All posts by Jason Latas

Jason Latas of Summer Body Now has been an adventure guide and wellness coach for 25 years. He has personally guided many fortune 500 CEOs and major business owners on custom adventures across the globe. He also personally trains many traveling sales professionals to help them stay fit while traveling and running their businesses. He enjoys helping people feel good in their skin again and perform better in their personal and business lives. Jason has been featured in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, Spa Magazine, Modern Bride, Conde Naste, as well as on ESPN, The Travel Channel, Ford Adventure Outfitters, Planet X TV and many other national and international venues. Many of these videos can be seen on YouTube Jason has had the opportunity, through his travels to learn from Hawaiian Kupuna, Peruvian Shaman, Chinese Masters and The Massai in Africa. Mixing his years of personal training knowledge with the spiritual traditions and “knowing” of many cultures, he takes a whole body approach to wellness seeing his clients from a cellular level. Before moving to Utah Jason owned an adventure company in Maui for 10 years where he took guests hiking, biking, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking and on custom designed adventures designed around health and fitness. He now lives in Utah and runs one of the largest Adventure Meet-Up groups: Adventure SLC “I’ve worked with everyone from extreme athletes, models & body builders to weekend warriors. Although, now that I’ve been a single Dad, business owner and surfed life’s ups and downs, I find deeper happiness in helping stressed out people find a little life balance and feel good in their skin again. Whether you want to release some weight and regain your health or just clear some blocks that are holding you back from your desired future, together we can do it” ~Jason~

Keeping Fit over 40 and understanding dangerous visceral fat

If you miss the days when you could buckle down on diet and exercise to drop a few unwanted pounds within a reasonably quick period of time, you’re not alone. Older adults, especially women, face physiological changes that can promote weight gain and, even worse, muscle loss.  I know, Talk about a midlife crisis.

Once women reach 40, their likelihood of becoming overweight or obese sharply rises. In fact, about 68 percent of women aged 40 to 59 are overweight or obese–a 17 percent increase compared to women between the ages of 20 and 39–according to data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)). Hormonal changes may be to blame, researchers suggest.

Everyone has some subcutaneous fat but the dangerous fat is the visceral fat that hides in-between your organs. Visceral or “deep” fat wraps around the inner organs and spells trouble for your health. How do you know if you have it? If you have a large waist or belly, of course you have some visceral fat but if your stomach protrudes and is tight too the touch, it could be a sign of visceral fat. Visceral fat drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia.

Visceral fat is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance which boosts risk of diabetes more than other fat.  It’s not clear why, but it could explain or partially explain why visceral fat is a bigger health risk.

A large study conducted by the International Menopause Society found that hormonal changes in women alter the way the body distributes fat in the body, making it more likely to accumulate in the abdomen as visceral fat. Visceral fat worsens existing  hormonal changes by acting as an endocrine organ itself, pumping out hormone-like compounds that increase inflammation and the risk of insulin resistance related to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Another study from the Mayo Clinic investigated what was going on at the cellular level during menopause by comparing fat tissue of pre- and post-menopausal women. They found the two enzymes that work to produce and store fat were more active in the postmenopausal women, increasing their risk of having a higher body fat percentage (3).

How to battle the middle-aged spread?

Exercise intensely. Engaging in exercise, especially resistance training at high intensity, helps stimulate muscle growth, which in turn boosts metabolism and burns fat. Studies show that physically active women who enter menopause are leaner than sedentary women and have a decreased risk of developing metabolic disease (4).  What’s more, postmenopausal women who exercise daily maintain their weight while those who have lower activity levels have been found to have increased body fat, mostly around the midsection (5).

Eat a balanced, protein-rich diet. What you eat can also influence midlife weight gain. A study with 17,000 postmenopausal women assigned to either a control or a diet group (who were encouraged to eat healthy, balanced meals) found that those in the diet group had less severe menopause symptoms and were three times more likely to have lost weight (6).

A diet lacking essential nutrients and high in refined carbohydrates and empty calories will accelerate the aging process including age-related weight gain. Instead, eating a balanced diet with the right amounts of high-quality protein  can stimulate muscle synthesis and boost metabolism, turning the scale in your favor.

