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About David

I am a creative problem solver, who has always been focused and self driven. I have a broad array of interests including computer science, biology, music, writing fiction, and fitness. When I want something I work for it. I love to be busy, but I also love to relax in between. Some of my more notable recent experiences include software testing and coding at two different startup software companies, hardware testing and assembly at Intel, programming for a microbiology research lab, and freelance website building.

Fitness Plan

Updated 4-3-12

To really progress in bodyweight you need to do more than workout. I have come to realize that fitness is 30% workout and 70% nutrition. You will get much more drastic results changing up your diet than you will changing your workout. I know this from personal experience. If you are eating like crap no change in your workout will help you. But this doesnt mean you need to eat oatmeal and chicken all day every day. You will see huge results just making small changes like eating every two hours, or cutting out most processed foods. It just comes down to how serious you are about your fitness and health.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Shoulders/Triceps

4 sets of Shoulder Press, alternate with Barbell & Dumbell every week 8-10 reps
3 sets of Upright Rows supersetted with Lateral Raises 8-10 reps
3 sets of front raises 8-10 reps
3 sets of Lying Rear Delt Raises 8-10 reps
3 sets of Close-Grip Bench Press 8-10 reps
4 sets of Pulldowns 8-10 reps
3 sets of Skullcrushers 8-10 reps

Wednesday - Legs

4 sets of Squats 8-10 reps
3 sets of Lunges 8-10 reps
3 sets of Leg Press 8-10 reps
3 sets of Leg Extensions till failure
3 sets of Leg Curls 8-10 reps

Thursday - Chest/Biceps

4 sets of Incline Dumbbell Press, 8-10 reps
3 sets of Bench Press, 8-10 reps
3 sets of Incline Flies, 8-10 reps
3 sets of Chest Dips until failure
3 sets of Barbell Curls, 8-10 reps
3 sets of Preacher Curls, 8-10 reps, then drop the weight to half, and push out another 8

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Bodyweight

Sunday - Back

3 sets of Lat Pulldowns 8-10 reps
4 sets of Deadlifts 8-10 reps
3 sets of Bent Over Rows 8-10 reps
3 sets of Dumbell Rows 8-10 reps
3 sets of Hyperextensions 8-10 reps


Eating well is simple but hard. It takes willpower and envisioning your goals. Here are rules I follow when putting together a diet:

1. Choose if you want to gain or lose weight. Google maintenance calorie calculator. This is the amount of calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight. If you want to lose weight eat 500-700 calories below this every day. If you want to gain weight eat 500-700 calories above this every day. It is as simple as that.

2. Eat every two hours. This is key for boosting your metabolism. Divide your calories into 5-7 meals a day and your body will respond by burning more fat and building more muscle.

3. Eat only whole natural foods. This means nothing processed. My diet consists of eggs, oatmeal, low fat meats (chicken, turkey, seafood, etc), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, whole wheat bread, yams, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. I throw in fruits and vegitables every once in a while, but I also take a natural multivitamin which has all the vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegitables do.

4. Have a cheat day once a week. This means eat regular food and maybe go out to pizza or something. This not only gives you something to look forward to but also boosts hormone production in your body.

5. The only liquid you shall drink is water, and green tea. Green tea has phenols in it that will burn fat, and the caffeine will give you energy and boost your metabolism.

Calisthenics Exercises

Lack of equipment is no excuse for not training. Anyone, at any fitness level, can train with two things that are available to everyone everywhere: the ground and your body.
Be creative in your application of these movements. Practice them, and incorporate them into workouts. They are an excellent as part of an active warm-up, done in isolation for strength development, or built into metabolic conditioning routines. Specific programming and repetition schemes will vary depending on the fitness levels and goals of trainees.

Push-ups can range in difficulty from very easy to so difficult that few people can do them. Adjusting the difficulty level is simply a matter of changing hand placement and body level to alter leverage and load. Keeping the body upright and the hands in line with the shoulders scales the pushup for people who are just beginning their fitness journey. Placing the feet high and moving the hands lower, toward the hips, increases the loads dramatically and can challenge world-class athletes.

Decline push-up
To do push-ups with little or no resistance, start in a standing position, arms-length from a wall. Extend the arms in front of you at shoulder height to place your hands on the wall slightly wider than shoulder-width. These push-ups (or, more literally, push-outs) are appropriate for beginners and those who are rehabilitating injuries. With the body almost completely vertical, these can be used to restore and build mobility in the arms and shoulders, to teach the plank body position, and to work toward a horizontal push-up on the floor. Even with this simple movement it is important to keep a rigid body and full range of motion (ROM). Each rep should bring the chest and face as close as possible to the wall and finish with the arms completely straight and the shoulders fully extended. The degree of difficulty can be additionally fine tuned by adjusting the distance of the feet from the wall. Obviously, the farther out they are - and the more acute the angle of the body - the more difficult they will be.

Knee push-up
Knee push-ups are another beginning push-up that starts flat on the ground, with the body supported by the hands and the knees (rather than the toes). Again, the body should be kept rigid and full ROM performed, with the knees as the fulcrum of the movement. Be sure to avoid the tendency to pike at the hips and stick out the butt; shoulders hips, and knees should always be aligned. knee push upknee push up

Push-ups should be performed flat on the ground, supported only by the hands and feet. Do not arch the back (swayback) or pike (push your butt up in the air). Each push-up should contact the floor with the chest at the bottom and extend to a high hollow support with straight arms and actively extended shoulders at the top.

Clap push-up
Clapping the hands together at the top of the movement makes push-ups a very dynamic athletic movement. The clap forces you to push aggressively to get your hands off the floor. Adding a chest slap or clapping behind the back will further increase the dynamic requirement.

Incline Push-up
Moving the feet onto a raised surface increases the load on the arms. Raising the platform gradually is an excellent way to progress toward handstand push-ups. incline push upincline push up

Handstand push-up
The first full bodyweight push-up. An individual should be able to hold a 20-second handstand against a wall with shoulders fully extended before attempting handstand push-ups. You can start with your feet against a wall to remove the balance requirement; practice these both facing the wall and with your back to the wall. Maintain a good straight, tight handstand position at all times. Once you can perform five to ten reps on the wall consistently, begin working them without a wall. Freestanding handstand pushups are an incredibly powerful stimulus, as they require rapid firing of shoulder stabilizers while maintaining a relatively heavy and dynamic load. handstand push uphandstand push up

Pseudo planche push-up
Start with a standard push-up, but move the hands farther back under the body toward the hips, which increases the load on the arms. As you get closer to placing your hands directly under your hips, you will notice your feet beginning to slide on the floor. This is an indication that little of your weight is being supported by your feet. Eventually your feet will be able to come completely off the floor - though this will take most people years to accomplish. pseudo planch push uppseudo planch push up

Handstand shoulder shrugs
This is an excellent drill to you learn to activate your shoulders. With a spot or against a wall, get into a handstand. Then, shrug up and down using only your shoulders. Keep your arms completely straight, and try to achieve as much movement as possible in your shoulders. handstand shoulder shrughandstand shoulder shrug

"Core strength" has become a marketing term for numerous commercial fitness programs. The great majority of these programs, however, are focused on developing a "six-pack," not on developing a strong, functional core, and they are often inadequate even for that goal. Torso strength and stability are crucial for athletic endeavors. Having the ability to keep your midsection tight and to powerfully alter midsection positioning improves your power output and control in almost all functional and athletic movements.

Good old-fashioned sit-ups are an excellent way to strengthen the abs and hip flexors. There is some lack of the functionality in the sit-up movement on totally flat ground, as a flat surface does not allow most people s abs to properly engage at the beginning of the movement. A rolled-up towel, or one of the commercial products designed for this purpose (such as an AbMat) can be placed under the lower back to avoid this limitation.

Sit-ups can be done with the feet anchored or not. Having the feet anchored generally increases the rate at which sit-ups can be performed, which intensifies the metabolic demand but also shifts the recruitment more to the hip flexors. To take the hip flexors out of the movement and require the abs to do the work, put the soles of your feet together, with knees splayed out to the sides, an AbMat or similar support under your lower back, and roll smoothly up into a fully upright sitting position, with no jerking in the motion.
To change the load on sit-ups, you can do them on an incline or decline, similar to push-ups. You can also alter your arm position to adjust the difficulty of the movement. Keeping the arms by the sides is easier, while keeping both arms straight overhead, by the ears, is more difficult. Holding weight at the chest or overhead further increases the demands. sit upsit up

An N-up is a sit-up type movement in which the upper body and legs come together into a tuck. At the top point of this movement, you will be sitting, with only your butt touching the ground, knees to the chest, and torso upright. n upn up

A V-up is like an N-up except that the legs are kept straight throughout the motion and the arms are extended straight overhead throughout the movement. Aim to be fully extended at the bottom and completely compressed at the top, with chin to shins and fingers to toes. v up

Lie on your back and then lift your knees toward your chest aggressively so that you roll back into a tuck with your lower back off the floor.tuck uptuck up

L-sits can be performed on the ground, with legs extended straight in front of you and hands flat on the floor on either side of the legs. This requires a conscious effort to push the shoulders down to lift the body high enough to perform the L on flat ground. You can also do a straddle L, with hands on the ground between your legs. Progressions to the L-sit are discussed in Parallette Training - Volume 1.

Hollow rock
The starting position is lying on the back in a hollow. A hollow position for this purpose is one in which the pelvis is turned under (i.e., tail tucked), legs are lifted slightly off the floor, lower back is touching the ground, head and shoulders are lifted slightly off the floor, and arms are held by the ears, off the ground. From this position, rock smoothly back and forth, keeping the body tight, the hip angle constant (no piking of the hip), and the lower back rounded. Any thumping in the motion shows that the hollow position has been compromised, which indicates that the trainee s abs are not strong enough to keep the pelvis turned under in this position. Continued training will alleviate this deficiency. hollow rockhollow rock

Hollow hold
Start in a push-up position. Then slide your hands forward until you are in an extended hollow position with just your hands and feet on the floor. When first starting this exercise, it is OK to pike significantly, keeping your butt high in the air. The key is to get the shoulders completely open. Once this position has been obtained, you can begin to extend your hips and approach an open hollow position. As you build strength in this position, point your toes so that you are supported on the top of your feet. A rolling device can be connected to the hands and/or feet to increase the demands and to allow for movement in and out of the position.

Advanced leg lift
Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. Place each hand on the floor, palm down, just under each respective gluteus. While keeping hollow and looking at your toes, lift your legs. Just before your legs reach vertical, extend your torso should to lift your lower back off the floor. The top point of this move is the position known as a "candlestick." advanced leg liftadvanced leg lift

Start by lying on your stomach on the floor. Lift your legs and chest off the floor then return to a prone position. Make sure your heels are squeezed together throughout and your legs are kept straight, as this increases the demand of the movement. arch uparch up

Standing leg lift
Hailing from ballet training, standing leg lifts strengthen hip muscles while increasing active ROM. Start standing, either holding onto a stable object or freestanding. Then lift one leg as high as you can (keeping base leg straight ... not like photo..). Keep the lift controlled and at a moderate pace so it is a lift, not a kick. Keep both legs straight the whole time, and the torso aligned. Do not lean in any direction. The leg lift can be performed to the front, to the back, and to the side. standing leg liftstanding leg liftstanding leg lift

Side conditioning
Start by lying on your right side, using your left hand on the floor in front of you for balance. From this position, lift your legs and shoulders simultaneously and then return to the start position. Repeat on the left side.

Arch rock to hollow rock
Lie on your back in a hollow position, perform a few hollow rocks, and then roll sideways onto your stomach, without touching the ground with either your hands or your feet. Then perform a few arch rocks and roll, again without hands or feet touching the ground, back onto your back. This sequence can be repeated to cover distance, or back and forth in a small area.

Leg lift straddle-down
Start on your back in a hollow and lift your legs to vertical, then straddle both legs out to the sides and swing them down to the start position. Then reverse the motion, straddling the legs in the hollow, bringing your legs up to vertical, and then lowering them, feet together, to the start position. leg lift straddle downleg lift straddle downleg lift straddle down

Rear leg lift
Start lying on your stomach. Lift one leg up the back as high as you can and return to the start position in a controlled movement. Legs should be kept straight throughout. rear leg lift

Hip adduction
Lie on your right side and lift your left leg as high as possible and return to start position. Keep both legs straight throughout. Repeat on left side. Hip abduction
Lie on your right side with your right leg on the floor and extended in line with your body, and your left leg bent, with the left foot on the floor in front of your hips. Then lift your right leg as high as possible (inner thigh toward the ceiling) and return to the start position in a controlled movement.

You can't be a CrossFitter for long without learning the fundamental importance of frequent, well-executed unweighted squats (detailed in CrossFit Journal issue 4). There are numerous no-equipment variations that build on that foundation.

A single-leg squat. While holding one leg out in front, perform a full squat with the other leg. This movement will be quite difficult and will require assistance for most people at first. Holding onto a stable object will allow you to perform the movement properly and gradually wean yourself of the support. A stretch band or stretch tubing can also be used for assistance. With the stretch band secured to an object overhead (such as a pull-up bar, for example), you can grab the band with one hand for stability and support. As you get stronger in this movement you can grab the band at a lower point to reduce the assistance or use a lighter-weight band. As with regular squats, pistols can be performed with a jump at the end, including a jump onto a raised surface.

Pistol roll
Starting from a stand on one leg, squat down, roll onto your back into a candlestick position (high on your shoulders with both feet pointed toward the ceiling), and then roll forward to single-leg stand again. The raised foot will never contact the ground. It is important to maintain proper squat technique as you squat and return to standing. Many people will try to lean forward over their foot and allow their heel to rise off the floor, which can lead to injury. Pistol RockPistol RockPistol Rock Pistol RockPistol RockPistol Rock

Squat jump
Perform a squat and then explode upward to jump as high as you can. This is a very aggressive, dynamic movement. This should be performed only by trainees who have a good bodyweight squat, since doing squat jumps improperly can be hard on the knees. Increase the challenge and motivation by jumping onto a raised object. The height of the object can be increased incrementally as your power improves.

Sequence jump
Bound across the ground in a series of two-footed jumps, making each jump as explosive as it can be and minimizing contact time with the ground. Think of punching through the ground with your legs. Actively anticipate the ground and start driving with your legs slightly before impact, so that you bounce immediately into the next jump. Objects or lines can be used to set targets or a course and to make the movement a challenge or competition. This exercise should not be performed on pavement because of the impact involved.

Short-distance sprints
Repeated short-distance sprints are an excellent training modality. The metabolic demands are high and the loads on the legs are limited only by the trainee s motivation. Place two lines 12 to 30 meters (40 to 100 feet) apart. Sprint from one line to the other, rapidly changing direction at the line. To add variety, add another movement at each line, such as a push-up, v-up, or any other exercise.

To do a burpee in its most basic form, start from standing, squat with your hands on the floor, and jump your feet back to put you in a prone position with straight arms (as at the top of a push-up). Then bring your legs forward into a squat again and return to standing. This basic version is also sometimes called a squat thrust. Several modifications can be made to the burpee to increase its demands: add a push-up in the prone position, add a jump at the end as you return to standing, perform the burpee under a bar and jump up to do a pull-up in each rep, etc. Be creative with burpees and see what variations you can come up with.

Jumping Jack
Most people have done jumping jacks in a PE class at some point. They are an excellent way to warm up, and they can be included in a conditioning set either as a station where fatigued muscles are allowed to recover while metabolic demands are kept high, or as a significant component of a metabolic conditioning circuit. Jumping jacks should be practiced both with arms and legs in concert (legs straddling while arms are swung upward) and in opposition (legs straddling while arms are brought down).

Mountain climbers
Start in a prone position with hands on the floor and arms straight, as if at the top of a push-up. Then pull each knee in to your chest in a rapid alternating pattern. Mountain ClimbersMountain Climbers

Handstand and press handstand
Handstand and press handstands are excellent exercises for developing strength and kinesthetic awareness. Technique and progressions are described in depth in CFJ issues 17 and 43.

Nutritional science investigates the metabolic and physiological responses of the body to diet. With advances in the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, nutritional immunology, molecular medicine and genetics, the study of nutrition is increasingly concerned with metabolism and metabolic pathways: the sequences of biochemical steps through which substances in living things change from one form to another.

Carnivore and herbivore diets are contrasting, with basic nitrogen and carbon proportions being at varying levels in particular foods. Carnivores consume more nitrogen than carbon while herbivores consume less nitrogen than carbon, when an equal quantity is measured.

