Archives For Weight Loss

There is no doubt that nutrition and exercise performance go hand in hand. And in the information age, there’s a lot of confusion regarding nutritional guidelines for athletes. The amount of nutrients needed is usually based on the recommendation for the general population that may not be appropriate for the athletic population. Sufficient amounts of energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are essential to the optimal performance and condition top athletes desire.

Additionally, false advertisements and health claims are everywhere. Massive bombardment of ads and information about nutrition flood the media. Are carbohydrates evil? Do we have to take supplementation for every nutrient out on the market? Does more protein intake mean greater muscle mass? Also, there are too many web-sites telling us what to eat. Are they relevant? This handbook will hopefully lead top athletes in the right direction with up-to-date nutrition recommendation based on science and research.

New and emerging science has been consistently investigating the “right” amount of nutrients for high performance training and other competitive demands. There are three main energy sources in our diet: Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat.

Why do we care about nutrition so much?

  • Obtain maximum gains from training
  • Enhance recovery for optimal conditioning
  • Maintenance and reaching weight goals
  • Less accidents and illness
  • Consistent achievement of goals
  • Maximal Performance

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the predominant and most efficient fuel source for training and performance. The muscle and the liver are the main places to store dietary carbohydrate in the form of glycogen. When the stored glycogen is depleted, exhaustion and weakness may be established. Carbohydrate supplements during exercise may contribute to prolonged exercise performance. Supplying the carbohydrates immediate after the exercise is to make sure there are enough carbohydrate sources in the body for recovering. Thus, it is recommended to take carbohydrate and protein together for the optimal recovery after exercise. During the day, it is important to replenish muscle glycogen stores that are depleted throughout the day to condition your body for the next day’s trainings or competitions.

The recommended amount and timing of carbohydrate intake:

Activity Type Amt of Carbohydrate
Immediate recovery after exercise (0-4 hrs) 1g/kg BM/hr in intervals
Daily Recovery from moderate duration/ low intensity 5-7 g/kg BM/day
Daily recovery from Moderate-heavy endurance exercise 7-12 g/kg BM/day
Daily recovery from extreme exercise program (>4-6 hr/day) >10-12 g/kg BM/day

Modified from IOC practical nutrition guideline

It is also recommended to take nutrient-rich carbohydrate source (ex. fruits and vegetable, Brown rice and other whole grains, 100% whole wheat bread) than low-nutrient containing foods (ex. White rice and bread, sports drinks and soft drinks, jam, honey, sugar).

Carbo-loading:

Some athletes, especially those who compete intensely for more than 90 minutes, load up their muscle glycogen stores to maximum levels before competitions. This is achieved by eating large amounts (8-10g/ kg) of carbohydrates 2 to 3 days prior to competitions. Not enough scientific evidence supports the efficacy of such method, however. New and emerging research supports ample carbohydrate (as outlined above) and adequate calories (eating for energy balance) as the proper way to maximize glycogen stores for an event.

The Basics “All Carbohydrates are Sugars”

Carbohydrates provide fuel to our working muscles, brain, and organs. Carbohydrates are not “essential” to life, however we function a lot better when we do have them in our diet. People usually classify carbohydrates into “simple sugars” or “complex carbohydrates.”  However these are not the way athletes should view their carbohydrate sources. A much better way is to ask the question: “What am I getting for this carbohydrate source.”

What We Want In a Carbohydrate Source

  • High Fiber – aids in weight loss, lowers cholesterol, keeps us “regular,” and high intakes (25 grams/day women 38 grams/day men) is associated with increased overall cardiovascular health and a much lower risk of chronic disease. This means every meal should have 6-8 grams of fiber.
  • High in Micronutrients – Vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are found in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as unprocessed whole grains such as steal cut oatmeal and brown rice. Many of these micronutrients are essential to life such as Vitamin C, while others such as the polyphenols in olives are associated with increased heart health.
  • Straight from the ground to your plate – The closer you choose your carbohydrates to the way they looked growing on the farm the better off you will be. This way the food naturally has all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fats, and all the other great stuff scientists have not yet discovered in them.

When we view our carbohydrate sources in this way it becomes apparent that vegetables and fruits, along with unprocessed grain products such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, bread with at least 4 grams of fiber per slice are our best choices. It also becomes apparent that fruit and vegetable juices are an inferior source of nutrients since we lose the fiber content.

Vegetables are extremely important and should be the staple of at least one meal per day preferably two meals in a day. Dark colored vegetables (carrots, spinach, bell pepper, broccoli, pumpkin, tomato etc.) are filled with vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, etc.

How to achieve your required vegetable intake

• Always have a large Tupperware container of mixed chopped vegetables in the fridge along with a pre-washed bag of spinach or spring greens

• If eating in a restaurant always order a salad

• If you don’t have time for salad then snack on carrots, celery, or green beans

How to choose bread

  • All bread must have at least 3-4 grams of fiber per slice
  • All bread must have “whole grain” on the label
  • Avoid all labels with “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients
  • My favorite is Ezekiel 4:9 bread

The “Other Stuff”

There are many other sources of carbohydrates that people do not utilize very often. Here is a list, if you would like a recipe just ask!

