Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Too Much Of A Good Thing…Fitness Friday 41

Greetings my fitness friends, so I am just finished my exams this week and officially I can say that I have graduated with my second Bachelor of Science. Yay for being 25 with 2 degrees eh?

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As I head into my Masters/Internship this fall…very expensive Masters/Internship… -_- … My parents my be thinking this instead…

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Not art school but you get the idea

So now as I have this week and next to do a bit of relaxing and moving (gross) I want to get into a few topics with you including today’s topic…

When Something Good Becomes Something Bad

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We all know why the idea of ‘moderation’ is out there. Everything has it’s limits. Even the healthiest of things are bad when taken in excess. I wanted to re-iterate this for a few things that the bodybuilding/fitness community tends to go overboard with .

Lets do a quick short list of a bodybuilder staples that maybe they should reconsider their portion sizes in.

Cinnamon.

You a bit shocked? I have mentioned the benefits of cinnamon before, but it was pointed out to me more recently that my mindless pouring sprinkling, which was probably upwards of a tablespoon (ooppps), in my cream of rice every morning is something I need to stop doing.

We health freaks, bodybuilders and just oatmeal lovers adore us some cinnamon and while it is great for you, it actually contains a compound in it that has blood thinning property (anticoagulant). Specifically, coumarin. This pesky lil guy also can damage your liver when eaten in large quantities as well…

Unfortunately for us all, the ‘cinnamon’ that you buy in the store is not really true cinnamon. I wrote this in another blog, but the actual cinnamon, ceylon, which is found mostly in health food stores, is what you actually want to go for and provides you with those amazing benefits the most and less of this nasty compound. What most of us eat is cassia, which contains high amounts of coumarin and can then put you at risk if you’re like me and use half a bottle at a time.

So for all you cinnamon lovers out there, find you’re the real good stuff and watch how heavy-handed you are on the cinnamon shaker as a sprinkle here and another 4 sprinkles there can really add up.

Spinach

So low in calories. So great for volume. Eat all the spinach all the time!

But spinach has calcium they say. It has fiber. It has vitamin K. It has glorious vitamins!

So put it in everything right? Especially when those calories are getting a bit low for your liking and the hanger is too high for others to handle…

Check yourself.

Spinach along with other dark green vegetables have oxalic acid in them, which is a strong inhibitor of calcium. So while you think you’re getting a great dose of plant based calcium, you’re actually not really absorbing all of it. In fact, a study by Weaver and colleagues (1993) found that the foods that contains the most oxalic acid (including spinach and rhubarb) in them had a the lowest absorption of calcium. These plant chemicals can also cause kidney stones which also ain’t something you want to deal with (Durham, 2017).

Tuna

Canned tuna is easy and on-the-go friendly. Not to mention it is a great source of protein with virtually no fat (skipjack, not albacore) and no carbs. Perfect food for prep and many fitness lovers.

How do you all feel about mercury?

Well tuna (among other big fish) are notorious for becoming overly contaminated with this metal due to being one of the bigger predators, especially albacore. Mercury is often found in many species small and large, but as the larger ones eat more of the smaller ones, the overall levels in the bigger fish accumulate and therefore when you eat them, you’re getting a much larger dose.

Switch up your protein sources and the recommendation is have no more than 3 servings of those larger fish like tuna per week of this meaty fish. Also, try to stick to the white tuna varieties, as they are smaller which means they have less bioaccumulation.

For those on prep, try shellfish or, if those are too pricey for your liking, go for other white fish like haddock and hake (if you can get your hands on it) as I find them more tasty than things like cod. Also, don’t be afraid to get your fats from your proteins venture out to the other fishes too.

See Burger and Gochfeld (2004) for more information about canned tuna and their mercury content

Caffeine

Yell at me all you want about how much you need your Starbucks to survive, but there is a limit of caffeine that the body can actually handle. Apparently there is a fairly high level that is actually toxic, but when in prep you got the coffees going plus the pre-workouts and perhaps even a fat burner (ps those don’t work…) and well you have accumulated quite a bit of caffeine there…

Although mortality is rarely seen with caffeine intake, and toxicity generally only arises from doses in the gram amounts, a study by Musgrave et al (2016) pointed out the fact that some people may be at greater risk even with small doses. Those with liver (this metabolizes drugs) and cardiac issues should be especially mindful of their intake, as symptoms of excess may present themselves at lower doses than your average person.

