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01 May

If I told you that Vitamin D is more toxic than Nicotine, Ethanol, Trichloroethylene and Sucrose…you would probably think I am crazy.  But now that I have your attention, I will get back to that in a minute.

Toxicity of Chemicals.

First off, let me state we are specifically referring to “toxicity,” not things that can cause other health issues like cancer, diabetes, etc., though that is certainly the case for some.

Did you know that rice contains arsenic?  That is right, the same “chemical” that causes cancer including lung, kidney and liver for starters.  And on top of that, BROWN rice has the most arsenic of all rice products.

What about those rice cakes we all eat?  Yup…Arsenic too.

Does this mean we should avoid rice now because its toxic, especially brown rice that seems to be a staple in all those who practice “Clean Eating” and or “Chemical Free” eating?

Of course not.

Do a google search on the chemical make up of Broccoli.  In its natural state, it is loaded with Phytochemicals which give the food its color and smell.

“All substances are poisons, there is none which is not a poison.  The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.” ~Philippus Aureolus Hohenfeim-Paracelsus

And lastly…did you know there is a cancer-causing chemical found in peanut butter?  It is called Aflatoxin.  It is known to cause liver cancer in rats and possibly humans.  Does that mean it’s Toxic? Do not throw that Peanut Butter out just yet.

I could go on and on about this but let me get to my point…there are “chemicals” in just about everything we consume.  Organic and inorganic.  Manmade and naturally occurring.  But we are not throwing out our rice, broccoli and peanut butter…are we?  No, and why is that?

The dose makes the toxin

It is very simple.  There is a phrase I want you to understand, “The dosage makes the toxin.”

Chemicals are measured in toxicity by the LD50 value.  LD stands for “Lethal Dose” and 50 stands for “50%”.  In lay terms, you could say the LD50 is the lethal dose of a product it takes to kill/poison half a population.  Furthermore, the amount of a chemical given within a specific amount of time…usually taken in one sitting. 

Just about everything has an LD50.  For example:

  • Water: 6 liters
  • Coffee: 118 cups
  • Arsenic: 15mg/kg
  • Sugar: 13.5g/lb

As you can see, the amount to consume in a very short period of time is almost impossible to achieve.  Just about any food you eat may have a chemical in it that if you consume too much, too fast, can kill you. 

What about Natural vs. Synthetic Chemicals?  Is there any difference?  The answer is no.  Vitamins and minerals have an LD50 rating as well.  Remember water?!?!

Let me flip the switch for a second to put things into perspective.

Measurement of Toxicity

Look at antibiotics, dosages matters.  If you are prescribed 500mg a day of amoxicillin to treat a condition, do your think only taking 50mg a day will remedy the situation?  Of course not.  Why?  Because the “dosage” makes the “remedy.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Now, back to the Vitamin D question.

First you need to understand a couple of things.  A chemical’s toxicity depends on several things that include whether it is excreted, stored in the body or whether it gets broken down.  When conducting scientific studies, scientists measure response…the biological changes in living things caused by exposure to a toxic substance.  And Toxicity of a chemical’s response is referred to as its “LD50”, the scientific expression in terms of milligrams of a substance per kilogram of body weight.  The lower the number…the more toxic.  That said…

  • Vitamin D – LD50 of 10mg/kg
  • Nicotine – LD50 of 50mg/kg
  • Ethanol – LD50 of 7,000mg/kg
  • Trichloroethylene – LD50 of 7,200mg/kg
  • Sucrose – LD50 of 30,000mg/kg

As you can see, Vitamin D is much more toxic per mg/kg than all the chemicals I listed.  Now I am not suggesting you throw out the Vitamin D and load up on some Trichloroethylene…that would be preposterous.  I love my Vitamin D and all the foods that it comes from.  But I am saying that not all chemicals should be treated the same and should not be demonized.

Sensitivity Matters

Just like all chemicals are different, so are humans.  It would be absurd to claim that we all respond to chemicals the same.  When we talk about the general population, we are referring to most people…and “most people” does not include everyone.  Some people can be more sensitive to certain chemicals than others.  There will always be outliers.  And for those of us who spend a lot of time dieting down, such as in Contest Prep, sensitivity can change when we get very low in daily calories.  When this happens, our metabolism slows down and so does digestion.  So things we consume can stay in our body longer and changes in digestion can occur.  But just because someone you know is sensitive to a food/chemical, or develops a sensitivity to one, does not mean that you will.  If you only take one thing away from this post, always remember that.

To further add to the problem, the media and would be “Internet Gurus” seem to not care about this concept which is one of the reasons there is so much misinformation out there.  And let us face it…fear sells!  It also makes people gravitate to someone who portrays themselves to have an alternative that will take that fear away.  Then there are those who spread a lot of misinformation, even with good intentions, because they just do not understand it.

