You probably know someone that is already riding the gluten free bandwagon.

Before making the decision to go go gluten-free, it is a good idea to understand exactly what gluten is, how it can affect the body and whether or not you should eliminate it totally from your diet.
First of all, what is gluten? Gluten is a broad term for various proteins called prolamin. Each grain has its own specific prolamin. It is the prolamins in wheat, rye and barley that trigger a reaction in some people.Although wheat is the primary issue for people intolerant to gluten, rye and barley have chemical compositions that are similar enough to cause the same reaction in the body. Other prolamins, like those in oats, corn, sorghum and rice don’t usually affect people who are intolerant to gluten. For people who are highly reactive to gluten, may have negative responses to oats.

Unknown-2

For the majority of people, gluten is nothing to worry about. For some, gluten can cause big problems. The difference between those who cannot digest gluten and those who can basically boils down to the immune system. In gluten-sensitive individuals, the body considers gluten to be a harmful invader and mounts an immune response when gluten is ingested. In those individuals that cannot tolerate gluten, the immune system thinks gluten is an invader and attacks it like it would any other harmful substance. An individual with celiac disease will become more and more ill with each exposure to gluten.
After ingesting gluten, many experience immediate symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating and constipation. Extraintestinal systems like hives, itching and swelling may also occur. If a person with celiac disease follows a well-balanced diet, but continues to eat gluten, they can become dangerously deficient in vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, vitamin d and vitamin k because they are unable to absorb them. Lack of these nutrients can lead to serious conditions like rickets, hypocalcemia, coagulopathy ,arthritis, anxiety, depression, numbness in legs, arms or fingers and more.
The only treatment of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity is complete avoidance of any food or product that contains gluten.3 Limiting the amount of gluten you eat will not prevent the damage—it must be removed from the diet in all in all forms.

This diet is not always easy to follow. Gluten pops up in many food items you would never guess had it on their ingredient list. It is often used as a thickening agent in soups, sauces, marinades and frozen yogurt. It can be found in flavored products like ice cream or protein shakes. Most food cooked with teriyaki sauce or soy sauce contains gluten. Some vitamins and supplements contain gluten. All beers and many grain alcohols are made from wheat, barley, or rye. Even beauty products and lotion can have gluten.

images-2

If you think you may be gluten-sensitive, be sure to first speak with your doctor and learn more about the condition. Don’t hop on the bandwagon without proper information.

To avoid gluten entirely, it is important to seek proper education, talk with your doctor, and check food labels and menus for allergen information.3 If you’re not completely sure, don’t eat it or use it.

tumblr_na1wvka1fm1th02f2o1_400

  • 1-½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 Tbs raw, chunky almond butter
  • 2-3 Tbs raw, unsweetened canned coconut milk
  • cinnamon to taste
  • dash of fresh grated nutmeg (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan over medium heat, stirring often until all is thoroughly combined and warm.
  2. Add fresh or dried fruits and/or nuts for additional texture and flavor.

tumblr_najzqkFjzh1tp0szto1_400
In the gym we like to take you through many variations of warm-ups and movements to prepare you for your workout.  You may be wondering if there is vital importance in doing a warm-up and movements? The answer you will get from all the trainers in the gym is, “ABSOLUTELY!”  But that doesn’t always answer the question of why it is important that we spend the time to get you properly warmed up and mobilized. After various warm-ups consisting of:  inch worms, rowing, running, and other movements  in order to get your body temperature rising, we like to spend time mobilizing and practicing movements which are associated with the workload for the workout. This type of movement is called Dynamic Stretching. Once you are properly warmed up, we take you through a series of movements that consists of:  air squats, leg kicks, lunges, and jump squats. This series of dynamic movements would be great for setting you up to do a strength series of squats, dead-lifts, or split-squats. Dynamic stretching are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This is very critical and important. Dynamic stretching will be beneficial to your performance and set you up for the current workload. Why is this critical and important? Here is the science. Your body has many mechanisms that need to be activated and stimulated. When you put your body through a series of stretches while in motion, it sends signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work. Your body’s temperature begins to rise and blood is pumped to the working areas of the body. Getting good blood flow to the area of the working muscles is very critical in order to supply the area with energy needed to do work. Along with getting proper blood flow to the working area, the muscle fibers and connective tissues will gain more flexibility and range of motion. Many studies have shown that dynamic stretching can help increase power, improve flexibility, and increase your range of motion.

