Friday, August 1, 2014

Random Awesome Things

Every once in a while I like writing one of these random posts about stuff that I've been using in my daily life that I really really like. Some of these things may be old hat to you, but that's why it's my blog and not yours, turd.

Tri-Blend T-Shirts
If you train hard and have any moderate amount of muscle mass on your upper body you're going to want to start investing in American Apparel Tri-blend t-shirts. The material is a combination of Gods beard hair, the tail of a unicorn and cotton. They are readily available from companies like Rogue Fitness and EliteFTS and most other fitness-related companies have begun printing t-shirts on this material or a similar one. Not only do these shirts feel amazing but they fit just the way you'd want if you've spent the last several months training hard. I own (to Kelsi's dismay) about 15 or so t-shirts in this material and wear them constantly.

Pyrex Containers
After working in gyms for a long time, I've really learned the importance of prepping meals ahead of time. I've used several types of containers over the years but for the last year or so I've used almost exclusively Pyrex containers. Truthfully, you'll end up spending a little more up front for these suckers but they are worth it. You can get them in a variety of shapes and sizes and they will last forever (I mean, it's glass; don't drop it). The best thing about them is that they won't retain flavors, scents or stains from anything that you had in their before. They also won't release any chemicals when you heat up food in the microwave.

A good side benefit of Pyrex is that they all tell you the size of the container on the top lid, so you know that if you fill it up you have two cups of chicken and (if you need) can use it to figure out whatever nutrition information you may need for a meal/day.

Cold Brew Coffee
I'd noticed this stuff a few times but didn't really pay attention to it until my sister started raving about it a month or so ago. It is, essentially, coffee that is brewed with cold water rather than hot. The result is a cup of coffee that is much smoother than you're used to and without any of the acidity that people might notice with hot coffee. Since I'm cheap, I've been brewing my own at home instead of buying it at trader joe's like my sister does. Kelsi and I drink it iced and I think we both really enjoy it (she prefers different beans than I do). I'm told you can heat it up but I've yet to try.

- Fill up a large container/jar with a cover with 9 cups of cold water.
- Use whole beans (I like darker roasts, Kelsi prefers light) and coarsely grind 2 cups. (2 cups of ground beans to 9 cups water is the best ratio I've used).
- Dump the grounds directly into the water. Cover it up and give it a shake, then let it rest. I'll shake it once or twice later on to mix up the grounds. Let it sit for at least 12 hours
- Strain the liquid. I cut the bottom off of a 2-liter bottle of coke and then rolled up a little piece of felt and stuffed it into the neck of the bottle. This acts as my strainer. Fill up the bottle and let it strain.
- I've found that it stores the best in the fridge, it gets a weird film on it if you let it sit out for too many days.
- Serve over ice and enjoy!

Ace Bandages
After 32 years of sports and lifting my knees get a little achey sometimes. In order to keep training I've tried a few different products to keep my knees feeling good with various degrees of success. I have the Hookgrip knee sleeves and like them for light days when I'm doing power snatches and stuff. I got blue Rehbands for Christmas a few years ago and love everything about them...except the constant mustyness that comes with wearing them a lot. If I were able to always shower right after lifting I'd be prone to wearing them more often. I also bought a pair of light knee wraps from EliteFTS and like them a lot, but find that they are just a little too bulky to wear consistently for weightlifting movements.

During a conversation with my buddies a month or two again, Dan mentioned that he'd been using Ace bandages to wrap his knees and loved them. I felt comfortable investing the necessary $12 and gave them a shot. They are way less bulky than knee wraps, provide much more compression than the Hookgrip sleeves, and don't leave me smelling like Big Foots taint like my Rehbands. They also cost about a tenth of everything else I tried combined. Fuck me, right?

Risto Sports Compression Shorts
Weightlifters love wearing spandex. It allows you to keep the bar super close to your body and makes your ass look gigantic. My old coach Ivan Rojas started making these for us when we said that we wanted a shorts option of spandex to lift in when it got warmer out. He basically had his manufacturer take the bottom half of the singlets we have (which we all really like) and turn them into shorts. The bottom of them are lined with a rubber material which prevents them from sliding up your legs while you're lifting, and the front is double stitched with heavy duty panels to prevent any wear and tear from the bar sliding up your legs during snatches. I don't like lifting in my singlet very often and prefer spandex and a t-shirt. It's often too warm to wear my full-length Under Armour pants, so these are a fantastic option. I love them and wear them all the time!

High Rep Accessory Work
I've talked about this before, but I've been doing it more and more and can't say enough good things about it. Whether it's for me, a client or an athlete I've been including a few sets of very high rep work targeted at a few specific spots and I've seen some good success with it lately. It's not intended to be add a ton of extra stress to the lifter, but it should hit some pretty specific target areas. In my opinion, the areas that I want to hit mainly are the glutes and the lats. These are the two biggest muscles in your body (glutes are the biggest in cross-sectional size and the lats are the biggest in surface area) and there's a reason for it. They both play a huge role in trunk stability and the ability to resist/transfer forces. I've been including 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps of some of these exercises lately:
- Reverse Hyper
- Face Pulls
- Resistance Band Pull-Throughs (the glute contraction feels much different than with a cable)
- Straight Arm Pulldowns with a resistance band and a PVC pipe
- Lu Raises
- Fat Grip Biceps Curls
- TRX Mechanical Drop Set (Y's, T's, Rows)

That's it for today! If anyone knows anything awesome that I'd enjoy, leave a comment! Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!

1 comment: