Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Protein Truths

Tuesday Tip: Protein Truths 🍗

There are a lot of myths out there about protein, so here are a few truths.

# You must have protein 30-60 mins after exercise

The anabolic window (the window in which you supposedly need to eat protein to enable muscle growth) is a highly controversial topic, but research shows it is not as important as we once believed. Whilst it can be helpful to have a meal/snack high in protein in the hours following a workout to ensure adequate protein intake if you’re trying to build muscle, it is not a magic window that is only open for 30 minutes after exercise. Especially so if you had eaten already before your workout. The actual window is more like 5hrs plus.

# More protein is better!

People are somewhat obsessed with prioritising protein to recover, gain muscle and lose fat. But the more protein you eat is not always better in terms of muscle mass gain. It requires an adequate amount of energy as well as protein intake. Eating an excessive amount of protein on an already adequate intake of calories will not provide any further benefit and in fact is likely to lead to over consumption of calories and actually gaining fat too. If muscle building is your goal – it takes TIME, and doubling your protein intake past your baseline needs will not speed up this process. If fat loss is your goal, the calorie deficit is king and although protein helps you feel full, extra protein won’t specifically enhance fat loss.

# Protein is bad for your kidneys.

There is no evidence, in human clinical trials that a high protein intake >1.5g per kg of bodyweight is harmful for your kidneys in a healthy population (healthy is a key word here).

# You need protein shakes to meet your daily protein intake.

Protein shakes can be an easy and convenient way of meeting protein requirements if out and about. However a protein shake is not required for muscle protein synthesis after exercise in order to recover effectively. You can get your protein from your main meals etc. So if you’re a fan of them great but if you’re not then don’t worry – you don’t need them!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Training for a Summer body?

Tuesday Tip: Training for a Summer body? 👙

As we head towards summer there’s a lot of social media posts around talking about exercising to get your bikini or summer body. Now aside from the fact that, generally speaking, fat loss (which tends to be the real goal) is almost impossible to achieve from exercise (you need a calorie deficit) it’s also not an ideal goal.

The issue with training for a ‘summer body’

is that it’s a merely a goal to be constantly slim or lean without any other performance goals attached. The standards are arbitrary and the likely result is that you’ll never feel slim enough. It’s hard to escape this desire to slim down for summer as it’s so pervasive in our society and we start buying into it from a very young age. Now that’s not to say that wanting to lose fat for summer is necessarily a bad thing or something you shouldn’t do – ultimately it’s your body and you can choose what you want to do with it. But if it’s a pressure you are trying to avoid then perhaps it’s worth considering replacing that summer body goal with more stable goals that will serve you all year round, not just for the summer.

Ultimately the exercise routine and diet that you can do consistently, over the entire year, is the best one for you. Not the one that you can only manage for 4-8 weeks at a time because it’s unsustainable for you and your lifestyle. Try repositioning your goals – for example a goal of longer life, better quality of life, strong bones, quicker recovery from illness. Train for your old man/woman body – you want dense bones, strong muscles, good balance, a healthy heart and functional independence. When you’re 80 you want to be able to carry your shopping, lift your grandchildren, reach to put things away on the top shelf, get up from your chair unaided, stop yourself falling etc. If you try to focus on these sorts of goals you may find you are able to exercise and eat in a way that isn’t overly restrictive (on the food side) or inconsistent (e.g. sudden bursts of over exercising then weeks of months of no exercise). It also won’t feel like punishment.

Think about the long term and think about what will serve to keep you healthy and functioning for longer. Starving yourself, drinking ‘detox’ juices, cutting carbs, hours of cardio etc won’t – eating a reasonable amount of calories from all food types and working to include cardio and resistance training for strong muscles, heart and lungs will!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tips: Alcohol Truths

Tuesday Tips: Alcohol Truths 🍷

I covered carbs last week so here are a few facts and truths about alcohol and its impact on the body.

# Beneficial?

Alcohol intake in moderation has been claimed to have health benefits e.g. red wine consumption and heart disease. However this largely depends on the individual and their health status. ‘Moderation’ is also interpreted differently by everyone which makes it a hard claim to justify – what does moderation actually entail in real terms? Whilst some studies do show that there may be some protective effects from low levels of alcohol consumption for some diseases, as the WHO states, the potential risk reduction for some diseases is outweighed by the increased risk of cancers linked to alcohol consumption.

