sixpack

Exercise, Shameless Self-promotion

Fighting "Decision fatigue"?

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I like when the media attempts to coin new terms. "Decision Fatigue", as this Globe and Mail article calls it, is the idea that in any given day you only have enough energy to make a finite number of "tough decisions", before you just do what you would normally just...do. The types of "tough decisions" they mean mostly relate to making smarter choices for your health; I'm going to the gym and I’m not going to have that treat that I want to eat right now. It's an interesting hypothesis, and I don't really know what to make of putting a definite limitation ones ability to overcome being tired. What did certainly catch my eye though is how I initially interpreted it: consciously deciding you're too tired to get out for a run or make it to the gym well before it's actually time to do it. I do this. All the time. Especially when I'm not training very hard or out really of my groove - as is currently the case.

For myself and those of you like me, there's really only one solution. Grab a bag a Ruffles' Sour Cream 'N Bacon chips (my fav), and settle into the couch for the night. Yes? Of course not. It takes real grit to just get out there and do it. Hell, do it half speed. Take longer breaks between sets. Just get out there and do it. I've actually been following my advice this week (before I even happened upon this article), up at 4:30am every morning for the gym and a couple 5km runs in the evenings. You know what? The worst part was really just the thought of going out and doing it. When I'm finally in the gym or mid-run, it feels really good! When it's over I feel great and I'm ready for the next one.

You can take the points from this article, and they may be very valid for you, but really the biggest challenge for most people is fully committing to something and getting over the various daily excuses that stand in your way. When you fully commit to something, be it healthier meals or a rigid fitness routine, the route to get there is yours for the taking.

Check out the article here, of course I fully support the planning and scheduling advice!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health-advisor/want-to-work-out-more-defend-yourself-against-decision-fatigue/article19872789/

Meal Planning

Breakfast showdown: Cottage Cheese vs Plain Yogurt

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Most mornings when I’m short on time I reach for cottage cheese for breaky. Low in sugar and carbs, high in protein – it keeps me full throughout the day. Slice up some fresh fruit, or go the savory route with chopped onion, red pepper, celery and black pepper – it’s extremely versatile and takes me about a minute to prep. But this morning I was out. Being far too lazy and short on time for a grocery run, I found some plain yogurt and went for it. It was delicious! Better than my usual cottage cheese and fruit breakfast I’ve been eating for years. So I thought to myself, what really is the difference between the two?

Here’s a comparison of Nordica 2% Cottage Cheese and Astro Original 2% Plain Yogurt per half cup.

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I didn’t choose these brands for any particular reason, but most plain versions tend have similar nutritional values anyways.

Calories Yogurt is slight lower in calories than the cottage cheese (40kcal less, 36% lower). So if you’re strictly counting calories, yogurt can be your friend.

Protein Cottage cheese wins this one, and by a long shot (9g more, almost 300%). A few years ago I opted for a low carbohydrate focused breakfast to a high protein one. That’s why I started eating cottage cheese in the first place. I always found I was starving at work within a few hour of eating cereal, toast etc. Most mornings I work out before eating breakfast so that blast of protein afterwards is great. Plus I still replenish carbs with the fresh fruit I add.

Fat They’re both the same. You chose them at 2%. :P

Carbohydrates Surprisingly they’re both the same. I’ve seen some versions of plain yogurt that have significantly more carbs via sugars, but the Astro brand seems to be a good choice.

Taste I really liked the yogurt better. This may be because I’ve been eating cottage cheese for years straight, and the change up is nice. Both have very different textures, and different flavor. I’m leaning towards the yogurt!

Conclusion: I was honestly expecting to heavily favour the cottage cheese. I assumed the two would vary quite a bit and always thought yogurt was higher in sugars and carbs, so this is a pleasant surprise. I’ll definitely keep both in my morning routine. Keep in mind this is PLAIN yogurt, once you get into the Vanilla and other flavors expect lots of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. If you add chopped fruits, you really shouldn’t need the flavored version anyway.

