Is Protein Powder Crucial for Weight Training?

Does Protein Powder Help Fitness?

Do we need protein?
Is protein crucial to fitness?

A common question many beginners have is “Do I need to buy protein shakes?” Advertising has drilled into our head that protein shakes are crucial to fitness. The truth is that you don’t “need” protein shakes.

Lets take a look at what protein powder consists of. Protein powder usually consists of whey protein which is a common protein found in milk. Despite popular belief, whey protein will not damage your liver of kidneys, but can make existing issues worse. For a healthy individual, protein powder will not harm you or make you more “aggressive”.

Many beginners think of protein powder as the Ambrosia of the lifting gods, something that will bestow upon them unreal power in the gym. But in reality protein powder is exactly what it is: Protein. That’s all it is; it will not do anything besides help fulfill your protein macronutrient requirement. So when should you take protein powder?

Its recommended for active athletes that you get 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight(2.2 Grams / Kg). Sometimes active people do not reach this requirement and their performance suffers because of it. This is where protein powders can be helpful. Protein powder is relatively cheap and has an excellent price to gram ratio. Protein powder is also very easily consumed as a drink or as a chocolate bar. A serving of whey protein can have the same amount of protein as three fast food hamburgers. Track your macronutrients throughout the day and see if your deficient in protein. If your not getting enough protein, buy some protein powder and take enough servings to make up for the difference.

Here’s a list of the best protein powders and their effectiveness(grams per serving).

Optimum Nutrition Whey

  • Has 27 Flavors, 24 grams per serving

Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey

  • 25 grams per serving

Body Fortress Whey Protein

  • 60 grams per serving (however one serving is two scoops, while the others are one)

EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder

  • 26 grams per serving

BSN SYNTHIA-6 Protein Powder

  • 22 grams per serving


Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Gluten Free

  • 21 grams per serving

CLIF Builder’s Protein

  • 20 grams per serving

 

Five Supplements That Will Drastically Improve Your Sleep

Supplements that help you get a better night’s rest

Sleep Hynogram shwoing the stages of sleep, by RazerM
Sleep Hynogram showing the stages of sleep, by RazerM

Sleep is a crucial part of fitness. Lack of sleep will decrease your level of strength and negatively affect your fitness level. While the amount of sleep is important, so is sleep quality. Sleep has many complex stages, divided into the REM and NREM stages of sleep. We took a look at five different supplements that will help improve your sleep quality.

Note: Remember to consult your doctor before taking any supplements; read our Disclaimer for more information. Remember to not MIX compounds!

    1. Melatonin

Melatonin is often used to solve insomnia and will help those who have trouble sleeping at night. Although melatonin is useful for reducing sleep latency, there is not strong evidence that melatonin will increase sleep quality. Studies showed that 3mg of melatonin drastically reduced the time it took to fall asleep. Melatonin is relatively cheap, at $0.03/3 mg count on Amazon.

2. Glycine

Glycine is useful for people who struggle with getting quality sleep. 3 mg of glycine before going to sleep has been shown to improve sleep quality. Participants in a sleep study reported feeling much more rested and energetic after sleeping with glycine. Glycine is a bit more expensive than melatonin. The lowest price we found was $0.05/2.5 mg count on Amazon.

3. Kava

Kava was found to greatly increase sleep quality in double blind studies. Those who took 200 mg of Kava extract over the course of 4 weeks had less insomnia and better sleep quality than those who received placebo. Kava can be taken in the form of tea, powder, or as capsules. Because of this the price of Kava can vary greatly, ranging from $0.19/count for 200mg to $19 for 16 Tea bags.

Note: Kava interacts dangerously with other pharmaceuticals, do not mix it with other compounds!

4. ZMA

ZMA contains Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6 and is used by athletes as a recovery aid. Zinc, magnesium, and B6 are important to human body, and while most people get their proper dosage of zinc and B6, half don’t get the proper dosage for magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to increase sleep quality (but only in those with poor sleep quality), while zinc and B6 also have been shown to improve sleep quality overall. Despite many claims, ZMA will not increase free or bound testosterone. The cheapest option is Optimum Nutrition ZMA at $0.10/count.