# It aids sleep?

Although alcohol may help us get to sleep as it is a sedative, it doesn’t allow good quality sleep and actually disrupts sleep. This is mainly due to aldehydes and ketone production during its’ processing in the body.

# Muscle impact

Alcohol intake reduces anabolic signaling (i.e. it reduces muscle growth) and inhibits muscle recovery. Whilst a couple of drinks won’t have a massive impact over the long term it can affect muscle growth so if that’s a fitness goal then you’d be wise to reduce consumption.

# Performance

I think everyone knows that alcohol consumption impacts performance – both during and the next day. Alcohol intake dehydrates, impairs glycogen metabolism and disrupts cognitive and neurological function so impacts both physical and mental performance.

# Binge drinking

Binge drinking is classified as more than 4-5 units of alcohol in a single sitting (women 4 drinks, Men 5). That’s not actually a huge amount for many people and would probably mean many social occasions would be classified as ‘binge drinking’ when perhaps you viewed them as ‘moderate’ . So once again the term ‘moderation’ actually constitutes far less alcohol consumption than we realise.

# Weight loss

When it comes to weight loss the main issues with alcohol consumption are the additional calories (7 cals per gram) and the decisions we make around food when under the influence or hung over the next day. If you can opt for lighter calorie and/or smaller drinks and make goal-orientated food decisions when consuming alcohol, there is no reason you can’t include it in your diet and lose weight but it does require an awareness of the impact it could have .

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Carb Truths

Tuesday Tip: Carb Truths 🥖

There are a lot of myths out there about carbs and there is also a lot of unnecessary fear mongering, so here are a few truths.

# They’re crucial

Technically we CAN survive without carbs but they are absolutely essential for optimal human performance. They are fuel for our brains and muscles and without them you’ll struggle with energy levels and athletic performance.

# They’re not unhealthy

Those that say “carbs are unhealthy” are clearly forgetting about whole-grains, fruit and veg. Many carbs are filled with fibre and an array of micronutrients and even more refined carbs are crucial for fuelling us day to day and in high intensity performance.

# Glycemic Index and blood sugar

People often talk about the glycemic index of a food being important – a low GI means a lower blood sugar response. However even low GI foods aren’t necessarily better because the GI is impacted by ripeness, how a food is cooked, what foods are eaten with it (it’s the GI of the entire meal that matters), how it’s processed etc. More importantly, the glycemic response is different from one person to another, and also in the same person from day to day.

So when it comes to blood sugar, it is not the sugar content of a food that is most important. The total amount of that particular food that you consume (glycemic load) is more important. The individual (genetic differences) in glucose responses and handling is also of major importance.

# Processed/refined carbs are bad

Processed and refined carbohydrate sources have had their bran and germ removed so are more rapidly digested. They’re ideal for fuelling exercise. They’re often less filling and easier to overeat so can lead to over consumption but there is nothing inherently bad, toxic or fattening about them

# Carbs are king for high intensity exercise

Carbs provide energy at a more rapid rate than we can synthesize from fatty acids.

If you are a regular exerciser then you need carbs to fuel your workouts and to replenish muscle glycogen. It’s also the ideal fuel for your brain.

So don’t be afraid of eating carbs!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Are you a snack monster?

Tuesday Tip: Are you a snack monster? 🍪

A common problem many people encounter is that they can’t stop snacking while trying to lose weight. Often the reason people are snacking is actually because they are so focused on saving calories for snacks that their meals are too small and unsatisfying.

I’m very much of the opinion that it’s your calorie budget and you should spend it how you want and I often encourage clients to factor in snacks. However, if factoring the snacks in then means main meals become tiny you may find it backfires as you’ll never feel full.

So if you think this is you then maybe consider restructuring your calorie budget. Instead of saving over 500 calories for snacks, aim for something like 200-300 cals for snacks and divide up the rest of your calories for your main meals.

Also focus on a narrower range of meal options. You won’t ever learn what keeps you full or get used to smaller meals etc if you change them every day. It also makes it far harder to stick to and track things if you’re eating different things each day. Instead come up with 2-3 options for breakfast, lunch and dinner that fit into your calorie budget and stick to them for a while. It will not only help you figure out what helps keep you full but will also removes decision and tracking fatigue which means you’re more to stick with it for longer!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx