There's a little-known rite of passage among top athletes that involves running up a 100-yard long, 45-degree incline sand dune. Walking up it shoots your heart rate past 170. Imagine what running does to it.
Dr. Berardi's diet prescription helped a guy slap on 20 pounds of lean mass in 20 weeks. His guinea pig did it by pretty much eating the same high-calorie, high-protein recipes every day.
Back in 1998, TC broke the story about the evils of soy, reporting how it might squelch Testosterone levels and even kill testicular cells. Have we found out more about soy? John Berardi and Ryan Andrews review the latest research.
Most foods stimulate the production of leptin, which helps burn off fat. Not so with fructose. Find out just how bad and how prevalent this nectar of the gods' really is.
Did you know that one person's physiological response to a certain drug or supplement can be 70 times stronger than it is in another person? It all has to do with the science of Nutrigenomics.
John Berardi's made a living from coming up with great tasting recipes that are incredibly delicious but these latest selections are downright inspired. Throw away the Christmas goodies and try some of these instead.
Whether you're a pock-marked adolescent or a 35-year-old who prematurely looks like an old catcher's mitt, the health of your skin is probably important to you. Dr. Alan Logan knows how to use nutrition to fix you up.
Rest, ice, and Celebrex aren't the ways to treat strains, tendonitis, or fractures. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews tell you how to win the war against injuries using items from your pantry and fridge.
When it comes to cheat meals, genetics play a big role. Since some people respond to overfeeding by upregulating their metabolisms dramatically (spendthrift metabolism) while others respond to overfeeding by storing that energy as fat (thrifty metabolism), it's important to know which type you are to determine whether a cheat would be beneficial.
Data from the University of Western Ontario shows that fish oil supplementation increases lean body mass (during non-dieting conditions), increases BMR (by up to 400kcal/day), decreases inflammation, and improves the ratio of fat/carb oxidized (sparing carbs, burning fat). Recommended dose: start with 6-10g per day of total fish oil (assuming 30% EPA and DHA).
Some physicians still believe that high protein diets cause kidney dysfunction. This is FALSE according to everything science now knows to be true. This presumption states that if you take a healthy person and put them on a high protein diet, the protein will negatively influence the kidney. To this end, there's absolutely no data in healthy adults suggesting that a high protein intake causes the onset of renal dysfunction. There aren't even any correlational studies showing this effect in healthy people. Any studies that show a correlation between renal dysfunction and protein intake are in those with some type of pre-existing kidney disease.
I've heard people talk about finding inner balance and peace while training. Inner balance and peace is for yoga. Mention those words during a deadlift session and I'll beat you with a 45 pound plate. To train hard and develop an outstanding physique, you must "find the anger" within and unload it on the bar. Not only will you feel better when you've done the workout, having activated your lower, reptilian brain centers, but you'll also have stimulated the body to improve through brute acts of force and strength.
Most people set goals like this: "I want to lose ten pounds in ten weeks." Yet that's an outcome — and outcomes are beyond your control. After all, you can't control your fat cells and their rate of fat mobilization by just hoping they'll shrink. Want to lose ten pounds? Then start by understanding what behaviors you can adopt immediately that'll lead to this result. Make these your goals.
If your goal is hypertrophy, your goal should be to eat as per your normal diet for non-training days. If you're smart, you should already be eating more calories on training days than non-training days. So during your non-training weeks, simply follow the same diet you ate on the non-training days. You can't supercharge recovery by eating more. All that extra energy will either be stored as fat or be burned off as extra energy. The decrease in energy expenditure will allow that normal caloric load to help with repair and replenishment.
During some Spike-induced clarity of thought, Berardi expounds on overeating, overcoming average genetics, success, Dave Tate, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You know what? This guy has wisdom! Screw you Tony Robbins! Screw you Deepak! Who needs ya'?
About 80-85% of my athletes take creatine, whether they're losing fat or trying to get bigger or trying to get faster or trying to improve their aerobic endurance. Now with the specific population of wrestlers who need to weigh in, that becomes a little hairy because they MAY need to get rid of as much water as possible. With them, though, 2-3 grams (half a teaspoon) of creatine a day, taken over longer periods of time, helps prevent water gain.
Our bodies are pretty well equipped to handle carbohydrates, especially if we're lean, athletic, and participate in sports. However, not everyone has the same carbohydrate tolerance — some being far worse than others. Regardless, everyone's tolerance is dramatically increased during the time that we're working out and the time immediately after. Basically, when you haven't exercised, carb efficiency is down. When you have, it's up. Feed higher carb meals after exercise and you're more likely to have a more rapid recovery as well as a better body composition.
In a bad mood? Stress and depression cause the release of a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). This hormone leads to increases in the release of cortisol, the nasty catabolic adrenal hormone that munches up muscle tissue. Studies show that both acute and chronic stress also lower Testosterone levels. So relax and take things easy. The lower your cortisol will stay, the more muscle you'll retain, and the higher your T will soar. During stressful times, your training intensity should be moderated.
Athletes who are searching for ways to bulk up and lean out should certainly ensure optimal intakes of BCAA from their food and, as it may be difficult to get the recommended 8-16g of leucine/day from protein alone, consider using BCAA supplements if the diet is lacking. Further, additional targeted BCAA supplementation (during and/or post-exercise) may offer additional benefits in terms of increasing lean body mass.
In the highly competitive world of athletics, the margin separating victory from defeat is often small. As a result, athletes know that the difference between medaling and placing off the podium can be a few hundredths of a second.
Since flax and fish oils are made up mostly of polyunsaturated fats, they both play an important role in overall health and body comp. However, they play different roles. My advice: use both. My polyunsaturated fats come from both fish oil and flax oil. However, I do limit my flax oil to 1 tbsp per day as there's some evidence that high intakes of flax seed oil may have a negative effect on prostate health. So, I exercise caution and moderation with flax.
Remember the Super Size Me movie? That guy was eating in excess of 5,000 calories a day, but nevertheless, when he went to have his vitamin and mineral loads tested, many were about 50% of where they should be. So he was overeating tons of food but he was still under-nourishing. This happens all the time with athletes. Overeating bad foods, under-eating good foods, ending up with nutrient deficiencies. I'm not suggesting that if these athletes pop a few multi-vitamins they'd be fine. The best vitamins and minerals come naturally in food.
Our sense of taste will change with what we're habitually eating. I've seen people come to love foods they used to hate. Exhibit A: cottage cheese. Anyone who's done this long enough knows a good cottage cheese flip-flop story. Such a flip-flop can even be induced instantly from time to time, by having the subject taste the famous Cottage Cheese Peanut Butter Cup Concoction: cottage cheese, chocolate Metabolic Drive, and natural peanut butter. This stuff is awesome!
Many people have no idea what they're eating. They may try to eat more protein, and they may even have a vague idea of how many calories they consume on a good day. If you're getting the results you want, this isn't a problem. If you aren't, however, it is. Vague ideas are of no use in the process of optimization. You need to manipulate your nutrition plan and all the variables contained in it — and you can't manipulate something you've never measured! Keep a food log.
A few weeks back, at a small research meeting in Toronto, Ontario, my good friend Dr. Alan Logan handed me a book I hadn't heard of before.