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Monday, December 17, 2012

Third Place is Not as Bad as You Think

Third place.  What does it mean to you?  Do you automatically think "2nd runner up" or "not as good as first place"?  Today I am challenging your thought process and asking you...where is your third place?  Yes, I said "where".  I'm talking about that place that isn't home (first place) and it isn't work (second place), but it's your "third place".  That place where you go during your "in-between" times of home and work.  About 20 years ago, Ray Oldenburg, PhD, who wrote a book called The Great Good Place, argued that there are a number of attributes that make a third place a third place: It has to be convenient, inviting, serve something, and have some good regulars (which, he says, is actually more important than having a good host).  This third place may be a coffeehouse, barbershop, local drinking establishment, or health club.  So...where is your third place?

If you are interested in making healthy changes in your life, why not make your local gym your third place?  Building healthy habits and interacting with others who are working towards similar goals can be accomplished by spending time in your third place, the gym.  What better way to meet new people who are interested in improving their health.  If you already belong to your local gym/health club, do you consider it to be your third place?  Are you comfortable there?  Does it create a place of pure sociability that not only contributes to your quality of life but also makes life not just bearable but enjoyable? 

We've talked about the importance of health and fitness in virtually every blog. You know that adopting healthy habits can create a better you.  You read our blog and learn about what to do and how to do it.  Have you implemented those habits yet?  Turn to your local health club, whether it's here at PROMATx Health Club or another place in your city, and start implementing your new-found knowledge.  Turn to fitness professionals to help you attain your goals.  Turn to nutrition specialists to help guide you through the mountains of nutrition information.  Turn your local health club into your "third place".  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Post-Workout Protein

Most people have heard that eating protein after a workout is important, but why, how much, and from where do you get it?  Protein is made of complex strands of amino acids that are important for your skin, hair, nails, brain function, immune system, and are the building blocks of your muscles.  When you participate in a vigorous strength training workout, your muscles break down, actually developing tiny tears in the fibers.  This isn't dangerous, but it is important to repair these micro tears.  The amino acids in protein act as the healing agent to your muscles.  Not only does protein repair the tear, but it repairs the fiber bigger and stronger than before to ensure it is capable of handling that load the next time.  You see this change with gains in strength and an increase in lean mass.  

So how much protein should you be consuming?  This depends on your activity level and the amount of lean mass you currently have.  The more strenuous activity you participate in (muscularly), the more protein you need.  Additionally, the more lean mass you possess, the more protein you need.  Generally experts recommend eating between one-half to equal amount of grams of protein per pound of body weight per day depending on the above stated factors and your fitness goals (please note that this information is not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver disease as these individuals should follow their doctors protein guidelines). For example, if you weigh 160lbs, you will want to shoot for 80 to 160 grams of protein per day.  If you have a low body fat percentage (meaning a lower ratio of your weight comes from fat and a higher ratio of your weight comes from lean mass) or you participate in a vigorous strength training regiment (heavy loads 4-6 days per week), you will want to consume a higher amount of protein.  Try to eat a post-workout snack consisting of 15-20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after your workout to deliver a protein shot to your muscles to stimulate recovery.  

When it comes to selecting your sources of protein, your most beneficial source will come from animal proteins such as lean chicken, beef, and dairy.  These sources have "complete" strands of amino acids and are therefore most beneficial to the body.  Vegetable protein sources found in nuts, legumes, and seeds are also beneficial; however, they are what are considered "incomplete" sources of protein. This means you must mix and match sources to form a complete, usable strand of amino acids, versus animal protein which is more of a "one stop shop" protein source.  Getting enough protein can seem like a daunting task for some, but it is important for muscular transformation.  It is best if you consume your protein from natural sources but supplements can be a helpful aid to supplement your protein intake if need be.  Experts agree that a whey protein supplement is most beneficial because whey protein is easily broken down, meaning it is delivered quickly to the muscles.  When shopping for a supplement look for one with a low amount of fat and sugar.  There are many different kinds, some boasting high quantities of protein, but be sure to read the nutrition label because these tend to also have large amounts of fat and sugar as well.

Try these high protein post workout snacks:
Chicken, Turkey, or Tuna Sandwich (3oz meat on wheat bread)
Hard boiled egg (2-3) yolks included
5 oz Greek yogurt
8-16oz low fat chocolate milk
1 scoop whey protein with water or milk

Still have questions about protein and how much you should have?  Schedule an appointment with our nutrition specialist today to learn more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are You Sitting and "Weighting" for Your Body to Change?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard some of my training clients say "I work out so hard with you and I eat right...so why is the scale not changing??".  First of all, nutrition is a HUGE component of weight loss and although many people feel they are eating "right", they may still be lacking in well-rounded, nutritious meals/snacks.  Second, which is the focus of today's blog, think about how active you are (or are not) when you are not in the gym working out (with or without a trainer).  Granted you may be busting it during your 30-minute session, 2-3 times per week with your trainer.  However, that is only 60-90 minutes of the 10,080 minutes in the week (roughly 0.6-0.9% of the week).  What are you doing the other approximately 960 minutes in the day when you are awake?  Here's what I am getting at...the average person sits 9.3 hours a day.  So even if you are a competitive athlete doing "two-a-day" workouts, it is still possible to lead a sedentary lifestyle.

It's time to take inventory of your activity levels in a 24-hour period.  When you subtract out time for good, quality sleep, that will leave you with around 14-16 hours.  Granted you may have a job that requires you to sit through most of your work day.  However, unless your job physically requires you to stay tethered to your desk (i.e., call centers), then you still have the opportunity to add activity to your day.  As time evolves, we spend less time moving the muscles in our body.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents lived more physical lives than we do now.  Yes, technology was virtually non-existent when they were growing up, but is there too much technology in your life?  We don't have to use our muscles to open the garage door, to lower a car window, to change the channel on the television, or even get a message to a co-worker down the hall.  Technology has made all of that (and more) easier for us but it is taking away our ability to be physically active.

Once you look at how many hours are left in your day after sleeping, think about how you can make your day more active.  Walk down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail or instant message; stand (and pace) when talking on the phone; hang your laundry outside instead of throwing it in the dryer; bike to work; walk to the store around the corner instead of driving.  Put the computer/tablet/smart phone down and go outside and play with your kids or dog(s).

Burn more calories throughout your day and, in conjunction with a sound nutrition plan and regular exercise, you will see changes in your body.  Don't sit and "weight"...instead stand and lose!  One of the few times you'll hear me say that being a "loser" is a good thing!  Get up and get active.  Your health and your waistline will benefit.