Build Amazing Calves!

calfNot only do amazing calves make your legs look great, but they’re easier to build than you think! You just have to hit them hard. Think about it, every day when you are walking around you are using your calves. You are pushing at least your body weight every time you take a step. Therefore, if you go too light when working your calves, you really aren’t doing anything to increase growth.. In addition, don’t limit to one exercise, perform both standing and seated calf raises. You are certain to get better results that way. Since your calves are made up of 2 different muscles, you have to perform both bent-leg versions as well as the straight-leg versions of calf raises to nail them both. Your calf strength should be proportionate to the strength of your hamstrings or quadriceps. If you have a weak link between your larger leg muscles and the ground, it will limit performance and perhaps cause injury.

What Kind of Stretch Should I do?

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Static stretching exercises are different than dynamic stretching exercises. With dynamic stretching, you use continuous movement throughout the exercise to gain muscle flexibility. With Static stretching a stretch is held in a position for an extended period of time. I recommend “dynamic stretching” prior to exercise and “static stretches for post workouts.

Dynamic stretching exercises are much more effective in “warming” up your muscles and promoting blood flow. By doing so, you prevent injury to those “cold” muscles. During dynamic stretches, the muscles are lengthened and released quickly. That allows your muscles to release effectively, helping you gain more range of movement with each repetition, In addition, dynamic stretches are much more comfortable to do than static stretches because the muscles are not held in one position for an extended period of time. Think about when you try stretching a muscle too long, too far, it’s painful. Unfortunately most people tend over-stretch when doing static stretches to cold muscles. So practice dynamic stretching exercises prior to working out and save the static stretches for cool downs!

HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP ON THE PUSH-UP TEST?

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HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP ON THE PUSH-UP TEST?

 

The push-up is an ancient exercise that’s been used in athletic training, physical education and most notably in military drills around the world for centuries. Although it may seem like a very basic exercise, the push-up requires the enlistment of many muscles not just the two primary movers (chest and triceps). All of your muscles including your core and legs must work together to aid your body throughout the movement while holding your own body weight.  In fact, push-ups increase your metabolic rate due to the fact that a large number of muscles are working together at the same time causing your heart and breathing rate to increase which in turn elevates your metabolic rate contributing to weight loss.

 

The best part about push-ups is they require no equipment and are the perfect bodyweight exercise to do at home. At any point (ie. during commercials, feeling stressed) you can just drop to the floor and bust them out!  Below is an age-based standard guideline. How do you measure up?

 

 MEN  20-29  30-39  40-49  50-59  60+
 Excellent  > 54  > 44 > 39 > 34  > 29
 Good  45-54  35-44  30-39  25-34  20-29
 Average  35-44  24-34  20-29  15-24  10-19
 Poor  20-34  15-24  12-19  8-14  5-9
 Very Poor  < 20  < 15  < 12  < 8  < 5

 

 WOMEN 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >48 >39 >34 >29 >19
Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19
Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4
Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2
Very Poor < 6 < 4 < 3 < 2 < 1

 

**NOTE:  Female push-up tests are based on the modified pushup. The modified pushup is done on the knees rather than on the toes.

 

So maybe you surprised yourself and did amazingly! However, even if you weren’t able to do enough reps to register on the chart, that’s fine! We all begin somewhere! Every day try to “up” yourself by one more rep. Don’t forget as with anything it takes time so don’t beat yourself up. Remember, you are striving to beat your PERSONAL best so regardless of what the chart says or how many reps your buddy can do, focus on you and in no time you will make chart!

 

About the Author:
Donna Dodd is a wife and mother of two. She is a certified Insanity and PiYo instructor in addition to being a Team Beachbody Coach. She currently runs at-home fitness challenges that anyone can participate in regardless of location. For more information on Donna, her classes and her fitness challenge groups follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/positivelydiesel or https://www.facebook.com/donna.dodd.positivity

Pop Goes the Diet—The Worst Food in the World

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 SOURCE: TEAMBEACHBODY.COM

Soda pop… forget about brands; whether it’s Coke, Dr. Pepper, or even Hansen’s Natural, it’s all junk! Soda’s only place in the world is to make people fat, sick, and unhappy.

