I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…NOT ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL!!!
One form of calories I particularly harp on is those from simple sugars…namely processed sugar. Why? They are nutritionally worthless and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, causing excessive secretion of insulin and thus fat storage!
So are there any simple sugars that you can/should eat? The answer is yes! In my humble opinion, the only type of simple sugars that should be a part of your regular diet are those that come from fruit.
Once again though, fruit is a broad category and not all fruit is created equal in terms of the health benefits you gain from consumption. If you’re going to include fruit as part of your nutritional arsenal, then you should eat berries, namely blueberries and blackberries.
First off, unlike other sugars, berries are going to behave differently in terms of how they affect your blood glucose levels and insulin. They are a low-glycemic food, which some may not realize since they are a simple carbohydrate. Unlike processed sugars, fruit such as berries actually provide a source of fiber. Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy GI tract, lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer and regulating digestion. Most people do not get enough fiber in their diets.
Blueberries and Blackberries are also a rich source of many phytochemicals, antioxidatns, vitamins and minerals.
Both contain lutein, which contributes to healthy vision. Both also contribute to healthy immune function. Blueberries have the highest amount of antioxidants in comparison to other fruits. They provide vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper and even iron.
They are a host of numerous antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress, slow the aging process and even prevent or slow the growth of cancer (anthocyanin).
Among other health benefits, these types of berries have shown to prevent urinary tract infections.
Your diet should include a balance of simple and complex carbohydrates, but you need to make sure the simple carbohydrates are contributing just as much to your health and well-being!
You can include berries in your diet by putting them in your oatmeal in the morning and including them in eggwhite/oatmeal/blueberries muffins(see video below):
One Arm lateral cable raises: 40×15,50×15,60×15,70×10,60×15,50×20
Cable Crunches on Bosu: 100×15,110×15,120×15,130×10,120×12
SM Military press:135×10,225×10,275×5,275×5,275×5,225×10
Cable Curls:stackx12,stack + 50 x 6,5,4, stack x 10
Tricep Rope Pushdown:75×20,90×10,100×6,80×12,65×15
Lateral/Front Raises (alternating reps): 30′sx12,35′sx6,30′sx10
Alt D-Bell Curls: 65′sx7,7,6
Upright Rows w/ D-bells: 40′sx12,50′sx8,40′sx12
Close Grip Push-ups on Bosu:20,20,16
Saturday is a non-training day, but Jenn at I departed the house at 5:30am and headed to Bedford, VA to hike Sharp Top Mountain with 2 of the 3 dogs (my almost 11 yr old Rottweiler can’t handle rigorous hikes anymore).
I ate my breakfast while driving…1.5 cup liquid eggwhites, 1 whole egg (660 mg omega 3′s) + 5 oz broccoli
I purposely did not eat any complex starchy carbohydrates prior to the hike so that my body would prioritize fat oxidation rather than glucose oxidation.
Sharp Top (part of the Peaks of Otter) is a 1.5 mile hike over which you gain about 1600 vertical feet. A great way to burn some fat and break a sweat on a Saturday morning…unfortunately the view from the top was not as good as it usually is because it was very hazy even at 7:45am.
