Redefining the fitness of performance With Joel Jamieson

As seen in:

Sports Nutrition Roundtable

Sports nutrition is essential to all areas of performance, so this week we brought in special guests Kiefer, James Fitzgerald and Mark McLaughlin to give their thoughts on how athletes should be eating. If you want to get stronger, more explosive and improve your conditioning, you have to pay attention to your diet. Check out what these experts have to say about how to do it right

Get access to more free videos

Read the transcript of this video
p>Joel: Hey there, and welcome to another exciting episode of 8WeeksOutTV. I'm your host Joel Jamieson along with Howie Clark. How you doing, Howie?

Howie: I'm doing good. You?

Joel: Nice. I'm excited for today's show. We've got a great topic, and that's nutrition, and real specifically, nutrition for athletic performance. And I know you've tried a lot of different diets over the years being an athlete yourself.

Howie: Yeah, definitely. I'm really excited to hear what Kiefer has to say. And I've read his Carb Nite Solution and Carb Backloading and tried it myself, so it'll be interesting to see what questions you come up with for him.

Joel: Exactly. As Howie said, we have today's guest, Kiefer of Carb Backloading and Carb Nite fame, and then we've also got a really cool roundtable discussion we put together with a few of us, including James Fitzgerald and Mark McLaughlin. And we just wanted to kind of dive into the topic of nutrition and talk about how to improve your performance and what guys are doing out there. So, I'm excited to see what these guys have to say.

Howie: Yeah, definitely a wealth of knowledge. And that's the one thing about nutrition is there's no one way to do it. And so, just knowing the roundtable discussion, I think we're going to probably find out that it's all about individualizing it and kind of getting it to suit your individual goals.

Joel: Absolutely. So, let's get started. Let's hear with Kiefer has to say about nutrition, and get into his backloading and carb nite solution.
All right. Why don't you start by just giving us a little bit of background about yourself. I know you're the Carb Backloading Guy, and you're most well-known for that. So, for people who aren't familiar with carb backloading and your take on nutrition, can you just give us a quick rundown on what you're all about?

Kiefer: The quick rundown is basically cyclic ketogenic diets. And so, the first one I had was Carb Nite, which actually is no carbs all week, and then just a lot of carbs one night a week. And then the latest is Carb Backloading, where I figured out how you can actually have a shit ton of carbs every night.

Joel: Sounds like a good plan.

Kiefer: Yeah. It requires training. It's one of the first diets I know that's really integrated heavily with your training schedule, at least from an aesthetic point of view.

Joel: This is a personal question, how does the Carb Nite stuff differ from the old Body Opus stuff that Duchaine made popular?

Kiefer: It's actually just a refined version. That's what I keep trying to explain to people. It's not magic or anything new as far as that, it was just science had finally come around and was available to refine it at a really high level. Like, you can close the window down for how long you eat carbs, because you only need an insulin spike for six to eight hours. And we know that you need high glycemic carbs, because if insulin gets so high, then it shuts off the fat cells' ability to release fat. But if you crest a certain threshold, then your fat cells will start dumping fat again. So, we just have all this science to really refine it and actually encourage people to eat crap that they weren't always encouraged to.

Joel: I remember the Body Opus diet in college. I'd go down to the ice cream store, and I'd literally pound gallons of ice cream and pizza and carbs on the weekend. It was awesome.

Kiefer: Yeah. I mean, for somebody who didn't have access to the modern research, that was pretty far along. That was pretty advanced.

Joel: Oh, yeah. He was definitely a leader. Now, how did you kind of go from that concept or refining the old Body Opus type model to Carb Backloading and that diet?

Kiefer: So, Carb Nite, I love it, because it's easy to stay lean and hold on to all your muscle, but I couldn't really gain muscle while I was on that diet. I just plateaued, and I plateaued at a low body weight that I didn't like.
And then I'd read some research on diabetics and their ability to clear blood sugar, even though their cells remained insulin insensitive. So, they were insulin resistant, but they could still clear blood sugar, and it just kind of put the pieces together for me. And that happened because of resistance training.
So, I was, like, well, if you don't eat carbs all day, you should be able to stay ketogenic, burn a lot of body fat, and then resistance train, and then have these huge insulin spikes at night that basically accelerate your fat burning and reload your muscles with glycogen and give you all the recovery and growth benefits of insulin. You should be able to stay lean and grow. So, I put it out there, and it basically worked wonders for everybody that's done it.

