Saturday, February 6, 2016

With nutrition and dieting, there's no middle ground.


If you want to stretch your legs out in a discussion wrought with more tension and shit slinging than one of those "who's the baby daddy?" episodes from Jerry Springer, then go find one related to nutrition or dieting somewhere on the net.  Let me tell you something, it's a topic that can cause people to threaten bodily harm and/or sodomizing someone's mother if you don't choose a side.  And by a "side" I mean it can be as simple as "brown vs white".  

I know that sounds like some kind of gang war about to rage in Los Angeles but in this context I'm just referring to rice.  

I've watched this play out over the past twenty plus years and without fail, the problem is almost always extremes.  What starts off as a good idea, ends up morphing into something perverted or bizarre in a way that could be likened to how Chris Hemsworth might end up looking like Eric Stoltz from the movie Mask.  

Same idea

Decades ago, guys used diets fairly high in carbohydrates and very low in fat to get lean and shredded.  It worked.  In fact, in my opinion, the bodybuilders from the 90's sported a level of conditioning and hardness seldom seen now.  Generally, they whittled down their caloric intake over the course of 12 to 16 weeks, and got into low single digit bodyfat, eating carbs the whole time. 

Seemed simple enough.  

Now of course, during this time, fat was seen as bad.  Not just bad.  But "listen fucker, if you eat any fat you're going to have a heart attack at 19 years old." bad.  

Doctors said this.  Scientists said this.  The news was reporting it.  The morgue was filled to the brim with corpses of young men and women in their late teens and early twenties who rebelled against the USDA food pyramid and died from massive myocardial infarction.  Fat was worse than crack or heroin.  Even worse, it was legal!  

The pyramid of death!


Everything was low fat.  Or there was at least a low fat version of everything.  Even half n' half had no fat versions (still does, and it freaks me out).  Somehow, we decided to take a delicious cream - which is mostly fat - and make a non-fat version of it.  

Companies were very proud to announce what products they made were low in fat.  Cereal boxes had "low in fat" stamped right there on the front of the box.  

No shit, Sherlock.  You mean Wheaties isn't made from fucking lard?  I was clueless until you added that bit of information on the front of the box.  

So fat was bad.  All fat was bad.  The USDA said we were getting fatter and fat was to blame.  I mean this makes sense, right?  Of course it does.  The word fatter, fattest, fatty, etc all have the root word "fat".  That's fucking science.  Spelling.  Grammar can't be wrong.  

It was decided.  Fat was to blame.  And fat should be abolished and eliminated from as many foods and diets as possible.  

But then one day......suddenly....fat was good.  And carbs were bad.  

It was that Monday Night Raw where suddenly Hulk Hogan turned heel, and the Undertaker showed up to save the day.

What the fuck was going on?  

"Carbs are bad!"

"They are?"

"Yes!  Carbohydrates fucking kills you.  It makes you fat as shit, and kills you."

"It does?"

"Yes!  Look at all this science!"

"Fuck my life, I've been eating all these carbs!  I'm going to become obese any minute now and kill right over!"

"Here!  Quick!  Eat some fats!"

"But the food pyramid......"

"That was a lie!  It was all about making farmers rich!"

"But farmers struggle a lot of the time, and are mostly good people."

"That's CIA and NSA government bullshit.  Farmers have been making trillions of dollars and drive Bentley's when you're not looking.  They farm all these grains to kill you."

"I believe you."  

So now, carbs were the root cause for obesity.  After all, somehow there was a study that showed you could trace back obesity to the designing of the Egyptian food pyramids and/or that we suddenly got fat because people were told eating wheat bread was "perfectly fine".  

Nevermind that, once again, bodybuilders got into single digit bodyfat using diets that were quite often, 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fat in regards to macros.  

Now, fats were good.  And carbs were the enemy.  

But just like the low fat craze, carbs now had to be eliminated.  That meant the war on sugar, grains, wheat, and candy had arrived.  Terminators had to be unleashed.  Lest we eat some carbs and instantly awake to hardened arteries and Mount Everest high triglycerides.  

Science of course, had plenty of data behind this.  All the way back to the fall of man.  After all, it was a god damn carb source that caused it.  Eve gave Adam some fruit.  A carbohydrate.

Had she given him salmon, full of omega 3's, we're still living in a grand utopia filled with the love and grace of God, and Satan is all like "fuck those Salmon.  Apples are delicious!"  

What made this worse was, people would drop carbs, lose some water and glycogen weight in a few days, and proclaim that indeed, it was all the carbs that was making them fat.  

Now it was ok to eat all the fats.  In fact, fats are what our ancestors ate.  And they were like 372 years old now, and had been living off of bacon grease and Marlboro's all these years.  So fat was amazing.  We needed higher fat diets.  We needed less sugar and carbohydrates.  

All those companies that were so proud to announce that their products were low in fat, now made low carb versions of everything.  And the people who lost weight on low carb diets became carbophobic.  Ketogenic diets became popular again, and people thought (no seriously I've had this talk) that so long as you eliminated carbs, you could eat all the protein and fat you wanted, and you would lose weight.  

No longer did you have to actually worry about calories.  It was really just eliminating a particular food source/macro.  The one Satan used of course, and you could eat and eat and eat and eat and you'd just lose weight and fat and be healthy as fuck.

Then there was the "zone" diet.  Which said "ok, hold the fuck up.  Carbs are ok.  In blocks."

"What's a block?"

"It's a god damn portion size.  But we define it in grams."

"Why couldn't you just say a portion?"

"Because that wouldn't make it Zoney."

"Ok.  How do I do this?"

"Do you do Crossfit?"

"No."

"Then fuck off."

Somewhere in there, Paleo sprung up, and told us to REALLY be healthy, it was indeed ok to eat carbs.  So long as they were the carbs our ancestors ate. 

Like sweet potatoes, or paleo pancakes or paleo cookies.  Then, carbs were fine.  Because cavemen made pancakes.  And they were healthy AF too.  

"Cavemen were healthy AF?"

"Yes, of course they were healthy as fuck.  They lived an average lifespan to about their mid 30's."

"That doesn't sound very long."

"You're questioning your elders?"

"No, I mean, I'm already 38.  I just saw my doctor and he said my health was fine."

"Does he do Crossfit?"

"No."

"Then fuck off."

Like most nutrition or dietary ideas, Paleo initially had good intentions.  Until the rest of the population got a hold of it.

Then it went from "hey, eat some meats, fruits, nuts, and veggies" to serious retardation about what you could or could not eat.  

"You can't eat peanuts."

"I can't?"

"No.  Peanuts are not a nut.  But a legume."  

"But I mean, it comes from the Earth."

"It doesn't matter.  Cavemen wouldn't have eaten them."

"................................................."

So then of course Paleo morphed into all sorts of variations and people ended up more confused about what was and what was not really Paleo.  Paleo civil wars ensued.  That's right, there were arguments within the single nutritional Paleo community as to who supported slavery and who wanted to abolish it.

