Monthly Archives: March 2012

I Love Joe & Joe Loves Me!

Not the man, the drink! It’s my only real vice. Here’s why Joe is such a good friend…

I found this great article in Muscle Mag on the #1 stimulant in the world. Passing along!

Caffeine and Sports Performance

“Research provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has shown that ingestion of 3-9 mg of caffeine per kilogram (kg) of body weight one hour prior to exercise increased endurance running and cycling performance of well-trained, recreational athletes in the laboratory. This correlates to approximately 2-6 regular size cups of coffee.The common explanation to why endurance is improved with caffeine is that muscle glycogen is spared. Glycogen is the stored energy in the muscle tissue that is broken down during exercise. Studies suggest that glycogen sparing may occur as a result of caffeine’s ability to increase fat availability for skeletal muscle use.

Improvements have been shown in athletes that perform short-term intense (near maximal) exercise lasting approximately five minutes. The reason may be a direct effect of caffeine on muscle contraction during anaerobic exercise.” Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

ources of Caffeine Caffeine Content
Coffee
Plain, brewed 8 oz

135 mg

Instant 8 oz 95 mg
Espresso 1 oz 30-50 mg
Plain, decaffeinated 8 oz 5 mg
Tea
Green tea 8 oz 25-40 mg
Black tea 8 oz 40-70 mg
Soft Drinks
Coca-Cola Classic 12 oz 34.5 mg
Diet Coke 12 oz 46.5 mg
Dr. Pepper 12 oz 42 mg
Mountain Dew 12 oz 55.5 mg
Pepsi-Cola 12 oz 37.5 mg
Sunkist Orange 12 oz 42 mg
Energy Drink
Full Throttle, 16 oz 144 mg
Red Bull, 8.5 oz 80 mg
SoBe No Fear 158 mg
Chocolates or Candies
Candy, milk chocolate 1 bar (1.5 oz) 9 mg
Candy, sweet chocolate 1 bar (1.45 oz) 27 mg
Cocoa mix, powder 3 tsp 5 mg
Puddings, chocolate, ready-to-eat 4 oz 9 mg
Medicine: Over the Counter
Excedrin 65 mg
Bayer Select Maximum Strength 65.4 mg
Midol Menstrual Maximum Strength 60 mg
NoDoz 100 mg 32.4 mg
Pain Reliever Tablets 65 mg
Vivarin 200 mg

 Read the rest of the article

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HOW TO “NOT” START A DIET

So, you wanna start a diet and get skinny.  Well hooray for you, good luck with that… nooo, don’t get mad… Just say’n…
 OK, I’m sorry.  My sarcasm stems from years and years of trying to drive this “how to”, point home.   After 3 health clubs, 2 weight loss reality tv shows, thousands of twitter and Facebook friends, and most importantly… my own life, this is what I’ve learned…

 ITS HARD AS A “MOFO” TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!!!!
How do we bear down, draw a line in the sand, and say NO MORE?  Wellllll…
The truth is, almost all cold-turkey diets don’t last!

Here is what I mean… 

This is what I call “the evolution of a diet”.

1. First, we try purge our house of everything tempting, unhealthy, or non-conducive to a new diet.  (most of us now will polish off  the rest of our ….fill in the blank… , beer, ice cream, Doritos..  instead of throwing it, or giving it, away)  

2. Then we research and grocery shop for the “healthy alternatives”.  Try to fill our houses with healthy foods and snacks. (shopping for any and everything that we can eat a dump truck load of and not get fat, instead of realizing, we must learn to eat a little less of everything)

3. Research diets.  (Monday, we are going to get a shot of, only god knows what, and eat 500 calories)

4. Join a gym.  (We might even hate working out, but all the magazines say we need to workout because lean muscle will burn calories while I sleep)

… Are you getting the point yet?  This is a recipe for disaster.  Yes, more than likely you will lose weight, maybe even hit your goals, BUT, you will have to change your belief system about food and activity if you ever plan to keep the weight off.  98% of all people, even if they hit their goals, will gain their weight back, and then some. 

So what should we do:

Here are some very realistic ways to begin to develop a lifestyle change that will lead to a healthy and successful diet conducive to weight loss and fuelling our performance in or out of the gym.

Week one: Educate and become aware.  

As you are eating this week, research your calories;  become aware of everything you are putting in your mouth.  Decide what really taste good, and decide what you might be able to do without.  Also become aware of when you might be eating for taste or actual hunger.  Sometimes we just have to suck-it-up-just-be-hungry !