The human body contains chemical compounds, such as water, carbohydrates (sugar, starch, and fiber), amino acids (in proteins), fatty acids (in lipids), and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). These compounds in turn consist of elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and so on. All of these chemical compounds and elements occur in various forms and combinations (e.g. hormones, vitamins, phospholipids, hydroxyapatite), both in the human body and in the plant and animal organisms that humans eat.

The human body consists of elements and compounds ingested, digested, absorbed, and circulated through the bloodstream to feed the cells of the body. Except in the unborn fetus, the digestive system is the first system involved[vague]. In a typical adult, about seven liters of digestive juices enter the lumen of the digestive tract.[citation needed][clarification needed] These digestive juices break chemical bonds in ingested molecules, and modify their conformations and energy states. Though some molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream unchanged, digestive processes release them from the matrix of foods. Unabsorbed matter, along with some waste products of metabolism, is eliminated from the body in the feces.

Studies of nutritional status must take into account the state of the body before and after experiments, as well as the chemical composition of the whole diet and of all material excreted and eliminated from the body (in urine and feces). Comparing the food to the waste can help determine the specific compounds and elements absorbed and metabolized in the body. The effects of nutrients may only be discernible over an extended period, during which all food and waste must be analyzed. The number of variables involved in such experiments is high, making nutritional studies time-consuming and expensive, which explains why the science of human nutrition is still slowly evolving.

In general, eating a wide variety of fresh, whole (unprocessed), foods has proven favorable for one's health compared to monotonous diets based on processed foods.[14] In particular, the consumption of whole-plant foods slows digestion and allows better absorption, and a more favorable balance of essential nutrients per Calorie, resulting in better management of cell growth, maintenance, and mitosis (cell division), as well as better regulation of appetite and blood sugar[citation needed]. Regularly scheduled meals (every few hours) have also proven more wholesome than infrequent or haphazard ones,[15] although a recent study has also linked more frequent meals with a higher risk of colon cancer in men.[16] Nutrients Main article: Nutrient

There are six major classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water.

These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients include carbohydrates (including fiber), fats, protein, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.

The macronutrients (excluding fiber and water) provide structural material (amino acids from which proteins are built, and lipids from which cell membranes and some signaling molecules are built) and energy. Some of the structural material can be used to generate energy internally, and in either case it is measured in Joules or kilocalories (often called "Calories" and written with a capital C to distinguish them from little 'c' calories). Carbohydrates and proteins provide 17 kJ approximately (4 kcal) of energy per gram, while fats provide 37 kJ (9 kcal) per gram.,[17] though the net energy from either depends on such factors as absorption and digestive effort, which vary substantially from instance to instance. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water do not provide energy, but are required for other reasons. A third class of dietary material, fiber (i.e., non-digestible material such as cellulose), is also required,[citation needed] for both mechanical and biochemical reasons, although the exact reasons remain unclear.

Molecules of carbohydrates and fats consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates range from simple monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose) to complex polysaccharides (starch). Fats are triglycerides, made of assorted fatty acid monomers bound to glycerol backbone. Some fatty acids, but not all, are essential in the diet: they cannot be synthesized in the body. Protein molecules contain nitrogen atoms in addition to carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The fundamental components of protein are nitrogen-containing amino acids, some of which are essential in the sense that humans cannot make them internally. Some of the amino acids are convertible (with the expenditure of energy) to glucose and can be used for energy production just as ordinary glucose in a process known as gluconeogenesis. By breaking down existing protein, some glucose can be produced internally; the remaining amino acids are discarded, primarily as urea in urine. This occurs normally only during prolonged starvation.

Other micronutrients include antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are said to influence (or protect) some body systems. Their necessity is not as well established as in the case of, for instance, vitamins.

Most foods contain a mix of some or all of the nutrient classes, together with other substances, such as toxins of various sorts. Some nutrients can be stored internally (e.g., the fat soluble vitamins), while others are required more or less continuously. Poor health can be caused by a lack of required nutrients or, in extreme cases, too much of a required nutrient. For example, both salt and water (both absolutely required) will cause illness or even death in excessive amounts. Carbohydrates Main article: Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates may be classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, or polysaccharides depending on the number of monomer (sugar) units they contain. They constitute a large part of foods such as rice, noodles, bread, and other grain-based products. Monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides contain one, two, and three or more sugar units, respectively. Polysaccharides are often referred to as complex carbohydrates because they are typically long, multiple branched chains of sugar units.

Traditionally, simple carbohydrates were believed to be absorbed quickly, and therefore raise blood-glucose levels more rapidly than complex carbohydrates. This, however, is not accurate.[18][19][20][21] Some simple carbohydrates (e.g. fructose) follow different metabolic pathways (e.g. fructolysis) which result in only a partial catabolism to glucose, while many complex carbohydrates may be digested at essentially the same rate as simple.[22] Fiber Main article: Dietary fiber

Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate (or a polysaccharide) that is incompletely absorbed in humans and in some animals. Like all carbohydrates, when it is metabolized it can produce four Calories (kilocalories) of energy per gram. However, in most circumstances it accounts for less than that because of its limited absorption and digestibility. Dietary fiber consists mainly of cellulose, a large carbohydrate polymer that is indigestible because humans do not have the required enzymes to disassemble it. There are two subcategories: soluble and insoluble fiber. Whole grains, fruits (especially plums, prunes, and figs), and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. There are many health benefits of a high-fiber diet. Dietary fiber helps reduce the chance of gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea by increasing the weight and size of stool and softening it. Insoluble fiber, found in whole wheat flour, nuts and vegetables, especially stimulates peristalsis – the rhythmic muscular contractions of the intestines which move digesta along the digestive tract. Soluble fiber, found in oats, peas, beans, and many fruits, dissolves in water in the intestinal tract to produce a gel which slows the movement of food through the intestines. This may help lower blood glucose levels because it can slow the absorption of sugar. Additionally, fiber, perhaps especially that from whole grains, is thought to possibly help lessen insulin spikes, and therefore reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The link between increased fiber consumption and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer is still uncertain. [23] Fat Main article: Fat

A molecule of dietary fat typically consists of several fatty acids (containing long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms), bonded to a glycerol. They are typically found as triglycerides (three fatty acids attached to one glycerol backbone). Fats may be classified as saturated or unsaturated depending on the detailed structure of the fatty acids involved. Saturated fats have all of the carbon atoms in their fatty acid chains bonded to hydrogen atoms, whereas unsaturated fats have some of these carbon atoms double-bonded, so their molecules have relatively fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fatty acid of the same length. Unsaturated fats may be further classified as monounsaturated (one double-bond) or polyunsaturated (many double-bonds). Furthermore, depending on the location of the double-bond in the fatty acid chain, unsaturated fatty acids are classified as omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer bonds; these are rare in nature and in foods from natural sources; they are typically created in an industrial process called (partial) hydrogenation. There are nine kilocalories in each gram of fat. Fatty acids such as conjugated linoleic acid, catalpic acid, eleostearic acid and punicic acid, in addition to providing energy, represent potent immune modulatory molecules.

Saturated fats (typically from animal sources) have been a staple in many world cultures for millennia. Unsaturated fats (e. g., vegetable oil) are considered healthier, while trans fats are to be avoided. Saturated and some trans fats are typically solid at room temperature (such as butter or lard), while unsaturated fats are typically liquids (such as olive oil or flaxseed oil). Trans fats are very rare in nature, and have been shown to be highly detrimental to human health, but have properties useful in the food processing industry, such as rancidity resistance.[citation needed] Essential fatty acids Main article: Essential fatty acids

Most fatty acids are non-essential, meaning the body can produce them as needed, generally from other fatty acids and always by expending energy to do so. However, in humans, at least two fatty acids are essential and must be included in the diet. An appropriate balance of essential fatty acids—omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—seems also important for health, although definitive experimental demonstration has been elusive. Both of these "omega" long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are substrates for a class of eicosanoids known as prostaglandins, which have roles throughout the human body. They are hormones, in some respects. The omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which can be made in the human body from the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), or taken in through marine food sources, serves as a building block for series 3 prostaglandins (e.g. weakly inflammatory PGE3). The omega-6 dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) serves as a building block for series 1 prostaglandins (e.g. anti-inflammatory PGE1), whereas arachidonic acid (AA) serves as a building block for series 2 prostaglandins (e.g. pro-inflammatory PGE 2). Both DGLA and AA can be made from the omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) in the human body, or can be taken in directly through food. An appropriately balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 partly determines the relative production of different prostaglandins, which is one reason why a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is believed important for cardiovascular health. In industrialized societies, people typically consume large amounts of processed vegetable oils, which have reduced amounts of the essential fatty acids along with too much of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids.

The conversion rate of omega-6 DGLA to AA largely determines the production of the prostaglandins PGE1 and PGE2. Omega-3 EPA prevents AA from being released from membranes, thereby skewing prostaglandin balance away from pro-inflammatory PGE2 (made from AA) toward anti-inflammatory PGE1 (made from DGLA). Moreover, the conversion (desaturation) of DGLA to AA is controlled by the enzyme delta-5-desaturase, which in turn is controlled by hormones such as insulin (up-regulation) and glucagon (down-regulation). The amount and type of carbohydrates consumed, along with some types of amino acid, can influence processes involving insulin, glucagon, and other hormones; therefore the ratio of omega-3 versus omega-6 has wide effects on general health, and specific effects on immune function and inflammation, and mitosis (i.e. cell division). Protein Most meats such as chicken contain all the essential amino acids needed for humans. Main article: Protein in nutrition

Proteins are the basis of many animal body structures (e.g. muscles, skin, and hair). They also form the enzymes that control chemical reactions throughout the body. Each molecule is composed of amino acids, which are characterized by inclusion of nitrogen and sometimes sulphur (these components are responsible for the distinctive smell of burning protein, such as the keratin in hair). The body requires amino acids to produce new proteins (protein retention) and to replace damaged proteins (maintenance). As there is no protein or amino acid storage provision, amino acids must be present in the diet. Excess amino acids are discarded, typically in the urine. For all animals, some amino acids are essential (an animal cannot produce them internally) and some are non-essential (the animal can produce them from other nitrogen-containing compounds). About twenty amino acids are found in the human body, and about ten of these are essential and, therefore, must be included in the diet. A diet that contains adequate amounts of amino acids (especially those that are essential) is particularly important in some situations: during early development and maturation, pregnancy, lactation, or injury (a burn, for instance). A complete protein source contains all the essential amino acids; an incomplete protein source lacks one or more of the essential amino acids.

It is possible to combine two incomplete protein sources (e.g. rice and beans) to make a complete protein source, and characteristic combinations are the basis of distinct cultural cooking traditions. Sources of dietary protein include meats, tofu and other soy-products, eggs, legumes, and dairy products such as milk and cheese. Excess amino acids from protein can be converted into glucose and used for fuel through a process called gluconeogenesis. The amino acids remaining after such conversion are discarded. Minerals Main articles: Dietary mineral and Composition of the human body

Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen that are present in nearly all organic molecules. The term "mineral" is archaic, since the intent is to describe simply the less common elements in the diet. Some are heavier than the four just mentioned, including several metals, which often occur as ions in the body. Some dietitians recommend that these be supplied from foods in which they occur naturally, or at least as complex compounds, or sometimes even from natural inorganic sources (such as calcium carbonate from ground oyster shells). Some minerals are absorbed much more readily in the ionic forms found in such sources. On the other hand, minerals are often artificially added to the diet as supplements; the most famous is likely iodine in iodized salt which prevents goiter. Macrominerals

Many elements are essential in relative quantity; they are usually called "bulk minerals". Some are structural, but many play a role as electrolytes.[24] Elements with recommended dietary allowance (RDA) greater than 200 mg/day are, in alphabetical order (with informal or folk-medicine perspectives in parentheses):

Calcium, a common electrolyte, but also needed structurally (for muscle and digestive system health, bone strength, some forms neutralize acidity, may help clear toxins, provides signaling ions for nerve and membrane functions) Chlorine as chloride ions; very common electrolyte; see sodium, below Magnesium, required for processing ATP and related reactions (builds bone, causes strong peristalsis, increases flexibility, increases alkalinity) Phosphorus, required component of bones; essential for energy processing[25] Potassium, a very common electrolyte (heart and nerve health) Sodium, a very common electrolyte; not generally found in dietary supplements, despite being needed in large quantities, because the ion is very common in food: typically as sodium chloride, or common salt. Excessive sodium consumption can deplete calcium and magnesium,[verification needed] leading to high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Sulfur, for three essential amino acids and therefore many proteins (skin, hair, nails, liver, and pancreas). Sulfur is not consumed alone, but in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids

Trace minerals

Many elements are required in trace amounts, usually because they play a catalytic role in enzymes.[26] Some trace mineral elements (RDA < 200 mg/day) are, in alphabetical order:

Cobalt required for biosynthesis of vitamin B12 family of coenzymes. Animals cannot biosynthesize B12, and must obtain this cobalt-containing vitamin in the diet Copper required component of many redox enzymes, including cytochrome c oxidase Main article: Copper in health Chromium required for sugar metabolism Iodine required not only for the biosynthesis of thyroxine, but probably, for other important organs as breast, stomach, salivary glands, thymus etc. (see Extrathyroidal iodine); for this reason iodine is needed in larger quantities than others in this list, and sometimes classified with the macrominerals Iron required for many enzymes, and for hemoglobin and some other proteins Manganese (processing of oxygen) Molybdenum required for xanthine oxidase and related oxidases Nickel present in urease Selenium required for peroxidase (antioxidant proteins) Vanadium (Speculative: there is no established RDA for vanadium. No specific biochemical function has been identified for it in humans, although vanadium is required for some lower organisms.) Zinc required for several enzymes such as carboxypeptidase, liver alcohol dehydrogenase, and carbonic anhydrase

Vitamins Main article: Vitamin

As with the minerals discussed above, some vitamins are recognized as essential nutrients, necessary in the diet for good health. (Vitamin D is the exception: it can be synthesized in the skin, in the presence of UVB radiation.) Certain vitamin-like compounds that are recommended in the diet, such as carnitine, are thought useful for survival and health, but these are not "essential" dietary nutrients because the human body has some capacity to produce them from other compounds. Moreover, thousands of different phytochemicals have recently been discovered in food (particularly in fresh vegetables), which may have desirable properties including antioxidant activity (see below); however, experimental demonstration has been suggestive but inconclusive. Other essential nutrients that are not classified as vitamins include essential amino acids (see above), choline, essential fatty acids (see above), and the minerals discussed in the preceding section.

Vitamin deficiencies may result in disease conditions, including goitre, scurvy, osteoporosis, impaired immune system, disorders of cell metabolism, certain forms of cancer, symptoms of premature aging, and poor psychological health (including eating disorders), among many others.[27] Excess levels of some vitamins are also dangerous to health (notably vitamin A), and for at least one vitamin, B6, toxicity begins at levels not far above the required amount. Deficient or excess levels of minerals can also have serious health consequences. Water Main article: Drinking water A manual water pump in China

Water is excreted from the body in multiple forms; including urine and feces, sweating, and by water vapour in the exhaled breath. Therefore it is necessary to adequately rehydrate to replace lost fluids.

Early recommendations for the quantity of water required for maintenance of good health suggested that 6–8 glasses of water daily is the minimum to maintain proper hydration.[28] However the notion that a person should consume eight glasses of water per day cannot be traced to a credible scientific source.[29] The original water intake recommendation in 1945 by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council read: "An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods."[30] More recent comparisons of well-known recommendations on fluid intake have revealed large discrepancies in the volumes of water we need to consume for good health.[31] Therefore, to help standardize guidelines, recommendations for water consumption are included in two recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) documents (2010): (i) Food-based dietary guidelines and (ii) Dietary reference values for water or adequate daily intakes (ADI).[32] These specifications were provided by calculating adequate intakes from measured intakes in populations of individuals with “desirable osmolarity values of urine and desirable water volumes per energy unit consumed.”[32] For healthful hydration, the current EFSA guidelines recommend total water intakes of 2.0 L/day for adult females and 2.5 L/day for adult males. These reference values include water from drinking water, other beverages, and from food. About 80% of our daily water requirement comes from the beverages we drink, with the remaining 20% coming from food.[33] Water content varies depending on the type of food consumed, with fruit and vegetables containing more than cereals, for example.[34] These values are estimated using country-specific food balance sheets published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.[34] Other guidelines for nutrition also have implications for the beverages we consume for healthy hydration- for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that added sugars should represent no more than 10% of total energy intake.[35]

