The Eye-Opening Health and Lifestyle Section

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

What truly sets my High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide apart from nearly any other product is the 37 pages I devote to the Health and Lifestyle Section. We know how important proper training and nutrition are to getting the performance, health and body composition you want. However, what often goes under-appreciated are the other factors in your life that can have just as massive an impact on your results, namely: stress, sleep, and our environment.

These variables can affect every bodily system, and not taking them into account will prevent your from achieving the results you desire. Still don’t believe me? Check out these excerpts from the Health and Lifestyle Section, and see if whet’s your appetite for more!

Sleep: Why We Need It, and How To Get It

We all know that sleep is important for our health.  However, many of us (if not most of us) tend to act as if that just doesn’t hold true for ourselves.  We seem to believe that we can get away with it.  While you may blame “work” or simply being “busy,” research clearly and consistently shows that people miss out on sleep due to something called “voluntary bedtime delay.”  Basically, we stay up late because we want to, often watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” re-runs, or mindlessly reading useless info on Facebook.  No matter the reason, it is unlikely to actually be more important than logging sufficient and quality shut-eye.

In the big picture, sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving your health, performance, and body composition.

The average adult gets about 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep per night. In fact, about 30% of the population gets fewer than six hours per night. Women tend to sleep a bit more than men, and people who carry high amounts of body fat tend to sleep less than those with a normal body fat level.  Studies suggest that people who sleep fewer than six hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as people who sleep 7-8 hours per night.

Excessive sleep isn’t necessarily better, either; those who sleep more than nine hours per night have similar body composition outcomes as those who sleep less than six hours.

There is a fairly strong body of research showing that lack of sleep increases risk of many conditions, including:

  • altered food intake, leading to a decrease in satiety hormones and an increase in hunger hormones, as well as an increase in pleasure response to food, causing increased food intake
  • altered glucose tolerance, insulin resistance & diabetes
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • disruption of cortisol levels and rhythm
  • decrease in testosterone and increase in estrogen
  • loss of lean mass, including muscle, bone and organs (such as your brain)
  • decrease in thyroid stimulating hormone
  • heart attack
  • stroke

It is important to note that sleep debt is cumulative, meaning that the more nights with less sleep, the greater likelihood of negative effects taking place.  The good news is that you can catch up with just a few consecutive nights of adequate sleep.  Experts hypothesize that each hour of sleep debt needs to be repaid eventually, so don’t let it add up.

Okay, so we know lack of sleep is a problem.  As researchers have noted regarding sleep debt: “these alterations are similar to those observed during aging and sometimes during depression.” Awesome.

Fortunately, research also shows that simply getting adequate sleep can quickly right the ship on these issues.  So, how do we go about creating an environment conducive to optimal sleep?  Well, here is a step-by-step guide on getting sufficient, and restorative, sleep.

Environmental Carcinogens

Hundreds of chemicals are capable of inducing cancer in humans or animals after prolonged or excessive exposure.  Chemically-induced cancer generally develops many years after exposure to a toxic agent.  For example, a latency period of as much as thirty years has been observed between exposure to asbestos and incidence of lung cancer.

In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel Report declared that “The true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated…this group of carcinogens has not been addressed adequately by the National Cancer Program.  The American people – even before they are born – are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.”

According to the report, there are about 80,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, but only about 2% of those have been assessed for their safety.  The report singles out radon, formaldehyde, and benzene as major environmental toxins that are causing cancer.

Radon: What is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas.  It comes from the natural decay of uranium or thorium found in nearly all soils, and it typically moves up through the ground and into the home through cracks in floors, walls, and foundations.  It can also be released from building materials or from well water. Radon breaks down quickly, giving off radioactive particles.  Long-term exposure to these particles can lead to lung cancer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year, with 1 in 20 U.S. homes having elevated levels.  Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and the leading cause among non-smokers.

Testing for radon and taking the necessary steps to lower radon levels in homes that have elevated radon can prevent many radon-related lung cancer deaths.  This process is known as radon mitigation.  Getting your home air and water (if you are on a well) checked is simple and inexpensive – and can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

FormaldehydeWhat is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products.  It also occurs naturally in the environment and is produced in small amounts by most living organisms as part of normal metabolic processes.  Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen by several government agencies.

Formaldehyde sources in the home include pressed-wood products such as particleboard and plywood, glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics, cigarette smoke, and fuel-burning appliances.  In addition, formaldehyde is commonly used as an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant, and as a preservative in mortuaries and medical laboratories.

Research studies of workers exposed to formaldehyde have suggested an association between formaldehyde exposure and several cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia.  Rats exposed to formaldehyde fumes developed nasal cancer.

The EPA recommends the use of “exterior-grade” pressed-wood products to limit formaldehyde exposure in the home.  Ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, appropriate humidity levels (through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers), and the use of indoor plants can also reduce formaldehyde levels in homes.

Benzene: What is it, Where is it, and How do I Get Less of it?

Benzene is a colorless liquid that evaporates quickly.  It is naturally found in crude oil and is a basic petrochemical.  Unfortunately, it is also a known human carcinogen.  Benzene is found in tobacco smoke, gasoline (and therefore car exhaust), pesticides, synthetic fibers, plastics, inks, oils, and detergents.  Benzene has also been found in soft drinks (since removed or reformulated), and dryer emissions from scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets.

About 50% of the benzene exposure in the US results from smoking tobacco or from second-hand smoke.  Substantial amounts of data link benzene to aplastic anemia, bone marrow abnormalities and leukemia – particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia (ANLL).

To decrease benzene exposure, don’t smoke, and try to avoid second hand smoke.  Ensure adequate ventilation in your home, use non-scented laundry detergents and dryer sheets, and keep plants in the home.

Household Cleaning and Personal Care Products

Cleaning supplies come in all shapes and sizes, with an infinite amount of marketing and advertising to promote them.  It is hard, if not downright impossible, to know today what you really need to clean your home.  Which chemicals may do more harm than good?  Which companies are actually trying to marry safety and effectiveness, not just worrying about their bottom line and shareholder profits?

In addition, personal care products and cosmetics are also ubiquitous in society today.  We all use them to look better, smell better, and feel better about our presentation to the world.

Unfortunately, many of these products are known contributors to poor air quality and various other health problems.  Many ingredients in personal care and household cleaning products are known to harm or irritate the lungs and trigger asthma, even in healthy people.  Some products even contain ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors and are linked to cancer and reproductive abnormalities.  They also pose a great threat to aquatic life as they eventually end up in waterways.

You can forget trying to read the labels to discern their safety, though.  Not only do labels require a PhD in advanced chemistry, but federal law in the U.S. allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels. These acceptable omissions include nano-materials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and the ingredients of “fragrance.” Instead, they use of terms like “cleaning agent” or “quaternary ammonium compound” for anything they decide they don’t want to list.

Your best bet is to check for warnings and the ingredients I will cover next.  Don’t be fooled by marketing claims.

You might think that this is a hyperbole or tree-hugging paranoia and that your government would not allow such dangerous chemicals to be so widely used, and to not require them to be listed.  You would be wrong.

In the U.S., companies that make cleaning or personal care products may use nearly any ingredient or raw material in their product formulations without government review or approval.  They are not required to disclose all of their ingredients on the label.  The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 laid out what the EPA could do to regulate the industry: essentially, not much.

If a product or chemical is deemed to pose an unreasonable risk of injury, companies can voluntarily recall a product.  These recalls tend to focus on immediate injury risk such as chemical burns or fire hazards, not subtle problems with chronic implications, such as asthma or cancer.  Companies do not have to prove chemicals are safe before putting them into cleaning products.  In fact, in its more than 30-year history, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (the cosmetic industry’s safety panel) has assessed fewer than 20% of cosmetics ingredients and found only 11 ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe.

The chemical industry as a whole is largely unregulated.  There are over 80,000 chemicals in use in the U.S., and the vast majority have never been assessed for safety by federal regulators.

“There are too many chemicals and not enough data,” said Kevin Crofton, EPA research toxicologist.  “There are literally thousands and thousands of chemicals in use for which we really don’t have much information at all.”

In addition the terms “hypoallergenic” or “gentle” do not necessarily indicate a product is safer, or is even those things.  A company can use a claim like “hypoallergenic” to mean anything, or nothing at all.  Remarkably, the Environmental Working Group conducted an assessment of over 1,700 body care products and found that 81% of those marked “hypoallergenic” or “gentle” contained allergens or skin and eye irritants!

In the U.S., there are more than 500 products sold that contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada, or the European Union.  The FDA also has little authority over cosmetic companies, cannot recall harmful cosmetics, and relies on companies to report injuries from their products a voluntary basis.

—————————————————-

Pick up your copy of The High Performance Handbook today before the introductory price expires Saturday at midnight!

To sweeten the deal, Eric has decided that everyone who purchases a copy (and who has purchased already) will automatically be entered to win one of these prizes:

1. ANOTHER all-expenses-paid trip to get evaluated and train at Cressey Performance. Again, Eric will cover all your travel and accomodations expenses, and the training will be on the house.

