Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Micronutrients for Performance (Basics)

As always, I am here to remind you this series is for athletes eating for performance goals specifically NOT muscle gain, weight loss, or health – straight up performance and focusing primarily on fitness athletes.

We kick off part 2 with MICRONUTRIENTS for performance.

 

Macros are all the rage these days and for good reason HOWEVER if you want to perform your best you should focus on maximizing the nutrients within those set macros (micronutrients)!  This is a fine detail athletes miss the mark on because it requires education, thought, and intention. You will not perform your best by throwing your hands up and saying…” whatever bro.”

 

Starting off on macro-based eating you could simplify things by eating similar breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacks/shakes.  This will allow an athlete to hit numbers consistently without much added stress. (THE BASICS). 

I hope that if you are trying to maximize your performance you have mastered the basics and you find it enjoyable (not stressful) to further enhance your performance through nutrition.

The main issue with eating the same foods each day is nutrient assortment/balance. If you are lacking vitamins in your diet and eating the same foods then the probability of a deficiency is increased.

 

I feel it is important for athletes to realize a few things regarding micronutrients:

1️⃣    There are recommended dietary allowances (RDA) %s that you will find on nutrition labels, food apps, books, and web searches. These #s are established based on average numbers sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all “healthy people” in particular age/gender groups.

2️⃣    The RDA and dietary reference intakes (DRIs) were primarily created to lower the risk of suffering from nutrient-deficiency disease and to lower the risk of developing chronic disease by ensuring a properly balance diet.

3️⃣    They were NOT created to help athletes perform their best at the fitness Olympics (or whatever sport you play).

 

This common data matters to me for a few different reasons…

1️⃣  A high performing athlete is not an “average healthy person”. There is just about nothing average or ancestrally common with completing a day of running 400-meter intervals, lifting ¼ of a car for 45 reps followed by 200 push-ups, then carrying 100 lbs around in between squat sets at 1.5x your bodyweight, before your pump sesh… 5+ days per week.

2️⃣  The amount of XY&Z nutrients in a food (or on a label) are not 100% accurate. There are too many factors involved to be that precise. The nutrients estimated in each food serving are based on averages as well.

3️⃣  Some micronutrients do not have an RDA! There are so many vitamins and minerals, and our bodies are unique, so some numbers are essentially made up when you look really look at it.

4️⃣  Deficiency is not good, “Healthy range” does not necessarily mean “optimal for performance”… and “over-abundance” above the tolerable upper intake level (UL) can also pose potential risk and create adverse effects – so be careful with supplements.

5️⃣  Athletes are often looked at as the “pinnacle of health.”  I would argue most athletes are flirting with sickness just as much as the “average” human and most have strong relationships with deficiencies just as common or even worse than seen in sedentary humans.  High performance requires high octane fuel. This creates deficiencies very easily when not monitored carefully.

 

🚨The important factors of micronutrients opens the door to me recommending what SHOULD be a common practice covered by insurance during a yearly physical exam: a blood panel THAT INCLUDES MICRONUTRIENT TESTING! Not just testing vitamin D status for example…

👨🏼‍💻I have my theories to why more nutrients are not commonly tested but I will save those for a conversation over some whiskey with friends from now on… I would hate to come across as a conspiracy theorist via social media😊

 

Anyways…

A micronutrient blood panel opens the door to a whole new world where you can get 3 great data points:

1️⃣  Am I deficient in any nutrients?

2️⃣  Am I getting to much of any certain nutrients?

3️⃣  Am I on par with other elite athlete’s numbers (the common denominator of the elite could help you figure out “optimal” for your sport/size/age)?

 

Although panels can get very pricey, I believe they are a smart investment for beginners AND elites because a nutrient deficiency can cause havoc in health and performance. Most of the time these imbalances are cheap and simple fixes that will improve the way you feel and perform.  It is hard for me to put a price tag on quality of life… if I can spend an extra $$$ amount that I can afford per month on specific foods and supplements to feel better and help prevent disease/medication + boost my performance then… (why the heck not)?

 

🐒 Basic = get introductory level panel + fix deficiencies through diet and supplements.

🧑🏼‍🔬Advanced = get full spectrum panel+ fix deficiencies+ research optimal performance #s and strive for those.

