Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nutrition Seminar

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a nutrition seminar with ~100 athletic trainers, strength coaches, personal trainers, etc... featuring well-known nutritionist Dr. John Berardi (see above pic). JB (as his colleagues call him) is the owner of Precision Nutrition (http://www.precisionnutrition.com/) and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas. Dr. Berardi’s (http://www.johnberardi.com/) research has focused on the interaction between nutrition, sports supplementation, and exercise performance. This research has led to the publication of 8 scientific abstracts, 12 scientific papers and textbook chapters, and numerous presentations at scientific meetings.

JB's seminar covered a lot of practical information that I can apply to my daily nutrition habits, as well as to the dietary patterns of my training clients. While I learned a great deal of new information, it was also nice that Dr. Berardi reviewed a lot of what I knew going into the seminar. A few noteworthy pieces of information covered at the seminar were the following:
  • With regards to supplements, ask yourself the following 3 questions when considering taking a specific one:
  1. What are the chances my diet is deficient in the essential nutrients I want to supplement with?
  2. What physiological system do I hope to target?
  3. Is there objective research demonstrating the benefits and safety of the supplement?

In a nutshell, the supplement industry thrives on people not asking questions or citing research. I see too many people (a lot of young athletes in particular) being brainwashed by their local GNC salesperson into thinking they need to take supplements X and Y when in fact a few sound changes to their daily nutrition habits, an increase in the intensity and quality of their workouts, and improved rest and recovery are the real keys toward positive changes in injury prevention and improved performance.

  • More and more research continues to pile up towards the benefits of fish oil supplementation.

Personally, I supplement with fish oil only on days when I don't eat fish. Simple as that.

  • Canada has much stricter guidelines when it comes to supplements. Every product has to be thoroughly tested before being put on the shelves for sale, unlike in the U.S.

I was so happy to hear this and wish this was true in the U.S.

  • The "Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)" is lower in obese individuals.

TEF is the increment in energy expenditure above resting metabolic rate due to the cost of processing food for storage and use. It is one of the components of metabolism along with the resting metabolic rate, and the exercise component.

  • Nutrition somatotyping- Alter macronutrient intake based on one's body type (ecto-, endo-, or mesomorph).

Ectomorphs like myself typically have hyperactive Sympathetic Nervous Systems (SNS) and thyroid hormone output. We typically do best on higher calorie and carbohydrate intakes (25%P; 55%C; 20%F). For a nice breakdown on body types, check out the following site: http://www.time-to-run.com/physiology/bodytype.htm.

  • JB showed several studies showing the relationship between the intensity of one's workout and their overrall feelings of well-being. Specifically, the more intense workouts are, people feel much happier in terms of their mood.

I think we've all felt this as far as the feeling of "accomplishment" goes. Thanks to our bodies' natural opiates (endorphins) being released during exercise, exercise enthusiasts often report exepriencing a "runner's high." While there is no concise single definition for the phenomenon because it is immeasurable, the concept is soley based on reports of personal experiences.

  • Goal setting- When setting goals, Dr. Berardi suggested listing each in 2 columns- "outcome" goals and "behavior" goals. The outcome goals are what you want to accomplish, whereas the behavior goals are what you need to do to accomplish a given goal.

A goal most clients have when they begin training with me is weight loss. I'll break down their goal and explain to them that weight loss is their "outcome" goal and things like increasing overall activity levels and modifying their macronutrient intake would be examples of their ""behavior" goals.

As you can tell, there was a lot of solid information presented at the seminar. I merely highlighted a few key points, so I'd highly recommend seeing JB in person if given the opportunity. Proper nutrition is often the weak link in a person's health & fitness routine, so check out JB's site (http://www.precisionnutrition.com/) for more information.



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