In today’s digest we bring you articles on Sheinelle Jones Can’t Stop Raving About Her New Diet, But Is It Good for You?, Running Workout, Your Diet Isn’t Building Any Muscle and Tip: Should You Bench With Your Feet Up?. Hope you enjoy them…
Sheinelle Jones Can’t Stop Raving About Her New Diet, But Is It Good for You?
Eating healthier can feel hard — just ask Sheinelle Jones. The co-anchor of Weekend TODAY and co-host of the 3rd Hour of TODAY made it her New Year’s resolution to “eat clean” in 2017, 2018, and (yup) 2019. “It sounds silly, but ‘eat clean in 2020’ doesn’t rhyme,” she tells GoodHousekeeping.com. “I didn’t want another […]
Eating healthier can feel hard — just ask Sheinelle Jones. The co-anchor of Weekend TODAY and co-host of the 3rd Hour of TODAY made it her New Year’s resolution to “eat clean” in 2017, 2018, and (yup) 2019.
“It sounds silly, but ‘eat clean in 2020’ doesn’t rhyme,” she tells GoodHousekeeping.com. “I didn’t want another year to go by and to set a resolution I made years before.” But after trying cutting carbs, counting calories, and even eating keto, she’s finally found a successful way to make good on her resolution to eat more mindfully: by following a plant-based diet.
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She’s not the only person jumping in on the plant-based trend. New cookbooks like Mostly Plants, products like Banza chickpea pasta, and meal delivery companies like Plantable all extol the benefits of eating more veggies, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and make it easier than ever to do so. But is eating plant-based really that much better for you than keto, paleo, or any of the other diets you’re currently seeing all over Instagram?
“What I love about plant-based diets is that they promote inclusivity over exclusivity and foods that are as close to their original, natural state as possible,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “The idea is that the more you can add veggies to your plate, the more likely you are to displace the calories from less nutritious sources. That can be beneficial for your health and weight overall.”
Here’s everything you need to know about following a plant-based diet:
What can you eat on a plant-based diet?
The definition of a plant-based diet can depend on who you ask. Generally, it is an eating style that emphasizes real, whole foods that come from plants, including:
- Vegetables: kale, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, squash, etc.
- Whole grains: brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc.
- Legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, beans, etc.
- Plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh
- Nuts and nut butters
- Plant-based oils
- Spices and herbs
- Unsweetened beverages: coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc.
For Sheinelle, her typical day went something like this:
- Breakfast: oatmeal with sliced banana
- Lunch: black bean soup
- Snack: roasted kale chips with nutritional yeast
- Dinner: lentil pasta with homemade tomato sauce
What can’t you eat on a plant-based diet?
What you decide to avoid is up to you. For the most part, people on plant-based diets eat less of the following:
- Fast food
- Desserts and sweetened beverages
- Refined grains: white rice, white bread, refined pasta, etc.
- Packaged foods: cookies, chips, sugary cereals, etc.
- Processed meats: bacon, sausage, etc.
But what about meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, and all those other favorites? Sheinelle decided to eat mostly vegan for the first month, but plans on enjoying eggs and seafood after the fact — and that can still count as plant-based.
“I think many people get a little caught up in the idea of ‘plant-based’ meaning vegetarian or vegan and that’s simply not the case,” London says. “Plant-based does not mean eliminating food groups or lean sources of protein in totality! It’s much friendlier than that.”
She recommends choosing low-fat, unsweetened dairy products and dairy alternatives (like unsweetened soy milk) to get sufficient potassium, magnesium, and calcium. “These nutrients counterbalance the effects of sodium in the diet and have the effect of minimizing bloat,” London adds. Adding some seafood to your plate of veggies will also help supply your body with cognition-boosting omega-3’s.
Plus, it’s not realistic to assume you’ll never eat or drink something you love again. “I don’t want to live my life where I can’t have a cinnamon roll,” Sheinelle says. “Even if you do 70/30 plant-based eating, I think your body kind of feels a difference. That’s kind of where I am.”
How do you transition to a plant-based diet?
