The Protein and Weight Loss Connection


 

When people think about protein supplementation, they often think about its role in building and repairing muscle and, of course, it’s ability to help you gain lean muscle mass. And maybe even its alleged role in helping you bulk up? Clients often approach ask various questions about supplementing with protein, via shakes, or otherwise. The most common questions are: When’s the best time to have a protein shake? Will it help me pack on muscle? Or the flipside—often from scared females who don’t want to get “bulky”—Am I going to bulk up?

 

 

Less frequently, though, do we talk about protein’s ability to help you actually lose weight. If a new pilot study is at all accurate—the study was conducted by researchers from three American universities and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition this year—then it might be worth taking protein to help your body become more efficient, and ultimately help you lose weight. Here’s a link to the study: (https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0263-6

 

 

Although we often think we need to take protein right after a workout for recovery, this study looked at the effects of taking a pre-workout protein supplement. The researchers discovered that when the participants (who were male in this case) fasted and then took protein—25 g of whey protein isolate or 25 g of casein protein 30 minutes before a medium-intensity treadmill workout—they had higher post-workout energy expenditure compared to both the group who took 25 g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin) before their workout and the non-caloric control group.

 

 

 

What does this mean exactly? Well, a higher post-workout energy expenditure has frequently been linked to both weight loss and fat oxidization, which basically means their ability to burn fat. Also notable is that those who took casein protein had even better results than the whey protein group. The researchers were also hoping to see if protein before exercise might also minimize protein degradation during exercise, but more research is needed to see if this is the case, they reported. 

 

 

 

Though this was just a pilot study, it’s certainly not the first evidence of protein consumption being linked to weight loss. A 2012 study, for example, published in the Nutrition Journal (https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-105) looked at whether taking extra proteins and amino acids through a liquid shake would help elderly, obese people lose weight. The result: Those who took the protein supplement actually lost more fat than those who didn’t. They believe this is because protein requires the greatest caloric cost for digestion (when compared to fat and carbohydrates), so more protein might actually assist in weight loss even if it means consuming more calories overall. Interesting stuff…

 

 

 

For what it’s worth, from a personal anecdotal evidence-based standpoint, in the years we have been involved in the fitness industry helping people get fit and become leaner through diet and exercise, we will say without a doubt that increasing protein in your diet, be it through regular food or a supplement, usually leads to a leaner body composition. Period. Bulking up requires (for most people) a TON of time lifting weights and pounding way more protein than most people are willing to eat. For the average person, however, consuming more protein (and reducing carbs) won’t make them bulky. Instead, they usually feel better and look leaner. So if that’s your goal, talk to us about your protein intake today.

 

 

 

 

 

Start the New Year in a Cleaner, Better Place Than You Ended the Last Year


Food comas, wine hangovers and lazy Netflix days spent inside sipping Baileys in your morning coffee. OK, maybe a walk in the snow here and there, but then back inside for cookies and rum and eggnog. T’is the season to undo all the gains you made in the last year, right? Ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”

 

 

If it is, by all means be jolly and let yourself go for a month, but if you find yourself whimpering the days away in regret and depression come January and planning New Year’s resolutions you kind of know you won’t honor, then do it differently this drinking season.

 

 

Here’s the thing: We truly believe you can have it all. You can enjoy your favorite holiday snack and drinks without losing your fitness routine, without suffering during workouts in January, and without packing on any pounds. It just takes a little bit of effort. Here are some tips that will help you feel like you still have it all!

 

 

 

Wake Up, Pee, Brush Teeth, Get Coffee, WORKOUT!

The biggest reason people fall of their workout routine during this time is because they employ the “I’ll workout this evening,” or “this afternoon,” or “after breakfast” workout plan. Then comes a big brunch with holiday punch and suddenly working out doesn’t seem like a priority anymore.

 

Instead, workout first thing in the morning, immediately after your morning routine. Do it before you shower and feel too clean to workout, and before you eat breakfast and feel too full to move. It’ll be the best emotional high you get all day and it’ll make you feel less guilty when you show up to brunch and eat all the food and punch.

 

 

 

No Gym, No Problem

If you go out of town during this time, here are three bodyweight workouts that will get your blood flowing and are relatively mentally manageable, and that you can do in just 10-foot-by-10-foot of space:

 

1.Every 30 seconds x 7 minutes: 4-8 burpees.

The faster you get your intended number of burpees done, the more rest you will get. Try a lower number first, and once you feel comfortable with it, increase your number. It’s a great way to log 50 to 100 burpees in a less painful way than doing 100 burpees for time.

 

2. Tabata Mash-up:

You can do this with various bodyweight movements, like air squats, push-ups, hollow rocks, hollow holds, burpees, lunges, planks, side planks.

Choose 3 movements and rotate them, working for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds for 12 to 16 minutes. Once again, this is a great way to pack in a lot of volume that also allows you to rest, making it easier to handle mentally (most people find) than a “3, 2, 1 go” for time workout.

 

3. Stairs!

Staying in a hotel with stairs? Climb up and down them (run if you’re really into it) and do 1 to 5 burpees at each landing.

 

 

 

 

Handling Holiday Feasts

We have often heard the advice that you should eat before you go to a holiday party so you don’t show up hungry. From our experience, all that does it make you eat more because the food there is likely super tasty that you won’t be able to stop yourself. That being said, don’t show up famished and fasted, but go hungry ish. Here are our top three tips: The 3 Ps!

1.Plate: We often walk around at parties picking at appetizers not realizing how much we’re actually eating, as we’re eating small bites. But by the end of the night, all those small bites add up into way more calories than you ever would have eaten in one sitting. Instead, grab a pate and fill it, or half fill it, to help you monitor how much you’re actually consuming.

2.Protein: Protein fills you up, so definitely get your usual amount of protein in you to help you avoid all the carbs, carbs, carbs.

3.Positioning: Position yourself in the room far away from the food table. Hopefully the engrossing conversations you’re having will be enough to stop you from picking at the food long after you are satiated.

 

 

 

 

Small Changes in January

Sometimes making plans for the new year is as discouraging as the fitness you lost in December. Often this is because we come up with large, and sometimes unrealistic, goals for the new year.

 

This year, try something new. Instead of massive change, consider making one small change—creating one new manageable habit—each month. This can be as simple as drinking a glass of water the moment you wake up so you don’t feel so famished for breakfast. Once that becomes habit, then build in a new small habit the following month. Keep track of these change (write them down), and before you know it you will have created 12 new, healthy habits that become your new normal, as opposed to one giant resolution you make in January and abandon by February.

 

All that being said, enjoy yourself and your favourite cookies and traditions this Christmas. But keep it reasonable and start 2019 in a better place you ended 2018.

Sneaky Foods That Have You Eating More Sugar Than You Thought


If you’re someone who’s following the ketogenic diet and not counting the grams of sugar foods on your daily carb (and sugar) count, chances are you’re eating more grams of carbs than you think! If you’re eating more than 100g of carbs per day, that’s not keto! A true ketogenic diet means eating around 10 percent carbohydrates only.  Some foods have carbs – especially grams of sugar –  that you might be forgetting to track if you’re counting your macros, or are just trying to eat a low or no-sugar diet. This information may also be helpful if you’re trying twitch your sugar intake during this holiday season.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the unexpected sugar culprits:

 

Milk:

All these years you thought it was better to put milk in your coffee or tea instead of heavy cream to avoid the fat…

If you’re trying to avoid sugar, this is the wrong approach.

A quick sugar glimpse:

· 8 oz. of skim milk, 1 percent milk and 2 percent milk have approximately 12 grams of sugar

· 8 oz. of half-and-half has 0.2 grams of sugar

· 8 oz. of heavy cream has 0.1 grams of sugar (most brands list this as 0 g of sugar)

Thus, if you’re trying to avoid sugar and not fat, stick to cream over milk. Try 33 or 36 percent cream: It’s delicious and sugar-free.

 

 

Nuts:

Another place the sinfully sneaky sugar is found are in nuts. Here’s a lit of various nuts, along with how much sugar each type contains per 100 grams.

Almonds: 3.9 g
Brazil nuts: 2.3 g
Pecans: 4 g
Walnuts: 2.6 g
Peanuts (not a real nut): 4 g
Cashews: 6 g
Macademia: 4.6 g
Hazelnuts (also known as filberts): 4.3 g
Pistachio: 8 g

So by this standard, it’s best to avoid pistachio nuts and stick with walnuts and brazil nuts.

Another tip, if you’re buying nut butters, check the ingredients list and make sure there’s no added sugar.

 

 

Sauces:

You have probably heard this one before, but from store-bought salad dressings to canned tomatoes and tomato paste, you’re probably getting way more sugar than you realize.

A simple option for a salad dressing that takes three minutes to make and is sugar-free: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar (not a balsamic reduction: those have a ton of sugar), lime or lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Boom.

Here’s another big one: Tomato sauce! Usually the store-bought ones have a surprising amount of sugar. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to make your own.

Homemade tomato sauce: Saute onions and garlic until super soft (10-15 minutes). Add tomatoes and some water (or sugar-free broth) and let simmer. Then go nuts on spices like salt, pepper, dried or fresh basil and/or oregano, parsley, chilli powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper, if you’re into spice. Cook on medium heat for a good 20 minutes and then throw it all in a food processor and puree until smooth. If you want a creamy tomato sauce, just dump in half a cup or so of heavy cream once it’s all pureed. Or if it needs thinning out, add some water or broth. It will taste better than any store-bought tomato sauce and is, of course, sugar-free.

 

 

Booze:

We all know booze has sugar, but let’s take a look at the better and worse ones in terms of sugar content:

Wine: Obviously it depends on the type of wine, but even some dry white wines can contain as much as 10 grams of sugar per 5 oz. glass, and most people drink more than 5 ounces. The sweeter reds and whites go up from there in terms of sugar content. Some dry reds and whites, however, do contain as little as 1 gram of sugar, so do your research and select those with less sugar.

Bubbly: Again, it depends on the type, but most champagne and proseccos have around 5 g of sugar per glass.

Fortified wines: These are the ones to avoid (think port or sherry or marsala). They can have as much as 150 g of sugar per litre. Something else to avoid: Mulled wine! Sometimes it has as much as 11 tsp. of sugar per glass.

Beer: While beer doesn’t contain much, if any sugar, it does has a lot of carbohydrate grams, usually in the 10 to 15 g of carbohydrates per 12 ounces of beer.

Cider: Let’s just go ahead and ban cider right now. Many ciders have as much as 20 grams of sugar per 500 mL of cider. That’s around 6 tsp. of sugar! And it’s pretty easy to guzzle 500 mL of delicious and refreshing apple cider.

Whiskey/Scotch: Better choice than beer and cider. Whiskey has little to no carbs or sugar. Things are looking up!

Gin: Winner, winner chicken dinner. Gin has 0 grams of sugar. It’s best to mix it with club soda and lime instead of tonic, though, as tonic water does have sugar, often 9 grams every 100 grams of tonic!

Vodka: Another winner! 0 grams of sugar. Once again, if you’re mixing it, don’t turn your sugar-free drink into a sugar-filled one. Lime, mint leaves, or cucumber are great things to add to your vodka-soda to make it a little more flavorful.

Tequila: Winner number 3: No sugar, no carbs! Tequila shot to your heart’s delight this Christmas season. Just kidding…

Here’s a good resource into the best “keto-friendly” boozy drinks: (https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/alcohol-guide).

Yes, being sugar-free, or as low of sugar as possible, takes a bit more work, but it’s worth it: Your body (and happiness levels) will thank you or it.