Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans and other living things throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions, but which the organism itself cannot produce.  (Canadian UNICEF Committee, Global Child Survival and Health, 2006, p.67)

I tend to find that many athletes underestimate the importance of vitamins and minerals, that’s why I found it appropriate to start this blog with the acronym, CHOPKINS Cafe MG.  This acronym stands for the bio elements that make up the fundamental structures of all living things; carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, nitrogen, calcium, iron, and magnesium.  Quite simply, these are the “bare necessities” needed for mammalian existence.  Vitamins are organic compounds that a living organism requires in trace quantities for good health, but which the organism can not synthesize and therefore must be obtain through it’s diet.  Vitamins are not an energy source but play a vital role in releasing the energy that is stored in foods consumed for sustenance.  Vitamins play a key role in the control and regulation of enzymes, as well as, the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.  Minerals in contrast to vitamins are inorganic compounds.  Minerals require no digestion, and some may even be stored in the liver.  Minerals are vital in the formation of strong bones and teeth, they also help control the nervous system, fluid balance, muscular contractions, as well as, some hormone functions and enzyme secretion.  Electrolytes provide the proper electrical charge within bodily fluids for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular contraction, proper acid-base balance for ideal ph and overall fluid levels.  Without getting into specific detail of each particular vitamin, mineral, or electrolyte… The key take home message here is the importance of a balanced nutrition program, a quality vitamin/mineral supplement, and the significants of proper hydration and electrolyte replenishment.  As an athlete, the aforementioned elements are lost through sweat, respiration, physical, and mental stress to the body.  In order to perform at optimal levels at all times, I can’t stress enough the importance of proper nutrition and supplementation.  Intensely trained athletes don’t necessarily have a difference in micronutrient requirements than that of the average person… However, the requirement is typically far greater.

Many studies have been done on athletes using vitamin and mineral supplements.  The outcome is consistently the same,  supplemented athletes show greater performance, for longer periods of time then non-supplemented athletes.  It’s nice to think that it’s a possible to ingest the required amount of vitamins and minerals from one’s diet, but in today’s day and age of pesticides, preservatives, and poor soil quality it’s nearly impossible (I hate to be negative, but let’s be honest here).  I personally believe, as an elite athlete being spot on with one’s nutrition program AND giving an equal amount of attention to micronutrient supplementation based on vitamin/mineral testing is essential to performance.  This simple process will eliminate the guess work involved, ensuring each athlete knows exactly what he or she as an individual is lacking in order to attain… Ultimate Human Performance!


The Forbidden (timing of) Fruit!.

    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.

Quickfire Q & A…..

You asked for it, no literally…I’ve selected a handful of questions from emails, gym conversations, clients, and general inquiries that I’m asked most often.  To keep it interesting and fun (for those reading and myself), I narrowed it down to the questions that don’t require a long explanation, plus some that are just fun to think about!

Q: How much do you bench?

A: Just kidding…making sure I have your attention!!

Q: What key points do you find most important when trying to reduce body fat?

A: **Manage blood glucose; **Hydration (alkaline water should be included if poss.); **Hold yourself accountable; **Motivation/Passion/Goal Setting/Visualization; **Consistent hard work

Q: What 5 supplements will you never be without?

A: **Quality Whey Protein; **Vitamin (Ester) C; **Vitamin D(3); **Omega-3 Fish Oil; **Sea Salt (I use it liberally, 27 minerals that your body can actually use)

Q: If forced to choose only 1 exercise to use in your training, which would it be?

A: Deadlifts

Q: What kind of music do you train to?

A: Ideally…Nothing but the clang’n of the iron!  To answer the question, I’m definitely not into the heavy metal stuff, it makes me over stimulated and I can’t think straight…I prefer to slow the mind down and focus on the muscles!  Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, pretty much anything Motown too!!

Q: Most common mistake you see people make in the gym?

A: People walking through the doors without a PLAN!

Q: Do you use any lifting equipment? Gloves, belt, wraps, etc..

A: Belts bother me!  I prefer to feel the weights, so no gloves!  I use straps for maybe 3 or 4 total sets ea. week(back movements)!  Wraps just take to long and I prefer to do my heavy compounds at the end of my training session to avoid the stress on my joints!

Q: What exercises did you do in your most recent shoulder training routine?

A: Reverse Pec Dec; Wide grip upright rows (stopping at bottom of pec’s); Behind the Neck Hammer Strength Press; Front raises (only do these every 3rd wk or so); Lateral raises (as many sets as it takes to completely engorge the muscle with blood, short rest between sets…I DO NOT count sets & reps on these)….Note: I typically do rear delts and traps w/ back, this particular workout I threw in rears w/ shoulders.

Q: What is your favorite “dieting” meal?

A: Grilled Sirloin; Roasted Red Potatoes; Mixed Greens w/ Romaine, Spinach leaves, Kale, Sprouts, and cucumbers

Q: Favorite cheat meal?

A: This is a toss up…it depends what I’m craving but it’s usually Pizza (not from those chains either, quality pizza!) or Chinese!


Yes or No’s…Plus one word answer questions…

Q: Do you recommend your clients set an alarm to have a shake in the middle of the night?


Q: Do you agree w/the statement, “A calorie is a calorie?”

A: NO (emphatically)

Q: Will Jay Cutler win another Olympia title?


Q: Who is Phil Heath’s biggest threat to take the title?

A: Evan (Centopani)…but not for a few years yet!

Q: Do you like the new IFBB points system?  Is there anything you’d change?

A: YES…I’d like to see a page out of the NASCAR book and have an overall points champion

Q: What pro athlete do you think would make the best bodybuilder? One current and one retired?

A: Retired- Bo Jackson…Current- Brian Cushing (Texans), although I’d love to see what Dwight Howard would look like if he trained/ate like a bb’er! FREAK

Q: Who or what was your bodybuilding inspiration as a child?

A: He-Man and Thunder Cats

Q: Favorite physique of all time?

A: That’s a tough one…I’d have to go with Lee Labrada (of course a shorter bb’er), but if I had to pick one guy @ one contest I’d go with Danny Padilla @ the 81′ Olympia!

Q: Ever a chance you’ll get on stage again?



starting a nutrition program 101!!.