Nutrition Hacks to Optimize Your Workouts

One of my friends recently posted on Facebook asking for nutritional advice. I responded with the following heavily-edited overview – but lately, I’ve been storing snippets of my Facebook responses, especially the ones that are well thought out. Think about it, people usually only see that content once, when Facebook’s algorithms happen to grace you with the content in your newsfeed. Then, for the most part, it disappears into the Facebook nether realms of unseen threads.

This is why protracted political & academic debates online are a bit sad. No one’s going to read that again. Ever wonder why there aren’t more people protesting in the streets right now? It’s because social media can easily delude people into expending their energy in ways that will never bring real change – when really, most of these issues aren’t that important anyways. At best, you’ve merely allowed your friends and opponents just enough evidence to label you and put you in a box.

Hacking Nutrition and Exercise

So, I’m going to describe some simple things you can do, which will make your exercise and nutrition supplements more effective. Basically, these are hacks because they take advantage of the details and the nitty gritty. Some are fairly obvious and others are just restatements of what you’ve been told. However, some of these points are at least fairly original.

This is a hack that will circulate the nutrients through your body, so they’re available you workout. Always cardio, preferably first – run at least a half a mile, up to a mile. Or more, if you like. If you don’t enjoy running or if it’s too stressful on your body, then cycle. Or roller skate. Just get the blood moving in your body until you start to get out of breath.

Circulation is incredibly important, nutritionally. Anything that increases circulation also increases nutritient & hormone dispersion throughout your body – and throughout your brain too!

“This is just another reason why exercise – and especially cardio – are incredibly important for mental health! Without exercise, the nutrition, chemical messengers or even prescription drugs in your bloodstream will become far more unevenly distributed through your body. Entropy and shit.” - David Conner, PhD in Nothing

Then, lift weights or whatever you like. I stick to free weights and squats, deadlifts, etc. Free weights > machines – because free weights encourage you to use auxillary stabalization muscles. This means you have to use your wrist/forearm muscles to stabalize the weights. The motions are more natural, so your muscles will also develop more naturally.

Squats, Deadlifts and the other Starting Strength workouts are great. Some of these full-body workouts promote the release of hormones, especially during adolescence.

Group Workouts are great

Classes are great because they encourage you to pursue a more balanced workout. They’re taught by someone who knows what they’re doing and you’ll workout muscles that you may have otherwise overlooked.

I enjoy taking the Body Pump class at the YMCA because it’s a great workout. Very balanced. The weights might be light, but I’m always a bit winded by the end of it. Also, a well-rounded workout encourages sexy muscle tone.

Dancers have the best bodies!

Dancing is great because it’s a very well balanced activity that encourages the holistic use of muscles which might otherwise get an uneven workout. Also, it’s great because it’s enjoyable and encourages mind-body awareness.

Find an activity you love, something physical that you’d enjoy doing even if it weren’t exercise. If you’re overweight or obese and self-conscious, work on minimizing your self-consciousness. If you want to lose weight, it’d be very sad if your self-talk was preventing you from the activities.

Martial arts are also great, because sparring is like the combination of physical activity and chess. Exercise your body and mind.

Eat Healthy!

Ensure that during the day, you have eaten healthy, as increased circulation carries nutrients throughout your body. And if your food is garbage, you’re going to disperse that through your body even moreso.

“Increased nutrient dispersal and altered blood flow patterns are what mostly accounts for Yoga’s health benefits.” - David Conner, PhD in Nothing

Do Yoga!

Yoga encourages mind-body awareness and development of balance.

Now that really is the advanced class!

Yoga also increases dispersion of nutrients throughout your body!! This is coupled with increased oxygenation, assuming proper breathing rhythm/technique. And the localized changes in blood pressure will focus them into areas they would only otherwise reach with negligible pressure. Sometimes, I’ll even supplement with superfood powder about two hours before Yoga for this reason.

