Spicy Beef Stir-fry

Spicy beef stir-fry is packed with protein and lots of nutritious vegetables. Serve it with rice, soba noodles or on its own.

DSC03307Ingredients (serves four):
1 tbsp olive oil
5oz. of top sirloin steak, cut into small chunks or strips
1 bell pepper
4 scallions, chopped
3 cups of bok choy,, washed and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
½ tbsp chilli flakes
2-3 tbsp of hoisin sauce
juice of half an orange
salt and pepper

1. Chop all vegetables, cut steak while heating olive oil in a wok or big pan. Add beef to pan, season with salt and pepper, brown steak for 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to remove beef from pan, put aside.

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2. Add bell pepper, scallions, garlic, chilli flakes, as well as hoisin sauce and stir fry for 2 minutes.

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3. Now add bok choy, mushrooms and stir fry an additional 3 minutes.

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4. Once vegetables are fork tender add beef back into wok, along with freshly squeezed orange juice. Stir fry everything until beef is cooked.

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5. Serve hot with brown rice or asian style noodles.

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ENJOY!

Squats

Most lifters know the importance of training their legs. The strength and stability a lifter demonstrates in their hips directly impacts their shoulder mechanics. The fascial tissue of the body aligns across the front and the back of the body to form X shaped lines of tension that link the hip on one side to the opposite shoulder.

How does this impact squatting? There is a growing understanding that the fascial lines of pull in the body are responsible for distributing force. When squatting a respectable amount of weight, you better be engaging your back and shoulders and feel as though you are pushing up on the bar as you rise out of the bottom position. Therefore, in order to move well in sport and life, we need to look at our training as full body.

As with the other basic movements we progress through patterning, grinds and finally strength exercises. This system applies to both a month of training and a single training session. At the start of the training day, patterning warm­ups the nervous system to allow the muscles to be engaged fully for the strength work. Grind exercises build mobility and are best used after patterning or in between strength sets. Strength exercises train maximal force production and are used to finish the training session.

Squat patterning is best started from the bottom up. The best way to do this is to get into the bottom of the squat and circle around at the ankles and hips. If this is too hard, hang onto something such as a wall, pole or trx and position yourself in the lowest squat possible. Aim for 2 sets of 10 circles each direction with several break to stand up in between.

Squat grinds refer to light load, high rep work and are useful for perfecting the technique. Goblet squats are one of the best for this part of squat training. Because the load is up high, the goblet squat transfers well to front and back squats.To apply in your training do 2­3 sets of 10. By holding the kettlebell at the chest, hinging at the hips first and placing the elbows inside the knees opening up at the hip comes naturally.

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The final aspect of squat training is to develop strength. Maximal squat strength is best developed with a combination of back and front squats performed in 3­4 sets of 3­5 reps. Back squats emphasize the posterior musculature, while front squats overload the anterior muscles and reinforce suitable posture. Goblet squats and overhead squats are not included with the above strength exercises because the load that can be lifted is limited by the strength of the shoulder and upper back muscles.

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Try out this method of warming up and training your squats! Next week new edge looks at the pull movement. Until then, keep getting stronger.

Bircher Muesli

This breakfast recipe can be made in advance the night before or fresh in the morning. It combines seeds,, nuts and healthy carbohydrates.

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Ingredients (serves two):
1 medium apple, chopped
1 cup of rolled oats (can be shredded)
1 cup of plain yogurt (we used non dairy coconut yogurt)
2 tbsp of chia seeds
2 tbsp of dried cranberries

Toppings can be seasonal fresh fruit of your choice, sliced almonds or other nuts, pure maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.

1. Dice apple, place apples in a large bowl and add oats, yogurt, chia seeds and dried cranberries. Stir to combine.

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2. If preparing it overnight: Cover bowl and refrigerate

3. Serve muesli topped with fresh fruit (I chose grapes), nuts (I added walnuts), maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon.

