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New Venice Nutrition Member Webinar Coaching Series, Led by Mark Macdonald, Creator and CEO of Venice Nutrition

There are many things we cannot control in life, the one thing we CAN control is how we choose to take care of ourselves.

The key in Making your Health a Priority is becoming educated on how your body works and how to make it work for you. This is why Venice Nutrition’s Mission is To Educate individuals on how to work Nutrition, Fitness and Overall Health Permanently into their Lifestyle.

We are continually listening to your Valuable Feedback and the one thing requested most is for us to provide more cutting edge educational and motivational tools. We understand that even with the power of the Internet it is still difficult to find health information that is relevant, backed by science, understandable, and can be implemented into your lifestyle. There is a thirst for this knowledge and we are committed to providing you with a Health Education that matches those requirements.

For this reason, with your Membership you have access to the Venice Nutrition Members' Monthly Coaching Webinar Series. The webinar series takes place on the First Wednesday of each month at 8PM EST, led by Mark Macdonald, Creator and CEO of Venice Nutrition.

For Members

To Access the Webinar Coaching Series:

  1. Log into your Venice Nutrition Account
  2. Click on the Education Tab
  3. Click on the Video Section
  4. Choose the Webinar, Read about the Topics
  5. Download the Full Video and Audio or just the Audio File

For Non-Members

A Venice Nutrition Membership is Required to Access the Webinar Coaching Series. Here is how you can join Venice Nutrition >>

Mark Macdonald
creator of Venice Nutrition

Inspiring One Another Through Teamwork

Ever since I can remember I have been part of a team. My teams over the years have been my family, my athletic teams and now the Venice Nutrition Team. I have witnessed the power of team work and how it creates a sense of community, support and the desire to be great. I think the majority of us want to be part of something and also want to make our Health a Priority. Many times we just do not have that bridge between the two.

To take action with anything, especially your health, you must first believe it is possible and then have the inspiration, drive and put in the team work to truly succeed.

Thomas Edison said it best when he was asked why he had 21 assistants, “If I could solve all the problems myself, I would.”

There's lots of truth in that… through the years I have met many people that felt they could do everything by themselves, never wanting assistance from someone else. Unfortunately that mentality typically leads to disappointment and failure. The reality is to truly understand and be great at something you need assistance from others and that requires team work.

I would like to share a story that embodies the spirit of Teamwork. It all began when Donna Clifford (a former client, one of my dearest friends and Chief Business Officer of Venice Nutrition) referred two Professional Race Car drivers to me as clients. Donna is a big racing enthusiast and is also very fit, healthy and active. She is a fantastic example of making your health a priority while also living a busy lifestyle. Donna's actions motivated Joe Foster and Niclas Jonsson to want to learn more about maximizing their health and improving their performance on the track.

Joe and Nic had similar past nutrition habits, both knowing how to drop weight and body fat through calorie and carbohydrate restriction. Unfortunately even though they would make goal weight through restriction, their performance, recovery time, mood, and energy levels would suffer in the process.

I met with both of them and we focused on implementing the Venice Nutrition System and stabilizing their blood sugar. They both enrolled in One on One Coaching, we worked as a team, and their results were fantastic, externally and more important, their overall performance in endurance, mental sharpness, heat management and recovery became stronger than ever.

Now this story goes beyond Professional Athletes... As Joe and Nic started the Program, so did their Wives: Claudette (Joe's wife) and Helene (Nic's Wife). Claudette and Helene are moms, wives and business women. They both live full lives and wanted to learn how to work nutrition and fitness into their lifestyles. Both Claudette and Helene also achieved fantastic external and internal results, and most important for them, they became educated how their body works and how to make it work for them.

Through the past 6 months, I met with each couple every two weeks, and in every meeting you could see how they each inspired one another to succeed… Whether it was Donna bringing balanced meals to the Track, Nic sharing a great recovery drink with Joe, Claudette helping Joe with his meals, Joe sharing his meals with his race team or Helene and Claudette exchanging recipes.

They worked as a team, supported each other through the process and because of that each of them achieved their Health Goals. Their actions have now inspired so many more people, their families, friends, fellow race team members and fans.

Great teamwork goes beyond the team; it creates a culture that spreads hope and possibility to everyone it touches. There are millions of people who are frustrated about their health and want to feel better, they just don't know how. My inspirational message last month was about Leading By Example, I now invite you to take it beyond that and begin to inspire others through Teamwork as well. Doing this can be as simple as posting on the Venice Nutrition Member Forum and Blog, Joining Facebook and sharing your Success Story with others, starting a neighborhood exercise group, educating fellow parents about food and how to feed their children, or making someone you care about a healthy balanced meal… The teamwork possibilities are endless. At the end of the day, reaching our goals requires us to all work together as one and show others the possibilities. This, to me, is the definition of teamwork.

