Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healthy Beef Lettuce Wraps

L and I have been cooking together for almost 4 months now... by cooking together i mean she cooks, i sometimes help and clean the kitchen occasionally. We've probably tried 25 or 30 new recipes and only a few really have stuck out that we include in our repertoire. 

Fresh from the Garden being one...

However tonight we stumbled upon a fantastic recipe from For the Love of Cooking for Beef Lettuce Wraps. Follow the link to get a step by step assembly... A few notes, tweaks & changes below!!

Green Onions - Nuval Score 100

Fresh Lettuce - Nuval Scope 100

Shredded Carrots - Nuval Score 99

Quinoa - Nuval Score 91

Flank Steak - Nuval Score 30

I played Sous Chef when L was at the gym since I've been working out all day. First preparing the marinade; low sodium soy sauce, apple vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and a little oil. Dip the steak in the marinade and roll up in a ziplock bag then stick in the fridge for an hour or so.

Our main substitution was the protein packed Quinoa for rice... highly recommended. The dipping sauce was similar to the marinade which added loads of flavor but next time we plan to add other dipping options; Peanut Satay, Sweet & Sour, or my favorite Spicy Szechuan!! Make it your own...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The On The Go Workout

I originally started The Healthy Press thinking I would be working out at home much more than the gym but this new motivations has encouraged me to hit the gym 4 day a week. However the unfortunate departure of my flat mate J gearing up to travel world has sparked my interest to find the best workouts for the busy and on the go type. My advice for J: walk everywhere, rent a bike, take the stairs instead of elevator... its amazing how exploring a new city on foot can keep you in shape!!

HP Tip #3: Take the stairs instead...

The best workouts are the ones you enjoy doing in a place you are comfortable!! At home, in a park, or at the beach... all perfect spots for workouts using your own body weight. Any additional tools you have are an added bonus: pull up bar, balance ball, a pair of 20lb weights, kettle bells, etc...

Alright here is the official release of THP 8-Minute @HomeWorkout: I perform 4 circuits of 3 lifts focusing lower body, upper body, core exercise. So crank up your favorite playlist and get started!!

First Circuit:
Second Circuit:
Third Circuit:
Final Circuit:
  • 60 seconds - Wall Sits (advance with arm circles)
  • 60 seconds - Bicycle Kicks
My focus revolves around muscle training and the fast transition facilitates a cardio workout as well, I even grab a full jug of water (approximately 44lbs) to add weight for the leg workouts (a loaded backpack or girlfriend works too). However would strongly encourage adding star jumps, burpies, jump rope, boxing, or jump squats to your routine to really kick start your heart rate. 

Playgrounds are a great places to find useful equipment especially for pullups & chinups will add the missing back & bicep routine from the items above, trees work too!! Also, Rubber Band Flex Tubes can add a fantastic element of resistance to your workout. There are heaps of similar workouts out there so mix it up, be creative, and most important Have Fun!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The FST-7 Workout

Growing up I was never into stretching... maybe a couple jumping jack before soccer games or the circle of calisthenics in the sweaty wresting room. But I don't think anyone ever explained why stretching was important past the "don't pull a muscle" rationale.

After doing some research WOW! The benefits of stretching while lifting are endless!! FST stands for Fascia Stretch Training which was established by The Oak Arnold Schwarzenegger, mastered by Mr Olympia Jay Cutler who introduced the 7 number of repetitions. Essentially the goal is rip your muscles then stretch out the tear to allow more essential amino acids repair the muscles... which adds volume!! The more you lift stretch and eat good protein packed food the bigger you get.

Just to warn you I started the FST-7 chest workout on Monday and my pecks are still sore, it's Saturday!! The first day I focused on heavier weights and lifting to failure contrary to the Men's Fitness Article advising to lift more repetition at lower weights, I did this on the second day after 24 - 36 hours to allow for initial muscle repair.

Did you know flexing increases blood flow to help repair muscles? So don't make fun of the guy showing off in the mirror!!

Day 1: Power Training
  • Incline Press: After a quick warmup I load the Smith Machine to fail for 4 sets of 8 - 10 reps. Recommend to descend just pas90° to avoid shoulder injury if you stack the weights.
  • Incline Dumbbell Fly: Keep your arms at 45° at finish for 3 sets 10 - 12 reps. Finish with your palms up and squeeze at the top to add focus on your lower chest.
  • Flat Dumbbell Press: Bringing the weights down just above your chest without touching for 3 sets of 10 - 12 reps or to fail. Keep your feet in the air to engage your core.
  • Hammer Strength Press: Load weights to fail at 8 -10 reps, drop weights & immediately repeat to fail, drop weight & repeat for a total of 4 sets. Adjust height to focus on different muscles.
  • Fascia Stretch Training: Between each set of the final 7 sets stretch the focus muscle. For chest; place hand on door jam and lunge for 10 seconds on each side followed by 20 seconds of flexing; with your hands clamped inhale and pull hands apart followed by exhale and press hands.
  • Cable Crossovers: During the fascia stretch training perform 7 sets of cable crossovers loading the weights for 10 - 12 reps. Adjust angle to exhaust the desired muscle and squeeze at finish.
Day 2: Low Intensity Training
  • Incline Dumbbell: Bench at 45° smoothly finish 4 sets of 12 - 15 reps.
  • Flat Dumbbell Fly: With arms only slightly bent 4 sets of 12 - 15 reps.
  • Decline Bench Press: Finish just above chest 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps on smith machine.
  • Low Cable Crossovers: Start FST for first 4 sets of 12 - 15 reps. Start in a lunge and finish with arms outstretched while your back leg in the air to engage your core.
  • Modified Pushups: Finish FST for last 3 sets to fail, grab two 25 pound weights to balance on the start pushups. I failed at 8 then 6 and 5...
After each day I was extremely sweaty, exhausted and very hungry... Luckily the island hotel was still serving during Ramadan and got to have my 111th Mexican Chicken Burger!! A large grilled chicken  breast, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos and amazing quacamole perfect for a post FST-7 Workout. 

One of the many benefits to lifting is that your muscles consume fuel in calories long after the exercise is finished. The results 2 days later were definitely noticeable, the top of my chest was much larger. Probably from the water intake but hey... at least I know its working!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fresh From the Garden

Ever since I was little tomatoes were always around. My grandfather had a large tomato garden that my dad used to pick every summer! I have fond memories of moving the lawn, watching baseball and eating thinly sliced tomatoes with Salt & Pepper and a side of Cape Cod potato chips!!

Since I started my efforts to eat, drink and live healthier; one recipe has caught my taste buds that we've been making over and over. Laura calls it Fresh from the Garden and it's been handed down through generations in Iowa and is now making its way to the Middle East.

Fresh from the Garden

1 cup of protein packed quinoa:            Nuval Score 91

3 large chopped ripe tomatoes:             Nuval Score 96

1 medium diced cucumbers:                 Nuval Score 93

1 half a seeded yellow peppers:            Nuval Score 96

5 chopped green onions:                       Nuval Score 100

1 medium carrot shredded:                    Nuval Score 99

1 quarter cup freshly cut parsley:           Nuval Score 99

1 quarter cup fresh chopped basil:         Nuval Score 100

6 cloves pressed garlic:                          Nuval Score 99

The recipe calls for the Quinoa to be boiled in one and a quarter cup of water however we mix half water and half chicken broth to add flavor, make sure to follow the cooking instructions.

Mix the vegetables together; toss with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of red wine vinaigrette in a large bowl to create a fresh and healthy vegetable salsa. Add salt and ground pepper to taste, red pepper flakes too if you like it spicy. Let the salsa set for 15 minutes then heat up in the microwave for 5 minutes or so.

Enjoy Salsa over Quinoa for a delicious dinner... Great served cold for lunch or a quick snack too!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Multidisciplinary Workout

I feel everyone's perception of the way to a perfect stomach is through crunches... lots and lots of simple crunches. The issue with crunches is only works the upper part of your abs. There is a lot more muscle between your ribs and hip bones then we realize, wrap the muscle all the way around you body and you get your core. I got my fitness assessed at the start of this whole journey and my core makes up the same muscle mass as one of my legs, a quarter of my bodies strength...

I watched a video back when that recommended "If your abs are sore, keeping working them... everyday!!" I would fully support this, even if just a little bit to make sure they know you still care. So what I started to do is integrate abs into every other workout I can; which is what I refer to as The Multidisciplinary Workout. For instance:

  • Standing one legged EZ Bar Curls and Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench and Flys with Leg inverted
  • Dumbbell Front Raises or Curls while chair sitting against a wall
  • Lunge start, barbell shoulder press and push the back leg forward to finish with one knee in the air

The last one is my new favorite!! Also can be done with cables lower chest raises with the cables down low, the further forward you go the harder it is to hold your arms outstretched while balanced on one leg. After a few weeks of this plus moderate ab workouts every other day I really started to feel my abs flexed throughout the day, much more stable. Try out my typical ab workout:

  • 10 short scissor kicks followed by a leg raise, consecutively repeat 10 times
  • 20 super crunches with elevated feet like the image above, I like to stagger my legs
  • 20 finger pushes, with legs elevated 12 inches off the ground place your hands flat by your side and push your fingers forward 3 inches or so...
  • 100 bicycle kicks then planks until I collapse
  • Repeat twice with reduced reps as needed
  • Try not to fall out of bed in the morning