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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes: A Healthy Recipe for the Fall

Written on November 1, 2013 at 7:12 am, by Eric Cressey

It seems that every single week, at least one Cressey Performance client asks me if I have a good protein pancake recipe. And, with it being fall, they want to get pumpkin included in the recipe.  Luckily, CP office manager Brittany Breault is a healthy cooking aficionado, and kindly offered to share her recipe with all of you.  She calls them "Spring into Fall Pumpkin Protein Pancakes."

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You'll only need seven ingredients to pull together this tasty recipe:

Directions:

1. Put the ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

2. Heat up a skillet or pan and spray with non-stick spray. Pour the batter onto skillet, and cook!

This recipe makes 2-3 normal sized pancakes, so you can double the quantities listed above if you'd like to make a larger batch. You can also add some carob chips if you'd like to sweeten up the taste a little bit, or even plug in some raisins if you're an athlete looking for extra calories.

Of course, use moderation with syrup, or opt for a sugar-free option or different topping.  Enjoy!

Looking for other healthy recipes?  I'd highly recommend Dave Ruel's Metabolic Cooking, a resource consisting of over 250 awesome recipes for eating healthy.

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Metabolic Cooking Recipe: Asian Turkey Burger

Written on May 1, 2013 at 7:18 am, by Eric Cressey

As I’ve written in previous blog posts, I’m a big fan of Metabolic Cooking, a healthy cookbook that offers recipes for 249 healthy food options, many of which my wife and I cook on a regular basis.  This week, the authors, Dave Ruel and Karine Losier, have put the resource on sale for more than 50% off.  And, more specific to today’s post, they told me it’d be cool to post a sample recipe for those who may be interested in learning more about what to expect from this cookbook.

Recipe: Asian Turkey Burger

Makes 3 Servings (3 Burgers)

Ingredients:

• 1 pound ground turkey
• ¼ cup minced onion
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• Salt and pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl.
2. With clean hands, squeeze it together until it’s very well combined.
3. Divide into three equal portions and form into burgers about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick.
4. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Place over medium-high heat.
6. Cook the burgers for about 5 minutes per side until cooked through.

Nutritional Facts (per serving):

Calories: 184
Protein: 33g
Carbohydrates: 4g
Fat: 4g

turkey burgers

For more great recipes like this, check out Metabolic Cooking and take advantage of this week’s great discount.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 31

Written on February 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm, by Eric Cressey

Courtesy of Greg Robins, here are this week’s tips to make your nutrition strength and conditioning programs a bit more awesome.

1. Try some back extension isometric holds on the glute-ham raise.

2. Invest in a PVC dowel for your training.

Too often people break the bank to buy flashy gym equipment in their efforts to get results. Even more disappointing is the mass amounts of money gym owners spend on this equipment to lure people in. If you have visited CP before, then you probably noticed that we do just fine without a ton of flashy equipment. The truth is that you can meet all your goals with very little equipment. The missing ingredient is often YOU; the accessories don’t need to be fancy. For example, a PVC dowel will run you less than a few bucks!

So what can you do with this sucker? Take a look at this video where I will break down a sequence movements in less than three minutes that will have tremendous benefits to your health and fitness. In addition to these drills, a PVC dowel is something everyone should have at their disposal when teaching newcomers basic barbell lifts. It is a much better option (due to its weight) than starting off with an unloaded bar.

3. Consider breaking the mold when setting up intervals for fat loss.

If you ask most people how to set up rest to work intervals in a fat loss geared program, a common answer would be as follows: Beginners will need a ratio where they work less than they rest, and more advanced trainees will need the opposite. In many cases, this may be true. Surely people with longer training histories will be better conditioned. I want to challenge the norm in this scenario.

Often times, I try to see where I can pull principals from the more “Strength and Conditioning” side of the spectrum and apply them to the general population. You see, I am in a unique spot where I wear two hats: both programming for many athletes and for adult boot camp classes. There is a saying in the S&C community that goes: “It’s much easier to get someone who is fast in shape, than it is to make someone who is in shape, fast.” Without getting into too much detail, here is how we can use this concept to alter our interval set up.

