Subscribe to alexcurtisfitness.com; Website change.

Hey everyone!

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If you’re currently following me I just want to let you know that I’m migrating my followers over to my new website, alexcurtisfitness.com. This means you won’t my posts via email anymore unless you subscribe to that site. I’ll still show up in your newsfeed but if you want weekly recipes, fitness advice, and product offers just go to alexcurtisfitness.com and a subscription notice should pop up. Just enter your email and you’re all set.

So, what’s new with this site?

A lot. The page got a total make over and there’s a lot to look forward to within the next several months including:

1) A much bigger recipe selection list: Mexican Cuisine, Breakfasts, Healthy Snacks, Kodiak Cakes Recipes, Smoothies, Green Tea Smoothies and more!

2) E-commerce: I can’t reveal what’s happening yet but you’ll be able to purchase products directly from my page.

3) Easier navigation.

4) Relevant Ads: There will only be a few ads per page and they’ll be totally relevant to you and not invasive.

Subscribers will get special deals and discounts on products when the e-commerce is officially up and running so definitely consider it, especially if you love bangin’ health food.

Loaded Apples Recipe

Salty, crunchy, sweet and healthy. Transform an apple from a boring, mid-morning snack into a gourmet, any-time meal with this Loaded Apples recipe. It only takes a few minutes to go from the average snack to bodybuilding cuisine. Here’s how you make these Loaded Apples:

Ingredients
1 medium gala apple
1 tbsp. almond butter
1/4 cup high protein granola
1 tsp. honey
A pinch of freshly ground sea salt

Instructions
1) Slice a medium gala apple.
2) Spread 1 tbsp. of almond butter over the flesh of the slices.
3) Sprinkle 1/4 cup of high protein granola evenly on top of the almond butter topping.
4) Drizzle 1 tsp. of honey over the apples.
5) Sprinkle a pinch of freshly ground sea salt over the apples.

Nutrition
Protein: 11 g
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fat: 9 g

Make it a meal
Mix 1 scoop of whey protein with 8 oz. of ice cold water and drink on the side to make your total protein intake 35 g!

Get more recipes on my Instagram!

Top 5 Testosterone Boosting Foods for Men & Women

Whether you’re just starting a bodybuilding routine or just looking to put on a few pounds of lean muscle mass, you want to make sure you’re supplying your body with the right resources so it can thrive. Boost your testosterone levels naturally and pack on some serious muscle with these 5 testosterone boosting foods:

Top 5 Testosterone Boosting Foods

1) Meat

Animal meat is a high quality source of protein and saturated fats which both support healthy testosterone levels in both men and women. Opt for lean meats like chicken breast, lean steak cuts, and turkey breast.

2) Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride and saturated fat that supports testosterone production in the body but is also low in cholesterol making it a fantastic substitute for butter.

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3) Eggs

Eggs are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with because they’re a high quality source of lean protein, saturated fat, vitamin b12, and fat soluble vitamins. I typically mix one whole egg with a few egg whites and cook them with mixed vegetables, low fat cheese, and complex carbs like potatoes or have a complex carb on the side like oatmeal.

4) Spinach

Spinach is a great source of magnesium which supports healthy testosterone levels. An easy way to get spinach in your diet is to add it to smoothies, omelets, sandwiches, and or juice it.

5 Diet Hacks to Increase Vegetable Intake

5) Shellfish

While I’m not a big shellfish eater, these little guys add testosterone boosting protein, flavor, and variety to your meal plan. I mostly use shrimp but you can also try oysters, mussels and lobster.

Try this Cajun Shrimp Quesadilla

Low testosterone levels could mean:
+ Low sex drive
+ Increase risk of obesity
+ Increased risk of reduced muscle mass in the body.

A lot of my recipes include meat, coconut oil, eggs, spinach and occasionally shrimp (shellfish) making them great for putting on lean mass, increasing testosterone and burning fat naturally.

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Sodium Intake

Reducing your sodium intake is an easy, painless way to lower your blood pressure. Despite what you may think, it isn’t all about taking things OUT of your diet. I’m a bigger fan of adding things INTO your diet. Here are a few things you can do to lower your sodium intake without having to eat bland, uninspired meals:

1) Replace processed food with home cooked meals.

