Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Need to Compete

Jannetti
  

Children these days are being raised to be pansies. Got your attention? Good.

There's no real sense of competition anymore. Parents are pulling their kids out of sports because they deem it as “unfair” for many purposes. Could be because Lil' Tommy is throwing heaters at your kids head, or perhaps it could be because he's simply a better athlete and you can't wrap your mind around competition.

You see, competition is a healthy, normal thing for humans to feel. Whether it be competition on the Savannah to hunt a lion, or competition on the platform to conquer a weight that you've never attempted before.

Merriam-Webster defines competition as, “A contest between rivals.” Perhaps that's so on the baseball diamond or football field. But, what about at a Powerlifting or Olympic lifting meet? Certainly you're trying to defeat your opponent there, but I would say that the ultimate goal is to beat yourself, especially within your first few meets.


Jay
To a strength athlete and competitive powerlifter, fewer things trump hearing your name called by the announcer, stomping up to the chalk bowl, running a piece of chalk over your hands while visualizing a complete lift, and approaching the bar. It's now or never. Do you run? Do you scream and grip the cold iron, not letting doubt creep in before you stand up with the weight in your hands? I choose the latter. There is nothing that will defeat me beyond the iron. That's what makes me compete, and that's what makes me a competitor.

If there's ever been doubt in your mind as to whether or not you can accomplish a task, I commend you. You're human. We all have our doubts. I wasn't a very confident guy until I discovered the way of the iron. Striking out in conversation with women, and even with random people in line at a  convenience store as I fumbled for the words to say. I was a scrawny, 135 pound weakling when I graduated high school. Once I found the weights, nothing else mattered. I was going to become strong. A goal bench of 185 became 205, which became 225, 250, 275, and is now at 315. Think I'm done? Think again.

Marianna

My goal is to be better than I was last time. If I happen to be better than you in the process? Well, that's just another side effect of competition. You either have that attitude, or you are left to hang out with the soccer mom's on the side of the field, relishing the “glory days” that are only left to memory. Go out and make your glory days for the future. Get off your ass and go compete!

Author's Note: By no means am I telling you how to raise your children. As long as they're not pampered to a disgusting degree, you're alright by me.

Written by Jay Stadtfeld for LiftBigEatBig.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

20 Ways To Identify a Bad Nutritionist

In my previous life,  I worked with sports nutritionists who spoke at conventions and clinics for high school coaches. The advice that was given out at these clinics was enough to give you involuntary eye twitches, I still wake up dripping sweat after a nightmare about whole grains for heart health.

It was very obvious that these nutritionists were having their salaries spoon-fed to them by the USDA and its subsidiaries. I can easily remember the most ridiculous statements they made when giving out nutritional advice to coaches who would then pass it on to young people.  

Here is a list of things that will help you identify a bad nutrition "expert".

1. "Aim for a carbohydrate intake of 3-5 grams per pound/per day. Your carb intake should come from things like pastas, cereals, energy bars, and skim milk."

2. "Athletes only need about 0.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight."

3. Any nutritionist that operates under the mindset that everyone is a marathon runner and should replenish glycogen stores every 60 minutes.

4. A nutritionist that always lumps " salts, sugars, and saturated fats" in the same speech about what makes us fat.

5. "Eat at least 5 small meals a day to continuously stoke the metabolic fires."


6. "Avoid butter or other creamy sauces, as these have been linked to diabetes and heart attacks."

7. "Soy is an excellent form of protein that has all the characteristics of animal protein, without the unhealthy saturated fats."

8. "Keep your protein servings at about the same size as a deck of cards."

9. "Low carb diets do not work!"

10. "Diets that contain more than 20% of the calories from protein are not advisable for performance enhancement."

11. A nutritionist that lumps olive oil and canola oil together under the healthy list.

12. "Eat the bread crust, it contains the most vitamins and minerals."

13. "Corn syrup is fine in moderation, it's just like sugar."

14. "Cholesterol is like plaque that clogs your arteries."

