I love hockey. It was my first love as a kid and continues to be my favorite sport as an adult. I played it competitively for 14 years, culminating with a year in juniors. It is a sport I miss terribly.
Looking back on my career I think what helped me be (moderately) successful was the fact that as I got older I had started to weight train and eat better. By my senior year and in juniors I was bigger and stronger than most of my competition. As much as my training helped me, I know how incredibly different my hockey career could have been had I trained then as I train athletes now.
The same thing goes with my nutrition. If I had eaten then as I counsel athletes to eat now, I think my results could have been drastically different. I just didn’t have access to that type of information, and unfortunately, hockey, like most sports, is very far behind the cutting edge of training techniques and methodologies.
Most team sport athletes, if they are even given a training program (we weren’t), are given poorly designed and marginally effective programs. They are also rarely given any nutritional information whatsoever.
Fortunately my good friend Kevin Neeld, also a very accomplished hockey player himself, far beyond me, has made it his mission to fill in that gap and correct a lot of the misinformation out there for proper hockey training and development. He has created an unbelievable Hockey Development Program dedicated to getting good information into the hands of hockey coaches, parents and players to help take their training and their skills to a whole new level.
He has 13 top-notch interviews with experts in the training and nutrition of hockey players, and I am honored to say that I was one of the interviewees. Also included are Eric Cressey, Brijesh Patel, Nick Tuminello and more! Not only that but you have a discounted access to his Off-Ice Performance Training Course (for which I am the model in the exercise demonstrations) as well as pre-made training programs.
There are a lot of options, and tons of good content, so if coach or train hockey players, or are a player looking to take you game to the next level, check out the incredible Hockey Development Program! Hurry because the interviews start playing on June 1st, so you don’t want to miss out.
Before I get to the Q & A, I wanted to let everyone know that the move to Maine is going quite well. My wife and I are almost completely moved in, with only a few things left in CT (since I will still be there a few days this week). What I really wanted to mention though is the fact that we have moved literally next door to a phenomenal grocery store.
A brand new “Green” Hannaford opened there just over a year ago, and it is sweet. Here is a quick tidbit about it, and I promise to talk more about it later this week, as it is a monstrous step in the right direction for a conventional grocer.
“The Augusta store will be 44 percent more energy-efficient than a typical supermarket. Green features include geothermal heating and cooling, solar photovoltaic panels, high-efficiency refrigeration and energy-efficient lighting.
A green roof will provide insulation and help control storm water runoff. Throughout construction, we’re aiming to recycle 95 percent of the material from the site. This pilot store is part of a larger initiative to test green designs for future stores.”
Pretty cool stuff huh?
Anyway, onto the Q & A.
Question: Hi Brian,
I’m a big fan of the blog. I really enjoy your take on things, especially when you point out the nonsense that goes on with the FDA and other governing bodies and foods they allow companies to call “healthy” or “safe.” I had a question I was hoping you could clear up for me though. If you’ve addressed this in the past and I just missed it I apologize.
You’ve spoken a lot about the negative aspects of modern pasteurized dairy, but I notice you always list Greek yogurt as an alternative to cottage cheese. Seeing as Greek yogurt is made from pasteurized milk, what makes it any different? Does the presence of probiotics and perhaps the incubation process offset the damage done by pasteurization and the generally poor health of dairy cows?
I’d greatly appreciate your insight on the matter. I’ve been wondering about this for a while and I figured you were the guy to ask.
Answer: I don’t know if the probiotic cultures offset any of the problems with pasteurization (I doubt it), but they at least have tremendous other health benefits, and many health benefits have been associated with yogurt consumption in general. Ideally you would still consume yogurt from well treated cows, that are pasture-raised and grass-fed – like Stonyfield for example. The reason I suggest Greek yogurt in place of cottage cheese is that it has similar macronutrient profiles, while also providing the health benefits of the probiotics, (which can also off-set problems with casein).
In a totally ideal world our dairy would come from healthy, well-treated, pasture-raised grass-fed cows, be unpasteurized, be full-fat and maybe from cows other than Holsteins (since there is some preliminary [very preliminary] data showing their milk contains a problematic protein). Since this isn’t currently the case, you make the best you can of what is widely available, and Greek yogurt, while not perfect, is still a giant step up.
A colleague of mine forwarded an article from the Wall Street Journal about a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health. This new study suggests that the problems long associated with red meat consumption, are actually from the processed cuts of red meat: bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts and not from unprocessed meat like steak. Shocker I know.
