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Syed Muhtasim

This Morning Smoothie Will Keep You Awake

Four ingredients stand between you and the perfect morning.

It’s 5 A.M. and the alarm clock has just went off. And the majority of the world is thinking the same exact thing. Turn that dang alarm clock off! Throw it, stomp on it, break it with a bat, or even press the snooze button. But, did you guys know that by 5 A.M., Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is already drenched in sweat finishing his first couple of sets?

Whether your a late bird or an early bird, it does not matter what time you go to the gym. What is important is for you to get up and energized in the morning. You have places to go! Things to see! No time for drowsiness.

So here are the ingredients to one of my favorite shakes. It has boosted my awareness and alertness and given me that extra boost to start my day off well

Alarm Clock, Stand Up, Time Of, Sleep, Bed, Wake Up

The 4 Magic Ingredients

1. Oranges

Have you ever watched breakfast commercials on Saturday mornings on Disney channel or Nickelodeon and noticed something in common? No, I’m not talking about the milk or the cereal, but the side of orange juice always next to the bowl of cereal.

It’s there because OJ is jam packed with vitamin C and potassium to give your body energy. So, start your smoothie off by peeling and sectioning some oranges. In terms of portions, I personally peel 2 oranges for a single serve smoothie. 

Orange, Taronja, Autumn

2. Bananas

Quick question: What 7 letter word only consists of 4 of only letters from the alphabet? Bananas!

You can find numerous articles on the health benefits of bananas, but to sum it up: they are high in potassium and the B vitamins complex. If this doesn’t persuade you on their health benefits, bananas also provide 1.5 grams of protein along with 3.5 grams of fiber to provide you the energy for a high level workout, a long day in class, or whatever you’re doing with your morning. Simply peel the banana and drop it into the blender. 

Banana, Fruit, Healthy, Yellow, Tropical, Food

3. Milk

The benefits of milk and the bond between milk and humans date back centuries, or even millennias, ago.

Milk is recognized worldwide as the powerhouse of our body because it’s a great source of protein. There are endless amounts of “Got Milk?” commercials with athletes like Serena Williams to Steph Curry signifying the importance of milk in our everyday diet. I add about 12 ounces of milk into my shake.

Glass, Milk, White, Cow'S Milk, Pour A, Drink

4. Honey

Honey is my true best friend. This awesome source of carbohydrates is a true, all natural energy source.

Not only does it make the smoothie sweet and tasty, but carbohydrate sources like honey are known to provide glucose energy for an extra boost of fuel. I add around 2 tablespoons of honey because I have a sweet tooth and personally I like my smoothies extra sweet.

Honey, Sweet, Syrup, Organic, Golden, Teaspoon, Pouring

Your turn!

Also guys, do not forget the ice. Without the ice, is it really even a smoothie?

Blend all of these ingredients for one minute, and just like that you have made the awesome Syed Startup Smoothie.

Note: People have also recommended for me to try adding yogurt, so I’ll be testing that out next time!

Check out these articles too:

I Worked Out at Midnight for 30 Days. Here’s What I Learned.

midnight workout

While you were watching “just one more episode…” of Netflix, I was in the weight room.

Why? No, I didn’t do it for the Instagram (or the blog post). That summer, I had to fast for thirty straight days for religious reasons. The custom is to refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, eating only while the sun is down.

Through this time, I was determined to stay active. I had goals for at the gym that meant a lot to me; and since religion meant a lot to me, too, I decided to attempt to keep up with both. I knew that I couldn’t workout without eating. That made my daytime workouts not an option. So I managed to fit my workouts in after sunset and before sunrise.

A lot of people are sleeping at midnight. A lot of people are eating, watching, showering, and texting, on Instagram and Facebook. But not me– I was at the gym. For the summer of 2016, I challenged myself in a whole new way. 

Here’s what I learned in the process.

1. There are some pros.

I’m sure those who have been to the gym during peak hours understand how crazy it can get. Now imagine how many people are actually in the gym at midnight. I mean, for someone searching for an open squat rack, the view was absolutely breathtaking. All of them were free.

I walked in like:

Really, the perks were unbelievable. Empty gym. Empty saunas. Not a single person within a 10 foot radius of me. I could grunt, sing out loud, dance, flex in the mirror, and admire myself… or anything else I so desired, with no one near me.

2. There are some cons.

Actually getting there at midnight wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. Or, it was about as difficult as you would expect. At 11:45 pm, sometimes the last thing I felt like doing was walking into a workout.

But it’s all about the motivation–getting yourself to walk through those doors so you can walk out an hour later knowing you put in 110%, ever rep and every set.

And let me tell you, at 11:45 pm, my mind could get pretty creative with excuses to skip it. You can’t even imagine the extent of excuses I came up with. 

3. Sometimes, the hardest part isn’t just getting there.

One I arrived, I figured this workout would be easy, right? Wrong.

There were times when I went in and just wanted to get my workout over with. For me, this was unusual; I’m all about enjoying my workouts and keeping it interesting. But with my body not used to giving that much energy so late in the day, I was struggling. I cheated on sets by doing three instead of four. I cheated on reps by either using less weights or performing less reps.

