Leap From That Fitness Flat-Line

Leap From That Fitness Flat-Line | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Plateaus can describe more than land terrain: a raise followed by a flat, stable state with little or no growth or decline.  Maybe this describes your workout after weeks, maybe months, perhaps even years of doing the same thing.  You may be investing the time and effort, but too much time and not enough effort may be the cause of that plateau.  If you want to up your challenge, free up some time, and change that plateau to an incline, then it’s time to change some things up a bit!

When To HIIT It

Yes, HIIT it! If you want to take your physical fitness to new levels, integrate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your weekly workouts.  HIIT is any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of moderate activity.  These high intense bursts followed by moderate intensity bursts condition both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems, which have proven to train and condition muscle capacity and exercise performance more efficiently.  The higher exercise intensity creates greater metabolic demand and can increase your resting metabolic rate for at least 24 hours following a hard session.

While there are various methods of HIIT, the basis of it is alternating between the intense “kill it” intervals, and then quickly recovering.  The original procedure was using a 2:1 ratio of intense to recovery – for example, a 30 second hard push followed by 15 seconds lower level exertion. However, other methods have also been studied with a 1:2 ratio of work to recovery – for example, 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 60 seconds of the lower level.  Either way, the interval approach to training proves to be the most efficient way to maximize workouts and reduce time.  The goal is to do at least 6 cycles, and to have the entire HIIT session last at least twelve minutes and not more than twenty.  It’s a quick workout, but hard, so you shouldn’t have energy to be able to do any other workout after – leave strength training to another day to give yourself time to recover.

Also, because HIIT does micro damage to muscles, which helps with getting lean, but not quick at repairing, you want to make sure you’re giving yourself a day or two in between sessions to let those muscles repair.  Working HIIT training sessions two days into your weekly workout would be ideal if your goal is conditioning, getting lean, endurance training, and metabolic rate increases.

Strength In Numbers

The benefits of strength training don’t just occur when it’s time to get toned or show off those muscles in the skin bearing months.  Your body composition of lean muscle is one of the few determinants that you can control in regards to your resting metabolic rate; the more muscle, the more energy your body is burning.

To obtain the best benefits of strength training – muscular strength, improved muscle tone and appearance, increased endurance, increased metabolism and enhanced bone density – you’d want to work at least two days of strength training into your weekly workout. If using two days, focus on your upper body muscles (back, shoulders, chest, arms) one day and then lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves) on the other, integrating core and abs in on both. Be sure to get a 5-10 minute warm-up in before the 30-40 minute strength session to be sure your muscles are ready to prevent injury.  You can either do this through a light cardio session or performing each exercise without weight.

Slow and Steady Does It

Even with the temptation of shorter workouts, don’t give up on these.  They take more time, but low intensity cardio sessions help build your fitness foundation and endurance.  These steady state 30-45 minute workouts condition your aerobic energy system and train your slow-twitch muscles to keep moving, no matter what you’re doing.  Whether it’s a run, swim, bike, or elliptical, these steady sessions also help as active recovery from the prior day’s HIIT or strength workout and refuel you for your next intense workout in the coming days. Getting one or two long cardio sessions induring the week will continue to build your endurance, burn fat, strengthen muscles, reduce stress, and improve your circulatory system and reduce your resting heart rate, among many other benefits.

Coming Together

Instead of mindlessly approaching the gym and doing the same thing every time for the same amount of time, go with a purpose and get in and get out.  Not only will you find the value in getting more of your time back in your week (not to mention year!), but you should also see changes in your overall fitness and leap off of that plateau.

An example of what it could look like in your week:

Day 1 – Slow and Steady to build up that foundation and get you ready for that week of training. 45 minutes.
Day 2 – HIIT It with intense bursts of your 8-9 exertion level and then back off to a level 4-5 for the recovery period. 20 minutes with warm-up and cool-down.
Day 3 – Strength Training with focus on your upper body muscles and those abs. 35 minutes with warm-up.
Day 4 – R&R –Recover and repair, or rest and relaxation, whatever the term fits you best! 0 time.
Day 5 – HIIT It hard again after your day of refueling.  20 minutes with warm-up and cool-down.
Day 6 – Active recovery with your Slow and Steady session. 45 minutes.
Day 7 – Strength Training to focus on your lower body and abs now. 35 minutes with warm-up.

