Pre-workout Meals

Pre-workout Meals

 

There are a few important things to consider in the pre-workout meal discussion. Timing, size, and content are the three key factors in choosing a great meal that will give you optimal performance levels.
Timing– Ideally, a meal should be eaten between 2 and 3 hours before a workout in order to give your body time to fully digest the protein, carbohydrates, and sugar that will be converted to fuel to power you through those grueling last few reps. For all you earlier birds, I don’t expect you to wake up at 3 Am to make an omelette. So your meal and portion size will be much different.
Size– Portion size is extremely important because you don’t want to feel bogged down or bloated during a workout. On that same token ensuring your muscles are properly fueled is vital to prevent muscle degredation. The preworkout meal and time before workout are directley correlated. The farther away you are from a workout (say 3 hours) the bigger your meal (probably full size). If you are grabbing something 15-20 minutes before it should be much smaller and generally in liquid form so it is easily digestable.
Content-An ideal pre-workout meal should consist of 20-30 grams of protein to keep your body in an anabolic state to prevent muscle breakdown during your workout. Along with the protein, 20-30 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates is also advisable.

A 2-3 hour prior example 

A turkey/chicken breast, spinach & tomato omelette with a small serving of steel cut oats. Low glycemic carbohydrates such as spinach and steel cut oats will be converted to energy and used as fuel during your workout. Low glycemic carbohydrates will keep your insulin from spiking which can lead an energy crash mid-workout. This meal is also low in fat and fiber which will make it easy to digest.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole cage free eggs
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ½ turkey/chicken breast
  •  ¼ cup dice tomatoes
  •  ½ cup cooked steel cut oats with cinnamon and blueberries

Nutritional Facts

  • Calories-400
  • Protein-30 grams
  • Carbohydrates-30 grams
  • Fat-6 grams
  • Fiber-8 grams

I like to workout in the late mornings so the first thing I do when I wake up is start off with a great breakfast that has an adequate source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. The protein will ensure there is no muscle breakdown and give your body a steady stream of fuel and amino acids through your workout. The carbs will be converted to energy while the fiber and fat will keep you feeling full throughout the pre-workout/workout period. Adequate hydration is also vital to prepare you body for a successful workout. Ensuring your muscles are hydrated will prevent cramping and optimize performance.

Now, for the early birds. (15-45 minutes before workout)

 

Home made protein shake

My protein shake is very generic but an effective, homemade recipe. I shoot for a 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio made with the following ingredients.

  • 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
  •  1/2 serving plain unflavored greek yogurt
  •  1 tbsp chia seeds
  •  ¼ cup of blueberries
  •  ½ banana
  •   1 scoop of unflavored 100% whey isolate protein powder (20-30 grams)
  •  3 grams of glutamine
  •   Ice cubes

Nutritional facts

  • Calories-300
  • Protein-25 grams
  • Carbohydrates- 30 grams
  • Fiber- 12 grams

A 2:1 or 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is ideal for refueling your muscles and replacing glycogen levels. Drink this shake within 30 minutes of your workout, or 30 minutes prior, to ensure your muscles receive healthy carbohydrates and protein from natural sources to rebuild muscle tissue that has been broken down during a workout. A liquid meal, such as a protein shake, is absorbed more quickly than solid food. The addition of fruit will help you restore your glycogen levels and transport protein to your muscles. Using natural foods such as fruit and unflavored yogurt will stabilize blood sugar levels and not cause a severe insulin spike that you get with most “store-bought” shakes due to the large amount of processed sugars and additives that are present.  The combination of chia seeds, fruit, yogurt, and almond milk provides an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. With such a wide array of products and additives that are present in many supplements and shakes, I always recommend people make their own, using unprocessed ingredients, to ensure your muscles receive the most bang for your buck. Here is a tip: Make your shake the night before and store it in the fridge to save yourself the hassle and cleanup in the morning.

Generally a medium-sized meal is recommended 2 hours before your workout to give your body a chance to digest and convert the food before you lift. With that being said, every person is different. Finding out what works best for you in terms of energy levels, muscle growth, and recovery is the most important thing. Whatever you do make sure you have a steady stream of energy to you can power through a tough workout.

Sorry about the recent hiatus and thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
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Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets

Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets

I read a great article on the Wall Street Journal that inspired this post.

Over the last 20 years marketers and food manufactures have coaxed consumers into believing that the cause of rising obesity rates is due to our surplus fat intake. Consumers make choices they believe are healthy based on “healthy labels” when in fact they are not.We’re bombarded with supposedly guilt-free options: baked potato chips, fat-free ice cream, low-fat candies, which people think are healthy options because they are marketed as “low-fat” or “natural”. Yes, a high amount of saturated fat and trans fat is not good, but healthy fats such as the monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect and are essential to a healthy/well-balanced diet.

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Saturated fats and trans fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

In recent years people have started to figure out that fat may not be main contributor to rising obesity rates, but a surplus of processed carbohydrates may actually be at the forefront of our problems. Cue, the “low-carb” diets where consumers restrict carb intake to under 100g/day. A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal claims that “A diet based on healthy carbohydrates—rather than a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet—offers the best chance of keeping weight off without bringing unwanted side effects”… and I couldn’t agree more.

