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4 posts from February 2010

02/24/2010

High Protein Snack Attack

Protein supplements are a blessing for those of us on a high protein, low calorie diet because they deliver all the good things without the empty calories. The problem is that these highly processed food substitutes are also expensive and can play havoc with our digestive systems.

 

There are however some great whole foods that also fit the high protein, low calorie, formula and that can be enjoyed as they are or whipped up into a fabulous everyday treat!

 

Try these on for size:

 

Tofu Strawberry Cream

 

Strawberry tofu

 Ingredients:


300g Silken Tofu
200g Fresh Strawberries (chopped)
1 tspn Splenda

Method:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Serve chilled.

 

Nutritional Breakdown:
per serve (serves 1)

Calories                       175

Protein                        17g

Carbohydrates           12g

Fats                 8g

 

Coffee Cottage Cheese Ice Cream


Cottage cheese
 

Ingredients:


500g Low Fat Cottage Cheese
3 tspns Instant Coffee Powder
1/3 cup Splenda
1 tspn Vanilla Essence


Method:
1. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. Place everything into a blender or food processor and blend until the cottage cheese is smooth.
3. Churn mixture in an ice cream maker or return to the cottage cheese tub and freeze.

 

Nutritional Breakdown:
per serve (serves 3)

Calories                       166

Protein                        32g

Carbohydrates           4g

Fats                                 2g

 

Baked Egg Custard

 

Baked egg custard

 

Ingredients:


8 Egg Whites
2 Whole Eggs
1 tspn Vanilla Essence

1/3 cup Splenda

1 litre Skim milk (heated up)

¼ tspn Ground Nutmeg


Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees centigrade, and grease a shallow 1.5 litre oven proof dish.

2. Whisk eggs, vanilla essence and Splenda in a large bowl, then gradually whisk in the hot milk.
3. Pour mixture into the greased dish and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

4. Place dish in a lager oven proof dish and add enough boiling water to the outside dish to come halfway up the sides of the smaller dish.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, then remove smaller dish from larger one and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Tip: This baked custard will be lighter in colour than the one grandma used to make, as it contains fewer egg yolks. If the pale colour bothers you, add a couple of drops of Egg Yolk Yellow food colouring and you won’t know the difference J

 

Nutritional Breakdown:
per serve (serves 4)

Calories                       166

Protein                        19g

Carbohydrates           12g

Fats                             3g

02/17/2010

Weight vs Form

Have you ever walked into a gym and been intimidated by some big muscley guy throwing an inconceivable weight around. Sure he might look good but just think how much better he would look, if he hadn’t become so consumed with lifting maximum weight that he’s lost sight of the original goal of stimulating muscle growth and building an aesthetic physique.

As tempting as it is to disregard everything we know in pursuit of his physique, the truth is that these guys, and girls, are genetically blessed. Sure they train hard, eat well and make lots of sacrifices but if this was all that is required then we would all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although it's not impossible to build one of these physiques, it is impossible for 99% of us to attain a championship level, the rest of us have to make do with what nature has given us. While the genetically blessed may be able to get away with a moment of insanity, and drop their form for weight, the rest of us will achieve our best results by sticking to the science. After all, do you want to look like Mr Olympia or an Eastern Block Power Lifter!

Forgoing the heavy weights and going back to basics might sound simple but it is probably one of the most difficult things to do, especially when you are used to being the strongest guy in the gym. Not to worry though, your strength gains will catch up with you eventually, and you will be the best that you can be.

Try the following steps for success, and an easier transition:

Step One: Leave Your Ego at the Gym Door

Whenever you step into the gym forget about competing with other lifters. You are there to take care of you, so forget about your ego and just concentrate on yourself and your needs.


Step Three: Use a Lighter Weight

The major factor contributing to excessive momentum and bad form, is using excessive weight. Yes, exercises executed with heavy weight and good form will improve your musculature, but excessive weight done incorrectly can have adverse consequences, everything from joint pain to a muscle tear.

When faced with the decision of using lighter weight with stricter form, or heavier weight with poor form, use the lighter weight with stricter form. At first you may feel that you have lost strength because you are using a lighter weight but the truth is that, because you are performing the exercise correctly, it will actually be far more taxing on the target muscle.

Step Two: Slow Down

The next biggest pitfall contributing to bad form is executing the exercises too fast. If you let the bar drop back down to your chest when bench pressing for example, you are only doing half the work. The idea is to keep the muscle under tension for as long as possible by slowing the descent of the bar back down toward your chest, rather than letting the ligaments and tendons of the sternum absorb the weight. Ouch!

The speed of the movement should be such that you can 'feel' both positive and negative portions of the movement. “Feeling” the weight means that you have absolute control of it at all times. The muscle should be "squeezing" the weight up and a controlling its descent, not just moving it from A to B with whatever you’ve got. Using momentum to move excessive weight has no benefit other than feeding the ego.


Step Four: Train to Failure

The number of repetitions you perform will depend on your goals and on whose opinion you respect more but, regardless of the number of repetitions a lifter is supposed to perform, the primary focus should be to complete the desired number of repetitions without pausing. This means overcoming the “pain” barrier and using a spotter or Personal Trainer to ensure that you get out the last couple of reps.

It is the last few repetitions that are the most important because this is when muscle recruitment is at its highest and the greater the muscle recruitment, the greater the growth. And the best bit is that muscle failure will occur regardless of how many repetitions you do, and how much weight you lift!


