Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

The good news is, I have a new site.  Check it out here: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/

I hope to see you there!

Me:  Let’s have a conversation.

I’m going to make a bold statement.  Pasteurized milk (the milk you get at the grocery store) is terrible for you.  Stop drinking it.

You:  That’s not what they say on TV.

Me:  This may come as a shock to you, but the media knows jacksh*t about nutrition.  Media is marketing.  Marketing is business.  More money for them; worse health for you.  That’s the way life is.

You:  But I buy the organic milk, is this ok?

Me:  No, it’s not ok.  Most organic milk is still pasteurized.  If you’re going to buy milk, buy raw milk.  The only problem is, it’s illegal in most provinces and states to sell raw milk.  Here’s the loop-hole.  Go to your local dairy farmer and purchase raw milk directly from them.  Make sure that the Holsteins are grass fed and not grain fed.

Listen to the cow. Girl power!

You:  What’s raw milk?

Me:  Straight from the cow.  It’s the milk that your grandparents used to drink.  It was the stuff that was delivered directly to their doorstep when they were children.

You:  Your argument has no credibility.  Sources, please?

Me:  Realmilk.com sums this up nicely.  Also, a simple Google search will also link you to tons of articles discussing how bad milk is for you.

Here are a couple of arguments presented by Realmilk:

The following nutrients are degraded during pasteurization: Vitamin C , Calcium, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron, Iodine, Minerals.  These are some of the nutrients that are supposed to make milk healthy, but, if they are degraded, then how healthy can the stuff be?

Many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-Intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-Immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation. During a period of rapid population growth, the market for fluid pasteurized milk has declined at 1% per year for the past 20 years. Fewer and fewer consumers can tolerate pasteurized (and ultrapasteurized) milk (Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983).

The Protective components of Milk are generally destroyed in Pasteurization process:

PROTECTIVE COMPONENTS: Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:

  • Killing pathogens in the milk (lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, antibodies, medium chain fatty acids, lysozyme, B12 binding protein, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria); Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria); Strengthening the Immune System (lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors) (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

Many of these anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurization, and completely destroyed by ultra-pasteurization (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

It is also important to note that the consumption of pasteurized milk contributes to fat storage.  This study found that milk was even more insulinogenic than white bread!  This means that when you drink pasteurized milk, your body releases a hormone that tells your body to store fat.  In fact, it tells your body to store more fat than white bread!

You:  What about protein powders derived from milk?

Me:  If you read the whole study recently listed above, you will notice that whey protein with added lactose is less insulinogenic than pasteurized milk.  The scary thing is, lactose is a sugar.  Sugars are usually greatly insulinogenic.

You:  Ok, you convinced me not to drink milk.  I live nowhere close to any farms, so buying raw milk is out of the picture.  What should I drink?

Me:  Water.  If you still have the need to drink something similar to milk, opt for unsweetened almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk.

FIN

If you feel like this argument was one-sided, it’s because it was.  I care about your health.  I care about your fitness goals.  Thanks for the talk.

*If this topic interests you, check out this awesome article by Jason Ferruggia here:  The War on Raw Milk*

Cheers

It tastes better than it looks...I promise.

This is between you and me.  I have the recipe to the most amazing tasting protein shake on this side of the Universe.  The best part is, it’s super easy to make, and has a low effect on insulin (less likely to be stored as fat).

Ingredients

AWESOME protein powder

Instructions

Combine the ingredients in a blender or magic bulletBlend.  Drink up.

WARNING:

Do not change this recipe at all.  Follow it exactly with the exact ingredients.  The taste is phenomenal.  I’ve never tasted a protein shake as perfect as this.

How to Make This Shake Even Healthier:

This shake is pretty healthy as it is.  To make it healthier, consume it with a 1 cup of non-starchy vegetables on the side.  This way, you’ll be getting more fiber, phyto-nutrients, and vitamins.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Fish oil - miracle supplement!

Two weeks ago – when I mentioned that fish oil is a miracle supplement, I wasn’t lying.  Here is a quick list:

  1. Fish oil supplementation has potential benefits in the treatment of heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and the list goes on…
  2. As little as 3 grams of EPA + DHA daily has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. It keeps your cell membranes healthy.  This leads to better insulin sensitivity and decreased fat storage.  Better insulin sensitivity means that when you eat, the food will more likely be used to repair muscle instead of being stored as fat.
  4. It turns fat burning genes “on”.
  5. It turns fat storing genes “off”.
  6. It severely reduces inflammation in the body.  This can lead to decreased pain in joints, muscles, and pretty much everywhere.
  7. It decreases depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
  8. Decreases blood pressure.

Translation:  Miracle Supplement.

You wish your supplements could be this cute...

The answer’s “yes”.  I ate this everyday when I applied my knowledge and lost 22 lbs of fat in 10 weeks.  Even though I’m finished my diet, I still eat this meal everyday.  It’s just that good.

Doesn't this look delicious?

The best part is: it’s super easy to make:

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Large Mushroom
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Slices of Havarti Cheese (30 g)
  • 2 Slices of Reduced Sodium Turkey Bacon
  • 1/4 of a Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Italian Tomato
  • 1/2 Cup of Spinach

Directions

Cook Turkey Bacon in 1/2 Tbsp of Coconut oil in a pan over medium high heat (until crispy).  While the turkey bacon is cooking, chop all of the vegetables.  Remove turkey bacon from pan and sautee all the vegetables together.  While the vegetables are sauteing, beat 3 eggs in a bowl.  Add 1 tbsp of Coconut oil to the vegetables, add cheese, then pour eggs over top.  Continue to mix eggs and vegetables in pan until the eggs are only slightly runny (this prevents the eggs from over-cooking).  Place scrambled eggs on plate with turkey bacon.  Wait 10 minutes before eating (this allows the eggs to finish cooking while on your plate).  Eat your heart out.  Take 2 g of EPA+DHA (from fish oil) with meal.

Congratulations, you have just made and eaten the most amazing (and healthy breakfast) of your life (hopefully).

Nutrition Facts for Whole Meal

The recipe above is meant for an average sized male.  For females, split the recipe into half.  Enjoy!

Not the best "post workout shake".

No, I’m not talking about Red Bull or Gatorade.  I’m talking about a very special secret that will maximize your time in the gym.  I know what you’re thinking: “if it’s a secret, then why are you sharing this information?”  Well, it’ll be our little secret…

Weight training itself does not build muscle; it actually breaks down muscle.  You are building muscle when your body starts to recover from the damage done in the gym.  Your body will magically recover itself…eventually.  As we both know, “eventually” isn’t good enough.  We want recovery to start NOW!

Enter Workout Drinks.  Sipping on these babies around your workout window will dramatically increase recovery.  This means less soreness the next day, a better night’s sleep, and an increased performance in the gym.  You see, during exercise, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are elevated.  Too much cortisol in the system leads to muscle breakdown, and a decreased immune system (AKA not good).  Sipping on a workout drink will help bring your cortisol levels down.

I’m not going to give you the research, but I will definitely give you the recommendations.  As of right now, you probably have no clue what is even in a workout drink.  I’m going to give recommendations for people trying to lose fat, maintain their body (stay lean), or gain muscle.

Losing Fat

20 minutes before workout:  Drink 5-10 g of BCAA’s in water.

During workout: Sip on 5-10 g of BCAA’s in water.

Immediately after workout: Drink 5-10 g of BCAA’s in water.

Maintenance

20 minutes before workout:  Drink 5-10 g of BCAA’s in water.

During workout:  Mix the following ingredients in water and sip during your workout

  • Quick absorbing carbs (Dextrose/Maltodextrin) – How much (in grams of carbohydrates)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷3.  Ex. A 180lb male would have 60g of carbohydrates.
  • Protein (whey isolate, or hydrolyzed whey) – How much (in grams of protein)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷6.
  • 5-10 g of BCAA’s.

Immediately after workout: Drink 5-10 g of BCAA’s in water.

Building Muscle

20 minutes before workout:  Drink 10 g of BCAA’s in water.

During workout:  Mix the following ingredients in water and sip during your workout

  • Quick absorbing carbs (Dextrose/Maltodextrin) – How much (in grams of carbohydrates)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷3.
  • Protein (whey isolate, or hydrolyzed whey) – How much (in grams of protein)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷6.
  • 10 g of BCAA’s.

Immediately after workout:  Mix the following ingredients in water and drink

  • Quick absorbing carbs (Dextrose/Maltodextrin) – How much (in grams of carbohydrates)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷3
  • Protein (whey isolate, or hydrolyzed whey) – How much (in grams of protein)?  Bodyweight(lbs)÷6
  • 10 g of BCAA’s

That’s it.  Easy as pie.  Pick your goal, stick to the protocol, and watch yourself reach your goal.

Click on the image to buy some BCAA's!

