Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Low-Carb Paleo Blueberry Muffins - Sooo tasty

Hey guys,

It's time for a new recipe! This time I'll show you how to bake really delicious paleo muffins. Just a few carbs (with low glycemic loads), no processed ingredients and still very tasty. A perfect fit for a diet like mine and also for a Sunday evening coffee and cake meeting (without a gain of weight).

Ingredients for 12 muffins:

- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 eggs
- 3.5 oz. (approx. 100g) ground almonds
- 0.7 oz. (approx. 20g) desiccated coconut
- 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 0.5 tsp. (wine stone) baking powder
- 2 oz. (approx. 55g) grass-fed butter (or coconut oil)
- 3.5-5 oz (approx. 100-150g) blueberries

Preheat an oven to 350° F (approx. 180° C). Grease 12 cups of a muffin pan or fill them with paper muffin liners (if you don't have a muffin pan just use paper muffin liners alone, but then it's better to use 2 layers of muffin liners for 1 muffin). Now scrape the vanilla bean and melt the butter or coconut oil in a saucepan. Meanwhile you can start to prepare the dough.
Add the bananas, the mark of the vanilla bean and the eggs to a big bowl and mix it with an electric hand mixer.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the blueberries) gradually to the bowl while you are still mixing until the dough is creamy.

Carefully mix in the blueberries by using a spoon or something like that. Pour the dough into the holes of the muffin pan or into the muffin liners and place it/them in the center the oven. Bake it for 30-35 minutes and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Kettlebell Circuit Training - Part IV of IV (Body Circles & Squats)

Hey guys,

The time has come to finish the Kettlebell Circuit series. Today I show you the last two exercises you need for having a full body kettlebell workout that you can perform once or twice per week.
Just add them to the previous exercises from the last kettlebell circuit posts. Try to do three sets with the mentioned reps without a rest between the eight exercises (30 sec - 1 min rest between the sets).

7. Exercise: Body Circles – 10x counterclockwise, then 10x clockwise 

- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and pick up the kettlebell as described in the other exercises (only difference: grasp the handle at its outer edges).

- Now circle the weight counterclockwise to the left rear (slightly above hip level) in the biggest possible circle (hold the weight with your left hand only). Your arms should be almost straight during the motion.

-When the kettlebell arrives behind your back, continue the motion to the right and hand it over to the right hand.

- Now circle the weight to the front again (remember: the whole movement is flowing).

- In front of you (at the middle) hand the weight over again to your left hand and continue with the next rep.

- You should intercept the kinetic energy after the 10th circle by smoothly following the circle motion with your body until the weight stopped (one body rotation should last). Now change the direction of the motion.

8. Exercise: Kettlebell Squats – 10x 

-Hold the kettlebell upside down in front of you (with your arms bent) and perform a regular full squat (keep your back straight and your knees behind your toes all the time).

-Take care that the weight is carried mainly through your heels and that your thighs are at least parallel to the ground in the bottom position.

Now that you have a guideline for a full body kettlebell circuit, I hope some of you will give it a try and I hope you like the series.


Friday, August 16, 2013

The Colorado Experiment - How to make Hulk green with envy

Hey guys,

Because of the great success of the GVT posts I decided to write some more stuff about fast and effective increase of muscle mass. In todays post I want to summerize the findings/methods from a very interesting strength experiment that could help you to increase strength and muscle mass very fast as well. You may have heard about the Colorado experiment before (Tim Ferris has written about it in "The 4-Hour Body" and I have written about it in "The LLA-Method").

In the world of real bodybuilding there was an experiment at the Colorado State University in May 1973 that has been much-noticed in the last years. This experiment was conducted by Arthur Jones et. al.

The Colorado Experiment

During a 28 days lasting experiment the former bodybuilder Casey Viator increased his lean muscle mass by approx. 63 lbs. [28.67kg] in total (and, additionally, he lost 18 lbs. [8.13kg] body fat in that time). He exercised just 14 times, always on an average of 33.6 minutes! He swears that he hadn’t used any illegal drugs during the experiment.

How could Viator achieve such unbelievable results?

