A few weeks ago, I told you about my little brother Zach Greenfield and how we're combining Crossfit and a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet to get him ripped for his modeling career.
Today, you're going to meet another Crossfitter who lives in Dubai, and who I'm helping get to the next level by optimizing his body to qualify for the Reebok Crossfit Games – where he'll compete for the title of “The Fittest Man On Earth”.
This guy is already pretty talented and accomplished in the world of fitness. Not only is that him rowing in the picture above, but he's also graced the cover of magazines like “Physique” and “Men's Fitness”, and has won the title of “Fittest Man In United Arab Emirates”.
His name is Marcus Smith, and here's a couple more photos that show you just how fit he is (below these photos, I'm going to fill you in on his current training, supplementation and nutrition protocol, and some of the changes we're making to turn him into the fittest man on earth).
Steps To Becoming The Fittest Man On Earth
When I first started working with Marcus, we began by looking at his blood work. Some of my favorite labs for bloodwork include WellnessFX, DirectLabs, Cyrex Labs and Bioletics. You can learn more about what I recommend testing and why in Episode #188: What Blood Tests To Ask Your Doctor For When You Go In For Your Physical.
In a relatively healthy guy like Marcus, most of his labs were satisfactory, with just a few red flags.
-High homocysteine – this is typically flagged by docs as higher risk of heart disease. In athletes, it is instead most usually an indicator of net inflammation or low recovery status. Marcus was not off the charts, but thissomething to be aware of.
-High PAI-1 – this is a marker for high fibrinolysis, which happens when you have to break down a great deal of fibrinogen during muscle repair and recovery. For a hard working athlete, it's nothing to be worried about, but rather just a sign that you're tearing yourself up, which most Crossfitters already know. However, this is the reason that I really like to get somebody like Marcus on a good proteolytic enzyme protocol, which I'll discuss more below.
-Testosterone – at first glance, his total testosterone looked fantastic, but his free testosterone, which is a more accurate picture of bioavailable hormones, was tanked for somebody with his goals. In addition to upping the fat in his diet, we introduced some of the supplement changes you'll read about in a bit.
Tests that Marcus has not yet taken, but that we're working on getting, are omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio (to see if we need to decrease his grain fed beef intake or add more fish oil), vitamin D (important hormone that he currently takes, but I have no clue what his levels are at), ferritin (iron storage protein that is linked highly to metabolic performance), cortisol (stress marker), and an ION panel for antioxidant status (see how prepared he actually is to fight inflammation from his tough protocol). Most of this except the ION panel, Marcus will be getting done in Dubai, or when he comes to the states in July.
Nutrition & Supplements
When we started working on his diet, Marcus's food intake looked like this on a typical day:
-On waking – 5-10 grams branched chain amino acids, continued 2-3 additional times through day, along with 5000mg Vitamin C
-Morning pre-workout – “Mud Shake”: Macca, beetroot, ginger, green creatine, lean 95 protein, deer velvet, microhydrin powder
-Breakfast: 4-5 eggs with spinach, muesli and black coffee
-Lunch: Salmon, broccoli, sweet potato & avocado
-Dinner: 8-10oz beef, chicken, pork or salmon with large serving of cooked vegetables
-With all meals: Digestive enzymes, fish oils, multivitamin, Immune360 supplement
-Before bed: Chelated magnesium, zinc citrate, Vitamin D, GABA, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon olive leaf extract
While the nutrition protocol outlined above may seem fairly solid, I did have a few concerns, primarily:
-To increase Marcus's anti-inflammatory potential and omega 3 fatty acid quality, switching him from a poorly absorbed ethyl ester based form of fish oil to a triglyceride form, and ensuring that his intake was closer to 4g per day.
-To make sure that gut health is optimized so that ideal nutrient, vitamin and mineral absorption can take place, introducing 8-10 20 billion+ count probiotic capsules per day, and encouraging Marcus as much as possible to get more good bacteria sources in his diet from fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kim chi and sauerkraut. We're also ditching the grain-based muesli to limit any inflammatory or gut damagiing gluten, phytic acid and lectins in his diet.
-On several days, Marcus was doing egg whites instead of egg yolk. To get cholesterol and hormonal precursors elevated, he can only do eggs with the yolk now, and we're also trying to add more fats, including lots more olives, coconut milk, butter or ghee, and when he can get it (although this is tough in Dubai), fatty grass fed beef or pemmican – especially in higher amounts than his current chicken and salmon intake.
-To break up fibrinogen and increase speed of muscle healing, adding 1-2 daily doses of proteolytic enyzmesto the daily protocol, on an empty stomach. Also, to decrease inflammation even further, and also to improve pain tolerance, Marcus is required to only use ice cold water when showering, and 5 days per week, 1-2 hours prior to bed, to fill up his bathtub with ice and soak for at least 20 minutes, full body (OK to have head out and mp3 player on).
