For those who might not be aware of your work, can you tell the readers a little about your background?
I was born in Manila Philippines. My family came to the USA when I was just 3 years old. My mom says I was 4. So one of us is doing the math wrong. I don’t really remember much about the P.I. I love the food but that’s about it. I’m as American as Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and apple pie. I teach, write, do research, run the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition), am the head coach of a travel softball team, love to paddle (outrigger more than stand up) and live in South Florida (people pay big money to vacation here).
My PhD was in the field of skeletal muscle plasticity. However, for the last score and a year, I’ve focused on sports nutrition and supplementation. If you want a fun field to be in, sports nutrition is it! I’m fortunate that my father decided to immigrate to this country. I mean, where else can someone make a living talking about supplements? The United States of America; there ain’t no better country!
Firstly I’d like to say thank you for bringing science to the forefront of the fitness/nutrition arena and secondly what made you decide to set the ISSN up?
I never planned on starting ISSN (nor did my colleagues). It really evolved from the fact that other organizations did such a downright shitty job at promoting the scientific aspects of the sports nutrition/supplement category. Let me steal 5 minutes of your life with this story from over a decade ago. It happened at ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). It is so f’in bizarre too. I can’t make this stuff up.
Dr. Jeff Stout and I gave a talk at an ACSM conference. Honestly, the talk itself was about as exciting as watching a hot dog eating contest. However, we got the most unexpected response from the audience. Half of them loved the talk, the other half hated it. The implication being (from the half that hated it) that all supplements are ‘snake oil’ and that there’s no science behind any of it. Clearly, these individuals were misguided at best and downright moronic at worst. The fact of the matter is that there will always be folks against the use of dietary supplements. These are folks who have no business calling themselves scientists (applied or otherwise). Their dogmatic approach to sports nutrition is sad but in an odd way, quite funny. If you consume omega-3 fatty acids added to foods (such as milk) it’s considered ok. But the minute it appears in a gel cap, it becomes an ‘evil’ supplement. When you eat fish, you are consuming creatine. But the minute you put creatine powder in a glass of grape juice and give it to a teenage wrestler, holy smokes, the world’s about to end.
Needless to say, a fight almost broke out in the audience between a well-known scientist and a bodybuilder. Kind of comical actually. I love watching MMA and was excited to see a nice arm bar. Anyhow, eventually the audience calmed down and we left peacefully. No rocks or tomatoes were thrown at us.
It gets better.
Then we (Jeff and I) went to a cocktail party. We happen to run into the then President of ACSM. She chided us for giving a talk on supplements. In fact, her advice was as follows: “If you want to have a career in this field, do nothing in sports nutrition or supplements; don’t even do research in it.” That was the gist of her ‘advice.’ Can you f’in believe a scientist would tell us NOT to do research in sports nutrition? I hate political correctness more than anyone, and that piece of hypocritical advice was the WORST I have ever received in my life. I still wonder why someone (and she was quite respected in our field) would be so downright narrow-minded, and shall I dare say, flat out moronic.
The ‘birth’ of the ISSN took place at an ACSM meeting in San Francisco. At a sushi place, I met with Dr. Doug Kalman, Dr. Rick Kreider, Dr. Sue Kleiner and Mr. Anthony Almada. We decided then to start our own organization. Doug and I did the vast majority of the up-front work while Dr. Rick Kreider was instrumental in starting our journal, the JISSN.
Fast forward to now. The ISSN (www.theissn.org) has been around for over a decade. There are sports nutrition programs everywhere in the USA (colleges). We have a journal, JISSN (www.jissn.com), that focuses on sports nutrition. We have the ISSN Diploma (www.issndiploma.com) that is worldwide. And we have the fields of exercise science and dietetics embracing dietary supplements. Go figure. Over two decades ago, sports nutrition/supplements was considered a laughingstock by mainstream scientists. Now it’s I daresay….mainstream.
Hmmm…who got the last laugh?
The nutrition industry is rife with myths, what are your top five favourite myths within the nutrition industry?
Too much protein is bad for you (your kidneys).
Saturated fat is bad for your CV health.
Creatine is bad for you.
Energy drinks will kill you.
The dietary supplement industry is unregulated. (Have you heard of DSHEA?)
Should we label certain foods as good or bad?
Sure. Good tasting and bad tasting! LOL
Just kidding. The answer to that is ‘no.’ Who would be the arbiter of that? Some silly European commission of do-gooders who spend their leisure time smoking cigarettes?
You recently published an article on the timing of creatine, when is the optimal time to consume creatine?
In the long run, it probably doesn’t matter. In the short run, probably post workout.
Is a loading phase necessary when supplementing with creatine?
Usually not. Only if you have not taken it and need to get a rapid effect.
One of my favourite questions to ask, what are your thoughts on LISS v HIIT for fat burning purposes?
Check this out! http://www.theissnscoop.com/hiit-vs-liss-a-better-way-to-lose-fat/
They BOTH have their place. It depends on your goals.
Is there any benefit to consuming one type of protein over another (i.e. whey vs. casein)?
Hmmm…maybe…a little. In the long run, total protein intake is paramount. Whey is pretty darn good. So is casein. We need more data on other non-animal sources of protein.
Is it a waste of time/money consuming BCAA’s if protein consumption as adequate?
Depends how much money you have to ‘waste?’ If you’re rich, then by all means, use BCAAs. It can help with recovery.
How do I get super lean without sacrificing my hard earned muscle?
Train like a madman! LOL
Avoid junk food. No processed carbs.
Serious question now, who is your favourite superhero?
I like Wolverine’s claws. Is he a superhero? He seems kinda mad all the time! LOL
As a kid, I loved watching Bruce Lee movies. He was one smart mofo.
What are your future goals you’d like to accomplish?
• Grow ISSN by leaps and bounds!
• Do the Queen Lili race in Hawaii; it is an 18 mile outrigger canoe race from Kailua Bay to Honaunau in Hawaii.
• Do some cool science stuff.
• Start a new brand.
• Buy a beach house.
Thank you so much for your time today! Where can we read more of your work?
Please visit the ISSN webpage at www.theissn.org and the ISSN blog page at www.theissnscoop.com
Attend our conferences. We are a fun bunch of scientists. Not a boring bow-tie types.
Also, read JISSN, www.jissn.com (the ISSN’s science journal).
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I really hope the invaluable knowledge that you have provided will be passed on to our readers who can implement it into their lifestyles!