Your diet is more important than you think.  Don’t believe me?  Just look around you.  Everywhere you look people are diseased.  Everybody thinks it’s just Americans that are fat.  Unfortunately it’s time for a wake up call.  EVERY country is riddled with obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancers to name but a few.  It’s time everybody took a long hard look at themselves and grew the f up.

I find it hard to see a single in shape, healthy person around me these days.  Everybody has some sort of dysfunction they just don’t know it yet.  The problem I have with this however is that you accept pain, you accept disease, you accept dysfunction all as if they were synonymous with your existence.  Listen up;

You are NOT supposed to be in constant pain

AND 

You are NOT supposed to be diseased

The problem is, these issues have in fact become synonymous with daily life.  We are all dumb as f**k.  The media has you thinking you must eat every low fat, low cholesterol, low carb, high in whole grains food in the supermarket.  What they fail to tell you is that we have slowly been conditioned to shop for nutrients rather than actual food.  As a result instead of looking in the whole foods, butcher or fruit & veg sections you are programmed to head straight to the aisle boasting all these nonsense claims.

How is it nobody ever thinks; vegetables don’t make health claims, fruits don’t make health claims, fresh meat and fish don’t make health claims, so by technicality you do not need them, right?

WRONG.

As a general rule; if a food makes any sort of health claim, it is NOT HEALTHY.  You should shop for whole nutritious foods, not ‘nutrient dense’ non-foods.

You know better.

Use your brain, we all know who controls the world; industry.  If industry is unhappy with things like health regulations they kick up a fuss and these regulations are reworded to keep industry happy, and guess what?  It works and is successfully fooling every single one of you.

If all these foods were good for you then why in the world are you fat and sick?

Take home message?  Educate yourself.  Stop letting billion euro industries educate you.  

There is a direct correlation between trans fats and heart disease.  There is a direct correlation between refined carbohydrates and type II diabetes.  There is a direct correlation between these ‘nutrients’ and decreased overall function.  

What does all this mean you ask?  It means not only will you be fat and sick but your brain function will plummet.  Goodbye mental clarity, goodbye good health, goodbye good body, hello your miserable self.

Ever wonder why peoples relationships become more and more bitter as the years go by?  I’d be willing to bet there is a direct relationship between your diet and exercise and your relationship quality.  The poorer these two variables the poorer you quality of life meaning you are less fun, you have no energy, your libido is non-existent and as I already said your relationships take a turn for the worse.

Two hip surgeries in 6 weeks, and an equally brutal diet during that time has destroyed my motivation (I used to be the most motivated man on the planet), made me incredibly unproductive, given me a chubby, bloated appearance and an awful outlook on life and made me a misery to be around.

As such, I can certainly relate with you.  I got the biggest kick in the teeth today and it has made me realise I need to get my act together.  It’s now 9 pm so as of first thing in the morning my diet will be cleaned up (I will be posting it weekly on my facebook page and to be honest my productivity has already improved.  The reason I am posting it on my facebook page is to create accountability.  You are going to keep me accountable.  This is something I recommend you all incorporate; get a training partner, tell everybody your goals, this will keep you accountable and help you stay on track.

I have no doubt you are wondering, what is the optimal diet?  The answer is this;

There is no perfect diet.

All you can do is try to improve it as best as possible.  Here are a list of rules I suggest adhering to;

#1  No refined carbohydrates (chocolate, cereals, breads, rubbish pastas, bakery foods and pretty much everything else with more than 3 ingredients.

#2  No trans fats.  These are lethal.  These will kill you and give you the memory of a goldfish and riddle your body with pain (arthritis among other issues).  You will find them in most packaged goods such as; crisps, chocolate bars, fast foods, margerine, pot noodle.  This is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully you get the point.

#3  Limit your fruit intake.  I say this because I firmly believe a good appearance is central to feeling good.  This is not up for debate; fruit CAN make you fat.

#4  Overeat vegetables.  No explanation needed.  These are vital to your good function.  They will fill you up, provide you with excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre (nobody want to be constipated).

As an aside, how often do you go use the toilet for a ‘number 2’ as my father quite eloquently puts it?  I suggest atleast TWICE each day.

