Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you eat too much protein? And is it bad for you?
- How much protein do we really need?
- Can you get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan?
- How important are macronutrient splits?
- Why is muscle important if I don’t want to be a bodybuilder or look “bulky”?
- How many days should I be working out?
- I can’t commit to working out 3x per week, is that ok?
- Can you help me with my food?
- Do you have experience with injuries, previous surgeries, health conditions, etc.
What we know is that excess protein is oxidized as energy, much like excess carbs are, but it’s not as efficient as carb oxidization. So it will take more energy for the body to burn protein, and if it takes more energy for the body to burn protein it will also burn more fat. So even if we consumed too much protein (within reason), excess protein is unlikely to be stored as body fat. However, excess protein accompanied by excess calories (a caloric surplus), will make you fat (if you’re not intentionally building muscle while in a surplus). So focus on eating your protein and getting good quality sources to burn more fat, but be aware of your total calories for the day so you’re still staying in line with your goals.
There is quite a bit of controversy around this topic. Some people say that you need more than you think, while others say less. We have found that for most people, they need a lot more than they are consuming. But a good general rule is, if you’re in a muscle building phase (a surplus or gain phase), your protein should be anywhere from 0.7-0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight. And if you’re in a fat loss phase (a deficit or cut phase), you could go as high as anywhere from 1-1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight. Of course, making sure that you’re exercising regularly is the other piece of the equation! Exercise increases the amount of protein that is utilized for muscle building! And also helps you burn more calories at rest! So let’s keep your body moving!
Due to the bioavailability index — a measure of protein available to muscles after digestion and absorption, plant based foods are not as available to be utilized by the body. This is due to the fact that whole food plant sources have less EAA (essential amino acids), they lose more EAA on their way to our muscles, and they are partially “burned” before making an impact on muscle growth. So this becomes pretty inefficient. For example, 30g of protein would be equivalent to 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 95g of chicken, or 340g of lentils. The bioavailability of lentils is about 50%. So we would have to double the serving size to 680g to equal 30g of available protein. This would be almost 800 calories and 140g carbs versus chicken at 160 calories and zero carbs. Since all amino acids are required to build new muscle, and EAA are not made in the body, we have to get them from our diet. So putting it all together, the 45-80% bioavailability of plant based protein (compared to 90+% for animal protein) really makes it difficult to meet your protein goals without overshooting your calories for the day! It is possible with careful calculation and food choices to be in a pretty good position for most people to lose weight; however, depending on your specific goals it can be very difficult to achieve that final end goal.
Your carbohydrate and fat intake don’t matter all that much for most people. There’s actually no set rule that says you need to be low carb versus high carb to lose fat. Exercise level definitely plays a role and how you feel does even more so! As long as your calories and protein are in check, you can adjust your fat and carbs based on what feels best for you, your exercise level and intensity, and your fitness goals.
Whether your goals are aesthetic or generally health based, the need for muscle is important for everyone! First of all, muscle gives us strength and the ability and stability to move our body in space. That strength also supports our spine, bones, and joints. It almost helps to secure everything in place, so we feel solid and confident in our body’s ability to move and do things! We also store glycogen in muscle (carbs go to muscle), which helps to manage blood sugar levels. And finally, having more muscle burns more calories at rest. Just by having more muscle on our body, our BMR (basal metabolic rate) is increased, since muscle is an active tissue which requires energy to contract and relax. So if your goals include minimizing fat gain or actually losing fat, you’ll want to prioritize putting on some muscle too!
Training frequency depends on a few things. If you are coming to us having not worked out in quite a while (over a month) or never before, we recommend getting started with 2-3 sessions per week. This allows your body to get use to the new activity you’ve introduced and recover accordingly. After 2-3 weeks, most people are able to increase their training frequency to their prescribed programming. If you have been working out moderately, you’re more than ready to start your training program as prescribed! Wherever you’re starting from, we will meet you there! Our focus is to work with your availability and lifestyle to make sure you’re on the best path for success!
We offer complimentary assessments to get a better handle on your current fitness experience and the goals you’re looking to accomplish. That way we can give you a better idea of a starting point and proper plan of progression!
Everyone has a different work schedule and weekly commitments that follow. And we understand that you are busy and you want to make time for this as well! We can usually make anything work!
We find that having three workouts per week has set most of our clients up for success, no matter where they are starting from and what their goals are. The difference in most cases between working out three times versus more in a week is how fast you are able to achieve your goals. Having said that, some people are able to combine working out with us and working out at home. We can do the home workouts virtually or we can create an extension of your training program for you to complete on your own. There isn’t a “one program fits all“ approach and we know there’s more to life than your workouts, so we give you our training recommendations and then aim to make that work for you however it realistically fits into your life!
Absolutely! Our training methods offer all of our clients a personalized approach to fitness as a whole. We know there are many aspects to health, including food, stress, sleep, exercise, etc. We want to help you in any and every way that we can, so we allow you to also play a part in the use of your sessions. This just means that although you have come to exercise, if you would also like some nutritional guidance or have any other questions about your lifestyle routine, you are welcome to use your session time as you wish! We always recommend keeping a journal or record in an app of your food, if you’re looking for advice on how to improve this. In many cases we are able to review your food during your session and give you guidance from there. If you want a specific meal plan, we also offer that at a discounted rate to training clients!
More often than not, every person that has come through our door has had or currently has some kind of health history, problem area, or injury that we have to account for. So you’re not alone!
Whether it’s a sore knee, lower back pain from time to time, or a previous surgery you’re recovering from, we will always create your training program around your current physical abilities. We also work with a physiotherapist and have a background in rehab/exercise therapy, so you can feel comfortable knowing that we have worked with all kinds of irregularities and health conditions.