Online Fitness Coaching – How to Choose the Best Option for You

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Guest Blogger: Matthew Collins

The world is a different place nowadays. Things have changed due to obvious reasons (the global COVID pandemic is what I mean), and in many ways they’ve changed for good.

People are working from home, industries have morphed completely, we’ve lost access to certain things we loved while gaining access to others that never existed before.  We’ve had to adapt.

The health, wellness and fitness industry is no different than any other these days.  We were pretty much shut down without warning.  And even worse, in a lot of places it went something like this…

  • shut down
  • open back up with restrictions
  • shut down again
  • reopen outside
  • shut down again

The result of this?

Tens of thousands of gym closures, hundreds of thousands of trainers out of business and millions more gym members who just wanted to work out to keep fit, learn about fitness and enjoy the motivational and social benefit of attending their fitness classes each week are also out of luck.

However, there’s another way that many people have adopted and many more people have yet to try to keep up with their fitness goals: Online Fitness Coaching.

What is Online Fitness Coaching?

I’ve been doing this a while now and I have to tell you, online clients tend to yield better results than in-person clients… sounds crazy, I know!

Online fitness coaching, especially in the day and age we are in today, offers so much value.  You get your fitness workout delivered online to your favorite device. You then log on and workout at a time that suits you, or, depending on the program you buy, you can join live online classes and work out with others. Kind of like a workout Zoom meeting. Each variation will appeal to some and not others, but there are programs out there to suit every schedule, fitness level and personality type.

You can opt to increase your commitment to your fitness by not only joining a class but working with a dedicated online fitness coach. They will be able to tailor workouts, eating plans and motivation to suit your needs and your unique situation.

These days, honestly, your average individual is going through some tough times.  People are feeling fat, lonely, depressed and they have no plan or hope in sight to get them out of this deep ditch they may have found themselves in. 

Online fitness coaching can help. If you lost access to your gym, or grew tired of the sporadic nature of the openings and closures of your fitness center, then online fitness coaching may be a fantastic option for you.

This way of fitness training or working out is great. It provides:

  • comprehensive workouts
  • a tailored approach
  • unrelenting accountability
  • support, structure and an overall approach to fitness that many people welcome

Online Fitness Coaching vs. Traditional Personal Training

Pre-COVID, in person clients tend to come into the fitness session ready to kick butt, get stronger, feel great and go back home.  Sounds good? Well, they then they proceed to do whatever the heck they want the rest of the week.  You see them 2-3x/week and when they aren’t with you, you’re hoping they come back with good behavior!  Often times, however, they’ll come back saying they partied, ate badly, and feel like they are starting from square one again. Which often, they are.

Online fitness coaching, when done right, doesn’t allow this nonsense.  A good coach is on your back DAILY, holding you accountable and making sure the necessary tasks get done to move the needle and to get you to the desired fitness level you want to achieve.

The only caveat – you, the client, needs to make this work.

When you hire any online fitness coach, you need to utilize them.  Reach out to them when you’re struggling with something.  Let them know, realistically, what you’re dealing with. They can tailor nutrition, workouts and even some kind words to help you through your challenges.

For example:

  • Do you have a question about the food you’re eating? Send a text
  • Are you unsure about the form for your squat? Send a video
  • Find you’re confused about meal proportions or selections? Send a photo

Get the feedback you need when you need it to avoid making the wrong decision. This is the type of support online fitness coaching can offer.

But, even a great coach isn’t a mind reader and needs you to be present in the situation.  Help them help you.   

Online fitness coaching, as with anything else, has different options based on what you desire and what your budget looks like:

  • Low price, low support
  • Mid-price, moderate support
  • High price, high support

Know what you need and what resources you have at your disposal when researching the fitness coach that’s right for you.

At its best, online fitness coaching can be an amazing thing.  It allows you to be catered to throughout the process, have a solid plan to follow and the support to guide you there every step of the way (depending on what service you select). 

At its worst, you’ll get a workout plan that doesn’t fit your body or your needs and leaves you in the same place you started.  That’s why research is key so you can maximize your potential.

Five Questions to Ask an Online Fitness Coach

If you’re ready to explore hiring an online fitness coach or online fitness program, here are some questions to ask:

What is included?

  • You’ll want to know which classes, workouts and programs are offered at the various pricing levels

What if my schedule changes?

  • Things change and you may find yourself busier or on a different work schedule. You may also start working out and decide that mornings or evenings or weekends are a better option for you. Learn how flexible this coaching program will be.

Do you have any references?

  • Although what matters is how you like the fitness program, the coach, perhaps the others in the program if it is a group program, but you may benefit from checking out the reviews or testimonials from past clients.