I had my whey + oats with water on the way down, hiking back to the truck
the 2nd of 10 Hill sprints performed at the conclusion of a 2 hr Legs & Back workout
HS Unilateral Kneeling Leg Curl:3512,70×12,105×10,140×3, drop#1:105×10>70×10>35×10,drop#2:105×6>70×10
HS Horizontal Calf Raise: 4plx12,6plx12,8plx12,10plx10,10plx8,10plx8,8plx12
Close Grip Pull Downs: 220×12,250×8,250×8,220×10
HS DY Row:6plx12,12,12
Seated Calf Raise:3plx15,15,15
Leg Ext: 250×15,15,15
Standing Calf Raises on Bear:8plx10,10plx8,10plx8,10plx8,8plx10
Precor Lat Pull Down:205×10,10
Glute Ham Raise
w/ 50 lb vest x 5,4
10 Front Yard Hill Sprints
Incline D-Bell Press: 50′s15,75′sx10<100′sx10,115′sx6<115′sx4,100′s x8, 100′sx8
Cable Preacher Curl: 150×10,170×7,170×6,150×6
Smith Machine Incline Press: 225×12,225×6, 225×6, drop: 225×7>135×15
Cable Flys: 100×6,80×8,80×8 drop: 80×6>50×15
Alt D-Bell Curls:65′sx7,6,5
Skull Crushers: 100×15,8,6
Reverse Skull Crushers: 50×15,8,6
Pec Deck: 250×8,250×6<205×8
25 minute posing session
Wide Grip Pronated Pull-ups: 15,12,10,10 (slow and controlled)
Seated Cable Row: 220×12,250×12,280×8,300×6,250×12
Underhand Pull Downs: 250×7,250×6<220×10,220×10
Hanging Leg Raises: 15,15,15 (not: I did abs w/ cardio in the morning as well)
Precor Lat Pull Down: 205×11,220×7,220×6,175×10
Shrugs w/ 220 lb tanks: 10,10,10 (no straps)
Bent Over Lateral Raises on bench: 25′sx12,10,10
HS One Arm Seated Low Row: 4plx12,10,10
Stiff Arm Lat Pull: 100×10,8,8
22 minute posing session
I recently became a fan of fresh brussel sprouts and have made them part of my regular diet. Here’s a quick read on some on the many benefits
Leg Press: 2plx20,4plx20,6plx20,10plx20,14plx15,16plx10,14plx15,10plx30
Hack Squats: 2plx15,4plx15,6plx15,8plx10,8plx10,8plx10,6plx10
Barbell Pause Squats: 2 warm-ups, then 315×7,6,5,4
Standing Calf Raises on Bear:6plx12,8plx12,10plx10,10plx8,10plx8,10plx8,10plx8,8plx10
Seated Leg Curl: 250×10,265×9<280×7,250×8
Calf Raises on Precor Leg Press machine: 325×12,385×12,415×7,370×7
Leg Extension (pauses + slow descents): 250×6,4,4,4
Barbell Ste-ups: 130×8,8
Glute/Ham Raise: 12,10,10
One of the staples of my current nutritional plan is grass fed beef. I purchase London Broil from Shadowchase Farms at the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market.
With dietary fat making up only about 20% of my total caloric intake, I am very selective about my sources of fat. It’s important to incorporate some saturated fat in the diet, but the grass fed beef has many advantages over sore bought beef that comes from feedlot animal…you’re indirectly getting a lot more nutrients, because of the optimal diet of the grass fed animals you’re eating.
Aside from being naturally high in iron, grass fed beef provides Omega 3′s, which you’re not going to get from regular beef. While it is leaner meat to begin with, the fat you are getting is much high quality.
Here’s an article about the benefits of grass fed beef:
Overhead D-Bell Press: 30′s15,45′sx15,60′sx15,65′sx15,80′sx15,100′sx6,100′sx5 drop: 80′sx10>60′sx5>40′sx8
superset w/ incline sit -ups: 15,15,15
Precor Lateral Raise: 100×16,130×8,130×7 drop: 130×7>100×4>70×6
Close Grip Press: 175×10>205×5,205×6 drop: 205×6>160×4>130×6
Precor Preacher Curl: 115×12,130×10,145×6 drop:130×8>100×6>70×8
Cable Curls: 200×10,200×10 drop 200×10>150×5>100×6
Front Cable Raises: 70×10,10,10
Tricep Rope Pushdown: 60×15,15 drop: 60×15>45×15>30×15
Hanging Leg Raises: 15,15,15
Precor Shoulder Press: 205×15,16,12
Lateral D-Bell Raises: 30′sx10,10,10
Cable Crunches: 110×15,120×15,120×15
D-Bell Skull Crushers: 30′sx12,10,10
Alt D-Bell Curls: 50′s8,6,6
Upright Rows: 80×8,10,10
25 minute posing session
If you’re at all familiar with my viewpoints on nutrition, then you’ve probably already heard me say that not all calories are equal. There are reasons to include some foods, while there are reasons to exclude others. There are optimal and inferior sources of each macronutrient. It drives me crazy when supposed dieticians and nutritionists don’t recognize the difference, making people think it’s ok to consume nutritionally worthless carbohydrates from foods that are mainly enriched flour with preservatives, when they could be making better choices.
Of the the many complex carbohydrates I consider to be optimal, one of them is sweet potatoes and here i’m going to provide reasons for why you should include them in your diet.