#5  Stop falling for absurd health claims on foods– they are as I said; absurd and the primary reason for your terrible body, terrible health, god awful brain and consistent grumpy face.

#6  Don’t drink milk.  No doubt this is going to hit a few nerves.  The only milk you should be having is breast milk, and since that is a bit weird after two years of age I suggest cutting is altogether.  Milk has actually been shown to increase incidence of osteoporosis (brittle bones), heart disease, type II diabetes among a range of others (who would have though).  The only milk you should drink is almond milk.  I do not however suggest buying it at the supermarket as just like everything else it is laden with an array a non nutrients.  Make it yourself.  I will do a video during the week showing you exactly what to do.

#7  Don’t overeat at night.  You will spike your body’s blood glucose levels which in turn will spike your body’s blood insulin levels which in short is less than conducive to good health.  Read this post and watch this video for a  better understanding.

#8  Limit your higher sugar foods to pre- and post- workout.  For more on this watch this and this.

#9  Eat slow releasing, high fibre carbs- the one’s that don’t make health claims.  Examples include; kidney beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa and lentils.  Read this post for more info.

#10  Stop drinking so much- moderation please.

#11  Lastly, EXERCISE.

Take home points; MAN UP and read more and remember what I said; your diet is more important than you think.

Stay Healthy,

A.B

Unless you have been hiding in a hole deep under the sea you have undoubtedly heard of Ireland’s current banking affairs and the recently released tapes highlighting corruption and ignorance which in short discuss the destruction and devastation of our economy and in turn our country.

This post will consider some important points that we as a public and as health & fitness enthusiasts can take and learn from the farce that is Ireland.  David Drumm and John Bowe both portray far from exemplary traits as human beings and public figures, namely; corruption, selfishness, ignorance, appalling character and above all a disgraceful showing of personal and ethical character.

Due to the publicity of the current phone recording controversy the entire country is under the international spotlight.  We are all being labelled with the same branding iron.  These cowboys are representative of your character and of your person.  They are a complete facade.

So, what can you and I learn from this and what in the name of God has it got to do with fitness?  As I said; these two men portray some god awful traits all of which I believe can be tackled through leading a healthy lifestyle.  Irrespective of the mode of training in which you participate, it undoubtedly builds strength and depth of character.  We train our body’s which in turn trains our mind and with the risk of a lot of cringing faces; it trains our soul.  Anybody that trains early in the morning can attest to the initial struggle but eventual realisation of the person it creates.  Anybody that tells you they cannot get up early before work/school to train is foolish.  In my opinion this is the best time to train and it induces many benefits.

#1

You become an animal in all walks of life, yes you will resemble a salivating American Bulldog.  I firmly believe getting out of bed

Monster on the right

Monster on the right

before everybody else is one of the most important traits of successful, determined people.  Firstly you are getting a head start on the competition.  You are developing your body which of course will induce good health, meaning you miss less days in your life due to sickness and overall ill health.

#2

Getting up early for any reason especially to workout will create an inherent drive to lead a healthier and more successful lifestyle.  Starting your day off well, eating a hearty breakfast and not rushing around because you woke up late are all contributory factors to a healthy, stress free lifestyle.  It forces you to plan in advance and prepare for the day ahead.  Despite the negative comments from the naysayers, getting up early is bliss.

Working out early results in a feel good factor for the remainder of the day, in addition to an added sense of energy due to increased blood flow within your body and improved hormone function.

It might even allow you to eat more- surely this keeps us all happy.

#3

An early morning workout creates a great sense of accomplishment.  This of course has to carry over some place in your life and more often than not this place is; your diet.  I don’t know where it  comes from but for some reason working out early in the morning almost creates an obligation to stick to your guns and not eat that bag of muffins at lunch or that tub of ice-cream at dinner.  In my own case this is very much true; as I am not training at the moment I am finding it far more difficult to stick to my diet.  In comparison when I train I have almost no problem turning down that mouthwatering chocolate cake.

You are creating an inherent drive, motivation and self-respect unlike that of our fraudulent bankers.

Being diligent with your training and nutrition you elicits an incredibly positive effect on your body, appearance and overall health.  I cannot begin to explain how much good diet, good training and a good lifestyle can impact your life as a whole.  You might think that all you have to do is eat healthy and do a little exercise, however this viewpoint is so flawed it makes me sick.  It is most certainly not a matter of just do a bit of exercise and avoiding that bagel at lunch.

Why is it nobody considers their hormones, or their stress levels, or their sleep quality never mind sleep quantity?  

All these factors must be considered.  These are some of the most critical, yet hardly thought of factors that can help you on your way to feeling amazing, looking amazing and above all they can help create a happy human being that does not succumb to the ignorance, arrogance and selfishness of riches such as the case with our very own Anglo bankers.  Feeling good about yourself is one of the most important things contributing to a moral and confident person.

So how the hell do we start to feel good is the next question, right?

You must manage insulin and cortisol among other hormones of course.  The question is how do you do this?  You must incorporate some easy strategies that I have spoken about quite a bit of late.  The first step in developing the ultimate person is by way of insulin management.  If insulin is out of sync you may as well just give up now.

That was a joke, you can rectify your insulin resistance assuming you haven’t already been diagnosed as a type II diabetic (although I wouldn’t be shocked if that could be reversed to an extent also).  You manage insulin in short by managing your carbohydrate intake.  Although there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates it is carbohydrate that spikes you blood insulin the most compared with all other foods.

As an aside; you may be interested to note that snickers bars were shown to induce a lower spike in blood insulin than white bread.  

Don’t act like you’re not intrigued.

p.s. I am not suggesting you go and indulge in a mountain of snickers bars either.

In addition to monitoring your carbohydrate intake, it is essential to reduce your overall ingestion of food.  Consistently eating induces repeated spikes in blood insulin which is a sure fire way to drive you to drink (really though, it makes you fat and sick).  The solution?  Eat 3 times per day and incorporate and pre- and post-workout drink too provided you aren’t carrying elephant like fat levels.  Another excellent method would be to eliminate carbohydrate entirely for two weeks to ‘reset’ your insulin switch.  You may of course continue to eat vegetables which will provide a good source of fibrous carbohydrates to keep you feeling full and of course to ensure you don’t have a blockage.  Of course you will need to limit your carbohydrate intake when you reintroduce them to your diet in order to ensure positive effects of your two week abstinence.  To learn more about insulin click here.

Additionally, in order to regulate the negative effects of cortisol it is critical to improve your insulin sensitivity by way of the previous point.  Additionally eating close to bed time and not getting enough sleep play a crucial role in down regulating its negative effects.  Alleviating the strain of high cortisol will result in improved body composition, decreased agitation, decreased mood swings, increased energy and increased productivity and brain function.  As such it goes with out saying your really ought to get cortisol in check.

Although there are several other hormones to consider in improving yourself both physically and psychologically they are deserved of an article to themselves.

To sum up, although these strategies will not guarantee you won’t become a corrupt Anglo banker, they certainly will aid in increasing your quality of life, your appearance and above of make you a happier person.

If you enjoyed this please subscribe to my blog and share it with everyone.

Stay Healthy,

A.B.

I nearly crashed my car this afternoon driving past a primary (elementary) school.  A kid no older than 10 walking with his mother was guzzling a huge can of Red Bull.  I could not believe my eyes.  To say I wanted to get out a smack some sense in to that woman is an understatement, thankfully my current disability kept her safe.  Energy drinks and other soft drinks are the bane of my life.  How can any half witted person think these drinks are doing anything other than bloody murder.

Before I delve into the health issue of energy drinks and soft drinks I would like to point out; no child should ever need ‘fake energy’. Children are full of energy or so they should be at least.  However kids simply cannot utilise their own energy stores because their metabolism and hormonal profiles are completely broken.  Although if I were to offer my opinion, kids diets look more like punishment that they won’t pay the price for until it’s too late at which point nobody will blame the parents.  Do we even know what health feels like any more?

Let’s get to it.  The first energy drink on the list is Red Bull.  Below is a picture of the ingredients.  To the unknowing eye they all appear ‘healthy’.

