fat-loss

Of Curried monkeys…

Stardate: 22nd January, 2017

Hey all!

A number of you, having read our previous article (“What’s in your post-workout shake?“), expressed interest in seeing other moderately exotic but doable recipes you could try at home.

So here’s one, from this morning.

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The backstory:
Following @jaysmilezz’s workout this morning… I proposed a #smoothie challenge. “Pick a colour”, I told her. “I’ll make something healthy, delicious, and relevant to your goals… In that colour.”

She picked yellow.
Yellow of all things.
I mean… who picks yellow?!
Yellow foods have great anti-inflammatory effects… but they’re generally not what you think about chugging down in a smoothie.

Anyway… challenge accepted.

Our #smoothieoftheday? I call it a Curried Mango Monkey.

Ingredients:

  • Ginger
  • Curry
  • Fresh Mint
  • Coconut milk
  • Whey protein
  • Nutmeg
  • Frozen mango
  • (Optional: Low caloric sweetener of choice, to taste.)
  • (Optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper.)
Now… this was fucking delicious. Perplexingly delicious layers of atypical flavours.
But, ‘healthy’?
Let’s dissect that claim.
Curry:
‘Curry powder’, is actually a blend of several spices. Depending on the region of acquisition, those ingredients can be turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil… with sexy additions like fennel seeds, ginger, and cinnamon… each of which has health benefits on to itself.
Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric, which gives it [and curry] that rich yellow/orange colour) has been shown to have CRAZY antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We’re talking reduced joint pain, reduced plaque build-up in arteries… and SO many other potential applications. And this is just ONE component of curry powder. I hate the word superfood… but, were I one to toss it around, I’d definitely include curry under that umbrella.
Mango:
Mango is LOADED with antioxidants, which may have cancer preventative/fighting effects. Some of these include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat. Its enzymes can positively impact digestive health. Mango may also clear the skin up, as well as positively impact your sex life.

Yes.
Clean, clear skin.
And sex.
Win.

Mint:
Mint is delicious.
The end.
No, but seriously, its amazing flavour aside… mint can positively impact digestion, reduce nausea and headaches, improve mood and perceived energy levels, as well as positively impact alertness. Due to it germicidal and antibacterial properties, it has been shown to improve oral health, as well as skin health. Its enzymes are also being researched for their cancer-fighting potential.
Also… did I mention how fucking delicious it is?
Shit.
(NB: We discussed the health benefits of whey protein, coconut milk, ginger, nutmeg, as well as the neutrality of non-caloric sweeteners in our previous article.)
So… how does the Curried Mango Monkey stack up?
To re-cap:
Low in calories… A moderate amount of fibre… High in protein… Moderate in health-promoting fatty acids… Loaded with potentially amazing, naturally occurring, phytochemicals.

Let me know what you think, in the comment section below. 😉

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

What’s in your post-workout smoothie?

Stardate: 15th January, 2017

What’s in your post-workout shake?

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A lot of people find the planning and execution of this meal confusing: an exercise unto itself, taken to extremes.

Either, their shakes:

  • nutritionally, are akin to a sugar-laden milkshake
  • are only protein powder
  • are only fruit and ‘super foods’ (mostly sugar, plus sugar, plus a hard-to-pronounce additive)
  • are a smorgasboard of foods considered ‘healthy’, that taste HORRIBLE (and digest equally horribly) in combination, and are thus not a sustainable meal.

Your postworkout smoothie should provide the substrates necessary to facilitate the shift into recovery mode. It should provide adequate protein, some fatty acids, and (depending on your goals, and diet over the course of the day) some carbohydrate. My personal preference as well, is some fibre. Additionally, it should not take your over your daily caloric allotment. Neither should it cause gastric distress (- the latter being a heavily neglected point, as many people believe that farting away their lives after a shake is just part of the process. It isn’t. Shouldn’t be rather).

Personally, I believe every ingredient should have a purpose.

Take @jaysmilezz’s smoothie this morning as an example.

Ingredients:
1. whey protein
…rich in Branch Chain Amino Acids, particularly Leucine, which promote muscle growth. It may help to reduce systemic inflammation, and aide in inflammatory conditions such as IBS.

2. natural peanut butter
…contains healthy fats, some protein, fibre, antioxidants, and it’s effing delicious.

3. hemp seeds
…excellent source of healthy fats, some protein, may help to balance our hormonal profile… and adds great texture.

4. oatmeal
…rich in antioxidants, and fiber. May help to lower cholesterol.

