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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.

For more information, check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better

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  • http://www.fittrue.com Tim

    Eric, great post.

  • Erik Young

    I like to mix in some canned pumpkin with my greek yogurt and whey.

    You can also try pumpkin pancakes, breads, muffins, ect.

  • Kara

    Nice thanks for sharing:-)

  • http://www.GoToBALL.org Ted

    Agreed. Another great job.

    We’re linking it back from http://www.GoToBALL.org.

    Cressey Rocks!

  • joel logan

    baseball workout in season and off season what do you have you mention traiing major league players what do they do

  • http://ericcressey.com Marc

    Eric,

    In response to your request for nutritional recipes using ‘real’ pumpkin, I listed a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal. The foundation of this recipe I received from Jeff Cavaliere, but I put my own ‘spin’ on it. Enjoy!

    Amounts may vary depending on how much you like the ingredients. Be sure to use real pumpkin and not pumpkin filling. Check the nutitional label for the fiber content, as well as sugar content. Real pumpkin, unlike pumpkin filling, is high in fiber and low in sugar.

    1-1 1/2 cups of slow cook, whole grain, oats

    1 TBSP of vanilla extract

    1-2 TBSP of maple syrup or honey (Molasses is a great substitute. Less sugar!)

    2-3 TBSP of pumkin

    1-2 cups of milk. Depending on how you like the consistency (Skim or soy milk is good, but almond milk is better. More calcium!)

    Mix ingredients together

    Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on how hot you like it.

    Add a handful of raisins or nuts, preferably almonds

    Add more milk if you like it soupy

  • http://lauradevincent.wordpress.com Laura DeVincent

    Neghar posted a pumpkin pie recipe a few weeks back. Haven’t tried it yet but it looks awesome!
    http://www.negharfonooni.com/2012/07/pumpkin-pie.html

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Thanks, Ted!

  • Chris Schreiber

    Jason Feruggia posted this Pumpkin Chicken Curry recipe a while back: http://jasonferruggia.com/pumpkin-chicken-curry-recipe/

    Here is a good one for Paleo Pumpkin Muffins: http://www.thehealthycookingcoach.com/2010/02/if-you-love-or-once-loved-pumpkin-bread-and-muffins-but-youre-avoiding-wheat-gluten-or-grain-youll-love-this-tasty-r.html

    And here is one for pumpkin cheesecake – don’t remember where I got it:

    Healthy(ier) Pumpkin “Cheesecake”

    Crust:
    1/2 cup pecans
    1/4 cup almond flour
    1/4 cup coconut flour
    4-5 dates
    dash of salt

    Grind all ingredients in a food processor until crumbly and sticky.
    Press in the bottom and sides of a pie pan.

    Filling:
    2 cups pumpkin puree
    1 cup full-fat organic Greek yogurt
    1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (can be low carb version like Joseph’s)
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
    1/4 tsp sea salt

    Mix ingredients together in a food processor and pour into crust.
    Bake at 350F for 55 minutes (until no longer jiggly). Cool and
    eat.

  • Sean Witt

    Can you refer any baseball trainers like yourself with similar styles as yours in the Chicago area?

  • http://www.dannymclarty.com Danny McLarty

    This has been a great series, guys. Keep it coming!

    I’m the same with never turning my brain off and need to work on this!

    Every year around Sept/Oct, I tell myself I AM going to include more pumpkin this fall, but rarely do. This year I WILL though.

  • http://Stayposted... Mark

    Love pumpkin curry

    Just find a good curry recipie and add peeled and seeded pumpkin chunks at the beginning of the cooking process, (after you’ve added the paste ot powder and the coconut milk) as it takes a little while to cook through.
    It can replace white rice with a much bigger nutritional punch as the carbohydrate contribution to your meal.

    Solid post!

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Sean,

    How far is Champagne, IL for you? Feel free to email me at ec at ericcressey.com.

  • http://www.gregtrainer.com Greg Robins

    Thanks for all the recipes!


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