Nutritional based articles straight from cutandjacked.com's specialist writers
Sitting here tonight writing this article eating ice cream is a little out of the normal routine for a fitness professional and competitor like myself. As we all know eating things like ice cream and pizza are reserved for only extreme cheat days, or at least I thought that was the case. However, over the past few months I have amerced myself deep into the world of Carb Back loading. Eating things like ice cream, cookies, and various “cheat foods” post workout all while keeping my body fat in single digits during that span. Now many of you are wondering what the heck is carb back loading?
Well to get started quickly Carb back loading in a nutshell is when you back load your carbs so you are eating no carbohydrates before you workout, only proteins and fats throughout the day and saving all your carb consumption for post workout. Yes, you are reading that correctly you only eat carbs after you strength train and ZERO carbs before. I am not talking just eating brown rice and oatmeal after training, I am talking ice cream, cookies, milk shakes, and pizza in fact according to the research those simple sugars work best with back loading. Now before you do condemn me to the mad house, this theory was made popular by a guy named John Kiefer a Physicist who became a nutritionist, so there is some science and education to this method.
Now I come from the world of 'IF' intermittent fasting, (fasting for a minimum of 16 hours and eating for the remaining 8 hours of the day) so many of the principals in carb back loading came easy to me, as there is a fasting concept inside the back loading.
Before I get into that, let’s start from the main idea, when you sleep you are fasting essentially and when you wake up your body is a fat burning monster. Research has shown that cortisol which we know is a stress hormone rises while we sleep, and for most people on a regular schedule it peaks in the early morning around 7am. The idea with carb back loading is to wake up and eat nothing, that’s right the whole breakfast is the most important meal of the day idea is gone. In fact if you guys end up researching carb back loading on your own you will hear John Keifer say “breakfast sucks”. The reasoning for this is you want your cortisol level to drop, which they do naturally later in the day a few hours after waking up. To break it down you wake up, drink nothing but coffee or water and let your body just burn fat like crazy until you eat your 1st meal.
So, assuming you train later in the day after work let’s say 6pm, what does one eat during the day when they are carb back loading? It’s simple really, just proteins and fats and ZERO carbs during the day before you workout. I know most magazines and professionals will disagree with this as they suggest eating carbs pre-workout is essential and needed for energy. Honestly I use to think the same thing years ago, that I needed carbs before I workout or I will have no energy and be sluggish. The reality is you don’t need them pre-workout you can train all out hardcore on proteins and fats. The idea behind it is just like the short morning fast, without eating carbs pre-workout you can burn even more fat will you train during the session. I have found I feel more energized, motivated, and train like a maniac on no carbs pre-workout; you will be surprised when you give it a try for the 1st time how well you perform.
Here is the basics on how to get started if you think this is for you.
To prime your body for this new eating style and lifestyle honestly you must go extremely low carbs for 10 days – Kiefer prescribes 30g or less each day. That’s right 10 days of 30g carbs or less, and trust me on this, it’s the hardest part of this whole program. We are only talking 10 days, which anyone can struggle through if they are serious about training and making changes. Protein intake is pretty standard 1g per pound – so if you are 200lbs eat 200g of protein per day. You can also eat as much fat as you like; now keep in mind proper judgment on this. Things like cheese, avocados, bacon, whole eggs, coconut oil and the list goes on and on. The restrictions on this program are limited, it’s based heavily on how you look in the mirror and feel from day to day.
On the 10th day of your low carb intake after you train that evening you can, as they say “carb up”. Your body will be ready to take in some serious carbs, and this is where the fun starts.
Consume around 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight so if you weight 200lbs eat 200g of carbs or a little more if your body can handle it. The main thing to remember here is these are high-glycemic foods, ice cream, cup cakes, cookies, fries, pizza and so on. You will probably go to sleep full and bloated feeling happy and fat, upon waking you will probably find yourself looking lean and ripped.
Now you are in the world of carb back loading, from here on out, on all days you strength train (lift heavy weight) you can carb backload. On days you don’t strength train and just do cardio or have rest days eat as you would during the 1st 10 days with 30g of carbs of less just eating proteins and fats.
That in a nutshell is the basics of carb back loading and how it’s done.
Carbs on backloading days range from 1 - 2g per lb of your bodyweight so for a 200lb man that would be 200g-400g carbs per back load. If your looking to lose more body fat keep the carbs closer to the 1g, if you are looking to gain a little size keep it closer to the 2g per lb.
If you train in the morning there are modifications in the book Kiefer put out and he breaks down exactly how to do it.
Keep your protein and carb numbers in mind while you eat, but more importantly just check the mirror to see how you feel and look each day. If you are looking lean and ripped after time you are on the right path, if you feel bloated and look doughy odds are you might be overdoing the back loading so cut back on the carbs for a few days.
Overall my thoughts,... it’s a fun program to follow that allows you to eat some of the foods you love on a more regular basis. It also allows you to eat with friends and family enjoying pizza and ice cream from time to time. It’s not for everybody, but if you really struggle with your cheat meals this just might be the thing that gets you to the next level. It’s been a fun few months backloading as I love pizza and ice cream just as much as most people. Going forward I will probably be practicing a hybrid of intermittent fasting mixed with a little backloading.
From a health stand point there will be arguments on eating ice cream and pizza every week, from a personal standpoint my blood work has been as clean as ever even while integrating these foods into my life over the past few months. Again do a little research on your own and become educated on what best fits your health and training needs before moving forward. Best of luck and happy eating!
Resources: CBL 1.0 – for more info carbbackloading.com
Author - Jeremy Scott is the creator of www.jeremyscottfitness.com , PROLAB Sponsored Athlete, Nationally Published Author, and currently lives in and trains in Scottsdale, Arizona.
You can follow Jeremy on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Jeremyscottfitness
When you think of the word "chia" you probably think of chia pets, for good reason - chia pets are grown with chia seeds, but for centuries before, these tiny little seeds were used as a staple food by the Indians of the southwest and Mexico. Its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as back as 3500 B.C. Once valued so much that they were used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritive and structural benefits. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties making them a true super food.
One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, “absorbability” having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weigh in water. Its ability to hold on to water offers the ability to prolong hydration. With Chia seeds, you retain moisture; regulate more efficiently the body’s absorption of nutrients and body fluids. Because there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, the electrolyte balance is maintained. In addition to these benefits, when soaked in water for 30 minutes, chia seeds form a thick gel. This gel also forms in the stomach when chia seeds are consumed. Researchers believe this actually slows down the rate at which digestive enzymes turn carbs into sugar, making it especially beneficial for diabetics and others with blood sugar issues. The slowing in the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects.
Chia seeds are about 20% protein. They are digested and absorbed very easily. This results in rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by the cells. This efficient assimilation makes the Chia very effective when rapid development of tissue takes place, primarily during periods of growth. This would also include regeneration of muscle tissue for conditioning, athletes, weight lifters, etc.
The word chia is derived from the Aztec word chian, which means "oily." Another unique quality of the Chia seed is its high oil content. Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3; they have more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant food, (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon. It has approximately three to ten times the oil concentrations of most grains and one and a half to two times the protein concentrations of other grains. These oils, unsaturated fatty acids, are the essential oils your body needs to help emulsify and absorb the fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E, & K.
There are practically unlimited ways to incorporate the Chia seed into your diet. Chia, as an ingredient, is a dieter’s dream food. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper. Chia seeds must be prepared with pure water before using recipes. They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 12 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel which fills you up faster. Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants that they do not spoil easily and can be stored for long periods, unlike flax seeds, so they are a great addition in cooking, baking, or adding to your favorite beverage.
Use ground chia seeds mixed with water to replace eggs in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, or cupcakes. Place 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup and add 3 tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. 1/4 cup of hydrated chia seeds equals approximately 1 egg. By substituting chia seeds, you'll still get the binding action of the eggs but without the dietary cholesterol or risk of food-borne illness. And, for a fresh take on classic lemon poppy seed breakfast muffins, fold chia seeds into your cake batter in place of poppy seeds.
