Beef, Eggs, Fish and Cheese

PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS AND HOW DO YOU CALCULATE IT?

CALCULATING PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS

Unfortunately when it comes to various nutrients, the one size fits all approach doesn’t always work. For example, a sedentary individual’s protein requirements will vary significantly from a high level athlete. So how do we find the correct amount of protein for individuals of different activity and fitness levels? According to the RDA, we need .8 grams of protein per kg of body weight (a kg is 2.2 pounds). However this number is often too low. Especially for those engaged in a strenuous exercise program. So before calculating the exact number of protein grams, it’s important to look at the individuals activity level, intensity training level, and goals.

When it comes to exercise, it’s not all equal in regards to protein. For example some engaging in low/moderate intensity exercise (i.e. walking) for 2-3 hours a week will require a lot less protein than some engaging in 2-3 hours of mostly moderate/high intensity work.  During high intensity exercise some amino acids (the building blocks of protein) are actually used for energy. So high intensity training like intervals, crossfit style workouts, and heavy weight training would require more protein.
Besides intensity of exercise – age, hormonal environment, and exercise history will also play a role. For example a younger male with higher testosterone levels engaged in strength training will require more protein to maximize muscle development than an older individual with lower testosterone levels. In addition individuals who are just beginning a strength training program have greater ability to build muscle mass than a seasoned trainer – so they could actually benefit from a slightly higher intake.

In addition to building muscle several studies have shown that higher protein diets are effective as part of a weight loss strategy. So if weight loss is part of you might want to tilt toward having a slightly higher intake of protein.
Taking all of this into account here are some general guidelines for protein consumption:
  • If you are sedentary and not looking to change body composition much, a daily target of 0.8g/kg bodyweight (0.36g/lb of bodyweight) or slightly higher would suffice.
  • Athletes/highly active individuals attempting to lose body fat while maintaining or slightly increasing lean muscle mass, a daily intake of 1.6-2.2g/kg bodyweight would be encouraged.
  • Athletes/highly active or individuals who are attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean mass, a daily intake of 1.0-1.5g/kg bodyweight.
While determining the exact number amount of protein can be somewhat complicated, eating protein in the above amounts is generally considered safe. While most experts feel this amount is safe – individuals with kidney problems, gout, and people who don’t consume enough fluids might be want to talk to their doctor before consuming additional protein.
Glen Carrigan is owner/operator of Freedom 4 Life Fitness located in Leawood, KS. With his wife Yvette they have been helping residents of Leawood, Overland Park, and Greater Kansas City reach their health and fitness goals through diet and exercise. 

ARE YOU HAVING DIFFICULTY LOSING WEIGHT? IT MIGHT BE YOUR THYROID

Many individuals come to us wondering why they are having difficulty losing weight. They have tried increasing their activity and have been watching their portion control – however the scale isn’t budging. While this scenario could be caused by several factors – an under active thyroid might be the culprit.  Some of the common causes of a low thyroid include: chronic stress, pesticides, excessive amounts of iodine, gluten intolerance, and eating large amounts of genetically modified foods.

The thyroid is a gland that has two lobes and is located in the front of the neck close to the adams apple. One of it’s main functions is to control the bodies use of energy (calories). If the thyroid is under active (hypothyroidism) it results in a slower metabolism. This slower metabolism can make weight loss quite difficult. If you are counting calories/exercising and still not losing weight the thyroid could be playing a role.

While difficulty losing weight is often a symptom there are several others. Extreme sensitivity to cold, fatigue even with adequate rest, hoarseness, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, joint pain, and menstrual abnormalities. If you are suffering from several of these symptoms a test for low thyroid might be in order.

While a test might be in order there isn’t always a consensus on which test is the most accurate and what are the most agreed upon numbers. By some estimates as many as 50% of individuals with low thyroid go undiagnosed. According to Dr. Mark Hyman “Most doctors just check something called the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which doesn’t give a full picture of the thyroid. In fact, even the interpretation of this test is incorrect most of the time. The newer guidelines of the American College of Endocrinology consider anybody with a TSH level over 3.0 as hypothyroid. Most doctors think that only anything over 5 or 10 is worth treating.” In addition there are other tests that look at free T3/T4 levels, anti-thyroglobulin, TPO which Dr. Hyman and many other experts think are imperative and often more important that the standard TSH test.

Similar to the controversy over the tests there is debate on which treatments are most effective form of treatment. The traditional medical community typically recommends levothyroxine and/or synthroid whereas others suggest the use of natural armour thyroid. I would suggest doing your own research and talking to your doctor prior to making a decision.

While determining which course of treatment is best I feel Dr. Hyman looks at it from both perspectives and provides a holistic approach for treatment. Here is Dr. Hyman’s 7 step plan for addressing a low thyroid:

  1. Treat the Underlying Causes — Identify and treat the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, like food allergies, gluten, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, and stress.
  2. Optimize Your Nutrition — Support your thyroid with optimal nutrition, including foods that contain iodine, zinc, omega-3 fats, selenium, and more.
  3. Minimize Stress — Eliminate adrenal exhaustion and minimize stress by engaging in a comprehensive stress management program.
  4. Exercise — Engage in thyroid stimulating exercise, which boosts thyroid function.
  5. Supplement — Use supplements to help enhance thyroid function, including all the nutrients needed for proper thyroid metabolism and function.
  6. Heat Therapy — Use saunas and heat to eliminate stored toxins, which interfere with thyroid function.
  7. Thyroid Hormones — Use thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help support your thyroid gland.

While a fairly complicated issue – identifying and treating an underactive thyroid can be an effective tool for increasing energy, health, and weight loss. If you have questions, please e-mail me at glen@freedom4lifefitness.com

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING SUPPLEMENTS

As a personal trainer I am often asked what supplements are effective for losing weight or building muscle? While there are a some supplements that can be effective at helping with these goals, today were going to focus on what to look for when choosing supplements. Choosing supplements can be quite confusing and hopefully this blog will help provide some clarity when choosing supplements.

First it’s very important to know the proper doses of particular ingredients. For example you often will find research to back up the benefits of a particular ingredient (e.g. beta alanine), however companies will put in much less than what the studies have shown to be an effective dose. Companies often do this to save money on production costs.
Similar to the problems associated with not having enough of an active ingredient is proprietary blends. Proprietary blends list multiple ingredients but fail to disclose the exact quantities. Companies would lead you to believe their proprietary blend is a magic formula that allows their product to deliver great results – the truth is proprietary blends allow the company to put in whatever dose they want, often falling well short of the amount needed for maximum benefit.
Proprietary blends are useful when it comes to marketing because a company can say it contains effective ingredients without having to disclose the exact quantity. While certain supplements with proprietary blends might be effective, knowing exactly what is in product takes out the guesswork. I rarely if ever will purchase proprietary blend.
Now that we know the amount of active ingredients is important – how do we find objective research that talks about how much of a particular ingredient we need? Unfortunately many websites that praise certain supplements are also ones that have “click here to buy now” links on their page -how’s that for objective? One website that compiles objective research from an unbiased point of view is Examine.com. While it doesn’t provide all the answers it is a good place to start and can end up saving you a significant amount of time.
Even when you have the objective research finding supplements that contain enough of the right ingredients can be challenging. If your having difficulty finding the right supplements there are websites that offer products containing individual ingredients. Purchasing individual ingredients in bulk can be helpful in getting the right amount.
In addition to individual supplements it is wise to choose supplement companies that use high quality products. Some signs to look for are for companies that produce the supplements themselves and don’t use a third party manufacturer. Other things to look for include companies who produces their products in a G.M.P. (good manufacturing practices) facility certified by the FDA and one that also does in house testing.
In review:
1. Know the quantity of the active ingredients
2. Be leery of proprietary blends
3. Check out what the independent research says
4. Buy individual supplements if having difficulty finding the right amount.
5. Choose high quality supplements
If you have any questions about choosing supplements please e-mail me at glen@freedom4lifefitness.com
choosing-probiotic-supplement-300x199

ARE FOOD ALLERGIES MAKING YOU FAT???

