Beat colds with this unlikely nutrient

I’ve come to think of my parents’ house as a place where ambitions go to die.

A sort of black hole, nestled imposingly in Southwestern Ontario, it blots out any attempt at a willful act.

Maybe it’s the plush leather couches, with cushions that contour your body like shallow bay waters receiving an ocean liner for its maiden voyage.  Or the exceedingly supportive recliner that catches you quickly, but releases you slowly.  Maybe it’s the big-screen TV.  Or Mom’s home cooking – the main ingredient of which is love.

Whatever the reason, I find it hard to get anything done (other than hardcore relaxing) when I’m home for the holidays.

All that’s to say you’re lucky to hear from me today.

Especially since the tip’s a timely one.

And here it is…

To beat the best of what cold season has to offer, try glutamine.

Glutamine’s an amino acid (the most abundant in the human body, and easily tapped in times of stress, like e.g. a good workout).  Bodybuilders eat it by the spoonful to improve recovery and as a natural GH booster.

Hospitals include it in IV drips for burn victims.

It’s beloved by naturalists for its ability to heal the gut (and it’s vegan-approved, for the more militant among them).

As an added benefit, it’s a potent immune system enhancer.

Things like Vitamin C and Echinacea are commonly recommended for colds.  I also like oregano oil (a great anti-viral).  But I’ve found glutamine does the job better than anything else.  I take five grams per day (at bedtime) for all the above reasons, and if I feel a tickle in my throat (which is rare) I move up to fifteen grams.

I’ll either not get sick at all, or if I do, it’s short-lived and the symptoms are mild.

And I have a four-year-old.

My home breeds more bugs than a virology lab.

Anyway, there you have it: an immunity booster that also builds muscle and burns fat.

I’d say my work here is done.

The recliner is calling.

Can’t…hold on…much…longer…

Happy Cold-Beating,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com


The bloodsport of writing

One of the best examples I know of suffering for your art is Virgil’s famous poem, the Aeneid.

He started writing it in 29 B.C., and continued until 19 B.C. – and still wasn’t finished.

That’s an average of a line per day over eleven years.

Some days were good.  Words flowed, and well-formed ideas leapt onto the page.  Other days he sat and stared as doubt and self-condemnation welled up inside him.  He was never happy with the end result, and agonized over every line until his death, upon which he left instructions for the manuscript to be burned.

Bit dramatic for my tastes.

But I am tempted to hurl my laptop from the balcony on occasion.

I emerge from some writing sessions like Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport, with the emotional equivalent of broken ribs and a giant cut that swells my eye shut.  Or like the guy whose face is the slow-motion close-up of a foot entering and permanently disfiguring it.

I’m deliberate about every comma, every break in the text.  Even then, when I finally push ‘send’, my finger hovers reluctantly above the button.  It’s as though my child is leaving the safety of the nest for the first time, “She’s too young!  She’s not ready!!”

Maybe some people feel 100% confident about their writing.

I guess that’s not me.

Anyway, the point is getting fit’s like that too.

It’s non-linear.  I’ve never met anyone who lost exactly two pounds per week for 26 weeks.  Instead, there are fits and starts.  For some people, the engine of transformation comes roaring to life in the first month, only to sputter and fall silent in the next.  For others, nothing visible happens until one day – months later – the fat falls from their flesh as though it were well-cooked steak.

Most folks land somewhere in the middle.

It’s an awkward (and often messy) beginner’s dance between progress and plateau.

All of this offends our aesthetic sense.

But thinking you need to be perfect is a trap.

If I needed to draft elegant prose every time I sat at my desk, you’d never hear from me.  But I write every day.  How?  I embrace ENTROPY.  It’s the principle that everything in the universe tends toward chaos.  Or, in my layman’s interpretation, the energy you put into something becomes a lower, less-organized form, but is never wasted…

Perfect is the enemy of good.

It’s action that counts.

If you’re not having the occasional meltdown, you’re not trying hard enough.

For all his hysterics, Virgil created works that endure two millennia later.

So borrow a page from his parchment, give yourself permission to fail, and be bold enough to take your best shot.

Happy Mess-Making,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Where there’s a will there’s no whey

My last post on dairy caused quite a kerfuffle.

(Well, not really.  I just like that word… “kerfuffle”.  Heh.)

Building on the theme, I shall now turn my deadly gaze to a darling of the health world:

Whey protein.

