Archive for Fat Loss

The People Demand Answers!! February 2013

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

The Q and A is back for more!

question

The first question I have relates to some of my speed training clients, especially hockey players going to dry land for the first time in a long time….

My shins are absolutely killing me, how do I make shin splints go away?

Shin splints occur for multiple reasons. One might have poor biomechanics, an imbalance in the lower leg or tightness in the lower leg. The first plan of attack is to reduce swelling and soreness by icing and light massage. Then you need to take on the soft tissue in the lower leg with foam rolling, massage and stretching. After that, make sure the anterior and posterior muscles are each getting adequate work. For most people that will mean adding some tibialis anterior work (resisted dorsiflexion) since calves are often overworked. So put a little extra work into your lower legs and your shin splints will be easier to control.

At what point will the foam roller hurt me?

A young athlete running at the track was complaining of tightness so I showed him how to use a foam roller. After using it for about 10 minutes, he was afraid it may hurt him. The truth is, extended use of a foam roller really won’t hurt you but it also won’t continue to give you benefits. The main goal is to promote blood flow and return elasticity to the fascia (soft tissue enveloping muscles) and muscle fibers. Generally the foam roller helps with mobility, flexibility and recovery. So once you’ve used it for a few minutes you’ve probably already received its benefit. The only risk would be bruising but you would need a lot of pressure and a very hard object. If you’ve never used one, try adding in a few minutes pre workout and watch you positioning improve!

foam roller

I’ve been eating low fat foods and haven’t been losing weight, what gives?

I feel like the word is slowly getting out, but it’s still not there yet; Fat is NOT the enemy – unless it’s transfat or everything you eat is deep fried. The truth is, most individuals, especially if they’re fat loss clients, could benefit from increased fat intake and decreased carbohydrate intake. As mentioned in Carb Timing, starches and sugars should be saved for post workout times. If you stick to protein, fats and veggies for most meals of the day then fat loss will come more easily. I mean you’ll still have to exercise and not overeat, but at least you can just do those consistently and you’ll lean right out. The point of a low carbohydrate diet is to reach what’s called nutritional ketosis. This is the point where your body switches from glycogen for energy to ketones which come from fat stores. In order to reach that point though, we need to significantly reduce carbohydrate intake ( <=50g/day). At that point, even though we’re starting to use up fat stores for energy, we still need additional fat intake to meet energy demand. For that reason, you can’t really have low carb and low fat, it just won’t work. If you decrease carbohydrate intake you must increase fat intake of all types.

low-fat1

If you want to see your question in next month’s Q and A, shoot us an email at: info@razorsedgeperformance.ca

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

The People Demand Answers!! January 2013

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by razorsedgeperformance

I’ve decided to start a question and answer post to change things up a little bit. This will allow more different topics to be answered without necessarily getting into the depth that a full post/article would require. That being said, please feel free to email in questions, use the comment box, post on our facebook page or send us a tweet. This installment is made up of either questions I’ve been asked lately or things that I’ve heard that need correcting. Enjoy.

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On the cardio machine, the fat loss setting picks low paced cardio; Is that really the best way to burn fat??

Fat loss is an interesting topic because there are a number of different ways of achieving it. To decide what’s BEST is a whole other story. Let’s get into some basics about energy systems to answer this one. I’m putting it in layman’s terms so if you’re another coach, try to keep this in mind. There are 3 main energy systems that our body uses for energy. These are: the phosphagen system, the glycolitic system, the oxidative system. The phosphagen system uses ATP stores to produce energy used in extremely short and high intensity movements (think sprint or heavy lift). The glycolitic system uses glycogen stores (carbs essentially) to produce energy for moderate intensity exercise and kicks in after ATP up to about 20 or 30 minutes. The Oxidative system uses fatty acids to produce energy for long, low intensity movements. So technically, this setting is correct for activating the oxidative system. However, if we do bouts of High Intensity interval training (HIIT) then we will burn through all 3 energy systems. Your body can only produce so much ATP in such a short amount of time [note: supplementing creatine can help with this], so your body will be forced to jump to the next system when the first runs dry. Thus, we can actually start activating the glycolitic system earlier with intervals than with slow paced cardio. So it still will burn fat, but intervals will allow a much better, more complete energy system response.

