So Stop Searching For It

Are you searching for purpose in your life and you haven’t found it yet? Is it something you yearn for, struggle with and feel like you need, but you are just not there yet, asking yourself, “What am I here for?”

The reality is, it is not always that clear.

One thing I have learned is this: When you do your best every day, that is all anyone can ever ask for. Every day you need to be asking questions and making yourself aware. Through being aware of yourself, you are able to better see the things that need to change. You are in a better position to admit to yourself the things that you need to alter in order to become better throughout your life.

No matter who you are, we all have things that we need to change and improve upon in order to become better. There is no such thing as a perfect person, so this means there is no person who can’t benefit from being more self-aware and more open to the things that need to change in their lives. The perfect person does not exist.

Together, we can strive for excellence and use self-awareness to change our perspective, so that we can see things in a new way and adapt as needed. This leads us to see things and think of things, in ways we would never have before.

So what is finding purpose and how does this all play into it?

What if finding purpose is just about experiencing life and being aware of those experiences. By being aware of those experiences you can then share and use those very experiences to then teach others?

The purpose is not about ‘things’ or obtaining lots of money and objects, but obtaining experiences, good or bad, and being able to teach other through those experiences. What if the fulfillment comes through serving others by teaching them what you have learned?

By being aware and auditing your experiences, you can take all of your trials and tribulations, and reach out to others who are also going through similar circumstances, serving them through leadership and by teaching them what you learned during your experience.

Success in my eyes is the purpose and the fulfillment that comes from the act of serving others. We get too caught up in trying to find our perfect mission and purpose in life that we don’t pay attention to the experiences we are already living, and therefore don’t take the time to learn everything we can from it. If we don’t pay attention, if we aren’t aware, and we don’t learn everything we can, we miss out on the opportunity to help and serve others. We miss out on what potentially could be our purpose and the fulfillment that comes with it.

Maybe this is why you are missing your purpose, maybe you are searching and reaching for something that doesn’t exist. Maybe you are spending too much time seeking out the perfect mission in life, so much that you are missing the opportunity that each new experience brings.

As life brings various circumstances in and out of your life and you experience the ups and downs, I invite you to take those experiences and turn them into an opportunity to serve.

At the end, it is about the growth that you gain through the experience of life and how you then serve others through that growth.

Please…stop reaching for that one single purpose because maybe it just doesn’t exist. Often times the chase can take us further away from the experience of life, and ultimately further away from the fulfillment we all yearn for…

Don’t let the experience of life get in the way of experiencing life.

Why we are getting fatter!!!

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Portions have grown over the past 20-30 years, especially within restaurants, to the point where they have doubled or even tripled in size. These portions have contributed to habits of overeating and the rise in obesity over the past few decades. Larger portions lead to overconsumption, which leads to you taking in more food and calories that your body requires to maintain a healthy weight. People are also eating out a lot more than in the past and consume over 300 calories per more every day than they did 20 years ago.

How portion sizes affected us? 

Since portion sizes have begun to get bigger, it has distorted our view of what a healthy portion size is. Even when consciously trying to control how much we eat, we often still tend to overeat, simply because the lack of knowledge towards what a healthy portion size is.

People also tend to eat more when they eat out, both because the portion sizes are bigger and because they add on appetizers and dessert on top of their already large meal. In fact, if we ate the portions that are offered at restaurants for every meal, we would eat an extra 1,500 calories a day, in comparison to 20 years ago. That’s over 500,000 extra calories a year!

Studies have shown that people who are given larger portions, naturally consume more than they otherwise would. In one particular study, people were fed different portions of mac and cheese on different days. When given the largest portion, they consumed 30% more energy than when fed the smallest portion and despite the difference in portion sizes, the subjects reported similar ratings of hunger and fullness after eating. Eating the smaller portion did not make the subjects feel any more hungry than when they ate the larger portion. In fact, 55% of the subjects didn’t even notice the difference in portion size. This same concept was applied to portion sizes of other foods and snacks with the same results. This would suggest that often, we don’t realize just how much we are eating, but rather are just eating what is put in front of us.

But how did it get this way?

It is reported that upping the portion size began in 1967, at a movie theater in Chicago, where David Wallerstein, the area manager for the local theater, needed a way to boost sales of popcorn and soda. His strategy was to offer people a larger size of popcorn and soda, and he could charge a lot more with minimal costs to the company. The strategy worked, and before long he was picked up by McDonald’s, where, in 1972, they began to offer similar deals. Naturally, consumers saw the extra food as a good deal, as it was cheaper than buying two portions, and bought the larger sizes, making McDonalds’ profits soar. Before long, food chains all over America were offering similar deals to compete and make a profit. This has continued and grown over the decades, and while America is known for its large portion sizes, this has spread to many other modern countries throughout the world.

What can we do to avoid portion distortion?

While larger portions are being pushed on us, there are ways for us to try and control what we eat and implement smart and healthy portion decisions. Here are some tips for avoiding oversized portions:

  • When eating out, order an appetizer instead of an entree. These portions tend to be much smaller and closer to healthier portions.
  • When cooking at home use the nutrition label to figure out what the recommended serving size is for that particular food. Once you have cooked the food, and after proper portion size is served, put away the extra food and save it for later, rather than leaving it out for seconds. Having the food readily available encourages over-consumption.
  • Don’t try and multitask, and eat while you are doing something else. For example, don’t eat while watching tv or movies, or on the computer. When you don’t pay attention to what you are eating, it makes it harder to control how much you are eating, and you over consume.
  • When snacking, don’t eat straight from the box or bag that your food comes in. Measure your food, including stuff like fruits and vegetables, so you can consciously control how much you are eating. When we are given larger portions, we consume more without even realizing it.

You can use these tips to help control your portion sizes and keep yourself from over consuming. We know it’s not easy to navigate food labels or plan out every single meal and portion size. But you don’t have to do it yourself. Another way is to sign up for a Custom Meal Plan and let us take care of the work for you. We’ll help plan your meals, so you are eating healthy, but we also figure out the healthy portion size for the foods that you are eating.

With portions tailored to your body and your fitness goals, you’ll never have to guess how much is too much or too little. Custom meal plans are a great tool in helping reestablish portion control in your diet, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you see results when you’re eating the right amount of food for your body.

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References:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2013, February 13). We Can!® Community News Feature. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/news-events/matte1.htm

American Heart Association. (2015, March 25). Portion Size Versus Serving Size. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/HowtoMakeaHealthyHome/Portion-Size-Versus-Serving-Size_UCM_304051_Article.jsp#.Vxe1vhMrJp8

Ledikwe, J. H., Ello-Martin, J. A., & Rolls, B. J. (2005). Portion sizes and the obesity epidemic. The Journal of nutrition, 135(4), 905-909.

Independent. (2012, June 14). Supersized: Why our portion sizes are ballooning. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/supersized-why-our-portion-sizes-are-ballooning-7852014.html

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