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Article written by Sam Ingleton
There are two reasons that people fail to gain weight on their bulks:

  • Undereating due to other commitments
  • Undereating due to lack of appetite


Before we dive in to the practical advice, let me offer a brief but critical foreword – you do not have to surrender a happy life to gain weight. You don’t need to miss out on social occasions because you’re ‘going to miss meal five’. You don’t need to get so bloated and miserable that your family forget you exist. If your girlfriend starts looking the other way, you’re working much harder on your bulk than you need to, and should to take some time to understand your relationship with yourself. Also, if you start to smell weird and visit the bathroom more than four times a day, you’re probably overdoing it.

These YouTube bodybuilders who exist solely to eat and train are not real people. They do not live a life as rich and fulfilling as yours. Do not idolise them – have you ever seen footage of them washing up? Do they ever struggle to find what they need in the supermarket? Do they have classes to attend, meetings to endure, bosses to appease? Do they ever have to call their mothers? No – and these are all terrible, unfortunate inconveniences* which make up the life you live. As a person with goals beyond the bar, you’re going to have to make your worlds meet and compromise sometimes.

That being said, consistency is key. Stay on track 90% of the time. Missing one meal in ten won’t hurt your progress too badly, and anyway, if you’ve lost all of your friends by being 100% consistent, who will be there to celebrate your new deadlift PB? Sacks of pasta do not make good friends.

If you’re missing meals because you’re finding it hard to keep on top of life, you’re probably making mistakes somewhere. Seven pointers:

1) Meal prep. Obvious advice first. If you eat something like 3-4 meals a day (which is enough for you, despite what your ‘bro’ says), having two of them prepped will save you a bunch of time, and what’s more, make them portable. You should be able to eat 1000kcal in a sitting – doing that three or four times a day is certainly enough for most people. Hang around for a recipe below.

2) Keep your washing manageable. The importance of this is understated. Eat out of the pan. Keeping this one brief – do you really need to do the extra washing up? Also, if your pasta portions fit normal plates, you need to reassess.

3) Invest in some litre-sized Tupperware. This will extend your success in following point two. Make sure you seek out the litre capacity tubs. For some reason, these are exactly the right size for most large portions, and you can find them super cheap. These will keep your bulk mobile. (If you’re buying cheap ones, probably best to wrap them in a plastic bag for transit, just in case).

4) Wake up earlier. My dad always used to use the phrase: “You’ll have to get up a lot earlier to beat me”. It’s only in the last few years I’ve realised he was right. If you don’t have enough time in your day, make more.

Before you throw your laptop through the window, screaming about how essential your sleep is, have a good look at your evenings/mornings. What do you actually use the time for? Could you be eating/sleeping instead? Maybe you could be up an hour earlier if you traded that hour on social media for an earlier bedtime.

5) Schedule your pooping – seriously. This isn’t usually spoken about, but if you’ve ever had a proper run at gaining weight, this suddenly becomes a big deal. Once after breakfast (sometimes once before) and once after dinner and you’re sweet as a nut. Spending all day worrying about where the nearest lavatory is gets tiresome, and your body is better at holding it in by habit than you think. GOMAD taught me this lesson.

Also, I could swear my body absorbs food better when it knows that it’s going to have to slow itself down before evacuation time. Maybe that’s just me.

6) Take a nap. If a lot of your calories fall over lunch and you’ve got a bit of time spare afterwards, take a ‘muscle nap’. The amount of athletes/civilisations who subscribe to the post-lunch nap should be evidence enough for the effectiveness of this approach. I find 10/20 minutes work best for a biological ‘turn it off and switch it back on again’, whereas an hour and a half ought to be saved for days when you really need it. This brief rest should see you through the worst of the fullness, and will also be advantageous in stimulating an anabolic response.

7) Set your mealtimes. Not only will this help with your appetite, as mentioned above, but it will make your schedule clear to you, opening up time between meals. Instead of worrying about when you’re going to eat, do it at the same time every day, as far as your schedule allows. This will also stop you from procrastinating to the point of actually missing the meal – easy to do when you’re not hungry. Also, it’ll allow you to get on with life – remember, that should be top priority!

Extra tip – make friends with someone near your place of work/study who is willing to offer you the services of their microwave.


To master your appetite, you must take command of it. Whilst it’s not strictly true that the stomach has ‘its own brain’ as clickbait-scientists are fond of saying, you should treat it as such. A combination of habit, incentive, and deception will manipulate your digestive system into being able to handle as much food as possible. Here are seven ways of doing it:

1) Distract yourself. Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a bowl of chips somewhere within your reach? Somehow, at the end of a thirty-minute episode, they’ve miraculously vanished.

When you eat for bulk, an excellent way of masking your appetite is to distract the eye. Use your mealtimes to catch up on TED talks, the news, or something from the LBEB channel. I would emphasise the importance of watching something. Reading a book or scrolling through articles works less well – they inhibit your ability to eat without pausing – speed of delivery being another vital technique for vexing the appetite. Plus, it incentivises meal times – tell yourself you can’t watch that next episode without a meal. Don’t kid yourself – you definitely have a minor addiction to some Netflix series – put that time towards your goals!

2) Walk. This seems obvious but its effectiveness is underrated: walk more! You’ll find that a few twenty-minute wanders a day will drastically increase your appetite when mealtime rolls around – plus, it’ll save your bus money for the butcher’s.

Of course, the same is true of any conditioning work in a bulk. One may be tempted to point out that if you’re burning calories to make yourself hungrier, you’re not actually going to hit your surplus, due to the deficit you’re creating. This isn’t necessarily true – a bit of light conditioning will stimulate the appetite enough to ‘take the edge off’ the sense of fullness.

If I walk 2 miles, calculations estimate I’ll expend just over a hundred calories. Not a large amount by any means, but if it makes me hungrier, I’m going to want to eat that 1000kcal lunch much more than if I’d just been comatose between meals. You’ll find you eat through the initial hunger, and the rest of the meal is much easier to finish than if you’d started eating from a point of zero appetite. Moreover, walking eases digestion, and will reduce bloating.

If my word isn’t enough, download a pedometer app and keep track of your steps. You’ll notice a correlation between days where you’re hungry and days where you’ve been more active. This is especially true for those commuters who have a half-hour walk to their place of work, and go for a little stroll after lunch.

Also, you should get outside more. You’re starting to smell like uncooked beef.

3) Don’t forget your health. It can also be extremely advantageous to have some fruit now and again. I know, I know, fruit isn’t on the list of calorie-dense options you read religiously. However, the acidity and sweetness of the fruit will cut through all the dense foods, and refresh you after eating. Furthermore, the importance of a healthy digestive tract whilst you’re bulking cannot be understated – prioritise fibrous fruits, such as apples and bananas. This will help keep movements regular and ‘normal’ – if you can manage that whilst you’re bulking, you’re golden.

What’s more, it’s quite hard to hit heavy triples with the flu – vitamin C is key. There’s no use in being big and strong if you’re constantly riddled with disease.

Also, try a strong herbal tea after meals, for no reason other than to refresh you. Nothing beats that post-meal-coma better than a well-brewed cup of hot tea.

4) Take breakfast very seriously. You should be eating massive breakfasts, consistently! One of the best ways of derailing your appetite is to skip your breakfast (no sleeping in on a bulk) and try and pack in the calories after lunch and into the night. Not only will this make you feel terrible, as you consume your way into an uncomfortable night’s sleep, but it will mean you’re still full the next morning, making yourself more inclined to skip that important breakfast again. At some point, you’re going to have to suck it up and break the cycle. This is either going to mean you skimp on dinner, or just fight through a very nauseating bowl of oatmeal.

The size of your breakfast has a strong positive correlation to the size of your appetite during the day – you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels and appetite with a big fry-up, compared to a small serving of oats, for instance. Plus, you should make hay whilst the sun shines and eat when you’re hungry – and for most, this’ll be when you break your fast.

5) Get rhythm. Train your gut to expect food at the same times of day, in roughly the same quantities. You’ll find that around once a week, one of your days will be really hard to get through – often it falls the day after your non-training day. You might find you’ve no appetite, breakfast is a grind, and the rest of the day follows suit. Fight through this by being consistent – this will separate the men from the boys, but it’ll also make the days following it feel easier. A rhythm of eating will help you through this process: rather than staring at a mountain of food/calories that you need to finish, you simply follow the same habits from the days before.

I find a good calorie distribution between meals looks something like: 1500/1000/1000/1000-500. I would take those meals at 8am, 2pm, 6pm, and 10pm. Of course, this varies from person to person, but this is a fairly average distribution.

6) Drink more water. This isn’t going to directly stimulate your appetite, but it will help with the lethargy, making you more inclined to actually get up and start moving again after meals. It might also ease the digestive process. Sometimes it’s easy to mistake a lack of appetite for a lack of energy, and the energy being hydrated will give you may also lead to you being more inclined to walk (as mentioned earlier) and move about, instead of indulging in the trademark bulk lethargy.

Mild dehydration – a 1.5% loss in the normal water volume of the body – is enough to induce lethargy, decreased cognitive function, and reduced memory capacity. If you work at a desk, find a two litre bottle or even a gallon jug of water, and finish it during your working hours.

7) Don’t waste your shakes. Avoid this very common mistake. Fair enough, if you’re on the road for a few hours and literally cannot get food in any other way, a shake makes sense. But a stray weight gainer shake during the day can massively thwart your appetite during a bulk.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you bury your miserable sack of weight-gainer. Dip into it after you’ve finished a meal. The infamous Jim Wendler put his size on for football by having a weight-gainer after every meal, in one summer.

The problem with a shake prior to the meal is that you end up being full before you’ve even started eating. The same is true with fluids in general – try to avoid too much of anything immediately prior to eating.

The bottom line is: drink shakes exclusively after meals to avoid unnecessary inter-meal fullness.

Extra tip – aggressively mixing washing up liquid and hot water in a closed shaker as a method of cleaning it is an excellent way of making a fool of yourself/getting minor burns.


What would a bulking article be without a recipe? This one is extremely easy, super cheap, pretty damn tasty, and will feed you lunch for a week. If this is your first time prepping, this one is as good an induction into meal prep as you’ll get. At well upwards of a dense 1000kcal serving, and near 100g of protein, this is an excellent choice for the impoverished, time-strapped athlete.

You will need:

A big wok




One decent knife

Chopping board

4, litre-sized Tupperware boxes (if you’re going to double the portions, go for it, but you’re going to need some monster utensils).


250g pasta (dry)

800g ground beef

8- 12 sausages (depending on how big they are)

8 rashers of bacon

An onion

A bell pepper or two

A jar of bolognese pasta sauce

Salt & pepper

Some kind of oil

A chunk ~100g of cheese (optional, but highly recommended)

Beef stock cube (optional)

Spices (optional)

Basil/parsley (optional)

(I can usually pick all of these ingredients up for less than £15 at my local supermarket)

  1. Put all of the dry pasta into your massive saucepan with a couple of teaspoons of salt and put a full kettle on.
  2. Whilst the kettle is boiling, chop your sausages and bacon into bite-sized pieces, and throw them into the wok with some oil, along with your onion and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-high heat. Also, see if you can find some beef sausages where you live – they’re delicious.
  3. Once the kettle is nearly boiled, start heating the pasta. This way, when the kettle is boiled, the saucepan will already be hot and the pasta will cook quicker.
  4. Put the water on the pasta, and resist the temptation to stir it for 5-10 minutes – again, it’ll cook faster this way.
  5. Once the onion has become slightly translucent, and the sausage and bacon are starting to crisp, add the ground beef, with some pepper. Mix.
  6. Once there’s no pink left in the beef, add the bolognese sauce. You should probably be stirring the pasta at this point too, as it softens.
  7. At this point, you can stir in your spices and stock, if you want.
  8. Allow the bolognese to simmer whilst you drain the pasta.
  9. Once the bolognese has thickened a bit, add the cheese. This, in my opinion, is the best bit.
  10. Chop in some basil/parsley, if you have any.
  11. Now, as the Italians do it – add the pasta to the sauce. You’ll find it mixes more evenly this way, and it just makes more logistical sense.
  12. Portion out into Tupperware. If you used the portion sizes listed, you’ll find it fits into about 3 or 4 boxes.


The road to serious weight gain is long and psychologically torturous. Unlike simply training, eating becomes a full time job, if you’ve got the dedication and the discipline. Maintaining a caloric surplus (or deficit) consistently, day in, day out, can be extremely taxing and not at all as simple a process as most people without the required experience would have you believe.

What’s more, as I’ve emphasized heavily, you should be able to eat and train without it detracting too much from your life. The word ‘balance’ is thrown around a lot, but it’s only when you become unbalanced that you’ll learn this lesson.

The simplest way of putting it is this: if something is taking more from your life than it is eventually going to return, you are stealing from yourself. Drop these deadweight habits and dogmas, and try to step back and examine the bigger picture. The pointers I’ve provided will allow you to achieve your ambitions, without letting them consume you.

Bulk cleverly, consistently, and stay hungry.

*Sorry mum, I promise I’ll call you once I’ve finished breakfast.

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College Students: Bulking on a Budget

Article written by Phillip James

Part One: Buying Groceries

Balance is everything in college. You have to balance academics, your social life, your possible extracurricular activities – all while remembering to take care of yourself and clean your room. It’s no wonder college students find themselves stressed out while enrolled. Adding athletic goals and fueling yourself with proper nutrition brings another big question to the table… how can you afford to pay for food to fuel your training sessions?

In this three-part series, we’ll be covering how to get big off of a college student’s budget whether you’re enrolled or not. Saving money on your food can pay off in the long run and keep you from purchasing foods that aren’t worth it. This article should give you some positive insight on how to get plenty of food to fuel your training without breaking your budget.


Let’s start with breakfast. The first meal of the day is often one of the most overlooked to a college student. Let me emphasize: You need to wake up so you can eat breakfast. Your body hasn’t had any caloric intake from the point you went to sleep to the point you woke up. Breakfast is a great meal of the day because most breakfast foods are calorie-dense; exactly what you need to keep you satiated as you sit through classes.

Here’s a list of some foods to look out for when you’re at the grocery store:

Eggs. These are a staple of every college lifter’s diet. The average-sized egg contains 71 calories with 5g fat and 6g protein (Nutrition Data), therefore, a quick 4-6 egg omelet with some cheese thrown in can give you a great deal of calories. You can also boil an entire carton of eggs for the whole week. Eggs are some of the most cheap sources of protein out there so don’t forget you can add them to other meals during the day!

Oatmeal. Do yourself a favor and buy a large oatmeal container in bulk. A tub of oatmeal can last you weeks, even eating a whole cup of it every morning. A cup of oatmeal contains 300 calories, 5g fat, 11g protein, and 56g carbohydrate (Nutrition Data). You can add fruit, cinnamon, or make my personal favorite: overnight oats. Overnight oats are made by soaking your oats in milk or yogurt… trust me, do this.

Hash browns. Mmmmm, warm potatoes. Buying these frozen at the grocery store will save you a ton of money and you can add these to your eggs for a makeshift breakfast hash. Oftentimes hash browns can be prepared in large quantities that you can eat over the course of entire week.

Sausage. Whether it’s patties, links, chorizo, pork, beef – sausage is another way to get calories in your quest to get huge. Sausage is higher in fat content, therefore, while it serves as a great addition, we don’t want to go overboard here. Something you can do to minimize the amount of excess oil and fat is to place the cooked sausage-meat in a strainer and let it sit for a minute or two.