While it is amazing that is has taken this long for something like this to be truly analyzed, actually separating processed versions of red meat from things like steak and other non-processed cuts has actually provided the proof we have all known to be there: that the real problem with red meat and heart disease is from processed shit. I bet it would make even more of a difference if they separated conventional red meat from grass-fed.
They even acknowledge that both processed and unprocessed red meat contain saturated fat, and that it does not seem to play a role in the association of processed meat to heart disease. At least some things are catching on. The sad part about this article is that they blame all of the problem of processed meats and its link to heart disease on sodium. Claiming that sodium increases blood pressure, which is only true in certain people.
Fortunately the article redeems itself a bit by mentioning that processed meats contain large amounts of nitrates/nitrites, which have been shown to interfere with the health of blood vessels and the body’s ability to process glucose. But that is a mere quick mention, as the focus is clearly on sodium. Below is my favorite quote from the article:
Nevertheless, Dr. Eckel said, “I was amazed to see the differences in sodium content” between the two categories of meat.” It suggests that people with high blood pressure “might need an [additional] drug” to control their condition if they eat a lot of processed meat,” he said.
Seriously? His advice and/or thought process is that people need another drug? Are you kidding me? There are other treatment protocols besides drugs. How about just eating less processed meat? Or eating more fruits and vegetables, or drinking more pomegranate juice (which has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 20%), or exercising?
That truly pisses me off that so many doctors’ (not all) first inclination is to treat every problem with a drug. Then they treat the problem created by one drug, with another drug, it is a vicious cycle. There is a time and a place for pharmaceuticals, but it is not the only option!
A perfect example is a woman I know who asked to have her sub-particles of her LDL and HDL checked, as she had read that they can be more significant risk factors than just the overall numbers alone. She is right of course. Her cardiologist said that wouldn’t help because there is no way to change particle type. Which actually translates to there is no drug he can prescribe that has been shown to affect particle size, so there is nothing that could be done about it, even though it is well established that diet plays a very large role in particle size! I digress.
Coming back to the article at hand, unfortunately this study was only a meta-analysis, which did not contain any random controlled trials that actually show acute effects, not just correlations, but it is definitely a step, however small, in the right direction. Hopefully they will realize that the problem goes far beyond sodium, and is actually about the foods you eat, not just a nutrient they may possess.
On a interesting aside, there is a new hot dog I was introduced to by a company called Let’s be Frank. They have 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs from California pasture-raised cattle, without any antibiotics, hormones, steroids, nitrates, nitrites, etc and they are lower in fat, calories and sodium than traditional hot dogs! They are also absolutely delicious, check them out.
If you want to build a healthy, muscular physique, the quality of your food matters more than the quantity.
As the nutritionist at Cressey Performance, I see the diets of a lot of guys who want to get bigger and stronger. They run the spectrum from excellent to atrocious (mostly atrocious), but there’s one commonality shared by almost all: every guys thinks his diet is perfect.
Every day I have guys tell me that they don’t actually need any nutritional advice, because they “already eat really well.”
Talk with any nutritionist worth his salt (ha!), and he’ll tell you it’s rare to find someone who consistently makes good food choices. In my mind, it’s the true linchpin to body composition success—improving the quality of the foods you eat has just as big of an impact on your physique as the quantity you eat.
With that in mind, here are five foods that you can immediately add to your diet to improve the quality of your calories and take your physique to a whole new level. [continue reading...]
I just wanted to give a little shout out to myself, as that is my first article ever on TMuscle.
Today is one of those days when I have a bunch of great information, but so unrelated that I can’t make them into one coherent blog post. Plus, sometimes it is nice writing (and reading) relatively quick, informative blurbs about several topics, rather than an entire book on one sole topic.
1. My wife graduates from dental school this weekend, and will officially be a dentist. She has busted her ass and I am incredibly proud of her.
2. Amazingly Cocoa Puffs are no longer endorsed by the American Heart Association with their “heart-healthy” check mark of approval. Maybe they are no longer writing checks to the AHA (because you must pay a nice little fee for that check mark) for this lovely little stamp because they realized that kids don’t give a shit if a cereal is AHA approved or not?
Or maybe the AHA realized that really crappy, high-sugar foods like Cocoa Puffs are not fooling anyone, and if anything is just making them look like idiots or incredibly greedy, whichever you prefer.
