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  • FEATURED RECIPE: Asian Fusion Spicy Green Curry Basil Chicken

    This amazing recipe proves again great 'restaurant' taste can in fact be done at home, super healthy. Read the whole post and get the recipe here

  • FEATURED VIDEO: How to perform hanging ab raises

    Watch Greg as he answers a readers question about how to perform the perfect hanging ab raise. Watch the video here

  • FEATURED RECIPE: Mexican Stewed Chicken Chile

    We get asked for this recipe more than all others combined! Easy to do in a crockpot, loaded with protein and flavor, and best of all VERY easy. Read the whole post and get the recipe here

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This is one of those recipes that EVERYONE has been asking for… delicious, intense fresh lemon, packed with blueberries, we guarantee you, none of your friends will ever guess it’s healthy. This recipe is quick to prepare, but as with all baked goods, you must follow the recipe exactly.. we have (literally) made dozens of these to get it just right. Fresh flavors dominate, so make sure to use fresh lemons, and good quality vanilla extract (link: Karin at Sonoma Syrup Co. makes the BEST extracts anywhere.. always a food show award winner).

RECIPE LEVEL: EASY 

Makes 1 8″x8″ bread, or 9 individual muffins.

Each serving (1 muffin, or 1/9th of the 8×8 pan): 120 cal, 2g fat, 18g carbs, 10g protein

Ingredients:

2 cups oat flour + 1 tbls
2 scoops vanilla flavor whey protein powder
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Ideal brand sweetener (link) or Xyletol (available from any health food store), or granulated Spenda for baking (not powdered Splenda packets)
3 fresh lemons
2 egg whites (or 6 tbls liquid egg whites)
1/3 cup (or one single serving container) all natural, no sugar added, apple sauce
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular low/non fat milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp lemon extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen work great and cost a lot less than fresh)

 

Method:

Heat oven to 350°. Spray an 8×8″ baking pan, or 9 muffin tin with non stick spray (Pam).

In large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups oat flour, 2 scoops whey protein, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of the sweetener. Zest 3 lemons, removing only the yellow of the skins (link: how to zest and juice a lemon).

In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg whites, apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla and lemon extracts; mix to combine.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix them… a few small lumps are good.

In another small bowl, mix the blueberries with 1 tbls of the remaining oat flour. Mixing the berries with flour will keep the berries from all sinking to the bottom of the bread.

Gently mix 1/2 the blueberries into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan or muffin liners. Evenly sprinkle the remaining blueberries on the top of the bread. Bake bread in middle rack of oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove when done and set aside to cool slightly.

In a small saucepan prepare the lemon glaze: mix the juice from the 3 lemons (seeds removed of course!) and the remaining 1/4 cup sweetner over high heat for 3-4 minutes to thicken. Spoon or brush glaze over the top of the cake. (It may look like a lot of glaze, but it will all soak in, and a lot of the true lemon flavor comes from this glaze).

Serve the cake warm, at room temperature, plain, or with mixed berries. It makes a great low glycemic carb source that tastes almost too good to be true.

Spicy Thai Grilled Beef Salad

Don’t think super flavorful, authentic Thai food can be healthy, low cal and low carb? Think again! This grilled beef salad is as good, and likely even better, than anything you could get at your favorite Thai Restaurant. This works equally well with chicken so feel free to substitute proteins.

RECIPE LEVEL: ADVANCED (It’s easy, just several steps and organization required)

Makes 4 ‘standard’ servings.. weight your protein per your own individual nutrition requirements, see instructions at end of recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Tsp. Sweet Paprika
1 Tsp. Cayene Pepper
1 Tbl. uncooked White Rice – Optional – this provides a very authentic crunch the salad
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 Tbl.)
2 Tbl. Fish Sauce (available at any asian market… look for a Thai one)
2 Tb. Water
1/2 tsp Truvia brand Sugar substitute (you can use Stevia or Spenda but it doesn’t dissolve or taste as good as Truvia)
1 Flank Steak, trimmed
Salt and Pepper
3 Shallots, sliced very very thin
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped roughly
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Cilantro Leaves, chopped roughly
1/2 to 3/4 bag of Spring Mix Salad Greens (or your favorite lettuces)
1 Thai Chile, stemmed, and sliced very thin into rounds (if you cant find Thai chiles, 1/2 of a fresh Serrano chile works just as well) Optional – leave out if you prefer mild heat
1 cucumber, seeds removed, sliced into 1/4″ slices

Method:

Heat Paprika and Cayenne in a 8″ skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan, toast the spices until fragrant… about 1 minute. Remove from heat and place in small bowl. Return the skillet to heat, and add in the dry rice grains and toast until the rice grains are very toasty brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the rice to a mini food processor or coffee grinder, and pulverize until its a fine powder. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, water, Truvia and 1/4 tsp of the toasted paprika/cayenne mixture and set aside. (If you ever need an all purpose Thai dipping sauce, this is it!)

