Category Archives: Nutrition

Experiments with fish oil… and a little ramble

Fish oil is The Wonder Supplement. It nourishes your cells, it helps you absorb vitamins, it improves your skin, it elevates your mood, it increases your metabolism, decreases joint pain, improves rate of recovery, it practically cures cancer. I’ve experimented with it on and off for a few years and never noticed a difference until this week.

They say you should get high quality liquid, because the gel caps are all rancid, and of course you want good quality so it’s environmentally sustainable, and so you’re not eating too much mercury and whatever other pollutants the fish have been exposed to.

I’ve tried expensive liquid, cheap liquid, expensive caps, cheap caps, cod liver oil, salmon oil, a mixture of various fish oil, low dose, high dose… and nothing to show for it.

This week I tried el cheapo garden variety gel caps from the supermarket (just checking the label, they do say they’re from ‘sustainable free range fish’). Actually A found them lying around while cleaning up the other day, so they’re probably not just rancid, but they might’ve mutated into something else.

My skin is has been really dry over the past year or so, and absolutely nothing has helped. Sun screen, zinc, cacao butter, exfoliating, hydrating more, more fats, more fish, more fish oil… nothing. And now it’s winter, my skin is flaking off more than ever. And I know that EFAs have to help this, that’s why I keep trying the fish oil.

Well finally I’ve found fish oil that works! Yep, the gel caps from the supermarket! I’ve been taking 2 x 7 caps (1000mg) and within a day I could see improvement in my skin. Within 2 days it’s looking almost normal. Today I’ve increased to 2 x 8 caps and hoping my skin will improve even more by the end of the week. Still have to fix my dry scalp and hair. Might even up it to 2 x 10 caps for a bit and see how that goes. I am wondering if I will even start to see improvements in my stupid ankle or back.

Funny how all the health gurus say to take particular brands, or types of supplements, and that the cheapest things absolutely positively won’t work… but in my case the cheapest has been then best.

So many things are stupid about the fitness industry… supplementation, courses to renew CEC/PDP points, the way some people market themselves, MLM (pyramid scheme) product sales, internet folk who come across as gurus but have never trained more than a handful of people… I have been distancing myself from all that stuff. I rarely bother with the whole marketing thing now ***Breaking news*** Just now while typing this I got a call from a MLM nutrition company person ARGGGGH!! ….. so even while trying to get away from all the crap in the industry, I still get bombarded with it! I see myself as a loner in the fitness industry. I do my own thing. I still see what else is going on, but health and fitness isn’t rocket science. Generally speaking, the more simple, the better.

Anyway… my philosophy is to go with what works. Use science to help decide what to do, and then use practise to determine what works. Sometimes the science doesn’t help you as an individual. Sometimes, what everyone else says, doesn’t apply to you. Above all, go with what works. Sometimes you need to try a few things different ways. Either way, cheap fish oil gel caps work for me. They might not work for you.

Thoughts on Nutrition for Strength Competitions & Endurance Racing

Just wanted to slap together some thoughts on this, as I think I have worked it out for myself. I will post something a bit more detailed on my work blog, and might even type a bit more furiously to update my ebook at some point.

General Nutrition

  • Whole foods > Processed foods
  • Eating for performance > Eating for fat loss
  • Performance in this case does not just mean performance in the gym / on the field / in the race. It means mental performance, physical performance, emotional performance – you know, the performance of how your body as a whole works…. (stopping before this blabbers on into a blog for work purposes…)
  • Some supplements are helpful.

Nutrition for Endurance Races

Although I have not raced in a couple of years, this is something I have the most experience with.

  • 5km is different to 100km and in this case I will say pretty much the exact opposite of everyone else.
  • You probably don’t need as much food as you think you do.
  • Shorter races = more high GL sugar/carbs required.
  • Longer races = lower GL food, higher fat required. Carb intake depends on competitor’s nutrition under normal circumstances.
  • Lead up = 3 days to immediately before race.
  • Lead up = Cut any processed foods, easy to digest food only (often reducing fibre intake), increase vegetables, increase supplements. 24 hours before = prehydrate with salted water. Carb intake to tolerance. Immediately before = nothing or fats or high GI carbs depending on race & GI tolerance.
  • During – Under half marathon, just water or salted water. Marathon – Salted water, possibly added sugar or caffeine in last 10km. Ultra marathon – EITHER high fat, low GL with high GL options during lows and at night + caffeine at night OR high GL carb all the way, but only if you are accustomed to that in normal non-racing circumstances.
  • If you are expecting to finish on the podium then some rules get broken.
  • After ultra – Everything you can get your hands on. Eat the car on the way home if necessary.
  • After marathon or less – back to usual programming.
  • For the adventure athletes and triathletes, another way to look at this would be time-based. Up to 2 hours = up to half marathon. Up to 3.5 hours = marathon. 4-8 hours short ultra. 8-24+ hours = long ultra = blend between short ultra and multi day event for food. Multi day events = more real food of the anything and everything variety, processed too.
  • If you want detailed explanation of this, reply here and I’ll let you know when I post it on my real blog and/or when the ebook is updated.

