Not All Carbohydrates Are Equal // An Athletes Guide - 6/20/2018

 

In the cyclical fitness community, suddenly carbs are the enemy again. This is due to not only the fact that the “cool new thing” rotates, but because research has come out showing benefits of keto and endurance performance. These studies show improvements in cycling and other aerobic sports with ketogenic diet. Most people miss that the studies quantify that the performance increases were likely attributed to loss in mass, both fat and lean (Zajac, 2014). Other interesting facts that keto proponents leave out is that max work load during exercise and specifically at lactate threshold (LT) were much higher when carbs were consumed in the diet. Increases in perceived training effort and impaired recovery responses to training are also common (Burke, 2006). Where the ketogenic diet was effective and should be used during training cycles is when low intensity high volume work is being done (Zajac, 2014). The way to get the best out of both high carb and low carb diets and maximize increase endurance with minimal fatigue while improving intensity and power is to train using ketogenic diet when volume accumulation at a low intensity is used and then eat more carbohydrates as intensity increases (Phinney, 2004). Many successful cyclists and ultra-endurance athletes will train ketogenic all the way until race day and then consume carbs similar to the protocols listed below. This article is not to say that low carb and keto are not intelligent diet regimens that can be used for specific goals. Rather it is to point out that if weight loss is not a goal, nor are there restrictions and max performance in sports that include sprinting and high power output, than carbohydrate intake is important. Specifically, discussing whether single or multiple carbohydrate sources are important to glycolytic athletes (Jeukendrup, 2008).

So, what kind of carbohydrates do athletes not utilizing a Ketogenic strategy need and in what doses?

According to most research in the 1990’s-2000’s the maximum oxidation rates for a single source of CHO topped out at 60 grams per hour (g·h). This was consistently shown to be the amount that could be used per hour without causing GI distress (Jeukendrup, 2014). This specifically was studied utilizing single CHO sources, most research used either glucose or fructose. The single source studies all showed that performance with a single source was often 8-10% lower than a mixture and that multiple source spared more endogenous (already inside the body) CHO stores (Curell, 2008). Once multiple streams of CHO sources were introduced the oxidation rates went as high as 105 (g·h) for exogenous CHO sources. To keep that high level of oxidation some athletes consumed up to 144 (g·h) of a fructose/glucose mixture (Jeukendrup, 2011). To maintain these high levels of oxidation the CHO mixture must be taken in at high rates. Many protocols for performance have athletes taking in liquid every 10-15 minutes to meet the demand. This high rate of intake has, however, been shown to lead to GI distress. This leads to another positive for multiple CHO sources though, as the multiple sources has been shown increase fluid delivery when compared to single source and leads to less GI distress (Jeukendrup, 2014).

CHO fueling protocols can be seen below in Figure 1. The use of single source does not become an issue until approximately 3 hours. This may seem counterintuitive to the information above and that is because the protocol is saying that it will work for that amount of time but it is not ideal (Jentjens, 2004). When the exercise duration increases to ultra-endurance levels the recommendation is 90 (g·h). This is recommended to be from multiple sources due to the high likelihood of accumulation of CHO in the intestines leading to GI distress if from single source (Jeukendrup, 2004). Interestingly, the consistency of the multiple sourced CHO can be liquid (drinks), semisolids (gels, pops) or solid (bars, chewables) with it working towards liquids as the endurance event increases in duration.


Reference: Jeukendrup, E. (2014). A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 25–33., doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0148-z.

Individual recommendations are surprisingly not based much on athlete body weight or training status. The guidelines recommended are based on intensity and duration almost exclusively (Jeukendrup, 2014). The above protocol will work for most athletes, but should be tested during training to find the appropriate levels that GI distress does not become an issue. As you move forward with your training for endurance events and wonder about what CHO sources to use, just remember that more is better and multiple sources will have a better effect. This is true specifically of longer rides, but can make shorter rides more optimal and help also with sprint and maximal effort bouts. Q//FUEL and the A.R.C. meet all these recommendations!

Take away:
1) CHO sources for workouts are not created equal. Having a single source is not as good as multiple sources for performance and less GI distress
a. Glucose and fructose mixtures have the best results (Q//FUEL)
2) Protocols should be tested on different training days to find the amount you can tolerate and feel best using with zero to minimal GI distress
a. Protocols are mostly based on exercise duration and intensity, not athletes weight/training
b. An alternative dosing strategy can be found with the Quantified Nutrition A.R.C. 
3) Ketogenic diets have some great components for reducing body mass and lipid control for athletes. Research also suggests that the ability to perform long slow duration activities for extended races, competitions and training is enhanced
a. It does not lead to increased performance in sprints or power output at important competition moments (hills, finishing race, closing on competition)
b. Takes months to adapt to a level where all positive results are shown and the athlete has enough experience with the diet to be successful competing
c. Protocols that have the athlete train while eating ketogenic diet and then consuming CHO on race/contest day show good results empirically but more research is needed
4) Take a cue from Quantified Nutrition and know what tools and strategies work best for your goals. What may work well for one type of athlete, may be detrimental to another

 

TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS2, RKC

Burke, L. M., & Kiens, B. (2006). “Fat adaptation” for athletic performance: The nail in the coffin? Journal of Applied Physiology, 100(1), 7-8. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01238.2005

Currell, K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2008). Superior Endurance Performance with Ingestion of Multiple Transportable Carbohydrates. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 40(2), 275-281. doi:10.1249/mss.0b013e31815adf19

Jentjens, R. L., et al. (2004). Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise.” J Appl Physiol 96(4): 1277-1284.

Jeukendrup, E. (2008). Carbohydrate feeding during exercise. European Journal of Sport Science, 8(2), 77-86. doi:10.1080/17461390801918971

Jeukendrup, A. E. (2011). “Nutrition for endurance sports: marathon, triathlon, and road cycling.” J Sports Sci 29 Suppl 1: S91-99.

Jeukendrup, E. (2014). A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 25–33., doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0148-z.

Jeukendrup, E. (2004). Carbohydrate intake during exercise and performance. Nutrition 20(7-8):669-677.

Phinney S.D. “Ketogenic diets and physical performance.” Nutrition Metabolism 1.2 (2004).

Zajac, A., Poprzecki, S., Maszczyk, A., Czuba, M., Michalczyk, M., & Zydek, G. (2014). The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Exercise Metabolism and Physical Performance in Off-Road Cyclists. Nutrients, 6(7), 2493-2508. doi:10.3390/nu6072493

Zinn, C., Wood, M., Williden, M., Chatterton, S., & Maunder, E. (2017). Ketogenic diet benefits body composition and well-being but not performance in a pilot case study of New Zealand endurance athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0180-0

Coach Powell Knocks the Strongman Dust Off - 5/22/2018

 

-Battle of the Bluegrass Platinum, KY-

The tape on my arms was perfect, the tacky well broken in to make sure I had maximal grip on the stones. The event required me to load 3 of them to the 52” platform. I knew I was down one point for second place so all I had to do was beat the guy in front of me and we’d be tied for second and I could salvage this day.

The first two stones, 300 and 325, floated from my chest up onto the platform easily. I quickly had the 350 stone in my lap and pulled into my chest. I violently exploded from the bottom position and had it moving quickly, the stone went to the lip of the platform where it sat briefly. I repositioned my body to push it over the lip, but came up short and it fell back to the floor. I repositioned myself, re-picked and tried again, but couldn’t muster the strength to finish. The other competitor who I currently trailed by 1 point could not load the third stone either and I beat him by 1/10 of a second in our splits to load the first two stones. This means that we were now tied for second place, as it gave me one point more than him in the event. The deciding factor for who would take home silver was a countback of who had won more events prior to the stones. He beat me on that technicality as he had deservedly won the log event to start the competition. I came home with third place and more importantly with a sword. This was my first contest every winning a weapon as a trophy, so I was excited.

What should I take away from this? How do I QUANTIFY this experience? This was my first full strongman contest in almost two years, my last being another Platinum Plus competition in Jacksonville during August 2016. This was the most well rounded and strongest statically I have felt going into a contest, I was top 4 or better in every event given a 13-man field. While the numbers I hit weren’t exactly what I had hoped for in the stones, yoke or log, I was within seconds or a few pounds of what I had planned on hitting. These are all good things to take away, but I also realized some shortcomings in my prep work. I need to be even more consistent on my loading and pressing events to really shore up all aspects of my game. I need to continue to gain more weight as this was still an easy cut for me. Most of my competitors weigh 250#+ before contests and cut down, I should be no different. These are the takeaways that will hopefully propel me to being even better in October for nationals.

Things I have started implementing since then include continuing my calorie increase as shown in my last blog post. The weight is starting to add back up again after that cut and will continue to slowly creep up. I have started to add more hypertrophy work as well. This will include a ton of low and mid back, triceps and bicep work specifically to hit those trouble events that I spoke to earlier. The need for more muscle mass is real, I have the athleticism and speed, just need to continue getting bigger and stronger. Coming up next will either be GA’s Strongest Man in June as another tune up before Nationals or just going straight to Nationals in St. Charles’ Missouri in October. Either one that I pick will require some serious fine tuning. Stay tuned!

 

TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS2, RKC

 

 

Coach Powell and How He Plans To Put 10 LBS of Muscle On In 8 Weeks, 04/09/2018

 

The Arnold was an amazing experience, lifting on the main stage where so many great athletes had already competed and in front of a great crowd was electrifying. The support from my wife and my coworker Drew who made the trip was perfect and making weight wasn’t terrible. So, now what do I do?

I mentioned in my earlier posts that 8 weeks after the Arnold there was a very competitive strongman show, the Battle of the Bluegrass Platinum Plus in Lexington, KY. This show will give me an opportunity to earn an invitation to strongman nationals, and if I win to compete in the strongman amateur world championships back at the 2019 Arnold. I have been training for this event concurrently with the XPC 21 Deadlift Salute competition that I just finished. Some of the issues I am running into are my weight is still low from the cut (225#) but I will compete at 105kg/231# and I only have 8 weeks to recover, gain weight and peak for this event. Where do I start?

The Events:

Last Man Standing Log Clean and Press
Max 18” DL
900# Yoke 50’ Run
250# Keg/ 250# Sandbag/ 225# Sled Medley
Stone Load to 52” Platform (300#/330#/360#)

Training:
The way my training has been going I have been improving on the log, medley and stones. I have not trained the 18” DL very much, but am hoping all my heavy pulling for the last contest will lead to a decent number on that event as well as honing in my mechanics the next 8 weeks. The yoke has always been a good event for me, so that will mostly be just working on speed and getting used to heavy weight being on my back again. My training is broken down into 5 days, with the events being spread over 3 of them.

Day 1 
Log Clean & Press Front Squats Pull-ups/Lat Pull Strict Log press DL from floor

Day 2
Incline bench Back squats Meadows Row Assist. Shoulder 18” DL

Day 3
Floor Press Keg/Sand Medley Lat Assistance Assist. Shoulder Yoke

Day 4
Upper back prehab Single Leg Trap/Back Prehab Biceps Stones

Day 5
Triceps Accessory Kaatsu Occlusion Training Stabilizing Core Triceps Glute Ham/ Stabilizing Core

This is a new split for me, I am more accustomed to a 2-days of upper body push/pull, a squat day and then a strongman event day that hits whatever specific events I need for my upcoming shows. This new split allows me to accumulate the volume necessary for the hypertrophy I need as well as the strength and speed required to improve on all 5 events. This split also allows for me to split up the events to really focus on more of them during the week. As I get closer to contest I will do “mini competition” days where I will do all 5 events so I am prepared for the accumulation of fatigue I will feel after five events. The split started immediately after the Arnold, which was also important for the volume accumulation so that I could allow the joints time to acclimate appropriately as well. The train up for the Arnold was full of a lot of heavy pulling and squatting as well as log, stone and medley work, so I needed a quick deload before ramping back up the intensity.

Diet:
This is where I am struggling right now. My usual caloric intake is about 3,500-4,000 calories per day. After giving myself 5 days to eat however I wanted after the weight cut and refeed, I have gotten back on that normal feeding schedule. The problem is that I am still weighing between 225-227# every morning when I wake up. After assessing my caloric intake and making sure I am consuming those calories, I am now adjusting and adding calories so that my day now looks more like this:

Time Food Approximate Calories
0600
Calories: 460 Q//WHEY 2Scoops, Q//FUEL 2 Scoops & 1Scoop Q//AMINO

Pro –240
CHO – 220

0930
Calories: 1234 10 Large Egg Whites
¾C cheese (Cheddar)
¾-1C Each of spinach, green peppers and onions
3C White rice
1 Single serving container Cheerios
6oz 2% Milk
1 Apple 10 Large Egg whites – 150
¼ C cheese (Cheddar) – 140
1C Each – Vegetables 60
3C White rice – 612
Cheerios – 180
6oz 2% milk – 92

1200 (Pre-Workout)
Calories: 460 Q//WHEY 2 Scoop, Q//FUEL 2 Scoops & 1Scoop Q//AMINO

Pro – 240
CHO – 220

1330 (Post-Workout)
Calories: 1182
8oz Chicken, pork or beef
3C rice or pasta
2C spinach
2tbsp high fat dressing (balsamic) 8oz chicken – 400
3C White rice – 612
2C spinach – 28
2tbsp balsamic – 42

1600 (snack)
Calories: 879 6-8oz Venison or chicken
2C White Rice
2tbsp soy sauce
1 Piece of fruit (banana) 8oz chicken – 350
2C white rice – 407
2tbsp soy sauce – 17
1 banana – 105

1900
Calories: 915 8-10oz meat or fish
1 large potato or sweet potato
2C veggie blend
Condiments (potato toppings) 8oz chicken – 350
Potato – 270
2C Veggie blend – 95
Condiments – 200

2130-2200 (snack)
Calories: 460 Q//WHEY 2 Scoops, Q//FUEL 1 Scoop & 1 Scoop Q//AMINO

Pro – 240
CHO – 220

Total Calories: 5,590

This is not a fun schedule to keep daily, but I have started to see the scale start trending up again after as little as 10 days. I am hoping that this increased caloric intake will allow me to be back up to 240# about 4-5 weeks out from contest so I can make a small 9# cut and compete well with some bloat at 231# in KY. The things that have helped me tremendously to up my calories are my liquid intake of the 3 Q//WHEY and Q//FUEL shakes. I cannot overstate the importance of being able to intake easy calories. There is only so much time in the day and week, so prepping and eating more food isn’t always an easy option. The liquid calories necessary are what can truly make gaining weight manageable for most people. If you look at any high level strength or physique athlete’s diet they often have 2-3 liquid meals per day. Hopefully it will pay off in the weight, strength and injury resistance necessary to go win.

 

TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS2, RKC

 

A Simple Guide To Cutting Weight for Competition- 03/27/2018

 

I’m typing this while enjoying a beer and sitting in the hell hole that is Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. I know what is coming soon and it is going to mean no more beer, so I need to enjoy it. I am 15 days out from contest and 14 from my weigh-in, I weigh 237 pounds upon waking and need to be 220 pounds to compete. The question becomes, how do I lose 17+ pounds in 14 days and maintain all the hard-earned muscle and strength? Funny thing is the next 10 days I won’t do much of anything to change it. I will clean up my diet a little more, although it’s been relatively clean, but most of the loss will occur the last 5 days through a water cut. This is a common practice in strength and combative sports and has been written about before. I am not an expert, but I have enough experience with it to share my personal thoughts, techniques, previous mistakes and accomplishments. The largest amount I have ever cut in the 5-day window was 27#. I have competed with competitors that cut 40+, some have great performances that day and others are limited due to dehydration and inability to recover.

How does someone cut this exorbitant amount of weight in short time? The biggest thing that the athlete uses to their advantage- whether they know it or not- is the balance of hormones, sodium, carbohydrates and water. The hormones, aldosterone and progesterone, with estrogen playing a role with females, work either towards dehydration or euhydration. Progesterone is our bodies natural hormone to get rid of water and works opposite aldosterone and estrogen to balance the body. This is naturally higher in males (Mahan, L. K. (2017) and can make weight cuts easier if the athlete has naturally high levels. The ways to increase this naturally are dandelion root and a few other herbs. What most athletes do, myself included, to continue water shedding after water intake is stopped is take diuretics. These can be dangerous and you should consult with a physician prior to use. Another option to help the process is caffeine, with only 200mg being a low-level diuretic. I will typically use Diurex and caffeine pills. I will start that as I start to cut back water down to 1/2 gallon after loading 3 days straight (see instructions below). This is when the real water cut will start. The use of diuretics, caffeine and any increased bowel excretion components (magnesium citrate) will be used optimally to get rid of the easiest weight to cut. If you are using diuretics at the same time you are drinking a moderate amount of water and still taking in sodium it won’t help. I will say from personal experience I try to get rid of bowel movement weight as early as possible in the process to limit GI distress and stomach discomfort on contest day.

