My top training and nutrition podcasts

As we head towards September, I know lots of you are renewing your health and fitness goals and getting remotivated after the summer months. One of the questions I've been asked loads is for some podcast recommendations - so today I'm going to go through a few of the podcasts I'd recommend, especially if you want to expand your nutriton and training knowledge.

1. Sigma Nutrition - https://sigmanutrition.com/

One of my go-to podcasts for evidence based info on all things health and lifting related. Hosted by leading Irish expert - Mr. Danny Lennon. 

2. The Strength Athlete - http://thestrengthathlete.com/

A powerlifting/strength based podcast for those who are interested. Great evidence based info on training, nutriton, technique and sports psychology. 

3. Precision Nutrition - http://www.precisionnutrition.com/

Covering a wide and intersting variety of topics, Precision Nutrition is a great podcast for expanding you nwoledge inrelation to nutrition, health and fitness. 

4. The Guru Performance - https://guruperformance.com/

Hosted by Laurent Bannock and featuring a wide variety of expert speakers on everything in sport and exercise science. Often delving into the latest science and research on a topic. 

Give any of these podcasts a listen and let me know how you get one. Also, if you've come across any podcast gems please let me know...I'm always looking to add more to my playlist.

Thanks,

Nigel

 

Fats and Immune function

In this third and final installment of the role of macro-nutrients on the immune system, we are taking a look at the role dietary fat plays in immune response and function.

Fats are powerful mediators of the immune system, and they may modulate the immuno-suppressive effects of strenuous exercise. Dietary fat plays a role in some key functions in the body, which all contribute to immune function, namely:

  •  Hormone regulation and production, especially testosterone and oestrogen
  • Transport of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), to the liver for storage and utilisation.

Dietary fats play an important role in numerous physiological functions and therefore a low fat diet can pose health problems. Additionally, a low fat diet does not guarantee weight loss if calories aren’t appropriate.

Both the amount and type of fatty acids in the diet influence the growth and activity of immune cells. Proper functioning of the immune system depends on adequate amounts of each essential fatty acid.

Essential fatty acids such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), are the precursors of substances that can promote or restrain inflammation. Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body and thus, must be taken in via the diet. Essential fatty acids are intricately involved in the immune response, and regulate cytokines, which are released from immune cells in response to injury, infection, or exposure to foreign substances, as previously mentioned in our protein and immunity article. Amongst the fatty acids those from fish oil (EPA and DHA) are more biologically potent than alpha linolenic acid.

Studies in athletes have shown that a low-fat diet (15% of total calories), increases inflammatory and decreases anti-inflammatory immune factors, depresses antioxidants, and negatively affects blood lipoprotein ratios. A critical analysis of a large number of studies, demonstrated that there is a number of potential benefits to consuming unsaturated fatty acids on the immune system. This analysis showed that fatty acids play an important role in immune system regulation and may therefore be classified as holding the ability to modulate immune response. http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v78/n1/full/icb20006a.html

Increasing your omega 3 intake (specifically EPA), and decreasing your omega 6 and saturated fat intake can have positive health effects and decrease inflammation. Omega 3 sources include salmon, mackerel, eggs and red meat. Omega 6 sources include sunflower oil, corn oil and safflower oil.

 

Foods: 
• Saturated Fats: Usually solid at room temperature and are primarily from animal sources, such as, dairy and other meats.
• Unsaturated Fats: Usually liquid at room temperature and can be further divided into mono and poly unsaturated fats.
• Mono-unsaturated fatty acids include: olive oil, avocado and peanut butter. 
 

http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/10910295

https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200232050-00004

http://advances.nutrition.org/content/6/3/293S.full

http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v56/n3s/pdf/1601478a.pdf

 

 

Why the site of your pain is not necessarily the source of your pain...

When we have pain, the usual reaction is to assume some sort of injury or issue at the site of the pain and so we normally set about getting treatment to this area in order to eliminate the pain.  

But this may not be the only answer to your problem.

Treating the site of the pain is fine, but the site is not necessarily the primary source of your discomfort. Many people don't know that a dysfunction at one joint can cause over-use at another, and eventually lead to injury.

The body is just like a stack of joints. Each joint has a specific function and if it fails to do its job, then the joint above or below must pick up the slack. This can lead to injury.

So what are the functions of our various joints? The ankle’s primary job is mobility, the knee’s function is stability, the hip is concerned with mobility, the lower back’s purpose is stability and the upper back is mobility.

If you are getting a common pain - such as knee pain, where might it be coming from? There are many potential answers to this, but it could very well be that your ankle or hips (or both!) are lacking in mobility meaning that your knee has had to compensate for this, and so resulting in knee pain. 

