Lose Weight Fast With a Zone Paleo Hybrid

Hey tribe, question for ya…

What motivates you to get to the gym everyday? Health? Strength and stamina? What about looking good in a bathing suit? For that matter, how about looking good naked? Bingo!

That’s totally ok.. It’s not a bad thing to want to look good. Appearance is a powerful motivator. Obviously it can be taken too far as with anything, but I think its fair to say that one of the biggest reasons we get our butts to class day in and day out, put ourselves through the wringer with exercise and diet is to make us feel more confident about our appearance.

We all have desires; career, relationship, personal, etc. Coming into this world to create the life we want and mastering one’s self is the code we get to spend our lifetime cracking.

That means what you choose to eat is just as important as what you choose to do for a living or how you choose to spend your free time. All too often I see members and clients alike showing up to workout with admirable consistency, yet remain physically unchanged after months, sometimes years of dedicated training.

A little subtle probing almost always reviles the answer; poor diet. Not surprising really, and theoretically easy to fix. However, we are creatures of habit, and despite our best intentions we all too often resort back to default patterns.

So, what do we do?

Given the undisputed evidence supporting a sound diet, first we need to get clear on what diet is going to best support our unique goals and body type. Next, we need to set ourselves up for success.

Don’t look at a new diet as a complete sea change that happens overnight. Otherwise you’ll be left with a formidable void that will no doubt find you in a moment of weakness elbow deep in a box of your favorite snack just days into your resolution.

Instead, think of crowding out the bad with the good. For example: Just commit to eating a salad everyday. Once that becomes the new norm try adding in a few extra glasses of water throughout your day. Once thats no longer a problem, incorporate eggs or a protein shake for breakfast, and Presto!

Within a few short weeks your new diet is in full effect with no trace of that evil void.

Once you’ve reached the basics of nutrition I just mentioned and are ready to take it to the next level, there are 2 diets in my opinion as a trainer for 10 years that have reigned supreme in terms of efficacy and overall heath.

Paleo and Zone

First, lets talk Paleo

In a nut shell (no pun intended) its meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruit. The idea being that we as humans did the majority of our genetic evolution during the paleolithic area where our hunter/gatherer ancestors lived mainly from tracking and eating plants and animals.

Makes sense, right? Especially when you consider how long evolution takes to make a significant change in a species and the fact that in parts of Africa there are still hunter gatherer tribes alive today.

In the book “Born to run” author Christopher Mcdougall lays out a compelling case that humans are in fact, endurance predators. With our unique self cooling ability to sweat combined with our Achilles tendon and nuchal ligaments which are mainly found on running animals, along with both type 1 & type 2 muscle fibers.

Type 1 being for long distance running and type 2 being for explosive sprints or “going in for the kill” as McDougall calls it.

A study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology Vol. 104 compliments this theory by showing the surge in hormones we experience while sprinting. Quadrupeds (4 legged animals) especially hoofed ones have no ability to self cool as they run and therefor can only run short distances before they must stop to recover, giving humans (or endurance predators) the evolutionary advantage when it came to tracking and catching them. We would literally run them to death.

In my opinion this diet works wonders for people looking to drop weight and get healthy. The biggest reason is because there are no grains or sugar which are arguably the biggest cause of our current health epidemics. Once you become “fat adapted” as Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple calls it, you turn into a fat burning machine.

However, I think even Sisson would agree that an “ultra low carb diet” under 100 grams a day, isn’t necessarily the best option for performance athletes. For this I would recommend:

The ZONE Diet

This ones a little trickier. It involves a calorie ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat, eaten in portions called “blocks”.

Each block consists of 9g of carbs, 7g of protein and 3g of fat. The number of blocks you eat depends on your size.

All foods are categorized and its up to you to pick the type of proteins/carbs/fats you wish to eat and measure them out in proper potion sizes bases on the number of blocks you should be eating. You need a healthy foundation in task management for this one. However, if you are an athlete who’s exerting energy as fast as you’re consuming it, then this diet may give you the competitive edge you need to keep performing.

