Lil Miss Fitness Freak

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

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Sunday Link Love

Hey Friends, Happy Sunday!

I felt like chatting with you this morning (started this morning, ended at night as usual) as I slowly pack up my summer life to head back home¬†to work my summer job. This job is not really what I wanted, as it in no way helps me work towards my career goals, but I’m trying to stay positive about it. It’s money I suppose and money that I desperately need.

In other news..

I moved out of my old apartment and into my new one for the fall, which I have to pay for all summer despite not living there…ugh stupid renting.

With that, I had to say my goodbyes to Rita and Emily (my housemates) which was sad ūüė¶ Mama is going to miss them and they better keep me in the loop on the daily!¬†

…But My new housemates are great. It will be a good year I know it!

I graduated my undergrad (2nd one) with an 86 GPA…please see me and give me all the scholarship monnies…please. I know it’s not 90’s but something!

I hit my squat PR and then raised it by 5lbs, meaning that I lifted 1.85x my body weight. I have never one-rep maxed before at anything and the feeling is so strange and exciting at the same time. I was practically not feeling I could of properly yesterday due to how sore I was but all worth it friends

And yeah, so that is the gist of my life this week, so onto my post today. I decided to do a “Link Love” post to share some interesting articles/podcasts I have come across in the past two weeks or so. I hope you find some of them as interesting as I did.

Dietary Guidelines should reflect new understandings about adult protein needs (Layman 2009)

This talks about the new findings for protein and why the intake recommendations for adults are, well, wrong on many levels. Here’s the synopsis:

~Protein should not be % of calories, it should be off body weight. If you are of a given height but are loosing weight (ie. dropping calories) your protein shouldn’t drop just because your calories are.

~Protein is VITAL for your life. You know your body is made of protein yes?

~Most adults benefit from an intake greater than the recommended one (0.8g/kg/day)

It also talks about protein distribution and how we tend to eat more protein in our meals as the day goes on. This suggests that we eat very little at breakfast, which is not optimal as we have been fasting overnight, and that we eat large amounts at dinner.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 7.40.26 AM

The blue highlighted portion is showing maximum muscle¬†protein synthesis. We need at least 15g of protein to stimulate protein synthesis and take a peak at a typical breakfast…

Although they stated that this uneven distribution has not really been shown to negatively affect growth of children or adults, it may have large impacts on older adults. Here, protein intake is critical as they tend to be in a negative nitrogen balance (or state of protein breakdown) and need more than a typical adult to maintain neutral or positive balance.

Finally, take note that protein is more satiating. So when¬†a meal is proportionally more balanced with protein (rather than mostly the typical American breakfast) you will be fuller longer. Alternatively, carbohydrate rich meals tend to not keep you as full longer. This doesn’t mean that carbs are bad, it simply runs the risk of individuals over eating their needs because they find themselves hungry more often.

So could protein be an aid in better weight management? 


IceCream4PRs Podcast #30 – Gender Differences in Training feat. Menno HenselmansJeff Nippard

Really cool podcast diving into the differences between men and women for training and nutrition in addition to the genetic potential that women have for muscle development specifically.

Relative to their starting point (which is often different), females have been shown to have the same relative muscle growth and protein synthesis potential as men! So if you take a man and woman¬†who weigh the same, you can find that they can grow the same proportion of muscle. Differences in fatty acid composition in the body was then stated as a potential reason as to why we don’t see very muscular women in addition to inefficient or non-optimal training for their body physiology and birth control. This is controversial however, but these are some of the recent findings.

This is not to create fears in women that they will ‘blow up’ like a man when they touch a weight, because as you can see from a subjective perspective, the number of women walking around with the same level of muscularity as a male is quite small. It was the thought¬†that this was potentially more socio-cultural in the sense that many women don’t train¬†to the same degree as males and/or if they do train, they don’t optimize their growth due to personal preferences or lack of knowledge. There is also some whispers that oral¬†contraceptives¬†decrease the rate of muscle growth.¬†

Why Has the American Approach to Heart Disease Failed?– Chris Kresser

This is an interesting take on heart disease and challenges the notion that heart disease is due to the clogging of our arteries, specifically from saturated fats. What is interesting is that many just follow along with the idea that arteries get clogged and that this is the main driving factor of heart disease when thats not actually the full story. Yes, ‘clogging’ does happen, per say, but that is only after the walls of the vessels are narrowed due to plaque buildup (atherosclerosis). This build-up is an inflammatory response¬†that, which he stated, is most often the result of metabolic syndrome and/or insulin resistance.