There are obviously other factors involved in making the right choice for you – some yogurts have higher calcium, lower sodium and Greek yogurt will have more protein. Yogurt also has bacterial cultures with proven benefits for your immune system and so on. For me, I’m more worried about excess sugars, and getting that higher protein content. I’m not afraid of fat either, and it can be your friend - although calorie dense. So unless you’re concerned about higher calories, go the yogurt route. If protein is what you’re looking for, go for cottage cheese. Otherwise – either are a great addition to your morning.

Which of the two do you favor? Or am I the only one who thinks this much about breaky?

Thanks for reading, Matt for TrainRite

 

Exercise, Shameless Self-promotion

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Exercise

New Chest Variation: Neck Press

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I just added this bench press variation into my workout routine: the Neck Press If you're like me who constantly has a tight chest, you will FEEL this exercise - and feel it quickly. This is not an ego boosting, heavy-as-you-can-go movement: GO LIGHT to start. Trust me, you'll feel it. I use this exercise before I do my regular sets of bench presses.

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Take your basic bench press, but slide you body down low on the flat bench to allow you to lower the bar over your neck, rather than your chest. Bring the bar down slow, just until it touches your neck, pause, and bring the bar back up to your starting position.

Try this chest routine:

3x12 Neck Press superset with Pushups to exhaustion (no rest between) 3x12 Bench Press (superset with another muscle group) 3x12 Smith Press (superset with another muscle group) 3x12 Flat Bench Cable Flyes (superset with another muscle group) **I always try to superset with another muscle group to maximize a workout

Now tell me you don't feel that? You won't be able to lift the same weight after the Neck Press x Pushups, but still try to safely lift heavy sets to finish the workout. Keep your rest times short as you can.

Happy lifting

Matt for TrainRite

 

Meal Planning

Deconstructed Taco! (....salad)

Tacos are great! So in an attempt to recreate a healthier version... I came up with this deconstructed salad.It's also great. Honest. You may miss the taco shell and cheeses - but you have to make sacrafices sometimes, right? This was satisfyiing enough for me anyway :)

It may look like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of that is spices that can be left out/exchanged. The majority of your time will be chopping fresh vegetables. Enjoy!

See the recipe here!

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Meal Planning

Soup's OK - but it's no main course...

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I like soup. Ok, I kinda like soup. I just never want it for dinner, you know? It just doesn't seem satisfying at all, almost a solid food's garnish. Admittedly I've never actually made my own soup, until today. It was actually really good! Heavy on the garlic, so I''ll tone that down next time. I love posting recipes on my site for you, but it's really for myself too. I've made so many dishes in the past that were simple, healthy and really good... all to be forgotten. Selfish? Not entirely! I get many of my recipes online and try to tweak them for my own liking, or to cut out ingredients I either don't have, or think is excessive. So if any look familiar that's because they're all out there :)

Take this Butternut Squash & Asian Pear Soup Recipe - heavy cream? Not necessary when you have the squash. I used almond milk instead, but I'm convinced water would have been fine. The curry addition is a good idea too.

Check out the recipe here - feel free to use as a based and adding your own flavour! Just don't eat is your main dish.

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Meal Planning

Recipe: Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Happy new year all! I'm making an effort to post as frequently as possible this year, and check back for some guest posts as well.

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This recipe was created by suggestion from a friend for creating caramelized onions in the slow cooker. I love caramelized onions, but somehow I didn't think the entire wrap filling in onion would be as appetizing. It’s a really simple recipe, and the majority of your time will be spent filling up the slow cooker. Aside from the butter, this recipe is really clean and any spices for the pulled chicken can be substituted, as any of the filling ingredients. Try not to do what I do every time I assemble a wrap: stuff as much filling as I can only to have the entire thing fall apart on first bite. Less is more people! Especially with the delicate lettuce leaves. Needless to say I ate these alone, face covered, what a mess. Enjoy!

See this recipe here.

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Exercise

Happy 4 of July, you 'Mericans!

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Finishing the week strong, after a very slow start... Has anybody else come down with this dirty summer cold that’s been floating around the city?? I’ve missed so many training sessions this week. Today is my first day back, and I’m trying to condense the muscle groups that were missed in the past 4 days or so into today and tomorrow’s routine. It felt good to rest a few days, the cold really knocked me on my ass.

