As is the case with most readerly/writerly types, when I face a problem, I arm myself with research, checking out books from the library, scouring websites from governmental or otherwise official sources, and even reading recent studies on whatever my issue du jour happens to be.
So it’s little surprise that when I found myself unable to defend my position on protein powders (unnecessary except for the very frail, and inferior to real food) during a discussion about sports nutrition, leading me to question most of my beliefs about sports nutrition, I turned to a nerdy, research-heavy book, Dan Bernadot’s Advanced Sports Nutrition. It’s a book recommended by a runner-friend who happens to be a registered dietitian, and it helped me establish something extremely motivational: confidence in my methods.
Because nothing saps motivation quite like the insidious worry: “Do I *really* need to be doing this?” Or, as Daniel Duane put it in his 2010 story Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie, “the unfocused mind is the vulnerable mind, deeply susceptible to BS.”
Bernadot confirmed my belief about protein powders. Also, citing a large body of scientific research, he laid out the reasons why athletes (including bodybuilders) mostly need to be concerned not with their protein intake, but with consuming enough overall calories to support their training, and with consuming sufficient carbohydrates, our muscles’ preferred fuel. My R.D. friend particularly likes this quote of his: “Burning protein for energy as a fuel is a bit like sprinkling your family diamonds on your breakfast cereal because you think it improves the texture.”
5 responses to “Motivation Monday: The BS edition”
Interesting. I try to focus on protein (and fat) because if I don’t get enough of both I would eat through an entire cereal aisle in a day. Protein and fat help hold my appetite in check. Of course, pre-run I am all carbs for fueling.
Thanks for sharing!
oh, and I only use protein powder if I’m having a breakfast smoothie. I too feel that real food is far superior to anything that comes pre-packaged.
Good point. Above all, I’m a big proponent of listening to your body’s natural hunger/fullness cues, and if protein helps stave off those mid-morning hunger signals, eat up!
The trick is eating the right amount of carbs, protein, and fat, at the optimal time while training. While protein is needed post-workout, make sure carbs are in there too – you need to replenish what you just burned (peanut butter on an apple anyone?). Your body can only store a finite amount of carbs, and if you miss this opportunity to replace them, you will be less prepared for your next workout.
And just as a side note: read the teeny tiny label on the protein powers. They haven’t been evaluated or tested by well… really anyone and certainly not the FDA.
Great point. Readers may want to check out a Running Times story I wrote about protein’s role in your recovery snack: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=17803&PageNum=1, or my favorite protein-shake recipe, which an R.D. I once interviewed said was “pretty much the perfect post-run snack:” https://amyreinink.com/2009/09/15/recipe-the-perfect-post-run-protein-shake/