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.  



9 Super Cheap Health Foods You Need

9 Super Cheap Health Foods You Need to Stock Up On


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Price: $1.29 each

High in fiber, low in calories and full of vitamin A—pumpkin has got a lot to offer your body. Sure, you may consume enough pumpkin at Thanksgiving for an entire year, but pumpkin goes well in more than just pie. At less than $1.50 per can, it’s worth keeping a few stashed away in your pantry. Pumpkin puree can be used in both sweet and savory dishes—bread, cookies, oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, smoothies, stews, you name it. Just a few tablespoons are enough to help improve digestion and boost immunity.



Tito’s Tea ManUP Style


  In honor of Melissa J. I tweaked Mixologist: Russell Davis recipe and it was spectacular!!!

Tito’s Sweet Tea


  • 2 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • Metabolic Tea

Combine Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lemon juice, and honey syrup in a mixing glass and shake until proper dilution (10-15 seconds).
Fine strain into a chilled glass.
Fill the glass (or mason jar) with fresh ice and then top off with Fresh Brewed Tea.
Garnish with a thinly sliced lemon wheel placed onto the side of the glass and a sprig of mint.

To make Honey Simple Syrup:
Combine 1 part honey into one part water. Stir until dissolved.

Garnish: Lemon Wheel and/or mint sprig


glass or mason jar

Mixologist: Russell Davis


Mayo doctor is no fan of cleanses

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Mayo doctor is no fan of cleanses


Read what happened when  “AC 360” senior producer Jill Billante was considering a cleanse and went to the Mayo Clinic for expert answers. Dr. Michael Picco didn’t have good things to say. A new study out Monday backs up Picco’s opinion. But CNN Showbiz writer-producer Lisa Respers France has done it for years and says it really makes her feel better.

The answer to weight loss continues to be eating a healthy diet, but many Americans want a shortcut, and there are plenty of companies willing to offer it. Type the word cleanse into your browser and you’ll be overwhelmed with choices. Walk down the aisle of your health food store and you will find products promising to cleanse the colon and now, they can even be found at drugstore chains. Pick up a box and you might go into sticker shock; most cleanses are expensive. There are even companies that offer to deliver juice cleanses right to your home.

This spring, with my New Year’s resolution a distant memory and bikini season looming, I was considering a cleanse to help me lose some weight. After reading a few books on the subject, and one book in particular that seemed to have a smart approach, The Ciminelli Solution, which advocates eating more fruits and vegetables and healthy fats to help cleanse your body, I had some pretty big questions, and I did what journalists do: I started reporting.

I went to Dr. Michael Picco, a consultant on gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic, for his expert opinion on cleanses.

Do cleanses help you lose weight quickly?

Any weight loss you get is not real. It’s due to loss of fluid and waste and it is potentially harmful. Weight loss needs to be done with diet and exercise. I support a diet rich in veggies and a good, well-balanced diet that  includes complex carbohydrates, fat and fruits and vegetables.

When it was reported that Beyonce lost weight fast on the “Lemonade Diet” cleanse, sales of maple syrup, a component of the diet, shot up. What are your thoughts on the “Lemonade Diet?”

We don’t endorse this at all.

Do cleanses have any real benefits?

No. The whole basis to this cleansing business is people say it can help things like the immune system, fatigue and depression and it can clean the toxins out of the colon and it can aid in losing weight. There is really no evidence to that at all. Sometimes those cleanses could actually be quite harmful, too. Both in terms of what’s in the cleanse and also in administering them.

Is there any upside to a cleanse?

There is really no good evidence based upon any good research that this stuff makes any difference. The FDA doesn’t regulate these products because they are considered within the supplements category. Dietary supplements don’t have to meet the rigor that proprietary medicines would require. As a result of that, companies can claim just about anything.

How can cleansing be harmful?

Colon cleansing means you are doing something to cleanse out the colon. That can take the form of enemas or oral preparations. The methods are nowhere near standardized. Some cleanses could have electrolytes or irritants that make the colon more irritated. This can make existing conditions like hemorrhoids worse, and increase dehydration, malnutrition and fatigue. Those who have other medical conditions, elderly folks who are more susceptible to dehydration, continue to increase the risk of adverse effects.

Is there ever a time when the colon needs to be cleansed?

There is no need to cleanse colon; the colon does its own job cleansing bacteria. There are billions of bacteria in the colon, and they work in a symbiotic way to help with various different colon functions. The colon does a good job of changing its lining. It basically works quite well and does not need a periodic colon cleanse to get rid of any toxins.

The  bottom line on cleanses?

The bottom line is that there isn’t any evidence that these work. The people claiming they do have evidence it works are not correct. They can do that simply because they are not regulated. I think your readers need to know this before they believe these claims and purchase these preparations and understand there is a downside as well.



How To Make Dr.Weil’s Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto




If you have ever had the pleasure of eating at True Food Kitchen, you know that it is a perfect combination of healthy food and amazing taste.  If you haven’t, Dr. Weil has taken some of the most popular recipes and put them in a cook book called True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure that is absolutely a great gift for your favorite foodie.  One of  must-try dishes is his Kale Pesto Pasta that you should make immediately!  Seriously,like right now. Continue reading

Cowles Mountain Hike


Hey Everybody

This Saturday 5/9/2015 there is a event at Embarcaderro park South and the road is closed so we are going to do a Cowles Mountain Hike

meet up time is 8am prompt the link below will dive you directions. At 8am I am heading up so don’t be late. See you then 🙂


Wear a ManUp shirt i like to take a pic with you guys 🙂

Thanks Ed



Cowles Mountain
Golfcrest Dr and Navajo Rd, San Diego, CA 92119

7048-7064 Golfcrest Dr
San Diego, CA 92119
32.805290, -117.037793