Protein Powder 101

I used to think that protein powders were meant for body builders or those trying to bulk. I didn’t think I really needed one since my goal is to gain lean muscle and improve my cardiovascular fitness. However, when I started to track my protein intake per day, I realized that I was not getting enough protein. How much protein is enough? Well that can probably be its own separate post, but I like to go by 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass as a daily guide.

The first time I walked into the nutrition shop, I felt completely overwhelmed! The stacks of massive cases of powders, supplements, bars and products was a lot to take in. I had no idea where to begin. There are a lot of different powders out there, so I decided to go back home and do some research first. Here is a quick explanation of the different types of protein powders:

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Mud Run/ Spartan Race Guide: How to be race day ready

You have signed up for a race, trained hard and now you are approaching race day. Planning out food and workouts the week leading up to the race can be challenging. The goal is to have peak energy and strength on race day and be as prepared as possible. I completed a spartan race about 2 weeks ago. This is a guide to how I got race-day ready, as well as tips and photos from my experience!

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How I trained for my first Obstacle Course Race

Last weekend I completed a Reebok Spartan Sprint in Charlotte, NC. There are three different types of spartan races. The Sprint is 3-5 miles in length and has 20-24 obstacles throughout the course. The Super is 9-11 miles with 25-28 obstacles and the Beast is 12+ miles and 30+ obstacles. Since this was my first obstacles course race and I am not much of an endurance runner, I stuck with the sprint. For this post, I am going to focus on what I did to train for the race. My race experiences and tips for race day will come later 🙂

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Weekly Workouts + Happy St Patty’s Day

Happy St. Patricks Day! I remembered it was St. Patricks day this morning as I was getting ready. I don’t ever do anything to celebrate, but I figured I would at least change out of my all-black outfit and put something green on.

Over the weekend, my boyfriend Shan and I went to our first Charlotte Hornets basketball game. The basketball game fell on the same night as  Charlotte’s St. Patricks Day Pub crawl…and holy cow! We did not know what we were walking into. The pub crawl was huge and there were people everywhere (apparently 20,000 people participated). By the time we got uptown, the crawl had been going strong for a couple of hours. So everyone had a dazed look in their eye. It did look like fun, but I was happy that we were heading to the basketball game. The hornets played great, beating the Houston Rockets 125-109.

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Finding the Perfect Exercise Intensity for You

Exercise intensity is the most influential aspect of a workout. It impacts how many calories are burned, how much blood is delivered to muscles, the amount of CO2 removed and what the body uses as its primary fuel source. All that basically means is that the body responds and adapts to the demands placed upon it during exercise.Its important to understand what exercise intensity matches your goals in order to see the results you want. Whether burning fat, strengthening the cardiovascular system or increasing performance is the goal, there is an appropriate intensity to match each.

Lil guy running

Now lets back up and spell everything out.

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Life Lately + Weekly Workouts

This marks my third week as an intern at Carolinas Medical center. I am finishing up my graduate degree in Exercise Physiology through Eastern Michigan University. Since I moved to Charlotte NC over the summer, I found my internship down here. I am working in cardiac rehabilitation and I really like it so far. It’s such a relief that I am enjoying the work and picking up things quickly. The pre-graduation excitement/ nerves are starting to hit me. I am thrilled to be graduating, yet slightly terrified because now I really have to put my big girl pants on and enter the real world.

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The 5 Puzzle Pieces of Fitness

So what makes someone physically fit and healthy? Of course lifestyle choices, diet and exercise are things that influence our fitness and overall health. But when thinking about what makes someone physically fit, what comes to mind? Being strong, energized, lean and confident are a few that come to my mind. There are 5 components of physical fitness and its important to train each part in order to increase performance or reach goals. Can you name all five?

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Weekly Workouts

I have been keeping a fitness log since September of last year (so about 5 months). I started tracking my exercise because I signed up for my first Reebok Spartan race! With something specific to train for, I have been much more motivated to keep up with my workouts. Having a goal makes such a big difference. It pushes you on the days your really not feeling it and its something to look forward to. My race date is in April, so I still have plenty of work to do.

When I track my workouts, I include the following:rpe-scale.gif

  • Main activity (HITT, yoga, running, weight training, etc) & duration
  • Main muscle groups targeted
  • RPE- rate of perceived exertion, which is a fancy way of stating how hard I worked. I use the Borg 6-20 scale.
  • What was most challenging
  • Any other notes- how I felt, if anything come up mentally, how sore I feel or just anything else I feel like noting.

 

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The real “secret” to weight loss

Understanding Weight Loss: Back to Basic AlgebraNike Math.jpg

Who knew that the key to understanding weight loss is to go back to 8th grade algebra? I know your probably thinking that weight loss is hard enough and now Im supposed to do math…I’m not having it. BUT- having this knowledge is so powerful and will allow you to understand the basic science behind weight loss. We have all heard that the real key to weight loss is diet and exercise, and guess what, thats right! It boils down to a caloric balance in the body. We must burn more calories then we eat in order to create a negative caloric balance. A negative caloric balance = weight loss. On the other hand, when we eat more calories then we expend, weight gain occurs, due to a positive caloric balance.
So how do we know how many calories we are burning? This is where the math comes in. Continue reading