Monthly Archives: January 2015

Eating better for less

I eat a lot of food. I try to eat pretty well in terms of food selection and quality but it can be pretty expensive to do so. I thought I’d share a few simple strategies I use to eat well without spending a fortune!

1. Shop in advance after planning your meals

Each week, we try to sit down on a sat or sun and spend 10 mins planning the week aheads evening meal. From that, we look at the ingredients that we already have, and list everything else that is needed. Generally, herbs, spices, sauces and other things last a while and you don’t need to buy all that regularly. Then, with the list in hand, the supermarket gets hit! Sticking to the list, and looking out special offers will save you time and money.

2. Bulk buy protein

Most supermarkets have multibuys on meat and fish. These are typically going to be prominent in your diet, so take advantage of the offers! Once you buy, separate the meat and fish in to portions and freeze, taking them out the night before you plan to use them to defrost in plenty of time. Using the Precision Nutrition portion guides, it’s a simple enough task to cut the meat and fish into the correct size portions.

3. Buy veggies and prep and freeze

If you are anything like me, you probably have to occasionally throw out the odd veggie or 2! Bought with the best of intentions, and left at the back of the salad drawer…

Portioning up the veggies you need for smoothies, stirfrys and meals or snacks, then freezing them, helps them last longer, and stops you from having to pop into the supermarket every other day, and if you are like me, coming out with the odd packet of oreos…

4. Bulk with beans, more protein, better carbs, more fibre

Beans, beans, are good for you heart, the more you eat, the more you…get more protein and fibre into your diet!  Fibre plays an important role in digestion and most people eating a typical western diet don’t get nearly enough each day.

Guys, we need to get around 40-50g per day, ladies, you need around 30-35g per day. Half a can of mixed beans in a chilli or salad will give you around 8-10g and putting you well on your way to the total. It’ll also give you about the same amount of protein and some good quality carbs.

5. Protein supplements

Last on the list because you should really be getting your nutrition from whole foods, but sometimes, a quick protein shake can help top up your protein levels. A good protein supplement doesn’t have to cost the Earth, and it doesn’t need to be filled out with all kinds of extras. Remember, it’s called a supplement because it’s there to supplement your diet, not act as a replacement for actual food!

Hope these tips help!

Stay healthy

Dave

 

 

Coaching cues for improving your awesome!

When it comes to getting technique right, remembering some good cues or ……… to get you into the right position and perform the movements well are hugely useful. Here are 5 of the ones I use most:

 

  • Shoulders down. Simple, but it’s amazing how many times I say it through the day. Most types of rowing movement result in a slight, or not so slight, shrugging movement as the pulling movement is performed. Since most people in the environment I work in tend to be very upper trap dominant, the default setting is shoulders to the ears as the body tries to get into as strong a position as it can and cheat the way to a completed rep.

Usually a simple reminder will get the shoulder back into a better position, occasionally a gentle tap on the shoulders is                 needed…

A simple trick on seated rowing options is to lean your torso forward about 10 degrees from vertical and the shrug can now          no longer help out.

  • Hips through. Top of the squat, regardless of the variation, the top of the deadlift, swing or romanian deadlift, the swap over between legs on a lunge variation all require you to find the “top” position before going into the next rep. Particularly with newer clients, they stop short of the top.  It’s almost as if it’s a time saving its a time saving device since they’re gonna be heading down into the next rep anyways, why go all the way up just to come down again?

Your hips are designed to extend fully, so fully extend them, imagine that you are standing up tall, no weight in your              hands, now squeeze your glutes, and abs, and feel your hips tilt slightly backwards as they roll under your ribs. That is your           “top” position. Find it at the top of each rep, squeeze your glutes and don’t stop short.

  •  Eyes up, chest up. This is particularly useful during farmer carry variations. People tend to look down at the floor a few feet ahead of them, inevitably the chest follows the eyes lead dropping in and resulting in the shoulders rounding and good posture is lost. Keep your eyes up,  and you’ll maintain good posture for longer.

Hope these help you find better position in some of your key exercises and get the best out of them!