Its funny, but those syndromes are often helped with higher fat and lower carb dietary interventions…

Higher fats you say to help heart disease…Hmmm…

Anxiety: Are Nutritional Deficiencies A Common Cause – Mark Sisson

An interesting article as it brings up a topic that is close to my own heart, anxiety. Although I would have to do my own research (as I feel sometimes that Mark may be a bit bias sometimes) and I just like to back up my words with my own readings, the idea of incorporating foods that perhaps have anxiety reducing effect is something I think many people could benefit from..

if, of course, they actually do something…

Gut Bacteria Tell The Brain What Animals Should Eat

This article was based off of a brand spankin new journal article by Leitao- Goncalves et al (April 2017) that looked at the common fruit fly and how there appeared to be an association between their gut flora and eating the right foods to provide them with all of their essential amino acids. Although there are a few flaws with this study that limit it’s generalizability to humans (hello we aren’t flies, and we have more bacteria in our guts then them), it sparks an interesting idea to look into. Can your gut bacteria trigger cravings for certain foods that optimize your health?¬†

I feel that this is entirely possible because we have found that those who are obese tend to have different gut bacteria communities than those who are leaner and that those specific communities lend themselves to negative health outcomes.

Stay Single Until You Meet A Guy Like This…

Corny? Maybe. But it pulled at my romantic heart strings a bit. Best line? 

Stay single until you meet the guy who never stops trying to keep you…Because he knows getting you wasn‚Äôt the hard part but constantly giving you a reason to stay is what you deserve.

Oh and of course a solid finisher…

The one who changes the standard you once had and suddenly no one can compare.


And finally to end off this post..

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 9.37.06 PM

This is a tweet from Sohee Lee’s Twitter (you should check her out, she works alongside Layne Norton and Brett Contreras and is a lady of science!).

Its a good solid reminder because I think everyone knows this to be true but always believe they have found an exception somehow.

Hope you had a fabulous Sunday Friends


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It’s Not All About Looks…Fitness Friday 33

So the gym is often know as the place to..


But what about all of the other things lifting weights gives you?

Todays post is going to be about how lifting and training hard helps you OUTSIDE the gym.

I’m sure I will miss some as there are so many benefits, so feel free to comment on things you have found it brings to your life that I may have missed.¬†


Being strong is so empowering and that is not just for women. Lifting is not just about the muscle growth from an appearance perspective, but is also about what you can do with that muscle and how that makes you feel. I will say that for women, feeling themselves get stronger is a rather powerful thing (as we are often said to be the weaker sex and are needy…) and can do wonders for their sense of self worth and respect.


Strength means you don’t have to ask for help. Strength means you can lift that thing by yourself. Strength¬†can also¬†mean that the person who is rehabbing an injury can do just a lil bit more on their own or that any older person can¬†preserve their muscle mass longer so that they can keep their freedom.

Stronger, More Durable Bones

Resistance training is huge for helping maintain the strength of your bones. Especially important for menopausal women who loose bone more rapidly, but good for all of us young’ins too as a way to keep them as strong as possible for as long as possible.

Better Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Utilization.

Being at a healthy weight is one thing, but did you know that contractile movements actually help to bring more glucose into cells by increasing translocation (movement from inside the cell to the membrane) of the glucose transporters to the cell membrane? More glucose inside the cells means less in the blood which can lead to problems. Check out this study..

Better Skin

Sweating opens them pores and lets the skin get rid of dirt¬†and any chemicals or toxins that can be flushed via the skin. Many people say they break out more when they work out but it’s not because you’re sweating. Instead, its generally because either 1. you had stuff on your face that than clogged the pores when they opened up or 2. you rubbed or touched your face too much, adding new dirt to your skin. Let it sweat it out and then wash your face.


Your skin is the largest organ of the body. That being said, it is also one very¬†important way¬†your body get rids of things from the body it doesn’t like. So, similar to the skin point, let your body sweat. If you’re getting sick, it can help bring those bacteria to the surface, or at least into the bloodstream, and help your body deal with them more quickly. It may make you feel a bit worse at first, but by forcing them out in the open, your body’s defense system can battle them out more quickly and hopefully help you recover more efficiently.

Temporary Relief From Cold/Sickness Symptoms

I want to preface by saying you be the judge of when you are too sick to train... Anyways, this may be seen by some as a bad thing, but hey, if I can stop sniffling or stop cramping (for us ladies) for a lil bit, I call that a success. When your body exercises, it actually perceives that action as a stress so it begins to send the blood flow to the working muscles and away from things that are not as important. As a result, your immune, digestive and reproductive systems (and others..) are not really getting much attention and often that leads to less symptoms of the disease state (or time of the month..) of those areas. Got a cold? Ever notice your nose runs less? For the ladies, cramping can actually decrease while exercises.

See here for a scientific journal on the matter

Decreases Risk of Many Chronic Diseases

Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and the list goes on (source).

Stress Relief

With all of those endorphins going (among other hormones), using your sweat sesh to unwind from studying or a hard day at work is much more productive and good for you than ploppin down in front of the TV and eating a bunch of crap food. What’s that old saying…


Along with stress relieving…

You’re Happier

So many processes and hormones involved in this part, but with exercise not only are you physically better, but your psychological state gets a positive boost as well. We all know that we feel a sense of happiness following a workout. Whether that is euphoria, endorphin high, or a sense of accomplishment, there is no doubts that it’s there. It should than come as not surprise that exercise has been¬†found to be useful in treatment of¬†to help chronic mental illness such as depression (link), dementia (link), anxiety and others.

