totalbodysculpture

From Russia With Love: Training With Kettlebells – Part 1

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Do you know your pood from your goblet squat? Or your swing from your get ups? If not, this is the article for you! For many, kettlebells are a relatively new piece of gym equipment. You may have even seen a few knocking around the gym floor, wedging doors open! Kettlebells have been around for decades, centuries in fact. And they are one of the ultimate weapons in your battle to get lean, strong and functionally fit.

In this article i am going to introduce to the #SacredSix, 6 exercises that when mastered, will arm you with serious ammunition in reaching your kettlebells-585x389-585x348fitness goals. Like all exercises, leave your ego at the door when it comes to kettlebells. They are awkward and physically demanding and even if you are used to throwing around the big boy weights from the dumbbell rack, kettlebells will place a completely different challenge on your body. Nail the techniques and get a feel for how the kettlebells move before attempting to chuck up the higher weights.

Speaking of weights, kettlebells are not measured in your conventional kilograms or pounds (although many do come with this engraved or
printed on them). The true measurment for k’bells is actually a pood and is the equivalent of around 16 kilograms (that’s roughly 35 lbs). Just in case you end up with a kettlebell that is measured only in pood’s keep this conversion in mind, as 2 pood is a whopping 32kg, a challenging weight by anyones standard.

One of the great things about kettlebells is the fact they are so unstable. This places a unique challenge on the body and makes kettlebells a great tool for srength and conditioning programmes, as well as a way to make any conventional dumbbell exercise a little more taxing.

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BRAND NEW TBS DAILY DIGEST

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back-soon

Hey guys, how have you been?

In the words of Aaron Lewis “It’s been a While..”

Well, it has on the TBS Blog anyway…

If you’ve been on the TotalBodySculpture Facebook page or over at our Website, you will have seen all the things we’ve been up to, including my nomination as one of the Top 10 Personal Trainers in the World, which led to me being flown out to Barcelona to showcase my skills and knowledge!

A brilliant experience and I can say I met some incredible people during my trip, as well as sampled the great food (and red wine) of Bar-ce-looonaaa -sang in my very best Freddie Mercury voice!!

However, i’ve also managed to throw up some new articles on kettlebells, sand bags and loads of other content!

The best way to stay in the loop is to join a couple of 1000 others and join the TBS Newsletter. In fact, joining now will ensure you get on the list for my brand new daily email, which will be going out on Monday, with access only available until the end of the year, before going to an invitation only newsletter. So head over to the website at http://www.totalbodysculpture.com and ht the sign up page whilst you still can!

Hang Tough: Perfecting Your Pull Ups (& Chin Ups) Part 1

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Pull ups & chin ups are 2 great bodyweight exercises that can be performed almost anywhere, with minimal equipment. Hitting a variety of muscles including the traps, lats, biceps and delts, pull ups & chin ups should be incorporated in to any strength & muscleImage building programme. In fact, there is no better exercise for building strength in the upper body. There are significant differences between the two exercises and this guide will illustrate not only the differences between the chin up & pull up, but also how to perform them correctly, even if at the moment you can’t even perform 1!

So what is a pull up? Grab a bar and hang from it. Now, pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. That’s it! If you use an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), you’re performing a pull up. If you’re using an underhand grip (palms facing you), you’re performing a chin up. It’s as simple as that!  Of course you can make the exercises harder or easier depending on your level of strength, but both the pull up & chin up are still great exercises in this basic form.As we stated earlier, they are exercises that can be performed almost anywhere that you can hang from.

The full pull up technique can be broken down into 7 key points.

1. Start each rep from a ‘dead hang’, with the arms extended fully.

2. Using an overhand grip, take the bar close to the fingers not the palm.

3. Breathe at the bottom of the movement as this is much easier than trying to breathe at the top.

4. Focus on a point above the bar & pull up towards the bar, pushing the chest out and shoulders back. Don’t allow the shoulders to pull forward as this places unnecessary stressImage on them.