Many times the general fitness trainee will not understand or have the ability to push himself. Furthermore, he won’t be capable of very high outputs. Therefore, setting up an interval scheme where the work interval is 1/3 or more of the rest interval will be less productive in my experience than something closer to even or less. Yes, you can make the argument that we would be training completely different energy systems, but I can assure you that following an inverted approach to the norm will get you better results. So how would this break down?

Beginners: Work equal or more than they rest: this way they move more, work harder, and build work capacity. Their outputs are generally low and they need a base of “conditioning.” Moving more will be more productive for fat loss at this time.

Advanced: Work less than they rest: at this point they’re capable of higher outputs and you will get better efforts each work interval when you allow them to recover. Fostering better quality work intervals will be more productive for fat loss at this time.

Intermediate: A combination of both: switch the intervals from a more “advanced” set up to a more “beginner” template during the same training session. Additionally, place an emphasis on coaching them to work harder in short work interval scenarios.

Obviously this doesn’t pan out for every population, and can’t be viewed as a rule of thumb, by any means. For those of you running group classes, or wondering how to set up your own training, this approach will work very well.

4. Try these two great eccentric-less “pulling” conditioning options.

In past posts, I have talked about the benefits of using exercise choices that are eccentric-less. They are especially useful on “off” days where you may be performing supplemental conditioning work. Unfortunately, many of the staple exercise choices (e.g., med ball throws and sled pushes) would be considered “pushes.” Here are two ways I incorporate pulling variations into my conditioning workouts while minimizing eccentric stress.

5. Use coconut butter as a binder when making low carb protein bars.

If you have attempted to make non-bake protein bars, then I know you have struggled with two big problems. One, the binders for which they call – honey, agave nectar, etc. -  for are high in carbohydrates. Two, they don’t bind well! Often, they lose their shape and mostly fall apart.

Recently, I stumbled upon a great solution. Here’s the short story. I start every day off with a short fast. When I break the fast, I tend to begin the day with a healthy fat, fish oil, greens powder, and vitamin D. For the longest time, my fat of choice was coconut oil. Lately, I have been using coconut butter instead. It tastes better, and I like the consistency. In the morning, I will warm up the jar, mix the butter and separated oil back together and place two TBSP in a tiny tupperware container. By the time I go to eat it, the butter has fully hardened, and I can pop it out of the tupperware and eat it like a piece of white chocolate (which is also awesome!). This led me to try the following and it works great!

a. Place 3TBSP of coconut butter (warm and liquified) into a “mini bread” or protein bar sized dish (you can make one from tin foil if needed).
b. Mix in a little bit of protein powder and some finely chopped nuts.
c. Place in fridge until hardened
d. Unwrap, and EAT!

It’s seriously that easy. You can add things like oats, berries, cocoa nibs, etc. The coconut butter binder works perfectly as long as you keep the bars in a cool dry place.

On a related note, if you’re looking for additional protein bar recipes, I’d strongly recommend you check out Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel; he has several that are fantastic.

 

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 28

Written on January 11, 2013 at 8:01 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of tips to get your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs on track.  Greg Robins took a break this week, so I’m stepping up my game and covering this installment.

1. If you always squat, try a month without squatting.

There’s an old saying in the strength and conditioning field that “the best program is the one you’re not on.” In other words, everything works, but nothing works forever.  Squats have come under a fair amount of scrutiny over the past few years as diagnoses of femoracetabular impingement have gone sky-high and we’ve encountered more and more people in the general population who simply don’t move well enough to squat in good form.  So, it makes sense to not shove a round peg in a square hole; at the very least, try to remove them from your strength training programs for a month here and there.

In these instances, I like to start the training session with an axially-loaded single leg exercise for 3-6 reps/side.  If you’re not good in single-leg stance, start on the higher side with a lighter weight. If you’re a long-time single-leg believer, though, you can really load these up:

After that, you can move on to deadlifts, barbell supine bridges/hip thrusts, or any of a number of other exercises.  The point to take away from this is that eliminated loaded squatting variations for a month here and there won’t set you back.

2. Work on the squat pattern, not just the squat.

A lot of folks struggle to squat deep because they lack the ability to posteriorly shift their center of mass sufficiently.  This is particularly common in athletes with big anterior pelvic tilts and an exaggerated lordotic curve.

If you give these athletes a counterbalance out in front of their body, though, their squat patterns “clean up” very quickly.  As such, in combination with other mobility/stability drills, I like to include drills to work on the actual squat technique both during their warm-ups and as one of the last exercises in a day’s strength training program.  Goblet squats and TRX overhead squats are two of my favorites:

3. Make muffins healthier.

My favorite meal is breakfast, and I know I’m not alone on this!  Unfortunately, once you get outside some of the traditional eggs and fruit choices, things can get unhealthy very quickly.  That’s one reason why I’m a fan of Dave Ruel’s recipe for the much healthier high protein banana and peanut butter muffins from Anabolic Cooking.  Dave has kindly agreed to let me share the recipe with you here:

Ingredients (for three muffins)
• ¾ cup oatmeal
• ¼ cup oat bran
• 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
• 6 egg whites
• ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
• ¼ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp stevia
• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
• 1 big banana
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp banana extract

Directions
1. In a blender, mix all the ingredients (except for the banana). Blend until the mix gets thick.
2. Cut the banana in thin slices or cubes. Add the banana to the mix and stir (with a spoon or a spatula)
3. Pour the mix in a muffin cooking pan, and cook at 350°F. Until cooked (about 30 minutes).

Nutrition Facts (per muffin)
Calories: 190
Protein: 17g
Carbs: 18g
Fat: 4.5g

Quick tip: you can cook a big batch and freeze the muffins, then just microwave them when needed down the road.

Anabolic Cooking is on sale for $40 off until tonight (Friday) at midnight, so I’d encourage you to check it out and enjoy the other 200+ healthy recipes Dave includes.  My wife and I cook from this e-book all the time.

4. Dominate the back-to-wall shoulder flexion drill before you overhead press.

Whether your shoulders are perfectly structurally sound or not, overhead pressing can be a stressful activity for the shoulder girdle.  To that end, you want to make sure that you’re moving well before you move overhead under load.  I like to use the back-to-wall shoulder flexion “test” as a means of determining whether someone is ready to overhead press or snatch (vertical pulling is a bit different).  Set up with your back against the wall, and your heels four inches away from the wall.  Make sure your lower back is flat against the wall, and make a double chin while keeping the back of your head against the wall.  Then, go through shoulder flexion.

If you can’t get your hands to touch the wall overhead without bending the elbows, going into forward head posture, arching the back, or moving the feet away from the wall, you fail.  Also, pain during the test is a “fail,” too.  Folks will fail for all different reasons – but a big chunk of the population does fail.  Fortunately, a bit of cueing and some corrective drills – and just practicing the test – will go a long way in improving this movement quality.  Hold off on the snatches and military presses in the meantime, though.

5. Drink with a straw to get better about water intake.

I always give my wife, Anna, a hard time about how little water she drinks.  She’ll get busy at work and will simply forget to have a sip of water for 5-6 hours.  Other times, though, she just doesn’t want to drink cold water – because it’s winter in New England and she is always trying to get warm!  One quick and easy solution to the later problem is to simply drink with a straw, as water won’t contact your teeth, which are obviously very cold-sensitive.  My mother gave Anna a water bottle with a straw for Christmas, and she’s been much better about water consumption ever since.  Try it for yourself.

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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 1/8/13

Written on January 8, 2013 at 2:01 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

A Day at Cressey Performance – My old friend Mike Irr visited Cressey Performance a few weeks ago, and wrote up his experience after the trip.  Mike has an outstanding perspective, having been a strength and conditioning coach for two separate NBA teams before heading back to school to get his doctorate of physical therapy.