So overall there are so many things I could continue to say about exercising but I will keep it a bit shorter for you all for the sake of your reading threshold. As you can see, exercise is much more than just about looks. It helps the brain, it helps in your perception of yourself, it protects you from disease and it helps you feel that you can function on your own.

So for anyone needing a reason to start, go ahead and pick one. You have quite a list to choose from.

What are some of your non-physical experiences with exercise?


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Powers Of Vitamin C…Fitness Friday 29

My friends! I’m so sorry about last week, but I was in the middle of studying for my hardest exam (clinical) and I just couldn’t get up anything for Friday. Many apologies. I will say that I still, and always, get my fitness on and I hope that for all of you doing exams that you don’t skimp out on the gym. Time is limited yes, but instead of scrolling through social media, take that hour and sweat out some endorphins. Your body and mind will thank you.


Perhaps it may have to be shorter, or you may miss one of your normal sessions, but trust me when I say that often when someone says they don’t have time, they are wasting some of it with media… #TrueSpeak

Cold and Flu Season Is Upon Us.

And so what better time than to highlight ….


An important vitamin, as they all are, but this guy ain’t just for cold and flus.

Yes, this water soluble vitamin does wonders for your immune system, but we are talking about fitness here, so what can it do for your athletic self to help with performance?

….okay we will start with immune function because obviously that can affect training…

Exercise Puts You At Risk For Infection?

It appears so. This article spoke of an altered immune system following intense exercise. Specifically, the body appears to release many inflammatory cytokines similar to a trauma or sepsis response for a short time following strenuous training. This response than sets you up to be more immunocompromised and open to getting sick. Although much of this was referring to research in¬†endurance athletes, I don’t believe it would be crazy to say the same for strength based athletes, as you’re also causing trauma to the body and placing it under enough stress to cause cortisol release.

So where does Vitamin C fall into this equation? One study looking at ultra marathon runners found that high doses of Vitamin C (1500mg, but not 500mg) daily for a week prior to their race (and the day of their race) reduced their levels of circulating cytokines. So for athletes who cannot drop their training intensity, extra Vitamin C may be able to aid in decreasing their risk of potential illness.

The immune benefits of extra supplementation for athletes still needs further research but some of the early studies have shown promising findings towards a YAY for a protective benefit of a lil boost.

Role in Synthesis of Important Players for Physical Performance

This article presents a large list of the roles of vitamin C that definitely play a role in allowing your body to perform. Some of interest include:

~Synthesis of carnitine –> required to move fatty acids into the mitochondria. They can then be oxidized and used for energy.

~Synthesis of catecholamines ¬†–> These include epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are released during times of stress to create the ‘fight or flight’ response. This includes the mobilizing of glucose and an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and vessel dilation to get the nutrients to the muscle to allow them to keep performing.

Their role in synthesis is through being a reducing agent in their biosynthesis reactions

Preventing Oxidative Stress

Exercise is a stress. As a result, it is actually an oxidant and can lead to damage to your cells. Vitamin C has been studied for its role as a powerful antioxidant. In a review looking at oxidative stress in the formation of atherosclerosis, it was discussed that vitamin C reduced many oxidative mechanisms that contributed to atherosclerosis. These included:

~LDL oxidation –> via interacting with the free radicals that would oxidize LDL¬†

~Reduction of the pro-oxidant, radical (oxidized) form of Vitamin E to a safe (reduced) and anti-oxidant version (őĪ-tocopherol).

~Inhibiting leukocytes (immune factors) from binding to epithelial tissues. Adhesion is found to be related to athersclerosis. 

Reducing DOMS?

This one is up in the air right now. This study presented both sides of the argument, but than did their own study to see if DOMS was reduced following eccentric exercises (which have been shown to cause trauma to the fibres and stress). They found that high doses (3g/d) of vitamin C taken 2 weeks prior and 4 days following the exercises decreased their levels of DOM and oxidized glutathione levels in the plasma, which is an indicator of oxidative stress.

So, from all of the research addressed here, there is some support for the use of higher doses of Vitamin C to protect from the negative effects of exercise and thus allow for continued intensity. This is all fine and dandy, but of course there are always going to be studies that show the opposite. This study, for example, presented an argument against taking supplements of vitamin C as it apparently was found to decrease training efficiency due to to allowing for training-stimulated biological adaptations.

So take this with your usual suspicion, but I personally do take it for the proposed antioxidant effects, as I train very intensely and there has been research showing that athletes become depleted due to Vitamin C being used up more quickly.

It is also used up in times of other stress as well, mental and physical. 

Do you take Vitamin C supplements?

Fun Fact. Yes the Orange is often the ‘vitamin C mascot’ but did you know that peppers are actually the highest in this vitamin? Others higher than your oranges are dark greens, broccoli, berries (strawberries) and kiwi. So maybe throw some orange segments in your next spinach salad for a double boost.¬†


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Shots, Shots, Shots…Fitness Friday 23

But not of alcohol…

We touched that last week

This type of shot is great for your body but may burn a bit going down if you’re not like me and actually can stand drinking this stuff straight.

