Deciding to be Happy

How making day to day decisions can impact your overall happiness.

Today’s post discusses how making day to day decisions can impact your overall happiness. I often find myself caught up in the moment and making regrettable decisions. Whether it’s skipping a work out, eating the wrong food, or even having one too many beers, I usually end up frustrated with my decisions within 24 hours. I’ve recently been trying to take a step back in such moments to analyze the situation. In doing so I’ve felt better mentally and physically, been more productive, and drastically decreased stress. This article discusses some fantastic ways to exhibit self control on a day to day basis while not losing your mind. One tip in particular that has contributed to my recent success is waiting 10 minutes before giving in to a temptation. Not only does this give me time to reanalyze the situation, but typically my weakness becomes nothing more than a fleeting moment. Read the entire article for more great tips to keep yourself on the right track!

Do This Super Super Set!!!!

The dynamic duo of fitness dominance, the walking lunge and renegade row!

Today’s topic is exercise! For those of you who don’t know what a super set is, I recommend you read my prior post discussing them in detail, as well as this blog post on the basics of training for beginners. The TL;DR version can be described as exercises targeting unrelated muscles done back to back. And today’s super set is one of my favorites… The walking lunge and renegade row! So let’s dive into the details of this dynamic duo of fitness dominance!

Deconstructing The Walking Lunge

TWD giphy.gif

If you have ever seen me at the gym shuffling around and looking like I’m straight out of an episode of The Walking Dead, it’s probably because I just finished doing some walking lunges. That’s because the walking lunge uses loads of muscles including the gluteus maximus, iliopsoas, quadriceps (vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, rectus femoris), hamstrings (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, biceps femoris), calf (soleus and gastrocnemius), and all the muscles of the trunk (1).

When done properly, the lunge is an excellent exercise to increase the strength of the leg and reduce the likelihood of injury for runners, field sports athletes, and those who actually do “leg day” from time to time (1,2). But, it needs to be done properly. So let’s go over how to do it right. Then, let’s go over how most people lunge.

The Correct Form

Inline image 4

Begin By – Feet are between hip- and shoulder-width apart and pointing forward. Torso should remain erect. Keep chest out and up. Shoulders are back. Keep head and neck straight with eyes looking straight ahead. Before stepping forward, breathe in and hold it.

The Descent – Take an elongated step straight forward with one leg (lead leg). Keep your arms straight, with the dumbbells held firmly at your side and your torso in an erect position, as the lead foot goes forward and comes in contact with the floor. The rear leg (trail leg) remains constant in the starting position, but as the lead leg moves forward, balance should shift to the ball of the foot of the trail leg as the trail leg begins to flex. Place the lead foot flat on the floor with the foot pointing straight forward. Once balance is established on both feet, flex the lead knee to enable the trail leg to bend towards the floor. The trail leg should flex to a degree slightly less than the lead leg. The lowest finish position of the descent should occur when the knee of the trail leg is 1–2 in. from the floor, the lead leg is flexed to 90°, and the knee is directly above or slightly in front of the ankle. Continue to hold your breath throughout the descent.

Rise Up – While maintaining an erect torso, shift the balance forward to the lead foot and forcefully push off the floor with the lead foot. As the lead foot returns to the starting position, balance should shift to the trail foot, resulting in the trail foot regaining full contact with the floor. The lead foot should be lifted back to its original starting position, with

feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart and pointing forward. Avoid touching the lead foot to the floor until it is returned to the finish position (unless balance is lost).

LD;DR video

While these instructions are very specific and technical, they are important and correct (3). Of course, lunges won’t work for everyone. But, under proper supervision, you can modify the lunge to work for you even if you have pain in your knees or hips. Now let’s take a look at what most of us struggle with!

Common Mistakes

Leaning Back – When you lean back too far, your rib cage flares and your spine hyper-extends. This is so bad for your back that it hurts the guy watching you from across the gym! Work on that core control ASAP!

Side To Side Knee Movement – When your knee caves in or flops out, it is often the telltale sign of weak glutes. And there are lots of fun ways to fix that!

Poor Balance – This ties in with the knee movement because they both can be caused by weak feet. Weak and unstable feet will cause a chain reaction of instability and dysfunction throughout your entire body. Just another reason to have strong feet!

