Garden of Life Perfect Food Vs. MacroLife Macro Greens — Which Has More Nutrition?

There’s a lot to like about these two green superfood drinks: they’re both inexpensive and they both have a nice, descriptive nutrition label — something that can be hard to find in this industry.

Macro Life naturals sell quite a wide variety of superfood powders, including two kinds of reds powders with berries and a chocolate greens powder, but Macro Greens is their flagship product.

Garden of Life, on the other hand, specializes a little more in protein (they sell seven different kinds), but they’ve got a few different kinds of greens powder as well. We’re looking at their unflavored raw organic, Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood. Is it a better deal than Macro Greens?

[Buy Macro Greens and Raw Organic Perfect Food.]

Taste

Macro Greens

This is a really tasty green superfood drink. It tastes a little like Athletic Greens – fruity, tangy, and just a little creamy, sort of like fruit yogurt but milder.

[Check out our full Macro Greens review!]

Raw Organic Perfect Food

This is raw, unflavored greens powder and it tastes likr it. The main flavor is the earthy, grassy taste of wheat grass and it has a pretty gritty, nutty after taste. This is probably because of the ground millet and flax.

It’s not great, but it is available in an apple flavor and a chocolate flavor in case you’d rather not consume something that tastes so… natural.

[Check out our full Garden of Life Perfect Food review!]

Winner: Macro Greens 

Macro Greens Vs Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw

Price

Macro Greens

The price fluctuates, but you can usually pick up a 30-serving tub for $30. A better deal is to pick up a larger tub of 90 servings for $60 — three times as much greens powder for just twice the price. That winds up at 66 cents per serving.

Raw Organic Perfect Food

You can pick up 30 servings for $26, so that’s 86 cents a serving. This is the only size in which it’s available, so it’s a little hard to say which of the two is cheaper. If you just want 30 servings then Perfect Food wins out, if you want a three-month supply then Macro Greens comes out on top.

Winner: Draw

Ingredients

Macro Greens

This one has about 40 different ingredients in seven categories that cover fruits and veggies, algae, probiotic cultures, adaptogens, and medicinal herbs — a really wide variety of ingredients. Only some of the greens (the barley grass and the spirulina) are organic.

Macro Greens

Raw Organic Perfect Food

This product has more of a focus on greens, like barley grass, alfalfa grass, oat grass, and wheat grass. It delivers twice as many of them per serving when compared to Macro Greens and it uses juice powders, which are a little more nutritious than the powdered plant. There’s also some sprouted grains and legumes, plus every single ingredient is organic.

Raw Organic Perfect Food

It doesn’t stack all the way up to Macro Greens in most respects — it has a much smaller variety of ingredients and fewer probiotics. But if you’re taking green superfood drinks for the grasses, the chlorophyll, and the antioxidants, then Raw Organic Perfect Food may be the better pick.

It really depends on what you’re after, but personally speaking, I preferred Macro Life’s broader array of ingredients.

Winner: Macro Greens

Effectiveness

Macro Greens

Let’s look at the actual nutrition label. Macro Greens is much higher in Vitamins C, E, and B12. It also has a huge 18 billion probiotics from five strains, compared to Garden of Life’s 1.5 billion from three strains.

In addition, as mentioned above, it has a broader array of ingredients. For example, it contains adaptogens like eleuthero and astragalus, which may relieve stress and improve cognitive function.

Raw Organic Perfect Food

This is a tiny bit higher in calcium and iron, but not enough for it to be considered a particularly effective source of either. As noted, it’s far lower in probiotics and it has fewer digestive enzymes.

Given it contains about twice as many greens, it’s probably higher in antioxidants and chlorophyll, if those are ingredients you prioritize.

However, I’m more confident that Macro Greens provides the most benefit for your buck.

Winner: Macro Greens

Overall Winner: MacroLife Macro Greens

This was a pretty tight race, and for the amount of money you’re paying, neither of these products are a bad buy. But with all the extra vitamins and probiotics in Macro Greens, I personally prefer this product.

The post Garden of Life Perfect Food Vs. MacroLife Macro Greens — Which Has More Nutrition? appeared first on BarBend.

