Tag Archives: protein

Spread Out Your Protein

22 Nov

If you want to build muscle, you need to get more protein.  Active individuals should aim for 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, daily.  Athletes may need even more.

So, how should you distribute your daily protein intake?

Scientists at Skidmore College (NY) found that individuals who divide their daily protein among six smaller meals, instead of three larger ones, build muscle faster.

Start your day with protein, and try to get more than half of your recommended intake by lunch.  Eggs for breakfast are a quick and easy way to get your morning protein.  Add a mid-morning protein shake, and grilled chicken (or other lean meat) and Greek yogurt for lunch.  Peanut butter is another good way to get your protein with any meal or snack, any time of day.

I like preparing a protein shake — 10-12 oz. of chocolate milk and a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder — and sipping it, throughout the day.  It’s an easy way to add 30-40 grams of protein to my daily intake.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Don’t Overlook Cottage Cheese

28 Oct

cottage-cheese[1]If you’re looking for a nutritious protein source, don’t overlook cottage cheese.

Once considered a bland, boring diet food, lowfat cottage cheese boasts a whopping 28 grams of protein per one cup serving, only 163 calories, and goes well with lots of foods.

Cottage cheese provides all the amino acids you need, making it a source of complete protein.  It’s also a great source of nutrients like calcium (bone, heart, and muscle function), phosphorus (bone health), riboflavin (helps convert food into usable energy), and vitamin B12 (brain function, red blood cell production).

Use cottage cheese as a healthier alternative to sour cream; stir it into dips and soups; or add it as a dessert ingredient.

Try this Cottage Cheese Pancakes recipe.  These pancakes are not only packed with high-quality protein, but also lighter and fluffier than the classic version.  Serve them with a bit of butter and sugar-free syrup.

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)

In a large bowl. stir together the cottage cheese, eggs, butter, and milk.  Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg, and blend lightly until just mixed.  Grease a griddle with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  Put a large scoop of batter on the griddle and use the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly.  The pancake is ready to flip when you begin to see small air bubbles form, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Flip and cook for another minute or 2.  Makes about 12 4-inch pancakes.

Per pancake: 97 calories, 5 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 5 g fat (3 g saturated)

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Fuel Your Body After Your Workout

21 Oct

pGNC1-13512491dt[1]Your muscles do not grow during exercise, regardless of the intensity of your workout.  Exercise is important, but it’s only the stimulus — or trigger — for growth.

You’ve got to rest and refuel your body, following a workout, in order to strengthen your muscles, and post-workout nutrition is essential for growth.

When you eat protein after your workout, your body breaks it down into amino acids, which are used to repair and rebuild muscle fibers, a process known as protein synthesis.  One amino acid, in particular, warrants special mention.

Leucine is a natural amino acid that is found in your body. Leucine and the branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine and valine, make up almost one-third of your muscle protein. Simply stated, leucine triggers muscle growth.  Leucine breaks down faster than other amino acids, and works to stimulate the production of protein and energy molecules in your muscles.  For this reason, synthetic leucine is often used as a food supplement to help athletes rebuild muscle and increase their physical endurance and strength.

When you’re buying a protein supplement, check the label to make sure it has a full complement of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Aim for 30 grams of protein per meal, including post-workout.  As long as you’re eating enough calories overall, you’ll get enough leucine to optimize muscle growth.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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The Chocolate Milk Diet

6 May

Chocolate-Milk[1]For years, we’ve advocated chocolate milk as a post-workout recovery drink — there’s always a jug of it in the fridge at our facility.  Backed by science, more than 20 studies support the benefits of recovering with the high-quality protein and nutrients in chocolate milk after a tough workout (to discover the science behind refueling with lowfat chocolate milk, click here).

Along those same lines, here’s an article from Eat This, Not That! titled, The Chocolate Milk Diet: No kidding, it really works.

The article touts calcium‘s role in building strong bones and the impact it has on blocking your body’s ability to absorb fat; the effect of vitamin D in calcium transport and its support of bone and muscle health; chocolate milk’s ability to provide a metabolic boost; and the relationship between protein (and muscle) and body weight.

As if any of us really needed a reason to drink more chocolate milk.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Training Table 101: Protein and Complex Carbs

9 Jul

Fall sports season is just around the corner, which means training camp time for football, soccer, and volleyball players, among others.

For most of these athletes, August will be the most active and physically demanding few weeks that they have.  One of the challenges facing these athletes is that many of them have not maintained healthy eating habits needed to complement their energy expenditure.

During training camp, many players actually struggle to keep weight on, rather than off.  Understanding the importance and impact of appropriate calorie consumption — as well as specific intake of fats, carbs, and proteins — is a must.

Basically, calorie consumption should take (at least) two factors into consideration: Body weight (desired) and physical activity (duration, frequency, intensity level, ambient temperature).

A typical meal or snack should be pretty simple:

  • Protein, such as steak, chicken, or fish
  • Vegetable
  • Healthy starch, including sweet potato, brown rice, whole grain pasta, etc.

The focus should be on protein and complex carbohydrates.  Additionally, adequate fluid intake — before, during, and after physical activity — is critical to prevent dehydration.

Athletes burn a lot of energy during training camp.  Most of these players have invested considerable time and effort training during the off-season to prepare themselves for the rigors of the upcoming season.  Proper nutrition is important to prevent weight loss, and loss of muscle mass.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Chocolate Protein Pudding Pops

26 Mar

I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to get more protein in my diet.  And since, invariably, most of my clients can also benefit by increasing their protein consumption, they often ask me for suggestions.

One of my favorite treats is chocolate protein pudding.  I prepare it by blending one packet of sugar-free chocolate pudding mix with 16 ounces of Fairlife chocolate milk and one scoop of chocolate protein powder.  This simple recipe makes four – 4 ounce servings, with about 14 grams of protein per serving.

I recently came across a recipe for Chocolate Protein Pudding Pops.  This frozen treat is delicious, nutritious, and perfect for summertime.  Here’s how to make them:

  • 3 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
  • 4 cups nonfat vanilla (Greek) yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Fairlife chocolate milk

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Pour into popsicle molds and place in your freezer overnight. Enjoy!

Makes eight – 4 ounce popsicles

Nutrient Content (per serving): Calories: 90, Total Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium : 97mg, Total Carbohydrates: 7g, Sugars: 6g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 16g

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Increase Protein Consumption With This Simple Strategy

22 Jan

Most of us are “under-proteined” and “over-carbohydrated” (okay… I know those aren’t real words, I made them up; stay with me).

Protein Consumption Guidelines

An active individual should aim for 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, daily.  For example, an active, athletic 150 pound person should consume between 90-120 grams of protein per day.  Elite athletes may need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, daily, to rebuild muscle given the physical demands of training, practices, and games.  Sounds like a lot, huh?

For most of our clients, we recommend ditching the antiquated “3 square meals per day” strategy in favor of 5-6 meals or snacks.  Ideally, each of these meals or snacks should be balanced, including lean protein — about 20 grams, healthy fats, and clean carbs.

Additionally, active individuals and athletes should always consume 20-30 grams of protein following a workout, practice, or game.

Here’s a strategy I suggested to my kids — all very physical active — to help them supplement their daily protein intake:

The first step is to get an accurate idea of your current daily protein intake (from all sources).  Next, calculate the difference between the amount of protein you should be getting and the amount you’re actually getting (my youngest daughter’s additional daily protein requirement, based on this equation, is about 35 grams).

The rest sounds simple — make yourself a protein shake.  In my daughter’s case, we mix 11 ounces of milk (11 grams protein) with one scoop chocolate whey protein powder (24 grams protein) in a blender/shaker container, the night before the day she will drink it.  The simplicity of the strategy is the method in which the protein shake is consumed.  Instead of guzzling it all at one time (which may be somewhat overwhelming and/or prohibitive for some folks, especially for larger quantity protein shakes), she takes a few sips, throughout the day.

First thing in the morning or with breakfast, have a few sips of your protein shake.  Mid-morning snack… a few more sips.  Same goes for lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and evening snack.  The goal is to finish your protein shake before you go to bed —  a few sips at a time, then make another one for the following day.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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How Protein Becomes Muscle

29 Sep

Protein consumption, following a workout, is an important component of the muscle and strength building process.  But how, exactly, does the process work?

Here’s a terrific resource from Men’s Health titled, How Protein Becomes Muscle.  This animated video explains the process from ingestion through each subsequent stage — transportresponserepair and growth; and construction.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Finish Your Workout With Protein

15 May

If you train at my facility, then you know that every training session ends with a reminder to “eat and get your protein.”  And, although protein consumption can come from a variety of sources, whey protein shakes are a quick, convenient, and portable way to ensure that you’re getting an adequate quantity and quality of post-workout protein.

Drink a protein shake right after your workout to aid and facilitate muscle recovery.  Consuming protein, following your workout, “can increase muscle protein synthesis by 100% for up to 24 hours,” says Michael Roussell, PhD and nutritionist.

Additionally, keep in mind that protein consumption should not be limited to post-workout.  To maximize muscle protein synthesis throughout the day, aim to get some protein every three to four hours, including lean protein at every meal or snack.  Research shows that active individuals should get about 0.6-0.8 grams of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.  Competitive athletes may need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, daily.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Eat Protein and Produce at Every Meal

26 Apr

Whole foods are best for building muscle, because they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other micro-nutrients that you don’t always get in supplements.  “If your food used to have a face or grow in the ground, it’s appropriate to eat,” says Bill Hartman, PT, CSCS.

To maximize the impact your diet has on building muscle and getting stronger, make protein and produce the centerpiece of every meal.  Grilled or blackened chicken or salmon, with a side of sautéed broccoli, make a great “go-to” meal, and can be prepared in advance.  Stick with lean protein sources, colorful fruits, and green vegetables.  When preparing your meals, avoid sauces, glazes, and dressings that pack on fat and calories.

Peanut butter (and nuts like almonds, cashews, and pistachios) and Greek yogurt are great choices, convenient, and portable.

For planning purposes, there are some fruits and vegetables that actually retain more of their flavor and nutrients frozen than fresh, including corn, peas, spinach, blueberries, and cherries.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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