Tag Archives: protein

Apple with Peanut Butter: The Ideal Snack

29 Jul

peanut-butter-apples[1]Good nutrition bars are really hard to find (unless, of course, you have access to Whey Better Cookies).  Sure, there are some good ones out there, but most are full of cheap fats, sugars, and unnecessary additives.

The goal should be to find a portable, nutritious snack with a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fat, protein, and 5-10 grams of fiber.  Most of us fall short of the recommended 38 grams of fiber per day.  Fiber is a slow-digesting nutrient that can help you stave off hunger until your next meal.

The next time you’re looking for some grab-and-go nutrition, consider an apple with peanut butter (1.5 Tbsp):

  • 240 calories
  • 8 g protein
  • 30 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber, 21 g sugars)
  • 12 g fats

It just may be the ideal snack.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Upgrade Your Diet with Flaxseed

20 May

flaxseed-ground[1]Flaxseed my be one of the healthiest plant-based foods on earth.  It is a rich source of the healthy fats, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA).  Flaxseed has been around for centuries, and boasts several health benefits.  It is a good source of:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (one serving of ground flaxseed can provide almost 3000 mg of Omega-3)  Your body cannot make Omega-3, so they must be consumed as part of your daily diet.
  • Protein (3 grams per serving)
  • Fiber (4 grams of dietary fiber per serving)
  • Lignans (potent antioxidants that can reduce cell damage)

Health benefits of flaxseed include:

  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels.  Flaxseed is associated with reductions in total cholesterol and LDL.
  • Helps with weight control
  • Works as a natural laxative
  • Fights depression (DHA is a “mood boosting” ingredient that is essential for proper brain cell function); diabetes (helps lower blood sugar); and cancer (ALA has shown promise as a cancer-fighting agent)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improves immune function

Ground flaxseed is recommended over whole because it is digested more easily, thereby providing the most benefit. Add ground flaxseed to the following foods (and more) to improve their nutritional content:

  • Oatmeal and other cereals
  • Protein shakes and smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Pancake mix
  • Breads and muffins
  • Soups and salads
  • Condiments and dressings
  • Hamburger and meatloaf
  • Breading for chicken and fish

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Strength Training as an Injury Prevention Strategy

6 Apr

24-pro-foam-roll[1]While it’s impossible to prevent every injury, research shows that strength training can help individuals reduce the incidence and severity of injury.  Here are a few tips that can improve your odds of making your body injury-proof.

Fuel Your Workout

Strength training requires energy.  Everyone’s different but, as a general rule, you should eat a balanced, light meal or snack 30-90 minutes prior to working out.  Aim for a carbohydrate to protein ratio of about 3:1.

Warm-up

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we prefer a dynamic warm-up (no stretching) to prepare for our workouts.  Using light-to-moderate weight, try doing kettlebell swings or a barbell (or dumbbell) complex.  Body-weight exercises — like burpees — will work, too.  You can also do a lighter warm-up set prior to any exercise in your regimen.

Do It Right

Don’t cheat by only pushing or pulling half-way, and don’t get so enamored with the amount of weight you lift that you sacrifice proper technique in the process.  Lift and lower the weight (or your body) through the entire, intended range-of-motion.

Push and Pull

Agonist-antagonist paired sets help to ensure that you’re developing muscular balance and joint stability, in addition to strength, by exercising opposing muscle groups (for example, the bench press and row).

Stretch… After

Post-workout stretching helps to relax and elongate muscles.  Stretching also facilitates oxygenation and nutrient uptake in muscle cells.

Foam Roll (pictured)

If you’ve never tried a foam roll massage, it’s a must.  The foam roll uses your body weight and position to deliver a deep-tissue massage.  They’re available, inexpensively, and most come with an instructional DVD.

Refuel

Post-workout nutrition should be consumed within 30 minutes of your workout.  Your body needs carbs to replenish muscle glycogen stores (think of glycogen as stored energy) and protein (preferably whey) to rebuild muscle.  16-18 ounces of chocolate milk is a great choice.

Rest

It’s the rest days between workouts that help your muscles grow bigger and stronger.  Allow a rest day between training days.  Rest (including adequate sleep) is essential to the recovery/regeneration process.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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5 Tips to Boost Your Metabolism

28 Mar

5-Tips-To-Boost-Your-Metabolism_1024x1024[1]Here’s a nice article from our friends and colleagues at ASD Performance.

  1. ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST

Eat a good breakfast. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t, your body goes into starvation mode which in turn causes your metabolism to slow in order to conserve energy. And the heartier your first meal is, the better. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that volunteers who reported regularly skipping breakfast had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those who took the time to eat.

      2. DRINK COFFEE:

A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee increased 16 percent over that of those who drank decaf.

  1. RELAX:

Research is now showing that high levels of stress in in fact contributing to to weight gain. When you are stressed, your body will increase your stress hormone cortisol, which stimulates fat cells to increase in size and encourage fat storage. Stress hormones can also spike your appetite, making you likely to overeat or stress eat.

     4. PICK UP THE PROTEIN:

Cramming protein into every meal helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest. Aim for about 30 grams of protein — the equivalent of about one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a four-ounce boneless chicken breast — at each meal.

  1. CHOOSE ORGANIC PRODUCE:

Researchers in Canada found that dieters with the most organochlorides (chemicals found in pesticides) stored in their fat cells were the most susceptible to disruptions in mitochondrial activity and thyroid function. Translation: Their metabolism stalled.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Get Stronger (here’s how)

2 Dec

LoadedBarbell[1]Everybody wants to look good, but the real benefit of strength training is… well… getting stronger.  Increasing your physical strength will serve you much better in the long term, whether you’re an athlete or not.

And, while the aesthetic result of working out is great, research shows that stronger people generally live longer (so there’s that).  Strength and functional fitness is the way to go.

Move better, function better, perform better.

Here are a few basic tips for improving your strength (with some information borrowed from our friends at ASD Performance):

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy (90% 1RM) will improve strength by recruiting high-threshold motor units. The muscle fibers associated with these motor units have the most potential for increasing strength. However, they fatigue quickly.

Exercise Selection Matters

Maximal lifting is best applied to multi-joint exercises (e.g., squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls). Even though the weight is heavy, your intent should be to move the weight as fast as possible. This will ensure you’re recruiting as many fast-twitch muscle fibers as possible.

Incorporate Plyometrics

Otherwise known as jump training, plyometric training involves hop- and jump-type exercises that train and develop what’s called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). The stretch-shortening cycle teaches the body to better utilize stored elastic energy to produce stronger and more forceful contractions. This improvement in reactive ability can also be explained by improvements in muscle-tendon stiffness. Body-weight or weighted plyometric can be utilized such as consecutive body-weight jumps over hurdles or continuous dumbbell jump squats.

Rest Longer

When bodybuilding or training for muscle growth, short rest periods are recommended between sets, such as 30-60 seconds. When training for strength, increase your rest to 2-5 minutes depending on the exercise. The loads lifted will require longer rest periods to ensure you complete the same number of reps in the subsequent sets. Your mental strength and ability to focus on the heavy set will also appreciate the longer break.

Get Your Protein

Most experts agree that active men and women should ingest 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Lifting heavy weight creates a lot of muscle demand.  Feed your muscles often, with lean protein from whole foods and a quality whey protein supplement.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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The Intelligent Athlete’s Guide to Fueling Performance

20 Nov

avarietyoffoods[1]Here’s a nice resource from Coach Mike Dewar that helps to simplify the best way to eat for performance.

Coach Dewar provides several tips for adjusting an athlete’s nutrition to meet the demands of intense training:

  • Keep it simple
  • Diversify (add variety to) your plate
  • Understand your caloric needs
  • Consume enough protein
  • Performance athletes need carbohydrates
  • Healthy fats fuel long-duration exercise
  • Use supplements wisely

Active individuals and athletes must exceed US RDA guidelines for macro- and micronutrients — which are based on the needs of sedentary individuals — relative to their own metabolic demands.

“Athletes have significantly different metabolic demands than non-athletes. As we develop better fitness, factors such as sleep, recovery, hydration, and nutrition play a determining role in our ability to withstand the increased physiological and psychological stressors of advanced training and life.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Protein 101: Types and Timing

28 Aug

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There’s a lot of discussion (and confusion) about protein consumption and supplementation.

What kind of protein supplement should you use, and when should you use it?

Check out this article to learn more about Types of Protein.

This article provides insight into Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training.

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Eat Your Way to Fitness

8 Jun

8c08f343446b14128f6f9df8dd797ddb[1]Exercise is important, but you can’t “out-train” a bad diet.  If you’re serious about results, regardless of your strength and fitness goals, your exercise and nutrition plans need to be aligned.

Complement your efforts in the weight room by following these three simple Diet & Nutrition rules:

  1. Limit the junk.  Snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like sweets, chips, and soda will sabotage your strength and fitness plan.  And, while I’m not a fan of an extreme, fanatical approach to diet and nutrition — moderation is the key — you’ve got to limit these foods to no more than 10% of your intake, or about 200-250 “junk” calories per day.
  2. Make protein a priority.  Active men and women should aim for at least 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Increasing your protein intake can help you feel fuller longer, increase muscle growth, and boost your metabolism.
  3. Eat more produce.  Add more (whole) fruit to your diet to provide your muscles with carbohydrates to fuel your training.  You’ll get the added benefit of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to keep you healthy.  Aim for 2-4 servings a day.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Get Your (Whey) Protein

1 Jun

pGNC1-13512491dt[1]If you’re not already using a whey protein supplement, what are you waiting for?

In addition to its post-workout, muscle-building potential, whey also helps direct glycogen into fatigued cells, reducing muscle soreness and improving muscle function the day after you train.

Most experts agree that active men and women should ingest 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily.

Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily.

Here’s a previous blog post with a simple strategy to increase protein consumption, throughout the day.

Our country is notoriously “over-carbed” and “under-proteined.”  Reduce the carbs and increase the protein intake to look better, feel better, and perform better.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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The Chocolate Milk Diet

22 Oct

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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