Creatine: Common Questions Answered

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Creatine post graphic

Share this article on Facebook Introduction In November 2015, Sigma Nutrition founder Danny Lennon published this outstanding article. The motivation for this piece stemmed from a ridiculous opinion piece written by Irish rugby journalist Neil Francis, essentially implicating creatine as a potential player in the tragic and premature death of All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu. Danny’s rebuttal was spot on and made me incredibly proud to be associated with him. In addition, the number of shares the article received at the time put a beaming smile on my face and gave me a glimmer of hope as to the level of … Read More

Tips on How To Be an Awesome Coaching Client

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Copy of Drawing A Line In The Evidence-Based (4)

[Introductory note from Danny: As coaches* we always ask ourselves a number of questions: How can I be the best coach I can be for this client? What attributes would make me a better coach? How can I make the coaching process as smooth and beneficial for this person as possible? etc. But coaching is a two-way street. If we all want to get the most out of any experience we have working with a coach, then there are a number of things that we can do as coaching clients to improve the experience, to get more benefit from it and … Read More

Your Powerlifting Meet Preparation Checklist – Part 3

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powerlifting meet prep

Interested in powerlifting? Click here to be notified of the soon-to-launch Sigma Powerlifting Guides Introduction Welcome back to part three of this article series. In part 1 I discussed choosing the right meet for you if you’re fairly new to the sport as well as what to prepare for the day of a meet. Then in part 2, I outlined the thought process involved in choosing the right weight class for you as well as being realistic with your goals for your first few meets. In this part I will provide a synopsis of the running of a Powerlifting meet … Read More

Your Powerlifting Meet Preparation Checklist – Part 2

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powerlifting checklist part two

Interested in powerlifting? Click here to be notified of the soon-to-launch Sigma Powerlifting Guides Introduction In part one of this series I discussed how to select the right meet for you as well as what to bring to the venue on the day. In part two, I will discuss picking the right weight class for you as well as having realistic and sensible goals if you are relatively new to the sport. Picking the Right Weight Class For You I). Intermediate and advanced lifters I going to address this one first because I think it’s a little more straight forward (and … Read More

Your Powerlifting Meet Preparation Checklist – Part 1

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powerlifting meet prep

Introduction In recent years there has been a continued explosion in the popularity of powerlifting, particularly raw (unequipped) lifting. The purpose of this 3-part series of articles is to inform people new or relatively new to powerlifting on what to prepare themselves for on the day of a meet. I would hope that this guide will be of use to both those thinking of entering their first meet, as well as more experienced competitors. I would also like to preface this article with the caveat that I am speaking from the perspective of being a lifter and coach in the Irish … Read More

Never Waste An Injury: The Psychology of Setbacks in Combat Sports

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LET US IMAGINE A SCENARIO… You are progressing on your martial arts journey and greatly enjoying the process. All the pieces are falling into place. Your growth curve is beautiful. Every day at training you are picking up new skills and identifying new areas to work on. You have the momentum of a boulder rolling down a hill and you are excited about your progression. With the rate at which you are improving, you see the sky as the limit for your skills. Life is good. Then… BOOM! Some body part, that just seconds before in your mind was as indestructible as steel … Read More

Are Quarter Squats Actually a Better Option For Athletes?

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This is a post by Arthur Lynch. Arthur is a PhD researcher in muscle physiology, an international-level raw powerlifter and coach here at Sigma Nutrition. I was recently sent a link to a T-Nation article titled “Tip: Do Quarter Squats To Boost Athleticism” (original piece here), with a request for my opinion on the conclusions drawn by the author. The article is a summary and interpretation of a recently published study by Rhea et al. (full text here). In that study the researchers compared the effect of training quarter-, half- and full-depth squats on performance in the full squat, half squat and quarter squat. … Read More

The Pros and Cons of Aggressive Dieting [Calories Deficits #3]

Danny LennonBlog Posts4 Comments

Copy of Drawing A Line In The Evidence-Based (3)