Do you support clients at my level?

  • Online fitness coaching can work for the very beginner all the way through to the elite athlete. Make sure the coaching program you are selecting is one that fits with and caters to your fitness level, and where you want to go.

What happens if I want to upgrade/downgrade/cancel?

  • Several online fitness coaching programs have different levels of services. Ask what happens if you sign up for one level and then decide you want to upgrade/downgrade. Typically it is no problem, but ask as each company operates differently.

The beauty is, in the challenging world we’re living in these days, you can maximize your fitness potential from the comfort of your home. 

No equipment? Don’t worry. I have clients who have zero equipment and they are making consistent progress.  The more stuff you have, the better (everyone likes variety and extra resistance), but it’s doable to transform your body inside and out with just you and gravity.

Get started today. You can always contact me first as you start to research your next online fitness coach. I’d be happy to talk with you and see how we may be able to work together.  The last thing you’ll do is regret it and the first thing you’ll do is start to love what you see in the mirror again.

Matt Collins leads The Fitness Accelerator. Learn more about Matt and his programs here


Keep Going Even When You Don’t Feel Like It. Five Proven Ways to Overcome Your Lack of Motivation

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Guest Blogger: Julie Germaine

No matter when in the year you are reading this article, have you stuck to your New Year Resolution to be healthier?

Every single one of us has moments where we feel like relaxing on the couch during downtime, rather than pursuing dreams or taking steps toward self-improvement. Even I sometimes feel unmotivated to exercise and feel my dedication to healthy eating sliding off the track. The trick is to know what to do when these moments strike so you can push forward and keep you’re your commitment to yourself to accomplish amazing things.

Long after the high of goal setting fades, the daily grit required to pursue and achieve those goals you set creeps in. You may wonder where your motivation has gone. The key is to tackle one day at a time.

Here are five proven ways to overcome lack of motivation and stop procrastinating so you can be successful this year.

  1. Spend 5 minutes a day on visualization techniques. This is somewhat like meditation, however rather than the clear mind that meditation strives for, the goal with visualization is to let your imagination run wild!
    Find a quiet, comfortable place to relax. Think about your goals, and how you will feel once you achieve them. Take in the pride and enjoy your excitement as if it’s really happened. Focus on the tingles moving through your body. Before you end your session, turn the situation around to force yourself to accept the regret that comes with giving up. This is definitely NOT how you want to feel, and it’s a good way to give yourself a kick in the butt to get to work to avoid this outcome.

  2. Get the momentum going in your favour. I truly believe that once you get the ball rolling, it’s so much easier to keep it going, so force yourself to just start… NOW! Even if you drag yourself through that first week of workouts, it’s better than doing nothing, and each day I guarantee it will get easier, and you will get better!

  3. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Good friends, reliable people in your life and athletic coaches (even virtual ones) are here to motivate you and help you remember all those reasons you started in the first place, so invest in your health and improve your chance of success by getting professional help from the get-go.

    As I mentioned earlier, we ALL start to burn out at some point. Make sure you have a program to fall back on so you don’t fall off the wagon altogether.

  4. Take baby steps. Your finish line may seem really far away and impossible to reach, but if you set markers along the way, you will have those milestones to celebrate. Boosting your confidence by reaching smaller goals will give you faith that you can really do this.

  5. Allow yourself REST – you’re not a machine!  If you’re tired, take a break, and don’t feel guilty. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it simply means you were going hard and needed a breather for a moment. Keeping positive about this detour will go a long way toward helping you feel happy with yourself and preparing you to work hard again.

I wish you the very best year. Keep your goals in front of you, take care of your fitness, your sleep and your nutrition and use some of the tips listed in this article. Let me know which helped you the most.

Visit Julie Germaine’s website for more information on nutrition, exercise and overall health to make achieving your fitness goals possible!


Did You Dominate Your Workout or Did it Destroy You?

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Guest Blogger: Matthew Collins

Sore two-days after your last workout? Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness (DOMS) is that itch that you can’t scratch… that sensation you get for the next few days after a seriously hard workout. That feeling novices fear and experienced trainees relish.

But is it actually a good thing?  Does it prove a good and effective workout was had?  If there isn’t any soreness following a workout, was it all for naught?

Personally, I kind of love being sore.

It most certainly tells me that I put in the effort and crushed that previous workout.  It tells me I didn’t dial-in the previous workout and my intensity is up there.  And I like to lift intensely.

But this comes with an asterisk almost every single time because the presence of soreness doesn’t equal efficiency in our program or our effort.