Before she tried her plant-based diet, Sheinelle felt that snacking — especially on the sweet stuff — tripped her up, not to mention all the free food (pizza!) in the TODAY studio. To make good on her resolution, she enlisted the help of meal delivery service Plantable on the recommendation of her friend. The 28-day plan had her choosing her own breakfast — usually oatmeal with banana from the office cafeteria — and snacks (like trail mix), and then eating prepared meals for lunch and dinner.
While she found that less prep work and shopping made it easier to stick to her new plan, the built-in nutrition coaching from Plantable also helped her navigate different situations as they came up. Now that she’s finished her month-long trial, Sheinelle plans on implementing some of the lessons she’s learned in her own kitchen in addition to ordering a few meals from Plantable à la carte.
You don’t need to subscribe to a meal plan to start a plant-based diet though. London advises trying the following first:
- Eat more veggies, more often whenever you can.
- Switch your typical portion sizes for meat and vegetables.
- Fill up on a salad or veggie-heavy soup before your main meal.
- Cook with plant-based oils, like olive, canola, sesame, and peanut.
- Snack on nuts and seeds for more fiber and protein.
- Sip on unsweetened coffee and tea.
- Emphasize real, whole foods versus processed ones.
- Enjoy sweets and treats as indulgences in smaller amounts.
Is plant-based the best diet?
Yes, a plant-based diet is 100% the way to go, London says. “Plant-based eating is a holistic approach to better health, but in a tangible, simple, and actionable way that won’t overwhelm you,” she says. “The reason why fad diets backfire is because they’re motivating at first, but ultimately require elimination and restriction, which isn’t a way of life! That’s the beauty of Sheinelle’s plan.”
Sheinelle herself noticed a big difference just a few days after starting her plant-based diet. She wakes up more easily, feels more present, has more energy, and noticed her persistent stomach pains finally went away. “It felt really good to be able to wake up in the morning and not have a stomach ache, not feel indigestion,” she says.
She also saw a change in how her clothes fit. “Dresses I hadn’t been able to zip in more than a year, I’ve been able to wear,” Sheinelle shared. “I feel like I lost more inches than weight.”
Her next mission: passing on what she’s learned about healthy plant-based eating to her family, including her mom, husband, and children.
“There’s this notion that if you eat healthy it can’t taste good, but that’s just not true,” she says. Amen to that!
Sheinelle Jones Can’t Stop Raving About Her New Diet, But Is It Good for You? was originally published at LINK
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The complete workout is made of 3 Complexes (circuits) that each have 3 exercise that are focused on improving the below functions: Function A: improved ankle mobility for better foot strikes Function B: increased flexibility mid thigh to mid torso to lengthen your stride Function C: improved head positioning and spinal alignment for better arm […]
The complete workout is made of 3 Complexes (circuits) that each have 3 exercise that are focused on improving the below functions:
Function A: improved ankle mobility for better foot strikes
Function B: increased flexibility mid thigh to mid torso to lengthen your stride
Function C: improved head positioning and spinal alignment for better arm swing mechanics
With this 9-minute sample, I’m giving you Complex 3 that improves the above mentioned functions while seriously strengthening and lengthening your entire posterior chain from your ankles up to the base of your skull with special emphasis on your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors.
You’ll be doing 3 rounds with the below exercises. Focus on good form and a relaxed steady rhythm!
Your Diet Isn’t Building Any Muscle
Your uber-healthy or trendy diet couldn’t pack pounds on a Pomeranian. Here’s why. by Bryan Krahn Listen, you know that super popular diet you’re following, the one that everyone online can’t stop buzzing about? It’s not working for you. I know it’s healthy. It may even be easy to follow, or make you feel intellectually […]
Your uber-healthy or trendy diet couldn’t pack pounds on a Pomeranian. Here’s why.
Listen, you know that super popular diet you’re following, the one that everyone online can’t stop buzzing about?
It’s not working for you.
I know it’s healthy. It may even be easy to follow, or make you feel intellectually superior to those luddites still eating the way we did back in the dark ages (a.k.a. the ’90’s).
