Tag Archives: nutrition

Client Success Story: How my client lost 30 lbs in 4 months without doing anything extreme…

It all started with a random email I received on April 14 2015. A girl named Kelsey contacted me as she had heard “I was very motivating and a pleasure to work with” from a mutual friend (thanks Denise!)  Also in her email she explained to me that she was “feeling really out of shape and interested in one on one training”.  We set up our first appointment right away and from the moment I met her she was smiling, super positive and enthusiastic.  She was the most excited 24 year old female I have ever had a consultation with. I was instantly as excited as she was to get started.  She make the decision to commit to training 3 times a week (as that is the most effective way to get results, especially when a client is new to an exercise program) and was going to do cardio workouts on her own 2-3 times a week (pretty awesome right!?) She also wanted to learn how to eat properly and cook healthy but delicious and easy meals.

Her goals when we first met were to lose weight (20-30lbs and be a size 8-10), to feel better, (strong, fit, energetic) and do something crazy (Spartan Race, pull ups, etc).

Here are her measurements for her first assessment

April 21 2015

Body weight-177.8lbs Body fat 35.9% Chest 42”, Belly 40”, Hips 42”, Left Arm 11.5”, Left Thigh 24”

Performance wise she was starting off pretty strong with good pushup, squat, lunge, deadlift, twist, pull and plank form. BUT she wasn’t doing much exercise on her own and had no clue how to eat properly! Well this is where having a trainer makes all the difference.

We set up a schedule of training 3 days a week and GUESS WHAT?! She only missed one session in the 4 months we trained. She was determined to make it to all her workouts and worked her hardest while she was here. And she did that…and more! Consistency is so important when working out and changing eating habits, and her motivation never wavered!

We discussed nutrition early on, I had her track her food for a few days so I could get an idea of what her daily food intake looks like. At first, she was eating out almost every meal, ate mostly carbs and not a lot of veggies and protein. She was constantly drinking water so that was good J Now, you might find it hard to believe but I never wrote her up a meal plan! I simply taught her the 5 Habits from the Precision Nutrition program and one week at a time she worked on mastering those. They are as follows

1-Eat slowly and without distraction

2-Eat protein (25-30 g) with every meal

3-Eat 1-2 servings of veggies with every meal

4-Eat carbs based on your body type and activity level (if trying to lose weight, eat carbs around your workout etc) and watch your serving size (1 cupped handful is 1 serving)

5- Make sure you are getting enough fat in your diet (eggs. Meats, fish, olives, nuts, seeds)

I also got her to fill out a biweekly adherence sheet to track her meals (tracking good meals, missed meals and unhealthy meals) and the goals was to improve her adherence each week. This worked super well without being too complicated.

She literally took every bit of advice I gave her and followed it from Day 1. Yes there were some late nights out and drinking  with her friends once in awhile, and she would go for sushi, have pizza or eat dessert sometimes (who doesn’t?)  but my point here is she did not do anything extreme to achieve results! She followed guidelines I provided her for fitness and nutrition and STUCK TO THEM FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME!  After training with me for 4 months these were her measurements…

Aug 28 2015

Body weight 144.4 lbs BF 22.6% Chest 37” Belly 34” Hips 38” Left Arm 10” Left Thigh 20.75”

She was down 32.6 lbs, 13.3 % bodyfat and 25.5 inches all over! Incredible, right?

Her strength  and form in all her exercises improved 100%, she is at the point where she LOVES a tough leg workout and requests challenging exercises when we train together.

All of these changes happened over 4 months, no extreme dieting or crazy workout routine, she JUST DID WHAT HER TRAINER TOLD HER TO DO, for more than 2 weeks (unlike most people who start up a new fitness routine)…and was determined to improve her health and fitness.

Kelsey is an inspiration to anyone who is unsure about personal training or making the decision to take their fitness more seriously.  Her positive attitude was the number one reason was she had great success, she was open to my suggestions, and ready and willing to make changes, AND she was prepared to work very hard to reach her goals week after week..