The balance of sodium and carbs in and out is the other big component. This will affect the hormones, but it is easier to discuss them separately. The thing we must do first is to up or if it is already high, maintain carbohydrate intake. This will be individualized and should simply be adding more than you have been taking in or maintaining an already high level. We aren’t adding calories, but adjusting macronutrients for a higher carbohydrate percentage. This is important due to the high glucose stores in the body and the fact that for each gram of carbs it will store approximately 4 grams of water. This high affinity for water storage is why we need to load and then cut carbohydrates as we approach weigh-ins. For me because I was already bringing in 300+g’s of carbs I simply maintained until cutting. The same time that carbohydrates are increased you should start salting food more heavily. This will manipulate the sodium, another main component in body water retention. For me I will go from 2-5g’s up to 7-10g’s of salt intake and it will depend on the poundage I need to cut. The water balance, like carbs, is loading the body with water and then cutting. I start 5 days before contest, drinking 2 gallons of water per day for 2 days in a row. This is going to get the body used to having to excrete water, so progesterone levels are high and aldosterone levels low. This will serve in the long run to be the reason you keep excreting fluid after you have stopped drinking. During this window, we are also going to continue our increased salt intake, and maintain carbs. Once we get through the first 2 days of water/salt/carb loading it is now time to cut back. The first day we cut our water in ½ from 2 gallons down to 1. I do the same with carbs and salt too. The last 2 days (1/2 gallon of water day and no water until weigh-ins) I will not consume carbs or salt and only drink liquid meals, Q//Whey. Below is my 7-day breakdown of how I cut for the Arnold. This was a weigh-in 24 hours pre-contest, the protocol differs with a same day weigh-in.

DAYS Water (oz) Salt (g) Carbs (g) Diuretic? Protein (g)

7               64              5           300           No               300
6               64              5           300           No               300
5               128            7           300           No                275
4               128            7           250           No                250
3               64              3           100           Yes               250
2               32              1.5        50              Yes               150
Weigh In 0                0          15              No                50
Contest   64              10         400           No                200

 

For those who could use graphic representation, click on the link below…

//www.onlinecharttool.com/graph/image/6308b402bc1f

 

What if you don’t hit the amount of weight cut necessary from restricting fluids alone? This is where the real “fun” begins. As much joy as people get out of restricting water and food, now it is also time to find non-physically taxing ways to excrete more sweat. This means fun things like; sauna, hot baths, Epsom salt baths, layering clothes, steam room, rubbing alcohol added to hot baths, etc. These are done of sets between 10-30 minutes, often with breaks taken to wipe the sweat off, change clothes and return to the method chosen. The ones I have found that work best are the sauna and Epsom salt bath. Luckily enough I have a sauna near work. These have both had great results for me, specifically losing between 5-7# per session. The methods have all been used before by other people and the information is out there for deciding which ones will be best for you. I thoroughly recommend finding someone to go with you for both safety and fortitude to stick with it when all you want is to get out and go home.

This is not the only way to prepare for a strength or combative competition. Dieting down slowly and competing at a weight you are more naturally suited for is not only healthier but also will have less potential for negative outcomes and side effects. The problem with doing it that way is that you have more limitations in the amount of weight you can lift and you also don’t have a marked advantage over your competition at that same weight class. Most powerlifting, strongman and weightlifting records have been broken by men and women who have cut down from much higher weights to reach their competition class. There are many benefits, but this is NOT for everyone and you shouldn’t do it unless you are healthy, have a normal hormonal balance and have been checked by your doctor. I would also recommend you have someone with you the night before weigh-ins. For me this is often my wife, while she is certainly no medical professional, she knows me better than anyone and knows what to look for in me to see if I really am ok. She is a great fat kid at heart too and thoroughly enjoys the refeed meals as soon as I step off the scale. She also has my grape pedialyte, Saltine Crackers and Reese’s Pieces waiting for me like the amazing support she is. Don’t judge me for the Reese’s, I want to make sure and replace glycogen stores as fast as possible… and who doesn’t love Reese’s… communists, that’s who.

Take Home Points:
– DO NOT DO THIS PROTOCOL ALONE OR IF YOU ARE NOT CLEARED BY A DOCTOR
– Weight cuts can be done effectively, but safety, health and monitoring need to have a great support staff
– Loading of salt, water and glycogen are what we are balancing, I will often do some small loading and cutting when I know I have an opportunity to take my shirt off during the summer
– An easy take home to try for the 4th of July or other classic shirtless fun days is to do the following (NOTE: Check with doctor, this is only based on personal experience)
 5 Days out – Salt foods heavily, drink more water than normal, no alcohol intake (dehydrates you), increase carbs slightly from normal intake
 4 Days out – Repeat same day as above
 3 Days out – Cut water intake in half, should be about 1 gallon, do the same with salt and carbs, cut them in half and limit them, continue no alcohol intake, drink a magnesium citrate from your local pharmacy
 2 Days out – Cut water in ½ again, should be down to approximately ½ gallon of water, cut salt and carbs completely, increase
 1 Day out – Drink ½ gallon of water, continue no carbs and salt intake, get calories from liquids if possible
 4th of July – Wake up, take awesome mirror selfie, eat salty breakfast, cured meats or bacon is great here, refeed with high carbs as well, Eggos do the trick well, drink 12-16oz of water or sport drink of choice per hour until you get to your BBQ, lake day, etc. make sure you are relatively hydrated and urinating a light yellow or clear color, then you can start drinking to celebrate America.
• This refeed with carbs and salts in the morning should set you up well to refill glycogen stores and give a hard and full look. This is what body builders do before stepping on stage after massive water cuts
 DO NOT DRINK A TON OF ALCOHOL IF YOU ARE STILL VERY DEHYDRATED

 

TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS2, RKC

References:
(Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krause’s 14th Ed. Food and the Nutrition Care Process. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc.)

 

Coach Matt Powell and Lessons Learned Preparing for the 2018 Arnold Invitational, PT. 1- 2/8/2018

The last year has been crazy! With the birth of my daughter, my wife taking a new job offer and me taking 9-15 credit hours in 8 week class lengths each semester while also working a fulltime job. But this is life, and so my training has not been as consistent as I would prefer. I’ve been consistently training 3x/week and most of them were solid, but I felt constantly behind and unprepared. Finally, my wife convinced me, after our daughter was 5 months old and on a “schedule”, to train up for and compete in a local competition where we could stay with friends in Athens, GA. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it, as that competition would be the first time I had competed in 11 months, and while I had hit some gym PR’s, I let insecurities creep in after some nagging injuries and time off.

