Sunday, July 10, 2011
I think anyone who has considered taking supplements to help boost their potential with weight loss, in the weight room, or both will agree that there are so many choices out there it's confusing and overwhelming. This one area I will admit I am not extremely knowledgeable about. But I have managed to learn a little and pick out what I believe to be the best and most effective supplements for my needs. What you need may different, but this might help someone to get an idea of how to go about selecting supplements.
I take three different "stacks" (combos of supplements), timed morning, afternoon, and before bed:
1. With breakfast (for maximum absorption) I take-
- A multivitamin. I don't take any one brand- I just try to find a well-rounded one. Truth be told, right now I am taking children's gummy vitamins. So shoot me. My diet is good enough that I don't feel I have to get picky about this one.
- A calcium/magnesium/D supplement. The one I take has about 30% daily recommended amount of calcium and 50% recommended daily amount of D per pill (not per dose- a dose is 2, and I only take one at a time). I take the calcium because more often than not I don't get two servings of dairy in daily. The magnesium is for max absorption of the calcium. And the D is because I have a past history of depression that I have noted is a lot better when I am in the sun frequently. I thought this might be related to vitamin D, and sure enough, when I started taking D my depression was a lot easier to manage. If I didn't get magnesium or D with the calcium pills, I would take them as a separate supplement along with it.
- An Omega fatty acids pill. The one I take has all 3 Omegas in it (3, 6, and 9). There is enough scientific evidence behind this one that I believe it is worth the expense. Plus, I swear my eyesight is better when I am taking it. On the days I eat fish I skip this supplement.
In the afternoon (with lunch, if I remember) I take:
- Another Omega Fatty Acid pill
- An Iron pill, because I have a low iron level. I keep the iron pill far away from calcium intake, either in diet or supplement, because calcium inhibits Iron absorption.
Before bed I take:
- Another calcium/magnesium/D pill. This is a great time to take it because cal/mag has been proven to help with sleep.
- A glucosamine pill, because I have arthritis in a knee and it's supposed to help with joints.
In addition to these, on days I work out I take an L-Glutamine pill with my breakfast stack. I guess it's best to get L-glutamine in powder form immediately following working out, but since I have a bunch of them in pill form and I know pills take a while to break down and get into the system, I take them with breakfast, reasoning it will reach my muscles by the time I am done lifting. My reasoning is NOT based on science, though; just simply on what I think, so I could be dead wrong with this one. But I don't want to waste the pills, so until they are gone this is what I will be doing. After that I don't think I will take Glutamine at all anymore.
And right after I am done working out I have 5g of BCAA (branched chain amino acid) powder in protein powder that I put in my gym bag and add water to after lifting so I can drink it while I am walking out of the gym. Since starting to do this I swear I am not as sore after my workouts. I think they are also supposed to help aid in weight loss, but I'm not quite sure how. I use the Modern brand and the recommended dosage is 10g, but since I am a 150-lb woman I just take 5g (single scoop). This helps to stretch the container. A word of warning about flavoring with BCAA powder- make sure it has some! I got the plain the first time and my goodness, it was bitter! I had to add a packet of stevia to my protein powder/BCAA concoction to make it palatable enough to swallow. The flavor seems to help mask quite a lot of the bitterness.
Okay- so there you have my stacks and my reasons for them. I used to take more, but this is what I've brought it down to and I believe benefits me the most.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
I'm always amazed at the number of people who ask me what it is I eat and drink in the course of a day. This is a really hard question for me to answer, because I don't eat the same things all the time, but here are some general guidelines I try to follow:
1. I always have at least one serving of complex carbs. This is usually 1/2 C of dry oatmeal, cooked, about an hour or so before I workout. Often I'll have more servings of complex carbs than this throughout the day, though.
2. I usually eat oatmeal or some kind of whole grain cereal and a lean protein (Most often an egg with 3/4 cup of egg whites) for breakfast.
3. I eat before I workout- even before I do AM cardio. When I don't I find myself short on both strength and endurance. This meal is usually the above breakfast.
4. On the way home from the gym I have a whey protein shake and a piece of fruit (usually a banana).
5. I try to eat at least one salad a day, to ensure I get some raw veggies, either for lunch or dinner. My favorite is some kind of a southwestern salad so that I get some carbs from the corn. It always has a source of protein (usually shrimp or chicken breast), and if I am eating out I ask them to leave off any chips or croutons and go easy on the cheese. If the meat is grilled on a skillet I ask them to go easy on the butter. I get whatever dressing I like (usually creamy), but order it on the side and fork-dip for the non-flavorful bites. Almost none is gone by the time the salad is finished.
6. I usually have two afternoon snacks, because it's a very hungry time of day for me. Almost always one is a small protein bar (I make sure it's really a PROTEIN bar with about the same grams of protein as carbs and low fat- otherwise I consider it a carb bar). If it's a big one (over 300 calories) I cut it in half. The other snack is usually low-fat string cheese and lean beef jerky OR a scoop of protein powder mixed into Greek yogurt.
7. I try to limit my fruits to 2 servings a day (I consider a banana 2 servings), and have at least 3 servings of veggies. More is better on the veggies.
8. The meal that is not a salad is usually a lean source of red meat (I have low iron), a whole-grain carb like brown rice, OR a baked sweet or regular potato, and a LOT of non-starchy veggies.
9. I don't drink my calories (unless it is a protein shake).
10. I drink at least a gallon of water a day (read my blog on The Importance of Water to see why).
11. If I drink anything in addition to the water, it is unsweetened tea. Sometimes I'll put a little Stevia or Splenda in it, but I've learned to usually drink it unsweetened. I just don't think the additional stuff does my body any good.
12. Before bed I almost always have a scoop of Casein powder mixed with cold water into a pudding.
If you were counting, that's seven feedings a day most days. I am always eating! :-)
I'll blog about supplements next blog, but that's what I ingest as a general rule most days, whether losing or maintaining. When I am in maintenance mode my portion sizes get larger. I hope this helps!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
We've all heard the importance of starting our day off with breakfast, for not only weight loss but also general health. But I hear so many people say "I'm just not hungry when I wake up!'. While I normally don't advocate eating if you aren't at least a little hungry, breakfast is one time I break that rule.
First of all, with breakfast you really are breaking the fast from the night before. To make a long metabolic description really short, when you are fasting your body will begin to turn to muscle for fuel. I don't know about you, but I've worked very hard for this muscle and I'd rather see it sitting on my body than being burned up as energy. So to keep as much muscle on our bodies as we can it's very important to eat breakfast and keep the fasting state from sleeping all night as brief as possible.
Secondly, I usually work out in the AM. I've done this both without eating breakfast and with. I note a big difference between my energy level in the gym when I eat first as opposed as to when I don't. I sure as heck don't want to spend any amount of time trying to better my body without the ability to put max effort into it- I don't have enough hours in my day to be wasting time like that, and I'm sure you don't either.
As for the "I'm not hungry" excuse, it won't last long! After a couple of weeks of eating breakfast as soon after rising as possible, you will start waking up hungry. These days I usually wake up pretty much starving and breakfast has turned into what is often my biggest meal of the day. This is a big departure from the gal who used to eat a very small breakfast in order to hoard up her calories so she could eat a big dinner.
Breakfast is usually my biggest meal in both calories and carbs now.
You don't have to start off with anything huge. If your appetite is virtually nonexistent first thing in the morning, just have a few bites of a good-quality protein bar and a drink of water. If you can handle a little more than that, have a scoop of protein powder in water and a small piece of fruit, or 1/4 cup of dry oats cooked and 1/2 C of cooked egg whites or egg beaters. As time goes on, you'll be able to eat more.
I record breakfast on Spark just about every day, either as "Before AM Workout" or "Breakfast", depending on if I worked out that day or not. If you like you can go back through my Shared Food and Fitness Logs and peek at what I've been having for some ideas. ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_tracker.a
sp?id=NANCYANNE55&dte=6%2F29%2F2011 Although I'll be honest- it's usually some variation of eggs and oatmeal, so you may not find it too exciting.)
As an aside, most days I also get my "after AM Workout" meal logged, as well. This might give people who are confused as to what to eat before and after working an idea of what they can do.
Breakfast is too valuable a meal with too many health and weight loss benefits to be skipping. It is really, truly, no-kidding important that you eat breakfast. So no more excuses! Time to start making your morning re-fuel a habit!
Monday, June 27, 2011
The commercial I shot recently for our local Gold's gym. The final version has the exact same footage, but instead of talking about working with the trainer it has me saying that the atmosphere is friendly and the facilities are complete. I think that was a wise change.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
This blog is a little different than most of my blogs. I'm going to talk about an experience I had, at the request of my SparkFriend Kathy, AKA TheHonestMe.
