Cutting Weight for Strength Athletes: A Logical Guide

England might not always be blessed with the best of weather; it rains a lot and it’s dreary a lot more. What this does mean though is that on the rare occasions when the sun does grace us with its presence, we Brits make the most of it. For some that means firing up the BBQ and putting some beers on ice, and for others it’s an excuse to dust off their running shoes/road bike/tennis racket and try and work off that winter belly.

It was while doing the former (post strongman comp so no judgement please) that I witnessed a group of cyclists enjoying the latter. All four men were a few pounds past overweight and I’m imagining were cycling for the health benefits as well as for the enjoyments that the open road brings.

All this would of passed me by as nothing more than background noise if it weren’t for the fact that our protagonists were all sat atop the shiniest super light carbon fibre bikes and wearing skin tight, drag reducing cycling shorts and bibs. Sat as I was with a burger in one hand and a gin and tonic not far from my other, I was in no place to judge anyone’s fat loss attempts, and for all I know these four fellows were actually looking to set some local time trial records. But it did get me thinking about how we approach exercise and fat loss cardio in general, especially us strength athletes.  

Don’t do nice things.

Losing weight for a comp or for health can be an exercise in misery as much as anything else, the endless process of delicately balancing calories, exercise and your sanity while becoming paranoid that the only thing you’re losing is strength and muscle. It’s only understandable then that if you need to add in extra training sessions you want to want to make them seem as appealing as possible. Whether that’s adding in some movements that helped you get down to the weight limit last time or just something that you’re pretty good at.

The ex-rowers will gravitate towards the Concept2, the ex runners will head out the door, and the former boxers will start laying into a heavy bag. It’s only natural, but the problem is that these well honed movement patterns are just too well ingrained for you to truly reap the rewards.

Just as with a deadlift or a squat, the more you practice the movement the more efficient your body gets at performing it. With regards to the big lifts, this means that you can lift more weight without gaining more muscle simply by refining your technique and recruiting more of your existing muscles, there is no difference with cardio movements. This why great endurance athletes can’t just hop from sport to sport, something that Lance Armstrong learned in his first marathon. The (in)famous cyclist battled all the way through the course finishing in a distinctly average time of 2 hours 59.

You should suck at fat loss training.

Instead you need to actively search out the movements that you body hasn’t adapted to yet and hit them hard, before you become efficient and it loses the fat burning potency that it had before. These movements ideally want to involve as many muscles as possible, be moderately technically challenging, easy to recover from and relatively novel to you. Obviously everyone has different backgrounds, and what might be new and challenging to one person is going to be old hat to someone else; that said there are certain movements that will work for most.

Swimming is great

Typically folks learn to swim when they were younger, but after getting the basics down many give it up. This makes it a perfect fat loss movement for bigger strength athletes. It allows them to burn calories through a almost zero impact full body movement, which puts very little stress on the body and is relatively easy to recover from. As an added bonus it is thought that exposing yourself to moderately cold water for extended periods can lead to even more calories burnt. Not only that but there are a host of movements you can do in the pool once you get good at one, front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, legs or arms only and the most punishing of all – the dreaded water running.

(Eddie Hall is very much the exception to the rule)

Groundwork

Groundwork to me is nothing more than children’s gymnastics. Forward rolls, bear crawls, burpees and shoulder rolls, each one of them is incredibly simple for you to pick up but deceiving difficult to adapt to. Don’t believe me? Give this five minute AMRAP a try.

  • One Burpee
  • One forward roll
  • One Shoulder roll (Left)
  • One Shoulder roll (Right)
  • Reverse Bear Crawl back to the start line

It’s worth mentioning that while bigger athletes certainly can do these movements, it’s often wise that they don’t especially if they have a competition coming up.

A post shared by Christo Bland (@christobland) on Apr 5, 2017 at 1:13pm PDT

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Sled Work

Pushing and pulling a sled or prowler will humble you quicker than almost anything else you’ll find in the gym. It breaks your soul and stokes the fat burning fires all without putting too much stress on your joints and muscles. This is because a sled push/pull is a concentric only movement, meaning that your muscles are never lengthening while under load. As I’m sure most of you are already acutely aware, the lengthening or eccentric portion of the movement, is the one most responsible for leaving you immobilized with DOMS the next day. If you want prove try tempo squats with a 5 second eccentric and a 1 second concentric portion, you’ll know the next day.