So on July 29th, 2017 I competed in the 220# open division for the Georgia Log and Deadlift championship. The top 3 competitors in each weight class earn invites to nationals and the top 2 deadlifts for each earn a spot at the XPC Deadlift 21 Salute at the Arnold 2018 Sports Expo. I had my deadlift goal, but figured it was lofty, as I had pulled 700# in training just after my daughter was born and wanted to pull 735# or more at the contest. I went in with the plan of pulling 675# as an opener, 700# as my second attempt and then 735# to finish and hopefully earn my right to compete at the Arnold.

I warmed up back stage with my last pull being 635# for a very fast single. My name was called, I walked out, grabbed the bar, set tight and pulled 675# scary fast, to the point even I was shocked at the speed. Went back to the table, called for 700# as planned and then sat down until my next attempt. Now I had time to think. Now I had time to be nervous. I just surprised myself, but was it luck? Am I in a better spot that I believed I was earlier? Fast forward to my name being called for 700#, and my nerves grew even more since I had never pulled this in contest before. I grabbed the bar, brought in as much air as I could, set against the belt and again smoked it. This felt much lighter than my training pull at the same weight a few months ago! I called for 735# and felt confident- it wasn’t luck. After I watched the video my buddy had taken and talked about it with my training partners I felt good. I separated myself from the crowd to focus, but doubt crept back into my mind.

My name, and 735# were called. This time the crowd, specifically my vocal wife in the front, was loud and getting behind me, I was finally pulling big weight! I got set, felt good about my cues and pulled hard, but didn’t stay back far enough and lost it at the knee. I had a minute with this competition, so I took a moment, tried to correct and pull again, but I was too frantic and frazzled to make the rep. I was happy with the improved speed and quality of my 700# pull but knew what I would need to fix for 735# to be in range.

The next few months after the contest I would check the leader board on the United States Strongman website constantly to see if they had updated the 220# weight class and who was going to the compete at the Arnold. I didn’t think there was any way that I could hold onto a top two position, as surely some other 220# competitor would pull heavier at another competition between July and December and knock me out of contention. Surprisingly, I got a call the week before Christmas and was asked if I wanted to accept my invitation, which I of course did happily!

The Arnold is a big deal to every strength athlete, as it is the site where many people earn their pro cards for strongman and bodybuilding, accomplish elite totals in powerlifting, and the American Open for Olympic weightlifting is held there. For me this is a shot at redemption, as the last time I went to the Arnold it was to compete in the Amateur Strongman Championships for the 231# weight class. I qualified at strongman nationals in 2015 and competed at the 2016 Arnold, but I tore my quad during the log clean and press event. As I go into this train up I view it as a chance to go back to Columbus Ohio and have some redemption. The circumstances are very different, besides the obvious that I am only deadlifting at this competition, the last time I started my train up I was underweight for my class, having to put on 20# just to try and fill out the class and I was still 6# below the cut off!

My train-up started about 12 weeks out from the Arnold and as I write this at 8 weeks out the biggest things I worry about are breaking in my new deadlift suit, making sure I am ready for my weight cut to 220#, working on my grip strength while staving off injuries with preventative care. It will also be an interesting balance as I am hoping to parlay this Arnold experience this year into my train-up also for the Kentucky Battle of the Bluegrass Platinum Plus event in Louisville KY in April. A good showing in KY will qualify me for Strongman Nationals as well as the 2019 Arnold in Strongman. My goal for this contest is to pull over 700#, I have lofty goals in mind, but have already had some small set-backs with sickness and other issues, but feel comfortable that I will be ready to have a quality showing.

Stay tuned, as my next blog will go in depth on how I am fueling my training to support increases in LBM and strength, while staying within “cutting range” of 220 LBS for the 2018 Arnold XPC Deadlift 21 Salute and the Kentucky Battle of the Bluegrass Platinum Plus event.

 

-TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS 2, RKC

New Year's Resolutions- A Primer on Assessing Your Goals and Progress This Year- 01/27/2018

This blog post may seem late, but honestly it is right on time. Nutrition, training and improvement are very rarely linear things. A straight line from where you perceive yourself to a better place of being is never how it really happens. Meaningful and important progress always comes with highs and lows, setbacks and breakthroughs. Where you go from these setbacks is what matters most. The goals we set for ourselves are often the hardest ones to not only achieve but also to just write down or say out loud. So now that you’ve been following your New Year’s resolution for the last few weeks, have you slipped up yet? Have you already thrown in the towel and said something like, “there’s no way I can do this”? If so, you’re not alone and you can still make some great strides towards your goal, even with setbacks in the short amount of time that you have rededicated yourself to nutrition and training.

Let’s step back for minute, reassess WHAT goals you chose, WHY you chose these goals and HOW you plan to get there. One of the biggest mistakes people make when picking their New Year’s goals is to set very generalized and lofty goals such as, “I want to be more fit”, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to LGN (Look Good Naked)”. While these are all good goals that MIGHT be achieved, there is not a true way to measure progress or hold you accountable with generalized goals like these. We’ve all had days where we feel “fit” during a certain workout or we take off our clothes in a certain light and think “Damn I look good”, but does this mean that for those fleeting moments we have achieved those goals? Probably not as we’re just as likely to think we’re completely out of shape or fat in another situation the next day. So, let’s make some adjustments to what our goals are and how we set them.

WHAT: Figure out if you want to get ready to compete in something against other competitors or you want to simply work towards self-improvement. Both are great reasons to change your training, diet, recovery and lifestyle, but deciding which you are chasing will drive your goals. If you are looking to compete you need to take a hard look in the mirror and figure out where your shortcomings are as a competitor in your chosen sport. This could be simple for some, but for many this self-reflection and honesty can be scary. Nobody wants to hear that they are bad at something but identifying one’s faults and flaws can make them much better at not only preparing for competition, but also in other aspects of life. Once you can confidently own where you are weak you can attack it with all your energy and earnestly try to fix it. Competitors stuck in self-denial about their weaknesses are the ones who constantly stagnate and lose. Once you figure out exactly what you need to be a better competitor, moving up or down a weight class, adding lean mass to be stronger or losing fat to be faster in your endurance event, you need to look below and start setting the how’s that will help you reach your goal.