But it’s obviously failing you miserably where it matters most: accomplishing your goal, which was supposedly to get big and strong.
Ah yes, the goal. As T Nation grand scholar Dan John says, the goal should always be to keep the goal the goal. But sometimes it seems, the more we learn, the more elusive the goal becomes.
Because that’s the curious thing about information, even good information – too much of it can divert your focus from the really important things you need to do to get things accomplished.
Here are a couple of the problems, as I see ’em:
1. You’re trying to get big doing some form of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting (IF) diets have their appeal. Some love the reduced time spent shopping and cooking (and eating), and the end of the day pig-out can work well for those who need to tighten up but still love to eat big once a day.
In my opinion, the best thing about IF plans is the effect they’ve had on bodybuilding ideology. These plans have almost single-handedly slaughtered one of the industries most sacred cows, meal frequency.
You young whippersnappers may not believe this, but there was a time that eating six meals a day was the minimum. In fact, the truly hardcore ate upwards of 8 or more meals a day, each consumed every 2 hours with OCD-inspired precision that would even make Howard Hughes say, “Dude, really, lighten the fuck up.”
As you might imagine, this led to some peculiar behavior. Suddenly guys who were 20 weeks out from the Mr. Moosehead bodybuilding show wouldn’t leave the house without camping coolers filled with dry chicken breasts and rice and rubbery broccoli.
I even had a friend who used to stuff beef jerky and sandwich meats into his pants before heading out to the club, lest he’d miss a meal while getting his Diet Coke on. Fortunately for him, his game was as lame as his diet, so he never had to explain to any willing female why his boxers smelled like the deli counter at the Piggly Wiggly.
So for that, I applaud fasting diets.
But for a hard-gainer with a goal of packing on mass, these plans are among the worst approaches you can follow.
Use logic, son – you’re having trouble gaining mass. Your big issue – provided you’re not following Chuck Norris’s Total Gym workout or doing shots off a stripper’s behind til 4 AM every night – is that your hummingbird metabolism is sucking up more calories than you’re taking in.
Some guys require over 5000 calories a day or more to build muscle. So how does shortening your eating window to whatever you can stuff down your pie-hole while watching Game of Thrones before bed make accomplishing this goal easier?
Even if there are some dubious hormonal benefits to not eating for 12 or more waking hours at a stretch, in terms of muscle-building potential, it doesn’t compare to simply eating during those hours.
To quote just about anybody on the T Nation staff, eating is a hormonal event. Insulin goes up, cortisol goes down, protein synthesis turns on, and catabolism shuts down. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
Still, some skinny guys will dispute this. They’ll complain of poor appetite, lousy digestion, a busy work/school/social life, and other challenges that make eating frequently uncomfortable or impractical.
Poor digestion is frustrating, although depending on the severity, there are ways to alleviate it – some simple, like taking probiotics or eating more fermented foods; others a little more involved. In my experience, this is where working with a good natural health practitioner can be very helpful.
Another time honored method of improving digestion, ripped straight from TC’s Big Bad Book of Knowledge, is to eat less garbage.
In other words, if you frequently leave your bathroom smelling like Vamonos Pest Control just did a 3-day meth cook in it, the problem likely is your food choices, not your food timing.
As for the other challenges, to this I must respectfully say, grow a set. No one said this getting big shit was easy.
Eating – along with shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning – is a chore. All but the most monk-like bodybuilders will admit that the whole process can be a major pain in the ass.
When you have a high calorie target, eating to grow can almost feel like a full-time job – which is why some bodybuilders eschew typical vocations in favor of bouncing gigs or jumping out of cakes at Zach Efron’s birthday party.
But almost every skinny guy who became a muscular guy had to roll up their shirtsleeves and do it until they built an appreciable amount of mass. Then they could slack off a bit.
Fasting, on the other hand, isrelatively easy. Sleep in late – hard to be hungry when you’re sleeping – and then replace eating with coffee and stimulants and mental distractions, all the while relishing your rationalized laziness.
So the question becomes, are self-proclaimed hardgainers latching onto fasting diets for the reputed efficacy of the system, or because it validates their lazy bastard lifestyle?
