First off, my apologies for being a major blog slacker this week. I promise to return with a vengeance. I wanted to wrap up this week with some random thoughts on training, nutrition, and anything else on my mind.
1. Chris Shugart wrote a really interesting article on t-nation this week, a consumer reports of new fitness equipment that I thought was really interesting. He saves his best piece for last, declaring Dr. Bowden’s The Healthiest Meals on Earth one of his favorite products of the year. I definitely agree, it is an absolutely fantastic cook book.
2. As some of you may know, Dr. Berardi just completed his month on a plant based diet. He brought up some interesting points in the end of his discussion on it about some of the anti-nutrients in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The big one he discussed are lectins. Dr. Berardi had this to say “lectins are sugar-binding proteins found in high concentrations in plant seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts. Interestingly, current research has shown that if eaten in high amounts, lectins can be lead to nutritional deficiencies, immune reactions, and more.” Fortunately there are ways to go about reducing the lectins in food. Fortunately Precision Nutrition V3 discusses a lot of them, including how to properly soak your beans to diminish lectin concentrations. Another method to drastically reduce lectin content is sprouting, another reason why I love the sprouted grain products from Food for Life, specifically the Ezekiel line.
3. Along the same lines as number 2, a very interesting blog I discovered called Whole Health Source, has some really fascinating nutrition information. He is a huge believer in returning to our ancestral roots for food consumption, and I can’t say I can argue his points all that much. Regardless, this Stephan guy (I have no idea what his last name is) is very bright, and he puts out a lot of good info that I hope you can take the time to read. He just recently discussed lectins and other anti-nutrients in foods and how to counter act them if you feel so inclined.
4. I am in the middle of reading World Without End, by Ken Follett. It is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, and they are both absolutely fantastic. They are not for the faint of heart, each clocking in around 1000 pages, but they are these absorbing, sprawling epics that suck you in. Excellent books and I can’t recommend them enough.
5. I am a HUGE movie fan, often discussing them at work with Tony Gentilcore, but I have unfortunately been slacking in my movie watching department. This weekend, I plan on seeing a few movies, so stay tuned for a full blown review of at least one next week. Have a great weekend.
There is a prevailing belief in mainstream media and actually in highly educated nutrition experts that in order for a fruit or vegetable to have maximal nutritrional benefits, it must be rich in color. In many cases this is completely true. When you are eating a fruit or veggie that is colorful, such as a strawberry, you want it to be a beautiful deep red. Unfortunately people have taken this to mean that plants that are naturally color free are low in nutrients and value. False.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of fruits and veggies that are not rich in color, that are absolutely tremendous for you. Cauliflower would be a great example. It is a member of the brassica family, which is like vegetable royalty, also including broccoli, cabbage, kale, and more. It is high in a powerful compound called sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce cancer risk and is known to detoxify the liver.
Another example of a great, low color veggie are onions. Onions are one of my favorite veggies, containing a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory called quercetin, which is shown to help prevent some cancers and heart disease. Onions are a part of the allium family, which aso contains garlic, scallions, chives, and leeks. The sulfur compounds in onions, including thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and diallyl sulfide (which unfortunately cause the smell) help prevent stomach, prostate and esophageal cancer. Some very powerful stuff.
Clearly we can see that color does not define the health properties in all cases. These are just two of many examples, there are tons of other low color plants that are incredibly healthy such as artichokes, celery, bok choy, endive and more. This again returns to why I do not like the green veggies only idea. There are tons of other fruits and veggies, of all colors of the rainbow, including white, that promote a balanced, delicious, and healthy diet.
This recipe is a take on the one Chris Shugart posted on T-nation a little while back. It is excellent and you can take it in a number of directions. This can be utilized at breakfast or as an awesome post-training meal. I am going to post the easiest way to make this recipe, so it is as user-friendly as possible.
1/2 cup organic quinoa
1 cup water
pinch sea salt
dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
1 diced apple
1/2 cup wild blueberries
1/2 cup organic raspberries
1/8 cup chopped pecans
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
2 scoops Vanilla Metabolic Drive
Have quinoa cooked and ready (what else are Sundays for?), by bringing water, quinoa and salt to a boil, cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Store in tupperware and have ready for recipes like this! Moving on, add in all other ingredients and stir. Add in small amounts of low-fat organic milk as necessary to make all ingredients mix. Makes two delicious servings that will knock your socks off.
As a final note for this week, my first article ever was published on thefitcast.com. It was nothing fancy, just a simple supplement discussion, but it’s up nonetheless! To check it out, click HERE.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Mike Boyle’s Winter Seminar for the second consecutive year. I always look forward to seminars, as it’s amazing how much you can learn in a few short hours.
Here are some examples of my continuing education:
1. Jonathan Fass is dangerous. I had the pleasure of finally meeting the brilliant Fass this weekend, but he is dangerous to sit next to at a seminar. He has a great sense of humor, and has an uncanny ability to make you laugh when everyone else is quiet and listening.
2. I have to stand up at seminars. If I sit for an extended period of time in a dark room listening to someone speak, I tend to get a wee bit drowsy. I highly recommend standing up, and walk around a little bit. Keeping that blood flowing is of utmost importance.
3. John Pallof is really really smart. Hearing him speak is incredible and anytime any of you get chance, do not miss out. You walk away from his presentations feeling a lot smarter about that area.
4. When you go to a seminar, whether you are up and coming, or a veteran, network, network, network. Developing a network is of utmost importance. It was talked about ad nauseum by some of the speakers, so you have the ability to refer out to high quality chiropractors, ART practitioners, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc. Meeting people in the industry is one huge step in that direction, allowing you to have experts whom you can contact to answers questions that may be outside your realm, but right in theirs.
5. Mike Boyle is my favorite speaker. I can listen to him talk anytime, anywhere. He just has a remarkable capacity to engage an audience, even if you don’t agree with him, you certainly respect where he is coming from.
6. I need to attend more seminars! Eric is always telling me if I find something I want to go too, just let him know. I just don’t like to take the time off, but I think I will attend a few more this year than last.
7. Though not related to the seminar, it is something I have really learned recently. As all of you probably know, I did a fat loss program in January, which called for a huge caloric deficit, a small amount of strength work, and tons of metabolic work. I lost 11lbs on the program, so it was clearly successful. Since its conclusion I have upped my cals and carbs to what should be maintenence levels for my current bodyweight. I have somehow managed to lose another 2.5lbs. I believe this to be due to my reintegration of lots of heavy strength training 3-4 times per week. I think people underestimate the caloric demand of high intensity strength training. There is also probably something to do with upregulation of hormones (ie leptin) from the diet break and my increased recovery capacity to keep training intensity high, but I don’t believe that can account for all of it.
To sum up that long paragraph, when you are trying to lose weight: train hard and heavy (though not too much volume) and put yourself in a caloric deficit. That is obviously a very general statement, but if more people actually lifted heavy when dieting, and performed less cardio, they would maintain lean mass and actually improve results.
Quinoa. It is just a beautiful name for such an incredible food. Pronounced keenwa, the Incas called it chisiya mama, or the mother of grains, though we know now it is technically a seed. There are lengends of Incan armies marching for days eating nothing but “war balls”, quinoa packed with fat.
My favorite aspect of quinoa is the fact that it is actually a complete protein. If you know me, you know that I love my protein, and quinoa is that rarest of all creatures, a grain or seed that has all essential amino acids. The main reason it is considered complete is because it is high in lysine, an amino acid traditionally limited in the plant world.
Another benefit is that it cooks in about the same time as pasta, so it is much faster to prepare than rice, and providing better nutrition than either. It is high in fiber, roughly 5g per serving, and very low on the glycemic index causing it to have a minimal impact on blood sugar. Compared to other grains like wheat and corn it is higher in many minerals including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and particularly iron, of which it contains a respectable 8mg.
