All posts by priscille.dietsensor

The Truth About Protein Supplements : Muscle Building Or Fat Gaining?

Protein shakes, and other protein supplements, are ubiquitous. They’re sold at fitness centers, nutrition stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and online. It’s common practice to down a protein shake at the gym, or at home following a workout. Protein supplements hold promise that they’ll optimize muscle-building, which ties in neatly with the premise that weight training breaks down muscle and protein is needed to build it back up.

But do protein supplements really build muscle?

Protein supplements contain a combination of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, and electrolytes, and most are in the form factor of powder intended to be mixed with milk or water. As stated above, the common idea is that more protein builds more muscle. However, according to a recent study by Science and Sports, too much protein can pack on the fat rather than the muscle.

The study’s researchers hypothesis is that the average gym member gets his or her advice about protein supplements from other gym members at the gym along with that found in magazines and blogs rather than getting advice from fitness professionals that more accurately take diet and fitness habits into account. Their theory is that yes, in controlled conditions, protein supplements may appear to be an effective way to build muscle, in real-life practice, protein supplement use is typically not controlled at all, in terms of their frequency of use, dosage, type of supplement, etc. In real life, these factors fluctuate extensively from user to user, which impacts their efficacy.

Essentially, self-prescribed protein shakes are not known to benefit gym-goers, or not.

It should be noted that the study only evaluated two groups of male gym regulars over the course of eight weeks. All of the men were in the same demographic (similar in age, body composition, and training and fitness experience). One of the groups finished each workout with a protein shake, whereas the other group didn’t supplement. Both groups trained three times a week following identical routines that were supervised by trainers.

At the end of eight weeks, the findings were somewhat surprising.

There was a discernible difference in body composition between the two groups. The first group (that took the protein supplements) demonstrated body mass gain as expected; however, further analysis of their body composition revealed that the gain was in body fat, not in muscle. The second group of participants, those that didn’t consume protein supplements, lost fat mass. The fat mass gain that the first group had is largely attributed to the quantity of supplements consumed, which was up to four times the dosage amount that is normally used in controlled studies. In previous studies, when the dosage of protein supplements were controlled, the opposite effect took place: an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat mass.

Bottom line: overconsumption of protein supplements may not yield expected results. It’s best to stay within dosage recommendations made by fitness professionals.

Study Shows That There Are No Limits To The Benefits of Exercise

Previously, we discussed a recent study that measured the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. The study yielded surprising results, namely that being sedentary had a greater risk of death than cardiovascular disease, smoking and diabetes.

Researchers of the study believe that being unfit and sedentary should be treated as a disease, which needs a prescription. And that prescription is exercise. They posit that diabetes and cardiovascular disease are two of the most expensive diseases in the U.S., requiring more that $200 billion per year to treat these conditions and their respective complications. Rather than shelling out so much taxpayers’ dollars, the researchers believe that exercise is a cost-effective cure.

Another revelation of the research came to light: there seems to be no limit to the benefits of aerobic exercise. Previously, there was concern that too much exercise might result in a higher risk of death, but the study counters this position. The participants of the study that were high performing, and deemed to be ultra-fit had lower mortality. In fact, the most fit participants had the lowest mortality. As long as people have been cleared by their physicians, exercising with high intensity poses no dangers.

The study, which monitored more than 122,000 participants, indicated that women of all ages benefited the most from exercising. Overall, the consensus was that those that led a sedentary lifestyle had a 390% higher risk of death than those that exercise regularly. Indeed, the human body isn’t designed to be largely sedentary; we’re meant to move, whether that’s by walking, running, and exercising. Bottom line : get healthy by moving, and live longer.

A Sedentary Lifestyle Is More Dangerous Than Heart Disease, Diabetes And Smoking

It’s common knowledge that exercise does a body good.

Previous studies have demonstrated that exercise contributes to increasing longevity. But a recent study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and published in October 2018, illustrates the true value of exercise: according the senior author of the study and a clinic’s cardiologist, a sedentary lifestyle is more detrimental to your health than heart disease, diabetes and smoking.

Even the authors of the study were surprised to see the results. For context, the study was comprehensive, spanning the period of 1991 to 2014 and involving 122,007 participants. Researchers call the study one of the most objective of its type ever conducted which yielded extremely pronounced results. The participants of the study underwent treadmill testing designed to monitor mortality as it relates to fitness. The study was controlled, and no self-reporting was allowed.

