FUEL FOR THE FIRE:THE GREAT WESTERN HEALTHKILL

The National Football League, when it’s not covering up scandals and employing wife beaters and accomplices to murder, sometimes promotes some good to the world. Their PLAY 60 campaign encourages young ballers to get off their asses, put the Xbox down, and play outside at least 60 minutes a day. Beings we’re behind anything involving physical activity, we applaud the NFL for this program.


As long as they don’t play “Greg Hardy and Aldon Smith’s Wacky Adventures”

Unfortunately, in a new report released literally 23 minutes before I started typing this article, childhood obesity in America is still going up. Why? Well the simple scientific answer is the same as it’s always been: eat more calories than you’re burning off as energy. And as of 2012, 18% of kids 6-11 years old were obese. But there’s more to it.

Apparently China got jealous and decided the Eric Cartman look was a better fit for their youth as their own childhood obesity is on the rise as well. Back in the 80’s only 1% of Chinese kids were obese. As of 2014 it’s at around 13% (17% for boys, 9% for girls) and you probably could guess the traditional Chinese diet has shifted to more fat, low fiber thanks to a culture bomb known as the slow colonization including western food. And it’s not video games doing it, it’s what is consumed while doing nothing to burn the sugar off.

Now I know what you’re saying (I’ve bugged your house and wiretapped your phone). You’re probably saying “But Dru, don’t you want a fatter, plumper America so you can have more clients?”

As a fitness professional we love clients but we also know a healthy country is a happier, smarter country for the most part. And right now that is simply not happening. Michelle Obama did implement the “Let’s Move” campaign a bit ago, but that worked as well as Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign in the 80’s. It was put out there, people thought it was a great slogan as they were doing lines of coke off Samantha Fox’s ass at the local discotech. And the same goes for the “Let’s Move” push. America is now pushing around 6 million kids with not just obesity but SEVERE obesity. The kind that leads to the early development of kid diabetes, lil’ hypertension and My First Asthma. Additionally these statistics are where? You guessed it, mostly in the poorer cities and those with on the lower class side of things.

If you’re in the fitness industry like us, you know that the large bulk of people who come to us for help lack one thing: how to implement a nutrition plan. The sad fact that we’re in an age of any information you need right at your fingertips, but it’s primarily being used to do Google searches on things other than “proper diet” or “nutrition”. And it’s a fact that obese children generally have obese parents as well. The lack of information and/or the implementation of the information is all to often promoted more in one direction while unimportant things or bad information is shoveled towards the lower economic bracket.


BUT IT HAS CALCIUM! IT SAYS RIGHT THERE MAN!!!

Maybe it’s on us, in the fitness industry, to do more to reach kids. Many that are considered in the fitness industry spend so much time promoting to grow a business we forget that the information we have isn’t inclusive and should be used to help EVERYONE if we’re able to spread it around. Since it seems mass marketing and bad information (like boxed juice has some sort of nutritional content which is FUCKING WRONG) keeps getting pushed to kids like heroin to a Seattle musician. Much like when a rockstar has the microphone to spread a message to fight the establishment, this is where us as fitness industry professionals can get our punk rock on and get the word out as much as possible, industry of showing how awesome we look with our shirt off in front of a mirror on social media all the time. If the NFL is making a better effort than us, it’s time for us to step up.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: FLEX IN EFFECT

The world of fad diets. It’s out there. Continually trying to tell you their way is the right way. Don’t eat carbs. Don’t eat fats. Eat a lot of protein. Don’t eat too much protein. Makes me wanna stab my eye with a carrot sometimes. And that’s saying a lot because I’d rather eat a carrot.

So in hopes to keep the metal masses a bit on the up ‘n’ up, we figure that it’s best to give you the insight to making your own choices depending on your fitness goals. It seems forever and ever in the fitness world you would get scoffed at if you didn’t follow a bodybuilding diet that’s stayed the same for 340 years. Now we’re slowly learning a lot of people who go to the gym shockingly AREN’T bodybuilders (mind blowing) and might wish to occasionally eat a whole cake because WHY THE HELL NOT? But is it possible eat a whole cake and still look good naked/on the beach/at your family reunion/guest starring on The Big Bang Theory? I don’t know, because I haven’t eaten a whole cake.

Raise your hand if you have ever eaten a whole cake? Ok, just checking.


Pictured: The NPC competition “secret weapon”.

For some people, following a Flexible Diet allows them to be much less strict with what they eat while staying in pretty damn good shape. So how does flexible dieting work?

Kind of simple. It’s the basic idea of tracking “macros” to reach a body composition goal. So how Macros work are like such:

1 G of Protein = 4 calories
1 G of Carbs = 4 calories
1 G of Fat = 9 calories

Pretty standard nutrition knowledge. It follows the concept that there are no good or bad foods, just macro ratios. But how does this equate to fitness goals?


Billie-Jean Nye is a macros machine.

