Author: The Happy Factory

Should I Be Taking Supplements?

Maybe you want to bulk, or maybe you want to drop some pounds and feel confident to kick off the new year? Whatever your physique goals are, I’m sure you’ve thought to yourself “maybe this (or that) supplement will get me results faster!”

Pump the breaks before you pump the pills and powders.  I’m going to break it all down for you right now…

For starters, let’s make something clear:  You can NEVER make up for a bad diet! Period. The majority of your nutrients should come from a balanced, mostly whole-foods based diet.  I’m going to say it louder for the people in the back:  YOU CAN NEVER MAKE UP FOR A BAD DIET!

The best thing you can do for your health and wellness is eat the rainbow, focus on lean proteins, unprocessed foods, and healthy fats. The closer to nature a food is, the more nutrient dense — and the better for you — it will be.

Got it? Good!

Now that we got that out of the way, there is a place for supplements in your fitness journey,. but as the name implies, they should SUPPLEMENT your balanced diet. In fact, it isn’t a bad idea to include a good quality multi-vitamin supplement to cover your bases.

Before we get into proteins, pre-workouts and all the other good stuff you want to know about, I’ll give you a list of the most common vitamin deficiencies:

According to Healthline some of the most common vitamin deficiencies are: vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12.

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D has multiple roles in the body, including promoting healthy bones and teeth, improving immune and nervous system function, among others. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause fatigue, changes in mood, and a weakened immune system.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral important for bone, nerve and muscle health. Magnesium can help fight depression, improve exercise performance, soothe muscles, and has hundreds of other benefits!  If you have a Magnesium deficiency you could experience fatigue, nausea/vomiting, weakness, and muscle cramping among other symptoms. It is particularly beneficial to take before bed as it can help improve sleep quality.

3. Vitamin B12

B12 is a vitamin that our body cannot produce on its own and therefore we can only get through food sources or supplementation.  It is involved in some key processes in the body, including the production of DNA and red blood cells. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include weakness, tiredness, depression, and even vision loss!

When it comes to any supplement please consult with your doctor as this is meant to be information and not medical advice**.

Supplements can have interactions with some medications. If you are considering supplementing with vitamins consider food-based vitamins instead of synthetic, as these may be easier on your stomach and better absorbed. 

Now… I know what you’re thinking: What about pre-workout, creatine, and protein powders?

The truth is there is NO ONE ANSWER. Your specific regimen is highly dependent on your goals, your health history, and your diet. What will ALWAYS apply to EVERYONE is that what you eat will always be more important than any supplement. With that in mind, there are things to consider if you find that you need an energy boost before a workout, want to build muscle, or find you don’t consume enough protein through your diet.

— Processed powders should never be the first option.  Focus on your diet first!

— There are natural sources of energy to give you a pre-workout boost, like tart cherry juice and beet juice.

— You don’t NEED a protein powder if you consume enough protein through your diet.

However, if you opt to supplement your protein intake with a powder, make sure you avoid products that have any of the following in their ingredient list: carrageenan, natural flavors, artificial flavors, and any gums. Opt for organic and non-GMO products. Also, opt for plant-based proteins if whey causes bloating, or any adverse reactions. 

Whoa! That’s a lot of info. Yes it is, just keep in mind that you’re not alone in all of this, we are here for you.

At The Happy Factory, we know how overwhelming the abundance of information on the internet can be, especially when you start out on your fitness journey. That’s why all of our trained and certified professionals are always available to answer any questions you may have.  Our goal is to help you reach all of your goals, in and out of the gym!  Don’t go at it alone, come check us out today – your first class is always on us! 

**This information is not intended as medical advice.  Before changing your diet or starting a supplement regimen please consult your doctor. 

Author: The Happy Factory

Types of Protein

If you’re new to the whole gym thing or have been working out for some time, protein powder is something you hear about often. As fitness coaches’ we get questions like what type of protein powder should I take? Should I take protein powder? What is protein powder? 

Luckily for you, we’re going to break down those Harry Potter sounding words you find on the labels of popular protein powders and how you can use them to your advantage. 

What is protein? 

