beginning with you and I

…and things will change

Many of us use this time of the year to provide the motivation we need to get ourselves back into the world of fitness. Ending the current year in a pool of indulgence to get ready for the restrictions that the discipline of fitness and health will bring.
I believe that’s how most of us view it. But it doesn’t need to be that way. It doesn’t and I know that as a fact. Having said that let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with indulging if it isn’t the majority of what you are doing. The 80/20 rule can always be applied to how we maintain fitness and health. Enjoy life. If you aren’t enjoying life than what are you doing?

The start

January 1. A new year. A marker to change the things you would like to change about yourself, for yourself. You are getting pumped knowing that the new shoes you have just purchased are soon to be on your feet ready to get you moving. Maybe you just purchased the gym membership for your training and are anxious about showing up at a new place. New clothes, new shoes, new gym, it’s everything you need to get back into fitness. The new year is the final push off the precipice of inactiveness.

Are you going to dive in from a 10 metre platform or are you going to slowly wade in from the shallow end? If you want my recommendation, and I hope you do because you are spending time reading this, skip the dive and wade in. History has shown that the majority of people who dive in head first are more likely to dive back out of that pool, if that were possible. If you are someone who has been leading a sendentary life for the last greater part of the year than you need to give yourself time to get out of that lifestyle and into the new one. Rush into it and you will probably be overwhelmed, overworked and will quickly be looking for a way to stop going to the gym. This is evident in the amount of new people at the gym for the first 6 weeks of the new year that dissappear come week seven. The glow of new shoes and clothing has worn off.

Give your body and your mind the time to acclimate to the new routine. You have the whole year ahead of you to change around your lifestyle. Take your time. Another option is to engage a personal trainer to assist you in this process. They can be there to setup your program based on your goals making sure they are realistic and also help you to stay motivated. It could be a small investment that leads to large gains. It can feel good to do these things alone but it isn’t necessary. If you need to, put the ego aside and get yourself a trainer.
Another option is to start the week off with working out twice a week for the first week. Then the following week increase the frequency to 3 times a week, for 2 to 3 weeks. Then, you can move to a 4x a week schedule if you need that. Remember, the frequency is important but so is the intensity you train at. Again this is where having a personal trainer will benefit you. The trainer should have you training at a level that is challenging but not overwhelming. If the training is too intense for your level of fitness you risk overtraining which can be as bad or worse than not training at all.

Slow and steady

Just like the turtle and the hare, there are inherent risks when trying to achieve too much too quickly. What’s your hurry? Why weren’t you this anxious last year, or the latter half of the year? I’m being blunt for a reason. Sometimes when you look at things this way it helps in opening the eyes and realizing that you need to reevaluate your plan.

Train hard, but train smart.

Yours in health,

Darryl

in pumps life that I must feel

but can’t look forward to reveal.

I hope you are getting used to hearing the same message from me. It’s an important message worth repeating. Actually there are a number of messages worth repeating which I believe can be looked at as the fundamentals of health and fitness but in this post I’m going to focus on my message of train smart.

If you are someone who thinks that going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, doing the same workout each time, and not looking at each workout as an individual unit of achievement than you should read this post. Chances are you are not making the gains or getting the results you thought you would.

We need to be intelligent with our workouts and also with things outside of our workout. So do me a favour, actually do yourself the favour and take the time to read this post.

Five

What can we do to be someone who trains smart? I’m going to cover 5 things and they are very important things. If you are able to incorporate these five things into your workouts/life I think you will notice a change, a good change.

