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Meal Prepping Steps for Success

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By Angela Wallace, MSc, RD, PTS

Are you busy? Do you sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in your day? If you answered yes, you NEED to start meal prepping! It might seem like another chore, but it will save you time, energy, and money (and once you get into the swing of it, it becomes so easy). Being a busy individual means you need energy to keep up with your busy schedule. In addition, if you are working with clients you need to keep them motivated, requiring some extra energy. Fueling your body properly and ensuring you take time to eat healthy meals can make all the difference in your energy levels and your overall health, which will ultimately help you serve your clients best.

How can you start meal prepping?

Step 1: Pick 1-2 days a week to shop for the groceries you need for your meals and snacks.

Step 2: Once you have selected those days, make a plan prior to shopping. For example, if you shop on Sundays, take 5-10 minutes to think about what the week ahead looks like (when will you be working late? when will you need meals at work? when will you be too lazy to prep or cook anything?). Based on your answers to those questions, you can make a plan of what you want to have each day. Know that it is OKAY to plan to eat out on super busy days; it’s the planning aspect that is key. When we don’t plan we end up turning to eating out way too often, and ultimately spending more money than necessary.

Tip: If this is completely new to you, I would suggest starting by planning one meal a day, perhaps your dinners. Keeping breakfast and lunch options simple (i.e., a smoothie and a salad). I still only plan my weekly dinners, my breakfast rotates between oats, smoothies and eggs, and my lunches tend to be leftovers (from my planned dinners). Decide which meal would be best for you to plan ahead so that you can avoid eating out as much as possible.

Step 3: Stick to your proposed plan at the grocery store and get the ingredients you need to make it happen.

Step 4: Set aside time to prepare your meals. This will look different for everyone. For some, it might mean prepping 2-4 meals in advance for their busy week, for others it might mean just prepping a few items to make dinner time super quick. I often cook a fresh meal every night, keeping it simple during the week. For example, I might make veggie burgers, grilled chicken and Greek salad, and tuna melts (all 30 minutes or less). Find what works for you and stick to it!

Healthy Eating On-The-Go Tips

  1. Prep simple foods at the beginning of your week. Chopping and portioning fruit and veggies can be a simple way to start out. This way you can grab these items before you run out each day. You could even prepare some protein or grains ahead of time – if you have planned to have quinoa during the week ahead, why not cook that beforehand?
  2. Make use of your home freezer. If you do get around to batch cooking, make room in your freezer to store pre-prepared options for super busy weeks. Whenever making soups or stews, it’s always a good idea to make a large batch and freeze it. This also works well with healthy muffins for a quick grab-and-go in the mornings!
  3. Just like you schedule clients, schedule time to plan your meals. Grocery shop and care for yourself.
  4. Start small, perhaps you only start by prepping your dinners or your snacks each day. Start with one area and keep building.
  5. Keep your fridge, freezer, and pantry well stocked. What items do you use most? Do you always need some fresh fruits and veggies, cans of tuna, oats, etc.? Figure out your common food patterns and make sure you have what you need to make meal prep and cooking super simple.
  6. Use your ingredients more than once. This can mean using spinach in a smoothie, salad, and stir-fry. Plan to include your produce in different meals to make your life easier and reduce food waste.
  7. When out, read the food labels. Pay attention to the calories and sugar in each of your choices. Try looking at the menu ahead of time, so you know what your best options are when dining out.
  8. Don’t stress if things don’t always go as planned, sometimes things get crazy and sometimes you won’t have any desire to cook. Being prepared and having the items you need in your home will help ensure you get right back on track.

Cheers to happy and healthy meal prepping and eating!

About Angela Wallace

Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian nutritionist, family food expert, and certified canfitpro personal trainer. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and digestive conditions. She uses a ‘non dieting approach’ with her ultimate goals being to help people find a balanced lifestyle and healthy relationship with food. www.eatrightfeelright.ca

 

Why Train Mental Toughness?

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By Jeff Melis

Most health and fitness professionals spend countless hours devoted to mastering and training the physical body.  They plan their workouts for the week, carefully noting how many sets and reps they are going to perform, and what exercises are going to lead to peak results.  But when is the last time you sat down with a plan to train your mind?  Have you ever laid out mindset drills to train your brain in order to overcome negative self-talk, see adversity as opportunity, or rise after an embarrassing fall? This missing but vital piece of work is why, when many of us encounter a staffing problem, a tough revenue month, or an unexpected and unpleasant surprise, our business suffers.