Hold on to muscle. Loss of muscle is a common result of the aging process with women losing about 1 percent of their lean body mass per year after age 40 if they aren’t physically active (7). Because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, a muscular body composition burns more calories and uses fat tissue for fuel rather than stored energy. Eating a protein-rich diet and engaging in muscle-building exercise helps establish a healthy balance of fat and lean body tissue in the body.

Get quality sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, up to 61 percent of postmenopausal women have issues with falling asleep or getting enough quality sleep most nights . A major reason for this loss of sleep is due to instances of hot flashes. Hot flashes can disrupt sleep because body temperature drastically increases, leading to discomfort and waking. Consequently, lack of sleep has been associated with increased levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and decreased levels of the satiety hormone, leptin, leading to overeating and weight gain.

To improve sleep quality, it’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages before bedtime, follow a regular sleep routine, and exercise during the day. If sleep issues still persist, it’s best to see your doctor for further guidance.

Make sure to get enough fiber. Middle-aged women commonly face gastrointestinal changes caused by fluctuations in hormones that lead to bloating and sluggish intestines. These feelings can affect appetite and energy level–two important aspects of staying on track with diet and exercise goals. To support bowel health, drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat sufficient amounts of fiber. In addition to getting fiber from whole grains, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, supplement your diet with extra fiber to reach the recommended 25 grams per day.

While there may be additional challenges when trying to lose weight midlife , sites like can provide you with the tools to alter your lifestyle and reach your weight-loss goals. They specialize in coaching over 40 men and women through diet and exercise programs individually designed for  your unique situation and body type.

Take your health into your own hands and make 40 and above feel like 30 all over again.


  1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999–2004. JAMA. 2006;295(13):1549-1555.
  2. Davis SR, Castelo-Branco C, Chedraui, et al. Understanding weight gain and menopause.Climacteric. 2012;15(5):419-29.
  3. Santosa S, Jensen MD. Adipocyte fatty acid storage factors enhance subcutaneous fat storage in postmenopausal women. Diabetes. 2013;62(3):775-82.
  4. Sternfeld B, Dugan S. Physical activity and health during the menopausal transition. Obset Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011;38(3):537-566.
  5. Sternfeld B, Wang H, Quesenberry CP Jr, et al. Physical activity and changes in weight and waist circumference in midlife women: findings from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.Am J Epidemiol. 2004;160(9):912-922.
  6. Kroenkw CH, Cann BJ, Stefanick ML, et al. Effects of a dietary intervention and weight change on vasomotor symptoms in the Women’s Health Initiative. Menopuase. 2012;19(9):980-8.
  7. Paddon-Jones D. Lean body mass loss with age. Abbott Nutrition website AN Conf Paddon-Jones Final.pdf. Accessed march 31, 2014.
  8. Menopause and sleep. National Sleep Foundation website. Accessed March 31, 2014.
  9. Heitkemper MM, Chang L. Do fluctuations in ovarian hormones affect gastrointestinal symptoms in women with irritable bowel syndrome? Gend Med. 2009;6 Suppl 2:152-167.


With so many meal replacement and protein bars on the market it can be hard to tell which one provides the best quality nutrition.

I use meal replacement bars and also recommend them to my clients, especially if they travel. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to replace a healthy meal, on the run.  My first choice is always real food, second a meal replacement shake and third a high protein, nutrient dense meal replacement bar.

Most bars are either nutritionally unbalanced—not containing the right quantities of protein, carbohydrate, and fats to qualify as a meal replacement—and often are artificially sweetened, flavored, and colored.

Choosing a meal replacement bar can be overwhelming because there are so many claiming to have the perfect nutritional profile. A true meal replacement bar has all the protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, enzymes and nutrients of a perfectly balanced meal.

To help inform choices (and filter out the scams), here are five things to look for in a meal replacement bar.

