These simple, healthy snacks won’t derail your fitness and health goals.
2 hard-boiled eggs
½ ripe avocado
8 whole-grain crackers
Mash eggs with avocado; serve on crackers.
PB Energy Bites
1½ cup rolled oats
½ cup natural peanut butter
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
Process oats into a flour and then mix with peanut butter and honey/syrup to form a dough. Roll into balls and refrigerate.
1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted
3 tbsp cottage cheese
2 tomato slices
Top toast with cottage cheese and tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper (to taste).
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We all know how powerful stories are — both the stories that we’ve been told and the stories we tell ourselves. Beth Carvin — CEO and co-founder of JamBios, an online memoir website — knows this better than anyone. She’s had the opportunity to read life stories from thousands of different users and has learned a lot in the process. Here are her top takeaways when it comes to learning from — and healing from — the hardest things in your past. 5 Ways to Heal From Your Past, by Beth Carvin In the mid 1900s, plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz…
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We’re crushing on these local activewear brands. Be the best dressed person at the gym or in the streets with these proudly South African workout outfits.
The post The Local Activewear Brands To Keep An Eye On In 2020 appeared first on Women’s Health.
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A few years ago, I wrote a post describing all the things that avowed Primal eaters can learn from plant-based or even vegan dieters. Sure, we’re diametrically opposed on the role of animal foods in human health, but there are still relevant takeaways.
Carnivores are much closer to Primal eaters on the dietary spectrum, The Primal Blueprint posits that animal foods—meat, fish, fowl, shellfish, eggs, and dairy—represent the most nutrient-dense, most crucial component of the human diet. Carnivore takes that and runs with it, to its logical conclusion: Animal foods are so nutrient-dense and so important that we should eat them to the exclusion of everything else.
I don’t exactly agree, but I see where they’re coming from. And there’s a lot we can learn from the carnivore movement. I’ve got 8 takeaways today.
1. That a Steak Really Isn’t Going To Kill You
I’ve covered these arguments dozens of times on these pages. But it’s truly heartening to see hundreds and thousands of anecdotal reports from people who are thriving while eating two, three, four ribeyes a day for months and even years on end. When you see that, even though it’s “just” a collection of anecdotes, it gets really hard to think that eating a big grass-fed ribeye whenever you want is really going to give you cancer or diabetes or whatever else malady they’re trying to pin on red meat.
2. That More Fiber Isn’t Always the Answer
Of all the food components out there, fiber is the one that really trips me up. I still can’t quite get a handle on it. Is it important? Is it harmful? Is it useless? There’s conflicting evidence at every turn. My hunch—and reading of the anthropological and scientific literature—tells me that some prebiotic substrate is a good thing for healthy human guts, but it also tells me that fiber can be harmful in certain situations and in certain gut biomes. After all, we aren’t living like the Hadza, eating antelope colon sashimi and never touching soap. We live relatively sterile existences. Our guts are not ancestral, no matter how many quarts of kefir we quaff.
What carnivore offers is evidence that fiber isn’t always the answer. And remember that animal proteins can offer prebiotic substrate in the form of “animal fiber” (bones, tendons, connective tissue, gristle) and—if you consume dairy—milk oligosaccharides.
3. That Oxalates May Be An Issue
You know that strange feeling you get on your tongue and gums after a big serving of spinach? Those are oxalates, an anti-nutrient found in many if not most plant foods. They can bind to minerals and form crystals, the most infamous being the calcium oxalate crystals which are the most common type of kidney stone. Yeah, not fun.
The carnivore movement has seized on oxalates as a reason not to consume plants. Many animals have the adaptations to digest and nullify large amounts of oxalates. Humans, by and large, do not. There are exceptions, such as the Hadza whose guts harbor oxalate-degrading bacteria, and likely others yet to be discovered. And there’s definite variation even among humans living in industrialized settings—not everyone gets kidney stones because they ate creamed spinach. But it’s a good idea for the average human to at least be aware of oxalates.
Thanks to your newfound awareness of oxalates, you can figure out ways to reduce their impact if you still want to consume them.
You can choose low-oxalate plants. Kale is quite low in oxalates compared to other leafy greens, as are collard greens. Same goes for others in the brassica family, like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower: all low in oxalate.
You can improve your calcium metabolism. Eating enough vitamin A (retinol), vitamin K2, and vitamin D will improve your calcium metabolism and leave less of it hanging around to bind with oxalate and form crystals. Eating enough boron (or supplementing with it, as it doesn’t appear in many foods) can also reduce the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
Drinking about 4 ounces of lemon or lime juice in your water throughout the day will also reduce the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
I don’t mean for this to become a “what to do about oxalates” post. But without the carnivore movement’s broad transmission of the oxalate issue, many people wouldn’t even think about them.
4. That Meat Truly Is the Ancestral Foundation Of the Human Diet
I mean, we knew this. We knew that our hominid ancestors have been eating meat and marrow for over three million years. We knew that our meat-eating is probably what helped set us apart from our primate cousins, that calorie-dense and easily-digestible meat allowed us to shrink our guts and grow our brains. We knew that of all extant and known populations on earth, not a one was vegan.
But the carnivore movement makes you feel it. By eating exclusively meat and not just surviving but apparently thriving on animal foods alone, they force you into a reckoning of their historical primacy in the human diet. Now, not everyone thrives. The drop outs, well, they drop out. We only see the success stories—but that’s true for any diet, including Primal. The drop-outs from diets like Primal or carnivore tend to be less catastrophic and numerous than the drop-outs from veganism or fruitarianism, but they’re definitely out there.
5. That the Best Elimination Diet Might Be an All-Meat One
I wrote a post recently about the Autoimmune Paleo diet, a highly-restrictive but effective elimination diet used to identify trigger foods in autoimmune patients.
Going carnivore might just be a bare-bones version of the same thing. It eliminates all the same foods, plus more. And because it’s more of a scorched-earth approach, it’s simpler. You just eat meat and meat byproducts like bone broth, and nothing else. Such stark boundaries are somehow more digestible to a certain type of person. Less wiggle room, less to think about, less to get wrong.
That’s basically what Robb Wolf recently did to treat lingering gut issues: he ate meat and drank bone broth. For the full story, check out his recent appearance on Dr. Paul Saladino’s podcast.
6. That Phytonutrients Aren’t the Only Way To Induce Hormetic Stress
There are other ways to induce hormetic stress besides plant polyphenols. You can fast. You can exercise. You can expose yourself to cold or heat. You can expose yourself to “meat carcinogens” (yum). However, phytonutrients are good to have around. If you aren’t eating blueberries and broccoli because “those hormetic stressors aren’t the only game in town,” you’d better be doing the other stuff. You’d better be using the sauna, fasting, training hard (but smart), and going out into the cold.
7. That Strong Physical Performance Is Possible Without Tons Of Exogenous Carbs
You only have to look as far as Dr. Shawn Baker breaking rowing records, squatting 500 pounds for reps, and doing box jumps that would shame someone 30 years his junior to know that elite performance is possible—at least in one person—on a carnivorous, carb-free diet. It’s not “supposed” to be possible for anyone. Is Baker a genetic freak? Is he the only person for whom it’s true? I doubt it.
Now, glycogen is helpful. But you can manufacture glucose from amino acids and deposit it as glycogen, which you’ll be getting plenty of from all the protein you eat on a carnivore diet. This might not be the most efficient path for all elite athletes, but the carnivore movement shows that it’s at least possible for some.
8. How To Choose the Most Nutrient-Dense Animal Foods
There are the carnivores who eat steak and assume they’ve covered all their bases, and then there are the carnivores who eat steak and eggs and salmon and liver and kidney and marrow and mussels because they want to ensure they’ve covered all their bases. The former group will say something about “nutrient requirements going down on carnivore,” which may be true, but do all nutrient requirements drop across the board equally? Meanwhile, the latter group might agree with the former about nutrient requirements, but they’ll probably also want to be safer than sorrier. They can tell you all about the vitamin C content of fresh liver, the manganese in the mussels, the selenium in the kidney, the long-chained omega-3s in the salmon, the choline and biotin in the eggs, and the B-vitamins and creatine in the steak.