5. On the drive, pull your elbows towards the floor. This engages the stronger latissimus dorsi muscles.

6. Bend at your ankles behind you, this is a much stronger position than just having the legs hang below you.

7. Using your legs to aid in the drive is known as ‘kipping’. Only incorporate this when you are tired.

START OFF ASSISTED

The hardest part of the pull up is the actual pulling up portion. Only around 1% of women can perform unassisted pull ups. If you have a training partner, have them assist you in the lifting portion of the exercise by providing a platform for your ankles to push against or by aiding you at the hips. If you have suitable equipment, tie an elasticated band to the bar and hook it underneath where your ankles are crossed, again to provide some assistance on the lifting portion. Click HERE for an example on how to do this!

If you have one available, utilise the ‘Assisted Pull Up Machine’. This machine works by using a counter-balance, which reduces the amount of your bodyweight that you are forced to lift. The greater the amount of weight selected, the less bodyweight you are pulling up to the bar. This is a good machine for those with very little upper body strength, however as you are unable to control the decent or ‘negative’ portion of the exercise, progress can be slow. Therefore, it is much better to use assistance from a partner instead of this machine.

IT’S GOOD TO BE NEGATIVE

The lowering portion of the pull up or ‘the negative’ is a controlled decent from the bar to the arms fully extended & because you are working with gravity instead of against it, it is an easier part to perform for the beginner. Performing ‘negative only’ repetitions is a great way to build up the strength on route to performing your first full rep. This can be achieved in a couple of ways.

1. Using a Team Mate – As we stated above, have a partner aid you in the lifting portion & slowly lower yourself back down

Image2. Step Up To Achieve – Place a step or bench beneath the bar & jump up into the top of the movmenet before again slowly lowering yourself back down.

3. Challenge Your Negative – Some people may get to a point of being able to perform multiple negative reps, without being able to do a full pull up. Adding some extra weight using a dipping belt or a small dumbbell.

Chin ups are an easier exercise to perform than pull ups, so utilise the above methods using the chin up technique. However, try to use both methods as they do utilise slightly different areas of the body.

Once you can perform 10-15 full repetitions, adding resistance in the form of a dipping belt with added weight, or a dumbbell held between the knees will keep the exercise challenging.

In Part 2 of the ‘Hang Tough’, we will look at more challenging versions of the movement, including ‘muscle ups, ‘side-to-sides’ and asymmetric chins!

Pressing Ahead: Military Style

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The press is another of those exercises that can be used to develop strength and musculature in a variety of muscles. Along with the bench press, the shoulder press should be part of any training programme geared towards increasing strength in the upper body.
The type of form adopted for the shoulder press can be varied with the use of both barbell and dumbbells each bringing their own strengths and weaknesses. Here we will concentrate on the standing shoulder press, or ‘Military Shoulder Press’, although I will also touch upon the alternatives later.Image

The military shoulder press is predominantly a shoulder exercise, hitting all 3 of the shoulder heads (the clue is in the name!) However when performed correctly, with optimal weight, the military press also hits the traps, triceps and ‘core’ muscles.
When teaching the correct form of the military press, my preference is to use an empty Olympic barbell. If an Olympic barbell provides too much resistance, simply use a broom handle or similar lightweight pole until the correct form is mastered. Using too much weight at an early stage can cause technique errors to manifest themselves and become habitual, which if left uncorrected, could cause less than optimal performance and injuries to occur.

The steps below will allow you to master this multi-muscle strength builder in no time! Ideally the bar should be set up at around chest height, similar to if we were using the bar for squats, however, this is not always possible. A training partner or spotter that can aid you in getting the bar in to position can be invaluable, especially when performing working sets.

1. The first step in the military press is the grip. Simple human mechanics dictate how and where to grip the barbell. Grasp the bar just outside shoulder width so that the forearms are in a vertical position. This allows the bones of the forearm to be placed directly below the bar, on the heel of the hand. Positioning the bar here is optimal for the early stages of the ‘drive’.Image

2. The position of the elbows is an important point to consider for the balance of the shoulder press. Elbows under or behind the bar can cause the barbell to be driven away from the body, making a less than efficient and therefore less than optimal movement. This can also place unwanted stress on the shallow shoulder joint. Ideally, we want the bar to be resting on the front heads of the shoulders, with elbows slightly ahead of the bar. This will allow the bar to be driven directly upwards to a point over the crown of the head, in-line with both the shoulder blades and the middle of the feet. Yes, this means the bar will move towards your forehead, but as you will see below, we move the forehead out of the way first!