Now even though we aren’t training 3 times a week anymore she still comes to see me once a week for a really good butt kicking.  She tells me that coming to see me even once a week really helps her to stay motivated and do her own workouts during the week, so basically, she uses me as someone to be accountable to and I am the one who helps to keep her on track.  This makes me happy and I truly feel like I have helped take Kelsey’s fitness, nutrition and health to a whole new level, a level that she is committed to maintaining for the rest of her life!

This is just one of many success stories of clients I have trained in the last 8 years, perhaps you’ll be my next one?

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How to Build Mental Toughness

Everyone knows how important it is for us to “stay in the game” when it comes to mental strength.  It’s a common theory that you either have it, or you don’t; either you were born with it, or you weren’t.  For some, it certainly may feel that way.  Then there are those who crumble when things get tough.  Why is it that some people are able to get through challenging moments while others break down at the first sign of difficulty? Developing mental toughness is as important as developing physical strength.  First of all, let’s look at the definition of mental toughness.

Wikipedia describes ‘mental toughness’ as: “A term commonly used by coaches, sport commentators, and business leaders-generally describes a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

Sounds like a trait that is pretty desirable, don’t you agree?  So, let me share with you some ways to develop your mental strength…

Manage your self talk

“You can change who you are by changing what you say when you talk to your mind.”

The mindset of a ‘winner’ is produced by positive self talk. Self talk is your mental evaluation of your behaviour and performance. In other words it is the conversation that goes on in your head. Your self-talk is built by your thoughts. Unfortunately for many, most of these conversations are repetitive, full of negative thoughts – focused on the things you should have done, the things that went wrong, telling yourself that you aren’t good enough. Each conversation that you have with yourself supports in your mind who you are and what you are capable of. It will build or pull down your self-esteem and self-worth.

The higher your sense of self-worth and self-esteem the more competent you will be dealing with the challenges and difficulties life will throw at you. When your self talk focuses on self-doubt and is always critical of you, then you are unable to see the best and bring out the best in yourself.

Have you ever made a mistake then played it over and over in your mind? “How could I have been so stupid, why didn’t I keep quiet, why didn’t I say, Why didn’t I do it like that instead, why do I keep messing things up …” The problem is compounded by the fact that we often repeat these conversations over and over again, reliving the mistake, keeping it at the forefront of our mind. We stay focused on all the negatives from our experiences and this then builds a negative belief about how we handle this type of situation.

During your workouts, positive self talk can help you to succeed by motivating you to do your best, lift heavier or finish one more rep. Self talk is the thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself and your ability. It can help boost your mood or drag you down.

One thing that works for me is repeating to myself over and over again “I CAN DO THIS! LET’S GO LESLIE!”…As I think these things and have these thoughts, I immediately start to feel more confident and strong. I talk to myself calmly and positively about what I need to do to complete my workout. I prepare my mind to achieve feelings of success, determination and ready to take on any challenge.

Next time you want to give up on your set or slack off during your cardio session early, try pumping yourself up with some positive affirmations that you can repeat in your head…here are a few that you can use…

  • I have trained hard.
  • I am strong.
  • I am doing my best.
  • I am getting better everyday.
  • I can lift this weight.
  • I have enough strength for this.
  • I can push through the pain.
  • I can do this!

Visualize where you want to be

When I meet with clients for the first time, a question I always ask people during our consultation “What are your goals?  How badly do you want to reach your goals? Do you believe you can get there???” More often than not, people go into great detail about what their goals are, how much weight, inches or body fat they would ‘like to lose’ and then when it comes to actually BELIEVING they can get there, well that is where most people become unsure and make excuses as to why they haven’t been successful in the past when they have tried to achieve their goals.  As with a meal plan, exercise routine or even a relationship, you need to align your thoughts and goals with your actions.  Once you have a clear vision of what it is you want, develop a well prepared plan and if you need help with this, seek out a personal trainer or friend who will hold you accountable.  The success rate is always higher with preparation than winging it or trying it out and seeing what happens.  Know what you want and really go for it!  Professional athletes didn’t reach their success through improvising.  Their hard training is what gives them the results they’re searching for.

