Life is a dream, and I dream lucid. 

Lifestyle, Mindset By August 20, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

There is no such thing as too much ambition. 

Small minds will tell you that there is. But there isn’t.

Greatness was never achieved by thinking small or doubting your abilities. Maybe I am overly confident in myself, but I doubt it. 

 This morning, I was having a conversation with my colleague about how I don’t have a fear of losing my job – not because I think it would be impossible for me to lose my job – but even if I did, I have the utmost belief that no matter what life throws at me I can’t be broken and I will always be okay.

Yes – I can fail, repeatedly. I can be hurt. These things happen while living a full life but these are parts of the journey, not the end of it. And it’s because of these beliefs and understandings that I don’t think there’s such a thing as being too ambitious. I recognize that life is a dream, and I dream lucid. 

My first year of college in my Intro to Psych course my professor wrote a message for our class to read: “Positive mental attitude + Goals = Success.”  This message has never served me wrong.

If you believe in yourself, your mission, and you have the tenacity of a honey badger – you can’t be stopped. 

When people tell you that your goals and dreams are too lofty, remember: no one ever broke new ground or did anything epic by thinking “Let’s be realistic,” or by self-imposing limitations. 

May your dreams and aspirations be larger than life, and may you be tenacious in achieving them. 

 

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A Bull in the China Shop.

Health, Mindset By July 24, 2016 No Comments

It was 7am in Toronto, an early Tuesday morning  with one of my clients. We had a great strength portion to our training session and we were wrapping up with prowler pushes – a crowd favourite.

At the end of the pushes, my client, a full grown profressional woman, asked me “Hey! Can I sit on the sled while you push it back?” like an excited child asking for someone to push them on a swing.

I am 100% pro-fun and I like a challenge, so I gather all my strength and pushed her as quickly as I could down the lane. It felt like 30 seconds of the schoolyard recesses of my childhood.

Laughing, my client jokingly said “Maja, you are awesome! You’re so strong – I feel like one of the girls that got to sit on Andre the Giant’s arms.” I was flattered and had a good chuckle.

andreeeeee

Andre the Giant was rad.

Unfortunately, strong women aren’t always as well-received or understood like in the story I just told you.


A few months later, I was visiting and training at the previous gym where I worked, a nice quiet boutique studio that has everything you need to get strong and a lot of open space. I set up shop in one of the power racks to get to work on the first day of my new 5×5 program.

My first series was 5×5 superset of the back squat and prone leg curl, with a 5-0-1-0 tempo working at 82% of my 1RM. I’m not here to brag, but I consider my prone leg curl to be pretty strong – my working weight was 130lbs – which is equivalent to be able to move another human being solely using my hamstrings.

As I was working between my exercises two other women began doing a ciruit of all the leg machines and started working in on the prone leg curl with me. Their working weight was 10lbs.

Having taken note of the weight I was using to do my leg curls, one of the women started talking to her friend as she lay down on the machine: “Oh my god, look at that, that’s not normal! Who does that?”

She proceeds to try and see if she can move it “I’m using my whole body and all my force and I can’t even move it an inch!” The look on their faces was one of terror and befuddlement.

Somehow my strength was confusing to them, and that was confusing to me. I was a bull that came stomping into their china shop.


The reality is that I mostly live in a bubble – I work and spend most of my days in a gym in the heart of Toronto that is filled with part-time strength athletes and full-time aesthetic kings and queens (a combination of bodybuilders and exotic dancers.) A lot of the people I talk to are very fit and quite often stronger than me, both men and women. Many of us have athletic backgrounds and goals and are continually trying to be stronger, faster, better versions of ourselves which sometimes actually leads to getting stronger than the norm.

Sometimes in my strength-bubble of quadzillas, I often forget that in this country, 50.3% of the female population fall into the category of being “inactive” (according to Statistics Canada. )

image2 (1)

When you add on top of that a subconscious acceptance of patriarchy that continually reinforces harmful gender stereotypes (“men should be strong, durable, leaders – women should be small, soft, delicate flowers for the men to protect, blahblahblahblah”) combined with what seems to be a never-ending parade of “celebrity trainers” and so-called experts spewing offensive and wrong information like this:

image1 (1)

1) A wide grip doesn’t make you grow wider. 2) I decide what is and what is not feminine to me, not you, silly magazine.

3lbs

…yeah, I’d be scared and confused too if I saw a woman lifting anything heavier than her bodyweight and she had legs that are thicker than a fashion-model’s waist.

