Since the NCAA finally relaxed regulations on how and when schools can feed student-athletes, sports programs have had a new world opened up to them. To better fuel athletes to perform their best -- and also to capitalize on a great new recruiting tool -- several schools have build new eating and snack facilities catered specifically to student-athletes.

At the University of Miami, that means a new dining hall for athletes equipped with all the trimmings. As Canes defensive lineman Calvin Hertelou explains, players can get whatever food they want, whenever they want. That goes for omelettes, waffles, junk food, even prime rib.

Certainly, some features of the Canes dining setup is geared more toward pleasure than practicality. Athletes don't necessarily need constant access to hamburgers, or a private dining hall that features a gigantic flat-screen television, or a prime rib cutting professional standing at the ready to chop off a two-inch steak for football players, but they have all of this.

It's a much better setup than the NCAA's old rules, which made no sense in terms of student-athlete care or health. Those rules would have permitted, for example, an unhealthy snack bar or candy bar provided as a between-meals snack, but would have outlawed a peanut butter sandwich as a meal, and therefore an NCAA violation.

Those rules often hurt athletes more than they helped. So yes, this may seem a bit excessive, but it's much better to the alternative. Plus, just look how happy Calvin is sitting in front of that toddler-sized prime rib steak. You can't help but smile.

As Kobe Bryant gets up there in years, he's becoming more aware of his body's needs. No longer the same young player who could "eat a Big Mac and score 40," Bryant is using all resources at his disposal to bolster his health, avoid injuries and prolong his Hall of Fame career.

The latest such trick: Drinking bone broth.

As highlighted by ESPN, Bryant has turned bone broth into a staple of his diet. He drinks it almost every day and incorporates it into his pregame routine.

"I've been doing the bone broth for a while now," Bryant told ESPN. "It's great -- energy, inflammation. It's great."

The Lakers' nutrition director, Dr. Cate Shanahan, has been instrumental in getting Bryant to buy in on broth. She points out that the nutritional benefits of a homemade broth offer significant value to anyone -- but particular to aging professional athletes.

Other key Lakers staffers, including head strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, have also bought in.

"When you make it the right way, you get the minerals and the exact building blocks of what makes up our joint surfaces," DiFranceso said. "He's recognized in the last few years, since sort of pointing him in the direction, of how important that will be.

"It's ultra, ultra important for [Bryant], maybe more so than the other guys, than a 22-year-old who has really pristine joint surfaces and can get away with it and maybe doesn't need it right now."

Bryant's interest in broth isn't a solo act. In Asian cultures, broth has been a diet staple for centuries, and that influence is sparking something of a revolution in America. Earlier this month, The New York Times ran a story on how bone broth popularity has led to the establishment of cafes specializing in various nutritional bone broths.

Those broth consumers are attracted to the same qualities as Bryant: Improved joint health, nutrient-rich supplements, longer and healthier lives.

To Bryant, bone broth is just one of many changes that add up to a big difference in his physical health. But as the rest of the league keeps getting younger, those small changes yield drastic results.

Ohio State's coaches aren't sure if the benefits were physical or mental, or whether it actually made a difference in the game.

But most have a hunch that a short-lived diet made a big difference for Ohio State's football team.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Ohio State's coaching staff was impressed by the speed and finesse of Oregon's squad when it first sat down to watch game tape after the playoff semifinals. The Ducks' high-speed offense and playmaking agility stood in stark contrast to the power game employed by Alabama, whom Ohio State defeated to reach the title game.

Such a different team required a different approach. So Ohio State took an unusual angle.

"I told them: 'I don't want you to starve,'" Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson told the Journal. "Just eat less."

"I should launch my own weight-loss program."

Coaches pushed the players to drop several pounds ahead of the game by cutting down on their food intake and avoiding sweets. Each player had a goal weight to aim for, and that goal was monitored by the coaches.

When game day arrived, players were hungry to win. And the staff believes the physical deprivation heightened their on-field intensity. Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell wasn't sure if the physical effects were significant, but he believed the diet affected players' mental states.

