Breathe Better, Move Better

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

I know, two posts in one week, let alone one month! It’s like a record or something.

Anywho, a few days ago I pointed out that Eric Cressey had put up an awesome Upper Body Training Video. With his new resource, The High Performance Handbook, coming out next week he has even more to share. And as the guy who wrote the Nutrition Guide for it, I can tell you how phenomenal this resource really is. A few days ago Eric has put up another awesome video you should check out. And this one is on breathing.

Learning to breathe appropriately may seem like a strange topic, but in fact the more we learn about breathing, the more we realize how it impacts how well we move and perform. And it has an enormous impact on our posture, tissue quality, and injury risk. Breathing correctly can be used to help with relaxation (yoga, meditation), but also to brace the core to lift heavy weights.

If you have something that can help with two extremes like this, you know it can be “clutch” when it comes to making or breaking your fitness progress. Luckily, Eric’s video today focuses on some of the breathing strategies he uses in terms of exercise selection and coaching cues.  Check it out:

—> Breathe Better, Move Better <—

On another note, I have been a part of some awesome content over at precisionnnutrition.com lately. While I don’t post as much on my site like I used to, its because I work hard on creating top-notch content for PN, so check out some of these articles below:

Sweet vs. Regular Potatoes: Which Are Really Healthier?

Good Stress, Bad Stress: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Hacking Sleep: Engineering a High Quality, Restful Night

All About Jet Lag

Posted on October 18th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

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Why You’re Upper Body Training Program Needs to Change

Filed under: General Health, Training

Hey guys. I know I rarely blog these days, however, I have some incredibly content for you this week.

My first mentor (and former boss) Eric Cressey has some phenomenal videos this week. These videos will teach you how to customize your training programs and exercise selection to your own unique needs. Eric and his staff at Cressey Performance train hundreds of professional athletes and ordinary fitness folks alike, plus it is where I learned nearly everything I know, so you can be sure they are top-notch and applicable for everyone.

Eric’s widely recognized as “The Shoulder Guy,” so it’s only fitting that this week of videos kicks off with a look at how you can probably benefit from shaking up your upper body workouts.  I found the information to be really eye opening, and he shows some awesome ways to look at upper body pressing besides just bench presses.  Here’s a link to check it out:

—> Why You’re Upper Body Training Program Needs to Change <—

Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

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Stuff You Should Read

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

I simply wanted to share 2 incredible new PN articles that I have had a hand in shaping.  While they are officially credited to JB, who did write the majority of each one, several of us also had a hand in editing the piece and adding our thoughts.  With so many bright minds involved, it turned good articles into incredible ones, that are worth sharing with as many people as possible.  They are that good.

How to fix a broken diet: 3 ways to get your eating on track

Paleo, vegan, intermittent fasting…what’s the bests diet?

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

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Why Produce Color Doesn’t Really Matter

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Many nutrition experts have long advocated that people eat the rainbow when it comes to their produce consumption.  And beyond even that, it has been stated that you really only want to eat darkly colored fruits and veggies, as those are allegedly the best ones for you.  While darkly colored produce is fantastic, as they get those colors from potent nutrients like anthocyanins and anthocyanidins, do they really stand head and shoulders above the others?  Due to these recommendations, produce with minimal color like cauliflower, onions, and especially iceburg lettuce and celery, have really taken a backseat, much to my dismay.

In reality, we are still learning and discovering all kinds of new compounds and nutrients in the produce and plants that we eat, and while deep color may be indicative of the healthfulness of some produce, it is not the be all end all.  In fact researchers recently discovered a compound called apigenin, which they believe to be one of the most potent anti-cancer compounds ever found!  Two of the richest sources of apigenin?  Humble, lightly-colored celery and iceburg lettuce.

The thing about cancer cells is that they are actually incredibly successful. At least, as far as their own survival is concerned they are successful to the extent that have a kind of immortality. This is the problem for the person with cancer, the cancer cells bypass the processes that should cause them to die as part of a regular cycle (known as apoptosis) and so they grow out of control and cancers develop. According to new research though, we now know how a substance called apigenin from foods makes cancer cells mortal again.