I would like to leave you with this quote from Ryunosuke Satoro,

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean”

Culinary Corner

by head chef Valerie Cogswell

Mexican Chicken Tenders with Vegetables

For all of you that love finding fast ways to dress up chicken, this recipe is for you! The base of this dish includes lean chicken tenders, crisp and colorful bell peppers, sliced red onion and ripe tomatoes. Then the chicken and vegetables are tossed and baked with a healthy and zesty dressing of olive oil, lemon, jalapeno pepper, and spices. You can enjoy this recipe served in a whole grain wrap or on top of brown rice for a nice change of pace. Spicy Mexican Chicken Tenders are a delicious, versatile and fun way to dress up your next meal. Enjoy!

Login to check out this recipe in your Recipe Tab today >>

Old School High Intensity Cardio Myths meet Current Science Based High Intensity Cardio Truths written by Mark Macdonald, Creator and CEO of Venice Nutrition

I played on my first club soccer team at the age of 9; I can remember my coach talking to us about Carbohydrate Loading. He shared how we should eat a big pizza Friday night to prepare for the game Saturday morning. Then during the game we should all continue the carbohydrate intake by drinking Gatorade, juice and eating orange slices at halftime. This philosophy was a reoccurring theme in all my sports: cross country, tennis, cycling, swimming, basketball and soccer. It was also supported during my collegiate soccer years by my coaches and professors.

The theory behind carbohydrate loading is that by taking in a high dosage of carbohydrates (sugar) the day before your sporting event you'll provide your muscle with a long lasting supply of Glucose (sugar) which will maximize energy. This philosophy also reinforces taking liquid Glucose supplements (goo) and/or high sugar electrolyte recovery drinks (Gatorade) during a sporting event.

After college my focus shifted from sports to bodybuilding. I quickly realized that the Carbohydrate Loading philosophies I'd learned were just philosophies …. As I dug deeper into how the body actually can create and burn energy it became evident that Carbohydrate Loading for High Intensity Cardio was a myth and in truth actually hinders performance.

The Purpose of this Article is to Shed Light on the 5 most well known High Intensity Cardio Myths and then present the Current Science/Physiology and Actual Truths of maximizing performance and recovery during High Intensity Cardio Events. The Information in this article is also reinforced by 1000’s of testimonials of high performance athletes that our nutrition centers have worked with through the years, a few being:

  • The American Stroke Association – Marathon Club
  • Professional, Collegiate & High School Athletes from all sports: Football, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Track, Lacrose, Boxing, Wresting, Volleyball , etc.
  • 1000’s of Regional Triathlete, Cycling, Swimming & Running Clubs

The 5 Myths Are:

Myth 1: You can eat as many carbohydrates as you like since you exercise and train so hard.

  • Truth: There is a great saying “No work out can out work a bad diet”. The reality is that too much of anything will yield negative results. ALL Carbohydrates are broken down to sugar and too much carbohydrate intake (even healthy ones) will spike your blood sugar levels, cause an over release of Insulin and cause you body to store fat. Take a look around you and watch the people you know who overeat carbohydrates and exercise a lot, most of the time they have higher body fat levels and lack muscle tone. This is due to the overconsumption of carbohydrates and working at too high of a heart rate for too long of a time.
  • Everything needs to stay in balance. Your body is a feed as it goes machine. The best way to look at this is by taking a baby's feeding routines into account. A baby will feed every 3 to 4 hours, eating balanced meals of all three nutrients - Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates, stop when satisfied and begin eating again when it is hungry. Our Nervous System uses Glucose (sugar) to create energy, so it relies on a steady balanced supply. When a baby grows (or you workout more one day than your other days), the body will need more fuel. It won't only need carbohydrates… it requires more balanced meals. The combination of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates within each meal creates a hormonal balance of your blood sugar levels which will maximize your results.

Myth 2: During high intensity cardiovascular exercise (Heart Rate above 160 BPM) of extended duration (60 minutes and above) you should eat many more carbohydrates before, during and after exercise to ensure you have enough energy to maximize performance. (I will do my best to keep this answer as non scientific as possible)

  • Truth: Your body does require more overall Calories (carbohydrates, protein and fat) during high intensity exercise due to the fact that you are mostly burning glucose during the activity. The old philosophy is that loading up on Carbohydrates before an event would maximize your glucose (sugar) reserves for the activity. Unfortunately that is not the case. When too many carbohydrates are consumed your body will store fat and some of the glucose will also be stored to be utilized for energy. The challenge with this is that the stored glucose (sugar) in muscle tissue lacks something called a Glucose 6 Phosphate, all this means is that the sugar in each particular  muscle can only be used for that muscle and cannot be accessed for blood sugar. So any extra glucose your body requires will be taken from the amino acids (protein) in your muscle mass. In essence, your body begins to cannibalize itself. For these reasons, carbohydrate loading before, during or after an event will completely work against you.
  • Of course, you definitely need to feed yourself before, during and after the training. The key is to feed yourself a balanced meal of Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates - preferably low glycemic ones - and high quality food before and after training. During High Intensity Cardio of extended duration training (marathon, triathlon, extended high intensity cardio, etc...) you are best to either eat a piece of a protein bar or a have a portion of a protein shake every 15 minutes. Make sure the protein bar and protein shake match your balanced nutrient ratios.
  • This type of consistent feeding will provide your body with a steady supply of Glucose. It will also keep your liver Glucose stores full. Keeping these stores full is critical because the Glucose found in the liver is the only stored Glucose that can be converted into blood sugar. Now, the liver can only hold approximately 400 grams of glucose at any given time... This is why Carbohydrate Loading will not work.

Myth 3: To maximize performance you must eat a lot of Heavy Carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, etc) the night before an event.

  • Truth: The same information from Myth 2 applies to Myth 3. The overall philosophy of carbohydrate loading was to provide the body with a high amount of stored glucose (sugar) so it could utilize these stores during an event. As we discussed above, it is physiologically impossible. This means that all carbohydrate loading will do is store more fat and end up keeping the body's blood sugar levels unstable. You can see this by reviewing the High Blood Sugar Chart provided here.
  • The answer is to consistently feed your body high quality balanced meals before, during and after the event. This will maximize your performance.

Myth 4: During the event you should be consistently taking in glucose (sugar) supplements to keep your energy consistent.

  • Truth: I think you are now seeing the theme... all your meals should be balanced and you should feed your body as you go, meaning as you output energy, make sure you are consistently replacing that energy.
  • All pure sugar replacements do is quickly go through your digestive system and spike your blood sugar levels. Physics says that what goes up, must come down... The same thing applies to your blood sugar levels, and that kind of reaction will drastically affect your performance. When using glucose supplements you will eventually have an energy crash. They will also cause irregularities in your blood sugar and affect recovery time.
  • The solution is to consistently feed on a protein bar or protein shake as explained in myth 2.
  • Of course, there will be times where you will “Hit the Wall” meaning your body seemed to burn more fuel than you expected and you experience low blood sugar. If this happens, taking a glucose supplement is recommended (always have one available for these types of emergencies) and then evaluate what happened so you can create a solution to prevent it from occurring again.

Myth 5: After the Event you should eat many carbohydrates so you can refuel your body's low glucose (sugar) supply.

  • Truth: There is an Old Philosophy about the “Window of Opportunity”, meaning after an event your body is in such a deficit it needs to take in a large amount of food, especially carbohydrates, to recover and maximize performance. Once again this will only lead to spiking your blood sugar and storing fat.
  • Imagine if there is not a deficit, what if you fed your body correctly and balanced through the event and never hit a blood sugar low?
  • If you never hit a blood sugar low there is never a need to over consume carbohydrates. The reality is this: if you can prevent the Ups and Downs of your blood sugar and keep you body in a constant state of homeostasis (internal balance) you will train, perform and recover much more efficiently and effectively.

This brings me to a great success story of a Professional Tennis Player I worked with. Brendan Zackey came to me wanting to improve his endurance and overall speed and recovery on the court. He was fit and trained about 4-5 hours a day… and his nutrition was all mostly carbohydrates. His body fat was too high and it affected his ability to out perform players who had a higher tennis skill set. After three months of implementing the Venice Nutrition System and taking on these High Intensity Cardio Recommendations I've explained, his body composition greatly improved and he quickly became a higher ranked tennis player. His mental focus, endurance, strength and recovery all went from a 5 out of 10 to an 9 out of 10 (10 being the best). Brendan can now out perform his competition because he understands how his body utilizes fuel and he then implements that knowledge to maximize his performance.

As this article shows, there's misinformation everywhere …. I too bought into it at one time, that was of course until I could see the holes and inconsistency in the information I was working from. Myths like these are easy to spot if you choose to become educated on how your body works. Once you make that choice and let go of what you think or what others say works and actually start spending time understanding the body, you will then have the tools to achieve all of your Health Goals and Maximize Performance.

We are finally in a place where all the information is now available and that is a great place to be, because your success is now up to you…. I invite you to remember these 5 Truths, lets go of the 5 myths, and begin implementing some of these suggestions. Do that, and you will take your sports performance to the next level!

You Asked | We Answered

Q:What are some easy ways to keep my digestive system on track?

A:You can create a healthy digestive track and stay “regular” by making small steps to improve your sleep, nutrition and exercise, supplementation, water intake and stress levels. Getting restful and consistent sleep, along with utilizing relaxation techniques to manage your stress levels and relax bowel muscles can help to improve your digestion. Aim for approximately 25-30 grams of fiber per day by including high fiber foods as your carbohydrate choices into your diet such as whole grains (like brown rice and whole wheat bread), fruits and vegetables. Regular exercise will also help to keep your digestive track moving. Drink a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water per day and even more when hot or exercising. And lastly talk to your Nutrition Coach about which supplements, such as probiotics and digestive enzymes, may help to ease your symptoms and restore balance.

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