More great benefits are that it is gluten free, so it can be enjoyed by anyone that has Celiac’s disease, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, whatever you want to call it. It is also a leafy seed, not a grassy grain, so it does not contain any of the allergens common to wheat, rye, barley, oats or corn.
In summary quinoa is an amazing little food that has very high nutrition properties, is a complete protein, is hypo-allergenic, has a low glycemic index and is high in fiber. What more do you want? Well, I just might post an absolutely delicious quinoa recipe later this week, so stay tuned!
Those of you who remember my post a while back about the launch of the brand new Precision Nutrition V3 will be excited to discover that not only is this an upgrade on what already was the most comprehensive nutrition product available, along with its launch came the launch of some sweet complementary e-book add-ons.
The first one, and probably going to be everyone’s favorite, is the Gourmet Nutrition Desserts.
Gourmet Nutrition Desserts, is a 44 page dessert cookbook complete with delicious “Precision Nutrition approved” dessert recipes, beautiful photography, and hints on how to eat the foods you love without the gaining the fat you hate. To download your FREE copy, click HERE.
The second complementary e-book is one that everyone who struggles with their weight should pick up.
How to Guide
The Precision Nutrition Strategies for Success provides a nice and simple overview of some critical PN strategies including: the rules of good nutrition, protein intake, balancing dietary acids, altering your eating schedule to make it more PN friendly, preparing foods, eating on the road, reving your metabolism, and more. To download your FREE copy, click HERE.
Lastly, I do want to point out that the newly improved Precision Nutrition is awesome. Especially for those of you who wonder how you can make the PN program work for you if you are a vegetarian, it is completely covered and laid out. It is also a great resource if you want to know how to do Warp Speed Fat Loss as a vegetarian (since I have gotten a lot of questions about that). All in all, it is a spectacular product and is perfect for anyone interested in utilizing nutrition to be as fit and healthy as they can. To learn more about PN V3, click HERE.
Ride the Wave. Just watch this bullshit video and then keep reading.
This is almost as bad as the Bender Ball, which was a disc herniation waiting to happen. This is just a joke.
“We recommend you not exceed 3, 5, and 8lb weights for this workout. You’ll get better results if you concentrate on the moves with lighter weights.”
Can someone please explain that to me. How does using lighter weights, causing less muscular stimulation improve results? I really want to know how this shit continues to be perpetuated. Why can we not rid the industry of this crap? Why don’t people realize if that statement were true, then they would have gotten all the results they ever wanted from Tae-Bo. There is a reason why workout products don’t survive, and new products like this continue to come out almost daily, each one replacing the previous and sucking just as badly.
They don’t work.
So people just keep coming back for the newest gimmick, which is the same useless shit, sold in a new shiny box. That’s it. It’s sad to see people get continually suckered into purchasing and trying these “new” methods and not getting the results they want. Then make all these excuses about how they can’t lose weight, its all genetics, they do everything right, blah blah blah. Don’t delude yourself, your results are in your own hands. I realize that it is not “all” their fault, since they at least continue to attempt to lose weight, just with the wrong tools and mindset. The problem is that people need to educate themselves more. Stop getting your fitness info from the same sources that have always failed you. Branch out. Try new things that are a total departure from what you may have always done, because if what we have always done has gotten us where we always are (obesity and diabetes epidemics), then obviously we need to do something different.
In conclusion, if I hear of anyone purchasing anymore garbage like this, I am going to send Billy Blanks over to pop you in the mouth. Sincerely, Brian St. Pierre.
This week’s food of choice is one that nearly everyone is familiar with and “knows” is good for them, but do they really know why? Lets find out.
Today we talk about Almonds. Almonds are fantastic little nuts that provide us with tons of nutrients that you can see just from reading the nutrition label. They are high in the heart healthy monounsaturated fat that has made the Mediterranean diet famous. They are also low in carbohydrates and sugar, high in fiber and a decent source of protein. These things are evident, but what else makes this little food so great?
Almonds are also known to be a great souce of vitamin E. Vitamin comes in a few forms, called tocopherols, the most commonly known being alpha tocopherol. Unfortunately most common does not mean most beneficial (though alpha is not bad, its has tons of benefits, it is just over prescribed). This is where almonds come in. The vitamin E contained in almonds is not just from alpha tocopherol, but from the little known gamma tocopherol. Gamma tocopherol has been shown to neutralize many dangerous free radicals that alpha tochopherol simply has no effect on. These specific free radicals are known to damage cellular membranes and oxidize LDL. It is also a COX inhibitor, which is what NSAIDS do, making it an even more powerful anti-inflammatory. There is also evidence showing an inverse relationship with blood levels of gamma tocopherol and cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, the more gamma you have the lower your risk. Too much alpha tocopherol will actually decrease the amount of gamma tocopherol in the blood and tissues, so maintaining a balance is incredibly important. This is some pretty powerful and interesting stuff.
Moving into a totally different direction, there is evidence to show that almonds can aid in weight loss. Replacing calories in the diet with an equal number of calories from almonds has been shown to help people lose weight. It is thought to be, and this is pretty solid, that it is because we do not actually absorb all of the calories from tree nuts like almonds, and even to a degree, though less, their butters. It is estimated that we only absorb about 80% of the calories listed for almonds and the like.Though this doesn’t mean you should eat extra!
To top it all off almonds are a decent source of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They are also wonderful at controlling blood sugar. In the end, this is a great snack food that can easily be incorporated into everyone’s diet (unless you have a tree nut allergy, which sucks, sorry). Enjoy.
OK, so I get a lot of questions from friends/family/random people on the internet about proper exercise execution. It can be tricky. You walk into any commercial gym setting and you will see just loads of atrocious form, rounded spines, and just general tomfoolery. Well fortunately for all of you brilliant enough to read my website, we have a solution. Kevin Larrabee, Tony Gentilcore and I have put together a rather large database of most of the main movements that people have trouble with. These videos were shot in HD at 60 frames per second (this was apparently really important to Kevin, he mentioned that damn camera of his being 60 frames per second every day we filmed). We think they came out pretty awesome. If you are interested in checking out more, look HERE.
For a quick example, here is me doing a beautiful barbell deadlift. This is one I commonly see done poorly (if being done at all!).
Subscribe to us on YouTube. We will periodically add more as we find the time to film them. Enjoy.
Basically I decided to do a random thoughts day since I didn’t have anything in particular to write a good sized blog post about. So here goes.
1. Eat for your goals. I see too many people who want to lose weight and train their asses off, yet they pound food and are just spinning their wheels. The same thing happens in the opposite direction. I remember so many guys in college, and I see quite a few high school athletes everyday who train their asses off to gain size but are so afraid to lose their 6 packs that they don’t eat enough to reach their goals.
Eating for Goals
2. Buy a Theracane. This thing is awesome. Tony brought one into the facility, and I bought one for my fiance and I love it. I have some upper back and neck issues that give me some neck pain and almost constant discomfort. The Theracane, while not having cured it, greatly diminishes my neck pain and removes some trigger points. Try it, you won’t regret it.
3. Watch Lost. It is pretty much the greatest show in the history of television. I also just realized that Matthew Fox was in Party of Five, making him even more awesome.
4. Since 4 is my favorite number, I will leave you all with a spectacular recipe that is similar to some others I have put on here, but is probably my single greatest achievement.
1 cup Friendship Digestive Health cottage cheese
1/2 scoop Vanilla Metabolic Drive
~1/4 cup fresh raspberries (heaping)
~1/4 cup fresh blueberries (heaping)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Mash the raspberries when you stir, spreading their beautiful red color throughout the mixture. The combination of blueberries and raspberries is unbelievable and you may never want to eat anything else. You have been warned.