Snacks are an awesome way of keeping you full until your next meal time or as another way to add calories to your diet. It can be leftovers from your unfinished breakfast, the below listed snacks, or include some supplements you take during the day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Whole milk. Many old school and new school lifters have heard of the G.O. M.A.D. diet where you drink a gallon of milk a day. I love milk but that’s too much dairy. Adding a cup or two of whole milk per day can give you plenty of liquid calories that are easily drinkable and provide lots of macronutrients. A gallon of whole milk will last about a week so it’s definitely worth the purchase. A cup of whole milk contains 146 calories, 8g fat, 13g carbohydrate, and 8g protein. Adding whole milk to your coffee, protein shakes, or drinking it alone is a cost-efficient decision for any lifter.

Peanut butter. This is one of the most underrated sources of food you can use to add extra calories. A serving size of two tablespoons will give you 190 calories, 16g fat, 6g carbohydrates, and 8g protein. A jar of peanut butter will last you weeks and you can add it to your protein shakes, spread it on breads, or eat it alone straight out of the jar.

Pop-tarts. That’s right, your childhood favorite. A pack of two pastries will provide you with 408 calories, 74g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 10g fat. I like to eat these immediately before or after a workout for a high dose of fast-digesting carbs. For a few bucks, you have a box should last you about a week.


Last on our list are lunch and dinner. These are times of the day you can include some more nutrient dense foods to your meals. These are also both times of the day you can include breakfast foods of your choosing. Here are a few things of what you can purchase for low cost and high benefit:

Chicken thighs. Most lifters at some point in their career have lived off of bland chicken breast. It sucks. Chicken thighs, on the other hand, have loads of flavor thanks to them being darker meat. The best part of chicken thighs is that they’re extremely cheap and cost less than chicken breast! Like most of the perishables I mention in this article, I recommend going for frozen chicken thighs to save money. If you want, you can spend a little more and get fresh chicken thighs. A super easy way to prepare them is to allow them to thaw, place them on a cookie sheet, lightly cover with BBQ sauce (yeah, buddy!) and bake 30 minutes per side for an hour total at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

White rice. This. Rice is EASILY one of the cheapest, quickest, and most useful food source that you can buy. A large 25 pound bag of dry rice can last you over a year. There are tons of varieties with different textures and flavors you can choose from. A cup of rice will give you 169 calories and 37g carbohydrates. I personally recommend investing in a rice cooker that makes rice in bulk but you can always boil the rice too.

Black beans. This is another food that will save you lots of money. A cup will provide you with 227 calories, 15g protein, and 41g carbohydrates. Any bean in general will provide with a hefty dose of protein and carbohydrate but black beans have one of the higher amounts of protein per volume. They also have a great deal of fiber that will keep you feeling full. They can be bought in cans or for less money, bought dried in bags to be soaked and boiled yourself.

Sweet potatoes. Another great addition to shopping lists. I would buy these fresh because of the versatility of cooking them. An easy way to prepare sweet potatoes is to cut them into disc shaped chips, lay them on a cookie sheet, lightly cover in olive oil, sprinkle cinnamon, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re another low cost, high flavor food that supply you with a great deal of carbohydrates you can use to fuel training.

Apples, bananas, and mixed vegetables. While it’s important to be consuming a great deal of proteins, carbs, and fats – we can’t forget taking in enough foods rich with vitamins and micronutrients. Apples and bananas are among the most available and cost-efficient fruits found in grocery stores. You can decide between fresh fruit or frozen fruit that will have to be thawed. As for vegetables, I recommend going for frozen medleys because they include many different sources of vegetables while staying incredibly cheap. If you want fresh vegetables, try getting a big bag of spinach or kale and boiling it down. This way you can simply heat up portions you want for each meal throughout the week.

So there you have it, an overview of how you can save money at the grocery store as a student lifter. This article isn’t a complete comprehensive guide however. I would recommend you do more detailed research by looking for discount grocery stores, bulk-buy grocery stores, and weekly deals offered. While it’s important to save money, always remember to treat yourself and live a little!


Source cited:

SELF Nutrition Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

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Nutrition Mythbusting: Does Paleo Reset and/or Boost Your Metabolism?


Article written by Joe Nissim

Glory Days

RU Logo


R-U Rah Rah!

R-U Rah Rah!

Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah!

Rutgers, Rah!

Upstream, Red Team!

Red Team; upstream!

(Men) Rah! (Women) Woo! (Men) Rah! (Women) Woo! (All) Rutgers, Rah!

I can’t tell you the amount of times I was slobbering down wings and chasing them with a beer, while screaming the Rutgers fight chant during my college years on the banks of the ole’ Raritan at Rutgers University.

In those days, I was a competitive weightlifter.  My diet consisted of something like ⅓  dining hall food, ⅓ pizza, and ⅓ booze.  Somehow, no matter how many slices I downed at 2AM, I never put on any pounds.  It was awesome.

Then I graduated and started my career in finance.  My weightlifting career crashed and burned after 3 wrist surgeries in my first postgraduate year. So that meant I was spending 8-12 hours per day at a desk.  A combination of sitting on my ass and binge drinking almost every weekend led to me starting to pack on the pounds by age 28.  50 pounds to be exact.

My immediate reaction was to blame my Mom and her side of the family for the turtle speed metabolism.  (Of course, not my lifestyle or my spare tire.)

Then I started seeing stuff online that claimed that the Paleo diet could reset and boost your metabolism.  Hmmm… I was intrigued.

The basic logic was by eating foods that were only available during the paleolithic era (aka caveman times) that the body’s metabolism would adjust in a very positive way and begin burning fat in no time.

So I decided to explore this to see if it was true.

First things First: What is Metabolism?catmetabolism

Metabolism is a word thrown around the internet way too recklessly by the nutrition industry.  If you read the thousands of articles online, it will make you believe everyone has a slow metabolism, but some super juice will make it faster.

So let’s start by understanding what metabolism actually is:  Metabolism is the amount of calories your body burns in order to stay alive.  This includes both the amount of energy our organs and brain needs, as well as the amount of calories needed to PR your squat.  Metabolism is broken into two distinct processes: Catabolism and Anabolism.

Catabolism is breaking down food into nutrients that our body can actually use.  For example, when we eat chicken, our body breaks it down into its building blocks, known as amino acids.  Those amino acids can be used as energy.

Anabolism, on the other hand, is where our body takes those nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat, and uses them to rebuild our body.   Remember that piece of chicken? Those amino acids that it breaks down into can also be used to help rebuild our muscles after a long run or lifting sesh.

These two things together make up metabolism.

How does my body burn calories?

1000 calories
This is a shame. What did the pizza do to you?

There are three main ways that our bodies burn calories.

#1 – RMR – Resting Metabolic Rate

RMR is the amount of energy you need to keep your blood pumping, your brain functioning, and muscle moving.  RMR is the biggest component of your daily calorie requirements. 60-75% to be exact.

Side note: RMR is commonly referred to as BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).  Even though they refer to essentially the same thing, BMR is primarily used in labs and is really strict.  For our purposes, RMR is easier to use and way more useful.

#2 – Activity (aka Activity induced thermogenesis)

This is the energy you need to do anything like get up, move around, be on your feet, and most obviously, exercise.  This is the most important to us because:

  • It is the most variable
  • It is the easiest to change
  • It is the most controllable

Here’s the kicker. Unless you are an elite athlete or a psycho exerciser, this will never be where most of your calories are burned.  For most people, the amount of calories burned through activity will increase when:

  • We start exercising
  • We increase the amount of time we spend exercising
  • We increase the intensity of exercise

But exercise is not the entire story when it comes to activity induced thermogenesis.  The amount of calories needed for activity is determined by what you do all day, not just by the one hour of exercise.