Mental toughness is like any other muscle we have in our body, it must be trained if we want to be able to flex it.

Mental toughness is like any other muscle we have in our body, it must be trained if we want to be able to flex it. Have you ever met someone whose whole day is ruined if their cell phone battery dies?  This is a real disaster in their world.  That’s because they can’t flex their mental toughness muscles. In your business, you are going to face all kinds of problems on a much larger scale. If you cultivate the ability to deal with these problems efficiently and with confidence your business will flourish. People who make training mental toughness a regular part of their routine are better able to create thriving businesses and lives because their new perspective sees problems as opportunities. They can recover from adversity and are less effected by the inevitable ups and downs of running a business.

Whether you are trying to maximize your personal business or develop a winning team around you, the right mindset makes all the difference in the world.

Whether you are trying to maximize your personal business or develop a winning team around you, the right mindset makes all the difference in the world. In your business, and in life for that matter, the only thing that is certain is that you will be faced with challenges, obstacles and adversity. Is your mind tough enough to pull you up when the chips are down? To lead others when things seem bleak? To keep going when others would quit? To motivate your team to victory, even when the path is unclear?

At the Exercise Therapy Association, we believe in training the forgotten muscle, the mind.  Our mental toughness coaches not only help people to restore healthy thinking habits, but work through practical drills that strengthen the mind’s ability to deal with the adversity we all face.  Issues like self-confidence, self-worth, dealing with adversity in business and in everyday life, and being clear on your purpose.

We have found that it’s not good enough to read the latest self-help book or listen to the podcast of the week on self-improvement. Although these band aid solutions may seem helpful in the moment, there is no lasting impact because simply listening to something does not rewire the brain to deal with real life situations. It leaves business owners unarmed as they try to balance the many facets of their day, week or month.  The foundation of all ETA courses is practical application and that includes our mental toughness program. We not only share tested and proven theories on improving mental toughness. We will show you how to integrate them into daily practice so that you can train and strengthen your mental muscle; your mind.

Ask yourself; how much time and money have you spent on mastering your craft? Think about the countless hours you have spent on tackling effective marketing strategies or trying to stay current with technology.  You have all the potential you will ever need to do great things in this industry.  You just need to unlock that potential.  If you believe having a winning mindset can impact your success, is it not worth it to take the time and effort to train your mental toughness? When are you going to start?

If you believe having a winning mindset can impact your success, is it not worth it to take the time and effort to train your mental toughness? When are you going to start?

Make sure to register for canfitpro 2019 to hear Jeff Melis present his course, Training Mental Toughness!

Jeff will show you the link between physical and mental toughness, teach you the mental toughness pyramid and more!

About Jeff Melis

Jeff has run #1 club in Personal Training, achieving over 4 million in personal training sales, #1 in the world. Set industry records and won many top industry awards including “Top Fitness Manager” & “Top Company Personal Training Sales” for the largest fitness organization in Canada. He has seen why personal trainers struggle and what makes them thrive in their careers and has turned his passion to coaching others to succeed.

How Overuse Injuries Can Derail Your Fitness

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By Jamie Logie, PTS, NWS

Your training is going great. You’re getting stronger, fitter, losing weight and seeing results.

And then … Bam! You get injured.

Nothing derails progress more than an injury. It stops any pursuit of fitness in its tracks and leaves you stuck to deal with it. If you’re not able to be active, your progress goes backward and this can leave you frustrated and depressed. Let’s look at overuse injuries and the problems they can cause for your long-term training.

What Is An Overuse Injury?

It’s self-explanatory, but to be more specific, an overuse injury is caused by repetitive trauma. This can be any type of muscle or joint injuries such as tendonitis or a stress fracture. These are both things building up over time and then appear abruptly.

Some common types of overuse injuries include:

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Swimmers shoulder (rotator cuff tendonitis and impingement)
  • Runners’ knee
  • Jumpers’ knee (infrapatellar tendonitis)
  • Little League elbow (comes from too much throwing and caused by repetitive stress to the growth plate on the inside of the elbow)
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Shin splints

The last two are the most common and familiar, and it’s important to point out that with all the other examples you don’t have to be playing sports to get them. They are common if you are constantly doing repetitive motions. They even show up in lower intensity movements. If you are using a keyboard and mouse all day, you know the toll it can take on your body over the long term.

What Causes Overuse Injuries?

They are caused by a combination of repetitive stress, but also training errors when you are engaged in fitness and workouts. They can also happen when you take on too much physical activity too quickly. Other causes include doing an exercise too fast, exercising for too long, or doing too much of one type of activity. This causes an unnecessary strain on your muscles, joints, and tendons.

The other big cause is poor technique. When you use poor form during an exercise, it can have a bad impact on your body. With poor form during a workout, you can overload certain muscles leading to an injury. Another big problem occurs when trying to lift weights that are too heavy. The form turns sloppy and you can end up putting more force and strain on your joints as they struggle with the weight. The muscle you are intending to train doesn’t get properly engaged as your ligaments and tendons are taking on the brunt of the weight.

If these overuse injuries hit you, it can derail your training as you can aggravate them further by trying to work through them. You will also need an extended recovery time to allow them to heal which derails any progress. To help avoid an overuse injury you want to focus on a few things:

  • Master exercise form before progressing with increased weight. Perfect your form and the weights will naturally go up.
  • Wear proper shoes. If you are always running in worn shoes you set yourself up for an overuse injury such as shin splints. You should replace your shoes every 400 to 800 km, even if they still look new.
  • Mix up your training. If you are always doing the same activity, you risk overuse injury as well as your body becoming accustomed to the workout, slowing down your results. Add in some low-impact activities such as swimming or biking to give your body a break, but still get a good workout.

About Jamie Logie

Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and health and wellness coach (PTS, NWS). He’s worked in gyms in Canada, U.S, England, and Australia. He runs http://regainedwellness.com and is a contributing writer on health and fitness for The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, LifeHack, askmen.com, and has an Amazon #1 book called ‘Taking Back Your Health’.

Crickets: A New Superfood

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By Kristina Nel

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report entitled Edible Insects – Future prospects for food and feed security. This report recommends integrating edible insects into our diet, in order to maintain a high-quality diet and reduce our environmental footprint. The publication of this paper had a catalyzer effect on the popularity of eating insects in North America. But why insects? Because they are nutritious, eco-responsible, and taste delicious! If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of adding crickets (the most commonly consumed insect in North America) to your diet, keep on reading.

Health Benefits of Eating Cricket

Cricket is truly what we call a “superfood” i.e. a nutrient-rich food with health-promoting properties considered to be especially beneficial for general health and well-being. This edible insect is packed with macronutrients and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which are all crucial to support optimal health.

Did you know that cricket is 60% protein, whereas beef is only 20-30% protein? In other words, cricket contains 2X more protein than beef on a per weight basis! Not only is cricket high in protein, it is also a complete source of protein. This means that cricket protein contains all the essential amino acids that your body cannot synthesize on its own and that you must obtain through your diet. Protein is an important macronutrient. It is used by the body for muscle synthesis and muscle repair. Therefore, protein is crucial to maintain lean body mass, especially for active people whose muscles deteriorate during exercise.

Cricket is also high in calcium. As it happens, cricket contains 1.6X more calcium than milk on a per weight basis. Calcium is an important nutrient that plays many roles in the human body, including the formation and maintenance of healthy bones, as well as the insurance of proper muscle contraction. Calcium is especially important for athletes because they lose more minerals through perspiration, and because low calcium levels increases the risk of experiencing muscle cramps during physical effort.

Cricket is also rich in iron. Actually, cricket contains 2X more iron than spinach on a per weight basis Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning it must be obtained through the diet. It is a component of hemoglobin; the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Hence, it is particularly important for athletes because it ensures that muscles are oxygenated and working properly, and it helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy during exercise.

Another important nutrient found in large quantities in cricket is vitamin B12. As a matter of fact, cricket contains 7X more vitamin B12 than salmon on a per weight basis. Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin that participates in maintaining the body’s homeostasis and plays a crucial role in blood and neurological functioning. Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of nerve cells, DNA, and red blood cells. Therefore, it is important for athletes to have adequate levels of vitamin B12 to ensure that the oxygen carrying capacity of their blood is not compromised.

