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Author: Drew

Drew Jamieson is one of Canada's top Strength and Conditioning Coaches and is currently en-route (studying) to become one of this nation's top Naturopathic Physicians. Follow Drew on Twitter @drew_jamieson. Drew is an avid beer drinker.

QnA - Workout at Home with this One Piece of Equipment

Friday QnA with Strength Coach Drew Jamieson

Question: I’m having a hard time getting to the gym these days, if I had to invest in one piece of equipment to workout with at home what would you recommend?

Dale Howes, Maryland

Answer: Believe it or not even without equipment you can get in an amazing full body workout. However by adding a pull-up bar there’s no part of your body you can’t hit.

That would be my “bootstrap budget” suggestion if you’re looking for an easy way to stay fit and lean in the comfort of your own home.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to build some muscle you are going to need something a little heavier than your own body. For this I’ll digress to Tim Ferriss and his experiments in his book the 4-hour body.

He found the one and only piece of equipment he needed was a kettlebell of around 40-50 pounds. By working out 3 times per week for 20-25 minutes performing the kettlebell swing for 75-150 reps total (he worked up over several weeks), he was able to get ripped and pack on muscle. It should also be noted that beside the kettlebell swing he did body weight push ups, pull ups and abdominal work.

If I was strapped for cash (which I am, being a student) and wanted a makeshift gym for my house I’d invest in 2 things: a kettlebell and pull up bar. With those 2 pieces of equipment you can train for virtually anything.

Not sold on kettlebells and pullup bars… try this body-weight program designed by my good buddies Adam Steer and Ryan Murdock.

Question: My girlfriend really wants me to do this 10 day cleanse with her. I read that Sean did one a few weeks back… Will I lose muscle during the process? Is there an easy cleanse or detox for beginners?

Mich Salesbury, Andover, MA

kettlebell home workoutAnswer: With so many detox options out there these days i feel your pain when trying to decide which one will serve you best.

10 days seems to be a common factor among detoxes and they can often be quite costly. It will be a strong test of willpower, as not eating for that length of time is a challenge mentally and physically.

My suggestion would be start with a 2-3 day master cleanse detox or a 2-3 day juice fast. The reason is this- I would prefer to start with an achievable goal (2-3 days) before setting the bar high at 10 days, especially if you are a beginner and have not had any experience with detoxing in the past.

Once you know what it is like to go without food for a couple of days you will have a better understanding when you shoot for the full 10.

The master cleanse is very popular in the detox world and involves 8-12 (8 ounce glasses of water) with each glass containing 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp of pure maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It’s also suggested that you take a herbal laxative tea before bedtime and first thing in the morning to keep things moving with the lack of food you will be consuming.

The juice fast option is the one I prefer, ensures you still give the body a break but also provides all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. This protocol comes from one of my favorite strength coaches- Chad Waterbury where he says to drink the following concoction 3-4 times per day: 2 carrots, 1-2 celery stalks, 1-2 beets, 1 large cucumber. Juice those all together and throw in a pinch of salt.

Back to your original question on losing muscle over the course of 10 days…

It’s hard for me to flat out say no. The weight you lose during 10 days without eating will contain some muscle, as protein is essential and will be needed by your body at some point. However if you don’t make a habit out of detoxing all the time and continue to train with weights the effect will be negligible and your body will thank you.

Great questions, keep them coming.

Stay Strong,


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QnA: Rowing Machine vs Treadmill and Carb Cycling

Friday QnA with Strength Coach Drew Jamieson

Question: A buddy keeps telling me to carb cycle. Says I should only be eating carbs on days I workout to avoid getting fat and gain muscle. What is he talking about?

Jim Salter, Cleveland, Ohio

Carb CyclingAnswer: Carb cycling is a fancy term for tapering back carbs on certain days of the week and then consuming lots on other days to help maximize fat burning and muscle building.

While I agree that consuming more carbs on days you workout is a good idea this will come naturally if you follow the guidelines laid out in the 3BG System. During your pre and post workout window you are consuming carbs that you normally wouldn’t be eating on your off days because you aren’t hitting the gym.

In a way the 3BG System has some carb cycling built in, albeit a very basic and dummed down version.

Carb cycling has proven very useful for bodybuilders and figure athletes that are looking to get rid or the last 5-10 pounds. It’s a very analytic approach to getting your measurements and body fat exactly where you want them.

Having said that, for a beginner who’s looking to put on some muscle, gain strength and lose fat, tinkering with exact numbers, calories and percentages of your macro-nutrients would not be a good use of time. Carb cycling is tailored more for intermediate and advanced athletes that have been serious about working out for at least 2 years.

In summary: Eat good whole foods with a balance of carbs, fats and proteins and hit the gym hard with compound multi-joint exercises. Develop a solid consistency and show commitment to a plan that helps improve your physique. Then when you are ready to take things to the next level we can talk numbers.


Question: Rowing machine or treadmill? What’s the best for total body fat loss?

