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3D Better Nutrition Crossword

So You Want to Build Some Muscles…?

So you want to get buff, eh, and have nicely defined muscles, a six-pack ab, and compliments galore about “looking great”?

The ads in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness easily lead wanna-be-buff athletes to believe that anyone can look like a hulk by simply taking an assortment of protein powders, muscle builders, essential amino acids, and recovery drinks. While the primary key to being buff is not nutritional supplements but rather hard work (have you ever watched those hulks train???), eating optimally is indeed important for optimal workouts. Body builders certainly can benefit from a well-planned sports diet that supports their muscle-building efforts.

This article can help you evaluate the role of protein supplements in helping you acquire the physique of your dreams. The information is from Nancy Rodriguez PhD of the University of Connecticut and Stuart Phillips PhD of McMaster University. They are both well-respected protein researchers who shared their knowledge at SCAN’s Annual Conference in Colorado Springs, May 2015. SCAN is the 7,000-member Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. SCAN’s referral network (www.SCANdpg.org) can help you find a local Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

So you want to build some muscles…?

When it comes to building muscles, the prevailing beliefs are:

  1. The more protein you eat, the more muscle you will build.
  2. Protein supplements are more effective than food.

Let’s take a look at what the research says.

• The amount of protein needed to build muscles ranges between 0.6 to 0.8 grams protein/lb body weight (1.2 to 1.7 g pro/kg). Novice weight lifters should target the higher amount to support the growth of new muscles. Experienced lifters do fine with the lower amount.

• Dieters need more protein: about 1 gram per pound body weight (2 g/kg), when calorie intake is limited. During an energy deficit, protein gets burned for fuel, not for building muscles. That’s why it’s hard to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. To lose undesired body fat, chip away at fat-loss by knocking off only 200 to 500 calories in the evening, to create a small deficit.

• Consuming more than 0.6 to 0.8 grams protein per pound of body weight (1.2 to 1.7 g pro/kg) is not better. Your body can use just so much protein to build and repair muscles. Excess protein does not get stored as bulging muscles; rather, it gets burned for fuel. Excess calories from unused protein get stored as body fat.

• Food can naturally provide the 95 to 145 g protein needed by a 120-lb (55 kg) female or 170-lb (77 kg) male novice weight lifter.

• Evenly distributing your protein intake throughout the day is important to optimize your body’s ability to build muscle. Instead of skipping breakfast (0 protein), eating a light lunch (15 g protein) and chowing down on a huge dinner (80 g protein), the better bet is to consume about 25-30 grams of protein at each meal (a standard serving of meat, fish, chicken; a generous portion of plant protein) and 10 to 15 grams at afternoon and evening snacks.

eggs• While consuming 30 grams of protein at dinner is simple (a small chicken breast), boosting protein intake at breakfast and lunch protein can be more of a challenge if you eat on the run. Protein-rich breakfast foods that add 20 to 30 g protein include:

  • 1-cup cottage cheese (with banana and whole wheat toast)
  • 3-egg omelet with a handful of shredded lowfat cheese
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (pre-cooked) and a tall latte
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt with granola + a handful of slivered almonds

• Muscles are most receptive to using amino acids (the building blocks of protein) within the 30 to 60 minutes after you exercise. Yet, muscles continue to utilize the amino acids (at a slower rate) over the course of the next 24 hours. The supplement industry urges you to consume their (conveniently available and expensive) recovery products ASAP, so you don’t miss the “anabolic window of opportunity.” That window doesn’t completely close!

• Leucine, an essential amino acid (EAA), triggers muscles to grow bigger and stronger. The recommended post-exercise dose of leucine is about 2 to 3 grams. That is the amount in a scoop of most whey protein powders. But you don’t have to buy whey protein to get leucine. Leucine is an all protein-rich foods, with animal proteins offering more than plant proteins. Drinking 16 ounces of chocolate milk gives a hefty leucine dose and is far tastier than many recovery protein shakes!

• If you consume whey, your muscles quickly get the leucine they need for growth and repair. But if you consume a variety of proteins from natural foods, you’ll get a variety of quickly available and longer-lasting EAAs that support continual growth and repair over a longer period of time. Twenty-percent of the protein in milk is from whey (fast acting) and 80% is from casein (slow acting). They work in synergy.

• Protein powders can be convenient for making protein shakes, but a less expensive option is instant (dried) milk. To boost the protein in your breakfast shake, simply blend 1 cup milk (dairy or soy, not rice or almond!) + 1/3 cup instant milk + 2 Tbsp peanut butter + a banana. Voila, 25 grams of balanced protein from natural, yummy, standard foods!

• The benefits of using powdered milk instead of a protein powder include: it is a nutrient-rich “real food” that offers more than just protein. It is rich in calcium (for bones), riboflavin (to convert food into energy), vitamin D (to boost the immune system), and a multitude of other life-sustaining nutrients. I consider protein powders to be highly refined engineered products that lack natural goodness.

• When you use “real food” such as (instant) milk, you know you are getting the nutrients you paid for. But if you buy whey protein, you might be getting cheated. Whey has become very expensive. It is not uncommon for companies to “dilute” whey with less expensive protein sources or fillers (talcum powder!). Buyer beware!

Closeup portrait of smiling senior mature woman flexing muscles showing displaying her gun show, isolated on white background. Positive emotion facial expression feelings, attitude, perception

By eating a protein-rich food at each meal and snack, you will get the protein/ essential amino acids/leucine needed to support your muscle-building training program. Be sure to also consume some grains, fruits, and vegetables (carbohydrates) along with the protein to fuel your muscles so they can perform hard lifting sessions. The goal is three times more calories from carbs than from protein, such as eggs + bagel; nuts + dried fruit; milk + chocolate flavoring; chicken + rice.

With hard work and optimal fueling, you should see changes in your physique. But take note: The amazingly buff bodies in muscle magazines can be deceptively photo-shopped. Muscles do have a genetic limit and you cannot completely redesign your body (without steroids or plastic surgery, that is).

P.S. Few people can achieve the “perfectly buff” body while enjoying a normal lifestyle. I encourage you to strive for an excellent body. Excellence is way more attainable then perfection. The high price of looking buff often interferes with meaningful relationships with people who likely could care less about how you look. Your best friends should love you from the inside out, not because of how you look!

From The Athlete’s Kitchen, May 2015
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels active people at her private practice in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). For more information, enjoy reading her Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for marathoners, soccer players, and cyclists. They are available at www.nancyclarkrd.com. Also see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com for online education.

Fibromyalgia signs

Four Tips for Proactively Managing Your Chronic Pain with your Healthcare Provider

If you suffer from chronic pain or fibromyalgia, it’s time to get proactive when it comes to your health. When I was dealing with my chronic back and neck pain and fibromyalgia that occurred from a car accident in 2006 I took everything my doctors said as gospel, but after years of listening and following their instructions, my pain was still not improving. That is until I started to take things in to my own hands.


How Yoga Helped Me Through Autoimmune Disorders and Breast Cancer

I began practicing yoga around 1994 to stay fit and deal with several autoimmune issues including Graves disease (over activity of the thyroid gland) and Myasthenia Gravis (a neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles used for movement). In my early forties, I was diagnosed with both conditions and I was determined not to let them define nor deter me. Little did I know that an even bigger battle was ahead.

While attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, I became an aerobics instructor. I had been doing aerobics at a local gym and one day, the instructor did not show up so I said to the gym owner, “I can teach this class.” This was early in the fitness movement and they required no certifications, just good music. After that, I taught several classes a week until I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences. I moved to Miami Beach, Florida and worked as a retail manager until I realized this was not what I saw myself doing for the rest of my career, I returned to Seal Beach, California, where I grew up, and earned a Paralegal Certification from the University of Irvine Extension Program and have worked as a paralegal ever since, mostly in construction defect litigation.

seaverLife was very busy with Victoria (now 24), Edward and Elizabeth (both now 22) all born within fifteen months. I mostly worked at home so I could be with them, volunteer at their school and attend all of their activities. Around the time I turned forty, I knew something was not right and all my energy went to my family and job. I could barely make it through the day without a nap and no matter what I ate, I continued to lose weight, eventually getting down to a dangerously low BMI. Fortunately, my family physician (whom I am still with) diagnosed Graves disease quickly and a few months later, I underwent removal of the damaged portion of my thyroid with radioactive iodine. With careful monitoring and thyroid supplements, I overcame this issue but as with most people suffering from autoimmune diseases, I still had another one to identify and did not have the energy to return to working out. This is when I learned that I had to be my own advocate and to be persistent when something does not feel right. While I was much better, I was still exhausted and weak. After undergoing an autoimmune panel, it was determined that I had Myasthenia Gravis. I was just one of about 13,600 people in the USA with it so very little research is done. Once my symptoms from the autoimmune diseases were under control (neither has an actual cure), I decided that I had to become active again. I joined a gym and found that the yoga classes they offered gave me back the strength, agility and stamina I had lost. I began practicing at Yoga Works, where I have remained to this day.

My cancer journey began when I discovered a lump in my breast. Victoria, Edward and Elizabeth were teenagers and I had just met Larry, the love of my life (who is soon to be my husband!). The initial biopsy showed “abnormal cells,” and an eventual diagnosis of breast cancer was determined after I underwent a lumpectomy. With the love and support of Larry, family and close friends, and the advisement of my doctors, I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy because this was the best way for me not only to fight the cancer, but also to prevent a future occurrence. In addition, I underwent lymph node and ovary removal, chemotherapy, and breast reconstruction.

susan1I returned to practicing yoga as a means of rehabilitation. The yoga moves I had previously learned helped me to regain mobility in my chest and arms. At first, I could not even get my arms above my head or my shoulders all the way back to their normal position. Every night, I would get down on the floor and work on these areas, Eventually, I regained a lot of mobility and the courage to practice yoga in front of people again. In returning to Yoga Works, I have found that not only have I regained my strength, but also my confidence. I credit an active lifestyle including yoga, healthy eating and long walks with Larry and our dog, Zoey, with my full recovery as well as close relationships with family and friends. These things have also been essential in combating Lymphedema (impaired flow of the lymphatic system due to lymph node removal) and the side effects of Arimidex (an estrogen blocking drug used for treatment of breast cancer after surgery). I am in the process of becoming a certified yoga instructor so that I can help others to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain their fitness goals. My intention is not only to teach classes at a studio or gym, but also to work with cancer survivors to help them regain their strength, agility and confidence through yoga.

I am now 54 years-old, cancer free and a grandmother to Benjamin (age 3) and Abigail (22 months), Victoria’s and her husband Brice’s children. Together, Larry and I have five grown children and four young grandchildren. I cherish every day and look forward to a very bright future.


How Do I Know If This Is Good For Me? Advice From an Enlightened Chronic Pain Sufferer

One of the most significant lessons I learned on my path toward overcoming chronic pain was making the distinction between discomfort and pain. Quite often, discomfort precedes and might even be necessary to improve soft tissue conditions. This is something I really wish I had understood and embraced early in the development of my chronic pain disorder.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s Disease and a 5000 Year Old Prescription

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative condition causing tremor and motor impairment. Though PD is not fatal, complications from the disorder can be severe and there is no known cure. Parkinson’s has been related to the loss of dopamine (a hormone) secreting neurons in the midbrain area called the substantia nigra. With a decrease in the production of dopamine, the ability to regulate the body, movements and emotions are lost.