Power Nutrition Q&A- Issue 2

Medical Cannabis and the Strength Athlete

Q: Hey I used to read your articles way back and one of my buddy’s mentioned you started your own website so I had to check it out. I actually saw one of your articles in High Times magazine. I didn’t know you wrote for them too. I thought you just did work for the bodybuilding and powerlifting mags. Looks like you are moving on up eh? Anyways before I go on a rant I did have a question. I really did like the article you did and was wondering if you will be writing any more about medical cannabis and how it can work with athletes and for patients. Thanks again

Yours in strength,

“Toking” Billy Navi

A: Hey Billy it’s good to hear from you man. It looks like I am hearing back from some of my old crew from PL USA and I am happy to know that. Yes, I did do some work for High Times magazine. My article on brain trauma and athletic recovery and cannabis was featured on the cover of the March 2019 issue. I will leave the online link below for those that may have missed it. Well to answer your question, I am working on several new articles in relation to medical cannabis as well as its relation to athletes. As you know I live in Canada and back in 2018 recreational cannabis use became legal. This has opened up the eyes of a lot of people that once frowned upon cannabis due to the heavy propaganda spearheaded by the failed “War on Drugs” by our neighbors to the south. The reality is that cannabis has plenty to offer several different health issues. For someone to say that it doesn’t, is pure ignorance and a lack of scientific understanding. The days of “Reefer Madness” propaganda is over and now is the time to let science show you what it can and can’t do.

The problem with many is that it becomes a political agenda and all that does is keep you closed-minded which in the long run hinders those patients that need it. I have seen documentaries where parents of severely sick children that are benefiting from medical cannabis have to move across the country to a “Legal State” only so they don’t have to worry about being arrested to help their child. Or even worse have their child taken from them only to get lost in the system from Child Protective Services. What kind of Fucking Stupidity is this?

This makes no sense whatsoever especially when liquor and cigarettes are available on every street corner convenience store. In fact, if you go back a hundred years before Big Pharma latched their teeth into the country, cannabis tinctures were heavily promoted for different health conditions and filled pharmacy shelves. Isn’t it weird how in America a once common medicine became the “Devil’s Lettuce” overnight? Now I don’t want to go off on a tangent here because I will save that for a future article, but you can rest assured that I will be writing articles on medical cannabis and what it can offer athletes as well as those who suffer from different health conditions. Here is the link I promised you. I hope you like the article.

https://hightimes.com/health/sports-pot-role-cannabis- athletic-recovery/

Science is Proving Medical Cannabis to be the Real Deal

My Article Making the Cover of High Times Magazine

Cheat Meals for the Win

Q: Hey I had a question for you in regards to cheat meals. So do you recommend them? Do you give them to your athletes? Do they have any actual benefit? My current coach doesn’t believe in them at all so I was just wondering what your thoughts are on this topic. Thanks in advance.

“Hungry” Hannah Gibson

A: Well Hannah, it looks like you have food on your mind. I’m just teasing you because as an athlete that is one of the most important things that crosses your mind several times per day. Whether it’s when to eat, how much to eat, can I eat that, should I eat more, should I eat less, and the saga continues. Now, this is a very good question and there are different viewpoints on it. Not only that but the sport that you compete in will also play a factor. The implementation of a cheat meal for one of my bikini competitors versus a 350-pound professional strongman does give way to how to layout this technique. So let me give you what I do and then you can make a decision as to if it suits your needs.

Who Needs a Cheat Meal?

First off I think a cheat meal in general terms is a great way to take a mental break from your dieting program. This is both in the offseason and precontest for all athletes of different sports. No matter if you are a bodybuilder in the offseason who is eating tons of clean calories it can still get a little boring even though your food intake is high. On the other end of the scale, you may be dieting for a photo shoot to make the cover of a women’s fitness magazine and your calories have been lowered by your coach. Both ways a cheat meal can be welcomed to help the mental aspect and avoid the monotony that occurs from sticking to a regimented diet no matter where the caloric content lies. So from this point of view cheat meals can provide a much-needed break that further helps you stick to the diet as you have something to look forward to.

Now the question bears do you actually need one from a performance and physique standpoint? This is where many variables must be considered and from here the timing, amount, frequency, and allotted food choices can be constructed for the individuality of each athlete. Even a client’s blood work is something I look at when constructing this part of their nutrition plan. Then you must consider where the person is in their training cycle, how close to a competition they are and are they on track with where they need to be in terms of reaching their goals in this timeline? So as you can see there are many things to consider and it’s not as simple as saying, “Hey Bobby go and gorge yourself on pizza and wings with a six-pack of beer cause you deserve it, buddy!” If life was only that simple eh?

Now if one of my athletes is very Insulin sensitive and processes carbs very efficiently a cheat meal can benefit them especially if they are very depleted before a bodybuilding or physique competition. One of my Asian competitors who are now Pro Physique would need not have a cheat meal, but an entire cheat day to fill out. Once again this is very rare but he has a super-fast metabolism and his Insulin sensitivity is amazing. This is validated by his blood readings for his Oral Glucose Tolerance test and his HB-A1C scores. In fact the next day he would not only look full and jacked but he would actually lose more fat that week when it was implemented religiously. Now do that same technique with a 35-year-old mother of two with a sluggish metabolism who shows signs of Insulin resistance and an underworking thyroid, and you are just asking for trouble. You can expect a whole week of sacrifice in the gym and in the kitchen to go right out the window and may even go backward on her results.

Monitoring your Blood Glucose Levels is Critical

For some clients, I will give a responsible cheat meal, and for others, I will do a refeed with clean food sources. Now when I say a responsible cheat meal that’s exactly what I mean. For most of my male clients that may be 3-5 pieces of pizza followed by some ice cream. So as you can see I didn’t say go down to your local Bob’s Homestyle Buffet and eat 13 plates of gravy laden meat and tatters along with another 4 plates of desserts of every kind under the sun. That is overdoing it, putting undue stress no only on your digestive system but also on your liver.

For clients with fast metabolic rates typically ectomorph’s with excellent glucose readings a cheat meal will do more for them in terms of results. For those endomorph clients with sluggish metabolic rates and poor glucose utilization then a clean refeed day often works better. It’s not that those clients that don’t have the best metabolisms don’t ever get a cheat meal, they do, but it has to be monitored much more closely as things can mess up much faster.

So yes I do offer cheat meals to clients that are in need of them either from a mental perspective or would benefit their physique. But the caveat is that just like training, it must be customized to the individual person. Not to be forgotten is their genetic makeup, blood profile, where they are in their cycle, what drugs they are using, and what would be the positive or negative outcome of such a meal. With all these bases covered then I would decide what each client should get to eat and how much. I would rather have a client following my meal plans 90% of the time with an allocated 10% cheat meals, than to have them think they are following 100% strict only to have them go off the rails and binge without telling me. Even the strictest of athletes need a mental break not only from their training at times but also from their diet. This is where cheat meals come into play and can make getting ready for a Bodybuilding or Bikini competition that much more fun and not seem like a horrible experience.

If you have any questions or are looking for a custom program design please feel free to contact me at aricciuto@nutritionxp3.com

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