So what am I recommending you take shots of you ask?


Before you turn your noses up at the thought of taking a shot of straight acid vinegar, hear me out. Take a look at all the great benefits:


While we are at it, here’s some studies to check out to back up some of these claims:

Weight loss. Take this one with caution, it is inconclusive as of yet. There is suggestion that it delays gastric emptying, which than may play a contributing role to eating less because of increased duration of satiety.

Blood lipids and Cholesterol. This study found that after 8 weeks of taking ACV, there were significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Furthermore, there was a trend towards increased levels of HDL

Glycemic Control. Some studies have found antiglycemic responses (controlling glucose levels in the blood) when taking even small doses of ACV with a meal.

This review also provides insight into studies looking into cancer, cholesterol, inflammation and antioxidant effects.

Ones that I can personally attest to..

Allergies and Sinuses. I told my Mom to start taking it in the morning and it immediately cleared her sinuses. This has helped to a degree for her migraines, which can be triggered by the pressure associated with mucus build up in the sinuses.

Digestion. My coach has me taking a shot of this before all my main meals (that or lemon juice) and boy does it help! You body uses hydrochloric acid to break down food that you ingest, so by incorporating other natural acids along with meal, you can help aid in digestion. This has really helped me with digestion of higher fats as they are more difficult for the body to break down and used to upset my stomach a lot more. Bloating and heartburn be gone!

Less Yeast. Sorry, TMI for some, but us females tend to be prone to yeast and potential candida infections, so by taking ACV or other natural acids, you can help your body rid itself of these lil nasties. This is because ACV acts as a prebiotic which then leads to growth of healthy flora in the gut to combat invaders. Also, as shown in this study, ACV also acts as an anti fungal. 

So I know the last question you will have is how the hell do you get that stuff down?

Well, if you’re like me, you can just shoot it back straight. If not, you can dilute it with a bit of water OR add a bit of honey if that helps.

It’s only a few tsp¬†(don’t go nuts mmmkay?) so plug your nose and just get’er back, I mean why not? Do it for 2 weeks and see what you notice.

Oh and one final note

You need to buy the raw, unpasteurized one WITH THE MOTHER…


The mother is where all the good stuff is! It contains¬†the¬†living enzymes and nutrients! Cheaper, processed ones are stripped of this vital part so you have to fork out a bit more for these benefits.¬†Heres a lil something quoted¬†from the Bragg’s webpage:

The presence of the mother shows that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed. Vinegars containing the mother contain enzymes and minerals that other vinegars may not contain due to overprocessing, filtration and overheating. [Source]

So if anyone is brave enough to try it out for all these benefits, comment back to me and tell me what you thought or your experiences!

Happy Friday! 


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Boozing My Gains Away…? Fitness Friday 22

Does alcohol really make you fat?

This video inspired this post, yes another one from Jeff Nippard because I’m obsessed with all his research focused training and nutrition talks.

Jeff does a great job of summing up to the answer to the above question so I didn’t really need to add much. I recommend you watch the clip but if you really don’t want to, heres the highlights:

~Physically, the alcohol itself doesn’t not lead to weight gain. Just like other macronutrients (which, no, alcohol is not a nutrient), alcohol does contain calories that need to be accounted for. It has ~7kcal to be exact. So, if we are talking calories, if you take in enough alcohol on top of your food intake to go over your nutrient needs, then yes you can gain weight. But it’s not specifically the alcohol itself, its the fact that you went over your intake.

Remember how much additional calories come from the drink mixes themselves!

~If fat loss is your goal and you want to learn how to ‘factor in’ alcohol to not go over your caloric needs, then Jeff states that it is best to reduce your fat intake (rather than carbs, which some do) to compensate for the alcohol. This swap is easier if your are tracking, as you can simply swap the calories, but if you are like most who don’t track, than just keep in mind to eat a lil bit less fat throughout the day.¬†This doesn’t mean starve yourself! Just go for more filling and voluminous foods¬†that are lower calorie.

~Why fats rather than carbs? Jeff said this nicely, but basically alcohol is treated in the body like a poison and, because of that, it is given top priority¬†for metabolic processing. With that being said, lipid (or fat) oxidation than decreases substantially while the liver is busy with the alcohol, which than makes the fat that you consume more likely to be stored. NOTE it’s the calories from fat being stored, not the calories from alcohol. Carbohydrates are not as easily stored as fat (more so used when they are consumed, unless is excess), and therefore it’s best to focus on fat for caloric compensation.

This is of course not necessarily a big issue if you are in a deficit as then storage is not an issue. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 9.37.15 PM.png

~While alcohol doesn’t seem to affect testosterone significantly, it does in fact negatively affect protein synthesis. If you are considering recovery from training, Jeff gave a percentage of about 37% from a study looking at the effect of alcohol on post training muscle protein synthesis. That same study did find that if you supplemented with protein shortly after training that this effect is somewhat stunted (down to 24%), but it is something to keep in mind for effective recovery.

