Unlock Your Highest Potential

Selected questions from March 08 - Current

Q. Since the stress hormone cortisol is responsible for so many catabolic actions in the body, would something like marijuana that reduces stress help counteract it?

A. Ready for another excuse to smoke pot? This kind of "narrow" thinking and tunnel vision is just what gets people into trouble. "Uh, I swear officer, it's for recovery purposes only . . ." Why do people always try to turn a negative behavior into something seemingly positive? Is it to justify the behavior? Is it to twist their perspective so that they don't have to recognize the harm they're doing to themselves? Whatever the reason, it gets on my nerves. Then again, maybe I should just cool down and go smoke a joint. My stress level is getting high (no pun intended) and I don't want to get all catabolic (yes, this is sarcasm).

Listen, you have to understand that the body is a complex physiological unit that works as an integrated whole. One part does not work independently of another. So although smoking pot may relax you and reduce your "perceived stress", does this mean that your adrenal gland (the source of stress hormones) will be less active? Probably not. Marijuana contains a whole host of physiological "toxins" that do a relatively good job "stressing out" your physiology in other ways including causing some negative changes to heart, lung, and brain function. I won't even waste time listing all the potential physiological problems that may be associated with marijuana use since a simple internet search will list them for you.

However here is a quote taken from the web site of Dr.Oscar Cabrera, a psychology and narcotics trafficking expert and professor at the University of Houston. "Marijuana can be termed "harmless" in the sense that it has never been directly linked to any deaths. However, smoking of marijuana (the most popular method of ingestion) has been linked to memory loss, transitory sexual impotence, lung cancer, inattentiveness, and lower testosterone levels, which contribute to male infertility. This last effect has the greatest significance for adolescent males going through the pubertal process, because interference with the body's distribution of testosterone could lead to short- and long-term behavioral and physiological aberrations. Additionally, some individuals using marijuana (especially those using the drug for the first time) experience severe panic or anxiety attacks. Although marijuana does not have the same potential for psychological and/or physiological dependence as cocaine or heroin, it still retains a significant potential to induce psychological dependence."

In addition, normal physiological concentrations of cortisol do not cause muscle catabolism anyway. Again, the body is pretty smart and produces stress hormones for a good reason. Taking any drug or supplement designed to decrease resting cortisol concentrations is unlikely to do anything to increase your muscle mass. So even if marijuana did decrease resting cortisol concentrations that would have very little effect on muscle growth.

Am I against smoking marijuana? No. But I certainly don't believe that smoking marijuana will enhance your muscle-building efforts. And I certainly don't think that you should justify your pot habits based on weight lifting grounds.


Q: I’ve had about four trainers within the last year or so and im still overweight. They’ve  given me tips and tricks to training and nutrition... before I hire you, can you give me a few of your tips. It’ll help me decide whether you’re a good fit for me or not.  

A: First off there are no shortcuts. I don’t use “gimmicks and tricks”. My taining philosophy is based on proven principles. Hiring me would probably be the best investment you can do for your body because I’ll be teaching you lifestyle habits that needs to be ingrained in order for you to finally reach your health and fitness goals. There are several little things that you must do in order to succeed. These may not seem exciting, but you dont need all of the advanced tricks. Master the basics.

You must train hard. Since you are only training 2-3 times per week you must make each workout count.

You must be consistent. It would be great if you can find a training partner to be accountable to. This usually results in much fewer missed workouts.

Prepare food in bulk. If you are going to take the time to prepare some foods, make enough for several days. This will save you a lot of time. I have also found that most cheating stems from not having healthy food readily available.

Keep the house stocked with quick and accessible foods and snacks. Things like fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, protein shakes, etc.

During the first week of your meal plan, I encourage you to weigh/measure your food. This will give you a very good feel for portions. For instance, if one of your meals requires 1 cup of rice, you should have a pretty good idea of what a cup of rice looks like. That way, when you are eating out, or on the road, you will be able to estimate your portions with reasonable accuracy. 


Q: Fritzie, I consider you a "real world" person - in that you work with real people with busy lives and hectic schedules. I know there’s a ton of fat loss advice for “lean people” and good advice out there for the overweight guys who have never exercised before… But what about the "in between" person? You know, the professional man or woman who works a solid 9-5 job with maybe up to an hour commute each way, and still tries to spend time with the family and kids. There's a serious lack of information for this demographic. How do you set up a solid "real world" fat loss nutrition plan for these people?

A: I couldn't agree with you more. Earlier in my career, I would tell this type of client that they had to eat a broccoli and alfalfa sprouts omelet for breakfast every single day! When they told me that they didn't have the time to prepare that, I would accuse them of not being committed. Looking back on it now, I realize that as a young trainer, I had no idea how difficult it is to work a stressful job, raise a family, and still summon up enough energy to even get to the gym. It wasn't too long before I realized that my expectations were unreasonable, unnecessary, and unrealistic for them to stick to. Thus, I had to be creative enough to devise meal plans that would deliver results while being realistic and easy enough for this busy folks to actually follow. After years of trial and error, I have found several ways to accomplish this goal.

For starters, these clients have a tough time following a diet that has very precise parameters. For instance, instructions such as: "eat exactly 3.35 ounces of salmon with 1 ¾ cups of broccoli at exactly 10:25 a.m. each morning", or "You must prepare and eat 7 meals per day." Their lives are simply too stressful and busy to be this rigid. They need more flexibility in their diet protocol. A successful diet, first and foremost, must actually be feasible. If it's not, it doesn't matter how great it is, because it will most surely fail. To make an eating plan realistic for a busy businessman or woman, I would suggest that they eat 3 meals per day. Most people eat breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway, so this would not be disruptive to their extremely busy day. In between these "regular" meals, I would suggest eating 2-3 convenient snacks. But perhaps the most important factor for these clients to focus on is total caloric intake. In order to lose fat, you must create a caloric deficit. You simply can't get around this one. If you eat too many calories daily, you just won't lose body fat. So this is the one variable that must be adhered to.


Q: Any suggestions for a volleyball pregame meal (the night before the big game)?

A: No one pregame meal is right for every athlete or every event, but some food choices are much smarter than others. Pregame meals should be light in fat, moderate in protein and carbohydrate based.



- Rolls/Bread with low-fat bread products and spreads (have whole wheat or sprouted grain breads if possible … e.g. Food for Life's Ezekial 4:9 bread in Sesame and Cinnamon Raisin)


- Salad (dressing on the side ; balsamic vinaigrette dressing or honey mustard is preferred but can give out other options like ranch and thousand island, etc)


- Soup (minestrone, vegetable or chicken noodle etc… no chilli, split pea, or bean soups)


Main entrée:

- Pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables


- "Spaghetti  Vesuvius" (recipe from old spaghetti Factory: spicy spaghetti with chicken instead of meatballs)

Related Reading: You Are What You Eat