DWF: Kate’s favourite and a nasty snatch session

The meal I’ll analyse today is my lovely Kate’s favourite meat which is roast lamb.

Voila

4 blocks of lamb, or 112g ( that’s the protein) , 3 blocks of potato (150g) and my hope that the odd bit of fat that I rubbed over the meat before roasting was about 4 x 1.5g . The zone diet assumes that all meat has some fat in it.

You’ll notice I’ve slung peas and green beans on my plate, but without really measuring them. I think “pile on the ( non starchy) veg”, but don’t let this take you away from measuring the more carb dense food!

POINTS TO NOTE: when you start to properly manage your weight 1) don’t hunt out weird exotic meals to make. Try and stick with stuff you know and can cook. 2) learn to portion control the important stuff. Dont obsess if you had too much spinach or 3 more fork fulls of cabbage! Learn to recognise the high calorie food. still include it! But manage it.

Todays car park workout was an ‘up down ladder”

Mark out a 10m shuttle run, get a suitably nice, or nasty dumbbell to snatch

On the way up dumbbell snatches 2-20 (2, 4, 6) , on the way down shuttle runs 10-1(10, 9, 8)

Disgusting

Ewww!

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DWF: chicken dinner and a strength day.

THE FOOD . A zone Chicken dinner.

Here we have 112g of roast chicken, (4 blocks) 150g of boiled potato (3 blocks) . I rubbed 2 blocks of butter onto the chicken ( kate loves her crispy skin) and put about 2 blocks of butter onto the vegetables. I boiled up a “mess” of courgettes, broccoli and cabbage, served with an ” as much as you can eat” mentality. Any diet that restricts non starchy carb should be avoided. As many veggies as you can get down I say!!

Use the veggie stock to make gravy (with the juice from the chicken)

The sneaky “bad” things I did were: 1) slung a glass of wine into the baking pan, to support the juice from the chicken and the trivet ( thats the bed of onion, celery and carrot) hoping that most of the alcohol had boiled away ( check if I”m delusional, by following this thread) and 2) stirred in 2 tea spoons of gravy powder which had a bit of carb in. I’ve ignored that as it minor and life is too short.

Delicious and filling!

Straight after diner, when the chicken is cold, rip it off the bone, with your hands. Put the trivet and the bones and any remainder gravy/juice into a pot to make a stock ( you’ll need this for tomorrows curry)

THE WORKOUT

Today, kate and I are off to the gym ( at the amazing Crossfit London) to do a strength workout 3 sets of 5’s of deadlift, squat and press.

If you are stuck at home can I suggest 3 sets of 10 kettlebell deadlift (holding whatever weight kettlebell you have), 3 sets of 10 goblet squats, ( with a weight you can cope with) and 3 sets of 10 dumbbell press. Do these with rest periods as a strength session, not a mad workout!

Not every workout should be a near death intense workout, you need to sprinkle in strength ( and you’ll see the odd run now and then)

If you want more hints and tips do join the mailing list. Ill be launching a free Zone course and I’ll email when it’s ready.

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To see if I have time to help you personally in an around the city and the East End of london, do drop me an email Andrew@andrewstemler.com

Introducing the Daily Food and Workout:DFW

Most days I’ll post a workout you can do with minimal equipment and no gym access. It be will be on a 3 day on, 1 days off rota

The “gym-less” workouts only assume you has access to 1) some dumbbells 2) a kettlebell 3) a skipping rope 4) a car park and some benches.

Obviously a full Crossfit or exercise regime requires more stuff and more variation, and ill encourage you to practice and train in weightlifting and gymnastics and other forms of cardio, but doing these workouts as bits of intensity (hard and fast) should help most people

So todays workout is

With a running clock set for 15 minutes as many rounds as possible of

20 lunges, 20 double under’s, 100m run.

Feel free to tweak everything: 10 lunges, 10 single skips, walk 50m for 7 minutes 10, or 12 minutes. If there is an exercise you cannot do or tweak, feel free to switch it with one you can do, or just leave it out and practice it later if you can.

If you are in chronic pain take it easy, feel free to limit the range of motion, feel free to rest if you must, but it’s simply about pushing you on a bit or a lot, depending on where you are

For food, ill be recommending the Zone diet . For now this is a TWO BLOCK snack, or “brunch” if you prefer.

This snack had 2 blocks of carb in the form of a slice of bread, 2 blocks of avocado (In the form of 2 (overly generous) teaspoons ) 42g of ham (as one block of protein) and 28g of cheese (as another block of protein).

I sneaked in a tea spoonful of chia seeds for extra fibre and a mini scrap of butter as an old habit

and ended up on toast like this

I’ll be explaining in great details how the zone block system works, but its intention is to ensure that each meal or snack has a balance of the main 3 macro nutrients: carbs protein and fat.

Ill be a launching a free ” how to zone course” some time in the next few months so do join my mailing list and ill tell you when you can get it

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Muted Hip Function

Effective exercise can generate powerful  huge forces  if they are initiated controlled and dominated by the hip.

Many untrained athletes  have a muted hip which  creates postures and mechanics that reduce power output, promotes postures and mechanics that are considered by  many  to be unsound.

In simple terms the Muted Hip Function (MHF) results from the legs  compensating for the failed of the hip, in effect using leg extension  to compensate for non existent hip extension.

According to the Crossfit Journal the causes and consequences of MHF include but are not limited to:

• structurally disadvantaged spinal posture

• low glute recruitment

• low hamstring recruitment

• pelvis abandoning the spine and chasing the legs

• centre of gravity shifting dramatically backward

• centre of balance shifting toward toes

• knee experiencing unsound shear force

• leg extension being the only productive effort

• hip extension not being possible with low hip angle

• pelvis rotating the wrong way

The cure is deliberate and focused training. Thats why you probably need a trainer like me. Why not join the mailing list a get useful information

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The Starzynski Squat

In the time before the lockdown, I used to coach Olympic weightlifting at Crossfit London on a Saturday morning.

I mean, I was in the same room, at the same time as other people

Seems weird now.

Now that everyone has moved online, it’s easy to forget that that building explosiveness into fitness regimes, without weights can be tricky.  The Olympic lifting drills  are especially difficult to think up as , ideally, you want to the end up in a squat.

There are only so many jumping squats you can do!

This is a fun , useful drill. Enjoy

 

Isometrics revisited

in the 60’s to 70’s  you would have been hard pressed to ignore the isometrics movement. Vic O’beck published “How to Exercise without moving a muscle” in 1964 and it became very popular.

During the late 60’s early 70’s the Daily Express ran a regular cartoon in its pages which popularised the exercise regime. The cartoons were eventually bundled into a book Isometrics. How to exercise without moving a muscle, in strip cartoons from the Daily Express.

Like many fitness fades, the interest faded from main stream use, due in part to silly claims. A regime that promises to get you fit and trim in 90 seconds a day is bound to sell you the book or course, but fail to deliver much , if any, fitness.

This is a shame, as given the right objectives, the static hold has a really useful role to play. According to James Hewitt who wrote Isometrics for you: Get fit and trim in 90 seconds a day in 1966  “without special apparatus and without moving a muscle you can grow stronger and build, or reshape your body to nearer your hearts’ desire. The static  contraction has been part of physical culture systems  for a very long time. Hatha yoga contains postures  held without movement”.

Put simply, isometrics are a system of physical exercises in which muscles are caused to act against each other or against a fixed object. It’s a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint.

The popular regimes focused on basic body building type exercises and suggested a 6  second static contraction  with a maximum, or comfortable maximum contraction. This bicep curl picture gives you a good idea.

bicepcurl

Whilst this had some value, the use of the extended static hold in functional fitness is probably in developing the capacity to simply hold postures which contribute to actual exercises. The reality is that if you want to kick up to a rock solid free standing handstand, or do 20 plus pull ups, you better be able to hold a static ( albeit “leaning” ) handstand against the wall, and hang for 60, 90, 120, 180 seconds. Extra grip strength is always useful!

Btw you could find yourself struggling at 10 seconds when you start. Just do what you can and build up

So think about your regime and hunt out obvious postures to practice: the side planks, lunging pushes against a wall and deadlift holds spring to mind. Adding the L sit, a horse stance ( the old martial arts favourite) and a “hip up” hold can , when combined,  make a really useful home exercise regime.

No more, “I cannot get to the gym”!!

Is Successful Strength Training like Marriage ?

Successful Strength training like marriage is measured in years not weeks or months

Pay attention to the basics . Lift often, lift heavy (5 plus, but vary from 5 to 1) be happy with small increases. Every relationship or “thing” in your life requires consistency

Don’t panic if you plateau.

In what other part of (real) human existence do we expect to have increases all the time . We can tamper with economics and pretend we have yearly growth: some NHS workers ( apparently ) get a grade increase each year , but that always. always unravels. “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…….’

The hall marks of successful strength training (marriage) is patience and maturity: watch for the opportunity to improve but don’t obsess, be happy with consolidation, treasure consistency and above all, be confident enough to rest and take it easy.

Eat well and sleep well

Bear in mind that all advanced programming is dedicated to one phenomenon, failure. Many marriages fail because one partner isn’t happy with the perfection they have, and instead indulges in fantasy . Don’t let the strength porn of a few gifted ( psychotic) individuals deprave and corrupt your normal image of how things are.

Failure is rushing at fantasy target too hard and fast.

Having preached consistency, it’s equally essential to mix it up and be creative. Add some strongman training, add and vary assistance exercises.

Variety has always been the spice of life But variety is still just a spice. It makes the fundamentals seem a bit different that’s all. It still needs the fundamentals/

In short, don’t see strength as something geeky or the preserve of experts. See it as the perfect romance or marriage, demanding consistent loyalty commitment and work , along with romance and variation.

So to be successful, research how to be romantic and simply build it into your strength regime

Practice the basics

You can analyse and use the olympics lifts in many many ways. One is  to view the full skill is a pressure test for your front and overhead squat. The pure ” beautiful” form of the lifts are seen as the squat clean and  squat snatch.

Put in other words, it tests if you own a superb front and back squat to the extend that you  can jump into it with a great big weight. Any squat wobble or misunderstanding of your squat form means that, under pressure, you won’t be get under the bar.

Take home message: don’t skimp on your front squat and overhead squat practice!

Olympic lifts as a percentage of your back squat

It’s a big, big, sweep of the arm, but most of your lifts can be (could be) compared to your back squat. If you back squat 100kg, the chances are you can snatch up to 60kg, and clean 75kg. Bear in mind these figures could vary by as much as 15%

Front Squat Snatch Clean
 87.5%  60%  75%
Overhead Squat
Power Snatch Power Clean
 67.5%
55%
 65%
Deadlift Snatch Pull Clean Pull
 125%  90% 100%
Christian Thibaudeau adds extra ratios and insights  here
Waxman’s gym has a fascinating “Weightlifting Lift Calculator” here
Box Rox also has a nice assessment tool here
My take home message is this: once you start struggling with your olympic lifts, and your technique is quite good, start to consider improving your strength.