Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from Feb-April 2015

The past few months have been BUSY so I’ve been slacking on my personal web content. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up on my regular reading of awesome fitness and nutrition articles & videos.

Here are the ones I thought were worthy of sharing. If i’m sharing them here on my site, then obviously I think you could benefit from it as well! Enjoy!

Training

  1. Prioritize Your Mobility by Tony Gentilcore, CSCS
  2. High or Low Reps For Muscle Gains? by Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., CSCS, FNSCA
  3. Effects of Low-Versus High Load Resistance Training – Research Review by Lyle McDonald
  4. Measuring body fat percentage: It’s an accuracy thing – DEXA vs. Bod Pod by Kamal Patel, MBA MPH PhD(c)
  5.  Why Your Muscles Get Sore (and What You Can Do About It) by Beth Skwarecki
  6. What Happens to Your Body When You Skip the Gym? by K. Aleisha Fetters
  7. Cardio Makes You Fat and Apples Will Rise By Jose Antonio, PhD, FNSCA, FISSN
  8. WHAT THE HELL DOES “TONED” MEAN, ANYWAY? by James Fell
  9. Squats and Deadlifts Won’t Make Your Waist Blocky by Bret Contreras, MS, CSCS
  10. Strength vs. endurance: Does exercise type matter in the fight against obesity? from Science News

Nutrition

  1. 6 Side Effects of Creatine: Myths Debunked by by Ciaran Fairman, MS, CISSN
  2. No Soy for Your Grandparents! by Adel Moussa, PhD(c)
  3. Whey + Casein – A Superior Post-Workout Shake by Adel Moussa, PhD(c)
  4. Supplement Myths: Five Ridiculous Supplement Myths That Need To Go Away, Now by Kamal Patel, PhD(c) and Kurtis Frank
  5. Supplementing for better joint health by Kamal Patel, PhD(c)
  6. Does Diet Soda Increase Belly Fat? by James Fell
  7. 4 Science-based ‘Superfoods’ You Should Be Eating by Kamal Patel, PhD(c)
  8. Dietary Tracking Continuum – The Effortless Guide to Periodizing Your Nutrition (Guest Blog)
  9. Interview with Dr. Bill Campbell on Meal Frequency and Nutrient Timing Interview by Chris and Eric Martinez, CSCS, CISSN
  10. What Is Cholesterol and Why Should I Care About It? by Adam Dachis
  11. The science behind caffeine by Kamal Patel, PhD(c)
  12. The Caloric Deficit Cheat-Sheet by James Fell

Other but Relevant

  1. 10 Things to Consider When Choosing To Hire The Best Personal Trainer For You by Jon Goodman, CSCS
  2. How To Reheat 7 Foods You’ve Been Reheating Incorrectly (Until Now) by Mary Beth Quirk
  3. NSCA Update to CrossFit Inc Claims and Allegations by NSCA

 

 

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Strategies in Addressing Knee Pain: Part 1

Let’s face it: the muscles of the lower body get WORKED on a daily basis. Whether or not you are an elite athlete or an average Joe (or Jane) riding the keyboard, your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are carrying a lot of stress and tension. This tension can result in knee discomfort or pain over time especially if you do not regularly participate in any form of stretching, mobility work, or calisthenics.

A question I get from my private clients and online clients is how to address knee pain (because most of them squat a often). If you squat often or sit for prolonged periods of times, chances are you’ve experienced some knee discomfort at some point due to global stiffness in the large muscle groups such as the quads. There are a lot of ways to alleviate the discomfort and potentially prevent injury.

I always give credit where credit is due so with that being said, the information i’m relaying to you comes from Kelly Starrett, DPT and his book, Becoming a Supple Leopard. This book has been a PHENOMENAL resource to myself and my clients for helping to address issues with pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance.

Today’s video is going to show you several ways to attack that knee discomfort so you can get back to business.

According to Kelly, there are three ground rules to follow:

  1. When dealing with stiff fascia make sure you take your time and put quality effort into your soft tissue work to get the most out of it. Use techniques such as contract and relax, smash and floss, and pressure waving.
  2. Dedicate ~10 minutes per muscle area to clear out any stiffness or pain before moving on to the next area. It’s all about creating change and normalizing the function of the given muscle group.
  3. Utilize a mobility tool that will supply sufficient pressure such as a foam roller, lacrosse ball, softball, tennis ball, PVC pipe, or a barbell. Make the pressure relative to your body size i.e. soft foam rollers for beginners, dense ones for larger individuals with a lot of lean body mass.