Joel: So, carb backloading, is it more for people that want to build muscle? Can it be used for fat loss? What's the primary . . .

Kiefer: Whether you're going to use it for muscle gain or fat loss only depends on how you load your calories through the day. And it's really that first half of the day that will determine if you're going to gain or if you're going to lose. So, that first half, you go into a caloric deficit. Then you're going to stay really tight and you're going to lose a lot of body fat and keep your muscle mass. If you go high caloric load during that first half of the day, then you're going to build muscle and stay lean.

Joel: How do you think the diet can be applied, or do you think it can be applied to a more of an athletic type thing for fighters to train hard or other athletes? Do you see a role for that sort of approach, or do you think it needs to be modified?

Kiefer: I think there's definitely a role for that approach. The question would have to look on an individual basis, like how good are they at recomping their glycogen stores. How well do they adjust to doing that kind of power production without carbs. Some people do incredibly well, some people don't.
And then, also, they just might have too large of a workload to refill, so then you'd have to do something like, which I haven't talked about a lot, but glycemic backloading. So, you kind of stage how you introduce the glycemic load through the day. The same principles would be at work, but the structure would be different.

Joel: So, let's say, for example, my fighters come in the mornings, they do their strength conditioning with me, and then they have a break of four to five hours, and then they come back in the evenings to do their MMA skill work. And so, my work can obviously be very intensive or it can be more endurance-based depending on the day, but they're spending a good amount of time depleting glycogen, and then they have to go back next door and be able to have the energy to train intensely as well.
So, what would be your take on how that would be approached? Because most guys now, there's just kind of either the guy who pays no attention to his diet whatsoever or the guy that reads some article or thinks he knows how to apply it, but it's very unscientific. So, what would your take be on that?

Kiefer: It's kind of a great situation if you're getting up first thing in the morning, if you can adjust to train in a non-carb state. So, you could eat some food, but it'd be a heavy fat-load. Train, and there's research to show that you get a larger recovery rate and growth rate, strength increase by having carbs immediately after that morning workout if you haven't had any carbs before. So, you could actually double the signaling of normal with that carb-load.
And then, in the middle, you would again, no carbs, carb deplete. You'd probably have some stores, it's just more of an insulin spike, because that's what you're looking for in the morning. And then, at night, you have your training. My question would be, you've got that resistance work session, basically strength conditioning. After that is when I would load up with carbs, and that would be tuned to eating carbs that would produce the insulin spike but would also aptly fill up the glycogen store, so they're ready for the next day's training. Because the insulin's for immediately after the training. All the carbs are for the next day's training.

Joel: Yeah, it makes sense. I've read a lot of research lately that looks at how the body knows whether you're overtraining or whether you're not, and it's a chronically depleted glycogen state that tends to signal the brain that something's going wrong here. So, especially if these guys are training two and sometimes three times day, if they're chronically running low on glycogen, they're starting to send that signal that, hey, something is wrong here. And I think that's part of what triggers the body to shift more into it, and go into an over- trained state.
So, are there any specifics as far as the kind of carb to the amount of carbs you think would be appropriate for making sure that doesn't happen?

Kiefer: Again, I usually base it on body weight. I usually put people through a depletion phase for ten days, and then I can see exactly what their base carbohydrate stores are. And then, if you go through this cyclic ketogenic and you spend a couple days without carbs, you can actually get super compensation of about 50 to almost double the normal storage. So, that's what I would base it off of to make sure that you're always refilling and that you try to keep the athlete in the range of being super compensated.

Joel: And what about type of carb?

Kiefer: Oh, the type of carbs is simple sugars are great. Even the fructose, because you've got most normal people should stay away from fructose, but for athletes, their liver glycogen is being depleted as well, which fructose is incredibly apt at restoring and then the other half of the glucose molecule is helping to restore glycogen stores in the muscle.

Joel: Have you seen . . . I talked to Anthony, what's his name, the guy who founded EAS. Anthony Almada. Anyway, Anthony and I have communicated a little bit, and he has a product, Vitargo, I don't know if you've seen that, but there's some research on Vitargo basically speeding up glycogen resynthesis. So, playing around with that a little bit.

Kiefer: Yeah. I've seen Vitargo, but I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet. But people have pinged me about it, "Hey, do you think this would be great for carb back-loading?"

