Tag Archive | book

Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy

I absolutely love this book for its illustrations, give me an anatomy book hands down any day and I am glued to the pages.  This book is broken down into specific muscle categories with clearly verbalized to the point execution notes, a meter for level of difficulty, variations and specific muscles targeted (yes the category may be chest, but there is more than one muscle in there!).

image SO how will this book play out to the fitness neophyte?  Probably not too handy.  There are several brief tables in the back that breakdown some sample push-pull, split or whole body workouts, and if you aren’t sure what some of those mean…that is kind of my point. This is another great book for the fitness professional, someone working with a fitness professional, or anyone looking for more information on anatomy and how muscles work.

While Contreras believes all strength trainees should master their own bodyweight as a form of resistance training before moving on to free weights and other training systems, he is adamant that a person can maintain muscularity and fitness solely by performing bodyweight exercises. “As you progress to more difficult variations and increase the number of repetitions you perform with the various exercises, you will continuously challenge your neuromuscular system,” he explains. “Your body will respond by synthesizing more protein and laying down more muscle tissue. In essence, your body adapts by building a bigger engine.”

Featuring drawings, instructions, and descriptions of 156 innovative and unique exercises, along with a rating system to help you determine the level of difficulty of each exercise, Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy goes far beyond standard pull-ups, push-ups, and squats to work every muscle in the body. Contreras, who maintains a popular blog at BretContreras.com, also has instructions on creating a customized, equipment-free workout program for building a stronger, more toned physique.

I received a copy of this book for review, I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are freely given and my own.

The Vegan Athlete Its Not a Myth You Can Do It

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I was contacted to review this book, I received no compensation and opinions expressed are given freely and are my own.

I have been a vegan for over 25 years now and I am a fitness professional, but I am still far from a Vegan Athlete.  What I appreciated most about this book was that if I had a dozen copies I would simply shove them in the hands of each and every person who ever asked me a stupid question such as these:

“Don’t you feel guilty that your kids will never get to try McNuggets??”

“How can you possibly get enough protein?”

“Aren’t you tired all the time, I couldn’t give up meat because I would be tired all the time.”

But my favorite was the “You can’t be a vegan, you’re so fat.” That I received at a yoga teacher training.  To that statement I would have used this hand book to slap the offender across the face because honestly, the meal plan given in here would not have helped my case.  I appreciate the meal suggestions given but there are no portion sizes listed so I know mine would be FAR larger than what the author intended.  Chocolate covered banana slices for dessert sound delicious and very easy to make (I have been doing these and other dipped desserts for years) but if lunch is supposed to be a baked sweet potato with maple syrup and a pinch of nutmeg – that’s all – you’ve lost my vegan vote.

Let me point out, the meals outline will have you in awesome shape, but right now I am still breastfeeding a toddler and infant (4 & 1) almost exclusively – meaning I provide the majority of their calories in addition to those needed for teaching fitness classes – this meal plan just isn’t right for me at the moment personally.

What about the rest of the book? Thank You! Thank you for taking the time to calmly write out answers to all of the questions vegans receive because after almost 3 decades I feel like a broken record and sometimes lose my patience when well meaning individuals question my eating choices. Succinctly and smartly answered questions that focus on the physical benefits of being a vegan.  Yes, I love animals. Yes, I care about animals. Yes, I wear leather at times.  I’m not perfect and I am not a vegan 100% because it is a political stance against animal cruelty.  To be honest I find PETA hypocritical since exploiting animals is heinous they should refrain from exploiting mammals such as women in their half nude ads, but I have digressed.  My point was that the authors approach this work not from the far left animal products are murder, but from the middle of the road that eating plant based is healthier.

I should receive some sort of award for reviewing Brett Stewart books, he is a co-author on this title with Ben Greene and as with all of his books I was very pleased with the exercise section.  No, I still can’t do 50 Pullups but I probably could if I stuck with his program.  The man knows how to get results, he provides clear and concise, simple exercises that I do with my clients as a personal trainer and gives the reader great reference photos.

“The Vegan Athlete,” a fitness guide combining dietary know-how with a full body workout program that will build muscle and maximize energy is perfect for someone transitioning into veganism, as well as vegans who want to integrate a fitness program into their lives, as it covers the benefits of plant-based diet, nutritional needs (i.e. amino acids, vitamins), strength-building workouts, and two dozen protein-packed recipes.
“The Vegan Athlete” will help you nourish your body from head to toe with good food and exercise and ends with a wonderful reference section to find more vegan support.

If you are trying to get yourself or your family healthier this summer, this is a great place to start!

Kid Friendly Chocolate Covered Bananas

  • banana
  • chocolate chips / bar
  • optional chopped nuts, crushed cookies
  • optional cake pop or popsicle stick

I own an electric chocolate melter so I dump a bag of vegan chips into, but you can use a double boiler (if you avoid the microwave), or melt in the microwave.