The Study

Goal:  The study was designed to look at the impact of the three diets on measures of energy expenditure, in addition to assessing hormones, fat levels in the blood and other health markers.

  • Participants followed a low glycemic food plan that focused on  fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. The Study explains while people who follow a low-carb diet also lose weight effectively, they have trouble keeping it off and encounter unwanted side effects.
  • Participants were placed on one of three diets for a month: a low-fat diet limiting fats to 20% of total calories; a low-carbohydrate diet modeled on the Atkins diet, limiting carbohydrate intake to 10% of total calories; and a low-glycemic-index diet, which contained 40% of total calories from carbohydrates, 40% from fats and 20% from protein. Participants were then switched to the other two diets during two additional four-week periods.

Results

  • “The low-fat diet had the worst effect” on energy expenditure, Dr. Ludwig said. Participants on that diet also had increases in triglycerides, a type of fat, and lower levels of so-called good cholesterol. “We should avoid severely restricting any major nutrient and focus on the quality of the nutrient,”
  • The low-carb diet had the biggest boost in total energy expenditure, burning about 300 calories more per day than those on the low-fat diet—about the same as an hour of moderate exercise. But that bump came at a cost: increases in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a measure of inflammation called CRP, which can raise the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
  • Those on the low-glycemic-index diet burned about 150 calories a day more than those on the low-fat diet without any negative impacts on cholesterol levels or various hormones, making it the ideal diet, Dr. Ludwig said. The glycemic index measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood-sugar levels.

Conclusion and Takeaway

A balanced diet filled with healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates is ideal for loosing weight and keeping it off. Yes a low-carb diet can be effective, but you may develop other health risks, suffer from low energy levels, and risk  putting weight back on. Carbohydrates are used by our body as energy that can help sustain an efficient and worth-while workout. If your workout is jeopardized due to an nonavailability of adequate energy levels from carbohydrates then your exercise goals are compromised. Just to clarify; I am not advocating people go load up on pasta, breads, cereals, and other processed carbs. The key is to make sure the carbohydrates you do consume all come with a healthy dose of fiber and protein with a low glycemic index from things like fruit, vegetables, minimally processed oats and whole grains.

My Favorite Carb Sources

Quinoa

Steel Cut Oats

Black Beans

Source:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577490943279845790.html?mod=e2tw

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Balance Your Day With These Great Meals

Balance Your Day With These Great Meals

According to MayoClinic.com, eating more frequently reduces your risk of obesity by decreasing the blood insulin response to long fasts that increase fat storage and weight gain. It’s important to plan your grazing to ensure you eat the right amount of calories and get the vitamins and minerals you need over the span of 14-18 hours.

16 ounces of cold water

  • The first thing I do when I wake up is have 16 ounces of cold water. Water is the most important nutrient for your body and sleeping 6-10 hours without fluid intake induces mild dehydration.
  • Studies show that drinking cold water can increase metabolism as much as 25% for 2 hours after finishing.

 Breakfast

Half a grapefruit- Grapefruits are high in enzymes that burn fat. They have high amounts of water content which helps boost metabolism as well as containing numerous antioxidants.

  1. Calories- 40
  2. Carbs- 9g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sodium-0g
  6. Sugar-5g

2 eggs scrambled & chicken breast- Eggs and chicken are great sources of lean protein that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Studies show that a breakfast high in protein will keep you feeling full throughout the morning. 

  1. Calories- 300
  2. Carbs- 0g
  3. Fat- 13 g
  4. Protein- 37 g
  5. Sodium-270g
  6. Sugar-0g

Vegetable mix broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, & hummus- Vegetables in the morning allow you to get a good balance of vitamins and minerals to start of your day. Vegetables mixed with the healthy fats from the hummus can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

  1. Calories- 180
  2. Carbs- 25g
  3. Fat- 3 g
  4. Protein- 8 g
  5. Sodium-250g
  6. Sugar-9g

100% Organic arabica black coffeeCoffee beans are loaded with antioxidants that help combat cancer and prevent type 2 diabetes. 

  1. Calories- 5
  2. Carbs- 0g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 0 g
  5. Sodium-0g
  6. Sugar-0g

Mid Morning Snack 

Plain greek yogurt with whey protein/flaxseed – With twice the protein of normal yogurt and no preservatives or artificial flavors, greek yogurt paired with flaxseed and whey protein is a great source of probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids.

