Category Archives: nutrition
Athletes’ nutrient intake, which periodically increases amino acid intake to reflect the increased need for recovery during periods of over reaching, may increase subsequent competitive performance while decreasing the risk of injury or illness.
Keep in mind, if you’re new to the nutrition game, you might not want to try incorporating all of these at once, as that can be super overwhelming. Maybe just incorporate one tip at a time until it becomes a habit, and then incorporate another.
If you’re a veteran of sound nutrition, use these as a checklist to make sure you’re still on top of your game, at least 90% of the time.
Perte de poids
Le choix n’est pas varié.
Facile à suivre à court terme, mais difficile à long terme.
Carence possible en vitamine D dans les pays nordiques.
Nos aïeux mangeaient-ils cru ou cuit?
La cuisson serait apparue au paléolithique, il y a environ 40 000 ans, mais il semble que nos ancêtres mangeaient surtout les aliments crus, la cuisson n’ayant probablement qu’un rôle limité. Elle aurait porté principalement sur les viandes et les poissons, et aurait été relativement brève.
La version américaine de Loren Cordain de la diète paléolithique n’insiste pas sur le fait de consommer les aliments majoritairement crus, ce que dénoncent certains adeptes de cette diète, en particulier en Europe.
Les grandes lignes
Les mécanismes d’action
Plus sur l’équilibre acido-basique
L’équilibre acido-basique est le rapport constant et équilibré entre les acides et les bases dans l’organisme, provenant de ce que nous mangeons. En effet, certains aliments laissent des résidus acides (aliments acidifiants), tandis que d’autres laissent des résidus basiques (aliments alcalinisants). Pour que nous soyons en bonne santé, notre alimentation doit fournir un bon rapport entre les aliments acidifiants et les aliments alcalinisants.
Repas du matin
Saumon aux fines herbes
Repas du midi
Salade d’épinards avec de nombreux légumes
Vinaigrette à base d’huile d’olive et de jus de citron
Dinde avec sauce aux agrumes
Noix du Brésil et framboises
Repas du soir
Viande de cheval
Légumes variés cuisinés au wok
Salade de fruits et graines de sésame
Même si la diète paléolithique proposée par Loren Cordain n’induit pas de carences nutritionnelles, cela ne veut pas dire qu’elle est indiquée. Je me préoccupe beaucoup de sa monotonie. Cette diète est bien loin de nos habitudes alimentaires et le plaisir de manger peut y être complètement occulté! De plus, je doute que ce soit la meilleure façon d’obtenir les effets escomptés. Nos maladies de civilisation proviennent d’un manque d’activité physique et d’une consommation trop élevée d’aliments transformés et sucrés, mais non d’une consommation trop élevée de céréales entières, de légumineuses et de yogourt nature. D’ailleurs, un des régimes les plus reconnus au monde, le régime méditerranéen, vise les mêmes bénéfices que la diète paléolithique, bien qu’il autorise les produits céréaliers, les légumineuses et un peu de produits laitiers.
Rédaction : Hélène Baribeau, nutritionniste Dt.P., M.Sc.
Fiche mise à jour : juin 2005
Advice doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. The simpler the advice, the more likely it will be applied in the real world, thus the more likely it will produce the desired result.
If you can’t summarize your theories in less than a few minutes, then either your kohai (student) won’t understand it, you don’t really understand it, you’re trying to sound too smart, or the material is so complex that it won’t work in real life situations.
Since I’m coming close to the end of my rookie season here on T NATION, I figured I’d give you a short, practical summary of what we’ve covered so far regarding fat loss nutrition. Colleagues, clients, and friends have called it a Paleo-meets-Sports Nutrition hybrid approach.
Here are the Cliff Notes:
- A Paleo/caveman-style diet is a simple template from which everyone can start. Eliminating most man-made, modern, processed, and refined foods and emphasizing natural foods that we evolved from can go a long way in improving health markers while helping achieve physique enhancement goals.
- However, high intensity exercise creates a unique metabolic environment and changes how the body processes nutrients for 24-48 hours upon completion of a training session. If you exercise 3-5 days a week, your body is virtually in recovery mode 100% of the time. It’s an altered physiological state beyond pure resting conditions, thus its nutritional needs are completely different from the average, sedentary, overweight office worker.
- We should keep in mind that surviving in the wild during caveman times is different than achieving elite performance or physique goals in modern times. “Life extensionism” at the cost of a sickly appearance, low libido/Testosterone, and an overall lack of “bad-assery” is not what the average T NATION guy is looking for.
At the same time, an awesome physique at the cost of poor health or early death isn’t what the majority are seeking either. How about an intelligent plan with some balance?
- Just like the sedentary person shouldn’t get caught up in following Food Pyramid dogma, the strength-training athlete shouldn’t get caught up in following no-carb dogma. Treating sick populations (insulin resistant, obese, etc.) is not advising athletes. Targeted carbohydrate intake can help the athlete fuel, recover from, and respond to intense strength training sessions.