Environmental Benefits of Eating Cricket

It is estimated that the world population will exceed nine billion people by the year 2050. In order to meet the needs of this rising population, it will be necessary to almost double the current food production. However, this is not a feasible solution given that the current means of production are nearly insufficient to feed the present population. The biggest problem lies in the growing demand for animal protein. Farming animals requires lots of space, feed and water; it creates lots of strain on the Earth.

In terms of resources, crickets are much more sustainable than any other traditional animals currently being farmed. For instance, crickets require 12 times less feed, 13 times less land, 2000 times less water, and produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than beef. This is a huge difference considering the fact that the livestock sector generates as much greenhouse gases as the transport sector, and monopolizes two thirds of the cultivated surfaces on Earth.

With that being said, it is no surprise that edible insects are consumed more and more in North America. While there is a certain psychological barrier that must be overcome due to the lack of edible insects in dietary customs, there are lots of ways to consume crickets that make the transition to an entotarian diet much more comfortable. For instance, many companies are adding crickets to their products such as energy bars, protein bars, protein powder, chips, pasta, etc. In addition, you can start cooking with cricket powder, which can easily be added to all the meals you cook and the treats you bake!

Check out the Food and Agriculture Organization report for more information.

About Kristina Nel

Kristina Nel is the Product Development Manager for Näak. She joined Näak’s dynamic team in January 2019. Kristina graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and a concentration in Sports Nutrition in 2017. She also graduated from McGill University with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition in 2018, after completing research on endurance runners and their dietary habits. During her university summers, Kristina spent her time tree planting and working different jobs in the reforestation industry. When she isn’t busy coming up with new product ideas and creating content for work, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or planning her next adventure!

Cricket Powder Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

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By Kristina Nel

Yields: 8 big cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ rolled oats
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cricket powder
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Put the raisins in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak.
  • Add the dry ingredients (rolled oats, flour, cricket powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt) to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add the wet ingredients (egg and melted coconut oil) to a small bowl. Whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients from the small mixing bowl to the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly to create the cookie dough.
  • Strain the raisins and add them to the rest of the cookie dough. Fold them in.
  • Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 8 round cookies. Place them on the baking tray.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Make sure the cookies are golden brown and baked, but still soft on the inside.
  • Take the cookies out of the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

About Kristina Nel

Kristina Nel is the Product Development Manager for Näak. She joined Näak’s dynamic team in January 2019. Kristina graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and a concentration in Sports Nutrition in 2017. She also graduated from McGill University with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition in 2018, after completing research on endurance runners and their dietary habits. During her university summers, Kristina spent her time tree planting and working different jobs in the reforestation industry. When she isn’t busy coming up with new product ideas and creating content for work, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or planning her next adventure!

Fuel Up for Fun

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By Carol Harrison, RD

Summer is here, and fueling up sporty kids to help them feel and perform their best is now easier with this resource: Fuel up for Fun. Designed for parents and coaches of kids 6 to 15 years of age, this resource fills a gap I noticed while raising my three sporty kids: what should I feed them, and how do I do that and still make it to practice on time! Parents and coaches who reviewed the resource agreed it addresses their top sports nutrition questions, and it is jammed with practical how-to tips. It’s now updated to include references to Health Canada’s new food guide, and multiple copies of this resource can be ordered at no charge.

Three key take-aways to share with parents and coaches:

  1. Back to Basics: replace ultra-processed food with nutrient-rich wholesome food

 It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of nutritional advice, but consider this: amongst Canadian kids’ ages 9 to 13 years of age, 57% of their calories come from calorie-rich, nutrient-poor, ultra-processed food like frozen pizza, french fries, sweetened cereals, candy, salty snacks and pop. Given that the number one nutritional priority for most families will be to help kids fill up on nutrient-rich, wholesome foundational foods, Health Canada’s new “Eat Well Plate” is a great place to start.

TIP: What to offer before, during and after physical activity, how to handle challenges like practices over the dinner hour, and how to handle treats and more are all covered in “Fuel up For Fun.”