  1. Low-glycemic – Carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars are critical to deliver the body a steady source of energy for a longer period of time. But foods that are high glycemic—meaning they’re fast-absorbing sugars and/or they don’t provide much protein, fat, or fiber in addition to the carbohydrates—are known to cause a spike in blood sugar, which can be followed closely by a crash, and then hunger. Low-glycemic bars ensure a steady source of energy to keep you feeling full longer.
  2. Whey protein – The type of protein used in meal replacement bars matters in a big way. Whey is shown to promote more satiety and fat loss than any other kind of protein, and when paired with exercise, promotes muscle growth (1). Whey protein in its most natural and unprocessed form is described as undenatured. Research has shown that the consumption of undenatured whey protein has antioxidant effects beneficial for overall health (2).
  3. Maximum nutrition, minimum calories – As a meal replacement, bars should provide the nutrition normally consumed in a healthy, balanced meal. That ought to include carbohydrates, fats, and protein, but in a fraction of the calories. Carbohydrates and fats have earned a bad reputation, when in reality they are vital to the body’s ability to function. When looking for a bar, choose one that contains healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, natural sugars, fiber, and an ample amount of high-quality protein. Some bars are too high in calories while others are too low. A healthy meal replacement bar should contain around 200 to 300 calories—still promoting weight loss, but not sacrificing any nutrients or your energy levels.
  4. Satiety – Dieting is often associated with uncomfortable hunger that comes with cutting calories. In clinical trials, consuming a meal replacement bar has shown to curb appetite and lead to safe and sustained weight loss (3). When supplementing your diet with a low-calorie yet nutritious meal bar, cutting calories can be effortless and sustainable because your body is still being properly nourished. When meal replacement bars are filled with high-quality whey protein, they also have the benefit of providing increased satiety resulting in the consumption of fewer calories throughout the day (4). Fiber is also an important part of any diet to enhance gastrointestinal health and function and increase satiety.
  5. Quality – Not all health bars deliver what they claim to have in them. If the company doesn’t have an established no-compromise quality policy that involves rigorous testing, then its nutritional content could be off—by as much as 15 percent! That could mean extra calories you don’t realize you’re getting, usually from fat and sugar. Plus, if not clinically tested to be low-glycemic, you run the risk of blood sugar spikes that could thwart your health and weight-loss goals.

When you don’t have time to prepare a healthy balanced meal, instead of settling for bars that are not necessarily healthy, I use Isagenix IsaLean Bars. They taste freaking Awesome, they’re well balanced and have the best protein to hold and gain muscle!

Possibly the best part about IsaLean Bars is their convenience. On the run or wherever you are that you can’t make an IsaLean Shake but need a healthy meal, IsaLean Bars are the answer.


  1. Acheson K, Blondel-Lubrano A, Oguey-Araymon S, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(3):525-34.
  2. Bounous G and P Gold. The biological activity of undenatured dietary whey proteins: role of glutathione. Clin Invest Med Volume 1991;14:296-309.
  3. Rothacker DQ, Watemberg S. Short-term hunger intensity changes following ingestion of a meal replacement bar for weight control. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2004;55:223-6.
  4. Luhovyy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH. Whey proteins in the regulation of food intake and satiety. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26:704S–12S.

Hawaii to Mt Rainier, a Climber’s Story part 2 of 2, The Summit

Part 2, The Summit

As the sky darkened, I began to look earnestly forward to stopping for the night. I couldn’t feel my feet. At all. It was like walking on stubs for legs. The temperature was falling fastand the snow was literally blowing sideways. The chill was eating through my outerwear. Icicles were hanging from my nostrils and eyebrows. I just wanted to lie down and sleep. The rope in front of me suddenly went slack. I narrowly missed colliding into the guy in front of me. I had missed Kyle’s signal to stop. It was time to rest for the night. It was all I could do not to let my knees buckle and collapse face first into the snow.

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As if we weren’t already tired enough, we had to get out our shovels and dig pits in the snow and ice to burrow our tents into,otherwise they would be blown to pieces through the night. Once our tents were up, dinner was served.   I couldn’t decide if I was more hungry than cold. Dinner was instant noodles flavored with extra Tabasco sauce to trick our mouths and bellies into thinking they were warm. I ignored my disappointment at the fare that was served to use, silently grateful that I had eaten a good lunch sufficient to carry me until morning. Nevertheless, the cup of hot broth and noodles warmed my hands and belly, and defrosted my nose-sickles. I ate quickly and then retreated to my tent where I yanked my boots off. I was nervous about what I would find beneath my socks. I envisioned seeing blue and black deformed lumps of dead flesh. Peeling off my ice crusted socks, I was relieved to see that my feet were still attached to the bottom of my legs and not sporting telltale signs of frostbite – but it was close. My feet were like dead driftwood, cold, pale, heavydriftwood. I crawled into my sleeping bag and sat on my feet trying to warm them up fast.   I fell asleep at some point in a frozen delirium only to awake the next morning to more of the same grueling trek toward the summit with the same instant oatmeal breakfast, followed by a cold, but satisfying lunch that literally kept me going hour by hour.

The next morning after realizing we were camping in a plateau full of crevasses, that creaked all night, we looked back to see that the ridge we had crossed the day before had collapsed… Yes, you could see our trail across the ridge and the middle chunk of ice and snow had collapsed leaving a huge gap in our path from yesterday! Chills…

Day in and day out. It wasn’t until day three, during lunch that Kyle apologized to us and said that instead of the 6 hours of hiking that we had planned every day until the summit, it was going to be 8 to 10 hours because we were making our own trail and we were behind schedule. We just accepted the news without complaint and kept moving forward.

You see, when Kyle met our group on the first day, he saw that we were all fit and had offered us a more challenging trek than the standard guided tour. We all accepted, not realizing that we were going to be breaking a virgin trail and adding several thousand feet and hours to the trek.

On the fourth day of our trek, we were approximately four hours from the summit, when a blizzard hit us like the blasting breath of an ice dragon hell bent on freezing us in our tracks, or blowing us off the mountain altogether. My feet at that point hadn’t defrosted in over a day. My face was numb to the touch and each breath burned in my lungs. I couldn’t see a thing for the shooting ice snow and biting wind. I had to trust completely in my guide, Kyle, to lead us to the summit in the blinding chaos of snow and ice. The grey turmoil of the blizzard got darker as somewhere beyond the clouds and snow that hugged the mountain top, the sun was setting on another day. I have no idea how Kyle knew where he was going.

Kyle stopped us about 30 minutes from the summit where we set up camp in the blizzard. I struggled clumsily in my bulky outerwear to secure my tent. But that ice dragon wrestled furiously with me for it as it blew in the wind like a flag in my hands. Determined, I remained focused and methodically tied down my tent, finding some relief as I moved my gear inside and rested. Thank goodness Adam Quinn was my climbing partner as he had ice in his veins and was a weathered ship captain with prate blood running through his veins! Arrrr…

After a short reprieve and much lighter without our gear, we continued on until we reached the summit. The wind howled around us, pelting our faces with sharp ice crystals, but it didn’t matter as I couldn’t feel my face anyway. At the summit, Adam and I huddled together for a picture, stretching a small flag between us that Adam’s girlfriend (now wife), Leslie had made. In bright blue and green colors were the letters, L & A. It stood for Latatude and Adatudes – our adventure company name. (Get it, Jason Latas, Adam Quinn? Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…)

We didn’t linger on the summit. We had made it to the top, took pictures to prove it, then trekked down as quickly as we could. Hot broth and noodles waited for us upon our return. Once in my tent, I went through the same ritual of warming my feet again, knowing that I’d be back at base camp soon enjoying a burger & beer and reflecting on what I had just accomplished.

The trek down was a little easier, having gravity on our side and, for the first time, using an established trail. But it was just as scary. There was one point where we had to walk across a 10 foot long aluminum ladder that was laid across a huge 6-8 foot crevasse that was deeper than I could see. It might have been easier if I didn’t have steel crampons on my boots that made me slip on the ladder rungs like a cat on ice. While crossing the ladder, we still had to maintain the, one-step-at-a-time rhythm that kept me from scrambling across the ladder like my instincts begged for. I kept having to remind myself that if I stepped too fast or too slow, I could stumble and knock my rope buddies off balance, toppling the whole team into the cold dark abyss. We made it across without incident and I didn’t lose my lunch either.

Just when we thought we were in the clear, I felt a tug on the rope in front of me, and heard a desperate shout. In seconds, everyone hit the deck and dug their ice axes into the glacier. As I dug my ice axe in as hard as I could, I braced for the dreaded jerk on my line as one of our team members had fallen. In just a few moments, it was made known what had happened. One of our team had unknowingly stepped into a steam vent and had fallen up to his shoulders before the rest of the team had reacted to stop his fall. On the way down he had extended his arms to grab for anything and consequently twisted his left shoulder badly. After we pulled him out and ascertained his injuries, one of our guides, Jason made a rope sling for his arm. We had to split up his gear, as he could no longer carry his heavy pack. Consequently, we had to slow the pace a bit so he could keep up.