The athlete should look at adding back in some low fructose, non-gluten, or “anti-nutrient” containing starches (potatoes, yams, rice) into their plan.
This is my approach, based on my education and experiences. But it’s not the only way. I encourage you to take some personal accountability and self-experiment to find what works best for you.
Just remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, or more appropriately for us, to peel off body fat.
The Lost Art of Post Workout Nutrition
I’ve talked a lot about Paleo Nutrition specifics. This time around, lets talk about some Sports Nutrition specifics. Efficiency means starting with the most important thing first right? The key, core concept in Sports Nutrition is post-workout nutrition.
Before the rise of information overload, practical advice regarding post-workout nutrition was simple – down some damn protein and carbs as soon as you can after finishing your workout.
Lately, I’ve seen a disturbing trend rising amongst the gym population, particularly amongst those who fall victim to over-intellectualizing or over-theorizing everything. Turns out some scientist or evolutionary theorist somewhere stated that carbs in the post-workout period inhibit the fat burning environment created by exercise.
Thus, people are starting to believe that to maximize fat loss, you must go low carb all the time, even in the critical post-workout window.
I can hear Donnie Brasco right now, “Forget about it.”
The result is that the Sports Nutrition principle that’s more important for producing physique development results than anything else, namely combining protein with carbs in the post-workout period, has been lost. These days I have to fight with people to get them to include some damn carbs in their post-workout meal.
Unfortunately, a few T NATION readers have fallen under this spell. I’ve had to help several regular Nation readers uncover the underlying problem concerning their lack of physique enhancement results despite consistent and intense training protocols.
The #1 culprit was a lack of carbs in the post-workout recovery period. For too long, many of us have been living on “A Nightmare on Carb Street.”
It’s time to wake up.
What to do can be explained in a sentence: down some Surge Recovery and/or eat a post-workout meal combining protein with carbohydrates in a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio after every strength training workout. Whole food examples include fish and rice, egg/egg white mixtures and rice cakes, chicken and yam, steak and potato, etc.
If you’re already doing that, you’re done. You’re probably getting good results and don’t need to read on. The rest of this article is geared towards those who’ve somehow been confused into thinking that post-workout protein/carb combos are detrimental to their physique goals.
Unfortunately, the why – the science behind simple practical recommendations – can get pretty complex. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to learn a little bit. It gives you the knowledge-base necessary to separate fact from the brown stuff that comes out of a bull’s backside. It helps you stick to the fundamentals of physique enhancement and not get pulled off track by highly intelligent theorists, but equally lacking in real world practical experience.
The Problem with No Carbs Post Workout
When most people think of getting shredded, they think of fat loss only. This often results in extreme calorie/carb cuts and exercise protocols that can be counterproductive in the long-term due to the presence of a chronic catabolic environment. For example, hours of cardio a day and cutting out lettuce because it contains 1g of carbohydrate.
Short-term catabolism is beneficial, as it helps us break down stored energy nutrients for fuel, both as glycogen or body fat. But chronic, long-term catabolism is highly problematic for physique enhancement goals. This ultimately leads to muscle loss and body fat gain despite high activity levels and low food intake.
So physique athletes can’t just think about “burning” stuff off all the time, even during fat loss phases. We also have to pay attention to recovery and muscle growth, or at the very least, lean muscle maintenance. Enter post-workout nutrition.
I like to think of this as the “yin & yang” of physique enhancement. We need balance in everything in life.
When one side is unbalanced, such as when a sedentary person consistently eats refined carbohydrates, insulin is chronically elevated, and there’s too much “anabolic” activity – the body is always in storage mode, including storing body fat. If this isn’t offset with “catabolic” activity or the burning off of stored nutrients through exercise, the net effect is “Pillsbury Doughboy-ville.”
What happens when the other side of that equation becomes unbalanced is a little more complicated.
If you lean too much in the other direction (i.e. performing intense activity while chronically restricting calories/carbs, especially post-workout), there are negative consequences. Most notably, a lack of physique development and body composition change despite sincere effort.
Exercise is a catabolic activity. We all know it causes microscopic damage/tears in the muscle tissue. But what some have forgotten is that this catabolic process must be offset with an anabolic recovery period for physical adaptation to take place. Muscular repair – an anabolic process – only occurs with proper nutritional intake.
If you perform high intensity strength training but don’t include some protein and carbs for recovery, what you end up with is cortisol over-dominance and a constant catabolic state. This over-dominance of cortisol is compounded by two lifestyle factors:
- Our modern lifestyles, especially those of career-driven professionals, are highly stressful. Cortisol levels are chronically high due to the stress of corporate life. You don’t want to add to this negative hormonal environment with improper post-workout nutrition. Otherwise, what’s intended to be beneficial (exercise) ends up being counterproductive by contributing even more to chronically elevated cortisol levels.
- Those who lack real anaerobic fuel from carbohydrate intake often make up for it with artificial energy coming from stimulants (coffee, energy drinks, fat burning pills). Now there’s considerable research that caffeine, in moderation, is beneficial for fat burning, but the key, as with most things in life, is moderation.