Stay strong

Dave

Random thoughts…

I thought this week I’d post some thoughts that have been running around my brain for the last little while…

  • While weight training gives you a whole host of benefits, including but not limited to, feeling stronger and more confident, improved physical and mental health and a 612% increase in awesome, it is diet that really drives fat loss and body composition changes.
  • The best diet is whatever allows you to consistently follow it. This is why fad diets work and then fail you. Eat 4 lettuce leaves, and a pint of lukewarm lemon water 3 times a day, then eat a normal meal every other day, and just watch the weight fall off you… maintainable for maybe a week if you really really try, but in the long term, impossible. Old habits rush back and you gain whatever you lost with interest.
  • Good nutrition should improve energy levels, mood, performance and body composition. Base your meals around a lean protein source (chicken, fish, turkey etc) a couple of vegetables, and a starchy carb such as sweet potato, rice or wholemeal pasta. Follow this guide for serving sizes and adjust according to results.
  • Being injured sucks, but it gives you an opportunity to rethink training and work on weaknesses while you recover. Theres (almost) always a work around to still give you a training effect.
  • Progress in many things isn’t a direct route. You’ll make rapid steps forward, stall for an eternity, then suddenly rush forward again. It’s working through the stalling points that will give you the “sudden” leaps forward.
  • From doing client reviews i’ve noticed that when a client can do a 1.5x bodyweight deadlift and a 1.25x bw squat and 3+ pullups, body comp is no longer an issue. Get stronger, it fixes a lot of issues
  • Setting grand outcome goals is great, but setting smaller step by step process goals is what gets you there. Breaking down the big goals into bitesized chunks that require you to take action and gradually add a new chunk every week or 2 will result in 26 -52 new positive steps in the course of a year. You’ll be amazed at what you can get done.
  • From a conditioning standpoint, a short, simple circuit beats long steady state cardio every time. Try this and tell me about your heart rate afterwards:Pushup 10, squat x1, pushup x9, squat x2, pushup x8, squat x3…….pushup x1, squat x10.

Have a great week.

Stay strong

Dave

The journey, not the destination.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has had a great festive period and you are all ready to crush 2015!

I don’t believe in New Years resolutions, I think if you are going to make a change, set a goal or start a challenge then you should just go for it regardless of the time of year. That said, this is a pretty good opportunity to set and start taking the steps towards your goals.

1. Acknowledge where you are right now. Whatever your goal, you need to be aware of where you are starting from. No point in not being honest about where you are, it is what it is and you’re about to change it. This is point A.

2. Decide on where you want to be. This is point Z. What you are looking to work towards. If you are looking to have a fitness model body, achieve certain performance goals or whatever your goals may be (fitness related or not). This will be your final destination.

3. Remove limitations. This is difficult. It requires more than a little thought about what it is that might be stopping you from getting where you want to be. Then, list and start to remove those limiting factors and work toward building better habits, starting with the easiest and building.

For me, meal prep is a big one. When I’m busy and because I have a big calorie allowance and active job, I can get away with being a little less focussed. Unfortunately that usually means I pick up a pizza more than once a week and thats lunch. Now I know that that isn’t gonna fuel me well, so I’ve committed to doing a weekly shop on a Sunday and doing meal prep twice a week. A small step that will ensure that I have high nutrient options available all week.

4. Pick a first step. Point B, C, D etc. Most goals involve more than 1 step, rarely, if ever, are goals achievable in one step. Break down your bigger goal into a series of good little habits and mini goals. Easily achievable, bite sized pieces that allow you to build success and snowball it into bigger and bigger successes. My step B is getting the shopping done, C would be making sure I actually use it.

5. Gain momentum. Success breeds success. Each small success builds confidence and positive momentum towards the next success. Every time you win, you make the next little challenge feel more and more achievable. Focus on repeated small successes and progress is inevitable.

Now, go grab some paper and a pen, pick a body composition goal, performance goal and /or any other goal you want to achieve, break it down, list your limiting factors and make a plan to go get them.

Stay strong

Dave

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