Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

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!

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    Okay…so without being hyper-redundant I’d like to edify the truth about fruit.  As I insinuated (w/ the redundancy remark), I’ve written about fruit in the past, yet it’s always one of the first inquisitions people make when the word “diet” is mentioned.  Before I begin, I’d like to clarify upfront…I am NOT against fruit!!!  I’m only against the discordant effects to overall health when an individual’s consumption of fruit is incorrect.  How’s it possible to consume fruit incorrectly??  Glad you asked….
    Fruits are what I personally refer to as “performance carbohydrates” which I differentiate from “cosmetic carbohydrate” in a previous article (performance nutrition vs. cosmetic nutrition).  If after reading this article you learn nothing else, remember this…Fruit MUST be consumed on an EMPTY stomach (at least 2-3hrs after previous meal or before meal 1), otherwise the nutrient value is not only greatly diminished, the fruit becomes rancid and ultimately toxic to the body.  Fruit requires immediate gastric emptying, this is obviously a problem if there is already food in the gut blocking the fruits path directly into the small intestines.  The fragility of fruit, coupled with the highly acidic environment of the stomach are the two glaring factors from a physiological standpoint that illustrate why fruit MUST exit the stomach and enter the intestines (where nutrient uptake occurs anyway) upon consumption.  When considering the notion of fruit becoming rancid in the gut, you can draw a parallel by imagining (better yet do this as an experiment) what happens if you set a glass of orange juice in the sun for the day.  
    Another aspect in the misunderstanding of fruit worth mentioning is that skeletal muscle tissues lack an enzyme to convert fructose (the type of sugar that accounts for approx. 40+ percent of carbohydrates in fruit) into “storable” glycogen, fruit can only be “stored” in the Liver (Hepatic), which unless you’ve been in a carbohydrate depleted state for days or even wks, it’s (the liver) fully loaded, aka NO VACANCY at the inn.  The ideal times to consume fruit in order to maximize all the great vitamins and nutrients they do contain, are upon wake about 30 minutes prior to meal 1, intra-workout or game w/ whey protein, or immediately following the workout or game, also w/ whey protein.  Not to say there aren’t other times of day that fruit may be consumed without problems, I simply find the information more applicable when it’s narrowed down to the most IDEAL times to OPTIMIZE the value fruits provide to the body!….Hopefully this sheds some light on the myths and misunderstandings surrounding one of natures oldest delicacies….Fruit!!  

Macronutrient Energy Systems…

Energy can be derived from three major food sources, commonly referred to as Macronutrients- Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats (lipids). Energy can also be derived from Alcohol…as well as, increased estrogen levels in men coupled with elevated aromatization, specifically at androgen receptor sites, sclerosis of the liver, crazy fluctuation of Insulin levels, not to mention a cascade of catabolic processes that are set in motion. Generally (minus a couple rare extenuating circumstances), one gram of each of the three nutrients (plus Alcohol) yield the following calories:

1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbohydrates = 4 calories
1 gram of Fat = 9 calories
1 gram of Alcohol = 7 calories

For all intents and purposes, the calories in food represent a form of potential energy for our bodies to produce heat and to work. Knowing how many calories (i.e. energy) are in the foods consumed can reveal how much we need to perform the work inside our bodies as well as all our movements (e.g., Gain Weight). Conversely, if we eat less than we need, the body will draw on it’s stores for energy (i.e., lose fat/weight).

Human Energy Systems…

Our bodies must take the energy stored in foods (macronutrients) and transform it into an energy form our cells can use immediately and/or store for future use. Energy in the body is available for immediate use in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). It is a complex molecule constructed with high-energy bonds which, when split by enzyme action, releases energy rapidly for a number of body processes including tissues in small amounts. Another related high-energy phosphate compound, phosphocreatine (CP), is also found in the tissues in small amounts. Although it cannot be used as an immediate source of energy, it can rapidly replenish ATP. ATP can be formed from protein, carbs, and fats.
Metabolism; Human metabolism represents all physical and chemical changes that take place in the body. Metabolism involves two fundamental processes: Anabolism and Catabolism. Anabolism is a building-up or constructive metabolism. Catabolism is the tearing-down process involving the disintegration of body compounds into their simpler components. The breakdown of muscle glycogen to glucose and eventually CO2, H20 and energy
is an example of a catabolic process. The energy released from some catabolic processes is used to support the energy of anabolism. Therefore, metabolism represents human energy. The metabolic rate reflects how rapidly the body uses it’s energy (calories) stores. Many factors affect this rate but none so much as lean body mass (LBM) and exercises.

Basal metabolism or Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) represents the energy (calories) required for fundamental life functions at rest, not including digestion of food. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the BMR plus the additional energy expenditure needed to digest food. RMR is typically 5-10% higher than BMR. If we can estimate our RMR and add our daily activity energy needs, we arrive at an estimate of our daily total energy (calorie) requirements. This is our caloric maintenance level. In other words, our body fat or weight remains stable when consuming this amount of food. A favorable or unfavorable body composition change results from a disruption in a caloric maintenance or energy balance.

    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.

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!

Quickfire Q & A…..

starting a nutrition program 101!!.

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.

Hydrolyzed or Hydrosylated Collagen is all the rage right now in the supplement, as well as anti-aging industries respectively… but what is it really? Hydrolyzed Collagen (HC) is a highly digestible, and highly bio available protein mainly extracted from the bones and skin of Porcine, Bovine, and Fish origin. Collagen protein contains 20 amino acids, including 8 of 9 essential amino acids (contains no tryptophan)… It seems that the swine (porcine) source based collagen protein works best with humans, most likely due to the amino acid profile of swine collagen being more closely related to that of humans.
I won’t detail or document each specific case or study but there have been numerous studies conducted to determine HC has significant benefits in the following areas:
1) As mentioned there is rarely digestive issues
2) Skin Health
3) Joint & Bone Health
4) Nutrition
5) Cosmetics
with Joint & Bone Health being the most heavily studied of all the areas!
My Personal Review and Findings:
I experimented with dosages ranging from 1oz (15g) to 6oz (90g)… I find that 1-2oz taken at once or divided doses per day, either upon wake or between meals is what I find to be the most effective. I personally did not find any greater benefit w/6oz than I do w/2oz. When I did use 6oz per day I basically just used 2oz, 3X’s a day in place of my whey protein. When using lesser amounts I take 1-2oz in the morning on an empty stomach, this method has done wonders for my joints & tendon/ligament health and strength as well as my skin! I have completely eliminated my glucosamine and chondroitin from my supplement regiment… when it comes to joint health; tendon and ligament strength; and skin elasticity coupled with the cosmetic benefits, HC is second to none!!… with regards to the muscle building properties, it’s hard for me to say I found it to be all that beneficial. I’ve gotta believe that by only containing 8 of 9 essential amino acids, this must play a role in hindering significant muscle growth… however I honestly don’t believe that I used it long enough at the higher amounts to make this conclusion!… all in all, I can see why this product has warranted such a high demand and if you have any joint pain or want more youthful looking and feeling skin than you should seriously consider giving Hydrolyzed Collagen a try!
~Jason