Needing to drink 84 oz. of coffee or 6 energy drinks just to get through the day is not moderation. It’s chemical dependency. If overdone, cortisol remains chronically elevated, and contributes to the “stubborn body fat” syndrome.
This is the exact scenario that plays out with many strength-training athletes who strictly adhere to low carbohydrate diets. They’re confused, thinking the low carb diet plans that are the best for sedentary populations are also the best for them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The result of this hormonal environment is the “Skinny-Fat Syndrome.” Guys and gals who consistently train hard, follow the low-carb trend, think they’re doing everything right, are lean everywhere else, but hold flab right around the midsection. Oddly enough, it’s too low of a carbohydrate intake, and it’s the refusal to offset catabolic activity with an anabolic recovery period that’s keeping them fat.
These athletes may be improving performance parameters (improving strength, endurance, ability to perform a specific like max pull-ups, deadlift max, etc.), but their appearance isn’t changing. In many instances, it’s getting worse.
It’s much easier to improve performance on a sub-par diet than it is to improve appearance. Fact is, for the person with average genetics and choosing a natural route, it’s impossible to improve appearance on a sub-par diet.
Yes, if carbs are overeaten it will inhibit the fat loss process. Chronic elevation or overproduction of insulin can of course lead to fat gain. But in the right amounts and situations (i.e. following an intense workout where insulin sensitivity is high), it can be a good thing (anabolic, anti-catabolic).
As counterintuitive as it sounds, some carbs in the diet can offset the catabolic activity of exercise (insulin is a counter-regulatory hormone to cortisol), can initiate the recovery and repair process, can help build lean muscle, and can help burn fat in the recovery period.
I’ve worked with physique athletes who got over their misconceptions and “carbophobia,” leaned up, and reached personal, record low body fat percentages by adding carbs back into their diet; starting of course, with the post-workout period.
The Inhibition of Fat Burning Myth
The biggest argument I hear against carbs post-workout is that they’ll inhibit optimum fat burning. This may be true at other times of the day, under normal physiological conditions, but it’s not true in the unique environment created by intense strength training.
As bodybuilding nutritionist Chris Aceto accurately stated, carbs have a “metabolic priority” in the post-workout period. The strength training athlete cycles periods of glycogen depletion with glycogen restoration, and in the post-workout period, even a high carb intake doesn’t get stored as body fat.
Again, the prevailing confusion in our industry is due to dietary principles that are great for sedentary populations being extrapolated and applied across the board, even with athletes.
In the post-workout period, the main priority of ingested glucose is to refill depleted glycogen stores. As this is happening, fatty acids fuel normal resting energy requirements.
That’s A Wrap
There’s a lot more we can talk about regarding this topic, such as the effect of carb and protein levels on the free Testosterone:cortisol ratio in response to exercise, changes in glucose transporters, and the glycogen synthase enzyme in response to exercise, etc.
But these are all more about the why then the what to do with post-workout nutrition. For now, follow my advice and return to the simple: take in some protein and carbs post-workout, even when prioritizing fat loss. You may need to cut the carbs at other times during the day, but you shouldn’t cut them in the post-workout period.
By: David Schipper
Recently, Cornell University researchers asked a group of people a simple question: “How do you know when you’re through eating dinner?”
The answer might seem obvious. After all, doesn’t everyone push the plate away when they feel full? Well, no. The leanest people do, according to the scientists, but people who are overweight rely more on what are known as “external cues.” For example, guys packing a few extra pounds tend to stop eating when . . .
1. Their plates are clean.
2. Everyone else in their group is finished.
3. The TV show they’re watching is over.
Unfortunately, these cues have nothing to do with how they feel physically. “People’s brains are often out of touch with their bodies,” says C. Peter Herman, Ph.D., a University of Toronto expert on appetite control. “And when eating becomes mindless, overeating becomes routine.”
The key player in all of this appears to be a region of your brain called the left posterior amygdala, or LPA. This area monitors the volume of food in your stomach during a meal. Fill your gut to a comfortable level, and the LPA tells your brain to drop the fork. Trouble is, it delivers that information at dial-up speed in a DSL world. “Many men consume calories faster than their bodies can say, ‘Stop!'” explains Herman. “So they look to external cues to guide their consumption.”
The bottom line is this: To shrink your gut, you need to start listening to it. We’ve scoured the science and tapped the top experts to help you learn how to do just that. Use these seven simple strategies, and you’ll fill up without filling out.
Sit Down to Snack
Turns out, the trappings of a formal meal make you think you’re eating more than you actually are—and that may boost satiety levels. A 2006 Canadian study found that when people ate lunch while sitting at a set table, they consumed a third less at a later snack than those who ate their midday meals while standing at a counter.
Think of it as the Zen of eating: “If you treat every dining experience with greater respect, you’ll be less likely to use your fork as a shovel,” says sports nutritionist and behavioral psychotherapist Lisa Dorfman, M.S., R.D. “And that includes snacks as well as your three squares.”
