Warp Speed Update

Filed under: Training, Weight Loss

Just wanted to let you all in on the results of my Warp Speed Fat Loss experiment as it is soon coming to a close.

My Weight Loss Coach

My Weight Loss Coach

Super Bowl Sunday is supposed to be a No Carb day, but lets be real, that’s not going to happen. Saturday will be the final day, so I will have the final weigh in on Sunday morning. This morning I felt a little bloated and not as lean or light as the previous day or two, but I weighed in anyway. I came in at a respectable 202. Not too shabby. Down a shade over 10lbs. This program works, period. Here is an example of a training day of mine, modified BSP style. (I can’t leave any of it alone, just not in my nature) This is an excerpt from my FitCast Forums training log, which you can check out HERE.

Monday Jan 19 – Day 15

Took a while to get going today. Just felt sluggish, though once we really got moving, I actually felt pretty good.

Pre Work: Foam Roll & Mobility

A1. Front Squat to 12″ box (tap n’ go) 2×3, 2×6

135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 1
305 x 3
325 x 3
275 x 6
275 x 6

Like I said before, it was a tough start. We opened at 305 just to get things going, and that felt easier than expected, so went back to 325 to keep strength up. Curt was impressed.

A2. Prone Plate Switches 4 x 8x5lbs/side

B Circuit – Perform as meny sets of 6 reps of each exercise as possible in 10 minutes

B1. Walking DB Lunges with 30′s = 8 full sets

B2. Renegade Row with Pushup with 25′s = 8 full sets

No vest this week, and arms were ok. This circuit was still hard, though not as hard as before. We did get in that extra set of Renegade rows.

C Circuit – perform as many sets of 6 reps of each exercise as possible in 10 minutes

C1. Glute Ham Raises = 8 full sets

C2. Neutral Grip Pullups = 9 full sets

Definitely one of the worst ones. Just hard ass work. Got in an extra set of pullups.

D. I didn’t write down what we did here, and for the life of me I can’t remember. It was something.

All in all, definitely starting to feel really fit. Almost starting to enjoy this training. Almost.

Posted on January 30th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Question: Organic or Conventional?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Fact: Bears beat Battlestar Galactica.

Fact: Organic is not always better.

I know, I know, in some circles this is heresy, but it’s just how it is. There are certainly many foods where organic is clearly a better, healthier choice. There are other foods where there is absolutely no evidence that organic is better, and in some cases it may* even be worse. There unfortunately just isn’t a lot of solid research in the area. What little research there is has been inconclusive. It certainly seems like vitamin C content is higher in organically grown, other than that…who knows.

Eating more fruits and vegetables improves health, regardless of whether they are organically or conventionally grown. Obviously organic produce has lower pesticide residue and nitrates, but even conventionally grown produce is usually found to be well below acceptable limits. *There are also some other interesting, but not well studied (again), points to consider with organically grown produce. The lack of pesticides may cause potential increases in biological pesticides, endogenous toxin production, and potentially infectious microorganisms. This is not health-friendly stuff!

Having said all that, I am certainly not anti-organic. I still feel safer consuming a lot of organic produce, I just don’t think that it is always necessary. Fortunately for us consumers, a non-profit research organization called the Environmental Working Group has studied the sitation. They found which produce was the most likely to be contaminated by pesticides, and therefore best eaten organicically grown, and which ones were the least likely to be contaminated, and therefore can safely be eaten conventionally grown. Without further ado, here is your list of the 12 most contaminated foods:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Imported Grapes
  10. Spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes

Scarily, almost 97% of peaches tested positive for pesticides, with almost 87% having two or more different pesticides found. Apples were at 92% and 72% respetively. I would highly recommend you consider purchasing produce on this list from organically grown choices, or at least wash them very well.

Here is the list of the 12 least contaminated foods, where I have absolutely (for now) no problem with you purchasing the conventionally grown version:

  1. Onions
  2. Avocados
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Bananas
  10. Cabbage
  11. Broccoli
  12. Papaya

The top three on this list had over 90% of their samples test negative for pesticides.There are other foods to consider besides produce, such as milk, butter, beef, poultry, coffee, etc. There is a lot to consider with those choices as well. I will leave that blog for another day.

In the end, if you choose to purchase organic all the time, that is totally up to you. If you have the means and desire, then have it. For those of us on a budget, trying to do the best we can, it’s at least good to know that there are some foods where the cheaper version is probably more than ok. The information is getting out there, the choice is yours.

Posted on January 28th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

This Week’s Superfood

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Keeping with my new Monday tradition of discussing the awesomeness of a particular food, I took a suggestion from my Warp Speed partner Danny. Today we are talking about a hardly known but insanely healthy vegetable, called Kale.

Better than Spinach?

Better than Spinach?

The USDA has a procedure to measure the antioxidant abilities of different fruits and vegetables. The procedure looks at the big picture of the fruit or veggie, and sees how all of its nutrients work synergistically  to fight free radicals. Guess which veggie was number 1? You guessed it, Kale. (for you trivia buffs out there, Spinach was second). Beyond its obvious antioxidant abilities, kale contains phytochemicals like indoles, which have a protective effect against breast, cervical and colon cancer and may help lower unnecessary estrogen.

Kale, like other members of the brassica family (including cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) also contains sulforaphane. When kale is chopped or chewed sulforaphane is formed, and it helps cause the liver to remove toxins and other DNA-damaging compounds, and it may even stop breast cancer proliferation.

It is also a great source of beta-carotene, the eye-friendly lutein and zeaxanthin, calcium, iron, and vitamins C and K. Since it is roughage, it also packs a good amount of fiber. Combine kale with spinach to form a great bed of greens for a spectacular salad. Throw in some grilled pastured chicken, pine nuts, cranberries and some extra virgin olive oil, and now we are talking.

Exactly what I am talking about

Exactly what I am talking about

If you are looking for more great info like this, definitely check out one of my best sources: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, by Dr. Jonny Bowden. Absolutely great stuff. You can find that and more on my finally updated Resources page, so check it out!

Posted on January 26th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Long Week – Quick Post

Filed under: General Health

As some of you may or may not know I have recently moved down to the great state of Connecticut. I moved in with my fiance as we were really tired of the long distance relationship. That has been great, the commute to CP, not so much. Since I now have 1:25 of driving each way, I have plenty of time to listen to lots of educational material that I have always been meaning to get too.

The Original

The Original

With that drive I am able to catch up on a lot of the FitCast episodes that I missed. Always some interesting tidbits of info on there. Jonathan Fass and Leigh Peele especially always have a little something to add that I had never really thought of. I work with Tony Gentilcore everyday so I pretty much know his answers, not that they aren’t great Tony! As for Kevin, well…just kidding Kevin, we all know how great you are.

Excellent

Excellent

Recently I have added the previously unlistened to Strength Coach Podcast to my repertoire. Needless to say, I have been amazed at the knowledge bombs dropped on every episode. The podcast features the likes of Mike Boyle and Gray Cook every episode, along with some great interviews of top strength coaches. I can always listen to Mike speak as he has a great way of looking at things from a very realistic perspective, and relaying that in a very easy-to-understand format. Gray Cook is nothing short of genius. Listening to him talk makes me feel like I have the training knowledge of a small child. His stuff is pure gold. Whenever you get a chance, or happen to have a long drive, download some episodes of each podcast. I assure you, you will not be disappointed, and you will definitely learn a thing or two. Have fun!

Posted on January 23rd, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Warp Speed – No Carbs?

Filed under: Nutrition, Weight Loss

While on Warp Speed Fat Loss, you have 2-3 “high” carb days which I outlined here, 3-4 “normal” carb days that I outlined here, and on Sunday you get a “no” carb day. Now this is an off-day from training, so it’s not so bad, but you only get 5 meals rather than 6. No peri-training nutrition here.

No Carb Day Breakfast
“No” Carb Day Breakfast

Mike wanted this day to be ultra-intense, not even veggies! His example days usually ran about 25 grams of carbs, with roughly 5 grams of fiber. These are residual carbs from peanut butter, protein powder, tiny amounts of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. And the only reason I get this much is because of my size! For someone who is starting this program at 135, it is a whole different story. They are only getting roughly 12 grams of carbs!