I’d listen to the latter group, personally. In figuring out the best way to obtain maximum nutrient density through animal foods alone, they can provide a roadmap to anyone who wants to include the most nutrient-dense animal foods in their omnivorous diet.
Diets aren’t ideologies. They aren’t religions. You don’t have to accept everything. You can pick and choose what works for you, especially if it actually works for you. You can heed these lessons contained in the post without actually going full carnivore, just like you could incorporate some of the lessons learned from vegans without going anything close to vegan.
Thanks for reading, everybody. What have you learned from the carnivore movement? Let me know down below in the comments, and have a good week.
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Nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach Benjamin House explains how you can at times incorporate certain “taboo” foods like chips and candy alongside a consistent and balanced diet.
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If you want to get all-around fit and healthy, you have to kick crash diets and overtraining to the curb. I want you to be strong enough for everything in life, whether it’s hopping on a wakeboard or riding a quad. So when putting this total-body HIIT routine together, I really wanted to go back to basics.
It’s a common misconception that you need to spend hours in the gym each day to see results. In reality, you can spend less than an hour each day working out so long as you stay consistent with your fitness regimen as a whole, and the following workout is a great routine to work into the rotation. For each block (exercises marked A and B), complete 10 reps for each move back-to-back, rest 30 seconds, and repeat 2 more times before moving on to the next block.
Joel Freeman is a Beachbody Super Trainer and creator of LIIFT4, an eight-week weights-and-HIIT program. Check it out on beachbodyondemand.com.
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The Game Changers documentary has convinced yet another muscular star to go vegan—this time, it’s Rocky IV actor Dolph Lundgren. The Swedish superstar told Piers Morgan he’s been eating a plant-based diet for about a month.
He said he made the switch after watching the Arnold Schwarzenegger-produced documentary on Netflix. “I checked it out and then I figured I would try it out,” Lundgren told Morgan, according to reports.
Apparently, the biggest benefit of giving up animal products has been an improved sex life, Lundgren said. “It was already quite good but it went up about 50%,” he said.
In Game Changers, Schwarzenegger and other athletes discuss how a plant-based diet could improve performance, recovery, and more. Indeed one of the aspects touched on by the scientists featured in the movie is sex—one informal experiment claims that eating a vegan diet could give men harder, and longer-lasting erections.
Lundgren isn’t the only one who’s made the switch since the movie hit the streaming service. Kai Greene quickly pounced on the bandwagon, and even produced an e-book on the topic. Even Hafthor “The Mountain” Bjornsson said he’d be willing to try plant-based eating, but has yet to do so.
As with anything on the internet, though, there are also plenty of people hating on the claims made by the documentary. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, a prior guest on the Muscle & Fitness podcast Reps, in a lengthy Instagram post said “There is so much wrong” with the movie “I cannot cover it all.”
“The integrity of the material you are told is none,” she writes in the post. “What is true are the emotional tactics used.”
Whether you agree with Game Changers or not, it’s undeniable that its made quite an impact on the athletic and bodybuilding communities. It’s only a matter of time until someone else makes the switch.
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Sometimes, we just don’t have enough time in the week to get to the gym. As a coach, I work with a lot of mid-aged family men and women, who often spend their business weeks working and spending time with their families. It’s a recipe to throw off any training consistency, regardless of the absolute best intentions. As a result, these lifters end up having to turn into weekend warriors in the gym, using Friday afternoon until Sunday night to cram in their training volume for the week.
Of course, this is less than desirable, but I suppose it’s the lesser of two evils when compared to the option of not training at all. Luckily, I’m ready to help. If you’re confined to Friday to Sunday workout days, then here are some ground rules to think about.
Rule #1: Focus on Movements, Not Muscles
It makes the most sense not to isolate, regardless of what your goals are. Given that you’re only training a maximum of three days out of the week, it’s reasonable to confirm that you won’t get the greatest results if you’re after size, due to the fact that it’s just too infrequent. Making sure you’re moving properly is the name of the game here if you want any shreds of strength you have left, to be maintained. I like arranging my clients’ workouts in the patterns of vertical and horizontal pushing and pulling. This will encourage the body to use big movement patterns like the deadlift, standing press, bench press, squat, lunge, pullup, and row. They belong in your workout as the “core” movements, around which other assistance exercise can and should take second place. These choices will give you the most bang for your buck. Be sure to arrange them in the planes of motion that they fit into.
