It started with Derrick Morgan. The Tennessee Titans linebacker went vegan and discovered he had more energy and bounced back quicker from the pounding American football players take. Then his Cordon Bleu-trained wife Charity took the plant-based plunge and began preparing vegan lunches for him to eat while he was at the Titans training facility. Obviously, a pro American football player swearing off meat draws attention, and before long team-mates were giving it a go.
Charity Morgan now prepares vegan meal plans for 15 Tennessee Titan players. “They love their sport, they love their body and they’re willing to put into it whatever it takes to perform at a high level,” Morgan told Coach while accompanying the Titans on their recent trip to London.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a highly trained chef preparing your food. If a vegan chef offered to sort out our lunches every week we’d jump at the chance as well. And while we can’t offer you that, we can share this absolute belter of a way to create a week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday afternoon.
If the clocks going back usually marks the moment you pack your bike away until spring, you are not alone – very few of us get excited at the prospect of cycling in the cold and dark. However, with a few manageable changes to your cycling routine you can ride right through the frosty season without being unduly uncomfortable.
For advice on how to keep cycling through winter we spoke to Chris Bennett, head of behaviour change at the sustainable transport charity Sustrans. Here are his top tips.
Consider Your Visibility
Being seen by other road users is of the utmost importance when riding at night and lights should take precedence over any other piece of cycling equipment. In the UK, having one front white light and a rear red, plus reflectors is the legal minimum requirement, so make sure your bike is kitted out. It’s also worth carrying a back-up set and spare batteries so you don’t find yourself caught out when riding in the dark.!--digiteka-placeholder--
Dawn and dusk are among the most dangerous times to be out and about, so I’d advise turning on your lights even if it’s not fully...
To get fast results, you need to make smart decisions when it comes to how you exercise and eat. Luckily for you, we’ve made it easier than ever to make big changes to the way you look with your shirt off by creating this torso-transforming workout plan to ignite your fat-burning efforts over eight sessions in 14 days.
To help you strip away your belly quickly, you’ll be training four times a week. Each session focuses on a pairing the major muscle groups, with some challenging but rewarding abs exercises at the end of each workout. What’s more, you’ll be training your chest and back muscles twice in each seven-day period, in the first and final sessions. This will help shock these muscles into growing bigger and stronger to radically overhaul your upper body architecture.
All the workouts begin with two straight sets, then move on to four moves paired into two supersets. Each session has also been designed with a limited gym in mind, which means you only need a small amount of equipment – no machines – and a small amount of space to complete each session.
The Theory Behind Your Two-Week Plan
Do you find yourself trying to cram trainers and dry shampoo into your already overflowing handbag, squashing your post-workout banana in the process? If you’re sick of toting your kit in unpractical ways, or you’ve been reduced to lugging around supermarket bags for life, know that there are plenty of stylish, affordable and practical ways to transport your kit.
Whether you’re in the market for a stylish tote that can take you from the gym floor to the office or a fuss-free backpack to stash all your essentials, we’ve got you covered.
Charli Backpack Red
This backpack is a fine choice for the fashion-conscious gym-goer, marrying function with form. With its anti-odour lining, wipe-down fabric, laptop-friendly size and three compartments to store your kit, lunch and water bottle separately, if we had to pick our absolute favourite from this round-up, this would be it.
Buy from Amazon | £135
Adidas Medium Yoga Bag
Pricy? A touch. Worth it? Absolutely. When style is as important as size, this roomy bag from designer Stella McCartney fits the bill – and all your gear. With a...
“Going to the gym with no plan, either in your head or on paper, will ensure that you spend the first 20 minutes wandering around thinking about what to do,” says Turner. “By planning ahead you can ensure that your sessions are doing what they’re meant to and you get them done in a respectable amount of time. You can even work out how long each set will take and have your rest times planned out too. If you are doing ten squats with a three-second eccentric and one-second concentric it should take you 40 seconds a set. Add a 60-second rest period, and a set takes 1min 40sec. So if you’re doing five sets you should be done in 8min 20sec.”
The most effective exercises to turn to are compound lifts. Squatting and deadlifting as heavy as you safely can will tax the body much more: you’ll hit more than one muscle group, give your core a big workout, and burn more energy – the overall benefits of the bigger lifts far outweigh those of isolation exercises.
You can even turn your rest periods into productive time. “Instead of mucking around with your phone during your rest, work on mobility instead,” says Turner. “Rest...
