For decades, bodybuilders and elite athletes alike have understood the importance of proper protein intake. Muscles are not the only living cells in our bodies that depend on a proper intake of protein. Every living cell in our bodies uses proteins to function, and maintain their own structure.  Enzymes that break down food require protein. What are Proteins? How do they work, and how do they relate to free form amino acids, or even BCAA’s.

This is going to come as a shock to many, but what if you were told that your body, muscles, and every living cell within you actually doesn’t need protein? It’s true! Yes, we as carbon based life forms do not need protein to function or live. This may seem contradictory considering what was just said about all of our cells needing protein. Let us delve deeper into this issue to understand how this all makes sense.

Proteins are nothing more than long chains of different amino acids. There are a total of 21 amino acids found in our body, (much literature out there will still say 20 because the 21st is still a recent discovery) and when any combination of these are bound together in long chains, they form what we now call a protein. Some “proteins” or combinations of amino acids may be used to form, repair, and maintain the cells of one part of our body, when a totally different combination is used for another type of cell.

Consumption of Protein

When we consume foods that are rich in protein, we are consuming certain combinations of amino acids pre-arranged into whatever shape and pattern they are in. Eggs may have it’s amino’s in a different pattern and shape than that of beans. Out of the 21 amino acids we know about, 9 of them are considered “essential amino acids” or EAA’s. These are the nine that our bodies cannot make on their own and must be supplied through our diet. Now the foods we eat not only have these aminos’ arranged differently and in different shapes, but some foods don’t contain all nine EAA’s we must get from our diet. While all animal proteins contain all nine, very few plant based proteins are considered complete proteins, meaning they are lacking in some of the amino acids we need. Having a proper knowledge of which plant proteins need to be consumed within a reasonable time of each other is important for those on a plant based diet.

So we see that protein is just a lose term that can be misleading and vague. When we read the back of a food label, it only states how much protein there is, but not if it’s rich in certain amino acids. Most people would think that pork rinds are rich in protein based on the label, but these proteins are pretty much useless because your mostly looking at fat and collagen with very few of the amino acids needed to perform any major functions of the body.

So now that we see what protein actually is, what happens when we consume it? In the process of digestion, stomach acids actually denature any protein we’ve eaten. It has to. Whatever shape and pattern these amino acids were in when they went in, are not suitable for what our bodies need them for. In the denaturing process these amino acids are unfolded and broken apart into their purest form. These amino acids are no longer proteins because each one has its own name and is all by itself. Once the digestion process is over, these amino acids are released into the blood stream and begin joining with other amino acids to build, repair, and maintain the different cells that require such.

So now what everyone wants to know is which amino acids are most important for building and maintaining muscles. This is where all the talk about BCAA’s or Branched Chain Amino Acids comes from. Out of the nine essential amino acids, three of them are the most crucial to building, repairing and maintaining muscles.  Those are specifically valine, isoleucine, and leucine.

Why Supplement with BCAAs?

So if BCAA’s are already found in the proteins we consume, why supplement with them? The reason is that All proteins have a digestion rate at which it takes for the whole process we just covered to take place. Whey isolates take at least 30 minutes to be completely denatured, then they have to go to the liver, and after about 30 minutes the amino acids are now starting to be released into the blood stream, to go to work at the sites that need them. Whey concentrates take 45 minutes. Egg Proteins and chicken take about 4 hours, and most red meats, and Casein take up to 6 hours.  While these digestion times are great for making sure you have plenty of amino acids trickling into your blood stream when you can’t always get to your next meal, downing a steak right before your workout is just not a good idea.

Now BCAA’s are also called free form amino acids. What this means is that the BCAA’s we take prior, during, or after a workout have already been predigested in a lab. What this means is that protein sources, whether they be from whey or plants are introduced to digestive enzymes in a lab. They actually denature and separate them in the lab and break them down into their purest form for us. So now you have a product that has already been denatured, and separated for you. Upon ingestion, they do not need to be digested by our bodies because they are already freed from whatever source they were already bound in, thus we get the term free form amino acids. Because all of this has been done for us, once these amino acids make it to our small intestines, they are absorbed through the walls of the small intestines bypassing the whole liver process and going directly into our blood stream.

