Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 17
Written on September 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm, by Eric Cressey
In collaboration with Cressey Performance Coach Greg Robins, here are this week’s tips to get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs on track.
1. Avoid quad dominance on trap bar deadlift technique.
2. Eat more pumpkin!
Fall is here! For those of you who don’t know, I love fall. The air smells better, the leaves put on their party pants, football arrives, sweats and hoodies become fashionably acceptable (by my standards), and, of course, pumpkin flavored everything becomes available! While pumpkin tastes great, it’s actually quite good for you, too! For starters, pumpkin seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids. That’s probably not breaking news to you, but you know what is? Pumpkin oil actually exists! It is delicious as a dressing, and an easy addition to shakes and smoothies. Just make sure not to cook with it, as the heat will destroy the important fatty acids.
You may have noticed that pumpkins are orange – very orange, actually. That means they, too, provide the health benefits found in other vividly orange fruits and vegetables. These include high amounts of carotenoids and vitamin C. Carotenoids help fight free radicals in the body, cardiovascular diseases and infection. Just like carrots, the high lutein & zeaxanthin content protects the eyes, and prevents formation of cataracts. You will also be happy to know that pumpkin is low calorie and serves up a tremendous amount of quality fiber. Do you like pumpkin too? If so, please do me a favor and let’s get some recipes posted up in the comments section!
3. Be careful about looking to professional athletes for nutrition advice.
In a recent study conducted at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, researchers investigated the use of sports references in the marketing of food and beverage products at supermarkets. Every product fettered in two major supermarkets with a sports reference was purchased and evaluated for its nutritional merit, via the Nutrient Profile Model. Researchers found that”72.5% featured a character exercising, 42.2% were endorsed by a professional sports entity, and 34.0 % were child-targeted.” The median nutrition score, out of a possible 100 (being the healthiest), was 36! Additionally, more than two thirds of the beverages purchased were 100% sugar sweetened. Needless to say, the message being delivered to kids is not great. Therefore, it’s important for the rest of us to serve as better examples for these kids. After all, many young athletes will not play sports professionally, but the lessons they learn in the gym and on the field can serve them for life.
As an example, just last week I was in the office with Chris Howard not even an hour after I had told one of our college prospects about my usual shake ingredients, when he received a text message: “Where can I buy chia seeds and coconut oil?” Furthermore, not a week goes by that I’m not greeted with the oh-so-pleasant sound of: “I made that shake, it was great!” or “I tried kale last night, it was actually pretty good!” Little tips and cues can go a long way when they come from the right person.
4. Shut everything off to really relax.
I (Eric) am a complete workaholic; that probably isn’t a surprise to anyone who has followed me for an extended period of time. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I can’t just shut my brain off for a few hours by going out to dinner or catching a movie; it’s really always going. That’s a blessing and a burden. On the positive side, it helps me to come up with a neverending content stream for this blog, but on the not-so-positive side, I can get easily distracted when I should be spending quality time with family and friends.
With that in mind, I’ve discovered that I need to really get away if I’m going to relax. The only time my brain really turns off is when I don’t have my laptop with me, and my cell phone is either turned off or in a dead zone. I’ve discovered this on two trips up north to Maine this summer. The end of the day rolled around, and I realized I’d managed to turn my brain off with respect to work for the entire day – and that’s a big deal for me. With a view like this, my morning reading wasn’t too stressful!
So, if you’re a workaholic like I am, make sure that when you plan time off, it means technology off, too.
5. Taste the fish before you try to learn how to fish.
I’m sure many of you have heard the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
In the context of strength and conditioning programs, this means that many folks would benefit from learning to write their own programs. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with this task if you haven’t already done a lot of strength and conditioning programs to get a feel for how a session should flow, what exercises should be included, how you respond to fluctuating training stress, and a host of other factors. So, it’s not a bad idea to taste the fish (try some programs) before you run out to buy a fishing pole and bait, then spend all day knee-deep in water (attempting to write your own program).
When you are ready to try to write something up for yourself, check out this webinar.