The fleshy lump of protein sizzles on the griddle, turns from pink to brown, emits crimson juices, and releases a deep smoky aroma. Plonked in a bun, it looks just like a beef burger. But this patty is made from pea protein, its luscious fat comes from canola and coconut oils, and that blood-red colour stems from beets. The result is 20g of muscle-building protein, zero cholesterol – and one very relieved Aberdeen Angus cow.
The Beyond Burger is one of a new wave of hyper-realistic, plant-based meat alternatives which, alongside futuristic lab-grown meat, promises game-changing health and environmental benefits. Over 25 million Beyond Burgers have been sold through 25,000 stores and restaurants across America since 2016 and the brand has plans to launch in 50 countries worldwide. It is already available at Honest Burger in London’s King’s Cross and will soon arrive in Tesco stores nationwide (after its August launch was delayed until production could match expected demand).
“We aren’t trying to create something that is like meat – we are trying to build meat directly,” explains CEO and founder...
It is important to acknowledge and express your feelings so you can deal with them. Especially if that feeling is “I feel cold.” A puffer or down jacket – goose or synthetic, either will do – is the most straightforward way to remedy that feeling. And thanks to a combination of outdoor apparel brands acquiring something of an edgier, outsider status of late, and fashion brands muscling into the down jacket arena, you’ll never have to deal with feeling self-conscious when you pull one on. As long as you stick with our picks, at least.
Rab Microlight Summit
Longevity is always a good indication of quality, so it’s worth us letting you know that this new model celebrates ten years of the Microlight jacket from the well-respected British climbing brand. While there are a number of details designed for climbers, there are also a number of advantages for non-climbers. Number one is the exceptional warmth (750 fill power, stats fans) given its lightweight nature, and the other is that Rab has developed a hydrophobic down (ethically sourced, naturally) to replicate the water resistance...
Being short of time, space or kit should is never a reasonable excuse for missing a workout. Even if you only have five minutes and the clothes you’re standing up in, you can do back-to-back sets of press-ups, squats and burpees to work up a real sweat. (Well, it helps to have a spare shirt to change into.) But if you’re in the gym and time’s against you, don’t despair – grab a barbell and do this six-move circuit to take you one step closer to your body composition goal. All the exercises are compounds lifts to hit all your major muscle groups to elicit a fat-burning and muscle-building response, and are ordered to make it easy to move between them. The weight on the bar should be at a level you can use to do all the reps of the move you find hardest. Don’t worry if that feels a little light for other moves: by the end of your final circuit you’ll feel the effects!
How to do the workout
Do the six barbell exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed. Don’t rest until you finish all the reps of the sixth and final move of the circuit. Then rest for three minutes and repeat the circuit. Do three or four...
One of the great charms of running has always been that it doesn’t require expensive equipment or a monthly membership. You would be forgiven, however, for calling BS on that statement, because the cost of any brand’s new, flagship running shoes is well above £100 and frequently tops £150.
If you’re someone who has to have the best of everything the minute it comes out, there’s no getting around it – you’ll have to splurge to get the running shoes you want. To be fair, they will usually last you over 800km of running and the materials used in some of the top-line shoes afford some very impressive benefits. However, if you are looking to spend less on your running shoes there are certainly ways to do so.
The best strategy is to seek out an older model of a shoe, because the differences between it and this season’s model might well only be cosmetic, but the price will be significantly lower. If you take some time to shop around on brands’ websites and third-party retailers like Runners Need (and its sales page), Sports Shoes, Wiggle and Amazon, you’ll be able to find a top shoe for a...
Swap Ice Cream For Frozen Yogurt
If you’re partial to sweet puddings and dairy, choose frozen yogurt as a healthy alternative to ice cream. It contains significantly less fat and fewer calories and it’s also a great source of calcium, which is vital for healthy bones.
Swap Cheesy Dips For Guacamole
While both are high in fat, the fats found in guacamole are of the healthy variety – which means your body needs them to absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A and D. US research has also shown that avocado (the main ingredient in guacamole, in case you didn’t know) is great for helping you feel fuller, because its high oleic acid content is converted by the body into oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a fatty acid which helps to ward off hunger pangs.
Swap Fruit Yogurts For Natural Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains around twice as much muscle-building protein as regular yogurt with only half the carbs. Better still, it’s low in fat and free from the added sugar and sweeteners often found in fruit yogurts. It’s also low on the glycaemic index (GI), which means it will keep your blood sugar levels steady while...
Dr Emil Hodzovic is an A&E doctor who’s competed in both physique contests and strongman competitions. He’s a Reflex-sponsored athlete and the author of the book High-Intensity Functional Training.
The science of nutrition is, when you get down to it, simple. In its most basic form, you need to set your calories and protein intake according to your goal and stick to that. Consistency and adherence to these simple rules over a prolonged period of time (say six to 12 months) will get you 90% of the way to where you want to be. Everything else is minutiae – it’s the psychology of sticking to it that’s the crux of nutrition coaching.
Some people love a detailed, super-strict meal plan, not because it’s better, but because they find it’s easier to stick to clear, well-defined rules. Other people just need to be reassured that the numbers they’ve been given are right for their goals. A few of my longer-term clients will tell me what they’re eating in a given week and how they will fit it around their training and life commitments, and all they really need to hear is “Yes, that’s fine” with an...
Despite the hype that surrounds every new release no brand has created the perfect running shoe, because every runner has different requirements from their footwear. But it’s fair to say that as of right now Nike can claim to have come closer than most.
That’s because the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, or some elite version of it, was worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he smashed the world record for the marathon in Berlin. And Kipchoge isn’t the only person to have been breaking PBs in the Vaporfly since it was released –runners of all levels are seemingly finding themselves running faster in the 4%.
However, even the Vaporfly isn’t for everyone. In fact it’s not really for most, because it’s expensive and nigh-on impossible to get hold of. Fortunately, Nike has a range of other shoes that fit the bill for all kinds of runners, so whatever you’re hoping to achieve with the sport, there’ll be one that works for you.
Best All-Rounder: Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo
Nike’s Pegasus line has been producing reliably great all-round training and racing shoes for 35 years, and in 2018 Nike released two Pegasus...
Sandbags come in a variety of weights but they all contain material that shifts around when you move the bag, which means that your body has to constantly readjust as the load shifts around. “The sand in the bag moves around, which gives an anti-rotation component to your training because your core has to work harder to stabilise the load,” says Charles Allan-Price from W10 Performance gym.
“The handles on a sandbag also give you more flexibility than using a barbell,” says Charles Allan-Price. “If you’re doing a clean and press, for example, it’s easier to get your wrists into position when you’re using a bag than it is with a bar.”
1 Clean and press
Start with the bag on the ground, then drive up through your heels and lift the bag quickly, flipping it over to catch it at chest height. Pause, then push the bag overhead.
“This is the foundation exercise of the sandbag variation, and mastering it will give you more options to do later down the track,” says Allan-Price. “It’s a full-body exercise and a great way to elevate your heart rate and burn calories while practising a hinge movement...
“When I’ve told some people, they’re like, ‘Oh you’re doing therapy?’, and they immediately think there’s something wrong.” That’s the experience of Charlie Watts, founder of London gym Manor and ex-MMA fighter, but his experience also shows that more of us than you’d think could probably get something out of therapy.
The guys at Manor are behind a series of panels called Strong Not Silent, culminating in a charity fight night between Manor’s boxers. It’s being put on in partnership with Lululemon (you’ll find a charity T-shirt in-store) and it’s all in aid of the male suicide charity CALM.
During the course of organising the series, Watts took the decision to try therapy. He spoke about that decision and his experience with Coach.
How did the Strong Not Silent series come about?
I got involved with the Campaign Against Living Miserably [CALM] because I was doing a 29km run and asked people on my Instagram stories who should I support. Someone pointed me in their direction and they’re an incredible charity doing incredible things. I’ve known people who have committed suicide and one of the...
Photography: Anett Velsberg-Tiedemann
In the West, many people have heard the term bento without really knowing what it is – something to do with sushi, maybe? In fact, bento simply refers to a packed meal: many workers take a single-portion, home-made meal packed in a bento box to the office every day, and bento is also a popular take-out food in Japan, sold everywhere from convenience stores and train stations to high-end delis. Many traditional restaurants serve bento only during lunchtime, often in a wood or lacquered bento box.
Bento culture has a long and diverse history in Japan. Records show that people were eating portable, dried rice as early as the fifth century. When the tea ceremony culture developed around the 12th century, elaborate lacquer wares to hold food – similar to today’s bento boxes – started to appear. By the 1600s, the upper class were eating food brought in lacquer boxes while enjoying cherry blossom viewing parties.
Ever since then, bento has been a part of Japanese culture. People ate makunouchi bento, an upscale mixed bento, at the intermissions of plays in the Edo period...
