What is the big deal with protein?

Protein is one of the three major macronutrients. Protein, Fats, Carbs(Carbohydrates). They are divided into those three categories because nutritionally the body needs each everyday, and they are fundamentally different enough that one cannot replace the other in a healthy diet. Nutrition professionals believe that a balance of these nutritients to be crucial to health and weight management.

To understand protein use in the body, first of all, understand what is protein. Protein is meat including beef and poultry. It is also fish and eggwhites. Whey/Milk/Soy/Vegan protein powders too. These are considered whole proteins or primary sources of protein. They have a complete amino acid profile and are leanest without significant amounts of fat and carbs.

Primary lean proteins chicken, Fish, turkey, Eggwhites!

Amino acids are biologically and nutritionally important compounds that are the protein molecules used internally by the body when the food is broken down during digestion.

Secondary sources have “some” protein including whole or reduced fat milk, beans, legumes, seeds, yogurt, peanuts, tree nuts, whole eggs, whole or sprouted grains and even broccoli. While a few of these have all of the amino acid profile of whole proteins,  most importantly they all also have other primary macronutrients to take into consideration. The trick to partial protein or secondary proteins is to balance all of your nutrients. If you rely on beans to get enough protein you may be consuming too much carb. Beans have both protein and carb. Nuts and nutbutters have more fat than protein. Whole eggs are high in fat and cholesterol. While some dietary fats are good for you, eating enough whole eggs to get a sufficient amount of protein will cause your fat to be too high. One egg has 30 calories from protein and over 40 calories from fat!

Secondary protein with carbs or fat too!

And broccoli? Well let’s just say it is near stomach stretching physically impossible to get a full serving of protein from broccoli and you still would not have a balanced source of protein compounds. One cup of Milk alone has 8 grams of protein, but also 13 grams of carbs with 12 of the 13 grams being from milk sugars like lactose.

Eggs are wonderful. Egg whites have protein without the fat, so I recommend that people in a high protein diet, eat more egg whites than whole eggs. One or two yolks is plenty of fat, yet you can benefit from another egg or two of the white part!

Why is protein important? While carbs and fat provide ready sources of energy, the protein molecule provides raw materials to feed cell regeneration. Carbs, or carbohydrates, are energy sources that always turn to fat if not burned off by the body’s activity level. Protein is first used for the raw materials for hair, skin, nails, brain cells, and of course muscle. Then the excess in one meal is converted to energy. This is why protein should be eaten in small meals throughout the day, while carbs and fats are timed for when the body needs the energy for exercise. Beware of using carbs and sugar for the energy to combat tiredness. Yes, that spike in sugar will spike alertness, but will also convert to fat if actual energy is not expended to burn it off!!

Nutrition Value of Snickers Bar
Mostly Sugar/Carb
Lots of FAT
Very little protein

Energy from mostly sugar that turns to fat.

 

 

Many people believe that protein is what bodybuilders use to get big. While muscle protein does come from dietary protein, it does not directly cause muscle growth without the weightlifting and specific exercise strategy to require additional strength!

During a dieting phase, protein maintains muscle while reduction in carbs and fats (reduction: not elimination) help to place your body in a calorie deficit. Too little protein with a calorie deficit below what the body needs to run for basic activity, also can cause your body to cannibalize the muscle protein to provide the raw materials for other functions!

Therefore bodybuilders do not so much eat tons of protein to get big, but eat regular consistent amounts of protein to maintain what they’ve built in the gym!

How can protein benefit you? Seeking weight loss, or a fitter look, it is important to get your required nutrients from protein and then low calorie, high nutrient vegetables like broccoli, spinach, green beans, and kale etc. These foods are highly utilized in the body without adding to fat stores.

Pro Bikini Competitors

While more calorie dense than lettuce and salad greens, protein not only performs the vital task of building the structure of your lean body it also has the effect of creating a more satiated feeling from food. From the act of chewing through the greater calorie expenditure during digestion the effect of processing proteins is that your body uses  more of the calories from this food.

Protein is a key macronutrient. It performs a different role in the body from fat and carbs.

To round out a balanced diet, next comes the energy required to do exercise. Depending on your energy expenditure from work, life, and exercise intensity add a carb for breakfast, before and after workouts, plus a healthy dietary fat at night for hormone balance with your proteins. These are some added strategies that a nutrition coach can help you with! Contact me for more information to help you get the nutrition you need, at the time of day it can benefit you the most, with the quantities you will need meet your specific goals!

www.fitatfiftysamantha.com

#Nova_maxmuscle

References for further reading:

http://www.macronutrients.net/micronutrients-vs-macronutrients/

http://mynutrition.wsu.edu/nutrition-basics/

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/6-exercises-you-can-do-right-now-for-better-abs.html

 

 

 

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“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

When a women over 45 tells me she does not want to lift weights as she does not want to “bulk up” I just want to scream. 

At age 35 we begin to steadily lose muscle mass. You don’t see many 18 or 20 year old worrying about “toning up” do you? That loss of muscle tone and loss of muscle strength is just flat lost muscle. You can get it back with weight training.

helpivefallenRemember the commercial that we have all seen for Lifealert, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Coming from the perspective of middle age or younger, I had always assumed that she was injured in the fall. However, she did not say, “Help, I’m hurt, and I can’t get up.” I work with folks with age related muscle loss, and I understand the importance of weight training as we age. I had a revelation, and maybe it did not occur to you. The elderly lady on the floor couldn’t get up because she was too weak. She did not have the muscle strength to get herself off of a floor!

The University of Cambridge studied 90 women  over-75 in the Cohort Study of aging and health. During the one year study, 60 percent of participants reported falling, and of those who fell, 80 percent or four out of five, needed help getting up, and 30 percent remained on the floor for over an hour.

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One method of improving strength with aging is to get enough calories from protein each day, in each meal, to sustain muscle mass.  Growth hormones in our younger years provide new cell growth, and we often do not have to eat and exercise as diligently to maintain strength and muscle tone the same way that is needed later in life. As a result strength and muscle decrease year after year that we do not maintain it. 

The primary treatment for age related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia or skinnyfat,  is exercise, especially strength training. Muscle growth and muscle strength are often referred to as “muscle tone.” Muscle tone is essentially a euphamism for the onset of muscle firmness. Greater muscle size is only achieved after the muscle has first firmed, grown, and strengthened.

Turn back the clock on aging and strength train!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sns-health-older-people-fall-research-story.html

http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/forever-fit-goals-for-every-phase-of-a-womans-life.html

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/sarcopenia-with-aging

 

 

Cardio: What you need to know

Cardio is short for cardiovascular. In the exercise world, this is running, treadmill, elliptical, aerobics, Zumba, kickboxing, plyometrics, biking, walking, swimming, and more. Cardio is a fairly regular movement repeated for purpose of getting your heart rate up. It’s all good.runner

Raising your heart rate burns calories. Good stuff. If you are happy where you are, or you do cardio sports for enjoyment or goal setting then awesome. My blog is not for you. Continue reading

Back to workouts!

Welcome to my primer on working your back. Everyone needs a strong back to protect the spine, and to balance all that work you’ve been doing to build your chest!

I have provided a plan and some variations for chest exercises in an earlier blog post.Weak upper body? Train chest! As I mentioned in the post for triceps, you should also work biceps for balance and strength. If you only work one side of a muscle pair, then you will create some issues of their own, and at a minimum the first issue will be a lack of overall strength. Therefore since we have muscle exercises for our chest, we also need muscle exercises for the back! Continue reading

Workout structure and planning!

The best advice I received early on in my fitness revolution and kickoff of my midlife transformation is, “don’t go to the gym without a plan.” I have stuck to that every day for the last two years.  

Don’t fall into the trap of feel good fitness. That is where you do enough to get sweaty and think you will receive gains and big calorie burns. Continue reading

Protein Review: My top 10 and why.

All of my favorite protein drinks have one thing in common, they are primarily “Just the protein please.” They are not carbs, veggie replacements, or high in fat or sugars.  If you have been following my blogs, you know that I recommend whole food diets, and low sugar foods. I am a women’s Figure Competitor in the National Physique Committee with four shows to my credit including one First Place Overall in a 45 years old and up division. Continue reading

Weak upper body? Train chest!

The ability to push, to push yourself up off of the bed, the floor, to hold yourself with good posture and to maintain good mobility are foundational reasons to train your chest. Women have a love/hate relationship with their chest. They want them bigger or smaller or perkier. Honestly, training your chest has little to do with the your breast tissue real or implants. Breast tissues are made up of glands and ducts for milk production and fat cells. Training the muscle lying underneath will make you stronger.  What can affect the breast size is the fat loss as you lose body fat, and that can come from cardio, diet and any weightloss efforts, but chest strength will never steer you wrong. Continue reading