Protein

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Proteins

Introduction

Proteins are one of the three key macromolecules which are essential in the human diet, the other two being that of carbohydrates (sugars) and lipids (fats). In this trinity, it could be argued that proteins rank chiefly. Indeed, the origin of the word protein is the Greek word “proteios” which means prime or primary. This is an apt etymology, as proteins form the most fundamental component of human tissues. A diet without protein is a non-sustainable one for the reason that proteins confer the body with nitrogen, sulphur and hydrocarbon skeletons – essential organic components that cannot be provided by carbohydrates or lipids.

Proteins are responsible for a plethora of vital bodily processes and have a myriad of specific roles in various organ systems. As complex macromolecules, proteins are themselves comprised of smaller functional units known as amino acids. Amino acids are bound to one another by peptide bonds, and form long linear chains which are dubbed “polypeptides”. Most proteins which are consumed in the human diet via animal or plant sources comprise of about 20 different amino acids. This is important, as the proteins themselves have no nutritional value until and unless they are digested by enzymes in the small intestine into amino acids or shorter peptide chains [1].

Functions of Proteins

Proteins are essential in the synthesis of DNA and RNA. DNA and RNA are nucleic acids which provide the basis for our genetic code. Without this genetic code, cellular proliferation cannot occur, and our cells would be unable to reproduce and grow. Proteins are also essential in the synthesis of vital neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin – dubbed the “happy chemicals” that contribute to overall wellbeing and happiness.

Much of the biological properties of a specific protein depends on its physical interactions with other molecules. For example, in the context of our bodily defence mechanisms, protein-based antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins) readily bind to foreign pathogens such as viruses or bacteria to label them for destruction by our white blood cells [2]. In the same vein, proteins are also required for the synthesis of key enzymes. Enzymes are remarkable molecules which catalyse biochemical reactions in the human body to either form or break bonds in cells. These molecules are capable of expediting a chemical reaction by a factor of a million or more! [3] The controlled catalysis of millions of biochemical reactions that occur within the powerhouse that is the human cell, is what makes life itself possible.

Protein Dietary Requirements

The metabolism of proteins is intrinsically linked with total energy levels; this is because the transport of amino acids, detoxification of ammonia (a waste product of protein metabolism), and the excretion of nitrogen-based metabolites require energy. The consumption of daily dietary protein should, therefore, be considered in the context of intake of other energy sources (e.g. sugars and fats). Indeed, although proteins are one of the three energy sources utilizable by humans, they are rather energy inefficient compared to carbohydrates and lipids. Proteins are utilized by the human body for the various functions delineated above, more so than for an energy source.

The daily dietary requirements of amino acids and proteins are affected by 4 main factors. First, are dietary factors such as the content and proportion of proteins, total energy intake, and level of processing of the proteins. Second, are the physiological characteristics of the human, such as age, sex, genetic makeup, hormonal balance, pregnancy and lactation, as well as a level of physical activity. Third, are pathological characteristics of the human, such as trauma, cancer, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and infections. Last but not least, are environmental factors such as the ambient temperature, presence or absence of toxic pollutants, sanitation and personal hygiene.

Taking all these factors into account, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein in healthy adults with minimal physical activity is 0.8g of protein per kg body-weight per day. Dietary protein is assumed to be of high quality – this is denoted by a 75% efficiency, meaning that at least 75% of the protein is utilized by the body.

In individuals who undergo moderate to intense physical activity (e.g. endurance training or strength training), the American Dietetic Association recommends that the RDA be 1.3 – 1.6g of protein per kg body-weight per day. Evidence also suggests that the inclusion of high-quality plant-based proteins can stimulate muscle growth [4].

protein, plantprotein

 

Plant Protein vs Animal Protein

There is no doubt that protein is an essential nutrient in the human diet. Increasing research efforts have been directed recently into examining the purported health benefits of plant-based protein as opposed to animal-based protein. Both animal and plant-based foods are excellent sources of protein. While animal-sourced foods (e.g. meat, dairy, eggs and seafood) contain higher quantities of overall amino acids than plant-sourced foods (e.g. what, corn, vegetables, beans, peas, soy, nuts etc.), current evidence supports the notion that cardiovascular risk can be mitigated with a diet which incorporates more plant sources of protein instead of the typical animal-based protein diet [5].