Unpleasant symptoms that have been cited include:

~Tachycardia (super fast heart rate)

~Nausea

~Vomiting

~Shaking and agitation

Can’t say those sound too fun to me and obviously are a sign that you need to cool your jets on the ol’ coffee maker. The other issue is that research no this topic is still quite inconsistent and some people have seen these negative symptoms at a few hundred milligrams too.

So, although considered and widely accepted as safe in most regards, keep an eye on all your sources of caffeine, including potential hidden sources in all those random herbal supplements out there.

Fiber

Now this isn’t about to kill you but the digestive distress that you could be forced to endure may make you want to go into hiding. For a lot of people, when their macros get low start they tend to go really high with the vegetables to feel more satisfied. The problem with that is that too much fiber really is not a nice thing. Bloating, gas, flatulence (I’m being professional here..) and just general discomfort and, well, not feeling lean, all can result from excessive amounts of fiber.

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Did you know that too much fiber can also lead to mineral losses too?

So, yes you’re hungry, but do yourself a favour and don’t ring in more fiber than your body can handle.

Please keep in mind that this was geared towards people in competition prep who will undoubtably feel hunger at some point. The average person should not have this feeling as they shouldn’t have their calories lowered to the same degree even in a weight loss phase. 

This can also be targeted at vegetarians and vegans as they increase their vegetable and plant based protein consumption. Be mindful of how you feel and adjust as you need to. Try to get some of your vegetarian protein sources from things other than beans and legumes 24/7.

Artificial Sweeteners

I know I know this one also comes with a stamp of uncertainty, but from experience alone, I know that these can cause real digestive upsets. Different types lead to varying degrees of gastrointestinal upset (lets not get started on the lack of sound research for LT brain effects..) but in most cases taking in way too many of these things to lower your fat or carbohydrate intake can also lead to you looking like you’re 4 months pregnant OR will force you to live on the toilet for a bit.

It appears that some are better tolerated in adults than others (erythritol may show less adverse digestive affects)(Source) but from a subjective perspective, I know a lot of people (including myself who’s IBS HATES them) who feel bloated ingesting them and feel much better keeping them to a minimum.

So, although I focused on foods that are commonly overeaten by those in prep for bodybuilding competition or heavily into fitness, some of these are eaten quite often in the general public due to being regarded as healthy staples. These foods do provide many benefits to you, however, like almost everything, things have their limits, so I wanted to make you aware of some of the ones you may not think about.

Are you a cinnamon inhaler like me?

-Chelsea


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Know Your Influence TOL

I may be the most confident that I have ever been but the words of one single person (be it they are a significant person in my life) can turn my confidence on its tail in 2 seconds flat.

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I could have 2 million strangers tell me that I’m looking much better and that I’m growing but the single hesitation or disapproving words from one of two people in my life can sting more than no else and leave me spiralling back into a place of anxiety and feeling self conscious.

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Why is it that I can block others and not let those things affect me, but yet, the words of one person, albeit the fact that I know they are not what that person really feels (it is what comes out in the times of frustration/worry) literally breaks off a piece of me.

I know why. I want to make those around me happy. If they are not happy with me or nervous for me in any way, it makes me upset and anxious.

Now making a connection to the title of this post, don’t take this as me saying they need to keep their words to themselves BUT I think they also need to step back and realize how much influence they truly have on me. When they are feeling frustrated, don’t come at me with things like…

You’re not gaining

I see no difference

You’re not working hard

You don’t want to get better.

These are their worries. Their frustrations. Their expectations. It’s not fair for them to put those on me in such a negative way.

Again, these are frustrations coming out, but if you only knew how it affected me. These words make me not only turn on myself but also makes me angry.

Who are you to tell me I’m not trying? You’re not here to see me 90% of the time! Are you living in my body when I’m having a bad tummy day and the sight of food repulses me?

No.

I have worked my ass off all year and I HAVE GROWN! I know I have. Both mentally and physically. I have grown.

