Archive for the ‘Nutrtition and Supplements’ Category

With the summer finally here and the intense heat in full effect, that means a few things: ice cold beers, sweating, frozen margaritas, sweating, then more ice cold beers and frozen margaritas.¬†And don’t forget, more sweating. Believe it or not, some¬†people think they are getting an¬†adequate amount of fluids due to the fact that they are drinking. But do the mixed drinks, pop and beer do¬†any good or help¬†prevent overheating and dehydration? Other than staying in the shade or wearing a hat or cranking up the AC, what can we do to protect our bodies from the dehydration effects of alcohol and heat? My first answer will always be not to drink. But since I know that this request can be unrealistic for some, how about this:
drink more water.

Let’s first start by learning the importance of water and what its role is in our body. 2/3 of the human body consists of water which makes it the most important nutrient we can have. The body produces on average 1.3 quarts of water a day through processing food and pulling water from the food itself. Unfortunately, we lose up to 2.8 quarts of water through our skin when we sweat or kidneys when we go to the bathroom. That leaves us in a deficit of 1.5 quarts a day, or 6 glasses of water. But what happens to that deficit when we exercise or¬†when it’s hot out like¬†the summer time? Both scenarios will make us sweat more than usual and increase that deficit, forcing our bodies to work harder than it has to. This is why 8 glasses of water a day is a good goal to have. If we have a normal day with regular water production and water loss, then the 8 glasses will be plenty. Actually, our kidneys will benefit from the extra water because it will aid in the elimination of daily toxins our bodies are exposed to. If it is a day where we spend some time outside or we hit the gym and workout, the¬†extra water will be used and restore that daily deficit.

Tips to follow for proper hydration:
1) drink 8 glasses of water everyday
2) DO NOT rely on alcohol for hydration (alcohol has a diuretic effect and dehydrates you)
3) If you spend more time outside, exercise or it is hot out, drink more water
4) Foods such as fruit contain mostly water so eat up!
5) if you are thirsty, drink more

*For more information on the benefits and importance of water, check out this book:
The New Optimum Nutrition Bible (revised and updated) by Patrick Holford: Founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition

If you have been following my blog, then you know the importance of protein. You also know by now that there are many ways you can consume protein i.e. solid food, meal replacements, shakes, bars, etc. But what happens when you have been making the same style and flavored shake for weeks on end? It becomes boring and you slowly stop drinking them. Here at Prototype Fitness, we know that it is more important to eat to live instead of live to eat. But that doesn’t mean everything we consume has to be plain Jane. Food can still have that “WOW” factor even though we need it to be healthy. So check out this new shake and give it a try. It will be a good change of pace and surely get those taste buds on high alert again!

Most nutrition experts recommend ground flaxseed as opposed to whole flaxseed because your body is able to digest it better. Whole flaxseed could potentially pass through your intestine undigested, meaning your body won’t receive all the nutrients possible from it. Flaxseed is a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed has been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels. As a result, this may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease.

Being the ingredient that all chocolate is made from, raw cacao contains naturally high levels of antioxidants and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Cacao is one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium, it is high in iron and possesses many other essential minerals in significant quantities. Being that this food tastes great, has awesome health benefits and can liven up any food, this makes for a great addition to any meal.

Whey Protein
The most common type of protein is whey protein. Whey protein is considered a fast digesting protein and therefore gets quickly absorbed into your body. That makes it the ideal protein to consume post workout. It is also a great addition to your “snack” shakes like this one. Whey helps promote not only muscle-building but also reduces muscle breakdown while giving your body a steady supply of protein. After an intense workout, your muscles will be tired and fatigued and needing to recover in order to grow and strengthen. With the addition of whey in your shake, it will increase your body’s ability to recover thus helping you get back to the gym quicker.

