Supplements

Supplements

  • Before You Speak Coffee: The Next Level Coffee You NEED to Try!

    Before You Speak Coffee: The Next Level Coffee You NEED to Try!

    Sportsfuel Blog, 2 November 2021

    What is healthy coffee? Have you ever experienced that feeling of a caffeine crash? Well, you won’t get that from a Beforeyouspeak coffee. Why? They’ve taken the most delicious Arabica coffee and infused it with brain & body boosting vitamins, minerals and superfoods designed to improve your health, wellbeing and performance with every cup. How does drinking a Beforeyouspeak Coffee benefit me? Where do we start? Each of the Beforeyouspeak blends are designed to target a range of unique health goals from maximising your workouts, upgrading your skincare routine, finding rest and relaxation and improving your cognitive health!  How is it different to taking other supplements? Why take mountains of pills and powders everyday when you can just enjoy a coffee? At half the price of a barista coffee, you can get your daily dose of premium supplements and a caffeine kick in one delicious cup! Featured: Thermogenic Coffee Blend Let’s be real - we all know what a pre-workout is, but have you ever heard of a pre-workout coffee? This hardcore coffee blend is power-packed full of pre-workout ingredients you know and trust delivered in the right dosage for a pre-workout - including Caffeine, Green Tea Extract, L-Tyrosine, Lean GBB and Grains of Paradise.  What other coffee blends do Beforeyouspeak coffee have? Across mind, body & soul it’s safe to say living a healthy life goes far beyond working out in the gym. Beforeyouspeak have a range of coffee blends that cover all of your health bases (and goals).  Performance Coffee Get moving with this intensified vitality blend with powerful ingredients Turmeric, MCT Oil & Siberian Ginseng. Collagen Coffee Glow from the inside out with this all in one beauty elixir, with ingredients Marine Collagen, Silica, Proline & Biotin. Adrenal Decaf Coffee  Relax with this decaffeinated blend with nine powerful ingredients including Zinc, Ashwagandha & Camu Camu.

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  • The Women's Wellness Brand Who Are Doing Things Differently

    The Women's Wellness Brand Who Are Doing Things Differently

    Eve Wellness, 7 September 2021

    Reader, meet Eve. If you ever needed a friend who you could talk to about anything and everything to do with your health, hormones, and happiness - she’s your gal. In 2018, we conducted a survey of over 14,000 women to better understand their hormones and overall health so we could paint a picture of how women in New Zealand feel in themselves, and what role their bodies play in the determining of moods and wellness. What we found was astonishing and more insightful than we could ever have imagined. We found that there’s a real and present gap in knowledge when it comes to hormone health and the understanding we have with the fluctuations in our hormones and how that leads to changes in our bodies, minds, and emotions. What’s more, a whopping 87% of those surveyed reported experiencing signs of hormone imbalance on a regular basis. This means that most women often don’t feel like themselves and, to us, that’s just not good enough! So, with the backing of scientists and a kick-ass research team, Eve was born to both provide women with insight into our health with at-home testing kits, and help us all address concerns that arise with our new range of nutritional support products. Our hormones are like super powers - we just need to know how to harness them. And once we do, there’s no stopping us. Over the years, our eager audience has turned into a smart, vibrant, and engaged community who learn more about their health from Eve while at the same time giving us real insights into the health of New Zealand women. For people throughout New Zealand and beyond, Eve provides support, knowledge, and our shared learnings to those of us wanting to understand aspects of wellbeing, and how our hormone picture is a cornerstone of our health. We are all unique and once we know how to tune in with our body and know what it’s saying when it’s talking to us, we can address the root of some of the most common concerns that we face today: low energy, menstrual issues, mental health challenges, cramping and pain, weight issues, headaches, low libido, skin concerns, and irregular periods. Too often we are told or expected to accept these experiences as part of owning a uterus but here at Eve, we don’t think you need to live with it - we know you can really live as a woman empowered and in charge. Now, let’s meet our products! Period Pal For anyone who has a period, this daily dose of nutrients including ashwaganda, vitex, and gingko biloba encourages a drama-free, balanced cycle. If you, like 40% of women asked, experience severe PMS, then Period Pal is here to help. Chill Pills Meditation in a bottle. What could be better! Made from 100% Vanuatu Kava, one Chill Pill capsule will support your body and mind to stop racing and find calm. Three capsules take things up a notch and help ease your body to sleep if the worries of the day are hanging around a little too heavy. Morning Person Think of this as coffee but without the side-effects. Clean, happy energy that helps to combat fatigue. Fast-acting B-vitamins help turn food into fuel and Panax Ginseng is an immediate energy and focus booster. While we’re reaping the benefits of that, the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola Rosea is behind the scenes to rebuild better all-round energy levels. Take Me With The Pill Did you know that being on the pill means we need more nutrients than when we’re not? Designed for anyone on hormonal contraception, the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in Take Me With The Pill get your nutrient stores back to optimal levels so that all the processes in your body that need nutrients to work effectively (so, everything) have enough fuel to do so! All of our supplements are veggie-friendly and if you’re in any doubt about which are for you, we’re always on hand to help. Together with Eve, you can find ways to be at one with your body so you always know what you need, and when you need it. Let’s start living life to the fullest, there’s nothing holding us back.

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  • What is collagen and why do we need it?

    What is collagen and why do we need it?

    BePure, 7 September 2021

    The term collagen comes from the Greek word κολλα (kolla), meaning “glue” which makes sense because collagen is the glue of our body. It’s strong, springy, fibrous and is found in our body’s tissue. It’s actually the most abundant protein in our body. As we age, we produce less and less of it which is why, on a cosmetic-level, we lose a bit of our skin’s ‘bounce’ the older we get and why our joints need more love. However, when we consume collagen-rich food or supplements, the proteins break down into amino acids (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, hydroxylysine, and arginine) and form that "glue" that our body needs. And we all want more ‘glue’. But not all sources of collagen are created equal... so let’s look at everything to know about collagen so you can make an informed choice about what’s right for you. What to look for in a quality collagen supplement 1. The Type Of Collagen There are at least 28 different types of collagen but the ones that form the bulk of the collagen in our body are types 1, 2, and 3. They support our body in different ways. Type 1 Collagen is found in marine, bovine, and egg collagen - Type 1 is easily absorbed, the most efficiently absorbed of all types, up to 1.5 x more. Marine collagen is more bioavailable and enters our bloodstream quickly and easily. Type 1 collagen accounts for up to 90% of the collagen in our body and can improve our joints, skin, organs, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, and bones. With all of those benefits, it’s no wonder we want to keep our stores high. Type 1 marine collagen is the type of collagen used in BePure Collagen+. And it’s sustainably sourced! Type 2 Collagen is also found in bovine as well as chicken collagen and makes up approximately 10% of the collagen in the body. It’s mainly located in our cartilage so supports the health of our joints. Small amounts of Type 3 Collagen are found in porcine and bovine collagen and is found in our body tissue. This is the type that determines the elasticity of our skin, our lungs, the strength of our intestinal walls, and the walls of our blood vessels. It’s use comes into play for building muscle and healing wounds. 2. The Molecular Weight of the Collagen The size of the collagen (its molecular weight) also matters because the smaller the molecule, the easier it is for our body to absorb it. Unfortunately, there’s no point in taking supplements of any kind if they’re not able to be absorbed so looking for products that are bioavailable should always be at the top of your list. To get into the science for a second, the molecular weight of something is measured by daltons (Da). When it comes to collagen, the ideal Da is <3,000. BePure Collagen+ is 2,000 Da. You might be thinking that if we get collagen from beef, pork, chicken, and fish then why can’t we just eat that instead? While it’s always good to eat healthy proteins like this, when it comes to collagen intake, the Da of collagen in, say, fish skin, is closer to 300,000 so, collagen-wise, isn’t the most efficient or effective route to take. That’s why we would recommend a fish or bone broth as another great source of collagen. 3. The Dose of Collagen per serve In order to see the benefits of collagen in our skin, hair, and nails we want at least 10g of collagen a day for optimal effectiveness. It can help our skin by improving its texture, its elasticity, and reducing inflammation. What’s the plus in Collagen+? In addition to the highly bioavailable marine collagen peptides, BePure’s Collagen+ contains functional keratin, silica, zinc, Polypodium Leucomotos, and vitamin C. Of all of those, the least recognisable is probably Polypodium Leucomotos. This is an antioxidant that works to prevent inflammation, or inflammaging! In addition to supporting the prevention of conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, it acts a bit like an internal sunscreen to protect us from UV damage (of course you should always wear sunscreen, too). The vitamin C and bioflavonoids help with absorption so your collagen is working as hard as it can. The bottom line When looking for a collagen supplement, we want to make sure it’s: Bioavailable so we can absorb it effectively and efficiently The right type! Types 1, 2, and 3 are best for skin and joints The right molecular weight: So we can break it down and absorb it The right dose: We need 10g a day to see improvement in our skin, nails, and hair Added antioxidants: Anti-ageing from the inside out and added inflammatory properties BePure’s Collagen+ comes in two delicious, natural flavours: chai and vanilla. And, for a limited time until 19th September 2021 you can save 15%! With 30 servings per container, that’s just over $3 a serve! Mix into cold drinks or smoothies, or even just with water. We think you’ll love it.