I regularly get asked about the difference between mobility and stability with regards to joints - mobility is the ability of the joint to move through a preferably full range of motion; stability on the other hand is the opposite. A stable joint needs to resist motion; not produce it. If your hips or upper back fail to move properly, your lower back will become mobile. So when your lower back is in pain, it can be due to a lack of range of motion in the hips or upper back.

Bottom line is that if you are in pain - STOP. Pain is a sign something is wrong and you shouldn't try to train through it. That's why I particularly DESPISE the sort of quotes bandied about below - they perpetuate the idea that you should be in pain in the gym . Let's be clear - you shouldn't be in pain. Yes, it may be uncomfortable and sore; you may feel 'the burn', but actual pain in any joint or muscle shouldn't be happening!

If an exercise hurts, then don’t do the exercise. With an appropriate gym program you can train the joints to enhance mobility and stability and to then eliminate any joint pain you may be experiencing.  

As always please get in touch if you have any questions  - I'm more than happy to help. 

Nigel

The PFP Gift Guide - 10 picks for fitness gifts

Are you looking for a Christmas gift for the fitness fanatic in your life? Well, look no further - here's the PFP Gift Guide, covering all things health and fitness.

1. RunPhones

Sick of headphones? RunPhones are headphones in a headband - no more annoying ear buds! They are specifically designed for activities such as running, walking or gym. They have speakers in a stretchy headband that is designed to fit comfortably on the head and stay put during activities. Simply sync with any Bluetooth enabled device and off you go. 

For more info find them here:  http://www.boots.ie/en/Acoustic-Sheep-RunPhones-Wireless-Black_1748134/

2. Bands

body bands.jpg

Bands, with varying degrees of resistance, are a great tool for anyone looking to get a workout in at home or while travelling. They take up minimal space and if you are a bit imaginative you can get, pretty much, a full body workout done. Great stocking filler. 

Find them here - https://www.body-bands.com/

3. Foam Roller - Mini

Ideal for those who are on the go - this mini - foam roller will easily fit in to a bag. The grids on the these rollers are great for hitting all the niggles and sore spots. Highly recommend!

Find more info here - http://www.barefoot.ie/triggerpoint/grid-mini-foam-roller

4. Fit Bit

A great present for anyone in your life who is interested in their health and fitness. This FitBit watch allows them to monitor sleep, steps, workout stats, heart rate, calories plus will sync with iphone, windows and android. Plenty more details over on the Boot.ie website - have a look here: http://www.boots.ie/en/Fitbit-Blaze-Fitness-Super-Watch-Black-Silver-Small-_1830471/

5. Fitness Dice

Anyone who is looking to spice up their workout routine might enjoy this! Simply throw the dice to find out the exercise and the reps - sounds like fun!! Handy for a fun workout at home. 

https://www.amazon.com/Stack-Bodyweight-Instructions-Included-Equipment/dp/B017KVWSTW

6. Kate Spade Activity Tracker

One for the ladies! A bracelet and activity tracker all in one. Find it here:  https://www.katespade.com/products/scallop-hinge-bangle-tracker/KSA31212.html?cgid=ks-jewelry-bracelets&dwvar_KSA31212_color=022#start=10&cgid=ks-jewelry-bracelets

7. Vodi Hoodies

Comfort is key when it comes to gym clothes and these Vodi Hoodies are nothing if not comfortable. They come in a range of colours for both men and women.  A great, practical present. Load of other fitness accessories on their website too. 

Find out more here: https://www.vodisport.ie/

8. Towelmate

These towels are the ultimate gym towel - one side says gym, the other side says skin! No more mixing up which side to use. Plus they have built-in compartments for storing essential like keys, phone and money.

Have a look at their website for more info: http://www.towelmate.com/order-products/fitness-towel-with-germ-shield/

 

9. Contigo Kangaroo Water Bottle

This water bottle has a secret comaprtment for storing keys, cards or cash. A great gift for those who like to keep things minimalistic. 

Find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Kangaroo-Gym-Water-Bottle-Leak-proof/dp/B00UBNYBF6/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1479153068&sr=1-4&keywords=contigo+water+bottle+kangaroo

10. PFP Gift Voucher

 

 

I know I might be biased - but you can't go wrong with a PFP Gift Voucher - from beginners to seasoned gym goers - we've got you covered! Check out the new 'Class Pass' gift voucher  - 3 PFP classes for €20 - a great taster for anyone looking try the gym out. Find them in our online storw here: https://www.pearsonfitnessandperformance.ie/shop/

 

 

 

 

The Great Protein Debate

Protein is gaining a lot of attention these days – so much so that marketers are desperately jumping on the bandwagon and throwing “a source of protein” on pretty much everything that you can eat – an example below shows a desperate attempt at it. (Image provided by Joseph Agu @ Elite Nutrition Coaching). 

 

Our bodies use protein to make some fundamental molecules – like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies, as well as helping build muscle and replace and repair damaged cells, meaning our bodies don’t function all that well without adequate protein.

When blood sugar levels are low, for example during and after exercise, or in between meals, a hormone called glucagon is released, which causes the liver to breakdown any stored energy, meaning glucagon can help breakdown body fat. Consuming adequate amounts of protein can help increase levels of this hormone.

Recent media reports have tried to suggest that too much protein can cause organ damage or increase cancer risks. These concerns are typically overblown and here are some recent studies to support the fact that protein does not damage organs or cause cancer.

http://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0114-2   

http://www.lookgreatnaked.com/blog/new-study-on-protein-overfeeding-a-critical-analysis/

To clarify, people with certain medical conditions may not be advised to consume too much protein, but all excessive protein will do to a healthy person is give them a dose of wallet ache. This has stemmed from the fact that people with kidney issues respond well to a lower protein intake, but this leads to people taking a reverse causality approach, whereby they see that a lower protein intake helps those with kidney dysfunction, so high protein intake must have caused the kidney dysfunction, this however, is far from the truth.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17383270

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17383270    

Protein Intake recommendations

Your daily protein intake is largely dependent on your goals and activity level: Some recommendations will say that 0.5g/lb of body weight is sufficient, but this recommendation is purely based on avoiding a deficiency. Therefore, in order to get the benefits mentioned previously, you need more to thrive!

0.8 - 1g/lb body weight if your weight is stable and you don’t exercise

1.0-1.2 g/lb if your goal is fat loss and you’re physically active

1.2 - 1.5 g/lb if your goal is muscle building and you're physically active

People who are overweight or obese should calculate their daily protein intake based on their target weight as opposed to their existing body weight, as going off your current weight could result in consuming too many calories.

Gaining Weight or “Bulking”

Bulking and weight gain doesn’t require a massive increase to your protein intake, provided this intake is adequate. Muscle growth is affected by protein availability and protein elimination rates, or how fast protein is used up. Muscle tissue is constantly going through a process of breaking down and restoration – training and eating are the biggest contributors that will determine whether or not your body breaks down muscle tissue more or builds it up more – as you can probably guess, if you’re eating more food and hitting your protein intake, then you will sway towards the side of muscle building and not muscle breakdown.

The more calories the body has available to it, the more efficiently it utilizes protein because fewer amino acids are converted into glucose. This means that the added calories are contributing toward more efficient protein use, so there may not be a need to increase protein intake during a “bulking period”, once you are consuming an adequate amount in the first place.   

Moreover, since protein has a high thermic effect, (burns calories through the process of digestion) than carbs and fat, it might not be in the best interest of someone looking to put on weight to consume more protein than they need to, when the extra calories could go towards carbs or fats, which won’t burn up valuable calories in the digestion process.

Thermic Effect of Food in %

  • Protein: 20-35% of calories burned through digestion.
  • Carbohydrates: 5-10% of calories burned through digestion.
  • Fats: 0-5% of calories burned through digestion.

Sources of Protein

Protein sources do not matter much when we are just talking about protein, however, they matter in the context of the overall diet. For example, eating a high calorie protein source means a lot of calories are taken up, calories which could be directed elsewhere. If looking to lose weight, then choosing lean sources of protein can help keep calorie count low.

Protein from both plant and animal sources work just as well as each other in terms of increasing protein synthesis. The amino acid Leucine seems to be a major contributor to muscle protein synthesis – which can be found in eggs, poultry, milk, fish and meat.

Supplementation

People who cannot eat enough protein due to finances, diet preferences, or motivation often turn to supplementation to avoid eating more chicken or eggs! Others, however, seem to think that protein comes only in powder form and in a shaker bottle.

Mainstream media and supplement companies have tried to over complicate protein intakes because it helps sell products. There is only one advantage a protein shake has over protein from real whole foods and that’s convenience.  If you’re stuck for time then a protein shake is your biggest ally, although the new protein milk is a great source of protein plus other vitamins and minerals. 

Don’t feel under pressure to shell out on protein supplements or even stick to drinking them if they cause stomach discomfort (which many people complain of). Try getting your protein from whole sources of food and use the protein shakes for convenience, (if you are going to use them).  Supplementation should only be used if dietary changes cannot be made to meet your protein requirements. It is however, worth noting that consuming protein in the form of actual food can give benefits that supplementation may not be able to provide.

Summary

The debate over “optimal” protein intake is likely to continue for decades to come, as research continues to evolve, however the intakes recommended above are reasonably accurate and pose no health risks to healthy populations. Sources of protein are generally well known, however, be careful of marketers jumping on the bandwagon and read food labels to ensure you know what you are consuming. Use supplements for convenience and don’t view them as a staple. 

Thanks for reading guys - as always if you have any specific questions give us a shout.

Adam

S & C Coach

PFP GYM

5 healthy things you can do TODAY

Sometimes it is hard to feel motivated to make healthy choices and do what's best for our bodies, especially, after things like bank holiday weekends, holidays or even just the good weather :). It's always easier to start 'tomorrow', 'next Monday', 'next month' anytime really, except today.

But I think that the more you make 'healthier' choices the easier it becomes, so here are 5 healthy things you can choose to do TODAY.

1. Drink water - after the weekend, especially if you had alcohol, or if you were just out and about in the warm weather you will need to hydrate your body. Aim for 2.5 - 3.5L per day depending on levels of activity. If you find it hard to drink water - add flavour with slices of lemon, lime, berries, oranges, cucumber, mint. Set reminders on your phone if you tend to forget.

2. Sleep - rest and recovery is just as important as exercise. You need sleep. You can't function properly without it. Sleep loss is vital for health, in particular, for fat loss. If you do not get enough sleep you will reduce your insulin sensitivity and increase inflammation in the body. Do yourself a favour and put away all electronic devices about 40min - 1 hour before sleep. Try not to watch TV. Turn off room lights - light candles if you want. Make sure your room is as dark as possible. No caffeine after late afternoon. Belly breathing before you sleep.

3. Eat protein with every meal - From talking to clients in PFP gym, I know that getting the required levels of protein into the body everyday can be hard. So try to be mindful of eating protein with every meal - eggs, meat, protein shake, dairy. Make it a priority.

4. Meditate - meditating for even a few minutes a day is a great way to counteract the stresses of daily life. There are load of apps that you can download to meditate.  Focus on breathing - breathe in through the nose, deep in to the stomach, hold for 5 sec and exhale through the mouth, pushing out every last bit air.

5. Move - move as often as you can. Stand up from the desk every 1/2 hour and take a 2 minute walk, have a stretch and move your body. Go for a walk or run, do a gym class or yoga class, go for a cycle or hike, play sport, dance - put on the music and dance at home - do whatever you enjoy but make sure that you move!

Counting Macros...Free PFP Talk

Just a short blog post today to give you a bit of an idea of what the Macro 101 talk will be about.

In case you haven't heard there is a FREE talk in PFP gym on Tuesday 28th June at 8:30pm - 9:30pm. The talk is open to everyone, not just PFP gym members. There will be two topics discussed on the night - Macros and Hip Mobility for increased strength.

I will be delivering the Macro talk and just want to give you a better idea of what I will be talking about on the night; so here are 3 reasons why you should count your macros -

1. To make yourself more knowledgeable about what foods have more calories / less calories, more /less protein, fats, minerals, vitamins etc. By doing this you can ultimately put yourself in a position to make better choices - knowledge is power!!

2. If you're already eating a healthy diet and have lost body fat and /or gained muscle mass and you want to take your progress (nutrition, body composition) to the next level, then counting your macros is a massive tool in helping you to do this. It's super easy - I use 'My Fitness Pal', which allows me to scan any food with a barcode and record it with all macronutrients broken down automatically  i.e. carbs, protein fats, vitamins, minerals etc. . If there's no barcode I can weigh it out and manually put the food in to the app - which the app will then break down into the macronutrients. Once I have manually put in a food /recipe it is in my app forever - this makes it easier the next time you use that food.

3. Using an app to track food makes you more accountable for your actions - you'll hesitate to eat foods that will take you over your daily macro requirements. On the other hand, if you're not tracking macros you are more likely to have for example,  3-4 biscuits with your tea because you probably haven't really got an idea of how much you've eaten already that day or of how many calories /macros you have left.

I hope that you found that interesting!! The talk on 28th June will include a lot more information including  how to break down your own macro requirements for your own goals - this has been highly requested so I am looking forward to giving people the tools to work out their own macros!!

Details for the talk are : PFP GYM - Tuesday 28th June - 8:30pm - 9:30pm - FREE

In meantime, if you have any specific questions that you want answered then let me know and I will do my best to answer them on the night.

Nigel