But let’s backtrack a bit here…

What is DOMS?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The following 2-4 days after a workout (hence the ‘delayed’) you feel soreness ranging from light to debilitating and soul crushing.  What would be an example of ‘soul crushing’? It’s hard to walk up or downstairs, it is hard to type, it is hard to get in or out of the car because all your muscles hurt.

When does this happen? What environment needs to be present in order to feel DOMS?

  • If you are a new trainee, you’ll almost certainly feel soreness after working out. Typically you should bank on feeling sore for the first few months of your fitness journey.
  • It also comes about when a more advanced trainee starts a new program – thus imparting new stimuli onto their body. The soreness is telling us “ahh I see you switched things up there… you got me good” (A good reason to take that first week slow and feel it out).
  • Another sure fire way to feel extra spicy is to accentuate the negative, or eccentric range of motion. This is the lowering or lengthening phase of a movement.

Think lowering a barbell after curling it up or descending toward the ground on a Romanian Deadlift.  The more the stretch is emphasized, the more the body will feel that stimuli and will be more “activated” or engaged.  That part of the movement is the most damaging to the tissues and will lead to more soreness later on.

When is DOMS a Warning?

The thing you need to watch out for, however, is soreness that lasts too long in duration, comes about too frequently, and soreness that is too intense.

Duration:  If you have a killer leg day and you are still sore a week later – you’re doing it wrong.

Frequency:  If you are sore all the time, week after week – you’re doing it wrong.

Intensity: If you are so sore that you can barely move – you’re doing it wrong.

Again, soreness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but these factors can give us information about how things are going awry.

You Can Only Workout as Hard as You Can Recover

Most of us have different rates of recovery.  Some of us are natural freaks who can take anything given to them, chew it up, spit it out and ask for seconds.

Others look at weights and get fatigued.

Because of these differences from person to person, training programs needs to change accordingly.

10 sets of 10 at 90% RPE will be fine for someone who’s got 10 years under their belt lifting intelligently.

10 goblet squats with 10lb might be a soul crusher for someone who’s never lifted a weight in their life and has spent the last 10 years sitting at a desk.

Context is everything.  If you are sore for this long, you potentially need to get certain things in check, which I’ll touch on in a moment.

The same goes for frequency and intensity.  If these factors are skyrocketing week after week, something has to be adjusted.

Soreness is typically a result of inability to recover properly. To get the most rewards out of your fitness workout, you need to recover properly. Are any of the items on this list preventing you from recovering well after your workouts?

  • Are you sleeping enough?
  • Is your sleep quality awful (not long enough, for example)?
  • Are you eating to sustain desired results?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Are your workouts way too hard for your current abilities?
  • Are you working out too frequently?
  • Are you working out too infrequently?
  • Are you too stressed?
  • Are you implementing too many intensity techniques such as slow negatives, supersets, giant sets, etc. and not enough of the basics?

And the thing is, when you listen to your body, you’ll see better results.  Progress happens when you leave the gym.  When you recover.  When your body heals and adapts.  If you’re never recovering, you’re never growing optimally.

When I dialed things back a tad, started to prioritize nutrition and hydration, and implemented recovery techniques such as walking, yoga, breathing, mobility and other things of the like my body started to behave a whole lot more.

I’m sure yours will too.

As a side note, if you DO have a case of the DOMS in the short term… do an extra-long warm up and get the blood flowing before a workout.  Blood is a nutrient transporter and can help the healing process.  It’ll also reduce the “sensation” of soreness so you can get a workout in.  If you are in the “fall down on the toilet” phase, opt for another body part until you’re recovered.

Matt Collins leads The Fitness Accelerator. Learn more about Matt and his programs here


New to Weight Training? These 3 Tips Will Help Get You Started

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Guest Blogger: Chelsey Hendriksen

You’ve heard about all of the benefits of weight training – increased lean muscle (AKA curves), higher metabolism and the ability to carry in your groceries in a single trip – but you’re a bit unsure of how to get started. I get it, it can seem totally overwhelming when you’re first starting out and diving into something new and that’s why I’m sharing three tips to help ease you into weight training so you can reap all of the amazing benefits.

Practice Good Form Before Adding Too Much Weight

In order to get the most out of your training sessions, you want to ensure you’re using the proper form so that you’re actually working the muscle the exercise is intended to use and also being sure you’re not doing something that can lead to injury. New movements take time to master and it’s important that you know the intended muscle you’re working on so you can be certain you’re performing the exercise accurately.