It’s been a staple of my diet for the last two decades.   Tons of reliable research shows it’s the best protein for losing weight and building muscle.  But that’s not why I’ve turned my back on my former sidekick.

No my friend.

It’s something far more sinister.

See, whey’s derived from dairy [hissssssss].

As per my earlier comments, dairy products are among the most reactive foods.  And even though I don’t experience any immediate symptoms when ingesting whey, a light bulb went on recently that prodded the gerbil in my head to run a bit faster than usual on his little gerbil wheel.

(Translation: it made me think.)

Result?

I decided to perform a whey-ectomy on my eating habits.

And I gotta tell ya, it’s been a revelation.

Not only do I feel clearer, but I digest better…and I may even be a tad leaner without meaning to be.

What am I saying?

If you have any type of sensitivity to dairy whatsoever, I suggest you forego whey for a while (2-3 weeks), to see how it doth feel.   Even if you don’t, try it for “sheets and geegles”, as my Israeli friend likes to say.  The difference might surprise you.

The challenge then becomes what to put in its place.

Soy’s a definite no-no.   Rice, pea, and hemp, while decent, tend to be granular and not tasty.

I’ve long since given up worrying about it.

I was mostly using whey for snacks, and have replaced it with snacktacular trail mixes of nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes.  These don’t tip the 20 grams or so that a bar or shake would, but unless I miss my guess, the improved digestion from eliminating the whey translates to better absorption of proteins in general, so my net intake is higher.

Make sense?

Such is the “411” for today.

For more insights, call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

I’ll see if I can put my little gerbil to work for you.

Happy Whey-Replacing,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Why dairy’s like mother’s milk to us

Wait…it is mother’s milk.

That’s one reason folks are so defensive about dairy without realizing it.

(Another is the prevailing belief that it’s a health food.)

See, most people know sugar is bad for them.  That’s why, when I recommend avoiding it, it’s not such a shock to the system.

But God forbid I go against the dairy…

Now it’s personal.

Milk and other dairy products contain a protein called casein that’s known to have a morphine-like effect on the brain.  Indeed casomorphins, which your body derives from casein, are thought to reinforce the mother-infant bond when nursing.

No small wonder we feel such a connection with our three-cheese pizzas.

Here’s the deal-e-o…

The earliest instance of consumption of dairy by humans is about 6,000 years ago.

That might seem like a long time, but it’s not – at least not by evolutionary standards.  Our bodies haven’t adapted.  If you want proof, consider that about 25% of the population is lactose intolerant, including me.  The rest of us are likely sensitive to it, even if we don’t have obvious symptoms with the first sip of a latte.  That’s because dairy is so reactive, regular consumption puts your immune system on alert.  The resulting inflammation makes you gain weight.

Still attached?

Let’s use logic to cut the cord instead…

What’s mother milk’s for?

To help little Bessie Jr. grow into a 1-ton animal.  What’s it doing to you, then?  Its growth factors are running around, turning on biochemical switches.  I’ll give you a hint, fat loss is not one of them.

But it’s good for bones, right?

Guess again.  Milk and yoghurt are low pH, which creates an acid environment in your body that leeches minerals from your bones.  Net result = less calcium, not more.  Cultures that are big consumers of milk have higher osteoporosis rates.

Of course, I’ve never told anyone flat out to stop eating dairy.  I’m slicker than that.  I always say, “if it were me, and I had your goals, I wouldn’t eat it,” which is moot since I can’t eat it, as per my comment above.

Anyway, that’ll do for today.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

For more of my own special brand of tough love, call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

Cue angry replies…now.

Happy Weening,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com


The ancient mealtime custom that boosts metabolism

In my family, we have a tradition.

That tradition is to say Grace before a meal.

Grace is a form of prayer.  Typically, the person saying it will thank God for good fortune, send wishes to distant or deceased relatives, and ask for a blessing.

This ritual can be traced back through the centuries, and in fact, you find similar customs in various cultures and faiths all over the world.

Not sure how we humans first adopted it (in the Catholic faith, Jesus would have taught it to his disciples), but apart from demonstrating piety, saying Grace does another important job…

It prepares our bodies to receive nourishment.

The act of pausing, and conjuring feelings of gratitude enhances absorption of nutrients.

Too often in today’s world we eat on the run.  It’s a constant battle against time of how many forkfuls you can inhale before your next meeting or appointment.  Sometimes, we’re revved up about an earlier conversation or anxiously checking emails while we’re at it.

Lookey here…

Eating too fast, or eating while stressed can HARM your digestion.

Go old school.  Take a time-out to STOP and appreciate your food before you eat it.  It doesn’t have to be religious in any way if that’s not your bag.  Just count your blessings.  Remember how lucky you are to have clean, safe food to eat.

Then, every few bites put your fork down for a minute.

It’ll remind you to slow down and stay in the present moment.

Chew slowly.

Savour.

This one habit of being mindful while eating can transform your relationship to food.

It’ll boost your metabolism.

You’ll eat less.

And you’ll benefit more from the life-giving and energy-sustaining properties of your meal.

What more can I say?  Oh yeah…

Amen.

Happy Gratitude,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

4 reasons sugar is like crack to some people

If you’re strung out on the corner, jonesing for your next nanaimo bar…

You’re not a freak.

The *white death*, as hippies and combative nutritionists call her, is a sadistic overlord.

Even if you wanted to escape her clutches, she knows how to keep you coming back for more…

Here are just a few of her wicked ways:

1. Your brain consumes more sugar than any other organ.  In a recent study on rats, they found that the brain doesn’t sit idly and wait for glucose, but glial cells forming the blood-brain barrier greedily extend their tentacles and seek it from the bloodstream.

These cellular Sirens lure sugar molecules to them by turning up the volume on your cravings.

Foul creatures.

2. Excessive sugar intake can lead to leptin resistance.  Leptin is the hormone that regulates feelings of hunger and satiety.  Regular consumption of sugar can mean your receptors fail to *hear* leptin knocking at the door, leaving the hunger switch stuck in the *on* position.

Translation?

You keep scarfing down the sugary munchables long after you’ve had enough.

3. Our bodies evolved a *reward* response to sweets.  In the old days, when sweet treats were rare, our organism developed a feel-good reaction to drive us toward this easy fuel source.  The feelings of comfort that washed over early Homo Sapiens when tasting sweetness taught him, “Og like this.  Og want more.”

You and I are almost identical to Og.

Genetically speaking, anyway.

(Og doesn’t ‘manscape’.)

4. Consuming sugar reduces stress-induced cortisol, which can explain why, in times of stress, one might seek the warm, serotonin-infused embrace of chocolate, or ice cream.

See?

You really never stood a chance.

That’s unless you learned my craving-busting methods, and got clean once and for all.

Reply to this email for your personal training consultation, and find out how I can help.

Until then, tread carefully my friend…

Sugar is an insatiable mistress.

Happy Detoxing,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Why my carbon isotopes are so dope

Here’s a dandy…

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new way to study how we absorb protein.  Basically, they *tag* amino acids with a carbon isotope that allows them to be traced on their journey through the various stages of our body’s metabolic process.

What does this mean for the average health and beauty seeker like moi and toi?

Let’s rewind.

First, we know that protein is an essential building block of muscle tissue.  And our proteins are in a constant state of turnover (you get new muscles every 2-3 months).  To keep reinforcing metabolism-boosting, and appearance-enhancing lean muscle, we need adequate protein intake.

But the average person is not meeting these requirements.

Our amino-branding experts at UBC conclude that most peeps are either under-eating protein, or not distributing their rations wisely.

You see, your body can only utilize so much protein at one time, and the rest is wasted.

With that in mind, Canadians tend to over-consume protein at dinner, but under-consume it at breakfast and lunch.  A better approach is to aim for 20-30 grams at each meal, and top this up with high-protein snacks in the AM and PM.   Dropping 4 ounces of chicken breast into your salad at lunch can give you a shot of 30 grams worth.

That’s easy enough.

Where I get a lot of resistance – and maybe it’s just me – is at BREAKFAST.  For a bunch of reasons, lack of time, no appetite, a cultural attachment to eating more in the second half of the day, people tend not to want to beef up their breakfasts (and I don’t mean by eating beef, although – good protein source).

The 30-BEFORE-30 rule has long been a key principle of my programs.

Aim for 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up (the need for protein is intensified by the 6-8 hour overnight fast).

What does that look like?

6 egg whites with one whole egg, and a half-cup of whole oats will give you around 25 grams of protein, which is pretty damn close, and also a very reasonable quantity of food, I might add.

