The tragedy at the Boston Marathon brought a city that was already close, even...
What is better when it comes to post workout nutrition; whole foods or liquid supplements? Although that statement proposes a great debate, something we could all agree on is that post-workout nutrition is important.
Nutrient timing is one of the most important things to consider when deciding what to consume post-workout. In fact, there is a whole book dedicated to explaining the benefits of timing your meals and supplements properly. In their book, “Nutrient Timing”, John Ivy and Robert Portman explain what they call the missing dimension of sports nutrition-the dimension of time. The major theme in the book is how important good post-workout nutrition is, and more specifically, how important the timing of post-workout nutrition is.
A portion of the book that I want to talk about is how consuming a liquid supplement is better in terms of growth and recovery than consuming food immediately after a workout. Knowing that timing is everything, it makes perfect sense to consume a post-workout concoction that offers us a fast absorption rate.
Whey protein, and more specifically Whey Protein Isolate, is absorbed extremely fast making it perfect for drinking post-workout. On the contrary, consuming whole foods can take upwards of 3 hours to digest. Studies cited in “Nutrient Timing” say that a carbohydrate/protein supplement taken immediately after a workout can result in a 600% improvement in protein synthesis and 100% improvement in muscle glycogen (energy) replenishment. (Ivy, Portman. “Nutrient Timing”, page 84-85.) This statistic essentially says that consuming food after a workout misses the boat in terms of being beneficial. My suggestion would be to consume a shake post-workout, then a meal of lean protein, complex carbs and good fats a few hours later.
After a tough workout, the last thing we want to do is eat solid food, especially if it’s hot. Dr. John Berardi says that the stress of exercise creates a situation in which the hunger centers in our bodies are nearly shut down, thus making a post-workout shake even more desirable.
Something else to consider is how much of each macronutrient you need post workout. Without having a food scale and calculator present, eating whole food in the correct portions is difficult. Having a shake with the proper amounts already incorporated into it, makes it very convenient. Foods may give you either too little or too much of a given nutrient essential for optimal post-workout nutrition.
Since new research is always coming out, it is essential for us to stay on top of it. That being said, the latest research, the oldest research, and everywhere in between says how important post workout nutrition is for optimal growth, recovery, and energy.
This post spawned from mistakes I have made in the past, but refuse to make in the future. Hitting a training plateau can make you hate lifting. Not being able to get more reps with a certain weight you’ve been training with for months is one of the least motivating things a lifter can experience. Equally as frustrating is not being able to add weight to your one repetition maximum on a consistent month-to-month basis. Hitting a plateau can lead you to jump from program to program, which will inevitably lead you right back to a plateau.
Below are some ways to avoid getting stuck in your training and keep you making gains.
1) Keep a training journal.
Just like a food journal, keeping a training journal will allow you to see what amount of weight you’ve lifted in the past so that you can continually add weight week after week. Also, you will be able to see what exercises you’ve done, and for the number of reps you’ve done them for. This will allow you to make sure you do more the next time.
Using a variety of exercises that target the same muscle will allow for optimal growth and strength because of the differentiation in angles and stress. You can keep track of the exercises you use, and the order you perform them in by keeping track in a training journal.
2) Get a good training partner.
This is a very underrated asset if you lift a lot. A good training that has the same goals as you can help you both accomplish more than you thought you could. A good training partner motivates you to get a few more reps, try more weight, and stay a little longer to work a little harder. They also don’t let you go home early because you’re tired or sore.
Also, your training partner is always there for a spot. This is also underrated because without a spotter, you can’t try for new PR’s, or, for either force reps or negatives. Pushing the envelope with more weight and reps are a way to blast through plateaus, but can’t be accomplished without a good training partner.
3) Inconsistent Nutrition
If having a good training partner is underrated, being consistent with your nutrition is severely underutilized. The way you eat should be consistent with the way you train. What that means is when your training for sport, you have to consume a high number of calories from carbohydrates, fats, and protein so that you have a sufficient amount of energy while being able to recover properly. If you don’t eat enough, you won’t have enough energy, you won’t be able to recover, and you will undoubtedly end up hurt.
On the contrary, if you’re a bodybuilder or trying to lose weight, you would want to eat less, and more specifically, lower your carbohydrate intake significantly. You have to be careful when dieting because you can’t exercise as much cause you don’t have as much “fuel”. Doing so will also result in getting hurt or overtraining.
Not eating enough and eating too little is only half the battle, if you eat horrible food, your training will be equally as horrible. Keeping a food journal will prevent you from making mistakes time after time.
4) Over or under training
The majority of people are in the under training group, but both of these will lead to a lifting plateau. The overall goal of lifting is too train as much as possible without affecting your recovery time. Overtraining basically means that you have stepped over that line where training has affecting your ability to recover. Under training is the opposite. This is where you don’t train enough to stimulate growth and strength. The reasons why bodybuilders get so big are that they take “supplements” to aid in recovery. A big misconception is that HGH and steroids make you big, they don’t, those aids help people recover so that you can consistently over train without any of the side effects.
Stress on your muscles leads to gains in strength and size. Without it, you will be unable to get through a plateau, if you even get to that stage!
If you don’t know, now you know, lifting doesn’t make you bigger or stronger. Wait, what?!!? It’s true, it’s what you do outside the gym that can make or break you. Without enough rest and proper nutrition you will never break through a plateau. Lets also make one thing clear, rest doesn’t mean go for a hike, a run, take a spin class, or go light at the gym. Rest means rest, and more importantly, rest means sleep. Sleep is the only opportunity for your body to be completely at rest, which means optimal recovery and regeneration. A typical day for an Olympic Weightlifter may consist of 2-3 naps per day with 8-10 hours of sleep per night. That is how important rest and sleep are for optimal recovery, strength, and growth.
Taking these 5 suggestions into consideration will help eliminate a plateau, and keep you consistently making progress.
Speed and strength are both attributes all athletes want. Problem is that the majority of athletes only train at one end of the spectrum. Some athletes I coach are either really fast and weak, or, really strong and slow, with a few exceptions. This is in no way their fault, it is the way they have been coached throughout their athletic lives.
The speed-strength curve is not a new concept by any means, and a large number of strength coaches have talked about this in many of their informative pieces on the subject. The question all of these coaches try and answer is: How do we train athletes to meet all points of the spectrum?
My take on this may vary a little bit from other coaches, but the idea is essentially the same. Here is a very basic idea of what this spectrum looks like:
Being on either end of this spectrum will be detrimental to your performance. Most athletes that we see at CATZ are somewhere between Speed-Speed and Speed-Strength dominant. As coaches here, we know that these athletes are going to run a lot at practice to get their conditioning and speed training. Therefore, when they come to CATZ, we try and train them to be more Strength-Speed and Strength-Strength oriented. The majority of the time like I said, a young athlete runs a ton during practice because that is all their coaches know how to do. Your late: run, you made an error: run, you missed a shot: run. Ringing a bell? Sure, by the end of your season you’re in good cardiovascular shape and a lot faster than you were at the beginning, but the problem remains, you’re still weak, and if you’re a baseball player, the bat is most likely swinging you.
You will never hear, “You’re late, go squat your 1 rep max!”
A quick example of exercises used at each spot would be:
Speed-Strength-Med Ball Throws, Agility drills
Strength-Speed- Plyometric Pushups, Plate or Prowler Pushes
Strength-Strength- Heavy Resistance Training
A solid training program should encompass all of these exercises in a linear type fashion, meaning that they gradual increase in difficulty over time.
Just like with everything in life, a happy medium is generally a good place to be. The Speed-Strength curve is no exception. Training to be extremely strong, while maintaining a good speed and agility program will give you the best chance to be the best athlete you can be.
The perfect diet has no name, yet. The perfect diet has yet to be researched, yet to be involved in a double blind study, and yet to be touted as the next best thing. The reason is because the perfect, most bestest diet out there is a combination of all the mainstream diets already in existence.
Atkins diet says no carbs and all protein, sounds good to me. What happens though when you have no more energy because of lack of carbs, and you start to crave a slice of pizza or a cookie? Talk about a yo-yo diet. Bye bye Atkins.
The Ornish diet tells us to reduce our fat calories to less than 10% of our daily caloric intake. That’s great because who wants extra fat, and after all, all fat is bad right? Wrong! Problem with this diet is that it is incredibly hard to abide by because fat is satiating, and has many health benefits ranging from joint lubrication, and eye, skin, and brain health.
The Paleo diet basically tells us to eat the majority of meat, vegetables, and fruit. It tells us to eliminate grains, dairy, beans, and anything else that’s been processed. This is great because you’re consuming whole food, no processed sugar, no wheat, and no dairy. The one concern I have with this is that it can get ridiculously expensive to stock your fridge with lean proteins and fish.
Like everything else in life, there will be pros and cons to every eating strategy out there. Someone somewhere will always find something to complain about no matter how good the majority of people say your plan is. The goal is to look at the content of each diet, then pick and choose using your own knowledge of what does and does not work for you, and create your own, Perfect Diet.
The Perfect Diet that I recommend to my clients is developed after I listen to everything he/she has to say about everything that can affect the way they eat and prepare their food. It is only after this consultation that I develop a Perfect Diet for them. One diet for instance could end up being high in carbs, protein, and low in fat, while the next diet could be high in protein and fat, and low in carbs. I never know what the Perfect Diet will look like until I meet and talk with a client. There is one exception however; a staple of mine that is planned appropriately in everyone’s diet is a cheat meal. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how can I give a cheat meal to someone trying to loose weight. Would I also recommend giving a beer to someone trying to quit drinking? Although I would not suggest having any alcohol for a person trying to quit drinking, I ALWAYS let my clients have a cheat meal once every few weeks depending on how much they need to loose. A general rule of thumb is that your bodyfat percentage should be equal to how often you should have a cheat meal. For example, if I have a client who is 28% body fat, they should have a cheat meal once every 28 days. There are many physiologically and psychological benefits that come with having a cheat meal. The most important one being that it gives you something to look forward too after eating clean for any given number of days, and, it gives you a break from the clean eating.
A good diet should always sustainable, enjoyable, and easy to follow. It should consist of foods that are available to you on a consistent basis, foods that you enjoy, and foods that are easy to cook and pack for later on. You don’t need to count calories either. As long as you consume whole foods that are not filled with processed sugar, fat, and carbohydrates, you will be able to accomplish your goals.
I know, it doesn’t have the same ring to it as Christmas Eve, but you get the point nonetheless. Today Marks the day (pun intended) where Mr. Fit, Mark Cinelli, begins his routine of eating the precise number of calories, lots of stretching and heat, drinking an insane amount of water, and pulling his short shorts wicked high.
Tomorrows first step across the starting line will be the payoff of all the hard work Mark has dedicated towards running the marathon. Things like, running 10+ miles at 4:00am prior to work in the freezing cold, putting his body through countless amounts of workouts to avoid injury, and sacrificing Red Velvet Cake Munchkins untill after the race ( this one may be a lie).
Mark will begin his race at around 10:30am, and I highly suggest you track him as he makes his way from Hopkinton to Boston. His bib number is 24169 so plug that into your mobile device now.
Good luck Mr. Fit!
As we conclude our mini series on Mark Cinelli’s journey to the starting line of the Boston Marathon, we will take our last look into the final preparations Mark is making to ensure he will be in his optimal condition come Monday.
Mark is getting more and more paranoid as Monday approaches about getting sick or injured, for good reason of course. Every sneeze, cough, or complaint of a belly ache from another coach or client, Mark makes a B-Line in the opposite direction. Getting sick at this point could throw the entire race into jeopardy. It is worth noting that Mark missed his final long run last Saturday because of a tight lower leg. This could prove to be a bigger deal than it seems because of how active Mark is on a daily basis at work always moving around and demonstrating exercises. This will limit his inactivity and recovery capabilities because of amount of time spent on his feet.
In the end, we are all confident that Mark’s inner Ironman will become apparent come the Marathons dramatic conclusion on Boylston Street.
We wish Mr. Fit nothing but the best and will be there cheering him on come Monday.
If you are one of my nutrition clients then you already know. However, if you’re new to working with me, or just want to know one of my staples in building a nutrition plan, then listen up. I stand by the concept of consuming 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound of bodyweight you have. For instance, if you weight 170 lbs, then I advise you to consume 175 grams of protein per day. In most cases, women come nowhere near this number, and men are typically about 25-50 grams short of the target number, with exceptions of course who go way over. Once these people see on paper how little they consume of protein, they ask what has protein in it, and how much. So, I am going to show you what are great sources of protein, and how much protein is in each item. You can adjust the portions based on your weight to fit your daily needs.
3 Egg Whites -17.7 grams of protein
3 Whole Eggs- 20.3 grams of protein
1 Chicken Sausage- 14 grams of protein
3 Slices Turkey Bacon- 8.5 grams of protein
Mid Morning Snack:
1 Scoop Whey Protein- 24 grams of protein
1 Fat Free Greek Yogurt Cup- 18 grams of protein
2 Cups of Skim Milk- 16.5 grams of protein
Protein Bar- 18-30 grams of protein
I can of Tuna- 14 grams of protein
1 piece of chicken breast- 27 grams of protein
6 ounces of Steak- 40 grams of protein
6 ounces of White Fish/Salmon- 40 grams of protein
1 Cup Chick Peas- 15 grams of protein
Mid Afternoon Snack:
1 Fat Free Greek Yogurt- 18 grams of protein
½ Cup Almonds- 11.5 grams of protein
1 Medium size bag of Beef Jerky- 27 grams of protein
Post workout shake:
1 Scoop Whey Protein- 24 grams of protein
2 cups skim milk- 16.5 grams of protein
1 piece of chicken breast- 27 grams of protein
6 ounces of Steak- 40 grams of protein
6 ounces of White Fish/Salmon- 40 grams of protein
1 cup of Quinoa- 8 grams of protein
1 cup of Lentils- 32 grams of protein
6 ounces of Pork Tenderloin- 44 grams of protein
½ lb of 99% fat free ground turkey- 56 grams of protein
Now, I am not saying to eat only protein at every meal. These options are to be included with a variety of veggies, fruit, and non-wheat containing carbohydrates. Whatever your weight is, you can pick and choose from the “banks” above to reach your protein requirements. There are more foods that contain protein than the ones I listed, but these are very common foods in most peoples diet.
It is vital for you to consume protein for recovery and lean tissue accumulation. Also, consuming the majority of your calories from lean sources of protein will ensure you stay lean year round.