8 Weeks: Nutrition Program

Hi all!!!!

I hope everyone had a great week.  Before you hit the weekend, I thought I’d share with you the nutrition guidelines and program I go through with all my clients.  If you have any questions, please email or call. This is a 10 page doc that I give out and some visuals were not transferable to WordPress as well as some other functions that Word has but not WordPress.  So, hopefully, not too much gets lost in translation of the formats.

Nutrition pages:

5 nutritional guidelines that will lead you toward success in your physical achievements:

1)Prioritize your foods. There are 3 factors toward food prioritization: Nutrient density vs. caloric density; glycemic index; and inflammatory properties. There are two main groups to concentrate on.

A.  Carbohydrate rich foods: Low glycemic/High nutrient. The more complex, the better.  Avoid processed white foods (white bread, tortillas, pasta).  Use whole grain substitutes.  Fruits, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, and rice all have the necessary fiber and complexity to give us energy long term and not a quick boost followed by a quick drop.

Fruits and Vegetables:  A fruit and/or vegetable should be present in every meal.  Both contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain body processes and metabolism while providing carbohydrates for energy.

B.  Protein rich foods: Low fat sources raised in the natural fashion of the plant/animal. Have some lean protein with every meal.  Chicken, turkey, fish,eggs, and lean red meats are examples.  Non meat sources include black beans and rice, soy (combined with other carbohydrate source to make complete protein), nuts and legumes. As a general guideline, .7-1g protein/lb of bodyweight/day.

2) Eat frequently:  Every 2-4 hours is ideal for eating throughout the day.  This should achieve around 6-8 meals.  This is difficult to attain at times, so for the overly busy individual, meet a minimum of four meals while also meeting the caloric requirement to maintain lean mass and metabolism.

A. Breakfast:  “Break” “fast”.  You haven’t eaten for at least 8   hours when you wake up. Eating within an hour of waking up is essential to keeping your metabolism working to BURN calories.  

                                   B.Consume a mix of carbohydrate and protein (a meal) shortly before (within 2 hours) and after (within 1 hour) workouts.  Carbohydrate is more important to bring fuel back to the muscles so they can begin repairing (adaptation).

C. Fix prepared meals.  Bring your lunch.  Scout out healthy restaurants ahead of when you need to eat.  This eliminates the need to eat the wrong foods in moments of hunger or exhaustion.

3) Supplement properly.  Prioritize whole foods over processed foods and supplements. Our body prefers to work off of real, whole foods.  However,  a multivitamin can help fill in for the nutrients we may miss in our daily diet.  Probiotics may help digestion, metabolism, and immune function. A green supplement can provide many vitamins/minerals when adequate vegetable consumption is not met.  Fish oils/omega fatty acids can be added for reduced inflammation and a variety of other metabolic processes.

4) Water: The best standard recommendation for water consumption is to take your body weight, divide by 2.  That number is a base for oz per day.  Add 10 oz for every factor such as dry climate, heat, and every 1/2 hour of intense exercise.

5) Avoid processed food additives such as artificial sweeteners, MSG, and high fructose corn syrup. Since condiments are likely places for additives, use them sparingly.


 8 weeks to GREAT nutrition and your AMAZING body!!!!… From the inside out!

