BCAAS on Keto

BCAAs on Keto

Branch chain amino acids- A very common substance known fairly well in bro science and gym culture. BCAAs have been around for a long time and are commonly part of any hardcore gym goers supplement stack. A lot of people don’t really know much about these and yet spend hundreds of dollars and drink gallons of it a year. What does it really do? Is it good for a ketogenic athlete? There is a lot of mystery around BCAAs and there effect on fat adapted individuals.  Lets take a moment and break down what they are and how essential they are for us as human beings. 

BCAAs – What are they?

Branch chain amino acids are literally that. They are the chain amino acids , the ‘building blocks’ of muscle growth in our bodies. The three BCAAs are Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine These three branch chain amino acids are called such due to the fact that they are the only three amino acids with a branch hanging from the side. Together, they represent around 35–40% of all essential amino acids present in your body and 14–18% of those found in your muscles. BCAAs play several other roles in your body too. First, your body can use them as building blocks for protein and muscle. Leucine is thought to have the biggest impact on your body’s capacity to build muscle proteins. Isoleucine and valine are more effective at producing energy and regulating your blood sugar levels. Valine is also a great nitric oxide enhancer and can help create the ‘pump’ effect we see so often in the gym.

Do we need BCAAs?

In short, yes we do. As you read above, BCAAs make up of 35-40% of our amino acid profile. Whats also ironic is that all three of these amino acids are essential. This means that our body does not produce them and we have to get them from external sources. Surprisingly , BCAAs are a lot more common than you probably think. As most supplement companies would have you believe that you cant get an adequate amount with out drinking their state of the art powder, the truth is a lot more simple. Food! A diet built on whole foods gives you plenty of amino acids! Lets give an example – BEEF ( Leucine 3165mg per every 100g , Valine 1918mg per every 100g & Isoleucine .4g for every ounce (28g). If someone were to eat 1lb of beef a day they would intake up to 10g of Leucine! The recommended anabolic dose is only 3g! There are also many more strong sources such as – Parmesan, chicken, pork & pumpkin seeds! With all of these amazing whole food sources out there, it is safe to say that as long as you are eating a meat based- whole food diet, your on the right track. So what is the purpose of drinking BCAAs in the first place? If you are a carb based athlete and in the middle of a competition prep or cut, it could help significantly with maintaining more muscle mass. As far as ketogenic based athletes, there is not much research done on this subject. It has been shown that due to ketones muscle sparing properties, supplemental amino acids have little effect on fat adapted individuals if any at all. In fact, due to most amino acids spiking blood sugar, one could say that drinking them could be detrimental to over all muscle mass goals. I am currently doing an experiment of drinking 5g of pure leucine immediately after my workout.  Surprisingly, even though amino acids have been shown to spike blood sugar, leucine is the only ketogenic amino acid. This means that it is the only amino acid that can be converted into ketone bodies. That along with it playing a major role in protein synthesis, it shows a lot of promise to help with muscle growth for the fat based athlete. My N=1 experiment has just started so only time will what its effectiveness really is. 

Conclusion…

So in conclusion we can sum it up in 6 basic points :

1. BCAAs are chained amino acids that make up almost half of our amino acid profile

2. They are essential and have to be ingested from an outside source.

3. A meal rich in meats and whole foods provides plenty of all BCAAs

4. Powders for the carb based athlete may be beneficial during an extreme calorie deficit. 

5. Due to ketones muscle sparing properties, amino acid supplements are not needed on a ketogenic diet. 

6. Leucine show potential promise to be a great aid in muscle building for the fat adapted individual.

WANT COACHING? – CLICK HERE

Caffeine Side Effects

Caffeine Side Effects

We explored all of the benefits of caffeine in our prior article.  In this post, we are going to dive into the negative caffeine side effects.  Most of the negative side effects of caffeine are a result of over consumption.  If you consume coffee/tea and other caffeinated beverages in moderation, you likely have nothing to worry about.  However, more and more people seem to be consuming caffeine in excess and these negative symptoms are becoming much more common.

caffeine

Anxiety/Insomnia

As we mentioned in the prior post, caffeine works by blocking adenosine (a chemical that makes you feel tired) and triggering the release of adrenaline (a chemical that gives you energy).  Adrenaline is what puts you in the "fight or flight" sympathetic state and allows you to perform at a high level.  However, too much adrenaline and an over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system results in adrenal fatigue.  Your brain and body simply can't function at 100% indefinitely.  If you are over-consuming caffeine, your body won't be able to take in and process the caffeine efficiently and you'll start to feel jittery and anxious.  

This over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system makes it increasingly difficult to switch over to the parasympathetic nervous system, also knows as the "rest and digest" state.  As a result, it can be very difficult for your body to get a restful night's sleep.  Over consumption of caffeine often leads to an inability to fall asleep and/or a lighter sleep that prohibits you from falling into deep sleep and REM sleep.  All of which hinder your body's ability to full recover and prepare itself for another day of activities.

insomnia

High Blood Pressure & Rapid Heart Rate

Due to the stimulatory effects of caffeine, over consumption can lead to a temporary rise in blood pressure and an increased heart rate.  Now, these are fairly acute symptoms of caffeine and won't likely persist after the body has regulated.  However, it's important to be conscious of these effects and titrate your intake of caffeine up slowly rather than have a massive bolus of it all at once.  If your body is not familiar with caffeine in high dosages, you're much more likely to suffer from increased blood pressure and rapid heart rate.

rapid heart rate

Digestive Upset

Coffee triggers the release of a hormone called gastrin that helps speed up activity in the colon.  Pure caffeine has also been shown to increase peristalsis, the contractions that get things moving through your digestive tract.  The ability to get things moving through your pipes can either be looked at as a positive or a negative depending on the situation.  Caffeine consumption can certainly cause movements at inopportune times so be wary of that.

Fatigue & Addiction

There is a reason caffeine is considered the worlds most widely used drug.  Everyone wants to perform at a heightened state and caffeine is available everywhere.  All you have to do is drive to your nearest Starbucks and refuel.  Before long, you'll be wide awake and ready to tackle the world.  However, all good things must come to an end...  If you are constantly using caffeine and becoming dependent on it to function, you're likely experiencing some degree of addiction.  Like most drugs, there is a point of diminishing returns.  More caffeine doesn't always equate to more energy.  In fact, chronically over consuming caffeine can have the exact opposite effect, fatigue.  Your body can't function in the sympathetic state at maximum effort forever.  Eventually, it will shut down and become unresponsive to the increased stimulants.  It's best to be proactive and combat this situation before it happens.

coffee addiction

Moderation & Sustainable Use Of Caffeine

If you are over-consuming caffeine, it would be wise to decrease your dosage and "wean" yourself off.  Doing so will reset your body's caffeine tolerance threshold and allow you to experience the beneficial effects of caffeine at a much lower dosage.  Weaning yourself off of caffeine often comes with some temporary negative side effects such as a dip in productivity, headaches, and fatigue.  It's best to gradually taper down your caffeine consumption rather than cut it out cold turkey.  It's also beneficial to supplement with L-Tyrosine while decreasing caffeine intake.  L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps stabilize dopamine production in the brain.  By keeping dopamine up-regulated, you're not as likely to experience the brain fog and dip in mental clarity that often accompanies a drop in caffeine.

It's wise to cycle completely off of caffeine from time to time.  This keeps your body adaptable and ensures that you don't become dependent on the caffeine to function.  Supplement with caffeine as needed but do so with moderation and make sure that your body is getting the proper balance of rest and recovery so that it can perform when needed.

brain

Weight Lifting For Women

Importance Of Weight Lifting For Women 

Weight lifting has an extreme benefit for anyone, especially women.  Have you ever had a man say to you, “want me to do that for you”, “oh, let me handle that”, so on and so forth. We as women are capable of such things and all it takes in a little toning up and muscle building.  We will go over the truths about weight lifting and cover some of the misunderstandings about weightlifting for women.  If you have been interested in beginning a weight lifting program, I highly suggest you read this article all the way through.

Before you dive into lifting for the first time my suggestion is to make sure you are working with someone who can help you move with proper form.  Proper form is extremely important for the overall health of your body.  Generally, there are trainers at every gym that are willing to help you for free!  If you aren’t using a gym, you can use an online trainer or watch videos on form before you perform the exercise.  Now, let's get started on all the benefits.

woman weight lifting

Mental Health

Many of us have heard about the “feel good hormones” you release when weight lifting or exercising, but what are they really?  When you weight lift your body increases serotonin output as well as endorphins and dopamine. Serotonin is responsible for your mood, sleep, and appetite.  Increasing your serotonin with exercise can greatly affect all areas of life and help many bouts of depression or anxiety. The endorphins are the feelings you get following a workout. That good feeling of endorphins also includes dopamine which is the offset for the “monoamine hypothesis”.  The Monoamine hypothesis is the hypothesis that lower levels of monoamine encourages depression because of the lack in serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the system.

Increased Fat Loss

So many women believe that cardio is the primary factor when trying to lose weight, but they are mistaken. Yes, cardio is wonderful and has many benefits but resistance training can be even more advantageous.  It's true, you may burn more calories during a cardio workout than a weight training session.  However, what people don’t mention is that your body stays in a fat burning state and your metabolism is higher much longer after a weight training workout.  With weight lifting you will gain muscle (and not that bulky muscle you are afraid of) which leads to more fat burning.  Let me explain, when you are weight training you are building lean mass.  When you build lean mass, you burn calories more efficiently and quickly.  If you are trying to build, this allows you to intake more calories on a daily basis. If you are trying to reduce body fat, this will aid in that as well.  Your metabolism will be higher even while doing everyday activities.  The best way to see the true benefits of this is to keep a consistent schedule with the gym.

Physically Stronger

Now, obviously if you are building muscle you will be building strength. Well, what if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder or powerlifter?  That’s ok!  Resistance training will help with everyday chores such as lifting children, washing dishes, loading groceries, playing with children, and all your normal daily activities. How nice would it be if all those tasks were just a tad bit less exhausting?  Training your muscles with weight lifting can also aid in helping your current love of whatever sport you may be a part of (golf, tennis, swimming, skiing, etc.).  Another benefit would be increased flexibility which we can all use more of to help reduce risk of injury.  Resistance training is also known to increase energy levels which will allow you to better accomplish all that you have to do in a day.

joint health

Bone Density, Arthritis & Health

As we age health, health declines.  Women in general are known for getting weaker in the bones (porous bone) which is called osteoporosis.  Studies have shown that resistance training long term can actually help increase bone density and protect the bone you currently have.  Weight lifting has now been proven as a helpful factor in arthritis as well.  Weight training helps to lubricate the joints and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints.  It also helps control some of the swelling and pain.  Weight training has been proven to help with many different health factors within the cardiovascular system and digestive system.  Exercise in general gets your blood pumping and your organs moving.  Have a diagnosis?  First thing you should ask is if resistance training of any sorts could be beneficial.

Curves In All The Right Places

Many women are fearful of weight lifting.  They are taught to believe if they start to lift heavy weights they will get “bulky”.  This is incorrect.  It is actually extremely hard for women to become bulky or have bulging muscles because we simply do not make as much of the hormone that encourages this type of building.  You have to have been training for years and years and generally supplementing hormones as well in order to get the way most women fear.  "Toning up" should be synonymous with building muscle. You can not tone anything without having adequate muscle tissue.  Building muscle is great for overall health but great for getting that perfect defined shape you are looking for.  Want a booty?  Build it.  Want a tiny waist?  Build it.  Want to be thick and curvy?  Build it.  There are many different styles of resistance/weight training and many different ways to get the look you have always wanted.  You just have to work a little for it.  Now, I challenge you to get up and go do some weight training.  Doesn’t have to be anything crazy.  Studies show that even 1-2 hours a week of resistance training can highly improve a woman's life.  I recommend splitting that up between 3-6 days a week or whatever you have time for.  A little goes a long way.  Now, get to lifting!

Crystal Love
For coaching with me click ​HERE 

Recommended Keto Supplements

Recommended Keto Supplements

There are a long list of supplements that have some proven benefits. This list is the supplements that we have found to be highly beneficial over the past few years eating a ketogenic diet. Before taking a new supplement we will typically research the proven benefits using examine.com. Lets get to the list!

Electrolytes

It is essential to supplement with electrolytes while doing a keto diet, especially when first starting. Your body holds less water due to the decrease in dietary carbs, which will lead to a depletion of important electrolytes. Supplementing with sodium, potassium and magnesium will help mitigate some of the symptoms of low electrolyte levels such as fatigue and headaches.

Sodium

The easiest electrolyte to add to your diet is going to be sodium. While most people on a standard american diet are advised to reduce their sodium intake, keto dieters may want to do the opposite and dramatically increase it. Sodium tends to be in most processed and packaged foods, which you won't be eating as often on a keto diet. Here's some easy ways to add sodium to your diet:

  • Add salt to your meals.
  • Add salt to one of your drinks each day.
  • Eat salty snacks like pickles, roasted nuts and pork rinds.
  • Drink chicken or beef broth regularly

Potassium

Potassium can be the most difficult electrolyte to get from dietary sources and supplements. Foods high in potassium are mostly vegetables and leafy greens, but the potassium in these foods has questionable bio-availability. Supplements in pill form are capped at 99mg, which is too low of a dosage to make much of a difference. Here are some effective ways of adding potassium to your diet:

  • Include avocados, salmon, nuts and leafy greens in your diet.
  • Supplement with potassium powders such as potassium citrate or potassium chloride.

Magnesium

Even if you're not on a keto diet you may want to consider supplementing with Magnesium as the US is becoming increasingly deficient. There are a number of factors that have lead to the high amounts of Magnesium deficiency mostly related to our modern diets and the quality of our soil, but there are ways we can counteract this:

  • Eat pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and fish.
  • Take a magnesium supplement daily. Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Citrate are the preferred forms.

To read even more about electrolytes check out this post!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in the industrialized world for a number of reasons. The big ones are that we spend less time in the sun than ever before. The animals we eat are even spending less time in the sun (which means their flesh will contain less vitamin D) so we are missing out on dietary Vitamin D as well as Vitamin D from sun exposure. Supplementing is not something that is specific to those eating a ketogenic diet but it is important to consider for all those who do not spend enough time outside. 

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is a traditional supplement that has been used in Europe for hundreds of years and provides all of the fat-soluble vitamins. Particularly vitamins A and D, which were found to be 10 times higher in primitive societies that did not experience any of the health issues we experience in modern day America. In addition to being rich in vitamins it is also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. While it can be pricey, the nutrient content of cod liver oil is unmatched. We look for virgin, cold-pressed, or fermented varieties. Following the guidelines of Weston A. Price a dosage of cod liver oil that supplies between 10,000 and 20,000 IU of vitamin A is recommended.