WHY: If you are looking for self-improvement, you need to look at the WHY you are doing something. What is your reason driving you to push yourself to do these things that honestly don’t feel good at times. The biggest issue most non-competitors have with their training is being consistent because they feel like there is nothing driving them. My wife is a great example, she was an amazing D1 women’s basketball player, but since her time on the court she has had a hard time finding a “why” for her training. She finally found her groove after a couple years post collegiate career, like many former athletes, but we got pregnant soon after that. Since having our beautiful daughter she has now found her why again in that she wants her pre-pregnancy body back and to feel more confident. She’s done an amazing job of figuring out her driving force and setting small weekly and monthly goals for her training, eating and her weight is already 5 lbs lower than pre-pregnancy and her body composition is starting to show great improvement. This is a great example of someone looking for self-improvement finding their why and striving towards it for a specific reason. She has lofty goals that I will let her keep to herself, but I am excited to see how far she takes it.

HOW: Now that we know our self-improvement reason or sport we are training for, we need to look at what we are willing and not willing to change to reach these goals. There are multiple levels of readiness for change that the American Dietetics Association goes through when an RD meets with a client and decides what to recommend for their future eating and education. The more ready for change the easier the client will be to work with, but realistically there are going to be specific things that the professional or yourself won’t compromise on and it is important to know when setting goals. I had an athlete that I worked with that would NOT give up her ice cream at night, no matter what I said, asked or tried to replace it with. That was her few minutes to herself that gave her happiness and allowed her to unwind after her long day. So instead of fighting her after a few suggestions and potential fixes I simply adjusted the rest of her eating, which she was very flexible on, and ice cream portion size to make it so that calorically she could enjoy her nightly ice cream. Now this seems like a silly thing to find so important, but for her it was a no brainer and no way I could convince her otherwise. I am sure you have things in your life that you feel the same way about, and identifying these things is an important part of the HOW.

How to set and track goals:
Step 1- Choose goals that you can measure and check progress on consistently over time. This might be a specific weight, body fat percentage, waist or other body measurement, etc. When you do this, your consistency in measuring is of the utmost importance. Make sure you use the same time of day for weight or measurements, time between measurements, lighting and clothes if you are doing progress pics. If you change any of those small things it can lead to very deceiving results.

Step 2- Be realistic and evaluate if you are being honest with yourself when you chose those specific numbers. If you are 5’6, have never weighed over 200# and typically carry 15% body-fat, setting your goal to be 220# with 10% body fat might be a bit unrealistic in the mid-term. This isn’t to say you can’t hit new and great numbers along the way, by increasing lean body mass and decreasing fat, but gaining 30+ LBS and losing body fat might be a bit much.

Step 3- Set specific dates for specific measures you want to reach along the way. Having a goal of losing 20 lbs is attainable for many people and doing it slowly over 6+ months is also reasonable for most. The practical numbers would say that losing 1-2 lbs/week would get you to 20 lbs in 10-20 weeks. Let’s be more specific and set weekly and monthly goals. If you can consistently train and eat at the appropriate caloric deficit to lose 1# each week we know exactly when we’ll reach our goal, and we can make sure we are on the right path by checking in to make sure the weekly and monthly weigh-ins agree. I will caution that if you are a bit obsessive like me, it might behoove you to assess your progress 1x/week otherwise you can quickly get frustrated if you don’t see immediate results.

Although this article is specifically talking about New Year’s resolutions, it is obviously applicable anytime you decide to rededicate yourself to something worthwhile. The main take-aways that I have found to be more important as I get older are the following:

– Know why you are doing this! If you don’t have a good reason, specifically something that brings you at least some joy and satisfaction, you won’t stick with it. The best intentions never come to fruition without the correct reasons and approach.
– You must know that there will be good days and bad days. I don’t care how dedicated you or the person you most admire in the world are, there have been setbacks, slip-ups and other mistakes along the way that have led to a lack of progress for a period of time. This is part of the game and is something you must deal with. I’m not saying you should be happy about it, but you can either use it as motivation to correct your actions or you can victimize yourself about your circumstances and give up.
– Your readiness to change and what you are not going to compromise on are both important things to figure out before setting goals. If you want to be successful you need to know what obstacles you are going to encounter, specifically from yourself. The more self-aware and honest you are the better you’re going to do on any quest for improvement.

If you haven’t followed these steps, and are dedicating efforts to your New Years Resolutions, or any resolution to change, take the time to do it now. Analyze your goals, and don’t be afraid to find a professional for help or advice. Quantified Nutrition Coaches are always available through Social Media, and are always willing to help out those who are wanting to put in the work for change. Good Luck, and remember- small setbacks are expected!

 

-TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS 2, RKC

Protein vs. Protein and Carbohydrates Post Workout- A perspective on recovery for athletes- 12/20/2017

You see it all the time in commercial fitness centers, guys standing around talking about how important protein is and how they need to increase their intake as though that alone were a magic bullet. Protein is certainly a large and necessary component of post workout nutrition and should be taken seriously as a supplement in the first 30-90 minutes post workout, but should it be the only thing in the shaker bottle? You broke down muscle, but you also burned through some of your energy stores. What about those?

The main thing that protein accomplishes is that it increases Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). MPS is well documented to be accommodate increases in LBM, strength, and recovery. Consuming Whey Protein post workout increases MPS for up to 3-hours post ingestion and specifically peaks at 45-90 minutes, which makes Q//Whey Protein a perfect product to intake immediately post workout to spur on the aforementioned benefits.