15. "Always choose low-fat or fat-free milk."

16. "Juicing vegetables is bad because you may drink too much of it."

17. "If you are feeling drowsy halfway through the day, reach for a granola bar or muffin!"

18. "Eat these foods, they burn belly fat!"

Hmmm

19. "To lose weight, eat less calories than you burn. It's that simple!"

20. "Meat rots in your colon"


By the way, these are actual pieces of advice given to high school coaches and to gullible individuals everywhere.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Leaking Plastics & Hormone Disruption


Plastics have been increasingly demonized in the past few decades for multiple reasons, including its resilience to biodegradation, the harm its manufacturing causes to the environment, and perhaps most importantly, the presence of BPA in most plastics.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high-volume chemical used in the industrial production of plastic. These products are nearly infinite, ranging from everything from water bottles, adhesives, food lining in metal cans, to MP3 players, dyes, enamels, baby bottles, and plastic utensils. Many physiological dangers are presented by the presence of BPA in products we use daily, including thyroid issues, certain types of cancers, lower sperm count, breast cancer,birth defects, and dramatically lowered Testosterone. The best way to describe BPA would be to call it an artificial form of a nasty estrogen: Testosterone's less-desirable sibling.

According to Charles Poliquin, "Strength coaches around the world are finding that it's harder today for their athletes to pack on mass than it was 30 years ago". Many researchers have been claiming that this recent difficulty to pack on muscle mass is due to the presence of BPA in our environment. In fact, what is considered "normal" levels of testosterone have dropped so much in the medical community that they barely hold a candle to levels from 50-60 years ago (and you wonder why I eat 24 eggs?).


There has also been an increasing awareness towards things, like breast cancer, that can be caused by environmental factors like high exposure to BPA, rather than genetics or family history. Interesting to note that the pink craze of breast cancer awareness month was actually started by a chemical company that profits from the epidemic while simultaneously contributing to the cause. While there have been studies which claim BPA is harmless to the human system, scientists are becoming keen to the fact that these studies are produced by the BPA industry. Since the BPA industry is generating an estimated 100 million dollars an hour, its easy to see why they are protecting their product. The sad news is, the FDA readily accepts industry-produced results. 

See any plastic in this photo?

One researcher has even stated that we shouldn't consider BPA a toxin, rather it should be considered a hormone due to its ability to change the balance of our endocrine systems. While we need some levels of estrogen in our bodies (women more than men), BPA produced the exact opposite results of injecting pure Testosterone into our veins. This exposure to BPA and its estrogenic properties may explain the increase of early puberty development in grade-school girls: some girls are getting their first period as early as 8 years old.

As athletes and coaches, lowered Testosterone levels is the last thing we want for anyone. Lowered Testosterone levels lead to a lack of muscle mass, unnecessary fat retention, slow recovery times, depression, and even insulin resistance. It can be difficult, even impossible, to escape exposure to BPA in our current world. It is in literally almost everything: water (tap water and especially bottled water), almost anything made with plastic, and even the receipts from the grocery store have BPA on them. This is something that I personally must take into consideration, as all the milk I buy comes in plastic. Time for me to upgrade to the glass bottles.

While it may be impossible to completely escape exposure to BPA, there are a few things you can do to help minimize your exposure:
  • Eat copious amounts of broccoli. It has high levels of estrogen-blocking compounds.
  • Stop chewing pens. Should be self-explanatory.
  • Get a BPA-free bottle, like steel--one without a plastic lid. 
  • Never re-use a plastic bottle: the microscopic cracks release even more BPA into the liquid.
  • NEVER pour hot water into plastic, this will cause more leaching. Note that boiling water does not reduce the BPA in it, it just becomes more concrentrated.
  • Buy a Brita water filter.
  • Replace plastic tupperware with glass tupperware.
  • Avoid plastics as much as possible during pregnancy. Avoid giving plastic toys to children to chew on, and avoid plastic cutlery.
  • Eat more meat. The consumption of meat increases Testosterone secretion.
  • Do more squats. No explanation necessary.

