Great Gains and… Uhhh Gummi Bears

GummisGreat Gains and… Uhhh Gummi Bears???

            By Michael Rorick CPT, CFNS ©2014

Did I just say that? Okay, okay… I must confess. I have a sweet tooth. However, they say (and I don’t know who they are) that timing is everything. Here’s a case where the timing works out perfectly to my benefit. What I’m talking about is my post workout shake. Before going into details, let’s just consider for a moment why we have a post workout shake in the first place. It’s so we can immediately cheat after a good workout and not feel guilty. Right??? 🙂 In actuality, it’s to replenish and repair muscle tissue after an exhausting workout. Here’s how it works.

With resistance training, glycogen is taken from our muscles through a process called glycolysis and converted into either pyruvate or lactate (depending on the oxygen available) to then be converted into adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) for energy. As we continue to exercise and deplete the glycogen, fatigue sets in and eventually muscle failure. As we fatigue and rest between sets our body releases insulin blocking hormones such as: human growth hormone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, and cortisol. Their main job is to block insulin from storing glucose as well as breaking down muscle tissue to convert into energy. So, here is where our shake comes in and timing becomes crucial. As we finish our last set, we still have all these hormones floating around blocking insulin. If we drink our shake immediately, the insulin blocking hormones will inhibit insulin from doing its job, which is taking glucose and amino acids (protein) from the blood stream and putting into muscle tissue and the liver. If we wait 20 minutes however, the body stops secreting these hormones and they dissipate. This is now a perfect time to load our body up again with glucose and protein and is where the replenishing and repair takes place. So, 20 min. post workout, taking 60 – 70 grams of high GI carbohydrate (sugar), glucose levels spike in the blood stream and insulin is released where it sticks the glucose right back into our muscles for later use. During this anabolic window, the sugar is not stuck on our sides as fat because the body needs to refill the glycogen storage in the muscles immediately. The insulin will also pack everything else needed into the muscle cells, like: Protein, branched chain amino acids, creatine, etc. If you wait much longer than 30 minutes to drink your shake, this window of opportunity begins to close and you will not receive full benefit from it. So… 20-30 min. is optimum.

Here is the recipe for the post workout shake that I drink. I change it from time to time but this has been effective for me.

  1. First, I eat 2 packets of Gummi Bears – 30gr Carbs fast release (sugar)
  2. 250mg Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA – capsule) – aids insulin release
  3. 2500mg Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA – capsule) a host of benefits, including: aids insulin, fat loss, anti-inflammatory, etc.
  4. THE DRINK – 1 ½ cups almond milk
  5. 10 frozen strawberries – carbs
  6. 1 banana – carbs
  7.  20 grams hydrolyzed Whey Protein – muscle growth and repair
  8. 20 grams Casein Protein – muscle growth and repair
  9. 10 grams Creatine – cell volumization (store more glycogen in the cells)

10. 5 grams Glutamine – Amino acid for recovery

11. 15-20 grams Branched Chain Amino Acids – Recovery

12. 1000mg Vitamin C (1 pk EmergenC) Antioxidant for free radicals released during exercise.

Stick it all in a blender and Enjoy!!! Keep in mind, this shake is to be used after a workout where muscles are fatigued to or near to exhaustion. Drinking this as a regular drink throughout the day will get you fat by spiking glucose levels when your body doesn’t need it!! So if you have a sweet tooth, use this window of time post workout and fuel up muscle cells by grabbing some Gummis, A Pixie Stick or a high GI (glycemic index) candy (no nuts or fillers please). To avoid a crash from the high carbs, eat your post workout meal somewhere around 30-45 min. after your shake.

Until we meet again… Love your life and live it without limits!

