Good Greens Bars

Good! Greens bars are made by a company that is driven by the mindset that everything they do must be good. They are all about good ingredients, good practices and good community. Their products are good for our health- like actually good. Their mindset is about all over wellness that embodies heart, mind and soul.

At Good! Greens our goal is to help everyone be their best good. Whether it’s on the playing field, at school or in work – Good is what we eat, how we care for ourselves and care for each other, and it’s the promise we bring to the world in wellness, humanitarianism and spirit.

With these bars it is now easier than ever to:

Good Greens bars are incredible. They are packed with yummy ingredients, and are gluten free, vegan, contain probiotics and also have over 10g of plant based protein. You can buy bars on their own in local stores, or you can save some money and buy 12 packs or even 72 packs online. What is more is that each bar is unique with loads of different flavors on offer such as: Apple Crumb, Apricot Crush, Blueberry Bliss and Banana Nut, which is shown here:

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I love munching on the bars as a snack on their own, or as a quick and easy dessert- finished off with a handful of berries, or banana nice cream.

The bars are literally packed with superfood goodness thanks to the Good Greens superfood powder that they are made with. The powder contains the following amazingly good ingredients:

Superfood Powder: Proprietary Blend- Acai Berry, Beet Juice Powder, Spirulina, Apple Pectin, Spinach, Tomato, Broccoli, Carrot, Shitake Mushroom, Cranberry, Apple, Orange Powder, Raspberry Powder, Acerola Berry, Parsley, Aloe Vera, Chlorella, Carrot Juice Powder, Whole Apple Powder, Goji Berry, Mangosteen, Bacillus Coagulans Gbi-30 6086 (Probiotic Bc-30), Pomegranate, Green Tea Extract, Lohan Guo, Broccoli Powder, Blueberry Juice Powder, Alfalfa, Bilberry, Ginger Root Powder

My favorite Good Greens bar was the Chocolate Chunk bar:

Chocolate Chunk (12 Pack)

The Chocolate Chunk bar is made with dairy free chocolate and so is vegan friendly. The bars are literally divine and give you a chocolaty treat without any guilt. Each bar is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and protein, making this chocolaty bar an unrivaled choice among wellness bars. You can get your own Chocolate Chunk Good Greens bar here! I loved having one of these bars after a workout as they helped replenish my tired body, and always enjoyed them with an extra dollop of nut butter. 

A close runner up, behind the Chocolate Chunk bar, in my list of favorite Good Greens bars was the Blueberry Bliss bar (which you can get here).  I was not sure about the Blueberry Bliss bar at first as I have, in the past not liked the taste of ‘fake’ blueberry. However, these bars have nothing fake about them. They taste like real blueberries, and I can see why they are the Good Greens best-selling yogurt bar! Blueberry Bliss bars blend of all that is good – good tasting, good for you! I loved taking one of these bars with me to college as they made for a great snack to curb between-meal cravings.

Blueberry Bliss (12 Pack)

I was blown away by the Good Greens bars, and would recommend them 100%. They are tasty, moorish, and made with real ingredients that you can actually recognize. I am definitely going to get my hands on some more of these awesome bars, especially as there are some flavors, like the Chocolate Banana bars (shown below)that I have not tried as they are new additions to the Good! greens bar team.

Make sure to keep up with what the company behind Good Greens bars are doing by checking in with them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also check out The Good! Blog which will give you lots of ideas about how to enjoy your bars, and also give you some more info about why superfoods are so good!

 

Q&A with Alana Barber

Alana Barber is 28, and New Zealand’s fastest female race walker. Alana rose to success during her time in Leeds, UK, where she lived for a couple of years with her partner and fellow Kiwi race walker Quentin Rew (check out the Train and Chew interview with Quentin). Alana made massive improvements whilst in Leeds, and it these improvements were backed up when she competed at the  British Grand Prix of Race Walking and finished a massive nine minutes faster than her previous PB with 1:43:46 to place second. Since then, Alana’s most notable performance was finishing 18th in the 20Km race walk at the 2015 World Championships, where she also set a New Zealand record of 1:33:20. She is currently preparing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Who knows what other achievements await Alana in 2016! 