But I’m not scared. I am THAT woman. And I don’t think you should be afraid or confused by me. I am just another person in this world who is doing my utmost best to strive for excellence both physically and mentally while enjoying my life.

By regularly embracing, accepting, and creating my own strength – I empower myself physically and mentally. I’ve created habits that allow me to live free of physical pain and chronic lifestyle diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and osteoporosis. I can confidently say that I can walk up several flights of stairs without having to worry about breaking a sweat or becoming short of breath. I can walk my groceries home by carrying them with my hands because I have awesome grip. I can put together, take apart, and move my own furntiture without being put out of commission for the following week. I have a strong immune system that allows me to contribute to society and allows me to work and take leave when I want to – not because I have to.

I have these things because I am strong and I nourish my body to be strong.

I work hard for all of these thing. I have been consistenly dedicated to making my life as easy as possible through making myself stronger than the things that life throws at me. In addition to having increased physical strength, being dedicated to the training process has helped me cultivate a stronger sense of self and help me achieve healthy self-esteem.

Not only am I capable, but I’m feelin’ myself *Beyonce voice.* 

feeling myself

I personally want to live in a world where women (and men too) like themselves and are confident in their abilities because they embrace, cultivate, and use their strength.

And I think it’s time for all of us to embrace our own strength. It’s time to think for yourself, to define what it is you need to live with the quality of life you want to have. And honestly, I think most of you would find being physically strong has a lot of carryover in terms of helping you achieve a lot of those things.

At the end of it all, it’s survival of the fittest, and I’d rather be the bull than be the china. 

 

 

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The Motion – Executing Excellent Kettlebell Swings

exercise, Strength, Training By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

In recents years, the kettlebell swing has come to great popularity being touted as the solution to all of your strength, conditioning, and body composition woes. Although the benefits are sometimes exaggerated, it is still a phemonemal exercise that provides numerous benefits and is deserving of a spot somewhere in your training regimen provided you can perform them safely and effectively.

The kettlebell swing is excellent for developing the posterior chain (the muscles on the back side of the body,) developing explosiveness, as well as developing a solid base level of conditioning. The swing is movement that should be done using submaximal weight and is best performed for high reps anywhere from 10 to 50 and more. It’s also great to use in timed sets or circuits and has an immense training effect on the cardiovascular system.

Unfortunately, due to the immense popularity of this exercise (everybody and their grandmother’s want to do the swing) it’s often done incorrectly. The movement operates as a pendulum that requires a fine balance between tension and relaxation of the muscles to get proper momentum. The following are examples of  important details that people neglect when performing kettlebell swings and that hinder progression toward other kettlebell movements such as cleans and snatches.

THE HIKE

The kettlebell swing commences with a powerful hike back between the legs. A lot of people start the swing by deadlifting and trying to groove the pattern in midair. However the best way to start the swing is by placing it roughly two feet infront of you and then powerfully hiking it back between your legs, like football player hiking a ball to their teammate. This allows the pendulum movement of the swing to start with the downswing allowing the arms to stay relaxed during the movement.

image3

SOFT CLAW

Another crucial part to successfully swinging a kettlbell is keeping a soft grip. This means that you want to gently hook your hands around the handle of the bell. This will prevent severe callouses and overuse of the arms during the swing which is important as the swing is launched by the hips while the arms are acting as a tether not a prime mover.

If your arms tend to get tired while doing the kettlebell swing, try a few sets of towel swings, this will teach you to launch the kettlebell with your hips. To perform the towel swing, loop a towel around the handle of the kettlebell and hold on to the ends of the towel – perform the swing as usual.

GLUTE POWER

The kettlebell swing is a hip dominant movement, meaning the glutes provide the force required to start the upswing. When you come to the end of the downswing you want to squeeze the glutes as hard as possible while pushing the feet into the floor, this will let the bell float back up and allow the pendulum motion to continue.

RIBS DOWN

While peaking at the top of the swing and hitting the lockout, a lot of people will forget to engage their abs and shift in to letting their ribs float up which will displace tension into the lower back (which can lead to pain and injury.) The top of the kettlebell swing should look like a standing plank without excessive arching in the lower back – the abs and glutes should both feel tense.

??????????