Alarming statistics

In America, we drink a lot of cola (or “un-cola”). A lot. On average, we each drank 52.4 gallons in 2005, and this figure includes infants, healthy folks, prisoners, etc., meaning that the average soda drinker actually gulps (their word) more than this. Carbonated soft drinks are the biggest single caloric source in the American diet. Teenagers in particular are hooked on the stuff and get an average of 13 percent of their daily calories from “pop.” If this doesn’t scare you, it should. In terms of sheer amount, these statistics could be alarming if it were any one food. A proper diet should have some balance and diversity. And soda pop is the antithesis of “any food.” It’s bad food.

“Empty calories”

We use the term “empty calories” for foods like soda that have no place in a nutritious diet. This term is ridiculously misleading. The calories in soda are far from empty. Most of them come from sugar. In the U.S., it’s nearly always high fructose corn syrup, the cheapest, most processed sugar on the market. Other ingredients include caffeine, various phosphates and acids, and artificial colorings. We’ll get to their effects on the human body in a minute, but first, let’s stick to the simple stuff. Per day, the average teenager consumes between 10 and 15 teaspoons of refined sugar via soda—which, according to government standards, is about their daily requirement for all foods. This means that for the average teenager, his or her soda consumption virtually eliminates his or her chances of eating a balanced diet. There’s nothing empty about that.

Weird science

The soda companies are a marketing juggernaut. They spend roughly $700 million a year on media advertising alone—not to mention hundreds of millions more sponsoring events, athletes, musicians, and such. This volume of cash makes it difficult for consumers to avoid them, by design. To avoid the temptation to drink Coke, you’ve got to be highly principled or living in the middle of the jungle. And even then, well, I once happened upon a soda vending machine halfway up Mount Yarigatake in the Japanese Alps, and a friend traveling in Guatemala found Coke in a rural area that didn’t have running water. Let’s just say that soda companies are going to continue making it easy for you to find the stuff. This type of marketing machine won’t go away quietly. With the stats listed above, you could certainly put two and two together and link soda companies to the childhood (and adult) obesity epidemic that is arguably the world’s most serious health crisis. Yet, while researching this article, I came across a widely published “study” stating that “soft drink consumption has no effect on childhood obesity.” Suspicious from the get-go (the word “no” being a huge red flag), it didn’t take me long to find this statement: “The research paper was supported by an unrestricted gift from the American Beverage Association.” Bingo. Remember those Philip Morris tobacco “studies” that promised a long and healthy life from chain smoking?

What makes it so bad?

Besides the simple caloric trade-off, sodas are formulated to give you a rush. The sugar is mixed with phosphates designed to speed it into your system. It’s so good, in fact, that many cyclists prefer Coca-Cola to specific sports food when they need a sugar rush near the end of races. And while a sugar rush is a good thing when you’re trying to exceed your anaerobic threshold and you’re out of blood glycogen (never mind if you don’t know what this is), it’s a bad thing whenever you’re not, which even for a competitive cyclist is 99.9 percent of the time.

Beyond the simple sugar rush, these acids and phosphates alter your body’s pH levels and inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. Then there are the effects of certain artificial coloring agents. For example, yellow #5, commonly used in soft drinks, has been linked to attention deficit disorder, hives, asthma, and other allergic reactions in some children.

Then there is the nutrient trade-off to consider. A person who drinks one Big Gulp per day must go to great lengths to maintain a balanced diet. Otherwise, he or she will almost certainly be deficient in numerous vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and essential fatty or amino acids—none of which is found in soda. For this reason, soda is often linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, dental erosion, and a higher risk of kidney stones and heart disease. And that’s just a start. There’s plenty of less scientific data linking soda to poor scholastic habits, which we’ll get to in a later class.

Diet sodas and juices

In an attempt to become thought of as healthier, soda companies have diversified into non-carbonated beverages and diet sodas. While these are an improvement in some ways, they are hardly a solution to the problem. First off, most juices and other caloric non-soda alternatives are mainly just sugar and water without the carbonation. A quick label comparison between a commercial orange juice and a Mountain Dew would show a similar “bottom line” with regards to calories and sugar. The only improvement would be the lack of the non-caloric offenders. But that’s no small matter, as the true effects of these ingredients have not been thoroughly studied. Despite their no-calorie status, diet sodas have been linked to assorted illnesses. Recent studies have backed up my more anecdotal evidence that I’ve yet to have a client not lose weight by kicking diet soda. Granted, all of my clients drank an excessive amount, but regardless, there is little doubt that the pH balance of diet sodas hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and that just may be the tip of the non-caloric iceberg.

A large-scale study in 2007 showed that men and women who had more than one diet soda a day were 31 percent more likely to be obese and 25 percent more likely to have both high triglycerides and blood sugar, and they had a 50 percent greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Never mind if you don’t know what metabolic syndrome is. Just trust me when I tell you that you don’t want it.