I know it can be tempting to just grab some dumbbells or jump under a barbell because that’s what everyone else is doing, but if you’re not executing the movement correctly, adding weight isn’t going to make it any better. If anything it’s going to lead to injury. Instead, practice the movements using bodyweight only at first. If you can, do them in front of a mirror or record yourself on your phone so you can see how you look throughout the movement. Sometimes something may feel right but when you see it on video, you notice things that can be improved upon.

Take your time, master the movements and increase the weight slowly and over time.

Start Your Weight Training With a Plan

Being prepared is crucial to getting optimal results in many things in life – workouts are no different. If you go into your training session without a plan and just ‘wing it’, you’ll most likely miss training essential muscles and likely overdo it on others. Yes, you may enjoy training certain body parts more than others but that doesn’t mean you can ignore other areas. A good training program is all about balance and ensures that you are progressing week by week.

The best way to see progress is to use progressive overload where you perform the same exercises (or variations) and increase the reps or tempo each week so that you’re constantly challenging yourself while simultaneously improving your form and technique.

If you are unsure of where to start there are a ton of free programs out there to help get you going, this one from Shape is 4 weeks long and is a great starter program.

Weight Training: Focus on Yourself

When you’re starting at something new, it can be very easy to become discouraged. Not being great at something right off the bat and having to practice consistently to see improvement can be mentally challenging some days. Social media displays everyone’s highlight reel and it can be easy to feel like you’re so much further behind everyone else.

Here’s the thing though – everyone starts somewhere. You can’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 9. People love to show the results but the process that goes on behind the scenes is where the real work takes place. Everyone gets discouraged. Everyone loses motivation at times. There will be days where it doesn’t feel worth it and that you are frustrated with your lack of progress. This is when you need to keep going. Progress isn’t linear. It’s not a straight line going up. There will be peaks and valleys. But as long as you keep showing up, you’ll keep making progress, even if you can’t see it every day. Be kind to yourself and keep a reminder of why you started at the forefront of your mind.

The truth of the matter is, getting started is the hardest part. New things tend to make us doubt our abilities but if you approach them with the right attitude, have a solid plan in place and a good attitude, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. That’s my personal favorite part of weight training, it’s you vs you. It doesn’t matter what the girls on Instagram are doing or even what the girl next to you in the gym is doing. All that matters is that you are doing this for yourself. So take the first step and let the journey begin.

Guest blogger Chelsey Hendriksen is the creator of the Macros Matter Method. Find her on Instagram: and learn more about her programs:


More Than Just Leggings: Workout Essentials All Women Need

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Guest Blogger: Chelsey Hendriksen

While it’s true you only need your body and some motivation to get in a killer workout, it’s no secret that there are some tools and gear that can help enhance your fitness regime. Here are my must-haves for an elevated workout experience.

Coordinating Outfit

If you’re trying to up your fitness game, an easy way to jump-start your motivation is by getting a fresh workout outfit. I know I’m not the only one who feels like I can run faster and exercise harder when I’m sporting a new outfit. Grab a head to toe matching outfit made from a great, sweat-wicking material and you’ll be able to focus on your set instead of adjusting your pants every few reps (I know you know what I’m talking about).

I know everyone has their favourites, but I’m a huge fan of Fabletics. Their leggings fit like a dream, are totally squat proof and I can get a stellar outfit without breaking the bank.

Great Sports Bra

Complete your outfit with a sports bra made for the exercise you’re doing. If I’m doing a low impact workout or stretching, I want something that feels less restrictive and moves with me. If I’m doing a high impact workout or sprinting, I want to ensure that I can focus on the movement I’m doing and not worrying about how secure the girls are. Seriously though, make sure that the bra you get is comfortable and doesn’t just look good because it won’t look so cute if you’re adjusting it every few seconds or if it’s digging into your rib cage.

Fitness Tracker

One of the things I love most about fitness is that it’s very much you vs you. Having a fitness tracker allows me to see improvements I make over time and also gives me the nudge I need when I’ve had a less than an active day. I can also track my water consumption, calories burned and even monitor my sleep habits. The top three trackers are the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Samsung Galaxy watch. They all have similar capabilities so it’s up to you to decide which model best suits your lifestyle.

Foam Roller

A foam roller allows someone to perform self-myofascial release in the comfort of their home whenever they want. Essentially, it’s like self-massage and can help with muscle and joint pain. Just a few minutes a day with a foam roller can relieve nagging aches and pain and speed up recovery time between training sessions. While you used to only be able to buy these rollers from physiotherapist offices you can now find them in most wellness and sporting good stores. You just need to pick the density and trigger points to suit your needs then get to rolling.

Dry Shampoo

Showering is easy. Finding time to wash, dry and style your hair is a whole other ball game. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t wash my hair after every workout so let’s not even pretend we haven’t all been there. To keep my luscious locks looking great after my workouts I simply use a little bit of dry shampoo on my roots and carry on with my day. I’m a big fan of Batiste as they have a number of options to suit all hair types and you can find it at almost any drug store.

Water Bottle

Having a water bottle, even for at-home workouts, helps ensure you’re staying hydrated enough during and after your training session. When picking out a water bottle you need to decide what features you want as it’s about so much more than the color of the bottle. Do you like straw or an open mouth container? Is keeping your water ice-cold important or is having a large container that needs fewer refills more valuable?

I may be a weirdo but I prefer my water at room temperature (team sensitive teeth) so I prefer a larger bottle I don’t have to be constantly filling up. If you’re like me, The Big Bottle Co may be for you. If you want a bottle that will keep your water ice-cold, then a YETI or Hydroflask are great options.

Whether you’re a yoga lover or HIIT fanatic, the gear above will help you have a more enjoyable workout experience and we all know a little extra motivation never hurts anyone.

Guest blogger Chelsey Hendriksen is the creator of the Macros Matter Method. Find her on Instagram: and learn more about her programs:


The Golden Ticket To Weight Training Progress

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Guest Blogger: Matthew Collins

Time and time again I come into contact with someone who has spent years working out, eager to transform their body into a lean, mean, fighting machine… you know, someone who looks good naked, who has great strength and endurance, who is the envy of their peers and who constantly makes gains…

The problem is, their physique doesn’t reflect the time, effort and dedication that they put into it.

But they’ve done everything they should be, right?

They’ve gone to the gym 4-5 times a week.  Ate pretty well.  Put in the man (or woman) hours!

But year after year they look the same.  Same old Steve with the same old physique.

What’s the deal?

Whenever I meet someone in this predicament I ask them a few questions to find out what’s the root cause of this lack of results, and more often than not I uncover the same issue.

Failure to properly utilize Progressive Overload.

What is this, you ask?

It’s the Golden Ticket to progress.

The number 1 factor to ensure gains over the long term.

You see, when one first starts their fitness journey they can make progress doing pretty much anything.

Look at a weight and you’ll grow.

This honeymoon phase typically lasts several months then tapers off.

After that? Intelligent lifting needs to take place.

You can no longer rely on your bodies’ ability to grow muscle without a sound plan.

It needs to apply Progressive Overload.

It needs to make things harder through time, to increase the stimulus on the body in order to create the desired response.

Without making things increasingly difficult, our bodies stay the same.  And they are really good at that.

Our body doesn’t want to change.  It’s hard! Why the hell would it do that? That would go outside of homeostasis and the status quo.  It likes the status quo.

But screw that! We don’t!  So we need to make things harder and harder until the body grows.

Alas, we have newly found and hard earned muscle!

We’re starting to look good naked, starting to get big and strong, and everyone is jealous as hell.  Awesome.

But what constitutes Progressive Overload?

Adding reps, adding weight, increasing difficulty of exercise, increasing intensity, increasing quality of technique, increasing frequency and number of sets (especially at the beginning).

All great ways to increase the demand on our bodies while we punish it with resistance training.

We can change what we can track.

That’s why writing our workouts down is so important.  Tracking over the long term can give us valuable information to help us improve through time.

Beth didn’t track her workouts.  She went in every day and played it by ear.  And when you do that, you’re leaving your results to chance and hoping for the best that you know what you’re doing (you don’t).

To be honest, I did this for years.  I was that guy.  And I stayed the same for a long time.

Brutal really.  To have this massive dedication and desire to develop a Herculean physique but tread water at all times and never get there.

Once I started bringing a notebook to the gym to track my workouts my progress skyrocketed.

If we track it, we can change it.  If we change our numbers, we can get stronger.  If we get stronger we can change the way our body looks, performs and feels.  And that’s when we start becoming the envy of our peers.

Here’s a little example of how this can be done.  It’s how I do it and how I program for my clients on a daily basis.  It’ll work for you too. I’ll use the example move of the squat.


Month 1 day 1: 135lb x 10 x 3

Month 1 day 8: 135lb x 12 x 3

Month 1 day 15: 135lb x 15 x 3

Month 1 day 22: 155lb x 10 x 3

Month 1 day 29: 155lb x 12 x 3

Month 2 day 5: 155lb x 15 x 3

Month 2 day 12: 175lb x 10 x 3

You get the point.  Make baby steps toward improving week after week.  In this example, we are altering the reps, then the weight, then the reps, then the weight.

