Chia Fresca – Natural Tarahumara Pre-Workout

I was first introduced to Chia Fresca when I read “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall, a book about running and a tribe of Native Americans, the Tarahumara, that live in Mexico. These people live in a region called the Copper Canyons and have lived there largely untouched by the outside world for the last 400 years. The Tarahumara suffer from none of the Western diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, … you get the idea) that afflict our society. The Tarahumara are also amazing distance runners, often running races for fun of over 100 miles. These people drink Chia Fresca and it helps fuel these long runs. I cannot recommend the book highly enough and suggest you check it out. Back to the Chia Fresca…

Chia Fresca is a beverage that is super simple to make, very tasty, and highly nutritious. It is comprised of four ingredients: water, fresh squeezed lime juice, honey or agave nectar, and chia seeds. I’m not fond of the current trend of dubbing something a “superfood,” but chia could really live up to the moniker. Chia is packed with protein, and excellent source of good fats, full of fiber, and filled with antioxidants and minerals.

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As I said, Chia Fresca is very easy to make. Step one: Take a glass and put 8 ounces of water in it. Step two: Sprinkle in a teaspoon of chia seeds. Step three: Add two tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice (you can use the bottled stuff but fresh tastes waaaay better) and two teaspoons of honey or agave nectar. Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for about 10-15 min so its nice and cool, stir, and drink. The chia seeds will have kind of formed a gel so be prepared for the texture. Drink Chia Fresca before runs or any time you want something refreshing and citrusy…

Cheers!

Epic Bar Epic Fail

I’m always looking for new food items to try. I love exotic foods and trying new things so I was a little excited the first time I saw the Epic Bar. Epic Bar comes in a variety of flavors but they are all Paleo friendly protein bars that uses a meat (beef in this case but also bison ans turkey) as its protein source. I was first put off by the price at $3.29 per bar but still wanted to try them and patiently waited until Kroger ran them on sale for $2.50, still pricey but a little more affordable.

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I purchased the beef based Habanero Cherry bar and had the highest of hopes for something sweet and tangy with a bold spice note. The ingredient list is all wholesome: beef, walnuts, dried cherries, salt, celery powder, black pepper, and crushed habanero. My high hopes were crushed with the first bite. The mushy bar tasted more like dog food than the spicy beef jerky I was hoping for.

With only 13 grams of protein and 190 total calories, coupled with the high price, I can’t recommend purchasing an Epic Bar. The lack of flavor was a huge disappointment, too. I might give one of the other flavors a try but only if they are on sale or someone else buys. I’m all for healthy but I like flavor, too. Sadly, the Epic Bar is an Epic Fail.

Farmer’s Walk For Power

Build some serious muscle with just two moves: the Farmer’s Walk and the Clean and Jerk.

Everyone knows doing Olympic lifts like the snatch and the clean and jerk will build explosiveness and power. I am always amazed when Olympic lifters clean and jerk over twice their bodyweight. No one can deny they have incredible strength and explosiveness. The Farmer’s Walk, another exercise that is often overlooked, will add muscle to your frame, increase muscular endurance, and give you a cardio thrashing at the same time.

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This is a very functional movement and is a staple of the Strongman community. Growing up on a farm, I often had to carry things from sacks of feed to bales of hay and occasionally an animal, and I have always credited this for having a solid base when it came to strength training. To do the Farmer’s Walk all you need is a pair of heavy objects and room to walk. Simply hoist one of the objects in each hand and take off, keep your core engaged so you don’t crumple to the ground, keep your shoulders back and maintain the natural arch in your back. Start off with weights around 50% of your bodyweight and work up from there. For more of the Farmer’s Walk check out this great article from StartingStrongman.com

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Here is a sample workout in implement the farmer’s walk into your training. I developed this after the guys I train with said they couldn’t help bale hay on a very warm August day. The combination mimics the motions of mowing hay. The Farmer’s Walk will tax your grip and shoulders while challenging your cardio and the clean and jerks will develop explosiveness. If you are already an experienced lifter feel free in to increase the weights.

 

10 min AMRAP:

100 foot Farmer’s Walk with 50% bodyweight in each hand

10 Clean and Jerks 95 pounds

100 foot Farmer’s Walk

10 Clean and Jerks 115 pounds

100 foot Farmer’s Walk

10 Clean and Jerks 135 Pounds

100 foot Farmer’s Walk

10 Clean and Jerks 155 pounds

100 foot Farmer’s Walk

10 Clean and Jerks 175 pounds

Continue alternating the Farmer’s Walk with Clean and Jerks for the remainder of time, adding 20 pounds to the Clean and Jerks each round.

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