Stretching Doesn’t Work – While I think the title is very misleading on how Dean Somerset actually thinks (he’s too bright a guy to be this black and white on something), this is a great write-up on improving mobility via non-traditional means.

Anabolic Cooking – This is one of my all-time favorite resources, as my wife and I cook from recipes in this e-book all the time.  The author, Dave Ruel, has put it on sale at $40 off this week, so it warranted a mention in this week’s post.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 22

Written on October 19, 2012 at 9:05 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s collection of strategies you can apply to your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs; it’s a collaborative effort between Greg Robins and me.

1. Clean up your overhead pressing and pulling with these exercises and cues.

Overhead pressing isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good exercise choice. In fact, vertical pressing and pulling is an important part to any balanced approach. For those of us who have lived most of our lives below the shoulders, it may play an integral part to an unbalanced approach, aiming to bring overall balance back.

Overhead pressing and pulling may become problematic when people allow themselves to move into a heavily extended posture as they perform the exercise. In some cases, the factors contributing to this may warrant the elimination of overhead work until certain mobility and stability deficits are improved upon.

For many it’s simply a question of cueing, and re-learning what “right” feels like. Try some of these exercises.

Back to Wall Shoulder Flexion – engage anterior core, activate glutes, make a double chin, and don’t allow the lower back to arch (keep it flat against the wall).  Exhale fully in the top position.  Those in a lot of scapular depression and/or downward rotation will want to to get shrugged up a bit at the top, whereas those with a big upper trap substitution pattern will want to leave this cue out and focus on a bit more posterior tilting of the scapula during upward rotation.

Half-Kneeling 1-arm Landmine Press – The half-kneeling posture makes it harder to substitute lumbar extension for overhead activity, and the pressing angle serves as a nice progression to eventually getting overhead. The cues are largely the same as with the back-to-wall shoulder flexion, including the cue for those in a lot of scapular depression and/or downward rotation to get shrugged up a bit at the top.

Half-Kneeling 1-arm Lat Pulldown – You’ll generally do better with traction (pulls ball away from the socket) than approximation (forces ball back in to socket) exercises early on with overhead activity.  The cues are, again, much the same.  Notice, however, that Greg is attentive to not extending the humerus past neutral, which would create an anterior scapular tilt and cause the head of the humerus to glide forward.


 

2. Use the eccentric portion of a lift as an indicator.

We are stronger eccentrically than we are concentrically. In other words, we can lower higher weights in control than we can actually lift. For some, the difference between what they can load eccentrically, as compared to concentrically, is minimal. For others, the gap is quite large. Many refer to this difference as the “Strength Deficit.” Essentially the strength deficit is indicative of the difference between our maximal strength potential (absolute strength) and our actualized maximal strength.

With that in mind, keep a watchful eye on athletes (and yourself) during the lowering phase. Their ability (or inability) to show control in this portion is a valuable way to assess the appropriateness of the weight and exercise. I realize other factors could contribute to form breakdown on the way down or up, but in general, if you see athletes unable to lower a weight under control, it’s probably not going to look any better going up. Furthermore, if the athlete shows great control going down, but struggles on the way up, you know there is a recruitment breakdown and they are unable to realize their potential strength at this point. When you see that, address it as soon as possible! Lower the weight to where the concentric portion looks good and gradually progress the load.

Lastly, apply this concept to jumps as well. Consider teaching athletes (especially youth athletes) how to absorb and store force before sending them right into releasing it. Reversing the usual order of events, and teaching landing mechanics before jumping mechanics can effectively do this.

3. Vary soft tissue techniques for better recovery.

Many people don’t realize that the body will adapt to restorative strategies in a similar fashion to how it adapts to training. Vary how you approach your soft tissue work, by using different sized objects, changing directions between passes and modifying the sequencing.

Additionally, seek out trained professionals who can administer a number of different approaches.

4. Try meat muffins.

Meatloaf (the food, not the musician) makes everything better.  If I could eat it for every meal, I’d be a happy man. 

