Protein Supplementation

This article on Protein Supplementation is meant as an expansion of our “Which is the Best Protein?” article as well as an assistance to understanding the results obtained from our Protein Calculator. Please read the complete article, including our disclaimers, before embarking on any modifications to your protein intake.

Protein supplementation for people who workout hard is very important in regards to seeing and maintaining results. It plays a part in pretty much every aspect of your bodily function. Protein is vital to the growth and repair of muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, eyes, and even the creation of antibodies responsible to fight off infections, the clotting of your blood and as a source of energy for everyday activities (amongst numerous other things it does!). In regards to working out, most people’s questions about protein relate to when they should take it, how much they should take, and what kind they require.

The consensus in the workout community seems to be that you should consume your protein within half-an-hour of working out. We take a scoop or two of protein as soon as we get home with a large cup of water. The reason we take additional protein is we believe we fall into a class of athletes called ‘Strength and Power’ athletes. This means we work out hard, challenge ourselves, and put a lot of stress on our muscles – requiring more protein than a regular diet can offer us (without needing to eat an extra steak with every meal…). According to Dr. Jay Hoffman and his authoritative review article entitled “Protein – Which is the Best?” (published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine) – ‘Strength and Power’ athletes, in order to maximize protein synthesis, meet protein requirements, and maintain a positive nitrogen balance, should consume anywhere between 1.4 and 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. In my case, this works out to approximately 135 grams per day. On days that I perform a lot of powerlifts – I take more than this. The only way I can obtain this much protein without resorting to eating a lot of meat, all day long, is to obtain it from an extra protein source – my choice being whey protein. I add it to smoothies at lunch and take a scoop (or two) of it right after working out.

In the same research article, as its title implies, Dr. Jay Hoffman also reviews the best protein source by ranking them according to a ‘protein rating scale’. This scale is based on several components such as Protein Efficiency Ratio (the effectiveness of a protein through the measurement of animal growth), Biological Value (measures protein quality by calculating the nitrogen used for tissue formation divided by the nitrogen absorbed from food), Net Protein Utilization (Net protein utilization is similar to the biological value except that it involves a direct measure of retention of absorbed nitrogen), and Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (protein quality determined by expressing the content of the first limiting essential amino acid of the test protein as a percentage of the content of the same amino acid content in a reference pattern of essential amino acids). Needless to say Dr. Jay Hoffman has created one of the most thoroughly researched analyses on what type of protein is best – pure and simple! He concludes that “In athletes supplementing their diets with additional protein, casein has been shown to provide the greatest benefit for increases in protein synthesis for a prolonged duration. However, whey protein has a greater initial benefit for protein synthesis. These differences are related to their rates of absorption. It is likely a combination of the two could be beneficial, or smaller but more frequent ingestion of whey protein could prove to be of more value.” The conclusion, as interpreted by myself, is that animal protein is the best (using the results of the protein rating scale only), but if you are vegetarian (such as my wife), soy isolate protein seems to be extremely beneficial as well.

Numerous people have suggested over the years that an increase in protein can have negative health effects. Like much of the information out there, this has not panned out, yet keeps being repeated over and over again for some reason. Several of the primary concerns were regarding high protein intake and metabolic disease risk, impaired renal function, as well as cardiovascular disease. In each of these cases, there are landmark studies that refute these claims. A 2003 study entitled “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity” concludes that while the risks associated with metabolic disease (metabolic ketosis > releasing ketone bodies > increasing metabolic acidosis > coma and death ensuing…) are greater in the short term (3 months) while in the long term, 6 months and beyond, the body returns to a regular baseline state and the risk is no longer exists. A 2000 study entitled “Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney function in athletes?” demonstrates that bodybuilders consuming large amounts of protein – 2.8g per kg of body weight – showed absolutely no negative results in kidney tests. That’s one full gram (greater than 50%) more than what we consume per kg of bodyweight. In regards to cardiovascular disease and higher protein intake, two research articles, Hu et al., (1999) and Jenkins et al., (2001) actually show an inverse relationship between protein intake and cardiovascular disease and a decrease in fat content in the blood profiles of people consuming higher amounts of proteins. Obarzanek et al., (1996) even demonstrates that the consumption of higher amounts of protein resulted in lower blood pressure levels. The one medical reason why people should actually consume less protein is if they have an existing kidney disease, where a lowering of the protein content is thought to reduce the progression of renal disease (according to Brenner et al., 1996).

As with everything else that we claim in our eBook or on our website, and in anyone’s eBook or website for that matter, we don’t want you to take anything from us at face-value. Do your own research and review the articles I have referenced above. Before considering protein supplementation, talk with your healthcare professional to ensure you do not have any underlying conditions that would contraindicate an increase in protein. We’re not doctors or scientists – remember that!

General References:

Foster, G.D., Wyatt, H.R., Hill, J.O., McGuckin B.G., Brill C., Mohammed B.S., Szapary P.O., Rader D.J., Edman J.S. and Klein S. (2003) A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity. The New England Journal of Medicine 348, 2082-2090.

Hoffman, Jay R., Falvo, Michael J., Protein – Which is Best?, Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2004; 3:118-130

Hu, F.B., Stampfer, M.J., Manson, J.E., Rimm, E., Colditz, G.A., Speizer, F.E., Hennekens, C.H. and Willett, W.C. Dietary protein and risk of ischemic heart disease in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999 70, 221-227.

Jenkins D.J.A., Kendall C.W.C., Vidgen E., Augustin L.S.A., van Erk M., Geelen A., Parker T., Faulkner D., Vuksan V., Josse R.G., Leiter L.A. and Connelly P.W. High protein diets in hyperlipidemia: effect of wheat gluten on serum lipids, uric acid and renal function. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001, 74, 57-63.

Obarzanek, E., Velletri, P.A. and Cutler, J.A. Dietary protein and blood pressure. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1996, 275, 1598-1603.

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Red Wine and Resveratrol

‘Consuming wine in moderation daily will help people to die young as late as possible.’ Dr Philip Norrie

 

Anyone out there drink any red-wine? If so, you might be interested in a research article that was published last year regarding a compound in red wine known as resveratrol. Resveratol has been referred to as an ‘exercise’ compound as it appears to significantly slow deterioration in muscle tissue. This has led to red wine being called ‘Exercise in a bottle’ – of course it’s not a direct replacement for exercise… unfortunately… but for people who work out hard and Never Do Nothing, it appears to be beneficial in many unique ways as well. Other studies have indicated that resveratol appears to have the following properties: cancer preventative, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and might even increase testosterone levels. Skeptics however think you need a sh*t-load of it to really notice the benefits.

Either way, red wine has been linked to good health for a long time – the key is moderation and not drinking-and-driving, which is harmful to everyone! So drink up – a glass of red wine with your supper, in our humble opinions, is a good thing! Whether or not you decide to drink red wine is entirely your choice.

The research article referenced above:

I. Momken, L. Stevens, A. Bergouignan, D. Desplanches, F. Rudwill, I. Chery, A. Zahariev, S. Zahn, T. P. Stein, J. L. Sebedio, E. Pujos-Guillot, M. Falempin, C. Simon, V. Coxam, T. Andrianjafiniony, G. Gauquelin-Koch, F. Picquet, S. Blanc. Resveratrol prevents the wasting disorders of mechanical unloading by acting as a physical exercise mimetic in the rat. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1096/fj.10-177295

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Metabolic Conditioning

Metabolic Conditioning – What is it and why does it work?

A major component of Never Do Nothing training involves what we refer to as metabolic conditioning (metcons). We place as much importance on this type of training as we do to Powerlifting. Why? Because it works!

Metabolic conditioning is basically the general term we use to define our high-intensity / interval training workouts – we often use the terms interchangeably but we’re effectively referring to the same fitness concept. Several other workouts and websites may have a slightly different definition, but our definition relates to the workouts that force you to go all out, for a relatively short period of time, and make you leave the gym with an incredible sense of happiness… knowing that you won’t be working out again for at least 24 hours!

The basic premise of high-intensity training is based on the fact that more work can be accomplished if it is broken up with quick rest breaks as opposed to proceeding with the work on a continuous basis (a popular method for this is tabata training). This is also true with quickly jumping from exercise to exercise where completely different body-parts are targeted (for example, going from Chin-Ups to Squats to Sit-ups!). Since your overall fitness is affected to a greater extent by the intensity of your workouts as opposed to their length, it makes perfect sense to take advantage of this concept by adapting your workout to this instead of hoping 60 minutes on the elliptical is going to whip you into shape – which it won’t, so don’t bother trying.

High-intensity training comes in many different formats. From the amount of intervals, their lengths, the number of rounds, the types of exercises, and even the equipment used – the variety of these workouts are nearly endless. While that in itself is great from a psychological point for view so your workouts are often very different from one day to the nest, the real advantage to high-intensity training comes from your body’s adaptations to it.

There are several key physiological adaptations which take place when performing high-intensity training which explain why it should be a basic building block of any successful workout program. By repeatedly exposing the body to fatigue during the workout, the body slowly but surely reacts by improving its resistance to fatigue through both aerobic and anaerobic adaptations.  The constant spiking of the heart rate stimulates an increase in stroke volume (referred to as the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat). A greater amount of volume per beat means you can get more oxygen, more quickly to your muscles – in turn resulting in a greater Vo2 max (the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen). Vo2 max is often used a measuring stick in regards to someone’s fitness level. Ongoing research has also started showing that high-intensity training is a much more effective way of increasing your Vo2 max than exercises of long-duration (long-distance running / cycling for example). Many long-distance runners such as marathoners are now starting to see the advantage of actually cutting back on long-distance running and replacing it with high-intensity training.

On the anaerobic side, short intense work intervals train the muscles’ energy systems by causing increases in the amount of adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate. This directly leads to increases in muscle strength and power. High-intensity training also results in an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles and maintaining this during the workout. Lactic acid is the by-product of muscular metabolism. An accumulation forces the body to adapt to increased levels of lactic acid.  In response, the body then gets used to flushing greater amounts of lactic acid out of your system. This allows for an enhanced delay to the onset of fatigue – essentially allowing you to perform more work.  Lactic acid also irritates the muscles and can cause soreness (most notably felt getting out of bed the following day!) – The better your body is at processing it, the less sore you will be. I used to be much more sore doing simple bicep curls back in the day then I am now thrusting a total of 10,000lbs above my head (which is literally a workout we have…).

The other benefits to high-intensity training that are great but not really why we incorporate them into our workout program is that they save time – 15 minutes high-intensity training will do more for you than 60 minutes on a stationary bike – and metabolic conditioning has also been found to be more effective at the processing of fat at the cellular level (muscle burning it up as energy instead of placing it on your hips) than regular continuous training.

The combination of these physiological adaptations continuously increases your level of fitness, which in turn allows you to do more. It’s a positive feedback cycle that simply gets you into better and better shape! When combined with powerlifting, metabolic conditioning (along with strength-conditioning) is a huge part of why Never Do Nothing works as well as it does. An all-out metabolic conditioning session is as close to the intensity and physical demands that you could experience on the fire-ground – which is why our workout is meant to train you as a firefighter, and it does a great job at it!

 

Interval Training for the Fitness Professional, Strength and Conditioning Journal, Jason R. Karp, Volume 22, Number 4, April 2000

Higher Mitochondrial Fatty Acid Oxidation following Intermittent versus Continuous Endurance Exercise Training, Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Chilibeck, PD, GJ Bell, RP Farrar, and TP Martin, Volume 76, 1998

Training the Aerobic Capacity of Distance Runners: A Break From Tradition, Strength and Conditioning Journal, Anthony Nicholas Turner, MSc, CSCS, Volume 33, Number 2, April 2011

High-Intensity Interval Training: Applications for General Fitness Training, Strength and Conditioning Journal, Paul Sorace, MS, ACSM, RCEP, CSCS, Volume 31, Number 6, December 2009

 

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Powerlifting Ladders

Powerlifting Ladders

Even if you have been lifting heavy and consistently for numerous months, you still must occasionally make attempts to increase your one-rep maxes or brute strength. As part of any long-term workout program, it’s important to occasionally push towards new ‘standards’ of which all your lifts are based on. Our Powerlifting Ladder technique is primarily based on the popular 5/3/1 program. We do it differently since we only still do 2 strength / volume days per week (as opposed to purely concentrating on powerlifting at the expense of metabolic and strength conditioning). Also, we still continue to super-set during the workouts as we believe ‘Never Doing Nothing’ is better suited to our career and fitness goals.

If you haven’t already checked out our one-rep-max calculator, now would be a good time to do so as all these lifts are based on what your current one-rep maxes are.

Once you have figured out your max, take 90% of it – this is number you will now refer to as your ‘maximum’.

For example, if 100lb squat is your maximum – you will now consider 90lb to be your maximum in regards to what the percentages of the lifts require.

 

Each Powerlifting Ladder cycle is composed of 4 weeks.

Week 1 – Warm-up Sets – then 5 reps at 65% one rep max, 5 reps at 75%, 5 reps at 85%

Week 2 – Warm-up Sets – then 3 reps at 70% one rep max, 3 reps at 80%, 3 reps at 90%

Week 3 – Warm-up Sets – then 5 reps at 75% one rep max, 3 reps at 85%, 1 rep at 95%

Week 4 – Warm-up Sets – then 5 x 5 of 10 reps at 40% one rep max – Dynamic Effort

 

That completes one-cycle. You would then add 10lb to your lower-body powerlifts, and 5lb to upper-body powerlifts and start over again.

For example, if week 1 consisted of 5 reps at 70lbs, 5 reps at 80lbs, and 5 reps at 90lbs for your Squats – then in the Second Cycle you would then add 10lbs to each of those, now attempting  5 reps at 80lbs, 5 reps at 90lbs, and 5 reps at 100lbs.

Eventually gains will become harder to make – that’s when you start cutting back and adding 5lb - then 2.5lb and continue this way. The more powerlifting ladders you do, the closer you get to your true one rep max!

Always round-up to the nearest weight possibility depending on your weight-plate selections.

As well – the last sets you should always aim to do as many as possible. If it’s asking for ’5′ reps, and you can do ’8′ – then do 8!! 

 

Our Powerlifting Ladder days break down to the following two days per week:

A – Squat / Press

B – Deadlift / Incline Press

 

 

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CPAT

CPAT – Candidate Physical Aptitude Test

As an increasing number of Municipalities across Canada and the United States make the CPAT their official physical test as part of the firefighter hiring process, recruitment candidates should familiarize themselves with this test, as well as understand how a metabolic and strength conditioning program can properly prepare them for it.

The CPAT began in 1997 as a result of what the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) and IAFC (International Association of Fire Chiefs) viewed as a need to standardize the physical testing of candidates being hired into fire services all across North America. The rationale was that candidates who were incapable of achieving the physical requirements of fire fighting were slipping through the cracks. A task force consisting of the IAFF / IAFC and ten leading fire services and their unions created the Fire Service Joint Labor-Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative. In turn, the CPAT was developed.

Using 1000 randomly selected fire fighters from the ten fire services, various standards were developed based on averages. Averages such as; what kinds of tasks fire fighters are required to complete, how much the average gear and tools weigh, the average height and weight of the fire fighters, and even the average weight of patients entering the ER departments of the cities where the ten fire services were located. Using these averages, an ‘obstacle course’ was created that the task force felt best replicated what the average firefighter would experience at an average fire ground scenario. After running their fire fighters through it, they also came up with an average time that candidates should pass.

Municipalities that decide to run the CPAT as their official test must be licensed accordingly by the IAFF in order to do so. This results in an across-the-board baseline whereby every CPAT is essentially the exact same thing. All distances, weights, instructions, and sequence is the exact same. The individuals manning the test have received recognized training as well. Because the CPAT is a recognized standard that has been developed with such an excellent attention to detail, candidates are essentially unable to legally challenge the results as being ‘unfair’ – since thousands upon thousands of applicants and hires have set precedence before them as to the universal acceptance of this test.

The general rules of the CPAT are pretty straight-forward. Every step of the CPAT has a particular aspect to it that can constitute an instant fail. Sometimes you get to have a ‘warning’ before you fail, again, this depends on the step you’re on. There is a set time you must complete all eight steps in to pass.

The CPAT starts with a candidate being ‘loaded’ with a 50lb weighted vest. They are asked to make their way to a stair-climbing machine and given an extra 25lbs (12.5 add-ons on each shoulder). A 20 second warm-up at 50 steps per minute is quickly followed by a 3 minute, 60 steps per minute set. You cannot touch the rail twice, or you will fail. This is the only part of the whole CPAT where you cannot go more quickly than the time allocated for it.

Step 2, the hose drag, involves grabbing a nozzle on 200 feet of 1 ¾ hose and running with it 75 feet to a drum then turning 90 degrees and running another 25 feet. You then get on one knee and drag the hose until the first coupling, at 50 feet, crosses the finish line. This is the only part of the CPAT that you can run as fast as you can. If you fail to go around the drum, it’s an instant fail. If one of your knees is outside the finish-line ‘box’ you get a warning. The second time it’s a fail.

Step 3, the equipment carry, involves carrying two saws around a cone and back to the starting point. This starts by picking up each saw from a shelf and placing it on the ground, one at a time. Once both saws are on the ground, they are picked up at the same time, one in each hand, and carried around the cone and back. They are then returned to the shelf in the reverse sequence as they were removed, one at a time. If the saws fall or touch the ground during the carry in any way, it’s a fail. If you run at all, it’s a fail.