Ground chia seeds can be added to your favorite smoothies to thicken and add creaminess to the drink while also giving a punch of slowly digestible protein. More good news for athletes is the seeds' ability to help the body retain electrolytes, great for endurance athletes like marathoners or climbers.
Carb Cycling is a low/no-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption; essentially you are cycling your carbs to achieve a desired result. Most people have the misconception that consuming low carbs on a day to day basis for long periods of time is good for them. The main problem with low-carb diets is that they are meant as temporary diets; they deplete your energy and strength and are not the best method when attempting to lose body fat and retain muscle. You cannot eat that way forever. Your body needs carbs for daily functions.
There are also those individuals who preach high carb diets. While high carb diets help to speed your metabolism, they are not ideal for weight-loss or reduction of body fat as there is not a sufficient deficit to help you shed the pounds.
This is where carb-cycling comes in. Carb cycling is an in between Zig Zag type method that will give you the benefits of both a low and high carb diet which allows you to hold on to the muscle you already have and shed body fat. This type of diet will also help you maintain your sanity, strength, and endurance through the entirety of your program.
Carb cycling works by giving your body the fuel it needs to increase your metabolism and create a calorie deficit to increase fat loss. Days are rotated between high-carb days and low/moderate-carb days and in some cases no carb days.
There are typically three types of days when carb cycling- Notice some will not go “NO carbs” but instead follow a low to moderate and then high rotation.
Generally, if you do three days the three days are rotated, or cycled, equally, but there are many ways people set up a carb cycle. You can also do low/high or low moderate high.
Example: 4 low days and then a high, 2 low a no carb day and 1 high, 2 low 1 moderate and 1 high, etc. This type of diet should be tweaked, based on the individual's goals.
Generally the most common carb cycling approach used is where you will place higher carbohydrate days on your heaviest training days and then lower carb days on off/low-intensity training days. This plan is usually based on eating six times per day. Acceptable alternatives would be five or seven meals a day. Adjust your plan according to your goals and lifting schedule. Be sure to keep the daily ratios consistent with whatever meal plan you choose; more food per meal if you do 5 meals and less food per meal if you do 7.
Protein is the foundation of a carb cycling diet .Assuming you are eating six meals each day, regardless of which type of day, you will eat a minimum of 1/5, 1/6, or 1/7 of your total daily minimum requirement for protein at each meal.
Example: If you are taking in 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, a 200-pound male should eat at least 33 grams of protein at each and every meal. If the same person is set on a 5 meal per day plan they should eat a minimum of 40 grams of protein per meal and 28 if you are consuming 7 to achieve the same totals. Of course depending on your goal you may take your protein higher or lower, adjusting accordingly. On a low carb day you may take this number to 1.2-1.5- or even 2.0 grams per lb. of body weight.
Keep dietary fats consistent throughout your plan. You will raise your fats on your low carb days and lower them on high carb days. Some individuals will even keep their fat and carb sources separate in their diet plan.
This type of diet focuses on daily manipulation of carbohydrate consumption-hence the name “Carb Cycling” so carbs are a very important part of this diet.
There are three types of days in the diet, and they vary only by the amount of carbohydrates that are consumed. They are the low/moderate carbohydrate day, the high carbohydrate day, and the no/low day.
To achieve maximum results, you must calculate the ratio of carbs to fat and proteins. Your protein intake is higher during the low-carb phase. A woman will multiply her current body by 1.2; men will multiple his weight by 1.5. This number reflects the grams of protein required per day; multiple this total by 4 for your number of calories consumed by protein sources. To calculate your grams of fat, a woman will multiple her weight by 0.5 and a male by 0.8. This total number times 9 will reflect your calorie consumption. Find carbohydrates by multiplying a woman's weight by 0.6 and a man's by 0.9. This total multiplied by 4 will reflect total calories consumed through carbohydrates. Add the three totals to determine your daily caloric intake during this cycle.