Fred Muse, Freeport, Maine

Rowing machine vs treadmillAnswer: When it comes to cardio you always want to look at total body involvement when possible. Unless you need to train a specific movement that is directly related to your sport (a sprinter would have no business rowing or swimming for example when he should be running) you should look at getting the best bang for your time- this is found by incorporating your whole body and movements with full range of motion when you train cardio.

This means that although jogging is a nice challenge for your legs, it doesn’t do much to involve your upper body.

Rowing is a better hybrid of upper and lower body movements and with the right tension and intensity I would put it ahead of a slow boring jog.

However, if you really want a good cardio workout you’ll involve both upper and lower forms of exercise that are both; fast and challenging. Things like explosive push ups, jumping jacks, burpees, shadowing boxing, swimming, rowing, medicine ball slams, medicine ball throws, and mountain climbers are all great full body cardio exercises that offer an intense challenge along with a total body effect.

The reason these are better is they give you an after-burn effect which allows you to burn fat hours after you have stopped working out. Movements like these also teach you to be more athletic, not to mention are more enjoyable (mentally at least) than a boring, monotonous steady form of cardio.

Instead of jogging on the treadmill, here’s a quick workout you can do:

Pick 2 to 3 of the above exercises and repeat each in a circuit for 20-40 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Rest briefly between each exercise and complete 2-4 rounds, totaling approximately 10-15 minutes of work combined with the minor rest periods.

Even though this workout will take you a third of the time you would normally spend running on the treadmill, you’ll burn more fat, challenge your heart and save a ton time. Sounds good to me.


The questions, as always, were great again this week. Looking forward to it next Friday.

Stay Strong,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

March 9, 2012 Posted by Drew in Body

Post Workout Muscle Soreness and the Best Total Body Exercise

Question: I started working out yesterday for the first time in awhile and today I can barely move. What’s going on and should I even think about working out again?

Rafael Eduardo, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Post Workout Muscle SorenessRafael, great question. Post workout muscle soreness is a normal and natural reaction following a workout or athletic event. It is your body’s way of saying, “Hey I need protein and carbs to repair all this micro tearing”.

Proper nutrition combined with rest allow your muscles to repair and rebuild, coming back bigger, stronger and better than before.

Every person is a little different but usually between 24 to 48 hours after exercise you begin to experience muscle soreness and discomfort known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.

However, it is important to be able to distinguish pain from discomfort. DOMS is typical post workout discomfort that is OK. But if you are experiencing pinching, sharp or tingling types of pain or sensations… this is not a normal post workout reaction and should always be run by your doctor.

I strongly suggest never training the same muscle group on back to back days but even if you waited 48 hours and especially if you’re a beginner (or back in the gym after time off), it is not uncommon to experience some post workout discomfort. As long as you give it 48 hours of active rest between training muscle groups, you are likely OK to hit them up again.

To get over the soreness try this simple technique;

On the days between weight training it’s helpful to walk, do gentle bike riding or even body-weight exercises to flush the area with blood and enhance waste removal and the healing process.

In summary: DOMS is a perfectly normal result of exercising and giving a muscle group 48+ hours of active rest is always the best idea. Make sure you are able to distinguish between pain and discomfort (this comes with time) and although very tempting… avoid laying on the couch all day following a workout (even a slow walk around the block the following day will help reduce the soreness).

Question: What’s the best total body exercise?

Steve, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Best total body exerciseIt’s a toss up for the the best total body exercise (exercise that has multiple joint involvement) between the Olympic Clean and Jerk and the Snatch.

I’m guessing most of you are not competing in the upcoming England Summer Olympics so we might not need to take it that far. Don’t get me wrong these are 2 of the best exercises to develop total body strength, power and muscle but they come with a caveat- they are highly technical. So technical in fact that I would urge anyone who wants to incorporate these lifts into their exercise programs to find a good qualified Olympic strength coach.

Having said that I’ve found some nice alternatives that meet in the middle between technical requirements and total body benefit.

If I had to pick one exercise I would go with the One Arm Dumbbell Clean and Press. It is a very explosive movement that will hit every muscle in the body (except the Pec) and ramps up your nervous system and heart rate like no other.

As far as total body fat burning and muscle building go- it is highly effective. It is still important to note that there is proper technique and timing required to perform this movement but it is much safer and less risky than Olympic lifts. Master this movement before moving onto the Clean and Jerk or the Snatch (who named these things anyhow?).

Great questions. Keep em coming.

Stay Strong,


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Are Abs are made in the kitchen?

Question: @DavidZinczenko (Men’s Health Editor) tweeted the other day, “Abs are made in the Kitchen, not in the gym.” This true?

Henrique Adventa, Los Angeles, California

Are Abs made in the kitchen?Answer: Henrique thanks for the great question. Let me start off by first saying that I also follow Zinczenko and have always appreciated the information he has provided readers, notably in the ever popular Abs Diet.

Any qualified coach you ask will not deny the fact nutrition plays a huge role in an athletes recovery, performance and yes- even their abs. Whether or not it’s 70, 80 or 90% of your results, we all agree it is high and often underestimated by people.

The right nutrients at the right time of day will tell your body to either burn fat or build muscle. Your job in the kitchen comes down to nutrient timing. More specifically, at what times of day your body needs what kinds of nutrients (fancy word for food components; ie. carbohydrates, proteins and fats).