Do not fall prey to that!

Chet and Natalie Nichols are IFBB Pro’s, NPC Judge’s and the original Physique Readiness’s coaches.

30 Apr

You’ve just completed the final show of your season, you’ve been living on poverty carbs and fats for weeks on end…but what now?

First, take what I am saying with a grain of salt, because a single post cannot cover it all. Though it is not overly complicated, there is no one size fits all…this is just the basics.

Hopefully you or your coach put a plan together to get you started on the right path AND you were in AT LEAST the 4th Stage of Contest Prep, the Metabolic Building Stage. If so, chances are high that you will continue to lean out a little as you add calories back in.

The goal is simple, start reintroducing more food without putting on a ton a weight. To do this successfully, you must have the right mindset. You must be willing to eventually accept a reasonable amount of weight gain, including an acceptable amount of body fat, while eating as much food as possible to stay within that scope.

So, how do you do that?

Team USA Physique Bikini Athlete Gaby Hirashima

First, look at your daily calorie intake at the end of prep…BEFORE you started Peak Week. Let’s say you were consuming 1500 calories a day. Next, determine how much weight you were losing per week, at that calorie range. Let’s say you were losing .5lb weekly.

Now, we all know the general rule of thumb is that it takes a 500 calorie deficit a day to lose 1lb per week. So, if you were losing .5lb a week, you were in a 250 calorie deficit.

Now, we calculate your maintenance. Its very simple, add 250 calories (your deficit) to the amount you were eating while losing .5lbs, (1500), you come up with 1750 calories. By calculation, that means your maintenance level would be around 1750 calories.

That would be a good place to start the first week or two after your last competition. It will give you some time to see if you are on track with your calculated caloric maintenance.

Next, if your weight stays fairly stable, then it’s time to start your reverse. A good place to start would be to add 5% to 7% to your caloric maintenance. If you want to focus on a more “Lean Gain” stick to the lower range. If you are ok with a little more body fat because you want to eat a little more food at a quicker pace, start at the higher end.

Team USA Physique Wellness Athlete Amanda Wright

Your range would then be 1827 – 1872 calories a day. Again, this depends on how much weight (muscle and bodyfat) you are willing to accept. The more body fat you are ok with, the more muscle you will add…to a degree. (There comes a point where body fat starts to accumulate at a faster pace…this is where an experienced prep coach comes into play).

From here, there are many paths you can take. There are many variables to take into consideration as you continue your reverse diet. For example, the amount of cardio you do, whether you will be reducing the amount of time you are working out or not, the macronutrient ratios should be using, and more.

Regardless, this should at least give you a vision of the right path…and it’s never too late to start either. But, the longer you hold off, the harder your next prep is likely to be.

19 Apr

Online Training has taken the Prep Coach career to a new level. How it works differ from coach to coach. Many coaches only allow check-ins once a week, and may even ask you to hold all questions until then, and there are a few that allow for 24hr communication. Some will give you a workout program that is shared by others, and some will customize them for you.

When you are looking for a coach, you should do your homework. Look at it like you are conducting an interview and be prepared to have your list of questions ready. Below are a few questions you should ask every coach you interview.

  1. How does the Online Training work? What will I get? We have partnered with Trainerize and have a software program that houses everything we do, all from an app on your phone. Workout Programs, Nutrition Plans, Progress Pictures, Internal Communication, Notifications, volume and PR tracking, Check-ins, the works. We are able to monitor everything, every day of the week if necessary (like the final stages of Contest Prep). We also sync My Fitness Pal with our tracking software so you don’t have to report your nutrition to us…we see it everyday. We see your macros, calories, even things like sodium and fiber. If you record it, we see it. We are also in the process of syncing with the iWatch as well. We also see your weight everyday so we can analyze, based on trends, if you are progressing appropriately. So, there is no need for you to perform check-ins, other than progress pics once a week (in clothing you are comfortable in), because we are checking on everything already about 3-4 days a week. And it’s all done from the convenience of your phone.
  2. Will my workout program be customized for me individually, or do you have several pre-written ones you chose from? Every single program we build is customized for the individual based on their strengths and weaknesses. In fact, the program will change as you progress. But here is how we do it. The foundation of our programs are somewhat the same for everyone. We start with 3 or 4 main compound lifts depending on what your goal is (squats, deadlifts, benchpress, barbell overhead press, barbell hip thrust, etc.). The part that is similar to all is that you will be performing each lift twice a week. One day will be strength training, the 2nd day will be hypertrophy training. However, that is where the similarities end. From there, the additional exercises are based on your needs, strengths, weaknesses, goals and health. As you progress, we modify your workout in the form of sets, reps, tools (super sets, drop sets, FST7, Blood Flow Restriction, High Volume sets, etc.) and can change the density, intensity and volume of the lifts as well. I guess you could say that your workout program grows as you do. No two workouts are ever a like…cookie-cutter doesn’t exist in our vocabulary.
  3. Will I get a Meal Plan or is your nutrition plan based on Macro Counting: We typically do not do meal plans, nor do we recommend them. Current scientific research tells us that Restrictive Dieting (meal plans) are not sustainable and have a higher risk associated with eating disorders than Flexible Dieting. That is not to say that meal plans do not work, they do…and for many people. But the data shows us that that there is a high correlation between Restrictive Dieting and binge eating, and even self regurgitation which can lead to eating disorders. Anytime food choices are limited, the risk increase. In addition, meal plans are not sustainable. We prefer Flexible Dieting which allows you to control the types of food you eat, as long as you hit your Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat and Fiber goals. It’s much more sustainable and more pleasant. We will set your Macro goals for you, and modify them as needed depending on your goal (fatloss, muscle gain, contest prep, etc). No need for guess work, no restrictions, just eat the food you like and we will tell you how/when to adjust as much as needed. You can even use the style of diet you like. Want to stick with “clean eating”, “Keto”,” Snake Diet”,”Vegan” etc..have at it. Again, just chose the food you want and hit your goals and you are compliant. Our Nutrition Plans are just like our workout plans. Completely individualized and are modified as you progress.
  4. Do you recommend a lot of cardio? If so, how much do you typically recommend? Cardio recommendations are actually include in the nutrition plan. The reason…we don’t base your Workout Plan on cardio. Cardio should be used as a tool, not as the bases of a workout program. Too often we see other coaches loading up clients with a lot of cardio…this is not recommended…especially during the offseason. Granted, some cardio is necessary and of course healthy. However, you don’t need to do it. Just think about it from a logical perspective. The more cardio you do in the offseason, the less effective it will be during Contest Prep because your body is already adapted to it. This is precisely why so many competitors end up doing hours and hours and hours of cardio when they need their energy the most. So we keep cardio to a minimum and only use it as a tool when needed.
  5. How often can do I check in with you? You can check-in, communicate with us all you like. It’s 24/7. For example, you can wake up in the middle of the night with a question, message us (we have our own internal messaging system, so no outside interference) then go back to bed. Weekends, day, night, holidays, whenever. And no, we are not just going to let them build up and only answer certain days, times the week. Granted, if we are with clients, in a meeting, it’s is family night, we are sleeping, have company, etc…we will have the system on silent. But anytime we are free, we will constantly be checking. Rarely will a question go unanswered within the same day (weekends included) unless it’s really late when you message us and we have gone to bed. Even then, we usually check our messages before bed as we like all messages clear at the end of the day. Not too mention, we don’t like a bunch of messages building up….it’s not good for time management.
  6. I want to learn as I am being coached, can I ask questions like “why do you have me doing xyz?” First off, I can tell you from personal experience that these types of questions typically generate the “trust the process response.” We DESPISE that phrase. Look, you are paying us for service as a coach, and a coach is also a type of “teacher” if the coach is performing their duty correctly. You will NEVER get the “trust the process” response from us unless it is immediately followed by “and here is why…” We see to it as our job to teach you as you move along. One, the more you understand the reason you are doing something, the more effort you will put into it. The less you understand the “why” the more likely enthusiasm will not be there, and effort decreases. It’s just human nature. Why would you put in 100% effort if you don’t know/understand the return on your effort is optimal? Not too mention, we don’t plan on being your coach for life. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to the point where you had to ability to build your own program and know how to adjust your own nutrition plan by yourself? I think the answer to that is yes. Now, that’s doesn’t mean we are going to sit down with you and have “school”. But if you have questions…ask. It’s what we are here for.
  7. Will you be my coach or will somebody else do it for you? We (husband and wife team) do all of our own work. Nobody does it for us. Nobody answers the questions but us. We do it all.
  8. How much does it your Online Training cost? We have three plans that you can find here. The one that is most typically used is the Off Season, because most competitors who come to us have building to do on their physiques and with their metabolism, that runs $199 a month. None of the plans have a set-up fee, contract or initiation fee. Just a flat rate on a month to month basis. You can cancel anytime, but you must do so 7 days before your next due date (the system sets it up on automatic payments).
  9. How do I get started, whats next? Just send an email to Coach Chet or Coach Natalie. Tell us what you are interested in and give us a couple of days/times you are available for a free consultation (by phone if you are not in the local Boise area). We will respond back with an email invitation to set up a temporary account (don’t worry, there is no obligation and no payment information needed) so you can fill out our online questionnaire. In addition, we will load your account up with a sample workout program (it’s basic, but will allow you to see how we work) and a sample nutrition plan. This will allow you to try things out a bit before we talk. It will also give us a little bit more information about you (the questionnaire) and allow you to come up with questions yourself.