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Author Archive | paulnoblesjr

The person you really need to convince is yourself

Rich Froning

“Practice” and analyzing trends is what we do in the Science Lab.  If you want to join us click here for info.

To understand this story you have to know that I play poker at a real high level and that’s how most people knew me before Crossfit.

First let me explain to you what a bluff is, a bluff is a lie.  It’s a lie you tell your opponent and hope they believe that lie because sometimes there is the equivalent of a BMW in the center of the pot.  That’s not the important part though, the important part is do YOU believe? I was one of the first online poker millionaires when it was really hard to do because the stakes just weren’t that high.  Similar to Crossfit when I first started out it was a good time but losing wasn’t fun, winning was fun.  To win you had to lie but more importantly you had to believe the lies you were telling, otherwise no one else was going to believe you and your ass would go broke fast.  So basically what I did was I practiced.  Donny Shankle doesn’t “work out” if you asked him what he does every day to get better at Olympic Lifting he will tell you he goes to the gym to “practice”.  Whether it was live poker for 15 years before online poker showed up or online it was “practice” that allowed me to bluff (lie) convincingly.

When you are training to get better you don’t really know if you can do it, you THINK you might be able to accomplish a deeper squat or you THINK you might be able to do twenty double unders unbroken but you don’t know.  You are essentially lying to yourself that you are capable of doing things that you really couldn’t have conceived previously.

That’s the secret to life and really everything you ever wanted because until you can convince yourself that you are worth the chips in the pot that is the only way it really happens on purpose.  Certainly people get lucky occasionally but when you “practice” often enough it’s not luck anymore.

There are some basic truth’s:

1) First you must believe you are worthy.

2) You have to practice.

3) You have to believe with everything you have inside you, there can be no room for doubt.

4) Sometimes you have to fake it, you have to bluff yourself before anyone else can believe in you.

P.S.  sometimes other people won’t believe in you, they are just bluffing too, it’s up to you to decide who wins the chips in the middle.

Supplements I Put in My Body

Progenex

We have representatives from both Progenex and GENR8 in the Eat To Perform Science Lab, and they have been great about getting us info so people can make more informed decisions related to their health choices.  Science Lab membership is free when you buy Met Flex for Fat Loss.

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article.)

Proper supplementation around training is one of those things that can make a big difference in how you feel and perform.  I know some people don’t agree, and they’d prefer to get all of their nutrition from whole foods.  It should be obvious that I am not suggesting that people should live on protein shakes and carbohydrate drinks; the majority of my diet comes down to whole foods.  So while I suspect a fair amount of noise related to a supplement post, the simple facts are these:

  1. CrossFit HQ recommends moderate starch consumption for athletic performance (“World Class Fitness in 100 Words”.) The quicker your carbs can load, the more moderate your intake can be, and you can get back to burning fat.  If you want to get all of that from sweet potatoes, have at it but not everyone has the time or the stomach capacity.
  2. You’ll notice that throughout this post, I recommend products from Progenex.  Why?  Well, Progenex makes some amazing stuff and they sponsor the CrossFit games. Clearly their products are CrossFit approved, and they care about our sport.  End of story.

Carbohydrates

I am going to start off with the easiest recommendation:  in my pre-workout and post workout drinks, I use Vitargo. I will talk a bit more about my workout nutrition at the end of this post.  Typically, I use two scoops which is 70 grams of fast-loading carbs.  The goal of carbohydrate consumption is to get the carbs in and out of your system as quickly as possible. This is favorable as it relates to keeping insulin levels low and blood sugar stable.  The simple fact is that you need carbs for protein turnover to elicit muscle growth and (more importantly for most people) muscle maintenance.  If you are struggling finding great carb sources, struggle no longer; Vitargo is the best product on the market. It’s not cheap, but in the end you get what you pay for.

Here is the article I wrote with videos describing what it Vitargo does and why it works.

If you follow the link above, there’s a special offer exclusive to Eat To Perform readers that gets you free shipping when you order Vitargo directly from GENR8.  Vitargo is not a sponsor of this site; we are merely an affiliate, so if you are interested in supporting ETP, I would ask that you use this offer with the accompanying bonus codes (either free shipping or additional product.)

Vitargo Image

Protein

In my pre-workout and post-workout drink, I use both “Recovery” and “More Muscle”.  Both are hydrolyzed whey (more on that in the next paragraph) with an additional filtering process that breaks the aminos down for better absorption.  (Which means you maintain and potentially build muscle better as a result.)  Before bed, I use their “Cocoon” product and I couldn’t recommend it more.

All Whey protein isn’t created equal.  There isolates and concentrates, but by far the best choice for building muscle is a whey hydrolysate because of the rapid rate of absorption.  One issue I addressed with Progenex is their use of sucralose as a sweetener.  Per bag, there is a very small amount of this noncaloric sweetener (basically equal to about a half of a packet of Splenda.)  What people don’t realize (and it’s addressed on Examine.com) is that unless hydrolysates are flavored with fructose or sucralose, they are literally gag worthy.  That is why there are sweeteners in their Recovery and More Muscle products.

As far as an alternative, they tried stevia, and it tasted awful. If you have used any supplements with stevia, what you find is that they have to use a lot to make it tastes right and it becomes basically a stevia supplement with a side of Chocolate or Vanilla.  I have researched this topic endlessly; if I thought a half of a packet of Splenda would harm me or kill my performance, I would not put it in my body and I would not recommend it to you. If they could have made the product taste more like chocolate and less like stevia they would have done that because obviously they know it’s a sticky point for a few people.  They couldn’t and you can’t.  Period.

Here is a quote from Examine.com explaining the rational behind using a sweetener with whey hydrolysate.  The guys at Examine do a great job writing up completely unbiased reviews for supplements.  ”This bitter taste, especially that of the hydrolyzed whey (very bitter) can be somewhat negated by sucralose, fructose, sucrose, 5′AMP, 5′AMP disodium, sodium acetate and monosodium glutamate (MSG).[3] Table salt is partially effective, while the combination of cold water and a sour stimuli can suppress bitterness[4]“

Cocoon is  great for getting restful and restorative sleep.  If your sleep is off, it’s very hard to recover from training  so this is obviously a big part of the deal. Cocoon contains a slow acting protein with L-Tryptophan. I have had to use melatonin occasionally when I was dealing with sleep troubles, but I no longer do.  Cocoon does the trick.  The effect is literally drool-on-your-pillow-type sleep.  You wake up refreshed and ready for your WOD’s.  (For more advice on fixing disordered sleep, check out our sleep tutorial article.)

Clicking this banner to buy Progenex products and get 10% off of your purchase. Your order will help support Eat To Perform!

Other Supplements

I use two other supplements from Progenex: their “Omega Plus” product and their “Force” products (pre-workout).  The Omegas are a fast absorbing fat source and the active ingredient in their Force product is beta-alanine, which allows for better performance during training by clearing oxidative waste from the muscle so the mitochondria can work more efficiently.  If there was any supplement that was literally meant for CrossFit, it would be Force.

Creatine is literally the most researched supplement on the market. It’s cheap, and it works.  I personally don’t think there is a difference between monohydrate and the Con-Cret that I use. The only real difference is the amount you have to take; Con-Cret allows me to take fewer capsules, which is why I recommend it.  Many women find that it loads more efficiently, which leads to less bloating.  Here is my article on creatine and my suggestions as to how much and when you should take it.

Follow this link to Amazon.com where you can buy either Con Cret or monohydrate.

How (And Why) I Take These Supplements

There’s a bit of a debate going on about whether or not you should keep your creatine and your caffeine separate. I think it matters, so I usually stop drinking coffee about an hour before I take my creatine.

I make a workout drink before training that looks like this:

  • 2 scoops of Vitargo (70 grams carbs)
  • 2 scoops of “Recovery” and 1 scoop of “More Muscle” (61 grams of protein)

About 45 minutes before I WOD or lift, I take this in these amounts:

Pre-workout

  • Progenex Force (BCAA’s and beta-alanine, it tastes like lemonade)
  • 3 Capsules of Con Cret

and

  • 1/3 of my workout drink

Post-workout

2/3 of my workout drink
1-2 capsules of Con Cret

I take 3 capsules of Omega Plus with food.  I take two scoops of Cocoon before bed with hot water.  Its like a non-alcoholic “hot toddy” that knocks you out so you can sleep like a baby.

You can obviously substitute any of these products for your personal preferences, but Progenex and Vitargo are top shelf nutritional supplements and I can’t recommend them more.  Again, you get what you pay for so if your health and performance are important, you can’t do much better.

Summary:

  • Good supplements can be a life-saver when you need specific nutrition around your training.
  • We recommend Progenex products because they’re great quality and they support CrossFit.  End of story.
  • Vitargo is the perfect carbohydrate for athletic performance; nothing else comes close.  Two scoops in a blender bottle around training will improve your recovery and help you replete muscle glycogen.
  • Progenex “Recovery” and “More Muscle” feature fast-absorbing whey hydrolysates to stimulate protein synthesis and help build/maintain muscle as efficiently as possible.
  • Cocoon will literally knock you on your butt and it’s got a slow-digesting protein that’s perfect for bed-time.
  • Creatine and beta-alanine (Progenex “Force”) round things out and may provide improved performance during WOD’s so they’re worth looking into as well.

How to win a million dollars playing poker (the secret to life)

poker chips

“Practice” and analyzing trends is what we do in the Science Lab.  If you want to join us click here for info.

First let me explain to you what a bluff is, a bluff is a lie.  It’s a lie you tell your opponent and hope they believe that lie because sometimes there is the equivalent of a BMW in the center of the pot.  That’s not the important part though, the important part is do YOU believe? I was one of the first online poker millionaires when it was really hard to do because the stakes just weren’t that high.  Similar to Crossfit when I first started out it was a good time but losing wasn’t fun, winning was fun.  To win you had to lie but more importantly you had to believe the lies you were telling, otherwise no one else was going to believe you and your ass would go broke fast.  So basically what I did was I practiced.  Donny Shankle doesn’t “work out” if you asked him what he does every day to get better at Olympic Lifting he will tell you he goes to the gym to “practice”.  Whether it was live poker for 15 years before online poker showed up or online it was “practice” that allowed me to bluff (lie) convincingly.

When you are training to get better you don’t really know if you can do it, you THINK you might be able to accomplish a deeper squat or you THINK you might be able to do twenty double unders unbroken but you don’t know.  You are essentially lying to yourself that you are capable of doing things that you really couldn’t have conceived previously.

That’s the secret to life and really everything you ever wanted because until you can convince yourself that you are worth the chips in the pot that is the only way it really happens on purpose.  Certainly people get lucky occasionally but when you “practice” often enough it’s not luck anymore.

There are some basic truth’s:

1) First you must believe you are worthy.

2) You have to practice.

3) You have to believe with everything you have inside you, there can be no room for doubt.

4) Sometimes you have to fake it, you have to bluff yourself before anyone else can believe in you.

P.S.  sometimes other people won’t believe in you, they are just bluffing too, it’s up to you to decide who wins the chips in the middle.

Vitargo S2 by Genr8 is the fastest absorbing carbohydrate source

Vitargo Image

This is a pretty popular quote by Greg Glassman and you pretty much see in every Crossfit Gym “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”.  The reason he is suggesting a moderate amount of starch is because starches and sugars are relatively inefficient and can lead to inflammation and bloating.  I have been testing Vitargo for almost two months now around my workouts and the results have been nothing short of phenomenal.  Basically it is an extremely refined starch, as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows we believe in moderate carbohydrate consumption to support athletic performance.  Vitargo does this without bloating and inflammation and so the net result is a more efficient loading mechanism which means you don’t need to take near as much to refill your glycogen stores so you are ready for more activity sooner.

We have an offer that allows you to buy Vitargo directly from the company with no shipping costs at all. Using this link simply pick a flavor and it will bring you to the details page to order.  Once you are there you will see an area of the form to enter a code.  On that line you will enter the promo code:

VF2-PN2

Like in this image:

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 12.53.36 PM

 

We also have another promo code that gets you more of what you really want, Vitargo.  By entering Promo Code (in the coupon code section like above):

VFS-PN2#

When you enter this code you receive these items (you will not receive free shipping with this code):

Free single serve UNFLAVORED packets (on 20 or 50 scoop tubs only)
2 free with EACH 20 scoop; 5 free with EACH 50 scoop (NOT FOR BUCKETS; customer pays FedEx Ground or Home freight)
SIGNATURE required for ALL FIRST TIME PURCHASES (this adds in an additional cost of $3-4…to prevent FRAUD)
CONSUMER picks which promo code they want!! Only ONE, per purchase.

Here is a video that shoes you how to mix Vitargo for optimal results and goes into why the product absorbs into your cells so effectively.

What is your Genetic Potential? (or Being Dan Bailey)

Dan Bailey

If you want to forget limiting eating ways and consider reaching your full potential as a human being here is the link for our book Met Flex for Fat Loss.

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article.)

I don’t want to point any fingers…But I kinda feel like this is a long time coming.  It has to be said.  One of the reasons this site needed to happen was that a lot of people get bad information related to body composition from bodybuilding sites/forums.  They try to apply concepts that work for Mr. Olympia to guys who just started lifting last week.  Even worse is when the subject of “cutting” arises and we see guys who’re a buck thirty soaking wet attempt to get shredded.

In theory, a bodybuilding site should be about building your body.  That’s not actually what happens though; the discussion inevitably turns into a support group for disordered eating and body dysmorphia.  You wind up with a lot of guys who don’t lift all that much weight trying to diet down to their pancreases, all congratulating each other on their emaciated physiques.  (At least they have abs, right?)

Every now and again, someone suggests what should be obvious to everyone else:  yes, many of these people have visible obliques but a nice strong wind would blow them away.  That’s when steroids come up; anyone who’s ever squatted triple their bodyweight must be juicing.  It rarely ever occurs to these folks that food and strength are 3/4 of the equation as far as getting jacked is concerned.

If you haven’t seen Dan’s BroFlex advert check it out, he has been rocking the mullet during Regionals

 

Form vs. Function

This is not a condemnation of bodybuilding, because there are a lot of people out there doing it right.  They’re actually BUILDING muscle, which you accomplish by eating a lot and lifting heavy things.  At that point, if you diet down, there might actually be some meat hiding beneath your fat layer.

Make no mistake about it:  your fat layer plays a big role in how much muscle you can gain over time.  Obsessively worrying about staying super lean so your heart beats out of your chest and you look like some human version of E.T. is not optimal for building muscle tissue.  As you undergo severe caloric restriction, your metabolic function takes a beating and it can become a very real health hazard.

This isn’t an argument against being lean.  If you want to strip away every ounce of fat on your body, have at it, but don’t try to pretend that it’s normal (Why do you need to be so lean in the first place?)  or put it out there like it’s the end of the discussion.  All I’m saying is that no grown man is going to look very good at 115 lbs/7% body fat.  You need a significant amount of muscle mass first.  

When you are dieting all of the time, it takes it’s toll on your physical and mental stability and frankly, a “diet” is unnecessary to get into great shape.  If you have been to any CrossFit gym, you already know this.  Folks are ab’ed up and muscular, which is hilarious because one of the more common criticisms of CrossFit is that it makes guys small.  For all their effort, how many average Joe “bodybuilders” at your local Globo Gym look that good?

Genetic Limitations and Steroids

First of all, drugs won’t make up for a lack of work ethic.  You don’t pop a pill and wake up a world-class athlete.  Also, the use of anabolic steroids by other people does not mean you can’t work hard.  It doesn’t give you an excuse for being weak or small.    This brings me to my main point:  your genetics aren’t holding you back.  Your nutrition and training are.

I’m not only going to call bullshit, but there are several prominent examples of CrossFit Games athletes that have blown past their supposed “genetic limits”.  Of course, this is where people make two claims:  they are either genetic outliers (Let’s be honest, Rich Froning Jr. is a genetic outlier) or they are on steroids.  (Literally every single one, including the women.)  This is ridiculous if you think about it.

Now, I am not going to suggest that someone somewhere hasn’t done steroids to get better at CrossFit, but I have been to many gyms and the topic of “how to get steroids” has never come up.  It’s just not part of our culture.  Also, the incentive just isn’t there; most of our top athletes participated in some sport in college, so they were tested.  We also test at Regionals and beyond.

So how much muscle can you build naturally?  There are various ways to gauge your genetic potential, but when it’s all said and done you need to look at people who’re about the same height and build as you are.  This handy dandy chart can give you some kind of idea:

I got this chart from BuiltLean.com

I got this chart from BuiltLean.com

As far as real-world examples go, I look to Dan Bailey.  Here is Dan’s athletes profile page from CrossFit.com.  I am 5’7″, and Dan is also 5’7″.   Judging from pictures, he is rocking a body fat percentage between 8-10% at any given point.  He looks pretty shredded to most people, but in fact he is not.  (Most body builders aspire to 5 or 6%, and that is where muscle wasting becomes a problem.)

If we assume that Dan is 180 lbs. @ 10% body fat (he’s probably not, he’s probably much closer to 7-8% at any given time) then we would have to concede that he has roughly 162 pounds of lean body mass.  If you look at the chart above, that means that he is a 17 lb. outlier.  17 pounds! I will concede 5 pounds, but not 17; that is where I call bullshit.  In my opinion, when you are constantly worrying about how skinny you can, be it limits your potential.

The reason this came up is because I was talking about Dan’s lifts and someone said to me, “Well yeah, he weighs 180 pounds.”   If you are comparing yourself to someone your size, ask yourself if your training and nutrition have ever allowed for the development of strength and mass without regard for your six pack.  It’s far too common for someone to say, “If I could only lose 5 more pounds of fat…I’d be shredded!”

How About Trying This One on for Size?

Ask yourself, “What if I put on another 10 pounds of muscle?”  How much stronger would you be? How much more fat do you think you’d need to lose?  When most people take a gradual approach to adding lean mass, they come out at the other end with the understanding that they didn’t have much fat to lose at all:  they were just small. 

People need to stop limiting themselves.  Where you are now is not far enough; you can achieve a better version of yourself.  Our sport rewards strong people, and if you want to get stronger, you’ll probably need to put on a couple of pounds.  There are way too many 16 year old kids reading bodybuilding sites and getting the wrong message, which is limiting their potential along the way.   For most of them, eating like Dan does and lifting like Dan does would end up getting them where they want to go.  Instead of talking to a bunch of geeks debating the latest study on Pubmed about HGH and making excuses for their lack of progress, they’d be out hoisting massive objects and talking to women.

Summary:

  • Many dieting concepts prevalent in bodybuilding culture have no practical application for new trainees, and they certainly don’t set you up for optimal athletic performance.
  • You have to have a lot of muscle on your body to look great at a low body fat percentage.  Furthermore, the levels of leanness that some people attempt to achieve are impossible to maintain.  Nobody needs to be walking around at 5% body fat unless they’re preparing for a competitive physique/bodybuilding show or a photo shoot.
  • Genetics are no excuse not to work hard.  Steroid use by other athletes is not an excuse either.  If you place limitations upon yourself based upon your genetics, you’ll sell yourself short.
  • Instead of asking yourself how much more fat you need to lose, ask yourself how much more muscle you need to gain/how much stronger you need to become to accomplish your goals.

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