Just because something “works” for your life doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. It may be all warm and fuzzy to say, “The best diet/program is the one that suits your lifestyle,” but if the end results of said lifestyle aren’t fulfilling, perhaps you might consider enduring some temporary discomfort to accomplish what you really want.
Solution: Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between some 8 meal-a-day life-plan and eating once a day.
Fact is, when you’re not used you to eating big, it’s best to try to keep things as easy as possible. Here are some easy tips:
- Have breakfast within an hour of waking up. Make sure it has at least 50 grams of protein. If you’re not hungry in the morning, or meat and eggs are too much of a chore, make a shake with 3 scoops of Metabolic Drive®, blueberries, some yogurt or almond milk, and frozen spinach (you won’t taste it). Add a handful of unroasted nuts and a few Flameout®.
- Have a solid lunch of some kind. Try to hit 50 grams of meat-based protein. Eat your protein first if you’re the vaginal type that usually taps out half-way through meals. If you can’t cook, buy a deli chicken and eat half of it, skin and all, and make a promise to yourself to eat the other half later. Better yet, eat the whole thing. Some rice would be an ideal accompaniment here, provided it doesn’t leave you asleep at your desk in an hour. Make sure at least two vegetables make a Hitchcockian cameo appearance on your plate.
- Add whichever Plazma protocol suits your goals. Good peri-workout nutrition will do much of the dietary heavy lifting for you, so you don’t have to be as anal about your other meals. Follow the protocol to the letter. Don’t try to outsmart it. You won’t be able to MacGyver something similar out of skim milk powder, cured bacon, and wood chips, and your time can be spent doing other things, like shopping, cooking, or talking to girls.
- Have a solid meal within an hour of finishing your workout, ideally a few hours before bed. Include some protein and enough starchy carbs to choke the Polish army. Rub your food belly.
The above plan is certainly not complete or “ideal,” but it is “doable” and will work decidedly better at adding mass than finding ways to avoid the kitchen.
IF, after reading all this, you still insist on intermittent fasting, at least do it the smart way: slug down a pulse or two of Mag-10® Protein Pulsing Protocol every few hours in-between your widely spaced meals.
2. You’re trying to get big eating a strict Paleolithic diet.
Paleo is a good diet, arguably the best of the bookstore diets. I’d hasten a guess that if everybody ate this way, type-2 diabetes would go the way of bubonic plague, we’d all be healthier, leaner, pay less in health care costs, and never have to debate whether banning 32-ounce sodas from school lunch programs is a good idea ever again.
So you’ve embraced Paleo. You’ve resolved to not put anything in your mouth that Rae Dawn Chong’s character in Quest For Fire wouldn’t put in hers (prehistoric fellating scene notwithstanding).
By all accounts, it’s a “healthy” decision. Avoiding any man-made foods in favor of the natural ones our ancestors supposedly ate eliminates a lot of crap, such as trans fats, refined sugars, and gluten, a protein composite that’s supposedly been linked to a growing list of digestive and cognitive disorders.
But in your quest – not for fire, but for mass – is this bringing you closer towards your goal?
The problem with the Paleo movement is that what started as a sensible, easy paradigm to help lay-people differentiate good foods from bad ones has become something that must be followed dogmatically in all situations, no exceptions.
Thing is, dogma and dieting rarely mix well. All too often, an innocent idea gets twisted and turned and perverted like young Anakin Skywalker after too many lunch dates with Senator Palpatine.
Paleo juicer recipes? Paleo exercise? Paleo ice cream?
As a result, it’s led to enormous ideological cherry picking. For example: thinking you’re “doing Paleo” by eating a mechanically separated chicken salad from Chili’s in an airport lounge while watching ESPN highlights on your iPad is almost as ridiculous as my personal favorite – a Paleo meal delivery service app on your smart phone.
Tell me, would a caveman have access to that app?
I hear you scoffing. It’s Paleo eating, not Paleo living. It’s eating in accordance with our eons-old genotype, not trying to reenact the Flintstones.
You argue that while you may have 99.5% of the same genes as Joe Paleo, he lived in a spartanly decorated cave and spent his days foraging and hunting; you’re from the suburbs and the closest you’ve come to ancestral living was that time you camped out in front of the mall for two days to get first crack at an iPhone.
Trying to live the way Joe Paleo did is impractical, you say, not to mention illogical, and doesn’t suit your goals, and that trumps ideology. Cool. You’re invoking the Bruce Lee principle of absorbing what’s useful and discarding what’s not. Gold star.
So if you’re prepared to make those concessions on the basis of logic and practicality, then you must be willing to concede that if the goal is something Joe Paleo wasn’t the least bit concerned with – getting big – you may have to venture beyond your strict Paleo limitations.
Joe Paleo may have had better health markers than the typical sedentary yokel shuffling across the McDonalds parking lot, but he was hardly cover-boy material. And why should he have been? He was concerned with ensuring his hairy-knuckled kids survived the winter, not benching 315.
In other words, the extent that we can apply Paleo logic to our modern-day physical aspirations is limited. To be successful in attaining your goal, you’ll likely have to modify it.
So, you may want to consider adding some very useful things into your Paleo approach, like certain non-Paleo foods.
Although you can get big and strong on a strict Paleo diet, it’s a hell of lot easer to hit 4000 calories a day or more when you can eat more foods: starches, commercial meats, oils, and especially peri-workout nutrition – all of which can sourced to be free of most of the stuff you were trying to avoid in the first place before you got consumed by the dogma and started riding that high horse of yours.
Here’s another thought. Joe Paleo may not have had access to many of the luxuries that you have, but that doesn’t mean if he did he wouldn’t have used them.
Imagine if you could hop into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and actually meet Joe Paleo. If he found out that you were deliberately making life hard on yourself when you have so many options available to help you, he’d probably club you in the nuts and piss on your fire, or at least unfriend you on Facebook.
After all, it was early man’s brain and his ability to develop new skills and technologies that ultimately ensured his survival.
To that end, another movie should be required viewing for every Paleo zealot: Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001.
If you haven’t seen it, in the opening scene, titled The Dawn of Man, a tribe of early hominins forages for food in the desert.
They’re meek and passive. And after another decidedly more alpha tribe scares them away from their watering hole, they’re forced to spend the night in an exposed cave on the wrong side of town.
The next day, they awaken to find a mysterious black monolith at their feet, and when our timid ape-men touch the monolith – which represents knowledge – they grow confident and assertive.
They discover how a bone could be a useful tool, and a weapon. Emboldened, the hominins return to the watering hole, kill the leader of the rival tribe, and take back their real estate.
In other words, their primitive ways allowed them to survive, but once they adopted better ways, they thrived – and proceeded to kick ass across the Serengeti.
To ignore a technological advance when it could help you reach your goal just to conform to an ideology would be, well, uncivilized.
Solution: If you’re trying to get big and strong but wish to follow a healthy Paleo approach, a superior option is to follow what T Nation coach Nate Miyaki calls “Paleo plus sports nutrition”.
It’s simply a whole-food diet emphasizing a variety of unprocessed foods combined with a smart peri-workout nutrition protocol that matches your goal. Healthy, uncomplicated, and above all, effective.
That’s It – For Now
In the end, most everything “works,” but just because something works well for certain populations doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ideally suited to reach your goals.
Decide what you want and figure out exactly what you need to do to get there. Then establish your priorities, eliminate distractions, and get to work.
And above all, keep the goal the goal.
Tip: Should You Bench With Your Feet Up?
Charles Poliquin used to have a term for guys who bench-pressed with their legs off the floor and their knees bent at a 45-degree angle. He called them “future orthopedic patients.” He thought that benching that way was plain stupid and totally useless, unless maybe Ludmilla, the one-eyed Russian former Olympic shotputter who works in […]
Charles Poliquin used to have a term for guys who bench-pressed with their legs off the floor and their knees bent at a 45-degree angle. He called them “future orthopedic patients.”
He thought that benching that way was plain stupid and totally useless, unless maybe Ludmilla, the one-eyed Russian former Olympic shotputter who works in custodial services at the gym was mopping up around the bench press and you had to lift up your legs because you were afraid of getting a meaty backhand across the face for mucking up her clean floor.