ATTACK YOUR FLY

Another common mistake many people make (from gym goers to top coaches) is allowing the kettlebell to dip below the knees. This kills the power being generated from the glutes and will result in using the arms and lower back to muscle the kettlebell up leading to inefficiency. The closer the kettlebell is to the muscle launching the movement, the easier it will be to perform the exercise.

As we know, the kettlebell is launched by the glutes, so to keep the kettlebell close to the glutes when it is most proximal to the body imagine you are wearing jeans and aim your hands for your zipper on the downswing. At the end of the movement your chest should be close to parallel with the floor and the kettlebell should be behind you between your legs. 

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PARK IT

Last but not least, after you’ve completed a beautiful set of kettlebell swings you want to park the kettlebell. Parking the kettlebell and finishing your set properly will prevent you from trying to figure any new and inventive ways to injure yourself while trying to figure out how to stop the swing. All you have to do after the last downswing is keep your chest low and just allow the bell to come forward and down from your hips which will park it gently on the floor.

Put all that together and you should end up with a refined set of kettlebell swings that looks something like this.

 

Happy Kettlebell Swinging! 😀

Did this help you? Did you hate it? Would you like some Drake to go with those swings?

 

 

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POP, LOCK, AND DROP – Glute Circuit

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By July 10, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

 

another one

That’s right folks, I’m back with another one – grab some mini bands, and get ready for this lovely glute burner 🍑🍑🍑

3 Rounds of 3 exercises guaranteed to offer a nice glute pump.


POP, LOCK, AND DROP – GLUTE CIRCUIT

A1) Banded In-And-Out Squats x 10 reps (Left side) Focus on pushing the knees outward and resisting the band during the whole movement, even when jumping in from the wide stance squat.
A2) Banded Hip Extension x 10 reps per side  (Top right corner) Push your moving leg back by contracting the glute. try to do the movement with control and without extending through the lower back to get additional range of motion.
A3) Banded Lateral Hip Abduction x 10 reps per side (Bottom right corner) Start with your feet together, try to push the moving leg away from the stationary leg. Focus on keeping your core tight and try to minimize any movement and shifting in the hips.

Perform 3 rounds without rest between exercises. Rest as needed between rounds. Use the appropriate band for your strength level – if you’ve never used resistance bands for your glutes start with a light band and work your way up in resistance if it’s too easy.

If you would like a set of mini bands without having to sacrifice your life savings and first born child, I recommend this set off of Amazon ($13.99 CAD + free shipping), it is the same set that I am using in this video.

Happy Glute Training! 🙂

 

Did you love this? Did you hate this? Did you get a crazy glute pump from doing the Pop, Lock, and Drop? Let me know in the comments.

 

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So You Think You Can Windmill?

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By July 1, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

In case you did not receive the memo – I have an awesome windmill. Unfortunately not the badass breakdancing kind, but the kettlebell kind.

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Badass kettlebell windmill as photographed by Sergio Mazzaferro.

The kettlebell windmill is both a stability and mobility drill. It is a great addition to any warm-up before doing overhead work or kettlebell work. To lay things out, this is not a strength movement and it is not a good choice for doing a One Rep Max. The name of the game with windmills is: Movement and Control.

The windmill can be a very humbling movement for many people as it requires moving the body in a way that a lot of people have never even thought of doing, let alone adding weight on top of it.

The windmill requires a decent amount of mobility in the following areas – hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine. As this exercise requires so much movement, it is highly recommended to do mobility drills prior to this exercise to open up these regions unless you are Gumby.

It is what it is.

It is what it is.

Some good mobility drills to do before the windmill are:

Cat & Cow – to promote healthy articulation of the vertebrae of the spine which will aid in thoracic rotation. Perform 1 set of 10 reps.

Feldenkrais Rotations – to open up the thoracic spine for a strong rotation in the bottom of the windmill. Perform 1 set per side, work your way to the floor.

Cossack Squat – to open up the hips and adductors and get the glutes firing.  Perform 1 set of 10 reps per side.

High Bear Crawl with legs locked – to mobilize the hips and stretch the hamstrings. Perform 1 set moving both forward and backward.

In addition to these exercises, if necessary spend some extra time working on overhead mobility by doing lower trap reaches, wall slide drills, or shoulder dislocates.