“I’ve always had the mindset that to achieve my fitness goals that I had to eat strictly clean. That sugar and carbs were the devil and tracking my food seemed tedious.” says Billie-Jean Nye, who is a Canadian-based Bikini Competitor, that practices Flexible Dieting. ” I felt like I could never follow IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) because of these reasons. When really I was just scared to switch from what I knew… what was comfortable. I already weigh out of food all the time anyways, so what’s adding the step to enter it into a program, right?”

Before she started applying it to her training, she followed pretty typical competitor programs, without second guessing what she was putting into her body. And was hesitant to give the Flexible Diet a try.

“When I decided to switch to IIFYM/Flexible dieting I was skeptical at first,” she continues. “After seeing post after post of people eating pop tarts and ice cream I was pretty sure this was never going to work for me. But I had no idea what it meant to track my food and know exactly what was in it. IIFYM isn’t just about eating those types of food. But it does leave you the flexibility to fit those in when you can and when you need them!”

Which is the point of Flexible Dieting. To not mentally beat yourself up for having a treat while you occasionally indulge in fun or treat foods. And for her second bikini competition she gave it a try, after seeing some of her fellow competitors have success with it. But at first it brought the worry that allowing room to add in Oh-look-a-brownie type snacks would set her back many steps from all the hard work she achieved through the discipline. Later that worry dissipated, much to her delight.

For Vegan Fitness Guru Blair Wyatt, she was able to find almost a “food sanctuary” in Flexible Dieting, after dealing with the struggles of an eating disorder.


The before and after of Vegan Fitness athlete Blair Wyatt. 

“I have been practicing Flexible Dieting for almost three years now, and coming from previous struggles with binge eating and orthorexia, I have never felt more at peace with foods of all kinds, especially in prepping for shows!” says Blair. “Being vegan, Flexible Dieting made it a BREEZE to ensure that I was meeting my daily macronutrient intake leading up to my most recent show. Honestly, hitting fiber is never a concern for me anymore, and my intake of fruits, veggies, and whole food sources has increased dramatically since making the lifestyle change.”

For both competitors, removing the added stress of eating everything exactly as planned on a daily basis has helped both of them stay relaxed and focus on the fun part of competition, which is of course the gym.

“I’ve taken the term “cheat meal” out of my vocabulary and wow does it feel good!” exclaims Billie-Jean. “I no longer have to deal with the guilty feelings I would get after my cheat meal …. or often my cheat day. Now I eat for my goals and if I want something like chocolate or fries… well, I make it FIT! IIFYM has really helped me reclaim a positive connection with my food.”

And for plant based competitors that think following the tired and true bodybuilding formula of diet is difficult, Blair reassures that Flexible Dieting makes that the same concerns anyone has about going vegan and being an athlete are null and void.

“There are so many amazing resources and new foods out there for vegans, I was able to stay low carb, hit my protein, and come into my show feeling and looking better than I had ever imagined. Brands like Beyond Meat and Gardein have fantastic meat alternatives that offer a great deal of protein for minimal carbs, low fats, and they also include fiber and other vitamins, unlike the animal products I previously consumed.”


Billie-Jean proves discipline applied to the Flex Diet isn’t a non-stop “cake” walk. 

While there are some doubters in the public eye saying that flexible dieting doesn’t work due to it’s lack of restrictions, an optimist would quickly point out that any healthy diet, in order to work, requires discipline to keep it on track. And also one diet plan might work well for one person and not the other. This goes in the fitness world just the same. Where some competitors stick with the traditional bodybuilder diet leading all the way up to stage day, competitors like Billie-Jean have found what works best for her and her goals.

“I enjoy making whatever I want and just making it fit within my numbers.” Nye states. “It has given me a better understanding of food and what is in it. I now know exactly what I am putting into my body and I am making sure to get the proper nutrients I require. I am now 5 months post comp and only about 4 lbs up from my stage weight. I have energy and strength that continue to grow while I still remain fairly lean.”

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: AMINO IN CHAINS

The Branched Chain Amino Acid playing field is full of pretenders and very few contenders. 


Ch-ch-ch-changes….

Sometimes I wonder if we should just relabel the fitness industry as the “Hype Industry”. It seems as soon as a good product is released you have 15 articles coming out about how it’s debunked, unnecessary and a waste of time. A good example is the Elevation Mask topic. Trust me, as a user I’ll get to that some other time but just like those who see something awkward and are quick to dismiss it there are plenty of other products on the market that are a part of an ongoing debate.

Branched Chain Amino Acids are no different.

So what are they? Well to get you ramped up to the argument if you’re new to it, BCAA’s as they are referred to, are a threesome of essential amino acids, a “menage a trois” of lathered up building blocks, wrestling naked in a vat of lube, climaxing for your muscles. Maybe. Possibly. Gross.


It might look something like this, just not as horrific.

But they’re essential, meaning in order to get your gains Bro, you need to make sure you’re getting these. The three suspects, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, met in a club, took some MDMA and went home and have been in an essential union ever since, but they’re doing it for you and your swole. Hilarious to think about it like that, isn’t it?