  1. Can you start us off by explaining, very briefly, what the rules of race walking are?

There are 2 main rules to race walking. The first is that one foot must appear to be on the ground at all times. The walker’s front foot must be on the ground when the rear foot is raised. The second rule is that one leg must be straight at all times. The front leg must straighten when it makes contact with the ground. This is all judged with the human eye.

Race walking judges can caution competitors who they think are close to breaking the rules by showing them a yellow paddle. The same judge cannot give an athlete a second caution. When a walker clearly fails to comply with the rules, the judge sends a red card to the chief judge. Three red cards, from three different judges, will result in a competitor’s disqualification.

Additionally, the chief judge can disqualify an athlete in the final 100ms, if the competitor clearly violates the walking rules, even if the competitor has not accumulated any red cards. This stops walkers from getting away with running in the final straight.

  1. How long have you been race walking? What got you started?

 I used to be an 800m runner and I wanted to train over longer distances. That’s when I started to get knee soreness. My Mum is a race walker and always pestered me about giving it a go, so when I was injured she said that race walking could be a great way to keep fit while giving my knees a chance to recover. I never went back to running seriously after that. And now Mum has stopped bugging me 😉

  1. What do you think has been the single biggest game-changer in terms of your training?

When I began training regularly for race walking, I followed Arthur Lydiard’s principles. I did 3 hour sessions at 7 minutes per kilometre to try and clock up the mileage, but ended up racing at 6 minutes per kilometre pace and I just couldn’t get my times faster. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for that style of training and it can be a successful way of becoming a strong runner, but it just did not make me a faster walker. I later started to focus on pace in all my workouts including 20-25km sessions. It was no longer about spending time on my feet; it was about puffing hard and increasing my aerobic fitness level. My speed increased over time and I began been able to hold 20km training sessions at 5 minutes per kilometre, which meant I could race at 4 minutes 30 pace.

  1. What is your favorite session?

My favorite session is known as “out & back”, which involves going at a fast pace one way, then turning round at 10 minutes and having to get back to the start before 20 minutes is up.  There are 2 aims to this session: to get as far as you can in the first 10 minutes; and to judge your pace perfectly and get back to the start in exactly 20 minutes.

  1. Do you have a least favorite session?

Mentally I find 2km reps very tough. I avoid doing this session on my own. If I do them with a group, it helps A LOT, even if it’s with a bunch of runners.

  1. What do you think is the key to your success?

 I have gone through long periods of not improving. Although it is important to evaluate the reasons why you might not be getting better times, I truly believe that getting through the tough times when you don’t feel like you are getting rewards, and staying positive is the key to being successful.

  1. Is there anything that would surprise people about your diet?

I am a sucker for cake and chocolate. I can’t just have 1 biscuit; I have to have the packet! But that won’t be a surprise to anyone that knows me.

  1. What are your favorite pre/post-workout snack/ meal?

 Before training, I love having a banana. It’s the only thing I can eat and train straight away on, without feeling it in my stomach. After training the best thing is having a smoothie packed with fruit, mixed spices, mint leaves, coconut cream. I experiment all the time by adding different ingredients.

  1. You seem to travel a lot for races, and training, where is next on the list, and where is your favorite place to race/ train?

As I type this, I’m on my way home from Asian Champs in Japan. I love travelling and race walking provides that opportunity. The next race is in China on April 23rd, then straight onto Italy where our World Teams Champs are. We have a small NZ team competing there.

Obviously the big race I’m aiming for is Rio, but I am still in need of another B standard. NZ has tougher standards than what IAAF set, so despite the Olympic 20km standard being 1:36, NZ has a B standard of 1:33 and an A standard of 1:31. You can qualify by doing the B standard twice or the A standard once in the set time period.

I am doing my pre-Olympics build up in St Moritz, which just happens to be one of the most beautiful places in the world and has an ideal cycle path around the lake to walk on. Being surrounded by beautiful scenery increases motivation and makes you want to spend as much time outside training as possible.