Before you get the timing down, you need to know what the right nutrients are… and the right nutrients differ depending on your goal. Do you want to burn fat, build muscle or get stronger?

The foods you put in your body will dictate what hormones are released. Your hormones then assist in telling your body to either burn fat or store food calories in your muscle tissue (or your fat cells).

Each persons nutritional plan can be customized to the fit his or her needs based on current body fat and muscle content. Below I’ll highlight some simple techniques proven useful for people trying to lose fat or gain muscle.

For Fat Loss and Abs:

  • Minimal carbohydrates during main meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stick to meals composed of protein, healthy fats and vegetables which helps to minimize insulin production and prevent fat storage.
  • Medium dose of carbohydrates before an after your workout. Whey protein powder and a fast acting carbs/sugars like a banana or a small handful of raisins before and after a workout.
  • Total daily calorie estimate = Body-weight x 12. Example- 175 pounds x 12 = 2100 calories.

For Muscle Gain:

  • Carbohydrates, fat and protein with each meal to maximize insulin production driving calories into your muscles.
  • Pre and post workout nutrition protocol same as above.
  • Total daily calorie estimate = Body-weight x 15-16.

I cannot stress enough the calorie totals mean nothing if you aren’t getting the quality and the source of the nutrient content right in the first place. You need to master eating whole, unprocessed, natural foods before stressing about the amounts.

And Yes (after that major side track) getting back to your first question- abs are made and/or lost in the kitchen.

Question: Is it dangerous for me to run and train in the cold?

Michel Baptiste, Montreal, Quebec

running in cold weatherAnswer: Growing up in the mild lower mainland of beautiful British Columbia, thankfully I never had to train in really cold temperatures. That being said I do remember (like it was yesterday) a few very damp and wet early morning Football practices where the temperature hovered around freezing. The coach made sure we went through a good warm up prior to getting into anything too strenuous and we were fine. Then again, we were young and invincible back then and cold weather didn’t really phase us.

Regardless, provided you get in a good warm up, don’t begin the run or activity with a cold body and avoid extreme cold (minus 15-20 C or lower minus -4-5 F) temperatures- you should be fine.

There are a lot of myths associated with cold air training and how it can be potentially damaging to your lungs and oxygen supply in the body. Sure it might tingle a little when cold out but your lungs certainly can’t freeze or become damaged. Unless you plan on training atop mount Everest where you’d easily develop a narrowing of the airway known as exercise-induced asthma, exercising in cold air is OK.

Instead of worrying about your interiors you should focus on your exterior limbs such as feet toes, hands, fingers and of course- the family jewels. These exterior appendages are far from the center of your body where most of your heat is kept and will be the first place to experience the cold and drop in temperature.

To stay comfortable and safe in frigid weather wear a microfiber shirt as a first layer followed by a breathable windbreaker, tuque (Canadian version of a beanie or cap), gloves or mittens. Also make sure to run with the wind at your back when possible in cold temperatures to prevent excess sweating, since sweating when its cold will only make matters worse by causing you to lose more body heat.

Great questions this week guys. Keep them coming and I’ll do my best to answer them…

Stay Strong,


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Post Workout Beer - Does a Body Good

Todays questions were a perfect way to introduce our new Friday Q and A. Keep them coming and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Question: Is beer really a good post workout beverage?

Jeremy Miller, Steamboat, Colorado

Post Workout BeerAnswer: Believe it or not scientists say a beer after a strenuous workout can be good for the body. Beer has been shown in studies to rehydrate better than water can. The carbonation in beer helps quench thirst while the carbohydrate content helps to replenish calories burnt while working out.

My strength and conditioning mentor used to train a guy who drank a considerable amount of beer- mostly post workout. Acknowledging that he was maybe drinking a little too much they gradually tried to ease back his beer intake and noticed that he had more and more trouble recovering from workouts. He was even experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness more often than he used to.

They eventually made the connection that a large part of his calorie and carbohydrate intake he’d been getting from beer post workout was no longer going into his muscles and was hindering his recovery. As a result he needed to re-introduce good foods to make up the missing calories and replenish his energy stores.

A cardiologist who has worked with professional basketball teams suggests that beer has the perfect post workout make up, adding that he has long recommended the use of barley drinks to professional athletes following exercise.

Another study demonstrated when 2 groups of athletes were put through the same rigorous workout and half were given water and half beer, those who drank brewskis re-hydrated better.

While some argue beer has such a powerful diuretic effect due to the alcohol drinking only one after a workout doesn’t contain enough to cause any notable water loss.

Regardless, it always comes back to moderation. Having a beer after a good hard workout is beneficial and not a problem. 3 or 4- you’d be over doing it. Just to play it safe be sure to follow up with a glass of water!

Question: What’s the difference between white and brown rice?

Albert Yew, Wichita, Kansas

white rice vs brown riceAnswer: Both brown and white rice have very similar calorie contents at 4 calories per gram. The main difference lies in the processing and nutrient content.

White rice has the husk bran and germ removed leaving nothing but the starchy center. In the refining process several vitamins and minerals are lost such as b vitamins and iron.

And losing the bran isn’t that great since it has been shown to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol in blood- improving cardiovascular health.

Sometimes these nutrients are re-added to highly processed white rice but it’s never quite as good as the real thing. A very important mineral usually not added back to refined rice is magnesium which is essential in muscle relaxation. (Quick side tip: If you ever experience muscle spams or cramps, first check that your hydration levels are up to par and secondly your magnesium intake)

It is tough to argue against white rice considering over half the world lives on it but much like any grain- the more you strip it down and refine it the less nutrition it will yield.

So, sure you can live on white rice as it provides the same amount of energy as brown rice but you certainly won’t thrive on it because you’ll be losing out on all the b-vitamins, iron, magnesium, trace fatty acids and fiber.

Go for brown if you have the option.

Albert and Jeremy, thanks for some great questions and as always keep them coming.

Stay Strong,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

The Supplement Puzzle- Part III

Beer Belly Greens

I’m back this week with the final installment of the supplement puzzle. In case you missed either of the first two you can check them out here: The Supplement Puzzle- Part I and Part II where I outlined the importance of protein powder, creatine, omega 3 oils and multi vitamins.

Today I will introduce you to 2 more supplements I have found to be very useful over the years. Let’s get right to it:

First up: Green Powders

Health thrives in a neutral or slightly basic environment within the body. The problem is the average diet contains a lot of acid forming foods. As a result people carry an excessive acid load or low pH level (for all you chemists) in their bodies and digestive tracts.

The body has plenty of mechanisms in place to buffer this acid load and bring it back to balance but it comes at a cost. Calcium from bones and amino acids from muscles are used to buffer (bring back to normal or neutralize) the acidic environment.

The easiest way to counter balance an acidic environment is to eat high alkaline producing (basic) foods such as fruits and vegetables. This way you provide a buffer from the foods you eat and you do not rob your body of precious elements.

Your mom has likely told you a thousand times before to, “Eat your vegetables!” and it is no secret that green foods (vegetables) are really good for you. Understandably it is not always practical to steam up broccoli or carry around a bag of spinach when you need it. Having greens available in powder form can come in handy and help improve your overall health as they are ranked among the highest alkaline forming foods.

What are they and what do they do?

Green powders that you might come across in various health food stores are basically ground up green vegetables, roots, seaweeds and digestive enzymes that are aimed at helping to control the acid base balance in your body. Eating the high quality proteins we suggest in the 3BG System offers many benefits but at the same time can come with an increased acid load to your system.

Fruits, greens and vegetables, all help to stabilize your acid base balance because of their alkaline (basic) nature and in doing so promote a healthier body environment.

Best sources of alkaline foods in your diet:

Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumber, Garlic, Onions, Green beans, Apple, Avocado, Dried fruits, Lemon, Lime, Berries (except for Blueberries), Cherries, Apricot, Peppers, Mushrooms, Lettuce.

The list could go on and on but those are some of the main alkaline producing foods in a North American Diet.

The take away message here is simple- include alkaline producing foods in your diet to buffer the acidic environment created from eating chicken, beef, fish, legumes, oils and dairy.

Of course when convenience is an issue you can always add a green supplement to your diet. We like Greens+ and Sun Warrior Ormus Supergreens.

Next up: Branched-Chain Amino Acids

When you eat a complete protein source (beef, chicken, fish, protein powder, dairy, etc…) you get ALL 20 amino acids (fancy word for the building blocks that make up protein). This is a good thing because when your body is synthesizing new tissues, as in growing hair or nails, it is impossible for us to know which specific amino acids it needs to do so. It is therefore smart to supply your body with all 20 of the amino acids for the various reactions that take place. A protein source is considered incomplete if it does not provide all 20 amino acids.

Now, 9 of those 20 amino acids are essential- meaning, we must get them from our diet. And 3 of those essential amino acids are called branched-chain amino acids. These 3 are preferred by your body when building muscle and serve 2 very important purposes:

1. While trying to put on lean body weight (muscle) they help speed up the process.

2. While trying to lose weight they help preserve muscle and ensure your weight loss is all fat.

Depending on your body weight your dose will differ:

100-150 pounds 2-4 grams per serving (pre workout)
150-200 pounds 4-5 grams
200-250 pounds 5-7 grams
250-+ pounds 6-8 grams

The boys at Prograde have a great BCAA supplement.

Branched-chain amino acids have even been used by some as a snack between meals on workout days to ensure lean muscle growth. A mid morning or afternoon snack could include an apple and 4-5 grams of branched chain amino acids. The protein will help stabilize blood sugar levels, prevent energy crash and supply muscles with the right amino acids and building blocks.

Anytime you are trying burn fat and maintain lean muscle mass this can be a very useful component to the formula.

In risk of sounding like a broken record, supplements are in no way, shape or form a substitute for a poor diet. They should be used as an ally to help meet all your daily needs and requirements.

Stay Strong,


PS. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to shoot me an email or talk to us over on our Facebook fanpage. We love hearing your feedback, frustrations, successes and stories.