I need to to protect myself better against the words of these influential people. I love them dearly and will obviously not separate myself from them but I need to somehow let those comments fly on past me better. Somehow, some way.

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This is not what I choose to do. I will speak up for myself but I also will know when to hold back not to let them win, but, instead, to not give my energy to it. 

I’m happy with my progress. I still know I’m moving forward and that won’t change, but I am seeing a lot of great things. Somedays I wish things could progress a bit faster, yes, but I like to be happy with the movements I have made because I have worked DAMN hard for every millimetre of a step forward I have gained.

Don’t take that away from me. That’s not right of you to do.

……

Turn that on the other side…

I have come to notice more and more lately MY OWN influence on other people. I have never really felt like I’m a huge influencer more than I do now. I’m not trying to boost myself up here, I have just come to realize that I play a significant role in the growth of some other people I surround myself with.

I guess everyone has this role but when you come to realize that perhaps your words really stick with certain people, you need to be cautious with how you use that power.

I am a person that some choose to come to in times of distress for a listener and for advice.

I have come to be seen as an educated individual of sorts that people come to for knowledge.

People ask me what to do with certain things.

People see my passions and come to me for information and advice on that topic because they trust in the things I say.

This comes with a degree of pressure too! I’m happy with my knowledge base. I have built that. My education has helped, but the passion for my interests has led me into doing self-driven research and I have learned a lot on my own.

I have helped some people

They have thanked me with great sincerity for my time, knowledge and advice.

Despite being proud of how I have developed my craft, I always want to be better. I want to be ready for ANYTHING they come to me with.

I also want to be better at not forming expectations of people. I always have to work on pulling my own strong biases back. I never want to come off negative because I feel that something someone else is doing doesn’t align with what I think will help them.

It hurts and frustrates me when..

People say they want something but don’t do it

They don’t give 100% to something

They don’t own up to things

They don’t do all they can for their health… 

The first and last things really get to me and sometimes I let it than come out at them as a response that perhaps appears disapproving or judgmental. I HATE this about myself. I yearn to build people up and love themselves and all they are!

I need to accept that other people may have different drives than me. They have different priorities than me and perhaps things that seem huge to me, are not that important to them (the health thing I just don’t get, but ..yeah..).

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Bak to the main point…I have an influence on others. I know this role is clear. With that in mind, I need to control my own biases and realize that they are who they are and I need to be as supportive as I can even in times when they come to me for advice and than continue to do something I see as unproductive. I can’t let this anger or disappoint me because they need to follow their own path.

I’m getting better, but there is always room for growth.

I hope this post wasn’t too scattered, but this is what Thinking Out Loud is about right? Spewing my thoughts out in a post like throwing paint on a canvas right? Thanks Amanda, thank you for giving me a platform for being my own Picasso….

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… and than attempting to understand my splatters.

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Overall take home point:

Know your influence on others. You may not ask for this kind of power, but you have to take and roll with what you are given. You have the power to break a person or build them up. Ensure you’re doing the latter.

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-Chelsea


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Emotionally Numb..TOL

Are you one of those people who knows something big is happening soon but don’t really feel it until the day of?

When that day comes, its like a bomb exploded instead of being a slow burning flame that will quietly simmer and then just fizzle out.

Sound dramatic?

As my undergrad comes to a close (2nd one, yay for year 7 of post-highschool schooling…) I have been pondering a lot of things lately, yet I feel almost unattached to the emotions I feel they should be associated with.

…maybe that is my first problem…overthinking..

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I’m leaving my housemates. I know I’m going to cry the day of, I know it. I love these two girls and for now I just think that them leaving hasn’t hit me yet. I swear I have feelings..

I’m moving in with new housemates. I have met one of them and she’s so sweet and just like me in the sense that she appears to me like an ‘older soul’ and one who gets stuff done and is a respective and responsible person.

I have to go back home and work inside all summer long. I think this is the one that I have been the most vocal about. My job last summer was a dream. I spend my days outside, I did my research at night and I was the most relaxed I had ever been I felt. this was a true blessing because I was sick (Read: infested without knowing it) at the time and although I was struggling with it, I don’t know how bad it would have gotten if I hadn’t have been so free and care-free.

