Unlock Your Highest Potential

Selected questions from Nov 07 - Feb 08

Q: Can you make my body look like Madonna.

A: My first thought to somebody telling me “I want to look like ___(insert celebrity name)_____is “Follow No One! More specifically… Sure, Madonna’s arms are super-toned, but she doesn’t bench her weight to get them. She never touches a dumbbell over 3 lbs. “I like definition – not bulk,” says her trainer Tracy Anderson, who shuns heavier weights while working out with the singer. Instead, she has her do “up to 100 reps on each side” of moves like arm raises, pulses, circles and shoulder presses. What the. F#(% !!! Madonna looks fantastic for someone her age. However, lets be honest–it’s not because she performs 100 reps with her pink dumbbells. She’s a celebrity and has everything handed to her on a silver platter: trainer, meals made for her, cosmetic amenities, nutritional coaching, etc. If every woman had her resources, I’m sure they would look pretty good too. (Note to Tracy Anderson or any other celebrity trainers: please pick up an anatomy and physiology book and understand the content)



Q: From what I observed over our 3 day camping trip, I see you don't like to combine fats and carbs in the same meal. In effect, you've ruined every snack food I ever ate, including the ones I thought were healthy. So with these guidelines, just what does Ms. Villegas eat when she's watching football? I overheard you say “just because a food is "healthy" doesn't mean it'll give you a body that the ladies want to snack on”. What exactly do you mean by that? Next time we go camping, you need to loosen up (indulge on chips and beer) and have some fun.

A: For your first question … I eat Beef Jerky and Mixed Nuts during the Super Bowl. As for the second question. Sitting in my boring old nutrition classes, my chubby RD professors often discussed the health benefits of low-fat cakes and cookies, antioxidant rich chocolate and red wine, cardio protective soy, fibrous vegetarian eating, and high carbohydrate diets. While some of these things may have some health benefits for certain populations (and some do not), not many of the foods or eating strategies these professors discussed were able to help them drop their 30 extra pounds of "winter weight." It seems like people often try to justify their cravings with this vague concept of "healthy." You know, "I like chocolate and look, it contains antioxidants so it must be healthy." Well, it also contains a whole bunch of sugar and fat. Hmm, is obesity healthy? Remember this, foods that make you look great are most often healthy, but foods that are healthy don't necessarily make you look great. So from now on, choose the foods that are healthy and make you look great. Start thinking of food as fuel. You don't stop at the gas station just because you're bored; you stop because your car needs more fuel.  As for the “Loosen up and have some fun!" comment, my response to you is this - don't worry about me. I certainly live a lot. You see, somewhere along the way people mistakenly associated food with "living" or "having fun." Personally, I believe that there are other things in life much more fun than drinking beer and eating hot wings.



Q: Is there any reason why I can't just eat one or two huge protein meals per day rather than eating five or six small ones? I mean, is there some sort of storage spot in the body for this protein?

A: Simply put, eating one or two huge protein meals per day is a bad idea for weight trainers. First of all, there's a limit to how much protein can be digested and absorbed in the body, although no one has conclusively shown how much protein this is. But even when someone comes out with a number, it won't be applicable to everyone. This is because different individuals will be able to tolerate different protein loads based on body size and habitual level of protein intake. In other words, if you normally consume a high protein diet, then you'll probably be able to digest more protein than someone who eats a low protein diet. Since we don't know what the upper limit is, and we do know that there's got to be an upper limit to how much protein can be digested in one sitting, we have to guess. Although I can't guess exactly how much this might be, I think it's safe to assume that if you're a 200-pound weightlifter trying to eat only two meals to get a protein intake of one gram per pound of bodyweight, you won't be fully digesting 100 grams of protein in one sitting. Even if this protein was fully absorbed, there's no storage depot in the body for the absorbed amino acids like there is for carbohydrate (the liver and skeletal muscle) and for fat (adipose tissue and skeletal muscle). Excess amino acids that aren't incorporated into functional and structural proteins are simply deaminated (their amino group is torn off). The amino group is excreted and the carbon skeleton can be oxidized for energy or converted to carbohydrate or fat for storage. Since this reaction can't move in the other direction (amino acids aren't readily formed from carbohydrates and fats), aminos aren't stored in the body. So, if there's a need for amino acids in the body and there aren't enough aminos floating around in the blood from a recent meal, the body will destroy the structural and functional proteins for their amino acd content. This may mean the destruction of some of your hard earned muscle. Because of these two factors, it's important to eat smaller protein meals throughout the day so you constantly have amino acids in the blood when the body needs them. Future research should give us clues as to approximately how much protein can be digested in a single sitting.



Q: How many Bud Light can I drink and still lose weight?

A: If i have to hear another lame question such as  these: "Can I drink Corona's to reward myself after working out?" , "How many shots can I take tonight after I win my first fight?", your  chances of being drop kicked in the face by my size 10 foot just dramatically increased.   A word of advice for those of you with injuries who still plans “get tanked” every weekend. A study has been published saying, “The development of alcoholic muscle disease, which affects both cardiac and skeletal muscle, leads to increased morbidity and mortality in patients who abuse alcohol. The disease pathology includes myocyte degeneration, loss of striations, and myofilament dissolution, which is consistent with alterations in structural and myofibrillar proteins.” Now, it has been too long since I took muscle physiology in my school days, but I’m guessing that getting hammered tonight isn’t going to help your knee to feel better.



Q. I drink a shake during training and immediately afterward that contains a hefty amount of sugar, along with whey protein and maltodextrin. Now that I'm trying to get leaner, I'm wondering if all that sugar is going to thwart my efforts in any way?

A. Although almost every self-styled nutritional guru may tell you otherwise, my belief is that rather than thwarting your efforts, it will actually help you out. Basically, all this talk about a "sugary protein drink" impairing fat loss is theoretical and not basic truth, as most people would have you believe. In fact, when balancing the costs vs. the benefits of workout and post workout drinks, I believe that the consumption of these drinks outweighs any potential negative effects.  There is one caveat. If such a drink does acutely decrease fat burning, it may take a bit longer to diet down. However, as a result of the better muscle preservation the drink will assist with, you will end up with more muscle at the same end body fat %. But let me clarify. This may not be an issue though, as I believe the drink will increase workout intensity thereby increasing calorie burning during and after the bout, increase muscle mass preservation, and increase the anabolic response to exercise. All these factors are clearly necessary in the creation of the ideal, lean body.



Q: Why dont you start doing video newsletters?

A: Why dont you start exercsing! (Excuse the sarcasm!). A lot of people are resorting to using video newsletters because they feel that they can interact with the reader better. To be honest, I’m type mine in an old t-shirt, my pajamas and with a serious case of “bed-head”. As much as I like all of you, my living room isn’t all that exciting to view. If I decided to go the video route, I’d have to shower, get all decked out, and hang some nice paintings – but I’d rather just spend that time working on content. Hopefully, you aren’t too disappointed. By the way, to me interacting better with my reader means eye contact in person or at the very least actually talking to them on the phone.