I have a confession.
I've been discriminating against egg yolks for years. Believing the egg white was the only healthy part of the egg, I've been dropping egg yolk after egg yolk down the drain. I would cringe as my friends and family dipped their toast in the yellow goo spilling out of their eggs.
I shudder to think how much time and nutrition I've wasted trying to pick every last speck of egg yolk out of my hard boiled eggs when they crumbled after not separating from the whites nice and easy.
I'm ashamed of my part in promoting these lies about egg yolks.
Turns out - egg yolks have been getting a bad wrap. They aren't evil after all.
To all the yolks I've wronged - I'm sorry. And now it's time to set the record straight.
It seems that if you look, the true information is out there and easy to find, but somewhere along the way I took someone's word for it that egg yolks were little time bombs waiting to skyrocket my cholesterol and stop my heart.
It was probably one of the juice monkeys at the local gym - I dunno. And the rumours are true - egg yolks are full of fat and cholesterol -- but it's the good stuff not the bad stuff. Back in the day - someone heard the word cholesterol and mass panic ensued - war was declared against the egg yolk.
I was recently "enlightened" when I came across an article by certified nutritionist and personal trainer Mike Geary - Are Whole Eggs Or Egg Whites Better For You?. Now this article went completely against everything I have been following for ten plus years, so naturally, it took a bit of convincing to bring me to this point.
Fast forward through 8 hours of research later, and it all comes down to this table that I summarized below and the facts it presents based on the USDA Nutrient Database. This database has the goods on what nutrients are found in pretty much any food you can imagine. It is used in all sorts of applications and nutrition programs. It is pretty much the de facto resource if you need to find out exactly what is in what you are eating. Most importantly, you can believe its data unlike the knowledge you may get from the local juice monkey or well meaning friends and family.
If you are throwing away your egg yolks, you are throwing away:
It's because the yolks contain 99% of the fat and back when low fat diets were the craze of the day, everyone was deathly afraid of fat. Well, fat isn't bad. It's actually essential you get some fat and you can do a whole lot worse than the fat you will find in egg yolks.
There are lots of bad fats out there - primarily the ones human beings have had a hand in making (trans fats for instance), but eggs are pretty much nature's multivitamin. You're doing yourself a big disfavor by eliminating egg yolks from your diet.
Also in my research, I found that egg whites aren't all they're cracked up to be. In fact, raw egg whites contain two nasty things. One of them is an inhibitor that has a role in preventing digestion and the other is a glycoprotein (Avidin) that basically attaches itself to the B vitamin biotin which prevents it from being used by your body.
Before you go hog wild and start slurping down egg yolks with your white or throwing egg yolks in every thing you cook - realize that - like anything- you can overdo it. That fat is still there and depending on your fitness goals - might make meeting certain targets harder to achieve. I eat eggs every morning - four of them to be exact - but only two egg yolks. I keep the ratio at 50% yolk to egg simply because that's enough egg yolk for me. You should assess how much egg yolk is good for you.
So yeah, how's it feel to know you've been throwing away the good part and eating the bad part for as long as you can remember. I can tell you that I wasn't all that thrilled - I guess ignorance really is bliss.
Personally, I'm glad Mike set me on the path to egg yolk enlightenment.. It is sooooo much easier to crack the egg and drop it into the pan rather than try to separate the white from the egg every time. No more eggs down the drain for me - all that good yolk goodness is going straight to my belly - hope you decide to do the same.
A boxer's quest for optimal performance never ends - and a huge part of that quest is maximizing the amount of power you can generate.
Maximum power depends on muscle. It requires you to build the right kind and amount of muscle without exceeding your optimal weight limit and then training that muscle how to work properly and explosively.
What you eat can propel you closer or take you further away from that optimal level faster than any other variable.
It's akin to walking versus taking the car - if you're in the car you're getting where you're going (whether you want to go there or not) a hell of a lot faster than if you're on your own two feet.
Because of that, I took a nutrition certification course offered by Precision Nutrition - to learn the science behind the food. As a coach and trainer I feel it's important to continue building up my base of knowledge to enable me to be a more effective mentor to my clients.
One of the tenets of the Precision Nutrition philosophy is to be your own human guinea pig. Try things and see if they work for you vice putting blind faith in the research.
Nutrition is one of those topics that can confuse the hell out of you. A staggering amount of often contradictory information is available that leads to information overload and paralysis.
Sometimes you just need to cut through the bullshit and see if it works or not.
Unless you live under a rock - you've heard of the Paleo Diet, Paleo Solution, Paleo Plan or whatever clever marketing name someone has come up with to promote their new diet plan based on a Paleo lifestyle.
In a nutshell - Paleo living is supposed to simulate the good things about living like a caveman. Eliminate any type of grain, legume, dairy, or processed food and eat only meat and veggies. Sleep a lot and keep your stress levels low - or at least ensure any stresses are short lived (like getting chased by a hungry tiger - it ends one way or another real quick).
On first glance a Paleo diet looks a lot like a low carb diet. It definitely is much lower carb than a traditional Western diet full of grains, but it isn't carb free and it doesn't strive to be carb free. You can eat as many carbs as you like - just in the form of vegetables. Getting a lot of carbs through vegetables is just naturally hard to do.
I challenge you to try Paleo for the next 30 days and let me know what your results are.
I've unknowingly tried Paleo before - I've tried eating like this.
Out of necessity, I was pretty close to living Paleo during the year I lived in Pakistan. I simply did not have access to a lot of the processed and refined foods you can get in the West so I lived on a lot of meat, a few veggies, and rice.
Now rice isn't Paleo and I was not consciously trying to eat Paleo style so every opportunity I got I ate my share of junk - but my diet was a lot closer to Paleo at that time than what it is now living back in Canada.
I found that I was, on average, about 25lbs lighter in Pakistan. After arriving I quickly dropped in weight (partly because of the diarrhea I contracted..TMI?) to 155lbs from 180lbs and found it super difficult to work my way back up.
After almost a year of weight training I managed to add about 10lbs but I was not able to eat the quantities of food required to support a lot of muscle growth.
When I got back to Canada, I effortlessly saw my weight shoot up past 180lbs. Part of it was the 10lbs of muscle I added in Pakistan - but a lot of it was fat around my midsection that started to obscure my abs. The quantity and type of food was the only thing that changed.
Anyways that whole experience peaked my interest in what a full on Paleo diet might do which brings me to the start of this Paleo for boxing challenge.
I might add that I'm not the only boxer giving Paleo a try. Much better pro boxers like Andrew Flintoff and Adriana Lima eat Paleo.
Now I don't expect Paleo to automatically and magically turn people into better boxers. What I'm curious about are the claims that a Paleo diet will give us more energy, help with recovery, eliminate any excess fat we're carrying while replacing it with muscle, and generally just make us feel good.
More energy and muscle plus less recovery time = more power = a better boxer (or someone who just looks a lot better naked).
To understand the whole Paleo diet more, I bought and read The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf. I followed Robb on Twitter and let him know that we were going to put Paleo to the test to see what effect it might have on our boxing performance.
Robb kindly replied to me with some tips for modifying the baseline Paleo diet in the book to accommodate high intensity training volumes like boxers have. He suggested that we increase our intake of taters, fruits, and yams to provide enough of a carb boost to meet our energy demands.
Athletes and boxers who train intensely need carbs. Super low carb is not the way to go and Paleo does not mean no carbs. Paleo diets rely on your body to do its thing to make the glucose it needs to fuel everything - boxers simply need to up the starchy carbs to supplement those processes to see the benefits and still maintain their level of training.
Before deciding to offer you this challenge I also took a look at what Precision Nutrition had to say about Paleo. While they do point out some issues - in their words...
the Paleo diet likely gets more right than it gets wrong.
They came to these Paleo conclusions in this article:
I already eat pretty good - no sugar, limited dairy and a good dose of lean meats and veggies so I'm not expecting it to be too difficult a transition to simply eliminate all grains and legumes from my diet.
That said - I already know that my major obstacle is going to be deciding what to buy and eat each day - so to make things easy, I'll be looking for some Paleo Meal Plans.
The less you have to think about - the easier it is going to be to stick to this for the next 30 days.
So today is D-Day should you choose to accept the challenge.
This post will likely be the start of a series of posts on my experiences with the Paleo diet to improve boxing performance. I'll aim to provide an update at least weekly on the challenges and benefits (if any) that I'm experiencing and hope you do the same.
Anyone out there already make this transition? Any tips or experiences you want to share? Leave a comment and let's do it. Boxon.
Boxers and MMA fighters are experts at losing weight fast.
If done correctly, losing a lot of weight in the days leading up to a weigh-in can give you a huge advantage 24 hours later when you step in the ring to fight.
It is not uncommon for a fighter to weigh 20-30lbs less at the weigh-in than he or she does when the fight starts 24 hours later - and if all goes to plan - the boxer or fighter will have just as much energy and power on fight day as they did before cutting weight.
Weighing 10, 20 or 30lbs more than your opponent means a lot in a fight.
I must point out that this quick way to lose weight fast is only going to give you an advantage in the ring if your weigh-in is at least 24 hours before your fight.
Amateur boxing matches usually schedule the weigh in the same day as the fight - precisely to try and avoid this type of weight manipulation - and that does not provide you enough time to put the weight back on that you lost or re-fuel your muscles to give you an advantage in the ring.
If you do use this extreme weight loss method you will fight in a much weaker state than if you had just weighed in at a heavier weight.
Make no mistake about it - the method described here for losing weight fast is all about draining your body of as much water as possible - to a point of almost severe dehydration. It has very little to do with fat loss and will leave you weaker, energy less, and cranky. You will not be pleasant to be around.
And if you take it too far - you can kill yourself. So don't be stupid.
The practice of cutting weight before fights is a phenomenon that lives on in the boxing and fight world as boxers and fighters search for any and all advantages over their opponents. For some - it is simply to ensure the fight goes on by staying in their weight class. But to be crystal clear - losing weight this fast has no place in a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
If you follow this protocol you will lose a lot of weight really fast - but it's all water.
As your body is mostly water - the quickest way to lose weight is to get rid of most of that water.
Over the course of five days, you'll push your body into a state of dehydration. At the peak of the protocol you'll have lost anywhere from 15-30lbs and then you'll put it all back on in the next 24 hours.
Do NOT try to maintain your new weight - the only reason to do this is to hit a weight class target at a specific time. It is not a general purpose weight loss plan.
As soon as the weigh-in is over you will re-hydrate immediately and all of the weight you quickly lost is going to come back even quicker as your body absorbs every drop of water you give it. So - if you think you are going to follow this protocol to cut the fat off your abs - you're out of luck. There are better, safer, and easier ways to do that that won't make everyone around you want to kill you.
Ok, here's the plan...
Starting five days before the fight (D Day1)
Sweat a lot. This is where the pictures of garbage bag clad boxers sitting in saunas comes into play.I wouldn't recommend that, but you do want to sweat out as much as you can.
Quickest and easiest way to sweat is to take super hot baths where you submerge every part of your body (less your nose) for 10 minutes at a time.
You sweat when it's hot, but you sweat a lot more when its hot and humid. The bath prevents your perspiration from cooling you off so it accelerates the sweating.
Then one to two days before the weigh-in you start sitting in the sauna as well to put the finishing touches on your rapid weight loss.
And there you have it - in just five days you'll have lost more weight than you humanly thought possible. And you'll be a train wreck...
Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition used Nate Green as a test subject to refine this super fast weight loss method for boxers and fighters. You can download the nicely summarized, step-by-step, day-by-day weight loss plan.
If all went well and you're still alive then immediately after the weigh-in you need to put back on the weight you lost so you get that advantage you were looking for and also so you get back all of the power, strength, and energy your deflated body no longer has.
Your body can only absorb about 1L (2.2lbs) of water every hour - so you don't want to go over that amount. Given that you have about 13 hours before the fight - you can theoretically put back on about 28lbs (via 13L of water). However, only about 75% of that 1L you drink every hour will be retained - you'll piss out the rest - meaning it will be closer to 22lbs that you put back on.
That takes care of the water - but you also need to replenish the glycogen in your muscles - so belly up to the buffet and start eating. Eat as many carbs (proteins and fats) as you want, but keep it healthy. Loading up on junk food isn't a great idea.
Your body will pump all that glycogen back into your muscles filling them out. You'll get a hell of a mood boost and suddenly feel like you can take on the world - perfect for stepping into the ring.
So you just learned the secrets of how boxers and fighters lose a lot of weight really fast. It's by far the quickest way to lose weight and it's also the stupidest.
You don't need to do this unless you're a professional fighter and need that weight advantage in the ring.
So while knowledge is power - this knowledge is also dangerous. Use it wisely.
To summarize - the quickest way to lose weight starting five days before your target is to:
Then once you hit the target - rehydrate and replenish your fuels by drinking 1L of water per hour and eating as many clean carbs, proteins, and fats as you like.
Happy cutting. Boxon.
After reviewing and using Athletic Greens for a couple months now, it's time to explain why I now recommend it instead of a daily multivitamin for my clients.
...But, before I discuss Athletic Greens in detail, I want to take a minute to let you ponder whether it is something you should be taking at all...
If you were to enroll in a Commando Boxing coaching program, until recently, one of the daily habits that I'd work to instill in you is the habit of taking a daily multivitamin. That habit is based on research such as that done by the WHO indicating that over 2 billion people worldwide in both developing and industrialized countries suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies (primarily iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc), with important health consequences.
To help you transform your body and become a better boxer, my initial focus from a nutrition perspective is on eliminating any barriers to progress caused by deficiencies in Omega 3, vitamin and minerals, water, and protein. A daily multivitamin is one means of rectifying any potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies you may have.
A lot of people who use Commando Boxing are athletes and boxers looking to improve themselves in the ring. An even greater number of people are here to use boxing to improve their health and build a phenomenal body. That second group of people are even more prone to vitamin and mineral deficiencies resulting from either their current diet, or other diets they have engaged in in the past.
...and quite frankly this list can go on and on...
If you're a conscientious eater who carefully monitors your food intake ensuring you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and nutrient dense food in the right quantities, then a daily dose of vitamins and minerals may be totally unnecessary and a waste of money for you.
I consider myself one of those people, but I also know I spend a lot more time training than most people. I also have a very stressful, busy life and as much as I know I have to eat to support my training and lifestyle, I'm not 100% perfect.
That's why I still recommend everyone in my program gets a daily dose of vitamins and minerals as a nutritional insurance policy even if it makes more difference in some people's progress than others.
It is possible to overdose on vitamins and minerals. Vitamin toxicity is a real thing and given the abundance of vitamin fortified foods and supplements available as quick fixes to your nutritional deficiencies, can make it more common to take too much.
The nutritional strategies I try to instill in my clients focus around eating real food. That in itself is going to help most people achieve their goals, but I used to have them take a daily multivitamin, a daily Omega 3, and a daily greens supplement and now with Athletic Greens, I can have them eliminate the daily multivitamin if it works in their circumstances.
Other than that, the only other supplements I recommend for most people are a protein supplement and creatine in certain cases.
Despite many studies that have recently hit the news saying all vitamin supplements are bad - if you're not living on supplements and fortified, processed foods, the chances of overdosing or getting too much of a good thing is very, very small to the point of non-relevance.
My recommendation if you decide to start supplementing with a daily dose of vitamins is to cut out everything else enriched with vitamins and minerals and focus on eating real, unprocessed food. Do that and you'll have nothing to worry about and you'll still get the nutritional insurance of your daily supplement.
Take 2 minutes and watch this short video. It will give you some of the history of Athletic Greens, why it came to be, and how it is different than what you could get by taking a multivitamin.
Even though it is a marketing video, the premise behind the product is in line with the basic premise of what I teach at Commando Boxing - eat whole, real food from natural sources. Watching it myself, I have to say I felt a little hypocritical considering I've been recommending a daily multivitamin for years. There really is nothing that isn't synthetic about the multivitamins I've been using and having other people use.
In terms of being in line with what I think people should be eating for optimal health and performance - Athletic Greens certainly beats any multivitamin I've seen. That in itself was a major plus for me and first tweaked the idea that perhaps Athletic Greens could replace my daily multivitamin - which led me to...
Below is a table summarizing what you'll find in Athletic Greens versus what you'll find in a normal multivitamin (I compared a Costco multivitamin - Kirkland Formula for Men).
In the event that vitamin and mineral names and measurements put you to sleep - the jist of it is that not only does Athletic Greens address nearly everything the multivitamin does, in some cases it provides more (still within safe limits). Take a look:
It's a little unfair of me to compare the multivitamin directly to Athletic Greens - kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but Athletic Greens is like a multivitamin on steroids (all natural steroids, of course). In addition to the vitamins and minerals it provides, you also get:
In total, every serving of Athletic Greens gives you optimal amounts of 75 specially selected nutritional ingredients where every single one provides nutritional benefit.
Happy that Athletic Greens was worthy of a chance based on what is in it, I obtained a 30 day supply and began taking it in place of my multivitamin...
I honestly can't sit here and definitively tell you that taking Athletic Greens instead of a daily multivitamin has made me stronger, more resilient to disease, leaner, or healthier.
I have no objective measurements, blood panels, or markers indicating that I am now healthier for having made the switch.
Everything I can tell you is completely subjective - but the most compelling reason I can give you as to whether it is good stuff or not is that I'm still paying for it monthly and take it every day. I crave it every morning which says something about how good it tastes and my body must like what it's getting from it.
I do feel great, but that isn't a massive indicator of effectiveness for me considering I usually do feel great. I already follow some pretty sound nutritional principles and generally don't eat junk, train every day, am lean and muscular, get enough rest, keep the stress in check, and don't really do anything on a regular basis that would mess up my health.
Perhaps Athletic Greens isn't having to work very hard in my body or maybe it is addressing any number of issues at a cellular level that I'm not even aware of that are contributing to my overall sense of well being enabling to go as hard and fast at 41 as I did at 21.
I guess it goes back to my initial comments on ensuring my clients do not have any nutrient deficiencies that are going to sabotage progress and I feel far better recommending a supplement made from whole foods instead of a synthetic multivitamin.
In doing this review I did some digging for dirt because I'm always skeptical - especially of supplements.
It didn't take me long to find that dirt. Do a Google search for Athletic Greens reviews and you'll quickly find that there are some angry people out there - primarily in the comments sections of the reviews. This concerned me as even though I like the product, I wasn't interested in associating myself with a company that could piss people off so badly that those people felt the need to spout venom in public over how evil Athletic Greens is.
The negativity oozing out of most of these comments revolves around three themes:
Athletic Greens is not cheap.
So you know, when I first wrote this - Athletic Greens was priced at $97 for a 30 day supply ($177 for a double dose supply). I take one a day meaning it used to cost me just over $3/day to drink this premium cocktail. Compare that to a year supply of multivitamins (one a day) at $20 and it's pretty obvious who wins on price alone.
Some of that price difference is made up in that you no longer have to buy both a multivitamin and a greens supplement, but Athletic Greens is still one of the higher priced greens supplements on the market.
Putting it in perspective though, my health matters to me and I'm able to afford the product by not buying two cups a coffee at work each day. It's a matter of priorities, but at this price, it is a premium product and it certainly does not fit into everyone's budget.
When I expressed the pricing concern to the company, I was told they are looking at adjusting the price - and in fact, that's exactly what happened - it is now $77 for a 30 day supply or $147 for a double dose. That means my daily cost is now $2.57.
In the event you want to give Athletic Greens a try you can currently get 10% off your first order by clicking here and then moving your cursor to top right of page like you're going to close the tab - that will trigger a popup that will give you the 10% deal, but before you do that be sure to read what I'm about to say next about their loyalty program before you click that link...
There is a marketing practice that some companies use called a forced continuity program. When someone buys a product or signs up for a subscription they are automatically enrolled in a subscription program that results in additional charges at certain intervals.
It is usually when people don't realize this when they sign up and suddenly see an unexpected charge on their credit card in 30 days time that they get angry - and understandably so.
Athletic Greens uses this marketing model and contrary to what they like to think (as I discussed it with them), it is not immediately obvious on their sign up page. There is a sentence mentioning the loyalty program under the sign up button that one is supposed to then click through to read about in the terms and conditions or review in the fine print on the page. If I didn't know what I was looking for, I would be surprised as well.
Let's review their terms and conditions concerning the loyalty program (bottom of page that loads):
Unless you cancel, we will automatically re-ship your selected supply of Athletic Greens 30 days from the date of your first order. Thereafter, you will continue to receive a fresh supply of Athletic Greens each month for as long as you stay a member of our loyalty program. The card you provided when you placed your initial order will be automatically charged the discounted price of $97 (single serve) or $177 (double dose) plus Shipping and Handling (plus tax if applicable for any shipments outside of the US) when each new order processes.
To cancel future shipments in your Loyalty Program, you must call our Customer Happiness Team on 1 888-390-6049 at least 24 hours prior to the date that your next order processes. All subscription cycles on our Loyalty Program are set to process every 30 days by default. You may customize the default subscription cycle (e.g. to 45, 60 or 90 days) at any time by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 1 (888) 390-6049.
You may cancel anytime without penalty. Our Customer Happiness Team is available Monday through Friday 9am to 8pm EST and Saturday 9am to 6pm EST.
I suspect that if more of those people who left negative comments understood this at the time of ordering, there would be far fewer negative comments.
Loyalty programs are not all bad - and this one does have a clear benefit.
Whether it is training or nutrition, consistency is one of the biggest hurdles that needs to be overcome to continue making any progress. If Athletic Greens is going to be a part of your daily routine, you make it harder on yourself to be consistent if you do not have a constant supply showing up automatically at your door every 30 days when your initial supply is running out.
If you leave it up to yourself to manually reorder, there's a good chance you are going to miss a reorder point ending up with days or weeks where you don't have any on hand. That's just the result of being human.
I'm not making any excuses for Athletic Greens or their customer service department, but I can say that in dealing with them over the last few weeks, they have always been responsive, helpful, and reasonable.
I used to work as a grocery store manager and know for fact that there are some people in the world who are willing to complain no matter how accommodating you try to be - it's impossible to please everyone.
Those negative comments I read suggested that Athletic Greens would not cancel shipments or refund products. That is contrary to what the company told me and I quote:
We do have a 60 day money back guarantee, no questions asked.
Again, let's review an extract of the Athletic Green's refund policy from their terms and conditions:
Products are provided with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You may contact Athletic Greens (USA), Inc at firstname.lastname@example.org within 60 days of the original order date for 100% refund of the product purchase price (excluding any shipping and handling charges) and obtain an RMA number and shipping instructions to return any unused product. Upon receipt of your return shipment, Athletic Greens (USA), Inc will either cancel the original credit card authorization or issue a full refund if you funds have already been collected, and shall only be paid on a one-time basis per household (as determined in Athletic Greens (USA), Inc’s sole discretion based on customer order data and IP address). In addition, Athletic Greens (USA), Inc reserves the right to refuse a refund to anyone reasonably suspected by Athletic Greens (USA), Inc to have previously taken advantage of Athletic Greens (USA), Inc’s satisfaction guarantee on more than one occasion.
I'm not trying to downplay any of the grievances that those who have left negative comments concerning Athletic Greens. Those people obviously did not have good experiences with the company and felt the need to express it publicly.
I will only add that Athletic Greens told me that 70% of the people who try the product for the first time stay on a subscription with them (I'm one of them...) so someone must be happy with what they are doing.
They also said they make it easy for people to cancel if desired and are flexible to extend the time between shipments if required. There is no commitment to remain on the subscription program but their customer happiness team will ask for the reason for cancellation and try to steer the customer towards a 30-60-90 day break before starting again. Ultimately though, the customer can just cancel.
For those that can afford it, Athletic Greens is far superior to a daily multivitamin and I would recommend you use it daily in the same manner.
As long as you understand how the loyalty program works and what you need to do to suspend a shipment or prevent a payment, then there will be no surprises on your credit card statement. Likewise if you are unhappy with the product, the terms for getting a refund (including your responsibilities) are plainly stated.
All in all, Athletic Greens is now one of my daily habits, replacing the multivitamin I once took, and recommended to those I work with. Considering few of us ever eat enough plants, there is nothing that compares to the total nutritional value you get from Athletic Greens. Boxon.Now is the time to try Athletic Greens.
Full Disclosure: Every review of a product on Commando Boxing is my opinion detailing the good and bad about the product being reviewed. If I like a product and continue to use it after trying it, I often join the company's affiliate program so that Commando Boxing makes a small commission off of any decision on your part to buy the product based on my recommendation. I never recommend something that I do not believe provides you any benefit simply to make a commission.
Whether it's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the Holiday season - all of that boxing gear you've been eyeing up all year round tends to become even more affordable. There are deals to be had if you know where to look - and I know where to look...
If you have a boxer or wannabe boxer on your list then look no further for ideas than the holiday boxing gift guide.
Let's get to those deals...
This review was three months in the making. Alan Kahn, author and producer of The Speed Bag Bible sent me a package just before Christmas in 2006 and it took nearly three months to get through it due to the sheer volume of information his speed bag program provides.
I don't want to explicitly compare Alan's program to others I've looked at, but I will say that Alan has created his program to be highly adaptive and flexible and there is nothing I have seen that compares in this regard.
I like to think that Commando Boxing is the best of the boxing websites on the internet, but of course that would just be plain arrogant.
There are many boxing websites that are worthy of mention and a great place to spend some time, so here are my top twenty favorite boxing websites on the internet.
It's a hodge podge of different boxing categories, but I'm sure you'll get the jist.
Discover the four things you can start doing today that will have you looking and feeling better almost instantly.
By now you should have your weight goals firmly in mind, whether it is to increase mass, decrease body fat, or just maintain your current state.
Meal planning is highly individualistic and what works for one person, is not what is going to work for someone else.
I COULD put up a meal plan and dictate everyone should use it and some people may lose weight with it, but others very well could end up fatter than when they started.
"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for the day, Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."
This is the guideline I follow when it comes to nutrition. I will teach you exactly how to create an effective meal plan based on Precision Nutrition principles and give you the tools necessary to do it ( Free Starter Kit for Men or Free Starter Kit for Women). These tools and guidelines will be the subject of future lessons - just know they are coming.
There are four things you can start doing today to ensure you are on the right track nutritionally. They are simple and easy to remember.
We're going to get into putting together a complete meal plan, but in the meantime, if you start doing these four simple things, you are going to see a marked improvement in your physique, attitude, and overall energy level.
Here we go:
Start drinking more water - a lot more water. I can pretty much guarantee you aren't drinking enough - as very few people do. I would say to drink as much as you can possibly stomach, but you do need to be careful -- too much water too quick is a bad thing -- it can lead to hyponatremia (aka water intoxication) and it can kill you. By drinking more - I mean more throughout the day. Start sipping it all the time.
This is nothing new. I'm sure you've heard plenty of people tell you to drink your 8 glasses of water a day. In reality, don't limit yourself to 8. If you can put back 5 litres a day - do it. The better you keep yourself hydrated, the better your body is going to function.
Your body is 75% water. Water is required by just about every cell function that happens wither directly or indirectly, so by depriving yourself of this fluid, you are depriving your body of the ability to operate at 100% efficiency.
There are two sure fire ways to tell if you're dehydrated. First, your urine is yellow or colored. The more color it is, the more dehydrated you are. Second is thirst. If you ever reach a state of thirstiness, you're already dehydrated.
Drinking lots of water will clear the waste out of your system. It will help detoxify your body and get it running at its optimal speed. Everything will seem easier. You'll feel better, cleaner. Skin will clear up, you'll think clearer, and have more energy. It really is as simple as drinking more water.
Some people think it is absolutely impossible to drink water - it tastes bad (which has always perplexed me as it has no taste) or it makes them pee too much. Duh - every time you pee you eliminate waste, this isn't a bad thing. If the "flavour" is an issue, look at sweetening it with zero sugar, zero calorie flavorings such as Crystal Lite - but the important thing is to start drinking as much as you can.
It is especially important when you are working out. A boxing workout will dehydrate you really quick if you aren't replenishing the fluids. The really intense boxing workouts lasting longer than an hour, may also benefit from the ingredients found in Gatorade, but that is only in extreme athletic circumstances. Your best bet, is pure, clean water and lots of it.
