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The blogs posted are researched and written by our athletes, and express their opinions and views based on their own findings and experiences.Their views do not necessarily reflect the views of Fuel Kitchen, but we respect their success and hope you find their thoughts helpful in your personal journey.
The biographies and credentials of each athlete can be accessed by the link next to their name which accompanies each blog that they author.
If I had to guess, I think most people would say that they are carb sensitive, especially in relation to fat loss. Meaning that they think consuming carbs hinders their weight loss more than it does most other people. I’m here to tell you carbohydrates are not the enemy! There is truth that some individuals are less tolerant to carbs than others and they will struggle with fat loss on a high carb diet. However the percentage of people who are truly carb sensitive compared to what people actually think is far lower in my opinion. Continue Reading…
In the past, uninformed and fad following pundits have blamed red meat for everything from heart disease to cancer. Newspapers and magazines love to plaster alarmist headlines about red meat across their front pages, but as you might suspect these claims are ill founded and misleading. In fact, the evidence indicates that red meat is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. But before we get into the health benefits of red meat, I want to take a moment to address the growing number of studies that tarnished its reputation in the first place. Continue Reading…
Every expert, nutrition website and magazine has an opinion on nutrition. Some are valid, some are not. Information is power, but the problem is that too much information can be overwhelming. So what is a person to do? In this blog I’d like to outline three key points for designing your nutrition program so that you have the best chance to reach your goals.
Here are my top 3 takeaway points for nutrition: Continue Reading…
No Refrigeration Needed
Dairy milk has to be refrigerated or it will spoil, but you will see in the stores that almond milk is set on the shelf with dry foods. It doesn’t have to be set on ice to keep its integrity. This fact is excellent for road and camping trips. Use almond milk instead of regular milk and lessen the load in your ice chest.
Lighter Alternative Than Soy Milk
Soymilk isn’t that good for a diet because it is full of sugar. Therefore, the lift people feel after drinking it largely has to do with its sugar content. Soymilk also provides about 100 calories per every one-cup, where as almond milk has about 40 calories less. Soymilk has 4 grams of fats compared to the 2.5 grams in the almond alternative.
It seems like almond milk is another one of those trends that is popping up all over the place – Whole Foods, bougie restaurants, and even coffee shops. But what is it? It is even nutritious? If it’s from almonds, is it fatty? Why is everyone going nuts for almond milk?
Most people have no idea that Almond milk is more beneficial and nutritious than ordinary dairy milk, due to the fact that it contains much more nutrients and it has not been subjected to the same processing. It is also an ideal alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or have allergies to soy. Almond milk, like soymilk, is a perfect alternative to cow’s milk and has a surprisingly rich & creamy taste. However, the lesser soy has disadvantages to consumption because it has, well…soy. The benefits of almond milk are vast, especially for those looking to lose weight. It has a low caloric value, with an 8 oz. serving of plain (which has no added sugar) only containing around 60 calories, which has a much lower impact on your daily calorie intake than skim milk. It is rich in vitamins, and also boasts an impressive dose of bone-building calcium.
Humans are creatures of habit. When we find something we like, we tend to stick to it. Whether that’s a job, relationship or daily routine, when something feels good or comfortable, we stay the course. Actions turn into habits. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the habit.
What’s troubling and can be detrimental is when people seek change to a life routine that works just for the sake of that change. I see this all the time in the workout routines that people follow. Someone has read an article that says their exercise routine must change so without pause they move away from proven, core exercises toward whatever is deemed “the flavor of the day.” Compound movements or targeted cardio sessions are traded for less useful or even dangerous exercises. Of course, some change can be positive, but not if you are trading in beneficial selections for options that are either not as beneficial or are even detrimental. In the exercise world, I say, “Don’t reinvent the wheel!” Stick to the tried-and-true methods that have built championship bodies and functional fitness for years.
In Part 1 of this blog, we discussed the impact of low-carbohydrate diets on free testosterone levels which help us metabolize the foods we eat. In Part 2 of this blog, we extend that conversation into low-carb impacts on muscle recovery after exercising.
Recovery from resistance exercise is paramount for continual gains in strength and size. We can lift all the weights in the world, but if we do not consume adequate nutrients both before and after training, it is very hard to benefit from intense exercise. Researchers from the University of Rhode Island were interested in the role of carbohydrates and how it impacted muscle recovery in weightlifters.
In previous months, we have discussed the importance and impacts of removing either/or both carbohydrates and fats from our diets in an effort to reduce body fat and improve our health. If you are mildly or severely over-weight, either method can be beneficial in helping you achieve your weight-loss goals. Both approaches have their negatives and positives. We have all heard the saying that 75-80% of weight-loss can be attributed to a fundamental approach to a healthy diet and smart nutrition, but what about the other 20-25%? I wanted to address that remaining percentage so in my last blog I also wrote about the importance of adding intense exercise as part of your weight-loss strategy.