Very few studies have assessed the post-protein ingestion muscle synthesis response to animal proteins versus plant proteins. It still remains to be seen if the age-old belief that animal protein promotes the synthesis and growth of muscle more so than plant protein is true. What is conclusive however, is that plant protein intake is associated with higher skeletal muscle mass in select populations (particularly in the elderly) [6]. A clinical trial conducted just 4 years ago also showed that pea proteins which were orally supplemented, promoted muscle thickness gains protein during strength training in a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial [7]. There was no statistically significant difference in muscle gains seen between individuals who were supplemented with pea protein, and individuals who were supplemented with whey protein.

plant protein, protein, plant-based protein

 

References for Further Reading

  1. Wu, G., Dietary protein intake and human health. Food Funct, 2016. 7(3): p. 1251-65.
  2. Schroeder, H.W., Jr. and L. Cavacini, Structure and function of immunoglobulins. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2010. 125(2 Suppl 2): p. S41-52.
  3. Agarwal, P.K., Enzymes: An integrated view of structure, dynamics and function. Microbial cell factories, 2006. 5: p. 2-2.
  4. van Vliet, S., N.A. Burd, and L.J. van Loon, The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption. J Nutr, 2015. 145(9): p. 1981-91.
  5. Richter, C.K., et al., Plant protein and animal proteins: do they differentially affect cardiovascular disease risk? Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 2015. 6(6): p. 712-728.
  6. Miki, A., et al., Protein Intake, Especially Vegetable Protein Intake, Is Associated with Higher Skeletal Muscle Mass in Elderly Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of diabetes research, 2017. 2017: p. 7985728-7985728.
  7. Babault, N., et al., Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2015. 12(1): p. 3.

 

Supplements – 10 Health Reasons Why You Need Them And how to choose one that meets your daily nutritional needs

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Fact: over-the-counter health supplements can be imported & sold in Singapore without a license from the Health Sciences Authority [source: https://www.hsa.gov.sg/content/hsa/en/Health_Products_Regulation/Complementary_Health_Products/Health_Supplements.html]. Yet, sales of vitamin supplements continue to increase as more people in Singapore use them to support their busy lifestyles. [source: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/more-in-spore-popping-vitamins-supplements]

While there is generally no harm in taking health supplements, it is challenging to know whether you will need supplements, much less which ones are most suitable for you.

10 Reasons to Supplement

Here’s our handy guide on why you do need vitamin supplements to support your nutrition needs, as well as what are the supplementation you may need.