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The Supplement Puzzle- Part II

Beer Belly Brain Omega 3
As promised, I’m back at it this week with Part II of the supplement puzzle. In case you missed it- be sure to check out Part I where I outlined the importance of protein powder and creatine and if you’re interested in green powders and branched chain amino acids click here for Part III of the supplement puzzle.

First up: Omega 3 Oils

What are they?

Omega 3 oils are essential unsaturated fatty acids that cannot be created within your body. They are extremely vital for normal metabolism, brain function and numerous other processes. Since you cannot produce these oils in house you have to acquire them through proper nutrition and/or supplementation.

I’ve talked to several coaches and nutritionists over the years that even go as far as saying, “If you could only take one supplement for the rest of your life, make it an omega 3 supplement”.

Yes, they are that important.

What do they do?

The health benefits of Omega 3s are vast. A high quality dose of Omega 3 oils has been shown to:

1. improve heart function
2. increase concentration, learning and memory
3. improve joint health by fighting inflammation
4. improve blood lipid profiles
5. improve immune function

When most people think of omega 3 oils they automatically think of “fish oil”. Fish oil is only one of the available sources of omega 3 oils. Due to contamination of our water systems and increased mercury load found in fish these days, there has been research pointing towards krill oil as being one of the best and cleanest forms of Omega 3 supplementation on the market.

Best sources of omega 3 oils from the foods we eat:

1. Flaxseeds (1 Tbsp of oil has 7g of omega 3s)
2. Salmon (3oz serving gives you 2-3 grams of omega 3s)
3. Walnuts (1/4 cup or handful is 2-3 grams of omega 3s)
4. Halibut (3oz gives you 1-1.5 grams of omega 3s)
5. Sardines (2oz gives you 1-1.5 grams of omega 3s)

How much do I need each day?

100-150 pounds: 6 grams
150-200: 8 grams
200-250: 10 grams
250+: 12 grams

Reading this and doing a little calculation in your head, you are probably thinking it might be hard to hit the recommended amounts by eating food alone. And unless you are eating fish and walnuts several times per day- you’re right. This is where a high quality Omega 3 supplement can come in handy.

I cannot stress enough the importance of quality over quantity when choosing an Omega 3 supplement. When selecting an Omega 3 make sure you read the label and buy one that has a high DHA and EPA content. Some of the cheaper bottles give the impression that you are getting more for your money but end up being a much less potent version. You then end up having to take more and more capsules to hit your daily target limit.

An omega 3 oil I like is Prograde EFA Icon

Next up: Multivitamins

I had a funny but recurring question about multivitamins the other day. My buddy asked if he really needed to keep taking a multivitamin. He then went on to tell me that he didn’t feel any different from it and all he noticed was the increased color of his, “Worlds most expensive pee”.

The reason I thought this was funny and I’m sure most can relate is because all of us at one point in our lives have experienced the neon pee effect you get when taking a multivitamin. It would seem as though your hard earned money is going directly down the drain (pardon the pun).

And thus full circle back to my buddy’s question- “Do we really need a multivitamin and if so what is the best kind?”

What are they?

Multivitamins are a mish-mash of vitamins and minerals that are essential for metabolism and proper body function. You normally obtain these vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat because much like essential oils, your body does not produce enough of them for proper functioning.

In a perfect world everyone would eat the way the body was designed to eat (as outlined in the 3BG System) and get their vitamins and minerals from food. However with busy schedules and poor food choices people are turning towards multivitamins for basic nutrition coverage. It is my recommendation people clean up their diets and focus on proper nutrition before popping a multivitamin. The right multivitamin should be a compliment to a well balanced diet and not a replacement.

What do multivitamins do?

Vitamins and minerals aid in various functions of the body; such as the formation of new cells and keeping your immune system and metabolism strong.

In many circumstances in this world; too much of a good thing can be bad. Therefore it is important not to ingest too many vitamins and minerals. Your urine changes color because B and C vitamins are water soluble and any extra you take in is then eliminated and excreted down the drain. However, vitamins like A, D and E are fat soluble and can be much harder to eliminate from your system leading to the potential build up of toxic levels if you are not careful.

How much to take?

Only ever take the recommended dose as indicated on the side of the bottle. Prograde nutrition carries an excellent Multi for men.

Hopefully today I’ve helped to clarify a few more things with regards to proper supplementation. Remember, when it comes to omega 3′s, multivitamins and supplements in general always go for quality over quantity and do not use them as a substitution for a healthy eating plan. They are to be used in addition to and not in substitute for.

Keep an eye out next week where I’ll bring you the third installment of the supplement puzzle. I’ll look into Green powders and Branch Chained Amino acids

Stay Strong,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

The Supplement Puzzle- Part I

What is staring back at you when you walk into a supplement store? Most likely a huge wall of pills and powders that promise to blast fat, pack on dense ripped muscle and add a little boost to your performance in the bedroom. What is kept from you is all those supplements that look like they come from different companies and manufactures could actually be the same stuff from the same place re-branded with unique stickers, logos and advertising.

