Nutrition basics

I had a conversation with a friend a while back. Really intelligent guy. He stated, “Nutrition is about getting enough nutrients to meet your goals without getting you fat.” Pretty simple but not always to apply. Today, we are gonna talk about your time in the kitchen and how this is the biggest component of your life process.

The best training schemes in the world will be ineffective without the correct nutrients. Think about cars for a second. If you put cheap fuel into a high performance race car what is going to happen? Well the car might run but not even close to what is optimal. That is the key word today: optimal.

I do think that most of your nutrients should come from whole foods. I know some think organic is the way to go. I am not TOTALLY sold on that but I do see the perspective on why someone might go organic. Always by what you can afford first. If you feel you are not able to get enough nutrients in with just food (AND NOT EXCUSES) then you supplement with sources that are available and sensible.

Protein is something that I think is too high in the competitive athletes diet. Carbs are something that CAN be too low. And essential fats are often totally ignored. I plan on going into some detail to give you some points to consider for living a healthy, active life whether a pilates pro or wannabe bodybuilder.

Protein should start for everyone at 1 gram per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 180 lbs you should start with 180 grams of protein a day. This is the starting point for everyone. I do think that regardless of the person you should have this ration AT LEAST. Next to water, protein is the most abundant compound in the body. Egg protein is my favorite for the quality. A whey isolate digests quickly so its great for the first meal of the day and right after training. The rest of the day can be varied sources.

Carbs are something that can be a little complicated. Some people think they are evil but really they are just misused. Carbs can digest really fast to really slow. Normally you want something that is slow in digestion to keep from roller coaster energy levels and sugar spikes that can make you fat. Learn about the glycemic index and how that can impact your health. I suggest that most get at least half their body weight in carbs. That is a starting point to add or subtract based on your goals. Be sure to add a lot of alkaline foods to your diet as well.

Fats are an essential resource as well. Really if anything is the enemy it would be carbs over fats. Obviously if you ate things loaded with saturated fats it would be a little different. I am talking about fish oils, all natural peanut butter, flax and avocados. Fats can be a great snack and energy source but they are really dense in calories so it doesn’t take much to overdo it. The suggested amounts are specific to the total calories. I think 20-30% of your calories should come from fats.

Don’t forget your water! Drinking plenty of water aids in the digestion of nutrients, how efficiently those nutrients are transported to the cells, and how well the cells absorb them. One of water’s most important roles is to flush the dangerous toxins out of our bodies. Every function of the human body will be compromised on a systemic level when you don’t drink enough water.
Water helps you get the most value from your supplements as well. Water helps with the utilization of all the water-soluble vitamins and minerals your body needs to survive. If a person is not getting significant results from creatine, which in my opinion is one the most effective legal supplements of the market, I would surmise they are not drinking enough water to take advantage of the hydration effect that occurs (for most of us).

Now let’s put it together….

Before calculating the percentages of each of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) make up of your total food intake, you must know the calorie conversion of each of them. A calorie is a unit to state the heat content of food. In simple terms, what energy is needed to “burn up” that type of food.

Calorie Conversion 
One gram of protein is equal to 4 calories.
One gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.
One gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
FYI: One gram of alcohol is equal to 7 calories.

If you want 55 percent of the 2,500 calories you’ve allowed yourself for the day to come from protein, simply multiply 2,500 by .55. That means 1,375 of your 2,500 calories would come from protein. If you divide those 1,375 calories by 4 (the amount of grams one calorie of protein is equal to), you’ll determine that you need 343.75 grams of protein every day.

If you eat eight meals a day and feel you should distribute protein evenly throughout the day, each of those eight meals would consist of about 43 grams.

If you want 30 percent of the 2,500 calories you’ve allowed yourself for the day to come from carbohydrates, multiply 2,500 by .30. Which means 750 of your 2,500 calories would come from carbohydrates. If you divide those 750 calories by 4 (the amount of grams one calorie of carbohydrate is equal to), you’ll determine that you need 187.5 grams of carbohydrates every day.

If you eat eight meals a day and feel you should distribute your carbohydrates evenly throughout the day, each of those eight meals would consist of about 25 grams.

If you want 15 percent of the 2,500 calories you’ve allowed yourself for the day to come from fat, multiply 2,500 by .15. Which means 375 of your 2,500 calories would come from fat. If you divide those 375 calories by 9 (the amount of grams one calorie of fat is equal to), you’ll determine that you need about 42 grams of fat every day.

If you eat eight meals a day and feel you should distribute your fat evenly throughout the day, each of those eight meals would consist of about 5 grams.

Notice the totals of 42 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of fat that we determined each meal will consist of are very close to the nutritional breakdown of a typical meal replacement.

You can check your work by adding the amount of calories you have determined for each of the macronutrients are equal to the daily total of calories for the day in this manner:

Total protein (55%) = 1,375 Total carbohydrates (30%) = 750 Total fat (15%) = 375 Total calories for the day = 2,500

Finally, reward yourself! Putting together a structured plan is worth it when you plan for cheat meals. Always schedule in advance the days that you’ll stray or “cheat” from your well-planned and structured bodybuilding diet—instead of arbitrarily doing so. You’ll feel more successful, in control, and dedicated. You’ll become more determined to make it to the “finish line” after you’ve put together a stretch of days exhibiting outstanding discipline. You will enjoy the “not-so-healthy” meal (or meals) even more and with less guilt because you know you’ve earned that indulgence.

Effects of agonist-antagonist complex resistance training on upper body strength and power development.

Robbins DW1, Young WB, Behm DG, Payne WR.

School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

The objective of this study was to examine the chronic effects on strength and power of performing complex versus traditional set training over eight weeks. Fifteen trained males were assessed for throw height, peak velocity, and peak power in the bench press throw and one-repetition maximum (1-RM) in the bench press and bench pull exercises, before and after the eight-week programme. The traditional set group performed the pulling before the pushing exercise sets, whereas the complex set group alternated pulling and pushing sets. The complex set training sessions were completed in approximately half the time. Electromyographic (EMG) activity was monitored during both test sessions in an attempt to determine if it was affected as a result of the training programme. Although there were no differences in the dependent variables between the two conditions, bench pull and bench press 1-RM increased significantly under the complex set condition and peak power increased significantly under the traditional set condition. Effect size statistics suggested that the complex set was more time-efficient than the traditional set condition with respect to development of 1-RM bench pull and bench press, peak velocity and peak power. The EMG activity was not affected. Complex set training would appear to be an effective method of exercise with respect to efficiency and strength development.

PMID: 19967584 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Seated Deadlifts

Two ques: back engagement and hip drive.

Seated deadlifts are great to help lifters learn the back engagement via the lower and upper back to stay more upright and rigid.  The movement also lets you really work on hip drive to finish the movement.

I like using this as an assistance exercise primarily but feel free to push the envelope from time to time.


Depression and false perception

Depression can be more than just feeling down.  It can alter the way you exist with a false reality.
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My Throwback Thursday at the USPA Olympia Invitational

 To be invited to a meet like the Olympia was really surreal to me.  I was not only sorta new to competing but I was not lifting with any lifting equipment.  I was given some great stuff to try but I was just so uncomfortable wearing the stuff.

I was struggling through all of my attempts because I wasn’t use to the Texas Squat bar.  It was awkward but I managed.  Also the platform was raised while people were all around us.  Talk about nerve racking.  Luckily starting with the squat made it smooth enough sailing.

My opener I turned some heads as I opened over 700+ without even knee wraps to help me.

I took 755 for a ride.  The head judge seated with his back to the camera yelled, “AND SHAWN IS LIFTING RAW!”  The crowd seemed to get into that and cheer more.  So..big air…set up…squat…drive…rack…3 whites!

That was a good day!

Exercise allows you to age optimally

Staying active allows you to age optimally, according to a study by King’s College London and the University of Birmingham. The study of amateur older cyclists found that many had levels of physiological function that would place them at a much younger age compared to the general population; debunking the common assumption that aging automatically makes you more frail.