If you have struggled with weight loss even after cutting calories and increasing exercise you might be suffering from food allergies. When we work with individuals who are interested in losing weight the first typical step is to look at caloric intake and exercise expenditure.  The majority of individuals will lose weight when consuming less calories than they take in, however there are times when this doesn’t work. If weight isn’t coming off we’ll make sure foods are being tracked properly, there aren’t medications that can be hindering weight loss, and there hasn’t been a dramatic shift in an individuals hormonal environment.

If exercise and nutrition are in check, medications aren’t playing role, and hormones aren’t an issue – there’s a possibility that a food allergy might be a culprit. We have known for a while that certain foods can cause an immediate reaction such as wheezing, developing a rash, and/or bloating.  There is now evidence that food allergies might do more than just cause an acute reaction and may lead to weight gain.  In fact we have seen multiple individuals lose weight when cutting out certain foods even though caloric intake hasn’t changed much. In addition current research seems to point to this as well.

Besides food allergies it’s also important to address maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut – because this can also play a role. It appears that food allergies combined with an imbalance of bacteria in the gut can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can wreack havoc on the body and lead to fatigue, joint pain, as well as weight gain.

Now that we know certain foods and bacteria in our digestive system might be hindering our bodies ability to lose fat – what can we do?

  • Consider an elimination diet for 3 weeks – Some of the most common food allergies include: dairy, eggs, gluten, peanuts, yeast, and corn.  There are also books on the subject that discuss these topics including JJ Virgin’s “The Virgin Diet”
  • Take a food allergy test – These can help you identify what foods your allergic to and then you can go about cutting them out from your diet. While helpful, this is a more expensive option. An example of food allergy test can be found at https://www.alcat.com/alcattesting.php
  • Eat a high fiber, whole foods, plant based diet – Following this type of diet will help fuel the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Take a daily probiotic

While these practices can be helpful it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor prior to making significant changes to your diet and exercise program.

Breakdown of Popular Diets

There is often confusion about what some of the characteristics of the popular diets. Today we’re going to look at the characteristics, pros, and cons of three of the most popular diets. While we’re not necessarily advocating these – you can judge for yourself if they might be right for you.

ATKINS – low carbohydrate, calories are not specified…pros include early weight loss, good satiety and taste…cons difficult to sustain, nutritionally deficient (especially fiber and fruits).

PALEO – low carbohydrate, calories not specified, adherents aim to eat the way hunters/gathers did – limiting sugar, dairy, legumes, grains and emphasizing meat, fish, poultry, fruits/veggies….pros include discourages heavily processed/refined foods….cons are it is restricted, may lead to nutrient insufficiencies, and expensive.

Weight Watchers – uses point systems to determine food intake; point systems loosely translates into calories….pros include no food restrictions and emphasizes vegetables and fruits…cons include having to track calories daily and expense.

The Bottom Line

We have had clients who have been successful on three of these types of eating plans. Everyone’s likes/dislikes will vary and there are multiple factors that will contribute to a specific style of eating, however after looking at the research of those successful with weight loss as well as working with individuals for 25 years we can make a few generalizations about what is effective:

  1. Keeping Track of calories – whether it’s meal planning or calories counting – it is imperative to know how much food your consuming.
  2. Accountability – knowing someone is going to be asking you about your nutrition is quite helpful.
  3. Balancing carbs/proteins – this is even more important for those who tend to be significantly overweight. Individuals who have struggled with weight tend to do better on a lower carbohydrate lifestyle.
  4. Eating Frequently – don’t skip meals and while you can lose weight eating 3x a day, many experts believe eating 4-6 small meals is more effective for sparking metabolism/weight loss.
  5. Eat Plenty of Fiber – Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, makes you feel fuller longer, and slightly blocks the absorption of extra fat/calories.
  6. Drink Plenty of Water – Helps flush out of system and sometimes when people think their hungry – they actually just need water.

Does The Paleo Diet Work For Seniors?

Many believe that people digest food differently as they age and therefore the breakdown of calories should change. For example digesting milk can be problematic for seniors. We also know that as individuals age their metabolism slows down and therefore they need less calories.