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4. Leftover muesli will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

This recipe can also be your midday snack, easy to bring with you and is full of nutrients that will give you an energy boost

ENJOY!

Hinge, what?

Each of the five basic movements needs to be practiced well to ingrain good technique. Most people can figure out how to push, pull, carry and sometimes even squat, but many have difficulty with the hip hinge movement. The hinge movement is part of deadlifting, the Olympic lifts, kettlebell movements such as the swing, clean and the snatch. Hinging is even important in squatting, especially front squats. The hip hinge needs to be patterned for many lifters in order for them to learn it correctly.

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To pattern the hinge correctly, stand approximately 6 inches in front of a stable wall. Stand up tall facing away from the wall. Place your hands in your hip crease and bend at the hip and push the hip back until your butt touches the wall. Progress by moving out a bit further from the wall. Obvious but important point: make sure that the back is stable and that the movement is from the hip bending.

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At the beginning of the training session, warm-up the hinge with an unresisted patterning exercise. Grind type exercises can follow to develop motor control with some added resistance. Grinds are what Dan John uses to develop good technique and load a new movement pattern. To grind the hip hinge pattern into a picture of flawless coordination, hold a light weight in front of your chest and perform the hinge for 15-20 repetitions.

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Training traditional strength work is the final aspect of training. Choose a hinge movement, progress the reps and weight effectively and you will realize measurable improvements in what you are capable of. For strength, keep the volume of work reps per session around 10 reps. Perform 2 workings sets of 5, progress to 3 sets of 4, 4 sets of 3 and finally 5 sets of 2.

Hinge strength exercises:

  • Deadlift variations
  • Kettlebell swing
  • Cable pull through
  • Goodmorning

Next week New Edge looks at why we need to squat and how to best incorporate this lower body classic into your training.

References:

Baechle, Thomas R., Earle, Roger W. (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics.

John, D. (2013) Intervention: Course corrections for the athlete and trainer. On Target Publications.

Schuler, L., Cosgrove, A. (2012). The new rules of lifting supercharged: Ten all new muscle building programs for men and women. Penguin.

Garlic Chicken with Artichokes

Garlic chicken is a great way to spice up your chicken dinner, goes well with risotto, rice, potatoes or a fresh salad.

Ingredients:DSC03255
½ bulb of garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
850 ml of artichoke hearts
600 g tomatoes (can be canned, chunks)
100 g parmesan cheese
4 chicken legs (with back attached)
2-3 tbsp of capers

 

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel garlic cloves, add garlic, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of olive oil into your blender of juice, puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

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2. Chop tomatoes (if using fresh ones), cut artichoke hearts in half. Grate parmesan cheese. Wash and pat dry thawed chicken legs.

 

 

 
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3. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a big pan, fry chicken legs for 3-4 minutes on each side. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

 
DSC032604. Take chicken out of pan and lay out in a shallow baking form (spray baking form with non stick spray).

 

 

 

 

 

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5. In a bowl combine tomatoes, capers and artichoke hearts. Spread mix over chicken legs. Spread garlic paste over chicken legs. Sprinkle dish with parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

6. Bake dish for 30 minutes.

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ENJOY!

Load Your Carries

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Of the five basic movements, loaded carries are one of the most underrated parts of training. Loaded carries demand full body muscle activation and create balanced, useful strength. Carries also come with the benefit of developing cardiovascular endurance. Loaded carries teach lifters how to stabilize their midsection and how train proper breathing while under load. Technical benefits aside, your strength training will begin to feel easier as your grip strength improves. You will notice that you look leaner and more muscular by adding in loaded carries.

Loaded carries are one of the easiest to add into your training and make everything you do in and out of the weight room easier. I prefer to place them near the end of the session 2-3 days per week. Use 2 of the below variations per workout and walk 10-30m per carry. Perform 2-3 sets.

Here are the best variations to start with:

1) Farmers walk
Grab a pair of weights, set your core and go for a walk. load2
Stay tall and breathe all the way down into your belly.