Within a few hours we could see base camp and we all un-roped, took off our “foot fangs” (crampons) and started glissading down the mountain on our boots, hooting, laughing, screaming, falling and rolling like little children. After five days of extreme tension, we all needed the release.

That evening, we all straggled into the small village at the base of Mt. Rainier. Our first stop was the local tavern where we sat back and enjoyed a cold mug of beer and warm burgers. Bleary eyed Kyle admitted over his mug of Seattle Brew, that in his 15 years of leading groups up Mt. Rainier, this one had been the toughest. He had miscalculated the route and had started lower than he had planned which explained why we were behind schedule. With the weather and the increased risk of avalanche activity of the Mountain in July, Kyle had experienced some intense anxiety over whether or not we would make it. But, by looking at him, you’d never would have guessed. This rugged mountaineer had calm written all over him despite the dangers we had encountered on our trek – thanks to his expertise and many years of training.

The Morale of the Story

Always be prepared for whatever life may throw at you. Life comes at ya fast and you don’t always know what’s around the next corner. Keep yourself fit and healthy so you can meet life’s challenges with confidence and your chin up. Whether, you’re an entrepreneur, a parent, employee, or all of the above, take the time to set goals, visualize where you’re going and set out on your journey with a plan. If it’s familiar territory you may have the experience and tenacity to do it on your own. If not, don’t be afraid to hire a guide that has been to the summit that you have your sites on. Whether it’s a life coach, personal trainer, business coach or any other guide, find one that has been to that summit many times and led others there before. It could take years off of your trek and perhaps even save your life J


Everyone who got where they are had to begin where they were. Your opportunity for success is right in front of you. Seize it!

To attain success or to reach your goal, don’t worry about having all the answers in advance. You just need to have a clear idea of your goal and move steadily toward it.

Don’t procrastinate when faced with a difficult problem. Break your problems into parts and handle one part at a time.

Develop a tendency toward action. You can make something happen today. Break your big plan for success into small steps and take the first step right away.

“We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.”

Success starts with a first step…

Happy Trekking, my friends!

Jason Latas

Raineer Summit Jason Latas Summer body Now

Hawaii to Mt Rainier, a Climbers Story part 1 of 2

Straddling a foot wide crevasse at 10,000 feet, I squinted through the blinding white light reflected off the snow at the towering glacier before me. As if a huge giant had giving it a whack with a great axe, the crevasse extended all the way up the glacier’s face. I gaped at the chasm, wondering if and when the crack would split that huge glacier and send a chunk of the mountain crashing onto our heads. The sun was bright and warm on my face. What would it take to send a slab of the ice down Mt. Rainier’s back and how much of the mountain would it take with it?

I looked back down at the gapping crack between my boots, peering down into what seemed like the yawning throat of a slumbering ice dragon. Blue like the bright sky above me, the opening extended below, becoming darker the deeper it went, as dark as a storm tossed ocean, flecked with foam and mist. At any moment, the dragon could fully awake and swallow me whole. I lifted my head and squinted ahead where our guide, Kyle, had stopped to prod the snow before him, searching for hidden crevasses. I silently urged him to hurry. For all I knew the ice dragon below me might wake up any moment.

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I was awe struck at how close to death I actually was. Mt. Rainier is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, cradling several of the largest glaciers in the U.S. south of Alaska. Mt. Rainier was a literal sleeping ice dragon. If the dragon itself didn’t awaken and kill me, I could easily die from rock or ice falls, an avalanche or weather related hypothermia. These facts did not escape me as I had prepped mentally and physically for this expedition. The dangers of trekking to Mt. Rainier’s summit did not deter me. If anything, it made the idea of conquering the beast that much more exciting and challenging.

My fascination with the crack in the glacier was interrupted by the near manical laugh of my buddy Adam who was roped behind me. I glanced back at him and grinned broadly, suddenly grateful I hadn’t lost control of my bowels. He was the reason I was here. Adam Quinn had been my buddy in adventures since I first met him in Maui five years previously. He could tell what I was thinking just by my hesitancy as I peered deep into the gullet of this beast. I laughed too, because I knew he was feeling the same way about our guided climb up the back of this giant. Crazy freaked out and loving it.