Therefore, if we take two people whose exercise regiments are exactly the same, but one of those people is a school teacher who is on their feet for 6-8 hours per day, and the other is someone who sits at a desk, the school teacher will require and burn more calories than the desk jockey.

In total, activity accounts for roughly 15-30% of calories burned per day.

#3 – Digesting Food (aka Diet induced thermogenesis)

This one is the simplest.  It is the energy you need to break down and absorb nutrients from the food you eat.

This accounts for roughly 10% of calories burned per day.

So far so good?

So let’s put it together

RMR, as we learned above, is what our organs, tissues, and muscles need to work.  Well, how is this amount determined?  I made a little chart:

Heart/Lungs/Kidneys ~ 440 cals per day
Brain ~ 240 cals per day
Fat Tissue 4.5 cals per kilogram of fat body mass
Muscle Tissue 15 calories per kilogram of lean muscle mass

When our body has more muscle, we tend to burn more calories naturally.  Each kilogram of muscle burns 3.3x more calories than a kilogram of fat.

So listen closely: that means the #1 determining factor of metabolism is…. body composition.  Remember RMR is 60-75% of calories needed.  The biggest part of RMR is the amount of muscle tissue on our body.  This then means that body composition, or the amount of lean muscle mass vs fat mass, is the #1 contributing factor of metabolism.

Now, this does not mean that RMR is the only contributing factor, nor does it mean that if you are a well-muscled dude or chick that your metabolism can’t be slow.  There are other contributing factors such as:

  1. Genetics
  2. Race
  3. Gender
  4. Eating too little

It is still unclear the amount that each of these contributes, but science has concluded that they do make a contribution.  The answer to metabolism is not cut and dr,y and there is still a ton of research that is going into it each year.

So let’s circle back to the original question: Does Paleo “reset” your metabolism?

Before saying “yes” or “no,” let’s understand the argument.

Paleo purists believe the following:

Eat Do Not Eat
●     Grass-fed meats.

●     Fish/seafood.

●     Fresh fruits.

●     Fresh vegetables.

●     Eggs.

●     Nuts.

●     Seeds.

●     Healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)


●     Cereal grains

●     Legumes (including peanuts)

●     Dairy

●     Refined sugar

●     Potatoes

●     Processed foods

●     Overly salty foods

●     Refined vegetable oils

●     Candy/junk/processed food

Further, they believe your plate should look something like this:

Photo credit: Wodnut Paleo,
Photo credit: Wodnut Paleo,

Photo credit: Wodnut Paleo,

The main argument is as follows: By eating foods free of hormones, genetic mutation, and rich in micronutrients, the body’s hormones will function properly and therefore regulate metabolism.

Here’s where I think things got confused:  a better quality, low-hormone, naturally grown and raised diet is better for your body.

I agree that such a diet is better for overall wellness, health markers, and skin, but not for metabolism.  As we discovered, in a very short and simplified version of the science behind metabolism, the answer is not that simple.

Metabolism has many moving parts with many contributing factors. Unfortunately, the quality of the food is not one of them. Body composition, quantity of food, and activity are biggest contributing factors.

Taking it a step further

We all want a fast metabolism.  We all want to have 4 slices of pizza without worrying that it will go straight to our belly or ass.  We all also want to believe that metabolism is more linked to genetics than it is.  You have more control over your metabolism than you think.  BUT, here the most important part, it does not come from a magic pill.

There is not a Himalayan berry, cleanse, combination of vegetable juices, or cayenne pepper that will speed your metabolism.  If you are feeling sluggish, that is your body’s natural reaction to buy time to another meal (AKA save your life).  So instead of contemplating, blaming your poor parents, or accepting it as a part of getting older, focus on two things:

  1. Move more often every day.
    • 60 minutes in the gym should not be your only activity. Walk, take the stairs, and get outside and play.  This is not new advice, but most of us rarely do it.
  1. Make sure you are eating the right amount of food
    • Eating too little is just as bad as eating too much. Most of the clients I work with come into our program eating too little. This puts their body in constant starvation mode.
    • In order to lose weight, you have to eat. In order to feel healthy, you have to eat. In order to perform at the gym or at work, you have to eat.  Invest the time to learn how to eat properly for your body, not someone else’s.

That’s it.

What’s Really Important

Nutrition is one of the hottest topics on the internet.  Yet, 90% of the information is meant to scare you into buying a product that will solve your woes: everything from your spare tire to cleansing your liver.

And deep down, we all know it’s BS.  Listen closely, there are not magic pills. Nothing can substitute putting in the work.  Be obsessed with the process instead of with the result.  Once you become obsessed with a result, shortcuts are inevitable and you can get roped into some wizardry.

If you want to lose weight, or if you are concerned about your metabolism, you need to do the following first:

  1. Improve your relationship with food
  2. Get active (this doesn’t mean exercise for 3 hours per day)
  3. Eat right for your body

There is no substitute for the hard stuff.  In any aspect of life, you must face the issue in order to change it.  You can change what you do day to day and change your result. Don’t get caught up pointing fingers at genetics.  My genetics pointed to me having the shape of watermelon. I changed it.  And you can too.


About the Author

Nissim, Joe About the Author Pic

Joe Nissim is the founder and CEO of Strengthlete.  After leaving a lucrative career on Wall St, Joe spent three years creating and developing the Strengthlete Nutribuild system and flagship products Repair and Complete. If you’re interested in leaving dieting behind for good, join Joe at



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Nutrition Mythbusting: Are Cleanses A Scam?



Article written by Joe Nissim

New Year! New You!

new year, new you

This is going to be the year where I drink less, eat better, get rid of the jelly rolls, and make more money.

First things first, detox.

I need to get this crap out of my system. The week between Christmas and New Years is usually one long party of alcohol, food, and family.

Pop into Whole Foods and head straight to the Whole Body section, with a variety of “detox” kits.  When you flip the box around, they all appear to have some really healthy stuff in them:

  • Dandelion root
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella
  • Kale extract
  • Fiber cleanse formula
  • Herb cleanse formula

I mean, it’s natural, stuff from the earth. It has to be good for me. Right?




Medicine meets Marketing

The word “detox” is short for detoxification.  In the setting of real medicine, this is typically reserved for a procedure that removes high levels of drugs, alcohol, or heavy metals from someone’s body.  High levels of drugs, alcohol, or heavy metals have the ability to be extremely harmful or even fatal.

On the flip side, the term has evolved and we now see nutrition industry marketing teams borrowing medical terminology to treat a condition known as a “hangover.”

Real detoxification treatments are medical procedures that are not casually selected from a menu of dandelion root or acai berries, or pulled off the shelf in the pharmacy. Real detoxification is provided in hospitals when there are life-threatening circumstances.


But the box and Dr. Oz say it gets rid of all the “toxins”


There is a reason that we believe that drinking a combination of maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon will cleanse us.  Since the beginning of time, humans have been religious and/or spiritual.  Regardless of that religion or spirituality, there is a belief that some sort of sin exists, and that we need to purify ourselves.

I grew up in a strict Christian household.  When I refused to be baptized because I didn’t understand the point of getting dunked in a bathtub full of water in front of people my parents were trying to impress, my Mom was not happy.

According to my Mom, I needed to “purify myself so God could give me new life.”  My response was, “I like my life, Mom, I don’t need a new one.”  This also did not make her happy. But I digress.

As society became less religious and biology became more prevalent, humans became more fearful of “autointoxication”, or poisoning ourselves.  For a span of 100 years, this was believed to be the root of disease in science. By the 1900’s, science continued to advance and autointoxication was dismissed.

Today’s version of autointoxication argues that some combination of food additives, gluten, salt, meat, fluoride, prescription drugs, smog, vaccine ingredients, GMOs, and perhaps last night’s bottle of wine are causing a buildup of “toxins” in the body.


Wait, what is a “toxin?”



According to Google, Webster, Wikipedia, and the Oxford dictionary, a “toxin” is a:

“poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.”

Ok. I’m not a scientist, so let me look up some examples of what that might include:

  • botulinum toxin A (from bacteriaClostridium botulinum)
  • tetanus toxin A (from bacteria – Clostridium tetani)
  • diphtheria toxin (from bacteria – Corynebacterium diphtheriae)
  • dioxin (manufactured)
  • muscarine (from mushrooms – Amanita muscaria)
  • bufotoxin (from the common toad – genus Bufo)
  • sarin (manufactured).

Huh. Nowhere on here do I see bagels, rose, tacos, or Jameson.  Toxins are typically something that, when ingested, can cause disease or death.  This is very different than the nutrition industry definition of “bad stuff in the air, food, and water.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not dismissing the fact that things like GMO’s and food additives exist. What I am saying is that a cleanse will not remove those things from your body.  This has to be done in your day to day.


Where it all went wrong


“CleanseSMART is a 2 part, 30 day, advanced herbal cleansing program. It is formulated to stimulate the detoxification process of the body’s 7 channels of elimination: the liver, lungs, colon, kidneys, blood, skin, and lymphatic system. In today’s toxic world, cleansing and detoxification is a necessity. Toxins enter our body daily through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Over time, these toxins build up and slowly start to affect our health in a negative way.”

This is where it went wrong. Above, I copy and pasted a description of a 30 day cleanse.  Let’s note a few things:

  • It’s vague
  • Never names specific toxins
  • Sounds logical and possible
  • Does this mean if I’m healthy, there are not toxins in my body?
  • Are there good toxins?

The 3 Flaws

There are 3 fundamental flaws with the idea that the body is full of toxins and a “detox” will cleanse those toxins.

#1 – Why wouldn’t you simply eat better?

If we are ingesting harmful toxins, why wouldn’t the fundamental focus be on what you eat every single day?  As I have said in previous articles, the only things that create results are what we do consistently.

Let’s look at this in another way:

  • Are you likely to be a better runner if you run for 1 hour, five times per week, or if you run 1 time per week for 5 hours?
  • Are you likely to lift heavier weight if you lift 5x per week for 1 hour, than if you lift 1 day per week for 5 hours? (I would love to see someone lift 5 hours in a row).
  • Are you likely to get more work done if you go to the office five days per week for 4 hours, than working one day for 20 hours?

The answer is clearly to be more consistent.

When it comes to exercise or work, this intuitively makes sense. But when it comes to what we put into our body, this often hits a button where logic gets pushed aside and emotion takes over.

Cleanses are just like a band-aid.  They only cover up a boo-boo.  Underneath the band-aid, we have to treat the wound.  You can not cleanse out months and months of bad decisions in 7 days.  Our bodies do not work that way. 

Instead, build good habits.  I know this is boring, but there is no substitute for great habits.

#2 – A detox is not a substitute for control

We all have them.  A bad week, bad month, a bad year.  We go out on a bender.  Maybe multiple benders.  This can be with food, alcohol, or drugs.

As you know from the way you feel the next morning, eating or drinking in excess is  harmful to our bodies.  Drinking “detox” tea the next morning to reverse what we did last night will not work and is masking the bigger issue: control.

Every now and then, I go overboard with drinking.  One drink leads to another and before you know it, I am waking up on my coffee table in my underwear.  I get it.  Doing this repeatedly does not mean I need a detox, it means I need to learn how to control myself. The same goes for food.

The issue here is not the quality of food or drinks, its the quantity.  If I have 10 shots of Majorska vodka or 10 shots of Grey Goose, I am still going to feel like shit in the morning.  We need to stop masking the issue.  Control is about your relationship with food or alcohol.  The answer to changing or improving this relationship is not a detox, the answer is that you have to face the issue and make a change.

When clients come into our Nutribuild program, the first thing we tell them is “even if you don’t lose/gain as much weight as you want to, our number one goal is to improve your relationship with food.”

Why? Because in order to make real lasting, change, you have to change your relationship with foods.  Diets and detoxes function on the same logic, they are masking the real issue.  There is no detox, diet, or protein powder that will help you feel better over longer periods of time unless you address your relationship with food first. Period.

#3 – Cleanses are one size fits all

Like diets, how are cleanses all the same no matter your body, age, size, gender, etc?  You are telling me that a 250lb man and a 125lb woman can use the same exact cleanse and get the same result?

Come on guys, this is not even logical.  This is insulting to my intelligence.

Bringing it Home

I am all for medical advancement.  I am all for finding ways to be healthier, more fit, and more active.  But using short cuts never works.  At some point, you will have to face the bigger issue: No medical advancement or food technology can change your relationship with food or alcohol. Only you can.

The idea of a cleanse makes sense on paper, yet there is not one clinical study or trial showing that it actually works.  There is no documentation on what “toxins” it is removing.  There is no proof that the “toxins” it is removing actually exist.

On the flip side, is there is no documentation showing that it hurts either.  Is having some acai berries for 7 days going to hurt you? Probably not.  Will you likely be starving and leaking out of your butt because of the laxative in it? Yes.

The most important takeaway is this.  You can in no way shape or form change your relationship with food until you decide to face it.  No cleanse, no diet, no detox will change that.  You will be around food that is nutritious, you will be around food that is not nutritious.  You will be at parties where there is booze and finger foods. You will be at weddings and bar-mitzvahs.  If you cannot control yourself, there is nothing your cleanse, detox, or protein powder can do about it.


About the Author

Nissim, Joe About the Author Pic

Joe Nissim is the founder and CEO of Strengthlete.  After leaving a lucrative career on Wall St, Joe spent three years creating and developing the Strengthlete Nutribuild system and flagship products Repair and Complete. If you’re interested in leaving dieting behind for good, join Joe at


The Detox Scam: How to spot it, and how to avoid it

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A Review Of My Own Coaching Services

In my never-ending journey of self-analysis, I have decided to film a video, in which I review my own coaching services. I think it’s very important, both as a business owner and coach, to know what you are good at, and more importantly, what you are bad at, in order to round yourself out.

In this video, I discuss what I know I lack as a coach, areas I can improve upon, as well as discussing the areas of coaching I excel at. I am not the coach for everyone. Perhaps because I don’t possess the knowledge necessary to help you improve yourself, or I don’t have the personality you need in a coach. It’s important to recognize these things, so you don’t live in this false bubble you may have of yourself, wasting your own time, as well as the time of others.

Check out the video for a review of my own coaching skills and services. Thanks in advance for watching, and if coaching is something you think you may need after watching the video, you can find my services here:


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How Serious Athletes Deal With Intentional Weight Gain

Have you put on weight training for strength sport? If you’re struggling, read this.

Strength sports come with plenty of challenges for women. And we don’t mean training and dieting. Prioritizing strength and size still goes against so many cultural expectations for females. It might be 2016, but if you’re a big, strong, physical female, be prepared to fight for your rights.

Let’s talk about one particular challenge that women in strength sport can struggle with: Weight gain.

Have you gained weight since training for strength and power? It can happen intentionally (because you want to be heavier, or choose to move up a weight class). Or it can be a side-effect of training, eating, and adding muscle. Plenty of women breeze through the experience of watching the scale weight go up. But some find it a real head f- – k!

The truth is, some of us have to gain weight for our sport. Adding muscle will usually mean adding weight. We all know the facts: a more muscular body will be heavier, even if it looks smaller. Body weight doesn’t always mean body fat. Blah, blah. But logical platitudes won’t always sooth the inner voice which panics when the number on the scale keeps on climbing.