Peanut Butter
Peanut butter may be high in calories, but don’t let that scare you away. It is a very healthy food. In general, raw (natural) peanut butter is a better choice than refined peanut butter because it maintains many of the beneficial nutrients found in its original form. Also, processed peanut butters have added trans-fatty acids which can increase your risk of cardio-circulatory diseases. The caloric breakdown for peanut butter is roughly as follows: 71% calories from fats, 14% calories from carbohydrates, 15% calories from protein. You can see that peanut butter is a tremendous source of fat, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s take a look. Most of the fats contained are monounsaturated and have been shown to improve cholesterol by lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels. Peanut butter also contains polyunsaturated fats which help raise the “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Bananas have a number of benefits both in taste and health. I add one banana to this shake to give it a thicker consistency and to compliment the taste of the vanilla protein and cacao. Bananas consist of mainly sugars and fiber which make it a good source of immediate (and slightly prolonged) energy. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin. Serotonin can lead to an improved mood. Considered one of the best sources of potassium, the average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium. This can help prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. Another health benefit of bananas is they can aid in the replenishing of lost electrolytes and potassium should you become sick and suffer from diarrhea.

1 scoop protein
1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
2 tbsp whole ground flaxseed meal
1 oz organic raw cacao (powder or chips)
1 medium banana
5-7 oz water (less water = thicker, more shake-like)
1-3 cups ice (more ice = thicker consistency, more shake-like)

*Combine in blender, blend for 45-60 sec

Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size 1 glass
Calories 520
Total Fat 25.5
Carbohydrate 47
sugars 16
Protein 35.5

Hello everyone, thanks for checking out this week’s blog. I have a new series I want to share with you and this is it’s first installment. It’s called, “Ask the Man Who Knows”. I will be picking the brains of the¬†brightest minds¬†in the¬†fitness world¬†as well as¬†health¬†departments at various universities.¬†Each interview will¬†consist of¬†multiple common,¬†as well as, complex questions regarding¬†mental and physical strength,¬†nutrition and everything in between. For it’s debut, I went back to my beginnings, to the man that inspired me, challenged me and educated me.¬†My professor at Millikin University,¬†Trevor Bates.

Trevor Bates





Let’s get started!

Prototype Fitness РHey Trevor. First off, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to meet with me. I want to discuss some common health and wellness questions that the people of Prototype Fitness, and others in the fitness community, may have.

Prototype Fitness РFor those out there who may not know you or had the pleasure of sitting in on one of your seminars, can you give a little bit of information on your educational background and your current role in the world of health and wellness?
Trevor РYes of course. I received my BS from Millikin University, my MS from the University of Illinois. Currently, I am the Associate Dean of Health Sciences at Heidelberg University.

Topic #1: Mental Health
Prototype Fitness
– Well Trevor, here at Prototype Fitness, the goal is to live a healthy lifestyle consisting of being active, eating healthy and staying positive. How important is it to constantly improve all areas in one’s life? Does bettering all aspects mean a better quality of life?
Trevor – Beyond important, it is imperative.¬† All parts of life are connected. To try to separate the mind and body in the pursuit of improving one or the other is futile.¬† The quality of one’s life is arguably tied to the length and abilities that one has during their life.¬†To be healthy mentally and physically will surely affect both.¬† If someone is seeking to improve any aspect of their life, they should first recognize the interconnectedness of physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and address all of them together at a steady pace instead of one or another at different paces.

Prototype Fitness – Being positive and having a positive outlook on life can sometimes be extremely hard to do. What are some ways to help people stay positive even when faced with adversity? Is it as simple as telling yourself “be positive?”
Trevor – Reasonable and recognizable goal setting that encourages you to acknowledge every success, whether¬†great or small, has to be a part of one’s philosophy.¬† Set backs will surely happen and we all need to see the progress along the way to keep us motivated to reach that next goal.

TOPIC #2: Food and Nutrition
Prototype Fitness – Let’s take a look at the eating and nutrition part of this whole process. If you were to put a percentage on the importance of eating consistantly healthy, compared to exercising, what would that number be?
Trevor – 50%

Prototype Fitness¬†– Basically, you can’t have success with one or the other, it must be a total comittment between diet¬†and exercise?
Trevor – Absolutely.¬† I like to use examples and I would say it is like a marriage…it takes two committed partners.¬†One can work as hard as they want to, but if the other half is not contributing, the overall success is limited.