 

😮 According to According the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

-9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in potassium

-7 out of 10 are deficient in calcium

-8 out of 10 are deficient in vitamin E

-50 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium

-More 50 percent of the general population is vitamin D deficient, regardless of age

-90 percent of Americans of color are vitamin D deficient

-Approximately 70 percent of elderly Americans are vitamin D deficient

(From what I have gathered) the CDC and USDA are not studying high end performance athletes… so you can gather the average numbers above (plus many more with a simple search) and notice it is probably a good idea to balance out your meals and get on some high-quality vitamins. 🥑🥩🌱💊

 

The funding for kinetic research and sports nutrition (outside of the CDC and USDA) has increased over the last few decades so I will sprinkle in what common denominators are popping up regarding athletes and nutrition deficiencies in this series. ✅

With the blood panel I discussed before and a coach or proper research on your overall nutrition plan you can narrow down those deficiencies and make substitutions to your diet that will fill in the gaps, or supplement when necessary.

Vitamin deficiencies contributing to chronic disease (which we will dive into further in nutrition for health/longevity) is not often talked about, but I am going to cover vitamins importance for performance and save that discussion for another post.

 

How do vitamins effect performance? 🤸‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️🥇

1️⃣             Vitamins are substances needed by cells to encourage specific cellular chemical reactions.

2️⃣             Vitamins are involved in energy reactions that enable cells to derive energy from carbs, fats, and proteins (your macros).  In other words, if you want to utilize the food you eat properly you need to have proper vitamin balance.

3️⃣             Athletes burn more energy than non-athletes = they typically need more vitamins.

4️⃣             Vitamins work synergistically to enhance other vitamins and nutrients. If one Is off balance, many will also suffer.

5️⃣             B12,b6,& folate specifically help with the formation of red blood cells= essential for oxygen delivery to working muscles.

6️⃣             B2, B6, & niacin -> aerobic metabolism (krebs cycle) = primary means for obtaining energy from fuel.

7️⃣             B1, b6,b12 = neurotransmitters for stimulating and relaxing muscles.

8️⃣             Vit A = healthy surface cells, eye health, immune function, and hormones.

9️⃣             Vit D= absorption of calcium and phosphorus + hormones.

🔟         Vit E = antioxidant protection of cell membranes.

1️⃣1️⃣           Vit K = formation of blood clots + bone strengthening.

 

 

Factors that increase the likelihood of nutrient imbalance: ❌❌

1️⃣             High amount of protein coming from protein powder and supplements rather than food. I aim to keep my supplemental protein at 25% of my protein totals (or less). ❌

2️⃣             Diet high in ultra-processed, processed, and pre-cooked (store bought) meals. ❌

3️⃣             Diet high in seed oils and other refined oils/fats. ❌

4️⃣             Same foods day in and day out without variety. ❌

5️⃣             Caloric restricted diets. ❌

6️⃣             Poor gut health/ microbiome diversity. ❌

7️⃣             Medications- including anti-inflammatory drugs often overly consumed by athletes. ❌

8️⃣             Artificial ingredients – sucralose, aspartame, food colorings, and many preservatives. ❌

9️⃣             Over-consumption of specific nutrients (usually from supplementation). ❌

 

 

👇👇To maximize vitamin intake from your diet try the following: ✅✅

1️⃣             Consume or supplement organ meats. It is difficult to find more nutrients than that of vital animal organs.

2️⃣             Eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. In season, it can be difficult for athletes to consume enough total macros while consuming a lot of vegetables.

👨🏼‍💻Although veggies are nutrient dense, they are are filling and make it difficult for athletes to consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates which can resuklt in sub optimal energy. ✅

3️⃣             Replace ultra-processed foods with whole foods and home cook your meals when possible.

 

I hope you leave this with motivation to maximize the nutrient density of your diet through balance and quality food choices. This practice will generally prevent vitamin deficiencies but sometimes they still happen and that is where blood panels + supplements come into play.

 

Eating for Performance (Basics-Fats)

Today will wrap up the basics of essential macros for performance nutrition.

 

Just a reminder for those who missed previous posts, this is for athletes eating for performance goals specifically NOT muscle gain, weight loss, or health – just straight up performance.

 

ESSENTIAL MACROS FOR PERFORMANCE: FATS 🥑🥜🥛

 

 

As previously mentioned, after total needed caloric intake has been established, carbohydrate intake is likely the limiting factor in energy for athletes.

 

Once carbs have been established you will ensure that adequate protein is maintained and hopefully not over-consumed.

 

This leaves us with the remainder of the calories coming from fats.

 

👻I have to say it was VERY challenging for me to keep this one simple since fats are farrrrrr from simple. But we will dive deep many moons down the road on advanced fats.

 

Since the high-performance diet for sport leaves a small amount of wiggle room for fat consumption compared to carbs and protein it is vital to focus on quality fat sources to ensure optimal performance can occur.

 

 

Without going crazy on which types of fats and exactly how much of each is ideal (advanced nutrition) I’ll keep it simple and say:

 

🚨HAVE A BALANCED FATTY ACID MEAL PLAN🚨

 

1️⃣             Saturated fats – (most animal products/ coconut & palm oils)

 

2️⃣             Monounsaturated fats – (olive oil, avocado, macadamia nuts)

 

3️⃣             Polyunsaturated fats- (seeds & most vegetables oils)

 

It would be very easy to go down rabbit holes of which ones are good/bad/ugly/ etc… at the end of the day for athletes focused on performance (basics)… keep a balanced diet of fats and you will probably be OKAY.

 

 

If you log your food and 80% of your daily fat intake is regularly from the same exact food source then maybe raise an eyebrow and get it fixed.  (This would typically happen with saturated and polyunsaturated fats).  I’ve never encountered an athlete consuming an over abundance of monounsaturated fats on the regular.

 

 

It is important for athletes to get the minimum necessary amount of ESSENTIAL fats for these reasons:

 

1.)           Required for normal skin health. ✅

 

2.)           Fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, & K) must be delivered in a fat package. 💊+🥑+☀️ =✅

 

3.)           Necessary for neural function and growth. 🧠

 

4.)           Improved release of somatotropin (growth hormone). 👍

 

5.)           Reduction of inflammation (unless there is an imbalance). ✅

 

 

 

Higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids could potentially give the following performance advantages: 🔥🔥

 

1.)           Enhancement of aerobic metabolic processes.

 

2.)           Reduce the ability of red blood cells to congregate (decreasing the change of unwanted blood clots).

 

 

 

 

On the contrary, too much fat intake is typically associated with REDUCED ATHLETIC performance.

 

1️⃣   It is very easy to go overboard on fat sources when eating processed foods containing oils.

 

2️⃣   Excess fat calories can limit the required intake of protein and carbohydrate.

 

3️⃣    Athletes should note that excess amounts of fat can raise triglycerides and cholesterol levels beyond what would be considered ideal particularly when combined with HIGH AMOUNTS OF CARBOHYDRATES. 🍕🍟🍔 = 😮

 

 

^^^ This is usually NOT the case when consuming the same amount of fats on a moderate to low carb diet, which we will discuss in eating for health.  High carb does not typically go well with high fat.  Carbs and fats are not bros. ❌

 

 

When excess fats can help athletic performance: 🤔

 

1️⃣             When athletes have a hard time sustaining weight even with adequate carb and protein requirements being met (eat more fat).  Many times these athletes are called “hard-gainers” or “ectomorphs.”

 

2️⃣             When athletes need to consume 4,000+ total calories in a day… this can be challenging off primarily carbs and protein. Usually endurance athletes.

 

Note – doing 4-5 cardio sessions per week does not qualify as an endurance athlete.  Endurance athletes are typically 10+ sessions per week and multiple hours per session.

 

3.)           ^ MCT oils could be a great option for “hard-gainers” or athletes who struggle to get in enough total calories because they are easy to consume and can be used strategically for performance aid.

 

 

 

In a nutshell 🥜,  I recommend athletes eating for performance to:

 

1️⃣             Avoid oils, butter, cooking with added fats, and avoid processed foods with added fats when possible.

 

2️⃣             Get a good portion of the saturated fats from fatty fish like salmon, grass fed meats (better omega 3 balance), or other whole food sources.

 

3️⃣             Get the remainder of balanced fats from vegetables, nuts (brazil, pecan, walnut, & macadamia), avocados, and hummus (blended sesame seeds).

 

4️⃣             Avoid HIGH fat meals within 2-3 hours pre workout and 2-3 hours post workout.

 

 

This wraps up essential macronutrients for performance (the basics).

 

 

Eating for Performance (Basics- Protein)

Many athletes consider protein to the most important nutrient for success. As discussed previously, I believe carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient for performance and see too many athletes consuming excess protein (beyond what is ideal) leading to limiting the intake of other essential nutrients that are critical to high level performance.

 

To contradict that point, I also see too many athletes consuming far less than ideal protein, which is generally worse for performance than consuming too much. 🤯

 

Protein is essential and the right amounts are needed for brain health, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, hormones, hemoglobin, blood, and much more so it is crucial to get the minimum requirements for performance but also keeping in mind that you will want to stay under the maximum recommended amounts to MAXIMIZE your nutrition plan.