Now I didn’t follow this plan to the T. Like I said in the beginning, it has been modified BSP style. I happen to be too big of a fan of veggies, and I am really starting to believe that eating a little more fruit than recommended, like my “high” carb day post-training carbs, has really helped keep the hunger at bay. Some of you may be skeptical, but there is plenty of evidence that keeping liver glycogen full, which fructose does, tells the body you are in a fed state. This not only helps keep away hunger, it helps to maintain lean mass. It’s a win-win. Tangent done. Anyway, so yeah, I added in a few things. Here is my BSP “no” carb day in all it’s glory:

Wake @ 8:00

Breakfast @ 8:30 – the usual, minus the apple

  • 2 whole omega-3 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1.5 cups mixed veggies – broccoli, onions, orange and green peppers
  • 1oz shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp salsa
  • 24oz water
  • 2 Stash Fusion Green/White Tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA, 2,000 IU vitamin D, 1 multi

Snack @ 11:30

  • 3 pieces reduced-fat string cheese
  • 12 almonds
  • 9 baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp original hummus
  • 1 Tazo Zen Green Tea
Greatest thing since sliced bread

Greatest thing since sliced bread

Lunch @ 2:30

  • 2/3 cup Friendship Digestive Health cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Metabolic Drive
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 Raspberry Gardens Green Tea

Dinner @ 5:30 – Asian Turkey & Broccoli

  • 8oz 97% lean ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ginger powder to taste
  • 2 Asian Plum White Tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA
Cottage cheeses best friend

Cottage cheese's best friend

Pre-Bed Snack @ 9:00 – Pumpkin Pie Cottage Cheese

  • 2/3 cup Friendship Digestive Health cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup Libby pumpkin
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Metabolic Drive
  • 1 tbsp milled flax
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • cinnamon to taste
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 1 Red Tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA

Total Carbs for the Day = ~72 grams

Total Fiber for the Day = ~31.5

“Net” Carbs = 40.5 grams

Now don’t get in a hissy about the “net” carbs. I still count the total carbs towards my calories for the day, since we do know that fiber has about 1.5-2 cals per gram. I err on the side of caution with that one. In terms of digestible carbs, 40.5 is the number. Not too far off from what Mike wrote, it is much more palatable, and I am down a little over 9lbs since I started, so I would say it is still working just fine.

Posted on January 21st, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

7 Comments »

Monday’s New Take

Filed under: Nutrition

So as of today I have decided to have a sort of Monday theme. I want to introduce a specific food or food group every Monday and basically explain why it is so awesome for you.

Not these food groups

Not these food groups

Most people have a general idea of which foods and good for them and which foods are not, but they don’t always really know why. They may know it is high in protein and low in sugar for example, but they probably don’t know specific antioxidant compounds that food may contain, and exactly what they do. That’s where I come in. Now this obviously gives me a lot of options and foods to cover, so if there are specific requests, please shoot me an email or just make a comment on this blog and I will do my best to comply. Hope you enjoy.

Today we talk: Eggs

Eggs are one of my all time favorite foods, are often completely misunderstood, and have a special place in my heart. In their entirety (meaning the whole egg) they are one of nature’s most perfect foods.

They are one of the world’s greatest sources of highest quality protein. Eggs contain a boatload of vitamins, minerals and some very important antioxidants. They are also a great source of choline, which is sometimes lumped into the vitamin B-complex, though it’s not really a vitamin, either way it is an essential nutrient for cardiovascular and brain function. The interesting thing about choline is that it is an essential part of the phospholipid phosphatidylcholine. Without phosphatidylcholine fat and cholesterol accumulate in the liver. Hmmm. The ADA has always told us to avoid eggs because of the cholesterol content, yet eggs contain a compound that actually helps prevent the body from accumulating cholesterol. Interesting. Choline also helps to form betaine, which helps to lower the inflammatory homocysteine, a big risk factor for heart disease. More interesting. Choline is also need for a major neurotransmitter in the body, called acetylcholine, weird right. Acetylcholine is critical for memory and thought and may even be protective against some forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

The major antioxidants in eggs are lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants are known to be powerful protectors of the eyes, helping to filter harmful wavelengths. The amazing thing about lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs is that the bioavailability is significantly higher than from supplements.

