Meal Preparation Tips For a Busy Life

Spring fever seems to be in full swing here in Columbus, with warm days teasing us a few times a week.  Does it make you want to come out of hibernation and start working on your health and fitness again?   Maybe you’re honoring your body through movement daily somehow, whether it’s a walk, hitting the gym, dancing or chasing your kids. Either way, you know it makes you feel better!

But, maybe you feel that something is still missing on your journey to feeling like the best and healthiest version of you. You’ve checked adequate sleep off the list, you’re working on your stress levels, you’re chugging water, and what else could it be?

Our best guess – your nutrition!

Life is busy, we know! You may be single handedly juggling coffee, 3 kids, soccer practice, school and work all at once. So when it comes to your meals, you feel like you don’t really have a lot of options. You need food to taste good, but be quick.  Good news is, healthy CAN be tasty AND quick.

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Is Your Junior Athlete Ready?

We’re excited to have this guest blog post by our resident youth strength and conditioning coach Jeff Turner.

Coach Jeff is the real deal, with over three decades in the trenches training elite level athletes in both soccer and lacrosse, as well as over a dozen other sports. His specialty, and why he’s a perfect youth coach for HFF, is developing the foundational aspects of athleticism, which lead to increased performance and durability (keeping juniors injury free).

He also takes a personalized approach and progresses each junior athlete at the ideal pace for him or her.

If you’ve got a junior athlete in your family, this post is for YOU.

Enter Jeff:

“Physical Readiness” is a term used by elite strength and conditioning coaches around the world. In plain English, it means that the athlete is prepared to meet the demands of their sport, both in practice and in games.

One of the biggest problems I see in youth sports is the assumption of physical readiness. Everyone assumes kids are able to perform activities like conditioning sessions, sport specific drills, strength training, and even the sport itself.

We’ve all seen the kid that looks like he’s running in slow motion ­­- he’s giving it all he has, but no matter how much effort he gives, he’s still struggling. You know something is off, but you can’t put your finger on it.

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The Importance Of Your Fitness Community

Group Healthy People Fitness Exercise Unity Concept

Today we have a guest blog post by our newest addition to the HFF Team – Coach Rachel. If you haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, find out all the fun details by clicking HERE 

Hint: she is so awesome that she’s the first HFF coach in history to require TWO supersheroins to adequately represent her 😉

Take it away, Rachel…

When building a rocket ship–or something more basic like a house, there are key components to making sure it is sustainable and well built so it lasts a long time. If you’re building a house, you start with a solid foundation because without it, the house will certainly crumble and fall.

You build up from there, making sure each addition to the house is strong and well structured. You wouldn’t dare forget to add in the plumbing (unless you want to dig a hole out back).

In a perfect world, we should all take this same mentality towards our health and fitness journey. What seems to happen is that we pick one or two aspects that go into having a successful health and fitness journey and let the others fall behind. Your body deserves the same love, time and thoughtfulness that goes into building a home.

Many people miss out on important aspects of the journey because they simply weren’t educated on what constitutes the core foundations.

Fear not… we’re trained for this, and we’re here to help.

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How To Perform A Perfect Turkish Get Up Part 2

The Turkish Get-Up (TGU) is among the rare exercises that works on Stability, Mobility and Strength all at the same time.

In our TGU Part 1 video, we covered the first foundational movements of the TGU. In case you missed that crucial first piece, please review that video below:

Now in this second video, “Kettlebell King” James will take you through the full TGU with the usual detailed instructions, and a little “getting down” with some fun music (you’ll have to watch the video to find out what I’m talking about):

Again, this is somewhat of a complex move, but worth the effort to master.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

How To Perform A Perfect Turkish Get-Up Part 1

The Turkish Get-Up (TGU) is among the rare exercises that works on Stability, Mobility and Strength all at the same time.

It can be performed, in some variation, by most of the general population with great benefit. It can seem a bit complex at first, which is why we chose to break it up into two videos.

Is it worth taking the time to master?

Absolutely!

In this Turkish Get-Up Part 1 video, “Kettlebell King James” demonstrates the proper set up, basic principles, and the first quarter of the movement:

Key elements to keep in mind:

1) This is a tension exercise, so stay tight!