Step 4, the ladder raise and extension, involves raising a 24 foot aluminum ladder from a lying position to a vertical one against a wall. You then move to the side and extend the fly-section of an identical ladder to its limit, then lower it back down to the ground in a controlled, hand-over-hand manner. Any loss of control during any part of this step, including having the rope slip in any fashion, will result in an instant fail.

Step 5, forcible entry, involves striking a 10lb sledge-hammer against a mechanical measuring device which is meant to simulate the resistance of a typical front door. Once the buzzer sounds, signalling that a successful amount of force has been applied, the step is concluded. Dropping the sledge hammer will result in an instant fail. Stepping outside of a marked box that you are standing in to swing the sledge hammer will result in a warning. A second warning is an instant fail.

Step 6, search, involves crawling through a darkened 64 foot u-shape maze (two 90 degree angles) with obstacles in your path requiring you to feel and make your way through it. Any event that results in the candidate requiring assistance out of the maze, either by panicking or running out of time, will lead to an instant fail.

Step 7, rescue, involves dragging a 165lb dummy around a drum and back to the starting line, totalling 70ft. If the candidate fails to drag the dummy around the drum, or the candidate touches or rests on the drum, they instantly fail.

Step 8, ceiling breach and pull, involves using a pike pole to perform four complete sets of three repetitions of pushing up a hinged door, followed by 5 repetitions of pulling down on a hook attached to a ceiling device. Both the hinged door and the ceiling device provide a weighted resistance. Stepping outside the designated area will result in a warning. A second time will result in an instant fail. Candidates are allowed to drop the pike-pole once, a second time will result in an instant fail.

Even without failing any of the eight steps, you must still complete them in a set time. If you go over the set time unfortunately this results in an instant fail as well.

Like most fire fighters, I spent a few years working hard to get hired. This resulted in my having done more CPATs than I care to remember. Because most of these CPATs were out of town, I spent numerous hours sitting around waiting for my turn, and this enabled me to see hundreds of other candidates perform the CPAT. While the majority passed, a surprisingly large number also failed – I would never have guessed that the failure rate was as high as it was unless I saw it for myself. I saw people pretty much fail at every single step. While many people failed for technical reasons such as dropping the ladder, panicking in the maze, not running around a drum, running when not supposed to, dropping a sledge-hammer (pretty much every failure mentioned in the steps above I’ve seen happen!) – The majority of people failed because they simply were not in proper shape to undertake the CPAT, plain and simple. I’ve seen people give up after less than a minute on the stair-climber! What on earth were they thinking the job entailed? A lot of people managed to make it through the CPAT, but not under the amount of time allocated.

Passing the CPAT requires that you get yourself in fire fighter shape. Fitness programs such as the metabolic and strength conditioning combined with powerlifting workouts that we do at Never Do Nothing are perfect for the particularities of becoming a fire fighter. I’ve seen my share of body-builder types (the stereotypical types that you would have to assume are in excellent shape if you didn’t know better) who made it off the stair-climber with rubber legs looking like they just got off a boat that completed a 6 year journey at sea. They had no gas left in their tanks and couldn’t complete the rest of it in time.

The fact of the matter is that unless you train for all aspects of fitness, you will lack the strength, endurance, cross-training, recovery, and general conditioning required for not only passing the CPAT, but performing your job as a fire fighter. Barely passing the CPAT is also not enough. Most fire services once you get hired and are in their drill school have their own physical tests which are much more demanding than the CPAT and have no problems cutting you if you can’t handle it. The days of getting instantly hired for the rest of your life are behind us and recruits are at an ever increasing chance of being let go due to poor physical conditioning. Even more challenging than the drill school physical tests are dealing with an actual fire. Ask any fire fighter with actual experience what the difference is – it’s pretty much day and night.

The CPAT should be seen as an absolute bear minimum of fitness level. If you can’t smoke the CPAT in under 7:30, you may get a nasty wake-up call in drill school or worse, on the fire ground. You shouldn’t be walking around with your head high if you barely passed. Use the time between the CPAT and getting hired to increase your physical conditioning! Being in excellent physical condition is your responsibility once you get hired – and if you are not willing to put in the sacrifice to achieve a high level of fitness, this job simply isn’t for you. There are numerous programs out there that can take you to the next level, so look around and do your homework. We like to think our program, which takes you safely and effectively from beginner to advanced is great, but we’re obviously partial since we’ve seen great results from it and have been perfecting it for over 4 years now. Whatever fitness program you come across, give it your best. As a fire fighter, doing nothing is never an option. Never Do Nothing!