Heat your grill to high. Salt and pepper both sides of the flank steak. Grill on high until medium rare (125 degrees internal temperature with meat thermometer), or to your desired doneness. Cover and let rest until room temperature (30-45 minutes). Remember to remove your meat from the grill while it is still a bit undercooked – it will continue cooking while it rests and raise another 10 degrees or so.

Slice meat against the grain, on a bias or angle, into 1/4″ thick slices. Transfer to lime/fish sauce mixture.

In a large bowl, mix together shallots, mint, cucumbers, bagged lettuce, cilantro, chile and half of the rice powder.

Weight your portion of meat, then transfer to serving bowl. Add in 1/4 of the mixed greens, spoon a bit of the remaining lime/fish sauce, and toss. Sprinkle remaining rice powder over salad as desired. Serve immediately.

 

OCT Old Fashioned Meatloaf – That’s Really Good

Real Meatloaf.. just like Mom made. Really! We worked hard to tweak a few existing recipes for this true, old-style meatloaf to get a finished dish that looked, and most importantly, tasted exactly like the kind of meatloaf we all grew up eating. Too many ‘healthy’ meatloafs just don’t cut it in the flavor department, but not this one.. packed with fresh herbs and a few other simple ingredients, its really amazing; nobody will guess its a ‘healthier’ alternative to the heavy dense stuff that gets passed off as healthy meatloaf.

NOTE: This recipe has a few variations, depending on your choice of protein(s). All work great, but have slightly different flavors. You can use any of the following for the meat; just adjust to your taste and preference. 1) all lean, 4% fat ground beef. 2) a mix of equal parts 4% and 8% ground beef. 3) a mix of ground beef and ground turkey breast (ground breast meat, not basic ground turkey.. that’s got too much fat). 4) All ground turkey breast meat.

Makes one very large (and not cheap if you are using 4% fat meat) meatloaf.. approx 5lbs when cooked. This recipe can easily be halved (just cut all ingredients in half), for a more ‘normal’ size meatloaf.

RECIPE LEVEL: EASY

Ingredients:

3 cups onions (2 large onions), chopped fine (it will look like a lot when chopping but they melt down into the dish)
Non-stick cooking spray (Pam etc.)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped Thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
5 Tbl. A1 Steak Sauce, or Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 Tbl. tomato paste
5 lbs ground meat (4% ground beef, 8% ground beef, ground turkey breast, or a mix of these – see note above)
1 cup quick cooking oats
4 egg whites (if using liquid egg whites, use 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup ketchup (Heinz Low Sugar is perfect) plus a good squeeze to top meatloaf before baking

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium saute pan, over high heat, cook the chopped onions, salt, pepper and Thyme until translucent, but not browned; approx 10 minutes. Add A1 or Worcestershire Sauce, chicken stock and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground beef/turkey or combo, quick oats. ketchup, eggs and onion mixture in a large bowl. Kneed gently with your hands (hands are made for this and work great.. way easier than a spoon or anything else). Spray 9×13″ baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray and place meatloaf mixture in pan.. mounding up slightly at center. Squeeze a bit more ketchup over the top and spread a thin layer to cover. Bake for approx 1.5 hours, until a meat thermometer registers 160 deg. internal temperature. Remove from oven and drain any meat juices that have rendered out and throw away; let rest about 30 minutes. Slice and weigh for individual portions.

This makes a LOT of meatloaf.. and is great the next day; just refrigerate any leftovers… reheat and you are set to go; To make a great old style meatloaf sandwich, slice a few ounces and place between Ezekiel bread, lettuce, tomatoes and your favorite low cal/fat/carb condiments.

 

Mexican Tortilla-less Soup

A group of us were sitting around having dinner at one of our local ‘healthy’ haunts, and settled on a cup of soup before dinner… than it hit us… why don’t we reinvent Mexican Tortilla soup… take out most of the bad stuff (including the fried tortillas), pack it with lean chicken protein, and kick the flavors up. You’ll love this recipe.. its very easy to make, keeps well in the refrigerator, and best of all, makes it really easy to eat the required ounces of protein we all need in each meal.