Disclaimer: Jeff provided all of the studies in his video for the things and papers he discussed, so if you want references, see his video

So what does all this say?

Alcohol doesn’t technically make you gain weight any easier than another macronutrient, provided you don’t go into a caloric surplus due to your consumption. It can affect your recovery the next day if you were to train via affecting muscle protein synthesis to a degree. He also commented on the other factors of recovery that may be negatively affected such as cognitive function which would impact your performance.

What I take from that is the fact that you will probably go into your workout and have a crappy lift because you lack concentration, are probably dehydrated and most definitely just aren’t feeling on par.¬†If¬†you cannot push as hard or reach the same intensity, your overall session will not be optimal. That’s just the way it is.

That being said, once and a while you really don’t have to worry. It’s not going to affect you in the long run. However, you may want to think about it more if you happen to go drinking all weekend long starting Thursday night and are wanting to ‘make gains.’

Another paper to take a peek at is this one by Suter and Tremblay (2005) as they discussed the associations between the degree of consumption and weight gain. They talked about the alcohol vs. alcohol calories point in addition to the fact that it appears that alcohol creates a potential for positive fat gain due to reduced fat oxidation and thus causing excess fat calories to than be more likely to be stored. This stored was also notably more in the abdominal area.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I have a very happy Friday friends!



No Whey?!? Fitness Friday 21

My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…

How much protein do I need to¬†get swole…

When do I take my protein¬†to get swole…

What is the best protein to¬†get me¬†swole…


Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share¬†these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE). ¬†Perhaps¬†it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.

1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein

No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake¬†every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.


protein types.png

Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.

Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.

So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.

On that topic…

Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.

veg protein.png

….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…


Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.

As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.

…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough.¬†

2. What about timing?

So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?


Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..

But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.

…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..

Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!

Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..

timing.pngIn this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.

Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate¬†muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it¬†will be sent to where it needs to be.¬†

One final interesting finding…

Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.


RE= resistance exercise, so what they are saying is that you may have less of a time to get in the adequate nutrition to fully take advantage of the muscle protein synthesis response (MPS)

I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.

Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a¬†highly debated set of numbers right here.


Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the¬†higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…

But that’s just my thoughts.

And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I¬†still¬†believe¬†that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh.¬†

Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend

Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.



Sunday Link-Love

Happy Lazy Sunday Friends. I thought I would jump in on this lil blogger favourite as I happened to come across some interesting reads and listens over the past few days. Thought I would share them and my thoughts associated with their content. Hope you enjoy.

1. Your Child is a Brat and it’s Your Fault.

I have often mentioned that I think that this generation is a disrespectful and entitled bunch and this read brings up some good points as to why that may be. There may be some extremes listed here, but in general I think the main point

Parents are spending more time with their kids then ever (in the form of hovering), but that time is the wrong kind of time.

Sometimes parents need to stop worrying about upsetting their child or being their protector and be their parent and teach them some responsibility. Charging into a principles office following their child getting a bad grade leads to children thinking they don’t have to work hard, daddy will take care of it if I don’t do well. Bargaining with a child and saying if you do X I will buy you Y doesn’t teach them responsibility. Things like chores are just done. That’s that. Plain and simple.

2. Fuck Fat Loss

Pardon my french, but this is in fact true. Ever wonder why things like diets and new years/September resolutions don’t stick? Well it’s because we are obsessed with superficial things like fat loss as a main motivation.

You do not have to always be on a diet or think about burning calories or revolving your life around some bullshit regimen that is too impractical to be sustained beyond a few weeks.

You need something more internal to sustain anything. Working out is hard. Making sure your diet is on point while you are working a full time job and wanting a life can be hard too. Body composition changes take time and so if that is your sole reason for making changes in your life, guess what, those changes are not going to happen fast enough for you to use that as the driving force.

Obsessing over fat loss is effective for one thing: Making women increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies.

As it mentioned in the article, if obsessing over fat loss was actually giving results, than perhaps it would be something recommended to do, but it doesn’t. It does however cause disordered eating, stress, potentially eating disorders and unnecessary restriction.

So take a piece of advice from this article and eat and workout for YOU and your health, not just to loose a few inches. Make that fat loss a SIDE EFFECT and not the main goal.

3. Sigma Nutrition Podcasts

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This is a site full of great research and expert based podcasts on a number of interesting topics related to fitness and nutrition. If you are gym rat or nutrition knowledge-seeker like myself, then this is definitely a site to check out. Some of the ones that I have enjoyed thus far include topics on…

~Exercise-Induced GI Distress and the Impact of Gluten and FODMAPs on Athletic Performance

~Hypothalamic Amernorrhea

And this one is next up for a listen

~Role of Micronutrients on Mental Health and Psychiatric Disorders. 

Cool stuff!

4. Latest Interview from Jeff Nippard

You all know how much I love Em Dunc and so I was excited to listen to her words of (very young!) wisdom. She is such a powerful, positive and insightful person to listen to. She takes life my the reins and goes full speed towards her dreams. She makes mistakes and only uses those to fuel her fire and learn more about herself.