Wait, wrong civil war.  Oh yeah, we were on Paleo.  

Either you're with Ironman, or you're with Cap.  Fucking decide.  Peanuts.  Or no peanuts.  Suit up.

The IIFYM crowd did the same thing.  What started off as a great concept, was eventually bastardized by some people who somehow arrived at the conclusion that there was no difference in Oreos and broccoli.  That's not even a joke.  Someone really wrote that in regards to their competition prep.  Food composition mattered basically, not at all.  There was virtually no difference in doughnuts and rice.

Tons of tons of testimonials poured in from guys who stepped onstage at 175 pounds talking about how they ate ice cream all the way up until their show.  And called Olympia competitors who only ate select food sources "brotards" with no understanding of science.  In fact, one well known "guru" said in regards to people who didn't "understand" IIFYM....."you can't fix stupid."

Way to be a leader.  

I mean it even got to a point where IIFYM founder and CEO Alan Aragon had to chime in about it all....





I guess that settles that.

Fasting was a rage was a while too.  If you wanted to get really lean and shredded, just don't eat for as long as possible.  Then eat like, the whole day's worth of food in twenty-two minutes.  Or something like that.  

Seems legit and logical.  Funny enough, I've never seen a single impressive physique that used such a method.  I wonder why?  Oh maybe because, not eating for 16 hours doesn't bode well for either performance or muscle building.  I mean, I know that sounds like alien concept but I swear, I thought food was needed in order to grow.  But the intermittent fasting crowd, led by cult leader and alien faced Martin Berkhan, cherry picked select studies to show that well, meal frequency didn't matter at all.  Total calories in a day, whether through one meal or twenty two meals, had the same effect on body composition (nevermind this study showed the opposite).  But it wasn't enough to fast for say, 10 hours.  No things got fucking bananas and even before IF I believe, there was a warrior diet.  Where you ate one god damn time a day.  Not only that, but food selection was limited.

The idea?  You needed to stress your body as much as possible.  

We need stress. (The good kind, that is.) “Every living organism has something called a ‘stress-response mechanism,’” Hofmekler explains. “It’s a system that must be exercised; if your stress response is inadequate or inhibited, you’ll be prone to health risks.“

Stressing the body, for example, builds muscle: stimulate your muscle fibers, ligaments, and nervous system and your body will respond and grow. Do that a few thousand times, and you’ll look like a Greek God.

“The fact that you are fitness-oriented and training regularly shows that you are tuned to stress,” Hofmekler explains. “But when I introduced this concept of dietary stress, it was heresy.”

The Warrior Diet introduced nutritional stress, not by restricting total calories, but by cycling periods of fasting or under-eating for over 12 hours—or sometimes 16—a day. “With these short-term fasts, you trigger stress response agents,” says Hofmekler. “These are stress protein, heat shock proteins, certain kinds of enzymes, and anti-inflammatory and immune molecules that practically search and destroy every weak element in your body.”

Eating every two hours or eating six meals a days, however, isn’t stressful on your body. Following a regular schedule and avoiding hunger is the opposite.

“If you exercise,” says Hofmekler, “you can see how physical stress benefits the body. For the Warrior Diet, I concluded that humans are programmed especially to thrive under stress, not the other way.”


Reading that whole thing made me think of Dave Tate talking about how calf work was the key to a big bench press.  He started talking about leg drive, and how leg drive was a huge factor in big benching.  Therefore, it all started at the calves.  So the stronger your calves were, the more leg drive you would have, thus you'd bench more.  His point behind it was, if you're smart enough, you can bullshit people into believing just about anything.  No one ever increased their fucking bench press by getting stronger calves.  But this didn't mean you couldn't make people believe that if you were a great con artist, and they were really, really gullible.  

DON'T EAT ALL DAY AND YOU'LL LOOK LIKE A GREEK GOD!!!!!!!!  

I bet money some POW survivors would disagree.  

But once again I digress because someone is going to talk about how much they love IF or the warrior diet and how they lost a zillion pounds on it by not eating all day.

Read that a few times and let it sink in.

Look, at the end of the day (I sort of hate that phrase now), the reason why all of this goes on, the arguing and disputes, is because dieting and nutrition is both simple, and complex at the same time.

The simple aspects of it - 

1.  If you need to lose fat, you need a calorie deficit.
2.  If you need to gain weight/mass, you need a calorie surplus.

I think we can all pretty much agree there.

However the complexities arise when you start factoring in the laws of individuality, the degree of development in the athlete, what their goals are, and what their preferences are.

But lots of "broscience" has been proven to be true over the years in regards to gaining muscle, losing fat, and/or retaining mass while doing the latter.  

Such as..........



Conclusions: Our results showed that, during a marked energy deficit, consumption of a diet containing 2.4 g protein · kg−1 · d−1 was more effective than consumption of a diet containing 1.2 g protein · kg−1 · d−1 in promoting increases in LBM and losses of fat mass when combined with a high volume of resistance and anaerobic exercise. Changes in serum cortisol were associated with changes in body fat and LBM, but did not explain much variance in either measure.

We knew this decades ago already.

In other words, it wasn't just about calories in vs calories out when it came to building mass/retaining lean mass, and fat loss.  Higher protein diets did a better job of promoting muscle gain or muscle retention while fat was being lost.  And we've seen this anecdotally for decades now.  

Yet arguments still rage.  

Ultimately, the best diet is the one that you can apply on a consistent basis that promotes good health, increases lean mass, promotes fat loss, and doesn't cause you to end up with some kind of eating disorder.  Despite all we know through science and even through anecdotal evidence, people have to find their own way.  I know that sounds like some David Carradine Kung Fu bullshit, but ultimately it's true.   I mean, a diet is only as good as your consistency with it.  If you can't do low carb, then do a higher carb diet.  You can get lean eating higher carbs so long as your calories are in check.  

If you like keto, and feel great on it, do it.  But if your goal is to build muscle that is going to be a difficult diet to do it with.  

If you like zone, make it work.  Work your little blocks.  

If you like Paleo, eat Paleo.  Just don't get extreme and absurd about it.  And stop calling it Paleo if you're making pancakes with it.  Just say you're eating like a normal human being.

Most of the time, especially when it comes to eating/dieting/nutrition - the best answers somehow usually fall somewhere in the area of moderation, unless you're dieting for say a bodybuilding competition.  I mean, that's just been my observation.  Eat some carbs, some good fats, get your protein in.  Reduce calories to lose some fat, eat some extra calories to build some muscle.  Make most of your food choices based around natural foods, but don't become neurotic and believe that cocoa pebbles or a pop-tart now and then is going to kill you or make you fat overnight.  Likewise, don't think they the same god damn things as asparagus or sweet potatoes.

To me, all of the above seems easy and logical.  But I suppose logic and reason isn't fashionable or isn't worn as well these days as it was decades ago when guys just followed some fairly simple guidelines and got jacked or shredded.  Now complexity is sexy AF and the more confusing and extreme a diet or nutrition plan is, the more exposure it gets. 