"You’re not going to get in better shape in 10 days," Fickell told the WSJ. "But you lose a couple of pounds, you think: 'I’m leaner, I’m lighter, I'm faster.'"

The Buckeyes surprised many observers by matching Oregon's stamina and speed, stifling its offense and responding to fast strikes and moves with equally swift counters.

In the end, Oregon's finesse game was snuffed out. Ohio State rode its hunger to victory.

The most talked-about summer diet in sports has finally been revealed.

At the unveiling of his "LeBron 12" in Oregon this month, LeBron James finally pulled back the curtain on the meal plan that led him to lose all that weight this offseason.

"I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs," James said, according to SI.com. "All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That's it. For 67 straight days."

Entering his 12th NBA season and nearing his 30th birthday, James made it a point the past few months to slim down. He says he lost the weight to be in top shape for training camp and also to test his "mental fortitude."

While it's unclear exactly how much weight James actually lost, it's probably in the 10-20 pound range. James, who is 6-foot-8, has fluctuated between 250 and 260 pounds the past few years.

James started a trend, and his superstar friends Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade also dropped weight.

The Cleveland Cavaliers forward has been posting photos of his meals, and they're all consistent with what he told reporters:

"Lunch is served. Arugula salad with chicken, strawberries, mango, cashews and olive oil/lemon vinaigrette dressing. Bowl of squash and zucchini and glass of H2P #YummyInMyTummy"

"Dinner is served! Lobster salad with asparagus and mango chutney. #Amazing #MykonosFollowing"

James even had to turn down a personalized cake while on vacation in Greece because it broke about every rule of his diet:

As it turns out, James may have lost too much weight, and he's said that before the season starts he's hoping to "pick up a couple pounds back." He should have no problem with that.

"Do you believe in Paleo?” (Or Atkins or Pritikin or the Zone or South Beach, etc.)

It's a somewhat loaded question to those of us who work in the fitness business.

Do I believe it exists? Like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy?

But that's not the real question I'm being asked. The question is really, "Do I believe that someone should eat this way?" And while my answer is a definitive "maybe," I think the "Paleo, Atkins, South Beach question misses the point, because it doesn't answer what the real issues are that prevent anyeating plan from working.

Popular diet books promise to cure us of our unsightly Muffin Tops and make us dynamos in the bedroom! Not only that, but if we’ll just follow their particular food restrictions, we won't have to count calories or workout either. Baloney!

If you read my previous blog, the Top 5 Reasons You're Not Seeing Results In The Gym, you will understand one thing about me: I believe in basic, straightforward solutions.

Continuing my quest to provide simple, actionable solutions, here are my Top 5 Reasons Your Fat-Loss Diet Isn't Working:

1. You Don't Count Calories.

The simple truth is the vast majority of us simply eat too much. We tend to eat too many calorie-dense foods, our portions are too big, and we eat too often.

Consuming the proper number of calories is the single best thing we can do to be successful at fat loss! In fact, it's so critical that my other four "reasons" could really be viewed as 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e. Everything refers back to our ability to control calories.

For fat loss, this means a calorie deficit. In other words, we need to burn more calories daily than we take in. We can create this deficit by eating fewer calories or exercising to burn more calories, or (preferably) a combination of both.

I know you were promised that if you just cut out carbs, or fat, or gluten, or meat, or dairy, or legumes or nightshades you wouldn’t have to worry about calories.

Sorry, but it’s simply not true.

It's no wonder that most of us have no idea how many calories we are eating. We were told it wasn't important. Yet without this knowledge, we can’t possibly create the proper calorie deficit to lose body fat. The onlyreason any diet works is that the food choices you are given to eat are typically lower in calories than the foods you were told to eliminate.

But make no mistake, it's not that you stopped eating animal protein or fat or sugar or legumes that got you to lose body fat. It’s simply that you created the needed calorie deficit.

Keep a food journal, or use a smart phone app to find out how much you're eating now. You may not need a whole new lifestyle; you may just need to eat less of what you're already eating.