It actually feels nice to switch it up a bit from my typical training style of 2 muscle groups per day, superset with one another (mostly to save me time in the morning in an attempt to get to work on time! ;) ).

July 4 

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Lats/Chest Wide grip pullups, 4 x exhaustion Bench press, 4x20 Lat Pulldown Machine, 3x12 Incline press, 3x12 Pushups, 3 x exhaustion

Bis/Tris Barbell curls, 4x20 Skullcrushers, 4x20 Alternating dumbell curls, 3 x exhaustion Dips, 3 x exhaustion Cable curls (bar), 3x12

July 5

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Legs/Various Leg press, 4x20 Lower Back Extension, 4x20 Glute kickback, 3x12ea Decline bench dumbell pullovers, 3x12 Hamstring curl, 3x12ea

Core/Shoulders Cable crunch, 4x20 Smith shoulder press (heavy), 4x6 Hanging wipers, 3x15 Double cable lateral raise, 3x12ea Decline bench swiss ball swing, 3x25

Exercise, Meal Planning, Shameless Self-promotion

2 MONTH SHRED CHALLENGE: WEEK 1 COMPLETE

Just a quick update (full results here): Well, after one week I don't expect to see much of a change, so here's a quick summary.

I followed my workout plan down to a tee, and did 3x5Km runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Friday, you’ll notice, is also leg day for me… causing the run to be a little on the slow side (poor hammys!).

At mealtime I did fairly well too – adjusted to the side-plate portion size and tried to avoid just piling high instead. This needs work haha. Luckily much of my meals have been veg and chicken so I don't feel so bad. Here's another example: shallot, mushroom, and herb scrambled eggs with tomato and avocado. So good.

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Saturday Cheats: glass of Red, and mom’s Rhubarb pie. Def worth it!

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Adjustments: I don’t think I felt anything need fine tuning quite yet. I may not run on Friday’s and shift the days to Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday… it’s really awkward to run right after a leg workout!

Results: I’m not expecting any real results photos-wise, but my weight did drop. This is NOT a typical drop, likely due to me cramming as much dirty food in my face as I could right before I embarked on this journey!

Starting Weight: 176.2lbs

Week end: 171.8lbs

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Exercise, Shameless Self-promotion

Your Workout "Routine"

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We've all heard that in order to get the most out of your workouts, they should be anything but 'routine'. Varying your workouts by trying  new exercises, varying sets and reps, increasing and decreasing rest periods and intensity are all great was to do this. So what if you're like me? Lack of time to research, plan and tweak new workout sessions used to be my largest hurdle for making new strides in personal fitness. So I wanted to share exactly how I do accomplish this, and I think it's worth a look for anyone who feels like they're own workouts are getting stagnant. Yeah, you know who you are... doing the same routines daily for months isn't working. I did that for almost two years with no results or reward.  I want to state up front that there are a myriad of ways to effectively train your body and create an effective workout. This is just one way I've found to be effective for myself.

First things first, I'm at the gym by 6am to get my training in before work. I'm in no shape to be dreaming up new routines. So yes, in order to follow what I'm going to tell you here you will need to put in some hours on a Sunday or a slow day to plan ahead. What I do is I plan workouts on a two week rotation. I go to the gym usually 6 days a week. So basically up front you'll plan 12 days of workouts (6 days x 2 weeks). Now if you go to the gym 3 or 4 days a week you only have to plan 6-8 days worth. The key is to I rotate through this routine for up to three months - and probably even longer. If you do a great job of researching new exercises and don't repeat any, you'll only really be doing the same exercise twice a month! Sounds like it's worth a day or two or up front planning right?

The picture I posted is my current workout routine - and due to an injury I haven't really been able complete it a month straight - but I'll post any updates in how effect it is over the next few months. I should note as well that I do some outdoor runs around 3 times a week on top of this (hence the early morning workout sessions). I choose 2 muscle groups per session, 5 exercises each. The sets and reps vary.

I know I'm shorting you on some of the details - if you want to know more about my regimen, please comment below!

Self promotion alert: This workout will perfectly align itself with a TrainRite logbook. Get one, try it out. I can't stress enough how taking the time to plan out your fitness activities has been the key to my own results.

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