Thursday, June 20, 2013

Got Protein?

Along the lines of healthy eating... protein is key.
I wasn't eating enough protein.  I'm not a huge fan of just jamming in protein through powders only.  It's everywhere around us, but you have to know the right places to get it without worrying about pesticides, poisons and cancerous agents.

My friends over at Maximized Living, Heritage Family Chiropractic sent out an article outlining the reasons to use the RIGHT protein.  You have to figure out which protein you need and what you are hoping to get from it.  I won't regurgitate the article on here, but below are the highlights and if you want to read the whole thing, check it out HERE.
  • Improve your body composition by burning unseen calories and preserving lean muscle mass.
  • Increase energy levels to keep you motivated and excited for your workouts.
  • Regulate blood glucose levels by slowing sugars absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Boost your metabolism by helping your cells work more efficiently.
  • Strengthen your mental focus and alertness by activating orexin.
  • Bolster immune function and reduce toxicity by supporting the production of glutathione.

That's all good and dandy, but where's the proof?
Before my wife and I started on the harder path of eating better and prepping real meals at home, I could keep my weight to 180 to 185 year round depending on events I was training for.

It's true.  When you institute a better daily eating pattern and incorporate the correct amount of protein from foods and supplements, you won't see an initial weight loss.  Even as I was ramping up for Ironman 70.3 Kansas, I wasn't shedding pounds.

It was a little discouraging at first, but as the weight stayed the same, I found myself using notches on the belt loop that I had never used before.  I was dropping inches from my waistline and leaning up, trading fat for muscle.

Now that we are well over a month into our new pattern, my weight is between 174 and 180 regardless of training volume and intensity.  As we cycle regular and low carb days, my aim is to shed some more pounds and stay in maintenance mode after that with training for Ironman Lake Tahoe.

What did we do?
More tuna fish.  A LOT MORE.  One little packet wasn't enough to account for what my body really needed just every day and from training.  I was depleted on protein even though I thought I was getting it through recovery drinks and other sources.  The fad drinks and meal replacement shakes don't get you enough protein if you're really looking at the numbers.

More chicken.  we try and get the free range meat or deli meats and stay away from the pre-packaged deli sliced stuff.  That has a lot of sodium and while it's good to get your salt in, that much salt is unhealthy.

LOTS more veggies.  It's a "duh" moment, but vitamins and pills just can't make up for real food.  Servings of greens, carrots and other veggies are a big staple in our meals now.  You do have to be careful as veggies contain a fair amount of carbs as well.

More egg whites.  Sure, it's a pain to separate the yoke, but a whole boiled egg can be 80 calories, but without can be 30 and you are still getting the majority of protein and health benefits.  It may not taste as good, but add it to your tuna salad and BAM, protein packed.

We also use the ARO Series from Vitacost to get our complex protein that absorbs slowly through the day to stave off being hungry all of the time and a level source of energy.  We use it in morning oatmeal and occasional protein shakes through the week.  I'll be writing up a review on the ARO products in a bit, and I firmly believe their products contributed to me knocking off 30 minutes from my half ironman time at KS a few weeks ago.

There's a deal out there now to save 20% on all ARO sports supplements - ARO Black Series while supplies last. Promo code DARO20.

You can sign up for a continuing re-order without paying every time.  They are pretty cost effective and so far so good at our house.

Whatever you do...
Just consider how much protein you are getting and what you are doing throughout the day.  Thrashing yourself on the swim, bike and run and expecting big weight loss, but not seeing it?  Are you getting enough protein to allow your body to work right?

Portions and serving sizes are all individual, google has all kinds of articles on how many grams per pound of body weight you should eat and what the demands for fit people are.  If anything, some extra tuna fish and chicken in your life won't hurt.
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