Week two: Purge the naughty.
 Only purge the things that you deem a waste.  The foods and candies that you know will destroy every attempt at a healthy diet.  Continue to research healthy alternatives or substitutions for some of your vices.  Try not to binge other foods as a replacement.

Week three: Actual “diet” begins. 
I would be surprised if you havn’t noticed a slight change in your waist and a bump in your mood, but even if you havn’t… “STAY THE COURSE” It’s about to get fun…  Week three you must begin to look at the amount of food that you are consuming and compare it to what you are burning.  This means math… I know I hate math too.  The Harris-Benedict Formula will give you an estimate of your Basal Metabolic rate (calories burned at rest).

BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.76 x age in years )
BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )

Multiply this times our activity level and we can get a close estimate of calories burned per day.

Little to no exercise Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week) Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week) Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week) Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts) Daily calories needed = BMR x 1.9

As long as you eat fewer calories than that number, you will lose weight.  Unless you weigh and measure your food (not forever… just until you get a grip on portions and calories) you will never know how many calories you are taking in.  After you determine calories out and calories in, you can determine if and how fast you will lose some excess body weight. This is the week you must begin to decrease your portions.  Change the way you think!  That slight hungry feeling is your body wanting to be skinny, it is the feeling of your beautiful body burning gobs of fat.  Please embrace that small hunger feeling, do not chase it away with a burrito.

Week four: proteins, fats, carbs… 
now the most delicate part of this “blog Vomit”.  How do I make sure I’m losing fat and not muscle?  You have to determine where the calories you are eating are coming from.  There are a lot of great sites online for this, but you must still know your portions to get correct data.   My suggestion for anyone starting a diet and isn’t sure… if you are trying to decide between High protein, or low carb’s, or no fats, let’s just start with equal amounts (in calories) for all of these. In other words, 33% of your calories coming from every substrate except, of course, alcohol…  so on a 1200 calorie diet, you could eat 400 calories of protein, 400 calories of carbs, and yes… 400 calories of fats.  Don’t make this crazy hard, or what I call majoring-in-the-minors . Its’s just one meal at a time…

GNC Beyond Raw Seriously Motivating Video

If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will. This is the new line of products I’m on, (which I love by the way!)

FAT VS MUSCLE PART 2: Is Your Workout Getting You Fat?

As I said in Muscle vs. Fat Part 1, “All excess unused calories will be stored in your body.  It’s up to you HOW they are stored.

Runners Store Fat

Running is an activity, requiring moderate  intensity performed over a longer duration. Runners primarily (especially in highly trained runners) use slow twitch, slow fatiguing muscle fibers.  The primary fuel source for this activity dictated by duration, intensity, and muscles fiber type used is fat stores. As a runner, excess muscle will only slow you down, and protein stores are very heavy and dense and will only yield 4 calories of energy per gram (that’s why a runner’s body typically doesn’t have a lot of muscle – your body doesn’t want it).  In comparison, fat will give the athlete over twice as much energy per gram, and metabolically takes less energy to maintain at rest (this is why your body hoards it, whether you burn it all off running or not).

So even with a higher protein diet, any excess calories stored are prone to be stored as fat.  It is primal…  It is science.  Your body is always efficiently meeting the demands you are putting on it.  Here is what happens…  As your muscle atrophies,  you become lighter, and as you store more fat, you can run longer.  Congratulations, you are now skinnier and fatter.

Your body doesn’t give a crap if you can win a hot body contest. It’s programed to keep you alive despite the demands and tasks you set before it.  How you feel you should look is solely up to psychological and social parameters we put on ourselves.  How you perform, on the other hand,  is up to the demands you put on your body.

Bodybuilders Store Muscle

Building muscle, in a biological environment,  is hard and plays against the odds.  The human body finds very little use for excess muscle as it is dense and not very efficient for survival or providing energy.  Yes, when these proteins are broken down, some of the amino acids can be used on a cellular level, but our body has amino acid pools that already exist for this and are an efficient storage system for this.

Excess striated skeletal muscle is left (stored) as a useless luxury at best.  It’s nice to look at, but after the body has enough skeletal muscle to move and function, the rest becomes very inefficient, energy-wasting luggage we must carry around all day everyday.   In order for you to quit storing much needed valuable fat, in leu of storing heavy useless muscle, you must create an alternate environment that will primally dictate some sort of need,  so your body will begin to store muscle instead of fat.  So, how can we make this happen?