2) Keep the kettlebell or dumbbell directly over your shoulder joint at all times.

3) The first move is more of a “roll” than a crunch.

Spend some time and master this portion of the Turkish Get-Up, and stayed tuned for Part 2.

As always, let us know if you have any questions.

How To Perform A Perfect Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is an exercise that has tremendous potential to build power in your posterior chain (all the muscles on the backside of your body, more or less).

However, it’s a bending pattern done at high speed, and therefore also has a relatively high-risk factor, if you haven’t developed the sufficient strength base or you’re not perfect with the form.

Related:  How To Perform A Perfect Romanian Deadlift

Check out the video below for the nitty-gritty:

In review, a few key points:

  • Work your way up to at least a 70 pound KB for 12 perfect reps of the RDL before attempting the Kettlebell Swing
  • It’s a bending pattern, NOT a squat!
  • Keep the chest high and bend from the waist
  • Keep you low back flat
  • All of the power and momentum is derived from your hips (no arms)

Let us know if you have any questions.

How To Perform A Perfect Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian Deadlift is a fantastic exercise because it:

  • Teaches the often neglected functional bending pattern
  • Strengthens everything from the lower hamstrings up to the spinal erectors
  • Builds a nice butt (if you’re into that sort of stuff)

However, like with most bigger lifts, there is also a risk involved if your form isn’t perfect.

The Romanian Deadlift, done properly, will create a strong posterior chain, and help to bullet-proof your back from injury.

Done with poor form, like the rounded low back of the adorable toddler in the headline photo… say hello to a disc herniation.

Todays video covers the finer points of mastering this exercise and reaping all the benefits without the risks.

As usual, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments sections below.

Next weeks video will be a power progression of the bending pattern –  The Kettlebell Swing. So stay tuned!

How To Perform The Power Plank Exercise

Today we’d like to introduce you to the Power Plank Exercise.

The Plank exercise has been a fitness industry standard for decades now, and for good reason.  It is a tremendous exercise for developing stability and strength endurance in the core and shoulder complex.

Traditionally, planks are progressed either by making the exercise less stable (lifting a foot or elbow off the floor) or simply increasing the time the plank is held.

This has led some people and coaches to hold planks for 8 minutes or more per set.

This begs the questions about how much strength endurance is actually needed for these muscle groups, and if there are any potential downsides to these extended sets.

In brief, we feel that few people need that much endurance in that particular position, and that there is potential strain on the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the shoulder.

Enter The Power (or High Intensity) Plank

We’ve got to give credit for this concept to Pavel Tsatsouline and his Strong First crew.  This version is commonly referred to as The RKC Plank.

The general idea is to train the Power Plank Exercise with full contraction of your entire body.  The more you put into this exercise, the more you’ll get out of it.

Check out the video below, and then the key bullet points that follow:

Key Tips:

  • Full contraction of all muscles in your body
  • Squeeze glutes, and tuck them under slightly
  • Drive your elbows into the floor, and towards your toes
  • Drive your toes into the floor and upwards toward your elbows
  • Put a small ball or foam roller between your legs just above your knees – squeeze hard
  • Perform 4-6 sets of 10s on/20s off

Try out the Power Plank Exercise and let us know if you love it (or not) 😉

Lower Body Foam Roller Routine

FRLow

In todays video you’ll get an overview of a lower body foam roller routine.

Self-Myofascial Release (SMFR) has gained widespread popularity in the last 5 years or so.  We’ve been using these techniques here at HF for the past 15 years, with great success.

We’ll cover how to use a foam roller and some other tools to loosen up the muscle tissues of your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, IT Band and Calves.

These techniques can be used before or after a strength training session, as well as with running or other metabolic work.

So grab a foam roller and a tennis/LAX Ball and roll along with me.

If you have any questions about this lower body foam roller routine, then leave a comment in the section below.

How To Perform Perfect Push Ups

The Push Up is the King of all horizontal pushing movements, and a standard exercise here at The Human Form.

Baring orthopedic injury, EVERYONE can perform some version of the push up.

