Vitamin Voyager: Intro To Plant-Based Bodybuilding Portion of Mind-Body-Soul Program

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been modifying my posts to fit the goal of VVN.

In this video, I talk about my 8-Week bodybuilding workout I created years ago while training for competition back in my Air Force days. Now, as a certified Holistic Health Coach with over 100 credits of nutrition and wellness-related courses from Arizona State under my belt, I’ve tweaked my workout to include a more science-backed, plant-based diet with heavy emphasis on breathing and tuning into your body. This bodybuilding routine is a key component in my 12-week Mind-Body-Soul program.

Along with the “body” part of my program, I’ve been putting much time into mindfulness and spiritual/inner-self practices. As I continue my research and absorb the knowledge, I add to the program, so stay tuned for A TON more exciting stuff on life-altering changes on the Vitamin Voyager Network!

Copyright (c) 2018, All Rights Reserved.

Whey Protein Benefits You May Not Have Even Known About

5 Healthy Whey Protein Benefits You May Be Unaware Of

Whey Protein Benefits: What Are They?

Every supplement shop has their featured protein shake, their bread and butter. In particular, whey protein is the most commonly sought after protein supplement. But why? What exactly is the craze? What are some whey protein powder benefits we should really know about?

I’m comfortable saying I’m an avid supplement shop visitor and regular whey protein user. I’ve never taken the time to really explore their benefits, however. All I know is one thing about protein powder: gains. Although there are many more whey protein powder benefits, I’m only going to list these 5 from because they’re mostly related to our fitness health. Here are some of the benefits of whey protein:

1) High-Quality Protein With Essential Amino Acids

Amino acids are key to muscle growth and gains. Packed with all of the essential amino acids, whey protein powder’s also the fastest-digesting kind of protein. What this means is whey protein is best for muscle growth. This is particularly true right after a workout. Your muscle fibers and tissue are broken down and benefit most from immediate repair post exercise. My top high-quality whey protein powder of choice is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder. The link is Amazon’s Top Choice 5lb tub, but you can also get a smaller sample size with the 2lb tub for only $30, whereas the 5lb one is closer to $50.

Image result for gold standard whey protein
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, a popular choice on Amazon and in many supplement shops.

2) It Contains the Amino Acid Leucine to Prevent Age-Related Muscle Atrophy

As we age, our muscles mass and strength decline. The amino acid leucine helps to prevent age-related muscle atrophy. It is also the most muscle-building component of all the amino acids. What does this mean? Whey protein shakes contain plenty of leucine. Consuming this amino acid regularly paired with routine exercise will both increase your muscle mass and preserve your gains.

Can you say win?

3) Glutathione in Whey Protein Powder Increases the Body’s Antioxidant Defenses

Our bodies produce glutathione, a very important antioxidant. It’s a key antioxidant for your minimizing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. An abundant consumption of amino acids, cysteine, in particular, is required for your body to produce healthy levels. Another whey protein benefit is that it’s plentiful with cysteine. It’s just another example of how everything needs to work together in order to keep us at peak optimal performance. This cysteine supplement, Solgar- L-Cysteine 500 mg, an Amazon’s Choice, is a good quality supplement and my choice for this particular amino acid. It has 90 vegetable capsules and has Free Form L-Cysteine, making them easily digestible and absorbed.

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Solgar- L-Cysteine 500 mg, 90 vegetable capsules. Excellent to have in conjunction with whey protein.

4) Whey Protein is Highly Satiating

Protein fills the stomach regardless of source. Not to mention many of us just get the downright bubble-guts anyways, regardless of which type of protein we consume. In my program, if one of my client’s goals is steady weight loss, I introduce some diet theories high in protein. This helps them to “crowd out” the bad foods by eliminating random cravings throughout the day. The great thing about whey protein powder is that you don’t always have to take it in conjunction with a workout. You can wake up early in the morning and drink one, or late at night before you hit the sack, although casein protein is best for this situation, as it’s slower digesting, therefore slowing down the catabolic process (muscle breakdown).

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5) Whey Protein May Have the Added Benefit of Reducing Inflammation

In the world of holistic health/integrative nutrition, inflammation may as well be public enemy #1. Inflammation is the cause of many illnesses and diseases around the world. What’s worse is that we cause internal inflammation to ourselves through poor diet choice. We weren’t meant to consume grains, sugar, and dairy at such high rates. For this reason, our bodies don’t know how to respond, often igniting our immune systems to counter some of this junk entering our bodies.

Thankfully for the gym rat, A benefit of whey protein may be that it reduces inflammation. A randomized controlled study published by PubMed in 2015 suggests that people with high levels of C-reactive protein, a regular component in inflammation, is reduced, although more conclusive studies are needed.

There Are Countless Whey Protein Benefits

These were just a few examples of the benefits of whey protein and how you can incorporate them into your daily life. To recap, whey protein powder is a high-quality protein with benefits including prevention of aging muscles, keeps you full, may reduce inflammation, and has many amino acids for muscle-building and antioxidants for immunity and disease prevention. I frequent supplement shops often and buy from Amazon often, so be on the look-out for more articles like this as I expand my online marketplace community for veterans!

If you feel I missed important information or would like to add your favorite whey protein supplement, please feel free to comment below and share this! To schedule a free Health Histories consultation and get your fitness goals going, email me at or schedule it through my FB page at!

I do not own any pictures on this blog.

The links in this blog are Amazon links that I do get paid commission for if the reader decides to purchase the items listed on this blog.

Copyright (c) 2017, All Rights Reserved

3 Lower Ab Workouts To Do From Home

Lower Ab Workouts You Heard Of, But Have You Tried Them?

Most of us are well aware of how to get stronger, sleek-looking abs by now. We know that sculpting the core takes calculated effort and motions only attained from certain workouts. Unfortunately, that means machines and equipment you may only have access to in a gym. If you’re like me, once there’s been a long period of absence from the gym (about a week), it’s tough to get back in there full throttle. Sometimes it’s just easier to start from home with a couple of simple workouts first. This helps me at least get a little volume (and thus a little motivation) back. It’s why I’ve slowly constructed home workouts; as I’ve fallen off the wagon to a point where I’ll be staying fit from home more often than not. Here, I discuss and show demonstrations of three home lower ab workouts that will produce results without you even setting foot in a gym.

Flutter Kicks

The flutter kicks exercise is one of my favorite lower ab workouts to do at home for two reasons. The first reason is that you feel these bad boys when they’re done properly. The amount of energy it takes to lift the lower half of your body and move in a controlled, flutter-like motion for an extended period of time is enough to have you tap out for the day. Of course once they’re done regularly you get used to the burn, but believe me when I say you’ll always somewhat feel it. The second reason is that you can compound this with horizontal scissor kicks, which I will go more in detail in the next workout.

To properly perform this exercise, lie flat on the ground with your hands underneath your buttocks. Next, lift your legs about six inches above the ground. Lift your head so you can see the motion using only your neck and not your trunk. From this position, alternate kicking (or fluttering) your legs in a controlled up and downward motion. The cadence should go something along the lines of, “1, 2, 3, ONE! 1, 2, 3, TWO!” with the reps usually ranging from 10-15. Here is a YouTube video demonstration of a properly executed flutter kick:

Horizontal Scissor Kicks

The second lower ab workout from home you’ll really feel, and thus see quick results from is the horizontal scissor kicks exercise. This one is similar to flutter kicks in that the starting positions are basically identical. The only difference is in the motion of the workout. With scissor kicks, you simultaneously kick your feet outward and back in with a controlled motion, whereas flutter kicks are upward kicks. As I mentioned earlier, this workout can be compounded with flutter kicks. Usually, after I’ve done about 10-12 reps of flutter kicks, I stop and hold my legs six inches above the ground for about five seconds, then I switch to scissor kicks. I try and do at least 5 reps with the exact same cadence as I use with flutter kicks, but of course, go for more when I feel I can do more.

To properly execute horizontal scissor kicks, begin in the same position as you would with flutter kicks. Next, spread out your legs simultaneously (1-count), then back in (2-count), then back out (3-count), then back closed (ONE!). Repeat this motion for about 9-14 more reps, or compound them with either flutter kicks or this next lower-ab workout…

Leg Raises

Another simple, yet effective lower ab workout is the leg raise exercise. Like the other two, you begin lying down with your hands underneath your buttocks with your feet six inches above the ground. From here, you simultaneously lift your legs up, toes pointed, directly upward to the 12 o’clock position, then slowly lower your legs back down in a controlled motion. Unlike the other two lower-ab workouts, this one is a one-count cadence. For this reason, I like to compound it with both flutter kicks and scissor kicks. First I do my set of 10-12 reps of flutter kicks. Then I actually do a combination of the latter two workouts by doing one leg raise rep, then lowering my legs down to the six-inch position and spreading them out in the horizontal scissor kick motion. After I close my legs, that’s one full rep of the combo workout. I repeat this for about 5-8 reps.

