Posts Tagged ‘protein’

postheadericon Improve Your Workouts

3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Workouts

If you have made the commitment of following a regular fitness plan, chances are like most fitness fanatics, you are always looking for ways to improve your workouts. This may include habits like sneaking in a quick fix on the treadmill during your lunch break, going for the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get, investing in vitamin supplements, and so on. But did you know that there are actually far simpler and cheaper ways to improve workouts? Here we look at 3 easy to implement tricks that will help you see better and faster workout results.

#1. Include Variety in Your Workouts

One of the best ways to improve workouts is to include variety in your exercise sessions. Sticking to the same workout routines will see your body adjust to the regular stress level and thereby bring exercise benefits to a screeching halt. Mixing things up however continuously challenges the body thereby ensuring consistent all-rounded results.

When it comes to keeping workouts varied, there are plenty of options. You could go for High-Intensity Interval Training, follow a cardio exercise with strength training, change up your routines every few weeks, focus on the upper body during one workout session and then work the lower body during the next, and so forth. The trick is to ensure that your workout plan incorporates everything from cardio, to muscle strengthening, to stretching, to flexibility training, to balance exercises.

#2. Aim for Failure with Reps

A good and effective trick to improving workouts is to train to failure during exercises that require repetitive moves (e.g. pushups, planks, and weightlifting routines). This entails doing exercise reps until the working muscle(s) becomes so spent that it cannot complete one more repetition while maintaining proper form.

The upside to exercising to failure is that it boosts the effectiveness of your workouts thus enabling you to burn more calories as well as build more strength and muscle mass than you would while doing 2-3 sets of a workout routine every session. To top it up, exercising to failure also helps keep the workout intensity well within your body’s limits thereby reducing risk of injury.

#3. Eat Right

While hitting more miles on the treadmill/outdoor run or doing as many reps as possible during workouts is the best way to enjoy great results, the food you eat also plays a huge role in aiding or jeopardizing your fitness. So, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need to be careful about what you put into your body and when you eat.
In addition to the commonly practiced habits of following a low fat diet to lose more weight, combining weightlifting workouts with a protein rich diet to build muscles, and taking in fewer calories than you burn, it is also important that you:

• Avoid eating before workouts: Whether you exercise at the beginning or end of the day, it is essential that you push your breakfast or dinner to after the workout. This is because exercise increases levels of the fat burning hormone adrenalin thus allowing for better weight loss results. Eating before a workout however, sees the insulin produced to help with digestion blunt out the spike in adrenaline and consequently, you burn less fat.

• Get some protein into your body after each workout: Whether in the form of a protein bar, protein shake, or a simple protein-rich meal, getting some protein into your system after a workout offers great benefits. Protein increases muscle building potential, reduces muscle soreness by healing the micro tears that occurred during intense workouts, and significantly cuts recovery time. All these benefits work towards boosting workout performance and results.

If you are a serious fitness enthusiast who makes it a point to schedule their day around the gym, the least you could do is to make sure that all the effort you put in towards improving your fitness does not go to waste. With these tips, you will be able to maximize the benefits of your workout time. So, put them into action and make each workout session count.

postheadericon Protein vs. Carbs Post Workout Snacking

Protein vs. Carbs for Post-Workout Snacking

After a workout, especially weight or resistance training, muscles are significantly lowered of glycogen. Workouts anywhere from 6 to 20 sets done over a period of 15 to 30 minutes will reduce glycogen by 30 to 40 percent. Workout lasting longer, or including high intensity training, deplete glycogen stores even farther – down 60 to 75%!

To take advantage of maximum recovery and muscle rebuilding, it is important to replenish glycogen within two hours of ending a workout by consuming fast-digesting carbs. This enables the glucose from the carbs to enter the bloodstream almost as quickly as ingested. By replacing the glycogen in the muscles, water is pulled in maximizing muscle size. Why is this important?

Muscle cell volume is required for long-term muscle growth (as is protein, but more on that later). So by getting glucose into the muscles fast, it pulls in water increasing muscle size leading to building muscle mass. Muscle growth starts with getting glucose back into the muscles fast.

Studies have shown that by delaying replenishment over two hours reduces glycogen replenishment by as much as 50%. Yes, the body will eventually replenish glycogen over the course of 24 hours, but at the expense of building muscle mass as quickly.


The best fast-digesting carbs is pure dextrose. Some candies are mostly dextrose such as gummy bears or pixie sticks. Some bodybuilders eat fruit immediately after a workout, but the natural sugar in fruit is fructose, which is a much slower digesting-type of sugar, so it must first travel to the liver where it is turned into glucose, sent to the bloodstream and then onto the cells. Much of this happens outside the two-hour window.