 

 

 

References:
Starrett, Kelly, and Glen Cordoza. “The Systems: Area 7 – Anterior High Chain.” Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance. Las Vegas: Victory Belt, 2013. 322-29. Print.
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Whey Protein + Coffee = Pre-Workout!

When I posted THIS to Facebook, I think some people had really never thought of this before! It’s such a simple go-to when you’re in need of a high-protein meal snack while also looking for an energy boost.

Optimum Nutrition (one of my favorite brands) recently released a series of whey protein products with added natural caffeine and B-vitamins called Protein Energy. Currently, there are four flavors available on Amazon: Chocolate, Cinnamon Bun, Mocha Cappuccino, and Vanilla Latte. Right now I’m cycling back and forth between the Mocha Cappuccino and Cinnamon Bun. Both of which are great, especially the Mocha Cappuccino!

Each scoop has 10g of high quality whey protein isolate and concentrate along with 60mg caffeine derived from coffee and green tea extract. This is a great feature because it allows the consumer to tailor the amount of protein and caffeine for each serving by adding additional scoops. Assess your caffeine tolerance and try adding it to your favorite cup of copy for some extra energy anytime of the day or before a grueling training session!

Check out the Instagram video below on how I made my own pre-workout! Make sure to follow me for more great tips and videos!

 

 

 

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Must-Read Fitness and Nutrition Articles from January 2015

If you’re as passionate or interested in learning as much as you can concerning fitness and nutrition, here are just a few of the outstanding articles I read in January to expand your knowledge that aren’t overly heavy on the science.

Definitely give these a read when you have a moment because some of the topics may touch on areas you may be struggling with. Rest assured that if I’m sharing it on my website, then the author is VERY credible in the field.

In no particular order:

Nutrition

  1. Out-Supplement a Bad Diet by Jose Antonio PhD FISSN FNSCA
  2. An Ode to Nutrient Timing by Jose Antonio PhD FISSN FNSCA
  3. Nutrient Timing Revisited (video) by Alan Aragon, MS and Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS
  4. Detoxes: An Undefined Scam By Sol Orwell via Examine.com
  5. How Many Carbs Do You Need? By Nate Miyaki

Training

  1. 1 vs 3 vs 5 vs 100 sets By Jose Antonio PhD FISSN FNSCA
  2. Why do Peoples Knees Cave Inwards When They Squat? By Bret Contreras, MS, CSCS and The Strength Guys
  3. Why DUP is Better Than Linear Periodization – Guest Post by: Marc Lewis M.S.(c), CSCS, ACSM-CPT
  4. Eight Training Splits for Strength and Mass by Eric Bach, CSCS, PN1

 

 

 

 

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Should You Train During Illness?

It’s a new year, it’s a new you.

When 2015 arrived, you made a promise to yourself that you would train relentlessly and consistently to reach your aesthetic goals and improve your health.

But what if you became ill from all of the holiday traveling, feasting, drinking, and stress? You told yourself you would get back to the gym after the holidays and hit it hard to make up for the lost time from all of the holiday festivities.

It all started with the sniffles but you managed to keep it at bay for weeks. All of a sudden it became a full-blown cold or even worse the flu. Does that mean you’re training regimen should take a backseat?

Q: To train or not to train? That is the question.

You may not be feeling 100% which may cause you to second-guess whether or not you should train. Your symptoms along with the severity of illness will determine whether or not you should hit the gym or take some time off.

For example, if you’ve been hit with the common cold and are experiencing minor symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, mildly sore throat, and a little bit of a cough, then you are likely fine to proceed with the work out.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that any mild to moderate symptoms from the neck up are fine to continue exercising with. There is even research that points out that training with mild cold symptoms may even be beneficial to your recovery.

Use common sense and try not to go hard in the paint like Scottie Pippen driving to the basket when you’re not feeling 100%. Scale back on the intensity of your training sessions by gradually increasing the effort until you’re feeling back to normal. A rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of approximately 65% to 75% (both cardio and weight training) should suffice and may prevent exacerbating your current symptoms.

Dealing with fever or flu-like symptoms is an entirely different story. It is not recommended to engage in any exercise when experiencing fever or flu like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach bug, increased body temperature, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen lymph glands.

Any flu-like symptoms make you contagious to others in the initial stages not to mention that you’re also putting yourself at risk. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, take 1-2 weeks off until all symptoms reside and you feel closer to 100%. Generally speaking, symptoms from the neck down should be taken more seriously.

Q: How do I beat the cold or flu so I can return to training?

There are measures you can take to battle the cold and flu to keep your immune system fighting hard and at full potential. Some factors are controllable while others are not.

The things you can control would be to get adequate sleep, decrease mental stress, eat a well-balanced diet, and avoiding chronic fatigue. These are all factors that weaken the immune system which can lead to an increased chance of infection.

ACSM also points out that if you’re restricting calories for dieting purposes or going through a phase of rapid weight loss, then that could also leave you more prone to infection due to a possible lack of nutrients from food restriction.

Utilizing non-prescription medications may help to relieve symptoms to make you more comfortable. While they are no cure, they should aid in the resting and recovery process needed to get you back to normal.

Q: Are there supplements I can take to boost my immune system or help me recover sooner?

Yes, there is.

Most people tend to be deficient in the mineral zinc, which has been proven to help boost the immune system and fight off the common cold.

Oral and lozenge zinc supplements such as Cold-Eeze can help stave off the common cold at the first sight of symptoms and may prevent current symptoms from progressing. Follow the directions on the package of taking lozenges severals times a day and you should be well on your way to quicker recovery and/or preventing the onset of a cold.

Taking 1000mg-12000mg of Vitamin C can help reduce the duration of the common cold in physically active people and is a great daily preventative to prevent the common cold. Inactive individuals may not get as much benefit from Vitamin C supplementation as those that are very active.

Being stuck indoors too often also means you’re not getting enough Vitamin D, which is produced naturally in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Regular supplementation of Vitamin D3 taken in dosages of 2000IU daily with food may provide a laundry list of health benefits. It has been shown in research to help boost immunity by aiding in the formation of T-cells which help to fight off infections.

Take-Home Points and other recommendations:

  •  Don’t train if your symptoms stem from the neck down and are flu-related.
  • If deciding to train with a cold, make sure to bring a towel to the gym and wash hands frequently.
  • Make sure to spray and wipe down all equipment after each use to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Keep exercise intensity scaled back if dealing with mild cold symptoms.
  • Consume a well-balanced diet consisting of plenty of lean proteins to spare muscle wasting and also veggies and fruits for their micronutrient content.
  • Get quality sleep and ample amounts of it along with avoiding stress as much as possible.
  • Consider supplementing with Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Zinc to help prevent illness and speed up recovery time

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Nieman, David C., and Tom Weidner. “Exercise and the Common Cold.” ACSM Current Comment (n.d.): n. pag. American College of Sports Medicine. Web. <https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseandcommoncold.pdf>.

2. Nieman, David C. “Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Is Reduced in Physically Fit and Active Adults.” British Journal of Sports Medicine. N.p., 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/12/987>.

3. Orwell, Sol, and Kurts Frank. “Vitamin D – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/>.

4. Orwell, Sol, and Kurtis Frank. “Vitamin C – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+C/>.

5. Orwell, Sol, and Kurtis Frank. “Zinc – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2015. <http://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/>.

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Evolution of A Personal Trainer: Part 1

This topic of discussion spawned from a recent conversation with a friend that has been working with a personal trainer for quite some time at a corporate facility.

Her description of her experience with the trainer is one I often hear. This is not a horror story by any means but more of an observation on her part of her trainer’s lack of passion and motivation over the past few months.

Watch the video to hear my thoughts on the matter as well as what you should look for when deciding to hire a fitness professional to help you with your goals.

 

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How to Train and Eat for Optimal Endurance: Interview with Dr. Mike Ormsbee

This past summer, I had the pleasure of  attending the International Society of Sports Nutrition Annual Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL where the brightest minds in Sports Nutrition gathered to display some of their latest research. Out of all of the presentations, one stood out the most to me because it was an area I had little exposure to due to my bias of strength and hypertrophy training. Endurance exercise is not my forte but Dr. Mike Ormsbee’s presentation was VERY fascinating to me and had a lot of applicable take-aways. Grab your note pad and enjoy this interview that Mike took time to contribute to!

