Lil Miss Fitness Freak

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


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3000 Calories and On a Cut…BF Eats Edition

My friends!

I have wanted to do this post for a while because I get a lot of questions about how my boyfriend is loosing weight and continuing to eat ice cream and copious bowls of cereal. I figured I would show you instead of explaining it, but lets get the simplest explanation out of the way first..

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You will loose weight if you’re in a caloric deficit (unless there is some hormonal or physical barrier, which actually is in only like 2% or less of people..). WITH THAT SAID… we want you to perform at your best, feel energized and enjoy your diet so you can sustain it.

My philosophy as a coach is that I want people to never feel deprived, as that leads to unsustainable dieting and weight regain. I also want people to be healthy so a nice balance of mostly wholesome, nutritious foods with a treat of their liking that fits within their macro meals is what I tend to do. This allows them to stay on track while also giving their bodies the fuel it’s wanting and used to using.

I’m going to say this now…your body runs BEST on whole, unprocessed foods. It just does. You will be leaner, have greater energy and perform better on those than a pile of junk, so those IIFYM people eating donuts pre workout…yeah they may not gain weight because they have factored it in, but do you think that donut will give them the best training outcomes?

Probably not.

Also keep in mind that a treat to one person is not the same for another person. While some would want to work in seem ice cream (like my bf), others may really really love a sweet potato with peanut butter as a sweet treat. They both can work as long as your other nutrients are in check.

So thats the shortest I can explain that, so lets get into food now so you can see it come to life.

Breakfast. I was off yesterday so I got out the waffle iron and made him some protein waffles.

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Not pictured was the 4 egg whites scrambled with roasted red peppers, spinach and some cheddar Allegro (lactose-free) cheese

These used Yummy Sports Nutella protein and I topped it with caramelized banana + almond butter + Walden Farms syrup (doesn’t upset his stomach so he likes to use it)

Waffles–> blend together 2 tbsp coconut flour + 1 tsp chia seeds + 1/2 scoop whey + 40g oats + 1 egg white + 30g unsweetened apple sauce + 1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 tsp baking powder

Meal 2: This one he eats around 10ish and happened to be his pre workout yesterday. As a PT manager he works a split shift so gets some flex time late morning to go and lift

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This meal is super easy to meal prep and he loves it. This version is with sweet potatoes and extra lean ground beef. He’s also pretty happy with the portion size on that one. #AlwaysHungry #BiggerPortionsAreBetter

Meal 3 –> This was his post workout. He got a bit delayed getting to the gym so he was starving. He does take some pre workout and the stimulants calm his appetite a bit during his workout, but afterwards…look out.

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I like to call this the volume ‘kitchen sink’ stirfry. He has about 48g of carbs per meal but for extra volume uses the cauliflower rice to make this meal massive. With the remaining carbs he likes some roasted potatoes in his stirfry and this week, instead of quinoa, he added left over chickpeas to fill in the rest of the carbs.

Immediately post workout he also has a protein shake. No you don’t need to have a protein shake immediately post workout if you’re going to eat, but mentally he feels better if he does, so protein protein protein..

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We found this company at the Pro Show and they are super yummy and have no fillers or even gums! Happy tummy’s all around.

He has another protein shake in the later afternoon…because always hungry and his protein is really high. The higher protein is an experimental thing that my coach suggested so he’s trying it out. He likes it so far.

Before any comments..no high protein doesn’t hurt your kidneys if you’re a healthy individual. Studies have also shown that even a surplus in calories in protein doesn’t lead to the same degree of fat mass gain as fats/carbs. They have also shown that higher intakes in those who are in a deficit maintain greater lean muscle mass while loosing fat mass than those following traditional macronutrient ratios

Down the hatch goes protein shake numero two.

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This is also very easy for him to just have while busy at work with clients or his staff. Great flavour on this one too and we got this for like 10 bucks because it was on blow out at GNC.

Dinner –> As I was off, I like to make him fun dinners and I happen to see a Poke kit at the grocery store so that was all I needed. Deconstructed sushi is great in his eyes and I got to make a pretty Poke bowl like all of the ones I see plastered on IG

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Great success. He loved it and basically everything (minus the rice) is raw so it’s fast to make too. He’s a bit picky about how he eats his mango, so he picked that out to save for last but other than that, it was a thumbs up from him.

In the bowl –> tuna poke + sauce, serving of sushi rice, seaweed salad from Zehrs, avocado, zoodles, sesame oil, ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce and some wasabi…plus mango that he picked out.

Bedtime Meal –> So this is where his treat comes in. His last meal is eaten with me in bed every night for us to unwind and watch a show together. We love our bed time snack routine and he takes it as his snack treat time.

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Protein is a standard (which we both have a protein to start..they are not eaten together haha) and than the fats and carbs are typically where he has some fun. Last night he tried out the popcorn I got for him, which was a white cheddar jalapeño flavour. He liked it and it had a nice kick to it.

So that is a day in the life of my bf on a cut. I won’t do the specific macro breakdown for you because that is personal to him and will serve nothing to you BUT he is loosing weight steadily and eating 3000 calories at the moment.

Ladies and gents, you don’t need to starve to loose weight. If you treat your body correctly and keep your metabolism high + your psychological self in check, you will get where you need to go. Patience and consistency are key and enjoying your life.

I hope that has helped a bit and thank you to my love for letting me steal pictures of all of his food yesterday before he ate it…

TGIF!

-Chelsea

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When Your Man Is Cutting…

I’m backkkkk and I have more time than ever so you all are going to help keep me distracted mmmkkayyy?

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So when you’re a nutrition consultant and your boyfriend asks you to help him cut, you be a good girlfriend and not only help slow his roll with his cutting style, but you track his macros and make sure this cut is more successful than previous cuts.

Most people like to cut crazy fast and so that is actually a challenge all on its own because he wants to drop faster than this ‘Pro’ wants to because #Impatience. But leave it to me and science and he will see I will come out on top in the end. He will be keeping as much of that muscle as possible due to slower cutting.

The numbers are only one part of the equation though, you see, when in the bodybuilding lifestyle there are many a things a girl should do for her man to show her support during the hard times of “Summer Shredding”

You must tell them they are not getting small. 

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There is a fine line between telling them they are getting shredded vs them perceiving you think they are getting small and scrawny. They are getting leaner BUT they are also growing massive shoulders at the same time….Really emphasize that! LOL! Keeps their ego happy while they feel they are starving, despite only a 200 calorie deficit.

Guys can shush it when the are loosing weight at 3000 calories

You have to constantly remind them that if they’re hungry that just means they need more veggies in their life…Or water.

If I ever didn’t have time to help him prep his food for the day, it was missing a certain filling and micronutrient dense addition. He has quickly learned how much veggies help keep his stomach from growling longer.

If they are also doing a caffeine/Pre/Stimulant detox…watch out. 

Oh boy, a cut PLUS no pre-workout. That is fun times. You’re job is to be the motivator and not cave when they say you can look at the protein powder while they “talk to the sales person,” which means they are getting a pre-workout sample.

#ISeeEverything

You should help them with their food…

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Or else they will be lazy a bro and just pack chicken and rice…than complain how much they hate chicken and rice and how life sucks.

Work on those wifey skills and help them out. I have taken it upon myself to be on top of his meal prep but MAN I did not realize how much food was needed for 3K calories…

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Maybe bit off more than I could chew but the creativity is a’ flowing friends.

Here’s some ideas for you based on some of his favourites. 

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Turns out he loves spaghetti squash. Hello volume! Plus he likes how filling it is while saving some extra carbs for later when he gets his fun meal..aka cereal

Cauli “rice” was also a great fine. that whole pot was 4 servings…FOUR and it’s massive.

