Friday, June 13, 2014

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes, Which Supplement When?

by Kris Pitcher

My gut tells me there's a lot of confusion over two really helpful supplements. Probiotics, and digestive enzymes. Both of these are useful, in different ways...and different times. Let's clear things up.

Probiotics promote healthy bacteria in your intestines and can be taken daily. This healthy bacteria creates the right environment for you to get the most out of your nutrients (the food you take in), and helps your system work properly.

When we are dieting, or need to limit foods due to allergies, which naturally promote this healthy bacteria - like some yogurts - it can be a good idea to introduce those healthy bacteria by taking a supplement. Again, you incorporate this into your daily regimen.

The second supplement, digestive enzymes can be helpful in an "as needed" or acute situation. If we are limiting the sources of carbohydrate, take gluten for example, because of dietary needs our body stops producing the required enzymes to digest and break that down.

If we reintroduce that into our system...gas, bloating, and other distress begin in the intestines. This happens because we no longer are producing the required enzymes to digest those forms of sugars or proteins.

Taking a digestive enzyme can help in those situations. They can also speed up the digestive process when intestinal emptying seems to be taking forever. You're feeling full three hours after your last meal of 4 ounces chicken with 1 cup veggies and 1/4 cup of rice...still full and it's time to eat?

Digestive enzymes can assist in that scenario. If I haven't eaten dairy, or wheat, and I know I'm eating pizza...digestive enzymes. This isn't a tool you want to use all the time. If you aren't digesting your relatively small meal in 3 hours...we should talk alternatives, or other issues.

So, probiotics create a healthy bacterial environment and we want that daily. Digestive enzymes on the other hand are an "as needed" supplement we can introduce to help our system by reintroducing some of the enzymes we've stopped producing.

I hope that's helpful, and clears up some of the confusion about which of these you take when. Having a healthy gut is important.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Slow Contest Prep for BIG Change

by Kris Pitcher

"Have you noticed any changes yet?" Jacques asked. Now, this made me laugh because it was Tuesday evening. I started my prep on...Monday.

"It's only been TWO days! What changes would I see?" I laughed! And it got me thinking, it's going to be a LONG prep. It's would be especially long if I was looking for changes every day, or even every week.

That's the beauty of having his eyes, a coach's eyes, to look at me. He's going to see the changes in me I may not see. He holds the perspective, he holds the objectivity. The reality is, I don't have huge changes to make.

I won't be dropping 5 pounds a week...I don't have that much to lose. My changes will be small. They'll be in the curves of my arms, in the small of my back, and they'll be in the finer details. Changes will happen that I may not be able to see. I'll lose inter-muscular fat, I'll lose fat in places I didn't realize I had it.

The process will take weeks, months even. And this is why we start when we start. When you are in good condition as you begin your prep, you won't see sweeping changes. Those are the best kind of people to work with in terms of competitors, but often those same people have no idea where they are.

They can be looking for big changes, drops in numbers, and seeing changes on the scale. That hopefully won't happen. So it's the job of the coach to manage those expectations. We'll see very small changes on a weekly basis.

Fat loss will be slow. I may even continue to gain muscle into my contest. Will my weight fluctuate? Sure. Only being 14 pounds up from stage weight last year, I won't see big drops. If I'm losing a pound a week, that may be too fast.

It's OK if it's a slow process, that's the best scenario. Will my abs EVENTUALLY come in? Yes! Will my glute-hamstring tie in show up? Absolutely! But those won't be the first changes we'll see. Those will be closer to the end.

I gain, and lose, in a pretty balanced way. I expect to slowly get smaller, yes, smaller as the weeks pass. Things will get tighter. I'll lose everywhere! But it will be slow.

And we may even need to slow things down along the way. That's the BEST case scenario. My goal is to keep every bit of hard earned muscle I gained this past year as I slowly strip the fat off. So don't be looking for progress pictures, big losses, or massive changes.

Keep your perspective along the way as you make your journey to the stage. Huge drops and sweeping progress every week, are for people who have a long way to go. That just might not be you. For me, it's going to be a slow prep. But by the end, the change will be big!