Ladies Eat Your Protein

Last week I was working a demo for Betancourt Nutritional Supplements at a local gym where more than once I was asked by a female…

“Protein shake? I don’t what to get fat or too bulky!”

I was SHOCKED that there are still ladies out there that haven’t learned how important protein is to achieve our health and fitness goals.  Lose weight. Gain a booty. Less hungry throughout the day (once you get over your emotional tie to food that is). Protein helps with all of these.

Yes, if you eat ANYTHING in excess you will gain weight, but protein is not likely to be the problem. For most people it’s too many low quality carbs and fats along with not moving enough (enough is based off your body’s needs).

What is Protein?

If you Google it you will get this definition:

Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, collagen, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.¹

In layman’s terms, protein is (without getting too deep into the science) a bunch of amino acids joined together.  Amino acids are the building blocks of life that help our everyday functions.

There are 2 types of amino acids:

Essential amino acids, ones that our body can not make enough of

Non-essential amino acids, ones that our body can

protein jug

Kristy… Ok I know I should eat protein because my body needs it? But why does it need it? Where do I get it from? And how much?

Great questions! 🙂

We need to INGEST PROTEIN (eat or drink) for 2 reasons:

1. We need to get those Essential Amino Acids from somewhere.  Without them our body would not function, making every day life activities more difficult.

2. The body does not store protein as much as it does carbs and fats.

Once you ingest and digest protein, it enters the plasma pool of amino acids. (Think of this as your bank account).  But like your paycheck, it doesn’t stay in the bank for long.

Protein is used in:

-Cellular growth/ repair (from the muscles of your heart to your glutes)

-Producing hormones (hormone like glucagon which can help to control body fat. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down.  This causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for the body

– The creating or helping the functions of your body’s enzymes & antibodies

Where can I get protein from? 

To keep it simple the easiest way to get protein is to eat anything that comes from an animal.

-Meat

-Eggs

-Dairy

-Supplements like shakes (casein, whey, beef, and egg)

High Protein, Low carbs could save your life! :)
High Protein, Low carbs could save your life! 🙂

For people that are Vegan/ Vegetarian:

-Chick peas

-Hemp seeds

-Lentils

-Supplement shakes (Chickpea, Hemp, Sunflower)

* Soy is also a protein, but I highly recommend limiting your soy intake.

Yes, nuts/nut butters (like Peanut, almond, etc), cheese, and grains like quinoa do have protein, but they are not a complete protein and are more of a fat or carb.

How much should I eat? 

For a sedentary but healthy person  (someone that sits a lot and does not work out)  the minimum amount needed DAILY is .8g x kgs of body mass.  This amount in the MINIMUM that your body needs to replace the amount of protein turned over in that plasma pool in a day.

For an active and healthy person the recommendation is between 1.0-2.0g x kgs of body mass. (1lb = .45kgs about) to build and recover from your daily life and activities.

Kristy… I did the math… how am I going to get that many grams of protein in on a daily basis?

Some of the tips I give my clients:

1. Make sure you have some kind of protein source every time you eat.  Here’s a good starting point for the “everyday person”.  Think of a serving as the size of your palm.

B- Eggs

S- Nuts

L- Meat

S- Shake

D- Meat

2. Supplement with a protein shake. Most protein powders are between 15-36g per serving.  *If you are looking to lose weight watch the added sugar/carbs.  I like to keep my carbs lower in my shakes, but if you are looking to add weight you can go for one with added carbs.

If you have any other questions when it comes to how protein can help you lose, maintain or gain weight, email me at kristyleconte@gmail.com and I can help you with a meal plan.

Check out this blog about different protein supplements:

https://kristyleconte.com/category/supplements/

END NOTES:

¹ Google Search of Protein, 2015

² Precision Nutrition:  Flatt JP 1978; Tappy L, 1996; Blom WA et al., 2006; Latner JD, Schwartz M, 1999.

Being SMART and No weights needed

Happy new year everyone! With the year comes new goals. Most people have some tip of fitness goal they like to start the year off with. I love this time of year! Everyone is excited and ready to attack their (inserted goal). A couple of tips:

1. Be S.M.A.R.T – by this I mean your goals should be smart…
Specific– What do you want to achieve?

Measurement– Your goal doesn’t have to be weight lose, but can you measure the progress you are making towards your goal? (daily, weekly, monthly, year)

Attractive– Some people change the “A” to mean something different, but I like attractive because the goal should be something you really want… Even on snowy days, bad days, hard times, and when the cookies are in front of you.

Realistic– I know I will never be 5’6… But I can work on my posture to stand taller. When you set your goal set it high but make it something that (right now) you are able to be achieved.

