Posts tagged ‘Kettlebells’

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July 4, 2011 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

Weekly Practice

Pull up – do your rep max (body weight or assisted)

Heavy Get up to Standing
OH Walk
Get down
(repeat 2x per side)

Pull up – do your rep max (body weight or assisted)

Heavy hand to hand swings – 15 – 20 reps
(repeat 3x)

Double Clean & Jerk x5 (you can sub push press or military press)
Following last C&J, do 5 Front Squats (do not put bells down b/w jerks and Front Squats)

Repeat the entire sequence 3x

Enjoy, Let me know what you think!
~hd

June 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

Sleep, Stress and Fat Loss

Hello.
I just read a fantastic article about sleep and had to share. This is such and important and often times overlooked element of our health. One of my favorite quotes from the video is “The essence of Leadership is being able to see the iceberg before it hits the titanic.”

Click Below:
Sleep, Stress & Fat Loss

https://ted.com/talks/view/id/1044

June 25, 2011 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

Weekly Practice from the Hardstyle Diva

What is your favorite Kettlebell exercise? Well, I know this is a hard decision, but just pick one! For example, take this exercise and pair it with bodyweight exercies and do it TABATA Style. Are you ready? Here’s an example of what you can do. Currently I am really enjoying Front Squats. So here is a how my workout would go…

Set the timer for one of the following settings (YOUR CHOICE).
1) 20 sec work 10 sec rest
2) 30 sec work 15 sec rest
3) 40 sec work 20 sec rest
4) 1 min work 30 sec rest
My Sample Workout is 40:20 – 10 rounds = 10 minutes REST & REPEAT
– Front Squats
– Mountain Climbers
– Front Squats
– Plank
– Front Squats
– Burpees
– Front Squats
– Hip Bridge
– Front Squats
– Push up
Rest 2-3 minuts b/w rounds

Here are some more examples of bodyweight exercises:
Burpees, Hip Bridge, Plank, Mountain Climbers, Jump Squats, Alternating Jumping Lunges, Alternating Reverse Lunges, Squat, Push up, V-Up

Here are some examples of Kettlebell Exercies:
Swing (1H, 2H Alt Hand), Goblet squat, TGU, Windmill, Sntach, Figure 8, Clean & Press, Military Press, Push Press, Front Squat, etc, etc, etc.

For proper instruction of Kettlebell exercies go to the RKC Instrucotr page on Dragon Door and find an RKC instructor near you. Before working with Kettlebells, PLEASE do your research and be sure that you are learning from a certified RKC instructor. There are many people out there that are teaching kettlebells, if you are not taught correctly your risk for injury will be high.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!
~ hd

November 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm 1 comment

A story a about Jenni Baker, RKC – and her Deubut on Dragon Door TV!

Congratulations to Nashville’s newest RKC’s: Jenni Baker and Drew Massey

Now official members of the RKC system AND the Iron Tamer Clan, I am so proud of you both! Having personally worked with Jenni on her training and preparation for RKC, I am so proud and excited to now share this experience with her. I have to admit that working with Jenni was not a tough task, she had an unwavering determination and definitely the skill to succeed. A quick story about just how much determination…you see Jenni did not take her training lightly, she was dedicated to continually improving right up to the week before she left. The day before she was going to leave, the students and fabulous trainers (thats us:))
at Tennessee Kettlebell made her a RKC “survival kit”. It had all the right stuff from athletic tape, to sunscreen, towels, even a little chocolate and a massage when she returned. We wanted this to be a suprise and so I sneakingly found out her work schedule and called her the morning that I was going to drop all the goodies off at the gym where she works. To my dismay and utter suprise, via text message, she told me she was on her way to the doctor as she had been up with a FEVER and COLD CHILLS all night. About an hour later she had confirmation that she had STREP! Now, Jenni was definitely ready for the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, she could hit her snatch numbers (NO PROBLEM) and her form was very solid, but did you ever wonder why you should train, train hard and train smart for your RKC Certification? Well, here you go, need I say more…you never know what the final hours hold before you depart for your RKC journey. Jenni left the following morning for a 12 hour drive from Nashville to Orlando for her RKC. She was not going to let this beat her, and that is just the way she is, she fought back and dug deep down to survive. She did everything necessary with proper nutrition, hydration and medication. Well……the rest of the story and RKC experience I will leave to Jenni Baker to tell! I must say I am so proud to call her a fellow RKC. I truly hope this will not be the experience for everyone with last minute trials and obstacles, but I will leave you with these final words. PREPARE and PREPARE TO SUCCEED!

