Saturday, May 27, 2017

All You Want to Know About Peanut Butter - By Nancy Clark, MS, RD

This month's article addresses one of the all-time favorite sports foods: peanut butter. As you ramp-up your summer-time activities, peanut butter can be center-stage for your sports diet! Thanks for sharing it with your readers.


In my humble opinion, peanut butter (PB) is one of the best sports foods around. Not only is it yummy, it is also health-promoting and performance enhancing. A review of the research on peanuts validates why I routinely choose to enjoy two (!) PB sandwiches a day: one for lunch and the other to curb late-afternoon hunger.

If you are among the many athletes who try to stay away from peanut butter because it is fattening or too fatty, think again and keep reading (as long as you are not allergic to peanuts, that is). The purpose of this article is to educate you about the value of PB in a diet for sports-active people of ages and athletic abilities—as well as their parents and grandparents.

• PB is not inherently fattening. While any food eaten in excess can be fattening, people who eat PB (and nuts, for that matter) five or more times a week are not fatter than nut avoiders. A Purdue University study (1) reports subjects who ate peanuts daily did not overeat total calories for the day. That’s because peanuts and PB are satiating; they help you feel pleasantly fed. Peanut eaters tend to intuitively eat less at other times of the day.

• PB offers many health benefits. The fat in PB is primarily health-promoting mono- and poly- unsaturated fat that knocks down inflammation. People who eat PB and nuts five or more times a week have lower markers of inflammation than nut avoiders. For athletes who get micro-injuries every time they train, an anti-inflammatory food such as PB is a wise choice.

• Compared to nut avoiders, unhealthy women (with type 2 diabetes) who ate 1.5 oz. (250 calories) of peanuts (and/or nuts) five or more times a week reduced their risk of heart disease by 44% and the risk of having a heart attack by 60% (2). Routinely swapping a burger for a simple-to-make PB sandwich is a heart-healthy choice.

• PB, like all sources of plant protein, reduces that risk of developing Type II diabetes. A breakfast with PB offers a positive “second meal effect.” This means, it helps control blood glucose through lunchtime and into the afternoon. Stable energy—and a reduced desire to eat. (3)

• The fat in PB helps absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. You want to include some (healthful) fat in each meal; PB is a painless way to do so!

* If you are an endurance athlete, such as a marathoner or cyclist, you’ll optimize your sports diet by eating at least 0.5 grams fat per pound of body weight. The body stores some fat within muscle cells and uses it for fuel during extended exercise. PB in oatmeal before a long bike ride or a PB & J sandwich on a long bike ride are yummy and healthy ways to enjoy adequate dietary fat. Fat-phobic athletes (who avoid fat) can hinder their endurance.

• PB is a good source of arginine, an amino acid that helps keep blood vessels flexible so that blood flows more easily and reduces blood pressure. The more PB you eat, the bigger the effect on health protection.

• What’s good for the heart is also good for the brain. Research suggests PB eaters improve their brain-blood circulation and mental function. This contributes to enhanced processing speed and better short-term memory (4). Plus, a diet rich in healthy fats helps slow cognitive decline. Given the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases exponentially with age, eating PB and nuts today is a wise investment in your future brain health.

•Peanuts offer slightly more protein than nuts. That’s because peanuts are a legume (like lentils and dried beans) and not a nut. One serving (2 tablespoons) of PB has 8 grams of protein, while 2 Tbsp. almond butter has 6 grams (at a much higher price!) Athletes want to target about 20 grams of protein per meal or snack. You can get that by swirling PB into oatmeal cooked in (soy) milk, enjoying a PB & honey sandwich with a yogurt, or making a PB-banana smoothie. Quick, easy, and inexpensive.

• PB contains numerous bioactive compounds (phenols) that bolster the immune system. Spanish peanuts and shell peanuts are particularly wise snack choices because the peanut skin is rich in anti-oxidants and fiber. Fiber feeds gut-bacteria (your microbiome); these bacteria strongly enhance your immune system, overall health and mood.

•All peanuts are non-GMO and have low risk of pesticide residue, in part because peanuts grow under the ground.

• Is all natural peanut butter far better than Skippy of Jif? All types of PB need to meet a “standard of identity” as defined by the USDA. Conventional brands might have 2% added saturated fat (palm oil, hydrogenated oils) to control the oil from separating. This small amount does not over-ride the positive health benefits of PB.

• What about all the sugar added to Skippy and Jiff PB? “All” that sugar is only 2 or 3 grams. That’s nothing compared to the 10 to 15 grams of sugar in the jelly or honey you might enjoy with the PB, or the 6 g sugar in the sandwich bread. Regardless, sugar fuels your muscles. Please fret less about added sugar and focus more on PB’s zinc, folate, vitamin E, niacin, and selenium. It is nutrient-rich.

• What about all that sodium in PB? The 150 mg. sodium in a serving of PB is less than the sodium you get in one slice of bread or 12-ounces of Gatorade. Regardless, as an athlete, you want to replace sodium you lose in sweat.