  1. Calories- 300
  2. Carbs- 12g
  3. Fat- 4g
  4. Protein- 38 g
  5. Sodium-100 g
  6. Sugar-11g
Kiwi-Kiwi fruits are rich in many vitamins, flavonoids and minerals. In particular, they contain a high amount of vitamin C (more than oranges), as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene.
  1. Calories- 50
  2. Carbs- 11g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sodium-0 g
  6. Sugar-7g

Lunch

Steel cut oats/quinoa with walnuts/chia seeds/mixed berries/cinnamon- This oatmeal blend is a great source of slow digesting carbohydrates that can be used for energy. The walnuts/berries/cinnamon provide healthy fats and potent antioxidants. For more info see on this meal see http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/14/steel-cut-oats-recipe/

  1. Calories- 390
  2. Carbs- 35 g
  3. Fat- 5 g
  4. Protein- 11 g
  5. Sodium-60 g
  6. Sugar-10g

Edamame- Soy beans are a great alternative source of protein and dietary fiber superstar. 

  1. Calories- 120
  2. Carbs- 10 g
  3. Fat- 5 g
  4. Protein- 11 g
  5. Sodium- 5 g
  6. Sugar-2 g

Post Workout

10 g of Branch Chain Amino Acids (during workout)BCAA’s support everything from anabolic muscle-building to high intensity endurance training and are among the 9 essential amino acids that help fuel muscle repair and recovery. 

100% Whey isolate protein (unflavored/no additives) with glutamine– A great source of protein with no added sugars or artificial flavors you get with most products. Glutamine helps minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism

  1. Calories- 120
  2. Carbs- 1 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 25 g
  5. Sodium- 30 g
  6. Sugar-1 g

Banana-Eating food rich in carbohydrates, like a banana, between 15 and 60 minutes after a workout is most advantageous to your muscles and glycogen recovery. The nutrition-rich fruit contains potassium, carbohydrates, protein and vitamin C.

  1. Calories- 100
  2. Carbs- 27 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sodium- 0 g
  6. Sugar-14 g

Mid Afternoon Snack

Broccoli with natural almond butter- Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse with noteworthy nutrients including vitamin a, c, beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, and fiber. Pair this with healthy monounsaturated fats and the protein you get with almond butter makes this combination a great snack.

  1. Calories 210
  2. Carbs- 12 g
  3. Fat- 16 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 80 g
  6. Sugar-3 g

Tea (Chinese oolong)-Tea is loaded with catechins which is essential in aiding your immune system and can reduce the risk of four of the major health problems: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.

Dinner

Wild Atlantic Salmon-Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and D as well as the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. This is also an excellent source of lean protein. 

  1. Calories 300
  2. Carbs- 0 g
  3. Fat- 20 g
  4. Protein- 35 g
  5. Sodium- 100 g
  6. Sugar-0 g

Brussels sprouts/mushroom/onion mix-Brussels sprouts are  high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. The sprouts are very high in fiber and belong to the disease-fighting cabbage  family.

  1. Calories 120
  2. Carbs- 10 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 10 g
  6. Sugar-4 g

Spinach salad with tomatoes/mixed peppers/avocado/flaxseed- Spinach is another super-food that should be apart of everyone’s daily regimen in combination with antioxidant loaded mixed peppers/tomatoes and the healthy fats from avocado and flaxseed make this a great side.

  1. Calories 150
  2. Carbs- 7 g
  3. Fat- 10 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 30 g
  6. Sugar-10 g
Nightime Snack
Cottage CheeseCottage cheese before bed gives you an excellent source of casein protein which is a slow absorbing protein that will help your muscles recover over night. 
  1. Calories 100
  2. Carbs- 0 g
  3. Fat- 2 g
  4. Protein- 15 g
  5. Sodium- 400 g
  6. Sugar-5 g

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

 

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

Studies have shown that regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450%!

This week’s blog can be found at http://www.builtlean.com/. This is another great health-orientated website and one that I will be writing for once a month. My article is the headline article on the homepage.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have questions or comments.

Kevin

Get Your Pasta Fix The Healthy Way

Get Your Pasta Fix The Healthy Way

The Problem

For those who have participated in a moderate level of competition or athletics you’re probably familiar with the term “carbo loading” with pasta. Complex carbs, like pasta, break down slowly in your digestive system and can help you sustain energy through a game, match, or workout. The problem is that 99% of the population doesn’t burn enough calories to require a high intake of complex carbohydrates from pastas and other carbohydrate-dense foods. However, people still love to eat pasta because it tastes great and easy to make.

The Solution

My recipe for a “pasta substitute” not only tastes better, but is lower in carbohydrates and made up of more vitamins and minerals. This pasta recipe can also curb hunger, increase energy levels, and deliver superior vitamins, minerals, and nutrition levels to your body.

The Ingredients (Makes 4 large servings or 6 medium servings)

  • 2 whole spaghetti squashes
  • 1 lb of shrimp
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • 4 cups of mushrooms
  • 2 whole tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 ounces of white wine
  • 1 tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. of balsamic
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil

The Nutritional Breakdown (per large serving)

  • Calories-400
  • Saturated Fat-1 gram
  • Protein-47 grams
  • Carbohydrates-27 grams
  • Sodium-800 mg
  • Sugar-11 grams
  • Fiber-10 grams

For those looking to take in more calories, top the pasta with avocado and brussels sprouts.