I’ve always thought it was a stupid way to bench, too, and I can’t help but shoot condescending stares at any moron I see doing it.
That’s why it was particularly painful to read this new study. It seems, cough, hem, haw, that benching with your feet off the floor actually increases the involvement of the pecs, delts, triceps, and even the muscles in the forearms.
But then I thought about it a bit and decided that their findings, while legitimate, weren’t applicable to anyone who wants to add muscle or get stronger.
What They Did
Spanish scientists recruited 20 young men and carefully established their 1 RMs (the most weight they could lift for one rep). They then wired them up with enough electrodes to make them look like the dudes in a Marvel Comics origin story, just before something went horribly wrong and turned them into super heroes or super villains that spat lighting bolts out of their wazoo.
After thoroughly warming up, the subjects performed 8 reps of bench press with 60% of their 1 RM with either their feet on the ground or their feet elevated. They did a set of 8 reps using a 2:2 tempo (both lowering and raising the bar to a count of 2).
After an appropriate rest period, the participants repeated the lifts, doing the opposite (feet up or feet down) of their first test.
What They Found
Doing bench presses with the legs up significantly increased the recruitment of the pectoralis major (clavicular portion, sternal portion, and costal portion), anterior deltoid, triceps brachii (medial head), forearms (flexor digitorum), rectus abdominis, external oblique, and rectus femoris muscles.
This prompted the authors of the study to write, in Yoda-speak, the following: “To perform the bench press exercise with flexed hips could be recommended for training in sports where the upper limbs and hip flexor muscles are required.”
How to Use This Info
While I don’t doubt the findings of this study, I’m still not going to do or recommend the “legs up” bench press. I’ve got several reasons. For one, the slow tempo they used in the study doesn’t reflect how people normally bench and I’m pretty sure that lifting explosively, or at least quickly, would show a different recruitment pattern.
Secondly, their study showed that there’s more activation of the rectus femoris in the legs-up bench than there is in the conventional bench. The trouble with that is, the bench, when it’s done with any amount of significant weight, is actually a whole-body lift with all kinds of involvement from the legs.
Clearly, these guys were using a weight that was so light that it didn’t require any drive from their legs. If they had used a heavier weight, it would surely have shown a higher level of recruitment of the rectus femoris than just lifting up your legs so Ludmilla can mop under your feet.
Third, other studies have shown the opposite – that the conventional bench recruits more muscle than the legs-up version. (Of course, those studies used a BOSU ball underneath the lumbar spine to introduce instability, and the weight of the lifter plus the weight on the bar just might have smushed the ball down so it was, in effect, close to being a flat or semi-flat surface.)
Lastly, recruitment of motor units isn’t the end-all and be-all of hypertrophy or strength. What matters more is the mechanical loading the muscle fibers are subjected to.
Look at it this way, if you were to put on a chicken costume, climb atop your house and jump off, you’d recruit a whole lot of pectoralis-muscle fibers as you frantically sought to achieve flight, but all the flapping in the world wouldn’t lead to additional strength or size.
What you need is adequate load, but if you attempted legs-up benches with much more than the 60% of 1 RM used in the Spanish study, you’d eventually run into the same problem you do with any type of instability training – having to balance the bar lengthens the amount of time between the eccentric and concentric part of a movement, resulting in a much-impaired stretch-shortening cycle, which impedes strength gains.
Also, the limiting factor in any kind of instability training becomes the strength of the stabilizer muscles involved in the lift. In other words, muscle fiber recruitment of the chest, delts, and triceps ultimately would suffer because the amount of weight you’d need to coax the muscle to grow would likely be more than you could balance and keep from ending up an orthopedic patient.
The Best Bench Press Tip
Bench Press Like a Boss
- Jose M. Muyor, et al. “Evaluation and comparison of electromyographic activity in bench press with feet on the ground and active hip flexion,” PLOS One, June 14, 2019.
Tip: Should You Bench With Your Feet Up? was originally published at LINK