3. The military press requires a firm base from which to drive from. Using a stance not too dissimilar to one that would be used to squat, we are able to provide a stable base of the ‘kinetic chain’. The kinetic chain is the various muscles and bones involved in the production and transmission of force between the base of support and the load being moved, in this case starting at the ground and ending at the bar. This is one reason why it is important that the correct footwear is used when performing barbell movements such as the press, deadlift and squat. The standing military press requires the longest kinetic chain of the human body and is therefore a great way of building stability whilst under load.

4. Once you have established a firm base, it is time to stabilise the upper back by lifting the upper chest or “showing off your boobs”. Imagine you are pushing your chest up towards your chin by contracting the upper erector spinae. This movement along with the correct positioning of the elbows lays the foundation of the pressing movement.

Image5. When you are ready, take a deep breath*, hold it and press the bar overhead until the elbows are locked out. The bar should finish positioned over the middle of the foot, the shoulder blades and behind the forehead, not infront. Once the bar is locked out at the top, shrug the shoulders up to support the bar, The arms and traps working together will support the bar overhead, particularly when using heavy weights. Locking the elbows out and shrugging the traps up with the bar directly over the ears, produces a stable position for the shoulder girdle muscles and prevents shoulder impingement.

6. In 1972 the standing shoulder press was dropped from Olympic weightlifting competition. One reason for this was the bench press was growing as a preferred choice as a pressing movement (a movement with a very short kinetic chain ironically). Another reason is the amount of ‘lean’ permitted by competition judges was just too varied. However, as we’re not under competition rules, ‘learning to lean’ is key to not driving the bar into our nose and forehead. As the bar is starting a few inches ahead of where it will finish, some lateral movement is needed as the bar moves vertically. Pushing the hips forward whilst the bar is resting on the shoulders helps us to achieve this. The knees and lower back must remain locked out during this movement, as the hips are the only part of the body required here. This movement can and should be practiced without the bar. Practice isometric contractions the abdominals and quadriceps to stabilise the lower back and knees whilst not using the bar. This can be invaluable when it comes to incorporating this technique to a weighted barbell.Image

7. The Military Shoulder Press does not use any momentum from the legs to assist the upper body in pressing the bar. Towards the end of a set, you may want to incorporate the ‘push press’ as the shoulders begin to fatigue. It is performed almost identically as the military press, with the addition of a small, explosive ‘push’ with the legs. This produces momentum from leg drive, which will allow you to push past the early sticking point brought on by fatigue. See Tip Box on how to incorporate this movement into the end of your sets.

8. Once you have practiced this motion and feel comfortable with its use whilst under a weighted bar, it is time to incorporate each element together. Take the bar out of the rack with the correct grip, elbows in the correct position, chest up and hips forward. Do not begin to drive the bar upwards before you have pushed the hips forward. Doing so will cause you to push the bar forward slightly to avoid hitting the face, instead of straight up which is what is desired. Once the barImage has passed the forehead, move the hips back and the torso forward to get under the bar, don’t move the bar backwards. The forward movement of the torso aids in the lockout of the elbows and traps, bringing the upper arm and forearm into alignment.

TOP TIP

Utilising the push press is a great way to finish of the set, especially as fatigue has kicked in. From the standard starting position (A), bend the knees slightly whilst maintaining your stable ‘core’ (B). Drive the hips upwards explosively. With this momentum, drive the bar upwards and continue to lockout as with the military press (C).

Deadlift 101.1

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Following on from the Squat technique article I posted last week, what could be better than a 2-part series on Deadlifts! There are very few exercises that stimulate multiple gImagerowth like the deadlift can. It is one of the main exercises used as a benchmark of overall strength, simple to execute and a big strength and mass builder when used correctly. Unfortunately, it is also one of the exercises I see performed incorrectly more time times than any other in the gym. On a number of occasions I have felt the need to intervene before a serious injury occurred.
Below, i’ve split this King Strength Builder into 8 easy to highlight steps, that will have you well on your way to perfecting your deadlift. The advise below is for the conventional Regular deadlift. Part 2 will look at the variations of the deadlift, which include the Sumo, Stiff-Legged & Rack Pull.