Nutritional Breakdown (with 1 serving of brussels sprouts and avocado)

  • Calories-520
  • Saturated Fat-1 gram
  • Protein-55 grams
  • Carbohydrates-37 grams
  • Sodium-900 mg
  • Sugar-11 grams
  • Fiber-17 grams

How This Recipe Compares To Competitors 

Olive Garden’s Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Calories-1220
  • Saturated Fat-47
  • Sodium-1350
  • Carbohydrates-99
  • Fiber-5
  • Protein-36
Olive Garden’s Chicken Parmesan
  • Calories-1090
  • Saturated Fat-18
  • Sodium-3380
  • Carbohydrates-79
  • Fiber-27
  • Protein-83
Olive Garden’s Seafood Alfredo
  • Calories-1020
  • Saturated Fat-31
  • Sodium-2430
  • Carbohydrates-88
  • Fiber-9
  • Protein-50
The Comparison 
Honestly, I shouldn’t even need to give a detailed explanation of the difference in nutrition as the results above are pretty staggering.  I will point out that besides having about 1/3 the amount of sodium and significantly lower carbs, calories, and saturated fats, the vitamins and minerals you get from the spaghetti squash itself is far superior to what you will obtain from traditional pasta noodles served at most restaurants. Spaghetti squash is loaded with vitamin C, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K… to name a few.
Cooking Instructions
Spaghetti Squash
1.Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise and clean out seeds and excess leftovers.
2. Lightly drizzle the inside edges of the spaghetti squash in oil to soften the insides. Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
3. Place the sliced mushrooms in the oven half way through squash cook time and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and fork the squash into spaghetti strands until the squash shell is bare.
Shrimp and Toppings (while squash cooks)
1.  Remove tails from shrimp.
2. Lightly coat a pan with canola oil and turn on a high temperature. Add the chopped garlic clove.
3. Add shrimp and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.
4. Add white wine to the edges of the pan.
5. Cook shrimp for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is disolved.
6. Add spinach and tomatoes.Cover and simmer on low.
7. Add cooked mushrooms, spaghetti squash, and seared shrimp, spinach, and tomato to a large bowl.
8. Top with avocado and add brussel sprouts. (optional)
This is a great alternative to generic pasta with meat. Also, this is just a foundation. If you are looking to add more protein or calories, mixing in other great stuff like chicken and black beans is highly encouraged. I hope you enjoy this recipe and I appreciate all the great feedback and questions I have been receiving. Thanks.
From Naples,
Kevin


The Ultimate Snack

The Ultimate Snack

I get more questions about this topic than any other. “What can I snack on that is low in carbohydrates but high in protein?” The truth is, you can only eat so much cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and nuts. (Which are also great snacks) Variety is one of the biggest challenges for people adjusting to a healthy nutrition regimen. “What food can I eat in between meals and at night?” Since chips, crackers, candy, and anything processed should be out of the question, options can be limited. However, here is one great option to give you some variety.

Home-made Beef Jerky

The Benefits

  • High in protein
  • Unprocessed
  • Low in fat
  • Versatile flavor choices
  • Low in sodium
  • Zero Carbohydrates
Why not just buy beef jerky?
Pre-packaged beef jerky possesses a few problems. Sodium(salt), saturated fat, and preservatives are the 3 downsides of pre-packaged jerky. The American Heart Association suggests keeping daily sodium levels under 1500 mg’s. One serving of pre-packaged beef jerky can contain up to 750 mgs of sodium or half your recommended daily amount. Preservatives are added to jerky to extend shelf life. Like any processed meats, sodium nitrite and MSG are concerns that can be detrimental to your health, especially in jerky products. Saturated fat for any red meat can be high, but with the home-made version you can buy a leaner meat or cut out excess fat.

 

Cooking Instructions

1. Start by cutting a 1-pound trimmed, strip steak into thin slices no more than 1/8 inch thick, 1 inch wide, and 3 inches long. (To make the steak easier to slice put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before slicing.)

2. Refrigerate the marinated steak overnight (or during the day) in a seal-able bowl or bag.

Options for a personalized marinade per 1lb of meat. (mix and match your favorites)

  • 2 chopped garlic cloves or equivalent in minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp A-1 sauce
  • 1 tbsp Teriyaki
  • 1 tbsp whiskey
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Curry
  • Onion
  • Cilantro

3. Place the strips on a baking rack and bake in the oven until strips are dry and moisture is absorbed. Place a baking sheet underneath the rack to prevent dripping.  (Between 45 and 60 minutes at 180 to 220 degrees)

4. Remove from the oven and refrigerate in a seal-able bag or bowl for a healthy protein-filled snack!


Conclusion

The versatility of ingredients in the marinade make this an attractive snack for people looking for some variety. My advice would be to make a bulk serving on sunday night to last you throughout the week. As I have discussed in my previous blog posts, aim for healthy snacks in between meals to make up 5 or 6 smaller meals per day instead of 3 large meals. Snacking is not the enemy. Unhealthy snacking is the enemy.