PS – Jenni passed her sntach test – 100 reps in 5 minutes with a 16kg – on day 1 — with strep! Now that’s one Hardstyle Chick!

Check out Jenni Baker and Drew Massey, our representation from Nashville Kettlebell and Tennessee Kettlebell in this Dragon Door TV Episode

October 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

6 Tips for a Fitter 2010 (definitely not your same old diet advise)

I am an avid reader and follower of the Precision Nutrition Network. The precision nutrition program is proven scientifically, its simple and it can fit into any lifestlye. Through the precision nutrition method of eating everyone can win and get the results they are looking for … or shall I say everyone can loose!

Here are 6 Unconventional Tips that are a sure fire way to prepare yourself psycologically to get in best shape of your life in 2010.

Except taken from John Bernardi – 6 tips for a fitter 2010!

1. Do Less — People make change hard on themselves by attempting to change too many things at once. They try to overhaul their diet, their exercise habits, their finances, their relationships, etc., all at once — and each of those changes is probably made up of 10-20 smaller behaviors that have to change. That’s a big mistake. Accept the fact that you can only change one behavior at a time, and you will succeed. Try to change more than one thing at a time, and you will fail. It’s really that simple.

2. Focus on your Nutrition – exercise doesn’t work — Two recent studies have shown that exercise alone, isn’t all that effective for helping people lose fat, gain lean, and improve their body composition. I know it’s hard to believe. But it’s totally true. Of course, I’m not telling you this to convince you that exercise is no good. Rather, I’m trying to make a much more important point. And that point is this. Exercise ALONE isn’t very effective at promoting weight loss. However, when you combine a proper exercise program PLUS the right nutrition habits, the sky’s the limit.

3. Find a Social Support Network — Fortunately, leanness also can also be contagious. If you hang out with people who INSPIRE you, who LIFT YOU UP, inevitably you’ll find yourself inspiring others, and lifting up those around you. Really, if you don’t have a strong social support circle, people who can help you, people who inspire you, people you can lean on, then that’s one of the first things that needs to improve in 2010.

4. Give yourself and Incentive or Reward — Its a reward big enough to help you overcome the inertia that keeps most people from getting fit. In 2010, if you’re committing to getting in better shape than ever before, what’s your incentive going to be? Are you going to have a body transformation contest with your friends? With your work colleagues? Is money going to be on the line? A vacation somewhere special? It doesn’t matter what the incentive is. But there has to be one. And it has to be big enough to keep you focused when your motivation wanes. Which it always does, even if for just a little while.

5. Take a Risk — I learned a lot about this principle in a book called “The Blackmail Diet.” It this book, Dr John Bear mentions that experts can tell you what to do to lose weight. But all of this advice doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you’re not forced to stay on the plan when the motivation wanes, when things get hard, when life gets in the way. Even famous fiction author Steven King writes about this principle in the context of quitting smoking. So, you’ve got your reward down. Now let’s pick your punishment. What uncomfortable thing are you gonna use to keep yourself motivated, to create pressure to succeed?

6. Do Something – Anything – Right Now — In fitness and in life. If you don’t do it now, it’s not likely you’ll ever do it. I know, I know, you like to “do your research”, read, learn, reason, and decide. But, the chinese have a great saying that tells you exactly where that gets you: one who deliberates fully before taking their first step will spend their entire life on one leg. And the Americans have a simpler one: just do it. I’ve found that those who just do it, need 3 things. First, they need a sense of importance. At some deep level, you need to genuinely feel that changing your habits and your body is really important. Second, you need confidence. Not necessarily in yourself (although that helps). After all, almost everyone starting something new lacks confidence. No, you need confidence in your plan. You need to really believe that the plan you’re about to follow, will work. Third, you need a willingness to act. You see motivation comes and goes. And the trick is to strike when the iron is hot. To act decisively when the motivation is there. The key is to do something positive, anything, right now. To be decisive, and act in a way that brings you even an inch closer to your dream. If you can do it on your own, go for it. If you need help, get it. It doesn’t matter what it is. As long as it’s positive and you can do it in the next 5 minutes.

