Protein Cracked: Making A Case For The Egg

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Egg whites are a high-quality protein source, but whole eggs often get a bad rap. It’s time to crack a few myths and showcase the power of the yolk.

Egg whites are often referred to as the perfect protein, due to their amino-acid makeup and the body’s ability to utilize them properly.

The average large, whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, about 200 mg of cholesterol, and nearly no carbs. The average large egg white contains only 17 calories, 4 g of protein, and no carbs, fat, or cholesterol.

Egg whites contain as many as 40 different proteins. Of these, ovalbumin constitutes the majority, making up about 55 percent of the protein in egg white. Ovotransferrin is an iron-binding protein in egg whites that provides antimicrobial properties and makes up over 10 percent of the protein content. Ovomucin is another type of protein that makes up less than 5 percent of egg-white protein and provides the jellying property of egg white, as well as antimicrobial properties.

Egg-white protein is rich in BCAAs and arginine, as well as the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids are critical for maintaining the structure of many proteins such as collagen, which is critical for maintaining joint health and levels of certain hormones.

GET YOLKED
Although bodybuilders used to focus on just the egg white for protein and avoided the yolk because of the fat and cholesterol—it’s now known that it’s more beneficial to consume both the egg white and the yolk together. That’s because that golden center contains the majority of the micronutrients in eggs, including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

The yolk also contains all of the egg’s fat and cholesterol, but don’t let that scare you off. Blood cholesterol levels don’t seem to be negatively affected by whole eggs. In fact, one study from the University of Connecticut tested the cholesterol response of 25 males and 27 females to an egg diet (640 mg per day of additional cholesterol) and a non-egg diet (no additional cholesterol). They found the cholesterol in egg yolks does not raise the LDL cholesterol particles that are particularly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.

We now know that fat is important in a diet. The saturated fat in egg yolks is less than half of the total fat. But saturated and monounsaturated fat, also in egg yolks, are important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. The fat and cholesterol from yolks, which was once thought of as harmful, appears to provide benefits for those who do strength training.

In fact, in a head-to-head egg comparison, consuming more whole eggs was shown to help with muscle gain and strength. The magic number? Three. One study from Texas A&M found that subjects consuming three whole eggs a day while following a weight-lifting program for 12 weeks gained twice as much muscle mass and twice as much strength as subjects eating either just one egg per day or no eggs. Those kinds of benefits may be due to the cholesterol content. After all, cholesterol is converted to testosterone in the body.

Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes, which helps them function properly and avoid breakdown. Scientists from Kent State University put 47 older adults (ages 60-69) on a 12-week weight-lifting program and tested them before and after for changes in muscle mass and strength. They placed all subjects on a moderate protein diet and divided them into two groups. One group followed a lower-cholesterol diet (1.6 mg per pound of body weight or approximately 150-250 mg per day), while the other half consumed a higher cholesterol diet (2.6 mg per pound of body weight or about 250-450 mg per day). After 12 weeks the group that consumed the lower-cholesterol diet did not increase muscle mass and only increased their strength by about 35 percent. The higher-cholesterol group, on the other hand, had an increase in muscle mass of about 5 pounds and upped their strength by about 90 percent.

DROP THE FAT
Eggs can also help you get leaner. Research from Saint Louis University found that people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had breakfast with the same amount of calories from a carb-heavy bagel. A follow-up study by the same team found that when women consumed two eggs for breakfast at least five times per week over a 12-week period, they lost 65 percent more weight and had a 34-percent larger reduction in waist size compared to those who skipped the eggs. The study also found that adding two whole eggs to breakfast resulted in no changes in cholesterol levels.

Consider eating two or three whole eggs each day to take advantage of all the benefits eggs have to offer in regard to performance and body composition. You can bump up the protein intake by adding an extra white or two for each yolk.

While eggs are typically thought of as a breakfast food, you can enjoy them anytime throughout the day. Hardboiled eggs work great in salads or as a stand-alone snack. If you really want to kick your eggs up a notch, try my Egg and Ham Cups; they’re delicious and easy to make.

by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.


Importance of Proper Form When Strength Training

August 8th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

I am a stickler on proper form!

In both my classes and sessions, you will hear me correcting my clients form as needed. You’ll see me demonstrating proper form, you’ll even occasionally hear me tell a client to drop down a “click” in their weight to maintain proper form.

This article from the NFPT blog explains why proper form is so important.

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed it before, and we may even be guilty of doing this ourselves – improper form and technique when attempting to lift heavy.

Sure, the only way to increase muscle mass is by lifting heavy but what’s the point if you’re going to have sloppy form? Not only can we potentially cause injury to ourselves or clients with improper form, but we’re not working the intended muscle groups with improper form either. When strength training any area of your body, having proper form and technique is crucial to make sure you’re working the intended muscle groups that you want to develop and grow.