Turn Off the Tube
University of Massachusetts researchers found that people who watched TV during a meal consumed 288 more calories on average than those who didn’t. The reason: What you’re seeing on television distracts you, which keeps your brain from recognizing that you’re full.
Slow Down and Savor
“Pay close attention to those first three bites, which people usually wolf down due to excitement,” says Jeffrey Greeson, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Duke Integrative Medicine. In fact, mimic a food critic: “Examine the food’s texture, savor the flavors in your mouth, and then pay attention and feel the swallow,” he says. “Psychologically, this form of meditative eating boosts satiety and promotes a sense of satisfaction for the entire meal.”
While you’re at it, try spicing up relatively bland fare, such as scrambled eggs, with hot sauce or smoked paprika. “Hot, flavorful foods help trigger your brain to realize you’re eating,” says Dorfman.
Take a Bite, Take a Breath
University of Rhode Island researchers discovered that consciously slowing down between bites decreases a person’s calorie intake by 10 percent. “Breathing helps you gauge how hungry you are, since it directs your mind toward your body,” says Greeson. “It’s also quite practical, since you can do it throughout a meal and not draw attention to yourself in a social situation.”
Don’t Share Your Food
Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo observed that men who ate with a group of buddies downed 60 percent more calories than when they ate with a spouse or girlfriend. That’s because people often match their intake of food to that of their dining partners.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to sit home on guys’ night out. Choose one reasonable entrée for yourself, and skip the communal foods—bread, nachos, wings, and pizza, for example—which encourage you to take your eating cues from pals.
Keep a Food Journal
It’s an effective way to remind yourself how much you’re eating over the course of a day. But it doesn’t need to be complicated: University of Pittsburgh scientists found that dieters who simply wrote down the size of each meal (S, M, L, XL) were just as successful at losing weight as those who tracked specific foods and calorie counts.
One useful addition: Detail the motivation behind your eating habits. “Were you really hungry or just blowing off steam before bedtime? Recognizing that you weren’t feeling true hunger reinforces the idea of listening to your body,” says Dorfman.
Don’t Trust the “Healthy” Menu
You’re likely to underestimate your meal’s calorie count by about 35 percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The best approach is to check the restaurant’s nutrition guide before you order. A University of Mississippi study found that people consumed 54 percent fewer calories when they used this simple strategy.
© 2010 Rodale Inc. | MensHealth.com
By: Myatt Murphy
You’ve put in the time. The sweat. Maybe the tears when you don’t see results. Quit blubbering. It’ll be fine.
Entering the weight room is the first step toward building muscle, but it’s not the last. What you do before, during, and after a workout can either negate your hard work or elevate your growth to a new level.
“Your personal habits, your social life, even which exercises you choose to do can take away from what you’re trying to build,” says Jeff Bell, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist and the owner of Spectrum Wellness in New York City. Bell and other experts helped us pinpoint seven factors that sabotage results. “Add them up and they could be why your muscles have nothing to show for all your time served,” Bell says.
Eliminate these seven saboteurs, then watch your muscles grow—with nothing holding them back.
Plenty of lifters believe that doing isolation exercises like chest flies and leg extensions is the only way to make their muscles grow. But basic moves such as bench presses and squats force several muscle groups to work together, imposing more stress on your body for bigger gains.
“Your body reacts to all that stress by having the anterior pituitary gland issue more growth hormone to compensate for the extra effort,” says Allen Hedrick, C.S.C.S., head strength-and-conditioning coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Of course you need variation, but don’t abandon basic moves in favor of intermediate isolation exercises.
Fix it: Write down the exercises in your routine to see what percentage of them are compound moves. “If it’s not in the range of at least 40 to 50 percent, then you’re doing too many isolation exercises,” says Bell.
Playing sports too often can sidetrack your muscle-growth goals. Muscles typically need 48 hours of rest to adapt to the stresses placed on them during exercise. “Engaging in extra activity also makes your body more likely to use any excess calories it has for fuel, and not for rebuilding itself,” says Bell.
Fix it: “Pull your cardiovascular activity back to the bare minimum—20 minutes, three times a week—to see what effect it has on your body,” Bell says. If cardio is indeed stealing your muscle, you should begin to notice strength improvements—being able to lift more weight or complete more repetitions—within 2 to 3 weeks. If your primary goal is to increase muscle size and strength, and not necessarily to build your overall health, try pulling back further. Can’t miss a game? During your workout, ease up on the muscles you use most in your extra activity so they have more time to recover.
Smoking and Drinking
You know smoking is stupid. You know you’re gambling with cancer, stroke, and other health issues. But did you know you’re also sabotaging your strength training?
“Smoking places carbon monoxide in your system, which prevents your muscles from getting as much oxygen to use for energy,” says Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., a clinical professor of medical psychology at Duke University. “The less oxygen your muscles have to draw from, the less efficient they are at contracting, which can limit their capacity for work.”
As for alcohol, it can cover your abs with a layer of lard and interfere with hormones that help build them. “Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can also keep your testosterone levels lower than usual and decrease muscle mass,” says Swartzwelder.
Fix it: Quit smoking, and don’t worry about becoming a cold-turkey butterball. “Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week not only helps control body weight, but can also produce positive psychological effects that might diminish the need to smoke,” says Swartzwelder. Drinking moderately (two drinks or less per day) won’t harm testosterone levels and can actually improve your cardiovascular health, he says.
You need to eat after your workout. Right after a session, your body is hustling to convert glucose into glycogen so your muscles can repair themselves and grow. “If you don’t eat after exercise, your body breaks down muscle into amino acids to convert into glucose,” says John Ivy, Ph.D., chairman of kinesiology at the University of Texas.
Fix it: After you work out, eat a high-carbohydrate meal—and don’t forget the protein. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a four-to-one carbohydrate-to-protein ratio can provide 128 percent greater muscle-glycogen storage than a high-carbohydrate drink alone. (They used Endurox R Recovery Drink in the study.) For even greater results, have a sports drink before and during exercise.
If you don’t get enough deep sleep, your muscles can’t recover. Moreover, says Catherine Jackson, Ph.D., chairwoman of the department of kinesiology at California State University at Fresno, when you work out on insufficient sleep, you exercise at a lower intensity than you realize—but you feel as if it’s high. So your muscles are less likely to receive enough stress to grow.
Fix it: Go to bed and wake up at set times every day, even on weekends, to keep your sleep cycles regular. Avoid caffeine—and perhaps exercise—for 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Elevating your heart rate before bed can interfere with sleep, Jackson says.
Sugary drinks like soda can fool your body with a blood-sugar spike, making you prone to skip “other, nutrient-dense foods you could be eating,” says Bell. If your sugar habit limits your intake of muscle-building amino acids, it will sap the fuel you need for your workouts, says New York City-based celebrity trainer Steve Lischin, M.S., C.P.T.
Fix it: Water and low-sugar sports drinks are your best bets. But sugar hides elsewhere. “Watch out for dried fruits, certain nutrition bars, and even ketchup,” Lischin says.
For the active man, eating about a gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight helps build muscle—if the protein is processed correctly. “A high-protein meal has a slight diuretic effect,” says Lischin. When the body uses protein for energy, it has to remove the nitrogen component of the molecule to turn it into glucose. “This requires plenty of water,” he says.
Fix it: Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day and divide your protein among five or six small meals throughout the day. “Eating an average of 25 to 30 grams each meal is ideal,” says Lischin. “Not only will you put less stress on your kidneys, but you’ll also utilize more of the protein you’re ingesting by giving your body only as much as it can use each time.”
by Chris Colucci
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t look at what the successful people are doing differently, but focus on what they have in common?” It’s a bite-sized chunk of reasonably accurate and practical advice, and really, it can be applied to all levels of bodybuilding.
Case in point: There’s one nutrition plan so simple and effective that several top TestosteroneMagazine contributors, including Alwyn Cosgrove, Charles Poliquin, and Christian Thibaudeau, have used it as a key part of many clients’ fat loss plans.
With summer in full swing, you’re probably close to beach-ready or you’re at least panicked enough to realize that it’s finally the time of year when tank tops, shorts, and beach trips will show everyone how “great” your gym progress has been over the last 10 months.
Take the next four weeks to buckle down and use the Green Faces Diet to streamline your nutrition and your obliques. If it’s a go-to plan for several coaches and trainers, it’s definitely a strategy that can improve your own bodybuilding goals.
The Green Faces Diet relies on a relatively-barebones menu that forces you to choose only the most efficient foods that will preserve lean muscle while encouraging maximum fat burning.
However, this isn’t some kind of 800-calorie starvation plan — you’ll be eating plenty of real food — but it’s the particular kinds of foods that will have the biggest impact. The core concepts that determine your food choices can be a little complicated, so grab a pen and paper:
1) If it’s a green vegetable, you can eat it.
2) If it had a face, or would’ve grown up to have a face, you can eat it.
3) If it’s not green and didn’t have a face, don’t eat it.
Um… yeah, that’s pretty much it. If you can follow those embarrassingly simple rules, you’ll see your bodyfat drop faster than high school cheerleader panties at a Justin Bieber concert.
Performance and fat loss specialist Alwyn Cosgrove explains the benefits of such simplicity. “I first heard of this type of plan from Charles Poliquin, who said, ‘If it grows out the ground or if it swims, flies, or runs, you can eat it.’ For all intents and purposes, it’s a form of an ‘elimination diet.’
We eliminate all potential or common allergens such as wheat and dairy, and then it’s like Dr. Bryan Walsh has said, symptoms you didn’t even know you had will disappear. People will often drop several pounds of “bloat” when they’re on this plan; not just because of the low carbs, but also because of food sensitivities they weren’t aware they had.”
Food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies are commonly undiagnosed and can cause a host of subtle symptoms, ranging from inefficient nutrient absorption and acne to gas and chronic bloating. Elimination diets are a popular and effective way of removing potential allergens or body system stressors (lactose, gluten, caffeine, etc.) from the diet to alleviate any negative reactions.