I’m having to leave my second family (my gym fam) for the whole summer because I have to go home. This may seem silly to many of you, but I feel a certain ‘place’ there. I’m known and I just feel at home there. My friends are there. Friends who share my interests and can gab for days about all the things I love. My people live and breathe there just like me. It may only be for 4 months, but its just another thing I’m leaving…

My Masters is apparently going to be a crazy time. From placements to my masters, I have so much to do in a whole 3 semesters and I weirdly feel calm. I’m excited for my placements but I know that so much change is about to occur and at this point and ‘calmness’ I don’t know how the initial days are going to fare with such a change to my normal scheduling.

….After my Masters, life hits you like a bag of bricks….

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Should I think about where I want to live as an adult?

How am I going to afford a place to live when I’m done. I’m not going back home right? I can’t, I just can’t. But a place…On my own…Am I ready for that? Can I even think about affording that?

I don’t even know how to do my own taxes for gods sake!

And all I have to say for myself at the moment is I feel nothing. I’m not sad. I’m not worried and I’m not (consciously at least) anxious about it.

That in itself makes me worried because when it all hits me, I don’t know how I’m going to react. That is a lot of change. And I, mentally and physically (heres pointing at your stomach of hell), don’t do well with change.

How do I prepare if I feel nothing?

Am I somehow able to suppress all feelings because I’m overwhelmed with all the change that is imminent? 

I dunno.

I guess for now I need to just continue to focus on my exams and when two weeks from now comes up and I’m hugging my housemates and saying goodbye, I will just have to accept what happens is what I need to have happen. There is no planning that can be done, just let the feels be feels.

On a side note, I really want a dog. Like I’m not kidding guys, I really want one. Enough so that stuffed animals have become appealing to me in large ways.

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That nose freckle is shining bright..

I have this emptiness (which I think is a want for a romantic relationship…) that I need to fill with something and as much as I love my new Chester, this void is still burning deeper, but I suppose that is not in my control either. There is a time and a place for being single, growing and self-loving. I have done that. Why is it that when you are finally feeling confident in yourself and what you deserve AND you are ready and wanting to give yourself and your love to someone else that there is nothing to be found?

Le sigh. I digress…

Guess it also doesn’t help my mood that my stomach is being a terror with my exams…despite said feelings of nothingness. What else is new. Are you almost healed yet…?

To conclude I just want to say that no I’m not sad or anything like that, I’m a very happy person, these are just some thoughts rolling through my forever active mind and I think I’m simply suppressing feelings at the moment. Please don’t think I’m depressed or anything as that is far from true. 

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How do you respond to major life changes?

Do you feel ready to take on the world after your education?

Thanks to Amanda and her link-up party for my thoughts to dance in.

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-Chelsea


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Carb Blocker Rantage…Fitness Friday 40

Let me just start with a video Layne Norton posted…

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Link

First of all, LOL

Secondly, our topic at hand can be found at roughly 1:38.

So what are we talking about here?

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Carb blockers.

People take them to basically “undo’ eating carbs…

Lets chat about why these are complete and utter BS!

#SaveYoMoney

We will lead our discussion with some points from Layne’s ranting.

If something is essentially blocked in your body, this means not digested and if you flushed it that would mean diarrhea…

When someone takes these, do you see them runny rapidly to the bathroom after their meal?

No.

“Thank goodness because that would be uncomfortable and, quite frankly, embarrassing.”   -Layne

Why would you have diarrhea?

Diarrhea occurs when the body pulls water into the gut and that causes a ‘dumping’ or flushing of some of the intestinal contents as overly liquid stools. For example, if your body is trying to get rid of something it doesn’t want (perhaps a bacterial infection) or is trying to rebalance a major shift (you eat something with a really high osmolality), water will come in and that will evacuate it in a more quick manner.

And you run to the bathroom.

So no diarrhea is seen from popping these pills before you eat the entire bread basket, so what happens?

Well if those carbs are not digested in the intestines, they make their way UNdigested to the colon. Due to the colon not having enzymes to break down food, your bacteria goes to town on this undigested starch and ferments it. This produces a lot of byproducts (gases, acids) including short chain fatty acids, which can be used as a source of energy by the bacteria. Thing to note is that you essentially still took in all of the calories…

So, fact number one, carb blockers =/= calories being ejected out of the body.

