Homemade Beef Jerky on a Traeger Pellet Grill

I seriously just had to write about this. Ever since I bought my Traeger I’ve been experimenting with beef jerky. Let’s face it, that’s really the main reason I picked it up in the first place. Homemade beef jerky is so delicious, able to be customized, and much healthier than the store bought versions. Here’s how I make it:

The whole process is actually quite simple. The hardest part is waiting for it to be done so you can chow down!

I start my homemade beef jerky at the store. Picking the right meet is essential. I typically go for some top round cut thin at around 1/4 inch thickness. I’ll buy around 1-2 pounds at a time.

Once I get home the magic happens. I grab some liquid aminos and Worcestershire sauce as a base. I’ll put about a half a cup of each into a bag and add 1-2 cups of water. After cutting the meat into 1″ wide strips I add them to the bag one by one.

Once they’ve sat in the fridge for several hours, or better yet over night, you can start cooking. I set the Traeger to smoke, and when it’s ready I set the strips on one by one. Every hour or so I’ll check on it to make sure they’re not overdone. Typically I’ll see it range from 3-5 hours depending on the quantity and thickness.

Seriously though, homemade beef jerky is the best discovery I’ve ever made. If you want to see the whole process don’t forget to watch the YouTube Video.

Comment below with flavors you’d like to see made into beef jerky and I’ll start experimenting. Thanks for reading!

Supplements with Beta Alanine

Today I uploaded the first of what will be many videos in a series called The Ingredient Index. In these videos I pick an ingredient that can be found in supplements and provide you with an overview of what it is, how it works, and why you might want to take it. This week I researched Beta Alanine, and as mentioned in the video here is a list of supplements with beta alanine that I have tried:

Here is the video in case you haven’t seen it or want to go back and watch it again:

Keep an eye out for more videos on supplement ingredients in the series Supplements Simplified (also known as The Ingredient Index). I’m passionate about fitness and it is very important to know what things I am putting in my body and why. I share this with you on this site and on my YouTube channel.

Intro to Meal Prep and How to Save Money

Meal prep is one of the most widely discussed topics when it comes to fitness. It can also make or break your ability to reach your goals. I created this Intro to Meal Prep video to show you my strategies on how to meal prep in a simple way that will also save you money. My hope is that this video will ultimately help you reach your goals.

Strategies on How to Meal Prep:
  • Keep it simple
  • Only prepare enough to last until the next meal prepPackage your food for your lifestyle
  • Only meal prep foods that you like and will eat
  • Don’t restrict the whole week to just one flavor
  • Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry
  • Make a shopping list beforehand
  • Swap meal prep ideas with others
  • Prioritize and multitask to minimize prep time

If you like the type of videos I produce, help support the channel by subscribing here: JBarkFit YouTube

During my last shopping trip I was able to get $10 back when spending about $50 on meal prep for the week. That’s 20% savings! IBotta is one of the main apps I use to earn cash back on items I would normally buy anyway.

IBotta: https://ibotta.com/r/sglbjgb
This app provides you cash back on your purchases when you scan your receipt. To date I have received over $90 cash back using IBotta.

eBates is another app I use, but it allows you to cover cash back on additional types of shopping, not just your groceries. I use this anywhere from online to in store at places like Amazon or even Home Depot and GNC.

eBates: https://go.ebat.es/imsk/amvCMHmz3J
eBates works in a similar way to iBotta, and even lets you link your card to earn cash back when shopping in store or online. To date I have received over $40 cash back from eBates.

Discount Codes (Affiliate Links):

I only recommend products I personally use myself.

Run Everything Labs
* 15% off entire purchase
* Use Code: “RESULTS”
* http://runeverythinglabs.com

Greek God Aesthetics
* 20% off entire purchase
* Use Code: “RESULTS”
* http://ggaesthetics.com

Truth About Creatine and My Personal Experience Using It

Out of all the supplements on the market these days, I don’t believe there is one that is more misunderstood than creatine. I don’t even think people understand the truth about creatine. I’ve heard so many people say how afraid they are of creatine, almost treating it like steroids. People will even just get upset and claim how much weight they heard it makes people gain.

I can’t remember the first time I implemented creating into my supplementation. I do remember how it felt though. I did a lot of research at the time, and even today I enjoy researching about the benefits of it and other ingredients. My goal is to help you understand a little more about my experience with creatine, and what the reality is rather than myths or rumors that cause creatine to be grossly underutilized.

