Apex Nutrition Boot Camp - Week 6

Week 6 Contents (click to jump down):

Day 1:

Quote of the Week: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale

More than 5 weeks have passed since we started this journey. Those weeks would have passed anyway, and I hope that you look back on them and see the value in what we’ve tried to accomplish each day of each week. Five weeks dedicated to better nutrition day to day (for wellness & weight), performance (feeling good, performing great, and optimal recovery), hydration, metabolism, weight goals, and now race weight.

What’s more, all of this information will remain open to you…so, you can spend subsequent weeks re-working through any of it you’d like.  The time will pass anyway. Use it to get better and better.

Today’s Tools: – ATHLETE RACE WEIGHT AND GOAL WEIGHTS

First, let’s simply discuss this topic from a big picture point of view. 

I would estimate that 95% of the clients I work with have weight goals when they contact me. It’s rare, but occasionally I have one who’s at his/her goal weight and just wants to improve nutrition .

As you can guess, then, my niche has become helping athletes meet healthy goal weights while maintaining or improving strength:weight.

Second, realize that strength to weight is king.  Weight is not king. You can be light and weak or heavy and strong. You can also be light and healthy and powerful, or you can push yourself until you’re sickly. There are lots that can go wrong.

This week, I’m going to explain how athletes do this right.

Third, since weight’s not king, here are some other factors to take into consideration.

In addition to weight, consider:

  • Body Comp – Body fat percentage and/or size. You can also use a tape measure or monitor how your clothes fit.  Here’s how you can use a tape measure to monitor body changes:
    • Thighs – at the midpoint between your knee and your hip
    • Waist – at the smallest part of your waist
    • Chest – directly over nipples
    • Arms – at the midpoint between your elbow and top of shoulder
    • Neck – around the middle of your neck

If you’d like to estimate body fat based on tape measurements and height, try this calculator:

http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp?Calc=Body-Fat-Navy

  • Daily Energy – are you feeling like the walking dead or more like your “usual self?” As athletes aim for goal weight, generally those around them take note of this. Also, it may not be fatigue, but anxiety, grouchiness, etc.  These are symptoms of lower blood sugar and inadequate intake.
  • Overall satisfaction with food and lifestyle? I recommend 1-2 cheat meals every week. For example, if you like beer, I think you should be able to have a beer now and then or a favorite meal.  Most clients meet their goals AND have 2 cheat meals per week.

Fourth, yes, weight does mean something. It’s part of the equation…maybe 25% or so (with strength/endurance/power/results, satisfaction of lifestyle, health of diet alongside). So, how do I come up with the weight?

I initially use an equation that gives me a starting point, although I’ll admit that it would never be good enough to stand alone. It doesn’t take body composition into consideration AT ALL (but this may be the entire equation used by practitioners when they tell you if you’re over/under weight – geesh!)

The calculation is:

Women: 100 lbs for the first 5 feet PLUS 5 pounds for every inch of height thereafter

Men: 106 lbs for the first 5 feet PLUS 6 pounds for every inch of height thereafter

BUT DON’T STOP THERE!

Next, I think of this first number as the mid-point of a range that’s 10% less than and greater than this number. For simplicity, let’s say you’re a 5’0″ woman (yes, it’s tough being short;)), the first calculation would = 100 lbs. Then, I change this to 90-110 lbs as a goal range.

Next, I help clients determine a range within this range based on their own weight history, body type (are they muscular or more skinny), and their sport. Some sports simply allow for weights slightly higher than others (for example, elite swimmers tend to carry more weight than runners. And trail runners more than most marathoners, etc.

Lastly, I think of this goal as a moving target. Some clients get within 3 lbs and simply feel great! But as they try to lose 3 more, they begin to feel too restricted, weaker, etc. And we know we’ve found a great weight 3 lbs. higher than planned. Others reach their goal and can comfortably keep moving past it.

Fifth, realize that “race weight” shouldn’t be a year-round weight necessarily. If you’re simply going for a goal weight that’s very healthy but somewhat comfortable, it’ fine to maintain it. If you’re an athlete really pushing beyond comfort, schedule in off-season time to relax a bit. Allow your body to settle about 2-4% heavier than “race weight” and allow for ~6 weeks to get back there again. I don’t recommend swinging more than 5%, as weight cycling can be hard on your body at a cellular/metabolism level. But, I don’t recommend staying at race weight either – the break is healthy for mind and body and may reduce the risk of sickness and fatigue or strength-related injuries.