Processed food is loaded…seriously loaded with sodium. That’s partially how processed food stays fresh for weeks on end. Take a good, hard look at your daily diet and see what foods you can replace with natural food and home-cooked meals. If you usually eat two microwaveable meals (lean cuisine, weight watchers, etc.) cut back to one and replace the other with a fresh, home-cooked meal. Once you get used to that change, replace the other daily processed meal with a fresh meal that you can make at home. This will take hundreds of milligrams of sodium out of your diet without cutting back on the actual amount of food you get to eat.

2) Use a variety of herbs & spices.

We usually load our meals up with salt because it brings out the flavors of our meals. You can enhance the flavor of your meals without loading up on salt by accessing a larger arsenal of spices. Instead sprinkling salt all over your dish, try seasoning with oregano, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, or whatever goes best with your dish and then just a light sprinkle of salt to make it all come alive.

3) Replace butter with olive oil or coconut oil.

If you’re used to spreading butter on your bread, rice, and pasta or if you saute most of your meals in butter, try replacing that butter with olive oil or coconut oil. Olive oil and coconut oil are lower and sodium and they’re also two healthier fat alternatives that may even help you burn fat, lower your LDL cholesterol and lower your blood pressure.

4) Use hot sauce or hot spices.

Hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and chili peppers have helped me cut a lot of sodium from my diet. My clients have said that this has worked wonders for them also. The extra heat keeps any meal from tasting bland.

5) Make your own sports drinks and soft drinks.

Sports drinks are usually relatively high in sodium to help replenish electrolytes during and after your workout. Making your own sports drinks can help you seriously cut down on sugar and sodium. How? Fill a large shaker bottle with ice, 4 oz. coconut water, 4 oz. of 100% juice, and the rest with water. Shake and enjoy a sweet, hydrating beverage loaded with potassium and vitamins.

I personally use Goya or ZICO coconut water:

To make your own soft drink, try a flavored Polar seltzer in a tall glass filled with ice. Pour a few ounces of juice and fresh lemon or lime wedge to make a sweet, fizzy soft drink with less than 1/2 the calories of a traditional soft drink.

Chili Bacon Bison Burger with Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Bacon makes everything better. Chili makes everything better. I was the catalyst that made them join forces for this Bison burger recipe. Imagine a juicy bison burger topped with melted cheddar cheese, smoky bacon and a big spoonful of spicy chili in between a buttery garlic toasted challah bread bun. Not sold? What if I pile a bunch of crispy parmesan, garlic and herb sweet potato fries next to it? Where are the greens, you ask? I added a cherry, almond spinach salad to the plate for a pop of color and flavor.

chili bacon bison burger garlic parmesan sweet potato fries white wineChili Ingredients
1 lb of ground turkey
1 cup of black beans
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

 

Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tbsp. italian herbs (parsley, oregano, basil)
* Makes 3-4 servings

Cherry Almond Spinach Salad Ingredients
4 cups of raw baby spinach
1/4 cup split roasted almonds
1/4 cup of dried cherries
1 tbsp. bleu cheese crumbles
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
*Makes 2 servings

Instructions
1) Add 4-6 oz bison burger patty to a grill on a high flame.
2) Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare.
3) Add 2 tbsp. of shredded cheddar cheese atop the burger.
4) Spread butter, herbs and garlic on a challah bread bun and toast on the grill until golden brown (30-60 seconds)
5) Plate the toasted bun.
6) Place the bison burger on the toasted bun and top with bacon & 2 tbsp. of chili.
7) Pile your sweet potato fries next to the burger.
8) Add your cherry almond spinach salad to the plate.
9) Serve.

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more recipes, great workouts and giveaways!

4 Steps to Bigger Arms

Scan the weight floor of your local gym quickly and you’ll probably notice a teenager doing dumbbell curls completely wrong almost immediately. I always offer my help to people when I see them doing an exercise wrong, or not utilizing an exercise to its full effectiveness. Now I’m going to provide you with the knowledge to do the same. Here are the Steps to Bigger Arms:

1. Variety

You need a variety of exercises in order to promote muscle growth. Doing the same exercises every week will not only make your routine stagnant, but your body will adapt quickly and there will be no need to grow anymore. Doing little things like switching alternating dumbbell curls with barbell curls could be enough to spark some new growth. Change up your routine every few weeks.

What is Unilateral Training and Why Should You Do It?

2. Angles

Changing the angles of the exercise you’re doing places stress on different parts of the muscle which can help you target small muscle groups. This isn’t just about changing your grip from wide, medium or close. Next time you do preacher curls turn your chest out so your shoulder is in line with your elbow and your elbow is in line with your wrist. Apply this kind of thinking to other exercises also!