RECIPE LEVEL: EASY

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into medium size chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into medium size chunks
4 ears fresh corn – husk, and slice off kernels
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 16oz can fire roasted style chopped tomatos
1 small can tomato sauce
1 Tbl. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, and any additional for garnish
2 cartons chicken stock (pick your favorite low sodium variety.. the cartons are usually 36 oz or so)
Several dashes – or more if you like hot – Cholula Chipotle hot sauce (the Chipotle variety adds a great smokey rich flavor to the soup)
Precooked rice (cooled, fresh or whatever.. doesn’t matter)
Fresh lime juice, for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: you may add or substitute additional low-glycemic vegetables to your liking (asparagus, broccoli, squash etc.)

Method:

In a large dutch oven oven or pot, place the chicken breasts/tenders in and cover with water. Heat on high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and cook on a low simmer about 15 minutes for tenders, 20 minutes if whole breasts. Remove from water and cool. After cooled to the touch, shred chicken into chunks.

In a large dutch oven or very large pot, spray the bottom with Pam or your favorite vegetable spray. Over high heat, sauté the onions, carrots, celery and corn until onions are translucent… about 4 minutes; add garlic and saute another minute. Add in poached, shredded chicken, tomatos, tomato sauce, herbs, cilantro and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes or more over very low heat (you can even simmer this for hours); add a few shakes of Cholula Chipotle hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, use kitchen tongs to pull out chicken chunks (some vegetables will be stuck with them.. dont worry); weight your chicken according to your nutrition plan amounts, but add 1 oz to account for the vegetables mixed in with chicken. Add in rice, again, according to your nutrition plan amount, then ladel soup stock and vegitables to cover and make soup.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, more hot sauce if you like it spicy, a squeeze of fresh lime and you have complete meal. This keeps for a week or more if tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Apple Granola

Low fat and sugar free, this extra crunchy granola is a great way to get in a serving of complex carbs; sprinkle over low glycemic fruit like berries with yogurt or just eat as a snack, you’ll never, ever, guess this actually good for you.

Ingredients:

8 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup brown sugar no calorie baking substitute (Ideal brand sweetner or Xyletol – Ralphs sells a ‘no calorie baking sweetner’ in a purple plastic pouch that works AMAZING… make sure to use the brown sugar version)
1/4 cup water
3 single serving tubs of all natural, no sugar added apple sauce
5 tsp very good quality vanilla extract
4 tsp top quality cinnamon… Saigon or Ceylon cinnamon is the best if you can find it (Sprouts, Mothers etc. all carry, its ‘true’ cinnamon, and has a spectacular flavor)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt

Method:

Heat oven to 300.

Spray 2 large baking trays with non-stick cooking spray.

Place sugar substitute and water in large bowl. Microwave for approx 3-4 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly and add vanilla extract. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl combine oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger and apple sauce. Mix in slightly cooled sugar mixture… use your clean hands to fold mixture together; mixture will be wet, asyou want a few nice clumps to form when you spread it out to bake.

Spread evenly on two large baking sheets and bake for 90 minutes or until nicely toasted and browned, tossing mixture, and rotating pans in oven once or twice (depending on your oven, it could take up to two hours to fully cook). Cool. Granola will still be somewhat soft until it cools, at which time, it will harden up.

Keept in sealed container, granola stays crispy and good for at least a week.

Variations:

• use a mix of flavorings (3 tsp Vanilla Extract, and 2 tsp Almond Extract) for a more nutty flavor
• add in natural shredded coconut flakes*
• add in a mix of dried fruits and or nuts… slivered almonds, finely diced dried apples or cherries*

* Pending your specific nutritional requirements.

Women & Weightlifting – Why It’s Important

Ladies, don’t be scared of weightlifing.

Anyone in great shape lifts weights, both men and women. Creating lean muscle mass dramatically raises your metabolic rate. When you diet with less lean body mass, your internal furnace burns slowly, this your metabolism burns slowly resulting in slow, or no, weight loss. A little bit of weightlifting goes a long way, even with women.