Sixth, if you want to get a preview of this topic, I’ve got a couple more items for you – a Apex Nutrition Podcast & Video:

 


Or, watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Zpbbt_l-zFU
 

 

Podcast: Race Weight

Lastly, here’s what’s coming up this week:

  1. Apex Nutrition’s “secret” to weight loss with strength gains.
  2. Metabolism Boosts that keep you going, year after year.
  3. Red Flags and How to Minimize the Damage of Endurance Training while Losing Weight

Today’s Challenge:

First, think about your own journey to goal weight (or maintaining it):

Have you taken the other factors into consideration like satisfaction with lifestyle?

How about body composition?

Do you allow yourself a bit of “off-season” weight fluctuations and stress relief away from thinking about weight?

Do you feel like your own journey, outlook, and actions regarding weight are healthy, both physically and mentally?

A lot to think about today – but this week’s journey will largely utilize and highlight strategies you’ve already learned. Let’s put it together this week…

(Click here to head back to the Boot Camp HOMEPAGE)

Day 2:

Quote of the Week: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale

Today’s Tools: ACHIEVING GOAL WEIGHT – LOSING FAT WHILE GAINING POWER

To start, let me tell you the “Key” to my system for helping athletes lose weight while gaining power.

Any guesses?

You actually learned the concept in the very first week of this boot camp.

The whole deal is keeping Daily Nutrition separate from Training/Performance Nutrition.

That’s it.

Daily Nutrition is the foundation. It allows for full nourishment, wellness, daily energy, preventative eating AND fat loss. Training Nutrition is the Fuel. It allows you to optimize your performance and recovery.

I wish I had some sort of sparkling amazing answer to it all. Or a magic pill or potion. But that’s what I’ve got.

And it works. Why?

First, it relies on Daily Nutrition and training <60 minutes to meet weight goals. This means, when it’s not training nutrition (immediately before, during, or after), follow these 10 strategies in Daily Eating:

  1. Cut out most junk food/sugary foods except for an optional 150-calorie treat per day.
  2. Cut out any sugary drinks like juices, sodas, sweet teas, etc.
  3. If you’re really serious, cut down (or out) alcohol…it can be the 150-calorie treat per day.
  4. Eat meals and snacks, without extra “grazing,” based on the portions of your meal plan.
  5. Eat in a pattern with most calories and carbs during daytime meals and snacks.
  6. Omit carbohydrates/grains from most all dinners.
  7. Hungry? Load up on vegetables and hydrate more.
  8. Tend to want to eat a mindless snack before bed? Replace it with a protein shake instead (this will help in a multitude of ways), and if still hungry, see #7.
  9. Weigh yourself on M/W/F to track changes during the week, during the weekend, and week to week on Wednesdays (this is the closest to a “true weight). Take measurements every 2 weeks on Wednesdays.
  10. Lastly, don’t skimp on performance nutrition, including recovery. This will sabotage BOTH performance and fat loss. More on this below.

Second, why the emphasis on reducing carbohydrates? Carbohydrates and especially simple carbs (sugars and white grains) are the main factor in insulin release by the body. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, causing storage, specifically of blood sugars which promote fat storage.  In fact, INSULIN is the key to most excess fat/weight loss stories. What doesn’t cause insulin to spike:

  • Protein
  • Healthy Fats like omega3s (fish, flax, hemp, chia) and omega9s (olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc).
  • Fibers
  • Slow, single ingredient, whole food carbohydrates (usually loaded with fiber)

Third, there’s a situation when carbohydrates DON’T need insulin or cause it to be released. When you’re in an active state of physical activity, or immediately afterward, your body uses the blood sugar without any insulin.

*This* is why separating Daily Nutrition & Training Nutrition works. When you eat “training fuels” when you’re sedentary, you need extra insulin which can cause fat storage. When you eat high-fiber slow “daily nutrition” when you’re training, your body won’t get the fuel it needs efficiently and you’re increasing your risk of stomach issues.

Fourth, if you’re interested in watching me explain it, here’s my new video on carbs:

Or, view it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Yo59qNEwGTU

 

Today’s Challenge: If you’ve got a spare 12-13 minutes, watch the video to understand why your entire Apex Nutrition Plan is set up the way it’s set up…an understanding of carbs and insulin is often the piece that helps athletes really make great food choices, both in Daily Nutrition AND Training Nutrition.

Then, look at the list of strategies above and make sure to see if you’re inadvertently stalling fat loss or making it harder on yourself to maintain a goal weight.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss tips and habits that keep Metabolism firing, even year after year of aging.

(Click here to head back to the Boot Camp HOMEPAGE)

Day 3:

Quote of the Week: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale

Today’s Tools: – METABOLISM & INSULIN

First, let me introduce you to Fit & Strong Metabolism Boosts:

What are the Apex Metabolism Boosts? Here’s the simple answer: They are easy habits that target your health at a cellular level – that’s right, a cellular level.  Without getting too biochemical, our goal is to make our cells healthier, so that we store less fat and burn more.  As we add these “boost” habits to our lifestyles, our cells metabolize foods better, store less fat and burn more. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, they are good, and they are true, but they are not necessarily magic-pill-easy. Many of them are habits we’ve already discussed, including balancing meals with protein, increasing fiber, keeping your gut healthy with probiotics, and more. In fact, each small habit adds up to a lifestyle that looks a lot like everything taught in Fuel Right Race Light.

Second, these are often most helpful to athletes who have struggled losing weight, despite all their efforts to eat less and exercise more. In fact, by the numbers, they are often burning many more calories than they are consuming, yet the number don’t calculate. Why? If this is the case, and especially in the athlete who is starting out overweight, cells may be insulin resistant (across the spectrum of all adults, it’s estimated that 30+% of all overweight adults, and 70+% of all obese adults, ARE already insulin resistant). In this state, it’s harder to lose fat/weight, and very easy to store it.

Third, so what’s the answer, start by working on healthy from the cells on up. Again, by following this program, you’re already doing many of these. But, you may find more perspective about fat loss for you, or for someone you know who struggles, by reading through each Boost and the science that supports it.

Fourth, on the flip side, you’ll find the Metabolism Saboteurs. 

These stink. These are the habits that are promoting fat storage in your body as an individual, and even in our society as a whole. Many of them are encouraged by the foods marketed to us, the busy yet sedentary lifestyles, and the quick-fix pharma industry vs. real, tough lifestyle change. We’re gonna replace the saboteurs with some great metabolism boosts.

Fifth, here’s my video on Metabolism and my journey on understanding it and Insulin’s role. (it’s similar to yesterday’s video on carbs, insulin, and fat storage, which is now up and running, scroll up to yesterday):

Or, watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/XiQrpcy18jU

Sixth, here’s your very own copy of the Apex Nutrition Metabolism Boosts & Saboteurs:

Fit & Strong Metabolism Boosts

Today’s Challenge:

Take a look at the Boosts and Saboteurs. If you are trying to lose fat, is there anything in there you could do more often, to give your body a bit of a boost? Is it a small habit (like brushing your teeth so you stop habitually eating after dinner) or more a lifestyle one (like needing more sleep)?

Start adding these habits and/or avoiding these saboteurs.

(Click here to head back to the Boot Camp HOMEPAGE)

Day 4:

Quote of the Week: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale

Today’s Tools: RED FLAGS WHILE STRIVING FOR RACE WEIGHT: TIPPING POINT VS MALNUTRITION & OVERTRAINING 

First, it’s important for athletes to realize that lighter is not always better. When we started this week, I stated that strength:weight is KING. I stand by this. Although it seems that lighter will always be faster, once lighter involves losing too much muscle and requiring a calorie restriction that puts you in a chronic calorie (energy) deficit that is too low, strength, energy, stamina, suffer. Then, overall well-being, mood, hormones, brain function, and immune function suffers. At best, athletes recognize symptoms early, strive for weight maintenance (not loss), balance out calories rather than strive for a deficit (although they may always require a slight deficit of 300-500 calories per day overall to maintain race weight – more below), double down on training nutrition, double down on supplements, and feel great. At worst, they enter the dizzying downward spiral of overtraining syndrome and have to claw their way out (often over months with very little training allowed). No bueno.

Second, when I work with an athlete, we often talk about a “tipping point” when setting weight goals. Let’s say an athlete wants to be at that lower end of a healthy weight, the 10% below the original calculation. For example, a 5’8″ male wants to be about 139 lbs. This is light. This require extremely strict eating with almost not treats and junk or alcohol, BECAUSE every calorie we put in must be high quality and helpful. If an athlete brings this goal to me, I’ll often suggest that we aim for 139-144. As he approaches 144, we communicate about overall well being, energy, mood, etc while we also monitor performance in training and races. Often as he approaches, he’ll feel great (this is what I do!). He’s perform great because he’s lighter, he’ll maintain as much muscle as possible through training and good protein and nutrition recovery, and he’ll have great energy with most nutrition during the day AND great training fuel. Until he doesn’t. Somewhere along the way, he’ll start to feel a bit less “snappy” in training, maybe not recovery as quickly, or need a nap in the afternoon. This is the tipping point. Not much harm done if you recognize it at this stage. Let’s say it’s when he hits 142 lbs striving for 140. I’ll usually suggest that 142-143 is a better goal for him, and usually it’s not hard to convince an athlete because he loves how he feels and how he’s performing at this weight.
*True story: If you think this weight is crazy low – and it is for many people and many sports – realize just how low people go. I worked one-on-one with a top 10 Tour de France cyclist for over a year. His race weight? He was 5’10” and raced at 128 lbs.! It was my job (from my perspective) to make him the healthiest, strongest 128 lbs possible – the weight was non-negotiable, so my work was tough. But this is way too far-reaching for someone not making their livelihood from it, and very risky for those who are. Eating disorders, altered hormone status (especially testosterone), illness, and more are ramped among this group of athletes.*