  1. On the edge of the precipice: Whether it’s six weeks, six months or six years you need to modify your program as your body adapts to the loads you have been putting onto it. The body is a remarkable thing, able to adapt to strenuous loads over time making work for us easier. But the problem with this is our body fails to grow, grow the way we want it to. If you don’t modify your program and keep doing the same thing every time you work out your body will adapt and stop responding to the loads you are putting on it. What can you do? Many things. Change the intensity by trying intervals. If you are already doing intervals change the work/rest ratio. Incorporate different methods of resistance training. Try using negatives to shock the body. Slow down your cadence to confuse your muscles. A simple thing you can do is change the order you do things. If your workout consists of cardio than resistance training, change it up by doing your resistance training first then the cardio phase.
  2. Take it easy: Don’t take this the wrong way and think I am endorsing easy workouts, because I’m not. What I mean by take it easy is that you need to let your body recover. You need to get the rest that is needed so the body can rebuild itself. If we are constantly tearing down our body but not giving it the time to rebuild, we are putting ourselves into an overtraining state and risk bringing on sickness and actually preventing our body from growing and getting stronger. Not really what we are trying to do. If you are unable to give your body the rest in needs than you need to cutback your training to a level that the body is recovering from the stress you have put onto it.
  3. The details: One aspect of training smart is paying attention to form. Don’t get caught up in numbers worrying about the amount of weight you are using. Sometimes this can lead to form and technique being pushed to the backseat in favour of achieving a new goal. It’s great that you are goal oriented but don’t sacrifice technique to achieve that goal. Worse case is doing this can lead to injury. Outside of injury you will probably end up training muscles you weren’t intending to. What I mean by this is when technique is compromised, the muscles the exercise are supposed to target end up being missed because the lack of technique ends up putting the stress on other muscles.
  4. Outside of the gym: It not just what we do when working out that matters if we achieve our goals sooner than later. Eating the proper foods and eating at the correct time can have an influence on how we perform when training and how much muscle and strength we gain. It can also impact how we feel after we workout. I am not certified to go into detailed discussion about nutrition but let me say this. When training your body is not much different than an automobile in the sense that it needs fuel. If the fuel isn’t there because you forgot to fill the fuel tank before training, or you are not eating the proper foods, your body will not perform to your expectations. If you fail to eat the proper foods after working out your body will not realize all the gains that could be made and also you may end up being more tired than you should be. Educate yourself about fueling up before working out and also post workout recovery. I think you’ll be surprised with the results.
  5. The target: Do you have a goal? No, why not? What are you doing training if you don’t know why you are training? All right, I’ll stop being a smart ass. But it’s true. Having a goal allows you to measure your progress against that goal and it gives you something to shoot for. Otherwise it’s very easy to become complacent when working out. You become stagnant, lacking motivation. Goals don’t have to be these lofty target such as running a marathon. Simple goals such as I will run 5k under 25 minutes. Or I will increase my bench press weight by 20%. Then when you reach your goal enjoy it and celebrate? Why not? There’s nothing wrong in recognizing your achievement. Now if you end up celebrating for a week or two than yeah, you need to scale the celebrations back a bit.

Enjoy the results

Training smart has many benefits and you will start to realize them when you adopt the strategy of training smart. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Most of these things are just taking it to another level whether that be hiring a personal trainer, or investing time in yourself, time spent educating yourself with respect to nutrition, training, etc.

I’m going to give you one more. Number six. Train hard. If you have made the effort of going to the gym or wherever it is you train, don’t waste the time you are there by only giving it half or ¾’s effort. You’re there, push yourself and walk away at the end knowing that you did all you could do.  Your body will respond and you will respond because you will have a feeling that you can do anything.

There’s your motivation.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

real to real is living rarity

Fade away, radiate

A vacation. Seasonal holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanks giving. Time where you may be busy visiting family or just relaxing not wanting to do much, other than eating and drinking. It can be hard to relax during these times because in the back of your mind you are reminding yourself that you aren’t at the gym working out.

So worry yourself, take all that guilt and feel bad whenever you enjoy a drink, or enjoy a dessert, or enjoy time doing nothing. Or just enjoy it knowing that the other weeks of the year you are an intense, physical human in the gym. The choice is yours.

There is a lot out there that influences how we should feel. Whether it’s a subtle message or an aggressive one we are told how and what we should do. Everyday. We need to look at who is delivering the message and why.

Is the message meant to be delivered to you? Keep in mind that a large majority of people don’t exercise (you are a minority if you like it or not) and some of these messages, or all of them could be aimed at them. Or it could be a way to get you to buy something.

Assess

I think most of us that exercise and are doing a lot of the things I have written about are more the exception and don’t need to be reminded about how good exercising is for us and to make sure that we get enough activity in such as going for a brisk walk.

I also think that we are probably the ones that are hardest on ourselves. We tend to feel anxious when we may miss a workout. We feel guilty when we do and if we happen to miss a few we start to get really concerned about our fitness.

What can we do? We need to have a better understanding of what we are doing with respect to fitness. I know when you go to the gym you are working as hard as you can, you are creating huge sweat puddles under the machines you are using. You are probably someone who has been for a good part of their life. Not someone who shows up at the gym in January and leaves in February.

Have you ever reflected on your workouts? Looked back at exactly what it was you did? Have you done this looking back at the month, six months, and the year? No? Maybe you should.

Machine

Contrary to popular belief you are not a machine. You need fuel, rest, and more rest. Our bodies need to rebuild and rebuild before those same muscle fibers are torn again.

I know this from personal experience. During a time I was training really hard, sometimes two times a day, I got injured. Nothing to do with my training but injured none the less. I could still exercise but not unencumbered due to a cast on my foot. The frequency I was working out dropped significantly. Did I suffer horribly because I had to alter my schedule? No. My body responded by actually gaining muscle and strength. Why? Because it finally had time to rest and rebuild. It got the break it wanted for the last while.

Enjoy

If you always train hard, if you hate it when you can’t train, if the shower curtain rod starts to look like a pull up bar you should enjoy those breaks when they come. Enjoy the break, let your body rebuild. You will be stronger for it.

Feel good about this though. It’s a good thing. You should feel good because you are one of the few that do this. You are one of the few that beat yourself up weekly. You are one of the few that leaves it on the floor.

For everyone else, what are you waiting for?

Yours in health,

Darryl

It’s not the best thing, but it’s the only way we have to take care of them

Through the nothingness, these few spoke out for her.

The neglected muscle of the upper arm, the tricep. I feel so bad for the tricep as it never gets the attention it deserves. It’s always about the opposing muscle, the bicep. When we think of strong arms we think of the bicep muscle. The classic pose you see when someone is showing how awesome their arms are is the double arm bicep pose. We’ve all seen it, it’s a classic. No one ever does the tricep pose, grabbing the wrist from behind the back and flexing the tricep. I feel bad for the tricep, it must feel neglected. Poor triceps.

I think the same can notion can be applied when training. People will invest the time to build the bicep muscles executing bicep curls, preacher curls, isolated one arm curls, reverse grip curls, and so on. Unbeknownst to them that the triceps actually make up two thirds of the upper arm. Want bigger, stronger arms? Then give the triceps the respect they deserve.

The what

You may have never heard of the tricep muscle. Triceps Brachii, the antithesis of the bicep. Responsible for straightening our arm whereas the bicep bends our arm, bringing the hand closer to the shoulder. The tricep muscle has 3 heads to it and connects to the forearm below the elbow, and the upper arm/scapula.

The why

Why should you care about the tricep? You might not have to actually. If you work out primarily to lose weight, to be fitter but aren’t involved in physical activities outside of the gym or aren’t involved in any sports than strengthening the triceps might not be concern for you. If your workout consists of bench press and or pushups than you are already working your triceps, not as prime movers, but benefiting as secondary movers.

If you play any sport that incurs straightening of the arm than you should really be including strength training of the triceps. Throwing a ball, passing a ball, spiking a ball, swinging at a ball all would benefit from stronger triceps.