If you liked what you read above… you can check out the full article and videos from John Bernardi at 6 Important Tips for a Fitter 2010.

Now, JUST DO IT!

January 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Merry Christmas from Hardstyle Diva!

Merry Christmas from the Hardstyle Diva!

Enjoy the Holiday Jingle from Pavel & the RKC. Jingle Kettlebells
http://bit.ly/8PClhk

December 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

Tennessee Kettlebell Workshop – January 2010

Kettlebell Workshop January 16th at Tennessee Kettlebell led by Senior RKC Instructor David Whitley along with the RKCs in the IronTamer Clan! Sign up and get one free month of Boot Camp! Details below!

Click here to learn more about our new year, new you workshop!

Click here to learn more about Tennessee Kettlebell
Click here to learn more about Nashivlle Kettlebell & Sr. Instructor Dave Whitley

Tennessee Kettlebell, No complicated Machines, just exercises that produce RESULTS…Learn from the ONLY RKC certified instructors in Middle Tennessee…Get Fit, Get Lean, Get Strong at Tennessee Kettlebell!

December 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

All About Energy Drinks

All About Energy Drinks
by Ryan Andrews, November 30th, 2009.

Cocaine. BooKoo. Mother. V. These are just a few of the hundreds of energy drinks now available on the market. Are these names supposed to be amusing? Or just downright disturbing?

Of course, and who can forget the infamous PowerThirst. It’s energy for men. It’s “menergy.”

OK, that last one is funny! But seriously, am I at a rave… or at the gym? It’s hard to tell.

What are energy drinks and why are they important?

In 1997, I just passed my driver’s license test. And in the same year Red Bull was introduced in the U.S. Over the next 6 years the sale of energy drinks in the U.S. increased about 465%.

In response, one question that I always ask is this one. Why would somebody need more energy?

I mean, the only time energy levels bottom out is when we skip sleep, skip workouts, and consume pathetic foods. Wait a minute, I just described most of North America. Ok, I guess I do understand why people are drawn to canned pick-me-ups!

Interestingly, the term “energy drink” is not recognized by the FDA or USDA. The details around regulation of these drinks are, well, kind of boring. Except for the following:

In the U.S., an over-the-counter medication for energy (like No-Doz) containing 100 mg of caffeine must include lots of warnings.
But the 24 ouncer of “knock your socks off energy beverage” from 7-11 that contains 500 mg of caffeine can be marketed with no warnings.

Badass or loser?

Energy drinks are now a $3.4 billion per year industry. The U.S. leads the world in total volume sales of energy drinks. In 2006, 31% of teens in the U.S. reported drinking them. We are talking about nearly 8 million teens — who are potentially consuming teeth-rattling amounts of caffeine and sugar.

What you should know about energy drinks

Have you ever heard of Red Bull? In 2002, it commanded about 50% of energy drink revenue. Let’s break down the ingredients. It contains:

Carbonated water
Sucrose
Glucose
Sodium citrate
Taurine
Glucuronolactone
Caffeine
Inositol
B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12)
Flavours and colours
We’ll take them one at a time.

Carbonated water
This is water dissolved with carbon dioxide. Doesn’t do much for energy or health – but it can make you bloated.

Sucrose/glucose
Unless your drink is sugar-free, you will find some form of added sugar. Per 8 ounces, the sugar content is between 20 and 35 grams for most drinks.

Glucose is the major energy source for the brain, red blood cells, and muscles. Consuming glucose with caffeine can enhance concentration. Too much sugar, though, will lead to a big waistline rather than big energy. Oh, and cavities.

A 24 ounce can of BooKoo has 81 grams of sugar. That’s the same amount as a medium Butterfinger blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Sodium citrate
More commonly known as citric acid. This is a preservative that also provides a tart taste. Lots of it may cause GI upset. And it has been known to erode tooth enamel.

Taurine
This is a sulfur containing amino acid that we can make from methionine and cysteine. It’s found mainly in muscle tissue and can:

Help to regulate water, mineral & homocysteine levels
Help contribute to bile acid formation
Improve muscle contractility and protect against muscle stress in animals.
Help to prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus, but results are mixed. Taurine has actually worsened lipid panels in animals.
A dose of nearly 5 grams might be needed to notice any effect. Most energy drinks contain much less.

Consuming taurine from food/supplements seems to have minimal impact on blood levels, yet strangely, it still concentrates in organs and tissues. Taurine is highly water soluble and excreted by the kidneys.

The wonderful world of taurine Those who probably shouldn’t experiment with taurine:

Anyone with kidney disease. It won’t be readily excreted and supplementation can lead to accumulation in tissues (and lots of dizzy spells). Anyone who doesn’t like itching. Supplementing taurine can cause itching. Those with epilepsy. Supplementing taurine can cause nausea, dizziness, and a headache

Glucuronolactone
This naturally occurring glucose metabolite can help to reduce glycogen breakdown during workouts. It can help improve alertness too. It’s found naturally in very small amounts. Once ingested, it’s transformed in the liver and excreted via urine. That’s about all there is to say about this stuff.

Caffeine
90% of us (in the U.S.) consume caffeine each day. A typical energy drink contains between 50 and 500 mg of caffeine per can/bottle. 500 mg is like drinking 14 cans of cola or 5 strong cups of coffee. Zowie!

How many energy drinks before you die? Find out here:
http://www.energyfiend.com/death-by-caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most widely studied, and most effective, ergogenic acids on the planet. Consuming 5 mg/kg of caffeine can enhance performance, both in the short- and long-term.

Caffeine is a methylxanthine and acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist, which can enhance CNS activation and blood epinephrine. It can also improve muscle contractility.

Caffeine seems to be more beneficial for those who don’t use it on a regular basis. When combined with taurine, the effects seem to be additive.

Inositol
This is found in various foods and is necessary for insulin signal transduction. It can also be made by the body, so it’s non-essential.

B vitamins
The B vitamins are important for long-term adaptation to exercise. A B vitamin deficiency is bad news. But relying on a daily Red Bull shooter to meet your micronutrient needs is also pretty pathetic. Regular energy drink consumption is more likely to lead to toxicity.

Vitamin B3, aka niacinimide
Toxicity: Supplemental forms may cause flushing of skin, itching, impaired glucose tolerance, nausea, liver toxicity and gastrointestinal upset. Intake of 750 mg per day for less than 3 months can cause liver damage.

Vitamin B5, aka calcium pantothenate or pantothenic acid
Toxicity: Nausea, heartburn and diarrhea may be noticed with high dose supplements.

Vitamin B6
Toxicity: High doses of supplemental forms may result in painful neurological symptoms.

Vitamin B12
Toxicity: None known from supplements. Only a small amount is absorbed via oral route making the potential for toxicity low.

Flavours and colours
Even nutrition degenerates know these aren’t a good idea to consume on a regular basis.

Do energy drinks actually give people more energy? Energy drinks with sugar and caffeine may enhance performance slightly. However, it appears that the sugar-free varieties don’t match up. This might be due to the synergistic effect of caffeine and carbohydrates before workouts.

Pre-workout energy drinks seem to increase endurance and strength, but the results vary depending on exact ingredients.

Energy drinks don’t seem to improve memory very well, but they might improve reaction time. This holds true with sugared and sugar-free versions.

Energy drinks & alcohol
Guess what? Lots of booze isn’t associated with better test scores and more volunteer hours at the food bank. It’s associated with injuries, sexual assault, drunk driving, liver disease, and death. Not good.

Almost 25% of college drinkers report mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Before you chase your booze with an energy drink, you might want to make those last minute changes in your will.