  1. Poor Eating Habits: Many people unconsciously develop poor eating habits as a result of their fast paced or hectic lives. They either eat too little or too much at meal times, and use food to manage their feelings. This can result in deficiencies of essential nutrients and minerals due to the limited variety of food.
  2. Poor Food Choices: This is a consequence of the above, as most people end up consuming packaged or processed foods, or even a meal from a fast food joint due to the ease and speed of obtaining the meal. However, processed foods are high in refined carbohydrates and sugars. They may also be low in essential vitamins and minerals, which can be lost when the ingredients are refined.
  3. Nutrient Deficiencies: Even if we eat fresh food, most of the nutrients in food will have been lost by the time it reaches our mouth. This is due to two factors, storage time and soil deficiencies. The latter is a consequence of modern farming methods, the intensity of which have depleted soil of its nutrients—the soil is not given ample time to replenish its mineral content between each harvest & sowing. As soil quality decreases, so does the nutritional value of the crop grown. As for the former, food begins to lose its nutrients the moment that it is harvested—the longer it takes to get from the farm to supermarket shelf to the kitchen, the more nutrients are lost.
  4. Stress: The demands of life in Singapore places a huge physical, mental, and emotional stress on its inhabitants. This leaves little energy or time for meal preparation. The situation can be improved by supplementing with vitamins B, C and zinc.
  5. Poor Digestion: This is a result of many factors, including stress and medication. Singaporean’s love of spicy food is also a contributing factor to poor digestion. These can cause inflammation within the GI tract, which may lead to poor absorption of nutrients from the food we eat.
  6. Medications: Medications can affect our body’s ability to digest and absorb food well. For example, antibiotics can disrupt the balance of friendly gut flora, which is important for immune and digestive health. In this instance, adding a daily serving of probiotics will help with balancing your gut health.
  7. Bad Lifestyle Habits: It’s common to hit the bar for happy hour drinks after work. However, the liver is the only place where alcohol can be processed by the body. Too many drinks over too many nights in a week places a huge strain on the liver. And while smoking is another way of relieving stress, it causes free radical damage in the body. One way of supporting the body is to increase your antioxidant intake.
  8. Sports Nutrition: More Singaporeans are taking up sports and exercise to lose weight and keep fit. However, an active lifestyle creates higher demands of nutrients that support the immune, circulatory, and respiratory systems. Health supplements of vitamins B and C, as well as minerals of zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants, will provide support for these areas.
  9. Hormone changes: As we age, the hormone levels in our body changes, which result in changing nutritional demands from our body. For example, females who experience Pre-Menstrual Tension will benefit from a higher intake of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc.
  10. Insufficient Daily Intake: According to Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, adults should be consuming two servings of vegetables and fruit each on a daily basis. [source: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/56/fruits-and-veggies] However, most people don’t manage to meet that. Thus, vitamin supplementation will help to support this need.

 

Supplement Sources

With so many nutritional needs to support, it can seem overwhelming. However, nutrition supplements can be kept easy.

Begin with taking a general multivitamin each day. While it may not address specific systems, it will provide an added boost to your daily nutrition intake. After which, you may look at supplementing specific vitamins and minerals.

A convenient way of supplementing dietary fibre and nutrients from fruit and vegetables is with Nuzest’s Just Fruit & Veg plant-based protein smoothie. This blend of five fruit — strawberry, apple, acai, banana, raspberry — and five vegetables — kale, beetroot, spinach, broccoli, carrot — with golden peas will flood your body with sufficient support for your daily nutrition needs.

For an added nutrient boost, include a serving of Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff in your daily supplements. It is a superblend of more than 75 ingredients including essential vitamins and minerals, dietary fibre from fruit and vegetables, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, and herbs such as ginger rhizome, slippery elm inner bark, and green tea leaf extract.

Since the Nuzest range is all natural, gluten free, GMO free, dairy free, soy free, and allergen free, there is nothing processed or artificial being introduced into your body. All it receives is natural goodness to boost its physical well-being.

HOW A HEALTHY DIET CAN HELP YOU AVOID TYPE 2 DIABETES

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According to SingHealth, diabetes affects 9% of the population in Singapore, with Type 2 diabetes more common amongst Singaporeans. While full remission of Type 2 diabetes may not be achieved, it is possible to reverse it with nutrition.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes usually presents itself in one of two ways:

  • the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for the cells of the body to metabolise sugar; or
  • the body has become resistant to insulin, and thus is not absorbing enough insulin to metabolise sugar.

In either scenario, there is insufficient insulin for the body to keep blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. So it can affect anyone, ranging from children to senior adults.

Some common risk factors of diabetes include:

  • Higher than normal blood glucose levels, which is a condition known as prediabetes;
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, since fatty tissues increase the body’s resistance to insulin;
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Increased age.

Diabetes symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent skin infections and/or wounds that take a long time to heal
  • A feeling of tiredness over prolonged periods of time

However, as Type 2 Diabetes develops slowly, and with some people displaying none of the known diabetes symptoms, many people may be unaware that they have the condition until their health is seriously affected.

One of these conditions is known as hyperglycemia, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal. If left unmanaged, hyperglycemia can cause to complications that affect the kidney, eyes, nerves, and heart.

Can I Stop the Progress of Type 2 Diabetes?