General tips for passing the CPAT are as follows:

  • Get in shape!
  • Follow all directions
  • Familiarize yourself with all the steps
  • Hydrate yourself properly prior to starting
  • Eat a healthy breakfast on testing day (as you should every day)
  • Get a goodnight sleep
  • Don’t stress out – Getting in shape, knowing what to expect, and being fueled will result in your success!
  • Never Do Nothing

General References:

http://www.iaff.org/hs/CPAT/cpat_index.html

http://uwfitness.uwaterloo.ca/firefighter/cpat_orient.html

http://ottawa.ca/en/city_hall/careers/fire/pre_qualification/stage_05/index.html

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Hydration

“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.” –  Mark Twain

 

Disclaimer: this article is written from personal experience, research, and knowledge acquired through trial and error. Your experience may vary when it comes to your own hydration. If you have an idea or differing view on the subject, please feel free to comment below. We love a good discussion that we can learn from! As with all other information found on this website, make sure you consult your health-care professional before embarking on any workout or diet modifications based on what you read on Never Do Nothing.ca

Water. It’s essential to cell function, daily life and optimal athletic performance. In this day of society flooding us with soda, fruit drinks and sugar filled athletic drinks, it can be very hard to make the right decision when it comes to your own hydration. In this article, I’ll attempt to put you on the right path to proper hydration.

So how much water do you drink every day? Do you subscribe to the old 8 glasses of water a day? According to a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Physiology, the old 8 glasses of water a day is in fact, an ‘old-school’ thing. According to the researcher, Heinz Valtin, there is no reason a healthy adult living in a temperate climate not engaged in physical activity should consume a large amount of water. However, and this is a big ‘however’ in regards to us, we do indeed engage in large amounts of rigorous physical activity, not to mention our jobs which results in us sweating buckets in our bunker-gear for even the simplest of calls, there are individuals that indeed require more hydration than the average human.

Never Do Nothing athletes, and especially the fire-fighters amongst us, should indeed subscribe to the old 8 glasses a day – and then some!

The truth is that many of us walk around every day in a dehydrated state and we don’t even know it. The adult body is made up of about 60% water, and the brain can have as much as 70%. There are three ways your body loses water: urine, feces, and insensible loses. Insensible water loss occurs in two ways: through exhalation of water vapor in the lungs and through perspiration (sweat). Consequently, we are losing water all the time. When we workout intensely or fight a fire, the loss is even greater. The body can lose 1-2 liters of fluid per hour when working intensely. Some early signs of dehydration can include:

-  Dry, sticky mouth

-  Feeling lethargic

-  Headache

-  Dizziness/lightheadedness

When not addressed early on, you can reach moderate to severe dehydration. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life threatening condition that must be corrected immediately. Your best bet is to simply avoid this problem by staying hydrated! When at work, I go out of my way to drink a large glass of water through-out the day. If you get called out to a fire when you are already thirsty, this can be particularly dangerous and even work it’s way into being a life-threatening mistake.

Equally important is the fact that being dehydrated has a negative impact on your workout. Research has shown that being dehydrated while working out can decrease your strength and power output. This will result in you lifting less weight, tiring out more quickly, and not working out as explosively as you should – essentially resulting in a mediocre workout. Other research has made a connection between lower testosterone levels and an increase in cortisol (a stress hormone) levels when working out while dehydrated! Needless to say hydration is vital while working out!

There are various ways you can calculate the amount of water you need to drink to stay hydrated if you are into high-intensity and challenging workouts such as the ones found on Never Do Nothing. The formula I subscribe to is to drink half your body weight in ounce of water. I weigh 210lb, therefore I need to drink 105oz of water a day just to stay hydrated. Now you may be thinking “wow, that is a lot of water!!” and you’re right, it is! It can be a challenge to drink this much water every day. You have to be diligent and have a plan in place. When I started seriously paying attention to my water intake, I would use a 1 liter Nalgene water bottle. 1 liter of fluid is equal to 33.8 ounces of water which is about a third of my required daily intake of water. A challenge I had to face was the realization that my daily water consumption worked out to three of those bottles a day! This may sound trivial, but that idea alone really bothered me! To solve the issue, I found myself a 16 ounce Nalgene bottle. I find it much easier to drink the required amount of water using a smaller container. It was a mental thing for me, but that’s what worked!