The high carb day is established using the same method, only this time, increasing your protein and carbohydrate intake while decreasing your fats. To determine the grams of protein and carbohydrates, a woman will multiply her weight by 1.4 and a man by 1.7. Fat grams are found by multiplying 0.3 by a woman's weight and 0.6 by a man's weight. These totals will reflect the number of nutrient dense calories you can consume on this day
You'll want to focus the majority of these calories right around the training period since this is when your body needs them the most. Plus by doing so, you'll find that the rest of the day stays quite similar in terms of meal planning to your low carbohydrate days.
The no carb day is the simplest, yet most physically and mentally challenging day. It is exactly what it says it is, quite literally, no carbohydrates. You will get some carbs from the greens you eat, but not enough to affect your results.
Be aware that low and no days aren't exactly going to be easy, but you're going to get great results if you can push through them. Some people tolerate low carbs better than others. Only you will be able to discern if you are going too low for you to function properly throughout your day.
The recommendations below are standard but can be adjusted to fit your goals. You can take the ratios given and increase them to make them fit your goals. Multiply your bodyweight by the numbers provided below OR by your own set number to figure how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats you will take in each day. To figure out the calorie consumption you will take the number and multiply it times 4 for both protein and carbs and times 9 for fat.
Carbohydrate Cycling Program Macronutrient Recommendations
** All recommendations shown in grams per pound of bodyweight
** All recommendations shown in grams per pound of bodyweight
I have tweaked my own numbers and they are a bit higher than the recommended protein to achieve the goals I have set for myself. As you can see you can manipulate this diet for your liking.
LOW DAYS (on high days meals I have the extra carbs in 3 meals-my fats also decrease on high days) 4 low days one high-repeat
High days are 50 grams carbs in first 4 meals. I choose oats for these meals because it’s easy to measure and I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over. I’ll periodically switch out oats for brown rice
Written By Bodybuilding.com Sponsored Athlete Brandan Fokken: Fanpage
When it comes to fat loss there are plenty strategies on what to eat, but what about simply not eating? You may scoff at this especially if you're like many fitness enthusiasts who have their tupperware ready to roll every 3 hours. But what I will propose isn't starvation, but rather a strategy known as intermittent fasting or IF for short. IF is a dietary protocol that utilizes periodic fasts and can be implemented in various ways. Not only does IF improve health and body composition, it improves cognition, saves on the grocery bill, and helps you live a lifestyle free of worrying about when your next serving of chicken breast and brown rice is.
IF helps your fat loss endeavors on both a physiological and psychological level. When it comes to what is actually going on in the body, fasting can increase insulin sensitivity as insulin levels will be lower chronically and of course acutely during the fast. In regards to your health this means a whole slew of things, but most importantly it decreases the risk of diabetes and all of its subsequent co morbidities (associate diseases). If we are talking about body composition, decreased insulin levels will make way for lipolysis, or fat burning, during the fasting window. A host of other hormones such as the catecholamine epinephrine as well as growth hormone help in this process. So as you can see the fasting period is very advantageous for burning off those love handles, but also for your longevity.
Free of the analogous handcuffs of frequent meal timing, fasting gives multiple psychological and cognitive benefits. Fasting allows one to experience psychological and actual physical hunger cues. The realization and differentiation of these two cues and the experience of feeling them allows dieters to understand when they are actually "hungry," or if some other cue such as social eating, or anxiety is making them "hungry". Mental clarity is also a perk of fasting, which may be a result of less frequent peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels. This leads to many reporting that they are more productive during the fast. Although much of the aforementioned benefits are anecdotal, it is because they are subjective, but the science and theory definitely supports their claim.