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  • Choc Coconut Bounty Smoothie

    Choc Coconut Bounty Smoothie

    Switch Nutrition, 3 August 2021

    Ingredients 1 serve Switch Nutrition Protein Switch 1 frozen banana 1 Medjool date 1 cup coconut milk 1 Tbsp cashew butter 1 tsp desiccated coconut 1 tsp cacao nibs ½ cup water Ice Method Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour smoothie into a glass and top with coconut flakes and cacao nibs (optional).

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  • The no BS way to build muscle

    The no BS way to build muscle

    Switch Nutrition, 26 July 2021

    If you are a newbie to the gym, building muscle may seem easy. However, it’s not going to be a linear growth curve throughout your training career. To achieve best results, you will need to learn how to train both smarter and harder - not just one or the other. You will need to understand the need to fuel your body with the right nutrients, at the right time, with structured nutrition and scientific supplementing. But don’t fret, this isn’t as scary as it sounds! There is a difference between strength training and hypertrophy training (training with the intent to increase muscle size); although doing one will generally help achieve the other. In both cases, training should occur 3 – 4 times per week and should last for no more than 1 hour. Exercises should also consist of a combination of compound (multi-joint movements eg: squats) and isolation (single-joint movements eg: leg extensions). 4 key tips to build muscle 1. Train using overloading training principles A good strategy to build muscle is to implement different strategies of progressive overload like the ones below. But remember you should always start lighter and get used to the movements. Train with a partner where possible for motivation and safety, and consult a personal trainer or professional if you have any questions. Drop sets: where you start with a heavy weight and complete reps until failure. Then drop the weight down and do more reps until failure etc. Super sets: where you do one movement heavy until failure and then do a different exercise working the same muscle group lighter with higher reps. Start-stops: where you complete reps to failure. Stop for 5 – 10 seconds and then go again and repeat. Pyramids: where your first set is heavy, but the next working set is heavier and the last working set is the heaviest. Some people like to do this in reverse. This is called reverse pyramid. Forced reps: where you push to failure and have a spotter help you get some forced reps. Negatives: where you do full the range of motion until failure and then get a spotter to help lift the concentric (upward) part of the lift and you lower it on your own slowly then repeat 2-3 more times. Partials: where you do full reps until failure and then attempt partial reps until failure. Tempo: where you vary the tempo up, pause and down. Eg: 3 seconds up, 3 second squeeze and 6 seconds down. This tempo can be changed to put more or less tension and overload on the working muscles. 2. Journal Athletes who keep a training journal are 300% more likely to reach their goals. Writing down how you feel before you start, energy, motivation etc can be helpful. Write down what you ate (if at all) before training and what supplements you took (if any). Write down your reps, sets, weight for each exercise and review your previous workout before you start so you can reassess your lifting goals. #YOUVSYOU 3. Use food as fuel Protein To build muscle you must fuel the machine. Getting adequate protein, but not too much that it slows MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis), is critical to ensure you get amino acid at the right time to take advantage of anabolic muscle building growth phases. You should aim for 1.8 – 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body weight per day. You should try to get most of your protein from food throughout the day and only use supplements if there isn’t enough protein coming in from your food. Carbohydrates You may need to consider increasing your carbohydrate intake as carbs fuel muscle energy and stimulate insulin, which is a highly anabolic muscle-building hormone. Supplementing with carbs around training for muscle growth is not uncommon. A supplement like Switch Nutrition Essentials Carbs, which is a combination of two fast-acting carbs for rapid recovery and insulin release, may help. Fats Getting adequate fats is important for the production of cholesterol, which is the backbone of anabolic hormones like testosterone. You should focus on a combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Getting sufficient sunlight to activate vitamin D from cholesterol is also critical. Vitamin D has been shown to boost testosterone by 42% in men with low testosterone. 