Simple as that.  Simple, but not easy.  Easy is doing the same weight over and over.  Challenging is steadily doing more and more, even when our body and mind don’t want to.

And that’s where the money is made.

Obviously there’s more to making a transformation than just progressive overload, but it’s a damn good start.

Decide what your goal is.  Create a plan to get there. Implement said plan by tracking the necessary numbers.  Reap the benefits of the newly founded gainz.

Good luck.  You got this.

Matt Collins leads The Fitness Accelerator. Learn more about Matt and his programs here


Which is Better? Whey Protein or Whey Protein Isolates?

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Guest Blogger: Julie Germaine

Learning the difference between whey protein and whey protein isolate

If you want to be healthier and get amazing results from your fitness program, you are smart to incorporate whey protein into your diet. The question then becomes, should you choose to use whey protein or whey protein isolate?

Whey protein vs. whey protein isolate

The protein content of each option is virtually the same per serving. This can vary from one brand to another, but generally a scoop of protein powder is between 20g to 25g.

The difference between whey protein (also called whey protein concentrate) and whey protein isolate is found in the carbohydrate and fat content per serving. Here are some examples below (scoop serving size may not be exactly the same):

MACROsInner Armour Whey ConcentrateInner Armour Whey Isolate
Protein:24 g    20 g  
Carbs:11 g 2 g
Fats:3 g  0 g

As shown above, the products are quite similar except for the zero-fat content in the isolate, and the fact that there are virtually no carbohydrates in the isolate.

Whey protein concentrate is a basic form of protein, whereas whey protein isolate is put through a process to become purer for the consumer. It is easier to understand if you compare more exact quantities, for example, 100g of isolate whey protein powder has over 90g of protein, when the same amount of whey protein concentrate would have only 35 to 80g of protein.

To help you make the right choice for you, here are some of the benefits and downfalls of both whey protein and whey protein isolate. They are both good – the choice you’d make to select one over the other would be based on your fitness goals.

Whey Protein Isolate: Pros & Cons


  • Contains over 90% pure protein content with under 1% lactose or milk fat.
  • Lower levels of lactose make it a good choice for anyone who has issues digesting dairy products.
  • Appropriate for a calorie-restrictive diet to get lean.


  • A more expensive option than whey protein concentrates.
  • Some find it less flavourful and thinner (slightly more watery in a protein shake) when mixed than whey concentrates.

Whey Protein Concentrates: Pros & Cons


  • More affordable than whey isolates.
  • Contains slightly more carbs and fats, which can be beneficial if bulking.
  • Equally great for muscle development, maintenance and growth.


  • Contains slightly less pure protein than isolate, at <80% rather than 90%.
  • May cause bloating due to the lactose and carbohydrates.

It is also crucial that you read the ingredients and avoid those with additives, sweeteners, or list “special blend” or “special propriety blend”, which is a secret way that brands add whatever they want (within reason – it will be safe to consume) to the product without having to disclose it.

Article Resources:

Visit Julie Germaine’s website for more information on nutrition, exercise and overall health to make achieving your fitness goals possible!

Why Rest Is Essential for Muscle Gain

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Guest Blogger: Julie Germaine

How much sleep did you get last night?

If it was less than eight hours (I know everyone requires a different amount), you are not help your body produce the muscle gains you want.

Now, I am 100% guilty of sometimes stealing time away from my sleep to get all my ‘to do’s’ done. You have likely had some late nights or early mornings yourself when you know you are not rested. You can relate to how much more difficult it is to get in a great workout that day. During those days it is normal to crave more sugary foods because your body is looking for quick, easy energy to overcome the fatigue.

There are many reasons not to deprive yourself of a full night’s rest, one of which is how your body reacts to this routine. In addition to the points above, sleep also has a huge physical impact on muscle recovery.  

Exercise Breakdown

Here is a quick summary on what is happening when you exercise. Your body is breaking down muscle tissue to repair and regrow stronger. Basically, during each weight repetition, you are proving to your body that the area of your body you are training is not strong enough for the daily requirements of the work demanded, so that area needs to be strengthened.

You have to be consistent with your training and put effort in to see results. If you are not pushing yourself during your workout, there is no need for your body to adapt and change. Your body only adapts and changes when it sees it can’t perform the work demanded of it, so it needs to grow stronger.

Exercise Repair

Next, the body needs the right foods to effectively develop lean muscle mass

Additionally, the body needs to be able to focus on the recovery of the damaged muscle tissues, and that happens during rest, in other words, when you sleep.

There are two stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM. The brain follows cycles during sleep, which occur in bouts of 90 to 120 minutes. REM is usually later in your sleep cycle, closer to when you will be waking up. REM energizes your brain and keeps your decision-making abilities sharp. Non-REM is essential for muscle repair and development, and takes up about 40% of your total sleep time.

During non-REM sleep, the brain is less active, so the muscles are able to demand an increased blood supply to enable them to grow. Your pituitary gland also releases growth hormones during non-REM sleep, which, as you may have guessed by the name, aids the muscles in growth.

To fully benefit by your body’s natural recovery process and promote your best health, experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night – of course, this range does vary by person.

Hack Your Sleep

If you aren’t convinced to prioritize your sleep to help with your muscle gains, this data may convince you: in 2011, researchers discovered that people who consistently get 5.5 hours of sleep a night had 60% LESS muscle mass than those who got 8.5 hours of sleep.

Here are some simple tips to enjoy good quality sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine in the evenings
  • Eat before bed so you don’t got to bed hungry, but don’t make it a large meal, have something relatively light (ie: protein shake)
  • Don’t exercise late at night if possible
  • Avoid watching TV/movies or texting on your phone right before sleep
  • Relax your body (and further promote muscle recovery) by soaking in a warm bath before you turn in at night
  • Try to stick to a consistent sleep routine all week and weekend
  • Try to destress your life, and don’t take on upsetting tasks or conversations at night
  • Don’t use sleeping pills

Check out this pretty great interactive infographic that explains what’s going on during a good night’s rest!

Visit Julie Germaine’s website for more information on nutrition, exercise and overall health to make achieving your fitness goals possible!

What Foods Maximize Your Body’s Ability to Recover After Exercise?

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Guest Blogger: Julie Germaine

High Five!! … You did it!

Your workout is D-O-N-E!

You can feel great about being well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

… EXCEPT that you are wasting your time working out if your nutrition isn’t aligned with your training efforts.

Food and Exercise

The whole point of working out is to fatigue the muscles. This then causing the body to acknowledge the need for enhanced strength in that area and begin the process of building up that strength.

When you workout – most often with resistance training, your muscles are actually torn microscopically. During recovery, this tissue damage is repaired and makes your muscles comeback to the next workout even stronger.

To optimize your potential muscle strength gains, it is absolutely critical to eat the proper food (macro- and micronutrients) that fuel the healing process.

Why Protein Matters for Muscle Recovery?

Among many other functions, protein plays a pivotal role in exercise recovery. Without getting too in depth, proteins are composed of amino acids, and the human body uses just 20 types of amino acids daily.

Some of these are ‘essential’ amino acids because the body cannot produce them, so they must be consumed through food (or supplementation). There are also conditionally essential amino acids, which are required during infancy, injury, or illness.

Below is a list of Essential Amino Acids and food sources associated with them:

  • Histidine – meat, fish, chicken, seeds, whole grains
  • Lysine – meat, eggs, soy, black beans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa
  • Methionine – eggs, grains, nuts, seeds
  • Phenylalanine – dairy, meat, chicken/turkey, fish, nuts, beans
  • Threonine – cottage cheese, wheat germ
  • Tryptophan – wheat germ, cottage cheese, turkey
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
    – Isoleucine – meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, lentils, nuts, seeds
    – Leucine – soy, legumes, beans
    – Valine – soy, cheese, peanuts, mushrooms, whole grains, veggies

This is a list of Conditionally Essential Amino Acids:

  • Arginine – red meat, grain products
  • Cysteine – grain products, meats
  • Glutamine – chicken, fish, cabbage, spinach
  • Glycine – meat, poultry, grains
  • Proline – grain products
  • Tyrosine – meat, dairy products, grain products

Your Post-Workout Meal

So how can this knowledge help you get better results from your fitness program? Well, the ideal moment to kickstart muscle synthesis is immediately post workout, so preparing the body by topping up on amino acids, including BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), before, during and after resistance training will help everything run smoothly so the recovery process is extremely efficient and successful!

It is commonly accepted that the post workout meal timing is extremely important. Bodybuilders would rush to smash their protein shake and quality carbohydrates within twenty minutes of completing their last set.

However, science has shown that, though this meal is still valuable, the window of opportunity is much broader as long as protein intake was adequate before the workout (unless if the athlete is exercising again within 24 hours, in which replenishing as soon as possible affects performance).

The best way to ensure full and healthy recovery is to consume 1 to 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per Kg of body weight four-to-six hours post-exercise. For protein it is recommended that athletes consume 0.25 to 0.3 g/kg) of high-quality protein after exercise. Your mileage may differ as everyone is different.

