Choosing the Right Protein Bar

Protein, that essential nutrient our body can’t survive without. In fact, proteins are one of the building blocks of body tissue. They are also a source of fuel, like a component in petrol to keep a car engine running.

This underscores the importance of getting the required amount of protein into our body via the food we eat. Whether or not you’re in a fitness program, you should have your own daily dose of these essential nutrients.

However, for certain reasons, we can’t consume the recommended amount of protein on a daily basis. It can be because we can’t prepare our meals to include a good amount of these nutrients or the food we buy just doesn’t contain the amount we need. Don’t worry, though, as there’s a literally handy solution for that: protein bars. They’re convenient (since you can put them in your bag or even your pocket and take them with you wherever you go) and they can be an active replacement to your meals.

Of course, not all protein bars are created equal. In order to get the right one, here are tips:

Consider the carbs-to-protein ratio – The rule of thumb is, if it’s a protein bar, it should contain at least 15 grams of protein. Anything lower than that means you should have second thoughts on getting it. You also want to make sure that the protein content is higher than the carbs. Be sure to check the package to read how much protein is in the bar compared to the carbs.

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Check the protein source – When reading the label, be sure to also check if the bar contains high-quality sources of protein, including hydrolyzed whey, micellar casein, and whey isolates. Secondary sources would be whey or soy concentrates. There are cases wherein gelatin or collagen is added to the bar to improve its texture. Don’t forget to check the ingredients to find the protein types, which are usually arranged from highest to lowest in concentration.

Check the sugar, too – We all know that too much sugar can translate to more fat. The irony is that many of the protein bars you’ll find out there are loaded with sugar. Stay away from those that contain refined sugars, such as corn syrup, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup. If these ingredients are present, that protein bar is practically just another candy bar.

These are some of the things you have to remember when choosing an excellent protein bar (and if you want to know when to use protein powders, learn from relevant sources).

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Feeling Wimpy? Build Muscles

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Photo Credit: Slovakmuscleman (commons.wikimedia.org)

As a teenager, I never really experienced being part of the popular group. I was sickly, loved staying home and did not really enjoy being with people. Some people even saw me as a wimp. It was not a big deal for me but things had to change when I went to college. I have to get a job and study at the same time. Unfortunately my body did not look like I could manage to work and study at the same time.

Feelings towards the opposite sex have also started to occupy my life. I know that with true love, someone who would like me for who I am and not for what I look like. But as my first two semesters in college passed, I know I could not fool myself anymore. I had to do something to improve the way that I look, feel and probably see life.

Improving one’s self is a decision that comes into your life. It is not affected by what people say or may think of. When you start to feel the need to change and improve, you will, no ifs and buts, you just simply do. There is no turning back.

Starting is the most difficult part in changing, but once you have managed to take the leap, you find yourself having the trouble of stopping. In my case, it was easy for me to start I had friends that supported me and helped me in my journey towards change.

Being healthy and looking better physically is the first thing I had in mind. Being a geek myself, it was very easy for me to check on the latest innovations and medical help I can get to achieve the built that I want to have. I immediately bought protein powder online to include the supplement in my diet. Within two months, I saw the changes. My muscles started to get bigger, my weight started to improve and the most important thing is that I felt better about myself. I still go over Nutrition Warehouse’s website to read information and see testimonials of people who are experiencing the same thing like I do. Now I can say that I feel better towards myself and I have already started meeting friends.

The wimp in me is still there, I still sometimes feel inferior over the people that I meet at school and at work, but my confidence is slowly getting up there, and one day, I see myself as a happy, confident and a real man.

Resource Links:

How to Build Muscle Mass for Hard Gainers (buildingmuscle.org)

How to Build Muscle – The Ultimate Guide to Building Muscle (acaloriecounter.com)

Pre-workout Habits you Should Follow (ezinearticles.com)

When to Take Protein Shakes

There’s no questioning the importance of drinking protein shake for those who are into intense workouts. Truth is, the question for many is when to drink it: before or after working out?

Breaking down the facts about protein

Before we can answer the question above on what the right time to drink protein is, let’s lay down the facts first about protein powders and their benefits.

First off, protein is used for the production of muscles. It’s also used to manufacture enzymes, hormones, cellular messengers, nucleic acids, and components for the immune system. When our bodies don’t have sufficient protein, putting together structures that make up every cell, tissue, or organ won’t be possible. Our bodies also cannot produce the biochemical substances that are necessary for important things like cardiovascular function, growth, muscle contraction, as well as healing.

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Image credit: John Lee (flickr.com)

Before or after workout?

This has been a longstanding issue among those who perform intense routines in the gym, especially those who are into bodybuilding. There are those who believe that it’s better to drink protein shakes before getting into strenuous exercises, while there are those who advocate drinking them when they’re done with their workout.

Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong in this debate. Drinking protein before or after working out is both fine. But if you really want to get the full benefits of the protein shake you’re taking, it’s better to gulp it down prior to sweating it out in the gym.  This is because pre-workout protein, specifically BCAAs or branched chain amino acids, will help fuel your muscles while you’re performing your routines. BCAAs don’t need to be processed by our liver. After they’re absorbed, they go directly to our blood stream, which are then picked up by our muscles.

Another advantage of taking protein before working out is the fact that it starts protein synthesis during the session instead of after it. Furthermore, you also burn more calories if you consume it before getting started with your training. There’s a study that found that a scoop of whey protein prior to training increased calorie-burning over the next 24 hours.

There’s also the ‘carryover’ effect of pre-workout protein-drinking as far as nutrients are concerned. Once you’ve taken protein, muscle protein synthesis levels remain high for as long as 3 hours. Now that’s a twin benefit right there: enjoying the benefits of elevated blood amino acids and carryover of elevated blood amino acid levels even after you’re done pumping iron.

Whether you take it before or after your gym sessions, there’s no doubt you’ll reap tons of benefits by taking protein as supplement (know about protein powder and the benefits of doing pre-workouts).