Monthly Archives: November 2013

Whats Blood got to with it?

I’ve overheard several of my fellow trainers ask their clients what their blood type is during the clients initial consultations.  Things like that tend catch my attention as it is not the sort of question that I have historically asked.   I am presently studying material in preparation for certification under the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) to deepen my knowledge of sports nutrition and presently hold a Fitness Nutrition Specialist designation under NASM.  Never once in either of my studies has a reference or test question been put forth between a persons blood type and specific dietary needs.  After hearing it several times I asked one of my co-workers why is that information needed?

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What sort of nutrition science is this?

Turns out several of our trainers subscribe to the “Blood Type Diet.”  This diet has been around for awhile and sales of the book still do well on popular online markets. The diets theory rests on the belief that because we have four possible blood types (A,B,O and AB) we function best with four separate dietary needs.  Apparently Rh factor (+ or -) is a non-issue, all that matters is the red stuff.

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“Today’s workout will begin with a series of neck stretches.”

Although we have different blood types, as a species we only have one digestive system right?  That’s what I thought, so I started to do a little digging into my nutrition books and hit up a few credible internet sources.  Based on what I could find the medical community and nutrition guidance organizations have all reached the following conclusion:

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The author relies purely on anecdotal evidence.  His statements contain some factual flaws and there is no medical/scientific literature supporting his belief.  But what about the people who claim that the diet has worked wonders for them?

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Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

In the interest of fairness and having reviewed the food recommendations per blood type, I can state the author is recommending a whole food diet that is generally healthy, with some blood types having more restrictions than others.  I don’t see anything particularly harmful in following the food recommendations.   As stated previously here on MyTrainerChris, a diet should be something you can live with, live on and most importantly do no harm.

“Let food be thy medicine”

Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but doesn’t cleaning up your diet generally lead to feeling better? Not only that, but often when people make the effort to clean up their diet they often pick up other healthy habits such as increasing hydration, getting better sleep and exercising regularly. So is it in the blood type or the lifestyle choice?

Not only does the author suggest that certain food types match your blood type, that certain methods of exercise match your type as well.  According to the author, based on my blood type I should stay away from meat and do best with calming exercises or cardio. Wait….cut CrossFit and Resistance training and toss out my bison, chicken and fish?

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“I will give you my bacon when you take it from my cold dead hands.”

“But Chris, don’t blood tests have some bearing on nutrition?” Certainly! a blood test reveals many things including hemoglobin A1C, Blood Sugar levels, cholesterol levels, vitamin/mineral deficiencies and kidney/thyroid/liver functions among other things. This a very handy means of checking your health status and something that is commonly performed in clinics around the world.

Does this mean that the Blood Type diet is pure fiction?  At present, there has been no scientific research to support the authors position.  This does not mean he will not be proven correct in the future, just that the medical and scientific community at large disagree with his position.

References:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/05/22/ajcn.113.058693

NYU Lagonne Medical Center

http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=214387

Loss of Motivation

It is not uncommon for a person engaged in a training program to lose motivation.  I suppose many things could cause this. 

 Possible Demotivators

Lack of tangible results (Inches, Pounds, Performance etc.)

Loss interest in going to the gym at all.

Loss of interest in your training program.

Life presenting you competing or conflicting obligations.

Personality conflicts with your trainer.

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Not exactly words to live by, but I will say that it pays to win.

The only way that I can address this problem is to speak to you in an honest and open manner from the heart. Regardless of whatever your de-motivator is, there are a few simple facts that you must face.

  1. There is only one of you. Your body is the only one you will get 
  2. There will always be a million other things going on.
  3. A one hour workout represents only 4% of your entire day.
  4. You are only as weak or lazy as you allow yourself to be.
  5. Excuses burn 0 calories.
  6. Maybe there are real reasons why you are demotivated, maybe you’re just plain lazy and don’t want to put in the work.

Some love from your trainer Chris……

For people with trainers:

Sit down with your trainer and see if your training can be modified or have elements changed.

Ask your trainer if they will train you along with a friend or possibly friends.  Many trainers will not mind training more than one person at a time since this can be financially lucrative for the trainer and it also helps make you accountable for your training.

If you’re in doubt of your trainers’ commitment to you, I suggest you look for a new one.  Pre-supposing you have been doing YOUR part (working out regularly, eating right etc) and you are in otherwise fine physical condition then there is something lacking in your trainers programming.

For people with, or without trainers:

Ridiculous as this may sound, buying the most expensive fitness shoes and personal training plans you can afford is actually pretty motivating.  You will NOT STAND to have your money wasted and will make sure you get every penny/peso/yen or schillings worth.

Never underestimate the power of group exercise.  Zumba (despite my jokes), Spinning and CrossFit all offer proof of this.  One singular advantage of group training is that I believe people will push themselves slightly harder than they would left to their own devices.

About your trainer

 “Lack of Time” and “Lack of Motivation” are not phrases that some trainers understand very well.  Many trainers have been lifelong athletes or gym goers and fitness has been a large part of their life.  Being any other way is simply alien to them.  Other trainers were formerly unfit or overweight and are now paying forward the love in helping others reach a fitness goal.

 Some trainers are far more sympathetic and understanding than others.  Tough love does have its place and for some trainers it is their best means towards getting results.

Regardless of their background, a good trainer focuses on YOU. You can be AWESOME.

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The lady in the above photograph is  over 45 years old, holds a legit black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (one of the few female BJJ Balck Belts in the United States) and is BJJ/ Mixed Martial Arts instructor.  She is also exceptionally petite.  Does size age or pain seem to stop her?

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Taken after earning her well-deserved black belt. 

 

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 YOUR motivation is what is looking back at you in the mirror.  It is not a poster with the image of a female fitness model or manly-man (unless that manly-man happens to be me….then it is totally cool) it is, and will always be you.  Have kids? A wife or husband? They too are your motivation.  Those fitness models? There are a million of them, there is only ONE YOU.

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 YOU are the not the first person to be challenged.

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 YOU are not the oldest, weakest, fattest or slowest that has ever stepped up. The strong STEP UP, The weak STEP ASIDE.

ImageJust a couple of guys using explosives to breach a door…nothing to see here.

 

Why do you start in the first place? Have you lost sight of that?  Are you going to sit there  being a victim or are your going to kick down a few doors? Fact is there will always be doors, but they get easier to break down the stronger you become, (or when you get better explosives.)

 

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I’m sure this guy has other things to do as well.

 Ask yourself if YOU are holding yourself back, and your excuses are simply a means to keep you from realizing your true potential.  Have a gym membership but are never going?   Claim to not have time, yet your gym is open 24hrs? (Got that beat, there are many bodyweight exercises you can do that don’t require a gym or even much space.)

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 YOU have the choice of being better than you were yesterday. YOU can take ownership for your life.

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or you can let the excuses continue.

 

Vitamins don’t prevent cancer or heart disease (News report)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/2845246354001/study-vitamins-dont-prevent-heart-disease-or-cancer/

This video caught my attention while updating client workout programs. As part of my standard practice I have only recommended taking a multivitamin as a dietary supplement if the clients diet is lacking in nutrients. Furthermore I have advised clients not to take mega-doses of vitamin supplements as there was no proven benefits at the time.

 

My dream gym.

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Despite the fact that I live in fabulous Las Vegas, I have yet to place a bet

Ok….that’s not totally true.  

A co-worker and I have an on-going gentlemen’s bet on how long it takes us to see trainers doing or saying something ridiculous in the gym.  I picked under 60 minutes of my arrival, he picked 61 minutes after 9 a.m.   So far we are tied evenly at 1-1.  For those at home keeping track, his win was actually spotted by me at exactly the 60 minute mark, mine was won in less than 2 minutes after arrival.

This fun side bet has given me thought, If I was to ever come into huge money, would I consider opening a gym of my own? If yes, what would it be like?

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Location,Location,Location.  I would like to build my gym in an safe area that could support it and have enough real estate around me to allow for outdoor boot camps and running.  Personally I would cap membership at a certain level to prevent overcrowding.

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Personal Trainers would be well-paid as I would only hire the best.  The prerequisites and hiring process would be quite strict and would include leading me through a workout of my deciding. This could include Corrective Exercise, Strength and Conditioning,CrossFit, Sports Performance or Nutritional guidance.    

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The gyms main floor would provide areas for strength and conditioning as well as functional training. Other sections of the gym would be set aside for personal training, corrective exercise, cardio (Gold’s Gym has a pretty cool cardio cinema thing going on) AstroTurf sports area and a powerlifting/Olympic lifting area where people could dump weights with abandon and use chalk.

