Author Archives: timidle

5 Home Items That You Can Use As Exercise Gear

Try using small hand towels in place of gliders (sliders) on a hardwood or tile surface, they can add some instability to the move, making it more difficult.

Move 1: Towel Reverse Lunge

Start standing straight up with your feet at about hip-width distance. Place a towel underneath your right foot.
Keeping your left leg rooted, begin to slowly bend at the knee and bring the hips back.
Slide your right toes along the ground, extending your right leg behind you.
Lower your body until your left leg reaches about a 90-degree angle.
Then, with most of your weight in your left leg and glute, glide your right leg back to the starting position.
This move requires a lot of strength and stability, so don’t be discouraged if it’s too challenging! Feel free to hold a chair to improve your balance.

Move 2: Towel Hamstring Curl

Begin lying flat on the ground with your arms at your sides. Put a towel under your feet and place your feet flat on the ground with knees bent.
Come into a glute bridge, raising your hips up to the ceiling, while keeping your shoulder blades, arms and head on the floor.
Gliding along the floor, extend your legs out in front of you until they’re as straight as possible. As you extend, try your best to maintain the glute bridge position, keeping your hips off the ground.
Then, use your hamstrings to curl the towel back to the starting position.
Extend your legs as far as you can to keep good form and comfortably bring them back toward the body.

Find yourself a backpack and fill it up with random weighted items, could be old textbooks, heavy water bottles, heavy fruits or veg.

Move 1: Backpack Back Squat

Put the backpack on, tightening the straps so that it sits on the upper part of your back and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
With your hands straight out in front of you, shoot your hips back and begin to bend at the knees.
Keep your back flat and squat down until your thighs are about parallel to the ground.
Press through your heels and push your hips forward to return to standing.
If you want to get an even deeper squat, you can elevate your heels with two books about the same size.

Move 2: Backpack Bent-Over Rows

Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, grab each end of the heavy backpack with your hands.
Shoot your hips back and with a flat back, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward.
Holding this bent-over position, extend your arms, holding the backpack.
On an exhale, row the back pack toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Then, bring the backpack back down.

If you have a case of water bottles, they make an excellent heavy load for front squats and front-loaded lunges. If you don’t have a case handy, you can also fill a suitcase with heavy objects.

Move 1: Water Case Front Squats

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the case of water and hold it across your chest at shoulder height, bending at the elbows.
Shoot your hips back and bend your knees. Keeping your back flat and chest up and out, squat toward the ground until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Then, exhale and press through your heels to return to standing.

Move 2: Front-Loaded Forward Lunges

Stand with feet at shoulder-width apart. Grab the case of water and hold it across your chest at shoulder height, bending at the elbows.
Root your right foot into the ground and step forward with your left, leaving a few feet of space between your feet.
Simultaneously bend your right and left knee until your front knee comes to 90 degrees and the back knee hovers just above the ground.
On an exhale, return to standing and bring the legs back together.
Repeat on the other leg.
If front lunges feel too challenging, swap for a reverse lunge, which are generally easier to perform and safer on sensitive knees.


Move 1: Food Can Biceps Curls

Begin standing up straight with a can in each hand.
With palms facing away from your body, curl the cans up toward your shoulders.
As you curl, keep your elbows close to your sides.
Once the cans are at shoulder height, squeeze the biceps.
Then, slowly bring the cans back down to the starting position.

Move 2: Food Can Triceps Extensions

Begin standing with a can in each hand.
Raise the cans straight over your head and bring them together.
Keeping your elbows fixed, lower the cans behind your head, bending your elbows.
Then, extend the cans straight back overhead.


Move 1: Bulgarian Split Squats

Begin standing three feet away from the sofa, feet at hip-width distance.
Face away from the sofa and raise your foot up onto the sofa, toes curled underneath your foot.
Keeping your weight in your left leg, bend your left knee to 90 degrees.
At the same time, bend your back leg until it hovers just above the ground.
On an exhale, straighten your legs to return to standing.

Move 2: Incline Push-Up

Begin in a high-plank on the sofa or chair, hands on the seat in line with your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your ribs and lower toward the sofa or chair until your chest touches the cushion.
On an exhale, press into the sofa/chair and return to the high plank.

2 Exercises To Strengthen Your Whole Body

Only two exercises…..but it’s definitely not easy.

