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Whether you’re on the internet, watching daytime television, or talking with friends, there’s a good chance you’ll hear something about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar (known among enthusiasts as simply ACV) often. Though it won’t change your body in the same way as anabolic steroids for sale, if you believe the claims, it certainly does offer plenty of health benefits. Here’s my experience with apple cider vinegar.
Buying the Apple Cider Vinegar
It took me two trips to the grocery to finally get the right product. On my first trip, I simply picked up a bottle of Heinz apple cider vinegar, just like the type you’d cook with or add to a vinaigrette. As it turns out, this is not the apple cider that offers amazing benefits – I needed ACV with the “mother”. The “mother” is cellulose and bacteria from acetic acid that develops during fermentation, and it’s what the manufacturers add to products to turn them into vinegar in the first place. I reluctantly purchased this bottle of vinegar and looked closely at the contents. It was cloudy with thick “mush” toward the bottom of the bottle. This must be the good stuff.
Getting it Down
Next on my list of things to do to conquer the ACV fad was getting the vile-looking stuff down. I decided to drink my ACV at about 11pm, just before going to bed. Per everything I read and the three dozen YouTube videos I watched, I determined I needed two tablespoons to get the job done. After shaking the bottle for a good two minutes to loosen up the congealed “mother” at the bottom of the bottle, I carefully measured the two tablespoons and added them to an eight-ounce glass. Because it seemed that everyone else was adding things like lemon and honey to help mask the taste, I did the same.
One teaspoon of raw organic honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice later, I had an interesting-looking cocktail that I wasn’t sure I could stomach. At this point, I decided to fill my glass with water in an effort to dilute the contents and make them more palatable. In hindsight, this was a mistake. The ACV still tasted strongly, even diluted, and rather than a few tablespoons of liquid to swallow, I now had eight full ounces to drink. Somehow, I managed to get it down without incident. The taste lingered for a good 30 minutes, but it did gradually subside. I tucked myself into bed and fell asleep.
The First Night
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much to happen the first time I tried the ACV, so I was a bit surprised when I woke up at 2am and needed to go to the restroom. I generally don’t wake in the night for this reason, so I found it rather odd. It was even stranger when I woke again at 5:30 for the same reason, and then finally at 8am when I started my day. I’ve never woken so much in the night, so I decided to do a little more research to find out whether the vinegar could be the cause. Indeed, it was. Acetic acid acts as a mild diuretic, which helps you flush excess fluid from your body. This made sense; athletes who are known to buy and use steroids for sale often use ACV for this very reason.
30 Days Later
For a full 30 days, I drank two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every morning and evening. After the first night, I decided it was easier to simply add the honey and lemon, pinch my nose, and knock the cocktail back like a shot of bourbon. It made things much simpler, and while the taste is indeed strong, I would rather get it over with in one fell swoop. The benefits during this 30 days were clear:
• I felt more energetic in the mornings after drinking ACV, and I found I needed less caffeine to start my day with energy.
• I was bloated far less often, which meant my clothes felt better and I had more muscle definition than before.
• I lost about three pounds during the 30 days, which could be attributed to water weight.
• I just felt better. I had more energy, I felt more alert, and I was able to multitask in a way I hadn’t been able to do before.
Would I recommend the ACV trend to friends and family? I believe I would. The taste takes some getting used to, but after the first few days, it isn’t so bad – and the benefits are well worth it. Just two tablespoons twice a day is all it took to help me look and feel better.
As I grew up with a family who enjoyed the outdoors, I have never taken fitness for granted. At a young age this might have included small hikes into the forest to get berries for my Mom’s famous jam recipe, or out climbing trails with my Dad and brothers. However, as I got older it became far too easy to get caught up in studies or work and let my fitness fall behind. I remember, as I’m sure we all do, the seemingly limitless energy I had as a youth and I’ve been working to try and recover that feeling.
A Quest of Sorts
At first I was drawn to the gym like everyone else, either early in the morning before work or right after. As my past fitness had been related to outdoor activities (such as the aforementioned hiking and sports which included hockey and soccer in high school), I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I would be working out 6 days a week and trying various exercises and machines. While it initially felt good to be exercising again, it wasn’t long before I felt burnt out and started to inflame previous sports injuries.
