Tag Archives: protein

Muscle Soreness? Boost BCAA’s (maybe…)

Ever complain about being too tired and sore during or in-between your workouts? 

Whether you are a group fitness junkie, weekend warrior, power lifter, regular gym-goer, cyclist or competitive athlete, branch chained amino acids (BCAAs) may need a boost in your life.

Before heading out to your local supplement store or tossing “BCAAs” into your Amazon cart, let’s review a few basic considerations BEFORE supplementing your diet with BCAAs.

First, and foremost, you may need good old fashioned REST. You may be overdoing it at the gym and to incorporate another rest and recovery day.

Second, ask yourself, are you hydrating yourself enough? Your urine should me light yellow. Is it? If not, drink up!

Third, have you been getting enough SLEEP? If not, your body may be lacking essential nighttime muscle recovery. Revisit your evening routine and dedicate more time to sleep.

Fourth, what are you putting into your body to FUEL it properly? Junk? Grease? Sugar? If so, you may need to revamp your nutrition game. You know–filling half your plate with non-starchy colorful veggies and/or fruits, a quarter of your plate with a lean protein, a quarter to whole grains, and a thumbsize portion of healthy fat. P.S. Make sure you eat enough throughout the day.

Okay. Okay. Got numbers 1 though 4 down pat? Still tired and sore? Then you might want to consider supplementing with BCAAs.

One of my favorite supplement brands is Nutrology. And as a recent self-proclaimed, almost vegan, I am excited to say Nutrology’s BCAAs are vegan!

Pssst…You can receive 20% off with CEBFIT2 discount code. Oh, and I highly recommend the coconut orange flavor.

“For anyone in the business of fitness with the goal of achieving a lean and muscular frame for the long haul, it is important to understand just how much branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs can do for the body. BCAAs are essential to muscle maintenance; however, the body is unable to naturally manufacture them.

BCAAs play a crucial role in muscle creation, repair, and maintenance which is why it is recommended for anyone engaging in any rigorous exercise. They trigger the synthesis of proteins while also preventing the breakdown of muscles for energy production. They are amino acids after all; and are called the building blocks of the body for good reason.

Studies have shown that supplementing BCAAs before or during exercise reduces the breakdown of protein for up to 5 days after training. 

The Truth About Sourcing of BCAAs

BCAAs can come from both plant-based and animal-based sources. For years, it was a well-kept industry secret that BCAAs were derived from animal sources such as swine, fur, hair, and feathers. These animal sources were treated with acids and cleaned with certain chemicals so that the amino acids could be extracted from these sources. Not very appetizing, socially conscious or sustainable, is it?

Plant based BCAA sources are derived from either soy or corn. But the challenge with plant-based BCAAs is that they can contain allergens, and many are sourced from GMO farms. Fortunately, there are solid sources of Non-GMO farms that are producing non-allergen plant-based BCAAs. Corn has become popular material in the fermentation process of BCAA’s because it is not considered an allergen like soy.

Nutrology uses trusted Non-GMO farms with a proven record of producing the highest quality plant-based BCAAs anywhere, non-allergen and with no artificial flavoring, coloring or sweeteners. 

(Source: Nutrology email correspondence,, 2/5/2018)


Quick & Easy Protein Rich Smoothie

In the name of saving time and eating healthy, here’s a quick and simple smoothie just for you! Scroll down and you’ll see the recipe and a few tips!


1 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop of your favorite vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I used Nutrology Grass Fed Whey)

1 Tbsp organic creamy peanut butter

4 large frozen strawberries

Directions: Toss everything into your handy dandy blender. Enjoy!

Basic Nutrition Facts: 298 cal, 20g carb, 12g fat, 30g protein, 267 sodium, 9g sugars

The majority of the sugar is from the fruit. Be careful with your protein powder! It may be loaded with sugar. Mine wasn’t because I used Nutrology Grass Fed Whey. [Receive a 20% discount and free shipping for online purchases. Enter CEBFIT upon checkout.] You can also use fresh unfrozen fruit and add a few ice cubes to beef up the frozen smoothie texture. 