Where do you go from here?

Up to you.  Do with my advice what you will.

But I can tell you this…the hunger for protein is a habit hardwired into my brain since I was a scrawny 16 year old desperate to impress girls.  It wasn’t on my radar before that, and it took some very deliberate intention and focus (and learning to cook for myself) to embed it into my DNA.

Once I did, I almost always put enough protein in my system to recover from my workouts, get stronger, feel healthier, build muscle, and burn fat.

So there’s hope.

Having simple rules like *30-before-30* will help you ingrain the pattern.

For more simple yet powerful transformation tactics, there’s my 16-week program.  Call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation, and find out if it’s a fit.

And if you get really good, maybe one day you too can use blog titles to boast nonsensically about how new methods of scientific investigation validate your eating habits…

Happy Protein-Eating,

Conor Kelly

 

 

The #1 supplement I ‘ken lee’ without

From my country-in-law of Bulgaria comes a truly cringe-worthy fail…

The video of a woman auditioning for Bulgarian Idol goes viral after she mystifies the show’s judges by attempting to sing Mariah Carey’s ‘Without You’, without even the foggiest knowledge of its English lyric.

The result, ‘ken lee’ (which is how she sounded out the words can’t live) has millions of hits on YouTube, and inspired my subject line today.

Check it out here.

*So jokes*, as the kiddies say.

One question I’m often asked (well, I was asked once), is “Con, if you were stranded on a deserted island and could bring a lifetime supply of ONE supplement, what would it be?”

Now there’s a tasty slice of mind pie.

And without question (or with question, since the question was indeed asked) my answer is the omega 3 fatty acids I consume, either in the form of organic flax seed oil, or fish oil.

Why, you ask?

Here’s a brief breakdown:

*They combat inflammation, an effect I appreciated during my 13WK transformation challenge when I rid myself of chronic bicep and elbow tendinitis

*They encourage fat release, something I always appreciate

*They boost immunity, so you get sick less often, or hardly ever.  Need I say it?  Ok, I appreciate that too

*Because over half of our brain consists of lipids that make up cell membranes, consuming good fats means higher quality nerve cell action.  Me likey more smartey

*And that’s just the short list

Granted, on an island I’d probably find lots of nuts and seeds, and would eventually learn to fish so that sources of my darling nutrient would be abundant.

But you get my drift.

Scientists estimate we consumed about 7,000mg of omega 3’s per day in our ancient diet, yet today the average is less than a fifth of that.  Simply eating lots of fish is an imperfect solution due to its metal content (and not the good kind, like Iron Maiden).  I don’t recommend more than 4-5 servings per week.

Anyway, that’s enough for now.

Get more of my humble yet accurate opinions on what works for your health by calling (416) 826-4844 or emailing info@conorkelly.com to request your personal training consultation.

And if you ain’t already, start supplementing omega 3’s for a difference you ‘ken belee’.

Happy Fishing,

Conor Kelly

The epidemic of over-stretching

Back in my days as a nightclub bouncer, I went on a date with one of the club’s female security guards.

She was petite, very pretty, and several years younger.

Apart from realizing we had different interests, the conversation went smoothly, and we had a fun time.

The highlight of the date – which I’ll never forget – is when she pulled a knife on me.

No, not literally.

But once we’d established a bit of a comfort level, she removed a rather large switchblade from her pocket, explaining how she’d carried this concealed weapon on our date in case I’d “try something.”

Heh.

Girl’s got hutzpah.

I like a woman who knows not to let a man get out of line.

(In fact, I’m married to one.  Not the knife-brandisher.  That ended at the implied threat of mutilation.)

In fairness, she don’t know The Conz like you do.

In the part of town she’s from (let’s call it the wrong side of the tracks), you learned to protect yourself.  And when you’re used to men whose idea of small talk is many less-than-creative variations on how they’d like to *tap that* – those instincts get placed on overdrive.

It’s natural to want a little insurance.

That’s kinda how I view my stretching program.

Like routine maintenance for your car, good mobility ensures you get a lot more mileage out your body.

Here’s why: if you’ve got some faulty biomechanics, you’re fighting against yourself every time you work out, play sports…or move.  Not only does fluidity make everything you do seem easier, but it’s a great knife-in-yer-pocket against injuries.

However, flexibility is widely misunderstood and incorrectly prescribed.

In fact, the way I sees it…most people are over-stretching.

Traditional stretching says you relax into position where the muscle being stretched is the longest – then try to go further.  In some cases, you may have someone else assist you to elongate the muscle even more, while you remain passive.  Not only is this likely to cause injury, but it does little to improve your USABLE range of motion (beyond making you temporarily feel loose).

If you want the strength, mobility and injury-proofing stretching can deliver, you need to focus on expanding the range of motion (ROM) in which your muscles can still contract.  The broader your usable ROM, the more invincible you are.

That means you’ve got to actively resist the stretch!

And the more you’re able to resist, the bigger the gains in flexibility.

I know it sounds weird, but it’s a game-changer.

It saved my lifting career.

Before you “knife-up”, keep in mind it’s a dangerous weapon – especially to one who knows not yet how to wield its power…

It takes specialized coaching to unlock the mysteries of an effective stretching program.

That’s why, next Thursday onlyJuly 21st – I’ve opened up a few spots for 30-minute stretching sessions.

Call me at (416) 826-4844 if you’d like to partake.

I usually reveal these techniques only as part of my larger ticket 16-week programs.

So it’s a rare chance to pick up some valuable tips, reduce pain, and move better…without any long-term commitment.

Either way, let this charming tale be a warning to you.

Neglect your mobility at your own peril.

Or at least opt for some pepper-spray.

Happy Knife-Wielding,

Conor Kelly

5 Anti-tips for your best summer body

I used to write a lot of lists.

‘6 tips for x…’

‘4 ways to do y…’

It was the format for several of my most popular emails.

Problem is I’m easily bored.  Lists are overdone.

Anyway, the notion of anti-tips jolted my cerebral cortex into bringing forth what follows.

Here’s how it doth work:  do the exact opposite of what I recommend here, and you’ll b-line it straight for a lean summer body with a coke and a smile.  Minus the coke.

I think you get the idea.

Let’s begin…

1. Eat as much of it as you want as long as it’s healthy.  Healthy food is high in nutrients when compared with fast-food, for example.  Ever noticed how you can railroad empty calories at a mighty clip? That’s because they don’t contain any real nutrition, so you’re body barely registers any satiety.

Non-processed, organic, high-fiber foods are so nutrient-dense that your body thrives on much lower intake levels.  This mirrors the sparse nourishment we received when we first evolved the ability to derive energy from plants and animal flesh.

But if some is good, more is better…right?

Besides, the plump lady behind the lunch counter says I can eat as much quinoa salad as I want because it’s healthy – so it MUST be true.

2. Try a RE-tox diet.  You want to enjoy the fine weather and the fresh air.  The last thing you need is a bunch of washroom breaks slowing you down.  Keep your water consumption to a minimum, and avoid anything high in fiber.  Also, you might like the binding properties of copious amounts of cheese.

Keep that colon on lockdown until the fall.

3. Use a pro-inflammatory approach.  One thing you’d really hate is if your joint pain lessened to the point of inspiring you to be more active.  Really cuts into your investment of sunbathing time.  Just remember the four food groups: pizza, ice cream, beer, and cigarettes.  In fact, eat as much sugar as possible – raw, off a spoon, if need be.

The average Canadian eats 68 kilos of sugar per year.

Ask yourself, are you getting behind?

4. Avoid heavy weights.  God forbid you should build any muscle that might turn your metabolism into a blast-furnace for burning calories.  Then you’d lose your excuse for all that healthy food in #1.  Plus everyone knows that heaps of long, slow walking is how you lose weight.

5. Sleep less, and ‘freak out’ more.  Stress is good for you.  Ever heard of ‘fight or flight’?  Burns fat.  Burns muscle too, and runs your organs on overdrive, but heck, nobody’s perfect.  To really accentuate the effect, fly into a rage at every opportunity (I mean really lose your s**t), and load your system with as much caffeine as possible.

Sleep only when desperate.

Healthy sleeping patterns of seven or more hours per night render #’s 1, 3, and 4 less effective.

Now if your brain hurts from twisting my hints to figure out what I really mean, you’re either taking #5 literally, or you’ll benefit from the un-reversed truths in my 16-Week Transformation Program. 

Call (416) 826-4844 to request your complimentary personal training consultation, and discover the path to your best body – in all seasons.

Happy Freaking Out,

Conor Kelly