About the Author:

Michael Rorick is a Certified Personal Trainer at Springville Health and Fitness Center, Springville NY. He is also a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist with a Certification in Weight Management as well. His company, Alive Without Limits was founded through his passion for helping others to reach their potentials in all areas of life. At 51 years of age, he is an avid bodybuilder, musician, audio engineer, forensic audio expert, professor at SUNY at Fredonia, life coach and father

The Four Golden Rules of Meal Planning – Part II

Food Bible

The Four Golden Rules of Meal Planning

Part II

By Michael Rorick CPT, CFNS ©2014

We left off in Part I of this weblog talking about taking control of our blood sugar levels.  Rule #1 is to eat every 3-4 hrs and in Rule #2, we said eating a good quality protein whenever we eat a carbohydrate would slow up the release of glucose from the carbohydrate into our blood stream. Selecting a good quality carb (Low G.I.) is also key in this process. By not following these 1st  two simple rules, we invite in the process of gluconeogenesis. It’s a fancy word that means “the new formation of glucose”. It’s sounds friendly until observe the pathway in which the glucose is formed. Very simply… we don’t eat regularly and the body goes into starvation mode. Needing to survive, it slows down metabolism and instead of consuming the fat cells, it continues to save them and catabolizes muscle tissue for energy. That is correct. You begin to digest your muscles for fuel. This continues to slow down metabolism and the cycle continues. So… eat regularly and keep fueling that furnace. Well… won’t we just get fatter if we eat all the time? Well, that depends. If we more than we can process or too much of a good thing, our body will store the excess in fat cells. (Or bad things too – Stay tuned. I’ll tell you later how to get fat drinking diet soda) So, with all the food choices available, how do we know what would be best to purchase? This leads us to Rule #3


Rule #3 – The 20% rule. Since all carbohydrates break down differently in the body and refined sugar is definitely not your friend, one of the best ways to determine whether a food is a good choice is to adopt the 20% rule. This is where we make certain that the total sugar in a product does not exceed 20% of the total carbohydrate. This is actually pretty easy to do without carrying a calculator around with you every time you go food shopping. Here’s how it works. I just picked up a can of baked beans. The nutritional facts on the side of the can says that it has a total carbohydrate of 28 grams. To find 20%, I simply calculate 10% first. This is easy because you just add a decimal point. So, 10% of 28 grams is 2.8 grams. Then to find 20% you just double that number. So, 2.8 + 2.8 = 5.6 grams. If the total sugar in this product is 5.6 or less it’s a good choice. This can has 11 grams of sugar (nearly 40%). This is not a good choice, so I’m leaving it on the shelf. I also have a box of brown rice. It is 34 grams of total carbohydrate and 0 grams of sugar. This is a much better choice. The orange juice I have is 29 grams of total carbohydrate and 28 grams of sugar (nearly 100%). Contrary to popular belief, fruit juices are pretty much fruit flavored sugar water. They are all pasteurized, which means they are heated to a high temperature to cook off bacteria. This unfortunately cooks off all of the vitamins as well, which just leaves flavor and sugar. The fructose (sugar) in them does not get absorbed into the muscle tissue like other forms of sugar. And, believe it or not, fruit juices and high fructose corn syrup are the number one causes of childhood obesity. Sometimes the foods we are led to believe are good for us, don’t quite hold up their end of the bargain. So how much is enough? On to rule #4.


Rule #4 Learn what exchanges are and how to use them. The next time you go to the supermarket, grab three different brands of bread and check out the nutritional information. All three will say, Serving Size 1 slice. As we read a little further, we see that Brand A has a Total Carbohydrate of 15 grams. Brand B’s total carbohydrate is 22 grams and Brand C has a total of 31 grams. So, it becomes clear that all serving sizes are not created equal. So how can we compare apples and apples? To do just that, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) came up with a system called exchanges. Exchanges simply indicate an amount of a macronutrient which would significantly increase blood sugar levels. For example, 15gr. of carbohydrate is 1 exchange. 7 gr. of protein and 5 gr. of fat also equal 1 exchange. So right about now you’re saying, “Great Mike!! Now how do I use this?” Well… the first thing that comes to mind is awareness. By starting to compare foods, we can deduct that 1 english muffin is 31 grams of carbohydrate or 2 carb exchanges and ½ cup of oatmeal is 28 grams of carbohydrate or roughly 2 carb exchanges. This way you can start making meal choices based on the amount of nutrients found in them. Well, now you’re asking, “How much should I eat?” For most of us, our plan should have the right amount of nutrients to stimulate lean muscle growth and drop our body fat percentage. Every lb. of muscle gained burns an additional 50 kcal per hour!