As with eating muffins, the absolute tastiest part is the top – but in a traditional meatloaf cooking container, the amount of “top shelf loaf” is minimized.  The solution to this, of course, is to cook your meatloaf in a muffin baking sheet.

Also, if you’re looking for a healthy meatloaf recipe, check out this great turkey meatloaf one from Dave Ruel (makes six servings):

Ingredients
• 2 lbs ground turkey
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 diced onion
• 1 tsp garlic (optional)
• 1⁄3 cup dried tomatoes
• 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
• 1 whole egg
• 1⁄2 cup parsley
• 1⁄4 cup low fat parmesan
• 1⁄4 cup skim milk
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tsp oregano

Directions
1. Cook the onion with olive oil separately
2. Mix everything together in a big bowl, add the cooked onions
3. Put the mix in a big baking pan
4. Bake at 375-400°F for about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 393 calories, 46g protein, 14g carbohydrate, and 17g fat

This recipe is one of 200 awesome ones in Dave’s product, Anabolic Cooking; I’d highly recommend you check it out, as my wife and I cook from it all the time.

5. Be realistic when you write programs if you know you’ll have time constraints.

Most of us have very busy lives, and if we aren’t careful, they can quickly cut into our gym time.  One of the biggest mistakes we see when folks write their own strength and conditioning programs is that they choose advanced exercises that may take a lot of time to set-up.  Take, for instance, a reverse band bench press.  In addition to requiring a lot of set-up time, it requires that you find a spotter and load/unload more plates than you’d normally use.  The same would go for a board press variation; you need a spotter, someone to hold the boards, and more weight than you’d use on a regular bench press. 

Sometimes, if you’re strapped for time you’re better off just picking an exercise on which you can fly solo, like a dumbbell bench press or push press.  You’re increasing your likelihood of adherence and, in turn, success if you know you can get in more quality work in less time.

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Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 15

Written on August 20, 2012 at 5:14 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s this week’s list of random tips to make you a little more awesome with your nutrition and strength and conditioning programs, with contributions from Greg Robins.

1. Outsource your cooking innovation.

One of the reasons folks “cheat” on their diets is that they don’t do a good job of incorporating variety in their healthy food choices.  Unless you are one of the 1% of the population who has outstanding willpower, eating the same thing over and over again is a recipe for feeling deprived – and that can only lead to some less-than-quality time with Ben and Jerry.

If you’re someone who isn’t all that creative in the kitchen, consider allocating some funds to a cookbook that features healthy recipes.  One of my favorites, Anabolic Cooking, is actually on sale for 52% off ($40 off) this week only. 

2. Make roasted chicken breast with spinach and walnut stuffing.

Speaking of the cookbook; here’s a great recipe from it.

Ingredients:

- 4 large fresh chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (average 8oz per breast)
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp of garlic
- 1/4 cup walnuts crushed
- Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Olive oil (not extra virgin)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Butterfly chicken breasts (cut along side and lay out flat leaving attached at one end like a book) and lay out flat on cutting board. You can pound it slightly to flatten a bit if you want.
2. Rub both sides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
3. Lightly wilt spinach in non-stick pan, or if using frozen just thaw.
4. Spread roasted garlic paste onto one half on inside of chicken breasts.
5. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.
6. Place spinach on top of walnuts.
7. Fold top over and place on a rack fitted inside a sheet pan or roasting pan.
8. Place chicken in oven and bake for 20 minutes on 400. Then reduce heat to 325 and roast for an additional 30 minutes, or until inside stuffing reaches 145 degrees.
9. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information (four servings)

Calories: 407
Protein: 55g
Carbohydrates: 4g
Fat: 19g

*A special thanks goes out to Anabolic Cooking author Dave Ruel for allowing me to reprint this recipe.

3. Consider using concentric-only exercises for “off-day” training.

The most stressful, and therefore demanding part of an exercise is actually the eccentric, or lowering phase. This is where the majority of muscle damage occurs, and the part that will elicit the most muscular soreness. If you’re like me, you enjoy doing some kind of physical activity on a daily basis. Some people scoff at the idea of never taking a rest, but in reality, moving is good for you, and it can be done daily. If done incorrectly, it can interfere with recovery and lead to overtraining. If done correctly, it can keep you focused and actually speed up your recovery.

