Hardiness and Exercise

Hello everyone,

When going through my classes in sport and exercise psychology, there was a topic in which I was extraordinarily interested.  The topic is “hardiness”.  Hardiness is defined as “the ability to endure difficult conditions”.  What is exercise and training if not making us better mentally by applying a difficult physical condition?

However, I’d like to go back through this topic with you and explore the ways in which hardiness can be increased through exercise and sport.

In exercise, we make the body uncomfortable for the knowledge of physical/health gains.  Usually greater gains are made with slight increases in discomfort over time.  But, sometimes, we must push to the limit even if it is just to see how far we can go mentally.  This is why it helps to have some sort of goal in mind so that there is a end to our means.

In sport, hardiness is increased in a variety of ways.  One of the most evident is how we deal with winning and losing.  Being humble in winning and utilizing losses as a means for improvement is a mental dynamic sports offer.  Also, remembering that sport and game is not life but is analogous to the other challenges we may face.

Like exercise we have to train for our sport.  In sports, as opposed to exercise, sometimes the gains we are looking can be more ambiguous.  They may be disguised as setbacks.  This tests our resiliency, emotional intelligence, and our belief in our abilities to find an answer to a problem.

In sport, we deal with injury.  Injury can feel like a huge loss when we have endured difficult training to reach a goal and had a setback like an injury.  A serious injury that threatens our ability to play the sport again is even a bigger challenge.  How we react and recover is one of the biggest mechanisms for building hardiness.


So, work hard! Play hard! Then grab a beer to celebrate your growth this 4th of July weekend!


Jason Root, CSCS


Pelvic Floor/Diaphragm: After Pregnancy, Rehab, Athletics

Hello all!

I had a client the other day look at me a little doubtful when I asked her to jump rope.  I said, “Jane” (we’ll call her “Jane”)….”Jane, what’s up?”

She explained it to me.  Well, we hadn’t jumped rope in a while.  She had a baby about 6 mos prior.   We had trained through her pregnancy.  We had done a bit of core training based on the principles that we had started out with before her pregnancy.  The basics of which are the subject of this article.  She felt less than confident in her ability to avoid urinary leakage as she bounced up and down.

Ahhhh, I said.  We need to get back to the basics.  In order to properly create spinal stability for athletics and rehab, one must first learn to ‘engage the core’.  This means neuromuscularly integrating the deep stabilizers of your pelvis and lumbar spine.  The muscles that we are focusing on today are the ones on the bottom (the muscles of the pelvic floor) and on the top (the diaphragm) of what we refer to as our “core box”.

There is a combination of three different techniques that my clients learn as they first begin training so that they may avoid back and hip pain later on.  They have can have an immediate effect on incontinence for women in Jane’s situation (or otherwise), strength in lifting, speed for running, and power in punching (one of these is a martial arts technique).

1)  Our first exercise is the Kegel.  Many of you ladies have heard of this one.

First, lie on the floor like the skeleton below. Then, think of needing to go to the bathroom pretty bad…both #1 and 2.  Then think of the muscles used to hold this off.  Squeeze those as hard as you can along with your glutes.  Push into a posterior pelvic tilt as the top pic shows.  Go for 5-10 squeezes.  Go into the advanced bridge from the second pic to advance.

2)  Our next exercise I like to call Jagermeisters.  Have you ever had a bit too much Jager and ended up spending a little time worshiping the porcelain king?  How did your core feel the next day?  This mimics that muscular contraction.

Look at the top pic of the two below.  Inhale into this position as much air as possible.  Breath into your belly button.

Look at the bottom pic.  As you are moving from the top pic position to the bottom pic position, exhale forcing every last bit of breath you have out at the top.  When you reach the position in the bottom pic, feel beneath your belly button squeezing.  Do 5-10 of these.

3)  This is our martial arts technique.

Stand.  Put your tongue at the roof of your mouth in back of your teeth.  Force your breath out while squeezing the muscles from the other two exercises.  This should make a sound like tttzzzz!  Squeeze your fists as well.  This will increase the integration of all muscles involved.  Do 10-20.

Now you may start a regular “core” training routine, deadlifts, squats, or fight training.  Training the above way is a great start and will help safety and foundational strength later on.  After a few weeks the squeeze should be automatic in all your exercise.  See even how your running feels more efficient.