Time saved compared to average person spending 45 minutes of continuous cardio workout 6 days per week = About 3 hours 20 minutes (173 hours per year) vs 4 hours 30 minutes per week (234 hours per year)

Please be aware that this article is not a diagnosis, prescription, recommendation, or fitness program for any individual, and does not guarantee results.  Before you begin an exercise program, you should always talk it over with your doctor. He or she may have specific recommendations — or warnings — depending on your health and the other medicines you take.

Bulu Box | Rena Valentino Roark, Guest Blogger, Personal Trainer

About Our Guest Blogger
Rena Valentino Roark | Health and Fitness Coaching

Rena Valentino Roark, CHC, CPFT, is a Certified Health Coach and Certified Personal Fitness Trainer.  She works with individuals and group clients as a health and fitness coach to offer support and guidance for their health goals through a holistic look at their lives, helping to find balance between exercise, diet, career, and relationships.  Providing accountability and motivation, she can help reduce stress, increase energy and self-confidence, and ultimately help individuals work towards the best version of themselves.

If you are interested in learning more about how Rena can help support you in your health goals, contact Rena at r.valentino.roark@gmail.com



Compiled using information from the following sources:
The Journal of Physiology, “Exercise training for a time-poorgeneration: enhanced skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis.” http://jp.physoc.org/content/588/11/1817.full
Self Magazine, “Burn, Baby, Burn.” July 2012.

Week in the life of a Bulugan!

 Week in the life of a Bulugan! | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

We decided to ask one of our fellow Bulugans how they discovered all the products they found in their Bulu Box. Our first Bulugan to give us the low down was Brett Walburn, a business development officer and a sought after personal trainer.


Almased Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Monday, November 12: Armed with my November Bulu Box samples, I am ready to start my week! As a natural bodybuilding competitor, I schedule weight-training six days and cardio sessions 3-4 days each week. I like to kick-off Mondays by training chest, triceps, and calves.

The November box features many products that contain caffeine. Caffeine has many exercise benefits, including: Increased focus, increased energy, and decreased sensitivity to pain. As a full-time business development officer, part-time graduate student, and group exercise instructor, some extra energy from a healthy supplement or vitamin goes a long way!

Today I needed a quick meal on the go, so I grabbed the Almased Synergy Diet meal replacement. I mixed it with water, which tasted great and provided me with a solid amount of protein and carbohydrates!

FRS Chews Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Tuesday, November 13: Today I taught a kettlebell core/abdominals class, and before the workout I took one serving of the FRS Healthy Energy Chews. Boom! I noticed the extra energy as it kicked in after only 10 minutes, but it wasn’t a jittery energy. I like the FRS chews because they come in a really handy, re-sealable package and are individually wrapped.


Crystal Essence Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Wednesday, November 14: Today I worked out in the morning before work. As usual, I wanted to knock out a few more sets before leaving the gym, so I ran out of time to shower. I had thrown the Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Towelette into my gym bag, so I used that to freshen up before work. The towelette had a light scent and went on clear. The best part was the towelette did not leave my skin sticky. No complaints in the office about a smelly co-worker!


Cocoawell Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Thursday, November 15: Today I tried the Reserveage Organics CocoaWell True Energy supplement before work. The energy blend gave me a steady stream of focus all morning long. Green Tea Extract has many health benefits, so I was happy to see that it is one of the main ingredients of the supplement.


Almased Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Friday, November 16: TGIF! I worked out in the morning again, training shoulders and finished up with some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for cardio. Upon finishing my workout, I tried the Almased Synergy Diet meal replacement. With 27 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbs, this is a great post-workout nutritional supplement for recovery. I mixed it with milk and the flavor was awesome!


FRS Chews Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Saturday, November 17: Saturdays are my favorite day to exercise, because I can allow extra time to work on areas I want to improve on in my physique. My workout went pretty long, so mid-way  through I took a serving of the FRS Healthy Energy Chews. The extra energy helped my get through the workout, and the pineapple/mango flavor was a refreshing change from some of the oddly-flavored energy drinks out there!


Elebra Rating | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Sunday, November 18: This evening I needed to study, and to do so I needed some extra energy. I tried the Elebra vitamin supplement with herbs for more focus and vigor. Among other ingredients, the supplement contains B vitamins which provide energy production, metabolism optimization, and healthier skin, hair, and nails. I was able to easily fight off the urge to sleep and finished my paper before calling it a night. I still have many Bulu Box vitamins and supplements left for next week, and I look forward to using them with my busy lifestyle!


