Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family Fitness Challenge

Simply stated, a Family Fitness Challenge is an exercise and healthy habit plan to try and make healthier choices. Here is the fitness challenge:
Eat 3 healthy meals 6 days a week
Exercise 3 times a week one of which has to be as a family
Eat only 2 junky snacks a day
Eat only 1 sugary cereal 1 day a week
So if you are looking for some creative ways to get your family moving here are some tips and suggestions to help you get your Family Fitness Challenge going:
Make your goals as a family, asking one of the older children to write them down.
Make your fitness goals realistic.  It is better to start small and then build up rather than set them too high and fail.  Be mindful of your family’s schedule, routines, and personality while writing your fitness goals.  Make your fitness goals fit your family rather than forcing your family to fit your goals.
If your family fitness goals include cutting back on junk food, you may have to consider thinking through and defining as a family what is and isn’t junk food as well as appropriate serving sizes. 
Use a fitness chart to track your progress and let your kids take turns handing out the gold stars.  You can create your own or use our template.
                Family Fitness Challenge Progress Chart – PDF Version
Build in rewards along the way.  For example, a possible reward may be a night at the movies after 4 weeks of consistently meeting your goals.
Don’t set weight goals for your kids.  Keep the goals focused on fun, eating healthy, and exercise.
For more complex goals, consider using a fitness notebook to help keep track of your progress.
Good luck!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Muscle Up with the “Protein Window”

The right kind and right amount of protein after a workout supports maximal muscle synthesis.

You’ve just finished pushing yourself beyond your limits at the gym. It’s that euphoric time when you celebrate your victory over the voice inside your head that tempted you to abort mission on working out in the first place. You welcome the screaming after-burn from your decimated muscle because it represents one thing: change to your body that is sure to come, change for the better. But what if nutritional science offered you a way to take your hard-fought training to the max? Call it a short window of opportunity to make the most of your workout and boost muscle gains.

Enter the “protein window”—the 30 minutes following an intense bout of exercise is that short, sweet window of opportunity where you can capitalize on your hard work to the greatest degree. The tough part is done. Now to get the most bang for your bench sets, you need to feed your body. Getting the right protein in the right amount after a workout will maximize your muscle gain and recovery. After all, failing to take advantage of the protein window is like working a 40-hour week and never cashing your paycheck.

What happens during the “protein window”

In the short period following a workout, your body is extremely sensitive to nutrients. This is directly related to the energy demands of exercise and the force placed on contracting muscle (1). During a hard training session, the body is fueled by energy from fat as well as sugar stored around muscle (glycogen). As working muscle burns through glycogen reserves, the hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol acts as a messenger to tell your liver to start making sugar from protein. Most of the protein that is used to make sugar comes from muscle, which is broken down when cortisol is high. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” and it tends to run high during stressful periods of fuel shortage.

Because high cortisol causes muscle to break down, it is necessary to lower levels as quickly as possible following a workout. Eating fast-absorbing whey protein and carbohydrate (sugar) within 30 minutes of exercise is the best way to do this (1). During this time blood flow to muscle is still high, resulting in quick delivery of nutrients (2). The body senses repletion of these nutrients and rapidly changes from a state of breakdown to a state of rebuilding and replenishment. This is the main goal of post-workout nutrition. By eating protein along with a source of carbohydrate directly after exercise, cortisol and muscle breakdown stops and muscle growth, repair, and glycogen repletion starts (1,3).

The right protein, the right amount

After exercise your body is like a sponge. The key to optimizing muscle synthesis and repair is getting the right type of protein in the right amount during the protein window. A fast absorbing protein that’s high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), particularly leucine, will maximally stimulate pathways that activate muscle synthesis. Whey protein absorbs faster than other sources of protein, making it quickly available to muscle (4). In addition, it’s rich in BCAAs and leucine, making it a superior trigger for muscle growth. By eating about 25 to 40 grams of whey protein after your workout, muscle synthesis can be maximized (2).

Eating carbohydrate after exercising is also important, as it will rapidly lower cortisol while refilling the glycogen tank. Not only is the body sensitive to protein after exercise, but it’s also sensitive to carbohydrate (3). The post-workout period is the perfect opportunity to refuel.

IsaPro: Your go-to post-workout protein

By eating quality whey protein within 30 minutes of a workout, you can take advantage of your hard work and gain more muscle, faster. IsaPro is the perfect post-training protein. By pairing IsaPro with a carb source such as fruit or oats, you will get the body you want and the energy you need.

What if IsaLean Pro has been your go-to after a workout during the protein window? You’re not causing any harm, that’s for sure. And there’s definitely some muscle-building benefit to this as well, but the lack of fat and fiber in IsaPro paired with a carb source means that the protein and carb get to your muscles faster and more efficiently. It may be a matter of personal preference, but if maximum muscle building is your goal, stick with the straight protein (IsaPro) and carb.


Ivy J, & Portman, R. (2004). Nutrient timing: The future of sports nutrition. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc
Hulmi JJ et al. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Jun 17;7:51.
Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Jan 29;10(1):5. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-5.
Phillips SM et al. The role of milk- and soy-based protein in support of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in young and elderly persons. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Aug;28(4):343-54.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Owning our financial mistakes goes a long way...

Regardless of what challenges we face in life, whether it’s weight, relationships or finances, in order to solve them we first need to get to the “bottom” of the issue – the real source of the problem.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we will never lose those extra pounds with two feet on the treadmill and two hands in a supersized bag of M&M’s. Something has to give, and it’s up to us to decide what gives.
Financial challenges are crippling our society.  Young college grads are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt. Marriages are drowning in credit card debt and seniors are fearful about retirement, since they have very little saved for the “winter” season of life.

By now, you may be thinking that the financial struggles we see all around us are beyond rescue, but what if I told you that there is great hope in turning this around? What if that hope lies in you? God's word promises that if are willing to humble ourselves, confess our shortcomings, His mercy will reign in our lives! 

Our financial challenges will not go away unless we own the responsibility for our individual financial situation. No matter how we slice it, it’s not the mortgage brokers who are forcing us to buy homes we can’t afford. It’s not the credit card companies that make us charge all kinds of “wants” now so we can pay for them later. Sooner or later, if we really want our finances to get healthy, we need to recognize and own our financial weaknesses.

Here are few simple ways to start breaking our destructive financial habits and acquire financial disciplines that can make or break our financial turnaround.

1.  Take a look at 60-90 days of all your spending. Once you do this, a picture of your financial priorities will emerge. Use this information to start making necessary adjustments. 

2.  Find an accountability partner, someone who will be able to ask you the tough questions and someone who will have your financial best interest in mind.

3.  Set small achievable goals. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Determine the most urgent problem that needs to be solved, and make a plan to tackle it head on. Small, frequent wins will help you stay encouraged and see the light at the end of the tunnel.