Timely– When do you want to achieve this goal? (day, week, month, year)

The other thing to think of when it comes to your new goals is to pace yourself. It is important to start where you are, not where your ego thinks you are. Also, stop looking at everyone else’s paper… Your buddies is not you and you are not them so stop comparing your journey to theirs.

Now that I’ve giving you “the talk” here’s some fun things you can do in the gym or at home:

  • Always keep your stomach tight.
  • Focus on pulling with the hamstrings (back of your legs) by pushing your heels into the ground.
  • Keep your back straight (no arching or sagging)
  • Your knee should stay over your ankle.
  • Push back at the hips, BUT keep your chest up so you don’t fold forward
  • Only go as far as you can and come back in 1 motion.
  • Again, keep your core tight.  Think pulling your belly button to your spine.
  • Knees to chest is a modification, if that is to easy try the pike ones.

Be safe! Listen to your body! Have fun and wear a cape… Everything is much more fun in a cape!

Best wishes in 2015! Make it the Best Year Yet!

Supplement “Stocking Stuffers” Savings

It’s the season for GAINS! Oh sorry I mean GIVING!

Are you or do you have someone on your shopping list that has giving up the chocolate bar for Quest bar?  Well YOU ARE IN LUCK! 🙂 I have teamed up with Portland Nutrition Corner in South Portland to help save your holiday and your wallet!

Present my business card to the guys at PNC with 3 or more of these items below and get 10% off

AND 4 free bars (quest or victory).

Runs through new years! How great is that!!

With that said here are some of the Elves favorite supplements and brands to make your holidays Happy and LITE Weight… sorry I did it again.. I meant Bright. 🙂

archer

Dynamic Greens or Greens

raw greensGreens-Chocolate-9

Brand: Barlean’s or Garden of Life Chocolate

Why take them:

Most of us don’t get enough veggies in our diet daily, some groups suggest 9-11 servings which is about a cup.  This supplement has roughly 5 servings of those 9-11 servings.  Why do we need so many vegetables? Well besides the vitamins and minerals… they helps with with digestion.  This is extremely important in supporting your immunity and how your body functions and feels.  These greens are loaded with enzymes, probiotics and fiber to keep things moving!  If it keeps moving you keep moving!

Other great things from Greens:

A clean and healthy digestive system
• Increased energy levels
• Enhanced mental acuity
• Balanced pH in the body (another buzz word for this Detoxification) 🙂

Why did we pick this brand? It taste great as hot chocolate, mixed with milk, or with your protein powder.

FISH OIL / Omega 3’s

fish oilnodic 3

Without getting to deep in the science… I don’t want your eyes to glaze over… There are 2 ways to get your Omega 3s.

Vegetarians get omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from things like Flax seed.  (but for my vegetarian friends know that Humans aren’t great at converting this in to the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) which has had most of the benefits.)

Everyone still with me? Ok good!

The EPA and the DHA are what you should look for when you are taking fish oil.

Next is the source which the oil comes from.  The best fish oils come from small fish such as anchovies, mackerel and sardines in the deep, pure, cold waters of the North and South Atlantic Oceans and Pacific Ocean. Like with salmon, sourcing fish from these oceans ensures the oil is higher in quality than when it comes from a fish farm.

Some benefits of taking an Omega 3 supplement:

  • Reduced psychological distress
  • Improved brain development
  • Reduced symptoms of depression
  • Enhanced eye health
  • Reduced body weight (from overweight/obesity)
  • Increased skin health
  • Diabetes support
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Possible reduction in infant allergies if used during pregnancy
  • Possible reduction in chest pain (acute coronary syndrome)
  • Reduced age-related sight loss

Vitamin D

raw d3vegan d3

You may know we get Vitamin D from the sun… but when was the last time you were outside in the sun?  Some studies say that 20-30 minutes of mid-day sun on most of your skin produces 10,000 IU vitamin D.  Some people believe you can get the vitamin D you need from things like Milk…. well to get the amount of Vitamin D most people need you would have to drink around 40-50 glasses of milk a day! If you are like me you are inside,  wearing layers upon layers, and haven’t had milk in a while. It’s time for a supplement.

There are 2 types of Vitamin D (Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3) Medical science is leading physicians to recommend D3 as the preferred type of Vitamin D for optimal bone health, immune health and disease prevention.

Other things Vitamin D helps with

  • Healthy Colon & Digestion
  • Memory & Concentration
  • Breast & Prostate Health
  • Proper Cell Replication
  • Immune System

Multi Vitamins

womens multi mens multi

The body is an on going science experiment.  There are so many things that have to happen to make just your daily life happen. MOST, not all but MOST people don’t get the vitamins and mineral they need for optimal health.  Leading to fatigue, breaking down of your metabolic pathway, illness… so on. This is why we have multi vitamins.

Just like all these supplement it’s important to have a good quality multi vitamin.  Make sure you read the label to see what is in them before you buy.  That is what Chuck and Chris at PNC are great for!  They will help you pick the best ones for you and your healthy and fitness needs.

I am taking the Garden of Life brand.

Protein Powder

about time

Last, but not least… Protein Powder…. For those that workout regularly it’s goes hand and hand with daily coffee.  For me it goes in my coffee… Try it with iced coffee it’s a great pre-workout mix.

But Kristy I don’t want to “Make crazy Gains”… My answer to that is you are CRAZY! But if you aren’t into a routine workout, why should you use protein powder?  In short because again MOST people don’t get the amount of protein they need a daily to keep and develop lean body mass.  Even in your daily life, you the more lean body mass you have the easier/ more energy.

Other benefits to more protein in your diet:

  • Decreasing the loss of bone density associated with aging.
  • Weight loss by because whey protein seems to “stimulate two appetite-supressing hormones, CCK (cholecystokinin) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1)’. It also helps maintain glucose and insulin levels after later meals
  • Reductions in triglycerides in you LDL (your bad cholesterol)

BUT PLEASSEEEEE Look at what is in your Protein powder! Stay away from artificial sweeteners or additives.  Also, know what you want role you want your protein powder to take.  Is it to add protein to your diet or do you want your protein powder to be a replacement meal.

I like About Time Protein but it’s a very “clean” product with like added, (only about 4 ingredients).

  pnc

*Always consult with your medical doctor before starting any new nutrition supplements, to ensure they are safe to take for your medical needs.*

Abs.

Need I say more? Everyone like a good set of abs! So why not give them there own post! 🙂

 

Anatomy:

Rectus abdominis 

External Oblique

Internal Oblique

Transverse abdominis

 

What do they do… besides look great in a bathing suit?

They support the “trunk”. 

Their job- flexion (think sit up in bed) and rotate the spine (turning and reaching into the back seat for your rice cakes)

Also, helps in breathing and all bathroom habits. 

 

If you have ever done a workout with me you know I stress posture a lot! Because of this I add at least 3 different abdominal/ “core”/ “powerhouse” exercises into my clients and my own workouts.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO YOUR ABS.   Like any other muscle group it is important to keep the right length- tension ratio.  What does that mean?  In short… you want to make sure all your muscles are pulling/ supporting your bones and joints at the right tension to prevent injuries. (think the support cables of a bridge).

 

HERE ARE 3 OF MY FAVORITE ABDOMINAL EXERCISE

My #1 exercise is what I call the Mini reverse crunch…. why mini…. because once you get the muscles working the right way you can make the movement bigger…. YOU’RE LOW BACK SHOULD NOT HURT WHEN YOU DO ABS. AND YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT YOUR HANDS UNDER YOUR BUTT.  You’re back tends to hurt because you aren’t using your Transverse Abdominis.  The Transverse is the deepest muscle in your abdominal.  Most people have trouble activating this muscle (I call it the Bermuda triangle of the abs). Here’s how-

Step 1- Lay down and let your body just melt into the mat.  Make a mental note of what part of your body is touching the mat. 

example- my tailbone, ribs/ shoulders, and head.  I have a high arch in my back…. if your back touches that’s ok… but if it doesn’t, don’t force it down by moving your pelvic and lifting your tailbone off the group.

Step 2- Pull your belly button to your spine… don’t hold your breathe. I like to put my hand there to help my brain focus.

Step 3- This step will vary for different people.  But in the video I start in the advance position with both legs up. You may start will both legs down… and lift 1 up at a time…. like you’re marching.  Be careful not to pop or rock in your hips.

Step 4- You see I am only moving about 1-2″.  IF YOU ARE HOLDING YOUR TRANSVERSE TIGHT YOU WILL NOT NEED TO MOVE MORE THAN THAT.   If you aren’t it will be very easy (for your abs…. tough on your hip flexors) to straighten your legs completely.

Try to do 2-3 sets of 15 reps to start.

 

 

Single Leg (you can alternate if you want) Straight Leg Oblique

In this exercise you are working your Obliques, transverse (if you are holding your belly tight), and your Rectus abdominis. (flexion, supporting, and slight rotation)

Tip 1- This is the advance level.  If this is to hard you can do a half bike, (bend you knee.  It takes the pressure off the hip flexor).

Tip 2- DON’T PUSH YOUR STOMACH OUT.  THINK DRAW  THE BELLY IN WHEN YOUR MOVE.

Tip 3- You can support your neck with your free hand.

 

Pilates Roll Up- This is one of my favorite movements. No matter how strong you are it’s a tough to do… and do right.  Sure,  you can make this easy by throwing your arms and kicking your legs to help you sit up… and you could just let gravity pull you back down to the ground after… But when you focus on controlling the movement and rolling the spine (in Pilates they call it articulation) It’s a killer workout both rolling up and down.

Step 1- Lie on your back with our legs out straight.  Reach your arms straight up to the ceiling… always keep your hands inline with your shoulders.

Step 2-  Pilates is all about breathing, so you will INHALE  and lift your chin to your chest bringing your head through your arms.

Step 3- EXHALE add “Scoop/ Roll up” I tell my clients image you are making a C with your body and you have to pull your belly button to your spine to get the top of the C (your head and shoulders) up…

As you sit up image your lowest rib growing away from your hips (DON’T LIFT YOUR SHOULDERS… INSTEAD THINK YOU HAVE A BIG BELT ON).

Step 4- The roll down is moving the opposite… so first you will let your tailbone, then low back, mid back, upper back, and lastly your head down to the ground.  WORK ON DOING THIS SLOW AND CONTROLLED.  Always remember to keep your transverse tight.

 

 

Lastly… we all know you can do 1000 of each of these, but if you aren’t eating right, and doing the right amount of cardio… you’re abs will forever be hidden.  Just a quick tip on this… watch what you drink.  The sugar in your drinks- coffee, soda, energy drinks, flavored almond milk, beer, and yes even delicious wine will add extra calories… which can all lead to extra inches to your waistline. 

 

If you would like more help with workouts or healthy eating tips email me at kristyleconte@gmail.com .

Until next time! Keep Moving Forward.

 

My Booty Work

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with my lower half.  I also loved my quads (the front of your leg) but never really liked my hamstrings (the back part of the legs).  I had cellulite and hated to wear shorts.  I had always worked out but It was time to step it up a notch.  I was getting ready to step on stage in a small than I would normally wear bathing suit…. if you have ever been on Instagram you have seen what the IFBB pro’s booty look like…. I was no where close.

I enlisted the help of my old track buddy, nicknamed Rawcket because of his speed and power. I had always looked up the him in high school, like a big brother.  Rawcket was a great balance of encouraging and “don’t be a baby”. I would push myself in every exercise with him because I never wanted to let him down… he would have never let me hear the end of it if I did! 🙂 To say I worked my butt off is wrong… I worked that sucker on!  Over 7 months I worked legs one day alone and one day with Rawcket.  He helped me accomplish a goal I never had,  PR (personal record) squatting 225lbs.  I thought it was going to crush me. He just looked at me smiled, laughed, and said “You got this”.  I did… After that, stepping on stage in a bikini in heels seemed like no big deal.

Green suit- the week before my first show. April 2013 Red Suit- the week before my last PRO show.  May 2014
Green suit- the week before my first show. April 2013
Red Suit- the week before my last PRO show. May 2014

A little education for better booty:

You have 3 muscles that make up your “Glutes”

gluteal muscles anatomy

1. Gluteus Maximus- The biggest muscle… IN YOUR BODY!

2. Gluteus Medius- Sits near the outside of your pelvis.

3. Gluteus Minimus- Lies directly under your Medius

What do they do?

The main job is Hip extension and Hip Abduction.  Also, They look great in yoga pants.

3 of my favorite Glute Exercises:

3 way squat (feet together, normal, sumo) – I do these 3 different foot positions to change my base, with makes the muscle react different. Which leads to more power in all ranges of motions, in this case foot position.  The important thing to remember when you are doing any glute movement is to squeeze them at the end of your movement.  In this exercise, I like to use the smith machine to help with stability.  You do not need to use the Smith. You can do this with a box behind you, or in a squat rack.  I would recommend to keep the weight lower  and more reps.  If you would like to squat heavy your foot placement would be different, and you probably would need to get off the smith.  (different topic)

Cable Pull through- Works the posterior chain,(The posterior chain is a group of muscles consisting predominently of tendons and ligaments on the posterior of the body. Examples of these muscles include the biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle group, trapezius, posterior deltoids, and so on.) This exercise helps people get the hinge movement needed to do a deadlift better.  Which will help you active your glutes more, and if they are working they are growing! Make sure you sit back with your hips, it’s not a squat.  Make sure not to round your back. keep your chest up. Squeeze your glutes at the top.

Single Leg Deadlift (Mid Height)- If you need help with balance this is a great challenge! Just like everything you do make sure you have good posture.  Move from the hips and squeeze at the top of the movement.  To help you understand where you will feel it… think of if at your Booty smile lines.

Funny butt

No matter where you are in your booty progression remember it takes time! Stay with it! 70% of your body shape is genetic… so work that 30% to the best of your ability!