Thursday, 9 September 2010

Nutrition Ninja & the Polyester Boys

Today Gym Ninja attended a course entitled 'Advanced Nutrition of Physical Performance'. It was a 1 day course that would cover nutritional information and sports supplementation to, well, enhance physical performance (hence the  name of the course).  Running late, Gym Ninja hot-footed it into the venue location. No need for fitness gear today as it was merely a series of lectures, so Gym Ninja dressed as a 'girl' in a little cute black dress and knee boots.

The course tutor turned out to be one of Gym Ninja's Personal Trainer examiners. He greeted Gym Ninja warmly and then announced that everyone on the course should follow him to the classroom. Gym Ninja stood did just two others.


Only 3 on the course?

Not only that, but the other two were male, and dressed head to toe in ghetto fabulous shellsuits. EEEK! Polyester sportswear at it's very worst! Gym Ninja looked down at her girl dress and boots, and looked back at the men in their Polyester clothes. Why, Gym Ninja was some sort of chameleon surely the way she manages to blend into every crowd wherever she goes....ahem.  

The two Polyester Boys stared at Gym Ninja, horrified that a girl was in their midsts. How could this be? A GIRL interested in sports nutrition and supplementation?   In total silence all three trailed after the tutor to the classroom and Gym Ninja, first into the classroom, headed towards a seat and sat down. The Polyester Boys followed Gym Ninja, and then sat next to each other, leaving a very noticeable gap between themselves and Gym Ninja in her natural fabrics.  Mixing well so far!!!!!

The tutor decided the class (such that it was) needed to introduce themselves. Polyester Boy 1 (PB1) began. He was some sort of coach for a 2nd division football team.  PB1 seemed impressed at his own status and wore his logo'd  football club polyester with apparent pride.   Polyester Boy 2 (PB2) then introduced himself. He was a Personal Trainer locally. At least, that's what Gym Ninja THINKS he said? His accent was so guttural she may have misinterpreted him clearing out a build up of phlegm? His physique certainly didn't indicate he was a PT, but hey, it takes all sorts eh?   Then it was Gym Ninja's turn. She introduced herself as a Personal Trainer, and was then interrupted by the tutor who explained to The Polyester Boys that GN was a graduate and 'One of the best Personal Trainers we saw'.

Gym Ninja glowed with pride at this comment, secretly taking it to be a coded message and in fact meaning that she was in fact THE BEST PT they'd ever had,  and smiled at the Polyester Boys and tutor. The Polyester Boys, noticing that Gym Ninja had made eye contact with them, quickly looked at the surface of the desk.  Great.

And so the course began. The first lecture was Physiological Pathways behind Optimal Energy and was basically a bit of a chemistry lesson covering such conversational gems as Glycolysis, Kreb's Cycle, Oxidative Phosphorylation, Amino Acid Breakdown, Beta Oxidation and the ATP-PC system.  This was where Gym Ninja and the Polyester Boys learned that Lactic Acid is our friend and trying to help us prevent extreme acidosis.  Aww, Lactic Acid you sweetie you!

Following a break where Gym Ninja & The Polyester Boys parted company in total silence, the group returned for the next lecture before lunch: Nutrient Needs For Maximal Performance'. In a nut shell this involved a structured lecture of proposed macronutrient percentages, with a disclaimer saying that it actually does vary from individual to individual.  This threw up such informative gems as:

Females are better adapted at using fat as fuel than men.

Runners on a low fat diet will reduce their performance & are better on a medium to high fat diet.

Carb loading over 4 days (60-75% carbs) before exercise only saw any discernible benefit in performance at over 85% of VO2 Max in men, and ABSOLUTELY ZERO benefit in women, thus leading them to the statement that Carb Loading is a waste of time. 

Wow. That last fact was actually extremely interesting! No more binges whilst pretending you are carb-loading people!  Another myth blown out of the water is that there is a particular ideal one macronutrient (such as carbs only or protein only) pre-workout meal to have? In fact studies show that all 3 macronutrients in ideally a 40:40:20 ratio (with protein being 20%) is the best option.

Then the lecture moved on to specific macronutrients, and all too soon protein was brought up. PB1 interjected with a question. He asked the tutor about pre-football protein ingestion, as according to a rep from CNP who came to chat with him and the team, it was beneficial if they all down  6 of the test-tube style protein shots EACH prior to a game.

Gym Ninja looked at PB1. Do not say it Gym Ninja. Do not point it out. PB1 has obviously lived with his naivety for years, so why ruin it now?

"Er, do you think maybe he was saying that as he is a sales rep & trying to get you to buy the product?"

AHHHR! Gym Ninja said it! PB1 turned to look at Gym Ninja, remembered she was a GIRL, quickly looked away and then nodded, the slow dawning realisation creeping over him. Yep. That'd be it. It was a sales pitch.

Meanwhile PB2 was casting sneaky sideways glances over at Gym Ninja. Gym Ninja turned to look back at him, only to see his head snap back in the opposite direction. This, ladies and gentlemen, was to happen CONTINUALLY for the duration of the day.

So, ending with the 'bomb shell' (hardly) that protein intake accounts for 12% of energy production, the intrepid three were allowed 45 minutes break for lunch. The three left the room in complete silence. JEEEZ it was like being in a library. If it hadn't have been for the rustle of polyester then Gym Ninja would have assumed she had gone deaf......

Gym Ninja left the building and headed out to track down some sushi. But what was this? Gym Ninja had stumbled upon some sort of Sheepdog Trial surely from the sound of the GODDAM WHISTLES that were being heard? Why? WHY whistle? Here's the question. What if Gym Ninja RESPONDED to your whistle? What if Gym Ninja stopped, turned around, smiled at you for whistling and the RAN AFTER YOU? Seriously, why???????

After lunch Gym Ninja returned to the classroom. The Polyester Boys were already seated and chatting quietly. As Gym Ninja walked into the room, the PBs stopped talking, looked at the desk and went quiet.


Once the tutor returned, the afternoon lectures on Legal Performance Aids (Sports Supplements) began. Now this was of real interest to Gym Ninja, and so the group learned about the differing types of whey protein manufacture and how ion exchange whey differs from Hydrolyzed Whey, how the manufacturers disguise the addition of MSG and 'other stories'.  At this point, Gym Ninja began to ask questions, such as the benefits of cold pressed whey. The two Polyester Boys looked alarmed. The GIRL was asking a question about protein! Then, when there  followed a conversation about brands, (and when the tutor asked if anyone took any protein supplements), the Polyester Boys virtually self-combusted when Gym Ninja said that she favoured the Maximuscle range.  The tutor seemed interested. He too liked the range but had favoured PhD. The Polyester Boys sat in silence (no surprise there then) as Gym Ninja and the tutor chatted about how marvelous Cyclone was, and flavours of protein (choc mint being the best).

Very soon the group moved on to Casein protein. This is a slower released protein that whey and is ideal for before bed as it almost drip-feeds protein into you.

"CNP do a Protein Pudding thats a mix of whey and casein" Said Gym Ninja when the tutor asked if anyone knew of any brands that offered casein. PB1 nearly collapsed on the table at this point.

Then, as the discussions progressed, the group covered Creatine supplementation (and how it is named from the Greek word KREAS That means flesh), and energy drinks and their benefits/pitfalls.  Gym Ninja also learned that Taurine had originally been discovered in 1827 in Ox Bile. Mmmmm, Ox bile! This is why Red Bull (containing Taurine) is so named apparently. A throwback private joke reference to the old Ox Bile.

By the end of the course, it came to the section whereby the tutor asked if anyone had any questions? The Polyester Boys looked at the desk. Well, to be truthful PB2 switched between surreptitious sideways glances at Gym Ninja (yep, Gym Ninja was STILL a girl PB2) and his desk. All in total silence. Hmm, maybe he DID have a build up of phlegm after all? Causing muteness? So Gym Ninja asked the tutor about BCAA supplementation before/during/after a workout, and also about supplementation with ZMA (a bit pointless apparently as calcium blocks the uptake of ZMA so you'd have to go without any calcium in order to benefit according to the tutor).  The Polyester Boys at this point were SO startled that smoke started to come out from their shell suits. Uh oh! Self combustion of man-made fabrics due to incredulity induced  'hot under the collar-itis'. Poor boys!!!!! Gym Ninja had better shut up.

The course wrapped up and off Gym Ninja went, out of the silence of the Polyester Clad World of the classroom and into the outdoor world of  natural fabrics and conversational chatter. Dear GOD, please let there be men of more conversational skills on the next course? PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Gym Ninja x