Cleanses are still bullshit

batmancleanses

Slap the toxins right out of your mouth

 

“Rid your body of toxins”… “Jumpstart your metabolism!”… “7 days to a flatter stomach!”… Sounds great, doesn’t it? The thing is… It’s bullshit. As nice as it would be to be able to “get a flat stomach in 7 days”, or to “jumpstart your metabolism” – things aren’t that simple, and frankly, they don’t work that way. Juicing, cleanses, detoxes, free radicals – oh my! It’s no wonder that in today’s world people tend to believe in these products when the companies that sell them do such a great job marketing them by preying on people’s fears and emotions. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to fall for it.

Let’s go over a few things real quick. First, let’s outline some information that will help understand just exactly why these things are bogus.

  • Toxins & Free Radicals: Ever notice how whenever the word “toxin” is used, no one can identify what toxin/toxins they’re specifically talking about? It’s usually more of a generalization. Free radicals, on the other hand, are a bit more specific, but still pretty generalized.

What people buying these products don’t know, is that the human body has a “detox system” built into it already! Your renal and digestive system (kidneys & liver specifically) do a FINE job of “ridding your body of toxins”. Furthermore, your body produces antioxidants to deal with free radicals. So if you’re drinking enough water and eating a reasonable amount of fruits and veggies – you’re probably good.

  • Weight loss: I’m talking about real, sustainable weight loss. It takes time! Losing body fat requires you to be in a caloric deficit (burning more calories/day than you consume). At best, you can expect to safely lose about 1-2Lbs/week of body fat depending on the individual.

So with these bits of information in mind, let’s quickly examine these “detoxes” and “cleanses”. First off, do they work, and if so, how?

  • Cleanses/Detoxes work primarily by putting the person in a heavy caloric deficit (good right? Not exactly…) The issue with this is that typically the reduction in calories is so great, that once that person starts eating food again, their weight will creep right back up to where it was before. So in other words, not sustainable. Some even use diuretic herbs to help “cleanse the body” of demons, taco bell, and other toxins. So all of that water weight you shed will be coming right back once you’re no longer running to the toilet every 30-45mins. Sounds like fun!…
  • Real, sustainable weight loss takes time and effort. PERIOD! Repeat after me, there are no shortcuts, there are no magic pills or Brazilian fruit juices that will give you a six pack, or make you look 15 years younger. Those things require consistency, dedication, time, effort, and probably a time machine. Again, you need to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight and drop body fat. This, combined with a quality exercise program or an adequate amount of daily activity – is what will coax the body in a healthy direction. Remember, to keep the weight off you need to do so in a rational and safe manner. This combined with an appropriate lifestyle adjustment will help ensure success. Not sexy, but it’s the truth.

So do yourself a favor. The next time you consider paying for a cleanse or a detox, save yourself the time, money and suffering, and spend it on something useful – like food and water. Eat your fruits and veggies, get your protein, don’t fear carbohydrates – you need those for energy, and consume healthy fats. If you have any more questions about losing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, let me know!

     Justin

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Supplements:

Supplements! At one point or another, most of you have probably wondered or even tried various kinds of supplements to help fuel your workouts, aid in your recovery, or just help you get mad yolked swole. In any event, there’s a few things you should know before you embark on the Wild West that is the supplement industry. Supplement companies promise easy weight loss, a tight round booty, muscle mass gains beyond your wildest dreams, a big chest and arms, and a shredded six-pack – and all of this can be yours for just three easy payments of $19.95! Plus shipping and handling of course…

That moment you realize you forgot your pre-workout…

 

When it comes to supplementation, one thing needs to be understood above all else, and that is that you CAN NOT expect progress if your diet is not on point. Trying to use supplements before getting your diet in order is like trying to snatch before you can deadlift. Not very smart or effective.

Don’t be this guy

 

Enough with the sensible talk, let’s get into some supplements! Rather than try to cover the vast array of supplements available, I’m going to only focus on a few supplements that are actually backed by science, and have true value for you based on your goals.


Whey Protein Powder:

 

Whey protein powder is a protein supplement that is derived from milk. Whey is one part of milk protein, and casein is the other part. The two proteins are separated from milk by using a coagulant which gives us whey, and curds (casein). Now that we’ve got that covered, lets discuss why this stuff may be worth your hard earned dollars.

 

Why take it?

  • Whey is useful in aiding hitting your daily protein goal.
  • Whey is absorbed faster than other types of proteins, and is therefore great for increasing muscle protein synthesis (muscle protein synthesis is the driving force behind adaptive responses to exercise and represents a widely adopted proxy for gauging chronic efficacy of acute interventions).
  • Whey contains a large amount of L-cysteine, which helps aid against developing a deficiency associated with diabetes and aging.
  • Whey protein has been claimed to aid in fat loss, but it is in fact the inintake of protein itself that aids in fat loss, not just the supplement alone.
  • Whey protein does not harm the kidneys, but if you have a damaged liver or kidneys, it may exacerbate the condition. You should speak to your physician not only if you are considering supplementing with whey protein, but are considering increasing your protein intake drastically.

 

How much should I take?

So now you know the benefits of supplementing with Whey protein. Next question, how much do you need to take? Well, the science says that there is no benefit from taking in more than 0.55g of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, a 175Lb athletic male would only truly need 96g PER DAY. The minimum requirement for protein intake is 0.36g per pound of bodyweight for sedentary individuals, or 63g for a 175Lb sedentary male. None of this is set in stone, and taking more than .55g/day won’t hurt you if there is a need for it depending on your needs.


Fish Oil:

 

Ah fish oil, our stinky inflammation fighting friend. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the many benefits associated with taking fish oil. So what’s the deal, and why should you bother looking into this stuff?

