love to hate or hate to love or just love and hate


I’m not quite sure what my purpose in life is, but I do think that we all have a purpose in life. Whether it is to be a friend to someone, save a life, enlighten a soul, influence the world, make a change, or just plain exist for the sake of inhabiting this earth, and doing whatever you do to make this world what it is today.

I was pondering this thought, and if someone were to answer with “I exist to love and be loved,” I wouldn’t laugh at them for being cliché or sappy. In fact, I would admire them.

I can’t say that this is what I feel my purpose is; perhaps it is because I haven’t lived long enough to even know what love is. But what I do know is that love is complex.
It is so multifaceted and has the ability to teleport you from one path in life to a completely new one. It has so many faces in the sense that it requires and often disguises as sacrifice, pain, joy, pleasure, excitement, patience, fear.

It is so dichotomous, so black and white, with one two perfectly equal yet completely opposite ends to its spectrum – and that is exactly what makes it so damn complex.

Love, like all emotions, is just a word that describes a feeling; however, feelings are so entirely subjective, that love to me may be nothing close to what love is to you.

Then you look at loves archenemy, loves polar opposite, loves contradiction: hate.

Hate is so one-dimensional. Hate doesn’t have the ability to transport you; rather it has the ability to stagger you in your path, or artificially and temporarily transport you. It only exists to bring the instantaneous effect of pleasure…or love for that matter.

It is just dying to be love.

Its desire to be love is exactly what brings about its only one other face, and that is jealousy. It only exists because jealousy exists. Perhaps if jealousy were to disappear, hate too would die.

Maybe this simplicity of hate is what makes it so easy to hate and so hard to love.
Maybe if this world learned to love and embrace being loved, instead of fearing it, then maybe, just maybe, there would be less pain.

I don’t really know why I just wrote this. I don’t think of myself as much of a hater, but I don’t think of myself as much of a lover either.
I mean, I like to think of myself as lover of all and to all, (and no I don’t mean I’ve been around the block :P) but really I stand neutral – right in the middle of the two enemies on a battlefield which has existed since the dawn of time.

What I find most interesting though, is love would never exist without hate. It needs hate, or else it wouldn’t be love. It would be indifference, or I don’t know, something else, but not love.
What is indifference any way? I hear people use this word, but I’m not quite sure what it means. Passive? Neither this or that? Neutral?

hahahaha I don’t know why but this made me laugh. So cute, yet so sad. Poor Gilbert.

Hmm… this world is so strange.

We live in place full of contradictions. Everything has something that opposes it. Life/Death, Black/White, Salt/Pepper, Love/Hate, Good/Bad, Man/Woman, Top/Bottom, This/That, You/Me.

I read this somewhere, but I forget where: polar opposites are inseparable; they’re like two faces of a coin, two ends of a stick; they absolutely cannot live without each other.

Anyway, I am actually in the middle of studying for my Biomechanics midterm, which is on Monday, so I better go. I know I have been seriously M.I.A, I have so much I cant wait to share with you (health and wellness related, and not nonsense related like the above)

I’ll be back full throttle as soon as exams simmer. I’m done for the semester on April 13, so WOOHOO! Lots and LOTS of free time to just reeeelaxxxxxxxx and BLOG!

Lots of LOVE and no hate hehe

hehe cute

xoxo

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Meditation


I thought “real” post since Sweatpants and Eggplants came back from the dead

Early this year I started to meditate in hopes to evade my perplexing “anxiety” and reduce the stress from school.

I suffer from this bizarre form of anxiety that only my family and friends know I have. It is something that has possessed me my entire life (or at least for as long as I can remember), and something which brings me a great deal of misery. This is actually terribly personal to me, and I am shocked with myself for actually sharing this on Sweatpants and Eggplants. In fact, what is even more surprising, is how easy it has been to write this – speaking of this issue is really very hard for me… I guess since it has affected me in such a negative way, it is really hard to hear myself speak verbally about it, without getting emotional. Writing is a much easier way to express myself.

At first I, and everyone else suspected it was OCD, but now I am starting to believe it is a form of anxiety. I guess we, as humans, are always looking for a label or a diagnosis of our abnormalities.