My suggestion

A snack that is high in protein and has large amounts of fiber is ideal. Mix some home-made jerky with a handful of walnuts for a healthy dose of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and useful calories. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From Naples,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

The 5 Exercise Mistakes You Could Be Making

The 5 Exercise Mistakes You Could Be Making

1.You are a victim of routine and habit:

Muscle memory is no myth. If you perform the same exercises and workouts every week, with no variation, your muscles will grow accustomed with them overtime and your fitness goals will severely plateau. Repitition of exercises allows the brain to become “hard-wired” with a simple, efficient circuitry that enables the activity. The brain and muscles no longer have to work hard to make that particular movement happen, so the activity “feels easy” to you, as if it were second nature.

My suggestion: Switch it up

  • I am all for getting in and sticking to a set routine, however, if you want to see progression in your fitness goals, whether it is bigger strength gains or more fat loss, vary your workouts/rep range/rest time.  You will see dramatic changes as your muscles will have to work harder to adapt to these new changes.

Great examples:

  1. Intervals vs. steady cardio. (see previous post for more specifics about this)
  2. Heavier weights with reps between 5 and 8 and allowing more rest in between rest.

2. You don’t get in a good warm-up:

The goal of any warm-up is to increase your heart rate, body temperature,. and blood flow to your muscles. The increase in these things will prepare you muscles and mind-set for the upcoming exercises. As a result, you will see better performance results and reduce chance of injury. Research over the last decade has shown static stretching cold muscles can actually inhibit performance and put you at greater risk of injury.

My suggestion: Perform movements that are specific to the exercises that will follow.

  • Activate the energy systems and muscles that are going to be required to complete your workout.
Great Examples:
  1. Jump Rope for 5 minutes- This gets both your legs and upper body involved at the same time.
  2. Dynamic stretch warm-up and not static stretching!-Do 5-10 minutes of dynamic movements that will get your blood flowing and major muscle groups activated. (bodyweight pushups, lunges, squats, or spider man crawls all work great)
3. You don’t do enough multi-joint movements:
Everyone wants more bang for their buck. So, why limit yourself to single joint movements or “isolated movements” when you can combine exercises and use multiple joints to build muscle, decrease fat, increase metabolic rate, and burn more calories, all at the same time.
My suggestion: Use multi-joint movements for the bulk or your exercises and supplement them with single joint movements.
  • Multi-joint movements will allow you to become a more functional and well conditioned athlete by using major muscle groups in conjunction with one another.
  • Supplementing multi joint movements with single joint movements will allow you to take care of the smaller and stabilizer muscles that can be overshadowed when doing multi-joint movements.
Great Examples:
  1. The old-fashioned back squat- Not only do squats activate all your lower body muscle group,  but it also activates your core muscles which are the foundation to your strength and posture. (utilizes knee,ankle, and hip joints)
  2. Dumbbell snatch- A great, functional exercise that utilizes major muscle groups such as your legs, core, and shoulders.

4. After all my suggestions you still do sit-ups:

Core is an essential component to a functional and strong body.Why is it that I continue to see people wasting time doing one of the most inefficient and outdated exercises today!

My suggestion: Trade in your old-fashioned sit ups for a core exercises that are more efficient

  • There still exists a common misconception that the key to a six-pack is by doing a bunch of sit-ups. False, the key to washboard abs is by losing stomach fat through a healthy(total body) exercise regimen and an all-natural diet.

Great Examples:

1. Plank on swiss ball- This exercise will force you to stabilize your core on an unbalanced surface.

2. Hanging leg raise- Targets your hipflexors and lower abs along with the rest of your core.

5. You don’t replenish your muscles after your workout:

“Approximately 30 minutes after intense exercise, the body optimizes its ability to replenish energy stores-particularly muscle and liver glycogen. This is also a critical time because the body instigates muscle protein synthesis for muscle tissue recovery and repair, replenishes fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat, and adapts to the stresses encountered in the workout.”

My Suggestion: Invest in a workout shaker and some tupperware.

  • Bringing a recovery powder to your workout will ensure you provide your muscles with adequate nutrition to fully recover immediately after finishing. Bringing some food in Tupperware is also a great way to ensure you are getting ample carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Depending on your sport and fitness goals, your post-workout shake should range from a 1:1 carb/protein ratio to 4:1 carb/protein  ratio if you are involved in more endurance activities and are trying to restore carbohydrate levels.

Great Example

1. 6oz of coconut water
6oz of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c yogurt, 1 banana
1 c frozen strawberries/blueberries
1 scoop whey protein powder
3-5 grams glutamine

For all those interested in fat loss, check out my good friend’s website Kellie Kaufman at https://wrapmeskinnywithkellie.myitworks.com/home. This may help you gain the edge and break through plateaus.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From Naples,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com


Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet

Ten Foods You Should Add To Your Diet 

These foods are probably foreign to most people however, they all pack a nutritional punch in terms of health benefits. Try and add a couple of these foods to your daily regimen for a more well-balanced diet. First, a great quote to start out the blog post that really puts things into perspective and something that really resonates for me right now in dealing with an injury.