Let me give you a generalization of some intake levels, but keep in mind that every ”body” is different. With that said, if you exercise at least three times per week, eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day and 1 gram of healthy fats per 4 pounds of body weight per day. For example for a 130 lb woman, it calculates to: 130 grams of protein per day 195 grams of carbs per day 32 grams of fat per day. That is roughly 1,600 calories per day to maintain your current weight. 3500 calories is equivalent to approx. 1 lb. Therefore eating 500 additional calories a day should have you gaining 1 lb. a week and reducing your intake 500 calories a day should have you losing the same amount. This is a generalized statement and should not be written in stone. What I don’t like about making a general claim like this, is that there are so many other variables that need to be taken into consideration when determining an individual’s dietary needs.

So consider the following variables.: Age, gender, total weight, lean muscle mass, body fat percentage (BF%), type of exercise, amount of exercise, intensity of exercise, metabolism, goals, specificity, sleep time etc.. When designing a meal plan for my clients, all of these variables are taken into consideration. Based on their goals an exact number of exchanges are spread across 5 to 6 daily meals. After they are on the plan for a couple of weeks, we evaluate how their body is responding by using the following four basic principles.

1. Lean muscle Increases or stays the same & BF% decreases – plan is perfect.

2. Lean Muscle Increases & BF% Increases – Too many calories.

3. Lean Muscle Decreases & BF% Decreases – Not enough Protein

Here’s the kicker

4. Lean Muscle Decreases & BF% Increases – Not Enough Calories!!


So, as you develop your own meal program, remember garbage in garbage out. Eat quality meals and treat yourself with the respect you deserve. Eat every 3-4 hours. Cut back on the refined sugars and use the 20% rule. Always eat a quality protein with a carbohydrate to slow the release of glucose into the blood. And, learn exchanges so you can begin comparing the nutritional quality of different foods.


OH!!! Before I forget… How do you get fat from drinking diet soda? Easy!! Remember, whatever the body can’t process… it stores in our fat cells for later use. So, with diet sodas, it’s the artificial sweeteners that reek havoc on our systems. Aspartame in our body breaks down to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde breaks down further into formic acid (the same acid found in the venom of fire ants). Our body cannot process the formic acid and needs to remove it quickly from the blood stream. Where does it put the formic acid? Right on your sides, in fat cells. Drink purified water J


On one final note: Health is a journey. As science and technology continues to expand so does the understanding of the intricacies of our own bodies. Before starting any exercise plan, diet or change in activity, talk to your doctor. It’s their job to screen you to make sure you’re able to utilize this or any other program. Then… the rest is up to you to follow through and create the life and body that you’ve imagined. My commitment to me is to learn health and live it passionately; being the best I can be at this or any age. My commitment to you is share what I know and help you find your stride along the way. Look for my upcoming articles on fad diets and some cutting edge medical information on digestion and food assimilation. It may be a game changer for all of us.

Until we meet again… Love your life and live it without limits!



About the Author:

Michael Rorick is a Certified Personal Trainer at Springville Health and Fitness Center, Springville NY. He is also a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist with a Certification in Weight Management as well. His company, Alive Without Limits was founded through his passion for helping others to reach their potentials in all areas of life. At 51 years of age, he is an avid bodybuilder, musician, audio engineer, forensic audio expert, professor at SUNY at Fredonia, life coach and father.

The Four Golden Rules of Meal Planning – Part I

Food Bible

The Four Golden Rules of Meal Planning

Part I

By Michael Rorick CPT, CFNS ©2014

What to eat? What to eat? How has life become so busy? Sometimes it seems like it’s difficult to just stop and catch your breath. In the midst of the seemingly endless schedules and todo’s we need to take some time to take care of ourselves. The easiest thing to do, is to head up to the local fast food joint and order anything quick off the menu, but that certainly has nothing to do with healthy living and if you have any fitness goals whatsoever, you’re just setting yourself up for failure by doing that. So how can we handle our eating dilemmas in the short periods of time that we have while maintaining or creating a healthy lifestyle? Well, the first thing we need to do is actually realign our thoughts about food and eating. Food is fuel. Food supplies our bodies with energy to live and nutrients to maintain or grow. Consider this; an average 30 yr. old male, who is 5’10” and 180 lbs, with a body fat percentage of 16% has a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) of approx. 1900 kcal per day. This BMR would be the minimal amount of daily calories needed to sustain life processes such as heartbeat, respiration, growing hair and nails, etc. Anything below that amount would start depleting fat storage and catabolizing lean muscle mass for energy. Anything above that would be stored in fat cells for later use. Let me say that this example is a gross generalization and not all calories are created equal. We’ll discuss this in future posts.  So my point is, that even with a fairly good exercise routine, the majority of our fuel goes towards sustaining life. Quality fuel will add to quality results in health. Well… we’ve heard it all. There’s nothing good for us anymore. Every fad diet has us cutting carbs, cutting fat, cutting proteins. It’s an endless cycle of misinformation. What if I told you that not only are all of them good for you, but also necessary for proper body function? It’s merely in the timing and portion of these macronutrients that creates the results we get. So, let’s discuss four simple rules in eating and planning meals.

Rule #1 Eat every 3 to 4 hours whether you’re hungry or not.  As we eat, our digestive process breaks down food into small components and liquefies it into a substance called chime. Chime leaves our stomach and passes into our intestines for final breakdown, absorption or removal from the body as waste. As some of our food is broken down into glucose (sugar) it enters our blood stream as fuel. The glucose begins to thicken our blood and receptors tell our pancreas to secrete insulin. The insulin attaches itself to the glucose and stores it in cells in muscle tissue or the liver as glycogen. Glycogen is a very thick compact form of glucose and is used as the primary component to creating energy. As the energy stores fill up, excess glucose in the blood stream is removed and stored in fat cells. As an analogy, imagine fueling up your car to drive to work and then putting a whole bunch of sugar in the gas tank. Within minutes, the sugar clogs up the gas filter and lines and the car is sitting on the roadside waiting for a tow. According to the average American consumes 156 lbs. of sugar each year. That’s 31.5 5lb bags a year for each of us. Sugar is found in nearly everything these days. So… all sugar is bad. Right? Well… actually, no. Sugar or glucose is necessary for quick energy, organ function and proper brain function. Carbohydrates (which breaks down into sugar/glucose) are quite good for us when we find them in vegetables, some fruit and complex forms, which contain fiber. So how can we utilize this information?

Let’s consider a few things. The average glucose level in normal blood is between 80 and 120 mg/dl. Falling below 80 makes us feel hungry. Spiking the level above 120 triggers insulin to remove the excess glucose from the blood stream. So here’s how the vicious cycle works. We go to work and don’t eat all day. Blood sugar drops and we’re starving!! We get home and down a few pieces of pizza which spikes our blood sugar. Insulin packs our muscles and liver with glycogen (concentrated glucose) and whatever else is left over and can’t be processed is stuck on our sides as fat. Our blood sugar drops dramatically and we fall asleep. We then wake up hungry and the process starts all over again. How can we use this to our advantage? Well, our body physiology is predictable and trackable. There is something called gastric emptying time which is the time it takes for food to leave our stomachs. Carbohydrates take 1-2 hours to leave. Proteins take 2-3 hours and fats take 3-5 hours to leave our stomachs. By eating every 3-4 hours, our body goes into a state of thermogenic burning. This means our body continues to burn kcal in the process of digestion and increases metabolism. This must be employed along with Rule #2.

Rule #2 When eating, always combine a quality protein with a carbohydrate. There is something called the Glycemic Index (G.I.) which is simply a listing of foods and how quickly they break down as glucose into the blood stream. Foods with a high G.I. (candy, soda, fruit juice) break down very quickly and flood the blood stream with sugar. Foods with a low G.I. like carrots, broccoli and chicken breakdown much slower. Since the gastric emptying time of protein is slower than that of carbohydrate, by combining them in our meals we effectively lower the G.I. of our carbs and glucose is released slower into the bloodstream. So what does this effectively do? Well… by eating every 3 to 4 hours and slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream by adding lean protein, we lessen the chances of spiking our blood sugar level. This means that the glucose is absorbed slowly with less insulin being released and there is less excess glucose to be stored as fat. Smart huh? Not taking control of our blood sugar levels can lead to obesity, insulin insensitivity and potentially Type 2 diabetes.

So to effectively start using these strategies we need to plan ahead and start compiling the proper portions. We’ll continue these thoughts and more in Part II.