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Exercise of the week: Snatch-grip Deadlifts

This week we’ll start to look into the back exercises my coach Adrianna@Pinnacledxb incorporates in to my training programme. Here’s what she has to say about snatch-grip deadlifts:

Deadlifts are one of the kind of exercise which can benefit the workout in many ways involving several groups of muscles. While mostly it’s been used on a leg day you can also incorporate it into your back workout.

On the video you can see Miranda doing deadlift using “snatch grip”:

Why snatch-grip (wide-grip) deadlifts?
Because of the wide grip, you have to get into a lower position to pick up the bar, which increases the overall range of motion. This can be beneficial for those who are weak off the floor with their pulls. The wider grip also puts more stress on the upper back, traps, and rear delts compared to other variations and that’s why is perfect for back training day.

Benefits:
The snatch-grip deadlift can pack size onto your traps, upper back, hamstrings, and glutes.

Set up:

  • Place the bar close to your shins with just above the mid foot
  • Feet slightly wider than your shoulder width apart with feet slightly out
  • Grip wide and wrap your hands around the bar with fingers over the thumb
  • Bend your knees with shins barely touching the bar and lift your chest
  • Drive bar of the floor using your legs to start with and when bar passes your knees drive your hips into a lock out
  • Keep the bar close to your legs at all times
  • Lower down with control

Remember – safety first! Practice with low weights until your technique is solid and you are confident you can execute the exercise without hurting yourself (especially with deadlifts as you won’t feel the effects until later).

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Exercise of the week: Walking Lunges & Single Leg Deadlifts

Think leg exercises don’t get any harder than squats & deadlifts? Think again! Although these two exercises engage a lot of muscles and are downright exhausting, if you really want to feel the burn you should try walking lunges and deadlifts. Both exercises put more emphasis on one side than the other, as you alternate between each leg. Single-leg training increases hamstring strength, corrects left-right strength and size asymmetries, and helps with balancing the proportions of your body.

So ready to give it a try? Check out the exercise descriptions and videos below:

Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Take long strides to really work the hamstrings and glutes. To increase posterior chain activation get to the floor as low as possible and initiate the lift by squeezing the glutes.

Dumbbell Deadlift Walk
Keep your front leg extended pushing your hips back, lower yourself with slightly arched back. Feel the hamstrings of the front leg loaded. On the lift up push your front heel to the ground squeezing the glutes as hard as possible.

 

Coming up next week…

We will still focus on the posterior chain, however we’re moving up! It’s time for some back exercises.

 

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Exercise of the week: Romanian Deadlift

Now that I am 14 and a half weeks out from the competition, training and nutrition are really starting to take the spotlight in my daily routine. Of course, training is key in getting my body ready for the stage takes a lot of hard work in the gym.

I always start my week with leg day since, as a female bikini competitor, it is important to have rounded hamstrings and glutes. Therefore, my trainer Adrianna has made sure that training posterior chain is a priority in my program. One of the crucial exercises to achieve this are deadlifts and there are a few variations.

This week we did the toes-elevated Romanian deadlift (RDL) version which makes it easier to tense and load the hamstrings, especially if you are very flexible. When performing the lift, it’s important to think of pushing the hips back and letting the torso bend forward in response to the hips moving backwards. This will maximally load the hamstrings. See the video below to get a better understanding:

In the next post you will find out a bit more about my nutrition and how that is another crucial factor in looking fab on stage.

Stay tuned.

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Motivation Tuesdays: The darkest hour is just before the dawn

Good evening folks!

Today marked an important milestone in my fitness journey – I completed my 100th workout since I started weight lifting!

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From 1 workout to 100!

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Of course I still have a long way to go but I couldn’t be happier to see the progress I have made so far.

And of course the going gets tough sometimes – from diet slips to not being able to slip out of bed it has been a journey with obstacles a plenty!

However I always look for ways to motivate myself and look for inspiration around me. Sometimes a photo on instagram or pinterest is enough, but sometimes I need to dig out the heavy artillery.

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So I was very happy to come across a video on YouTube from well-known US fitness model Paige Hathaway. It tells a touching and inspiring story which I would like to share with you today.

In the video below she shares her journey from poverty to one of the biggest names in fitness:

I hope this video inspires you too and reminds you that everyone is fighting their own battle – you’re not alone 🙂

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Inflammation-Fighting Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl

Love this quick and easy recipe for a health boosting smoothie bowl (because drinking a smoothie is so old school!) . But it doesn’t just contain any super foods (again that’s becoming so clichĂ©d in the world of health and nutrition). It contains specific ingredients which reduce inflammation. So if you have been over indulging lately and feel bloated and sluggish I recommend you go ahead and read the full post on Booksandbody.com. Finally a good reason to try my new blender! 🙂

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Smoothie-Bowl-for-Runners With superfood ingredients like turmeric, ginger, apple, and kale, you’ll give your body what it needs to fight inflammation.

You’ll feel like a goddess ready to tackle the world after enjoying a smoothie bowl powered by superfoods.

You’ve probably heard that some foods cause inflammation in the body (think: sugar, white flour, dairy), and some foods help your body fight inflammation. The latter is what we’re concentrating on for this smoothie bowl, which is great for post-run recovery, or simply to help you start the day off on a better, healthier foot. It uses turmeric and ginger, which are total rock stars of the anti-inflammatory nutrition world. It also provides a hefty dose of other foods that combat inflammation, such as kale, almonds, blueberries, and strawberries.

The main difference between a smoothie and a smoothie bowl—a current darling in the world of wellness, especially the acai bowl—is the obvious…

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Protein Pots Part 2: For the Sweet Tooth

Here we are again. It’s the weekend.. or should I say ‘it was‘? As always, days off vanish in a blur before we even know it. And of course for busy bees like us, what are we to do if we want to stay healthy but don’t really have the time?

Fear not, there’s always a solution. Last weekend I shared with you some tips on how to create your own savoury protein pots  in minutes.

This weekend I was craving more of a sweet treat but after indulging in a number of cake slices during the week (OK, so it all happened in a day – yep, nobody’s perfect!) I had to find a way to rein in my sugar madness.

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So here’s what I’ve come up with – chilled quinoa puddings 🙂

Now this will take slightly more time than the savoury pots, but these ones will keep well in the fridge for a few days. So you can always make a batch and have them handy when your stress levels hit the roof and you just can’t control your cravings.

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By the way, did you know that stressed is desserts spelled backwards? You did? Oh go on then reward yourself with a pud!

Alright, now back to business: the sweet protein pots.

What you will need:20150801_172055

  • 200 g quinoa
  • 150 ml almond (or cow’s) milk
  • 150 g frozen (or fresh) berries
  • 6-8 teaspoons of tahini (or other nut/seed butter)
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • glass cups or jars to serve (and preserve)
  • Optional: honey and nuts (for an extra dose of sweetness and protein)

How you will pull this off:

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  1. Cook the quinoa in 400 ml of boiling water with a dash of cinnamon until water evaporates (approx. 10-15 mins)
  2. Once the quinoa has cooled down to room temperature, layer 3 table spoons of quinoa at the bottom of your glass container
  3. Top up with frozen berries and 1-2 teaspoons of tahini (and honey and nuts if you wish)
  4. Complete with a second layer of quinoa (berries and tahini optional) and pour over the almond milk (adjust amount of milk based on your preference)
  5. Optional: Cool off the pudding in the fridge for a few hours and voila your healthy summer chiller is ready!

These babies pack about 8-12 grams of protein, and although not as much as the savoury ones (which on average have 20 grams), they are definitely much lower in carbs and sugar than your standard desserts.

Of course, the best part of this is that you can get creative and use as many ingredients as you want in numerous combinations. So if you do decide to play around do let me know what interesting recipes you’ve come up with 🙂

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Homemade Fast Food: Protein Pots

I like to experiment and come up with my own food solutions. So lately, when have been too busy (… ok and lazy!) to cook, I have been mushing together a bunch of high protein ingredients in to my very own “protein pots”.

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What does this involve, you may ask. Basically, I pick a “soft” and a “hard” protein, so to speak, and mix the two together in a bowl. Then I top up with either fresh herbs, lemon or vinegar. Give it a good stir and your protein pot is ready in no time!

Here are a few of my favourite combos:

Tuna with a twist:

  • Tuna
  • Hummous
  • Coriander
  • Dash of lemon juice

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Omega Boost:

  • Tuna
  • Avocado
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Fat-free fish:

  • Tuna
  • Fat-free greek yoghurt
  • Dill

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Vegan delight:

  • Hummous
  • Fava or black beans
  • Parsley
  • Dash of lemon juice

It’s a quick and filling snack to have at home (and on the go as long as you have a spoon!), or make it into a full meal by adding some crackers, like the raw spirulina crispbreads in the photo below:

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Bon Appetit!