Hold Fast Iron

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Fats Aren't So Scary Anymore

Written By: Linda Cusmano©

Should You be Afraid of Fat? 

The stigma of fat has finally come to a place of better understanding.  At one point fat was just fat; it was an enemy.  No one bothered to dig deeper and break it down so it was just vilified and lost in translation.  People avoided and eliminated fats to an extreme sacrificing some much needed nutrition simply because the concept of whole foods and the overall picture of fats were never really explored.

No one bothered to clarify that there are good fats,and bad fats, so all fats were feared.  If you look at other diets from around the world you will see that many countries have centurions which can be attributed in part to the fats they use as staples in their diet.  Mediterraneans use olives and its oils, just look at the Greeks and Italians……clean air, organic whole foods and good fats have them living longer.  There is also the fact that they still walk a lot daily unlike North Americans and live much less hustle and bustle; they take living and enjoying life daily very seriously. 

Nuts are also big in many ethnic diets and again another amazingly good fat.  Of course nuts have a scale as to which are better or more fatty than others, and seeds are an amazing compliment to the Essential Fatty Acid ("EFAs") family too! 

Athletes excel when EFAs are deliberately factored into their macro nutrients.  Their diets should have an average, more or less, of 30% fats.  Things like nuts, seeds, olives, and avacados.  Animal and trans fats can be considered carcinogenic especially in how its cooked or treated plus they are the ones that should be limited and do make you gain fat weight.  Not great to overload on that, it does negative to the system when not balanced right with the good fats.

The proof is in the pudding so try it; the improvements are markedly obvious in so many ways.  Athletes do notice the boost and it’s not subtle so you can test it yourself.

I like to use mixed seed oil blends which balance the omegas such as hemp, flax type combos.  This can be added to foods, as salad dressings or in shakes.  These fats are not meant to cook with but taken raw on the food so they are not broken down.  EFAs are as much a mainstay to any athlete as protein and carbs.  Fats are actually being looked at with more importance at this point since they were ignored for so long and now seen as a gold addition to your arsenal.  It took my game up many levels!

Balance is always the key to all but for an athlete who looks at bodyfat or weight for their sport they need this to help with the leaning.  YES it helps you lean down, it helps balance the fat macro with fats that are used efficiently and not packed away like fried fats and trans fats.  Key word…….ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID.

When I was bodybuilding I was up to 8 tbs a day of EFAs in my diet for the last month pre stage, my cut stage!  And it helped keep me from looking starving and stringy. My muscle stayed full and my skin did not get the same effect you would get by cutting water severely for a show, being dehydrated and cutting fats.  I got to 5-6% body fat easily and with no ill side effects to the body such as lethargy or lame brain, the typical complaints some athletes have.

Ironically in testing water and fats pre lean down, I found that most athletes thinking logically, cut this to trim but don’t realize it makes the body react to the deficit.  When I super hydrated and cut a bit of water before a show, I stayed looking full and healthy, was not dehydrated and felt amazing.  I had no moods,  no lack of energy and was the healthiest ever for on or off season.  Fats were used to keep me going and I was able to keep up more water than most competitors while eating back stage; while others dropped their chins seeing me eat and drink water pre stage time as they were starving themselves and cutting water in extreme.  I came in feeling and looking top notch, taking top placings.  This made some competitors rethink things.  When I compete in fitness there is the extra training and routine component which makes it more hours with dance, gymnastics and routine practice.  The energy used for that category is more than the others so with some learning and experience over the years, I learned that fats are essential for your best game!  The experience and exposure to this realm taught me what the fitness education does not. 

Physique comps are one example as its visual, it’s about what you see, to the extreme.  But all athletes should consider this regardless if their aesthetic plays a part in the requirement for their sport.  Any sport can be better played and mastered if your take conditioning to the next level.  Fats are a major key.


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