Our Blog - 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition

Protein Shakes After a Workout

Protein shakes are often associated with bodybuilding and elite athletes. The reality is that most people don’t consume nearly enough protein or carbohydrate, if at all, after a strenuous workout. There is so much confusion surrounding the question of whether or not to “eat back” exercise calories. In the grand scheme of things, you want to be able to utilize physical activity to create a deficit conducive to a healthy, consistent weight loss. You shouldn’t necessarily consume more because you exercised, but you should consume smart.

After a workout, your body is broken down and depleted of many essential nutrients. The two that require the most attention after any type of prolonged or strenuous physical activity are carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy before we get into our fat stores. They drive all of the internal processes that allow us to function and perform on a daily basis. Proteins or amino acids make up the tools necessary to respond, repair, and adapt. They’re used as a building block for muscle tissue. The two go hand in hand. Your body needs the carbs for energy to repair your damaged muscles and the protein to carry out the repairs. If you want to get stronger, boost your metabolism, and generally feel less fatigued, it’s extremely important that you consume both within 30 minutes. This can be a challenge. Whole food choices like your meats, grains, nuts, etc. take far too long to break down. Any added fats will slow down the process even more (fats are metabolized very slowly). On the other hand, protein shakes are already in liquid form and are therefore metabolized and utilized more readily. Many protein powders actually already contain an optimal ratio of carbs to protein.

If you don’t take in the fuel you need to replenish your depleted energy stores, your body can actually begin to break down muscle tissue in order to make more carbohydrates. This can be extremely debilitating and frustrating over time.

I wish there was a simple equation that could tell you how many calories to consume based on the intensity level and overall burn of your workout. In a way, it doesn’t matter as much as you would think. Immediately following a workout, your body is in an extremely anabolic state. This means that you’re burning significantly more calories than you would at normal resting times. It can be scary to workout, see a large burn, and then seemingly take away some of your hard work. Rest assured, it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t always boil down to the numbers. If it was all numbers all the time, it would be much easier to lose the weight! Protein shakes are your friend. Like anything else, consume in moderation!

Changing the way you eat…you can do it too!

Everyone’s conception of what it means to be healthy is slightly different. The first step in making an effective dietary change is to assess the situation. What are you missing? Are you actually looking at the big picture? it’s one thing to eat healthy, ‘low calorie’ foods. But are they the right ones? How do you know? You look at the ingredients. You learn how to read a food label. You begin to identify key words, vital nutrients, and differentiate the good choices from the bad. If you don’t know what something is, look it up! How else will you learn?

Take a look at this diary

What do you see? 

  1. Protein and fiber in every meal
  2. 22 entries for just 1,200 calories. That’s roughly 55 calories per item!
  3. 95% of the foods are all-natural, untouched.
  4. There are no excess calories to speak of. The largest meal is breakfast at 325.
  5. Every one of those meals/snacks could be prepared in under 5 minutes.

How does your diary stack up? Don’t over-complicate things. Take the time to assess the situation and identify simple substitutions to help eliminate those overly processed foods. Work to create a balance throughout the day. Start heavy and end light. Look for protein & fiber (natural) when you can. Finally, hit all of your major food groups! Simple is best… but only when you aren’t eating your meals out of a BOX!

Creating an effective balance by eating fruits & vegetables

This journal entry stemmed from a conversation about making effective dietary changes without placing too many limits. For a lot of people, the problems arise when their are disruptions in the normal day. Sometimes, it just takes an hour or two to sit down, identify potential inconsistencies and work around them. By keeping protein sources and snacks with you at all times, you can prevent long lapses in your day and intense bouts of hunger, all while keeping your calorie count down. If you’re hungry, EAT! …but only if you’ve worked on a plan and have developed some sense of control.

I counted somewhere near 20 fruits and veges on here! Every little bit counts, it can be done!

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Lots of substance!

See how much you can actually eat without breaking the bank! Notice the nice blend of simple and complex carbohydrates in the morning, along with some much needed protein. *Ignore the miscalculation on the first item!

Next, check out the portion control. It’s extreme and somewhat intimidating, but it’s effective. This individual took the time to input each and every food item very meticulously. This shows commitment, dedication, and the ability to take the knowledge and (hopefully) begin to make a direct and personal application of that knowledge. The most successful individuals are those who begin to take this experience to the next level. Only we know what’s happening in our bodies – how we feel, how we’re responding to certain foods, etc. Only we can draw these connections. If we don’t learn and begin to take ownership, we can never truly be successful.

Finally, take a look at the creativity. What about that day screams DIET to you?

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The 5 Best Ways to Lose Weight

Are any of you counting calories and doing your cardio and still not seeing the weight loss results you want? Justin has most likely told you all of these already, but just in case you need a reminder, here’s a really useful video that will count down the top five ways to lose weight: