-A personal experience with nutrition and exercise-

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Potatoes, Protein. . . and some Low Volume Training

The Lovely Potato

So as a few of you know, I am a true potato fiend. In my opinion, they easily belong in the top 5 foods that a person eats. I am doing a sort of research project on them and what I am finding is really interesting.

...This root being superior to both oat and wheat breads:
"The chairmen, porters, and coalheavers in London, and those unfortunate women who live by prostitution, the strongest men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the British dominions, are said to be the greater part of them from the lowest rank of people in Ireland, who are generally fed with this root. No food can afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution."

Here are some more that I found:
"what the Board of Agriculture mentions as a fact of the greatest importance, that potatoes and water alone, with common salt, can nourish men completely"

"The potato, which in some points of view, may justly be regarded as one of the greatest blessings to our species, is capable of operating the greatest calamities, when it exclusively furnishes the food on which a community is content to exist"

"The small farmers live on potatoes and milk. It is considered that he is a very fortunate man if he has milk for his family. He sells his butter and never uses oatmeal in his house."

It seems that these people were therefore living almost entirely on the potato and supplementing it with skimmed milk. This really makes me question the supposed 'great need for fats' in the diet.

Although this is probably not the 'Optimal' human diet, it shows that with enough calories and nutrients it is highly sustainable for hard working people. While I believe that there is no perfect diet, I have experimented with and witnessed that there are several similar factors to them all.


I have recently increased my protein intake to see what kind of effect it will have on my current condition and recovery abilities. I have been reading up on protein deficiency to see what exactly it is and the symptoms of it.
I found this obvious but unrealized to me: " Protein deficiency is generally caused by lack of total food energy, making it an issue of not getting food in total."

This makes a lot of sense to me as that is why if you see a culture that has a low protein consumption, it is almost always high in starch. Carbohydrates 'spare' protein from being catabolized by the body to produce the much needed glucose (the bodies preferred source of energy). It is important to get your diet free of white sugar and excess fructose to help increase your insulin sensitivity. By doing this you will be able to eat a high starch diet and reap all the benefits with out any of the negatives often associated with 'evil carbs'.

People often talk about the bio-availability [BV] of protein. The problem with this is that the body is an amazing machine and nothing is simple. In studies it was found that "the BV of a protein is related to the amount of protein given. BV is measured at levels below the maintenance level. This means that as protein intake goes up, the BV of that protein goes down. For example, milk protein shows a BV near 100 at intakes of 0.2 g/kg. As protein intake increases to roughly maintenance levels, 0.5 g/kg, BV drops only around 70.[20] Pellet et al., concluded that "biological measures of protein quality conducted at suboptimal levels in either experimental animals or human subjects may overestimate protein value at maintenance levels." As a result, while BV may be important for rating proteins where intake is below requirements, it has little bearing on individuals with protein intakes far above requirements."

It is easy to see that body adapts to what is being put into. The problem is when we make it extremely difficult for the body to maintain homeostasis. That is where health problems quickly arise. So therefore it is important to monitor yourself and your cravings. These will allow you to feed your body with what it wants when it wants it.

New Routine - Starting 4/5/10

So the new routine is a combination of several things I have been reading and discussing with others. I have decided that I need to improve my strength and not get caught up to much with the high volume training that pro's use. It is effective but should only be used only every-once-in-a-while.

*I will am writing it up right now and will post as soon as I finish*

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Current Routine

This is what my current routine looks like:

Monday - Chest & Back

Incline DB Bench Press 6 x 6-8
Flat DB Flys 6 x 8
DB Pullover 6 x 8
Lat Pulldown (Wide Overhand Grip) 6 x 6-8
Cable Row 6 x 8

Tuesday - Shoulder, Bi & Tri

Behind Neck Shoulder Press 6 x 6-8
Lateral DB Raise 6 x 8
Standing BB Curl 6 x 6-8
Incline DB Curl 6 x 8
Lying French Press 6 x 8
Tri Rope Extension 6 x 8

Wednesday - Legs & Lower Back

Leg Extension 6 x 8-10
Front Squat 6 x 6
Romanian Deadlift 4 x 8

Thursday - Chest & Back

Flat Bench Press 6 x 6
Incline DB Flys 6 x 8
Straight Arm Pulldown 6 x 8
Chin Up/Supinated Lat Pulldown 6 x 6
Bent-over Row 6 x 8

Friday - Shoulders, Bi & Tri

DB Shoulder Press 6 x 6-8
Upright Row 6 x 8
Preacher Curl 6 x 6
Concentration Curl 6 x 8
DB Lying French Press 6 x 8
Tri Pushdown 6 x 8

This is what my routine looks like that I have been following for about 5 weeks now. I have increasing each exercise either in reps or in weight each workout. I do a very short rest between sets no more than 1 min. I rest 2 min between exercises. Workouts normally take me about 75 mins.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Re-cap

So this is what my typical lunch looks like. Mind you, this is what I eat after my workouts. In it is 2lbs of white potatoes, 8oz of beef, 1/4 onion, 3 hot peppers, cooked in beef tallow. I normally eat this at 1 o' clock and it keeps me satisfied to about 7 o' clock.

I have been adding calories each week. I am aiming to get to 4500 on training days as that is what has been calculated that I reach to continue to grow. I was previously only eating about 2000 cals each day which is well below even my BMR.

Got a pic of the liver. I decided that each week I am going to be having liver at least once. I will have some of this one one Saturday. I haven't had liver in a very very long time, but I think I enjoyed it. Even if I don't at first, I'm sure the vitamins and minerals will do me well as I am probably deficient in a few.

I am still waiting on the bone broth as I need to get to the meat market for some soup bones and ox tails. I saw that they fresh pork hocks and I wounder if those would be good for making broth. There is also a local place that has goat meat for sale that I might check out.

I am posting a couple of before pictures to document my "bulking" experiment. (The lighting is pretty bad and detail is horrible)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something on the Horizon

Thus far I have still been eating mostly potatoes for carbs and todays workout went really well. It was Chest & Back and I had good energy and intensity. The workout looked like this:

Neutral Grip Incline DB Bench 6x6
Flat DB Flys 6x8
DB Pullover 6x8
Wide Grip Pulldown 6x8
Cable Row 6x8

This may seem like high volume but it is at a very fast pace and I have alot of down time during the day to recover. The other change is that I am planning on really building up my legs and body using 20 rep squats. This is one of the best over all body builders of all time.

I been contemplating and conversing with a couple of people and I have decided to go a little "unorthodox" with the diet. By this I mean compared to what the standard "bodybuilding diet" looks like.

Change 1] I am increasing my kcals much higher than they have been. I have been kind of consciously limiting my calories trying to get leaner. But after a recent discussion I realize that I need to eat some serious food to build more muscle which in turn will burn body fat. I am focusing on maintaining my protein and consuming more energy foods to fuel my body for growth

Change 2 ] I am planning to take creatine monohydrate which I am going to start next week. It has been suggested to me that I should load for 5 days at 30grams a day and then maintain at 5grams a day for 6 months. I am kind of excited to start this as it is the only natural supplement that has ever really been proven to increase muscle mass and strength

Change 3] LIVER & STOCK...I am going to eat a serving of liver once a week at first to build up my vitamin reserve. I am also going to be making bone stock to further increase the amount of vitamins and minerals I consume.

Hopefully with these changes as well as the additional calories will allow me to put on 20 lbs of muscle. I will try and remember to take some before pics to document the whole process.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little Update

It has been a while since I gave a personal update. I have been doing a lot of reading on several blogs and am starting to incorporate some things I have read into my diet.
All this week I have been eating my largest meal which I increased the calories of (160g Carbs 70g Protein) at lunch, which happens to be my post-workout meal. It feels pretty good doing it this way.

I have also been replacing potatoes with white rice at a few meals as I think I am going to switch and have rice as my main starch. I have been reading about how iron can interfere with glucose tolerance and potatoes are fairly high in iron.
I have decided to continue to increase my overall caloric intake. I will be doing this slowly, adding 250 a day, each week.

I found this great little program on one of the bodybuilding sites I frequent. Total Metabolism Forecaster If you go to the last page of this thread you will find the most recent version. It allows you to plug in calories and macros as well as other variables and helps you determine how your metabolism will react to those variables. It seems to be pretty accurate and shows what percent of starvation does to the slowing of your metabolism.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Superior Muscle Growth & Carbs (continued)

Many know that to build muscle, a person must be in caloric excess. But more importantly, most want their muscle gains to be lean.
"Results of this study demonstrate that diet composition can
have important effects on energy expenditure and body energy
storage when subjects are in positive energy balance."[1]
This can be done eating a nutritious diet that is composed of certain levels of macronutrients. I have found what seems to be the best way to gain muscle while either maintaining bodyfat or even losing bodyfat.

There seem to be a lot of misconceptions about carbohydrates. One is that carbohydrates raise insulin and in doing that lipolysis ceases. This is not necessarily the case as I have mentioned in a previous post. Insulin is a very anabolic hormone that is necessary to build muscle.

