Increasing Body Weight for Bulking

 Increasing Body Weight for Bulking

Question:

My name is Kenton and I am 20 years old. I little bit of background: I swam for the University of the Pacific for 2 years but decided to take some time off from school to work and train. With Pacific I was training about 20 hours a week and I weighed 143 pounds at my heaviest. I have been weight training 4-5 times a week since January but currently weigh 140 lbs. My goal is to weigh around 155 pounds. Any advice would be amazing.

– Kenton Q.

Answer:

I understand your weight goal is beyond your previous heaviest mark. That may take some doing! Further nutrition will only augment the weight training you are able to put towards that goal unless you want pure fat gain. (I’ll assume not.) As it’s not clear what your previous or current diet habits are, I can only offer general advice to put on lean mass.

First – increase nutrient density. Get the most out of every bite with high calorie and nutrient-packed choices. That means that dilute, air or water-filled choices take a back seat to heavier, and rich options. For example, eat oats or granola instead of puffed rice and choose ground meat patties over most fish fillets, except higher fat salmon, herring, mackerel or sardines. Tortillas can replace bread. Snack on dried fruits instead of melon. Fill half your plate with starchy vegetables like peas, corn, carrots and winter squash instead of watery vegetables such as onion, peppers, zucchini, and celery. Even higher sugar or fatty beverages like juices and whole milk help more than water for weight gain.

Second — eat a lot, eat often. Consuming more sheer volume boosts calories and usually offsets healthier (lower calorie) choices. When volume is limited, eating quickly before you feel full or splitting a meal in half to eat an hour or two later can mean getting in more bulk. When you think you’re done eating, push yourself to finish a couple more bites. Wait until after you eat to drink your beverage (and make sure it has calories, too.)

Third – time it right. Fuel your muscles properly pre- and post-workout to capitalize on the surge of hormones driving anabolism. The nutrition window to boost protein synthesis is considered about 30 minutes before and after weight training. Easy to digest lean proteins and low-fiber carbohydrates are the prime choices. Examples are egg whites, poultry breast, bagels, and pretzels. This is also when faster digesting liquid supplements have a leg up on solid food.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Member Spotlight | Meet Female Stuntwoman and Mom, Danielle G. – Part 1

Meet Danielle G., a stuntwoman and mama-bear who wasn’t always the strong superwoman she is today. In college, Danielle weighed well over 200 lbs., wore size 18 pants, and felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Wanting to make a change, she started training at a local gym but a move to a new area brought with it limited access to the gym she was attending. As a result, her training started to slack, there was a decrease in motivation and subsequently, she began regaining the weight she had lost. A friend and mentor of Danielle introduced her to LA Fitness and encouraged her to continue with her training. Danielle credits the wide range of LA Fitness gym locations for making it possible for her to continue training again. With training once again underway, Danielle set a goal for herself to compete in her first ever NPC (National Physique Committee) Figure Competition. When the big day finally arrived, she recalls being in the best shape of her life.

“With the open environment, friendly gym goers (some of which I call friends now), I continued to see improvements in myself and was planning on competing again, but then I was given the blessings of being a mom (well, stunt mom).”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Even once pregnant, that didn’t stop Danielle from continuing her training at LA Fitness. She combines weightlifting and cardio and pulls ideas from the LA Fitness Living Healthy blog on nutrition to help her better balance her diet at the same time. Many of Danielle’s friends at her home gym are impressed with her continued dedication. She plans to stay a healthy mom and to continue her training to become a better and stronger stuntwoman. She is a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way. While she is now a mom, she believes that it is possible to find a balance between family and yourself. Danielle hopes to one day get back on stage for her second NPC figure competition.

“Don’t let excuses get in the way of what you want. Whether single or a mom, make sure to take time to take care of your health because if there is no you then the family will suffer.”

Danielle G.

LA Fitness Member

Typical Gym Routine

My typical gym routine is basically working to separate muscle groups (i.e., legs and arms, biceps and back, etc.) for about an hour, followed with 30-45 min of cardio, and some days strict cardio only. Always mixing it up to keep the body aware.


Nutrition –

In the very beginning (college days), I would eat whatever was in front of me. Originally obtaining my degree in medicine meant a lot of stress dealing with early to late night classes, lab time and exams. So, I did a lot of emotional/stress eating, such as eating fried foods, high carbs, sugars, you name it. When I was prepping for my competition and my career as a stuntwoman, I was on a stricter diet. I was on a high protein low carb diet eating about 1,675 calories per day and drinking a gallon of water per day as well. I focused primarily on making sure I was meeting my macro count per day. Eventually, I was seeing about 0.5-1 lb. of weight loss per week. Occasionally there were times I plateaued, but with encouragement, the weight continued to drop. I had to keep reminding myself it took me time to get to being overweight, so it’s going to take time to get it off.