If you’re looking for inspiration on the sled:

Sprint with a heavy sled dragging behind you for 70 metres one way at the end, turn the harness around and backwards drag it back to the start line. Repeat for ten sets.

Complexes

When it comes to finding things that leave you smoked, CrossFit has you covered. The very nature of their own special brand of functional fitness is constantly varied movements, and one of my favorite interpretations of this is the barbell complex. A string of movements performed with a barbell one after the other without the bar ever leaving your hands.

On the surface these seems to go against everything that I’ve preached so far, specifically avoid things you’re good at. And while strength athletes are very much adapted to barbell movements, complexes are their own beast and different enough to work wonders. They do, however, need to be used sparingly, especially once the weight gets heavier. Expect your forearms to get the pump of their lifetime, even with a relatively light weight. You can of course make your own up or search for any of the thousands of complexes that are out there, however i really like this one.

Get as far as you can without letting go of the bar. Start very light, like 40kgs light and add weight if five rounds is doable.

  • One Deadlift
  • One Clean
  • One Front Squat
  • One Push Press
  • One Back Squat
  • One Behind the Neck Push Jerk
  • Two Deadlifts
  • Two Cleans, Etc

The downside of hoping from movement to movement without ever mastering the skill is that you will begin to feel like Sisyphus. Cursed to push a giant boulder up a hill every day for eternity, only for it to slip his grip and roll back down as he reaches the top. On the bright side I’m yet to see a representation of Sisyphus that wasn’t jacked.

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

Images: Christo Bland

The post Cutting Weight for Strength Athletes: A Logical Guide appeared first on BarBend.

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The Benefits of Eggs for Athletes — Cholesterol, Nutrition, and The Healthiest Way to Cook

Hailed for protein, vilified for cholesterol, lauded for their bioavailability, ditched for a link to strokes, it’s been a pretty wild ride trying to figure out the benefits of eggs.

You know they’re a cheap source of complete protein, meaning they contain the full spectrum of amino acids — in fact, eggs may be the most bioavailable and easily absorbed form of protein you can eat. (Eggs are, after all, meant to contain everything necessary to create life. The life of a chicken, sure, but you get the point.)

Here we wanted to clear up some of the most common health concerns about eggs from the perspective of strength athletes. You might find there are more goodies in your omelette than you knew.

Eggs and Cholesterol

First, let’s clear up the obvious question: no, eggs won’t give you a heart attack.

“Eggs aren’t going to kill you,” says Trevor Kashey, PhD, a nutrition scientist and adjunct at Complete Human Performance. “Dietary cholesterol is not a major determinant of circulating cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol in circulation is made by the liver, not coming from the cholesterol in our food.”

Cholesterol is actually an important nutrient for hormone production, including testosterone, and it helps the liver to make bile so that you can absorb and digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins.

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Some research has shown that if anything, eggs only increase the HDL (or “good”) cholesterol in your blood. Other studies have shown eggs have no effect on HDL or LDL cholesterol levels, and a meta analysis of a group of studies conducted between January 1966 and June 2012 found that there was no association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease or stroke. (That said, that particular study only looked at consumption of one egg per day, and it did find an association with heart disease for people with diabetes.)

We’re also not a hundred percent sure that blood cholesterol is linked to heart problems; seventy-five percent of Americans hospitalized with heart attacks between 2000 and 2006 (about 137,000 people) had normal, “desirable” blood cholesterol levels.

In any case, the U.S. Government’s own Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee voted in 2015 to stop recommending that people limit their cholesterol consumption. These days, the science is considered shaky; there’s just not a strong enough link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease.

A post shared by @thrillist on Apr 27, 2017 at 5:33am PDT

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Egg Nutrition

So they’re a cheap and safe source of protein, but are there more benefits for athletes?

Eggs are typically associated with B-vitamins, and they’re a great source of vitamins B1, B2 (riboflavin), B6, and B12. Eggs also contain a lot of choline, a “vitamin-like” essential nutrient that’s similar to B-vitamins and is sometimes used by athletes to delay fatigue in endurance sports. (It’s also been linked to lower incidences of certain mental illnesses.)

