Black Beans and Rice

Today, as our government begins to take a look a harder look at spending, nutritional programs that help feed children who are at-risk for hunger could be cut. I’m asking you to take 2 minutes out of your day and tell congress to not cut these programs. Many times these programs are the only way children receive a substantial meal.

Want more information? Be sure to watch A Place at the Table. I also highly recommend this Ted Talk and this book. The food system in the United States needs to change, in many ways. Every person that stands up and makes their voice heard is important.

So, for today’s post, the goal was to create a healthy and simple meal. Black beans and rice is my go-to staple meal not only because it’s quick and easy, it’s fairly inexpensive. The base is simple with not too much work and the possibilities for toppings/add-ins are endless.

5-Ingredient Black Beans and Rice

5-Ingredient Black Beans and Rice

5-Ingredient Blacks Bean and Rices
5-Ingredient Black Bean and Rice
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 2


1 cup brown rice
2 cups black beans with liquid
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or powder)
Juice from one lime
2-3 handfuls spinach

Add Ons
Hot Sauce
Greek Yogurt
Extra Veggies
Chipotle peppers


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add rice and continue to boil with no lid until cooked, 30-40 minutes.
In a skillet, add black beans with liquid, cumin, salt, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Once liquid is mostly gone, remove from heat and add spinach. Cover and let spinach wilt slightly. Mix in with black beans.
Serve black beans with rice. Add extras and toppings as desired.

How to Personalize Your Workout

Designing your plan isn’t just about selecting good exercises. It’s about the picking the best options for you body. If every workout were created equal, then all plans would deliver the same results and consist of the exact same movements. While most training plans do boil down to some commonalities, there’s a reason why so…
Designing your plan isn’t just about selecting good exercises. It’s about the picking the best options for you body.

If every workout were created equal, then all plans would deliver the same results and consist of the exact same movements. While most training plans do boil down to some commonalities, there’s a reason why so many of the best bodies in the world are built with very different strategies.

Part of it has to do with understanding the science of strength, muscle, and fat loss.

The other side? Making sense of what you see in the mirror, and how it impacts what exercises are best for your body.

Whether you want to admit it or not, your genetics greatly influence what you should be doing in the gym. Notice I didn’t say how much you could accomplish. This isn’t about excuses of small arms, beer bellies, and chicken legs.

No, this is about leveraging a basic understanding of biomechanics and movement to build more muscle and become more of a badass.

Put away the science books because here’s the quickest anatomy lesson you’ll ever receive with the best payoff: a better looking body.
Create a Better Workout

Instead of blindly doing the most popular exercises, make sure these movements are right for you. The most popular exercises–bench press, deadlifts, squats, and rows–should be a part of any program. But sometimes, the traditional version of the lift can cause problems or injuries. Part of the solution is fixing the weaknesses that make it harder for you to perform the movements correctly.

The other approach? Making slight modifications so you can still train at the highest level without putting your body into a difficult position, especially if you’re doing the corrective work to fix your body.

Use the tips below to determine if you might be susceptible, and then train in a way that fits your body.
The Exercise: Barbell Bench Press

Who Struggles: Guys with long arms or shoulder issues.

The Fix: Yes, the barbell bench press is an awesome ego lift and a popular way to start Monday. But it’s also a big reason why so many guys walk around with bum shoulders. And in the case of taller guys with longer arms, it’s enhanced because the shoulder joint is more vulnerable for rotator cuff problems.

Instead, substitute with floor presses (which minimize the distance traveled), neutral grip incline dumbbell presses, and weighted dips and pushups.
The Exercise: Barbell Back Squats

Who Struggles: Tall dudes

The Fix: The king of exercises is also the king of lower back pain for tall guys. Sensing a theme here? Does that mean to avoid squats completely? Of course not. But mimicking the movement without always placing a heavy load on your back will reduce the likelihood of injury.

Instead, focus on single leg movements like Bulgarian split squats and heavy dumbbell step-ups. And then mix in landmine front squats, an innovative option from Ben Bruno. Place a barbell in a landmine (or corner of a room), load one side with plates, and perform like a front squat. You keep the same pattern, but save a world of stress on your knees and back.
The Exercise: Deadlifts

Who Struggles: Short arms, poor ankle and hamstring flexibility

The Fix: Deadlifts are an incredibly effective exercise…if you can work your way into proper starting position. Short arms, long legs, or poor flexibility can cause you to round your lower back when you try to pull the bar from the floor.

To reduce the difference, you can pull sumo style or place on bar on a rack (or risers) about 6 to 8 inches from the floor. Still having issues? Glute barbell hip raises to add lots of extra weight and strengthen your backside muscles.
The Exercise: Rows and Pullups

Who Struggles: Men and women with “baby mitts”

The Fix: You know what they say, the smaller the hands the smaller the pulling weight. Grip strength might be one of the most underrated aspects for all lifts. The greater the grip, the bigger the lift. But when you have small hands life in the gym becomes much harder.

While you shouldn’t stop doing pulling exercises, you should be strategic about how to increase your strength. Farmer’s walks and suitcase carries will be the best to way build your grip strength in a way with minimized risk. Just hold the weight as long as you can, and increase the load as a way to build your strength.

The Ultimate Lift Like a Girl Workout Template

First, let’s look at this template in its most basic, raw form.

The Lift Like a Girl Workout Template: perform three exercises (a lower body movement, and an upper body push and pull) for a total of 25-50 reps per exercise.

Here’s a sample circuit using that basic template:

1a) Squat — 4×8 (4 sets, 8 reps)
Rest 45 seconds
1b) Push-up — 4×8
Rest 45 seconds
1c) Inverted row — 4×8
Rest 45 seconds
Repeat the circuit 3 more times

Yes, that’s it. Three exercises each performed for a total of 32 reps (four sets multiplied by eight reps is 32). But don’t let the simplicity fool you. If you use proper exercises (like those shown above) and work hard (use a challenging weight or variation for the provided rep range), you’ll become a believer with the first workout.

Just like an ice cream sundae, this Lift Like a Girl workout template comes in dozens of tasty flavors, and you can add various toppings to suite your taste (more on these add-ons in a moment).

Now let’s expand on that basic template and make things ever better.
The Template, Four Ways

To best use the template it’s recommended that you hit all major movements (horizontal and vertical pushing and pulling for the upper body; quad and hip dominant exercises for the lower body) and include a mix of bilateral (using both legs or arms at the same time; e.g., squat or barbell press, respectively) and unilateral (using one leg or arm at a time; e.g., lunge or one arm dumbbell push press, respectively) training in your workouts. This can be accomplished by using four workout formats with the Lift Like a Girl template.

Workout 1

Bilateral quad dominant (e.g., squat)
Vertical push (e.g., barbell press)
Vertical pull (e.g., pull-up)

Workout 2

Single leg hip dominant (e.g., single leg RDL)
Horizontal push (e.g., push-up)
Horizontal pull (e.g., dumbbell row)

Workout 3

Single leg quad dominant (e.g., rear foot elevated split squat)
Vertical push (e.g., one arm dumbbell push press)
Vertical pull (e.g., one arm cable pull-down)

Workout 4

Bilateral hip dominant (e.g., deadlift)
Horizontal push (e.g., one arm dumbbell bench press)
Horizontal pull (e.g., inverted row)

The wonderful thing about implementing all four of the workouts above is that you’ll not only hit the major movements, but you’ll include a great mix of unilateral and bilateral training.