Once properly warmed-up, it’s time to progress into the windmill – however before progressing into the windmill, it’s good to understand a few things:

  • The windmill is  hinge movement with the feet set up in an  “L” shape. One the side of the body of the overhead arm the foot should be pointing forward. On the nonloaded side the foot should be pointing sideways. The movement happens by folding the hips- or pushing the hips backward without compromising the spine. To get back up to the lockout position, you push the hip forward and squeeze the glute on the loaded side.
  • The overhead arm should always be locked – in the words of Shawn Mozen of Agatsu “A little bit bent is like being a little bit pregnant.
  • Lastly, always look at the overhead arm when loaded. Keep your eyes on that weight like white on rice.

Now that you are intimately informed on the windmill and her inner workings, you’re ready to get down. Grab a kettlebell and get ready to work through the following windmill progressions:

  1. Windmill to kettlebell grab
  2. Windmill to kettlebell grab with arm bend
  3. Windmill to hand on floor
  4. Bottom Loaded Windmill
  5. Full Windmill – Top Loaded Windmill

In the following the video these progressions are demonstrated in order in multiples of three repetitions. Work through the progressions as you are able. Remember to work within the range you have without forcing extra range by compromising form and technique.

 

Are you ready to windmill? Did this article help you? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comment section below or feel to reach me via the “Contact” page.

 

 

 

 

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The Birthday Cake WOD

Programming By June 24, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

On  Tuesday, I celebrated my 25th year of life on this planet – Heyyyyy!

So I decided to celebrate by training my favourite muscle group – glutes. It’s been a while since I’ve done a good glute workout just for the pump so I wanted to do something really special.

I made a bodyweight glute circuit and I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would – so much so that I decided to add it into my regular programming two times per week. I originally shared the workout on Instagram and now I’m sharing it here on my website with instructional videos so you can have as much fun as I did doing this workout.

Let me lay it down for you.


 

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE WOD

A1) Reverse Hyper x 25 reps

A2) X Band Walk x 25 reps per side

A3) Glute Bridge with feet together and knees apart x 25 reps

Perform 3 rounds. Rest 1 minute in between rounds.

Are you ready for The Birthday Cake WOD? Get ready for that cake. And instant onset muscle soreness.

 

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4 Ways to Crush Strength Plateaus

exercise, Programming, Strength, Training By March 27, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Few things are as frustrating as heading in to the gym day in day out and not progressing. The weights stay the same week to week and results are stagnating. You were planning on pulling a 225lbs deadlift but you seem to be stuck at 185lbs with no sign of getting stronger.

What can be done to solve this dillemma? Fortunately, there are lots of effective techniques to help break through strength plateaus. Providing that nutrition and recovery are sound – there are ways to manipulate the exercises and repetitions to maximize the results.

Back in November I watched the movie Creed and went to lift immediately afterwards – I set a PR on the deadlift that workout and pulled 245lbs. Although I like to credit Michael B. Jordan’s performance as the reason I pulled that personal record – that’s not a method I’m willing to rely on in order to get strong. Fortunately the following methods you’re about to be introduced to are true and tested – and adding them into your training will definitely help bust through any strength plateaus.

TEMPO MANIPULATION

Tempo in relation to exercise dictates the speed at which a movement is performed. It is usually written as a series of four numbers (eg. 4010) which indicates the duration of each part of a repetition.  The first number is the eccentric (lowering part of the movement), the second number indicates the bottom of the movement and how long it is held, the third number indicates the concentric phase of the movement, and the the fourth number indicates the count of the hold at the top of the movement.

For example if a deadlift is performed with a 3112 tempo, you will:

  • lift the bar up for 1 second
  • hold for 2 seconds at the top
  • lower for 3 seconds
  • pause for 1 second on the floor before doing the next rep

Tempo can be manipulated to create less or more muscular tension. A slower tempo will illicit a higher amount of tension versus a faster tempo – a 2010 tempo for 5 reps will be easier to perform than a 4010 tempo for 5 reps. The easiest part of a tempo to manipulate to improve strength is the eccentric portion as this is the easiest part of the movement to perform in general and will allow for a controlled movement leading to better muscle recruitment and motor patterning positively effecting overall strength.

The other best way to manipulate tempo is by adding pauses where the movement is the most difficult to perform. Adding a pause at the bottom of a squat it is a great way to develop strength for people who struggle to get out of the whole. Adding a pause at the top of a bench press would help for people who fail to successfully lockout the movement. Pauses can also be used in parts of the concentric and eccentric phases of the movement instead of just the top or bottom if that’s where an individual struggles.

RANGE SPECIFIC TRAINING

Range specific training refers to hammering out any issues there may be while performing a specific range of motion of an exercise. This can be done by extending ranges of motion, shortenining ranges of motion, or performing accessory movements that are relative to weakness in the movement.