Think of protein as a building block to help you gain, maintain, and repair muscles. Proteins, either from whole foods or supplements, are broken down into amino acids to repair micro-tears in your muscles from working out and aiding them in being bigger and stronger. There are about nine essential amino acids that we should look for in our protein to be considered a “complete protein” to aid in important functions in our bodies. Whole food sources that contain all essential amino acids include seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soy, quinoa, and buckwheat.

Unlike fats and carbohydrates, your body does not keep a source of protein to burn for fuel, therefore you need to get them from your diet. Proteins are not just about gaining and repairing muscles, they are important for every cell in our bodies, like the production of enzymes, hormones, bones, cartilage, and skin. 

What is protein powder?

Protein powders are concentrated protein from two main sources: animals or plants. Animal-based proteins are whey, casein, milk, and egg protein. Plant proteins include soy, hemp, pea, brown rice, or a combination of these. When picking a protein, it is important to consider your allergies and digestibility, how quickly your body can absorb the protein. 

There are three forms of protein powders: concentrated, which contain more carbohydrates and fat, isolate, a purer form of protein and fewer carbohydrates and fat, and hydrolysate or hydrolyzed protein, broken down protein that allows your body to absorb it faster. 

Animal-Based Protein

Milk proteins mirror milk’s protein composition, 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. Whey protein is a complete protein (contains all essential amino acids) and is digested quickly and easily. It is also a popular choice among athletes and bodybuilders for muscle building yet is also effective for those who are trying to lose weight as well. This protein powder comes in all three forms, concentrated, isolate, and hydrolyzed.

Casein protein is also a complete protein and is anti-catabolic, meaning it reduces muscle breakdown because it takes your body longer to digest the protein. This protein has two main forms: micellar, the most common form and slower to digest, and hydrolysate. This protein has been found to reduce the total amount of protein burned for fuel over a period of time, which makes it popular to take before bed. Natural food sources for whey and casein protein can be found in milk, natural yogurt, and cheese, especially cottage cheese. 

Egg protein powder is a high-quality source of protein, easily digestible, and contains no fat. This protein can lower your appetite, but since this protein is not made with the yolk, which is high in fat, that full feeling may not last long. 

Plant-Based Protein

Soy protein powder is a top alternative option to animal-based proteins because it is the only vegetable that is a complete protein. It contains no cholesterol and has low levels of saturated fat. This protein can be found as an isolate, which contains 90-95% of protein and is easily digestible. 

Hemp protein is ranked a little under soy due to its bioavailability, the level of digestibility, and is a complete protein. It contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, but low levels of lysine and leucine, which are amino acids essential for muscle protein production. 

Pea protein is not a complete protein but is a good source of arginine, a good source of protein synthesis. It is usually from yellow split pea, which is high in fiber and is easily digestible, but not as high a level as soy. 

Brown rice protein is on the same bioavailability level as hemp and pea but is ranked lower in muscle building compared to other proteins like whey. 

Should I take protein powder?

The answer depends on how much protein you are already taking in. If you are intaking a good amount of protein from whole foods, it is not recommended to take supplements. 

If your goal is to build muscle or lose weight, it is important to intake the right amount of protein. Gaining muscle means you need more protein to gain, maintain, and repair. Protein taken to lose weight allows you to intake fewer calories while feeling full. 

Whether you choose plant-based, animal-based, or like the combination of both, picking a protein powder to add to your diet is all dependent on your tastes and sensitivities.

But all can be consumed in various ways! You can add your powder to a shake with fruit and vegetables or even add it to your pancake mix and enjoy some protein pancakes!

Author: The Happy Factory

Are you spent at the end of the day? Here’s why and what to do about it.

Being mentally exhausted at the end of your day is NOT normal, and decision fatigue is a symptom that you are stretching yourself too thin.

Our days are filled with decisions moment by moment, hour by hour, meeting by meeting. We make thousands of choices every day, and when it comes to food, it is estimated that we make over 200 food related decision daily!

That’s a lot for our brains to process, and much like your muscles become tired after training, the more you use our brain to make a decision — regardless of how small those decisions are — the more you spend your mental energy.