 

 

Protein demand for performance is primarily dictated by these 3 factors

 

1️⃣             Muscle damage created during exercise resulting in increased protein requirements for tissue repair.

 

2️⃣             The amount of protein used for energy rises as muscle glycogen decreases.   (Utilizing proteins for fuel is not ideal). I consider it wasteful, and your body loses excess water in this process as well. This point makes the case for pre and intra workout carbohydrates even more valuable.

 

3️⃣             Weight of the athlete (most of the world uses KGs… I will use LBs)

 

 

 

 

🚨🚨The amount of protein required to maintain proper nitrogen balance in performance nutrition should be between .8 and 1 gram per pound of bodyweight and fall between 15-20% of TOTAL daily calories. 🚨🚨

 

This number is based on the assumption that ideal carbohydrate and fat intake has been achieved. 👍

 

 

 

Circling back to Marisa’s ❤️ numbers.

 

We have her total daily carbohydrates during performance training cycles at 55-65% total daily calories.

 

We have her total protein at 15-20% total daily calories.

 

Her daily average is roughly 1,900 calories at body weight 107 lbs.

 

Current macro goals:

 

Carbs – 285 grams (60%) (minimum)

 

Protein – 85 grams (18%)

 

Fats – (% will fill in the remainder of calories- which we will discuss in our next post)

 

 

Let’s take a moment to hold up because this is going to take a bit of explaining…

 

Reminder: this series is about PERFORMANCE nutrition. Not gaining muscle, burning fat, building a bigger chest, or fixing your health.

 

I am aware that most Instagram models, bodybuilders, high school heroes who no longer exercise who know all the answers etc. will have mixed advice on macro amounts. It’s all fun and games until you’re getting smoked at the competition.

 

In other words… “If you’re eating like an Instagram model you’re going to get smoked at the competition.” 🐒🐒🐒

 

The main reason behind this is…

 

🔥 If you are eating more than your bodyweight in protein, I am willing to bet you are not eating enough carbohydrates and likely too much fat to perform at 100% in the sport. 🔥

 

More muscle does not necessarily mean more strength. I believe many fitness athletes get confused because they follow the advice of bodybuilders (who generally consume more protein than most athletes) and feel like that will help their performance. Strength and power are performance-based goals that requires adequate fuel (carbs) and should not be confused with hypertrophy and eating for aesthetics or “gaining.”

 

Prioritizing mirror gainz over performance gainz will come in our EATING FOR BODY COMPOSITION discussion.

 

Lastly, there is an idea that high amounts of protein must be consumed in a magical post workout “anabolic window.” Listen, I know it sounds cool and many people can benefit from protein shakes post workout.

 

I also believe athletes should consume some protein post workout but the most valuable tool post workout for performance is…. drum roll… glycogen replenishment. Which, as previously discussed will come from carbohydrates and fluids.    🧃💦

 

Note: I did not make the above statement to deter protein use post workout. I am encouraging athletes focused on performance to consume protein WITH carbohydrates and never alone for enhanced muscle protein synthesis and to replenish depleted glycogen stores.

 

 

 

 

📝Key notes regarding protein for performance: 📝

 

1.)           1 gram of protein = 4 calories which is the same as carbohydates per gram.

 

2.)           Protein requirements for those who exercise is nearly double that of sedentary people. The general food recommendations should never be applied for performance nutrition.

 

3.)           The liver is the central processing unit for protein synthesis. If you have elevated liver enzymes on a blood panel, you could research ways to cleanse and improve those numbers to help utilize proteins and for general overall well-being.

 

4.)           Vegan athletes should consider supplementing the essential amino acid L-Leucine as well as many other nutrients we will discuss in the future.

 

5.)           Whey protein and essential amino acid supplements appear to be the highest bioavailable protein sources.

 

6.)           If you would like modern research regarding protein check out the research from Brad Schoenfeld, PhD and “protein expert” Stuart Phillips, PhD and his team at McMaster University.

 

7.)           Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of post-exercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28978542/)

Eating for Performance (Basics + Carbs)

Day 1️⃣  (4-5 minute read)

 

This is the basic series of eating for performance. I believe it is intermediate level knowledge to have a general grasp on basic performance nutrition.

 

Elite/professional level nutrition requires regular lab testing, upper-level knowledge of sport science, and most of these athletes have nutrition coaches and chefs preparing the foods, plus a lab formulating customized vitamins💊 based on their needs.

 

I just want to be clear on the differences and clear gap of basics➡️elite.