So what role do carbohydrates have post workout? They replace and increase muscle glycogen stores, which allows for better recovery, and improve workout intensity and time to exhaustion from BOTH strength and endurance training in subsequent workouts (Ivy, 2002). Carbohydrates also facilitate rehydration by allowing the cells to absorb more water and electrolytes after strenuous activity, thereby aiding in the removal of cellular waste products created during strenuous activity.

So, what if we take both Q//Fuel (carbohydrates) and Q//Whey (protein) together post workout for the strength athlete? Now we are increasing both muscle glycogen levels, which will help with recovery, AND we are increasing and optimizing MPS which will help with increases in LBM (Van Loon, 2000). And what if the strength athlete is looking for hypertrophy? We know that the increase in MPS will lead to an increase in LBM, but what about total mass and the necessary nutritional state to reach that goal? The research says that while it will not increase MPS *IF* the appropriate amount of protein is ingested- the increased calories, insulin response and replenishment of muscle glycogen are reasons to continue including it in your post workout drink (Ziegenfuss, 2004).

What about endurance athletes in comparison to the strength or hypertrophy driven athlete? There are many endurance, specifically ultra-endurance athletes, who mostly focus on carbohydrates post workout. The literature suggests that although the empirical advice and recommendations often call for a carbohydrate-centric recovery protocol, that a protein and carbohydrate drink mix post endurance activity is very important (Saunders, 2004). It will again lead to the increased muscle protein synthesis, quicker recovery time and improved future training. This is something that is slowly becoming more common in the endurance community as they begin to take into consideration the muscle damage done in certain types of endurance training, as for a long time it was only considered to be a strength athlete thing to intake protein post workout (Glynn, 2013). More research coming out suggests that the intake of both carbohydrate and protein together will help with many aspects of physical performance, not just strength (Williams, 2003).

As for the amount of protein and carbohydrates required, it is important to use the ARC to make sure you are reaching your supplement needs for protein and carbohydrates. Also, you must know what your daily macronutrient intake should be and your post workout nutrition should be accounted for in your overall macronutrient intake to avoid unnecessary calories. Great peri-workout nutrition doesn’t trump a poor general diet. The optimal amounts for each athlete will of course differ based on weight, exercise choice, intensity and goals. Consuming optimal amounts of carbohydrate and protein post workout will further facilitate your goals of increased LBM while better preparing you for your next training sessions

Take aways:

1) Whey protein intake post workout is important, as it increases MPS, but it will not optimize all aspects of recovery and potentially not increases in LBM and strength
a. Remembering earlier articles, you might also need to intake some amino acids with your post workout shake if you are not reaching your necessary essential amino acid intake in order to optimize your MPS
2) The inclusion of Carbohydrates in the post workout shake will lead to better muscle glycogen store replenishment, and this is of the upmost importance for endurance athletes that are not on ketogenic diets
3) Whether you are a strength or endurance based athlete the research suggests that you mix both carbohydrates and protein together to optimize your training, recovery and performance

 

-TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS 2, RKC

 

References:
Glynn EL, Fry CS, Timmerman KL, Drummond MJ, Volpi E, Rasmussen BB, (2013). Addition of carbohydrate or alanine to an essential amino acid mixture does not enhance human skeletal muscle protein anabolism. J Nutr. 2013, 143 (3): 307-314. 10.3945/jn.112.168203.

Ivy, J.L., H.W. Goforth Jr., B.M. Damon, T.R. McCauley, E.C. Parsons, and T.B. Price. (2002). Early postexercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement. J. Appl. Physiol. 93:1337–1344.

Saunders, M. J., Kane, M. D., & Todd, M. K. (2004). Effects of a Carbohydrate-Protein Beverage on Cycling Endurance and Muscle Damage. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 36(7), 1233-1238. doi:10.1249/01.mss.0000132377.66177.9f

Stearns, R. L., Emmanuel, H., Volek, J. S., & Casa, D. J. (2010). Effects of Ingesting Protein in Combination With Carbohydrate During Exercise on Endurance Performance: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2192-2202. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181ddfacf

Van Loon, L.J., W.H.M. Saris, M. Kruijshoop, and A.J.M. Wagenmakers. (2002). Maximizing postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis: Carbohydrate supplementation and the application of amino acid or protein hydrolysate mixtures. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 72:106–111. 2000.

Williams, P.B.R., D.L. Fogt, and J.L. Ivy. (2003). Effects of recovery beverages on glycogen restoration and endurance exercise performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 17:12–19.

Ziegenfuss, T. N. (2004). Postworkout Carbohydrate and Protein Supplementation. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 26(3), 43-44. doi:10.1519/00126548-200406000-00012

Q//WHEY and Everything You Need To Understand About Whey Isolate - 9/27/2017

Whey Protein is well researched and seen everywhere these days. Let’s start at the beginning and define it and its function, then we can define what makes Whey Isolate different, and why you should incorporate Q//WHEY into your training regimen. Whey Protein and Casein Protein are both found in milk.  When a chemical agent, usually renin, is added,  they can then be separated. The casein is the curds part of the milk after the coagulation and the whey is found in the water soluble part. The Whey Protein can upregulate the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in the human body and is absorbed faster than most other protein sources. Whey has the correct mix of amino acids, specifically leucine and L-cysterine to help reduce fat while maintaining or increasing LBM, even in obese populations (Frestredt, 2008).

Now that we know what Whey Protein is and how helpful it is, we can look at Whey Protein Isolate- which has a higher level of concentrated protein with fewer carbohydrates, less lactose and less fat than Whey Concentrate (Cribbs, 2006). This higher concentration of protein can lead to more specific protein macronutrient intake without the addition of potential GI distress due to lactose or unwanted carbohydrate derived calories. This makes for a superior product that has also been proven to work better in the body even compared to other proteins (Tang, 2009).

Multiple studies have compared the types of protein used post exercise, and have shown that Whey Isolate led to the better lean body mass (LBM) increase, body fat (BF) decrease and 1 rep maximum strength gains than Casein and other types of Whey Protein (Cribbs, 2006). These studies solidify the idea that Whey Isolate should be used whenever possible as a supplement compared to other protein supplements. That’s where Quantified Nutrition and Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate come in.