Now, Breath! Breath mother $#@!’er, like your life depended on it! ^^ That’s Rauf Yasit, otherwise known as Rubberlegz, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with the human body. He’s an amazing german bboy that I’ve looked up to for a decade. It’s all about the Chi! “Chikara - ‘strength’ or power’ in Japanese video games, but literally ‘from chi’ or ‘because of chi.’ I could also be wrong about this.” It’s also important to note that oxygen is your body’s source of electrons, which help facilitate certain forms of work at a cellular level. More Oxygen == Better. In some physical activities, it helps to maintain proper breathing technique the entire time, so that your body can more appropriately respond when it does get tired. Everyone needs to breath to live, but it’s amazing to see that some people are so bad at at! There’s even a progressive neurological disorder that results from this - Cerebral Hypoxia. Somehow, the part of your brain controlling involuntary breathing becomes damaged, diminished supply of oxygen and thus causing further damage. Nutritional Supplements in More Detail Please note that I only have a high level understanding of how this works and that I’m notoriously cynical when it comes to academia. By all means – please! – do your own research! Protein from Natural Sources! One to two hours before workout, take about half the recommended dosage of protein powder. Protein from food is the best – that’s the natural form! However, protein from food doesn’t get into the bloodstream as quickly. preferably a mix of protein from food and from powder. Therefore, as supplement, you only need 15g to 25g of protein supplements per day, period. If you take much more than that, you start risking kidney and liver damage over time! For the most part, you want enough protein from natural sources, but it definitely helps to temporarily boost these levels pre-workout. This is so that, as your workout forces your blood into the muscle groups you’re focusing on, your blood is also carrying the nutrients it will need for recovery! Protein Powders I’d say most of this stuff is garbage. Your food, if your diet consists of a balanced diet, you should be getting plenty of essential amino acids, as well as non-essential amino acids. Your body is very good at allocating it’s amino acids. Hardcore Whey! Deliciousandcreamy! Absolutely no puns were intended in the making of this product. Avoid supplements with flashy advertising – they spent more on a marketing budget than they did on their product. High nutritional products are expensive to produce the correct way. There’s not much else that your business should have investment left over for. I’m going to be suspicious if it looks like you invested more on graphic designers and brand consultants than you did on the product! Sugar is the Devil! Probably the most important aspect of your diet. There’s a new drug in town – and all your children are taking it! It destroys their mind and body. It even comes in crystal forms! Does your child smoke crystal glucose? Avoid high amounts of sugar. You should only get 30g of sugar per day. If that sounds high, consider that many Americans drinking 100oz of soda per day – five 20oz sodas – are getting ~150g of suger!! That is less than one 20oz soda! over 60g of sugar and your energy levels are going to vary wildlly. Avoid white bread as well, because it’s basically sugar. And you know what? Just avoid bread and carbs. Your caveman ancestors would be proud. Sugar will also drastically modify your body’s metabolic processes, which will further change how your genes are expressed. I’m planning another article on just this very soon. Some Vitamins are Great! Others, not so much! I’m looking at you, Centrum! Food-derived vitamin/mineral supplements are highly recommended four to eight hours before workout, but chemically derived minerals should be avoided outright! Many mineral supplements include the right molecular components to boost the nutritional supplement data on the label, but actually have pathetic bio-availibility. Some of them are actually detrimental! [Picture Missing] I need to find a picture of this product because it’s terrible and made me feel like I had cancer. Yes, it was way worse than Centrum. No offense if you take Centrum. If your nutritional product has a picture of Noah’s Ark, you should start asking questions! Also, you don’t need to take vitamins on a regular regimen! You don’t to! In fact, some vitamins and minerals block the absorption for others – because they compete over the same metabolic pathways. Therefore, you necessarily need to switch it up. Include a healthy level of change in your vitamin regiment. I take Newchapter Multivitamins because they’re a great food-derived vitamin. They are expensive, but I don’t take them everyday –$50 will last you between one and three months. I sporadically supplement with vitamins, taking higher doses some days and sometimes going a few days without them.

Additionally, after you have taken a vitamin/mineral combo for some time – several weeks or months – your body has built up healthy levels of it, especially if you have enough body fat to store it. So now, you can taper off a bit – and save money!

Don’t Take Powdered/Fluid Vitamin/Mineral Combinations!

This will ensure that these nutrient levels spike in your bloodstream due to reduced surface area – and that’s not good! At least, don’t depend on these regularly.

Avoid focused supplements!

Avoid vitamins and minerals that only include a narrow set of vitamins/minerals. You don’t need these! They are a waste of money, unless your doctor has advised you that you do indeed have a nutritional deficiency. Get a combination vitamin that includes all of them in the healthy levels. Exceptions include chewable Vitamin C when getting sick, etc.

