There's an old adage "feed the muscle, burn the fat" which props up an important concept. This concept is vital in the health and fitness realm. Whether you just want to burn fat (lose body fat) so that your body looks better, or you want your body to perform better in athletic endeavors, feeding the muscle is of the utmost importance. There's all kinds of nutrients that take part in helping to build and or maintain muscle. The most important of those, is the macro nutrient protein. Feed the muscle with protein, and that muscle will help you stay fit, as well as boost and maintain your metabolism so that you can burn fat (lose body fat) effectively and efficiently.
In order to build and or maintain muscle, your body requires adequate amounts of protein. How much is enough? Well, this is Fat X 101, and I like to keep things simple, I'm a big fan of the KISS principle (Keep it Simple Stupid). So, with that said, I normally shoot for my lean body weight in grams of protein. For example, I normally hover around 170 lbs, and I would estimate that at least 150 lbs of it is lean body tissue. So, I try to consume at least 150 grams of protein per day. There are all kinds of scientific formulas and variables you can plug in to be more exact, but estimating works really well, and it's a lot easier. It's worked well for my clients as well as myself.
Where can you get protein? Protein can be found in most foods, but in high concentrations, you can find it in chicken, turkey, fish, red meat, eggs and or you can also supplement with it for ease and convenience. Protein supplements are usually available in a powdered form. Supplementing with protein can be advantageous in the sense you can control the other macro-nutrients which you can't do if you're eating, for example, eggs or red meat. Eggs and red meat along with high amounts of protein also have high amounts of fat, which you may or may not want in your meals.
If you choose to supplement with a protein powder, which I do, there are two main things I look for. Number one, that it tastes good. Let's face it, if it tastes like powdered rat turd, sooner or later you'll stop putting yourself through the ordeal of the consuming it. And believe me, there are some terrible tasting protein powders on the market.
The second thing I look for in a protein supplement is that it mixes easily. If you have to put it in a blender, it loses a bit of the convenience factor. Also, if you have to mix it too long, some protein powder supplements tend to sponge up and become a fluffy, sudsy, mess. I hate that! I'm sure everyone that's experience that, also hates it.
There's one more thing that's important if you want to feed the muscle via a protein powder supplement. Price! Supplements are pretty well regulated, and protein is no exception. If the label says it's protein, it better be protein! If you get it from a reputable store, whether online or offline, chances are you're going to get at the very least, a decent product and the only real difference will be the taste, how it mixes and the marketing of it. By marketing, I mean this product has protein, plus X, Y, and Z, and that product has protein, plus, double XX, and Z, and the third product has a roided up bodybuilder that endorses it. Basically, protein is protein! I've never noticed major differences in how I feel or how my body looks after taking different protein supplement products regardless of the extra ingredients.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feed the muscle with proper exercise and enough protein. Don't get a headache trying to choose a protein supplement. As a matter of fact, if you're new to supplementing with protein, I suggest you try different brands until you find one you like. The exception is soy protein if you're a male. Soy protein will kick up estrogen levels and you definitely don't want that!! I would suggest a whey protein powder that has a decent taste and mixes easily.
The easiest, usually most affordable, and most convenient place to buy a protein powder so that you can feed the muscle, and burn the fat, is online. Amazon usually has great prices. If you're going to try supplementing, I would go with one of my favorites, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard.
I live in Pasadena and I'm often asked If I know of a good place to purchase a protein powder in the area. So a few weeks ago, I decided to visit a few of the supplement stores in Pasadena incognito, so that I could give and unbiased and insider review. I decided I would judge them only on this visit, the price of a comparable whey protein powder that I've used in the past, the price of the product and last but not least, customer service. The three stores I visited were:
Ordered from best to worst, both in price, and customer service.
Nutrition 4 Less
777 S Arroyo Pkwy #103, Pasadena, CA 91105
Yelp Rating for Nutrition 4 Less
The second I walked in to the Nutrition 4 Less store, the guy behind the counter put down whatever it was that he was eating, and asked me how I was doing and if I needed help. I told him I was just looking and I walked over to check out the price of their Intek Whey Protein. It was $45 for the 5 lbs jug.
The Vitamin Shoppe
181 South Lake Avenue #5 Pasadena, CA 91101
Yelp Rating for The Vitamin Shoppe
When I walked into the Vitamin Shoppe, it was buzzing with activity and their sales people were busy with customers. I walked to the protein section and took a look at their Optimum Whey Protein. It was priced at $53 for the 5 lbs jug. Eventually a sales person got to me, but I already had the info I was looking for and I was on my way out.
117 North Lake Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101
Yelp Rating for Max Muscle
Max Muscle was the smallest of the three stores. When I walked in, I was the only customer with the exception of two Pasadena Police officers that seemed to be hanging out at the counter having lunch. There were two people behind he counter and I must have had my invisible cloak on because I walked around the store twice and they never asked me if I needed help. The most comparable protein powder they had was the Max Muscle 4 lbs protein jug. To my extreme surprise, it was $65 dollars! Wow! I was going to ask them if it was a mistake, but again, I must have had my invisible cloak on, so I just walked out.
Ok, so back to the main point of this article. Feed the muscle! Maintaining and building muscle will help boost your metabolism and help you achieve your short and long term goals, whether it's just to lose body fat, or to become more fit and athletic. If you're in the Los Angeles or Pasadena area, feel free to contact me for private training/coaching (personal training). I also run a small group boot camp workout class based on the Fat X Program if private training, private coaching (personal training) is out of your financial reach. In any case, good luck to you in achieving your fitness goals!