Brett Walburn is a business development officer and entrepreneur in Lincoln, NE. In his free time, he enjoys helping others reach their fitness goals through teaching group exercise classes and personal training. Brett specializes in teaching kettlebell, high intensity interval training, and TRX. He competes in North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (NANBF) bodybuilding to continuously challenge himself. You can contact Brett any time by emailing him at,growingyouniversity@gmail.com

Two Ingredient Cookies!



2 large bananas
1 cup of quick oats

Mix those two together. We used fresh bananas, but looking back some old brown ones from the freezer would have worked much better.

We decided to add in some chocolate chips and cinnamon, but you can add in whatever you want!

Potential Add-ins:
-a handful of chocolate chips
-crushed walnut pieces

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Makes around 16 small cookies. 

PER COOKIE – Cal: 59 – Carb: 11g – Fat: 2g – Protein: 1g


1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of quick oats

We didn’t add to much when we made these and the cookies suffered dearly. They came out tasting bland so be sure to add in a lot of pumpkin spice. A few chocolate chips wouldn’t have hurt either! 

Potential Add-ins:
-a handful of chocolate chips
-crushed walnut pieces
-lots of PUMPKIN PIE SPICE! (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, etc.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. 
Makes around 16 small cookies. 

PER COOKIE – Cal: 49 – Carb: 8g – Fat: 2g – Protein: 1g


Live To Be 100

Live To Be 100 | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Who wouldn’t want to get the most years out of their life as they can? It’s no question that the healthier you are the longer your lifespan will be. Here are some simple ways to get you closer to that century mark!


Get up!
Believe it or not, sitting less than 3 hours a day will add about 2 years to your life and increase your overall health. If you must sit at work, schedule short breaks in your day to walk around and check out more ways to stand at work. Extra bonus: if you walk at a slightly faster pace it will add even more years to your life!

Add more fiber
Including more fiber into your diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and some cancers which all adds up to more years.

Vitamin D
Whether getting it the all-natural way by catching some rays, or supplementing with products such as Pure Matters Vitamin D or Adept, getting the right amount of Vitamin D, even in the winter months, can influence your life span.

Stress free
Going day to day with huge weight on your shoulders can not only weigh down your mood but also elevate blood pressure and make it difficult to sleep. If high stress is weighing you down, try taking a few minutes to meditate during the day or supplement with Natural Vitality CALM, or iChill Relaxation Shot that will help relax you.

Eat clean
Avoiding all processed foods and focusing on all whole natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables will help keep your body clean of processed, man-made chemicals that may not be the best for you. Papa Steve’s No Junk Protein Bars makes it super easy (and delicious!) to keep on a clean eating lifestyle. Learn more about eating clean, and how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.

Sleep more!
Attention night owls, and early risers: sleeping more than 7 hours a day increases the levels of growth hormones that boosts your vitality. If you are having trouble catching all those zzz’s try some Nightfood, or Immuno-Viva Sunset Tea, or even try sleeping in a different position tonight and note how different you feel tomorrow.

Have a purpose
Finding a purpose in life can increase those warm fuzzy feelings you get after doing something that not only improves your life, but the lives of others. Consider volunteering or making a much-needed family vacation a yearly tradition.


Your turn: What steps are you taking to live to 100?






What Volunteering Does For You

What Volunteering Does For You | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

We know that volunteering helps the recipient of the service. But what can volunteering do for you, other than making you feel good? Studies are suggesting that volunteering can help you live a healthier life!

The Helper’s High
If you’ve ever volunteered, then you’ve already experienced the helper’s high. The helper’s high is when you feel really great after having volunteered. It’s that sense of satisfaction and happiness you get from helping others. This helper’s high can also provide you with a sense of purpose; and can help increase your self-confidence.

Social Connections
Volunteering is a great way for you to network yourself. This is a great way to make new friends, and connect with people in your community. In turn, volunteering also helps you better your social skills. If you are shy and want to break out of your shell, volunteering is a great option!

Reduce Stress
If you’re volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to you, then it could be a great outlet for reducing stress. Volunteering is a great way to distract you from the problems that are causing you stress. Hearing the stories of the people you are helping may also help you cope with your everyday stress.

