April 7, 2014

Inflammation in Very Simple Terms.

Inflammation in very simple terms.

Inflammation is the body’s defense against irritation, infection, or injury. This can also be caused by lots of stress, eating foods that cause inflammation, inadequate rest, or excessive training.

Inflammation is not always a negative thing (more on that later), but when we generate more of it than we are designed to handle, all sorts of issues can ensue, including GI issues, joint pain, weight gain, and compromised immunity. Your body can handle these things for short periods, as in after a hard workout or to recover from an injury, but when your body has to deal with elevated inflammation levels for long stretches, things just don’t work right.

Lowering excessive inflammation is one of the goals of proper nutrition and hormonal balance.
Now, if you think you have screwed up hormones, don’t take my advice on it. I am not a doctor. Even most MDs will refer you to an endocrinologist in order to help with a suspected hormone problem, which they would only confirm through blood or saliva tests. So, don’t diagnose yourself as having some hormone or adrenal issue via the internet.

But, here are some super simple bits of information I’ve learned about inflammation and how to help minimize it.

Your body works in a coordinated fashion, meaning all the systems work together and must be looked at together. You can’t just look at your training without paying attention to nutrition and expect to look, feel or perform better.

Excess inflammation means fat gain, muscle loss, and “Man-Boobs”
When levels of inflammation go up, the body’s defense is to increase the stress hormone cortisol as an anti-inflammatory hormone. This becomes a priority for your body, instead of producing sex hormones like testosterone, DHEA, androstendione, and progesterone. This is important because having these sex hormones working correctly helps you to train hard, build muscle, burn fat, and make other humans. This is important. Lack of sex drive should be a big sign that something is wrong.

If these hormones aren’t in sync, one of the outcomes is estrogen dominance, which will kill sex drive and cause fat gain. Both men and women have to have the correct amount of estrogen, and when estrogen levels are too high one of the first things is fat gain in the stomach, legs, and chest (the dreaded “Man-Rack”). This can be more than just cosmetic, in that estrogen dominance has also been linked to things like breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Fatty Acid Balance

One of the ways to combat excess inflammation is to balance your fatty acid intake. Which in the simplest terms, means balancing the amount of omega3 fats and omega6 fats.

While experts debate the exact ratio of omega3 fats to omega6 fats needed to stay in balance (some say it should be 1:1, while others say it should be 1:3 or 1:4), the important thing to realize is that if you are eating a standard diet of corn-fed beef and chicken, farmed fish, and seed oils like canola and soybean, you are getting bombarded with omega6 fats and your ratio is way higher, like in the neighborhood of 1:20-1:25. This causes your body to produce excessive inflammation.

Good sources of omega3 fats are fish oil, flaxseed oil, grass-fed beef, wild fish, free-range chicken and chicken eggs. Try to eat as much of these as possible.

You still need omega6 fats to be healthy, though. It is not like you ONLY should consume omega3 fats. You should still be getting a good amount of fats from nuts and seeds, and lots of meat. Avocados and coconut oil are some of my favorite sources.

Excess carbs and sugar cause inflammation.
Excess carbohydrate intake causes inflammation by causing high insulin levels for sustained periods. We don’t want insulin to be high all the time. It constricts arteries and raises blood pressure, and also causes excess fat storage and if prolonged, eventually diabetes.

Insulin resistance is caused by having high insulin levels. Your body gets used to having it high, and it takes more and more to get the desired effect (of moving sugar and nutrients into cells). It becomes less and less sensitive to it because it is high all the time.

This is a precursor to diabetes, and is almost always accompanied by excess bodyfat. In fact, almost every obese or nearly obese person is insulin-resistant. It goes hand-in-hand with obesity and all the other corresponding issues that accompany obesity.

What we want to build is insulin sensitivity. Insulin is not a bad thing, but having too much all the time is. We want our insulin levels to rise temporarily in response to a meal, but not too much. 95% of this is done by getting rid of excess sugars and starchy carbs in the diet.