2. You Demonize Nutrients

For Atkins, it was carbs. For Pritikin, it was fat. And for Paleo, it's legumes and "nightshades." Nightshades ... sounds scary, right?

To be fair, there is a poisonous nightshade called “Belladonna” or “Deadly Nightshade." It is poisonous and it can kill you. But to lump other nightshades like potatoes, peppers and eggplant in with Belladonna is simply ridiculous.

As is the idea that eliminating any single nutrient, food or food group is the key to fat loss (or that consuming it is the cause for obesity). Yes, there could be reasons for an individual to limit or eliminate specific nutrients (e.g. someone with Celiac Disease eliminating gluten). For most of us, this is completely unnecessary and could even lead to malnutrition.

But demonizing nutrients does sell a lot of diet books!

3. You Don’t Sleep Enough

Other than the danger of a middle of the night, Ambien-induced food binge, sleeping is hugely important for good health, and even for fat loss.

Lack of sleep has been positively correlated with an increase in metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity). Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation is inversely related to body fat (less sleep equals more body fat).

And while dieting, a lack of sleep leads to more of the weight being lost from lean body mass instead of fat mass, definitely not what you want. So get your ZZZZ’s!

4. You Follow Someone Else's Diet

If you told me I had to consume a diet that included sushi, radishes, cauliflower and avocado, you’d probably think I’d say that’s pretty healthy, right?

While those foods are good choices for some people, I HATE them all. What good is the best diet plan if you won’t follow it? The key is to find a diet that works for you, a diet that covers all your nutritional bases while creating the desired calorie deficit.

And perhaps most importantly, a diet that you can maintain your weight with once your fat loss goal is achieved.

5. You Don't Lift Weights

"Less Frosting, More Cake!"

I’m not talking about dessert here. But this is one way I describe body composition to my clients. We want a body that is more cake (muscle) and less fat (frosting).

Resistance training is, of course, the best way to add more “cake”. And one of the biggest problems I see is people who try to rely on dieting alone to lose body fat.

You've probably heard that you burn more calories when you add muscle. Technically, this is true, but the results are minuscule. You won’t magically be able to eat whatever you want just because you added a few pounds of muscle.

But what weight training does do is stimulate the retention of lean body mass while on a diet. Also, you are more likely to stick to your diet if you are concurrently exercising.

To be fair, fat loss can be complex at times and confounded by medical issues, socio-economic issues, etc. But most of us could achieve our goals far more quickly if we ignored all the hyped minutiae and focused on the Big Picture items I mentioned above.

As I learned growing up in the Midwest, "Don't step over a dollar to save a dime!"

Focus on counting calories, sleep, resistance training, and by all means, investigate what foods work best for you to stick to your eating plan.

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Tags:
Diet, Fitness




Notice your buddy’s belly poking out of his Browns jersey? This might explain it: You’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods the day after your favorite football team loses, according to new French research.

Fans of losing teams consumed 10 percent more calories than usual the day after a game, the research found. (And the bigger the team's losing deficit, the more people ate.) But fans of winners translate feelings to their food choices, too: Caloric intake went down 5 percent in spectators whose teams were victorious.

(Eat 30 percent less with this easy research-proven trick: The Easiest Way to Shrink Your Gut.)

We know it's just a correlation, but after doing some research, we did find that St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Detroit, and Nashville -- all cities with perennially bad NFL teams -- placed in the bottom half of a Gallup-Heathways poll tracking obesity in 190 of the United States’ biggest metro areas. Meanwhile, San Francisco, Denver, and Boston -- towns with traditionally successful NFL franchises -- were among the least obese areas.

So why do losers drown their sorrows in food? Research suggests you adopt the identity of the team you root for. Taking wins and losses personally affects self-regulation, making you more likely to stuff your face with handfuls of chips.

(What are the best snacks for men? Find out here.)

Predicting a bad season for your team this year? To deal with a tough sports loss, try blaming someone else. When our guys win, we often ascribe their success to how great they played. But when they lose, it’s easier to attribute the rout to some other external factor in the game, like bad officiating from the referees or fluke injuries to their star players, says Christian End, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Xavier University. That convinces us that our team isn’t bad at all -- we just got screwed. It’s called “cutting off reflected failure,” and doing it helps you brush off a loss without your ego taking a blow.