Mixing energy drinks and booze can lead to heart rhythm disturbances and false assumptions regarding your level of intoxication. Further, alcohol and energy drinks lead to higher blood lactate, blood pressure and stress hormones.

Summary and recommendations
From a health perspective, energy drinks probably aren’t the best idea.

An energy drink that contains lots of sugar doesn’t make much sense, unless you’re participating in extended/repeated bouts of intense training. Energy drinks with artificial sweeteners probably aren’t wise either. Read more here: All About Diet Sodas.

On the performance side, the amount of “energizing” ingredients in most energy drinks are generally too low to notice a benefit or detriment, except for the caffeine.

And yes, there are still degenerates mixing energy drinks with alcohol. I would think common sense clues us in to how this might turn out, but since 24% of college students report mixing these drinks in the past month, looks like I’m the foolish one. Energy drinks can mask alcohol intoxication symptoms. This means your chances of walking off of the roof into the pool increase exponentially.

Think about the budget factor as well. What are we spending our money on when buying energy drinks? If you buy an energy drink three times per week, 40 weeks out of the year, that’s about $180.

Finally, consider why someone would “need” an energy drink.

How is their nutrition?
Are they overfat and lethargic?
Are they getting adequate sleep?
Do they take lots of meds with side effects?
Are they exercising?
Getting those habits dialed in might give you more than enough energy each day.

Further resources
Who needs Red Bull? Try Purple Bull!

Other interesting information about energy drinks
Energy drinks are a drain on water reserves. Producing 1 litre of energy drink requires approximately 2.5 litres of water.

Some people use inositol as a cutting agent with cocaine and methamphetamines.

There have been reported cases of seizures in those consuming high amounts of energy drinks (among individuals with no prior history of seizures).

Energy drinks may increase likelihood of manic episodes.

Thailand leads the world in energy drink consumption (per person – not in total volume).

Caffeine has been shown to increase alcohol consumption in rats.

PowerThirst now comes in flavours like Manana. (Just kidding.)

References
Forbes SC, et al. Effect of Red Bull energy drink on repeated Wingate cycle performance and bench press muscle endurance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2007;17:433-444.

IFIC Q & A – Energy drinks and health. July 2009. http://www.ific.org/publications/qa/energydrinkqa.cfm

Teens abusing energy boosting drinks, doctors fear. October 2006. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,226223,00.html

Babu KM, et al. Energy drinks: The new eye-opener for adolescents. Clin Ped Emerg Med 2008;9:35-42.

Reissig CJ, et al. Caffeinated energy drinks – a growing problem. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009;99:1-10.

Candow DG, et al. Effect of sugar-free Red Bull energy drink on high-intensity run time-to-exhaustion in young adults. J Strength Cond Res 2009;23:1271-1275.

Wesseling S, Koeners MP, Joles JA. Taurine – Red Bull or Red Herring? Hypertension 2009;53:909-911.

Lovett R. Coffee: The demon drink? New Scientist. 2005.

Warburton DM, et al. An evaluation of a caffeinated taurine drink on mood, memory and information processing in healthy volunteers without caffeine abstinence. Psychopharmacology 2001;158:322-328.

Clauson KA, et al. Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks. J Am Pharm Assoc 2008;48:e55-e67.

O’Brien MC, et al. Caffeinated cocktails: Energy drink consumption, high-risk drinking, and alcohol related consequences among college students. Academic Emerg Med 2008;15:453-460.

Beck TW, et al. The acute effects of a caffeine-containing supplement on strength, muscular endurance, and anaerobic capabilities. J Strength Cond Res 2006;20:506-510.

Huxtable RJ. Physiological actions of taurine. Physiol Rev 1992;72:101-163.

Hoffman JR, et al. Effect of a pre-exercise energy supplement on the acute hormonal response to resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res 2008;22:874-882.

Zhang M, et al. Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino Acids 2004;26:203-207.

Curry K & Stasio MJ. The effects of energy drinks alone and with alcohol on neuropsychological functioning. Hum Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2009;24:473-481.

December 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm Leave a comment

All About Protein

Hello!
Great Article about the importance of Protein — take the time to read!