When compared to other carbohydrate selections, sweet potatoes have several advantages:
1) Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber…leave the skin on! I buy and eat organic sweet potatoes, because I always eat the skin
2) Sweet potatoes provide a significant amount of beta carotene, helping you fulfill your vitamin A requirements (you’re not going to get that from eating bread, cheerios or bagels). Why is this important? Vitamin A not only aids eyesight and supports immune function, but has also shown to increase testosterone and lower estrogen…guys if this isn’t enough reason to eat sweet potatoes, then I can’t help you!
3) Sweet potatoes also have vitamin c…ret rid of the juice you’re consuming, which is loaded with sugar and will send your blood sugar through the roof, resulting in an insulin spike + fat storage! You don’t need juice! It provides nothing important! Eat citrus fruit, broccoli and sweet potatoes to get vitamin c. Juice will have the same impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels as SODA!
4) Sweet potatoes are loaded with potassium, which is something you’re not going to get from most other starchy carbohydrates choices
Need ideas on how to incorporate sweet potatoes into you diet? Try my Eggwhite/Oatmeal/Sweet Potato Waffle Recipe
1 cup liquid eggwhite
1/2 cup FAGE Greek Yogurt (plain)
4 oz cooked diced sweet potato
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup oat bran
splenda & cinnamon
you can add natural peanut butter to the finished product for a healthy fat source
BLEND ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER TO MAKE BATTER
Here’s my video demonstration:
Today’s workout was nothing short of brutal. I think I lost several lbs in sweat. Definitely am in need of a refeed tomorrow
Unilateral Leg Press: 2plx15,4plx15,6plx12,8plx6,6plx12
Underhand Pull-ups: 12,12,12,12
Standing Calf Raise on Bear: 6plx15,8plx15,10plx10,10plx10,10plx10,10plx10,8plx10
HS Hi Row: 8plx10,9,8,8
HS Horizontal Calf Raise: 10plx8,8,8,8
Seated Calf Raises: 3plx15,16,15,16
Glute Cable Kickbacks: 160×10,200×8,200×8
HS DY Row: 6plx10,10,10,10
Smith Machine Split Squats: 2plx10,4plx10,4plx10
Close Grip Pull Downs: 220×10,10,10
Glute/Ham Raises w/ 50 lb vest: 6,5 + 10 w/ bodyweight
10 Front yard Hill Sprints
recovering now and getting ready to mow lawn…did 20 min cardio this morning)
I forgot to bring my journal to the gym yesterday, so I did not write anything down during my workout, but this iis what I remember
D-Bell Flys on Ball
Weighted Suspension push-up w/ feet elevated
High Pulley Cable Curls
triple set: close grip press on smith machine, tricep pushdown, reverse pushdown
alt d-bell curls
The Gluten Effect
How Gluten Sensitivity Can Disrupt Your Hormones and Your Life
By Dr. Vikki Petersen
When we talk about the gluten effect, we’re basically talking about how gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, can have far-reaching negative effects upon your health. If you’re suffering from obesity to fatigue, depression to headaches, arthritis to digestive problems, gluten sensitivity may very well be at the root of your symptoms. Gluten can also affect your hormonal health by stressing the adrenal glands, causing adrenal fatigue and a number of hormone-related health problems.
The Adrenal Glands: Hormone Central
The adrenal glands sit above your kidneys and release hormones into your bloodstream, and likewise respond to feedback from other hormones and chemicals in your body. Their main role is repair and anti-aging. When the adrenal glands become exhausted from chronic stress, they cannot keep up with all the demands made upon them and catabolism (think “cannibalism”) or a breakdown of systems occurs. This catabolism results in your body’s systems becoming incapable of repairing themselves; as a result, their function slowly begins to deteriorate. This leads to fatigue, depression, loss of libido and hormonal imbalance symptoms such as PMS and hot flashes, to name a few.
Gluten sensitivity puts direct stress on your adrenal glands. This stress comes from the inflammatory response created in a gluten-sensitive person’s digestive tract. When gluten creates an inflammatory reaction, it is the balancing efforts of the hormonal pathways that “cool off” the stress and create an anti-inflammatory response. If this happened only occasionally, it wouldn’t upset the adrenals’ ability to function optimally. But in patients with gluten sensitivity (40 percent of the population, by current estimates) this inflammation occurs every time they eat any gluten, which can be several times per day.
So, the adrenals are getting stressed by all the inflammation gluten is creating in the intestines. When this stress becomes chronic due to an individual continuing to consume gluten in their diet, many symptoms are created due to a phenomenon called “adrenal exhaustion.”
Adrenal Exhaustion Caused by Gluten
Common Symptoms of Adrenal Exhaustion
Caused by Gluten Sensitivity
Interruptions in sleep
Difficulty waking in morning
Joint and muscle aches
Weight gain resistant to diet or exercise
Low blood sugar
PMS/ menstrual abnormalities
Under normal conditions, the adrenals make a hormone called pregnenolone (think of it as the “mother hormone”). Pregnenolone is the basic building block of many of the hormones the adrenal glands make, including the sex hormones. These hormones – DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone – need to be maintained in proper balance to prevent such conditions as PMS, anxiety and infertility.
When chronically stressed, something has to give; the adrenal glands cannot keep up with all their duties. In a very interesting process known as “pregnenolone steal,” the adrenal glands literally “steal” pregnenolone to make the basic hormone the adrenal gland utilizes for energy production, leaving sex hormone production lacking. This “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” phenomenon results in a host of symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance.
PMS and menopausal symptoms are associated with gluten sensitivity and adrenal exhaustion in this manner. Recall that the adrenal gland produces reproductive hormones, and that pregnenolone serves as the building block for other hormones. Under normal conditions, ample pregnenolone exists for conversion to those hormones, but when stressed, pregnenolone is diverted instead.
What does this mean? When your body has been under chronic stress, it is forced to make a decision: It can get you through the day, putting one foot in front of the other, or it can make adequate amounts of sex hormones.
It can’t do both because it’s too stressed. When put in this situation, your body decides the most pro-survival thing to do is to get you through the day, to the detriment of making sex hormones. This insufficient production of hormones does not occur evenly across the board, however; progesterone tends to fall more dramatically than does estrogen, resulting in a net estrogen dominance.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance include cramping, heavy bleeding, menstrual irregularity, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, fibrocystic breasts, migraines and PMS. Major symptoms of progesterone deficiency beyond the above is infertility and miscarriage, along with depression and anxiety.
Joint aches and pains can also be created from adrenal exhaustion. In a normal, healthy body, wear and tear on the joints is offset by natural cortisol (a hormone) production from the adrenal glands as they respond to minor joint inflammation in day-to-day living. But when the adrenals are overwhelmed, even minor inflammation persists and eventually can cause significant swelling and/or pain in the joint areas. The ligaments that keep your joints in good alignment and ready to react to movement become lax. Over time, joint pains, muscle spasms and limitations of movement can occur that can elude the best intentions of chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists.
What You Can Do
A patient suffering from structural pain seeks out the help of a practitioner who specializes in addressing such areas of the body. In the presence of adrenal exhaustion, such treatment will usually have only temporary results, to the frustration of the patient and practitioner alike. If the underlying root cause is truly adrenal exhaustion, this must be addressed to completely resolve the symptoms of pain and spasm.
Treatment for adrenal stress revolves around lifestyle management (timing of meals, amount of sleep and exercise), identifying any food sensitivities, and using nutritional support to strengthen adrenal function. Supplements such as vitamins B5, B6 and C, whole-root licorice extract and certain forms of ginseng can all be supportive.
Gluten sensitivity is treated by following a strictly gluten-free diet. Complete avoidance of all products containing wheat, rye and barley is the only treatment. (Oats should also be avoided due to cross-contamination, but gluten-free oats are available.) Identifying and treating other issues such as adrenal fatigue and secondary infections are also important in order to regain full health.
The presence of gluten sensitivity and its resultant stress upon the adrenal glands is common, but rarely diagnosed. As a result, millions of women suffer with symptoms that are often correctable with simple diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes. And these are completely natural ways to improve your health; treating gluten sensitivity and adrenal exhaustion does not require drugs or surgery.
Ask your doctor about gluten sensitivity, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms that could be related to adrenal fatigue. There are lab tests available that test for both. It will give you and your doctor a good sense of how your adrenals are functioning and whether your symptoms are attributable to adrenal stress potentially caused by gluten.