Elimination diets allow the digestive and immune systems a chance to recover from constantly attempting to process foods that it may not actually be designed to process, and they often have the “accidental” effect of weight loss and reduced bodyfat.
If elimination diets sound too much like new age-y, hippie chick, mumbo jumbo, take comfort in knowing that the Green Faces Diet is also, not coincidentally, the same type of high protein, reduced carb diet that’s helped bodybuilders get ripped for decades.
One standard plan for bodybuilders looking for maximum definition has been to drastically reduce carbs and bump up the meat and vegetable intake. One of the most notable advocates of this type of diet was the original bodybuilding guru Vince Gironda, who frequently removed carb sources and made meat and eggs the focus of his clients’ diet.
The heart of the uber-popular Anabolic Diet is also based on reduced carbs and increased meat and vegetables. While the Anabolic Diet does include frequent “carb-ups,” the Green Faces Diet doesn’t require them, and we’ll learn why later on.
First, let’s clarify each step of the Green Faces Diet to avoid any confusion.
The key word here is green. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with yellow peppers, cauliflower, or tomatoes during a fat loss phase, but what we’re looking for is simplicity — just do this andthis, and then this will happen. The more leeway you allow and the more rules you try to bend, especially when dieting, the greater chance you have of screwing something up.
Do the veggies literally have to be green? Not usually, but for our purposes here on this diet, underthese circumstances… yes, they do. Of course there’s nothing about carrots or eggplant that could seriously compromise your fat loss efforts, but for the sake of consistency and minimal complication, stick to the plan. It’s just four weeks. You can gorge on yellow zucchini or red onions afterwards.
If you’ve ever failed on a fat loss diet before, you might also be aware of the sneaky little snowball of compromise. “It’s just a low-carb wrap, but it’s fine because it’s high fiber,” turns into, “It’s just some milk and sugar in my coffee, but it’s fine because I only drink it at work,” which turns into, “It’s one jelly donut, but it’s fine because I’m still sore from yesterday’s heavy leg training and can put the calories to use.”
A huge reason for having a plan is to stick to the plan. Don’t be like an ’89 Wrangler with bald tires; the more corners you try to cut, the sooner you’ll rollover and crash.
It pains me just a little to say, but vegetarians are not welcome here. The primary protein source of the Green Faces Diet is an assortment of good ol’ animal flesh. If it had adorable eyes, a cute button nose, and a pair of equally-cuddly parents… it’s what’s for dinner (and breakfast, and lunch, and snack time).
By focusing on a variety of meats as the primary protein source, the default macronutrient profile will be high protein, moderate-to-high fat, and low carb. That’s an ideal scenario for fat loss. On the off-chance that the bountiful, relatively high-fiber vegetables don’t fill you up, you’ll find satiety in the daily feedings of steak, chicken, and fish.
Don’t forget about the eggs, which are allowed by the “if it would’ve grown up to have a face” clause. As myriad nutritional coaches have advised for decades, eggs are perfect bodybuilding food. And we’re talking about whole eggs because, as Charles Poliquin once infamously said, egg whites are for dorks. Especially on this plan, you’ll benefit from the added protein, fat, and other nutrients found in the yolk.
You’re going to end up getting the majority of your daily calories from protein and fats with a sizeable amount of daily fiber from the vegetables and “roughage.” This potent combo should have you feeling comfortably full after each meal while stoking your metabolism and preserving lean muscle.
So you’ve learned what you can eat, but what about the stuff you can’t? Diet soda or coffee? Not if you can absolutely help it. Actually, ditching all caffeine sources for the month is another great type of system detox, and very common on elimination diets.
Fruit juices are, from a macronutrient standpoint, no different than regular soda, so those are definitely out of the fridge. While you’re at it, toss the milk, too. We want to eat stuff that was an animal, not something that’s squeezed out of one.
Even Ezekiel bread, one of the most bodybuilder-friendly bread options, will be a no-go on this plan because they’re too carb-dense for our purposes. Essentially, as you might’ve guessed, anything that isn’t a green vegetable and didn’t have a face attached will not be going down your hungry gullet. You will, however, be allowed to eat some whole fruits… under certain circumstances.
If you’re already relatively lean, or at least not super-obese and brand new to cutting, you can have one or two pieces of whole fruit with breakfast and one or two pieces with the first meal that immediately follows your weight training session.
This will let you include more nutritional variety, while also delivering more carbs when your body can use them most effectively without inhibiting fat loss. No, the fruit doesn’t have to be green, just keep it whole and keep it to one or two servings at a time.
So far, I’ve been busting chops about how you only need to follow the three basic rules about what you can and can’t eat. However, like with all sets of rules, there is an exception… your peri-workout plan, or what you’ll be eating/drinking while you train.
You’ve most likely heard of the Third Law of Muscle — explaining how you can make or break your results in the gym based on what you provide your body at training time — and with that in mind, the Anaconda Protocol 2 makes a perfect complement to the Green Face Diet.