The reason I wouldn’t recommend the 40/30/30 ratio or “zone” diet unless you’re consistently training hard 4 or more times a week is because carbohydrates are fast energy, pure and simple.

Unfortunately our evolution hasn’t caught up to modern abundance yet, and therefor our bodies are still wired for scarcity. Meaning that as a survival mechanism we store that extra unused energy (carbs) as body fat until the day comes when we need it. The reality is that day rarely, if ever comes, but the stockpile keeps building.

The Ultimate Combo Zone AND Paleo (Zoleo?)

Personally, what works great for me is a hybrid between the two. I avoid grains especially ones containing gluten, but because I am a coach, athlete and inherently thin guy, I maintain a moderate level of carbohydrates in my daily diet. I keep it around 150 grams a day. Mainly from yams, rice and some fruit. I try to keep my protein levels north of 150 grams a day and eat all the nuts and vegetables I want.

If you look at ZONE and Paleo as dietary parameters, or a continuum of sorts, you can gage which direction to lean toward based on your exertion levels. For instance; If your goal is pure performance then you might want to turn your dial more towards Zone, but if you look at exercise a bit more casually, but want to stay trim then shifting your diet towards Paleo will be your best option. If you’re like me then you’ll most likely land somewhere in the middle.

Happy eating


Simple Path to Success

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The proper food pyramid

What to do:

  • Workout at least 3 times per week.
  • Take at least 400mg of fish oil daily.
  • Take at least one scoop (20g) of protein powder daily (preferably 100% Whey. Pea protein if you’re a vegetarian). Two if you’re trying build muscle.
  • Eat at least one large dark green salad daily.
  • Drink at least 64-120 ounces of water daily depending on body weight.
  • Accumulate 60 minutes of mobility/stretching per week or 10 minutes a day.

What NOT to do:

  • Consume flour (bread, pasta, or pastries), white potatoes or sugar in excess. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Drink alcohol in excess. Try to keep the drinks under 3-5 a week.
  • Stay up all night watching Netflix. Sleep dammit! There’s nothing cool about being exhausted. Don’t be a hero.
  • Be surprised when shit happens and throws you off course. Regroup, and let it roll off your back. Anything worthwhile in life takes effort and hard work. If it were easy no one would care.

Justin Schollard

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HIIT Vs. Endurance

“Blur the distinction between strength training and metabolic conditioning for the simple reason that nature’s challenges are typically blind to the distinction.”

-Coach Gassman founder of CrossFit

For many years the general consensus on improving one’s cardiovascular health was to simply increase the volume of endurance exercise such as running or cycling. The thinking was some is good but more is better. Marathon runners and long distance cyclist graced the cover of fitness magazines being touted as the fittest people on earth. While very impressive, research is finding that the benefits we seek from an improved cardiovascular system such as lower resting heart rate, lower body fat, greater endurance, better sleep and overall improved health can be accessed much more rapidly with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and with less of the downside often associated with chronic endurance training.

More Cardio Isn’t Always Better

In a 2008 training study by Burgomaster et al at the National Center for Biotechnology Information subjects were divided into two groups of 5 men and 5 women per group. For 6 weeks one group performed 4-6 repeats of 30 second all out sprints on a stationary bike followed by 4.5 minutes of rest 3 times per week. The other group performed 40-60 minutes of cycling at 65% of their V02 Max 5 days per week. At the end of the study both groups experienced similar metabolic adaptations responsible for effective breakdown of carbohydrates and fats along with an improved V02 Max, but the striking difference between these two groups is the amount of time actually spent training. The 40-60 minute endurance group spent approximately 4.5 hours per week cycling in order to see the same results the sprinting group achieved with only 1.5 hours per week of cycling. Using the same model you could replace cycling with any movement to achieve greater metabolic adaptations than with endurance training alone. In addition to improved cardiovascular health, HIIT enables you build muscle and improve athleticism.

Keep Your Stress Hormones Low and Stay Lean

One of the potential downside of chronic endurance training is prolonged levels of metabolic stress. Training sessions lasting over an hour induce higher cortisol levels that can undue many of the positive effects from exercise. High levels of this hormone promotes fat storage and leads to the breakdown of muscle tissue as the body converts it to glucose for fuel. This explains why many marathon runners and cyclists struggle to keep body fat low. Contrary to popular belief, more hours spent training doesn’t equal greater results. Short, intense and consistent bouts of high intensity interval training continually beats endurance training as the optimal prescription for healthy biomarkers.