Eventually, you will hit a state of decision fatigue, and when you reach this point near the end of your day, there is little that will prevent you from diving face first into a slice of red velvet cake with extra frosting. I’ve been there plenty of times before.

Your collaborative brain.

To better understand decision fatigue, we have to take a quick look at how your brain works. Think of your brain as having two modes of thinking. One mode is calculated and prefers to thinks logically, the other is more impulsive and tends to be more emotional. Both are essential to your every day life; they compliment one another.

The first is the part you use to make calculated choices, and these choices require mental effort in order to override the demands of the second, more impulsive part of your brain. Think about how easy it is to bypass poor food choices early in the morning. Your battery is charged, so you can afford to say no to cake for breakfast (even though there’s a part of you that wants it to begin with). 

But as they day wears on, and you continue to make decisions, particularly the ones that require more effort because they are tedious and uninspired (think of that work email or phone call you’ve been procrastinating on for weeks, or having to sit politely through a soul-sucking meeting), your ability to make good choices begins to wear down.

This is when your brain starts to go on auto-pilot, and take shortcuts to maximize whatever mental energy you have left. 

Going into relief mode. 

Your brain is spent now, so one of two things are likely to happen. One, you’ll make snap decisions that are primary based on impulse, there’s no will power left to think about any consequences. If it feels good, or if it’s easier to just say yes, that’s the choice you are making.

The other option is to do nothing, to fall into a comfortable state of analysis paralysis, where not thinking is a means of recharging. Again, no bandwidth to entertain the consequences of not acting, at this point your brain is simply looking for relief.

Help your brain. Help yourself. 

So, you have limits… that’s a good thing. That’s what makes you human. Now that you know what decision fatigue is and how it works, it’s time to be proactive about it. There’s no amount of self-criticism or negative thinking that’s going to get you back to clarity. When you’re spent, you are spent, and that’s okay.

You see, most of us will resort to negative thinking after we make an impulsive decision, this is both unhealthy and destructive. Don’t fall into this trap! It will send you down a negative feedback loop. There’s no point in looking back, so let’s look forward!

What’s wearing you out?

Rather than beat yourself up when you have nothing left to give, it’s time to consider how you got here in the first place? Your mind is telling you that something is broken in your life, and in so many ways, it is asking you to fix the problem. 

A great way to figure out what’s zapping your energy is to make a “cringe list.” Think about your day unapologetically, and start to identify the things you do that make you cringe as soon as the thought pops into your head. 

For example, is having to be nice to Karen (your annoying co-worker) something that makes you cringe? Good, put interacting Karen on the list. Or, is having to prepare a healthy meal at night when you’ve worked all day makes you cringe? Check, evening dinner is going on the list.

Start with your first five cringe-worthy items, and begin to reduce and/or fix these problems. This is a big part of practicing self-care, and just because other people are good at normalizing the things that are wearing them out doesn’t mean that you have to. 

Yes, I’m recommending that you be selfish and afford yourself 30 minutes to think clearly about your life. You are not a machine, you are a human.

Training and Nutrition.

Use the morning-version of yourself to help the evening-version of yourself. Yes, you read that right. The person who leaves your house in the morning is not the same that arrives home at night, use that to your advantage. 

Here are some five things to consider:

1. Do you have desert (or any less-than-healthy foods) leftover from the day before?

Get rid of it in the morning, otherwise, it’s getting demolished at night after a tough day. Unless I absolutely need to, I try not to take food home when eating out. 

2. Do you avoid cooking because of the frequent prepping and cleaning?

Meal prep early Saturday mornings, this way you can clean up one single mess, and have great food to come home to at night. I cook all of my protein and carbs to get then out of the way, and keep my veggies fresh.

3. Do you feel like everyone got a piece of you except you at the end of the day?

It’s easy to get out of bed and jump in carelessly into the drama of your world. You’re going to have to fight (yes, fight) to make time for yourself. You see, you have conditioned the people around you to eat up all of your time, now you have to break those expectations.

Go for a walk outside, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes, or go to the gym, do something that makes you feel good about yourself. I give myself at least an hour early in the morning to train, meditate and think about what I need to get done. No emails, no social media, no calls.