If a person struggles to deadlift heavy weights from the floor but has no issues with performing a lockout – adding a deficit deadlift (deadlift performed while standing on a platform and the bar still on the floor) would likely benefit them and increase their deadlift strength. This works by making a longer range of motion forcing the lifter to pull the bar from and even lower distance than normal. This is one way to lengthen a range.

Conversely, strength can also be improved by shortening a range – for example if a trainee has difficulty with the top part of bench press they can move into an exercises such as a floor press – which shortens the range of motion and only trains the top half or lockout of the movment. Another way to shorten a range would be to perform a rack pull where you deadlift out of the rack from a higher starting to point to train the top half of the deadlift for a strong lockout.

In addition to manipulating the length of the repetitions we can also train parts of a movement with other exercises. To continue with the example of a deadlift – we want to look for exercises that simulate similar angles to the specific ranges where we struggle.

Bottom of the Deadlift 45 Degree Back Extension
Middle of the Deadlift Seated Goodmorning
Top of the Deadlift 90 Degree Back Extension

ACCUMULATION

Another way to bust through strength plateaus is by accumulating volume (ie. performing a lot of reps and sets) – in essence, doing hypetrophy training to elicit a gain in muscle size. The benefit of doing this type of training is that it creates high muscular tension while performing reps on reps on reps with a more moderate weight.

If this is confusing, picture it like this – a relatively strong lifter can perform a 5×5 program for strength, but if they plateau and decided to move a 10×10 training model they are:

  1. going to be using a more moderate weight allowing for better muscle control and coordination which equates to grooving an amazing and flawless movement pattern
  2. creating a lot of muscular tension allowing for better muscle firing
  3. putting on more muscle – which can be trained to move heavier weights

STRUCTURAL BALANCE

The last way to get stronger is by maintaining or creating structural balance between muscles. This can be one of the most neglected aspects of strength by trainees – as it can tend to not feel as rewarding because it usually requires movements (often remedial) with lighters weights or performing calisthenics that leave you feeling humbled.

Structural balance is extremely important to strength and the best way to understand this to explain it by building houses. Imagine you’re building a house, you’ve created your structure and then you’ve gone and reinforced it with extra materials to make it stronger, however the house has only been reinforced in certain areas. This house now has weak links that won’t be able to resist damage as well as the reinforced partsof the house. Meaning it isn’t structurally balanced. The way to correct this is by reinforcing the weak parts.

This house is your body, and essentially if there are any injuries or imbalances between muscles from front to back (anterior chain versus posterior chain) or side to side (dominant side vs non-dominant side) these muscles need to be targetted and  trained to bring them as close to structurally balanced as possible.

This is done by performing specific isolation and unilateral exercises to directly facilitate and strengthen or “rehab” the lagging muscles in training. Sometimes this will need to go a step further in terms of seeking out treatment methods such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, A.R.T, massage therapy, N.K.T, and physiotherapy depending on how severe the imbalances or injuries are and what has caused them. Don’t hesitate to seek extra care or help when addressing structural balance, especially if it’s something you’ve already been working on for a while.

 

Did this help you? Did you hate this? Hit me up and let me know your thoughts.

 

 

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3 Reasons to Focus on the Weight You Lift instead of the Weight on the Scale

Health, Mindset, Strength, Training By February 28, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

It’s very easy to become preoccupied with the weight on the scale and whether or not your body composition is changing. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change how you look, if it gets to the point where it’s breaking your spirit and effecting your mood on a day to day basis it may be time to shift your focus elsewhere.

For many women shifting their training focus to gaining strength can be very rewarding. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to do things like chin-ups or carry large pieces of furniture by yourself. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why it’s awesome to focus on the weight on the bar instead of the weight on the scale.


 1) Your body becomes more durable: When training to get stronger and using progressive overload – your body will get stronger but you will also put on lean mass. While most people include muscle in lean muscle, they forget to include bone mass. This means you gain bone density and can reduce your risk for osteoporosis which is a very common health issue for women as they age.

Not only can training for strength prevent osteoporosis but it can also prevent joint pain – a common issue that arises as a result of weak musculature associated with poor posture. By following a balanced strength program you can improve your posture and also reduce joint pain in the elbows, knees, hips, lower back, and shoulders by strengthening the surrounding musculature. This is amazing because when you’re long into your old age you can be happy and pain free with bones that are strong and joints that don’t ache. There’ll be no need to run to your Grandmother’s medicine cabinet and grab those Lakota tablets.