While YouTube videos and the endless blogs out there are great for helping figure out technique and programs, I decided to enlist the help of a personal trainer at my gym. Straight away I learned a couple of things, and that was that I was over exercising which was actually waylaying my progress; and that I needed to focus on a specific goal. Was that to lose fat, build muscle, improve my endurance, or just get healthier in general? Naturally I wanted all of the above, but it’s incredibly difficult for the body to build muscle and lose fat at the same time unless you’re one of these women who buy anavar or some other performance enhancer like winstrol pills (one of my friends was a competitive bodybuilder so I know about these, but have never wanted to, nor would I ever recommend them).
The Start of a Routine
My first goal was to lose some weight. I still went for walks, but not as much as before, and working at a desk for several hours every day meant that I had gained some pounds. This involved a multipronged approach. First and foremost my PT expressed the importance of focusing on what I eat. To lose fat I had to burn more calories than I consumed, but the quality of the food and the macros (balance of proteins, carbs and healthy fats) would make a difference to how I felt, how quickly I recovered and so on.
I’ll be adding some of my favorite recipes as we go, but a basic rule is to eat around a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight regardless of your goals, and adjust your fats and carbs accordingly. There are plenty of macro calculators online to help you get a basic guideline to start with based on your goals. Though you’ll need to adjust them as you find out what works and what doesn’t.
Next was that I continue with weight training as it burns a ton of calories, but also add in cardio to the mix. As I have a husband and a beautiful daughter, I didn’t want to spend my time at the gym on the weekends. My PT understood and helped me with the following program.
• Mondays – 45 minutes of cycling
• Tuesdays – Chest and Triceps
• Wednesday – HIIT core exercises followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill.
• Thursday – Back and Biceps
• Friday – Legs and Shoulders
My personal trainer assisted me with a full program, showing me the most effective exercises and their techniques. It’s actually amazing how easy it is to make a small mistake that can lead either to an injury or muscular imbalances. My rep ranges were also pretty high as well seeing as we were looking to burn carbs and tone my body. That isn’t to say they were very high, but usually in the 8-12 rep ranges for 3 sets for most exercises. The exception being core exercises which were for max reps or were timed. Those were the most grueling if I’m honest.
However, after 12 weeks I had achieved my goal of losing 5lbs and had actually put on a little bit of muscle. For anyone who hasn’t gone to the gym seriously or are just starting out, it’s important to keep in mind that it hurts at first but it gets better. This is especially true for the next day or two after working with weights. I remember the second day after doing my first barbell squats that I could hardly get up from my chair or the toilet for that matter!
My PT is currently working with me to change my program. Apparently it’s smart to keep mixing things up as the body is very good at adapting, but this can lead to plateaus in progress. I don’t want to build too much muscle, but would like to increase my energy and strength, and stay as toned as possible. I’m also trying to bring in some outdoor exercise into the mix as the cardio machines can be terribly boring at the gym. Stay tuned!
As promised, here is one of my favorite side dish recipes - Green Bean Fries! Green beans, also known as string beans, are one of those vegetables that don’t get enough credit for all of the nutrients that it provides. There is just 30 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 3.4 grams of fiber and nearly 2 grams of protein in a half cup serving of raw green beans – and that’s not all! Green beans are also full of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and folic acid along with calcium, iron, manganese and potatssium. As an added bonus green beans contain high levels of flavonoids, antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables and can help to combat inflammation in the body.
Green Bean Fries - Serves 6
• 1-2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
• 1 cup breadcrumbs
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• ½ cup white whole wheat flour
• 2 eggs, whisked
• salt & pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese. In another bowl add the flour and in a third bowl add the eggs.
3. Working with 3 to 4 green beans at a time, dip the beans into flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Set onto the baking sheet. Complete process with remaining green beans.
4. Bake green beans for 10-12 minutes or until browned and crispy.
5. Serve while hot.