While it is not easy, many people have been able to slow down the progress of diabetes, and even reverse it. It involves intensive lifestyle management that often involves weight loss and improved nutrition.

A 2014 study into the frequency of remission of Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention compared to diabetes support and education alone concluded that, in overweight adults, intensive interventions with weight loss were more likely to result in partial or complete remission.

A 2016 study examining the effects of a very low-calorie diet on patients with Type 2 diabetes found that a sustainable weight loss program was effective in lowering fasting plasma glucose, and potentially reversing Type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, a 2014 study by the Second University of Naples showed a low-carb Mediterranean-style diet helped 15% of participants achieve remission within one year. Other diets, including low-fat diets were also tested, but with less robust results.

It seems that carbohydrate and caloric intake is most associated with reversing diabetes.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Nutrition

Insulin injections and other medication are commonly used to manage Type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia. However, a more sustainable and lasting approach would be using nutrition—together with physical activity—to reverse the condition, especially for those who wish to wean off their dependence on diabetes or hyperglycemia medication.

The way to do so is to break the cycle of strain on the cells that produce insulin, which can be assisted through a healthful diet and physical activity. Start with eating a varied diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, and lean protein, and reduce the consumption of processed food.

Kirsten Scott – Yoga

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Kirsten Scott - Yoga

Kirsten is a Bondi based Holistic Health Coach, Certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor and Functional Movement Trainer with a passion for all things wellness. When she isn’t caught up working with clients you can find Kirsten on the yoga mat, swimming down at Bondi Beach, sipping on green smoothies and laughing way too hard at her own jokes.

  1. When did you start practicing yoga and why?

When I first started Yoga it was all about the physical practice, but I came to learn the physical element was just a vehicle for what I really experienced deep down… an inner peace that was simply indescribable.

True peace. Calm. Mind, body, spirit awareness. An awareness of a universe so far outside of myself and beyond myself. Beyond everything I go through, to just coming into my own as a human and trying to figure it all out.

It’s about what happens internally that keeps me sane, keeps me coming back for more, and makes me so incredibly grateful that I found this practice.

Yoga and meditation help me maintain power and control over my mind. Because when we have that power and control, we can greatly reduce our own suffering and find inner peace. It has taught me a ton about myself and opened my eyes to an entirely different side of who I am. The side of me that loves to teach, connects with deeply rooted spirituality, thinks less and trusts my gut, allows my intuition to lead the way, and so much more.

  1. If you had to choose your favourite 3 yoga poses what would they be?

3 Yoga Poses that Make My World Go Round

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, a.k.a Upward Facing Dog

I love this pose for so many reasons. First, it’s a nice, restorative backbend that strengthens your arm, vertebrae and wrists. It’s a great stretch for your shoulders, abdomen, upper back and even your lungs. Hold for about 10 deep breaths or as long as it feels good.

Utthita Trikonasana, a.k.a Triangle Pose

THIS is my #1 favorite pose. Triangle is an incredible release along the chest, upper back and shoulder blades. It is also a great stretch for your thighs and hips. I love Triangle the most for the hip benefits because every time I get into the pose I feel my hips opening up (and I hear them… I’m a crack-er), and it feels AMAZING. Breathe, and enjoy the stretch! I also like the stretch/roll out my neck in this pose because it allows me to get super deep.

Urdhva Dhanurasana, a.k.a Wheel Pose

Ahhh, wheel pose. If you’re a gymnast, you’re probably used to calling this Bridge Pose. But in yoga, Bridge is different from Wheel in that the shoulders, neck and head stay on the floor. You can practice Bridge until you are comfortable trying Wheel. Wheel feels freaking awesome. It is the ultimate heart opener. It’s an intense pose, so allow yourself to feel that. I usually like to stay up for 5-10 breaths, and come up about 3-5 times in a row. Heart OPENER, baby.

  1. What is your go-to nourishing snack/meal/drink post-yoga?

I like to keep my post yoga snack simple, uncomplicated and light. After a full-on yoga class all I want is a smoothie. My go to smoothie is full of decadence yet deceivingly totally healthy.

1 scoop Nuzest chocolate protein powder, 1 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup ice, 1 tbsp coconut butter (the nectar of the Gods ?) 1tsp cinnamon

  1. What is your number #1 tip for someone wanting to establish a yoga practice?

The only one watching you is yourself – so just relax and enjoy the journey! As a beginner, often we equate yoga with some tough, limb-twisting poses. And maybe your concerned that: “I can’t even touch my toes, how can I do yoga?” Yoga is not about touching your toes, or stretching 98 degrees to your northeast. It’s a simple process of uniting with yourself – using your breath, body and mind. And it’s easy and effortless. So, never mind if you’re not Ms. Flexible or Mr. Stretchable, or are venturing into yoga at the age of 40, or you have secret love handles that are stressing you out – just remove all those myths before beginning your yoga practice!

  1. What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level?

Practice new poses.

The thing that I love about yoga is that no matter where you are in your practice, you can always learn more. When you are ready to practice new poses, prepare yourself by starting with gentle and strengthening preparation poses. I always recommend that you take the time to prepare your body and mind, both physically and mentally, so that when the time is right you can effortlessly glide into your new poses. Some of my favourite poses to practice are variations on Crow (Bakasana), Headstand (Sirsasana), Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana).

Another lovely way to go deeper with your yoga is to experiment with gentle backbends. These will enable you to build spinal flexibility and find more space through your back and spine (and in your life!)

  1. What is your favourite CLP Functionals Flavour? 

Easy – it has to be The Chai, turmeric + maca ?

 

Instagram: @kirstenscotthealth

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NaturalPowerFitness

 

 

5 Ways to Get Fit Faster in a Group Fitness Class

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The health benefits of group workout classes will quash all your fitness excuses of getting fit & losing weight.

Going to a group exercise class is a great way to have fun with others who are also getting fit! If you haven’t tried group fitness classes, what are you waiting for?

The good news is that the benefits of group classes go far beyond just enjoying people’s company as you sweat and move. Working out in a group has several physical, psychological and social benefits for anyone looking to get leaner and fitter faster while having fun. Here’re 5 reasons why joining group fitness classes is one of the best ways to get fit.
1. Motivation

It’s one thing to decide to start exercising to get healthier, but to actually do it is the real challenge. Working out in a group can motivate you to show up at the gym because you wouldn’t want to bail on your workout buddies. It also motivates you to return repeatedly to the class, and share the energy and experience with everyone in the group exercise class.

2. Social Support

If you feel shy about stepping into a gym to work out alone, sign up for group fitness classes with friends to work out together and be one another’s source of support! Have your friend track your progress and egg you on when your motivation wanes.

In addition to strengthening the bonds with your friends, you’ll also meet other like-minded souls in the group fitness class. Say hello to and congratulate your new friends for a job well done after each group fitness class, and you’ll end up with new workout mates in no time. This makes group exercise classes a fun social occasion that is also mentally empowering at the same time.

Fitness asian

3. Happiness Boost

A study conducted at Oxford University in 2009 showed that athletes who trained for 45 minutes in a group showed higher endorphin levels than athletes who trained solo for the same amount of time. The study noted that these elevated endorphin levels were present in people who do synchronised activities—such as dancing, listening to music, and even laughing—together.

Some theories put forth from the study for this occurrence suggest that the surge of endorphins facilitates social bonding, and enhances cooperation and generosity among those who participate in the same activity. So raise your happy hormone levels by working out in group fitness classes.

4. Variety

Typically, big gyms offer a plethora of group exercise classes—on days when you want to take things easy, join a calming yoga class; if you feel on top of the world, dance it out with others in a dynamic dance class. Whatever your mood is, you can always find a group workout class that you fancy.

Additionally, group fitness classes are designed to target various muscle groups within a particular time frame, usually ranging from 30 to 90 minutes. No matter which class you choose, you can be sure of a good workout. Above all, the wide variety of classes will ensure that your fitness routine remains an exciting one.

