Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Aging’

    •    Michael Jordan had one!

    •    Tiger Woods has one!

    •    Albert Pujols has one!

    •    Peyton Manning has one!

Okay, so what’s the “ONE” thing great athletes, CEO’s, World Leaders, and basically all successful people have in common?…A Coach!  As this blog grows (A special thanks to you guys who have been a part of that growth!) I believe it’s necessary to provide a clearly defined purpose.  It’s safe to say most successful people have a coach or coaches even, for different areas of their lives.  You all know what this blog is about (read the “About” if not) and I have a challenge of sorts which I hope you’ll embrace, and in doing so, I truly believe your life can improve dramatically….overnight.  The purpose of this blog is to coach, coach who?… Coach YOU!!  The following is the description Anthony Robbins gives in regards to what a coach is, and does.  I think it’s brilliant, yet simply worded and I couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂 and btw, that “challenge” is issued in the last sentence of the following description.   

What do coaches do?  Well, first, they care about you.  They’ve spent years focusing on an area of expertise, and they’ve continued to make key distinctions about how to produce results more quickly.  By utilizing the strategies your coach shares with you, you can immediately and dramatically change your performance.  Sometimes, your coach doesn’t even tell you something new, but reminds you of what you already know and then gets you to do it…. This is the role, with your permission, that I’ll be playing for you.”  ~A. Robbins

So that I may coach you to the best of my abilities, I encourage you to subscribe by entering your email address in the provided space to the left.  By subscribing you’ll be able to receive articles as they’re posted and improve you’re results that very day!  As I myself, am in constant search of ways to refine and perfect such abilities through research and the never ending quest for knowledge, as human performance is not just a passion of mine, I feel it’s my life’s purpose.  Thus, providing YOU the BENEFITS of applied knowledge, structured guidance, and continuous motivation.  

Thank you, I appreciate all of you!!
~ Jason Croce

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What the heck is a snack anyways? How many calories is it outside today?.

Pancreas…Insulin…Body Fat! Ohh My!!.

Insulin can be a double edge sword, it’s arguably the most anabolic hormone in the body.  At the same time, insulin also has the ability to become the body’s “fat storage hormone” so to speak.  Insulin is a peptide hormone released by the pancreas in response to an increase in blood sugar upon ingesting carbohydrates.  Most of the cells in the body have insulin receptor sites which bind to circulating insulin as it travels throughout the body.  Once attached to the binding receptor on the surface of a cell(s), the cells then activate other receptors designed to absorb glucose (as well as other macro/micro nutrients) from the blood stream into the cell itself.
    With a cliff-note explanation of insulin, the next critical factor is to understand why and how controlling it applies to a trained athlete.  Carbohydrates are measured by the Glycemic Index or GI(link to pull up chart).  The Glycemic Index is a numerical index that ranks carbs based on the conversion to glucose within the body.  For example, straight glucose which is sugar in it’s simplest form has a glycemic value of 100.  Where as an apple has a glycemic value of 38.  Therefore a food item with a lower GI number is going to breakdown at a slower rate than an item with a higher GI number (Note: I mention the glycemic index because it’s commonly known about, what’s less known about and in my opinion a far more important factor when discussing carbohydrate intake is the “Glycemic Load!”  This refers to the quantity of insulin released vs. the rate at which carbohydrate breakdown into glucose or shorter starch chains…an article about the glycemic index vs the glycemic load is in the works).  Choosing carbohydrates with a lower GI number requires less insulin to be released by the pancreas at one time allowing for more sustained energy.  This is important to know as an athlete for maintaining optimal energy levels throughout the entire game or training session.  It’s imperative as an elite athlete to learn and understand how certain foods, particularly carbohydrates affect your body in terms of energy, energy crash, digestibility, and performance to harness the mind and body to achieve peak performance levels each time stepping in the gym or on the field of play.
    Here’s a scenario… remember Thanksgiving dinner?  Afterwards, everyone becomes tired and lethargic while Uncle Larry snores away in the old recliner.  Chances are we’ve all heard or been told this happens because high amounts of the amino acid L-Tryptophan is contained in the turkey meat.  Well… more likely it’s due to the mass amount of carbohydrates and the drastic spike in insulin coupled with the amount of blood that rushes to the gut to start the digestion process.   As I said before it’s important for athletes to know how foods affect them as individuals, as there are a variety of factors that come into play, such as insulin resistance, the sport, body type, basal metabolic rate, food combinations etc.  This is why I feel it necessary for all athletes to keep a food journal with specific attention and note taking as to how the body feels day to day, and meal to meal.  In regards to insulin, it’s proven that a high fiber diet will have a positive effect on insulin control.  I also believe that combining a protein and green vegetable with a starchy carbohydrate will give an individual much better sustained energy levels over a longer time even under intense training conditions and games.  Now that’s not to say that glucose-fructose drinks like Gatorade don’t have their place during strenuous activities.  Remember how important hydration and electrolyte replenishment is.  I prefer to use Pedialyte in a performance based activity because it’s lower in sugar and higher in sodium than typical sports drinks.  Keep in mind that sodium is the most abundant electrolyte in the  human body and is excreted in large quantities during perspiration as well as respiration.  Consider this information when selecting foods, it can be especially important in planning meals that fall prior to a workout or game!

