Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bullshit of the Week, Much Ado About Deadlifting, and Poliquin's Carb Intake Rules

 Holy Shit!  I Forgot I Had A Blog!

Well, not really...it's just been continual chaos and me refining my time-management skills to a razor sharp ball-bearing point *note heavy sarcasm.  I recently had someone I've never met email me and remind me that I *DO* in fact have a few readers, some from the start.  Okay!  Enough excuses.  The Crossfit Games have come and gone, Glassman may or may not still be in a gin-induced haze counting his Reebucks, the AHS has come and gone as most hunter-gatherers do, and well, summer is almost gone, too.  So, grab a cup o' Joe, and let's start with: 

I came across this article on one of the (way too) many blog subscriptions I have on my Reader.  Why subscribe to a vegetarian blog?  Because, dear reader, comedy like this is both tragic and hilarious at the same time.  Note how the top sources also contain the largest concentration of anti-nutrients.  Read, and laugh, or weep, or both:

12 High Protein Alternatives To Meat

by John Smith on August 2, 2011

If you normally consume a great deal of meat, you may find it initially quite difficult to adapt to vegetarian alternatives.
However, more and more people are adding vegetarian options to their menu on a regular basis. One of the reasons for this is that good cuts of meat are exorbitantly expensive, and given the economy, many of us need to cut back a little.

12 high protein alternatives to meat

1. Seitan

Seitan is made from wheat, and the texture is actually very similar to that of wheat. Seitan is the most densely-packed source of vegetable protein known, with 20 to 30 grams of protein in a four-ounce portion. You can add Seitan to your favorite dishes and it will pass for meat, so it is pretty versatile.

2. Soy

Soy protein is not just very healthy, but is also low in fat, and contains phytochemicals such as saponins, phytc acid and isoflavones. Soy protein and its associated phytochemicals are thought to help reduce heart disease, osteoporosis and the risk of cancer. It contains around 29 grams of protein per cup.

3. Tofu

Tofu has been an Asian staple for 2,000 years. Known for its nutritional benefits, it is a versatile food, that can be eaten raw in salads, or steamed, cooked or baked. It is basically soy curd, like soft cheese. Bland and slightly sweet, tofu absorbs other flavors beautifully, which makes this food really easy to cook with.

4. Almonds

The king of all nuts, almonds are high in calcium and protein. They are also low in carbohydrate, and make an excellent and filling snack. A great source of natural fiber, almonds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground and added to salads, stews, shakes and baking, amongst other things.

5. Yogurt

Natural, bio yogurt is high in calcium, living cultures and protein. Try to make it one of your snacks each day. It can be eaten plain, or with some fruit added, blended into a smoothies, or added to main meals, such as curry and soups.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a high protein meat alternative, which is widely used in Thailand and Indonesia. It is made from fermented soy beans, and has a nutty flavor, which tastes very good when fried. It can taste quite bland, however, so I recommend marinading it before cooking.

7. Legumes And Beans

Legumes such as black beans, lentils and chickpeas, or beans such as French, broadbeans and runners, make excellent sources of protein. They are filling, contain good quantities of fiber, and are super cheap. A cup of almost any starchy bean contains 12 to 15 grams of protein, with a cup of lentils providing 18 grams of protein.

8. Cheese

Cheeses of all types are excellent sources of protein. Try organic cheddar or mozzarella cheeses along with your pasta, salads, soups and sandwiches. Cheese does contain a considerable amount of fat, however, so make sure you factor the correct portions into your diet — around 1 ounce per day is enough.

9. Quinoa

The highly nutritious quinoa is called the “Mother Grain” of the Andes. Quinoa is high in protein, high in iron, and contains the necessary amino acids. It has a pleasant nutty flavor, which many people like, and takes less time to cook than rice. It may be eaten with steamed vegetables, gravies, or cooked and served cold in salads. You can also buy quinoa flour and pasta, so it is extremely versatile.

10. Broccoli

For a green vegetable, broccoli is pretty high in protein. It contains around 5 grams of protein per cup, which is pretty good for a vegetable, so try to make it one of your veg portions each day.

