Category Archives: Free Sports Nutrition Info

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and WE WERE WRONG!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is always good to count your blessings.   Even if there are things in our life that are hard to deal with, there are things to look forward to, things that excite us and if we look for happiness, we will find it.  The key is to keep looking for it.  The movie "Pursuit of Happiness." comes to mind.  If you have faith, family and friends today,  you are one of the lucky ones.  If you are searching for what to be thankful for because the basic things are not so basic anymore, DON'T WORRY!

Just when you think you've got this nutrition and exercise thing down, research changes things,  The real challenge is to remain open minded enough and not get set in our ways.  Major shifts in nutritional science are happening in the NASN and that's something to get excited about.  Great!  We have something new to learn!  It is thought provoking to think that even in the medical and scientific communities,  there are agendas and politics.  That's why we have listened to those that are progressive and trend setters.  We've looked at the data and we are making a major change. 

That is something to be thankful for…

Something new to learn and for a Black Friday special…

Check it out!

Check it out!

The NASN has One Mission and That is…

To present unbiased credible research for the purpose of optimizing body composition, enhancing performance and improving recovery from exercise.  For this reason, we gladly promote information that has the same goal, even if it is from a competing organization.  Check out this good read from Precision Nutrition.  Then, if you want to learn the scientific truths about nutrition, exercise and performance, take an NASN course and become a member.  See the link below.  Taking our courses and theirs will only help educate people in the truth and not what we feel or wnat to be true.

What??? Collagen for Lean Body Mass Gain?

Check out this article with accompanied study that shows old guys increasing their muscle with collagen…

With BodyBalance, Gelita Continues to Focus Its Collagen on Body Composition and Toning

Original artical link.

Nutritional Outlook recently caught up with Gelita (Sergeant Bluff, IA), which talked about how the company’s latest collagen peptide ingredient, BodyBalance, continues to focus on body composition and whole-muscle health. Lara Niemann, Gelita’s marketing director, Americas, says that just as the rest of Gelita’s collagen peptide portfolio emphasizes “taking care of your skin, taking care of your joints,” BodyBalance is about “taking care of your muscles.”

Studies, including one published in 2015 in The British Journal of Nutrition1 and conducted in men suffering from age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), support the positive benefits of collagen peptides on body and muscle composition following exercise, with subjects showing significant, positive gains in fat-free mass and muscle strength, as well as a statistically significant reduction in fat mass.

The company also announced that it has completed another BodyBalance study, unpublished, this time in younger, healthy participants. According to the company, as in The British Journal of Nutrition study, subjects in the new study saw increases in fat-free mass and reductions in fat mass, as well as improvements in muscle strength and waist circumference.

Still, Niemann emphasizes, BodyBalance is not intended to be a weight-management tool. “Although there are [weight-management] benefits, we’re not marketing it as that,” she tells Nutritional Outlook. “It’s a collagen protein, but what we’re seeing is stimulation of the collagen matrix of your muscles, which contributes to this lean muscle mass. I don’t know that we would call it a fat burner or a muscle metabolizer.”

Also, she emphasizes, supplementation should be combined with exercise in order to see the benefits like those seen in The British Journal of Nutrition study. “It’s not a silver bullet,” she says. “You don’t just take your collagen, and life is good. You actually have to do some work.”

And, while BodyBalance is not a weight-management ingredient per se, as Niemann points out, subjects may experience a fitter physique as a result of improved body composition. “We talk about how a pound of fat weighs as much as a pound of lean muscle, but the look of it is very different,” she points out. “A pound of fat takes up more volume, and that’s where we can really drill down on this message of body toning, body composition” with BodyBalance. “So we’re not saying, supplement with BodyBalance to lose weight. It’s ‘supplement with BodyBalance in combination with exercise to really reshape your body or really give your body the best composition you can give it.'”

“I hope that one day the weight-management focus isn’t about the number on the scale,” she adds. She says that both of the company’s BodyBalance studies “demonstrate that the combination of resistance exercise and specific collagen peptides supplementation is well suited to strengthen muscular power, build lean muscle mass, and decrease fat mass…outcomes that are highly desired by those in a weight-management program or regimen.”

And there are other health benefits attributed to collagen peptides. Given Gelita’s research in the fields of joint and skin health, “At the same time you’re taking BodyBalance, you’re benefitting your joints and your skin health, so [the ingredient] really is about healthy aging,” Niemann says. She says that all of these benefits combined make BodyBalance a good tool for the aging population, which experiences everything from achy joints, aging skin, and sarcopenia.

“Across the whole spectrum of the age group, regardless of what your health conditions are, consumers and industry are really understanding this importance that muscle health plays in your whole being,” Niemann says.


1. Zdzieblik D et al., "Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial," The British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 114, no. 8 (October 28, 2015): 1237-1245




























Minimize Fat Gain Post Diet with Reverse Dieting by Alexandra Jang, LMSN

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Minimize Fat Gain Post Diet with Reverse Dieting by Alex Jang, LMSN

                Abstract: Weight gain is common after a dieting phase.  Often times the amount of weight gained after the dieting phase is more than the initial starting weight.  This weight is often gained in fat due to the sudden rate of calorie increase and the slow metabolic adaptation from being in a deficit.  What if there was a way to minimize fat gain while maximizing and increasing metabolism post calorie restricted diet?  Reverse dieting provides the answer.

                The metabolism is able to adapt to changing circumstances.  Studies show that metabolic adaptation (to a slower rate) does happen after an extended period of calorie-deficit or massive weight loss (Fitschen, Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting (Part 1), 2016).  Reasons why metabolic adaptation occur during dieting include: decreased lean mass, decreased food intake (which in turn decreases the thermogenic effect of food (TEF)), decreased non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), decreased hormones including leptin, insulin, thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone, increased mitochondrial efficiency, and more (Norton, Smith-Ryan & Trexler, 2014). After all of these adaptations, going from an extreme calorie deficit, back to maintenance calories is typically too fast. This results in fat gain as the metabolic rate has not recovered to the pre-diet level.

                What is reverse dieting?  Reverse dieting is incrementally increasing macronutrients when coming out of a diet phase in which there was a caloric deficit.  The reverse dieting phase should also include a reduction in cardio conditioning.  This process together, helps to normalize metabolism while concurrently minimizing weight gain.  The slow increases in macronutrients over time, allow the body to adapt and increase metabolism (Fitschen, Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting (Part 2), 2016).

                Reverse dieting can be useful for your clients and even yourself.  The best practice for reverse dieting is still being established. General dietary guidelines include first increasing the individual’s protein intake to 1-1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass. For example, a client with a lean body mass of 126 pounds, would aim to intake 126-189 grams of protein per day.  The initial increase in calories may be 10-20 percent, and it is recommended to cut cardio in half (Fitschen, Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting (Part 2), 2016).  Subsequent increases would include adding 50-100 calories in the form of carbohydrates or fats depending on preference and fueling needs.  The individual should weigh themselves weekly on the same day, in the same clothing, as a gauge for further increases.  In my own experience, both personally and with clients, when body weight remains the same, decreases or only slightly increases (0-1 pound), 50 calories is added to the daily intake.  With a significant weekly bodyweight gain (1 or more pounds) the calorie intake is held steady until the weight stabilizes.  The amount of time that it takes to increase to a maintenance level of calorie intake varies by individual and includes factors such as the amount of calorie deficit during the diet and length of dieting time.  The longer the client has been in a calorie deficit, the longer it will take for the client to reach maintenance calories.  This process is also highly dependent on how the individual responds to the reverse.  Reverse dieting should be continued until the client reaches maintenance calories, consistently gains weight weekly on calories near total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), or is uncomfortable physically with the amount of food that they must eat.  After reverse dieting is complete, the client may enter a maintenance period of 1-3 months and then remain there, or begin to decrease calories, as well as increase activity to decrease body fat.

                My personal experience with reverse dieting has been very successful.  I went from a diet phase of 1600 calories a day and training 1-2 hours 6 days a week with a body weight of 151.5 pounds to training 3-4 days a week while eating 2700 calories per day with a bodyweight of 151.5 pounds.  This process took me about 6 months from the start of the reverse, to reaching maintenance calories.  While the process was very slow and requires patience, the outcome is the ability to maintain the desired weight with minimal fat increase.  After the reverse diet, I maintained my weight for 2 months, I am now in a deficit and making great progress with the highest calories I have ever dieted on.  I am leading several of my clients through the process and their response has been comparative with minimal fat and weight gain and maximal increase in daily caloric intake.

                Reverse dieting is effective at increasing metabolic rate to dispose of extra calories consumed in a controlled manner.  Drastic increases in calories before the metabolism speeds up, result in rapid fat gain.  In summary, reverse dieting can effectively end the cycle of significant weight loss followed by weight gain.