Outside of strengthening triceps to improve your game, having strong firm triceps will give your upper arms a much tighter look. Ok, that was hard for me to write. Fitness for me has never been about bigger arms, rock hard abs or any other marketing phrase out there. Fitness is and should be (my opinion) about being fit and healthy. Don’t misunderstand me though. I have no issue with the idea of adding muscle, strength. Why would I? These are some of the reasons we workout, put ourselves through grueling workouts. I do have an issue when people compromise their health trying to achieve these goals and end up doing more harm than good. The harm may not be evident until years later.

The how

How do we build stronger triceps? As written earlier, if you are including bench presses, pushups, or shoulder presses in your workout routine than you are using your triceps. But if you are looking to focus on the tricep and would like some exercises where the tricep is the prime mover than read ahead as I list some exercises you can do.

Tricep kick back, tricep cable push down, dumbbell tricep extension, tricep dips.

Three exercises you can do. You probably noticed that all I did was list the exercises. I did that purposely. I really don’t know if there is any value in putting down on paper so to say, how to execute an exercise. How do I know that you interpreted what I wrote correctly and are executing the exercise correctly?

I’ll leave it up to you. Ask a staff member at a gym. Hire a personal trainer. Watch a video. If you decide to go with option 3, please reconsider. It may seem easy to watch a video and then jump right into it with the weights but it could be disastrous and it may not be evident until later when you are injured.

I strongly recommend a personal trainer. I know it sounds like self-promotion. But it isn’t.

As a personal trainer, and an instructor at my dojo I see it every day the benefit of someone working with you who knows how things should be done. From correcting major errors in execution to correcting the subtle movements you are the ultimate beneficiary of having a personal trainer.

It’s your choice

Functional improvement, increasing muscle mass and strength. All from making the neglected tricep a priority. Measure your upper arm, record your performance in your sport and then set out to burn your triceps for the next four, six weeks. Measure again. Reflect on your performance. Enjoy the results.

I know you won’t be disappointed. How could you be?

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

so the walker’s feet rise and fall between paces

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

Multi-thousand dollar hardware. Thousands of dollars over the years paid to a place you may barely know. Will they remember you when you walk in? You wanted to know it better, but shit got in the way. Well, that’s how we rationalize it.

Stop. Right now. We need to destroy the mindset that expensive means better. It doesn’t. Expensive usually equals fatter pockets. Not for you, for someone else. Expensive and better are not necessarily inclusive. Usually expensive is exclusive. In my opinion. Don’t listen to me. You don’t even know me. See for yourself.

Old is the new new

Why do we feel that we need shiny hardware, cables and pulleys to better our fitness? Do they work? Sure they do for some things but they only work if we are willing to put in the work. I can give you the most advanced piece of equipment ever manufactured but if you are not willing, wanting, desiring to put in the work you might as well walk back out that door and get in your car and convince yourself that you put in a hard day’s work. Harsh. I know. I know that’s not you because you have been following, reading my posts and at this point, post number 96, you have a good idea about my feelings with respect to working out.

Burt sometimes we can do more with less. Less is more. There is so much we can do with what we have readily available to us, or things that are easily obtainable. The step stool used to get to high places can easily be used for step ups, stepping up on the stool alternating each foot quickly. A bag of sand or something similar can be used in the place of a barbell to burn the muscles in your legs doing squats.

What else is there? Do you have a heavy rock in the front of your house? Pick it up, carry it for about 40 feet. I hope it’s heavy enough that your quads and hamstrings are burning. Then do it again, and again until you can hardly walk. Grab that tractor tire that you have laying around taking up space (we all have that laying around, don’t we) and using your arms and legs turn it over on it’s end, over and over again. Feel it in your core, muscles burning.

Load up the wheelbarrow with whatever it takes to weigh it down. Move it from one end of the yard to the other side. Yeah, over and over again. Make sure it’s heavy enough that your legs have to really push to get it moving, and your arms are engaged to keep the wheelbarrow from falling over.

Setup a circuit using each of these exercises as a station. Try doing the circuit once, twice, three times…. Tough, isn’t it. Good.

It’s simple

Working out doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be going to a gym. And going to a gym is not always the answer to better fitness, or more rounded fitness. How do you feel after doing 10 laps with the wheelbarrow? It’s probably not only your legs that are sore but other muscles too.

Functional fitness at work. Building the muscles we use for the things we demand of our body. And those muscles are forced to work together. Strength, coordination. Our body working together in concert. All this done using things we have easily at our disposal. Another myth shattered.

One or the other?

We can keep it simple, or we can make it complicated. We can do both too. We need to understand what it is we are doing. If your goal is to get stronger, lose weight, gain some muscle than you might be fine hitting the gym. If you have a goal of gaining functional strength, strength gained by loading up our body while executing movements we do every day than you might want to focus more on incorporating more muscles than less. Time to get out the wheelbarrow.

Regardless of the choice you make, give everything you have when working out. Leave it all on the ground and then leave satisfied. I know you will feel better afterwards. Everyone feels better when they know they did the best they could.

Do the best you can. Why wouldn’t you?

Yours in health,

Darryl

One day

One Day

The morning brings a new day. Cold, dark. The beginning of a new week has been born and it’s impact has yet to be determined. At the mercy of it’s rage, it’s power to carve out our destiny. It’s Influence has the power to destroy or to build, to regenerate. The day is waiting to unfold in front of us and to temp us with obstacles or rewards. Twenty four hours then everything resets. A new beginning. I have many paths in front of me and I am tempted by my history and what I have done the day before, and the day before that.

One Day

Everything seems the same. The same faces, the same places. It’s not the same. This twenty four hours has not been compromised yet. It’s clean, untarnished yet to be explored and written down into the books. History is waiting to happen. All the influences to deal with and determine which ones will finally rule the day. The melodic comfort of the familiar words and expressions. I’ve been here before and I know it’s landscape. I understand every blade of grass. How long, the width, the colour. It’s familiar to me and it feels comforting. Familiarity has a way of diming our senses, a way of dulling the venturous heart that lives inside. Like the familiar notes of a song we know it can ease the anxiety, it can lull us into that space that we live in when we are scared or apprehensive. We desperately try to fight it’s power over us but we lose. It’s comforting staying where we are.

One Day

The beginning of a new day, the beginning of a new week, the beginning of a new month, the beginning of a new year. I am the same person I was a year ago but I told myself this would not happen. It did happen. The comfort of what I knew has won once again. Afraid to commit, afraid of what lies ahead when I break free of the same patterns although I know it’s right, I know it needs to be done.

Familiarity breeds contempt and I have contempt for where I am. I told myself this would not happen but here I am. I thought I knew better. I know that I know better but I sit here defeated. Tomorrow will be a new day and it will be different.

One Day

No longer will I let yesterday rule me. I am stronger than that.  Yesterday is no longer, gone and diminished in the cosmos of time never to be discovered or remembered. I don’t even think of it or give it any relevance.

What lies ahead of me is brand new. I am in control of my decisions and I am going to live this twenty four hours the way I want to live it. I am strong in my conviction. I am determined to be what I want to be. My history will not win this time and at the end of the twenty four hours I will be the conqueror of the day. I will be the one that will lay in bed with a smile knowing I lived this twenty four hours uncompromised. I lived it the way I wanted to. I will no longer let familiarity rule me.

One day

One day. Today. This day. What will this day be?

The same? The comforting feeling of driving down the road we know, the same curves and straight aways, the safe road? Or will it be what we know it needs to be, what it should be. Is time irrelevant or is it the building blocks of  what we become?

It’s within our grip either to become complacent or to become what it is we were destined to become.

One day. Twenty four hours.

A trip down the road, or a trip to a new destination. The trip you want to take. What will that trip be?

You are the conductor of the twenty four hours that envelope you. Live it. Breathe it. The next twenty four hours lies ahead, unwritten in what it will be. What will it be?