Do you wonder what I’ve been up to lately?  Well, over these past 10 weeks, I decided to get lean.  Check out my results:

Before (Monday, May 2)

Weight: 199.8 lbs

Bodyfat Percentage: 20%

After (Saturday, June 16)

Weight: 178.6 lbs

Bodyfat Percentage: 10.5%

(Measurements were taken using the InBody 520)

How I Did It:  I ate for fat loss.  I trained for fat loss.  I didn’t joke around.  My daily calorie intake was my body weight (in lbs) x 10.  For example, the first week, I weighed approximately 200 lbs, so my calorie intake that week was 2000kcal per day.  To give you an idea of how low this number is, I was eating 3500kcal per day before I started this diet.  The only things I ate on this diet were: meat, eggs, lots of non-starchy vegetables (and I mean LOTS), olive oil, nuts, and the occasional tub of plain organic Greek yogurt.  That’s it.  This may shock you, but in order to get lean, you need to eat like a human is intended to eat.

I know that you may be wondering: what about fruit?  Fruit is awesome, and is great for you.  I didn’t eat it because I wanted my body to go into ketosis (think Atkins diet).   That’s right, no carbs.  Obviously, to every rule, there is an exception.  Every 2 weeks, I had a re-feed day.  On this re-feed day, I ate whatever I wanted.  Fruit? Oh ya.  Bread?  Yup.  Cake, ice cream, dessert?  Ya baby.  These days kept my body from going too far into ketosis, and got my metabolism revving again.  It may seem counter intuitive, but these days helped me lose more fat.  (My diet was a modification of The Get Shredded Diet by John Berardi).

In terms of training, I lifted weights 3 times per week (each session lasted under an hour).  On off days, I would take my TRX to the park (if it was nice out), or I would do barbell complexes in the gym (if I felt like it).  I only ran once during the whole 10 weeks: I sprinted intervals of 10 seconds (with 20 seconds rest) for a total of eight rounds.  I bet you that if I did do long distance running on this diet, I would have lost less fat.

My stomach on the second last day of my diet.

What I Learned: 

  • Even though I thought I was big and muscular before this diet, I was actually fat (in comparison).  There’s no point in being big and muscular if you can’t see your muscles underneath your fat.  From now on, I promise to not let myself get above 15% bodyfat.
  • Dieting is easy if you know how to cook.  For the first 2 weeks, I only ate salad.  It sucked.  I decided to start cooking more meals (because salads suck).  I would cook steak with fried tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil etc.  I would eat this meal 5 times a week.  I loved it (and I still do).
  • I learned the art of Intermittent Fasting (IF).  My caloric intake was so low that I was hungry every hour of the day.  No matter how many vegetables I ate (to try to feel full), I would still be hungry.  Thus, I started IF’ing.  This was the best idea of my life.  I would have an 8 hour eating window each day, and I would place it at the end of the day.  This way, I would go to bed feeling full.  As my ghrelin levels started to adapt, I wouldn’t even feel hungry during the fast.  (I will talk more about IF’ing in a future post.)  As of right now, I have no intentions on stopping my IF’ing lifestyle.
  • I learned what over-training feels like.  On week 10 of the diet, I had progressed up to some very hard Olympic lifting on my lifting days.  This drained me and I became over-trained.  Don’t let yourself become over-trained.  You will never reach your goals (unless your goal is to be over-trained).
  • I don’t enjoy the taste of food that is bad for me (with the exception of desserts).  For some reason, after finishing this diet, all I want to eat is healthy food.  Weird.
  • I have the power and knowledge to make my body look the way that I want it to.

What’s next?:  For the next 8 weeks I will be transitioning my eating to back to normal (slowly increasing calories and adding in meals with starchy carbs).  Transition dieting is the lost art of dieting.  It allows you to stay lean, and not gain back all of your fat that you lost.  Basically, I’m slowly introducing carbs back into my eating patterns, and slowing increasing my caloric intake.  After this transition, I plan to slowly gain some quality lean mass.  My goal is 8lbs of muscle in 8 months (I’ll keep you updated).  I won’t let myself get fat, I promise.

Now, time for some more pictures:

Should I take the red pill or the blue pill?...wait...What colour is viagara again?

I’m not going to lie; supplements are a staple in my diet.  Do I need them?  Perhaps.  Do I like them?  You bet I do.

It’s kind of funny.  People are either against supplements, or they support them.  I think that 99% of the population who are against supplement are oxymorons (not the correct definition, but you’ll understand my pun shortly).  The top 2 reasons that people are against supplements is that:

  1. People are afraid of synthetic forms of nutrients, and
  2. They think that they are able to get these nutrients through food.

The latter is actually a valid argument.  The former is BS.  Here’s what I have to say about that:  STOP EATING PROCESSED SH*T, GROW UP AND EAT LIKE AN ADULT, then (and only then), are you able to argue against #1.

