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Clean Eating: 15 Ways To Get Started

October 15, 2015
Clean Eating

Ask a dietitian what their least favorite phrase about nutrition is and I bet that ‘clean eating’ is on the list. Clean eating has an infinite number of meanings depending on who you are and what your nutrition guidelines are. Some people choose not to consume meat, dairy, gluten, grains, soy, eggs, corn, or beans, among other foods. These choices might be for a whole slew of reasons including sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, religious preferences, environmental concerns, taste preferences, and scientific evidence. As a registered dietitian there is one thing I’m sure about: not one dietary pattern is right for every single person. I believe it takes trial and error, intuition, and luck to find the dietary pattern that works the best for each of us.  So, instead of getting caught up in the hottest diet of the week, let’s take a different perspective. Continue Reading

Feel Lifestyle

6 Tips to Reduce Inflammation and Disease Risk

October 11, 2015
Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is an essential component of human physiology as it allows us to deal with bumps and bruises as well as more virulent attackers of our immune system. However, when inflammation goes unchecked (what is termed “chronic low-grade inflammation”) it is directly linked to increased risk of a variety of diseases – namely obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and potentially even some forms of cancer. Continue Reading

Feel Function Lifestyle

Pre-Workout Nutrition: What To Eat Before Your Workout

September 30, 2015
Pre-Workout

What should I eat before a big CrossFit competition? What can I do to optimize my performance, whether it be a 5K Race, WOD, or a 3-hour bike ride? These are the questions I’ll try and answer for you in this post.

What you eat before competition can make or break your performance. The longer the workout, the greater the impact pre-workout nutrition will have on a positive finish. With shorter events like 5K races and competitive fitness events, improper meal timing and composition can have a greatly deleterious effect, whereas on events upwards of two hours, proper meal structure is essential for success. So in order to function properly, what should I eat for each event?

Scenario 1: 5K Race

With a 5K race, the biggest mistake is overdoing the carb-load. Carb-loading will really only benefit races pushing 1 to 2 hours (ideally your 5K is not lasting that long). The reason why carb-loading won’t be important for your 5K is because the race will be over long before muscle glycogen levels are significantly impacted. The best thing you can do is eat a complex carbohydrate based meal that is low on fiber and fat about 90-120 minutes before the race. High fiber and high fat meals require more blood flow, slow digestion and increase GI energy demands, which would all take crucial nutrients away from the working muscles.

For a 5K race, try eating some applesauce mixed with a paleo friendly protein powder and a banana. Wash it down with plenty of water to increase digestion speed. Furthermore, adding caffeine pre-race aids most runners, so add coffee to the meal or caffeine pills (as tolerated). As the race nears, sip a sports drink and water to maintain hydration levels, but avoid gulping down an entire bottle of the sugary beverage, as this will cause hypoglycemia (blood sugar crash) and pre-race fatigue.

Scenario 2: Competitive Exercise Event – Traditional ‘WOD’

Similar to a 5K, the impact of a single meal on an individual workout is more likely to be negative than positive. Shorter workouts (under 5 minutes) are generally best completed on an empty stomach; so having a similar, complex carbohydrate based meal 2-3 hours out is ideal. Long workouts up to 20 minutes can be treated exactly the same as a 5K.

Of the variety of supplements out there, on a single event, caffeine is one of the few supplements outside of illegal stimulants and blood doping that can increase performance by delaying fatigue.

Over the course of a day-long competition, it is important to eat primarily carbohydrates, as all WODs are fueled primarily by muscle glycogen (sugar). Sticking to unprocessed carbohydrates like starches (sweet potato, banana) and fruits is generally the best tolerated. Protein intake will be roughly 5-10% total intake, and fat will be minimal as well.

Scenario 3: Longer Event – 2 hours or more

Longer events are where pre-workout fueling can have a much more positive and direct impact on performance. Research generally supports an 80% carbohydrate meal containing about 150g or more of carbohydrates 3-5 hours ahead of time. Within 30-60 minutes of the race, a steady drip of water, caffeine and sports drink is recommended by many professionals.

Conclusion

What ever the scenario, overthinking or overdoing your pre-workout nutrition is probably the worst thing you can do. When in doubt, just listen to your body and consume what ever sounds good at the time (within reason!)

Any questions or comments? Post below!

Function Lifestyle

Men and Whey Protein

September 17, 2015
Men and Whey Protein

When research was first published on resistance training, protein supplementation, and how to increase muscle-mass one thing quickly became obvious: protein is a vital nutrient for men looking to build muscle mass. Since muscle cells are made up of amino acids, it was an easy connection. However, this notion was quickly blown out of proportion when most iron pumping males decided that if a little extra protein was necessary, you might as well eat the whole cow.

At the end of the day, you can eat all the protein in your local butcher shop, but if your muscles are not prepared for the influx, it will all go to waste.

Yes, protein is essential to build lean mass, but most gym going males already get enough protein. Therefore, the question is NOT how do I get more protein, the important thing to ask is:

How do I get the most out of my whey protein?