Eat well and sleep well

Sounds easy enough right? I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good sleeping patterns and maintaining and healthy diet.  When your body is weak, your mind has a harder time concentrating (and saying no to unhealthy food!)  When you are sleep deprived, you lose your focus and concentration.  It’s harder for you to stick to your goals when you’re distracted and irritable.  Overeating can create sluggishness along with feelings of guilt once you’ve recognized that you’ve indulged.  Not eating enough can result in fatigue, irritability and poor energy levels.  How can you concentrate on building mental strength when you can’t stay awake or get out of bed in the morning?  The right change to your diet can immediately increase mood and energy levels.  A healthy lifestyle (not a quick fix diet) is a great start to achieving any goal.  Another key point to remember is when you operate ‘outside of your comfort zone’ you will learn to become adaptive and resilient (this is one of the best lessons I have ever learned in my life!)  Falling into a boring routine or rut has an effect on our motivation.  So spice it up! Try a new class, get a personal trainer, change up your workout routine, or try some new recipes.  At times we almost need to feel uncomfortable so we recognize our weak points and discover areas in our life we can improve on…in most cases it is usually the exercises you hate the most that will benefit you the most!

Whatever challenges and obstacles that come your way should be taken as an opportunity to learn more about yourself!

The main thing to remember here is we all talk to ourselves, either out loud or mentally. When your self-talk is positive and helpful it will empower you. When it’s unkind, critical, full of anxiety, it makes you feel bad, destroys your confidence and lowers self esteem.From now on pay attention to it. Each time you recognise that you are self-criticizing or self-defeating,STOP, remind yourself that it’s just that old habit you’ve got into, and that from now on you’re changing this habit, but it takes practice!

Top athletes and leaders think positively, using self-talk to build on their self-belief and confidence. They focus on improvement not on worrying about poor performance or negative consequences of failure. They build on earlier successes and don’t dwell on failure or poor performance which helps them build a positive self-image, confidence, and personal belief in themselves.

So, instead of wasting energy telling yourself “I’ll never get there”, or “it’s too much work” or “I’m too busy” or “I don’t deserve it”, try spending your energy focusing on how far you’ve come, what you want and who you want to be, use your mental toughness skills and you can do anything you put your mind to! 

Les 🙂


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How to stop falling off the wagon!!!

if you're tired of starting over

Are you one of those people who starts a diet or makes a decision to eat healthier and then less than a week later you’re back to eating unhealthyfoods and finish off an entire carton of ice cream?? Well in today’s post you will not only learn why you do this…but WHAT to do about it and hopefully how to prevent it from happening again!

But first, I want to share an interesting article I found on the internet that sounds very similar to the way I dealt with food in the past (and not gonna lie I am human and have weak moments from time to time even now!!)  This is also very similar to what I’ve noticed over the last several years working with  many different people as a personal trainer and observing how people lose weight…it’s long but worth the read…you will most likely be able to relate…

“It’s that when most people start a diet (which by the way I don’t encourage), they seem to have NO IDEA what will keep their enthusiasm going and keep them from cheating… and eventually failing.

And when they fail on these diets, they feel “out of control” of their lives…like a weak person that has no willpower…or a loser that’s failed — AGAIN!

Have you ever started a diet and really believed that THIS time it is gonna be different because you have found that drive and determination to change yourself… NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES?

Have you told yourself, “I don’t care how hard it’s going to be. I’m ONLY going to eat what my diet says is okay to eat.”

Ok let’s get real here!! Here is an example of what happens to most people (including myself)…

So here you are, on a diet and it’s the weekend and you have plans to go to a party!

You  have been so good all day long and only eaten exactly what the meal plan told you to eat today. You’re feeling really good about yourself and know that you’re going to have a great time at the party tonight.

You show up at the party feeling great and looking good.  You make your way over to the appetizers and there they are…Fresh baked, hot chocolate chip cookies! NO! Not COOKIES!  I LOVE COOKIES!  But there they are… teasing you with their sweet, sugary aroma and hot steam dancing around the slowly-melting chocolate chips (HAHA!)  Your senses take all this in and your mind quickly zooms in on the chocolate chip cookies. Suddenly, you can think of nothing else.  It was as if everyone in the party  has disappeared and there is a spotlight pointed at the tray of cookies (seriously this has happened to me before!)  You tell yourself, “I’ve been so good all day long. One cookie isn’t going to hurt any.” So you grab one and stuff it into your mouth. OMG!! Pure decadence. Mouth-watering ecstasy.  No worries in the world… just you and your cookie… wait! It’s gone! That was over way too quickly… you must eat more. And so you grab a second, and then a third, and then a fourth… and before you know it, you’ve had 6 fattening, sugar-filled chocolate chip cookies. Was that on your diet meal plan for the day?  I guess probably not.  All at once it hits you…What Have I Done?!  You ate 6 chocolate chip cookies in less than 5 minutes. How could I let that happen? I was doing so good.

Well, now that this night is shot… you might-as-well enjoy it while you can and have some fun.  So you go over to the chips and guacamole and start piling it on.  You tell yourself, “I’ll start back on my diet again tomorrow.”

And so the cycle repeats…

Isn’t that a funny phrase, “start back on”?  How can you “start back on” anything?  Can’t you only start something ONCE?  How many times have you “started back on your diet”? If you’re like me then you don’t even remember.  I would start a diet and really believe with all my heart that I would stick with it… that NOTHING was going to break my willpower.  I would tell myself, “This time it feels different.” “It feels special.”So why did I always end up back at the same place with a cookie in one hand and a fried tortilla chip in the other? I was doing everything I could to convince myself that I needed to change my body. I took a ‘fat picture’ of myself and pinned it to my bathroom mirror, I made a list of all the things about my body that I hated and wanted to change, I even laid out my high school jeans so I could look at them every day for motivation. But still I was cheating. Still I couldn’t keep from eating those super-fatted and sugar-filled foods. You would think that the disgust that I felt every time I caught a glimpse of my thighs in a mirror would be inspiration enough to PUT DOWN THAT COOKIE AND GRAB A CELERY STICK…

but it wasn’t.

Every time I started a diet to change the body that I hated, I failed. Finally, it hit me…THE BIG AH-HA THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!.  Maybe the reason that I kept failing at my diets wasn’t because I didn’t have ENOUGH hatred for my body… Maybe that hatred was actually the reason why I was failing. I started to think about this a little deeper. I had been torturing my body and trying to force it to change… but it wasn’t responding.  In fact, it was rebelling and I was getting fatter. The more I thought about this, the more it seemed to make sense. Of course!

Why SHOULD my body change? What motivation am I giving it? Hatred. And what responds positively to hatred? Nothing. Think about what would happen if a friend wanted YOU to change. If she comes to you insulting you… and telling you everything that she hates about you… and all the reasons why you should change… and then DEMANDING that you change…You’re probably not going to react really well to this line of talk… and you are probably NOT going to change. No, you’d just get defensive and grind your heels in deeper. But if she comes to you with caring… and humility… and from a place where she is wanting to help you because she loves you… and then she convinces you there are wonderful reasons to make the change…You might feel inspired.You WANT to change.

I started to treat my own body like a friend that I wanted to inspire. Every day I would tell my body all the beautiful things that I loved about it. And when my body (or mind) made a mistake, I immediately gave forgiveness because I didn’t want my body to become discouraged. This shift in my thinking about my body changed my relationship with my body. It was no longer an enemy that I was fighting against… My body became my strongest ally. And we were fighting together for the same common goal — to be the healthiest person possible. It was suddenly much easier to stop eating junk food or to stop after one. It actually brought me JOY. And that was just the beginning…The more time I spent exploring my body, the deeper into my SELF I travelled. And you know what I found? Hiding underneath all these bones and organs, quietly and patiently waiting to be discovered…Was my spirit. And once I was introduced to my spirit, my fascination with my body faded quickly. And I made some really big discoveries…I am more than my body. This body is where my spirit lives. Every time I eat junk food or crap, I am polluting the house of my spirit. More than that, I WANT to give my spirit a beautiful place to live… and only pure, clean natural foods can build that. And so I started eliminated unhealthy foods from my diet, one-by-one and replacing them with healthy foods. And the healthier I ate, the brighter my spirit shined. I love that feeling. I CRAVE that feeling. I appreciate how great it feels when your spirit shines brightly because I spent the first decades of my life without that feeling. And now, I’ll do anything for it… I’ll even give up chocolate chip cookies. I even enjoy working out.