1. Stand with feet slightly narrower than shoulder width, with the bar over the middle of the feet. Note that I said feet, not trainers.  Feet can be angled out slightly. This will allow you to establish a better back angle.

2. Bend at the waist, keeping legs straight, gripping the bar with a tight overhand grip. A split grip of overhand & underhand can also be used.

Image3. Now bend the knees until the shins touch the bar. The bar should be over the middle of the feet, with shoulder blades directly above the bar. This should establish the correct back angle for the lift.

4.Taking a deep breath, take the tension of ther bar. Maintaining neutral alignment in the neck, lift the chest and pull your shoulder blades back and down, looking forward at a point roughly 15-18 feet infront of you. This will allow you to gauge your body position throughout the movement.

5. Pushing your heels through the floor, lift the chest, pulling the bar upwards in a smooth motion, maintaining its proximity to the body. Be ready to suffer some shin scraping.

6. Once the bar has passed the knee, drive the hips through & the chest forward as you pull the shoulders back. Some people may feel the benefit of using the latimus dorsi to pull the bar upwards towards the waist. Hyper extension of the hips is unnecessary, locking out is the aim. Try to maintain the deep breath as this will support the back and core.

7. The eccentric (lowering) part of the movement will be performed much quicker than the concentric part. Lower the bar by pushing the hips back and when the bar reaches the knee, start to bend the knees.
Don’t try to control the weight too much, just go down with it.

Nothing builds & shapes a great behind like the deadlift.

Nothing builds & shapes a great behind like the deadlift.

8. Keep the chest up and your focus forward as this will stop you from rounding the back & which is better for the back.

 

Hints & Tips

*TIP 1: When deadlifting, use flat soled shoes such as Converse Chuck Taylors, Adidas Boxing shoes or as a last resort, bare foot like Arnie. This will allow you the proper stability when pushing through the heels. Just don’t drop weights on bare feet. It hurts. A lot!

*TIP 2: Avoid using wrist straps where possible. Relying on wrist straps will not only take away the added grip strength benefits, but will also place stress on the wrists where the straps dig in. Use straps for big PB efforts.Image

*TIP 3: Need some added grip? Chalk up!
Climbing chalk or powerlifting chalk will reduce moisture on the skin, which is how calluses form. If your gym doesn’t allow the use of chalk, your gym sucks & you should trade up!

SQUAT 101: Step-by-step Guide to Perfecting Your Squat

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Along with the deadlift, the squat is one of the best compound exercises available to build strength and mass in an athlete. Unfortunately, just like the deadlift, it is an exercise performed incorrectly by so many gym goers.
I have seen personal trainers and fitness instructors not only perform the squat incorrectly, but also teach incorrect form to clients and gym members. This is both frustrating and dangerous.

The squat engages the core in much the same way as the deadlift does. The biomechanics of the body make the squat a very natural movement to perform.baby squat In fact many of us have the perfect form from a very, very young age.

The perfect squat balances the forces around the knee and hips. When you ask someone what muscles they are working, almost everyone will focus on the obvious leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps.
Of course the quads are stimulated during the squat, however on top of that the muscles of the lower back, the abdominals, the ribcage muscles (costals), upper back muscles such as the traps and rhomboids, glutes, hamstrings and even the shoulders and arms all take on some of the load when performing the squat.

The squat really is the only exercise available that allows direct training and progressive improvement of ‘hip-drive’. Hip-Drive is a complex movement that strengthens the muscles that make up the ‘Posterior Chain’, which include the muscles we mentioned above.

To perfect the correct technique of the squat, the movement should be introduced ‘without’ the bar. Problems that develop with technique tend to become exagerrated once the bar is introduced. For example, drop down into the squat position and with hands pressed together in a clap, elbows pushed into the inside the knees, push the knees out over the feet. This should form ther basis of your body position during the squat.

Below are 10 Steps to a Heavenly Squat!