  1. Have you got any advice for aspiring race walkers?

You need to be self motivated and enjoy your own company. You spend many hours on your feet by yourself and although training with a group is great, you can’t rely on anyone else to be successful. There are so many reasons not to train – your training partner doesn’t turn up, you have a blister from the previous session, it’s pouring with rain and windy. You have a hot date and you don’t have time shower before you meet him. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, you should still go out and train. Embrace whatever the bad situation is, this is what will give you the competitive edge. The more physically and mentally demanding the session, the better the athlete you become.

You need to be resourceful, particularly because there aren’t a lot of people that understand the sport. Find people who a good, find out what they do and get involved.Walking offers great opportunities. You can qualify and get invited to races around the world. It’s a very exciting lifestyle!

Check out Alana’s Facebook page to keep us to date with her races, and training.

 

NuGo

A fast-paced, active lifestyle should not have to negatively impact your health. Low in sugar and net-carbs, high in protein and fiber, and free of artificial ingredients, NuGo Slim® bars make for a great low glycemic snack that’s ideal for people monitoring their blood sugar, looking to maintain a healthy weight or those just after a tasty snack!

Check out the NuGo website for their range of tasty NuGo products. They have bars for every taste, and every dietary need from vegan to gluten free. Check out the NuGo Slim Espresso and Dark Chocolate bar:

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With only 2-3g of sugar, each NuGo Slim, bar is a guilt-free alternative to other dark chocolate treats.Each bar contains 15–17g of protein giving sustained energy- a great post workout refuel. Also, a great benefit for me, is that NuGo bars are free of maltitol which can cause bloating and gastric discomfort.

I loved the NuGo bars as they came, but also loved dipping them into some extra nut butter for an extra decadent, calorie and protein rich snack.

Check out the NuGo Instagram page to see other ways of enjoying these awesome bars!

If you want your protein and fiber without all the sugars and artificial sweeteners found in other diet products, NuGo Slim® is the protein bar for you. With five REAL Dark Chocolate flavors to choose from, staying fit has never tasted so good.

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As a lover of anything PB related, I thought that the NuGo slim crunchy PB and real dark choc bar was amazing! I took a bar with me to my track meet and it was a great way to keep me going between races. As an active, vegan university student I’m always looking for high protein snacks I can have on the go- these bars are just ideal. You can get your own bars here: NuGo website

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These bars are an absolutely perfect option for peanut butter lovers. They are low in fat and contain no hydrogenated oils. What is more, the bars are dipped in REAL Dark Chocolate- so decadent! NuGo bars are the only protein bars to be covered like this. The bars are also vegan, gluten-free and contain over 17g of Protein, 3g of Sugar, 7g of Fiber, 5g Net Carbs and no maltitol. Amazing, and thoroughly recommenced.

LivWell Nutrition Plant Protein Powder

LivWell Nutrition offers complete plant based super food protein powder blends. LivWell started as a result of being tired by the lack of quality plant protein products available to consumers. They thought that it would be a great idea to create a product that not only provided a nutritional punch but also tasted amazing. So that is what they did. In 2014, LivWell was born. Since then, LiveWell aims to inform people, and provide the world with all the beneficial superfoods that bring nourishment to the body and mind.

 

Each serving of LivWell protein powder provides:

  • 17 Grams Protein per serving
  •  28% DV Iron per serving
  •  Amazing Amino Acid Profile
  •  6 Grams of Fiber per serving
  •  100% Plant-Based
  •  Highly Digestible
  •  No Bloating

“Vitality begins with you” – Martha Graham

Raw Cacao LiveWell Nutrition plant protein powder  is made from a complex of the most efficient plant proteins from around the world, in addition to a range of other super foods:

organic pea protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein, organic sacha inchi protein, organic maca root, organic raw cacao, organic mesquite pod, organic stevia leaf, xanthan gum (for mixing)