The right kind of supplements can improve your heart function, strengthen your immune system, reduce your beer belly and when used pre and post workout- help you recover faster. However, the wrong ones can be a complete waste of money or worse yet- potentially harmful to your health.

A recent survey found that 7 out of 10 people take supplements on a regular basis and that most of them get advice on what to take from a friend. If you have been taking supplements because someone told you to or you saw it in a muscle magazine you definitely need to read this review. With a little knowledge from someone who knows a thing or two about proper supplementation; you will waste less money, save time and reap bigger rewards.

In this 3 part series (click here for Part II and/or Part III) I’m going to outline 6 (not 16) supplements that are actually worth taking. Part I will focus on protein powders and creatine monohydrate.

First up: Protein Powder

What is it?

Powdered version of protein that mixes with water or your favorite beverage for quick energy on the go or an easy workout shake.

What does it do?

Protein is an essential component for most things in your body from skin, nails, hair, muscles, metabolism, healing, tissue repair, etc… Protein also helps to burn calories as your body uses more energy when digesting or breaking down proteins. It will therefore keep your metabolism running strong. Having protein with every meal or snack prevents over eating and keeps you full longer. This is a huge benefit to not only losing weight, but gaining muscle as most of the calories you burn will be coming from the right place- your fat stores.

Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing the release of glucose (sugar) into your blood. This will better control hunger spikes and keep the hormone insulin from rising which promotes fat burning over fat storage.

Best brands?

Ideally, the majority of your protein intake will come from whole foods. There are times when eating chicken or steak isn’t the most convenient and a high quality protein powder can come in very handy. They taste great and are easily portable.

People generally respond well to protein powders however finding the right one for you can make all the difference. It’s important to mention that some people have difficulty digesting certain forms of protein and you might have to try a few before you find the right one. Two protein powders we highly recommend are Prograde Protein® and Sun Warrior Protein®. They are both very affordable, taste great and mix well.

Having protein powder available to you for the odd morning smoothie and for post workout nutrition will help you meet your protein requirements. When selecting a protein powder, whey isolate and casein are the best. However, if those do not agree with your digestive system there are other options available in powder form like; rice and hemp.

How much to take?

Before and After a workout:

100-140 pounds: 0.5 – 0.75 scoop of protein powder
140-180 pounds: 1 scoop of protein powder
180-230+ pounds: 1.5 scoops protein powder

Next up: Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?

Creatine exists in your body naturally, is formed from amino acids (proteins) and is stored as creatine phosphate (CP). Most people have approximately 120 grams of creatine in their body at any given time. Aside from being found in you, creatine is found in many foods we eat such as; beef, salmon and tuna which all contain 2-5 grams of creatine per pound. Needless to say, you would have to eat an AWFUL lot of steak to get 5 grams of creatine and fortunately there is an easier way.

What does it do?

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the energy of life and any action we do requires us to use ATP. During short bursts of activity like sprinting or weight lifting, ATP is burned rapidly and broken down into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). As ATP depletes to ADP, creatine phosphate can be utilized by the body to recharge ADP and turn it back into ATP- providing more energy to be used.

By ingesting creatine monohydrate prior to or during your workout you have a bigger pool circulating for your body to pull from. Therefore, when sprinting fast or lifting weights- you can perform more work, which translates to faster gains (more muscle and less fat).

As if that is not cool enough- creatine is shown to prevent muscle wasting and is even touted as a “smart supplement”, increasing mental acuity. Doctors have been using creatine to combat various muscle wasting diseases for years now.

What does the research say?

The research supports that creatine monohydrate increases muscle mass while decreasing fat mass. It is a safe and effective supplement. When taken in low doses there is no danger to the kidneys in a healthy adult, although some sources do recommend taking time off allowing the system a chance to reset. Minimal effects in muscle gain are seen in endurance athletes such as runners and swimmers but recovery time has improved.

How much to take?

Pre workout: 3-5 grams
Post Workout: 3-5 grams

Click here for an excellent creatine product that is very affordable.

Stay tuned next week for part II where I outline the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids and whether or not you really need a multivitamin.

Stay Strong,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

August 26, 2011 Posted by Drew in Body

How to Get Rid of "Beer" Belly Fat

When you ask people what they associate beer with you get a mixed bitter-sweet response. On one hand it reminds people of the amazing taste that water, barley, yeast and hops make when they come together and hit your lips. And on the other hand they think of the dreaded beer belly, beer gut and belly fat associated with drinking beer.

For the record- I have and always will drink beer. Regardless of the reputation floating around that beer is bad and will make you fat, I know from experience and my clients experiences that it is possible to drink beer and still lose the beer gut, beer belly and belly fat. I’ve seen countless people lose fat, get stronger and still enjoy the wonderful taste of beer.

The reason it worked for these people (and can work for you) is because they adopted an attitude we call the “Earn Your Beer” mentality. The mentality states that if you want to enjoy beer guilt free and never worry about how it might expand your waistline, you have to EARN it.

Start implementing the following steps and you’ll be on your way to Earning Your Beer and torching off the “beer” belly fat from your midsection.

1. Beer Intake Control- The Beauty of Moderation

Depending on what kind of beer you drink the calories per bottle vary. Light beers range from 65-100 calories per bottle while a standard bottle of beer has around 150 calories.

