So I’m sitting in a conference and the facilitator calls for a lunch break.
I don’t really know anyone, so I tag along with the only 3 other people that I know are Canadian (birds of the same feather, right?). One guy is a gentle giant trainer from St. Catherine’s, one is a strength coach with my alma mater (the University of Guelph), and the other is a nutrition scientist in great shape.
So we all grab lunch and I’m quietly observing what these guys are eating – sandwiches, salads, greens, soup…nothing out of the ordinary.
But when you’re at these “fitness industry” events, you always wonder if anyone is going to touch the dessert. Taking a look at my table, I think “OK, the trainer is jacked, so he’ll hit the dessert first because he’ll probably burn it off just by walking back to the conference room. Or will it be the strength coach with the traps the size of the Golden Gate Bridge?”
Then the nutrition guy pipes up, “This is ridiculous. Every time I come to these ‘fitness events’ there’s a bunch of trainers staring at the dessert table but nobody has the stones to get up and grab a piece of cake. Why do I always have to be the first one?”
So Mr. Nutrition gets up and slaps not one but 3 pieces of various desserts on his plate.
“Now this is a guy I can hang with”, I think to myself…and we’ve been friends ever since.
That 3-piece-of-cake-eating-nutrition-expert is none other than Brad Pilon, author of EatStopEat and the NEW controversial book “How Much Protein?”.
I managed to track Brad down for an interview last week. Here’s how it went down…
CL: Brad, since meeting you and reading your book over a year and a half ago, I’ve been living an ESE lifestyle. I still get a lot of questions about fasting and whether or not it’s really healthy. How long after your first fast do you reap the actual benefits of living an ESE lifestyle?
BP: I think if done properly you should be able to ‘see’ benefits on the first day. By paying close attention to the cues to eat while you are fasting you are going to have a much better understanding of when and why you eat. This little thing can a have a huge effect on how you eat while you are eating.
BP: The aging thing is tricky. The only way you would ever be sure is to follow one diet for the rest of your life and see when you die…Obviously not a very fun study. That being said, I think the combined effects that fasting and resistance training have on your hormones can go a long way in preventing the typical age related declines in hormones like testosterone and GH. There are no miracles, but when you are battling age, every little bit helps.
CL: OK, let’s shift our discussion onto protein. The mass media has led us to believe that protein is the new “wonder macronutrient” – thus the advent of Atkins, the Zone and South Beach. As busy dads can we ensure that we get enough protein without having to carry around a scale to measure our food? Without being Obsessive Compulsive Eaters?
BP: The easiest way is to realize exactly how much protein you need to eat. The second part is realizing that there is no such thing as a protein food.
Traditionally, we’ve been lead to believe in the idea of protein foods, like eggs as an example. However, a piece of 7 grain bread has roughly the same amount of protein as an egg. So does about 3/4 of a cup of pasta, even two tablespoons of Parmesan has an impressive amount of protein. Infact, 3/4 of a cup of pasta with a 1/2 cup of pasta sauce and some parmesian cheese has as much protein as a 3 egg omelette! So by eating a balanced diet with lots of variety, it’s actually very difficult NOT to get enough protein in any given day.
CL: OK, so what about post-workout nutrition? Have you found any research supporting a specific amount of protein we need to ingest after a workout to get the maximum benefits? What about timing?
BP: The most important thing to remember is that if you are training consistently then EVERY SINGLE meal you eat is both pre and post workout nutrition.
The hormonal and structural changes caused by resistance training last for up to 48 hours, so every meal you eat while you are following a training program will have some sort of effect on your muscle recovery. That being said, I think the idea of a ‘magical’ period 1 hour after your workout where you make or break your muscle building is GREATLY over-exaggerated and is more marketing than science. It’s an area of nutrition were we can definitely relax without seeing any noticeable change in our physique.
CL: Brad, thanks for dispelling a lot of common misconceptions about food, fasting and protein for us. Next time you’re in town, dessert’s on me!
Don’t forget to pick-up a copy of EatStopEat and receive a FREE copy of Brad’s new book “How Much Protein?”…
See you at the dessert table!
P.S. Following an ESE Lifestyle in combination with consistent FitAndBusyDad Workouts has allowed me to eat whatever I want while staying consistently under 11% Body Fat. Could this killer combo do the same for you?