Mike, thanks again for your time and agreeing to this interview. Tell us about your educational background, area of study, and your interests outside of work.

My pleasure David. I earned a BS in Exercise Science from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. That was where I conducted my first research looking into caffeine, green tea, and ephedrine on metabolism and blood lipids under the direction of Dr. Paul Arciero. After graduating, I was hired as a Research Associate at Skidmore in Dr. Arciero’s laboratory where we studied the American Heart Association’s Diet and Exercise program and the Body-for-Life program that was very popular at that time. This study looked at body composition and weight, all sorts of hormonal changes, and performance in middle-aged men and women. It was really a great study.

From there, I took a Research Assistantship position to earn my MS in Exercise Physiology (focus in Performance Nutrition) with Dr. Matthew Vukovich at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. This was a huge change for a guy who grew up outside of Philadelphia and spent a lot of time in the Northeast. It was a great decision and my training was continued with nutritional manipulation and both endurance and resistance exercise training to focus on hormone changes, body composition, and performance.

After SDSU, I was accepted to Dr. Bob Hickner’s lab at East Carolina University where I earned a PhD in Bioenergetics (basically a combination of exercise science, physiology, and nutritional metabolism). This is where I worked extensively on the impact of resistance training on fat metabolism.

Nowadays, my research focus is in Human Performance and Sports Nutrition at The Florida State University where my lab studies Exercise and Nutritional Interventions and the Impact on Body Composition, Metabolism, Health and Performance. You can learn much more about the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine where I am now the Interim Director and the projects that all of my students are working on here: https://humansciences.fsu.edu/nutrition-food-exercise-sciences/.

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Outside of work, I am usually training for triathlon, at the gym, and traveling with my wife. We also run a consulting business called Ormsbee Fitness Consulting (www.mikeormsbee.com) which gives me a great chance to work with some local, national, and international clients.

You gave a very fascinating presentation this summer at the International Society of Sports Nutrition Annual Conference titled, “Resistance Training and Nutrition Strategies to Maintain Muscle Mass and Perform Optimally in Endurance Sports.” Why would an endurance athlete want to maintain their muscle mass?

There are many reasons. Superficially, one reason is to look good. It is no secret that scrawny, hunched over, poor posture, soft looking endurance athletes abound. But, most endurance athletes end up racing against themselves and really don’t compete on an elite level. So, keeping muscle mass helps you to stay strong, look good, and feel good. I think there is a way to keep a healthy mix of muscle mass while also performing quite well – but probably not at the super elite level.

Another reason is that muscle mass and strength are connected at least to some level and strength is an asset for a lot of triathlon races. Many endurance-minded people don’t realize that muscle mass (in the right proportion) is a huge benefit to endurance. Now, I’m not talking about huge bulky muscles, but muscle mass and strength. But when the muscle mass is too high, it can also impair performance (i.e. extra weight to lug around, cooling mechanisms, etc). It really comes down to what the goal of the individual person. For example, I lost almost 20 pounds for a 70.3 Ironman race but wanted to keep some muscle for aesthetic and performance reasons. Well, it is no secret that losing weight (if you can maintain power/strength) is a benefit to Endurance athletes. But the content of weight lost is another issue. Losing lots and lots of muscle is likely to impair performance or lead to injury. Towards the end of long races, muscular strength is going to help tremendously to get you through the last few miles or, perhaps, to surge past a competitor or go up a hill. Other potential areas of benefit are neuromuscular firing, motor unit recruitment, and functional mobility.

Also, for injury prevention, resistance training is a big deal. Just think about the recommendations that are given by physical therapists– it is never to go do more repetitive endurance exercise.

It seems a lot of endurance athletes do not engage in much strength training or resistance training in fear of gaining muscle. Why should they reconsider?

Just because you are strength training, does not mean you will get big bulky muscles. In fact, what I usually hear is that the athletes are lifting low-to-moderate (loads) for lots of repetitions. This is not the way to go. The research in this area clearly demonstrates that heavy weight with few repetitions (2 to 6) can keep strength high and add very minimal or no muscle mass. Study after study has demonstrated this with all sorts of endurance athletes.

There has been talk in the literature about concurrent strength and endurance training being incompatible. More recent data suggests the opposite. How does strength training enhance both short-term and long-term endurance performance?

Most of the talk about concurrent training being a problem is from the perspective of the strength/power athlete or bodybuilder. In that case, it does seem like endurance training may limit gains or negatively impact strength/power or muscle mass accumulation. However, for an endurance athlete’s perspective, adding strength training is enormously effective for improving performance (see answers above).

We know that repetition ranges between 8 and 12 reps is typically recommended if the goal is to produce gains in muscular size and cross-sectional area. Would it be advised for endurance athletes to minimize the amount of time spent training for hypertrophy with more emphasis on strength work in the 3 to ~8 rep range?

Yes, absolutely. The research and my experience with this clearly shows to limit training in higher rep ranges and focus on heavy weight, compound movements, and a lower rep range.

How many weeks out should an endurance athlete engage in strength training prior to competition day? Also, should the athlete taper the amount of of strength training days per week the closer it gets to race day?

Weight lifting should be periodized for endurance performance. So, in the off-season, lift for strength. Then as the season approaches, move into some strength but more power movements by lowering the weight and lifting more explosively. I would recommend lowering the number of weight workouts as the competition approaches too. For example, you might lift 3 x per week to start the off-season and as the “A” race approaches, you might only be lifting 1X/week. These days also do not need to be 90 minute battles. The lifting can be 30-45 minutes and still show a benefit. The idea is to earn the benefits from lifting but to do it in a way that does not impair endurance training. So, if you are too sore to move and perform your next endurance workout, then you likely did too much on the strength training day. Above all though is to remember that you are an endurance athlete so prioritizing those workouts is key.

I would try to have a weightlifting day scheduled as the second workout of the day or before a rest day or a recovery swim day. This seemed to minimize any soreness hangover.

What would be staple exercises to include in a strength training program for endurance athletes?

Squat (or Front Squat), Deadlift, Push Press, and cleans are essential movements. These movements hit all the needed muscles and the supportive muscles too. If there is a weakness in another area, then address that too. I usually include pullups and a chest press movement of some kind for health and aesthetic reasons.

In your presentation, you mentioned that body fat has more of an impact on total race times than body weight. How should an endurance athlete structure their diet to reduce their body fat? Would a caloric deficit be wise in relation to their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)?

This question is tough to answer because so many endurance athletes have different shapes, sizes, preferences, allergies, and needs. So, let me answer this a little differently. Some items to be aware of for everyday/normal endurance athletes to keep body fat low are:

1) Lift weights
2) Incorporate high-intensity training (it should not all be slow and long training)
3) Be honest about exercise intensity and the “reward” meal post-workout is probably too calorically dense
4) Be honest about exercise time — was it a 2 hour ride or was it 15 minutes pumping tires, 10 minutes waiting for friends to show up, 10 minutes waiting at stop lights and traffic signals, and only 75 minutes of riding? Keep that in mind so you are aware of all the gels, and sports drinks during exercise and re-think your refueling habits
5) Keep protein intake high to help with repair, recovery, satiation
6) Keep carbohydrates in check (not all rides require huge carb loads) and try to keep the starchy carbs to around the workout time (pre, during, post)
7) Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
8) Don’t forget good fat choices

After that sort of baseline plan, specifics would be implemented individually.

Should athletes training for an endurance event cycle their carbohydrate intake on days that they perform strength training and days that they do endurance work? What are other macronutrient considerations that are more specific to someone training for endurance?

I would just cycle carbs based on the amount of work done. On heavy training days, increase carb intake. On lighter days or off-days, lower carbohydrate intake. In general, just be aware of the relationship between work completed during training and what is really needed to refuel. Many times I see athletes over-eating, not lifting, and never going fast — this leads to the body comp issues that could be detrimental or just not wanted by age-groupers.

Do high performance athletes change their nutrition at different times in training or do they have a plan developed that is a template for the entire training cycle?

Not sure about this one, David. Each athlete is likely different. I think the question above gets at this though.

What supplements, if any, do you think are the most beneficial to an endurance athlete and are also proven to work?

Just like anyone, supplements can be incorporated into a great nutrition plan if the athlete wants this route or needs added convenience. What I found useful to use in an attempt to perform well and lose body fat were: protein supplements (convenience), multi-vitamin (I like the security blanket), creatine monohydrate (yes- benefits are seen for endurance athletes in strength, performance, and thermoregulation), beta-alanine (for buffering H+ ions during hard intervals), and caffeine (used strategically but not always).

Now, as for “supplements” meaning gels, GU’s and powders for during-exercise workouts or pre/post exercise, there are many choices that come down to how much you want to consume, what macronutrient ratio you want, and other things like electrolyte content, speed of digestion/absorption, etc.

What would you say is the one, most beneficial thing EVERYONE should be doing to improve their endurance performance?

Lift heavy weights with low reps at least 1X per week.

Mike, thanks again for your time and contribution to this interview. Where can the readers go to learn more about your research and any other relevant topics?

Thanks David! You can find much more about my research at http://issm.fsu.edu/research and more about Ormsbee Fitness Consulting at www.mikeormsbee.com.

 

 

 

MichaelIMG_9643 J. Ormsbee, PhD, CSCS, FACSM, FISSN is an Assistant Professor at The Florida State University where his research focus is in Human Performance and Sports Nutrition. His lab studies Exercise and Nutritional Interventions and the Impact on Body Composition, Metabolism, Health and Performance. Mike is now the Interim Director at the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine. You can find out much more about the projects Mike and his students are currently conducting here: http://issm.fsu.edu/research. If you’d like to reach out to Mike, he can be found on Twitter.

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Deadlifts > Everything

The deadlift is one of the best exercises of all time! As a matter of fact, if I had to choose one exercise to perform for the rest of my life, it would definitely be the barbell deadlift. My job as a strength & conditioning specialist is to effectively and properly get you to perform better while staying injury-free. I’d be glad to show you HOW to deadlift in person or via my Online Training. But first, let’s talk about WHY the deadlift is so gnarly.

Motions Involved

Deadlifts work just about every muscle in your body from your toes to your dome! For those of you that have performed heavy, single rep deadlifts, you may know the feeling of seeing stars, spots, or brief flashes of white. Shit gets righteous real quick!

Here is a full movement analysis of the lifting and lowering phase of the deadlift:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.09.20 PM

For those of you that are familiar with exercise science terms, you know that there is A LOT going on there in both the lifting and lowering phase of the deadlift. Eccentric muscle contractions are those that put the muscle in a lengthened/stretched position while under tension or load. Conversely, concentric muscle actions are those that place the muscle in a shortened position while generating force.  Hip extension is absolutely paramount for every sport or athletic endeavor. Unless you want to suck at sports, then i’d suggest you start picking up that bar!

Since the trunk is maintaining an extended position fighting the shearing force of the load during an isometric contraction, the end result leads to building a backside that looks like that of a Roman God! Strengthening the muscles of the spine that hold us erect will not only give you a sturdy posture but will likely prevent and/or resolve signs of back pain.

Again, you should immediately start deadlifting. Here’s a list of all the muscle groups involved:


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Sequence and Execution

Let’s make one thing clear, not everyone possesses the hip, thoracic spine, and ankle mobility to set up properly for the deadlift. This is where regularly incorporating mobility and flexibility training may help out in pulling that bar off the floor like a boss!

The deadlift is all about setting up to find the right amount of tension in your posterior chain (neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, calves) all while maintaining a stable lower back position to reduce to risk of injury. Upon lifting you should look like the picture on the left and NOT the right:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.47.32 PM
Avoid flexing (rounding) your lower back at all costs! This could lead to serious injury of the spinal discs in your lower back which could take you out of the game for weeks if not months. Lift smarter, not harder.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.50.55 PM

Make sure at the set up your shoulders are directly over the bar with your lats and hamstrings loaded with tension. Maintain a stable, minimally arched lower back. Remember, it’s all about tension! Imagine you have sheets of paper under your armpits that you are trying to pinch there and not let go. You should feel like your hamstrings are in a stretched position. Take a deep breath, squeeze your core muscles as if you were about to take a punch in the side. From there, rip and grip!

Here are some other tips and visuals for  a more detailed description:

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 1.55.12 PM

 

Overview

Whether your goal be putting on muscle, getting leaner, or not sucking at sports, then i’d highly suggest you start deadlifting and doing it OFTEN! The amount of benefits far out weigh the negatives (if there are any). You can build a lot of power, speed, and strength that will translate to other activities while also reaping the benefits of testosterone and growth hormone spikes from pulling heavy ass weight if your goal is to get yoked!

Dean Somerset wrote a fantastic article titled “55 Reasons Why the Deadlift Exercise is the Best of All Time” which I couldn’t have written any better. It’s a priceless piece that will teach you a lot while also making you LOL.

Performing the deadlift in a proper biomechanical fashion is critical not only for exercise efficiency but for your own safety. Improper movement patterns such as rounding of the lumbar spine can place a great deal of compressive stress, increasing the chance of injury.

As trainers or coaches, we should all watch for this with our clients or athletes to prevent serious injury. Make sure to watch the order in which the joints move starting at the knees, then the hip joint, and making sure the arms remain fully extended.

Enough talk. Who’s ready to lift some heavy stuff?!

 

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Got Macros? All About Protein: Part 3

This is a three-part article series where in Part 1, I answered the following questions:

  • What is protein?
  • What are great sources of protein?
  • How much protein do I need? Is more protein safe?

In Part 2, I discussed how dietary protein intake can largely effect your weight loss, weight gain, or body recomposition goals. There’s a couple more questions to tackle that tend to leave the public stumped due to the overwhelming amount of misinformation out there. Everyone wants to know what the BEST sources of protein are and when to consume them. Let’s break it down right meow…

The “Best” Sources of Protein

Figuratively, there are no “best” sources of protein, only the ones you choose to consume based on personal preferences & tolerance, goals, and other nutritional needs. Let’s be clear though, most of your daily caloric intake should consist of various protein sources from whole foods because they offer various sources of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients that most supplements can’t offer. Take salmon for example: it’s loaded with healthy Omega-3 fats and Vitamin D which I consider to be two of the most important nutrients to supplement in your existing balanced diet due to the plethora of positive research on them both.

Some protein sources are low in fat while others are high in fat. You may be able to include both depending on how flexible your diet is with your daily fat macronutrient targets. It’s all in how you balance it out day-to-day, week-to-week. Having more flexibility with your dieting will keep you more sane in the long run while still being able to make progress.

If you’re into eating the flesh of slaughtered animals like myself, choose from a variety of sources such as fish, fowl, red meats, pork, eggs, and dairy to fill out most of your day. If you’re into “meat is murder” lifestyle, your options may include protein sources from beans, nuts, soy, grains, and vegetables. More info on this topic can be found in Part 1.

Make sure to choose your meat and fish selection wisely because some cuts are much leaner than others. Leaner sources of most meats will be anything including key words such as skinless breasts, loin or tenderloin, or filet (i.e. chicken or turkey breast, pork tenderloin, sirloin, and filet mignon).

Keep in mind that one gram of fat is 9 calories so the fattier the meat, the higher the caloric content that serving will be. Fattier meat selections, which I would advise to eat sparingly depending on your goals, would be most ground meats that aren’t specified as being lean, thighs, ribeye steaks, strip steaks, or any fowl with skin still in tact. If you’re out for a nice steak dinner, opt for the top sirloin or filet if you’re feeling like a high roller.

Another great non-meat source of protein would be eggs. Protein from whole eggs is of very high quality mainly due to the ease of digestibility along with the added benefits from the yolk itself. Again, like fatty meats, if your goal is to limit fat intake throughout the day then I would also suggest limiting your whole egg intake and opt for the egg whites instead. Blending both whole eggs and egg whites may help to maintain the flavor of your eggs so an example would be to prepare your eggs in a 3:1 ratio of whites to yolk.

Dairy, for those that can tolerate it, is an exceptional source of protein as well. Dairy consists of milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, kefir, whey protein powder, and casein protein powders. If you’re dieting and monitoring calories, go with a reduced fat version of milks, cheeses, and yogurts. If you have more wiggle room in your daily caloric intake, opt for the full fat versions as the fat in dairy products may have other health boosting benefits. Cow’s milk is 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein by nature – both of which are of very high quality. This is another reason whey and casein proteins supplements are so popular. Not only do they offer convenience but they are very high quality sources of protein to meet your daily needs.

For my readers that are non-meat eaters, your sources of protein would not be considered the “best” due to the lack of quality of your protein sources. For more info on vegetarian sources of protein, see Part 1 of this series.

