Posts Tagged ‘health’

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!

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The Forbidden (timing of) Fruit!.

English: Jadever Body Fat Scale. Old version o...

English: Jadever Body Fat Scale. Old version of model JH 01. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5 Steps Necessary to Successfully Alter Body Composition

The key to achieving your ideal body composition is to direct the body to use it’s stored fat to supply the extra calories needed to sustain or build muscle.  While simultaneously reducing your fat stores, this is essentially building or sustaining muscle at the expense of your body fat.

The following step by step outline will allow you to lose body fat while increasing or preserving lean muscle tissue.  A noticeable change will occur in your physical appearance every three to four weeks.

Step 1:  Proper Food Intake

A below-maintenance level diet will create a need for the body to utilize stored calories (body fat)

Step 2:  Proper Aerobic/Cardiovascular Activity

             As a result of the below-maintenance level diet, cardiovascular activity is necessary to mobilize stored calories (body fat)

Step 3: Proper Food Supplementation

Due to the increase in cardiovascular activity and the decrease in caloric intake, supplementation can provide an above maintenance level of nutrients- without adding calories- therefore allowing the body to utilize it’s stored calories.

                          

Step 4: Proper Weight Training Program

             Through anaerobic training, the body will create the need to maintain or increase lean muscle tissue if it is provided the necessary nutrients (food, supplements) and calories (food, body fat).

                       

Step 5: Systematic Application of Steps 1-4

             As the body changes and adapts, the diet, exercise and supplementation must also change.  When the proper program is established and implemented, genetic predisposition will determine an individuals rate of body composition change and the amount of work necessary to achieve your fitness goals.

The aforementioned steps will allow you to simultaneously lose body fat, while sustaining or building lean muscle tissue.  As a result, it is possible to favorably alter the body’s composition.  However, once the body adapts to the diet, exercise and supplementation program, it must be altered in order for the body to continue to improve.  For example, if you wish to decrease body fat, then it’s necessary to increase your aerobic and anaerobic activity.  The increase in lean muscle requires an increase in calories and nutrients.  If this does not occur, then the body WILL reach a plateau!

Human beings are arguably the most complex organisms on the planet.  That being said, I plan to highlight what I feel to be the most important topics for the purpose of human performance to make you a better athlete.
PURPOSE AND FUNCTION OF THE HUMAN BODY
    I believe that to understand the needs and requirements of an elite athlete we must first understand the primary purpose and function of the human body.  First and foremost, the human body is designed for survival, we are a survival mechanism.  Having said that we are complex organisms with the built in motivation that is present in every life form to develop our potentials to the fullest extent possible.  It’s not just about survival, but also that all creatures strive to make the very best of their existence.  The body’s organ systems works together to maintain a constant internal environment called homeostasis.  This homeostasis becomes disrupted from the physical and mental stress that our bodies go through when we train, practice, and play sports.  The human body must maintain specific ph levels throughout the blood, organs and  the remaining parts of the body.  For instance, when the ph level of the blood is not within the range of 7.35-7.45 the body must derive compounds from elsewhere to act as a chemical buffer if you will, to maintain a proper ph level.  It is vitally important for the body to maintain blood ph, even a minimal variation in either direction can change the entire electrical chemistry of the body, this will never produce ideal end results.  It’s important to note that the body, as a byproduct of training and exercise creates various acids (most notably lactic acid) therefore, we as athletes need more alkaline compounds.  Thankfully we can combat this through a proper diet with correct nutrient breakdown, and supplementation, I also firmly believe in the benefits of alkaline water.   An even greater benefit of the adaptive nature the human body possesses occurs when put under the physical and mental stress of intense anaerobic training, we respond by repairing ourselves to be bigger, faster, and stronger for the next training session or big game.  Keep in mind that growth refers to an increase in size either through an increase in the number of cells (hyperplasia) or through an increase in the size of each individual cell (hypertrophy).  In order for growth to transpire, anabolic processes must occur at a faster rate than catabolic processes.  The human body works on an as needed basis.  We as athletes have a much greater caloric expenditure and higher rate of muscle tissue breakdown than the average individual therefore requiring a greater amount of macro and micronutrients for proper growth and repair.

I WANT TO ANSWER SEVERAL OF THE QUESTIONS THAT I GET ASKED ON A REGULAR BASIS. I ALSO TRIED TO CHOOSE QUESTIONS THAT APPLY TO THE LARGE MAJORITY OF FITNESS ENTHUSIASTS. I’M A BELIEVER THAT KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, AND THAT PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKLY TO ABIDE BY CERTAIN PRINCIPLE’S IF THEY HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHY THEY ARE ADHERING TO THEM.

QUESTION- I RECENTLY HAD MY BODY FAT MEASURED. I WAS TOLD THAT MY LEAN BODY MASS IS 12O LBS, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF KNOWING THIS?

ANSWER- Lean Body Mass (LBM) is found by subtracting an individuals pounds of body fat from their total body weight. This number represents the combine weight of that individuals muscle tissue, bones. and organs. A person’s LBM is important for me as a trainer to know for the purpose of nutrition. I personally calculate a clients daily requirements for protein, carbs, and fat according to their LBM. A pound of fat at rest burns 2-3 calories per day, a pound of muscle at rest burns 20-30 calories per day. Therefore I calculate in accordance with the clients LBM, otherwise I call this feeding the fat. Once the LBM is found I take a number of variables into consideration before determining the final requirements for macronutrients.