While there are multiple ways to go about off day exercise correctly, one option is to use mostly eccentric-free exercise choices. As examples, think of sled pushing, dragging, and towing. Additionally you can attach handles or a suspension trainer to your sled and do rows, presses, and pull-throughs. Another option is medicine ball exercises, which can be organized into complexes and circuits, or KB and sledgehammer swings, which all have minimal eccentric stress. These modalities will get blood flow to the appropriate areas and give you a training effect that won’t leave you sore, or stimulated to an extent that mandates serious recovery time.

4. Keep track of more than your one-rep max.

The ultimate rookie mistake in strength training is going for a one-rep max too often. You rarely need to train at the 100% intensity in order to get stronger. The issue is that most people only have that number as a benchmark in their minds. Therefore, the only way they know to measure progress is to constantly test that number over. This has two major flaws.

First, they train at that intensity too often, and all too often miss repetitions, essentially training above 100%. This teaches their body to miss reps, and leaves them neurally fried and unable to perform. Second, they get impatient with their training because they don’t realize new personal records throughout the training cycle. The consequence is that their impatience leads to unscheduled, and too frequent, attempts at new one-rep personal records, bringing us back to point number one. “What gets measured, gets managed,”so make a point of keeping track of repetition maxes. Testing your 3- and 5-rep maxes, for example, are also perfectly good ways to measure progress. Actually, they are better numbers to monitor as training those intensities is more repeatable.

5. Make your home a “safe house.”

No, I am not talking about replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors, although that is certainly important. What I am referring to has to do with nutrition. Your home should be a place where you are unable to make poor nutritional choices. Discipline is a function of decision making, or making choices. Many people relate great discipline to an ability to say “yes” or “no” in response to a question – even if it comes from one’s own mind (“Should I devour that box of donuts?”).

The truth is most of us might not be disciplined enough to make great choices at the drop of a hat, but you can be disciplined enough to prepare yourself for those moments that test you. Instead of keeping unhealthy foods in your house, have the discipline to throw away excess desserts after a party, and not keep certain foods in your fridge or cabinets. You can set yourself up for success, or you can tempt yourself by continually trying to prove you have the incredible discipline to only eat these foods in moderation. You will find that when you limit the consumption of more “relaxed” foods to “outside venues,” you will be eating them with other people, and therefore are more likely to eat less of them, enjoy them more, and have them less often; these are all good things! 

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The Best of 2011: Product Reviews

Written on December 27, 2011 at 4:54 am, by Eric Cressey

I’ve already featured the top articles at EricCressey.com from 2011, and now it’s time to highlight the top product reviews I did at this site in the last year.

1. Metabolic Cooking – This was the most popular product review I did on the year for a very simple reason: everybody needs to eat!  And, the folks reading this site prefer to eat “clean” – and Dave Ruel did a great job of making this easier and tastier with an outstanding recipe book to which I still refer every week.  I made two posts about the product:

Metabolic Cooking: Making it Easier to Eat Clean with Healthy Food Options
A Must-Try Recipe – and My Chubby 4th Grade Pics! (this is the best chicken fingers recipe in history; try it!)

2. Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body – This was the sequel to the popular lower-body product that was released by Rick Kaselj et al. in 2010.  I went through and highlighted each presenters contributions to the product via four posts:

Muscle Imbalances Revealed Review – Upper: Part 1 (Dean Somerset)
Muscle Imbalances Revealed Review – Upper: Part 2 (Dr. Jeff Cubos)
Muscle Imbalances Revealed Review – Upper: Part 3 (Tony Gentilcore and Rick Kaselj)

3. Lean Hybrid Muscle – As the review below will demonstrate, this program offered me a nice change of pace from my “normal” training when I needed to shake things up earlier this year.  It’s a nice follow-up to Show and Go.  Here’s my review:

How I’m Breaking Out of My Training Rut: The Lean Hybrid Muscle Strength and Conditioning Program

4. Post-Rehab Essentials – Based on the fact that Dean Somerset has now gotten two shout-outs in my top product reviews of 2011, you might think that I have somewhat of a man-crush on him.  The truth is that I think Dean relates complex terms in simple terms and “teaches” about as well as anyone in the fitness industry.  Check out this post that touches on why his product has merit:

4 Reasons You Must Understand Corrective Exercise and Post-Rehab Training

There were certainly some other great products I encountered this year, but these four reviews proved to be the most popular with my readers, based on hosting statistics.

We’ll be back soon with the top features of 2011.

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Healthy Food Options: Cashew-Crusted Chicken…Yum!

Written on July 26, 2011 at 9:45 am, by Eric Cressey

My wife cooked up some cashew-crusted chicken the other night, and it was spectacular.

These suckers were almost as good as the chicken fingers recipe I posted a few months ago – and serve as yet another example of how awesome Dave Ruel’s Metabolic Cooking is.  If you haven’t picked up a copy already, do so; you won’t regret it!

Click here to check out my full review of the product and see a bunch of other stuff we’ve cooked from this great resource.

 

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A Must-Try Recipe – and My Chubby 4th Grade Pics!

Written on April 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm, by Eric Cressey

When I was in fourth grade, I loved two things: sports and chicken fingers.

When I was about 8, I went on a 4-5 day trip to Gettysburg with my grandparents, and to this day, my grandmother jokes about how I ordered chicken fingers for every single lunch and dinner for the entire trip.  Likewise, Tuesdays at the Sea Road School cafeteria was affectionately known as “nug-nug” days for the chicken nuggets my friends and I couldn’t wait to dominate each week.

Little did we know (at the time, at least) that we were really just eating a load of “mechanically separated chicken parts,” sugar, bread crumbs, corn starch, vegetable oil, and “leavening” and “anti-foaming” additives.  In spite of my crazy activity level, it’s these stellar ingredients (and surely some of the other garbage I was eating) that were responsible for my remarkable transformation between my third and fourth grade school pictures.

Whoever said that you can’t gain “baby fat” in 4th grade never watched me crush nug-nugs.

Kidding aside (kind of), it should come as no surprise that I love to eat; at heart, I’m still a chubby kid who wants his chicken fingers.  However, I fight my inner demons and stick to the healthy stuff.  I’m proud to say that I was “chicken finger sober” for 16 years, but that streak ended on Monday night.  Fortunately, I was working off a great recipe I picked up from Dave Ruel’s Metabolic Cooking e-book, one of my favorite resources of all time.

These fingers were “to die for,” so I thought I’d reach out to Dave to see if he’d be okay with me reprinting his Metabolic “Fried” Chicken Fingers recipe for my loyal readers.  Knowing the joy that chicken fingers has brought to mankind for centuries, he kindly obliged – and here it is:

“INGREDIENTS (RECIPE MAKES 4 SERVINGS/16 FINGERS)

• 4 cooked chicken breasts (4oz each)
• 2 egg whites
• 1 teaspoon coconut oil
• ½ cup bran buds
• ½ cup oatmeal
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare baking sheet by coating the coconut oil. Cut chicken breasts into four equal strips (you should have 16 strips total). Set aside. Grind oatmeal and bran buds in a food processor (or blender). Next, combine all dry ingredients in a large container with a tightly fitting lid. Shake well. This is your coating mixture.

2. Add egg whites in a medium bowl. Dip each strip in the egg whites. Then dip each strip (finger) in the coating mixture. Make sure each piece is well coated.

3. Place on the baking sheet. When all of your chicken has been coated and your baking sheet is full, place in the oven and bake for 10 mins or until golden. Then turn the fingers and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes.”

Here’s how ours turned out (and I can assure you that they tasted even better than they looked; I was more concerned with wolfing them down than I was with tastefully presenting them for the camera):

For more awesome recipes like this, be sure to check out Metabolic Cooking, a great resource to which you’ll be referring for years to come.

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