Yours in health,

Darryl

the fundamental cause of the trouble

so focused I lost sight of the target.

High intense interval training can be, well intense. Because of this it has a lot of benefits such as slowing down the aging process, higher resting metabolism, better utilization of glucose (we need this to fuel our workouts) and a few more. If you are including HIITs (high intense interval training) in your workout regimen than you probably already realize the benefits. And you should feel good about this. You are pushing yourself during your workouts instead of taking the easy route and just showing up, going through the motions. But we need to exercise some caution when we do HIIT training

Small doses

If you are training properly when HIIT training then you know you are for the most part out of breath. If you are able to talk during the work cycle of a HIIT routine than you need to increase the intensity. If you don’t you won’t be realizing the full benefits of HIITs. But we also need to train safely and train smart and not overdue it that we get injured. One of the main benefits of HIIT training is the shorter workout duration. HIITs can last anywhere from 4 minutes (Tabata) to 20 minutes depending on the length of the work cycle and rest cycle.

Be sure to ease into any increase in duration. Don’t jump from doing 10 minute session up to 20 minute sessions. This is a large strain on your body and could possibly end up in being injured, or you can end up over training and having to deal with the repercussions. Make increases gradually by increasing the duration by 2 minutes. Listen to the feedback from your body for signs of over training.

And as wonderful as HIIT training is, based on your fitness level it might be something you shouldn’t be doing every workout. It’s that over training thing again. Trust me, you don’t want to be there.

If you are just starting HIIT training, set up your intervals to be a 1:3 work to rest ratio. As an example, for a work cycle of 30 seconds your rest cycle would last 90 seconds. If you find that too easy than try a ratio of 1:2 work to rest. If you are new to HIIT training I would recommend that you forego using Tabata ratio’s for your workout. Give yourself a month or two getting used to HIIT than give Tabata a shot. Don’ feel you need to rush into it. Tabata will still be there when you get to it.

Form

One more item I would like to cover. It can be easy to get caught up in the intensity of interval training. We get so focused on the fact that we are out of breath, and can hardly move. Burpees no longer look like Burpees. They end up looking like half Burpees, or quarter Burpees.

Try your best to keep proper form and technique. If this slows you down in the number you are doing, don’t worry about it. As long as you are keeping your intensity where it needs to be then you are fine. Sacrificing form for numbers is never a good idea. Most times it leads to injury.

Into the wind

Work hard, work intensely, but train smart. Don’t be reckless and end up making more loses than gains. Keep focused on your goal and if it’s a realistic goal, you’ll get there. If it isn’t, change it before you end up regretting it.

Yours in health,

Darryl

the best and safest treasure to acquire

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

Are you getting the amount of protein your body needs to maintain the amount of muscle you have and to facilitate repairing and building new muscle cells? Do you know how much protein you need to achieve this?

I think that’s a good place to start. Knowing how much protein you need. It may be correct to say that the majority of people do not get an adequate amount of protein daily. We get most of our protein during our main meal times, lunch, dinner, and maybe breakfast. If you are snacking outside of these meals, it’s probably on a snack that is high in carbs and low in protein. But let’s get back to how much protein we need.

It’s not a constant

The amount of protein we need to maintain our body is partially influenced by our activity level. Health.com reports that an active woman needs .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. A light body builder (not sure what that is) would need .85 grams per pound of body weight.

But exactly what defines what a light body builder is? And using your body weight is also not a true reflection of the amount of muscle you have. The amount of bone and fat one 120lb woman could be significantly higher than another woman. Also, your activity level, intensity level when working out, and whether you are an endurance type athlete all play a role in how much protein you need. Many things influence this number.