3. Volume

Lots and lots of volume has always worked well for me. 5 sets of Rope Pull downs for 15+ reps/set has worked better for me in the past than 3 sets of 12. There are some exercises that I may only do 3 sets of 20 reps and others that I’ll do 5 sets of 10 reps. Experiment with it and see how it works for you. After a few weeks go heavier and do 4 sets of 8 reps for an exercise for example.

The 6 Fitness Fundamentals for Success

4. Isolation

Keep that elbow still. No swinging your arms because that will recruit other muscles to assist with the lift. Isolate your biceps or triceps, and focus on really hitting just that muscle. Once you’ve got that down, focus on each individual head of the biceps or triceps. Now you want to hit just the long head or the short head of the biceps, or the long head, medial head, or lateral head of the triceps. This kind of isolation thinking will lead to more proportional, defined and impressive arms.

Click here for the 3 Keys to Hitting Your Fitness Goals

For the record, I learned a lot about growing bigger arms by watching Mike Rashid and CT Fletcher’s YouTube videos. I’ve come up with my own exercises that work great for me now but every now and then I still go back to what I learned from watching them. I definitely recommend check them out.

Make sure you follow me on Instagram for more workouts, advice and easy to make high protein recipes!

How to Keep Yourself from Binge Eating

Binge eating is a hot topic right now but it’s been a problem for many people for a long time as it wasn’t considered a legitimate condition until recently. We have an emotional response to the food we eat. A delicious meal can make our day while a gross meal can ruin it. Sometimes a piece of chocolate (or whatever your fix is) is all it takes to make sitting in bumper to bumper traffic less frustrating. Everyone binge eats from time to time, but if you feel like you may need help here are my tips to keep yourself from binge eating:

1) Set a post-meal goal.

As ridiculous as this may sound, try setting a post-meal goal. For me a post-meal goal may be to drink 24 oz. in between meals. If I haven’t finished my 24 oz. of water then I don’t get to move on to my next meal. This is an easy way to hold yourself accountable. Try making your goal physical by using a fitness tracker. Set a goal like “I won’t eat again until I’ve walked 500, 1000, or 1500 steps”.

6 Easy Ways to Improve Hydration

2) Eat a mint after your meal.

Pop a mint after your meal to signal to yourself that you’re done eating. At first this may not be effective but over time you’ll create a pattern. The mint is a signal to your brain that you’re done eating for at least 2-3 hours. A 10 calorie mint can save you from downing another 500 calories in snacks.

3) Don’t keep snacks that you can’t resist at home.

This is the way most people hold themselves accountable. Keep binge-worthy snacks out of your kitchen so you’re not tempted, it always starts with “just one”. Following a meal plan helps you not just save money but also teaches you when to eat, how much to eat, and what to eat. If it’s not on the plan, don’t grab it. Of course there’s leniency with this rule (going back to the emotional release of food) but the point is chips, ice cream, popcorn, and pizza don’t coincide with your goals.

Are Protein Baked Goods the Future of Snacking?

4) Find an activity that keeps your hands and your brain occupied.

Watching a movie may keep your brain occupied but it’s not enough to physically force you to stop eating. Find an activity that occupies your hands also. Think reading a book, playing an instrument, playing a sport, drawing, writing, exercising or learning a new skill.

20 Minute Full Body Home Workout

5) Brush your teeth if you can’t stop eating.

Similar to point #2 in that it signals to your brain that the meal is finished. In addition to point #2, most food tastes awful after you brush your teeth (think anything citrus, sour, and salty) which may kill your appetite enough to stop your binge eating right in its tracks. Don’t brush more than twice every day as you’ll run the risk of over brushing and wearing down your enamel. Consider this as a last resort to cutting yourself off.
Basic Meal Plan Rules.

Find out how many calories you need every day, divide that number into 4-5 meals, eat every 2-3 hours and stop after each meal is done. Put yourself in control and remember your goal with every meal. All you need is willpower. Once you start seeing results it will be much easier to stay on track.

As always, follow me on Instagram for awesome recipes, daily motivation and great workouts!