While there are a lot of benefits to IF, there are still many doubters. The root of much criticism may be due to lack of knowledge on how IF works, or simply because humans are creatures of habit and the long-standing frequent meal timing scheme has been successful for many dieters. Most prevalent is the concern of muscle loss or the inability to gain muscle while fasting. To address this several fasting protocols allow for the use of Branch Chained Amino Acid (BCAA) supplementation during the fasting window which stops muscle catabolism (muscle breakdown), and because of the Leucine content of BCAA's stimulates something known as the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR). mTOR is a regulator of protein synthesis in the body, thus actually augmenting the building and repair process in regards to muscle. In addition the digestion rate of many proteins, such as casein, can take up to 8 hours, feeding the body with amino acids throughout a large portion of the fast if consumed at the last meal. Also of concern is binging during the feeding time which seems to be the biggest mistake for IF beginners, and is why this eating style may not be for everyone. IF doesn't allow for a free pass to eat anything, as food choices should still be centered around whole, nutrient-dense foods that mirror the same caloric content and macronutrient ratios as would be in a frequent meal style of eating.
The implementation of the various IF protocols are dependent on many factors. Essentially the protocol that best fits your schedule and your psyche is ideal. One of the most successful protocols is the "Eat Stop Eat" fasting method by Brad Pilon. This IF strategy employs 1-2 full 24 hour fasts during the week. It is suggested that the fasting days are on non-workout days. Another practical and successful IF strategy is the "Lean Gains" approach coined by Martin Berkhan, where there is an 8 hour window of eating and 16 hour fast each day (a 10:14 ratio of eating: fasting can also be used). It is suggested that your workout is near the eating window and ideally allows for your largest meal to be after your workout. Finally another popular, though more rigid, protocol is the warrior diet, which is a 4 hour eating window typically towards the evening each day. All of these approaches have been implemented with success as witnessed by their many testimonials and their popularity, but it's the one that fits into your particular lifestyle that will render the best results in fat loss and health.
It is important to realize that IF is just another way of eating. IF is a lifestyle not a diet, and is meant to free people from the rigidity of constant feeding and worrying about food while still giving great fat loss and health benefits. With that being said I by no means tout IF as being the best eating strategy for muscle gain, fat loss, or even health, but it is certainly one of the most successful. It all comes back to what works for you and what is practical. If you are able to fit a "diet" into your everyday routine, you are able to adhere to it, and most importantly you can see yourself eating that way the rest of your life, then it's the "diet" or should I say lifestyle that's going to work for you. So I leave you with a challenge, try one of the above eating strategies for one week, see how you do. You might be amazed at how easy it really is to fast for fat loss!
Written by Adam Bisek
Why do we get fat? And when we try to lose it why do most fail or revert back? The answer lies in a simple analogous adventure into our prehistoric past. If we look at how our caveman and women ancestors lived and subsisted, and how our physiology seeks homeostasis, it is easy to see how diets are often unsuccessful in the long run.
The human body and its checks and balances are meant to keep us at just the right weight and body fat. Our fat cells, and to a smaller extent the cells in the lining of the stomach, secrete a hormone called leptin. That's right, our fat is an active part of the endocrine system. When we become lean our fat is lower and subsequently less leptin is produced and sent to the brain, and more specifically the hypothalamus. When this happens the hypothalamus decreases thyroid activity, down regulating our metabolism and also sends out hormones such as ghrelin and neuropeptide Y (NPY), which make us hungry. Think about it, if we go back to our caveman, it makes sense to decrease his metabolism in famine, and increase his hunger to seek his next meal. His body wants him to get back to a body fat that will support famine or the long winter.
The inverse happens when our body fat increases. Increased body fat increases the leptin signal to the hypothalamus and to this it increases metabolism via the thyroid, and decreases hormonal signals of hunger. Although our caveman needs to have enough body fat to survive the next famine, his body also realizes he needs to be lean enough to run away from the occasional tiger.
↓ Fat = ↓ Leptin = ↑ Hunger Hormones + ↓ Metabolism
↑ Fat = ↑ Leptin = ↓ Hunger Hormones + ↑ Metabolism
So how is it that obesity is an issue in the western society? Much like the body becomes resistant to insulin in Type 2 Diabetes, it also becomes leptin resistant. This is due to many things such as a sedentary lifestyle, over consumption of processed carbohydrates, elevated triglycerides, chronic stress, and toxicity just to name a few. This sounds a lot like the lifestyle of many Americans. Essentially the hypothalamus does not receive the signal despite the over abundance of fat and subsequently leptin. Luckily reversing leptin resistance can be accomplished by paying attention to the aforementioned lifestyle factors. Maintaining regular physical activity, increasing whole food consumption in contrast to processed foods, dealing with stress, decreasing alcohol consumption, and investigating and rectifying possible sources of toxicity will go a long way in dealing with leptin resistance.
So getting to our main point; why do "diets" fail? First it's because the modern conception of diet is incorrect, and means nothing more than a way of eating or a lifestyle. Essentially the same physiological mechanism that kept our caveman the right body fat still exists in our bodies today. When we begin to go into famine, which in modern day is merely caloric restriction through decreasing food consumption, our bodies’ natural mechanisms sense this over time and decrease metabolism. To compound this dieters try to create a caloric deficit by increasing activity, and in many cases this takes the form of long duration aerobic activity, although this may not always be the case. Now think about it, if our caveman were in famine would he go for a jog to expend energy, or conserve it? To this our body has to release cortisol, a stress hormone that helps liberate fat, glucose, and protein from muscle to provide us with energy. The only bad thing is that this hormone also likes to deposit fat in the abdominal region when elevated chronically! While this is all happening our body is in a net protein loss, which leads to loss of muscle. To pile it on our body also begins to send out this hunger signals ghrelin and NPY as it senses famine, and also because our stress hormones do a great job at stimulating NPY release. NPY is an interesting hormone because it makes us crave sweet things, not so bad for our caveman who would find some berries, but now those berries have turned into a snickers bar from the closest vending machine.
So that's where the common day "dieter" is left. Sporting a decreased metabolism, increased hunger for bad food options, increased circulating stress hormones, and decreased muscle mass. Not a good situation for maintaining the possible weight lost. The truth is that it's not about a number, it's not about weight loss, it's about fat loss. It's not about the mindset of a "diet"' but a change in a lifestyle. Successful and maintained fat loss is achieved slower and through making changes in lifestyle to increasing physical activity, making better food choices, decreasing stress, and being practical about what can be achieved.
When it comes to the traditional approach to fat loss, there is a lot left to be desired. Long drawn out aerobic sessions are not the way to go. While maintaining aerobic fitness is important, one can do so by maintaining a progressive resistance-training program that includes shorter more relatively intense bouts of activity. This maintains muscle mass and decreases the chronic stress response brought about by long duration steady state aerobic sessions. In addition to this a grocery list that includes plenty of sources of protein, fruits, vegetables, and some nuts, seeds, and healthy oils, while staying away from more processed foods found in boxes and bags will go a long way. And finally, use the trusty SMART goal model to establish specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented goals. Getting social support from friends and family, as well as accountability from a fitness professional will also better your chances of taking of the fat for good.
I hope this journey to ancestral homeostasis was enlightening or will at least save you or someone you know from falling into the traditional approach to fat loss. Until next time, get Big, be Strong, keep Fit, and stay Healthy!
Written by Adam Bisek
Few supplements on the market today tout strong backing from scientific research, of which Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA's) are one of them. They are immensely popular amongst the fitness community due to their positive effect on muscle building, as well as their use for staving off muscle breakdown while dieting. When utilized correctly in ones diet and supplement regimen, BCAA's can be one of the most integral additions to your proverbial supplement toolbox.
The amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are the family of building blocks that make up Branched-Chain Amino acids. These aminos are in a group known as essential amino acids, which are those that humans need to get from our diet and cannot produce on our own. BCAA's are unique because in free form, like found in Beast BCAA's or Aminolytes, are absorbed right into the bloodstream after digestion unlike intact proteins, which you will learn leads to many of their amazing benefits. Another interesting characteristic is that BCAA's can be metabolized by the muscle, providing immediate energy. Subsequently BCAA's have a strong anti-catabolic effect, in essence staving off muscle breakdown, and also a strong anabolic effect, driving protein synthesis to build muscle.