This YouTube video demonstrates in detail the proper way to do leg raises:

These Lower Ab Workouts Will Start Bringing Out The ‘V’ In No Time

No Gym needed for these three lower ab workouts you can do from home. All it takes is some dedication, focus, and a few minutes out of your day to make these lower ab workouts a regular part of your daily routine. When all you have to do is wake up, do your morning routine (I like to meditate for 10 minutes), knock out the exercises, then have your cup of coffee before work, there’s literally nothing to lose and everything to gain trying them!

For questions regarding my Health and Wellness Coaching services please feel free to contact me at Otherwise, view more tips on lower ab workouts from home as well as other fitness tips while also shopping around for Amazon fitness products here on!

I do not own any pictures or videos used in this blog.

Copyright (c) 2017, All Rights Reserved

Strengthen Your Core Without Setting Foot In A Gym

No Gym Needed

Strengthening the core is a very popular thing to do, particularly during this time of the year. Everyone wants to have a solid six-pack when they hit the pools and beaches, or at least be a little firmer around the waist. While many aim to strengthen their cores for vanity (nothing wrong with that. . .guilty!), others target it for health and safety reasons. That’s right, it’s actually healthy to have a strong core. A powerful midsection leads to increased performance and strength in other areas of your body. It also protects the spine from injury assuming good form in everything you do is always practiced. For these reasons, this is why strengthing your core is so important and why I often stress it in many of my blog posts, such as this one I wrote a few months back. Of course, the list of home workouts below aren’t the only methods to get the best results, but here are a few that will definitely get the core cracking.

1) Planks

Image result for planks

This workout focuses on stabilizing your core for a long period of time. Planks are one of my favorite workouts for strengthening my core because it’s a clear mental challenge. It’s difficult to stay in a plank position for long periods of time not only because you’re feeling the burn in your core, but also because you’re basically stuck with focusing on the task at hand. This makes the countdown extremely grueling. A clear advantage of planks for strengthening your core is that you can literally do them anywhere. When I worked my office job I used to use my 15-minute breaks to go outside near my car and plank for about 45 seconds to a minute. Literally anywhere at anytime!

2) Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are an excellent way to strengthen your core, particularly your lower abs and pelvic muscles. What many don’t realize is that our muscles are an intricate network. Not only do we hit our lower obliques when properly executing flutter kicks, but we also strengthen the muscles in our hips and upper thighs. Tightening these areas will give you that ‘V’ in the lower abdomen area, knocking out two birds with one stone (stronger core, partial beach bod)!

To properly execute this exercise, lay down flat on your back. Place your hands underneath your glutes to cushion your back bone from rolling around the ground. I’ve noticed that this is actually optional, as some find having their hands by their side rather than underneath them more comfortable. Make sure your head is slightly elevated, using your neck and not your trunk to lift your head. Next, lift your feet about six inches above the ground. Once in this position, begin alternating your legs up and down, limiting your motion to six inches with each up and down motion. Your count cadence should go something like, “1-2-3, ONE, 1-2-3, TWO,” as you do sets of about 10-12 reps. The video in this link demonstrates the proper technique for flutter kicks. What I like to do to add intensity to my core workout is hold my feet at the six-inch position after I’ve completed my reps, then spread and close them in a scissor motion. Of course, my abs are absolutely pulverized at this point in the workout, so I usually only make it to about five reps of those.

3) Perfect Push-ups

As lame as this one may sound, never underestimate the power of well-executed push-ups. When done the way they’re supposed to be done, this simple workout can tighten the abs in the way that planks do. Too many times you’ll see people incorrectly doing push-ups, focusing on quantity rather than quality. I experienced this firsthand in the military, as our goal in PT tests was to do as many push-ups as we could do in a minute and a half without doing the worm. If the focus is placed on your push-up count rather than form, you begin to compromise your straight plank form, leading to fewer core muscles used.

I’m not going to get into how to properly do a proper push-up as that would seem like quite an insult to anyone much less someone who already knows their way around a gym, but for demonstration purposes, here is a video of how a proper core-strengthening push-up is executed.

Don’t Stress, Strengthening Your Core At Home Is As Easy As A Few Push-Ups

It doesn’t always have to be all sit-ups and crunches to have a strong core. Now if you’re looking more for the Gerard Butler 300-style abs, sure some crunches may help along with a stringent diet and torturous hours on the treadmill. But if you’re just wanting a solid, powerful midsection mostly geared toward the purpose of health, safety, and gains in other areas of your body, the workouts mentioned above are excellent choices to start with at home.

If you have any questions regarding my Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching services, please feel free to email me at Otherwise look for more tips on strengthening your core and other fitness tips here on!


I do not own any photos in this blog.

Copyright (c) 2017, All Rights Reserved





Defining Physical Fitness: A Broader Explanation

So What Is Physical Fitness Exactly?

You can describe physical fitness in many ways. It doesn’t have to be intense, strenuous two-hour workouts, but the activity should raise your heart rate. Physical fitness is described as a state of overall healthy well-being, both physically and mentally. Although that’s the technical definition, it can be anything to each of us. We can make being physically fit unique to who we are and what we enjoy. For example, if you’ve never had the lungs to run but you enjoy a good lifting session, make that activity your physical activity of choice!

Physical Fitness That Fits Everything You

Many people get discouraged when working towards their exercise goals. One of the reasons for this is because they try a new workout that doesn’t fit their natural compatibility. For instance, your goal may be to lose 10 lbs in four weeks, so you look up popular and effective workout routines that will help you achieve this. As you delve more into the program, you realize that these workouts are brutal and relentless. On top of that, there are many workouts in the program you either are not good at or despise (like a lot of running). Now it’s gotten to a point where you dread those days in the gym, with these often being the days you skip.

This is why it’s so important to develop a physical fitness regimen that fits you to a tee! Like everything else in life, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re not going to have the will to continue to do it. What this translates to in the fitness world is find the workouts and activities you enjoy doing to increase your likelihood of following through with your goals.

Kinds Of Physical Fitness

Physical fitness includes such a broad variety of exercises and activities it’s really impossible to define what constitutes a bonafide physical activity. It can include any of the following types of activity:

  1. Light Physical Activity- This is where you’re doing enough to not be considered sedentary. Exercises often considered light physical fitness activity are brisk walking, yoga, and golf.
  2. Moderate Physical Activity- Exercises and activities considered moderate activities would ones that demand more oxygen through your blood as a result of an increase in either volume of work, intensity, or both. Think of jogging, jumping jacks, and bicycling as good examples of moderate physical activity.
  3. Heavy physical activity- Heavy activity involves an increase in work volume, intensity, and time spent on the activity. They’re normally considered strenuous workouts and are not advised if you’re either somewhat new to the active lifestyle or are re-acclimating yourself to it again. Workouts considered heavy physical activity include various forms of martial arts, physical sports like football, basketball, and wrestling, sprinting, and circuit training weight lifting.

Finding The Right Physical Fitness Routines For Y.O.U.

As stated in the beginning of the article, there really is no accurate way to pinpoint what constitutes as physical fitness. Think of it this way; if you’re not stationary and it gets your heart rate going quicker than in your sedentary state, you’re physically active. Sure, the pictures of summer bodies in blogs with their exact routine posted can be enticing, but if you’re not enjoying it, you’re not going to keep it up. I often liken it to the workforce; one of the primary reasons people quit good paying jobs is because they don’t enjoy it. When it’s all said and done, it’s really up to you how you define your own version of physical fitness. Just make sure it’s something you can see yourself doing regularly, like looking forward to doing. But most importantly, make sure it’s safe.

The photos used in this blog post do not belong to me.

Copyright (c) 2017, All Rights Reserved


3 Reasons Taking Care of the Core is So Vital To Your Well-Being


1) A Powerful Core Means a Powerful Body

I can’t even begin to describe just how critical it is for any athlete to have a strong core. A strong core helps athletes out immensely in strength and contact sports like football. For instance, skilled positions like wide receiver and defensive backs need a steady core for speed and quick-twitch muscle movements. More on its role in sports down below.

Core Health’s Role In Physical Activity

In tennis and golf, the core is needed for trunk rotations swing timing. For MMA fighters, the core is the center of strength, balance, and guard. Put simply: it’s pretty damn important for maximum function for most physical activities. Furthermore, you use your core in almost every body workout or exercise anyway. This means you probably already have more of a foundation to start with than you think.

Quick tip: DON’T go home and overdue it on the crunches. Although crunches do harden your ab muscles, the movement doesn’t necessarily strengthen them. Also, studies have shown that the movement for crunches is not good for the spine; a repetitive motion of this nature could lead to extensive damage.

Instead, aim for more exercises with balancing motions. Try timing yourself with planks if you don’t have anyone holding your feet for conventional sit-ups.

Everyday Exercises That Strengthen The Core When Done Properly

With those tips in mind, the real way to truly add functional strength to your core is through these simple body weight exercises:

  1. Push-Up
  2. Squats
  3. Pull-Ups
  4. Dips

How? With each of these workouts, tighten your abs as if you’re bracing to be hit in the gut. Your core is the center link that connects all the major muscles in your body. Tightening them during exercises not only strengthens your abs but also activates, strengthens and maximizes the muscles in play. It’s also a mechanism to protect our spines from serious injury, and if your back is straight and your core is tight during an exercise, then chances are your form is right, and therefore, you’re doing the exercise right.

Also noteworthy is that it’s a mechanism to protect our spines from serious injury. If your back is straight and your core is tight during an exercise, then chances are your form is right. Therefore it would be safe to say you’re likely doing the exercise right. This is another reason core care is so critical to our health.

2) The Core is One of Many Active Beacons Indicating Your Overall Health

Another reason core care is important is that it’s a good indicator of your overall healthThe midsection is one of the first places you’ll exhibit symptoms if there is an outside intruder in your body. Nasty microorganisms sneak their ways inside our bodies more so than we would like to think. Harmful viruses and bacteria can enter our systems through the mouth or nasal cavity. From there they travel down through our digestive system.

Here they interact with our own natural microbiome in our guts, the “good” bacteria. This could upset our stomach and trigger physiological responses like aches, vomiting and/or diarrhea depending on the microscopic varmint intruding.

Sometimes, it literally comes down to listening to your gut.

When I first got Pneumonia in October 2016, I was exhibiting many symptoms of the flu. I don’t like going to the doctor and would rather treat myself at home with natural remedies. This time, however, it was different. I was experiencing both diarrhea and throwing up to a point where I couldn’t keep food or fluids down. Not being able to nourish my body properly was enough for me to finally visit an urgent care and get treatment.

It’s important to note that it wasn’t the coughing or the fevers that prompted me to seek medical attention; it was the issues and red flags at the core of my body. The reason for that is because my livelihood depends on my gut’s ability to digest and absorb the food I eat. If my body isn’t keeping food down, obviously I’m not absorbing it. This literally makes it impossible for me to maintain my overall health.

3) A Healthy Core Is Also A Healthy Metabolism

Functions such as digesting, absorbing, and filtering nutrients create energy. As a result, our core serves as an internal furnace assisting in the regulation of our metabolisms. When we combine healthy eating and lifestyle habits with exercise, our core can function at its optimal level. Here are a few things you can try that strengthen your gut microbiome, regulating your digestive system and ultimately your metabolism:

  1. Lemon water in the morning. This moistens your digestive organs, activating their juices and enzymes for digestion.
  2. Taking fish oil pills. Omega 3 is a known good fat that also aids in helping your gut flora thrive. Dr. Tobias Omega 3 pills are a goods source.
  3. Eating vegetables. Vegetables like your dark, leafy greens have antioxidants and other nutrients that activate your digestive juices while also strengthening your digestive immunity.
  4. Herbs, mushrooms and spices. Spices like turmeric used in many Indian cuisines, garlic, and ginger are magnificent anti-inflammatory foods. They reduce inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract resulting from illness or physiological symptoms of stress.
  5. Probiotics. Probiotics are foods and supplements with healthy bacteria cultures in them used to increase the healthy cultures in your gut. For more in-depth information on probiotics and some good supplements to try, take a look at my blog post on it here.

It’s important to combine these core-healthy lifestyle habits with exercise as well to further stimulate a balanced metabolism as well as to maintain your overall health.

Go With Your Gut My Friend

Of all the areas of the body to take a particular health interest to, the core is my favorite. Core care is intertwined in so many areas of our life. A strong core is vital for exercise, sports, and daily activity. It also reduces chances of spinal damage.

A healthy core with the right foods and nutrients going into it can help prevent illness as well as regulate our metabolism and subsequently our weight. It tells us when something is wrong with us, whether that’s through inflammation as a result of stress or from antigens. With all of these vital things that a healthy, strong core can do, it’s safe to say that it’s best to go with your gut in terms of maintaining good health.

More Resources:

I do not own any photos in this blog.

For transparency purposes, there are affiliate links in this post where I will be compensated if purchases were directed from this page.

© 2017 Anthony J. Richard All Rights Reserved