Today’s “Throwback Thursday” post covers three powerful strategies to maximize recovery. Interestingly, I wrote another post on this exact topic recently that almost identically mirrors my thought process from 2009. In other words, over 4 years after this post was written, what I view as three of the most powerful recovery strategies has not changed at all! You can check out the more recent post here: 3 Powerful Recovery Strategies for Athletes

You may be surprised by how simple these are. It’s not a matter of cracking some magic code; it’s a matter of taking care of the things you already know are important.

1) Drink PLENTY of water. Maintaining proper hydration has positive implications on both mental and physical performance.Bluntly, it means you’ll be smarter and feel better if you drink enough water.  Plenty is not 6-8 cups a day.  That’s BARELY adequate for completely sedentary people on low caloric diets; you should be drinking AT LEAST double that.If you’re like most people, you’re not even close.It’s never too late to start. Increase your water intake significantly.You’ll likely be making many more trips to the bathroom than you’re used to, but that will cut back within a couple weeks when your body gets used to being fueled properly.

2) Sleep! Everyone’s sleep needs are different, but in general, most people should be getting 7-9 hours of QUALITY sleep.As in wake up in a pool of drool sleep.Wake up with no feeling in your arm because you didn’t move all night sleep.DEEP, QUALITY sleep.If you get 7 and you consistently wake up feeling tired, you need more sleep to recover from the stresses you’re experiencing (through training or other aspects of your life). Remember that this should be consistent from night to night.Your body doesn’t adjust well to 5 days of a lack of rest during the week, and then two days of excessive sleep on the weekend.Make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep every night.

3) Proper Nutrition. This comes in two parts: General Nutrition, and training-specific nutrition.With regards to general nutrition, it’s important that you eat adequate calories from QUALITY sources.This includes as many servings of vegetables as you can tolerate throughout the day, fats from olive oil, nuts, and cold-water fish (e.g. salmon), and carbohydrates from whole grain/high fiber sources.As a reminder, your carbohydrate intake should be determined by your activity level.The more medium-high intensity activity you do, the more carbohydrates you need.Training-specific nutrition is pretty straight forward.Consuming a liquid source of simple carbohydrates and rapidly digesting protein (e.g. whey protein) immediately after your training helps replenish glycogen (read: carbohydrate) stores within the body and stimulate protein synthesis (read: rebuilding).It shouldn’t be hard to see why this would be advantageous.There’s now research to support consuming these “shakes” immediately before and/or during your training, so the nutrients are readily available as your body begins to break down.Think of it as “on the fly” recovery.Personally, I usually make a half shake and sip it while I train, then make another half shake and drink it immediately after.  For the complete nutrition guide, check out John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition program.

Following these three simple (well, at least they’re simple conceptually…maybe not so simple to implement) strategies will help you maximize your rate of recovery, allowing you to get the most out of your training.

Keep training SMART!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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The other day I sent out an email link to a video of Dr John Berardi talking about his two latest programs – Lean Eating For Men and Lean Eating For Women.


Far and away, the most frequent questions had to do with his $20,000 prize – $10,000 to the top female winner and $10,000 to the top male winner.

Click here to check out the blog post announcing this amazing prize:



Now, today, I want to share with you a post covering the flip side of the 10K prize.  In other words, if the prize is the carrot, today’s video talks about the stick.


You see, Dr. Berardi’s a coaching expert.  In fact, he’s probably the most successful nutrition coach in the health and fitness business.

And after speaking with him, I realized that there’s something powerful to this idea.

You see, the biggest transformations – body transformations or otherwise – are accomplished when people have big incentives.

And I’d say 10 thousand bucks qualifies as a big incentive all right.

But big inspiring goals also need some potential punishment. Or, some risk.

And in today’s video, Dr Berardi shows you how to coerce yourself into sticking to the plan, even when the motivation wanes.

Enter “the best kept secret in weight loss.”


So, if you’re REALLY interested in changing your body and you’d like a little extra incentive for doing so, this is definitely a program you need to check out.

Again, this message is time sensitive.  From what I hear there are A LOT of people clamoring to get in on the program.

So check out these posts below.  I know you won’t be disappointed.

Could The Chance To Win $10,000 Help You Get In Shape?