4. Supplement with key supplements Protein As discussed above, trying to get most of your protein from food is ideal. However, getting to the levels needed to support muscle hypertrophy (growth) can be difficult through your diet alone. Using a protein supplement such as Protein Switch™ may be required to help you to reach your daily goals. This is the most effective way to ensure you get a return on your training investment. Amino acids Amino acids are the simplest but most potent form of protein. It’s what you end up with once you digest protein down. Once absorbed amino acids are what make up the building blocks of all human tissue including muscle. Amino Switch™ consists of all 9 Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) in the perfect muscle tissue ratio. 1 serve of Amino Switch™ is equivalent to 30g of WPI and absorbed 5x faster. It is also 200% better than BCAA’s alone. You can use Amino Switch™ during or after training instead of BCAA’s or WPI. Creatine Still one of the most clinically-proven muscle-building ingredients on the planet, creatine monohydrate has been clinically proven to boost strength, speed, performance and muscle size. We recommend you use 5 – 10g daily. Switch Nutrition Essentials Creatine is the highest quality HPLC tested 200 mesh micronised creatine available. Testosterone boosters There are several well-researched ingredients that have been clinically-shown to boost testosterone. You will find a combination of these vitamins, minerals and herbs in Alpha Switch™ at proven effective levels that will support energy, strength, blood flow and muscle growth along with libido. Beta Alanine Another great ingredient for increasing training load and performance is Beta Alanine. However, Beta Alanine needs to be consumed at 3.2 – 6.4g daily for no less than 21 days straight to see any real benefit in strength and training volume. Results for muscle gain are achieved after 6 – 8 weeks of supplementation so don’t rely on your pre-workout to supply what you need. Use a 100% Pure Beta Alanine like the HPLC tested version from Switch Nutrition. Pre-workout Pre-workouts will ideally have you training harder and lifting heavier with greater pumps! What you should look for is one that has natural, clean stimulants that your body can use effectively, and not build a tolerance to. Always look for an open label so you can see exactly what you are getting. We would recommend one that contains natural caffeine plus EnXtra®. EnXtra® is a patented compound found in Alpina Galanga. This compound can boost focus and alertness while amplifying caffeine by 30 – 50%. Also look for a pre-workout that contains VASO6®. This is an eNOS activator that helps convert citrulline and arginine into nitric oxide. This is the limiting factor and outperforms citrulline or arginine alone. Power Switch™ contains all these ingredients and much more. It’s also one of the more affordable and better tasting pre-workouts. Carbs Although not essential to supplement, carbs can help restore energy rapidly which may reduce muscle breakdown. They also boost insulin which is a powerfully anabolic (muscle building) hormone that can help shuttle amino acids into your cells to build muscle faster. We would recommend using a fast acting carbohydrate powder during or after your training with Amino Switch™. Carbs by Switch Nutrition is a combination of two rapidly absorbed carb sources and has zero fillers, flavours or colours. To summarise... Focus on the low hanging fruit… get into a calorie surplus. To add muscle tissue, you need to feed the body the nutrients to achieve this. Make sure you are looking closely at your macronutrients and micronutrients. Increase your training volume, but get adequate rest between sessions. Rest is how you grow. This means a lot of the growth you experience is immediately after training and during quality sleep. If you aren’t getting deep, REM sleep then consider Adrenal Switch™ before bed to lower cortisol and boost testosterone & growth hormone while getting a deep restorative sleep. Stay hydrated. Muscle cells grow more if there is adequate hydration. A 2% dehydration results in a 20% drop in performance and growth. Change!! Continue to periodically change your training time, structure and volume. This will get your body adapting to the new stimulus in a positive way. Enjoy the journey. If you don’t enjoy the training, the food and the supplements you will have difficulty sustaining and maintaining the results. Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified health care provider.

