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BUILD BEACH READY CALVES

Get ready to limp out of bed tomorrow.  It’s time to feed the calves with a steady diet of raises, raises, and more raises; they’ll grow in no time.

Don’t fall into over thinking a workout plan.  Keep things simple, focus on strict form, and change it up when necessary.  Calves are notoriously tough for many to really sculpt and develop.  They’re stubborn, and that’s why they’ve become one of my favorites.

If your current calf workout consists of a couple rushed sets of 10 reps on the way to the locker room, listen up.  A more strategic approach will put tears in your eyes and have you staggering to work—in a good way!

Better Form = Better Calves

Most calf development seekers get hung up on hitting the gastrocs and soleus muscles in their calves with equal volume and force— it’s not a horrible approach, it’s just not the most effective.  It’s imperative to really stretch the calf muscle on the negative movement, and really squeeze the top of the contraction.  By controlling that range of motion all the way through, you’ll see amazing results and never look back (well only in a mirror).

The recommended approach to calf work is a pretty straightforward mixture of form and failure:

  1. Use a full range of motion for each rep, and make the reps slow and controlled.  Don’t bounce on, say, the calf raise machine.  You know who you are!
  2. Go as heavy as possible while staying in the repetition guideline, while observing Rule No. 1. (more…)

What are you on?

Should I take BCAA’s?

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) is commonly known as the building blocks of protein. When food protein is consumed it gets digested into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are absorbed into the bloodstream.  BCAA’s are used by the body to repair and build lean muscle tissue.

Do I have your attention yet?  We have essential and non-essential amino acids, but why does that matter to me?  The body cannot make essential amino acids, whereas the body can make non-essential amino acids.  The BCAA’s are especially important to the people that workout because they are metabolized in the muscle rather than the liver. This means that branch chain amino acids can be used, as both essential and non-essential BCAA’s to build new proteins or be burned as fuel to create energy.

Getting an adequate amount of Amino Acids can be difficult for those who exercise. Exercise burns Amino Acids rapidly. Failure to replenish the body with proper Amino Acids can cause people who work out intensely to make little or no progress.  To maximize your results, combine amino acids, either by dietary intake or dietary supplementation, with adequate protein intake, quality caloric intake, rest, and recovery to aid in the destination of your goal!


Superfood Cocao Nibs

Cocao Nibs are a superfood.  They are nutrient dense, which means they offer multiple nutrients while providing minimal calories.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  Cocao Nibs have more antioxidant flavoniods than any other food, including blueberries, red wine and black/green tea.  Fact: they have  up to 4x the quantity of antioxidants that are found in green tea!!

The health benefits of these antioxidants promote cardiovascular health benefits.  They help reduce blood clotting, improve cirulation, help regulate blood pressue, lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Cocao nibs also protect you from environmental and metabolic toxins. Meaning, they help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals and may reduce risk of certain cancers.

Here’s a list of just some of what these amazing little Cocao Nibs are good for:

-help reduce PMS symptoms

-stimulates the secretion of endorphins, “runner’s high”

-helps increase focus/alertness (contains caffeine)

-acts as an anti-depressant; mild mood elevator

-rich in essential minerals: (more…)


Grilled Flank Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Dried Tomatoes, Capers & Parsley Sauce

Prep time: 50 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 ¼ Flank Steak (fat trimmed)

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 small sweet potatoes (unpeeled, scrubbed, and quartered lengthwise)

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

4 sun dried tomato halves

¾ cup lightly packed Italian parsley with tender stems

¼ cup lightly packed mint leaves

1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water

1 table spoon capers

 

1. Place meat on platter and sprinkle it with 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and black pepper.  Turn of evenly coat and let stand @ room temperature for 20-30 mins.

2. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, toss & coat. Set aside.

3. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and add hot water to cover, let stand for 10 mins. (more…)


Do you eat in response to your external or internal cues?

Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current healthful weight?  You’ll find it intriguing to keep a log of reasons behind your decisions of: what, when, where, and why you eat. Are you eating in response to internal sensations telling you that your body needs food or in response to your emotions, situation, or a prescribed diet?  Keeping a cues log for one full week would give you the most accurate picture of your eating habits.  Even logging two days of meals and snacks should increase your cue awareness.

Every day, every time you eat a meal, snack, or beverage other than water make a quick note.

When you eat: Many people eat at certain times whether they are hungry or not.

What you eat and how much: 2 oz.?  1 cup?

Where you eat: At home, dining room table, watching television, or driving in the car?

With whom you eat: Are you alone or with others?  If with others are they eating as well?  Have they offered you food? (more…)


Succulent Coconut Shrimp

- 1 lb (24) large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (weight after peeled)

- ½ cup shredded coconut

- ½ cup panko crumbs

- 2 tbsp flour

- 1 large egg

- Pinch of salt

- Non-stick spray

- Brown Rice as a side (optional)

 

For the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce:

- ½ cup apricot preserves (sugar free optional)

- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

- ¾ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine coconut flakes, panko crumbs and salt in a bowl.  Place the flour on a small dish and whisk the egg in another bowl.

Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off the excess, then into the egg, and then in the coconut crumb mixture.  (more…)


The scale is going the right direction! Fat loss VS lean muscle loss is at it again…

There is more than one way to burn muscle over fat but I want to touch on cardio today.  

For the sake of time I will touch on three ways that cardio typically cancels out lean muscle.  

1: Too much cardio. 

    Too much cardio can have a negative effect on your metabolism the same way that eating too few calories can.  Remember that by nature the human body will adapt.

 

2: Not enough rest in-between cardio Training. 

    Off days help prevent over-training.  Your body repairs and strengthens itself between your workouts.  Without time to repair and rebuild, lean muscle tissue will continue to break down! (more…)


LESS is MORE

Spending too much time in daily fitness programs will quickly burn most people out and/or prevent them from even starting.  It’s too often that when someone discovers their motivation to exercise for the first time (or maybe getting back at it for the fifth or tenth time), they get ballistic and work out for hours upon hours hitting the same body parts 3-4 times per week, training 7 days a week.  It’s not necessary for your workout sessions to exceed over an hour, let alone continuously breaking down unrecovered muscle from previous workouts.  If your sessions are lasting over an hour, you are either doing way too many exercises and need to cut back to include more compound lifts and less isolated movements or you are just taking extended rest intervals between sets.  Less is definitely more when it comes to building lean muscle, which in turn will maximize caloric expenditure (increased resting metabolic rate).
Working out past an hour could also have you seeing a rapid decline in blood sugar levels along with potential overtraining.  In addition, your cortisol release will also start to go up, which is a catabolic hormone that promotes muscle breakdown and fat storage.  If you can’t seem to get your workouts under an hour, then it’s likely time to have a look at a specific exercise selection or your workout split of choice.  If you are trying to do a full-body plan three times per week for example, it may be better to look at doing a four-day, push-pull type of split instead.  This will prevent falling into the risks of overtraining.

What is overtraining you ask? (more…)


Tandoori Chicken

 Prep time:15 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup plain yogurt

¼ cup chopped scallion (white part only)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined & chopped (wear gloves when handling)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon curry powder

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion (green part only)

Instructions:

  1. Puree the yogurt, white scallions, ginger, jalapeno, paprika, curry, turmeric and garlic in a blender or food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins. (more…)

Campanelle with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

- 1 large bunch baby broccoli (rapini), washed and 2” trimmed off stems

- 1 lb lean chicken sausage, casing removed

- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

- 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

- 10 oz. Campanelle Pasta

- 1 cup low sodium fat free chicken broth

- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Instructions:

 

Cut baby broccoli in quarters.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil; when it comes to a rolling boil, add the broccoli.  Blanch for about 1 ½ – 2 minutes, drain and set aside in a colander. Re-fill the pot with water for the pasta and bring back to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to the package directions.

In a large deep sauté pan, brown the sausage on medium heat, breaking it up into smaller pieces as it cooks.  When completely cooked through, set aside on a dish. (more…)


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