Before you get going, make sure you warm-up properly. Jumping jacks, inchworms and lunges are just a few exercises you can perform to get your body ready.

The workout follows a classic couplet rep routine: 21-15-9. You’ll need either dumbbells or a kettlebell for the goblet squats.

You’ll start with 21 goblet squats and 21 burpees, followed by 15 goblet squats and 15 burpees, then finally 9 goblet squats and 9 burpees. Between sets, rest for a minute or two before launching into the next round of goblet squats & burpees.

Complete 3-6 rounds depending on how fit you are and how tough you want to make it?

Seeing as you’re most likely doing this workout at home, track how long it takes you to complete all the sets and try to beat your personal best next time.

The 10 Best Foods To Beat Your Sugar Cravings

Even if you cut out sweets, the amount of added sugar in processed foods — from bread to salad dressing — makes it hard to give it up without a fight. And all of that sucrose, fructose and glucose that adds up in your diet is addictive as it raises your insulin level so you want more.

Read on for 10 foods that can help you kick your sugar habit.

1. Homemade Smoothies With Yogurt, Milk and/or Protein Powder

A smoothie often includes the fruit skins, so it provides an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. If your smoothie includes yogurt or milk, you get some calcium too, and the fruit adds fiber, helping to slow digestion, lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. As a breakfast, one with protein powder, healthy fats and low glycemic index fruit can push off any unhealthy midmorning snacking and get you through to lunch.

2. Plain Yogurt

Phosphorus, found in dairy products like yogurt, is a building block for bones. While you don’t want to overdo phosphorous, choosing plain yogurt also gives you the benefit of probiotics, which help maintain proper digestive health. In fact, imbalanced gut bacteria and candida overgrowth have been linked to more intense sugar cravings, and probiotics can help rebalance the gut bacteria. Enjoy your yogurt with some fresh berries and low-sugar granola for a satisfying fiber- and protein-rich snack that will keep your blood sugar from spiking.

3. Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Sugar cravings can also often be a sign that your blood sugar levels are out of balance, which is why it’s important to eat low glycemic index (GI) foods that prevent energy crashes and sugar cravings. Most breakfast cereals contain simple carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in your body and cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels. Instead of a muffin, sugary cereal or handful of cookies, steel-cut oatmeal will keep your blood sugar level more stable. Sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg or drizzle some honey on a bowl of your steel cut-oatmeal and pair with a serving of nuts for added protein.

4. Cinnamon

Even spices can help you overcome the sugar addiction. Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and can also help reduce sugar cravings. Cinnamon minimizes insulin spikes after you’ve eaten, thereby keeping you from craving more sugar. When you’re craving something sugary try sprinkling cinnamon over a banana and add some crushed raw nuts on the side.

5. Apples

Another reason you crave sweets can be due to a deficiency of chromium. Chromium is known to be important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and getting enough chromium is thought to improve the way your body regulates sugar and cholesterol. Apples are a great source of it, but other fruits that provide chromium include bananas and oranges. Try this easy dessert: Slice an apple and sprinkle with cinnamon, then microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.

6. Nut Butter

Eating protein is an excellent way to reduce sugar cravings because it stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Nuts and nut butters (or sunflower butter if you have nut allergies) provide protein along with healthy fats, but if you’re trying to lose weight, only eat two tablespoons a day. And be sure you get ones that have no sugar added! Nut butters also provide sulfur, which is the third most abundant mineral in your body and found throughout your muscles, skin and bones. As we age, a lack of sulfur can lead to sagging and wrinkling of the skin or stiff muscles and joints. For snacks that combine protein and fiber, try a piece of toast with almond butter topped with berries or dig into a spoonful of peanut butter with some celery sticks.

7. Dates

With their caramel-like taste and texture, most foodies will tell you that dates are the next great thing, especially because they can be a healthier replacement for sugar in some dessert recipes. Fewer calories than sugar and a lower glycemic index, 6 medium-size pitted dates provide you with 6 percent of your daily allowance of potassium, which can prevent osteoporosis, stroke, kidney stones and high blood pressure. With high levels of soluble fiber, they help fight off sugar cravings and even stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. But, at 23 calories per date, be sure to eat them sparingly.

8. Beetroots

Beetroot can help curb those sugar cravings. Known for fighting off inflammation — a root cause of conditions ranging from arthritis and heart disease to migraines, dental issues and cancers — beetroots are also high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and iron. They’re helpful for purifying the blood and cleansing the liver, but, most importantly for your cravings, they’re a good source of glutamine, which is ideal for some extra get-up-and-go when what you’re really hankering for is the spike of energy that sugar can give. For a quick, healthy snack, try roasted beetroot sliced and served with goat cheese and raw walnuts on some peppery greens.

9. Sweet Potato

Naturally sweet, this veggie can help with sugar cravings too. While starchy, a sweet potato’s natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. A great source of potassium and high in iron, vitamins like B-6, C and D and one of the best sources of vitamin A, the sweet potato is also high in L-tryptophan, which can help satisfy your sugar craving.

10. Vanilla

Studies have shown that vanilla-scented products reduced a person’s need for sugary foods and drinks. You become desensitized by its smell, so you can trick your sweet tooth with a vanilla-scented product like body lotion or a candle instead of something sweet to eat. But if you won’t be satisfied without something in your mouth, try adding natural vanilla extract to tea, coffee or even sparkling water to curb that craving.

Beginner HIIT Home Workout

If you’re new to HIIT, or just starting to get fit, this routine is a perfect place to start. You’ll use only your bodyweight, and every move is low impact, so they’re all manageable if you’re overweight or have joint problems.

Directions: Perform between 10-20 reps of each exercise in turn, resting 15 seconds between each exercise. After you’ve completed all 6 exercises, rest until your breathing is nearly back to normal and then repeat for 3 to 5 rounds.

Workout duration: 20–30 min.


Step 1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and cross your arms in front of your chest to help you balance. Try and plant your feet into the floor to create tension and feel your hips and glutes fire up. You should feel the arches in your feet rise.

Step 2. Begin to lower your body, pushing your knees apart and sitting back as if into a chair. Go as low as you can while keeping your head, spine, and pelvis in a long line.

Step 3. Come up out of the squat and twist your torso to the left, raising your left knee into the air 90 degrees. Squeeze your abs. Reverse the motion and repeat the squat, twisting to the opposite side.


Step 1. From standing, pull your ribs down and tuck your tailbone slightly so that your core is braced. Raise your arms straight overhead, keep your core tight.

Step 2. Twist your torso to the left as you bring your left knee up and pull your arms down, as if delivering a knee strike. Crunch your abs, trying to bring your ribs and hips together.


Step 1. Stand with feet together and your arms at your sides, ready to throw straight punches.

Step 2. Move your left foot out to the side, land in a deep squat and punch your right arm straight out, and then move to the right and punch with your left arm.


Step 1. Perform a squat as you did in the squat twist above, but start with your arms bent in front of you, as if you had just curled a barbell. Squat until your elbows touch your knees.

Step 2. Come out of the squat quickly so the momentum makes you come up on the balls of your feet. Reach your arms overhead while keeping your ribs pulled down and core engaged.


Step 1. Stand with feet outside shoulder width and reach your arms overhead and slightly to the left.

Step 2. Draw your arms down while driving your right knee up and to the left, as if delivering a knee strike. Repeat on the opposite side.


Step 1. Get into the top of a pushup and then drive your right knee to your chest while keeping your hips level with the floor.

Step 2. Replace your right foot and raise your left knee to your chest. Continue alternating sides at a brisk pace.

12 Foods To Help You Get Lean


Choosing delicious foods that dampen your hunger, turn off your cravings for sweets and rev up your metabolism are part of the secret to slimming down.

Here are 12 delicious, waistline-friendly choices. 

1. Avocados

Avocados help to lower BMIs and are an effective weight loss aid They’re also associated with improved overall diet quality as the fruit provides more than 20 different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

2. Mangos

Mangoes help to improve your overall diet as a cup of fresh mango has 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and folate.

3. Apples

In addition to containing just 95 calories per medium-sized apple, the fruit also helps keep you fuller longer while helping your body resist storing extra calories as body fat.

4. Fish

Fish and seafood may be the best for keeping you full on fewer calories because they have among the highest protein-to-calorie ratios.

5. Herbs and Spices

Naturally calorie-free, herbs and spices are one of the easiest ways to help you cut calories by simply allowing you to pump up the flavour of your food without adding extra fat, sugar, sodium or calories.

6. Tea

An article about tea (especially green tea) and weight loss, reported that bioactive compounds called polyphenols in tea have been shown to increase energy expenditure and fat burning.

7. Beans

Rich in antioxidants with approximately 15-20 grams of hunger-squashing protein and around 15 grams of filling fiber per cup, this slowly digestible carbohydrate can help promote weight loss.

8. Veggies

Vegetables are low in calories and filling. If you’re not a huge fan of raw or cooked veggies, try them in puréed form which is just as in promoting weight loss.

9. Quinoa

This whole-grain seed is loaded with protein and fiber, making it an essential ingredient when it comes to weight loss. In fact, quinoa has a higher Satiating Efficiency Index (measure of fullness) than wheat or rice. 

10. Flax and Chia Seeds

Two superfoods loaded with protein and fiber, the nutrients most linked to enhancing satiety, these seeds are a terrific option for someone trying to lose weight.

11. Cottage Cheese

Rich in leucine, an essential amino acid that’s necessary to build and maintain muscle mass and has been shown to have appetite-suppressing effects.

12. Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a useful diet aid that works by tempering your appetite, it’s almost calorie-free making it a great option to add flavour to your meals and snacks.

How HIIT Works?

How HIIT works?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts can use any type of exercise, from cardio machines to bodyweight to free weights, so you can customise your workout to your own needs.

Here’s how HIIT works: you alternate fast, intense periods of exercise with bouts of light activity or complete rest. While it takes less time than aerobic workouts, HIIT can be just as effective for reshaping your body and it can be a lot more fun and challenging.

HIIT may be the perfect kind of cardio for people who can’t (or won’t) run anymore, as well as those who don’t have access to a gym. HIIT can be tailored to your experience level and the equipment you have available and works great for home training.

With HIIT you work hard to get your heart rate up, then take it easy to recover. The set is then repeated for between 3-6 rounds.

Because HIIT workouts are so intense, you can’t perform them for long, so work intervals are usually between 20-45 secs, with similar rest intervals, depending on how hard the work bouts are and the whole workout typically lasts 20 minutes or less.

HIIT workouts may not last long, but they can burn more calories per minute of exercise than aerobic training does, making it the better cardio option when you’re short on time.

The other big benefit of HIIT is the effect it has on your metabolism. Like weight training, HIIT increases post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is usually a two-hour period after an exercise session where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels and therefore uses more energy. In other words, HIIT still burns calories and fat even when your session is over and you’re recovering after the workout. You don’t get this same effect with aerobic training.

How Many Times Per Week Should You Do HIIT Workouts?

As with lifting weights, HIIT is stressful to the body and requires recovery time, so the recommendation is two or three HIIT sessions per week, done either on the same day that you work with weights (preferably right afterwards) or on days in between.

For the best balance of exercise you should also try to fit some long-duration aerobic training into your week if you can. Steady-state cardio builds an aerobic base that your body can use to fuel all its other activities, and it’s good for your heart, as well as burning extra calories.

All You Need For Home Workouts

Home workout kit

It’s much easier than you think to set up home workouts.

All you need is a few meters of space and some basic equipment.

You can build up your home exercise equipment stash with just a few key pieces of equipment that aren’t expensive to buy and they’ll give you loads of different exercise possibilities. These 5 pieces of workout equipment will equip you for pretty much any home workouts.

1: Mat
Get yourself a mat to workout on, makes it a lot more comfortable for any floor exercises and it’s easy to wipe down after you’ve finished an intense session.

2: Resistance Bands
They’re an inexpensive option that can be easily stored and can go with you just about anywhere. You can opt for a package that includes a variety of bands in different sizes and resistance levels.

You can use the bands for glute and hamstring work, and strengthen your upper body. Longer bands are great for upright rows, overhead presses, biceps curls or lateral raises.

3: Dumbbells
Definitely worth investing in a few sets of dumbbells for strength training. Like resistance bands, dumbbells are a versatile, easy-to-use piece of equipment that can be added to just about any exercise for some muscle-building, which is beneficial to everyone regardless of your goals and level of fitness.

I would suggest starting with 3kg, 4kg, or 5kg for ladies and 4kg or 5kg upwards for men, depending on your strength and fitness?

4: Kettlebells
Kettlebells can be used for strength, muscle building, balance improvements and increases in core strength, as well as boosting your aerobic capacity.

8kg is a good starting weight for ladies, then move up to 10kg. Men should start with a 12kg or 14kg, then move up to 16kg.

5: Sliders
Sliders are great for full-body workouts, especially your abs. If you’re having trouble visualising this piece of equipment, they’re two small disks (or you could just use towels) you can place under your feet or hands to glide smoothly on the floor.

Like resistance bands, sliders are a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, can be easily stored and offer a big variety of exercise options.

Home Exercises: Try This Stair Workout

Staircase workout

Even if you don’t have any equipment there’s still some really effective ways to workout just using what’s available in your house.

This workout can be done by just using your stairs.

Try It….it’s tougher than you think!

Stair Climb |Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Push Ups | Start in a high plank position (arms straight) with your feet on the floor and your arms on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd step, depending on how difficult you want to make it? Lower your chest towards the step, then back to start position. Reps: 5 – 10. To make it more difficult, reverse the position and put your feet on 1 of the steps and your arms on the floor, then begin your push ups.

Stair Climb | Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Bulgarian Split Squat | Stand a few feet away from the bottom of your staircase, facing away.
Root your left foot into the ground and lift your right leg and place it on the second step (or wherever feels comfortable for your hip mobility).
Bend your left leg to 90 degrees, making sure that your knee doesn’t extend past your toes.
Keep your weight in your left leg and return to standing. If you struggle to return to standing, use the staircase rail for a little extra support.
Reps: 15 on each leg

Stair Climb | Begin at the bottom of the staircase.
Climb up the stairs, then back down — that’s one lap.
Do 3 laps.

Stair Step-Ups | Stand at the bottom of the stairs. Step up onto the first or second stair (depending on your ability and height) with your right foot. Straighten your right leg and let your left leg dangle behind you. Step back down off the stair, then step back up using your left leg.
Try to rebound as quickly as possible, going right into the next step-up.
Reps: 10 – 20 on each leg

If you’re feeling energetic and fit you could repeat this circuit up to 5 times.

11 Pre-Workout Snacks

Whether you’re doing intense cardio, yoga or weight training, all forms of exercise require energy. Even if you find your workout is “fine” without fueling up in advance, having the right type of energy readily available to your body can enhance your workout.

But what should you eat or drink before your workout? And when should you do it?

Snacking is part of a pre-workout fueling strategy and eating a carb-rich snack close to exercise time is beneficial for performance, especially when there’s not enough time for a meal beforehand. It should feel light on the stomach and shouldn’t weigh you down.

Although some people do like to work out in a “fasting” state, a 150-200 calorie pre-workout snack can help increase the effort you feel like you can exert. Though snack timing can vary, it’s best to eat a pre-workout snack about 30 minutes before workout.

Read on to find the top performance-enhancing munchies recommended by nutrition and fitness pros and how to include them in your pre-workout routine

Banana Beetroot Smoothie

Try this recipe for a banana beet smoothie about 30 minutes before an intense 45- to 60-minute workout by blending together:

8 ounces of cold water
1 small steamed beetroot (or half-tablespoon of beetroot powder)
1 tablespoon of nut butter
Half a banana
Pinch of sea salt
Ice cubes

Beetroots contain nitrates, which help increase energizing oxygen to muscles; banana has carbs for energy; nut butter has protein for muscle repair; water is hydrating; and sea salt contains the electrolyte sodium, which is lost in sweat.


Yogurt’s a great food choice before working out, but rather than just eating it plain, try this honey matcha yogurt 30 minutes before a workout by stirring together:

6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon of honey

Yogurt and honey have carbs for energy. Yogurt also has protein for muscle repair and probiotics to keep the digest tract feeling good through a workout. And matcha contains caffeine to help energize a workout.


A good rule of thumb before a workout: When in doubt, grab a banana 20 to 30 minutes before exercise. They’re easy to digest and generally won’t trigger bloating or digestive upset. Keeping the gut happy is one of the primary objectives of a pre-workout food, so you won’t inhibit performance.

Also bananas have a relatively low glycemic index, which means they provide slow-burning fuel; they’re packed with potassium, which supports heart function and muscle contractions, prevents muscle cramps and helps maintain muscle mass; and they contain vitamin B-6, which supports mental clarity and helps regulate blood sugar levels for sustained, level energy.

Snack Bar

For a quick snack before a class, grab a bar 30 minutes to two hours beforehand, but make sure you pick one that has good, natural ingredients and isn’t loaded with sugar.

While eating too much fiber before exercising may cause discomfort for high-performance classes, it may be beneficial for those practicing lighter-intensity activity.