OC Trainer Mexican Stewed Chicken Chile

OC Trainer Mexican Stewed Chicken Chile
(we do this in a crockpot, but you can do it on the stove or oven as well.. just simmer at the lowest setting possible)

 

Into the crockpot, put:

  • 2 medium onions roughly chopped
  • 2 red bell pepper roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 4 Tbl ground chile powder (make sure its fresh!)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • (optional) 1/8 – 1/4 ground red pepper if you like it hotter

Layer in 8 whole, skinless and boneless chicken breasts.

Add 1 24oz jar of your favorite salsa (I think the Safeway Select Chipotle – makes it really smokey, spicy and good –  or Safeway Select Fire Roasted are the best). Dont be tempted to add water if it looks dry; it will all melt together when it cooks. Gently stir all ingredients together to coat chicken.

Cover crockpot, cook on high 6 hours, then let it sit until you are ready; Your chicken breasts will gently start to fall apart.. thats the whole idea.. its like shredded chicken with a great chile flavor.

We love this served over a portion of Trader Joe’s Rice Medley, doused with Cholula hot sauce and a sprinkle of low fat mexican cheese… finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and you have a totally healthy, quick meal.

Why OC Trainer’s small-group training is great

We LOVE small group training… and we guarantee you will too.

We, and our clients, LOVE group training… it keeps training affordable, which allows the consistency needed to achieve a great physique. There is great synergy, energy and motivation in our small (3-6 people) groups… you’ll also make new friends who will become a vital part of your support system and, well, have a LOT more fun.

Greg’s #1 fitness quick tip

Here is the NUMBER ONE quick tip for saying in shape, and maintaining abs and a great physique year round.

It’s all about meal prep.. pre cooking days worth of food will make all the difference. When you can simply open your refrigerator, pop a great slow cooked chicken breast into the microwave, you have fast food thats actually good for you.

French Cafe Chicken Haricot Vert

This is our (very healthy yet super flavorful) take on classic French Chicken in Mustard Sauce. Our recipe packs a huge flavor punch with plenty of fresh herbs: garlic, rosemary and fresh flat leaf parsley. We keep the mustard but substitute concentrated chicken stock and a bit of water for the heavy cream and butter. The result: we kick the flavors into high gear, and drop the fat and calories dramatically for a modern approach to this classic bistro dish.

NOTES:

Pre chop everything when doing a quick sauté.. it makes assembly and cooking quick and fast; Fresh herbs are a must in this recipe; it wont work with dry herbs. Use your favorite Dijon style mustard… ideally a whole grain one. Feel free to add in or substitute different vegetables per your likes and dislikes… All OCTrainer recipes are more technique and base, than literal recipe.. mix in ‘free’ foods like vegetables and fresh herbs to your taste.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2

14 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2” cubes
1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into large dice
2 cups (or more if you like) green beans (frozen or fresh)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbl. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbl. spicy brown or dijon mustard
1 package Swanson Chicken Flavor Boost (concentrated chicken stock)
1/4 cup water
3 tbl. chopped flat leaf parsley (much more flavorful than curly parsley)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

METHOD:

Weigh and slice boneless, skinless chicken breast into medium chunks, and set aside.

Chop onion, garlic, rosemary and parsley, and set aside.

Place green beans, fresh or frozen, in a large skillet; add 1/4 of water, a dash of salt (to keep the beans bright green), and cover, heat on high until 2/3rd done (test with fork). Drain, and set aside

In same skillet over medium high heat, spray pan with non stick canola oil spray, add onions and chicken. Sauté 5-6 min until cooked through, and the chicken starts to turn golden brown and the onions turn translucent. Add in garlic and rosemary. Sauté another 2 minutes or so (no longer or the garlic will burn). Add in dijon mustard, 1 package Swanson Chicken Flavor Boost, green beans and water. stir as sauce thickens and coats everything for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped parsley.

Serve over rice (we like 3-4 oz of Trader Joes Rice Medley per serving – comes frozen, in the purple box)

Dr. Saddik and ART/Chiropractic with Greg

Greg & Dr. Saddik show how amazing and painless Chiropractic and Active Release Treatment are for performance and health.

Dr. John Saddik gives a great presentation on how Active Release Treatment and Chiropractic form a critical part of any athletes (or just everyday peoples) regime, and treats Greg through a whole session

Greg, and several of his clients, have had amazing results with ART and Chiropractic care with Dr. John Saddik, so we thought it time to video a therapy session; Dr. Saddik is very articulate and knowledgeable and shares some really useful information. It’s a long video, but we really hope to show how effective this is, as well as how painless – many people are just a bit afraid of this for no reason at all!