The Best Kept Secret In Weight Loss


-Kevin Neeld

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The question I get more than any other is “How can I lose weight quickly?”  and/or “How can I lose FAT quickly?”  Last week I revealed my ultimate Fat Loss Secret: Dr. John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition System.  It’s by far the best resource to rapidly losing fat and KEEPING IT OFF.  I couldn’t say enough good things about it.

I don’t know a single person that couldn’t benefit from being stronger.  With that said, there are some great resources on how to improve strength and power.  Way more than on realistic/effective dietary changes.  With that said, in my experience, nothing will lead to more rapid strength increases than listening to Avenged Sevenfold while you lift.  

It’s so simple.  Just put this on, and you’re guaranteed to increase your strength by at least 10%.

If that doesn’t work, check your pulse.

No pulse?  Have a Spike! (but not two…that may kill you)

Spike 4-Pack

Keep working hard…

– Kevin Neeld

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That’s it.  I quit!  After 6 weeks of low calorie eating, I’ve had enough.  A lot of people asked why I was on a low calorie diet to begin with.  I think it’s important to cycle calories, as well as macronutrient (carb, protein, fat) sources periodically.  In other words, if you usually eat a low calorie diet, cycle in periods of higher caloric intake.  If you usually eat a high calorie diet (me), cycle in periods of low caloric intake.  There are also additional health benefits to dropping body fat, notably that toxins are stored in fat tissue, so shedding some fat periodically will help release some of these toxins and clear them from your body.  

Those are the reasons I usually gave people, but to be honest, that had nothing to do with why I went on a the diet.  The real reason: It sucked.  It was hard.  With my hockey career officially over, opportunities to really challenge myself physically and mentally are somewhat limited.  Going on a very strict, severely limiting diet was one way to see if I still had it, to test my mettle.  Overall, I’m happy with how I was able to stick through it.  

                Before (180.5 lbs)                                                                                     After (166.0 lbs)
           1/6/09: Front-Close                    2/14/09: Front









So why give up after 6 weeks?  My original thought was to try this out for 6-10 weeks, so I’m not really bailing out early.  Having said that, I have 5 great reasons to start eating a more “normal” diet (more calories and slightly more carbs):

5) No matter how lean I get, my skin will still be impressively pale, verging on translucent, and dangerous for other people to look at.  

4) I miss smoothies and ketchup.  I put ketchup on everything.  So should you.  But when you’re only afforded 50 g of carbs per day, you can’t use them haphazardly.  No ketchup for the last 6 weeks.  It’s been rough.  On the same note, I usually throw back two smoothies a day.  I showed my friend Mike how I make them.  After his mockery (apparently smoothies aren’t a manly meal choice), he agreed they were delicious and began making his own…with a modified recipe.  The “recipe” looks something like:

  • 16 oz 1% Milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Teddy’s All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Cups Frozen Mixed Berries
  • 3 Scoops Chocolate Muscle Milk
  • 10 g SAN BCAAs
  • 5 g SAN Creatine
  • A rack of lamb

What does this have to do with my diet?  Mike managed to take my entire day’s worth of calories, and blend them into one delicious smoothie.  Diet out.  Smoothies in.    

3) I’m too performance-oriented to several restrict my calories.  Despite an intelligent supplement menu throughout my low calorie eating, my training has still taken a pretty big hit.  I haven’t lost too much strength, considering the amount of weight I lost, but I haven’t gained any either.  A little more carbohydrates (more than the 50g/day I’ve been eating) and a few hundred more calories/day will go a long way in helping me get back on track in improving my strength and speed, while maintaing my body weight.  I also want to add more conditioning into my training.  More conditioning equates to more fat burning and more calorie burning.  In a nutshell, I can eat a lot more calories and not gain any fat if I offset it when an intelligent conditioning program. My new motto: Smaller, stronger, faster.

2) Undersupplying your mind and body with energy isn’t really conducive to training hard, running a business, coaching a hockey team, training clients, reading and analyzing research, writing articles, taking graduate classes, and teaching undergraduate classes.

And finally….

1) My lovely girlfriend saw me at 166 lbs and told me I look like a “scrawny little bitch”.  Ha!  I have to admit, as much as I don’t typically care about what other people think about how I look (I’d be more offended if someone called me weak than if someone called me fat), I found it hilariously ironic that I lost body fat and she, of all people, made fun of me.  For some reason I thought leaner was better in the female eye.  6 weeks of low calorie dieting taught me two important lessons: (1) I love food too much to do something like this consistently (although I did gain a whole new respect for bodybuilders that do this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis to prepare for competitions); and (2) I still know nothing about women.