As you can see so far, eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, but we aren’t done yet. Eggs are also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B12 (for you vegetarians out there), and selenium among others.

One quick note about eggs is the oxidation of the cholesterol content. When a yolk is broken and the cholesterol is exposed to air it becomes oxidized, and oxidized cholesterol is a little worrisome. Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat scrambled eggs or an omelet, it is just something to keep in mind. Total time exposure is important, so maybe hold off on those buffet tables of eggs, but making some fresh scrambled eggs on your own won’t be a problem at all. Hope you enjoyed my little rant.

Posted on January 19th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

11 Comments »

A Lazy Friday

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Alright, I am going to make this one easy today. For those of you who read Dr. Jonny Bowden’s blog, this will be familiar material, but I thought it was interesting enough to discuss here. In his latest blog, he talks about a study that starts to shed light on why many people feel hungry soon after high carb meals:

“Scientists at Monash University identified key appetite control cells in the human brain. These cells are attacked after eating, but the attack is bigger and stronger following a meal rich in sugar and carbohydrates.

“The more carbs and sugars you eat, the more your appetite-control cells are damaged”, said Zane Andrews, MD, the lead researcher on the study. The result? You eat more.”

Basically the idea is that carbs create the most damage of all to your appetite-control cells. The neurons that tell people not to overreat are being destroyed.

It seems to the researchers, Dr. Bowden, and me another good reason to limit refined carbs, sugars and even some “whole” grains. Keeping hunger in check will make life that much easier.

Posted on January 16th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

No Comments »

Dropping some PN knowledge bombs!

Filed under: Nutrition

Today I am going to start off with a little story of how I came to be in this industry. Way back in college, I was a completely bored and indifferent engineering student. I started off as a computer engineer for a year and a half, then a mechanical engineer for a year and a half. I hated every minute of it. I skipped class, I played a ton of Madden and NHL ’03. No one could touch me on NHL, I was nasty. Regardless, I spent more time in my first three years of college reading about training and nutrition than I did actually doing engineering work (and it showed in my grades, yikes!).

One of my main sources of information back at that time were the bodybuilding.com forums, led by none other than the great Alan Aragon. I learned a boatload reading his posts/comments/monstrous debates. The other source was an absolute goldmine of information, my first influence in the field. I learned about Massive Eating, the 7 Habits and lots more. This website was none other than johnberardi.com. I was hooked. He was definitely the reason that I eventually decided to switch majors, again, into nutrition. I read everything he offered on his site, every single article, which led me to t-nation.com, to Eric Cressey, and now, my job. So, after regaling you with these fantastic anecdotes, here is the real reason I have brought this up today. John Berardi and his great Precision Nutrition team are releasing the newest and greatest Precision Nutrition system yet. Precision Nutrition V3!

This brand new system is a totally revamped version of the system that has helped over 40,000 people to transform their bodies through nutrition. V3 has been re-written, re-edited and re-designed from the ground up. Every section has been improved, and three new ones have been added, including:

  • The Plant-Based Diet Guide, to address the needs of vegetarians,
  • The Maintenance Guide, to help people sustain their results over the long haul by finding a new “normal” that they can be happy with, and
  • The Support Guide, to help people with what we’ve learned is THE critical component of a successful nutrition plan: help!

Other changes include:

  • Revisions to existing guides, in particular the Diet Guide, Individualization Guide and Measurement Guide to provide more step-by-step instructions suited to your level of expertise, from beginner to right to professional
  • Expanded Online Library, with downloadable guides, nutrition plans, research articles and training programs covering every conceivable nutrition situation — and if we don’t already have what you’re looking for, we’ll create it — so that you can personalize the Precision Nutrition System for your particular needs
  • Weekly “All About” Articles for members only, covering everything you need to know about specific topics (e.g., past articles include “All About Protein,” “All About Caffeine,” etc.)
  • Extensive improvements to the Member Zone, our online support community, including a dedicated team of coaches and expert volunteers available around the clock to point you in the right direction

Basically, if you are in my position, this is some really exciting stuff. JB and his team create top knotch work that I can truly recommend without one ounce of regret. PN V2 was simply the more comprehensive and user friendly nutrition system on the planet, and V3 blows it out of the water!