5. flax meal
…high in fibre, low in carbohydrates, may improve the condition of skin and hair. Also, may help with post-meal satiety.

6. kale
…PACKED with micronutrients. Honestly, this space isn’t big enough to delve into this nutritional powerhouse.

7. sunflower seeds
…rich in bone-strengthening nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and copper… as well as selenium and numerous phytochemicals. Sunflower seeds may improve mood, as well as thyroid health.

8. coconut milk
…great source of lauric acid, which is both antibacterial and antiviral in effects. This fatty acid may also improve cholesterol levels, and be cardioprotective.

9. ginger
…helps with digestion, and eases gastric distress. Additionally, it may help reduce exercise-related muscle soreness.

10. nutmeg
…may improve cognitive function, reduce insomnia, aide digestion, increase immune system function, and aide in detoxification of the body. Also, it’s sexy and delicious. Believe that.

11. vanilla extract
…antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. Also, tastes effing amazing.

12. non-caloric sweetener and angostura bitters (optional)
…These are optional ingredients. I like them, because bitters (- namely the main ingredient: gentian) can aide in digestion. The multiple herbs and spices therein can also have very positive effects (- AND, they add an amazing flavour profile). The major drawback however, is that it is infused with ethanol. So, it may not be suitable for people who are restricting alcohol and ’empty’ calories. Additionally, non-caloric sweeteners are a matter of preference. Many theorists disagree on the ‘healthiness’ of their addition. But they serve our purpose in moderation.

Purposeful.
Specific.

We’ve tonnes more easy recipes over at getnarked.net too.

Check ’em out.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

I don’t want to get ‘Too Big’.

Stardate: 26th November, 2016

A young lady walks in to my studio for the first time. She looks shy. Skin-tight leggings,  a form-fitting – bust-accenting top. In any other setting, she would’ve been the most confident person in the room.

Here though – surrounded by sweating, heaving, radiant coils of muscular humanity… she feels out of place.

Immediately, her walls go up: “I just want to tone. I can’t [*inserts list of things she hasn’t tried, and can’t possible fathom wanting to try*]. I don’t want to get ‘too big’.”

I. Don’t. Want. To. Get. Too. Big.

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This is a common one-liner… an immediate handicap many women apply to their journey in to the world of fitness; colouring their course with “can’t”… failing to realise several things:

  • Female Bodybuilders train for a decade or more to look ‘huge’ (- and, really, ‘huge’ is relative… as many of them are still tens of pounds, and several inches smaller than the average non-exercising female).
  • Getting huge doesn’t happen by accident. It takes voluminous, consistent workouts, a consistent caloric surplus (of specific macronutrients, to boot).
  • It takes good genetics.
  • For many, it takes drugs. Let’s be real.

Getting ‘too big’, is difficult for the average guy. So, honestly, it shouldn’t even be a talking point for the average female… No offense intended.

“I couldn’t train with you. Your clients train too heavy!”

‘Heavy’ is exactly the type of training you *should* do as a female. No… it won’t get you ‘too big’. Big requires moderate-to-heavy training PLUS volume… PLUS all of the other stuff mentioned above.

What heavy training *will* do though, is force adaptation: Stronger bones; Stronger muscles; stronger connective tissue; higher body awareness.

Think about the strongest female athletes. With the exception of some olympic and power lifters, and maybe throwers (who tend to consume calories to surplus),  the stronger athletes are the leanest. Sprinters. Gymnasts. Rock climbing enthusiasts. Crossfitters. Common theme?

Strength.

But, don’t take my word for it.
Check out some of the ladies on my roster:

#bootcamp tonight..

A post shared by Corey Narkissos Springer (@narkside) on

 

@serenawalker Not poolsharking #girlsWhoLift

A post shared by Corey Narkissos Springer (@narkside) on

@serenawalker #girlsWhoLift #metabolicConditioning

A post shared by Corey Narkissos Springer (@narkside) on

#bootcamp yuh r******.

A post shared by Corey Narkissos Springer (@narkside) on

#bootcamp ..the love connection

A post shared by Corey Narkissos Springer (@narkside) on

You get the picture.

Lift heavy shit!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

5 Supplements You SHOULD be using, that you’re probably not.

Stardate: 18th April, 2016

Greetings!!

supplements

As many of you would know, I’m not big on supplements. When asked “hey bro. Should I take [*inserts name of popular go-to fad*]”, my reply is always a blunt two-pronged one:

1: “I don’t take that stuff… I eat food. Lots of it.”
2: “Supplements… should supplement your diet. Novel idea. I know.”

The stuff I actually DO use isn’t fancy. It’s functional.

i.e. It’s the stuff nobody really cares about: the stuff that helps your gut et. al. work better. Why should YOU care about ’em though?

Simple: Gut health is everything. The gut impacts the immune system, the brain, our ability to gain muscle and mobilise fat stores, the quality of our sleep and skin. I mean, holy shit, why would you NOT be interested?

Let’s get down to it!

Here are my mainstays, and a couple notable mentions:

  1. ‘Colon Cleanse Powder’

…aka Psyllium Husk Powder. This product is usually sold as a laxative. But, that’s secondary. I don’t believe in the whole ‘colon cleansing’ notion… but I do recognise that most of the population suffers from a too-low fibre intake. Even dieters, who are eating loads of ‘bush’ (lol) often complain of constipation and the like. The average person, for one, severely underestimates the amount of fibre they eat and need… and it doesn’t help that shady companies represent the minuscule amounts of fibre in their products as something monumental. “Oh. Eat my cereal. It’s fiber enriched! 1 gram of fiber per serving (of 20 grams of sugar and other useless shit)!” What the fuck man?!

Guidelines indicate that we should be taking in 30 grams of fibre per day. i.e. 10-15 grams per 1000 calories. Most of us struggle to get in TEN grams per 2000-3000 calories. That’s crazy!

That. Is. Crazy.

Enter psyllium. One tablespoon gives you 5 grams of fibre. Personally, I blend 3 tablespoons in to my smoothie… and I’m currently up to 5 tablespoons per day.

Try 3 tablespoons per day, plus a couple servings of broccoli, kidney beans, and/or oatmeal spread over the day, and you’re set! 30 grams easy!

2. Probiotics

One of the things I’ve noticed about adulthood is the prevalence of digestive issues. And, it affects all of us… even the fitness personalities like myself. Stress is a major contributor. It absolutely wrecks the gut.  For one, it affects the balance of ‘good’ bacteria to ‘bad’. As this bacteria influences the immune system, we can generally say ‘Stress affects the immune system!’

If it were only stress though, this section of today’s article would be a lot shorter.

Unfortunately friends, our gut flora gets attacked from multiple other angles. Stress, the overconsumption of sugar and starch, wanton overprescription of antibiotics, the absence of prebiotics (i.e. fibre), Exercise (or its absence). Tonnes of stuff really.

A good probiotic is essential shit!

Pun.

3. Digestive enzymes (especially proteolytic ones like bromelain)

I’ve noticed, particularly in new clients, a lot of younger people are complaining about bloat, indigestion, gas… and generally feeling like their food just sits there. Some of them have that lower tummy pouch going on. But, upon pinching the skin there, one realises that it isn’t usually fat. It is legitimate bloat.

I mentioned the prevalence in younger people, because the above used to be an older person’s ailment: Usually an age-related decline in enzyme production, and quality (i.e. the elasticity of the actual enzyme’s protein – blah, blah, blah, science stuff). Nowadays, we’re living longer… but we seem to be aging faster. At least, our organs seem to be.

Fixing the diet, reducing stress, and adding digestive enzymes helps. Not just from the digesting of food standpoint (- which is pretty fucking major as a standalone). Naw… the addition of dietary enzymes can also reduce systemic inflammation. And, this means, enzymes can potential reduce our risk of diseases we shouldn’t even have been at risk for in the first place.

Anyhoo… That there is a rant for another time.

Back on topic: I like bromelain. I use a lot of it. I’ve used it to recover from injuries, swelling, soft tissue damage, and poor digestion.

If you try only one supplement. Try this.

And… while we’re on the topic of inflammation:

4. Quercetin

Quercetin, is basically a plant pigment…  a flavonoid, with SERIOUS antioxidative power, found in richly coloured fruits.

Being a great antioxidant aside, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory (which means it can potentially help mitigate inflammation-based diseases such as insulin resistance, heart disease, arthritis etc.). It’s also proven to help with allergies, pain, and boost endurance.

Holy shit right?!

I use 1000mg per day. I don’t know if I’ll live longer. But I sure as hell plan on doing everything I can to improve my quality of life!

*pops another cap*

5. Chromium Polynicotinate.

I’ve written about chromium EXTENSIVELY in the past. For about 2 decades, it’s been a mainstay in my supplement regime. I can’t say enough about it’s benefits. But, I’ll rehash anyway:

It may aide in longevity.

