What’s More Important?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

What’s More Important?

This is a central question that everyone needs to ask themselves. While this can apply to all facets of life, I am going to focus on diet and nutrition, obviously.

To me many people make their food choices seemingly on a whim, or what sounds good at the time. I am sorry to say, that approach does not lead down the path of success. Instead people need to become more mindful of their choices.

My proposition is to get people to ask themselves “what’s more important to you?” Is it more important that you lose 20lbs or have a soda everyday? Is it more important that you walk around at sub 10% bodyfat, or that you hang out with your friends and enjoy yourself on the weekends (and instead you are 12% bodyfat)?

I am not saying which choice is the “right” one, I am asking you to decide which choice is more important to YOU. To some having a soda everyday makes them happy (or at least they think it does, which might be the same thing), and if you choose to make that decision everyday so be it, but do not bemoan the fact that you can’t lose those 20lbs. You made a conscious choice. If losing the 20lbs was truly more important, you would drop the soda.

This is similar to the idea that people are willing to give up what they want the most (to be lean) for what they want right now (CAKE!).

Situations like this happen all of the time. People want to get stronger, or they want to get leaner, or they want to gain some muscle, yet they are not willing to give up habits that prevent these things from happening. This would be fine if they were ok with the fact that their consistent choices are what have gotten them where they are.

However, if you really want to ┬ábe different, look different, feel different, perform different than you currently are, then you have to decide what is more important to you – The change you say you want, or the choices you currently make that have you where you are? TV or the gym? Getting up a few minutes earlier and making breakfast, or sleeping in and getting Dunkin Donuts? Spending 10 minutes each morning preparing 2-3 meals/snacks for the day, or not and just eating at restaurants or work and hoping for the best? The list goes on and on.

The choices are yours, you just need to decide what is more important to you.

Posted on April 29th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

Friday’s Random Thoughts

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

I haven’t done a random thoughts post in a long time, and I have been attending many interesting seminar presentations the past few weeks in grad school, as well as doing my own presenting. In addition I read a rather interesting paper on moving beyond standard LDL-C numbers in assessing CVD risk (though it was written by people who consult/work for Big Pharma, so I am a little skeptical of their conclusions).

1. Many peopled still believe that increasing their protein intake will damage their kidneys or lead to bone loss or some other nonsensical statement that is not supported in the literature in healthy people. This is even what is stated in our nutrition textbooks! In the dietetic world, there is pervasive thought that high protein is unhealthy and dangerous, even though this has never been demonstrated. In short it is a complete and utter myth.

One of my classmates presented some research she did in her undergrad on this exact topic. She worked with Dr. Lonnie Lowery and compared weight lifters who habitually consumed high protein diets (250g/day), compared to matched weight lifters who consumed more normal protein intakes (109g/day).

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Posted on April 22nd, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

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How to Read Fitness Research

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training, Weight Loss

The fact of the matter in this industry is that there are a ton of people who market themselves as experts, and very few actually have a damn clue about what they are doing. It is an unfortunate state of affairs, but it is what it is.

People saw an opportunity to make money without having to actually be really good at what they do, and they took advantage of it. However, there does seem to be a subset of people who generally care about being good, honest and getting their clients results.

While we may not all agree on everything, we all understand many of the same concepts, and actually have a grasp on the literature on fitness. We don’t just perpetuate dogma or write things that are controversial and sexy just for a few more sales. Its about good content, and good results.

With all of this in mind, I think Mark Young has created an absolutely fantastic new product – How to Read Fitness Research. Mark makes it simple and straightforward. Explaining in layman’s terms what I spent several semesters learning about!

Whether you are a fitness professional or even a fitness junkie who loves to be informed, this would be a tremendous tool in your arsenal. To many, reading research articles is like reading German. This is where Mark comes in with his research Rosetta Stone.

He will teach you how to use Pubmed, give an overview of how research is generally conducted, how to read research, what are the best journals to subscribe to (and even how to get some for free!), how to know the quality of that data, and most of all how to interpret and apply the results. Now, he may not be able to teach you the nitty gritty of neurophysiology, but he can certainly give you the foundational knowledge to comprehend the basic tenets of ALL research.

Learning these new skills will make you far better at sifting through the junk, and knowing fact from fiction. Whether you are a fitness professional who needs to increase their knowledge and provide a better service for their clients, or a fitness enthusiast who simply wants to be able to read some research and know what is going on, this would be the greatest tool for you.

I took a class last semester called Research Methods and Biostatistical Techniques. That class cost me over $1200 to learn exactly what Mark is teaching and more (plus his is much more exciting, that’s for sure) for only $77! And in fact, How to Read Fitness Research is on sale this week through Friday for only $37!