5. Comprehensive programme

Each group fitness class has a programme structure that begins with a warm up, followed by a unique combination of fitness components ranging from power to agility, cardiovascular strength, balance and flexibility, then finally a cool down at the end. By attending a variety of group fitness classes, you ensure that you are constantly developing all your physical abilities, which helps you track your progress and personal improvement over time.

 

This story was originally published by our friends at SOULSCAPE.

Build Your Abs and Core Strength with Pilates 100

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Sculpt & tone strong abs with core exercises like Pilates 100. Quick, easy, effective & can be done in 5-minutes. Guaranteed to flatten the tummy!

Core Focus

Give your abs & core some love with our favourite Pilates move, the 100. The Pilates 100 is a simple exercise that targets your abs, and at the same time challenges you to focus on your breathing too.

Core exercises like the Pilates 100 strengthens the transverse and rectus abdominis, pelvic floor muscles, obliques, lower and outer-middle back aka the lats, hip flexors, abductors, and adductors. That’s a whole lot of muscles from just one core exercise!

Working your core with daily ab exercises gives you a slimmer waist and a toned tummy. Adding a daily 15-minute core-focused workout will also help with your physical stability in everyday life, improve your posture, eliminate lower back pain, and even improve your breathing.

Let’s get started on the Pilates 100!

Get 100

Start by sitting on the yoga mat with both legs stretched out. Lift both arms to stretch out from the chest, and parallel to the legs. From this position, do the Pilates roll down—rolling the back down from the base of the spine to the neck and top of the head—until your upper back is flat on the yoga mat. Place arms on the sides of your body on the yoga mat.

Keeping your feet together, lift your feet off the mat and bring your legs in to a supine Tabletop position, with your bent knees directly over your hips. Press the top rim of your sacrum in to your mat so that your spine is flat. Bring your arms straight overhead.

Inhale and lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat together, but keep your lower back and sacrum pushed down flat in to the yoga mat. At the same time, extend your arms forward. Feel the engagement in your core muscles, especially your abs.

Exhale over five counts, pumping your arms up and down on each count while keeping the body in the position. Inhale for five counts as you continue to pump your arms on each count. Together, this is one set of 10 in the Pilates 100. Repeat another 9 sets to complete the Pilates 100.

For a greater challenge, as you lift your head, neck and shoulders off the yoga mat, straighten your legs forward as well, keeping them at an angle to the yoga mat. Angle your legs as low as you can hold them while doing the Pilates 100. This is YOUR practice, so do what works best for you.

This story was originally published by our friends at SOULSCAPE.

 

 

 

How to design your own Superhero Transformation Workout Program!

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Getting bigger, stronger, faster or just getting lean and tone. You are the boss! You decide how you want to look and feel! Here is a guide to design your own workout transformation program.

Step 1: Start with the end goal in mind

What is your physique goal? Is your goal to look like Ryan Reynold in Green Lantern or Hugh Jackman in Wolverine or even Chris Evans in Captain America. Maybe your goal is to just look like Joshua Tan in Ah boys to Men 3: Frogman, that’s perfectly fine, if you have the end in mind before you start.

Step 2: Setting a Timeline

Having a timeline is important to help us stay focus and track our progress. But how much time do you need to achieve your goal? 4 weeks? 4 months? or 4 years?

Depending on where you are now, we will first focus on packing on some muscle before shredding that fat away (Note that it is possible to do both at the same time, especially if you are new to lifting). If you are new to lifting, you can probably gain 1 kg of lean muscle per month. Dropping fat is easier, you can aim to drop around 0.5 kg of fat per week, or 2 kg per month.

The numbers may not seem impressive because we are not calculating any glycogen or water loss here, if we did it would get too complicated.

So, let’s say you are 35 years old, standing at 175cm and look like Joshua Tan (BMI around 22.8, Body fat around 12% in ABTM3) now and want to look like Ryan Reynold (BMI around 24.4, Body fats around 7% in Green Lantern), you will need to put on around 7 kg on muscle mass and drop 3 kg of body fat.

To gain 7 kg of muscle, it’ll take you around 8 months – 18 months depending on how dedicated you are in your program.