Moderation is key. If you want to enjoy beer you must consume no more than 2 in a 24 hour period and keep it to under 5-7 drinks total per week. In moderate amounts beer has even been shown to be good for your heart and reduced the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

When in doubt choose darker beers. They are often more rich, contain anti-oxidants and are more nutrient dense. This in turn will fill you up faster so you’ll avoid over drinking.

The real culprit is the food you eat while you enjoy your beer. Fried, fatty and salty foods are the worst offenders and can do much more damage than 2 beers ever could. Don’t let the enjoyment of beer turn into a days worth of calories all in one sitting.

2. What to eat and your new shopping list

Beer bellies should really be called the sugar belly or the processed carb belly. If you truly want to get rid of that beer belly you must take nutrition seriously and look at getting all the fast convenient processed foods out of your kitchen. There are so many misconceptions out there regarding which foods are good for you and which ones are bad.

Typical foods that people think are OK to eat but are low in nutrients are:

  • Breads, pastas, white rice.
  • Boxed cereals even if they are whole grain or fortified they are low in nutrients.
  • Slim or diet shakes.
  • Prepackaged microwavable TV dinners.
  • Ketchup, BBQ sauce, & most common condiments.
  • Rice cakes, crackers and cookies.
  • Salad with Creamy Dressings.
    The easiest way to avoid pre-packaged, processed and refined foods is to shop around the outside of a supermarket and avoid going down the middle aisles. Sticking to the perimeter of the store guarantees that you will hit mostly fresh foods that come with an expiry date. The goal is to remove clutter from your shopping cart, kitchen and body.

    The shopping list that follows has been stripped down to the basics. Strive to eat good quality food that is nutrient dense and works with your body rather than against it. The following foods will keep you energized, lean, strong and keep the fat off your belly effortlessly.

    Items for your cupboards or pantry

  • Potatoes (red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, the occasional white)
  • Sugar free oatmeal (steel cut oats)
  • Quinoa
  • Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia, pecans, etc…)
  • All natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil (for salads)
  • Coconut oil (for cooking or stir frying at high temp)
  • Vinegar (white, red, balsamic)
  • Green tea, black teas, herbals teas, organic coffee (black)
  • Spices (various)
  • Kidney beans, Black beans
    Items for your refrigerator or freezer

  • Vegetables (all kinds)
  • Fruit (all kinds)
  • Lean meat (cow, bison, buffalo)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Deep water shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (No sugar added)
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese

    3. How and when to eat carbs

    Burning fat from your midsection depends on your body’s ability to regulate cortisol and insulin. If you have chronic high levels of both you will likely have more belly fat than you need. Cortisol is best controlled by keeping your stress levels down and getting adequate sleep.

    Whenever you eat a carbohydrate- insulin is released to remove the calories from your blood stream. When this hormone is released in excess (by eating processed carbs) it will take those calories and stuff them in your fat cells. End result- a rapidly expanding waist line and beer belly.

    The best time to have carbs and not worry about this boost in insulin is when you first wake up and immediately after an intense workout. Otherwise if you are going to eat carbs in a meal make sure they are eaten last. Always start with a salad and plenty of vegetables, then your protein source (eggs, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, dairy) and follow it up with your carb. Eating vegetables and protein first will ensure your stomach is better suited to digest and break down carbohydrates (yams, sweet potato, wild rice, quinoa), as well as shunt any potential spike in blood sugar.

    Do not mistake this as an open invitation to eat all the carbs you want. Much like step #1, moderation is key. If you have a sweet tooth stick to mixed berries with a piece of dark chocolate (85% or higher) for dessert.

    4. Sleep your way to a leaner waistline

    You’ve heard it before and no one likes being told the same thing over and over again. So I’m going to lay it out for you in a different way, one that will help you realize that if you’re falling short on sleep- you might be expanding your waistline as a result. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

    Inadequate sleep has been shown to:

  • interfere with metabolism and digestion of carbohydrates causing high blood glucose levels, which then increases insulin levels and leads to fat storage.
  • down regulate the hormone leptin. Leptin signals your brain when you are full, and you stop eating. Without adequate levels of leptin you will crave more food and carbohydrates.
  • reduce levels of growth hormone. Growth hormone has been linked to fat loss and is found in higher quantities in lean people.
  • lead to insulin resistance, contributing to an increased risk of diabetes
  • increase blood pressure
  • increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • increase cortisol levels
    Hormones are the common theme. Without proper sleep good hormone levels drop and bad hormone levels rise. Chronic elevated levels of cortisol can lead to brain cell deterioration, decreased function and belly fat.

    5. Exercise

    Mention cardio and people generally think of going for a jog or sitting down on an exercise bike. Whatever the exercise you choose, it is then done at a steady pace for a set amount of time. The longer the session the more calories you burn, right?

    While that isn’t necessarily a wrong statement, it’s just not the best way to burn fat. Would you rather workout for 40 minutes or 15? Studies show you can burn more fat and save more time with shorter, more intense cardio sessions.

    A long jog at a slow to medium pace does not elevate your metabolism enough to generate exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC can keep your metabolism elevated for 15-25 hours after you stop exercising. The beautiful thing about generating EPOC is that it can be done in a high intensity interval session lasting as little as 12-20 minutes. The same can not be said for a 40 minute jog where oxygen consumption falls 30 minutes after completion.

    Also of note, a large percentage of exercise options for cardio only target the lower body. Making use of your entire body when performing cardio/interval training involves more muscle mass and will burn more calories by creating a bigger oxygen deficit.

    High intensity interval training (HIIT) incorporates both aerobic (oxygen dependent – walking/jogging) and anaerobic (non oxygen dependent – sprinting) training into one brief, but intense workout. This type of training will strengthen your heart more than aerobic (long slow boring cardio) training due to the strain involved with an all out effort. The increased pressure constricts your artery walls and forces your heart to work harder with each beat to maintain proper blood flow throughout the body.

    Typical cardio prescription

    Type: Running
    Total time: 45 Minutes
    Pace: 5-7 mph

    The New HIIT prescription

    Type: Flat sprint or uphill sprints with 4-6 push ups between each sprint
    Total time: 15 minutes
    Pace: top speed sprint for 8-10 seconds (uphill or flat) walk 40 seconds then drop down and complete 4-6 push-ups. Repeat process for 15 minutes.

    In order to get rid of a beer belly, beer gut or belly fat you need to be determined, willing and patient. Healthy fat loss of 1-2 pounds per week can be expected. Think of it as a long term goal rather than an overnight fix and I guarantee you will get there.

    Stay Strong,


    Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

    Pre Workout Fuel & Post Workout Nutrition

    Whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle… if you don’t give your body the right nutrients (pre & post workout), it won’t happen fast enough.

    There is a misconception out there that to lose fat it is best to workout on an empty stomach. The idea behind this is that by not eating before a workout your body will be forced to burn energy in the form of fat, ie. from your beer gut, love handles or back. It then becomes easy to convince yourself that eating before a workout isn’t worth it if you want to tap into your fat stores.

    So if you eat something before a workout you would be wasting your time right?

    Not quite.

    Let’s take a closer look. When you break it down, our bodies number one priority is survival. Because of this, we need to give it a good reason to lose fat, and this only happens when we keep our metabolism high by constantly providing it nutrients (this is where quality counts and NOT quantity).

    Going into a workout with an empty stomach, tells your body that it doesn’t know when or where the next feeding will come from. At this point you risk entering starvation mode and not only will your body fat become more stubborn and harder to burn off, you will also run the risk of breaking down your hard earned muscle. Exactly what you do not want!

    The easiest way around this is to have a little protein prior to exercise. This will provide easy to use energy and stabilize blood sugar levels without breaking down muscle because there will plenty of protein shuttling around for your body to pull from.

    If your goal is fat loss, use the following protocol:

    10-15 minutes before a workout:

    100-140 pounds: 0.5 – 0.75 scoop of protein powder
    140-180 pounds: 1 scoop of protein powder
    180-230+ pounds: 1.5 scoops protein powder

    Note: You want to ensure that your protein powder contains little to no fat. Without going into too much detail, directly before and directly after your workout is the one time of day you do not want to consume any fat. The best choices for protein are whey isolate, casein, and rice.

    Our favorite choice for whey protein is Prograde Protein

    And for those of that might be sensitive to whey we found an awesome rice protein you should check out called Sun Warrior Protein

    Now we’ll tackle what to eat following an intense workout.

    Research tells us that the hour immediately following a workout is a window for nutrient timing that we must not miss.

    Consuming protein and carbohydrates right after or during a workout will assist in recovery, muscle building and allow you to keep the intensity high during future training sessions.




    Aim to consume the following 5-60 minutes after a workout:

    100-140 pounds: 0.5 – 0.75 scoop of protein powder + carbohydrate
    140-180 pounds: 1 scoop of protein powder + carbohydrate
    180-230+ pounds: 1.5 scoops protein powder + carbohydrate

    Carbohydrate options:

    - Dried fruit (raisins – handful, apricots – handful, dates 2-4 regular sized)

    - Banana (1/2 to full)

    - 12- 16 oz low fat chocolate or skim milk (note: since milk contains protein you have to adjust your powder down if you choose this option)

    - 1-1.5 cups of your favorite breakfast cereal (note: we don’t suggest eating the typical breakfast cereals as part of your daily diet, however, during the post workout window they are highly effective and easy to bring with you wherever you train)

    - Blend ice, water, protein powder and mixed berries or a banana for an awesome post workout shake. Be creative.

    - Just eat something – if you don’t have access to any of the above options, consuming something is better than nothing!


    Whatever time of day you workout begin to implement proper pre and post workout nutrition. If you feel you have hit a wall when it comes to fat loss this is likely the jump start your metabolism needs.

    On the other hand, if you are struggling to put on lean muscle mass, consuming extra calories around your workout will ensure they end up in the right place- your muscles and not your gut.

    Whatever your goals- remember, no more cardio sessions at 6 am on a empty stomach!

    Stay Strong,


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