TIP: For all of the folks out there looking to lose weight, I recommend getting most of your natural added sugars in your diet earlier on in the day. It gives you more time to burn those calories off throughout the course of your day.

[REVIEW] MyFitnessPal App

myfitnesspalThis is Part Two of an ongoing series reviewing various fitness and nutrition phone applications. Last month I reviewed the Livestrong MyPlate app and this month I decided to try out MyFitnessPal, a free application offered by MyFitnessPal, Inc., a private company founded in 2005 based out of San Francisco, CA. Check out this recent article about a new MyFitnessPal company merger. Also, if interested, take a peek at the list of perks for all MyFitnessPal employees. I particularly like the monthly be healthy stipend, healthy snacks, weekly onsite yoga classes, and daily catered lunches. Amazing!

Back to the actual phone app. I use MyFitnessPal primarily on my cell phone and every once in a while on my lap top. The app was recently upgraded with new features (e.g., auto-listing commonly paired foods) and bug fixes.Without further ado, here is a rundown of MyFitnessPal.

Bar code scan: Instead of manually entering nutritional information, this app gives you the option of scanning the bar code of foods. The bar code automatically uploads nutritional information. I’ve noticed that the bar codes of bulk items purchased at large food warehouse stores or specialty international foods stores tend to not work and I need to manually enter basic nutritional information (i.e., carbs, fat, protein, and calories).

PC and Phone Access: You can download the FREE MyFitnessPal app and log-in online with the same username and password to upload various information about food intake and exercise. All entered on either device information automatically syncs.

Track water intake: This is pretty handy and helpful to keep you on track with daily water intake. The unit of measure for water intake tracking is cups (or 8 ounces). I prefer to use the Waterlogged app to track my daily water intake because it provides a lot more  customization and tracking features.

photoSummary and analysis charts: The phone application provides a simple pie chart that breaks your daily nutrient intake into carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also provides a more detailed version of daily nutrient intake into various nutrient categories (see photo). The web version has additional summary reports that show your body measurements, nutrition intake, and fitness numbers (i.e., calories burned, duration of exercise).

Sync with other Exercise Trackers: MyFitnessPal allows you to sync your workouts from Endomondo, Fitbit, C25K-5K Trainer, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, and many other phone applications. This is helpful because it automatically uploads your specific exercise and burned calories.

Tracking Measurements: You can track body measurements under the “check-in” tab on the MyFitnessPal web version. If it’s not already listed, you can create your own category. A few I added were blood pressure, body fat percentage, and resting heart rate. You can edit entries and look at multiple entries over a span of time.

Other notable features include:

  • Food/diet/fitness blog (you can set it to self, friends, MyFitness pals, everyone). You can even customize the colors and name of your blog.
  • Comprehensive exercise library that automatically calculates burned calories based on body measurements
  • Customize your exercises to add to the exercise library. I added a few Insanity and yoga DVD workouts. Keep in mind that calories burned are dependent on individual body type.
  • There’s a little notepad feature that allows you to write any exercise and nutrition notes. For example, I wrote down my any supplements in this section so I could see what my nutrition intake looked like without supplements.
  • Message boards and direct messaging for the MyFitnessPal online community.

The only thing I think this app is missing is…

Time of day: There is no time of day entry option when you eat or exercise. I think this would be a very interesting factor to analyze in a custom report and would be very insightful for a personal trainer. For example, some of us may eat our daily recommended caloric intake, but go long periods of time without eating and cramming in a super high calorie meal at the end of the day.

One last tip for this and every food tracking app: Owning a food scale would make the data entered in this application a lot more accurate. Admittedly, I’ve been guessing a lot of my food portions especially when food measurements are listed in terms of weight (ounces).

As a reminder, I do not officially endorse any nutrition or fitness applications. My goal is to share some of the pros and cons of these applications to help others determine what may best suit their needs. Also, I want to figure out which ones I may recommend to future personal training clients to help them achieve their fitness and nutrition goals.

I’m not sure which app I will review next. I’m definitely open to suggestions!

[Review] Livestrong MyPlate App

‘Tis the season for resetting fitness and nutrition goals! Many of us could benefit from maintaining a food and/or exercise journal to help track our progress. And of course there’s an app for that! Actually, there are several apps….oh, where to begin?

This month I figured it would be helpful to gain first hand experience using some of the free food tracking and fitness mobile applications. Before I begin, let me be clear. I do not officially endorse any nutrition or fitness applications. My goal is to share some of the pros and cons of these applications to help others determine what may best suit their needs. Also, for selfish reasons, I want to figure out which ones I may encourage future personal training clients to use to complement their fitness goals.

Now, first up is the MyPlate application hosted by the Livestrong Foundation. livestrongmyplate

This app starts off with asking for some basic demographic information: age, weight, goal (maintain/gain/lose weight or other) and activity level (sedentary, light, moderate, very active).

Cool features…

Bar code scan: Instead of manually entering nutritional information, this app gives you the option of scanning the bar code of foods. The bar code automatically uploads nutritional information. I’ve noticed that the bar codes of bulk items purchased at large food warehouse stores tend to not work and I need to manually enter basic nutritional information (i.e., carbs, fat, protein, and calories).

PC and Phone Access: You can download the FREE MyPlate app and log-in online with the same username and password to upload various information about food intake and exercise. All entered on either device information automatically syncs.

Track water intake: This is pretty handy and helpful to keep you on track with daily water intake.

Clever naming: The Livestrong Foundation’s MyPlate calorie tracker application shares the same name as the MyPlate initiative created and hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To my knowledge, Livestrong and the USDA do not have an official partnership.

Direct access to full Livestrong website: The MyPlate calorie tracker is only one tool on a very comprehensive website dedicated to fitness, wellness, and nutrition. Other examples of resources on the website include: blogs, how to exercise demos, articles, diet plans, workout gear, and more…

Frustrations and other things I wish were better….

Simplistic nutritional tracking: The manual food entry option on the app only asks for calories, carbs, protein, and fat information. It doesn’t break down food intake into smaller sub-categories (i.e., vitamins, minerals, sugars). However, I noticed in a daily summary that the app somehow tracks fiber, sugars, sodium, and cholesterol, too. I assume the app collects additional information about other nutrients via the search list of the Livestrong food database. In a nutshell, this extremely decreases the reliability and validity of all reports in this app.

Exercise tracking: You can search for popular exercises (i.e., yoga, boot camp, Zumba, weightlifting, boxing) and calories burned automatically fill in. Otherwise, you must enter custom exercises and figure out how many calories are burned. The drawback of auto-fill calories burned is that we expend different amounts of calories based on our individual body mass. A 130 lb woman will burn less calories in 1 hour of boxing than a 170 lb woman. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned during specific exercises, then you’re left guessing. It looks like the MyFitnessPal app has a more comprehensive listing of various exercises and respective calories burned. MyFitnessPal includes a mini-calculator to determine calories burned based upon body weight and the duration of exercise.

Other hydration sources: There’s a grey area when it comes to hydration with this app. For example, when I log a tea beverage it counts as tea and not water. As the user, you must determine how you want to count tea — as a part of a meal, as part of your water intake, or both? For me, I don’t mind not counting tea or any other non-water beverage as water because the overall point is to drink more water.

All fat is not the same: This app asks for fat, calories, carbohydrates, and protein. Period. That’s it. More specifically, or should I say less specifically, fat is not broken down into saturated and unsaturated fats. It is very helpful to breakdown our saturated and unsaturated fat intake because we receive numerous benefits from unsaturated fats such as improved cardiovascular health. Also, many people make the assumption that all fat is bad and as a result, not eat enough fat daily. Back in 2005, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended total fat intake of 20-35% of daily calories for adults, 25-35% for children ages 4-18, and 30-35% for children ages 2 to 3 years. Check out pages 24-29 of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for America report released in January 2011.

Time of day: There is no time of day entry option when you eat or exercise. I think this would be a very interesting factor to analyze in a custom report and would be very insightful for a personal trainer. For example, some of us may eat our daily recommended caloric intake, but go long periods of time without eating and cramming in a super high calorie meal at the end of the day.

Average summary and analysis charts: Most of us want to view detailed summaries and reports of our nutrients we consume daily, weekly, and across multiple weeks. Unfortunately, the MyPlate application only allows you to view ten days at a time. I noticed a view by month option and this may illustrate daily nutrient consumption over the course of 30 days, but I only used the app for 10 days. I believe the GOLD (for fee) option may offer more options to review collected day and to also alter the type of nutritional data you collect (e.g., specific micro and macronutrients, minerals, etc.).

Other notable features include: food/diet/fitness diary (you can set it to private or public), online community to share fitness and nutrition MyPlate journey, includes a pretty comprehensive exercise library that automatically calculates burned calories based on body measurements, and enter personalized recipes (makes for easier food entries in the calorie counter app)

Grade: C (average)

Did I miss anything? (probably so)
What do you like or not like about the free version of the MyPlate app?

Is there a FREE fitness or nutrition mobile app you want me to review? Send suggestions.

“PFF” (Protein Fiber Fruit) Pancakes

Here’s the recipe to one of my favorite morning treats to help break the monotony of eating oatmeal daily. In addition to my PFF pancakes, I usually eat an egg over easy and drink a cup of black coffee. This meal keeps me feeling full throughout most of the morning. It also serves as one of my favorite post morning workout meals.

-1 1/2 c. favorite pancake batter
-1/2 to 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (approx. 15-20 g of protein)
-1 tsp chia seeds
-1 tbsp ground flax seed meal
-3 tbsp old fashioned oats
-fresh or frozen fruit
-extra virgin olive oil

Feel free to alter quantities to your liking. Mix pancake batter, protein powder, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and oats in water. The batter should be a little thick. Heat pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in the pan. Make sure the pan is hot enough before pouring batter into it. Pour enough mix into the pan to create your desired pancake size. Sprinkle some of your favorite fruit on top of pancakes in pan. (I prefer frozen blueberries.) Flip pancakes. You may need to drizzle a little bit more EVOO in the pan. This helps make the pancake a little crunchy on the edges and prohibits it from sticking to the pan. Remove cooked pancakes from pan and continue process until done. Enjoy!

1. Keep pancakes in warm oven or covered in microwave to keep warm.
2. There’s no need to use syrup because the protein powder and fruit serve as sweeteners.
3. Pre-mix dry ingredients in bulk as a time saver.

Yields approximately 5 medium size pancakes.

Of course there are a few nutritional benefits of this delicious morning treat.

Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and also serve as a blood sugar regulator. Omega 3 fatty acids are terrific for heart health, muscle recovery, brain functioning, joint tenderness, lowering blood triglyceride levels, and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. The soluble fiber found in chia seeds, flax seed, and oats helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additional fiber benefits include satiety and bowel movement regularity. Antioxidant rich foods offer nutritional benefits and help eliminate free radicals from the body. Flaxseed meal is full of fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and lignans. Lignans offer additional antioxidant benefits to the body. Old fashioned oats are high in fiber, protein, and help lower cholesterol levels. Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (lowers cholesterol levels in the body) and polyphenols (antioxidant properties). Check out a past blog post about the benefits of proteins.


Click to access D-3-FattyAcidsCholesterol.pdf

Gym Bag Challenge!

isn’t she a gem?

I’m typically not a pink person, but since it’s October, I wanted to increase awareness about Breast Health Awareness Month!

I recently read a blog post about a bag challenge. More specifically, the challenge called for participants to report on the contents of whatever bag they had on hand. I thought this was a great idea for a blog post this week.

Here’s a list of the contents of my gym bag. Enjoy!


Chewing gum – I’m a gum chewer. There’s something about chomping on a fresh piece of spearmint gum that keeps me pumped during my workout. I keep a pack in my bag.

1 Protein Bar and 2 Fruit & Nut Bars – I tend to stay hungry and these little treats stop my stomach from growling. They’re very handy on the days I take two back-to-back fitness classes and need a little snack in-between. Tip: I only eat 1/3 or a 1/2 of a bar and drink a few big sips of water. A little goes a long way when I just need something to stop me from thinking about food when I’m supposed to be focused on my workout.

Nutritional supplements (BCAAs, protein powder, & glutamine powder)Along with water, I sip on branch chained amino acids before and during my workout. This helps reduce protein and muscle breakdown. I drink a protein shake (with glutamine) within 20 minutes of my workout to help with muscle recovery and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Read more about what the NSCA has to say about this.


2 old pens and 1 black marker – I tend to log my workouts in a small spiral bound notebook. It’s handy to always keep a pen I don’t care about losing on hand.

Small spiral bound notebook – I log most of my workouts here. Maybe one day I will compile my workouts and get them published.

Sticky notepad – This serves as my back-up workout notebook. It also comes in handy when I need to write something down at the gym.


Lock and key – Most gyms don’t want folks carrying their bag on the floor and plus, I usually bring entirely too much stuff to not keep everything inside of a locker. I always keep my lock and key inside a side pocket of my bag. Tip: I store the key inside the lock hole so it’s easy to find both inside of my bag. I also keep the key on a carabiner that holds extra pony-tail holders, too. The carabiner makes it easy to attach to the little loop on my water bottle, too!

Two mp3 Player Cases – Just in case I want to listen to music on my larger mp3 player, I have two exercise-friendly cases to use. One goes on my arm and one can attach to my waistband. I usually use my smaller mp3 player, but I like to have music options!

Ear bud headphones – This is an extra pair I always keep in my bag just in case I forget my favorite ones. Besides not bringing socks, not being able to listen to my music playlists is the absolute worst when working out. I need my music!

Plastic bag – I can place shoes, wet clothes, clean clothes, food, or whatever in this bag. It’s my “just-in-case I need a plastic bag” bag.

Business card – Just in case I lose my bag, my identifying information is inside. Also, I may meet someone at the gym and want to share my business card for networking and follow-up purposes.


Multiple pairs of socks – For whatever reason, socks grow inside of my gym bag! I have a total of 4 pair in there! I think it’s because of the one time I made it to the gym and forgot my socks. I was so bummed. At the time, I managed to do some barefoot exercises in the group exercise room, but I was bummed about not being able to do the workout I really wanted accomplish that day. Confession: I even keep an extra pair or two of socks in my car!

Multiple head bands – Similar to the socks, I have entirely way too many head bands in my bag. I think it’s because I have pretty long dreadlocks. It is entirely way too annoying working out with dreadlocks smacking me in the face; hence, four head bands! Tip: Cut the sleeves off of old t-shirts and use them as a headband.

Extra pair of underwear – I have these just in case I forget to bring some when I shower and change at the gym. It’s also helpful to have an extra pair when I need to run errands or delay my time between my sweaty workout and shower. Hot moist environments are breeding grounds for bacteria and I definitely don’t want any of that. You might want to check out these articles (yeast infection, jock itch) about why you want to stay away from wearing warm, moist, or tight-fitting clothes for an extended amount of time. Note: I usually bring a full change of clothes when I go to the gym, but today is an “in-between half-packed bag I’m doing laundry” kind of day.

Weightlifting gloves – I don’t want to build up calluses on my hands, so I use weightlifting gloves.


lotion, deodorant, lip balm, feminine products


Since this was an off day, several items were missing from my bag…

sneakers, spinning shoes, jump rope, mp3 players, headphones, heart rate monitor strap and watch, change of clothes, sweat towel, water bottle, shaker cup, extra carabiner, certification cards, soap, shower cap, shower shoes, and probably a few other items I forgot at the time of writing this

I hope you enjoyed reading what’s in my bag. I learned three things from conducting this activity.