Afterwards, based on the amount of fat you need to lose, we’ll just deduct 0.5 kg and that’s the number of weeks needed to get to your ideal physique.

On average, you’ll need around 12 months to get from Joshua Tan to Ryan Reynold.

That’s if you don’t get injured in the process, as progressive training is required to pack on muscle mass, but that also increases your chance of getting an injury, hence, getting an experienced trainer is recommended.

Step 3: Workout plan

To pack on size, you need to get stronger. Depending on your physique goal, the superhero physique has a wide strong upper body but legs that aren’t huge (larger than most people – no chicken legs).

There are 4 lifts that you want to get good at: the deadlift, chin up, bench press and standing shoulder press. Focus on these compound lifts to achieve that superhero physique.

Base on your commitment level (frequency of training and duration of each training session), slot those 4 exercises in accordingly.

For example, if you are willing to commit to 3 days a week, 1 hour each session – GREAT!

Spend more time on the muscle group you want to grow. If you want to have larger chest and shoulders, spend an hour working on your standing shoulder press and bench press each, then work on both the chin up and deadlift on the 3rd training session.

So, your split days will be Chest Day, Shoulder day, Deadlift and chin up day.

The next thing you want to do is to keep breaking new personal records.

Keep adding volume to your workout! Record and keep track of your lift to make sure you are getting stronger.

Step 4: You are what you eat!

Nutrition is as important as your workout if you want to achieve a superhero body. This doesn’t mean you must only eat chicken breast with broccoli! That’s quite sick. Generally, you want to increase your protein intake to 0.8g of protein per lb of bodyweight.

So, if you weigh 70 kg, you should consume around 120g – 125g protein (70 kg x 2.2 = 123 lbs) a day.

A simple search on google or fitnesspal will show you how much protein you have in each meal. It can come from eggs, milk, soy, beans, beef, chicken, fish or Nuzest. The source doesn’t matter as long as you achieve your protein intake at the end of the day.

Using tools such as fitnesspal can be very helpful as it tracks your calories, carbs and fat intake as well.

To gain weight, you want be on a calorie surplus. This means you are consuming more calories than you burn. A rough estimation on how much you burn daily is to multiply your weight by 33 Calories a day.

For example, you weigh 70 kg, you’ll burn around 2,300 Calories a day. To gain weight, simple add on 10-20% to create a surplus. So, after adding 400 Calories, you need to consume 2,700 Calories a day.

To lose fat, just reduce your calories by 10-20% to create a deficit.

Step 5: Recovery

Recovery is very important to ensure you perform your best each session. Low quality training will only result in poor gains and may lead to more injuries. Stretch your muscles before and after every workout and release any tight muscle. Remember to get enough sleep as well.

Last but not least, be consistent with your training program. Keep track of your progress and stay focused!

 

This article was originally posted by Coach Justin, a Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Read more here.

Transform your stress with lifestyle choices

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Recognising and acknowledging that you are stressed is the first step in the transformation process. What you don’t know, you can’t change. In most instances, the mere fact that you have taken stock and accepted that you’re stressed also allows you to see reasons why. You may not have that magic wand to sprinkle fairy dust and make it all go away, but you can certainly use a range of lifestyle choices to ease some pressure and give yourself some breathing space. Here is a selection of powerful stress-busting techniques to choose from:

Getting your beauty sleep
Whether you’re a lark or a night owl, sleep is not a luxury, nor is it something to be caught up at weekends, or saved for holidays. Sleep is probably the most powerful, but natural, stress transformer we have – and it’s free!
Without banking sufficient sleep hours into your ‘account’, not only is your body unable to regenerate but, more importantly, your brain winds down, hindering your ability to think clearly and keep your emotions balanced. We are meant to spend around one third of our lives asleep and yet it’s the first activity we sacrifice when the pressure is on. Why? Healthy sleep is one of the sure-fire ways of maintaining youthful, resilient, vitality of both body and mind and allowing us to cope better with stress.
But how much sleep is enough? If you’ve been scrimping on your sleep for whatever reason, it’s time for a re-think. Adults, regardless of gender, typically need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night for optimal brain and body function. Under-sleeping by even one hour every weeknight amounts to a monumental 5 hours of sleep debt by the time the weekend arrives – impossible to recoup. But, just like your bank overdraft, sleep debt has to be repaid. All too often the price is your health and spiraling stress levels as you increasingly lack the resilience to adapt to the pressures of life.

Positive self-talk
You are what you think. The orientation of your self-talk can mean the difference between super hero or super zero. Our thoughts underpin our beliefs and beliefs quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies. What we believe determines what we do, so if we believe we can’t do something, or clog up our mind with negative thoughts, we will remain stuck in our unhappy stressed-out state. Negative thoughts can seriously limit our experiences and quality of life.

Conversely, if our self-talk is positive, even if that means consciously reframing a negative thought, our behaviour and life experience follows suit. As part of the re-framing process, ask yourself these 3 questions:

• What else could ‘this’ mean?
• Is there a positive flip side I can reach for?
• How else can I think about this?

Use a notebook if you need to in the beginning, but note your negative self-talk and change it. Negative thinking is a luxury we can ill afford.

Grounding in green spaces
Do you feel better when you’re outside in nature, barefoot on the green grass, under a sunny blue sky? Doesn’t everyone? Well it’s not all about the sunshine. It’s a lot to do with electrons. The Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. So when you’re in direct contact with the ground (walking, sitting, or laying down on the earth’s surface) the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, which synchronises us to the same electrical potential. Living in direct contact with the Earth grounds your body, inducing favourable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health eg. proper functioning of the immune system, circulation and synchronisation of biorhythms to name just a few. This electron exchange during grounding is also deeply relaxing and stress-relieving.

These positive effects from ‘grounding’ aren’t surprising because throughout our evolutionary history humans have been in constant contact with the Earth. It’s so simple — next time you’re on the grass, a beach or the earth, take your shoes off and synchronise a little.

Releasing your inner recreational ‘drug’
Cannabis isn’t the only source of ‘feel-good’ cannabinoids out there. Your brain can make them too! Cannabinoids may be responsible for cannabis’ classification as an illicit drug in many countries, but you can become your own legal dealer just by working out a bit more. For many years endorphins were thought to be behind the post work-out euphoria or ‘runner’s high’, but actually we now know it’s down to cannabinoids – endocannabinoids, because we make them in our bodies. It’s fascinating to find that there are more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than there are receptors for other well-known brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, and ten times more than the opioid receptors. We also have cannabinoid receptors in our digestive systems and reproductive organs. Getting physically active on a regular basis not only brings you a lean, fit, healthy body, but also a serene antidote to stress. Not only that, endocannabinoids also protect your brain’s neurons from early death, which is hugely important in maintaining cognitive function as we age.

Committing to the present moment
Easier said than done. When we’re stressed, part of the reason for the stress is not knowing what to do to get out of where we find ourselves. It seems like a mountain of steps have to be taken all at once if we are to stop ourselves from drowning. Life feels out of control and it’s a natural impulse to keep looking outwards at all those steps in front of us that feel so overwhelming. But it’s actually the step right in front of us, in the here and now, that holds the key to release. All we need to do is stop looking into the stressful future, take a breath and connect fully to the present moment.

Change always begins with one step. Only one. So, try doing what our ancestors did: look to the sky and find your guiding star. Go out into the night sky. Sit in peace. Look up at the stars. Relax a little and take a moment to get away from the stress of your life and all those overwhelming steps in front of you. In the space and the quiet, in the relief and the stillness, you will regain focus. And you will feel the one step that’s in front of you. Have the courage to take that first step and commit to a daily practice of immersing yourself in the present moment – even if it’s just a fleeting 30 secs in your busy day.
You have time now to practice some of these lifestyle transformers before the next blog in this ‘Quit Stressing’ series. Next time, Rob will outline what a stress-busting nutritional toolbox should look like and why you definitely want Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff and Clean Lean Protein in it.