I didn’t say anything to Adam. I waited impatiently for Kyle’s command to move forward. I looked ahead towards where our guide silently prodded the virgin snow. With wobbly knees I prayed Kyle would hurry up and almost at once, he gave the command to move forward. Sucking in a lungful of frigid air, I lifted my heavy booted foot to take the final step over the crack in the mountain of ice. I exhaled a deep breath of relief, glancing back to see Adam briefly consider the crevasse I had straddled. He flashed me a grin and pointed down between his boots. I shook my head as the image of him slipping into the throat of the sleeping dragon pulling me after him turned my stomach.

There were two teams of 6 guys all roped together that day, trudging toward the same goal. The summit of Mt. Rainer. Come hail, snow, winds or the sloughing away of one of the glaciers, we were determined to make that summit.

As a giant stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, Mt. Rainier is considered an active volcano with its last eruption in 1894. Every month, as many as five quakes are recorded near the mountain’s summit.   It is not uncommon to have small swarms of five to ten earthquakes occur over a few days as well. So the chances of seeing an avalanche, or being caught in one, was pretty good. But we had trained for these possibilities with the help of our guides.

As instructed by our guides before we embarked on our adventure, we all stepped together in unison to keep the ropes taut enough between us to allow quick response in case the mountain decided to knock one of us off, but loose enough to allow a comfortable stride. I quickly learned that if I walked too fast, it would jerk my rear buddy forward, causing him to stumble and the guy behind him as well. Whereas if I walked too slowly, my front buddy would be unexpectedly tugged from behind, lose his balance and potentially trip – possibly jerking the rest of us off our feet. Inconsistent steps between the six of us would make for a very jerky uncomfortable climb. We stepped in unison and kept a steady rhythm like good little soldiers. This was a concept I was all too familiar with as an outrigger canoe racer in Hawaii, where one person hitting the water slightly before or after the one in front of them would throw the whole boat off. But Hawai’i was a long ways from this alien world of ice and snow.

As I continued my trek to the summit, I reflected on how far I had come. Training for this trek at sea level in Hawai’i was a bit of a challenge. Adam and I had climbed Haleakala (the 10,000’ dormant volcano in Maui) maybe twice in the months leading up to this expedition. We also worked out at our buddy Dale’s gym coupled with some endurance runs and bike rides. But that was it, aside from our daily custom tours that we led for my adventure company. Looking back, I wish I had trained more.

I was two days into this expedition when we crossed the dragon’s throat, but it felt like I had been on this freezing ice cube for years. Even though the weather was absolutely perfect today, each day brought a new challenge to deal with. One of which, was the food.

For the amount of money I shelled out for this adventure, I expected good nourishing food on our trip. However, our guides only provided sugary instant oatmeal with bits of fake fruit for breakfast every morning. It wouldn’t be long afterwards that I would find myself ravenous. I was expending a tremendous amount of energy climbing this mountain and trying to stay warm and a measly processed package of artificially sweetened carbs could not sustain me.

I knew from my years on Maui as a personal trainer, that these processed carbs would burn out of our system in about 60 minutes. Then what would my body utilize for energy? Fat AND muscle. But I didn’t have a lot of fat on my lean frame. So after a day of hiking through snow and bearing heavy gear, I was burning a lot of energy and it was coming from my muscle. At night, our bodies busily repair and build/regenerate new cells. But what materials does it use to repair and build new cells with? If your diet consists of sodas and candy bars, processed foods loaded with preservatives and chemicals, than that is exactly what your body is going to be rebuilt with.

As I sat eating my breakfast, I studied our two guides. Both were Haole (Hawaiian for white) guys that were very lean and wiry. Although in they were in their late twenties to mid thirties, they were haggard from years of leading clients through the harsh weather conditions of Mt. Rainer.

Looking at my guides, I could see that of years of eating snack size candy bars and junk food had taken a toll on their bodies. I just knew that by the time these guys were in their sixties, they’d be hobbling around with aching knees and joint problems. Not to mention a myriad of other health problems as their bodies, made up of years of consuming junk food, start to deteriorate at a faster rate than if they had maintained a nutritious diet and fueled properly for their hikes.

