I’ve been getting ready for the Tough Mudder race in Whistler come June. So far since October I did 4 months of strength training and 2 months of hypertrophy. Currently I’m on a month off Crossfit while increasing work capacity and distance running as I approach the race.
I wanted to share last months muscle building program. I quite enjoyed it, and got some great results. This is good for both men and women done for 2-3 weeks with a deload week where you reduce the sets to 2. The great thing about this one is it keeps the volume pretty high while achieving enough rest for muscle growth by working on different angles of the particular muscle in one circuit. Great pre training program for most sports.
*Circuit all the A’s before you move onto the B’s.*
Day 1 - Chest/Back
A1 Incline Press 4x8
A2 Flat Dumbbell Press 4x10
A3 Chest Fly 4x12
B1 Wide Grip Pull Up
B2 Seated Wide Row 4x10
B3 Bent Over Reverse Fly’s 4x12
Day 2 - Arms/Shoulders
A1 Over Head Press 4x8
A2 Standing Curls Dumbbell 4x10
A3 Reverse Curl Barbell 4x12
B1 Behind The Neck Press 4x8
B2 Tricep Dips 4x10
B3 Tricep Pull downs Kneeling 4x12
Day 3 - Legs
A1 Deadlifts 4x8
A2 1 Leg Hyper Extensions 4x10
A3 Hamstring Curls 4x12
B1 Leg Press 4x8
B2 1 Arm KB Reverse Lunge 4x10
B3 Leg Extensions 4x12
*Rest exactly one minute between each exercise and set.*
Is Chocolate Healthy?
Believe it or not yes.
Chocolate for one is high in magnesium which is a common deficiency related to poor muscle recovery, mineral imbalances, and inability to relax and sleep properly.
Chocolate is also super high in antioxidants. More than even blueberries and acai.
On top of its many vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and amino acids it’s particularly rich in Phenylalanine which converts to Phenylethylamine. This is known as the “love molecule”, released in moments of affection creating a warm feeling within. This could also be one of the reasons why Chocolate is an aphrodisiac.
Theobroma which is the tree that grows the cocoa bean actually stands for “food of the gods”. Cocoa beans in particular was one of the first known currencies of south america.
Commercial chocolate loses most of it’s beneficial properties in processing however. One of the best ways to ensure quality is to make your own!
Here’s what you need:
1/2 Cup of Cocoa Butter
1 Cup of Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp of Vanilla Powder
1 Tbsp of “True” Cinnamon (Optional, will help control blood sugar)
2 Tbsp’s of Raw Honey
Stevia to Sweeten (Optional, in order to sweeten with out the calories)
Here’s what you do:
Grab two steel bowls placing hot water in the bottom one, Cocoa butter in the top one unexposed to water.
This will start to melt the butter. Once a liquid combine all the ingredients mixing well.
Taste to see if you need more chocolate, vanilla or sweetener.
Once ready, pour into a Pyrex container or ice cube trays.
Place in the fridge.
Wait 10-15 minutes then enjoy.
Feel free to add any essential oils like peppermint or additional ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, almond butter, or anything else you can think of in the mixing process.
*If you can’t find Cocoa butter, you can order it directly off amazon. It seems expensive but you really don’t need much to achieve the volume of one chocolate bar.*
I’m not sure where you located but I get mine at The Light Cellar in Calgary:
Or Community Foods.
To order on Amazon click on one of the following links:
Sun Warrior can be found on their website:
This is actually a lot easier than you think, and quite a bit healthier than buying it at the store.
Is it more affordable?
Not necessarily unless you buy it in bulk. However you can make Almond meal crust, pancakes, and other treats out of the left over almond meal to make it worth your money.
First thing we want to do is soak your almonds. Almonds have enzyme inhibitors that are only released once soaked in water and sprouted as they would be in nature. It makes them much easier to digest as well. Simply immerse it in water over night, draining it and rinsing them off in the morning.
Next add double the water to the volume of almonds in a high speed blender. Preferably a Vita-Mix, Blendtec, or Ninja. Leave it on high for 2-3 minutes. This is important to release the natural amaretto flavor.
Track down a nut milk bag or a really fine tea strainer to strain the milk into a large bowl. Put the left over almond meal to the side and pour the liquid back into a clean blender to add some additonal flavors.
Vanilla Powder with Cocoa
Vanilla Powder, with Cayenne, and Cinnamon
Vanilla Powder, Cacao, and a essential oil like Mint
Or Simply Leave it Plain
Portions are to taste.
Sweeteners are optional. If so use Honey or Maple Syrup. For something low calorie and zero effect on blood sugar use xylitol.
Store the milk in a large mason jar, shaking upon each use.
My Favorite is:
1 Cup of Soaked Almonds
2 Cups of Water
2 Tbsp of Vanilla
For the left over meal you can try the following:
Almond Meal Pancake
Half a Cup of Almond Meal
Tsp of Vanilla Powder
Half Tsp of Cinnamon
2 Whole Eggs
Berries, bananas, dark chocolate, and other additions are optional
Fry with Coconut Oil. Will likely take a while due to the high fiber. Break it open to be sure.
Use a maple syrup to sweetened.
Almond Meal Flour
Spread the Almond Meal out on a pan allowing it to bake on a very low temperature for 2-3 hours. This is to dehydrate it. Once its been dehydrated you can keep it in the cupboard for an extended amount of time.
Keep in mind storing a almond milk without preservatives will mold. Same applies to un-dehydrated almond meal. Try to consume within 3-4 days.
To be honest with you, high Micro Nutrient consumption. Vegetable juicing at least once if not twice a day. Lots of steamed and raw veg. Have a complete protein supplement like vega or a high quality whey on hand. Make sure to get a serving of coconut oil, olive oil, fish and seed oils everyday. The more you make you’re body feel like there’s no reason to hold on to calories to preserve important vitamins and minerals the more likely it won’t because of the endless supply.
About 4 months ago I made a pretty significant change when it came to my shopping habits. I decided to give up on the chain grocery stores and do all of my shopping at organic food markets.
I didn’t do this because I thought I was better than everyone else, and I certainly didn’t do because I had enough income to take the hit financially.
The first reason I started to shop there is the community feel. Food has essentially turned into a commodity, not appreciated or enjoyed for its life giving benefits. It’s become about “how cheap can we make it and sell it to the consumer?” Which is really no ones fault. People behind food companies are businessmen and women who need to make money. There is no way were going to feed the 7 billion people in the world on organic produce.
The strange thing however, for the small percentage of the world that take the organic food store approach they figure out ways to re-budget their money and be able to afford some good wholesome food on a regular basis. Everybody in the store including the staff creates a community where you see the same people and have appreciation for what you put in the shopping cart. As a result your happy with what you go home with, and you’re more likely to have appreciation about when you put it in your mouth. I a world of dwindling face-to-face communication and overuse of technology, it is rewarding when you walk into a place where someone can call you by name. The food just starts to taste better. You eat good food because you want to and don’t regard it as something to keep you going in order to save time and increase productivity.
Another reason I shop their is the reduction of pesticides and chemicals found in your food. Don’t get me wrong not everything there is “healthy” or contains more nutrients, but the majority of the products have less poisons and hormones that won’t tend to build up to any toxic levels over time. The chemicals used to treat your apple might not be at any significant level to kill you when you eat it. But after years of 1 apple a day, toxic levels will build in your fat cells and silently wreak havoc on you’re insides.
One argument is that organic foods generally don’t have more nutrients, which is true. Local produce will have the most nutrients, however organic foods won’t fill you with harmful by products at the level found in a generic grocery store.
The final reason I shop their is support the greater good. I’ve noticed even in the last year that prices at these markets are starting to drop. Meat, Vegetables, Chia Seeds and so on. The more people buy in the better. I feel safe knowing that when I pick fair trade products and animals that have actually seen daylight and have been fed real foods I have made some small impact on the world. It’s no secret our world is very polluted and industrialized. If we worry about getting as many commodities as possible and finding the cheapest most processed food, we certainly will contribute to its ultimate demise.
So give it a try! The first few weeks can be considered experimental. You will spend more money trying out different things but eventually you’ll make the most out of it. You’ll be pleased by the friendly staff, and exceptionally surprised how easy it is to find parking.
Have a Great Weekend!
Eating well on a budget is not that difficult it just takes commitment and willpower. Bad foods are cheap, and hard to resist when trying to save money. The trick is don’t bring them in the house at all. If you need a treat go to the store only for that item so you don’t flood your cupboards and eat all the bad stuff while the good stuff starts to rot.
Look at bulk buying Chicken Breast at first. If you look around you can get about 10lbs which will last you over a month for about 80 bucks. Next buy a few large planks of frozen salmon, and/or bags of basa, cod or sole.
Your best bang for your buck with high nutrients in the veggies section would be carrots, celery, broccoli, kale, and green peppers. For fruit go organic with green apple, bananas, and some frozen berries.
Pick up some protein powders. Vega one is a good meal replacement which works out to about $2 a serving. You’ll also need a whey or the vega performance for a purely protein source that could be combined with kale and a few frozen berries in a shake.
It helps to have some long grain rice which you will bulk cook twice a week, along with some quinoa. That goes great with hot sauce.
Then to top it off some almond butter, raw almonds, eggs, a little bit of cheese, and plain yogurt. If you can use all these items and reduce the meals eaten out you can definitely afford this list. It will be pricey at the beginning of the month but most of the items will last quite a while.
It is in a way. It won’t techincally strengthen your core muscles to any signifcant degree, however it can make you more aware of how you’re are sitting. We have a tendancy to want to revert back to our fetal or comfort postion when we sit for long periods of time. It takes will power and confidence to break that habit. Once you get used to sitting in that position it becomes automatic. Another option is too set up a workspace where you can stand for a majority of your projects. It may look funny however if you have a cubicle.
Hope this helps!
I don’t necessary advise to avoid all milk or dairy. Dairy is considered “good” building food. It’s great for people who are low weight, body building, kids, or people who have a hard time eating enough solid food. The issue lies in the fact that A LOT of people are lactose intolerant and they don’t even know it. Products like milk which is high in lactose can often cause stomach cramping, inflammation, and as a result poor absorption of nutrients. You can get tested but the easiest way to figure it out is to take note of how you feel after you drink it. If I don’t know I usually get people to take it out of client’s programs for a few weeks to see what happens.
Almond milk is great. I usually make my own with 1 cup of soaked almonds and two cups of water in a vitamix or blender adding honey or stevia for sweetener with a bit a vanilla and cocoa powder. Then run it through a really fine strainer or nut milk bad. The left meal can be used for high fibre high protein pancakes. Mix one egg in with every half cup.
There is a clear lack of vegetable consumption these days. As much as we like to lie to ourselves about it, it’s true. The vegetables I’m referring to are not potatoes, ketchup and anything made with corn, I’m referring to vegetables that are nutrient dense: greens, peppers, broccoli, beets, and so on. Also vegetables that only undergone roasting, steamed, juicing or in it’s raw form.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 47.2% of people and only 33.5% of men consumed five or more fruits and vegetables per day, and I’m willing to bet the majority was fruit. Fruit is not a bad thing, but on the spectrum of nutrition it’s important we get more vegetables in our diet.
Why are vegetables so important?
Vegetables and herbs are the most nutrient-dense food substances. They contain just about everything you need minus a few amino acids. Eating vegetables on a regular basis not only improves your appearance, energy levels, and the way you perceive the world. They also heal. By healing I mean they pull toxins out of your body, strengthen your immune system and significantly reduce the likelihood of sickness and disease. It’s not natural to be as sick as we are in Canada, but it’s no surprise with the lack of good foods in our diet.
But why do we have such a hard time eating them?
Two main reasons: taste and inconvenience.
We have taught our taste buds to respond to salty and sweet. These two flavors are usually a good indication of calories. Calories, to our genetics, usually mean long-term survival. These flavors also release dopamine in the brain, which is the feel good hormone. Start a kid young with high salt high sugared foods and the addiction will be hard to break.
The next reason is inconvenience. As our world advances, technology finds ways to make our lives as simple as possible. Along with this comes the simplicity of food. Making time to cook a good meal each day becomes difficult. As a result we seek quick and easy. Well, quick and easy usually means not fresh and bad for you, and with that comes salty and sweet. The cycle continues.
We need to decide to make a change, similar to how a drug addict decides to go to rehab. Unfortunately, there’s no rehab clinic for people addicted to bad food, unless you make it on The Biggest Loser. This battle is faced in the real world, with real distraction. Vegetable intake is incredibly important. Make time, and make it a habit.
Here is your line of defence:
Juicing is a great way to receive a huge surge of nutrients quickly. Juicing removes most of the fiber, which you will have to replace later; however, it’s like a secret code to get all your vitamins to recharge and heal the system. Your best juicers are the lower watt systems that claim to reduce oxidation (oxygen breaking down the nutrients) as you’ll get more out of the vegetable. If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money, I suggest the Breville 700 Watt Compact Juicer. The most important thing to remember with juicing is that it needs to be a habit. I usually half fill a colander with vegetables every morning. Get used to using and cleaning the machine on a regular basis, and remember once juiced you have maximum one hour to drink it. This is why any store bought juice is essentially just sugar.
Steaming is a great way to get vegetables because it doesn’t break down the nutrients as much and it makes it a little bit easier to digest. You can get away with pre-steaming enough vegetables for two days, and warming then adding a little bit of olive oil, or organic butter once your ready to eat it. Preparation takes two minutes, another 10 – 15 minutes to steam and seconds to enjoy.
The issue with roasting is high heat. Keep it low and allow vegetables to simmer. Use olive oil as you need, but only at the end of the cooking as it degrades. Coconut oil can be used as a substitution, since the high heats do not as adversely affect it. As with steaming you can roast enough for two days.
Although some health fanatics swear this is the only way you should eat vegetables, in their uncooked form there are some issues that affect digestion. Try different vegetables out to see how you feel. If you’re overly gassy or bloated, try steaming.
Thanks to the increasing amount of vegans and vegetarians there are an increasing number of vegetable-based powders you can mix with water. Most of these products are relatively clean, because the companies who make them are genuinely interested in health and creating good products. Look for a “Greens” based supplement or “Sea Vegetables”. You can also find vegetable-based products with added protein such as VEGA.
The biggest tip here is to make your own. My favorite is tomatoes, parsley, basil, and pinch of sea salt thrown into a Vitamix or ordinary blender. Do some Google searches and get creative.
By consuming 5-6 servings of vegetables a day for two weeks you will notice a huge difference. Make a commitment and stick to it. By the time you’ve reached two weeks, I can almost promise you your energy levels will be so high you’ll want to continue this eating style on a regular basis.