“There can be a “virtual blocker” per say if you block one of the main carbohydrate enzymes..”

So if it doesn’t “flush it out,’ what other way could these things work? Inhibition of the carbohydrate enzymes!

Yes, if you loose/inhibit enzymes to digest starch, than yes some or maybe even quite a bit of it may go undigested. As he explained, you really cannot cause 100% enzyme inhibition…

Either way, you end up with the same undigested starch making it’s way to the fermentation factory that is your colon and get the exact same outcome as before..

Fermentation byproducts (SCFA) –> energy to large intestine –> you still take in the calories.

So again, not what you wanted.

He mentioned, which should be noted, is that this lack of digestion may in fact blunt some of the glucose response, which could be helpful for those with poor insulin control. But we are talking the normal population in this case. 

Everyone, once again, pills are not magic. They cannot make you flush away calories in the food you are eating. They cannot make them go away.

If we didn’t have such an extreme way of doing things (i.e. restrict all carbs then eat the whole kitchen worth of carbs) maybe we wouldn’t have even a thought to come up with some crap like this.

This all leads back to a common theme from me…

Restriction leads to nothing good

Pills lead to nothing good.

I’m talking weight loss pills here..

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Avoid both (oh and Dr. Oz…) and perhaps you will be a lot happier and healthier.

So, although I could just end off with that and say you should trust the words of Dr. Norton (which you should really take him seriously, he knows what he’s talking about), here are some articles for your science-nerds to read up on if you want

Huntington and Shewmake (2010) No clear evidence of benefits AND OR safety hazards of many weight loss aids such as carb/nutrient blockers

Preuss (2007) this was a rat study but I used it to point out a something. So it showed that the carb blocker (CB) they used reduced the insulin response after carbohydrate intake BUT notice there was not weight change in the controls vs. the CB. The thing that Layne discussed is that although the response to the carb intake may be blunted, the absorbtion of the calories won’t really change and this can be seen with the lack of weight loss occurring in the rats.

Keep in mind, animals are not humans…

Other studies like this one suggest that once again, these carb enzyme blockers/inhibitors may act to slow the absorption down (i.e. blunt the glycemic response as stated already) like a fiber would naturally. Again, slowing down absorption DOES NOT MEAN LACK OF CALORIE ABSORPTION

So I will leave you with that.

Leave the carb blockers on the shelf.

Eat some fiber.

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Fiber can help slow the digestion of carbohydrates leading to longer satiety and perhaps control feeding. 

-Chelsea


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Banana Oatmeal Pancakes With Chocolate Chips

Pancakes can make every day a lil better no?

Well, my housemate wasn’t feeling the greatest a few mornings ago so I decided to do what I do best and get my tushie in the kitchen to whip up something to lift her spirits.

The result?

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A plate full of fluffy, tender patty-cakes full of caramelized banana and some slighty-naughty chocolate chips.

They did their job well as she was full of smiles as she slathered some natural honey on top and ate it with her finger’s.

#ThatsLoveAtFirstBite

Incredibly simple to make and for not that much batter, you get a four cake tower! Now thats what I call happiness.

Gluten free (if you use certified GF oats) and made without a drop or sprinkle of sugar because that spotty death looking banana truly is a sweetheart despite it’s dark demeanour  😉

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Serves 1 

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

~1/4 cup oat flour + 2 Tbsp rolled oats
~1 egg (or an do an egg white)
~1 medium RIPE banana
~1/2-1 Tbsp natural almond butter
~1/4 cup almond/cashew/milk of choice
~1 tsp Vanilla extract
~1tsp baking powder
~Cinnamon
~1-2 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional but for chocoholics its kinda mandatory..)

Directions:

1. Mash 3/4 of the banana in a bowl.

2. Whip in the egg, almond butter, vanilla extract and milk of choice.

3. Add your dry ingredients minus the banana and chocolate chips. If the batter is way too thick, you may need a tbsp or 2 more of liquid but that depends on the size of the banana. Batter should be not runny, rather, pourable-but-spreadable

4. Heat a large non stick pan in medium. Add a bit of coconut oil.

5. Take 1/4 of the batter and plop into the pan forming a thick pancake. You can make two or more per pan depending on your flipping skills.

