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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

So have we any new year resolutioners out there?

I don't really set goals at new year that much.  Most of my goals for 2012 where already set earlier this year (I'm aiming at increasing my deadlift & squat by a reasonable amount over the next year- actually in the case of the squat it's the high end of reasonable as I am a rubbish squatter, but there you go might as well aim high!).
Anyway, have you got goals to set for 2012?  If so let's have them.  Here's some ideas to help you reach those goals.

Write it down:

Put it somewhere you can see it regularly.  I'm aiming at 185Kg squat, which is my toughest goal as I'm not a natural squatter & it will be about 2.5x bodyweight lift for me so it may take more than 12 months to get there?  Anyway to 'remind me' I've redesigned my wallpaper on the computer, I went & grabbed a load of guys squatting big weights, wrote a big, red 185 in thumping HUGE numbers over it, so everytime I look at the computer I see the number 185 & squats, but you could put something on your fridge, put something by your bedroom lamp, whatever, but somewhere you'll read it.
Also make sure you keep your goals, your goals (I stole that line from Dan John), if you are trying to lose fat, then suddenly trying out the latest powerlifting training from Eastern Europe may not be the best thing in the world for your goal- if you are anything like me I get excited when I read new stuff about training & yes I want to try it out..but you can't reach your goals if you are swapping stuff up all the time, sticking to a plan is the best method.  Before making any change go back to that thing you wrote out (your goal), does this change move you towards or away from your goal?  Answer that before you make any change (yes this is a tough one to do, I know!).
Here are some quick & rough rules for achieving your goals.

If you're looking to lose fat then 80% of the effort should actually go into the food journal, 15% into training & 5% recovery (prehab/rehab, recovery etc).  That's right, you will get better results by really focussing on what you're eating & writing everything down, then seeing how things affect you.  This % is the starting place of your diet, I don't think you can (or should) keep a food journal forever, but this gets you going correctly & you can actually see what you eat, calories etc, it leads you towards a decent eating plan.  If you have a lot of weight to lose (say a year or more of dieting) then look at returning to a food log once a quarter or every 6 months at least & write out a week & see where you are.  This is actually good practice for everyone, just to see the amount of junk you are eating & ways to tidy up your diet to move towards those goals.

Mass gainers:
70% should be focussed upon eating more & trying to keep those calories as clean as possible, again only 20% should be on your training.  Many people can train hard, but many fail on eating enough to grow, especially on a vegan diet which can be less calorie dense than a typical meat eaters diet, the rest fail on the other 10% which is recovery, so sleep, stretching, self myofascial release, massage, pre-hab/rehab etc, they simply don't do it or enough of it.

80% sports specific skills, so playing the game, practising specific skills etc, 10% strength training, 10% other (recovery planning, rehab/prehab, massage, self myofascial release etc).  Yes 80% should be doing something directly related to your sport.

Goal setting:
Goal setting is important.  You need to set some numbers & dates for goals if you can.  Do not just say  "I want to be slim for the beach this year".  That is not a goal, it is a vague dream.  A goal is "I want to lose 10 pounds of fat by June 1st 2012".  Now you have a goal, you can work backwards & set up a plan to hit that goal.

Obviously these are rough guidelines as there will be some athletes who need to gain muscle mass, or dieters who are trying to hit a weight class in a contest, those are outside these general guidelines, but I thought I'd write some very rough outlines about how you should be thinking about those goals right now, so you can plan them, not just waste your time with vague dreams.

One final tip is announcing your goals makes them MUCH more likely to come true, so why not pop your goals up on here right now (I did, so how about you?), then you will be loads more likely to hit that goal in 2012...if you can't do that then consider - Is the goal realistic?  Do I REALLY want it?  Because if you can't even say it out loud, then you're unlikely to have the mindset to achieve it!

With all that said get your goals set now, have a great holiday season, then get on that plan when the clock chimes 12 on the first day of 2012!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Rob Bigwood: Vegan Arm Wrestler - the interview

I just noticed that the Vegan Society have started to put their older stuff online.  You can download it here
or read it below.  For those who don't know Rob is the best vegan Arm Wrestler in the world (& in my view one of the top arm wrestlers period!).  Don't forget to support the vegan society & show your support by joining them or at least subscribing to their magazine.
Hopefully you'll enjoy this interview I did with Rob back in 2009:

Rob Bigwood-Vegan Mag Article

REVIEW: Easy Strength seminar by Dan John & Pavel

This was a L-O-N-G view.  It was 14 DVDs!  If you've viewed Dan Johns DVD set Intervention, then you will have seen some of the Dan John stuff before, that's not necessarily a bad thing as I think he uses quite a basic, understandable approach, but if you are thinking about getting one or the other this covers a lot of the same ground & includes Pavel as well.  I liked the theoretical stuff, & just about all the training hints they have are going to be useful to someone.  It's a shame they didn't have an 'average' trainee to use as most of the people doing the lifts were pretty good (not your typical people turning up in the gym), but you can only show what you can show, but bare in mind that you yourself or your clients if you are in the business will not be so proficient at the lifts & will need a lot more coaching & time to get things right.  I did have my doubts about one aspect of the DVD set & that was the 'Even easier strength' section.  This was picking 5 lifts, done at a very low percentage of your maximum (say half what you could normally lift) & doing 3x3, 5,3,2, 5x2 or 10x1 (reps first then sets, so 10x1 is 10 reps/1 set) up to 5 times a week for 40 days.  They didn't seem to cover 'accommodation' into the example.  Accommodation is where you actually become more efficient at doing a movement, so you can lose muscular size & absolute strength by doing the same weight over & over.  As an example think of the guy at the gym you saw doing the same weight 12 months ago as today, often you'll see they look worse than they did 12 months ago when they first started doing that weight, this is because the body has adapted to that weight & actually working LESS to move it than when they first did it.  I don't really follow how NOT progressing could be better?  It is progression that leads to positive adaptation that lead to greater strength &/or size.  Maybe for an in-season athlete it may kind of keep them ticking over, but I can't see where the claimed big strength increases would come from?  Maybe I just don't know the science enough, but all of my training career the basic idea of progressive overload has been the cornerstone of my training routines.  I couldn't follow their arguments, they didn't make sense to me.  That was my one gripe with this DVD set.  It was only one piece of a really big DVD set, so I can't complain as most of it was pretty interesting.

This set is a lot of cash, so you might not be interested in getting it unless you are an athlete or train athletes or really like Dan John &/or Pavel, but for an athlete who isn't into lifting sports (so not a powerlifter or O-lifter) this will give you some idea how to structure your training for best results.

For full details about the DVD click here

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

REVIEW: Jason Ferrugia's Renegade Recipe Guide

There are a couple of points about this book.  First off it is not vegan, there are recipes with eggs & honey that I have found in it.  I know at the time of writing Jason was supposed to be a vegan (I'm not sure about now?), so I was hoping for something without any animal products, but there are plenty without, so it's not too hard to find plenty of good recipes.  The second thing that might affect you is that some recipes use ingredients you may not have, not ultra-weird, but unusual like buckwheat flour, that you don't usually have & would have to make a trip out for if you wanted to use the recipes as written.
I got the negatives out of the way first, but apart from those gripes there are a lot of things you might want to try out in here.  I'm not a great one in the kitchen, so cooking isn't really the top of my 'fun things to do' list, but I do like to eat, so having a few new options is always good.
This is simply a recipe guide it isn't like a planned eating system like say the latest precision nutrition plant based eating section, so you will still need to plan your eating using some common sense, but the choices are varied & you are bound to find a few things you like in the collection of goodies available.
Just to give you an idea here's the list of recipes you get:

Breakfasts & Shakes… Page 7

Banana Berry Blast Protein Shake… Page 8
Apple Pie Protein Shake… Page 9
Banana Nut Bread Protein Shake… Page 9
Mocha Rocket Fuel Protein Shake… Page 10
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake… Page 10
Chocolate Chip Mint Protein Shake… Page 11
Tropical Fruit Protein Shake… Page 12
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake… Page 13
Orange Creamsicle Protein Shake… Page 13
Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake… Page 14
Pina Colada Protein Shake… Page 15
Almond Butter Cocoa Protein Shake… Page 15
Sweet Potato Pie Protein Shake… Page 16
Vanilla Macadamia Cream Protein Shake… Page 16
The Hardgainer Cure Protein Shake… Page 17
Our Favorite Protein Shake… Page 18
Spicy Tempeh Scramble… Page 19
Southwestern Style Eggs… Page 20
Breakfast Burritos… Page 21
Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes… Page 22
Banana Oatmeal Pancakes… Page 23
Protein Oatmeal Pancakes… Page 24
Almond Butter Cup Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 25
Apple Cinnamon Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 25
Raisin & Nut Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 26
Almond Butter Cup Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 27
Apple Cinnamon Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 27
Vanilla Blueberry Hi-Protein Oatmeal… Page 28
Frozen Bananas and Strawberries… Page 28
Breakfast Potatoes… Page 29
Almond Butter Toast… Page 30
Breakfast Quinoa… Page 30
Brown Rice Pudding… Page 31
Mint Lassi… Page 32
Trail Mix Bowl… Page 32
Fruit & Nut Bowl… Page 33