(Discover how the world's greatest athletes use failure as motivation. And use this stratagem to always keep your head in the game.)

Additional reporting by Andrew Daniels

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By James Fell
AskMen

For decades, "the man" warned that dietary fat (specifically the four-legged kind, not the plant kind) caused clogged arteries, chest pain and pleas to "Call 911!"

Could be that this was just a causation-correlation mix-up.

See, people who are obese and sedentary just happen to have diets that are really high in fat (as a general rule). They are also more likely to have high cholesterol and heart failure. The dietary fat may have indirectly caused the problems, but it was the body fat (and the lack of activity) that was the main culprit. Yes, you can be in the "overweight" category and be perfectly healthy, but once you start getting up into +30 BMI (assuming you’re not really muscular), the dangers to your health begin to arise. The higher the BMI, the more at risk you are.

Not necessarily at higher risk of "mortality" but "morbidity." This means life takes a nosedive with illness and infirmity at higher body weights. People still live a long while, but the obese are more likely to spend time in hospital beds with tubes in orifices and other nasty medical sh*t.

Eat cow. Put butter on stuff. Cheese it up. As long as calories are in check and body weight isn't high, your health should be fine. (Side note: stay away from trans fats, because they're way bad. The types of foods you find trans fats in are usually processed to hell. Processed food is the real enemy.)

So the saturated cow-cheese-butter fat isn't that bad if you're not overdoing it and don't have a high percentage of body fat. And the avocado-salmon-olive kind of fats are good for you, so get on that. But overall, if you have a high percentage of fat in your diet, you're at a higher risk of being fat, and that's not good.

There are four reasons why eating fat can make you fat:
1. The thermic effect of food for fat is very low
What is the thermic effect of food? TEF is the calories food burns by being digested. Cool, right? When you eat protein, which has a high TEF, roughly 20% of those calories are freebies; they’re burned off because your digestive system has to work harder to process them.

Carbohydrates don't have as high a TEF as protein, coming in at around 10%, but they still blow away the TEF of fat. Fat’s TEF is a subject for debate, but most put it at below 5% and as low as 2 percent.

So when you eat fat, very few of those calories are freebies. In the grand scheme of things, TEF isn't a huge factor, but it all adds up.

2. Fat isn't satiating
Dr. Raylene Reimer, a registered dietitian and associate professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Calgary, told me this about macronutrients and satiety: "Protein has the highest satiety factor of the three macronutrients. Carbohydrates come second, and fat is hardly satiating at all."

This is a statement supported by research like this, this and this. As you'll see in No. 4, it actually can have the opposite effect.

3. Fat is high in caloric density
This boils down to some basic math. Protein and carbohydrates only have four calories per gram, but fat has nine.

As an extreme example, an entire pound of fresh spinach (which has a high water content as well) has roughly the same number of calories as a single tablespoon of butter. Guess which one is more satisfying to your appetite? Which one is easier to consume a lot of? With fat, you get a big wallop of calories in a small volume of food, so it's just a lot easier to shovel a bunch more in without making your stomach feel full.

4. Fat makes things taste great
Try this experiment. Take a piece of bread and toast it. Now eat it. No, not with butter, just by itself. Not so great, right?

Now toast another piece of bread, but this time put butter on it. Tastes way better, doesn't it? You took a 100 calorie piece of toast, added 50 calories worth of butter, and that made it taste so much better you could eat two pieces. Maybe even three.

Our desire to eat fat dates back to Stone Age times, because for most of human history, we didn't have a grocery store down the street. So our brains became wired via evolution to seek out foods that were high in energy value to help us store fat for the next time there was a drought or you were too chicken to chase down that mammoth and stab it to death so the tribe could have hairy elephant meat for the next few weeks.