His training was based on some main principles that are still up-to-date:

High Intensity – Viator had followed the HIT principle. Extremely high intensity to muscle failure had been his standard procedure in every single exercise (in his case he had chosen the weights so that he could perform approx. 10 reps per set). He had done only a single set of each exercise per session. A special focus had been on the correct execution of the movements (to avoid injuries!).

Training Volume – Due to the high intensity to muscle failure within one set, there was no need to train longer or more often. Today it is well known among scientists and trainers that a training session should be less than 60 minutes, because afterwards your body starts to release a huge amount of the stress hormone Cortisol. The result of this process is that you actually lose muscle mass (catabolic effect) instead of increasing it. Of course, this negative effect is partly compensated (sometimes overcompensated) by the stimuli of the training. Nevertheless, if you exercise too long, you waste a lot of valuable life time for small or, worst case, negative effects on your body.

Eccentric Contractions (lengthening contraction) – By now many sport scientists of this world have confirmed that the eccentric part of an exercise is worth a bit more (or at least the same) than the concentric when it comes to effective strength and muscle building training. It can be said that eccentric muscle work is almost always the second part of the movement, when you move back to the start position. Now that you know that eccentric contractions are an important part of an exercise, it is weird that many of all trainees who you can see in the gyms don’t pay any attention to this part of the movement. Estimated 80% of the (mostly male) trainees try to lift (or move) big weights (uncontrolled and with momentum) and neglect the eccentric part totally (e.g. when they perform lat pulldowns they let jolt up the bar or they let the barbell almost fall down on their chest while performing bench presses). For an efficient and target-aimed training you should execute the concentric part explosively and the eccentric part slowly and controlled (3-4 seconds).

Quality – During the whole experiment they had focused strictly on complete and correct movement execution.

Further key success factors that were important for the experiment were:

-Application of supersets

-Sufficient sleep and recovery

-Usage of a full body workout program in every session

It would be overconfident to think that everyone of us is capable to copy Viator’s results easily. He is, undoubtly, a real „beast“, who has enormous mental strength at his disposal and his genetic predisposition is a „one of a kind“ thing as well, for sure. Nevertheless all of us can learn some things from this experiment and the latest training science findings to improve our workout routines.


Monday, August 12, 2013

My Kettlebell Circuit Training - Part III of IV (One-Arm & Normal Swings)

Hey guys,

Part 3 of the Kettlebell circuit series is on! Today I show you the fifth and sixth exercise of my routine. Both exercises are ballistic moves that can strongly improve your rear kinetic chain (read more about its benefits here). If you ask a skilled trainer which exercise he recommends for a well-shaped crispy butt than the answer will probably be "Kettlebell Swings".
Just add both swinging exercises to the previous kettlebell exercises to extend the circuit.

5. Exercise: 1-Arm Kettlebell Swing – 10-15x right arm, 10-15x left arm

- Stand with your feet shoulder-width (or a bit wider) apart slightly behind the kettlebell. Now bend at the knees and hips (your back has to be straight the whole time!) until you can grasp the curved handle of the weight with an overhand grip. Straighten yourself again with the kettlebell in one hand. 

- Start to swing the Kettlebell just a little bit forward and then dip down slightly and let it swing back under your hips (between your legs).  

- Explosively extend your legs and hips and raise your upper body upright simultaneously when the kettlebell starts its forward movement again.

- You should be able to bring the weight (with your arm almost straight) at least chest height through the momentum/ballistic energy that is initiated by the extension of your hips and legs (not through the strength of your arms!). If you aren’t able to bring the weight that high, you should work on a more explosive hip/leg extension.

- Let the kettlebell travel the way back in the same bow path until it swings back under your hips (back straight and legs slightly bent in the finish position). You should perform the reps in a flowing motion without interrupting it (the kettlebell actually has to „swing“).

 - Put the weight back on the floor after the last rep and start again with the other arm (you can also
change hands during the swing motion if you feel safe with the flowing movement).

6. Exercise: Regular Kettlebell Swing – 15-25x

- Do the same movement as explained above with the only difference that you hold the kettlebell with both hands this time.

