Stand up Straight, Young Man! (Part 2)

Part 2: Corrective Exercise

In Part 1, I talked about how your body will mold itself to the dominant, rounded posture you hold at work all day while at your desk. When you go to the gym, it is important to avoid exercises that will reinforce this posture. It is imperative that you correct postural imbalances before beginning a weight training program, or injury can occur. Simply stretching the tight, contracted muscles on your front side and the long, rounded muscles of your back is not enough. This is because of the laying down of collagen fibers, which are not elastic like muscle tissue. Body work is necessary in order to break down these bands of tissue before you can fix your posture. I’d now like to outline some corrective exercises you can do to encourage lifelong, healthy posture. Continue reading “Stand up Straight, Young Man! (Part 2)”

Back to School: Five Meltdown-free Snacks

Christa Crawford

Some of you might still think that teachers sit on the beach for three months every summer, basking in the sun. Actually, my school year begins tomorrow! This new school year brings exciting changes and opportunities for growth. We’re rolling out a one-to-one iPod/iPad program this year, and I feel lucky to be a part of this new endeavor. There’s a lot to do before those twenty-four pairs of nervous, sparkly eyes walk through my door!

As I prepare for the new school year, I’ve been thinking about how I can work with the parents to help improve the health of my students. Most parents really want to feed their children wholesome food. One challenge I’ve noticed is that many of them don’t really know what to put in their kids’ lunch boxes. Here are the most popular snacks I see my kids eating at school:  Continue reading “Back to School: Five Meltdown-free Snacks”

Stand Up Straight, Young Man! (Part 1)

Craig Valency, CSCS

Part 1: Posture First

Image courtesy of: Dreaming in the Deep South

Going to the gym to work out is supposed to be good for you, right? Well, it’s not always as beneficial as it seems. What you don’t know could hurt you! In this post, I will describe how your posture is compromised while you are at work. You’ll see how going to the gym and working out with this desk posture can actually lead to injury, or at least reinforce bad posture. You’ll learn the three steps necessary to make a permanent change in posture, as well as some exercises you can do at the office to help maintain good posture and relieve stress. Continue reading “Stand Up Straight, Young Man! (Part 1)”

Our Top 15 Staple Foods and Why We Love Them

Craig Valency, CSCS & Christa Crawford

We understand that any respectable list of anything usually consists of 10, but we just couldn’t narrow ours down. Here are our top 15 staple foods. These are the foods that we just can’t live without. Continue reading “Our Top 15 Staple Foods and Why We Love Them”

Get Inside Your Trainer’s Brain: How to Design Your Own Workout (Part Two)

Craig Valency, CSCS

Part Two: Whole Body Strength Training –   “Get the Balance Right!”

In Part One, I explained how to prepare your body for the strength training portion of your workout. The routine I outlined should be performed in the first part of the workout, followed by the strength training routine that I will outline now. Depending on your needs, you can spend anywhere from ten to thirty minutes on the warm-up/ prep routines before doing your strength training. In this post, I will discuss the importance of considering upper and lower body balance. I’ll also address proper anterior and posterior muscular development when planning your workouts. Finally, I will provide a basic template for designing a balanced, movement-based strength training routine. Continue reading “Get Inside Your Trainer’s Brain: How to Design Your Own Workout (Part Two)”

Saturday Night Surf and Turf

We used to go out to eat almost every Saturday night. These days, we eat at home most of the time, and it’s not just because we’re kinda boring. Of course, it’s fun to visit our favorite restaurants (The Prado, The Linkery, and Solace, to name a few). But lately, we’ve noticed that a lot of restaurant food is mediocre and overpriced. We’ve also watched a little too much Restaurant Impossible, and we’re pretty grossed out by some of the restaurant kitchens we’ve seen. It’s easier to control the quality of our food at home, and it’s a lot more affordable. Instead of going to a restaurant last Saturday, we visited our local farmers’ market and bought fresh, local meats and vegetables. Then, we cooked this meal at home. Although it is as delicious as any steakhouse entrée, it’s actually inexpensive and quick to cook. Try it out and let us know what you think. This meal serves two people.

Continue reading “Saturday Night Surf and Turf”

Cast Off Your Fear of Cast Iron Pans!

Christa Crawford

Part One: Diagnosing and Seasoning Your Pan

Craig and I cook almost all of our food in cast iron cookware.  While the majority of our one-pot meals are made in our Le Creuset, pretty much everything else is cooked in our trusty, antique cast iron pan or on our Lodge griddle. I love cast iron pans because they work as well as nonstick pans, but they aren’t coated in anything suspicious. They’re inexpensive, and they last forever. (If you’re interested, Chris Kresser did a great post on cookware. Check it out here.)

For one reason or another, people tend to freak out just thinking about cooking in cast iron. “Everything sticks!” is a common complaint. “It’s impossible to clean!” or, “But my pan is too rusty!” are some other concerns. I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about cast iron and scare away the Cast Iron Boogie Man. Continue reading “Cast Off Your Fear of Cast Iron Pans!”

Get Inside Your Trainer’s Brain: How to Design Your Own Workout (Part One)

Craig Valency, CSCS

Part One: Warm-up and Movement Preparation

Working out with a good trainer has its perks. First of all, you have a paid appointment, so you are more likely to show up. Of course, the main benefit is that you get a good workout. What you may not realize is that the intense workouts you do two or three times per week with your trainer are not just a bunch of treacherous exercises randomly strung together to take you to the brink of death. There is a lot of strategic planning involved in designing a good workout, and hopefully, your trainer plans your workouts carefully.

But what about the days when you want to work out on your own? Without a trainer, a lot of people feel lost at the gym. They wander around the room, randomly using and abusing the workout machines. Often, they resign themselves to an endless walk on the treadmill, just because they’re not sure how to best utilize an hour at the gym. Continue reading “Get Inside Your Trainer’s Brain: How to Design Your Own Workout (Part One)”

Dijon and Herb Crusted Tri-Tip Roast with Sweet Potato Mash and Balsamic Kale

I buy a three pound roast every weekend. Typically, we make a stew out of it by slow cooking it in red wine and bone broth for several hours over low heat. This week, I was in the mood for something different. This tri-tip roast cooks pretty quickly, and it packs a punch when it comes to flavor. I served this with a simple pan sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, and kale. It would be just as tasty with any of your favorite sides. Depending on your appetite, the entire meal serves 4 to 6 people. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Dijon and Herb Crusted Tri-Tip Roast with Sweet Potato Mash and Balsamic Kale”

Training For Life

Welcome to my blog!

After 10 years in the fitness trenches, I’ve decided it is time to have a central clearinghouse for all things fitness and nutrition, Valency style! I look for answers to the most common issues my clients face. What I find often conflicts with conventional wisdom, so you won’t find any USDA My Plates here. The truth means more to me than being right, so I’m never too proud to shine the light on my own mistakes and change my stance on any given issue. Continue reading “Training For Life”