Tuesday, April 12, 2011


By: Alex Liska
Super foods are often referred to as foods that naturally contain very high levels of 2 or more nutrients that are not found in majority of foods (packaged/processed goods). Their ratio of nutrients versus caloric count is unusually high. These foods are typically staples of the Mediterranean and Japanese diets, and lead to longevity and good health! Although food is not considered medicine in today’s society, science can now point to a list of everyday foods with extraordinary abilities to slow down the aging process and ward off disease!
healing superfoods
Below is a list of my top 10 pick of super foods (in no particular order) that you can find at your local grocery store and gradually add them to your diet:

1) Berries: Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries etc… are a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients which have been proven to protect our body’s cells from free-radical damage that can lead to cancer as well as other diseases. They are also a great source of fiber, loaded with vitamin C and are low in calories.
2) Fish: Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring, tuna etc… are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help protect against depression, heart attacks and inflammation just to name a few. By consuming these foods at least 2 times a week, you can help boost your immune system and safeguard the heart against disease as well as reduce joint aches/soreness.
3) Cocoa: Typically used to make chocolate, this super food helps reduce blood pressure, fight bad cholesterol and also helps fight muscle fatigue and reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate is good for the heart, helps improve circulation and is a great source of fiber and iron. As long as you consume “70%-100% cocoa” dark chocolate, or simply use the cocoa powder to enhance the flavour of foods, there is no need to worry about weight gain or excess calories, in fact this can help get rid of chocolate cravings and improve your mood!
4) Tomatoes: Loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant responsible for the red color of the tomato has been shown to decrease the risk of breast & prostate cancer as well as lung and stomach cancers! Lycopene is great at fighting disease, and the yellow jelly like substance surrounding the seeds inside tomatoes has been shown to stop blood cells from clumping, which helps to prevent strokes!
5) Beans/Legumes: Kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, fava beans, lentils etc… Also known as ‘seeds’ contain the genetic code and all the chemicals and nutrients necessary to produce a plant! They are loaded with amino acids (the building blocks of protein), folate, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, fiber, an abundance of phytonutrients and many other trace minerals. They are also very low calorie, considering the amount of health benefits they provide. Beans/Legumes are a great protein source, especially for vegans/vegetarians; they also contain omega fatty acids and a full range of antioxidants!
6) Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts etc… Are loaded with antioxidants and properties that help fight cancer, especially breast cancer. They reduce excess levels of estrogen and also help boost the immune system. Broccoli sprouts contain a special extract that helps the body get rid of ‘synthetic estrogens’ (by products from different pollutants such as residue from plastic water bottles and toxins produced by medications etc..)
7) Pomegranate: Both pomegranate fruit and the juice are loaded with antioxidants. Concentrated pomegranate juice has been shown to combat free radical damage, helping in the prevention of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, cancers, Alzheimer’s, premature aging as well as many other diseases.
8) Green tea: Herbal teas in general are good for your health, but green tea definitely tops the list of healthy teas, as its antioxidants have been proven by research time and time again to inhibit the growth of cancer. Many studies have also shown that people that consume green tea on a daily basis were able to lose more body-fat than people that consumed regular tea. This may be because green tea contains phytochemicals that trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to mobilize stubborn fat stores, burn more calories thus decreasing body-fat mildly. Also, along with its ability to inhibit growth of cancer, green tea’s antioxidants harbour an amazing ability to lower cholesterol.
9) Avocados: This super food is a great source of “oleic acid,” a monounsaturated “good” fat which helps prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. Avocados are high in fiber, loaded with folate, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium; helping regulate blood pressure and protecting against strokes and other diseases. In ancient days the Aztecs referred to avocados as the fruit of the gods. They taste great and can be consumed in smoothies, salads, guacamole just to name a few.
10) Nuts & Seeds: Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, increase serotonin levels, helping balance your moods and boost your brain power. Nuts and seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatories), calcium and antioxidants. They are rich in fiber and minerals and help ward off hunger as they are very satiating.

There are, of course many other super foods that are not listed on here such as olive oil, seaweed, yams/sweet potatoes, chile peppers, spinach, eggs, citrus fruits, plain yogurt, dry red wine, oatmeal etc… The main thing here is that these are all whole foods, unprocessed and should be consumed in their pure natural form to experience their full benefits! These foods are staples of any “clean” diet regimen and can help you live a longer, healthier life :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cheat Days and What to Expect the Day After...