Now, let’s get to the point.  I’m going to break down a select few (by few, I mean bunch) of supplements into three groups:  1. Mandatory for Everyday Health, 2. Not Mandatory – But Useful, and 3. Not Mandatory – But Awesome.

Click to buy some Fish Oil!

Mandatory for Everyday Health

  1. Fish Oil – Miracle Supplement.  Studies show that fish oil will:  boost metabolism, act as an anti-inflammatory, decrease body-fat percentage (one study found that a Fish-Oil-Supplementing-Group lost 2 lbs of fat and gained 2 lbs of muscle compared to a control group that didn’t change at all), better glucose and insulin tolerance, and a VAST amount of cardiovascular and blood lipid benefits.  AVOID COD LIVER OIL!  Talk about bang for your buck!  Dosage:  Dr. John Berardi, PhD recommends between 3-6 grams of EPA and DHA combined per day.  This dosage is usually 3x that of the recommendations on the label.  Listen to him; he’s the Doctor.  The supplement companies (who make the recommendations on the label) are not doctors.
  2. Vitamin D3 – Unless you’re a surfer, or you work outside all day, your vitamin D levels are probably low.  Vitamin D helps keep your bones and joints strong and healthy.  Recommendations:  Winter:  Take 4000IU’s each day.  Summer:  Take 2000IU’s each day.

Not Mandatory – But Useful

  1. Protein Powder – Try to get most of your protein from real food.  When that is not possible, it is advised to use a protein supplement.  Also, protein shakes are an awesome treat when you are on a very strict diet and need a “cheat meal”.  Recommendations:  Find a powder that has as little ingredients as possible.  The main protein source should be from either: whey isolate, milk protein, casein, rice protein, or a mixture of the four recommended.  The powder should not include any forms of sugar (look for a powder that has less than 2g of carbs per serving), and should be sweetened with stevia.
  2. Greens Supplements – If you’re not getting at least 6 cups of non-starchy vegetables a day, you need to use a greens supplement.  Greens supplements help restore the natural pH of your body (so you’re not too acidic – like vinegar, or basic – like bleach).  Recommendation:  Take 1-3 scoops daily.  Favourite Brand: Genuine Health Greens+ Daily Detox – Natural Tea Flavour.
  3. Workout Drinks – Before I begin: Workout Drinks are mandatory for athletes.  The best way to get the most out of your workout is to drink a workout beverage before, during, and/or after your workout.  The specifics of this topic are enough for a whole new article, so I’m going to stop now.  Recommendations:  For fat loss, sip on 5-10g of BCAA’s throughout your workout.  For everything else, drink a 2:1 carb:protein drink with 5-10g of BCAA’s.  Extra credit:  Adding creatine, and beta-alanine for individualized goals.
  4. ZMA – If you are lifting heavy weights, your body will need more zinc and magnesium for better recovery.  Also, this stuff helps some people sleep.  Recommendations:  Males: Take 3 capsules before bed.  Females:  Take 2 capsules before bed.

Not Mandatory – But Awesome

  1. Melatonin – If you’re having trouble sleeping, this is your absolute last resort (but it WILL work).  Be careful with this stuff (as it is one of the few hormones sold over-the-counter).  Dosage:  Take no more than 5mg as you lie down to sleep.
  2. Valerian Root – Valerian root is great for relaxing your body before bed.  I find that if I am jittery before bed, this is a great supplement to help me fall asleep (it also works amazingly with melatonin).  Dosage:  500-1000mg before bed.
  3. Creatine monohydrate – Before you say something:  it’s safe.  The more research that comes out, the more I fall in love with this supplement.  Besides the obvious strength and power gains, supplementing with creatine monohydrate has shown to have cognitive effects, positive energy effects, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly.  By the way, this supplement is mandatory if you are over the age of 50.  Dosage:  Men:  Take 5g (1 teaspoon) per day.  Women:  Take 2.5 g (1/2 teaspoon) per day.
  4. Beta-Alanine – This is my new favourite supplement.  Beta-Alanine helps buffer lactic acid, healing, muscle recovery, and muscle contraction.  In other words, you can run longer, play harder, lift heavier, and recover faster.  I have found that combining this supplement with creatine and BCAA’s is the single best athletic performance enhancer that is legal.  This has to be what drugs feel like.  Recommendations:  Research is very new concerning this topic.  I have found that I have best results with two 3.2g (1 teaspoon) dosages per day.  Take one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.  Warning, beta-alanine gives a temporary pins and needles feeling the first 1-2 weeks of dosing.

There you have it.  Everything you need to know.  I purposely didn’t include references because this is a blog, not a journal article.

