The Last Undiscovered Edge: Diet and Performance

How you prepare for a workout can either enhance or take away from the exercise benefits. If you are a serious athlete or just want to improve yourself you want to make sure that you’re maximizing your workout effects, not detracting from them. Choosing the proper fuel is important, but so is the timing of when you fuel up around your workout. Putting quality ingredients into your body for fuel always gets better results than garbage for fuel. Garbage for fuel means that you are less likely to achieve peak performance.

Hydration is a major factor in performance. Water is the best liquid to put into your body. When the body is hydrated it performs at its best.  Post workout or game a hydrated body allows the body to remove damage and recover as fast as metabolism will allow. How much depends on conditions: heavy activity in hot weather (August Football camp) a gallon a day. Most people don’t workout hard enough and long enough to need the trace minerals that sports drinks pitch and they definitely don’t need all the sweeteners and chemicals. If you do more than two hours of very intensive workouts, use a pinch of Himalayan salt in your water. Sea salt doesn’t have the same minerals and can be contaminated with plastic. I also think that a few drops of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in a glass or jug are very healthy for your child. Stop with the sports drinks and soda, drink water. Sports drinks don’t help performance, no matter what their advertisements tell you, at best they have nearly the same number of sweeteners as soda. At worst they have terrible chemicals that interfere with your overall health. Don’t be part of the herd. If you want to separate yourself by being a champion having the same diet as the mediocre isn’t a good strategy. Half of young people who consume energy drinks experience an adverse effect


By increasing the quality of your nutrition/fuel, the longer your body should run at its peak potential and will be healthier in your after sports life.

Building a healthy body meal plan- The continuous snacking method has been largely disproven. The stomach like every other part of our body needs rest between usage. Science seems to be pointing towards men being most healthy by only eating twice a day. Boys likely need more if they are burning a ton of calories and have no fat reserves. It takes about 3 weeks to really break food cravings. Removing all junk from you house will help limit temptations during a weak moment. Trust me I’ve been there. The USDA nutritional guidelines have led to an obesity epidemic along with other health issues. Do your own investigating but try the Paleo reset. I think that the body runs best on healthy proteins and fats, the real science is becoming overwhelming.


Some healthy examples.


Eggs, cheese, raw whole milk and uncured bacon and sausage.

Yogurt (cultured) smoothie- frozen mango, banana, avocado, berries, kale and powder supplements.

Steel cut oats with honey and nuts.

Sliced Grapefruit or other fruit, sprouted almonds. This can be mixed with plain full fat yogurt.

Dinner left overs.



Big salad with everything on it including cheese, beef, chicken, bacon and avocado.

Sprouted almonds.

Yogurt smoothie.

Left over dinner – bits of meat and veggies.

Chicken salad or other healthy meat with lettuce on ancient grain breads.

Veggies-Carrots, celery, sweet peppers, apples, peaches etc.



Grass raised beef, wild caught salmon, lamb, pork, chicken:

Flank steak and salad, taco with corn tortilla (meat, cheese, lettuce), cauliflower, salmon, halibut, trout or other whole organic meats and veggies.

Vegetables, cooked and raw.

Dessert- yes if you need it.

Fruit, banana with real whipped cream, apple

For times when you can’t prepare a meal. The healthiest fast-food:


PANERA BREAD: Chicken soba noodle salad, quinoa salad with almonds, strawberry poppy seed salad with chicken

CHIPOTLE: Barbacoa burrito bowl, vegetarian burrito

CHICK-FIL-A: Grilled chicken cool wrap

SHAKE SHACK: Burger in a lettuce wrap

ELEVATION BURGER: cheeseburger

TACO BELL: Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Tacos



When men exercise in a fasted state and limit their source of carbohydrates as fuel, which causes muscles to burn more fat, it can help you get to your leanest, best self by decreasing body fat. In case there are women reading you tend to burn the most fat in the three hours after exercise. Women should avoid eating for at least 90 minutes after exercise. If you choose to eat in this timeframe, it provides the body with carbohydrates to burn, which means your body may not shift into beneficial fat-burning mode. The evidence for how women should approach pre-workout eating is still mixed.  In my experience men and women are very different but I see fasted state working in everyone’s favor.  It may be a tougher mental game for women.

The combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP Kinesis), which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.
Eating a full meal and more specifically one loaded with carbohydrates before your workout will inhibit your sympathetic nervous system and reduce the fat-burning effect of your exercise.

Men and boys can eat after exercise and still maximize their fat burning. It should be noted that this study only looked into the effects of consuming carbohydrates — not proteins and/or fats. It would be interesting to see if the results differed depending on the types of foods consumed.


Stay Away From

Stop eating things out of cans and avoid food that is stored with a BPA liner. BPA is just one of the gender bending chemicals in our food chain. Avoid them all. Microwave popcorn contains PFOA and PFOS both gender bending chemicals. Stay away, consuming them is the opposite of performance enhancing drugs. An athlete needs his or her body chemistry to be at its best, not confused.

Avoid soy products, soy milk, tofu and soy sauce. Soy affects the male production of testosterone.

Also avoid: Farm raised salmon. Ractopamine tainted meat. BVO brominated vegetable oil was originally a flame retardant now found in Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Powerade and the list goes on. Processed foods with artificial colors and dyes. Hormone and GMO corn fed chicken (buy organic, pasture raised) or dairy products with rBGH. FDA testing isn’t really good but private companies have found all sorts of toxins in Chinese raised and made food products. I’ll limit this section for the purposes of brevity in this article but you need to really dig deep and know what is going into your body. Our food chain has totally changed in the last generation and it’s effects aren’t fully known but don’t look very good.

Stay away from Sugar.

As Reported in the New York Times

How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat

Decades’ worth of research convincingly shows excess sugar damages your health, yet the sugar industry managed bury the evidence and cover it up with faux science that supports sugar as an important food

“The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease.

The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article,12 which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM], minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat.

Even though the influence-peddling revealed in the documents dates back nearly 50 years, more recent reports show that the food industry has continued to influence nutrition science.”

If you’re a parent of a wrestler and they print this off, show it to you and ask for changes at home don’t roll our eyes.  Embrace it!  You’ll be healthier too.


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice It is the sum of my observations in being an athlete and coach for the last 35 years


10 Ways to Optimize Your Workout

  1. Light: Bright light will give our body more energy.
  2. Music
  3. Working out with a teammate or friend can really boost your output and results.
  4. Mental approach
  5. Hydrate
  6. Sleep & Recovery


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