Are you scared yet? You should be. Or you could just stop drinking soda 😉

Dine Out Without Diving Off Your Diet

When you start to eat healthily, dining out, which was once a bliss-filled, belt-notch-loosening pleasure, becomes a culinary terror.

Servings are Matterhorn-esque in size. Supertankers of soda abound. Fries come with your order whether you want them or not. Nary a veggie can be seen for miles.

We’re here to help.

But please remember that even with our tips, restaurant dining is almost always going to be less healthy than what you can make at home. That said, here are a few pointers:

1. Make smart choices
Almost every menu contains chicken or fish cooked in a healthy way. Look for words like “grilled,” “broiled,” or “steamed,” and avoid “sautéed” and “fried.”

2. Skip the appetizer
By definition, an appetizer is intended to get your appetite going. But when some appetizers contain more than 1,000 calories, that’s not an appetizer—that’s a full meal and more! If you do want an appetizer, ask your table if they’d be willing to split one of the healthier options like a salad, bruschetta, ceviche, or anything that’s light on sauce and heavy on fruits, veggies, or lean protein.

3. Eat a salad
Greens are also a great option, but not all salads are created equal. Stick with salads that don’t contain mayo (in other words, avoid the tuna and chicken salad), and ask for the dressing on the side. This way you can add your tablespoon or two, instead of having your salad drenched in it.

4. Side dishes in your mouth mean sidecars on your thighs
At many restaurants, the “side” is a baked potato, fries, or coleslaw. What does that equal? Unnecessary calories. If you’d like a side, request the salad (dressing on the side), fruit, or steamed veggies, even if you don’t see them as an option.

5. No bread
Don’t eat the bread. Does it taste good? Sure! But instead of eating something because it’s in front of you, swap those empty calories for something you’d actually enjoy.

6. Eat half
Over time, American portion sizes have enlarged to gargantuan sizes. Restaurants often provide you not with one serving of pasta, but with as many as 4 or more. But if you have a hard time not cleaning your plate—after all, the food does taste good—request that the waiter split your order in half before they bring it to the table. That way you can enjoy your dinner as lunch later in the week.

7. No soda
If bread is bad, soda might be worse. That’s because it’s easy to consume massive amounts of calories fast. And don’t even think about going the “diet” route. Those artificial sweeteners aren’t healthy, and they can lead you to crave more sugary substances. Talk about a lose-lose! If you want something other than water, ask for unsweetened iced tea. It’s calorie free, so you can drink as much as you want!

8. Dessert
Really? Really? Granted, some restaurants use restraint, and focus more on unique flavors than on quantity, but if you’re out with friends at the type of place where the dessert has more calories than your meal, and they insist upon ordering it, suggest the table split it. Then take a single bite and put your spoon down. It’s not about denying yourself, but about making smart choices. If you’re still craving something sweet when you get home, enjoy some yogurt and berries or a piece of fruit.

Source: TeamBeachbody.com /  Author: Denis Faye

20 Secrets of Very Fit People by Chalene Johnson


20 Secrets of Very Fit People by Chalene Johnson

Here are a few Turbofied tips. Read these tips, then print and post them so you have them as a daily reminder.

Look at exercise as a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will produce. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!

  1. Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise.
  2. Work to take your exercise to new levels of intensity.
  3. Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 6 or 7 days a week. If some days you exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, even better! If you’re eating right, exercise will fuel your energy level!
  4. Create an exercise schedule the day before instead of leaving it to chance or waiting to “find” the time. If the last three Presidents of the United States can make time to work out every day, you can make time too!
  5. Enjoy contributing to the health of others by having a partner or friends to exercise with, as well as recruiting others who want to feel better and have more energy. Have a neighbor who’s sitting on the porch every morning when you walk by? Ask him or her to join you on your walk!
  6. Avoid monotony by taking up new forms of exercising, or using things that keep you motivated and inspired, like new shoes or great music.
  7. Invest in the right tools—good shoes, a portable MP3 player or iPod®, fitness equipment, a new series of tapes, etc.
  8. Subscribe to fitness magazines to keep focused on health as an overall way of life.
  9. Eat well-balanced meals and remember that excess calories, even if they’re from food that’s fat free and high in protein, will turn to excess weight. No matter what the latest fad diet says, extra calories equal extra weight!
  10. Limit caffeine and exposure to even secondhand smoke.
  11. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often. Water should always be your drink of choice. To kick things up every once in a while, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, or a few berries to liven up the flavor without adding significant calories.
  12. Stick with eating plans you can maintain indefinitely. Remember that no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re consuming too many calories, you’ll never see the muscles that lie beneath layers of fatty tissue.
  13. Keep a daily log of what you’re actually eating. This includes every time you grab a handful of chips here or eat the crust of your kid’s sandwich there, and ALL of your snacking.
  14. Enjoy an occasional (once a week) “unhealthy” treat, but never an unhealthy week or unhealthy vacation.
  15. If your diet is unbalanced, take daily vitamin and mineral supplements for total health.
  16. Don’t compare your body to others’. Instead, work to be your personal best.
  17. Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit, not some number on a scale.
  18. Get adequate amounts of sleep, but remember that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  19. Limit alcohol intake to special occasions.

