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Ditch the Take-Out, Dine In

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Ditch the Take-Out, Dine In

Calling all novice chefs out there! Your time is here! It is time for you to shine! Creating a healthy relationship with food and developing simple cooking skills can have so many benefits for you! I know we can all get into the habit of ordering too much Postmates, or participating in one too many happy hours and we can see the effects in our wallets and our pants, but look no further, I’ll let you in on some of my best at home eating secrets to pump you up for your next home cooked meal!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

1. Invest in a good couple of knives, or maybe just get some honing steel.

You really only need 3 knives: a chef’s knife, paring knife, serrated knife. A chef’s knife is a definite kitchen essential, you can do everything with it- chop veggies, cut meat, etc. The paring knife is for smaller scale things like mincing garlic and slicing strawberries. A serrated knife, also known as a bread knife, can be used to slice bread, but also handle waxy fruits and veggies like tomatoes and pineapple. Now once you have your knifes, please make sure you keep them sharp! A dull knife is never a fun thing, for you or your food. Invest in some honing steel, or you can always take your knives to get sharpened.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

2. Buy fresh ingredients.

There is such a difference buying fresh than frozen. If it is not feasible for you to buy all our your ingredients fresh, just choose a couple! If you are worried about not being able to eat all of your produce in time, choose the essentials to buy fresh. For example, I typically have frozen green beans in my freezer at all times in case all my fresh produce ran out, but once you buy fresh, it’s really hard to go back to frozen.

Photo Credit: Tookapic

Photo Credit: Tookapic

3. Follow a recipe!

There’s a reason why most people enjoy going out to dinner, it takes the work out of cooking. But there is something really satisfying about eating the food that you worked hard to make and knowing exactly what went into it. If you’re not the best cook, there are a ton of recipes online as well as food bloggers who show you step by step instructions on how to make a meal. Another benefit of eating at home rather than in a restaurant is that you are in control over how the ingredients are prepped and put into your meal. Another plus is that you can post a picture to social media and show off your skills!

Photo Credit: Kaboompics / Karolina

Photo Credit: Kaboompics / Karolina

4. Have a dinner party!

San Francisco is blessed with such great food, it is really hard to turn down dinner invitations. But one way to get out of dinner ( if you can) is to throw a dinner party. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to put something together, think of the rule of 3- an entree and two sides. Don’t get me wrong, it does take a little planning, but assign your friends to bring a side dish and all you have to worry about is the main course!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

5. Focus on one thing at a time.

The last and final tip to make home cooking fun and exciting is to focus on one thing at a time. If you cannot be bothered with revamping your eating habits just yet, get good at one meal. Focus on cooking at home for one meal- if breakfast is your thing, try recreating your favorite brunch meal! Who doesn’t love a good homemade eggs bennie? If brunch isn’t your thing, try pizza! Premade dough is sold at most grocery stores so now all you need to focus on is the toppings- here’s your chance to channel your inner Chopped winner and make some kooky combinations!

As you can see, eating at home does not have to be a chore. It can be fun! I challenge you on your next date night, or night out with friends- surprise them with dinner, and who knows, maybe a new tradition will be made!

Happy eating.


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All About Olympic Lifting

            ALL ABOUT OLYMPIC LIFTING

          With the advent of Crossfit, Olympic-style lifting has become increasingly popular in recent years, and although it is only now gaining considerable popularity, it has been in practice for quite some time. Its first inclusion in the Olympic Games occurred in 1896, and is the only event present in the entirety of the games designed to specifically test strength and power. Olympic weightlifting is one of the most sure-fire ways to gain said strength and power, which is essential in almost all sports. Olympic lifting also embodies and mimics movements such as lifting, throwing, jumping, or striking, with all of these being highly transferrable to other sports. Because of this, Olympic-style weightlifting a sport in itself AND has also proven to be a key component to training key components of athleticism for an athlete in almost any sport. All of the lifts performed in an Olympic style are also multipoint movements, meaning that these lifts require the activation and coordination of numerous muscles spanning across multiple joints. Because of the fact that so many muscles and muscle groups are used in order to complete a lift, Olympic weightlifting has the capability to induce muscular hypertrophy and also burn a maximal amount of energy as compared to other types of aerobic or resistance training. Simply put, it can build lean muscle while also maximizing calorie, and in turn, fat consumption. As opposed to bodybuilding, in which hypertrophy outpaces neural improvements, Olympic lifting allows for muscles to improve in both size and quality of functioning. Not only this, but the fact that Olympic lifts are multi-joint movements means that they can help improve coordination between muscles, helping the body know when to activate certain muscles and deactivate others. It can also increase nervous system innervation to muscles, allowing muscles to contract more quickly and powerfully. Olympic lifting can also increase ones flexibility and joint mobility: elbow, wrist, and shoulder flexibility are essential to perform a proper clean, whereas shoulder flexibility and knee mobility are key components of a proper squat snatch.