Staying Fit
Often times volunteering has you on your feet. If you are looking for an outlet to get more exercise, try manual volunteer work like Habitat for Humanity. Even just standing during weekly volunteer work can help you stay healthier! If you’re not sure what volunteer opportunities are near you, check out this site!

Your Turn: What volunteer activities have you done lately?



Diet Secrets From Around the World

Diet Secrets From Around The World | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

While each culture and each individual go about achieving it in different ways, there’s always a universal desire for 100% health and happiness. We’ve tapped into Mother Earth and discovered some global tricks we can all benefit from in our quest for health and happiness

From the Okinawans: Stop Eating Before You Are Full
The Okinawans stop eating at 80% full! This little trick is found on an island next to Japan, and it must be working because the average BMI of an Okinawan is 21.5! Stopping at 80% full doesn’t mean you’ll leave the table hungry either, putting the fork down earlier will give your brain the time it needs to realize that you may actually already be full.

Interested in this diet? There’s a book all about it!

From the French: Say, “Cheers!”
Do as the French and Mediterranean do and have a glass of wine! A glass of wine is full of potent antioxidants, which may be the reason for these cultures having lower rates of cardiovascular diseases. Of course, we don’t want to get too carried away, one glass should do ya good!

From the Kuna: Go Coo-Coo for Cocoa!
You heard that one right, Bulugans.. cocoa! The Kuna tribe of Panama have a low incidence of high blood pressure and heart conditions and drink up to five cups of cocoa a day! Cocoa has helped the Kuna tribe maintain normal blood pressure as they age and experience 1/9 the rate of heart conditions than their neighbors on the mainland who don’t drink cocoa regularly. Of course drinking five cups of cocoa a day might become a chore so instead take 2 CocoaWell capsules a day!

From the French and Japanese: Quit Multitasking!
When you’re eating, just simply eat. The American culture is fond of multitasking while eating food with TV dinners, fast-food drive throughs and grab-and-go foods.  Eating shouldn’t be an errand. Did ya know in France, there aren’t any cup holders in cars and in Japan it’s considered rude to eat while walking? So sit back, relax, and eat. Take one bite at a time and really enjoy your food. :)

From the Mediterranean: Oil up!
You’ve probably heard of this trick if you’re familiar with the Mediterranean diet, but lots of cultures around the world live the same way! Healthy fats like olive oil and canola oil make veggies Mm-mm-good! And as we all know, enjoying your veggies will lead you to eat more of them, which is an important key to maintaining a healthy weight!

From the French: Don’tSkip a Meal… Eat!
Quit holding out on yourself and eat your three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Skipping a meal shouldn’t be about cutting calories, it actually evokes a primal fear of hunger response in your body and causes you to overeat later.

From Asia: Get Up and Move
Other countries are primarily slim not because they spend a ton of time at the gym, it’s because they simply just walk a lot! Most of America is set up so we can transport quickly from place to place via cars, taxis, etc, but try walking around your neighborhood before and/or after work or school to log those foot steps like you would in another country!

Improve Your Health With A Furry Friend

Improve Your Health With A Furry Friend | Bulu Box - Sample Superior Vitamins and Supplements

Can’t decide if a pet is right for you? Studies are showing that pets may be good for your health in many ways! If you’re part of the 65% American households who have a pet, you may have seen these benefits already. But if not, maybe it’s time to reap the benefits of having a furry friend!

Allergy Help
If you’re a parent debating about getting a pet, it may be the right call! Studies are suggesting that kids who grow up in a home with furry animals, like dogs or cats, have a lowered risk of allergies and asthma. There is also a link to having pets at a young age, and a reduced risk of having eczema.

Stress Reducing
A survey done by Mindlab International found that 55% of people feel more relaxed after spending some quality time with their furry friends, and 44% were less worried about specific issues in their life, such as finances. People often describe their pets as their best friends, and some people even reported telling their deepest secrets to their pets. So if you’re feeling stressed about anything, spend sometime with your pet!

Lowered Risk for Diseases
One study, done by Professor Adnan Quereshi at the University of Minnesota, suggested that cat ownership can reduce your risk for a heart attack. The study looked at 4500 cat owning adults, and found that owning a cat is related to 40% lower risk offatal heart attacks. It is believed that owning a cat has a calming effect on the owner, reducing stress.

Another study, done by Queen’s University, suggests that owning a dog can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Owning a dog often leads you to doing more physical activity, with having to walk them and play with them. If you need some other activities to do with your furry best friend check out this link.

