Guest Interview – Dr.Cory Holly

Earlier this year I completed the Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor course that is offered through the Cory Holly Institute.  For many years I had been searching for the right nutrition course that would give me an education and accreditation that I would find truly useful, but I couldn’t find anything that actually took into account my belief in that exercise is an absolutely necessary component of truly being healthy and well.  I didn’t want to just take a course in order to get an accreditation, I wanted study a program that I would acquire useful and pertinent information for my future nutrition consulting business, plus I wanted to really enjoy my studies.  Then, through Purica I met Dr.Cory Holly and was introduced to his course, by halfway through his presentation I knew I had finally found an accredited course that I wanted to take.

Throughout the very holistic and comprehensive course I learned a great deal about sports nutrition AND nutrition for the entire general population.  I also grew morally and matured as a person (one trait I feel I really developed was more empathy for people struggling with weight issues – and this was a direct result of education and therefore understanding).  I formed a great relationship with Dr.Holly and consider him a mentor of mine.  He is extremely motivational and one of the best examples I have ever seen of someone who talks the talk (in a very intellectual manner) and walks the walk every single day of his life.  He is a smart man with strong beliefs and I respect that about him.

Upon completion of the course I asked him if I could ask him some questions for an interview that I would post on my website and he kindly obliged.  He answered the 9 questions in great detail and I am sure that anyone who reads this will enjoy his responses and learn things they can apply to their nutrition regime which will help them improve their nutrition regime.

The Interview

1) The post workout smoothie is something you are a strong advocate of – and I am too after studying the CSNA course and employing it myself. Why do you encourage every active person and athlete to use this “nutritional tool” liberally?

After depleting the body’s energy and glycogen pool, all growth and recovery essentially has to wait for energy and glycogen to be fully restored to pre-existing resting levels. The CHI Prime Directive is “Supply Your Biological Demand.” The post-workout shake is in liquid form, so it’s relatively easy to absorb in a short period of time, especially when compared to a solid meal that otherwise would take several hours to digest.

Calculated amounts of alkaline forming carbs, proteins and fats specific to each person’s body composition, body type, training needs and metabolic rate can be ‘injected’ into the body quickly and practically with a smoothie.

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After training the ‘athlete’s window of opportunity’ is wide open. Glycogen levels are low and glycogen synthase is high. The entire system adapts biologically for the purpose of restoring potential energy back to normal. It’s all about energy and high-quality clean fuel is needed to restore, rebuild and grow every cell in the body.

Liquid carbs, such as high-glycemic fruits slurried in a post-workout protein shake, are converted quickly into human body starch (glycogen) after they are absorbed into the blood and transported to the liver. This process is amplified when reinforced with amino acid peptides (whey protein isolate) and omega-3 essential fatty acids (hemp/flax seed oil).

The body is also able to incorporate more protein back into its amino acid pool when the athlete’s window is open. The ceiling can climb as high as 50-75g of protein in one serving post-workout. This extra protein once consumed, which is directly responsible for muscle remodeling and protein synthesis, can add up to an extra 5lbs of muscle per year. In 5 years that’s an extra 25lbs of lean, functional muscle that would otherwise not exist.

Finally, if glutamine is added to the post-recovery shake risk of infection when the system is down and depleted is greatly reduced. Creatine monohydrate is absorbed much more efficiently after working out, as well as pretty much everything else one can add to the shake, such as calcium ascorbate, ribose and spirulina. Athletes who take ribose before and after training restore ATP levels much more quickly than those who do not. Athletes who take creatine can run faster, jump higher and perform longer than athletes who don’t.

 

2) Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is one of the most proven supplements in the sports nutrition world, yet some people avoid it for various reasons. Ethic and/or religious choices aside, is there a better overall protein available?

No, and outside of verifiable, personal biochemical intolerance which is extremely rare, I don’t agree with any of the ‘so-called’ ethical reasons some use not to consume whey protein. A theoretical postulate that lacks objective, scientifically sound evidence cannot be used to prove or substantiate anything. In science you cannot use a belief system impossible to verify as evidence. If that were true everything and nothing would be the same thing.