Dairy & Fruit

Sometimes food duos pack a greater punch than single foods. One of those dynamic duos is dairy and fruit. You could pair a piece of in-season fruit for a good dose of carbohydrates, with a single piece of string cheese that provides some protein to help bring oxygen to your muscles.

Or you could try Greek yogurt and a banana before working with weights or doing a yoga class.

Toast With Maple Syrup

Toast isn’t just for breakfast. Glamming it up a bit can be ideal for a pre-workout snack about an hour before endurance workouts like running, swimming or cycling. How about trying a piece of whole-wheat toast with cinnamon and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Compared to white bread, whole-wheat bread takes longer to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar because it has more fibre and protein, that means it will slowly release carbs into the bloodstream and the pure maple syrup provides quick-acting fuel from carbs that should last for at least 60 minutes into your workout.

Dates & Almonds With A Dusting Of Sea Salt

Got 30 to 60 minutes before your workout?

Dates provide a good dose of simple carbohydrates and potassium. Because potassium is an electrolyte lost when sweating, potassium-rich foods can play a role in proper hydration while potentially preventing post-workout cramping.

The almonds provide some protein and crunch, which will help keep you full throughout the workout, and the salt brings out the natural sweetness of the dates while helping to replace salt you may lose in sweat.


A jolt of caffeine can boost your workout performance! So, have a pre-workout latte with milk 60 minutes before your workout. It also helps with what’s called ‘rating of perceived exertion (RPE),which basically means caffeine can help you do more because you feel better working harder.

Since that caffeine is coupled with the milk in a latte, it’s especially beneficial as a pre-workout snack for either aerobic or power/resistance workouts. The milk contains carbohydrate and protein, including leucine, an amino acid that directly stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

Tart Cherry Juice

Move over, sports drinks! Drink a glass of tart cherry juice 90 minutes prior to exercise. It keeps you hydrated, maximizing exercise intensity and endurance and helps you get the most out of your workout.

It also contains potent phytonutrients that help to protect muscles against damage.

Iced Green Tea

Iced green tea is a beverage with benefits! Of course, it helps hydrate, but it also contains caffeine, which has been shown to help improve performance, increase strength and power, reduce feelings of fatigue and potentially stimulate fat burning.

Green tea will work for exercisers of all levels who want an exercise boost and to make their workout seem a little easier.

How Protein Can Help You With Weight Loss

What Exactly Is Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient made up of nonessential and essential amino acids, which are required to synthesize muscle in the body. Our bodies need protein as part of a balanced diet for health and weight management.

But protein can be more or less important at different stages of our development. Younger people need protein to grow and build muscle, and it helps maintain muscle mass for those who are reaching old age.

Why Protein Is Essential for Weight Loss

If you’re looking for a quick fix to a growing waistline, protein isn’t it. However, increased protein intake can aid weight loss in a variety of ways.

A diet specifically geared toward weight loss typically involves less calories and when there’s a caloric deficit, muscle loss occurs. That can result in protein being used for energy.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

A higher amount of protein (at least 72 grams per day for most people) can help to maintain muscle mass during periods of calorie restriction. For best results, sources of protein should be from high-quality ingredients like soy, lean meats and dairy.

Protein isn’t the best fuel when you’re at rest or during short-duration exercise. However, during longer workouts or endurance exercise, proteins may contribute 5 to 15 percent of your actual energy needs. The body prefers to use carbohydrates for energy first, but if those sources are low the body turns to protein for energy.

To optimally build muscle, an intake of 25 to 30 grams of protein is recommended following exercise. An easy way to meet this recommendation is by drinking a protein shake or eating a balanced meal.

Be careful when you’re on a weight-loss diet: Overconsuming calories in general, no matter the source, leads to any excess protein being converted to stored energy or fat.

Vary Your Protein Intake

Grilled chicken is a great, easily accessible form of protein, but if you eat it day in and day out, you’re bound to get sick of it. Other excellent sources of protein include meats like beef, pork and fish.

However, there are also plant-based sources like nuts, legumes and vegetables. And don’t forget all the dairy sources of protein, such as cheese, milk, cottage cheese and yogurt. Eggs are also a great high-quality, low-cost source.

Vegetarian options like soy, pea and hemp are also popular sources of protein. Lastly, protein supplements are also popular in the form of bars and shakes, but make sure you choose products that have quality ingredients.