Energy Drinks Kill

Energy Drinks Kill

They are even posited as revitalising.  This is in part due to the fantastic marketing campaigns Red Bull have run.  Upon browsing their website this morning they give a breakdown of the ingredients and they do a great job of portraying this product as healthy, beneficial and anything but detrimental to your health.

Although Red Bull do provide high levels of B6 and B12 vitamins I would certainly question their quality.  That aside let’s get down to brass tax; a regular size can of Red Bull provides large amounts of glucose, sucrose and caffeine.  Now in the context of the little kid I saw, he was chugging approximately 50mg of caffeine, 12g of glucose and 15g of sucrose.  For those of you that have no idea of grams and milligrams, 50mg of caffeine is the equivalent to 3 – 4 large cups of coffee without the health benefits, 12g of glucose is similar to eating a bunch of candy and 15g of sucrose is the equivalent to injecting a few spoons of table sugar directly in to your bloodstream.

If your goals include obesity, diabetes (type II of course) and heart disease and an energy free body then by all means drink a case a day and be on your way.  

This is a fast track to an early grave so I suppose their tag line Red Bull gives you wings is pretty apt.

 Okay, on to the next one; Lucozade.  For those of you unfamiliar with this it is the equivalent to Gatorade, Powerade and any other drink with ‘ade’ stuck to the end of it.

Suicide by Energy drink

Suicide by Energy drink

I couldn’t actually get a list of the ingredients and quantities for Lucozade for makes one wonder right away.  Regardless, here are the list of ingredients: carbonated water, glucose syrup (25%), citric acid, lactic acid, flavouring, preservative, caffeine, antioxidant (ascorbic acid) and colour.  Before discussing these in more detail I am compelled to say that it also says on the label that the colours added may have adverse effects on activity and attention in children.  Right from the get go we should be worried.

I will discuss 2 ingredients from this list; glucose syrup and caffeine.  Firstly, as I said with Red Bull; Lucozade has a similar amount of caffeine.  Why in the world would anybody need that much ‘false energy’.  Does it not say something about your diet and lifestyle if you must rely on excessive amounts of caffeine to get through the day.  If you are this person I invite you to re-prioritize.

A good friend of mine insists he needs his morning coffee to get going.  In my opinion it is just habitual for him and he does not actually NEED the caffeine.

Glucose syrup is next on my attack list.  This is actually worse than ordinary table sugar due to the manufacturing process is goes through.  Research suggests that it compounds obesity.  Now take note; 25% of this drink is made from glucose syrup.  Now add in the rest of your days eating and you have put yourself on a roller-coaster to misery.

There is approximately 40g of SUGAR in these drinks.  Although i do not propose its consumption ever, if you were to consume it, the only time you should is around a VERY INTENSE workout.  It is likely to be utilised by your body’s muscle cells at this time. Having said that, you would be better served using a higher quality source rather than a sports drink.

I’ll wrap this post up here.  I hope this gives you a little more understanding of energy drinks and sports drinks and the myths surrounding them.  By and large these drinks are all very similar regardless of the brand.

Stay Healthy,

A.B.

This video gives a short explanation of what happens when you eat and why you need to consider what foods you combine for appearance and health.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZKbs1UzrqI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Please subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on any great content.

A.B

Following on from my initial trigger point post and the video yesterday this video will show you how to relieve trigger points in your traps that cause nasty pain at the back of your neck and headaches.  This is central to everybody of all backgrounds.

 

 

Be sure to subscribe, share and comment.

A.B.

Following on from yesterdays post this short video demonstrates a quick tip to relieve nasty headaches and neck pain.

 

 

Be sure to subscribe and share and comment.

A.B

This post is a follow on from my initial posts on your probably dysfunctional movement patterns.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I guarantee that either you or one of your close friends are in pain every single day.  Again I have no doubt many of you are shaking your heads in disagreement but you are going to read on because deep down you know that I am right.

As an aside about me; I tend not to be wrong too often.