If you see a 3 or 7 in the triangle, buy a different product.(Thanks t-nation)





High Testosterone levels are something that all athletes require for optimal performance, and is necessary even for the average individual. Avoiding hormone-altering compounds will help you you at a healthy level, while simultaneously benefiting your future offspring. If you are curious to see if something you own contains BPA, use this simple test.


Sources:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v401/n6755/abs/401763a0.html
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/fight_the_tkilling_toxins
http://www.home-health-chemistry.com/Bisphenol-A.html
http://www.home-health-chemistry.com/Bisphenol-A-Detection.html
http://www.robbwolf.com/2011/12/29/hormones-disrupted-decadent-depraved/

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Optimal Position For #2


Optimal



When I visited China last month, I knew I could expect to see three things: massive chain smoking, an obscene amount of “Beats By Dr. Dre” knockoff headphones, and squatting toilets. While many close-minded Westerners may find themselves initially disgusted at the thought of defecating while squatting over a hole, there are many health benefits to using the toilet in this manner. 
For those of you who already know about the squatting position, congratulations. Give yourself a round of applause while you huddle your knees tenderly to your chest with your trousers at ankle level. Everyone else is encouraged to read on as we discuss the various benefits of assuming this natural squatting position during your future bathroom adventures.

As if the benefits of hitting a natural squat depth were not discussed enough on this website, we have yet another reason to hit full depth. Much like the topics that were discussed in the third-world squat and 5 basic things you are doing all wrong articles, the “ass-to-grass” squat position is used throughout much of the world, with things like chairs and porcelain toilets considered a product of Western society. As we have been increasingly made aware of, just because it is convenient does not mean it is optimal. Until the mid-19th century, nearly the entire world performed their bodily functions in the squatting position, with throne-like toilets reserved for royalty ("emperor's new throne") and the disabled. This changed after the ushering in indoor plumbing, the modern toilet became standard in many homes in the Western world. The plumbers who installed these fixtures truly believed they were improving people's lives. After all, who wouldn't want to live like royalty?

The problem with modern toilets is that it takes away all the health benefits of using a toilet in the squatting position.

NaturesPlatform.com

The modern toilet pose involves sitting with hips and knees at right angles while sitting down. While this may be nice for privacy and keeping clothes clean, it comes with a long list of health risks. 

The first is that the valsava maneuver must be repeated several times during the bowel movement, which may overload the cardiovascular system and can actually induce fainting. Yes that's right, some folks strain so hard that they actually pass out. Messy.

The time it takes to complete a bowel movement in the squatting position is 51 seconds on average, while a bowel movement in the modern position takes an average of 131 seconds to complete. You know what that means?

Riggs!


 As many are aware, excessive effort and force is required for defecation in the modern posture. Contrast that with the squatting position which requires less strain due to the recto-canal being straight in its alignment, allows for a much smoother bathroom experience without having to worry about bursting a blood vessel in your brain.

There is a long list of diseases and conditions  that are almost unique to the developed world, including appendicitis, crohns disease, bathroom heart attacks, colon cancer, and constipation. It has been theorized heavily that these conditions are due to the toilet conditions of the modern world, which do away with the squatting position that was used since the dawn of time until very recently. Some have theorized that rather than heavy intake of meat or a lack of fiber in the diet, bowel problems and colon issues are due to the way in which a bowel movement is performed, rather than the food that was eaten.

Ouch

If you think it only has to do with bowel movements, you are wrong. Researchers have found that pregnant women who relieved themselves in the deep squat position increased the birth canal by 20-30%, allowing women to achieve birth more naturally. The modern toilet is making women lose their ability to give birth naturally by taking them out of the natural birth position: the deep squat.  As is becoming increasingly clear, lying on your back with legs propped up is just about the worst position for the women to give birth in, but is quite convenient for the doctor.

My grandfather used to tell me during his life in Africa that women would give birth in the deep squat routinely, with nary a single episode of pain-induced screaming like you see in so many Western hospitals.



"But LBEB, how am I supposed to assume the squatting position on a modern toilet? My feet are huge!" Well my friend, there is hope for your bowels. Many products are available that mimic the natural squatting position with the benefits of indoor plumbing. Here are a few examples:




You may say "wow that's disgusting, why would I want to use a toilet like that?" You are already using a filthy toilet, one that is probably cleaned less than once a week, that has had a hundred sweaty butt cheeks on it. With these, the only contact that is made is with your feet.


By using a toilet like this, you can relieve yourself the way nature intended, with the all the amenities of a common bathroom. Test this method out for yourself and see if it relieves any ailments you may have with your digestive tract. Remember: You can eat 100% Paleo all your life and still have terrible bowel problems due to the usage of a modern toilet.


Sources:


http://www.springerlink.com/content/rlu7151837n07562//


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1757-5672.2009.00057.x/abstract

Monday, March 19, 2012

Romaleos vs. Adistars


 *I worked with my athlete Miles Klingenberg on this post. We tested out the shoes, comparing and contrasting what we liked and what was left to be desired. He wrote up the following review for me.

When lifting, the disparity between using weightlifting shoes and lifting without is unbelievable. We’re not talking about bicep curls, bench, or shoulder press. What we’re referring to when we say “lift” is first and foremost the squat followed by any Olympic inspired exercises. Also, it should be noted that in no way shape or form should these be considered for anything outside the platform, such as cycling, stretching, or cardio (although I am not sure what that last one means). So, we are here to compare the Nike Romaleos 2’s to the Adidas Adistar and come to a conclusion on which shoe is better. 

                 
The Comparison               
  After training in both the Nikes and the Adidas it is easy to tell the Adistar is a much narrower shoe, so if you have flat wide feet you might want to consider the Nikes purely for comfort. Although, if Dmitry Klokov can fit his feet in them then I am sure most of us have nothing to worry about. That being said the Adidas are tighter and the strap extends from one side of foot to the other, whereas the Nikes have two straps but neither extends as far as the Adidas. And, another problem with the Nikes are the fact that after you have tightened the top strap there is a little too much slack leaving the rest of the strap to rub the floor. An interesting component to the two straps on the Nikes is the fact that they tighten in opposite directions given a balanced feeling of tightness.
                 

The Heel 
   
The heel is the deciding factor for me between these two shoes, the Nikes have a noticeably higher heel than the Adidas, the benefits will be addressed in the conclusion. Adidas Adistar has the traditional wooden heel which has now been replaced by the polymer in the new Adipowers which I cannot attest to. The Nikes have always constructed their shoes with polymer and have managed to shave 50 grams of weight off since the first series of Romaleos. I don’t find this particularly important as they are weightlifting shoes and the only place you might notice this is in the split jerk. One feature I really appreciated about the Nikes was the fact that I could feel the cup of the heel whereas the Adistars felt flat which made my ankle stability suffer. In addition, I found that sometimes my heal would feel as though it was slipping out of the shoe with the Adidas, whereas the Nikes I haven’t encountered this problem. 
                 

Mobility 

 After reading reviews online before I bought my Romaleos I found some reviews suggesting that the Romaleos were too stiff in the forefoot. However, it only took me about one session to break them in which is far less than it took me with the Adistars. Another main difference that helps with mobility and stability between the two is that Nike has the entire sole of the foot resting on the floor whereas the Adidas have a split in the middle. This allows a little more flexibility in the forefoot of the Adidas, but I don’t think it is considerably noticeable compared to the Nikes. I also like the fact that all of the sole is on the floor with the Nikes. Another main difference between the Nikes and Adidas is the fact that the forefoot of the Adidas is patent leather, whereas the Nike has soft leather. I would argue that the Adidas were less flexible near the toe of the forefoot.      
              

