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Old 09-10-2005, 12:56 PM   #1
Jason Simpkins
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I just finished reading this book and highly recommend it to all Crossfitters:

All New Sports Nutrition Guide- Dr. Michael Colgan

It delves into nutritional deficiencies often experienced by high level athletes and why supplementation is essential to a sound training program. I realize that a lot of CF'ers believe that whole food is enough, but after reading this book, you may think other wise.

Jason
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Old 09-10-2005, 02:20 PM   #2
Robert Wolf
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Jason-
It is a great book. Colgan's stuff is usaully fantastic. Good recomendation.
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:28 PM   #3
Joe Miller
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Any way you could tip us off as to what exactly he recommends for supplementation, for those of us too incurious, lazy, and/or cheap to actually buy the book?
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:24 AM   #4
Jason Simpkins
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Joe,

Buy the book! It will be a great addition to your library. In it, Colgan draws upon 26 years of working with elite level athletes and referencing countless scientific studies to back up his own research.

He concludes that there is no way that an athlete can obtain adequate nutrients from food alone to support optimal performance. He chalks this up to poor farming practices, shipping and storage methods that add up to nutrient depleted food. The end result is poor performance, frequent illness and injury. Take a look inside the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0969527284/qid=1126448472/sr=8-1/r ef=pd_bbs_1/102-3697608-2231317?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
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Old 09-11-2005, 09:25 AM   #5
Robert Wolf
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This may be splitting hairs a bit but the ability to obtain all the nutrients one needs for optimum performance may have more to do with what foods one is eating vs any type of de-mineralized soil or other consequence of modern farming practices. Consider Loren Cordains paper:
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/JANA%20final.pdf

So is not to say that there are some supplements that are useful. Fish oil, creatine, ALA...a few others but the main point is that if food choices are wise then the net result is similar to taking a nutritional supplement with the added feature of the mitigated glycemic load and increased phytochemical intake that is impossible to replicate in a supplement.

Further caveat- If one can obtain their food local and in season (farmers markets) quality is dramatically improved.

Here is an excerpt from the April-05 issue of the performance menu. Below is my question and Prof. Cordains' response in which he includes the experience of Joe Friel, USA Olympic Triathlon coach:

"6. Our readership tends to be from the strength athlete arena and it is not difficult to get them to eat more protein. You however have influenced some of the best minds in endurance training, in particular triathletes to adopt a higher protein, higher fat, and lower carbohydrate diet. How did this happen and what have the results been thus far?

6. I guess it initially happened because of my own dietary experiments in the early 1990s. I have been a runner throughout my entire adult life. Following adoption of a diet with more protein and less refined carbs, I actually noticed an improvement in my recovery from runs as well as increased freedom from upper respiratory illness and musculo-skeletal injuries that allowed me to train with greater intensity.
I introduced these concepts to Joe Friel, the U.S. Olympic Triathlete coach in 1995 who was quite skeptical at first. The following passage represents Joe’s feelings about this type of diet for endurance athletes:

“I have known Dr. Cordain for many years, but I didn’t become aware of his work until 1995. That year we began to discuss nutrition for sports. As a longtime adherent to a very high-carbohydrate diet for athletes, I was skeptical of his claims that eating less starch would benefit performance. Nearly every successful endurance athlete I had known ate as I did, with a heavy emphasis on cereals, bread, rice, pasta, pancakes, and potatoes. In fact, I had done quite well on this diet, having been an All-American age-group duathlete (bike and run), and finishing in the top 10 at World Championships. I had also coached many successful athletes, both professional and amateur, who ate the same way I did.”
“Our discussions eventually led to a challenge. Dr. Cordain suggested I try eating a diet more in line with what he recommended for one month. I took the challenge, determined to show him that eating as I had for years was the way to go. I started by simply cutting back significantly on starches, and replacing those lost calories with fruits, vegetables, and very lean meats.”
“For the first two weeks I felt miserable. My recovery following workouts was slow and my workouts were sluggish. I knew that I was well on my way to proving that he was wrong. But in week three, a curious thing happened. I began to notice that I was not only feeling better, but that my recovery was speeding up significantly. In the fourth week I experimented to see how many hours I could train.
“Since my early 40s (I was 51 at the time), I had not been able to train more than about 12 hours per week. Whenever I exceeded this weekly volume, upper respiratory infections would soon set me back. In Week Four of the “experiment,” I trained 16 hours without a sign of a cold, sore throat, or ear infection. I was amazed. I hadn’t done that many hours in nearly 10 years. I decided to keep the experiment going.”
“That year I finished third at the U.S. national championship with an excellent race, and qualified for the U.S. team for the World Championships. I had a stellar season, one of my best in years. This, of course, led to more questions of Dr. Cordain and my continued refining of the diet he recommended.”
“I was soon recommending it to the athletes I coached, including Ryan Bolton, who was on the U.S. Olympic Triathlon team. Since 1995. I have written four books on training for endurance athletes and have described and recommended the Stone Age diet in each of them. Many athletes have told me a story similar to mine: They have tried eating this way, somewhat skeptically at first, and then discovered that they also recovered faster and trained better.”