Also, everything I wrote above is meant to be recommendations.  I am NOT a doctor, and I take no responsibility for whatever foolish ideas you come up with (taking creatine monohydrate until you have diarrhoea – which is a possible side effect if you take above 5g per day).

Good luck and happy supplementing.

Eat to Win

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Articles, Nutrition
Tags: , , ,

There are 168 hours in one week.  This is a fact.  When people aren’t happy with their bodies, they decide to go to the gym more.  Yet, how many hours a week do you workout?  Three? Five?  Ten?  This takes up approximately 2% to 6% of your time per week.  What are you doing the other 94% to 98%?  You’re eating.  Do you want an awesome body?  Well, you need to eat to win.

Eating to look and feel good isn’t as hard as you think.  The difficult part is forcing yourself to change.  People don’t like “change”.  Here is a fool proof plan to getting the body you want:

How it works.  Each week, you will start doing one new thing.  You will build on all these new things until you are eating to win.  For example, in the first week, you will do what it says in Week 1 below.  In the second week, you will do what is says in Week 1, and in Week 2.  In the third week, you will do what is says in Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 etc.

Week 1 – Take fish oil every day.  The benefits of fish oil range from a healthier heart to a better looking body.  John Berardi recommends getting 3-6 grams of EPA and DHA (combined) per day.

Week 2 – Only drink water or green tea.  Calorie containing drinks (including fruit juices) are stored as fat once digested.  Avoid them.

Week 3 – Only eat “real” food.  We all know that processed food is bad for you.  So why do you keep eating it?  Convenience.  What may be convenient for you now will not be convenient for you in a couple of years when you’re always feeling sick, and your joints hurt.  Avoid anything that isn’t found in nature.  For example, a carrot is found in nature, but a cracker is not.  Below is a sample list of “real” food:

Protein:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Bison
  • Venison
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Roughy
  • Eggs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Beans
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (no sugar)
  • Raw Unpasteurized Organic Milk
  • Protein powder (with less than 5g of carbs)

Vegetables:

  • Eat any vegetable you like (spinach is a great one)

Fruits:

  • Eat any fruit you like.  Only eat 1-4 pieces per day (unless you are trying to gain muscle, or are an athlete).

Starchy Carbohydrates:

  • Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Whole Oats
  • Corn
  • Quinoa

Fats:

  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Avacado
  • Nuts

Week 4 – Eat protein with every meal.  Take a look at the list above and pick a protein from it.  Make sure you’re having one of these (a portion the size of your palm) with every meal.

Take off the fingers and thumb. You have a palm.

Week 5 – Eat fat with every meal.  Take a look at the list above and pick a fat from it.  Make sure you’re having one of these (a portion the size of your 2 thumbs) with every meal.

Week 6 – Eat something every 3 – 4 hours.  If you force yourself to eat something (even a small snack) every 3 – 4 hours, you won’t find yourself overly hungry later in the day.  When people get too hungry, they tend to make poor meal decisions.

Week 7 – Eat vegetables with every meal.  Vegetables contain so many nutrients that I could write a whole article on it.  One portion of vegetables is the amount of two handfuls.  This rule may feel weird to follow at breakfast time, but after a while, it will be second nature.

This much vegetables!

Week 8 – Only eat Starchy Carbohydrates the first meal after a workout.  This concept is known as “nutrient timing”.  Basically, if you eat starchy carbs, they have a large chance of being stored as fat (unless it’s after a workout).  After a workout, starchy carbs help replenish energy stores and repair muscle.  This is a very powerful tip to losing body fat.  One portion of starchy carbs is one handful.

Cusp that hand, baby!

Week 9 – Eat 1 to 2 cheat meals each week.  Plan these meals at the start of the week so you have something to look forward to throughout the week.  I am a firm believer that cheat meals help you to stick to your eating habits.  Your cheat meal can be pizza, a piece of pie, some Doritos, a doughnut, or anything you like.  Just try not to overdo it.  If you feel sick after your cheat meal, you overdid it.

That’s it.  It’s literally that easy.  Gradually build upon this plan, and in 8 weeks, you’ll be on the road to the body you want.  These rules can be used to lose fat, gain massive amounts of muscle, feel better, or perform your best in an athletic event.

On the go often?  Prepare your meals in advance.  I often find myself cooking massive amounts of food at a time and storing them in Tupperware for future meals.  It’s fast, it’s quick, and it’s efficient.

Does this food sound dull?  Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of Gourmet Nutrition by John Berardi.  In my opinion, it’s the best cookbook on healthy eating available.  The recipes taste great, and also follow the rules above.

Gourmet Nutrition - Click the image above to order your copy today.

Good luck.