1. I need to reduce the amount of stuff in my bag.
2. I need to restock my bag.
3. I need to get a new bag. It’s a tad bit beat up.

So, what’s in YOUR bag?

Don’t forget, October is Breast Health Awareness Month! Find a local affiliate and get involved today.

The Golden Rule of Protein….

Do unto protein as you would have protein do unto you. Respect it and it shall respect you. Purposefully consume it and it shall purposefully provide several benefits to your body.

We often hear about diets full of lean, protein rich foods, but we don’t hear enough about how and why consuming enough, too much, or not enough protein is important. Today, I want to delve a little deeper (but not too deep) into one of the most critical macronutrients in our bodies: PROTEINS.

What purpose does protein serve our bodies? Protein has big responsibilities in our body! Just to name a few—our hair, skin, eyesight, bones, and muscles depend on it. Some of the main roles of protein in the body are to provide (a) structure and movement, (b) energy and glucose, (c) blood clotting, (d) build antibodies to fight illness, and (d) to maintain electrolyte and fluid balance. Important stuff, right?

Proteins are made up of amino acids and there are 20 total, nine of which our bodies need and cannot create on its own–hence, they are called essential amino acids. That means we must obtain them through our diet. Protein benefits for the bodyFeel free to read more about essential and non-essential amino acids on the US National Library of Medicine website or simply conduct a basic Google search using
“amino acids” as key words.

How much protein should I eat? The Daily Recommended Intake of protein for an adult (18+ years old) is 10-35% of total calories consumed daily (source: Daily Recommended Intake). A benefit to using the percentage of total calories consumed daily is very useful and arguably more useful to athletes and individuals with a more active lifestyle. For example, I weigh 130 lbs (or 59 kg) and burn at least 500 calories daily via exercise alone. Considering I am not trying to lose weight and instead maintain my weight, I need to consume around 1,800-2,200 calories per day; 180-770 (10-35%) of these calories should come from protein.

Note: A half of a skinless, boneless chicken breast is 30g of protein or 250 calories. So, I would need to eat 1 to 1.5 whole chicken breasts daily to consume enough protein. (This assumes I only ate chicken as a protein source.)

Using this method as a way of informing my daily protein intake, I would end up consuming 75g of protein per day. Note how this number is different than the number I will calculate next using the RDA’s recommendations.

Another way to determine how much protein I should eat daily is looking at the ratio between my protein consumption and body weight. The Recommended Daily Allowance recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. For example, I weigh 59 kg (calculate lbs to kg here). I multiply this number by 0.8 g. The result is 47.2 g. So, I should roughly consume 47 g of protein on a daily basis.

Neither the DRI or RDA recommendations are steadfast rules, but like their names indicate, they are recommendations of how much protein to consume. This is a great segue way into discussing over-consumption and under-consumption of protein.

A few words about protein toxicity and deficiency.   I will try to keep this brief. Too much protein in our diets can also result in heart disease, adult bone loss, cancer, decreased muscle mass, kidney disease, weight gain (meat usually has high saturated fat, hence increase in fat intake, and potential weight gain), and irritated digestion in the intestines (bloatedness, gas, constipation, diarrhea).

Diets with not enough protein consumed may result in impaired immunity and an increased risk in experiencing lethargy, heart disease, kidney disease, bone loss, and cancer.

After all of this talk about protein, what are some protein rich foods? Some of my favorite proteins include: salmon, almonds, walnuts, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, chicken, turkey, beans, eggs, soy milk, chia seeds, and tuna fish.  A comprehensive list of high quality protein foods is located at ChooseMyPlate.gov. In your spare time, feel free to read this 43 page USDA report about proteins. It’s pretty informative and for the most part, written in lay terms.

Well, there you have it. That’s proteins in a nutshell (pun intended).

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