When we tried out the Fiit home workout app earlier in the year, we were impressed both by how frequently new classes were added to the platform and the variety of classes. Among the newest options is a series of sessions focused entirely on the way you breathe – because, we’re afraid to say, the likelihood is that you’re getting breathing wrong.
The Breathwork classes on Fiit are led by Richie Bostock, who leads breathing sessions in various studios around London. We spoke to Bostock to find out what the classes involve and the benefits the practice can bring.
What is Breathwork?
Everyone takes breathing for granted but the way we breathe is closely linked to every system in the body and it affects the way we function in a very significant way. If you can become more aware of how you breathe, you can learn how to use your breathing to improve the quality of your physical, mental and emotional health.
On one end of the spectrum you have simple two- or three-minute techniques so if you’re feeling stressed you can relax, or if you’re tired you can energise. Then you can use breathing as a...
It’s no secret that many men struggle to open up about problems, especially if it’s to do with their mental health. Indeed, new research commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation for National Stress Awareness Day on 7th November found that less than a quarter of men (24%) suffering from stress had discussed it with a friend or family member.
Worse still, the survey found that almost one in three men (31%) drink alcohol, or drink more alcohol, to try to deal with stress. We spoke to Ed Davie at the Mental Health Foundation, about how you can recognise and deal with stress drinking.
How do you recognise that you are stress drinking?
The jargon term would be mindfulness, but that’s because what mindfulness really means is being aware of your own emotions and behaviour. Half the battle is for people to be honest with themselves.
This is difficult, especially for men – to face up to the fact that they’re not handling things as well as they might do. Instinctively men want to say to themselves and others, “I can deal with it, I can look after myself”, but you have to be aware that’s not...
The only thing worse than grinding out hours of indoor cycling training in the winter is doing so without seeing any results come the spring. So make sure your winter work brings real performance gains by tackling these brutally effective training sessions recommend by former hour record holder and time trial specialist Alex Dowsett, from the Katusha-Alpecin cycling team.
For the workouts you’ll need to know your cadence, power output and ideally your own personal power zones too. You can try to replicate the power Dowsett puts out in his workouts, though that’s probably not a smart idea unless you are a very accomplished rider, so scale it back according to your own ability.
Sets 6 Time 6min Cadence 50RPM Power 350W Rest 4min
If you’re looking to increase your strength during the winter, you can keep your workouts pretty simple. Not easy, of course, but simple.
“During the winter months a lot of the training is strength-based,” says Dowsett, “which means big gears and any variation of multiple minutes on followed by not so many minutes off.
“It’s important to do it with a really...
In some ways we feel we’re partly to blame. When we asked “Is coffee good for you?” the answer that came back was a resounding yes, so no-one could blame you for mainlining espresso. Of course, we aren’t the only reason the UK consumes phenomenal amounts of coffee every day, but we had to recognise our contribution to thousands of non recyclable paper cups that are used and discarded each day and do something about it – however small. But you know that, otherwise you wouldn’t be browsing the web for reusable coffee cups.
Most Eco-Friendly: Ecoffee Cup
The Ecoffee Cup is made out of bamboo fibre – a material that’s very in vogue right now because it’s more sustainable than most. It also means when the cup meets the end of its life span you can crush it, soak it in boiling water and then say farewell to it on the top of your compost heap (the silicone lid and sleeve can be put in your recycling). Although the bamboo feels like the sort of thick card you would associate with any disposable cup, it’s actually durable and dishwasher-safe. One nice feature is a detachable stopper in the lid...
Jaybird has made some of the best sports headphones of the past couple of years, with the X4 headphones and Run buds standing out as among the best in class. In our eyes at least, that success is down to focusing on the three keys to good sports headphones – sound, fit and battery life – rather than fancy but unnecessary extras.
Those essential qualities extend to the Tarah Pro, the premium version of the recently-released Tarah headphones. To upgrade the Tarah, Jaybird has not added a load of unnecessary bells and whistles but has stuck to what really matters, with the headline feature being a whopping 14-hour battery life. The Tarah Pro is also made of better materials than the Tarah, with a non-stick reflective cord, and the Switch Fit earbuds can be revolved quickly so you can loop them over your ear.
The Tarah Pro’s battery life is as long as any you’ll find in wireless headphones, and it’s an absolute joy to not have to consider charging them for days at a time, even if using them for everything. I mainly used the Tarah Pro when exercising and they lasted longer than a week, and...
