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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Burn Fat and Recover with This Antioxidant-Packed Dish: Grilled Wild Salmon with Spring Pea Hummus

The wild salmon is fantastic at Bi-Rite this week, and they've been grilling and serving it with a spring pea hummus that is quite simply unforgettable. After a little bit of begging, I convinced the talented chefs at Bi-Rite to share their family recipe with all of you. 

Green and bright with a creamy, crunchy texture, this spring pea hummus is loaded with antioxidants and adds an unexpected kick to your salmon dish. The recipe is large enough for leftovers, so try it as a dip for carrots, cucumbers, peppers and other raw veggies, or roll it into organic turkey slices for an afternoon snack. 


1 LB Fresh Snap Peas (stems removed)
1 Bag Frozen English Peas (thawed and drained)
1.5 LBS Unshelled Fresh English Peas
2 oz Tahini
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Mint (finely chopped)
2 TBL Garlic (minced)
I Bunch Chive (finely chopped)
2 TBL Lemon Zest
Sea Salt

Blanch the snap peas and English peas in salted water for about 30 seconds each. The fresh English peas may take longer given their size, so blanch them separately. Shock the peas in water and drain very well. 

Combine the drained and dry peas with the sour cream in a food processor, and add the garlic, lemon zest and tahini. Note: Set some of the fresh English peas aside to add in at the very end for texture. Pulse the mixture until semi-smooth. 

Add the salt, pepper and herbs and adjust final seasoning with lemon juice and salt. 

We all know wild salmon is loaded with heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3s, but recent research shows that green peas are an excellent source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Foods that are high in healthy fats help us to recover during periods of high stress, so be sure to try this dish after a tough workout for optimal results. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Are You A Supple Leopard? The Most Effective Way to Stretch

Is that stretch helping or hurting?
If you still think static stretching is the best way to warm up before a training session or a round of golf, this blog's for you. Static stretching, while often linked to injury prevention, can actually do more harm than good. Recent studies show that static stretching can decrease your vertical thrust power (highly important for those of you looking to sprint faster or hit the golf ball farther). In addition to impairing athletic performance, studies also prove that static stretching does little to warm up your muscles or break down painful adhesions. As a client of mine put it the other day, if you have a knot, pulling on both sides of the string is only going to make the knot tighter.

Those of you who train with me know that I often choose dynamic stretches over static ones, such as the Feldenkrais method and other mobilization techniques using ropes and swiss balls. But the easiest way to get your muscle tissue warm and limber is to use a foam roller. 

Foam rolling is an easy and effective way to improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury. It has been proven to improve circulation, increase blood flow, break down adhesions within muscles (just like a massage), release muscle tightness and reduce pain. Many of my golf clients have seen drastic improvements in their swing simply by adding foam rolling to their workout programs. How? Foam rolling has been proven to increase your range of motion in just a few seconds, allowing you to get more rotation in your thoracic spine in your backswing, or more mobility in your hips in the downswing. Not a golfer? Having a supple, warm body is essential to preventing injury in any activity, whether you're jumping rope, gardening or playing with your grandchildren. 

Here are my favorite mobilization tools:

A client recently introduced me to The Orb. Not for the faint of heart, The Orb will release your psoas and break down tightness in your glutes like no other. 

For thoracic spine mobilizations I highly recommend a 4 x 36 inch foam roller and for larger areas such as the quads and IT band, I suggest the 6 x 36 inch foam roller

And a fantastic book that I can't wait finish: Becoming A Supple Leopard. Sign me up. 

Finally, here's a great video by Titleist Advisory Board member Robert Yang with some foam rolling techniques and tips. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Swap Out Your Protein Shake For This Fat-Burning Breakfast

Are you looking for something quick and protein-packed to eat the in the morning? Have you switched to a gluten-free/grain-free diet but find yourself longing for the cereals and granolas of your past? A healthy, well-balanced breakfast doesn't have to eat up an hour of your time in the morning. This simple recipe is loaded with heart-healthy fats, high-quality proteins and organic vegetables. And (here comes the best part) it can be made over the weekend and stored for grab-and-go breakfasts during the week. 

Why cook when I can just drink a protein shake?

Whenever you drink instead of eat calories, you inadvertently spike your insulin levels, which leads to fat storage and weight gain. Whether your goal is losing weight or keeping your concentration and memory sharp, insulin needs to be in your mind every time you select a meal. Remember, regardless of how they are marketed now, protein shakes were originally designed as a post-workout recovery tool. That's right -- protein shakes are not meant to be a meal replacement. 

According to Nutritionist and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Robert Yang, "If you drink a protein shake, it will spike your blood sugar and insulin far more than eating a whole food meal. High insulin levels are NOT ideal first thing in the morning.  We want insulin levels to be low because low insulin means that fat burning can be at a higher rate...I have consulted with many athletes and clients that start their day with protein shakes.  They often complain about lower energy, less focus, concentration and cravings for sugar later in the day.  Once I switch their breakfast to a whole food meal, many of these symptoms go away.  Plus they lose a few pounds of fat in the process!"

So there you have it. Whole foods win, yet again. 

Since time is a main concern for most of you, try this simple recipe for a satiating and nutritious breakfast you can enjoy, even when you're rushing out the door. 

Spinach, Green Onion and Smoked Salmon Frittata 

1 Cup chopped spinach
3 green onions
12 pastured eggs
1/3 pound smoked salmon, chopped (can also use ham)
1-2 shallots or 1/4 of an onion
3 tablespoons chopped dill 
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 
Celtic sea salt
Fresh pepper
1.5 oz Andante goat cheese or other high quality goat cheese*

*For those who tolerate dairy

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Saute the onion (or shallots), green onions and butter in a 10-inch stainless steel pan over medium-low heat for roughly five minutes. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream and add the chopped smoked salmon, dill, spinach, goat cheese, salt and pepper. Poor the mixture over the sauteed onions and let sit for roughly 2 minutes. Then transfer the pan into the oven and bake for roughly 40 minutes, or until it puffs up (use a knife to make sure the mixture is fully cooked). Cut the frittata into meal-sized portions and store in the fridge for breakfasts (they also make a great snack or post-workout meal). 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Burn Off Holiday "Joy" With This Four Minute Workout

Ah, the first week back after the holiday whirlwind. That magic month when the gym is packed with people you've never seen before. The beginning of that special time when you have to wait an hour for a cardio machine. If the crowds have you discouraged from training, or if the idea of a five-mile run makes you want to hide under the covers, you're in luck: Just twelve minutes of high intensity cardio a week burns more fat and calories than one hour of cardio a day. 

Ballistic exercise, not endurance cardio, is without question the best way to create high caloric expenditure and body fat metabolism. According to fat loss expert and Titleist Advisory Board Member Dr. Mark Smith, burst training burns five times more calories than slow, steady cardio. When it comes to fat-loss and exercise, think of calories like the fuel in your car. You want to be a gas-guzzling SUV, not a fuel-efficient Prius. After being pushed into rapid acceleration (such as in a ballistic sprint) your body goes into fat burning mode for recovery, boosting your metabolism for the rest of the day. Endurance training (the long slow stuff, as Smith calls it) simply doesn't produce the same fat burning response, regardless of how many miles your put on your wheels. 

In addition to elevating your metabolism, a study documented in a recent article in The New York Times found that people who ran on a treadmill for a mere four minutes three times a week for 10 weeks raised their maximal oxygen uptake, or endurance capacity, by about 10 percent and significantly improved their blood sugar control and blood pressure profiles.

So if your goal is to get lean, toned and tight for the New Year, think quality, not quantity. Burst training isn't as intimidating as it sounds. A simple ballistic exercise that I love requires no equipment and can be performed virtually anywhere. Simply set up two markers 15 feet apart. Start the exercise by lunging down and touching one marker, then sprint as fast as you can to the other and touch down. That counts as one. Then sprint back to the opposite marker again. Time yourself for 30s and keep track of how many touches you can perform. Not only highly effective for burning fat and boosting metabolism, ballistic exercise has also been proven to increase both club head speed and power in golfers. So if your New Year's resolution was to gain some extra distance, add some intensity to your training.