Why You Might Struggle With Adding Weight

Gaining weight might be tough if you have a history of disordered eating, diagnosed eating disorders, or unhealthy food behavior. Psychologically, seeing the number on the scale go up could challenge everything you previously associated with a desirable body type. And you might find walking around in a heavier body physically challenging, too. Bigger, stronger bodies feel different to small, dainty ones. If you grew up a skinny kid, being heavier and more robust could challenge your mindset. It’s beyond the scope of LBEB to tell you how to deal with these feelings. But if you’re ready to embrace a new body image and identity, seek out support.

Quieting the Panic

If you’re struggling, try facing your objections full on. Make sure you are gaining weight a healthy way, and your mind might run out of fears and doubts.

Are you sleeping well? Lack of quality sleep affects ghrelin, leptin, and the neurotransmitter serotonin. This will affects your appetite, mood, and ability to handle food cravings. Get your sleep in check, and you’ll be more confident that the weight gain is not due to food or hormone issues.

Are you eating right? Gaining healthy weight needs a caloric excess, but it’s easy to over-shoot it or to get those extra calories from foods which don’t make you feel great. Check your nutrition, food choices, and eating behaviors to put your mind at rest.

Forget the Scale and Focus On This Instead

Strength and power: a heavier body typically means a stronger body. Focus on your training numbers, PRs, AMRAP numbers, and totals. Do you feel more powerful? Are you recovering better?

Body shape: you might struggle to accept a heavier body weight, but how do you actually look? Take the emotion out of it and see yourself through someone else’s eyes. I bet you look pretty damn great! Pick out your new favorite body parts, compare photos, and be proud.

Sports goals: will your new body weight allow you to take part in your ideal weight class? Or challenge larger and more developed competitors on stage?

Compassion: if you’re a trainer, a team-mate, or someone who other women turn to for fitness advice, consider this weight gain a valuable string to your emotional bow. You now have another layer of experience. It could help you identify with more women as they go through their own fitness journeys.

When Gaining Weight Is Great For Your Body

There’s plenty to celebrate about getting healthfully heavier due to training and eating right. For many women, adding a little body weight means they get their period back for the first time in months (or even years!) This is something to celebrate. Is your body actually healthier and happier at this heavier body weight?

The power of community is going to help you come to terms with gaining weight, looking larger, and taking up more space in the world. Surround yourself with the most relevant people for the phase you are in. Connect with powerlifters, strongwomen, off-season bodybuilders, or women working hard to move up a weight class. Share your feelings, support each other, and accept their offers of help. Hey, embrace the hashtags and memes if they help you! And I know it’s difficult, but please don’t compare yourself to anyone else on social media. It can feel disheartening to see someone in your weight class who looks more jacked than you. But remember that social media doesn’t show her entire story. How tall is she? How long has she been training? Is she natural or assisted? And – most of all – is the photo posed and filtered?

Do you want a small scale number, or a large total? Focus on your goals and embrace every change in your body as part of the journey. You’re in this for the long-haul, right?

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Nutrition Mythbusting: Sugar vs. HFCS


Ladies & Gentleman, Let’s get ready to RUMMBBLLEE!!

Tonight we are going to talk about the evil and awful high fructose corn syrup and the less evil, but still evil, sugar.


corn vs sugar



In the left corner,  dressed in white and ready to be put in your coffee is SUGARRRRRR.

In the right corner, dressed in green husk, ready to be milled is high fructose corn syrup…..


The Profile: Table Sugar (Sucrose)

The left corner has come under quite a bit of scrutiny in the past few years.  If you remember high school biology, we learned the building blocks of carbohydrates are 3 molecules known as monosaccharides. They are glucose, fructose, and galactose.

When you combine two monosaccharides together, you get a disaccharide.  Table sugar (also known as sucrose or cane sugar) is a combination of glucose and fructose.  It is essentially glucose connected to fructose in a 1:1 ratio, meaning sucrose is comprised of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

So far so good?

The Profile: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

The right corner has gotten absolutely abused in the past few years. HFCS is a liquid blend of both glucose and fructose.  It is sweeter than table sugar, and because it is very cheap to produce, it is commonly used in food products. The reason why HFCS is a liquid, rather than a solid like sugar, is liquid sugar gives food manufacturers several important benefits:

  • It’s easier to transport and handle in liquid form.
  • It has certain advantages in baking, browning, and fermentability.
  • It retains moisture after baking or cooking, making foods more eatable and enjoyable
  • And perhaps most significantly, it allows the proportion of glucose and fructose to be adjusted.

The Profile Differences

Here is where they differ.  In HFCS, the fructose content, which generates most of the sweetness, varies between 42-55%.  The most common is called HFCS 55, which is 55% fructose and named accordingly.

That’s it.  The difference structurally is very small. Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, whereas HFCS is 45% glucose and 55% fructose.

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that is not a significant difference.

Comparing Punches


Comparing Punches: How does the body consumer each?

So let’s compare how our body digests both. This is probably the reason HFCS has gotten such a bad rap.

Let’s start by taking a step back to learn a few important facts about digestion.

Our digestive system is pretty amazing.  The second we start eating something, our body recruits enzymes to break the food down so we can extract nutrients from it.

When we eat sugar, our body releases an enzyme called sucrase.  Sucrase breaks any sugars that are bonded (like we learned above) into individual component parts (monosaccharides).  Anytime we consume sugar, it is broken apart into free glucose and fructose prior to intestinal absorption.

Because HFCS is already broken apart, the body doesn’t have to break it apart.

Regardless, because HFCS and sugar are both made up of glucose and fructose, our body detects the sugars the same way.  Therefore, our body digests both the same.  The only difference is the relative amounts of fructose (50% in sugar and 55% in HFCS).

Comparing Punches II: How does each affect satiety and weight loss/insulin?

This is where they have to differ.  Definitely. This has to be it.

Let’s go to the tape.


Both sugar and HFCS have been found to have the same effect on how full you feel because they interact with leptin, a major regulator of the feeling of fullness, in the same way.

Weight Loss

In a double blind study, four groups of people were put on a weight loss program, using a caloric deficit of 500 calories.

Two groups consumed 10-20% of their calories from sucrose (sugar), while the other group did the same with HFCS.  These levels were chosen to mimic the 25th and 50th percentile of average American intake, respectively.

The results are quoted verbatim from the study:

“The metabolic response by the body, in reference to mostly leptin and insulin, appears to be the same between sucrose and HFCS when both sugars are given in similar oral doses with no gender influence as the lack of difference has been noted in both healthy males and females.”

More importantly, the panel that conducted the study concluded (again quotes verbatim):

“Currently, it has been concluded (expert panel) that HFCS and sucrose do not have different influences on body composition and obesity (both being of comparable innocence or blame, depending on context).

Independent of whether or not sugar in general influences obesity and weight gain, sucrose and HFCS have no significant differences in their effects on the body.”

Let’s bring this home

What we have learned today is:

There are only tiny differences between the most common type of high fructose corn syrup, HFCS 55, and regular sugar.

  1. When we digest sugar or HFCS, the result is exactly the same.
  2. Whether sugar or HFCS, both affect satiety, insulin production, and weight loss the same.

In it’s simplest terms, sugar is sugar. Whether that is HFCS or sugar, does not make a difference.

What’s really important

Even though I writing about what the nutrition industry holds up on a pedestal, empowering you with information that combs through the BS is what’s really important.  More importantly, I want you to be able to make a better decision when it comes to your personal nutrition.

Most nutritionists, dietitians, and so-called experts argue small perforations of microhealth just to have something to talk about.  Like we just proved, these arguments have very small, if any, effect on your health, body composition, and overall well being.  When it comes to making a decision over whether you should eat something or not, defer to:

  1. Your tastebuds
  2. Your goals
  3. Your macronutrient breakdown

Don’t listen to the all the garbage that the internet has to offer.  Nutrition is not a “one size fits all” science. What’s right for you may not be right for someone else.  Beware of nutrition articles written from extreme points of view, even if they appear scholarly and contain impressive statistics, they do not help you smash bigger weights or look better naked.