This is part 3 of a series of articles on caloric deficits. Make sure to read parts 1 & 2: Calorie Deficits #1: Understanding the Nuances of Energy Balance Is Slow & Steady Actually the Best Way to Diet? (Calorie Deficits #2) In part two of this series we discussed how fast rates of weight loss through large caloric diets CAN be used without loss much (if any) muscle mass. Especially in those with a decent amount of fat to lose. So should YOU use an aggressive diet? Let’s evaluate the pros and cons… The Pros of Aggressive Dieting Researchers at … Read More

Is Slow & Steady Actually the Best Way to Diet? (Calorie Deficits #2)

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slow and steady

“Many people advise to lose weight at a steady and moderate rate, and recommend not cutting calories too low, in order to preserve muscle mass”. That’s a line taken from an email I was sent a few weeks back. And it perfectly exemplifies a piece of supposed common sense. And at first glance this makes some degree of logical sense, right? With a slower the rate of weight loss, theoretically, you might expect to have more of that weight loss coming from loss of body fat as opposed to lean tissue. And the more aggressive you diet the greater the degree of muscle … Read More

Calorie Deficits #1: Understanding the Nuances of Energy Balance

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nuances of energy balance

Recently I received the following question from podcast listener Noah: “what is the best way to lose massive amounts of fat as fast as possible, without compromising gainz?” It should be inherently obvious to anyone familiar with the relationship between energy balance and body weight that to lose the absolute most amount of fat mass over a given time frame would mean creating the absolute largest energy deficit possible. But equally as obvious, is that creating the largest energy deficit possible (i.e. starvation + high activity) is neither practical nor is it desirable if we plan on holding onto muscle … Read More

Powerlifting Content Archive

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powerlifting resources nutrition

This is a collection of all powerlifting-related content put out by Sigma Nutrition. I will update it over time so feel free to bookmark and refer back to as resources are added. Podcast Episodes Episode 140 with 2015 IPF -93kg silver medalist Layne Norton. (show notes) Episode 122 with IPF -83kg World Champion Brett Gibbs. (show notes) Episode 79 with Eric Helms of 3DMJ on nutrition strategies for powerlifters. (show notes) Episode 78 with powerlifter and world-record holder Greg Nuckols, founder of (show notes) Episode 114 with -93kg USAPL lifter Ryan Doris of De Novo Nutrition. (show notes) Episode 43 with Mike Israetel, PhD of Renaissance … Read More

Finding Wisdom Under a Bar: Powerlifting as a Teacher & Tool for Development

Danny LennonBlog Posts1 Comment

Wisdom Under a Bar

It’s just 3 lifts. Just three uncomplicated, simple movements. Nothing changes. You aim to squat, bench and deadlift in the same manner you’ve done thousands of times before. But somehow powerlifting seems to have this intangible beauty to it that is hard to describe unless you “get it”. I’ve came to a point in my life where I’ve found powerlifting to be something that meshes perfectly with my personality. I’m now obsessed with the sport. That obsessive nature with stuff I get into is a common theme in my life. Thinking about it, I’m actually surprised it’s taken this long … Read More

An Open Letter To Neil Francis & The Irish Independent: Science, Scaremongering & Creatine

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Creatine Blog Post

Share this article on Facebook I didn’t really want to do this. Crazy articles related to nutrition/supplementation that pop up in the media regularly get sent my way. Most often I can see the unscientific nonsense straight away, remind myself my time is best spent on other things and avoid engaging with it. But somehow I now find myself writing this public response to one such opinion piece. In this particular case, for reasons I’ll mention later, I feel the need to sufficiently address an article published on the 22nd of November in the Irish Independent. The piece in question, penned by  journalist … Read More

Drawing A Line In The Evidence-Based Sand

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There is a definite growth in the number of people in the health & fitness space talking about taking an ‘evidence-based’ approach to nutrition, training and health. Which can only be a good thing for the fitness industry. In fact, if more people were of the same mindset the incidence of dumb shit would decline significantly. But when we’re talking about approaches to nutrition and fitness, to what extent should we constrain possible strategies to employ? I mean, if we want to be evidence-based, how should we approach practices that could work but lack a meta-analysis of several randomized controlled trials? … Read More

Food Quality, IIFYM and Strawmen: Do Food Choices Even Matter?