There are several factors that play important roles when strength training.

Prevent Injury

One of the most important reasons to maintain proper form during weight lifting exercises is to prevent injury. When we lift a heavy weight, this can cause the body to become misaligned, and that can place your tendons, muscles, and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. Rule of thumb here is to lower the weight if you have to sway your body in order to lift the weight. You want to avoid lifting by swaying your back to gain momentum.

It is always better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavy weight with sloppy form.

For example, if you’re performing bicep curls with dumbbells, and you have to swing your whole body into the exercise to lift the weight- then this is a sign that the weight is too heavy and you should find a lighter weighted dumbbell.

Muscle Targeting

Proper form also ensures correct muscle targeting. Going back to the bicep curls, if we’re swinging our whole body into the intended bicep curl movement, chances are that our bicep is not getting worked, and you’re working more of your shoulder girdles and core. By doing this you can potentially cause injury to the intended muscle that you are trying to work and strain other areas in the body that aren’t intended to be worked, with the example of bicep curls.

Proper Breathing Techniques

One area I’d like to discuss also is breathing. Proper form helps to ensure proper breathing techniques during our reps and sets. This is essential for weight training exercises because it helps to generate more force and reduce the chance of heart problems, aneurysms and severe increases in blood pressure. When you use the correct form you will be able to breathe the air in easier, and you will be able to focus on the exercise at hand with much greater detail. Rule of thumb here is to inhale just before the positive (lift) and exhale after the negative (lowering the weight) and keep this pace for each rep of each set.

Everyone likes to use heavyweight in the gym, but in order for us to lift the maximum weight, our muscles need to be in the ideal position to generate force. When movements become unaligned, muscles are placed at awkward angles decreasing functionality. By maintaining proper form you will be able to lift heavier that will be noticed with visible results in a shorter timeframe.


Can Essential Oils give you Better Results in the Gym?

June 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Using essential oils in the gym can help support better performance and results, so let’s discuss some of your options.

Pre Workout Motivation:
Find an essential oil that gives you energy and put it on 30 minutes before your workout. Ones I love are Black Pepper (a hot oil – so be careful to dilute this one and build up slowly), Juniper, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. Try different oils and see which ones motivate you the most.

Using Oils Pre-Workout for Hydration:
There are so many great oils you can add to your water to help support your workouts and wellness!
In the gym, we carry doTERRA therapeutic-grade essential oils as a convenience for our clients, but any good quality essential oil should work for you.

Peppermint:
We know that Peppermint essential oil helps with digestion, improving concentration and relieve head tension, but peppermint oil can also have some amazing positive effects on your exercise routine.

In a 2012 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition Twelve healthy male students, every day consumed one 500 ml bottle of mineral water (which is roughly 16 oz) with 1 drop of peppermint essential oil for ten days. Scientists measured things like blood pressure, heart rate, and lung strength before and after the supplementation with peppermint oil infused water period. These athletes underwent a treadmill test where they worked to complete exhaustion as the treadmill speed and incline is increased every three minutes.

So what happened? The results of the experiment showed that peppermint essential oil had a positive effect on exercise performance, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in these young male students. We don’t have solid conclusions why, but the authors of this study think this may be due to relaxation of your airway muscles, an increase in brain oxygen concentration, and a decrease in lactic acid levels in the blood, which I think is really cool. So anyone who works out can benefit from a little peppermint in their water.

Other oils great for your water: Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Lemongrass. When we drink high-quality citrus oils, we get natural chemical properties like citral, which may have a small effect on diet-induced obesity and improved insulin sensitivity.

Pre-workout mobility and stretching:
The goal is to prepare your muscles and joints to move well, and typically this is done by heating them up with movement – things like stretching, static holds, distraction exercises. Oils that help warm up your muscles are Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Clove, or Cinnamon. Put 5-10 drops of oil in a roller bottle with carrier oil and roll onto any muscles or joints that are stiff or inflexible before your routine. You can easily mix any of these up in a roller bottle and swipe that on before your workout.

Post Workout Recovery
A blend of Helichrysum, Peppermint oil, Lemon oil, Balsam oil, Clove oil, Wintergreen, Vetiver and Dorado Azul oil in a roll-on. This blend also contains Clove oil, and clove has the highest density of antioxidants of any oil, and your body and immune system could use some fighting power after a workout because of all those little micro-tears in your muscle that need repairing and the stress you’ve put on your body. Then you have Copaiba, which has high amounts of beta-caryophyllene. The short version is that beta-caryophyllene gives amazing relief. Then on top of all that, you get the cooling and soothing from the Wintergreen and the Dorado Azul oils.

In any gym setting, you have to be polite about it and not go overboard, because you want to be respectful about smelling too strong when other people are around. But if you can do it, it’s a great way to end a workout.