Do athletes really need protein supplements?

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Protein supplements for athletes are literally sold by the bucketful. The marketing that accompanies them persistently promotes the attainment of buff biceps and six-pack abs.

In 2014, the protein supplement market in Australia was valued at A$545 million dollars, and is predicted to keep growing by about 10% per year. But do athletes really need them?

First, let’s consider what protein is and why we need it. Protein is an essential macronutrient in the diet. This means it provides energy to fuel the body but also has structural properties.

Protein is formed by smaller units called amino acids. Amino acids are used by the body to make muscle and other essential body proteins that are used in the immune system, and also to regulate many of the processes in the body.

Protein and amino acids indirectly affect performance by building muscle to improve performance. There is little evidence to suggest consuming extra protein directly aids physical performance in either endurance or resistance exercise.

Protein is fairly ubiquitous in the diet – it can come from animal sources (fish, meat, offal, eggs and dairy), and in smaller amounts from vegetable sources (cereals and legumes).

How much protein do we need?

Protein requirements for Australians are based on our life stage and gender. The estimated average requirement for an adult aged 19-70 is 0.68g per kilo of body weight for women and 0.75g per kilo of body weight for men. This means a 65kg woman will need about 45g of protein per day. An 80kg man will need about 60g a day.

Athletes need more protein as they are building and/or repairing muscle as well as connective tissue. Their requirements are two to three times the amount of protein as normal people, or between 1.4-2g per kilo of body weight per day.

This is a large range, allowing variation for the sort of sport they play. An elite endurance male may be in the lower range, as they have a smaller body frame and less musculature. A power sportsman, such as an AFL player, would require more.

Are we getting enough?

A 2011-12 survey found most Australians were consuming about double the recommended intake of protein per day. Almost all (99%) Australians met or surpassed the required intake.

Evidence also indicates most athletes consume enough, and often more, protein than they require.

But actually it’s the timing of consuming the protein that is most important to building muscle. After any sort of exercise or performance activity that results in muscle resistance, the muscle has to be rebuilt. For maximal synthesis to occur there needs to be adequate levels of amino acids circulating in the blood. It’s been determined that, to achieve this, around 20-30g of protein must be consumed within 1-4 hours after exercise.

This doesn’t mean you need to down a protein shake as soon as you leave the gym. If you’re having a meal within this time frame, you can consume the 20-30g in that meal (which most people would anyway). This amount of protein from animal sources includes enough of the critical amino acid, leucine, that is needed for muscle resynthesis.

This is the equivalent of 120g of beef or chicken, three whole eggs, 70g of reduced fat cheddar cheese or 600ml of skim milk. However if we look at plant-based foods, you would need the equivalent of seven slices of bread, 350g of kidney beans or lentils, or 900ml of soya milk.

So does anyone need protein supplements?

There may be situations where an athlete is travelling or can’t access a meal within a few hours of their training session. So they could either snack on one of the foods listed above, or take a protein supplement. Protein supplements will usually be lower in kilojoules, so if an athlete is on a kilojoule-restricted diet they’ll get more bang for their buck from a protein supplement.

But of course protein supplements don’t have the other nutrients that natural foods contain, such as iron and zinc from red meat, calcium from dairy, or omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

Additionally, one needs to weigh up the risk of potential contamination with banned substances like anabolic agents, stimulants, and diuretics. This may be intentional by the producer (as their product will appear to be more effective in building muscle) or accidental due to an error in the manufacturing process or using ingredients that may have been contaminated.

Analytical studies have also shown there may be contamination with the heavy metals lead, mercury and arsenic. The other consideration for the athlete is the impact on the hip pocket and environment.

Is there any harm in taking extra protein?

The question of “protein overdose” partially depends on exactly how much extra protein is being consumed. We can be reasonably confident levels up to 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day (so around 200g for a 75kg person) have no health risk. But there has always been concern higher levels of protein may accelerate underlying kidney disease (particularly if there is a family history) leading to a progressive loss of kidney capacity.

Athletes and weekend warriors should exercise caution if they’re considering intakes of protein beyond 2-3g per kilo of body weight per day. In these situations, athletes should seek advice from an accredited sports dietitian.

Article Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-athletes-protein-supplements.html

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7 Weight Loss Strategies That Actually Worked For Real People

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Losing weight is hard. Sometimes, the best form of inspiration is hearing what actually worked for other people with the same goal.

Recently, one Reddit user turned to the Internet to scope out this very question: “What are some weight loss diet and workout tips/tricks that actually work?”

The response wasn’t huge , but the thread was loaded with tips from people looking to dish out their own advice. The surprising part? Many of the tips they shared actually have a pretty strong backing in science. Here, seven weight loss strategies that helped them shed pounds—and why they might work for you, too.

“DRINK WATER INSTEAD OF SODA.”

It’s a simple swap, but an effective one. If you need to cut calories, nixing them in their empty, liquid form — like soda, booze, and sugary coffee drinks — will make a big impact.

Soda is loaded with sugar and potentially sketchy ingredients. For instance, one can of Coke contains 39 grams of added sugar (more than your daily recommended max of 36 grams) and 140 calories. Just one a day will save you nearly 1,000 extra calories a week.

Plus, drinking the sweet stuff might be upping your risk of some serious health conditions, too. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that people who sip sugary drinks like soda have 10 percent more visceral fat — the fat you can’t see hiding deep within your body around your organs — than people who avoid the stuff. This type of fat has been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

 

“MEAL PREP WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.”

This tip comes from the same user as above. If you have a hard time making healthy food choices in the moment, prepping meals ahead of time can save you from those impulsive not-so-great decisions.

When you have a hectic work schedule or kids to take care of, it’s a lot harder to turn down fast food or frozen meals you can heat up in 5 minutes. Taking a day or two out of your week to prep will ensure that your meals are full of muscle-building protein, filling fiber, and healthy carbs and fats — all essentials when you’re looking to drop pounds.

“INTERMITTENT FASTING. IT’S BEEN 8 WEEKS. I’VE LOST 18 POUNDS.”

More than one person in this Reddit thread gave a shout out to intermittent fasting, a weight-loss strategy that has surged in popularity. Basically, your eating is restricted during set times and you eat as normal — or even more than you would otherwise — during others.

In fact, intermittent fasting is just as effective for weight loss as daily calorie restriction, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In this experiment, people who fasted ate 25 percent of their daily calorie needs every other day, known as “fast days.” On their “feast days” they ate 125 percent of their calorie needs. So if you typically eat 2,000 calories a day, you’d eat 500 calories one day, followed by 2,500 the next.

Any diet can work — as long as you’re consistent and able to stick with it. “The people who can benefit from this type of alternate-day fasting are those who would rather feel like they aren’t restricting food intake 3.5 days out of the week,” Men’s Health nutrition advisor, Alan Aragon, M.S. told us. That means you find it hard to stick to a diet all the time, and you’d like the flexibility that feast days can give you.

“ALL YOU REALLY NEED IS DECENT MOVEMENT EVERY DAY.”

“I lost 40 kg a few years ago,” one user wrote — that’s the equivalent of 88 pounds. “The only thing that really worked for me was to do cardio every single day, just 30 min of good cardio a day.”

The user added: “All you really need is decent movement every day. Jumping jacks are really effective for weight loss, they helped me most.”

Cardio can feel like a chore (unless you try one of these awesome indoor cardio workouts), but according to a study in BMC Public Health, overweight people who included both cardio and weight training into their 12-week exercise program lost more body fat than those who stuck to just one or the other.

“COOK ALL YOUR OWN FOOD.”

“Don’t eat anything that comes out of a bag, box, or restaurant,” one user pointed out in the thread.

It’s a good point: One study from the U.K. found that people who ate more than five home-cooked meals per week were 28 percent less likely to have an overweight body mass index (defined as anything above 25) and 24 percent less likely to have excess body fat than those who ate less than three home-cooked meals per week.

That’s because people who whip up their own meals tend to use healthier prep methods, eat a larger variety of foods (like fruits and vegetables), and eat less processed foods, which tend to be higher in added sugar and calories, the researchers note. What’s more, cooking at home motivates you to add other healthy habits into your daily routine, like exercising regularly.

“INCLUDE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH EVERY MEAL.”

You’re probably not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only 12 percent of Americans eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit, while only 9 percent down a minimum of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day.

But filling your plate with fruits and vegetables is crucial if you want to eat more food while downing fewer calories. (Two cups of broccoli serves up only 109 calories. Compare that to just one cup of white pasta, which gets you around 200 or more.) Fruits and vegetables also contain lots of gut filling fiber, which will help keep your hunger at bay between meals.

Plus, packing in colorful produce can reduce your risk of chronic health issues, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even come cancers, says the CDC report.

Try this: Fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables, and split the other between quality carbs (like whole grains) and lean protein for a satisfying meal, Wesley Delbridge, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Men’s Health recently.

“KETO HAS WORKED FOR ME. BUT MOSTLY BECAUSE IT HELPS ME REDUCE MY CALORIE INTAKE.”
The ketogenic diet is all anyone can talk about lately—but it’s not exactly new. The keto model is similar to the Atkins diet of the early 2000s, but focuses more heavily on carb restriction. When you go keto, 60 to 80 percent of your diet is composed of fat, 10 to 15 percent comes from protein, and less than 10 percent is made up of carbs.

Here’s the thing: Keto is extremely restrictive, which automatically means it won’t work for everyone. But if you can stick with it, you should go into in a ketogenic state, which will theoretically force your body to run on fat rather than glucose (a type of sugar found in carbs), helping you burn fat by default.

Plus, as the Reddit user noted, you’re forced to eat a limited number of foods, which means you have less of any opportunity to rely on unhealthy options. Plus, you can’t really eat carbs, so you will immediately eliminate refined carbs, like sugar cereals and packaged snacks, which can help you reduce your calories.

ALISA HRUSTIC

Article Source: https://www.menshealth.com/weight-loss/reddit-weight-loss-tips-that-work

 

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5 Tips for Preventing Sports-Related Injuries

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Many people are heading outdoors to ramp up their exercise programs. But before you or your young athlete start playing, it’s important to learn how you can prevent sports-related injuries.

“Sports injuries generally occur for two different reasons: trauma and overuse,” says Dr. Andrew Cosgarea, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert. “And while traumatic sports injuries are usually obvious, dramatic scenes, like when we see a player fall down clutching their knee,” continues Cosgarea, who is also the head team physician for Johns Hopkins University Department of Athletics, “overuse injuries are actually more common.”

Overuse injuries often occur when the body is pushed past its current physical limits or level of conditioning — but poor technique and training errors, such as running excessive distances or performing inadequate warm-ups, frequently contribute. To help keep you or your young athlete from experiencing a sports-related injury, Cosgarea provides the following prevention tips:

1. Set realistic goals.

“I am a strong advocate for setting goals and working hard to achieve them,” Cosgarea says, “but it is crucial that our goals are realistic, achievable and sustainable.” Whether your goal is to swim more laps, lift a certain amount of weight or run a specific distance, set an obtainable goal and gradually work to improve.

2. Plan and prepare.

If you plan to begin exercising regularly or want to begin a new program, you should meet with your primary care provider first and discuss your options. Also, take the time to learn the proper techniques required for your sport or program. Working with a personal trainer or signing up for a class are often safe and enjoyable ways to start a new activity, Cosgarea suggests.

3. Warm up and cool down.

It is important to warm up before physical activity because research has shown that a heated muscle is less likely to be strained. To accomplish this, Cosgarea recommends some light walking or jogging before you start your exercise and then again afterward to help your muscles cool down slowly. Another important way to prevent injury is to increase your flexibility. This can be done by stretching before and after a workout, Cosgarea suggests, but it is best to do so once the body is already warm.

4. Take your time.

Don’t push yourself too hard too fast. Getting in shape or learning a new sport takes time. “We need to allow for adequate time to gradually increase training levels so that our bodies have time to adjust to the stresses on our bones, joints and muscles,” Cosgarea says. For instance, when running, increase mileage gradually and give yourself plenty of time to recover between workouts.

5. Listen to your body.

Adjust your activities if your body is showing signs of too much stress. “While a mild and short-lived muscle ache is generally considered ‘good pain,’ pain in your joints is not normal and is a sign that you should cut back,” Cosgarea warns.

 

Article Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/prevention/five-tips-for-preventing-sports-related-injuries?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Ortho&utm_term=5TipsPreventingSportsInjuries&utm_content=ArticlesAndAnswers

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Benefits Of Swearing: Saying Curse Words Makes You Stronger, Numb To Pain, And More Trustworthy

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We may have been taught to keep swearing to a minimum, as it’s seen as rude and vulgar, new research suggests that in certain situations, swearing may be advantageous. The research found that swearing out loud can actually make you stronger, adding to the many surprising benefits of this offensive behavior.

The study, presented at this year’s annual conference of The British Psychological Society, found that volunteers were able to produce more power and had a stronger handgrip when they swore out loud. However, closer examination revealed that swearing did not have an effect on heart rate, suggesting another reason for this sudden increase in strength.

“So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered,” explained study author Dr. Richard Stephens in a statement. “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”

For their study, Stephens and his team from Keele University and Long Island University Brooklyn had 29 volunteers complete a test of anaerobic power, a measurement of physical effort during a short period of time where an individual will go “all out.” For the study, the anaerobic exercise consisted of a short intense period on an exercise bike. Volunteers did this bike exercise both after swearing and after not swearing to measure differences in strength. In a second experiment, 52 volunteers were asked to complete an  isometric handgrip test, a physiological test done to increase arterial pressure. Results revealed that swearing resulted in more strength in both experiments.

Surprisingly, increased strength is not the only benefit of swearing, as past research has also shown that swearing helps to reduce pain. According to a 2009 study, swearing triggered higher aggression and a “fight-or-flight” response. In turn, this led to increased heart rate and higher adrenaline, both of which help to numb pain. Although it’s not clear why some words have more physical power than others, researchers suggest it has to do with the high level of emotion tied to swear words. These emotional ties have a stronger physical reaction than other words in your vernacular.

Honesty is also another positive side effect of swearing, as research suggests that people are more trusting of speakers that use more swear words in their speech. According to The Independent, this may be tied to speech patterns. Liars are more likely to use third-person pronouns and negative words in their speech, where honest individuals prefer profanity. This may be because swearing is used to express yourself, and those who swear more regularly are thought to portray their true selves to others.

Source: Stephens R, Spierer D, Katehis E.Effect of swearing on strength and power performance. British Psychological Society annual conference. 2017

 

Written By: Dana Dovey

Article Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-swearing-saying-curse-words-makes-you-stronger-numb-pain-and-more-416927

 

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Fitness Tips for 50-Plus

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Upping your daily activity level at 50-plus is more manageable when you follow these fitness tips from a Johns Hopkins fitness expert.

One of the most important reasons to exercise at 50-plus is to keep your weight in check.

By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, says Johns Hopkins sports medicine expert Raj Deu, M.D.

Inspired to break a sweat? Before you grab your water bottle and gear bag, keep these six fitness tips in mind.

DOs

1. Strength train.

Muscular strength declines with age, so strength training is key for maintaining strength and preventing muscle atrophy at 50-plus. “Strength training has also been shown to help with bone density,” says Deu, “and that decreases the rate at which bone breaks down, which is important for reducing the risk of fractures later in life.”

2. Get an exercise partner.

“If you work out with a friend or your spouse, you generally tend to exercise more regularly because you have that person to coax you,” says Deu. “Even owning a dog will get you out and walking.”

3. Stretch regularly.

As our bodies age, our tendons get thicker and less elastic. Stretching can counter this and help prevent injury at 50-plus. Remember to stretch slowly; do not force it by bouncing.

DON’Ts

1. Start exercising without your doctor’s blessing.

Consult your health care provider if you have underlying health risks such as a cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disease. Inactive individuals who are healthy do not need an evaluation but are recommended to start slow and progress gradually. If you have any concerns or are unsure how to start, consult your physician, says Deu.

2. Sign up for an expensive gym.

If you’re on a budget, you can get plenty of exercise at home. Great fitness tips: Moderate time spent walking, gardening and even vacuuming all count as exercise. A modest investment in dumbbells and exercise bands will also allow you to do strength training at home.

3. Focus on cardio only.

While cardiovascular exercise is important, so is stretching and strength training (see the “Dos” for details) as well as core strength and balance exercises. Deu likes tai chi, Pilates and certain kinds of yoga for working on balance and core strength at 50-plus, which will help support and protect your spine and may help prevent a future fall.

TRY IT
Sit Less, Move More

Knowing you should exercise more can feel daunting, especially when you’re just starting out. Some people don’t feel they can fit in the full amount of physical activity their doctor recommends—and they give up on moving altogether. “But those recommendations are just guidelines,” says Johns Hopkins expert Kerry Stewart, Ed.D. “It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Try to focus on being less sedentary rather than more active. For example, you do not have to reach the goal of 10,000 steps per day in a week, but this should be the goal to reach over two to three months.”

Research shows that sitting still for long periods of time can cancel out the effects of 30 minutes of exercise. “There’s good evidence that being too sedentary, such as prolonged time in front of a TV, is perhaps as harmful to your heart health as not formally exercising at all,” Stewart says. Prolonged inactivity is linked to obesity and diabetes, even in people who are active for part of the day.

Yes, daily exercise is important, but so is regularly getting up and just moving around throughout the day, Stewart says.

Article Source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/fitness-tips-for-50-plus?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Health&utm_term=FitnessTipsfor50-Plus&utm_content=HealthyAging

 

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Running Strengthens the Spine

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For the first time, research has shown that a particular exercise is good for the discs in the spine.

In the first human study of its kind, researchers have shown evidence that a specific physical exercise is beneficial for the discs in our spines. The study named “Running exercise strengthens the intervertebral disc” has been published in the journal Scientific Reports, and according to lead author Professor Daniel Belavy, it is considered a milestone in the spinal research field.

Conventional thinking among scientists was that spinal discs were not able to respond to any kind of exercises due to the slow metabolism of intervertebral disks. The new study is giving hope that physical activity can be prescribed as a remedy to strengthen spinal disks. This is especially true for younger people as exercise can be used as a preventative measure or treatment of back problems throughout one’s life.

Over the last decade, research has shown that the components of spinal disks are repaired very slowly which led researchers to expect that either drugs or exercise would have no real impact over a person’s lifetime. This study has shown that regular exercise including walking, running, or jogging does strengthen discs in the spine and improve overall back health.

According to Professor Belavy, their study did not find any greater benefit from more rigorous exercise like long distance running, and that regular walking may be just as beneficial to the spine. Furthermore, he suggests people should avoid long static postures while sitting or standing, and taking every opportunity to exercise during work time breaks such as choosing the stairs instead of the elevator.

The new study has challenged the notion that spinal disks take too long to respond to exercise. This has provided a starting point to develop effective physical activity protocols for strengthening intervertebral discs thus promoting a healthy back throughout our lives.

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/exercise-strengthens-spine-disc/

 

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Exercise can boost brain power, prevent heart damage

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Looking for a magic elixir for health? There’s more evidence exercise may be it, improving thinking skills in older adults and protecting against heart damage in obese people, two separate studies published Monday show.

“Exercise has many, many benefits. … I don’t know that we fully understand why it has so many beneficial effects for so many organs and systems,” Dr. Roberta Florido, a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, told TODAY, as she listed some of the other known benefits, including improving depression, lowering blood pressure and strengthening muscles.

“We should do a better job of telling our patients to exercise,” she added.

In the first paper, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers at the University of Canberra in Australia analyzed 39 previous studies looking into the effect of exercise on thinking skills in people over 50. That included things like memory, alertness and the ability to quickly process information.

They found physical activity improved all of those skills regardless of a person’s cognitive status.

The key was 45-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per session “on as many days of the week as feasible.” A combination of both aerobic exercise and resistance training worked best.

Each type of exercise seemed to have different effects on the factors responsible for the growth of new neurons and blood vessels in the brain, said co-author Joe Northey, a PhD student at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise.

Tai chi was also helpful, though more evidence is needed to confirm this effect, the researchers note.

“Age is a risk factor no one can avoid when it comes to cognitive decline,” Northey said. “As our study shows, undertaking just a few days of moderate intensity aerobic and resistance training during the week is a simple and effective way to improve the way your brain functions.

Written By: A. Pawlowski

Article Source: http://www.today.com/health/exercise-can-boost-thinking-skills-protect-against-heart-damage-t110740

 

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