  1. Week one.
    1. Accumulate:  Water and a multivitamin.  Divide your body weight in ½.  This is your baseline number (in ounces) for daily fluid intake.  Add 10 oz for every ½ hour of intense workout, every caffeinated drink, alcoholic drink, or hot weather.  Also add in a good multivitamin daily.
  2. Week two
    1. Eliminate: Processed food additives.  No MSG, artificial sweetener, or high fructose corn syrup.  If you drink diet sodas, DON’T!
  3. Week three.
    1. Accumulate:   Lots and lots of VEGGIES!!!!  Secondary to veggies are fruits. Add these in as well.  6+ servings of veggies/day and 2-3 servings of fruit…No fruit juice though…high in sugar!
  4. Week four.
    1. Eliminate:   Get rid of all high sugar/fructose foods (juice too).  Eliminate cookies, candies, chips, and baked goods.
  5. Week five.
    1. Accumulate:   Best sources are poultry fish and eggs.  Also, having some lean red meats and cultured dairy such as whey protein, yogurt (plain), and cottage cheese (low sodium) are good secondary sources.  Vegetarian sources are beans, legumes, nuts, and even green leafy vegetables.  Make sure you’re taking in at least .7g/lb lean body mass/day.
    2. Eliminate: Dairy (milk and cheese).  Store bought dairy is highly inflammatory and packed with additives we don’t want.  Cheese is ok as a condiment or for a little extra flavor but not a significant calorie source.  (ie a little cheese sprinkled on your broccoli-good, nachos!-not so good)
  6. Week six.
    1. Accumulate: Nuts and whole food CHO.  These can be good vegetarian sources of carbohydrate, protein, and good fats.  Nuts, legumes, along with a limited amount of rice, potatoes, and oats are good secondary sources of energy to vegetables and fruits.
    2. Eliminate: Bread and flour products.  Flour can act like sugar with insulin.  Flours can cause low level inflammation.  Too much of this can keep us sick and overweight.  Bread, pasta, chips, crackers, tortillas, and other flour products should be taken in very moderate amounts…think 1 serving every 2 days or so.
  7. Week seven.
    1. At this point, what we’re eating is very good. Now we have to adjust how we’re doing it.  This week, make sure you’re eating 6-8 meals/day.  Snack on good foods and eat every 2-4 hours.  You may already be eating breakfast.  Also, you should be buying groceries and planning your meals.  But, this is the week that we make sure these are happening.
  8. Week eight
    1. Additional supplementation: The only additional supplements that I recommend are an omega 3 or fish oil for a host of different body processes and a greens supplement for filling in for any lack of green leafy vegetables.

 Nutrition Categories Food List and Explanations

We put food into categories according to characteristics they have in common.  The characteristics are:  plant/animal based, how they grow, macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) content, micronutrient (vitamins, minerals, fiber) content, inflammatory properties, and insulin/hormonal response.  In this list (see also chart), we categorize the two main ‘desired’ macronutrients into major categories and treat ‘good fat’ as an added bonus to the lower charted, higher priority sub categories of our foods.



These are plant based foods that have a high percentage of nutrients from processed sugar/CHO.  Most of the ingredients have been processed and extracted from whole foods.  They tend to have a long shelf life, many preservatives and other food additives.

Examples:Candies, Soda-sugar or diet*, Fruit Juices, Chips/snack foods, White breads/flours, Baked product:  brownies, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, bagels

Pros: Quick energy.  Insulin boost when necessary

Cons: Low micronutrient content.  High insulin response.  Quick energy followed by quick drop.  High inflammation response. Transfats.

Whole grain/corn baked:

These foods are less processed plant based foods and use less additives than our sugar category.  However, flour still is extracted from plants for use in these foods to give high energy content  thus having lower micronutrient content than the whole food ingredients.  These will say whole grain on the package and, hopefully, have a small list of ingredients rather than a large one (5 or less is a good rule of thumb).

Examples: Whole grain breads,Tortillas,Chips, Pastas

Pros:  Sustained energy.  Some fiber.  Some needed micronutrients.

Cons:  Some inflammation response (especially with wheat) possible.  High calorie (carbohydrate) content vs. micronutrient content.  Some have high insulin response.

Whole food carbohydrate (starchy vegetables):

These are whole foods (no chemical processing) that grow from the ground but are not fruits or green/leafy vegetables.  These include whole grains, beans, legumes, lentils, and other carbohydrate rich plants.

Examples: Sweet Potatoes, Wild Rice, Corn, Oats/Oatmeal

Beans/legumes/lentils: Black beans, Kidney beans, Peanut butter, Garbanzo beans, Refried beans

Pros:  High sustainable energy source with good fiber and micronutrient content.  Non processed.  Generally non inflammatory.

Cons:  Some have a high insulin or an inflammatory response depending on individual genetics.


These are the seed containing reproductive portion of plants.  Fleshy seed-associated structures of a plant that are sweet or sour and edible in the raw state.

Examples: Apples, Pears, Cherries, Peaches/nectarines, Mango, Grapefruit, Avocado, Tomatoes


Nuts are fruits with a single seed and hard dry exterior.

Examples: Almonds, Brazils, Pistachios, Walnuts

Pros:  Carbohydrate and micronutrient/fiber rich.  Anti inflammatory.  Nuts have many of our ‘good fats’.

Cons:  Fructose has a high insulin response.  However, when bound with other nutrients and fiber, this is mitigated as opposed to fruit juice.  Nuts have high calorie/fat content (easy to overeat).

Vegetables (green/leafy):

Edible plant or its part, intended for cooking or eating raw.  Green and leafy does not necessarily refer to the part of the plant eaten.  Ex.  Carrot.

Examples: Spinach, Broccoli,Cauliflour, Carrots, Red leaf lettuce

Pros:  Carbohydrate, fiber, micronutrient rich.  Anti-inflammatory, low insulin response.

Cons:  Low satiety.  Takes a lot to feel satisfied.


The  recommendation for baseline protein is .36g/lb bodyweight per day for normal individuals.  For endurance or strength athletes, .7-1g/lb bodyweight is recommended.  For individuals trying to increase lean body mass while lowering bodyweight, eat .7+g/lb of lean body mass.

Other dairy

Cows milk and high milk containing products.

Ex. Milk, ice cream

Pros:  source of protein.

Cons: High fat and/or sugar (even when not added-lactose).  High insulin response.

Fatty red meat

Some meats have an inflammatory response or have high fat.


Beef-ribeye, prime rib, Bacon

Pros:  Source of calories and energy

Cons:  High calorie with low nutrient.  High inflammation

Cultured dairy

Dairy that’s been fermented.

Examples: Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Whey protein

Pros:  Good source of lean complete protein.

Cons:  Food additives such as artificial sweeteners, sodium, or preservatives.

Lean Red meats

Warm blooded animal flesh.

Examples: Venison, Beef, Lamb, Buffalo

Pros:  High protein content.  Good source of many micronutrients.  High satiety.

Cons:  Possibly hard on the liver/kidneys.  Loose correlations to heart disease and cancer.

Vegetarian sources (b/l/l)

Many of our plant foods also contain proteins.

Examples: Legumes, Lentils, Beans

Pros: Less stress on liver than animal proteins.  Micronutrients and fiber present.

Cons: Must combine most plant protein to get the essential amino acids making them ‘complete’.  This leads to high carbohydrate intake as well.  This could be problematic if we are wanting body composition change and high insulin sensitivity.


Cold blooded animal flesh and eggs.

Examples: Chicken, Turkey,Duck, Salmon, Tuna, Halibut, Egg/egg white

Pros:  Good source of complete lean protein as well as many micronutrients.  Fair to high satiety.  Many of these are good sources for ‘good fats’.  Ex. Salmon.

Cons:  Possibly hard on the liver/kidneys in large amounts.  Some have high cholesterol.  Ex. Eggs.


***Healthy fats occur naturally in the bottom categories on both pyramids.  Saturated fats occur toward the top categories in the protein pyramid.  Transfats occur primarily toward the top of the carbohydrate pyramid.


Anti Oxidants/Supplementation

Hi all!

I’ve been asked about this several times in the past few weeks.  “I read a story about a study that says vitamins may be bad for you.  Is that true?”

Well, there’s a few things to look at.  Was the study good science?  Is the concept that everything is bad if we have too much (ie.  water and hyponatremia)?  Does the study point to isolated cases or ‘across the board’?  Does this conclusion fit a pattern with other studies?

Luckily, in the field of science and the body, there is Rhonda Patrick!  I love this lady and her videos.  She talks over our heads a bit.  But, she is VERY knowledgeable, admits when she doesn’t quite know something, and is very attuned to what is ‘good science’ and ‘bad science’.


In summary, of course:

Yes, there are cases where certain vitamins may be detrimental to your health.  However, in most ‘normal’ cases additional supplementation is extremely valuable in prevention of disease.  So at the very least, take your multi , eat a well balanced diet, and get some sun and exercise.

Jason Root, CSCS

Endurance Athletes: Injury Prevention and Performance Enhancement

Howdy folks!

So, I am giving a talk to a group of runners this week.  Our subject is the role of strength training and cross training and how to avoid injury and improve performance.  Since endurance sports are some the easiest to participate in with busy schedules hampering our ability to join team sports, this is a very important subject for all of us.

When participating in endurance sports, strength and conditioning with cross training is of paramount importance.  With endurance events, motor patterns are performed thousands of times.  Think of your foot strike when running or your stroke when swimming. These highly repetitive motions are going to lead to imbalances of one kind or another.  There are the ways to correct those and keep your body healthy and feeling great for the next event.  Here is the big picture and my major tips to follow for strength and conditioning (without regard to the training of the sport itself):

Stabilization:  Joints need to be in sound stable condition to be able to do the thousands of repetitions that move our bodies over land or water.  The neuromuscular system of the ankle, knee, hip complex along with the shoulder and shoulder girdle should be able to balance and support us in unstable environment in multiple planes of motion for us to perform injury free.

How?  Perform exercises in an unstable environment.  A bosu, single limbed, balance boards, and even cushions and pillows are ways to create this with normal every day strength training exercises such as pushups, lunges, and squats.

Planes of Motion:  The body has three basic planes of motion: sagittal (front/back), frontal (side to side), and transverse (twisting).  In order to move our bodies through space (locomotion), each joint has it’s favorite way to move.  In endurance events, with so much of the same repetitions of movement for the muscles surrounding these joints occurring, the muscles and tendons may become inflamed or neuromuscularly shorten because of this repetition (even if movement is as mechanically optimal as possible).  Doing exercises that move the body in the opposite planes for each of these muscles will give them a fresh stimulus and keep them from having the aforementioned issues.

How?  For all the classic movements, simple do a version that moves a different direction than usual.  Ex, the side lunge or curtsy lunge.  Side to side pushups.  Pulls and throws in different directions for upper.

Core:   “You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe!”  This is the best quote to exemplify why we need core strength.  The rest of your limbs cannot function optimally if they are pushing off of an unstable body.  The core, as we are going to define it, is made up of the deep muscles that support the spine and the pelvis.

How?  Positions that challenge your body to hold that position are best to isolate these deep muscles.  Planks, leg raises, and standing rotation are all example of exercises that try to force your body to change position while your stabilizers have to work to keep it.  However, the most forceful contractions in these muscles occur in our heavy, full body lifts.  Squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, and weighted gait movements accomplish this.

Posterior chain:  The posterior chain is made up of the muscles starting at the back of your head and ending at the bottom of your feet.  Since these all work together neurologically for locomotion, I like to think of them as one big muscle.  These muscles are primary in moving us whether running, biking, or swimming.  Heavy low volume work on these muscles will give them strength for pulling you across land or water.

How?  Simple-The hip hinge exercises (deadlifts, stiff legged deadlifts), and pulls with a challenging weight for 5 or less repetitions for 3 or less sets each exercise.

Flexibility:  Last but certainly not least is flexibility.  As muscles move in short ranges of motion with very high repetition, the neuromuscular system begins to think that these muscles need to be short.  Also, the tendons around the muscles can have inflammation as well as wastes from the high level of activity.  Certain muscles, especially the ones most active can become tight and cause mechanical disadvantages leading to injury.

How?  Full body stretching with mindful attention toward the shortened muscles.  Use both static, dynamic, and contract/release techniques as well as myofacial release (foam rolling, massage).

Happy running, biking, and swimming!

Jason Root, CSCS

Eating Paleo

Hey everyone, welcome and happy February!

We’ve heard a lot in the past years about the Paleo Diet.  It is healthy?  What’s the premise behind it?  What are the rules?

Here’s another one from the folks at Precision Nutrition. I very much respect the work at Precision Nutrition and will be using their articles quite a bit in this blog.  The company is run by educated scientist with research based information.  So, this article can help clear some things up.


So again for our summary for those of you who just want the Cliff’s Notes version:

On processed foods, esp w/ flour/sugar: NO

On beans/legumes (which traditional Paleo doesn’t like):  All good

On meat:  Wild/Grass fed

Gluten:  If you don’t have celiac disease and eat whole grain

Dairy:  Small amounts and grass fed

Eat LOTS of fruit, veggies, nuts, and lean meats!

I hope we have given some great info and helped you out a little today.  Don’t forget to mix in some chocolate on Valentine’s Day!

Jason Root, CSCS