For all athletic women in their 20s, this is for you:

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In this industry, there are a ton of shysters and snake oil salespeople… all of which are praying on the hopes and dreams of women trying to look just like their idols in the magazines.  Nothing makes me personally more angry than a “coach” or “trainer” having an already caloric deficient girl in their early 20’s do several HOURS of cardio per day to get ready for a bikini or physique championship.  Seriously ladies, if someone tells you that you need 3-4 hours of cardio per day because you “have a long ways to go”… you should punch them in the nose and walk away.  The cost of bail will be much less than what they charge for their BS training program… and you will be in much better health and spirits.

1. What meal plans do you suggest for or against and why in relation to nutrition?

– Bone mass index peaks in early adulthood and then declines, so it’s never too early to get extra calcium to build bone, especially if you’re physically active
– Your muscles are more active so your calorie/protein needs are higher and a vitamin supplement is more important
– You need more iron, which you can get from dried fruits, fortified fruits, spinach, kale and occasional red meat
– If you’re physically active, you should drink up to 0.6oz of water/lb bodyweight per day but even if you’re sedentary, water can help accelerate metabolism and clear toxins
– I personally don’t recommend soy products because excessive amounts are linked with breast cancer and lower testosterone in men, but basic diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and lean meats

2. What are major risks do women in their 20’s who work out excessively face or should watch out for?

Bad form and “crash” diets (or extreme diets) can cause issues that might not develop until 30s but they can be long lasting. Metabolic damage is done when on an extreme caloric deficit, your body eats away at its own muscle tissue to preserve the calories you eat for essential life functions (heartbeat, breathing etc). Because you have less muscle after a crash diet, your body burns less calories at rest, thus reducing caloric expenditure when not exercising.

Using bad form on exercises like squats and overhead presses can over time cause joint damage. Although joint damage isn’t obvious right away, over time the damage becomes more and more evident and painful. In this case, prevention is always much more valuable than treatment. Done correctly though, these exercises should most certainly be a part of a core exercise program. Form and consistency is key for a long term healthy exercise program.

3. Do you have any prevention methods that you use to prevent nutrition related problems?

Having a yearly comprehensive blood panel is the most important part of a balanced health plan. This is the only way to know what’s really going on with your body, AND the panel must be read correctly by a professional that is very familiar with athletes. (For example, elevated BUN and creatinine levels are a sign of kidney failure, but they are also a normal and very common for an athlete due to high protein levels and the face we break down muscle tissue in the gym. Most doctors will see these elevated levels and send you straight to a specialist. ) The following is the panel I like to recommend for women yearly:

– Lipid Profile: Cholesterol, total; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; low-densitylipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (calculation); triglycerides; very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol (calculation).

– Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential: (Hematocrit; hemoglobin; mean corpuscular volume (MCV); mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH); mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC); red cell distribution width (RDW); percentage and absolute differential counts; platelet count; red cell count; white blood cell count; immature granulocytes)

– Estradiol

– Hemoglobin (Hgb) A1c

– C-Reactive Protein (CRP), High Sensitivity (Cardiac Risk Assessment),

– Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1)

– Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

– Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT)

– Insulin, Fasting

– Comprehensive Metabolic Profile (CMP) (includes eGFR): (A:G ratio; albumin, serum; alkaline phosphatase, serum; ALT (SGPT); AST (SGOT); bilirubin, total; BUN; BUN:creatinine ratio; calcium, serum; carbon dioxide, total; chloride, serum; creatinine, serum; globulin, total; glucose, serum; potassium, serum; protein, total, serum; sodium, serum.)

– Luteinizing Hormone(LH)

– Testosterone, Free (Direct) With Total Testosterone, LC/MS-MS

– Sex Hormone binding Globulin, Serum

– Urinalysis, Routine Profile: Color, appearance, specific gravity, pH, protein, glucose, ketones, occult blood, leukocyte esterase, nitrite, bilirubin, and urobilinogen. These tests are done on all routine urinalysis ordered and if protein, leukocyte, occult blood, nitrite, and turbidity are all negative, microscopic examination is not performed; just the above parameters are reported. (If results are abnormal test will reflex to include microscopic examination).

– Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

– Magnesium, Serum

– Thyroxine Free, Direct (FT4)

– Iron, Serum w/TIBC: Percent of saturation; serum iron; total iron binding capacity; unsaturated iron binding capacity

– Progesterone

– Cancer Antigen (CA) 125

– Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEA-S)

– Vit D

4. What problems should women be aware of going into their older years?

Cross-training is a great way to prevent imbalance and overuse injuries. A swimmer might add cycling and running to the lineup, which will ensure a good mix of upper and lower body workouts. It’s critical that your fitness regimen also include balance and flexibility exercises to loosen tight muscles, preserve range of motion, and prevent falls—which is important now and as you age. Stretching is a simple way to maintain flexibility, and exercises such as heel-to-toe walks and standing on one foot will boost your balance. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or dancing are also good options.

5. What do women lack or need in higher concentrations nutritionally?

Vitamin D, Calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) should be taken on a daily basis.

6. What are your thoughts on protein powders and other supplements? Are they healthy or dangerous?

For building muscle, protein powders are generally worthless. The vitamin/mineral content depends on the brand and maker, that in itself can be valuable, but the problem lies in pasteurization. When milk is pasteurized its heated to a point where the germs and bacteria are killed. At this point, the protein molecule is denatured (the shape of it is changed or mutated so your enzymes can no longer latch onto it so it can be processed). When your body cant process this protein, it turns to waste in the form of gas, bloating, loose stool etc. The best protein powder in the world… in a 25g scoop about 6g of that protein is usable and the rest will turn to waste.

That’s all for now but feel free to e-mail me with any questions:

garry@alaskafitproductions.com

AlaskaFit ProductionsFor all athletic women in their 20s, this is for you:

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