We experimented and made cannelloni stuffed with Lactaid cottage cheese (higher protein, less fat) + canned crab meat. He liked them but with the amount of protein he needed, he felt like the crab was lost.

Shepherds pie was also a success. Really simple recipe too!

For 4 servings…

~2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and than mashed with rosemary, garlic powder and chili flakes

~around 800g of extra lean ground beef that was sautéed with mushrooms, zucchini and onion + liquid smoke, rosemary, 2 tbsp tomato paste and some fennel seeds.

Plop the beef mixture in the bottom of a sprayed tin and top with the mash and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the top browns a bit (you can add some butter on top, I just sprayed it a bit with some coconut spray)

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He loved his little dairy free mac n’cheese cup. I used a lactose free, skim mozzarella cheese that we recently found at Zehrs and mixed it with some quinoa pasta (again, higher protein) and baked it in a ramekin until the top got nice and toasty. Served with a baked (my tin foil method) turkey breast fillet with steak spice and sautéed snap peas.

 

He was very very happy with his waffle sandwich. I tried to do the whole sweet potato chicken n’waffles thing but it had to be more macro friendly so I made a kabocha squash waffle (lower carbs) with chicken breast meat, his lactose free mozzarella cheese and a runny egg and he quite enjoyed it…

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When the photographer/chef says you have to show the sammich contents while pretending to eat it…

Kabocha Waffle (makes 2 waffles)

Blend together –> 90g cooked and mashed squash + 1/2 cup or 40g oats + 1 tsp baking powder + 1 egg white (32g) + Italian spices + water to make a thick batter. 

Spray your waffle maker (mine is sad and makes flat waffles…) and cook your waffles as directed. 

Annddd these little beauties were a quick and fun lil recipe from The Lean Green Bean that he actually loved.

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I used a lactose free white cheddar in the centre of each meatball (which was made with extra lean ground turkey + some chorizo sausage) and then rolled them in panko + Italian spices. The cheese burst while they were baking and turned out great over zoodles and sauce with spinach (cuz micros…).

And finally…breakfast. He has come to love avocado english muffins with runny eggs and turkey bacon but sometimes breakfasts sammiches sneak in there too…

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His camera makes this food look all glowy and such

Turkey bacon + spinach + Chicken breast + runny egg + sriracha and mustard on a whole wheat bagel. Good to go.

Ladies, if you and your man are into the bodybuilding lifestyle the time between March and summa generally means cutting season. Put your apron on and get your ‘swole’ comments ready because he would do the same for you so make him feel special during this hardship.

Have some fun and surprise him with some fancy feasts that fit his macros and you will win his heart and keep him shredding 😉

And if you don’t do that lifestyle, hope I gave some interesting food prep ideas!

Much love friends! 

Best food prep staples?


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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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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!

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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.

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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


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Don’t Flatten Yourself Out…Fitness Friday 37

My friends, today…actually, scratch that, this entire week has been exhausting. So much for Reading Week eh?

So what was I doing running all over the place? Graduate school interviews…thats what I was doing. I had the MAN program (combined master/internship) at Guelph U on Wednesday, phone interview with London Health Sciences Internship yesterday and trekking it all the way to London for my interview with Brescia’s department for their combined program today.

I’m exhausted. The face-to-face ones were intense, but the Brescia one was a bit more casual and relaxed due to the group setting rather than one-on-one, which I had the pleasure of doing for the MAN program.

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Overall, its 2-2.5 hours of them probing your head with scenarios in timed stations. One after the other after the other and that is all on top of the fact that you are super nervous because these will dictate the future of your fall semester. Catastrophizing much?

Ugh.

I did it though. I didn’t die and I feel overall they went well. Now to try to relax for this weekend to let my stomach come back to normal (hello camel belly thanks to cortisol overload…)

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Anyways, I wasn’t planning on doing this today because, I’m sorry, I’m tired, but I was listening to a Youtube collab between Steve Cook and Layne Norton on contest prep myths that I just had to share.

It’s not only because right now is cutting season for the spring and summer shows, but also because so many people still fail to turn to science and simply follow some of the engrained procedures (dogmas) of the final stages of prep that really have no evidence to support their benefits.

So, for your education and entertainment, check out the video link below for the full discussion and head to my lil summary below so that you too can work at bringing your best ‘package’ to the stage if thats in the future for you.

They also discussed flexible dieting on prep, but I was more interested in the sodium/water cuts.

Cutting sodium is a no no.

Cutting water works against you.

Overall, these two things alone will leave you looking flat on your day to shine. Meanwhile, the next day you look the best you have ever looked because, well, you ate some salt and drank some water.

Why?

Quoting Dr. Norton, lets see his explanations on why these things really work against you, despite the fact they are seen as ‘common practices’ for the competitors.

So, as we all know, our body likes ‘sameness’ and it works hard to keep the body in a state of homeostasis. So, if you start to try to take things away, it has ways to bring you back to normal. Although this ability is great for situations where you are not in control and needing to ‘survive,’ these compensatory mechanisms are often NOT what you want when you are trying to look your best…aka shredded.

So one, you cut your water. When you cut water, the water is often intially lost from the extracellular space (i.e. outside the tissue/cell/muscle), not the intracellular space. That being said, when you loose that extracellular water, your body needs to re-balance that because volume is important to keep the same. So, to do this, you will end up loosing water from the intracellular space and adding water outside the cell. So a deflated muscle cell is what you end up with.

You than add to this problem by also cutting sodium because, once again, the body needs certain amount to maintain functionality. So what does it do? Your blood levels have been shown to stay the same and it’s mostly due to a few more compensatory mechanisms. Overall, if you’re not getting any sodium your body gunna loose any either, meaning you are not going to excrete ANY sodium. This is because another hormone (ADH) starts getting upregulated due to water volume changes and that causes you to reabsorb sodium and also hold water (because you cannot reabsorb sodium without water).

So these two combined simply lead to flat muscles and a watery appearance as all that water goes right to the extracellular space, which is where you want the least amount of water. Great for stage eh?

“If your muscle is not pressing against the skin, you will appear watery and not as tight as you want… Muscle tissue without water is spongy, shrivelled and just doesn’t look good”

Other issues that come along with your body being stressed…

~Bloating and general gastric upset that can lead to you not being as tight and shredded. This may be partially due to the fact that the transporters of carbohydrates in the gut are dependant on sodium. With these not working as efficiently, malabsorption of some carbohydrates can occur. Unfortunately for you, in many cases, those are than fermented which causes gastric issues. This also means that you are going to be absorbing as many of those carbs are you are eating.

~Low sodium often makes it really hard to get a pump or any vascularity going

Other interesting things he said…

~You should add carbs SLOWLY. The traditional notion is that you carb up with a huge amount in 1-2 days pre-show is not smart. It takes a bit for those carbohydrates to be digested and absorbed, so it therefore also takes time for your body to refill those glycogen stores and for you to see if you need more. You want to be in the ‘add more’ category, not the ’emergency repair mode from spill over’ category… yes?

~During peak week, there really isn’t anything special to do. You are essentially just trying not to screw up what you have worked for. DONT GO MESSING WITH MULTIPLE VARIABLES! If you’re not shredded at this point, you’re just not shredded enough. Tweaking a bunch of things during that tiny time period can either not do nothing for you or it can make you look worse simply because your body is stressed out. 

~Peak week should be about rest and loosing external stress. Yes it’s selfish, but your appearance is also the result of your emotional and psychological state. To a much more minor degree as the rest of prep, but it does count. 

Overall, these things make perfect, rational sense when you think about them and about how the body works to survive, but most don’t challenge the old and traditional ways.

Learn to go to the literature and do your own research. When you get up on stage and look better either the week before or day after, its time to get off the ‘bro-train’ and actually suffer less to look your best.