Good to know: The nutritional value of foods represented in the protein group varies widely with omega-3s from fatty fish, iron from beef, calcium from dairy, choline from eggs, and fiber from beans and lentils. That old wisdom about eating a variety of wholesome foods still holds true, especially for the protein group.

  1. Hydration Basics: Water is still king

Getting enough water helps kids to feel energized during workouts, and to avoid cramps as well. Because thirst is not a reliable sign of dehydration, kids need reminders to drink before, during and after physical activity. Kids may not realize it, but they continue to lose fluids or dehydrate even after games and practices.

TIP: Wondering about hydrating with juice, sports drinks and energy drinks?  That’s all covered in “Fuel up for Fun”, including a recipe to make your own sports drink.

Good to know: Kids will drink more water when it’s flavoured. Try adding mint, orange or lemon slices to water.

  1. Plan ahead to work smarter, not longer in the kitchen

For most of us, time is the biggest barrier to helping our active kids get the good nutrition they need. Try to get ahead by doing some meal prep on Sundays:

  • Hard cook eggs, chop up cubes of cheese, fruit and veggies or make muffin-tin frittatas for breakfast on the go.
  • Make containers of dried fruit, nuts and whole grain cereal for a portable and energizing snack after practices and games.
  • Pan fry some ground beef with diced bell peppers and onions then add in a can of rinsed kidney beans. Use that as a base for a head start on a weeknight dinner of tacos, pasta with meat sauce or grab-and-go burritos.

TIP: Eat well during “away” tournaments. Pack up a cooler, book a hotel room with a fridge and organize family potluck suppers. For times when teams do eat out, “Fuel up for Fun” offers lots of tips for making better-for-you choices.

Good to know: Kids can get enough protein from food, and do not need to rely on protein supplements which are costly, highly processed and don’t offer the same nutritional benefits as whole foods. Animal foods like meat, fish, cheese and poultry are richer in protein than plant options like beans and nuts, but for optimal nutrition it’s good to include a variety of both animal and plant-based proteins.

About Carol Harrison

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram: @greatmealideas

 

Meet Our Members: Mike Goertz

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Mike Goertz has been a long standing volunteer in the fitness center at Hutton House; his dedication to the program and the people that participate in it is inspirational.  Recently, Mike went through to be a certified canfitpro Personal Training Specialist and was successful! One of his goals is to work with the older adult population and take more courses that pertain to that. Mike’s dedication to the course shows what an inspiration he is!

Why did you choose canfitpro?

It was recommended to me by Kristy Hoornick, Fitness and Wellness Facilitator at Hutton House. I also liked the information and the way they taught the course

What is your “why”? Why have you chosen this profession?

I am an athlete with Special Olympics Ontario and I swim competitively. I started exercising to improve my own fitness for competitions. I enjoyed it so much that I decided I wanted to help others with intellectual disabilities to improve their fitness. I feel that by having a personal trainer who can relate to their clients on the same level is important, and my being able to understand their experiences helps with this.

What gets you excited to go to work each day?

I get excited to go to work each day because I get to see each of my clients as well as other participants, and help them achieve their goals. To see the pride that they have in themselves for achieving a goal or completing a new exercise makes it all worth while.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I enjoy the clients that I work with and making a difference in their lives.

2 Meals Prepped With Bruschetta Mix

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By Angela Wallace, MSc, RD, PTS

I love nothing more than fresh local tomatoes during the spring and summer months, and a meal that can turn into two!

Since prepping your meals ahead of time can make all the difference in a busy week, why not try creating some two in one meals that help make leftovers a little more exciting. Below are two recipes that use fresh tomatoes and herbs for bruschetta inspired meals.

The first step to these two meals is making the bruschetta mix (and lots of it).

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole cherry tomatoes or 3 medium to large tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ½ large red onion, minced (you can also use white onion)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Slice tomatoes into small pieces or cut cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  • Mince red onion, garlic, and basil.
  • Mix everything together, add lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste.

The lazy (aka quick) version: throw everything into a food processor and pulse for 15-20 seconds!

Set bruschetta aside, half of it will be used for recipe one and half for recipe two.

Chickpea Bruschetta Pasta

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • Half the bruschetta mixture
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (can be canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 350 g pasta of choice (can be rice pasta, tri-colour pasta, chickpea pasta for some added fibre and protein).