For Jane, we did 5 sets of 100 jumps jumping rope with 1 set of this circuit in between each set of jumps.  She was extremely pleased when soon she was very confident in jumping rope….or laughing, sneezing, coughing, etc.

For you nerds, here’s some research, anatomy, and other fun.


EFFECTIVE Program Design: Variation vs. Consistency in Physical Development

Hi folks!

Just an FYI…this one’s for the nerds (kind of a Kinesiology 101).

Last week I had a client who asked me a great question:  “Why we do so few “exercises” in a training bout vs. other trainers who have their clients moving all over the room?”  Actually, I told him, “I used to do just that.  I had the belief that being efficient and getting as much done as possible was the way.”  I did used to train like that for a while.   But, it was tiring and I didn’t seem to get a lot out of it.  For clients whose only respite from the cubicle was our workouts it worked.  Although, it seemed to take more discipline and energy than they really had left in their tank on a consistent basis.

Then, I read a book concerning business efficiencies and inefficiencies and they talked a bit about the concept of effectiveness vs. efficiency.  Efficiency gets a lot of tasks done.  Effectiveness gets specific tasks done that produce results!

So, I returned to the way that I had trained in college…careful, methodical, focused, attentive….with a few new tweeks and tools in my tool belt, of course.  This brings us to today’s topic…. the balancing of variation in a program vs. consistency.  In other words, “How to be EFFECTIVE!”

How do we balance variation versus consistency of movement?  We know that the body needs variation to adapt.  However, how is one to tell truly gauge progress when all variables are constantly changing?  Was the program effective and, if it was, what was effective element within it?

Here are some of the possible variables in a training program:  Resistance (weight), repetitions (volume), sets (volume), time under tension, body position, range of motion, direction of force or movement, unilateral vs bilateral movements, rest periods, speed of contraction, exercise order, stability, complexity of movement, change of direction of force, joint angle, heart rate, distance, acceleration/deceleration

Exercise science is just that…a science.  One of the main rules of the scientific method is that when doing an experiment, only one variable may be changed at one time while all others stay constant.  Otherwise the experiment cannot prove cause and effect as more than one possible cause has been changed.  Therefore, consistency must be kept in order to gather quantitative results.  And our clients’/athletes’ programs are nothing if not each an experiment in human adaptation.

However, the body is an amazing thing. It adapts to specific imposed demands.  Therefore, the more different types of demands we put on it, the more it may adapt.

With so many variables, how does one know which to keep constant and which to change?  Well, first we have to look at the client.  What are the needs of that specific person?  What will get them from where they are to where they need to be?  The only way to know this is through very thorough testing and evaluation.

Certain parts of a program need constant components while others need variable ones.  One needs to, based upon the results of testing, put together a set of exercises that need to keep consistent while only changing one progressive variable at a time over the course of a program. This is the “Core” **portion of the workout.  Most of the time, the basic compound movements will serve this purpose in the case of pure ‘strength’ training.  Jumping, sprinting, and other basic movements will serve in other conditioning aspects.

**not to be confused with “core” as in the center of the body

After determining the core portion, the variable exercise component should be added in a precise manner according to the testing in order to balance the body and meet any secondary needs.

For example, in the strength portion of a workout, the trainee may have ‘the deadlift’ as core exercise.  The weight and/or repetitions (intensity and volume) change from bout to bout.  But deadlift remains as the basic exercise in that portion of the workout.  The supporting strengthening exercises may change, such as lunges instead of step ups.  In parts of the workout for warmup, flexibility, athleticism, or correction, more variety still may be present based upon how the client feels and other day to day factors.

Jason Root, CSCS

Functionally Integrated Performance training

Happy Friday everyone!

So, I was at a gym today.  I look around at all the folks on all the machines and had two conflicting thoughts.  The first one was, “How wonderful all these people are here working on themselves.”  Then, I looked at what was really going on.  The peoples faces were blank.  Many were talking on phones, texting, reading magazines, and those with trainers were talking about anything but their development and the work being undergone.  The second thought, “Wow, it reminds me of that episode of The Walking Dead I saw last night!”

When undergoing a program of adaptation and development, engagement is crucial.  What is being engaged?  Focus on the job being done…..dynamics of the mind and body, satisfaction for the completion of the task, or even better….HAVE SOME F$%^&*G FUN!!!

Upon this sight, I started thinking about our lifestyles and a bit that a comedian I like did.  (Might’ve been Carlin…can’t remember). It goes something like this:

“We wake up in a box that we sleep in and walk within a bigger box that keeps our stuff and have meals, entertainment.  We get in a box that keeps our car.  We get in the car (another box) and go to work.  Work is a very large box with little boxes called offices or cubicles (box right in the word) that we’re put in to work.  Then, at the end of the day, we hop back in the car box to go to a box to exercise to counteract what’s happened to our bodies in all the other boxes.”

A good point he has there.  Then I think of the answer we (at RootHealth) use for this.  In the strength and conditioning industry, there’s a term for a type of training called Functionally Integrated Strength and Performance training (our program is called ‘Out of the Box’ training).  Well, what exactly is that!?

Let’s look at each of the words.  Functional.  This is a buzzword in fitness everyone seems to use but no one explains what it actually means.  I mean, if you move, your body is functioning…so, isn’t everything ‘functional’?  Yes, but ‘functional’ is more of a spectrum than a “this is functional and this isn’t” scenario.  In general ‘functional’ exercises are movements with components of stabilization, reactivity, strength, and/or different planes of motion that overload similar to what the human body is designed to perform in nature.  These functions are walking, carrying, running (both sprint and jog), jumping, pushing, throwing, pulling, and more.

Integrated is perhaps the most important word here.  Similar to functional, we’re talking about what the body has to do neuromuscularly.  We look at things on a spectrum from ‘isolated’ to ‘integrated’.  An integrated exercise uses more joints with more functions than another.  For instance, a machine press isolates the chest muscles by moving from point A to B in a single dimension.  A dumbell bench press is more integrated as control is need in multiple dimensions to control the weight.  A standing cable, even more so, in that the core must engage to keep us standing while the force is pushing horizontally back against us, a chest pass is even more integrated in that, now, there’s an acceleration/deceleration component.

Strength‘ is the maximal amount of force/tension the body can handle for a given movement for a given amount of time or reps.  And, ‘performance‘ is the measurements put on any given function, usually transferred to an activity outside of the weight room.

The tools we use to train in this fashion are free weights (usually kettle bells or weights with materials that shift…sand/water), something to jump on or to, bands, body weight, and especially SPACE!

Because, there is so much more neuromuscular activity going on with this type of training, a few things happen.  1) infinitely more engaging and FUN 2) KIS!  We ‘keep it simple’ so that programs are more repeatable, attain a better focus, and are more measurable in their outcomes 3) the need for space means we can work in an open environment…a big warehouse or, even better, OUTSIDE!…..so, outside the box (see what we did there).

So, over this long Memorial Day weekend, train…outside the box, have fun, and maybe have a beer in celebration of our military folk!

Jason Root, CSCS, EIM, other letters and stuff

Texting Posture!!!

Does your neck mid or lower back pain ache?  THEN STOP THE TEXTING.  Well, at least mitigate the time periods you’re doing it.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  My back and neck hurt from just looking at this guy above!

Many of my clients and colleagues (and friends, family, girlfriends, the mailman, the gardener) know my aversion to texting and my belief that it: decreases ability to communicate in person,  develop natural conflict/resolution skills, read non-verbal communication cues, keep commitments, stay focused and productive, so on and so on.

But, these are all postulations and hypotheses formulated from my own experience and I haven’t seen many scientific studies yet to confirm this.  However, there is one thing we do know.  Constantly being on your phone will screw up your posture and cause you pain!

Look at the picture above.  Many of us look exactly like this for a large part of our day.

So what is happening here?….stretching and shutting down of our posterior chain muscles (for our posture, alignment, and locomotion) and shortening and weakening of our anterior chain muscles.  See the links below for more info.



Women’s Health Seminar

Today, we’re here to update you on our upcoming seminar in beautiful Temescal Canyon in the Pacific Palisades, CA!

Our seminar is called Women’s Exercise and Nutrition: A Prescription for Lifelong Health.  We will be going over how to create a training program that works for you, your time, your current condition, and your goals.  Of course, we will be looking at specific ways that exercise and nutrition are prescribed for a variety of health issues that mainly (or only) effect women.  However, the material is useful to all.

This is an experiential learning course, which means you will be learning form, function, and mechanics for core conditioning, strength training, and stretching while also participating in a hike that takes us over an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean for our cardiovascular experience.

Our wonderful and talented Registered Dietitian, Aletta Kennedy will be putting together a delicious lunch and snack menu for you.  She will also being speaking to give the nutritional portion of the course.

For your use during the course, you will receive a complimentary yoga mat and RootHealth t-shirt along with our textbook with the information from the course.  The book will be conveniently emailed straight to you for further reference.

This fantastic event will be held from 930am to 4pm on Sunday June 14.  To join us on this adventure, click on this link: http://rhconditioning.com/fitness and then click on the blue button in the middle.

I can’t wait to see you there!

Jason Root, CSCS

Minimalist Footwear

Over the last few years, the popularity of barefoot running has taken off.  Minimalist shoes have come into the market, especially for runners.  The theory is that (using the paleo paradigm) our feet were meant to adapt to the surface that we’re running on.  Specifically, this is siting the Kenyans (among many others that copied them) winning of long distance events without shoes.  But, is the minimalist shoe the best way?  Let’s look at the variables.

Kenyans:  The Kenyans are raised in an environment without footwear and without paved surfaces.  As such, their running form will be different.  Their feet will have adapted differently to the softer surface of soil rather than cement.  They also run for life and not just fun.  Replacing a shoe will not make up for this upbringing.  Although, as seen from many other barefoot athletes from urban lifestyles, the running form can be mimicked if the body is free of imbalances….see Sylvester Stallone run in Converse Chuck T’s in Rocky I and II!

Surface:  The paleo paradigm states that we should work as our caveman genetics have programmed our bodies to work.  So, many runners went barefoot (minimalist footwear).  However, unless the runner is on a soft track (like the all weather Olympic tracks) or on soft soil, the surface is different than that of our caveman ancestors.  They did not have concrete or asphalt. We do.  Concrete and asphalt has no give to a striking force as soil does.  This puts awful strain on the feet under a pounding load.  Also, we grew up in shoes because of this.  Our feet are likely not adapted to the minimalist footwear for running or many other sports.

Sport/Activity Considerations:  We also need to consider the activity involved.  All different types of shoes have been invented for all different types of activity.  Weightlifting, for instance, requires a neurological connection between the athlete’s feet and the ground.  Yet there is no repeated accelerated force into the ground.  Walking has a light repeated accelerated force over time.  Running, still more.  Basketball requires degrees of force in different directions.

Individual differences:  Different persons’ feet will have adapted differently over time from varied activity, the individuals body type, genetics, and a host of other factors.  For instance, a person who is heavier will apply a higher repetitive load over time on their feet.  This may lead to flat feet, especially if they have been using support for a lifetime.

So, the scoop on minimalist shoes is: get some advice from a professional and take many things into consideration before joining any fitness fad.

Here’s a research based article from the National Strength and Conditioning Association if you’d like to read some more on the subject:


Have a great rest of your week!

Jason Root, CSCS

Screaming During Exersion

Hey everyone….Happy Thursday!

Ok, so here’s something that has always been an irritant to me at ‘health clubs’.  I was reading the Chive the other day and they had this listed under one of the faux pas (is that how you spell that?) at the gym.  Screaming, yelping, or any noise during exertion.

I am appalled when people complain about this….to a certain point.  First, gyms and places to go work on your body were started by athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, martial artists, and olympic lifters.  It is common place for these athletes to make noise upon strong exertion.  Then the sissy version called the ‘health club’ came along when Lalanne’s was bought out by Bally to make Bally Total Fitness.  When I bring up this argument, people say “Then go to a specialty gym…or, there’s no proof that that helps you.”  Specialty gyms may not be in the area and there is proof that it helps.

On the other hand, there is the occasional individual who takes this to the next level and has to let you know he’s done every single rep on his warm up.  This is not acceptable.  The ‘yelp’ must be pragmatic.

But, for all you naysayers who don’t work hard and think it may be a little intimidating to work out around those who do…check out this clip from ‘Sport Science’!….I love this show!  Then, we’ll talk about why it works.

Why does this work?  Number one, it releases air, keeping you from a Valsalva Maneuver.  Number two, it contracts your diaphragm and other muscles giving you a strong midsection base of support (engaging the core).  Number three…energy and emotion are strong factors in physical achievement and development.  The yell is an expression of this.

So, unless he is just unreasonable or lifting the pink rubber weights, cut that guy with the 500lb squat some slack and have some fun with your performance yourself.

Jason Root, CSCS

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