3. On a good note, my wife and I just discovered an absolutely delicious cereal that can replace Cocoa Puffs in a heart beat, while actually being good for you to boot. It is Cocoa Beach granola by Kashi. While I am not normally a fan of many Kashi products, this one boasts tons of whole-food ingredients with minimal poor ones, while providing 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. It is a wonderful combination of chocolate, almond and coconut without any preservatives or artificial sweeteners or flavors.
While I wouldn’t say it is the world’s perfect food, it is a great way to satisfy some of that chocolate craving, while bringing back childhood memories of devouring massive bowls of cereal.
4. As I am sure many of you read my review of the atrocious China Study, along with my follow up post answering the questions that it raised. I feel this book is just injecting a massive fear of meat and protein when we already have a fear of fat and carbs on our hands. It is nonsensical and the main study that the book is based on doesn’t support the conclusions of the author.
You don’t have to just believe me, as I came across a tremendous review of The China Study, that gives you a mountain of information to rebut people with when they toss that piece of shit book out as evidence that being vegan/vegetarian is healthier. Now if you choose to not eat meat due to ethical reasons, then good for you, that is your choice and I applaud you for it. But do not try and tell me that eating high quality pasture-raised grass-fed meat is bad for me, because the evidence just does not support that statement.
Kristy from Feasting on Fitness absolutely takes apart The China Study in thorough detail, in two parts, leaving no doubt about its lack of evidence. Read it: Part I and Part II.
5. Slacker Radio is pretty much the greatest invention ever. It blows Pandora out of the water.
6. As some of you may have noticed, I have made a conscious effort to blog more often, about 4-5 times per week. Is there anything in particular you the readers are interested in learning about? Anything that tickles your fancy? Any bones you have to pick with me? Anything you want to see more of? Less of? Just let me know!
I greatly enjoy reading other people’s blogs, and I love sharing great ones that I come across with you. Check these great ones out and let me know what you think!
Understanding Elbow Pain – Part 1 and Part II – by Eric Cressey. I think this is one of Eric’s best blogs ever. He goes into just enough detail on elbow anatomy and pathology to greatly educate you, without losing you. Plus you see the awesomeness that is Graston and ART being done on him personally. If you have ever suffered from elbow or forearm pain, check this out.
How to Lose 40lbs & 20% Fat – by Krista Scott-Dixon. The Precision Nutrition team is at it again, and this may just be one of the most inspirational stories I have read about a woman’s journey to the top from rock bottom. She goes into great detail about how her mindset in so many facets of her life has changed, and how that has made all the difference.
Saturated Fat and Insulin Sensitivity, Again – by Stephan Guyenet. Stephan puts another nail in the “saturated fat is the devil” coffin. Showing once again, that some of the claims made against saturated fat, this time its effect on insulin sensitivity on men with metabolic syndrome, are just plain false. Stephan never fails to provide high quality and well thought out content.
Today I wanted to share with you a video that a reader of mine sent along. It is from Ted.com, which appears to be a pretty awesome site, though I am by no means an expert on it.
This video piggy-backs along with my previous two posts on salmon and cod, and renews my hopes for a continued uprising for better food production. It is funny, clever, enlightening and intriguing, give it a look.
Last week I talked about aneasy way to eat more fish, because of all of the wonderful health benefits associated with adding fish to your diet, especially wild-caught fish. I hope some of you gave that salmon recipe a shot, as it is absolutely delicious.
That same product also has a wild-caught cod that my wife and I both tried recently as well, and it was also excellent. Though cod is a much leaner white fish, you can add your own healthy fats to it and that way you completely determine the fatty acid content of the meal.
Cod is a mild-flavored fish and it is available throughout the year, which is nice. Cod is in the same fish family as haddock and pollock. Cod is also a natural source of vitamin D (hence cod-liver oil), it is also high in selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, vitamin B12, potassium, niacin, magnesium and some omega-3 fatty acids to boot (~500mg in 8oz).
More often than not the vitamin content of food gets overlooked today. Overshadowed by nutrients like omega-3′s and calcium. But vitamins like B6 and B12 are needed to lower homocysteine levels, which is important because homocysteine damages the blood vessel walls and elevated levels greatly increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Cod is also high in niacin (also a B vitamin), which is often used therapeutically to lower cholesterol levels, and is one of the few things that may lower lipoprotein(a).
Anna came up with an awesome recipe to spice up the mild-flavored cod, and add even more nutrition to its already stellar profile.