First of all, if you look up creatine you may read that it is a “nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in vertebrates”. What does that even mean? Well let’s break it down into something more applicable to fitness. Just picture creatine as a molecule. This little guy bonds itself to a phosphate molecule and is stored in your muscular system. Why is that important? Well your muscles use something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as energy or fuel. When your muscle exert force, they use up this ATP which is converted into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). In order for that to be used as fuel again, it needs to convert back into ATP. That’s where creatine comes into play. Creatine phosphate so generally donates its phosphate molecule over to the ADP so that it can happily become ATP once more to be used again by your muscles. This increases your body’s capacity to lift, run, bike, swim, or anything else that uses your muscles. Imagine you have a car that has a 12 gallon tank. If you were to install a bigger tank you could drive further, right?

Well think of the truth about creatine as a bigger tank. You may gain weight when using creatine, but it isn’t much. You can picture it as the extra fuel your body has to utilize! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about creatine is that the weight is bad or it makes you bloated. That’s precisely what enables it to do what it does, and be so effective for your endurance and strength training!

I also have to include a few articles here for those who may want to do some deeper research or see the results of studies on creatine itself.

The truth about creatine is that it works for almost everyone, but may have varying levels of effectiveness. For individuals who already have a high concentration of creatine in their body, the effects will be less performance related and more that of decreasing ATP loss during heavy exercise. [1]

A typical usage of creatine consists of 25 g per day for 7 days followed by 5 g per day thereafter. This has been seen over a 12 week period to result in lower fat mass, increased strength, and increased muscle size. [2]

When it comes to side effects creatine is not one you’ll necessarily have to worry about. There have only been a few reported incidents with regards to the use of creatine. Any adverse consequences were typically tied to improper dosages or a history of prior health concerns. [3, 4]

My personal experience with creatine, specially when it comes to weight gain or loss can be found in this analytical article. It talks a lot about my body fat percentage and weight before, during, and after creatine consumption.

I felt a lot of strength increase while taking creatine as well as endurance. I was able to do one more rep, one more set, or add more weight each time I worked out. I also felt a more intense “pump” when using it. I would highly recommend creatine to anyone who’s doctor doesn’t say they shouldn’t take it.

I’ll also be starting a series on my YouTube channel to showcase all the different ingredients, such as the truth about creatine, that supplement companies use, why they use them, and what they’ll do to benefit (or hinder) your fitness.

References

[1] Casey A, Greenhaff P. Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:607S–617S. [PubMed]

[2] Volek J, Duncan N, Mazzetti S, Staron R, Putukian M, Gómez A, Pearson D, Fink W, Kraemer W. Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31:1147–1156. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199908000-00011. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

[3] Yoshizumi W, Tsourounis C. Effects of creatine supplementation on renal function. J Herb Pharmacother. 2004;4:1–7. [PubMed]

[4] Thorsteinsdottir B, Grande J, Garovic V. Acute renal failure in a young weight lifter taking multiple food supplements, including creatine monohydrate. J Ren Nutr. 2006;16:341–345. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2006.04.025. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Best YouTube Workout Videos to Watch at Home

Wow, where do I even start? I’m a huge fan of watching videos that others have made showcasing different workout or exercise ideas. What’s even better, is that YouTube is free. Unless, of course, you want to pay for YouTube Red. I’ve watched hours of video over the past few weeks to find for you the best YouTube workout videos to watch at home or on the go.  Occasionally I’ll watch them while doing cardio for a little multitasking and motivation.  Regardless, there are a few key content creators on YouTube that I would recommend watching and even subscribing to.

Best YouTube Workout Videos

Training Basics & Theory | Chapter 1: The Fundamentals Series [Jeff Nippard]

Jeff Nippard is probably one of the first fitness YouTube channels I subscribed to. He does an excellent job at explaining everything from a science-based perspective. This fundamentals video above is the first in his series of detailed information laid out in a simple manner so that it is easy to follow and also to apply.

My Best Fitness Strategies (Training Splits, Nutrition Plans, Supplements, and Team Run Everything) [JBarkFit]

Alright so this one is mine. I couldn’t help but throw my channel in with the mix. I am very passionate about fitness, and with a background in engineering and analytics I typically show things in a different way than you might be used to seeing. I encourage you to check it out and subscribe if you like what you see. I am always open to comments and suggestions.

How I Grew My Glutes 2cm Naturally In 8 Weeks (Realistic Results) [Stephanie Buttermore]

Stephanie Buttermore is another incredible fitness influencer on YouTube. She earned her PhD and applies all that knowledge to her fitness and it shows on the channel.  She has several videos on beauty topics to tailor to the female crowd as well. I highly recommend subscribing to Stephanie. You’ll learn a lot from her content, and she is very consistent at posting.

ABS 101 – Step by Step Six Pack Plan! (TARGET EVERY AREA) [Athlean-X]

Jeff Cavaliere is an incredible inspiration when it comes to fitness.  He knows a lot, and it shows in his videos. While he does have his website and sells product there, his channel is not focused on sales to the point where it becomes distracting. He focuses on teaching important strategies that will absolutely improve your progress and results.

The above are only 4 of the videos and channels that I feel are the best YouTube workout videos. I subscribe to all of those channels and look forward to each time a new video will be released. Feel free to comment on your favorite workout videos on YouTube! If you have anything you want to see on my channel or on this site feel free to reach out and let me know.

Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein Review

I have tried many different protein powders over the past decade, and the Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein is an absolute must-try.Throughout this review I’ll go over the flavors, ingredients, recipes, and other competitor vegan protein powders.Run Everything Labs currently has 6 flavors of their Plant-Based Protein:

  • Big Berry
  • Espresso
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Peanut
  • Mint Chocolate

run everything labs vegan protein

I have only tried the Chocolate flavor, and it was absolutely incredible! I even had to try it blended in a smoothie with some ice and peanut butter. I honestly can’t remember another chocolate flavor tasting so good.If you’d like to check out the product page, feel free, but if you get some make sure to use the coupon code “RESULTS” for 15% off your whole purchase.So now let’s break it down. The Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein is a blend of peas, brown rice, and pumpkin infused with coconut oil powder. It’s gluten free, vegan, non GMO, naturally sweetened with stevia, contains digestive enzymes, and has a solid amino acid profile. Also, it doesn’t have any artificial flavoring at all!The macronutrients make this veg protein a top of the line supplements.

By the way, you can use Coupon Code “RESULTS” at www.runeverythinglabs.com for 15% off your purchase.

Chocolate Vegan Protein

  • Calories: 122
  • Protein: 22g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 2.5g

Vanilla Vegan PRotein

  • Calories: 119
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 3g

After trying this protein I wanted to see what others thought about it, so I did a quick search and found a couple of different reviews. There were a few people who made videos on their thoughts, but more wrote blog posts. You can see them below. For the most part it seemed that the general consensus was positive. Run Everything Labs appears to have been spot on with this one.  From flavor, to ingredients, to overall brand appearance the reviews look good.

Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein Video Reviews

Other Reviews:

Now, something I wanted to touch on that the other reviewers didn’t seem to mention is the mission that Run Everything Labs has. It really is quite unique, and I even touch on it in this recent YouTube video. Here is an excerpt from their website:

We recognize that we have a lot of influence in people’s lives. Influence to be healthier.  Influence to feel better and more confident in themselves. Influence to chase dreams and that anything is possible if you work hard enough.  So now we would like to influence people to make efforts to towards a greater good.  Give back to our communities.  Help others that are less fortunate. Spread awareness and give support where we see needed.

They will even donate a percentage of overall sales to a non-profit organization or charity. How cool is that?! Even better, is that they don’t limit it to any single organization or charity. This allows consumers like us to add our own input on potentially which charity they’ll donate to. If you’d like to check it out, their mission statement is below.

Run Everything Labs – Our Mission

Okay, so probably my favorite part. Cooking! I love cooking, baking, eating, and anything involving food really. I haven’t shown it often, but you can see me in action making these Cream Cheese Wontons (Cream Cheese Rangoons) like you’ll find at Panda Express. Here are some other recipes you can use the Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein for.

Recipes

There’s a recipe I really want to try with this protein powder that I’ve done many times before with different protein powders. It makes really delicious pancakes:

  • 1 Egg (Use vegan substitutes for a vegan recipe such as VeganEgg)
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Scoop Run Everything Labs Vegan Protein Powder

Combine all ingredients until fully mixed. Pour onto a skillet or griddle and cook as you would a normal pancake, flipping half way through.

I’ll probably post it on Instagram when I make this recipe. Comment below with more recipe ideas that you might want to try! Also, if you’d like to try some of their Vegan Protein use Coupon Code “RESULTS” at checkout for 15% off your purchase.

Show The World Rocket Pop NEW Stim-Free Pre Workout

Show The World Rocket Pop flavor is the brand new flavor of stimulant-free pre workout from Run Everything Labs. I haven’t typically used non-stimulant pre workout in the past, but this one packs quite the punch. It actually works really well if you’re wanting to avoid caffeine or take a break from it. I discovered you can still get “the pump” while taking this, and energy definitely was not lacking. I must admit I’m quite the sucker for these rocket pop and icy rocket type flavors. It always takes me back to the actual Popsicle I had when I was younger.

