Category Archives: food log

Liquid Experiment

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This is by no means a program, a diet, a plan or anything that has any long term sustainability.

I live a busy life. Up before 6AM, not always time for breakfast, just coffee, and when I make food, it’s usually a couple of eggs. If I am not being an exclusive chauffeur for the kids to be taken to school or daycare, or after-school activities, or taking them to the park, I also usually focus on the groceries and home cooking. My wife has an incredibly busy schedule too. We live in Los Angeles, with cost of living rivaling Manhattan, middle-Class exterminator.

I still put in the minimum effective dose of training to stay in shape, be mobile, conditioned, capable. My knowledge of my industry precedes my abilities, not because I don’t have them nor cultivate them. I also have a condition in my cervical spine that needs attention and treatment.

I eat well, quality foods and balanced, without worries of vanity or aesthetic, rather functional balance. I didn’t win a genetic lottery and I am fine with that.

This experiment was purely to see how I could sustain a 5-day liquid intake of 4-5 32g/serving of protein shakes per day. 2 scoops, 16oz of water, with the occasional addition of MCT or coconut oil, or sub those with either almond or peanut butter (organic raw crunchy unsalted) and a tablespoon of ground flax seed. The only solids came from either a crunchy salad, celery, or broccoli (literally 3 servings, one of each of those, in the entire week).

I was only hungry if I went 4-5 hours without a shake. Energy levels never dropped; if anything, performance was better, more focused and driven with 4 workouts plus a few running/jogging/peed walking sessions on top. Urine was clear or nearly clear the entire time.

Pictures from left to right respectively show: Day 1 side shot, Day 6 side shot, Day 1 front shot Day 6 front shot and the last 2 are taken on Day 7, the morning after having had pizza, beer, burger and fries, as well as a regular soda the day before, and “road trip” snacks.

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Time to eat!

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Long time readers and clients may already know this, but for those of you who recently joined, I thought this blog entry would be a good, simple reminder that you can still enjoy tasty treats while observing good nutrition. I am encouraging the “tasty” part because too often, people see nutrition as some kid of bland hellhole when in fact, some of the most flavorful meals I’ve had were the healthiest.

Simply put, eat what you want, and if it happens to be a carbohydrate, consume it around physical activity, i.e. you want a piece of chocolate or a cookie, have it. You deserve a sweet treat once in a while, enjoy it as your reward after a nice, but intense workout, be in weight training, yoga, a martial arts session, a tennis match or some interval running. Any kind of interval workout, which all of the aforementioned types qualify, makes you burn carbohydrates. All other times, you are burning fat. An endurance workout on the treadmill, or a walk will not burn enough calories and elevate the heart rate to levels of intensity that will solicit your body to tap into your carb tank.
Hence the misunderstanding of the “Fat Burning Zone” on a treadmill.

So, you may consume carbs pre- and/or post- training, and stick to protein, natural fat and fiber all other times.

Dated beliefs and misinterpreted, skewed data will have you believe that there is a Fat Burning Zone, which falls on a lower elevation of the heart rate. On a treadmill for instance, the claim is that you will BURN MORE FAT at low intensity, and that when you run like a mad person at a full 12% incline and 10mph, you’d be burning LESS fat. While that is true, it is not quite how it works, because while the higher intensity of an uphill fast run burns carbs rather than fat, it also burns a heck of a lot more calories than a leisurely walk in the Fat Burning Zone. The FBZ comes from the fact that at rest, we burn fat. As I frequently tell about, overweight people may ask “if I am burning fat while at rest, why am I still fat?” Answer: because you consume too many carbs, which you STORE in your FAT CELLS (picture them as pockets). Thus, our heart rate is lowest at rest, when we burn most fat, and therefore, a lower intensity workout will burn more fat.

The laws of thermodynamics also dictate that thermogenesis occurs by burning more calories than you take in to lose weight. If a pound of fat equals 3500 calories, then a high intensity interval hill run with a heart rate at 85% of your maximum heart rate will get you closer to your weight loss goal than a low intensity walk of the same duration, because the latter will burn way, way less calories.

– Protein (meat, fish, eggs, protein shakes made with water and low carb/sugar content).
– Fiber (veggies, yet they are considered carbs too, no starch in them).
-Natural fat sources (nuts, olives, cheeses, avocados…)

Some of the time (around workouts or, the night before in preparation of a sustained, high intensity caloric burn like a marathon ):
-Carbohydrates (natural sugar from fruits, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, dairy -which also contains fat and protein).

There is enough information out there for you to find out on your own what foods fall into what category. Although, I recently interviewed a new weight loss client who told me she ate very well, “a ton of protein every day” and when I asked her to name me the types of protein she ate, she mentioned lots of bread, lots of white rice and lots of bananas… True story. If you don’t see the problem, feel free to email me for a complimentary phone consultation for us to design a nutritional program for you 🙂

(Part 1 of this 2 part post can be found here).

Theory and Practice: a philosophical essay on progress.


I just read a good quote that an RKC comrade uses as his signature: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

In theory, if you gradually add a couple of pounds every week to your bench press, you should be able to press a thousand pounds over time. In practice, it doesn’t happen…
In theory, trapping an opponent’s right cross, breaking his right elbow and then twisting his right wrist into a half nelson works. In practice, it’s a lot more challenging (or in a real fight, that is, as you can practice the sequence successfully).
Should we throw out theory? Absolutely not. Theory is the foundation of philosophy, be it of the mind or of the body. Experimenting, applying the theory, which stems from a hypothesis, validates the theory, at least until proven wrong.
All things work till they don’t work anymore. The question is, why don’t they work anymore?
If you follow a certain diet and it’s working for you, then you stop losing fat or gaining muscle, whatever your goal, is the theory behind no longer valid? Has your body reached homeostasis?
Is it a matter of entropy? “An object in an unnatural state always returns to its natural state”?
The jury’s still out on this one (by jury, I mean my brain). I believe it is the change in acute variables. You may be following a strict powerlifting routine to bench press, but maybe you’ve changed the time of day for your training (the body actually likes routine, one theory implies, and you need to wave your loads in a micro, meso or macro cycle rather than “shock your muscles”, which confuses them and results in them underperforming). Or you’re sleeping pattern changed. Maybe your diet is not supporting your body’s increased caloric demand.
Unless you can isolate any given factor, or acute variable, as the culprit for your lack of continued progress (or plateau), you cannot claim with certainty that the system you’ve been using no longer works, that the theory is obsolete because it no longer works in practice.
This transitions my thought to another point: too much of your training regimen is left to chance.
Unless you categorically and systematically log your training and your nutritional intake, you are unable to analyze what needs to be modified in your training to break through your plateau. You may very well follow a certain protocol without changing its theoretical approach, because it will yield results in practice, without worrying about periodizing. For instance, I train heavy on Monday, light on Wednesday, moderate on Friday, with a couple of optional “variety” days. The drills are the same on MFW, the weight is the same but the volume differs (less reps, or sets) and I increase the load every 5-6 weeks. However, on any given day, my balance may be off. My stress level makes me less focused or I may be at 100% and perform like a champ. I log everything, every detail, observation, technique modification. I leave nothing to chance.
So, empirical evidence doesn’t disprove a theory. It may very well reinforce it if you are able to identify and isolate any given factor. A mishmash of factors creates confusion and you cannot state with certainty that this or that prevented you from reaching your goal. Address one thing, and one thing only, and see how it affects your training by keeping everything else the same. If that didn’t solve it, address a different variable.
In theory, it should work 🙂