Because the calories needed for seniors is less combined with the digesting certain foods is more challenging – the Paleo lifestyle can be an appropriate choice for seniors, This diet focuses on meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds while avoiding most starches, sugars, and processed foods. Incorporating these into the diet leads to lower calorie intake and foods that process well. It is also a great way for reducing body fat and increasing muscle – something that almost everyone on the planet should strive for. According to Dr. Loren Cordain (author of the book, The Paleo Diet) clinical trials have shown this diet an effective way to reduce markers of inflammation, weight loss, blood pressure, and help with athletic performance.

While there are multiple benefits – there are some drawbacks. First, the typical American diet is far from the Paleo lifestyle and this can make choices more difficult. In addition eating large quantities of red meat is quite controversial and can lead to heart disease (even though some recent research refutes this). Also, individuals trying to gain weight and/or younger individuals might not receive enough calories – making it challenging for families with different age ranges and/or health and wellness goals.

For a very thorough review of the Paleo lifestyle please check out www.thepaleodiet.com.

HORMONE CHECK!

Having difficulty building muscle and/or losing fat. While you might be exercising – the right exercise combined with nutrition and supplementation might help boost those levels to where they need to be. Here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts for keeping our hormones at optimal levels:

  1. Shorter intense exercise is better for increasing human growth hormone and testosterone whereas longer runs can decrease testosterone and increase cortisol.
  2. Clean & Jerks, Dumbbell Shoulder Presses, Bench Press, Squats, and Deadlifts have a favorable effect on growth hormone and testosterone.
  3. Cortisol increases dramatically after hour of exercise which can cancel out the positive effects of testosterone.
  4. Get plenty of rest as lack of sleep can limit testosterone. Having just 5 hours of sleep can cause your testosterone to nosedive 15% the next day (Journal of American Medical Association).
  5. Consider Zinc, Magnesium, Iodine, Vitamin D, and branch chained amino acids as these might play a positive role .

Also if you suspect your hormonal levels might be off consider having them checked. There are some mail-in tests kits or you can have them checked by your physician.

5 Outside The Box Principles Seniors Should Do When Exercising

If you do a search for most exercise program for seniors – you’ll notice many cookie cutter answers. For example – talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program or start slowly and build up gradually. While these are important tips – many of us are already aware of these. The focus of this article is to address effective techniques for seniors (even though most if not all apply to every age) to help prevent injury, improve performance, and help with the aging process. Here goes:

  1. Incorporate foam rolling/triggerpoint into your exercise program. Foam rolling/triggerpoint is like self massage and can help with mobility, range of motion/flexibility, and recovery from an exercise session. In addition it can help loosen up tight muscles and make them better prepared for the task at hand.
  2. Include a dynamic warm up as part of the program. For years individuals have been doing only static stretching (holding the stretch for 30 seconds). While static stretching has a role – dynamic warm ups will help better prepare the muscles for work – especially if the movements include dynamic exercises (more explosive movements and/or quick changes in direction).
  3. Mimic movement patterns in the gym. For example if you are a competitive tennis player and want to prevent injuries/improve performance you should be performing similar movement patterns while training. While you don’t have to do the exact movement pattern – your exercises should be close. For example a tennis player uses a rotational movement from a variety of angles (i.e. serve, backhand, forehand) – utilizing a medicine ball and performing side throws and/or wood chops in a controlled training environment will help prepare the body for tennis, lower the likelihood of injury and increase performance.
  4. Wear compression garments. Over the last several years compression garments have become more popular. Tune into many endurance races and/or professional sporting events and you’ll most likely see some compression garments. They are typically made with high levels of lycra/spandex material and are most commonly worn as shorts or socks (realize that for compression garments to be of maximum benefit they have to be made of slightly thicker material and higher levels of lycra/spandex than often found off the rack). Many studies show they can slightly decrease the chance of injuries, improve performance, and help with recovery.
  5. Talk to your doctor about supplements. While there are no magic bullets – studies show certain supplements can be helpful in the aging process. For example fish oil, vitamin D, Co Q10, Antioxidants (like vitamin C), and B vitamins have been shown to be helpful, especially for seniors. Talk with you doctor before consuming individual supplements to make sure they are appropriate for you.

Following these outside the box tips can help prevent injury, improve performance, and help the aging process. For questions, please e-mail us at info@freedom4lifefitness.com.