6 Pack Fitness ACE Elite Luxury Backpack Review

My friends at 6 Pack Fitness sent me their brand new luxury non-meal management backpack, the ACE Elite Luxury Backpack. Now that I’ve finally had the opportunity to use the bag for a couple weeks, I can give a breakdown on what I like and dislike about it. I posted a quick video snippet on my Instagram to show it off but here I’ll give static images so you can really get a good look at why this bag is considered a “luxury” backpack. Here are the pros and cons of the Ace Elite Luxury Backpack:

ace elite luxury backpack stealth black fitness health lifestyle

Pros:

1. So many pockets & hidden compartments.

Each side of the bag has about 10 pockets, which seems overwhelming at first, but after a day or so you’ll find that it’s very convenient being able to compartmentalize everything in your bag. Instead of reaching into a jumbled mess to get your car keys everything is filed neatly. If you’ve ever reached into your bag to pull out one item, like your car keys, and consequently pulled out your keys, phone charger, chapstick, and money because everything was piled on top of each other then this bag is definitely for you.

As for the hidden compartments, they aren’t exactly “hidden” but because the lining is a tiled mosaic it makes smaller pockets seem stealthy. Chances are if someone goes into your bag while your back is turned they’ll end up staring at the lining long enough for you to catch them before they can even find something worth taking.

How to budget your supplement plan.

2. Lots of storage room.

The back compartment of this backpack offers a laptop/tablet sleeve, storage space for things like supplements, toiletries, small pieces of workout equipment (ab roller, tiger tail, etc.), with a slightly hidden zip up compartment for gym clothes. Even though it isn’t a meal management bag, I used the storage space for supplements and food until I got to work to put my food in the fridge. For a small, light bag there’s seemingly endless storage space with a pocket designed for just about anything. There’s even a fleece lined compartment for sunglasses located safely in the front away from all of your other things .

ace backpack inside

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Thousands

3. One of a kind, artistic lining.

I can’t get over how much I love the lining. The colorful, tiled mosaic lining is a surprise every time you unzip the bag. Each vividly colored tile has the 6 Pack Bags name and diverse fitness related images. The bag goes from stealthy to “all eyes on me” in one zip. It’s an awesome bag to look at alone, but once you open it you can expect some attention.

 4. Super light.

This bag probably weighs less than a pound which, when you compare it to the meal management bags and other multipurpose backpacks, is incredibly light. Even when it’s fully stocked with all of my supplies this bag feels like nothing. The large number of compartments helps to distribute the weight throughout the bag nicely.

5. Bad Ass in Stealth.

Black on black has always been a personal preference of mine. Blacked out cars, blacked out shoes, blacked out everything. This bag in particular looks absolutely badass in Stealth. It makes unzipping it to unveil the bright lining even more exciting. The Stealth design makes this backpack look like an elegant fashion piece that makes your co-workers briefcase look dated.

Cons:

1. Does not hold any meals.

Of course one of the only hang ups with this bag is that there isn’t an insulated compartment for even one meal like The Contender. If there was a small storage compartment for one tupperware container on the bottom of the bag it would barely make the bag seem bigger visually, it wouldn’t add much weight, but it would most likely increase the price point raising the price to nearly $300.

6 Pack Bags Expedition 300 Review

2. The lining’s color scheme may turn some off and others on.

If you couldn’t tell already, I love the lining. As much as I love blacked out everything, I also love vibrant colors. Even blacked out whips need badass red, blue or yellow led interior lights or headlight accents. If you’re not into vibrant color schemes you may not be into the lining.

3. High price point. 

This is an amazing bag that comes at a high price point (as does anything in the luxury world). You’ll get a carefully crafted, one of a kind product but you’ll pay a premium for it. At $250 you better be sure you’re going to use this bag enough to get your money’s worth. If you live out of your car 5 days a week, if you feel like you never have enough pockets, if you take your laptop/tablet everywhere, then I definitely recommend investing $250 and getting a quality product you can show off.

Overall, this bag is awesome and I look bringing it anywhere that it’s socially acceptable to have. The 6 Pack Fitness team put a lot of work into making a one of a kind luxury backpack and they really nailed it.

Why You Can’t Gain Weight

Believe it or not, not being able to put on weight is a very common problem for gym-goers. I’ve heard the tired line “I just can’t gain weight” time and time again from Skinnies (ectomorphs). They claim that they eat massive quantities of food every day yet can’t seem to shift the numbers on the scale. Here’s what you may be doing wrong if you’re “suffering” from this problem:

1. You’re Not Eating Enough “Big” Meals.

Maybe you eat 1 or 2 seemingly big meals (500+ calories/meal) but for the rest of the day you either don’t really eat or your meals are significantly smaller (200 calories/meal). By the end of the day you may only be taking in 2500 calories when you really need closer to 3500 calories to pack on some mass. Eating five 700 calorie meals per day to get to that 3500 calorie intake is easier than choking down three 1000+ calorie meals. Chances are you can get two of those big meals down but then you’re coming up short for the rest of the day.