My diet of choice is the Warrior Diet, this diet focuses a lot on protien intake during evening meals and post workout meals. Often times I do not think people realize how little protein they are actually eating, therefore do not get the benfits of of this great nutrient! I was a little leary in reading the beginning part of this article as, I though it would challenge my views on eating large quantities of protien. John Bernardi could not have said it better when he states “Is building muscle the ONLY reason we eat protein?” My faith is restored….Thanks for the rebutal of the recent studies!

Limit Protein to 20g Per Meal?
by John M Berardi, November 4th, 2009.

Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009.

A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009.

So, what did these landmark studies show?

Well, the first study showed that when college-aged weight-trainers drink 0g, 5g, 10g, 20g, or 40g of protein after a weight training session, muscle protein synthesis is stimulated maximally at the 20g dose. Interestingly, there were no further increases in muscle protein synthesis at the 40g dose.

Similarly, in the second study, when young and elderly volunteers were given 30 or 90g of dietary protein in a single meal, the 30g dose maximally stimulated muscle protein synthesis. Again, there were no further increases in muscle protein synthesis at the 90g dose.

20-30 Grams and No More
Oddly, since the publication of these two studies, I’ve read no less than 2 dozen articles and blog posts suggesting that these two studies definitively close the case on protein intake. Indeed, some authors have even suggested that we’re ignorant wastrels if we dare eat more than 20-30g of protein in a single sitting.

Milk? This is the best you can do? Maybe you should read PN’s All About Milk article.
Here are a few quotes:

“So basically what you’re saying is that we don’t need to consume any more than 20g of high quality protein after exercise. You could get that in a 500ml serving of milk…This info is really going to piss off a bunch of internet keyboard jockeys.”

“I’ve cut back on the amount of protein I eat during most meals…No more slogging down 50-60g in a sitting. “

“Looks like 3 eggs post workout is just as effective as drinking a protein shake. Plus all that extra shake will be wasted.”

And so on…

Is Muscle The Only Reason We Eat Protein?
Now, while I can always appreciate a good muscle protein synthesis study, I sorta wonder if all the hoopla regarding these two studies is doing healthy eaters a service or not.

I mean, it’s definitely a good thing to discover that 30g of protein provides the upper limit of amino acids necessary for maximal protein synthesis at a particular point in time. However, the important, big-picture question is this one…is building muscle the only reason we eat protein?

I think not.

Challenging the notion that eating more than 30g in a sitting is wasteful, here are a few thoughts I sent to a group of colleagues:

1) What Else Will You Eat?
Let’s say you’re on a high calorie diet. Maybe you’re into bodybuilding or you’re training for an athletic event. And now you limit your protein intake to 20-30g per meal. What else do you fill up with? Carbs or fats?

Let’s take an example. Say you’re eating 4000-4500kcal per day for competition, which many larger lifers and athletes will need to do. And let’s say, because of these studies, you limit your protein intake to 5 meals of 20g each. In the end you’ll be getting 100g and 400kcal from protein.

Well, that’s 8% of your diet. What makes up the other 92%? If you’re loading up with that many carbs or fats, body comp can suffer. Remember, the protein is being replaced by macronutrients with lower thermic effects (more on this below).

2) What About The Other Benefits?
Muscle protein synthesis isn’t the only reason to eat more protein. There’s satiety, the thermogenic effects, the impact on the immune system, and more (see below).

Plus, there are probably a few benefits science can’t measure yet. I say the last part because there’s so much experiential evidence suggesting that when you’re training hard and you up your protein, you do better. So maybe we just haven’t looked in the right places to notice the real benefits.

Other Protein Benefits
In an article I wrote a few years back, I listed some of the benefits of eating more protein. And although the article is a few years old, nothing’s really changed since then. Here’s the list:

Increased Thermic Effect of Feeding — While all macronutrients require metabolic processing for digestion, absorption, and storage or oxidation, the thermic effect of protein is roughly double that of carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, eating protein is actually thermogenic and can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This means greater fat loss when dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding/muscle building.