11. Spinach

Follow in Pop-Eye’s footsteps and get 3 grams of protein per cup of spinach. You can eat baby spinach leaves raw in salads, or it can be steamed, added to curries, stews and soups, etc. Try not to overcook your greens, though, as they will lose their taste and a certain amount of their nutritional value. For best taste, lightly steam spinach and eat it seasoned with black pepper and a little olive oil.

12. Milk

Milk is so common place in almost every home that people don’t think of it as a source of protein. But, 1 cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein. As we all know it is a very versatile food. You can drink it straight from the carton, add it to your tea and coffee, or use it in any number of dishes and desserts.

This next article is just a straight-up fantastic piece from T-Nation on the deadlift; I'm always in awe when a writer can put up a great, educational piece about a movement that's been around for ages.  I especially like the emphasis on set up---and neck position. 

Much Ado About Deadlifting

Much Ado About Deadlifting
Truth be told, there isn't much that I can legitimately claim to be an expert on, Star Wars notwithstanding. One rare exception is the deadlift. While not Andy Bolton-esque by any stretch, my 570-pound pull at a (then) bodyweight of 190 pounds allows me some bragging rights.
I consider the deadlift the ultimate showcase of overall strength. The entire body has to work in unison to accomplish the task at hand, and unlike the squat or bench press (where it's much easier to cheat), there's no debating the deadlift. Either the bar comes off the ground and you lock it out, or it doesn't, and you have to hand in your man card.
While I've written extensively on the deadlift in the past, I still have more to say. Let's see if the following random thoughts help you finally achieve deadlifting badassery.

Thoughts On the Setup

Without question, the setup makes or breaks the deadlift. If you're lazy and just go through the motions, you'll fail miserably, or worse, get hurt. Conversely, if you check your ego at the door and take the time to setup correctly, more often than not, you'll be rewarded with a bigger lift.
On several occasions I've noted that one should retract (pull together) their shoulder blades when setting up for the pull. This stiffens the mid-back, engages the lats (which in turn provides more spinal stability), and activates the thoraco-lumbar fascia, which helps to better transfer force from the lower body to the upper body.
Based on feedback in the LiveSpill as well as various emails I've received, this whole "retraction" thing has confused more people than Chaz Bono in a men's room.
As such, while I still feel that stiffening the upper back and activating the lats is integral for improving the deadlift, I've modified my approach. Slightly.
Trying to actively pinch the shoulder blades together while deadlifting just feels awkward. But when I use the phrase, "lock your shoulder blades into place and think about putting them in your back pocket," it's like magic, and people get it.
As a result, many of the benefits that I described above come into play. You shorten the lever arm length from the shoulder to the lumbar spine, and you also engage the lats to help protect the lumbar spine and the SI joint. But as a general observation, the pull just "feels" stronger.
Try it out on your next deadlifting day. I can almost guarantee you'll notice an improvement.

Packing the Neck

Much Ado About Deadlifting
Possibly more important for a healthy, powerful, deadlift is packing the neck as opposed to hyperextending it, which is a big no-no for several reasons.
  • Hyperextending the neck isn't safe. We've got one spine, and whatever happens in the neck will, concurrently, mirror itself in the lumbar spine. We wouldn't allow someone to deadlift with a hyper-lordotic lower back, so it stands to reason that we shouldn't allow hyper-lordosis in the cervical area, either.
  • Respected trainer and therapist Charlie Weingroff also notes, "Spinal stabilization is and always will be the name of the game when it comes to pulling big weight. It's no coincidence that the positions of integrity are also the positions that lend themselves to improved performance."
Don't believe me? Try this little experiment. Stand tall against a wall and pack your neck (make a double chin) making sure to "wiggle" your head high into position.
Now, have someone shove you. You probably didn't budge.
Alternatively, do the same thing but relax your neck, and maybe extend it a little (look up). Have someone nudge again. You should've noticed a big difference.
If you're weaker when the neck is extending while standing, how is this any different than when doing a deadlift?
So to reiterate, when deadlifting, pack your neck. While this rule may not be quite as easy to follow during max effort attempts, I'd be remiss not to show that it IS possible.
To summarize, let's break this down into list format:
  • When you set up, grab the bar and "pull" yourself into position by "locking" your shoulder blades into place and actively keeping them depressed, i.e., in your back pocket.
  • Additionally, and to add onto the point above, think "chest tall, hips down, and arch your back!"
  • When in position, pack your neck. Again, if you can see the wall in front of you, you're not doing it right. Alternatively, if you look down at a point that's roughly 10-15 feet in front of you, and keep your eyes fixated on that point, you're golden.
  • If you're wearing gloves, stop it. Now. Seriously.

Thoughts on Weak Points

When it comes to deadlifting, trainees tend to fall into one of two camps: those who miss off the floor, and those who miss at lockout.

If you miss at the bottom:

  • This could be the Captain Obvious in me speaking , but you have too much weight on the bar. Take some plates off, tough guy.
  • Get your lats activated. See above. I'm telling you, it works. The only way you're going to find out is by giving it a try.
  • You're slower than molasses and need some dedicated speed work to help plow through your sticking point and get the bar off the ground with more force. Getting faster will undoubtedly help with getting you stronger, which is why powerlifters often incorporate "speed" days (dynamic effort) during their training week.
In short, by using roughly 50-65% of your 1RM, you're going to concentrate on , which will help with ripping the bar off the floor with a little more "giddy up."
  • Moreover, another (and less commonly used) strategy would be to make the movement more challenging by increasing the range of motion. By standing on some blocks or plates you'll make the movement harder and force your body to improve leg and hip drive. Do this for a few weeks and I guarantee when you revert back to traditional pulling, it will feel infinitely easier.
  • Along similar lines, you could also include more snatch grip pulls into the mix as the widened grip increases the range of motion.
  • Lastly, try some Anderson half squats, a favorite of fellow T NATION contributor and ass-Jedi Bret Contreras. Yes, I just used the words half and squat in the same sentence. Hear me out.
Any movement that emulates the starting position of the deadlift will likely transfer well to the deadlift. What's more, and this is something that many trainees fail to recognize, the quads do play a significant role in the lift, especially in the starting position. Anderson half squats are an awesome movement that will help produce more leg drive off the floor, translating into a bigger, more efficient pull.
One piece of advice, however. Make sure that you share the load properly between the hip and knee joints. If you let the knees jut forward than it probably won't transfer much to the deadlift. Remember to sit back.

If you miss at the top:

  • For those who tend to miss their pulls at or near knee level and can't seem to lock it out, some dedicated speed work implementing accommodating resistance (chains or bands) would be in order.
Using chains as an example, the premise here is simple. The bar is "deloaded" at the bottom, and "loaded" as you get closer to lockout. Because the bar is deloaded near the floor, you're now able to generate some bar speed, which will then help you explode through the sticking point at or near the top half of the lift.
  • Rack pulls. I'm not convinced that rack pulls translate well to the deadlift. As noted above, much of what makes speed work with accommodating resistance so beneficial is that you're emphasizing bar speed, and working your way through a sticking point.
In fact, some studies state that there's only a 15 to 20 degree carry over. Significant, yes, but definitely not ideal when you're trying to improve a lift that starts from the ground.
That said, if you want to do rack pulls, do rack pulls. For some, it's a psychological boost, and there's something to be said about "feeling" what it's like to locking out a heavier weight. Nonetheless, if you go this route, make sure you replicate the same kinematics as the top portion of your deadlift, meaning that the rack pull will almost look like a Romanian deadlift, not a partial squat.
  • For the most part, your time would be better spent focusing on accessory work that hammers the muscles most involved with your lockout, namely the hamstrings and glutes. Good mornings are #1 on my list of "go to" money exercises to increase the deadlift. Some other ones would be barbell hip thrusters, kettlebell swings, and glute ham raises.

Miscellaneous Miscellany

Much Ado About Deadlifting
In closing, here are some other random bits of awesomeness to kick up your deadlift.
  • For the love of all that's holy, take off your shoes. If you train at a gym that forbids barefoot training, at the very least, get yourself a pair of Chuck Taylors or New Balance Minimus.
  • Slow down. When performing multiple reps of deadlifts, think of each rep as it's own set.
This works really well with clients when trying to clean up their technique. There's no law against pausing on the floor between each rep to "gather" yourself, get your air, re-establish a good back position, activate the lats, and perform a crisp rep.
Slow down. Gather yourself between each rep, and do it right!
  • Back off with the high reps. I rarely program more than 5-6 reps with deadlifts. Anything more than that can technically be considered cardio, and more to the point, technique often suffers. So, while you think your sets of 20 with 225 lbs is 2 legit 2 quit, I think it's retarded. And your spine hates you.
For most, using the 5x5 approach to take your deadlift from the 200+ lb range to the 300+ lb range will work brilliantly. It's progressive overload at it's finest, and it works. However, if you're attempting to enter "big boy" status and pull in the 400+ or even 500+ range, 5x5 ain't gonna cut it. Sorry.
I'd go so far as to say that you'd be hard pressed to ever get to the really big weights using the 5x5 protocol, and if you do, it will take !
On the other hand, if you're already pulling in the 300+ lb range, I'd suggest adding in more pulls at or above 90% of your 1RM.
Getting stronger is really about making the CNS more efficient. Sadly, you're not going to accomplish this by performing 5x5 till you're blue in the face. Conversely, it's well established that using loads at or slightly above 90% of one's 1RM affects the following:
  • Maximum number of motor units (MUs) are recruited.
  • Fastest MU's are activated.
  • The discharge frequency (rate coding) is increased.
  • Activity is synchronous.
  • Improved coordination between synergistic muscles.
  • Potential for future hypertrophy gains.
  • Increased serum Testosterone levels.
  • Spontaneously impregnate every female within a two-block radius.
So the only question left to answer is, what would a typical training session look like?
Lets say your goal is to hit FOUR sets at or above 90% of your 1RM. You know going in that your previous best deadlift is 405 lbs. If that's the case, 90% of 405 lbs is 365 lbs.
So it may look something like this:
225 x 5
315 x 3
365 x 1
Lastly, if anyone comes up to you and says something like "I heard that deadlifts were bad for your back," you have my permission to scissor kick them in the face.
I'm done. Go. Deadlift Your Ass Off.

This Man Knows A Few Things About Carbs

Poliquin's Carb Intake Rules

This makes so much sense that I had to re-post---out of all the blogs I read, Polquin is constantly putting out solid recommendations and science, albeit he sometimes is biased to pitching mass doses of his supplements.  That being said, these rules are excellent.

1.    Eliminate Grains, Particularly Wheat.
Wheat raises the blood sugar levels quickly in the same way as plain table sugar. White flour-based foods such as white bread or corn flakes are a poor source of fiber and they have a high glycemic content, meaning they cause a quick spike in insulin.

The presence of insulin tells the liver that food intake is meeting energy requirements so lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat for energy from body stores, becomes unnecessary. The insulin spike stops the body from burning fat for fuel. Any excess sugar or food intake is saved for future energy requirements and stored as fat. Constantly high insulin levels make the body resistant to insulin and leads to diabetes. This is why it’s best to eliminate grains, particularly white grains, and do resistance training –you’ll improve insulin sensitivity.

Research shows that eating a breakfast of whole wheat grains such as barley or rye results in significantly better glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity than a breakfast of white wheat bread. Plus, whole wheat breakfasts improve glucose uptake at lunch and dinner. Whole wheat would be better than white wheat—also nicknamed “white death,” but no wheat is your best bet (see number 2). We’re going for low carb here, so I recommend eliminating your grains when possible and getting your carbs from fruits and vegetables.

Indeed, a review published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition points to the fact that vegetables and fruit are preferable to even low glycemic wheat and grain-based foods because they have qualities besides simply promoting glucose tolerance to recommend them. The benefits will be revealed below.

2.    Yes, Eliminate Grains, Part II!
The grains that make up the Gliadin family such as oats, wheat, and spelt are the most common food allergen because they contain gluten. People of the Celtic ancestry, like the Irish, are more likely to be allergic to gluten. In fact, the National Health Institute estimates that gluten allergies affect almost one percent of Americans, and this number is likely underestimated because this allergy often goes undiagnosed.

An allergy to gluten is called celiac disease and means that the sufferer will have serious digestive damage from eating foods containing gluten, which causes a wide variety of other health problems including weakness, anemia, malnutrition, osteoarthritis, bone disorders, stomach cancer, and abdominal bloating to name a few—all problems that will trip you up if you want to gain muscle and lose fat.

You can be allergic to wheat and not have celiac disease as well, and even if you’re body isn’t intolerant to wheat and gluten, removing them from the diet is recommended for optimal body composition, digestion, and health.

Besides raising insulin levels in the body and providing a large carbohydrate and caloric punch, the body releases cortisol in response to the stressor caused by the gluten allergy. Research shows that cortisol partially prevents the harmful effect of gluten in the body. The problem is that cortisol results in muscle degradation and elevated levels suppress immune response and lead to adrenal exhaustion manifesting in the form of fatigue, depression, insomnia, and illness—not good!

3.    The Main Source of Carbs Should be Fibrous.
Fibrous carbs, including many green vegetables, typically have very low carbohydrate content. Their inherent high fiber brings about a very moderate insulin response, thus making them an ideal fat loss food. Research shows that the higher fiber content of most vegetables will delay carbohydrate absorption, favorably modifying the glucose response. Dark green vegetables usually have a large antioxidant content as well (not as great as dark fruits, but still a sizeable amount). The best sources of fibrous carbs include:

● Kale
● Broccoli
● Lettuce
● Cabbage
● Cauliflower
● Mushrooms
● Green beans
● Onions
● Asparagus
● Cucumber
● Spinach
● All Forms of Peppers
● Zucchini
● Cauliflower

4.    The Darker the Fruit, the Better it is For You
Dark fruits tend to have very thin skin, meaning they need to produce more antioxidants to protect themselves from the sun. In contrast, light colored fruits with thick skins such as bananas and melons have lower antioxidant content. Dark red, blue, and purple fruits are great anti-inflammatory foods because the extra antioxidants help get rid of free radicals that cause aging and inflammation.

Research shows that berries with high antioxidant content such as bilberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries decrease glucose response in healthy subjects, slowing digestion. Researchers suggest that the bioactive polyphenols that dark-colored fruits contain promote greater insulin sensitivity. In addition, there is evidence that adding berries rich in polyphenols to high-glycemic foods that normally trigger a negatively high spike in glucose can moderate the body’s response, producing a remarkably low insulin response.

5.    The Darker the Fruit, the Better it is For You, Part II
The darker the fruit, the lower the glycemic load. I referred to this above, but be aware that the reason dark fruits promote insulin sensitivity is that they produce a low glycemic response in the body.

Let me call your attention to the fact that not only will you have a better glucose response with dark fruits, but adding them to high-glycemic foods appears to moderate the body’s response as mentioned in number four. Researchers suggest dark fruit with high antioxidant content lower the glucose response of other foods because they work as enzyme inhibitors. Take note that it is necessary to fully chew berries or fruit to release the polyphenols to work their magic on the glycemic index of carbs. 

Again, when you compare berries and cherries with bananas and pineapple, the latter two fruits have a significantly higher glycemic index. Of course, this applies to fruits in their natural state; when grapes become raisins, their glycemic index goes up because of dehydration of the fruit.

6.    Replace Grains with Various Forms of Lettuce in Sandwiches
This rule is promoted by Jonny Bowden, author of “Living The Low Carb Life.” Instead of using bread, use dark leafy greens to wrap the meat. This will slow down the glycemic index and help shift the acid/alkaline base in your favor. Research shows that eating low glycemic foods or adding herbs to high glycemic foods that have a glycemic lowering effect such as flaxseed or fenugreek, reduces pH and glucose response.

Besides, the dark greens will provide more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as opposed to grains, which are lower in micronutrients. For example, phytates—the salts of phytic acid that are found in high content in whole grains—block the absorption of many minerals, especially zinc, iron, manganese, and calcium.

7.    Limit Fructose Intake

Even though fruits are great foods loaded with nutrients, they also contain fructose. Fructose in too high quantities can slow down thyroid function, reducing metabolism and negatively affecting body composition. Research shows that excess fructose in rats results in decreased ATP in the liver, leading to less thyroid hormone uptake, and a reduction in fat burning.

Too much fructose in the diet also increases glycation. Glycation in layman's terms is browning, like the browning that makes crust on bread. Glycation is the cross linking of proteins (and DNA molecules) caused by sugar aldehydes reacting with the amino acids on the protein molecule to create Advance Glycosylation End-Products (AGEs). If you want to see protein cross-linking in action, cut an apple in half and watch it turn yellow!

Why is the worst glycation agent fructose? Because it does not raise insulin. In other words, the insulin is not getting it into muscle cells, meaning it lingers around in the body and wreaks metabolic havoc. As nutrition expert Robert Crayhon used to say: fructose is like the guest that won't go home once the party is over.

One study compared the effect of a diet high in fructose with one high in glucose. After ten weeks, the fructose group had significantly elevated levels of cholesterol and insulin, while insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism decreased. They also gained significantly more total fat and an even greater percentage of abdominal fat than the glucose group. Further research shows that this extra insulin causes dysfunction of cells, and in addition to the negative effect on body composition, it accelerates aging, vascular degeneration, and development of diabetes.

In contrast, there is evidence that consuming a post-exercise meal with glucose as the carbohydrate source results in greater fat oxidation and a more favorable metabolic response than if fructose is used. A study found that long-term high fructose consumption accelerates skin and bone aging  because it modifies DNA, damaging tissue collagen. While this doesn’t speak directly to our topic of body composition, it points to the damaging effect of excessive fructose on health and longevity.

Take note that Robert Crayhon recommends that the average American eat no more than 5 to 10 grams of fructose a day! For very active individuals, 20 to 30 grams of fructose should be the maximum intake.

One of the worst sources of glycated fructose are weight loss bars that contain high fructose corn syrup, like the ones that used to be sold by a famous Texan verbally abusive lawyer turned weight loss guru. Then again, he was fat, and still is!

To check your glycation levels, ask your doctor to measure the concentration of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. A study from England revealed that glycated hemoglobin is the best tests to predict mortality—far better than cholesterol, blood pressure, or body mass index.

8.    The Best Time to Load Up On Carbs is the First Ten Minutes Following Your Workout
Insulin sensitivity is at its highest after a workout making this the critical time to take in carbs to maximize muscle mass gains. Originally, based on the research that was available at the time, I typically recommended two g/kg of bodyweight. Over the years, after being exposed to more research and discussing it with my colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that it should be a reflection of the training volume for the training session. The greater the number of reps per training unit, the greater the carbohydrate intake.

Of course, all reps are not equal. A squat or deadlift repetition is more demanding than a biceps curl or triceps extension rep. By the same token, three reps of  slow tempo squats has a different caloric demand than three reps of the power clean. As a general rule, I would recommend the following carbohydrate intake based on training volume for a given workout:

* 12-72 reps per workout: 0.6 g/kg/lean body mass (lbm)
* 73-200 reps per workout: 0.8 g/kg/lbm
* 200-360 reps per workout: 1.0 g/kg/lbm
* 360-450 reps per workout: 1.2 g/kg/lbm

Take note that these recommendations are based on lean body mass, not your weight. To calculate lean body mass you need to know your lean mass percentage (or body fat percentage and subtract that number from 100). Then multiply this percent by your body mass and you’ll get your lean body mass.

Regarding the source of carbohydrates post-workout, I have experimented with various sources and I prefer fruit juices with a high glycemic index such as pineapple or grape to provide 15 to 20 percent of the carbs, with the rest of the carbs coming from carbohydrate powders. The powder should contain various types of maltodextrin and a minimal quantity of ribose. For variety, I use different types of juice such as a berry blend. You can also use any type of mushy fruit like bananas or peaches. For seriously underweight athletes, I may use more pineapple juice and/or corn flakes to drive the glycemic index upwards. Instead of using maltodextrin, you can also use desiccated honey.

