Proteins are the building blocks of life, and their importance in maintaining overall health and well-being cannot be overstated. While a balanced diet should provide us with an adequate amount of protein, there are situations where protein supplementation can play a pivotal role in optimizing our health, fitness, and performance. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of protein supplementation, its various benefits, and the scenarios where it can be particularly advantageous.
Before delving into the importance of protein supplementation, let's briefly revisit what makes protein so crucial to our bodies.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are essential for various physiological functions, including:
1. Muscle Growth and Repair
2. Enzyme Function
3. Immune Function
4. Hormone Production
5. Tissue Maintenance
Now, let's explore why protein supplementation can be essential in certain situations.
1. Muscle Growth and Recovery: Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often require more protein to support muscle growth and repair. The recommended amount of protein intake will depend on your goals. Protein supplementation, such as protein shakes or bars, provides a convenient and quick way to meet these increased protein needs, especially after intense workouts.
2. Aging: As we age, muscle mass naturally declines. Protein supplementation can help older adults maintain muscle mass and strength, which is crucial for mobility and independence.
3. Weight Management: Protein is known to promote feelings of fullness and reduce appetite. Incorporating protein supplements into a weight loss plan can aid in controlling hunger and preserving lean muscle mass during calorie restriction.
4. Convenience: In our busy lives, preparing protein-rich meals isn't always feasible (who wants to eat chicken breast for every meal anyway). Protein supplements offer a convenient way to ensure you're meeting your daily protein requirements without spending excessive time in the kitchen.
Choosing the Right Protein Supplement
When considering protein supplementation, it's crucial to choose the right type of protein for your specific needs. Common options include whey, casein, soy, and plant protein, each with its unique characteristics and advantages. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist can help you determine the best protein supplement for your goals and dietary preferences. For supplement recommendations, please reach out to your coach or ask your peers for their preferences.
Online Coach & Reel Videographer
A good warm-up prior to Olympic weightlifting optimizes your physical and mental state, promotes better technique and performance, and reduces the likelihood of injuries. It sets the foundation for a successful and safe training session.
Here are some of the key advantages:
Weightlifting Coach // Strongman Coach // Athletic Trainer
To this day, carbohydrates (carbs) are stigmatized due to its misconception of being the reason why people overeat, gain weight, and develop conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. The truth is, carbs are not only good for you (in moderation), but to the average gym goer, it is an essential part of your diet. This is especially true for our strength athletes, but also holds true for all kinds of fitness endeavors.
Carbs are one of the essential macronutrients that provide energy to our bodies. They are the driving force for exercise, as they provide the fuel that powers our muscles during physical activity.Carbs are broken down into glucose, which is the primary source of energy for the body. During exercise, our muscles rely on glucose for energy, particularly during high-intensity workouts such as weight lifting or sports with dynamic movements. Without a sufficient amount of glucose, our muscles may become fatigued, making it difficult to maintain the intensity and duration of our workouts.
Carbs are also important for post-workout recovery. After exercising, our muscles need to replenish their glycogen stores, which often get depleted during exercise. Glycogen is a stored form of glucose, and it is necessary for the muscles to recover and repair. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout can help replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery.
In addition to providing energy and aiding in muscle recovery, carbs can also improve exercise performance. Studies have shown that consuming carbs before and during exercise can improve endurance and delay fatigue. This is because carbs help maintain blood sugar levels, which can prevent the onset of fatigue and help sustain energy levels throughout the workout. But don’t go grabbing some fries from McDonalds for an intra-workout snack. It's important to note that not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, provide sustained energy and are often rich in vitamins and minerals. Simple carbs, such as refined sugars, provide a quick burst of energy but can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. Be careful of all the candy you see a lot of powerlifters and weightlifters utilize.
In conclusion, carbs are essential for exercising as they provide the fuel for our workouts, aid in muscle recovery, and improve exercise performance. It's important to consume a balanced diet that includes complex carbs to sustain energy levels throughout the workout and promote overall health.
