Home Posts tagged "Nutrition" (Page 2)

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 5

Here are this week's list of tips to help you lose fat, gain muscle, get strong, and be just a little more awesome, compliments of Cressey Performance coach, Greg Robins.

1. Cook with coconut oil.

Many people know that cooking with oils such as extra virgin olive oil is an easy way to add healthy fats into their diet. However, coconut oil is a less utilized source of good fatty acids.

Coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are named as such due the medium chain length of their molecular structure. What does this mean for your health? First, MCTs are more easily utilized by the muscles in your body, which means they are transported quickly to your mitochondria for energy, and therefore less likely to be stored as adipose tissue. MCTs also have a thermogenic effect that is nearly double that of other dietary fat.

Secondly, MCTs’ shorter chain length makes them easily digestible, which is a plus for populations with nutrient absorption issues.

Third, MCTs are ketogenic, producing two ketone bodies when metabolized. Ketones are used by the body as a source of energy, and in a lower carbohydrate diets can be beneficial as a source of energy.

2. Use the GHR.

The Glute Ham Raise (GHR) is a fantastic posterior chain builder. The GHR offers a closed kinetic chain option that trains the hamstrings in knee flexion, and thus provides incredible transfer to other hip dominant strength exercises like the squat and deadlift. Seek out a gym that has this piece of equipment, or pony up and add it to the equipment in your gym. Below is a video on how to set up the GHR properly and perform the exercise:


3. Figure out exactly how much caffeine you really need pre-training.

In a recent study featured in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers concluded that 3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight was needed to significantly increase squat and bench press maximal power. To put things in perspective, that is roughly 273mg of caffeine for a 200lb person. Upon a short google search of popular energy drinks, the average caffeine content looks to be about 150mg / 16oz can. An 8oz cup of brewed coffee yields roughly 90-100mg of caffeine. It is also worth noting that "Booty Sweat" energy drink does not deliver enough caffeine to be effective over a bodyweight of 190lbs, giving us yet another reason not to drink it.

The take home message? Caffeine has been utilized as a performance aid for many years. It is safe for most populations, and the amount does not need to be anything crazy to receive the benefits. With all the junk found in most energy supplements, consider black coffee as your new “go-to” when you need a pick-me-up before hitting the gym.

Note: to learn more about coffee, check out our previous feature here at EricCressey.com: Coffee Consumption and Health: Part 1 and Part 2.

4. Get a grip.

A strong grip is synonymous with strong person. It makes perfect sense: you can't lift what you aren't able to hold.

Furthermore, almost every lift involves your hands on the weight, whether or not they seem to have direct transfer into that exercise's success. Why is that important? When your hands are strong, that means your forearms are strong, and if you make the effort to squeeze the bar, DB, or other implement during every lift you will apply tension that transfers from your lower arm, through the elbow, and into the shoulder girdle. This is called "radiant tension."

Paying attention to training your grip will also help with lower arm pain, and keep your elbows and wrists healthy. Make sure to include a well rounded approach, with exercises that take the wrists through various ranges of motion. As well as exercises for the hands to include pinching and squeezing. Some easy options are: Farmer's Carries, Plate Pinches, Towel Rows and Pull Ups, thick handles, and wrist curl variations.

5. Surround yourself with different people.

In order to be successful, you must constantly challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone. If you become complacent, you will eventually be passed by. With that in mind, make sure that you are constantly surrounding yourself with different people. In doing so, you will expose yourself to varying beliefs and ideas. Everyone has taken a slightly,or dramatically different path to get to where they are; even if they operate in the same sphere as you. There is something to be learned from just about anyone, if you are open to it.

Surround yourself with people who are as committed to being great as you are, but not people who are the same as you. In doing so you will find that your strengths have once again become a weakness, and your weakness may actually be a strength. The reality is that your constant exposure to varying ideologies is making you better.

With that said, here’s an action item to kick off your weekend. Schedule a time right now to go observe another coach, train with a different training partner, or just hit up a training session at a different gym than you normally attend so that you can experience new equipment and observe what other exercisers and trainers are doing.

Co-Author Greg Robins is strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. Check out his website, www.GregTrainer.com, for more great content.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Read more

The Truth About Meal Frequency: Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

Today's guest nutrition blog comes from former Cressey Performance intern Tyler Simmons. “It’s best to eat 5 - 7 times a day." "Eating every three hours fuels your metabolism." "If you skip meals, your body goes into 'starvation mode,' you gain fat, and burn muscle for energy.” Chances are that you’ve probably heard something like the above statements if you’ve read anything about diet or exercise in the last ten years. Many of you (myself included) probably spent a lot of time preparing and eating meals, in the hopes of optimizing fat loss and better muscle gain.

What does the data really show about spacing out your meals? When I started researching the topic of meal frequency in 2010, I assumed there was ample scientific evidence to back up these nearly unanimous claims that smaller, more frequent meals were better than larger, less frequent meals. Boy, was I disappointed.

To my surprise, the scientific literature had some different things to say. My research focused on how changing meal frequency impacts two different things: 1) Metabolic Rate and 2) Weight Loss. What I found was compelling evidence that reduced meal frequency, sometimes known as Intermittent Fasting (IF), could actually help me, so I started an experiment. In the summer of 2010 I was living in Alaska doing construction and labor, as well as doing off-season training for Track and Field (sprinting, jumping, and lifting). For years I had focused on eating every 2-3 hours, but based on my new findings, I decided to limit all omy food intake to an 8-hour window, leaving 16 hours of the day as my fasting portion. Despite doing fasted, hard labor all day, then lifting, sprinting, and playing basketball, I managed to set records on all my lifts at the end of the summer. Not only was I stronger than ever, but I got leaner too. Here’s pictures from before and after, about 2 months apart:

Getting lean wasn’t even my main goal; the idea that I could be free from eating every three hours without suffering negative side effects was extremely liberating. No longer was I controlled by arbitrary meal times and tupperware meals in a lunch box. During this summer, I developed the ability to go long periods of time (18-24 hours) without food, and not get tired, cranky, our mentally slow down. So why didn’t I catabolize my muscles, drop my metabolic rate, and end up looking like skinny-fat Richard Simmons (no relation)? The Science The idea that eating several smaller meals is better came from a few pieces of information. The first was because of an association between greater meal frequency and reduced body weight in a couple of epidemiological studies, although this only shows a correlation, not causation. Breakfast eaters are more likely to engage in other health activities, such as exercise, which explains the relationship. In the most comprehensive review of relevant studies, the authors state that any epidemiological evidence for increased meal-frequency is extremely weak and “almost certainly represents an artefact” (1). The second piece is related to the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), which is the amount of energy needed to digest and process the food you eat. Fortunately, this is dependent on total quantity of food, not on how it’s spaced, making the distinction irrelevant. So, now we can see that the supposed benefits from increased meal frequency do not hold up to closer inspection, but why would we want to purposefully wait longer in between meals? Originally, researchers thought Caloric Restriction (CR) was the bee’s knees. Preliminary research showed that CR slows aging, reduces oxidative damage, and reduces insulin and levels. All good, right? Unfortunately, these benefits come with some nasty trade-offs, including reduced metabolic rate, low energy levels, constant hunger, and low libido, pretty much what you would expect from chronically restricting food intake. These were not happy animals.

