Monthly Archives: October 2010 - Page 2

Status of Book Shipments

Today the printer shipped 17 boxes of books to us by UPS. They are expected to arrive Wednesday. We’ll repackage them and mail them as quickly as possible. We expect to begin shipping on Friday and to finish on Monday.

If you purchased a book and haven’t yet sent me your address, please do so. Thank you!

Perfect Health Diet for Athletes

I’d like to bring a little information up from the comments so that it’s accessible to people using Search to find material. Today’s is about how competitive athletes should eat.

We’ve had several questions about proper diets for athletes, the most recent from Lindsay:

I was just having a conversation with a friend this morning about body fat % and BMI. She is an endurance athlete who is currently training for an ultra marathon. This means she is running about 15-20 hours/ week and weight training two days/week. I am generally the one to give her advice on food intake and so on, but with such a massive exercise load it has become tricky. She recently had her body fat measured and it’s 17% (pretty low for a woman). She was then told she needs to gain at least 10 pounds, preferably in the form of muscle. What is in your opinion the best way to do this for someone with such high calorie needs? Obviously the most calorie dense foods are generally grains, but logically that seems like a bad choice. Thoughts?

Our basic recommendations for athletic training diets don’t vary much for different sports. Diets are designed to meet the body’s nutritional diets; assure there are no nutrient deficits which might slow training progress; and prevent toxicity from too much of anything.

For people who are purely focused on athletic performance, we recommend carb intake of 500 + 50-100 calories per hour of intense training, protein around 600 calories, plus fats adjusted to appetite.

So for Lindsay’s friend this would translate to 600-700 carb calories and 600 protein calories and I would guess 2,000-3,000 fat calories daily.

Carb calories should come from our safe starches: white rice, taro, sweet potato, potato, cassava/tapioca, sago, etc., plus some fruits and berries. Rice is a good choice for runners, since with its low fiber content it doesn’t create a sense of fullness.

Protein calories should come largely from fatty meats plus a bit of whey powder. About 3/4 to 1 lb meat per day would provide optimal protein, plus maybe 100 calories whey powder.

Fat calories should come from fatty meats (ribs, bacon, fatty cuts of beef like ribeye, salmon, lamb), fatty plant foods (e.g. avocado, nuts), egg yolks, dairy (cream, butter, whole fat yogurt, cheeses) and low omega-6 oils: coconut oil, butter, beef tallow.

To make the fats more palatable, mix them into the other foods: e.g. make mashed sweet potato with coconut oil and butter, or put lots of butter or cream cheese on the potato. Put butter on top of the steak or salmon, if more calories are needed.

This should provide sufficient calories. If more calories are needed, just add more fat.

Some tweaks can be added to this:

  • Intermittent fasting enhances growth hormone levels and promotes muscle development. Fasting 16 hours and eating in an 8 hour window each day is one way to implement this. Another way is to implement a longer fast – 36 hours coconut oil and water only – one day a week. Athletes should continue normal training while fasting.
  • Carb loading before competition is often desirable. We discuss how to do this in the book. It basically involves very low-carb eating for a few weeks, to dissipate glycogen reservoirs, then extremely high carb eating a few days before an event to saturate them.

Athletes should also strive to be replete with micronutrients. We give micronutrient recommendations in our book, and I’ll put up a page with those sometime this week.

What’s the Ideal BMI?, II

Hans Keer of Cut the Carb posted this picture on my Facebook Wall and it made me laugh, so I thought I’d share it. Which 33.9 BMI is the ideal?

UPDATE: The Perfect Health Diet aims, first and foremost, to transform the right-hand body type into the healthier left-hand body type. In the comments, erp says she’s experiencing just that change: in six weeks on the diet, her weight has not changed, but her dress size has dropped from 14 to 10. Presumably, the weight has migrated from fat cells into muscle and bone — just what we want for good health!

What’s the Ideal BMI?

Winalot asked what I thought was the ideal bodyweight or BMI.  I’m not sure there’s a single ideal – different lifestyles will naturally generate different bodies – but I think we’d all agree that this young lady has a pretty healthy body shape:

You can also see her deadlifting in this video, where they tell us she weighs 98 pounds. If she is 5’0” tall, then her BMI is 19.

One factor to keep in mind is that, as Wikipedia notes, the BMI improperly accounts for height — it scales proportionally to height. So a 6’ person with a BMI of 25 has the same body shape as a 5’ person with a BMI of 21.

I’ve always been slender, but as I’ve improved my diet and nutrition I’ve actually gotten heavier. I now weigh 182 lbs at 6’0”, which translates to a BMI of 24.7.  I used to be 160-165 lbs. I’m still slender and have, if anything, less fat than before, but more muscle and I am convinced my bones are denser. Certainly, my teeth are harder and whiter.

If, as I think, I added 10 pounds or so to my bones through vitamin D, K2, C, and magnesium supplementation, then it’s rather obvious that BMI is not a precise measure of health. A BMI of 25 in a person with little muscle and fragile demineralized bones is overweight; but a BMI of 19, even with a great body shape, might indicate some missing nutritional elements.

If the lady in the video is really only 98 pounds, I would suspect that either she’s shorter than 5’0” or that her bones are not as dense as they should be, and she should supplement D, K2, C and magnesium.

Both Shou-Ching and I are pretty sedentary – we both spend 60 hours per week or more at our computers. We go to the gym twice a week for about 30 minutes, and go for a walk for about 2 hours on weekends, or play tennis. We would love to get outdoors and exercise more, but life is busy for us.

If you eat right and your metabolism is healthy, not a lot of exercise is needed to attain an attractive body shape and move mass from adipose cells into muscle. Even though we’re sedentary, both of us have been getting stronger, and we’ve remained fairly slender.

So: Be sure to eat at least 600 calories per day of carbs+protein, and there should be sufficient protein for muscle synthesis. (At lower carb+protein intakes, more protein may be consumed in gluconeogenesis than is eaten, for a net loss of protein from muscle.) Resistance exercise will help drive muscle development. These steps will allow surplus fat to go into muscles, not belly flab. Then control overall calorie intake, perhaps with intermittent fasting, to keep adipose fat from growing. All this should be natural and easy, if your metabolism has not been damaged in some fashion; and your body should end up with an excellent shape.