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Here’s What One of the World’s Strongest Vegans Eats for Breakfast

During his recent trip to Canada, during which he had an epic lift-off with Cal Strength’s Spencer Moorman, Irish weightlifter and YouTube personality Clarence Kennedy recorded a full day of eating with his pal Omar Isuf.

There are a couple of reasons why this is notable. First, Kennedy is insanely strong — his best lifts are a 185kg snatch and a 220kg clean & jerk at about 95kg bodyweight.

The second reason is that he’s a vegan. (He made those lifts both before and after his transition to veganism in 2016.) And let’s be honest, vegans are often associated with protein deficiency, anemia, and skinniness.

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That’s the fourth of seven pause squat singles of 260 kilograms (573 pounds).

[We named Clarence one of the 5 strongest vegans on Earth. Check out the full list!]

So we were curious when Kennedy told us about this upcoming video that followed his diet for a day. And while the video does do that, we weren’t sure if we could call it a “day” of his diet since they appear to spend the second half of the day eating fried vegan cheat food instead of carefully calculated weightlifting fuel.

But here’s the most useful info we got.

The Protein

On average, the man eats about 4,000 calories per day and 150 grams of protein. His groceries on this day included, in rough order of “protein-rich” to “not quite as protein rich”:

  • Firm tofu
  • Vegan “ground meat”
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Chocolate soy milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Hummus
  • Flaxseed
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Grapes
  • Dates
  • Shredded coconut
  • Miscellaneous vegetables

If you’re wondering where the protein powder is, Kennedy has said in the past that he usually doesn’t consume the stuff.

Image via OmarIsuf on YouTube.

The Breakfast

  • A bowl of fruit with apples, grapes, and cherries
  • A bowl of oatmeal
  • 2 cups of chocolate soy milk
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter

According to Isuf, that made 1458 calories, 50 grams of protein, 220 grams of carbs, and 42 grams of fat.

After this, the two eat some vegan takeout (mostly beans, tofu, and vegetables) and then go ham on deep fired vegan mac ‘n’ cheese balls.

If you’re left wondering what a full day of eating would look like when he’s paying attention to his calories, micronutrients, and amino acids, check out the video above (and our discussion here) that provides a lot more detail. And get ready for a lot of beans, pasta, and soy!

Image via @clarencekennedy_ on Instagram.

The post Here’s What One of the World’s Strongest Vegans Eats for Breakfast appeared first on BarBend.

Rethinking Overhead: How to Fix a Stalled Split Jerk

Over the years I’ve found that athletes either love the split jerk or they hate it. There is no middle ground. Regardless of which side you fall on it’s a necessity in weightlifting and for most, always a work in progress. The following will break down a few ways to bring life back into your split jerk if and when it stalls.

1. Find the root of the problem

In my personal experience, I’ve seen both coaches and athletes that often look at the end result instead of addressing the initial problem that caused it. This is an easy category to fall in as the end result is the easiest to see and feel.

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For me, the hardest habit to break was finishing the jerk with a straight back leg instead of a bent back knee, and it was causing me to miss a lot of lifts. I was told this repeatedly by many different people, so I worked hard to add a bend in my back leg. The problem was as the weight got heavier, I was still reverting back to the straight back leg. When it came down to it, the back leg was the result of the problem, not the cause. As the weight gets heavier, I have a tendency to dip/drive the weight forward causing the weight to be out front on me. The straight leg is a result of that mistake, as I would try to lean into the lift to make the forward jerk.

Simple fix? No, not really, but I have a better chance of fixing the end result if I address the problem that caused it first.

2. Break it down

Once you find the initial problem, break it down into steps to fix it. No two athletes are exactly alike, so I don’t expect yours to be the same as mine, but it’s easiest to use myself as the example. My coach, Cara Heads Slaughter, used multiple different angles to address my problems with the dip and drive. We worked a lot on footwork drills to get comfortable with the finish position.

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It’s hard to rewrite a motor pattern, so using different drills to constantly get your body to relearn where it wants to be when you split jerk is another way to get reps in. We used Drop to Splits and Jerk Recoveries to overload the weight of the jerk, but with correct ending positions. She also used Jerk Dips with a pause and Jerk Drives to practice meeting the correct positions.