Rule #2: Squat on Two of the Three Days
On two out of the three days (ideally Friday and Sunday), you need to perform a squat pattern. It’s going to be important to help you deal with an axially loaded barbell, which can induce plenty of hormonal release to aid muscle development. I’d recommend squatting for more volume on one of the days, and squatting for more max strength on another. The biggest mistake you can make as a weekend warrior is to neglect adequately training the lower body.
Rule #3: Make Sunday the Most Metabolically Challenging
If you’re not about to train for 5 days following your last workout, it’s a good idea to go out with a bang. It can be by means of switching the workout system to more of a conditioning-based circuit style method, or it can be as simple as moderating the rest intervals, workloads and exercise pairings in order to tap into an increased metabolic demand. The good thing about training in this fashion is, you can potentiate fat loss for up to 38 hours following the workout, according to recent research. May as well cut into the days you’re inactive by leaving things off in a really good place. Wouldn’t you agree?
Weekend Warrior Routine
Without further delay, here it is. Assuming you’re in the gym from Friday to Sunday, follow this program to get the most out of your time spent.
Day 1 (Friday) – Vertical Push/Pull, Hip-Dominant
- A) Barbell Box Squat – 5×5
- Perform ramping sets of 3 reps each, until you reach your working load for your first set of 5. Rest up to 3 minutes between sets.
- B) Pullups – 5×10
- If your 10 rep max involves weight, then perform weighted pullups instead. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
- C) Romanian Deadlift – 4×8-10
- Be sure to touch the bar to the floor, using full ROM. Remember to keep a flat back. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
- D) Seated DB Shoulder Press (Neutral grip) – 4×8-10
- Use a slow negative (eccentric) phase on each rep, and pause on the shoulders for a 1 second count. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
- E) Hanging Leg Raises – 4×10
- Rest as long as needed between sets
Day 2 (Saturday) – Horizontal Push/Pull
- A1) Seated Rows – 15 reps
- A2) Barbell Bench Press – 10 reps
- Perform 4 rounds. Rest 2 minutes between rounds.
- B1) Walking Lunge – 20 steps
- B2) Glute Hamstring Raise – 8 reps
Perform 4 rounds. Rest 2 minutes between rounds.
- C1) Under-the-Bar Rows – Max Reps
- C2) Pushups – Max Reps
Perform 4 rounds. Rest as long as needed between rounds.
Day 3 (Sunday) – Vertical Push/Pull, Knee-Dominant
- A) Front Squat – 8×8. Rest a MAXIMUM of 1 minute between sets.
- This will involve significantly lighter weight than you normally front squat for 8 reps. I suggest to use 60% of your current 8RM.
- B1) Chin Ups (palms in) – 10 reps
- B2) Barbell Push Press – 10 reps
Rest 90 seconds between rounds. Perform 4 rounds.
- C) Rear Leg Elevated Split Squat – 4×10/leg. Rest 90 seconds between rounds.
- D) Half-Kneeling Press – 3×15/arm.
- Using a single dumbbell, take a knee, and perform a strict shoulder press with the same side arm as the down knee.
- E) Post Workout burnout – 2 minute leg press.
- Load a leg press with 2 plates on either side, and perform as many reps as possible without racking the weight, for 2 minutes. Set your timer and get ready to burn!
Who Said Weekends are for Relaxing?
It’s simple. If you’re in a pinch, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. In the case of the busy workhorse, that means you’ll have to make do with a killer weekend program to keep your strength and size up to snuff. If you’re a frequent trainee with a few bad work weeks ahead, this one’s for you. If you’re someone who regularly tries to kill it on the weekend, then here’s a bit of structure to aid your quest for muscle.
Of course, I still encourage you to get back on track with your mid-week workouts as soon as possible. We all know that’s the gold standard.
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