It’s important to remember that not all the water your body requires on a daily basis has to be taken from a bottle or glass – you also obtain water from the food you eat. It could be easy to overdo it so pay attention to the food you eat as well through-out the day. Nearly 20% of the average adult’s water intake comes from their food. For an idea of how much water you consume from your food, keep a food log (which will also help you pinpoint what your diet is like in the first place) and calculate it for a rough idea (just google ‘Food water content’ for a multitude of websites that offer charts with this information).

Although I am advocating you drink more water, you need to be careful in this endeavor. I would start off slowly and monitor your progress. Just because you are peeing clear (as the old pee-myth goes) doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Depending on your diet and your level of intense physical activity, you could be peeing out a large portion of your electrolytes. If you eat a paleo style diet, which is low in salt, you could be putting yourself in trouble (ie. Hyponatremia). You may need to supplement with electrolytes or salt tablets. These will also help you retain water instead of running to the bathroom every five minutes to pee. I like to supplement with Nuun tablets as they offer the benefits of various sports-drinks without the excess sugar or carbs.

Whatever you decide best suites your needs, I encourage you to stay hydrated!

General References

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/ds00561/dsection=symptoms

Jones, L. C., et al. Active dehydration impairs upper and lower body anaerobic muscular power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Resarch, 2008 Mar;22(2):455-463.

Judelson DA, Effect of hydration state on resistance exercise-induced endocrine markers of anabolism, catabolism, and metabolism. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008 Sep;105(3):816-24.

Marieb, Elaine and Katja Hoehn, Human Anatomy & Physiology, 8h Ed., Pearson Education, 2004. Print.

Valtin, H, “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8″?, American Journal of Phyisiology, 2002 Nov

“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.” – Mitch Hedberg

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Which is the Best Protein?

Our protein calculator has proved to be quite a popular posting, so we’ve decided to follow it up with an amazingly well-documented article regarding the main types of protein and how they are processed by the body in regards to athletic requirements. The article also touches on how much protein strength-training athletes should consume. It makes for a very interesting read and anyone thinking about doing our workout or supplementing their protein intake should give it a shot!

This article comes from one of our favourite sources of information – the well respected and peer-reviewed Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.  The article, entitled Protein – Which is Best?, is written by Dr. Jay Hoffman, PhD.

One of the highlights of this great article is the following line: As a result, recommendations for strength/power athletes’ protein intake are generally suggested to be between 1.4 – 1.8 g⋅kg-1⋅day-1.

If you are doing the Firefighter-Hybrid Workout, you are a strength/power athlete – period!

Thankfully we were able to find the PDF of his Review Article (A Review Article is a piece of research whereby a researcher analyses all the current literature and summarizes it);

http://jssm.org/vol3/n3/2/v3n3-2pdf.pdf

We at Never Do Nothing consume supplemental protein in the mornings on days we train as well as right after our workouts. Our protein of choice is Iso-Sensation 93 - a high-quality Whey Protein. We get the natural, unflavored one so that it contains ZERO additives, sugars, etc. It has no real taste so you can drink it straight without any ‘problems’!

While we obviously know that our readers are rational individuals capable of thinking for themselves, please let us remind you – and this goes without saying -  as with anything else you read on the internet, do your own research before embarking on any workout and diet modifications.

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PowerLifting Primer

This PowerLifting Primer Article is taken directly out of our eBook – which contains all the basic information, science, research, nutrition, etc. regarding our Firefighter-Hybrid Workout

Power Lifting Primer

While the firefighter hybrid workout attempts to target many aspects of fitness, and does a great job at conditioning, at its core, the firefighter hybrid workout is a strength and condition program. The cornerstone of this program is powerlifting, plain and simple.  Powerlifting exercises include the squat, deadlift, bench press, press and power cleans. Our workout works because the backbone of the workout primarily consists of these multijoint and multilmuscle movements as well as assistance exercises consisting of targeted movements. Life, sports, and fire-fighting for that matter are all multiple joint movements by nature. You work out your body as it was meant to be worked out – not constricted by some expensive machine or other isolated movements.

So why do we powerlift? Put simply, they are considered functional movements and mimic movement in everyday life. Functional movements mean that they are mechanically safe for the body to perform. As an example, you squat every day. Any time you get up from a sitting position, you are squatting. It is an essential movement to everyday life. There is a myth out there that powerlifting is unsafe and you will injure yourself doing it. One of the most popular myths is the danger of the deadlift. When done safely, this is one of the most effective movements you can do as an athlete. It releases a massive neuroendocrine response from the body that is essential to gaining muscle and a health. Depending on where you obtain your information, when compared to numerous other sports and activities, powerlifting has by far one of the lowest rate of injury and is actually considered one of the safest sports to participate in.