Whey protein isolate is technically engineered under tightly regulated and controlled conditions. Although derived from bovine whey originally, the final end product after extraction, filtration and isolation is nothing like its original form. It is cleaner and safer to consume than any plant or animal, especially in today’s world of contamination.

Top Quality Whey Isolate

Top Quality Whey Isolate

Whey protein isolate (WPI) for the vast majority still ranks number one in terms of biological value, nitrogen retention and positive effects on the immune system. WPI is extracted without heat or solvents and retains many of the health benefits discovered in about a dozen specific whey peptides or peptide microfractions as they are called. Each peptide possesses remarkable health characteristics.

For example, glycomacropeptide contains a compound called sialic acid that acts as an anchor for viruses. By including doses of sialic acid in the diet as part of protein supplementation, viruses are attracted to the protein containing the sialic acid, thus reducing the risk of viral infection.

Another good example is beta-lactoglobulin, one of nature’s richest sources of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Beta-lactoglobulin is an excellent nitrogen delivery whey peptide, which means superior recovery and tissue remodeling potential compared to any plant protein such as pea, rice, soy or hemp, or any animal protein, including eggs, red meat, chicken or fish.

 

3) Many top minds in the athletic world, including you, would agree that strength / weight training has a place in every athlete’s regime. What are the main benefits that every athlete can get by implementing a sport specific and properly periodized strength training routine?

Functional lean mass, increased bone density, elevated strength and power and superior, longer lasting athletic physical shape and form. Resistance training is the cornerstone of fitness. According to Drs. Evans & Rosenburg muscle mass and strength are the first two of ten biomarkers of importance for preventing sarcopenia and increasing healthspan. The most efficient and reliable way to create muscle mass and strength is through progressive resistance training (PRT).

Sarcopenia is the medical term for the process and biological state associated with the gradual loss of lean functional mass over time. It affects everyone but to a much, much lesser degree if PRT is employed correctly and consistently to oppose it.

Healthspan is the duration of time that we are functional, fit and able to live independently. Pumping iron adds years to your life and life to your years.

Like running, swimming and cycling, resistance training provides the physical means to release pent-up adrenaline, cortisol, anger and frustration, generated through mental and emotional life stress. But unlike running, swimming and cycling, especially low-intensity, longer duration examples, weight-training elevates testosterone and increases growth hormone release, which helps us retain and remodel functional lean mass.

 

 4) In your experience with working with athletes of all levels, what are 3 of the most common signs that indicate someone could be on the verge of over-reaching in their training and thus setting themselves up for injury, poor performance and/or illness?

I wish signs of over-training and over-reaching were more common in the general population, as that would provide evidence that more of us were actually training hard and frequent enough to experience them. It is far better to risk training related burn-out and sports injury, than fade away into nothing as a result of doing nothing. But because the vast majority of adults do not train or exercise routinely, these symptoms are typically confined to hard working dedicated athletes.

The first signs that you’re working too hard and/or too frequently usually appear as convoluted mind and body clusters making them difficult to subjectively identify. It’s like the ‘forest through the trees’ analogy. It’s hard to see what ‘is’ when you’re the one who’s in it. But if you really pay close attention objectively, the writing will be spelled clearly on the wall.

Signs of over-training include a state of lethargy, a lack of motivation or the subjective feeling of “just going through the motions” in the gym or on the field. Your joints might feel achy or perhaps you are experiencing consistent, chronic pain. Your blood pressure or pulse rate may jump up unexpectedly, or you may have trouble sleeping. Thyroid function could be disturbed. Over-stimulation of the adrenal glands may lead to nervous system exhaustion, resulting in the reduction of testosterone and the elevation of cortisol.

Common Symptoms of Over-Reaching

  1. Chronic Fatigue
  2. Chronic Pain / Stiffness
  3. Despondent / Moody
  4. Elevated Resting Heart Rate
  5. Irritability / Intemperance
  6. Decreased Lean Mass
  7. Decreased Performance
  8. Insomnia / Trouble Relaxing

 

5) There is a lot of information available to people and almost too many Natural Health Product (NHP) supplement options out there. What 5 NHPs would you recommend every active person and athlete strongly consider adding to their regime (and smoothie).

In Five Steps To Health, the fourth book in my ten book audio series, I include a segment that answers that exact question called Five Supplements To Take. The book is based on the premise of a lifestyle that includes the following:

  1. Five workouts per week
  2. Five phases to each workout
  3. Five meals per day
  4. Five supplements to take and
  5. Five principles to live by

The five supplements include the following:

  1. Essential Vitamins and Minerals
  2. Whey Protein Isolate
  3. Essential Fatty Acids
  4. Vitamin C and
  5. Vitamin E

Of course there are many other supplements available that have tremendous value for specific reasons, but the idea is to start with what we know the body absolutely requires essentially so it can sustain health, form and function. First you build a strong foundation, and then you build up towards the sky from there. You simply can’t go wrong when you begin with what is proven, reliable and irrefutable. And yes you’re absolutely right Adam; there are far too many Natural Health Product (NHP) supplement options on the market. Many of them, especially in sports nutrition, are unfounded, misguided and useless. The 80/20 rule applies here.

 

6) What advice do have for the busy mother or father who is struggling to fit in a structured training program but is truly wanting to exercise and train to keep healthy, energetic and lean?

I have a quote displayed on my office wall that I look at and read every day. It states, “Exercise is not an option”. Another great quote that sums up my response is by Benjamin Desraeli, I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and that nothing can resist a will which will stake even existence upon its fulfillment.”

Human beings are volitional creatures with the will to choose the right action based on objective science or any number of alternatives otherwise. Emotions are incredibly unreliable when it comes to the science of living well. We’re animals designed to move but if we don’t we essentially rot and collapse prematurely from the inside out. We lose everything worthwhile including our mind, physical form and function.

What we don’t use we lose. Inactivity is the new smoking. Time is something you have to make to do what needs to be done. Trying is the new lying. The call to action is ignited by logic, rationality and a will of iron to lift the same. You can choose to ignore reality, but reality will not pass you by. It will grind you down to rubble unless you take action to counter the forces of entropy, radiation, gravity and oxidation.

Reality also doesn’t care how nice you are. If you ignore nature, she will take you down hard and painfully. Tracy and I have met hundreds of people who are extremely kind and considerate, but who are in terrible physical shape and loaded with chronic disease as a direct result of neglecting themselves.

Exercise, which is a science and technology of human design, is not regulated by subconscious autonomic control like breathing and sleeping. We have to conceive of its necessity in our minds, which is where our power lies. Each one of us is charged by reality to take care of ourselves and to do the work that optimum health requires.

 

7) One of your greatest sporting passions is body-building, but you are also a fan of almost all forms of training and physical activity. As you push through your 6th decade on this planet what are some of your other favorite activities that you are enjoying and that are helping keep you lean, strong and healthy.

In addition to natural bodybuilding, I’m also a Masters Track & Field athlete and compete in the Men’s Hammer event. In my age group I have the BC record and the Hawaii State record. In 2016 I’ll be competing in the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver BC, and the BC Senior Games in 2017. Preparation will involve a ton of throwing, sprint drills, technique drills, plyometrics and of course resistance training and plenty of stretching.

When I turn 60 I’ll begin training for the Natural Olympia in 2018. Besides working out in the gym five days a week, I play ping-pong often for hours 3-4 times a week, keep-up soccer and love to hike here in Vernon on park trails and local mountains. I also love to fish at local Okanagan lakes.

Dr.Holly in Competition Ready Shape

Dr.Holly in Competition Ready Shape

I got rid of my car when I turned 50, so I walk on average 5-10 kilometers a day. People who live in Blue-Zones all walk as a lifestyle. Walking is meditative and prevents anxiety caused by being inactive. Blue-Zones are the five areas of the world (Ikaria, Okinawa, Costa Rica, Sardinia and Loma Linda, USA) where people live longer and better than anywhere else.

My lifestyle and residence, which is a choice, allows me to walk to the gym and to the market daily. For long distance excursions, I fly, rent cars, take trains or ride the bus. No car also means none of the stress associated with driving, owning or managing one.

Finally, I have four grand children ages 1, 3, 4 and 10 that keep me busy running, swinging and playing constantly. I don’t just watch my grand kids play; I play with them and laugh constantly. Humor is the best medicine on earth.