• But what if I can’t eat just one spoonful…? If you stay away from PB because you can’t eat just a reasonable serving, think again. Overindulging in PB means you like it; you should eat it more often! By enjoying PB at every meal, in a few days, you will stop craving it. No more binges!

Avoiding peanut butter just sets you up for “last chance eating.” You know, I just blew my diet by eating PB so I’d better keep eating it. Last chance before I go back on my diet. Denial and deprivation of PB lead to overeating. Do not deny yourself of this yummy sports food. You will deprive your body of valuable health benefits!

Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD has a private practice in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875), where she helps both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes create winning food plans. Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook, and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer are available at For workshops, see .

(1) Alper, Int'l J Obesity 26:1129, 2002)
(2) Li, Nutr 138(7):1333-8
(3) Reis, Br J Nutr 109(11):2015-23, 2013
(4) Barbour Nutr Neurosci July 7:1-8, 2016

 "Helping active people win with good nutrition."
Read More »

Friday, May 26, 2017

Get Off Omeprazole! - By Bob Whelan

If you have frequent heartburn or acid reflux, its hard to quit omeprazole because IT FEELS LIKE IT WORKS. (And Larry the Cable Guy has those great Prilosec commercials.)

Prilosec (omeprazole) gets rid of the burning sensation, yes, but it only makes the root cause of the problem worse. Acid reflux is caused by too little acid in your stomach, ... not too much. The reflux is caused by your stomach trying to spread the "too little" acid around like a washing machine on spin dry.

Omeprazole is a "Proton pump inhibitor, ... a group of drugs whose main action is a pronounced and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production." (Wikipedia) Besides making the problem worse, the long term side effects of omeprazole are huge, (from kidney damage to irregular heart beat), and not worth the risk. Google it and see for yourself.  Not to mention the growth of bad bacteria in your gut that needs stomach acid to keep it under control. The uncontrolled growth of the bad bacteria in your gut, (due to lack of stomach acid), can lead to all sorts of serious health problems.

A better alternative is Apple Cider Vinegar. I've been using it now every day for over a year. No more heartburn at all. It tastes like crap but you get used to it. I take 2 table spoons in a glass of water, once or twice a day. If I use it once, it is before bed. I usually mix a heaping big kitchen spoon of Metamucil in with it. The mix is good for you and makes the ACV taste a lot better. 

Many brands of ACV are worthless. They are processed, pasteurized and the main beneficial nutritional and pro-biotic elements, (The Mother), are destroyed. Make sure you buy ACV "With the Mother" ... In unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar, this beneficial group of bacteria and acids remains and creates the murky web-like Mother.  MAKE SURE it says "With the Mother" on any ACV you buy or you are just wasting your money. The best brand to get is BRAGG but WHITE HOUSE is also good. 

Read More »

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Real Men Do Grip Work - By Bob Whelan (An Oldie But Goodie from 1996!)

The article was originally published in Osmo Kiiha's great magazine: The Iron Master, In the January 1996 (No.19) edition. Things have changed for the better in the last 21 years. I have to give most of the credit for this to Randy Strossen at Iron Mind. A lot more people now seriously train grip compared to 1996, thats for sure.

All those (past and present) who are "one of us" do grip work -- period. Toners and buffers don't do grip work. In fact, they've never heard of it! In "Spa-Land" you will find every type of gadget, gimmick, or "miracle" supplement, but you won't find thick bars, weaver sticks, telegraph keys, steel suitcases, or even wrist rollers. Even the most "roid-pumped" freaks won't bother with grip work -- the cosmetic payback is too low for them. They are interested only in things that make them look good for the bar scene. Only the serious, dedicated, knowledgeable, proud, and few understand the importance of it. Grip work separates the men from the boys and the phonies from the true "men or iron." I believe that grip work should henceforth be known as the litmus test for membership in the Iron Game/Physical Culture Fraternity.

Take a look at the guys you respect, the ones who have a passion for what they preach. Take, for example, Kim Wood, Dr. Ken, Vic Boff, Osmo Kiiha, and Randy Strossen, just to name a few -- they are all into grip work big time. Coach Bob Hise II (Mav- Rik), who is a walking Iron Game encyclopedia (and who began his competitive Olympic lifting career in 1929), states, "Everything starts with the hands. The first thing I do when I take on a new lifter is stress the importance of grip work. You will never get close to doing your best without it. You need strong hands for every lift -- even squatting."

Our Iron Game heritage is filled with stories that feature the old-timers doing serious grip work. Take, for example, John Davis' clean of 308 with a 2" thick bar; Bob People's deadlift of 725-3/4 with both palms forward; Al Berger doing pinch grip chins from his 2x12 ceiling beams; Hermann Goerner's one-handed deadlift with 727-1/2 pounds; and Thomas Inch's one-handed deadlift of 172 pounds with a 2.47" inch thick handled dumbbell. Warren Lincoln Travis, with just his right middle finger, lifted over 600 pounds. Ask Vic Boff about the importance of grip work. He was a champion at the art of finger twisting, which was very popular years ago. John Grimek set the record in the weaver stick lift with 11 pounds with his right hand. Apollon's thick axle bar is still widely talked about today. Ian Bachelor could crush metal beercaps between his thumb and each of his four fingers.