The powder is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. Each serving is packed with 17 grams of highly digestible protein. The combination of multiple protein sources delivers an impressive natural amino acid profile that rivals that of whey. All proteins are 100% hypoallergenic, free from soy, gluten, dairy and artificial ingredients. The cacao performance plant protein blend is great for:

  • Building Lean Muscle
  • Everyone from Extreme Athletes to Casual Vegetarians
  • Iron and Fiber intake
  • Increasing Libido
  • Increasing Energy Levels
  • Weight Management
  • Mood Boosting
  • Immune Boosting

Here are some of the reasons why you should try LivWell’s protein blends:

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You can head to the LivWell Nutrition Instagram page for loads of awesome recipes to use their protein blends. Just check out this post for an incredible PB and chocolate parfait!

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I also used LivWell’s raw cacao blend in some of my own recipes. For example, I mixed it into my avocado and banana mouse to create an incredibly decadent dessert. Check it out:

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Another great way to enjoy LivWell’s cacao protein is by blending it into nice cream and topping it off with loads of yummy things. Check out my recent nice cream bowl using LivWell’s cacao protein:

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LivWell Nutrition also offers a vanilla bean flavored raw plant protein blend.  Similarly to the chocolate blend, the vanilla blend offers an awesome combo of  4 different types of plant protein (brown rice, hemp, sacha inchi, yellow peas) so that it offers a complete protein blend for plant based eaters, and omnivores alike.

Vanilla Bean

Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and so they are essential for energy and muscle development. By combining 4 different types of plant protein LivWell have produced the highest amino acid spectrum possible without artificially adding any chemically made amino acids like many other products you’ll find. The result is an amino acid profile with over 15 grams of amino acids.
Just check out the AMAZING AMINO ACID PROFILE of LivWell nutrition’s plant based proteins:

Typical Amino Acid Profile (Per Serving)

Essential Amino Acids
(per 30g serving)
Non-Essential Amino Acids
(per 30g serving)
Isoleucine* 645mg Alanine 766.2mg
Leucine* 1,258 mg Arginine 1,313 mg
Lysine* 733 mg Aspartic Acid 1,478 mg
Methionine 304.3 mg Cysteine 254.3 mg
Phenylalanine 788.5 mg Glutamic Acid 2,766 mg
Threonine 577 mg Glycine 666 mg
Tryptophan 163 mg Histidine 526 mg
Valine* 785 mg Proline 695.7 mg
Serine 781 mg
Tyrosine 722.3 mg
*Branched Chain Amino Acids

The vanilla blend is also an excellent addition to recipes. You could mix it into smoothies, banana nice cream or overnight oats (one of my fav’s). LivWell have created loads of amazing recipes incorporating their vanilla blend. Check out this super creamy vanilla smoothie that was posted on the LivWell Nutrition Instagram page recently:

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I loved incorporating a couple of scoops of raw vanilla LivWell protein into my chia seed puddings for an extra bit of creamy sweetness. Check out my layered beetroot, raspberry and vanilla chia seed pudding:

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To find out more about LivWell and the products on offer, head to the LivWell Nutrition website, or check out their blog, or social media platforms- they have Facebook, Pintrest , Instagram  and Google+.

I totally recommended their plant protein blends because not only were they delicious, but they were also amazingly nutritious. Win-win in my books!

Smile at the New Moon

Always lovely to be reminded that we are enough, and that we don’t need to always be better than others. I also always appreciate being reminded to stay in the moment- an important message for us all!

thelittleyogiblog

moon

As human beings we are connected to all things within the universe, there are parts of us in everything and parts of everything within us. Just one of the times I am reminded of this is during the lunar cycles throughout the month. Sometimes I get emotional and start crying at a movie having to be consoled through what is meant to be the funniest part or have food thrown in my direction so I smile again. Sometimes I wake up dramatic and grumpy for no reason at all and want to crawl under the covers and eat chocolate all day. Other days I wake up full of energy feeling like I have slept for 30 hours when really it’s only been 5, jumping out of bed full of energy and crazy happy for no reason at all.

