Archive for August, 2011

NJU: Sports Nutrition Supplementation

Missed the NJU course on Sports Nutrition Supplementation? It can be found on the Wiki.  Please review some previous discussion about the lecture before reviewing the below.

How Today’s NJU was Born

Within one week of being at Next Jump back in January 2010, I was given wrappers to read, protein powders, pill bottles to review … I furiously looked through my Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) to see if the products were safe or even legal.  In May I attended the Annual CPSDA conference, and it sparked my interest to discover how I could provide new ways to help you evaluate the hundreds of thousands of supplements we have on the market.

As part of our Human Capital, we have many programs to help us achieve optimal energy.  As part of our nutrition program, I have covered many topics ranging from portion and weight control to optimal hydration status during the JPMC and the Irish Flip Cup tournament.  As part of a well-balanced diet, dietary supplements can serve as an enhancement — a “supplement” — to an already nutritious program.

Some Take Away Points:

– Clinton signed into law the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), meaning that manufacturers could market dietary supplements without submitting proof or safety to the FDA

– Ergogenic Aids are supplements that are intended to improve athletic performance

– For overall health, it is important to check Serum vitamin D, iron and B12 levels before supplementing

– Everyone can benefit from a fish oil supplement, at least 1 gram per day, since it is a potent anti-oxidant

– With a healthy diet, multi-vitamins are not necessary unless specific deficiencies have been detected or for prenatal purposes

– Creatine monohydrate can help a male gain bulk, but use should be limited to a specified amount of time and be supervised by a dietitian and/or doctor

– BCAAs, glutamine and arginine are helpful amino acids to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but protein blends through protein powders can provide the quality of protein necessary to obtain these specific amino acids

– Methylhexanamine is in Jack3d and 1.M.R., and not advised for the general public to consume based on safety concerns

– Certified supplements through secondary bodies, such as USP and NSF are good resources for the consumer to use since they evaluate supplements for safety.


Nexercise Spying on Next Jump?

A Prize for Exercise?  Sound Familiar?

New iPhone Exercise App

A new (and free!) exercise app just came out, called “Nexercise,” which allows users to earn points and rewards for tracking their fitness time.  The app also allows users to purchase fitness merchandise at a discount.

Nexercise Spying on Next Jump?

Discounts, rewards… Bah.  We get this already.  Nexercise may toy with the idea of motivating users with point-incentives and accountability via check-ins; but to win means winning in their lottery system, which is based on how many points a user earns.  Although a user is more likely to win if he or she accumulates many points–it isn’t necessarily in the bag.

Interesting Ideas

The idea of mini bonus points via gift cards seemed interesting– but we already have this ability, merely by shopping on our site.  Another interesting piece was that if a Nexercise user works out with a friend, he or she gets bonus points, as well.  That we are currently working out with trainers is already a way to hold ourselves more accountable — and reward, alone.

See more about the new app here.

Dietary Supplements: Do We Need Them?

… or can we get all our nutrients from food? Tuesday’s timely article in The Washington Post is a preview for my upcoming Next Jump University (NJU) course this Wednesday about Dietary Supplements.

Article: Facts and Figures

– Half of U.S. adults use dietary supplements, mostly multivitamins

– Dietary Guidelines concentrate on four “nutrients of concern” that most of us need more of via food versus supplements to maintain good health: potassium, Vitamin D, calcium and fiber.

– Food first: Take a “snapshot” of your diet, then determine where to supplement.

NJU: What to Expect

#1 Motivation. We will discuss the motivations for supplement use and learn about why supplements are not regulated.

#2 Specific Supplements. We will then move into the supplements that interest Next Jumpers (including the above “nutrients of concern”).  From the survey a few weeks ago, the following is a general list of supplements we will discuss.  Please email me directly by end of the day Friday if you want to add another to the list:

–      Dietary supplements: Caffeine, Jack 3d, Beta-Alanine, Hydroxycut, NO-xplode, Wheybolic Extreme 60, Creatine, Glucosamine, BCAAs, D-ribose, L-Glutamine, Diet Pills

–      Vitamins, minerals, oils and herbs: Calcium, Melatonin, Iron, Prenatal Vitamins, Redoxon, Cod liver oil, Vitamin C, Borage oil, Omega-3s, Vitamin D, Bee Pollen

#3 Sports Pharmacology: What’s Safe? How do we determine what’s safe and effective.  What are some supplements we should think about adding to the diet?  What are some products that are safe to explore based on goals?

Clean Weight Gain Tips

“I am looking to gain weight.  Should I eat whatever I want?”

If you are looking to gain some fat, then yes–by all means drink regular soda and eat Yodels.  Gaining “clean muscular weight” is a challenging task and requires a strategy.  Here are some tips to follow:

1. Take in enough calories. Before discussing types of calories, it is imperative that the body has enough to put on a clean gain.  You will lose muscle and fat without eating enough calories.  If you are not a fan of counting and food logging, one way to know if you are eating enough is by gauging hunger levels post meal.  Stay in the range of 80-90% full but not over 100% (stuffed).

2. Spread meals out, as in six-seven little meals versus three big ones.  Doing so will allow your body to firstly, speed up your metabolism and, secondly, digest the calories it needs versus having to store a ton of excess.  Eating breakfast is important to take the body out of the “catabolic state” (breaking down muscle and fat).

3. Eat enough fat. It may seem counterintuitive, but eating enough fat (with the exception of trans-fat) will help you avoid a fat gain.  Confused?  Fat preserves muscle and acts as an energy bank when we are hungry.  When we eat fat, we secrete lots of enzymes.  One in particular, Gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP) slows gastric emptying (meaning food sits in the stomach longer) and signals insulin (another hormone) to be secreted.  Insulin will make sure our food gets digested, but in addition, signals the body’s hunger hormones to shut off by saying, “hey guys, we have food in the belly now! No need to be hungry anymore.”  Getting enough fat also ensures that we have healthy lubrication for our joints and aren’t taking in too many calories through protein or carbohydrate.

Types of fat to consume: instead of french fries and cookies, try avocado, nuts, olive oil and olives.

4. Eat lean sources of protein. Consuming protein before and after resistance exercise optimizes gains in muscle mass and power. Anabolic (muscle building) is highest at night, and so consuming a small protein snack before bedtime (e.g., turkey, egg or cottage cheese) can enhance the availability of amino acids (building blocks of protein) and protect the lean body mass throughout the night.  This is only necessary if you did not consume an enormous dinner.  While the need for protein during exercise is still up in the air, it is not harmful if you are lifting heavy for 45- 1 hour or more.  Adding some protein powder to a sports drink can lower markers of muscle damange and reduce post exercise soreness, according to some recent studies.

Types of protein to consume: instead of a burger, try turkey, fish, eggs, legumes, beans, grilled chicken and veal.

5. Be smart with carbohydrate choices. Immediately post-exercise and during, sugar has less of an inflammatory effect since you will quickly oxidize it (use it).  Surrounding the workout is the best time to have “processed carbs” if you choose to eat them, such as white bread, jams, white rice, noodles and juices.  When eating outside of the exercise time frame (which includes the hour before and hour after the exercise session), choose whole grain or starchy vegetables as the carb source.

Types of carbs to consume outside of the workout time period: instead of white pasta, try brown rice or whole grain bread.  Try sweet potatoes and corn.

6. Don’t overeat inflammatory foods. Yodels, regular soda, french fries and cookies are all going to contribute to an unfavorable weight gain.  These types of foods are loaded with sugar, which when consumed in excess are not only contributing to fat weight gain but also altering the way your body’s hormones are used.  Over the long-term, corrupting the way our hormones function can lead to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Toothy Nutrition

Do you chomp on ice cubes?  Bite your nails?  Suck on lemons?  What you chew and eat can affect your teeth.

Top 10 Ways to Preserve the Smile

Being the daughter of a dentist has some benefits.  I’ve been advised to…

#10 Minimize Sticky Foods! Some examples of foods that stick to your mouth are raisins, dried fruits, candy, and granola.  If you choose to eat these, rinse with mouthwash or brush teeth to get rid of some of those residues.

#9 Minimize Carbonated Soda–Especially Sugary! The sugar in sodas will wash through your mouth and collect around the gum line.  Unfortunately, any carbonated drink–even diet–is acidic and can still corrode the enamel on your teeth.

#8 Eat Fruits and Vegetables –They Trigger Saliva! Saliva has a neutral pH, which is the state we want our mouths to be in.  Saliva is therefore a natural mouthwash for your teeth.

Veggies: Celery, cucumber, and carrots stimulate the salivary glands, which can help wash away other food debris.  Those foods also can be natural toothbrushes in that they cleanse teeth and remove surface stains.  Spinach, broccoli, and other greens have minerals that can form a bio-film over the teeth so that pigments from common staining foods (see #3) have less of a chance.

Fruit: Plums, pears, and apples also stimulate the salivary glands and act as that natural tooth brush. Strawberries have malic acid, known to stimulate saliva production and whiten teeth naturally (if done infrequently).

#7 Stop Biting Your Nails! It isn’t just for hygienic reasons… Biting your nails can cause teeth to move out of place and enamel to become weaker.

#6 Don’t Chomp on Ice Cubes! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing on ice is harmful since there is potential to cause gum injury and microscopic fractures in enamel. Chewing on ice is especially not recommended in those who have sensitivity, braces or any recent dental work.

#5 Eat Cheese. Some research has suggested that cheese reduces cariogenic (cavity-forming) activity if consumed at the very end of the meal.  Other mechanisms of action include that casein and whey in cheese can help reduce enamel deterioration.

#4 Don’t Be a Lemon-Sucker. Lemons are loaded with acid.  The goal is to keep the pH of your mouth in a neutral/basic state.  Lemons are in the same category as candy and soda and can corrode the enamel pretty easily.  Next time, you may think twice before taking that Tequila shot…

#3 Minimize the Major Teeth Staining Agents. Coffee, dark teas, dark sodas, fruit juices, balsamic vinegar, red wine and smoking can stain your teeth– big time.  Good news is that practicing the #1 and #2 methods below can help remove stains.  If there is one stainer to quit for good, smoking is it.  Tobacco causes brown stains that penetrate into the enamel, and the longer you smoke, the deeper the stains.

#2 Daily Brushing & Flossing! The ADA recommends brushing teeth twice per day and flossing daily.  More specific instructions here.

#1 Get Your Teeth Cleaned 2x Per Year. Dental cleanings are preventative for health problems but also help remove any stains in which you’ve collected over the year.

College Students: Poor Nutrition

Will our very own interns lose all of their healthy new habits when they return back to Study-ville? According to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, male college students only consume five servings of fruits and vegetables per week, while their female counterparts only consume four per week.  The females, however, did keep a better log of the food they consumed and had increased likelihood of reading nutrition fact labels.  The recommendations for fruits and vegetables are to consume at least 5-9 servings per day (one serving =1 cup raw fruit or vegetable, or ½ cup cooked).

How Do Our Interns Measure Up?

Yesterday, the interns were given a brief survey about healthy habits.  They were asked if they thought specific healthy habits may change when back in college as a result of working with us.

80% of the interns completed the survey.  Overall, we found that most healthy habits picked up here at Next Jump are likely to stick.  Since the fitness portal holds us accountable for our workouts, it was nice to see that 75% of our interns will continue to plan in advance once they get back to school.  Another 75% state that they will do more cardio exercise when they return to college than they had performed before, 50% predict that they will eat breakfast when they return, while the other 50% think it will stay the same.

Interestingly, it looks like the interns aren’t planning to change their sleep habits or have small snack breaks, but the weakness in this survey is that I didn’t test the below items before and after their stay with Next Jump.  With the new Daily Ritual Booth, I will now be able to track your healthy habits over time 🙂

Item More often Less often Will stay the same
Eating breakfast 50.0% (4) 0.0% (0) 50.0% (4)
Including fruits and vegetables everyday 25.0% (2) 12.5% (1) 62.5% (5)
Having more fiber rich foods 37.5% (3) 12.5% (1) 50.0% (4)
Cardio exercise 75.0% (6) 12.5% (1) 12.5% (1)
Strength training 62.5% (5) 12.5% (1) 25.0% (2)
Scheduling time to workout 75.0% (6) 12.5% (1) 12.5% (1)
Sleeping at least 6-8 hours 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 100.0% (8)
Having small snack breaks 12.5% (1) 12.5% (1) 75.0% (6)
Expressing gratitude 37.5% (3) 0.0% (0) 62.5% (5)


Los Angeles Times (8/17)

Energy Pathways 101

“As a follow up question from yesterday’s post, which breaks down first – muscle or fat.  If you have good muscle mass and some excess fat, if you begin to do more cardio – will the fat breakdown first or the muscle.  Or do they both happen at the same time?”

The body has several energy pathways it uses during exercise, which burn through all three stores of fat, muscle and glycogen (carbohydrate storage).  We sometimes do aerobic activity that requires oxygen (think: long runs), and sometimes anaerobic that doesn’t require oxygen (think: sprints).  Most times we use both energy pathways within the same session and all three macronutrients.  Therefore, these individual energy systems are never really turned on or off, but become used more or less in order to balance energy use during a workout.

At rest, fat metabolism is the source of energy.  When we exercise, carbohydrates are the main source of energy.  Protein metabolism accounts for a small proportion of energy expenditure–except if in a starvation mode.

So then, one reason never to get too low in consumption of carbs is because the muscle glycogen will be used to provide energy for the workout versus the muscle itself.  Once glycogen stores run out, you don’t ever use only muscle or only fat, but instead, both energy sources are required to power up the workout.

On the nutrition front, to preserve lean body mass and muscle, take in sufficient protein (.8–2grams per kg of body weight) with sufficient carb (moderate exercise: 5-7g per kg/body weight).

On the exercise front, both resistance and cardio training can help preserve lean muscle mass while toning up.