Get Better Results With Less Time

Running and cycling are great tools that we should all be proficient in and incorporate into our program on a regular basis. However, with a limited amount of time available for exercise each week I’d much rather spend it developing my strength and athleticism than on a bike or treadmill for an hour. Especially if I can get the same health benefits in a fourth of the time.

 

Justin Schollard

Justin_0376

 


Machines Vs. Free Weights

l-1Machines are built with the “average” person in mind and although offer some interesting options for movement diversity, if used exclusively will stunt your development as an athlete. A one size fits all approach will never deliver maximum results and you will never know your true strength levels because the blocks of weight you stick a pin into do not accurately reflect that of its free weight counter part. To me, there’s just something artificial about exercise machines. I recently mentioned to a friend of mine how one day I would love to have a squat rack in my house and his reply was “That would take up so much space. Why don’t you just put a boflex in a room or something?” I would imaging the feeling I have towards putting a boflex in my house is much like what a drummer feels when a friend suggests they just play on a drum machine instead of a full kit. Yeah, its compact, you technically can play it and its arguably better than noting, but the reason so few true drummers can live with this over a real studio drum kit can be summed up on a bumper sticker; “drum machines have no soul”. Well, neither do exercise machines in my opinion, but since its not as catchy I’ll just go with the drummer analogy.

Greater Hormonal Response 

The beauty of free weights is the fact that you, the athlete have to wield them into place and then perform the necessary action. Theres something raw and primal about this. Stepping into a cold steel squat rack and mounting the barbell atop your shoulders elicited a fight or flight instinct that exercise machines with their padded seats and safely handles simply do not. An April 2014 study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested this theory by taking 10 healthy men with experience in weight training and put them through a free weight work out and a machine workout to see which elicited a greater hormonal response. For the machine workout they chose the leg press and had each male perform 6 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max. A few days later they had the same group of men perform 6 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max with full depth barbell back squats (a tough workout mind you). During the time of both workouts the researchers placed a catheter on their arm to sample hormonal levels in the blood as it was happening. The results; 25% more testosterone present when performing squats over leg press. Not surprising really to anyone who’s ever put themselves through a squats workout like this. More surprising was the increase in growth hormone, up 200% on average during the squat workout over the leg press. When checked 30 minutes later the men still had 100% more growth hormone then they did from the leg press workout. These are remarkable findings that prove the power and efficiency of free weight compound lifts. This doesn’t necessarily mean the leg press is “bad”, but since most of us only have a 60 minute window 3-5 times per week to train effectiveness is of the utmost importance. As creatures of comfort it is in our nature to search out for the path of least resistance. However, when physical prowess is our objective comfort will only make cowards of us. At least in the world of exercise and fitness we need to get our feathers ruffled from time to time. The body is an amazingly perceptive machine and though it may seem inconsequential the safety locks, padded grips and smooth gliding pulleys puts the mind at ease and the body in a state of comfort and control which translates to an inhibited hormonal response. As this study proves, maximum physical adaptation comes to those willing to abandon the comforts of exercise machines and step into a squat rack prepared for a un-pleasurable experience.


Is ALL Bread bad?

 Is all bread really that bad for us?

The question of whether someone should eat bread often surfaces when discussing carbohydrates in a diet. Humans have been consuming bread for over 6,000 years and have had an affinity for the stuff ever since the first person got the idea to mix ground up wheat flour with water and bake the doughy byproduct. The smell alone instantly reminds us of home even though most of our parents probably didn’t bake it. To paraphrase Michael Pollan from his book “Cooked” real estate agents often recommend baking a loaf before showing your house to fill the air with the nostalgic smell of fresh baked bread.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live near an authentic baker chances are the bread you’re eating today is a far cry from what humans were surviving, thriving and even writing poetry about up until the last century. The reason is quite simply; baking bread is hard, at least the traditional sourdough way. It’s way more of a craft than it is a simple process of measuring the exact ingredients together in a bowl. Real bread and the cultures that make it delicious are a living breathing thing that need coaxing into fruition. Because of this, baking bread at home became less and less realistic as americans began to work more and more and as with any commercialized convenience, big corporation jumped at the chance to pick up the slack and do the work for us. This is where it all went to shit. See, plain sourdough or any bread for that matter only requires a few ingredients, but its the chemistry of these ingredients that make it something to celebrate. You cant live off of flour but you can live off of bread.