Back to hockey content tomorrow…


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5 weeks of relatively severe calorie restriction and intense training…

On Thursday I was down almost 20 pounds from when I started.  Lucky for me, it was time for my second schedule refeed day, which I celebrated with, among other things, a Trader Joe’s Pizza for breakfast and a hefty dinner at P.F. Chang’s with my girlfriend Emily.  The two of us took down what looked like a 2 pound piece of chocolate cake, a la mode of course, in about 3 minutes.  I guess you could say we’re growing kids.  Replenishing all my carb stores and with the accompanying water, I put on 10 pounds that day!  I’ve been riding the extra energy wave ever since.  It feels great!  

I’m ending this twisted experiment after this week.  That’ll be 6 weeks since I started.  At the end of this week, I’ll stick with a similar diet, tons of high quality protein and fat and essentially NO carbohydrates from sources other than fruits and vegetables, but I’ll be upping my caloric intake considerably.  I’m also starting to add in some regular conditioning, which should help maintain the fat loss I’ve experienced in the last few weeks despite eating more.  I have to go get ready for a hockey game.  This week’s training program below for those of you that are interested.  Enjoy your weekend.     

Feb 2, 2009
A1) Back Squat: 3s Negative: 135 x 5; 225 x 3: 315 x 2: 335 x 2: 345 x 4 sets of 2
A2) Bird Dog Hold: 3 x 15s each
B1) Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 225 x 4; 315 x 4; 325 x 4; 335 x 4; 345 x 4
B2) Front Plank March: 4 x 20s
C1) 1-Leg Squat:3s Negative: 3 x 5 each
C2) Glute Ham Raise: 3 x 10

Feb 3, 2009: 165 lbs weigh-in
A1) Standing Shoulder Press: 45 x 4; 95 x 4; 135 x 4; 135 x 4; 125 x 4; 125 x 4
A2) Scap Wall Slides (Back to Wall): 3 x 8
B1) Weighted Chin-Up: BW x 5; BW+35 x 3 sets of 6; BW+35 x 5.5
B2) DB Triceps Extension Ecc-to-Close Grip Con: 2 x 45 DB 4 x 8
C1) 1/2 Kneeling Chop: 1 set to Left; 3 sets to Right 50 lbs  x 8 reps
C2) Face Pull w/ External Rotation: 100 lbs x 3 x 10

Feb 4, 2009: 163 lbs weigh-in
A1) Front Squat: 135 x 5; 185 x 3; 225 x 3; 245 x 3; 265 x 3
A2) Side Plank w/ Abduction Hold: 3 x 15s each
B1) DB Back Leg Raised Split Squat: 2 x 65 DB x 1 x 6each 2 x 70 DB x 2 x 6each
B2) 1-Arm DB 1-Leg SLDL: 1 x 40 DB x 3 x 6 each
B3) Bar Rollout: 3 x 10
B4) Stability Ball Hamstring Curl: 3 x 12
CON 1 x 25min Med-High Intensity Bike Ride 7.75 miles, 215 calories, HR about 170

Feb 5, 2009: 163 lbs weigh-in…173 lbs weigh-out Best Refeed Day Ever!
CON Interval Bike Ride: 8 x :20/:40

Feb 6, 2009: 170.5 lbs weigh-in
A1) Bench Press: Medium Grip 135 x 5; 225 x 3; 245 x 1; 215 x 8; 215 x 7.5+Help; 205 x 6+2Help
A2) I, Y, T Holds: 1 x 30s each
B1) 1-Arm DB Row: 1 x 90 DB x 3 x 6 each
B2) Standing Cable Chop: To Right Only 50 lbs x 3 x 8
B3) 1-Arm DB Push Press: 1 x 50 DB x 2 x 6 each; 1 x 55 DB x 1 x 6 each
B4) DB Hang Clean-to-Curl Eccentric: 2 x 40 DB x 3 x 6
B5) Bird Dog: 3 x 8 each
CON 10 x 10 Medicine Ball Overhead Floor Slams 30s rest between sets

Feb 7, 2009: 169.5 lbs weigh-in
CON KB Swings: 16kg x 20; 20kg x 20; 20kg x 4 x 15 16kg x 4 x 15 30s rest between sets

-Kevin Neeld

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