“A lack of B-vitamins, and choline is sometimes thrown into this group as well, definitely does impair one’s ability to perform, but eating a surplus of them doesn’t necessarily give benefits beyond what is achieved with a decent diet all around,” says Kurtis Frank, the research director of the independent nutrition research organization Examine.com. “While eggs are a great source of these vitamins, choline is really the only one where one may go out of their way to paint eggs as the absolute best source of it.”

Eggs are also an excellent source of zinc, which optimizes testosterone production, and a pretty good source of magnesium, which is linked to improved intra-workout recovery and better quality sleep.

What people don’t often associate with eggs is the abundance of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are concentrated in the yolk.

“The lutein and zeaxanthin content in the yolk is surprisingly high relative to other food products, and may be a reason to recommend eggs over other foods,” says Frank. “Though they aren’t necessarily athlete compounds, they’re strongly related to eye, skin, and general health.”

A post shared by Angela D 🇮🇹🇺🇸🍝 (@heavenonthetable) on Apr 27, 2017 at 11:57am PDT

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The Healthiest Way to Cook Eggs

Is there a “best” way to cook eggs? Surprisingly, the temperature at which eggs are prepared can have a pretty meaningful effect on its nutrition.

“Frying the egg is probably going to diminish the antioxidant value compared to something like steaming,” says Kashey. “The lower the temperature of the cooking method, the better, at lest in terms of preserving antioxidant capacity. The antioxidant levels are cut in half or more when they’re boiled, fried, or microwaved, so if that’s a priority I would opt for lower temperature cooking methods.”

Kashey jokingly suggested that a sous vide egg would probably have the highest antioxidant content before admitting that’s a pretty unrealistic idea. (Funnily enough, there are plenty of recipes out there for slow cooked frittatas.) If you’re not so patient, steaming eggs or just cooking ‘em slowly should help to preserve more benefits.

But don’t eat them raw. While some fitness folk insist the salmonella risk is overblown, more of the protein is absorbed when you cook it.

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The Takeaway

Lots of protein, a ton of micronutrients, great for athletes, and surprisingly low-calorie — six large eggs doesn’t even crack 500 calories — eggs can and should have a place in any athlete’s diet.

The post The Benefits of Eggs for Athletes — Cholesterol, Nutrition, and The Healthiest Way to Cook appeared first on BarBend.

Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Review – The Most Supportive?

Knee sleeves are a supportive piece of strength equipment that have multiple purposes, which very between athletes. For example, powerlifters use them for their rigidness and support under maximal loads. Weightlifters and functional workout athletes often use them for joint warmth with a little support. Most knee sleeves are created with a neoprene material, which is useful for providing support and maintaining joint mobility. Slingshot is a company known for making supportive powerlifting equipment, so I was excited when we received our pair of STrong knee sleeves.

Sleeves come in a variety of options with multiple features an athlete can choose from dependent on their lifting style and preference. So I was excited to give these extra-rigid STrong sleeves — from powerlifter Mark Bell’s company — a try.

Stability

My main concern when checking out this product was how much support they offered. The STrong knee sleeves utilize a grade three 7mm neoprene, which is designed to be more rigid than regular 7mm neoprene sleeve models.

Since Slingshot makes supportive equipment geared towards powerlifters, I was intrigued by how much support they’d offer under heavy lifts. The rigidity of this sleeve lived up to the remarks Slingshot make on their site about them. They state these sleeves can add anywhere from 20-50 lbs of rebound action in the squat, and to compare them to a light knee wrap. I found this to be true, especially in their first uses when they had yet to be broken in.

I think these were some of the stiffer sleeves I’ve tried, and rival SBD when it comes to stability in the hole of the squat. Personally, I lift in a powerlifting style, so I really like their rigid appeal. Plus, on maximal days I felt confident coming out of the hole, even when weight was 90%+ of my 1-RM. One issue I found with this sleeve was their adaptability to functional workouts or WODs. They’re a very stiff sleeve, so if you’re moving between power and strength movements, then you may feel limited in your mobility.

Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Sizing
Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Sizing

Comfort and Fit

The STrong knee sleeves come in a variety of sizes, and to give you reference they post other athletes’ heights and weights who use them with their wearable size. In terms of comfort, prepare yourself for a tight sleeve, because as mentioned earlier, these are a grade three 7mm neoprene.

An issue some lifters run into with rigid sleeves is their ability to stay in one place. Sometimes tight, rigid sleeves slide down the leg after prolonged use, but I never had an issue with these sleeves. As I got progressively more sweaty, I never experienced them sliding down my calve like some sleeves can. The sleeves also have reinforced stitching, which I really liked because they hugged the knee joint tightly without any wrinkling.

These were very supportive and comfortable in squats, but lacked when it came to power movements. I thought they were almost limiting when setting up for cleans, which could be an issue for those who need a sleeve to do a variety of work. Also, the rigid neoprene made it hard to comfortably maintain depth without a fair amount of weight, so I’d recommend trying to use them primarily for heavier sets.

Material

The grade three 7mm neoprene is stiff. You’re not going to get a lot of stretch out of these sleeve’s material. In addition, they did a fairly good job at resisting sweat, and weren’t absorbent like some softer neoprene sleeves can be.

Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Material
Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Material

I’m always on-the-go and bringing sleeves in my backpack, so having a slightly water resistant pair is a key attribute. Plus, after multiple sweaty sessions, these sleeves did a good job at resisting odor as well. I also liked that there was reinforced stitching down the side, so the chance of this material ripping is pretty slim. The main downside to the above attributes is this sleeve’s neoprene’s ability to be really mobile and easily broken in.

Durability

From my multiple gym sessions with these sleeves, I never experienced any durability issues. I like that the material was resistant to easily stretching. This is promising for the powerlifter who needs a rigid sleeve that will last them a while. I also felt the reinforced stitching down the side was a good additive to resisting early fraying. There’s never a chance of this stitching rubbing on a barbell, which I think is a key to maintaining a sleeve’s durability.

Price

The STrong sleeves are a little on the pricey side starting at $80 for a pair. If you need a sleeve for a variety of reasons, then these may not be the best choice. On the flip side, if you’re a powerlifter who’s looking for a rigid sleeve that compared to a light wrap, then the price can be justified. In addition, I felt their durability was pretty well off for the price.

Final Thoughts

The Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves were a rigid sleeve that felt durable through multiple gym sessions. I liked that they added a little rebound in the squat. For the powerlifter in need of a stiff sleeve, then I feel these are a good choice. The downfall for these sleeves lie in their versatility. They support the knees very well, but limit mobility in some power-based movements. Also, the price is a little high for the recreational gym-goer.

For the powerlifter in need of a very stiff sleeve, then the Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves could be a good fit.

The post Slingshot STrong Knee Sleeves Review – The Most Supportive? appeared first on BarBend.

Dave Castro Drops First Hint for CrossFit® Games Regionals Workouts

The CrossFit® Open has come and gone, and we’re a little under a month away from Regionals season. This year’s Open had a ton of ups and downs, so we’re excited to see what’s in store for the Regionals Competitions. Much like with the Open workouts, Dave Castro loves to drop hints in lead up to the Regionals competition.

Earlier today in an Instagram post, he released the first hint for the Regionals workouts. The post (featured below) includes a weight vest laid out on the ground. Is Castro saying weight vests will be used in Regionals, or is he using this to possibly suggest another workout modality?

A post shared by @thedavecastro on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:13am PDT

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If you look in the bottom right corner, you can also see a logo with “5.11” on it. This could be significant because the last time we saw weighted vests in competition was at the 2015/2016 CrossFit Games where athletes wore 5.11 Tactical vests (plus, he tagged their Instagram page). 

The picture seems to be a pretty clear suggestion of what to expect, but it’s hard to make a clear assumption. Besides, Castro has thrown curve balls before, which have lead athletes astray. For example, remember back to this year’s 17.3 Open workout hint, which were playing cards laid out? A lot of athletes speculated rowing or biking, but it turned out to be a chest to bar pull-up matched with heavy snatches.

This year’s Regionals schedule will take place over the course of three weekends and the full schedule from the CrossFit Games site is posted below.