THE SQUAT SET UP
1. Chest Up – Pushing the chest out & pulling the shoulders back will automatically create the platform for the bar. You can also tighten your upper-back better as a result.

2. Focal Point – By focusing upwards too much, the neck can become hyperextended, taking the spine out of neutral alignment. Looking upwards also inhibits the hips when driving from the bottom of the squat, leaving you weaker at the position where you need to be at your strongest. Focus on a point roughly 8-10 feet in front of you on the ground, not at the feet.

3. Bar Position – This is very much down to the individual & practice. Ideally, the bar needs to be low, below the bone at the top of your shoulder-blades and at the base of your traps – NOT ON YOUR SPINE! If the bar is too high, the back angle is increased vertically to allow the correct hip involvement.

4. Grip Width – A narrow grip makes it easier to tighten your upper-back, however this also comes down to shoulder flexibility too. I’ve trained plenty of people that just haven’t had the flexibility in the shoulder joint to go narrow. As long as long as the other areas are locked in, a wide grip is fine.
Wrist alignment – The correct grip keeps the hand (incl thumbs) above the bar and all of the weight of the bar on the back.

5. Tight Upper-back – Bring your shoulder-blades together. The elbows are lifted, causing the rear delts to contract. This creates a shelf in which the bar sits. Never should the bar be sitting on the top of the spine!

6. Foot Stance – Heels are shoulder-width apart, with feet angled outwards at around 35 degrees.

LOWERING THE BAR
7. Maintain Body Position – Taking a deep breath, which will help support the lower back, lower the hips, maintaining the arm, chest and neck angle.
The knees should train outwards over the feet, at the same angle. Don’t allow the knees to buckle inwards, this reduces the amount of quads available for the movement & points to weakness in the hamstrings.

8. Go Deep! – If the hips don’t go below the knee joint, it’s only a partial squat. If you can’t go deep, the weight is too heavy. Contrary to the thought that deep squats place extra stress on the knees & hips, it is partial squats that place higher tension on the knee joints. This is because you’re placing a shearing force on the knee, using more of the quads & not the stronger muscles of the posterior chain. If you walk away from a squat session with exhausted quads & your hamstrings and glutes haven’t done any work, your squat technique sucks!

RAISING THE BAR
9. The Bounce – People believe that the bounce at the bottom of the squat places stress on the knees. This is true. But only if the squat is not performed correctly! The bounce at the bottom causes lengthening of the hamstrings and adductors, causing a ‘stretch reflex’. The ‘Stretch Reflex’ causes the contraction of the hamstrings and glutes to be enhanced, which aids the hip drive. Obviously this bounce is controlled. Don’t just let gravity take the bar down & then try to fire it back up.

10. Maintain Body Position – As we mentioned in Step 7, push the knees outwards as you squat upwards. Lift with the hips, whilst maintaining the neutral alignment of the neck, chest up. Squeeze the glutes as you drive up. This will help drive up the bar, whilst also helping to protect the lower back.

If you have never squatted before, seek the instruction of a proper qualified Strength & Conditioning Coach.

squat-racking

Many personal trainers & fitness instructors out there are not suitably qualified to teach the art of the squat & as I said earlier, if bad habits are formed early, they will only be exasperated when the ba

r is heavier. It makes me wince when I see someone under a bar squatting & it is what can only be described as a full leg press, followed by a ‘Good Morning Lift’.

Of course there are further tips which will help someone further develop their squat, such as the Pad Test, Hip Pick Ups & Upper Back Bar Drive, but just like building a house, it’s important to build a solid foundation before you start building the patio & extension!

 

Fit-Chef Lasagne

Ingredients

lasagne

MEAT SAUCE

  • 500g Lean Turkey Mince
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped/crushed
  • 400g Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 250g Mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 30ml Red Wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Organic Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

WHITE SAUCE

  • 700ml Skimmed Milk
  • 1 thick slice of Onion
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 tbsp Corn Flour
  • Freshly grated Nutmeg

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 250g Wholemeal Lasagne Sheets
  • Coconut Oil
  • Organic Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

Salad to accompany;

Spinach Leaves
Cherry Tomatoes (chopped)
Cucumber (sliced)
Gherkins (chopped)
Red/Green Peppers (chopped)

METHOD

*In a large frying pan heat the coconut oil, then gently cook the onion and garlic, making sure not to brown.

*Add the turkey mince and cook until the mince is no longer pink, spoon off any fat, but leave the juices.

*Add the tinned tomatoes, red wine, oregano, bay leaf and tomato puree.

*Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes

*Add the mushrooms, cooking for a further 10 mins.

*In a separate pan pour all but 4 tbsp of the milk.

*Add the slice of onion & bay leaf and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

*Add the remaining milk to a large bowl and mix in the cornflour.

*After the infused milk has cooled for 15 minutes, strain it into the bowl with the cornflour and milk using a sieve.

*Return this to the pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring continuously, until thickened, season and add the nutmeg.

*Preheat the oven to 190°C, (gas mark 5)

*Cover the bottom of a medium sized ovenproof dish with a single layer of lasagne sheets.

*Spoon a layer of the meat sauce and cover with a layer of white sauce.

*Arrange a layer of lasagne sheets on top.

*Continue layering, finishing with a layer of white sauce.

*Bake for 20-25 minutes.

*Serve with salad or vegetables

ENJOY!!

Mighty Matcha Part 2: Recipes & Ideas

Yesterday I posted an article on the benefits of Matcha Green Tea. Really, it was a re-post as the article has been up on the Totalbodysculpture website for a while now. So, i decided it would also be beneficial to those that haven’t seen it, if i posted the second part of the article that’s up there; How it can be used! So, check out these recipes and original ideas about ways that you can use this awesome green superfood!!

Matcha Green Tea Latte

The trick to preparing a cafe style matcha green tea latte is to make the tea first, then add the hot milk and foam.Image

Sift 1 tsp Matcha into a cup
Melt matcha by adding 2 oz hot water and stirring until matcha becomes a smooth paste
Pour 6 oz steamed* milk into your favorite matcha bowl or teacup
Add “melted” matcha tea to the milk
Scoop foamy milk on top
Sprinkle with matcha dust or cocoa powder

Optional
Add vanilla, almond or mint flavors, use almond milk or coconut milk for a twist, sweeten with honey, combine steps and froth milk and tea all together

Matcha Green Tea Ice-Cream

2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 tsp salt
4 Tbsp matcha + 2/3 cup hot water
1 cup fresh cream

Heat the milk in a small pan to about 140 degrees F (60 degrees C). Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a pan and beat lightly. Add the sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.  Image
Gradually pour in the heated milk and stir, making sure that no lumps form.  Strain the mixture and pour it back into the pan.
Place the pan over a low flame and cook until the milk thickens, stirring all the time with a wooden ladle.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix the matcha and hot water and stir briskly until the paste becomes smooth.
In another bowl, whip the cream until semi-stiff, fold the milk, and add the matcha paste.
Pour into a metal or plastic container, and place in the freezer to set.  After two hours, take it out and mix thoroughly with a spoon or whisk, then resume freezing.  Repeat this process 3 or 4 times to ensure the ice-cream is smooth.

Matcha Tea Cake

To serve 6

3 ounces (3/4 cup) flour
1 tbsp matcha tea (ingredient grade)
4 whole large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift the cake flour with the tea three times. Using an oil spray, coat the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan lightly. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and spray the parchment lightly. Set the pan aside.Image

Place the eggs and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a bain marie. Whisking constantly, heat until the eggs and sugar feel warm to the touch (approximately 100-110 degrees F.).
Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat until light in color and texture, approximately tripled in volume. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg foam without deflating, making sure that there is no undissolved flour lurking at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Immediately scoop the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cake tests done when a skewer is inserted into the center. Cool on a rack.

Matcha & Chocolate Truffles

1 Tbsp Honey
250g Cream
2 Tbsp Matcha Powder
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
350g 85% Dark Chocolate

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over gentle heat, add the honey and brown Imagesugar, and stir until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the matcha, stir until dissolved, and set aside.
Place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl and pour in the cream mixture. Mix thoroughly, and pour into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula. Cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Using a spoon, scoop out a heaping teaspoon, and make a ball using the palms of your hands. Repeat until all the chocolate is used, you should wind up with about 50 truffles.