Lymphatic System Series (part 1 of 3)- Lymph.

When’s the last time you walked into the Doctor’s office and asked for a Lymphatic check-up or asked for a Lymph support formula at your local supplement retailer??  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, probably not very recently…what I really mean is, for 99% of people the answer is NEVER!!  The problem is, how can anyone really be expected to show concerned for, or lose sleep over something they know almost nothing about!?   I’ll be the first to admit, only as of recently have I truly been able to grasp the importance of this intricate system…The Lymphatic System is something you learn about briefly during the Circulatory and/or Immune System chapter’s in Anatomy and Physiology 101, and unless you’re a Pre-Med student that’s the last you really hear of it.  Even then I believe it’s importance is grossly ignored among Medical Professionals as a whole…why??  I’m going to let you in on a little secret…if Doctors truly “cured” their patients, they’d be out of a job before they could say, “scamming ain’t easy.”  Oh, and another thing, if we properly implemented nutrition and exercise programs to prevent health issues…we’d no long need massive amounts of medications from one of the most highly influential “groups” looming over our Country’s government…Pharmaceutical Companies (aka, Big Pharm…follow the money trail people)!  Okay, okay, I digress…my intention for this series on the Lymphatic System has absolutely nothing to do with neither myself nor a political soapbox!
The Lymph System is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph from tissues to the bloodstream.  The lymph system is a major component of the body’s immune system.  Because this system is rather complex, as well as it is truly unique and interesting, I’ve decided to make this a 3 part series as not to overwhelm (bore) you with information.  As I’ve said countless times before…The better and more complete of an understanding you have of the how’s and why’s in which we all function as humans, the more likely you all are to adhere to some of the ways in which it’s possible to optimize the benefits of lymphatic drainage(which I will certainly delve into) .

Part One: Lymph- (Latin; lympha “water goddess”)
Fact- The human body contains four times more lymph than it does blood!!…That statistic still blows my mind!  I purposely throw it out there to being with in order to stress the mere abundance of lymph…which in turn should spark your interest about a fluid that literally saturates your entire body.  If it doesn’t, I hear ignorance is bliss…continue!!  For those looking to maximize every aspect in which you can ensure a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life, let’s start from the beginning.
Lymph is a clear- to yellowish white fluid made up of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes, the cells that attack bacteria in the blood.  A portion of lymph is comprised of a fluid from the intestines called Chyle; chyle is a milky white fluid containing emulsified fat and other products of digestion, formed from chyle in the small intestines and conveyed by the lacteals and thoracic duct to the veins (Dictionary.com definition).  Lymph in the body is analogous to your cities sewage system…nobody pays much mind to it until stops working properly or gets clogged.
In order to best explain the formation of lymph, let’s backpedal for a moment…Blood supplies nutrients and important metabolites to the cells of a tissue and collects back the waste products they produce, which requires a change of respective constituents between the blood and tissue cells.  However, this exchange is not direct but instead is effected through an intermediary called interstitial fluid or tissue fluid that the blood forms.  Interstitial fluid (ISF) is the fluid that occupies the spaces between the cells and constitutes their immediate environment.  As the blood and the surrounding cells continually add and remove substances from the ISF, it’s composition continually changes (the process of  movement by which these fluids travel throughout the body will be discussed in depth in parts 2 & 3).  ISF forms at the arterial (coming from the heart) end of the capillaries because of the higher pressure of blood compared to veins, and most of it returns to its venous ends and venues; the rest (1%) enters the lymph capillaries as lymph.  Thus, lymph when formed is a watery clear liquid with the same composition as the ISF.  However, as it flows through the lymph nodes it comes in contact with blood, and tends to accumulate more cells (particularly, lymphocytes) and proteins.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump.  Lymph transport, therefore, is slow and sporadic.  As lymph circulates, it is pulled into the lymphatic system, an extensive network of vessels and capillaries which is linked to lymph nodes, small nodules which act as filters to trap unwanted substances in the lymph.  Lymph nodes also produce more white blood cells, refreshing the lymph before it’s pumped out of the lymphatic system and back into the body.  Lymph may not be as “showy” as blood, but it is related to an equally complex and ornate system of vessels…This is a good stopping point, by now I hope you have a better understanding about lymph, as well as, a brief introduction to the lymphatic system as a whole, and more importantly a preview or glimpse into part two of this series, where I’ll get into the circulation and re-circulation of lymph and the vessels that make it all possible.