Gluten, Gluten Everywhere…
If you’re sensitive or intolerant to gluten, avoiding it can be a real challenge. Just consider how many products contain wheat, rye or barley; most cereals, breads and pastas, just for starters. (The next time you’re in the grocery store, check out the labels of a few of your favorite foods and see which ones are likely to contain gluten.) Gluten is also found in a number of processed foods, including salad dressings, egg substitutes, flavored potato chips, imitation crab and even beer.
If you think you can get away with eating foods that contain gluten, bear in mind that while sensitivity can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, gluten intolerance or celiac disease is even more problematic, because gluten actually triggers the body’s immune system, which affects nutrient absorption and can lead to malnutrition, anemia, osteoporosis and other major health problems.
Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, is the founder of the HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the author of The Gluten Effect: How “Innocent” Wheat Is Ruining Your Health.
I will occasionally encounter people who are surprised that I drink coffee, based on my commitment to health & fitness. I could never understand this. Where do people get the idea that coffee is bad for you.
Here’s a little something that discusses the impact of coffee on our health:
My input: you have to recognize that coffee contains caffeine which is a stimulant. You must assess your own individual tolerance for stimulants. For someone who has cardiac issues or high blood pressure, they may want to steer away from consuming much caffeine. Additionally, coffee is a diuretic, so it will deplete water from your body. If you drink coffee you must be that much more conscious about keeping yourself hydrated. Aside from those 2 issues, as long as you’re not putting more than splenda in it, ENJOY YOUR COFFEE!!!
If you look at my diet or pay any attention to foods I advocate, you realize that i’m a huge proponent of consuming broccoli…and plenty of it. Why is broccoli so good for you?
Here’s a few reasons
1) good source of fiber, helps regulate digestion and stabilizes blood sugar
2) while many only think of citrus as providing vitamin c, broccoli is actually a significant source of vitamin C
3) in addition to providing vitamin c, which help keep your immune system strong, broccoli also provides other trace minerals such as zinc and selenium which are crucial for immune health
4) like it’s friends, the orange foods, broccoli, despite being green provides beta carotene
5) broccoli contains phytochemicals (glucosinolates, dithiolthiones, indoles , glucoraphanin, s-methyl cysteine sulfoxide, isothiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol)which have shown to reduce the risk of cancer
6) many think they need to consume dairy in order to get adequate calcium (they end up consuming a lot of unnecessary calories from sugar and animal fat in the dairy)…Broccoli is a significant source of CALCIUM! Yup, that’s right! I don’t drink milk EVER, but I do consume 12oz or more of broccoli a day!
7) For men, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies positively impact hormone balance, enabling a more optimal T/E ratio. indole-3-carbinol has actually shown to block estrogen receptor sites!!!
Don’t believe me? do some research of your own! No reason not to include lots of broccoli in your diet!!!
Just added a new supplement to my arsenal…Universal Nutrition Uni Liver (liver tabs). Liver tabs are loaded with vitamins (A,C,D,E,K), minerals, and amino acids. They provide a number of important micronutrients, such as entire spectrum of B-vitamins, copper, zinc, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, etc + they are a rich source of heme iron
I just finished reading the book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, which is the story of Louie Zamperini…a former olympian, who served our country in the second world war as a bombardier in the Pacific theater. This is an absolutely incredible story about someone who demonstrated resiliency in the face of the greatest adversity. What he was able to survive and what obstacles he overcame is a testament to the powers of the human mind to compensate. Knowing the hardship that he faced in his life, yet still survived and thrived demonstrates to all what we’re capable of if we’re willing believe in ourselves. Also a nice reminder that we really have nothing to complain about, when you recognize the conditions others faced. Certainly a must read.
Close Grip Pull Downs
Underhand Seated Cable Row
Precor Rear Delt
HS Front Lat Pull Down
Isolated T-Bar Row (w/ chest pad)
HS Seated Shrugs
Unilateral H-Squat (one leg)
HS Horizontal Calf Raises
Precor Prone Leg Curl
Squats (no laughing please)
Standing Calf Raises on bear
Front Squats on York Squat Machine
5 Front yard hill sprints (ran out of time)