Quick and efficient lower body burn-out

Yes, you do have time for your leg workout! The key? Well, pulsing and supersets, of course! You’ll see (and do) them all over this workout! 🙂

The Warm-up

Dynamic Stretching 5 min.

Jumping Jacks 10 reps.

Narrow to Wide Squat Jumps 10 reps.

The Sweet, Sweet Burn-out
  1. 3-pulse Jump Squats 5-8 reps, 3 sets.

Deep squat, pulse 3 times, jump. You can also add the barbell (resting on your traps, not your neck), but make sure it’s not too heavy as this exercise is quite tough.

  1. Cable Squats Circuit (superset then rest for 45 sec. to 1 min. between circuits) x3
  • 2-pulse Wide stance cable squat 8-12 reps.
  • 2-pulse Narrow stance cable squat 8-12 reps.
  1. Glute Bridges Circuit (superset then rest for 45 sec. to 1 min. between circuits) x3
  • 10 sec. hold Weighted Glute Bridge (hold your position at contraction point for around 10 sec. for every repetition) 10 reps.
  • Singe-leg Glute Bridge 10 reps. each leg
  1. 2-pulse Side Leg Lift 15 reps., 2 sets each leg
  1. Leg extensions 15 reps., 3 sets
  1. Hamstring Curls 20 reps. each leg
The Cool-down

Stretching (Hamstring stretch, Calves stretch, etc.)

The Mindset

All the diets and workout programs in the world are nothing without a health and fitness oriented mindset. Eating and exercising feel like chores, and soon enough, we get off track and quit. Why would we do something we don’t enjoy, time and time again? It’s not sustainable. Sure, some days are better than others. That healthy meal is just what you’ve been craving and the day’s workout couldn’t have seen a better performance. But those other days… those days when you’d just stuff your face with all the fast food in the world, leaving you too lethargic to even leave the bed, nevermind exercising.

So what would constitute a fitness oriented mindset? What can we teach ourselves to remember and believe in during an off period?

  1. Exercising and eating well is not a imposition, it’s fun, stress-relieving and a self-gift towards your well-being. You’ve started because you’re mindful of its many benefits, you feel better and it only comes at the price of a 2-second decision to gear up and go exercise. That’s all it takes, a few seconds per day to simply decide to start.
  2. The decision you’ve made when you started was to push yourself into a stronger and healthier self. If change is what you desire, you can’t expect it to come without your commitment to new actions, new decisions. So we push ourselves out of bed, we put on our running shoes and we go that extra mile. That extra mile or that extra rep is the daily manifestation of our initial decision.
  3. Rest and regroup, not quit. Ok, we’re feeling down and all the motivation we can mustard only gets us from the bed to the kitchen, and back again. We just can’t do it. That bag of chips is faster than that proper home-cooked meal we were planning to make, so we grab that and return to the coziness of our beds. This goes on for a few days, maybe even a week, enough to take us off track from our healthy living routines. But does that mean we’ve renounced all ties with fitness and proper nutrition? Can’t we pick those routines and good habits back up again? So we felt beat and unmotivated, but we know we can do it. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.

Breakfast Cheesecake

If I hear overnight oats one more goddamned time… Well, oats are still great. But what if we took the ingredients for various oat-bowls and made… a breakfast cake? Well, we’ll add some dairy and make it a cheesecake, but still… we’ll have a fun, healthy, made-ahead coffee and cake breakfast to look forward to every morning!


1. Prep

  • Preheat oven at 325° F or 160° C
  • Take the Greek yogurt and the cream cheese out of the freezer (to be used at room temperature)

2. Blend

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dates and 2 tbsp coconut oil (or 1/3 cup melted butter)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

3. Line the bottom of a cake tin with parchment paper, add the blended mixture and place it in the oven for 5-8 minutes, just enough for it to dry and set. Take it out and let it cool for a few minutes until you make the next layer.

4. Blend

  • 500 ml Greek yogurt
  • 220 g cream cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of honey or maple syrup, or 1/2 cup agave nectar, or 1 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat / spelt / soy / coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

5. Pour this second layer over the crust and put it back in the oven for another 40 to 50 minutes, until it sets. Let it cool completely and place it in the refrigerator for 3 hours min. or overnight.

6. Add the following to a sauce pan

  • 2 cups of blueberries/ strawberries/ raspberries/ mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • sweetener of your choice, to taste (maple or agave syrup, stevia, etc.)

Place the pan on medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer.

Sprinkle 1 tsp of gelatin over 1 tbsp of water and mix thoroughly. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir it in the simmering berry sauce until well combined. If the sauce becomes a little too thick until the cheesecake sets in the freezer, you can place it back on the oven and stir in a few tbsp of water until it reaches the desired consistency.

 

Pour this final layer over the cooled cheesecake the following morning and enjoy!

Proteins and the 20 proteinogenic amino acids

What’s an athlete’s favorite word? It’s probably protein, right? We all know proteins are fundamental to muscular development. They provide the necessary support, protection, transport, regulation, and movement to the human body.

Stressed for time? If you can only have the quickest read, you can go directly to Summary.

 The birth of a protein

Proteins are macromolecules which are formed through dehydration synthesis reactions leading to covalent bonds between monomers; a multitude of monomers forms polymers. Proteins are polymers of amino acids. Different compositions of amino acids form different types of proteins, with diverse structures and functions.

Proteins are also called polypeptides. Amino acids are covalently bonded by peptide linkages (e.g., a dipeptide is formed of two amino acids). As polypeptides, proteins are multiple-peptide chains of proteinogenic amino acids.

Proteinogenic amino acids are those organic compounds containing the amino (NH2) and the carboxyl (COOH) groups which are capable of producing proteins. There are twenty proteinogenic amino acids, eleven of which are non-essential (i.e., they can be synthesized by the human body and therefore are not imposed in our diets), leaving nine of them, the essential amino acids, as dietary requirements given they cannot be synthesized by the human body.

Protein sources – complete and incomplete proteins

Foods containing the nine essential amino acids are known as complete proteins. These include animal sources (meat, fish, milk, yogurt, whey, eggs), quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and spirulina.

On the other hand, plant foods are considered incomplete proteins that cannot provide all the essential amino acids. However, specific combinations will complement each other, so just adjust for complementary protein sources in your meal or throughout the day. The rule of thumb when it comes to complementary proteins is combining grains, cereals, nuts or seeds with beans, peas, lentils or peanuts (e.g., peanut butter on wheat bread).

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Summary

Proteins are macromolecules as polymers of amino acids. Proteinogenic amino acids are those amino’s capable of producing proteins. There are twenty proteinogenic amino acids: eleven non-essential ones and nine essential ones (essential amino-acids are not synthesized by the human body and therefore need to be supplied through diet). These essential protein-builders are most easily obtained through animal products (meat, dairy, whey), quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and spirulina.

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Resources

  1. MITOpenCoursewear – Chemistry of Sports p. 11-16
  2. University of Massachusetts – Nibble Directory