“If you fail at something…don’t be that person that it defeats. Be that person that it fuels.”

The famous line of the interview…

“[regarding prep] you go from being a baguette to a breadstick.”¬†

5. Nia Shanks Twitter Feed

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This lovely lady is the leader of the “Lift Like a Girl” movement that we have seen more recently. I’m no feminist, but I do enjoy female empowerment, especially in the gym! I just came across her profile and have just been enjoying her tweets.

It’s perfectly OK to finish a workout saying “Hell yeah, I did that!” It should build you up, not tear you down. Exercise is not punishment.

Ever wonder what you could experience and achieve if you didn’t allow fear of the “what-ifs” hold you back?

Well those are what have been catchin my eye over the past few days. Hope at least one of them interests you and can give you some insight or inspiration.

Take on the new week with passion and drive! 


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Caffeine-Free Buzz…Fitness Friday 16

My friends!

Welcome back to another round of Fitness Friday! Last week I had mentioned that we were going to discuss something erotic, but of the natural variety and, well, here she is. The star of the discussion today is…

Maca Powder.

This ain’t no one trick pony though, oh no! She doesn’t just help with sexual health, but she may help with a whole host of other things..

BUT before we get into those, lets first explain what the heck this powder is.

What is Maca exactly?

As taken from this book, ¬†Maca is found in South America, Peru specifically, and is a root vegetable¬†that comes from the same family as many coniferous veggies such as cauliflower, turnips, cabbage,¬†and broccoli. It looks very much like a beet in shape (as you can see from the image above). It grows in extremely harsh conditions and apparently¬†the volcanic soils in this environment are very mineral rich, which then lends itself to the superior ‘powers’ of this vegetable.

What was it used for?

Traditionally it was used by the Peruvians for food and medicinal purposes with one of the main uses being a fertility supplement for both men and women. As a food supplement, maca is rich in antioxidants, minerals (such as magnesium, phosphorous, iron, calcium) and fiber and it very easy for the body to digest. This last part made it great for helping to treat those who were malnourished, were elderly or very young (Source).

Random facts from the book once again for this nutrition powerhouse:

~Taking size into perspective, maca actually has more calcium than milk

~Due to the fiber, it helps to keep people regular

~It contains almost 60 different phytonutrients (compounds found in plants that promote good health)

What do we know about it now?

Maca has been found to have quite a number of important properties! Here are some of the major ones that have been identified and actually looked into:


Very generally speaking, adaptogens are those that support your body’s ability to adapt to stress. A 2008 study by Brook’s and colleagues found that when post-menopausal women were supplemented with 3.5g of maca per day (that is less than a tsp), their psychological scores related to anxiety and depression were significantly lower then the placebo group.

Libido Enhancer 

Sexual desire has also been something that maca appears to enhance. In a study by Stone et al (2009), male athletes were supplemented with maca root or given a placebo and than assessed for changes in sexual desire. Following a 14 day period, those who were supplemented with the maca had significantly higher desire compared to their initial assessment while also being significantly higher then those given the placebo


The Peruvians noticed that not only did maca increase the number of offspring in their cattle, but the same boost in fertility also seemed to show in humans. Although most of more recent studies looking into such effect are in animals (for example here, showing higher sperm counts in male mice, here for increases in litter sizes in females mice), there are a few human studies that show positive effects of maca use in both females and males. A nice review was done of both animal and human studies here.

Other potential benefits?

Help with osteoporosis, used as a natural stimulant, contributes to balancing hormones, possible link to cancer fighting properties, and many more. See here

Of course, we must talk about fitness here, SO what about it’s properties in athletes?


Maca has been found to increase stamina and endurance in human subjects. Looking back at the study on male athletes (they were cyclists) by Stone and colleagues, when supplemented with maca, the males significantly improved on their 40km time compared to their baseline testing.

So as you can see, maca has gotten quite a lot of attention¬†for many potential benefits in humans. Although it’s still heavily in the research stage, anecdotal evidence suggests that it does promote well being in people¬†who use it. Completely not necessary for good health, but perhaps something to try as a natural boost to stamina, attention and sexual health.

As to how you use it…

It is strong stuff guys. Most tend to throw it in a smoothie or something to that nature as it’s strong flavour and smell will be more manageable.¬†Otherwise, if you’re willing to take a risk like me and just throw in a shot glass with your other morning concoction ingredients, be my guest. Just start in slow is all I can say.

So that’s that for this week friends. Have a great weekend!

Ever tried maca before?

How do you use it?



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Burn Baby Burn..All Da Fat. Fitness Friday 7

My friends,

What do you think one annoying thing about our generation is?

For me I think it’s the lack of respect and general politeness. No, this isn’t mean to say that I think EVERYONE my age is disrespectful and has no manners but it is a trend I see more and more and it’s…annoying.