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SNR #67

It’s Friday night and you’re just settling into relaxation mode for the weekend after a tough week at work. You rock into the kitchen to rustle up something to eat. You’ve narrowed it down to two meals you enjoy. Now it’s decision time… Sweet potato and coconut oil or ice cream? What’s the best choice? (The fact you’re reading this blog I’m going to assume you care about health and body composition) Does this seem like a ridiculous question? Do you think there’s one obvious choice? Or do you feel it doesn’t matter? I don’t think we can answer the … Read More

Are You Sure You Want That Meal Plan?

Danny LennonBlog Posts4 Comments


[This is a guest post by Rob Zand, an evidence-based personal trainer based in the UK and is part of the coaching team at Shredded By Science. Tweet him at @RZtraining] In the world of fitness and nutrition, meals plans are common place. There seems to be a reoccurring situation in the fitness industry. One that is unfortunate, shady and sometimes just wrong. It seems anyone and everyone is handing out meal plans. From self-professed models on Instagram to complete idiots out to make a quick few quid. The plans are FAR from individualised or bespoke. And those providing them are far from coaches … Read More

Is There a Benefit to NOT Being Gluten-free?

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With this post I’m going to finish up talking about gluten for a while (“about time!” I hear you say). In the previous three posts, I’ve pretty much laid out all I think needs to be said on the topic for the moment. But there’s one point remaining that I’d like to give my thoughts on. Some readers have made a point something along the lines of: While gluten sensitivity is in the minority on a population level,  I as an individual could still have a problem with consuming gluten-containing grains. Even if I’m not sure (i.e. not symptomatic). They have the … Read More

Is Gluten a Straw or Dagger? – Dose-Response, Lifestyle & Epigenetics

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As I’ve mentioned previously (here), unfortunately when it comes to gluten the rate of dogmatic fantasy tales you can read online vastly out-weighs the evidence. It appears that gluten shouldn’t be a major problem for the vast majority of the population (anywhere between 87% to 99% based on currently available reserach). In the cases of accepted conditions with a clear clinical diagnosis, like both coeliac disease and wheat allergy, complete removal of gluten from the diet is warranted. However, when we get to the debated issue of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) things start to get a little bit more hypothetical. A consensus on either … Read More

Why Did I Feel Better After Giving Up Wheat?

Danny LennonBlog Posts2 Comments


In my previous post, ‘Gluten Revisited: Can I Eat That Sandwich?’, I attempted to give an overview of what we can currently conclude from scientific literature on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). To briefly re-cap, some important points were: From current evidence it seems that at least 94% of the population would not be diagnosable as having coeliac disease, wheat allergy or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. There is a continuing emergence of research that lends itself to the fact that NCGS is indeed very real. Although we don’t have an agreement in the scientific community on an universal definition or a clinical … Read More

Gluten Revisited: Can I Eat That Sandwich?

Danny LennonBlog Posts12 Comments

Gluten Post

I’ve been pretty harsh on gluten in the past. Overly harsh in fact. Perhaps owing to the high percentage of anecdotal reports of people feeling better when wheat was removed as the main staple of their diet, I’ll confess that I may have been too quick to think it was surely the gluten. For someone with a background in science, this was a mistake that should not have been made. But hey, at least it proves that I’m human and not merely the research-reading robot that it may sometime seem to my friends. Ironically though, over the past two months I’ve actually been resembling that … Read More

How Do You Avoid Overeating (Without Counting Calories)?

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So if we inherently know that “over-eating is what causes fat gain” then the solution should be pretty straight forward: “Stop eating so much and you’ll lose fat”. Which is 100% true. If you eat at a caloric intake that puts you into a calorie deficit (i.e. the energy you consume is less than that you expend) then you’re bodyweight will drop. But the problem with that statement (apart from it being as blunt as a hammer) is that it gives nothing in the way of actionable advice. It never gets at the underlying cause. It never gets us to stop and … Read More

The Most Misleading Nutrition Statements in the History of Ever

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Let’s take a look at some common statements you’ve no doubt come across, that are perhaps a bit misleading… “Calories don’t matter, as long as you’re eating real food!” Sure, including more real food and less highly-refined foods in someone’s diet is a great way to both support health and fat loss (if that’s the goal). And we know plenty of people have made this change and transformed their physique. But let’s be clear why… More real/whole foods will generally (there are exceptions) mean higher satiety, more fibre, more protein, better blood sugar regulation and so an overall lower drive to overconsume. … Read More

What’s the ROI of Your Nutrition Choices?

Danny LennonBlog Posts2 Comments


I did a few more classes but soon had to move away due to a college work placement so it wouldn’t be until September of that year until I could return to Fergal’s classes. I then became obsessed. Not just with thinking about BJJ but with the pursuit of improving. The milestone I set was my blue belt. In order to improve to that point it should be pretty obvious that it would take time, consistency and taking constant actions. With each action just leading to a small incremental change. But when you add up the cumulative result of all … Read More

Tweets That You Should Pay Attention To…

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Tweets That You Should Pay Attention

[I’m working on a MAJOR post at the moment but it’s taking up a LOT of time, with hours of research and writing going into it. Hopefully it will be published later in the month. So in order to get a post out in the meantime, I thought I’d spare you my usual lengthy, dense posts in favour of a short, quick and easy-to-digest post… don’t get used to it! :-)] Twitter can be a noisy, content-dense mess to navigate a lot of the time. But sometimes, some pretty profound things can be said. Unfortunately it usually either gets lost … Read More

Is Your Low-Carb, My Low-Carb?

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is your low my low carb

What the hell is a low-carbohydrate diet anyway? We should know what a low-carb (LC) diet is by now, right? I mean there’s: Books, blogs and cruises. Forum threads filled with PubMed abstracts, memes and trolls. Videos, presentations and podcasts. Vicious street fights between people who adore their morning oats and their arch-enemies who pour butter down their throat. (Ok, maybe not quite that far but the arguments do get pretty heated). Even a debate on the topic which, for many of us, will be one of the highlights of our 2015! But despite all this, are we actually in universal agreement on what a … Read More

Just How Effective is Low-Carb Dieting?

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Just how effective is low carb dieting

Let’s talk carbs. Again. In a past post, “Eat More Fat, Burn More Fat: Myth, Magic or Metabolic Advantage?”,  I talked about why carbohydrates do not cause you to gain fat, unless there is caloric surplus. Similarly, a diet that is low-carb but too high in calories will also lead to weight gain. So it is a calorie issue for sure. BUT what most people miss is that calories in affects calories out. The example I gave in that post was from an examination of overfeeding studies. Time and time again, when subjects consume a calorie intake in excess of … Read More

Re-feeds & Macro Cycling: Is Non-linear Dieting Necessary?

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rsz_non linear

There are endless numbers of people who anecdotally report success on using macronutrient cycling, refeeds, fasting or simply using different calorie and macro set-ups based on whether they are training or not. But the question I want to try to answer in this post is not whether these non-linear protocols can work or not. They do work and I’ve seen them work. But rather I simply want to answer the question; do such non-linear protocols offer a distinct advantage over a linear dietary set-up? You know, one where you are pretty much hitting the same calories and macronutrients every day. When … Read More

The Ridiculously Simple Guide to Sustainable Fat Loss

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Throw your eyes back to that title. It’s important and I want to clarify why. First, you’ll notice the word “simple”. Dieting should  NOT be complex, complicated or need insane amounts of willpower. In fact, one way to guarantee you fail is to base your plan solely on willpower. Second, notice the word “sustainable”. In a world where rapid, extreme, insane, or super-speed-mega-hyper results are revered, sustainable approaches are often rejected by dieters. They aren’t sexy enough. They don’t get amazing results in even more amazing time frames. This is a critical distinction between what I advise people on as opposed to … Read More

Is the Most Nutritious Diet, the Healthiest Diet?

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healthy nutritious

You know, I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about the difference between the terms “most nutritious” and “most healthy”. When it comes to diet, are these simply synonyms or are they in fact completely different? So the question is… Is the diet comprised of the absolute “best” foods (i.e. most nutrient-dense or “nutritious”), in the correct amounts, necessarily the healthiest way to eat? Seems like a bit of a silly question on first glance, right? But taking the time to delve into it reveals an awful lot more. For a long time I was notorious for only focusing on biochemistry, nutrient … Read More

Eat More Fat, Burn More Fat: Myth, Magic or Metabolic Advantage?