In the short instructional video below, Coach James demonstrates the details of the perfect push up form, as well as numerous variations to appropriately challenge the newbie to the seasoned veteran.

The key to injury-free training is to pay strict attention to exercise form, and the push up is no exception.

Test and see which version you can perform with perfect form, and then challenge yourself.

Tips For Coaching Your Kids In Sports & Life

We are consistently honored that so many of our members allow us the opportunity to work with their kids.  Although juniors make up only  about 10% of our total membership, it’s a group that we thoroughly enjoy and find immensely rewarding.

I (Stephen) often have up to 10 junior golfers at any given time, while both Michelle and James usually have 1-2 young ones on their regular schedules.

Disclaimer: None of us have any children of our own.  And I won’t insult anyone by insinuating that the menagerie of felines that Michelle and I rent from are in any way equivalent.

So you might be wondering how we would have any worthwhile insight or tips for you in coaching YOUR kids.

That’s a legit question.  Here are two potential answers:

1)  Personally, being about the same age as most of the parents, but in a different role, allows me the opportunity to take on a coach (but non-parental) perspective.  Once rapport is developed, many juniors will open up to us in ways they’re hesitant to do with their parents, no matter how solid that relationship may be.

Then there is the issue of “proximity bias”.  Most any of us can say, literally, the exact same thing to a junior as their mother/father would, and get a distinctively better response.  This can then allow space for a different type of dialogue about health/fitness/lifestyle, and all of the secondary benefits that are derived from that foundation: confidence, self-reliance, self-esteem, awareness and control of their physical bodies, etc.

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Quick, Tasty And Healthy Snacks

Todays post is by our very own Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach Michelle (not to mention my “much better half”):

We all love snacks, right?

But easy, tasty and healthy snacks that go beyond the standard (i.e. boring) “vegetables and hummus” can be rather elusive to those of us seeking variety in our weekly meal plan.

Snacks are a vital part of a healthy meal plan, especially when main meals are more than 4 hours apart.

Left without fuel for too long, our brain begins to react to our bodys’ need for energy by craving sugar, or variations of salty-crunchy goodness.  Like a guided missile, we head for the kitchen cabinets or snack machine and before we know what hit us, we’ve consumed something we wish we hadn’t.

Healthy snacks, planned in advance can relieve us of this chain of events.

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Meditation Tips For Peace Of Mind

 

Guest post from HFF Intern Stacy Shelts

Take a deep breath in through your nose. Let it out through your mouth. Close your eyes and repeat.

Pretty simple, right?

What did you hear? A gentle hissing or whooshing sound perhaps.

What did you feel? The rising of your chest and belly. Drawing cool air into your nose and the warmth of your exhale.

What did you see? Your bright computer screen with your eyes open, the room around you, and maybe black or orange when you closed your eyes.

Try a few more breaths on your own and just notice how they feel in your body.

Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

Congratulations! You just meditated. Even just sitting and doing “nothing” can be stimulating if you pay attention to your sensations. That’s mindfulness.

In this post I’ll give you some meditation tips, so you can see what all the fuss is about 😉

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Fast And Effective Hotel Room Workout

What should you do to maintain your hard-earned fitness levels while traveling and stuck in a hotel?

Is there such a thing as a hotel room workout?

We get questions like this all the time.

To be honest, there could be a solid argument made for actually taking a break from working out every now and then.

That is, if you’ve been consistent with your fitness and nutrition plan for a couple of months, your body might welcome a reprieve while you’re traveling.  And you might be surprised to find that you return to the gym feeling stronger than before you left.

That being said, in todays video we’ll demonstrate several simple (but effective) exercises that would constitute a killer hotel room workout.

If you have any questions about any of the exercises presented above, just post your inquiry in the comment section below and we’ll get you fixed up.

The Truth About Alcohol And Body Fat

Is alcohol and body fat a match made in hell?

Do you really want to know the answer? 😉

Well, in this post I’d like to share some good news; you can indeed consume alcohol and maintain or even lose body fat.

However, as you’d expect, there are a few caveats.