 

 

🚨Note: If your goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or health/wellness I do not recommend following a performance-based plan as you will likely never reach your goals.

I also truly believe if you have metabolic issues or disease a performance-based nutrition plan could be dangerous, and you should always consult a functional medicine doctor accompanied by a Registered Dietitian focusing on integrative nutrition. I am neither of those.

 

 

 

📝Final note: Every sport has unique nutrition requirements. This is going to cover the basics of “CrossFit” as a sport or “Functional Fitness.”  We can assume that performance nutrition needs in this area will need to cover all bases. ✅

Strength, power, endurance, short, medium, long, gymnastics, weightlifting, etc. The energy needs of each of these demands differs greatly so there is no one size fits all model when combining all of these elements.

 

 

I prioritize performance nutrition requirements in this order:

 

1️⃣  Essential macros (carbs, protein, fats)

 

2️⃣  Essential micronutrients (electrolytes, vitamins, minerals) & fluids

 

3️⃣  Supplements & other factors

 

 

We kick this thing off with ESSENTIAL MACROS FOR PERFORMANCE which will be divided into 3 posts.

 

1️⃣  Carbohydrates 🍎🍚🍯🧃🍭

 

2️⃣  Protein 🥩🍗🍖

 

3️⃣  Fats 🥑🥜

 

 

ESSENTIAL MACROS FOR PERFORMANCE: CARBOHYDRATES

 

Carbohydrate demand for performance is primarily dictated by these 3 factors

 

1️⃣  Duration of exercise (sprint/short/medium/long/ ultra)

 

2️⃣  Type of exercise being performed (rowing/weightlifting/ gymnastics/ bodybuilding/ etc.)

 

3️⃣  Weight of the athlete (most of the world uses KGs… I will use LBs)

 

 

For carbohydrate basics I recommend going off a weekly average. This will simplify daily needs.

 

To understand what your weekly average is you will want to wear a device such as the Whoop, Fit-Bit, Apple watch, Garmin etc. that tracks daily expenditure and provides an easy to access “WEEKLY TOTAL.”

 

Alternatively, you could make an educated guess or “wing it…” and that’s not ideal but a good starting point would be to add 400-600 calories per 60 minutes of exercise. You would have to monitor how you feel during exercise and how the scale moves and make changes from there.

 

Note: a 60-minute class is not 60 minutes of exercise❌. Monitor the duration of the actual activity. ✅

 

 

I will use Marisa ❤️ as an example:

 

Marisa weighs 107 lbs with a base metabolic rate (BMR) of 1,262

 

Calories burned (week 2/1 – 2/7)

Tuesday – 1,883

Wednesday- 1,900

Thursday- 1,740

Friday- 1,939

Saturday- 1,896

Sunday- 1,676

Monday- 2,246

Total = 13,280 weekly calories -or- 1,897 calories per day

 

🚨🚨🚨I typically recommend 55-65% of total calories from carbohydrate while eating for performance. 😮😮😮

 

If this number scares you please keep in mind the type of exercises that are involved in fitness and their main energy supply. 🤯🤯

 

 

Taking 60% of Marisa’s daily average = 1,138 calories from carbohydrate.

 

Divide 1,138 by 4 calories per carbohydrate = 285 grams of carbs

 

 

A basic general guideline would be for Marisa to aim for a MINIMUM of 285 grams of carbohydrate per day. Some days would be over, and some would be under but over the course of a year it is unlikely she would be training overly depleted for risky periods of time (which could be damaging to her health) and obviously her fitness results.

 

 

 

📝Key notes regarding carbohydrates for performance: 📝

 

1.)  Starchy and simple carbs are best for pre/during/and immediately post exercise other than those periods complex carbohydrates are best utilized.

 

2.)  Carbohydrate depletion can lower blood sugar too much- causing mental fatigue. This can be combated with pre and intra workout carbs as well as adequate complex carbohydrate throughout the day.

 

3.)  Carbs are clearly the limiting substrate in athletic performance.

 

4.)  Carbs allow for muscle recovery post exercise.

 

5.)  Carbs are an energy source that help sustain blood sugar during physical activity.

 

6.)  Glycogen replenishment is more difficult if you are in a dehydrated state.

 

7.) “If you are scared of carbs you are scared of performing your best.” – My opinion.

 

 

👨‍🔬I do not believe there is enough data to support a low carb- performance based nutrition plan. People have been testing the waters but I have not seen a high level athlete successful on low carb.

