Posts tagged with ‘protein’

  • Knowledge Blog

    NUTRITION – K.I.S.S

    - by Imtiaz

    There’s always a new expert in the field of nutrition, new books, new approaches, and lots of new information. If you are someone who’s looking to optimise health and fitness, nutrition is the foundation of your efforts, but how do you decipher all of that information?

    The reality is that there’s nothing new to all the (good) nutrition information. We’ve known most of it for decades. And when you dig in to all the information out there you’ll see that almost everyone who knows a bit about the topic agrees on the most important facts. Your nutrition is almost sorted when you have these factors down.

    • Eat well raised sources of animal protein. Even if you are training intensely on most days of the week, you don’t need to consume massive quantities to get your daily protein needs in.
    • Eat vegetables everyday.
    • Get your fats from animal sources, olives, nuts and their oils, egg yolks (why would you waste the best tasting part of the egg?), and avocado.
    • Avoid refined and processed carbohydrates (and other man made products).
    • Having a knowledgeable coach is a well placed investment

    Keep it simple by getting your ABCs locked down and don’t focus on anything else until you do.

  • Knowledge Blog

    PORTION CONTROL: YAY OR NAY?

    - by Imtiaz

    Should you control your food portions? It’s a question I’ve covered a lot on the blog and in nutrition seminars. My answer is always yes, and no. Whether you should or not is dependent on your goals and your personality traits. But there’s no point getting into that unless you understand what portion control is.

    There are some visual guidelines of what your plate should look like, and for some those guidelines work. If you’d like to get it done correctly you do need to measure your macronutrient intake. It makes the amounts specific to YOU, and the numbers enable you to make educated changes about your portion sizes.

    What is a Macro?

    Macronutrients (macros) are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, rebuilding and all basic body functions. There are three macronutrients that all food is categorised under:

    Carbohydrates (CHO)

    Protein (PRO)

    Fat

    What do Macros Do?

    On one hand, all macros provide calories (energy). Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram, protein provides 4 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram. Aside from providing calories to fuel various functions, each macro has a different set of responsibilities in the body.

    We need CHO because:

    They are the body’s main source of fuel.

    They are easily used by the body for energy.

    All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.

    They are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.

    They can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.

    They are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

    We need protein for:

    Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)

    Tissue repair

    Immune function

    Making essential hormones and enzymes

    Energy when carbohydrate is not available

    Preserving lean muscle mass

    Fat is essential for:

    Normal growth and development

    Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)

    Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)

    Providing cushioning for the organs

    Maintaining cell membranes

    Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods

    Why Measure Macros?

    As you can read above, macros provide calories. We need enough calories to support exercise but NOT body fat. One reason for measuring macros helps to ensure that you’re getting the correct amount of calories in. The other reason is to ensure that you’re giving your body the correct amount of nutrients it needs to fuel and recover from exercise, and for basic human function.

    Food quality is more important than quantity though. You can’t out-measure a shitty diet.

    How to Calculate Macros?

    There are a ton of different methods but they essentially come down to a few differences. One thing most methods do have in common is that they should be based on the individual’s body composition and levels/type of activity.

    Calorie Based: These methods only calculate macros in order to calculate caloric intake and they do so under the belief that weight management is based simply on balancing calories in and calories out. There’s much more to that equation. More importantly, this method leaves people thinking that a calorie is a calorie, and it’s not.

    Sustainability Based: These methods keep food categorised at CHO, fat and protein instead of calculating calories. They also place a high emphasis on food quality. The changes implemented in one’s diet are intended to be lifelong so change is gradual and maintainable.

    Sports Based: These methods have been founded on systems used for athletes in weight category sports such as martial arts, weightlifting, and powerlifting. Or in sports that simply require an athlete to be at particular body weights for optimal performance or aesthetics. Such methods are characterised by having “cutting,” “building” and “maintenance” phases.

    Yay or Nay?

    If you are far above or below a healthy body composition, then yes, learn how to calculate and track your macro amounts. If you’d like to improve your performance in general or specifically for an event, yes, calculate your macros. If you would like to AND are able to manage flexibility with the foods you eat, yes, calculate your macros.

    But only if you have the correct mindset.

    For example, if you have a problem with balance – you know, the all or nothing sort – I would avoid calculated portion control. (If you’re reading this and are denying that you have a problem with balance, you have a problem with balance). Whereas if you are able to manage balance and flexibility in what you do and don’t eat, counting macros could be extremely valuable.

    If you are good at AND are honest in understanding your body needs, you shouldn’t need to measure macros at all. That said, a 2-4 week stint of measuring and tracking would be good because you’d be able to compare it to what you’ve been doing by just listening to your body. If you’re good at listening to your body, there shouldn’t be much difference.

    —-

    Quality and quantity both matter, but unless you, your goals and your approach fit the bill, there’s no point in measuring quantities. More importantly, you can’t out-measure or out-train a shitty diet 😉

  • Knowledge Blog

    SHOULD YOU BE TAKING BRANCH CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)?

    - by Imtiaz

    With the smoothie bar at CFJ HQ having been regularly stocked with a range of supplements I have received a lot of questions about what the products are, especially the BCAAs and glutamine. Today we’ll just talk about BCAAs. BCAAs have been widely used and discussed by athletes, coaches, and sports and fitness professionals. They are frequently used in healthcare too. This post will cover some of the frequently asked questions to give you some guidance on whether or not to include BCAAs in your diet.

    What are BCAAs?

    Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 22 amino acids that are necessary for life. Nine of those are essential amino acids. These cannot be manufactured by the body and must therefore be obtained from dietary protein sources – whole food sources. Three of the essential amino acids are known as BCAAs. These are leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs are oxidised in muscle tissue, and exercise increases BCAA oxidation.

    What Does BCAA Supplementation Do?

    • Research has found that BCAA supplementation reduces markers of muscle damage and tissue breakdown. This suggests that BCAAs reduce the amount of exercise induced muscle damage.
    • BCAA supplementation has been shown to prevent muscle breakdown by sparing other essential amino acids found in muscle tissue. This simply means recovery time is enhanced by reducing the amount of muscle damage caused during exercise. This results in the ability to more frequently train at good intensities and that means better results.
    • One of the BCAAs, leucine, initiates protein synthesis. Exercise reduces protein synthesis, but leucine has been shown to improve protein synthesis post exercise. This enables the user to either maintain or increase muscle mass, even when trying to cut body weight. Increased muscle mass results in strength gains.

    Who Should Take BCAAs?

    If you are eating a good amount of protein from whole food sources, and are training for general health and fitness you probably don’t need to take BCAAs. If however you are looking to lose body fat while preserving muscle mass, are training more for performance or would like to increase lean muscle mass, then you should definitely consider adding a BCAA supplement to your diet.

    Are Powders or Capsules Better?

    There isn’t much of a difference here anymore. Nowadays a good quality BCAA product has the same amount of BCAAs per dose as a powder. It really comes down to personal preference and convenience.

    When Should You Take It?

    Consume the BCAAs around your training time. Either 15-30 minutes before training or immediately after your workout. If you have a strength-based session than a BCAA drink is good to sip on during the workout.

    BCAA supplementation is safe and legal too 😉

    If you’d like more information on BCAA use, or any other supplements for that matter, get in touch. Next time I’ll talk about glutamine.

  • Knowledge Blog

    SILLY SEASON NUTRITION TIPS

    - by Imtiaz

    This is a repost from last year, with some changes. How to maintain all your health and fitness gains during holidays is always a big topic at this time of year. For me, it’s pretty straightforward – if you’d like to hold on to the changes you’ve made, entirely, then you simply keep doing what you have been……duh! 😛

    I also always say that you’re going to be away for a month at the most. That’s just one month. It’s nothing relative to your lifetime, and about 5% of your training time during the year, IF you were consistent throughout the year. If you weren’t consistent, then you shouldn’t be worrying about losing all your gains during the holidays 🙂

    So relax, enjoy your food and live well. But at the same time, I’d like to see you keep at least one foot on the wagon because if you do come off it entirely, it can take a very long time to get just that one foot on again.

    Here are some tips to help you. Remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and keep it simple.

    Protein and Fat
    Aim to get a moderate amount in at all meals and snacks. It keeps you satiated so you’re less likely to snack, and protein has a thermic effect so it keeps your metabolism ticking over. If you’re not doing any physical activity that day, have a bit less than you normally would.

    Carbohydrates
    A reminder: All veges and fruit, all starches, fruit juices, baking, sweets and chocolates, ice-cream, and all grain-based products end up the same way – as sugar. The goodies, however, spike blood sugar and therefore insulin, stimulating the storage of fat, especially if you aren’t exercising much. Have the goodies, but make that your carb for that meal or snack. If you are training, have your goodies after training. Put simply, if you plan on having treats, have less of the veges and fruit to keep total carb intake similar to what it would be normally. But don’t avoid the veges and fruit entirely because you need the fibre, mineral and nutrients. ?

    Water
    There isn’t a particular amount of water that you should be having. You should be drinking to thirst. Avoid sports drinks like Energade.

    Stay Active
    You don’t have to train as much or as intensely as you would normally to maintain your fitness. In fact, the down time will do your mind and body good. But keep active as a way of expressing your fitness. Play sports, hike, cycle, swim, and walk. Walking can be especially beneficial. Go for brisk, long walks every day if you aren’t doing any other physical activity.

    Other Liquids
    Avoid using alcohol as your hydration 😛 If you are going to have a fruit juice, opt for a freshly squeezed juice and avoid sodas as much as possible. Tea and coffee don’t count as water either. If you’re thirsty, drink water.

    Eat for Yourself
    If your mates or partners can have a burger, fries and milkshake for lunch everyday without much ill-effect, it doesn’t mean that the same will happen to you. Be realistic about your body’s response to foods, and eat accordingly.

    I personally consider holidays a time for (more) food and lots of sleep. So don’t geek out too much about what you’re eating while away!

  • Knowledge Blog

    MACRO MADNESS

    - by Imtiaz

    Just on Mondays, though. Because you only measure your macros on Mondays, after eating crap since Tuesday, because you’re going to start on Monday, right?

    What is a Macro?

    Macronutrients (macros) are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, rebuilding and all basic body functions. There are three macronutrients that all food is categorised under:

    • Carbohydrates (CHO)
    • Protein (PRO)
    • Fat

    What do Macros Do?

    On one hand, all macros provide calories (energy). Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram, protein provides 4 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram. Aside from providing calories to fuel various functions, each macro has a different set of responsibilities in the body.

    We need CHO because:

    • They are the body’s main source of fuel.
    • They are easily used by the body for energy.
    • All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
    • They are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
    • They can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
    • They are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.

    We need protein for:

    • Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
    • Tissue repair
    • Immune function
    • Making essential hormones and enzymes
    • Energy when carbohydrate is not available
    • Preserving lean muscle mass

    Fat is essential for:

    • Normal growth and development
    • Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
    • Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
    • Providing cushioning for the organs
    • Maintaining cell membranes
    • Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods

    Why Measure Macros?

    As you can read above, macros provide calories. We need enough calories to support exercise but NOT body fat. One reason for measuring macros helps to ensure that you’re getting the correct amount of calories in. The other reason is to ensure that you’re giving your body the correct amount of nutrients it needs to fuel and recover from exercise, and for basic human function.

    Food quality is more important than quantity though. You can’t out-measure a shitty diet.

    How to Calculate Macros?

    There are a ton of different methods but they essentially come down to a few differences. One thing most methods do have in common is that they should be based on the individual’s body composition and levels/type of activity.

    • Calorie Based: These methods only calculate macros in order to calculate caloric intake and they do so under the belief that weight management is based simply on balancing calories in and calories out. There’s much more to that equation. More importantly, this method leaves people thinking that a calorie is a calorie, and it’s not.
    • Sustainability Based: These methods keep food categorised at CHO, fat and protein instead of calculating calories. They also place a high emphasis on food quality. The changes implemented in one’s diet are intended to be lifelong so change is gradual and maintainable.
    • Sports Based: These methods have been founded on systems used for athletes in weight category sports such as martial arts, weightlifting, and powerlifting. Or in sports that simply require an athlete to be at particular body weights for optimal performance or aesthetics. Such methods are characterised by having “cutting,” “building” and “maintenance” phases.

    Depending on the individual and their needs, each method has it’s place. For example, if someone had an issue with balance – you know, the all or nothing sort – I wouldn’t have them using the sports based methods because they’d end up stuck in one of the phases. Similarly, if someone is really good at understanding what their body needs, I wouldn’t have them measuring macros at all!

    Quality and quantity both matter, but there’s no point in measuring quantity if you’re getting the amounts in through shitty food.