I’m no fitness or wellness expert. I know just enough to try to keep my temple (see: body) out of trouble, health-wise. My day starts by popping six non-prescription pills (C, D3, E, low-dose aspirin, CoQ10, echinacea), and several prescribed pills.
Other than fruit, I avoid sugar like the plague it is (in immoderation). If I see more than 20 grams of the stuff listed on a processed food, such as a protein bar or cereal, that bad boy’s not seeing the inside of my body (see: temple). Soda? Gag me with a straw; it’s Kryptonite for humans.
Lately, I’ve limited most of my carbohydrates to the top of the day. Physical activity wanes as the day wears on, inviting those carbs to quickly become sugar, which turns to fat.
Controlling portion sizes all day long and minimizing what I eat after 8-9 p.m. are two more highly recommended and logical practices for weight and health management. (Another trick is using smaller dishes, so normal-size portions look more substantial.) Would you believe that, with all this healthfulness going on, I drink like a fish: water, that is; up to 80 ounces a day, on doctor’s orders.
Even though I haven’t lost an appreciable number of pounds, people comment it looks like I’ve lost weight. After telling them to put on their glasses, I explain it’s possible to shed unaesthetic fat while still carrying unflabby water weight.
I was pleased to learn that my self-medicated regimen is not too far off the mark, when I heard Eli Bremer speak earlier this summer at Krav Maga New York, a martial arts fitness and self-defense school in Somers, owned by Davide Gristina.
Bremer is worth listening to. As a youngster in Colorado Springs, home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he was the worst swimmer on the worst team in town as a member of the academy’s youth swim program. Through obsessive focus and hard work, he grew into the best swimmer of his age in the state of Colorado.
To prove his radical turnaround into an elite athlete wasn’t a fluke, for an encore, Bremer transformed himself into a world-class Olympic pentathlete. He competed in the 2008 Games and, the same year, earned a bronze medal in the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Portugal.
In discussing the nuances of good nutrition and training, the Air Force Academy alumnus explained that a gym workout in itself will not produce desired results if it is not combined with what he called “targeted nutrition.”
That means the amount of protein or carbohydrates a person ingests needs to correlate to the activity being performed.
For example, a workout that focuses on cardio-vascular activity, such as running, requires replenishing the body’s carbohydrates. Conversely, a musculo-skeletal workout such as weight training needs protein to help the body recover properly.
Bremer noted that the importance of the post-workout recovery period in maximizing a fitness program is often overlooked. The purpose of a workout, he said, is to break down muscle fiber, not build it up. The recovery period following a workout is when muscles actually develop.
With that process firmly in mind, said Bremer, it’s important to customize the measured consumption of nutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates to the type of exercise performed.
It’s a delicate balance to maintain. “If you mix muscle workout with carbs,” he said, “you produce insulin, which becomes glucose, and turns to fat. You don’t want to take in carbohydrates on days that you are not doing cardiovascular workouts. If you are not working out, you want to be on a lower-carb diet.”
Bremer related the story of an athlete who told him she felt horrible after running for an hour three days a week. It turned out she was drinking proteins for recovery instead of consuming carbohydrates. He told her she was burning 1,000 calories of carbohydrates and needed to take 200-300 calories after each run to re-balance her system.
“We try to oversimplify nutrition,” he said. “If you’re not burning it [carbs or protein], don’t take it. Tailor your recovery to what activity you are doing, and you’ll feel a lot better.”
Bremer, who reached as high as No. 2 in the world ranking for pentathletes in 2006, also strongly recommends that everyone takes a multi-vitamin every day.
His talk at Krav Maga New York was sponsored by the Shaklee Pure Performance Team, of which Bremer is captain and spokesperson. Local representatives for the company handed out Shaklee Performance product samples of its Hydrate, Energize, Recover and other drinks.
For more information, visit EliBremer.com.
Bruce “The Blog” Apar promotes local businesses, organizations, events, and people through marketing agency APAR PR. Among his clients are Krav Maga New York, Our Montessori School, Yorktown Grange Fair, Quantum Dynamix, Peekskill’s Art Industry Media (AIM) initiative, forthcoming book “Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer,” and interdisciplinary artist Elizabeth Phelps Meyer. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.