Pictured: Something the bible probably doesn’t condone as a workout.

Leucine, who provides the money shots in the scenes, directly stimulates protein synthesis. Isoleucine, who would be the dominant number two, improves glucose metabolism. Valine is a distant third in the scheme of things and while essential, kind of just lays there and takes it. And if you don’t have a diet or a food plan that is written by a complete schmuck, you should be able to get plenty of all these through the proper amount of protein. This is the first argument as to why they are overrated: if you eat right, you get enough as is.

So why buy them? Because just like anything else you buy, you’re sold these through FLASHY PICTURES and HOT BABES and BUFF DUDES and EXPLODING GRAPHICS AND FONTS with things like “Improved immune function” and “reduced fatigue” or “increased levels of post-exercise muscle growth and SWOLE!”. Coming up with stuff like this is really simple.


DRINK THIS AND YOU WILL BECOME A FUCKING GREEK GOD!!!

And a lot of the studies out there on people where it claims taking extra BCAA’s are necessary are generally skewed results, where test subjects are people who are ALREADY PROTEIN DEFICIENT. I know huh? But that’s marketing for you. The other reason why it’s not needed, as stated earlier is, you can get it from whole foods already.

So when SHOULD you be using this stuff? Ever heard of fasted training? You have now Bucko! But if you hate hyperlinks, here’s the skinny….consumed food breaks down into molecules that cells use, and are released into your blood. Insulin is also released and it’s job is to push these little guys into cells. If you eat correctly insulin levels remain up and erect like Peter North for a couple of hours. This matters because insulin blocks the breakdown of fat cells in the body. When you’re body enters a fasted state when it’s done taking all the nutrient from your food you’ve chomped and insulin levels go below normal levels. When you exercise in that state, you’re in the state of accelerated fat loss. And lifting shit in this state has been shown to be pretty effective.

But when you do this, muscle breakdown is increased also, and that just fucks up your gains over time. No good. This is where drinking BCAA’s during a workout is the most effective.

So now that you know there are some benefits to taking BCAA’s during a workout, you should know that very very few have the correct balance in the mix. Considering Valine doesn’t do much of anything, you really only need to take Leucine more than anything, since it’s the most important. But unless you wanna drink something that tastes like Highway 99 at 3am down an alley, you opt for a BCAA mix which usually has some kind of Stevia or Blue 56 flavor, which may or may not be the taste of real Windex.

So that’s the breakdown of why you may or may not need them. So do we take them? We do generally since we workout in a semi-fasted state a few hours from our last meal after work. We’ve noticed a difference after taking two different products. And remember we only recommend something touted as Vegan friendly because fuck any product that harms our animal friends. You know how we roll.

The first is produced by Kaged Muscle, which is the brain child of bodybuilder and trainer Kris Gethin. Nice guy, very into his products and if you go to the site, it has a lot of good information and science on his products. And he happens to make a vegan friendly BCAA. Though while unflavored giving it the taste of the chalk or brass, I can’t tell, the product itself is everything it claims to be. A clean mixing powder that dissolved instantly in water, and is free the evil DUCK FEATHERS AND HUMAN HAIR which most every BCAA is made out of. It’s derived from sunflowers and has a 100% vegan fermentation process. We did a one jar cycle of it which lasted two months. Good results and a good product. Our only wish is that even though it’s primarily a company that only makes this one product that is animal free, it’d be cool to see them release a Plant Protein to accompany it. While we like companies branching out, no pun intended, we do prefer to support companies that minimize it’s harm to them, if not 100%.

Enter the fine folks at Clean Machine. Started by Geoff Palmer, the idea was to create products for the folks that lift heavy that do so without hurting critters. We’re into it. So we opted to give the BCAA mix a go. Also devoid of DUCK FEATHER AND HUMAN HAIR, Clean Machine goes the route of fermented corn BCAA’s. It’s zero everything else which means no carbs, sugar, artificial this or that when it comes to the usual suspects. The one perk we do dig about this the Coconut Water powder that gives it natural electrolytes. So you get all your hydration WHILE you’re getting the BCAA’s needed during an intense workout. Geoff also explains another important factor in his process.

“Our line of products contains only natural ingredients, they use synthetic ingredients.” Geoff proclaims. “Some companies may call Synthetics “vegan”, but the source of the raw materials they start from before the chemical synthesis process could be derived from animal products. We do not use synthetic ingredients. All of our fermentation ingredients are from plant sources. That is why we can be 3rd Party Certified Vegan, while most other companies are not.”
And with 25 plus years in the natural products industry we’re going to bet a shiny nickel that Mr. Palmer and the Clean Machine crew have done everything possible to make their products as legit as possible.

So there is about the most comprehensive rundown of the BCAA topic as we care to get into. We have some metal to listen to now. Remember as with any product, ignore the hype, do your googling and find out the best resources of information before throwing all your money into the fitness industry marketing machine.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: RAISING THE BAR

The war for the best protein bar is a war that has raged for centuries it seems (read that, years) and many sacrifices have been made (read that, amounts of flavor or nutrition) in order to get the best rectangle slab of muscle building technology on the go. There are the overdosed in sugar (Cliff Builders) and there are the bland (although not plant-based, the original power bar is straight blasphemous when it comes to being interesting). So when we get a chance to shove a new one in our pie-holes, we jump like a Pointer Sister towards it. For your love.

With our recent trip to the Portland Vegfest, which was well documented of course, we had the chance to put three to the ultimate test. What you are about to read is a dramatization. The people involved are actors, and only playing real people.

HEALTH WARRIOR CHIA PROTEIN

Makers of the original Chia Bar, Health Warrior of course is famous for slaying the mighty Whey Protein Dragon of Chestershire Hills, or so we’ve been told. After this imaginary scenario, we forward to modern day where Chia Bars have been used by endurance athletes the world over due to the magic of the Chia Seed and it’s amazing health bennies (which is not like a friend with bennies, you should know the difference). So now that Health Warrior has thrown their hat into the Protein Bar rap game, other sucka MC’s should take notice. All the stuff you love about the original Chia Bar is still inside, but add in 10 quality grams of Pea Protein and you’ve been hit in the mouth with a delicious wild pitch. No cholesterol, low sodium and only carbs intended for quick glycogen replacement, and you have a real food friend waiting to be taken and ravaged. Soy Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and more Vegan than Ellen ever was. Our opinion is Health Warrior scores big on their first stab at a protein bar. And a variety of tasty options, in which we raise the roof for the Peanut Butter and CACAO! POW! Well done.

MANITOBA HARVEST HEMP HEART BAR

From the makers of some of the cleanest protein this side of the Solar System, Hemp Heart Bar is the alpha and the omega, packing not only 10 grams of super insane hemp protein (which is the best ever yo!) but 10 grams of omega 3 & 6. Who else does that? CRAZY PEOPLE THAT’S WHO. The fat content is of the healthy kind, and the carb count is low making it ideal for a quick snack OR post weight room. Like any vegan bar, you’re going to have a pretty low sodium count and minimal ingredients so you don’t have to worry about your body freaking out on your like Christain Bale during a retake. And unless you’ve been living in a box, living in a cardboard box, you know the health benefits of hemp protein are unchallenged. The reigning king of hemp protein strikes again. High kick to the taste buds and you’re on the mat like someone named Ronda.

22 DAYS NUTRITION PROTEIN BAR

If you could put Deathcore into a bar, this would be it. Dense and thick, this is a high calorite meal replacement intended for those looking to stack some calories. As to where our other two bars reviewed were around 200 calories, 22 Days says “just bring it!” and gives you 290 calories of plant based power. We’re talking 10 total ingredients to make this here bar and ZERO sodium. That’s right. None. And 20 grams of high quality protein blended with dates agave syrup and other dense superfoods. You eat this and you’ll be ready to break into government labs and free ALL THE ANIMALS. Or bench press a cow. Or do long division. This works great as a travel bar when you need solid nutrition to keep those biceps all jacked up for the ladies or other reasons not related to ego feeding. The bar is awesome and the PB Chocolate Nirvana ain’t no negative creep, I mean it doesn’t taste like Teen Spirit…oh Nevermind. Find the bar and buy the bar!

WINNER: YOU

Each bar has a delicious taste, all it’s own. And the nutritional profile is awesome and can suit everyone and every need on any given day. So we’d like to thank the fine folks from the Vegfest for hooking us up and you should find all the bars and try them all. Because they’re clean, tasty and ready to rebuild you to make you faster, stronger, better, more attractive to the opposite sex.

https://www.22daysnutrition.com/
http://manitobaharvest.com/
http://www.healthwarrior.com/

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: RUN TO THE HILLS

One thing you might not know about the leader of the Metal Made Fitness page is he had a shady past, much like the loner in all those bad horror films like Disturbing Behavior and The Blob (KEVIN DILLION FOR THE WIN) where he is called upon to save the day, mostly because the whole police force of the town and the popular high school quarterback have no idea what they’re doing. But moving along, in our past, or my past, depending on first to third person perspective, we ran marathons.


Hey it burns more calories than running for POTUS.

“The hell you did! I read you were a male stripper you liar!” you might be saying now. But it’s true. We ran quite a few marathons. From the Vancouver B.C. BMO to the Victoria B.C. Marathon to various smaller half and full races, we did well and hit all of our goals in the process. From a sub 4-hour full to a 90 minute half race, we broke the idea that a muscular compact guy like Dru (aka me) could do so well in a sport that is mostly dominated by slender and quick folks. I guess you could just call me the “Steve Jobs of compact muscular guys trying to run marathons” and boy, does that sound egotistical.