BCAA's are typically found in a 2:1:1 ratio. Research thus far has shown this ratio to be sufficient for performance, protein synthesis, and decreasing protein degradation. Higher ratios of Leucine are theorized to offset the uptake of valine, and Isoleucine, but as for right now that is nothing more than theory. Leucine is the heavy hitter of the bunch, activating key pathways in the body that regulate protein synthesis. Of which Leucine is a key regulator of the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, which plays a critical role on skeletal muscle Hypertrophy, or the accretion of muscle tissue. Leucine can also help stimulate the Phosphatodyl-Inositol-3-Kinase pathway (PI3K) in addition to, but also independent of insulin, increasing glucose uptake and protein synthesis. Simply put Leucine is a rockstar when it comes to getting your muscle building machinery going, and prevents your body from using your muscle tissue for fuel during exercise or when in caloric deficit.
In addition to their muscle saving and building capabilities, BCAA's serve athletes and even liver disease patients in other ways! Research has shown that BCAA's can increase aerobic and anaerobic capacity, increase strength, power, and resistance to fatigue, as well as decrease muscle soreness from intense exercise. All these attributes would prove to be advantageous to almost any athlete. Stepping off the field of play, BCAA's have also been researched in clinically diagnosed liver disease patients. Liver regeneration, detoxification, and correction of plasma amino acid balance, are purported positive indications that BCAA's exhibit when administered to those suffering from liver disease.
When it comes to timing there are several windows:
▪ Upon waking
▪ Between meals
▪ During your workout
▪ Immediately post-workout
▪ Before Bed
That may seem like a lot, but the above list is ideal, not necessarily always practical. Of the list the three most important times would be upon waking, during, and immediately post-workout. Recommendations for dosing will range from as little as 200-300mg of each BCAA to 2-5 or more grams at each serving, with some recommending 20 grams. It seems the lower range dosing offers the least amount to receive any tangible benefit, with increasing efficacy up to 20 grams. My basic recommendation to reap marked benefits would be to supplement 2-5grams at each serving. If you’re carrying a good amount of muscle or are dieting 5-10 grams per serving is a sufficient amount. A single serving of Beast BCAA's provides 2.4 grams of BCAA's in a 2:1:1 ratio, which is perfect for a waking dose, between meals, before bed, and even post-workout. Aminolytes contain 6 grams of BCAA's per serving and also add in electrolytes to improve your performance and extend your time spent in the gym. Coming in a powder form, Aminolytes are a great option in the peri-workout window; pre, during, and post-workout.
So there you have it. If you're looking to take it to the next level by gaining some more lean body mass, or want to keep your hard-earned muscle while acquiring that 6 - pack, BCAA's are the supplement for you. Remember a supplement is just that, a supplement to a good nutrition and exercise plan. Nail those down first then bring it to the next level. Until next time, get Big, be Strong, keep Fit, and stay Healthy!
Written by Adam Bisek
Benefits: Variety of protein sources providing muscle tissue support
A note on Artichoke: Artichoke is documented to help with liver cleansing as well its positive effects on high cholesterol. Artichoke also has a good amount of potassium which helps muscle contraction and is very important for individuals who follow an exercise regimen.
- 2 ounce artichoke calories: 25, Fat: 0, Protein: 2 , Carbs: 6 ( 3gr. Fiber), Sodium: 75 mg., Potassium: 170 mg.
Recipe by Melih F. Cologlu / ACPT
Per one out of four:
Recipe by Anna from proteinpow.com
Tip: You want to cook your pancakes slow. If you cook them too quickly, they will be raw in the middle. Be patient and let them cook evenly and slowly. They should turn a perfect golden brown on both sides.
Recipe by Stephanie Woods
Picture the typical first date: the man confidently orders a steak to appear masculine while the woman orders a salad to seem feminine. What’s wrong with this picture? Women need protein too, and if you’re a fit woman you need it even more to support that beautiful muscle! Here you’re going to learn the benefits of adequate protein, how different sources affect your health differently, how much you should be eating, and the best ways to add in protein to keep you lean and sexy!
A new study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that the prior recommendation of 0.36 g protein per pound of body weight is grossly inaccurate for women who lift weights. This is because the body needs more protein to build and maintain muscle and also to produce enzymes in the body that are key to metabolism. And it packs a one-two punch for those who are trying to lose or maintain weight. Of all the macronutrients, protein takes the most work to digest and it, therefore, increases energy expenditure when you eat it in greater proportion to other macronutrients or to the amount you are right now. Also, because it is harder to digest, it stays in the stomach longer than carbohydrates helping you feel fuller faster and longer. So how much protein should you be eating? About 0.8 – 1 g per pound of body weight every day is a safe estimate for most women to maintain and build muscle and keep their metabolisms revved up. Get this through 5 – 6 servings/day, 20-30g/meal, so that the body can better metabolize and absorb it and you’re not flushing protein and money down the drain (pun intended).
But what kind of protein is best? We all know that chicken, egg whites, and canned tuna are great lean sources of protein, but it turns out that different protein sources offer different health benefits, so your best bet is to get protein from a variety of sources: red meat, pork, poultry, whey/casein/dairy (if it doesn’t give you a bad reaction), fish, nuts, beans, and soy. Here we’ll talk about the benefits of a few of these. Red meat helps your brain to better remember important phone numbers (remember when you were standing at the ATM the other week and couldn’t remember your PIN?). This is probably due to the creatine monohydrate content found in beef, the concentration of which increases in your brain when you consume it. Creatine also has benefits in your training regimen as it has been shown to increase power – can you say new PR? Also, red meat is high in zinc and iron, both of which are critical to proper metabolism function and training capacity as they are key for delivering oxygen to working muscles and immune health. Finally, if you buy grass fed beef you are giving yourself a dose of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that has been linked to decreased body fat by increasing insulin sensitivity (so it helps your body use carbohydrates for fuel instead of storing them as fat). Aim for 1 – 2 servings/week. Pork has comparable benefits for muscle building as beef, with the same lean meat to fat ratio of turkey. It’s also high in thiamin, a nutrient that is often lacking in the average woman’s diet and key to metabolism because it helps to efficiently convert carbohydrates to energy and it also helps with muscle fiber repair and recovery – so if you’re working out hard, this is an important nutrient! Other micronutrients in pork help regulate energy release, strengthen bones, prevent injury, and increase your immune system function.
Eat up, aim for 1 – 2 servings of pork/week as well! Fish is another great source of protein. Most fish is very low in fat and calories (such as cod, tilapia, and albacore tuna). But the ones that are higher in fat are also important too; they contain a healthy fat known as omega-3, which has been linked to better brain function and mental acuity, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and heart health. But on top of that, omega-3s are being linked to greater levels of physical fitness and lower body fat. One recent study published by Washington University has even found a correlation between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and your body’s ability to turn protein in the diet into precious muscle. Eat fish often, and eat sources high in omega-3s at least 3 times/week!
Finally, let’s talk about a non-animal source of protein. Beans are a great, economical source of protein and are often overlooked as a supplement in the diet. Beans are high in folic acid which helps with cognitive function and helps prevent depression. Also, if you’re a female in your reproductive years, the folic acid in beans is important to help prevent certain birth defects that develop in fetal spinal cords in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy – a time when most women do not even know they are pregnant yet. So including beans as a regular part of your diet can help. Beans also have high amounts of magnesium and some have high amounts of iron, both of which are important for nerve function and muscle building. Finally, beans not only have satiating protein but also satisfying fiber – keeping your belly full and flat. Aim to eat beans 3 times per week or more. As you can see each source of protein offers unique health and training benefits. Reap the most from your protein by getting it from a variety of sources.
Okay, so you know how much protein you should be eating and you know why you should be eating it…but how should you add it in? Here are some quick and simple ways to add some extra protein into your day without too much time and effort:
If you plan ahead and batch-cook your protein, it’ll be easy to pack for the week or day and have protein on hand for every meal. Next time you’re out with friends, your guy, or by yourself, do yourself a favor and eat some protein. Let’s change the stereotype and make eating a diet rich in protein a girl thing too. You can do it!
- Written by Anjelica Mucci