Joel: Let me ask you this. He was talking about waxy maize that a lot of people use, and he basically said that he thinks that's the junk for glycogen resistance. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Kiefer: Well, waxy maize is mostly amylopectin, which actually is structured almost exactly like human glycogen, which is one reason that amylopectin is so good at restoring glycogen stores. So, I'm not sure what the disconnect there is.

Joel: I don't know. He had some reasons. I don't remember exactly. He said it was a fairly low glycemic carb, and he thought didn't refill as well.

Kiefer: Well, I know amylose is like that. Amylose is kind of low- glycemic, and doesn't restore glycogen stores as well. But amylopectin is the waxy one, so like purple potatoes have that real waxy feel. They have a higher amylopectin content to them.

Joel: Yeah. Are there any other supplements that you think can be important for fighters? Or maybe something that should you stay away from if you're a fighter?

Kiefer: That's kind of interesting. There's interesting things. Like caffeine would be a good supplement for one, because you can super compensate creatine phosphate levels in muscles with caffeine, which I would think would have a huge advantage with your power bursts that you need in the ring when you're fighting.
Other than that, just making sure you've got a good multivitamin mineral. If those things get out of balance, you're shit out of luck. Making sure your salt content is good. Maybe if you drink a lot of bottled water, things like that, a little bit of sea salt every day keeps all that balance.

Joel: What about fish oil?

Kiefer: Oh, of course. Sorry. I wouldn't even think about that one, because that's just kind of the standard staple.

Joel: Do you have any recommendation in terms of how much? Because I've seen dosing all over the place. Some guys say very high levels of fish oil will be actually blood-thinning and can be pro-inflammatory. And too little, obviously, has had little effect. So, what do you think is a good balance?

Kiefer: You caught me at a dearth of the information. I believe it's . . . I call it superdosing, because in the research, you get maximum benefit with minimum downside. I think around 20 grams a day of the omega 3 oil, so that comes out to like 25 grams of actual fish oil.

Joel: Makes sense.

Kiefer: But that increases anabolic signaling in the cells, nutrient throwput. So, that's kind of where you should be looking at.

Joel: What about, just out of curiosity, I've played around a lot with nootropics. With fighters in particular, you have a lot of fast reaction times and being able to process that information. So, we've played around with piracetam and hydergine, selegiline, deprenyl, choline, stuff like that. Alpha GPC, actually, we use quite a bit. Pramiracetam's the newest one. Have you played around with any of the nootropics?

Kiefer: I haven't really. How does it work?

Joel: It works well. The biggest challenge is it's just like anything else, it's a very individualized response, because now you're talking about brain chemistry. Everybody responds very differently, in my experience, to them. So, if you have the right dose response and you have the right combination, you see a big improvement in reaction time, you see faster recovery, you see all these things happen.
But if you don't, you can either see very little improvement or you can see things get worse. So, I always play around way off- season where the guys can experiment and start basic and build out. But I think it's, honestly in my opinion, one of the under discussed areas of performance, because the brain is the central governor of everything. And if we can take stuff to increase oxygenation of the brain or cerebral function, we can . . .

Kiefer: Signaling all the way down there. Yeah.

Joel: Exactly.

Kiefer: People don't realize that that signaling is not actually electrical, it's mostly chemical from cell to cell. So, there's some efficiency things there that you can play with.

Joel: Oh, yeah. Like we were talking about before, if you can increase oxygenation to the brain, you can at least delay fatigue because the brain is going to have more oxygen.

Kiefer: Right, which was an interesting conversation everybody missed.

Joel: So we'll talk about that later. Next thing, I would say one of the challenges with most fighters is making weight. They have to drop anywhere from 5 to 20 pounds to make weight. They have to weigh in usually four or five o'clock on Friday, typically, fight on Saturday. They're dealing with the travel stress, they're dealing with just the overall mental workload and stress of stepping in front of the million people and fighting. So, there's a lot that goes into that weight cut and that making weight.

Do you have any thoughts on what you would do if you were going to have the master plan, and tell someone what to do and how to do it, as far as making weight?