Apigenin is found in many plants but the best sources are parsley, celery, chamomile tea, thyme and iceburg lettuce. The researchers found that apigenin binds with around 160 different proteins in the human body. Among the most important of these though was a protein called hnRNPA2.

This hnRNPA2 protein influences the activity of messenger RNA (mRNA) which in turn carries the instructions needed to produce a specific protein. The modification of mRNA determines which protein the mRNA will cause to be produced. Abnormal modification (splicing) is the culprit behind around 80 per cent of cancers. The researchers found that apigenin, when applied to breast cancer cells, causes them to splice mRNA normally so that the cancer cells are no longer immortal and are programmed to die as usual (undergo apoptosis), or become sensitive to chemotherapy.  That is awesome stuff.

So what does this all mean?  It doesn’t mean that you need to take an apigenin pill, it just means you should worry less about which exact types of produce you “should” eat, and instead just eat the ones you enjoy, as that will lead to the greatest overall produce consumption, and likely your best bet for long-term health.

Posted on May 30th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

5 Comments »

All About Articles

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

I know my blogging has been pretty much nil lately, but I assure you I have not been idle!  Part of my job with Precision Nutrition is to write All About Articles, along with Ryan Andrews.

Quite a few of these articles have already been published.  If interested check them out:

All About Coffee

All About Environmental Toxins

Calorie Control Guide For Men and Women (co-authored with Ryan Andrews)

There are some other great articles coming down the pipeline as well, so keep your eyes peeled on the PN Blog.

Posted on September 26th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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Show and Go Sale = $50 Off

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

A few weeks ago I received an email thanking me and EC for the Show and Go Training Program and Nutrition Guide.  It was absolutely wonderful to see someone make such tremendous improvements in his health, body composition and performance.  Here is what he had to say:

“EC and BSP,

I hope you guys are doing well! I just wanted to send you two a quick note of thanks. The Show & Go System has made considerable changes to my body, both outside and inside.

I’ve completed Show & Go three times with maintenance periods in between. Initially, I completed the 4x/week program. Really effective, but required too much time given I’m working full time, teaching two courses, and finishing up my PhD. Next, I completed the 3x/week program. Finally, I went back to the 4x/week program but only lifted 3x/week. I love the upper/lower split and the recovery time between sessions it offered me. It was during this last program that I absolutely destroyed my PRs! That is no joke! Here is a listing of gains I’ve made from January 2011 until June 2012:

Bodyweight (6’1”): 192.5 —> 209.5

Body Fat: 14.5 —> 11.5

Front Squat: 165x3x5 —> 235x3x5

Deadlift (conventional): 275×1 —> 415×1

Bench Press: 235×1 —> 285×1

Pull ups: +10x3x5 —> +37.5x3x5

I’m not brutally strong, but strong for someone who wasn’t blessed with the strong gene. I could go on and on about the gains, but the primary reason I’m emailing is to thank BSP for the Show and Go Nutrition Guide and to thank EC for including it. My family has a notorious history of heart disease. My dad’s grandpa died from his first heart attack at 50, my dad’s dad died at 56 (he had four heart attacks and three strokes), my dad’s uncle died from his first heart attack at 62, and my dad had his first heart attack at 48 (thankfully still alive). Odds not trending in my favor.

My wife and I switched to eating as BSP recommended as of July 2011. I had labs done in June 2011 and just had them done again yesterday at my yearly physical. Everything keeps improving as seen in the comparison from June 2011 to August 2012:

LDL: 108 —> 88

HDL: 40 —> 64

Triglycerides: 81 —> 55

I know these aren’t the only indicators of health, but they are pretty damn important to heart health. I owe just about all of the changes I’ve made to you two! This is crazy! Oh, and all while eating 5 eggs just about every day, in light of the new study released here:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915012005047. Be aware that that study’s statistical interpretations are extremely suspect. Plus, any time you see researchers arbitrarily categorizing continuous variables (e.g., into quintiles) be skeptical immediately. Far too much information is lost due to categorization!

