Your New Change

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~ Epictetus

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Carbohydrates: Friend or Foe?

  Despite what fad diet has led us to believe, carbs are essential to our health. Every cell in our body needs it for energy. Carbohydrates are crucial for brain functioning and they are also power vital organs, lungs heart kidney. The Institute of Medicine says that our diet should consist of 45 to 65 percent of good quality carbs. So what should you be eating? There are 2 kinds of carbohydrates – simple and complex. The difference is amidst: simple carbs are the naturally produce sugar that is found in fruits and in refined and processed foods like white bread, sugary drinks and candy. They’re quickly digested and converted to glucose or sugar in our body. These sugars are used up quickly, providing short burst of energy, but leading to fatigue. Complex carbs are the good quality kind, found in high fiber, nutrient-rich food like whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta and beans. They take longer to digest and fuel our body slowly and evenly over a long period of time. Food high in complex carbs provide energy during workout and eating them prior to exercising will spare the amount of glycogen or energy that has to be used by the muscles which allow you to work harder and longer.
  Nutritionist and dieters are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits associated with good complex quality carbs and the problems associated with simple carbs . A recent study by the Department of Health says that the nutrient and fiber in complex carb – aid in digestive regularity, boost in heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. Whereas simple carbs can cause mood swing, food cravings, compulsive eating and weight gain.
If you want to add more complex carbs in your diet, try whole wheat bread instead of white bread, brown rice and whole wheat. And start your day with a high fiber oatmeal.


Training on Empty Stomach?

  NYTimes released an article on the benefits of exercising before breakfast – training on empty stomach is proven to be effective in burning bodyfat. However, the article did make a point that training on empty will not improve your performance during a workout. So the main question is, if you’re somewhat in shape and your main goal is to improve sports performance, agility, strength and muscle size, would it be bad to train on empty? It is just a common sense that you will feel more like training if you eat a small snack beforehand. It’s important to enjoy your training, because you’re not likely to keep doing an activity that you find unpleasant. I wake up with Shakeology and 1 scoop of whey protein about 45-60min before starting my workout. And about 10-15 min before workout, I would start drinking a pre-workout supplement. If you do not have enough time for Shakeology or anything heavy, and just want something light and quick, any preworkout supplement, skim milk or an apple would do the trick. Avoid concentrated sugars which cause a spike in your blood sugar – a candy bar or honey are no-nos – or eating so much that you feel full and uncomfortable. Eat something small in volume and easily digested.
  The main reason for a pre-workout snack, however, is to supply your brain with the energy it requires to function properly – and to avoid cannibalizing your muscles.All the different tissues of the body, including your muscles, use glucose, blood sugar, for energy. Your brain, however, relies on glucose for energy almost exclusively. If your blood glucose level falls, the brain cannot function properly. The result is usually inability to concentrate, lethargy and confusion. For this reason, the body is programmed to maintain your blood glucose level no matter what the cost.
  Most of the energy for a training session, weights or aerobics, come from the glycogen stored in your muscles. The glycogen comes from what you have eaten over the last several days, not your last meal. It takes a day or two to restore the glycogen to depleted muscles. About 200 grams of glycogen can be stored in your muscles. Muscle glycogen, however, is no help to your brain; it can’t get out of the muscles to raise your blood sugar. So where does the glucose for your brain come from?
  First, it comes from the glucose contained in your circulating blood. This, however, is only about 20 grams and doesn’t last long. Next, it comes from the breakdown of glycogen to glucose in the liver; that’s about 70 grams. The glucose in your circulating blood and that stored in your liver, is enough to tide your brain over during the night, but that’s about it. When you get up in the morning the body must look elsewhere to supply glucose to your brain. Unfortunately, if you don’t eat, the source of supply is body protein — not the fat stored on your body.
As you probably know, extra calories from any source, carbohydrate, protein or fat, are stored as fat. “The catch,” is that this is a one-way street.” Fat cannot be used to form glucose. Under normal circumstances, body fat can’t supply the needs of the brain. (After about two days of starvation body fat can provide energy to the brain, but that’s clearly not acceptable for our purposes.)
  After blood glucose and liver glycogen are used up, the body turns not to fat tissue, but to protein to maintain the blood glucose level. The mechanism is called gluconeogenesis, the manufacture of new glucose. Your liver does the job. It strips the nitrogen from body protein to form glucose. In other words, protein from skeletal muscles and other body structures is used to maintain your blood glucose level.
  Dr. Lawrence Lamb, M.D. and fitness expect in Sports Performance, summed it up like this: “In the morning, after an overnight fast, your body has already switched to converting amino acids to glucose. That is one reason why some carbohydrate to support your blood sugar level early in the morning is important. That can help conserve the cell protein, such as found in your muscles.”
  So, training in the morning on empty, without eating, is a bad idea. The result is exactly the opposite of that desired. Rather than encourage the burning of fat, if forces your body to burn hard-earned muscle.To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Lamb’s comments are still state-of-the-art. I have yet to hear any authoritative opinion to the contrary. Until I do, I plan to continue eating a pre-workout snack.
I’ve had many questions on this topic. I hope this clears up the confusion about eating a pre-workout snack. At the end of the day, to eat or to not eat before exercising depends a lot on your fitness level and goals.