May 19 – 21, 2017

  • East Regional | Albany, New York |Times Union Center
  • South Regional | San Antonio, Texas | Alamodome

May 26 – 28, 2017

  • Pacific Regional | Wollongong, Australia | WIN Entertainment Centre
  • California Regional | Del Mar, California | Del Mar Arena
  • Central Regional | Nashville, Tennessee | Music City Center

June 2 – 4, 2017 

  • Meridian Regional | Madrid, Spain | Caja Mágica
  • West Regional | Portland, Oregon | Portland Expo Center
  • Atlantic Regional | Atlanta, Georgia | Georgia World Congress Center

What are your thoughts on Castro’s weighted vest hint? Do you think it’s as straight forward as it seems? 

Feature image from @thedavecastro Instagram page. 

The post Dave Castro Drops First Hint for CrossFit® Games Regionals Workouts appeared first on BarBend.

Romanian Deadlift Alternatives for Muscle Growth and Strength

In an earlier article we discussed the immense benefits the Romanian deadlift can offer weightlifters, powerlifters, functional fitness athletes, and general trainees alike. Whether the purpose is to increase hamstring and glute development, enhance back and positional strength specific to olympic weightlifting, or further develop an athlete’s pulling mechanics; the Romanian deadlift is by far one of the top exercises of choice for most coaches and athletes.

[If you are a weightlifter or fitness athlete, you must read these 3 tips to snatch more weight!]

At times, however, athletes and coaches may find it difficult to include such an amazing exercise into a program for whatever reason. Often, this is due to poor hinging mechanics, lack of control of a lifter, or flexibility limitations. Nonetheless, coaches and athletes must adapt to find alternative exercises that are suitable for individual situations while simultaneously re-patterning and teaching the main lift (in this case the Romanian deadlift) until a lifter can grasp this foundational movement.

In this article we will discuss a few alternative exercises that can be done to elicit similar benefits to the Romanian deadlift. It is important to note, none of these replace the need for athletes to be able to perform the full Romanian deadlift movement, as it is not only a foundational movement pattern for nearly every main lift in powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness, it by far has some of the best abilities to add quality strength and muscle mass to the glutes, hamstrings, and back.

Romanian Deadlift Benefits

Here is a brief overview of the benefits coaches and athletes can expect from Romanian deadlifts.

  • Develop hamstring and lower back strength
  • Pattern positional strength specific to cleans and snatches
  • Enhance posterior activation and patterning that directly correlates with deadlifting and low bar squats
  • Increase muscular hypertrophy of the hamstrings, lower back, glutes, and upper back to have directly application to most athletic movements (training, jumping, running, etc)

Muscles Worked

Below is a listing of the primary muscles targeted by the Romanian deadlift (in no specific order).

  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Spinal Erectors (lower back muscles)
  • Trapezius and Middle Back

Romanian Deadlift Alternative #1: Do Romanian Deadlifts Correctly

No, I’m not just trying to be a smart a$#. Romanian deadlifts are one of, if not THE best exercise to target the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. By skipping out on this exercise you truly are limiting your progress (it’s kinda like skipping squats on leg day…kinda). Many lifters will complain of lower back pain afterwards, which often suggests that they are doing these wrong. Before loading weight, think about using your hamstrings, and moving under control.

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on Dec 26, 2016 at 4:45pm PST

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Too often I see beginners and even “seasoned” lifters performing these with rounded backs, too heavy of loads, and neglecting their spinal columns. For most people, using 25-50% of your non-rounded conventional deadlift will be more than enough to elicit some serious hypertrophy and strength. Without mastering this movement, your lower back will never get the help it deserves from the hamstrings, glutes, and positional awareness that it deserves during deadlifts, cleans, snatches, and squats.

[Do deadlifts hurt you lower back? Odds are your are doing them wrong! Read here to start fixing your form!]

Romanian Deadlift Alternative #2: Good Mornings

This is a good alternative to target nearly identical muscle groups as the Romanian deadlift. Additionally, this back loaded movement places greater emphasis on upper and lower back strength as the lifter must fix the barbell on their back and maintain rigidity. I often find this is a good supplemental lift, and/or training regression for some lifters who have issues maintaining a rigid, flat back during Romanian deadlifts (however do not have hamstring and hip mobility issues). Generally speaking, this movement is done with lighter loads (20-40% of back squat for moderate reps to build movement integrity and hypertrophy).

Alternative #3: Back Extensions/Glute Hamstring Developers (GHDs)

Both of these movements involve hip flexion and extension while a lifter must assume a rigid spine. These movements can be performed with bent knees to isolate the hamstrings and glutes, or with straighter knees to place more emphasis on the lower and middle back.

When loading weight, I often suggest lifters and athletes place their hands behind their heads or a barbell in the same position they have it when they back squat, as this forces the lifters to stay active throughout the spinal muscles and resist the urge to forward flex/round the spine. I find both of these movements do well in the moderate to higher rep ranges, for controlled, even paused repetitions (static holds at top of movement) when looking to develop strength and muscular hypertrophy.

Final Words

The Romanian deadlift is one of the most popular and effective movements, regardless of sport, to bring about increases in hamstring, glute, and lower back strength and hypertrophy. In addition, the sport specificity and positional patterning that it offers makes it a crucial movement to master for every athlete. While the above three movements can help to bridge the gaps, they are by no means complete replacements of the Romanian deadlift, and therefore coaches and athletes should master all movements in this article to truly maximize performance (especially the Romanian deadlift).

Featured Image: J2FIT on Youtube

The post Romanian Deadlift Alternatives for Muscle Growth and Strength appeared first on BarBend.

Watch Blaine Sumner and Kelly Branton Drink Chicken Shakes and Squat 915lbs

If you felt the earth shaking Monday, remain calm, because there’s no need to be alarmed. It was just two of powerlifting’s best squatters coming together for an epic bro session, which to no one’s surprise, led to some seriously heavy squats. Blaine Sumner and Kelly Branton are best known for their epic squat strength, and when you put them together, you’re obviously going get some crazy lift footage.

How heavy? Check out the video below of their casual 915 lb raw squats, both of which looked pretty easy. It’s just another Monday for these two strength athletes.

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Sumner also announced on his Instagram page that they had enlisted professional videographers to put together videos of their Monday lift. Until then, we’ll be sitting here anxiously waiting for their release.

So why the epic squat day now? Besides being buddies, Branton was recently in Texas taking first at the IPF Bench Press World Championships. After his win, he drove up to Oklahoma to hang out with Sumner to bro out and have an epic lift in the “Vanilla Gorilla’s” Jungle.

To add to their epic squat day, Branton drank one of Sumner’s infamous “chicken shakes,” which if you didn’t know…is blended chicken breasts with spinach.

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Powerlifting is a competitive sport, but at the end of the day athletes are always pulling for each other and creating bonds together (also known as the iron brotherhood). This fact is clearly evident with these two lifters elite athletes.

Sumner wrote in one of his posts, “I don’t know how long we will be able to weigh near 400 lbs. and squat 1,000 lbs. but it gives us memories that will last a lifetime and worth every minute. The energy and sacrifice we both put into our training feeds off each other and we both had the best raw squat workouts of our life.”

I don’t know about you, but that quote makes me happy and sad all at the same time. These athletes are an active part of powerlifting history we’ve come to learn and love, but like all things, one day their careers will take a different direction.

Yet, until that day comes, we’ll keep watching and cheering them as they break records and make history.

Feature image from @vanillagorilla92 Instagram page. 

The post Watch Blaine Sumner and Kelly Branton Drink Chicken Shakes and Squat 915lbs appeared first on BarBend.

Kettlebell Kitchen Review – Good for Paleo?

Quick, healthy, on-the-go meals have become increasingly popular in the strength athlete demographic. Kettlebell Kitchen makes an effort to provide ready-made meals for the goal oriented, health conscious individual. They’re based in Brooklyn, New York, and do gym pick-ups and delivery to the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas.

Kettlebell Kitchen offers a wide variety of options when selecting to use their service. They offer meal plans that you can customize entirely based on your goals and meal preference. Some of the goal based meal plans they offer include: fat loss, athlete, paleo, and muscle gain. You can also purchase individual entrees, breakfasts, sides, and desserts. To gain a better understanding of Kettlebell Kitchen’s vast options we put one of their entree and breakfast meals through a taste, appearance, nutrition, convenience, customizability, and price test.

