Is Paleo Worth It?

Is Paleo Worth It?

Everyone on the L.A. Lakers has gone Paleo. Kobe Bryant claims that by going Paleo he lost 7 lbs in a day. Good for you Kobe.

As far as I know, I’ve been eating a Paleo since I was 19. Charles Poliquin and Jonny Bowden have been advocating eating like that since they got into the business, and for Charles, that’s a long time.

So is it a fad diet? Is it worth all the money and does it really work?

I believe it does, however EVERYONE is highly individual and your diet should be catered to your individual needs. Here are my thoughts on it.

1. Paleo is not a fad- the only fad diet in this world is the one that Americans are eating. High carb, high sugar, high in trans fats and omega 6’s. Human beings have been eating a variation of a Paleo diet for thousands upon thousands of years. So to claim that eating wild game, lots of vegetables, nuts, and no bread and soy is a fad, is a ludicrous statement.

2. Removing grains is fantastic- do you know why Americans eat so many grains? Because the FDA and the government created a food pyramid which emphasized eating those foods. By doing so, we supported one of the largest industries in the world, the food industry. You see, you can’t patten or brand salmon or walnuts. But you can constantly recreate cereal or bread variations. Grains, whole or not, contain gluten and now contain GMO’s. Whole grains are not better for you and will not reduce your risk of heart disease. Folks, removing grains from your diet is one of the greatest things you can ever do for your health. Your skin, your joints, your stomach, your brain, everything will thank you for it.

3. Removing soy is fantastic- people know my stance on soy, it’s not good for you. The AHA actually retracted a statement in 2006 saying that they were WRONG about their advocacy of soy reducing breast cancer and heart disease. SOY is one of the most highly GMO’d crops in the world, highly sprayed crops with pesticides, and it increases unnatural estrogen in the body. It’s just not good for you.

4. Dairy is extremely healthy….for some- there are a lot of Paleo’ers who called themselves “Paleo Plus Dairy”. Because it’s true, certain dairy products are some of the healthiest foods in the world. I talk about the power of organic butter, and the same can be said for organic heavy cream, organic raw milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. Again, it all depends on the quality of the dairy. Fat free milk is not milk. Fat free cheese is not cheese. It’s fake! So why is REAL dairy healthy for some? Certain people can tolerate dairy very well, others can not. For some, removing all dairy from the diet can be a tremendous improvement in acne issues and some people (like myself) are just fine. So to remove it just because it’s not Paleo is silly. Take the time, do some research, see how you react to it, and then make your decision.

5. Legumes are extremely healthy….for some– it’s the same deal with dairy. Beans are really healthy, there is no doubt about it. However, for some people they can be very allergenic. They contain certain compounds called phytic acid which can be damaging for some people’s guts. Again, beans are best consumed if organic and from a BPA free can. I don’t eat beans a lot because they upset my stomach. But that doesn’t mean they are an unhealthy food and should be removed forever.

6. Pasture raised meat is worth it, most of the time- you can’t deny that high quality meat is just that….high quality. It’s loaded with omega 3’s and CLA which generic meat does not. Why? Because when an animal like a cow eats it’s natural diet (grass, not grains) it produces a healthier animal. But here’s the thing, if you’re out at a restaurant and they have no “Paleo” options but you can get a steak or a burger without a bun, are you just going to eat some veggies? Don’t be ridiculous. If you’re on a major budget and can’t afford expensive meat, you won’t die from eating regular meat. OH, and organic beef doesn’t mean grass fed and finished. That’s what matters, organic just means the feed that they give to the cows is organic, it’s a nice idea, but not what matters.

7. Taking supplements is not Paleo- whey protein, vitamin D, Zinc, glutamine, although all of these products are natural, there is a degree of processing and technically aren’t Paleo. Now the funny thing is, people who eat Paleo are big weight lifters and take lots of supplements. But if the goal is to live like a caveman, how is taking your Branched Chain Amino Acids post workout with your whey protein Paleo? It’s not folks. But it’s damn good for you.

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7 Foods With Super Powers

7 Foods With Super Powers

It’s no surprise that real food has the power to heal. Mother nature made all of these available for us for a reason. Different cultures have known that value of food as medicine for thousands of years, and sadly in the past 60+ we have disregarded that concept and relied upon drugs to mask our symptoms. Politics aside, here are some amazing super foods and their super powers.

1. Oysters/Testosterone- these bad boys are loaded with zinc, which in turn means more testosterone. Have you heard someone say that after eating oysters they feel randy and ready to go at it? Now you know why. Other testosterone raising foods are organic butter, grass fed beef/meat, cruciferous veggies, and garlic.