5. Marijuana

Marijuana has been shown to increase sleep quality in a double blind study. Studies have shown that marijuana not only reduced sleep latency but also increased Stage 4 of the sleep cycle(deep sleep). However, the same study remarked that there was a reduction in REM sleep. Marijuana prices vary by region, but always remember to review local laws before doing illicit drugs.

Remember sleep is important to fitness! However, while supplements can help one get sleep, simple habits such as not looking at a screen before sleeping can also help.

Shopping Links (These were cheapest by Rating and $/count)

  1. Melatonin
  2. Glycine
  3. Kava capsules and Kava tea
  4. ZMA

References

  1. Schierenbeck, Thomas, Dieter Riemann, Mathias Berger, and Magdolna Hornyak. “Effect of Illicit Recreational Drugs upon Sleep: Cocaine, Ecstasy and Marijuana.” Sleep Medicine Reviews 12.5 (2008): 381-89. Web.
  2. J, Zajicek. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2003. Web. 13 July 2016.
  3. K, Held. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002. Web. 13 July 2016.
  4. Inagawa, Kentaro, Takenori Hiraoka, Tohru Kohda, Wataru Yamadera, and Michio Takahashi. “Subjective Effects of Glycine Ingestion before Bedtime on Sleep Quality.” Sleep and Biological Rhythms 4.1 (2006): 75-77. Web.
  5. D, Wheatley. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2001. Web. 13 July 2016.
  6. Inagawa, Kentaro, Takenori Hiraoka, Tohru Kohda, Wataru Yamadera, and Michio Takahashi. “Subjective Effects of Glycine Ingestion before Bedtime on Sleep Quality.” Sleep and Biological Rhythms 4.1 (2006): 75-77. Web.
  7. S, Lehrl. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2004. Web. 13 July 2016.

Why Water Can Make or Break a Diet

Why Water Can Make or Break a Diet

How Water Can Make or Break a Diet
How Water Can Make or Break a Diet

Water is an aspect of fitness that is too often glossed over. People will ramble on for hours about macros in their diets but completely ignore the most crucial part of a diet: water.

The reason why so many diets fail is because people simply don’t drink enough water. Water is essential to help your kidneys function properly. Drinking too little water leads to dehydration and mental fog, leading people to drop their diets complaining about feeling horrible. People usually eat less meals when they diet, causing them to not drink the water they usually drink with meals.

Drinking more water will help maintain the balance between your body’s fluids and help control your calories. Water is the only effective weight loss supplement, replacing calorie filled drinks like soda while making you feel full and refreshed. Water will help you feel energized throughout the day and will make you much healthier.

Personally, after drinking more water throughout the day (I carry a sports bottle with water around with me) I’ve found that not only do I feel more energized, but I’m more focused and I feel much fitter.

 

And that’s how water can help your diet in 60 seconds!

 

Citations

“How Much Water Do You Need? Can You Drink Too Much?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

“Why Drink More Water? See 6 Health Benefits of Water.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

 

Busting the Myth of Spot Fat Reduction

Busting the Myth of Spot Fat Reduction

Struggling with the tape measure ;( Spot Fat Reduction
Spot Fat Reduction

     “I’m doing sit ups to lose my belly fat” – Words many of us have heard many, many times. The myth that is spot fat reduction is the belief that you can burn fat away from a certain part of your body by “burning it off”. This mentality of  “I’ll work the fat away” leads people to doing 100 rep curl sets and dozen of sit ups to “burn” the fat away. The truth, as much as it may hurt, is that you cannot lose fat in a certain area of your body simply by working it more. As shown again and again by many and I mean MANY different studies, no matter how many times you curl a 5 pound weight or do sit ups on a yoga mat you cannot spot reduce fat. Well you may ask then, why is it that I have thin arms and a fat stomach? Or maybe fat legs and a cut abdomen? The reason is genetics. Fat is distributed unevenly on our bodies as determined by genetics. Perhaps you’re inclined to store more fat in your legs than your stomach. The only way to get a thinner stomach is to simply diet and lose fat over your ENTIRE body.

“Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths.” Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.