Prototype Fitness РGood example. That makes sense. I have another question about the importnace of nutrition. Would you agree that a person looking to improve their physique or loose weight or improve their health, would have to be very dedicated and discipline with their eating habits in order to reach their goals?
Trevor – Yes.¬† The old adage “…you are what you eat…” was no less true when it was first said than it is today.¬† A good example can be found with cars: a premium vehicle needs the right fuel for you to get the best performance and if you give it subpar fuel for too long, it will quit on you.

Prototype Fitness¬†– So far 2 for 2 with the examples.¬†Here is a question that is very common. “Eventhough I am a female, do I need to eat protein? I mean, I don’t want to get big and bulky”. So my question to you Trevor, is, do women need to consume protein while participating in a fitness program?
Trevor – Yes. Proteins are made from amino acids which are the building blocks of the toned muscle that women (and men) seek to have.¬† It would be like expecting spaghetti to be converted into muscle…it’s neither likely nor practical.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Well that’s good to hear. Protein is beneficial for everyone looking to maximize their efforts in the gym. What are a few benefits of protein¬†and what is it good for?
Trevor – Building muscle, improving digestive system function, serving as essential catalysts (starters) for many of the processes that the body does on a daily basis.

Prototype Fitness РNow when it comes to protein intake for women, how would you calculate or decide the proper amount? Is it the same for everyone?
Trevor – It is based on their body weight and goals of their overall fitness program.

Prototype Fitness РWe all know and understand that if you want to gain weight, you need to eat more. But the common misconception is that if they are trying to loose weight, that means eat less, and more specifically, not eat at all. Can you elaborate on the importance of eating food eventhough they may be involved in a weight loss program? Are they doing more harm then good?
Trevor – It is less about the amount and more about the content of what you eat.¬† The body is very protective of itself and it studies our habits.¬† If we do not give it fuel on a consistent basis it will go into self preservation mode.¬† This means that when we do eat, instead of using that food as fuel to make us stronger and to build on the exercises¬†we¬†engage in, it will store that food in the only form that it can store things indefinitely until the next time¬†we give it more substance… and of course, that is in the form of fat.¬† So the next time you consider not eating or think that it is in your best interest, think twice, because you can not outsmart your body.

Prototype Fitness РVery well put, thank you! Unfortunatly, that is something people struggle to understand.

TOPIC #3: Fitness
Prototype Fitness – Ok Trevor, nutrition is undoubtedly an important part of achieving any sort of a fitness goal, but let’s switch topics and focus on the exercise part of the equation.
Trevor – Sure thing,

Prototype Fitness РOne of the most common questions I get asked, actually comes in a series of 3. They are:
1) How many times a week do I have to workout
2) How long does each workout have to be
3) How long do I have to continue this process?
People tend to ask these questions as if fitness were a simple mathmatics problem. Can you better explain some of the variables involved in an exercise program that may require one person to spend more time, complete more workouts per week or participate in a longer program than someone else?
Trevor РGoals, goals goals.  It is all about where you are and where you want to be.  In between those two things are your goals.  Everyone will start at a different point as it relates to their initial level of fitness and we should be leery of people that will suggest a standard approach for everyone.

Prototype Fitness¬†– So would you agree that each individual workout program should be based on that person’s specific needs and abilities? Therefore being different than everyone else’s? There really isn’t a cookie cutter approach?
Trevor – Exactly.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Wait…are you saying that¬†people can’t just go to the grocery store, buy a workout magazine, try Jay Cutler’s 12 week contest prep program and end up looking like him? That won’t work?!
Trevor –¬†People¬†can do what ever¬†they like, but if you want something that works, then I would suggest against that approach.

Prototype Fitness¬†–¬†Just checking, thanks.¬†Here is another¬†topic that I would love for you to elaborate on. There are many benefits to resistance training such as increased bone density, increased muscle tone, decreased body fat, increased strength, etc. The list goes on and on, so why do many females shy away from weight training? Is it possible for a female to get (naturally) “big and bulky, like a bodybuilder”?
Trevor РYes and no.  Women produce only small amounts of the hormone testosterone that men produce in bulk.  With only producing small amounts, women have a lesser ability to gain and maintain large amounts of bulk with similar efforts of a male counterpart.

Prototype Fitness РBut will they recieve the same benefits from resistance training as men do?
Trevor РYes.  The benefits are uniform. The results however, will vary from person to person which has to do with something that we have no control over. And that is our genetic make up.

Prototype Fitness РOk Trevor, only a few more questions. You ready?
Trevor – Yes sir.

Prototype Fitness¬†– I would like to get your thoughts on bodyweight exercises. Say I am on the road and don’t have access to any dumbbells, barbells or squat racks to go through my normal strength training routine. I will be away for an extended period of time and therefore away from the gym. I do have some downtime at night and an adequate amount of space in my hotel room. Is it possible that I maintain the strength I have worked so hard for without lifting a single weight?
Trevor РI love this idea and this is the bulk of my exercise program.  I find that it is easier to maintain a program that offers me the flexibility to be active wherever I am and takes away my excuses of needing a facility or having to go out into the elements when the weather is unpleasant.

Prototype Fitness¬†–¬†Ok, that¬†should¬†give some people hope evernthough they travel. What are some¬†example¬†exercises¬†that would be good to do?
Trevor РI suggest a mixture of exercises that will target large muscle groups such as squats, push ups, dips, lunges, leg raises, etc.   You can travel with a thera-ball and/or a set of small dumbbells to make your basic body weight exercsie program even more involved no matter where you are.

Prototype Fitness¬†– Is cardio an option as well, eventhough I don’t have a treadmill?
Trevor – Yes, it’s all about the pace.¬† If you allow smaller amounts of rest and alternate body segments during your exercises session, you will create a cardiovascular challenge in addition to your weight training.¬† This is ideal for a person that wants to improve their overall fitness, improve tone, and work their whole body in a reasonable amount of time.

Prototype Fitness¬†– That’s perfect. Seems like there are significant benefits to exercising like that.

Prototype Fitness
– Ok Trevor, that’s all I have this time. I want to thank you for taking the time to help fellow Protoypers, fitness enthusiasts and myself. We can all benefit from learning from the best. I know I have.

Prototype Fitness РDo you have any  final words to of wisdom or thoughts you want to share?
Trevor РYes. Be consistent.  It is better to cut back than to cut out on your exercise program.  Plan ahead and find a way to be minimally active when you are away from home.  Be honest with yourself first and foremost because you know how hard you are working and what you are capable of doing.  Be supportive.  Find a workout partner even if they live in another city or state and support each other. It is much easier to be consistent and honest, if you have support.

I’d like to sincerely add, that Mr. Joe Albin is a premier professional in the fitness profession and I look to him for ideas and inspiration for my on personal health and wellness.

Prototype Fitness РThank you Trevor. Look forward to hearing more from you next time.

Protein ShakesIf you are like¬†the majority of fitness enthusiasts out there, then¬†you know the importance of protein. If you don’t know that protein is a must have while participating in a workout¬†program, then let me tell you why.¬†Protein helps with building muscle, losing fat, improving your health, or getting better for a sport. Even though¬†you can, and should,¬†receive your¬†protein¬†from foods such as chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, turkey and even dairy, you can also¬†take in protein through supplements¬†like shakes, bars, meal replacements and snacks.¬†They¬†are a¬†convenient and¬†easy¬†way to ensure you get enough protein¬†on a daily basis.

However, many of us are NOT getting the proper amount that we need to make our efforts in the gym worth it. So how can we make up the difference? It’s simple: protein shakes.¬†Let me make something clear though, protein shakes are considered supplements. That simply¬†means¬†they should be used¬†in addition to a well-rounded¬†eating plan, not the priority. There are plenty of choices out there as far as flavors, brands, types, before workout, after workout, before bed, etc. Let’s¬†cover the basics and see¬†how we can benefit from adding them into our routine.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein

First, and probably the most common type of protein, is whey protein. Whey protein is considered a fast digesting protein and therefore quickly absorbs into your body. That makes it the ideal protein to consume post workout. This will help promote not only muscle-building, but also reduce muscle breakdown. After an intense workout, your muscles will be tired and fatigued and needing to recover in order to grow and strengthen. With the addition of whey in your post workout shake, it will aid in the recovery process helping you to get back to the gym quicker. Being able to get to the gym sooner, you will get in more workouts, thus achieving your goals faster.