You’re Being Lied To…By The Scale!.

    One of my early mentors in bodybuilding used a phrase to explain ones relationship w/ the scale.  “The scale doesn’t lie, but it sure don’t tell the truth!”  How is that possible!??  Allow me to start by tackling the age old question- “What’s the difference between losing weight and losing fat?”  The common belief is that if you simply reduce your caloric intake you will lose weight and change your body composition.  This approach becomes flawed very quickly!

“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

    When the body experiences a continual decrease in caloric intake, it will lose both fat and muscle.  As a result, the numbers on the scale will drop twice as quickly.  However, muscle comprises a machinery necessary to burn fat.  If you lose this fat burning machinery, your body will not be able to maintain the weight loss (less muscle = fewer calories burned).
When attempting to lose “weight” the primary goal is the retention or increase of the present lean muscle tissue, which will enable you to burn more fat and eat more food.  Typically, when designing a weight loss program often times people initially state that they won’t be able to consume the amount of food recommended.  However, it generally does not take long for most clients to become accustomed to, and enjoy the quantity of food.  Additionally, the elevation in caloric intake becomes necessary in order to increase lean muscle mass.  As previously stated…by increasing your lean muscle tissue this will increase ones ability to burn fat!

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Bottom Line…
Accomplishing muscle hypertrophy and/or body fat reduction requires continual manipulation of food consumed (potential energy measured in calories) and food used (work measured in calories).  When these two factors are equal (energy balance), there is no change in body mass.  This is also the state the body constantly strives to maintain.  In other words, every time the human body experiences an energy imbalance (mandatory for body mass change) it’s job is to bring the energy back into balance.  The body accomplishes this by adapting to the exercise and/or energy input (diet) and ultimately reaches a plateau.  At this point, an adjustment must be made in the energy output (exercise) and/or energy input (diet), if progress is desired.  The bodies obligatory response to energy imbalance creates the need for continual manipulation of food and work in order to achieve continuous progress.
The key to favorably altering body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle, therefore, simultaneously reducing the fat stores.  This is building or sustaining muscle at the expense of body fat.  This is the art and science (the fun stuff) of favorably altering body composition until you reach your goal.

People Don’t Plan to Fail… They Fail to Plan!.

TRAINING- CARDIO, WHEN AND WHY?