Changing Lifestyle –

In all honesty, I wasn’t happy with who I was with the amount of weight I was carrying. I didn’t feel attractive at all. And in complete honesty, it took one guy, when I was in college, who was the first to tell me he loved me. That made me think: how could he love me when I didn’t love myself?! Talk about a wakeup call. I gave myself a hard look at myself, being over 200lbs and asthmatic where the outside world literally was my enemy. I knew I had to make a change. So that initially started me on my journey to redevelop myself into the person I wanted to be. I focused on finding a balance between school and going to the gym with diet, and slowly started to see the changes that I didn’t think could happen for me.


Setbacks –

I don’t care if you are an average person or the fittest person in the world – there are always setbacks. And it’s really just finding that push/dedication to overcome it and not make bland excuses. For me, it wasn’t just being overweight; being asthmatic also was a huge setback for me. How did I overcome it? I just listened more to my body and the orders of my doctor. I figured by doing that, it would mean a faster way for me to get back into the gym and continue training.


Active Lifestyle & Career –

Fitness plays a huge role for me as a stuntwoman. You must not be just mentally strong, but physically strong and flexible as well. If I was going into my career being overweight as I was, that would have made it difficult, if not impossible. The physical aspects of the job are so demanding that being overweight will not just tire you out faster, but it would also be so much harder on the joints, increasing chances of injury. So, striving to be not skinny but fit is imperative. Fitness is also important especially for stuntwomen in the fact that the clothes and pads we have to wear on set are sometimes minimal compared to our male counterparts. So the added weight, in addition to pads and clothes when you are doubling for the actress can be a big thing.

👉 Subscribe to Living Healthy and keep an eye out for Part 2 of Danielle’s fitness journey, coming soon!


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 A Question on Protein Powders

 A Question on Protein Powders

Question:

I have been taking the protein powder below for 4-5 years. I was listening to something on the LA Fitness TV that said it is important to select the correct protein powder. I have a protein shake in the morning. I am about 107 lbs. I am working on lowering my cholesterol. Is there a protein powder I should be taking that will be better for me? https://www.vitacost.com/sunwarrior-warrior-blend-plant-based-organic-protein-vanilla

– Varsha P.

Answer:

Compared to consuming whole animal food protein sources, vegan protein sources are better for lowering harmful blood lipids. When it comes to protein drinks, there may be less of a difference because supplements are generally very low in fat, often under 2 grams per 20 grams of protein. While dairy-based supplements may have some dietary cholesterol, either may contain insignificant saturated fat, which is the primary component that’s known to elevate cholesterol levels. Protein powders are a poor source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols which are food compounds known to help reduce cholesterol levels.

If you’re limited to the vegan protein powder category, you may not want to stick with one specific supplement for life. As each source offers a different mix of essential amino acids, it’s best to cycle your proteins to get the full range of building blocks your cells require. Of course, you can do that with the whole food protein sources in your diet by getting a variety of legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Doing so will enable you to consume adequate fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and plan sterols needed for blood cholesterol reduction.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Butter Poached Floridian Lobster from Essensia

Butter Poached Floridian Lobster from Essensia

“Cooking to me means creating the most flavorful cuisine by acquiring the best local ingredients, and letting nature speak through culinary artistry.”

Chef de Cuisine, Ilde Ferrer

Essensia

Photography provided by: The Palms Hotel & Spa


Essensia is located at the following location:

Essensia

Distance to closest LA Fitness: 0.8 miles to Connecticut Ave. LA Fitness

Essensia is located at The Palms Hotel & Spa, 3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140.

Open Daily

For reservations, menu, and additional details, please visit thepalmshotel.com/dining/essensia-restaurant.

Photography provided by: The Palms Hotel & Spa


Butter Poached Floridian Lobster

Ingredients

For the Poached Floridian Lobster

  • 2 spiny lobster tails
  • 1 ear of corn kernels removed
  • 1 pint mixed mushrooms
  • 8 each asparagus spears
  • 1 orange segmented
  • 2 scallion stalks grilled
  • 2 cups saffron butter sauce (recipe below)

For the Orange Saffron Butter (Yield 1 qt)

  • 1 cup orange juice reduced to glaze
  • 1 cup heavy cream reduced until thick
  • ½ lb. butter chilled and cubed
  • 3 tsp. saffron
  • ½ cup honey
  • Salt to taste

Method

Poached Floridian Lobster

Step 1: In a stock pot blanch the lobster tails for 5 minutes in boiling water and shock in ice water to stop cooking and set aside

Step 2: Cut mushrooms and asparagus into bite-sized pieces.