For me, my anxiety stems from repetitive movements, fidgeting, dull rhythmic noises, or other sounds which seem to effect my acoustics. I can’t pinpoint exactly one thing that fires the anxiety (there are many), but basically, in plain and simple english, I am easily annoyed. However, when I am annoyed, by whatever sound or movement, I completely lose concentration, and I get an uncontrollable feeling of uneasiness, anger, and agitation. I hate it. It is quite possibly the worst feeling in the world – like the worst form of physical, emotional, and mental torture. And it is usually a lot worse when I am hungry or tired.

Any way, I started meditating because there has been a great deal of research which proves meditation can help people cope with stress, anxiety, and depression – all three of which I personally believe are either directly or indirectly related to one another.

It is so fascinating how this simple and ancient concept of meditation can have such a significant affect neurologically.

Meditation shifts brain activity from one side of the cortex to the other. There have been studies where brain waves have been monitored to show a shift from the right frontal cortex to the left frontal cortex. The right frontal cortex is where stress takes place, while the left is used when we are calm and at ease. So, people who meditate on a regular basis have higher right frontal cortex activity, thus being calmer and more relaxed people.

With regular meditation, studies have also shown less activity and a decrease in grey matter of the Amygdala – the part of the brain that houses fear and anxiety (also, the part of the brain that fascinates me a great deal…I think my amygdala is three times the size it should be).

Another part of the brain called the Hippocampus, which deals with learning and memory, has shown an increase in grey matter with regular meditation. Cool right?!

Basically, scientists conclude that this idea of bringing the brain to focus on one thing, rather than letting it wander off into a million thoughts, is what causes all these positive neurological changes.

Aside from neurological changes, meditation has an endless list of other benefits. For example, it decreases the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn dilates blood vessels and decreases stress hormones. Hmm… I guess that’s why monks seem so relaxed and at peace – they probably have no cortisol spikes like you and I.

Primarily, meditation simply relaxes us, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system leading to better digestion, increased memory, and a stronger immune system. In fact, there has been a lot of research on meditation increasing the immunity of recovering cancer patients and decreasing the risk of heart disease!

Meditation also increases serotonin production making us feel happier :)

It decreases oxygen consumption and our respiratory rate, while increasing blood flow and lowering our heart rate, leading to deeper relaxation, thus allowing us to escape stress.

It has proven to regulate blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, lower chronic pain, increase concentration, and help with insomnia! Bam! Bam! Bam! …an endless list of benefits…

I mean, what’s there to lose? With so many freaking health benefits why on earth are we not all meditating daily????
It is the simplest exercise in the world!!! You don’t even need anything – just yourself.

There are many different techniques and theories on meditation, and you can even use YouTube to find guided meditations.

I personally like to focus on my breathe – I try to make my breathe audible, breathing in from the nose and out from the nose. I lengthen my inhales, and try to make my exhales the same length as my inhales.

I also like to use imagery. I imagine myself some place relaxing, like the beach at sunset. Cliche I know…but it really works for me. Sometimes I even play relaxing sounds, like water trickling, and birds chirping. I have a “relaxing sounds” app on my iPhone :)

Using body scans can be helpful too, so, I will try to mentally feel all the skin on the top of my head, and then work my way down to my feet – trying hard to feel every bit of skin on my body.

Another technique which people use, is the use of mantras. I personally don’t use this a whole lot, however, I do want to try. A mantra is basically the repetition of a simple word or phrase. You can use the word Om, or you can repeat different phrases – this can actually help with self-confidence too. For example, you can repeat, “I am beautiful” – while focusing on each word repeated.

Reaping the benefits of meditation will not happen overnight. Be consistent, and I promise you, you will see a conscious change.
Not to discourage you, but at the beginning it can be quite hard and frustrating even; you might find yourself dozing off, or unable to focus. Keep with it – practice makes perfect!

I myself do not meditate every day, but I try my best to get 5-10 minutes in a day. I have not been able to do more than 15-30 minutes… that too, 30 minutes is damn hard!

Good luck and namaste (hehe)!