Guys who do grip work are tough and are proud to have strong, hard, thick, callused hands. Serious grip work builds mental toughness, too! Do one entire workout using just thick bars of at least 2" in diameter, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Could you imagine Steve Stanko worrying about his hands "getting too rough"! Stanko used to cut leather making lifting belts for Bob Hoffman at York. One day, the knife slipped, and he deeply cut the palm of his hand, putting the knife almost all the way through it. He had a big meet scheduled a few days later, and everyone thought it would be impossible for him even to compete. It was a bad cut and took many stitches. He not only competed, but he won, setting a new National Record in 1938. During the contest, according to Bob Hise, the stitches broke and his hand was bleeding profusely. To "plug it up" he used a handful of chalk, and with his grip at half strength, he still won! All that grip work paid off for Stanko. His toughness was typical of men of that era. It is a shame to see what has become of most "modern men." (Now they complain that their spray aftershave hurts!)

If you train with the regular Olympic bar, (or the few good plate loaded machines), at least don't use wimpy supportive gear (i.e., straps, hooks, etc., and God forbid, gloves); you might as well be wearing a flashing sign that says "wimp!" Make your hands hold the bar; they are the weakest link in your muscular chain. You have to get them stronger. They will never get stronger if you use supportive gear. If you do not yet have any thick bars in your gym, I strongly recommend that you ADD them to your program. Your forearms and hands will be throbbing by the time the workout ends. In fact, you may not be able to do a whole workout with them right away. They are that tough! The wrist roller is also a must and can be easily made. Do it palms-up and palms down. Implement the telegraph key, weaver stick/lever bar, and plate loaded crusher into your program too.

Hammer Strength sells thick bars and IronMind sells everything dealing with grip work including all types of devices to build both pinching and crushing strength (Titan's telegraph key is a must) as well as bars. You don't have to train to be another Rich Sorin or John Brookfield to reap tremendous benefits from doing grip work. Consistency is the key; an extra 10 minutes at the end of your workout, or even less if you use a thick bar, will reap tremendous benefits. If you can't hold the bar, you can't lift it! The biggest names in the Iron Game, past and present, put a primary importance on grip work. My friend, Bob Hise knew most of them. Remember his words, "Everything starts with the hands!"

Read More »

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Q&A - Whole Body Training vs Split Training - Bob Whelan


I have one question for you please sir. I have went back and forth with this until it has gave me a headache. Whole body training vs split training. I have some people saying that for power, size, conditioning that whole body training is superior and then you hear others tell you split training is better for you. I hear you should listen to your body but shouldn't you listen to others that have done both of them too? Would you be kind enough to explain this to me and your advice on this? 

Thank you sir and God bless

Rick C.

Hi Rick,

I don't have time to explain in depth as it would take pages of typing, but I can give you a brief opinion to point you in the right direction. Ask yourself these questions before asking someone this question.

Are you SURE the person you are asking is 100% against the use of PEDs and has never used them?  What type of split are we talking about? There is a big difference between a 4 day split and a 6 day split.  What are the training goals?   Does the person doing the training have great, good, average or below average genetics for training?  
What is the age of the trainee? Does he love to train? Have any injuries? Drug Free? How much time does he have to train?

In a nutshell: There can be exceptions, but 90% of the time WHOLE BODY is better for NATURAL DRUG FREE trainees.

Rick, listen to this podcast. I talk about this on it. 

If you need more help, go to and get either a consultation or 4 weeks of training.

Good luck. I hope this helps.


Read More »

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jedd Johnson Diesel Crew Grip Strength Richard Sorin Captain of Crush Inch Dumbell Blob Pinch Grip Red Nail Fat Bastard Barbell Atlas Stone

Read More »

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Please write us a review of Iron Nation on Amazon

If you bought and read Iron Nation, please write us a review on amazon. Just tell the truth and it can be just a few sentences. Please be specific and mention the chapter and author of what you are writing about. Many people have bought the book but only a small fraction have wrote a review. Thanks for taking the time. Click HERE and scroll down.

Some Reviews of Iron Nation


Vic Boff, Stephen Boyd, Matt Brzycki, Dick Conner, Jan Dellinger, Jim Duggan, Clyde Emrich, Fred Hahn, Bill Hinbern, Drew Israel, Osmo Kiiha, Brooks D. Kubik, Jamie Labelle, Dr. Ted Lambrinides, Tom Laputka, Kathy Leistner, Dr. Ken E. Leistner, Ken Mannie, John McKean, Stuart McRobert, Tom Metzger, Bill Pearl, Gregg Pickett, Glenn Pieschke, Steve Pulcinella, Mabel Rader, Ralph Raiola, Dick "Smitty" Smith, Jon Schultheis, Bill Starr, Bradley J. Steiner, Dr. Randall J. Strossen, Mike Thompson, Dennis B. Weis, Bob Whelan, Paul Young
Read More »
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me:

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature

Vintage Bodybuilding Literature
Oldtime Strongman Books

This site does not provide medical advice. We assume no liability for the information provided in NaturalStrength articles. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutrition program. Copyright © 1999-2024 | All Rights Reserved.