4. Do you read the news, check email and/or social media when you first wake up?

Don’t.  I mean it, because you’ll likely end up reading or seeing something that will throw you off — or bring you down — for the rest of the day. You’ll waste energy talking yourself out of a funk. Your morning energy is your own, protect it, and save all of that noise and drama for later in the day.

5. Do you need to vent at the end of the day?

Have someone help you discover what it was about your day that keeps bringing you to a low point. This is much easier when there’s a detached observer who doesn’t mind categorizing Karen for what she is (a passive-aggressive a*hole). I’ll find someone I trust, and ask for their attention as a favor, their clarity helps me stop normalizing my life and the people in it. Clarity is priceless, but you can get some in exchange for a good bottle of wine 🙂 

Better together. 

I’m a huge believer in self-care, and it is something I implement with my clients. Success in the gym doesn’t last unless you achieve some balance outside of the gym. If you need help with any of the above, or if you have additional questions, feel free to contact me. Your first consultation and training session is on me.


Amanda Jackson personal trainer and health coach in phoenix

Amanda Jackson | Strength & Wellness Coach

Author: The Happy Factory

The TWO MAIN REASONS why most folks fail at achieving their fitness goals.

When it comes to fitness; speed and self-criticism are the two biggest problems that cause good folks to fail when trying to achieve lasting success.


Unrealistic goals are far too common in our industry. Yes, they’re an easy way to get you to sign up for a membership, but inevitably reality sets in and you’re left feeling like a failure because you didn’t hit your gaols. A trainer can’t do the work for you, so it’s easy to put the blame on you.

The idea of a “90-day super body” sounds amazing! And if it were true, it would make my life as personal trainer so much easier, but the truth is that when it comes to lasting fitness, aggressive short-term goals are a recipe for failure.

You have to give yourself — and your body — a healthy amount of time to transform and internalize your routine. This isn’t just a physical change, it’s a lifestyle improvement. As we like to say, getting leaner and stronger is a marathon not a sprint.

Rushing to the finish line will cause you to burn out along the way, and very likely get injured. You’ll also miss the opportunity to truly learn why you do the workouts you do and why you’re moving in a certain way. When you’re training right, you’re not just working out, you’re learning methods that will stay with you for life.


The other big reason why people fail is self-criticism. You know, going into the gym with a mindset of “powering through a miserable workout” or “punishing your body until it cries sweat.” This is dumb and harmful. If you have to talk yourself into working out, you’re not doing it right.

Most training programs are designed from 100-to-0, meaning you go into the gym, get put through hell, and then leave feeling spent and uncomfortable. The next day you can barely walk, your muscles ache and you have to drag yourself into the gym to do that all over again? Nope. This is unsutainable, because at the end of your workout you still have life to deal with.

I believe that training should be fun and uplifting, which is why we use a 0-to-100 approach at our gym. We start where you are (regardless of your fitness level) and help you progress from there. This way, training becomes something that you look forward to every single day.

I know from experience that when you workout with the right goals, the right mindset and with the right support, you will leave the gym feeling reenergized, period. This is ideal, because you can take that post-workout energy to your work and personal life.


Your strength coach should be a teacher as well as a mentor, never a drill sergeant. Do you really want to pay to get yelled at? An effective coach is someone who understands your capabilities and builds your training plan around that. It’s someone who knows how to get you to a point of balance, where you’re working out hard enough to make progress and stay engaged, but not so hard that you start considering calling in sick in order to avoid your workout.

Take it from someone who’s been in this industry for over a decade, and who’s helped hundreds of people achieve lasting success; getting leaner and stronger takes time, and your body is never the enemy. When you have the right support, the right environment and realistic goals, you’re going to achieve unbelievable physical and personal results.

At the Happy factory, we’re going to teach you perspective, proper form and technique, and how to change your mental narrative from one of self-criticism to one of appreciation and possibilities. And just as importantly, you’re going to be surrounded by people who see the best in themselves and those around them.

When you’re ready to get stronger. When you’re ready to get happier, sign up for a free personal training session at the Happy Factory.