2. Wild Salmon/Treat depression– a large majority of the brain is made up of fat, in particular DHA, which is a type of omega 3 that’s found in FISH OIL. Long term studies have shown that people deficient in omega 3’s have higher rates of depression. This makes sense, because a brain without optimal nutrients can not function to the best of it’s ability. Other options include sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.

3. Sweet potatoes/Help fall asleep- eating starchy carbs will raise your seratonin, which will lower your cortisol and make it easier to fall asleep. I have a sweet potato before I go to bed EVERY night. It’s the common belief that if you eat carbs late at night they’ll get stored as fat. Recent research has shown that’s not always the case. For people with major sleep and stress issues, eating a starchy carb before bed will help them lose fat. Other options include a banana, quinoa, or gluten free oatmeal.

4. Water Cress/Remove pectoral tat (man boobs)- ever wonder why men don’t have breasts and women do? Estrogen. And men who have large concentrations of fat on their pecs are producing WAY too much estrogen. An easy counterbalance to this is to eat watercress. It will detoxify estrogen from your body and halt aromatization. Any cruciferous vegetable will do, but watercress is particularly powerful.

5. Coconut Oil/Fat Loss (blood sugar control)– for once, the media has gotten it right with coconut oil and all of it’s super powers. In terms of fat loss, coconut oil is a powerful insulin sensitizer, meaning it helps your cells taking in glucose and fatty acids so they don’t get stored as fat. Do not fear the fat, nor the calories. This is just mother nature’s way of cramming all those nutrients into a food. Other little fat burning foods are cinnamon, organic butter, and green tea.

6. Coffee/Stable Energy- I’m a coffee fan. I know some people are not. There is lots of research to prove coffee is wonderful for us. And lots of research to say it’s not. Here’s what I’ve learned….it all depends on the quality of the joe, and how you drink it. A large majority of the studies done on coffee and it’s negative side effects were done with crappy coffee. No surprise, because coffee is one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world. And unfortunately it now has high amounts of GMO’s. And if you add sugar or milk to it, you’re putting yourself in harms way. BUT, high quality organic coffee with heavy cream, coconut oil, butter, or black with cinnamon is one of the greatest and most natural sources of energy in the world. It also helps stabilize blood sugar and increase strength and concentration. If you’re trying to cut your coffee consumption down, try drinking an organic blend and see if you notice the difference. I certainly did.

7. Egg Yolks/ Muscle Building- only eating the white is the equivalent of throwing away the gold from your treasure chest and keeping the box. Why do you think they are yellow/orange? Because they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential for muscle building. Not only is the protein extremely high quality but all the B vitamins, cholene, and fat will give your muscles the extra boost they need to grow. Are you noticing a trend that some of the healthiest foods in the world are also caloric? That’s no coincidence. Mother nature intended it that way because they are so full of everything we need. Eat your freaken yolks.

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My Favorite Tricep Exercises

My Favorite Tricep Exercises

Triceps are my favorite muscle to work out. They’re also my strongest and most developed. They are a unique muscle because all 3 heads of the muscle respond to different rep ranges, tempos, angles, and hand positions. The triceps are the power house of your arm. You know if someone knows what they’re doing when they have impressive looking tris. Here are my favorite exercises with some cool tips.

1. Weighted V Bar Dips- these are so damn hard because your hands are so far away from your body and you need to be in complete control of the movement. Did you know that the further your hands are away from your belly button, the more the medial head of the tri cep gets targeted? The medial head is located right above your elbow and in my opinion is the coolest looking part of the arm. If it’s well defined it gives it a razor sharp look that gives your arm lots of detail. TIP- as you get to the bottom of the movement, pause for 2 seconds, I repeat 2 full seconds, and then slowly come back up. This places an extreme amount of trauma on the muscle and will call upon all the little fibers in the muscle. I like 4-6 reps of 3210 tempo, that’s three seconds down, two second pause, one second up, and no pause at the top.

2. Close Grip Bench on pins- watch this video to see what I mean. By stopping on the pins, you remove all momentum from the equation, and increase neural activation and overload the CNS. What does this mean for mass and size? Well, the tri’s are primarily made up of fast twitch muscle fibers, and they respond VERY well to lower, very heavy reps. Is pausing in the pins easier? Yes and no. You can handle more weight because once you pause on the pins, you have a little bit of time to recharge and then lift. It’s harder for your nervous system because momentum is removed. The nervous system monitors all traffic going on in your brain and is responsible for of hypertrophy in the body. I’m a fan of going really heavy, 2-3 reps of a 4 seconds negative, 2 second pause, and a powerful press back up. TIP– 14 inches is ideal, not TOO close and don’t lock your arms out when you reach the top, keep the tension on the tri’s for utter destruction of the muscle fibers.