Step 3: In a medium sauté pan bring it to medium high heat and sauté the mushrooms for 1 minute then add the corn and asparagus cook the veggies until translucent and split onto 2 plates.

Step 4: Split the lobster tail in half keep the shell on and heat up the lobster in the saffron butter sauce slowly don’t boil the sauce and place on top of the veggies.

Step 5: Garnish the dish with the orange segments and the scallions.

Orange Saffron Butter

Step 1: Reduce orange juice until glaze.

Step 2: Add heavy cream and reduce until thick.

Step 3: Add saffron.

Step 4: On low heat add butter slowly while whisking to make a beurre blanc (emulsion).

Step 5: Add honey and salt to taste.


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 Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Options

 Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Options

Question:

What is a better breakfast for weight loss: yogurt or egg, potato, and cheese? What is better for lunch: sandwich (with cheese and mayo), lean cuisine, or low-calorie soup?

– Larry S.

 

Answer:

Between your breakfast options of yogurt or egg, potato and cheese there are really more than two choices, as each can be prepared different ways and in varying volume. The yogurt by itself is probably less calories if you’re talking about a standard 6-ounce cup. Some non-fat yogurts are only 80 calories and contain food starch and gelatin. Not what I would call a decent breakfast that would stave off hunger before lunch!

If the yogurt is from whole milk and highly sweetened, then 8 ounces might provide 280 calories, 11 grams fat, 34 grams carbohydrate (31 grams sugar) and 11 grams protein1. For a similar 290 calories it would take two egg whites, a half-cup lightly fried potato and an ounce of low-fat cheese which provide 14 grams of fat, 24 grams carbohydrate (2 grams fiber) and 17 grams protein2.

For weight loss, I’d suggest getting more protein and fiber to fuel your morning and satisfy until lunchtime with these options:

1 cup high-protein, low-fat plain yogurt (Greek style) with ½ cup strawberries, Tbsp coconut, Tbsp granola and tsp flax seed [265 calories, 8 gm fat, 24 gm carb, 26 gm prot] 2

or

three egg whites, ½ ounce of low-fat cheese and a half-cup lightly fried potato/onion/pepper blend [273 calories, 8 gm fat, 31 gm carb, 19 gm prot] 2

In either case, the extra little ingredients and preparation make a more complete balanced breakfast.

Your lunch options of a sandwich with cheese and mayo, a Lean Cuisine or low-calorie soup are even more difficult to compare because there are so many possibilities! The latter two are usually under 300 calories, so I’ll use that target for evaluation. Really, you can find something that works in each category.

Here’s how a single pick from each option stack up:

Calories Fat grams Carbohydrate grams  (fiber, sugar) Protein grams
A sandwich with 2 slices wheat bread, 2 ounces turkey breast, an ounce of low-fat Colby Jack cheese and a Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise3 291 7 33  (2, 6) 22
Lean Cuisine

Chicken with Peanut Sauce4

290 7 35  (3, 11) 21
Full can of lower calorie Italian wedding soup5 270 6 38  (4, 13) 15

The picks above are fairly comparable overall, though carbohydrate breakdown varies. The sandwich can be made as you like it (so the nutrition may vary), whereas the packaged foods are set. I like that the soup has the most fiber, but unfortunately, it has the most sugar and the least protein. Swapping whole-grain bread for standard wheat or adding lettuce and tomato may up the fiber in the sandwich a tad. In any case, a sub-300 calorie lunch entree is likely to only suit daily intakes of 1200-1500 calories. As far as weight loss goes, I’d opt for one with more protein and fiber that you are most satisfied with and get the best energy from.

Sources:

  1. Nutrition facts for Noosa Strawberry 8 oz. from https://www.noosayoghurt.com/product/strawberry/ accessed October 15, 2018.
  2. Dietary analysis performed on FitDay.com by a Registered Dietitian.
  3. Dietary analysis performed on webmd.com/diet/healthtool-food-calorie-counter by a Registered Dietitian.
  4. Nutrition facts from https://www.leancuisine.com/products/details/10562 accessed October 15, 2018.
  5. Nutrition facts for Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Hearty Italian-style Wedding soup from https://www.campbells.com/campbell-soup/healthy-request/healthy-request-hearty-italian-style-wedding-with-meatballs-spinach-soup/ accessed October 15, 2018.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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