Upon ingestion BCAA’s are at work in our muscle cells in as fast as 15 minutes. We know and understand that the moment we start hitting it hard in the gym or during an athletic event, muscle damage is already taking place, and the faster we can repair those damaged cells the faster we can recover, and grow bigger muscles.

What’s the Best Way To Take Them?

Many athletes like to fill up a jug full of water and BCAAs, and to each their own. Still there is always a better approach that is backed by science, and not just gym talk that’s full of myths and legends of magical powers. The only way proteins, or amino acids can make it to our muscle cells is by their first being a spike of the hormone insulin from our pancreas.  Insulin is our storage hormone, it sends amino’s and carbs to our muscle cells. This is for energy and recovery, and excess carbs, and fats will be stored in our fat cells.

So, should we consume carbs with protein or BCAAs? No! Though carbs can be much needed for energy, it is now understood that the amino acid Leucine is the only amino acid capable of producing its own insulin spike. We understand that our bodies are always more sensitive to insulin when we’ve had longer breaks from it. This is where many develop insulin resistance or type II diabetes by snacking too often, constantly spiking insulin and becoming more and more resistant to it.

So knowing all of this, why would you continually sip on aminos for the duration of your work out, and risk them not being as affective because of constant small spikes of insulin? It’s best to take your BCAA’s at least 15 minutes prior to your work out. One study done by injecting BCAAs into athletes determined that this created muscle fullness for two hours. So you see if you just take the whole serving in one shot, your muscle damage is pretty much covered for the next two hours of whatever you can throw at it.  

After your workout it is always good to have one more serving (because digestion isn’t an issue this does not need to happen immediately). As long as you have BCAAs before and after, you have pretty much created the best scenario to optimize the whole muscle break down and repair process.

Do Different Brands Matter?

As long as what you are purchasing is made in the USA, quality control should be on point, but some brands tend to be a bit more comprehensive. Body Fuse, Nutrakey, and Motiv-8 are brands that all make a good amino complex that not only supply us with BCAAs, but have other things added to them such as proper levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to aid in proper hydration. Body fuse also has a good amount of vitamin C in theirs and a little bit of glutamine is in these as well to help go the extra mile.

BCAA’s work. Let’s get them in, and go hard!

Article by John Rodriguez: Manager of Nutrition Zone Point Loma San Diego. Owner of Fit Life Nutrition & Fitness, studies Nutrition and Exercise Science at Mesa College.  




Are You Thinking of Doing a Ketogenic Diet?

Click On Image Below For Recipes and more valuable information

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The strict nutritional diet consists of approximately 75 percent calories from fat, 20 percent from protein and 5 percent from carbohydrates.

Now Let’s Get Started


Introduction to the ketogenic diet
Many readers may not be familiar with the ketogenic diet. So let’s discusses some general ideas about ketogenic diets, as well as defining terms that may be helpful. In the most general terms, a ketogenic diet is any diet that causes ketone bodies to be produced by the liver, shifting the body’s metabolism away from glucose and towards fat utilization. More specifically, a ketogenic diet is one that restricts carbohydrates below a certain level (generally 100 grams per day), inducing a series of adaptations to take place. Protein and fat intake are variable, depending on the goal of the dieter. However, the ultimate determinant of whether a diet is ketogenic or not is the presence (or absence) of carbohydrates.
Fuel metabolism and the ketogenic diet
Under ‘normal’ dietary conditions, the body runs on a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat. When carbohydrates are removed from the diet, the body’s small stores are quickly depleted. Consequently, the body is forced to find an alternative fuel to provide energy. One of these fuels is free fatty acids (FFA), which can be used by most tissues in the body. However, not all organs can use FFA. For example, the brain and nervous system are unable to use FFA for fuel ; however, they can use ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are a by-product of the incomplete breakdown of FFA in the liver. They serve as a non-carbohydrate, fat-derived fuel for tissues such as the brain. When ketone bodies are produced at accelerated rates, they accumulate in the bloodstream, causing a metabolic state called ketosis to develop. Simultaneously, there is a decrease in glucose utilization and production. Along with this, there is a decrease in the breakdown of protein to be used for energy, referred to as ‘protein sparing’. Many individuals are drawn to ketogenic diets in an attempt to lose body fat while sparing the loss of lean body mass.
Hormones and the ketogenic diet
Ketogenic diets cause the adaptations described above primarily by affecting the levels of two hormones: insulin and glucagon. Insulin is a storage hormone, responsible for moving nutrients out of the bloodstream and into target tissues. For example, insulin causes glucose to be stored in muscle as glycogen, and FFA to be stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides. Glucagon is a fuel-mobilizing hormone, stimulating the body to break down stored glycogen, especially in the liver, to provide glucose for the body. When carbohydrates are removed from the diet, insulin levels decrease and glucagon levels increase. This causes an increase in FFA release from fat cells, and increased FFA burning in the liver. The accelerated FFA burning in the liver is what ultimately leads to the production of ketone bodies and the metabolic state of ketosis. In addition to insulin and glucagon, a number of 11
other hormones are also affected, all of which help to shift fuel use away from carbohydrates and towards fat.

Exercise and the ketogenic diet
As with any fat-loss diet, exercise will improve the success of the ketogenic diet. However, a diet devoid of carbohydrates is unable to sustain high-intensity exercise performance although low-intensity exercise may be performed. For this reason, individuals who wish to use a ketogenic diet and perform high-intensity exercise must integrate carbohydrates without disrupting the effects of ketosis. Two modified ketogenic diets are described in this book which approach this issue from different directions. The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) allows carbohydrates to be consumed immediately around exercise, to sustain performance without affecting ketosis. The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) alternates periods of ketogenic dieting with periods of high-carbohydrate consumption. The period of high-carbohydrate eating refills muscle glycogen to sustain exercise performance.



There are four substances which man can derive calories from: carbohydrate, protein, fats, and alcohol. As stated above, the body will tend to utilize a given fuel for energy in relation to its availability and concentration in the bloodstream. In general, the body can increase or decrease its use of glucose in direct proportion to the amount of dietary carbohydrate being consumed. This is an attempt to maintain body glycogen stores at a certain level . If carbohydrate consumption increases, carbohydrate use will go up and vice versa. Protein is slightly less regulated . When protein intake goes up, protein oxidation will also go up to some degree. By the same token, if protein intake drops, the body will use less protein for fuel. This is an attempt to maintain body protein stores at constant levels. In contrast, the amount of dietary fat being eaten does not significantly increase the amount of fat used for fuel by the body. Rather fat oxidation is determined indirectly: by alcohol and carbohydrate consumption . The consumption of alcohol will almost completely impair the body’s use of fat for fuel. Similarly the consumption of carbohydrate affects the amount of fat used by the body for fuel. A high carbohydrate diet decreases the use of fat for fuel and vice versa (15). Thus, the greatest rates of fat oxidation will occur under conditions when carbohydrates are restricted. As well, the level of muscle glycogen regulates how much fat is used by the muscle (20,21), a topic discussed in chapter 18. Using exercise and/or carbohydrate restriction to lower muscle and liver glycogen levels increases fat utilization .


What are ketone bodies?
The three ketone bodies are acetoacetate (AcAc), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetone. AcAc and BHB are produced from the condensation of acetyl-CoA, a product of incomplete breakdown of free fatty acids (FFA) in the liver. While ketones can technically be made from certain amino acids, this is not thought to contribute significantly to ketosis . Roughly one-third of AcAc is converted to acetone, which is excreted in the breath and urine. This gives some individuals on a ketogenic diet a ‘fruity’ smelling breath. As a side note, urinary and breath excretion of acetone is negligible in terms of caloric loss, amounting to a maximum of 100 calories per day . The fact that ketones are excreted through this pathway has led some authors to argue that fat loss is being accomplished through urination and breathing. While this may be very loosely true, in that ketones are produced from the breakdown of fat and energy is being lost through these routes, the number of calories lost per day will have a minimal effect on fat loss.
Functions of ketones in the body
Ketones serve a number of functions in the body. The primary role, and arguably the most important to ketogenic dieters, is to replace glucose as a fat-derived fuel for the brain . A commonly held misconception is that the brain can only use glucose for fuel. Quite to the contrary, in situations where glucose availability is limited, the brain can derive up to 75% of its total energy requirements from ketone bodies . Ketones also decrease the production of glucose in the liver (5-7) and some researchers have suggested that ketones act as a ‘signal’ to bodily tissues to shift fuel use away from glucose and towards fat . These effects should be seen as a survival mechanism to spare what little glucose is available to the body. The importance of ketones as a brain fuel are discussed in more detail in the next chapter. A second function of ketones is as a fuel for most other tissues in the body. By shifting the entire body’s metabolism from glucose to fat, what glucose is available is conserved for use by the brain. While many tissues of the body (especially muscle) use a large amount of ketones for fuel during the first few weeks of a ketogenic diet, most of these same tissues will decrease their use of ketones as the length of time in ketosis increases . At this time, these tissues rely primarily on the breakdown of free fatty acids (FFA). In practical terms, after three weeks of a ketogenic diet, the use of ketones by tissues other than the brain is negligible and can be ignored. A potential effect of ketones is to inhibit protein breakdown during starvation through several possible mechanisms, discussed in detail in the next chapter. The only other known function of ketones is as a precursor for lipid synthesis in the brain of neonates .


Does Ketosis Have Any Negative Effects?

The ketosis produced by fasting or limiting carbohydrate intake does not have negative effects for most people once the body has adapted to that state.

The confusion on this point is mainly due to the fact that people who lack insulin, primarily Type 1 diabetics or insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetics, can get into a dangerous state called diabetic ketoacidosis. In ketoacidosis, ketones levels are higher than in the ketosis produced by diet.

The ketosis caused by diet has been referred to as dietary ketosis, physiological ketosis, benign dietary ketosis (Atkins), and, most recently, nutritional ketosis (Phinney and Volek), in an attempt to clear up possible confusion with ketoacidosis.

The second source of confusion is that there is a transition period while the body is adapting to using fats and ketones instead of glucose as its main fuel. There can be negative symptoms during this period (fatigue, weakness, light-headedness, headaches, mild irritability), but they usually can be eased fairly easily. Most are over by the first week of a ketogenic diet, though some may extend to two weeks.

Athletes who closely track their performance may notice more subtle effects up to 6-8 weeks from the start of the diet, and there is some evidence that it may take even longer, up to 12 weeks, for 100% adaptation.

Carbs Can Make You Fat

Carbs Can Make You Fat Guys

“Ed do carbohydrates make you fat…?”

I always get asked if carbohydrates make you fat. Carbohydrates have the potential to make you fat, if you eat too many of them and lead a sedentary lifestyle with a bad diet.
There’s a lot of heat around the topic of insulin resistance in the fitness industry which has made a lot of people think that it is carbohydrates which make them fat. Yes, the potential is there but as ever you have to gain perspective on these subjects and put them into context otherwise you’ll quickly jump to conclusions which just aren’t accurate.
Insulin resistance happens in people who don’t move a lot, have too much body fat and over eat. This causes something called beta-cell dysfunction to happen which downgrades your ability to produce enough insulin to match the carbohydrates you’ve eaten… In time this causes insulin resistance, which is where a lot of the carbophobia has been born from.
Notice that I said it happens when:
A) People overeat (generally processed food)
B) Don’t exercise enough

These are two very important variables which people forget about when they start blaming carbohydrates for obesity and generally gaining fat. Carbohydrates are the best kind of fuel, provided you get them from the correct place. If you’re training as hard as we do, you’re doing a lot of glycolytic exercise which creates a demand for carbohydrates. Therefore you’re metabolically tuned to utilise carbohydrates, which means provided you’re exercising portion control, following your training, doing your cardio and taking your Motiv8 Burn supplements they will not make you fat.3

What people seem to forget about carbohydrates is that they’re very powerful for building muscle and burning fat. They cause a surge in metabolic activity by spiking your thyroid (which governs metabolic rate) and they are also “protein sparing” making them very anabolic.
Rather than completely target carbohydrates and blame them for everything, look at all of the variables and be smart enough to recognise that they are actually really valuable to you.


It’s time to Rethink Your Water and try ?




So as a personal trainer and certified sports nutrition expert, I know first hand how important proper hydration is to the human body.  I recently came across a product online and because it is not yet available in my area, I purchased it through amazon.  After tasting this plain water, nothing added, it blew me away.  The taste is so crisp, it truly makes everything else taste better.  My snacks and meals all have more enhanced flavors. So by now I know you’re already wanting to know what “water” has me so excited, and am I going to share this info with my readers?



It’s Kona Deep.  A premium bottled water that’s sourced at 3,000 feet in the sea adjacent to Kona Hawaii, where seawater is thousands of years old.  It’s completely free of pathogens and contaminants because the temperature at this depth is too cold for living organisms and pollutants.  The seawater’s unique location is at the end of a deep undersea current.  This unique spot is called the global conveyor belt.  Kona Deep is desalinated, and bottled at the source keeping it 100% pure, no additives, Hawaiian water.

The purity of Kona water is verified and certified by the natural energy laboratory of Hawaii authority. 100% deep sea water from Hawaii. Kona deep is naturally rich in 60 minerals and organic compounds essential to the human body.  Kona Deep has a natural pH of 6.7, close to the human body’s own levels.  It’s naturally-occurring electrolytes are crucial for hydration and body balance.  Kona Deep® is naturally rich with deep ocean electrolytes which are quickly and easily absorbed.  In fact, a new study underway at the University of Arizona seeks to evaluate the impact of post-exercise hydration with deep ocean mineral water on exercise performance, rehydration and recovery.  Interim results further strengthen this connection. 

Some more great news is that they are going to roll out this product later this year all over the mainland U.S.  Currently available at a variety of local Hawaiian retailers, including grocery stores such as Foodland, Safeway and KTA, convenience stores, like Minit Stop, natural stores, such as Down to Earth and military exchanges like AAFES, in 500mL and 1L bottles. But it is also making its debut in the contiguous United States in Arizona! Kona Deep® is available in 500mL and 1L bottles at Sprouts Farmer’s Market, AJ’s Fine Foods, and Basha’s locations across Arizona. Consumers can purchase 12 and 24-bottle cases of Kona Deep in store or online at www.amazon.com. The brand will begin to roll out into other mainland U.S. markets in 2016.


As part of my partnership with Kona Deep, I get to pick one of my Instagram followers to win Kona Deep bottled water!

To Enter:  Please follow @KonaDeepWater  and  @manupbootcamp instagram

Comment  using  #RethinkYourWater why it’s important to fuel your day with electrolyte water for your active lifestyle.

Optional Extra Entry: Share this image on your own Instagram account using #RethinkYourWater and #contest.

*Open to USA residents only, must be 18 to enter. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO WIN. Chances of winning are dependent upon the number of entries received. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram*.

contest ends Midnight Tomorrow PST

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kona Deep.



Article and photo’s By Ed Joseph

Model Angela A.

It’s not just for your legs: These rolling patterns address trouble spots from head to toe.

Most educated exercisers have joined the foam rolling revolution. But while your IT bands may be more then familiar with the tool’s hurts-so-good loosening powers, limiting your journey to the lower body minimizes the overall body benefits. With that said Man-Up Bootcamp has designed this head-to-toe rolling regimen. Each of the following rolling patterns address the most problematic areas we have personally found in our athletes and other clients movement dysfunction and pain.

You should spend 30 seconds to a minute or more on each individual movement,and if it’s a regeneration or recovery day, take even more time, between 2 and 3 minutes for each move.

And there’s more to the technique than you might think read on for five most critical rules of foam rolling.

(1) Hydrate Ahead of Time. Even though foam rolling helps hydrate your tissue, you should down between 10 and 20 ounces of water beforehand, which helps prep the muscles for the work you’re about to do. “In general, hydrated tissue is resilient and pliable while dehydrated tissue is glued-down and sticky, which creates adhesions and movement dysfunction.

(2) Roll Before And After a Workout. Most of us wait until we finish a workout to hit the roller. Instead, scrapp static stretching and using the tool for your pre-workout warm-up. As much as it’s a recovery tool, the foam roller is also a preparatory tool,So think of foam rolling as a way to ‘smooth’ or ‘iron out’ the connective tissue and muscle. Foam rolling actually increases circulation so the connective tissue and muscle are getting more oxygen and water than if you just stretched.

(3) Slow It On Down. Foam rolling can hurt, and you’re only human. But speeding through each movement is a wasted opportunity. “The biggest misuse I see is others rolling extremely fast, most likely to avoid the discomfort of the roller,” we want you to go slow, purposeful motions. If we go back to the ironing example, a quick-moving iron will not apply enough heat and/or steam and the article of clothing will still remain wrinkled. The key is to focus on these painful areas because they need the most attention and desperately need oxygen, water, and nutrients.

(4) Move In Multiple Directions. It’s not just up-and-down, up-and-down. If you look at the angle of how the muscle and fascia attach, it’s not straight up and down—some fascial attachments run from front to back or in spirals. The key is to not only slow down the foam rolling, but also add side-to-side movements, cross-friction (rubbing the spot being rolled side to side on the roller) and flexing and extending the joint being rolled.

(5) Make It A Routine. Even on days that you’re not in the gym, foam rolling should be part of your repertoire. I try to use the foam roller daily as maintenance for my fascia,  it’s kind of like flossing—you need to do it every day to make a difference even if it’s only for 5 minutes. But deep cleaning is necessary, too. I think an important fact to remember is that foam rolling doesn’t take the place of a great massage or body working session.

The Today Show Talks weight loss, should you try paleo or Mediterranean diet?

For weight loss, should you try paleo or Mediterranean diet? – TODAY.com

Photo Source


The paleo, or paleolithic diet, is based on the food of our ancient ancestors, while Mediterranean-style eating stresses fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and allows wine — in moderation.

“When it comes to the Mediterranean diet, we’re talking about eating primarily plant-based foods,” TODAY nutrition expert Joy Bauer said on TODAY Wednesday. “Using olive oil instead of butter, limiting red meat to a few times a month and eating fish and poultry weekly.”

“The paleo diet is a bit more restrictive,” Bauer added. “It wants you to eat all the lean, healthy proteins, but cuts out grains, beans, dairy, added sugars and processed foods.”

The New BLT?

Bacon, lettuce and tomato mushroom sandwiches

Bacon, lettuce and tomato mushroom sandwiches



1 (or 2 with some sweet potato chips)


  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 4 large flat mushrooms
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 avocado
  • Half a lemon


Lay the bacon and mushrooms in a large hot frying pan. Cook until the bacon is golden and the mushrooms have picked up some colour too.

Scoop the flesh out of the avocado and puree with the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay lettuce leaves and tomatoes on two of the mushrooms. Top with the bacon and a good dollop of the avocado “mayo”. Top with the final two mushrooms and eat with both hands.

By Xanthe Clay

Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Fish Tacos


This staple from Michael Chernow’s new seafood spot is lean protein done right. | Marjorie Korn

Directions for the tacos: On a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat, char the tortillas and place in tin foil to keep warm; set tortillas aside. Season fish with Kosher salt and pepper, brush with canola oil and sear until fish is golden brown, 2 minutes; flip and cook until fish is cooked through, 1 minute. Divide bean mixture, lettuce, fish, pico de gallo, avocado, crème fraîche and radishes among tortillas. Serve with lime wedges.