Want to understand the science behind the revolutionary Elite HD product? The “NiTOR Protein Challenge” seminar features David Sherwood, PhD in Molecular Biology, explaining what led him to formulating the NiTOR Elite HD whey protein complex.
NiTOR Elite HD replaces the need for BCAAs, Pre-workout and Post-workout products
How to dramatically increase your protein’s performance, even if you don’t use NiTOR
Why slow-release proteins (including food) are only 1/3 as effective as liquid proteins
Why most proteins give you gas and bloating
The limiting factors that stop your body from using protein, even when it’s available
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is a hypothermic application designed to reduce muscoloskeletal pain and inflammation. WBC stimulates the nervous system through skin receptors, causing dramatic peripheral vasoconstriction. This induces adaptive changes correlating with effects of analgesia, reduction of inflammation, and increases in tissue repair.
Cryotherapy is the process of rapidly cooling the body using liquid nitrogen. Each session is up to 3 minutes long, and has incredible health benefits. Individuals from various backgrounds are using WBC to recover, rejuvenate, and revive.
Intermittent fasting is nothing new. Humans have fasted for most of their history, whether it’s during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious reasons.
What is new is that clinical research on IF’s benefits for health and longevity is beginning to catch up.
Data show that IF, when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, manage body weight, gain (or maintain) lean mass, and more.
Rather than something we’re forced to endure – a result of poor food availability or cultural expectations – IF is becoming something that health and physique-oriented people are seeking out in order to keep their bodies in top shape.
The proposed benefits of IF in animals and humans read like a laundry list of “look better,” “feel better,” “live longer” physiological changes. These include:
blood lipids (including decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
blood pressure (perhaps through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity)
markers of inflammation (including CRP<, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
oxidative stress (using markers of protein, lipid, and DNA damage)
risk of cancer (through a host of proposed mechanisms; we’ll save them for another review)
cellular turnover and repair (called autophagocytosis)
fat burning (increase in fatty acid oxidation later in the fast)
growth hormone release later in the fast (hormonally mediated)
metabolic rate later in the fast (stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine release)
appetite control (perhaps through changes in PPY and ghrelin)
blood sugar control (by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity)
cardiovascular function (by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart)
effectiveness of chemotherapy (by allowing for higher doses more frequently)
neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity (by offering protection against neurotoxins)
Let’s face it block pulls for some of us can be as painful as reliving a New Kid’s on the Block song/video. Both can be frustrating while you just want it all to stop!
Well good news! New Kid’s are gone and we just have to see them on VH1 every couple of years or maybe a celebrity rehab show. More importantly I am going to share how you can not only tolerate block pulls but thrive.
Honestly what is a block pull?
A block pull is a partial deadlift where you pull from blocks or pins in a rack from anywhere from 4-8 inches but like many things in life length varies on the person and their goals. So if we have a bar 4” off of the floor what really is it? It is certainly a segmented lift so right from there we need to visualize where in the pull this lift is at mechanically for our own technique. Reviewing video can help a lot in this department. Where are your hips at the point? How bent are your knees? Head position? I am not about to open a can of worms saying what the respective form should be at there are rule breakers that seem to lift just fine with a rounded back and looking down. So focus on you and how you ideally look at that segment of the pull.
2. Hanging tough at the start
I deadlift conventional and like many my start is what helps me with the lift. A block pull is taking away a portion of momentum that you rely and and in some ways your deadlift is a dead start from a weak spot of the lift. Visualize that spot of the pull in a full deadlift. Keep replaying it in your head. Visualizing will help with the awkwardness you may experience with the movement. Understand, it will be harder than a full pull even if the weight is the same or lighter. Addressing our weak points are always humbling so just suck it up and attack.
3. Weird squat pulls need not apply
We see this a lot where people want to get their legs under a rack pull and end up performing something not at all intended to being effective. Block pulls are no different. An extreme Romanian deadlift might be more the idea to consider if that helps you coordinate with the movement. Steve Goggins is a legend and worth taking a look at performing this movement correctly and effectively.