6. Slice you banana and place some slices and some chocolate chips on each cake.

7. Pop on a lid and let it cook low and slow until the bottom is golden and firm. NOTE These won’t bubble.

8. Flip and let cook for about a minute more without the lid. Remove from the pan.

9. Re-spray your pan and make pancakes out of the remaining batter using the same method.

10. Voila all done!

Top with whatever you would like. Honey, maple syrup, more fruit, etc, etc.

I hope you enjoy! 

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I missed fat Tuesday by a long shot, but hey, I play by my own rules. 

-Chelsea


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All Hail The Skinny Teas…Fitness Friday 39

Do we all know by now that those people on IG who sell Skinny Teas are sell outs?

I really hope that most people don’t still believe that these teas actually cause real weight loss all on their own because..

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..They don’t. #SorryNotSorry

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Apparently everyone loves them. They are super easy to do and voila great results.

~Midsections were made smaller

~Pants sizes were shrunken

~Overall well being was greatly enhanced

~Weight loss goals were met

So what is it?

Basically, many of these teas (some may differ, but I went OG with the Skinny Mint) provide you with a tea or more to drink during the day at specific times. They are said to have these weight loss benefits and you will start to shed the weight and ultimately feel great.

Kylie

For example, in this particular TeaTox starter kit (shown above) you get an AM tea that contains:

Green Tea

Nettle Leaves

Yerba Mate

Dandelion

Guarana Fruit

Apparently all of these together are supposed to give you a great boost in the morning.

Then there is a night time tea that contains:

Ginger Root

Lemon Grass

Peppermint

Hawthorn Berries

Orange Leaves

Senna Leaves

Licorice Root

Psyllium Husk

These are supposed to come together to have you feeling restored, less bloated and cleansed.

I will say that the ingredients themselves do have some research to back up their benefits that may include what was mentioned. I will list some below. Overall, these are great natural ingredients but their effects are way blown out of proportion if you ask me. See here for more information on the rest of ingredients.

Nettle Leaves –> Apparently some diuretic properties (mostly animals), antioxidant

Dandelion –> diuretic properties, potential laxative effects, limited research on it’s benefit as a bile stimulant (ie. liver tonic)

Hawthorn –> much of the research done supports benefits for heart disease. Other things include antioxidant properties, diuretic properties, anti-inflammatory.

Ginger–> some support for it as increasing gastric motility, having antioxidant properties and reduction of bloating

Licorice –> anti-inflammatory, protects the cells of the liver (in vivo/animal studies), adrenal support, antioxidant

Realistically, none of these ingredients on their own or used in combination have a strong scientific backing on inducing weight loss on their own. Seems like its a lot of peeing if you ask me…Perhaps if you drink these along with following a fitness and dietary lifestyle that is appropriate for weight loss than you would see those results. At that point though, did the tea really do anything for you?

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Sure, if the above properties are actually valid, perhaps it gave you some natural forms of energy. Perhaps it helped keep things moving so that you felt ‘purified’ or perhaps it helped you feel less bloated due to the diuretic properties in some of the herbs BUT that doesn’t = real weight loss.

I’m emphasizing this because all of the celebrities and ads suggesting that this is some magic gem that will cause weight loss are really being misleading. Oh just drink the tea and you will be skinny they say..

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There is no proof of this and even their products say this!

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary from person to person and are not guaranteed.

…Benefits of reading the fine print…

You know what they also say…

This tea should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Seek professional advice before using if you are under medical supervision. Do not consume this tea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or prolonged diarrhea occur desist use and consult your doctor.<- thanks senna leaf…

So, the hopes of many is that they can continue to eat whatever the hell they want and loose weight, but that simply isn’t the case and these products should not be marketed as weight loss tools. Really, even if any weight loss was seen, it would be so minimal or hard to pick out of other lifestyle efforts that they wouldn’t really be able to be acknowledged.

So do yourself a favour and simply watch Kylie Jenner love her some tea and waist trainers and save yourself the $40.

And I’m out.

Happy Friday Friends! 