To feel better, imagine the worst.  “Dont count your blessings; subtract them. “consciously spend a few minutes imagining what your life would be like without the good things. You’ll experience stronger feelings of love, gratitude, and happiness when you think about what life would be like without the people and things you love and, they’ll seem surprising and special again.”

-Psychologist Timothy Wilson

Exotic Berries- Goji and Acai

These two berries are super antioxidants that are loaded with several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. They work wonders on your immune system and help reduce the risk of some diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Benefits (Acai)

  • Loaded with antioxidants. (Twice the antioxidants of its cousin blueberries and 10 times more than red grapes)
  • Rich acai berries destroy cultured human cancer cells.
  • Provide an increase in energy.
  • Resistance to colds/flu.
  • Healthy and more youthful skin.
  • Promotion of weight loss.
  • High levels of omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids, which help the heart and cardiovascular systems.
  • A powerful anti aging food.
Benefits (Goji)
  • A high concentration of antioxidants.
  • Helps to slow down premature aging.
  • 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
  • A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats.
  • Loaded with dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • A great amino acid complex.
  • Vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.


Edamame

Also known as the soybean, edamame is a natural source of antioxidants that is made up of anywhere between 30% and 40% protein. A half-cup of these beans can have up to 11 grams of protein and are one of the few vegetarian proteins sources that have all nine of the essential amino acids the body can’t make. The fat in edamame is the heart-healthy kind, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol levels.

Benefits 

  • Great source of fiber.
  • Rich in vitamins B,C, and E.
  • Rich in magnesium, calcium, and iron.
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Improves bone health.
  • Help reduce certain types of cancer.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family that is loaded with antioxidants and can help aid in digestion. One cup of raw bok choy contains about half your daily requirement of Vitamin A, C, and K, while being low in fat, low-calorie, and low-carb.

Benefits

  • High in vitamin A, C, K, B6, calcium, dietary fiber, folate, and iron.
  • Lung, colon, prostate, and endometrial cancers seem to be reduced with bok choy intake.
  • Loaded with beta-carotene  which can help reduce muscular degeneration.

Lean Bison Meat

Bison or buffalo, is a lean protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. Buffalo offers an alternative to other commonly eaten lean proteins such as chicken breast, turkey, and pork tenderloin. In looking at the comparison table you can see it has more protein with fewer calories, less fat, and is lower in cholesterol than other protein sources.

Benefits

  • Bison spend their lives on grass and are generally not subjected to questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones.
  • A nutrient dense food because of the proportion in protein, fat, mineral, and fatty acids, to its caloric value.
  • Has a greater concentration of iron than other meats.
  • No growth hormones, steroids, or sub-therapeutic antibiotics. These animals are both environmentally friendly and people friendly.

Quinoa

Quinoa, considered the “mother of all grains”, is a complete protein, packing all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. Quinoa has about twice the protein of regular cereal grains, fewer carbohydrates, and even a dose of healthy fats. This is great gluten-free alternative to wheat carbohydrates.

Benefits

  • An awesome alternative to the proteins found in meat.
  • Entirely gluten-free.
  • A very good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus.
  • Great source of fiber that can provide cardiovascular health and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Canned Salmon

Canned salmon is a quick and easy way to get 1 of your 3 recommended servings of fish per week. Like other varieties of canned fish, canned salmon is a convenient protein source that contains healthy monounsaturated fats with no sugars or carbohydrates and contains lower mercury levels than canned tuna.

Benefits

  • A good source of  B-vitamins, especially vitamin B12.
  • Very low in environmental contaminants such as mercury and pesticide residues.
  • Contains an abundance of nutrients that protect your bones, prevent cardiovascular disease, and help keep you mentally sharp.
  • One cup of canned salmon provides almost 30% of the 1,000 mg of calcium you need each day.

Venison

Like bison meat, venison is a great low-saturated fat alternative to generic red meats. Venison comes from any large game animal like deer, elk, moose, or caribou. Venison is low in cholesterol and like any non-farm produced animal, is resistant to disease and does not live on a diet of antibiotics and steroids.

Benefits 

  • Venison houses fewer calories, less fat, and more iron than chicken breast.
  • Rich in various nutrients including proteins, iron, vitamin B12, B6, riboflavin, and niacin.
  • A great option for those who are vulnerable to heart disease.
  • Can help increase energy and boost your metabolism.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent snack that is low in fat and carbohydrates, but packed with protein. Cottage cheese is a favorite food among athletes, weightlifters, and dieters for its high content of casein protein, or slow digesting protein. Research suggests that cottage cheese makes a great late night snack to allow your body to utilize the slow digesting protein while you sleep and can also help your muscles to recover.

Benefits

  • A good course of calcium, with vitamin D.
  • Great source of casein protein.
  • Helps control your appetite.
  • Great nighttime snack to keep you from feeling hungry while you sleep.

Spaghetti Squash

Comparison of  spaghetti squash noodles to one cup of enriched white spaghetti

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to high-glycemic carbs that are associated with most white and wheat pastas. Spaghetti squash gives you the advantage of not spiking your insulin and is relatively low in carbohydrates. The low caloric value will allow you too add more natural ingredients to your spaghetti, such as more proteins and vegetables, versus getting calories from processed white or wheat noodles.

