Contest Day Nutritional Disaster!
[ Q ] Hey Anthony what's up man? Your last column on the whey hydroslates was phenomenal. I never new that you can get protein to hit your bloodstream as fast as sugar. Man you always have new tricks up your sleeve to help us get those real world results. My question is about contest day.
Before you smash me for my stupidity I will admit to my guilt. The last contest that I did about two months back was when I brought only cola to drink. I brought two of the two-liter jugs down to the contest site. I figured the sugar rush would keep me amped up and the caffeine from the cola would give me that little extra.
Well to my dismay I was wrong. I started drinking some about an hour before the squats. The warm-ups went ok and so did my first attempt. I smoked it. But since my flight was huge (being a 220 lifter) I had to wait quite a bit in between rounds. By the time my second attempt came I don't know what happened.
My energy level just plummeted and the weight on my second attempt just crushed me. I don't know what happened. I started drinking some more cola after my failure at the squats and started to feel a little better. The first attempt in the bench press went well, same with the second but again I got that same horrible feeling that I had before during my third attempt.
The deadlifts just went horrible and I barely made my first attempt and just forfeited my second and thirds. What the hell happened to me? I was flying high and in no time my energy was horrible. I felt like I could have taken a nap right then and there. I am telling you I could have laid down in the warm-up room and slept.
I even started getting shaky and I was sweating like crazy. I don't know what happened to me as I never experienced this before. I need to drink something at the show to keep my energy up but I have a feeling the soda may have done me in. What would you suggest to drink at the contest because I don't want that feeling again? Please help me out. Thanks for all your help.
A: Hey Peter, it is good to hear from you. Wow, what you have described is something that I have heard numerous times from different lifters. You are causing your body to get low blood sugar and this is why you are getting into a hypoglycemic state. This is why you are getting the sweats, the massive energy drop, the lethargic feeling and the shakes.
| What Is A Hypoglycemic State?
Hypoglycemia is a medical term referring to a pathologic state produced by a lower than normal amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The term hypoglycemia literally means "low blood sugar". Hypoglycemia can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose as fuel to the brain, resulting in impairment of function (neuroglycopenia).
Derangements of function can range from vaguely "feeling bad" to coma and (rarely) death. Hypoglycemia can arise from many causes, and can occur at any age. The most common forms of moderate and severe hypoglycemia occur as a complication of treatment of diabetes mellitus with insulin or oral medications.
I am glad that you had the sense to realize that it most likely was caused by all the sugar-loaded soda that you consumed on your contest day. I have seen world class athletes drinking soda between their events hoping to keep their energy up, yet they don't realize that they are actually making their performance go right out the window.
Drinking sugary drinks the day of the competition is a major nutrition mistake and you are setting yourself up for disaster with this plan of action. It will not only cause your body to over produce insulin causing you to end up with low blood sugar but it will also dehydrate you.
These nasty side effects will make you sleepy, lower your strength output, decrease your performance, may cause muscle cramps and prevent you from hitting the PR's that you deserve. So what is a powerlifter to do? Should he drink juice during his contest? How about one of those mainstream sports drinks that so many people use? How about plain water? The answer is none of the above.
Juice, which is mainly fructose (a simple fruit sugar), is not the ideal drink when looking to perform at your best. This too will cause a decrement in your performance leading you down the path of not performing to the level that you should be. Many powerlifters drink one specific sports drink that is very main stream.
There are a lot of athletes of different sports promoting it as the best energy drink. This drink is mainly sugar and water with a few electrolytes thrown in. Using it as an energy drink to help get you through a powerlifting competition is a big mistake. So what is the answer for the hardcore powerlifter looking to get maximum results?
Is there a drink that can help maintain energy levels throughout the entire show? Is there a drink that can help prevent cramping and help maximize strength output? Well I have the answer that all you powerlifters are looking for. That answer is a product called Cytomax made by Cytosport.
What The Hell Is Cytomax?
Now you might be wondering how this product differs from many other so called sports drinks out there. You may also be wondering how this is going to help you the hardcore powerlifter at his next competition? Well you want the Cytomax 411, so here it goes. First off let's look as to why Cytomax is a night and day difference from the other popular sports drinks on the market that are actually decreasing your performance on the platform.
Like I said before, most of the commercial sports drinks that flood the market today are primarily made up of simple sugars. As you should already know using simple sugars as your main energy source is a big mistake.
This is due to the fact that once the initial energy rush wears off because of all the sugar, your blood sugar level then takes a nice nosedive due to the massive insulin spike that occurred.
This here is exactly what happened to you my friend when you drank all that soda. You brought you blood sugar level sky high and when it wore off due to the massive insulin spike, you ended up feeling like a bag of dog crap.
These other sports drinks and their scientists that design them ignore the fact that scientific research has shown a 7% carbohydrate solution is optimal for gastric emptying.