Aside from training our ass off, properly understanding nutrition on race day and how to apply it was as vital as metal itself. So why bring this up? Well being that we scale mountains and difficult trails constantly now, knowing what to bring on a mountain is super important. And really, climbing mountains is just as much as an endurance based effort as running a race, or anything from the realm of endurance sports.

So what to eat? And why?

RACE DAY FUEL

Well first lets start with the elephant in the room, hydration. Applying this to running a race, you’d be surprised how many runners actually OVER hydrate or UNDER hydrate, which is known as hyponatremia (low blood sodium), which works differently with the same results. Excess water consumption causes what is known as dilutional hyponatremia, or an overly diluted level of sodium and electrolytes in the blood. Over-hydrating can be just as bad as under-hydrating in regards to increased potential for muscular cramping, but has the added disadvantages of stomach cramping , and needing to piss a lot. And sometimes, excess hydration can lead to severe physiological circumstances, including death. Have you ever died on a trail or during a race due to this? I hope not. Mainly because I’d have to wonder how you’re reading this.


The only logical explanation.

Drinking around between 500-750 milliliters/ hr (about 17-25 fluid ounces/hr) in MOST situations is ideal. This of course, is not taking into account if you’re climbing a mountain. But I’ll address elevation in a moment. But learning the hydration balance is just as important as learning the solid food balance as well.

In addition to this bit of info, electrolytes are tied into the hydration bit due to how they are normally delivered into the system of the athlete or “vessel” for lack of a less hilarious word. And no, Brawndo isn’t what I’m talking about, we’re talking about the science of it. Electrolytes produce the electrical impulses in the body and they’re mucho importante to a number of biochemical processeses including blood chemistry and the function of muscles, nerves and the heart. Think of them as the background app that makes your computer processor talk to your programs. With zero Windows updates.

And you lose them while sweating like you lost that one girl in high school you still think of. But unlike Lindsay, you can get them back. So if you’re getting the hang of water intake while being active, adding in vital electrolytes will help the cause. Now while you don’t want EXCESS sodium during exercise you do need to make sure your sodium chloride levels are balanced at all times. Sure, you may eat a ton of sodium in your diet (usually more than you need, which we can explain here) but even after running 13 miles, you need to get those back.


Sorry bro. She ain’t coming back. At least you still have Electrolytes right?

What to do? Well don’t constantly chug Gatorade while running, as you should stick to clear water for the most part. But taking an electrolyte tab or pill can help during and after. We do it, and we’re pretty spot on with our game day nutrition.

During a marathon we would often have our fluid belt full of Skratch Labs drink, and just drink the water at the drink stations. This way we would get the electrolytes while running when needed but 75% of the time, stick to the water so we wouldn’t be overdoing it. So for every 2 shots of water, we’d take a few sips of our own hydration mix. It worked perfectly and made sure we wouldn’t go overboard in either direction during performance. Learning more about this requires you to check out this article we think sums it up nicely.

So as far as consuming something, here are the basics. During exercise your body uses two primary fuel sources. Fats and carbs. Fat is normally always available since your body is always producing it, but it’s broken down into usable energy slowly, making it an ineffective fuel source when you’re running at your steady marathon pace. So that’s why you need carbs as your first primary fuel source. The faster you go, the more your body looks to carbs for a source of gas. But like nuts in the cheeks of a squirrel or pornstar, you can only store so much glycogen (carbs) in your muscles, even after loading up before hand. Muscles can store around 90 minutes of glycogen when running at a half marathon pace, 2 hours worth for a full. So unless you’re Usain Bolt level elite, you’ll probably run out long before you finish. Sorry about your damn luck son!

What are some killer things to eat? While it could be hard to run 26.2 miles with a small kitchen on your back, you can stuff a few small items into a hydration belt. How? Well a lot of them have small pouches. And the two we’re going to say you should stuff in there are dates and dried cherries. Both are excellent sources of quick carbs and since your systems are running at a bare minimum, you can’t have foods that will take forever to break down. Eat light and smart so your body doesn’t spend excessive energy breaking the goods down.

So what about energy gels? Well they’re thought to be the Bernie Sanders of glycogen replacement during a race or activity. But much like the myth of a political savior in a broken system, they don’t provide a simple one-to-one replacement because the glycogen we consume from gels doesn’t always fastlane it’s way into the working muscles.


Just like Fastlane worked it’s way off TV. Ooohhh burn!

Why use them then? Since the brain “wakes up” because our brain only runs on the glucose stored in the blood. And the muscles start to absorb more blood glucose, the brain gets less and starts to get hazy (ever notice that during a run?). Gels work for immediate “MUCH PEP, WOW” but it’s not gonna save your legs necessarily from hitting a wall. So learning about WHEN to consume them while racing is important, but we cannot avoid one simple fact:

HAVING AN AWESOME DIET DURING TRAINING CAMP AND BEFORE RACE DAY IS YOUR BEST WEAPON. ALWAYS.

For the hikers reading this, some of the hydration tips do apply but what about when you start going “up”?

OVER THE MOUNTAIN

Well to know what to eat while hiking to not explode, vomit, or fall over into a pile of bear scat, is just as important as knowing how the body functions while trying to go up the side of a big ass mountain.


Everest mountaineers take anyone up to the summit nowadays.

So the higher up you go, the less oxygen you get. Your heart will race, your brain will get foggy and more your less you start to break down slowly, like dying the same slow death from listening to Children of Bodom (yeah, I said it, fuck that band). If you haven’t trained HIIT style or pushed your body leading up to a climb heading towards 7,000 feet and further, you’ll probably have no idea what is happening to you. Less oxygen to the body means less to the blood means less to the brain. Rapid breathing means loss of moisture which means dehydration. Man, climbing mountains is suppose to be fun right? Well yeah of course, but human beings aren’t meant to be that high up for that long. Chipmunks do better than we do.

So short of pulling a Seth Brundle and becoming “Half chipmunk”, there are basic nutritional needs while going up the side of these beloved death traps. In normal temperatures, our bodies strain at high altitudes. Throw in climbing and cold, and it makes it even harder. So your body needs more energy. Bring on the carbs because your heart needs them to send blood around your body, while your muscles need it to contract and flex and do their job. If you’re kicking some scree up, 60-100 grams of carbs an hour is suggested. Metabolism is increased at high altitude so your body can burn through carbs faster than government spending on military. Also, while at high altitude, you’re gonna pee more. So it’s more important than ever to make sure you retain electrolytes. Often mountaineers will keep an electrolyte drink next to their sleeping bags to make sure they keep their potassium and sodium. Sure this might increase Mount Everest bed wetting but if it helps save your life, who cares if the rest of the group laughs at you. I’m sure Edmund Hillary wet his bed during his ascent [citation needed].

More than anything, going up means a lot of the time that you’re gonna get cold, and when it’s cold, our bodies don’t alert us to drink like they do when it’s hot. However, studies have shown that we do indeed get dehydrated when it’s cold despite our core body temperature not rising. The combination of losing moisture through rapid breathing, the dry air, high altitude, and burning up of carbs dehydrates you and increases the need to fuel. The higher you go, the more you need to drink, and the more carbs you’ll need to eat. Also keep in mind that if you aren’t consuming the right snacks and meals while going up, your body will waste away it’s muscle. A few researches have been done showing that without glycogen in the muscles, your body will forgo body fat as a fuel source and go straight for the muscle at higher altitudes.


This is more of a warning than it is a menu.

Above all else, if you’re going to be spending more than a day climbing and going up, climatizing is more important than anything. Allowing time for your body to adjust will have to happen. Even during a day hike, if you notice your heart rate going crazy and breathing getting shallow, take a break, slow your breathing down, drink and nibble on something and give yourself a minute. You’re not running a marathon to summit so if you or your group needs a minute to fuel up and calm the fuck down, do it. Because the main goal of climbing is to be able to avoid death, freezing to death, dying, starving, getting limbs hacked off due to frostbite, avoiding avalanches and not to fall off the summit falling to a horrible demise.

HAPPY CLIMBING!

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: GREEN AGAINST THE MACHINE

Often health crazes come out and seem to have some kind of validity to them. Eat kale. Sure, I get that. Kale is awesome. Don’t eat sugar. Makes sense right? But then what of the micro-nutrient ground up to a fine power in which you could snort or mainline? We’re talking about Powdered Greens. Those little packets you see overpriced at Whole Foods (everything is overpriced at Whole Foods by the way) which vacationing business men throw into their bag to negate any need for eating a salad during the week. But are they hype or beneficial?

Well, you know us, we’ll shove anything into our pie hole if it’s green. And yes, we’ve been a promoter of powdered greens for quite some time now. But we also have a game plan as to the why.


(…make a plan C just in case..)

First off, powdered greens are not there as means to replace your multi-vitamin. While they can certainly give you some vitamins, you should be getting yours through as much consumption of fresh fruits and veggies as humanly possible. Almost to the point where you’re shitting a few times a day. And because you badass fitness type require an increased dose of things like zinc, taking a multi is a good idea.

But, much like normal consumption of veggies, powdered greens can help restore your body’s pH balance, which is highly needed to be level and legit. The basics of that go as such: Grains, Dairy and Meats are acidic forming foods while green veggies are alkaline forming. If you don’t have a balanced diet, your pH balance goes out of whack and your whole body can not be performing at it’s best. This is where taking powdered greens can help. Since they are alkaline forming they can help this process out when you’re unable to get to a salad, or an emergency salad they keep in glass cases (we wish). So taking powered greens can be a plus in this department.

But more than this, they should NEVER replace your consistent consumption of actual food, namely veggies. That would be stupid. We would however recommend taking them in your morning smoothie as a great boost to start your day. While they should never be your main source of nutrients, the added benefits certainly can’t hurt either.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ORAC

Have you ever been on a date and said “let’s stop by Whole Foods and check out foods that are high in ORAC!” and your date said “you are so not getting laid tonight?”

Yeah, well good. That wasn’t a smooth move at all. However, if you fancy yourself to be a smart person of sorts, or average smart, when it comes to what you eat, knowing what ORAC is can be useful.

So let’s say you are a person that constantly tries to impress people at parties or girls at the bar with your ORAC knowledge. Playing that whole “wow! these berries have an 4,009 ORAC value” really doesn’t mean a lot to the average Joe. Much like the age of a cougar, it’s just a number. OR IS IT?


Well, I guess it’s really an Aaliyah album…go figure.

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a lab test that quantifies the total antioxidant capacity of food by placing a sample of the food in a test tube along with molecules that generate free radical activity and certain other molecules that are vulnerable to oxidation. After a bit, they measure how well the sample protected the weak molecules from oxidation of the free radicals. The less damage, the higher the antioxidant capacity.

Too complex for you? Are you asking me “what the fuck is an antioxidant?” Well, aside from it being an excellent Soilent Green song, it’s a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Are you now asking, “what the fuck is oxidation of molecules?” Well that my friends is a chemical reaction involving the loss of electrons and/or the increase in oxidation state. And that can produce free radicals.

I already know where this is going. “What the fuck are free radicals, MAN???” well you might think they are hippies looking to give peace a chance but that isn’t true. Radicals are already free, more free than you and me actually (less government oversight and less taxes probably.) Normally the body can handle some of the free radicals, but if antioxidants aren’t available, cell damage can occur. Got it? And since vitamins C and E are important to antioxidant production eating plenty of foods that are high in ORAC are important. This is why people have been flipping out and smothering themselevs in blueberries in public places once finding this information out. It’s quite exciting really.

So now back to what we were going to bring up in the first place. Since we know what ORAC is and why it is important, this isn’t the time to go bragging to your friend you read an article on it and think you’re a college professor on the subject (like what people do with the whole Anti-Vaccination argument). what is important is knowing the foods that are high in ORAC and eating enough of them to be a virtual free-radical fighting machine.


WRONG KIND OF CLOVE YOU GOTH!

Cloves, not blueberies, are the top edible substance for kicking free radicals to the curb. You can either put them into a coffee grinder or get clove oil. Also, ground cinnamon is super high in ORAC as well, and who doesn’t love cinnamon? (answer? communists!) Along with cinnamon, tumeric is also up there (which is also a great anti-flammoratory).

To be fair, the first real edible food that is high in ORAC is the hard-to-pronounce Acai Berry (mouth open wide and go AAHHH-SEEE-AH like a tribesman and everyone will laugh and you). And then everything from Curry powder, to baking chocolate to parsley to ginger is up on the list. A lot of fresh herbs and ground up spices top the list honestly. Black pepper, Thyme, Mustard Seed, Safe, Cumin (hehe) and such lead that list. It isn’t until we get towards Goji berries, Pecans and dark chocolate do we have foods that would work as on-the-go snacks.

None the less, getting a lot of foods with a high ORAC value, while not important to the possibility of getting laid on your next date, is important in the healthy eating habits of the anti-aging crowd. Our next article we will be discussing something tied into this, but for now, review this handy dandy chart and make sure you consume plenty of these foods. This way, age can really be just a number.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: TAKE CHAIN’D OUT AND AVOID CANNIBALISM

The problem with doing product reviews is you have a million products out there that roughly do the same thing you could say the same things about. So when we decided to write a review of Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA) we have to go with what we know. And being all plant based and shit, welp, there are only a few quote-unquote vegan approved ones we can try.

Now this might freak you out, especially if you didn’t read our article on BCAA’s and their importance a bit ago, but a large majority of BCAA’s are comprised of two main ingredients: human hair and duck feathers.

Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re not careful or give two halves of an ass about what you ingest, you’re not only eating the feathers of a duck, but you’re half a cannibal. Good job. Because that’s pretty gross.


Hey look! It’s a buffet!

But if you’re like us and you enjoy eating as legit as possible, you try and go for things that aren’t made from your dad’s hairbrush leftovers. This is why we take pride in the few BCAA’s we can consume. One of which is Chain’d Out from ALR Industries. Granted that sounds more like a company that makes motherboards than fitness supps, but we stand by their Chain’d Out product. Why? Glad you asked!

For starters it avoid the atypical conversion to blood sugar (gluconeogensis!). By avoiding the normal of conversion of BCAA’s to glucose your body gets around 50% more of the BCAA’s than that other brand, which you just said in your mind with that condescending tone of voice you hear in commercials, usually by some Mom pitching you Sunny Delight.

Past that, it’s vegan friendly so it’s not made from your Aunt Flow’s wig or Daffy’s feathers. But it has the industry standard 2:1 ratio of BCAA’s needed to help pack on muscle mass or retain the muscle you already have. Plus with something called a “PerformActiv Matrix Blend” we’re certain you can move in Neo-esq bullet time and defeat any Agents that show up at your gym, or possibly just utilize the various herbs and such in this Matrix to have a boost of energy while kicking ass.

Taste wise, it’s sweet. Like sweeter than your girlfriends lips sweet, assuming she’s not a smoker of course. So we would recommend using a bit more water than listed to water it down just a slight bit. But after we went through a whole jar, we’re sold on this product. We’d recommend it to any gymrat looking to stay jacked and avoid eating humans. And ducks. Gross.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: BETWEEN THE BURIED AND PEA

Today we revisit the number one thing that has the world divided. No it’s not religion. It’s which is the best form of protein out there. Now before you get all “linky” and “posty” about “well I’ve read an article from this site that sponsors the dairy industry that says whey is the best and RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!”, just don’t even open your mouth. We don’t promote the use of animal products here. If you want to throw down the incredibly hard-to-digest whey protein and sit on the toilet constipated from the haunting ghost of the cows you helped kill, go right ahead. We won’t hate on you. We just don’t promote those products here because we don’t have to. Because it’s our blog and ‘Murica.

But here is how we’re going to chime in and give a product that anyone can drink, eat or chug. Peas. Yes, peas. Those little green things you use to push to the side of your plate as a kid and by not eating them your mom wouldn’t allow you to stay up late and watch Magnum PI or Night Court. Well, you’re all grown up now and looking for the best way to make your muscles into metal. That’s where these little spheres or protein goodness can come into play.

First, we’ll need to put duct tape on the mouths of detractors. We’ll do that through the simple means of allergens, in which milk and soy being two of the biggest. Pea is neither soy or milk. So you have a lot to nod your head about. It’s simple science. A pea is not cows milk or soy. It took us weeks of science to figure that one out.

Second, Pea Protein has more Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) than you can shake a selfie stick at. To be exact, or close to it, around 5 grams of the BCAA goodness per serving. That’s pretty much the same as whey. If you weren’t sure, BCAA’s basically are what rebuild your muscles into metal post workout.


Or just use rubber cement, we don’t care man….

Next, because it’s not from a cow, or soy (again, we’re pretty proud we figured out this one) it can be digested pretty easy. This is due to the fact a pea, is a plant. And plants are easy to digest. Duh. Peas also have zero gluten in them. Our science labs at Metal Made are just owning the day. Clearly. The guys in the lab coats wanted to add it’s also lactose-free. Because they like to be thorough.

Here is one of the biggest reasons to partake in the Pea Protein revolution, whether you’re a meat eater or a vegan that is into keeping their body fat low or training for a competition: Pea Protein is the lowest in carbs out of all the plant based proteins. Each scoop per 20 grams has around 2 total grams of carbs. So if you’re a label reader, we’ve just helped you out. We’re like Billy Zane in that aspect.

So if you find yourself saying “buy I like the taste of whey” remember that you’re actually tasting the additives and flavoring. Just like any other protein. What we CAN vouch for is that for a straight non-blended protein, Pea Protein is an ass kicker. It shakes up smooth and rarely leaves any large clumps. But the best reason is, if you don’t have to eat something that from an animal, why would you? Leave the cows alone, make your digestive system happy and make the switch.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE: THE GREATEST CONDIMENT KNOWN TO MAN

Our first trip to Meet at Main in Vancouver BC we were expecting to find your typical vegan burger type joint, with micro brews at the bar area and standard fare homemade field roast inspired burgers. This isn’t a bad thing, as you know you’ll be getting a down to earth vibe from start to finish. And we could give you a few paragraphs about the general layout of the place but we’re going to get right into the meat of the review. we ordered the Portabella Mushroom Burger with a side of fries as suggested by our pal Zoe from The Vegan Project.

The fries came with a homemade Chipolte Mayo dipping sauce.

The first taste of this sauce sent our eyes into the back of our heads with tracers grabbing a hold of our vision. Blurred and dazed, we could only make out what we believed to be a native American man standing on a hilltop, beckoning us towards him, with a giant fan made of fire and dragons. We crawled through the sand, hearing drums and chanting in the distance, but it was filling our heart with the boom. The thick stomp of the sound was a chain around our necks as we could only dip another french fry into the sauce. This was, our only hope at this point. To let the hallucinations own our existence and drag us through this forgotten land. Sweating under the desert sun, in which water should be our sweet savior, we only dipped more potato into this godly sauce.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, we arrived at the camp, with the tribe slathered in Chipolte mayonnaise dancing in a circle. Mushrooms growing at our feet and a bright eyes lion with serpents for hair standing on it’s hind legs. They placed a crowd on our heads and we were now in the tribe. Above us, galaxies that you could not see with the naked eye appeared and were pulling us into the stratosphere. We would have gone, but alas, the high was over and we were our of this sauce.

Meet At Main’s Chipolte Mayo is the greatest condiment ever known by our species.

The rest of the meal was excellent and the staff was very friendly. Two thumbs up.

Visit Meet At Main during your next visit to Vancouver BC.