9.    Use Supplements That Promote Insulin Sensitivity with High-Carb Post-Workout Meals
A number of supplements support glucose uptake and promote insulin sensitivity, including nutrients such as taurine, arginine, magnesium, and R-form alpha lipoic acid. Adding them to your post-workout meal will help send glucose to muscle cells instead of fat cells.

Indeed, a review from the journal Biological Trace Element Research reports that magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, while influencing the activity of hormones that control blood glucose levels. Low magnesium can cause insulin resistance, which may result in the kidneys being unable to retain magnesium during episodes of hyperglycemia, creating a downward spiral of magnesium deficiency, fat gain, and subsequently diabetes.

Many herbs such as American ginseng, fenugreek, and bitter melon also facilitate glucose uptake by muscle cells. Research shows that adding fenugreek to a whole wheat bread will result in greater insulin sensitivity and more glucose uptake than consuming whole wheat bread without fenugreek. Similar results were evident when flax was added to a wheat chapatti, indicating flax may be a good addition as well.

10.    Add Protein to Your Post-Workout Carb Meal
Protein is a critical part of post-workout nutrition because your muscles are primed for feeding and need amino acids for peak recovery. Essential amino acids (EAAs), particularly the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), have been shown to trigger protein synthesis and fat loss. Taking BCAAs will also allow you train harder and longer because the amino acids enhance fat oxidation and research shows that individuals with a higher BCAA intake in their diets have lower body weight and better body composition. 

Taking as much as 40 grams of EAAs after heavy training results in an anabolic shift from muscle protein degradation to protein synthesis. I suggest using 15 grams of protein for every 50 lbs of bodyweight—you will increase glycogen storage by as much as 40 percent, and will boost release of the anabolic hormone, IGF-1.

My Training

It's been too damn log to log anything but my recent training---and recently, I *did* change things up a bit.  I asked one of the owners of CFLA, Ryan "Ryno" Fletcher, to do some programming for me.  I had been having no issue with what I was doing, but found my very loose and random choice of WODS (hmm...that seems...familiar) not very goal oriented.  And I've had  a few strength goals for years now that I haven't gotten close to.  So, Ryno repsonded to my request.  First off, my recent testing benchmarks:

Deadlift: 405#.  Previous was 415#.  Been slacking, yo.  Goal is 450#
Squat: 315#.  Previous was 305#.  Goal unknown, add AMFWAP (as much f-ing weight as possible)
C&J: 205#.  Previous the same.  Clean 215# easy already.  Goal is 225#
OHP: 135#.  Previous 140#.  Goal BW, which is 165# now.  Hopefully, that'll increase, too.
Snatch: 155#.  Previous same.  Goal is 165#, which is very close to happening already.

These aren't lofty or elite goals, but they are my goals, and for a guy mere days from 38 years old on a 6' frame coming in at 165#, I think they are tough but doable goals.

I'm on week 4 of Ryno's programming, which is very CFFB (Crossfit Football) and MEBB (Max Effort Black Box)---think big lifts, high lactate stuff (sprints, big box jumps, sets to failure).  Very tough, but VERY fun.  A sample week:

Day 1

 Squat 12x2 @ 75% of 1RM - rest 45s between sets
 Press 3RM
 AMRAP 15 mins
  7 supine ring pull ups
  7 push ups
  7 box jumps 30"

Day 2
 Deadlift 5RM
 Weighted pull up 3/3/3/3/3
 10 Rounds
  5 x 20" lateral hops
  20 yard sprint
  rest 60s, alternate sides for each set
  for lateral hops, set a 20" high barier and hop over from side to side, exploding off the outside leg.  On the fifth hop, transition directly into a 20 yard sprint

Day 3
 5 x max height box jump
 3 x max time handstand hold
 AMRAP kettle bell swings per minute with 2 pood kettle bell
 Rest 1 min between attempts
 Do 5 attempts
 Attempt to get 30 swings in each minute
  For each attempt that you do not reach 30 swings, do 1000m row as penalty

Day 4
 Strict pull ups 3 x max reps
 2 cleans + 1 jerk on the minute for 15 mins @ 65-80% of 1RM clean and jerk
 For every set not completed, do 5 burpees as a penalty at the end of the 15 mins