We expect a lot from a pair of walking boots, demanding they keep us upright on all kinds of treacherous terrain, as well as ensuring our feet are dry and warm no matter what weather we wear them in. And then what thanks do our trusty boots get? They get shoved in a plastic bag at the back of a cupboard because we can’t be bothered to clean or dry them after a long day on the trails.
If that sounds familiar then it’s time we staged an intervention – your boots deserve better. For advice on how to look after your walking boots, SportsShoes.com hooked us up with Salomon ambassador Squash Falconer, for these top tips.
How To Clean Walking Boots
“It is really important to clean boots each time you get them dirty,” says Falconer. “If you’re really tired, the day after your hike is OK, but don’t leave them any longer.!--digiteka-placeholder--
“When cleaning your boots, it’s good to have a small brush – an old toothbrush or washing-up brush works well. It’s best to use a specific shoe cleaner and avoid using bar soap or stronger detergents because they may contain additives that can damage the...
Here’s something I didn’t know before I spoke to Ant Middleton about his attempt to climb Everest: there’s a queue to get off the summit of the highest mountain in the world. Yes, even at 8,848m, well over 200m higher than anywhere else on the planet, you have to deal with queues – but at that height having to wait around can be deadly.
Until he reached Everest’s peak Middleton’s expedition, which is the topic of new Channel 4 documentary Extreme Everest, had been going well. He had summitted the mountain in good conditions, but the weather quickly turned on Middleton and the other climbers there.
“It was strange. I remember at the Hillary Step [a vertical rock face near the summit of Everest] the weather was good,” says Middleton, “then getting to the summit, looking around and there was no view whatsoever. The cloud starting coming in.
“The weather was really changing and I thought I could be in a bit of trouble. Everyone was starting to leave the summit. I got sidetracked and thought, ‘If everyone leaves I’m going to stay and actually be the highest man in the world. It’s only a couple...
We have no truck with headband doubters here, so if you took exception to the above suggestion that they are stylish then you can jog on, pal. Headbands are either making a comeback or never went away – whichever it is, they’re definitely in right now. They’re cool, they’re functional and they’re a must for your running wardrobe.
Headbands keep both sweat and hair out of your face, as well as keeping your ears warm come winter time. It’s basically all the benefits of a hat without the overheating problem. Here are some of the best available.
Gore M Headband
This headband has a fleecy lining to keep your noggin warm when running on frosty days, but the material is still lightweight enough to wear year-round to stop sweat dripping into your eyes. The fluorescent yellow colour might be the best pick for visibility fans, but the hibiscus pink is pretty much irresistible in our book.
Buy on Amazon | £19.99
If you’re constantly infuriated by the lack of pockets in running shorts then consider this canny headband, which has a small zipped pocket on the back...
Just like with most things in life, the key to getting better at swimming is practice. But if you don’t spend your time in the pool mixing up what you do in your workouts, your gains will inevitably plateau.
It’s important to tailor your training around what you’re hoping to achieve in the water, whether that’s becoming a faster swimmer, getting ready to compete a long-distance event, or simply losing weight and getting fitter in general.
To help you achieve your swimming goals we asked Olivier Poirier-Leroy, former national level swimmer and founder of training manual and diary YourSwimBook, to share and explain a variety of workouts suitable for beginner and intermediate swimmers.
Swimming Workouts To Build Stamina
This is a tried and tested session that I’ve used with swimmers of all abilities. I do variations of it myself every Wednesday during my aerobic/recovery sessions. It’s some basic interval training that will tax your aerobic system and give your overall cardio fitness a big old boost.
The goal is to work up to about 45 minutes’ worth of aerobic swimming. How hard should you...
It shouldn’t be hard to motivate yourself to warm up properly before any kind of football match. Spending 15-20 minutes doing so will put you in the best possible position to make a fast start and also reduce the risk of picking up an injury in the frantic early stages of the game. And yet for many of us “warming up” consists of taking turns blasting shots at the keeper for five minutes.
You can rectify that situation by following this warm up routine from Ross Preston, a strength and conditioning coach for Bupa UK. And when you find yourself one up after a couple of minutes in every game you play, come back and thank us.
Jogging across the pitch will increase blood flow to your muscles and bring your heart rate up.
Dynamic Warm-Up Stretches
Dynamic stretching – stretching while moving – before you play football can improve your flexibility and mobility,” says Preston, “so be sure to spend around ten minutes doing the below exercises.”
1 Linear knee raise
Reps 15 each leg
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and arms resting at your sides. Slowly bring your...
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