3. Reverse Grip Dumbbell/Barbell Skull Crushers- this is a new favorite of mine. It’s simple, imagine doing skull crushers with a barbell but reverse your hands. The beauty of the triceps is just a quick change of a hand position will target different muscles. Reverse grip will target the lateral head, which is the outer portion of the arm. Be careful, your grip won’t be as strong so don’t go too heavy in this instance if you have a weak grip. TIP– do this on an 30 incline bench and keep your arms closer to your belly button,  the exercise is easier so you can heavier and do more reps. But it’s still tough, because of the awkwardness of the reverse grip. Try 8 reps of a 3 second negative, 1 second pause, and then back up.

4. Lying neutral grip skull crushers- done on an decline bench with your hands far back is a killer exercise. It’s hard to envision, but imagine lying down on a decline bench, and place your hands far back (remember away from the belly button creates more tension on the medial head) Your range of motion is limited in this instance, however, there are some major sweet spots. Go down all the way but don’t come all the way up. Stop before lock out and make the motion fluid. It burns like a mother. TIP– as with any skull crusher variation, you can either hold the dumbbell at the center, to the far left, or to the far right. Each places a different emphasis on the muscle. You could do one set with your hands in one spot, one set in another.

5. Standing Military Press– though often considered a shoulder exercise, which it is, it’s also a killer tricep one. Because your standing and your hands are over your head, you have much less control. You can go heavy, or you can go lighter for a pump. If done heavy, this exercise will pack major mass on your arms because of it’s compound nature. It also activates your shoulders, abs, and lower back. It’s an incredible movement. TIP- keep your elbows under the bar and don’t flare them out. Harder but less emphasis on the shoulders.

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My Favorite Bicep Exercises

My Favorite Bicep Exercises

1. Weighted Chin- Ups- nothing overloads the arms like a chin up, and adding weight is all the more extreme. If you want to pack serious size and have bulging veins, do weighted chin ups. TIP- go down in 4 or 5 seconds, the slower you go in the descent, the more you’ll activate all heads of the bicep. Go almost all the way down to the point of lock out, but stop right before your lats completely stretch out, this will keep constant tension on the arm.

2. Incline Dumbbell Curls– and the further back you place the incline, the more tension and pump you get. This exercise can really shape your arms and give it a sculpted look. Depending on which end of the dumbbell you hold on to, it will target a different part of the arm. For example, if you have your pinky at the inner part of the dumbbell, it targets the small head, or the inner part of the arm. If you hold the dumbbell with your index finger on the outer portion of the dumbbell, it targets the long head. I’m trying to add definition and mass to my short head, so I’m doing incline curls with my pinky closer to the dumbbell. It’s hard as hell. TIP– when you finish the negative portion of this movement, as in the weight comes back down, flex your triceps. I learned this one from Charles Poliquin, this will recruit more muscles fibers and add greater tension.

3. E-z bar preacher curls- this is a favorite amongst gym rats, as it should be. It’s an awesome exercise. You can go heavy, go for the pump, do drop sets, whatever. The different hand placements allow for different parts of the bicep to get hit. I love it because you can’t cheat and you have complete control over the movement. TIP– as you come up with the weight, stop right where the tension is greatest, squeeze and come back down.

4. Zottman Curls- this is movement targets the bracialis and forearms. If these muscles are undeveloped, the rest of the arm will look small and weak. Not to  mention from a strength element, if you want your curling lbs to go up, work your bracialis. I always notice increased vascularity right over my elbow joint from this movement. It is a BITCH to perform because your so weak in the negative. Check out this video for instructions, ZOTTMAN CURLS

5. E-z bar reverse curls- same movement as #3 but reverse. Again, if you want to develop all the muscles in your arm, you have to get all the little fibers and activate everything. Just a simple switch of the hands will make an enormous difference. And the advantage of focusing on e-z bar curls for a while is that once you switch back to a normal curl, you’ll be so much stronger.

*A lot of people see me using these FAT GRIPZ. You add them on to dumbbells and they increase activation in your forearm, bicep, triceps, and shoulders. The thicker the handle, the more muscle activated. And you get much, much stronger from using them because it’s much more difficult to hold on to.

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Weight Training for Hockey

Weight Training for Hockey

Hockey is without a doubt one of the hardest sports to play. Why? Because you’re not grounded on your own two feet, and in addition to controlling your self on the ice you have to maintain proper stick control, handling and shooting. Believe it or not, hockey is NOT an aerobic sport, it’s anaerobic. So long distance running and long treadmill work is pointless when training for hockey, in fact it will make you slower. Hockey is the ultimate HIIT sport, go fast and hard, rest, do it again. I also advise that every hockey players gets a pair of FAT GRIPZ. This will increase your hand, for arm, and arm strength drastically. Remember, you don’t play hockey with your bear hands, you have thick gloves on. The stronger your hands are, the better you will be controlling the stick with gloves on.

