Power Nutrition Q&A - Part Six!

In this issue of the power nutrition q & a you will learn all about fat-soluable and water-soluable vitamins, the truth about supplement use and effectiveness, some facts about fish oil and much more...
Note: This is part six, click here to view all parts!

What is the difference between fat and water-soluble vitamins? Is there one kind that you can overdose on as I have heard this before somewhere? Which vitamins do I have to watch out for, as I am worried about overdosing?

The main thing to remember about vitamins is that there are two main types like you mentioned. These are the fat and water-soluble kinds. The fat-soluble vitamins are the ones that you have to worry about over dosing on. Excess consumption of the water-soluble vitamins will be excreted in the urine. The only ones that you have to watch out for would be niacin and B6.

These include your Vitamin B- complex family as well as Vitamin C. The fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are not excreted in the urine so they can build up in the body. These are principally stored in the body's fat tissues as well as the liver. If you eat a balanced diet and supplement with a proper multivitamin formula your chances of overdosing are pretty rare.

This problem comes about more for those that take each vitamin separately. Since when you take them separately the dosage is usually higher than when taken in a multi formula. With fat-soluble vitamins taking them once a day is more than enough. Taking your water-soluble vitamins in multiple doses throughout the day is a much better ideas since some of them are depleted form the body quite rapidly.

This is especially true when you are under stress or are training hard. Taking your water soluble vitamins 2-4 times a day spaced out in a proper formation will be much better than just taking them once. This is most important with your B-complex series and Vitamin C. Hard training and the stress it places on the body will deplete your body's stores of your water-soluble vitamins like there is no tomorrow.

So you have to make sure you are supplying the body with what it needs to stay on top of your game! If you are taking a multi vitamin formula and it recommends that you take 2 tablets per day, then take one with breakfast and one with dinner to help space out the nutrients. This is better than taking them both in the morning. So there is no major worry with overdosing if you keep track of what you are taking and keep it within the proper guidelines.

What are your views on supplements? I know that you talk a lot about proper meal design but I haven't heard a lot from you on what kind of supplements you recommend. Do you incorporate supplements in your clients nutrition program or are they something that you don't believe in? What are your thoughts?

The topic of natural supplementation is one that is complex in nature. There are many good products out on the market that do produce results. Yet there are even more products out there that are nothing short of snake oils that are just on the shelves to line someone's wallet. The first thing that I want you to remember is that without a proper nutrition plan supplements are not going to make a major difference in your performance.

In my belief supplements are just supplements. They are there to "supplement" the diet to make it more complete. They are not there to take the place of natural foods or provide some miracle cure for some ailment. Even with the supplements that I do recommend for strength athletes, I always make sure that the nutrition plan is perfect first and then from this base I can incorporate natural supplements that will help the lifter reach the next level.

The problem with a lot of lifters is that they will eat like a living, walking, talking garbage disposal and then they throw down a couple multivitamin tablets and they think that everything is going to be alright. This is not the case in the least and this is the type of ignorance that is prevalent among a lot of powerlifters. I also see this type of mentality with a lot of teenagers looking for the quick fix.

Hey why eat six times a day, balance your meal macronutrient ratios, plan out a comprehensive post workout nutrition plan when you can take a couple tablets that will make you gain 20 pounds of muscle in only 10 days! This is the kind of stupidity that you should not fall for when looking to purchase supplements. These companies basically are out there to take your money.

If any company compares their products to drugs or steroids then this should be a clear indication to stay away from their products as this says scam all over it. Not only is it not going to happen but it is also a FTC violation to make such claims. If you are looking for a company to choose, look for ones that put their money into a research budget to verify that their products work under controlled settings.

Stick with companies that have a good reputation on providing results not just hyped up mumbo jumbo. As for the supplements that I do recommend there are far more that I don't recommend then those that I do. Unless it has a purpose in the plan then I won't include it in the program that I am designing for my athletes.

In the near future I will be doing an article on supplements that I believe are worthwhile for the powerlifter to include as well as those that I don't recommend. Two things that I do recommend for all healthy powerlifters are a proper protein supplement and multivitamin formula. This should be a staple in all powerlifter's meal plans.

