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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Cholesterol in plants

How much cholesterol is in plants?
Many people actually believe that it is zero, but you might be surprised to hear that there is in fact a little (very little) bit of cholesterol in plants.  Plants have mg/Kg whereas animal products have g/Kg (a massive difference).

Here are a few:

(mg kg)
Palm oil
Coconut oil
Soybean oil
Corn oil
Peanut oil

These are tiny amounts (so tiny that measuring them has been a fairly recent development).  Also note these are the amounts in the purified oil, NOT the whole plants.

For those wanting a little more I suggest they read this pdf to get a clearer picture of where we are at right now with the whole.

I thought you'd find it interesting, especially if you thought plants contained zero cholesterol.

Special thanks has to go to Jack Norris RD for pointing out the pdf used above.

Friday, 11 January 2013

New year Squat frenzy (or why I'm not strong..yet)

 See note at the bottom about this picture

Today I finally realised something that has on the edges of my mind for a while. ...I’m not strong!  Now let me qualify that a bit, strength is kind of hard to define, you can be strong at say pull-ups, or deadlifts, or whatever, but being ‘strong’ means being able to do your chosen skill well, with a decent amount of weight.

For a short while I’ve been moving over from a powerlifting style training routine to a more weightlifting-esque style of lifting.  That has proven somewhat more difficult than I expected as I’m reasonable at the powerlifts (2 x bodyweight deadlift, 1.5 x bodyweight bench), but the stiffness I developed in those endeavours is just what I do not need for doing Olympic style lifts.  For example overhead squats touching glutes to calves I have to work up to even lifting bodyweight.  From standing to parallel I’m pretty good, below parallel I suck!  It’s like I have to fight myself down, I’m kind of weak & stiff at the same time in that portion of the lift!  It’s the same with the other squat variations, but not quite so bad weight-wise, I’m not strong in the bottom part, I’m also not fast.  Those are two things you need to really do reasonably well at Olympic lifting being fairly strong & fast at just the place I’m weakest & slowest, it’s a pain.

So, far this year I’ve worked out 6 days this year (every other day & some sessions have been twice a day) & every session has included squats.  This is NOT a powerlifting style of squatting.  We’re talking high bar back, front or overhead & basically the sets have been short of max so far.  I am going to say now this is going to change, I’m moving to working out squats every day for several weeks, sometimes twice a day – it will be basically this: Work up to the daily max, then done, or on harder days followed by some lighter higher rep sessions.  I will do variations that will affect the max lifted like pause squats (if done using overhead squats these are extremely brutal, but I’ll do pause variations on all forms of squats that I do) & other techniques to keep everything going.  I will be doing other exercises, but squats will play a big part.  I will be backing off of squats once it becomes obvious the cycle is done, but I really want at least this month of consistent squatting on a daily basis.  After that I’ll have a short recovery then still hit the squats several times a week, but hopefully my numbers will be more tolerable after a cycle or so of really focussed squat training.
 Not used in this cycle, but chains are cool :-)

This may not be the kind of training you’ve heard about before, it is a very ‘Olympic lifting’ style of training & one I’m not used to following either, so it’s nearly as new to me as it is to you.  I have no idea how I’ll fare using it as up until now I’ve used totally traditional bodybuilding &/or powerlifting styles of training that insist on resting bodyparts or movements between sessions, not hammering & hammering the same thing day after day, so I thought I’d try it out using these first few sessions to slide into it, then going daily from now until I really hit a wall either physically or mentally - Squatting is mentally TOUGH, it’s in the top % of tough exercises to burn out the mind.  I’d go so far as to say squatting is more mental than physical, you are frightened of being crushed, overhead squats are even worse than the rest, you could drop a weight onto your head!
 Hopefully we'll be lifting all this 
& more by the end of the cycle

So back to the not being strong – To clarify I’m not strong at these lifts YET!  That’s the important point, I know I’m not up there quite yet, but it will come, so far I’ve managed to get from not being able to touch my glutes to my calves to being able to get down (yes I started with a stick!), now I’m going to be grinding out a daily recipe of squats (various back, front & overhead, with or without pause & maybe even some unstable versions if I feel I can do them safely – using discs hanging from the bar using bands NOT standing on an unstable surface). 
 Hanging discs from a bar using bands

So, that’s the plan for the first part of 2013.  It may, or may not work out as this is a pretty new method to me & goes against a lot of what I’ve learnt before, but then so is letting your knees go over the front of your toes, holding the bar overhead with the shoulders shrugged, cocking the wrists when lifting overhead, wearing heeled shoes when squatting, moving quickly when lifting.  All of this I’ve had to adjust to over the last few months, it’s been a steep learning curve, but has opened up a whole new vision about what you can do when training.  That isn’t to say the other things I’ve done are wrong, that bodybuilding, powerlifting or functional style training routines are wrong, far from it, I love doing them.  It’s just I’m exploring a new pathway for a while & see where it can lead me & if my legs do happen to get super-strong I won’t be too upset as they always been my weakest part!

So, let’s hear what you’re trying out for 2013, pop it below & we can maybe give the readers a whole pile of ideas for the new year, how about it?

[NOTE: I didn't have any pics of my recent training sessions so I grabbed a few random pics just to make it a bit more exciting for you.  I am not using a box for squatting as shown in the pic for example, it's all glute to calves]