Since their drinks are way too high in sugar concentration it causes the body to process it like food thereby decreasing its effects on properly contributing to adequate hydration.
The carbohydrates in Cytomax are not simple sugars like all the other drinks. They are instead made up of complex carbohydrates. This form of carbohydrates helps you sustain your energy level over long periods of time and even prevent glycogen depletion caused by intense training.
Sport Drink Articles:
Cytomax also contains another very important ingredient that other drinks do not have. It is called Alpha-L-Polylactate. This super compound buffers lactic acid during your training and prevents cramping plus much more. This makes Cytomax the ideal drink for those who had to cut weight the day before and want to make sure that they don't cramp up like so many lifters do only to make their performance sub par at best.
Cytomax also contains a powerful antioxidant formula to help fight free radical production that is caused by your hard training. This makes Cytomax not only the ideal drink for your competition but for this fact alone it is perfect for use during your training sessions as well.
Another thing that will play a role in lasting and performing at your best come the deadlift is how much and the rate in which oxygen is supplied to your muscles. How many of you have a good squat, a decent bench, but come to the deadlift and you fell like you have just been hit by a freight train?
Your energy is just depleted to no end come deadlift time. But that is no longer going to be an issue with Cytomax. One very interesting ingredient that it contains is called Succinates. These are responsible for improving the rate of oxygen delivery to your working muscles. This will also reduce the perceived exertion no matter how high the intensity level is.
For those in the iron game who compete there is no other time when your intensity level is higher than when you are trying to hit a PR or break a record on the platform! This will allow you to stay fresh for the entire contest.
This little secret here is what the World's strongest Powerlifter Garry Frank drinks in his water bottle the day of the show; this should give you a little input on how valuable this supplement is.
Digestion & Absorption:
Another very important thing you need to focus on with other drinks and even the food choices you make on contest day is how they affect your digestion. Eating the wrong thing or drinking an improper sports drink can cause a slowed digestive process causing you to feel bloated and lethargic.
Just think back to the last time you had your thanksgiving dinner with the family. Do you remember how you felt afterwards? All that heavy gravy and mashed potatoes and the turkey and pumpkin pie. Some lifters who I have witnessed the morning of the competition eat with the same precision as you would see at an "All you can eat Buffet."
Is this going to help you hit a PR? Not likely unless the PR is in how many times you can burp and re-taste your breakfast. The same goes with sports drinks that are too high in simple sugars. They will have a very hard time to digest and they will sit around your stomach like a piece of Shepherd's Pie.
| Shepherd's Pie:
Shepherd's pie is a traditional British dish that consists of a bottom layer of minced (ground) lamb in gravy covered with mashed potato and (often) a layer of cheese. It is a favorite dish of institutional cooks keen on feeding large groups of people.
The mince is traditionally lamb (hence "shepherd") although many people prefer to make it with minced (ground) beef. A shepherd's pie made with beef is properly called a cottage pie. A similar dish made with fish instead of meat is called a fisherman's pie.
Oh yeah, that's exactly the feeling you want when its time to deadlift, eh! With this product there is never a problem as it is easy on the stomach and very light. This is very important come contest day.
If you have ever been guilty of not eating the right things or over eating on the big day (I am sure that almost everyone reading this has been guilty of this at one time or another) you know first hand that it affected your performance in a negative way. Whether you will admit to it or not we both know the truth.
Another benefit to Cytomax is the affect that the Alpha-L-Polylactate has in its absorption rate. It has been shown to absorb up to 10 times faster then simple carbs. This means that your hard working muscles will get the fuel they need right away without the horrible side effect of the insulin spike that has you in a coma 30 minutes later.
This product also has a wide spectrum of micronutrients that are essential for performance. It has the ideal amount of potassium, sodium and numerous other electrolytes. Now you may be wondering why this is important? This will make sure that your muscle cells remain in a proper fluid and electrolyte balance during your competition and even after. This will help maintain your power endurance and even prevent cramping.
So you are probably wondering what is Alpha-L-Polylactate? I knew you were going to ask this. Man do you guys ever give me a break or what? Just joking! Ok, for all you science geeks out there here it is. Polylactate is a polymer of the L-lactate molecule series.
| What Is A Polymer?
Meaning "many parts," it is a material constructed of smaller molecules of the same substance that form larger molecules. For example, plastic is a synthetic polymer, while protein is a natural polymer.
What makes it so special is that it is bound with Pyruvate and different amino acids. What makes this different from Lactic Acid is that Polylactate is not an acid because the acid component has been removed form the chemical structure. Now you may be wondering how this happens?
When you take lactic acid and combine it with specific amino acids the acid actually leaves this particular molecule. Go figure eh! This then will allow the lactate to be absorbed very quickly. This means it will be used to provide the body with energy, neutralize lactic acid and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
This is exactly what a powerlifter needs on contest day to make sure that he has the strength that he needs and at the same time the energy and long term endurance to get him through the entire meet with the same gusto that he had for his first squat attempt.
Cytomax makes this possible so that you can hit PR's in not only your squat but also all your lifts on contest day. As you can see I can do a complete article series on Cytomax and the unique ingredients that it contains.
A Cut Above The Rest!
So as you can see Cytomax is one of the best energy sustaining, glycogen replenishing, lactic acid neutralizing, electrolyte balanced drinks ever created. To just call it a sports drink would be a real injustice. It is a lot more than some liquid sugar thrown in with some food coloring and water.
Many of the other so called sports drinks on the market are not much more than that. I use Cytomax with all my athletes because it is that good of a product. This is one of the secrets that many of my lifters have gotten great success with come contest day. This product is a cut above the other sports drinks on the market and they have the scientific formula perfected to make sure that you get results.
Let's face the cold reality here for a minute. In powerlifting, results are the name of the game and if something doesn't provide results then it is worthless. You all know my "say it like it is" stance when it comes to anything to do with our sport. Whether its is about nutrition, pharmaceutical enhancement, or supplements you all know that I am the real deal!
If I recommend something you can bet your sweet *ss it will provide results and that's the bottom line! I have been in this industry a long time and I don't want you to waste your hard-earned money on bogus supplements and snake oils. This is why I have developed my "Seal of Approval" and only the highest quality, result producing supplements or products will receive it.
Due to Cytomax's major benefits that it offers the powerlifter in training and on competition day, it receives my Power Nutrition "Seal of Approval." If you are looking to notice a big difference come contest day give my recommendations a try. I know for sure that you will see the difference it will make on your contest day performance.
So throw away that soda and crappy sugar loaded sports drinks that are making your performance go down the drain. Give Cytomax a try because once you do, it will be a part of your contest day plan for all your competitions to come.
Cottage Cheese Vs. Yogurt
And The Winner Is...
[ Q ] I have seen many times that you recommend cottage cheese in your meal plan. I was wondering how cottage cheese and yogurt compare in nutrient breakdown. Is one better then the other? I like eating both of them but are there better times in which I should consume them? Thanks for letting me know this info as I would like know how to incorporate them in my meal plan.
A: Hey Vito, its good to hear from you. So Paesan you want to know what the deal with cottage cheese and yogurt is? Well it beats the sh*t out of me... I have no clue. Just joking I thought that would get your attention. Ok let's take a look at the macronutrient breakdown of each and then we can go from there.
One cup of plain non-fat yogurt has 130 calories, 14 grams of protein and 18 grams of carbs. Now on the other hand a cup of non fat cottage cheese has 170 calories, 30 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs.
Now as you can see here cottage cheese is a much more protein dense food and lower in carbohydrates. This makes it the perfect bedtime food due to this fact. Another reason why it's great before bed is the fact that it is made up of casein protein.
This protein is slowly digested over 6 plus hours providing a slow and steady release of amino acids into your bloodstream as you sleep. This is the perfect setting to prevent you from entering a catabolic state while you doze off to LaLa Land.
As for the yogurt since it is higher in carbs you should keep this earlier in your day like before lunch. Breakfast and your morning snack is an ideal time to have yogurt. One very good thing that yogurt contains is something called acidophilus. This is a healthy bacteria also known as a probiotic.
They keep your digestive tract healthy and in balance. One thing to remember is when you get sick and take antibiotics it not only kills the bad bacteria, but also the healthy bacteria. This is not a good idea because this healthy bacteria is very important. When purchasing yogurt make sure that it says "active culture" or lists acidophilus on the label to make sure that you are getting this in your yogurt.
The best type of yogurt to get is a non-fat plain yogurt. Then you can add some fresh fruit to it yourself and some sweetener to give it that little extra. As you can see I recommend both yogurt and cottage cheese in your nutrition plan. The fact that they both contain a good source of protein and calcium is very important not only for big muscles but also for burning fat and strong bones.
So if you are not consuming either of these in your meal plan I recommend getting in at least one to three servings in your program per day as it will not only help you in your quest for a bigger total but also keep you healthy!
What Do All The Pro Powerlifters Eat?
[ Q ] Hey bro, I just wanted to shoot you a line and let you know that I really loved your Garry Frank and Mike Brown profile series. They were really awesome. Your column gives a refreshing read for the magazine every month. You always come up with innovative ideas for the lifter but even more then that is that you are always looking out for us in areas others don't even want to talk about.
My questions are about working with all your pro athletes. Do a lot of them follow similar type nutrition plans? What about supplements? Do they have specific off season and pre-contest plans or do they follow the same thing all year long? How does working with them differ in what you do with a regular lifter? Will you be doing some more profile articles in the future?