Twelve percent of the patients were identified as having the lowest exercise rate; those who didn’t perform well on those tests had approximately double the risk of death than patients with kidney failure on dialysis did. And those people that had a sedentary lifestyle had up to a 500% increase in risk of death than the high-performing participants of the study. Sitting is three times riskier than smoking, the study shows.

Clearly, being sedentary should not be downplayed as simple laziness. Being sedentary puts you at severe health risk. The authors of the study strongly believe that exercise is the cure.

Is there a limit to exercise? Can a person exercise too much and by doing so, actually increase their risk of death? Check out our companion article for the answer.

When You Should Eat After A Cardio Workout (And When You Shouldn’t)

No two workouts are created equal. As different workouts can tax different areas of your body, it’s important to not only know which nutrients you should eat which will sufficiently refuel your body (depending on the type of workout completed) but also, when you should refuel post-workout. In today’s article, we’ll look at cardio-based workouts and tackle the ‘when’ you should refuel part of the equation. In a separate post, we’ll address the ‘what’ you should refuel with aspect.

Let’s first get down to basics. Know that the ‘what’ and ‘when’ is contingent on more than the type of workout you’ve done; it also depends on how intense the workout was, as well as whether and when you’ve eaten before the workout.

Cardio – in and in itself – won’t result in substantial muscle gain generally, unless you pair it up with strength training. Cardio isn’t about muscle gain; it’s about calorie consumption.

So, how soon should you eat after a cardio workout, if at all?

If your workout was at a low to moderate intensity level and it lasted for less than an hour, chances are you didn’t deplete your energy reservoirs. As a reminder, energy is stockpiled in your muscles in the form of a chain of sugar molecules (known as glycogen) which – along with fat – fuels your body.

If, on the other hand, your workout was particularly intense, and/or you hadn’t eaten for a while before the workout, you should fuel up with food within an hour post-work to restore lost glycogen.

What’s ‘a while’? According to the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, a combination of protein and carbs boosts muscle development, and their recommendation is if you hadn’t had a meal four to six hours before your workout, you could probably benefit from a protein and carbohydrate-rich meal as soon as you finish working out.

If you did eat up to two hours before your workout, you probably won’t need to refuel, as that earlier meal will probably be enough to promote muscle replenishment. as the muscle-building amino acids in that earlier meal stays in your system for up to two hours after eating.

There you have it : if you had a meal less than 2 hours before a workout, there’s probably no need to level up with food. If you had a meal three, four, five hours or longer before your workout, you should replenish with proteins and carbs, ideally within the hour of finishing your workout.

Motivational Tips 11 And 12: Start Small And Grow From There

Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

Motivational Tips 9 And 10: Use The Occasional Lack of Motivation To Your Advantage

In this series of posts about motivation, we’d already given you eight tips on how to get motivated and stay motivated. In today’s post, we’re breaking the top ten barrier by giving you two more tips that will help you stay excited as you reach your goal – no matter what that goal might be.

Motivational tip #9: Embrace the highs and the lows
Resistance is a good thing. No, really. In sailing, sailors use resistance (to wind) to enable a boat to actually sail faster than the speed of wind itself. In the same way, it’s natural for your motivational levels to ebb and flow. There will be highs and lows. During the lows, it’s easy to think that your motivation has completely disappeared. It hasn’t; it’s just resting a bit in order to recharge itself, which gives you the perfect opportunity to network with inspiring people chasing similar goals, or to reach out for support. If you continue your outreach, you’ll be in a better position when your motivation returns.

Motivational tip #10: the power of perseverance/strong>
Simple fact : those that reach their goals do so because they persevere. Those that don’t reach their goals are the ones who give up. Above all else, stick with it. Even if and when your motivation wanes, stick it out. Visualize your goal as being a long car ride. Dips in motivation are nothing more than little bumps in the road. They’re not roadblocks; they’re just dips that shake things up a little. If you were on a road trip, would you turn around every time you hit a speed bump? Same analogy. Ride out on the ebbs and surf with the flows, and we promise, you’ll reach your destination.

Motivational Tips 7 And 8 : Ponder And Reach Out

Continuing our deep dive into the subject of all-important motivation, in this post, we’ll give you two more tips that will help you stay focused and reach your goal.