Most importantly, listen to your body.  It is very easy to get caught up reading 100 articles with 100 different arguments on a single topic.  It’s enough to make your head explode.

I hope you enjoyed this article.  I would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Beyond this Article (For the crazies)

Sugar-based sweeteners are considered very unhealthy, not in their root form, but because of the actual amount Americans consume.  These sweeteners, as we learned, use fructose to sweeten soft drinks and processed foods.  The liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts. When the liver gets overloaded, it turns the fructose into fat.

Some of that fat can lodge in the liver, contributing to fatty liver,  insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, to name a few .

Going into all the harmful effects of excess fructose is beyond the scope of this article.  You can read more here.



About the Author

Nissim, Joe About the Author Pic

Joe Nissim is the founder and CEO of Strengthlete.  After leaving a lucrative career on Wall St, Joe spent three years creating and developing the Strengthlete Nutribuild system and flagship products Repair and Complete. If you’re interested in leaving dieting behind for good, join Joe


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Mental Illness Isn’t A Competiton

A few months ago, I made a video about my mental illness, and how it has shaped my existence. I decided to make a followup video regarding mental illness, and discuss how opening up to others about your issues can cause the listener to think it’s a “competition”, because they know someone else who has a “worse” problem, so yours isn’t that bad.

Mental illness is not a competition, which is what I discuss in this video. I also discuss my fear of sleeping, why I am a very literal person, and why I prefer to spend my time alone.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to watch it.


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Nutrition Mythbusting: Brown Rice Is Better Than White Rice

Nutrition Myths, Decoded – Part Deux

Article written by Joe Nissim

If you have ever watched Myth Busters, you know they answer the big questions like:

  • So exactly how hard is it to find a needle in a haystack, anyway?
  • Can water dripping on your forehead really drive you nuts?
  • Was it the chicken or the egg that came first?

In this series, I have begun talking about Nutrition myths that many of you may believe are true. In fact, when we released part I, I caught a lot of flak. But you know what they say: “If you have haters, then you must be doing something right.”

Today I am going to cover a topic that I absolutely cannot wait to talk about.  It’s something that really has never made sense to me:

Why is brown rice considered healthier than white rice? Is it really true?  Does it really matter?

Today we are going to dive in.

Myth #2: “Is brown rice better than white rice?

Chipolte Rice

Does getting white rice instead of brown rice at Chipotle make me a bad person? 

To the average person, this an easy answer.  You always get brown rice.  As everyone knows, brown rice is clean, healthy, and good for you, while white rice is dirty, unhealthy, and bad for you.

I never understood why this was such a big deal, but in the interest of not being shunned by my friends, I cook and order brown rice, even though I enjoy white rice more.

A few years ago, I decided to get to the bottom of this argument and do some of my own research.

Let’s Geek Out

Anatomy of Rice

Before we start comparing brown rice and white rice, let’s understand the main difference between the two.

This is the anatomy of a single grain of rice. Let’s break it down.

Hull: The outer part of the rice grain that is inedible by humans.  This is removed whether it is brown or white rice.

Bran & Germ: Rice bran is the vitamin-rich outer layer that surrounds the endosperm of whole grain brown rice. Rice bran (which includes the germ) accounts for 60% of the nutrients found in each rice kernel.

Endosperm: This is where all energy (carbohydrates) is stored.

How to Apply It

Brown Rice: only the “hull” is removed because humans cannot digest it.

White Rice: the “hull”, “bran”, and “germ” are all removed, leaving only the endosperm.

Therefore, the major difference between brown and white rice is that in brown rice the bran and germ parts of the grain are left in tact, while white rice has had the bran and germ removed.  That’s it!

The Arguments

There are 4 major arguments when it comes to the health benefits of brown vs white rice.  We will cover them one at a time.

  1. Brown rice has more fiber and protein than white rice.

Let’s take a look at the nutrition label here.  In order to make a real “apples to apples” comparison, I will compare:

  • the same variety of rice (Basmati)
  • produced by the same company (Lundberg)
  • use the same serving size (¼ cup)

    Brown vs. White Rice


As you can see, the results are stunning! Brown rice has 1 additional gram of fiber and protein! Hold your horses, I know you are excited. I can barely contain myself. A whole gram!!!
I am being sarcastic, of course. The macronutrient profile and calories of both brown and white rice are almost identical, making this argument null and void.



  1. White Rice is “empty calories” with no nutritional value.

Let’s go back to the nutrition label (scroll up). As we mentioned above, from a macronutrient perspective, white rice and brown rice are almost identical.  This means that they have almost exactly the same amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein per serving.  Since carbohydrates, protein, and fat are all nutrients, it renders this argument null and void.



  1. Brown rice has more micronutrients than white rice.

Let’s go to the chart! I created a chart below showing the micronutrients (aka the amount of vitamins and minerals) in each.  In order to make a real “apples to apples” comparison, I will once again compare:

  • the same variety of rice (Basmati)
  • produced by the same company (Lundberg)
  • the same serving size (100g)


  White Rice (100 g) Brown Rice (100 g)
Calcium (mg) 3 10
Iron (mg) 1.49 0.53
Magnesium (mg) 13 44
Phosphorous (mg) 37 77
Potassium (mg) 29 79
Zinc (mg) 0.42 0.62
Thiamin (mg) 0.167 0.102
Riboflavin (mg) 0.016 0.012
Niacin (mg) 1.835 1.330
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.050 0.149
Folate (mg) 97 4
Vitamin B12 (mg) 0 0
Vitamin A (mg) 0 0
Vitamin D (mg) 0 0
Vitamin K (mg) 0 0

As you can see, brown rice beats white rice in most categories. Not by a staggering amount, but nonetheless brown rice wins.

There is just one giant, huge, crazy big flaw with this argument. 

Brown rice contains something called Phytate, an anti-nutrient that minimizes our body’s ability to absorb the beneficial nutrients.  Phytate (phytic acid) is found in most seeds, legumes, nuts, and grains…including rice.  Therefore, all those additional nutrients that brown rice is supposed to have, CAN NOT BE ABSORBED!  The phytates are in the hull and germ, the part left in tact in brown rice.

Cue the sad trombone…..womp, womp, womp.

Argument null and void.


  1. Brown Rice has a lower glycemic index than White Rice

The glycemic index (GI) classifies foods based on how quickly and how dramatically they raise blood sugar levels. The higher a food’s GI value is, the faster it will be digested and the faster/higher it will raise blood sugar levels.

White rice typically has a higher GI value than brown rice. This means it is digested faster and raises blood sugar levels faster than brown rice. This is typically the first reason given for why brown rice is the better choice.

So let’s break down the numbers, the glycemic index is 56 for long-grain white rice and 72 for short-grain white rice.

The glycemic index of brown rice is 55, putting it about equivalent to long-grain white rice.

There you have it folks, the glycemic index of long grain white rice and brown rice are 1 point apart.

Once again, this argument is null and void.


What’s really important

Even though I love disproving major arguments that the nutrition industry touts as science and truth (and putting big “void” pictures in this article), let’s talk about what’s really important here: teaching you how to comb through the bullshit and discover what’s real when it comes to nutrition.  Most nutritionists, dietitians, and so-called experts argue micro health benefits.  These are things that have very small, if any, effect on your health, body composition, and overall well being.  When it comes to making a decision over whether you should eat something or not, defer to:

  1. Your tastebuds
  2. Your goals
  3. Your macronutrient breakdown

Don’t listen to the all the garbage that the internet has to offer.  Nutrition is not a “one size fits all” science. What’s right for you may not be right for someone else.  Most, not all, nutrition arguments are written on a very narrow topic and reviewed from an extreme point of view.  Although they may appear scholarly and contain impressive studies, they do not help you smash bigger weights or look better naked.  Most importantly, listen to your body.  It is very easy to get caught up reading 100 articles with 100 different arguments on a single topic.  It’s enough to make your head explode.

I hope you enjoyed this article.  I would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

About the Author

Nissim, Joe About the Author Pic

Joe Nissim is the founder and CEO of Strengthlete.  After leaving a lucrative career on Wall St, Joe spent three years creating and developing the Strengthlete Nutribuild system and flagship products Repair and Complete. If you’re interested in leaving dieting behind for good, join Joe at


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Nutrition Mythbusters: Food Cravings

Article written by Joe Nissim

Nutrition Myths, Decoded

Before you start reading this article and the ones that follow in this series, I am going to warn you, I am going to upset you.  Since the time you were a kid, you have been fed (no pun intended) information about health, nutrition, and fitness, of which 90% of was either straight up wrong or just someone’s opinion.

In the past 30 years, America has gotten a little chunkier.  Based on our societal belief of “skinny is healthy” (I won’t even start on this one), we all tend to try to find ideas or diets that we believe will:

  • Be a magic potion to lose weight
  • Help us look good in a bikini or shirtless
  • Give us abs without any work or idea of what we are doing
  • Help us look good in our clothes

I think deep down, we all know it’s a bunch of crap.  In the next few articles, I am going to cover 5 myths that really burn me down to my core.

So without further ado…..

Picture 2 Popcorn Stress Eater


Myth #1: “If you are craving certain foods, it’s because your body needs the nutrients”

One minute you are IN THE ZONE. The next minute you are salivating in front of the vending machine with a craving so bad for salt or sugar, you can’t think straight until you have it.

What the hell just happened?

For most of us, we want to believe that our body “really needed” exactly the 13g Fat, 30g of Carbs, and 5g of Protein in the Peanut M&M’s.  In fact, we have no other logical explanation.

Food is highly complicated and emotional. And besides the physical need to eat, food is highly integrated in our social structure. Things like:

  • “Sunday Family Dinner”
  • “Meet me for Lunch”
  • “Let’s Grab Ice Cream”
  • “Annual family BBQ”
  • “7 Fishes Christmas-Eve Dinner”

These ideas have become a cornerstone of how we interact with each other, and they are important parts of tradition and family.

Some Sciency Stuff

Everytime we eat, our body not only digests food, but also releases a sophisticated set of hormones.  One of those hormones is known as dopamine.  Dopamine is a very complicated hormone responsible for a lot of stuff that happens in our body, but it is most well know as the “Motivation Molecule.”

It causes us to act in ways that make us feel good.  Dopamine is responsible for feelings such as  “I did it,” “I feel productive,” or “I feel good about that”.  It is that great feeling of reward.

Now, we typically get those feelings after a good workout or closing a new client.  And when we are feeling stressed, we feel the need to do something physical to get a little dopamine flowing in our body.

The kicker is that a good workout or a job well done is not the only thing that gives us a dopamine rush.  We get that same rush from things like:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using drugs like cocaine
  • Eating foods high in sugar
  • Eating food high in fat

Now let’s look at the findings of a study conducted in 1993 specifically on physical cravings.  G. Terrance Wilson found evidence showing craving is heavily influenced by the psychological and environmental conditions in which it is assessed.

He found “no evidence for an internal chemical or additive basis for the food cravings of binge eaters.”

To take it a step further, when we are stressed, we are biologically programmed to find stress relief.  When we eat something high in sugar or fat, it’s like a shot of stress relief. And it is much easier to buy a shot at the  vending machine, then hit the gym at 2pm in the afternoon.

And in times of super high stress, we tend to crave very specific foods that give our bodies that shot of stress relief. Obviously, they are high in sugar, fat, or both.  I have never met anyone who when stressed reaches for some steamed broccoli!


Let’s Get Specific

The foods we choose are not random.  In fact, they are very specific.  The reason is that over time, we tend to build associations with how that food makes us feel.

If every time you got an “A” your parents took you out for ice cream, you will tend to build a happy feeling association with ice cream.  If after every baseball game you won, your parents took you to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal, you may associate McDonald’s with the feeling of pride or triumph.  As a child, this is totally normal.  As an adult, this can be very damaging and destructive.

For me, its Pizza

Picture 4 Dog with Pizza

Might be me, may not…..

Besides the scientific evidence behind breaking this myth, I want to explain how I discovered this was not true. You can read all the science you want, but when you experience it first hand, you have a completely different understanding.

I lost my father at the very young and tender age of 11.  I was just a kid, snotty and dirty from playing outside all the time and trying to figure out how to build a treehouse with my friends.

When my father died, my world was flipped upside down.  My entire family (my mom and 2 older sisters) was in complete and utter shock. And my mom had no idea what to do.  To say my house was a little stressful growing up is a huge understatement. But on Friday nights, we would order ….. you guessed it, PIZZA!

So as an adult, when I am stressed, I am drawn to pizza.  That’s my shot of stress relief. Especially after a few drinks, the wheels fall off and I am like a dog who found where the treats are hidden.

Picture 5 Kid with Fries

…. But my cravings are SOOO strong

Now, for some of you, your stress eating might be easy to figure out.  For others, it may not be as clear. Regardless of what causes this behavior, it is something that you need to address.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Identify Your Causes or Triggers

This is probably the hardest step, because there can be so many triggers.  A trigger can be an event, situation, or person that causes you to act a certain way.  For me, it was work.  Every time a client got upset or I had to have an unpleasant conversation with a colleague, I just wanted to sit on the couch and stuff myself with pizza, kettle chips, glazed doughnuts, or an egg roll.


Step 2: Substitute Food with Something Else

Once I identified my trigger, I had to break the behavior pattern.  Otherwise, I would keep doing it again and keep feeling terrible about myself for never, ever losing weight.

You need an alternative action.

Actually, you need several, because only having one will not be enough. That’s because different stresses cause different reactions.  Some are easily managed and some are tougher.  What worked best for me was doing air squats.  I know that sounds nuts, but it worked for me.  If I was in my office, people thought I was nuts. I would step out to the staircase and do 25 air squats.

Another option can be a walk or having an accountability buddy.  This habit takes 3-4 weeks to break. And you will mess up a few times, but you have to keep with it in order to make a change.

Step 3: “Take 5”

This is another one of my favorite and most powerful tools that I’ve developed.

Every time I crave food, I take 5 minutes.  In those 5 little minutes, I can figure out if I’m really hungry or if I’m about to emotionally eat in response to stress.  If after 5 minutes, I am still hungry, I will eat.  If not, I will carry on with my day.

If 5 minutes is too long, start with one minute.  From one minute, move to two minutes, and so on and so forth.  Even an extra 60 seconds can make a huge difference in checking in with yourself.

Myth 1, Busted

Taking it back to the original myth: “If you are craving certain foods, it’s because your body needs the nutrients.”

Clearly, it’s not because our body physically needs those nutrients, but instead because we are used to the way it makes us feel in response to stress.

Why we are doing this?

If you know Brandon Morrison or have been following LBEB, you know he’s a no-BS kind of guy. And if you know me (Joe Nissim), I love cutting through the nonsense of the media and nutrition industry to find out the truth.  When we combined our brains, Brandon and I wanted to cut through the crap and break through these myths, so you can make better decisions.

Over the next few articles, we will cover topics that have been distortedby the media.  Next article: Is high fructose corn syrup worse than sugar?


About the Author

Nissim, Joe About the Author Pic

Joe Nissim is the founder and CEO of Strengthlete.  After leaving a lucrative career on Wall St, Joe spent three years creating and developing the Strengthlete Nutribuild system and flagship products Repair and Complete. If you’re interested in leaving dieting behind for good, join Joe at

Works Cited

Werdell, Philip. “Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Scientific Review.” Food Addiction Institute. 2009. Web. July 27, 2016.