When Do I Eat Protein for the Best Results?

This is a loaded question with many possible ways of answering. I’m going to assume everyone that reads this is currently engaging in regular exercise and more importantly, regular weight training. I will say this: “When” you consume your protein is of less importance. How much you consume on a day-to-day basis is the more relevant question.

You may have heard that consuming 6 small meals a day keeps your metabolism elevated. This has been disproven for some time and is not supported in the scientific literature (3-5). There is no metabolic advantage to eating more frequent, small meals.

Personal preference and your daily schedule is what should dictate your meal frequency. Some studies report eating more often blunts hunger while others report spacing out larger less frequent meals keeps them more satiated (6-12). Point being, it comes down to personal preference.

At the end of the day, are you meeting your daily protein targets in 3 meals versus 6 meals? When matched calorie for calorie, you get the same result (11). This also goes without saying that the human body is very efficient at digesting protein whether it be in large amounts or small amounts.

Protein consumption surrounding your training times is likely the more important factor concerning any protein timing. Research indicates that eating an ample amount of protein a couple of hours before training and a few hours shortly after training will cover all your bases in terms of enhancing muscle recovery, preventing muscle breakdown, and setting the stage for new muscle growth (1). A great example would be to consume 25% of your target lean bodyweight in protein within a one to three-hour window  both before and after training (2).

So again, timing isn’t really as important. Just make sure you’re hitting your daily targets by not skipping out on protein at every meal. Staying consistent with that guideline will be sure to yield better result in your body composition over the long run!

 

References:

1. Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Nutrient timing revisited: Is there a post-exercise anabolic window? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Jan 29;10(1):5,2783-10-5.

2. Aragon, Alan. “Is There a Limit to How Much Protein the Body Can Use in a Single Meal?” Wannabebig. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.

3. Campbell B, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Sep 26;4:8.

4. Tipton KD, Wolfe RR. Protein and amino acids for athletes. J Sports Sci. 2004 Jan;22(1):65-79.

5. Symons TB, et al. A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Sep;109(9):1582-6.

6. Ohkawara K, Cornier MA, Kohrt WM, Melanson EL. Effects of increased meal frequency on fat oxidation and perceived hunger. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Feb;21(2):336-43.

7. Smeets AJ, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Acute effects on metabolism and appetite profile of one meal difference in the lower range of meal frequency. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1316-21.

8. Speechly DP, Rogers GG, Buffenstein R. Acute appetite reduction associated with an increased frequency of eating in obese males. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Nov;23(11):1151-9.

9. Speechly DP, Buffenstein R. Greater appetite control associated with an increased frequency of eating in lean males. Appetite. 1999 Dec;33(3):285-97.

10. Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CL, Martin CB, Campbell WW. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):818-24.

11. Cameron JD, Cyr MJ, Doucet E. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1098-101.

12. Leidy HJ, Armstrong CL, Tang M, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. The influence of higher protein intake and greater eating frequency on appetite control in overweight and obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep;18(9):1725-32.

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Is Your Protein Spiked?

Protein powders are used as a part of the diet to help meet individual protein requirements. Despite not being needed, they are very convenient. You need to be on top of your supplement knowledge though. A lot of shiesty protein supplement companies have been cutting your protein powder like cheap dope. Here’s how…

Check out your protein powder labels and read the ingredient portion very carefully. If your protein powder has special added ingredients such as taurine, glycine, creatine, or other non-protein ingredients then it’s likely your protein powder has been spiked. Supplement companies use cheap, non-protein amino acids  to boost the nitrogen content of the protein powder to pass a test making it seem as if the product has more protein than it actually does. Yeah, it’s a pretty slick move but you’d never know because the fancy label listed all of the added ingredients as special features!

So what do you do about it? Look for protein brands that list ONLY the protein product itself plus whichever sweeteners you prefer to see on your label. That’s it. Here is a very BRIEF list of brands that produce protein powders I’d recommend in no particular order:

1. Optimum Nutrition Whey Gold Standard

2. Dymatize

3. Trutein (whey, casein, and egg blend)

4. JYM Supplement Science Pro JYM (whey, casein, egg, and milk protein isolate blend)

5. Garden of Life Sport Whey

 

 

Posted in Fitness, Flexible Dieting, Macros, Nutrition, Protein, Supplements | 1 Comment
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