 

Brown Eggs vs. White Eggs

Brown Eggs vs. White Eggs

Brown eggs are often advertised as a healthier alternative to white eggs. You might be surprised to learn that nutritionally, both brown and white eggs are almost identical in content. The only measurable differences come from the color and breed of the chickens producing the eggs. Other differences include farming practices and grade, but these factors vary for both brown and white eggs. Choosing the healthiest eggs should not be based on color.

Chicken Color

The color of an eggshell is determined by the color of the hen laying the egg. This is very similar to how your eye color and hair color are determined by genetics. Brown eggs come from brown hens and white eggs come from white hens. The color of the yoke inside the shell and the egg white is the same for both brown and white eggs.

Nutrition

The nutritional value of brown and white eggs are almost identical. Both brown and white eggs contain approximately 70 calories per medium sized egg and approximately 7 grams of fat. Both brown and white eggs contain 210 mg of cholesterol and 12 grams of protein. Both white and brown eggs are rich in B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus and choline. The only real nutritional difference is from eggs that come from Aracauna chickens, which are a blueish color and they contain more cholesterol than brown and white eggs

Cost

On average brown eggs are more expensive than white eggs. The higher price tag on brown eggs does not necessarily reflect better quality eggs, rather it is a result of specific breeds of brown hens being higher maintenance than white hens. This occurs because brown hens are larger than white hens and therefore require more food, which translates into a higher cost for consumers.

Consider Grade

More important than buying eggs based on color, is buying eggs based on their grade. Grade A eggs are the highest quality eggs you can buy. Most grocery stores sell only Grade A eggs, but if you are buying your eggs from a local farm, make sure to ask if they are grade A. Lower grades are used commercially for cooking and in places like hospitals and cafeterias. Grade A eggs have a thick shell and are normally shaped, while lower graded eggs have a thin shell or other structural anomalies.

Consider Farming Practices

Another important quality to examine in eggs is how the hens were fed and maintained. The healthiest eggs come from vegetarian fed hens. Hens that are fed a flax seed diet produce eggs with a higher omega-3 fatty acid content.  These eggs also cost more because flax is more expensive to feed hens than other grains. It is also important to buy eggs that are free of antibiotics and growth hormones.

ARTICLE SOURCE: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/brown-eggs-vs-white-eggs.html#b

 

The Great Wasabi Conspiracy!

imageAny one who’s ever eaten sushi in a restaurant, from a sushi bar or even had the nasty stuff you can buy from a supermarket is familiar with the blob of green paste that is served beside it.

This stuff is Wasabi, right?… WRONG! The pasty green stuff that melts the wax in your ears and causes your eyes to water if taken in too large a dose is not Wasabi at all and very few seem to be aware of this. In fact those who do know don’t appear to want the secret to get out, but I’m here to let you in on the truth.

What you are being served on your platter of sushi is in fact a mix of horseradish, mustard, food colouring and artificial flavors that have been reconstituted with water from a powder form. The likelihood of having ever tried the real thing outside of Japan is slim to none.

If you look at the tube of paste or tin of powder that is claimed to be “wasabi” at your local market you’ll find it will likely state on the packaging that it comes from Japan. So how is it that a product made in Japan that claims to be wasabi is in fact a fake? Well, the Japanese export horseradish-based products as ‘wasabi’ because in Japanese, horseradish is known as ‘seiyo’ or ‘western’ wasabi. When horseradish was first introduced to Japan, the Japanese called it ‘seiyo’ wasabi because it’s pungency is similar to wasabi. This is part of the reason why green coloured horseradish is now being exported from Japan under the ‘wasabi’ name. That and it’s easy to pass this stuff off as real to westerners because they don’t know any better.