Anyone that knows anyone who is semi spiritual/awakened/into yoga/meditates on their lunch break…

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Bobos Oat Bars

Bobo’s Oat Bars are moist and delicious flapjack’s that have a home-made taste unlike any other snack bar on the market. The bars are vegan, contain no GMO products, are completely natural and all the ingredients are organic! Seriously cool.

Bobo’s Oat Bars are the go-to snack for parents, athletes, professionals and foodies who want to embrace good health without feeling confused about ingredients or drained in the purse.

The bars come in ten tasty original flavors. Bobo’s has recently released six new gluten-free flavors which are equally yummy as the original flavors, so there’s no feeling of compromise- the gluten free come in awesome flavors like: Peanut butter, Cinnamon raisin, strawberry, and apricot just to name a few. I tried out the new gluten free bars and I can tell you that they were amazing! cranberry_orange_bar2

Bobo’s bars are soft, chewy and moorish. They are just so incredibly yummy! The bars aren’t massive, but state that each one contains 2 servings. This is because they are pretty high in calories (360 per bar), and sugar (16g per bar). For me, a whole bar was just fine as I am very active and can always do with extra energy, but if you are trying to watch your weight then splitting the bar with a friend or having half today and the other half tomorrow, might be a better idea.

Here are the nutrition facts for Bobo’s bars:

Gluten Free Peach Flavor nutritionals

Alternatively, Bobo’s Oat bars have just released a new product- their oat bites. These are smaller versions of their original bars, and are the perfect size for a mid morning snack, desert. Check out my Bobo’s oat bite bar snack here:

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PB Bobo’s oat bite stacked with banana coins, frozen berries and drizzled with chocolate sauce! Divine.

I loved experimenting with the bars. I even created an overnight freezer cake using one of the coconut bars! Check it out:

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Overall, I would thoroughly recommend Bobo’s bars as they are so yummy and sweet. I would suggest that as they are pretty high in sugar and calories to keep them as a treat. However, as the bars are completely natural, there is no need to feel guilty if you just can’t stop yourself from devouring the whole bar!

With the Bobo’s bars there is nothing artificial- including no additives, sweeteners and other harsh chemicals. Bobo’s Oat Bars are for people who want to eat intelligently, without feeling deprived.

You can get your hands on these awesome flapjacks by heading to the Bobo’s website!

That’s It Fruit Bars

That’s it is a company that was founded to improve the quality of life of children and adults worldwide by making fruit and its benefits accessible to people everywhere.  Not only does the company produce awesome fruit snack bars- which will be reviewed here, but they also aim to help people eat better through education, focused research, sustainability and ethical practices.

That’s it’s mission is to provide products to improve, protect and restore the body.

That’s it. fruit bars are an amazing product that focus on fruit. The bars taste amazing, and have an awesome texture. The bars also have a phenomenal ingredient list, using only natural, non-GMO fruit and nothing else.  Each bar also provide 2 whole servings of fruit!

Check out one of That’s it fruit bars here:

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Apple and Mango That’s it bar

That’s it bars are convenient snacks that can be taken with you to work or school. They also make for great additions to meals. I loved having my That’s it bars with extra fruit, and an a splash of nut or seed butter. I loved topping banana coins with squares of That’s it fruit bars, and drizzling over my coconut tahini sauce. Delicious!

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That’s it bars make for a great post work out snack when combined with a little extra protein. The bars are chewy and sweet, and do you good- what more could you ask for?

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That’s it bars also make for awesome additions to breakfast smoothie bowls, oatmeal and nice cream.

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This colourful nice cream bowl creation made by Earthling Veg looks incredible! The addition of a That’s it bar just tops it all off! 

You can also use That’s it bars in recipes like these Almond Cookie Bliss Balls:

Almond Cookie Bliss Balls | That's it.

These bliss balls were made using That’s it fruit bars, and were created by The Lucky Peach

And in recipes like these healthy oatmeal cookies:

Superfoods Oatmeal Cookies - The V Word | That's it.

Superfoods Oatmeal Cookies made by That’s it 

For more That’s it bar inspiration head to the That’s it website: thatsitfruit.com You could also check out their Instagram page, or Twitter for even more inspo!

