Here are 16 things that have been floating around in my brain in a format that's quick and easy to read and digest.
- I hate it when people give fish oil recommendations and talk in terms of capsules or grams of fish oil. Talk in terms of EPA and DHA! Otherwise it just confuses people! There's no standard concentration of fish oil so saying that you take 3 one gram capsules means crap. EPA and DHA is what matters.
- Supplements are like steroids (whoa, that's a loaded statement) in that if you ask questions like "What supplements should I take to help build muscle?" or "Can anyone give me a good fat burning stack?" then you need to do more research into what you're putting into your body.
- Don't take your fish oil on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. EPA and DHA are "magical" but they're also fats. This means they can be burned as energy. So don't take them at a time when your body is dying for fuel – it's just a waste.
- Do you ever wonder if companies market products just because the name of the ingredient is cool? Take sesamin for example. It's often marketed as a "fat burning fat." It's even sold as sesaTHIN. So sesamin activates some of the PPARs, which leads to increased fat oxidation. Guess what? So does EPA. But I guess it would be hard to give eicosapentaenoic acid a jazzy marketing spin. How about "Burn the fat off your chest with eicosaPECtaenoic acid!"
- Pumpkin has 5 grams of fiber in just 1/2 a cup (9 gram total carbs) plus all kinds of vitamins. Pumpkin is awesome. People need to eat more pumpkin (even the canned kind).
- If you're "eating a lot" but don't seem to be putting on muscle, then you need to eat more.
- Flaxseed and fish oil both contain Omega-3s, but they're different. Flaxseed contains short chain Omega-3s (alpha linolenic acid) and fish oil contains long chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA). You can't just take one or the other. They both have beneficial properties separate of each other. For example alpha linolenic acid has been shown to reduce levels of C-Reactive Protein (a general marker of inflammation that's been correlated with risk of heart disease), but EPA and DHA do nothing to CRP.
- The ratio of omega-6 : omega-3 fatty acids might not matter. There's a good portion of the scientific community that thinks what matters is your total omega-3 consumption and if that's high, then it doesn't matter if your omega-6 consumption is through the roof. Personally, I think it's a little of both. You need high omega-3 consumption and you should have a reasonable n-6: n-3 ratio. Some where between 3:1-1:1.
- Interesting fact: Avocados were once known as the poor man's butter. Avocado on eggs is killer. While your eggs are cooking, take 1/2 of one avocado and place it in a bowl with a small splash of lime juice and a couple shakes of salt. Mash it up with a fork and you have some quick guacamole to go with an omelet (preferably with salsa inside). This quick guacamole yields ~14grams of fat.
- I recently spoke with a colleague who studies endothelial function. We got talking about nitric oxide and vasodilation. She's done studies where patients are given supplemental arginine in hopes of producing measurable vasodilation. At 12 grams of arginine per day, no change in vasodilation was found. Apparently the only way to get enough arginine to achieve measurable changes in vasodilation is through an IV throughout the day. Remember that the next time someone tries to sell you an arginine-based nitric oxide supplement.
- When people complain about feeling crappy 40 minutes after having a serving or two of Surge® Recovery and blame it on the product, I have to laugh. There's nothing to blame on the product. If anything it is a testament to how powerful Surge is. The reason you might feel crappy is because you have really low blood sugar (i.e. you're hypoglycemic).
Here's what happens. You ingest a serving of Surge®. Sugar and Amino Acids go rushing into your system. They get into your system so fast that your body releases a boat load of insulin (Yes!). This is good because insulin is highly anabolic. The insulin shuttles all the amino acids and glucose into your muscles. Unfortunately so much insulin was secreted that too much glucose is shuttled into your muscles – so much that there isn't enough in your blood stream to keep you functioning at top speed, thus you become light headed and/or feel crappy. How can you prevent yourself from feeling crappy? Forty minutes after you have your Surge®, you need to eat again. Carbs and protein to keep protein synthesis cranking and your blood sugar levels normal.
- Nutrient timing is the biggest idea to hit sports nutrition... ever. If you haven't read Nutrient Timing by Dr. Ivy and Dr. Portman, you're missing out.
- Ninety percent of diets out there (the reasonable ones) work, but you actually need to apply the principles consistently for a significant period of time to see results. If being a training program whore is bad, then being a diet whore is worse. Pick something and stick to it already.
- People who think that eating to drop body fat has to be bland and boring need to smarten up. Herbs and spices are calorie free and allow for limitless flavors and possibilities. Here are some of my favorites:
|Brand X||1 gram||180mg||120mg|
|Brand Y||1 gram||580mg||88mg|
|Brand Z||1 gram||400mg||200mg|
- Soy sauce, minced ginger, minced garlic, and diced scallions
- Balsamic vinegar, garlic, and diced fresh rosemary
- Blacken Seasoning – You can buy this premixed. It's great rubbed on fish or chicken
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne pepper
However, don't wake yourself up on purpose. High quality sleep is important for recovery and growth, so we don't want to interrupt that.