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Fox Creek Wellness2020-10-01T14:33:54-06:00
Fox Creek Wellness

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Supplementation is a HUGE industry these days; it’s the hot topic around for any gym goers, and even the not-so-intense-casual-exercisers! As consumers that care about our health and wellness (and the thickness of our wallet), it’s extremely important that we are critical of the products we are purchasing and ingesting. The hard part is trying to siphon through what’s legitimate and what’s sponsored information on the internet from so called “influencers”.

I am no accredited Dietician; however, I am a critical research consumer that has sought out some evidence-based information on supplementation. Although each of these supplements could be a blog post of themselves, here is an overview that’s worth the read:

What is NECESSARY:

Post-Workout Protein

  • For the average active individual, 2.2 g/kg/day dietary protein is an acceptable dosage. For those that are less active, half of that dosage would suffice.
  • 20g of protein immediately post workout (so a 200g serving of Greek yogurt, or a boneless/skinless chicken breast) is beneficial for muscle protein synthesis if you’re doing RESISTANCE exercises (e.g. lifting weights). If you did full-body, compound movements (squats/deadlifts/CrossFit), then 40g of protein immediately post workout.
  • The average person can’t metabolize protein doses above 40g. If you consume more than that, it will lead to ureagenesis (expensive pee!) and NO greater effect!
  • Want to save some $$? Take your protein in the form of food to avoid costly supplements!

 

Creatine

  • Most of us overlook the beneficial effects of this supplement- it is much more superior than protein and it does all the same things (and MORE); however, it only has beneficial effects when combined with resistance training. Creatine allows you to workout at a higher intensity without fatigue.
  • Dosage = 0.1g/kg of body weight in healthy individuals
  • Research indicates NO greater benefit if taken before vs. after exercise. But be careful- it cannot be consumed within 1 hour of caffeine otherwise it will blunt its response.
  • Creatine has been shown to have a beneficial effect on strength, endurance, power, muscle mass, protein synthesis and bone density which is HUGE for aging populations.

Omega 3’s

  • 4g of Omega 3 fatty acids IMMEDIATELY post exercise

will help decrease inflammation, increase protein synthetic pathway properties and transport oxygen to the heart quicker.

  • It’s true- Omega 3’s have been shown to have ANABOLIC properties! Wow!

 

Save your Money:

BCAA’s (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)

  • BCAA’s seem to be everybody’s favourite way to waste their money!
  • Leucine, the main BCAA, is the driving force behind muscle protein growth. However, whey protein generally has a higher concentration of leucine, so you’re better off getting it through your protein supplement!
  • The addition of isoleucine or valine (other ingredients you may see in your BCAAs), show NO beneficial effect!
  • In conclusion, there is no evidence to suggest that BCAAs are performance enhancing! Want some advice? Stick with whole proteins (whey or food)!!

Pre-workout

  • While pre-workout can be beneficial if it contains ingredients like beta-alanine, which helps delay fatigue for short bouts of exercise (lifting weights), it also contains a high volume of caffeine. Guess what else contains caffeine and is WAY cheaper? Coffee. That’s right, fire that Keurig up before your workout, your bank account will thank you!

Key Points: 

  • If you want a SUPER supplement, combine protein and creatine IMMEDIATELY after resistance training.
  • If you prefer FOOD (who would’ve thought food was an option!?) to get your creatine and protein in post-workout, try seafood. Mackerel and Salmon are great options and they also contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids- BONUS!
  • Liquid forms are better simply because they are absorbed immediately, but you can still get adequate supplementation through FOOD.
  • If you are doing a lot of cardio (running, biking, swimming, etc.), post-exercise CARBOHYDRATES are crucial in addition to your supplement regime…. carbs, carbs, carbs!!!

 

Giving credit where credit is due:

  1. Candow, D. G., Chilibeck, P. D., & Forbes, S. C. (2014). Creatine supplementation and aging musculoskeletal health. Endocrine45(3), 354-361.
  2. Coburn, J. W., Housh, D. J., Housh, T. J., Malek, M. H., Beck, T. W., Cramer, J. T., . . . Donlin, P. E. (2006). Effects of leucine and whey protein supplementation during eight weeks of unilateral resistance training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(2), 284. doi:10.1519/R-17925.1
  3. Hulmi, J. J., Lockwood, C. M., & Stout, J. R. (2010). Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7(1), 51-51. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-51
  4. Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition93(2), 402-412.

As Summer finally winds down, we find ourselves preparing for the back to school blitz and getting back into a routine. While we are in this state of transition, we oftentimes let the chaos get the best of us and we lose sight of all things ‘self-care’ rather than embracing the very thing that can serve us and make our lives EASIER (or make it feel that way at least).

Self-care simply refers to the practice of caring for yourself and protecting your own wellbeing including your physical, mental and emotional health. While my perfect night of self-care would look like going for an outdoor run, indulging in some chocolate, followed by a bubble bath and a good book, that might sound appalling to you. Everyone’s self-care will look a little different. Those of us that live busy lives may even become more stressed out trying to incorporate self-care tasks that take time away from the things that actually need to get done- so maybe checking items off a To-Do list gives the busier folks more feelings of accomplishment and productivity than not.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Take Care of Something

Oftentimes, we feel fulfillment through taking care of something else- a pet, a plant, a garden maybe. Helping something else thrive can help manage your own stress levels and be very rewarding.

  1. Give Yourself a Gift

I don’t know about you, but I can get a little carried away with this one! Occasionally, it’s nice to treat ourselves to a new pair of shoes (or ten), or maybe a much-needed massage. If treating yourself to something you desire makes you happy, then bring on the joy and add to cart!

  1. Improve Self Talk

We’ve all shamed ourselves for eating too many pieces of cake or looking undesirable in the mirror… but would we ever imagine saying something like that to our friends (hopefully not…)!? Give yourself reasons to LIKE you and be kind to yourself. Start by saying “I am strong and capable” or “my hard work will pay off.”

  1. Prioritize your Mental and Physical Health

You may disagree, but these two go hand in hand. Personally, my mental health is on point when my physical health is. Exercise gives you all sorts of endorphins and brain power to make you feel better than ever- moving your body is a simple way to improve mental health from a physiological level.

  1. Start a Gratitude Journal

Having a routine can help you feel grounded and centered. Even better if that routine also revolves around feeling grateful! Doing something as simple as jotting down a few things you are grateful for each day will help your brain focus on the positive things.

If I’ve lost you with those ideas, try something even simpler- put your phone away for a couple hours. Last week, I got a notification of my daily screen time report- 5 hours and 19 minutes. OH MY. Why am I wasting my evenings away on Pinterest searching up recipes when I could’ve probably cooked a dozen of them in that time!? You can’t tell me that tiktok has you solving any of life’s problems or improves your self-perception staring at instamodels all day. Do yourself a favor and put the phone down so you can be present with your family, pets, and yourself without distraction.

Take a minute and work out what self-care means to you. You may even be doing it already!

While most of us think that cancer is the #1 cause of death in Canada, we are mistaken- it’s heart disease. Heart disease is most common in males, largely attributed to family history, and correlated with sedentary lifestyle factors. Heart disease increases exponentially beyond 35 years of age and the more risk factors we have (i.e. male, obesity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, etc.) the greater risk heart disease poses. We’ve all heard someone say it- “diet and exercise is key”. Truly- this is the recipe for health. I wouldn’t lie to you!

As we age, we accumulate a plaque-like substance inside the arteries, making the heart work harder to circulate blood throughout the body. This increased resistance is commonly reflected in a blood pressure reading. Us women are a bit luckier when it comes to heart disease. Research has shown that estrogen (a female sex hormone) works to protect the inside of the lumen (aka our arteries) and helps prevent the buildup of plaque-like substances that cause blockages and lead to heart disease. Women are not entirely in the clear however, as the risk for heart disease increases after menopause when estrogen levels decrease.

If heart disease is in your family, or your lifestyle choices lead you to believe you are at greater risk, start with these simple steps:

  1. Increase aerobic activity
  • Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 mins/week of moderate- to vigorous- intensity exercise in 10-minute bouts or more. Sound unattainable? Start by simply doing MORE aerobic activity than what you’re currently doing (i.e. parking farther away in a parking lot, going for a walk, swimming, etc.)

 

  1. Decrease saturated/hydrogenated fats in your diet
  • Those grocery store donuts and commercial baked goods may taste delicious but, over time, will reap havoc on heart health.

 

  1. Increase polyunsaturated fat (Omega’s) and dietary fiber
  • While Omega-3 vitamins are commonly marketed as “good for the heart”, you can get adequate intake of the heart healthy fatty acid through foods like salmon and cod.

 

  1. Monitor your blood pressure
  • While blood pressure is not the ‘end all be all’ tool in monitoring circulatory system performance, it sure gives us a glimpse. Normal blood pressure is typically 120/80 mmHg. If you have hypertension or pre-hypertension, try the above-mentioned heart healthy tips for decreasing blood pressure the non-prescription way!

As we enter the warmer months of July, we also quickly approach National Drowning Prevention Week. The Lifesaving Society designates the third week in July every year as NDPW and aims to launch drowning prevention initiatives around the country.

Every year, nearly 500 Canadians die in preventable, water-related incidents. Of those 500 deaths, alcohol is factor in 40% of cases. While this statistic is quite alarming, perhaps the most alarming statistic of all is that 100% of drowning deaths among children last year occurred due to absent or distracted supervision. In 2019 alone, 29% of drowning deaths in Alberta were attributed to bathtubs. While we don’t think of bathing as being particularly dangerous (quite the opposite in fact), unsupervised activity in/on/around the water is proven year after year to be fatal. Drowning is not loud and recognizable as many often think. In fact, it’s fast and silent, often occurring in less than 30 seconds.

While we often question the rather strict supervision policies at swimming facilities, it is vital that undistracted supervision is present if we ever hope to see a Canada free from drowning and water-related injury. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in drownings across the globe since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic as swimming lessons contribute to an 88% reduction in risk of drowning. With no swimming lessons currently being offered in most (if not all) parts of the country, it is up to us to adhere to enhanced supervision while in, on and around the water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, MORGAN HOLMEN

As the Aquatics Manager for the Town of Fox Creek for the last two years, and a municipal recreation employee for nearly 10 years, I bring passion and expertise to the Monthly Wellness Blog. With my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Studies, and more recent studies as an undergraduate psychology student, I hope to contribute evidence-based information and draw upon my experiences in clinical exercise rehabilitation, personal training and sport nutrition.