Don’t Cut Protein.

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Question: I need to get in shape and I have been restricting my calories but I can’t seem to get the scale to move in the right direction. Should I cut back on meat and protein? One other thing, have you heard of slow-motion training? Is it something that would be productive?
Answer: Don’t reduce your protein intake and here’s why. Protein plays an important role in your body, especially when you’re dieting. First, protein is the only macronutrient which is not easily stored as fat while carbs and fat are. That’s not to say go out and gorge on meat. Simply, it’s easier to store fat and carbohydrates when they are eaten in excess than it is to convert protein and store it as fat. Second, when you have stripped out excess fats and carbs from what you eat each day, your body may burn amino acids from the protein you eat. If protein is not available from the food you eat then it may cannibalize muscle. So it’s wise to keep adequate protein in your diet. Just select protein foods low in fat like chicken, turkey, venison, bison, lean beef cuts and fish. Salmon and other fish, like orange roughy, have higher fat content but are full of healthy fat rich in omega-3’s and they are important. A four month study done on omega-3’s shows that subjects who ate fish daily lost more weight during the same period that those in the study who ate fish only once a week. The fats and omega-3’s from these fish encourage carbs that are eaten to be stored as glycogen instead of fat.
Some other things to remember when dieting is to moderately reduce your daily calories. Strict, aggressive dieting can retard your metabolism. It’s better to lower calories by 200 to 400 per day so your weekly total can be reduced by 1,400 to 2,800 calories instead of slashing your daily calories to below 1,000 to 1,200 for women and below 1,800 to 2,000 for men. A meal plan higher in fiber is also important. A fiber-dense plan is more likely to result in larger long-term fat loss. Foods high in sugar and low in fiber cause higher insulin levels which generally means more fat storage and less fat burning. High fiber foods slow carbohydrate digestion which keeps blood sugar more stable and moderates insulin secretion. So eat those leafy greens and whole grains.
Slow-motion training is like most approaches in fitness that roll around every few years and become popular. It is a viable training tool and one that we use to create variety but not something that we use exclusively. For instance to do slow-mo with barbell curls use 60% of the weight that you would normally choose for a set of 10 reps. Slowly curl the weight on a 5-1-5 pace. That means curl the barbell upwards for 5 seconds, contract the top position for 1 second and lower the weight for 5 seconds. One rep will take 10 to 11 seconds and a set of ten will require you to curl the weight nonstop for 90 to 120 seconds. By the end of that two minutes your biceps are screaming. It does create a tremendous burn on a muscle and is relatively easy on your joints. You can apply this technique to almost any exercise but the trick is to deal with the ever increasing pain threshold and the desire to speed the reps to a quicker pace. Mix in a few slow motion exercises to add to your training arsenal and keep your muscles reacting. Get lean and get healthy.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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