It may improve insulin/carbohydrate sensitivity.

It may improve body composition.

It may [blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, super-cool stuff!]!

Bottom line? Chromium is an awesome addition… especially in a population, like ours, whose diets are so starch heavy! I mean, who DOESN’T want to be leaner, healthier, and better able to process carbohydrates? AND it’s cheap. Who doesn’t like not breaking the bank?!

*pauses for dramatic effect*

That’s it!

Hit the health store!

I’ll see you at bootcamp tomorrow!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Your name: The Workout

Stardate: 12th March, 2016

Hey all!

So… of late, many of my friends and clients have been inboxing me with a particular workout concept.

It’s called the ‘Your Name’ workout… where, as the title would suggest, the make-up of your name determines your workouts: really, each letter corresponds to an exercise and rep range.

There are many variations of it. And, I’ve been avoiding each one LIKE THE PLAGUE! (Lol)

Today, I decided to stop being a punk. I stepped in headfirst. Here’s the version i tried:

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I’ll be honest… Even after I spelled out my full name, middle name inclusive, it was a bit too easy. So, I tweaked it.

Here’s how it went!

“Your Full Name” Circuit:

1st round:
  • Frog burpees: 20 reps
  • 20 crunches
  • 20 reverse lunges
  • 60 second plank
  • 60 second wall sit
  • 12 plyometric lunges
Comments: The frog burpees were extra work I added in there to make the first round of movement a bit harder. A moderate warm-up. Not bad! Everything’s feeling pretty darn good. I’m not feeling those two leg-dominant workouts I did yesterday at all!

2nd round:

  • Full Burpee (with push-up): 10 reps
  • Weighted arm circles: 10 lb kettlebells x 20 reps
  • 15 push-ups
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 60 second plank
  • 25 push-ups
Comments: So… I added weight to the arm circles, and added full burpees on the top end. Jesus Christ. My lungs! Am I supposed to be winded? Maybe I’m supposed to rest between exercises, instead of switching between them immediately, like a madman.
Maybe…
Hell, there’s only one round left.
“Maybe” be damned! I’ve got this!

3rd round:
  • Plyometric squats: 10 reps
  • 30 bicycle crunches
  • 30 tricep dips
  • 1 minute full plank
  • 1 minute forearm plank
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 ass-to-calves squats x 135 lbs
  • 60 second wall sit
  • 60 second plank

Comments: Ok. Maybe I was a bit ambitious here. I feel like DEATH warmed over. To the challenge, I added plyometric squats, triple the number of dips, and also tossed on a 135 lb barbell for the squats. In my head, I was thinking ‘this won’t be so bad. I squat WAY more than this. Everything else will be pretty straight-forward’.

Clearly, I have no idea what ‘easy’ or ‘straight-forward’ actually mean however.
Did I mention lying on the floor curled up so tight, that I started to fade in to the carpet?
Holy crap!!!
Now… by this time, I’d completed my workout allotment. I’d knocked off my entire name, PLUS extra stuff. A rational-thinking person would have said ‘excellent. I’m proud of me. Time to leave here, to get that smoothie I’ve earned.’
But, like I said: I’m pretty silly.

Enter – the 4th round:

  • 8 ass-to-calves barbell squats with 185 lbs
  • 8 Bodyweight plyometric squats
  • 8 full burpee with push-up
  • 16 quadruped hip extensions (ie 8 reps per side)
and… for Extra credit:
Barbell standing overhead press: 3 sets: 115 lbs x 10 reps each.

My face at the end:
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My thoughts?
Let’s see:

The ‘your name’ workout can be a pretty solid fat-loss/conditioning workout… for both the beginner and intermediate trainee. Well… for the beginner moreso. For the intermediate and up, I’d suggest tweaking it in ways similar to what I did. i.e. Throw in at least one serious strength movement during each round (aside from the warm-up sets).

Additionally, the temptation here would be to half-ass it through the movements.

Don’t.

I know, I know: “It’s hard. I want to get through it as quickly as possible.” – #BlaBlabla

Just don’t.
Injury, with routines like these, is *very* common… particularly when fatigue sets in, as it invariably will. Focus on the quality of movement. Focus on being VERY explosive and landing safely/gently on each rep.

Cover those bases, and you’re on your way!

(Did I mention how fried I was? Holy Crap! and I still have a bootcamp to teach this evening!!!)

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net