Power Jerks to work on a straight drive and Behind the Neck Jerks were also programmed to help the transition into a full lift without negotiating the movement of the head. Of course, we also split jerked to tie it all together.

3. Stability/Strength/Comfort

Another consideration for the split jerk is if the root of the problem is related to stability, strength, or comfort. If the problem is overhead stability, address these using jerk recoveries, overhead holds, or any exercise that makes the core stabilize while maintaining weight overhead. If the issue is purely strength related, exercises could be as simple as a military press, push press, or if you want to change it up try press in split and push press in the split position.

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These can both be used as a warm up or primer for the split jerk, or they can be done heavier for strength work. I like them just to change things up some, and they also give you more time to get comfortable in that split stance. The problem could also be comfort in the split jerk. This could be addressed with mobility work if mobility is the issue, or as simple as moving the width of the grip in or out to allow for a more optimal position. The same position and corrections won’t work for everyone so take the time to try a few different things and see what works best for the current situation, but more importantly set up a game plan to work for the long run. If you need a wider grip to get the correct rack position or overhead position, then set up a mobility program to allow for a more appropriate grip.

4. Time

The biggest thing is to give yourself a little time. Permanent corrections won’t be made overnight, and in my case, the corrections I made also took extra time to work in a pressure situation on the platform. When the lights came on, I would revert back to what I was most comfortable doing, but as I got more reps in with Cara doing it correctly and at heavier and heavier loads, I began to trust those new positions and was able to call on them when I needed them. Bad habits, especially in intermediate and experienced lifters, are hard to break.

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It’s always easier to create good habits in the early learning stages than to make corrections in athletes later on, but sometimes you aren’t given the option.

First, find the root of the problem and address it from multiple angles. There’s no magic solution for an athlete, so find what seems to be working and focus on that. After that point, give the athlete time to get the repetitions in and make the changes. Consistent reinforcement is key. If you can’t be there to watch every rep, have the athlete film the lifts and watch them back between sets. If they are reverting back to old patterns, repeat or lower the weight to something they can maintain that day. You want to have your body revert to the new patterns when the time comes so don’t allow it to use the old ones.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: @velagic.almir on Instagram

The post Rethinking Overhead: How to Fix a Stalled Split Jerk appeared first on BarBend.

Stefi Cohen Deadlifts 501 lbs At 121 lbs (4.14x Bodyweight)

We’ve written about Stefi Cohen a lot in the last couple months, but for good reason. She’s been absolutely crushing weight, and continues to do so. Less than a month ago in late August, Cohen cruised past the current 123 lb all-time women’s deadlift world record with her beastly 485 lb pull (4x bodyweight).

Yet 485 lbs and a world record wasn’t enough for Cohen, she wanted more, as she stated in an interview with us. After her world record Cohen told us,

I THOUGHT I WOULD FEEL MORE ACCOMPLISHED, BUT I CAN’T HELP WANTING MORE. 500 LBS UP NEXT.” 

And without further ado, about three weeks after saying so, Cohen has made that happen. Check out her latest 501 lb (227kg) deadlift (with straps) below.

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In addition to her quote above, Cohen told us, “Also, pretty sure that’s the first time a woman’s ever done a deadlifts 4x bodyweight (raw). We fact checked with Powerlifting Watch, and we’re 98% certain.” 

Yes, she pulled this in training and with straps (which doesn’t make it fully raw), but it doesn’t dilute the fact that she’s proving it’s possible she can handle this amount of weight. She’s also proving that she has the capability to push women’s powerlifting and the sport even further with her ridiculous strength.

[Learn more about this insanely strong female powerlifter in our in-depth interview with Stefi Cohen.]

We mentioned her all-time 485 lb world record above, but we felt it was definitely worth embedding the video for another watch. Check out her world record from the Boss of Bosses IV meet.

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So now the question remains, when will Cohen pull 500 lbs, or more, in competition. Well, we may have the answer for you. After her world record, we interviewed Cohen to get a better idea about her career and training style. Our last question prodded at what we can expect from her in the future, and we got the answer you’re probably wondering.

BarBend: Awesome, good luck with the rest of your studies. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our audience?

