September 2014

Oh Has a Protein Shake… He Must Know His Stuff!

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One of the most common questions I am asked by clients, and indeed the general public, in relation to nutrition is, “Do I need protein shakes in my diet?”

As with most subjects in nutrition, this a minefield! But as is my want, I am going to get my flack jacket on, strap up my helmet and delve deep into this topic…

Firstly, what are protein powders?

A supplement, usually in a powdered format, which contains a large quantity of concentrated protein.

What advantages do they provide?

As we know our body needs protein to help encourage muscle growth and allow our body to recover as best it can after exercise. However, sometimes when we are rushing about with life, it can prove difficult to get the right amount of protein through whole foods alone, so these supplements provide us with a quick and easy method to get a large portion of our daily protein intake into our system.


To get this protein into a concentrated powder, it means the source where the protein is being derived from (which could be eggs, milk, soy, rice and various other products), has to be heated at a very high temperature which denatures the protein. Then there is the process of the powders needing to taste good – if you have tried these powders before you’ll know that even the supposed ‘nice ones’ can still taste of ass! Hence why lots of chemicals are added to improve the flavour, such as sweeteners and even aspartame (which is a topic for another time). In some cases MSG can be found in these powers which is an extremely toxic additive which has been proven to have severe health side effects.

With many people now being ‘crazily’ involved in fitness brings along the fashion of the protein shake! You all know that friend who is always trying to put on ‘some size’ or ‘tone up’, but is constantly indulging in multiple protein shakes a day? Well tell that friend that all it’s doing is making them produce lots of ‘wind’ – shall we say?

The reason for this is down to the body having to work so hard to break down these protein powders ingested in the body… And did you know that what your body doesn’t absorb has to be dealt with by the kidneys, hence the protein shake overdose applies more pressure on your kidneys. Plus, the body, when consuming a large amount of protein, needs to also consume a balanced amount of In our serene restored historic Virginia estate, you’ll find the compassionate whole body treatment you need to recover from and begin to lead the happy, fulfilling life you deserve. fat (to protein ratio) to make sure the protein can be properly digested. This ratio can also save the body from other negative health effects, such as the ones your gassy gym buddy might be experiencing.

Thus myself, and the majority of us in the PT industry, preach you to stay away from highly processed or genetically modified foods. So why would you use some of these protein powders that have been highly refined to have a long shelf life? For example, when dieting or eating clean would you head straight to for the frozen lasagne or canned beans with sausages? NO, because these are also highly refined and processed with harmful chemicals… So treat your protein intake with the same respect!

My advice…

A substitute to these more refined proteins can be plant-based protein powders such as hemp or pea. These are manufactured with a significant amount less chemicals and are a considerable deal healthier for the body. Many of these proteins are organic and not genetically modified at all, double thumbs up! Due to the way plant-based powders are produced, they are a lot less processed and thus kept closer to their natural states – which keeps the nutrient quality. However, as these products generally have no or little flavouring, it will require a blender to add some fruit or vegetables to these powders to make them pass the taste test.

The stance I always take is that you should always try and get your nutrients through the means of whole foods. Their is no substitute for real food! Whole foods have a much higher nutritional value which will help the body function properly. And don’t forget, you don’t just need protein in your diet, you also need to get your fats, vitamin and minerals, carbs and amino acids from food too. At the end of the day, if you had to choose… What would it be a good, nutritious dense meal or a watered down protein with a nasty after taste?

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.



Eat, Sleep, Exercise Repeat – don't forget to chill!


In this modern, ever evolving era, growing numbers of people are finding it hard to stay stress free. Pressures from day to day activities such as your job, family, financial concerns and generally the modern society can cause greater levels of stress.

Can this have an affect on weight loss? Yes it can and I am going to explain why.

Now this is going to get a bit wordy here with a bit of jargon but I need to drop some knowledge bombs to help illustrate this. When the body is placed under physical and mental stress the adrenal glands release hormones to help deal with this stress placed on the body. The main hormone I would like to concentrate on, which is released, is increased levels of cortisol.

The reason why, is because cortisol helps to regulate the body’s metabolism especially metabolising carbs and fats and turning this into energy for the body. It also helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels and results in insulin release. All of the above leads to the body feeling hungry and makes us want to eat more. In addition, recent studies have shown that raised cortisol levels can lead to localised storing of fat and this online casino takes place in the ‘dreaded’ area for most people (round the tummy)! Not to mention all the links this has to heart disease and various other negative health effects.

So what does this mean? If we reduce stress levels, can it help with fat loss? Absolutely! How can we do this? Well, research proves that exercise decreases cortisol levels which, as you have read here, is necessary to get the body’s metabolism firing the way it needs to help regulate blood sugars. We also know that when we exercise the brain releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling throughout the brain and body. This also helps reduce stress and anxiety which, as we now, know helps with fat loss. See how important exercise is now?

So, as I am a bit of a nocturnal night owl from time to time, I feel slightly hypocritical saying this… But sleep can be very important to alleviate stress as well (but I exercise all the time so that’s why I can get away without it – remember do as I say not as I do!). Optimally you are looking to get 6-8 hours sleep a week. This 6-8 hour window has been shown to deliver the best results in fat loss, sleeping more than 8 hours can actually have the opposite affect! Hence why sleep is very important. This makes sense when you think about it… If you don’t get a good/enough sleep you wake up feeling lethargic and are more inclined to eat junk food. ‘Technically speaking’, sleep deprivation causes the problems in maintaining the chemicals leptin and ghrelin, which is to blame for an increase in appetite. I am telling you that by controlling something as simple as sleep, you can lose weight, c’mon thats a gimme!

All in all, surround yourself with good people, partake in hobbies and activities you enjoy. Relax and take the world for what it is, a game. Take pressure off yourself and only focus on things you can control in your life, and get a good night’s sleep. Remember pressure and stress is a thing that is created in your mind and only placed on you, BY YOU!

Drive for the dream, shoot for success.

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