Kiefer: If I were going to have a master plan for making weight and overall performance being a concern, I kind of have this standard diet that I've refined for lots of different types of athletes who need to make weight. And, essentially, at its base you start 7 to 10 days out, and you strip carb carbs out of the diet, because that works nicely because usually that's a deload work before the fight or whatever's coming up.
So, you strip carbs out of the diet, and then about five days out, you start drinking a lot of water. It shouldn't start as distilled water. Like, say, the first day, you're up to four liters. Next day, six liters. Next day, eight liters. And then, you'll hold eight liters until, say, Thursday night. Thursday, you're going to try to get in as much water as you can before 5pm.
After that, you're going to wait about two hours, and then you're actually going to ingest some sort of fatty meat or something and then really dry carbs. What works for a lot of people that I work with are either Rice Krispy treats or graham crackers, depending on if they've got gluten problems or not.
And that flushes the rest of the water out of your body. It actually makes you really tight, and makes it surprisingly hard to hold water even though you're trying to replace glycogen. The glucose works as a diuretic first, so you get really dry, and then in some cases, depending on the athlete, I'll actually have them take a couple shots of alcohol beforehand, which dries them out over through the rest of the night.
The next day, they're going to be really tight. Usually very easy to make weight. And then recomping after that is, again, starting with sea salt added to milk. Milk is incredibly good at recompositioning electrolytes, mineral content, and it makes everything hold later I found. You get the minerals back in balance, and then you recomp with anything from bananas to Pedialyte to whatever to just fill things back up and keep your protein content and fat levels decent through there.
And I would use MCTs. They get into the bloodstream fast. They fill the muscles up fast. You're basically recomping and supercompensating all of your energy stores. You want to try to get that in as much as possible that night if you're weighing in, so that the next day, you have time to adjust to that load and then you're ready to go for the fight.

Joel: Would you have any particulars, as far as fight day itself and as far as what you would eat or wouldn't eat? I always want to make sure the guys aren't eating something they're not used to. I want to make it something that they regularly incorporate in their diet, so they're not all of a sudden like, "What's going on?"

Kiefer: Yeah, exactly. That's the nice thing about fighters, because they have that whole day. They can go back to whatever their standard diet is that they're used to having before sparring practice or whatever it is that they know works best for them.

Joel: Yeah, exactly. Because the last thing you want to do is have poor digestion the day of the fight and be all over the place.

Kiefer: Yeah. That's why it's that night of. It's great to use just really simple carbs that just get in, get absorbed. And the milk and the sea salt really help because that just keeps you from getting upset stomachs or nasty intestinal stuff.

Joel: Do you have any thoughts on the actual cut itself? The traditionals from the sauna or exercises. Lately, some people have been doing salt baths and that sort of stuff. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Kiefer: It works. That's what I consider last resort. You should be able to plan appropriately to make weight without resorting to those kinds of things. I mean sometimes you have to, but probably the salt bath is the least performance decreasing of the methods. I've seen guys go into the steam sauna and when they get out of there, they've made weight, but they're cramping for the next 12 hours. So, I mean that's desperation. If you're in that position, you might already need to be thinking about a new strategy for the fight.

Joel: Let's say you're fighting at 185, and in the week of the fight, let's say seven days out, what do you think is a safe range? Where should guys stay in so they can safely and effectively drop?

Kiefer: I put in the safe range as 10%. 10% for someone who's decently lean, got a good muscular frame, you should be able to drop 10% of your body weight, easily recomp it within 12 . . .

Joel: So, basically 185 back in the low 200's. Yeah, that's probably about what we've found over the years is somewhere in that range, depending on the weight class.

Kiefer: Anything more than that, you'd start getting into performance problems.

Joel: Okay. This is a random question, but one of the things we see in chronic overload is a repetitive and inflammatory response, because every time you train, you're increasing cytokine production, you're increasing the inflammation. So, do you have any thoughts on how to use diet or supplements or anything to make sure that doesn't go from acute inflammation to chronic inflammation? Which, again, signals the brain and triggers a lot of bad stuff.

Kiefer: Right. Inflammation, of course, great hormetic response. You need it, because that triggers a lot of adaptive responses. Too much, of course, then you wipe out all of the adaptive responses that you just got.

Joel: Two different ones.

Kiefer: Yeah. So, diet, that's one reason I think carb backloading is working for a lot of people, is those huge insulin spikes are decreasing the amount of inflammation almost immediately. And then you're keeping energy stores high that, basically, allow your body to stay at a nice energy balance the whole time, which prevents chronic inflammation. I recommend sometimes up to 50 grams of creatine for some athletes a day.

Joel: 50 grams? Really? That's a lot.

Kiefer: 50 grams. Because it's a powerful anti-inflammatory and it's an antioxidant, so it, again, helps them to recover in some cases. That's not normal, but I've taken people up to that.