Alive Bone Health, the only food-derived supplement I have ever found with more than negligible amounts of Magnesium.

Also a bit expensive, but I’m not taking this for bone health. Magnesium is incredibly important for many things, but especially mental clarity. I’m pretty sure there are a ton of preventable health crises in America that are actually caused by mineral deficiencies.

Neurochemistry 201

If you don’t understand how neurons fire, they transmit electric charges. However, it’s more than just electric current, which IMO just represents an aggregate of a other information, represented in the local quanta of various ions. These electric charges are caused by disparity in various ion levels – I learned about this in a ton of detail from Coursera’s Drugs in the Brain class. When the disparity of ion levels reaches a certain level – or when an upstream neuron fires and causes a change in the electric charge of the connected neurons – a neuron will fire.

There are four primary ions for neural signalling and they include Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium. They are all positively charged ions and I believe that the ion size determines the functional aspects of these ions in the brain. In other words, our brain is similar to a quantum computer, in how it doesn’t just deal in ones and zeros represented by electric current. Instead, the electric currents are aggregates of signals which use the various ions to further encode information. And thus, it’s actually the ions that we need to further observe – these are the cause of the electric signals, which are represent a negatively charged summation of the positively charged ions.

Additionally – and now i’m getting further away from that which I can prove – I believe that some neuronal interconnections are analog, biological manifestions of statistics functions. You brain is basically a giant, self-similar, self-modifying graph. There’s nothing digital about it and everything depends on probability and relative levels of ions, neurotransmitters. It would be like a computer, entirely constructed from basic probability functions. Furthermore, the behavior of synaptic junctions can be drastically modified by the presence/absense of ion channels and other proteins. And it’s the neurotransmitters which signal the cell construct and modify these ion channels and signaling proteins

… I’m fairly sure that I could find data and studies to support this. For example, serotonin signals G-Coupled Protein Receptors, which message the cell to react in some way. The cell’s reaction to serotonin is probably highly dependent on it’s function and type. But though this is mostly conjecture, I love thinking about this stuff.

Check out these videos to learn more about Voltage-Gated Ion Channels and Action Potential to better understand how Neurons propagate signals.

Sooo … Neurochemistry is complicated

### But Here’s My Point

If your brain has insufficient levels of these ions or these ions are not properly dispersed through your neurons, then your brain is going to have a real hard time keepin’ it real.

What’s the problem? If simple nutrition can prevent health problems, then why don’t we just grow better food? Strained resource systems and overpopulation, quite simply. Another blog for another day. But basically, it would be incredibly difficult to make the numbers work and a lot of corporations – ahem, Monsanto and McDonalds to name two – just don’t want to believe it – because wouldn’t that be inconvenient!

Be Wary of Herbal Combinations!

Herbal supplements work in the opposite fashion to vitamin supplements – you actually want singular, focused preperations.

Do some research on some herbs – it really doesn’t matter which herbs, just pick 3 at random. Research them on Wikipedia and WebMD and most importantly, identify their active dosage levels. Done? Now find a combination herbal supplement and take a look at the levels of the herbs included. DID YOU NOTICE THAT THEY ARE ALL AT 1% to 10% OF THE BASE ACTIVE DOSE?

Now take a look at the singular herbal preparations – they contain far more effective doses!

Herbal combinations can be a waste of money and not because herbs are useless, but because the marketing people just conned you to include the herb on the label. In fact, herbs offer medicene that our current science not only lacks the ability to reproduce, but also lacks the competence to even prove that they work! Some herbs are useless and you should be especially wary of what you read on the internet.

At the same time, some doctors naively abhor some particularly useful treatments, assuming that all herbs are worthless. And that’s just not true. Quality controls for the active ingredients of herbs can be hard to determine for studies. The medical efficacy of some herbs can be heavily dependent on their environment, availability of precursor molecules/minerals in the soil, etc. So some studies surrounding herbs are misleading.

And it’s incredibily easy for financially motivated academic entities to blatantly manipulate the results of these studies! Especially when you consider that some incredibly intelligent people are capable of observing the effects of some experimental variables, which are unknown to most. And then they will intentional leave any mention of those variables out of their studies.