3 ways to Store Muscle NOT Fat:

1. Take away the need for your body to store excess calories as fat. Do not use long bouts of running or moderately intense exercises to control your weight.  Restrict calories instead, and try intervals of sprinting or higher intensity shorter duration activities. (sorry runners)

Quit long distance running > 5 miles.

2. Restrict excess calories.  All excess calories can be stored as fat.  Even if all you eat is pure protein and green vegetables, if you eat more than you burn, you will store these extra calories as fat. We must decrease our sugars and make sure we are getting quality proteins and fats (mono/poly unsaturated fatty acids) to support protein synthesis.

Eat less simple carbohydrates and increase protein if need be.

3.  Train Hard. You won’t store muscle, unless uou give your body a reason and a need to store the extra calories as muscle by,  intense, short duration, resistance training.

Train with resistance and intensity. 

DISCLAIMER FOR HATERS:
This was written with the “big picture in mind and trying to stay under 1000 words,  It would be impossible to site and discuss micro metabolic science within these parameters.  So unless you find something butt-a#* wrong… don’t be a “douschtard”.

FAT VS MUSCLE PART 1: Weighing It Out

“The excess calories we eat, and how we train, determines if our body is going to store our excess calories as fat or muscle, that can later be used as energy if the need arises.”

MYTH BUSTER

The purpose of this blog is to break down some of the controversy and myths about muscle and fat. I want to clarify the different factors our bodies experience in order to gain, or lose, fat and muscle.  Also, we should understand the purpose of muscle and fat as it pertains to biological and  metabolic function.

Before we can continue, I want to differentiate between a pound of fat and a pound of human adipose tissue, as well as, the difference in a pound of muscle and a pound of protein.  But as we do, lets all agree that a pound is a pound is a pound.  Yes?  And science will tell us that 1 pound of anything will equal 453.59 grams when discussing gross weight.

FAT

It isn’t fair to say a pound of body fat is equal to a pound of pure fat.  Body fat is also called adipose tissue and is comprised of about 80% pure fat.  This is where the math finally works out.  If one pound equals 453.59 grams, and 1 gram of fat yields 9.3 calories, then 1 pound of fat should yield 4,218 calories of energy. (1 pound=453.59g’ X 9.3-cal = 4218 calories) Yet, we know a pound of fat only gives us 3500 calories worth of energy.  This is because the fat we are referring to is truly “adipose tissue” which is composed of other cellular derivatives besides just pure fat.

MUSCLE

Here is why simple math just wont work.  Again 1 pound of muscle is 453.59 grams, and if there are 4 calories in 1 gram of protein, 1 pound of muscle would yield 1814 calories of energy, yet it does not.  The real numbers are much smaller and very controversial, but we can ball park it close to 1000 calories when talking about striated skeletal muscle.  Mostly because 1 pound of skeletal muscle is comprised of more than just pure protein.  Just as body fat is only 80% true fat, skeletal muscle is made up of more than just protein.  Muscle tissue would include  glycogen, fat ,and water.  Muscle  is also full of a circulatory network, as well as tendons and other structures that wouldn’t fall into “just protein”.

The good news is we don’t have to kill ourselves to figure all of this out.  You are kidding yourself if you are trying to dissect your calories down to this microbiological level.  Spend your energy on the big picture, which is: What are these two substrates purposed for in our body as they relate to metabolism and building a physically fit physique?  FUEL!

FAT/PROTEIN = FUEL

Fat serves many purposes for the body from protecting our vital organs to providing energy, and muscle provides necessary hormones and cellular structures needed to live, even second to second.  However, for this discussion, fats and proteins are nothing more than fuel sources.  Any and all excess unused calories will be stored in your body.  It’s up to you HOW they are stored. The excess calories we eat and how we train determines if our body is going to store our excess calories as fat or muscle, that can later be used as energy if the need arises.

A FAT BODY
When When you see a 250 pound obese person, do you think that extra adipose tissue is vital for his existence?  Does his body need 100 extra pounds for warmth, digesting vitamins, or neural and cellular function?  The answer is no…

A MUSCULAR BODY
Ok, what about when you see a 250 pound body builder, do you think his body looks at the excess skeletal muscle as vital for life?  He surely doesn’t need 20 inch biceps to sustain life.    The answer is still no.   In each case, their respective bodies have stored the extra calories as either fat or muscle depending on the food and  environment that organism has been subject to.  And the muscle and fat, when needed, will be broken back down and used as life-sustaining energy… nothing more.

FAT VS MUSCLE: PART 2

My next blog will offer tips on how to make sure you store what you WANT, not what your body wants.