MCT Oil

MCT oil is often associated with a keto diet because it can be rapidly converted into ketones by the body. MCT oil is typically derived from coconuts and comes in different types based on the length of the fatty acid.

  • Caprylic Acid (C8)
    • The most costly, but also the most rapidly metabolized MCT. You will notice an immediate boost in energy, but this can also be the hardest on the digestive system.
  • Capric Acid (C10)
    • Turns into energy slower than C8 but is significantly cheaper. Most MCT oils on the market are a combination of C8 and C10. 
  • Lauric Acid (C12)
    • Lauric Acid is technically an MCT but does not behave in the same way as the previous two. It requires more digestion and will therefor not result in the same kind of instant energy.

MCT oil is a nice supplement to try out and see how you respond to it. While it does provide instant energy, it is devoid of any true nutrition. Most people like to include it in their morning coffee for an added boost.

Protein and Collagen Powders

It's always going to be best to get nutrients from whole foods, but in a pinch these powders can be nice to have. We like to create baked goods with them sometimes for more of a guilt free dessert. If consumed with adequate amounts of fat, these powders will not have a significant impact on blood glucose levels like so many keto dieters fear. It's best to look for powders that don't contain fillers and use natural sweeteners such as stevia. Most powders will use less desirable sweeteners so it can take some searching to find a really good one.

Comment below with any supplements you have found beneficial or anything else you may have questions about.

Gluconeogenesis – Is it good on Keto?

Gluconeogenesis- Is it good on Keto?

Gluconeogenesis is a hot topic in the keto community right now. What exactly is it? Gluconeogenesis is your body's ability/process of taking non-carbohydrate sources of fuel and converting them into sugar. The biggest misconception about this process is that it is bad and it is triggered by excess protein. This is not necessarily true. In fact there are many sources your body uses for this process. Some of them include lactate, amino acids and even fatty acids. Here is a video going into depth about the process itself.  See, truth of the matter is that we are all experiencing gluconeogenesis right now! The following are three of the biggest reasons I believe that gluconeogenesis is a healthy and needed process on a ketogenic diet -   

1. Glycogen stores

2. Brain fuel

3. Blood sugar levels


Insert Image
Insert Image

Glycogen stores

If you love the feeling of looking filled out and big at the gym, you can thank gluconeogenesis for that if your a ketogenic athlete. When transitioning into a fat adapted individual, your body finds itself in an interesting situation. It has no carbs to fill glycogen for explosive exercise. So what does it do? Gluconeogenesis! Your body decides to open up this metabolic pathway and take lactate, amino acids and even fat and turn it into glucose to be stored for later use! Another amazing thing is your body's ability to become very proficient at using and storing glycogen as a fat adapted individual. In Dr. Ryan Lowerys podcast "What The Fat" , we learn during his episode with Craig Emmerich that our bodies are very efficient at creating and utilizing glycogen on a ketogenic diet. In one study they reference, fat adapted athletes and carbohydrate based athletes started off at different glycogen levels.  At the end of the exercise they had exactly the same amount remaining! In another study referenced, they found that ketogenic based athletes and carb based athletes restore glycogen levels at the same rate! Based off their findings, it is clear that your body not only needs glycogen but, in a fat adapted state, your body's ability to create it is efficient and safe. Here is a link to listen to the podcast

Insert Image
Insert Image

Brain fuel & Blood sugar

Our brain needs glucose, to some degree. Specifically around 30% of your brain's fuel needs to come from glucose. If we are fat adapted individuals and generally only 1-5% of our daily intake is carbohydrates, where does our body get this fuel? It makes it itself! Our bodies ability to create its own means of providing itself specific fuel is amazing. One of the amazing things people first notice on a ketogenic diet is their bodies ability to stabilize blood sugar levels. Usually people only address the fact that there is typically no rise in blood sugar. However, few notice why there isn't a drop. This is a clear indicator that our body has an amazing ability to create homeostasis by creating its own amount of glucose needed to keep blood sugars at a steady number. Your body really is an amazing machine. 

salmon

Excess Protein?

In another podcast Dr. Lowery explains that our bodies have what we would consider a thermostat when it comes to the nutrients we take in. Too far to one side or the other and our bodies will adjust accordingly. Many fat adapted individuals I know can go as high as a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein (1 gram of fat to 1 gram of protein) and still be above 0.5 mmol in their blood ketone levels.  Now, is this most optimal? For some individuals including myself it is not. However, we can gather based off of the evidence that as long as your protein does not exceed your intake in fat, your body will stick to using fat as its primary fuel source and use the protein for secondary needs.

In Conclusion-

Your body has an amazing ability to use multiple sources of fuel to create glucose for itself

Gluceneogenesis has an important role in our body's ability to be fat adapted 

As long as protein is kept in check (keeping it at a 1:1 ratio or lower) Your body will prefer fat as its primary fuel source on a ketogenic diet. 