Anyways, thanks again and keep producing quality programs and providing quality information!

Best,

Ryan

p.s., In 15 months, Show & Go also transformed my wife from a non-lifting marathon runner into an absolute beast in the gym. Her current lifts are, Back Squat: 170x5x3, Conventional Deadlift: 185x5x3, full hang chin ups: 7, Bench: 110×1. At a body weight around 130. Hopefully our kids get her strong gene! Thanks again!!”

I would say those results truly speak for themselves!  In a matter of 1.5 years he was able to gain 21lbs of lean body mass (muscle and its associated components, bone, etc) and lose 4lbs of fat mass, while gaining tremendous strength and drastically improving his health to boot!

A recent review determined the Triglyceride to HDL ratio as the best single predictor of heart disease risk, with a goal of 2 or less.  His ratio went from 2.025 to a fantastic 0.86!  Not only that he was able to lower his LDL levels while consuming 5 whole eggs per day, pretty impressive stuff if you ask me.

Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel & Move Better is on sale for $50 off from now through Sunday, September 9 at midnight.  Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this incredible and comprehensive training program, and at the same time purchase the tag along Show and Go Nutrition Guide, written by yours truly.  You won’t regret it, as you can see it can help you improve your healthy, body composition and performance all at the same time.

Posted on September 4th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

3 Comments »

BSP Breaks a Leg

Filed under: General Health

Yes it’s true, I broke part of my tibia a little over a week ago.  I played in a rugby tournament with some old college buddies and on the last play of the last game I got tackled (though not before I passed the ball off and we scored as time as expired to have a chance to tie.  Alas we missed the kick.) and simply rolled my ankle inwards towards the ground, breaking part of my tibia.

Other than breaking my nose in practice, and subsequently re-breaking it two weeks later in a game, I have never been injured playing rugby.  Bruised and battered yes, but never injured.  Maybe at 28 I am past my prime!  Probably so when it is only the second time I play in 4 years!

Anyway, apparently this injury is quite rare.  90% of the time you roll your ankle you roll it the other way, with the outside of your ankle going towards the ground, ending up in a sprain.  I did this a bunch of times in high school soccer.  This was different.  After I got tackled I was able to walk off the field, but just a little while later after icing the ankle it stiffened up to the point that I could no longer walk.

After getting assessed by the trainer she was pretty sure I had broken the bottom part of my tibia.  Apparently the ligament that attaches your tibia to your calcaneus (aka your heel), known as the tibiocalcaneal ligament, is so damn strong that instead of spraining, it simply breaks your tibia where it attaches.  Awesome.

The white ligament going from your tibia to your calcaneus (heel)

Right now I am in a sweet cast with a walking boot.  Fortunately I am able to walk about pretty well, and will be in this get up for 2 more weeks.  From there we re-assess and see if I can go to a walking boot only or need surgery.  Apparently 1 in 6 of these breaks don’t heal properly and require surgery, but I am young and healthy and this is less likely for me.

So, moving forward I will be discussing my nutrition and supplement strategies to help facilitate healing as well my training while I am injured.  I will also be posting up some sweet vids of my training with a cast on, so be prepared!

Posted on July 31st, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

8 Comments »

Assess Your Air Quality

Filed under: General Health

I have written before about the importance of air quality to your health (Breathing Green, Indoor Air Pollution, Dangerous Dryer Sheets).  I recently came across a really cool tool to learn about the air quality for where you live.

I was reading my UMaine Today magazine, which highlights interesting research being done at the University (alas they haven’t been too interested in The Effects of Ecosystem Management on Wheat Composition), and came across 10Green.org.

Your city gets an air quality score from 1-10, the higher the number the better.  It is impossible for any city to get a 9 or a 10 because global greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are at such high levels everywhere.  However a place like Seattle scores a 7, which is great.  A place like Auburn, Maine (where I live) scores a 5, which is decent.  A place like LA scores a 3, which sucks.

The website not only provides a score, but it provides an explanation as to its score as well possible negative health consequences from each of the 10 hazardous pollutants it uses to calculate air quality.

