Power Nutrition Q&A - Part Five!

In this issue of the power nutrition q & a you will learn about how to kick your caffeine habit, all about safely losing weight and not getting caught up in miracle weight-loss drugs, which fats are good for you and more...
I first wanted to let you know that I am a loyal reader of your column every month in PLUSA. I really enjoy learning something new every time I get my new issue in the mail. I have been applying many of your nutritional ideas over the last 6 months and I have to say that I have seen some very good results. My strength has gone up consistently and my body fat has come down nicely. I also noticed that I have not been over trained in that time period. Before applying your principles I got over trained at least 4-5 times a year.

My question is in regards to coffee. I am a bit of a coffee-aholic if you get my drift. I drink from 5 - 8 cups per day. I know that you are going to slam me on this one but I need some advice on some alternatives. What can I drink instead of coffee that will be a bit healthier for me? Please give me any suggestions, as I really have to get this under control. Thanks for all your help.

Thank you for the kind words. I always want to take care of my loyal fans so I will definitely help you in this regard. I hate to say this but you have actually what is known as an addiction to caffeine. Now don't get me wrong, caffeine can have some very good benefits but the way that you are using it will be counterproductive to your training and your health. If you constantly take in too much caffeine you will become desensitized to it and you will need more and more to get the same buzz. This is much the same with caffeine's counter part ephedrine.

So first off we have to get your total caffeine intake down and second we have to give you some better alternatives to coffee. What you need to do is slowly try to decrease the amount of cups that you are currently taking in on a daily basis. I don't know how much of an addiction you have to coffee, so what you want to do is to start slowly. Try to reduce 1 cup of coffee every five days. So if you are currently consuming 8 cups per day try to start off at 7. Then every 5 days reduce it by one cup so that you will be at 6 cups per day. Within a month you should have reduced your coffee intake by at least 5 cups.

Now we have to give you some healthier alternatives to coffee too don't we? One of the best things that you can drink is Green Tea. I know that you may think that I have gone a little yuppie like on you here but that is not the case. Don't worry I didn't join a yoga class or start putting flowers in my hair just yet, so I think that I am still ok.

On a serious note, Green Tea has many good properties and should definitely be part of your Power Nutrition plan. In the near future I will be doing a complete article about Green Tea and the many benefits that it does have for the aspiring lifter. The Chinese have been drinking Green Tea for thousands of years and for good reason. It has many health benefits and can have a positive affect on your powerlifting performance.

Green Tea has been associated with the maintenance of proper and healthy cholesterol levels. This is something that all powerlifters can take advantage of. It is also very high in specific antioxidants that can sustain the integrity and health of your body's cells. It can also help in eliminating toxins from the body. With the way so many powerlifters have eaten over the years this aspect alone should have every powerlifter down in China Town buying up a couple kilos of organic Green Tea.

It has also been shown to increase healthy bacteria in the body and reduce the bad bacterium that is present in your body. One last very important benefit to Green Tea is that it contains chemical elements known as phenols. These phenols not only have health benefits but they are also responsible for burning fat.

As you can see Green Tea can not only keep you healthier but can also help you drop those extra pounds of fat that you have been trying to get rid of. So start incorporating some Green Tea in your diet on a daily basis, substituting a few cups of your coffee for a little bit of Green Power.

I read your column all the time and I find many of your articles quite interesting. I am 18 years old and I am looking to drop a lot of body fat. I got it tested and it was 27%. I know that this is very high and I want to bring it down as fast as I can. I have to admit I don't apply many of your ideas to my eating plan but it's not because I don't think they work, but because I am very lazy. I hate to admit it but I have no discipline.

A friend of mine at the gym started taking some supplements that are really helping him to burn fat. He started taking T-3 Cytomel and a syrup called Clenbuterol? He didn't tell me where he got them so I was wondering if I could get them at the local health food store. These things are working fast! I mean he is dropping tons of fat and he isn't even following a strict nutrition plan. What is your opinion of these supplements and what is the best way to incorporate them in my program?

Ok, we have some real problems here to start off. Just to let you know those names that you gave me are not supplements they are actual drugs. Second you cannot get them at the health food store. They are only dispensed upon a prescription from a doctor for a legitimate medical condition. I don't know what kind of friend you have here but he has really misled you into thinking these were some types of natural supplements. These are pharmaceutical drugs.

Cytomel also known as T-3 is given to individuals with hypothyroidism which is an under active thyroid disorder. This is a very dangerous drug that should only be used when you have a medical condition and is under full supervision from an endocrinologist. If you use this drug incorrectly you will end up shutting down the body's natural thyroid production for good. This means that your friend will end up having to take this drug the rest of his life just to live normally. Doesn't sound too good does it?

Second you mentioned your friend was taking a liquid form of clenbuterol. Now, just to let you know the only liquid form of clenbuterol is actually a veterinary version. This means that it is not for use in humans. It is most commonly used for horses that have asthma and breathing conditions. This is another drug that if it is used in the wrong manner can have some serious health problems. I know of one young bodybuilder that decided to use clenbuterol before his competition to get him ripped up.

The problem with him as well as so many individuals in the sport is that if one is good then 10 must be great. He was using a very large dosage of clenbuterol along with ephedrine. This is definitely a no no as it can help set you up for a stroke. Well he was lucky that he didn't have a stroke, but he was hospitalized due to his chest pain and rapid heart beat. He was on the verge of a heart attack at the ripe age of 23 years old.

So as you can see from this story both of these thermogenic drugs are very powerful and they should not be taken as if they were candies. I usually don't answer questions of this nature due to the fact that this is a nutrition and supplementation column. But the fact that you were blindsided by your friend into thinking that they were supplements and not drugs made me take the time out and warn you of the dire consequences.

I know that following a nutrition plan can be tough but don't go out and so something stupid just because you lack discipline. And that's not even considering the fact that you are completely uneducated in pharmaceutical performance enhancement. I didn't even touch the legal aspect of this topic, which can have you in more trouble than you bargained for. Stay away from them as you can cause some real health problems down the road that you may not be able to reverse!

I read your article called "Fatten Up your Total" a while back in PLUSA. I really liked it as I learned a lot about the different types of fat and how they affect the body. I know that you are busy so I just have a quick question. What are the worst and best fats and in what order. I know that certain ones are bad but how bad or good are they when they are compared to one another.

I have a little bet with my training partner as he says that saturated fats are worse for you than hydrogenated fats. I told him he was wrong but he won't listen to me. I have $50 riding on this so if you can tilt it in my favor I will give you $25. Thanks for clearing this up as I want to show him I know my fats but I also want to clean out his wallet for his know it all attitude.

You are in luck as you are now $50 richer than you were yesterday. You were right and your partner was wrong. I am not just saying that because you were trying to grease my palm in jest, but hydrogenated fats are worse for you than saturated fats. I have given you a quick breakdown of the different fats from worst to best in a descending order. Instead of giving me the $25 just take me out for a sushi diner the next time you are in Toronto.

#5 Hydrogenated Fats AKA Trans Fatty Acids

These are the worst of the worst. They are vegetable oils that have been chemically altered so that it will be solid at room temperature. You can find them in many different foods including baked foods, margarine, crackers, cookies, and processed foods.

These are the ones that you really have to watch out for, as they will clog your arteries faster than you can imagine. There are absolutely no health benefits to these fats so try your best to eliminate them from your diet as much as possible.

#4 Saturated Fats

These are fats that are naturally occurring in animal products. These include red meat, butter, milk, cottage cheese, and pork. These also have to be monitored in your nutrition plan as over consuming them can also lead to arteriosclerosis which is the hardening of the arteries. This can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.

The main thing here is to monitor your intake but not to be so concerned that you won't even eat a lean steak. Remember you are powerlifters, not pre contest bodybuilders or fitness models. Just cut off any visible fat on your meats and always get the extra lean ground beef when you go to the butcher shop.

#3 Omega 6 Polyunsaturated Fats

These are one of the healthy fats that should be included in the diet. The main thing to remember here is that these are usually plentiful in the American diet and very few would actually have a deficiency. These are mainly seen in vegetable oils and those products that use them in their processing.

#2 Omega 9 Monounsaturated Fats

These are also healthy fats and can be found in such foods as natural peanut butter, olive oil, peanut oil and avocados. They have less chance of converting to fat when they are compared to the above fats since the body processes them in a different manner. When powerlifters are looking to go down a weight class and are following a lower carbohydrate type of plan they should include more of these good fats in their diet.

#1 Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fats

These are the number one fats for the powerlifter looking to stay healthy and to improve their performance. What is so important about these fats is that the body cannot manufacture them so they have to come from an outside source. These fats can be found in different types of fatty fish like herring and salmon as well as flaxseed oil.

Omega 3 fats should be a main staple in the powerlifter's diet as they have many benefits. These include increasing your insulin sensitivity, burning body fat, decreasing your bad cholesterol (LDL), and increasing hormone production. So jack up your fats because if you're not, your closest competitor will!

I have a question about your Power Nutrition Contest that you are running. I read about it last month in your column and I most definitely want to get involved. I am a complete mess right now with my nutrition program. I eat way too much fast food and I do binge almost nightly on potato chips, cookies or ice cream. I know that you probably won't take someone as bad as me as a client but if you would I would be very grateful.

I have tried numerous times to get on track but I just keep falling off the wagon. Your column is the first thing that I read every month in PLUSA and I can't wait until it comes in. I have made up my mind to get off my ass and do something positive here and I know that you are the man with the plan to make it happen. I know that you are only taking the first 30 people who enroll in the contest, so if I have made the deadline please include me in the Nutrition XP3 program. I can't wait to get started!

If you give me a chance I will give it my all and I know that I will get in the best shape of my life with your help. I am not going to lie to you, I am no Garry Frank or Jesse Kellum but I really want to be part of the contest. Please let me know if you can include me as it the right time in my life to make a major change for the good before its too late. Thanks for everything.

I am glad to hear that you are taking the first step forward to getting off your behind and making some serious changes with your nutrition plan. I know your current nutritional habits sound a bit appalling, but I am sure that it isn't anything that I haven't seen before. If you are really serious about getting in the best shape of your life than I will definitely get the job done. I have included you in the contest so please give me a call at your convenience so I can get started on your nutritional analysis.

I have received tons of response in regards to the competition, as I seemed to have really sparked some interest in all my loyal readers. The contest is open to all powerlifters. So if you are male or female, a master lifter or teenager, feel free to contact me in this regards. Due to the massive response that I received since last month, I will be having several different categories open so that the winner in each division can get published in my column. I will let you know more about this next month.

Note: This is part five, click here to view all parts!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write me at aricciuto@x-tremepower.com.