Dwayne N. Jackson, PhD
We all understand the importance of consuming a high-protein diet as part of the effort in building and maintaining a lean muscular physique. Bodybuilders have known for decades that making rapid gains means eating much more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein (which is currently 0.8g protein/kg bodyweight). After all, high-protein diets are scientifically proven to promote protein synthesis, support a high metabolic rate, and increase fat loss.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!
A recent paper published in the Journal of Nutrition provides yet another great reason to keep your protein intake well above the current RDA. In this large-scale study, researchers investigated the protein intake patterns of 23,876 adults (of all shapes and sizes) in relation to body weight status and their associations with diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (known collectively in the medical community as cardiometabolic risk). They found that, compared to those who consumed protein at RDA levels, those who consumed higher protein diets had decreased body mass index and waist size, as well as increased HDL cholesterol levels (HDL is the healthy cholesterol). As such, the researchers concluded that protein intake at about 1.5-2x the RDA significantly lowers your chances of developing cardiometabolic disorders.
It goes without saying that the protein needs of bodybuilders are much greater than the general population, but these latest findings illustrate that high protein diets promote a lean core and cardiovascular health, so you can look good, feel great, and live longer!
ACTION POINT: In an effort to assure adequate protein intake, we recommend a well-balanced high-protein diet fortified with high-quality protein supplements. You should always aim to take in about 2 to 3g of protein/kg body weight daily (which is approximately 1 to 1.5 g of protein/lb).
Extract Fat Faster with Green Tea
For centuries, Asian traditional medicine has prescribed green tea as means to lose weight. Today one of the most popular “fat burners” is green tea extract (GTE), which is simply a concentrated source of all the good stuff found in green tea—including high levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the naturally occurring compound that is primarily responsible for the tea’s slimming effects.
Recently the fat-burning effects of GTE were further substantiated by research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In a double-blinded and placebo-controlled study scientists from the UK sought to determine if taking a caffeine-free high EGCG green tea extract (for 4 weeks) increased fat oxidation and exercise performance during cycling exercise in active males. The researchers reported that GTE supplementation enhanced total fat oxidation during exercise (in week 4) by almost 25%, with no changes noted in those who took the placebo. Furthermore, they measured greater body fat loss and a 10.9% improvement in exercise performance in those who took GTE versus those who took the placebo!
ACTION POINT: To get 25% more fat burning from your workout sessions, take 500-1,000mg of green tea extract standardized for EGCG, 2 to 3 times per day. For the best fat-burning effects, always take one dose 30 minutes prior to doing cardio.
Amino Acids: Ammo for Immuno!
Although the importance of amino acids in muscle building cannot be disputed, the latest emerging research shows that these protein building blocks play equally important roles in immune system support in those who train heavily.
A recent review article published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition illustrates the importance of maintaining high levels of l-glutamine, l-arginine, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in those who are prone to overtraining. Simply put, these amino acids appear to protect the body from immune system suppression and excessive inflammation that is known to occur during recovery from heavy and prolonged high-intensity exercise. This emerging area of research, scientifically termed “immunonutrition”, provides even greater motivation to keep amino acid levels elevated before, during, and after training. After all, maintaining a strong immune system and keeping inflammation in check will keep you healthy and injury-free.
For proper immunonutrition:
- Always drink a pre-and post-workout protein shake (1-2 scoops with 25-50g of high-quality protein).
- Take 3-5g of l-arginine, 3-times per day, with one dose 30 minutes before training.
- Take 5 grams of l-glutamine 30-60 minutes prior to training and immediately post-workout.
- Take 5-10 g of BCAAs, 3 times daily. Take one dose 30 minutes pre-workout, another immediately post-workout, and one more at any other time of the day.