THERE ARE TWO TIMES OF DAY WHEN THE BODY’S ABILITY TO UTILIZE BODY FAT AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY (AKA LIPOLYSIS) IS AT IT’S PEAK. THE FIRST BEING IN THE MORNING RIGHT OUT OF BED ON AN EMPTY STOMACH AFTER HAVING FASTED FOR SEVERAL HOURS WHILE SLEEPING (HOPEFULLY). HOWEVER, I DO HIGHLY RECOMMEND DRINKING A LITER OF WATER, AND IDEALLY, ADDING SOME BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS TO ENSURE MUSCLE CATABOLISM IS HELD TO A MINIMUM (CURRENTLY STUDIES ARE SHOWING THAT FASTED CARDIO IS NOT THE END ALL BE ALL TO FAT LOSS, AND THAT ACTUALLY ADDING BCAA’S CAN INCREASE THE LIPOLYTIC EFFECTS INDUCED BY AEROBIC EXERCISE). THE KEY HERE IS TO MAINTAIN A HEART RATE OF NO HIGHER THAN 130 BEATS PER MINUTE (FOR MOST, GENERALLY SPEAKING) TO REMAIN IN AN AEROBIC ZONE. REMEMBER, FAT IS AN INEFFICIENT SOURCE OF ENERGY, THEREFORE IT’S PREFERRED DURING LOW INTENSITY EFFORTS WHERE THERE IS NO NEED TO BE EFFICIENT.
THE OTHER TIME WHEN CARDIO IS MOST EFFECTIVE TO BURN FAT IS FOLLOWING RESISTANCE TRAINING. DURING TRAINING ONE PERFORMS REPS BY REPEATED MUSCULAR CONTRACTIONS WHERE GLYCOGEN IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF ENERGY. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, YOU WON’T ACTUALLY DEPLETE GLYCOGEN LEVELS THAT MUCH UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN UNDERGOING DAYS ON A CARB DEPLETION. HOWEVER, BLOOD GLUCoSE LEVELS WILL BE LOWERED, HENCE THE OCCASIONAL BOUT OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR FOLLOWING AN INTENSE WORKOUT, DESPITE NOT FEELING ALL THAT GREAT, THE BODY’S LIPOLYTIC ABILITIES BECOME HEIGHTENED DURING THIS TIME; PROVIDED THE HEART RATE STAYS WITHIN THAT AEROBIC ZONE (65-75% OF MAX TARGET HR). ONE IMPORTANT THING I WANT TO POINT OUT IS THAT WHILE YOU MAY BURN A FEW HUNDRED CALORIES DURING A PARTICULAR CARDIO SESSION THE REAL BENEFIT COMES FROM YOUR ELEVATED CALORIC EXPENDITURE FOR THE OTHER 23 HOURS OF THE DAY. BE CONSISTENT, FOLLOW A HEALTHY NUTRITION PROGRAM, AND ABIDE BY THESE TWO SIMPLE RULES AND YOU’LL BE SURE TO INCREASE YOUR FAT BURNING ABILITY IN NO TIME.