H 2 the O


Why is it so hard to drink more water?! It is such an effort – going to the cupboard. getting a glass. filling it with water. moving it to your mouth. drinking. gulping. It is almost as annoying at brushing teeth before bed, or going to the bank to deposit money.

I gotta say, last year I was a living-walking drainage system….hmm…not a good analogy…but you get it. I drank sooo much damn water – I had to refill my water bottle at least 5 or 6 times a day. I now refill my bottle once, mayyyyybeeee twice a day. I don’t know what happened – I just fell off the wagon with water drinking.

Any way, water is honestly the most vital substance for us humans. I mean, we are basically water containers – our body weight is 40-75% H2O…woah! WOAH! Is that not shocking to you??? It is everything in and surrounding our cells, and it is 90% of our blood.
And 70% of planet earth is water.
Honestly, water is the most fascinating thing in the world – it is so mystical. It has no flavour, it hydrates us, removes toxins from our body, maintains body temperature, transports nutrients, lubricates joints and cushions organs, helps digest food, metabolizes fat, and I don’t know if you have ever noticed how it gets all bubbly and foamy when boating, AND you can see your reflection in it! I love water. It’s the coolest sh*t in the world! Along with clouds and trees (duh).

water

SO, like I was saying, water makes up 90% of blood, and blood’s main jobs is to transport stuff around the body – so we need water in our blood, or else it will get all thick and goopy, and won’t be able to be pumped out of the heart properly, which will eventually cause problems like heart disease, blood clotting, hypertension, and high cholesterol – YIKES! no good.

I am sooooo thirsty right now btw, but I am waaay too lazy to get up and get myself a glass of water – that is the height of my laziness. It is no secret…I woke up at 3:30pm today. Not joking. And not proud either.  BUT at least my thirst inspired me to post about water.

Moral of the story: LET’S DRINK MORE WATER SO WE AREN’T DEHYDRATED WITH THICK GOOPY HEART DISEASE CAUSING BLOOD.

Oh, and you know that if you are dehydrated then you can actually gain weight. Basically, when you don’t have enough water in your blood, a higher amount of glucose remains in the blood before reaching the liver; then, the glucose, instead of being used for energy is stored away as fat because the liver is bombarded with more glucose than it can use for energy. Make sense? ishhh…

Also, the liver’s job is to metabolize triglycerides (stored fat) into usable energy, and the kidney’s job is to get rid of toxins, waste products, and salts from the blood – but if you aren’t drinking enough water, and your body is dehydrated, then the kidneys are obviously not going to work optimally, and the liver is going to have to take charge and get rid of the toxins for the kidneys. By doing this, the liver has to put its job – metabolizing fat – on the side, and that my friend, is how fat is stored! So drink water, so you can decrease that waistline, and live a strong, healthy life.

And now I will get myself a glass of water.

Oh, and also, if you don’t drink enough water then more toxins are stored in the body – particularly in fat cells. So if you have been feeling kind of sluggish or just blah lately, then perhaps it is due to lack of water in your system, and a build up of toxins in your cells.

ANDDD another super duper awesome thing about water, is that it makes you feel full and prevents overeating or unnecessary eating. The latter is my nemesis – I will eat when I am not hungry, but too often my body think it is hungry, but really it is just thirsty.

Okay, now time for that water.

<3 bye

p.s sorry for the lack of pictures. I hate blogs without photographs. But for some reason I have become very shy…

 

Coconut Papaya Smoothie


I had never used papaya in a smoothie before this little experiment. Turned out pretty darn good :)

Ingredients:

1/2 Papaya
1/2 Banana
1/4 cup Egg Beater Egg Whites
100 g Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt
2 tablespoons Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 teaspoon Honey
Xanthan gum, just a sprinkle to thicken the shake

Instructions:

Pretty simple – mix all ingredients in a blender and BAM – you got yourself a Coconut Papaya Smoothie :D

I added the egg whites because I wanted a little bit of protein, and I only had peanut butter flavoured protein powder, and I don’t know how that would have turned out…… although, anything peanut butter flavoured tastes incredible….
If you think raw egg whites is gross, then go ahead and omit that ingredient.

onion-chicken-EGGPLANT


Okay, so I am clearly not very creative in the name-your-dinner department – I like to get to the point okaaay…

This dish turned out pretty darn good in my opinion, and it is SO simple.