Side Dishes & Snacks… Page 35

Sitto’s Hummus… Page 36
Escarole and Beans (side dish)… Page 37
Roasted Root Vegetables… Page 37
Collard Greens… Page 38
Brown Rice and Broccoli…Page 38
Basil Walnut Pesto… Page 39
Paper Bag Roasted Red Peppers… Page 40
Cashew Cream… Page 41
Red Pepper Cashew Cream… Page 41
Steamed Kale with Tahini Dressing… Page 42
Yellow Split Peas and String Beans… Page 43
Mjedherra (lentils with wheat germ and onions)… Page 43
Roasted Spiced Cashews… Page 44
Chickpeas with Wheat Germ and Tomato… Page 45
Baby Bok Choy with Cashews and Ginger… Page 45
Roasted Garlic Toast… Page 46
Kale Chips… Page 46
Roasted Beets with Orange Slices… Page 47
Black Bean Dip… Page 48
Spinach Dip… Page 49
Collard Greens with Slivered Almonds… Page 49
Wild Mushroom Quinoa… Page 50
Fresh Guacamole… Page 51
Yam Fries… Page 52
Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice… Page 52
Mango Salsa…. Page 53
Italian Spicy Potatoes…. Page 54
White Bean Spread… Page 55
Hummus Quesadillas… Page 55
Artichoke Hearts with Cherry Peppers… Page 56
Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes… Page 57
Artichoke Hearts with White Beans and Tomatoes… Page 58
Spicy Brown Rice with Crimini Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions… Page 59
Egg Salad Sandwich… Page 60
Mashed Cauliflower… Page 60
Roasted Tomatoes… Page 61

Salads… Page 63

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing… Page 64
Quinoa Salad… Page 65
Raw Kale Hempseed Salad… Page 66
Artichoke Heart and Pea Salad… Page 66
Eggplant and Lentil Salad… Page 67
Raw Fennel Orange Salad… Page 68
Tabouleh (Parsley Salad)… Page 69
Warm Chickpea Salad… Page 70
Spicy Watermelon Salad… Page 70
Carrot Almond Salad… Page 71
Broccoli Apple Salad… Page 72
Balsamic Mixed Bean Salad… Page 73
Arugula & Mango Salad… Page 74
Fattoush (Middle Eastern Salad)… Page 75
Summer Cucumber Tomato Salad… Page 76
Warm Black Bean Salad with Oranges… Page 77
Soups & Stews… Page 79
Lentil Soup… Page 80
Yellow Split Pea Soup… Page 81
Spinach Soup… Page 81
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup… Page 82
Curried Red Lentil Stew with Chickpeas and Quinoa… Page 83
Chickpea Soup with Brown Rice and Escarole… Page 84
Barley & Bean Soup… Page 85
Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Lemon and Sage… Page 86
Portobello Mushroom and Swiss Chard Soup… Page 86
Arborio Rice Soup with Cabbage and Beans… Page 87
White Bean Soup with Kale… Page 88
Kale Chowder… Page 89
Cold Cucumber Avocado Soup… Page 90

Pastas & Entrees… Page 91

Spaghetti Marinara… Page 92
Brown Rice Penne with Spicy Tomato & Spinach… Page 93
Pasta with Olive Oil and Sage… Page 93
Brown Rice Pasta with Peas and Mushrooms… Page 94
Eggplant and Kale… Page 95
Spaghetti Marinara… Page 96
Cauliflower with String Beans in Coconut Curry Sauce… Page 97
Roasted Cauliflower Spelt Wraps… Page 98
Tomato Avocado Sandwich… Page 99
Pizza Marinara… Page 100
Brown Rice and Beans… Page 100
Sweet Potato Topped with Black Beans and Kale… Page 101
Portobello Mushroom Steaks… Page 102
Quinoa Burritos… Page 103
Baked Eggplant with Tomatoes… Page 103
Black Bean Soft Tacos… Page 104
Raw Flax Burger… Page 104
Black Bean Burgers… Page 105
TLT (Tempeh Lettuce & Tomato)… Page 106
Gluten-Free Eggplant Parm… Page 107

Desserts… Page 109

Raw Chocolate Pudding… Page 110
Sugar Free “Almost Raw” Chocolate Pudding… Page 110
Hi-Protein Chocolate Mousse… Page 111
Vanilla Mousse… Page 111
Vanilla Cream… Page 112
Sweet Potato Pudding… Page 112
Dessert Butter Bars aka “Cut ‘em & Eat ‘em’s”… Page 113
Raw Pineapple Cheesecake… Page 114
Raw Almond Butter Chocolate Cake… Page 115
Vegan Chocolate Cake… Page 116
Baked Bananas and Raisins… Page 117
Blueberry Pudding… Page 117

If these sound like the kind of thing you want to cook (the pancakes tend to use egg, so they are no good for you - I have been told you can swap in something like gram flour..but what do I know?) you can get the ebook by clicking here

Tuesday, 6 December 2011