Posted on April 19th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Supplements 101 – Part 2

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Today I am going to continue my post on Supplements from last week. If you haven’t caught up, please do so!

Protein Powder

Protein powder is a simple and convenient way to get more high-quality protein into your diet. Ensuring adequate protein intake can make a big difference in helping you reach your performance, health and body composition goals. I do prefer people get the majority of their protein intake from whole-food sources, 1-2 scoops of protein powder per day is acceptable (this includes protein bars).

In addition protein powder, specifically whey, has many health benefits beyond just its protein content. I have expounded on this in the past, and I wrote an entire article on t-nation on the health benefits of whey, so I won’t dive in here. However, this is why quality of the product matters, as lower quality proteins can be poorly produced and decrease their health benefits.

For protein powders I recommend:

About Time Whey Protein. It is from mostly grass-fed cows (depending on availability), free of artificial sweeteners (uses stevia), is low-temperature processed (protecting those healthful biological fractions), reasonably priced and tastes great! There are other excellent products out there, but I feel this product provides the best combination of all of those elements.

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Posted on April 18th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

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Stuff You Should Read

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

The past two days I have spent up at school just swamped with work. Between the time working on my thesis data collection (which I am doing right now as I write this, my samples are incubating), creating and presenting a 40 minute presentation (which I gave today, on the awesomeness of full-fat dairy), taking a test and a quiz, and 3.5 hours of commuting each day, there has been little time to wrap up the supplement blog I wrote on Tuesday.

However I will wrap that up tomorrow, I promise.

In the meantime, here is some great content from some of my colleagues that I believe you guys should check out. It’s like a CP reunion. Enjoy!

Workout Routines: Exercising on Vacation – Part 2 – by Eric Cressey. I really liked EC’s discussion of being active on vacation, even if you don’t engage in formal exercise. He also provides some fantastic TRX exercises and workout ideas for those of you who do exercise on vacation (or at home). The article is worth the read for those ideas alone in my opinion.

Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: 4/11/2011 – by Tony Gentilcore. I always love Tony’s Miscellaneous Monday blog posts, and this is one of my favorites. He talks about Tim Collins, his new training program written by Bret Contreras, as well as potentially coming out with a product of his own (we have actually discussed the idea of doing one together, but certainly nothing definitive). Plus Tony just cracks me up.

8 Reasons Carbs Help You Lose Weight, or Something Like That – by ME! I really enjoyed writing this blog post, and I think it is one of my best of 2011. The love affair with grains and carbohydrates in general from the media and public health authorities is ridiculous, so I try to enter a little sanity into the equation.

Posted on April 14th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

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Supplements 101

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Well my wife and I are now officially moved, and I officially hate moving even more. Our new place is a freakin disaster of boxes and stuff that we have to organize and/or just throw away. I haven’t decided yet.

With that in mind and my massive amount of school work, please bear with me as this week might be a little light on the blogging front, though I will do my best to still be awesome.

Recently Tony Gentilcore wrote a nice little blog series on supplements in general, and the supplements he takes on a daily basis. I thought it was quite good, and it inspired me to write a similar piece of my own for today.

Just like Tony noted, supplements are just that, supplements! They are there to add to an already stellar nutritional intake. If your nutrition sucks, your fancy supplements probably are not doing a whole lot.

With that said, I am going to assume that since you read this blog, your nutrition is pretty stellar (that might be one what one calls a leap of faith), and since your nutrition is so stellar I will outline what I think are quality supplements that are worth your while, as well the products I specifically take myself on a daily basis.

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Posted on April 12th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

18 Comments »

What I Am Up To

Filed under: Uncategorized

This has been a crazy semester thus far, and things are really about to hit the fan. I have a ton of projects/presentations as well as tests and quizzes all due over the next few weeks. On top of my data collection for my thesis several days per week.

Today I had to observe an outpatient dietitian counsel a few different patients. It was interesting to see how she went about counseling the patients, and to see where her philosophy differed from mine. Overall it was definitely a good experience.

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Posted on April 8th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Country Dijon Chicken Sandwich

Filed under: Nutrition, Recipes

When you think of chicken what do you think of? If you are like most health-conscious people you probably think of chicken breasts. Boneless, skinless and lean these are an excellent source of protein. However, no one is claiming that chicken breasts are the tastiest protein sources on earth, so I recommend that a little variety is in order – boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs are made up of darker meat than chicken breasts, have a slightly higher fat content and taste so much better than chicken breasts it is not even a comparison. The real kicker is that chicken thighs are generally significantly cheaper than their breast counterparts, which is always a nice bonus.