All you need are:

2 juicy Chicken Breasts, diced
3 small Eggplants
1/2 Large White Onion
1/3 cup Water
1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon Safflower Oil
1.5 tablespoon Dried Oregano
Salt to taste

All you gotta do is:

Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, lengthwise.
Soak the eggplant slices in a pot of water for 30 minutes.
Chop up the onion.
Next, cook the onions and chicken in 1/2 tablespoon of safflower oil, on medium heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour water and tomato sauce over the onions and chicken, and let it simmer on med-low heat until cooked. Add salt.
Next, sauté the eggplant slices in the remaining oil until they are nicely browned and then place the slices in a baking dish.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, pour the chicken and onion mixture over the eggplants in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes!

 

The one problem with eggplant is the bitter taste it has, and I am sure this is one of the reasons why 70% of the human population doesn’t like eggplant. I personally love eggplant…I mean it isn’t my absolute favourite, but I do like it a lot. …don’t ask me why I named my blog after the one of the world’s least favourite vegetables…fruits?…which one is it even…hmmm… well, I love yogurt, but coming up with a name with “yogurt” in it is not easy – I tried… trust me…

Any way, the key to cooking eggplant is to soak it in water for 30 minutes before cooking it. The water will turn brown, but don’t worry, you can just toss that water after 30 minutes – we’re not going to use that mucky water for cooking purposes. Or I guess you could cook it till it gets mushy, but sometimes you don’t want your eggplant mushy, and you don’t want it bitter either… ya learn something new every day…

i got something to say


What is UP with yoga instructors these days?!

I go to yoga to escape the world, silence my mind, breathe, and get a good stretch. I most definitely do not go to socialize with strangers, and listen to nonsense lectures. I really am not a fan of the whole “say hello to the person beside you” thing, and the whole “gather around” thing – why do I have to move from my mat and gather around in a circle??? Are we in elementary school again? I just don’t get it. And then once we all gather around and invade each others personal space, we have to listen to a lecture on “be yourself” or “don’t judge” or “love yourself” or I have to listen to some bizarre pseudo-spiritual spiel. GAH! Just stop it! We are here to do yoga! Let’s do yoga and not waste 15 minutes of valuable vinyasas!
This is my practice, let’s not get too comfortable now…

I guess you can call me a yoga snob.

I find myself boycotting instructors left right and centre. I can only really enjoy two or three instructors – everyone else just doesn’t do it for me. They’re either too much or not enough.
In my humble opinion, finding the right instructor is so key to having a good yoga practice.
…as psuedo-spiritual as this may sound… I feel like your energy needs to be compatible with your instructors.
And as corny as this may sound…I strongly believe in energy fields – we all have one, and sometimes, someone else’s energy just seems to like your energy, and that is why you feel happy around them, or they can lift your spirits by doing virtually nothing.

Any way, on a lighter (and tastier) note, I discovered the most AMAZING greek yogurt ever made!
It is slightly higher in calories, with 190 calories per 3/4 cup, out of which 26 grams are carbs and 17 grams are protein. The reason it is higher in calories is because it is COCONUT FLAVOURED!

can you tell how excited I am?!

Holy great balls of fire this sh*t is DA BOMB! It tastes like dessert, and it tastes so darn TROPICAL! Toss in some pineapple and you might as well be sitting on Kaanapali Beach with mojito in the other hand. Epic win!

Training For Cardiovascular Fitness


Our hearts are what keep us alive, and we should aim to keep them healthy our entire lives – this means regular exercise, clean eating, and avoiding substances that may harm us, like drugs…yes that includes smoking and alcohol.

With regular exercise, using this very scientific method to train and improve our cardiovascular fitness, we can save our hearts from disease.

This “very scientific method” I speak of is the very basic principle called, F.I.T.T.

The F.I.T.T Principle makes it easy and simple to follow an exercise prescription.
If you do not know what the F.I.T.T Principle is, take a look at this article – click here.

In a nutshell, the F.I.T.T Principle is basically an exercise prescription, which one can use to create any workout routine to fit their needs.
The acronym stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.

In order to improve your Aerobic capacity – aerobic meaning WITH oxygen (so, the kind of exercise which is usually longer, rhythmic, less intense, and requires the use of large muscles – think marathon…), one needs to train (F) 3-6 days a week, at about (I) 50-90% of your maximum heart rate, for (T) 20-60 minutes. 

The other cardiovascular system that our body uses is the Anaerobic system – anaerobic meaning WITHOUT oxygen.

I don’t know if you remember biology from high school, but basically this system does not use oxygen to create energy (a.k.a ATP), rather it uses creatine phosphate, and once it runs out of that, the system uses carbohydrates. When our system metabolizing these carbs it leaves behind a waste product called, lactate acid. This lactate acid is what causes us to fatigue, thus anaerobic exercise consists of short bursts of high intensity using large muscle groups.

Once we start exercising for a longer period of time, and we start breathing more, and our heart starts pumping more blood, there is more oxygen circulating, so our body will automatically switch to the aerobic system (using oxygen to convert our food to energy).

(Sorry, I felt like I needed to explain that, even though I feel like I have talked about those 2 systems far too much in the past.)

All that being said, the F.I.T.T prescription to train our Anaerobic capacity is slightly different to the Aerobic training prescription because we will need to switch between high intensity and low intensity exercise, or else our body will switch to the aerobic system and start using oxygen to create energy.

Anaerobic training should be done (F) 3-4 days a week, at about (I) 85-100% of your maximum heart rate, for about (T) 45 seconds with active rest.
So, an example of this would be sprinting for 10 seconds, and walking for 30 seconds. A good work to rest ratio would be 1:3 or 1:6.

Any way, moral of the story: cardio sux butt – just get it done.

cheesy tilapia stuffed EGGPLANT!


This recipe is a) a tribute to my blog: sweatpants and EGGPLANTS and b) an acknowledgement of how cheesy my blog is. Soooo… put those 2 together and you get a cheesy eggplant :D

The first time I made this recipe was in my tiny studio apartment in Toronto – probably one of the first things I ever cooked by myself, for myself; however, instead of using shrimp and fresh basil, I used tilapia and pureed basil.
Holy MOLY, it was DARN GOOD!

This is what you need:

1.5 Large Eggplants
1/4 cup Pureed Basil
3 Tilapia Fish, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup Partly Skimmed Shredded White Cheese (I used Weight Watchers)
1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoon Pureed Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/4 cup chopped onions
Salt to taste

This is what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Make perpendicular slices in the flesh, and scoop out the flesh – leaving about a 1/4 inch from the shell (this was the hardest and most annoying part).
Put the scooped out flesh in a bowl and set aside.
Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in the empty shells.
Place the empty eggplant shells in the oven while you prep the other stuff.
In a pan heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Before the onions get brown mix in the eggplant flesh. Allow the eggplant to soften.
Add the pureed basil, oregano, and salt.
Keep mixing ingredients up in the pan.
Add fish.
Add cheese and breadcrumbs. Save some to sprinkle on the top.
Remove eggplant shells from the oven, and scoop cheesy fish and eggplant into the shells.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese and panko breadcrumbs.
Place in oven for about 30 minutes.

This recipe serves 3 people (in my opinion, and 6 in Amaani’s).

YUM!

We placed chopped Portobello Mushrooms on top before putting them into the oven to cook – just an added touch of deliciousness!

Enjoy :)

F.I.T.T Principle


The F.I.T.T Principle is a fundamental exercise prescription which will allow you to mould an exercise regime to your personal goals and fitness level.
The acronym stands for:

Frequency: How often you are exercising (per week).

For cardiovascular exercise we should all aim to get at least 5 days of moderate exercise (70-80% of your Maximum Heart Rate) each week, or 2-3 intense sessions a week.

For weight training we should aim to do at least 2-3 days a week with a days rest between each day.

I personally try to aim at doing some form of cardio 6 times a week, out of which 3 of those days are intense. And I like to weight train 4-5 times a week, but nothing less than 3 times.

Intensity: How strenuous your exercise is.

For cardiovascular exercise you can gauge the intensity by your heart rate.

Calculate your Maximum Heart Rate by subtracting your are from 220.

Low Intensity (Fitness Zone/Fat Burning) is 60-70% of your max heart rate
Moderate Intensity (Aerobic/Endurance Zone) is 70-80% of your max heart rate
High Intensity (Anaerobic/Performance Zone) is 80-90% of your max heart rate
Maximum Effort is 90-100% of Max Heart Rate

So, for example, my Maximum Heart Rate would be: 220 – 23 (my age) = 197 beats per minute (bpm).
If I was running at a moderate intensity, say 60% of my max heart rate: 197 X .60 = 118.2 bpm.

For weight training intensity is gauged by:
a) amount of exercises performed
b) volume/weight being used
c) sets and reps

If you want to get all precise and pro about it, you can calculate your 1 Rep Max, which is basically the maximum amount of weight you can lift in just one rep. After calculating your 1 rep max, you can figure out your weight range for the amount of reps you plan to do.
Click here to calculate your 1 rep max.
You can also refer to my article on Training Types, to better help you reach your specific goals, whether it is strength, power, endurance, or hypertrophy (increasing muscle size).

Time: How long you exercise (per day)

For cardiovascular exercise, really speaking, we should be doing at least 10 minutes a day, everyday – this is the bare minimum. However, ideally, we should be aiming for 30-60 minutes per cardio session, deepening on your fitness level.

For strength training, it varies, depending on what you are doing in the weight room; for example, if you are doing a total body workout, you may be at the gym for an hour, but if you are doing a 3-4 day split, you might only be in the gym for 10-30 minutes. Just remember, whatever you are doing, it should be beastly! Make sure all your workouts are intense (for your fitness level) and make sure to push yourself out of that comfort zone!

Type: Specific kind of exercise being performed.

For cardiovascular exercise this is basically any form of exercise or movement that gets your heart rate up, so that could be anything from running, to swimming, to Kundalini Yoga, to dancing.

For strength training, it involves form of resistance causing muscles to contract – eccentrically, concentrically, or isometrically – whether you are using dumbbells, cable machines, resistance bands, body weight, kettle bells, soup cans, etc.

The F.I.T.T Principle is a great way to create a pretty solid fitness schedule and routine. It also allows for easy modification when your body starts to adapt, thus allowing us to dodge that pesky plateau stage.
By modifying only one of the four principles, you can avoid boredom and plateauing; for example, changing the intensity of your strength training routine by increasing the amount of reps, or the number of sets, or changing the amount of days a week you train, or the types of exercises being used.
Pretty helpful tool for the novice and the pro!

hahaha

The Basics: The Seven Training Principles


In order to create a flawless training routine, one must follow seven simple and basic training principles.
These seven principles are commonly used by the U.S Army: Overload, Progression, Specificity, Reversibility, Maintenance, Variety, and Recovery.

These rules can and should be used in all forms of physical exercise.

Overload
In order to see improvements, muscles need to be exposed to a load greater than normal. Our body has a tendency to adapt very fast; therefore, in order to improve without plateauing, one must (gradually) increase the intensity, duration, and/or volume.

Progression
The Principle of Progression refers to the rate at which Overload is applied.
You do not want to abruptly overload without easing yourself into it – you may injure yourself. And you do not want to overload too slowly, because you may not see improvements. Just listen to your body, it knows best!

Specificity
Exercise must be specific to the type of strength or improvements desired by the athlete (p.s we are all athletes in my books – if you exercise with a goal or desired outcome, then you are an athlete). Click here to see Training Types.
An example of specificity is, if you are a hockey player, you would want to train anaerobically with short bouts of high intensity; perhaps training specific to lateral movements, or specific to speed and power. Certain muscles required in the sport might be trained more heavily than others; like, if you are a volleyball player, you may want to train your triceps heavily, and practice plyometric jumping.