Make it fancy by inserting a stick lengthwise in the banana, then dip in chocolate, roll in optional topping. For finger food, dip sliced banana “circles” in chocolate.  Be sure to set aside on plastic wrap or wax paper and place in the fridge to set, otherwise the chocolate will stick to the plate and be hard to get up without breaking. On plastic or paper, it simply peels off.

Childcare Workers, Parents, Teachers Creative Yoga for Children can Help get Kids Active

image Ever wondered what to do with your kids during a rainy day or, even more fitting, a snowy day? Have you ever wondered what a Montessori class experience is like or how your children would respond to teaching in a different, more integrative way?

Q. In Creative Yoga for Children you mention that part of your inspiration for writing the book came from your own teaching experience at a Montessori school. How does Montessori education complement yoga? What are the challenges in bringing yoga into non-Montessori schools?

A. I observed so many similarities between yoga and Montessori that I incorporated it into my classroom curriculum as
soon as I had finished my yoga training. Both are completely noncompetitive and concern themselves with an ever
evolving process, and not any end product. Both are personal, and are there to further the development of the person,
and not for “producing” something for someone else. Also they are both philosophies that increase self-esteem,
concentration, and self-awareness. It is easy to add yoga to a Montessori classroom, as it just becomes a piece of
material that the child can choose to do when they prefer, but adding it to the routine of a traditional classroom does not have to be difficult. Yoga can simply be a three- or four-minute activity added on to the day, practiced in between subjects, as a sort of “warm down,” or “warm up” to the next activity. Guided meditations and relaxations can be added into a class just before tests, in order to further focus the children’s minds. Teachers can use yoga as a tool throughout their daily routines.

If you were not aware, a recent study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improves students’ behavior, physical health, academic performance, and attitudes toward themselves. A perfect resource for schools seeking to incorporate yoga and mindfulness programs into their curriculum, or for parents to encourage body-mind awareness at home, Creative Yoga for Children promotes physical, emotional, and social development through stress reduction, movement, and free exploration.
Montessori and registered yoga teacher Adrienne Rawlinson presents forty one-hour lessons in a fun, accessible fashion to allow children ages 4–12 to learn at their own pace and in a cross-curriculum fashion. Activities are broken down by age categories, and each includes setting an intention, physical warm-ups, breath work, specific yoga poses, meditation and gratitude exercises, and more.

This book is a cornucopia of ideas and I love the variety of lesson plans given.  I especially appreciate the objectives (intention) and educational elements sections as a teacher.  Although many of my classes are taught without these, when I teach in environments that receive federal money for education programming many of them require objectives and educational elements to be outlined.  Truly, even with my decade of experience teaching yoga I could not have written a more complete book.  Many of the lessons were similar to ones I myself already teach, but there were definitely some new ones I had not thought of and elements added in that I have not explored, such as using “cardboard letters” in a 4-6 year old lesson on words and sounds.  This book would be ideal for homeschooling families and starts with lessons for children as young as four.

Q. Your book is broken down into three age groups (4–6, 7–9, 10–12). What is the significance of starting at age 4? Is there a benefit to starting earlier or is this the earliest age for kids to become actively engaged with yoga?

A. The program offered in my book is quite structured and I have observed that children under the age of four benefit more from a yoga routine that is more playful, and they are developmentally often not ready for a structured one hour class. However, they are not too young to be introduced to the world of yoga. I have two and a half year olds in my Montessori class who love to do a few minutes of yoga every day, choosing pose cards from a basket to do on a mat by themselves or with a friend. Babies and toddlers can reap the benefits of yoga and there are many age appropriate
programs out there. Setting the stage for a lifetime of yoga benefits really starts at birth.

Rawlinson provides a wonderful backdrop for teachers and parents to create their own fun and integrative yoga practice for the children in their lives.  But what if you are afraid of the chaos that could ensue after starting this undertaking? The author provides a great bit of sound advice, so now there is no reason to fail to introduce the children in your life to yoga!

Q. How do you bring focus back when kids get distracted in class?

A. The children sometimes get very boisterous and silly when doing some of the group activities and games, so it is important that I have an effective way of bringing them back to center and calm them, so they are ready for the next part of the class. I usually introduce chimes, a Tibetan singing bowl, or a special gong of some sort at the beginning of class. I ring it to let them know that they should come back to their mats, sit in their favorite sitting pose, and get ready to listen. They are generally wonderful at responding to this.

 

About the Author:
A graduate of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Adrienne Rawlinson is a certified Montessori teacher and registered
yoga teacher. She studied yoga under Maureen Rae in Toronto and Erich Schiffmann in Chicago. Knowing that she wanted to
offer the gift of yoga to children, she put together her program, drawing from her yoga and Montessori teaching experience, and
she began offering afterschool and weekend workshops to children in her area. She currently teaches Montessori and yoga in
Oakville, Ontario.

I received no compensation for this post, the opinions expressed are my own, some material was provided by a third party.