Shake It Up…..My Morning Boost

The single best approach in controlling your nutrition is to make your own meal replacement shake at home. It’s simple to do, saves you time and most importantly shuttles healthy nutrients into your body. For people wanting to lose body fat I always recommend including at least one shake per day. Personally I prefer to have my shake first thing in the morning as it energizes me, is better for my digestions and gives me hydration.

My Requirements

My requirements for protein powders are the following:

  • No gas.
  • No bloating.
  • No blood sugar drops.
  • No stomach pain.
  • Energizes and satisfies my hunger.
  • Keep me full for hours.
  • Organic ingredients.
  • No Soy, Wheat or weird chemicals I cannot pronounce.
  • Comes from food.

Currently there are tons of options when buying protein powders. I don’t tolerate dairy or whey so I experiment primarily with vegan protein options.  I think it’s a great idea to rotate your protein powders frequently as to give your gut plenty of variety and not irritate it. Lately this is what I have been using with favorable digestion.

 

The Collagen Peptides have been a nice boost to my health as I feel my skin and hair have benefited. Plus it doesn’t taste like anything and is easy to add to most foods.

Ingredients

Here is what my shakes have looked like for the last two weeks:

  • 1 scoop VEGA Protein Powder (Cold brew coffee flavor) – 20 grams Protein / 5 Grams Fat (MCT oil) / 5 grams carbs – 200 calories.
  • 2 scoops Collagen Peptides – 18 grams Protein – 70 calroies
  • 2 TBS Organic Peanut Butter ( I get mine from Costco) – 15 grams fat / 8 grams protein / 7 grams carbs – 200 calories
  • 2 cups Organic Frozen Berries –  24 grams carbs – 100 calories
  • 5 grams of Glutamine Powder (pharmaceutical grade)
  • 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate (micronized)
  • Handful of Organic Spinach leaves – 10 calories

Total Protein – 46 grams

Total Carbs – 32 grams

Total Fat – 20 grams

Total Calories – 580

If you ask me this is great way to start your day as the macronutrient ratio is weighted on the protein side which has been shown to excite the neurotransmitter DOPAMINE in the brain which means better mental energy and focus.  This meal is balanced with a nice dose of mono-unsaturated fat and fibrous carbohydrates as well.

Berries

Make Your Own Shakes

To recap, I believe making healthy meals should be simple and effective. In my opinion, making a shake is perhaps the SINGLE best way to control your macro nutrient ratios and micro nutrient intake. For fat loss and overall health I highly recommend you do the same.

Give this a go and share with me your current shake recipes.

Continue Reading No Comments

Improve your Running Technique with Marching and Skipping / Part Three

top five tips for safer sprinting

This is the third blog post on improving your running technique with Marching and Skipping. This 28 day challenge has a new variation that you perform each day and is meant to be done in order. If you missed Part One and Part Two please click the links and go back and perform those variations first.

By now you should be noticing the benefits of daily marching and skipping and why it’s such a great idea to include in your daily training for improved running form. Not only does it build tremendous coordination between the upper body and lower body, it directly improves the rhythm and timing needed for powerful and safe running. It also builds elasticity in the lower leg tissues which is an adaptation all runners need. So whether you are an endurance runner or short distance sprinter, the variations I have included in this 28 day challenge will make you a more complete and robust athlete.

The 28 different variations will also help improve your physical literacy, which essentially means you will be more well rounded and capable of tolerating more movement variation that the average person. With increased physical literacy comes smoother and more efficient movement which is something all athletes need to strive for.

I hope you enjoy the final 8 variations, (days 20 through 28). Have fun with them and as always, remember that quality trumps quantity. Less is more. Perform any where form 3 to 5 sets of each daily variation.







Continue Reading No Comments

Improve your Running Technique with Marching and Skipping / Part Two

The Marching / Skipping Challenge continues.  Improving your marching and skipping will improve your running or sprinting technique which will lead to faster times and a reduced chance of injury. The best runners and sprinters in the world have honed their marching and skipping technique and so should you.

Here are days 11 through 20 of the 28 Day Marching and Skipping Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to perform a new variation each day. That means you have 28 variations that will help you improve your movement skills making you a better athlete. The cool thing is that you also build some decent elastic properties in your lower legs making all running and jumping based activities potentially more powerful.

As with any skilled movement, more is not better. I would do 3 to 5 sets of each variation always realizing the quality trumps quantity. When in doubt, do less.

Enjoy these variations.

Continue Reading No Comments

Improve your Running Technique with Marching and Skipping / Part One

Why I sprint

Marching and Skipping have long been used to increase athleticism and movement competency. One of the best things every person can do is to add marching and skipping to their daily exercise practice. The benefits of doing these movements is plentiful as I have been having clients do these variations for many years. The main benefits of marching and skipping are:

  • Improved coordination between upper body and lower body.
  • Marching and Skipping are similar to crawling and thus help integrate both brain hemispheres.
  • Improves running and sprinting technique.
  • Better awareness of how the opposite hip and shoulder work together to produce rotational power and torque.
  • Marching teaches rhythm and tempo which improves motor control.
  • Teaches the importance of using the arms for increased power.
  • Teaches how the arms control the legs and not the other way around.
  • Marching allows you to focus on driving force downwards into ground.
  • Marching and Skipping can improve walking and running technique.
  • Skipping teaches you how to get off the ground quickly and increase stiffness in the lower leg tissues.
  • Skipping is great prep work for sprinting and improves intra and inter-muscular coordination.
  • Skipping, because of the lower amplitude, allows almost all people a starting point to begin power work.
  • Skipping allows you to experience quick ground contacts and helps you discover why you don’t want a big surface area to hit the ground.
  • Skipping is fun and will make you smile. It’s fun.

Here is a 28 day challenge I put together to help you become a better, faster and more skilled runner.  These videos are the first 10 days of the challenge. I recommend doing  3 to 5  sets of each daily variation. As with any form of skilled movement, more is not better. Only do what you can do in excellent technique and if something hurts or doesn’t feel right, skip that variation.

Enjoy these variations.

Continue Reading No Comments

Bullet Proof Your Spine with the Bird Dog Row

This Bird Dog Row is an excellent exercise for increased spinal stability and enhanced hip and shoulder function. For those of you that suffer from lower back pain this may be a movement you will want to spend some time getting good at.

Many of you may already be familiar with the traditional Bird Dog exercise (extend opposing arm and leg in the air, lowering slowly to the ground and then alternating limbs). The opposing arm/ leg movement required for the traditional Bird Dog, emulates the natural GAIT pattern and consequently almost everyone can perform the Bird Dog without a problem. If performed with intention you can achieve great activation of the primary CORE abdominal muscles including:

  • Transversus Abdominus
  • Multifidi
  • Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Diaphragm
  • Interal Obliques
  • External Obliques
  • Spinal Erectors

 Plus it works the primary movers of the upper and lower body:

  • Psoas Major
  • Illiacus
  • Hamstrings
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Adductors
  • Quadriceps.

Connect the X: Lats and Glutes

The lats and glutes are designed to work as a team or what some rehab experts call a “Force Couple.” This Bird Dog variation works the entire body with a huge emphasis on the Gluteus Maximum and Latissimus Dorsi musculature working together as intended. Adding the rowing component encouraged activates of the poster oblique sling (latissimus dorsi and opposite gluteus maximus).

Think  of the lat and opposite glute pair as a giant “X”. The lats and glutes work together in creating stability in the lumbar spine. If you follow the orientation of the fibers you can see that the lat and glute muscle fibers practically merge into each other via the white portion which is called the thoraco lumbar fascia. 

I believe that people will never tackle their back pain issues if this relationship between the lats and glutes is not enhanced. Geeking out on functional anatomy is not required to get the benefit of this movement (leave the geeking out to me), but it does help to educate yourself on WHY you should do this movement. Simply put, if you take your time and progress slowly, I have found that all movements in your life will be enhanced if you can focus on this posterior sling relationship.

What you will need:

  • A bench.
  • A kettlebell or dumbbell.

Technical Cues

  • Minimize rotation in the body when lowering the weight.
  • Extend your leg back, not up (imagine toes pointing down, leg parallel to the ground).
  • Maintain a neutral spine. (Do not hyper-flex or hyper-extend any portion of the spine).
  • Eyes are looking down towards floor.
  • Row the Kettlebell or Dumbbell towards the hip.
  • Firmly grab the side of the bench wit an extend arm, hand directly underneath shoulder.
  • Focus on maintaining a smooth tempo.
  • Exhale as your row the weigh towards you and inhale as you lower the weight back down.

 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions is a great place to start.

In conclusion, I believe all people will benefit from the Bird Dog Row because of the strong activation of the lats and glutes and getting them to work as team. Give this movement a go and let me know what you think. 

Continue Reading No Comments