With cold and flu season among us it seems inevitable that you’ll succumb to at least one head cold over the winter and if you have kids - you might get a handful. However, there are atleast 4 proven supplements that help prevent a cold and help you recover quicker from one!Read More
What's up Clear Cutters? Cold and Flu season is among us. We've got 4 Supplements that are proven to help reduce symptoms and help your body fight off the illness quicker than usual. Because nobody wants to be sick, especially when it's - 15 Celsius and you've got kids to take care of and work to do.
1. Oregano Oil
Unfortunately, most things on this listing are like Buckley's, it tastes aweful, but it works. Oregano oil is no exception.
When you purchase a bottle look at the dosage recommendations. They may differ brand to brand.
Copy paste from Oregano oil, tastes gross but man does this ever help fight infection. I personally use a blend called "Echinaseal" that combines a few herbal remedies known to have a stimulating effect on your immune system.
This obviously isn't a supplement, but staying hydrated no matter what sickness you have will help decrease the duration of being sick!
Hydration isn't just water, it's a big part, but it's also electrolytes. Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and more. A healthy balance of water and electrolytes will help flush out a cold. It also ensures your body's metabolism and organs are working properly to provide you the performance you need. I don't just mean on field performance, I mean everyday life performance. Your heart, liver and brain all work better when hydrated properly.
How do we use these when we're sick?
I have a general tincture that I make with all 3! I put the recommended amount of echinaseal and oregano oil with a few sprinkles of salt into about 250ml water and chug it! (Trust me, you'll want to chug it).
I've also experimented with other meat head ideas such as Creatine and BCAAS in the drink. Not sure if those additions actually help but I take creatine daily anyways so might as well kill two birds with one stone. Also, I could argue that a proper amount of protein is also extremely beneficial for your immune system as your immune cells are largely comprised of proteins. Those added BCAAS just might help by stimulating protein synthesis.
Anecdotally speaking, taking this tincture twice a day has decreased my common cold to about 1.5 days. Not bad if you ask me!
1. Burt, Sara. "Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods—a review." International journal of food microbiology94.3 (2004): 223-253.
Simply googling "is coffee good for you?" will present you with enough info and confliction to wanna blow your brains out (or "toss your computer out the window"), or just give up on your search for the answer.
Luckily, I'm here to save you and keep your sanity in check.
There's a lot to cover on this subject but I'm literally going to make it as straight up as possible for ya. You've got questions, I've got simple answers based on research (as always). I'd throw in anecdotal discoveries as well BUT everyone knows the clear acute effects of coffee consumption.
Here's what I'm going over:
- Is coffee good/bad for you?
- Potential Health Benefits
- Proven Performance Benefits
- Potential Negative Side Effects
- Cautionary Measures and Dosages
5 Quick Points to learn all the basics of coffee and if YOU should be drinking it or not.
Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?
Many studies have cited potential positive benefits in terms of decease prevention. Specifically: heart disease, stroke, diabetes. Let's tell you how as opposed to just shouting out random things or resorting to massive meta-analysis studies where the issue of "correlation isn't causation" is far too abundant.
Diabetes: It may help reduce risk of diabetes due to coffee's antioxidants and minerals (such as magnesium and chromium) which have an effect on blood sugar control and insulin secretion. On the other end of the spectrum, more than enough research has shown that caffeine on its own can NEGATIVELY effect glucose uptake. So who's to say if coffee consumption really helps diabetes? Don't you think there are FAR better things you can do to manage (or even reverse) diabetes apart from simply drinking coffee?
Did anyone say "Healthy Diet And Exercise!"?
Heart Disease: The reasons for this are unknown but research shows that people who drink 1-3 cups of coffee a day have a (up to) 20% lower risk of heart disease. Specifically heart atttacks and heart abonormalities. This could have something to do with the caffeine in coffee which in some tissues act as a vasodilator (expands the veins) and others a vasoconstrictor (tightens the veins).
At the same time, people who suffer from heartbeat abnormalities and or anxiety may experience opposite effects with coffee. Find out more in the "Potential Negative Side Effects" paragraph.
Dementia and Parkinson's
Drinking coffee long term can be protective of the brain (probably due to antioxidants and caffeine) thus slightly reducing the risk of Dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Coffee has been shown to slightly decrease inflammation in the body. Having said that, I wouldn't ditch the fish oils for coffee, it's just a potential minor health benefit.