Benefits

  • Rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • High levels of vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folate, beta carotene, and more.
  • Can promote brain function while inhibiting inflammation.
  • Great alternative to high-carb/high calorie pastas.

Chia Seeds

There was a great article this week in the Wall Street Journal about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and how he lives and dies by chia seeds… Seems like my kind of guy. Chia seeds are another complete source of dietary protein, providing all the essential amino acids. They can make a great addition to your morning oatmeal or shake.

Benefits

  • Highest plant-based source of omega 3’s.
  • Rich in dietary fiber and protein.
  • Doesn’t carry the health concerns of flax seeds.
  • Naturally gluten-free.
  • Large amounts of B-vitamins and calcium.
  • Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they hold around 10 times their weight in water. For athletes, this is a good thing, helping hydration during exercise.

Adding these foods to your diet will give you some great nutritional benefits and help you to yield greater results whether you are trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain a healthy balance. Thanks for reading.

From Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com

Essential Vitamins and Supplements

Essential Vitamins and Supplements

Beginning the search for adequate supplements is undoubtedly overwhelming. The first question one should ask when considering what to potentially take is “what am I trying to accomplish?” There is an array of over-the-counter supplements on the market claiming to cater to a variety of individuals. It is important to note that there are still many different needs among individuals.

The best way to approach one’s personal needs is by adjusting food intake rather than attempting to make up for deficiencies through supplements. By following the advice posted in past blogs, it is relatively easy to develop an idea of how an optimal athletic diet should look. With that being said, there are a few basic supplements that are beneficial to most people.

I conducted a survey using 50 people and asked them what supplements they took on a daily basis to identify trends, beliefs, and ideas, about the health/wellness and performance market.

Demographics of the survey

-30 professional athletes between ages of 20 and 30 years old (NFL, NHL, AHL, Professional Golf, were some of the individuals surveyed)

-20 physically active people or fitness enthusiasts ranging from 20 to 60 years old (Both men and women)

-Most of the athletes were in-season and mentioned that the amount of performance enhancers they take (such as protein and creatine) were generally increased in the off-season. Here are the results.

  • The difference in vitamin/supplement intake was extremely widespread 
  • I had 3 Responses that indicated ZERO vitamins/supplements were taken on a daily basis.
  • Here is the other end of the spectrum for a typical day:

Example 1:

  1. 1 multi vitamin,
  2. 2 kre alkalyn 1500mg,
  3.  1 fish oil 1000 mg,
  4. 1 vitamin D 5000 IU,
  5. 1 b-12 1000 mcg,
  6. 3 zinc liver chelate,
  7. 1 protein shake

Example 2:

  1. 3,000 mg fish oil
  2. Multi vitamin
  3. 500-1000 mg green tea extract
  4. 800 iu vitamin D
  5. 1000 mg acetyl-L-Carnitine
  6. 400 mg alpha-lipoid acid
  7. Beta-Alanine-about 3000 mg-ish
There is no right or wrong answer here. I just wanted to show you the difference in the entire spectrum.  Below is a synopsis of the most abundant vitamins reported in the survey.

Multi-vitamins

A well-balanced multivitamin will probably seal up any cracks in one’s diet, provided the individual is consistently getting proper nutrition. Reportedly, 35% of people in the U.S  use  some sort of multivitamin-multimineral supplement. However, some of the most important nutrients like fiber and omega 3 fats are not present in any multi-vitamins. Even if you have an extremely healthy diet, you are likely missing out on some things depending on the time of year and foods available at your store/market.

Remember that less is more when choosing which multi-vitamin to take. You can probably get a high quality vitamin by purchasing something like a USANA multi-pack vitamin which is 130$… or get nearly the same contents by paying 10$ for a generic brand. It is hard enough for our body to break down and effectively use the contents of any pill. Some multi-vitamins are flawed on the side of having more nutrients in a single pill than the human body is capable of breaking down and effectively using. With that being said, I strongly suggest everyone take a multivitamin every day. The following guidelines will help one find the most effective daily vitamin:

  • Look for a vitamin that is formulated around 100% DV(daily value) for most nutrients
  • Most B vitamins may be higher than 100% DV
  • Make sure it has at least 100% DV for Vitamin D
  • Avoid vitamins with more than 100% DV for Vitamin A, Zinc, and Iron
  • Don’t be lured by added herbs. There is little evidence multi-vitamins with added herbs have any benefits
Here is an example of a generic daily multivitamin. (You can basically get 2 year’s worth for 10$)
Centrum multivitamin ingredients

Protein/Recovery Shake

The other supplement that would be beneficial, barring the right product and serving size is being used, is a Whey Protein/BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids)/Carbohydrate replacement shake. It is hard to say exactly which brand is the best because each product caters to different individuals. A shake can beneficial for helping to restore muscle fibers, ensure adequate protein levels, or refuel after exercise. I don’t want to get too specific on this subject because I will be doing a separate blog on recovery where I will go more in depth in a couple weeks. In general, evidence supports that the faster an athlete consumes a shake after a workout, the faster the supplement can begin to help muscles recover. Those that were surveyed drank some sort of protein/carbohydrate/glutamine/greens combination post exercise. So again, this is highly recommended, but more on the specifics to come later this month.