Interested in coaching with me> ​CLICK HERE​​​

Benefits Of Caffeine

Benefits Of Caffeine

I want to dive into the benefits of caffeine in this blog post.  Caffeine often gets a bad rap because of it's addictive nature and supposed link to high blood pressure, impaired sleep, and cancer...  Caffeine as a supplement has been studied extensively for the past several years and there are apparent pros and cons.  There is always two sides to the coin so let's explore caffeine and some of the benefits we can derive from it.

coffee

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is the world's most widely used psychoactive drug.  It belongs to the methylxanthine class and acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system.  Caffeine is related to the adenine and guanine bases of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).  It's found naturally in many seeds, nuts, and leaves and acts as a protective mechanism to the plants it's found in.  One of the most common plants containing caffeine is the coffea plant.  The caffeine exists within the seeds of this plant, commonly referred to as coffee beans.  Caffeine is also commonly found in tea, cola, and most energy drinks and pre workout supplements.  

Benefits of caffeine

What Does Caffeine Do?

Adenosine is a chemical that all of us contain in our bodies.  It is a neuromodulator and plays a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal.  It also is involved in the regulation of blood flow to various organs through vasodilation.  In the absence of caffeine, the adenosine accumulates in the neuronal synapse which, in turn, bind to and activate the adenosine receptors found in the CNS neurons.  When these receptors are activated, they produce a cellular response that increases drowsiness.  When caffeine is present, it antagonizes the adenosine receptors and prevents them from activating by blocking the adenosine binding location on the receptor.  This temporarily prevents drowsiness and is the main reason why you see everyone reach for a cup of coffee upon waking or during the afternoon slump.  

Caffeine is also touted to: 

  • Give you more energy
  • Increase your mental clarity
  • Boost your sport's perfromance
  • Improve brain function
  • Enhance memory

While those all my be true, I would argue that all of those are simply a byproduct of your temporary increase in alertness.

how caffeine gives you energy

Other Benefits Of Caffeine

Another potential benefit of caffeine is it's ability to aid in fat-loss.  Now, this is up for debate but there are two fairly sound arguments.  One is that it has a satiating effect that suppresses appetite which results in a lower total caloric intake.  If consuming coffee enables you to eat at a slightly lower caloric intake and moves the energy balance towards a net negative, you could potentially lose weight.  Now, this is not to say that simply dropping calories causes fat loss, that is a whole blog topic in itself.

The other theory is that caffeine helps to stimulate thermogenesis and causes the body to generate more heat and energy.  Since caffeine is shown to increase alertness and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, this could very well hold some truth.  However, the increased fat burning effects of consuming caffeine would pale in comparison to what could be accomplished by proper nutrition and training so don't expect caffeine to be your answer for long term body recomposition.

Apart from increased alertness and a potential increase in fat burning, caffeine has also been studied as a potential aid in...

  • Reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease
  • Reducing the risk of Parkinson's disease
  • Reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes

In Conclusion

As is true with most things in the health and nutrition world, there is much left up for debate with regard to caffeine.  For years, caffeine was frowned upon for many of its potential negative side effects (which will be the topic of another blog post).  However, with the current research, I do not see any overwhelming need to avoid caffeine.  Like most things, use it as a tool in moderation.  Don't rely on caffeine as a crutch to make it through the day-to-day.  I personally supplement with 120mg - 240mg of caffeine per day, generally prior to training.  There was a time when I consumed significantly more than that until I began to notice a dependency on the drug and realized I had to scale it back.  Now, I can quit coffee entirely if I decided to do so and I wouldn't suffer any negative consequences.  Addiction to anything is bad.  Use it strategically and benefit from the positive effects of caffeine.

Keto Electrolytes

Ketogenic diet and electrolyte supplementation

The ketogenic diet is one that is becoming extremely popular. Generally, when someone is beginning the ketogenic diet they hear about the “keto-flu”.  This "flu" is often just an electrolyte imbalance. Truth be told, this can happen at any point on any diet but specifically on keto. 

You may hear, “keto is so healthy”, “keto is the best diet”, “keto changed my life” and then wonder why all of a sudden you have to supplement specific minerals. As you begin keto, you cut out carbohydrates to the extreme and replace them with fats. When you remove carbohydrates from your diet, your body begins to produce less insulin and has less glycogen storage. With every 1 gram of glycogen, you store 3 grams of water. When you deprive your body of these stores, your body will start to flush out water weight. When people begin the ketogenic diet, they often drop many pounds within the first week or so. This  water loss helps you feel better and be less bloated but it also causes your electrolytes to leave your body with the water.  Therefor,  you need to replenish your electrolytes. 

What are the electrolytes

The basic electrolytes talked about on the ketogenic diet are Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium. There are a few others but generally they are not thought to be supplemented in addition to what you get from your food. Electrolytes are important for muscle function (including organs and the heart), nerve function, balance in the acidity of your blood, keeping your body hydrated and so much more.

Sodium

Sodium is extremely important for hydrating and helps the body retain water. The other electrolytes rely on sodium to help keep proper balance. Sodium is also extremely important when it comes to nerve and muscle function. 

Potassium

Potassium helps regulate the heart and blood pressure levels. Potassium also plays a large role in making sure the body has the proper fluid balance. Nerve and muscle function also rely on potassium. 