Q- I’VE HEARD IT’S IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE BRANCH CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA’S) BEFORE AND AFTER MY WORKOUTS AS WELL AS THROUGHOUT THE DAY, IS THAT TRUE?

A- The amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine are commonly known as branch chain amino acids. These aminos in particular are required for muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis. BCAA’s are an essential part of creating an anabolic environment in order for the muscle building process to occur. One thing that a lot of people lose sight of is whey protein is comprised of over 20% BCAA’s. As long as you use a quality whey protein supplement a couple times per day, you are getting plenty of muscle building branch chain amino acids.

Q- I DO SIT-UPS AND CRUNCHES ALL THE TIME AND I STILL DON’T HAVE A SIX PACK, WHAT’S THE SECRET?

A- Let me make this simple….”abs are made in the kitchen and on the treadmill!!”

Q- MY DOCTOR TOLD ME I WAS BORDER LINE FOR ADULT ONSET(TYPE 2) DIABETES. WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE SURE I STAY OFF PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS?

A- While I am not a doctor, I have witnessed a number of people learn to control their blood sugar by making a few simple changes. It’s important for everybody to understand how to control insulin for general health purposes. 1) Include more dietary fiber 2) Eat your protein and fats before your carbs at meals 3) Choose foods that are low on the Glycemic Index 4) Include plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet 5) Supplement with Vanadyl Sulfate and Chromium Polyniconate at meals. In order to truly know how foods and supplements affect your blood sugar I recommend using a glucometer.

Q- I KNOW THAT EATING PLENTY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IS IMPORTANT FOR MY HEALTH AND I EAT THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. HOWEVER I STILL HAVE TROUBLE MEETING THE DAILY RECOMMENDED REQUIREMENTS, WHAT CAN I DO?

A-Correct, an active individual must eat plenty of fruits and veggies to get the required amount of vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health. However, due to poor soil quality, mass production, and the use of pesticides among other things reduces the nutrient value of the foods we eat. I believe it to be especially important for training individuals to include a multi-vitamin into their supplement regimen. The key things I look for when choosing a vitamin/mineral supplement are 1) At least 250 mg of vitamin C per serving 2) Between 20-40 mg of most B vitamins 3) A decent amount of calcium and magnesium.

Q- SOME FRIENDS OF MINE TRAIN AND DIET PRETTY SERIOUSLY BUT EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I HEAR THEM TALKING ABOUT A CHEAT MEAL, WHAT’S WITH THAT?

A- Some trainer/nutritionist have their clients eat a cheat meal usually once a week for a few reasons. First, to maintain sanity during a strict diet. Second, it gives the individual something to look forward to as a reward for staying on the diet all week. The reason I personally have my clients eat a cheat meal is after maintaining a caloric restriction for a period of time then introducing a mass influx of calories at one time places the body into what I call a “hyper-metabolic state.” This process also has a positive affect on the fat burning hormones naturally produced in the body.

Q- WHEN I DO BACK EXERCISES LIKE ROWS AND PULLDOWNS I FEEL IT IN MY BICEPS AND SHOULDER AS MUCH AS I DO IN MY BACK. WHY IS THAT?

A- It’s virtually impossible to eliminate the biceps when training back, but there are a couple techniques to emphasize the back muscles. Start by not wrapping your thumbs around the bar or handle, place them on the same side as the rest of your fingers. Start your back movement by retracting the scapula before pulling with the arms. Mentally activate the muscle you are training to ensure complete concentration. Include plenty of isolateral exercises, I find this allows for more intense focus on each side. Some athletes find that straps or training hooks allow greater activation of the training muscles.

Q- I’VE BEEN READING ALOT ABOUT NUTRIENT TIMING AT SPECIFIC TIMES DURING THE DAY, CAN YOU CLARIFY THIS FOR ME PLEASE?

A- The only nutrient timing you need to worry about is every 3 hours. Make sure your getting a quality meal every 3 hours in the form of whole foods, shakes, or as a last resort a meal replacement bar.

Q- IM A WOMAN AND I LOVE LIFTING WEIGHTS BUT I DON’T WANT A “BULKY” LOOK. SHOULD I JUST DO MORE REPS WITH LESS WEIGHT LIKE I’VE ALWAYS HEARD?

A- This is a common misconception. First of all woman don’t naturally produce the hormones required for substantial muscle growth. A person can lift all the weight in the world but if they’re not providing the muscles with enough calories to spark growth, it just won’t happen. We grow muscle through the foods we eat not the weights we lift. As far a rep range goes stay in the 10-15 range. Lightweights for high reps does not burn more fat.

Q- I’M RECENTLY RETIRED AND WANT TO GET BACK IN THE KIND OF SHAPE I WAS IN YEARS AGO. AM I JUST KIDDING MYSELF TO THINK THIS IS AN ACHIEVABLE GOAL?

A- Absolutely not! I won’t be cliche by saying “it’s never to late” but I guess I just did. Believe it or not muscle maturity is not fully reached until the late thirties. The aging process takes place at a cellular level, if we can keep our hormones where they where in our youth we keep the body healthy from a cellular level. If we can prevent cellular degradation we could hypothetically live forever. Resistance training coupled with proper nutrition naturally keeps our bodies hormones functioning to the best of their abilities. Now I’m not suggesting weight training and a healthy diet will allow you to live forever, but it will ensure that everyday is an opportunity to improve no matter what age you are.