Third, and back to our 142-lb athlete example, let’s say he continues to push. He has his min set on 139 despite my warnings and recommendations and they continue to push. Typically calorie restriction doesn’t outright cause overtraining (hense the name overtraining and not malnutrition), but it is like pouring gasoline on the fire. It will absolutely expedite the process, and sometimes it takes the entire “bottom falling out” before an athlete will stop – usually because they simply, physically can’t perform how they were, just a few pounds and weeks ago. From a nutrition perspective, our bodies have nutrients available for use by cells and tissues in the blood, and then it also has stores. When we get a blood test, this just shows us what’s circulating. It can often be misleading because our stores may be almost at their ends, but they have continued to supply the blood when needed. *This* is why I ask for serum ferritin (iron stores value) and not iron in the blood when testing. In the case of the malnutrition often associated with over-training, the stores are out. The bottom has fallen, and getting the body to build back from here often requires a halt to over-using these nutrients (a halt to training), in addition to adequate nutrition intake.

Fourth, other times, athletes will come to me already in a chronic fatigue, performance-faltering state. If I had already been working with them (and hopefully my athletes NEVER reach full-blown overtraining), I would have already talked to them about adequate nutrition and supplementation such as magnesium, multiviatmins, daily calories, and protein, and training nutrition. But, if this was not the case, here’s where I’d start:

  1. 400 mg magnesium per day divided into 2 doses
  2. Multivitamin every day
  3. Assessment of iron stores
  4. Calorie balance or abundance if they are underweight
  5. If still training, complete full-training nutrition with NO deficit (all extra calories burned and not consumed in pre-training/during training are added into recovery).

Fifth, for the athlete who is healthy and maintaining a race weight, who is wise and NOT pushing beyond the “tipping point,” there’s still a cost. He usually has to be strict with eating (again, typically very little treats, alcohol, etc.) and very well prepared. He also MUST make sure all training nutrition is in place because he does not have extra stores to rebound easily. For the athlete who has pushed farther, and has hit the bottom of stores, the cost is oh-so-much worse. Along with what I’ve described above, there can be long term consequences, specifically with hormone disruption. For males and females, a loss of testosterone can be devastating as it affects overall well-being in life and athletic performance/muscle health. For a description of over-training from a trainer’s perspective, here’s a decent article, because again, a lot of this has to do with the training side of the equation and not just the nutrition/weight (which is out of my scope). I don’t necessarily agree with all his nutrition advice or like his description of the nutrition portion, as it’s somewhat minimized (he suggests that a free online program can assess whether your nutrition is adequate or not:)), but it’s still a good description and one that can be referenced for the physical manifestations:

Today’s Challenge: If you are striving for a goal weight, be mindful of your tipping point and the potential for pushing too far. Remember, you only get one body in this lifetime, and for most of us, the price of becoming unhealthy is nowhere near worth any amount of glory on the trail or first place podiums! Still, you can be healthy, strong, light, and fast…don’t be fooled. Just be smart.

  1. Keep following your eating plan to get in the nutrients you need during the day.
  2. Make smart decisions in how strict you want to be with eating – enjoy life too!
  3. Take your supplements.
  4. Don’t skimp on training nutrition.
  5. Recover, with nutrition AND rest.
  6. Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this week!

(Click here to head back to the Boot Camp HOMEPAGE)

Day 5:

Quote of the Week: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish. The time will pass anyway. – Earl Nightingale

Today’s Tools:

Last week, a lot of content, and habits that stick?!? I’m hoping to not *just* fill up your inbox and screen during this boot camp. The real change occurs w/ habits. Am I giving you the tools you need? Are you forming the habits (or at least setting up an actionable plan to do so)? Habits take time, and these pages will remain available to you…so you’ve got time.

This week’s summary & Today’s Challenges:

  1. Strength to weight is king, much more so than just the number on the scale.
  2. As you work towards weight goals, continue to monitor your body composition, overall foods choices (real foods?!?), energy, health, and lifestyle satisfaction.
  3. Your metabolism isn’t some number you’re stuck with…you can make your cells more “primed” for fat loss.
  4. Don’t take it too far. If you’re going for race weight…watch for the tipping point.
  5. Another pound is never worth your health (or a few seconds faster on the bike). Again, work towards your best strength:weight and overall health!
  6. And remember, it’s habits that change your training, health, and life. So, keep putting in the work. Day after day.

(Click here to head back to the Boot Camp HOMEPAGE)