There will be NO HIP ADDUCTOR or ABDUCTOR MACHINES WHATSOEVER NO MATTER HOW MANY CUSTOMER REQUESTS I RECEIVE.  REPEATED REQUESTS WILL BE DEALT WITH BY ISSUING LUNGES.

                               Image“Somebody HELLLLLLPPPP!!!!….My boyfriend overloaded the hip adductor machine!  Why couldn’t I have listened to My Trainer Chris and told him not to touch that thing?  Oh the humanity!……”

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Barbells, Dumbbells,Kettlebells, Plyo Boxes,Jump Ropes,Battle Ropes,Tires,Sleds,Hammers ,Ladders,Suspension Equipment, Climbing Ropes and some cable gear takes care of most needs.  Bands,Tubes,Foam Rollers and some small gear for the corrective exercise crowds and I’m pretty good to go.

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I think it would be pretty cool to have a large lot dedicated to pushing various sized vehicles from compacts to large SUV.  

 

 

 

 

My relationship with CrossFit

My relationship with CrossFit expanded a few months ago when I was assigned a new client that engaged in CrossFit outside of workouts at the gym.  My assignment was to assist her with balance, stabilization and grip strength.  While I already knew a little bit about CrossFit and its approach to training, I had little experience in actually training CrossFitters.  

After all, they have CrossFit coaches for that right?

Could a CES PES (Corrective Exercise and Sports Performance) Coach help a CrossFitter achieve better WOD (Workout of the Day) times and skills?  

The answer is yes, and the CES,PES CPT learned to love CrossFit as well. Since then I’ve picked up a few more avid CrossFit clients and established my own leader board for HIIT and CrossFit WOD’s.  My non-CrossFit clients love it and my CrossFit clients like getting the extra love.  I would say my relationship with CrossFit has been beneficial for both of us.

I know that there are many trainers out there that don’t think very highly of CrossFit, or CrossFitter’s for that matter.  I also know there are trainers out there that are labeling some shady high intensity interval training (SHIIT) program they cobbled together and call it CrossFit simply to attract clients.  

Neither is a good thing.  To my fellow trainers,there are a few facts you should realize:  (1) CrossFit is most likely here to stay.  (2) Just because you call your (S)HIIT CrossFit does not make it so…this goes double if YOU have never trained in CrossFit.

You would be quite upset if a certified CrossFit coach came over to the gym, picked a few exercises without concern of how, or what they actually worked and told gym clients that it would get them the body of a bodybuilder right?  You know you would.

There are things that I like, and dislike about CrossFit.  I feel that I can provide a pretty fair and balanced ruling on this matter.

Things I like:

1. Sense of Community:  CrossFit is a group activity.  CrossFitters meet and greet each other and have a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition with each other, and themselves.

Unless you have a workout partner or trainer you’re on your own in the gym.

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2.  Real sense of self.  CrossFit WOD’s do two things quite well.  Show you your weak spots and strong suits.  Can run pretty good but can’t do a pull-up to save your life? CrossFit will let you know.

In the gym you can get around exercises you hate (AKA Things you Suck at) by doing exercises that you like (AKA Things you Don’t suck at.)  Perfect example, how many guys you see excel at chest and bicep exercises yet you never see them squat?  CrossFit? Yeah, you’re going to Squat alright…quite deeply may I add.

3. Simplicity:  The methods of CrossFit make use of our primal movements: Push,Pull,Squat,Hoist,Lift,Lunge,Run, Hop and Jump and take place in all three planes of movement.  Relatively simple equipment is used to these effects. 

All these elements can be done outside of CrossFit as well, but many trainers don’t take advantage of these exercises.  I will admit that there are machines in my gym that I have never touched and would actually have to sit down to figure out how to operate.  These same machines seem to be pretty popular with a lot of other trainers.  The restricted single plane of movement presented by the machines is an admitted turn-off for me.

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“It was a bad day when Cathy learned her Zumba classes and curls in the squat rack weren’t the way to go.”

4. In CrossFit, Function (how the body moves) takes precedence over Form (how the body looks.)  

In bodybuilding, Form takes precedence over Function. Muscles are judged on their size, symmetry and presentation.  I personally subscribe to Function over Form, so there may indeed be some bias on this one.  My belief is that continued training on function will lead to form, while training strictly for form may not lead to function. 

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A fine example of function leading to form. She can lift a heavy object and looks great doing it.

5. CrossFit proves that women can lift heavy things and NOT GET BULKY!  

The same is true in the gym, however this is probably where the myth came from in the first place.

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An empty beer keg weighs 30lbs, a full keg weighs 130lbs.  No matter how heavy that thing is I can promise a things: (1) She has lifted that keg weight many times before.  (2) She didn’t get bulky lifting it (although she would if she drank it.) 

Things I don’t like about CrossFit.

1. Questionable Coaches:  This of course is the same gripe I have with Personal Trainers. A CrossFit certification is a weekend course and exam.  This is a live event where your skill must be demonstrated and appraised along with a written exam.  Physically it is quite demanding and I understand the written test is not overly easy.  

My gripes with questionable Personal Trainers are well known here on Mytrainerchris.  

2. WOD Constructs. Some of the WOD’s I have seen put together from actual CrossFit boxes have given me pause.  What I have seen from some equates to a massive overload of lifts that can wreck havoc on the joints and is inviting injury.

I have similarly seen Personal Trainers put clients through exercises that seemed to make no sense whatsoever, similarly inviting havoc and injury..or worse, compounding existing injuries.

To my CrossFit friends out there, do what you love, love what you do.  Squat Deeper,Again and Faster.

To my CrossFit hating friends out there, don’t be so quick to judge.  The world is big enough for CrossFit and your Biceps.

 

 

 

 

Paleo Diet Food List

 

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A handy little guide for my CrossFit / Paleo lifestyle friends out there. Paleo people can eat and enjoy the following…

Meat

Beef, pork, lamb, veal, rabbit, goat, sheep, horse, bison, wild boar,

and Bacon!

 

Game meat

Deer, pheasant, bear, moose, woodcock, elk, duck, rabbit, reindeer, wild turkey.

 

Poultry

Chicken, turkey, duck, quail, goose, …

Fish

Salmon, tuna, trout, bass, halibut, sole, haddock, turbot, walleye, tilapia, cod, flatfish, grouper, mackerel, anchovy, herring.

 

Shellfish

Crab, lobster, shrimps, scallops, clams, oysters, mussels.

 

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Giant Reptile hunting is  not part of the Paleo diet.

 

Fats

Avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, clarified butter (ghee), lard, tallow, duck fat, veal fat, lamb fat, fatty fishes (sardines, mackerel, salmon), nut butters, nut oils (walnut, macadamia), coconut flesh, coconut milk.

 

Eggs

Chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, quail eggs.

 

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Don’t even THINK about stealing Demon Bird eggs!

 

Vegetables

Celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, okra, avocados.

 

Green leafy vegetables

Lettuce, spinach, collard greens, kale, beet top, mustard greens, dandelion, Swiss chard, watercress, turnip greens, seaweeds, endive, arugula (rocket), Bok Choy, Rapini, chicory, radicchi.

 

Root vegetables

Carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, radish, Jerusalem artichokes, yams, cassava.

 

Winter squash

Butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, buttercup squash.

 

Summer squash

Zucchini, yellow summer squash, yellow crookneck squash.

 

Fruits

Bananas, apples, oranges, berries (strawberry, cranberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry), grapefruit, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, pomegranates, pineapple, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, cherries, apricot, water melon, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, tangerine, coconut, figs, dates, passion fruit, persimmon.

 

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The Malaysian Durain.  Tasty, yet stinky deadly!

 

Nuts and seeds

Pistachios, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts.

 

Mushrooms

Button mushroom, portabello, oyster mushroom, shiitake, chanterelle, crimini, porcini, more.

 

Fresh and dried herbs

Parsley, thyme, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, chives, tarragon, oregano, sage, dill, bay leaves, coriander.

 

Spices and other natural flavor enhancers

Ginger, garlic, onions, black pepper, hot peppers, star anise, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, vanilla, cloves, chilies.

 

 

 

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FOOD FIGHT! Banana v. Twinkie

It was an interesting day at the gym today.  Not once, but TWICE a banana became a source of momentary drama. 

I know what you’re thinking….”Wow, this guy really leads an intriguing life.”  

Well if your here right now that means you’re either hard up for some entertainment or you know that I will deliver the goods….or perhaps you thought there would be real pics of Banana’s and Twinkies dueling to the death in Tijuana cage match.

Anywhoo…

SITUATION 1: SCENE: Your pal Chris snacking on a banana between clients in the employee break room.

Chris: “Nom, nom, nom.”

Enter: Another trainer:  See’s me eating banana, has a look on her face like I’m Hannibal Lecter enjoying a meal.

Other Trainer: “You shouldn’t be eating that.”

Chris: “nom, Why..nom..not?”

Other Trainer:  “Too much sugar in it.”

Silently I’m thinking to myself “She’s lucky I have a mouth full of banana right now.”

SITUATION 2: Talking with a husband/wife pair of clients just before training starts.  The benefits of eating a banana came up in regards to the nanner’s’ potassium count and easy digestibility.   Male client tells me a story about a Dr. that told him he might as well “eat a Twinkie considering how much sugar is in a Banana.”

A moment of sanity please.

A Doctor actually said this……I guarantee it wasn’t Dr. Zaius….

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or Doctor Who.Image

Come on,,,,it’s a FREAKING BANANA!  Unless you are eating King Kong sized portions of them, I highly doubt anyone got fat eating bananas.  If that were true, Uganda would have the highest obesity rates on the planet since the Ugandans eat 500lbs of bananas per person yearly.

So tonight I’ve decided to stage a food fight. 

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VS

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The Stats

Banana

Serving Size: 1 Medium (can be bought singular, usually part of a bunch)

118g (more than 3 times the size of 1 Twinkie)

Calories: 105

Calories from fat: 3

Saturated Fat: 0g

Total Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 1mg

Carbohydrates: 27g

Dietary Fiber: 3g

Sugar: 14g

Protein: 1g

 Nutrient Profile

Vitamin A:  2%

Vitamin C: 17%

Calcium: 1%

Iron: 2%

 Good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, C, Potassium and Manganse

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2

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Fun Facts:

Most bananas eaten in 1 minute: 7.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRur81Y6NXk

Best Archaeological  estimates place the domestication of bananas to 8,000 BCE in New Guinea.

Bananas are grown in 150 countries and there are believed to be 1000 different types.

The banana plant is not a tree, it is an herb.

 

Twinkies

Serving Size: 1 Twinkie cake (although they are often sold and consumed in pairs)

38.5g

Calories: 135

Calories from fat: 41

Saturated Fat: 2.5g

Total Fat: 4.5g

Cholesterol: 70mg

Sodium: 220mg

Carbohydrates: 27g

Dietary Fiber: 0g

Sugar: 18g

Protein: 1g

Nutrient Profile

Vitamin A: 0% 

Vitamin C: 0%  

Calcium: 0% 

Iron: 2%

37 separate ingredients go into creating a Franken-Twinkie. http://www.today.com/id/38872091/#.UnnBg3Copjs

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The Health Benefits of Twinkies

 

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Fun Facts:

The world record for eating Twinkies was 14 cakes in one minute.

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2012/1/kobayashi-bags-new-twinkie-eating-record-on-wendy-williams-show/

According to Hostess.com, Twinkies were in born in 1930.

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The Twinkie in the above photograph is 37 years old.   I know people that don’t look that good at 37!

 

Twinkies were discontinued in the USA in the same year that Marijuana started gaining legalization….conspiracy you say?

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Twinkies have an estimated shelf life of 25 days…..although I have my suspicions………

STOP THE BLOG….It turns out my suspicions were spot on!  The “New Twinkies” have indeed changed!

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 Twinkies were originally filled with BANANA CREAM.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/twinkie2.htm

Fight Breakdown

Size: Although bananas are more three times the weight of a single Twinkie, they have less sugar and  slightly less calories.

Edge: Banana

Nutrients: The Twinkie does not have much to offer in terms of nutrients.  Banana’s on the other hand have an array of micro-nutrients including potassium and the amino acid Tryptophan…which together work as a natural depression medication.  

Edge: Banana

 

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Social Acceptance:  Ladies/Gentlemen: You never seem to know where to look when eating a banana.  Gentlemen: You won’t feel as bad if you get caught staring at a woman eating a Twinkie.

Edge: Twinkie.

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Not a single chapter on banana eating.

Endurance: On your kitchen counter, a banana will last about 2-7 days before it becomes inedible.  A Twinkie will remain edible for a month and half (Officially), possibly longer

Edge: Twinkie?

Availability:  Banana’s are available in nearly every country in the world in many varieties.  Twinkies is Twinkies.

Edge: Banana.

 

                                                                                  WINNER: BANANA!

 

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Coming Soon: Chris takes on the  “Fruit makes you fat” debate!