We must stress, however, that these exercises need to be learned properly. We will attempt to show you the proper form and methods to lift. It is incumbent upon yourself to make sure you know what you are doing. Take video of yourself, have a friend watch you lift, or find someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to work with you. We cannot stress that enough.

Powerlifting involves your entire body when done properly. This is the complete opposite of isolation exercises. When you decide to take on this style of working out, prepare to sweat every day in the gym. All of these movements involve great concentration and full body involvement. As an example, when squatting, you may think this only involves the glutes, hamstrings and quads. But in addition to those muscle groups, it will take every muscle fiber in your body to move that heavy weight from the bottom of the squat to the top. This applies to all lifts. When you get to heavier loads, proper form and full body involvement will be essential.

One of the most important benefits of powerlifting, as mentioned earlier, is the neuroendocrine response. It’s like taking steroids without the nasty side effects. What this means is a change in the body’s hormonal response to exercise. This is one of the main reasons why isolation movements are inadequate. They cannot elicit the same kind of response from exercising a single muscle group versus an athlete’s entire body. Some of the most important hormones needed in athletic development are testosterone and growth hormone (human and insulin-like). These will lead to higher muscle mass in a shorter amount of time, among other benefits. The style of our workout, heavy loads, smaller sets and shorter rest periods, are all associated with higher hormonal releases. This should be reason alone as to why doing any other type of workout is a massive waste of time!

General References;

Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research – Brian Hamill, 1994

Early-phase neuroendocrine responses and strength adaptations following eccentric-enhanced resistance training – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research – Yarrow JF, Borsa PA, Borst SE, Sitren HS, Stevens BR, White LJ, 2008

Resistance Training for Health and Rehabilitation – James E. Graves and Barry A. Franklin – 2001

Get Anabolic! Tempo Training, Varied Rest Intervals – Charles Poliquin – October 7, 2011

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Relax, It’s Only Caffeine

Relax, It’s Only Caffeine!

 

For whatever reason caffeine has always had a bad reputation. Supposedly  if you used it prior to working out, heart arrhythmias, increasing body-temperature, dehydration!!! These evils will strike you as soon as you enter the gym with a bit of caffeine in your system. It’s a fact!!!

Well as with most things related to nutrition and health, this myth has long ago been busted yet it still seems to be considered a ‘fact’ amongst many experts out there.

First off, it won’t dehydrate you! This has been proven false over and over again – as early as 2000 research articles began appearing confirming how much crap that was – The October 2000 issue of  the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has a ‘breakthrough’ article regarding this.

As far as the actual exercising goes, it does not act as an energy bolt so much as it acts as a way to enhance your resistance to fatigue and muscle pain. Tons of research confirms this – I could start putting links up but I’ll be here all day… just go to Google! As a rule of thumb unless it’s a peer-reviewed publication in a well-known reseach journal, I NEVER trust it!

We have our espresso every morning and sometimes prior to the gym if we’re feeling a bit tired…

 

Relax, It’s Only Caffeine!

 

Armstrong, L.E., Caffeine, body fluid electrolyte balance, and exercise performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2002; 12:189 -206.

Armstrong, L.E., Casa, D., Maresh.C.,Ganio.M.Caffeine,fluid-electrolyte balance, temperature regulation and exercise-heat tolerance. Exercise and Sport Sciences. 2007;35:135-140.

Ganio, M.S., Casa, D., Armstrong,L., Maresh,C. Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 2007; 26: 1-16.

Grandjean, A.J., Reimers, K.J., Bannick., K.E.,Haven,M.C. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2000; 19:591- 600.

Maughan, R.J and Griffin, J. Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2003; 16: 411- 420.

Nussberger, J., Mooser, V., Maridor,G., Juillerat, L., Waeber, B., Brunner, H.R. Caffeine induced diuresis and atrial natriuretic peptides. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.1990; 15: 685:691.

Passmore, A.P., Kondowe, G.B., Johnston, G.D. Renal and cardiovascular effects of caffeine: a dose response study. Clinical Science 1987; 72: 749 -756.

Popkin, B.M.,Armstrong,L.E.,Bray,G.M.,Caballero,B.,Frei,B.,Willett,W. A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 2006;83;529-542.

Robertson, D.,Frolich, J.C., Carr, R.K., Watson, J.T., Hollifield, J.W., Shand, D.G.,Oates, J.A. Effects of caffeine on plasma rennin activity, catecholamines and blood pressure. New England Journal of Medicine. 1978; 298:181-186.

 

 

 

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