Joel: I know I read a few papers where they looked at Vitamin C, and they were looking at aerobically trained athletes, and they found I think it was a fairly moderate dose. Like two grams of Vitamin C actually decreased aerobic adaptation.

Kiefer: Really?

Joel: Yeah, because it decreased the ROS production and the oxygen production and lessened the signaling back to athletes. So, like I said, we want some signaling, but if we totally mute that with a bunch of stuff that negates the response that negates the response, then you tend to decrease signaling. So, it's a tricky balance.

Kiefer: It seems like during training, I know a lot of guys will introduce a lot of carbohydrates during the training session. I always try to encourage them to give like a 30 or 45 minute window from the start of training to before they start spiking insulin. Just to make sure they get that hormetic response and get that inflammatory reaction that will cause the reaction they're looking for, which is muscle growth or endurance or whatever their target is.

Joel: There's an interesting thing I was reading where they were looking at aerobic endurance stuff and aerobic power on very low carb or carb depleted, and what they found was it increased mitochondrial enzymes and aerobic enzymes. But somehow that didn't translate into performance, because when they'd actually look at performance tests, there was almost no difference.
So, I think part of the thing is, you're stimulating it, but your training is reduced because you don't have the glycogen in. So, your overall stimulus becomes less, and so you see this weird kind of output. I always try to think of how to try to minimize that with some sort of depleted cycling or some way to minimize that downside.

Kiefer: Or how do you take advantage of it.

Joel: Exactly.

Kiefer: The exact regulation, and then get a rebound effect to spike your endurance.

Joel: Yeah. There's got to be some way to manage that.

Kiefer: We should figure that out.

Joel: We should.

Kiefer: I'm sure we could.

Joel: Speaking of that, what are you working on these days? What's new?

Kiefer: Nothing too incredibly new. Just bringing out some information that's been sitting around for a little bit that's finally ready. Some cardio stuff, some new diet updates, there's been some new research that's been really interesting.
Actually, I've been kind of leaning towards helping diabetics a little bit. Some doctors have been using my diets in clinical settings and they're getting their patients off of cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, everything. So, it's kind of this interesting shift where I'm still servicing the performance community, and now I'm starting to look at the health community as well.

Joel: Well, why don't you tell everybody where they can find you, and get more information about what you . . .

Kiefer: All my main information and basically the portal to everything I do from YouTube to podcasts, even the podcast with Joel is on there, you can find it all through my site:

Joel: Thanks for the great information, and people should check it out.
And welcome back. Thanks again to Kiefer for doing that interview with us. Really interesting to get some interesting ideas and thoughts of how he would take his backloading and his carb backloading approach towards athletics and fighting.
To get some more discussion going and some ideas on nutrition and athletics performance, I brought in a couple of other experts and friends of mine to talk about how they approach nutrition. What they do as far as diet and supplements with their athletes.

So, of course, I have Howie with me, then we've added James Fitzgerald who was the 2007 CrossFit Games Champion, the first one out there. And then Mark McLaughlin from the PTC Performance Training Center down in Portland, Oregon. So, thanks to you guys for coming on.
And let's get the conversation started. I kind of just want to get a brief overview of what you guys do or don't do as far as nutrition with your athletes go. I know it's kind a sensitive subject. Different states have different regulations as far as what you can and can't prescribe.

James: I wasn't aware of that.

Man: He's a Canadian.

James: I just changed my prescription based on what I can and cannot do. How about you start.

Joel: There may be some losses pending.

James: I just changed my prescription [inaudible 23:58]

Mark: Since I work mostly with high school athletes, I have to get them to realize that there's more than one food group outside of a donut. So, with the nutrition that I do, which is very limited, it's just making sure they're consuming enough calories throughout the day. And then also, on a supplementation, it's nonexistent just because it's like, "Okay, you guys need to train right first. And then, as you get older, then the diet can come into play a little bit more."

Joel: I imagine parents' education is a big thing as well. Just getting the parents to understand the importance of making sure their kids have the right foods.

Mark: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And teaching, or not teaching them, but get them to educate themselves on what's good health choices for themselves, and then that kind of spills over into the kids.

Howie: Supplementation. Just speaking of that, if the diet's not in order and you're taking supplements, is that a waste of money? What do you think?

