Friday, July 25, 2008

Protein... In Many Places

By Ron McDonald Jr.

When it comes to getting eating protein, most people still seem to only think about eating meat. It is a common misunderstanding that you can only get the necessary protein intake from animal meat. It is a fact that lean cuts of beef, poultry, or pork are great sources of protein, however there are many other food sources that can provide protein to your daily nutrition plan.

Here are some great sources of protein:

Animal Protein

  • Poultry or Fish
  • Buffalo or Ostrich (very lean)
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs (Whites)
  • Whey Protein Powder

Plant Protein

  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Grains (Oatmeal and Ezekiel Bread)
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Cereals

Unfortunately not all proteins are created equal. Here are 2 things to be aware of when choosing sources of protein.

"Quality... Certified Quality..."

The ultimate value of a food protein or a protein supplement is in its amino acid composition. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue. Basically there are two types of protein: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins are missing one or more. If incomplete proteins are consumed the body will not fully utilize them during protein synthesis (the process of building muscle tissue). It is possible to mix two incomplete proteins to make a complete protein. Some simple examples would be to mix, grains and legumes (rice and beans), grains and dairy (oatmeal and milk), nuts/seeds and legumes (hummus-chick peas and sesame seeds).

Fat content

Now when consuming animal protein you must be aware that it always come with some amount of saturated fat. This is just a given. So you stick to the lean cuts of animal proteins which promote a lean muscular body. The choice is yours! So when you make your choices you should always select.

  • Grilled over fried
  • Skinless over skin
  • White meat over dark meat
  • Low-fat dairy over full-fat dairy
  • Egg whites over the whole eggs
  • Remove any extra visible fat from meat

Research has found that consuming adequate amounts of protein, especially that of high quality, can promote weight-loss (fat loss). In addition another added benefit is that protein has a higher thermic effect of feeding (TEF) than carbohydrates or fats, which means it burns more calories just to move it through the digestive process. Please be aware that there are limits to how much you should consume daily, but we will get into more detail at later date. The general recommendation is 0.8 grams a day per pound of body weight.

Be Well.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

There is Still Only One Way...

By Ron McDonald Jr.

In recent news there is a study comparing the Atkins, Mediterranean diet and a low-fat diet published in the In New England Journal of Medicine. The study was done to determine and evaluate the most effective diets for weight loss.

When will they learn? Why are still promoting this nonsense.

After two years the study found, dieters lost an average of 7.3 pounds on the low-fat plan, 10 pounds on the Mediterranean diet, and 12 pounds on a mostly vegetarian version of the low-carbohydrate Atkins diet.

In the study it highlights how hard it is to lose weight and the fact that most diets do not work well. It all boils down to make a permanent lifestyle change.

Lets talk turkey...

There are only two approaches to weight management:

  1. Magic (non-behavioral change) - calorie starvation, pills, hypnosis, and pre-packaged foods
  2. Proper nutrition and productive exercise (behavioral change) - learn to be better you

Diets based on gimmicks don't work. Actually let me take that back diets do work, but only for a short period of time in all the wrong ways. So basically they don't work. Most dieters end up carrying more body fat after they stop the diet. This phenomenon is called "yo-yo" dieting.

At the simpliest level if you eat a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, whole (unrefined) grains, legumes, soy products, some fatty fish like salmon, low in fat, low in refined carbohydrates you're on the right path to look better, feel better, lose weight and gain health (sound the drums) - for a lifetime.

Lets keep it real simple folks a diet that is low in fat is also low in calories, because fat has 9 calories per gram versus only 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates. So when you eat less fat, you consume fewer calories without really having to eat less food (total daily caloric intake), because the food is less dense in calories, as well as low in refined carbohydrates. Now couple that with a productive exercise program you will achieve a negative energy balance.

Bottom line - the best way to achieve weight loss is to begin a progressive exercise, making better and more healthy food choices. At basic level it as simple as calories burned for energy versus calories eaten for energy.

Be Well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Myth Buster: Exercising on an empty stomach...

By Ron McDonald Jr. - CPT

In many different outlets there is a consistent misunderstanding when it comes to human physiology. Like most things, the awesome human body performs very well when properly fed. In fact, many athletes and gym goers have found out the hard way how a missed meal can impact their performance. There are many "metabolic engines" operating in the body at all times, to produce energy from the food we consume. Picture a well-running factory with many interdependent production lines. When food slows down or comes to a halt, so does overall production of energy. This basically effects your performance and overall program results. Just like a car without fuel... you want get very far - or even started.

Technically, while the body may burn more fat exercising on an empty stomach, it also burns more muscle, which no is the direct opposite of what we want. Ultimately, without available glucose (sugar), the body can’t jump start all of the engines and the result is a low effort that burns less, rather than more, fat and calories.

The following are some examples of pre-workout foods that will fuel your body for the coming workout.

  • Banana
  • Grapefruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple
  • Granola
  • Yogurt (sweetened)
  • Raisin and Almonds (trail mix)
  • Whey Protein (3:1 Carb to Protein mix)

I would recommend consuming these at least 30 mins to 1 hour before a workout.Remember your pre-workout carbohydrates should be low glycemic, as to not spike your blood sugar levels, but give you a consistent level of energy to last over a period of time.

So the take away message is you should make every attempt to not exercise on a empty stomach. The bottom line is it will affect your results and performance.

Be Well.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Training Tips #3 - Inverted Hamstring Stretch

Beginning Position
Standing on one leg


  • Bend over at waist and kick opposite heel to sky
  • Keep hips elevated while lifting right knee to chest
  • Hold stretch for 10 seconds, then repeat for 5 reps
  • Switch to opposite leg

Safety Points

  • Keep back flat
  • Keep abs drawn in or braced
  • Maintain straight line from ear through hip, knee and ankle

This movement focuses on the the hamstrings.

This web site and its content does not provide medical advice and does not direct that you undertake any specific exercise or fitness regimen. You must consult a physician before undertaking any activity described in this web site.