4 tbsp pasture butter
2 pieces of sesame Ezekiel bread
lots of garlic powder (to taste)
Directions: Toast the two pieces of Ezekiel bread. Place in a food processor with 1/2 tbsp melted pasture butter and some garlic powder and make bread crumbs out of it. Place the fish in a large pyrex dish. Melt the rest of the butter and drizzle half over the fish, then sprinkle the bread crumbs onto the fish and drizzle the rest of the butter over the bread crumbs. To top it off, sprinkle garlic powder over it all to taste.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until done. Enjoy!
I just wanted to remind everyone that the sale on Mike Robertson’s Single Leg Solution ends tonight. This is one hell of a product, so if you want to learn how to properly execute and integrate single-leg work into your training, don’t miss out, and pick up a copy of Single Leg Solution today.
Most people know that they should eat more fish, especially cold-water fatty fish like salmon. However it is definitely something that is easier said than done.
Cold-water fatty fish are a great protein source, and are a very rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Not only that, but wild-caught salmon has its pink color from an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which is 100 times more powerful than vitamin C, and another reason why you should always purchase the much darker and richer-looking wild-caught salmon over farmed salmon, as it is much higher in astaxanthin.
Wild-caught salmon also has lower PCB and dioxin levels, has a better fatty acid profile, eats its natural diet of krill (which is how it gets the astaxanthin) rather than corn, and in my opinion tastes better to boot.
The problem is, you generally have to buy fish fresh and cook it that night, or at the latest the following day. You can also chop and freeze fish yourself, but it tends to make you and your kitchen have that cat-food smell. Not good.
Fortunately I came across a pretty sweet product at Stop N’ Shop recently that really helps to solve this problem. Unfortunately it is a Stop N’ Shop brand product, so while other chains might carry their own version, they may not.
It is frozen wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon. It is also sold at the same price as the fresh wild-caught salmon, but it is already pre-portioned and you can eat it whenever you damn well please.
Just toss in the fridge the morning before you plan on eating it, let it defrost for the day and then cook however you want! We usually only cook our salmon one way, because my wife has a pretty damn good salmon topping:
For 1lb of salmon
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Stir all of them together and slather over your salmon. It is absolutely fantastic. They also have other wild-caught fish like haddock (which is a very lean white fish), so now you don’t have any more excuses not to get more fish into your diet!
There has been a lot of debate recently over whether or not people should squat anymore. Mike Boyle in particular is firmly in the camp that you can derive all the benefits of squatting with heavy single-leg work, while I am of the mind that a combination of squatting with heavy single-leg work will give you the best bang for your buck.
The real problem is at most gyms single-leg work consists of 1-leg knee extensions and 1-leg hamstring curls, that is most definitely not the kind of single-leg work we are talking about. We mean doing work where you are not only lifting weight with one leg, but where you are stabilizing with that leg as well. This creates a whole new dynamic, and greatly involves something call the lateral sub-system.
The lateral sub-system is made up of the quadratus lumborum, glute medius, tfl, and the adductor complex. Without going into too much boring detail, this group essentially provides side to side stability and is incredibly important for sporting or athletic activities as we spend the majority of our time on one leg (think walking, running, etc). As great as squats and deadlifts are, they do not train the lateral sub-system as effectively since there is little need for side to side stability in a two-legged stance.
Fortunately this is where proper single-leg training comes in. Unfortunately most people have had little exposure to proper single-leg exercises, execution, and placement within a training program. Luckily enough, Mike Robertson has taken the guess work out with his incredible Single Leg Solution(it’s on sale through this Friday at midnight at an introductory price of just $77!).
In this 60-minute DVD, along with the 96-page manual that accompanies it, Mike explains which exercises work best for certain people/populations, shows how to execute each exercise with flawless technique, explains how to progress each exercise appropriately, and how to place these exercises in your training.
As an example of kick-ass single-leg work, this is a video of yours truly doing a Barbell Reverse Lunge with a front squat grip with 245lbs for 6 reps. I will say that I was short-striding it a little bit, but thankfully I took a look at that video after and was able to correct it on my next set!
The point here is that single-leg training is not for weaklings, and in all actuality you can get very very strong doing single-leg work. If you are someone with creaky knees (like Tony Gentilcore), low-back pain or are just looking for some lower-body variety the Single Leg Solution is the answer you have been looking for.
Also if you are one of those people who eschews lower body work because you don’t want to squat or deadlift, this would be perfect for you. It will provide you with easy-to-execute, knee-friendly and powerfully effective lower-body training.
Act soon, at midnight on Friday the price goes up $20, so don’t miss out on a nice discount on an awesome product.