Protein Power

Fitness is so much more than just working out and most of my clients are very aware of how their diet directly impacts their healthy weight goals. As a personal trainer I get asked all of the time about protein and how it impacts our bodies. What is protein and why does our body need it? Protein is a macronutrient necessary for our bodies to build, maintain and repair tissues. It is what our body uses for bone, cartilage, muscle, hair, nails, skin, blood, enzymes and hormones. Without protein, our bodies are unable to maintain proper health.

High protein, low carb diets are all the rage and there is good reason for such. Our bodies use more energy to breakdown proteins than it does digesting fats and carbs. We are burning calories just digesting protein! We feel full longer than we would if we ate carbs or fats too because it takes longer for our bodies to process. While protein isn’t our main source of energy; it is used as a fuel source. Approximately 5% of all calories burned comes from protein. This amount increases as our activity level increases. For all of my workout peeps, we burn approximately 10-15% during our workouts. When you go to the gym and you see a bodybuilder working out, you will often see them drinking a protein shake or eating protein after. Our bodies need to replenish the amino acids used during the workouts and assist in the muscle building and repair process. In addition to burning more protein during our workouts, we also have to consider the length of time and level of intensity of these workouts. If we are not eating the proper amounts of carbohydrates, which is our main source of energy, then our bodies will need to utilize even more protein. So once you have burned your carbohydrates and fats; the body will break down the protein in your system and begin burning it as energy. Since our body doesn’t keep a large storage supply of protein, the muscle tissues themselves are what gets broken down.

How much protein does the average person need? According to the institute of medicine,  .8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. So an average woman weighing 150 lbs would need approximately 54.4 grams of protein per day. An athlete weighing 150 lbs should eat around 112 grams of protein per day. A person who is more sedentary needs less protein and generally less calories than a person who is more active. Another thing to consider is that as workouts become more intense, more energy is used. Food is our energy and fuel so if we think of our bodies as cars and food as gas…we can get a better understanding of why our bodies need more protein at higher activity levels. Does that make sense? We wouldn’t fill up our gas tanks for our cars to sit in a garage.

Just like anything else though, we can get too much protein in our system. Women generally shouldn’t consume more than 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. So for the same 150 lb woman who should consume at least 54 grams of protein per day; she should consume no more than 170 grams per day. Eating too much protein can cause someone to gain weight, have diarrhea, nausea and even death.

Sound a little confusing? The basics are to make sure you are getting sufficient amounts of protein in your bodies for the activity level at which you live your life. Should your activities increase in intensity then your protein levels should also increase. More miles equals more fuel. Protein is powerful, but just as with any powerful tool we need to use it wisely.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

An emotional mess

The chocolate m&m’s, almonds, cashews & peanut butter pretzels taste sooooo good. Salty and sweet. Yes, it’s that time of the month. Yes I’m hungry and tired. Yes I will cry one minute, get angry the next and then laugh in another. Just give me a quiet room, lots of food and Steel Magolias. Has anyone else ridden this PMS roller coaster?

I feel badly for my family and friends, but only after I’ve discovered that maybe I overreacted to a situation. That doesn’t happen right away either. Sometimes it’s a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days. Let’s face it…we become a little on edge emotionally when it gets close to that time of the month. There actually is some science behind it. Premenstrual sysndrome effects approximately 85% of women. Only 3 – 8% of women have severe symptoms which require treatment. Progesterone and estrogen horome levels fluctuate when a women is nearing her cycle and while she’s on it. The symptoms usually occur during the week before and the week of a woman’s cycle and tend do be relieved once a woman starts menstruating. What are these symptoms?

  • Acne
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Feeling tired
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea 
  • Headache or backache
  • Appetite changes or food cravings
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Trouble with concentration or memory
  • Tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
  • Anxiety or depression

Symptoms vary from woman to woman and some women may be lucky enough to only experience one symptom. Other women may find that her symptoms vary from month to month. We can’t prevent it and we can’t always control it, but we can do things to maybe help us deal with it a little better.

Avoid caffeine which will effect your mood. (I am a coffee junkie & even though I am a nutritionist and I know not to drink more than one cup a day…I love my coffee. bad, bad, bad) Avoid alcohol. Hello ladies, there are so many reasons we should avoid alcohol, but we all know that we don’t need any help impairing our rational thinking when we are pmsing. Just sayin. Avoid salt and sugar which will cause you to retain fluids, make you feel bloated and of course gain weight. Get enough sleep! Any other women out there suffer from the “I didn’t get everything done on my to do list today, oh and oops forgot to turn the light off, did I pay that bill, and Jan’s birthday is tomorrow so I’ve gotta get her card”….yadayadayada. Go to sleep. My husband says it all of the time to me. He doesn’t understand of course because he can sleep if World War 3 was happening. Eating healthy foods which nourish your body and help to fuel your body properly is always a good plan. Don’t smoke! Need I say anything about this, really? Nicotine makes people irritable anyway. We don’t need help while pmsing. Exercise! Exercise regularly. You don’t have time? I get it. Just do 20 minutes every day. We can all find 20 minutes. Play with your kids in the yard. That counts! PRAY! Yes, we should all be praying daily anyway, but God created us this way so He can definitely help us out. Last but not least, get together with your girlfriends. We are all in this together and we can rely on one another, hold each other’s hand and get each other through.

Proverbs 29:11  – A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Ecclesiastes 3:4  – A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Romans 12:15  – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Discussing Shapes

Thankfully the good Lord made us all in many different “shapes,” sizes, heights, widths, characteristics, personalities, talents, etc. We are all uniquely made. If we were all the same then it would be boring, right? Yet we all desire to be a certain “shape” or body type. Why is that? Why can’t we embrace one another’s differences as well as our own uniqueness?

My theory is that society places such emphasis on categories and labels that we just want to fit into one of those little boxes. You have an athletic build or a small frame. You are in the upper class or lower middle class. You are a socialite or blue collar worker. There are so many flipping labels that I can’t keep up. Can you? Do we really even care? I mean in the grand scheme of things does it truly matter what shape or body type you are? Honestly, to many of us it does. I can’t sit here and lie and say that I don’t care. I do. I care a lot. I am vain. I want to have the hour glass shape that society says is so desirable. (sigh)

I have tried so many different ways to get the hour glass shaped body type. I have starved myself, I have worked out, eaten strange foods that taste horrible, obsessed to the point that I focussed more on calorie counting then I did on anything else. The list of not so likable things I have done is a long one. The industry of fitness is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. I would venture to say that many people think shapes and sizes matter. The problem with our desire to be a certain shape is that some of us just don’t have the God given body type to be that shape. You see there are Endomorphs, Ectomorphs and Mesomorph body types. Let me break these down for you…

Ectomorph is the delicate, small, lean, not terribly muscular body type. These are the people that find it difficult to gain muscle. Our naturally thin people.

Then we have the Mesomorph. Our athletic builds. The muscularly defined, hard body types. Usually these are our hour glass shapes for females and Rectangular shapes for males.

And finally we have the Endomorph. These are our thicker bodies. Usually soft skin, tapered legs and arms with a rounder mid section. These people tend to gain weight easily.

An Endomorph will not likely ever achieve becoming an Ectomorph and vice versa. Not everyone fits perfectly within these body types either, but has characteristics of each. The explaination of these body types is just to further clarify the importance of how different and unique each of us are. We can be physically healthy without being an hour glass or rectangularly shaped body. But just in case you were wondering…I am leaving a URL below to the different female body shapes. Just copy and paste in your web browser. Below the link is a verse from the bible. I would above all else prefer to be the shape of a heart.  ❤

Body Shapes

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”