-Chelsea


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Citrulline Malate…Fitness Friday 38

My friends! It’s March can you believe it? Seems like it was just New Years and now we are three months in already and Spring is in close reaching distance. Guess that is what the internship/Masters application process does to you…makes time fly.

Sidenote: I saw robins yesterday! I was partially excited (cuz spring sign!) but more so concerned because this was after a full on 20-25 degree reduction in temperature in one day. Please don’t be baby-makin yet birdies!

fat-robin

I’d be making that face too if it was 16 one day then I woke up to -10.In fact, I probably did look like that yesterday…

So coming back to another active ingredient in pre-workouts and also BCAA’s, I have always really wondered what this guy was good for. I mean, my coach said it was a good thing and it provided benefits, but apparently I was too busy to think about educating myself on why. I don’t like that….

I always stand for the whole ‘know what and why you are putting something into your body” philosophy and I obviously didn’t follow through with that on this one.

Time to take a scientific looky at it to settle my conscience.

Citrulline Malate

What is it?

Citrulline malate is the quite simply the combination of citrulline and malate. Pretty obvious eh? Citrulline is an important component of the urea cycle, which is where urea is formed from ammonia in the liver. This conversion is important because ammonia is actually toxic in the body if it builds up, while urea is a bit less harmful. Malate, on the other hand, is an intermediate in the  Kreb’s cycle, which is the cycle that releases energy from our macronutrients through oxidizing acetyl CoA.

citric-acid-cycle-4-638

What does it do?

It has been used in the past as an aid to decrease muscle fatigue and increase functionality. Many studies have shown these effects, whether human or animal (I will present some of the human ones below), in addition to speculating other benefits such as higher clearance of ammonia from the blood post exercise, a possible role in lactate metabolism and some effect on acid-base balance. The mechanism behind all of this remains unknown at this point however.

So, although it has shown benefits for athletic performance, particularly with respect to a more efficiently functioning muscle , we don’t have a strong conclusions as to how it is doing it.

So, below I will highlight a few studies and provide their findings, conclusions and hypotheses regarding a potential mode of action.

Bendahan et al (2002). “CM ingestion resulted in a significant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production.” Their conclusion? The mechanism of CM’s action that reduces weakness and fatigue could be that it increases aerobic ATP production through providing more of the intermediates to replenish those that were lost more quickly than if you weren’t supplementing. [6g CM used]

Perez-Guisado et al (2010). Their study found that males athletes supplemented with CM saw more than 50% increases in the number of repetitions for barbell bench and a significant decrease in muscle fatigue 24 and 48 hours following the study’s training regime in a double blind, within subject study. In their research, they stated that studies have begin to speculate a role of ammonia in in “blocking cellular energy processes” and causing earlier fatigue. It has also been seen that it plays a role in NO reactions, which has been associated with recovery. Overall they concluded that the results from their study showed that one dose of CM helped with recovery and performance in high-intensity anaerobic activities with short rest times. [8g CM used]

Sureda et al (2010). They took subjects and had them cycle for ~137km with one difficult hill. All were given the same amount of food and fluid. They measured all variables (amino acids and all important exercise related metabolites) 3 hours prior to the race, 15 minutes following and 3 hours following. Overall, they found that the CM group showed a significant decease in the amount of the branched chain amino acids post race, which they said was due to the BCAAs being more effectively used for energy, than the control and higher arginine concentrations, which would contribute to many arginine derived metabolites such as nitrite, urea, creatinine and hormones like growth hormone that are beneficial for muscle growth and function. Finally, they also saw greater nitrogen availability in the CM group, which they stated could increase protein synthesis and protein concentrations in the muscle during exercise leading to better use of the amino acids (particularly the BCAAs). [6g CM used]

Overall, although I only highlighted a few interesting studies I found, I will say that the vast majority of studies I saw (which, I couldn’t have seen them all obviously…) showed significant improvements with its usage, so I have some confidence that it could provide a benefit to those who are looking (and can afford) to get a supplement that may actually do something useful and perhaps give a slight edge with recovery. Is it required to be a better athlete? Well no. Like all supplements, its not a magic powder that will give you huge energy bursts or make your recovery happen in 5 seconds. It is simply supplementing your routine and could provide some little bits of assistance and/or performance enhancements.

Happy Friday Friends!

-Chelsea