The plant Wasabia Japonica is in a family that includes mustard, cabbage and horseradish and is sometimes referred to as Japanese Horseradish. Wasabi grows in the the wet banks of Japan ’s cool mountain streams. The plant itself consists of the rhizome or root and clusters of long stemmed heart like leaves. It is the rhizome that is used to make the true wasabi that is traditionally served with sushi and sashimi.

It’s the nature of the plant itself that is at the root (sorry) of the problem. Wasabi is very particular in where it likes to grow and has been extremely difficult to cultivate in North America. Some success has been made in BC as well as the pacific northwest of the United States which are two of the very few places the plant will grow outside of Japan, but by and large it is only available in any quantity to the Japanese market. Another issue is that it can take several years for a single plant to reach maturity. These factors combine to make the cost of real Wasabi at up to $200 per Kg far too high for the average restaurant or sushi lover.

 

SOURCE:  chowtown.wordpress.com

Muscles Remember Past Glory

Muscles Remember Past Glory

 

sciencenewsPumping up is easier for people who have been buff before, and now scientists think they know why — muscles retain a memory of their former fitness even as they wither from lack of use. That memory is stored as DNA-containing nuclei, which proliferate when a muscle is exercised. Contrary to previous thinking, those nuclei aren’t lost when muscles atrophy, researchers report online August 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The extra nuclei form a type of muscle memory that allows the muscle to bounce back quickly when retrained.

The findings suggest that exercise early in life could help fend off frailness in the elderly, and also raise questions about how long doping athletes should be banned from competition, says study leader Kristian Gundersen, a physiologist at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Muscle cells are huge, Gundersen says. And because the cells are so big, more than one nucleus is needed to supply the DNA templates for making large amounts of the proteins that give muscle its strength. Previous research has demonstrated that with exercise, muscle cells get even bigger by merging with stem cells called satellite cells, which are nestled between muscle fiber cells. Researchers had previously thought that when muscles atrophy, the extra nuclei are killed by a cell death program called apoptosis.

In the new study, Gundersen’s team simulated the effect of working out by making a muscle that helps lift the toes work harder in mice. As the muscle worked, the number of nuclei increased, starting on day six. Over the course of 21 days, the hard-working muscle increased the number of nuclei in each fiber cell by about 54 percent. Starting on day nine, the muscle cells also started to plump up. Those results indicate that the nuclei come first and muscle mass is added later.

In another set of experiments, the researchers worked the mice’s muscles for two weeks and then severed nerves leading to the muscle so the tissue would atrophy. As the muscle atrophied, the cells deflated to about 40 percent of their bulked-up size, but the number of nuclei in the cells did not change.

These results contradict previous studies that show lots of cell death in muscles during atrophy. Gunderson’s team examined individual cells in the wasting muscles and found that there is apoptosis going on, but that other cells are dying, not the muscle fibers or their extra nuclei. The extra nuclei stick around for at least three months — a long time for a mouse, which lives a couple of years on average, Gundersen says.

“I don’t know if it lasts forever,” he says, “but it seems to be a very long-lasting effect.” Since the extra nuclei don’t die, they could be poised to make muscle proteins again, providing a type of muscle memory, he says.

“That’s fascinating thinking, and there’s nice proof in this article to support it,” says Bengt Saltin, a muscle physiologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. “It’s really novel and helps to explain descriptive findings that muscles are quick to respond upon further training.”

The study is likely to provoke strong reaction from some researchers, says Lawrence Schwartz, a cell biologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“It does fly in the face of a lot of peer-reviewed, published data,” he says. But the selective death of just some of the nuclei in a muscle cell would require a special kind of apoptosis. “The conventional wisdom doesn’t make much sense from a cell and molecular perspective,” Schwartz says. Gunderson’s group has come up with an explanation that seems more plausible. “Their data just feels right.”

If the results hold up in people, sports agencies may want to reconsider how long they ban athletes suspended for taking steroids. Previous research has shown that testosterone boosts the number of nuclei in muscle cells beyond the amount produced by working out. “If you have nuclei that last forever, then you would also have an advantage that could last forever,” Gundersen says.

Well, maybe not exactly forever. As people age, their ability to build muscle mass declines. The new study suggests that pumping muscles full of nuclei early in life could help stave off muscle loss with age. “This could be an argument for mandatory physical training in schools,” Saltin says.