Your readers may be interested in knowing that Joe and I have completed our book “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” which explains fully how to implement the diet and why it works from a scientific perspective. Our book will be published by Rodale Press and is scheduled for an August 2005 release. You can purchase it online at Amazon right now: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1594860890/qid=1115057420/sr=8-1/r ef=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-0922119-4506221?v=glance&s=books&n=507846"


The Oct issue of the PM will feature chapter 9 of Prof. Cordain's new book The Paleo Diet for Athletes.
Robb

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Old 09-11-2005, 10:09 AM   #6
Jason Simpkins
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Rob,

I agree about quality food being fundamental to any training program, but realistically, who has year round access to a farmer's market with organic food?

The nutrient content of conventional and organically farmed food for that matter, varies widely even in the same field samples. Supplements will never replace whole food, but when your talking about placing the body under extreme stress from exercise, it would be wise to make certain that you are not selling yourself short.

Jason
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:54 AM   #7
Robert Wolf
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Jason-

The farmers’ market/organic options are enhancements, not requisites.

I agree that optimizing nutrition for the sake of performance/health are important but supplementation can be a dicey thing. Mega doses of b-vitamins CAN become an oxidative stressor; high dose b-carotene can saturate carotenoid receptors preventing gene expression from the thousands of carotenoids found in foods. Simple epidemiology does not show marked reductions in diseases like cancer with those taking supplements but reductions are found in high fruit/veggie consumers. This is correlation, not causation but it is nonetheless intriguing.

My argument is simply that making high quality food a priority will yield superior results to inferior foods with supplementation. I may be wrong in this, but I feel pretty confident it is correct.
Robb
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:41 PM   #8
Jason Simpkins
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Rob,

Science is no where near uncovering all of the phytochemical properties of foods, this is one of the points made by Colgan, that nature made all of the locks and nature holds all of the keys. But supplements are at present our best method for making up the deficit that is so often seen in hard training athletes.

"You can have my supplements when you pry them from my cold dead hands!" LOL!

By the way, when is Dr. Cordain's book available? Amazon just has a pre-order button for now.

Thanks,

Jason
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:54 PM   #9
Brad Hirakawa
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I'll repost this section of some lengthy discussions I had with a kind fellow at Cornell who took the time to answer the pestering questions of a poor starving student (me). Guess it could be considered the other side of the coin.

May 2004

Dear Mr. Hirakawa:

".....Concerning the issue of mineral "depletion", it is useful to remember first that since the beginnings of agriculture in ancient times, farmers have recognized the need to add organic or inorganic fertilizers to replace nutrients removed by crops. It is hard to fool "Mother Nature". If crops do not get enough mineral nutrients, they simply refuse to grow well. Yields may well decrease, but plant composition does not change greatly because plants tend to regulate their own composition within nutritionally acceptable limits. In addition, farmers and gardeners are very alert to any sign of stress in their crops, and they usually work diligently to satisfy any nutritional needs of their crops to maintain healthy growth.

Second, mineral "depletion" is often equated with the effects of erosion. Erosion and weathering do indeed move minerals and mineral elements around. After all, everything erodes away. Even mountains wear down, over time, and all of the minerals present get transported elsewhere - some wind up in valleys or flood plains, some move as dissolved materials into surface or ground waters, and much eventually reaches the oceans. Farmers and gardeners are rightly concerned about erosion, because topsoil is usually the most fertile part of the soil with respect to plant-available nutrients. Losses of topsoil can reduce soil productivity and require additional fertilization to maintain production. Erosion is a major concern of agricultural agencies throughout the world, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.

My lack of enthusiasm for the promotional claims you have mentioned does not suggest that the nutritional needs of humans and animals for minerals are unimportant. Indeed, improving the availability of iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamin A from food crops is an important goal of the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA and many international agricultural agencies. This goal is especially important in parts of the world where food choices are severely limited...."

W. Norvell


Jason,

I just ordered that book from amazon, thanks for posting the link. You should make a t-shirt with the minerals from dead hand quite, that's a good one. I can think of a few others... "Got Fish Oil?" or "CoQ10, it's what for dinner."

Seems to be more and more cash diverted towards nutritional research now a days, and I think that is a good thing. You're right, still a lot to learn.. about everything really. All areas of science have plenty of room to grow. Moving faster than some think though, and there are growing pains to cope with. My hope is that in 50 years we will look back and say, "can't believe we actually gave this-and-that to people," sort of like that scene in one of the Star Trek motion pictures where the doctor asked the lady why she was in the hospital (dialysis was her answer), gave her a few tablets, and she was dancing around in a few hours... and this hope has nothing to do with the fact that I will be on dialysis by then. ;)

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Old 09-11-2005, 01:25 PM   #10
Jason Simpkins
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Brad,

I was wondering where you were on this one! Glad you ordered the book, I'm sure that you'll appreciate the solid science to back everything up.

I wish that current medicine was as advanced as the Star Trek era. I could return to my old habits of decadence and party on the holo-deck with multiple alien space babes and copious amounts of Klingon booze! Man the future looks promising!

Jason

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