 In the beginning all bread was sourdough and was made by letting unbleached flour and water collect bacteria by sitting out in a bowl under a cloth.  Eventually the mixture would collect the appropriate air born microbes required to create the wild yeast cultures. A fermentation process then begins and the various bacteria in the culture raise the acidity levels creating that distinctive tangy taste in baked sourdough as well as improve its resistance to mold and staling. True sourdough is much more nutritious than what most of us consider to be bread today. The unbleached flour and slight fermentation slows down the absorption rate into the blood stream there by giving it a lower glycemic index than the sliced loaves we’re a custom to now a days. This helps keep our insulin levels down by not raising our blood sugar levels so rapidly. The problem with the Wonder Bread brands of today is the use of bleached flour, commercial single strain yeast and added sugar for improved flavor. Wild yeast takes time and is hard to create at mass scale. Commercial yeast on the other hand is much more predictable and can easily be replicated to produces huge quantities in a short period of time in order to satisfy the demands of a carb addicted culture. Unfortunately, the big corporate advertising dollars worked and the majority of americans now picture perfectly cut bleach white slices in a plastic bag when the think of bread. It may satisfy our carb fix but does more harm than good by leaving us calorically rich but nutritionally poor.

How Many Carbs Should I Eat?

Researchers are linking the alarming consumption of processed flour with the rise of gluten intolerance and celiacs disease. My feeling is that bread, in and of its self, made from the best ingredients the old fashioned way absolutely falls into the “sensible indulgence” category. However, the commercialization of it has rendered the stuff harmful to our health and a major reason we are experiencing metabolic epidemics in the developed word. Although we all love it, I would recommend taking a very close look at the source before purchasing any kind.

In his book “Grain Brain” neurologist David Perlmutter, MD rattles our conventional beliefs about the consumption of carbohydrates in general and grains in particular. He reveals clinical evidence linking the over consumption of grains and sugars to dementia, ADHD, chronic headaches, depression and scientifically proves how our mind and body thrive from cholesterol to the contrary. He argues that by simply removing grains from our diet we can undue the majority of the health problems the modern world faces. By eating a diet rich in fats and cholesterol we actually active our “smart genes” and spur the growth of new brain cells at any age. A feat the was widely considered impossible for adults to do until the early 2000s.

I guess what this really boils down to is the understanding of carbohydrate’s effect on the mind and body. Carbs are a tool. What I mean by that is if you are an athlete recovering from an intense training session then sports science points to around 30 grams of carbs as the optimal amount to replenish your glycogen levels post workout especially if you intend to train again that day. For athletes, 200-300 grams of carbohydrates a day from high quality sources like quinoa, yams and sprouted rices are perfectly legit to maintain high levels of performance. However, If you are spending the majority of your day sedentary and /or trying to loose body fat than triple digit daily carb intake will have an extremely different effect on you than the athlete. Inflammation and high triglyceride levels are much more of a threat for this person because their body is in a constant state of “storage mode”.

High carbohydrate consumption combined with extremely low activity levels is a recipe for type II diabetes. A completely unnecessary disease that is the result of the insulin receptors on our muscle dying off causing insulin resistance because there’s no more room in the muscles for all the carbs we’re eating. Since insulin is a storage hormone and needs to put those calories somewhere body fat accumulation is the only other option. Excess glucose in the blood and higher body fat levels begins to cause inflammation int he arteries; a huge biomarker for heart disease. The pancreas can’t keep us with all the insulin demands and eventually burns out. At this point you are now injecting insulin with a syringe and have officially graduated to type II diabetes. A completely preventable epidemic.

How do we know how many carbs to eat then? Let movement dictate consumption. If you think of movement in a continuum with “extremely active” on one end and “coach potato” on the other, dial your daily carb intake to fuel your lifestyle. My opinion is always err on the side of low carb especially if you’re struggling to lose weight or keep it off. Adjusting slightly higher if needed, but never from sugar or refined carbohydrates.

Justin Schollard


How to Bench Press

It’s about time we tackled this one. Although typical readers of a post like this will be guys, I’ll do my best to not exclude the ladies out there interest in some good chest workout tips. Despite all the jokes and cliches there’s just something special about the bench press. You can see it in peoples eyes when they walk into the gym and see that we have a bench press workout on the board. Where as squats and deadlifts are like vegetables, the bench press is desert. Globo gyms know this and is why you’ll see a seemingly endless row of benches upon entry, each designed to target a specific angle as to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the perfect chest. However, to find out where they keep the squat racks in this 20,000 square foot facility you’ll need to ask a trainer who will most likely point you to a quite corner of the mega gym where you can squat alone in peace.

Lets be honest, despite all the evidence pointing to its relatively low functional applicability nothing makes us feel more like a beast than getting our party pump on. When we think of the physical specimens of our time rarely are we commenting on their huge quads or glutes. It’s always chest and shoulders. For this reason, there will always be a huge number of people (mostly guys) looking for “the secrete” to a great chest and shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to bench press as much as anyone and since it’s obviously not going anywhere we might as well learn how to do it right and in the proper proportions. The trap many fall into is prioritizing chest workouts over the rest of the body. If you want bigger pecs fine, just make sure you’re not doing it despite the health of your shoulders.

Arnold Schwarzenegger often wrote about his 2:1 back to chest training ratio. He, who had a monster chest, understood that in order to keep those shoulder in the right place he had to do extra work on his back. The problem is as your chest muscles build they shorten and combined with poor posture roll your shoulder forward limiting your range of motion and causing your body to over compensate for all other movements. This can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain if proportional back training and mobility are overlooked.

Key points to the perfect bench press: 

  • Lie on the bench so that the barbell is about an inch behind your eye line. There’s nothing worse than grinding through a tough rep and smacking the rack on your way up because you’re too close.
  • Once you unrack the barbell lock your arms out in the “set” position directly above your nipple line (no giggling).
  • Before you begin to descend the barbell pull your shoulder blades back and down activating your lats. This serves to stabilize your shoulders as your pecs perform the action of the lift.
  • Once your lats are engaged act as if you’re bending the bar into a horseshoe. In other words, rotate your elbow pits out. This completes the “bracing sequence” and ensures that we’re keeping our pecs the primary movers. If our elbow pits rotate inwards on the other hand then you’re inhibiting your chest causing your shoulders to grind through the movement.

If you find that you are having a difficult time keeping your elbow pits out and lats engaged then it could be that you’re trying to lift too much weight. In that case, drop down in weight and hold yourself to the standards mentioned above. Allow your strength to build proportionally and check your ego at the door. You will not only achieve the great aesthetics for which we all strive, but also the postural and shoulder health that will continue to serve you in your athletic pursuits.


3 things the fittest people in the world do.

 

10384036_789487857772299_2134392239843045686_nWhen it comes to health, fitness, appearance, strength, endurance or any other aspect of exercise it seems like everyone is an expert with no shortage of opinions. Some right, most wrong. Its all too common for the mediocre athlete who most likely surfers from fits and starts to cast judgment on those who have achieved the body they only dream of. We all do it. That moment when we see or read about someone who has unreal strength, flexibility, definition, skill etc. and that little voice bounces from one excuse or another as to why they have it and we don’t. “They’re paid to be fit”, “they just have good genetics”, “He/she looks ripped but I bet they’re not strong”. The list goes on. 5% of the time that may be true, but time and time again I’m reminded of the level of work that goes into transforming oneself physically and Ive noticed a few things over the years that almost everyone who’s reached that level have in common.