The supplements that I do recommend for my private clientele are only those that has been proven by studies or in the real world with scientific backing. I don't just jump on the bandwagon of every new supplement that comes out on the shelf that promises to put 50 pounds on your bench in 2 weeks. One of the things that I do perform with my private clientele is I perform a supplementation analysis as well.

So here I can analyze what supplements that they may have used in the past and what I should incorporate and in what phase to help them reach their goals. So once the diet is perfect and your base line supplements are incorporated, then from there can all the extra goodies be added. These include such things as nutrient partitioning agents, glucose disposal nutrients, specific amino acids combinations, post workout formulas, cleansing agents, cell volumizers, alkalizing formulas, and a lot more can be incorporated in the powerlifters nutritional program.

I just want to let you know that I really like your column. As soon as my issue of PL USA comes in the mail your column is the first thing that I read every month. My question is about Omega 3 fats. You always seem to recommend flax oil and fish oil for your clients. Out of the two, which is better? Do they both provide the same nutrient breakdown or is one better for powerlifters?

I was thinking about getting some fish oil but I don't think that I can manage getting it down without gagging. I take flax oil and I don't have a problem but I think fish oil will put me over the top. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Its nice to hear from you Glen. I am glad to hear that you have started to incorporate omega 3 supplements into your nutrition program. In regards to your question, I do recommend fish oil over flax oil. Now don't get me wrong flax oil is an excellent supplement and it is no doubt one of the best sources of Omega 3 fats. But now with concentrated fish oils on the scene I will have to say that flax has now taken the backseat to the mighty fish!

Now there are many reasons for this. The first reason is the actual conversion rate. Now I may get a little scientific and geek like here for a minute but I will try to put it into layman's terms so that you can understand it better. As you probably already know flax oil is high in Omega 3 fats which is also known as Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA).

Now please don't get this confused with Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). The latter ALA is a nutrient partitioning agent that can increase insulin sensitivity and cell volumization. Now what we have to look at with the Alpha Linoleic Acid is the ratio in which it converts to two main Omega 3 fats. These are known as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).

Now I know these sound like some dinosaur type words here so I will just refer to them as DHA and EPA. These are basically the "King of Omega 3 Fats" so to speak as they have many different health benefits. Now the reason why fish oil is superior to flax oils is that the conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA. Now instead of explaining how the scientific process works through such terms as desaturation, desaturation of enzymes, and pathway conversions, I will just say in plain English that flax's conversions rates don't hold a candle to pure concentrated fish oils.

This isn't to say that flax is junk, but you should know that the fish oil would give you more bang for your buck so to speak. In one study 5000mg of flax oil with a 57% ALA content converted to a rate of only 5.7mg of EPA and 1.34mg of DHA. Now with the concentrated fish oil for the same serving size it provided a whopping 775mg of EPA and 500mg of DHA. As you can see here the fish oil which was from herring totally blew flax oil out the water so to speak.

Omega 3 fats are no doubt the most important fat that you can consume and all powerlifters should be monitoring their intake. I know you may be thinking who the hell really cares about getting in enough Omega 3 fats but just ask around to the powerlifters that have increased them in their diet and they will tell you the proof is in the pudding. You will notice that you will start losing body fat much easier.

You will notice that when you are doing your assistance exercises in the gym you will get better pumps than before. That aching elbow tendonitis that seemed to never go away is all of a sudden calming down nicely. Your cholesterol ratings will also improve for the better. These are just a few of the benefits that an increased rate of Omega 3 fats will have on your health and performance.

For those that doubt me give them a try for 16 weeks and record your progress to see if you have seen any difference in your performance and health. Believe me you will thank me latter, as have many other powerlifters that I have designed nutritional programs for that have seen the light. All in all you have nothing to lose by giving these wonder fats a try in your nutritional program.