Nutrition for Strength Sports

  • Whole foods > Processed foods
  • Lead up = 3 days to weigh in, and then from weigh in to immediately before comp
  • Lead up = Lots of water, low GL, normal carb to usual, easy to digest, often lower fibre. Supplements as usual. If cutting weight, follow cutting protocol, and stick to first point 😉
  • Before weigh in – Coffee if it is a diuretic for you. Not if it’s not.
  • After weigh in – Coffee, salted water, high GL sugar/carb.
  • During comp – Coffee (if no gastric issues), high GL sugar/carb, supplements as usual.
  • After comp – Nutrition as usual (I personally don’t do this, but I should)

During competition or races, obviously you are eating purely for your performance of that activity at that point in time. This is not the time to think Honey makes you fat so I’ll take the low carb option. It’s not the time to think Oops I ate a few too many handfuls of nuts and went over my calorie limit this week or I won’t sleep well tonight after all this coffee because none of that matters during the present time under this circumstance. 

Supplements that might be helpful

  • BCAAs
  • Protein shakes
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Creatine
  • Acytel L Carnitine
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • B Vitamin complex
  • Fish Oil
  • Don’t forget good ol’ water with sea salt. Hydration helps lots 🙂

Supplements do not replace good nutrition.

For the endurance athletes – Note my lack of gels
For the strength and endurance athletes – Note my lack of jelly beans
For the strength athletes – Note my lack of pies, macdonalds, kfc etc

My protocol for sports performance can be applied to vegans or omnivores, 6 small meal a day eaters or 1 massive meal a day eaters. Can be applied to people with food intolerances. Can not be applied to people who don’t want to eat real food.

That will do for now. I can see this turning into a whole other ebook as there is way too much to post here, let alone my work blog.

You can comment here or email me (contact details somewhere on your right) if you want more info. If you want specific detailed info on anything, if you are really canny you can e-stalk me to find out. 3 posts for me in 1 day. That shows what too much caffeine does for me. For now… I have people to smash, kids to whip, work to do 🙂

The Secret To Getting PBs In Training

I’ve discovered it! I’ve actually nailed it! That’s right. I know how to get a PB in training. This may seem obvious to runners who carb load, but since I never did, it is finally hitting me. After months and months of thorough scientific experiments conducted on myself, I have finally worked out how to get PBs in training. How to guarantee that my bench press will actually improve instead of sit at such a weakling girlie level. How to lift weights heavier than ever lifted before.

I know some of my clients read this, so it is probably completely irresponsible of me to share my secret. But I’m going to anyway.

The secret to getting a PB in training is to eat junk food.

The whole of 2012 so far has been one giant nutrition experiment on myself. I have done almost everything. Low carb, high carb, carb cycling, keto, intermittent fasting, treat meals, treat days, pig out meals, pig out days, carb nite, carb backloading… you name it, I’ve stuck to it like glue. I’ve monitored my results, and continue to do so on a weekly basis. That’s 10 whole months of spreadsheet and pen and paper training diaries.

Each week is analysed by diet and exercise, with a method of code only I could possibly understand.

Training Diary

Click to enlarge

And it is without doubt that eating junk food, specifically chocolate and muffins, results in personal bests.*

* Does not result in health, and does not get me any closer to the elusive weight class I’d rather compete in.

Week ending August 12

I’m surprised I managed to get all my important training and more done this week, although not so much rehab, but a good mix of stuff. I broke my caffeine fast on Friday, hence the run on the track. Still only have had the one espresso shot though. I’ve also implemented some nutritional changes, which are surprisingly easy to follow and I have so much energy. With the amount of energy I have, I don’t think I could handle any more caffeine!

Monday – KB1 + Rehab
  • Lungey things superset with single leg glute bridges
  • Jerk 7 mins @ 12kg, 14RPM
  • Jerk 8 mins @ 8kg, 14 RPM
Tuesday – Light Bench
  • Narrow grip bench 3 x 6 @ 36kg

Wednesday – CBF Day

Thursday – KB2 + Rehab
  • Glute activation superset with thoracic rotations
  • Snatch 7 mins @ 12kg, 14 RPM
  • Snatch 8 mins @ 8kg, 14 RPM
Friday – Drank coffee, had clients later on so no time for a trail run, inspired by the Olympics and Bolt’s win earlier in the day so hit the track.
  • Foam roll
  • 4 x 400m flat out with 200m walk/stumble recovery
  • Total 4.5km in 38:40 incl 1km(ish) warm up/cool down to track & back. Fastest pace 3:59min/km – probably held for only 3 seconds
  • First run in 2 months – Hamstrings and obliques sore the next day!
Saturday – Heavy Bench Day
  • Bench 3 x 6 @ 44.5kg
  • OA DB Bench 3 x 7(left) and 6 (right) @ 15kg
  • Lateral raises 3 x 8 @ 7.5kg
  • Lying tricep ext 3 x 8 @ 18kg
Sunday – Rehab & Fun Stuff
  • 2 sets:
    • 10 Lungey things
    • 10 Thoracic rotations
    • 10 Slomo mountain climbers
    • 3 Square dances
    • 10 Dislocations
  • Squat 5 @ 20kg, 5 @ 40kg (warm up)
  • 3 rounds:
    • 5 Squats @ 60kg
    • 8 Push ups
    • 20m Overhead carry @ 15kg
  • Foam roll & roll around on tennis ball for back rehab while being attacked by the cat.

Total training time: 4hrs 30mins

Nutrition: Following Renegade Diet as of Monday. This is like a combo of Leangains IF, Warrior Diet and Carb Backloading. I have SO MUCH energy eating like this. This is the first IF protocol I have been able to intentionally follow where I don’t feel tired. The lack of caffeine could also be playing a part.

Since Friday I’ve also included Acetyl L-Carnitine, alpha lipoic acid and fish oil. This combo keeps me awake at night, even when taken first thing in the morning! It’s kind of like having a coffee, but without the jitteriness and scramble brain. I have got so many business ideas running through my head, blog posts planned, Android apps in the works and workshop ideas. This is INSANE! Too much stuff going on in my head! All good stuff, but TOO MUCH of it! I could probably get by skipping a few nights of sleep …So I will probably half the dosage soon.

My name is Bobo. My hobbies are eating, throwing poo around, attacking bare skin and curling up to sleep like nothing happened.

Will have to get back into trail running, not just for my sanity, but because of a 12 hour rogaine coming up 🙂 If any orienteering/adventure racer types have any tips, let me know! I’m considering getting some O-gaiters, since my big bushwalking gaiters kept falling down when I ran in them in the last rogaine. Do O-gaiters give plenty of protection? Will they fit over my huuuuuge calves?

Mt Sugarloaf and Sugarloaf Reservoir

Sugarloaf Reservoir

Today I went for a 15km loop around Sugarloaf Reservoir in Christmas Hills. I noticed Parks Vic took down their map online so I printed a DSE map but now that I’ve done the run, I realise the map did not have the walking tracks so no wonder I was getting confused out there today!

Can you see the kangaroos? (click to see bigger pic)

There were hundreds of kangaroos out there. It’s quite a nice area, with gentle undulations around the reservoir. I took a detour, which I thought was the best way to go at the time, but it ended up being a dead end so for most of the run I stuck to the trail around the perimeter of the water catchment area. I did see a turn before I climbed Mt Sugarloaf, but didn’t want to end up in another dead end so I didn’t go there. Turns out that was the right way to run close to the dam, and I ended up going a stupid way, although getting to the top of Mt Sugarloaf was better than not doing it so that’s not so bad. From the top you can see the city skyline.

View from near the top of Mt Sugarloaf

It seemed like forever that I was running along this perimeter trail, and I knew it just had to be wrong as I had previously seen the Parks Vic map where you can follow another trail closer to the water. I was checking my DSE map and I just couldn’t tell where I was. At one point I saw a sign that said trespassers prosecuted, and I thought, How can that be, if I legitimately entered and have been following a firetrail? Oh well, at this point there was a road so I went down there, and it led to some special looking water catchment thing that I probably shouldn’t be near, but hey, at least I was back at the dam!

Then I saw what looked like a single trail, but it was hard to tell. I followed it and realised this is where I should have been going all along. There were occasional markers confirming the right way, but the trail seemed so rarely used that at times it was hard to know if I was following a trail or going cross country. Either way, it’s impossible to get lost just going one way around a dam.

These occasional markers confirmed that I was on a trail and not going cross country

Soon enough the trail became a much more well managed trail. It went really close to the water and at times I just stopped to listen to the water gently lapping the shore. It was very peaceful. And it was a gorgeous day. I could really visit there for a run again, but take some food and relax for a bit with some lunch.

Stupid way around the reservoir. You can see the correct trail I should have taken that stuck close to the dam.

Silly me did not eat any carbs before the run. I had 2 of ChocChilliMango’s yummy protein bars and 2 coffees beforehand, so a bit of dehydration and lack of carbs did not do me well and I felt nauseous towards the end, which kind of makes sense since I finished around 1 pm so it was well past my lunch time. It was pretty hard driving home when all I wanted to do was lie down on the couch! Lesson learned 🙂