By: Alex Liska
We all know how intense dieting can become; from weighing all our portions of protein, to measuring teaspoons of fat, 1/2 cup to 1cup of greens and so on and so forth... This can all become quite a psychological burden and start to take a toll on our lives. Considering that most diets when trying to lose body-fat are calorie-reduced, our bodies can become alarmed and start to fight back by holding on to everything that we eat! This is basically an emergency state that our body is programmed to enter when it detects starvation. 
That is when having a CHEAT MEAL may come in handy... I don't recommend a CHEAT DAY! Here is the difference: If you plan to cheat all day long you will go overboard and consume thousands and thousands of calories, not only can you get sick from this but in the long run you may cause metabolic damage. The smartest thing to do is to have a WEEKLY CHEAT MEAL. This meal can consist of a burger and fries combo, a dessert of your choice etc... And it will actually HELP you lose fat by JOLTING your metabolism! So, unless you are 2-3 weeks out from a bodybuilding show, GO AHEAD AND INDULGE! 

The Difference Between a CHEAT MEAL and a RE-FEED (MILD CHEAT DAY)...
What some bodybuilding/figure athletes will do is have a RE-FEED DAY which means they consume MORE CLEAN CARBOHYDRATES (from sources such as oats, whole wheat pasta, yams, sweet potatoes, etc..) on that particular day. On this day they will replace 2-3 meals or some may just replace one meal with a large serving of complex carbs and healthy dietary fats; NO PROTEIN! The purpose of  this is to re-fill muscles with glycogen and provide a metabolic boost!

It is entirely up to you whether you are going to take the CHEAT MEAL approach or the RE-FEED but take into account what you have been doing for the days/weeks leading up to this as it may be more convenient to have one option versus the other. I recommend the cheat meal for those on carb-restricted diets and the re-feed for those following a diet more moderate in carbs.

What to Expect the Day After:
By consuming a large amount of calories, whether from clean complex carbs or from a cheat meal, your body will go into a slight shock and hold onto water the following day. So don't panic if you feel slightly bloated the next day or if your clothes fit a little tighter than usual. Throughout the day continue to sip on water and continue to EAT CLEAN and the bloating/water retention will go away.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Alex L.:)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

5 Simple Tips To Staying Anabolic While Training...

1) Bring a Protein Shake (10-15 grams Whey Isolate mixed in water) with 1 tsp. of Glutamine in it to sip on during your workout...You may also add 1/2-1tsp Creatine Monohydrate to this...

2) Consume BCAA's (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during your workout (mix in water, sip during training), if you do not have these you may have option 1 instead...

3) Try to keep your weight training workouts under ONE HOUR to prevent your body from raising its cortisol levels (a stress hormone that causes catabolism- 'muscle breakdown' as well as weight gain around the midsection!!)

4) Focus on COMPOUND moves that target multiple muscle groups/core rather than wasting time doing a series of isolation exercises that take up more time, that way you can finish training your major muscle group of the day and do cardio if necessary in a shorter time frame.

5) Opt. for LOW INTENSITY cardio versus strenuous, muscle-destroying high intensity long duration cardio. If you're going to do H.I.I.T cardio that's fine, but try doing this on a separate day (20-30min max), and do low intensity fat-burn cardio post-weights (30-45min brisk walking at a comfortable pace) instead as your body tends to use fat for fuel when doing this type of cardio.

As I always say, "pre", "during" and "post-workout" nutrition are KEY to staying ANABOLIC and keeping your body in fat-burn mode!! Focus on having 5-8 small meals consisting of complex fibrous carbs such as green veggies paired with essential fats (nuts/seeds/oils etc...) and proteins from natural sources. Supplementing with a quality Whey Protein Isolate for convenience is also fine (whey proteins contain amino acids that are not found in natural food sources) By combining carbs  and proteins alone you are spiking insulin levels and causing the glycemic index of the meal to go up. Add healthy fats to meals that contain carbs/proteins to slow down your body's insulin response. The best time to consume carbs is around training times where muscle glycogen stores are likely to be depleted versus at a time when your activity levels are low and these carbs may be stored as fat.

For more articles, tips, workout video clips, sample training/nutrition programs checkout my other site http://ALEXLISKA.com

Happy Training!


Alex L.:)