  Alex Jang is the owner of Alex Jang Nutrition, her sports nutrition practrice, specializing in 1 to 1 nutrition coaching. Find her on Facebook. Click Here




Fitschen, P. (2016, October 3). Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting (Part 1). Retrieved April 23, 2016, from Biolayne:

Fitschen, P. (2016, October 6). Metabolic Adaptation and Reverse Dieting (Part 2). Retrieved April 25, 2017, from Biolayne:

Trexler, E. A.-R. (2014, February 27). Metabolic Adaptation to Weight Loss: Implications for the Athlete. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from Journal International Society of SPorts NUtrition:


This month, I decided to ask some Track Club members what they’d like me to write about, and try to answer some questions they may have.  Jenn Labonte asked a very good question that I think a lot of runners and fitness enthusiasts want to know more about, and that is “What should I eat before a workout, and when?”  I decided I’d answer that, plus talk just a little about what to eat during and afterwards.  If any of you readers ever want a question answered and possibly published in the Sandpiper, simply email me at  Even if I don’t write about it, I’ll still answer your question.


Image result for what to eat around workouts

When I say workout, I really mean any kind of workout (cardiovascular training or strength training) or race.  Your pre-race meal should be the same for any type of workout or race that you are doing.  There is a lot of information out there on this subject, and like everything else, there are some true fundamentals and there is some deviation based on personal preferences.  What I’ll focus on is the fundamentals.  Before we start though, it’s important to know that all of this information is most beneficial if you eat a pretty good diet to start with and keep your glycogen levels full.  Your glycogen levels are merely your stored carbohydrates, and we can store up to 500 grams (400 in the muscles and 100 in the liver).  That is 2000 calories worth of stored carbs (1600 and 400).  If you don’t eat a balanced diet and are on some kind of low carb diet, any good pre-workout meal or eating during an event will not save you.  You have to be able to rely upon your stored glycogen—this is fundamental.  Your body cannot consume the same amount of food that you burn, so you will run out of gas if you’re always running on empty.


  • Related image WHEN TO EAT:  Your pre-workout, meal whether it be in the morning or later in the day, should be 3-4 hours before you train.  Yup, you read that correctly.  If you eat too close to training/racing, that food will not be digested, and you’ll simply be training with a lot of food jostling in your stomach.  And there is a big metabolic cost to digesting food, so a lot of blood will go to the stomach to aid digestion, leaving you feeling “flat”.  “What if I’m hungry?”  If you eat “right” and keep your glycogen levels full, you won’t be.  The feeling you’re having is simply the 100 grams of liver glycogen that has burned off while you sleep, raising your blood sugar and sending signals that you’re hungry.  But again, if you’ve kept up with your glycogen, you’re not.  One way around the hunger feeling— Just before you train or race (within 10 minutes of starting), eat a GEL.  This will not cause a spike and drop in blood sugar since you are putting your body into motion.  Again, the hunger feeling is really more mental than physical because you have enough glycogen to get you through (and you need to eat during if training is long enough—more later).
  • HOW MUCH TO EAT:  This depends on your size, but a fundamental rule of thumb is 200-400 calories.  Yes, that’s it.  Three to four hours out, this is perfect to top off your glycogen stores.  The majority of these calories need to be in the form of carbohydrates, with just a little bit of protein.  The fundamental rule of thumb is 4:1 or 5:1 carbohydrates to protein.
  • WHAT TO EAT:  First, do not eat high fiber foods, foods with fats, or simple sugars.   The carbohydrates you consume should be of the complex carbohydrates, and technically   called polysaccharides.  Simple sugars will simply spike the blood sugar, causing a crash before hand.  They will not store as glycogen.  Normally, fiber is good, but not before a workout.  You really have to simply experiment with what complex carbs you like—just make sure they’re polysaccharides.  The protein needs to be very little, lean and easy to digest.  Some people use a non-fat yogurt.  Some people use soy.  Experiment.  There are plenty of products out there that do all the work for you, and you can simply use an engineered liquid pre-workout meal.Image result for eating during  a race


Keep in mind, again, that the type of training or racing you’re doing is irrelevant.  The goal of eating during training or racing is to spare glycogen.  You cannot replace all that you are burning up.  It is impossible for your body to process all the calories that you are burning up.  So the idea is to save the glycogen so you can have the fuel to be used for energy.

  • WHEN TO EAT?  This really isn’t so much a matter of when but when NOT.  In other words, if the workout or race is going to be less than 90 minutes, no additional energy is needed.  You have enough glycogen (AGAIN!).  Remember, this article is not about hydration or electrolytes.  It’s about ENERGY.  Even in very short workouts, you need water and electrolytes.  If the training or racing is going to be longer than 90 minutes, you need to take in additional energy.  And as far as spacing goes, it’s best to break it up.  There really is no exact formula to break it up, although it seems to work best when the total calories ingested is divided by 2-3 for each hour of exercise.
  • HOW MUCH TO EAT:  Most studies indicate that you can only utilize about 250-300 calories per hour. That’s it!  More than that, your body will simply find ways to get rid of the undigested foods, and that won’t be pleasant.  This is why I said you can’t replace all that you use up. Take, for example, a 180 lb. runner running just below his AT for a marathon.  This runner may be burning up to 1000 calories per hour.  So the idea is to delay the onset of glycogen depletion and utilize the stored glycogen and fatty acids (your fat!)—which is another reason not to run above your AT early in a race.  That is what ‘hitting the wall’ is, and has nothing to do with how many miles you trained.
  • WHAT TO EAT:  Again, you need to consume complex carbohydrates—polysaccharides.  Look for glucose polymer on the label of the product to be used. If it states that, it’s what you want.  If the training session or race is going to exceed 2 hours, you will need to eat a little protein.  Just very little—about 10% of the 250-300 calories need to be in the form of protein.  So, you’re wondering if you have to be a chemist to create the right amount of “eat during”… no, just shop correctly.  There is no doubt that you can make your own “sports meal”, but why when there are so many companies doing the work for you?  You just have to know the right one to get.  Most research indicates that liquid nutrition, such as the correct gels (not all gels are the same—not all have protein) and sports drink, is better than solid nutrition as far as absorption goes. But you’d have to try them for yourself and just make sure that they work for you.  I have found what works for me, and it is about trial and error.  Most products on the market have the correct amount of glucose polymers with just a smidgen of protein—typically using soy for these purposes.




This is what is known as eating for recovery.  It is the most important step in making sure that you are recovering after workouts.  And it’s the time that your glycogen stores are most ready to be filled.  Studies have shown that after exercise, your body will absorb carbohydrates at a faster, more efficient rate.  The cells almost act like sponges, pulling the blood sugar into the cells.  But what if the blood sugar isn’t there?  It’s the number one way to make sure that you stay “full” all the time—eat AFTER training.


  • WHEN TO EAT:  Right after you are done training/racing, and I mean right after.  You should have eaten your first “meal” within 30 minutes of completion of training.  And you don’t want to take back in all of your carbs at one time, so the research indicates that you should eat another mini meal a couple hours after that meal to ensure maximum recovery (which means glycogen filled back up and muscle damage recovery set into place).
  • HOW MUCH TO EAT:  This is very variable based on how much you weigh, and the duration and intensity of your exercise.  The idea is to try to restore the carbohydrates that you’ve lost.  There really is no way to know for sure.  A good rule of thumb is to take in about 200 calories, with most of it being in carbohydrate form again, and a little bit of protein.  Later on, you want to take in some more carbohydrates and again more protein, and at this second meal you would want to eat a higher level of calories, especially in the form of carbohydrates, so this meal would be in the 300-500 calorie range (still mostly QUALITY carbs and a little protein).   You will know how you are recovering based on your workouts.  If you feel stale, this is an indicator that you are going to have to take in more carbohydrates after training.  The key is that you can’t do this all at once. Again, your body can only take in so much at one time, so you’ll have to do this in mini-meals at a time.
  • WHAT TO EAT:  Is this beginning to sound like a broken record or what?  You guessed it—CARBOHYDRATES and PROTEIN.  Now you don’t have to worry about stomach upset as you would with what you eat before or during, so you can maybe take in a slightly different mix of carbs and protein.  The key is still polysaccharides for the most part.  With the protein, it’s important that the amino acid GLUTAMINE is present.  This amino acid (a building block of protein) has been shown to aid recovery.  Even though you don’t have to be as careful regarding stomach upset afterwards (fiber, etc), I’m still not a big proponent of junk food.  What good do a bunch of sugar and high fatty protein sources really do? Complex carbs and lean protein still rule the day!


I hope this answers Jenn’s question and all of yours.  Don’t forget to email me if you have any questions.  I really like to know what people are looking for regarding information for their training.  Remember, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!