The most direct way to do this is limit carbohydrate intake to non-starchy vegetables, and very little fruit. NO processed carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, cereal, granola, etc.

Another important aspect of this is to take at least 4 hours between meals, as a minimum. 6-8 hours is preferable, in order to help make your body more insulin sensitive.

Everyone is different.
Yes, everyone is different and some people will have inflammation from foods that don’t bother others. I recommend starting with a strict paleo diet for at least a month, and then maybe experiment with adding certain foods back in one at a time. Kind of find what you can get away with.

For example: Let’s say you’ve gone strict paleo and eliminated grains and dairy completely for a month (and actually did it, and didn’t cheat). After a month, you decide to eat some bread.

For someone that is sensitive to the gluten or excess of carbohydrate, they will immediately experience a massive amount of inflammation, and will add a few pounds of weight on the scale the next day and will look puffy, kind of like their whole body is bloated. That is inflammation. Different foods affect different people differently.

This response is your body telling you that you SHOULD NOT be eating these foods.

Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all thing. I know people that are fine with one type of food, but maybe another has that effect on them. Everyone is different.

Personally, I can eat a dry cheese and have no problem. If I have a small amount of ice cream, though, I am 3-5lbs heavier the next day, puffy and have dark circles under my eyes. Any wheat or bread, and I am pounds heavier and my nose runs.

Get your magnesium.
One of the critical elements to fighting inflammation is maintaining adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is chronic for many people eating highly processed foods and grains, which deplete your body of magnesium and calcium.

Here are a few reasons to get your magnesium:
It helps to lower cortisol, a hormone that is elevated as a response to stress.
It helps to raise DHEA levels, which is an anti-inflammatory hormone.
Magnesium deficiency makes it hard for your body to metabolize essential fatty acids.
Magnesium can help with sleep and recovery from hard exercise, which can also cause inflammation.

Gut Health

Inflammation is also caused by having poor gut health. Completely eliminating grains, legumes and sugar is an important first step, and I would argue that as long as you are still consuming these anti-nutrients, you are pretty well stopping your body’s ability to attain proper gut health, and leaching minerals like calcium and magnesium from your body. Beyond that, however, taking a good probiotic is important for some people. Another strategy is eating fermented foods like sauerkraut or kim-chee is a good move.

High-inflammatory versus low-inflammatory foods.

There are lots of anti-inflammatory strategies out there. One of the major ones is simply eliminating foods that are highly-inflammatory, or consuming them in very small quantities. Here are some examples of how just a few different foods rank.

Feedlot-raised beef, pork, chicken.
Farmed fish.
Seed oils, like corn oils and canola oil.
Trans fats
Any refined carbohydrate

Wild fish
Green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Wild game and pastured meats
Natural oils like olive oil and coconut oil
Fruits like papaya, pineapple, cherries, and blueberries

-Jim Beaumont
Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning

April 2, 2014

Saving Money on Supplements

Today’s fitness tip: Saving money on supplements.

There is very little new in the supplement world and most new supplements that hit the market are simple, effective ingredients that are really cheap if bought in raw form.

The cheapest place I know of for raw ingredients is You might shop around and find a better deal once in a while, but for the most part that is your best bet and they have about everything under the sun.

1) Look at the label of any supplement on the market.

2)Find the main ingredients.

3)Go to and find those raw ingredients and price them in generic form.

Make your decision.

Example: Pre-workout formulas.

Most popular ones (that actually work) have caffeine as the primary ingredient, with some beta-alanine, L-arginine, and maybe some creatine monohydrate.

A jar of most pre-workout powders costs between $30-40 and will last you less than a month in most cases.

I bet you can find 3-6 months of those ingredients for the same price in raw form.

June 29, 2012

July Fitness/Nutrition Challenge

July Fitness/Nutrition Challenge.

Do not overthink this!
Eat ONLY meat, fish, eggs, raw nuts, and fresh produce.
Drink ONLY water.
(Reasonable amounts of condiments, like real butter, real sour cream, coconut oil, olive oil, vinegar, etc are allowed).

Supplements are OK, as long as they are not a primary source of nutrition or consumed as meal replacements.

ONE cheat meal per week is allowed. Plan it and enjoy whatever you want.

Bodyweight Exercise Minimum Quota:
200 pullups per week
300 pushups
1,000 squats
-Break this up over as many days, into as many sets as needed. Do this as part of, or in addition to, your normal training. Don’t overthink this! Just start doing reps. Feel free to do more.

ANY needed or reasonable modification of these exercises is permitted.

Omission of any of these is OK for bonafide medical reasons (not just because you are sore or too busy. Suck it up).

Get creative and get moving.

Please…I don’t want to hear a single excuse from anyone.

Either do it or choose not to. I only want to hear what you CAN do, not how hard this is, or hear reasons why you can’t do any part of it.

-Jim Beaumont

May 24, 2011

Mental Discipline Workouts

Filed under: kettleballs idaho,kettlebell classes idaho,kettlebell fat loss,Uncategorized — @ 2:33 pm

There is no substitute for moving your body’s weight through space.

I know that when I have a healthy balance of weight training and bodyweight training, I feel the most badass. I really don’t care what your 1-rep bench press is is, or what trophy you may have won in some non-contact martial art tournament. A healthy balance of all facets of fitness and fighting conditioning is what matters if you meet me in a dark alley. Bodyweight training is very, very important in building “fighting strength.”

At the same time, if you only train bodyweight, you sacrifice maximal strength and the ability to move external loads, and will never move your strength to the next level. Take two martial artists of the same size and skill. The one with the most maximal strength will dominate. It carries over into everything.

Here are a few things I have put together as a measure of fighting conditioning:

6 rounds of…
6 barbell deadlifts @ 405lbs, followed immediately by a 440yd run.
These were continuous rounds: Come in immediately off the 1/4 mile run and lift 405lbs 6 times.

Repeat 6 times. No rest. No whining about how heavy the weight is. Can’t lift it, or are too gassed from your 1/4-mile run? Too bad. Your enemy will not care about your excuses or lack of preparation.

500 bodyweight squats
100 pullups
100 ring dips

No strength endurance? No strength to pull or push your own bodyweight around for 700 reps? Too bad.

Last week, I threw this out as a diagnostic:
4 continuous rounds of:
5 deadlifts @ 150% bodyweight
5 tire box jumps at at least 50% body height
12 pullups
25 ring pushups
440yd run

No rest. This was a measure of strength-endurance, power production, physical agility, strength-endurance, relative body strength and cardiovascular efficiency.

All of these were mental toughness workouts, which take confidence and discipline. These are very important attributes, with regards to physical combat.


Carnal Dammage, Your MMA Headquarters

April 12, 2011

Double Kettlebell Workout: Squats, Presses and Pullups.

Double kettlebells for a few weeks.

Squats (mostly for flexibility and stability, while recovering from a pulled hamstring).

Double presses supersetted with pullups.

10 sets of 5 week 1.

8 sets of 6 week 2.

6 sets of 8 week 3.

90 seconds rest between sets, in order to reduce soreness and hypertrophy. Working on strength and stability. I’m as big as I need to be.

Today’s training:
Double Kettlebell Front Squats (32kg)
8 x 6. 90 seconds rest between sets.

Double Kettlebell Presses/Pullups. 90 seconds rest between supersets.

Finished with three 1-minute sets of kettlebell Mill Presses with the 32kg at 12 reps/minute. Sets of 6 pullups immediately after presses.
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January 3, 2010

Hard truth about corporate gyms…

Why doesn’t my commercial gym just have a whole bunch of kettlebells, barbells, dumbells and pullup bars instead of machines?
This is not a simple question, and therefore will not get a simple answer.

Money for nothing.

Like most everything else, it comes down to money. Corporate gyms don’t make money from people who get results from exercising through effective training methods. They get results from people who sign a membership contract and don’t use the gym.

I trained at a corporate gym for a while, and their own statistic was that 75% of those who sign a membership will not even be using the gym in 90 days. Of course, they’ll still be paying and the gym owners will be making money for nothing for the next two years.

Effective exercise takes time, discipline and lots of hard work and nothing else. Most people won’t pay to work that hard. Machines appear to offer an “easy way out” for lazy, misinformed or desperate people.

Any idiot can step on an exercise machine, slap on an iPod and watch TV, while making some flailing motions on some worthless exercise machine. Ever had to “elliptical” your way quickly from one place to another? I rest my case.

No doubt you will burn slightly more calories than sitting on the couch at home, but you gain little else from it.

As far as strength training with machines goes, forget it. Just forget it. Lifting heavy objects is the only way to teach your body to lift other heavy objects safely. Pushing or pulling a lever on a machine does nothing but teach you how to push and pull levers, no matter how much resistance is offered.

The owners and sleazy salespeople at big corporate gyms make money off people who come to a commercial gym, are in awe of all the fancy machines, and sign a two-year contract with the good intention of using the gym almost everyday.

The inviting atmosphere and vision of getting in shape while watching TV gets you in the door. I’m sure there are pictures of fit people on the walls using those worthless machines, and if you only sign on the dotted line, you’ll get there too. I’m sure they also have a rack full of miracle supplements – that are marked up at least 100% – to help you meet your goals.

Congratulations! You are now paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a gym membership at a corporate gym.

For the first few weeks, all is well and you may even lose a few pounds as your body adapts to the new routine. But quickly, your body will find ways of decreasing the effort required to pedal that bicycle, or “elliptical” your way to health. The results stop, and you soon find reasons not to go to the gym.

That is how corporate gyms make money. The initial investment of those machines is more than offset by the steady stream of people willing to pay for easy fitness.

The problem is there is no such thing as easy fitness!

Being strong and lean requires work, sweat and sacrifice. Not machines. Muscle soreness, missed social engagements, and denying yourself things like junk food is part of the game. There are no shortcuts. No easy routes.

You will feel pain from working out. Deal with it.

Learn to separate slight soreness from actual injuries. If you haven’t been moving much, your body will hurt at first, but the results will come fast. Just don’t fall into the trap of gauging the productivity of your training strictly by the amount of soreness you experience. More on that later.

You will have to miss out on the after work party, the football game or your favorite TV show. Deal with it.

You will have to plan your meals, because working out hard while eating nothing but processed junk will hurt. All that sugar, salt and fat does not fuel a body well enough to accommodate hard training.

You have to pay attention while you train (not watch TV). If you are not paying attention while lifting a heavy kettlebell, dumbell, barbell or your bodyweight, you will get hurt. Period. And, it will be your own fault.

You will have to cut the bullshit and be accountable. No more crap about how you have a “slow metabolism” or “I eat pretty good.” You don’t.

If you don’t measure out every gram of food, you don’t know what you are eating. You have a “slow metabolism?” That is because fat requires less calories to maintain than muscle. Want to change that? Move more, and gain muscle.

Yes, there are some people who have health issues that impede their progress. Guess what? No one cares. The task is the same. Take responsibility for your health and work hard.

Leave your self-pity at the door. It does not serve a purpose. You must take control. No one else will, or can. Find out from a medical professional if you have some physical reason why weight loss is difficult (for a small percentage this is a real issue).

The bottom line

Your neighborhood corporate gym makes money on the promise of easy fitness. There is no such thing. Machines are the tool they choose to use to separate you from your money.

Serious training is not for the person who is content to disconnect their mind and body with an iPod, a TV and some form of repetitious movement that serves no purpose.

It takes hard, intelligent work to meet a fitness goal. Lifting your bodyweight and other heavy objects is the best means to that end.

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