So, if you want to learn how to change your body through nutrition, and keep it there forever, then look no further, this system is for you. If you are interested in becoming the best you can be, click HERE.

Posted on January 15th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

14 Comments »

MY WSFL Training Log

Filed under: Nutrition, Training, Weight Loss

For those of you who have been following my Warp Speed Fat Loss adventure, I have been logging my training over at the the FitCast forums. The training has been SO much harder than the diet. These sessions are absolutely brutal. I think I understand now why CrossFit has such diehards. Not that I am doing CrossFit, but I think it is close enough where I can start to see how people get sucked into this style of training. I started this little shindig at a not-as-lean-as-I-used-to-be 212.2 lbs (which wasn’t too bad because I had hit 214 at one point). After one week I am currently down to about 207.5lbs. So, needless to say, it is working. Just want to get close to that 200 mark.

I am also not sure if many of you know this, but I did an interview for the FitCast a while back. It was Kevin’s first midweek show, so you can also check that out HERE.

Also as some of you may notice. I finally got my headshot up, though I don’t think that’s the one I am going to use. A big thank you to Kevin for getting that up for me though.

Finally I will leave you all with a little nugget. Vanilla Metabolic Drive is like candy. It makes everything taste better. My pumpkin pie cottage cheese recipe would not be possible without it. My new favorite snack with cottage cheese and frozen raspberries, is good, but Vanilla MD (and chopped walnuts) makes it unbelievable. So if you want an easy way to add high quality protein as well as a delicious flavor enhancer, I highly suggest it. You can try others, but I promise you will come crawling back.

Posted on January 13th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

No Comments »

My WSFL “Normal” carb day

Filed under: Nutrition, Weight Loss

So I’ve given you an example of one of my “high carb” days on Warp Speed. It was actually quite enjoyable. The trick really is to find meals that you like that fit the necessary requirements. It is honestly that easy. Now I don’t get to have that banana post training every day, so here is a regular Warp Speed day.

Wake @ ~7:45

Breakfast @ 8:15

  • 2 whole omega-3 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1.5 cups mixed veggies – broccoli, onions, orange and green peppers
  • 1oz shredded reduced-fat mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 1 small McIntosh apple
  • 24oz water
  • 2 Stash Fusion Green/White Tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA, 2,000 IU vitamin D, 1 multi

Snack @ 11:00

  • 3 pieces reduced-fat string cheese
  • 12 almonds
  • 9 baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp original hummus
  • 1 Stash Fusion Green/White Tea

Intervals & Steady State @ 1:30

  • 20oz water
  • 2 scoops Grape ICE
  • 5 grams leucine
  • 3.5 grams creatine

Post Training @ 2:30

  • 16oz water
  • 1 scoop Chocolate MD
  • 3.5 grams creatine
  • 5 grams leucine

Lunch @ 4:30 – Asian Turkey & Broccoli

  • 8oz 97% lean ground turkey (or beef)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ginger powder to taste
  • 2 Tazo Green Tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA

Dinner @ 7:30

  • 2/3 cup Friendship Digestive Health cottage cheese
  • 1 scoop Chocolate MD
  • 2 tsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp milled flax
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Gardens Green Tea

Pre-Bed @ 10:30

  • 2/3 cup same cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup Libby pumpkin
  • 1 scoop Vanilla MD
  • 1 tbsp milled flax
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 red tea
  • 1.2 grams EPA/DHA

As you can probably tell, it’s not all that different from a high carb day. I don’t vary the meals alot because I love what I eat, and it is easier for me to stay on track. This has honestly been MUCH easier than I expected. I highly recommend this programming to anyone interested in it. The training is VERY intense, so make sure you are cleared by a doctor and have already been training for a while. You could also just do the diet with a more normal training style and still get some good results. Either way, if you want to know more about it, check it out HERE.

Posted on January 12th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

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