When we workout, muscle tissue is damaged at the cellular level. The damaged protein must be broken down and eliminated and new protein created, called protein breakdown and protein synthesis respectively; together the process is called protein turnover. Don’t confuse this protein process with the macro-nutrient protein that we get from food.

This is where eating protein post-workout comes in. It aids in protein synthesis which helps develop muscle mass. It can take as little as 20 grams of protein to stimulate protein synthesis.

So to answer the question which is better post-workout? Alone, neither. You need both post-workout glucose from carbs and protein in the cells of the muscle to gain muscle mass. One without the other is ineffective.


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postheadericon Nutrition Plan for Building Muscle

Nutrition Plan for Building Muscle


There is an actual science in learning how to build muscle mass correctly. This is
why you need a good nutrition plan for building muscle. Experts say that the
process of building muscle involves your diet 80% of the time and 20% is
dedicated to lifting weights. This shows you just how important nutrition and diet
is to building muscle.

This is not to say that you should start eating huge amounts of food. Yes you will
need to eat protein and healthy carbs, but you don’t want to overload your
system with any one food group. Doing this will only lead to health problems in
the future, just look what happened to Arnold Schwarzenegger after eating huge
amounts of protein for years!

When adding protein to your diet meals you want to give yourself a 6oz portion,
add to this whole wheat pasta, potatoes and brown rice. Then fill up on fresh
vegetables, broccoli and carrots are great choices here. Also be sure to drink milk
as this helps in building muscle fast. Chocolate milk works really well here and
tastes good to boot.

You will want to be eating at least 3,000 calories for muscle growth to work
efficiently. Some weight lifters will eat up to 5,000 calories depending upon your
starting weight and body size.

You should aim to eat 3 good meals per day along with 2-3 snacks. Try to plan
your meals so that you are eating roughly every three hours. One great tip here
to keep your nutrition plan for building muscle on track, is to stock your
cupboards with food. Along with this you can actually create a menu plan for the
entire week. This way you know exactly what you are going to eat at each meal
and it will be easy to just grab the ingredients and prepare them.

When it comes to snacking eating a handful of nuts is a good choice. Almonds are
great and full of nutritional value. Other snack ideas for building muscle include
having a banana along with a glass of milk. Fruit always makes a good option and
berries, melons, oranges and apples are all good picks for building muscle. If you
happen to be a vegetarian use tofu instead of meat and use nuts more in your
nutrition plan.

To build muscle correctly you have to take care of your body in all areas. This
means getting enough sleep, 8 hours is recommended. When building muscle it is
crucial to take days off. This allows your muscles to recover properly and is a great
stress reliever too.

There is a definite method to gain muscle mass correctly. Having a good nutrition
plan for building muscle is a great start. Fuelling your body correctly will allow you
to have the energy to do an intense workout session and achieve the results you
so desire.

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postheadericon How Healthy Is Your Protein Supplement

How Healthy Is Your Protein Supplement

It can be hard to go into a store these days without being confronted by a vast collection of protein supplements that all claim to be packed full of goodness and nutrients. Sure enough, protein supplements have become the norm in kitchens and fitness centres around the world. Although some people use protein supplements when they probably don’t need to, there is a core base of users that need a supplement that offers them a high-quality source of protein. However, are all protein supplements made the same? Is your protein supplement as healthy as it can be?

Choosing a protein supplement is something that you should spend time on. As with most retail products, not all protein supplements are made equally, and not all of them are as good for you as they claim to be. The regulations over protein supplements can best be described as loose, so it is worthwhile knowing what to watch out for.


The addition of sweeteners to your protein supplement may make it taste a little better, but it utterly defeats the purpose of taking the supplement. Protein supplements are a way of boosting your protein intake without changing your diet – if your supplement has sugars or artificial sweeteners in it, then it is changing your diet! Sugars also tend to trigger our cravings, and while protein acts to stabilise our blood sugar levels, it can only do that efficiently when extra sugar is not being introduced at the same time! Protein is a health supplement, not a snack. Avoid the sugar.

Denatured Protein

The process by which protein supplements are made can vary greatly. However, one such process should be avoided entirely, and that is denaturation. When protein is exposed to great heat, it can become denatured. In essence, this is the breaking down of the protein before you consume it. Protein is no good to our body in this state, and all of the benefits that you hoped to gain from the supplement are lost. Denatured protein should always be avoided.

Soy Protein Isolate

There are different types of proteins, isolates and concentrates, and while both have value, soy protein isolate should specifically be avoided. This is a highly processed form of soy that has been manipulated to form a protein, but the reality is that this protein is far from the type of high-quality protein you find in a whey protein supplement. If you are going to buy a protein supplement, invest in quality, and avoid soy protein isolate.


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