Take 45 min to Cook Take 30 min to Cook Less than 30 min to Cook
Brown Rice Quinoa Sweet Potato
Corn Lentils Couscous
Beans Peas Soy Pasta

There are multiple reasons everyone should do some resistance type training throughout their life. Here we will cover:

  • Keeping Your Metabolism Up
  • Reduced Injury
  • Building that Shapely Body Everyone Desires

Boost that Metabolism

Everyone has an individual metabolic rate. “Basal metabolic rate” refers to the energy used by our body at rest to maintain normal body functions. Every year there is on average one-half pound of muscle loss after age 25. This loss in muscle produces a one-half percent reduction in Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) every year. A reduction in BMR means that our bodies are less able to use the food we consume as energy thus more gets stored as body fat if we don’t reduce our eating as well.

Our muscles have high-energy requirements. Even when we are sleeping, our muscles use more than 25 percent of our energy (calories). An increase in muscle tissue causes an increase in metabolic rate, and a decrease in muscle tissue causes a decrease in metabolic rate. The most effective means to maintain or even increase muscle tissue is to do resistance training.

Reduce Injury

Our muscles also function as shock absorbers and serve as important balancing agents throughout our body. Well-conditioned muscles help to lessen the repetitive landing forces in weight-bearing activities such as jogging or playing basketball.  Well-balanced muscles reduce the risk of injuries that result when a muscle is weaker than its opposing muscle group. For example, jogging places more stress on the hamstrings and calves than it does on the quadriceps, creating a muscle imbalance that often leads to knee injuries. So it is very important that runners be on a good strength-training program that includes training the quadriceps as well as the hamstrings and calves. Additionally just moving around in daily activities can pose a threat if a person is not strong enough to perform the movement, from picking up a box to stepping out of the shower.

Free Weights and the Olympic Lifts Are The Biggest Bang For Your Buck

Using Olympic exercises and free weights in your resistance training creates tremendous physique development. Just a few of the advantages derived from Olympic lifts and free weights are coordination, balance, concentration, flexibility, speed development, and most importantly, they are FUN! Doing workouts in a group atmosphere with a trainer both reduces cost and improves the benefits since you are doing the movements under a trained eye. The group atmosphere also makes it fun, similar to a spinning class or group game.

What if I don’t want to get Bulky?

Don’t worry about looking like a football lineman. Lifting weights will build muscle but the “bulky look” that most women fear will only happen to men and it takes years of heavy lifting and hard eating to gain the bulk you see on professional athletes. Instead what will happen with resistance exercise is a “shaping” of the body that creates the curves and figure most people want. Think of those volleyball players or swimmers. Each with shapely bodies that are desirable. That is what weight training will do to women.

What if I want the big muscles?

Weight training is the only way to build large muscles, but you also have to eat A LOT consistently (so see a nutritionist to help with that) AND you must make sure that most of your weight training is centered around big weights (with proper form). Both take time and consistency to develop, but if done correctly can dramatically change your physique.

Now It Is Your Turn!!

Why do you lift weights?

Here I will outline the basics for a clean and healthy diet and what we stand for here at California Strength for nutrition. The majority of Americans need to make proper food choices first before doing anything else.
First we will start with what NOT to eat.

1. Cut out all regular sodas and processed fruit juice.

2. Get rid of processed carbohydrates. This means cutting out most breakfast cereals, white bread, potato chips, candy, and store bought pastries and cookies.
3. Cut out foods high in saturated fat and fried foods. Your body does not need the extra saturated fat.

Next we will outline what to eat.

1. Eat whole foods as often as possible

2. Eat moderate to small meals every 2-3 hours.

3. Eat some lean protein, fat, and unprocessed fibrous carbohydrate at every meal

4. Eat fruits or vegetables with each meal (as fresh as possible).

5. The bulk (size wise) of your food intake should come from fruits and vegetables.

6. Ensure that 20-30% of your energy intake comes from “liquid fat,” with your fat intake primarily coming from unsaturated (ie. flax oil, fish oil, olive oil, raw nuts).

7. Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, the best choice being water and teas.

8. Drink alcohol in moderation.

What about calories, amounts of fat, protein, carbohydrates, nutrient timing? For most people following these guidelines at least 90% of the time will be all they will ever need. If you are not near 90% then work your way there. Find friends that will do it with you.

IF YOU WANT IT, HAVE IT. “Never say never” to foods you love but that are not in your best interest to eat. There is nothing worse for a person’s health or diet than a built up urge to splurge. There are two main roads one can travel to curb binge eating. The first is to have a little bit everyday. For example my big sweet tooth is chocolate, so I always have a small amount of high quality chocolate around and allow myself one small piece a day. It works very well for me that way. Another is to allow yourself one meal a week where you can enjoy whatever you want. In fact even invite your other friends over that are attempting to eat better and do it together! This “ritual” will become something you look foward to and your friends will too, plus for the rest of the week everyone can hold each other on track. The trick is to find which one of these two works for you.

DON’T LET THE TOUGH TIMES GET YOU DOWN. Everyone’s healthy eating efforts get sidetracked from time to time. The trick is to keep a positive attitude and curb the unhealthy eating as quickly as possible. My trick is to keep a couple of motivational documents around to read in times of need.

That is it! Keep it simple, eat well, exercise hard, and live life to its fullest. Why not?