 

 

This wraps up CARBOHYDRATES FOR PERFORMANCE. Next, we will cover BASIC PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS FOR PERFORMANCE.

Simple Yet Effective Case for Carbs

The later parts of the 20th century had the health and nutrition of America in shambles over the misinformation of the “dangers of fats”… The low fat craze was not the greatest for our health.

Fats are not bad… too much of the wrong kinds of fats can be bad… but what we know to be 100% certain is WE NEED FAT. It is essential to our health and when given the opportunity the fat we consume (just like all other nutrients) should come from the highest quality sources.

But anyways…

2020 has a new approach… well it started happening sooner than 2020 but if you wonder the grocery store today you will see KETO all over the place. Keto friendly stickers, keto products, keto this and that.

SO what has happened here is we made the amazing discovery that HEY WE CAN EAT FATS… and yes, shifting from high carb diets to high fat diets CAN HELP SOME PEOPLE IN A CONTROLLED SETTING WHEN DONE PROPERLY. So the food industry has capitalized on the opportunity to create “Keto friendly foods” and market these “healthy fat products.”

So the shift is official in the eyes of mainstream media… “FATS were the devil… now they are the savior… CARBS were the answer… now they are the devil and will make you gain bodyfat within thirty minutes of consumption (this is a joke)… Let me just tell you about protein real quick… just kidding… we aren’t ready for this, today is about carbs.

Vegetables are primarily carbs…I think we can all agree vegetables are a good choice for most humans.

Fruits are primarily carbs… Some experts are anti -fruit and the low carb- no sugar mafia has people in fear of fruit. Unless there are specific reasons to avoid or limit fruit  temporarily (for reasons like diabetes), then there is no reason to be scared of fruit.

50 grams of high fructose corn syrup in a Sonic slushie is a little different than 50 grams of carbohydrates from 2 dates and an apple… macro boy on Instagram may try to convince you that 50 carbs is 50 carbs but be smarter than Macro Boy… 50 grams of high fructose corn syrup is not comparable to 50 grams of carbohydrate from fruit containing a wide assortment of nutrients and fiber.


Carbs and Performance: 

Our training is the gym is high performance. You may not view yourself as an athlete or high performer but performing squats at high %s followed by high intensity workouts day in and day out requires FUEL not only to perform your best but to recovery physically AND MENTALLY.

LOW CARB DIETS in a clinical setting need to be monitored closely with blood work and they have a specific purpose.

LOW CARB DIETS outside of a clinical setting in combination with weight training, high intensity bouts of exercise, and in a real life environment ARE FLAT OUT RISKY, SILLY IN MOST CASES (not all), and when done improperly (without blood work, careful macro and micro nutrient counting and timing) and without a specific plan|purpose are not practical.

Weightlifting requires carbohydrate for fuel. Endurance or “cardio” requires fat and carbohydrate. In a nutshell, the higher the intensity gets, the more carb dominate your fuel sources become. High intensity training requires a lot of energy. All forms of training require energy and fuel… neglecting this fact and not properly fueling your body can result in DEPRESSION, LOSS OF LIBIDO THROUGH ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION (AKA HORMONE IMBALANCES), LACK OF MOTIVATION, MUSCLE LOSS, SLEEP DISRUPTION, INFLAMMATION, GUT ISSUES, and many more issues that can pile on top of each other when you are missing specific vitamins and minerals on top of lack of carbs, fats, or protein.

I believe MOST people, those who are not battling a chronic illness (the average gym go-er in our community) can benefit greatly by simply adding in some carbohydrate pre and post training.

This can be done so simply…

Personally, I aim for 50-75 grams of easy to digest carbohydrate before any weight training, mixed with 2.5 grams of creatine twice daily, and usually mixed with 10 grams of essential amino acids (because they digest easier for me than whey or vegan protein powder) and far better than any food protein sources. This is one area where living through better science certainly proves its case for training.

I also weigh ~190 and I am fairly lean. In most cases, the lower your bodyfat % and the stronger you are per lb of BW = better utilization of carbohydrates.

If I was trying to cut body-fat I would cut the pre-workout carbs in 1/2 to 25-35 grams.

If I was 150 lbs instead of 190 I would also cut the carbs down slightly.

If I was trying to gain weight to get to 200 lbs I would increase the carbs to about 90 grams of a simple and complex mix. EX: 1/2 grape juice 1/2 Karbolyn.

 

Summary: The dosage of carbs pre-workout depends on fitness goals, workload, and body composition, but it is not rocket science. Keep it simple, some carbs pre- workout can help ANY athlete.

