Category - Nutrition

Vitamin D Supplementation for Home Fitness Enthusiasts

Vitamin D supplementation for home fitness enthusiasts, is something to be considered as part of an overall nutritional overhaul.

Primal Sun - For Vitamin D Supplementation

If Your Body Was a Car

Think about your car.  Can it move without tires?  Can it run without gas?  What happens if the oil gets gunky, the wiper blades get brittle, the seats get torn, the hoses, gaskets, bearings and sealants lose their integrity?  Your car is a machine.  It’s a composition of thousands of minor pieces working together in perfect harmony to accomplish a specific job.

If you’re not a car enthusiast, then popping open the hood of your vehicle reveals a web of complex, incomprehensible, interwoven workings of machinery.  You might be dumbfounded at how the whole system works… but it’s nothing compared to the human body.

Take all of the most complex aspects of an internal combustion engine, transmission and drive train, and amplify them by a million, and you will have something close to the complexity of the inner workings of the human body.

You must train your body, and maintain your body, as a larger machine — a sum of its infinitely smaller parts and pieces.  Specificity, whether it comes in the form of physical training or in nutritive supplementation, is a progress killer.  The specialist might be excellent at hockey, or rock climbing, or power lifting, but the athlete will be good at all of them.  This is why you must specialize in not specializing, and train and fuel your body as a whole.

Nutritive Non-specificity

Ok, ok, we just wanted to sound smart and scientific.  The idea here is that if you’re going to take the time to train your body as a whole, then why would you fuel it any differently?  If you were looking to achieve maximal healthy and lean muscle gain, would you only eat protein?  Or would you balance it with a carefully chose ratio of carbohydrates and fats?

This series of posts will be in relation to some of the lesser known vitamins and minerals that often get overlooked in the fitness and health industries.  Or even worse, they get recommended as miracle cure-alls.  This is simply not possible.  Vitamin C will not cure the common cold, for example.  But an overall healthy immune system, supplemented with essential nutrients and vitamins, including Vitamin C will be able to fend off the cold.

This post will focus specifically on Vitamin D.  Please check out our other nutrition articles for information on some of the other, oft-overlooked, yet essential vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D supplementation is getting a lot of press lately as a miracle vitamin.  It’s getting credit for doing just about everything, from increasing bone density to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancers.  It’s unrealistic to assume, however, that Vitamin D supplementation on top of an otherwise unhealthy diet, will yield any of the above results.

In fact, if not properly balanced with supportive vitamins and minerals, Vitamin D over-supplementation may do the exact opposite.

The Best Source for Vitamin D

The best source for natural Vitamin D is one of the most vilified member of our cosmic neighborhood:  The Sun.  The Sun shines light onto the planet, supports life, creates warmth, and through a miracle of evolution, reacts directly with our skin to create natural, healthy Vitamin D.  Estimates suggest, even, that as little as 10 minutes of full body sun exposure during peak summer months, creates more than your daily requirement of Vitamin D.

What about the non summer months?  In the past, migratory tribes of humans found other ways to get Vitamin D.  Northern humans would ingest fish and animals more rich in the Vitamin.  Humans living at the equator had much less of a need for this.

Now we can’t expect all of you, even as “refugees,” to just get up and go north to find fatty fish in the winter months.  So here is where supplementation comes into play.

We recommend at least 10 minutes of sun exposure per day to as much of your body as possible.  The less skin exposed, the longer you should aim to be exposed.  Take care not to over-expose.  This can lead to sun burn and some of the more negative nasties associated with sun exposure.  Plus, Sun exposure feels great!

If You Must Supplement…

Barring the ability to tan under the summer midday Sun, we recommend 5,000 IU Vitamin D supplementation per day during the fall and winter months.  Our favorite brand is the NOW Brands High Potency Vitamin D-3 Supplement.  The Vitamin D is produced naturally from Lanolin (which you may be familiar with as sheep’s wool), so you don’t need to worry about synthetic nasties making their way in.

Another excellent product is Primal Sun by Primal Blueprint.  It’s formulated for 2000 IU, has varied types of Vitamin D, as well as Calcium to aid in absorption and utilization once in your system.  If you get some Sun, but not quite enough, this is a great supplement to take if you don’t feel like you need a full 5,000 IU dose.  Click here to buy it now.

Click here to read more about Vitamin D from Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Click here to buy NOW Brand High Potency Vitamin D-3 at Amazon.

Do You Have to Supplement?

A nutrition wouldn’t be complete without an honest assessment of whether you really need to supplement Vitamin D or not.  We are of the mindset that you should not take anything more than your body needs; you should not spend any more than your budget allows; and you should not train any more or less than is needed to meet your goals.

With this in mind, we urge anyone interested in Vitamin D supplementation, to first assess existing diet and exercise habits.  Track your food intake and sun exposure for a week or two.  Create a detailed log or journal of your energy levels and workout performances.  If possible get some blood work done at a lab as a baseline blood chemistry to use in the future.