Image via breakingmuscle.com

Image via breakingmuscle.com

          As with all types of training, there is the possibility of injury when Olympic lifting. Some things to consider when performing a lift or when in the vicinity of another person doing so include always using proper equipment and ensuring all equipment is functional before lifting - this means functional barbells, bumper plates free of cracks or defects, and a safe and functional platform on which to perform a lift.

          When lifting, it is essential for the barbell to be evenly loaded, meaning that there is the same weight added to each side. It is a common courtesy and safety precaution to never walk in front of someone in the midst of their lift so as to not distract them from the lift at hand – distractions can and will more than likely lead to injury. On this same note, refrain from idle chatter while you or someone else is performing a lift. Lastly, one should always practice proper form and technique with little to no weight on the barbell initially, then gradually add weight while performing the lifts until the desired weight is achieved. It is never advised for anyone to start a lifting session near or at their maximum achievable weight.

          Perhaps the most important aspect of proper lifting technique is known as “triple extension”. This refers to the extension of the hips by pushing them forward, flexion of the calves to rise onto the toes, and the shrugging of the shoulders via trapezius activation. This triple extension should occur during the second pull phase of an Olympic lift, the phase in which the barbell is pulled from hip level to either shoulder level (clean/clean and jerk) or above the head (snatch). Each portion of the triple extension is important in its own right – rising onto the toes allows for more propulsion and aids in hip extensibility; extending the hips allows the lifter to propel the bar up; shrugging the shoulders and flexing the trapezii allows the bar to remain close to the body after the initial forward propulsion from the hip extension.  

Coach B working the platform

Coach B working the platform

          Olympic weightlifting can greatly develop ones strength, power, flexibility, muscular coordination, and neural innervation, but proper form and technique while lifting is essential to acquire any of these benefits and also to avoid injury. When performing a lift, ones back should remain flat with the chest out. Rounding of the back is a big no-no and should not occur at any portion of any lift. The barbell should also remain as close to the body as possible when raising it from the ground. The “power” position is the position referred to when the barbell is resting on the floor – in this position, the shoulders should be directly above the barbell, hips should be below shoulder level, and knees below hip level, essentially forming a greater than symbol with the body. When starting from power position, the knees and hips should also extend at the same rate as the bar is lifted off of the ground. Along with starting in power position, a lift may also start from the “hang” position. In the hang position, the lifter raises the bar to just above the knees, and it is just above the knees that the lift is initiated. An Olympic lift also has the possibility of including a squat, which begins during the second pull phase of the lift.

Image via parttimecoach.co.uk

Image via parttimecoach.co.uk

All of these variations can be included in the name of the lift. The two most commonly practiced exercises (and the two used in the Olympic Games) are the clean and jerk and the squat snatch. In the Olympic Games, both of these lifts are started from power position.

Coach B transitioning to the power power position

Coach B transitioning to the power power position

          Though this is the case, both of these exercises have a number of possible variations. Examples of clean variations include the power squat clean, hang squat clean, power clean, and hang clean (the latter two do not contain a squat). This also applies to snatches – variations include power squat snatch, hang squat snatch, power snatch, and hang snatch.

         Olympic weightlifting is a dynamic form of resistance training that, when performed correctly, can improve strength, power, muscle mass, flexibility, neural recruitment, and neural firing rate. Not only this, but it seems safe to say that there is no other form of resistance training or exercise in general that can achieve all of these simultaneously just as Olympic lifting does. 

 

 

Learn more about Coach Amber here

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