Caveat Number 1 – How much and often you drink

I’ll admit it, in younger and dumber years, “Moderation” was a term that I despised. I actually lived by the motto “If you’re not living on the edge, your taking up too much space”.  I also sported 80’s glam rock hair, if that gives you an idea of my state of mind back then.

My natural inclination was to do everything to the extreme.  This included habits and activities that were viewed as healthy and positive, like exercise.  For a more recent example, when I started running at age 40, my goal was to complete The North Face 50 mile Trail Ultra Marathon Championships.  I was able to check that off my bucket list.  But was it healthy?  Hell no.

But I digress.  Back to moderation in terms of alcohol consumption.

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The Best Posture Exercise

So, here at HFF we are obsessed with posture.  It’s a borderline fetish. We admit it.

You may  be wondering why, like “What’s the big deal?”.

Fair enough, here’s the short answer:

Proper posture will enable you to feel better, look better, breath better and perform better at everything (except maybe if you’re a contortionist).

For part of the longer answer, see our previous post On Being A Posture Snob Part 1

In todays instructional video you’ll learn how to perform what we believe to be the best posture exercise on the planet.  Of course, there are many other worthy exercises that improve posture, but The Prone Cobra will do wonders for you.

In review:

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Chasing Fatigue And MED


When many people start on a new health and fitness program, they approach it as an all-or-nothing endeavor.  Because you might have been in a “nothing” phase for awhile, the tendency can be to swing the pendulum over to the “all” side of the equation.

First, let me say that all the coaches here at HFF certainly commend the enthusiasm and willingness to work hard toward your new goals.

However, the “shadow side” for many of you can be a Obsessive-Compulsive attitude towards working out and nutrition, along with other aspects of the journey.  That mindset and the level of activity (physical and mental) it generates is usually counterproductive to your specific goals, such as weight loss or completing your first marathon, as well as to your overall, long-term health.

Put simply, more is NOT always better, and can actually create the exact opposite of the results that you’re seeking.

Minimum Effective Dose (MED)

The term Minimum Effective Dose (MED) refers to the idea of only doing the amount of work (in regards to training, nutrition, supplementation etc.) that will trigger the desired results.

In terms of strength training, keep in mind that you’re actually doing damage to your muscle tissues. This is on purpose, of course, in order to force the adaptation response i.e. getting stronger, in preparation for the next anticipated workout.

This system works beautifully, IF you respect the MED principle.

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Hypnosis For Weight Loss… Really?

The first time that we mention the possibility of incorporating hypnosis for weight loss, we often get looks that convey the reaction of “Really, are you serious?”

The answer is yes.

Just give me a minute to explain; I promise it will be worth it.

Or if you’d rather jump right in, check out the link below:

HFF Hypnosis For Weight Loss & Stress Reduction Systems – Free Gift

Now for those who might need a bit more info, here we go…

Let’s be clear about one thing from the start; this is NOT entertainment stage hypnosis.  You know, the kind where your friends get hypnotized into thinking they’re a chicken, and cluck around while everyone laughs at them.

Sure, that’s fun for an evening, especially since it’s now so easy to record said event on our phones.

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The Coffee Question – Friend Or Foe?

Caffeine is the world’s most consumed psychoactive drug, and coffee is still the most popular way of getting into our bodies. Hence the coffee question…

Should this be of any concern to you, or maybe your kids (average daily consumption of caffeine among youth, in it’s many forms, is growing at a rapid rate)?

Well, as usual here at HFF, the answer is… It depends.

Many factors come into play, including if you are a slow or fast metabolizer of caffeine, what kind of coffee you drink, how much and when you drink it, the rest of your nutrition and lifestyle habits (especially proper hydration), etc.

We’ve got a special treat for you today.  No, not a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, but something that is even more tasty, at least for your brain.

Below are three videos from one of our primary mentors for the last two decades, Paul Chek.  Paul is truly a holistic health and fitness pioneer, and knows more details about more topics than anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

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Crawling For Fitness… What’s Up With That?

 

Guests visiting our studio are often surprised to see that we crawl around on our large turf area.  We also do rolling and other “odd” movement patterns, which we’ll cover in later blog posts.

Crawling for fitness… so, what’s up with that?

Good question!