Online Coach & Reel Videographer
Weightlifting Coach // Strongman Coach // Athletic Trainer
Getting into shape and reaching your fitness goals can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, if you're not careful, it's easy to fall into the trap of overtraining and burning out. Burnout is a real issue in the fitness world and can lead to decreased motivation, injury, and even illness. In this post, we'll explore some tips and strategies to help you prevent burnout and maintain a healthy and sustainable fitness routine.
In conclusion, burnout is a real issue in the fitness world (and life in general), but it doesn't have to be a part of your experience. By setting realistic goals, varying your workouts, taking time to rest and recover, staying consistent, and seeking professional help when needed, you can prevent burnout and maintain a healthy and sustainable fitness routine (and later on, lifestyle). Remember, your health and wellbeing are important, so take care of yourself and enjoy the journey towards your goals.
Hydration is essential for all aspects of fitness. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete, drinking enough fluids is crucial for maintaining peak performance and overall health.
So why is staying hydrated important? During exercise, your core body temperature increases, and your body's response to that is to start sweating. Sweating is your body's natural cooling mechanism, but it also means that you're losing fluids. If you don't replenish these fluids, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
Dehydration can lead to a variety of problems, including: reduced athletic performance, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches (my personal most common issue), dizziness, lightheadedness, constipation, and nausea
So exactly, how much water should you drink? According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink around 3.7L (15.5 cups) and women should drink around 2.7L (11.5 cups). Not all water has to come from drinking water, as about 20% of our fluid intake come from the food that we eat.
If you're exercising for more than an hour, you may need to add electrolytes to help replace the sodium, potassium, and other minerals lost in sweat. Recommendations would be as simple as Gatorade or Powerade. If you aren’t too keen on the extra sugars those drinks provide, you are free to try alternatives like Pedialyte, LiquidIV, or LMNT.
Tips for staying hydrated:
If you're looking to strengthen your posterior chain (lower back, glutes, and hamstrings), the reverse hyper is an exercise you should consider adding to your workout routine or asking your coach about teaching you about them.
Originally invented by Louie Simmons when trying to recover from a series of back injuries, the reverse hyper is a machine that involves swinging your legs in a circular motion to activate and strengthen your posterior chain muscles. Here are some of the benefits of incorporating the reverse hyper into your training:
One of the main benefits of the reverse hyper is that it can help you build strength, muscle mass, and muscle endurance in your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. These muscles are important for many daily activities and sports, so strengthening them can help you perform better and reduce the risk of injury. It will also impact your squat and deadlift. From my own personal experience, I initially hated these and would tend to skip or replace them with an alternative. Since incorporating them into my program 1-2 times per week, my squat and deadlift have reaped the benefits.
Reduced Lower Back Pain
When I first started powerlifting 4 years ago, I suffered from lower back pain to the point where I could barely walk around normally. The reverse hyper can be an effective way to strengthen the muscles in your lower back and reduce the amount of pain you may endure during your prep or hypertrophy phase. There has been research that shows, regular use of the reverse hyper can lead to a significant reduction in lower back pain and improve overall function. Strengthening the lower back muscles will also help with improved posture! This leads to being able to stand tall and maintain a neutral spine position, reducing the risk of developing posture related issues like back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
Just because a legendary powerlifter invented this exercise, doesn’t mean this is only meant for strength sports. The reverse hyper targets the muscles used in many sports, incorporating this exercise into your training can help improve your overall athletic performance. By strengthening your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, you'll be able to run faster, jump higher, and perform better in sports that require explosive lower body movements.
Finally, the reverse hyper can help prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles that support your spine and pelvis. By improving the stability of these muscles, you'll be less likely to experience injuries like strains, sprains, and herniated discs. Who want’s to be the young guy who “threw his back out” from something simple?
Overall, the reverse hyper is a powerful exercise that can provide numerous benefits for your lower body, physical performance, and overall health. If you're looking to improve your strength, reduce lower back pain, enhance athletic performance, or prevent injuries, the reverse hyper is definitely worth considering. Ask your coach today!