See Also:

Images: 1) left to right: Nubret, Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrignoca. 1975. Flickr/d_vdm. 2) J.C. Bruusgaard/University of Oslo

Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

Ask the Expert: Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

By Steve Edwards

When it comes to getting fit and healthy, alcohol is one of the first things you’re told to eliminate from your diet. Yet studies regularly show that those who drink live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. So, what’s the deal? Is alcohol a magic potion for a long and healthy life, or is your fitness the only thing it’s going to take the edge off?   The consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the first caveman left some fruit in the sun too long, causing it to ferment (what a crazy night around the fire that was). Since we’ve always had it and, if history is any indication, we always will, we should have a strategy about how to use it.

What is alcohol?

Alcohol starts out healthy enough, as a plant, where it’s the byproduct of the decaying process (fermentation). Although it’s technically a depressant, its effect on the human body manifests as making you feel giddy, powerful, and awesome on the dance floor. And because it’s natural, you know, like tobacco and opium, it’s got to be good, right? Oh, wait. Maybe not. And just like other natural things, the food industry has found unnatural ways to create alcohol that tend to be cheaper and even less healthy. But, I’m nitpicking because ultimately alcohol is alcohol. You’re going to get hammered whether you drink Night Train or single-malt Scotch—although all the chemicals in the rotgut might give you a worse hangover. And for you out there who think you’re beating the system with your Diet Coke® and rum, alcohol has calories. A lot of them. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. (Plus, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine,1 drinking diet soda with alcohol could get you drunk faster.) More importantly, these calories have no food value. That’s right. Nada. Zilch. You’re adding calories to your diet, the only performance enhancing quality of which is to help you brag about yourself down at the pub. The big question people usually ask me is whether or not they should drink alcohol while doing P90X®, INSANITY®, or one of our other boot camp–style programs. When you’re trying to change your body, the crux is making the nutritional switch from high-calorie/low-nutrient foods to low-calorie/high-nutrient foods. Since alcohol is a very high-calorie/no-nutrient food, you can see why it never ranks very high on Michi’s Ladder. Keep in mind that we’re not telling you to abstain from alcohol forever. We’re advising you cut down on it—or completely cut it out—while you’re trying to transform your body.

What about all the studies showing alcohol is good for you?

The lifestyle studies that show up on the wires almost ubiquitously champion alcohol consumption because moderate drinkers always outlive everyone else. In fact, one major study showed that even excessive drinkers lived longer than teetotalers. There is no scientific surface explanation as to why this would be the case, so most experts chalk it up to lifestyle. Those who drink tend to be less stressed about life, in general, and stress is intricately linked to shorter life spans. This is why our nutrition guides also generally give parameters for moderate drinking. If it makes you happy then, by all means, don’t quit. Just learn to be a healthy drinker. But as I said above, when you’re doing one of our programs, the rules of nutrition shift slightly. You’re pushing your body harder, so it behooves you to keep nutrition tiptop. Furthermore, if you can’t go 90 days without a drink, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive substance.

The Dark Side of Drinking

And on that topic, alcohol has a dark side beyond calories. It can easily lead to an excessive path. If you’re a clever writer, you might make a nefarious career out of being a boozer, but it wreaks havoc on most of us. Behavioral issues aside, let’s take a quick look at how alcohol can add up from a dietary perspective. A 12-ounce beer is about 150 or so calories. Ditto a 5-ounce glass of wine. One shot (1.5 oz) of the straight stuff has between 85 and 115 calories, depending on what proof it is. Man Lying on the Floor next to a Glass of LiquidUnfortunately we tend to have more than that one serving. Often a lot more. Those longevity studies give the best numbers to folk who have 1–2 drinks a day, not those taking the Silver Bullet Express to every sporting event on TV. When you pound a twelver during a weekend double-header, you’ve done serious dietary damage. Factor in that in our tendency to offset a drunken state-of-grace with greasy indulgences and it’s easy to see how Monday Night Football® at Cheers might result in unnecessary roughness. And despite the advice you’ll get on Good Morning America®, a quick jog the next day is not going to fight the beer belly you’ll get from those binges. So the short answer here to whether it’s okay to drink when you’re working out is, “Sure. In moderation.” If you don’t already drink, I don’t think you need to start, but if you’re already a drinker, limit your intake and take the occasional time off, especially if you’re into a serious training cycle. Do that, and I’ll raise a glass to you!

Resources:

  1. http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2806%2900182-3/abstract