Casein ProteinThe next type of protein that you should consider is Casein protein. This protein is slower digesting and takes longer to be absorbed into your body. There are a couple of great times to take this. One example is between meals to help curb appetite ands well as feed your muscles. The other time would be before you got to bed in order to hold you over while you are sleeping and going without food.
For instance, say you’re¬†at the office and you have a very busy day¬†and¬†can’t step away for a minute¬†to heat up your chicken like you usually do. Instead of going hours on end until you get home to get your protein fix, you can have a¬†simple casein protein shake in 12-16 oz of¬†water. Remember, casein is slow digesting, so with this shake, you will be receiving a steady supply of protein to fuel your muscles and keep them growing.

*Interested in adding shakes to your daily routine? Try these shakes for a little variety:

1) Between Meals: Banana Creme Pie Protein Shake
-1 scoop Banana Creme Whey Protein
-1 scoop Banana Creme Casein Protein
-1 banana
-1/2 cup milk
-3-5 ice cubes
-water (amount depending on consistency you want)

2) Post Workout: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake
-2 scoops Double Rich Chocolate Whey Protein
-1 tbsp All Natural Peanut Butter
-1/2 cup milk
-3-5 ice cubes
-water (amount depending on consistency you want)

When you go to the grocery store, do you know where to start or what to get? Believe it or not, there is a method to successful grocery shopping. Here are a few easy tips that I recommend for a healthy trip to the store.

1) First thing, and just as important as¬†selecting healthy foods, is to make a shopping list. Go to the store prepared. If you don’t know why you are there or what you are there for, you will find yourself¬†wandering around and¬†most¬†likely¬†grabbing anything that looks appetising. Make sure you have¬†a plan of attack and stick to it just like you would stick to your workout routine.

2) DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, go to the store on an empty stomach. Again, you are more likely to deviate and throw anything in your cart with¬†all the smells and enticing¬†pictures of warm, doughy, sweet foods. Sometimes, it’s the foods that you wouldn’t normally get that¬†will drive you nuts! It is much harder to resist unhealthy food when you¬†are hungry. Don’t tempt¬†or test your willpower. Go there with a plan and stick to it.

3) When you finally get to the grocery store, start and stick to the perimeter of the store. Most grocery store layouts are similar so this tip can apply to most places. However, it is not a fail-proof system when you go the smaller, local stores. On the outside, or perimeter of the stores, you will find mostly better choices and alternatives to the normal processed, unhealthy selections.

4) This next tip is very easy; read the labels. If you are having a hard time knowing if what you are getting is a¬†healthy choice or not, then read the label. In the ingredient¬†section, see what that food is made up of. If you can’t pronounce¬†it or don’t¬†know what that ingredient is, then skip it. Very straight forward rule to follow. Over time this will become easier and easier, but to start it will take¬†a little work on your end.

5) Last, but not least, stretch out and be ready to squat down low and jump up high. Ok, maybe a warm up before shopping is a little much, but the idea is true. Make sure you look down low and up high. Most stores when they set up, will put the sweet, kid-popular or unhealthy, cheaper items in front of your face. Make sure you look up high and down low to see what the alternatives are for that food item.

When it comes to eating healthy, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. This healthy lifestyle is do-able if you make the effort to change. Like I said earlier, it will take a little bit of work and dedication on your part but in the end, all of¬†your work will pay off. Soon you will feel¬†energy you didn’t have before¬†and those jeans that somehow got smaller, will¬†seem to fit.

If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. That only means it’s a very common question. And it’s ok to¬†not know exactly what a healthy eating plan consists of. Most people think that means just eating less, or unfortunately, not at all. Don’t get me wrong,¬†eating less¬†can make a difference as long as it’s done in a safe and smart way. Initially in you quest for fitness, adjusting your caloric intake is a great way to get started. As far as eating though, it is more important to be concerned with¬†where those calories are coming from. And yes…you will still need to exercise. We all know the benefits of physical activity, regardless age, gender, or fitness level: more energy, better sleep, stronger bones, more muscle, less fat, etc. The list goes on and on.¬†We¬†also¬†know there are benefits of eating correctly: better functioning body, less fat, maintain healthy body weight, maintain active metabolism, etc.