A: Hey Joe its good to hear from another one of my fans. For all of you out there who read my column I want to thank you. I am loyal to my readers and I try my best to make sure that you are on the cutting edge when it comes to applying the strength sciences to your Powelifting training. Wow... that is a lot of questions my man.
I could do a small book out of this. No problem, I love all the questions and emails that I get. Ok where do I start?
In regards to me working with my athletes what you have to remember is that each lifter, whether its Gary Frank, Travis Mash, Dave Tate, Joe Mazza, Mike Miller, Gene Rycelak, Karen Sizemore or Kara Bohegian, all have different needs.
Even though I have worked with over 50 World and National champions just in the strength sports I do not have any two athletes following the same plan. The Nutrition XP3 System is the most comprehensive and customized nutrition system available for the strength athlete.
When I consult with a client no matter if they are a world class athlete or someone who has just began a sport, I perform a comprehensive analysis with them. I get all their background info, their current training plan, their nutritional journal, a comprehensive blood profile, supplementation history, past and current medical conditions, Glucose Tolerance assessment and much more.
| Glucose Tolerance:
A glucose tolerance test in medical practice is the administration of glucose to determine how quickly it is cleared from the blood. The test is usually used to test for diabetes, insulin resistance, and sometimes reactive hypoglycemia. The glucose is most often given orally so the common test is technically an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
From all the info that I gather from their paperwork, only then can I put the pieces of the puzzle together for their analysis. From this analysis I can begin the layout of the first phase of their plan. As you can see no two athletes will be alike. Everyone will have a different medical history.
Each athlete trains to the type of program that is best for him. Each athlete will also have a different lifestyle and work habits. They also eat different foods, have likes and dislikes with those foods, as well their culture or background may play a role in their eating patterns.
As you can see no one training program will work for all athletes and neither will one nutrition plan be perfect for everyone either. Customization is the key to each athlete's success and this is why this is the base to the Nutrition XP3 System. It takes a lot more work on my time but through this comprehensive analysis and program phasing are great results attained.
If someone disagrees with this, then I can guarantee this individual has very little knowledge in the nutritional sciences and even less in its application to a strength athlete. This is why the Nutrition XP3 Program takes all of this into consideration to make sure that each athlete gets the results they deserve no matter what level they are at, how old they are, what gender they are, or what medical conditions that must be addressed.
As for my pro athletes eating the same thing year round the answer is no. With each athlete I may design 20 or more different plans. Their supplement programs will also change according to what they are trying to accomplish at that particular time and where they are in their competitive season.
Louie Simmons and I believe in the Conjugate Method of constantly changing things around to keep the body guessing. It is the same way with the foods that you consume. Most people especially in powerlifting can't imagine the nutritional sciences being this complex.
They truly don't understand the relation to the food they consume and its relation to their hormone balance, or micronutrients and how it affects their androgen receptors, or how nutrient partitioning agents can help redirect nutrients into different types of cells.
| What Are Androgen Receptors?
The androgen receptor is an intracellular steroid receptor that specifically binds testosterone and dihydrotestosterone,- it has two main forms, A and B, that differ in their molecular weight.
Structure: Like all steroid receptors, the androgen receptor has several functional domains. Androgen receptors have a DNA binding domain, a hinge section, and the hormone binding domain. The A form is shorter than the B-form, their functional difference is not clear.
This to most lifters is something out of a science fiction movie and not applicable to powerlifting. But since we are well into the millennium now, we as lifters have to look at every angle to improve our performance. Many ignorant lifters think that all this entails is getting a new bench shirt or doing a more advanced training program. This is not the case in the least and there is much more than that.
The problem is powerlifters have been in the dark concerning the nutritional sciences up until recently. This has not only kept their progress much behind, but at the same time it has caused illness and even death to lifters that it could have been completely avoided. I have seen way too many lifters die way before their time and I will be the first to say that many times it is because of their poor nutritional habits.
I have worked with numerous athletes that suffer from health ailments. This ranges from high cholesterol to diabetes to elevated liver enzymes. I have made such huge improvements with my athletes that even their doctors are wondering what the hell they are doing. Some have even got off their meds completely.
Others have had them reduce by more than half. These are some major improvements especially when this is all without the use of drugs, purely with food and supplements. This proves right here that you can dramatically decrease many health issues that may have been caused by improper eating habits.
As for writing some more Pro Powerlifter profiles in the near future, yes I plan on doing many more. I know the reader likes knowing the inside nutritional scoop on what their favorite lifter is doing, not only with their training but also their diet. You can look forward to an awesome profile on Travis Mash in the near future and this will no doubt be one that will blow your mind!
So until next month lift hard, take your vitamins, say your prayers and one day you may be as strong as the Hulkster!
For those interested in more information feel free to contact me at Aricciuto@NutritionXP3.com