Archive for Lean Muscle

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.

image

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! 

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