The Renegade Row

The jig is up. The news is out. They finally found me… on the floor doing renegade rows! If you don’t know what song I’m referencing then shame on you! Okay moving on. The Renegade Row is a tremendously effective exercise that develops upper body pulling strength (back and biceps), lumbo-pelvic (abs and hip) strength and control, as well as shoulder stability, a quality that is lacking in most people. In fact, it is one of the best exercises to do for the prevention of shoulder pathologies such as impingement and rotator cuff tears (4). This is because the renegade row has all the benefits of a plank while making you feel like a beast from lifting weights. But once again, if you’re not doing it right, you will pay the price!

Technique

Start – Get into a plank position with feet shoulder-width apart, maintain neutral spinal alignment for the duration of the exercise. Each of your hands should be gripping a dumbbell directly under your shoulders.

The Up – Keeping your hips and body completely neutral by actively tucking your rib cage towards your hips, row one dumbbell up to your ribs by initiating the pull with the muscles in your mid-back, not your arms. Be sure to end your rowing motion when your elbows are around the height of your ribs.

The Get Down – Bring the dumbell back to the start and repeat with the opposite hand without rocking from side to side.

TL;DR Video

Like the lunge, this technique should be simple but is often completely butchered. Here’s what’s going wrong, and how to fix it.

Poor Hip Control – If your butt is way up in the air, down near the ground, or twisting all over the place, you’re doing it wrong. The arms are the only part of the body where the movement should be occurring. Practice being a plank for a while and consider using less weight if you struggle with these issues.

Using Momentum – If your elbow travels well past the ribs during the rowing movement, body twists, or hips collapse and/or pike, you’re swinging for the fences too much. Use less weight, so you can control your body. That’s the name of the game, control.

Poor Shoulder Stability – Shoulder instability might be due to a past injury, an unbalanced training program, or weakness in general. Get your shoulders checked out by an exercise pro if they are causing you problems.

Super Set Super Ending

So, back to my original point. These exercises make for a great freaking super set. When done correctly, they both promote dynamic control of the hips, prevent future injury of almost the entire body, and burn some major calories. They are also fantastic for posture and getting out of the bad movement habits that sitting at a computer all day long creates.

If you want strong and sculpted legs, glutes, abs, arms, and back muscles, be sure to super set walking lunges and renegade rows. Four sets of 10 reps with a low weight for each should do it at first. So get moving!

References
1. Kritz, M., Cronin, J., & Hume, P. (2009). Using the body weight forward lunge to screen an athlete’s lunge pattern. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 31(6), 15.
2. Whatman, C., Hing, W., & Hume, P. (2011). Kinematics during lower extremity functional screening tests–Are they reliable and related to jogging? Physical Therapy in Sport, 12(1), 22-29. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2010.10.006
3. Graham, J. F. (2007). Dumbbell forward lunge. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 29(5), 36-37. doi:10.1519/00126548-200710000-00005
4. Arlotta, M., LoVasco, G., & McLean, L. (2011). Selective recruitment of the lower fibers of the trapezius muscle. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 21(3), 403-410. doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2010.11.006

Quickie About The Little Things

How making a small change to your life can generate big results.

Today’s post discusses how making a small change to your life can generate big results. Doing simple things like walking a little bit extra each day, cutting out one sugary drink per day, eating out one fewer time per week, or even setting out healthy fruits to snack on instead of looking in the cupboard for a quick (and usually unhealthy) snack can generate tremendous changes in a gradual and maintainable way. Health and wellness are a life long journey, there’s no need to make a dramatic unsustainable change for a short term gain.

Winter {Weight} Is Coming

Because Winter is coming, we know the holiday feasting season is coming. So today I thought it would be prudent to go over some motivational, nutritional, and exercise advice to get you through it healthy and happy!