The EFSA panel also determined intakes for different populations. Recommended intake volumes in the elderly are the same as for adults as despite lower energy consumption, the water requirement of this group is increased due to a reduction in renal concentrating capacity.[32] Pregnant and breastfeeding women require additional fluids to stay hydrated. The EFSA panel proposes that pregnant women should consume the same volume of water as non-pregnant women, plus an increase in proportion to the higher energy requirement, equal to 300 mL/day.[32] To compensate for additional fluid output, breastfeeding women require an additional 700 mL/day above the recommended intake values for non-lactating women.[32]

For those who have healthy kidneys, it is somewhat difficult to drink too much water,[32] but (especially in warm humid weather and while exercising) it is dangerous to drink too little. While overhydration is much less common than dehydration, it is also possible to drink far more water than necessary which can result in water intoxication, a serious and potentially fatal condition.[36] In particular, large amounts of de-ionized water are dangerous.[32] Other nutrients

Other micronutrients include antioxidants and phytochemicals. These substances are generally more recent discoveries that have not yet been recognized as vitamins or as required. Phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, but not all phytochemicals are antioxidants.[citation needed] Antioxidants Main article: Antioxidant

As cellular metabolism/energy production requires oxygen, potentially damaging (e.g. mutation causing) compounds known as free radicals can form. Most of these are oxidizers (i.e. acceptors of electrons) and some react very strongly. For the continued normal cellular maintenance, growth, and division, these free radicals must be sufficiently neutralized by antioxidant compounds. Recently, some researchers suggested an interesting theory of evolution of dietary antioxidants. Some are produced by the human body with adequate precursors (glutathione, Vitamin C), and those the body cannot produce may only be obtained in the diet via direct sources (Vitamin C in humans, Vitamin A, Vitamin K) or produced by the body from other compounds (Beta-carotene converted to Vitamin A by the body, Vitamin D synthesized from cholesterol by sunlight). Phytochemicals (Section Below) and their subgroup, polyphenols, make up the majority of antioxidants; about 4,000 are known. Different antioxidants are now known to function in a cooperative network. For example, Vitamin C can reactivate free radical-containing glutathione or Vitamin E by accepting the free radical itself. Some antioxidants are more effective than others at neutralizing different free radicals. Some cannot neutralize certain free radicals. Some cannot be present in certain areas of free radical development (Vitamin A is fat-soluble and protects fat areas, Vitamin C is water soluble and protects those areas). When interacting with a free radical, some antioxidants produce a different free radical compound that is less dangerous or more dangerous than the previous compound. Having a variety of antioxidants allows any byproducts to be safely dealt with by more efficient antioxidants in neutralizing a free radical's butterfly effect.

Although initial studies suggested that antioxidant supplements might promote health, later large clinical trials did not detect any benefit and suggested instead that excess supplementation may be harmful.[37][38] Phytochemicals Blackberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants Main article: Phytochemical

A growing area of interest is the effect upon human health of trace chemicals, collectively called phytochemicals. These nutrients are typically found in edible plants, especially colorful fruits and vegetables, but also other organisms including seafood, algae, and fungi. The effects of phytochemicals increasingly survive rigorous testing by prominent health organizations.[citation needed] One of the principal classes of phytochemicals are polyphenol antioxidants, chemicals that are known to provide certain health benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system. These chemicals are known to down-regulate the formation of reactive oxygen species, key chemicals in cardiovascular disease.

Perhaps the most rigorously tested phytochemical is zeaxanthin, a yellow-pigmented carotenoid present in many yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Repeated studies have shown a strong correlation between ingestion of zeaxanthin and the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).[39][better source needed] Less rigorous studies have proposed a correlation between zeaxanthin intake and cataracts.[40][better source needed] A second carotenoid, lutein, has also been shown to lower the risk of contracting AMD. Both compounds have been observed to collect in the retina when ingested orally, and they serve to protect the rods and cones against the destructive effects of light.

Another carotenoid, beta-cryptoxanthin, appears to protect against chronic joint inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis. While the association between serum blood levels of beta-cryptoxanthin and substantially decreased joint disease has been established,[41] neither a convincing mechanism for such protection nor a cause-and-effect have been rigorously studied. Similarly, a red phytochemical, lycopene, has substantial credible evidence of negative association with development of prostate cancer.

As indicated above, some of the correlations between the ingestion of certain phytochemicals and the prevention of disease are, in some cases, enormous in magnitude. Yet, even when the evidence is obtained, translating it to practical dietary advice can be difficult and counter-intuitive. Lutein, for example, occurs in many yellow and orange fruits and vegetables and protects the eyes against various diseases. However, it does not protect the eye nearly as well as zeaxanthin, and the presence of lutein in the retina will prevent zeaxanthin uptake. Additionally, evidence has shown that the lutein present in egg yolk is more readily absorbed than the lutein from vegetable sources, possibly because of fat solubility.[42] At the most basic level, the question "should you eat eggs?" is complex to the point of dismay, including misperceptions about the health effects of cholesterol in egg yolk, and its saturated fat content.

As another example, lycopene is prevalent in tomatoes (and actually is the chemical that gives tomatoes their red color). It is more highly concentrated, however, in processed tomato products such as commercial pasta sauce, or tomato soup, than in fresh "healthy" tomatoes. Yet, such sauces tend to have high amounts of salt, sugar, other substances a person may wish or even need to avoid.

The following table presents phytochemical groups and common sources, arranged by family: Family Sources Possible benefits Flavonoids Berries, herbs, vegetables, wine, grapes, tea General antioxidant, oxidation of LDLs, prevention of arteriosclerosis and heart disease Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) Soy, red clover, kudzu root General antioxidant, prevention of arteriosclerosis and heart disease, easing symptoms of menopause, cancer prevention [43] Isothiocyanates Cruciferous vegetables cancer prevention Monoterpenes Citrus peels, essential oils, herbs, spices, green plants, atmosphere[44] Cancer prevention, treating gallstones Organosulfur compounds Chives, garlic, onions cancer prevention, lowered LDLs, assistance to the immune system Saponins Beans, cereals, herbs Hypercholesterolemia, Hyperglycemia, Antioxidant, cancer prevention, Anti-inflammatory Capsaicinoids All capiscum (chile) peppers Topical pain relief, cancer prevention, cancer cell apoptosis

Intestinal bacterial flora Main article: Gut flora

It is now also known that animal intestines contain a large population of gut flora. In humans, these include species such as Bacteroides, L. acidophilus and E. coli, among many others. They are essential to digestion, and are also affected by the food we eat. Bacteria in the gut perform many important functions for humans, including breaking down and aiding in the absorption of otherwise indigestible food; stimulating cell growth; repressing the growth of harmful bacteria, training the immune system to respond only to pathogens; producing vitamin B12, and defending against some infectious diseases. Advice and guidance Government policies The updated USDA food pyramid, published in 2005, is a general nutrition guide for recommended food consumption for humans.

In the US, dietitians are registered (RD) or licensed (LD) with the Commission for Dietetic Registration and the American Dietetic Association, and are only able to use the title "dietitian," as described by the business and professions codes of each respective state, when they have met specific educational and experiential prerequisites and passed a national registration or licensure examination, respectively. In California, registered dietitians must abide by the "Business and Professions Code of Section 2585-2586.8".Anyone may call themselves a nutritionist, including unqualified dietitians, as this term is unregulated. Some states, such as the State of Florida, have begun to include the title "nutritionist" in state licensure requirements. Most governments provide guidance on nutrition, and some also impose mandatory disclosure/labeling requirements for processed food manufacturers and restaurants to assist consumers in complying with such guidance.

In the US, nutritional standards and recommendations are established jointly by the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary and physical activity guidelines from the USDA are presented in the concept of a food pyramid, which superseded the Four Food Groups. The Senate committee currently responsible for oversight of the USDA is the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Committee hearings are often televised on C-SPAN as seen here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a sample week-long menu which fulfills the nutritional recommendations of the government.[45] Canada's Food Guide is another governmental recommendation. Government programs

Federal and state governmental organizations have been working on nutrition literacy interventions in non-primary health care settings to address the nutrition information problem in the U.S. Some programs include:

The Family Nutrition Program (FNP) is a free nutrition education program serving low-income adults around the U.S. This program is funded by the Food Nutrition Service’s (FNS) branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) usually through a local state academic institution which runs the program. The FNP has developed a series of tools to help families participating in the Food Stamp Program stretch their food dollar and form healthful eating habits including nutrition education.

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (ENFEP) is a unique program that currently operates in all 50 states and in American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It is designed to assist limited-resource audiences in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and changed behavior necessary for nutritionally sound diets, and to contribute to their personal development and the improvement of the total family diet and nutritional well-being.