Should you ever drink anything else? You can. Green tea or coffee has health benefits too. But, stay away from the juices. If you need a drink with your meal, have water. There is no reason to pollute it with sugar.So Action Step #1- Stop drinking everything else and Drink Only Water with an occasional green tea or coffee thrown in the mix.
Carry a bottle around with you and fill it when it gets empty. You don't need to go out and buy bottled water unless that is what you want to do. As an example, I bought a 1.5L bottle of water, drank it, and have been using the bottle for the last 6 weeks. Find something that works for you.
I know this is going to be hard to swallow, but in the end you have a choice. You either put something in your mouth or you don't. If you make a conscious effort to ensure that what you are putting in your mouth is inline with your plans, then all is good.
Consistency is the key - if you make that right choice 51% of the time you are going to succeed. You will succeed a lot quicker if you make the right choice 99% of the time.
So, back to sugar. I cannot say enough evil things about it, so guess what I'm going to tell you?
That's right - stop eating sugar. This includes anything that contains excessive amounts of sugar. That means doughnuts, sugared cereals, cakes, brownies, muffins, pretty much anything you would find in a bakery.1
Now I know you want to close this lesson right now and say to hell with that, but hear me out.
Sugar is useless. Even the zero calorie sugar is also zero nutrient food. It takes up space in your nutrition plan and when you're trying to maintain a caloric deficit, eating foods full of sugar and deficient on the nutrients means you will never achieve your goals.
While we're on the topic, pretty much anything refined is going to do you absolutely no good. That would mean white flour products such as white bread (even if it is enriched) and anything else made with refined white flour. Basically, you are better off if you eat stuff that hasn't been processed. The closer it is to coming out of the ground or off the tree, the better.
Some people hear this advice and think about fruit. Am I telling you to stop eating fruit as it is full of fructose (a simple sugar)? No, I'm telling you to moderate how much fruit you eat. When I get to discussing meal composition, you'll learn there are better times to eat the simple carbs (fruits). Fruit has a benefit other sugar foods don't. Fruits have vitamins, minerals, and a benefit to them besides tasting good. So, a little fruit in the diet is a good idea.
Now before you get all crazy on me, keep reading as I tell you how you can enjoy a little sugar and non-nutritious food in moderation, but if you truly want to achieve the best results, stop eating sugar right now.So Action Step #2- Stop eating sugar and refined foods. Eat things as close to their natural state as possible.
There is no reason you can't enjoy life and have a non-nutritious meal, or at least a meal that isn't necessarily going to do you any good. The thing is that you have to plan for it. I'm going to cover caloric deficit and caloric requirements, but you need to know that if you eat something "bad", you have to make room for it in your day.
This is going to make more sense at a later time, so I'll leave it at that for now, but just know there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will be able to have a slice of pizza now and again, if you do the planning.So Action Step #3- Don't try to be perfect. Enjoy life but plan ahead.
Like sugar, alcohol does nothing good for you. It is a poison and if you drink it, you are hindering your progress. It's that simple. If you are serious about your training and diet, alcohol is pretty much off limits.
You simply cannot be serious about your training if you drink excessively.
Alcohol is right behind fat in being the most caloric dense food and that doesn't even take into account the "mix" in the drink. A nice fruity drink can be upwards of 300-400 calories and we all know that when they taste that good, one is never enough.
Now, like cheat meals, you can enjoy a drink now and again, but you have to plan it into your day. If you know you're going out with the boys or girls later on and will have 2 beers, then somewhere during the day, you need to make room for 400 calories. Ideally, you burn an extra 400 calories in the gym (approx 45 minutes on a bike at 100rpm) or eat 400 calories less throughout the day which may short change what your body needs to do its job of repairing and building muscle and burning fat.
So, you have the choice, again it's a matter of how fast you want to get in shape and achieve your goals.So Action Step #4- Stop drinking alcohol. If you want to enjoy a drink then accept the consequences and plan ahead.
Very few of us have a perfect diet. Because of that, for a very long time, I would take a daily multivitamin as a nutritional insurance policy just to be sure there were no vitamin and mineral deficiencies preventing me from performing my best. That all changed when I was introduced to Athletic Greens which is a whole food based greens supplement that actually tastes really good.
Now, instead of a daily multivitamin, I recommend a daily glass of Athletic Greens. With 75 super nutrients, each in optimal quantities, it is a far better nutritional insurance policy ensuring my diet is not only not lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, but also nutrient dense greens superfoods, herbs, antioxidants and digestive enzymes - all really good stuff.
As I said, I take Athletic Greens daily and consider it a big part of what keeps me in top shape year round. You should try it out and see if it is something that you want to integrate into your nutrition profile.
Well there you have it. Four (+1) things you can think about and implement in your life today. To summarize:
And that's it for today.
So, take a look at your eating habits and make some changes for the better.
Quite a few questions have been landing in my inbox lately asking what a boxer's diet looks like. Questions like:
I've actually been meaning to answer all these questions and more in the full boxer's diet book that I'm working on, but time is not on my side at the moment.
I can answer many of these questions quickly and to the point without going into absurd amounts of detail in this article to get you started in the right direction.
If you can do without a big explanation of the why and trust that I have some idea of what I'm talking about (I don't know everything, but I am Precision Nutrition certified), then I can give you ten ways to start making your diet look like a boxer's diet.
Implementing one, two, or all of these ten recommendations will put you far ahead of any opponent that is not taking their nutrition as seriously as their training.
Please do not try to implement all of these recommendations at once. If you try to do it all, you'll likely fail miserably. Take one and focus on putting it into your daily routine for at least 14 days straight before trying to implement another one. That 14 days is enough to develop the habit so you no longer have to think about it - it just happens naturally and frees up your mind to focus on developing the next habit.
Before long all of the recommendations will take hold almost effortlessly.
So, here we go with the quick start boxer's diet...and this are in the order that I recommend you integrate into your life:
You have three options: water, green tea, or coffee.
As a boxer, you expend a tremendous amount of calories in the gym (up to 1000 calories/hr or more). If you're not eating enough, your training will eventually suffer. You make far better use of your time in the gym when you have the energy to give it all you've got.
You know you're eating enough when your lean body mass (muscle) is increasing or staying constant and the amount of fat on your body is decreasing or staying constant (depending on your goals). As I'm already operating at my natural fighting weight, I will adjust my overall daily food intake up or down depending on whether I see my muscle mass decreasing or fat increasing. The key is to start with a certain amount of food and then adjust over time depending on what is happening to your body composition.
It honestly doesn't really make that much difference overall. How much you're eating matters more over the course of the day.
It's best to take a look at your schedule and see when it suits you to eat.
I usually eat a fairly large breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening snack. When I'm training harder or trying to add muscle, I'll add additional protein/calories to the day by adding in mid morning and afternoon snacks. I've also successfully used intermittent fasting to decrease body fat where I would only eat between noon and 2000hrs each day.
I also find that dinner fairly soon after training helps with recovery (as nutrients are available for muscle repair). I do not eat during training and there really is no need to unless the training session goes beyond 90 minutes.
I take three (Full disclosure: I get a small commission if you decide to buy from any of the links here, but I wouldn't be making these recommendations if they were not quality products that I personally use myself and with clients to achieve outstanding results):
Just go cold turkey. I can't honestly say I never eat sugar or foods that contain sugar but I make a conscious effort to eat things that don't have sugar in them (not including fruit - nobody gets fat eating bananas). Sugar is worse than crack cocaine when it comes to addiction and does absolutely nothing for you. When you replace the sugar laden nutrient free foods with nutrient dense foods your boxing performance will skyrocket.
I know, I know - first no sugar, now no alcohol - I obviously have no idea how to have fun and enjoy life. Again, I will have the occasional drink, but when I do I fully acknowledge that I'm poisoning myself and affecting my overall performance and quality of training for at least a day or two. If I am going to drink, I'll be sure to eat a few extra servings of vegetables, decrease my calorie intake, and increase the amount of water I drink during the day and during the party. I'll also stick to clear liquor, often with club soda or tonic water and lime.
What does sleep have to do with nutrition? Well, if you're sleep deprived you'll end up eating more and what you will eat will be more crap food. A good seven hours of sleep each night will do wonders for your performance in the ring and make all the other nutritional changes you're making extra effective.
Some foods are just plain better for you than others. Some have nutrients and good stuff - others don't. These 21 superfoods should work their way into your diet in one form or another. I'd suggest picking one or two a week, buying them and trying out a new recipe that includes them. You'll not only experience some new tastes, but you'll end up eliminating other foods that you may have been eating that aren't giving you the same level of nutritional benefit.
The performance boosts associated with cutting all forms of dairy out of your diet vary from person to person. I find that I'm someone who does benefit from it not only in terms of quicker recovery and fewer inflammation issues, but it also has side benefits such as clearer skin.
I'm not sure if it's still the case, but I was brought up believing milk was essential for strong bones (calcium). It's not. You can get plenty of calcium from vegetables such as broccoli and other sources. I've had little to no dairy for years now and my bones certainly are not brittle.
I would suggest taking a couple of weeks, eliminate all dairy, and see how you feel. If you notice any positive improvements, keep it, if not, feel free to go back to the milk if you so desire.
Some fats are good for you. The fats in nuts are good for you and do things in your body that need to be done. They are a good source of protein as well. Eat more plain nuts - almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc... Be sure to factor in the calories though as nuts are calorie dense. I usually have a small handful of assorted mixed nuts as an evening snack.
There is a whole lot more I can and will eventually say on each of these boxing diet tips and more in the book I'm working on, but I didn't want to delay getting this information out to you so you can start working the recommendations into your overall training plan.
I know I'm asking you to take a lot of this on faith as I didn't exactly go into any of it in much detail. I assure you that detail is coming in the not too distant future and in the meantime you can ask any questions you may have in the comments below where I'll do my best to answer each of them.
Enjoy and boxon.
Greens supplements are becoming super popular and for good reason as far as supplements go.
More and more often, you'll encounter claims detailing how greens supplements are the answer to the chronic fruit and vegetable intake deficiency you have or are your answer to losing weight and better health. That sounds super appealing when it means you don't have to eat your broccoli or (insert hated vegetable here).
When you see that kind of claim for a supplement, it's usually best just to click to something else, but in the case of greens supplements, there is actually some truth backing up the marketing hype.
In total, Commando Boxing approves of the use of four supplements (there used to be five, but I found a way to replace the synthetic multivitamin), and a high quality greens supplement is one of them.
Supplement marketing being what it is - you're going to encounter claims that seem too good to be true when looking to see what a greens supplement can do for you. You'll find claims such as:
Our greens supplement can replace your daily multivitamin.
Careful - it's only true in specific cases.
All greens supplements are the same.
Nope, not true at all.
Greens will restore your body's Ph - making it more alkaline.
Yep, they can and I'll cover why this is important below.
Greens supplements mean you don't have to eat your 10-12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Nope - it's a supplement - supplements supplement real food, they don't replace them.
Like the other three supplements I recommend, a greens supplement can help you achieve your health and fitness goals if you use it right. If you don't, at worst you can negatively affect your level of insulin sensitivity and ability to build and repair muscle post workout. At very least you may as well flush your money down the toilet as the greens supplement won't do a thing for you.
Greens supplements are made of dried fruits, vegetables, algaes, mushrooms, herbs, and grasses that have been dehydrated and ground into powder form. In some cases vitamins, minerals, and probiotics are also added to the formula.
Ingredients you'll find include spirulina, apple, wheatgrass, alfalfa, chlorella, barley, cherry, broccoli, green tea, peas, artichokes, and a wide variety of other super foods depending on the product you look at.
They are usually mixed with water or other liquids prior to drinking them or come in pill form. You can pretty much eliminate any pill based products from your potentials list right now, as you'd have to take several pills to match the same amount of greens intake you'd get from a powdered product.
The best greens supplements aim to pack as much nutrition as possible into a formula that you would mix into a drink that you take daily or at times when you don't have access to a regular 10-12 servings of real fruits and vegetables.
Oh and most of them taste like crap...
A whole host of health benefits are associated with increased fruit and vegetable intake and people who switch to a primarily plant based diet often even eliminate and control harmful health issues. Measurable benefits include:
With that many benefits, it's a wonder we're not all vegetarians, but quite the opposite is true. According to a research based article on Precision Nutrition- when it comes to getting our 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, it happens in:
Based on those stats, it's clear that the majority of the population could benefit from taking a daily greens supplement that can deliver in one drink, an equivalent level of nutrients and phytonutrients found in 12 servings of fruit and vegetables.
However, before thinking that you can eliminate fruits and veggies altogether by taking a spoonful of greens powder, a greens supplement is a supplement and is meant to supplement or augment real food intake not replace it.
We have a tendency to eat a lot more protein than fruits and vegetables. This contributes to a state of low grade acidosis in the body.
To understand the effects of acidosis, you need to know that your body has a bunch of systems that work together to keep Ph (which is the measure of alkalinity/acidity) constant at a slightly alkaline level in the body.
Your kidneys play a big role in maintaining this Ph by secreting or filtering things (keeping it very non-technical).
In the case of alkalinity vs acidity, what you eat really does matter. If you continually consume foods that require acid neutralization by your kidneys, it forces your kidneys to find buffering substances. If they do not have enough available from your diet (like you would get by consuming lots of vegetables), they get them from deposits already in your body to combat the acid.
Calcium and phosphorous are two prime possibilities and your bones are a good source of both - so a high acid diet can lead to osteoporosis among other things. It's usually not a lack of dietary calcium that causes osteoporosis in most people in the US - it's this buffering activity going on in the body as a result of not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Taking a daily greens supplement has the added benefit of helping to keep your body in an alkaline state.
Ok, so you're at the point where you realize that a greens supplement is actually a good supplement to take. Now make sure you understand what a good greens supplement consists of so you don't end up buying a dud and not getting any of these benefits.
Further, if you take your greens at the wrong time, it can actually hinder your health and fitness goals.
To get these benefits - you must buy and consume daily the highest quality greens supplement that you can afford.
When going out looking for a greens supplement, the first thing you have to keep in mind is that you're dealing with the supplement industry. Nothing is regulated and what the label says is not always what is in the bag or bottle so you should stick to reputable brands that have verifiable quality control processes in place. Greens supplements are expensive enough. The last thing you want to do is buy something that is totally useless.
Once you've narrowed down the available greens supplements to a potential list of companies to deal with, you should compare the labels of similar sized products to see the amounts of each nutrient you are getting. Some of the ingredients found in greens supplements are very expensive to procure and put into powdered form while still maintaining nutrient value. Some lesser quality greens supplements may substitute larger amounts of cheaper ingredients to keep costs down which obviously affects the overall quality of the greens supplement.
There are greens supplements that can replace a multivitamin because they have had those various vitamins and minerals added to their formulas. If you can eliminate the need for a daily multivitamin and get the same or more benefit from a daily greens supplement - it's a win-win situation.
When you train hard you introduce free radicals into your body through the process of oxidation. Anti-oxidants are marketed to combat the damage done by the oxidation process so it would seem that taking a greens supplement that is loaded with anti oxidants immediately after working out would be a good idea to speed up repair.
Taking your greens supplement immediately after working out disrupts your body's natural repair process that has kicked in to deal with the added oxidation that occurred. As the repair process progresses, muscle is built and you get stronger. Interfere with that and you will experience less muscle growth and/or benefit from the hard training session you just did.
Training also improves insulin sensitivity but anti-oxidants can screw with that too.
The moral of the story? Take your greens supplement well before or three or more hours after you train.
Yes - Athletic Greens - but before you click through try what I recommend - be aware that I make a small commission off any sales that Athletic Greens makes as a result of my recommendation. When I find a product that has real benefit and that I use (and I do use this greens supplement daily), I often join the company's affiliate program so that if someone like you decides to buy a product based on my recommendation, then Commando Boxing makes a little money to keep things running. You have my word that I do not recommend any product or service on Commando Boxing that I have not personally used and believe to be of benefit to my readers. If there is no benefit to you, I will not recommend a product to make a commission - it's as simple as that.
Now that you understand my relationship with the company, the greens supplement that Commando Boxing recommends is Athletic Greens. To my knowledge, there is not a higher quality product, made with the same stringent manufacturing process that provides anywhere near the amount of nutritional benefit this product does.
In each serving you'll get:
In total, every serving of Athletic Greens gives you optimal amounts of over 70 specially selected nutritional ingredients where every single one provides nutritional benefit.
It's also one of those greens supplements that can replace your multivitamin, but the best thing about it is....
....it tastes friggin great. Seriously, I wake up craving my dose of greens every day. Given that it mixes up dark green in the glass, the first time I tried it I was expecting to drink something that tasted like feedlot manure. Man I was happy when my taste buds reported back.
The Coles Notes form of what we just covered:
Enjoy your Greens...(and still eat your veggies). Boxon.