In my regular life back in Maui, I had an adventure tour company I co-owned with my buddy Adam. We both knew from experience that being well fed, fit and active was important if we were going to be able to provide the type of service our guests demanded for their customized adventures. Experience had taught us that treating our guests well and beyond their expectations led to them having great memories of their adventures in Hawai’i. If our guests were not properly fueled for the hikes and trips they had hired us to lead them on, chances are they’d feel pretty worn out and sore the next day. What would they remember the most? The scenic hike through lush tropical forests or the two or three days of aches and pains as they recovered from the hike? Chances are, they’d talk to their friends about the pain of the journey more than the experience of traversing through the most beautiful landscape in the world. Our guest’s adventures were priceless and we aimed to make sure they had the best possible experience ever so that they would come back again and again. Year after year. We built life-long relationships with our clients based on the principles of great customer service that went beyond their expectations.

For example – when we picked up our guests from the hotels or airport in the mornings, we would greet them with silver platters bearing fruit, muffins, juice, coffee and tea. Later, during the hike, we’d take a break alongside a beautiful waterfall or overlook and present a silver tray laden with more fruit, deli sandwiches, veggies and juice to make sure all of our guests were well fed and hydrated. That was the winning difference between us and our competitors on the island. We went the extra distance in providing our clients with first class service that allowed for a memorable experience during their short stay on Maui. Memories that would last a lifetime.

Back on Mt. Rainier, there was a severe lack of silver trays. It was truly an experience to last a lifetime, but I had no plans of returning again next year. This wasn’t my ideal annual vacation getaway and my guides certainly weren’t that concerned about our experiences so much as they were concentrating on getting us up to the summit alive and returning us to home base in one piece.

After what felt like hours of trudging through knee deep snow and ice, Kyle finally gave the signal to break for lunch. We had been traversing along the slanted side of a glacier, where we had literally been walking on turned ankles so that we could grip the ice with more surface area of our crampons (steal claws on the bottom of our boots). I turned and with my ice ax chiseled out a seat in the wall of ice and snow next to me. Then I snugged my butt onto the ice shelf I had carved from the glacier, stuck my axe into the wall and lashed my rope to itso I wouldn’t slide down the side of the glacier during lunch. I pulled out my stash of beef jerky, whole grain energy bars, dried fruits and nuts, a jar of Almond butter and a can of Tuna. This was the most decent meal I had during the day on my week-long expedition – provided by yours truly. Pre-packaged food never tasted so good as I wolfed down my rations. I could just feel my body soak up the nutrients it needed to replenish itself so I could have the energy to continue on until it was time to set up camp for the night. I also had my custom blend of amino acids, minerals and powdered nutrients that, like a chemist, I had blended in my kitchen back home. It was my secret potion that I used on long runs, paddling, bike rides, etc. that kept me on top of my game. I added the powder to my water bottle, grateful that I had the foresight to bring it along for this trip. I was pushing my body hard and I wanted to go home feeling good and remembering the trek pain free.

Lunch breaks allowed me the chance to survey the landscape around me. I couldn’t get over the stretch of pure whiteness, occasionally broken by crevasses. The snow was pristine and smooth. I could see where we had come up the mountain, the trail was a line of churned snow in shades of grey, blue and black. It was easy to spot in the distance as we were the only team on that side of the mountain and we were making our own virgin trail. As we sat enjoying our lunches and the view, we heard a low rumble and to my amazement, saw a wall of snow and boulders crash down from the side of the mountain and completely bury our tracks from just a few hours before. Again, I marveled at how close to danger we had been. Had we been just a few hours slower, we could have been caught in that tide of snow and rock cascading from its perch above – like a hungry predator with outstretched wings of cold, cutting ice, swooping down atop of us to envelope our team in its suffocating embrace.

Adam and I glanced at each other and for the first time during this trek, I wondered if I was ever going to see my beloved Maui again.

Part 2

For optimum weight loss and muscle gain, make the most of your protein timing.

Do you want to build a strong, fit body? While pushing weights at the gym is key to building muscle and stimulating fat loss, what you eat—specifically protein—should be a priority.

Think of it this way: if your body isn’t supplied with the nutrients it needs for muscle recovery and energy replenishment, are you really getting the most out of your workout? The winning combination is when both diet and exercise are maximized to reach your health goals.

When it comes to making the most of protein, the key is to get the right kind, in the right amounts, at the right time.

Right Kind

Protein can be found in a variety of foods. Eggs, chicken, fish, dairy, and beef are all sources of protein. However, not all protein is created equal.

For a superior protein option, study after study shows nothing compares to whey protein. Whey has a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs), which are quickly absorbed and used to build and repair muscle—especially if consumed after exercise.

Arguably the greatest benefit of consuming whey protein is the ability to maximize fat loss without losing muscle. A study comparing whey protein and soy protein found that subjects consuming whey had 62 percent more fat loss during 5 1⁄2 hours after a workout (1).

Another study looking at the effect of supplementing with whey protein, soy protein, or carbohydrate after workouts for a period of nine months found that those consuming whey had 55 percent more muscle gain than either soy or carbohydrate groups (2). In fact, those who consumed soy protein had similar muscle synthesis as those who ate carbohydrates alone. For fat burning and muscle growth, the kind of protein you choose matters.

Right Amount 

It’s becoming more evident that adults could significantly benefit from eating higher amounts of quality protein, especially when attempting to lose weight.

A recent study compared muscle synthesis in men and women who consumed controlled diets that provided three different amounts of protein: the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, twice the U.S. RDA, and three times the RDA (3). Weight loss was induced by restricting total calories consumed and increasing daily exercise. After three weeks, those who consumed double or triple the RDA had greater muscle synthesis than those who consumed the RDA.

The authors of that study said that they believed that the RDA for protein should be based on a level to optimize health, not just to prevent deficiencies. Their data demonstrate that the current RDA wasn’t enough for sparing muscle mass during weight loss. More is key—around 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

In addition to supporting muscle growth, higher protein diets have also been shown to increase satiety so you are less tempted to overeat at mealtime (4).

Right Time

Getting the right amount of protein each day is essential for keeping muscle in a constant building state (anabolic) rather than allowing muscle to be broken down and used for energy (catabolic). While the typical American diet does provide a fair amount of protein, it’s not distributed evenly throughout the day.

Most breakfast meals are low in protein (think bagels, pastries, and cereals), providing an average of 10 grams. (See graph below.) For many, lunch may consist of a sandwich or soup and provide around 15 or 20 grams of protein. Then, a massive 60 grams (such as a medium-sized steak) is often consumed at dinner. To keep the body in a constant building state and to support muscle growth, fat burning, and fullness, it’s best to eat around 20 to 40 grams of protein at each meal.

To investigate this theory, researchers compared two groups of people—one that consumed protein evenly throughout the day and one that skewed their protein intake more toward dinner (5). The “even” group consumed 30 grams of protein three times during the day while the “skewed” group ate about 10 grams at breakfast, 20 grams at lunch, and 60 grams at dinner. After just one week of following the diets, those in the even group had 25 percent greater muscle protein synthesis than the skewed group. The fascinating aspect of this study is that both groups consumed the same total amount of protein—90 grams—yet those who distributed protein consumption regularly throughout the day gained more muscle.

In addition to eating protein throughout the day, a key time to take advantage of the body’s muscle building ability is post-workout. After exercise, blood is rushing to your muscles. By consuming whey protein after exercise, it can be quickly absorbed by the small intestine, shuttled into the blood stream, and delivered to muscle tissue. Failing to consume protein after a workout is a missed opportunity to take advantage of all your hard work.

It’s not just about eating protein to get the results you want, it’s about getting the right kind, in the right amount, at the right time. That’s why I use organic, indentured whey protein from New-Zealand! Undenatured means that it still has all of the immune boosting properties and macronutrients that can be killed by high heat processing. Cheap whey is wasted in your gut as not all of it is utilized and then excreted. Use the best – Use proper timing – Make your whey work for you!

  1. Acheson K, Blondel-Lubrano A, Oguey-Araymon S, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(3):525-34.
  2. Pasiakos SM, Cao JJ, Margolis ER, et al. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized control trial. FASEB. 2013;27(9):3837.
  3. Luhovyy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH. Whey proteins in the regulation of food intake and satiety. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26:704S–12S.
  4. Mamerow MM, Mettler JA, English KL et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in health adults. J Nutr. 2014; E pub ahead of print.
  5. Paddon-Jones and Rasmussen, 2009