2) You will be more independent: Having a solid level of base strength can give you independence in ways you’ve probably never even realized. Can you bang out a few pull ups? You probably won’t have any issues opening any jars thanks to your amazing grip strength. Can you deadlift your own bodyweight? Enjoy being able to carry groceries home in one trip and not worry about whether or not you’ll drop anything.

Moving into a new home? Have fun easily carrying pieces of furniture by yourself and not worrying about being sore or accidentally injuring yourself. Life gets easier when you’re stronger and allows you to do more things on your own that would generally have to ask help for previously.

3) You will gain a greater appreciation for your body: Maybe you love your butt, maybe you have some Michelle Obama arms that make you proud. Unfortunately when a lot women start exercising it’s usually because they have a feeling of dissatisfaction in regards to their appearance. In my experience, a lot of women start feeling a greater sense of appreciation for their bodies when they realize how much they can do instead of solely focusing on what they look like.

There’s a lovely transition that happens when women start focusing on the weight they’re lifting versus the weight on the scale. It allows us to take the emphasis off of our physical appearance and focus on our capabilities. And as we get stronger and improve our physical performance we tend to develop a more loving relationship with our bodies and have a greater sense of appreciation for what our bodies can do. We learn to view our body as an instrument rather than an ornament. We develop confidence in our physical ability and a more profound love for our body because we learn to appreciate it from another perspective. A greater love for ourselves directly impacts our quality of life and trickles into our careers, relationships, and day to day life. Who doesn’t want more of that?

If you’re ready to develop a more durable body, a greater level of independence, and a greater appreciation for your body get in touch so we can get you started on a sound training program and with practical nutrition skills so you can be strong, sane, and thriving.

 

Did you love this post? Did you hate it? I want to hear from you 🙂

Leave your questions and comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ditch Your Food Scales: The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

Lifestyle, Nutrition By February 23, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Can you recite the caloric value and macronutrient content of canned tuna, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, and peanut butter like it’s your job? Have you ever had a panic attack while trying to weigh your food to make sure you ate x amount kCals per day?

While tracking caloric and macronutrient intake can be useful over short periods of times – when done for extended periods of time it can warp your psyche. Especially if you lean towards the Type A perfectionist side of things (many of us do, myself included.) While results from adhering to an extremely strict dietary protocol can feel rewarding, it’s the same strict protocols that limit us in our ability to makes choices that serve us better overall and exercise our personal power.

There is a loss of power and choice when you follow a restrictive diet and don’t get to be proactive in choosing what and when you eat based off of your hunger, satiety, and needs. As a living organism with daily fluctuations in energy use and needs and no amount of macronutrient or calorie tracking is going to be able adapt to that.

Luckily we have a built in system in our body that takes care of these daily fluctuations of by regulating our appetite and satiety – and the more you pay attention to these signals the easier it gets. But to get good at listening to your body’s signal that also means you have:

  1. Stop neglecting hunger; no dieting or excessive restricion of food intakes
  2. Stop neglecting satiety; eating slowly untill you are satisfied but not ready to burst

You can be strong, healthy, thriving and sane without having the additional stress of counting calories or macronutrients. Your eating strategies need to work for you – not the other way around. You are not bound my chains to your food scale or your diet. Gone are the days of trying to figure out how many Oreos you can eat so you don’t blow your diet. If you’re ready to be free of obsessive food tracking, calorie counting, and restriction but don’t know where to start – read on.

If you’ve ever sat over your kitchen counter in front of scale with you a piece of paper, pen, calculator and tears in your eyes – this guide is for you. 


The Hand Guide for a Balanced Diet

The following guide will help outline what foods you should be adding in to your diet on a daily basis and what types of quantities. It is not a rigid restrictive guideline and is flexible system that is inclusive off mostly whole foods that will help you achieve a balanced diet so you can feel great, look great, and thrive. We’re going to to go over the food groups, meal structure, and portion sizes so you’ll be good to go using your most handy and convenient measuring tool – your hand. On ward to a simple, effective, and stress-free dietary system.

Food Groups 

Protein dense foods

Provides us with amino acids to help maintain and rebuild tissues in the body.

Chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, salmon, tuna, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powders, etc.

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

Provides us with fibre for optimal digestive health as well as being a significant source or micronutrients needed for various chemical processes in the body.