Please don't get concentrated fish oil confused with cod liver oil. Things hve really changed since those days. The new concentrated fish oils that are on the market are pharmaceutical grade quality. One brand that I particularly like has all the fish taste taken out and it is replaced with a sweet lemon and thyme flavoring. This makes it taste much better than any flax oil I have ever tried.

The product that I am currently using is from a company called Signature Supplements and their concentrated Herring Oil supplement is called Ascentra Nutra Sea. If you want to find out more about it you can check their web site at www.signaturesupplements.ca. Of all the fish oil products that I have used up to date this is my personal favorite not only for its unbeatable quality but its taste makes it palatable for even the most finicky powerlifters.

Now one tactic that I usually do with my clients is that I start them on flax oil at the beginning of the program to slowly incorporate more Omega 3 fats into their plan. As their program progresses and takes on different phases, I then incorporate the fish oil and take out the flax. The main thing to remember here is that even though flax oil is still a good source of Omega 3's, fish oil is the true king of fats!

I have entered your Nutrition XP3 Power Transformation Contest and I am really jacked up to see how well I did. I know this is the first time that you are running this contest and I was wondering if you would be running it again? My training partner had an injury and he wanted to enter but he knew he couldn't give it 100% so he decided to sit this one out.

This is the first time that I have seen such a contest for powerlifting and I have to say that it really adds a new dimension to our sport. I really like that you are your own competition. For self-improvement I think your contest will do a lot of good for the sport of powerlifting not only to help people reach new goals with your nutrition programs but also for the health of the lifters.

I know of two powerlifters that have had heart attacks in their 50's and this really scared me thinking that this may happen to me one day. I am so grateful for your column because it has really changed my outlook on how nutrition not only affects my training performance but also my health and longevity in the sport.

Hey Raj, thanks for the kind words. The whole reason behind the Nutrition XP3 Power Transformation Contest is to get powerlifters aware of how proper nutritional design will not only get them in the best powerlifting shape of their life, but it will also increase their health and longevity in the sport as well. Since the competition is one that puts the competitor directly against himself, the person is now focusing on themselves as their main competition not the next guy.

I also wanted the competition to be one that was different and fun at the same time. Competing in powerlifting is a lot of fun there is no doubt about that, but at the same time it is very stressful as well. Competition stress is something we all have experienced along with pre meet jitters. With this contest there is no stress and worry involved.

Yes it is serious in nature as with all competitions but there isn't the stress that's involved with regular powerlifting competitions. I am sorry to hear about your friend's injuries but tell him not to worry. With the response that I have gotten along with all the positive feed back there is no doubt that I will be running the competition again next year. This will give him the chance to take home some of the prizes as well as getting featured in my column.

Heart disease is a major concern for all powerlifters especially those in the heavier divisions as well as those above 30 years of age. Let's face the truth for a minute here, most powerlifters cardiovascular endurance is very poor at best. I will have to give my props to Louie Simmons and Dave Tate for making GPP training a new and popular item for powerlifters.

The increased rate of GPP training will no doubt have a very positive affect on your cardiovascular endurance and health. But before Westside made this technique popular how many powerlifters do you know that get on the treadmill or go and run stairs a few times a week to keep the old ticker healthy? Yea I know you can't think of any either.

I would have to say for the old time powerlifters Kaz impressed me the most as I heard he used to run the stadium steps holding a 45 pound plate. If that isn't enough to get your heart rate up I don't know what will. Since most powerlifter's diets are too high in sodium and saturated fats, they are at a higher risk in getting such health conditions as heart disease, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis.

The latter being a hardening and narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to your heart. Combine this with the fact that a lot of powerlifters use stimulants of different kinds before competitions, wear ultra tight gear, hold their breath during heavy lifts, get slapped around to induce an adrenaline rush, and avoid their cardiovascular training, all adds up top one thing.

That is a constricted artery blood flow to the heart. Now with a constricted blood flow you add in a nice thick layer of cholesterol sludge in the artery wall along with scar tissue that can form and what do you have? A heart attack just waiting to happen! So powerlifters must worry about their diets because latter in life it can really affect your longevity in the sport as well as how long you will stay on this planet.

You also have to look at the fact that a lot of lifters now are chemically enhanced. Since steroids are known to increase such things as blood pressure scores and elevate cholesterol levels, this is just adding more gasoline to the fire to all the above stresses that are put on the heart. Let's not forget those using diuretics that cut a lot of weight right before the show.

They then rehydrate and come in 15-25 pounds heavier the day of the show. Losing and gaining weight so fast also causes stress on the heart. The fact that many are also using potassium-depleting diuretics can also cause many problems since this electrolyte controls and regulates your heartbeat. As you can see we are talking about some serious stuff here so the health of the lifter has to be of greatest importance.

So for those that are chemically assisted, proper nutrition and cleansing the body of impurities is a must. There is no way around it if you want to keep your health in check! In the near future I will address a series of articles on how to keep the powerlifter's health in proper working order. My purpose here is not only to take your total and jack it up as much as possible, but I also want to make sure that you keep healthy while doing it as well.

Sometimes powerlifters get caught in a one track mind where the only thing that matters is a bigger total. But the sad reality is a bigger total isn't going to help you if you have a heart attack at the age of 30 years old and can no longer compete because you didn't take the proper precautions with your diet and chemical enhancement program.

I know most of you probably looked at me as some type of yoga new age geek when I keep telling you about incorporating your healthy fats and talk about cleansing the body of impurities. But for those that know me this is the farthest thing from the truth. I am a die hard powerlifter just like you and that is why I have spent years designing programs that will take your performance to new heights but also to make sure that you stay healthy in the process.

The main thing here to remember is that the first thing of greatest importance is your health. If you are not healthy you truly can't focus on getting that big total. This is another reason why a lot of lifters contact me for program design. Not only to improve their performance but to make sure that they are keeping their bodies at the optimal health level. Just remember health should always be at the top of your priority list because without it you have nothing!

My question is about private consultations and program design. I know that you provide it for many of the best powerlifters and strength athletes in the world. Do you work with just the average Powerlifter? I am also a woman that is 36 years old. I know that you have done some work with the strongest women bench presser Karen Sizemore and multiple world champion Amy Weisburger.

I am new to the sport and I will let you know that I am not in the same league as them. I really love the sport and what scares me is that I am guilty of many of the things that you mention in your column. I am horrible with my food choices and until I started reading your column I really didn't care what I shoved in my mouth. I also have high cholesterol.

I will be the first to admit in your column that I was totally ignorant in regards to sports nutrition for powerlifters. Is there any way you could help me out? I know that you were working with the first 50 powerlifters that were interested in consultations and customized program design for your Nutrition XP3 Power Transformation Contest, but I didn't enter it because I didn't have time to dedicate all my efforts at that time.

Now my schedule is more open and relaxed so I am ready to give it a go. Is it possible that you would consider taking on someone of my caliber to help me out as well? Please let me know because I really have to get things fixed with my diet. I would be grateful if you took me on and I promise I will give it 100% and I won't waste your time. Thank you for your consideration.

Sarah it's good to hear from you. Don't worry if you diet has been bad in the past you don't have to confess your nutritional sins to me. I am just joking. All in all I would be delighted to work with you. As you know I run a very tight schedule working with up to 16 clients a day. Yes as you can see from that I am a bit of a workaholic, but since I love what I do it's not a problem.

What you need to do is give me a call and we can definitely get together for a consultation. I do work with just average powerlifters too so I don't want you to think that I don't have time for the little guy. It's just that at the professional Powerlifting level, having every extra edge is a must so that is another reason why I have worked with so many National and World Champion powerlifters.

At that level if your diet is not perfect your closest competition will make you eat dust. This is just the case with many of my champions as some of them have experienced this first hand. With my practice it's a first come first serve basis and I usually have a waiting list to get in with me depending on how crazy my schedule is.

Don't worry about your nutritional past mistakes, once you are under my guidance you won't have to worry as I will get you on track. Your total will be at its best and I will also make sure that you improve your blood profiles as well. Call me ASAP so I can set up an appointment and get that total to the next level!

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

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