Some examples of nutritious carbs / lean protein after workout meals are:

  • Chicken breast with vegetables and potato
  • Lean bison on whole wheat bun with tomato slices and lettuce
  • Whey protein shake with fruit (ie: banana)

Which Whey?

It is convenient – and delicious – to use protein powders to bolster your daily requirements, so which kind is best?

A general rule of thumb: whey protein is right for post-workout meals, where-as the more slowly absorbing casein protein has a perfect place as a nighttime snack, gradually releasing amino acids into your system when the body recovers during rest.

Your major takeaway from this article is that ‘recovery food’ is not just your post-workout meal, but a totality of all the healthy, protein-rich foods you consume throughout your day that enable you to reach that sweet spot for cell regeneration, being 0.8 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, on the higher end when you are an active person. As always, please consult your physician to see what makes the most sense for you. This article is for informational purposes only.

Visit Julie Germaine’s website for more information on nutrition, exercise and overall health to make achieving your fitness goals possible!

Five Ways to Make a Bodyweight Workout More Effective

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Guest Blogger: Chelsey Hendriksen

No Weights = No Workout? Not So Fast!!!

While you may prefer working out in a fully loaded gym, there is no reason you can’t get in a killer workout at home – even if you have zero equipment other than yourself.

Many people prefer the gym, or a large selection of equipment because it makes designing workouts a little bit easier. But when you’re trying to improve body composition, progressive overload is key to seeing results week after week without hitting a plateau, not fancy equipment. Many people simply don’t know how to program bodyweight workouts effectively and get bored doing the same routine week after week.

In this article I will cover some ways you can change up your standard bodyweight-only exercises to not only diversify your at-home options but also to challenge you to look at bodyweight training in a new light.

The key with most of these methods is changing up the amount of time you are spending under tension and in what portion of the movement. Since we don’t have weight to work with, we need a different way to challenge ourselves and spending more time contracting your muscle is a fantastic way to achieve this.

The Mind Muscle Connection

First things first, when training using only your body to create a stimulus, it’s more important than ever to have a strong mind to muscle connection and to not just go through the motions. It’s easy enough to flail around for 30 minutes, actually focusing on the muscle you are working on and using proper form and technique takes skill. Using these techniques is a great way to improve areas that may need extra attention and focus. Paying attention to the quality of the movement becomes extremely important when you’re spending more time in the contracted portion of a movement. I’ve included video demonstrations for the examples I’m going to be sharing so you can see what they look like in action.

Eccentric Phase

Spending more time in the lengthening phase of the movement is an excellent way to change up a seemingly easy bodyweight movement. A standard bodyweight squat may not present too much of a challenge but add in a 5 second eccentric to each rep and your set of 10 just got significantly more difficult. What’s important when you’re doing eccentric movements is that you’re contracting your muscles and staying tight.

Lengthening the eccentric phase is my absolute favorite way to make bodyweight classics like pushups and squats more challenging.

In my video demonstration, I am showing a pushup with a three second count down to the floor

Isometric Phase

Isometric exercises involve remaining in the contracted point of a movement for a specific period of time. You’re recruiting muscle and exerting tension without actually lengthening or shortening the muscle. This is a great method to intensify any exercise since you can choose different points of a movement to add a hold to. Isometric holds are a wonderful option for movements where you can regularly perform 20+ repetitions with ease. If you want to know what pain feels like, try doing a 10-30 second isometric hold at the bottom of a split squat position followed by 10 regular tempo reps. Your legs will feel like jello in the best way possible.

One-and-a-half Reps

By performing an extra half rep, you’re overloading the mid-range of a movement which maximizes muscle tension (which leads to better results). You can add a half – or even quarter – rep to almost any portion of a movement. This is yet another excellent way to increase time under tension and use that as a means of creating change since adding weight isn’t an option. A 1.5 rep Bulgarian split squat is one of my client’s least favourite exercises because none of them can believe how much more challenging that seemingly simple half rep makes the exercise. Pushups, squats and lunges are all awesome choices to add an extra half rep to.

Combining Time Under Tension Methods

If you’re a workout buff and are looking to really crank the intensity dial then you can consider pairing a couple of these time under tension options together. Here are some examples:

– Bodyweight Squat – 1.5 reps with a 3-sec isometric hold at the bottom of the half rep

– Pushup – 3-sec eccentric + 3-sec isometric hold

– Split Squat – 15-sec isometric hold + 10 regular reps

– Lunge – 3-sec eccentric + 1.5 reps

The possibilities are truly endless and using these techniques gives you a ton of options to take your bodyweight workout to the next level.


Guest blogger Chelsey Hendriksen is the creator of the Macros Matter Method. Find her on Instagram: and learn more about her programs: