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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Working during mealtime hours? How to stay on track with Nutrition

Working in the service industry or in any job that requires you to work through mealtime hours without a real “lunch break” can make it really difficult to eat healthy. Your running around like crazy from from 4pm-11pm and surrounded by delicious food the entire time. Ugh. When blood sugar levels start to drop, its really tempting to drink soda or to eat the mozzarella sticks that were ordered by accident. However, snacking mindlessly throughout the shift does not really even satisfy you, and those calories add up. Then by the time the shift is over, your will be craving a carb-heavy meal and devour about anything.

So between a few sodas, mozzarella sticks, a couple soup samples and your actual meal, thats could be around 1200-1600 calories consumed. This seems nuts because you spent most of the night feeling hungry. Yikes!

So how do you work around this? I have worked in the service industry for 3 years and learning to eat healthy during work has definitely been a learning process. Here are five ways to help you stay on track:

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Tame that sweet tooth with these healthy treats

I don’t track my food on the reg, but I will from time to time to make sure I am on track with my nutrition. The first time I tracked my food using myfitnesspal, I was shocked at how much extra sugar I was eating. I don’t add a ton of sugar to things and I avoid processed foods, so I thought I was good. However, when you take a closer look, you realize that there is hidden sugar in almost everything. From yogurt to condiments, sugar is literally everywhere! You also have to account for natural sugar found in fruits. Although natural sugar is much better than the processed stuff, it’s still sugar. The USDA just recently updated the recommendation for sugar intake and it does not allow for much. See below:
Sugar Standard.jpg

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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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Meals for Prep: Spaghetti Squash, Chicken and Veg

Have you ever had spaghetti squash before? If not, you need to try it! Its a delicious and healthy alternative to pasta. The consistency is similar to rice noodles and it pairs well with anything you would cook with pasta.

I just started meal prepping at the beginning of the year and I have noticed that it makes a big difference in my eating patterns throughout the week. Not only do I save time, but I make healthy choices more consistently. I use my prepped meals as a quick “go-to” instead of stopping for take out or just snacking on random stuff until Im full. This week, my bf and I made a layered spaghetti squash. Its super easy and quite tasty. Here are the simple steps:

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Yoga, Art & a Live DJ…Sign me up!

There is definitely not a lack of yoga studios and events in Charlotte. I have absolutely loved trying new studios and going to different events since moving here last summer. I have been hopping around taking advantage of new student specials in order to find the perfect studio (annd to save some $$). The yoga presence in Charlotte is great and it has given me something to get involved in. I have also made some friends in the process, which has made Charlotte start to feel like home.

Last night I went to NC Yoga Bars “Balance to the Beat” event. NC Yoga bar is a “pop-up”studio in Charlotte. They hold classes at galleries, breweries, apartment complexes and for private parties. The vibe is really friendly and inviting, without any kind of studio intimidation. The event was held at the Advent Coworking Art Gallery. I got there early to have a look around and there were a ton of cool/unique pieces to check out before class.

Advent Coworking Art.jpg

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Macros, Macros, Macros!

If you are serious about seeing results from exercise, then you must pay attention to your macronutrients. Many people think that because they workout, they can eat whatever they want. Or that weight loss will happen by restricting calories without paying attention to specific nutrients. So wrong! The breakdown of substrates is so important in order to achieve your fitness goals. There are 6 nutrients that the body needs to function: carbohydrates, fats, protein, water, vitamins and minerals. The macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, protein and water. Vitamins and minerals are the micronutrients.

The American College of Sports medicine recommends the following macronutrient breakdown for a balanced diet: 45-65% of calories from carbohydrates, 20-35% of calories from fats and 10-35% of calories from proteins. Note that this is a general recommendation and your macronutrient breakdown will be individualized based on your body composition, activity level, exercise training and your goals. So where to start? Follow these steps to get an idea of how to breakdown YOUR macros to get the results you want!

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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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Whats the craze: health foods we’ve been hearing about lately

As someone who is invested in health and nutrition, I want to be aware of all the latest products that have major health benefits. There is so much hype in the fitness world about new foods, supplements and drinks. It can get overwhelming at times to decipher between the fads and quality products.

Just take the time to research and find whats best for you. Try new foods to get your own opinion and see what works. Even is your not into it, hey, you gave it a go! Be proud that you took a step to do something better for yourself. On the other hand, you could find your new go-to food that has tons of health benefits.

Four products that I have heard a lot about lately are apple cider vinegar, bone broth, coconut oil and ghee. I have outlined what each product is, the health benefits and how to incorporate them into your diet.

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