If you’re one of those lucky few that still has your dog from you childhood, check out Reparapet. This all natural health supplement helps ease the pain from arthritis, sore joints, lack of energy and other age related symptoms.

Your Turn: Bulugans! How have your furry friends benefited your life?

Find the Sleeping Position That’s Right For You

Find the Sleeping Position That's Right For You | Bulu Box - Superior Vitamins and Supplements

The way you sleep could be affecting more than just your awesome bed head. It could be the reason that your neck hurts in the morning,or why you snore so loudly. We’ve figured out the pros and cons to each sleeping position for your optimum health!

On Your Back:
Sleeping on your back is considered by some to be the best way to sleep, but there are pros and cons to every position. Sleeping on your back is great for keeping all of your organs aligned. This is the best position for keeping your head, neck and spine in a relaxed position. If you suffer from acid reflux, this is a great way to sleep. Sleeping on your back keeps your head above your stomach, so the acid can’t come up your throat.

There is one big con to sleeping on your back. If you frequently snore during your sleep, this is the worst position for you. This position can make snoring more severe than any other sleeping position so beware if there are light sleepers in the room.

On Your Side:
Do you have back problems? Sleeping on your side helps keep your spine elongated, therefore helping prevent back and neck pain. If your back problems are more severe, try bending your knees slightly and putting a pillow between your legs. This is a great way to take the stress off of your back. This is also a better position for any Bulugans who do snore!

The most significant con to side sleeping is that it is said to cause wrinkles. When your face is smashed against one side of the pillow, this can cause wrinkles to be more prominent on that side of your face.

On Your Stomach:
This is the best way to sleep if your snoring is bad. Sleeping on your stomach allows your airways to be more open, therefore making snoring almost nonexistent. Don’t be fooled though, this is not a good way to commonly sleep.

This position may hinder your spine’s alignment. Don’t sleep on your stomach if you’re suffering from back and neck problems. This position forces your neck to stay in one position for the whole night, which may cause soreness when you wake up. Sleeping on your stomach can also be accredited for numbness when you wake up.

Having troubles falling asleep? Try combining a new sleeping position with a pre-bedtime cup of Sunset Tea before you go to bed. This tea uses the benefits of ancient teas combined with Suntheanine, which promotes relaxation, and antioxidants. It’s a healthy way to get you calm and ready for bed!

Your Turn: How do you sleep? Will you consider switching based on what you’ve learned here?


Sources: http://www.fitsugar.com/Pros-Cons-Sleeping-Your-Side-Back-Stomach-14571804

Veggies: Fresh, Canned, or Frozen?

Veggies: Fresh, Canned, or Frozen? | Bulu Box - Superior Vitamins and Supplements

As winter approaches, fresh produce becomes either more expensive or hard to come by in certain parts of the country. To get the maximum amount of nutrients in your favorite veggies, do you turn to the canned or frozen alternatives?

The benefits of eating fresh produce are many. You can grow it right in your backyard and have it easily available, and when it’s in season, it has the highest nutritional value. However, the produce in the grocery stores often have less nutrients because they are picked before they are ripe, thus not giving them the chance to fully develop. On the other hand, when vegetables are out of season they not only become more expensive they lose a lot of their nutritional value by being exposed to the high heat and sunlight when shipped across the country. So when the produce isle doesn’t impress you, where do you go?

Canned vegetables are often a pretty good alternative to their fresh counterparts. Unlike fresh produce, canned vegetables are picked when they are at their peak ripeness and canned while they have the highest amount of nutrients. Canned vegetables have a substantially higher shelf life than fresh and do not contain any preservatives. However, vegetables tend to lose a few nutrients, like Vitamin C and Vitamin B, when exposed to high heat during the canning process, and they are often high in sodium. So, where does one turn to avoid the high sodium levels of canned vegetables?

Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness, and the faster they are frozen after being picked, the more nutrients they retain. Like canned, frozen vegetables can last much longer than fresh produce but unlike canned, it is lower in sodium. The best of both worlds!

To ensure your veggies are packed with all the yummy nutrients you are entitled to, buy fresh produce when it’s in season, and buy frozen when it’s out of season. There’s also the option of dried vegetables such as, Vibrant Health which is a unique combination of the best green foods that can grow from organic soil. Regardless, adding more vegetables to your diet will provide you with more nutrients over all for optimum health.