An example of a state initiative to promote nutrition literacy is Smart Bodies, a public-private partnership between the state’s largest university system and largest health insurer, Louisiana State Agricultural Center and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. Launched in 2005, this program promotes lifelong healthful eating patterns and physically active lifestyles for children and their families. It is an interactive educational program designed to help prevent childhood obesity through classroom activities that teach children healthful eating habits and physical exercise.


Nutrition is taught in schools in many countries. In England and Wales the Personal and Social Education and Food Technology curricula include nutrition, stressing the importance of a balanced diet and teaching how to read nutrition labels on packaging. In many schools a Nutrition class will fall within the Family and Consumer Science or Health departments. In some American schools, students are required to take a certain number of FCS or Health related classes. Nutrition is offered at many schools, and if it is not a class of its own, nutrition is included in other FCS or Health classes such as: Life Skills, Independent Living, Single Survival, Freshmen Connection, Health etc. In many Nutrition classes, students learn about the food groups, the food pyramid, Daily Recommended Allowances, calories, vitamins, minerals, malnutrition, physical activity, healthful food choices and how to live a healthy life.

A 1985 US National Research Council report entitled Nutrition Education in US Medical Schools concluded that nutrition education in medical schools was inadequate.[46] Only 20% of the schools surveyed taught nutrition as a separate, required course. A 2006 survey found that this number had risen to 30%.[47] Healthy diets Main article: Healthy diet Whole plant food diet

Heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes are commonly called "Western" diseases because these maladies were once rarely seen in developing countries. An international study in China found some regions had essentially no cancer or heart disease, while in other areas they reflected "up to a 100-fold increase" coincident with shifts from diets that were found to be entirely plant-based to heavily animal-based, respectively.[48] In contrast, diseases of affluence like cancer and heart disease are common throughout the developed world, including the United States. Adjusted for age and exercise, large regional clusters of people in China rarely suffered from these "Western" diseases possibly because their diets are rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and have little dairy and meat products.[48] Some studies show these to be, in high quantities, possible causes of some cancers. There are arguments for and against this controversial issue.

The United Healthcare/Pacificare nutrition guideline recommends a whole plant food diet, and recommends using protein only as a condiment with meals. A National Geographic cover article from November 2005, entitled The Secrets of Living Longer, also recommends a whole plant food diet. The article is a lifestyle survey of three populations, Sardinians, Okinawans, and Adventists, who generally display longevity and "suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of life." In sum, they offer three sets of 'best practices' to emulate. The rest is up to you. In common with all three groups is to "Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

The National Geographic article noted that an NIH funded study of 34,000 Seventh-day Adventists between 1976 and 1988 "...found that the Adventists' habit of consuming beans, soy milk, tomatoes, and other fruits lowered their risk of developing certain cancers. It also suggested that eating whole grain bread, drinking five glasses of water a day, and, most surprisingly, consuming four servings of nuts a week reduced their risk of heart disease." The French "paradox" Main article: French paradox

The French paradox is the observation that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. A number of explanations have been suggested:

Saturated fat consumption does not cause heart disease[49] Reduced consumption of processed carbohydrate and other junk foods.[citation needed] Regular consumption of red wine.[citation needed] More active lifestyles involving plenty of daily exercise, especially walking; the French are much less dependent on cars than Americans are.[citation needed] Higher consumption of artificially produced trans-fats by Americans, which has been shown to have greater lipoprotein effects per gram than saturated fat.[50]

However, statistics collected by the World Health Organization from 1990–2000 show that the incidence of heart disease in France may have been underestimated and, in fact, may be similar to that of neighboring countries.[51] Sports nutrition Main article: Sports nutrition Protein Protein milkshakes, made from protein powder (center) and milk (left), are a common bodybuilding supplement.

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. The body uses protein to build and repair tissues. In addition, protein is used to make hormones and other chemicals in the body. Protein is also an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

The protein requirement for each individual differs, as do opinions about whether and to what extent physically active people require more protein. The 2005 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), aimed at the general healthy adult population, provide for an intake of 0.8 – 1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (according to the BMI formula), with the review panel stating that "no additional dietary protein is suggested for healthy adults undertaking resistance or endurance exercise".[52] Conversely, Di Pasquale (2008), citing recent studies, recommends a minimum protein intake of 2.2 g/kg "for anyone involved in competitive or intense recreational sports who wants to maximize lean body mass but does not wish to gain weight".[53] Water and salts

Water is one of the most important nutrients in the sports diet. It helps eliminate food waste products in the body, regulates body temperature during activity and helps with digestion. Maintaining hydration during periods of physical exertion is key to peak performance. While drinking too much water during activities can lead to physical discomfort, dehydration in excess of 2% of body mass (by weight) markedly hinders athletic performance.[54] Additional carbohydrates and protein before, during, and after exercise increase time to exhaustion as well as speed recovery. The amount of water needed is based on work performed, lean body mass, and environmental factors, especially ambient temperature and humidity. Maintaining the right amount is key.[vague] Carbohydrates

The main fuel used by the body during exercise is carbohydrates, which are stored in muscle as glycogen—a form of sugar. During exercise, muscle glycogen reserves can be used up, especially when activities last longer than 90 min.[citation needed] Because the amount of glycogen stored in the body is limited, it is important for athletes to replace glycogen by consuming a diet high in carbohydrates. Meeting energy needs can help improve performance during the sport, as well as improve overall strength and endurance.

There are different kinds of carbohydrates—simple or refined, and unrefined. A typical American consumes about 50% of their carbohydrates as simple sugars, which are added to foods as opposed to sugars that come naturally in fruits and vegetables. These simple sugars come in large amounts in sodas and fast food. Over the course of a year, the average American consumes 54 gallons of soft drinks, which contain the highest amount of added sugars.[55] Even though carbohydrates are necessary for humans to function, they are not all equally healthful. When machinery has been used to remove bits of high fiber, the carbohydrates are refined. These are the carbohydrates found in white bread and fast food.

Hand Balancing Planche Bar/Lever Core Pull Agility Hold Push Movement Hold Push Wimp Wall Handstand Wall Handstand- HS Walk 25 yrds Tuck Planche Waist Level Pushups Cross-Leg Sit Folded Leg Dragon Flag Pullups Cartwheel Tiger Bend Pushup Double Elbow Lever Some Handstand Handstand Pushup Dive Into Handstand Planche Bicycles Tuck Planche Pushup L-Sit Single Leg Dragon Flag Explosive Pull-ups Round-off Straddle Pike Tuck Planche to HS Adv Tuck Planche Straddle Back Lever Weighted Pull-ups Talent Rock-Up Windshield Wipers Master Close Grip HS Full Tiger Bend HS Walk Down Steps Straddle Planche Adv Tuck Planche Pushup L-Sit to V-Sit Cheat Human Flagpole Cheat Muscle-ups 1H Cartwheel Fingertip HS Strait Leg Pike HS Walk Down Bench Strait Leg Back Lever Dragon Flag Kip-Up Roll-Back Handstand Single Leg Front Lever Kick the Moon Single Elbow Lever Front Handspring Saiyan 1 Handed- Close Grip HS- HS Walk Up Steps Strait Leg Planche Straddle Planche Pushup Front Lever Human Flagpole Muscle-ups Standing Backflip Handstand Pushup HS Walk Up Bench CG Planche Single Elbow Lever to HS Mini Muscle-ups Standing Frontflip Handstand Jumps Cg- Muscle-ups Flares Ariel Super Head Stand Fingertip HS Pushup 1H HS Jumps Maltese Strait Leg Planche Pushup Iron Cross Human Flagpole Pullup Muscle-up to HS Air Flares Fingertip Planche Fingertip Planche Pushup Standing Ariel Saiyan

This is for dummies. The only prerequisite is a knowledge of simple English and 8th grade mathematics. ---------- INTRODUCTION

This is a basic introduction to "bodybuilding nutrition". Some facts/points are purposefully simplified to avoid confusion.

What is a Calorie? A Calorie is a unit of energy. The human body needs energy to work. Humans acquire energy through food consumption. The amount of calories in a food can be found on, or where possible, on the food's packaging.

What is a Macronutrient (Macro)? The energy (Calorie) content of all foods come from the macronutrients in the food. The macronutrients you need to know about are protein, fats, carbohydrates and alcohol. Macronutrients are the fuel that gives your body energy. -One gram of protein provides 4 Calories. -One gram of carbohydrates provides 4 Calories. -One gram of fats provides 9 Calories. -One gram of alcohol providies 7 Calories.