They’re actually running a sale on it over at www.runeverythinglabs.com right now. If you spend over $50 you get a free shirt! (Until the sale ends or supplies run out)

So I figured I would take the time to overview some of the key players when it comes to ingredients. My favorite on the list has to be L-Citrulline Malate. This is a precursor to arginine which stimulates nitric-oxide production which is a vasodilator. What does that all mean? More blood flow. That’s the key. More blood flow to your muscles.

The next ingredient in there I would say is worth highlighting is the creatine monohydrate. Supplementing with creatine will increase the creatine phosphate stores in your muscles which enables a higher ATP availability for muscle contractions. (Yeah, I know it’s a lot of science junk, but hey it works!)

All the ingredients are good, but the last one I would want to mention is the beta alanine. This little guy has a similar effect to creatine when taken over longer periods of time. It will help increase your endurance and decrease fatigue and soreness.

I could go into a lot more detail about Show The World (STW), but I’ll save all that science mumbo jumbo for another post. If you happen to read this and the sale already ended, feel free to use the code below for 15% off your purchase:

Discount Code: “RESULTS” at www.runeverythinglabs.com for 15% off your purchase.

Now, what happens if you pick this stuff up but don’t have any motivation to work out? Read this for some pointers. Once you get motivated you may want to try some different fat burning workouts or modify some ones you already do.

Fat Burning Workouts that Actually Work

Well, you’re either here because you have a lot to lose, want to shed off just a few more pounds, or are just overall curious about fat burning workouts. The short answer? All of them burn fat to some degree. The long answer? I suppose you’ll just have to keep reading for that.

Whether you’re new to exercising or have been on it for years, I hope to provide something of value in this article. I’ve done a lot of research over the past decade and really narrowed it down to this. What works best for one person, may not work as well for others, but the basic underlying principles are the same.

If you want to burn more fat, you have to move more.

Fat Burning Workouts

HIIT

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT and I have a love hate relationship. It works great for burning high amounts of energy in short periods of time. However the intensity is so high that it’s not reasonable to hold that level of activity for extended periods of time. I typically prefer low impact exercises such as cycling or swimming due to the stress that running puts on my knees. I do like to switch things up though and run some sprints from time to time.

The way it works is by performing a lower intensity action such as jogging for 30 seconds followed by high intensity sprinting for 30 seconds. The length of intervals should vary depending on how conditioned you are. This repeats for 20 to 30 minutes. A typical result from a HIIT workout is around 8 to 12 calories per minute. This cycles of course due to the nature of the method with higher burn during intensity intervals and lower burn during low intensity intervals. Over a 30 minute workout you could expect to see 240 to 360 calories. I won’t go into the details of how these calories are burned, but Jeff Nippard made a great video on the difference between HIIT and LISS.

LISS

LISS is somewhat of a sister to high intensity interval training. It stands for Low Intensity Steady State. This type of workout is usually done for longer periods of time ranging from 30 to 60 minutes or more. Select an exercise such as cycling, brisk walking, swimming, or other activity you can do at a moderate pace for a long duration. For example cycling at a moderate pace will burn you around 470 to 750 calories in an hour. This almost directly correlates to the calories you burn during HIIT, but the mechanisms of energy expenditure are different. Again, I would refer you to Jeff’s video for more detail on their difference.

Tabata

Tabata workouts are something I am not as familiar with when it comes to fat burning workouts. A buddy of mine introduced me to them and let me say, it killed! I’m more used to strength training so it was definitely a change up of my regular routine. I may get some strange comments for this one, but I feel like Tabata is sort of a mix between Crossfit and high intensity interval training. For a Tabata workout you do a high level of intensity of a certain exercise (such as push ups or jump squats) for 20 seconds without stopping followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated a total of 8 times accounting for 4 minutes of workout. This is repeated with about 10 different exercises leaving you with a total body workout over a short 40 minute period.

Strength Training

Strength Training is my favorite go-to of all fat burning workouts. Depending on my goals at the time I will either lift weights 3 or 6 times each week. For the weeks I do 3 weight training days I will alternate them with cardio days. For the past few months my muscle group split has been Chest with Back, Biceps with Triceps, and Legs with Shoulders and Abs. I cycle through this either 1 or 2 times per week.