  Conclusion 
  After having my Adistars for about four months and my Romaleos for about three I can honestly say I like the Nikes better. They are far more comfortable, not as though this was my first priority but it is definitely a plus. But, I really like the higher heel of the Nike which gives me the ability to go deeper in my squats. This higher heel is also cupped, as I mentioned which is huge, as it gives me better stability. Adidas might have fixed this in their new Adistars but I haven’t tried them nor have I read any reviews. I also like the fact that my entire foot is on the ground in the Nikes, nothing noticeable, just a mental thing. The only thing I would have them change with the Nikes would be for the first higher strap to go from one side of the foot to the other. Nevertheless, I assume that anything that is good enough for team China is good enough for me.   

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Antinutrients

 



I asked one of my meat-fanatic athletes (an ex-vegetarian) to write an article about anti-nutrients in things like nuts, seeds, and legumes. A good read for those who think they are getting their minerals from these products.



I have a confession to make. I eat everything.
As a follower of LBEB, that shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of, but in my case “everything” means that if I come at the dinner table from the wrong direction, I’ll happily fill up on grilled asparagus before I even make it to the rib roast. Tofu? Delicious. Polenta? Yes please. I once ate an entire bag of prunes in one sitting. My roommate  threatened to move out.

I have an unfortunate attraction to food that stinks/makes you stink/draws prowling vegetarians to your doorstep in droves. My most recent obsession was with lentils (Lens culinaris), a disc-shaped legume native to the Middle East that comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. 

In meat-loving circles, lentils have a reputation as being one of the million ways vegetarians apologize to their bodies for depriving them of flesh. At first glance, they seem to have a lot in common with soy -- the dangers of which are outlined here. Both are legumes and both contain high amounts of phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors.


Phytic acid is a molecule found in plant tissue that stores phosphorus. It is most concentrated in/around the seed of the plant, as phosphorus is one of the many nutrients essential for proper plant growth and development. This is great for the baby plant, but humans lack the appropriate enzymes to pull the molecule apart and make use of it. Worse still, it binds readily to (“chelates”) minerals like iron, zinc and calcium, preventing your body from absorbing them.

Trypsin
is an enzyme that allows you to absorb protein. A trypsin inhibitor, as you can probably guess, stops this from working, resulting in farts, fail and unabsorbed protein passing straight through your gut. I’m not an expert, but something tells me that the regulars here would want to avoid that.
Both of these chemicals are found to varying degrees in virtually all nuts, seeds and grains – food crops that our species relies on heavily.

Lentils in particular are one of the best plant sources of protein out there. They’re also rich in fiber, iron, B-vitamins and potassium. Don’t like lentils? Linger a little longer near the bulk foods and help yourself to some beans of your choice. Most have comparative levels of minerals and fiber and almost as much protein.
Silly Rabbit, you might ask, why would I need protein from a plant when I can eat this cow instead?


 Well, variety, for one. They’re delicious, for another. They’re also astonishingly cheap: a pound of dry lentils from the bulk food aisle of your local grocery store should cost you less than a dollar (if not, find yourself a new grocery store).
First, we have to get around the phytate and trypsin inhibitors in order for these cryptic little seeds to do us any good.


The answer is simple. Soak your seeds in warm water for at least a day. The longer, the better. This removes a considerable amount of the offending chemicals and also makes them cook faster. Ideally, you’ll want to change the water two or three times to leach as much of the anti-nutrients from the seeds as possible. Whatever you do, discard the water and rinse! The water doesn’t destroy the unwanted elements, it only draws it out. If you want to neutralize them even further, you can try sprouting them. Lentils and chickpeas sprout somewhat more easily than other legumes I’ve tried this with.
 

While phytic acid isn’t removed by cooking, heat will remove around 90% of trypsin inhibitors. As long as you’re cooking your legumes and they’re part of a well-rounded, meaty diet, you won’t notice any adverse effects from residual anti-nutrients: just an extra helping of tasty protein.


Article written for LIFTBIGEATBIG.com by Michelle Kim.