Matcha Protein Smoothie
Image
1 scoop of protein powder
1/2 banana
1/2 cup nonfat milk or yogurt
1 tsp honey
1-2 tsp matcha

Blend ingredients together in a blender.

These are just some of the things you can do with Matcha. Why not try it out for yourself, making matcha butter, or adding 1-2 tablespoons to our Protein Banana Bread or Carrot Cake recipes in the Recipes section of the TBS Website! If you do, drop us a line and post your recipes/pictures on the TBS Facebook page!

Fish Oil: Have You Caught On To The Benefits?

The benefits of eating oily fish have been promoted for quite a while now, however introducing it into the diet is not for everyone. Fish oil supplementation is one way of getting the benefits of oily fish, without the bones & scales!

Fish oil will help you lose body fat, providing you with essential fatty acids due to the Omega-3 content. These fatty acids are used by the body to build optimal Imagecellular lipid layer, which is the fat layer surrounding cells known as the Lipid Bilayer. This cell layer can effect metabolism and the activity of insulin, improving your overall insulin sensitivity.

Fish oil also has a beneficial effect on cortisol, making it not only anti-catabolic, but also anabolic. Fish oil enhances the mTOR pathway that produces muscle growth.

The anti-inflammatory benefits of fish oil are well documented, something that is important for those that are looking to be lean and healthy (and who doesn’t?) Anything that causes an inflammatory response in the body such cortisol, can cause a protein degradation effect which can cause a loss of muscle tissue. Fish oil is an powerful anti-inflammatory and can produce a more favourable inflammatory status in the body. This in turn will speed up detoxification, improve cellular health, provide a better environment for muscle growth and fat loss and decrease inflammatory hormones such as cortisol.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity & Metabolism

Cellular lipid layers produced from fish oil improves insulin sensitivity due to its increased binding ability to insulin. Once insulin is bound, it is used to shuttle glucose from the diet into muscles to be stored ready for energy expenditure. Any insulin not stored in the muscle can continue to circulate in the blood stream and be potentially stored as fat. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) insure that cell membranes remain healthy by ensuring cell membrane flexibility and a larger number of insulin receptors. This is why it is essential that your fish oil supplement contains a good  amount of the above. EPA and DHA have different roles in the body. Dr Carrie Ruxton, nutritionist for the Health Supplements Information Service, says: “Studies suggest DHA is more important for the brain, retina and infant development, while EPA is moImagere important for vascular health. The difficulty we have in the UK is that two-thirds of people don’t eat oily fish,’ she says. ‘The main source of long chain omega-3s in the diet is oily fish, and if we can’t get them from that, we need to consider a supplement to top up our diet.’

As well as weight loss and favourable body composition changes, fish oil has also been shown to have medical applications in an extremely wide range of ailments including stroke, bipolar disorder, psoriasis, hay fever, crohns disease, ulcerative colitis and hypertension!

Fish oils also turn lipolytic genes and switch off lipogenic genes. This means that the genes responsible for fat burning are activated, whereas the genes responsible for fat storage are switched off. Fish oil also diminishes C-Reactive proteins. These are proteins that are linked to coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, angina and stroke.

Above all this, fish oil has been shown to increase serotonin levels, happy feeling neurotransmitters, decreasing incidents of depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

Lastly, fish oil has been shown to reduce interlukin-1 beta production, reducing joint stiffness and pain in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

VIDEO – Walk Through of Daily Nutritional Planner

In March I launched the latest update of the TBS Daily Nutritional Planner, a simple to use tool that allows you to accurately plan your meals, as well as macro nutrient intake. The Planner has space for up to 7 accurately planned meals, with simple to use drop down options, allowing you to select either your favourite Fit-Chef Recipes or your very own meal plans.

The latest update sees the introduction of software allowing you to measure your bodyfat % using a set of bodyfat callipers. This is on top of the Intermittent Fasting Planner, that is very popular.

Check out the video below for a full insight as to how simple to use the Software is!

The TBS Daily Nutritional Planner can be purchased from the TBS Website at http://www.totalbodysculpture.com