Depending on the amount of weight you are lifting and the number of sets or reps you do, you may see a wide variety of calorie burn. With larger muscle groups such as back or legs you may see higher calorie burn than, for example, when you work out biceps and triceps. I’m putting together an Exercise Video Library for Eternity Athletics on YouTube, and you can check out those videos here: Exercise Video Library Playlist. This way you can see what different exercises there are for strength training.

How to Find Motivation to Work Out

I couldn’t really think of anything I would rather start this blog out with than how to find motivation to work out. This is something I used to struggle with a lot. Heck, I still struggle with it from time to time. Motivation is one of those funny little things. Some say you have to find it inside you. Others say you have to just do what you know will help you reach your goals regardless of how motivated you are. It’s all one and the same to me. Whether you get it done or not, the power that drives you to do so is key. Motivation. Desire. Passion. Necessity.

What drives you to get up and go? What makes you get in the gym or on the yoga mat?

I personally find it anywhere I can. Whether that’s seeing somebody else in the gym and wanting to be like them or myself feeling terrible about being lazy, or any number of other things. The real difference is never giving up.

How to Find Motivation to Work Out

So there have been several people I’ve looked up to when it comes to fitness and how to find motivation to work out. Typically I’ll follow them on Instagram as it’s easy to just scroll through for a few minutes and see some inspiring fitness-related stuff. Facebook works too, but for me I prefer Instagram.

If you want to follow my account check it out here: https://instagram.com/jbarkfit

So who do I follow? Here’s a few:

Dana Linn Bailey (@danalinnbailey)

She has got to be one of my most highly regarded fitness role models. DLB has quite the history in the fitness industry, including competing in both bodybuilding and power lifting. She and Rob have started their own supplement line and apparel company. (By the way if you weren’t aware, REL donates a portion of each sale to charity. How cool is that?!) I had the privilege of meeting Dana and Rob last year at a fitness expo and truly appreciate their inspiration to others. Oh, and by the way if you want 15% off at www.runeverythinglabs.com use coupon code “RESULTS”. I was recently accepted as an official REL Team Member, so feel free to use that discount!

Jeff Nippard (@jeffnippard)

Jeff has also competed in natural bodybuilding competitions and has a deep history in the fitness industry. I primarily follow him on his YouTube channel. Each week he posts amazing content that I just have to jump on and watch when it comes out. His content comes from a science based approach to fitness. If you get bored by that style, then maybe it’s not the channel for you, but it definitely grew on me and now I turn to it not only for motivation but for education as well.

A post shared by Jeff Nippard (@jeffnippard) on

Carriejune Anne Ace (@misscarriejune)

Carriejune is highly motivational. She has a clothing line called Mini Beast and is definitely one I turn to for how to find motivation to work out. She recently got married to Steve Ace who is also very much so into fitness and quite the inspiration. I recommend checking her out as well.

Those are just a few of the people I’ve found to check in on when I’m feeling the need for some fitness motivation.

Have you ever just felt so bad about where you’re at that it almost angers you and pushes you to act? You know, that feeling after eating a bunch of donuts or way too many In N Out burgers? You just want to go straight to the gym and burn it all off out of regret?

Okay so maybe it’s not quite like that, but you get the point. A desire to change one’s current stage can overpower any lack of drive present only moments before. I personally weigh myself every single day. Controversial? Maybe. Some say this is a bad idea. I personally use it as a way to show myself how dedicated I am and how I afraid I am of change. The scale goes up and the scale goes down. Change is good! It won’t always go one direction, so just don’t get down on yourself when it’s not what you want. Just use those feelings to get yourself out the door and working out.

Lastly, I just want to touch on one of my most passionate sources of motivation. Love. Cheesy? Nah. Love yourself. Love your body. Don’t change your lifestyle because you hate the way you look or you hate the way you feel. Change because you love feeling good, and you love looking good. Have you ever just looked in the mirror and thought “man I’m looking good today” or “check out those biceps”. No? Well imagine how it would feel if you did! I’m currently a higher body fat percentage than I would rather be. Does that mean I hate my body? Nope. It just means I remember where I was in July of 2014 when I was stronger, leaner, weighed less, etc. That’s what I fight for. What is it that you fight for?

I’d really like to hear what all of you think when it comes to how to find motivation when working out. Drop a comment below and converse a little. If you don’t feel like sharing just send me an email and we’ll talk. If you haven’t seen my YouTube channel I’d love for you to check it out (JBarkFit on YouTube). I hope I’ve inspired at least one person to live a little better today. Maybe next time you’ll just be the one providing motivation for someone else. Choose to be an inspiration, whether for yourself or for another. Thanks for stopping by!