If this sounds crazy to you, I understand. I never thought I would find a better feeling than eating a plate full of chocolate chip cookies… but I have. When I feed my spirit the pure, clean, natural foods that it needs…My spirit rewards me in so many ways. I have more energy than I know what to do with, I laugh like I did when I was a schoolgirl, and I find happiness EVERYWHERE – even in the most common things. You may be thinking, “You get all this from food?” Believe it or not, Yes. When I finally found a deeper motivation to eat healthy foods, I stopped eating crap. All that crap I used to eat was dead. Dead of life, dead of nutrition, and dead of any good energy. Once I started to eat healthy foods, it was like someone came and breathed life into me. It feels so good to eat healthy! And it begins to actually taste BETTER to you than that junk food does. When your food is dead – YOU ARE DEAD.

I feel like I am alive for the first time in years. I got so many good feelings from eating healthy that I got hooked and didn’t want to eat anything else.

And you know what happened? My body started to change. My eyes got brighter, my skin got clearer, and all that extra fat around my thighs, butt and stomach disappeared. AND I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE! When I started talking to other women who have healthy eating habits, turns out they all have some higher motivation for rejecting crap and embracing healthy, natural foods. Some are healing from an illness…Some are following spiritual beliefs…Some have ethical reasons… Regardless of WHAT the motivation is… it always comes from some higher place other than “I want to look hot in a swimsuit.” The physical desire to change won’t carry you through those really difficult times when you want to cheat because that’s a physical desire as well. The physical pleasure you get from pigging out won’t always win over your physical desire to be “hot”… But your spiritual one will. When your motivation comes from the deepest place within you, it is driven from a much more powerful force. It is NOT driven by fear or hatred – it is driven by love. And that’s what kept me from cheating and failing at my diet. Today, if I do decide to cheat (which I sometimes do) I know that I won’t feel good after I eat it, and it won’t give me the same rush of health that I’ve become hooked on… But I do it anyway and I allow myself the enjoyment while I’m eating it because I know that that’s ALL the enjoyment I’m going to get. I deal with the after effects – the bloating, the indigestion, the sluggishness and lack of energy… And then I get right back to my healthy diet because that is what I prefer. Now, I CHOOSE foods that give me sustained enjoyment that nourish my body, mind and spirit. Look, I’m not some spiritual sage levitating four inches off the ground in lotus position… I’m not some great and powerful person or some holy saint with superhuman powers… I’m just a regular woman from a small town in Texas that turned my attention to what really makes me happy… and I found out that it wasn’t in chocolate chip cookies after all.

I know any woman can turn her attention inward…and discover what REALLY makes her happy…so that she can start to make better choices. And when you PREFER to make better choices, you will STOP failing at your diet. In fact, you won’t have to ever diet again. I know that this is not something that happens right away, and that maybe you might need some more guidance to find your way to where I am. 

PHEW! I am back!  Now  I am going to share with you 5 simple steps you can follow to stop failing at your ‘diet’ and prevent you from constantly starting over again:

1. Don’t be on a diet!!  Instead make wise-food choices.  Eating healthy food allows your body to get the nutrition it needs and it promotes a healthy physique as well.  There are foods that can naturally promote weight loss and a lot of these clean and healthy foods.  This includes a wide variety of vegetables and fruit (most veggies), as well as lean sources of protein, complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, etc) and a fair amount of healthy fats as well.  Stop failing at your ‘diet’ by wisely choosing the right foods!
2. Do not skip meals! Skipping meals will not do you any good. Do not believe in the common misconception that starving yourself makes you thinner and healthier. This is false! In fact, skipping meals can sabotage your weight loss attempt! Skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down and as a result, the fat deposits are not thoroughly and easily burned. Skipping meals also makes your body eager to store more fat than the usual because fat stores are necessary to sustain you during the times that you are hungry and skipping your meals. Tip: You should be eating 6 times a day!
3. Proper timing of meals.  Many underestimate the effect or proper timing in food intake. What most do not know is that proper timing can increase or decrease the effectiveness of your weight loss routine. For one, eating on time makes your metabolism regular and on its peak. Correct timing also decreases untimely cravings at night. Tip: Eat small meals (with protein at every meal) every 2-3 hours!
4. Go natural-Eat whole foods! Nature has its way of making our body fit. As much as possible, always go for fresh, organic foods and avoid those which are commercialized and artificial. Commercialized and artificial products are high in bad fats (good fats can be found in natural food sources like avocado, oils, nuts) which are more resistant to fat burning. Moreover, these junk foods often contain a lot of salt and other preservatives which promotes water retention. Excess water makes you feel bloated and heavy.
5. Make your best worst choice– Sure, you might for various reasons make nutritionally or calorically (is that a word?) frightening choices, but so long as you asked yourself these two important questions, “Is it worth it”, and, “How much do I need to be happily satisfied”, there can’t be a wrong choice.  Sometimes your best may be a basket of chicken wings but perhaps a smaller basket than normal and one less beer, or a fancy coffee with whip just ordered less frequently, or a bowl of ice-cream instead of a pint, or a small bag of chips rather than the giant bag, or a full-sized chocolate bar rather than an entire Blizzard. What I’m getting at is that sometimes we make choices that are less than ideal, but that so long as you’ve made your best worst choice, you’re still doing great!


Hopefully this has been helpful and you will do your best to stick to your plan of eating healthy!  I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this topic, I know so many of us struggle with this!!


Les 🙂


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More slimming pancake recipes :)

Part 2 of Protein Pancake recipes for fitness enthusiasts…Check these simple and tasty recipes.  Now you have enough to try a different pancake every morning!!

4. Simple Pre-Contest Protein Pancakes (ready in 10 minutes, makes 4 pancakes)

1 tbsp psyllium husk

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

1 whole egg

1/4-1/3 cup water

Blend. Heat pan over medium heat. Pour batter. Flip when bubbles appear.

Nutrition facts per pancake: Cals 90, Fats, 2.5 g, Sodium 55 mg, Carbs 3 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugars 0 g, Protein 15 g

5. Dark Chocolate Protein Pancakes (ready in 10 minutes, makes 2 pancakes)

4 egg whites

1/2 cup rolled quick oats

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

2 tbsp pumpkin puree or sweet potato baby food

1-2 packets Stevia (optional)

Directions: Let batter sit for 5 minutes to allow chia seeds to soak up some of liquid.  Blend, heat pan, pour, flip 🙂

Nutritional info: Cals 230 g, Fats 6 g, Sodium 160 mg, Carbs 22 g, Fiber 6 g, Sugars 2 g, Protein 23 g

6. Pumpkin Pie Protein Pancakes (ready in 10 minutes, makes 2 pancakes)

2 tbsp canned pure pumpkin

1/4 cup rolled quick oats

2 tbsp wheat bran

1 egg

2 tbsp low fat cottage cheese

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

1/2 tsp maple extract

1/4 tsp all spice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder

Blend. Heat pan. Pour batter. Flip pancakes. ENJOY!

Nutritional info: Cals 90, Fats 2.5 g, Sodium 30 mg, Carbs 8 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugars 1 g, Protein 9 g

Happy cooking and let me know which one is your favourite!! Maybe you’ve created your own?? Please share your recipes and comments below!


As promised here is a link to some excellent lower body stretches for ya Ashley!! Pictures included!  It is best to stretch everyday (after you’ve warmed up of course) but you can increase your flexibility by following a stretching program at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes or more!

Les 🙂



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Should I take protein powder?

I get asked this question ALL THE TIME!  What do I tell people??  Most often (after looking over their daily food log) the answer is YES! Why? Because most people do not get enough protein on a daily basis.  Why do you need to eat more protein and why protein shakes?  Well continue reading if you’re interested….

