212: Intermittent fasting for fitness competitions and how much protein should I eat in a day? With Steven Horwitz!
February 27, 2020
Welcome back to the podcast! Today’s guest is Dr. Steven Horwitz. He is a chiropractic doctor, wellness and performance consultant, and served as a member of the United States Olympic Team Medical Staff! In this episode we cover:
- Fasting for a fitness competition
- How you should eat to prepare for a fitness competition
- How much protein you should eat in a day
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Hey, guys, I'm so excited to introduce you to my next guest. He has a website called the Dallas Sports Academy and his name is Steven Horwitz. And we're gonna talk about how to get ready for a fitness competition with using intermittent fasting. So welcome, Stephen. Thank you. Thank you, Shantel. So tell people a little bit about them, about yourself who don't already know you. I am a chiropractor by training, so a D.C. doctor of chiropractic went to Cornell University and then chiropractic school and then got very much into the fitness, powerlifting, weight training world. I went to the Olympics as part of the United States Olympic team's medical staff in 1996. I've been the chairman of a state council, the Maryland State Council on Fitness. So I've always tried to combine the injury care and the fitness and the nutrition with my patients and comments. OK. So let's talk about let's pretend that someone wants to get ready for a fitness competition. They're already doing intermittent fasting. They're eating as, say, an eight hour window or even a six hour window. But they don't want to give that up. They've gotten great results doing that. But now they really need to kind of dial it in and date. We want to get ready for a fitness competition. What is that nutrition look like? Like let's let's say they were gonna eat an eight hour window. Let's talk about let's talk about a woman maybe. Let's talk. I mean, I just saw a girl who was she had just posted a picture. She was 50 years old, a woman. And she looked amazing. And she was like this. It was her first fitness competition. She was at 80 years old. And she just posted pictures and she looked amazing.
So how how would someone do that? What would their diet need to look like? I think the first thing is the power of that eight hour window. So by taking everything that you eat and compressing it into an eight hour window, what we know is that you're probably going to get better results than if you spread it out over time. Now, that said, if we take that specifically, that 50 year old woman, I've done so many diet diaries and I guess fortunately I'm I'm old enough to go way back before computers and doing the diet diaries by hand and looking at food. Before there were truly proper labels. And one thing that I found from doing so many diet diaries on so many people is that with women, it's almost never wrong to think if I've ever had a woman walk into the office. And when we do a diet diary, the woman is eating enough protein. So I think making sure that your protein is is high. And by I mean considerable, you know, we're talking about a gram, at least a gram per kilogram, and that's low. Recent research is you're really one point six to two point two grams per kilogram of body weight. Repeat that one point six. So can you do it? Let's do it right. Let's do it instead of Kelly Grams. Can we do it in pounds? So I am four pounds. So let's just say someone starting out was at 150 pounds just to make it easy. You know, some people, if you do know your lean mass and you've had your body mass tested, you could do a gram per pound of lean body mass. Or you could do straight away a gram per pound. So if you're one hundred fifty pound person, you could do 150 grams of protein.
And then we have to dial in a little deeper about the type of protein we have to get a little bit into the weeds with regards to amino acids. There is a particular amino acid called Lucy. And if you're choosing to do a vegetarian or vegan style di diet, then you really have to look look your foods up and make sure that you're getting enough. Lucy, it's not. I want to be very clear on this. It's not that you can't get enough protein if you're on a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet, but you're going to have to eat significantly more protein to get the amino acid profile. So now digging just a touch deeper, why, Lucy? Why is that important? There's something called muscle protein synthesis. And you need about two and a half to three grams of the amino acid loose scene to kind of turn on that light switch. So muscle protein synthesis, the ability of the body to use the protein to build the muscle, that makes sense. So now in order to turn that light switch on, if we eat protein, but we don't get that two and a half grams of leucaena in that amount of protein that we're eating at one time that we're not going to turn the switch on. So it becomes more just calories as opposed to building that muscle switch. OK, now for people, there are people who don't know, at least seen is. It's a nutritionally essential branched chain amino acid surrogate a and it's probably one of the most abundant amino acids in high quality protein. Would you agree? It is. But for instance, you'll have to consume 30 to 40 percent more leucaena if you're choosing to go vegan style plant-based based proteins.