No, it’s not because our workouts are so brutal that they can’t walk and are about to throw up.

Silly Rabbit, puking is for the flu… and frat parties, I suppose.

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On Being A Posture Snob Part 1

It happens all the time. Within weeks of going through our HFF Clinical Assessment, our members:

1) Notice that poor posture is truly epidemic in our culture.

2) Start a personal mission to notify everyone about how they’re hurting themselves and how they need to change.

They become Posture Snobs.

Of course, they’re just trying to help the people in their lives feel better. But this can be taken the wrong way sometimes, and they encounter push-back and resistance.

In this series of posts, I’ll cover the basics of how poor posture is affecting our family and friends. Hopefully, it will be something that you can pass onto those that you care about. Oftentimes, it’s tough when you are trying to help someone close to you, due to “proximity bias”. When it comes from a third party, your peeps may be more open to it.

In part one, we’ll cover the issue of head carriage, or Forward Head Posture.

forward-head1

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Basil Buttered Salmon Steaks

Here’s an ultra-simple recipe for yummy Wild Salmon, with lots of good essential  fats.

Ingredients:

4 fresh or frozen Wild Salmon (Not farm raised!!) – 1 inch thick (about 1.5 pounds total)

3 tbsp. organic butter, softened

1 tbsp. fresh basil or savory OR 1 tsp. dried basil or savory

1 tbsp. fresh parsley

2 tsp. lemon juice

Directions:

  • Thaw fish if frozen.  Rinse, pat dry.  Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl stir together butter, basil, parsley and lemon juice.
  • Place fish on un-greased rack of broiler pan.  Lightly brush fish with some of butter mixture.
  • Broil 4 inches from heat for 5 minutes.  Using a wide spatula, carefully turn fish over.  Lightly brush with butter mixture.
  • Broil 3-7 minutes more or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Try it out and let us know what you think.  Do you have a favorite salmon recipe you’d like to share?

HFF Recipe: Dark Chocolate Avacado Pudding

This little gem is one of my (Stephen) personal favorites.  It truly feels indulgent, but it’s all good!

YIELD: SERVES 2-4

TOTAL TIME: 10 MINUTES

Ingredients:

4 ripe avocados
1/4 cup light coconut milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
2 ounces of dark chocolate (72% or higher), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

For topping: try whipped cream, coconut whipped cream, sprinkles, cocoa nibs, mint

Directions:

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Constipation – Are You Full Of It?

The title of this blog post is not one that you’ll see on other fitness related websites.

But then again, if this isn’t your first “HFF Rodeo”,  you’ve certainly come to expect more than just a re-hash of all the same stuff you see in the fitness mainstream magazines and blogs month after month.

So when I ask, “Are you full of crap?”, I mean it quite literally.

Your next question might well be “How does this have anything to do with my health and fitness?”

Glad you asked!

Some experts predict that up to 20% of the US population (some 63 million people!) suffers from chronic constipation.  And in the US alone, laxative sales reach upwards of 1.5 Million dollars A DAY!

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The Four Sports That Every Kid Should Play

Todays blog post is from Brian Grasso,  the director of the International Youth Conditioning Association.  He does an excellent job of describing the key qualities that will enable your child to both enjoy and perform better at any sport (including the sport of life), as they grow.  As a parent or coach, I highly recommend you check out all of the resources his organization provides.

Enter Brian:

One of the questions that I get asked most routinely is which sports I believe offer the best development capacity to young athletes.

This is a loaded question for several reasons…

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Killer Homemade Granola Made Easy

When we think of “health foods”, granola generally comes to mind.  It’s true – it can be an excellent snack, if you can find some that doesn’t have too much sugar or too many added ingredients turning wholesome grains and nuts into a package full of chemicals.  Lately, there have been some great, clean granola options on the grocery store shelves; they just tend to be so expensive!  So, why not make your own?

Not a great cook?  Well, making granola couldn’t be easier.  All variations are based on the same simple formula.  You just need some standard kitchen items (a bowl, a measuring cup, spoons, a pan and an oven) and in 15 minutes you can have a tray of granola baking that will make your kitchen smell like heaven.

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