The goal of the website is to provide people with real-time information.  Too much of the focus of climate change research and advocacy has looked at what will happen 50 years from now.  That is a hard concept for people to worry about, because it is not right now.  This score is about right now, and having that knowledge to protect your health (and that of the environment) immediately.

There is a lot you can do even if your local air quality is substandard.  Get some HEPA filters for your home.  Get some plants for your home (I cover options on both of those on my Indoor Air Pollution post).  Plant some trees and greenery around your house.  Move to the suburbs where there is less traffic and more trees.  Decrease exposure to fragrances and strongly scented items.

Check out 10Green.org and let me know what you think!

I also wanted to mention that Mike Robertson is putting on his annual Midwest Performance Enhancement Seminar at his facility in Indy.  It is chock full of awesome presenters, including MR himself, Bill Hartman, Lee Taft, and Dan John to name a few.  If interested, definitely check it out.


Posted on July 11th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

Stop the Junk…Mail That Is

Filed under: General Health, Weight Loss

I don’t know about you, but I certainly tire of receiving credit card offers all the time, car insurance junk and other miscellaneous junk mail.  I shred the credit card offers and I recycle what I can, but I came across some cool information recently that is much more effective at saving the earth than even recycling – stopping the junk mail altogether!

In fact I came across this info as I was researching what I can and can’t recycle in my new town.  Here is what I discovered:

A staggering 4 million tons of junk mail is sent each year – much of it never  opened. Even if the junk mail is recycled, there are enormous  environmental costs associated with production of paper, ink, energy to produce and deliver the mail as well as in the process of recycling. It is must more effective to stop the mail at its source.

If you are interested in no longer receiving junk mail, simply send a letter with your complete name, address, zip code and the phrase “activate the preference service.”  Send this to:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 15012-0643

In fact the Direct Marketing Association estimates that this will stop 75% of all national mailings!

The worst offender, for us anyway, are the credit card companies.  Nearly constant solicitation.  While the above tactic won’t stop them, there is another strategy.

All of the major credit agencies sell aggregate credit information to any bidder. To stop direct mail and credit companies from soliciting your business you need only make one call (1-888-5 OPT OUT or 1-888-567-8688). A recording will confirm your phone number, name, address and social security number. The service last for 5 years.

I just did both of these this past week, and I am really looking forward to getting less junk!

If you need a little more convincing, if everyone in the U.S. was able to reduce their average of 10.8 pieces of junk mail received each week, we could save nearly 100 million trees each year.

On another note Precision Nutrition is opening up its doors for another round of its tremendously successful Lean Eating Program.  And this time they are putting up $75,000 of their own money to the best transformations.

To find out how you can win the cash — and get in the best shape of your life — check out today’s post:

Can $75,000 inspire you to lose fat & get healthier?

Posted on June 22nd, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Today’s Health Tip

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

This week I wanted to highlight a fantastic food that can be utilized in many different capacities – guacamole!  A while back (like 3 years ago) I wrote a piece about my favorite condiments, which of course guacamole was on the list and that certainly has not changed.

In particular I want to highlight the Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie Packs.  While I don’t normally endorse 100 Calorie Pack foods because they are usually junk, in this case you get a pre-set portion of a healthy item.  In addition since guacamole tends to good bad quickly when exposed to air, utilizing these small packages limits waste.

One great way to use guacamole is in place of meals where you, might use mayonnaise.  It provides that same creamy texture, but is less calorie dense, provides a serving of produce (avocados are one of those in between types, where they are treated as both fruit and vegetable) and provides a good source of fiber, potassium, lutein and more.

In terms of consumption I like to use half of the package on my sandwich or wrap, and use the other half with a serving of baby carrots, cucumber slices or bell pepper slices.  You are using produce as a condiment for produce!  Now that is a winning combination.

In the end guacamole can be used in a lot of different ways, provides a creamy texture with a mild flavor, is made up of mostly avocados and provides more than 25 essential nutrients.

Posted on April 4th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

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