Archive for Health
Coffee might just be the most consumed beverage on the planet. I hope it’s actually water, but frankly I see more people drinking coffee than water on a day to day basis. As with anything that popular, there are differing opinions as to its value. Is it good for you? Or is it bad for you but you simply need it to wake up and/or get you through the day? Well it can definitely be good for you but that depends on if you use it or abuse it.
There are a number of benefits to drinking coffee. Most people drink it for its caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine boosts metabolism, improves alertness and is even an ergogenic aid (increases performance) for endurance sports. All in all it can be a very effective addition to your diet to help keep you lean; be sure to consume it properly for this to happen (“the ugly” below). For a long list of benefits, as well as tips on drinking it, see this article by fellow strength coach and trainer Mike Sheridan.
A big problem with our culture is over consumption. This is especially the case with coffee, as evidenced by the new sizes at Tim Hortons. Most people aren’t hydrated enough to begin with, couple that with the 3, 5, 7 cups of coffee I see people drinking and it becomes a big problem. As Mike mentioned, you’re probably drinking too much to begin with but you’re not coming close to hydrating adequately for that volume of coffee. Do yourself a favour, cut down to twice per day (morning and afternoon maybe) and put a major focus on water intake. Lethargy is a symptom of dehydration, which is probably the reason you’re consuming the coffee in the first place – vicious circle, I know.
If you’ve ever asked for a “double-double” then this section is for you. You can stop bragging now, that’s not a good thing. Taking your coffee with loads of milk and sugar is exactly what you need, if GETTING FAT is your goal. If you’re reading this article though, it means you’re either lost or you’re screwing yourself over. We’ve already talked about how important it is to keep a low and steady blood sugar level (here) both for health and for staying lean. Guzzling down a huge coffee with tons of sugar and milk (read: sugar) is the opposite of what we’re trying to do. This is just asking for an insulin spike and most likely fat storage. The benefit of adding cream (and no sugar) is that the higher fat content really slows down digestion and keeps your blood sugar at a steady level. Caffeine can help with fat loss, but taking your coffee with tons of milk and sugar completely negates those benefits.
So what to do about your coffee problem?? A few simple tips can go a long way. First, cut down your intake to once or twice per day. Next, cut down what you’re putting in and go for some cream (18% or 35%) . Lastly, and you should already be doing this, put a major emphasis on water intake. Your body significantly breaks down when it’s dehydrated and most people live their lives that way. Don’t be that guy/girl.
Coffee can be great if you consume it properly.
It’s About Getting Better!
Yesterday we talked about how mobility restrictions can really be hurting the way you move, which in turn can hold back your performances. Today i’ll share a few videos of things you can add into your dynamic warmup or interset rest periods to start enjoying the benefits of quality movement.
Try these out and see what happens!
It’s About Getting Better!
Somewhere along the line things got twisted. All of a sudden, the only thing that matters is strength. I’m seeing it all the time, guys are saying:”see how much I benched?? Squatted?”. Sure, strength development is important, but how did it become the be all and end all? I’ve written before about how important it is to learn – and become efficient at – proper movement patterns. This is something that the new strength-centric athletes are missing. When’s the last time you assessed your strengths and weaknesses? Guess what, it’s not a muscle group that’s lagging, it’s your mobility! If you’re anything like most of the young athletes I see these days, your flexibility and mobility suck and they’re holding you back. You have nobody to blame but yourself, I mean, everyone started out with great mobility and flexibility… (picked this up from a seminar)
So why is it so important??
Look at it this way, mobility dictates positioning. This is what will allow you to go to end range and successfully complete movement patterns efficiently. A good example is a slingshot, since our muscles are like elastics. If you have a slingshot and you can barely pull back the band, does it make sense to make the band even stronger? The problem is, it actually gives it a slight improvement which is all the more misleading. A stronger band would probably improve performance slightly, but think about how much better it would be if you decided to focus on how you could pull the band back further? Attaining full range of motion will allow the elastic to build up more energy and allow the shot to be more accurate. This is how you need to treat your body. Stop focusing on getting stronger when you’ve got poor range of motion and terrible movement patterns.Enough is enough. Learn how to use your body more efficiently first, THEN you can increase your strength again.
If you’ve been sacrificing mobility and range of motion in the weight room (controlled environment), then how will you be able to magically pull it off in a high speed uncontrolled environment (sport)? Wake up and smell the roses. Take the next little while to focus on mobility and you’ll see yourself become more efficient, more effective and more injury resistant.
Come back tomorrow to see some different strategies and exercises to get you started on your path for better movement. Sometimes it just takes a more comprehensive dynamic warmup to help your body move properly for the following workout.
Added mobility has so many positive effects. Hypertrophy is increased when training through a full-range of motuon. Faulty movement patterns can lead to compensations, overuse of certain muscles and structures, then either knotted up muscles or possible tendinopathies. Increased mobility in key areas also allows you to be way more dynamic in all your movement. Do yourself a favour and do your next training session by a mirror and find out how you look going to full-depth in a squats, the start position of a deadlift, or the top of a pullup!
It’s about getting better!
The holidays are over, it’s time to wake up. The food coma you’ve been in for the last 2 weeks is starting to wear off. The guilt is piling up almost as high as the holiday calories. It’s bad; you know it, I know it. The easy part? That was 2011. See what I did there? A fresh start for everyone.
A new year brings new goals and new ideas. There’s no better time to take your training game to a new level. This is where the title comes into play; below you will find a list of 5 training tools that can help you achieve your new goals in 2012.
The gym boss is an interval timer. Timing is crucial to training. Too little rest, your strength won’t return, too much rest, your heart rate returns to normal. No matter what your training goal is, a timer will be bring a consistency you’ve never been able to achieve before. Oh and if you’re looking to start interval training (hiit), this is probably the best interval timer on the market.
2. Multipurpose band
Besides a good timer, this might be the most versatile piece of equipment in your training bag. A good multi purpose Band can be used for strength, flexibility/mobility, warmup and explosive work.
3. Foam Roller
Maybe you have tried it, maybe you haven’t. We’ve talked about foam rollers before and other self-massage tools in the past, check them out here (Part 1 and Part 2). Not only is it a great tool for recovery from a good workout, it is also important for establishing good tissue quality as well as restoring proper length-tension relationships throughout your body. Issues relating to poor posture always require two things. The mobilization and release of the tight muscles that are causing restrictions, as well as the activation of the weak muscles that aren’t pulling their weight. Foam rolling is crucial for the release/mobilization aspect.
4. Grip4orce or fat gripz
While most people will credit the big movers for the majority of strength in things like pullups, bench press, and deadlifts, it is the grip that will hold you back from hitting that PR. The harder you can squeeze a bar, the more force you can put into it. If you have ever felt your grip fail during a set of deadlifts, you can recall how much your grip affects the whole lift. It is not just a matter of the bar slipping out of your fingers, but you lose your upper back, then your lower back, and finally your legs. When your grip is failing there is a reflex for the rest of your muscles to start turning off as well like a chain reaction. By using tools such as the Grip4orce or Fat Gripz, you can turn any bar or dumbell into a thick bar, constantly building your grip strength with every exercise.
5. Skipping rope
This is the best piece of equipment for cardio after your own legs. If sprinting is the king of conditioning exercises, then skipping is a prince. It is much more effective than jogging or biking (don’t even bring up the elliptical), and can be done virtually anywhere you have 8 or 9 feet of ceiling clearance. You can carry around a skipping rope all the time, and just break out the Gymboss to get a good interval workout in. If you haven’t skipped since grade 4, don’t worry, it comes back quick. Getting up to 45-60 secs straight with the rope is mostly about coordination and timing. After 60 seconds, it is all fitness!
If you still plan on doing some holiday shopping for yourself, then get these tools that will make your body and health a priority!
Most of these items can be found at Rogue Canada.
It’s About Getting Better!
I know we always talk about the importance of eating well for improvements in body composition, plus an overall health profile boost, the problem though, is that most clients will say it’s too hard to handle, or just not do it because of convenience. We know who you are. We can tell when you’ve reached the training threshold of ‘big results’, so if nothing is happening, it’s probably because you are putting poison in your body.
I just wanted to send out a quick reminder that eating well doesn’t have to be hard or tedious. The other night I was cooking for my fiancee and I, preparing food for the next day’s feedings. Here is what I put together in 15 minutes or less.
500g of Ground Chicken – $3.53
500g of Frozen “Summer Blend” vegetables – $2.50
500g (a can) of Red Kidney Beans – $0.99
Variety of spices ….negligible
I browned the chicken in a pot, while steaming the entire bag of vetetables at the same time (Fresh vegetables are probably better, but frozen vegetables are still a decent substitute!)…Then I poured the beans in with the chicken and began seasoning it and let it simmer together for 5 minutes. Then I added all of the vegetables and mixed it all together. Voila!
This meal fed 2 people for lunch and a bit of snack the next day on $7.00 and 15 minutes of preparation.
It was all chicken, vegetables, and kidney beans…cheap carbs or dressings.
If I had to add one more thing to it, it would be avocado or nuts for some added healthy fats.
Unfortunately we ate it all before I thought to take a picture. I thought it would be a good reminder though that eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive, or time consuming. I find these mixes or stirfrys are the best way to say ‘Let’s just put all these healthy things into a pot or pan and see what happens!’…
NOW GO MAKE A GOOD MEAL!
It’s About Getting Better!
Since this site is dedicated to providing the readers with information, I figured it was about time I gave you guys a list of recommended resources. A lot of people have been asking where to get certain information so we’ll do our best to provide you with some good ideas of where to start. If you have no idea where to look, it can get very confusing!
Since everyone is at a different level we try to make our posts as simple as possible, yet it’s still difficult to speak on a level everyone understands. These resources will contain a number of books from basic anatomy and program design all the way to fiction and non-fiction books we’ve enjoyed reading. So keep an eye on that page as we’ll add more and more everyday. If you’re looking for a specific type of resource or have a suggestion, send us an email or write in the comments! Enjoy REPies!