So, for instance, you get about two and a half grams of leucaena in 25 to 30 grams of whey protein, but you're going to need 40 to forty five grams of a plant base of a hemp based protein to get the same two and a half grams of Lucy. If that makes sense and I encourage people to read the labels because there's so many different versions. If they do go vegan or vegetarian, there's so many different plant based. You know, there's pea protein, there's hemp protein, there's rice protein. So there's so many different plant based proteins. You really have to do your homework to get into the weeds that if you do want to compete. And this is for competition, right? This is this is taking lifestyle. One step more for competition. If you if you do want to go that far. You owe it to yourself to do homework. So I just want to be clear that you can do it if you are a vegetarian, but you have to read and take it. If someone was going to get a hundred and fifty grams of protein and explain to me where they like. What would you if you were gonna describe a diet that someone was going to get in, where would you put that in? Like are you talking about like to be as specific as possible? I would suggest, you know, this much egg egg white or what would their day look like to get that kind of protein? Well, I can say they were going to eat from 11 to 7. So it was like an eight hour window. Right. So my day I'm four to six eggs, the entire egg, not just the egg whites. I never get rid of the yolks.
So really, really important, in my opinion. So you never want to get rid of the yolk. Solid 46 eggs. I'll have forty six ounces of salmon. I'll have a couple of slices of bacon later in the day. I I function better. And I do want to be clear because again, there's just so much almost anger between those who want to go kind of carnivore eat more meat in the vegan, want everybody to be healthy. So whether you choose to eat meat, if you do, you see me. I choose to eat meat because I do blood work. I base my performance. So it's my metrics, my performance. I've always felt better my entire life on lots of red meat. So what does that look like for me? I eat a little more than a pound of red meat. So it could be beef, bison, lamb a day. So and then I have certain G.I. things make it a little more complicated. I've had some very extensive surgery at age 50. So back 10 years ago, almost. And I have what's called a nice soft rejected me. So I choose to supplement with some whey protein. So I'll do, for instance, what I did this morning. I did a hardcore weight training in the morning. So I did deadlifts. I did a lot of kettlebell swings and. I went right to 40 grams of whey protein with some treats in my hydrate. So that's what that's what my window would look like. So I'm getting at least 200 grams of protein. I'm about 170 pound man right now. So I'm taking in from 200 to 250 grams of protein per day. And I've really dialed this in for Steve always. So I'm I'm not suggesting that this is perfect for other people, but I am suggesting that you do need a lot more protein than what you need, especially as a woman and especially as a person over 40 and most certainly 50.
So if we're talking about a 50 year old woman and let's say she needs one hundred and fifty fifty grams of protein that you're saying we're talking about, Sanneh is looking at getting into a competition now. But let's say she had to cause one egg is about six grams of protein. Craggs about six grams. No one else she had is five grams. So for eggs. Yes. That would give her 24 grams in the morning. That would give her 24 grams. You know, I'd like to see her be able I'd like to see each protein. We'll call it a feeding. I'd like to see each protein feeding above 30 grams. Make sure you're getting enough, Lucy. So maybe we make it five eggs. Maybe we choose an additional maybe we add a little cottage cheese, we take an additional protein source. And then so then would you say maybe having a protein shake that had like 30 grams of protein in it would be enough, 30 to 40 grams? Again, whether you're you know, if it's a based protein, you'll be able to do 30 grams. If it's a plant based protein, you've got to need 40 to 45 grams. Again, do your homework. Look for those losing numbers. Now, are you a fan of, like, having oatmeal in the morning or. So, no, I I'm very careful with my carbohydrates. So the way I choose carbohydrate. And then a lot of reading and follow a lot of really smart people and I've tried to dial it in for me is as close as possible. So I'm very fond of using a glucose meter. If you can get your hands on it, what's called a CGM, a continuous glucose meter. Those are kind of pricey. You use those for 14 days in a pocket here.
Right here. It's it's on you for 14 days. So you really know what's going on. But you can go to CBS or any drug store and buy an inexpensive or as I'm buying an expensive glucose monitor and take your morning blood sugar and then take your blood sugar after you eat a food and a carbohydrate. So let's take rice. How does your body respond to rice? And I think this is super important for people. I've done it with so many people, and he's very powerful. I know how my body responds to rise, but I can't say that rice is good for you or not good for you until I know. What does your body say? 30 minutes after you? 60 minutes after you eat it. 90 minutes after you eat it. And two hours after. You want a nice rise and then a nice fall. So by the two hour mark, you're basically back to your morning fasted blood glucose. So you eat it. You're not going up much above 130 hundred forty and then you're coming back down over that two hour interval to your resting glucose, which should hopefully be somewhere seventy five to not quite nine. And if you then you realize, oh, my gosh, when I eat that bread, my blood sugar spikes for when I eat the rice or oatmeal, my blood sugar spikes. So I don't like to say, like most articles, this is a good food. I only know what's good for you. And I'm not concerned with what's good for me. I don't say, Steve, where what's his diet is everybody's diet. I want to know how foods work for you. And let's dial it in if you want to go more, quote, meat based. Great. You want to go more vegetarian? Vegan.
Great. Let's dial it in for your bottom. So we show very love that. I love that. I actually did. I actually got one of those continuous blood glucose monitors. I least one for like two weeks just to kind of do it for fun. You're right. They're kind of expensive. But now that I look at it, I wish I would have just bought it. I think you can get them for like eight hundred like eight hundred dollars. Where have you seen. They're pricey. Yeah, they're. And, you know, I haven't really even priced out because that's what I didn't know. I've seen him for six, seven, eight hundred dollars. And then, you know, you're paying for the sticky things. Also. Yikes. It's still kind of pricey. I'm hoping somebody will we'll figure out a way to knock it down quite a bit. But you can get the information. You know, it's a little bit of a pain because you're sticking your fingers with a regular glucose monitor. But if you just do your homework over a couple of weeks, you'll know. I mean, the CGM is great. You get tremendous data because then you start to see, wow, I didn't sleep well. Boom. You know, my blood sugar goes up. Wow. I'm under stress. Boom. My blood sugar goes up. So it really teaches you to manage your lifestyle in a much broader degree than just nutrition. So that's why the CGM is super powerful, because there's so many things outside of food that affect your blood glucose readings. But as far as food goes, if you just buy the inexpensive regular glucose modern, you don't mind sticking your fingers, you know, three, four or five, six times a day for for a couple of weeks or more.
Yeah. You get you get some very accurate data. You really you know, I've had a lot of patient go, gosh, I love rice, but it really spikes my blood sugar. Well, now we know. And my job is to educate you and to make recommendations. My job is not to tell you. Well, you've got to do this. I believe in the hashtag take ownership. Right. You got to take ownership in your own house. So if I show you that rice v a glucose monitor spikes your blood sugar. Your decision? I love rice. Well, you want to compete or not. You know, for me, I like to compete. I like to do really well. I can still bring it home. I'll be 60 in August. I can still feel really bring it. And I love being able to do that. And the only reason I can I don't have some kind of Olympian genetics. I really have dial it in for me. And I guess that's the message that would be the most important that I leave with people is you want to go vegan, carnivore. Most people are going to be somewhere in between that because those are two very much extremes. But dial it in for you. Really dial it in for you. Do your home. Yeah. And if someone is interested in getting that, I think the best brand out there is called DexCom and D E X C O M and they're making M where they're they're starting to make them where they're cheaper and cheaper and they're getting them where they can have an app on your iPhone. I mean they're they're really kind of bringing it. So let's just say someone wants to do it the regular way. Let's talk about those numbers one more time.
Let's pretend that they're 70, between 70 and 80 before they. Like they're asking reposes, meaning to tell their numbers of after they eat off this point. And then after they eat, you know, two hours later, what should those numbers mean? Yeah. So. So there's a fellow named Joseph Kraft. And what he actually used was insulin. And he did almost 15000 patients. So that to our response I'm talking about should actually be insulin numbers. But we really can't get those without going to a have, you know, all day long, every day. So insulin would be better. How do I say it? A better early warning system, because your insulin numbers will go awry before your blood glucose numbers will go awry. That being said, the indicator that's available to most of us is the blood glucose monitor. So if you are in that wonderful gosh, if you could be seventy eighty eighty five in the morning fasted, that would be great as long as you're not spiking above depending on who you read. Certainly not more than one 140, preferably 120 or 130 by this thirty minute to one hour mark. Right. So you take it. You could do it. Forty five minutes in two hours. But it would be great if you could do it at 30 minutes. At 60 minutes. Because by 60 Minutes you should have hit that peak. So the peak. Let's say we'll call it 1 30, 60 minutes. So you don't want it to go higher than 130 at the 60 minute mark. And then you want it to drop back down. So 90 minute mark. You know, you're down to 1 0 5 and then boom, at 2 hours, you're back to your you know, let's so after two hours, whatever you started with.