If I want to get faster, should I just do interval running?

Following up on the post above, interval work should be meant for conditioning or fat loss work. What people need to realize about speed is that it is extremely technical and also extremely demanding on the body. In order to truly increase your speed you need a structured program and a qualified coach to help you with this. With your coach you can work on the two determinants of speed: output and direction. When you are fatigued during intervals, both of these values would be negatively affected; Your output will be significantly dimished and fatigue will adversely affect your coordination. More often than not I see (from others) intervals as continuous repetition of bad mechanics. So in closing, use intervals for conditioning work but high quality, high output repetitions are necessary to increase speed.

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When doing weights, should I progress up to heavy weights or start heavy (over the course of multiple sets)?

To lift a given weight, your body will only try to recruit as many muscle fibers as it thinks it needs. Over the course of multiple sets, those fibers will become fatigued and you will no longer get efficient functionality out of them. So that being said, if you start with 20lb dumbbells and then discover after each of the first two sets that you need to go up by 5, you may not be able to lift 35lbs efficiently by the third set. This is why tracking your weights is important. On the first set start as high as you think you can (realistically) for that rep range because you can always decrease the weight as you get fatigued, plus you know that you’ve also recruited a maximal number of muscle fibers for that rep range.

Disclaimer: Do warm-up sets to get used to the movement and the loading if you are working with more than body weight, then start counting your sets after you’ve progressed through these warmup sets!

That’s it for this installment of questions, if you have any questions you’d like answered, again, use twitter, Facebook, email or a comment below.

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

Supplements…What to Choose?

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s a loaded question…I don’t know your goals. The supplements you take and the food you eat should obviously go hand-in-hand with the workouts you are doing to help fulfill your goals. Period.

With that being said, there is a good chance that these supplements will cover most people’s goals and should therefore be included your daily routine/regimen.

The biggest thing to understand about supplements is that a very large part of the industry is built on deception, not a good thing for the consumer who cares. There are so many companies offering a wide variety of products, that all claim to have made a BETTER VERSION. Why would any logically thinking human being think that this is reasonable?!?!?!

So here is the gameplan…find a company that is trustworthy and stick with them. You may pay a little bit more than your friends, but you know it works. There is a lot of value in that. Some companies with great products include Cytosport, Rivalus, MusclePharm (for the most part), AllMax, Dymatize. I’m sure many of you have a bigger list than that, but I like to make sure the products are clean and effective, so I don’t need more options than this…

Now onto the products that work. This is by no-means an exhaustive list, but will provide plenty of options for a well-rounded supplement protocol.

PROTEIN POWDER

This is a no-brainer for a few reasons. Firstly, protein ingested immediately post-workout is very important for increasing muscle-protein synthesis; that is the creation of new muscle mass. Secondly, anyone looking to improve their body composition must understand that they need a steady dose of protein throughout the day. This can come from a variety of sources, but a good protein powder is a great weapon to ensure that you can get your servings even when your outside of your routine. Whey Protein, Whey Protein Isolate, Casein Protein, and a vegetarion source like Brown Rice Protein are all good choices for purchase.

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE

If you have been trying to get huge, then you probably already get your fair share of creatine. If not, you probably think it is somehow illegal, or makes you bloated. The term ‘water weight’ gets thrown around quite a bit, without much evidence to support it. The truth is creatine is very beneficial for increasing high-intensity work capacity, for muscle hypertrophy, and lately has been shown to be extremely beneficial for your cognitive health (YOUR BRAIN!!). All the while, myths about cramping, bloating, or water retention have been refuted in the research. It is cheap and flavourless, so just drop 10g a day in one of your workout beverages and you are good to go!

BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)

BCAAs might have to be the favourite supplement out there for most people who train regularly. It has a long list of benefits, including decreasing ratings of perceived exertion (difficulty/fatigue of the workout), increased muscle protein synthesis, decreased muscle breakdown, preservation of glutamine levels, and symptoms of DOMS. It has been shown effective before the workout, during the workout, and after the workout as well. While I don’t suggest replacing a protein shake after your workout, the consumption of BCAAs around your workout could make the post-workout shake redundant. If you aren’t looking to ADD a significant amount of lean mass, the BCAAs may be your top priority.

VITAMIN-MINERAL COMPLEX

This is the general blanket pick. There are so many factors that affect the level of your micronutrients, and the last thing you want is to have your progress stunted because of a deficiency. Take a vitamin-mineral complex that ensures you have a good variety of nutrients regardless of your diet, but don’t believe that you can eat garbage because of a convenient once-a-day.

BETA-ALANINE

A similar concept as creatine, beta-alanine just uses a slightly different mechanism to have its main effect. When ingested, beta-alanine is converted to carnosine, which is a compound that is used by your body to protect against a drop in pH. Specifically, carnosine buffers hydrogen ions, keeping the environment in your muscles from becoming acidic and function being impaired. This means when you are operating anaerobically (typically between 30 seconds and 3 minutes of strenuous exercise) taking beta-alanine will help delay fatigue and increase work capacity. Beta-alanine has also been shown to help increase lean muscle mass, so again provides the double whammy. Combining beta-alanine and creatine does not cause a conflict of any sorts so it should be encouraged! It’s a little bit harder to find beta-alanine alone but it is found in many pre-workout mixes.

CAFFEINE

Should you drink coffee? Should you avoid it? Here is the deal. Get some caffeine in you and reap the benefits. Tea, coffee, energy drinks, pre-workout cocktails, and anhydrous caffeine pills are all great ways to get some juice in your system. The truth is, it is one of the best supplements out there for improving performance. Increases in performance of endurance exercises, as well as strength-power work, repeat sprint performance, agility, reactive times, and game day performance are all found in the literature.  Don’t avoid caffeine because you think it’s wrong. It might be wrong if you need a constant supply to get through your day, but using it to enhance your workouts is just a great idea! Anywhere from 200mg to 400mg should provide a great jolt to your lifts, and allow you to complete a few extra sets or reps.

The moral of the story is that as long as you become educated, you can use nutritional supplements to your advantage to help your performance and reach your goals. There are many products designed to maximize your physiology or mentality, so don’t be afraid to try some out!

It’s About Getting Better!

Razor’s Edge Performance

Lean Eating: Lunch (Pulled Chicken)

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

One of the first things I do when training someone is request a food log. This does two things, it gives me an idea of what you’re doing right or wrong and it also opens your eyes to what you’re actually eating and drinking. The truth is, no one really understands how well they eat. A standard response, which comes from almost everyone, is usually: “I eat pretty well, but…”. What does pretty well mean? Realistically, people who are overweight usually underestimate how much they’re taking in and those who can’t gain weight overestimate how much they’re eating. In the end everyone acts stumped, as though it’s a miracle they haven’t achieved their goals. “I just can’t gain weight and I eat sooooo much”. In the end, we all need to make better food choices. We’ve discussed breakfast, but lunch just might be the only thing worse.

You know you had this last week

Lunch is the one meal that almost nobody is at home for. Since most people don’t plan ahead enough to make their lunches in advance, they’re hostages to their environment. Rarely do I see people who eat out for lunch get “stuck” with extremely healthy meals, usually the opposite. No matter, I’m here to save you and your goals. I’ll give you one trick to help you get back on track for your lunches – a crock pot. It might sound like something your grandmother uses, but it’s more like a miracle for making lean meals. It’s like Ronco used to say, “just set it and forget it!”. It’s not just great for lunches, but you can set it before you leave in the morning and come home to an amazing dinner ready to serve. Enough about how good it is, let’s get to the good stuff: Pulled Chicken. I’m not sure if this is the exact name for it, but it’s very much like pulled pork. This shredded/pulled chicken can be put in a wrap with avocado, or a bun, or even on its own for a quick and easy lunch.

tastes so good

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

1 large jar of salsa

1 lime

1 package taco seasoning

cilantro

Directions:

1. place salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice and cilantro in the crockpot and mix together.