If you feel well, your workouts and fitness are improving, and your energy does not feel lacking, you truthfully may not need to supplement.  Good job!!  Few people can make an honest assessment like this and answer in the same way.

If you decide to supplement Vitamin D, read up on the other nutrients essential to its utilization in your bloodstream.  As this post is titled, you must train and fuel your body as a whole.  Supplementing with only Vitamin D while ignoring important vitamins could lead to more problems.  This is often the reason some of these vitamins taken by themselves get vilified by the public.

As always, train hard and stay strong!

Tried Vitamin D supplementation?  Have a success story to share?  Post it below!

The Ideal Diet for Home Athletes: Fuel for Your Fire

Evolution Timeline

The short version of the ideal diet for home athletes:  Eat paleo.  Minimize supplements.  Track nutrients.  Be healthy!  Pretty easy, right?

Is it as simple as calories in vs. calories out?  Is being thin the same as being healthy?  Can skinny, fit people still have chronic disease?

Why Does Diet Matter?

These are all tough questions.  Hippocrates, often cited as the father of modern medicine, is quoted as saying “all disease begins in the gut.”  If that’s not testimonial for the importance of the human diet, then we don’t know what is!

The globo-gym masters would have you believe that world class fitness comes from a machine in an air conditioned room and their sponsors would equally have you believe that it comes in a pill.

The corporate fitness industry has long-peddled the idea of fitness in a pill. Supplements are one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and… brace yourselves… they are completely unregulated.  This is dangerous for a lot of reasons.

  • It’s a threat to your bank account, as there is no price regulation, and thus the intrinsic value of supplements is really what they can convince anyone to pay for them, rather than what they’re actually worth.
  • It threatens your health because the quality of ingredients, their sources, and the quantity of nutrients is unregulated, unverified and unproven/untested.
  • It’s a threat to your fitness because it gives you the mindset that you can workout however you want, and eat whatever you want, and make up the slack on the tail end using “magical supplements.

This is why products like “pre-workout” exist, and have names like “MUTHAFUCKIN WATERMELON,” and directions that say nothing more than “TAKE THIS SHIT!” and still be completely legal, sellable and profitable.

A Better Path to the Ideal Diet for Home Athletes

We believe in a holistic approach to nutrition, just like we do with fitness.  The best bang you can get for your buck, without introducing foreign bodies to your chemistry is the ideal solution.  Just like you don’t need complicated machines and contraptions to get an effective workout, you don’t need complicated formulas and proprietary blends to get proper nutrition.

Without proper nutrition, there can be no proper fitness.  Although the USDA food pyramid is a decent start, as far as getting people more involved in their nutrition, it is far from ideal, and in our strong belief, a major contributor to chronic problems of health in the USA.

Your goal in fueling your body should be to achieve the most natural balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats and water, in the closest proportions to what your body would crave naturally in an unaltered, non-modernized society.  In other words the ideal diet for home athletes is one that most closely mimics the tenets of the Paleo Diet.  We believe this is the diet that humans evolved to eat and thrive off of, and it is void of added sugar, grains, breads, pastas and in many cases dairy.

How to Get There

The ideal diet for home athletes uses whole foods.  This should not be misconstrued to mean you can’t create fun, delicious, complex recipes; you should just strive to compose them of whole foods.

As a general rule when you go grocery shopping you should make an attempt to stick to the outer aisles of the store.  Attempt to avoid products that have long nutrition labels or ingredients that you don’t understand.  Try to commit to produce, fruits, some nuts and as healthy meat as you can afford or find.

This post will be the framework for a series of posts on nutrition, including:

  • How much to eat
  • Good carbs vs. bad carbs
  • Calories in vs. calories out
  • Misunderstood vitamins and minerals
    • Sodium
    • Potassium
    • Magnesium
    • Calcium
    • Vitamins D, C, K, K2 MK-4, K2 MK-7
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3, Omega-6, Saturated, Unsaturated, Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
  • Protein
  • Multivitamins

For now suffice it to say that if you want to be a gym refugee, and achieve peak fitness, the ideal diet for home athletes should be as much a focus as your workout.  Without the proper fuel, your workouts will stall, your health will decline, and all of your effort will be for naught.

Supplementation

We do not reject supplementation, but we believe the decision to supplement should be an informed one.  And it should use the best ingredients.  To this end, we will recommend some products, and explain the costs and benefits of using or not using them.  It is not necessary for you to use these products, and you can have tremendous success without them, but when warranted we will explain why.

For further reading, we recommend The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain as a terrific primer on how to fuel your body with the food it was meant to be fueled with.  Additional reading that may be beneficial regarding the quality (as opposed to the quantity) of food in the modern era, is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Effective supplementation can be researched and purchased at the Primal Blueprint.  But we encourage you to continue to read our articles and do research on these products before purchasing.

Think this is all a myth?  Do you have a better ideal diet for home athletes?  Are you a nutrition anomaly?  Let us know in the comments!

 

This article is not to be construed as medical advice.  Please discuss any dietary changes with your doctor.  We are not doctors.  We are globo-gym refugees.