I had a client ask me the other day, “I’m going on a trip in two weeks and I want to lean out a little. Should I go zero carb to lean out a little before the trip?” And the answer is NO! Going zero carb is a great way to get rid of any energy that you NEED to help yourself burn the extra fat. So instead, I told him to cycle the carbs. I ALWAYS cycle my carbs when I’m leaning out, and it’s the biggest part of the process for me, more than the cardio that I’ll increase. So if you’re looking to lean out, carb cycling is a tried and true way to do it.
As we start the year, many people have goals of better fitness and a more healthy lifestyle. People ask me frequently how to ensure they reach their goals. Well did you know that keeping a food diary makes you more likely to lose the weight, and actually help you lose DOUBLE what you would have lost otherwise? A study, published in the August 2008 American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded just that.
The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente, and funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health is one of the longest-ever weight loss trials ever conducted. They measured 1700 participants weight during phase 1 which lasted 6 months. People who kept daily food records lost DOUBLE the weight of those that didn’t. It seems that just the act of writing down what you’ve eaten encourages people to take in fewer calories.
Now let’s get back to the glycogen discussion and why simple sugars (Monosaccharides) are best used post training, or in post/recovery drinks and meals. Imagine this, you’ve trained hard and gave your workout all it could handle, thus depleting your body’s stored glycogen and ATP energy stores. Its main source of energy is used up, so what’s a body to do? Use fat to function, or course. That is good thing in the fight for fat loss, right?! Additionally, if you give your body simple sugars, which are easily digested, it will pump them directly into your bloodstream to be converted into energy. What does that mean? That the simple sugars, as long as not ingested in too large of amounts, will be converted into energy instead of stored as fat. Bingo!
While many people, and rightly so, ingest sugars during the offseason when they are attempting to gain weight and muscle, cutting sugars completely when dieting is often assumed the norm. Sugars are a huge no-no in the weight-loss world, right? The reason is that excess insulin spikes and sugar are stored within the body as fat, which is obviously the opposite of what a diet is supposed to do (reduce body fat). But when dieting, is there ever a good time to take in sugar? That is the question we will examine in this month’s FUEL Health Bar blog.
A cheat meal once during the week isn’t going to wreak havoc on your body. If you are monitoring your food plans to the ounce and are being very strict, as in the case of a competitive bodybuilder, a cheat meal actually may stoke your metabolism or push you through training or weight loss plateaus. But the rule for the average person is to follow the 90/10 game plan. This means having 90 percent of your meals be clean, while the other 10 percent can be used for some indulgence. Some indulgence, but not over indulgence! That percentage rule changes is you are doing a bodybuilding show. In that case, you may only want one to three cheat meals over a 12 week nutritional program.
No-no-no!: Don’t have a cheat all day
I am referring to cheating on your meal plan, not your significant other…of course! “Can I cheat” is probably the most common, and most loaded, question that athletes, bodybuilders and people trying to lose weight ask their nutritionist. And it is a tricky one! Adhering to the strictest of diets is the best way to lean your body out, undoubtedly. But it can be both physically and mentally taxing; Enter, the cheat meal!
To be clear, all grains contain gluten, including rice and corn.
However, here is a run down of the grains that contain gluten which cause an adverse effect in persons with celiac disease or gluten intolerance: (1) wheat, (2) barley, (3) rye, and (4) spelt. When these grains are ingested by persons who have celiac disease, they trigger an autoimmune response which can destroy the villi in the small intestine, which can concomitantly lead to malnutrition, lactose intolerance, decreased calcium levels, neurological and psychological complications, birth defects and malnutrition, and so.
Everyone knows that hypertension is a bad thing.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is consistently elevated. It can lead to heart attack or stroke and strain on your internal organs. It is caused by a number of things, but of those things you can control, excess sodium is the most common culprit.
Gluten, one of the most heavily consumed proteins on earth, is created when two molecules, glutenin and gliadin, come into contact and form a bond.
When bakers knead dough, that bond creates an elastic membrane, which is what gives bread its chewy texture and permits pizza chefs to toss and twirl the dough into the air. Gluten also traps carbon dioxide, which, as it ferments, adds volume to the loaf. Humans have been eating wheat, and the gluten in it, for at least ten thousand years. For people with celiac disease—about one percent of the population—the briefest exposure to gluten can trigger an immune reaction powerful enough to severely damage the brush-like surfaces of the small intestine.
Leucine is an amino acid that has been known for a long time to be an essential building block to building muscle.
A 2011 study from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia found that when people began a weights program and were given daily leucine supplements (4 grams per day for 12 weeks), they gained more strength and muscle than those who were given a placebo. And they didn’t just get a little stronger, their strength in a 5-rep max for 8 exercises increased an average of 40.8 percent, while the control group only gained 31 percent strength.
People frequently ask what I do for glutes.
They can’t believe that a white boy can have a booty like mine. It’s taken time and a lot of exercises to get to this point. But these are the five I’ve found most helpful to develop a full, round booty:
Your glutes are the strongest muscles in your body, but the gluteus maximus isn’t fully engaged unless your hip is lower than your knee. Doing a deep squats get you low enough to fully engage the muscle. Start with light weight on a Smith Machine and once you feel comfortable with your form, graduate to the squat rack. If you have any knee issues be sensible about this one. It might not be for everyone, but for those who can, it’s a great exercise
No Side Effects.
Stevia is one of the only natural forms of a sugar substitute available on the market. Since it is completely natural, it does not offer up the same side effects seen in some artificial sweeteners such as headaches, dizziness, and other more serious conditions. Multiple review studies have been done, showing no link between Stevia and any adverse effects on health. Bodybuilders also use it in place of artificial sweeteners since it doesn’t cause subcutaneous water retention. Thank Heavens that Crystal Light now has a Stevia line!
It seems that in the past few years, the world’s supermarket shelves have been inundated with all things Stevia. While most of us know that it is “good for you,” few people really know what it is, where is comes from, and how it’s derived.
The Stevia plant is a small, sweet-leaf herb of South American origin. Stevia leaves found a special place in the culture of native Guarani tribes of Paraguay for centuries. Pretty cool if you ask me. Recent scientific trials firmly establish that this sweet-leaf herb has, in fact, many health benefiting, plant-derived phyto-chemical compounds that help control blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure in addition to its use as natural sweetener. Together with the rise in demand for low-calorie food alternatives, Stevia has drawn the attention of health conscious fitness lovers all over the planet.
You’ll hear people in the world of fitness frequently use the terms “eating clean” or “clean bulk.”
A lot of people don’t really understand what those term ‘clean’ means when it comes to food. So what does the term ‘clean’ mean when it comes to food?
Generally, it means eating non-processed foods. Eating whole grains and unprocessed starches, fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating clean proteins. If I’m being honest, when I’m not hard-core prepping for a show, I’ll cheat. And it’s not always clean cheating. But when I’m in show prep and using the Fuel meal-plan service I have more energy, my skin is cleaner, and overall I look and feel better. But on top of avoiding processed foods, how do you eat the cleanest?
Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard of science. In these studies, people are randomized into groups. For example, one group eats Diet A, while the other group eats Diet B. Then the researchers follow the people and see which diet is more likely to lead to a particular outcome. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any such study that examines red meat directly. However, we do have studies on low-fat diets. These studies have the primary goal of reducing saturated fat, which means that the people in them have to eat less red and processed meat, which happen to be high in saturated fat. The Women’s Health Initiative was a study of over 46 thousand women. One group was instructed to eat a low fat diet, while the other group continued eating the standard Western diet.
In Part 1 of this blog, we examined a study that researched which approach – low fat or low carb – will help you lose more body fat. The answer is, dramatically reducing either will help, but the low fat option will help you lose more.
Now let’s examine why we think the body responds this way. According to the head of the study, the low-carb diet did increase fat burning, but it did not increase it enough to top the fat loss that resulted from not eating that fat in the first place.
“The other interesting thing we saw was that the reduced-carb diet led to a significant decrease in calorie burn compared to when people were eating the baseline diet. The reduced fat diet had no significant effect on calorie burn.”
Food for Thought
Red meat is one of the most controversial foods in nutrition’s history. Despite the fact that humans have eaten it throughout evolution, many people believe that it can cause harm. I’d like to sort through some of the myth and lore to show what the scientific evidence has to reveal. This article focuses on the effects that red meat has on health. I’ll leave the ethical treatment of red meat for someone else to tackle.
This blog and the title are my own, but if you are debating one versus the other then you probably do not have a good plan of attack when trying to meet a weight loss goal. In truth, your plan should consist of reducing the amount of both carbs and fats if your goal is to reduce the amount of body fat you carry. You have undoubtedly seen all the diet crazes that push one or the other to the extreme- The Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, etc. They all focus on reducing either carbs or fats to an extreme, so extreme that it is not sustainable as a lifestyle. For instance, these diets will require you to cut out 100% of fats, but you can have all the carbs you want. Or vice-versa. That is a recipe for disaster. There is just too much going on in the reality of someone’s life to choose a “diet” that is practical for months and years on-end. Instead we should realize our lives are marathons, not sprints, and adhere to a healthy nutrition plan (not a diet) that is sustainable while eliminating excess.
Food for Thought
We are a society consumed by trends. Every month, there seems to be a new “superfood” that is heavily inculcated into the trendy Whole-Foods-I-just-did-my-Bikram Yoga Culture. After all, if there is a product that everybody is saying is great, or that is sold at Whole Foods, it must be great, right? This seems to be especially true with diets and food. Sit back and think of quinoa, almond milk, organic everything, gluten-free everything, and your head will begin to spin. One such heavily-touted superfood of the past few years has been coconut.
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