Recent research has shown that Intermittent Fasting or reduced meal frequency can convey many of the benefits of CR while avoiding the negative side effects. Some of these benefits include:
  • Favorable changes to blood lipids
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Decreased markers of inflammation
  • Reduction in oxidative stress
  • Increased Growth Hormone release
  • Greater thermogenesis/elevated metabolic rate
  • Improved fat burning
  • Improved appetite control
Some of these effects may be secondary to the reduction of calories due to improved appetite control, or they may be primary effects of IF, the research is not conclusive on this yet. One of the most interesting findings was that contrary to conventional wisdom, reduced meal frequency actually causes an increase in thermogenesis (metabolic rate), which is mediated through the increase of catecholamines (stress hormones), such as adrenaline and norepinephrine (1,2). Yep, you read that right: instead of slowing your metabolism down, it speeds it up. Catecholamines also help with the liberation of fatty acids from fat cells, making them available to be burned as energy. That’s the “why” and the “how” for some of the effects of IF. Whatever the mechanism for it, IF seems to be effective for at least some people, myself included. But before you rush off to go start fasting 16 hours a day, here are some tips and caveats. Important Considerations Many people ask me if IF is good or bad, but as with most things, it depends. IF is not appropriate in certain situations. It can be good or bad, depending on who you are (your current health status/lifestyle) and what your goals are. IF is a stressor on the body; one of the primary effects is an increase in stress hormones. If you’re lacking sleep, eating low quality foods, stressed out about your job, and excessively exercising then don’t start an IF protocol. It will backfire and you will end up fat and tired! Only experiment with an IF program if you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night, eating a high quality diet, appropriately recovering from exercise, and don’t have too many mental/emotional stressors.

As far as what goals this works for, common sense applies here. IF is generally best for people who are already moderately lean and are trying to get leaner. If you’re trying to put on 30 pounds of mass, don’t start IF. If you’re an athlete with a very heavy training load, don’t try IF. For those of you who fit the criteria of goals and health status, I suggest experimenting with the 8-hour fed/16-hour fasted periods. Eat quality foods to satiation in your eating window, especially focusing on the post-training period. Keep in mind that IF is not for everyone, but it can be a powerful tool at certain times.  Most importantly, even if IF isn’t for you, remember that you shouldn’t stress out if you miss a meal occasionally! Additional Note/Addendum Many readers have noted that this is similar to what Martin Berkhan does in his LeanGeans protocol. Martin Berkhan was certainly influential in the thought process behind this, and I don’t mean to take anything away from him. To be clear, LeanGains is much more complex than a 16:8 fasting:eating period. LeanGains involves calculating calorie intake, fluctuating calorie intake +20% on training day/ -20% on off days, macronutrient cycling (high carb/low carb), supplementing with BCAA's, etc. I didn’t use any of these techniques during my ten week experiment, I just ate to satiety during an 8-hour window. Martin is a great resource for people that want to learn more, especially on the body composition side of things. His website is leangains.com. About the Author Tyler Simmons is the owner and head Nutrition/Strength & Conditioning Coach at Evolutionary Health Systems. He has his bachelors in Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Science and Exercise Nutrition from Humboldt State University. A former collegiate athlete, Tyler specializes in designing training and nutrition programs for athletes of all levels, as well as general population. Learn more at EvolutionaryHealthSystems.com. Related Posts Why You Should Never Take Nutrition Advice from Your Government Anabolic Cooking: Why You Don't Have to Gag to Eat Healthy References 1. Bellisle, F., & McDevitt, R. (1997). Meal frequency and energy balance. British Journal of Nutrition, 77, 57-70. 2. Mansell, P., & Fellows, I. (1990). Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans. The American Journal of Physiology, 258, 87-93. 3. Staten, M., Matthews, D., & Cryer, P. (1987). Physiological increments in epinephrine stimulate metabolic rate in humans. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, 253, 322-330. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
Read more

Building Vibrant Health: Part 4

Today is the fourth part of a guest blog series from Eric Talmant.  In case you missed them, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Building Vibrant Health: Part 4

By: Eric Talmant

There are several options for getting started with Bill Wolcott's Metabolic Typing®.  The first option, what I would refer to as the "Entry Level" option, is to buy The Metabolic Typing® Diet. This involves taking the self-test, which allows the reader to identify his or her general Metabolic Type® category and follow the appropriate Metabolic Type® dietary recommendations. It also provides additional self-tests to further customize the diet.


The advantage to this option is that it involves a minor financial commitment, and it is certainly much better for you in terms of following a diet plan rather than just arbitrarily eating 'healthy foods'.  I feel so strongly about this that I believe there really is no reason every single person should not know their general Metabolic Type®.  Once you know your general type, it is very much like turning on a flashlight in a dark room.  Since you know what foods you should generally be eating to push body chemistry in the proper direction, you can actually begin to build health.  The very first thing you will notice is improvement in energy levels; followed shortly by the disappearance of food cravings. For a cost of probably $10 or less for a used copy, it just does not make any sense to me NOT to at least take this basic first step. The second option is to take the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test from a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor.  You are certainly welcome to take the test from me, or if you feel more comfortable working with a local Metabolic Typing® advisor, then visit this link for a list of advisors in your area. The Metabolic Typing® Test offered by Certified Metabolic Typing® Advisors is the most specific test you can take to determine your Metabolic Type®. The HealthExcel System of Metabolic Typing® analyzes 11 Fundamental Homeostatic Controls (FHC) to determine and define one's Metabolic Type®. These FHCs are: 1. Autonomic Nervous System (NeuroEndocrine-Sympathetic/Balanced/Parasympathetic) 2. CarboOxidative (Fast/Slow/Mixed Oxidation) 3. Steroidal Hormone Balance (Pregnenolone/DHEA/Androgens/Estrogens/Progesterone/Cortisol) 4. Neurotransmitter Balance (Excitatory/Inhibitory) 5. LipoOxidative (Anabolic/Catabolic) 6. Electrolyte (Stress/Insufficiency) 7. Acid/Alkaline (6 different kinds of imbalances) 8. Endocrine Type 9. Blood Type 10. Constitutional Type 11. Prostaglandin Balance The Metabolic Typing® Test is the most accurate method of determining Metabolic Types® available in the world today. It is the result of an evolutionary process spanning nearly 30 years, and is based on the input of thousands of practitioners around the world and hundreds of thousands of users. This online test contains a series of questions about physical traits, diet-related traits, and psychological traits that will identify your dominance and sub-dominance, as well as your endocrine type. There are 9 possible Metabolic Type® combinations involving the pairing of the Autonomic and Oxidative systems. Within each type, one Fundamental Homeostatic Control will be dominant and dictates how nutrients behave in your body. Knowing your dominance and sub-dominance will guide you in choosing the best foods for your type. The endocrine system plays a role in shaping external physical features and therefore should be considered as you select the best foods for you from the approved food list. Consulting with your Certified Metabolic Typing® Advisor will help you fine-tune your meals for optimal health.


(Example of Part of one Metabolic Type's® Food List that you would get with the Advanced Test)

If you do not have access to a computer, the test can be mailed to you and returned to your advisor for data entry. Services with the Metabolic Typing® Test often include:
  • The most specific, up-to-date color coded diet plan that Metabolic Typing® has for each type, that clearly shows which foods are ideal, neutral, least desirable, and to be avoided for your particular Metabolic Type®,
  • 40 additional documents covering lifestyle recommendations,
  • Individual supplement recommendations,
  • The article "Using Your Diet Plan",
  • Many more documents on how to integrate the Metabolic Typing® lifestyle into your own,
  • Sample menus for your type
These resources are extremely helpful in putting you on the right path to a Metabolic Typing® lifestyle. Consultation sessions are also available with the Metabolic Typing® Program, so contact you advisor to find out their rates.  In my practice, I have found that it is not uncommon for someone to take the test and put all of the pieces together for a relatively inexpensive initial investment (on my site this whole package is only $50).  However, when it comes to fine tuning one's diet and supplements, a Metabolic Typing® advisor sometimes can make all of the difference.  Try the program out for yourself at first and see how comfortable you are with the whole thing. Then, decide whether working with an advisor would be right for you. Finally, if you would like to really get serious about building and maintaining vibrant health, then most Metabolic Typing ® advisors offer what can be referred to as a "Comprehensive" Metabolic Typing® program.  Comprised of the Metabolic Typing® Program, in addition to the Signet MRT food sensitivity blood test, the BioHealth 205 saliva functional adrenal stress profile, the BioHealth 101 urine metabolic assessment profile, a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis from Trace Elements, Inc. and if necessary Neurotransmitter testing for the brain.   This program analyzes all 11 Fundamental Homeostatic Controls and makes appropriate the Metabolic Type® diet, Metabolic Type® supplementation and detoxification, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations. The Comprehensive Metabolic Typing® Program is designed as a complete lifestyle and advanced health-building program. It is intended as an "optimum health-building program" to help your body rebuild and regain its health, if you've lost it, or maximize your potential and keep your good health, if you already have it. The program typically includes the following components:
  • Metabolic Typing® Test
  • Signet MRT food sensitivity blood test
  • BioHealth 205 saliva functional adrenal stress profile
  • BioHealth 101 urine metabolic assessment profile
  • Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis from Trace Elements, Inc.
  • All lab fees for the MRT, 205, 101, and HTMA
  • Neurotransmitter testing for the brain (if necessary)
  • Analysis and interpretation of all test results
  • Customized food list
  • 2 months of email and telephonic MTA support
This is absolutely the most individualized and advanced program for building health that caters to your unique biochemistry that you will find anywhere. Now that you all have a basic understanding of the three main options for getting started in the Metabolic Typing® lifestyle, I encourage you to go out and do some more research on your own and perhaps contact a local advisor.  Begin by asking questions about their services. Then, describe to them where you currently are with your health and diet including your level of commitment.  Your advisor will be able to recommend the best options for you. In Part 5, I will discuss some of the tests mentioned in the Comprehensive Metabolic Typing® program, describe what each one "does", and discuss why they are important pieces in the puzzle of building and maintaining vibrant health. About the Author Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor. Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test, U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test); as well as the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone saliva test Profiles. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009. Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.EricTalmant.com.
Read more