In other words, by doing dynamic stretching after your warm-up and before your workout, you are going to feel stronger and work up to a heavier load.  Another point to remember here is that dynamic movements are very sport and movement specific.  We will change the types of movements you do in the warm-up dependent upon what the work load is going to be for that day. Additionally, your range of motion and flexibility will also be greater. Have you ever done air squats at the beginning of a warm up and felt like it was terrible, but after doing a proper warm-up and working on the movements which mimic and simulate squatting, your actual squat will then feel more natural and will flow much smoother.

tumblr_n8tzrbnSJC1th02f2o1_400
Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion {chopped}
  • 1 lb of  Chopped Chicken
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 avocado diced
  • cilantro {for garnish}

Instructions:

  • heat the skillet over medium
  • add the oil and onion
  • saute until soft {just a few minutes}
  • add the chicken, and cook
  • add the taco seasoning
  • stir in the rice and beans, cooking until everything is warmed through
  • top with the cheese, and cook until melted
  • remove from the heat, and top with the diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro

tumblr_nak0793euB1tglma1o1_1280

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw peanuts
  • 4 tbs bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 lb organic chicken breasts, cut into strips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, chop the peanuts into a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, house the oil.  In a separate medium sized bowl, combine the peanut meal, bread crumbs, garlic powder, parsley flakes and salt.  Dip the chicken strips first into the oil (allowing the excess oil to drip down) and then dredge them in the crumb mixture; pressing down to adhere it to the chicken.

Place them on the baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked through; when sliced in the thickest part, the juices shourld run clear.

Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to help improve stamina and conditioning. One method to make jumping rope more challenging is to do “Double Unders,” which means you swing the jump rope two times underneath your feet with only one jump.

Double Unders have gained popularity more recently as an exercise used in CrossFit workouts and competitions. The goal is to start doing double unders consecutively, which is a seriously intense workout.

tumblr_inline_natdzwEmie1swfze6

Double Unders Tip #1: Jump High & Jump Slow

Double under requires that you jump much higher than a normal jump rope revolution. In fact, you can jump just an inch off the ground during your normal jump rope routine, but a double under requires you to jump much higher. Jumping higher and slower helps create enough time for you to swing the jump rope 2 times underneath your feet as opposed to just once. As you get better and more efficient at doing double unders, you won’t have to jump as high.

Double Unders Tip #2: Use Your Wrists

Probably the #1 most common jump rope mistake is when beginners flail their arms as opposed to turning their wrists in order to create momentum for the jump rope to start revolving. This is similar to a swimmer being very inefficient in the water: an inefficient swimmer gets tired very fast and doesn’t go fast. With jumping rope, you want your skipping to be as efficient as possible so you don’t waste too much energy. If you do, you won’t last for much more than 30 seconds, or a minute. Jumping rope is all in the wrists, which should be roughly at your waist.

Double Unders Tip #3: Keep Your Elbows In

Another related mistake beginners make is not only using too much arms, but extending the arms and elbows to far away from the body. This makes the jump rope shorter so revolutions become more difficult and it’s harder to hold you arms extended from your body. Instead, keep your elbows close to your sides.

Double Unders Tip #4: Keep Your Torso Upright

Because double unders require that you generate significant speed to spin the rope around 2x with one jump, beginners will often bend the torso forward in an effort to shorten the distance the jump rope needs to cover. Instead, remain upright with only a slight bend in your torso as in the photo below.

Double Unders Tip #5: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. If you are just starting out with double unders, I recommend the following progression:

  1. Start jumping rope normally, then on the 5th rep do a double under, then stop
  2. Repeat until you consistently complete a double under
  3. Next, do 100 jump rope reps, with every 10th jump being a double under
  4. Repeat until you can do this without stopping
  5. Start jumping rope normally then on the 5th rep do a double under, and on the 6th rep do a double under
  6. Repeat until you can do this easily
  7. Now start doing consecutive double unders with as many as you can in a row!

Eventually, you will be able to complete 25+ double unders. As a simple and effective workout, complete as many double unders as you can to failure for 5-10 rounds with 30 seconds rest in between each set.

tumblr_nfg51npewP1th78lno1_400

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

tumblr_inline_nir4wa83981swfze6

Most athletes respond best to a high frequency and high volume of weightlifting, and perform best when not handling maximum poundages at each session.

The Heavy-Light-Medium training system gives the athlete the volume and frequency that they need to drive progress, and ensure ongoing success, while allowing enough recovery for one heavy day each week for maximum output.