In celebration of the wonder of chicken thighs I have a simple and delicious sandwich recipe for you guys today.

Country Dijon Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 4-8oz (raw weight) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cooked as desired
  • 1 Ezekiel english muffin
  • ~1 tbsp expeller pressed canola oil mayonnaise
  • ~1-2 tsp country dijon mustard
  • 1 small handful of baby spinach
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp hummus

Directions

Cook the chicken thighs as desired (serving size as you desire). I simply cooked a bunch on a George Foreman grill. Toast the Ezekiel english muffin. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the english muffin once it is done. Place spinach on both sides of the english muffin, on top of the mayonnaise. Place chicken on top of spinach. Spread mustard onto chicken. Enjoy!

The carrots and hummus are a simple vegetable side I like to have with my sandwiches. It provides a nice crunch and a slightly salty flavor. You could also do other simple things like lightly salted cucumber slices, bell pepper slices and hummus, celery sticks, etc. Th choices are nearly endless.

This is a simple and delicious sandwich that requires minimal prep, provides quality protein, healthy carbs, healthy fats and veggies while also tasting awesome. Eating healthy does not have to be difficult or bland, and for more great recipe ideas like this check out Dave Ruel’s Metablic Cooking cookbook, providing over 250 amazing recipes and on sale through this Friday at midnight for 52% OFF!

Posted on April 7th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

5 Comments »

Metabolic Cooking and 18 Minutes to a Leaner You

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Recipes

I hope you all enjoyed that butter article yesterday. It is absolutely delicious, and so wonderful to know that as long as you get it from a quality source (ie – grass-fed) it is actually good for you too!

In continuing with that theme I wanted to let you all know about an amazing new cookbook being released by Dave Ruel. It is called Metabolic Cooking, and it rocks. As you all know I am absolutely all about not only eating well, but actually enjoying what you are eating. To many people believe that eating healthy equates to eating bland, and that could not be further from the truth, and Dave provides over 250 amazing recipes to prove that previous statement dead wrong!

If you like my recipes I post or Gourmet Nutrition style recipes, you are going to absolutely love this! Dave makes tons of tasty meals, including breakfast options, a wide variety of meats (chicken, poultry, fish, seafood, beef, pork, etc), sides and snacks as well as vegetarian options (which is a nice bonus).

In addition he also provides nutrition information for each and every recipe, and similar to Gourmet Nutrition, he tells you if it is protein and fat meal, protein and carb meal or a mixed meal, which just adds a nice touch.

To be perfectly honest I think many of the recipes are too low-fat with too great of an emphasis on egg whites and low-fat versions of foods, but that is easily remedied with whole eggs and full-fat versions! Overall there are just TONS of recipes I am going to put to use, especially a chicken liver recipe I really want to try.

Metabolic Cooking is brand-spanking-new, so it is currently on sale for 52% off the introductory price through midnight this Friday. You can never have too many healthy recipes at your disposal, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Metabolic Cooking and get cooking!

There were some unbelievable content put out by some other great writers within the past few days that I thought would be great for you guys to read, so check them out!

18 Minutes to a Leaner (and Healthier) You – Jay Bonn. Jay has struck again, with another gem that I think EVERYONE should read. For people who can never “find the time” or who claim to not have time for food prep, this article is for you. This might be one of my favorite blog posts ever, it is that good, and that important. Read it.

Back from Kansas City: A Tim Collins Update – Eric Cressey. EC and Pete went out to KC to watch Tim pitch on Opening Day, where he did very well. They went out to dinner after the game with Tim and his family and not one person recognized them until they were about to leave. Lo and behold it was Torii Hunter, the 13 year MLB veteran who had hit a 461 foot homer in that game against Kansas City, but whom Tim had struck out. He told Tim he was impressed with his stuff, and wished him the best. Just good stuff all around.

Posted on April 5th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

The Truth About Real Butter

Filed under: Nutrition

If you want to talk about much-maligned foods, butter is right up there at the top of the list. Health authorities have been telling us for years that foods like butter, rich in saturated fat, are clogging our arteries and causing heart disease. So they told us to replace them with trans-fat laden margarine, and how did that turn out? Then came polyunsaturated vegetable oils, and new research is linking these omega-6 rich fats to all sorts of health problems, including potentially increased risk of cancer.

The real question is, was there ever a problem with butter in the first place? The answer just might surprise you.

continue reading…

Posted on April 4th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

3 Comments »

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