  1. They view exercise as something they “get” to do rather than something they “have” to. Is it just coincidence that some of the most in-shape people I’ve ever seen just love working out? Was it the love of movement that got them there, or the results that kept them going? Its a chicken or egg question but when you adopt the mindset that movement is fun and expressing yourself physically is your equivalent to a monk meditating then you may find yourself prioritizing the gym a little more. If you consider what the average american does after they’ve clocked out of work (Netflix and chill?) then its no wonder why so many of us see the gym as a necessary evil rather than a welcomed retreat. This distinction alone is what separates the high physical achievers from the New Years resolutioners yo-yoing throughout the years and always seeming to be getting geared up for their next big run at a getting healthy. If you view an hour at the gym as some how taking away from your life then I would challenge you to examine how much time is spent on non nurturing behavior. For example, binge watching TV, drinking too much alcohol, social media addiction, pointless internet surfing etc. The reality is that like begets like, and the more productive you are in one area of life the more productive you are in all areas. Ask yourself this: Am I where I want to be? If so, great! If not, could you link that back to inconsistency? Chances are yes. So lets make a commitment that is realistic. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can go from 2 workouts a month to 20, but what about 8? Next month 10, then 12. You get the idea. Make it achievable and prove to yourself that you can keep your word. Look for the good in exercise, not the bad. Inject the world with your positive energy and make friends with the gym. Look at the coaches and members as your crew aboard the same ship. Any issues you might have are only as big as you make them and sharing an experience with a room full of like minded individuals can be powerful, if you let it.
  1. They plan ahead. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Don’t let your week just happen to you. Think about everything that might come your way. Its amazing how stress suddenly ceases to rule your life when you’ve anticipated a potential roadblock. For example, you know that it take 45 minutes to commute in the evenings because of traffic so that means you must leave at 5:15 pm in order to make the 6 pm class but you’re STARVING! Luckily, you spent your Sunday preparing for the week and have your favorite protein bar or trail mix in the car waiting for you so that by the time you get to class you’re fueled and ready to go. You can imaging how miserable you’d be if you didn’t anticipate your calorie needs and found yourself feeling fatigued. I’d bet in that moment not going to class seems like a reasonable option and is why I can’t stress enough the importance of preparing yourself for success. Simply bringing water and healthy snacks with you on a daily basis can mean the difference between feeling like working out or feeling like skipping yet another one. Spend the time necessary to make yourself invincible to life’s inevitable surprises and you will find yourself without a good reason to skip a workout.
  1. They keep an open mind. Its humbling whenever an elite member comes to me asking for help on something that in my mind they are actually better at than me. The moment you think you got it all figured out is the moment you stop learning. The endless pursuit of knowledge if the defining factor between the great and the average and the only road to mastery is through voluntary self effort. To be great you must drop preconceived notions about what is bad for your back, what is too much training, too little training, right supplements, wrong supplements etc. Ask, experience and learn for yourself. Obviously I am bias to CrossFit because to me it is the most encompassing full body training program that I’ve come across. However, I’ll be the first to tell you it is not the end all be all. Even Rich Froning, 4 time CrossFit Games champion plays roller hockey and flag football on a regular basis. Don’t be so stuck in your ways that you can’t let yourself try new experiences or ask for help on something. The best athletes in the world have coaches. Not because they can’t train them selves, but because they know two heads are better than one and by simply having a discussion with someone can unlock the next level of their development. Just yesterday we took the SRX staff and members rock climbing. It turned out that 3 of our coaches and one of our members were actually really good and were able to teach the rest of us some basic techniques that showed us immediate improvement. For some members this meant skipping their regularly scheduled workout for something a little more un orthodox but it demonstrated to them how their CrossFit training transferred directly to rock climbing and how rock climbing can help their regular fitness routing. Take any opportunity to learn a new skill. Only after you try it will you see how it applies to areas of your life you otherwise would never have considered.

Bottom line; keep it fun, plan ahead and stay open minded. Once you get your head straight everything else falls into place. Remember, time is going by wether you workout or not. In 10 years there’s nothing you can do about being older, but who you’ll be when that time comes is totally up to you.

Justin Schollard

www.justin-training.com

www.srxcrossfit.com

 


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