Magnesium

Like potassium and sodium, magnesium also aids in nerve and muscle function. Magnesium is critical for a healthy immune system and for regulating a normal heart beat.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle weakness

  • Heart palpitations

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Muscle cramps

  • Changes in blood pressure

  • Nervous system issues

  • Constipation

  • Bloating

  • Dizziness

Other general causes of electrolyte imbalance

  • Loss of body fluids (diarrhea or vomiting)

  • Sweating (especial during exercise)

How much should you be supplementing?

All things depend on your specific body. How well does your body use electrolytes and the hormones that keep them balanced. How often do you exercises. Your height and weight will also cause this to vary. Now, we don't want electrolytes too low or too high so it is important to keep yourself in check. You can even ask your doctor to test these.

Each electrolyte is going to need to be supplemented differently. Sodium should be between 3-7 grams of sodium a day. Sodium is not to get confused with salt. Salt does not contain only sodium but other minerals as well such as chloride. So make sure you are supplementing the proper amount. The total potassium intake should be about 2-5 grams per day. Magnesium is a tad less than the others and should be supplemented between 1-3 grams a day.

Please keep in mind that not everyone will need to supplement these electrolytes.  If you feel fine without supplementation, try it for a week or two and see if you happen to feel even better. Electrolyte imbalance can happen quickly. Many of the symptoms are so similar with other things and you might overlook it.  A suggestion might be to up your electrolytes first if you have any of those symptoms rather than reaching for anything else.

What foods have the electrolytes?

Sodium

  • Eat salt (Pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt)

  • Add 1 tsp of salt to 1 liter of water

  • Drink broth or Bouillon

Potassium

  • Avocado

  • Meat (114 g for every 4 oz)

  • Swiss Chard

  • Spinach

  • Salmon

  • Broccoli

Magnesium

  • Spinach

  • Swiss Chard

  • Avocado

  • Mackerel

Hydration

One thing we didn't speak about in this blog is water and hydration. As most of us know, water makes up more than half of our body.  It's critical that we stay hydrated in order to have a normally functioning body. The electrolytes need water in order to do their job properly as well. Drink more water and do not be afraid of gaining water weight. It is natural at times for your body to hold on to water. Truth is, if you restrict your water, your body will hold on to even more water. Drink it to lose it.

Supplements

There are many safe supplements to take to provide all of these aforementioned electrolytes.  Any grocery store, pharmacy, or drug store near you should have them. There are different types of these electrolytes.  Some are absorbed by the body very quickly while others take much longer. There are many keto electrolyte products out there that are great to use and generally make it much easier for us. Don't stress about the electrolytes but know that they are just as important as the food you put into your mouth.

Program Review: The Juggernaut Method

We've been lifting seriously for the past 2 years, and over that time we have tried a bunch of different programs and methodologies. For the past 8 months we have been using the Juggernaut Method and have achieved our best results to date! The Juggernaut Method was created by Chad Wesley Smith, a very accomplished power lifter. To get a full understanding of the program I would recommend picking up the kindle version of the book for $9: The Juggernaut Method 2.0.

Why We Love This Powerlifting Program

Submaximal Training

The Juggernaut Method uses submaximal training which was a new concept to us. This means you will only be performing 1 max effort set per major lift, per month. So that's 1 max effort set of bench press, deadlift, squat and overhead press per month. The rest of the time you are working well below your training maxes, while still progressively overloading each training session. This kept us motivated to keep beating our previous lifts without burning out from training at our maxes each session.

Rep Ranges Change Monthly

The program is divided into "waves". Each month of the 4 month program has a different rep range for the compound lifts. The rep ranges are 10, 8, 5, and 3 which means as you progress through the program you are working closer to your training maxes. For beginners it is recommended that you use the standard wave structure laid out in the program, starting with the 10 rep wave. This means you'll have less weight on the bar and can focus heavily on form to begin with. For more advanced lifters it is recommended that you use the "Inverse Juggernaut Method" which reduces the rep range on the first 2 waves. The first time we went through the program we used the default structure, the 2nd time we used the inverse method.

Set it and Forget it

While this is true of most programs, The Juggernaut Method takes all the guess work out of your training sessions. At the end of each wave you will have an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set, which is used to calculated your weight for the next wave. It's completely automated! We preferred this to other strength programs that require you to try and beat your previous weeks max each training session. 

deeper state matt

The Juggernaut Method Results!

We've gone through this program twice now, but lets just talk about our results from the first round. 

Megha

Experience: Casual lifter for 3 years. No experience power lifting.

Starting Max Lifts

Bench: 40lbs

Squat: 45lbs

Deadlift: 85lbs

Overhead Press: 35lbs

Total: 205lb

Final Max Lifts

Bench: 75lbs

Squat: 115lbs

Deadlift: 140lbs

Overhead Press: 55lbs

Total: 385lbs

Matt

Experience: Casual lifter for 8 years. No experience power lifting.