The study, published in The Journal of Physiology, recruited 84 male and 41 female cycling enthusiasts aged 55 to 79 to explore how the aging process affects the human body, and whether specific physiological markers can be used to determine your age.
Cyclists were recruited to exclude the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which can aggravate health problems and cause changes in the body, which might appear to be due to the aging process. Men and women had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours and 60 km in 5.5 hours, respectively, to be included in the study. Smokers, heavy drinkers and those with high blood pressure or other health conditions were excluded from the study.
Participants underwent two days of laboratory testing at King’s. For each participant, a physiological profile was established which included measures of cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular, metabolic, endocrine and cognitive functions, bone strength, and health and well-being. Volunteers’ reflexes, muscle strength, oxygen uptake during exercise and peak explosive cycling power were determined.
The results of the study showed that in these individuals, the effects of aging were far from obvious. Indeed, people of different ages could have similar levels of function such as muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity. The maximum rate of oxygen consumption showed the closest association with age, but even this marker could not identify with any degree of accuracy the age of any given individual, which would be the requirement for any useful biomarker of aging.
In a basic, but important test of function in older people, the time taken to stand from a chair, walk three metres, turn, walk back and sit down was also measured. Taking more than 15 seconds to complete the task generally indicates a high risk of falling. Even the oldest participants in the present study fell well below these levels, fitting well within the norm for healthy young adults.
Overall, the study concluded that aging is likely to be a highly individualist phenomenon. As people are so different, the team concluded that more studies are needed which follow the same healthy and exercising individuals over time to better understand the effects of aging the body.
Dr Ross Pollock, lead author of the paper from King’s College London, said: “An essential part of our study was deciding which volunteers should be selected to explore the effects of aging. The main problem facing health research is that in modern societies the majority of the population is inactive. A sedentary lifestyle causes physiological problems at any age. Hence the confusion as to how much the decline in bodily functions is due to the natural aging process and how much is due to the combined effects of aging and inactivity.”
“In many models of aging lifespan is the primary measure, but in human beings this is arguably less important than the consequences of deterioration in health. Healthy life expectancy — our healthspan — is not keeping pace with the average lifespan, and the years we spend with poor health and disabilities in old age are growing.”
Professor Stephen Harridge, senior author and Director of the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London where the study took place, said: “Because most of the population is largely sedentary, the tendency is to assume that inactivity is the inevitable condition for humans. However, given that our genetic inheritance stems from a period when high levels of physical activity were the likely norm, being physically active should be considered to play an essential role in maintaining health and wellbeing throughout life.”
Emeritus Professor Norman Lazarus, a member of the King’s team and also a cyclist, said: “Inevitably, our bodies will experience some decline with age, but staying physically active can buy you extra years of function compared to sedentary people. Cycling not only keeps you mentally alert, but requires the vigorous use of many of the body’s key systems, such as your muscles, heart and lungs which you need for maintaining health and for reducing the risks associated with numerous diseases.”
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by King’s College LondonNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Getting Crunchier: How to perform standing banded crunches.

1. Find a nice place to safely lean against.  I chose a squat rack…of course.

2. Keep feet out in front enough for balance without slipping.

3. Hold on to the secured band just enough that you cant complete the desired motion.

4. Crunch forward focusing mostly on the shoulders.

5. Move just enough that the lower back stays engaged.

6. Slow and controlled with a nice hold is the way to go for your tempo.

7. Do LOTS of reps until your abs are screaming.

Female client: bench press personal best, heavy holds and giant set training

This workout focused on some heavy bench pressing where Kristen set a personal best of 100 pounds for 6 reps.  She was going to just do 90 lbs but she felt good during her warm ups.  I always say to self assess and she did!  She took advantage of feeling strong and it paid off!  She ends up doing 90 pounds for her next two sets for 6 reps each!  She really did great.

Dipping away

She finished with heavy hand offs to get her brain use to heavy weights in the press position.  Once in a meet her next actual personal best will feel like nothing as she has conditioned her mind to be use to those training loads.  Many people are often broken mentally feeling that initial weight of the bar.

Kristen finished doing giant sets of full body training using basic movements that she likes but that are also consistent with her goals.

Stronger abs with spread eagle sit ups

IF diet protocol and heavy ab training

I used the bench similar to an old Roman chair for sit ups.  I also have a pvc pip that I loaded with bands and some plates to not only make it hard for my abs but get my upper body involved a bit.

I think this is one of the best abdominal movements a powerlifter or strength athlete can do to strengthen the midsection.