The Truth Behind IIFYM

2. You’re Not Consistent 7 Days/Week.

If my first point doesn’t apply to you and you actually are eating 5 big meals per day, my next thought is that you’re hitting a calorie surplus 4 or 5 days per week but those other 2-3 days you’re coming up short. Very short. By the end of the week your weight is the same because you aren’t maintaining a consistent surplus calorie intake to keep up with your metabolism.

3. You Make Eating A Lot of Calories a Chore.

I know people that used to choke down 2 cups of oatmeal and 4 plain eggs, or 2 cups of rice and 8 oz. of plain grilled chicken to meet their macro needs. Scrolling through Instagram you may find meal preppers with a hundred tupperware containers filled with asparagus and tilapia. Bland, uninspired meals make gaining weight (and losing weight) much harder than it needs to be. Include calorie dense foods to your plate to get more out of each bite.

Click here for Healthy High Protein Recipes.

4. You’re Actually Not Eating Big Meals

This is probably the most common mistake out of them all, your meals aren’t actually that big. You could be eating 5, 6, even 10 meals per day but if you’re not hitting a calorie surplus by the end of the day you’re not going to gain any weight. An easy way to figure out how big your meals should be find out how many calories you need per day to gain weight and divide those calories by the amount of meals you want to eat per day (I recommend 4-6).

Click here to find out how many calories you need to lose, maintain, or gain weight.

Here are some tips on how to pack in extra calories in your meals without feeling disgustingly full:

+ Add 2 tbsp. peanut/almond butter to your meals wherever necessary.
+ Add 1 extra tbsp. of olive oil to grilled meats and vegetables.
+ Add an extra protein shake to your diet: 1-2 scoops whey, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream, 8 oz skim milk, 1 tbsp. peanut butter.

Check out some of the big meals on my Instagram.

What is Unilateral Training and Why Should You Do It?

Unilateral training is defined as a form of training that only affects one side, muscle, or structure of the body. This effective yet often overlooked form of training adds several benefits to your routine. Whether you’re bodybuilding, powerlifting, training for sport, or just a weekend warrior, you should include unilateral training somewhere in your workout. Here’s what you’re missing out on:

1. Unilateral Training Creates Symmetry

Is your left arm bigger than your right? Or maybe one pec is slightly larger than the other. Chances are you’re left-side or right-side dominant. Unilateral training forces you to focus all of your attention on one limb or one muscle at a time. Over time your muscles will become more symmetrical creating a more balanced physique.

2. Unilateral Training Balances Strength

Similar to my first point, maybe one side is stronger than the other although not necessarily noticeably bigger or smaller. Unilateral training addresses this issue by forcing you to exert the same energy on each side of your body. Maybe you’ve noticed some people in your gym dumbbell pressing and one arm locks out at the top while the other arm only comes up about 80% of the way. Unilateral training helps you make sure you’re completing each rep on either side of your body.

3. Unilateral Training Works Your Core More

By placing resistance on only one side of your body you’re forcing your body to have to stabilize itself. To do so you have to activate your core to keep your trunk, hips or shoulders stable. Unilateral training forces you into an effective ab workout with each set, even if you thought you were only working your triceps, pecs or legs.

Click here for other ways to work your core without doing crunches.

4. Unilateral Training Creates Variety

Every training program needs variety to be fun and successful. Doing the same workouts over and over again becomes stagnant, eventually you’ll lose interest and progress. Try doing single arm lat pull down instead of your regular lat pulldown workout to spice things up and see some new results.

Click here for 3 more ways to break through plateaus.

Here are some Unilateral Training Exercises to add to your routine!
+ Exploding Single Leg TRX Squat
+ Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Press
+ Single Leg Leg Press
+ Single Arm Behind the Neck Tricep Extension
+ Single Arm Dumbbell Row

unilateral training fitness diet nutrition

I may only do one or two Unilateral Exercises in my daily routine but it’s enough to make sure each muscle is equally strong and symmetrical on either side of my body. Balance is key. Try it out and see the difference for yourself.