Category Archives: Nutrition

What Really to Look for in a Pre-Workout

In a market flooded with products and promises, it’s hard to figure out what you should be spending your money on. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve tried countless pre-workouts to varying degrees of effectiveness. I’ve found what actually works for the human body and I’ve found what I specifically enjoy.

To be 100% honest with you, a good percentage of the reason I take a pre-workout is for the placebo effect – it gives me the feeling that I’ve just consumed the power to will myself through anything. But I choose to spend a little more money and buy ones that give me an actual performance boost along with that placebo effect.

So, if you’re going to take a pre-workout, don’t waste your money on a shitty one when you could spend a fraction of the cost on a cup of coffee with largely the same effect. Spend a little more and get one that’s actually going to do something besides make you feel like you’re the hulk.

 

WHAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED:

WHAT: Citrulline Malate (6+ g)

WHY: Decreases muscle fatigue during aerobic and anaerobic exercise, decreases muscle soreness

 

WHAT: Betaine (1.5 – 2.5 g)

WHY: Increases strength and power, increases endurance, possibly increases in muscle mass

 

WHAT: Creatine  (2 – 4 g)

WHY: Increases strength, endurance, and lean muscle growth

 

  • BCAAs (optional – reduce muscle catabolism during fasted training and enhance recovery on a calorie-restricted diet)
    • Leucine (3+ g)
    • Isoleucine (1+ g)
    • Valine (1+ g)
  • Stimulants (optional – enhanced energy and focus)
    • Caffeine (100 – 400 mg)
    • Beta Alanine (1.5 – 5 g)
  • Fat Burners (optional – enhanced fat loss)
    • Caffeine (100 – 400mg)
    • EGCG
    • Cayenne
    • Carnitine (1 – 2 g)
    • Yohimbe
  • Other stuff
    • Dark Chocolate / Cocoa seed powder

High Fiber Protein Bar Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop (~28-32g) protein powder
  • 2 tbsp isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) syrup
  • Optional: 2 tbsp almond meal
  • Optional: 1 tsp stevia
  • Optional: a few drops flavoring / 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • Optional: any other ingredients specific to bar

Directions:

  1. Stir together protein powder, almond meal, stevia, and flavoring
  2. Heat IMO syrup and extract in pan over low heat until it starts to bubble
  3. Turn off heat, slowly mix in powder into pan
  4. Place mixture on parchment paper and mix in any other ingredients you don’t want to melt. Mix thoroughly using parchment paper to knead ingredients
  5. Mold into bar shaped silicone tray. Put in fridge 30-60 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature

 

Nutrition (what recipe.. with almond meal or no?):

homemade-high-fiber-protein-bar-nutrition

Protein Granola

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole grain rolled oats
  • ¼ cup raw almonds, sliced/chopped
  • ¼ cup raw pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower nuts (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 scoops (~70g) protein powder (I used a mix of Cellucor cinnamon swirl and vanilla)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • ½ tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract)
  • Optional: ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250F
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix with hands
  3. Add coconut oil, honey, and almond extract and mix with hands until there are no chunks of oil left. It will take a few minutes.
  4. Spread evenly on baking sheet
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned

Nutrition:

homemade-protein-granola-nutrition

Muscle Building Bible

First off, I’m going to take my best shot at this, but know that I’m probably not the person you should be taking advice from. I’m not a professional bodybuilder, a scientist, a doctor, nor do I have any degree or training in any field related to any of this. I’m 5’8″ and only 155lbs. But I research this stuff a lot and put it to practice learning through trial and error. I’m a mad scientist and my body is my test subject.

FITNESS

  • Well, weight lifting, duh
    • Switch up your routine – The exercises themselves, rest time between sets, number of reps per set, number of sets, weight
    • Keep aiming to increase the intensity – See above for methods to increase the intensity
  • Limit the cardio, but don’t fear the cardio. Cardio is fucking sweet.

NUTRITION

  • “Eat tons of good food”
  • Protein, protein, protein
  • Oh, you’re adding mass? Now is the time to enjoy those (HEALTHY) carbs
  • Fat doesn’t = fat. But good fats = good muscle.

RECOVERY

  • Don’t train the same muscle group on back-to-back days (48-hour rule is solid advice)

Fat Burning Bible

The same as meeting any other fitness goal, when burning fat you cannot ignore anything. Diet is critical. Exercise is essential. And Recovery is necessary.

Notice I haven’t said the term “lose weight” yet. We’re not trying to lose weight here. We’re trying to burn fat while, preferable, preserving as much of our hard-earned muscle as possible. If we happen to lose weight (which a significant portion of us will, if not all of us), that just so happens to be a byproduct of our fat loss.

 

NUTRITION

Your diet should consist mainly of fresh produce and proteins along with unrefined oils. If it doesn’t, then you’re not doing it right!

Lean Proteins

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Egg whites
  • Greek/Icelandic yogurt
    • You’re basically looking for high protein, no added sugar
  • Protein powders
    • Whey isolate for immediate absorption
    • Whey isolate/concentrate + micellar casein blend for extended release
      • I like to mix my own because I can choose the ratios and protein powders. Cellucor whey & Muscle Pharm casein are my go-to.
    • Remember to choose a healthy protein powder
  • Pork (certain cuts)
  • Fish
    • Mahi Mahi
    • Salmon

Proteins

  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Red meats (certain cuts)

Vegetables (Carbs)

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach / Kale / Lettuce
  • Pretty much any green vegetable

Fruits FOR RECOVERY (Carbs)

  • When trying to burn fat I aim to only eat sugar (fruit is pretty much sugar) directly after exercise. This is for improved recovery purposes. I like to hit it hard when I’m trying to lean up

Slow Digesting Carbs

  • Choose vegetables over this category
  • Quinoa
  • In moderation
    • Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
    • Brown Rice
    • Ezekiel bread, 100% whole wheat bread

Good Fats

  • Avocado
  • Unrefined oils
    • Olive Oil
    • Coconut Oil
    • Avocado Oil
  • Almond Butter > PB (But PB’s okay too)
  • Macadamia nuts (super, super fatty)
  • Almonds
  • 2% milk, 2% Greek/Icelandic yogurt (realize there’s a lot of carbs and protein here too)

 

DIET/EXERCISE

  • Throw your body a curve ball
    • Change something. Change anything. Your exercise routine, your diet, something. Just don’t let your body adapt. Adaptation is complacency. And if you’re compacent, you’re not moving forward.

    Intermittent Fasting (IF)

    • Check out Leangains.
    • When doing IF I don’t change my diet at all, just when I eat it. I’ll fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours and then fast for more 16 hours. Think of IF in terms of those 16 hour windows. Whenever you finish a window you’ve completed 1 IF cycle. It’s the last few hours in a cycle where you really experience the benefits of IF.
    • I don’t recommend zero calorie sweeteners and drinks, but you could do worse.
    • IF is not hard. If you’ve done HIIT (see below), you know what hard is.
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    • HIIT Options. Repeat for 20-45 minutes
      • 1 min slow jog, 1 min sprint
      • Stairs / bleachers. Run up, jog down
      • Agility drills / cone exercises. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets
  • Cardio & Weight Training 2-a-days
    • If you’re conditioned well enough you can get away with doing cardio/weights in the morning and weights/cardio later in the day, and repeating this over a span of multiple days. It’s a great way to annihilate fat. If your body can keep up.

 

SUPPLEMENTATION

  • Caffeine
  • EGCG
  • Cayenne
  • CLA
  • Yohimbe
  • Carnitine

 

RECOVERY

  • Eat within a reasonable period of time before or after working out.
    • If you’ve eaten before, it depends on how much you ate.
    • If you haven’t eaten before, you should eat within 1 hour after working out. Within 30 minutes is probably better.
  • Get some sleep. Sleep 7-8+ hours a day for optimal recovery.
  • When it comes to strength training, don’t train the same muscle group more than once within 48 hours.
  • When it comes to flexibility/cardio paired with strength training, you can actually get away with training the same muscle more frequently. This is a great way to double-up on calories burned while exercising during the day. Just don’t overdo it.
    • For example, you can do a lower body strength training session in the morning and go for even a relatively long run (10k) in the afternoon. The DOMS from the strength training session won’t have come into effect yet and if you hit the rest of your recovery, you’ll feel great tomorrow too.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Eat tons of lean protein
  • Go for green vegetables.. or at least vegetables
    • Sugar = after exercise only. The remainder of the day you can give yourself a break on sugars that come from things like sweet potatoes, milk, etc., but in general make sure sugar isn’t the primary source of carbs in the item you’re eating
    • Slow digesting carbs like quinoa and sweet potatoes are good, but choose vegetables as your first carb source
  • Get your fats in
    • For example, if you’re struggling to get enough fat, put a tablespoon of olive oil over your vegetables and lean proteins. Or just eat a damn spoonful of peanut butter

Tracking Macronutrients

Ever stare at a nutritional label and wonder how they determine just how many calories are in that bag of jerky?

It can seem overwhelming, but the answer lies right in front of you if you can handle a bit of simple math.

….

What is a Macronutrient?

Simply put, macronutrients (or “macros”) are nutrients that provide us with energy. More specifically there are 3 macros:

  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Alcohol – alcohol provides energy in the form of calories but is not required for survival (sorry guys!), so it’s not technically a macro

Counting Macros

 

  • 1 gram fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram carbohydrate = 4 calories
  • 1 gram protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram alcohol = 7 calories

Reading a Nutritional Label