The other day for instance, I held¬†the door open for this guy walking behind me (maybe the same age or slightly older then me). Well, not only did he basically schmooze his way through the door, but he didn’t say a word and didn’t even grab the door!

Like no worries bud, I’m just here to hold the door for you and make sure your Royal Highness behind gets through the door unscathed.


holding door

Sorry rant over. That’s just one huge pet peeve of mine.

Anyways, onto the main topic which is…

Fitness Friday! 

This weeks topic is something I’m not sure many people would dabble with but if you are like me and watch da ‘Tube, you have probably heard quite a lot of people in prep use them.


I honestly see no use in them. Waste of money in my opinion and here is why I say that. Let me break it down mmmmkay?

What are they supposed to do?

Quoted from a paper done by Jeukendrup and Randell (2011):

The term ‚Äėfat burner‚Äô is used to describe nutrition supplements that are claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or somehow cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism.

Basically, many are advertised to “melt” the fat from the body. Need a quick fix get rid of that stubborn fat? Take a fat burner.

Who takes them?

Often, as I mentioned, you tend to see them a lot in bodybuilding competition preps. In fact, out of the list of supplements that bodybuilders tend to use, during a cutting phase (weight/fat loss phase) fat burners were found to be up to 20% of the total money spent on supplements and females were much more likely to have them in their ‘stack’ (Brill and Keane, 1994). In fact, it was found that up to 66% of females (vs. 45% of males) were using them during a cut in a study done by Brill and Keane (1994). Although this study was older, I¬†would be quite shocked if the numbers went down. Instead, it wouldn’t surprise me if the numbers went up as that push for¬†the leanest physique possible has not¬†reduced in any way.

So if they are taken mostly by those in prep, why write out it for the public?

Well because we are very influenced by who we watch. Also, image is becoming more and more of a health hazard these days and it seems that this drive for thinness leads to many ‘everyday’ individuals taking extreme measures to try to gain an edge.

I want to debunk the notion that fat burners will lead you to achieving your leanest self and also show you that they can actually be harmful.

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Jeukendrup and Randell (2011) –> Mechanisms of fat burners.¬†

So now that I have basically said that they are crap…let me present you with some more research because I can’t just be all talk right?

Jeukendrup and Randell (2011)

They did a review on some of the common fat burners on the market and here’s what they had to say:

~Caffeine: Has been shown to increase fat oxidation, resting metabolic rate and thermogenesis in studies. Although this has been found, they noted that the effects of this substance alone may not be potent enough to cause any major increase in weight loss. Instead, it appears that weight loss may only occur if other stimulants were added to the mix (they noted a study introducing ephedrine to the caffeine group).

This caffeine-ephedrine mix is something I have seen used before, please do not. They are both stimulants and can stress the heart. 

~L-Carnitine: This is something that your body makes naturally and helps to shuttle fatty acids to where they need to go to be oxidized (or broken down). The thought is that if you take more, you will burn more fat. This has not been supported in research. The muscles do not increase in their concentration after taking a supplemental form and therefore have no increased effect on oxidation rates.

~Green Tea Extract: Hello Dr. Oz….Anywho studies are very mixed here. If there are increases¬†in the oxidation rates, they may be confounded with other things likes caffiene intake. Also, another issue with studying the effects of green tea extract is the active ingredient concentrations may vary and that may also have an effect. Specially mentioned was the interest in the levels of EGCG, or a specific type of catechin polyphenol. Studies found that when levels of this particular active ingredient were higher, oxidation rates at rest were higher. The issue is the amounts were quite large in most of these studies and they are not sure if caffeine was needed or not to show this effect.

~CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): This appears to be a new favourite on the market. It is an isomer of the Omega-6 family of fatty acids and is said to have an increased effect on lipolysis, fatty acid oxidation, decrease lipogenesis, etc. Animal studies have shown promise but it is really not the same story in humans. Of the few studies that have been done on humans, the best is a modest change in body composition (specifically this study listed 0.05kg loss/week and is that really only from the CLA?), so really, is it worth your money?

Bondi (2009) took a look into athletes and had a few things to say about the supplement industry…

~Athletes who need to lose weight may want to use fat burners to expedite the weight loss. The majority of these products are useless; however, some may be harmful, such as ephedra, which is a central nervous system stimulant.

~Caffeine was not found to be a thermogenic and green tea extracts are often compounds of both phytonutrients (EGCG) + caffeine and still their effectiveness is extremely limited.

~Other products with claims to burn fat (but don’t) are Chitosan (13), L-carnitine (21), and Chromium (22).

 You said they were possibly harmful?

Krishna (2011) –> described a case of liver failure in a young women with no liver issues previously due to¬†severe hepatotoxicity, with a particular focus on Usnic acid. Many feel that more ‘natural’ products can’t cause harm, but they can in fact show some adverse consequences if taken irresponsibly or mixed with other supplements. Green tea extracts have even shown adverse liver effects in when in capsule forms.

Bonci (2009) –> Listed the potential harmful effects of too much caffeine including more mild ones like irritability, jitters, etc to more severe such as tachycardia, tremors, and so forth.

So, what do you think? Some of these things may have some limiting effects long term, but most are so understudied that we have no idea what they do. From the studies we do have, they don’t show much (and are the things involved?) and if they did the doses are high. The other issue is that higher doses can cause toxicity issues and unfortunately I see these types of products as things that would be abused by people.

My take. Don’t waste you money, and quite frankly, avoid.



Fitness Friday Four 5/20..Starvin..Err Fasted.. Cardio

Hey Friends,

I got a lot of great feedback from last weeks topic so thank you so much for all your comments and shares! I’m so glad that it helped you all out!

Special mention to¬†Laura from Sprint To The Table (If you’re a foodie I know you know of her but here’s her site if you live under a rock :-P) said she felt like they were helping Vegas’s¬†(her wife) stomach issues so I’m so happy that I could share that piece of info here.

Oh, and Laura, if you read this post, I challenge to to a Strange But Good twist on a gummy ūüėČ

So hopefully this week’s topic also comes in handy and is informative. This is¬†something that I think a lot of people wonder about when watching¬†some individuals during their prep.

To ‘fasted cardio” or not to ‘fasted cardio’

That is the question.

The answer?

There are no special benefits to it. 

I think the interest and the trend of fasted cardio started to become “a thing” when people in prep started doing it more and more. Many people, when asked why they did¬†it, would say that they are training their body to use fat because in the morning your glycogen (stored glucose) is lower and so when you exercise, you would be switching to using fat and therefore basically¬†melting dat fat away..

Or something like that.

Well the research says otherwise. Well actually, it really says it doesn’t do anything at all.

Brad Schoenfeld (2011) –> He did a review (found here) on current literature and found a few things. First, individuals doing cardiovascular actives fasted vs. with a meal in them did not show significantly difference fat utilization. In other words, going in on an empty tank doesn’t mean you just start to burn all the fat. Second, and a major point, is that on top of the fact that it didn’t show a¬†difference, those going in empty may not be able to train at an equal intensity due to fatigue. As a result they may actually have worse results due to not being able to work as effectively. Lastly, if you are trying to maximize muscle gains, be wary as protein losses during fasted cardio are quite large¬†(according to his findings).

The bandwagon is lead by blind horses

Oh Alan Aragon….One of the kings in the Nutrition/Bodybuilding world. This guy should be taken note of as he actually reads le science.

He’s actually got a good sense of humour to him too.

Anyways, he wrote a post (found here and includes the earlier bandwagon heading) on fasted cardio and this is what he brought to the table:

~In the 68% group, no difference in fat oxidation was seen whether subjects were fasted or fed throughout the trial. 

~Pre & during-training carbs increased performance ‚Äď and there was no difference in total fat oxidation between the fasted and fed subjects. Despite the elevated insulin levels in the carb-fueled groups, there was no difference in fat availability or fat utilization.

~Carbohydrate during exercise spares liver glycogen, which is among the most critical factors for anticatabolism during hypocaloric & other conditions of metabolic stress. This protective hepatic effect is absent in fasted cardio

Interesting stuff eh?

One final article I will present (as there are so many saying how insignificant it is) to you also includes the aftermath of fed vs. fasted aerobic exercise on fat utilization.

Marlee Finkelstein (2015) did a summary of a few studies including one that found that the utilization of fat as a major fuel source 12 to 24 hours post-exercise is significantly higher in the FED states when compared to fasted ones. She also highlighted this fact:

In order to perform at an optimal level, it is recommended to eat before exercise. If you don’t,¬†the fuel source¬†comes from your precious muscles (protein), not fat. Rather than worrying whether to eat or not, focus on¬†what you should be¬†eating.

So yeah, like I said, I could give you humpteen journals, studies, etc that talk about how insignificant fasted cardio is in terms of fat loss. This is an old myth that needs to be shoved in the closet. Overall, the research tells us that:

1. You don’t see a significant differences in weight loss and/or fat utilization between fed and unfed states during aerobic training.

2. Fasted cardio is risky if muscle building is what you’re looking to achieve.

3. You’re deprived self may be hindering your progress as the lack of energy may mean you don’t train with the intensity that you need to stimulate the muscles enough for your goals.

I will close with yet another statement from Alan because I just love his stuff and he just makes actual sense.

Athletes are known for their gravitation towards self-sacrifice, but some rely on hearsay, while others rely on science. Did you know that way back in the 60’s, it wasn’t uncommon for coaches to tell athletes in various sports to avoid drinking water before and during training? No comment needed. 

Basically, we often follow things that we don’t actually know the WHY behind them. Oh I see others do it and they get results. Or thats just what you do. OR Look at him, he’s in great shape so obviously he’s doing something right.

Stop following along and educate yourself or you are doing unnecessary work, or worse yet, harm to yourself.

As a final disclaimer (to cover all my bases), if you personally feel better training (I would say running is the major thing I’m getting at here) on empty then so be it. What I’m saying is there is no benefit of fasted cardio to body composition.

To each their own, but now you know.

What do you think?