I guess what I’m saying is there isn’t a number that fits everyone. It varies from person to person. Whenever you come across recommended amounts for anything be it protein, vitamins, etc. it is a general recommendation, not an analysis and finding of what you need. I recently had my vitamin D level tested to know if I was getting an adequate amount. I have been supplementing my vitamin D taking 5,000 IU’s a day. I have been doing this for a couple of years. The results of my blood test showed that I am in the lower end of what is acceptable. Now, if I were to follow Health Canada’s recommended dietary allowance I should be taking 600 IU’s a day. A significant difference!

So what do I recommend for protein amounts? Start with a recommended amount based on your activity level. See how that works for you. Look for signs that you might not be getting enough protein, signs such as slow recovery from injuries, broken nails and losing hair, you seem to be losing muscle instead of maintaining muscle or gaining muscle.

If you have any of these signs you may want to look at some ways to increase your amount of protein intake.

Be creative

If you feel you are already getting enough protein from your meals, then you should look at what you eat outside of your meals. But if you aren’t consuming enough from your meals than you need to start there.

Let’s look at someone who weights 120lbs and how the protein requirements can be achieved.

120lbs X .85 grams (this person is very active) = 102 grams needed daily.

Let’s take breakfast, lunch and dinner and approximate that 25 grams of protein are consumed at each of these meals. Is that high? Let’s look at what we can eat that equals 25 grams of protein:

Breakfast:           1 cup of oatmeal – 6 grams

250 ml serving of almond milk – 1 gram

2 pieces of toast with peanut butter (1 tablespoon on each) – 12 grams

1 ounce of almond nuts = 6 grams

For a total of 25 grams

Lunch:                   ½ cup black beans = 8 grams

½ cup tofu – 10 grams

Avocado – 3 grams

100 grams wild rice – 4 grams

For a total of 26 grams

Dinner:               ½ cup Quinoa or similar grain – 12 grams

6 spears of asparagus – 3 grams

1 cup broccoli – 3 grams

½ cup chick peas – 8 grams

For a total of 26 grams

 

That’s 77 grams of protein from 3 meals. Pretty achievable I think. How can we make up the remaining 25 grams? An easy way would be a protein shake. Based on how you make your shake, adding almond butter, peanut butter or any other source of protein you could be getting anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of protein.

Think of snacking on foods high in protein. Hemp hearts have 10 grams of protein per serving of 3 tablespoons. And hemp is a complete protein meaning that it has all the amino acids our body cannot produce but need to get from food. If the essential amino acids are not coming from food, they’ll come from your own muscle. Yes, your body will do that to you.

Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and they also have beneficial fat. Fat, that substance we are supposed to avoid, right? Not really. Our body needs fat, healthy fats. 1 ounce of cashews has 5 grams of protein.

Make yourself protein bars that you can snack on when needed. Since you have control over the process you can control the amount of each ingredient lessening the amount of sugar, etc. The unfortunate part is it could be hard to know the total amount of protein per serving. You might have to determine how much of each ingredient is in each bar and calculate from there.

If you are looking for a way to increase the amount of protein in your meals, it could be as simple as adding a plain protein powder to the meal. Adding protein to your pancake mix can do this. Or, add nuts and seeds to your cereal or on your salad.

If you are someone who doesn’t consume animal products try to consume foods that provide a balance of all the amino acids required. Something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich using whole wheat bread will fill that need.

Best intentions

By no means am I trying to make this seem complicated. It may seem that way, or overwhelming. I agree with you, it is overwhelming. But, there is a lot to gain by understanding what you are eating. You are already someone who is taking the time to train, to workout. Our body needs protein to repair itself and to grow. It’s really that simple.

Think of it like this. You go to the grocery store, you load up the cart. At the checkout you pay your money. You leave the checkout and you are stopped by store staff who start removing items from your cart. 20% of what you just purchased has been taken away, no longer yours.

We can’t necessarily see that same impact to our body because it’s hard to understand where you could be. We only see where we are not always knowing we could be that much further ahead.

Give yourself that 20%. Hold onto it and don’t let it go.

Yours in health,

Darryl