Starting Max Lifts

Bench: 195lbs

Squat: 215lbs

Deadlift: 335lbs

Overhead Press: 105lbs

Total: 850lbs

Final Max Lifts

Bench: 250lbs

Squat: 300lbs

Deadlift: 405lbs

Overhead Press: 135lbs

Total: 1,090lbs

Beginners Workout Program

While this isn't what you would typically consider a beginners program, we would definitely recommend it as one. As beginners ourselves we had amazing improvements in all of our lifts. What's even more important than those increases is how our form improved and our passion for power lifting remained strong throughout the duration of the program. In fact, we liked it so much we started it all over again as soon as we finished it the first time. 

While there's plenty of good strength training programs out there, The Juggernaut Method is the best one we've tried so far. To learn more about the specifics of the program pick up the kindle book and download the program template spreadsheet. Let us know how you like the program if you end up giving it a try!

Life Tips – Consistency

Consistency - The Key to Success 

“It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do with consistency.”
― Anthony Robbins

Consistency, a word that gets over looked a lot but at the same time is so vital to accomplishing our goals. Whether its weight loss goals, business goals or simply family health. Consistency is needed, the ability to do the right things over and over again the right way. I want this to blow your mind. By the time your done reading this, I hope you perceive your goals differently. I want to give you two analogies about consistency that will challenge the way you might look at the details. 

Details Matter 

Imagine with me, if you will, a painting. Starry night for example. Now, when you see this amazing piece of art, most see it for what it is , a starry night. I however take a much deeper look. Have you ever stopped and considered every stroke made in that painting? All the time put in thinking about the contrasts, the light colors, the dark colors. What about the curves, the different kind of strokes made over and over again? Vincent Van Gogh knew the details make the masterpiece. He knew the consistency needed to make the final piece of art come to life.  Its pointless to have a goal and not consider the small things it will take to get there. Weighing your food at every meal. Going through your morning checklist when you open up the shop. With Persistence hitting a goal is possible but without Consistency, you will not keep it. 

Understanding Growth

Being as I am a bodybuilder I want to talk about gaining muscle. Muscle growth is not made from going to the gym and having one workout and calling it a week. It takes work, A LOT of work. There is no once a week or choosing not to eat. It is an absolute grind that requires consistent effort. Notice as well that it's not just showing up, you have to be consistent with. The intensity, the eating and the muscle mind connection. I could go on and on about different little things that cause the final result. So many people want to sweat a little, do a weight that is heavy enough to make them gasp for air or maybe even scream a little. Are you willing to do that every day? Are you willing to throw an extreme level of intensity at your goals everyday? Are you willing to do it again and again and again regardless of whats going on around you? What are you willing to do to get your goals.  Results in life do not come from lottery tickets, that is luck. Results come from the grind. The willingness to put in the effort day in and day out regardless of how you feel or what is going on around you.

I'm going to tell you something I tell my clients. If you are not willing to put in the day to day effort, you do not really want it. Do you want to know what it takes to achieve your goals? Your ability to push past barriers, to set schedules and follow through or to follow your macros to the gram. The willingness to stick to your plan no matter what is going on around you. Can you be consistent ? Do the little things matter to you? What are you willing to do over and over and over again to get what you want ? 

“One bulb at a time. There was no other way to do it. No shortcuts--simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded. Loving an achievement that grew slowly and bloomed for only three weeks each year.” 
― Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, The Daffodill Principle


Jonathan Shane - DSK Coach

Want to Coach with me ? Click this Link Here --> ​COACHING​​​

Reverse Dieting

Reverse Dieting

Reverse Dieting, what is it exactly?  According to the internet, reverse dieting is gaining weight without rapidly gaining fat to allow your metabolism to gradually improve and adjust to a higher intake of calories.  I'd say that is a pretty fair definition of the word but I want to take a moment and flesh it out in much greater detail.  Why??  Because NOT taking the time to reverse out of a diet is one of the most common and most damaging mistakes I see in the health and nutrition space.  I have to assume that this mistake is made out of ignorance.  I hope to shed some light on the topic and at least offer my stance on the concept of reverse dieting.

reverse dieting

Who Needs Reverse Dieting?

In my opinion, everyone who has dieted down, dropped their calories, gone through a competition prep, chronically under eaten, struggled with eating disorders, struggled with their weight, doesn't have a high metabolism, or wants to know more about their body and how to optimize it with regards to their nutrition.  So, basically, everyone!  I'm sure either you or someone you know fits this description perfectly...