Mike // Powerlifting Coach & Lead Online Training Coach
On Saturday, March 18th, I got the pleasure of competing in my 5th powerlifting meet in the last 3 years. There were some things that I did the same as usual, but during this prep, I changed things up a bit and the growth and maturity showed out on meet day. Here are some of my experiences, that a new lifter should consider when trying to compete in their next competition.
My mindset was super different this time around. I went from trying to be stronger than everyone else, to my goal is just to beat me. I stopped caring what others around me were putting up, I wanted to beat MY NUMBERS on the board. I would look up and I would just zero in on my name and think about how much I am going to PR. At the end of the day, YOU are doing this for YOU. Unless you plan to make a living off this sport, then yes, change the mindset, but chances are, you are in this sport to better yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others (especially IG influencers) and focus on the betterment of yourself.
If you asked me, 3 years ago, what weight class I would like to be at, I would probably laugh at you and say 198. I was hovering around 205 pounds, moderately strong, but also was not built to my true potential. Fast forward to the last year and I have competed in the 242 class and have won 1st in all 3 of my competitions since moving up a weight class. Since starting with my current coach and homie, I’ve put on 30 pounds. Some people would freak out because of the weight. Initially, I did too, but man, I am built like a tank. I am not the leanest. You are probably never going to find abs on me, ever, but I was never really about that. I just wanted to be strong. At 205 lbs, my gym totals were subpar numbers to be honest.385/295/515. At the time of this post, I am now 235lbs with a gym total of 600/350/605. I will gladly put on some weight to put up those numbers.
My advice is the same advice my coach gave to my wife and I when we first started.
Give yourself some credit, put some mass on, and build yourself into the higher weight class. At the end of the day, it is much easier to walk into weigh-ins refreshed, hydrated, and fed, than it is struggling to make weight. If you are not breaking records and trying to win best overall, DOTS, than what is the point. Eat what makes you happy, in moderation of course.
This was an experience I had trouble with. I made the decision to try out wraps, not knowing how painful these were going to be. The first month of wraps was awful, I could barely stand the 2/10 tightness that I was being wrapped. I was tweaking with every squat attempt, thinking my knee popped, but it was just the wraps coming a little loose. But these bad boys help me go from a 475 squat to what could have been a 600 squat (I was a tad high because of how excited I was when it felt so light on my back). The biggest challenge was getting a consistent person to wrap me during training sessions. I probably had 5 different people wrap me, not including myself.
The most important but forgotten detail. The last couple of meets, I took thinks too seriously and I tried too hard. This meet, I went in with a “it is what it is” attitude. With this mindset, I had the best prep I ever had. I was PR’ing one of my lifts every week during prep. I was smiling and laughing more, which took a lot of the stress away. I also had 11 other gym friends competing in the same meet, this allowed me to talk about how prep is going and sharing my insight to a lot of the newer members. This detail is key to having a successful meet. If you focus on trying to be the best or beating the best, that will only take you so far. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you. Smile and pick that goofy song to walk out to for your last deadlift. Don’t beat yourself up on a missed attempt. Shrug it off, smile, and hit that sh*t on your next try. Live, laugh, and have fun.
Meet Total // 562 lbs :: 341 lbs :: 573 lbs
Congratulations, you have either signed up for your first meet or are looking to join one. A lot of people say they need to wait until they are strong enough. Get that out of your head NOW!!
Your first meet is a great way to get acclimated to the environment. The main goal behind your first meet is to see if you enjoy the sport. Stepping onto the platform is a big feat! Be proud of yourself for taking the courage to do this.
:: FIND A FEDERATION TO COMPETE IN ::
Throughout the United States there are many different federations, such as APF, USAPL, WRPF and many more. Do your research. Find what federation would best fits your needs and desires. Each federation has different rules so pay close attention to the varying rules.
For example, in some APF and WRPF meets you have to squat using a mono-lift.
:: PICK A MEET ::
Now you found a federation, pick a meet to compete in! Please note that when registering for the meet there are multiple divisions depending on your age, weight class and what equipment you are wearing. Most federations classify “equipment categories” into there Raw, Classic Raw, Single-Ply and Multi-Ply. Each federation has different rules and different vendors approved for of what equipment you can wear in each particular division. For example, in USAPL SBD is an exclusive approved vendor for knee sleeves, wrist wraps, belts and elbow sleeves.