You can also get your hands on That’s it fruit bars by heading to their site now. If you can’t pick which flavor to get then why not get a sample pack which contains all the different flavors on offer!

My favorite flavor bar was the apple and blueberry one. They are perfectly sweet, and sticky, and made for a great snack between meals. I especially loved the little pockets of blueberries.

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Q & A with Quentin Rew

Quentin Rew is an international race walker from New Zealand.

Quentin has been racing internationally for a number of years. Some particularly notable performances include a 24th place finish in the 2011 World Athletics Championships 50km walk, a 29th place finish in the 2012 Olympic Game’s 50km walk, and a seriously impressive 10th place finish in the 2015 World Athletics Championships 50km walk- in 3:48:48- a time that many of us would dream of finishing a marathon in!

We interviewed Quentin to find out more about him, his training, and his plans.

  1. Can you start us off by explaining, very briefly, what the rules of race walking are?

Just the same as running, except you must land with a straight knee, and keep it straight until the leg is vertical. You also must have one foot on the ground at all times – or at least appear to, to the naked eye.

  1. How long have you been race walking? What got you started?

Since the end of 2008. I got a chronic Achilles injury which ended my running career, and I found I wasn’t good at doing nothing! I missed the training and the racing, so a friend showed me how to race walk and that was that. The Achilles still flares up if I try any serious running, but race walking doesn’t affect it too badly.

  1. What do you think has been the single biggest game-changer in terms of your training?

There isn’t one single thing, it’s an accumulation of steady aerobic training over about 20 years, mixed with plenty of other diverse physical exercise.

  1. What is your favorite session?

It changes, but I like finishing a session knowing that I nailed it, and didn’t leave anything out there. It could be a 45km steady walk, or a shorter tempo session, or reps. The most consistently satisfying session is a flat out 10km tempo in the afternoon after a long walk in the morning.

  1. Do you have a least favorite session?

Exactly the same as above, but opposite – sometimes sessions just don’t click for whatever reason, which is frustrating.

  1. What do you think is the key to your success?

Being born into a life without war, hunger or poverty is a huge blessing that’s alarmingly rare throughout the world’s history, so I’m grateful every day for that. Without the basics there is no sport, and certainly no success.

  1. Is there anything that would surprise people about your diet?

I don’t eat anything blue. If it’s blue it isn’t natural. Before you ask, blue cheese is green and blueberries are purple.

  1. What is your favorite pre/post-workout snack/ meal?

Cornflakes before a workout and chocolate milk afterwards.

  1. What is your biggest vice?

Sugar.

  1. What races do you have lined up over the next few months?

50km in Mexico this weekend; World Cup 20km in Rome in May; 20 mile race in Canberra and a 20km race in Dublin in June; then the Olympic 20km and 50km races in August.

  1. You seem to travel a lot for races, and training, where is next on the list, and where is your favorite place to race/ train?

Aside from the races mentioned above, I have altitude training camps in Arizona and St. Moritz (Switzerland) this year. St. Moritz is my favourite place to train – it is absolutely beautiful.

  1. Have you got any advice for aspiring race walkers?

Become a good athlete first. Don’t specialise too young.

I Heart Keenwah

I Heart Keenwah is, as the name suggests, a quinoa company. It was started by two friends, Sarah and Ravi, in 2010. Since then, the company has grown, and now sells a range of yummy quinoa products!

I Heart Keenwah’s quinoa clusters are seriously awesome crunchy little bite-sized squares of goodness. They have combined quinoa seeds, crisps and flakes together with nuts and in some cases fruits too. Literally, perfect for an afternoon snack or on the go.

There are tonnes of amazing recipes incorporating the clusters on the I Heart Keenwah site. Just check out this Chocolate Mouse!

I loved adding the PB cacao clusters to my smoothie bowls, as an awesome crunchy addition to my pancakes, as shown here:

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And as a topping to my overnight oats, or bircher buckwheat porridge, as shown here:

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In addition to their awesome crunchy clusters, I Heart Keenwah also offers savory snacks. I tried out their sea salt and truffle puffs and loved them. I was a little dubious at first as I don’t usually like savory snacks, but these were different. They were light, airy and their flavour was grown up thanks to the truffle- deliciously different.