Because Winter is comingwe know the holiday feasting season is coming. So today I thought it would be prudent to go over some motivational, nutritional, and exercise advice to get you through it healthy and happy!
Step 1 – Set yourself up for success
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Don’t go into the holidays thinking “I’ll just eat healthy and be fine.” That’s not how it works… No one ever say a plate of grandmas (insert holiday of choice her) cookies and thought “Nope! I’m eating healthy!” By planning for moments like these you will be better equipped to just eat one, or handle yourself to not eat regrettably. This means you need to learn to be OK with being “not OK.”No one is perfect. You are human. You are normal. You are not a weirdo. You are not alone. Make a plan, and no matter how ridiculous you think it is, stick to it.
Step 2 – Anticipate obstacles
This goes along with step one, but has a few key differences. Instead of planning to have one cookie to let grandma know you love her and that she’s a heck of a cook, in this phase you need to make sure you don’t fall victim to the same traps over and over again. Do you skimp too much on dinner then lose it at the dessert table? Do you eat a dozen hors d’oeuvres before the real meal even starts? Crack a beer early in the day in anticipation for football? Anticipate these obstacles and set up an alternative course of action.
Step 3 – Tighten up home court
Starting NOW you need to tighten up your healthy habits. It’s much easier to maintain a good habit than it is to create a new one. So take a look at what you do well and lock down those healthy habits ASAP. So continue on with your workout routine, and start looking into delicious and healthy travel/holiday meals.
Step 4 – Adapt and adjust
During the holidays, and throughout your fitness journey, you will experience successes and setbacks. This is called learning, and it’s the only way to make long-term progress. So if somethings not working, experiment with your exercise and nutrition to figure out why. It’s not always about the “eat less and move more” formula. In fact, it is certainly possible to gain weight in a calorie deficit! Your strategies will need to continuously adapt, but the lessons you learn will stay with you. So plan ahead, stay motivate, an keep your chin up to get the most joy and the most health out of this, an every, holiday season.

Dealing With Reality

Reflect, learn, and plan for the future.

Reality can be cruel. You won’t always get what you want or see the results you were hoping for. However, burying your head in the sand or throwing a tantrum won’t do anything other than make you look foolish. And many of us have delusional thoughts of what is right and wrong for our body or have idealized the perfect picture of health in our mind’s eye. We unfairly judge others, and ourselves, for eating processed foods, not exercising, or for imperfect practices at the gym. But, how we think and act should not be a pursuit of perfection; rather, it should be in pursuit of doing the best thing for our future selves.
 
Get Your Head Out Of Your…
Getting off our high horses and doing the right thing will benefit not only ourselves but those around us. Your diet and exercise program is not the best there is. How do I know this? Because you’re not a professional athlete being studied by top scientists with customized diet and exercise regimens designed by leading academics. You’re a human, who has decided to go with a program that works for you, even though it may not be the best. So before you go judging others for not eating organic, realize that they may not have the same values as you do. And before you get too down on yourself for falling off the wagon, realize that your fad diet probably isn’t as great as it’s cracked up to be in the first place.
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No One Is Immune
Even fitness pros can fall into the trap of “all or nothing” thinking. Not all people are looking to lose weight, improve performance, have a beach body, or play professional sports. But I know trainers who think like this. Heck, I used to train people as if they were preparing for a physique contest against Arnold himself! But being healthy has nothing to do with those sorts of goals. And what do most people look for when starting a diet and exercise program? I mean, at the end of the day, what are you really looking to get out of all those hours at the gym?  I bet the following benefits of exercise is/are more appealing than looking good in tight jeans:
    • Decreased blood pressure and risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer (e.g., colon and breast cancers). (1)
  • The preservation of bone mass and reduced risk of falling (particularly in older adults). (2)
    • Prevention of and improved mood in people with mild to moderate depression while also potentially playing a supporting role in treating severe depression. Not only has research found that exercise’s effects last longer than those of antidepressants, but in regard to anxiety, research has shown that physical exercise reduces anxiety in humans by causing remodeling to take place in the brains of people who work out. This evidence suggests that active people might be less susceptible to certain undesirable aspects of stress and anxiety than sedentary people. (3)
  • Improved sleep patterns, which can help you become more alert in the daytime and also help promote more sleepiness at night. (4)
  • Enhanced feelings of “energy,” well-being, and quality of life. (5,6,7)
  • The stimulation of brain growth through the production and preservation of new brain cells and neurons, which enhances learning and memory, and is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (8,9,10)
  • The delay of all-cause mortality. (1)
 
Some trainers, both celebrity and local, can also falsely think that their way of doing this is the best. Because they know from experience that their method works! However, in reality, every trainer wants their method to work in the first place. This creates as massive confirmation bias (basically seeing what you want to see), and a failure to recognize failure. Because of all the conflicting anecdotal evidence based claims in the training, rehabilitation and nutrition arena clearly demonstrate the fallibility of humans to accurately judge the evidence of our own experiences when it comes to things like health interventions. Sometimes people will get better in spite of what a trainer or health professional is doing for them. There really is no “one true way” or “exercise everyone should be doing” because (prepared to be shocked) everyone is different. 
 
Take Away Lessons
Don’t get down on yourself for missing a day or two, or even a week. Exercise comes with many valuable lessons and creates and environment where you can be the master of your destiny (when you pay close attention). Through exercise, we learn that there’s a direct, unmistakable causal relationship between hard work and reward. By going to the gym regularly, you attract people who are into the same stuff and having like-minded friends is powerful. These connections can open doors, keep you motivated, and improve your health all around. Lifting weights will teach you that nothing worth having comes easy, you must be adaptable, and it’s good to appreciate failure.
 
You may have gotten what you wanted last week, or maybe things didn’t go as planned. Don’t bask in the glow of success for too long, or wallow in self-pity for not getting what you wanted. Reflect, learn, and plan for the future. Make yourself great again by doing what needs to get done and being a positive supporting person for those around you. 
References
1. US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, 2008 [Internet]. Washington (DC): ODPHP Publication No. U0049. 2008 [cited 2010 Sep 24]. 683 p.
2. Nelson ME, Rejeski WJ, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(8):1435-45.
3. Schoenfeld TJ, Rada P, et al. Physical exercise prevents stress-induced activation of granule neurons and enhances local inhibitory mechanisms in the dentate gyrus. J Neurosci. 2013 May 1;33(18):7770-7.
4. Driver HS, Taylor SR. Exercise and sleep. Sleep Med Rev. 2000 Aug;4(4):387-402.
5. Puetz TW. Physical activity and feelings of energy and fatigue: epidemiological evidence. Sports Med. 2006;36(9):767-80.
6. Yau MK. Tai chi exercise and the improvement of health and well-being in older adults. Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:155-65.
7. Conn VS, Hafdahl AR, Brown LM. Meta-analysis of quality-of-life outcomes from physical activity interventions. Nurs Res. 2009;58(3):175-83.
8. van Praag H, et al. Running enhances neurogenesis, learning, and long-term potentiation in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9;96(23):13427-31.
9. Laurin D, et al. Physical activity and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly persons. Arch Neurol. 2001 Mar;58(3):498-504.
10. Robert P. Friedland, et al. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have reduced activities in midlife compared with healthy control-group members. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. Vol. 98 no. 6: 3440–3445

Will Power

Think about your understanding of willpower. How do you define it? How do you think it works?

Today’s post discusses will power. I know that I will be using many of these tips myself from now on. Here are a few key insights:
Think about your understanding of willpower. How do you define it? How do you think it works? Consider how your definition of willpower affects your actions.
Try giving yourself a prompt to encourage a different view of willpower and motivation. For instance “Sometimes, working on a strenuous mental task makes me feel energized for further challenging activities”, or put your own spin on it “Following through on my new habits makes me feel like a ROCKSTAR who’s capable of anything”.
Consider how a different view of willpower might help you with challenges like:
 – Nutrition consistency
 – Sticking to a workout routine
 – Preparing meals ahead of time
The next time you feel like you’ve exhausted your willpower, ask yourself: How can I re-frame what willpower means for me? What successes have I already achieved? How can I draw energy from those successes?

I’m Secretly a Sith Lord, And So Are You!

Despite our best efforts, we can all have moments where we think irrationally, abandon critical thinking skills, and fail to be a balanced accurate viewer of what is going on around us.

It has been said that “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” If you don’t know what a Sith is, then shame on you. Stop reading and go watch the Star Wars movies! For everyone else, let’s talk about why I am secretly a Sith lord, and why you probably are too. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we are all evil people who are drawn by the dark side. What I am saying is that despite our best efforts, we can all have moments where we think irrationally, abandon critical thinking skills, and fail to be a balanced accurate viewer of what is going on around us. We like to have black and white answers to questions about shades of gray. Whether it’s politics, sports, or health and fitness, we all are looking for something that doesn’t exist: The right answer.
 
Context
There is often times no right answer because the question at hand is not framed within a reasonable context. What’s the best exercise? What are healthy foods? Should I be “eating clean”, or avoiding gluten, dairy, and GMO’s? How do I fix my back pain? Who’s the best boy band of all time? Hint: none of the questions can  be even remotely answered without more context. Everyone has extenuating circumstances surrounding him or her, and there can be no right answer without digging a little deeper.
Duck Soup
“Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” This Marx Brothers quote from the movie Duck Soup reigns supreme when it comes to our perceptions of reality. We all look for patterns in our daily lives to explain the world around us. It’s why Airborne, vitamin C, and chicken noodle soup are thought to cure common colds. In reality, these interventions don’t do anything at all to help you heal up (1). But, at some point, I’m sure we have all fallen for the Airborne scam of taking a product, feeling better, and thanking that product for making us feel better. Here’s the dirty little secret… you would have felt better anyway because that’s how colds work. This same principle can be applied to many aspects of our lives. Ever hear someone say, “if I eat this ice cream, it will go straight to my hips!” Well, that’s not how the body works. If you’re not in a caloric surplus, then you won’t put on weight. But we see patterns and tend to blame one thing or another. Whether it’s weight gain, muscle building, or aches and pains, there is no one single reason for their occurrence. It is a spectrum of hundreds of factors that play into our health and well-being.
Avoiding The Dark Side
To avoid the dark side and being a Sith lord, try to think in relative terms. So instead of thinking that taking vitamin C will cure no disease, try thinking that vitamin C may help me if I am deficient and therefore could help my body operate more efficiently. This same reasoning can be used with eating organic. Will eating organic foods make you any healthier? Probably not alone, but it may inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables in general which will make you healthier. Will avoiding chemicals make you healthier? No, but it may inspire you to learn about what’s actually in the food you’re eating.
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Should I be on a low carb, low fat diet, or will a Keto diet be best? Should I be taking probiotics? Will these supplements help me lose weight? Who should be telling me what to eat? What exercises should I be doing?
None of these questions matter in isolation, and none of these questions have a right or wrong answer. The answer will almost always be “maybe. It depends.” Don’t take answers at face value because no one source will have all the information. Don’t assign causation or blame because a myriad of factors will play into your results. Don’t simply put all your eggs into one basket. Our perception stinks. We, as humans, have a hard time sorting out reality. We try to use our past experiences to figure out the present, and this leads to all sorts of misguided judgments even in the face of contradicting evidence (2). Don’t dig in and defend these poor decisions once you have made them. Try to keep an open mind, learn as much as you can, and be willing to change as needed.
References
1. Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1), CD000980.
2. Fazio, L. K., Brashier, N. M., Payne, B. K., & Marsh, E. J. (2015). Knowledge does not protect against illusory truth. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 144(5), 993-1002. doi:10.1037/xge0000098

Inspiring Reasons To Exercise

Everything you need to know about exercise is that setting these benefits as goals will not help you achieve them as much as finding…

There are thousands of benefits from regular exercise, and as a sports medicine and fitness professional people ask me the same question all of the time. “I heard about this new thing that can get my body the way that I want it with only a little bit of exercise. Does it work?” Regardless of the new thing that someone is trying to sell you, or what magical powers it claims to have that can get you to lose belly fat, gain muscle mass, or keep you looking youthful, I always say the same two things. The first being “probably not, but let me do some research”, and the second being “why?” I’m not here to rant on about the fads being sold to suckers around the globe, but rather ask why people buy it. Because if all you want is to lose a little bit of fat mass, stay youthful and spritely, or even prevent disease I can guarantee you that you are going to fail!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that exercise or any of the “breakthrough in science” products won’t work. As a matter of fact I have helped clients drop 40+ lbs in fat through exercise alone so they can go to the beach in style. But like a boomerang some people put the weight back on in the fall and come back to see me. What the heck does any of this have to do with you?! Good question! Let me explain to you everything you need to know about exercise.

Exercise is often viewed as the necessary evil by most of my clients, and sometimes even myself. People want quick fixes so they can stay at home and do whatever it is that they are going to do other than exercise. Exercise does not have to the bad guy. You know why my successful clients lose weight when they come to see me and don’t put it back on during the winter? It’s the same reason you see 70 year old men pumping iron 5 times a week, or the walking ladies in the mall, or even elaborate gardens at the retirement community. It’s because all of these people found an exercise, environment, or activity that they enjoy, and then stuck with it.

Exercise is an amazing thing. We all know by now that it can help prevent things like heart disease diabetes, and various other diseases. But being fit for life can provide so many more benefits. It can help you decrease stress and enjoy your time on earth more, it makes you smarter and help brain functions, and it can keep you looking young while living longer. It’s the freaking fountain of youth people!! But everything you need to know about exercise is that setting these benefits as goals will not help you achieve them as much as finding the person, place, or thing that makes you look forward to exercising daily.

References

  1. Deep Down, Exercise Helps Keep You Young. (2010). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 28(2), 4-5.
  2. Heir, T., Erikssen, J., & Sandvik, L. (2013). Life style and longevity among initially healthy middle-aged men: prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1-5. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-831
  3. Opdenacker, J., Delecluse, C., & Boen, F. (2011). A 2-Year Follow-Up of a Lifestyle Physical Activity Versus a Structured Exercise Intervention in Older Adults. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 59(9), 1602-1611. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03551.x

4. Piazza, J., Charles, S., Sliwinski, M., Mogle, J., & Almeida, D. (2013). Affective reactivity to daily stressors and long-term risk of reporting a chronic physical health condition. Annals Of Behavioral Medicine: A Publication Of The Society Of Behavioral Medicine, 45(1), 110-120. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9423-0

What’s In Your Protein Shake?

it’s not the when, but the what and how much that truly matters.

Lifting weights and drinking protein shakes go hand in hand. Because getting that protein flowing through your veins immediately after a workout is the essential,right? Well, not really. Because it’s not the when, but the what and how much that truly matters. So whether you’re a vegetarian, meat eater, or milk drinker, I have the shake answers for you!
Why Not When?
The old way of thinking that you must get protein within your “anabolic window” after you workout is nothing more than a meathead myth. There have been loads of studies on the matter, and we know with a pretty high level of confidence that having protein immediately after your workout will have the same result as having protein 6 hours after your workout (1). Unless you’re Wolverine and have super fast healing powers, your muscles take a long time to repair and regenerate after getting broken down during your workouts. In fact, muscles can be highly sensitive to the anabolic influence of protein up to 2 days after a workout (2)! Now, I will say that there is one caveat to protein timing. It is most beneficial to consume protein every 3 hours. However, that point is moot if you’re not getting enough total protein.
What Totally Matters?
What matters more than the type of protein and the timing of protein is the total protein you get in a day. Like sleep, if you’re not getting enough, it doesn’t matter when you get it. Just get more! There really is no limit to how much protein you can have in a day. We know that very high protein diets don’t result in harmful effects on blood lipids (cholesterol) or liver and kidney function (3). We also know that not getting enough can result in sub-optimal recovery from exercise, and poor health outcomes especially for an older population (4). While the general recommendation is 1.2 to 2.2 g/ kg of body weight (1g/lbs) of protein per day, I personally recommend shooting for 100g of protein a day as a starting point. That means getting 20g of protein every 3 hours. This isn’t a strict recommendation. Your body can process a lot of protein at one time, especially when the protein eaten. Even if you drink your protein, the old myth of your body only being able to process 20g of protein at a time has been busted. Especially after a full body workout, you will utilize every bit of a 40g protein drink without wasting anything (5).
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Yo Soy Whey Cool
So what does all the previous information have to do with protein shakes? Well, for most people, trying to get 20g of protein every 3 hours means drinking a shake every now and then. It may also mean that when your choice of protein sources is limited (vegan/vegetarian), that you will need to find a way to get a few key protein components into your routine. This is due to the fact that plant protein sources, such as soy and peas, are often low in key amino acids such as methionine, tryptophan, lysine, and leucine. This means you will need to plan ahead to make sure that you get all of these essential amino acids, leucine being of the greatest importance, especially after a workout. Regardless of the source, you will want to look for proteins high in leucine because that’s the component that will help your muscles repair and develop the best (6). Instead of blabbering on, I’ll finish with a list of fun facts and pertinent tips:
Best protein sources for weight loss – casein and soy. These protein sources will fill you up the best, which means you need to eat less, which means you lose more weight (7).
BCAA’s are worthless – Drinking protein during your workout won’t really do anything at all to help you gain more muscles. BCAA drinks won’t make you feel full or burn more calories than eating your protein or drinking a shake either. Unless you’re in the middle of a marathon, skip the BCAA’s.
Confused? Here’s what to do – Focus on getting more protein in general. Don’t worry about the minutia until you nail down the basics. When it comes to protein, the more the better!
References
1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A. A., & Krieger, J. W. (2013). The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: A meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 53-53. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-53
2. McGlory, C., Devries, M. C., & Phillips, S. M. (2016). Skeletal muscle and resistance exercise training; the role of protein synthesis in recovery and remodelling. Journal of Applied Physiology, , jap.00613.2016. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00613.2016
3. Antonio, J., Ellerbroek, A., Silver, T., Vargas, L., Tamayo, A., Buehn, R., & Peacock, C. A. (2016). A high protein diet has no harmful effects: A one-year crossover study in resistance-trained males. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2016, 1-5. doi:10.1155/2016/9104792
4. Deutz, N. E. P., Bauer, J. M., Barazzoni, R., Biolo, G., Boirie, Y., Bosy-Westphal, A., . . . Institutionen för folkhälso- och vårdvetenskap. (2014). Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: Recommendations from the ESPEN expert group. Clinical Nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 33(6), 929-936. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2014.04.007
5. Macnaughton, L. S., Wardle, S. L., Witard, O. C., McGlory, C., Hamilton, D. L., Jeromson, S., . . . Tipton, K. D. (2016). The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole‐body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein. Physiological Reports, 4(15), np-n/a. doi:10.14814/phy2.12893
6. Phillips, S. M. (2016). The impact of protein quality on the promotion of resistance exercise-induced changes in muscle mass. Nutrition & Metabolism, 13(1) doi:10.1186/s12986-016-0124-8
7. Acheson, K. J., Blondel-Lubrano, A., Oguey-Araymon, S., Beaumont, M., Emady-Azar, S., Ammon-Zufferey, C., . . . Bovetto, L. (2011). Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(3), 525-534. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.005850

Macro Look at Micro Nutrients

Basic steps that you can take to analyze and improve your daily food needs.

Today’s post is all about the importance of your diet. By now most of us know there is no magic bullet. By that I mean there’s no such thing as a one size fits all diet, and we all need to individualize our eating habits to best suit our lifestyle and goals. The wonderful people at Precision Nutrition recently came out with a guide to basic steps that you can take to analyze and improve your daily food needs. So what are most people likely lacking? When it comes to vitamin’s and minerals they are:

–  B12 which helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. It can be found in foods like organ meats (beef liver), shellfish (clams), meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy foods.

– B7 (biotin) helps support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. It can be found in foods like organ meats, barley, brewer’s yeast (hooray for beer), fortified cereals, corn, egg yolks, milk, royal jelly, soy, and wheat bran.

– D which is used to absorb calcium and promote bone growth along with so much more. It can be found in fish and mushrooms.

– E a fat-soluble nutrient that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and many other conditions. It can be found in Plant Oils (Wheat Germ), Sunflower Seeds, and Almonds.

– Chromium which is an essential part of metabolic processes that regulate blood sugar, and helps insulin transport glucose into cells, where it can be used for energy. It can be found in foods like whole-grain products, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and egg yolk.

– Calcium which in addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium helps our blood clot, nerves send messages and muscles contract. It can be found in foods like almond milk, rice milk or soy milk, and fortified foods.

– Iodine which is needed to make thyroid hormones. It can be found in fortified salt, seaweed, and potatoes.

– Molybdenum which combines with sulfite oxidase to catalyze sulfur-containing amino acids that are crucial for human health. Can be found in Grain products and nuts.

– Zinc helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses and make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Can be found in oysters (which contain more zinc per serving than any other food), red meat, and poultry.

The Big Picture

These nutrient deficiencies are just some examples of what we can be missing. Every person is truly individual so don’t just assume your diet is lacking all of the above examples. However, what can be said is that when our bodies don’t have the nutrients they need to do their work, we all suffer. But as soon as we get these nutrients, we thrive.