Take care that your back is straight all the time and that you perform the exercises perfectly! If you're not sure, don't hasitate to ask a personal trainer!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Health benefits of green smoothies and two tasty recipes - Go green or go home

Hey guys,

Detox, anti-aging, super healthy, weight loss, booster of happiness and many more are the claims made by different websites and bloggers who promote green smoothies for an improved health. I read some articles about green smoothies and I agree with the supporters of them in many points. Only difference is that I see them as an addition to my diet not as its main part (like many authors do)! It's worth to drink a green smoothie every now and than because their ingredients are mainly greens, veggis and ripe fruits which contain a lot of healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and dietary fibres. All those ingredients are capeable of promoting the above mentioned effects. Most authors describe green smoothies as smoothies made with 60% fresh (organic) fruits, 40% fresh (organic) green (leafy) vegetables and pure water or non-dairy milk. If you browse through the internet you will find lots of websites, books and blogs that provide you with recommendations, information and recipes. It's worth to take a look at some of them because green smoothies are really a good and tasty addition to a healthy diet (and they have a low glycemic load!). My girlfriend tried some self-created varieties and I want to show you the recipes of my favourite ones:

Green Smoothie No. 1

- 2 green apples
- 1/4 lettuce
- 3 sticks celery
- 4 pcs. spring onions
- 1 thumb-sized pc. fresh ginger
- 6 fl.oz. (approx. 180 ml) mate tea
- 2 kiwis
- 3-6 fl.oz. (approx. 90-180 ml) organic soy milk (amount depends on your texture preferences)

The preparation is actually pretty simple. Wash all ingredients and cut them into pieces and put all together into a blender. Mix it for 1 minute and...tatata...ready to drink!

Green Smoothie No. 2

- 7 oz. (approx. 200 g) fresh spinach
- 1 peeled banana
- 1.5 oz. (approx. 40 g) sliced almonds
- 6 fl.oz. mate tea
- 2 kiwis
- 3-6 fl.oz. organic soy milk (amount depends on your texture preferences)

The preparation is actually pretty simple again. Wash all ingredients and cut them into pieces and put all together into a blender. Mix it for 1 minute and...tatata...the next one is ready to drink!

In summer you can also add some ice cubes to the blender or you can store the drinks in a fridge for one hour before you consume them to give it a more refreshing touch!

Btw: I, personally, like the second one better because of its taste, but both are super healthy and with two varieties you have more options.

Enjoy your smoothie!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The last days of my German Volume Training experiment

Hey guys,

Finally I've finished the GVT program. It was really a good experience and I definitly bulked up a bit and I can see a high increase of strength endurance as well. Although I had sore muscles almost every day, it felt very good after each workout and I could almost see the changes of my body composition after each day, which is really a nice thing. Unfortunately the last days were filled with some problems so the results are good but not enormous. I hadn't had access to a gym on some days so I substituted chest/back day once and leg/abs day twice with a home workout. On the leg days I did kettlebell swings (10 sets of 15 reps) to replace leg curls, kettlebell squats (10 sets of 10 reps) to replace barbell squats and single leg calf raises with a kettlebell instead of seated calf raises. On the chest and back day I did slow full push ups (10 sets of 10 reps) as a substitute for barbell presses and one arm rows with a kettlebell (10 sets of 10 reps) as replacement for one arm rows with a dumbbell. Another problem (which is more serious) is/was that I somehow hurt a tendom in my right shoulder a bit. I'm pretty sure that it was my fault because I did this high volume training without a proper warm up. I always started directly after entering the gym and this caused the trouble with my shoulder (especially the slow dips put big stress on it). That's also the reason why I cut out the last shoulder/arms session and why I did some extra rest days. Now I have to recover a bit with some ligther workouts until I'm totally fit again...

I will definitly do a GVT 30 day program again next year because the benefits were huge, but next time I'll take care of proper warming up at each and every session. I highly recommend to give the program a try if you haven't done it yet!

Here is the table of my workouts:

In the next few weeks I'll do some Convict Conditioning calisthenics and some other stuff (like I did before I started GVT).