:: FIND A COACH ::
I definitely recommend hiring a coach. An in-person coach is the best route to go for your first meet as the coach can ensure you know proper form for each lift while correcting any bad techniques that inhibit your form. Closer to competition day, your coach will also practice the competition commands with you and ensure you are hitting depth on squat. If an in-person coach is not feasible, an online coach will do. You will not receive the one on one time but you likely will get help through video review of your lifts. Overall your coach will ensure you are peaking properly and getting the necessary recovery time.
:: SHOULD I CUT WEIGHT? ::
If this is your first meet, the best idea is to stay at the weight you’re at. There is no need to cut and potentially lose strength just to be in a certain weight class. Your first prep will be exhausting on your body. It’s a lot to go through on its own. There is no need to add in cutting weight while peaking.
:: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? ::
As a first time lifter you are likely to compete in Raw or Classic Raw. At a minimum you will need
You can also use equipment like**
Be sure to check with the Federation rules and your coach to ensure your equipment and singlet are competition approved.
:: TWO DAYS OUT ::
Alright we are two days out! Depending on the federation you are in, you either have weigh-ins 24 hours or 2 hours prior to the meet. If you have a 24 hour weigh-in I recommend trying to weigh in as early as you can. This allows you more time afterwards to hydrate, eat and relax. At weigh-ins you will figure out your rack heights and give the meet judges your opening attempts for all three lifts in Kilograms.
You will need to bring with:
:: MEET DAY IS HERE ::
Powerlifting meets can be long. A fast meet will take 5 hours. A long meet can take up to 10 hours.
I recommend you bring with
At the end of the meet, be sure to congratulate yourself! Competing is not an easy task. It takes dedication, consistency and strong mental discipline.
You have spent these past 3+ months preparing yourself for this. Time to celebrate!!
THE SECRETS TO A SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR
"You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems."
It’s the New Year! This is a great time to implement new lifestyle changes and create certain goals to chase for the year. This is great but the big problem is many people stop after a month or two. Today I am going to teach you how to set your goals up for success and finally achieve them!
Start off with creating steps for an attainable goal
The biggest problem when people set New Year's resolutions or goals is they set one extreme goal. A lot of people end up getting frustrated with that yuge goal, get overwhelmed, and give up after a few months. Instead, set up multiple goals leading up to that one big goal. For example, if your ultimate goal is to lose thirty pounds then break down how you’re going to get there:
By that time, you have already achieved those steps, you are closer to your ultimate goal. By breaking it down to smaller goals throughout the process, it gives our brain a sense of accomplishment and gives us the drive to continue!
Reward yourself when you achieve them
Rewards are a great way to keep you on track for your goals. Our neurons release dopamine, which is the reward chemical that gives us more of a push in accomplishing the next steps. Thus, making people stay on track because they’re hitting milestones step by step. When thinking about a reward try to make it reasonable. A lot of people will set a reward, “once I lose this weight, I can eat as much as I want!” which can do more harm than good. Instead, try another attainable goal such as having a refeed to slowly get your body used to the calories it needs to maintain. This will introduce your body to more calories which will keep the weight off. After your first achievement, the recommended weight loss cycle is 2-3 months of a caloric deficit then giving your body a break with maintenance calories in order to stay on track. As opposed to being on a caloric deficit for 6 months and ignoring your body’s signals. In turn, you are unknowingly rewarding yourself with the calories your body needs, and it is easier for you to continue the weight loss process.
Find someone to help hold you accountable
We all think we don’t need anyone to push us or to talk with someone about goals we have. This can be a difficult thing for people to do. Find someone that you are comfortable with, but you know will still hold you accountable. The best thing is you can hold each other accountable every day. Just by checking in on each other can make a big difference in your confidence and motivation.
Now that we have these tips, it is time to start putting it to use! Always remember, it is a marathon not a sprint!
Written by: Matt Marczyk
Edited by: Lorraine Edralin