Cohen: My next meet will be the Reebok Record Breakers in November — and I’m planning on making a 500-pound deadlift.

Will we see Cohen pull 500 lbs this November in competition? Only time will tell, but judging from her latest training videos, we’re very optimistic she’ll do so.

Feature image from @steficohen Instagram page. 

The post Stefi Cohen Deadlifts 501 lbs At 121 lbs (4.14x Bodyweight) appeared first on BarBend.

Dave Castro Reveals First Event of 2017 CrossFit Team Series

Dave Castro has announced the first event for this year’s CrossFit Team Series. In a video shared on his Instagram page, Castro lays out four envelopes, each containing details about the Team Series events. He then dramatizes the opening of the first envelope using a large knife to reveal the event.

The first event is set to be as follows,

  • 9-15-21
  • Synchro Thrusters
  • Synchro Burpees

Men will use a 95 lb barbell, while women will use a 65 lb barbell, and there’s no timecap.

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Movement standards for the thruster are set as usual, and involve the athlete fully completing the squat, then finishing with a locked out position overhead upon standing up. Burpees must be performed with the athlete perpendicular to the bar, and the chest/legs must make contact with the ground. The athlete must then jump over the barbell with two feet, as stepping, or one legged jumps are not permitted.

This event is somewhat similar to the first event from the 2016 CrossFit Team Series, which used similar rep formatting. Last year, athletes performed a 21-15-9 synchronized burpees, synchronized overhead squats (95 / 65 lb.), and synchronized chest-to-bar pull-ups.

In July, CrossFit HQ announced that there would be a few changes to this year’s CrossFit Team Series. If you missed the original announcement about the changes, then check out some of the major changes below.

Team Composition

Teams can now compete with two men, two men, or with a mixed gender pairing.

More Age Divisions

As opposed to the previous three years that utilized three age groups. This year, the Team Series will offer similar age groups to the CrossFit Open, which include: Open (all ages), 14-15, 16-17, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, and 60+.

When It Starts, Finishes, and Submitting Scores

The team series will take place in late September and span over two consecutive weeks (Start: September 20th – End: October 2nd).

There will be a live announcement releasing the first two sets of partner workouts on Wednesday, September 20th, and then teams will have until Monday, September 25th to submit scores. Workouts following will be released every Wednesday, and must be completed in a similar format as the first week.

Prizes

Prizes for all divisions and overall standings are listed as followed: First $10,000, second $5,000, third $3,000, fourth $2,500, fifth $2,250, and sixth-10th $2,000, $1,750, $1,500, $1,250, $1,000, respectively, and so forth.

To review the other changes, then check out our article linked above that covers all of the changes in detail.

Feature image screenshot from @thedavecastro Instagram page. 

The post Dave Castro Reveals First Event of 2017 CrossFit Team Series appeared first on BarBend.

6 Benefits of Renegade Rows

In previous articles we discussed the power of unilateral training, the importance of a strong core, and the role of the lats and spinal erectors lifting posture and performance. When looking for a metabolic movement that stresses all of the right areas yet can be done with the simplest of equipment, look no further than the renegade row.

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Renegade Row Benefits

Below are six benefits of the renegade row, regardless of ability level and/or sport.

Core Stability

The renegade row is a challenging movement that starts in the tall plank position, which immediately challenges deep intra-abdominal stability and control. The rowing movement entails an athlete to shift weight onto three limbs, creating a natural imbalance in loading that must be met with fluid movement and control. Additional weight can be used in the row to increase unilateral demands on the body, further stimulating core strength and bracing to withstand spinal and hip rotational forces.

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Unilateral Strength and Balance

This rowing movement offers a magnitude of unilateral benefits to a lifter, with the addition of training the core, back, arms, quads, and deep muscular control. Unilateral training can increase muscle activation, hypertrophy, movement awareness, and core stability, which is exactly some of the unique benefits offered by this complex plank row variation.

Total Body Movement

While it is called a row, this movement employs nearly every single muscle in the body. By starting the movement in the plank position, the core, arms, legs, and back must be set correctly to withstand the loading and body weight of the lifter. When progressed with the rowing movement (with little to no weight), the complexity changes as the lifter must learn to then control the full range of motion in the back and arms while minimizing rotational forces at the spine and hip. By adding weight to the movement, all of the previous total body movement benefits are elevated to the next level.

