KC & CC: Raw Energy
Sit back and get comfortable for a moment because I’m going to tell you a little story with a few words of wisdom mixed in. I say mixed in because I want you to read my post and not skim to the bottom for the quick answers. Don’t worry; it’ll be worth the read.
Once upon a time, I was in the gym and noticed this mother and son team working out with a type of raw energy I don’t typically see. They were doing total body workouts which I later learned is named the Spartacus workout. Now when I say total body workout, I’m not talking about a small amount of exercises that target the whole body. I’m talking about many exercises that target the individual parts that COMBINED target the total body. It’s a lot of work. Being a person that targets no more than three body parts in a session, I definitely noticed them.
Before I go any further, you are probably wondering who this mother/son combo is? You likely already know the mother as guest blogger KC. Her son is Christian Crowell, otherwise known as CC. That’s right…….KC and CC. Below is a picture of KC and CC to help give you a better visual as you’re reading this post.
Now back to my story…… Eventually I was able to meet KC and CC and I was able to learn their little energy secret. Are you ready for the first words of wisdom I had promised? Good, it’s chia seeds. I had written a post about my personal experience with chia seeds. If you haven’t read it, that’s a major shame. But no worries, you can still read about my chia seeds experience. While I had initially used chia seeds occasionally when needed, KC and CC had been using it daily as part of their regular routine. Both KC and CC are fanatic about chia seeds. Ahhhh…….now the mental picture was starting to form.
If that wasn’t enough, I found out another little energy secret. Here are the next words of wisdom: eating more raw foods. KC wrote a nice little post about the benefits of raw foods. Check it out.
That’s it. This chia seeds/raw foods combo is what gives them their uniquely high energy levels. Their secrets are now revealed for you to use in your own little quest for energy. KC and CC motivated me to start eating chia seeds daily and I’m slowly beginning to eat more raw foods. I say slowly with the raw foods as it’s still a bit of an adjustment; I love my barbeque and especially my tri tip steaks and I don’t part too easily from these foods. But even with just the chia seeds and the occasional raw foods, I noticed a big difference in my energy levels. Am I at the point to rival the energy levels of KC and CC? Hell no. But I’ve come a long way. You can too. Take the time and post a comment if you notice similar energy spikes from their little “not so secret” secrets. Shhhhh……just remember you didn’t hear it from me.
Strength vs. Stamina
Strength vs. stamina…..it sounds so simple doesn’t it? It’s just as easy for me to write it as it is for you to read it. But the truth is that it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s downright hard. I literally got my butt handed to me by KC when I made the mistake of thinking that strength and stamina were basically one of the same. If you have good strength, you also have decent stamina, right? Wrong!!!
I’ll start with strength. I consider myself pretty darn strong. On my heavy lifting days when I decide to use the cable weight machines, I not only lift the entire weight stack, but I have to place an additional weight plate around the pin that inserts into the weight stack. To accompany my strength, I also have pretty decent mass (214 pounds with around a 33/34 inch waist).
Now comes the stamina portion. Maybe you’ve seen people doing some stamina exercises. One stamina exercise I used to snicker at was watching people do walking lunges from one end of the gym to the other. For some reason, I always got the mental picture of a retarded duck trying to walk straight. I just realized that the word retarded may be politically incorrect. I doubt if I offended any “mentally challenged” ducks but I do apologize to those who may love such ducks.
Anyway, the day came where I was talked (coerced?) into trying such exercises. What’s the big deal, right? I have the strength and I have the size. I can surely walk like a retarded duck (again, my apologies) or any other exercise KC can fathom. WRONG! It is damn hard. I’ll be the first to say that it is much easier to hoist a heavy weight around than it is to do half the exercises KC had me try.
How did I ultimately do? You guessed it……I sucked. While I look good and can lift heavy, I’m no match for this thing called muscle stamina. Strength and stamina are two completely different things. Muscle size and strength don’t do a whole lot to help your stamina, as I painfully found out. While I can’t quite say I have a newfound respect for the “duck walkers” in my gym, I can at least appreciate their efforts (BTW, I still snicker).
Will I do it again? I’m sure at some point I likely will. Hopefully the second attempt will be the charm. I’m just not going to mention these stamina exercises to KC for a while with the hope she may forget! Hopefully KC isn’t reading this…..
KC’s Version of my Special Post-Workout Drink
For those of you who read my blog post, The “Special Post-Workout Drink”, you know I add ¼ cup sugar to my 30 gram protein drink after workouts in the gym to help increase size (if you haven’t read it, I’ll post the link at the end of this post). Well, I may have just been one-upped today by KC. She offered her own version of my post-workout drink to me which is very hard to deny. In fact, (gulp!) I may even have to admit she’s right.