2. One of three free copies of his “Art of the Deload” e-Book.

3. One of three free online accesses to Mike Reinold and Eric’s new “Functional Stability Training of the Lower Body” online resource!

There are only 36 hours left, so don’t miss out!

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

What Are People Saying About The High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

With the release of the High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide just 2 days ago, the positive feedback is already rolling in!

Just this morning, Shane made this comment on my most recent post:

“The nutrition section was great! Pretty much worth the price of the entire bundle on its own :)

Found some of the lesser-known stuff (like the section on beer) fascinating.”

With that in mind, you might be wondering what else you will learn if you pick up your own copy of The High Performance Handbook (besides the finer details of beer!)? Well here are a few excerpts from the Nutrition Explanation Section of the book to give you a small taste of the more than 200 pages of content I provide:

Dairy and Diabetes Risk

With little fanfare, a study recently came out by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues. Why so little fanfare, you ask?  It’s because the study suggests that dairy fat may actually protect against diabetes, and that goes against conventional wisdom and government recommendations.

Dr. Mozaffarian and company collected two measures of dairy fat intake in 3,736 Americans. They took six 24-hour dietary recall questionnaires, as well as assessing blood levels of trans-palmitoleate.  Trans-palmitoleate comes almost exclusively from dairy fat and red meat fat, and therefore it reflects the intakes of these foods.  Dairy provided most of the trans-palmitoleate fatty acid in this study.

Adjustments were made for confounding factors, and trans-palmitoleate levels were associated with a smaller waist circumference, higher HDL cholesterol, lower serum triglycerides, lower C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), lower fasting insulin and lower calculated insulin resistance.  In addition, people who had the highest levels of trans-palmitoleate had 1/3 the risk of developing diabetes over the 3-year study period.

Again, it is important to note that trans-palmitoleate is a fatty acid, and so is only provided in significant amounts by whole fat dairy, not from low-fat or fat-free versions. The investigators also noted that “greater whole-fat dairy consumption was associated with lower risk for diabetes.”  This is an important distinction, as it wasn’t just trans-palmitoleate levels that were associated with the decreased risk, but the actual consumption of whole-fat dairy itself that seemingly provides the benefit.

Here’s another nice quote from the authors: “Our findings support potential metabolic benefits of dairy consumption and suggest that trans-palmitoleate may mediate these effects.  They also suggest that efforts to promote exclusive consumption of low-fat and non-fat dairy products, which would lower population exposure to trans-palmitoleate, may be premature until the mediators of the health effects of dairy consumption are better established.”

While it is certainly possible that trans-palmitoleate is mediating a lot of these positive health outcomes that were associated with it, in all reality, it only makes up a tiny fraction of the fat content of milk.  I tend to believe that instead, it is more of a marker of dairy fat intake, with the benefits more likely coming from the other elements contained in dairy fat – CLA, vitamin K2, butyric acid, vitamin D – in addition to the trans-palmitoleate.

The Importance of Particle Number

Moving beyond particle size, there is emerging research that the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease is actually particle number, in particular the number of LDL particles you have.  This research even seems to indicate that even if you have large and fluffy LDL, if you have too many of them, you are at an increased risk of heart disease.

You might be wondering, “Why?”  The full details are beyond the scope of this piece, but basically, it is a probabilities game.  The more particles you have (not the amount of cholesterol in the particles, and maybe not even the size of the particles), the more likely the chance that one of those LDL particles is going to penetrate into your arteries, beginning the whole atherosclerosis cascade that will eventually lead to heart disease.

Interestingly, this research shows that when particle numbers are taken into account, particle size no longer has a significant relationship with atherosclerosis.  So, while some earlier research showed large and fluffy particles to be more benign, this may not necessarily be true.  However, this research does seem to indicate that while those small and dense LDL particles may not be any more atherogenic, they are actually a marker for metabolic dysfunction, inflammation and insulin resistance, so they are still not a good thing.

To actually know the amount of LDL particles you have, you need to have an advanced blood lipid panel done.  Not all of these panels show LDL particle number (LDL-P), but they will all likely show your apo-B number, which can be used as a proxy for LDL-P.

Unfortunately, you can have low LDL-C with high LDL-P (and therefore a high risk of heart disease), and low LDL-P with high LDL-C (and therefore a low risk of heart disease).  They do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.  So, you can have high LDL-C and be at low risk, and have low LDL-C and be at high risk.  This is not what most doctors will believe, so you might have to show them the research referenced at the end of this book!