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. However, telling people that they should “eat more fat to burn more fat” may be misleading. Not because you won’t “burn more fat” on a high-fat diet but because the practical implications of this are different to what most people will think of when they hear that statement. You see, ‘fat-burning’ as a term can be quite deceptive unless we define what context we mean it in. For most people just seeking general fat loss advice, the term fat-burning will simply mean that they’re losing body fat. However, to someone with a deeper understanding of human metabolism it will be seen as a … Read More

5 Conor McGregor Traits You Can Apply To Your Nutrition

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Conor Mc Traits

  Coming off the back of Conor McGregor’s phenomenal 1st round finish of Dustin Poirier in Vegas on Saturday at UFC 178, it’s impossible for anything else to be in my head at the moment. He went out and delivered everything he said he was going to do. There can be no more doubt, he’s the real deal. But he’s so much more than a skilled fighter. He has a different aura to him than anyone else. He goes about his business differently. And the rate at which he’s reached the unprecedented level of success that he has, makes him … Read More

The Pros & Cons of Counting Calories

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Tech is changing the way we do everything. For nutrition, one of the most basic tech interventions is still one of the most valuable: something to track/log food intake. This is super helpful from a coaching point of view too. I’ll often start people with tracking intake so I can get an idea where they are starting at. My app of choice thus far has been My Fitness Pal, as it’s free and very easy to use. Although there are a number of great options available. MyFitnessPal allows me to track food intake and gives a breakdown of calories’ and … Read More

The Unhealthy Way to Eat Healthy: 5 Life Lessons Learned

Danny LennonBlog Posts12 Comments


For quite some time I was the most unhealthy “healthy eater” there is. On paper, I had constructed a set of rules that made my nutrition flawless. And while some made a tremendous positive difference, the problem was that the list was never finished. More reading and researching led to more potential problems I could counteract by creating a new rule. It started as a healthy principle of generally eating plenty of whole foods: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, as well as some minimally processed dairy like butter. The very starting point I get everyone to consider with their … Read More

The High-Fat Diet Trap: How Much is Too Much?

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high fat diet trap

We all used to think fat was evil. Something ingrained in us by the bombardment by the promotion of low-fat dietary guidelines, low-fat branded products and “fat is bad” marketing campaigns. We fell into a low-fat diet trap. But thankfully the tide has started to turn. I think it’s become clear that dietary fat is not “bad”. Neither is saturated fat. The after-effects of the scaremongering around fat intake means that many people need to actually increase their fat consumption. And science-driven coaches, nutritionists and researchers are warning people not to buy into the “anti-fat” dogma. Many people now realise fat isn’t … Read More

Carb Dogma is for Hipsters

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hipster post

In what seems to be an increasingly common occurrence, I am seeing popular nutrition trends emerging, following something I can only describe as the “hipster pattern”. You know, the “get-on-it-now-because-its-the-opposite-to-everyone-else” thing. And once everyone else starts doing it, it’s no longer cool. One perfect example right now is carbohydrate intake. We were being erroneously told that eating most of our calories from carbohydrates was a good idea. Only to realise that this in fact is probably not all that helpful for a large number of people. With this, the low-carb scene exploded when the word got out. And at first … Read More

The Triangle of Focus

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triangle of focus

What’s the perfect diet? I’ve said many times before that there is no single diet that is perfect for everyone. I hope that is clear by  now. But even beyond that, there is no single diet that is perfect for one specific person, all of the time. Goals, circumstances and requirements change. One of the biggest determinants of what diet is right for you is your focus. There are three primary areas of focus for nutrition: Health Body composition Athletic performance The Triangle of Focus™ Obviously it would be great if we could eat and live in a way that … Read More

Making the Cut, Part IV: How to Cut Weight for a Fight (Properly!)