The macronutrient content of a food can be found on, or where possible, on the food's packaging.

What is a Micronutrient? Micronutrients are required by your body to operate properly, or in a healthy manner. Micronutrients include things like vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients are like the "oil", "brake fluid", etc. that keep your body running smoothly. The micronutrient content of foods can be found on "Whole" foods generally contain more micronutrients than "processed" foods.


Of all the things the body is made of, the most important components are muscle, fat and water. -A marathon runner has LOW muscle mass, and LOW fat mass. -The average, sedentary person has LOW muscle mass, and HIGH fat mass. -A "toned" person has MODERATE muscle mass, and LOW-MODERATE fat mass. -A sprinter/weightlifter/bodybuilder has HIGH muscle mass, and LOW fat mass. -A sumo wrestler has HIGH muscle mass, and HIGH fat mass.

Body fat percentage (BF%) is a good measure of body composition. As a guideline for men (for women add 5%): -BF% < 10%: Six pack abs, ripped. -BF% 10%-15%: Shapely abs, muscular shape evident without flexing. Waist < hips. -BF% 15%-20%: "Soft" looking, some muscular shape for highly muscular individuals. Waist ~ hips. -BF% 20%-25%: Love handles (men), thunder thighs (women). Waist > hips. -BF% 25%-35%: Obese. -BF% 35%+: Morbidly obese.

You can estimate your body fat percentage using just a measuring tape. See this page for example.


-To gain weight, you need to take in more calories from food than your body expends. -To maximise muscle gain and minimise fat gain, you need to eat a GOOD DIET and EXERCISE including WEIGHT TRAINING. -Aim to gain 1-1.5kg or 2-3lbs a month, any more may result in excessive fat gain.

-To lose weight, you need to take in less calories from food than your body expends. -To maximise fat loss and minimise muscle loss, you need to eat a GOOD DIET and EXERCISE. -Aim to lose 2-3kg or 4-6lbs a month, any more may result in excessive muscle loss.


Follow the above link, focus currently on the "Katch-McArdle" section under "Estimating Requirements", and multiply the BMR by an appropriate Activity Factor.

This should give you a good ESTIMATE for your maintenance.


CALORIES -If you want to gain weight, multiply your maintenance by 1.1. -If you want to lose weight, multiply your maintenance by 0.9. -If your calorie target is below 1500, consider extra exercise to increase your maintenance as it may be difficult to intake adequate amounts of macro/micronutrients.

PROTEIN -Protein is important for muscle gain and recovery, among other things. -Aim for 2 grams per kg of body weight, or 1 gram per lb of body weight.

FATS -Fats are NOT BAD, in fact, fats are important for satiety, hair/skin health, hormonal health, etc. Do not neglect dietary fats. Fats are TASTY! -Aim for 1-2 grams per kg of body weight, or 0.5-1 grams per lb of body weight. Aim for the lower target if you are trying to lose weight, and the higher if you are trying to gain.

CARBS -Carbohydrates are generally used by your body just for the energy content. But they're tasty and commonly found. -You do not need to make a solid target for carbs but make sure you get some.

ALCOHOL -Alcohols are not necessary for your body. -Less is better but some is fine.


You do not need to design a daily food plan and follow it religiously. It can be a good exercise to do in order to get an idea of the amount of food you should be eating though.

You need to keep track of what you eat, and know how to count calories and macronutrient amounts. See here for some pointers. Track EVERYTHING YOU EAT, including that cookie you had as a snack, the dressing on your salad, etc.

Your primary goals are: -Reach your protein and fat goals (excess is OK as long as you do not break any other goals) -Eat a variety of "good" foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, fish, wholegrains. -Drink plenty of water.

After fulfilling these goals for the day, you can consume ANYTHING* you want in order to reach your calorie goal. Aim to hit your calorie goal as accurately as possible. *Use common sense.

Secondary goals (which should be achieved with a good diet) include: -Enough fibre to keep you "regular". -Avoid trans fats. -Avoid excessive amounts of salty foods.

By reaching these primary goals, you should get a good range of micronutrients to keep you healthy. Feel free to read this thread for more information on macro/micronutrients, sources and uses.

Things you do not need to do (unless you are a very high-performance athlete, in which case you should not be reading this): -Eat x meals a day. It does not matter how many times a day you eat, or when. All that matters is what you eat per day. -Take a multivitamin. Micronutrients are generally absorbed much better by the body when they have come from a whole food source. -Eat this before/after a workout. current scientific consensus suggets that nutrient timing is irrelevant. -Take casein/"slow acting" protein or eat cottage cheese before bed to prevent going "catabolic". If you eat a proper daily diet, you won't go "catabolic". -Buy supplement x which promises "insert outrageous claim". If they worked and were legal and safe, I wouldn't have wrote this. See below...


...are not necessary. See this excellent article (and the following parts if you wish) for a good discussion of why supplements aren't necessary for most people. -Protein powders are fine and can help you reach your protein goal easier. They are practically a "food" anyway, be sure to consume them along with a variety of other protein sources in your diet.


Before starting your new diet (and exercise program), measure your body weight and your body fat percentage. Feel free to take photos as well.

Follow your new diet for AT LEAST 2 weeks before measuring again and passing judgement. Resist the temptation to measure daily as natural fluctuation occurs.

If you are trying to lose weight but have not lost weight, either: -Reduce your calorie target by 5% (multiply by 0.95) -Increase the amount of exercise you do.

If you are trying to gain weight but have not gained weight: -Increase your calorie intake by 5% (multiply by 1.05)

On the request of a few people - Feel free to add if you have anything else you want to share!

Please note - links to sites that are competitors of or links to sites that are 'pimping' something (eg: a product) will likely be deleted.

Research Database Directory
If you have something you want to look into then try here to find which database you need to go to (links to a variety of databases and lets you know the areas covered on that database too)


HighWire Press

BioMed Central
Peer reviewed open access journals

Free Medical Journals
An index of free full text

Alan Aragon's Research Review
Critical reviews of fitness-related research

Supplements and Drugs:
USDA Dietary Supplement Page

Medline Plus
Information on a range of health/ nutrition/ medical topics
More vitamin and supplement information

CDC Center for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Research

Food and Nutrition Information:
Human Nutrition
A brief rundown of the basics of nutrition
Learn in more detail about macronutrient contents/ vitamin contents of your favourite foods

Another nutrition counter - but has an excellent recipe feature where you can calculate out your favourite recipes

Calculating the Energy in Foods
Not for the faint hearted... You should have some basic understanding of nutrition before reading this

Protein Energy Interactions
Another detailed bit of material about the interactions between protein and energy in the diet. Old, but still useful. This is from the United Nations University.

Linus Pauling Micronutrient information Centre
More in depth information on vitamins/ minerals

Refrigerator and Shelf Life Information

Cook's Thesaurus
For all those ingredients you are not sure about

Diet Nutrition and Lifestyle Internet Resources
A list of links you can search through for nutrition and diet information
Nutritional info on generic foods as well as a really good list of restaurant nutrition as well
(thanks to Camaron2er for the link)

Bodybuilding and Healthy Recipe Sites!
Sheila's LiveWell 360
An old member who knows what it is to eat REAL food!

Food of April
One of our very own *tear* - recipes that are quick, easy, and TASTY!

For The Love Of Cookies!
More than just good food... good ranting too!

Teresa Cutter - The Healthy Chef!
Yummy and wholesome meals without the 'no flavour' factor!

Susan Jane Murray - Eating with Intolerences
Great recipes for those with allergies and food restrictions

Pimp My ProteinShake!
Lots of recipes (shakes and otherwise) that are yummy and quick!

Diet, Desserts, and Dogs!
More recipes than you could ever imagine trying to create and bake!

Heather Eats Almond Butter
Not just about almond butter either.

Kath Eats Real Food

Peanut Butter Boy
Everything Peanut butter.... The site needs no further information to be given.

Stuff I make my Husband
Interesting recipes with a paleo / primal food base - good concepts and many worth a try.

Pimp My Protein Shake
Protein based tastiness - and not just shakes!

Add together a unique combination of ingredients with a creative mind and you get awesome ideas for those on restricted diets.
Well worth the look! Threads for Nutrition: What is What?!
Debunking Nutrition Myths
Fruit? Dairy? Carbs? Fats? What have you heard and what is 'true'?

Pre/ During/ Post workout Nutrition
Alan's Epic Thread... A long read, but worth it!