Hopefully these three points can help you in the deadlifting. Personally I recommend block pulls primarily for a conventional deadlifter but any style will benefit just understand your goals, strength and weaknesses.
The purpose of this article is to give you peace of mine in competing by covering some of my own experiences and sharing videos to help you understand a powerlifting meet. In short I hope that peace of mind gives you “peace of meet” so to speak.
A powerlifting meet gets anyone involved excited whether they are lifting, coaching, assisting or just spectating (and maybe all of the above). Even as a veteran lifter, I was always nervous at an event to compete. Even if I did all of my homework and was pretty sure I would win my class, I still had butterflies.
A good dose of healthy anxiety is normal, but I want to offer you some tips and ideas which, regardless of your experience level, will equip you with some “peace of meet” the next time you are preparing for the platform.
The squat is our first lift of the day. I normally am so anxious to get that first lift in and be on the board. Your opener is crucial for the success of everything else that follows; no opener and you are done for the day. Bomb outs happen, but should never happen in experience and as a raw lifter.
Make or break you lift; training to parallel. It behooves us all to know parallel while at the same time, not going for the deepest squat award which doesn’t exist. If you squat high in training you will squat high in a meet. It is really that simple and YES, judges can be a pain in the butt, we all know this, but regardless of the federation, parallel is the crease of the hip below the top of the knee. Look, you can try to gamble and cut your squats high and then blame the judge. My recommendation in training is to video your squats and face away from the mirror. Two things happen; first, you get comfortable with people ‘in your face’ when you are facing the crowd that might be in the gym. Second, you manage to get that familiar feeling of what parallel is in training while not relying on a mirror.
As the deepest squat is not a recognized category, neither is walking back the furthest. Get comfortable with squatting close to the rack while being at a safe distance. Taking too many steps is a waste of energy and is going to leave you open to serious mental drain and possible injury.
Once you have walked out the weight for the squat what happens? What happens once you squat down? Do the referees tell you to go back up? Know what the federation rules are for walking out, setting up and racking your weights and then practice. Watch what is going on around you at the meet and have a friend queue you with reminders of rack commands. In the USPA, I have watched many good squats get red-lighted because the lifter just started to rack the weight after the lift but not after the command was given. People that miss these commands are nervous, new or both. My college communications professor always stated, “Repetition makes you remember. Repetition makes you remember. Repetition makes you remember.”
Also, I have noted that in meets people get antsy and nervous so they tend to stand a lot and move about. While some can deal with this more times than not you can end up getting tight in the back and dehydrated from the anxiety. Do yourself a favor sit and sip water/Gatorade somewhere comfortable. Heck watch Netflix if it helps you to relax. You need to focus but at some point working your adrenal gland into an anxious frenzy is going to wear you down fast. And think about just this: tired back will give way to excessive leaning which pulls the hips up and you are suddenly not even remotely close to parallel.
Weigh-ins tend to be when you can get your rack heights set up. Please consider the settings in your training gear: shoes, suit, belt and lots of weight on the bar. You want just enough height to save energy while being able to safely unload and load the bar to the rack.
Some federations do not let you have a hand off person of you own so be prepared coordinate with the spotters if you need them. I coach lifting partners and strangers the same way,“You ask when I am ready. Then You count 1-2-3-Up. We lift off on up.” I do this every time. It is easy. Coordinate with spotters in warm ups and let the spotter know as well which will keep you ready and avoiding issues like not being able to have your own personal spotter while being assigned to one of the loaders.
What is a pause? It is control on the chest. It isn’t about an amount of time, although sadly some judges thinking a Mississippi count is in order. Also, the bar needs to be lowered in a controlled fashion; doing this in training will make it easy in a meet. Controlled, Tight, No movement. You do this and you will get a quicker press command , especially in a series of meets as you demonstrate the type of lifter you are.