2. cut chicken breasts in half (top/bottom) so that you basically have thinner chicken breasts.

3. place chicken in crockpot and smother with sauce.

4. turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Once finished, use a fork to pull the chicken apart into its shredded final product.

This chicken is absolutely delicious and so easy to make. Once your chicken is done, place it in 1 large tupperware or even individual sized tupperware for lunches. Before you leave the house, grab the chicken, a couple small wraps and whatever healthy fixin’s you want to add. Looks like we just saved lunch, you’re welcome.

Rememeber,

It’s About Getting Better!

Lean Eating: Breakfast

Posted in Health with tags , , , on January 14, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Did you make a resolution to burn fat or build muscle?  Or maybe you’re hardcore and have been grinding for a while.  Either way,  I might just have a tip to put you over the edge.  The secret…  Nutrition!  OK,  OK, you’ve heard that; you’ve also heard about what to eat after your workout. I’m here to fix breakfast. 

So you go the gym after work and you had a post workout shake,  but guess what?  You put on fat before 10am.  That’s not exactly a recipe for success. What I tend to see is that people either don’t eat breakfast, or they eat crap. The last thing you need is an insulin spike right after you get up. Avoid sugars and high carbohydrates. Most people don’t need or want a lot to eat at breakfast,  it’s just about breaking the fast and halting muscle breakdown.  Get some protein to repair and maintain Lean muscle mass and add some healthy fats to slow digestion and break down fat soluble vitamins. Cut the cereals, toast, bagels, waffles and pancakes; it’s time to take your body to the next level.

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not cool

So what should you eat? Here are 3 starter ideas that you can customize to be your new lean breakfast masterpiece.

Eggs – These magical orbs are packed with protein and healthy fats.  Don’t cut out the yokes,  that’s where much of the good stuff lies.  They can be prepared a myriad ways and are great on the go. Try eggs with avocado slices or scrambled eggs with spinach and shredded cheese.

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yum

Cottage cheese/Greek yogurt – These are both dairy based and contain tons of protein.  Try having either of these with Shaved/chopped almonds thrown in and possibly some fruit.

Smoothie/protein shake – If you’re a natural food lover this will be low on your list,  but if you’re looking for some quick protein this might just be for you. Get yourself something to blend smoothies and the possibilities will be endless. Start with protein powder and some fruit,  add some kind of fats (almond butter,  light tasting olive oil, avocado) and throw in a healthy vegetable or two (frozen spinach will be almost tasteless) . That’s all it takes for a powerhouse healthy breakfast. 

Eating breakfast doesn’t have to be tough.  Don’t let an early morning or being tired be an excuse to ruin your goals.

Remember,  it’s about getting better! 

Get Help in the Kitchen!

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Everyone in the fitness industry laments the start of January due to the flood of people in all of the gyms and health clubs around North America. Is it because we think this is bad? Absolutely not! That’s amazing…for 2 weeks of the year, everyone is acting the way they should ALL YEAR ROUND. The reason us professionals get frustrated is that by the end of January, most people have fallen back into the old habits, and have lost site of whatever health and fitness related resolution they undertook on January 1st.
I think I can help everyone out a little bit by shedding light on the most important intervention for achieving your goals, whether they are related to hypertrophy, fat-loss, or performance enhancement. LEARNING HOW TO COOK. I’m not talking about becoming the next Jamie Oliver, just someone who can follow a damn good recipe.
I always chuckle when people ask me if i’m a good cook. I make almost all of my food, save for some supplements taken around workouts, so that should say something. Yet I have no imagination in the kitchen. I have made some great dishes, and some bad ones. The key to my success? Find a good recipe, and follow it!