Spinach, peppers, apples, bananas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, berries, etc.

Carbohydrate dense foods

Provides us with a direct source of energy for brain function and physical activity.

Rice, quinoa, couscous, oats, noodles, breads, etc.

Fat dense foods

Important for maintaing cellular health and strucutre as well as synthetiszing hormones in the body.

Olive oil, butter,  coconut oil, avocado, cream, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dressings, etc.

Meal Structure

In terms of structuring your meals you want to aim to have a balanced plate each time you eat – this means including good sources of protein, fibre, carbohydrate, and fats at each meal. This means adding 1-2 servings of each food category to each meal, this structure is based off of eating 3 – 4 meals per day.

Depending on your size and activity level you may need more food than what is suggested, start with the guideline as a basis and as you get more comfortable feel free to add as you need to based off your levels of hunger and satiety.

  Female Male
Protein Dense Foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods) 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Carbohydrate dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal
Fat dense foods 1 serving per meal 2 servings per meal

Portions

Last but not least we’re finally at the part where you can throw out your food scale and measuring cup. Your new measuring tool is your lovely hand. The great thing about your hand is that you always have it and can bring it anywhere you go. Secondly, it’s already proportionate to you – meaning if you’re a big person, you have a bigger hand or if you’re a smaller person, you have a smaller hand. It’s hard to go wrong 😉

 

Serving Size

Protein Dense Foods

The size of your palm

Vegetables & Fruits (Fibrous foods)

The size of your fist

Carbohydrate dense foods

The size of a cupped hand

Fat dense foods

The size of your thumb

 

IMG_6754

Refer to this super high tech visual guide.


I know what you’re probably thinking: “That’s all?!” like 90% of the people I’ve ever taught this system.

To which I answer: Yes, that is all. I want you to eat your proteins, your vegetables, your carbs, and your fats. I want you to feel and look great. I want you to have as little stress as possible when it comes to having a healthy balanced diet filled with foods that you love. And most importantly I want you to enjoy the process of eating well and I want you to enjoy the food.

By keeping it simple with this guide, you’re well on your way to feeling great and living your healthiest life both physically and mentally. And if you really want an Oreo at the end of the day after you’ve nourished your body with all these awesome foods – go for it 😉

Are you ready to use the Hand Guide? Are you already using the Hand Guide?

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Daily Dose of Hustle

Lifestyle, Mindset By January 31, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

I guarantee this is something everyone of us has heard at least once in our lifetime. In fact, you’ve probably even lived it if you’ve ever had to work in order to succeed at something.

Who comes to mind when you think of success or greatness? I think of Beyonce, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. Some of the things these people have achieved are remarkable and may even seem almost unrealistic or unattainable for lots of people to replicate in their own lives. Arguably people could say it would be impossible to achieve as much success as these people – but that’s self-defeating mindset, and that’s not what we’re about.

beyonce

And by no means I am going to imply I expect you to be the next Oprah, but I do wholeheartedly believe that if there is something you want to achieve in regards to your physique, your health, your strength, your career, your life, you should pursue it with a relentless and consistent effort such as the Beyonces, Oprahs, and Michael Jordans of the world.

If there’s something you really want, and I don’t mean “kind of want”…I mean you want it so badly you’ll do what it actually to get it – you should take a step each day that brings you closer to your goal. 

But you can’t just say “I’m gonna do something every day to make it happen.” That’s a sweet intention with good enthusiasm – but you need to take it one step further. You need to plan ahead. You need to plan your actions. Your actions are the biggest indicator of whether or not you will fail or succeed in achieving what you want.

Actionable planning can be simple. In fact the simpler it is, the better. What I’m working on for the next six weeks is weight training four times per week for 45-60 minutes and doing aerobic cardiovascular training seven times per week for 20 minutes. If you were to look into my monthly day planner right now, I can show you exactly where my training time slots are for each workout and where I intend to do them. It’s a very simple and specific plan and undoubtedly a good way to get my achieve what I want. Not only is it easy to adhere to, but I’m creating a plan to forge habits that will allow me to live my life in a way that I want. 

By living in a way that is consistent with our desires we bring our dreams to life. That is how we achieve success. And quite honestly, that’s completely worth a daily dose of hustle.  What do you need to do to live the life that you want?

 “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your destiny.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Did this post make or break your day? I wanna hear from your. Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section 🙂

xoxo

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