To understand how to effectively use whey protein, you need to understand a little bit about muscle physiology – what happens to your muscles before, during, and after working out. When you start working out, your body immediately starts to use energy found in the muscles in the form of glycogen. Furthermore, exercise is a stress on the body, thus producing cortisol (a catabolic stress hormone). As your workout continues, especially if you are lifting some heavy weights, cortisol production continues, muscle inflammation occurs, and energy stores start to dip. This catabolic environment continues after your workout finishes – when you see catabolic, think of muscles as machines being used and broken down. Growth and repair cannot occur in a catabolic state.

If our muscles are machines, we need to find ways to help accomplish the task and then repair them for the next workout. The answer to this was, as alluded to earlier, formerly believed just a question about increased daily protein intake. However, to most effectively use your protein, the timing and combinations of protein as well as carbohydrates is even more important.

How should I prepare for my workout?

To prepare and sustain power output, consuming about 5-6 grams of protein and 20-26g of carbohydrates per 12 fl oz of fluid is ideal. Quick digesting whey protein combined with sports drink is the solution here. Consuming this “muscle fuel” pre- and during-workout will aid in preserving muscle protein, increasing protein synthesis and extend endurance / power output. Furthermore, this drink will minimize cortisol release and reduce inflammation by up to 50%.

Will protein work just as well on its own? Absolutely not. Including carbohydrates with protein maintains blood glucose levels which helps suppress cortisol. Without the carbs, cortisol production will remain elevated and power output / endurance will not improve. Including carbs with the whey protein is the key to not only improving the productivity of your session, but also on how to effectively use that whey.

Should I use whey protein after my workout?

Cortisol production and other catabolic hormones will remain elevated in the muscles following exercise if nutrients are not shuttled into the muscles. The 45 minutes post-workout are, nutritionally speaking, the most important part of your day as an athlete. Furthermore, protein alone will not convert the body into an anabolic state. Due to the muscle cells being highly insulin sensitive following a lifting session, consuming 60g of carbs post-workout will convert the body from a catabolic state to an anabolic one – a state of recovery and growth.

How important is consuming this carbohydrate / whey protein drink within 45 minutes? When studied, individuals that consumed their post-workout drink 3 hours after training finished actually had net protein loss. Muscles cannot grow like this.

Furthermore, in this post-workout window, stimulating insulin to help refuel muscles and cause growth is concern #1. Combining carbohydrates with protein in a 3:1 ratio (60g CHO / 20g Protein ideal) was 500% better at raising insulin than protein alone. Remember, insulin levels need to increase so that the muscles will become anabolic. This is when growth and repair happen! Don’t waste the whey, combining whey with carbohydrates and consuming it prior to and immediately post-workout is the only truly efficient way to help recover, cause muscle growth and eliminate muscle waste, thus reducing inflammation and soreness.

Summary: To get the most out of your whey protein supplement, 10 minutes prior to working out, consume 5-6 grams of protein dissolved in a sport drink containing 20-26g of dextrose / maltodextrin based carbohydrates to help prepare muscles to work harder and longer as well as improve recovery. Of greater importance, consume carbohydrates and whey protein in a 3:1 ratio within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. If you do not follow these tips, you’ll just be wasting a large jug of whey protein.

Feel Form Function Lifestyle

You are the Independent Variable

August 31, 2015

Every journey has its fair share of challenges. We just chose to embrace a certain type of attitude. The Never Give Up, Back Down, or Stay Down, type of attitude; the Never Too Early, Never Too Late, type of attitude; the Sun Ain’t Rising Before Me, type of attitude.

You know the feeling.

The challenges in the gym, the boardroom, the office politics, the bad break up—those are the constants.

The outcome is 100% attitude.

You are the independent variable, YOU are (X).

Articles Lifestyle News

Only Madonna Makes Public Statements

June 15, 2015
Lauren Brooks

I wanted to open with a super insightful R Kelly quote (aka some ridiculous song lyrics) but I didn’t.  Making public statements just isn’t my thing; I’m just not that cool. So here we are typical Lauren fashion 4 weeks later and still finishing this post.  Obviously, 2015 won’t be everything I hoped and dreamed……… Or will it?

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Lifestyle News

WE GOT PETER’S BACK!

April 15, 2015
Got Peters Back

First and foremost we’d like to express our gratitude for the heart-warming messages sent Peter’s way.

We also have an important update to share with you! After initially being denied the coverage for proton therapy, Peter appealed to his insurer- and this time was approved!

This a huge relief and we couldn’t be happier. So… WOD now?

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Lifestyle Nutrition

DIRTY AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS PREVALENT IN EUROPE

April 6, 2015
Farm to table

Often credited with a much stronger Farm-to-Table tradition than the United States, the European Union is undergoing similar problems with the food supply chain. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated on March 12, 2015 that nearly 50% of all food products in Europe contain pesticide residue. Further worryingly, pesticides were also found on a small percentage of organic foods.

In general, the health impact of these trace levels of pesticides is low, but with many of the present compounds being proven carcinogens, health conscious individuals are raising the alarm. Almost all products where under the legal limit for pesticide occurrence, but one of the most common violators of legal pesticide limits are strawberries.

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