In fact, the research also seems to indicate that people with high LDL-P and low LDL-C are actually at the highest risk for heart disease and overall mortality.  This risk is even higher than in people with high levels of each.  This is because people with high LDL-P and low LDL-C tend to have small and dense LDL particles, which while possibly not a direct cause of heart disease, are at least a marker for metabolic dysfunction that further decreases health.

Intrigued?

Pick up your copy of The High Performance Handbook Gold Package and you get my Nutrition Guide in conjunction with Eric’s incredible resource, which is a truly unique training program and like nothing you have ever seen before…

First, unlike your typical cookie-cutter program, it doesn’t force you to do an exercise you can’t.

Second, it designs a program suitable to your needs – based on how you move, what your schedule allows, and what your goals are.

Third, it’s an entire system. Not just some manual that says “do this.” We give you an entire video database, how to modify exercises, and much more.

Posted on October 24th, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

1 Comment »

Customize Your Training…And Win Free Stuff

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Almost exactly six years ago, on Halloween of 2007, I moved down to Massachusetts to begin an unpaid internship at a brand new, and tiny, training facility in Hudson. My only source of income was going to be as a part-time personal trainer at a Boston Sports Club in the city.

My parents thought I was nuts. But I knew I was onto something.

That something was Eric Cressey.

I had read Eric’s work on t-nation and various other sites while in college, so I knew how bright and driven he was. And when I visited Cressey Performance for the first time, you could see that intelligence and work ethic written all over him. This was a guy I was willing to trust, to learn from, and for whom I would be willing to work for free, just to have that opportunity.

And it was worth every penny. I went on to become CP’s first employee, became the Head Nutritionist, and had an integral role in choosing and training subsequent interns. It was an awesome job. A job that I stuck with even as I moved to Connecticut when I got married, and drove 1:15 each way. I put over 40,000 miles on my car that year, just driving to and from CP.

And I would do it all again.

Fortunately, you don’t have to work as an unpaid intern or put 40,000 miles on your car to absorb the knowledge and training tools of Eric Cressey. Eric just released his new resource, The High Performance Handbook, and I would encourage you to put your faith in him, as I did, and give his program a shot.

This resource is about as thorough as they come; it’s almost like a choose-your-own adventure book for people looking to achieve their training goals. The programs start out with a quick and easy (yet effective) assessments so that you can identify a few important things that must be taken into account to effectively individualize your 16-week training program. And best of all, these programs are modifiable for anyone – they are not geared to only advanced trainees or elite athletes. They can be adjusted and modified to any skill level or training experience.

The High Performance Handbook also includes over 200 incredibly detailed coaching videos; it’s like being at CP with Eric where he coaches you through the drills just like you’re one of his professional athletes or clients.

Not only is this resource incredible in and of itself, bur Eric is so excited to finally launch it that he is is giving away some awesome free gifts to anyone who purchases the product today (Tuesday). Most notably, you’ll be entered to win an all-expenses-paid trip to get evaluated and train for two days at Eric’s facility, Cressey Performance!

Beyond the grand prize you could also win some free New Balance Minimum sneakers, a CP t-shirt or receive access to Eric’s 25 minute video, 7 Ways to Progress a Pushup. Pretty sweet, but you have to hurry!

Also, while you’re at it, I’d highly recommend you pick up the Gold Package of The High Performance Handbook, as it includes an awesome nutrition and lifestyle guide written by some really smart and good looking guy, ME :). In my humble opinion, this nutrition guide is the most comprehensive nutrition and healthy lifestyle resource available. I provide 50 Recommended Recipes, 14 Example Menus, explanations on how to calculate your calorie, protein, carb and fat needs (and why they are all important), and so much more. All told there are more than 200 pages of content!

Get your High Performance Handbook HERE.

Posted on October 22nd, 2013 by Brian St. Pierre

5 Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

A Big CP Thank You

Filed under: Nutrition, Training

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.

Posted on November 1st, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

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 »

How to Train Around a Broken Leg

Filed under: Training

Before getting into today’s content, I wanted to let you all know that I will be speaking at the 1st Annual Cressey Performance Fall Seminar on October 28th.  To register, click HERE. My topic will be The Food Freakshow – What Will You Be Eating in the 21st Century?  It is some pretty cool stuff actually.  Click on the link to learn more.

As promised, I will give some insight into how I was able to train 4x/wk at the gym, even with my broken tibia.  The lower body days were obviously highly modified, as I was quite limited on what I was able to do, however something is certainly better than nothing, and training my healthy leg provides an ~30% carryover to my injured leg, to help prevent it’s atrophy while immobilized.