If you have ever been to a gym or a health food store you’ve probably seen and heard about various flavours, brands and kinds of protein powder.  If you are a health and fitness guru/nut like me, protein shakes are a part of your daily meal plan, at least once (post workout) or maybe even twice a day.  They are becoming more and more popular as people are discovering that the key to weight loss and building muscle is adding more protein to their diet, therefore protein powder has become a neccessary supplement. But do you know which kind is best?? How they are made?? Or how much protein you need?? Hopefully I will answer all your questions below…

You can buy protein powders in every nutrition store and the are sold all over the Internet. You can even find pre-mixed, ready-to-drink protein shakes in many stores.  But are protein powders just for bodybuilders, or can the average everyday person benefit from them as well? The answer is YES, everyone can benefit from adding more protein into their diet.  Why? Lean sources of protein increase your metabolism, increase muscle mass, increase recovery, leave you feeling full so you eat less which eventually lowers body fat, increases adaptation to training demands, lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease, boosts your immune system, etc.

What Are Protein Powders?

Protein powders come in various forms.

Protein powders are dietary supplements that contain a high percentage of protein, this protein being derived from a variety of different food sources including:

Rice, Egg, Milk, Pea, Hemp and Soy

Here’s what you should know about each type…

Rice protein: Hypo-allergenic, gluten-free, neutral taste, economical

Egg protein: Fat-free, concentrated amounts of essential amino acids

Milk protein: includes whey, casein, calcium caseinate, and milk protein blends. – May enhance immunity, high in BCAA’s, contains lactose, most likely to not be tolerated, highly studied

Pea protein: No saturated fat or cholesterol, highly digestible, suitable for vegans, hypo-allergenic, economical

Hemp protein: Provides omega-3 fats, most forms provide fiber, suitable for vegans, free of trypsin inhibitors, can get in raw form, high in arginine and histidine

Soy protein: May have benefits for cardiovascular disease, suitable for vegans, contain trypsin inhibitors

h percentage of protein, many manufacturers fortify their products with synthetic vitamins and/or minerals as well as additional fats and carbohydrates. These later products, which also contain appreciable amounts of carbohydrates and fats are often referred to as MRPs or meal replacement powders.

As protein powders come directly from whole food sources, they are created by extracting the protein component of the food through a variety of processing methods. Typical processing methods include:

Protein concentrates
Concentration is a high heat drying process and acid extraction to lessen the whole food source into a concentrated protein powder. It is fairly inexpensive. During the processing other impurities can be concentrated with the protein (e.g., lactose, fat, cholesterol). Concentrates end up being about 60 – 70 percent protein by weight.

Protein isolates
With isolated protein, the idea is to separate out a majority. This is accomplished through an alcohol wash, water wash, or ionization technique. Each method has a different expense. Water is the least expensive and ionization is the most expensive. After the isolate is created it goes through a filtration process. At this point, virtually everything but the protein has been eliminated. Minimal carbohydrate, fat, fiber and phytochemicals are left. Isolated protein is about 90 – 95 percent protein by weight.

Protein hydrolysates (hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed protein is created by adding water to protein polymers and breaking them into miniature groups of protein called peptides. The groups will range in size from 2 to 5 amino acids. This is done to enhance absorption. Hydrolysis is essentially pre-digestion. Hydrolyzed protein is expensive to produce.

Ion-exchange protein
Ions are atoms or molecules containing charge-bearing groups. Ion exchanging separates protein molecules from other fractions in the food by taking advantage of electrical charges.

Microfiltration, cross microfiltration, ultrafiltration
This is a powerful filtration process that removes contaminants from the concentrated protein component by passage through a membrane. It is similar to reverse osmosis used for water purification.

The industry gold standard for milk protein processing is ion-exchange. However, different protein sources require different processing techniques.

While protein powders provide a significant amount of protein, most people, even athletes, can also get everything they offer by eating sources of lean protein like meat, fish, chicken, and some dairy products (greek yogurt and cottage cheese preferably) BUT let’s be honest, who wants to eat  more than 3 chicken breasts a day!? Not me!

How much protein do I need?

The general rule of thumb is 1-1.5 grams/pound of body weight (seems like a lot and very few people get enough protein everyday).  So for most women this is 20-30g of protein PER MEAL (120-180g/day) and for men 40-60 g of protein per meal (240-360g/day).

If you’re unsure as to how much protein you’re currently consuming click on this link to find out the protein content of almost every food you can imagine!