The benefit that this program has for athletes cannot be overstated.  Non-barbell sport athletes must balance training for their sport and training in the weight room. Most sports are demanding of the lower body and many athletes will not have enough reserves in their tank to squat heavy more than once per week. The HLM system allows the athlete to place their heavy squat day on the day of the week that allows them to train in their most recovered state. During the rest of the week, the athletes will have to perform strength workouts, by and large, in a state of fatigue. The HLM system makes this a little easier to manage. On the light and medium days, the athlete will be focusing on form and technique, and speed.

As a starting point though, start your light day 10-20% lower than your heavy day, and set your medium day 5-10%  less than your heavy day.

The idea of using caffeine to improve workout performance is hardly new. Considered the most widely used drug in the world, scientists have for many years, studied the way the compound affects athletes.

You don’t need a lot to get a good response. Early research had athletes taking up to 13 mg/kg of body mass, where new studies show you’ll get a boost from as little as 1-3 mg/kg of weight. Even at that level, research shows performance during endurance exercise can improve by 20 to 50 percent compared to a control group. And among world-class cyclists (where as little as 1 percent improvement in performance can be the difference between winning and losing) a 100-mg dose improved performance by 4 percent; a 200-mg dose improved it by a total of 8 percent.

It works for lots of different types of athletes—but not all. Hundreds of studies document the speed and endurance benefits of caffeine for cyclists, runners, and rowers. Even tennis players were found to improve hitting accuracy, speed, and agility when they caffeined up before hitting the court. But there’s been little evidence that caffeine can help sprinters, and in fact some research shows that with very-high intensity sprints (20-30 seconds) there’s actually a decrease in performance.

It’s an awesome painkiller. Experts used to think using caffeine somehow spared muscle glucose but now the evidence points squarely to its effect on the nervous system. “It’s as if you snipped the fibers in the muscles that tell the brain how tired you feel”. Numerous studies show caffeine also lowers perceived exertion, or how difficult an exercise feels—so you can work longer and harder without feeling as worn out.

It works even if you’re already addicted to your morning Joe. The effects between users and nonusers is really quite small. If you want to maximize the response, you can consider skipping your a.m. coffee.

It’ll give you a bigger boost if you take it mid-way through your race. The classic caffeine dosing used to be 45 to 60 minutes before an event, but that’s not always the rule. Since many athletes are pumped with adrenaline at the start of a race, getting that caffeine jolt isn’t quite as important early on. If you take it half- or midway through, it can help get you through those last few miles.

It can be taken in many forms. For athletes, the simplest way to get caffeine pre-event is usually in a beverage (like coffee or tea) or 100% caffeine tablets. For a caffeine jolt mid-event, products like energy gels, chews, bars and tablets are easier go-to’s.
european-tea-and-coffee-e1302972127687

But avoid energy drinks during your workout or race.  Not usually recommend because of their high level of carbohydrates, which can interfere with how efficiently water gets absorbed into your system. A drink like Red Bull, for example, is typically 12 percent carbs, while a beverage like Gatorade is only about 6 percent. The minute you start adding carbs you slow down hydration, and ultimately that will have a much bigger effect on performance than caffeine.

Unknown-1

It’s not for everyone. In some people, even small amounts can cause headaches, dizziness, GI distress, nervousness and anxiety. And in high doses almost all of us will get these side effects. Some people can only take a little and some a lot—you have to experiment to see what’s right for you. It’s extremely personal.

I often get asked about weightlifting shoes. Are they really worth the investment? I always reply the same way- Would an avid runner wear shoes that are made for hiking? Probably not. Shoes are designed for specific sports and activities. Running shoes have an inbuilt cushion to absorb impact with each step you take. Although this is great for running, it’s not so great for weightlifting. Rather than absorb force, you need a shoe that will help you use all the force your body produces to help you move weight. The more force you can produce, the more weight you can move. This is especially important in Olympic Lifts.

Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel. This is a massive advantage, as it allows you to squat into a deeper position through increased ankle range of motion. This will help you to improve your overall position too, as you’ll find yourself sitting more upright. A more upright torso means more chance of keeping hold of the barbell and sending it in the right direction-up.

Weightlifting shoes are also extremely stable, not just underfoot, but around your foot. This ensures a strong and consistent base to land on, push through and push into- exceptional for performance and injury prevention.

Weightlifting shoes are more stable than your typical barefoot or minimalist shoe. The concept of these shoes shoes having little or no padding is definitely in the right direction ( and I had personally rather wear this type of shoe when performing the Deadlift, ensuring maximal force through the ground ), but while performing other major lifts (C&J, Snatch and Squat), I think weightlifting shoes are more beneficial.