I also had to modify my upper body training quite a bit, as I was unable to do flat bench work and most rowing or chinup variations.  The bench work I was unable to do because I could drive my feet into the ground, and the rowing as I was unable to stand properly to do the rows.  The chins I was wary of due to coming down off the bar and risking hurting myself, so I deemed them not worth the risk.

Here is what my training looked like:

Day 1

  • A1. DB Floor Press 3×6
  • A2. Hammer Machine Lat Pulldown Neutral Grip 3×8
  • B1. 1-Leg Feet Elevated Band Resisted Pushup 3×10-12
  • B2. 1-Leg Inverted Rows 3×12
  • C1. SLER 3×12/side
  • C2. 1-Leg Plank 3x45s
  • D1. Curls of Choice 2×12
  • D2. Tricep Band Pressdowns 2×15-20

Day 2

  • A1. Band Assisted 1-Leg Squat 3×10-15
  • A2. Side Lying Extension Rotation 3×8/side
  • B1. 1-Leg Foot Elevated Supine Bridge 3×12-15
  • B2. Reverse Crunches 3×12
  • C1. Band Pullaparts 3×12
  • C2. No Money Drill 3×12

Day 3

  • A1. BB Floor Press 3×5
  • A2. Hammer Strength Chest Supported Row 3×8
  • B1. 1-Leg Feet Elevated Band Resisted Pushup 3×10-12
  • B2. Kneeling 1-Arm Pulldowns 3×12
  • C1. SLER 3×12/side
  • C2. Side Plank 3x45s
  • D1. Curls of Choice 2×12
  • D2. Tricep Band Pressdowns 2×15-20

Day 4

  • A1. 1-Leg RDL 3×8-12/side (depending on if I trained at gym or home)
  • A2. Piriformis Mobs 3×8/side
  • B1. 1-Leg Squat to Bench 3×12-15/side
  • B2. Quadruped Extension Rotation 3×8/side
  • C1. Ab Wheel 3×12
  • C2. Brady Band Series 3×8 each

There are many reasons why I chose to do the exercises I did – ability, time, equipment availability, whether I did the training at home or at the gym (many of the lower body sessions were done at home), etc.  Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them!

The point of all of this is you can almost always train around an injury, especially one to a limb, as you still have 3 other healthy limbs and a torso to train!  Don’t let bumps and bruises get in the way of your training, as there is almost always something you can do.

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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Stuff You Should Read

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Strength Training Programs: The 7 Most Common Power Clean Technique Mistakes - by Wil Fleming. This was a guest post on Eric Cressey’s blog that I thought was excellent.  Wil addresses seven common technique mistakes of the clean (probably the most butchered exercise in history, and that is saying a lot!) in an easily understood manner, along with some helpful videos.

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.

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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A Simple Aha Moment

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Well I am back from sunny Florida, and fortunately it was nearly 7o here in Maine yesterday so that was nice to return to!  I mentioned the other day that I was able to get some reading done while on the beach that I had been meaning to get to for a long time.  One such book was sent to me by a reader that I have been meaning to read for a while, Biology for Bodybuilders.

In this book Doug Miller, a champion drug-free bodybuilder, shares his nutrition strategies and the science behind them that have helped him be so successful.  Overall I think this book is a nice look into the mindset of someone who has achieved such an incredible physique, and while I don’t agree with all of his strategies Doug does a good job of repeatedly mentioning that this is what works for him and what works for you may be different.

One particular piece in the book really struck me, and probably not even something that occurred to him, was when Doug mentioned that he sticks to an eating routine (something I have blogged about before), and he does so not only to keep things simple, but to decrease the stress in his life.  He has a stressful job and trains hard, so eating mostly the same things everyday is not only practical from a time management standpoint (something else I have written about, here and here) he also views it as a strategy to decrease stress in his life.  This was not an angle I had considered before, but when I read it it just struck me as incredibly true.

When you have a healthy eating routine you don’t have to worry and stress over what you are making, what you need to buy, etc.  It just one more way to remove a potentially stressful situation from your life.  We make hundreds of decisions every day related to food, so by having a routine you make the majority of these decisions ahead of time.  This was one of those aha moments when you are reading a book that you are just amazed at how simple it is, and can’t believe you didn’t think of it yourself.  Biology for Bodybuilders is a nice look into Doug’s mindset and definitely worth a read.

Posted on March 13th, 2012 by Brian St. Pierre

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