With the many options of protein powders currently available, it is important to find the option that matches YOUR needs. Digestibility is an important issue and should be established before choosing a protein powder. For most people who first start taking protein powder it will take a few days for your body to get used to it.  So give it time and if your body still doesn’t like what you’re giving it, try a different type of protein powder.

Also, the method in which the protein powder is used will also influence your selection (e.g., shakes, puddings, bars, pancakes, etc). Finally, remember this, with dietary supplements, you get what you pay for. By choosing a “cheap” protein powder, you’re likely to get higher amounts of lactose, fat, etc. not removed during the isolation process.

I have tried all types of protein powders, and to be honest I like to mix it up and try different flavours and kinds (and try and find the expensive ones on sale!)  My favourite is the new VEGA Performance Protein (chocolate flavour). Here’s a link for more info on what’s in it.  I’ve also used ALLMAX Isoflex Whey Protein Isolate in the past (so many flavours to choose from).  Here is a link to find out more about this product.  What’s great about this brand is you can buy it in most grocery stores (check the health food aisle) so it’s very convenient.

Any one else have any opinions on protein powder?  Feel free to comment!  Hopefully this post has been useful in answering any questions you had about protein powder.

In my opinion the BEST way to lose weight/gain muscle is to follow a regular strength training  and cardio routine (most effective with the guidance of a personal trainer), practice yoga at least once a week and most importantly follow a consistent healthy diet, high in protein, loaded with veggies and minimal fruits, healthy fats, and lots of water…there’s so secret formula, it takes hard work and dedication to your goal!  Contact me for more info and I’ll show you how to get the most out of your workouts and help you get the results you’ve always wanted!



Les 🙂

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Is Vitamin Water Healthy??

To all you Vitamin Water lovers, I hate to break it to you but NO it most definitely isn’t.  I can remember when this drink first came out I feel for the marketing and would think I was being healthy drinking this “nutrient-enhanced water beverage” after all  “vitamins+water=all you need” and they claim their product is “hydration only better”.  Pffff ya right!  Little did I know that it’s not a “nutrient enhanced water beverage” at all but but it is more like “sugar+water =all you get”.  In fact it contains 33g of sugar and 125 cals for every 20 oz bottle so it ends up being more like a sports drink or pop than plain water.  There was even a Vitamin Water lawsuit, check out the article on Time.com

From searching a few websites I found out the ingredients in Vitamin Water are “…a sweetener called crystalline fructose that is brought about from corn syrup, electrolytes, natural flavors, citric acid and vitamins E, B12, B6, B5, B3 and C.  At other times, more ingredients are included based on the flavour needs of a particular vitamin water drink.  The sweetener, crystalline fructose, is decidedly unhealthy for you as there have been concerns raised about its propensity to play a role in causing chemically produced liver damage, or hepatotoxicity. The presence of citric acid also may be a problem, as citric acid is known to wear down your tooth enamel if ingested to excess.”  Wow sounds very refreshing now doesn’t it??

You might be wondering “Ya, but there are vitamins in the drink, do they benefit you in any way?”  They do but not as much as you’d think.  There was a study published in 2009 in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition of 12 participants found that vitamin water provided a similar nutrition for B6, B12 and vitamin C as a standardized meal with a caloric savings. So while some of the water soluble vitamins (Bs and Cs) are absorbed that isn’t clear for the fat soluble vitamins, A, D and E.

But guess what!!?? You can make your own!! If you’re not a fan of plain water and are looking for a way to ‘spice it up’ try squeezing lemon or lime juice into some water for vitamin C and potassium.  You won’t reach the same levels of vitamins you do in sugar…I mean Vitamin Water, but if you’re concerned that your diet isn’t already supplementing you with enough then try a high quality multi-vitamin supplement.  The best way to lose weight, get enough vitamins and minerals, be energized, increase your focus, boost your immune system (which apparently will happen by drinking Vitamin Water??)  is to eat a clean, well-balanced and healthy diet loaded with vegetables and fruits, complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats.  So if you’re not doing this already, Vitamin Water will not help you feel any better 🙂  If you have any more questions about the topic of nutrition or your opinion of Vitamin water, I’d love to hear from you.  I’m always looking for new ideas for future blog posts…

Les 🙂


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