 

8) Many aspiring young athletes will give up their dream for one reason or another, you have been 100% immersed in and dedicated to a life of health and happiness for almost your entire life – what advice do you have for those young athletes that may help them keep their body and mind strong as they progress in their sporting endeavors?

You either have what it takes or you don’t. I’ve been observing humans for decades worldwide. Those who have the drive to live and stay well don’t need any motivation because it comes from within. It’s self-generated. But they do need education because in order to get what we want we have to know how. Self–directed motivated people always want to learn and grow.

Those who willingly turn from the truth or who have no desire to seek it are cut from a different cloth. These are the same people who need constant hand-holding and encouragement. Left to their own initiative they are doomed to fold-in on themselves and peter out. The evidence for that is obvious.

My own personal motivation to eat clean, take supplements and train hard consistently until the day I terminate is based on logic, critical thinking and the power of reason. It’s based on the premise of choosing life to live.

Of course I naturally enjoy sport and love structured exercise for many reasons, mostly because it ‘feels’ great and gives me a chance to measure both my moral and physical capacity. How you play the game is definitely more important than whether you win or lose. This relates to business, relationships and life itself. Life is a Sport, the object of which is to succeed at being well. Everything else is arbitrary.

 

9) You have clinical experience working with every type of individual and athlete, what are some of the most common traits you see in happy and successful people – pertaining not just to health and fitness but also life in general?

Happiness is impossible to attain if you try and pursue it. It’s as elusive as trying to hold the wind in your hands, but happiness, contentment and personal satisfaction does ‘ensue’ those who pursue what they love and live for. When I do what I love in both work and play, the two become impossible to differentiate. To be ‘happy’ I do the opposite of what makes me unhappy, such as doing any work I don’t enjoy, standing in line, not moving, not travelling, not learning and not doing exactly what I what to do each second of my life. These things differ from one person to the next.

My advice is to do what you’re designed by nature to do, which is to use our huge brains and live autonomously. Not to use our own brain to create is a gigantic waste. That’s path leads to senseless competition and slavery of one kind or another. Freedom of mind, critical thinking and objective reasoning leads to independence and optimum health. Ask yourself, “What do I really think about the issue?” as opposed to, “What does society, my parents, my spouse, my priest, etc…think?” Much of what ‘we think’ is actually borrowed from someone or something else.

Dream, imagine and dare to be different! Go for it! Be who you are! Get real and be authentic. Set your own goals and strive to achieve them with elegance and pride. Self-esteem can only flourish and grow in us through self-achievement, self-attainment and self-actualization.

It’s possible to be relatively happy if you’re not well, but it’s a hell of lot easier when you’re lean, strong, super fit and super well, and it’s because of what you have to do to achieve that state. Its takes discipline, accountability and it’s based on the principle of cause and effect. Happiness is a state of mind.

Philosophy, which means the love of wisdom, is where we all need to start (not finish). For example, what’s your philosophy in life? Who are you, where are you, what are you doing and why? What are your options? What is the point of your existence? What do you want to achieve before you expire?

After you begin asking the right questions from the get-go, you have to study science so you can learn what the rules and constants of material reality are. This is why I study all the major scientific disciplines and more.

The greatest philosophers of all time were scientists and mathematicians. Science is awesome, but it can’t directly assign our purpose in life, other than to procreate and transfer our genes to the next generation. Only I can determine my relative functional destiny.

Fate is what we make and the future is not set.

You’d be surprised at how few people have no philosophy of their own and who just attaché themselves through rhetoric or convenience to whatever cultural ‘ism’ or trend is going around, without ever giving a single thought to what they’ve actually attached themselves to.

If you ask 20 people on the street what they’re doing and why, only 1 can give you a clear and definitive response. This means that only 5% of us truly understands and knows what we’re doing and why.

MJ Quote

 

About the Cory Holly Institute (CHI):

CHI is managed by its founder, Dr. Cory Holly, Canada’s Ambassador of Sports Nutrition, Health & Fitness. CHI is designed to strengthen sports nutrition awareness and bridge the enormous gap that exists between nutrition and fitness. Dr. Holly is a naturopath, professor of holistic nutrition, writer, author, teacher, professional speaker and mentor, committed to helping people around the world integrate optimum nutrition, functional exercise and natural health products into their everyday lives by providing them with best-of-class educational resources.

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