James: Yeah, no. I completely agree with you. It's not just for the high school athlete. It's for everyone on a day to day basis that if you don't have the best nutritional prescription relative to what your function is, relative to what you want to do, so if you don't have that in place, then I don't think you deserve actually to supplement. And if you are supplementing, then I'd want to fix the pieces that you don't have within your nutrition first before we look at what's required based upon supplementation. Supplementation is a supplement of what a food would be, so if people don't have that, especially for high school athletes or anyone in general for fitness. Then, yeah.
But I see how easy it is though to sort of go towards that route, because it looks like the next step in like, oh, that's going to help me do this. But unless you have a coach who really embodies that or understands it, then supplementation will be foremost until you get real good nutrition in and then see that, wow, by eating like that, I can train and do the kinds of things I want to do, you'll never see it. You'll never understand.

Joel: And I think something else. We've always talked about the importance of individualize in the training. And I think that gets lost in the diet room too, because just like not everyone is going to respond the same to a training program, not everybody should be on the same type of diet, even if they're in the same sport. People respond differently to different foods. Some people do well on low carb, some people don't.
Again, it comes down to the individual response of training, and how you're going to respond. Just because somebody else does well on a diet doesn't mean that you're going to or this athlete is going to as well.

James: Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. I think dealing with adults, what's going to work for me is totally different than what a 13, 14, 15 year-old high school athlete needs. And what they don't understand is, okay, can I get up in the morning to have breakfast early enough, or are they just kind rushing out and grabbing a Pop Tart or something like that. And then when they get to the gym, and you ask them why they're so fatigued, they're like, "Well, I've had one Pop Tart, a donut, and a piece of pizza." It's like, okay.

James: And that's where the learning occurs is to allow them to realize, okay, well, that's just what you did. Do you see how that's not the way that it's going to be able to work for us to still provide or perform.

Mark: Yeah, and then letting them go through a workout in that state to realize themselves, okay, yeah, I need to maybe make some changes. The training part is always the easiest, it's getting them to do the things outside of that arena where they can see the biggest improvements.

James: Yeah, I think picking on that point though, there is where the magic is, because when people can see that the nutritional pieces lead into good training, then that's where the magic is. Because if you get a genetically talented individual, and especially for kids, they can run off sugar, because, number one, their gut's super resilient, number two, they're just firing all the time, so they're basically on a glucose drip all day. And if they can operate like that and still be talented, they'll go into . . .
I mean, we've seen it in professional athletes that are 30 years-old and eat like shit. But they're so talented that that overrides what they need. And if all they get is just sugars to allow them to perform, then that's fine. And they really don't give a crap about where they're going to be when they're 55. So, there's a shit storm in there, because then that athlete is being seen as those young kids, as like, "Well, look at him. He's having Subway and Coke mid-game, so maybe that's things I can do too."
So, the magic has to occur with good nutrition, so the kid or the adult goes, "Now, that was a good training week." [snaps finger] There you go. It's because we ate that way, it's because you managed blood sugars, it's because you slept well.

Joel: I've literally seen - and you can probably talk about it in baseball since you've worked with baseball your whole life - I've literally seen somebody win an NFL NBP, and just have the rushing record for touchdowns eating Doritos and Mountain Dew before games. And the kids see that, and they think, "Oh, well, if he can do that and be at the highest level, I can." And the reality is, genetics can make up for a lot of it, and you can succeed despite your training, not because of it.

Howie: Yeah. Those are the exceptions, right? I mean there's always exceptions in everything, but I was always more curious that everyone wants the perfect diet. They want the diet that's going to be the best for your health, to get you to the leanest, to put on the most muscle, and perform the best, and those are probably four different prescriptions. And it always seems like everybody wants that one specific thing, but it's got to be individualized. The more information you have about that one person, you can cater it and get that right protocol. And it's going to take some time.

James: Yeah. Well, the question that I have for someone who says that is, what's the purpose behind you wanting to change your diet? So, what are you currently doing right now? Do you think that this new book or prescription is going to make a difference on it?
And then the education component based upon what those changes are going to do, because maybe if you ask a little more questions, they're not willing to put in the time required in order to do that. Therefore, you're just barking up a tree by making a prescription and giving this fancy diet that they're not even going to follow.
So, it's a behavior modification issue, it's not the diet itself as such. And teaching coaches who try to teach that to people, our first lesson is the life coaching piece, and then it's nutritional prescription, because then it's just the scientific piece.
But individuality is key, based upon the things I mentioned earlier of the resiliency of the person. So, some people can't use proteins the way other people can. Some people can't have dairy. Some people can't have gluten. So, my question is always, well, don't beat on dairy, gluten, and those other things, and don't write books about it and create drama around it. You should be asking why can't that person handle that? And no one seems to ask that question.
It's got to do with the resiliency piece, I think, in terms of their total system. Sleep, water, sunshine, all those things. Because there's some people that can eat that for like 80 years, and be very happy, you know? And live a long, balanced life, but we're trying to pick on a specific percentile.

Mark: Have you done special diets with your fighters, Joel? Or have you had people come in, and have you seen a change in performance from going one side to the other?

Joel: Yeah, well, MMA is one of those sports where the guys train hours on end, and a lot of them, at least the ones we work with, are trained twice a day. Other athletes train three times a day. So, you literally have a guy who is coming in to do his strength conditioning in the morning, he's coming back in to do his skill work, and when you're burning that many calories, the biggest thing you're going back to is just the basics.
If they don't get enough calories, they don't have full glycogen stores. Number one, they're not going to perform, but research also tells us that low glycogen stores chronically are one of those things that signal to the brain that something's going wrong. And that's one of the things that's a trigger and can be one of the signals for shifting the body into more of an over- trained state.
So, first and foremost, it's just getting them to understand the post- workout nutrition, making sure they're getting enough calories in, making sure they're getting water, and the biggest thing is just the basics. To me, I think we spend a lot of time discussing diets and super high-end crazy schemes when the reality is, there's so much just at the basic foundational level that needs to be covered and addressed and improved before you ever get to that point.
I think we need to take a step back from going to the top, and just get those basics covered. And MMA is a good example of that, because there's so many guys just not getting those basics covered. And they're trying to take creatine and 10 different supplements before they have enough calories and enough carbs in.

James: Yeah. And the thing that I about when you made the mention of the fighter in terms of the day to day is that calories is a big component of it, but also, you've got to get into the macro nutrients for the person as the next step, so that person's function is wake up, train consistently on a certain level of effort, rest.
So, the macro nutrients they need to be taking need to be digested quickly. So, you can see why people choose peanut butter and Gatorade and just sugar food and donuts, because it's a fast approach. It's in. it's digested, and then they can go and do their work. So, if you prescribe chicken and herb sauce and broccoli and a good sandwich, that's not being digested.

Joel: You're making Howie hungry, man.

James: That's not being digested, so if someone has that at lunch, number one, it doesn't taste good for an athlete. And number two, their brain says, "I'm not going to take that in fast enough, so that I can use it effectively for glycogen replenishment and recovery and things." And we forget about that. So, it can't just go the sugar route. You've got to find a middle ground in terms of what that is. It's tough.

Mark: Yeah. Maybe we should have Patrick get us some food while we we're over there.

James: Yeah. We'll test it out. I'll eat the chicken and broccoli. You eat the donuts. For 10 minutes. And we'll see how well the questions and the answers go based upon that.

Howie: When training, you're only as good as what you can recover from, right? And diet is a huge factor. I've goofed around, not scientifically obviously, but just played with my training and diet, and just seeing my HRV. I wake up and do it, and it definitely has a bearing when I add different foods in. And I know that's for me. So, I'm not going to go out and tell people, "Oh, you should do this." Because that's my protocol. You know what I mean?

James: Yeah, but that's a good one. And it does make sense. Because in starting using it, I thought that it was just a training piece that we'd see some differences in it. But we see emotional changes or acute emotional trauma do it. We see just food do it. And then we see training pieces create some changes in it.

Howie: Sure.

James: So, people were like, "Well, I've been off for three days, but this happened." And then we'd have a bigger discussion, and it's like a bad situation at home or something happened. That has an entire effect on the person when they do that. I think one point though I want to make though based upon the day to day that does work though for a broad audience that we can take from this maybe, is that breakfast routine and an end day, maybe a carb- loading end day. That may be carb backloading. That's one thing that we can control. I think people can control that. You wake up, and you get a quality piece in, and then throughout the day, you do enough that's required to function.
So, if it's supplementation, aminos, sugar, whatever the case may be, wrap it until the day is done, and then you can control the evening meal. So, if you get two big pieces in, that can start a good process of total calorie . . .

Joel: Management?

James: Lack of calorie restriction. Calorie management. And get enough things in. I think you can have like meat and veggies and your stuff in the evening, and then a quality breakfast, and throughout the day, if they screw up, well, they're just working off sugar anyway. So, it may be something to think about that could be broad for everyone.

Joel: Just to wrap things up. We talked about supplements earlier. We definitely want to make sure the diet is in check first. We have the foundational pieces, but are there any kind of core supplements that you do recommend for people? I mean, multi, fish oil, that kind of stuff, is there anything that you guys recommend across the board that most people should be taking?

Howie: I was going to say, again, when you said experts at the beginning, you were referring to them, not me.

Mark: And not me either.

Joel: We're in Washington. We're fine. All right. But in Arizona you might get arrested or not.
[inaudible 35:54]

Howie: I take Joel's fish oil. What is it BioForce?

Joel: Fish oil, yeah.

Howie: BioForce fish oil.

Mark: And how's that working for you?

Howie: It's awesome.

Joel: Multi?

Howie: It's great. Second on the course.

James: And I don't take fish oil. There's the difference.

Howie: So, is that a no? You guys don't have any basic kind of multi anything?

James: Mine's really detailed in answer, because I'm very . . .

Joel: Individualized.

James: Yeah, it's very individualized. I'll say that. I'm also highly interested in functional medicine, and I have been for a number of years since I've been working with medical doctors and naturopaths in terms of the full terrain. And of course, they're heavily based on supplementation to fix sick, but I saw lots of pieces within that that can improve people's health that I thought was amazing.
So, I do have a supplement line, and we do sell supplements based upon what we feel is the best and necessary for that person. And I think, at times, there are pieces even with the fixes like I mentioned with a good diet, that doesn't help things. So, you need to have some things that are thrown in there that can be very beneficial for it.
It's not a disclaimer, but we do have a lot of people go through our medical system in order to create prescriptions for that, because I think some of it, even the fish oil conversation, which maybe it's another time, another topic, but if overused or underused it can be shown as being ineffective.

Joel: Or just detrimental [inaudible 37:18].

James: Exactly, yeah. So, if you make that membrane work differently, you don't want it to. That may not be so good. So, I take the approach of having it still very individualized but used quite a bit.

Joel: The main thing is, the more we get together and talk, the more individualized everything becomes. So, just really individualization and not generalization.

Mark: So, we're going to come up with a special program for Howie, right?

Howie: I thought you were going to say for everybody, and that was going to make me laugh.

James: Well, no. You're number two, so you don't need to change anything.

Mark: That's right.

Joel: Well, I'm not number one, so . . .

James: That's because you're not taking the multi.

Joel: Exactly. I want to thank you guys again for coming. Mark, where can everybody find more about the PTC, and what you guys are up to?

Mark: At

Howie: You've got to get rid of that period.

James: And that's the number one, right?

Mark: What's that?

James: Is that the number one?

Mark: Yeah, number one. Thank you. Thank you.

James: Who has

Joel: Who had Does somebody have that?

Mark: You know, I don't know. Well, I'm having my research team look into that as we speak right now. They are hard at it.

James: It just happened.

Mark: They're back at the office, and that's how quick we get on things.

James: That's how you roll. That's how you roll.

Mark: Yeah, absolutely.

James: Do I hear it in the background? You have [RP1's] trademark.
[inaudible 38:27]

Mark: Thank you.

Joel: And, James, what about you?


Joel: Nice and simple. Howie, can we find you anywhere?

Howie: Nowhere.

Mark: [Mexico].

James: He's right here.

Joel: Do you even have a Facebook?

Howie: No Facebook.

James: Really.

Joel: Do you have a Twitter?

Howie: No Facebook. No Twitter. Nothing. I have an email, and you're not getting it.

Joel: All right. Well, you guys can find more videos from us here at And make sure to enter your name and email to stay up to date and get the latest videos. We will of course be back next week with another great episode, and in the meantime, check us out: or, and we'll see you again next episode.

3 Responses to Sports Nutrition Roundtable

  1. joeyvantienen says:

    Nice roundtable Joel. One question though, was Lyle McDonald not available? He always was one of your forum’s most busiest (and valiable!) members.


    Joey van Tienen
    The Netherlands

  2. […] 8 Weeks out – Sprorts nutrition roundtable. Joel Jamieson isännöi hyvää keskustelua urheilijoiden ravintoon liittyen. […]

  3. […] Sports Nutrition Roundtable by Joel Jamieson […]

Leave a Reply