I had the opportunity to do something truly unusual for me today: Shoot a commercial. Now, it's not a national commercial or anything that will be seen by millions of people, but it was still a big deal for me, because I've always dreamed of doing something like this but never had the opportunity.
My gym, Gold's Gym here in Wichita Falls Texas, has found itself with a new General Manager. Jenna is a friend of mine who has been working at the gym for 10 or more years now, since she was 16 years old. She has moved up through the ranks and finally found herself in the position of GM. I am really happy for her! She is making some wonderful changes, and after me winning the local 12-week challenge that was at the gym (free gym membership for a year. Yay!), she thought maybe I would be willing to shoot a commercial for them to help boost membership. I wasn't paid, of course, but it was still an honor to be asked and I would like to help my friend, so of course I said yes.
I was jittery before the shoot, but as time got closer to film I calmed down. I'd posted a status update here on Spark and on my facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy
-Anne/214680815221122 - like me so you can get my fitness updates and info! ) asking for prayer to calm my nerves, so it must have worked! Thanks to all of my praying Sparkfriends!
First of all, they did the interview portion. The gal asked me about things like what brought me to Golds, what motivated me to want to lose weight and get in shape, about the people at Gold's. Then she said she couldn't think of anything else and Jenna said she thought it was good. But I asked "Can I say one more thing?". I spoke from my heart about how I am 44 and no one special, that I've birthed four babies, am not athletic and have absolutely no agility or coordination, so if I can lose weight and get in shape, anyone really can do it. Jenna was so happy with me! She got all excited and said she was thrilled I'd interjected that. I have no idea which parts of the interview they will use, but I hope I gave them good stuff to work with.
Then it came time to do some actual exercising for the camera. We went into the women's only gym and I did some chest flyes on the cable machine (I tried to look like I was working hard- really the weight was down relatively low), and they got a shot of the pool over my shoulder while I walked on the treadmill. Then down to the co-ed lifting section where I did something I called reverse hack squats (It's like a hack squat machine, but you are facing down). They look kinda bad a*#, and I loaded 45-lb plates on there to make it look like I was pumping serious weight. Of course, it was my legs I was working and 90 pounds on legs is pretty light, but for the camera I thought those large plates next to my head might look more impressive.
Then I did a few other lifting exercises, ending with dumbbell shoulder presses. For that one I picked up a little bit heavier weights for me- 20 pound dumbbells- and put out about 14 reps. My exertion on those were for real! I was struggling to get the last couple out! Then we went into the cardio room and I did a little stretching for the camera.
At that point they wanted to get a shot of me walking in and waving to Randhal, the gal behind the desk. This is where I think it may have looked a little cheesy, because I simply do not wave at anyone when I come in. I swipe my card, say good morning, and get to work. So it took several takes (a couple because we were being silly, doing things like acting like we were running towards each other in slow motion, which set my kids, who were there, into a fit of laughter- Mom doesn't usually act goofy), before we finally got something that they may be happy with. But personally, I think that part is going to be unnatural-looking no matter what, because I was doing something that is not natural for me. I'm a horrible actress.
And then we were done. Jenna sent me a message thanking me, that she was really happy with how it went. She used the word "perfect", which I thought was kinda exaggerating, but still very nice. I was just glad that she was happy.
If I get a link to the commercial somehow on line, I'll post it here if folks would like that.
It's funny how being willing to have a big mouth about your weight loss story and trying to help others can branch into things you never thought would really happen: There is also a local photographer who has expressed interest in using me as a model to try some muscle-y type pictures, which he has never done before. Again, no pay there, but still very flattering and an experience that I am sure will wind up being a valuable one. And I may get some more good fitness pictures out of the deal, if it ever actually comes into fruition.
I don't have any type of fantasy that I'll become a fitness model or anything of the sort, but if I can use what I have worked for physically to help my friend boost the membership in our gym and look better for her bosses or bring in a bigger paycheck, or help a photographer find a new avenue to use his skills (we have NO fitness photographers here in Wichita Falls and I think it would be a valuable skill to have since we are 2 hours away from any significant cities), or motivate someone else to make themselves more healthy by any of the above means, I'm more than willing to put myself out there. Success for ones self is good, but success for the benefit of others is being who my Creator made me to be.
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