This is the typical process; you feel pain, you ignore it for a while hoping it will disappear, it persists, you go the doctor, they say they don’t know what’s wrong but prescribe some ridiculous narcotics to ‘fix’ you’re problem but in actual fact it these medication only serve the mask the pain and cause countless other problems within your body some of which I will discuss at a later date.  In addition to all that the problem is almost certain to pop it’s ugly head up at a time that’s most inconvenient to you.

I’ll bet the vast majority of pains you experience in your body and this includes those headaches that people for some reason always have are due to trigger points somewhere in the body and the cure is not to pop paracetamol.

‘Trigger points are the primary cause of pain within the body (Travell & Simmons, 1992) and you suffer continuous pain due to the ignorance and misinformation provided by the medical profession.  Too many physicians prescribe narcotics for pain relief, not necessarily because they don’t know what to do rather due to an inordinate pharmaceutical interest in medicine (Wolfe et al. 1999).

So what exactly is a trigger point?

 ‘A highly irritable localised spot of exquisite tenderness in a nodule in a palpable taut band of muscle tissue.’

(Travell & Simmons, 1992)

In plain English this is an area in the body that feels like a kick in the gonads.  Some will double over in pain, others will want to cry.  Trigger points are not fun but the unfortunate truth is that EVERYBODY suffers from them both young and old.  Most of you will know them as knots.  The different types of trigger points goes beyond the scope of this article.  What you should know however is these knots restrict your range of motion and can elicit pain at the source of the knot, refer pain elsewhere in the body or both.  Be under no illusion, there is no relationship between muscle size and the quantity of muscle pain due to trigger points rather any pain is due to the irritability of the trigger points.

‘Trigger points in the tiniest muscle can cripple you with pain.’

(Davies & Davies, 2004)

Classic examples of referred pain are issues with knuckles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and hips (Davies & Davies, 2004).  It should come as no surprise that low back pain is often due to trigger points in your glutes and hips rather than some of the more common diagnoses such as arthritis and disk issues.  I have no doubt it will come as no surprise to you after reading this that tight calves are also know for flaring up with the infamous title of low back pain.  Irrespective of the cause of back pain there is always a myofascial component (Davies & Davies, 2004).  Additionally treatment of back pain does not usually work unless trigger points are taken in to account (Rosomoff et al. 1990).

Trigger points are the proverbial nightmare.  They limit your range of motion, cause immeasurable pain and result in your protection of the ‘knotted’ area.  As an example, if your shoulder hurts, it is likely you will stop reaching for things.  Can you guess what happens next?  This forces the recruitment of other muscles that would usually would not be called in to action.  This will inevitably stress these other muscles which no doubt you can guess will eventually induce trigger points.

A perfect example that the vast majority of the world can relate to is brutal posture.  This will result in trigger points in your head, face, neck, upper back, lower back, and lower extremity.

How to treat your trigger points.

Murder by Kettebell and  baseball

Murder by Kettlebell and baseball

Luckily trigger points are easily treated and the best part is you can do it yourself.  In short you will utilise various methods of pressure and massage on tender areas which will invariably lead to significant reduction in pain and a real free feeling in your body.  Be under no illusion however, your initial few trigger point experiences are likely to feel like bloody murder.  You must endure a little pain at first to induce the positive and invigorating effect of trigger point therapy.

Compression results in small electrical impulses that are therapeutic as they disrupt the neurological feedback loop maintaining the trigger point (Davies & Davies, 2004).

I will return during the week with some quick and easy techniques to resolve your trickiest trigger points.  If you have any particular issue be sure to comment and I will post techniques to help you on you way to a pain free life.

You WILL get trigger points regardless of lifestyle.

Don’t forget to share and subscribe so you never miss an update.

References

Wolfe S. Sasich L. Hope R. & Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.  1999. Worst Pills, Best Pills: A Consumers guide to avoiding drug-induced death or illness. New York: Pocket Books.

Travell J. Simmons D. 1992. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Vol 2, 2nd ed. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Rosomoff H. Fishbain D. Goldberg M. 1990. Myofascial findings in patients with ‘chronic intractable benign pain’ of the back and neck.  Pain Management 3(2):114-118.

Davies C. & Davies A. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook 2nd ed. Your self treatment guide for pain relief. 2004 USA: New Harbinger Publications.

A.B.