So why don’t we do both, when we¬†know that the benefits are compounded when done together? Why can’t one be enough? Maybe it’s because we don’t know what “eating healthy” consists of. That’s ok because I am going to lay out a very straight forward¬†sample day of¬†eating that everyone can do. Also, you will learn about each meal and why you should consider this. Keep in mind that this is NOT a fad diet or something you do for a few weeks¬†but a lifestyle and something that you can continue to do.

Here is an example of how a workout day should look as far as possible foods that can be consumed.

-Wake Up-

1 cup of black coffee
30 min steady state cardio
WHY: Upon waking after 6-8 hours of sleep, your body has been without food and running low on energy. By drinking a black cup of coffee and then doing low intensity cardio, you are forcing your body to burn the extra calories that are¬†“hanging on”. Also, by doing cardio first thing, you are using fat as your main energy source. The coffee does two things 1) wake you up and give you a much-needed boost from the caffeine 2) starts your metabolism which has slowed down during the fast while you were asleep.

Meal #1:
(breakfast)exercise and eat right
-1 piece of fruit
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-2 whole eggs
WHY: By eating this well-rounded meal in the morning, you are ramping up your metabolism and feeding your muscles with protein to rebuild, carbs to fuel your activity throughout the day, and sugars from the fruit to restore your muscle glycogen.

Meal #2
(mid-morning snack)
-1-1.5 oz raw almonds
-1-2 scoops protein powder
WHY: This is just one example of what a healthy snack should look like. The protein shake helps feed your muscles and aids in the recovery and building process while the almonds help curb your appetite.

Meal #3
(lunch-lots of options here)
-2 cups green salad
-1/2 cup mixed diced veggies
-4-6 oz chicken breast
-1-1.5 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing
-8-12 oz water
WHY: With meal #3, you have a lot of options to choose from. This is a very simple meal that is easy to prepare OR order at any restaurant. The green salad and mixed veggies are a healthy choice and good source of nutrients that helps your body operate like a well oiled machine. The greens and veggies are a very small source of good carbs and fiber but both are needed. The chicken breast is a clean source of protein supplying your body with about 22-25 grams of protein.

Meal #4
(mid afternoon snack)
-1 piece of fruit
-2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
WHY: This is another option for a healthy snack. This is a great “go-to” meal that will feed your body the nutrients you need to keep your metabolism going and working towards a better, healthier you. With the peanut butter, you are receiving 7 grams of protein and mixing that with the sweet taste of fruit, you¬†have yourself a great tasting snack you don’t have to feel guilty about.

-Workout- Should include strength training and post workout cardio
Incline Treadmill WalkWHY: Incorporating both strength training and cardio helps elevate your metabolism for an extended period of time. Strength training can elevate your metabolism for 48-72 hours after you workout while cardio only about 24. By engaging  in post workout cardio, your body will burn more calories than cardio alone. When training, your body uses muscle glycogen (energy source) as fuel. When you are done with your workout and headed to cardio, you should be pretty low on muscle glycogen forcing your body to use up fat as an energy source.

Meal #5
-4-6 oz chicken breast (baked, grilled, etc)
-2 cups mixed veggies (cooked anyway you like)
-2 cups mixed green salad
-1-1.5 tbsp vinaigrette dressinghealthy dinner
-8-12 oz water
WHY: This is just one of the many types of dinners you can eat. The important thing to remember is where your calories are coming from. The chicken is very easy to prepare but you can also have a lean cut of red meat, fish, eggs or ground turkey. By mixing up your protein source, you are giving your body access to different nutritional make ups due to each food having a different nutritional value. At dinner you are going to want to stay away from complex carbs (depending on your goals of course) and going for a colorful variety of veggies.

This is just one easy to follow meal plan that keeps your body working and running efficiently as well as giving you enough energy to train hard. In the end, that’s what it is all about: eat right, train hard, live life!