You're not happy with the way you look, you're holding a bit of extra fat.  You decide to do something about it and watch what you eat.  The best way to lose weight is eat less right?  So, that's exactly what you do.  You start dropping your calories bit by bit week after week.  Or, you take a much more aggressive approach and slash your calories significantly to help jumpstart things.  Before long, you're living on iceberg lettuce and miracle noodles and constantly starving.  You're not eating hardly anything and confused with why you're not dropping some serious pounds.  Sure sure, you may have lost a few lbs initially but not near as much as you would like.  You're still nowhere near your goal except now, you're hungry ALL the time!  You convince yourself that it's ok to overindulge a bit for one meal because heck, why not.  The iceberg lettuce diet isn't working anyways so what do you have to lose???  The next thing you notice, that one binge turns into two, then five, then a daily occurrence.  Before long, you're fatter than when you started and you have no idea what to do next!  Guess what, you should have reverse dieted 😉

In short, anytime you decrease your caloric intake, your body's metabolism is going to slow down.  That's not even a bad thing, it's just a thing.  It happens to the best of us so don't fret it.  However, learn to deal with it correctly.  Your body is smart, it's evolved to survive.  If you're consuming less energy, it only makes sense to down regulate your body's internal thermostat.  That is the best way of ensuring you don't die.  Your body is resilient, you can push it much harder than you may realize.  For this reason, it's ok to drop your metabolism a bit temporarily.  I literally do this every single time I go through a competition prep.  I drop my calories and my metabolism follows suite.  However, it's equally as important to ramp up your metabolism after the dieting is over. 

under eating

When To Start Reverse Dieting

Like most things in the nutritional world, this is going to vary from individual to individual.  I personally recommend transitioning into a reverse diet immediately following a competition prep, a 90 day cut program like DSK, any kind of caloric deficit protocol really.  If you are chronically under eating I also recommend starting a reverse diet.  Now, I would be remiss if I didn't include a little blurb on how long a cutting protocol should last.  That also depends on the individual but I don't typically recommend staying in a caloric deficit for more than about 5 or 6 months.  Now, there are some outliers such as people that are incredibly overweight BUT, make no mistake, it's still not optimal for them to be chronically under eating.  What if 5 or 6 months passes and you still haven't reached your goal???  I still recommend transitioning into a reverse diet and then returning to your goal after your metabolism has had a chance to recover.  If you are going through a "cut" the right way and gradually tapering your calories as needed, you're going to eventually run out of macros.  If you continue dropping calories well beyond what is healthy or sustainable, your metabolism is basically going to shut down and you're not going to make any headway towards losing bodyfat.  In fact, your body is going to fight you and work to store as much food as it can as bodyfat because it's afraid it won't get any more caloric energy.  This is why chronically dropping calories beyond a healthy limit can do so much more harm than good. 

when to start reverse dieting

How To Reverse Diet

If you've gone through the Deeper State Keto course then you're familiar with the "Off-boarding" phase.  Off-boarding is basically the same concept of reverse dieting.  For those that haven't gone through off-boarding, let me explain how I recommend reversing out of a caloric deficit.  Before I do though, let me forewarn you...reverse dieting will very likely result in an increase on the scale.  WHAT??!!!  I know, I know, crazy right.  Why would you want to do something that is going to move you farther away from that lower weight you've been striving for.  Well, because it's absolutely necessary!  Body recomposition is a marathon, not a sprint.  You are playing the long game here.  Sacrifice a slight increase on the scale to reach the goal in the end.  If you've been dieting down for long, your body is going to assume food isn't readily available and it's going to store any surplus you give it.  This is why you can expect a slight increase in weight in the beginning.  However, after a time of caloric increase, your body will recognize that food is no longer scarce and it won't be as likely to store it as bodyfat.  That is when things start improving.  Just as decreasing your caloric intake results in a slower metabolism, increasing your caloric intake leads to a faster metabolism.  

However, this doesn't mean go out and eat everything in sight.  I recommend you take a strategic approach to your reverse dieting just as you took towards your actual dieting.  Keep the foods clean and make small, incremental changes.  Generally speaking, you can be slightly more aggressive with the reverse diet than you were with the depletion diet.  Try and increase by 50 to 150 calories week after week depending on how your body responds.  If you start to notice adverse effects, take a slightly more conservative approach.  

This increase in caloric intake is adding more fuel to the furnace.  Put that furnace to use.  Train harder, eat more, and reap the benefits of a healthier metabolism.  No matter what diet you're on, chronic under eating and long term caloric deficits are damaging to your hormones and your metabolism.  Make sure you emphasize the reverse diet and give your body time to recover and improve it's foundation.  

boost your metabolism

The Sustainability Of Reverse Dieting

In all honesty, reverse dieting is what makes dieting sustainable in the first place.  You couldn't possibly stay in a caloric deficit indefinitely, your hormones would tank, your metabolism would shut down, your performance would plummet, eventually....you could die.  Rather than fight your body, work with it.  It's healthy to cycle your caloric intake.  Leverage periods of healthy caloric depletion to shed body fat and improve your composition.  Be excited about the opportunity to eat more and reverse out of that deficit to improve your metabolism and hormones.  If you so choose, enjoy the maintenance intake for a bit and focus on other areas of your life that need attention.  If done properly, going through these different phases is incredibly sustainable.  Each time you cycle through, your composition and metabolic baseline will improve.  You can consistently be moving the needle forward in the long game of life.  Don't think shortsightedly and damage the only body you have.  Play the long game and win!

If you're interested, below is a video I made for my YouTube video that illustrates some of these concepts.

If you're interested in working with me directly, check out my coaching HERE