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil in a pot and cook pasta according to package directions.
  • In a medium pan heat olive oil. Add bruschetta mixture and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Once warm and slightly bubbling remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  • Once pasta is cooked, add to bruschetta mixture, toss and enjoy! 

Bruschetta Chicken

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Half the bruschetta mixture

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Toss chicken breast in olive oil, salt, black pepper, and oregano.
  • Bake for 22-26 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Top with bruschetta mixture and enjoy.

Option: serve with a side salad, over a bed of baby spinach or arugula. If served over greens, drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

About Angela Wallace

Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, family food expert, and canfitpro certified personal trainer. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and family nutrition. She uses a ‘non dieting approach’ with her ultimate goal being to help people find a balanced lifestyle and healthy relationship with food. www.eatrightfeelright.ca

Movement of the Month: DB Multi-Planar Hip Thrust with Swing Switch

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Movement of the Month With Coach Kennedy

Summer brings along summer sports and many outdoor activities. Walking, running, hiking, mountain climbing, soccer, football, baseball, tennis, golf, and the list goes on, and on! One sure way to hinder your summer plans is an injury.  If you consider, for a moment, the strength and movement patterns required to perform the previously listed activities and sports, you quickly see how easy it is for injury to occur.

Multi-directional, multi-planar, quick explosive movements, while they carry many benefits, they also bring along the risk of injury just by their sheer nature.  For example, at some point or another, 80% of runners will experience an injury!

So, as fitness professionals, what can we do? For starters, train the body as an integrated unit as it was designed. We need to create strength as a whole unit, train the body in multi planes and directions, and integrate other aspects such as speed, power, balance and strength.

The DB Multi-Planar Hip Thrust W/ Swing Switching  is a great example of taking a fundamental movement (hip thrusting) and adding in a second plane (frontal), making it multi planar and multi-directional. This creates strength and tissue resilience in all directions. So, when asked to move in and out of different planes our bodies do so efficiently and effectively, with decreased chances of injury.

This exercise requires the ability to integrate from the ground up. It requires the coordination of many muscles and joints cohesively working together.  Some of the benefits include intra and intermuscular coordination, balance, agility, power, strength, endurance and stability. Remember, stability drives force and safety; the more stable we are, the more force we can generate safely. This is great for caloric expenditure and movement efficiency.

Lastly, it’s fun and totally different from what we generally see and perform. This means, as a trainer, it shows your ability to be different and think outside the box. And your client get to enjoy the benefits, as mentioned above, and the fun of moving!  Why does that matter? Because that means they stick to exercise, which is the prime directive.

Exercise Execution:

  • Begin by standing with feet hip width apart, soft knees, core braced, shoulders set (elevate, protract, depress) while holding a DB in your right hand.
  • Take a lateral lunge to your left and, without pausing, reverse your position back to the start while at the same time swinging the DB with the right hand up to shoulder height. (Remember that the swing comes from driving the HIPS forward. It’s hip hinging).
  • At this point, the DB is handed over to your left hand as you proceed into a right lateral lunge.
  • Repeat this process for the allotted time or reps.

Exercise Protocol:

I find that when performing movement based/ multi-planar exercises like this they work best based on time – generally 30 seconds per round. Yes, you can also count reps, if you like – generally 10-12 per side, depending on the goal.

Apply exercises based on your client’s fitness level.  In other words, regress and progress as required.

Not sure how?  Reach out anytime about this or anything fitness related: kennedy@coachkennedyonline.ca.

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 27-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his CK Mentorships, CK Private Coaching sessions, and Fitness Educator of LIVE education to the fitness industry.

Before pursuing the role of Fitness Educator, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Training Manager. Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year award, co-founder of the CFEA (Canadian Fitness Education Alliance), and master instructor for various industry companies including canfitpro and EBFA Global (Evidence Based Fitness Academy). For more information visit  www.KennedyLodato.com

Pulling for Power™: Six Simple Steps to Total Pull-up Proficiency

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By Ken “SGT Ken®” Weichert

The US Marines Physical Fitness Test (PFT) utilizes the Pull-up exercise to effectively measure the grip strength and power of the back and arms muscles.