The combination of strategic, fast-acting carbs and anabolic nutrients like casein hydrolysate and leucine will make sure your training sessions not only don’t suffer from low daily carbs, but they’ll help you build strength and encourage the building of lean muscle without compromising fat loss at all.
The other benefit to smart peri-workout planning with the Protocol, is that you’ll be getting a strong dose of carbs that will be put right to work, getting you through intense lifting sessions without suffering the lethargy or “flat” feeling that typically comes with low carb diets.
This is why you don’t need to schedule specific “carb-up” days along the lines of the Anabolic Diet. You’re getting sufficient carbs on the days you train, without hindering the overall goal.
You might have noticed the obvious lack of a recommended macronutrient breakdown, or even a comment about portion sizes. That’s because, even though we’re eating for fat loss, the structure of the plan itself dictates a flexible but effective macronutrient breakdown.
Cosgrove explains, “When you follow the Green Faces principles, the macros and calories tend to fall into place, and it’s much easier for clients to follow.
Because the majority of beginner lifters, and even some more experienced bodybuilders don’t always prioritize the kitchen like they prioritize the weightroom, Cosgrove reminds us to walk before we run, nutritionally-speaking. “Most of our new clients aren’t following any type of dietary recommendation or any type of meal frequency when they come in.
We start them with a few of these basic principles, and often, we don’t need to go any further as that takes care of a lot of it for them. I’ve talked about the idea before, that going from having all your meals out of cardboard boxes or not eating breakfast directly to weighing all your vegetables and counting daily protein grams can be overwhelming and unnecessary.”
Even if you thought your current nutrition plan was spot-on, consider the Green Faces Diet as a strategic fat loss assault that’s different enough from your current daily plan that you’ll be able to drop some stubborn bodyfat and still benefit from the detox/elimination aspects.
To give you an even better idea of the food choices, here’s a brief list that should help to avoid any boring repetition, so you don’t fall into “chicken and broccoli for lunch, broccoli and chicken for dinner”-syndrome.
Should you be worried about possibly overdoing it with nutrient-dense proteins or getting a surplus of vitamins and minerals because you’re eating more veggies in a day than you ate all of last October, Cosgrove brings us back to reality.
“I can’t think of a situation where more vegetables, fruits, and a return to natural food can ever be a bad thing. Regardless of goals, a diet abundant in that type of food should probably make up the bulk of what we all eat, right?”
Steak (any cut)
… to name just a few
Lettuce (any variety)
… to name just a few.
If you’re still trying to figure out the “One from Column A, one from Column B” method of menu building, here’s what a typical day of good eats might look like:
Breakfast: Big-ass omelet (whole eggs, green pepper, broccoli)
Mid-morning snack: Canned tuna, celery
Lunch: Big-ass salad (spinach, Romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, cucumber, green peas), grilled chicken
Pre and Peri-Workout: Anaconda Protocol 2
Dinner: Plenty of steak, grilled zucchini, grilled asparagus
Before bed snack: Hard-boiled eggs, snap peas
Whether it’s your first dedicated attempt at dropping bodyfat or just a temporary break in your year-long bulk, the Green Faces Diet can be a great way to bring you back to a presentable shape and preserve lean muscle without a drastic overhaul.
To boot, you’ll have given your GI and digestive systems a much-needed break from some of the common dietary allergens that could be prevalent in your standard diet, so afterwards, be sure togradually reintroduce some of the more common allergens (such as dairy and wheat-based products) and be on the lookout for any symptom flare-ups.
Just remember to stick to the gameplan, and the diet will nearly take care of itself. It doesn’t matter if you “know” that you can get ripped while having oatmeal twice a day or if a cup of cottage cheese before bed helps you think you’re not burning muscle for fuel during those oh-so-strenuous dreams.
If you can’t stick to these straightforward rules for four weeks, I have a strong feeling that Tugg Speedman will be portraying you in the film adaptation of the story of your simple life spent growing up on a farm.
Poison Protein and Consumer Reports – Nutrition Expert Alan Aragon Speaks: You Should Listen!
A few weeks back, I wrote a Blog post describing Consumer Reports claim of Poison Protein Shakes. In this post, I gave you the important bullet points on a recent research study Consumer Reports did on 15 of the most popular protein supplements sold on the market today.
At the conclusion of their study, Consumer Reports stated “All drinks in our tests had at least one sample containing one or more of the following contaminants: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Those metals can have toxic effects on several organs in the body.”
Essentially, Consmuer Reposts told us that what we were buying was poison protein. I have to admit, this report of poison protein really had me questioning my own personal use of protein supplements. But, just the thought of cutting out my Bio-Test: Metabolic Drive and At-Large Nutrition: Nitrean was depressing because I love my protein shakes!
If it’s one thing I’ve learned about this kind of information given by Consumer Reports – It’s to always check other sources before coming to any personal conclusions. As they say “there’s always two sides to every story”. So, before I cut out my beloved protein shakes, I needed to consult with an expert in nutrition to get an informed opinion on the matter.