 Funny enough, I had a conversation a while back with a guy who is one of the smartest dudes I've ever known about nutrition.  Both educationally, and in practical terms.  You know what he told me?

"The food pyramid is just fine.  There's nothing wrong with it.  It's become demonized for absolutely no reason.  If you just adjust your calories with it, it works quite well."

I'm sure that will create a fucking declaration of war in some way, shape, or form.  Funny though, my diet looks a lot like the food pyramid right now, and I'm leaner than ever.  My blood work came back this week the best it's been in years.

Somehow, I'm defying the laws of the Egyptian food pyramid of death.  Wish me luck.


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Friday, January 29, 2016

Exogenous ketones, how the hell did I get here, and who are these people?

This article is about seven months in the making.  So if I don't bore you, which I do my best not to (like writing 6,000 word articles on something as trivial as butt wink), then I hope you'll hang in there long enough to get through this one.  As it took me months of arguing, seeing both anecdotal results and reading a metric ass load of studies, and hearing about a hundred overwhelming testimonials to finally sit down and write this.

Rewind about seven months ago to one day in the gym.  I was just about to finish up my training session when this woman I sorta-kinda knew approached me.

Mind out of the gutter guys...not in that way.

She asked me what I thought of ketogenic diets.

"Not really a big fan.  Good for fat loss, but outside of that I'm not a fan."

"What if I told you I was involved with a company making exogenous ketones?"

"Ok, and?" I shrugged.

"Do you know much about ketones?"  she asked, in a rather smart ass way.

"Yes I know about ketones."

"Well" she smirked "this is a supplement you can take, pee on a stick and it shows you are using ketones for energy."

"Ok." I said, in about the most lukewarm manner you could reply to someone with.

"You don't find that fascinating?"

"Oh yes, peeing my pants over here."

I can't remember if that's what I said, but it was something to that effect.  Either way, I wasn't impressed nor enthralled by her information.  Who the fuck cares about ketones?

A few weeks later a friend of mine she was working with that was preparing for a men's bikini competition asked me the same series of questions.  Once again, my response was a lukewarm "I don't give a shit" kind of one.

"Dude, they are awesome." he said.

"How so?" I asked.

"Just the focus and energy you get from them.  I'm pretty depleted from dieting, and when I take them I have plenty of energy to train, feel really focused...not like a preworkout but just, really focused."

I looked down at my temperature gauge again to check the reading.

"Lukewarm" it read.

I yawned.

Still, somehow he convinced me to at least come have a sit down with the two of them later in the week to learn about this product.  I relented to be a decent friend and agreed to the meeting.  I also am a social creature by nature, and I never bypass and opportunity make someone exceptionally uncomfortable if I have the chance to do so.

Once there, I believe I remember being about as repulsive as possible in order to turn her off in regards to my interest in said product.

Then I basically ignored the information about the product and talked about banging hookers in the Caribbean, or something like that, in order to make her think I was a total pig and not worth working with.

Let me be clear, I've never ever ever banged a hooker in the Caribbean.  Only in Vegas.

I'm joking.  Yes, I'm f'ing joking.  My point was, at that time, to come across as an asshole (you know this isn't hard for me) in order to make her leave me alone.

What I did not know was that she was quite used to dealing with a variety of people....including assholes...and that my 11 scale asshole meter didn't have as much of an effect on her as I wanted it to.  In other words, she kept bothering me to at least try this stupid product out or read about it.

You have no idea how annoying she was.  I'm not being facetious here.   Remember being a kid, and your sibling would keep touching you or hitting you, and mom or pops would tell them to stop "touching you"?  Then they would get as close to you as possible, without actually touching you.

That annoying.

I have no idea how this happened but she managed to get me on a call with another guy in the company and we chatted about this thing, and then he mentioned a name to me that changed everything.

"Patrick Arnold is involved...."

At that point, they had my full attention.

You see, Patrick is a god damn genius.  And he's not going to be involved with anything that isn't legit as fuck.

Now I was listening.

The major component to this product was BHB, beta-hydroxybutyrate, with some MCT oil added in to slow down the digestion rate as they had found in testing, without something to slow the digestive rate, well, people's stomachs didn't feel so great.  We will just leave it at that.

Just to science-wiki you real quickly.......

In humans, beta-hydroxybutyrate is synthesized in the liver from acetoacetate, the first ketone produced in the fasting state. The biosynthesis is catalyzed by the enzyme beta-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase.

Although not a ketone itself, the concentration of beta-hydroxybutyrate, like that of other ketone bodies, is raised in ketosis. This elevated beta-hydroxybutyrate level seen in ketosis is naturally expected due to the fact that, as mentioned above, it is formed from acetoacetate. The compound can be used as an energy source by the brain when blood glucose is low.[1] Diabetic patients can have their ketone levels tested via urine or blood to indicate diabetic ketoacidosis. In alcoholic ketoacidosis, this ketone body is produced in greatest concentration. Both types of ketoacidosis result in an increase beta-hydroxybutyrate to oxaloacetate ratio, resulting in TCA cycle stalling and shifting of glucose towards ketone body production.


I also learned on the call that Toney Freeman was involved and was raving about the product as well.  Basically saying all the same stuff my friend was.  The focus, the added energy, appetite suppression, a more balanced mood, and just a more overall feeling of "well being."

My initial thoughts were actually, that if this was an energy source that could be used then competitors in depletion stages might see a benefit from it.  The last few weeks before a bodybuilding competition, most people are zombies from the severe starvation, and the excessive training load.  If it didn't have any kind of negative impact on their conditioning, it was at least worth looking into.

Seeing as how I really wanted to prove this annoying chick wrong, I decided I'd buy some, and send samples out to people I knew who were in such a state.  I was certain I would be able to report back to her that she was full of horse manure, and this will make her leave me alone.

So I bought some of this stuff, sent it off to several competitors I knew, and I awaited their responses about how this stuff did nothing.

I couldn't wait to rub this chick's nose in it.  To let her know how wrong she was.  I couldn't wait to copy and paste the responses back to her and let her know she could go sell this crap to some other gullible schmuck.  I've been around this field for over two decades.  And anyone that has followed me for anything length of time, knows what a skeptic I am about supplements.  In fact, despite the fact that I am sponsored by True Nutrition, the only supplement I have raved about with them is Muscle Intrusion.  Not that I don't love their products, because I do.  The only reason went on with them to be sponsored is because I believe that TN actually produces products of the highest quality in everything they do.  Let me also add, that in no way, do these two companies compete with each other.  

So I waited.  And then I got my responses back.

First IFBB pro physique competitor hit me back.

"Paul...what the fuck is this shit?  It's amazing!"

Me - "I knew it was garbag.....wait, what?"

"I have barely been able to move to get cardio and training done.  I took a pack this morning and within 30 minutes or so I was energized and motivated and knocked out my cardio with no problem."