The love-hate relationship with the pull-up

I have always been a huge fan of the pull-up exercise, so much that I perform pull-ups nearly at every workout. I have noticed that people will either love the pull-up or hate it. If you have grown up performing the pull-up, you will more likely be able to perform the exercise as an adult. If you have never performed a pull-up and attempted to perform it for the first time as an adult, you may find the exercise extremely challenging to accomplish.

The good news about pull-up training for beginners

It is never too late to learn how to perform an exercise safely and effectively. Pulling for Power is a fitness program for the person that has never performed a pull-up, or has not performed many in the past and could benefit from a gradual approach.

As my Drill Sergeant said at Basic Combat Training (BCT), “To master this task we will need to perform the crawl, walk and run phases.”

Look at accomplishing this program through three primary parts: Progression, Variety and Precision. Gradually progress at a safe rate within your own fitness level and expertise, perform a variety of movements to help achieve optimum results from your workout, and strive to attain proper exercise form at all times.

Let’s get started!

STEP 1: WARM-UP

Calisthenics: Perform 4-6 minutes of calisthenics, such as running in-place, Side-Straddle-Hops “Jumping Jacks” or jumping rope in order to warm-up the body.

Dynamic stretching: Perform 2-4 minutes of dynamic flexibility exercises, such as Knee Lifts, Hip Stretches, Leg Lifts and Shoulder Rotations.

STEP 2: ASSISTED PULL-UPS

Assisted pull-up

Assisted pull-up

Equipment needed: A fixed horizontal bar that is 1” or up to 1-3/4” inches in diameter and securely positioned approximately 3-4 feet above the ground.

Primary muscles targeted: Latissimus Dorsi

Synergists: Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Teres Major, Deltoid (Posterior), Rhomboids, Levator Scapulae, Trapezius (lower, middle), Pectoralis Major (sternal), Pectoralis Minor

Dynamic stabilizers: Biceps Brachii, Triceps (long head)

Start: Sit underneath the pull-up bar. Grasp the bar tightly with your hands over or under the bar, arms shoulder-width apart and fully extended. Tighten your abdominal muscles and elevate your hips until your back and legs form a straight line. Adjust your foot position until your chest is aligned under the bar.

Actions: While keeping your abdominal muscles tight, slowly pull your body toward the bar by bending both elbows. Return to the start position and continue until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as your pull your body upward and inhale through your nose while you return to the start position.

Warning: Try not to rock your body while performing Assisted Pull-ups. Swinging or kipping is when you use a forceful movement of the legs and hips at the start of the exercise in order to gain momentum. Sudden uncontrolled pitching actions with your body during the onset of the pull-up may prevent your stabilizers from protecting you from unwarranted strain or possible injury.

Basic: 1-3 repetitions

Intermediate: 4-8 repetitions

Advanced: 9-15 repetitions

Extreme: 16-24 repetitions

STEP 3: TRX REAR DELTOID ‘T’ FLY

TRX Rear Deltoid T Fly

Equipment needed: TRX

Start: Stand facing the anchor with your feet together, or up to 12 inches apart, holding the handles shoulder level, palms inward. Position your feet in front of your hands. Lean back and fully extend arms, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. Note: A staggered stance may be used for added stability.

TRX Rear Deltoid T Fly

Actions: While keeping your abdominal muscles tight, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Keep tension on the TRX and maintain alignment with your shoulders, hips and legs. Return to start position and continue until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as your pull your body forward and inhale through your nose while you return to the start position.

Basic: 1-2 repetitions

Intermediate: 3-6 repetitions

Advanced: 7-12 repetitions

Extreme: 13–20 repetitions

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STEP 4: TRX BACK ROW

TRX Back Row

TRX Back Row

Equipment needed: TRX

Start: Stand facing the anchor with your feet together, or up to 12 inches apart, holding the handles shoulder level, palms inward. Position your feet in front of your hands. Lean back and fully extend arms, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. Note: A staggered stance may be used for added stability.

Actions: While keeping your abdominal muscles tight, pull your body toward the anchor by bending both elbows. Keep tension on the TRX and maintain alignment with your shoulders, hips and legs. Return to start position and continue until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as your pull your body forward and inhale through your nose while you return to the start position.