NUTRITION- PRE/POST WORKOUT MEAL PLANNING

I LIKE TO THINK OF PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION AS THE BOOKENDS TO YOUR TRAINING SESSION; WITH THESE IN PLACE THE BODY IS STRONG AND STURDY, WITHOUT THEM THERE’S NO FOUNDATION. PRIOR TO RESISTANCE TRAINING YOU WILL WANT TO AVOID CARBS THAT ARE DRASTICALLY HIGH ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX DUE TO THE FACT THAT A RAPID SPIKE IN ENERGY WILL TRANSLATE TO A RAPID CRASH IN ENERGY. FOR MOST ATHLETES EATING A MEAL AN HOUR TO AN HOUR AND A HALF PRIOR TO TRAINING IS IDEAL. THIS ALLOWS FOR GLUCOSE TO ENTER THE BLOODSTREAM AND TO MAINTAIN ENERGY LEVELS THROUGHOUT THE WORKOUT. A FEW OF YOUR IDEAL PRE WORKOUT CARB CHOICES ARE OATMEAL, BROWN RICE, PASTA(YES DURHAM SEMOLINA IS ON THE LOWER END OF THE GI SCALE), AND SWEET POTATO JUST TO NAME A FEW. ONE PRINCIPLE THAT I USE WITH MY CLIENTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN PERFORMANCE BASED ACTIVITIES OR EVENTS, IS WHAT I CALL CARB STACKING. WITH THIS APPROACH I LIKE TO BLEND A MIXTURE OF HIGH AND LOW GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES, THIS ALLOWS FOR IMMEDIATE AS WELL AS SUSTAINED ENERGY TO ASSIST THE TRAINEE IN ACHIEVING PEAK PERFORMANCE THROUGHOUT THE DESIRED ACTIVITY. YOUR PRE WORKOUT PROTEIN INTAKE IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS RESEARCH TELLS US THAT 80% OF THE GLYCOGEN NEEDED DURING INTENSE TRAINING IS SYNTHESIZED THROUGH AMINO ACIDS. A LEAN MEAT SUCH AS CHICKEN OR A WHEY PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT WOULD SERVE QUITE WELL IN THIS SITUATION. ADDING A PROTEIN SOURCE WILL ALSO SLOW THE BREAKDOWN OF CARBOHYDRATES INTO GLUCOSE, THUS ALLOWING FOR A SLOWER, MORE CONSISTENT RISE IN BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS, RESULTING IN A MORE BALANCED RATE OF INSULIN SECRETION BY THE PANCREAS. INDIVIDUAL’S WITH A FASTER THAN NORMAL METABOLISM, GENERALLY ECTOMORPHIC BODY TYPES, MAY WANT TO ADD IN SOME ADDITIONAL CARBOHYDRATES, DUE TO THE ELEVATED RATE OF GASTRIC EMPTYING. ON THE FLIP SIDE, THOSE WITH SLOWER METABOLISMS MAY BENEFIT MORE BY ADDING MORE FIBROUS CARBOHYDRATES LIKE GREEN VEGGIES TO FURTHER SLOW THE BREAKDOWN FROM THE STARCHY CARBS, IN ORDER TO REGULATE INSULIN SPIKES TO A GREATER DEGREE. MY IDEA OF A PRE WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE A GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST, A MIXTURE OF WHITE AND BROWN RICE, AND A SMALL AMOUNT OF STEAMED BROCCOLI.
THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE WITH PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION IS WHERE YOUR PRE WORKOUT MEAL CONSISTS OF A SLOW DIGESTING OR A BLEND OF CARBOHYDRATES. POST WORKOUT SHOULD CONSIST OF A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB AS WELL AS AN EASILY DIGESTIBLE LIQUID PROTEIN SUCH AS A WHEY ISOLATE TO START THE RECOVERY PROCESS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB WILL REPLENISH GLYCOGEN LEVELS TO STARVING MUSCLES READY TO SOAK THEM UP LIKE A THIRSTY SPONGE. A LIQUID PROTEIN SOURCE WILL GET VITAL AMINO ACIDS TO THE MUSCLE FASTER THAN SOLID FOOD, WHICH ULTIMATELY BECOMES A LIQUID THROUGH THE DIGESTION PROCESS ANYHOW. MY IDEA OF AN IDEAL POST WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE WHEY PROTEIN POWDER MIXED WITH WATER AND A BAKED POTATO OR WHITE RICE. AFTER THAT I WOULD NOT WAIT LONGER THAN 2 HOURS TO HAVE YOUR POST/POST WORKOUT MEAL. USE THESE “ANABOLIC WINDOW’S” TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO MAXIMIZE YOUR RESULTS, THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN CONTINUOUSLY TAKING ONE STEP FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR HARD WORK BY BECOMING MORE AWARE OF YOUR BOOKENDS!! NOTE** WHEN STRIVING SOLEY TO REDUCE BODY FAT WHILE MAINTAINING LEAN MASS…MANY BODYBUILDER’S ONLY CONSUME PROTEIN AND ESSENTIAL FATS AFTER TRAINING. THIS APPROACH, WHILE NOT IDEAL FOR THOSE TRYING TO ADD THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MASS, DOES HAVE IT’S PLACE IN ANY NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOL ARSENAL WHEN THE MAIN GOAL IS TO REDUCE ONES BODY FAT!

SUPPLEMENT REVIEW — CREATINE!!… THE MOST RESEARCHED SPORTS SUPPLEMENT EVER!!

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE- In my experience when talking to coaches, parents, and fitness professionals creatine is one of the most controversial supplements pertaining to athletes. Over the past few years a number of variations of creatine have been developed. For our purposes I will be referring exclusively to creatine monohydrate as it is the most heavily studied sports supplements to date. In layman’s terms creatine is simply a chain of 3 amino acids; Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. Creatine can have many positive benefits to an athlete. First off creatine draws fluid into the muscle cell creating cell volumization. Greater cell volume means better nutrient synthesis which leads to a positive nitrogen balance therefore preventing catabolism. Creatine monohydrate also is catalyst to ATP production in the mitochondria of the cell. ATP is what gives the cell energy output allowing for greater contractile force over longer periods of time. The biggest issue against creatine I hear most often is that it causes muscle cramps and strains, and in some cases gas and bloating. My response to this is to keep in mind that with any supplement it’s a foreign object to the body and the body has two choices either to accept it or reject it. I believe that a high quality brand of creatine monohydrate will eliminate many of the stomach and intestinal irritation. As I stated, creatine works through cell volumization, so yes, you must keep your water intake elevated. Personally, I believe most muscle strain associated with creatine is from dehydration and probably would have occurred anyway. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied sports supplement and has yet to show any toxicity to the body. Foods that are naturally high in creatine are red meat, fish and poultry.