Many a lift is missed because after the bar is pressed, the lifter quickly racks the weight without the command to do so. Again, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. You practice this in all of your training sessions and your instincts will take over on the platform. Repetition makes you remember!
The deadlift is so straight forward, but lifters often miss a few simple things that could improve their performance. First, I see many lifters pacing around and then once they do get to the bar take forever to just pick the weight up. Do you remember in class when teachers would encourage you to give the first answer that pops into your head because it is usually correct? The approach to the bar is no different. Just go and lift the weight. Stalling can lead to disbelief especially when the weights get really heavy, just “Grip and Go”.
So you approach the bar and go! Awesome! Only in time for the bar to cling to your pasty legs and then get caught on your singlet around the thighs. Use the baby powder and pull the suit up to avoid catching anything. Doing those two things can differentiate between your completed lift or your stalled attempt. As a tip, in training you can use water in a spray bottle which is easier to clean up especially in commercial gyms.
Additional things to consider
Finally, I recommend doubling up; take backup equipment for your lifting gear just to be safe especially if you have traveled far. Don’t forget your caffeine tablets, shaker cups, Pedialyte/ Gatorade and Imodium. I tend to eat light but consistently to help digest my food because I tend to be pretty nervous anyway as I mentioned, a dry fruit/ trail mix is a great fix.
Well that is it from me. I am sure you have some tips as well so feel free to drop me a line and share them. The bottom line is you want your very best experience at you meet, it’s what you have spent endless hours preparing for, you want “Peace of Meet.”
Below are some helpful videos for you to view regarding the rules of a powerlifting meet in the USPA. Check them out!
Editor note: I held off on publishing this blog post for a couple of months. I knew Kristen struggled with anxiety when we met but had no idea to what extent or how she coped. She made vague references to some of her struggles in the past of eating issues but really it seemed somewhat light hearted and very much in the past.
One day Kristen seemed very upset and sick. I knew something was up and asked her what was going on. She finally opened up and shared that she had been purging. I was shocked. Suddenly all these different moments of her going to the bathroom for long periods made sense. There were times that just being anxious from her ex or family would have her go and purge in the bathroom.
Her struggles of self worth always seemed to come back to how she looked. Purging in some way was similar to someone cutting themselves. Purging was a way for her to find momentary relief and quickly self loathing and guilt.
The fact that Kristen shared this released a huge burden and at the same time gave me the keys to the city for asking her regularly how she was doing. I could only hope she would be honest with me. I also tried to look for triggers that might set her off.
The episodes became less frequent to the point of almost sporadic at best but still I would just have to trust she was being honest. I would get anxious myself if she was in the bathroom too long. If oddly she had mouthwash breath during the day. I worried. I knew that this could manifest into other things besides the obvious damage it had done to her digestive system.
Reading this write up, this confession by Kristen even opened my eyes more. I didn’t realize she purged after Fit Con 2015 until I read it here. I won’t lie, it hurt to read. It hurt because I wished she would have been open enough to talk to me while I know how much she was hurting inside holding that in.
Please read on.
– Shawn Bellon
“I thought a lot about this and I wanted to just get my thoughts around it and tell you a little about my past experience with my eating disorder. Found some photos just to timeline it all, showing how warped the brain can get and how it’s truly impossible to know what someone is experiencing in their life by just an outward appearance; during all of them I was bingeing and purging. The bottom two are me recovered and feeling pretty good.
I want to say the purging started in 05/2012 if I am remembering correctly, but my obsession with my body image started even as early as 8 or 9 thinking I had fat legs and into Jr High/ High school I would weigh myself all the time and try to keep calories under 1000, counting what I would burn doing cardio vs what I had eaten for the day. I was always aware of my body and had always been dissatisfied, I can even tell you what my weight was in 10th grade, at my first wedding which was in 1998, the day I went into labor;my focus was my body image and weight during all of the big events in my life. I ruined family and social events and vacations with stress over where and what to eat and when I could work out.
Over the years times of binge eating were rotated with times of starvation. Up until 2012, I would attempt to exercise off what I had consumed during a binge or starve for a day or two. My weight fluctuated from 123 to 155, but I remember even being at 123 in a size four thinking I was too heavy. Then, and Im not sure the exact way it came about, but I tried the purging part after a binge and I felt great, it felt so good to get rid of everything and to feel empty inside, at that time I was around 135 and a (what I thought was a disgusting) 22% BF, and that continued on until July 2012 when I decided I was tired of all of this, needed more structure with my eating and a true fitness goal so I planned to compete in a figure competition. The prep for that allowed me a more ‘normal’ way to obsess and control my eating, and the binge/ purge cycle was postponed for a few months.
I was at about 114 in the first two photos in the green panties, this was the week of my first show. I was really pleased with my progress but still found a million and one imperfections with myself. I did my first show 09/2012, second 10/2012. After that I relaxed on my eating a little and didn’t get too heavy, landing at about 125 and 16% BF for a few months , all the while thinking 16% was way too high. In January I started the binge/ purge cycle again , at the same time deciding to compete in my third show… I had a few episodes, did the show, repeated the cycle, did a fourth show…on and on… then when prepping for my 5th show in 10/2013 , with my 37th birthday coming up and my head in the toilet I decided I was done. I saw I was better than all of this and realized I needed something to focus on outside of this mayhem.
It was a wind down from there with the dieting and the binge/ purge would come and go, but even leading up until Fitcon of last year (2015) I was practicing it. My last episode was June 2015.
It has been an uphill climb. I have been to therapists about this, have tried support groups, have studied and read up on eating disorders and it’s funny, but I still did not consider myself a bulimic, like I wasn’t as bad as what some people were, I didn’t vomit after every meal so I still had it under control you know? Anyways, I still doubt myself and beat myself up constantly, it’s a struggle for me at times just living in my own skin. I know for a fact when things get out of control or I feel stressed or hurt, I turn inwards and my focus is the weight; it’s like obsessing about this blocks out all other troublesome issues.
I hate thinking about what I have done to myself physically, let alone emotionally… I have had to have a lot of dental work, my teeth would just break off from the acid of the vomit, plus my metabolism took a hit, my digestive system is probably permanently damaged as well, plus training gains have definitely been stalled.”
To Shawn: During the last year you have stood by me and helped me and pretty much saved me from all of this. If you want to do a little write up, I would be ok with it, but again, I would like some people blocked and maybe just have it on the business page and IG and I would like to see it first. I guess my motive for having it out there is to let other women know it’s common; I get so many comments about how good I look and how some want to be as lean as me and how they just don’t have the self control and Im thinking all the while, ‘if you only knew’… plus when I was going through all of this , while looking at others in the fitness industry, I thought my experience was so isolated. I was so ashamed and now I see how many women have dealt with this, but we are so close-mouthed about it all we never reach out and get the help we need.
Editor note: Fast forward to this year where Kristen finished as the female best raw lifter at the IPL World Cup 2016 (Fit Con). Kristen went on to share the following post on social media which I was just floored by! What a turnaround!
“I wanted to take a moment and talk about commitment and the post Shawn did this morning with my box squat, the photo contained my words from a simple text I sent him while I was downstairs training after I had started warming up. The text and that post got me thinking about commitment and what it means, specifically, to my training.
To start, these are my numbers this year for IPL worlds: 300,200,400 in the 132s. Big numbers for me; I have them written on our chalk board, I put them up after IPL Fitcon. This morning, not feeling too hot, I wanted to just stop mid-stream and go back to bed, but I looked at those numbers and realized I won’t be hitting them by quitting, so I continued on with my work out and yes, I was mentally detached and there was little steam, but I finished with what I truly felt was my best effort. That is when I sent that text, thinking, if I stop a rep or two shy on a consistent basis, I’m giving up A LOT ground and I’m not willing to do that.
Commitment on my part is about more than the physical component of my training, it’s a mental commitment as well. Those times when my body really does hurt, when I’m tired, grumpy or finding myself too busy , it is easy to stop, thinking “I can do this next time” but I don’t, EVER! Why? Because I have committed myself to the training.
IPL Fitcon was my best meet to date, and on that day I committed to doing my best up on the platform. I have NEVER done that. What have I never done, specifically? Mentally allowed myself to be truly good at something and show it, in public and going after it with all I have. I have a tendency to want to be low key and fly under the radar, a lot of that comes from the feeling of not deserving. Well, I committed my mind to that meet and I gave each lift all I had.
It worked, who knew?
So my point? Commit to taking that road to reach your goal. Commit to the effort, to the hard work, to the frustrations and to the feelings of success. Allow yourself to be good at something! I look at those at the top of our sport and they never downplay their accomplishments- think about that. They also put in the work and they note their failures and learn from them. Lastly, they support each other, always cheering for their teammates AND opponents.
I am grateful for this sport, for my teammates, for my coach and for the hard work I put into this. I’m excited to see how this year evolves for myself, my husband AND for all of you!”
Editor note: Sometimes the first step in recovery is to just communicate with those you love and trust. And for us being communicated to, we need to stay supportive, patient and hopeful.
Chronic inflammation in the bloodstream can ‘fan the flames’ of depression, much like throwing gasoline on a fire, according to a new paper from researchers at Rice University and Ohio State University.
‘Inflammation: Depression Fans the Flames and Feasts on the Heat’ appeared in a recent edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study reviewed 200 existing papers on depression and inflammation.
“In the health area of psychology at Rice, we’re very focused on the intersection of health behavior, psychology and medicine,” said Christopher Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the paper. “One thing that we’re particularly interested in is how stress affects the immune system, which in turn affects diseases and mental health outcomes, the focus of this paper.”
The authors found that in addition to being linked to numerous physical health issues, including cancer and diabetes, systemic inflammation is linked to mental health issues such as depression. Among patients suffering from clinical depression, concentrations of two inflammatory markers, CRP and IL-6, were elevated by up to 50 percent.
Fagundes said chronic inflammation is most common in individuals who have experienced stress in their lives, including lower socio-economic status or those who experienced abuse or neglect as children. Other contributing factors are a high-fat diet and high body mass index.
“Previous research shows that individuals who have socio-economic issues or had problems in their early lives are already at higher risk for mental issues because of these stresses in their lives,” Fagundes said. “As a result, they often experience a higher occurrence of chronic inflammation, which we have linked to depression.”
He said that it is normal for humans to have an inflammatory response — such as redness — to an area of the body that is injured.
“This is your immune system working to kill that pathogen, which is a good thing,” Fagundes said. “However, many individuals exhibit persistent systemic inflammation, which we’re finding is really the root of all physical and mental diseases. Stress, as well as poor diet and bad health behaviors, enhances inflammation.”
Fagundes noted that a strong support system early in life is critical in helping individuals learn to deal with stress later in life.
The study also found that depression caused by chronic inflammation is resistant to traditional therapy methods, but can be treated with activities such as yoga, meditation NSAIDS and exercise.
Fagundes hopes the study will shed light on the dangers of bodily inflammation and the steps that can be taken to overcome this health issue.
He is starting a five-year $3.7 million bereavement study to examine how inflammation impacts depression and disease among those who recently lost a spouse in hopes of finding better ways to treat bereaved older adults.
“We still have a lot to learn about how inflammation impacts depression, but we are making progress,” he said “We hope one day this work will lead to new treatments that are part of standard psychiatric care.”
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Heather M. Derry, Christopher P. Fagundes. Inflammation: Depression Fans the Flames and Feasts on the Heat. American Journal of Psychiatry, 2015; 172 (11): 1075 DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020152