DISCLAIMER FOR HATERS:
This was written with the “big picture in mind and trying to stay under 1000 words,  It would be impossible to site and discuss micro metabolic science within these parameters.  So unless you find something butt-a#* wrong… don’t be a “douschtard”.

Beyond Raw Journal: The 4-Week Mark

I love this challenge before me… To get shredded abs and not lose any lean mass, while becoming faster, stronger, and harder. It reminds me of the intricacies of training and diet.

So often we train and eat off of feelings and moods, only noticing huge unmeasurable changes. Only when those changes push the confines of our “gross” (meaning large and ambiguous) parameters do we stop and take notice.

For instance, instead of doing a body composition to measure my body’s relationship of size, weight, and fat ratio to muscle, I wake up one day and can’t button my jeans, my shirts are tighter (and not in the biceps), or I am huffing and puffing trying to get through a normal cardio workout.  So what gives?

Many of us don’t notice phenomenal changes in our bodies, whether good or bad, until they push past whatever limits we measure “our status quo”, by..ie. tight jeans.  By the time your clothes become noticeably uncomfortable, you could have gained 15-20 pounds.  Sometimes it’s seeing yourself in a picture that a friend just posted on Facebook and itlooks like you are hiding nuts in your mouth for winter.  Depositing a little fat here, and a little fat there, begins to creep up on you until the “DAY OF RECKONING”. The day you take a good and honest look at yourself and say “WTflip”

That day for me ,was 4 weeks ago now. As I prepair for FitStudio’s Mexico Body Camp (which by the way you TOTally need to ENTER to WIN), I decided “enough!“.  I researched some ideas for diet and training and supplementation and decided to dRAW a line in the sand.  I started by going back to a diet that works,  Mostly meats (fish, turkey, and chicken) and vegetables with “measured” occasional carbohydrates in the morning for fuel.  I also wanted to take my training up a notch, which in turn, would have to be supported by quality supplementation.

For training,  I am leaning on slightly more intense strength training, and four days a week of intense BCx (strenuous conditioning program).  But what about supplementation?  I am getting my fuel,  calories, and training squared away, so the biggest piece of the puzzle is rest and RE-building. What we wreck during our training, must be RE-paired.  Understand the way we get stronger, fitter, and faster is by punishing and overwhelming our bodies physically, to the point that “forced adaptation” must occur – if your body wants to survive the carnage you have planned in tomorrows workout.  If you don’t push your body past the limits you can already accommodate, there is no primal need for any physiological changes to occur, like fat loss and muscle gain.  But after a brutal workout, it is imperative that you RE-feed and rest your body on a physiological level.  Taking supplements that will drive your cells to RE-pair, RE-store, and adapt.  I believe I can say after 4 weeks, and some trial and error, I am really loving the brand new Beyond Raw products coming soon to GNC.

At first I was hoping to see my weight drop drastically. I did not. I was wanting to see my jeans fall off of me after at least a week of starting my diet.  They did not.  What is happening is even more interesting.  My weight has only dropped 5 pounds.  I peaked at 203 and I am down to 197.7.  My body fat is at 10% which is only down 1.5%, however, this is the leanest I have ever been this close to 200 pounds.  I have gained 3 pounds of muscle and lost 3 pounds of fat.  I have 6 more weeks to tweak the diet and come down 10 more pounds of fat, and to start to decrease my waist size again.  The biggest change I have noticed is my performance in the gym.  I turn 42 this year and I am lifting for more reps and heavier weights than I did in my 30’s.  During my bouts at BcX, I am keeping up with guys that I out weigh by 30 pounds.

It feels like I have the strength of  a 250 pound gorilla and the agility of a 25-year-old athlete.  I have seen this improvement over just 4 weeks.

The next 6 weeks, as I restrict more calories, I (and you too, if  I get the cahonies to post a pic) will see me maintain these adapted gains and decrease my bodyweight to show a body fat % of about 6.  The goal is to be able to perform and lift with the same intensity at 6% body fat,  as I am now at 10%, with no change in strength or energy.  So-far the RAW line has not let me down… 6 weeks to go!!!!

MEXICO OR BUST!

Enter to WIN a free trip to Riviera Maya and workout with us at one of the most amazing all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, El Dorado Royal!! FitStudio, powered by Sears, will be making 14 people very happy this spring! 7 winners will receive 2 tickets for an amazing fitness vacation experience with all of us at FitStudio!ENTER NOW!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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