My body just wasn’t used to this time. This was the time of the day when my body was ready to fall asleep and my mind was tired form the day’s work. 

Here are some of the ways I kept the energy up through those late night workouts:

1. I used pre-workout.

Pre-workout supplements worked really well for me, but don’t feel like you have to use them. They aren’t for everyone. In my case, one serving shocked my brain back to life and back into gear. My awareness, energy, and alertness were sky high.

For those of you who aren’t into pre-workout, you could try another source of caffeine. My workout partner, for instance, would always have a cup of coffee before our gym sessions.

Though taking pre-workout or caffeine could make it hard to sleep if you’re taking it so late at night – don’t forget how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle.

2. I had a workout partner.

Speaking of my workout partner… A workout partner is so important, whether you’re a newbie to the weight room or have been going to the gym for years. Whoever you are, big or small, you can benefit from going with a friend.

There are some things in life that can’t be measured, and one of those is having a partner by your side. Nobody else can motivate you, keep your workouts challenged, help you finish sets, and make the workout experience more worthwhile and fun.

I always say: Before you leave your house for the gym, check for your keys, your phone, and the ETA (estimated time of arrival) of your gym buddy. Then, you’ve got all you need.

3. I pumped up the music.

Make sure you have music with you at all times. Music is what pumps you up, gets you hyped, and resonates throughout your body.

Like a natural pre-workout, it makes you feel jumpy and excited to get to the iron paradise and to start putting your body to the test. Personally, I can never get through a workout without a little Evanescence and Jonas Brothers by my side.

The takeaway?

Every hour is a good hour as long as you can make it work for you! If your schedule allows for late workout and in turn, late starts to your morning, then by all means try it out. I wouldn’t suggest working out at midnight if you have a 8am class. You don’t want to end up like this baby….

worked out at midnight

All in all, those midnight workouts taught me a lot about myself and fitness. They taught me that there is never a time when being active, however you want to, isn’t an option. You should never feel like you can’t put in your hour of fitness a day just because it’s late in the day or the gym is closed. 

And if your gym does close before midnight, there will always be great workouts to do at home or even in your small dorm room. 

Check out some of these articles too:

How You Can Use Sleep to Optimize Your Fitness

7 is the magic number.

You need three 7’s to win the jackpot, but more importantly, A typical person needs 7 hours of sleep to allow the body to rest and function normally for the next day.

For those of you pursuing fitness goals, rest is a strong part of the equation. Whether you’re working out before the sun rises, when the sun sets, or any time in between, your workout has a heavy toll on the body physically. During your workouts, you are tearing up your muscles (literally) within a short time period. Each set, each rep, or each minute of cardio consumes your body’s energy. So, (you guessed it) you need to replenish that energy somehow. Sleep will always be vital for your health and for recovery.

Many of you gym junkies might think that putting in the work is all you need. But it’s actually what happens outside of the gym that can truly affect the results of your work. 

When you sleep, your body is put into standby mode. Everything is lowered, from energy consumption to the speed of your breathing and the rate of your heartbeat. This is the time for recovery! Growth hormones are released improving the muscular regeneration process, as well as during protein synthesis. Human growth hormone is secreted, and it helps to build up those muscles you worked so hard to tear down.

There are many stages in our sleep cycle, but the REM stage is one of the few stages when the body and brain are at a complete rest period. It accounts for an approximate 25% of your daily sleep and this is actually where humans see extreme growth differences from baby to adulthood (and from smaller muscles to stronger ones). This stage of the sleep is, without a doubt, vital for growth.

Now, we get to the real question. How much sleep do you actually need?

The main determinant of how long you should sleep is whether or not you are active that day.

The general recommended sleep for an average person is anywhere from seven to nine hours. In some studies, however, athletes saw increased performance in their athletic activities when they in fact slept for an average of 10 hours.

But getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done. 

To enhance your performance at the gym, you can try some of these tactics (taken from the habits of athletes) to ensure you really do get a good night’s sleep.

7 Tips for the Best Nights Sleep

1. Sleeping at much cooler temperatures.

From personal experience, sleeping at cold temperatures after a hard day of training helped ease the soreness that came with the workout.

2. Take a warm bath.

This can help to ease and relax your muscles to get you all toasty and ready for a good night’s sleep.

3. Never go to bed hungry.

Eating a meal before sleeping is vital as your hunger can keep you up at night.

4. Unplug.

Turn off the electronics! Seriously. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can wait till tomorrow.

For more, here are some tips on how to get to bed earlier and faster. And if you’re reading this late at night, close your laptop and get to bed!

Check out these articles too:

Citations:

  • Robson, David. “The Importance of Sleep.”org, 14 Feb. 2017, https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson5.htm. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.
  • Michelson, Megan. “How Elite Athletes Use Sleep Routines to Boost Their Confidence and Win Medals.”Van Wickle’s, 22 Feb. 2016, https://vanwinkles.com/how-sleep-is-helping-our-elite-athletes-push-harder. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.
  • “Why Athletes Perform Better When They Sleep Cool.”ChiliTechnology, 14 Aug. 2015, https://www.chilitechnology.com/blogs/chili-technology-blog/why-athletes-perform-better-when-they-sleep-cool. Accessed 23 Mar. 2017.