Motivational tip #7: Think about your goal on a daily basis
As we had already mentioned in a previous post, physically writing your goal down and posting it in a visible place at home and / or at work can help a lot. To that same end, just thinking about your goal on a consistent, daily basis will keep it into clear focus. There’s a definite link between visualizing a goal and reaching it. Speaking of daily, another suggestion we would give you is to strive to do any positive action daily – even if it’s just the smallest one that inches you towards your goal. Before you’ll know it, your goal will be within reach.

Motivational tip #8: Don’t overlook your support system
When you’re trying to accomplish something, it really helps if you know that you’re not alone. One of our previous motivational tips was to let others that have either reached the same goal you’re shooting for, or are in the process of reaching that goal inspire you. In the same way, being part of a like-minded supportive community will be of tremendous benefit to you. Whether you find your support network online or in person (or both), bask in the positive vibes they emit.

Make sure to review our other tips in previous articles!

Motivational Tips 5 And 6: Post It And Commit To It

In our continuing series of articles detailing how to maintain your motivation when reaching for your goal, we’ve already addressed the importance of focusing on a single goal, how to get inspired, how to get excited and how to ramp up your anticipation. In this article, we’ll give you two more motivational tips that will make a big difference.

Motivational tip #5: Let the posting begin
Print out your goal in a simple short mantra style (such as ‘Exercise 30 minutes daily’. Then post it. Everywhere you can. Post it on your wall or refrigerator at home, and literally grab a post-it and post it on your computer at work. Get creative. Cut out a picture of what you want to look like after you achieve your goal, and post that too!

Motivational tip #6: Be loud and proud
Commit to your goal publicly. No one likes to disappoint in front of family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers; most of us would go out of our way to do what we’ve said we would do publicly. This desire not to disappoint others will keep you on the hook, in a positive way. By proclaiming your goal publicly, you’ll be holding yourself accountable. Keep in mind that you don’t have to commit publicly only once; in fact, for extra ‘uumph’ and assurance that you’ll reach your goal, you can commit to giving progress updates to others at regular intervals.

Make sure to check out our next inspirational and motivational tips!

Motivational Tips 3 And 4: Get Excited And Anticipate

In a previous post, we gave you two power tips on how to stay motivated during your target-achieving journey. In this article, we’ll give you more insight into how you can stay on track.

Motivational tip #3: Create your own buzz

Meaning, get excited. If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember how motivational tip #2 was getting inspired by others. Now, you get to flip the script and be the one who inspires others. Talk to others about your goal. Build on the kernel of excitement that you have generated after getting inspired by others, and begin to visualize what it would be like when you reach your goal. See the benefits in your life when you hit that milestone. Once you do that, the positive energy that you’re cultivating will propel you further, facilitating the next seemingly counterproductive stage…

Motivational tip #3: Build up the anticipation

Once you’re inspired and you’ve gotten excited about your goal, don’t jump in right away. Instead, set a date to start in the near future. Mark it on your calendar, and sit back and wait (impatiently) for that date to arrive. Make that start date the most important date of your life. By doing so, you’re building anticipation, and galvanizing your energy and focus towards your goal.

Power Tips On How To Get Motivated

In the first of a series of articles, we’ll dive deep into the subject of motivation : specifically, we’ll give you tips on how to get motivated and how to stay motivated, all necessary if you hope to reach your end game goal.

Let’s jump in with our first two power tips on how to get motivated.

Motivational tip 1: Keep it simple silly

Notice how we said ‘goal’ in the introduction above, rather than ‘goals’. This is the perfect segue to our first motivational tip: keep your list of goals short. Really short. If you have too much going on in your life, with multiple goals spread out in all areas, you may be trying to do too much. If that’s the case, you’re more likely to sap your energy and become unfocused rather than achieve your targets. One of the more common mistakes people make is simply taking on too much. Our strong suggestion is to start with one goal, or maybe two at most. Choose your priority goal and put all of your focus on that. Once you achieve it, move onto the next one. And the next. Rinse and repeat.

Motivational tip 2 : Don’t wait for inspiration to knock on your door

If you wait for inspiration to come a knockin’, you may have a long wait ahead of you. Instead, find inspiration. Go out there and network with others that have achieved what you want to achieve, or are actively trying to achieve it. Read their blogs and success stories. You’ll quickly find how quickly gleaning inspiration from others will inspire you.