Weight training is your best friend when it comes to increasing your speed, power, control, and stability on the ice. Here are the top list of exercises, rep ranges, and common mistakes hockey players make in the gym.

Exercises

1. Heel Elevated Front Squat– one of the primary muscles used when skating FORWARD is the vastus medialis. This is the tear drop looking muscle of your quad, and it makes up a large part of your leg. A strong VMO will result in a faster starting time and better control as you move forward on the ice. By elevating the heel in the front squat, you place even more emphasis on the VMO and less emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. You MUST, I repeat, you MUST go all the way down in order to activate the VMO in this movement. Going parallel will not hit the muscle, you must go down until your hamstring covers your calve. Put a 10 lb plate under your feet to elevate the heel. My advice is to go heavier and do 4-6 reps, go down slow in a 4 count. FRONT SQUAT TECHNQIUE

2. Close grip bench press– this bench press variation has the greatest transfer for stick handling and power. About a 14 inch grip is ideal, slow and heavy 4-6 reps. Why close grip? A large majority of the power when you shoot is going to come from the tri ceps, not the chest. A very strong close grip bench will do wonders for the power of your shot.

3. Parallel Grip Pull Up- strong and well developed lats are essential for a powerful, fast, and accurate shot. As you lift your arms up and get in motion to shoot, you can feel your lats working in order to control and produce the force necessary to make the shot. Again, a full range of motion is 100% required in order to target all the muscles. All the way down. And then chin back over the bar. Reps of 6-8 with a 3 second descent are great for this exercise.

4. Reverse grip ez-bar curl- this exercise applies more to stick handlers and enforcers. When you’re getting into fights, as you grab on to another player you need a developed grip and forearms to get the hold. There are hundreds of little muscle fibers in your forearms, hands, and fingers that need proper development in order to hold on and control the stick. 6-8 reps are good for the reverse grip curl. I like the seated variation on a preacher bench because you can’t cheat by using your lower back.

5. Hamstring Curl Machine– I’m not a big fan of machines, but this bad boy is excellent. If done properly, it will pack major strength and size on to your hams. Skating backwards is almost all hamstrings. A powerful/quick start time, and stopping on the ice requires strong hamstrings. For hockey players I advise 4-6 reps of very heavy and super slow.

6. Deadlift– the deadlift will hit your hams, quads, traps, and forearms, so it is an excellent exercise for over all strength on the ice.

7. Seated Rotator Cuff Movements- your external rotators are an overlooked, and often underdeveloped muscle when it comes to handling the stick. Often the triceps and shoulders will get stronger from training, but the rotators will not, and your shot will suffer from this. They provide both the stability and help with the accuracy of the shot. Watch this video here to see what to do ROTATOR CUFF. 6-8 reps are ideal.

8. NEVER USE THE TREADMILL- hockey players who use the treadmill will make themselves slower. Why? A treadmill is a moving plane under your feet, skating is movement on a non moving surface. Running on a treadmill will retrain both your mind and your feet and slow you down on the ice. If you want to be more conditioned on the ice, do sprints on a track, or do HIIT on a bike. The treadmill is awful for hockey players.

Sample upper body workout for Hockey Players

A1- Close Grip Bench Press- 5×4-6 reps Rest 2 minutes

A2. Parallel Grip Pull Up- 5×6-8 Rest 2 minutes, move back to A1

B1. Rotator Cuff Extension- 4×8 Rest 2 minutes

B2. Reverse EZ Bar Curl Seated- 4×6-8 Rest 2 minutes

Every rep should be done with a 3 or 4 descent. All in all this workout should take you about 45 minutes. If it takes you an hour, or 30 minutes, you were talking to your friends or did the exercises too fast and didn’t rest long enough. Enjoy.

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Why You Can’t Always Trust Your Doctor

Why You Can’t Always Trust Your Doctor

If your eye hurts, you’re not going to go to a radiologist. If you’re having gastrointestinal issues, you’re not going to your pediatrist. So if you’re seeking nutritional advice, what makes you think a general doctor knows what he’s talking about?

Just because someone goes to medical school and is a practicing physician, doesn’t mean they have the knowledge to guide you when it comes to nutrition.

I’m a musician and my main instrument is the guitar. But if you’re seeking advice on how to play the trumpet, I’m not going to be much help. Yes, I know a lot about music, but the specifics of that instrument, what REALLY matters, you’d need advice from someone who plays the trumpet.

Same is said for nutrition, supplements, and unfortunately most heart-disease related issues. Here is my list of why.

1. Doctors don’t study nutrition– and whatever they do study, it’s for a minuscule amount of time, and their text books are outdated. My buddy is a doctor in Florida and he’s the first one to tell you that when it comes to nutrition, he’s knowledge is as good as anyone’s who reads Men’s Health. It’s not what they do nor is it what they truly care about. Granted, some doctors do stay up to date on nutritional science, in that case you’re lucky, but most don’t.

2. Doctors treat symptoms, they don’t fix the problem- Scenario; John can’t sleep. John goes to his primary care doctor. Doctor gives him pharmaceutical. Pharmaceutical knocks John out. 3 weeks later he runs out and starts to get dependent. His dependency over time leads to an addiction. You know where this story goes…..If a doctor had the proper training about how to fix a sleeping issue, or at least ask the right questions, so much could be avoided. Are you deficient in magnesium? Do you have high cortisol? Are you stressed? Do you have digestion issues that impair your circadian rhythms? All of these questions could fix and heal John. Taking a drug just masks the pain for a while.

3. Doctors don’t stay up to date on science- thank god the advancement of science and research has disproved many myths that the medical community has been advising us on. Fat is bad, high cholesterol is bad, etc. All of these myths are debunked due to science and the right people challenging the status quo. However, physicians don’t stay up to date on science journals. They may read about MEDICINE (that’s different) and what new drugs their pharmaceutical reps can push on them, but actual nitty gritty research, not so much. In some cases a doctor might stay up to date in his particular field, like an oncologist will continue to read new research, but does that make him an expert on new heart disease related research? Nope.

4. Running a practice is running a business-physicians actually PUSH pills on you. There are pharmaceutical reps that come into their offices. Flirt with receptionists, smooth talk the nurses, and offer perks and benefits for the doctors that give out their drugs. I’m not making it up! My friend Ben (a doctor in the ER) has told me about doctors getting court side tickets at Lakers games. Vacation packages, you name it. All for the sake of pushing the product. It’s sad. It really is. These are the people who are supposed to heal us, keep us healthy, and guide us towards a better life. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. So the next time your doctor suggests a staten, RUN RUN RUN.

5. You CAN trust doctors when-you get hit by a car and are sent to the emergency room. Or you’re having a C section and you need some special “advice”. My buddy Ben, the doctor in the ER, has saved more lives in his 3 years of residency that I even want to think about. His knowledge of emergency medicine is unbelievable and he performs miraculous deeds every day. But, not every situation is an emergency. If you can’t sleep, your back hurts, or whatever your symptom is, perhaps it’s time to find a doctor who has alternative ways of healing rather than pushing drugs on you.

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Do calories matter?

Do calories matter?

Nope.

Calories are merely a measure of the amount of energy that food has. Salmon has more calories than gummy bears. Which one do you think will make you fat?

After yesterday’s article, How To Get A Fast Metabolism, I had lots of people asking me about calories. So I thought I’d set the record straight…..

As many of you learned from yesterday’s article, all fat metabolism is regulated by insulin. Insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, these are issues one must deal with when trying to efficiently burn fat in the body. But of course the common question that people always ask is;

“How many calories should I eat a day?” or “This meal has so many calories, it’s bad right?”

This way of thinking is pointless. The human body does not have a team of scientists waiting for you to reach 2,500 calories and then once you hit that magic number, ALL OF A SUDDEN everything you eat gets stored as fat. Think about how dumb that is for a minute. Where did this arbitrary number come from? How is it determined? What if you had sex that day and burned a lot more calories? Does the human body immediately go, “I had sex today, I can allot myself 167 more calories and be cool.” Absolutely not. It’s all regulated by hormones. Let me get one thing straight, if you count calories and lose weight, or you count calories and have success with that, more power to you! Keep it up! But for folks who always fail miserably with calorie counting, like I always did in the past, you’ll see that this works for you.

What does matter?

Macronutrients matter. Protein, fat, and carbs. It does matter where your calories come from, but the total number of them is a meaningless measurement that doesn’t tell you anything.

It’s fine to count your number of GRAMS of a macronutrient. 200 grams of protein. 50-75 grams of carbs. 100 grams of fat, etc. That is fine, especially if you’re not carb tolerant and you know you can’t have more than 75 g of carbs a day to lose weight.

You see, every person has a set number of carbs that they can eat a day before their cells eventually will go “no more insulin, go away”. For some people this is 50 grams, for some people this is 5,000 grams.

Of course, diets are highly individual. I eat a high protein, moderate fat, moderate carb diet. But that’s because I’m the leanest I’ve ever been. 3 years ago when my body fat wasn’t this low, the amount of carbs I’m eating now would have made me fat. My friend Dan has the fastest metabolism I’ve ever seen. He can eat a high protein, very high carb, diet and be fine. But the point is, counting your calories is a waste of time. What matters is where the calories come from.

Caloric Foods

Egg yolks, rib eyes, nuts, cheese, all of these foods are loaded with calories. Yet, they all have been proven to help with fat loss? How is that possible if they all have so much ENERGY in them? Because they help your cells respond to insulin better. The fact that they have a lot of calories is pointless. They are dense with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, all of which help our bodies function better and burn fat more efficiently.

What does this all mean for you?

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight for quite some time, you’ve tried every diet in the world, and things just won’t work. I would advise eating as much meat, fish, nuts, vegetables, cheese, etc. as you want. Limit your carbs to vegetables. Do not count calories, don’t even worry about it. Try this for two weeks and see if it works. It’s never failed for anyone that I know.

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How to get a fast metabolism

How to get a fast metabolism

Growing up, almost every single one of my friends was skinny. They could eat oreos, drink soda, eat cake, and never gain a lb. Me on the other hand, not so much. I wasn’t fat, but definitely not skinny or even inclined towards being muscular. And that was always one of my biggest wonders in life is “why is someone naturally skinny and why is someone naturally fat?”

The more and more I read, experimented, and interviewed people, the real answer came down to science. The mere statement of “faster metabolism” just doesn’t tell you anything. What does that actually mean to have a faster metabolism? And why is it that I have a fast metabolism at 26 but didn’t at 13? The answers my friends, all has to do with hormones…

Having a fast metabolism is often defined as the speed/rate in which your body metabolizes all food that you take in and thus uses it for different biological, chemical, hormonal, etc. uses in the body. So you ask yourself; great, how can I get my body to use everything I eat more efficiently and NOT GET FAT?

It’s quite simple. Insulin.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, and it’s primary job is to regulate glucose in the body. It’s also know as the “fat storage” hormone. When I say “fat storage” I don’t mean fat from avocados or beef, I mean it is responsible for storing fatty acids and other molecules into the adipose (fat sites) of the body. The way it works is like this; when you eat an apple (which is primarily sugar) insulin is called upon in order to regulate all of the sugar from the apple. It needs to figure out what to do with it. Someone with a fast metabolism uses insulin efficiently, so the insulin will take that sugar, find what cells can use it and essentially deliver it to them. This is called insulin sensitivity. Meaning someone with a fast metabolism has cells in their body that are sensitive to insulin delivering glucose to them. Now someone with a not so fast metabolism is often associated with….insulin resistance!

Insulin resistance is the opposite of insulin sensitivity. What it means is, when insulin is trying to regulate the blood sugar, it tries to deliver it to your cells, but because your cells are not sensitive to it, they resist it. They essentially are going “sorry insulin, we can’t take any more sugar in right now, go somewhere else.” What then happens is insulin NEEDS to bring the sugar somewhere, and guess what will always take in more sugar, no matter what? Your fat cells. The biological process of “getting fat” is literally insulin delivering particles into your “fat cells” making them grow. And when fat cells grow, you get fat. It’s a wildly beautiful process. But it sucks.

That explains why Jonny can eat 5 pieces of cake, 20 doughnuts, and 8 sodas and not get fat. He is so insulin sensitive that no matter how much sugar he eats, insulin will be able to deliver every bit of it to his cells and they can use it for energy. It has nothing to do with calories in calories out, it’s all a matter of hormones and biology.

What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

Pretty simple actually. You need to get your cells to be sensitive insulin. How do you do this?

1. Eat a low carb diet– the less sugar/carbs you bring into your body, the more efficiently insulin can do it’s job. You’re not overloading your cells with glucose, and therefor they won’t resist insulin when it tries to deliver the goods. Believe it or not, over time, the longer you eat low carb, the more insulin sensitive you will become, and thus you can start introducing the RIGHT carbs back into your diet.

2. Lift weights– insulin’s cool uncle that lives like a rock star is Testosterone. The more T you have in your body, the better insulin will be able to do it’s job. And vice versa is true, too much circulating levels of insulin will result in lower T. Lifting weights is one of the #1 ways to raise testosterone. Plus the act of building muscle requires lots of energy, and when your body is trying to build, your cells will be more SENSITIVE to insulin delivering the goods.

3. Eat more protein and fat– carbs raise your insulin, protein and fat do not (actually protein does a TINY bit, but nothing to be concerned about) the idea that eating lots of fat will make you fat is not actually biologically realistic. Fat storage is stimulated by insulin, and fat does not raise insulin, in fact, it is a more potent source of energy for the body than carbs. Healthy fat. Not “fake fat” like margarine, fake peanut butter, etc.

4. Take fish oil– all cell walls are made up of fatty acids that coat them and allow for fluid motion throughout the body. Omega 3’s in particular make up a large portion of our cell walls, and unfortunately people are so deficient in these amazing guys. By taking fish oil, you will strengthen your cells, and also help your body mobilize fatty acids in the body and use them for energy rather than fat storage.

5. Power trio- cinnamon/garlic/turmeric- these three spices are notoriously good at increasing insulin sensitivity. They also provide joint pain relief, hormone balance, and taste damn good.

6. Sleep more- the more sleep you get the less cortisol you will produce throughout the day. If cortisol is high, insulin is high. Remember that I said the more stressed you are the more likelihood your body will store everything as fat. Now you see why. High cortisol. More insulin.

7. Eat more fiber– fiber has endless benefits, but from a metabolism and insulin perspective it’s great. Fiber will slow down and sometimes blunt the insulin response of high carbohydrate foods. If you were eating a piece of cake and added 10 grams of psyllium to it, the insulin response would actually be a lot lower. You’d throw up because that’s a gross combination, but you get the idea. Before any high carb meal, 30 minutes prior take a fiber supplement.

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Why You’re Not Jacked

Why You’re Not Jacked

1. You socialize at the gym– are you chillen with your friends at the gym? Are you texting, tweeting, instagramming? If you’re answering “yes” to any of these questions you need to remember that the gym is not a place to socialize. It’s where you go to get results and put in hard work. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ll be in the middle of doing a set and someone will come up and talk to me. 100% of the time the person talking to me has a physique no better than a 3rd grade school girl. Get into the gym, do your work, hit it hard and heavy, and socialize when you get out.

2. Your choice of exercises suck- are you doing a variation of dips, pull ups, squats, and deadlifts every week? If you’re not, good luck getting the results you want. If all you do for your triceps are cable press downs, your arms won’t grow. Why? Because the stress/overload placed upon the muscle in that exercise is so minimal that it won’t activate enough muscle fibers to make the muscle grow. Doing dips will. Same can be said comparing leg extensions and squats. Which do you think places greater stress on the muscle? You have your answer right there. It’s not that these “lesser” exercises can’t pump you up, burn you out, and HELP with growth. But as your primary exercises? Absolutely not.

3. You have incorrect form/don’t use full range of motion- watch this video, this is how you squat, WATCH, go to about :50 seconds, are you doing that? In order for a muscle to get complete activation and fiber recruitment, you need to complete a full range of motion on the lift. Now don’t get me wrong, there are certain “sweet spots” and “holding points” in certain exercises that can increase tension and activation, we can cover those in other articles. But when you do your pull ups, curls, and even calve raises, you need to go ALL the way down.

4. You do cardio before weights- I’m not a fan of doing aerobics in general, but why no cardio before weight lifting? Attempting to lift weights after aerobic exercise will put you in a catabolic (muscle break down) state and you’ll actually negate your results, and waste your time. Why? After any form of exercise your cortisol will be high, and after doing cardio specifically, your cortisol will be very high, plus your energy will be spent along with your glycogen (stored carbohydrate used for energy in muscles), and then you want to try and lift weights after? Do it the other way around. Weights first and cardio after. OR NOT AT ALL.

5. You don’t eat enough protein– you should be eating a lb of protein per bodyweight minimum. 175 lb guy, 175 grams of protein. If you can afford for more protein, I advise it. You can’t go wrong eating more protein, they provide the amino acids required to build muscle and more importantly, recover from hard training.

6. You don’t eat enough fat– healthy fats are essential for optimum hormone production, primarily testosterone. Eating a fat rich diet (avocados, coconut oil, organic butter, nuts) will actually raise your testosterone and provide additional energy for your muscles to grow and repair. Ever looked at the musculature of a lion? What do they eat? Fat and protein.

7. You don’t get enough sleep– call me sleep obsessed, but I will forever drive this point home. I am the most ripped and lean I’ve ever been in my entire life and it’s because I’m sleeping better than I ever have in  my entire life. I know people think that they can function on 5 hours of sleep. But I don’t want to function, I want to thrive and be rockin’ and rollin’ all the time. If you’re not seeing the results you want, get more sleep. Remember that you don’t grow when you’re in the gym, you grow when you’re out of the gym. Remember that.

8. You’re always stressed– remember, the last thing your body wants to do when chronically stressed out is build muscle and burn fat. In fact, quite the opposite. It will break down muscle and store everything you eat as fat. Handle your stress better and watch those muscles grow.

9. You never change it up- have you been doing the same routine for months? Years? i see guys at the gym who have been doing the same thing for 10+ years. I’m not exaggerating. They don’t look any different than when they did back then. Our bodies/muscles will get used to things faster than you think. Now don’t change your arm workout every time you train them, but be conscious of it. A good tip is to change a work out every 6 workouts. That’s the general time frame in which our bodies will adapt. So if you’ve been doing the same arm workout for 6 workouts, change it up.

10. You trust the bodybuilding magazines– this was something I had to come to grips with in my life. It’s not that the advice of professional bodybuilders can’t apply to the average joe, quite the opposite, you can learn plenty from everyone. However, what you have to realize is that EVERY PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER TAKES STEROIDS. Actually, not only steroids, but cortisol blockers, and every single high end supplement known to man. So when you read that they work out for 2 hours and you attempt to do this, you’re actually breaking down your muscle. The average individuals Testosterone will drop after one hour of a workout. And the reason these bodybuilders can work out for so long is because of….steroids! Your better off finding advice from people who have the results that you want, but haven’t used the help of the needle to get there. I’m not saying that steroids at the top level of bodybuilding are bad, hell, every professional athlete uses some form of steroids. So why trust me? You don’t have to do anything, I just like to write about this! But I’ve built a pretty impressive physique over many years, I continue to learn every day, and I can say I know what I’m talking about. Now start squatting.

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Why You Need Your Vegetables

Why You Need Your Vegetables

Growing up we always hear from our parents to “eat your vegetables”….I always knew they were good for me. I didn’t really know why. And I bet my parents didn’t really know why. Yes, they have lots of vitamins and nutrients, but what good does that REALLY do for us?

After all my years of studying nutrition and being on the road, trying to maintain a healthy life style and stay strong and fit, I can honestly say that eating my vegetables is what put me over the top. Here is my list of the special powers of vegetables.

1. Raise testosterone/balance T & E- all members of the cruciferous family (broccoli, kale, brussell sprouts, cabbage, collard greens) contain certain phytonutrients and compounds that detoxify estrogens from our body. They also halt aromatization, which is the conversion of androgens (male sex hormones) into estrogens. Aromatization is not a good thing (men or women) and you must have a proper balance of T and E in your body. These super veggies are nature’s way of providing us with the helping hand we need.

2. Chlorophyll- Billy Madison didn’t know how silly he was being when he made fun of the teacher about this. Either way, chlorophyll is one natures cleansing tools. If you find that you get sick often or have that “icky” feeling like you need a shower but just took one, your body might need to flush out toxins. Chlorophyll is the way to go. You can find it in the dark leafy green veggies like kale, broccoli, collards, etc.

3. Diuretics- ever feeling really bloated? Eat dandelion root, cut it up and throw it in a salad, saute it in some coconut oil. Or even drink it as tea. Dandelion is loaded with Vitamin A which is very good for the immune system also. Rather than messing with some diuretic you get at CVS, pick up some dandelion.

4. Better Quality of Sleep– not only is falling asleep important, but the quality of your sleep is vital. Do you feel rested, strong, and ready to rock when you wake up? Start eating lots of veggies and I guarantee things will improve. Sleeping is actually a complex, biological process and there are lots of amazing things that happen (or should happen) while we sleep. There are different cycles and stages, and our major organs all perform different tasks at different hours of the night. Increasing your vegetable intake will provide your body with many missing nutrients and vitamins that will aid in all of this. I mentioned that when I started taking that green supplement my quality of sleep improved. It’s not just some miracle, it’s science baby!

5. Reduce inflammation- inflammation is what’s known as the silent killer. And vegetables are some of the most ANTI inflammatory substances in the world (next to fish oil which reigns supreme). By reducing inflammation, specifically for those who want to get ripped and lean, you improve recovery time, reduce cortisol, reduce stress, and allow for better delivery of glucose into our muscles.

6. Increase energy– vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, the list goes on. All of these amazing attributes to vegetables will increase our vitality and energy throughout the day. Pair that with a high protein, high fat, low carb diet, your on the road to rock n roll baby. Ask anyone who knows me, I often have too much energy.

7. Increased spirituality/in touch with nature– the closer we live to the earth, physically and emotionally, the better off we are. Mother nature has provided us with an endless connection and pathway to embracing her, and eating vegetables is one of the most powerful ways to connect with the universe and with nature. Whether or not you care about spirituality or the earth, just know that eating vegetables is a beautiful way to be “one with the universe”.

*Juicing, shakes, etc- I would advise getting a Nutribullet or a Vitamix. This is the easiest way to get extra vegetables into your diet without the tedious process of cooking, roasting, or boiling them. Not only does it create convenience, but it helps break down certain nutrients that sometimes our teeth and stomach acids can’t do very well. I like the nutribullet because it doesn’t get rid of the fiber, and it’s not that expensive. The Vitamix is higher powered and really breaks down EVERYTHING and makes it readily available for absorption. My friend Ryan says his Vitamix is the greatest thing he’s ever done for his health. And he’s ripped all year round. My advice when juicing or making vegetable shakes is this-

Get at least 3 different colors in there

Green, red, orange, blue/purple, yellow. All the different colors provide special and unique properties of their own. So you could do

Kale, carrots, blueberries.

Spinach, orange, and beets.

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