Basic: 1-6 repetitions

Intermediate: 7-15 repetitions

Advanced: 16-25 repetitions

Extreme: 26-40 repetitions

Fit Tip: You can add a rotational variation with the arms by turning your palms upward as you perform the row.

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STEP 5: US MARINE CORPS PULL-UP

Pull-up

Pull-up

Equipment needed: A fixed horizontal bar that is 1” or up to 1-3/4” inches in diameter and securely positioned approximately 7.5 feet above the ground.

Start: The bar must be grasped with both palms facing forward or to the rear and arms fully extended beneath the bar. The legs may be positioned in a straight or bent position, but may not be raised above the waist.

Actions: A repetition is counted when you bend both elbows and raise your body with your arms until the chin is above the bar and lower your body until your arms are fully extended. Continue until your goal is reached. Exhale through your mouth as your pull your body upward and inhale through your nose while you return to the start position.

US Marine Corps pull-up standards of performance: US Marines are not permitted to rest their chins on the bar. The intent is to execute a complete vertical or dead-hang pull-up. There is often a modest amount of rocking movements that will occur as the pull-up is performed continuously. The intent is to avoid a pendulum-like motion that aids in the ability to execute the pull-up. Movements like whipping, kicking, kipping of the body or legs, or any leg movement used to assist in the vertical progression of the pull-up is not authorized. If observed, the repetition will not count.

STEP 6: COOL-DOWN

Dynamic or Static stretching: Perform 2-4 minutes of dynamic or static flexibility exercises.

STAMINA STOPWATCH

The Stamina Stopwatch includes the timing estimates for each set of the Champion’s Challenge (does not include the 6-min warm-up and 4-min cool-down).

Quick Fix: 1 full set of 4 rounds = approximately 20 minutes

Double Tap: 2 full sets of 4 rounds = approximately 40 minutes

Triple Threat: 3 full sets of 4 rounds = approximately 60 minutes

Author notes:

Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have prior to commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or shortness of breath.

Additionally, the views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

REFERENCES

Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Marine Corps Physical Fitness Program. Marine Corps Order 6100.13 W/CH 1. Washington, DC, Department of Defense, 2008. Available at http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO%206100.13%20W_CH%201.pdf; accessed May 13,2019.

Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Semper Fit Fitness and Health Promotion Policy. Marine Corps Order 1700.29. Washington, DC, Department of Defense, 2013. Available at http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MCO%201700_29.pdf; accessed May 13, 2019.

Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Marine Corps Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests. Marine Corps Order 6100.13A C 469. Washington, DC, Department of Defense, 2018. Available at https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO%206100.13A.pdf?ver=2018-01-23-094656-933; accessed May 13, 2019.

Remarks:

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  • 14 August 2019, 8:00am-4:00pm, Session #105, canfitpro 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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SGT KEN®

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About Sgt. Ken

Ken Weichert (aka SGT Ken®) is an award-winning international speaker, six-time US Army Soldier of the Year, Master Fitness Trainer, Master Resilience Trainer, Counterintelligence Agent and decorated combat veteran. Ken is a CSP™ (Certified Speaking Professional), a member of the National Speakers Association, and a graduate of the John C. Maxwell Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker Course. Ken has trained over one million Service Members and civilians through Operation Fit to Fight, has written over 100 articles for GX®, Backpacker®, Outside®, Health®, and created the Operation Family Fit video series and family fitness kits for the Air National Guard. Ken was awarded the Canadian Fitness Professionals (canfitpro) 2011 Best New Presenter of the Year, the EMPOWER Fitness 2013 Male Presenter of the Year, the IDEA WORLD 2016 Fitness Instructor of the Year, the EMPOWER Fitness 2017 Inspiration Award of the Year, the Canadian Fitness Professionals (canfitpro) 2017 International Presenter of the Year, has been featured numerous times on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox news, and continues to serve as a host for the Fit for Duty show on the Pentagon Channel. Ken was awarded a Letter of Appointment by the Chinese Government, naming him the Ambassador of Health and Fitness for the city of Changsha. Ken was awarded his tenth Army Commendation Medal for creating the Warrior Fit Camp program for the Tennessee Army National Guard Suicide Prevention Task Force, helping thousands of Armed Service Members turn stress into strength and obstacles into opportunities through physical and emotional resiliency coaching and leadership training.