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© Pasi T

[This is the 4th post in a 4-part series. You can find the others here: Part I, Part II, Part III] In part II we discussed how “Cutting weight” refers to the process of weight manipulation in the few days leading up to, and following, the weigh-in for a fight. It does not refer to losing body fat, per se. Weight cutting is a process we use to allow a fighter to compete heavier than the limit set by his/her weight class. So for example, a fighter that is competing in the 77kg division may begin fight week at 83kg, … Read More

Making the Cut, Part III: Supplements for Combat Sport Fighters

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Supplements MMA

Supplementation. This could be a 4-part series in itself. However, I’ll skip on some details and cut through a lot of the crap that’s out there to get to: which supplements actually work which don’t and which are actually worth investing in. A brief point to consider before I go into this: If you don’t have the foundations discussed in part I in place, don’t worry about supplements. Sort yourself out first. The best supplement regime you can put together will be worth f**king ZERO if you continue to sleep 5 hours a night and eat too few calories and no carbs. Ok, … Read More

Making the Cut, Part II: How fighters should eat for fat loss (without destroying training performance and health)

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This is part II of a 4-part series. You can catch part I here. Can a fighter get lean without absolutely tanking performance in the gym or making themselves feel dreadful throughout the leaning out process. Without doubt, YES! But to do so there are things that need to be considered. Cutting Weight vs. Losing Weight One thing to clear up for those of you who aren’t involved in combat sports and perhaps not familiar with cutting weight is the difference between cutting weight and losing body fat. It should seem logical that having a fighter as strong as possible … Read More

Making the Cut, Part I: The Fundamentals of Combat Sport Nutrition

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Below is Cian Cowley. Cian’s a pro Muay Thai fighter and came to me about his nutrition early in 2014, through his strength and conditioning coach Jason Kane. Now, a  few things to bear in mind: The guy is insanely talented. He was (and still is) on a winning streak and was already pretty damn lean. However, after digging into what Cian had been doing nutritionally up to this point, we needed to implement some extremely important changes into his diet. He had been falling into some of the same traps a lot of fighters out there are falling into. Over … Read More

Why Good Nutrition & Training Won’t Make You Healthy

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Health. We hear that word all the time. Improve your health by… [doing “X”/not doing “Y”] Consider the term “health & fitness”. There is often the simplistic black and white view that we take care of the fitness portion by moving more and the health portion by “eating healthy” (whatever that means). But health is not solely about nutrition and exercise. It’s not the absence of illness. It’s not how we look or how we move. It’s not even hitting perfect numbers on all the endless biomarkers we can use to assess health (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose, CRP, etc.) And … Read More

Does Insulin Make You Fat?

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Revision: What Happens When We Eat Carbs When we eat carbohydrates of any kind, we break them down into glucose molecules. This glucose is transported around the body in the bloodstream to the various bodily tissues to be used as energy. This circulating glucose is what is commonly called blood sugar. Our body generally wants to keep our blood sugar (blood glucose) stable and so tries to keep blood glucose levels within quite a narrow range (on average this is about 5.5 mmol/L but can vary among individuals). When our bodies detect a rise in blood glucose, it responds by … Read More

Should You Be Scared of Eating Salt?

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“You should restrict your salt as much as possible to be healthy”. You may have heard a statement insinutating something like this before. After all, salt being bad for our health is just common sense, right? Well when you actually examine the science underlying the concept, we could conclude that it may be one of the most prevalent myths in the health information scene. If you’d preferred to be spared the details and just want the cliff notes, in this post I’m going to cover: Adding some salt to your meals is likely not a problem for the majority of healthy people. … Read More

Why Hormones Aren’t “Good” or “Bad” [incl. video]

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Hormones, hormones, hormones. Everyone seems to be talking about them. So much so, that the more you hear about them the more you begin to think that you MUST have some sort of hormone “problem”. When we zoom in too closely on one specific role of a hormone, it’s easy for us to become brainwashed into thinking of hormones as “good” or “bad”; We should avoid “insulin spikes” at all costs Unless cortisol is at rock bottom you’re a stressed-out mess Leptin is the king when it comes to fat loss. But the truth is, it goes WAY beyond hormone … Read More

IIFYM vs. Paleo: How People Ruin Everything

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IIFYM post graphic

The world of nutrition advice is amusingly confusing one. The idea of giving advice to someone, by nature, should mean you’re helping them. But instead what we see is arguments between different “teams” who hold slightly different approaches. “Content is King but Context is God” There are certain nutrition concepts/philosophies that could actually be really helpful for certain people, when applied in the right context. And to steal a phrase from social media genius Gary Vaynerchuk, while content is indeed king, context is God. This is exactly the case with nutrition. Sure, while your actual nutrition recommendations (content) are important, … Read More