Eating Disorder Support Group
This is a very good thread to read if you have concerns

And... because we need to acknowledge that it is widespread on the boards -
Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating:
National Eating Disorder Centre (number one)

National Centre for Eating Disorders (number two)

National Eating Disorders (number three)

Eating Disorders Screening

Eating Attitudes (more comprehensive)

Motivational Quotes:

The only place were 'success' comes before 'work' is in the dictionary

Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe the dedicated

"Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder but don't nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weights." Ronnie Coleman

"It's a lifestyle - train like there's no finish line."

"You focus your mind to train your body and the changes that begin to take place impact your mind as well. Dream it, believe it, and you will achieve it."


"If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you'll find an excuse."

"Be proud, but never satisfied."

"If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always got."

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog" - Magic Johnson, NBA Star

"Pain is temporary, pride is forever" - Unknown

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher & Writer

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion." - Muhammad Ali, Boxer

"Try and fail is the manner of losers; try and learn is the way of the strong." - Unknown

"Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret!" - Unknown

"Only the weak attempts to accomplish what he knows he can already achieve." - Stella Juarez Author

"Failure will not overcome me so long as my will to succeed is stronger" - Micheal S. Kirby

"If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don't nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life - this is also 'playing' the game!" - Emily Post

"The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope" - Norman Cousins Author

"That which does not kill me makes me stronger" - Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosopher, Poet, and Classical Philologist

"Fall down seven times, get up eight" -Chinese proverb

"There is nothing we cannot live down, rise above, and overcome." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Success must be felt within before it can be seen on the outside." - Unknown

"There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don't allow yourself to become one of them." - Ralph Marston, Author and Publisher of The Daily Motivator

"You have to do what others won't to achieve what others don't." - Unknown

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher & Writer

"Pain is only weakness leaving the body" - Unknown

"Good luck is the result of hard work and preparation" - Unknown

"Strength is the product of struggle" - Unknown

"The race goes not only to the swift nor the contest to the strong, but that's the way to bet your money" - Unknown

"How am I to know what I can achieve if I quit?" -Jason Bishop, About Bodybuilding Reader

"Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you" - Ovid

"The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground" - Unknown

"It's about mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter" -Unknown

"Tough times don't last. Tough people do." - Unknown

"We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It's not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist." Vince McConnell

"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something. You can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent." -Arnold Schwarzenegger

"There are only two options regarding commitment, You're either in or your out. There's no such thing as life in between." - Anonymous

Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated." -Anonymous

"It's never too late to become what you might have been". -George Elliot

"Belief triggers the power to do" -David Schwartz

"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." - Marilyn vos Savant, Columnist

"It's about mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter" -Unknown

"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." - Lena Horne, Singer

"The act of taking the first step is what separates the winners from the losers. - Brian Tracy, Motivational speaker

"Your body hears everything your mind says." - Naomi Judd, Singer/Songwriter

"The man who has no imagination has no wings. " - Muhammad Ali, Boxing Champion, Peace Ambassador

"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." -Wayne Gretzky, Professional Hockey Player

"The harder you work, the luckier you get." -Gary Player, Golfer

"Don't let what you can't do interfere with what you can do" - John Wooden, UCLA Basketball Coach

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning form failure. - Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State

"I like thinking big. If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big." - Donald Trump, Entrepreneur

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage." - Anais Nin

"Quitters never win and winners never quit " - anonymous

"To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift" Steve Prefontaine, runner

"Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes."- Chinese Proverb

"Things do not change. We change." - Henry David Thoreau, Author/Philosopher

Hard work is a two-way street. You get back exactly what you put in.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. Lance Armstrong

"If you don't go

after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place."

"Many people believe things happen to a reason, well I say go out and make those things happen

Try and fail but dont fail to try

"You give what you give, what you dont give is lost forever, this day will never come again"

"I have found iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me. It never runs. Friends may come and go but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength, Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, its impossible to turn back, the iron never lies to you.

"Just say to yourself... how bad do I want this? Am I working harder than the person who will be standing next to me?"

The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer."

"Limitations are for people that have them and excuses are for people that need them." ? Unknown

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jul 3
Co-ingestion of carbohydrate with protein does not further augment post-exercise muscle protein synthesis.

The present study was designed to assess the impact of co-ingestion of various amounts of carbohydrate combined to an ample amount of protein intake on post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates. Ten healthy, fit men (20+/-0.3 y) were randomly assigned to 3 cross-over experiments. After 60 min of resistance exercise, subjects consumed 0.3 protein hydrolysate with 0, 0.15, or 0.6 carbohydrate during a 6 h recovery period (PRO, PRO+LCHO, and PRO+HCHO, respectively). Primed, continuous infusions with L-[ring-(13)C6]phenylalanine, L-[ring-(2)H2]tyrosine, and [6,6-(2)H2]glucose were applied, and blood and muscle samples were collected to assess whole-body protein turnover and glucose kinetics as well as protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR) in the vastus lateralis muscle over 6 h of post-exercise recovery. Plasma insulin responses were significantly greater in PRO+HCHO compared to PRO+LCHO and PRO (18.4+/-2.9 vs. 3.7+/-0.5 and 1.5+/-0.2 U.6h.L(-1), respectively: P<0.001). Plasma glucose rate of appearance (Ra) and disappearance (Rd) increased over time in PRO+HCHO and PRO+LCHO but not in PRO. Plasma glucose Ra and Rd were substantially greater in PRO+HCHO vs both PRO and PRO+LCHO (P<0.01). Whole-body protein breakdown, synthesis and oxidation rates, as well as whole-body protein balance did not differ between experiments. Mixed muscle FSR did not differ between treatments and averaged 0.10+/-0.01, 0.10+/-0.01 and 0.11+/-0.01 %.h(-1) in the PRO, PRO+LCHO and PRO+HCHO experiments, respectively. In conclusion, co-ingestion of carbohydrate during recovery does not further stimulate post-exercise muscle protein synthesis when ample protein is ingested.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 288: E645-E653, 2005.
Combined ingestion of protein and free leucine with carbohydrate increases postexercise muscle protein synthesis in vivo in male subjects

The present study was designed to determine postexercise muscle protein synthesis and whole body protein balance following the combined ingestion of carbohydrate with or without protein and/or free leucine. Eight male subjects were randomly assigned to three trials in which they consumed drinks containing either carbohydrate (CHO), carbohydrate and protein (CHO+PRO), or carbohydrate, protein, and free leucine (CHO+PRO+Leu) following 45 min of resistance exercise. A primed, continuous infusion of L-[ring-13C6]phenylalanine was applied, with blood samples and muscle biopsies collected to assess fractional synthetic rate (FSR) in the vastus lateralis muscle as well as whole body protein turnover during 6 h of postexercise recovery. Plasma insulin response was higher in the CHO+PRO+Leu compared with the CHO and CHO+PRO trials (+240 ? 19% and +77 ? 11%, respectively, P < 0.05). Whole body protein breakdown rates were lower, and whole body protein synthesis rates were higher, in the CHO+PRO and CHO+PRO+Leu trials compared with the CHO trial (P < 0.05). Addition of leucine in the CHO+PRO+Leu trial resulted in a lower protein oxidation rate compared with the CHO+PRO trial. Protein balance was negative during recovery in the CHO trial but positive in the CHO+PRO and CHO+PRO+Leu trials. In the CHO+PRO+Leu trial, whole body net protein balance was significantly greater compared with values observed in the CHO+PRO and CHO trials (P < 0.05). Mixed muscle FSR, measured over a 6-h period of postexercise recovery, was significantly greater in the CHO+PRO+Leu trial compared with the CHO trial (0.095 ? 0.006 vs. 0.061 ? 0.008%/h, respectively, P < 0.05), with intermediate values observed in the CHO+PRO trial (0.0820 ? 0.0104%/h). We conclude that coingestion of protein and leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis and optimizes whole body protein balance compared with the intake of carbohydrate only.

In conclusion, the combined ingestion of protein and leucine with carbohydrate improves whole body protein balance during recovery from resistance exercise compared with the ingestion of carbohydrate or carbohydrate with protein. The combined ingestion of both leucine and protein with carbohydrate augments postexercise mixed muscle protein synthesis compared with the ingestion of only carbohydrate. The present data indicate that the additional ingestion of free leucine in combination with protein and carbohydrate likely represents an effective strategy to increase muscle anabolism following resistance exercise.