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My kids know what they like. One of the things they like is steak; another is burgers. We don’t eat a ton of red meat, so it’s a pretty great night when we fire up the grill. But sometimes it rains, so they know steak and burgers can be cooked on the stovetop in an emergency. (Is there such a thing as a steak or burger emergency? For a growing kid, quite possibly.)

Perhaps in anticipation of not always owning a grill, my son wanted to know how to achieve a similar result on the stove.

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A few months ago, I spent a lot of quality time testing three high-end blenders — and I mean a lot. My family drank tons of smoothies, I made enough hummus to serve at my cousin’s bridal shower, and I turned pounds of carrots into carrot purée.

After the blades stopped whirring, I was faced with a choice: Which one was worth keeping in my kitchen? After some intense hemming and hawing, I chose the Vitamix. Here’s why, and here’s what I think of my choice four months later!

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I cook flank steak on a semi-regular basis. It’s not nearly as expensive as more luxurious cuts of steak, and it’s still not too tough of a cut to throw on the grill.

I recently read a tip that suggested scoring less expensive, fibrous cuts — like flank and hanger steak (just as you might score a duck breast or your holiday ham) — to make them a lot more tender. With grilling season still well underway, this was one tip I was more than happy to try out.

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The technique of sous vide cooking has become very popular in the last few years and is closely associated with “modernist” cooking techniques — you know, foams, gels, and other everyday dinner techniques. Home sous vide machines also aren’t cheap, hovering around $200 for ones you can use with your own cookware.

Are these newfangled machines really worth investing in for everyday home cooking? I talked to Scott Heimendinger, former director of applied research at Modernist Cuisine and one of the founders of Sansaire, who shares his reasons why he thinks sous vide is a practical tool for everything from a weeknight dinner to a fancy dinner party.

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Wow, a variety of reader questions this week on bicep curls, powerlifting, and paleo.

Note: Charles is here on a weekly basis to help you cut through the B.S. and get to the bottom of the biggest questions in health and training. Post your questions directly to Charles in the comments below this article.

 

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What will the Internet think of next? German designer Daniel Schobloch has developed and produced a new locking gadget specifically designed to fit Nutella jars.

What spurred the need for a lock for the chocolate-hazelnut spread?

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Originally Posted At: http://breakingmuscle.com/feed/rss

Wow, a variety of reader questions this week on bicep curls, powerlifting, and paleo.

Note: Charles is here on a weekly basis to help you cut through the B.S. and get to the bottom of the biggest questions in health and training. Post your questions directly to Charles in the comments below this article.

 

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You’ve heard of the ramen burger, but what about the rice burger? Yes, that’s right — this crispy chicken katsu burger is sandwiched between two pan-fried rice “buns.”

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Reminder: Today is the last day to get Don’t Just Sit There! for $10 off and with several bonus items. In this online multimedia program you’ll learn how to build a perfect workstation, how to sit better, how to stand better, and how to work out on company time. The special offer expires at 5 PM PST today. Gain instant access here today!

We’re told time and again that in order to get healthy we need to let go of our “lower” instincts (e.g. conserving energy on the couch or preferring to go out and have fun) and embrace future goals. We need to take things seriously – have concrete objectives and clear steps to execute them. It’s about getting down to business and whipping ourselves into shape through the grit of sweat and discipline. Or?

Sure, a proclivity to plan for the future and to favor self-control over momentary whim, research shows, will get us far on the health front (PDF).

It’s hands down the best mindset when we have emotional access to that “higher” self. The stubborn truth is, I’ve never met someone who could maintain this every day. Most days I get bored of it myself in all honesty.

Like it or not, research has shown that health isn’t an effective incentive for most people to consistently exercise. In fact, people whose primary aim for exercise is health or weight loss end up investing the least time actually following through.

So, if the typical rationales aren’t the most effective or reliable motivators, then what is? According to the research, we tend to be better off finding our initiative in the “affective outcome expectations” – the attitudinal and perceived benefits to our lives. To put it simply, if it makes us feel better on some level, we’re more likely to follow through.

In keeping with this pattern, the more immediate the perceived benefit, the more powerful and influential it is on our behavior. The same short-term gratification that gets blasted as our health’s worst enemy can actually be harnessed for good. Go figure…maybe our primary instincts don’t always have to drive us into the ditch.

In that spirit, let me throw out 10 short-term incentives for getting one’s duff off of the couchor office chair. Forget all about your blood pressure or cancer risk or cardiovascular conditioning. Forget the term body fat or the principles of metabolic functioning. What matters in this list is the here and now – same-day benefits if you will.

  1. You’ll come away from a single workout with better attentional processing, working memory (PDF) and motor memory.
  2. You’ll enjoy a brighter mood and less anxiety for the next few hours – even if you keep it simple with a slow jog or a brief walk outdoors.
  3. Can anyone say post-workout glow – with all the compliments that come with it?
  4. You’ll be able to “walk off” or get some distance from whatever emotional stress is zapping your mental energy.
  5. If you’re like subjects of one study, you’ll experience a significant boost to your body image after just one resistance training session. (Note: a single bout of cardio training didn’t offer the same enhancement.)
  6. You’ll have more self-control – and higher brain function – after a workout thanks to the enhanced blood and oxygen flow to the pre-frontal cortex.
  7. A single workout can offer hypoalgesic effects (temporary pain relief) for those who experience chronic pain.
  8. A bout of exercise primes you for sexual arousal post-workout. Just sayin’.
  9. Finally, according to one study on sedentary women (who had not been diagnosed with insomnia like sample groups in a previously publicized study), you may sleep better even after a single bout of moderate exercise.
  10. Bonus: how about just having fun? Can we dare to drop the interest in physical benefits period and just go out and have a good time with an active pick-up game of whatever sport we enjoy or a competitive run or a some MovNat inspired antics that make the neighbors stare?

Seriously, sometimes the best motivation is the seemingly most rudimentary or even irrelevant. Move around the ways that offer you the most fun and excitement – and forget the rest. Happy primate equals healthy primate. How much more Primal can it get?

What does your daily motivation look like when it comes to fitness? Are you more of a goal-oriented person, or do short-term incentives work better for you? Share your thoughts on the board, and thanks for reading, everyone. Have a good end to the week.

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