I loved munching on the puffs after training for a salt boosting snack, but they also made for great crunchy salad toppers- the perfect alternative to croutons! There are loads of other awesome ways to enjoy these puffs. Just check out this Quinoa Truffle Mac and Cheese: 

Image of Vegan Mac and Cheese from the I Heart Keenwah website 

 

 

How to Get Stronger Without Increasing Weights

Featured article for crosstrainingpro.com

To get stronger we have to go heavy and hard, right? Wrong. Its ok, I used to think so too. I would add more and more weight to all my exercises because I thought that was the only way forward. But, because the weights were so high I had to up my recovery time. This meant that most of the hours I would spend in the gym were spent sitting- very little training was actually getting done. I am not saying that going heavy is wrong, or should be stopped, because done right, it can yield awesome gains. For some great ‘heavy weight’ workouts head to: crosstrainingpro.com!  However, it is not the only method out there.

Read on to find out how these four body weight exercises can help you reach and obliterate your fitness goals.

  1. Slow down

If you are anything like me then you probably think that the faster you can do an exercise, and the more reps you complete, the fitter you will become- something a lot of gym bunnies would agree with I am sure. I mean how many people have you seen in the gym rushing through sloppy movements, that probably wouldn’t even qualify as a rep, just to hit their target numbers?

Image from Meme Generator

Although most of us think that more is more, in reality, if you want to get the most from every exercise- from sit ups to squats, and increase your gains, then taking things slow is far more beneficial. By slowing your movements down, (not super slow, but just concentrating on control, range and preventing excess motion), you will increase the resistance on every rep. This will increase the load on your muscles, promote pure strength and get you fitter faster.

  1. Amplify your range of motion

Adding more weight to an exercise is not the only way to make it more difficult. By simply increasing your range of motion, you can up your gains on every rep because our bodies were made for maximum range of motion- even if it doesn’t feel like it at first!

The key is to go from as low as you can to as high as you can. So, to get more from your pull ups exaggerate the movement. So, go from a full dead hang (arms outstretched and body straight), and pull your chest (not chin) all the way up to the bar. By increasing your range of motion you will increase the distance you travel, and therefore intensify the exercise- no weights needed. Don’t worry if you have to decrease your reps, the strength stimulus your body will get from these epic pull ups will make up for it.

Another example for you is the squat. By increasing your range of motion here, i.e. squatting all the way down to the ground with your thigh pushing against your calves, you will increase your strength gains massively. When we squat and stop with thighs parallel to the ground we are selling ourselves short- so stop!

Image from Zen Gardner 

Make it harder

I bet you think this one is obvious, but it is probably not quite what you think. In order to make our training more effective we should think in terms of movement patterns, as opposed to exercises. For example, thinking of a chin up as a vertical pull. By doing this, we can take the chin up movement and increase the intensity, and resistance by doing the same movement pattern in a different exercise- thus altering load, and taxing other muscle groups

For example, by doing a single leg squat instead of a standard squat, we remove a point of contact with the ground, i.e. the foot. This doubles the load on your standing leg- without adding any external weights. Other examples are one arm pull ups, single leg calf raises and one arm push ups.

Another great way to make exercises harder without adding weights is by amplifying leverage. A great example of how this increases intensity is by comparing a standard push up with one where by your feet are on a bench. By raising the feet, more weight/ load is on the arms, so this will intensify the exercise- thus increasing your strength gains.

Image from Stack.com

Improve technique

Getting the most from bodyweight workouts will take time and practise because the right technique is essential. However, proper technique is hard and so often to get started; you will have to just give the exercise everything you’ve got just to get it done. In order to progress and increase your gains, you may have to take a step back to get your technique on point. As you improve, you can just keep perfecting your technique, making exercises harder and harder by getting more ‘air’, aiming for more range, taking it slower or adding in a clap.

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