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Hope you enjoyed this lil video post. Happy Friday friends.

-Chelsea


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Betaine For Gains? Fitness Friday 36

Everyone is always looking for some kind of pill to improve their exercise performance or get bigger. This is why articles like this one

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…Get all the youngin’s running out the door to buy all of the supplements listed because 1. they apparently make you huge and 2. Brian DeCosta is a god sent and who wouldn’t want to look like him. 😉

Sorry you had to be a part of this post Brian, but I just had to chat more on this article and, well, you aren’t too bad to look at for the cover shot.

So what was one supplement on their list that is supposed to make you jacked faster?

Betaine

betaine

So what is it?

It is a derivative of glycine (an amino acid) and due to having 3 methyl groups, it acts as a donor of a methyl group in a reaction that ends up producing creatine in the skeletal muscle. It also has been suggested to have cardiovascular protectant factors due to reducing plasma levels of homocysteine (which is a risk factor for CVD) and inflammation. Due to its role in increasing creatine, it was hypothesized that supplementing with it can have growth enhancing effects and increasing power and strength performance.

Due to these suggestions, this began finding its way into pre-workouts and even as a stand alone addition to any bodybuilders stack.

…the thing is though….

Does it actually make you grow?

Lets start with what the article stated:

Betaine seems to work by increasing the release of growth hormone and IGF-1 while blunting the exercise-induced release of catabolic hormones like cortisol. The overall effect is to increase muscle growth and decrease muscle breakdown following exercise.[2] Since betaine works much like creatine monohydrate, researchers suspect that it, too, might stimulate muscle growth over the long term.

Hmmm interesting. Well cortisol definitely has some support backed behind it…

So now, what does the research actually say?

Well, its all over the place. There doesn’t appear to be concrete conclusions about it.

Hoffman et al (2009) –> 15 days supplementation in active college males to test muscle strength, power and endurance across 3 time points. Study found no significant differences in number of reps to exhaustion (endurance) or on number of reps at 90% power OR power assessments. They did find that squat reps at 90% power increased significantly in the BET group at time 2.

Apicella et al (2012). This was once of the studies cited in the article and it did in fact show significantly lower cortisol levels post training in the BET while also showing significantly higher growth hormone.

Pryer et al (2012). BET supplementation in bike sprinters found a significant increase in sprinting power. The supplementation was only for a week however.

Hoffman et al (2011)–> 15 day supplementation with Betaine, once again, in active males (within subject study, so they each ran through a BET and non-BET treatment period==> better design) found no increase in peak concentric or eccentric force OR overall fatigue. They did, however, find a significant reduction in fatigue when compared workout 5 and 1 (was that a training adaption effect?)

So some studies say YAY and some studies say NAY so its safe to say that there is not a concrete answer on this product. If it does truly work like creatine (which has mass amounts of supporting research) than perhaps there is some merit to this guy. As of right now though, I wouldn’t be running to pick up a bottle of the stuff unless I’m not concerned about the money and I’m looking to do my own trial.

Happy Fitness Friday friends. 

PS it apparently has some gut health benefits too…hmm may need to research those for meeeseelf. betaine

-Chelsea


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Spot Me Bro…Fitness Friday 31

spot-me

So I was listening to a vlog the other day (by Ellyssa Brooks for those YT watchers) and she was discussing the types of spotters in the gym. As I listened, I thought this would be a great topic to share my thoughts on for a Fitness Friday because there comes a time in a serious lifter’s career where they’re gunna need a spot and I want you all to be able to avoid those who really can’t get the job done.

Plus I have seen and experienced my fair share of bad and horrific spotting in my 10 years of training..

The OVER spotter

Out of this one and the next one I don’t know which is worse. I guess the next because it’s risking your life and all….  In this case, your spotter doesn’t take his/her hands off the weight during your entire lift making you feel as if you did nothing.

OR in some cases where appearances are what matter, you may spout off saying you got a new PR when really it was a team effort.

The first case is really bad for female lifters. From my experience, I can tell some people until I’m blue in the face to NOT TOUCH THE WEIGHT unless it’s going the wrong way but they will still grab it the entire time.

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do the job alone. I asked for assistance for the last 1-2 reps or just to watch to make sure I was good, not for you to help me through the whole lift.

Thanks but no thanks. 

For the second issue, this is a problem because you may have just given them a false perception of their strength. When they go to lift again, they may try to do that weight on their own and ultimately struggle, or worse, fail and get hurt.

The UNDER spotter

Either they forget they are spotting you or are really determined to see if you can pop a vein trying to lift that weight up themselves when they are failing. This also includes a kickup help. I don’t know how many times I have asked someone to help me with the initial kickup and they than just stand there…

Thanks for watching me struggle, nod at you like I’m asking for help, and you still stand there. -_-

If someone asks you to spot them, they are assuming that if the weight is coming down on them you will help them out. Don’t be the hard ass or the distracted/clueless spotter who just stands there and lets them fail. PAY ATTENTION!

spot-fail-2

The UNEDUCATED spotter 

The one who agrees to spot you but has no idea what they are doing.

Example: When someone tried to killed me when spotting my decline dumbbell chest press. When helping a person kick up the weights, DO NOT grab the dumbbell portion of the DBs. This type of spot led to the DB falling inward and putting too much force on my tiny wrists and they fell…on me…ON A DECLINE!

Hello 40lb weights to face.

Thanks to the fact that I know to tuck my chin and turn away or my face may have been a bit more colourful leaving than it was coming in.

bad-spot

The SNEAK ATTACK spotter

You know when you don’t ask for a spot but magically someone appears anyways? Yeah, they just slide themselves behind you and will say “just helping ya out.”This may be more of a girl problem but for me personally, I apparently freak people out when I lift a weight up so they feel the need to jump in a save me…when I don’t need saving.

Thanks for ruining my set brraaaahh

If they don’t ask, don’t jump in. That is all. Unless they are clearly failing, than it’s more of an act and talk later…

The BUDDY spotter

You know when you ask your ‘bro’ to spot you and he decides to do everything but pay attention to you. Text. Snapchat. Stare at the wall. Whatever, and lets you do your own thing and than maybe, just maybe help you out when you fail.

This is mostly directed at guys…

Guys, if you’re with a buddy in the gym, make sure if you ask them for a spot that they are actually into lifting and are not just there for the social hour. Your life will thank you later. OR, don’t and you and your crushed face will end up on their snapchat.

So some final tips…

For the person doing the spotting

~Say no if you know you can’t lift the weight in a case of an emergency

~Ask how they want to be spotted

~Say no if you’re not sure how to spot properly or if you never have spot someone

For the person being spotted:

~Tell them specifically what you want and how you want them to do it. Wrists vs. elbows. Help up? Etc

~Come into the lift knowing how many you can approximately do. They are there to help IF NEEDED, again this is not a team effort. If the arms of your spotter are flexing or straining, they are doing too much work.

Also a few things to keep in mind..

Squats. This is a tricky topic. Some say never to spot a squat because it’s too dangerous. Some say you can. I say, yes, but with a few important things to note.

~DO NOT SPOT FROM THE BAR or do that stupid “I’m giving you a hug” spot. Most of the time a squat fail that can cause the most harm comes from the core failing. In this case, they may come back at you with the bar and all. You want to spot from the ribs to support the core.

~With that in mind, you should be large and/or strong enough to be able to support the person squatting and their squat weight

~Do not even attempt to spot a squat if you feel uneasy about it at all. I have heard of people being crushed trying to spot a squat, so don’t make yourself part of that group.

squat

Just no.

I hope the next time you ask for a spot, you are now more prepared to make a good choice. Just because a guy is big doesn’t mean he’s a good spotter. Be aware of how people lift and act in a gym as that will be a good indicator as to who will do it right.

-Chelsea