Visit Dr. John Saddik at www.drsaddik.com

Dirty little trainer secret

Dirty little trainer secret: If your trainer is having you do a lot of cardio and keeping you in the gym for longer than an hour, he/she is not good at what they do. FACT!! Cardio is not good for weight loss, not nearly as effective as your diet. Doing lots of cardio leads to:

  • Slower metabolic rate
  • Decreased testosterone levels
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity

 

C.D.C. Statistics & Portion Control

The C.D.C. – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control obesity rates are shocking; portion size – especially when dining out – for women, are a huge part of getting, and staying fit.

The average woman is now 5′ 4″ 165lbs with a 37″ waist, while the average man is now 5’9″ 105 lbs. with a 39″ waist. Women are gaining weight at a greater speed then men…. restaurant portions play a huge part in this epidemic. Greg shares some simple strategies to overcome the massive portions served in restaurants now.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

Asian Fusion Spicy Green Curry Basil Chicken

 

Serves 2
(Adjust protein and serving size per your specific nutritional requirements)

Ingredients:

12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubes or sliced thinly
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2” dice
1/3 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2” dice
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans (or your favorite vegetable – works great with broccoli or asparagus or a mix of all)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2-3 Tbl San-J Brand Szechuan Cooking Sauce – depending on how spicy you like it (available at Sprouts Farmers Market) http://www.san-j.com/product_info.asp?id=7
1.5 tbl Thai Green Curry Paste (suggested, but optional – available at Sprouts Farmers Market) http://www.worldfoods.com.my/wf/products/range_paste.php#!productPhoto[iframe0]/7/
1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts or cashews (not dry-roasted – just plain peanuts; suggested, but optional, pending your own nutritional requirements)

Method:

In a large sauté pan, boil green beans in a cup or so of lightly salted water until cooked through but not overcooked; 2-3 min for frozen, 3-4 minutes fresh. Drain, remove from pan and set aside.

Dry out and spray sauté pan with non-stick cooking spray and sauté sliced onions, bell peppers and nuts over high heat for 2-3 minutes just until onions start to turn translucent (be careful not to burn nuts). Add in chicken and Green Curry Paste and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. Add in precooked green beans and Szechuan Cooking Sauce to taste. Toss to coat. Add in fresh basil. Remove from heat and serve.

Serve over rice for a ‘traditional’ meal, or alone for a low carb meal.

****

Alternate non-spicy version and traditional Thai version:

For a non-spicy version, simply replace the Spicy Szechuan sauce with your favorite stir fry sauce (pay close attention to calories and carbs! – Kikkoman makes a good one with only 3 g. carbs available in any supermarket http://www.kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/products/products_hc_details.php?pf=10504&fam=105)

For a traditional Thai version, instead of using Szechuan cooking sauce, add one packet of Swanson Chicken Flavor Boost http://www.swansonbroth.com/ourproducts.aspx?boost=yes , increase Thai Green Curry Paste to 2 Tbl (or even 3 if you like it more flavorful), and add 1/4 cup (or a bit more if needed) light lowfat coconut milk and use cashews (not peanuts).

Fads in fitness today; Part 2

Greg Talks about some of the latest fitness trends… and how they may or may not be in your best interest.

People are picking what is popular with their friends, what the latest is (Bootcamp, Pilates, Pole Dancing, P90x)… with few people reaching their fitness goals. Real fitness doesn’t happen by accident, it takes dedication, hard work and intelligent decisions.

Fads in fitness and gyms today

What’s up with this fad in modern gyms with bootcamp, kettlebell and the like?

A lot of people think these ‘modern’ methods of training, bootcamps, agility balls, resistance bands, and the link are not bad… per se… but they will not get you into the kind of shape you probably want to get in… there is a place for everything, but we don’t think they work nearly as well as traditional, time-honed weightlifting and cardio workouts.

Greg’s Border States Contest Prep 2010

Last year, I decided to once again compete and take the stage at a regional bodybuilding show put on the the NPC (The National Physique Committee).

This is my journey towards competing in the 2010 Border States Championship.

While I realize most of my clients just want to get themselves into lose weight, get themselves into better shape, or simply get healthier, and have no interest in bodybuilding whatsoever, I thought it would be great to share some of what I went through over my 14 week contest prep which allowed me to drop 42 lbs in that time, and hopefully inspire you to take the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

Read more