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  • Whey Protein and Sports Nutrition

    Whey protein has many benefits for sports nutrition, especially if you are training for a specific event, building muscle or losing fat. Here we discuss whey protein and whey protein powder in detail.
  • What's in Food? Just Calories, Carbs, Fat and Protein?

    When it comes to achieving a particular health and fitness goal, a very common mistake is to focus purely on carbohydrate, fat, protein and calories. These are macronutrients that are very important for your survival in large quantities (hence the name "macro"-nutrient).

    It is true that these specific macronutrients are very important when attempting to lose weight or build muscle. Fundamentally, you require a calorie deficit to lose weight. Conversely, you require a calorie overload to gain weight. Through careful analysis of these macronutrients, you can effectively create a calorie overload of deficit.

    We delve deep into the world of macronutrients in our free seven week course, Conquering Your Body.

    But what about micronutrients? "Micro"-nutrients, as the name suggests, are molecules that our body requires in small quantities. It should come as no surprise that these nutrients are vital for good health and normal functioning of the human body. Yet they can also play a vital role in fat oxidation (fat breakdown) and hypertrophy (muscle gain).

    What are micronutrients? This broad term does encompass vitamins and minerals and I am sure that you have heard the many benefits of consuming a vitamin and mineral rich diet (without going overboard of course).

    But that's not it! There are litterally hundreds of other micronutrients classified as "phytonutrients". They are not necessarily vitamins or minerals per se, but they do carry a range of vital functions within the human body. Phytonutrients have been shown to:

    • Prevent the onset of disease
    • Boost the immune system
    • Kill cancer cells
    • Serve as anti-oxidants
    • Repair DNA damage as a result of being exposed to toxins

    This week, we had an article published which does provide a really good overview of phytonutrients and I do recommend you have a read. The article is entitled "Phytonutrients: The Power of Plants". After reading this article, you'll know why fruits and vegetables are so important, no matter what your goal is!

  • Bodybuilding Supplements - The Essentials & Buying Information

    A number of our clients come to us seeking to build a substantial amount of muscle. When you're trying to build muscle, you are effectively undertaking a bodybuilding regime. So it is very common that I am asked what bodybuilding supplements are the more important ones to take as part of a muscle building nutritional programme, immediately before and after a workout.

    In my opinion, there are two absolutely essential bodybuilding supplements for pre-/post-workout supplementation:

    1. A high quality protein powder
    2. A high quality carbohydrate source

    Bodybuilding Supplements: Protein Powder

    Why is a high quality protein powder so important? A protein powder is going to provide your body with a high quality source of amino acids, which are required when synthesising new muscle tissue. Muscle synthesis will happen upon the completion of a workout, so it's really important to injest a fast-acting, high quality whey based protein powder prior to and immediately after your weights workout.

    I have blogged about protein powders before and here are a list of three high quality protein supplements that I recommend (and consequently our three best sellers):

    Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Protein Powder 4.7kg
    AST Sports Science VP2
    Dymatize Elite Whey 4.5kg

    Click on the links to find out more about purchasing information from our online store.

    Bodybuilding Supplements: Carbohydrate Source

    Many novices overlook the importance of a fast-acting carbohydrate source. However, in order for protein synthesis to occur, insulin must be present. As I'm sure you have heard before, insulin is secreted in the prescence of carbohydrates.

    The ingestion of x grams of a high glycemic index carbohydrate will have a far greater impact on the magnitude of insulin secreted immediately after ingestion relative to x grams of a low glycemic index carbohydrate source. Considering that protein uptake is most prevalent immediately following your workout, it is vital to consume some high GI carbohydrates immediately post-workout. There is also plenty of research to suggest that high GI carbs ingested immediately prior to your workout will faciliate hypertrophy also.

    So, what carbs? I generally recommend dextrose, which you can buy relatively inexpensively. We did however recently add a brand new product to our store that you can buy:

    Dymatize Flud Waxy Maize

    Waxy maize is one of those excellent pre-/post-workout bodybuilding supplements. It costs more than dextrose, but the addition of enzymes to facilitate digestion ensure more rapid carbohydrate uptake.

    Of course there are many benefits to other supplements, but these two are what I believe are the two essential bodybuilding supplements!

  • How to Choose The Best Protein Powder

    There are so many protein powders available to purchase it can be overwhelming if you are trying to find a powder that best suits your requirements!

    I remember when I first started exercising, I walked into a nutritional store and was utterly confused at all the choices that were available. I could buy a whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, a casein, soy, rice, pea, wheat, milk or egg based protein powder. Or, I could buy a protein powder which had a blend of a mix of ingredients. Where do you begin?!

    In this single article, I am not going to be able to tell you exactly what is the most suitable for you as your circumstances will be quite different to the next person's. However, I will be able to provide you with a general guide for one of the most common goals.

    Choosing a protein powder to build muscle is one of the most common predicaments. This is the number one reason why people purchase a typical protein powder supplement - to enhance muscle gain. But all protein powders are not created equal! There are some distinct advantages and disadvantages with various forms of proteins.

    The science strongly supports whey protein based protein powders to be the most effective at encouraging muscle synthesis (or gain). Whey protein (derived from milk) is a super-high quality protein that is quickly absorbed into the body, making it ideal for pre- and post-workout supplementation. Whey proteins typically fall into two categories:

    Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC): Which are quite fast absorbing proteins.

    Whey Protein Isolates (WPI): Which are even faster absorbing proteins due to further processing.

    WPI is obviously more expensive and is generally regarded as the most effective form of protein supplementation pre/post workout. However, a blend of WPI/WPC is a very effective mix that won't break the budget.

    Other proteins do have other uses:

    Casein proteins absorb slowly over approximately seven hours (will vary between individuals). So this is good when the body doesn't need a fast acting source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) - such as before or after a workout. Generally this is most useful prior to bed to provide a slow absorbing stream of protein throughout the night. Many protein blends also include casein for slow absorption throughout the day.

    Whole Milk and Egg based proteins are of quite high quality, yet will take hours to digest. These are commonly found in protein blends and can be very effective to be ingested during the day if you are unable to consume sufficient protein from food.

    Soy proteins are very poor in quality relative to milk derived (whey, casein) and egg derived proteins. If you are trying to build muscle, soy protein will yield significantly less results than higher quality proteins. However, they are the best quality available for people who have dietary limitations and cannot consume milk based products. Soy is much cheaper than milk based proteins.

    Grain and vegetable based proteins are very low quality and are very cheap. Unless you have a specific dietary recommendation, stay away from these products.

    If you are looking to purchase a protein powder, be sure to check out our supplement store!

  • Tips to Help Avoid the Flu

    Nobody likes getting the flu, but the World Health Organization estimates that between 5 and 15 percent of the population will contract the virus each year. Luckily, there are some things you can do to avoid becoming a part of those statistics. Here are some tips to avoid the flu.
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