 

Fish oil is really just a term used to refer to the two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are most typically found in fish, phytoplankton, and other animal products (Vegans, you’re out of luck there). Fish are the most abundant and cheapest source.

 

Enough science! Why would it be good for you to take this? Well, the typical American diet is terribly disproportionate in our omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Basically, we eat a lot of eggs, meat, etc. Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids helps bring the ratio back into balance, which should be 1:1. So why is fish oil worth considering?

 

Why take it?

  • Fish oil can help reduce high levels of triglycerides in people that have elevated levels, but it can also increase cholesterol levels. So if you have cholesterol problems, consult your physician.
  • Fish oil can help decrease the risk of diabetes, and several forms of cancer – including breast cancer.
  • Fish oil has been shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs in combating depression.
  • Fish oil is associated with decreasing muscle soreness (most notably – DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness).

 

How much should I take?

The recommended dose for “general health” is 250mg a day. The American Heart Association recommends 1g a day. For those of you looking to use it to reduce soreness and inflamation, 6g a day (spread out throughout the day) is the recommended dose.


Vitamin D: (Vitamin D3)


Vitamin D. This is another one you’ve probably heard plenty about. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin/nutrient, and is obtained from sunlight and food sources such as fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products. The body produces it from sunlight exposure and cholesterol.

 

Why take it?

  • Increased cognitive function
  • Immunity boosting properties
  • Bone health
  • Reduction of the risk of: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis
  • Increased testosterone levels


Looks pretty good, right?

How much should I take?

The current RDA for Vitamin D is between 400-800IU/day. For adults, the recommended dosage is 2,000IU/day. The safe higher end dosage is set at 10,000IU/day. Dosage based on Bodyweight is set at 20-80IU/kg of bodyweight per day (1,600-6,300IU/day for a 175Lb male).

It is best taken with meals containing fat to help aid with absorption. It should also be noted that Vitamin D3 is the preferred form of the nutrient due to better effectiveness.

 

Creatine:

 

Creatine is one of the most studied supplements out there, but is also misunderstood by many. Lets put an end to that right now. First off, what is it, and what does it do? Creatine is molecule that is found in foods such as meat, eggs, and fish. It is also produced in the body. That’s right, you make it on your own. The main role of creatine within the body is that it stores high-energy phosphate groups, aka – phosphocreatine. The body uses these phosphate groups to aid in the production of energy during periods of stress (exercise, going HAM, etc). In plain English, it means it supplies energy to your cells and makes you stronger!

 

What is creatine, and what does it do?

Why take it?

  • Creatine increases power output and exercise intensity.
  • Creatine increases lean body mass

Creatine is safe and effective when supplemented properly. If you are going to take it, creatine monohydrate is the most cheap and effective version. Just make sure you are getting plenty of water while supplementing with it.

 

How much should I take?

If you’re going to go through a “loading phase”, the recommendation is to take about 20g/day for the first 5-7 days, and 2-5g per day after that. It should also be noted that taking high doses of creatine can cause nausea, cramping, and “digestive issues”. So, just make sure you stay within the proper dosage levels.

So hopefully now you have a better understanding of some supplements that are actually backed by science. Just remember that in order for you to get any benefit from any of these supplements that you have to begin with a sound diet.


 


References:

 

Atherton PJ, Smith K. Muscle protein synthesis in response to nutrition and exercise. J Physiol (Lond). 2012;590(Pt 5):1049-57.

Adequate Protein Intake

Creatine

Fish Oil

Whey Protein

Post-Workout Nutrition: Does the “Anabolic Window” really exist?

Anyone who’s tried to gain any appreciable amount of muscle mass is most likely familiar with the concept of the “anabolic window”. You know, the first 30-or-so minutes following your workout where you sprint to the locker room and inhale that tasty protein shake (tasty being subjective of course).

Why do you do this?
– It’s all about the gains, man! Right?…

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Batman was most likely just under-caffeinated that day…

Well, what’s been observed from the collection of studies covering this very subject is somewhat conflicting.

While its been widely accepted that in order to gain muscle mass, a protein/carbohydrate supplement should be consumed within the first 30-60minutes following a workout; it turns out it’s not quite that simple…

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Public service announcement from supplement companies

Current research is conflicting, but shows that rather than focusing primarily on post-workout nutrition/nutrient timing that the duration between pre and post workout nutrition may play much more of a significant role than post-workout nutrition alone. A recent article (1) written by Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfeld shows us that the timing of your meals surrounding your workout has a much greater impact on gains in muscle mass/protein synthesis. There are some exceptions though.

Here’s what you need to know:

– Consuming a pre-exercise meal/amino acid or protein supplement can be enough if it is ingested within 1-2 hours prior to training

– Minimal-moderate pre-exercise supplementation has been shown to be effective in elevating blood amino acid levels (6g of Essential Amino Acids taken immediately pre-workout elevated blood and muscle amino acid levels by 130% for 2 hours)

– If there is a 3-4 hour gap between your last meal and your workout/training, then consuming a protein supplement before training is recommended to create an anabolic environment

– If you train first thing in the morning/in an overnight fasted state – then consuming a protein/carbohydrate supplement before training is beneficial to create an anabolic environment in the body

– Glycogen replenishment is necessary for athletes who train the same muscle groups twice a day within an 8 hour period

– Consuming a post-workout meal 1-2 hours after training is sufficient as long as the previous meal was consumed 1-2 hours prior to training. There is overlap!

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So what’s the take home message from all of this? In a nutshell, as long as you’re eating well and getting enough protein throughout the day, you should be fine. The point here is that you don’t need to obsess over your post workout shake. Instead, pay attention to what really matters – YOUR DIET!

References:

(1) Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(1):5.

Pick up something heavy.