These three training principles overlap and are very much interconnected; they are also probably the most essential training principles for all forms of fitness and exercise.

Reversibility
All improvements and gains can be reversed if you do not train regularly. And the worst part is that it happens pretty rapidly – 30-40% of muscular endurance is lost in about 2 months, and only 10% of strength (phew!). However, on the bright side, muscle has memory, and once training resumes, gains can be regained rapidly. This is where the Principle of Maintenance comes in.

Maintenance
This is probably my favourite principle. In order to maintain your gains and avoid losing everything you worked so hard at, all you have to do is train 30% of what you were doing before – commonly known as the 1/3 Rule. 
Just do 1/3 of what you were doing before and you won’t lose a thing!!!! AWESOME!

Variety
Like I said earlier, our body has a tendency to adapt pretty darn fast, so making sure that you are giving a little variety to all major muscle groups will prevent plateauing and boredom.
Cross Training is something we should all practice! Do something different as often as possible – go for a swim, or a hike, or a spinning class every now and again, to prevent your muscles from getting too used to your regular routine.
If you are weight training, then make sure you change your workout routine every 4-6 weeks!

Recovery
The Principle of Recovery is one which is overlooked far too often; this not only applies to rest between sets, but rest days themselves, as well as proper nutrition.
If you read my article on Training Types, then you know the importance of rest between sets in order to reach your specific training goals.

Rest days are KEY to improvements. If we do not give our bodies at least one day a week to recuperate, then when will it get time to adapt and/or get bigger, better, or stronger?
If we continuously put load on them without a break, they will over stress and either go into a state of overtraining, or just not allow us to push as hard.

Active Rest
days are great too. These are days where you do not have to do heavy exercise, rather, you go for a walk in the park, or a Hatha Yoga class – something that involves movement, but nothing too intense.

Nutrition for proper recovery is possibly one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects to proper training. I am sure you have read many posts of me emphasizing this particular principle.
Make sure you get enough protein and carbohydrates post workout in order to replenish diminished glycogen stores. If you do not get enough carbohydrates after your workout, I guaranty your next workout will be weak.
In fact, if you don’t believe me then set yourself up for an experiment:
train one muscle group hard, eat a good meal within an hour of your workout, and then record your volume and reps. Next time you train that same muscle group, do not have a good meal within an hour of your workout, perhaps wait 2-3 hours before you replenish yourself with carbs, and then record your improvements the next time you train that specific muscle group.
And finally, come back here and let me know if you think I am full of bogus or if I am full of wisdom :P

Greek Yogurt is an awesome post-workout snack if you are short on time.
Toss it into your shake, or stir in some protein powder, fruit, and/or cereal, or just eat it plain right out of the container!
I wish we got this particular brand in Canada. I LOVE OKOIS YOGURT! Especially the Key Lime flavour. Yum!

Healthiest Fatty Dinner


I told myself I would cook everyday once exams finished, and I have been the laziest human being alive, and have been living on quickie meals, frozen food, and eating out. However, last night, I went to a couple of friends’ place, and was totally inspired – Carly had cooked up a coconut peanut sauce storm!
So, Carly, if you are reading this, you are my long haired girl hehe

This dinner dish is FULL of fat!!! But the good kinds of fats – Salmon & Avocado.

I first made the Avocado Butter, and lathered the Salmon in it, and ate it with a side of Rosemary Bell Pepper Salad.

Avocado Butter:
2 oz Avocado
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 tablespoon Mustard Seed Sauce
1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
Splash of Lemon Juice
6 Cherry Tomatoes

Mix the first 5 ingredients together.
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and fold into the mix.

Then, I coated the 3 oz. Salmon in the Avocado Butter, and popped it into the oven, which I had preheated at 400 degrees.
Bake the salmon for about 13 minutes, or until the salmon just begins to flake.

Rosemary Bell Pepper Salad:
2 Bell Peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon-ish Garlic, chopped
1  Rosemary Stalk, chopped
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Drizzle of Fig & Fire Reduced Balsamic Vinaigrette

I used about this much garlic

Mix all ingredients and bake in oven for 10 minutes till warm.

Voila!