Taste

A big concern that I’m always weary about when ordering ready-made meals is how they taste. You’re spending a little extra than you would at the grocery store, so in my eyes, the food’s taste should live up to the price. Kettlebell Kitchen preps their meals in the same container, which is different than some services that individually pack each ingredient.

The first entree I tried was the Jerk Chicken With Brown Rice and Broccoli Medley. I was excited for this because I like jerk chicken, as it usually offers a lot of bite with few additional calories. Jerk chicken is typically a little on the dry side (since it’s a rub), but I felt their chicken was a little too dry. After a few sizable bites, I found myself reaching for the water to wash it down. In terms of bite and taste, it wasn’t bad, but it was pretty bland.

The brown rice and broccoli medley also heated up and presented themselves well. They looked appetizing even after coming out of a microwave and being prepped together. Unfortunately, the broccoli’s consistency with taste also lacked. I thought the broccoli medley, like the chicken, was a little bland. The brown rice medley on other hand was good.

Kettlebell Kitchen Meal Review

For breakfast meals, we tried the Very Berry Coconut Pancakes. Right away, these catch my eye because they’re made with paleo consumers in mind. They use coconut flour and cassava flour, which are generally favorable options for the body than your standard flour. Kettlebell Kitchen also provides you with berry compote and maple syrup to top them with. I appreciate that they don’t already add it on, because that would make them soggy and increase the meal’s caloric total.

Kettlebell Kitchen Breakfast

Of the foods I tried from Kettlebell Kitchen, these were one of my favorites. The pancakes were fluffy, but somewhat dense. I liked this a lot, because they went down easy and needed minimal syrup or liquid to wash them down. For this meal, I would advise eaters to limit the berry compote and maple syrup if you’re not a fan of excessively sweet foods.

Appearance

I mentioned this in the section above, but Kettlebell Kitchen provide their meals in one Tupperware and don’t separate ingredients. Our meals looked pretty good upon pick-up, but that may not always be the case with this food delivery service, since they’re all-in-one container.

I think a lot of the meal’s appearance is going to come down to what it’s composed of. For example, if ingredients mix well when presented together, then a meal’s appearance will be better. On the flip side, if the Tupperware gets tossed around in a bag or during delivery, then you may find ingredients that you don’t want mixed mushed together.

If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a meal’s appearance, then Kettlebell Kitchen’s ready-made meals are a good choice for you. On the opposing side, those who don’t like to mix ingredients will be hard pressed to find presentable meals that are well separated.

Kettlebell Kitchen Nutrition

My favorite part of Kettlebell Kitchen is the nutritional information they provide. Every meal they provide includes easy to read and understand nutritional information on the front label. If you lack nutritional knowledge, then you’ll find that they make it incredibly easy to understand what you’re consuming. On top of the easy to read and find nutritional information, they list every ingredient.

Kettlebell Kitchen Nutrition
Kettlebell Kitchen Nutrition

I also liked that meals didn’t vary very often. Some food delivery services have meals that vary widely due to weekly changing menus, which is both good and bad. Check out the screenshot below from their site that lists their meals caloric and macro consistencies.

For Kettlebell Kitchen, when you select your goals whether it be fat loss, muscle building, or something like paleo, then you’ll be presented with meals that contain nutrition designed to fit your goals and needs. For example, if you want a fat loss meal you can find options that fit your needs through their service of proposed questions, like your weight, activity level, and others.

Kettlebell Kitchen Calories

Kettlebell Kitchen Calories

This was touched upon in the above section, but I liked how Kettlebell Kitchen kept their calories consistent in meals tailored towards your needs. A lot of the calories you’ll consume in their meals will be dependent on the information you provide about yourself. They have nutritionists who have formulated and designed meals to match each person’s goals. Also, if you’re interested in consuming larger portions, they also offer a “large” meal option. This increases a meal’s size without change in the meal composition.

Kettlebell Kitchen Price

Kettlebell Kitchen’s prices are pretty fair for the amount of meals you can receive. Individual meals can be a little costly, averaging between $10.95 (regular sized) to $13.95 (large sized) for entrees. Breakfasts are priced at $8.95. The catch with their meals is they’ll decrease when you order a higher volume. You get your money’s worth when you order meal plans in bulk. The more meals you order the more you bring the price down, which is good for those using this service for multiple meals.

If you’re selecting a meal plan, then you’ll be presented with four pre-selected options, or the ability to choose your own breakfast, lunch, and dinners. If you spend $50 or more on meals you save 5%, and $100 or more you save 10%. Another cool aspect that helps with the price of Kettlebell Kitchen’s meals is the ability to pick-up meals at locally partnered gyms. This knocks off the price of shipping, which is a nice option for those who attend, or are close to partner gyms.

Convenience

Before diving into this section, I want to point out that this service is only available for those in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area (sorry everyone else).

The convenience of Kettlebell Kitchen will be completely dependent on how you choose to get your meals. Something different about their service is that they deliver meals to local gyms who are partnered with them. Basically, when you order meals online, you’ll select your gym, or a local gym that’s close to you. They drop-off meals to these partnered gyms twice a week on Monday and Wednesday, and your meals will be stored in the gym’s refrigerator (with your name on them).

You’ll then have a day or two (based on when you order) to pick them up, otherwise, they may get thrown out for safety reasons. When ordering meals to pick-up, they recommend ordering five days in advance for a Monday pick-up (Wednesday of week prior), and four days for a Wednesday pick-up (Saturday of week prior).

This is a cool aspect that’s convenient for those who will be working out at their local gym anyways. Yet, if you don’t use a gym that is partnered with their service, then you may find it frustrating to add another trip into your weekly commuting. If you choose not to pick-up meals, then you can have them dropped off to your home.

The only catch is that the ordering time is a little different and there’s a shipping fee. This fee is assessed dependent on where you live in relation to their location in Brooklyn. For at-home deliveries they recommend placing your order the week prior, and these will be delivered on Sunday/Wednesday evenings. You can also select to do a recurring order, if you’re interested in re-ordering each week.

Kettlebell Kitchen Meals
Kettlebell Kitchen Meals

Vegetarian

Kettlebell Kitchen doesn’t market directly to vegetarians, but they have plenty of options that match a vegetarian’s needs within their meals. They have a wide variety of options, so you can pick and choose meals that meet your needs. Keep in mind, if you’re choosing a meal plan for a vegetarian diet, then you can customize your tastes and exclude meat.

Customizability

Customizability was another factor I liked about Kettlebell Kitchen. When selecting a meal plan they’ll walk you through a variety of pages. These include things like picking your goals, setting your weight, activity level, and tastes. This allows you to design a plan that matches all of your needs while also staying in the caloric parameters that work for you. Meals change somewhat frequently, not weekly like some services, but there is some variability between choices.

One issue you may run into with their service is the lack of custom options for severely picky eaters. If you’re picking multiple foods you dislike presented in their food options, then you’ll be presented with a prompt that points out your choices will be limited. This could be a turn off for people who want a lot of variability in their meals. Also, this could be an issue if you experience you don’t like a meal and you’re already limited in options.

Is Kettlebell Kitchen a Good Choice for Paleo?

Kettlebell Kitchen offers an option for people interested in consuming only paleo based foods. These foods will include ingredients that fit within the spectrum of paleo, and the site specifies the meals that fall into this category. You can choose paleo based meal plans, or order individual paleo meals.

Is Kettlebell Kitchen Good for Weight Loss?

This factor is completely dependent on your goals, but from the options they provide with their certified nutritionists, this could be a viable service for weight loss. They offer meal plan options for weight loss, which is a cool factor. Plus, with the customizability of their plan options, you can add in your activity level and current weight. These are all factors that will help dial in the daily caloric totals you require. In addition, if you order three meals from them a day, then it becomes even easier to achieve your daily goals. This will take the thinking out of your diet.

Final Word

Kettlebell Kitchen offers a wide variety of meals plans, individual meals, and even desserts for the health conscious individual. I liked how you can choose to pick-up meals to save on a shipping cost. Also, I liked how in-depth their questions got when designing the perfect meal plan for your goals.

In terms of cons, I thought the food could use a little more taste, and the Jerk Chicken entree I tried was a little bland. In addition, the appearance of their meals is hit or miss, and will depend on how the meal is transported. Picky eaters might also not enjoy how ingredients are mixed in one container.

If you’re looking for a fairly priced, healthy ready-made meal service in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, then Kettlebell Kitchen might be a good choice for you.

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