Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Just for Bodybuilders...

It appears there are some people out there that think that drinking protein shakes is just for body builders and those looking to gain muscle size (hypertrophy). This couldn't be further from the truth, but I understand where it comes from. Its rather similar to the idea that many women have about lifting weights, thinking they will bulk up - instantaneously right (sarcasm). My previous post "I Don't Want to Look Like A Man" explains the misconceptions in that area. Bulking up is simply not that easy - many men are trying to bulk up without success for various reasons, but I will address that in future post.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Protein is a macronutrient, made up of amino acids required in a healthy diet and is in no way exclusive to body builders. Protein helps in the growth and recovery of your muscle tissue. You need this because your muscle tissue is the active tissue of the body which helps burn huge amounts of calories at rest, awake, at work, and all over the place. Consuming protein should be a important part of your diet, even if your goals are to increase muscle mass, get bigger, stronger, lose weight(fat) and for overall maintenance.

Protein powder can come in a variety of forms such as whey, soy, or egg. In addition you can get 100% whey protein or whey protein/carb mix which will taste better due to the carbs included. I personally like the soy version with carbohydrates - the 100% protein requires that you mix it with something in order to stomach it - but that is just me. What is a key thing to understand though is the amount of protein you intake must match up with your goals. In addition the type of training and overall total caloric intake. Gaining muscle mass doesn't just take place because of excessive protein intake. Take caution not to engage in a high protein diet as there are significant side effects. Your carbohydrate and fat intake are just as important. Excessive calories make you gain weight not excessive protein. Excessive protein will just make you sick.

A Few Benefits of Consuming a Protein Shakes:
  1. Consuming a protein shake is much more convenient than eating other solid protein sauces when in the gym or on the go.
  2. Reduce the severity of muscle soreness, by aiding in the recovery process.
  3. Increases your percentage of lean muscle. (more muscle less fat)
  4. To act as a healthy meal replacement, with out all the fat like in animal protein sources.
  5. Maintain a healthy and fit body.
The overall thing to recognize is that protein is for everyone - even grandma, she needs to keep her lean body mass as well. Protein is necessary for all athletes - grannies and mommies too. So DO NOT believe the hype and think that someone attempting to lose weight(fat) shouldn't consume a protein shakes, thinking that it only for body builders. Protein is a requirement. Protein shakes are just a convenient and sensible way to consume the necessary amount in our daily lives. Protein helps to make sure the weight you lose is fat and what you keep is muscle.

Remember that EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Be Well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Exercise Spotlight: Kettlebell Swings

Image Courtesy of Fitness Generator
START POSITION
  • Hold one kettlebell between your legs with knees bent and chest up.
  • Body in bent over position with a staight back.

MOVEMENT

  • Begin by squatting down and swinging the kettlebell backwards between legs
  • Then forcefully swing the kettlebell forward to about chest height
  • By pushing the hips forward by squeezing the glutes.
  • There should be triple extension in hips, knees, and ankles.

COACHING/SAFETY POINTS

  • This is NOT a shoulder exercise. Moving the weight comes from the legs, glutes, and core musculature.
  • Focus on keeping the core musculature drawn in or braced.
  • Maintain controlled breathing throughout the movement
  • Start will slow movements then progress speed as your abilities increase.
  • During the movement keep the chest up and spine neutral.
  • Focus on using the glutes to extend the hips and NOT hyper extending the back.
  • A dumbbell can be used in place of a kettlebell if not available.
  • Focus on movement quality before increasing resistance.

TARGET

  • This is a total body exercise which can improve your conditioning, in addition burns a lot of calories.
  • You will feel it in the muscles of your glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and upper back
  • This is a great portable exercise that you can pretty much do anywhere you have enough space.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Beginners - Light KB / 15-20 Reps / Slow Tempo / 1-2 Sets
  • Intermediate - Medium KB / 12-15 Reps / Medium Tempo / 2-3 Sets
  • Advanced - Heavy KB / 6-8 Reps / Fast Tempo / 3-5 Sets

Give it a try and give me some feedback.

Remember that EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Be Well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fat Burning Foods?



Are there foods that actually help me burn more fat?
What is a fat buring food?

A fat burning food is a foods that basically burns more calories than the total calories of the food itself, as a result fighting stored fat. What most are not aware of is that eating burns calories. In order for you body to digest the food you eat, energy is required - this is called the "thermic effect of food". Now the key is that some foods require more energy that others to be digested. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates and fats as it requires a lot from you body to break it down in to a usable form. There are many foods that can help you lose weight as part of your overall diet. For instance, oatmeal, fruits, and veggies have great sources of fiber and other important nutrients to increase your metabolism.

Here is some other fat fighting foods that you may not be eating:

  1. Cayenne Pepper
    Cayenne triggers a thermodynamic effect, meaning it will slightly increase your heart rate and metabolism. Other spicy foods can have a similiar effect to help you burn extra calories. Now don't go adding peppers to your pizza, fries, or bacon burger dog, the fat burner effects can't win against that much fat. Shout out to Warrior Flexy for the smoothie. It was great and those peppers were hot!

  2. Cinnamon
    Cinnamon helps you metabolize sugar. In turn, your body’s decreased blood sugar level can reduce the amount of sugar that's stored as fat. Store less fat, look leaner. Use it to add flavor to your fruits.

  3. Green Tea
    Well since every is going green for one reason or another. Try going green with your tea. Green Tea is high in antioxidants, has a high thermal effect which can rev up your metabolism. Try adding a cup or two as part of your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack instead of that coffee with half/half and splenda.

  4. Almonds
    Like many nuts, almonds are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat), which has shown to have a connection with lowering your cholesterol and your overall weight. Plus they are easy store at your desk for an easy and quick snack anytime. Try the raw almonds, there isn't any need for the salt and sugary honey glazed kind.

  5. Apples
    The saying "A apple a day can keep the doctor away" has some truth to it. In apples pectin in prevents the cells from absorbing the fat; in addition encourages water absorption from the food which helps in releasing the fat deposits from the body. Got to love that apple my favorites are Fuji and Gala.

  6. Oranges
    Fruits high in vitamin C such as limes, lemons, guava, grapefruit and tangerines have fat burning charateristics. Vitamin C will dilute fat and makes it less effective and plays a big role in releasing the fat from the body. I am big fan of grapefruits.

Now to be clear. Fat burning foods are not meant to replace consistent productive exercise and sensible nutrition daily. These foods should be used to go along with exercise and a healthy diet. Bottom line is takes 3500 calories to burn 1 lb of fat. This means that you need to have a consistent negative energy balance between your food intake and energy expediture to burn the fat. So try to incorporate some of these power foods into your nutrition plan and fight the fat.

Be Well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When, What, and How Much



If really want to get lean and healthy you need to read this. When it comes to nutrition I think many over complicate it. There are so many diets and nutrition schemes out there. The truth is that it simply comes down to 3 simple questions. What, when, and how much? Its that simple folks.

When?
What I am attempting help you understand is that your body can only store approximately four hours’ worth of fuel, so the standard three meals daily will just leave you with six or more hours between meals running on 'E'. This still applies if you are making healthy choices, your body will still run out of necessary fuel.

The solution is to maintain a balanced breakfast and dinner, but instead of having just one lunch at midday, have two lunches, one in the late morning and the other in the early afternoon. The goals is to keep the body fueled throughout the day without the dry spells.

What?
Focus on including all 3 of the following at each meal:
  1. Quality lean protein to help repair and regenerate all the cells and tissues in the body. Examples of this are chicken, turkey, fish, pork, beef, egg whites, whey protein, and low-fat dairy products.

  2. Clean Carbohydrates to supply the body with energy and healthy fiber. Examples of this would include all-natural (minimally processed) and 100% whole-grain sources, including rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, breads.

  3. Fruits and Veggies for powerful nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. The more fresh and colorful the better.

How Much?
When you eat this way you can rest assured that your body is getting an adequate amount of nutrients and energy, which will prevent your body from ever consuming its own muscle tissue as an energy source. This in turn will keep your metabolism working more efficiently focused on burning fat.

  1. Fist-size serving of fruits and veggies
  2. Fist-size serving of clean carbs
  3. Palm-size serving of lean protein

Your body protects itself from the threat of starvation by storing excess body fat, which is really stored energy. So what you really need to understand is that you body is really storing the fat because you not giving it what it needs. It doesn't know that you are in a long meeting or traveling, to your body all those things mean the same thing. So when you haven't eaten in over 3-4 hours you body will be begin to protect itself by storing fat and not burning it. Also because you haven't eaten your glucose (carbs) level is low, so the next thing in line is lean muscle (protein). See the body doesn't contain any enzymes to convert fat into carbohydrate (glucose) in order to feed the nervous system and metabolism. However the body does contain enzymes that allow it to convert protein into glucose.

Bottom line is this is what you need to avoid and control. This is the key. Protect your lean muscle, keep the body feed with lean protein, clean carbs, and fresh fruits and veggies. Begin to ask yourself these 3 questions when planning your next meal. When, What, and How Much?

Be Well.

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