Monday, September 28, 2009

Protein -- What Should I Eat?

I get asked a lot by men and women about PROTEIN. More specifically, questions about type, importance, quantity and timing (as in: when should I eat). Before answering those questions, we should look at what protein is and why we need it.

What is Protein?
Generally speaking, the primary function of protein in the body is to build and repair body tissues and structures. It is also involved in the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and other regulatory bodies. Additionally, protein can be used for energy if fat calories or carbs are insufficient at the time.
Without going in to too much scientific detail, think of proteins asthe building blocks for the human body. Think of fat and carbohydrates as the fuel.

Why Protein?
When we run, lift weights, do stomach crunches, whatever it is, we are breaking down tissues in our body. Whether it's muscle, ligaments, tendons, or fascia, our body is under constant stress during periods of exercise. Via digestion the human body transforms the proteins we eat into the proteins we build upon. Keep in mind we don't store proteins in the body--if, at the time of ingestion, we don't require protein we will excrete it. But, it's better to have too much than not enough because without protein your body will eventually break down and you will get injured.

How Much Protein?
There is a lot of debate on this topic and has been for some time. Again, generally speaking, if you are an active individual (man or woman) you should be consuming roughly 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. Remember, there is 2.2 lbs. in a kilogram; so, if you weighted 220 lbs. that would equal 100 lbs., or 100 grams of protein on a daily basis.

Where Do I Get Protein and What Type Should I Consume?
You can get protein from a variety of sources. I recommend lean animal proteins like chicken, tuna/fish, certain beef and pork products, and egg whites. To many people's surprise, green, leafy vegetables are also very high in protein (remember Popeye and his spinach???). Also certain grains and nuts like soy, peanuts, and almonds have protein.
Also available on the market are protein supplements. If you are utilizing a supplement I recommend a Non-Dairy-Whey product, hopefully "Pure-Isolate" (easier for the body to digest/absorb). When purchasing, look at the ingredients as many supplements have a lot of useless fillers that tack on extra calories. In general, you should be getting 15-20 grams of protein per scoop of protein out of your supplement. Some good brands include Myoplex, EAS, and GNC brand.

When Should I Eat?
I recommend protein throughout the day because of what I said earlier: if you don't need the protein at the time you eat it, you will excrete it. However, you would want to eat your heaviest-protein-based meals 40-60 minutes after a workout as that is when the damage was done to your body.

For more information or questions please don't hesitate to email me at


* Some information and details provided by National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


An interesting point was brought up to me today that I wanted to address in this blog:

A classmate was comparing the calories she burned after a given workout with the calories another classmate burned (they both had Polar watches that monitor calories burned and heart rate) and found that, although they did the same exact workout, she had burned a significantly less amount than her classmate.

How could this be? Other than the obvious fact that people are inherently different and will exercise differently and burn calories at a different rate, there was an interesting tidbit than must be touched upon. The classmate that burned more calories had performed a pre-class workout (of about 20 minutes) whereby her heart-rate was already elevated before she got to class. The classmate that burned less calories had arrived to class without a specific warm-up. By beginning her workout at an elevated heart rate she was either in her "fat-burn zone" or very near, thus making her entire class-time more efficient for fat-burning and calorie-burning.

There are a couple of points I want to make on this topic. I will be brief as I've addressed the "fat-burn zone" in earlier posts but I want to re-address because this is a salient issue, what with the RBS Challenge and all.

What is the "fat-burning zone"? Briefly put, the fat-burning zone is a specific heart rate range (different for each individual) where the human body will utilize fat as a fuel source before anything else (carbohydrates). The one thing to remember is that the human body wants to use fat as fuel--it is more efficient, yields more energy, and far more effective in low-to-moderate stress situations. That is why we store fat--we don't store carbs and proteins (specifically). The "better shape" a person is in the more efficiently they will be able to metabolize (use) fat over other fuel sources. When stress and exercise increase past a certain point (called the Anabolic Threshold) the body will "switch gears" and begin utilizing carbs and ultimately protein (muscle).

There are 2 basic ways to determine one's fat-burning zone. One is to do the METabolic Test (some of you have done this) where you undergo a Stress Test with a mask and a machine that monitors heart rate, oxygen inspiration, carbon dioxide expiration, etc. This test costs money but is much more specific and accurate.

A less accurate way (but still a decent guestimate) is to utilize a simple formula: 220 - your age = your max heart rate. Your fat burn zone will be about 70-80% of your max heart rate. So, if you are 40 years old, 220 - 40 = 180. 180 * .8 and .7 = 126-144 beats/minute heart rate for fat-burn zone.

I encourage 2 things with this information. Find your fat burn zone in one way, shape or form. If you can, warm-up prior to any exercise and get your heart rate to that zone. A phenomenon always occurs in that your body's heart-rate and temperature will remain elevated throughout the exercise, thus burning more calories and ultimately fat.

As always, medications, monthly cycles (i.e. menopause or ovulation), and other factors can construe this information one way or another. Please see for more information or with help to find your fat burn zone.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whay A Heart Rate Monitor ... by Guest Author Michele Mudrow

Why A Heart Rate Monitor?

If you have ever used a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike, you are familiar with silver “hand sensors” on the handles. When you begin using those machines, you can enter information such as your weight, etc., and (while you are touching those silver sensors) it will monitor your heart rate while you are working out.

A chest strap monitor is basically the same thing, except it is portable. The strap monitors your heart rate and transmits that information to the watch – providing you with INSTANT feedback. The strap will also transmit the information to the monitor on a cardio machine so you don’t have to hold on to the sensors. (And can be a great way to test it for accuracy!)

There is a wide range of monitors available for purchase from $30 to $300. They are usually available at Sporting Good stores, Internet based retailers, and even on Ebay. Name brands include Polar, Timex, and Sports Instruments among others. Some do not require a strap, and some even come preprogrammed, etc. I have found that (as with most things) the higher priced models usually have more “bells and whistles” to them. It just really depends on what your needs and preferences are. I use a basic model. I just want to know what my heart rate is, if I am in the right “zone”, and how many calories I am burning!

The reason for using one is visual feedback of how hard your body is working, and it ultimately maximizes the time you spend exercising. There is some satisfaction to looking at that watch and seeing how many calories you have burned, or seeing how hard you are working. For an idea of where your heart rate should be (and more info about the “fat burning zone”) check out Adam’s June 8th post on this blog titled “The Fat Burn Zone – does it exist?? Busting through a Plateau.

When I started training with Adam, I began each session getting my heart rate in the right zone, and then he promised if I got it there for 15 minutes, it would stay there for the next hour while we trained with weights. He was right…as usual. It was sort of a game for me to see if I could keep my heart rate in the right zone. Over time, I have seen that staying in the right zone is the “smarter, not harder” way to get results. It can also help you avoid working out BEYOND your zone.

An additional benefit to using a heart rate monitor is being able to see your overall progression. Today I am able to get my heart rate A LOT higher than I could 18 months ago, and my resting heart rate is lower than before as well. In short, my heart (and whole body for that matter) is healthier. Ironically, it also helped me to see that I could really push myself to limits I hadn’t previously tested!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


WeekOne of our 6-Week Challenge is upon us...that means two things: first, summer's unofficially over--kids are back to school, naps are less likely, and structure returns (somewhat)...second, it means that there are roughly 42-odd days to start sculpting a new you!

For those of you participating in the challenge you've already completed your initial "weigh-in"'ve got your starting Body Fat % and you're asking yourself "what now?" Well, I'm here to answer "what now?" with some simple starting tips and points, in no particular order, outlined below.

* Keep a running food log/diary...immediately start writing down what you eat...everything, and I mean everything, that goes in to your stomach should be catologued. Not only will you gain accountability of your diet you will gain knowledge of exactly what, when, and why you are eating...are you an emotional you eat late at night when TV's you skip breakfast...these are all questions you need to be asking and answering. If you need someone to help you analyze your food intake come see me or utilize one of the websites listed on earlier posts.

* Start drinking water! As an active individual you should be consuming 1 ounce of water per kilogram of body weight (2.2 lbs. = 1 kg). So, for example, if you weighted 220 lbs. you should be drinking 100 ounces of water. You can do the math for yourself from this simple equation

* Do something actively every day! Walk, run, skip, garden, mow the yard, take RBS class, take another class, anything, something, every day. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity for 30 minutes 7 days a week.

* Start eating breakfast! For that matter, start eating lunch, start snacking...all-in-all, you should probably be eating 4-6 meals a day (medical conditions not withstanding).

* Eat more fiber!! Eat more fruits, vegetables; take a fiber supplement (like flax or Metamucil) if you have to...the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for individuals is 25 grams of fiber a day. Active individuals should be consuming at least 35 grams of fiber a day. Fiber does a lot of things for the body, including increasing metabolism, motility, fat removal, increased protein and carbohydrate absorption and utilization, and providing satiety (feeling of being full) to the individual. Check out for more information of fruits and vegetables

* Cut back on Sodas, Juices, Alcohol, Coffee-Blends, Energy Drinks, etc. I'd recommend no more than 1-2 of any of the above a day.

* Seek SUPPORT!! We can't do this alone. It is a proven fact that people who exercise with someone are 300% more likely to succeed than in solitude. This same "buddy" system applies to eating. If you need help, get it. I am available. Others in my class are willing to help. Don't be afraid to ask for help. We all need it at some point--I am here to help!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009


We are getting closer and closer to our 6-Week Challenge. Next week, all week, we will be doing initial body composition tests on all those who are participating in the Challenge...after that, on a weekly basis, we will be doing updated body comp tests on the participants and recording percent change. I will post weekly results on this website and in paper form at our class right up until the final "weigh-ins" the week of October 12th (Friday, October 16th will be the last day for weigh-ins).

You'll want to stay tuned to this website because there will be posts for menu ideas, website ideas, shopping lists, exercise ideas, and encouraging other tidbits. This is an open forum for all classmates--look for future posts by Michele M. regarding her watch/chest strap system and how that's helped her track and maintain calories/exercise, as well as a post from Wendy B. on shopping and cooking ideas for the active person.

If anyone has any other ideas and would like to post themselves or have me do it, let me know @ or and we will get them out!

Happy September!