You should be back up to it. Yep. And anything if it spikes. So there's different types of curves that Dr. Croft discovered. You know, it can spike way high. It can spike way higher earlier or later. It can go too low. Right. So you can go underneath your resting your your morning number. So it can be all over the place in anything other than what we just described would be in a variant in abnormal. Not. Right. Type of glucose. So, you know, then you're. Then we talk about, well, are you pre-diabetic? Well, pre-diabetic means diabetes. Right. And there's no such thing as pre-diabetic. And, you know, as my tyre pressure, it's supposed to be 40. Is it thirty nine? Well, it's low. You may not feel it, but I guarantee you that if Mario Andretti was driving the car, he'd feel it because he's a race car driver. So how how good is your warning system? So you want to try to develop the best warning system. And that's why you need to dial it for yourself. So one of the I'm really big on blood sugar. And so my my friends give me a hard time. But we do these like anytime. It's one of our girlfriends birthday. We always kind of go out to lunch. And so one of the things I do for fun is I have my, um, blood glucose monitor and I have different strip, you know, different things for every one. And I'm like, OK, it's time for us to check everyone's budget. I literally go around and I check everyone's blood sugar. And then right after we eat. I do it again just to see where where everyone is. And I will tell you, the skinniest. And then at table are the ones who they start at the lowest blood sugar level.
And when they're done eating, your blood sugar level is the lowest. And what's really interesting to watch it, I think I might record at one time. And they're all like, oh, gosh, here understandhow with their blood glucose monitor. I think that would be wonderful because you need a metric. You need. You do need a tool. We do want to try to simplify it. But if we simplify it too much, it becomes so inaccurate. I think that's awesome. That would be a great video. I'd love to see. Yeah. I want to do that. I think in a car, all the girls together and just say, hey, we're gonna do a lunch. And they always think they always laugh when I do it. But it maybe DexCom will send you a bunch of CGM for that call. Right. That would be you know, I think if they realize, wow, this is a tool that, you know, the average person, frankly, should be using on a regular basis. It's not that you should live with a CGM on you all the time. At least some people are data people, maybe engineers would love to live with this. G.m.'s on them all the time. For me, as long as I get data, you know, once or twice a year I think is enough. As long as I know that I'm sticking with what I should be, do that I know what works for. But if I go off the beaten path, maybe that reading will say, Hey, Steve, you're off the beaten path. Let's get back on the path now. Do you feel like the amount of protein that you're eating and if your people are really improving their protein amount, that it helps with satiety? I think for some people it does Iman on the table kind of guy.
So I'm going to tell you, I can eat four eggs, three pieces of bacon and five ounces of salmon. And since I just try, I train hard this morning. It does not give me a feeling citified. So I don't want people to be bummed out, but that's just me and I just manage it. You know, that's why I'm very careful with my cards. I lean toward the carnivore world because I eat a lot of meat, eggs and salmon. But I do carefully taking carbohydrates. For me, that looks like a hundred, maybe as high as 150 grams. I'm a hard training day, so that will look like a sweet potato or a corn squash. I know those two things don't make my blood sugar go off the beaten path and it kind of calms me down and gives me if I. For me, if I combine heavy meat meal with that little bit of sweet potato, then I get more of that feeling of satiety. Whereas when I talk to other people, if they eat the, quote, good fat like the you know, the entire egg, for instance, they can eat four or five eggs and feel completely satisfied. So there's all kinds of different, you know, stats for how much the average American consumes sugar. I think I've seen some that say 17 teaspoons per day. Some say, you know, 20 teaspoons a day. You know, there's just all kinds of different data out there of how much sugar people are consuming. Can you give us? I know for me personally, that is a big one. I love sugar. And so it's always a struggle for me to try to limit how much sugar I'm eating. Do you have any kind of easy hacks where you say, here's some things I've done and help you kind of hack that desire to cut that sugar intake out of your diet? I think, number one, the go to is always going to be add protein because the research is really clear.
There is a Canadian researcher that people can look up, Stewart Phillips, he's an amazing guy. You can follow him on Twitter. What I love about Twitter is all these researchers will publish. Well, we'll throw in their tweets. Their most recent studies. So you can literally stay on. On the cusp of the most recent research by following the right people. And if you want to follow protein, Donald Layman, Dr. Donald Layman, L A Y MRN and Dr. Stewart Phillips are two great people. But the research shows that the you need more protein for most people. It will give you more of a feeling of satiety. And the beautiful thing about protein is if you add more grams of protein, you can be. Have more grammes and you may or more. Total calories. Eating that extra protein. If you push your total calories more than what you, quote, burn, you know, the calories in, calories out, folks, protein will not make you gain weight. You can get away with 20, 30, 40, 50, maybe even 100 grams of protein. So times for right in terms of calories. You can get 200 to 400 additional calories in a day. You'll be you'll be lean. So I would make my first haake more protein. My second half would be getting the good fats and so eating more eggs with the yolks. That would definitely be my second pack. My third hike would be more magnesium for most people. You know, getting a magnesium glycine 8. That seems to be the most popular magnesium lately. Terms of absorption. There's different there's different magnesium. But I find that one at least for me and my patients, to be the best. So adding the magnesium can kind of cut on those cravings as well.
So those would be why do you think that Magnesium Glycine 8 helps with the sugar cravings? I'm going to let the researchers, you know, go into the weeds with that one. I am definitely not the best one. What what I can tell you is that for most people. Oh, gosh, I'd just like to rename. It'll come to me. But most people are deficient in magnesium. And if you since magnesium is involved in hundreds and hundreds of chemical reactions of the human body, they'll find that magnesium will cut those cravings down pretty dramatically. Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that magnesium helps in regulating your glucose and your insulin. Absolutely. And so because it helps with that, then you're not having some of those high spikes. So then as soon as like Spike goes up and then it starts coming down, that's when you're like, you know, I feel like I need something else. Sweet as well. That's why the CGM, the continuous glucose monitors are so great because you learn what works for you. And by doing that, you know, you're not seeing this hopefully on the CGM, you know, that sine wave is getting smaller and smaller. So you're able to modulate that. And once you're able to modulate that, that's the open app, right? Once you're able to not be spiking all over the place. Almost all the time. I can't think of a time where somebody hasn't said that their cravings are less or gone. If they're not spiking all over. So the argument is just taking everything that we discussed, putting it together, saying, oh, wow, that, you know, I'm not crazy. Now, that said, I love dark chocolate. So I always have a couple of squares, maybe sometimes more than a couple of squares of dark chocolate today.
And I need eighty five percent or chocolate. Awesome. And let's talk a little bit about kind of how what else you're doing as far as your diet goes, so protein is a real big one. What else are you looking at for your diet? So, again, I'm looking at the total grams of protein for me then because I eat eggs, because I eat salmon or sardines because I eat the meat. You know, I'm getting what I say are good fats. There will be you know, unfortunately, the vegetarian community does not agree with the saturated fat part. And there's a bunch of lipid ologists who will frown at this. But that's OK. You know, there's plenty of research. You can find research on both sides of the table. So focus on getting enough good fats. So I have no problem with bacon. You know, I do limit it to about three strips a day, almost every day, but not quite every day. And then, like I said, I'm being very careful on my carbohydrate sources to make sure that they're optimal. I don't want to go too little, because then I feel I don't feel well and I don't sleep well. And to me, sleep is the best recovery tool. There's no more important recovery tool than sleep. I would rate sleep even more important than nutrition. I don't like to rate them like that because they. Oh, he said sleep is more important than nutrition. Yes, I just did say that they're both important. So you got a dial in both. But for me, I know it doesn't matter if I don't sleep, I'm not recover. And then that's going to screw up my glucose. So you can see where this is all related because again, the blood glucose is not just related to the nutrition.
So for me and I figured this out for me that I have to prioritize, sleep over everything. So I think that's another way. That's probably the number for active cravings is maybe get enough sleep as well as what is my diet look like that that makes the absorption, that makes how my body utilizes all this food that much better. Now, are you really focused so much on your protein and really looking at that or are you actually counting your macros and kind of looking, OK, how much protein am I getting? How much fat am I getting, how much carbs in my eating? You know, like I said, I'm not an engineer, but I do like to use. So I'll use what is it called, chronometer. There's a bunch of easy apps, but I'm not logging in my food every day. I do not choose to live my life like that. But every couple of months. Yeah, let's do a couple of days. Let's log it in and let's make sure I'm on the right path. Let me look at my training. Let me look at where I am. Absolutely. So I'm not too concerned with macros. My my my biggest concern is quality food. So all the beef is local beef. You know, that that kind of thing. Although we're so fortunate, we have a friend who has chickens. So we get chickens from Texas. And, you know, right here and you know, they eat insects, not not brains. So, you know, the food is pretty darn good. It's been a lot a lot more money on making sure that our food is good. And that, to me, makes all the difference in the world is the quality. The food comes first. I'm not I'm not too worried about my macros, but I in my opinion, I think it's a good idea for everybody to get an idea of what their macros are, just not necessarily live their lives by God.
Well, thank you so much for being with us. Tell listeners where they can find you and where they can follow you. I'm on social media. So on Twitter, I'm at Dr. Horwitt. So d.r Hurwitz. I'm on Instagram. Facebook. It's Dallas Sports Academy dot com. And then my e-mail is just my name, Dr. Steven. Wh-What's a G-mail? And I'm happy to take e-mails. I love talking to people about this and I just really love seeing that smile of success. Like, wow, I learned something. I got it down. And look at these great results. There's nothing better than the smile when somebody get some results if they want. Popham. Well, if you have a question that you want answered questions at Shantelle right away, dot com. We'll see you next time.