Fish oil

When choosing a fish oil, add up the EPA/DHA portion of omega 3’s, as these are the most important. At a minimum, you should be getting 500 mg/day of EPA/DHA, and several studies and people I surveyed had up to 4000 mg of DHA/EPA per day. Some studies show that too much fish oil can increase LDL (bad cholesterol levels) and If you have a diet filled with foods like salmon, flax seeds, walnuts or kale, you may not need a supplement. However, most people can greatly benefit from a fish oil supplement. It seems like the list is never-ending, but here is a list of the most important potential benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

#1 – Improves Mental Health

#2 – Lowers Cholesterol

#3 – Lowers Triglyceride Levels

#4 – Reduces Inflammation In The Body

#5 – Eliminates Joint Pain

#6 – Improves Your Skin

#7 – Promotes Weight/Fat Loss

#8 – May Prevent Schizophrenia

#9 – Improves Brain Function In Babies

#10 – Increases Your Focus

#11 – Reduces Post-Partum Depression

#12 – Improves Vision

#13 – Reduces Soreness From Weight Training

#14 – Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

#15 – May Slow Breast Tumor Growth

#16 – Improves Cardiovascular Health

#17 – Eases The Effects Of Alzheimer’s Disease

#18 – Improves Cognitive Function

#19 – Stabilizes Mood

#20 – Decreases Blood Pressure

Vitamin D (focusing mainly on Vitamin D3)

In the winter, Vitamin D deficiency is a world-wide epidemic, with recent estimates indicating greater than 50% of the global population is at risk. Some studies show that up to 75% of the US had an insufficient amount of Vitamin D. Reportedly, two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week is adequate for your body to naturally produce the necessary amounts of vitamin D. However, in the winter(especially here in Norway) the body cannot absorb these natural levels of vitamin D from the sun. In this case, a supplement is needed. Recomended intake: between 500 and 5000 IU’s (international units). I take a 3000 IU supplement in the winter.

Vitamin C

Probably the “best known” vitamin and most popular in the health and wellness market. The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 50-60 milligrams per day, but higher levels can strengthen your immune system even more. Vitamin C helps form collagen and maintain such body parts as bones, cartilage, muscle, veins, capillaries, and teeth. Here is a list of some of the benefits.

  • Repairs tissue
  • Heal bones and wounds
  • Maintains health skin
  • Fights infection
  • Helps your body absorb iron
  • Building strong bones and teeth
  • Acting as an agent to hold new cells together
  • Supporting various metabolic processes
  • Boosts immune system
  • Potent antioxidant
Foods high in Vitamin C

If you are consuming these foods, a vitamin c supplement is not necessary. However, during cold and flu season, aiding your immune system with a vitamin C tablet could be beneficial.

B Vitamins

A Vitamin B-complex is used for ENERGY PRODUCTION and increases your metabolism.  Vitamin B is needed to help convert the carbohydrates we eat into glucose and eventually to usable energy.  Deficiencies in Vitamin B can lead to lethargy and fatigue. The best forms of B vitamins are from natural/unprocessed foods such as meat, turkey and tuna, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, and beans. Because there are several Vitamins the make up a B complex, recommended daily allowance is tough to pinpoint. If you have a healthy diet filled with these foods, you are most likely reaching your recommended Vitamin B levels. With that being said, if you feel lethargic or fatigued, give a vitamin B-complex a shot to see if it aids in your energy levels.

Calcium/Magnesium

Calcium’s best-known role in the body is strengthening your bones and teeth. But, it also facilitates muscle activities including lifting, pushing and pulling, and plays an important role in the circulatory system by keeping blood moving efficiently. The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg daily. Like calcium, magnesium supports bone and tooth structure and plays a role in muscle contraction and relaxation,  as well as helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Recommended daily amount is between 300 and 400 mg. Paired calcium and magnesium supplements are a powerful combination of minerals that complement one another. For instance, calcium primarily causes contraction of muscles and vessels while magnesium primarily causes relaxation. If your intake of any of the foods below are adequate you can probably do without a calcium/magnesium supplement.

Foods high in magnesium

Conclusion

There is no “correct” universal supplementation plan. Supplement intake should be based on what areas you think you are lacking in your diet. I strongly encourage everyone to take a daily multi-vitamin because as discussed before, it can help seal up any cracks in your otherwise, well-balanced diet. Other than that, each daily supplement regiment is very individualized. My general recommendation;

  • 1 Daily Multi Vitamin
  • 1 Fish oil supplement (aim for at least 800 mg DHA/EPA)
  • 1 Recovery Shake (post exercise)
  • 1 Vitamin d supplement (in the winter only)

Special thanks to all those who took part in the survey and Ben Ryan for helping with the blog.

From Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com