Her tip: Add Goji berries in place of the sugar. Haven’t heard of Goji berries? Neither had I until KC told me about them. I was even able to try some of these berries today. They’re dried red berries with a nutty-ish flavor. Not too bad tasting. That would be good enough if I stopped right there…….it gets better. They’re full of antioxidants, high in protein (that is so cool), rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, and a lot more. I’ll include a link later which gives more info about these berries.
By substituting my beloved 1/4 cup sugar with 2 ounces of Goji berries, there would be a similar amount of total carbs (50 grams vs. 42 grams) to get that insulin spiking. But there would be a lot more extra benefits with those 2 ounces of Goji berries: 8 grams extra protein, 140% daily value of vitamin A, the omega 3’s, and on and on…
Yep, kinda hard to debate with KC over this one. Enjoy the credit KC, you bested my favorite post-workout drink!!
Here’s the link to my blog post The Special Post-Workout Drink
Here’s more info on Goji berries
The ”Special” Post-Workout Drink
I’m going to let you in on a secret ingredient I use when concocting my post-workout drink after a hard day in the gym. This is only for adding size and mass, so if your goal is definition or weight loss, you wouldn’t want to drink this. So what’s the secret ingredient…….table sugar. And plenty of it.
After an intense weightlifting workout, your body is going to need protein (ideally within about 15 minutes) to help your body recover and repair the exercise-induced “micro-tears” to your muscles. In case you’re wondering it is tears as in a piece of paper tearing, not like the tears you occasionally weep (although some workouts may literally bring tears to your eyes…but that’s another story).
Anyway, aim for about 30 grams of protein for your post-workout drink. I like to use a cup of nonfat milk (10 grams protein) and a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder (20 grams protein). Many people already do this, but here’s the kicker. Next I add just under a 1/4 cup sugar for my less intense workouts (hey, we can’t always hit a home run in the gym) and the FULL 1/4 cup sugar (that’s right, baby) for the days when I really nail it in the gym and I’m in my groove.
So why the sugar? One reason is that you want to immediately begin to replace the depleted glycogen stores within the muscles that you have just thrashed in the gym. The other reason is the insulin spike you’ll receive from all that sugar. Insulin shuttles nutrients into cells (in this case muscle cells) and because the only other nutrient in your post-workout drink is protein, all those amino acids are prime to be absorbed when your muscles need it the most. It’ll usually take a few weeks to a month for you to start noticing the results.
By the way, I don’t add any fat to the drink, such as using lowfat milk. I don’t need any fat being re-routed in my body from all the insulin. Dietary fat also lowers the peak of the insulin spike which partly defeats the purpose.
If you’re a diabetic or have any underlying health condition, check with your medical provider first. It’s a lot of sugar that you’ll be taking all at once and it can do damage to certain people with certain conditions.
I noticed great results from this drink and so have others I know. If you’re looking to build size and your health supports it, you may wanna give it a try. It can often be just the thing to push past those occasional growth plateaus.
Building Muscle: Glutamine vs. Glutamic Acid
No doubt about it, glutamine is a very popular amino acid supplement for building muscle. So what does glutamine do? Well, here are just some of the claims:
- Minimizes breakdown of muscle tissue
- Improves protein metabolism (which leads to increased muscle mass)
- Increases nitrogen retention
- Enhances immune system function
Yep, glutamine is well known. But what about it’s less popular cousin, glutamic acid. Most probably only know glutamic acid as glutamate, as in monosodium glutamate, or MSG. This is a salt of glutamic acid and is chemically different. Glutamic acid won’t give you the infamous MSG headache.
So what’s the difference between glutamine and glutamic acid?
Chemically. Glutamine has an extra ammonia compound within its structure. That’s it. Glutamine and glutamic acid are both amino acid proteins and are very close cousins to one another.
Price. Presumably because of the popularity of glutamine, it isn’t cheap. At the time of this writing, 60 capsules of glutamine (750 mg per capsule) sells for $24.95. I’m serious, here’s the link TwinLab Glutamine Fuel Caps. How much for glutamic acid? 250 tablets (500 mg per tablet) will set you back $9.79. Here’s the link Solgar L-Glutamic Acid.
Put another way: The glutamine above costs 55¢ per gram compared to 8¢ per gram for glutamic acid. 55¢ vs 8¢ per gram! You can do the rest of the math.
Are glutamine and glutamic acid nearly structurally identical? Yes.
Will both Glutamine and Glutamic Acid help build muscle mass? Yes.
Will Glutamic Acid save you a boatload of money? Yes.
Glutamic Acid: the forgotten muscle builder. Give it a try. You (and your wallet) will thank me.