Is Beet Juice Really a Performance-Enhancing “Drug”? Digging In…

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(Photo: Foodthinkers)

The following is a guest post by Mark McClusky, the editor of Wired.com and founding editor of Wired Playbook. Previously, he was a reporter at Sports Illustrated and a member of the baseball analytics collective, Baseball Prospectus.

Can “juicing” for performance enhancement sometimes involve juice alone?  Beet juice, spinach, celery, or chard, perhaps?  In this post, we look at fact versus fiction, dosing, and results you can potentially replicate.

I’ve added some thoughts of my own in brackets. In other random news, I’m finally on Instagram! Here I am, and here is a pic of Tony Robbins palming my entire face.

Now, back to our piece…

Enter Mark

The latest craze in sports drinks for Olympic athletes isn’t something citrusy from one of the big sports labs. It’s not chocolate milk, which has been shown in study after study to be a great, low-cost drink for muscular recovery… Read More

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Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing “Drug”?

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Preface by Editor

This post will explain how heat can be used to increase growth hormone, muscular hypertrophy, endurance, and otherwise aid performance.

It’s authored by Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.D, and it’s comprehensive. But before we get started, you need to read some background and warnings…

Heat is no joke.

Ever since I was a premie, overheating and thermo-regulation have been my arch-enemies. On a few occasions, I’ve been hospitalized for heat stroke symptoms, and the symptoms hit suddenly and without warning. I’m extremely lucky I didn’t smash my skull on the ground after the collapses.

To delve into this handicap, I even became a test subject at Stanford University in 2005.

I underwent military-related heat marches to exhaustion, capturing data the entire time. Here are some choice pics.

It was as fun as it looks (I’ll share videos another time, as they’re hilarious):

After each session, I was so incapacitated that I couldn’t do any work for 8-12 hours. I often had to simply go home and sleep, even at 11am. These issues led me to eventually leave the study.

Heat is serious fucking business, m’kay?

People can die from excessive heat (sauna example here, recent running death here), so read these warnings carefully… Read More

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Potential Tactics for Defeating Cancer — A Toolkit in 1,000 Words

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(Photo: Irina Souiki)

I’ve wanted to publish this post for years.

It will propose a few simple approaches for minimizing the occurrence of cancer.

With 19 billion capillaries in our bodies, on average, virtually 100% of us have microscopic cancers by the time we’re 70 years old, more than 40% of us by age 40. There’s a good chance you have pinhead-size cancers in your body right now. These “cancers without disease” aren’t typically a problem, as they can’t grow larger than 0.5 mm without a blood supply.

But if cancer cells gets constant blood and glucose? That’s when you can end up dead.

That’s not where I want to be, and it’s not where I want you to be.

A Little Backstory…

While at the annual TED Conference in 2010, I learned that two close friends had been diagnosed with cancer. The year before, another friend had died of pancreatic cancer in his early 30’s.

This all made me furious and sad. It also made me feel helpless.

As luck would have it, TED in 2010 was abuzz about someone named Dr. William Li. His 24-minute presentation had introduced the crowd to “anti-angiogenesis therapy”: in plain English, how to starve cancers of blood. Dr. Li specializes in inhibiting cancer-specific blood-vessel growth, which ostensibly keeps abnormal growth in check. The simplest “drug” he recommended was tea. Drinking a daily blend of white tea (specifically Dragon Pearl jasmine) and green tea (Japanese sencha).

I started drinking the cocktail immediately, but it was just a first step… Read More

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Soylent: What Happened When I Stopped Eating For 2 Weeks

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Shane Drinking Soylent

Tim Ferriss Intro

Hundreds of people have asked me about Soylent, a controversial Silicon Valley team trying to replace food with a grayish liquid.

“Does it really deliver all the nutrients the human body needs?”
“Is it safe?”
“Why hasn’t anyone tried this before?” [Hint: they have]
And most often: “What do you think of Soylent?”

Serendipitously, four or so weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Shane Snow, a frequent contributor to Wired and Fast Company:

I’m sure you have seen the buzz about the food-hacking movement, where a couple of Silicon Valley techies have been creating Matrix-style food replacement formulas for “optimum” chemical nutrition. Soylent.me, in particular, has been buzzing like crazy, having raised $800k in a Kickstarter-like campaign.

But nobody (besides the creators) has gotten his or her hands on any yet.

Except me.

Naturally, we had to do an experiment.

This post describes the longest non-employee trial of Soylent to date (two weeks without food), including before-and-after data such as:

- Comprehensive blood panels
– Body weight and bodyfat percentage
– Cognitive performance
– Resting heart rate
– Galvanic skin response
– Sleep

I share my thoughts in the AFTERWORD and occasionally in brackets, but this article focuses on Shane’s experience and data.  Please also note that this is *not* a Soylent take-down piece. I hope they succeed.

That said, there are some issues. I expect the debate on Soylent to be fierce, so please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’ll encourage the Soylent founders to answer as many questions as they can. From all sides, I’m most interested in studies or historical precedent that can be cited, but logical arguments are fine.

Also, a quick clarification: There is a bit of soy lecithin (an emulsifier) in Soylent, but soy is not a main ingredient, which is understandably confusing.

Enjoy the fireworks… Read More

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Ketosis and Athletic Performance: More Than Fat Loss

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The above video is a presentation by Peter Attia, M.D.

His talk is somewhat technical, but I always write blog posts hoping 20,000 people will *love* them, not that 1,000,000 will *like* them.

In this presentation, you will learn (in my words, not Pete’s):

- More about nutrition than most MDs learn in med school.
– How ketosis-adapted performance can aid fat loss and high-altitude resilience.
– Why the calorie estimates on treadmills and stationary bikes are complete BS.
– The three primary systems of energy production and basic organic chemistry, both of which aid understanding of all athletics.

Even if you struggle a little with vocabulary, the first 30 minutes are well worth watching a few times.

This talk made me immediately want to jump back on the Cyclical (or “Cyclic”) Ketogenic Diet (CKD), which was conceptually introduced to me in 1996-1998 by the writing of Lyle McDonald, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, and the late Dan Duchaine. It’s incredible for simultaneous fat loss and lean muscle gain, though perhaps needlessly complicated for non-athletes.

I usually limited the carb-reloading period to 12-18 hours after a glycogen depletion workout on Saturdays, though I experimented with moderate Wed night carb-ups while training for sports like kickboxing.

If you’ve experimented with ketosis, what was your approach and experience? Pros and cons?

For additional reading, I suggest the following posts by Dr. Attia:
http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/ketosis-advantaged-or-misunderstood-state-part-i
http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/ketosis-advantaged-or-misunderstood-state-part-ii

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Odds and Ends:
This week, I’m using my birthday to change the world with @charitywater. Please click here to take a look. You could do the same.

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How To Gain 20 Pounds In 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters

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Nate Green's muscle building experiment

The following is Part 2 of a two-part guest post from Nate Green, who works with John Berardi, PhD, Georges St-Pierre’s nutritional coach.

Part 1 detailed how top UFC fighters rapidly lose weight before weigh-ins for competitive advantage.

Now, in Part 2, Nate shares how he gained 20 pounds in 28 days, using techniques an elite fighter such as Georges St-Pierre (GSP) might utilize to move up a weight class. This is a very, very comprehensive post.

If you’ve ever wondered how to quickly gain muscle — or how a GSP versus Anderson Silva super-fight could happen — you’ll want to print this out and refer to it often.

Let’s jump into the detail… Read More

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How To Lose 20-30 Pounds In 5 Days: The Extreme Weight Cutting and Rehydration Secrets of UFC Fighters

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Nate Green workout and nutrition tests

The following is a guest post by Nate Green, who works with Dr. John Berardi, nutritional advisor to athletes like UFC champion Georges St. Pierre (GSP).

This is the first of two blog posts entailing extreme physical experiments. Absolutely no performance enhancing drugs of any kind were used.

Part 1 — this post — details exactly how top fighters like Georges St. Pierre rapidly lose 20-30 pounds for “weigh-ins.” To refine the method, Nate performed this on himself, losing 20 pounds in 5 days. The unique part: Dr. Berardi and team measured key variables throughout the entire process, including the last “rehydration” phase. As Berardi put it:

“We used GSP’s exact protocol with him [Nate]. The idea was that by doing this with a guy who didn’t actually have to compete the next day, we could measure all sorts of performance variables that you’d never get with an athlete about to fight.”

Part 2 — the next post — will share how Nate used intermittent fasting and strategically planned eating to gain 20 pounds in 28 days, emulating a fighter who wants (or needs) to move up a weight class in competition.

Cautionary Note on Part 1

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters put it all out in the open for the world to see: they kick, punch, laugh, cry, and bleed in front of thousands of arena fans and millions more watching at home.

But even if you’re a hardcore fan who knows all the stats, there’s something behind the scenes that you’ve probably never seen in full: world-class weight manipulationRead More

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