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the body and the most easily oxidized.
"Thus with carbohydrate overfeeding,
more of the excess energy was oxidized and less stored in the
body than was seen during fat overfeeding."
The next myth that I am challenging is that consuming excess calories in the form of carbohydrates leads to fat gain. Most fat that is stored in the is dietary fat. Dietary fat has a deposit rate of 90%-95% where as carbohydrates have a deposit rate of 75%-85%.
"However, our results demonstrate
that excess carbohydrate affects energy and nutrient balances
differently than does excess fat. We found that for equivalent
amounts of excess energy, fat leads to more body fat accumulation
than does carbohydrate."

One advantage of carbohydrates is that they are deposited in the form of glycogen in the muscle. This is especially the case for starches are they are digested slower in the intestines and therefore do not over load the liver and cause excess de novo lipogenesis (DNL). DNL is the process of converting carbohydrates into fat.
"Although the issue of whether carbohydrate overfeeding
led to de novo lipogenesis in tissues such as the liver cannot
be definitively determined in this study, the calorimetry data
indicate that net lipogenesis from carbohydrate did not occur."

"Other investigators using isotopic techniques have
reported that de novo lipogenesis in human subjects is not a
major way to accumulate body fat stores (28). It may, however,
be slightly higher in hypeninsulinemic obese subjects than in
lean subjects and may depend on the type of carbohydrate in
the diet (29)."

"Though several overfeeding studies showed the presence of de novo lipogenesis during carbohydrate overfeeding [20,37-39], the storage of carbohydrate as fat through de novo lipogenesis is considered a quantitavely negligible process under normal conditions in humans."[2]

So, if overfeeding carbohydrates does not lead to fat gains, what does? The body is constantly seeking homeostasis. When eating a surplus of bodily needs the body should activate adaptive thermogenesis, leading to increased metabolism and decreased hunger. This would be controlled by hormones. What would disrupt the hormones that cause up regulation? I believe that the root of obesity is the excess consumption of fructose and polyunsaturated fatty acids. PUFAs have been shown to suppress the metabolism and fructose leads to insulin and leptin resistance, causing a whole mess of everything.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More to come

I ran into a friend in the gym on Friday that I hadn't seen in a couple months. He complemented me by saying that I was looking really lean. I feel that my low pufa/high starch diet is really working for what I want to achieve.

It's funny, I have some Irish blood in me so that may be why I enjoy potatoes so much. I recently read that prior to the potato famine in the 1850's, the weather in Ireland was perfect for potato growth and that the population just about doubled between 1800 and 1845. During this time, on average, a family of 6 was eating 250lbs. of potato a week! That is just shy of 6 lbs. of potatoes a day per person. This info kinda reassures me in what I am currently doing.

I am on spring break this week so I am reading several books right now. One of them is my great grandfathers Physiology & Hygiene textbook with a copyright of 1889. It is really interesting and insightful to see dietary recommendations of a time when refined foods were not eaten like they are in these days. I will do a little review when I finish it.

The topic of milk has become very much of interest to me. Im thinking about doing a post just about about dairy as it was a staple of certain cultures and still is. I may even do a dietary experiment this summer to see the anabolic effects of dairy proteins & lactose.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Diet Theory - Carbs

After some research I have come to the conclusion that the bulk of the diet should come from starches (amylose). From my readings, nearly all primitive societies had a main starch source as to provide energy. Whether it be grains, potatoes, taro, dasheen. These would be grown, stored and eaten daily. People often think that carbohydrates are energy foods and that they should only be consumed when you are going to be active. This is commonly found on many bodybuilding websites. The simple fact is that people forget about cellular energy (ATP) and that the body is constantly working to maintain homeostasis.

Many people believe that eating carbs stimulates insulin and ceases fat burning. In this study it is found that "When a single high-carbohydrate meal is consumed, dietary CHO merely has the effect of reducing the rate of fat oxidation. These findings challenge the common perception that conversion of CHO to fat is an important pathway for the retention of dietary energy and for the accumulation of body fat."

I feel that it is also important to keep fructose in limited quantities and eaten bound with glucose ie sucrose. I found this study on fructose metabolism interesting: "Dietary fructose in man at the level of 40% of calories in a 3,000-kcal diet causes diarrhea. This is distinct from dietary glucose which can be tolerated at levels of 60-80%. The rat differs from man in this respect in that it can tolerate dietary levels as high as 70% of calories as fructose (2, 3)." With that, it is important to remember when reading other studies with rats that they are able to tolerate fructose better than humans. So unbound fructose could be even more damaging when present in other rat studies and used in the context of humans.

Carbohydrate are also preferable as they average person is able to store 500-1100g in the form of glycogen. When a person eats over there maintenance level and glycogen levels are full, excess will be converted to fat. Carbs have a 30% energy conversion loss while converting to fat. The bonus of this, is that this fat will not be in the form of PUFAs which are important to avoid to maintain a well working metabolism.

I will continue my next posts talking about fats and proteins which are needed to build and maintain a functioning body.