Step Six: Train According To Your Capacity, Not Just Your Goals

One of the biggest mistakes novice lifters make is using workouts that are too advanced. "One must learn to walk before one can run." In bodybuilding, muscle development is the same. While your goals may be to build a championship physique, we must all start with the fundamentals and train at a level our bodies can cope with.

Every training session is literally a physical trauma for our bodies and should be taken very seriously. Training at an inappropriate level will lead to overtraining and injury. In other words, do not copy the workout of the biggest guy in the gym, start with a basic program and modify it as you progress.

If you are unsure of what level you should be training at then consult a Personal Trainer.

Step Seven: Food for Thought

Having said all of this, it is sometimes beneficial to break the rules to progress. The trick is to know the rules before you break them, and to do so with the utmost care. As someone once said,  "If it's stupid yet works, then it isn't stupid."

 

02/09/2010

12 Week Challenge

I have always been an active person and love team sports.  For the last 6 or 7 years I have coached and played soccer.  Unfortunately last year I was unable to play due to my coaching commitments and found myself gaining some extra kilos.  I was very unhappy with myself, fed up with yoyo dieting and I hated having my photo taken or seeing myself in the mirror.  I knew what I needed to do, but found it extremely hard to get motivated and of course had the usual excuses “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time”.   How many of us have used these, to get out of doing something?

I received a flyer advertising the ONE55 12 WEEK CHALLENGE and kept reading it over and over again, thinking to myself that this was just what I needed to get back on track, but “do I have the time?” I knew it would be a big commitment and one that if I started, I would want to see through to the end.  Its only 12 weeks I kept telling myself, you can do that!  Once I had made up my mind, I went straight to the gym, before I could talk myself out of it.  I met with the lovely Natalie, signed the paperwork and made an appointment for the next day to meet with a personal trainer.

I was introduced to Graham, who very thoughtfully assigned me to Commando Fredy.   I thought I wasn’t going to make it through even my first training session, let alone the whole 12 weeks, I was so awkward and unfit.  The intensity of the workout, made me feel sick and my entire body was screaming at me to STOP!  I am so glad that I managed to get over all of that and let my determination take over, because I then found myself actually looking forward to my weekly PT sessions.  My body soon got over the initial shock and in a short amount of time my fitness level improved and with that so did my confidence.  I pushed myself harder and harder every week and once the kilos started to come off too, that made me even more determined.

I wrote myself a weekly schedule of all the classes that I needed to do and could attend and tried to fit in at least 2 or 3 a day and had Sundays off for good behaviour.  I enjoyed my routine and couldn’t believe how quick the 12 weeks went and was almost sad when it finally came to an end.  I had my final weigh in and measurements recorded and was happy in the knowledge I had done the very best that I could do and was proud of my achievements. Winning the challenge was certainly not at the top of my agenda, but to become fitter and healthier were and with the support of my beautiful family all my goals were reached.

My journey did have its ups and downs, but now that I have reached a much fitter, healthier, slimmer place and have a new lease on life, it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears and I never want to go back!  I am doing things now that I would not have imagined myself doing a few months ago and would encourage anyone that may be in the same boat I was, to take the plunge and to stop making excuses and enjoy life again.

I am very grateful to Michelle, Commando Fredy, all the staff and the lovely people I have met along the way for their motivation, encouragement, support and for making ONE55 a fantastic place to workout.  Make sure you sign up for the next 12 Week Challenge and change your life for the better too. 

My challenge maybe over, but my journey continues and I am now enjoying a 12 month membership and regularly attend the fun classes and Bootcamps as well as my weekly PT sessions.  I am also the very proud owner of some wonderful prizes and the title of the FIRST 12 WEEK CHALLENGE WINNER at ONE55! 

Thank you ONE55!

Tracey Clark

02/03/2010

Suspension Training

Suspension training is gaining international recognition as the revolutionary form of exercise that is being adopted by professional athletes and top trainers around the world.

It offers a unique form of training for people of all abilities, allowing them to leverage their own bodyweight and gravity to develop strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously.

All you need is a suspension trainer, and some expert advice, to get you started.

 What is It

A Suspension Trainer is a series of ropes and webbing that offers hundreds of strength, stability and flexibility exercises with variable resistance, adjusting from 0%-100% of your bodyweight instantly.

The system is suitable for beginners and experienced exercisers alike, the level of difficulty being varied by the amount of bodyweight harnessed through the angle at which the exercise is performed.

Uses

Sport - Suspension training allows you to target the muscles that matter most to the sport of your choice. Utilise hundreds of exercises to develop the strength, coordination and flexibility in those muscle groups and get ahead in your game.

General Fitness - No matter what level of fitness you have, suspension training has something to offer you. With hundreds of exercises ranging from beginner to expert levels there is always the ability to pull back or progress forward.

Core Stability - During all suspension training your body is forced to engage its core stability muscles. This provides great strength and toning benefits for the midsection and benefits the posture and lowerback.

Weight Loss – Suspension Training turns every exercise into a whole body exercise. The result of this is an increased muscular and caloric demand. This makes it a very useful tool as part of a fat loss program.

Benefits & Critisisms

Supporters of Suspension Training claim that it develops core body strength as well as joint and muscular stability. Because it turns every movement into a whole body one, there should be a reduced chance of injury. Some sports scientists have expressed concern however that weaker individuals may not have the core stability or joint integrity to use the system safely and effectively.

As with all forms of new exercise it is advisable to seek medical clearance before contemplating suspension training. I would also recommend asking a Personal Trainer for help in developing a training program that’s suitable just for you. Karen Lirio