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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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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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!

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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

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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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From The Eyes Of A PT… Fitness Friday 34

Something I have been wanting to talk about for a lil bit in this space but was a bit worried I would be coming off as a know-it-all or too-proud or like I’m something special….

..I’m not and not trying to appear as such, but as someone who has done personal training (PT) in the past and trains clients today, I can positively say that some things I see some trainers doing are straight up irritating.

Sometimes it’s not their fault and I have to give them a bit of a break because they think they are providing something good. Other times, it’s just because being a PT is just a job to them and, I’m sorry, well not really actually, when working with people and when you are trying to help them better their health, you need to care.

So here are a few things that I see all the time and are things you need to avoid if you want someone who actually will care about their time spent with you. Plus, PT’s are $$$$ so spend your money wisely.

Having clients do their cardio warmups during your session.

Unless it’s their first session and they need help working the machines OR you are showing them some new way of doing cardio they are not used to (something like HIIT for example), don’t waste your client’s time by them staring at them on the treadmill. I’m pretty sure they know how to safely walk.

*Other potential exception is for elderly, injuries or disabilities*

If your trainer does this tell them you will do your cardio before your session so that you can spend your hour doing exercises that you want to learn about. They won’t (shouldn’t!) be offended because that is their job.

Not paying attention to clients

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This one really irritates me. I have seen some trainers full on walk away from their clients when they are in the middle of a set. NO. You are glued to their side throughout the session. That is your job! If you need to grab something, get it before they start or while the are resting.

I also love when trainers look like they are lost in space while training. Their clients could be doing something completely wrong and they don’t even notice…

Which brings me to another annoyance…

Trainers who allow for CRAPTASTIC form to continue.

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Isn’t it your job to correct their form? I know you are under time restraints BUT allowing for improper form to continue just so you can complete your workout in a timely fashion is 100% a no-no. Not only does this put your client up for potential injury under your watch (you are trying to prevent that remember?), but your letting them think they are doing it okay can be a problem later down the road…

Them telling others to do it ‘their’ way

Them loading more weight and still having form issues–> injury to come

No progression because we all know form is integral for results to occur. 

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Be patient. Take your time. Teach!

Socializing too much.

Sometimes its the client who is just very chatty, but you need to keep them on track. Talking and talking away leads to lack of work being done and obviously less potential benefits. If their workout sucked because you allowed too muchChatty Cathy-ing” to go on, thats on you not them.

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Nutrition advice…

Need I say more? Unless they are coming from more of a background than CanFit, be over-cautious about nutrition ‘tips’ they provide. Some beauties I have overheard more than once…

~Make sure you have your protein shake right after your workout but don’t eat anything for at least an hour…

~Describing what bad carbs are…. (lil tidbit, white doesn’t mean bad. GASP. Also, why we saying food is bad?)

~Need to eat every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism firing…(my rant here)

Being a nutrition student and someone who listens to a podcast or two about the latest in nutrition research, it makes me cringe when I hear myths continue to be taught to clients. I know I know that often times it’s because the trainer believes them too, but I wish some would keep more up to date on their nutrition science before spreading lies to open ears.

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Fitness Nutrition

Still on nutrition…

Taking your clients right to the good ol’ smoothie bar post workout.

Wow more money from your pocket to the gym…

Please know that post workout doesn’t automatically mean you need to run to get in your protein shake.

If you like shakes, than do you, but they are not required. Always remember that supplements SUPPLEMENT your diet. Do you need whey post workout? No. Can you eat normal food? Yes. See here for more.

Sticking to the same things.

Unless there is a particular goal in mind that requires some sort of structure and restraint on exercise variety or training style OR they are 100% new, SWITCH IT UP! I often see trainers sticking to the bare bone basics. Lets do a shoulder press, now lets do a leg press…

ZZZZZzzzz…

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If your client understands the basics, teach them new things to fire up their interest. What about showing them new equipment to use like kettle bells or playing around with a sled or battle ropes if your gym has them?

The point of your sessions is to 1. teach, but you should also be challenging them both physically and mentally. Make them look forward to coming to your sessions.

Finally, I wanted to end off on the most common stereotype about trainers because that means I can’t rant too much about it…

Cookie Cutter Plans.

This kind of falls into the ‘you don’t care about your clients’ category because, well, clearly you don’t if you plan on giving them some plan that has been given 0% thought about their needs and goals.

How is that going to help them?

Sure, if they are brand new they might see some benefits (hello newbie gains, aka growth simply because it’s a new stimulus) but if a client already has some experience and wants something new OR has special challenges OR is rehabbing, giving them pre-planned workouts just ain’t gunna cut it.

So now that my ranting for the night has been met, please don’t take this as me being overly judgmental. I’m not trying to be. I believe that PT’s should be people who care about the well being of their clients and if they truly care, they would agree that all of the above things shouldn’t happen because that is putting their client at risk, not teaching them anything OR even worse, teaching them the wrong things.

I wish that all PT’s loved their job the way many do, including myself, but that is unfortunately not the case. I wrote this to try and help you see when someone is there for you vs. someone just wanting an easy pay check. 

Bad experiences with a PT?

-Chelsea