-Eliminating synthetic vitamin C, which may actually increase risk of stroke when taken in high doses, and instead introducing a whole foods antioxidant source, such as Solar Synergy or Superberry.
-In addition to increasing fat intake, adding in more testosterone support via supplementation, particular focusing on:
-Increasing Vitamin D3 to up to 35IU/lb
-Adding 1-2 Tablespoons cod liver oil per day
-Adding Brazil nuts to the diet at 5-6/day
-Adding D-Aspartic Acid at 3g/day (approx 1 teaspoon)
-Adding Myomin (an aromatase inhibitor to keep testosterone from being converted to estrogens) at 1000-1500mg/day
-Increasing current magnesium intake to 30-40 sprays transdermal magnesium in high blood flow areas, like inner thighs and armpits.
Marcus is a personal trainer at Evolve Gym in Dubai, so he gets up very early to work with clients or teach classes, and his sleep log looked something like this:
Day 1: 7:30
Day 2: 6:30
Day 3: 7:30
Day 4: 7:30
Day 5: 45 minute nap + 7:30
Day 6: 6:30
Day 7: 7:00
To increase testosterone, decrease inflammation, and improve performance, we introduced 45-60 minute Earthpulse induced daily power naps for any day that included less than 7 hours of sleep, along with maximizing melatonin release through use of blue light blocking glasses after sunset.
Since Marcus is a very knowledgeable personal trainer, and is also being coached by a good certified Crossfit coach, I'm not needing to currently change up much in his workout protocol, but here are 5 samples of his daily workouts, which include a combination of both daily and 2-a-day workouts (just Google any exercises with which you're unfamiliar):
Row and thruster couplet: 500m row / 5 thrusters, 400m row / 10 thrusters, 300m row / 15 thrusters, 200m row / 20 thrusters, 100m row / 25 thrusters, 100m row / 25 thrusters, 200m row / 20 thrusters, 300m row / 15 thrusters, 400m row / 10 thrusters, 500m row / 5 thrusters.
Row damper setting was at 5 and the thrusters were all done using 2 20kg dumbbells.
1. Snatch: 1 power snatch 1 squat snatch. 10 sets @ 60kg
2. Power cleans: 3 power cleans @80kg on the minute for 10 minutes
1. 8 sets of: 2 power snatch 1 squat snatch. (4 sets @ 50kg, 4 sets @ 60kg)
2. 8 sets of 2 squat cleans. (4 sets @ 80kg, 4 sets @ 90kg)
1. Bench press @ 90kg: 30, 20,10
2. 10 rounds of: 5 dips / 5 strict pull ups with 14kg dumbbell between legs
1. Squat session: 20 reps @60kg, 15 reps @100kg, 10 reps @ 120kg, 5 reps @ 140kg, 5 reps @ 140kg, 10 reps @ 120kg, 15 reps @ 100kg, 20 reps @ 80kg.
2. 4 sets of 8 walking lunges with 80kg barbell
3. 3 sets of 20 Russian Oblique twists
1. 4 sets of 2 reps (1 power, 1 squat) snatch @ 50kg
2. 2 power snatch @ 60kg
3. 4 power snatch @ 70kg
4. 3 sets of 1 clean,1 clean and jerk @ 80kg
5. 2 sets of 1 clean and jerk @ 90kg, 2 sets of 1 clean and jerk @95kg, 1 clean and jerk @ 100kg
6. 1 squat clean @ 100kg, 1 squat clean @ 105kg, 1 squat clean @ 110kg
7. 3 sets of 3 reps front squat @ 110kg
1. Work up to 1RM bench press. Hit 120kg.
2. 25,20,15,10,5 KB swing @ 36kg, HSPU's (Headstand Pushups – not for time, focus on form)
3. 2k row*, damper 7. 6:54
1. 5 sets of 1 power snatch into 8 overhead squats @ 60kg
2. 3 sets of 1 power snatch into 3 overhead squats @ 70kg
3 . 5 sets of 3 squat cleans @ 70kg
4. Front squat: 2 reps @ 100kg, 2 reps @ 110kg, 1 rep @ 120kg, 1 rep @ 130kg, 1 rep @ 142kg.
So in a nutshell, that's the current nutrition, supplement, lifestyle and exercise protocol of a man who is vying to become “The Fittest Man On Earth”. Our goal, the 2013 Reebok Crossfit Games, is in exactly 13 months, and between now and then, my primary job is to monitor Marcus's diet and supplement program, review his lab results, and fill in any physiological holes in his workout protocol.
You can look forward to seeing additional blog post updates this year on Marcus's progress, and you can leave your questions, comments or feedback below!
Also published on Medium.