I called my good friend, fellow Men’s Health contributor and nutritional research expert, Alan Aragon. I read everything Alan writes, from his Blog to his Research Review. You won’t find a better resource for non-biased, evidence based nutrition information you can immediately use than what you’ll find at Alan’s website. You’ll also get to see from his picture below, Alan is the original bro-master of the Derrick Zoolander, Blue Steel bro-pose.
Now, without further delay – Here’s Alan Aragon’s exclusive NickTumminello.com article on the Consumer Reports claim of poison protein.
Consumer Reports Isn’t Immune to Sensationalism
By Alan Aragon
A lot of people have asked me for my opinion of the infamous Consumer Reports (CR) July 2010 article on the supposed dangers (and relative uselessness) of protein supplements. For the most part I’ve responded like, “The city air is worse for you, so either move to the country or just relax & don’t sweat the small stuff.” However, when I was contacted with this same question by Nick, I thought to myself, “Holy crap, this is Nick Fricking Tumminello…it’s time to get serious.”
Let’s take a look at the danger part first.
An important thing to consider is that Consumer Reports is not the end-all authority; it’s merely a single resource to be viewed as critically as any other. No information should be taken on blind faith (even mine!). An early example of CR’s fallibility was a dog food comparison in their February 1998 issue. Iams (one of the companies under CR scrutiny) presented proof that CR mismeasured various nutrient levels. Subsequently, CR published a correction the following month. There are other examples of CR’s mistakes in other industries, but suffice it to say that CR has steered clear of testing dog foods since this 1998 debacle. Assuming that they are the final word on food safety testing would be a hasty move.
In response to CR’s recent protein supplement article, Greg Pickett, founder of Cytosport (maker of Musclemilk), made the valid point that, “…it must not be overlooked that the substances tested by Consumer Reports are naturally occurring in the environment, and it would be uncommon, if not impossible, not to detect the trace amounts reportedly found in any agricultural product, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.” 
Also noted by Cytosport, CR slickly based its calculations of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) permitted daily exposure limits on a bodyweight of 50 kg or 110 lbs . Using the extreme low-end of adult bodyweight makes it easy to cook up a gripping tale and claim that the amounts exceed safety limits.
Optimum Nutrition (maker of Gold Standard Whey & Platimum Hydrowhey) posted a response comparing the lead, arsenic, and cadmium content of more than 3-dozen ’regular’ foods with the protein powders tested by CR. The facts put things into perspective really quick. Many of these commonly consumed foods absolutely blow away the heavy metal content of the protein powders. Instead of selecting a few examples that stick out to me, I’d encourage anyone to have a look at the entire list, and then relax a little about your protein supps . I personally don’t see any compelling reason to sacrifice the convenience of incorporating protein powder to meet your daily requirements.
Now, let’s take a look at another protein-related claim made in the same issue.
In an article titled, “How much protein?” CR quotes a nutritionist saying, “The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour, and any excess that is not burned for energy is converted to fat or excreted, so it’s a ridiculous waste to be recommending so much more than you really need.” In short, this is simply a load of bunk prone to misleading people into thinking that anything beyond 5-9 grams of protein per hour will go to waste. I have no idea where this figure was pulled, but my guess is from somewhere that the sun don’t shine. For an in-depth look at the topic of protein consumption per meal, I’ve provided a link to a recent article of mine .
Suffice it to say that the idea that protein dosing per meal should be limited to [insert your favorite mythical number here] is usually based on a gross misunderstanding of how the body works – combined with an unawareness of what’s been demonstrated in research. Those who choose to meet their protein needs with 2-3 meals will assimilate it just as effectively as those who get their allotment over 4-6 meals. Digestion/absorption is an efficient process whose duration varies according to the size of the dose (our digestive system is way smarter than we give it credit for). Therefore, individual preference should ultimately dictate protein dosing per meal. Don’t you love it when simplicity wins?
1) Greg Pickett [Statement by]. May 30, 2010. http://www.cytosport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/cytosportstatement1.pdf
2) Cytosport. Update: Information on the Consumer Reports Article on Protein Shakes. June 3, 2010. http://www.cytosport.com/news/press
3) Optimum Nutrition. How safe is your protein? May 2010. http://www.optimumnutrition.com/news.php?article=874
4) Aragon A. Is there a limit to how much protein the body can use in a single meal? Wannabebig, Feb 22, 2010. http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-nutrition/is-there-a-limit-to-how-much-protein-the-body-can-use-in-a-single-meal/
Alan Aragon has over 15 years of success in the fitness field. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in Nutrition with top honors. Alan is a continuing education provider for the Commission on Dietetic Registration, National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, and National Strength & Conditioning Association. Alan recently lectured to clinicians at the FDA and the annual conference of the Los Angeles Dietetic Association. He maintains a private practice designing programs for recreational, Olympic, and professional athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Alan is a contributing editor and Weight Loss Coach of Men’s Health magazine. Alan writes a monthly research review providing of the latest science on nutrition, training, and supplementation. Visit Alan’s blog to keep up with his latest shenanigans.