Building Vibrant Health: Part 3

Today is the third part of a guest blog series from Eric Talmant.  In case you missed them, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Building Vibrant Health: Part 3

By: Eric Talmant

I am a human being.  I am a white Caucasian.  I am a male.  I am an American citizen.  I have blonde hair and blue/green eyes.  I am 68 inches tall and weigh 175 pounds. I am a protein-type.  In my ANS, I am parasympathetic dominant.  In my oxidative system, I am fast-oxidative dominant.  My endocrine system is adrenal dominant.  Overall, my dominance is fast oxidative.  Therefore, my Metabolic Type® is fast oxidative.  Broccoli is not a good food choice for me.


The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® is based on a technology that William Wolcott collected and developed.  Since 1987, health care professionals have used this technology to determine individualized nutritional requirements and diet plans.  We have learned that various reactions take place daily and thus help to define the individual processes behind metabolism.  Adaptation, metabolic efficiency, and (ideally) good health are made possible with energy by way of the Fundamental Homeostatic Control Mechanisms.  Bill Wolcott's Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® combines and uses all twelve Fundamental Homeostatic Control Mechanisms.  They are the elements that define who we are metabolically. We will first begin by discussing the three basic Metabolic Types®.  Each type corresponds to a specific diet, but bear in mind that it is simply a starting point.  We will discuss the fine-tuning of this diet later on. The protein type means one of two things: either the parasympathetic branch of the ANS is stronger and more dominant than the sympathetic branch, or your cells burn carbohydrates too quickly meaning that you are a fast oxidizer.  When the parasympathetic branch dominates, it causes the metabolism to be too alkaline.  A high protein intake will acidify the already too alkaline metabolism, strengthening the sympathetic branch, and bringing it closer to balance with the already dominant parasympathetic side.  If your oxidative system dominates, the protein will slow down the high oxidation rate (fast oxidizer) and will alkalinize your too acidic metabolism.  In my case, I am parasympathetic dominant within my ANS, and I am a fast oxidizer within my oxidative system.  HOWEVER, my oxidative system is the one that drives my metabolism.  THEREFORE, I need plenty of protein to slow down my fast oxidation and alkalinize my too acidic metabolism.  We will discuss taking the Metabolic Typing® Test later. Protein types obviously do well on a diet high in protein but specifically those proteins that are high-fat proteins.  These are known as "high purine" proteins and include foods like dark meat, chicken and turkey, red meat (buffalo, elk), lamb, organ meats, and seafood such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, mussels, sardines, scallops, salmon, and tuna.  It is important to note that the mercury content in seafood has now made it a less desirable choice.  Always choose fresh fish over frozen and wild over farmed fish.  If you eat fish more than a few times a week, it might be a good idea to run an Internet search on the latest information concerning mercury and fish.  Another good idea would be to go HERE and use the mercury calculator.


Most protein types also do well on whole fat foods in the form of milk, cream, eggs, cheese, and cottage cheese.  They are free to use raw, organic butter, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, natural cold-pressed oils (flax oil), fish oil, and raw nuts and seeds.  The best carbohydrate sources are greens and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, cabbage, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.  All carbohydrates are high starch, medium starch, or low or non- starch, and as such do turn to sugar in the body (remember the insulin stuff?).  The higher the starch content, the bigger the potential problem is for the metabolism of fast oxidizers because they tend to burn carbs too quickly.


A good macronutrient ratio for the protein type would be 70/30 percent.  The 70% should come from high purine proteins and allowable fats and the 30% comes from carbohydrates.  A good place to start would be 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbohydrates.  I have to emphasize that this is just a recommendation for a starting point.  My diet actually consists of closer to 30% protein, 50% fat, and 20% carbohydrates.  Again, we will discuss the fine-tuning of this diet in a later article, but for now this (40% protein, 30% fat, 30% carbohydrate) is the starting point for a protein type. If a protein type ignores the requirement for a high amount of protein and fat at each meal or snack, and in contrast opts to eat freely of carbohydrates, the following are likely: -the body will compensate by breaking down muscle tissue for protein -adrenal and thyroid glands will not function properly -the parasympathetic branch of the ANS will be strengthened -the body will produce excess insulin, directing the body  to store fat instead of burning it for energy -fat storage will increase due to the cells being unable to efficiently carry out oxidative processes -all of the above will result in a drop in metabolic rate


The Carbohydrate Type:  As a general rule, if you are a carbo type than you need a diet made up of relatively small amounts of protein and fats compared to carbohydrates.  The tendency of carbo types to metabolize food slowly is the main reason why large amounts of proteins and fats (especially the high purine ones) are to be avoided.  Higher amounts of carbohydrates are needed to speed up the naturally slow oxidation rate of the carbo type, which will balance your too alkaline metabolism by acidifying it.  The other possibility is the higher amount of carbohydrates will help to strengthen the parasympathetic side of the ANS, which tends to be weaker than the sympathetic side in the carbo type, and will alkalinize your too acidic metabolism. Carbo types usually do well on a relatively low protein, low fat diet.  This will enable them to feel energized both mentally and physically and stay on an even plane emotionally.  Too much protein and/or fat will either leave them feeling tired and sluggish, or hyper, wired, and irritable.


The carbo diet should include liberal amounts of carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  It is important to note that a low protein diet does not mean a no-protein diet.  It is equally important to note that in a future article, I will be outlining the typical diets that the Russian Olympic weightlifters used in the late 70's and 80's.  If you think that all of these guys were ingesting 1.5 grams or more protein per pound of bodyweight, or lean bodyweight, or whatever it is these days that the latest guru is recommending, then think again.  I hardly believe that we can argue with the success that the Russians, Bulgarians, and eastern Europeans enjoyed in Olympic weightlifting during this time period.  Actually, for most carbo types, it will be necessary to include protein in most meals. However, they need to focus on the leaner, lighter meats, and lighter seafood.  Ostrich, very lean red meats, chicken and turkey breast, and lighter seafood such as catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, perch, and sole are good examples. Carbo types also do well with low fat dairy products.  Just like the protein type, however, the best carbohydrate sources for carbo types are vegetables with low or moderate levels of sugar and starch.  Since the carbo type's system converts carbohydrates into energy slowly, they can handle starchy or sugary foods just fine, and certainly better than the other two types.  As with anything though, just be careful not to overdo it. A good macronutrient ratio for the carbo type to follow is sixty percent to forty percent, with the sixty coming from carbohydrates and the forty coming from proteins, oils, and fats.  A good place to start would be twenty-five percent protein, fifteen- percent fat, and sixty- percent carbohydrates.  A good example of a carbo meal would be a 3oz or so chicken breast with baked potato and steamed broccoli or a mixed-greens salad with olive oil and vinegar.  Again, remember that this is just a general starting point for carbo types, and that we will discuss fine tuning your macronutrient ratio or personal fuel mix in a later article. Unlike protein types, carbo types can sometimes eat carbohydrates by themselves without experiencing any "ill effects" such as weakness, lethargy, or an energy crash.  If a carbo type goes against their recommendations and eats a large amount of protein and fats with inadequate amounts of carbohydrates, the following are likely to occur: -fat storage will increase due to the cells being unable to efficiently carry out oxidative processes due to a shortage of glucose from the carbohydrates, the body will tear down or catabolize its own muscle tissue in order to obtain the necessary fuel to function, DESPITE the fact that you are eating "adequate" amounts of proteins and fats -adrenal and thyroid glands will not be able to function properly -all the above will result in weight gain due to decreasing the metabolic rate


Finally, we have the Mixed Type.  They fall somewhere between the protein types and the carbo types on the metabolic scale, if you will.  It is a mixture of the two types, which have more clearly indicated metabolic imbalances.  Now, within the mixed type are two subtypes.  The first is referred to as the A-mixed type, or actual type.  The actual type displays characteristics that are neither protein type nor carbohydrate type dominant.  They tend to have "average" appetites, feeling hungry at traditional mealtimes.  They are not hungry between meals much, if at all. The second mixed subtype is the R-mixed type, or relative type.  Instead of displaying traits that are in the middle like the A-type, the R-type exhibits strong traits from both sides.  However, neither trait dominates the other.  The protein type traits that are expressed are counterbalanced by the amount of carbohydrate type traits, offsetting each other.  R-types fluctuate between sometimes having a ravenous appetite and other times not feeling hungry to the point that they could skip meals. Because mixed types do well on the widest range of foods, they are the least likely among the types to have a problem with weight.  They need to consume a good mixture of protein type foods and carbohydrate type foods. This means balancing both high and low purine proteins with both high and low starch carbohydrates including legumes, vegetables, fruits, and grains.  The mixed type does best on the typical "balanced" meal.  This will accomplish two things.  First, it will support both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic sides of the ANS.  Second, it will keep their cellular oxidation rate, which is neither too fast or to slow, in balance.


Typically, mixed types do not feel the need for snacks.  In theory, any type of snack will work.  However, we are looking for those snacks that work the best.  Individual trial and error is the only way to tell for sure, but just remember to be cognizant and aware of how you feel after eating a particular snack.  Good snacks will obviously satisfy their appetite, provide energy and a feeling of well being, and not leave them craving sweets.  Dairy foods are optional for mixed types, simply because dairy works well for carbo types and not so well for protein types.  The lower the starch content in a carbohydrate, usually the better it is for all types, mixed included.  However, most mixed types will be able to get away with those carbohydrates that contain more starch and are higher on the glycemic index. Those mixed types that have blood sugar problems should avoid wheat and wheat products as much as possible.  Wheat breaks down into sugar faster than any other grain, resulting in excess insulin.


A good macronutrient ratio for the mixed type to follow would be 50/50%.  Shoot for 50% of your calories from protein and fats and the remaining 50% from carbohydrates.  It is recommended that mixed types start with the majority of the 50% coming from protein rather than fat.  Essentially, we are looking at 30% coming from proteins, 20% coming from fats, and 50% coming from carbohydrates.  This would be the recommended starting point for a mixed type.  Like the other types, try to eat at regular intervals, and try to be consistent with meal times and snack times from day to day.  Most importantly, try and get a good balance between protein type and carbohydrate type foods.  It is not necessary that you equally divide food between the two groups and each and every snack and meal.  However, at the end of the day, be sure that your overall food intake was close to equal and that all types of proteins and carbohydrates were eaten.  A good example of a mixed type meal would be 4-8oz of lamb with roasted potatoes, broccoli, and a mixed green salad. Now that we have identified the various Metabolic Types®, system dominance, and the proper starting point for macronutrient ratios of each type, we need to actually take the Advanced Metabolic Typing® test and start putting all of this knowledge to practical use.  In the next article, I will discuss options for taking the test as well as the test itself.  It consists of sixty-five questions that have no right or wrong answers and has been used for over twenty years yielding a high degree of accuracy. Once you have taken the test and identified your Metabolic Type®, we will discuss the techniques and ways to fine-tune or customize your diet to your own highly individual needs.  It is truly empowering to finally come to understand exactly what foods and food combinations will allow you to function and perform optimally in every aspect of your life.

About the Author

Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a Certified Metabolic Typing® advisor and Functional Diagnostic nutritionist.  Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test,  U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test, and the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone Profiles to name a few) and dispense hormones. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009. Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site, EricTalmant.com.


Read more

Building Vibrant Health: Part 2

This post is a continuation of a guest submission from Eric Talmant.  In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1. No two people are alike.  Enter Metabolic Typing®, or what I like to call common sense.  In the 1930s, Weston Price discovered, by visiting many parts of the world, that there was a link between modern eating habits and the degree of chronic degenerative illness.  He also concluded that there was no such thing as a uniform, "healthy" diet (1).  Due to a myriad of variables including climate, environmental conditions, common food supplies, etc., different cultural and ethnic groups have developed different kinds of dietary requirements. Over the years, Price's initial research began to demonstrate more and more clues as to the optimal way to eat for improved health and well-being.  In the late 70s and early 80s, William Wolcott made a revolutionary discovery by proving that the body's Autonomic Nervous System and the oxidative system were connected.  This discovery allowed Wolcott to very accurately predict what kinds of foods each person needs to establish a balance between these two aforementioned systems.  Once given the proper nutrients, Wolcott was able to show the body's true capacity to regulate and heal itself. It is all about balancing body chemistry, which is unique for each one of us.  We all process foods and utilize nutrients differently. It is these differing genetic requirements that explain why broccoli may be fine for some of you, not affect some of you, and cause some of you to feel not so good (1).


In the "average" person, every cell in the body is designed to be healthy and effectively carry out its specific job.  If our cells are not given the proper nutrients, they can lose the ability to do their specific job, which results in a low production of energy.  They also lose the ability to repair and rebuild tissue. Powerlifters and athletes would read this as the ability to recover from training.  Sickly ones replace healthy cells, which begins a cascading effect upon your entire body.  The worst case scenario is that the cells of an organ become so weak that the organ itself becomes inefficient. A good example is the pancreas and its ability to produce insulin.  We learned that the more insulin resistant a person becomes, the more insulin the pancreas must produce in order to carry out its functions.  Eventually the pancreas will not produce enough insulin and the result is that some type 2 diabetics end up having to inject insulin.  Therefore, rather than focusing on debating macronutrient consumption (protein, carbs, and fats), we will first identify our unique body's proper nutrients.


In order to identify these nutrients that our bodies have a genetic need for, we need to first figure out what our needs are.  This is the main reason behind figuring out your Metabolic Type. Remember in the last article when I mentioned the shortcomings of treating insulin, high blood pressure, and cholesterol?  We always want to treat the underlying causes, not the symptoms.  Stress, illness, lack of endurance in the gym, inability to put on muscle mass or get stronger, high body fat, etc. are all symptoms.  What we eat, however, is one of the causes. Our dietary needs are very much determined by heredity.  As previously mentioned, various cultures have developed distinct nutritional needs as a result of elements such as climate, geographic location, and what types of edible plants and animals their environments had to offer.  For example, many of the indigenous people who live at or near the equator have a strong hereditary need for diets high in carbohydrates i.e. fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.  In contrast, the ancestral diets of Eskimos consisted primarily of protein and fat in order to keep warm and allow them to survive.


Enter the United States, where we are a melting pot of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Simply put, because of the endless combinations it is just not possible for most of us to accurately identify what our ancestral diet might be; not to mention that our nutritional requirements are also determined by our lifestyle, environment, activity level, body composition goals, etc.  Although important, there are many other factors that identify our nutritional needs.  Enter the science of Metabolic Typing®. Remember the breakthrough that Wolcott discovered between the Autonomic Nervous System and the oxidative system that was mentioned in the opening paragraph?  The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) controls all involuntary activities of the body.  Immune activity, breathing, heart rate, digestion, body repair and rebuilding, etc. are just a few of the many functions.


It is our auto-pilot system because it keeps us alive without our conscious efforts or participation.  As such, it is often referred to as the "master regulator of metabolism". There are two opposing but complimentary branches that make up the ANS, the sympathetic branch and the parasympathetic branch; yin and yang if you will.  The sympathetic system controls those bodily functions that pertain to energy utilization such as the adrenals, thyroid, and pituitary.  Thus, it is known as the "fight or flight" branch. For example, when Togo the Caveman is suddenly startled by a T-Rex (or a mugger, as the contemporary case may be), his sympathetic system immediately stops digestion, gets blood out to the muscles, and speeds up his heart rate.  The parasympathetic system controls those bodily activities that relate to energy conservation such as repairing and rebuilding, digestion, waste elimination, etc.  It is known as the "rest and digest" branch. In most people, one branch has stronger neurological influences over the other, which results in a metabolic imbalance.  If the imbalance becomes too great, it has been discovered that diseases are more prone to develop.  Conversely, if the ANS is in balance (or close to) then health is more prone to be vibrant. Researchers Francis Pottenger and Royal Lee discovered that people have many different physical, psychological, and behavioral characteristics that match up with either sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance.  In addition, certain foods and nutrients have the ability to strengthen whichever side of the ANS is weaker (Wolcott's aforementioned colossal discovery), but I am getting ahead of myself.  Therefore, with the help of all these factors, Metabolic Typing enables us to identify which system is more dominant and then recommend those foods that will be more likely to establish balance.  Since the ANS is the master regulator of metabolism, proper food recommendation is very important. This is pretty cool, huh (1)? While the ANS is concerned with the upkeep and regulation of energy, the oxidative system addresses the rate at which food and nutrients are converted to energy within the body.  It involves three important processes: Glycolysis, Beta Oxidation, and Citric Acid Cycle/Krebs Cycle.


Roughly one-fifth of the energy created from our food comes from the oxidation of carbohydrates in a process known as glycolysis.  Glycolysis is the metabolic breakdown of glucose and other sugars that release energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).  The other four-fifths come from the Citric Acid Cycle or Krebs Cycle.  Simply put, energy is produced in the Krebs Cycle from a combination of the right amount of oxaloacetate (from the oxidation of carbohydrates in glycolysis) and the right amount of acetyl coenzyme-A (from the metabolism of fats in a process known as Beta-Oxidation).  The glycolysis simply concerns the metabolism of carbohydrates.  Beta-oxidation is involved in fat metabolism.  These two components produce energy in the Krebs Cycle, and they are needed in the right amounts.  If there is too much oxaloacetate and not enough acetyl coenzyme-A, or vice versa, then energy production will be lacking.  This determination of how our bodies execute energy production is known as cellular oxidation. (1) In 1981, George Watson published Nutrition and Your Mind. After extensive study, he came to the conclusion that biochemical imbalances were at the root of many psychological problems.  He accidentally discovered that certain foods and nutrients increased adverse emotional states in some people, while the same foods and nutrients could lessen emotional problems in others.  Again, different people required different foods to promote health and wellness.  Instead of using the ANS as the basis for classification, he used cellular oxidation.  (Now that we know what it is and how it works, we can follow Watson's process.)  He conclusively discovered that there is a direct and profound correlation between a person's emotional and psychological characteristics and the rate at which their cells convert food into energy. He observed that some people burned food too slowly, while others burned it too quickly.  More importantly, this rate of cellular oxidation, which is determined by heredity and environmental influences, can be significantly altered by diet.  Here was another piece of the puzzle in balancing body chemistry, which is conducive to optimum health and wellness.  Now we need to figure out whether you are a slow oxidizer, a fast oxidizer, or a mixed oxidizer by determining which characteristics (individual to you) apply to each. (1). Fast oxidizers depend too much on the oxidation of carbohydrates in glycolysis for energy production.  They have a tendency to burn carbohydrates too quickly, which results in an excess production of oxaloacetate (explained above).  Obviously, a high carbohydrate diet will only make the problem worse.  However, since proteins and fats are dietary sources of Acetyl Co-A, which is lacking, they will help stimulate and sustain beta-oxidation, which is needed.  This will help balance the body chemistry and stabilize energy production. (1) Similar to fast oxidizers, slow oxidizers have the same problems with energy production but for the opposite reasons.  They are poor at carbohydrate oxidation in glycolysis and thus are inclined to be lacking in the production of oxaloacetate.  In their case, a higher carbohydrate diet will benefit the slow oxidizers by giving them dietary sources for oxaloacetate.  Since they also require lower amounts of Acetyl Co-A to balance their body chemistry, as well as different nutrients to stimulate and sustain glycolysis, slow oxidizers benefit from a diet that involves less protein and fat than the fast oxidizer. (1) Each oxidizer requires different types of foods and different mixes of those foods in order to optimally and efficiently convert nutrient into energy.  With sufficient available energy, your body's cells can properly carry out their genetic roles of repairing and reproducing maximally.  For example, let's say that you are a slow oxidizer but you are not eating sufficient amounts of carbohydrates.  Some of your food will not be converted to energy and will become prone to being stored as fat.  You will probably experience fatigue and hunger following meals, as well as indigestion and a lack of stamina.  Finally, your body's immune system will become weakened and you will be susceptible to colds and infections.  Being sick is certainly not my cup of tea. Mixed oxidizers are not that complicated.  Because of their "balanced" oxidative systems, proper energy production comes from relatively "equal" amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Each oxidizer requires different types of foods and different mixes of those foods in order to optimally and efficiently convert nutrient into energy.  With sufficient available energy, your body's cells can properly carry out their genetic roles of repairing and reproducing maximally.  For example, let's say that you are a slow oxidizer but you are not eating sufficient amounts of carbohydrates.  Some of your food will not be converted to energy and will become prone to being stored as fat.  You will probably experience fatigue and hunger following meals, as well as indigestion and a lack of stamina.  Finally, your body's immune system will become weakened and you will be susceptible to colds and infections.  Being sick is certainly not my cup of tea.


Now we understand the Autonomic Nervous System and the oxidative system.  These are the key homeostatic systems that determine our metabolism or our Metabolic Type®. However, the fun is just beginning!  We have defined these two big powerhouses that influence our metabolism, but how are we to know which system is more prevalent?  We will discuss system dominance and the actual Metabolic Types in the next article.  We will be discussing macronutrient ratios for each type, as well as some fascinating stuff on exactly how a single food can alkalinize the chemistry of one person, while acidify the body chemistry of another.  Finally, we will discuss which specific foods are optimum for each type and why.  Sit tight, as the rubber is about to meet the road... About the Author Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor http://www.mt-advisors.info/EditIndex.php and Functional Diagnostic nutritionist.  Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test,  U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test, and the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone Profiles to name a few) and dispense hormones. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009.  Talmant brings a unique skill set of 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in Spring Hill, FL and can be reached through EricTalmant.com.


Read more

Building Vibrant Health: Part 1

Today's guest blog comes from Eric Talmant, an old friend of mine who has achieved excellent success as a powerlifter.  Eric credits a lot of this success to discoveries he's made on the nutrition front, and he's carried forward this knowledge to help others.  In the series we'll be publishing here over the next few weekends, Eric outlines his approach to nutrition.  Eric will be checking in, so feel free to chime in below with questions/comments.

Building Vibrant Health: Part 1

By: Eric Talmant

I would like to take a moment and briefly summarize my own personal journey with building health.   I have been involved with Metabolic Typing® since 2001 after a serious injury in the military.  I was able to radically rebuild and repair my health using the basic Metabolic Typing® principles, which I will discuss in parts 2 and 3 of this "Building Vibrant Health" series.  After seven years of working the basic program, and advising many others as a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor, I took the next steps... In April 2008, I enrolled in the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) course, which is when I first took the BioHealth 205 Adrenal Stress Profile and the 101 Metabolic Profile (saliva and urine tests). I discovered that although my digestion and kidneys were working really well, my adrenal glands were in Stage 1 fatigue; not the worst case scenario but certainly room for improvement. Of course, many things can contribute to adrenal fatigue; some of which I can improve and some of which I was not willing to change just yet (Sheiko training for one). So, in an effort to improve my adrenals, I began supplementing with DHEA and Pregnenolone. These are both legal and can be bought over the counter without a prescription. I also began to meditate (Meditation for Dummies) and started working with someone who practices homeopathy. I then took the BioHealth 304 Mucosal Membrane Barrier test. Here, I received more specific information indicating that I had a dysbiosis going on in my body as well as a bit of a leaky gut; which is a generic way of saying that I was eating too many foods that I am either allergic or sensitive to. So, I then took the Signet MRT Food Sensitivities Test and the ELISA finger stick IgG allergy test (both of which I am now authorized to dispense and offer on my web site) and found out the foods to which I have a sensitivity or subtle allergy.  Eliminating them has in turn has improved the integrity of my mucosal membrane barrier, which has positively affected my adrenal glands. HOWEVER, I was not done yet because I needed to still address the dysbiosis in my stomach that the 304 had originally identified. I most recently took the BioHealth 401 stool culture for pathogens and found out that I have bad bacteria (proteus) that is abundant in my body. It is impossible to tell when I might have acquired this bad bacteria, but my guess is that it happened when I was in the military many years ago. Obviously, due to the fact that the good bacteria are constantly fighting the bad bacteria, it is a constant ping (a drain) on my adrenal glands.  And, who knows how long the good guys can keep on dominating and winning? My first option is to come in with an A-Bomb, in the form of an antibiotic, and completely eradicate not only the bad bacteria in my body but the good bacteria as well. This option would require a lot of recolonizing of the gut, with good bacteria in the form of probiotics and so forth, and is -at least for me - a last resort. So, as an alternative, I have decided to supplement with a natural anti-microbial that is composed of ingredients that are found and processed straight out of the Amazon rain forest. The company is called Raintree Nutrition and my FDN instructor Reed Davis has seen very good results with their anti-microbial product for combating dysbiosis. However, my strain (proteus) is one he has not dealt with in a long time. In addition, my report came back as saying that it is "abundant." Therefore, I am going to see what I can do in the form of supplementation and by cultivating my body to listen to my mind and rid itself of the bad bacteria. This is going to be hard and take a lot of mental effort on my part, but I know if I tell my body to do it that it will do it. Why am I telling you this?  Because building health is a process. In this series of articles, I am going to take you from step 1 to step 10 and teach you the things you need to know to build and maintain vibrant health.  Some of the things that I mentioned in the introduction - such as adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, and the mucosal membrane barrier - probably do not mean anything to you now; but down the road, they will.  I only wanted to put them out there to let you know where we will be headed on our journey.  However, each journey begins with a single step, and ours will begin with some basic parameters you can use to evaluate your state of general health. I have been using nutrition as a successful weapon in such athletic endeavors as powerlifting, running, swimming, sprint triathlons, special operations military training, and then back to powerlifting.  Has it made a difference for me?  Unequivocally, yes.  How?  Primarily by increasing my ability to recover from and be prepared for the next workout.  I can also say that the quality of life that I experience today is directly related to how well I took (and continue to take) care of myself nutritionally.  Is it easy?  It does take work, and it is an ongoing process.  The foods that I currently eat are different from the foods that I was eating six months ago.  Not entirely different, but the ratios (protein/carbs/fats) have changed, and I have changed some things that suit my metabolic rate and metabolic type for my current situation. Over the course of several articles, it is my objective to teach you the things that I have learned along the way, how to properly identify your metabolic type, and how you can apply these things to yourself and those around you.  Some of this may sound a bit unconventional, hokey, new age, or just too troublesome.  However, if you at least read what I have to say, I can assure you that you will take away at least one principle that you will apply for the rest of your life.


In order to achieve optimal health, we must first check and see how strong our foundation is.  Just like any good workout template, we must first have the basics in place.  Yes, we have all heard of these factors before; but if I did not believe that they were important enough to call our "health foundation blocks" then I would not have included them.  These three indicators are your insulin level, ideal blood pressure, and cholesterol level or cholesterol ratio.  These three indicators can tell you so much about your own state of health, how aggressively you need to change your dietary and exercise habits in order to maximize yourself in (training) and out (recovering) of the gym, and improve your quality of life. Before we determine how we will go about testing insulin levels, let's first discuss insulin.  The small intestine is responsible for separating glucose (sugar) from the dietary carbohydrates that we ingest.  Once the glucose is free, it enters and is absorbed into the blood.  Most adults have close to a gallon of blood in their bodies, and roughly only a teaspoon of sugar (1).If your blood sugar level were to rise to a tablespoon, you would go into a coma and certainly die.  Our bodies work very hard to prohibit this from happening by producing appropriate amounts of insulin.  Insulin acts on the cellular level in our bodies to stimulate the uptake, use, and storage of the glucose (sugar) that we just ate from the carbohydrates. This action keeps us from dying when we ingest sugar.  However, high (inappropriate) levels of insulin are bad for us. Whenever we decide to eat grains and sugars, we end up increasing our insulin levels.  Increased insulin levels can lead and help contribute to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.  There are two types of diabetes: insulin dependent (type 1) and non-insulin dependent (type 2).  This article is referencing the most common type, type 2.  In type 2, the insulin receptors fail to respond the way that they should to the insulin that our bodies secrete from eating carbohydrates (sugar).  Therefore, we continue to secrete more and more insulin.  This is bad news. The best way to find out our insulin levels is to request a fasting blood sugar test (FBS) from a doctor.  It is a simple blood withdrawal after a fast of at least six hours.  Personally, I prefer and recommend at least eight.  It is a relatively inexpensive test that should not require much of your time.  Normal levels for a fasting blood sugar test are around 87mg/dL, but anything below 90 is fine.  Clinically, type 2 diabetes is not diagnosed until levels reach or exceed 126mg/dL, but you should be very concerned with anything at or slightly above 100mg/dL, regardless of what is considered "normal range".  This is a direct indicator that you are becoming increasingly insulin resistant (your receptors are failing, as we discussed above) and that it is becoming harder and harder for your body to control your blood sugar.  Blurred vision, excessive hunger, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and difficulty with wound healing are all symptoms that may indicate that you are insulin resistant.  Now do you see why controlling insulin levels are so important? With the drug companies promoting statin drugs (Lipitor, etc) more than ever, most people are confused about cholesterol.  Actually, cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on this planet.  Without cholesterol, there would be no life on earth.  I would say that is important, wouldn't you?  Cholesterol is also needed to make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and just about every other vital hormone you can think of.  The majority of cholesterol in one's bloodstream is manufactured from the liver.  The amount of dietary cholesterol has little to do with your cholesterol levels.  Please read that statement again and repeat it out loud.  The cholesterol that you are consuming in eggs has little to do with your cholesterol levels.  We will discuss the importance of cholesterol again when we talk about the steroidal hormone principle pathways and the functions of the adrenal glands. When you go to get your cholesterol levels checked, the total cholesterol is measured and expressed in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). HDL and LDL levels are also given.  What I want you to be more concerned with is not total cholesterol, but the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol.  HDL has been referred to as "good cholesterol" and LDL "bad cholesterol".  These are misnomers, as HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and LDL is low-density lipoprotein.  Lipoproteins are proteins that are combined with fats.  Therefore, there really are no such things as good and bad cholesterol.  There is just cholesterol.  However, all of these levels are important.  Simply put, the lower your LDL levels the better.


More importantly, let's look at the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol that I mentioned above.  On the "average", HDL levels for males should range from 40-50mg/dL.  In women, the levels are 50-60mg/dL.  It is important to note that progesterone and anabolics, specifically exogenous testosterone lower HDL levels. In order to determine your ratio, take your total cholesterol level and divide that by your HDL level.  For example, if your total cholesterol level is 200mg/dL and your HDL level is 50, then 200 divided by 50 gives you a number of 4.  The American Heart Association states that the goal is to keep this number below 5, but I believe that the cut-off point should be 4. The lower the number the better it is.  There is a rare genetic condition (1 in 500) known as hypercholesterolemia where cholesterol levels are usually around 350 or higher.  Obviously, if this is the case for you, immediately contact an experienced natural health care clinician. I believe that there are other indicators that are much more reliable predictors of heart disease than cholesterol that we will discuss in one of the upcoming articles, but I wanted to say a bit about it in general since many folks are "up" on their cholesterol readings. Finally, we need to look at blood pressure.  As our hearts pump blood, it is pushed through our arteries and against our arterial walls.  Blood pressure is measured by cardiac output, or the force with which blood is pumped out of the left ventricle and the amount of resistance that is encountered (2). Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers.  For example, "normal" blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.  The first number is systolic pressure, and it measures the pressure within the arteries when your heart beats.  Systolic pressure increases steadily with age.  Diastolic pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest, between beats, and filling with blood. There are many different opinions on what is considered an optimum blood pressure.  If I had to define it, I would say that it would be less than 120 over 80, but the take-home point is that it should be as low as possible.  What is not disputable is that when taken accurately, elevated blood pressure makes the heart work harder. This leads to increasing its oxygen demands and a whole host of other problems that we simply do not want.  It is interesting to note that I have been unable to find, and other prominent doctors in the field have pointed out, that not a single clinical trial has ever proven that lowering an elevated systolic blood pressure reduces the risk for death due to coronary disease (3). Why is this?  Simply, the cause of high blood pressure cannot always be identified.


When a disease is treated, we first identify and then treat its cause.  The problem with high blood pressure is that there seems to be many plausible causes.  The high insulin levels that we discussed previously are one of the main factors that contribute to high blood pressure.  Insulin resistance can increase blood pressure by causing the kidneys to retain sodium. Stress, tension and anxiety, excess caffeine, diet, regular alcohol intake, carrying too much body fat (but how much is too much?), anabolic use, and fat burners (yohimbine, ephedrine, guarana, etc.) can contribute to the problem as well.  It is my belief, however, that following a nutrition plan that is correct for you, such as Metabolic Typing® (which we will discuss in the next article) will go a long way in lowering and controlling blood pressure as well as many other "problems". Finding a way to manage stress that works for you is essential as well.  For some, this may be praying, meditating, or listening to soothing music.  I have some personal things that I do to manage stress that seem to work very well, and I mention some of them in the opening paragraph of this article.  If you would like to know some of these techniques, I can provide you with the key words to search under so that you may do your own research, find your own conclusions, and apply what works for you.  Finally, I believe that walking can do miracles for lowering blood pressure.  I recommend working your way up to one hour of low impact exercise, such as walking, at least three times per week and preferably every day. When you go to get your blood pressure taken, it is recommended that you get at least two readings before you leave.  These two readings should be divided by as much time as possible, and you should not take the first one until you have been sitting and relaxing for at least five minutes.  It is very important to know that your arm position can directly impact your reading.  Make sure your arm is perpendicular to your body and supported at the level of the heart.  In other words, pretend like you are doing a phantom bench press at your desk, but only with one side.  You do not want your arm hanging straight down or parallel.  If this initial reading is high or not pleasing to you, have the next reading taken while lying on your back.  After this reading is taken, go ahead and trouble the nurse or doctor again by requesting to have one more done standing to see if there are notable differences.  If there are not, then you can assume that the readings are not influenced by your posture and are fairly accurate.  If you are still reading high or are still displeased, go through the same drill a week or so later, only this time have all of the readings taken in the opposite arm as before.  Now make a comparison and draw your own conclusions.  It is safe to say that whichever arm is higher is the one that you should monitor. Something that often gets overlooked in the powerlifting and weightlifting community is the fact that most have measurements that are larger than "average", especially in the arms.  The width of the cuff should be about forty percent of the circumference (completely around) of the unflexed arm (4).For example, if you have 20-inch arms, then the width of the cuff should be around 8 inches.  Yes, I want you to take a tape measure with you and check the cuff for yourself.  If the cuff is considerably smaller than what your measurements call for, and they do not have any that are larger, then simply note to yourself that this reading may be skewed. If you believe that the readings you have taken are accurate and that they are high, then I suggest you buy a reliable automated electronic device to check your blood pressure at home.  Make sure that the one you buy has the appropriate cuff for your arm.  Many quality models will cost between fifty and one hundred dollars.  If feasible, you should calibrate your machine against the one in your doctor's office.  Testing at home allows you to check at various times of the day and rules out "white-coat" syndrome, or being anxious at the doctor's office.  You can take as many readings as you would like, but four times per day should suffice. Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what to do for an initial assessment of your health, I urge you to put the wheels in motion...today!  After you have made your determination based on your tests, it is then time to take the next steps to improve upon these conditions.  For some of you, the process will not be so urgent.  For others, we will need to make some immediate changes. The most efficient and most effective way to start this is through a proper, individualized diet.  Trust me, when we discuss Metabolic Typing® you will be very interested to learn how one man's food can certainly be another man's poison.  If you think broccoli is healthy for everybody across the board, then think again.  Metabolic Typing® teaches you how to choose the foods that work best with your body and why.  I do not want you thinking strictly in terms of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  That is seeing the forest before the trees. Metabolic Typing® will be a very fun, ongoing journey because it is a self-discovery process.  Once you discover how to apply Metabolic Typing®, everything changes.  You will look and feel better, enjoy better health, and you will be stronger in the gym than ever.  Stay tuned... About Eric Talmant Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic Typing® advisor and Functional Diagnostic nutritionist.  Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic Typing® Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test,  U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test, and the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone Profiles to name a few) and dispense hormones. Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet.  He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that. His best-equipped lifts are a 683-pound squat, 391-pound bench press, and a 650-pound deadlift in the 75kg (165-pound) weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485-pound squat without knee wraps, 290-pound bench press, and 635-pound deadlift. He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet, which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009. Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems.  He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.EricTalmant.com. References 1. R. Bowen, "The Physiologic Effects of Insulin"-Personal Notes from Nutrition Lecture. 2.Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress. 3. Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress. 4. Dr. Paul J. Rosch, "Do You Have a Good Blood Pressure" Originally published in the Health and Stress newsletter (July) of The American Institute of Stress.
Read more

21st Century Nutrition: An Interview with Precision Nutrition Creator, Dr. John Berardi

Normally, my newsletters are "hidden" pages available only to our subscribers, but with the content today, I thought I'd open it up to the rest of the world.  After all, it's not like you can just get a rock star like Dr. John Berardi to do an interview for your site.  JB has been a friend and incredible resource to me for almost ten years now, and he's always got great information to share.  So, without further ado, here is EricCressey.com's exclusive interview with Dr. John Berardi: EC: First off, it's hard to believe that over the course of almost 150 newsletters, I never got around to interviewing you.  Thanks for taking the time to jump in on this. JB: Yea, tell me about it.  I've been waiting by the phone for, like, three years now. EC: Well, now that you've gone through all that therapy to get over me neglecting you, we might as well right to it.  To start, fill us in on what you're up to these days.  I know you moved back from Texas to the North Pole a while back, but I'm guessing that you aren't building toys and stuffing stockings all year.  What's new with John Berardi and Precision Nutrition? JB:  Well, although working with high-level athletes is cool and all, when Santa calls for nutrition advice, you drop what you're doing and you head north. In all seriousness, though, I'm actually splitting my time between Austin, Texas and a town called St. Catharines in Ontario.  St Catharines is about 50 min outside Toronto and is basically the Napa Valley of Canada.  The area is a tremendous agricultural gem and because of this, I have a never-ending supply of locally grown produce and wines as well as local, hormone-free, and often grass fed meat.  So now, I've got two great towns to call my home. EC: I hear you.  When I was considering the move to Boston, the lack of grass-fed beef and local wines was a bit of a turnoff, but it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make because I just couldn't wait to sink my life savings into the Big Dig and the most inefficient state government in the United States - but I digress... How about the professional side of things? JB: On the professional side, I just did a tally.  As of last week, the Precision Nutrition community has grown to over 46,000 members in over 97 countries.  I can't tell you how proud I am that we've been able to help out that many people. And beyond this, we've also launched a couple of new programs for members of the community - our Lean Eating Coaching Program and our Clinical Services Program. EC: 97 countries?  Don't you want to just give out a few freebies in a few lesser known African nations to bring it to a cool 100?  I would. Anyway, tell us about these two new things. JB: First, our Lean Eating coaching program.  Over the last few years, we've become coaching experts, working with everyone from recreational exercisers, to folks suffering from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to multiple Olympic medalists. And as a result of this experience, we've developed intensive group coaching programs for men and for women.  Each coaching participant gets to work with us for 6 months.  And the feedback we've gotten is tremendous - and so are the numbers.  The average fat loss is 2-3lbs per month while following the program! In addition, we're in the process of launching a clinical services suite where we're taking individualization to a whole new level.  Using things like psychometric profiles, wellness-based blood analysis, and nutrigenomics profiling, we're now able to take a peek inside people's psychologies and physiologies to determine the absolute best way to coach them to success.  This is like nothing our industry has seen before and I promise it's going to shake things up quite a bit. EC: Very cutting-edge - but I think that's an adjective we've all come to associate with your name over time.  To that end, I was chatting with a colleague recently and your name came up in the conversation.  I told him that what amazed me was that you have not only taken a seemingly "boring" subject - nutrition - and made it "sexy" and "fun," but have actually done that for close to a decade now.  What's the secret to your success? JB:  Well, thanks for saying that, although I don't know if it's actually true.  However, if it is, it might be because of a few reasons. First, I can't tell you how many "nutrition experts" I've met that wouldn't know a healthy diet if it came up and bit them on the ear.  They may study nutrition.  And they may teach nutrition.  But they don't practice it.  And that's why they all seem to possess the same ability to make nutrition super-boring.  It's not real to them.  They don't live it day in and day out. On the other hand, I actually live the Precision Nutrition lifestyle.  365 days a year, I practice what I preach.  And, I've been doing exactly that for about 20 years now.  Plus, I've worked with a helluva lot of clients, at all levels.  So I pretty much practice nutrition and think about nutrition all the time.  Trust me, it makes a huge difference. EC: I can definitely attest to that.  Like you, I own my own business and have a lot of competing demands in my professional life, so it often seems that there aren't enough hours in the day.  In other words, working efficiently and having energy all the time is of paramount importance.  I've been following your work since the late 1990s and it's not only shaped my own personal nutrition practices, but also those of all of Cressey Performance's clients. JB:  And, you know, the funny thing is this.  When you do what I do, and you've done it for this long, you realize that there are a lot of nuances to eating well.  Sure, there's the what to eat, the when to eat, and the how much to eat.  And these are all very interesting.   But that's only scratching the surface. There's also the psychology of eating, which is quite fascinating.   There are genetic and individual differences associated with how each of us processes and tolerates foods.  And we haven't even mentioned supplements yet.  Nor have we talked about all the great new research that's coming out on food and nutrition every single day!  By exploring each of these very interesting areas, it's pretty easy to keep things fresh, new, and, hopefully exciting. EC: That's a good point. JB: Also, I always try to keep in mind that nutrition in the present deals in generalities.  There are recommended dietary intakes.  There are food pyramids.  There are general calculations for energy intake. However, nutrition is evolving in exciting ways.  It's becoming more individual.  And with blood analysis, genomic profiling, and more in the very near future, we'll be able to prescribe highly individualized nutrition plans for folks based on just a few simple tests. Indeed, the future is really exciting when it comes to nutrition.  And I'm happy that I'm in the prime of my career so I can ride the wave of this new nutrition information and technology. EC: Speaking of "evoluation," you've recently introduced Precision Nutrition: Version 3.0, which piggybacks on the first two installments.  What's new in this version? JB:  As our 46,000 members can attest to, I'm relentless about keeping the Precision Nutrition System, the cornerstone of all of our nutrition recommendations, up to date.


So, every year or two, we release a new version.  This time, it's our 3rd edition and this edition has improved upon V2 by an order of magnitude.  Now, don't get me wrong, V2 was great.  However, we've completely revised the content, we've added three new manuals/sections, and we've even given the whole project a facelift. As of V3, here's what folks can find:
  • The PN Success Guide
  • The PN Diet Guide
  • The Quick Start Guide
  • The Super Shake Guide
  • 5 Minute Meals
  • The Individualization Guide
  • The Measurement Guide
  • The Plant-Based Diet Guide (Brand New)
  • The Maintenance Guide (Brand New)
  • The Support Guide (Brand New)
In addition, we're now including Gourmet Nutrition V1, the Precision Nutrition Audio Collection, the Precision Nutrition Video Collection, and The Precision Nutrition Online Library.  It's a ton of great stuff.  Indeed, it's everything folks need to know to get the body they want. EC: Absolutely.  Thanks for helping out with the interview; sorry it took so long for us to make it happen! JB:  My pleasure.  Thanks, Eric. To find out more about Dr. John Berardi and his renowned Precision Nutrition System, head on over to PrecisionNutrition.com. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a detailed deadlift technique tutorial!
Read more

A Win/Win: Drop 10lbs or Make $20

Just a quick heads-up for my readers on a great offer that's available for a short amount of time... As you know, I'm a big fan of Alwyn Cosgrove and Mike Roussell's Warpspeed Fat Loss program.  It's an extremely comprehensive and effective fat loss protocol I've seen work wonders with some of our clients, staff members (myself included), and even my girlfriend.  I even wrote up two newsletters (here and here) about the amazing results one of our clients had with it. Anyway, Alwyn and Mike are guaranteeing that their product will take ten pounds off you in 28 days or else they'll refund your money plus $20 for your time and effort.  They're only making this available to the first 100 people, though.  And, even if they don't sell 100, it'll be taken down on Monday - so don't wait! Click here to check out this sweet offer.


Read more

Triple Threat?

One of the pro baseball guys I work with from afar is in town this week for a check-in, and he bought ten protein bars for $10 in anticipation of eating out of airports.  He was munching on one of them at the facility yesterday, and it was labeled as a "Triple Threat" for a) great taste, b) energy, and c) nutrition. Now, you're talking to a guy who spent two years at business school before deciding to go the exercise science route, so I've got a little marketing analyst in me.  We all know that lots of stuff can have double meanings - so I check out the first three ingredients: 1. Corn Syrup 2. Soy Crisps 3. "Chocolatey" Coating Yes, it really had a "Y" on the end of the word.  So, you not get a candy bar with crap ingredients, but also are treated like a child with words like "chocolatey." Joking aside, the best protein bars available are the ones you make yourself.  John Berardi has some awesome recipes in Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook (also available as part of the Precision Nutrition package).


Read more

Vitamin Water: My New Nemesis

Vitamin Water: It drives me crazy. High-school kids drink it non-stop and think the added nutrients to it outweigh the problems associated with downing those nutrients with a bunch of simple sugar. Actually, most kids don't even know that it's loaded with "crystalline fructose;" they just think it's regular water and someone just dissolved a Flintstones chewable into it and made it taste good. You know what? Even though most young athletes eat terribly, they still get plenty of vitamins, for the most part. They also get plenty of fructose - so there's certainly no need to supplement that. As Dr. John Berardi has said in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nutrition Programs, "Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choices being water and green tea."
Read more
Page 1 2 3 4
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series