Here are my easy, go-to options for pre-workout carbs: 

1.) 12-16 ounces of no sugar added grape juice

2.) 2 dates and a medium banana

or if I am down in the dumps…

3.) 1 scoop of karbolyn with some caffeine

 

If I am working out again within the next few hours or later in the day then I’ll do this AGAIN… TWO TIMES IN THE SAME DAY… and if I don’t then I feel lethargic, I am typically unable to hit my %s on the movements or if I am able to they feel a lot heavier than they normally do.

PRE-Workout carbs are my friend!

POST-Workout carbs are my friend!  – If there is ever a time where your body is going to utilize “the bad carbs” more efficiently than any other time it is pre and post training!

 

Here are my easy, go-to options for post-workout carbs: 

 

When trying to gain or maintain muscle during tough training bouts (like right now): 

1.) Chocolate milk + 1/2 bag of organic spinach + 1 scoop protein + 1 scoop of carbs = roughly 80 grams of carbs & 40 grams of protein.

2.) Coconut or almond milk + 1 & 1/2  scoops of protein + 20-30 grams of coconut sugar & a banana = roughly the same as above but a “vegan option”

 

When trying to maintain during easier sessions or if I feel like I’m getting congested | inflamed | or resting for a few days 

1.) 1/2 bag of organic frozen berries, banana, avocado, and scoop of protein or hemp seeds.

2.) Maybe just skip the carbs for a few days to keep my body guessing…. but ramp them back up when training intensity increases.

 

Summary: 

I believe most people will benefit greatly from proper carbohydrate timing pre and post workout. If you have any questions or concerns on the topic lets chat some time!

 

In good health,

Kyle

 

Sports Drinks

I’ve been accused of being the guy that believes everything I read. When in reality I’m the guy who is skeptical of everything I read, that’s why I can’t stop reading… people also think everything comes from an article or blog… I don’t read many articles because usually the fools writing the articles have no background in the subject whatsoever… like yahoo health, cnn health articles, new York times health, the Harvard health sounds like they should be legit but even they post some of the most ridiculous BS I’ve ever seen…
But hey perception is reality so I believe everything I read…
But reality is the perception I have is that 99% of the people out there believe everything THEY read and 99% of what THEY read is from articles and blogs not books and scholarly papers…
Twisted accusations I see…
BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTT what brings me here today is….
HEY GUESS WHAT??? Nobody should be drinking traditional sports drinks. NOBODY. Not even you. Not your children, not your superhero gym buddy, not Matt Fraser, Micheal Phelps, not Micheal Jordan, not the all-American high school football stud, not nobody. The “science” is garbage. What do you do with garbage? Throw it out and move forward with what we know now. Don’t put 1980 to early 2000s knowledge in the recycling bin or storage containers for later use… BURN THAT TRASH. Clean house and start over.
Sugar with artificial flavors, colors, with a few underdosed “electrolytes” is not THE ANSWER to hydration and sports performance. These drinks are acidic, cause reactive oxygen species, advanced glycation end products, and when athletes are out on the practice field for 2+ hours daily these sugars essentially ferment in the gut. This may not be a serious issue at 10-20 years old but by the time 40 rolls around and these “former athletes” have lifelong health battles from gut issues, metabolic disease, chronic degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
It is disturbing to me when I see a youth athlete with a meal plan (FROM A PROFESSIONAL) that has them guzzling down sugary sports drinks.
CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE DRINKING SPORTS DRINKS “designed” for adults. Duh. Adults shouldn’t even be drinking these sports drinks because they are designed for profit margins $$$ not for athletic success.
For those who still believe you need to “shuttle your nutrients into the body with sugar and protein post workout”: WHEN SUGAR BONDS WITH PROTEIN VIA GLYCATION IT CREATES INFLAMMATION. Inside your arteries, for example, the scar tissue created from this process is called PLAQUE.
We’ve all heard of the “healthy” endurance and power athletes dropping dead from heart attacks or blood clots mid workout etc. Just because someone looks healthy on the outside does not mean they are truly healthy. And NO, I’m not saying if you or someone else drinks sugar during exercise and then sugar with protein post workout you are at a high risk for dying. But when athletes believe they need sugar gels, jelly beans, sugar blocks, etc. during exercise day in and day out they are misinformed and can cause long term issues.
I am saying that LONG TERM high sugar consumption has consequences that should not be ignored.
I am saying that metabolic issues later in life are occurring in “former athletes” because the misconception that we need to be high carb from youth sports through college (or beyond).
——–
For the young ones:
Their energy should come from healthy meals, not sugar during practice or the game.
Fat is the preferred fuel for young athletes. (I’m using under 15 as young). Children have shown up to 40 % higher fat oxidation rates than exercising adults. This is a similar rate to “fat adapted adults.”
FREE FATTY ACIDS, which indicate available fats to burn during exercise, increase in children during exercise, meaning that children can readily mobilize fat stores for energy and possible even use energy sources that have higher amounts of fat.
If kids are eating a well-balanced diet they will not have to worry about “being drained” midway through an hour-long practice session or game.
—–
So, what is the answer? I wouldn’t want to be Mr. HaterAid with no possible solutions.
With SPRING SEASON ROLLING AROUND it is important for coaches and athletes to understand hydration! Tap water+ sugar & some sodium is not the formula for elite hydration.
School lunch with sugary drinks+ lack of nutrients= heat trauma, full body cramps, kidney stones, and many other commonly found Jr. High and High School athletic issues that are 100% preventable.
If you are an athlete and your coach has you guzzling down sugary sports drinks don’t blast them publicly and try to undermine them. If you are a parent who gives your children, these drinks and you want to slap me right now then just do some deep meditative breathing and know that I’m not trying to cause annihilation in the streets. I’m just the messenger (nobody slaps the messenger).
I used to drink sugar pre, intra (during), and post workout… so I was in those shoes… it’s not the end of the world if that’s where you are at… let’s just move forward from this all together now!
Most coaches have great intentions! This does not mean they have advanced sports nutrition knowledge. Maybe some do but most do not. Either do some research or find a professional who understands HEALTH and PERFORMANCE and knows the difference between the two.
These professionals will generally come from OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOLS. This is the sad truth. Most public schools that can afford to bring in a sports nutritionist are going to bring in someone who follows the USDA food guidelines. You see, because it’s a public-school following guideline set by governing bodies… I hope you see how and why this happens…
Some sports teams have professional nutritionists and dietitians who are way outdated. This is sad and unfortunate especially when they have pressure from these organizations to do as they say. I recommend these athletes read as much as possible on their own and (keep quiet- the smile and nod approach) because you never want sports politics to get in the way of your athletic success.

Okay I got way off track… here are a few solutions
1.) Make sure there is enough sodium chloride (salt) in the diet. This should be in every meal for athletes. Morton’s iodized sea salt works great for athletes.

2.) Make sure athletes are getting DAILY minerals! If your minerals are “on point” leading up to exercise you shouldn’t need them during a 1-2 or 3 hour training session… but if they aren’t… you don’t need them with sugar so MINERAL SALTS added to water during the session seems more logical than sugar and chemicals added to water… but what do I know?

a. I personally add ¼ tsp of one of the following to every 32-64oz of water I drink:
i. Celtic Sea Salt
ii. Pink Himalayan salt
iii. Real Salt (brand)
iv. Iodized sea salt (added to foods- it tastes too “salty” in my water)
v. Trace mineral drops! (You buy them and place them in drinks)

b. Take a quality magnesium supplement- this Is where most athletes (any people) lack.

c. Eat fruit daily so you have potassium- it is not difficult to get potassium- google it.

3.) Quit drinking tap water. I could write a book on this subject. If you are taking your health and fitness seriously the the tap water must go.
COMMON COMMENT: “BUT MY SCHOOL GIVES US WATER FROM THE WATER HOSE”: Yeah, I know, that is common I had to drink that trash too… you can literally taste the water hose… if you don’t see an issue with this then don’t know what to say.
MY COMMON ANSWER: “If you are properly hydrating from wake up to sleep time you should need very minimal (if any) water during a 1-2-hour training session.” And then if the “thirst” need occurs during practice it should require very minimal amounts of toxin infested fluids…**
**IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This is not advice to anyone who refuses to drink clean water and get the minerals throughout the day. If you do not get properly hydrated and have the vitamins and minerals needed, then skip water at practice and have a heat stroke that is ON YOU not on me buddy pal.

If you are an athlete that cramps or you have athletes that cramp don’t immediately blame hydration and electrolytes!
1.) They might be eating poor food choices pre-workout (too much fiber, too much hard to digest protein, or too much CRAP like a school lunch for example cough cough).
2.) They might not be conditioned for the workout stimulus provided by themselves or you as their coach. This can cause issues believe it or not 
3.) There could be other issues happening- full body cramps and heat stroke Should. Not. Happen. Period.

This could go on forever… I’m out of time.