A pile of research shows that fat makes food taste better, and therefore people eat more of it. So it's not just added calories from fat, but added taste that makes you eat more. It's not just buttered toast, but buttered popcorn, deep-fried foods, chicken with skin vs. without ... This phenomenon has been investigated thoroughly by Dr. David Kessler in his excellent book The End of Overeating.

So, taking all this into consideration, it's worth easing off on your fat intake simply because it's a wise method of restricting overall caloric intake and keeping your body lean. At the end of the day, calories are what really matter, and a diet that is somewhat reduced in fat makes lower calorie consumption that much easier.

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NEW YORK -- For more than a decade, Rafael Nadal has been viewed as one of the most physically fit players on tour. The 27-year-old Spaniard is 6-foot-1 of muscle.

After his 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ryan Harrison on Monday at the U.S. Open, Nadal was asked if it was time to adopt a gluten-free diet. The 12-time Grand Slam champ panned the question.

"If you have the gluten-free diet or ... these kind of things that produce you not being happy the rest of the day, not being fresh mentally, that's a lot of effort for you," Nadal said. "Then you better don't do it."

While he acknowledges that gluten-free may work for some people, Nadal said each tennis player should cater to his own diet.

"There is not only one way to be a good tennis player or to be fit," he said. "Not all the players who had success in the history had the same diet or had the same style of play. Everybody's different."

Nadal is not even convinced gluten-free will be the top athletic diet in the next few years. The same way people believe Twitter and Facebook could be overtaken by the next social media site, Nadal says gluten-free dieting could lose its standing.

"Now, it seems like the gluten-free diet is great," he said. "After three years or four years, we will find another thing that will be great too. Then the gluten-free will not work anymore."

Nadal has his own routines for happiness and healthiness. In fact, Nadal does not think his methods are much different than those of his fans.

"I practice physical performance, practice tennis," he said. "I go fishing. I play golf. I go party when I have the chance to go party. That's all. I'm a really normal guy, normal life."

As part of being a normal guy, Nadal will not attack a gluten-free diet. Instead, he'll keep eating what makes him happy and what he believes makes him a world-class tennis player.

"I am happy with the normal diet," he said. "But I don’t say [gluten-free] is negative. I will say everybody's free to do what he wants. Everybody is not working the same things."

Nadal will not play his second round match until Thursday. He will be matched up against either Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil or Vasek Pospisil of Canada.

If Nadal wants to go eat a big steak in the meantime, he just might.

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The Eagles' offense isn't the only thing coach Chip Kelly will be overhauling in his first year in Philadelphia.

The former Oregon head man has made big changes to the team's diet, eliminating some staples of the Andy Reid era while implementing a much healthier array of foods.

ESPN's Jeannine Edwards reported from Philadelphia's practice facility Monday, noting that several new signs have appeared in the cafeteria:


Edwards noted that Kelly will be discontinuing two Philadelphia traditions -- "Taco Tuesday" and "Fast Food Friday" -- and cutting out fatty foods like pizza, chicken wings and red meat.

Kelly has implemented a leaner diet meant to help players stay fit. This includes personalized protein shakes.


So far, the shakes seem to be a hit with the players.

"We all got to choose our flavors," tight end Brent Celek said. "Mine is coconut, pineapple and banana. It tastes good and helps you maintain weight."

(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)

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Green label = green light? You're more likely to think candy is healthy if the calorie label is green instead of white or red -- even when the calories are the same, finds new research in the journal Health Communication.

Chalk it up to green's positive symbolism: The color is associated with "go" and the natural world, which may encourage you to think it's better for you, says study author Jonathan P. Schuldt, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Cornell University. (Ever notice how M&Ms and Snickers both sport green calorie labels?)

Other studies suggest that color can play with your brain: For instance, the color of your cup may influence how you perceive the taste or smell of a drink, and your plate’s hue may impact how much you like your food.

OK, so now you've got another food label lie to remember when you set foot in the food store. Luckily, we've sorted through all the confusion for you, and reduced every misleading label and advertisement you see to a few simple rules of supermarket shopping. Here's how to successfully Navigate the Grocery Aisles.

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