Me - "But wait, no.  No.  Wait.  No.  But..."

Her - "Where do I get more of it?"

Me - "......................................"



The other person I sent it to, had actually been going hypoglycemic during her training.  She had actually come to me for help because she was so frustrated that she couldn't make it through a single leg day without going hypo, and having to cut her workouts short.

She confided in me that she had worked every type of pre and peri nutrition protocol you could think of.  And nothing helped.

So just on a hunch, I sent her some packs of this stuff.

A few days later, her response was the same as the other chicks.

"Paul...what the fuck is this shit?!?!?  It's amazing!"

ME - "....................................ok"

Her - "I took a pack about 30 or 45 minutes before training.  Did legs.  Didn't go hypo.  Do you know how long it's been since that happened?  I haven't been able to make it through a leg workout in forever without that happening."

Me - "Well, try it again.  Could just be by chance."

But without fail, she would take the ketone product, go train, and never go hypo.

I was getting desperate.  I had no bad news to report back.  I had nothing to rub this chicks nose in.  I was desperate.  So I sent it to a buddy who is an IFBB pro to try, and he said he saw no difference.

Finally!  Redemption.

"But" he said.  "I'm eating like, 800 grams of carbs a day.  So it's kinda hard to tell."

Dammit!

Reluctantly, I reported back to her on my very small bit of anecdotal evidence that it did look like it really was pretty legit.  At least for someone in depletion stages of a contest diet, or someone whose blood sugar was dropping during training.  I mean, that's not covering a huge demographic, but still.  It did do "something."

She asked me if I would be interested in reading about some studies in relation to it.  I wasn't.  But I told her I would, because believe it or not, I actually try to be good to people and respect the things they are passionate about.  Especially if I think they are genuinely decent people.   The product did look interesting.  So I started researching BHB more, and what it might actually be good for in regards to athletes.

My initial findings led me to inflammation.  And to put it mildly, I was quite overwhelmed.  And by overwhelmed I mean, there's a metric assload of studies that show over and over and over and over and over again that BHB reduces chronic inflammation, and has a very positive effect on restoring healthy levels of inflammation to the body.

I'm not writing another article about inflammation, and I'm going to make you not be lazy so this is what I'm going to do here.  I'm going to link a bunch of studies that show that BHB has a tremendous impact on reducing chronic inflammation in the body.  Now why is this important?  Because chronic inflammation is related to just about every nasty ass disease or something that causes a severe reduction in health in some way, shape, or form.

Here, you know what, I will be nice enough to provide the studies and some high level overviews....

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25686106

The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease.

BHB reduces NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 production in human monocytes. In vivo, BHB or a ketogenic diet attenuates caspase-1 activation and IL-1β secretion in mouse models of NLRP3-mediated diseases such as Muckle-Wells syndrome, familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome and urate crystal-induced peritonitis. Our findings suggest that the anti-inflammatory effects of caloric restriction or ketogenic diets may be linked to BHB-mediated inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

http://news.yale.edu/2015/02/16/anti-inflammatory-mechanism-dieting-and-fasting-revealed

In their study, published in the Feb. 16 online issue of Nature Medicine, the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.

“These findings are important because endogenous metabolites like BHB that block the NLRP3 inflammasome could be relevant against many inflammatory diseases, including those where there are mutations in the NLRP3 genes,” said Vishwa Deep Dixit, professor in the Section of Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.

How awesome is that one bit above?  Someone actually named their kid, Vishwa Deep Dixit!  If that's not a porn name in the making I don't know what is.  

Ok fine, back to inflammation......

Basically, BHB works to block inflammasomes, therefore reducing chronic levels of inflammation in the body.  And once again, inflammation is related to well everything from diabeetus, to heart disease, migraines, chronic fatigue, immune system problems, and well, just about every negative aspect of your overall health.  

Hey it's all there in science.  I wanted to be wrong.  I really did.  But the more I dug, the more interested I became.  

I ended up researching a lot about the positive effects of BHB on inflammation and eventually was part of a panel that would speak about the positive effects of keto-os along with two doctors, and my friend Brandon Lilly, who got on board with this as well.  

Fact was, because I had only researched the inflammation side of things, the two doctors blew me away at all the research related to the positive effects keto-os has on everything from epigenetics to balancing out neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin, dopamine) to increased levels of ATP.  Which was another part that really piqued my interest.  If you know anything about increasing strength, then you know that increasing ATP is a big friend of yours.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/524999-what-are-ketone-bodies-and-why-are-they-in-the-body/

If you eat a calorie-restricted diet for several days, you will increase the breakdown of your fat stores. However, many of your tissues cannot convert these fatty acid products directly into ATP, or cellular energy. In addition, glucose is in limited supply and must be reserved for red blood cells -- which can only use glucose for energy -- and brain tissues, which prefer to use glucose. Therefore, your liver converts many of these fatty acids into ketone bodies, which circulate in the blood and provide a fuel source for your muscles, kidneys and brain.
Synthesis and Breakdown of Ketone Bodies

Low fuel levels in your body, such as during an overnight fast or while you are dieting, cause hormones to increase the breakdown of fatty acids from your stored fat tissue. These fatty acids travel to the liver, where enzymes break the fatty acids into ketone bodies. The ketone bodies are released into the bloodstream, where they travel to tissues that have the enzymes to metabolize ketone bodies, such as your muscle, brain, kidney and in
testinal cells. The breakdown product of ketone bodies goes through a series of steps to form ATP.

The interesting part I ended up finding about here was that, the breakdowns of ketones to ATP is actually a far cleaner process than the breakdown of glucose to ATP.  

We're about to get super fucking sciencey so hang on here.  I'm make it a bit easier after this link, but the reason I'm using all of this research is to be thorough.

Oh and by the way, this article was about researching brain tumors....but we're stealing the ATP portion for strength athletes.  That makes me feel horrible inside in some sort of way, but I think science can indeed make us feel yucky inside at times........

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1276814/

Ketone bodies are more energetically efficient than either pyruvate or fatty acids because they are more reduced (greater hydrogen/carbon ratio) than pyruvate and do not uncouple the mitochondrial proton gradient as occurs with fatty acid metabolism [14]. In contrast to glucose, ketone bodies by-pass cytoplasmic glycolysis and directly enter the mitochondria where they are oxidized to acetyl-CoA [44,49]. The amount of acetyl-CoA formed from ketone body metabolism is also greater than that formed from glucose metabolism [50]. This increases TCA cycle metabolites (from citrate to α-ketoglutarate) while reducing the mitochondrial NAD couple, [NAD+]/[NADH], and increasing the mitochondrial Q couple [Q]/[QH2] [14,50]. The difference between these couples increases the redox span between the NADH dehydrogenase complex (site I), and the CoQH2-cytochrome C reductase (site III) thus enhancing the mitochondrial proton gradient [14]. This enhances the energy available from the hydrolysis of ATP, ΔG'ATP, the cell's key energy reserve generated through the mitochondrial Fl ATPase [14,16]. Remarkably, the ketone body-induced increase in the ΔG'ATP is also accomplished using less oxygen [48,50]. These and other findings led Veech to designate ketone bodies as a "super fuel" [14].

In addition to increasing ATP production while reducing oxygen consumption, ketone body metabolism can also reduce production of damaging free radicals [14,16,48]. The semiquinone of Q, the half reduced form, spontaneously reacts with oxygen and is the major source of mitochondrial free radical generation [14,51]. Oxidation of the Q couple reduces the amount of the semiquinone form thus decreasing superoxide production [14].

Annnnd to add..........

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8051483

These data indicate that the infusion of beta-hydroxybutyrate may alter the balance from ATP degradation toward ATP resynthesis in muscle and liver by providing an immediate source of fuel and reducing equivalents under under specific metabolic conditions. This activity in combination with other metabolic interventions may have therapeutic value by restoring ATP pools in ATP-depleted tissues.


So basically, just as far as I've gotten - 

Keto-OS is completely f'n legit in regards to - 

1.  Increasing ATP, or at minimum reduces the degradation of ATP.  This means more contractile power for training, through a process that does it in a far cleaner state than the oxidation of glucose does.

2.  Has an exceptionally positive effect on neurotransmitters.  In essence, I use it now as a pre-workout and I can't lie.  It's amazing.  It's sort of hard to explain.  If you've ever had a workout where you just felt awesome, and totally focused, and had a steady stream of energy, it's like that.  I DO still use Intrusion with my training for this reason.  And because it takes about 30-45 minutes for them to kick in, I sort of stack these two.  I use the keto-os about 30-45 before training, then about halfway through training I start drinking the Intrusion from True Nutrtion.  From what I can tell and have learned from the doctors and scientists involved in this, the ketones have a muscle glycogen sparing effect.  Which is why the one girl I had using them stopped going hypo.  

3.  Reduces chronic inflammation and fatigue - This has been a major reason why I have been able to train longer, harder, more often, and not feel as run down.  It used to be that on leg days, about two or three hours post leg training I was just done for the day.  Now, I take half a pack about two or three hours post workout, and I feel fine.  No more feeling like I'm going to pass out, and am worthless for the day.

In fact, I have a great anecdotal story to provide about this as well.  

When we did the conference, I told Brandon before we left "I could use the strongest cup of coffee in the world right now.  I'm dead."  At the conference they were actually serving the keto-os.  So I drank two, and within 30 minutes, I was wide awake, and my fatigue was gone.  Brandon absolutely can verify he felt the same way.  

Since then I've talked to Charles Poliquin about it, and he had already been involved with a guy who was doing research on this very product a few years before.  Unfortunately, the dude passed away and the research died with him.  So he was pretty excited to learn about this, and wanted in on it as well.  So he and I will be doing some work together in regards to promoting the product, and researching all the ways it can benefit people from training, to neurological issues, to health and even concussions.



So the product itself has a myriad of positive effects on people.  I just returned from a huge conference in Vegas, and the number of testimonials about what this product had done for people mirrored the other ones I had heard before.

1.  Sense of well being
2.  More energy
3.  Improved mood
4.  Decreased pain
5.  Improved sleep

There were literally people who had been able to come off of anti-depressants, and even seen huge pain reduction in things like rheumatoid arthritis.  

Oh and lastly, no, you don't have to be on a ketogenic diet in order to use it at all!  You just get the benefits of BHB without having to actually go on an awful ketogenic diet.  I'm going to catch hell for that last sentence because the ketogenic diet is absolutely the crowd this product attracts.  But I eat like, almost 400 grams of carbs a day and still get great results from using it.  

So there you go. 

I've tried to be as open and honest as I can be about this whole thing.  This was a big deal for me because anyone who has followed me knows that I am no fraud, scammer, or snake oil salesman.  I took over six months to try and prove that this product was bunk and at every turn I was proven wrong either through anecdotal evidence, or the science behind it.  So I finally had to admit defeat. 

How I generally use it is like this.  

30-45 minutes before training - 

2-3 hours after training to reduce fatigue from training, or on non-training days to reduce "workout hangover".

Honestly, from those perspectives alone, it's been money and has made a huge difference in how I feel.  I actually kept this info out of my body recomp post a while back because I still wasn't totally convinced (yes I'm hard headed) of how legit it was.  But this is what would happen.

I'd use it for 4 weeks or so.  Run out.  Not pay attention.  Then, because my training frequency and volume was so high, I'd notice I wasn't recovering from training as well as before.  Then I would order some more, add it back in, and sure enough, my recovery ability would increase.

I wanted to be irritated because my initial response was that this product was junk.  But there's just too much science and anecdotal evidence behind it to label it that.  

You don't have to believe a word I say.  In fact, I implore you not to.

Go out and learn, read, and research yourself.  I urge everyone to question anything and everything in regards to training and diet BUT only if you're willing to experiment yourself.  No one ever learned if something worked for them by just arguing about it on the internet.  And I have no interest in arguing about this.  I've seen it work for others, and it works for me.  The science is there, the results and testimonials are there.



And that's the bottom line.  

I was wrong.  And admit defeat.

If you're interesting in grabbing some, here's a link to do so (below).

http://liftrunbang.pruvitnow.com/


Friday, January 22, 2016

The physical mind fucking of social media


Long before the interwebs and social media ever existed, I went into the gym daily, and trained.

Yeah, we wore fanny packs.  Mainly to hold our giant cassette or CD player so we could listen to the tunes we wanted to instead of shitty gym music (some things truly haven't changed in gyms in 30 plus years).  We wore clown pants and the gym was packed with mullets (which has now been replaced by the every bit as hideous and shitty "undercut" hairstyle that is currently popular).

We did what the "bros" from the magazines said we should do (ghost written or not) and didn't argue with them about the scientific validity of a program or diet.  Mainly because we couldn't.  We had to try something to see if it worked, and were left to nothing but trial and error.  Which in turn, actually gave us something called "experience".  

Thankfully, the net has taken all of that away and made both training and diet the springboard for making things as complicated as possible, and become the playground for what should be intellectual debate and turned it into proverbial pissing matches over who is "right" or "wrong".  There's a whole sect of people who talk a lot about training and diet on the net, and a whole lot of them that do very little of both.  But that's really an entirely different article.

But even worse than that, it has completely distorted reality in regards to what people are seeking to achieve, or what they believe is even achievable at all.  To add, it has even changed how people train.

Trust me when I say that it was hard enough coming up through the 90's, being a teen and looking at the physiques of pros and believing that building such a physique was attainable on some protein powder and pills from GNC.  Steroid talk was pretty much non-existent back then in magazines and even Lee Haney himself made his own training video saying all he took was fucking Weider "Anabolic Mega-Packs".

I really can't imagine what the hell goes through the mind of a teen who finds himself looking up to guys who not only boost synthol, but then even photoshop their IG and other social media pics to make themselves look even more cartoonish, and make Youtube videos that for the life of me, I can't figure out how it pertains to training or dieting in a way that is conducive to helping them.  Entertainment value perhaps?  I'd like to think so, until I read the comments below said videos where I see lots of young lifters actually defending their "champion".

But I feel the women have it even worse.

Social media is now filled with women looking for "fame" through nothing more than booty pics, and the lengths they will go to in order to get "likes" is borderline psychotic.

From ass implants to pics photoshopped so hard that the doorframe near her ass appears to bend space and time, there's no length some of these women won't go to in order to find social and sexual affirmation....for their ass.

Men of course, drive this market.  Wait, let me rephrase; thirsty men drive this market.  I can't scroll through my newsfeed or IG without seeing a pic of some chick sticking her ass into a camera lense so close that would make any gynecologist scream "I'm not studying atoms in your vagina!" followed by men begging to wife said women.

Other women see this, of course, and want the same attention.  Let's be real here (which is also impossible on social media because no one ever admits to this shit), the women do this for attention from men.  Men give said attention - for reasons I am unaware of as it is not going to get you laid - and the cycle continues.

This is all fine, actually.  People are free to run their social media any way they please, just as I'm free to write on this blog and poke fun about it.  My point in all of this is that this is how the social media market gets driven.  Literally, by asses.  Women want them because they desire attention from men who are the poster boys for sexual desperation, and those men believe by giving that attention will somehow translate into some action in the sack.  Which of course is never going to happen, no matter how many roses pictures you post under her picture or how many times you incorrectly use the phase "god your so beautiful".  It's "God, you're so beautiful" in case you missed that.  There should be a comma after "God" and it's "you're" and not "your".  Your means.....fuck, nevermind.

Since the fitness industry is driven by judgement (whether you like that or not, it's a fact) based on some criteria, I can tell you first hand that most of the women that get propped up as having these perfect bodies rarely impress in person.  I remember the first big expo I went to years and years ago, and remember feeling quite confused after half the day had passed, and the great majority of "asses" I observed were exceptionally underwhelming.  I'm not even saying that to be an asshole.  I remember being exceptionally disappointed because as a man who does himself appreciate a great set of glutes, or in fact a well developed physique in general, I was left quite sad at the end of the day.

One particular female who I knew of from social media, that prides herself on posting pics of her ass, actually looked quite like 10 pounds of shit stuffed into a 5 pound bag in person.  I say this not to be an asshole, even though it is an asshole thing to write, I say this because I remember it being the first thing I thought when I saw her in person.  I couldn't tell she had ever trained, and remember thinking she was actually quite....fat.  But I have another reason I write that which I will get to later.

None of this has stopped the same women from shopping their pics or posting video after video of them taken from the ass side over and over again.  That's what gets attention.  And that's what women want.

Fuck, let me not be quite so sexist here.  Most of us want or desire attention from the opposite sex (or the same sex, fuck, I don't want to appear homophobic either).  God damn, now I feel as though I have to rewrite that whole bit.  But I won't.  Let's just say, in the industry people do indeed crave attention.  There.  That'll work.

But this is a normal human trait and not something I am not shitting on.  Most of us have something we use social media for, to attract attention to ourselves for either personal or professional reasons (people use social media to make a living too), or both.  Guys that post videos of themselves lifting weights often make fun of guys who post half naked pics, when in fact, both are doing different things for the same reasons.  Affirmation and accolades from peers or attention.  Again, nothing wrong with this.

Gotta write that a few times so that it's perfectly clear.

To deny a degree of attention seeking is to deny a very basic human condition.  The condition of desirability.  Some don't need this through social media, it's true.  But many do.  And that's the basic foundation of which all of this is built.

My point in all of this is that this drives the "average" fitness, or "fitfam" hashtagging female who is unaware that many and most of these "perfect body" females have their shit shopped all to hell and back, get ass implants, or generally look nothing like in person what is presented to them via social media - and it warps their perception of what is a "perfect" body, and the perception of their own.

Yes that was a hell of a run on sentence but you'll have to deal with it as I couldn't figure out any other way to write it.

In other words, that they are somehow not quite as "perfect" or will ever be as perfect as these women with 7 gagillion followers.

I truly feel for women who are in the gym daily that feel as though they have to meet some social media goddess standard in order to feel sexy or fit or attractive.  And every few months, something new pops up for women to achieve in order to appear attractive through fitness.

"Don't have a thigh gap?  No man's penis will ever become erect for you!  Want some erect penis?  Do this thigh gap training!"  

/women start posting thigh gap pics or doing thigh gap "training"/

"Don't have a big apple bottom ass?  Do my training program!  It took me from pancake ass to donkey ass in 12 weeks!"

/never reveals surgeon's name/

Women have it tough.  They really do.  As guys, we really don't have it quite as bad as women do because the fact is, women know that men tend to be more visually driven from a sexual aspect.  I mean, there's a reason why strip clubs are in business.  There's a reason why some chick who has never competed in anything at all has a million followers on IG, and there's a reason why certain women get put on the cover of magazines.  Men's magazines I mean.  Like Playboy.  Women aren't as visually driven as men, and often date dudes who are ugly AF because they fulfill other needs women tend to be attracted to.  Like intelligence, confidence, and a big bank account.

annnnndd there was nothing wrong with the "before" pic


I mean, dudes deal with this too, but I honestly think it's quite different.  Men who strive to become overly muscular tend to do so at some point for their own narcissistic reasons or personal goals.  I say that willingly throwing myself under the bus as one of said males.  I could really give two shits about attention from women at THIS point in my life in regards to training goals.  However, of course there was a time when I did enjoy the fact that improving how I looked brought me that.  So I'm trying to stay "real" here and not present myself as someone who is some emotional outlier who never needed affirmation and attention from women.  Hell, even Ed Coan said to me "we all want affirmation that we are highly regarded and looked up to by our competitors and peers."

And there's nothing wrong with that.  Positive affirmation is something most of us crave.  It makes us feel good about ourselves, and often times is the driver for us wanting to obtain harder to achieve goals.  Again, all good things.

What I don't like is how discouraged or disheartened a lot of women get about their own bodies because they don't realize that most of these women either don't look like that in person, or have had work done or had pics altered to look like something they are not.  Or that every few months there is some new "standard" set in place for them in regards to what they are supposed to look like.

It can do everything from creating eating disorders to terrible self body image in women, who look damn good already and worked hard to get there.  Then said female can often find herself in a place where she rarely gets a single moment of happiness from her training or dieting because she never feels like she "measures up" to what she sees online or is told is currently "attractive".

For a while, the "strong is the new skinny" phase became the rage.  And it really put more of an emphasis on women performing well, and becoming "secure" in their body image through lifting and self acceptance.  I actually liked this phrase because I thought it could transcend more than just "abs" or "asses" or how you looked.  That women no longer needed to be a size zero in order to find a place of strength in both their body and mind.

But of course, this motto too got trashed by other females because somehow trashing one body image to uphold another is not good either.  In other words "don't tell someone how to look!"

I think the bottom line is that striving for a healthy body should be the one most PEOPLE aspire to. But that's just my opinion.  There will be some 380 pound powerlifter who is on the verge of a daily heart attack that will disagree, and will say that a 600 pound bench is more important, but I digress.

Yes, I've written many times that I am against obesity acceptance because it is the physical manifestation of leading an unhealthy life, and even wrote several SCIENCE BASED piece supporting the fact that there is no such thing as "good health at any bodyweight".  But the flip side to that, are the women who have transformed their bodies through lifting, formed new eating habits that are conducive to good health, and still feel like shit about themselves because they believe that they aren't "enough" due to a lack of "likes" or "followers" on social media.

And that this obviously is because they don't have a thigh gap, big enough ass, big enough tits, full enough lips, whatever.

Let's make no mistake here, the industry has always been full of liars.  But the impact social media has now on training, dieting, and self perception has become quite tremendous.

While it's true that exceptionally beautiful people are always going to be put on a pedestal because being hot AF sells magazines, supplements, lipstick, and clothes, I truly detest the propping up of fakeness across social media and the ripple effect I see it having into the lives of others.

So let me tell you this ladies - I've seen about every "perfect body" you can imagine that you've seen on social media and as I've covered, most of the time I was very underwhelmed.  I think if you got out to some of these events you'd probably see for yourself that well, you're not as bad off as you think you are.  In fact, I've seen plenty of women in "regular gyms" whose physiques impressed me more, who did not compete, didn't have big social media followers, and really didn't give a fuck.

And despite the fact that I've written several times about how you need to give a fuck, you need to learn what to give a fuck about.  Giving too much of a fuck about the acceptance of people across social media for attention can eventually detract from your own happiness.  Giving too much of a fuck about having the perfect ass or a thigh gap can detract from you just finding happiness in your training and body image.

Everyday you're going to wake up and go to bed with what mom and pops gave you to work with.  If you want to give a fuck about something, and being in the best shape you can be in is one of those things, then worry about what you can do with that, and that alone.  And do the best you can with that; and quit giving a fuck about thigh gaps and "perfect asses" and set goals that are meaningful to what YOU aspire to be.

I told a friend the other night that I was finally in a place where I felt physically "content" with myself.  But upon reflection, I'm not sure if it's because I have actually achieved some physical form that I am actually happy with, or because I finally arrived at a place where I was just happy with who I am as a man.  Maybe it's a bit of both.  Either way, it only took me 26 years (training wise) to arrive here.  Or maybe it was just the last year, when I found myself making decisions to get "healthy" in other aspects of my life, my thoughts, and my mental and emotional well being, that led me here.

Waking up content doesn't remove your ambition to improve unless you allow it to.  It just removes the self loathing and perception that somehow you aren't "perfect" enough because you don't measure up to some photoshopped ass on social media.

And to close, whether you know it or not, a lot of these "perfect bodied" women struggle with a lot of demons and self confidence as well.  How would you like it, if everyday you woke up you felt like the only thing about you worth "liking" was what your ass or body looked like?  And that not a single person gave two shits about your interests, passions, or things outside of fitness or your body that was important to you?  I'm sure at first you'd love the attention, but I can tell you from the words of women that have been in this position, after a while being seen as nothing more than an "ass" can become pretty crippling to how they feel about themselves and their self confidence.

Life is going to be full of struggles and suffering as is.  Try not creating more than you already have by trying to meet some "perfect standard" you think will give you fulfillment.  If you base your self worth on what you lift, look like, and your bodyfat percentage compared to someone else, you're going to very unhappy most of the time.  There's always someone bigger, leaner, and stronger.  I can tell you even from a male's perspective, that is an empty well.  And one I can say I happily no longer travel back to anymore.

Finding self worth has nothing to do with how much weight you can load onto a bar, what your ass looks like, or what your bodyfat percentage is.  It is something you have to eventually recognize that sets you apart from everyone else, makes you unique, and is what attracts the people in your life who truly love you, and are there for reasons beyond your physical appearance.



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Monday, January 18, 2016

The complexities of advancement in regards to training and dietary practices

It’s very difficult to have discussion on the net about training or nutrition these days without it turning into a complete shitfest between the groups of people involved in having these discussions. 

The root of most internet arguments or discussions about diet and training come from, what I believe is, the huge disconnect between the qualifications of the lifters/athletes involved in said discussions, and their opinions about what training and/or nutritional strategies "works" and "doesn't work."

I have no idea why this is never taken into account, when it should always be accounted for when discussing ideas. 

The second disconnect, is that these arguments often pit one side of the group, that only relies on science or studies only, and the other side of the group that looks at anecdotal evidence and/or both. 

As I've often had to repeat on many occasions, I love studies.  I read tons of them.  And I appreciate the people who put an enormous amount of time and effort into really trying to find out the reasons why something does, or does not work.  It's incredibly helpful from an "understanding" point of view in regards to application of how and what we should or should not be applying in order to achieve certain results.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of people who rely ONLY on scientific based models or studies as the basis for “fact”, then refuse to accept that even the guys doing the research understand that there is something called "evidence based practice".  

Evidence based practice is made up of a tier of principles that include several variables that are used to arrive at the most efficient manner as possible in order to sustain progress.  There is no overriding or "most important" principle in regards to priorities of ideologies.  

In NO particular order...

1.  Scientific research
2.  Individual needs, and preferences 
3.  Personal expertise and field observations 




All three of these things play a role in developing a completeness in regards to creating training modalities and paradigms in training and nutrition. Excluding any of these three principles is going to leave the person doing so, with a very incomplete process in regards to developing what is best for them, or their clients.

All three of these things overlap in order to create a trinity, if you will, in order to manipulate one's training needs and priorities so that they are efficient and optimal.  

The other disconnect in training and nutritional methodologies between people arguing on the net often arise because of personal experiences only, or that they read a study and believe that it has application across the board regardless of others needs, experience, or level of development.  

This is often most severely the case discussing dietary strategies or practices.  

The war between IIFYM and "clean eating" is probably the best example of this.  

The IIFYM crowd clings to both studies and anecdotal evidence that says you can lose bodyfat while instituting the IIFYM approach, and has research and anecdotal evidence that proves that it can.

And they are right.  But only to a degree.  

The people who say IIFYM misses the mark and is not the most efficient way to approach lean also have research that backs up their stance, both scientifically and anecdotally. And they are also correct. To a degree.

So how is this possible?  That two camps with opposing opinions can both be correct.  

Because number 2 and number 3 in the evidence based practices says so.  Not only that, but there are studies that "prove" one theory correct (for example eating more frequently does increase increase fat oxidation), and studies that say it makes no difference (eating all of your calories for the day in just two or three meals).  

To add to the confusion, there are people who have implemented all the various strategies with different degrees of success or failure.  So one guy says "my body composition got worse eating only 3 times a day compared to 6 times a day", then gets countered by another guy saying "I noticed no difference" and/or says "my body composition improved on just eating 3 times a day compared to six."

The layers of complexity get even deeper as each individual pushes closer to either his or her genetic ceiling in terms of potential fulfillment, or is trying to obtain a very extreme degree of body composition (like bodybuilding stage condition) or elite level strength ability. 


What I mean by that is, going from 20% bodyfat to 15% bodyfat most likely would not require a very complex change in one's dietary practices.  Simply eliminating excess calories, while adhering to a sound and/or ideal practice of macronutrient intake could easily accomplish this, regardless of food choices/food composition.  So someone could do something as easy as get into a calorie/energy deficit by simply reducing portion sizes of the foods they are currently eating, and actualize fat loss from that alone.  Food composition may never have played a factor here.  

Getting from 15% to 10% might add a bit more complexity to the issue, depending on the individual, however.  And from there, getting from 10% to say, 6% would most likely indeed require infinitely more complex strategies to achieve such a goal.  

During each transition, certain principles may become more or less important in that time.  

Going from 10% bodyfat to bodybuilding stage ready bodyfat percentage (let's say 3-4%) is indeed going to be far more complex and require far more exactness in regards to things like nutrient timing and food composition than it would in going from 20% to 15%.  Especially if the person who was at 20% had previously been eating a lot of overly processed food with low nutritional value.  

And this is how arguments start.  

If someone has never gotten stage ready, then they will have no association with what their body may or may not need in regards to reach such a level of conditioning.  If they lost fat, and took their bodyfat from 20% to even 10% using a particular technique, they may assume that same technique could be applied to go from 10% down to 4%.  And the truth is, it might....or it might not.  The problem is, they don't know yet.  Just because someone else did it, has zero bearing on what they may have to do.  So pointing to half a dozen other guys or gals who swim in a completely different gene pool than they do, gives no substance to their argument.  

My own experimentation with this showed that once I got stuck in regards to fat loss, changing my food composition alone did indeed get me out of a fat loss plateau (my macros never differed while instituting these changes).  However, there may be another guy that says he was able to eat ice cream the whole time while getting leaner and leaner, while simply reducing his calories the whole time.

53 weeks apart - Three different dietary strategies 


What I needed to progress was different than what he needed.  Factually, for me, I needed to make changes to continue making progress that he did not need to make.  At my age, I don't have the metabolism I did at 21 years old.  I can't get away with eating cheat meals on a weekly basis, or have too many high glycemic index carbs throughout the day and continue to lose fat.  This isn't something to be debated.  That's how it works for me.  I know this from personal experience.

Does that mean it has to be this way for every other person?  

Absolutely not.  

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks.  

Training is no different.  And ends up manifesting similar disagreements. 

"I took my deadlift from 315 to 500 in six months training it three times a week.  So training it that often can be done with great results."

I get this.  I took my deadlift from 405 to 500 using some very basic principles that one could be described as "cookie cutter progressive overload."  Getting from 500 to 600 however, was a different story.  My training had to change in a myriad of ways to accomplish this.  And getting from 600 to 700 meant yet another change in training application that looked nothing like what it took to go from 405 to 500, and 500 to 600.  

I wasn't built for deadlifting.  So I had to experiment and fine tune my training for a long time in order to break through those barriers.  Throughout each phase, I needed something very different in order to make progress again, once a plateau was reached.  And at each plateau, I had to be open to different ideas, cognizant of what my own body was telling me from each training cycle, and then manipulate all of those factors in order to move forward again.  

So as I progressed, complexity often increased dramatically.  

People who want to actualize genetic potential must realize that as they progress, what got them from point A to point B, most likely is not going to be the same thing that gets them from point B to point C, then from point C to point D.  

As one progresses, overemphasizing certain ideas at the expense of others could be the very thing that keeps you from moving forward along that path.  Nutrient timing is often an example of this.  A novice who is basically a recreational lifter probably doesn't need it the same way a very advanced guy who is training six days a week, two hours a day, that is training for a competition does.  Yet on the net, I will often see very inexperienced trainees arguing with very experienced guys that it matters very little.  This is often because the two people arguing might as well be arguing about what is applicable on Earth, and what is applicable on Mars.  The guy on Earth may be arguing completely valid concepts as to what is applicable to him.  But to the guy on Mars, such concepts may or will be completely useless, and/or false all together.  

These things should be taken into consideration during the course of discussion, but I rarely see that happen.

Even more so, they should be taken into consideration during the course of your training life.  What you need the first three years of training is probably not going to be as applicable as what you need when you're in year 15 to continue progressing.  

When I see certain guys who don't progress very much, my usual thought is that they haven't learned how to let go of the principles that got them to that particular point in time, and are willing to embrace the fact that a different sets of principles will need to now be put into place to elicit new progress.  

When I was at the NSCA conference a few months ago a speaker there made two very astute points.

1.  "Training is more art, than science."

2.  "The best coaches in the field are generally about 10 years ahead of the scientific field."

Let this not be lost on you, that this was at an NSCA conference, which prides itself on relying on science as its foundation.  

The reason these two points are so important, is that in regards to point #1....

"It is practically IMPOSSIBLE to precisely predict the individual training effect due to the heredity factor(s)".  

And in regards to point #2....

The best coaches tend to have a unique ability in regards to intuition as to what will serve their athletes to the best of those individual needs.  

And points #1 and #2 tend to cause the most disagreements because without the understanding that the things that make up an optimal training or nutritional paradigm ALL involve the inclusion of the principles of evidence based practice.  

So great coaches tend to implement all of the characteristics of EBP, understand the importance of all three, them "weigh" each accordingly in terms of importance in regards to helping people perform better.

That may mean at times, they ignore science due to the fact that something science cannot support (at this point in time) is indeed helping their athlete perform at a higher level.  Or it may mean, they implement science because THAT is what is the athlete needs to perform at a higher level.  

Due to "individual needs" (once again, another scope of EBP), or preferences, the coach or athlete manipulates their training or diet, based not only on what they need at the time, but also what "resonates" with them as an athlete.  And the mental part of performance cannot be overlooked.  After all, most people aren't going to get much out of a training program they flat out fucking hate.

Change is hard.  Because it means we have to challenge our belief systems.  Lots of people confuse this as an admittance of being "wrong" about said belief systems, when it's simply not the case.  If certain principles or modalities produced the results you were seeking, then they were indeed the right ones AT THAT TIME.  However, moving forward, those principles may need to be discarded, with a new set of principles replacing them, in order to do so.  

It's not an admittance of being wrong, it's an acceptance that change is required to grow.  And in order to “grow”, literally speaking, change in training and nutrition will eventually be required. 

And isn't that often the case in the parallels of both life and lifting?  

"Food" for thought. 

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