The Good Stuff
Let's get real for a second. Most of you want to hear 2 things in this article:
- Is it going to help me lose fat or get jacked?
- Please tell me something really good to justify my coffee addiction
Proven Performance Benefits
It's your lucky day, coffee consumption has been proven to improve performance in pretty much every quality of fitness you can think of!
Strength Gain (anaerobic): Like I stated above, the caffeine in coffee stimulates your nervous system and adrenaline. When that happens, your nervous system is awake, aware (maybe a bit on the edge) but ready to go and use the mind-muscle connection to its full potential. This means you'll be able to produce more force in an acute setting.
In other words: drink coffee = lift heavier, probably
Endurance Gains (aerobic): Coffee consumption pre long distance endurance training has improved trial time and mental focus.
Muscle Gain: Similar to the strength gains, you're able to produce more force therefore can create more muscular damage which can help stimulate muscle growth. Take a note from the endurance side as well, better endurance through longer sets can lead to more metabolic stress which is one of the main drivers of muscle growth!
Fat Loss: Coffee intake has been shown to increase the rate of metabolism pretty much ONLY after a bout of physical activity. To make myself clear, that means: no drinking 3 coffees a day with sugar is NOT going to start burning fat off your abdomen. But, if you drink coffee (or just caffeine) without adding too many calories, it can have a positive effect on burning more energy after a workout.
On top of that, Caffeine itself has been shown consistently to promote fat burn during exercise and inhibit carbohydrate usage.
Potential Negative Side Effects and Doses
Coffee has some potential negative side effects as well. Due to caffeine's stimulatory effect on the nervous system, coffee it can promote things like insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, restlessness and other crappy side effects if you drink too much! Caffeine can accumulate in the body for around 5hrs so it only takes a few cups of coffee to potentially get you to that point. The good news is that once people weened off coffee, the side effects subsided.
As previously noted, coffee can have a negative effect with people who already suffer from heart issues. It's highly recommended to avoid coffee consumption or keep it to a minimum.
Adrenal fatigue can occur in people who consume higher than average amounts of coffee (2+ per day).
Over-consumption of coffee can also cause your body to adapt to the stimulus and eventually, coffee might lose its awakening effects. This causes some to drink more in a day to try to achieve the same effect. This can become like an addiction, which makes it difficult to slow down or stop drinking. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when you do stop as well.
So how much is going to stimulate you and how much is going to F you up?
Everyone has different tolerance levels but most humans are within a ballpark range.
One 8oz cup of coffee (regular size) can contain between 100-200mg of caffeine. That's the same proven amount to improve performance in ANY activity. Don't forget about espresso shots. One shot of espresso has a higher caffeine content per ounce than a cup of regular slow drip. My go to drink is a black iced americano. Usually 2 shots of espresso (sometimes 3 if I realy need to get shit goin). A single shot of espresso has roughly 65mg of caffeine, meaning my 2 shots would have about 130mg and my triple shot contains 195mg.
Human Performance has actually been shown to improve between 100-400mg depending on the person but more isn't infinitely better.
On the other hand, 500mg+ daily caffeine is all you need to push you over the edge. That's more than 2 coffees a day. So if that's you, take a step back and re-evaluate your situation.
Are you relying on coffee to get you through the day? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you suffer from anxiety? Has coffee lost its stimulating effect? You may want to consider chilling out and lowering your intake to 1-2 per day.
Coffee isn't the cause of or solution to all the world's problems (that would be alcohol to those Simpson fans).
The truth of the matter is that caffeine is a drug, and it's hard to not mix up coffee with caffeine because most of the effects (good or bad) or coffee are due to caffeine, other than some additional micronutrients you'll get through coffee.
It's got it's pros and cons, we all love to drink it, we all love getting fired up (mentally or physically) so we say drink coffee, be happy, don't drink too much or you might turn into a jittery coffee-crack-addict with a heart arrhythmia.
Maximizing the potential of your workout starts long before you step foot into the gym. Apart from a good night’s sleep, eating a solid pre-workout meal is a key ingredient to a skin-splitting pump and it also helps trigger muscle growth. You want to build muscle so you’ve gotta fuel your body and take in the right nutrients that’ll help with your gainz.
What Should You Eat Before Your Workout?
Just like every meal, we want to start with a protein base. You’re going to need protein for a few reasons.
- Protein is the most essential nutrient for building muscle and recovery
- Consuming Protein pre-workout will help prevent muscle breakdown while working out
- Consuming Protein pre-workout can trigger increased muscle growth when combined with a workout as opposed to not consuming protein pre-workout.
Next up is carbohydrates. These guys are extremely important to the muscle building process when taken with your pre-workout meal. Carbs pre-workout will fill your muscles with glycogen so they’re ready to push 110%. This will help you trigger muscle growth via multiple pathways.
It increases your pump during your workout. This cell swelling pump can be seen as a threat by the body, triggering muscle growth. Carbohydrate consumption pre-workout also allows you to have more stamina and endurance so you can workout with a higher volume than if you didn’t consume pre-workout carbs. Higher volume workouts can have a better muscle building effect as well.
Last but not least… Fats! Actually, in this case, it is least… a little bit of fat is actually pretty good for you in your pre-workout. It doesn’t have nearly the same benefits for building muscle as protein and carbs however, it provides 2 unique benefits.
1. Healthy fats can slow the digestion of carbs. This is important because it allows for a steady release of glucose into the blood which can then enter the muscles for energy. This means that you’ll have even better stamina and endurance through the workout.
Side note with fats: You really only want to consume a small amount. Large amounts of fat can make you feel sluggish and bloated. Also, the act of digestion itself uses energy so if you have a huge meal with lots of fat, you risk having a crappier and lethargic workout. The opposite of what a small dose of fat can do for you!
2. Healthy fats help support the production of muscle building hormones like Testosterone and IGF-1. (specifically saturated fats).
How Much Should You Eat?
This is totally dependent on the individual. However, we do have some general guidelines. Adjust these numbers as needed. It’s also a good idea to work with a qualified nutrition coach or dietician. These coaches will be able to calculate exactly how much you need to eat based on specific criteria.
Protein: You want between 25-50g with your pre-workout meal.. This is extremely easy to measure! A standard serving of a protein source the size of your palm is roughly 25g. This includes chicken, lean beef, or one scoop of protein powder.
Carbs: You’re looking for enough carbs to refill those muscle glycogen stores so you don’t want to go skimpy with the carbs. You should consume at least 50g carbs pre-workout. You might even be able to go up to 100g of carbs if you’re a bigger person or if you can crush that many carbs without feeling bloated or lethargic. It’s all about feel here so give it a try. Start small, and work your way up. If you go with 50g and you feel great and see progress in terms of muscle, keep it up or slowly increase the intake. If you go up to 100g and notice you’re gaining muscle and fat, you should probably consider decreasing it. Common sense on this one.
Here’s a short list of what 50g of carbs looks like (keep in mind these are all rough estimates and carb content/caloric value may differ between different types of food. Some studies suggest foods can be up to 25% different in nutritional content)
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread
- 2 medium baked potatoes or 1 large (not actually much of a difference between regular and sweet potatoes contrary to popular belief. Check this article for more)
- 2 cups of rice
- 2 cups of lentils
- 2 bananas
- 2 cups of grapes
Fat: This is going to be the lowest amount of your pre-workout muscle building meal. We’re looking for roughly 20g of fat in this meal. It’s still important to get some fat in because it helps slow the digestion of carbs and other nutrients. Also, good quality saturated fats are related to muscle building hormones. That means you want to ensure you’re supporting muscle growth from every angle (or in this case, every macro).
Here are a few things that make up roughly 20g of fat:
- 2 tablespoons of nut butter
- 1 handful of nuts
- ½-3/4 of a big avocado or a full small one
- 1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 and a half tablespoons of butter (preferably grass fed)
- You'll also get small amounts of fat (specifically saturated fats) in good quality meat as well. You're looking at about 5g fat per 25g protein in a serving of steak
Take Home Notes:
Make sure you're eating enough. Start with this basic guide but don't be afraid to increase your serving sizes if you're progress has stalled.
This is ONLY taking into considerations what foods to eat pre-workout. You can definitely build an impressive physique using this guidelines. On the other hand, there are a few supplements and other nutrition tricks you can use if you want to take your physique to the next level however, that is for another article.