 

 

 

 

2) Rack walk
Hold a pair of weights in rack position at chest height and walk a short distance while maintaining good posture.
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3) Waiters walk
Hold a pair of dumbbells overhead. Ensure that your ribs do not flare up. Instead, pull your ribs over your pelvis with your abs. Squeeze your butt the entire walk.
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4) Sled pushes/pulls
Hook up a TRX or rope to a set of weights or sled and push it from a stable plank position. On the way back grab the rope and tow the sled, while keeping good body position. If this isn’t possible, the weight is too heavy.
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Below is a practical application of loaded carries in the form of car pushes. Undoubtedly, full body strength comes in handy when your car battery dies and you’ve got places to be! Next week at New edge we look at the basic deadlift movement, the hip hinge! Until then, keep lifting and carrying.

load6References:

Baechle, Thomas R., Earle, Roger W. (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics.

John, D. (2013) Intervention: Course corrections for the athlete and trainer. On Target Publications.

Myers, T. (2009). Anatomy trains: Myofascial meridians for manual and movement therapists. 2nd Ed. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Schuler, L., Cosgrove, A. (2012). The new rules of lifting supercharged: Ten all new muscle building programs for men and women. Penguin.

Green Power Smoothie

This recipe is awesome to kick start your morning, this smoothie is packed with tons of nutrients that will keep you energized all day.

Ingredients:greens
1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of fresh, washed baby spinach
1 ripe banana, peeled (optional: frozen)
1 kiwi
1 tbsp of almond or peanut butter
1 tbsp of pure chia or flaxseeds pinch of ground cinnamon
¼ tsp of pure vanilla extract one scoop of protein powder (optional)
2-3 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth

You can easily prepare this one the night before and refrigerate it overnight, or make two batches and save one for the next day. This is a great way to get an adequate amount of your daily greens. If you aren’t a fan of drinking something green, add fresh blueberries.

ENJOY!

Get Back To Basics

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The training you do in the gym changes your body. Ideally this is for the better, but occasionally devoted lifters become injured or develop chronic pain and dysfunctional posture. If you are like me, you want a training method that does not control your life but makes you feel great, look great and allows you to be athletic enough to school your friends in a friendly game of soccer.

Many lifters mistakenly chase size and “aesthetics”. These goals are vague and subjective, since what appears “aesthetic” varies over time, place and between social groups. The aesthetics perspective on training appears backwards to those who have an understanding of the body as a dynamic system.

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Connective tissue encases every muscle in the body and forces that are applied to the body interact with the fascial system. Training a muscle in “isolation” creates a rippling pull effect in the nearby fascia, which influences how muscles that share the same line of fascia are activated. In many cases, an overworked muscle shuts off and becomes shortened as other muscles around it work to complete the sets. Because fascia is the medium for neuromuscular connection, fascia has a strong role in controlling muscle activation.

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To apply this to training, the large body movements need to account for the majority of training. Larger body movements tend to promote more balanced muscle activation in a healthy trainee. The get back to basics program is based off of Dan John’s training system. This system which Dan has named Intervention, is based around the 5 basic human movements. There is an optional throwing and ballistic movement category that can be incorporated for athletes and advanced trainees.

The 5 basic movements are loaded carry, hinge, squat, pull and push. By including all of these movements in the strength program, we move closer to creating a balanced, useful physique.

Over the next month New Edge Fitness will bring you a post of each of these movement categories. By following this series you will learn why each movement is important, how each one fits into your training, plus some options for lifters with different levels and skill sets. Check back next week as we will get carried away with loaded walks.

References:

Baechle, Thomas R., Earle, Roger W. (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics.

John, D. (2013) Intervention: Course corrections for the athlete and trainer. On Target Publications.

Myers, T. (2009). Anatomy trains: Myofascial meridians for manual and movement therapists. 2nd Ed. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Schuler, L., Cosgrove, A. (2012). The new rules of lifting supercharged: Ten all new muscle building programs for men and women. Penguin.