Using the A.R.C. we can see for specific people the amount of Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate can vary, but the results support its use. Many studies specifically show that the damage that occurs from eccentric loading during exercise is best recovered from by Whey Isolate vs other forms of Protein, meaning that even if the exercise is mostly high impact cardio Whey Protein Isolate can still lead to gains in LBM and decreased BF (Cooke, 2010). The large eccentric loading that happens during running, sprinting and jumping is often enough stimuli to lead to a change in muscle for endurance athletes which makes Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate a great protein resource for days that involve resistance training, high impact cardio or those trying to lose body fat while preserving LBM.

The A.R.C. Scoop contained within Q//WHEY allows for accurate measurement of each serving, so whether you need 12 grams or 42 grams of protein, you are able to easily and accurately dose that serving for yourself.

 

Take away points:

1) Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate helps to optimize post workout nutrition by having optimal protein bioavailability and Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
a. Use the A.R.C. to calculate the appropriate amount for you, then apply those numbers to your post workout intake of Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate for resistance training and high impact cardio

2) Q//WHEY- Whey Protein Isolate can also be used as a great way to break the fast in the morning for an athlete who wants a high quality source of protein while also minimizing carbohydrate intake. This will help stave off catabolism, decrease BF and increase LBM

 

-TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL
MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS 2, RKC

 

Cooke, M. B., Rybalka, E., Stathis, C. G., Cribb, P. J., & Hayes, A. (2010). Whey protein isolate attenuates strength decline after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 30. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-30

Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Carey MF, Hayes A: The effect of whey isolate and resistance training on strength, body composition, and plasma glutamine. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006, 16: 494-509.

Evans WJ: Protein nutrition and resistance exercise. Can J Appl Physiol. 2001, 26 (Suppl): S141-152.

Frestedt, J. L., Zenk, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., Ward, L. S., & Bastian, E. D. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 8. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-8

Tang, J. E., Moore, D. R., Kujbida, G. W., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Phillips, S. M. (2009). Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(3), 987-992. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00076.2009

Tipton KD: Protein for adaptations to exercise training. Eur J Sport Sci. 2008, 8: 107-118. 10.1080/17461390801919102.

Athletes Resource Calculator (A.R.C.): How Athletes Can Optimize Peri-Workout Nutrition Strategies - 8/15/2017

 

The most commonly asked question when an athlete or competitor talks to me about food is “how much?”. This is a good question that needs to be asked and constantly adjusted as training, body weight, body composition and goals change and evolve throughout a train-up, season, deployment or year. These same people calculate their macronutrients utilizing simple online calculators and use those numbers throughout the day. This is an intelligent and important tool for an athlete to use.

Then comes the second most asked question from the same population, “what supplements should I be taking and when?”. This question is often more complicated for the athlete to answer on their own with the amount of misinformation and lack of conclusive research. This question requires more thought and coaching from the professional as well, because it’s constantly changing. Thankfully, now that question can be approached with an online calculator, the Athletes Resource Calculator (A.R.C.). This new offering from Quantified Nutrition allows athletes to calculate exact amounts and timing of each supplement they offer, Q//AMINO, Q//WHEY and Q//FUEL. The ARC doesn’t give just general recommendations using gender, height and weight, but also goes 3 steps further. It asks about exercise type (weight training, endurance, etc.), exercise duration and the intensity of the workout, as measured by Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).

This ability to measure each product within a 1.5 gram range aids the user in the adoption of the A.R.C. and provides a huge advantage to anyone using supplements. This allows health and fitness professionals such as myself, or well-informed athletes like you to maximize each training session. Now as body weight, training intensity, competition season or training cycles change there will be a seamless transition and easy adjustments to exact supplementation needs. Let me provide a couple of examples.

Example 1 is a Strength Athlete who has just finished their competitive season. They now need to rebuild, add muscle and strength while starting to prep for the next contest or season. This can be tricky because with most strength sports there are weight classes, so the athlete must remain within a weight cut of their goal weight class, while maximizing relative strength and body composition- not an easy thing to do. So now that same strength athlete can use the A.R.C. to figure out exactly what is required before, during and after his workout at an RPE of 5-8 and exactly how to adjust supplementation to reach his new goals.

Example 2 is a Cross Country (5K) runner who is entering the preseason. They need to develop muscular strength and a large aerobic base prior to specifying their workouts for the actual competition season. These are two different requirements, of which the solution to is different macronutrient ratios depending on the type of stimulus (workout) and intensity. If this athlete were to incorporate the A.R.C., those macronutrient ratios could quickly be calculated to a very specific amount, based completely on the individual Cross Country athlete, without consuming additional calories detrimental to a distance athletes performance.

Example 3 is a Soccer Team. All of the athletes complete relatively similar amounts of work on the same day throughout the season. But not all athletes weigh the same. Some may be nursing injuries and just doing physical therapy. Some days may be more conditioning oriented, while others have weight training sessions. Point being, even within a team environment, there are different considerations that handing out a protein shake cannot possibly account for. A team can quickly categorize players by weight class, make shakes for each weight class based on the type of training for that session, and now every player has a custom shake that accounts for these variables, and keeps the athletes from consuming unnecessary calories in an effort to recover from workouts and training sessions.

What separates the elite from the very good? After equalizing for talent and athletic ability, which is always very close in high level athletes, it comes down to doing the small things better and more consistently than everyone else. This new tool allows athletes to know exactly how to reach each goal throughout their training calendar, including competitions. Being armed with the knowledge of how to prepare the right storage amount of energy, the perfect intra workout/contest calories and the optimal way to maximize recovery post workout could be what elevates you from very good to elite.

 

-TRAIN HARD//SUPPLEMENT WELL

MATT POWELL
MS, CSCS, USAW2, FMS 2, RKC

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