Increased Glucagon — Protein consumption increases plasma concentrations of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon is responsible for antagonizing the effects of insulin in adipose tissue, leading to greater fat mobilization. In addition, glucagon also decreases the amounts and activities of the enzymes responsible for making and storing fat in adipose and liver cells. Again, this leads to greater fat loss during dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding.

Metabolic Pathway Adjustment – When a higher protein (20-50% of intake) is followed, a host of metabolic adjustments occur. These include: a down regulation of glycolysis, a reduction in fatty acid synthesis enzymes, increase in gluconeogenesis, a carbohydrate “draining” effect where carbons necessary for ridding the body of amino nitrogen is drawn from glucose.

Increased IGF-1 — Protein and amino-acid supplementation has been shown to increase the IGF-1 response to both exercise and feeding. Since IGF-1 is an anabolic hormone that’s related to muscle growth, another advantage associated with consuming more protein is more muscle growth when overfeeding and/or muscle sparing when dieting.

Reduction in Cardiovascular Risk — Several studies have shown that increasing the percentage of protein in the diet (from 11% to 23%) while decreasing the percentage of carbohydrate (from 63% to 48%) lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with concomitant increases in HDL cholesterol concentrations.

Improved Weight-Loss Profile —Research by Layman and colleagues has demonstrated that reducing the carbohydrate ratio from 3.5 – 1 to 1.4 – 1 increases body fat loss, spares muscle mass, reduces triglyceride concentrations, improves satiety, and improves blood glucose management (Layman et al 2003 — If you’re at all interested in protein intake, you’ve gotta go read the January and February issues of the Journal of Nutrition. Layman has three interesting articles in the two journals).

Increased Protein Turnover — All tissues of the body, including muscle, go through a regular program of turnover. Since the balance between protein breakdown and protein synthesis governs muscle protein turnover, you need to increase your protein turnover rates in order to best improve your muscle quality. A high protein diet does just this. By increasing both protein synthesis and protein breakdown, a high protein diet helps you get rid of the old muscle more quickly and build up new, more functional muscle to take its place.

Increased Nitrogen Status — Earlier I indicated that a positive nitrogen status means that more protein is entering the body than is leaving the body. High protein diets cause a strong positive protein status and when this increased protein availability is coupled with an exercise program that increases the body’s anabolic efficiency, the growth process may be accelerated.

Increased Provision of Auxiliary Nutrients — Although the benefits mentioned above have related specifically to protein and amino acids, it’s important to recognize that we don’t just eat protein and amino acids — we eat food. Therefore, high protein diets often provide auxiliary nutrients that could enhance performance and/or muscle growth. These nutrients include creatine, branched chain amino acids, conjugated linoleic acids, and/or additional nutrients that are important but remain to be discovered. And don’t forget the vitamins and minerals we get from protein rich foods. (And lest anyone think I’m a shill for the protein powder industry, this last point clearly illustrates the need to get most of your protein from food, rather than supplements.)

Looking over this list of benefits, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we don’t just eat protein for its muscle synthetic effect. We eat protein for a bunch of other reasons too. And since a higher protein diet can lead to a better health profile, an increased metabolism, improved body composition, and an improved training response, why would anyone ever try to limit their protein intake to the bare minimum?

Take-Home Message
It seems to me that whether someone’s on a hypoenergetic diet (low calorie) or a hyperenergetic diet (high calorie), the one macronutrient they would want to be sure to “overeat” (relatively speaking) would be protein.

But that’s not what people do, is it? Instead, their protein prejudice often leads them to look for what they consider the bare minimum of protein (whether it’s 20-30g/meal or 0.8g/kg/day), and then overeat carbohydrates and fats instead. That could prove to be a performance – and body composition – mistake.

To this end, my advice is the same as I’ve outlined in the Precision Nutrition System.

Women – 1 serving of lean, complete protein (20-30g) with each meal, every 3 hours or so

Men – 2 servings of lean, complete protein (40-60g) with each meal, every 3 hours or so

This pattern of intake will make sure you’re getting enough protein to reap all the benefits that this macronutrient has to offer. Not just the protein synthetic benefits.

November 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm 2 comments

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