How Much Protein Should I Eat in a Day?

The recommended amount of protein for a healthy adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Since a kilogram is roughly equal to 2.2 pounds, that translates into .36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. An exception to this rule is the recommended levels for pregnant women, which say that pregnant women should eat 10 grams more each day than the recommended amount. Lactating women require an additional 15 grams of protein during the first six months of nursing, and an additional 12 grams after that.
I firmly believe that this recommendation is grossly inadequate. In fact I wouldn’t recommend any less than .8 grams of protein per pound (rather than per kilogram) of body weight, for people looking to maintain a healthy body composition, and I wouldn’t recommend any less than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for people looking to gain muscle.
Males who participate in regular vigorous exercise typically will eat from 1 to 1.5 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This can be both positive and negative for the body. The additional protein will assist in muscle recovery and fat loss, but the effects of digesting the protein will place additional stress on the body.

Why Should I Limit My Protein Intake?

While protein is as vital to cellular metabolism as oxygen, there certainly lies a threshold for healthy and unhealthy consumption levels especially for those in poorer health. Processing protein requires a lot from kidneys and liver which is why those with problems with either of those organs are often ordered by their physicians to eat a lower protein diet.
An indirect drawback from excessive animal protein consumption is its effect on the cardiovascular system. Since many meats contain a fair amount of saturated fat, this can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, as well as obesity.
For example, only 25% of a T-bone steak’s calories come from protein while the rest comes from saturated fat. Even a leaner cut of beef like a flank steak is still roughly 50% fat. The same holds true for eggs. Only 31% of eggs’ calories come from protein. Fish and chicken are certainly better sources of protein.
Remember when eating a diet higher in protein to drink plenty of water in order to replenish the considerable amount lost during protein metabolism. Try and stay on the safe side by avoiding extreme high-protein diets full of saturated fats like the ketogenic diets (Atkins) and you will be in much better physical standing.

To Gain Muscle:

I recommend 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass for males and females who exercise at least 3 times per week and are trying to gain muscle mass.
A 200 lb man with 10% bodyfat would aim to consume about 180 grams of protein in a day. That’s 6 meals with an average of 30 grams of protein per meal, and THAT, my friends, is quite doable.

If you have trouble consuming that much protein with food alone, I highly suggest you pick up some Optimum Nutrition Protein Powders, a source of inexpensive, high quality protein. One extra protein shake a day could make all the difference in the world.

To Lose Fat:

I recommend .8 grams of protein per lb of lean body mass for males and females who exercise at least 3 times per week and are trying to lose body fat.
A 150 lb woman with 25% bodyfat would aim to consume about 90 grams of protein in a day. That’s 3 meals with 20 grams of protein per meal and 3 snacks with 10 grams of protein, and THAT, my friends, is also very doable.
More importantly, keeping your unhealthy fat consumption and processed carbohydrate consumption low, will go a long way to preserve your health for the long haul.

(source: project swole)