|Q: Tracy, I train hard, have a lean physique and I incorporate all the principals you and Cory suggest for supplements and diet, but I do on occasion have a craving for something sweet. Can you recommend a healthy alternative?
A: Well you are definitely on the right track, and with all the effort you put into a healthy lifestyle I believe you deserve a "sweet treat". I have several treats that I make at home; the recipes will be in my new book "The Athletes' Cookbook". I always start with whole food in mind, the freshest, highest quality I can find. Date squares, fruit crumbles, carrot cake, trail mix cookies, or hearty muffins. The ingredients include fresh ground spelt or whole wheat flour, unpasteurized honey, fresh fruit and free range eggs. I didn't say these treats were low in calories but they do have definite health benefits. So you can enjoy a sweet and not do harm to your body. I also suggest fresh medjool dates, pineapple, mango or papaya. Dried fruits are sweet and satisfying, find the ones that are high in potassium and low in sodium, with no preservatives and remember that this is only a treat and not a staple. Enjoy!
Q: Cory there's a big focus on core-training growing in the fitness industry. How do you train your core and what are some of your favorite exercises?
A: One of the most common health problems in the world is lower back pain, second only to the common cold. The area of the body least exposed to movement with resistance through its full natural range is the lower back and abdominal cavity, also known as the midsection or 'core'. Physical activity by necessity in the 21st century is minimal, with very little twisting, turning, bending and crunching of the abs and core area. As a consequence, the lower back and gut is seldom ever used in a functional direct way by most adults.
Core training is perhaps the least enjoyable component of the workout, but arguably the most important. It's the power centre, and this is something I've learned more as a hammer thrower than a natural bodybuilder. My goal is to create a tight, functional core that looks good in the mirror. I train my core six days a week; it's the third phase in my basic five-phase training routine (warm-up, weights, core, cardio & stretching). Each core workout involves several sets of different exercises with an average rep range of 15-50; I hit every major area from various angles using cables, machines, the Swiss ball and my own body. My favorite exercise is the deep-seated Swiss ball crunch using a cable from behind attached to a weight stack.
Q: Cory can you please explain why you add a tablespoon of sport oil to your protein shakes?
A: When blended correctly in the right amounts and consumed at the right time, a custom-designed protein shake enhances immune function, improves insulin efficiency, increases fat-burning capacity, improves performance and recovery and encourages long-term participation in physical activity. Athletes require generous amounts of essential fatty acids (EFAs) to assist in energy transfer, muscle contraction, hormone production, joint flexibility and the metabolism of stored bodyfat.
EFAs enhance thermogenesis, improve endocrine function, strengthen the immune system, improve neurological function, speed wound healing and accelerate recovery from workouts. They also combine with the sulfur and peptides in whey protein isolate to form healing lipoproteins that improve cardiovascular health, aerobic fitness and muscle strength. This is why I urge everyone to add a sport specific live fresh oil blend (from land and sea) that provides both EFAs (linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid) and a direct source of EPA, DHA and GLA. EFAs work closely with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to build a strong foundation of health and wellness.