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:
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:
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.
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.
I just wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone at Cressey Performance for putting on a wonderful seminar this past weekend. The new facility is absolutely incredible, definitely makes me miss coaching there a little bit. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a nice little tour from Eric:
It was an awesome experience and I look forward to giving more talks like that in the future. Overall I think it went quite well, especially since it was my first seminar presentation. I have given loads of presentations in school, some solo talks to local high schools and such as well some in-service talks to the CP staff, but never to 200 people as part of a group seminar! We will have some cool stuff on the talk on the PN site probably some time in January, so keep your eyes peeled!
I also wanted to congratulate all of the other presenters for doing great work and providing some unique content. It was a great learning experience all around.
Last but not least, I want to thank everyone who attended. I got to meet a lot of cool people, and several readers of the blog, which was humbling and exciting at the same time. So thank you all who attended, we couldn’t have done it without you.
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!
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 Betteris 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.
As promised, here is my nutrition and supplement plan for my injury recovery. The article itself went up on ericcressey.com It was excellent timing as EC asked if I could write a guest post as he was going to be out of town for the week, so I threw it his way. Check it out!
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.
Q & A: Fixing the “Tuck Under” When Squatting Part 1 & Part 2 – by Tony Gentilcore. Having the pelvis tuck under when squatting is an incredibly common problem in the gym (when people are actually squatting to depth). Tony does a great job of outlaying what the problem is and some solid, but simple techniques to fix it.
Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh. This is a running series over at Precision Nutrition, and I just find them simply fascinating. Bryan Walsh is an uber brilliant dude, and in this particular case is able to identify what is causing this patient’s thyroid, cholesterol and immune system problems.
In today’s piece I wanted to give a nice little tip on fruit preservation – specifically bananas. Bananas are one of my favorite fruits. Apparently when I was wee little lad I used to stand up in my crib and yell “nanas” over and over to my mom until she fed me some bananas, and that love affair has never ended. However, unlike most foods, I am rather particular about my bananas; I like them a little green, and once they are spotted brown I simply won’t eat it. Fortunately there is way to keep bananas at their desired state of ripeness far longer than you might think possible.
Normally bananas are kept in a fruit bowl or hanging from a rack. While this is fine, if you are like me and really prefer your bananas at certain point in time, then that is far from optimal as they brown quickly. This leads to bananas simply going uneaten, and I hate wasting food. A far superior method is to actually keep your bananas in the refrigerator!
Once bananas have reached your desired level of ripeness, simply place them in the fridge in your fruit drawer and they will remain at that state for nearly a week! The peels themselves will change plenty, turning brown and kinda nasty looking, but the fruit itself hardly changes, preserving that delicious flavor. Try it out and let me know how it goes!