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Metabolic Movement

Whether done slowly, at tempos, in circuits, or as part of a complex, this total body movement has the ability to create some serious muscular and metabolic demands. Increasing the range of motion, length of time under tension, loading, complexity, and even explosiveness of this total body lift will result in more muscle fibers and neurons being innervated, and therefore increase caloric and energy expenditure. Furthermore, the new muscle fibers and movement patterns you create will unlock greater finesse and can increase your metabolic output in future high intensity training sessions.

Scapular Stability and Control

Push ups, planks, and scapular circles are all great ways to increase retraction, protraction, and scapular movement and stability. Adding loading to the plank while increasing unilateral demands on the upper back for stability can really increase the structural demands on the scapular and shoulder stabilizers. In addition, rowing requires a strong ability to retract and and control the scapulae as the lats produce force, furthering this unilateral movement outcomes.

Movement for Infinite Progressions

Once you have learned the basic components of the renegade row and mastered the exercise itself, you have the ability to then add push ups, burpees, jumps, and other complex and dynamic movements into the mix, making this a foundational movement and function exercise to add to any high intensity total body routine.

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Back Row Articles

Check out these two articles on the Renegade row!

Featured Image: @virginactiveaustralia on Instagram

The post 6 Benefits of Renegade Rows appeared first on BarBend.

Why Orhan Bilican’s World Record 430kg Squat Didn’t Count

A pretty unusual thing happened at the Western European Equipped & Classic Powerlifting Championships, which took place this week in Luxembourg City.

The -120kg Belgian powerlifter Orhan Bilican, competing as an equipped athlete, made two squats: 400kg (882lb) and 430kg (948lb). You can watch the 430kg squat below and as you can see, it’s remarkably deep.

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Had it been counted, this would be a new world record in the -120kg weight class. But according to the IPF, it doesn’t count. Why? Because Bilican didn’t bench enough.

The thing with powerlifting is that it’s a sport comprised of three lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift. You can’t just squat, even if you have the best squat on Earth. So according to the IPF, for a squat like this to count, “the lifter must make a bona fide attempt on each of the three disciplines (…) i.e. weights attempted must be within his reasonable capabilities.”

This is to make sure an athlete doesn’t turn up, do a world record squat, then just bench and deadlift a barbell with two plates on either end. But “bona fide” and “reasonable capabilities” can be a little tough to decipher, so according to Belgian powerlifter Jeroen Van Heesvelde (who posted the video and trains with Bilican) Bilican approached the judges for some clarity. How much would he have to bench for the squat to count?

According to Heesvelde, the answer he received was 240 kilograms (529 pounds), or double bodyweight. That’s just 13 kilograms shy of the raw bench press world record. He was competing as an equipped athlete, where the world record is much higher (356 kilograms), but that’s still quite a lift. They were in a conundrum, as Bilican was told that he wasn’t allowed to open his bench press raw and he was recovering from shoulder pain that could make it risky to open with a heavy, equipped bench. In Van Heesvelde’s words,

if you want to play safe and open raw, your opener is 10kg under the World classic bench record!

If you open 240kg equipped, there’s NO WAY you touch…

That means the only option was to stick to the submitted opener and hope for the best.

Bench is always risky equipped, and this time, unfortunately it didn’t work out again on the right moment.

Bilican failed all his attempts at the bench press and was disqualified, his squat not counting.

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He wrote a comment on his Facebook wall in Flemish (a form of Dutch spoken in northern Belgium) that reads (translated via Google translate),

By far my most beautiful 430 kg squat ever! I have no choice but to be proud of it. I knew that the bench press, due to an earlier injury, was a risk. My first attempt at a raw bench to secure the world record squat was not allowed by the contest (…)

Too bad. That’s all I’m gonna say.

There has been a lot of discussion about this event in the powerlifting community, with some claiming that there should be more concrete rules about acceptable lift numbers. What do you think?

Featured image via @jeroenvh105 on Instagram.

The post Why Orhan Bilican’s World Record 430kg Squat Didn’t Count appeared first on BarBend.