Let’s go over a few resources that I like to use that can make a world of a difference between winning and losing in this game we play with our bodies and health.


Precision Nutrition

Do yourself a favour and go all-out with the whole system. You get a fantastic cookbook, a manual that describes a lot about WHY to eat certain foods and WHEN to eat them, as well as food preparation tips and other random nuggets of information. The cookbook, Gourmet Nutrition has recipes for shakes, snacks, side dishes, entrees, breakfasts, soups, salad dressings and sauces, and of course desserts. All of the nutritional facts about the meal are given, as well as designations of when the meal is best consumed. The added bonus is access to the online members content on the site, which has forums and articles that are at least 5 years old, so the amount of content archived on the precision nutrition site is massive.

Gourmet Nutrition 2.0

This is the 2nd cookbook in the gourmet nutrition series. It is along the same format as the first version that is in the Precision Nutrition system, but adds a whole bunch of new recipes. If you plan on doing the Precision Nutrition system, wait on this, until you’ve tried all of the recipes in the first book. If you just want a healthy cookbook, then this is one way to go. It really goes above and beyond the infamous ‘chicken breasts and broccoli’ that many get trapped in when trying to eat well.

Best of Clean Eating
http://rcm-ca.amazon.ca/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=razosedgepe02-20&o=15&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1552100855

I haven’t tried many of these recipes yet, but I flipped through the whole book and it looks absolutely fantastic. Not only does everything look gourmet, but the entire cookbook has tips and facts about different foods and nutrtients, as well as recipes that will only make you healthier.

Best of Clean Eating 2
http://rcm-ca.amazon.ca/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=razosedgepe02-20&o=15&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1552100979

Just go back and read what I just wrote above regarding the first version. This is just another resource with new recipes that follow the same ideals as the first.

That’s 4 resources for nutritional help with your resolutions (or constant struggle for improvement if you didn’t just start this week…). Do yourself a favour and get in the habit of cooking your own healthy meals, and realize healthy and gourmet can fit in the same sentence together. Most unwanted deviations from healthy eating occur because you are unprepared and didn’t pack a lunch, or don’t feel like cooking. So take some time to get your act together in the kitchen, so your body is appropriately fueld for your workouts!

It’s About Getting Better

Eating Well Is Easier Done Than Said?

Posted in Health with tags , , , on November 11, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Hey Everyone,

Happy Friday!

I know we always talk about the importance of eating well for improvements in body composition, plus an overall health profile boost, the problem though, is that most clients will say it’s too hard to handle, or just not do it because of convenience. We know who you are. We can tell when you’ve reached the training threshold of ‘big results’, so if nothing is happening, it’s probably because you are putting poison in your body.

I just wanted to send out a quick reminder that eating well doesn’t have to be hard or tedious. The other night I was cooking for my fiancee and I, preparing food for the next day’s feedings. Here is what I put together in 15 minutes or less.

500g of Ground Chicken – $3.53

500g of Frozen “Summer Blend” vegetables – $2.50

500g (a can) of Red Kidney Beans – $0.99

Variety of spices ….negligible

I browned the chicken in a pot, while steaming the entire bag of vetetables at the same time (Fresh vegetables are probably better, but frozen vegetables are still a decent substitute!)…Then I poured the beans in with the chicken and began seasoning it and let it simmer together for 5 minutes. Then I added all of the vegetables and mixed it all together. Voila!

This meal fed 2 people for lunch and a bit of snack the next day on $7.00 and 15 minutes of preparation.

It was all chicken, vegetables, and kidney beans…cheap carbs or dressings.

If I had to add one more thing to it, it would be avocado or nuts for some added healthy fats.

Unfortunately we ate it all before I thought to take a picture. I thought it would be a good reminder though that eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive, or time consuming. I find these mixes or stirfrys are the best way to say ‘Let’s just put all these healthy things into a pot or pan and see what happens!’…

NOW GO MAKE A GOOD MEAL!

It’s About Getting Better!

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