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  • Pine Lime Splice Smoothie

    Pine Lime Splice Smoothie

    Switch Nutrition, 26 July 2021

    Ingredients 1 cup coconut cream Squeeze of fresh lime 1 serve Keto Switch - Pineapple Lime 1 cup water Ice Method Combine Keto Switch, coconut cream, fresh lime, and water in a shaker and shake well. Pour over a glass full of ice to enjoy.

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  • Top 10 fat burning foods

    Top 10 fat burning foods

    Switch Nutrition, 26 July 2021

    Top 10 fat burning foods The quickest way to burn fat is to reduce calorie intake and boost your metabolic rate. There are some effective supplements on the market that achieve this, like ketones. However, here are also a few foods that can help too: 1. Coffee 2. Coconut Oil 3. Fatty Fish 4. Eggs 5. Protein 6. Green Tea Extract 7. Probiotics 8. Apple Cider Vinegar 9. Turmeric 10. Chocolate In this article we will further discuss these top 10 fat burning foods and how you can incorporate them in your diet. 1. Coffee Arguably not a food but a beverage, coffee is regularly added to a lot of foods and supplements today. Coffee is the most consumed drink on the planet, surpassing tea. It is a source of many polyphenols, flavonoids and caffeine which have been shown to boost mood, energy, focus, alertness and physical performance. In one study, the group who consumed caffeine burned 2x more fat and were able to exercise 17% longer than the non-caffeine drinkers. Caffeine can also increase your metabolic rate between 3 – 13% depending on the amount of caffeine consumed. In another study where lean and obese individuals were given 100mg of caffeine every 2 hours for 12 hours, participants saw an increase in 150 calories burned compared to placebo. Beyond the caffeine in coffee, there are also other compounds (especially in green coffee bean of whole coffee fruit extract) that may support fat burning. One of these compounds is known as Chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid exerts many benefits. However, the most effective mechanism of action is the inhibition of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase. This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown and metabolism of carbohydrates. Therefore, inhibition of this enzyme may result in less energy absorbed from carbs eaten. Chlorogenic acid also increases PPAR-α which is responsible for thermogenesis and increasing heat production through the burning of body fat. Several studies support the fat burning benefits of caffeine and chlorogenic acid found in coffee. To get concentrated levels of these compounds together, try swapping out your standard coffee for Coffee Switch™, which contains single origin arabica coffee plus whole coffee fruit extract. 2. Coconut Oil Coconut oil has many different benefits. It is anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and immune-boosting. Coconut oil consists of a very unique form of fats called MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides). MCT’s are fast-burning, appetite-suppressing, brain-boosting, metabolism-increasing fats that may support fat loss. In your body, MCT's convert into ketones and many of the benefits may come from these signalling metabolites. In one study, men who added 2 Tbsp of coconut oil to their diet daily without any other changes in food or exercise saw a 1-inch decrease is waist circumference over 4 weeks. In another study individuals who consumed 15 – 30g of MCT's per day saw an increase in metabolic rate of 5% over 24 hours. That is equivalent to burning an extra 120 kcal per day. In addition, MCT’s may reduce muscle loss, increase metabolism and control hunger. All of these benefits combined are likely to significantly improve body composition. We would recommend using 1 – 2 Tbsp of coconut oil per day to replace other fats in your diet and consume MCT's where possible. You will find MCT's in Switch Nutrition products Keto Switch™, Coffee Switch™ or MCT Oil Powder, which can be added to coffee, shakes, smoothies, greens, baking, oats and much more. PRO TIP: Consider using Keto Switch™ between meals or during fasting for hunger control, brain boost and stimulant-free energy. It’s arguably one of the most effective appetite suppressants and by this action one of the most effective fat burners. 3. Fatty fish Who knew that adding fats (Coconut, MCT's & Fatty Fish) could burn fat?! Here’s the thing… consumption of fats stimulates the lipase enzyme which is a potent enzyme that breaks down body fat. Plus, fats are more filling so may reduce calorie intake. Additionally, fats do NOT increase insulin, so don’t shut off beta oxidation (fat burning) as quickly or easily. Fatty fish is loaded with omega 3 which is incredibly good for you. Omega 3 has been clinically proven to improve heart health, reduce cortisol, boost brain health, lower inflammation and support fat burning. In one study over 6 weeks, individuals who consumed 4g of fish oil saw an average weight loss of 0.5kg in fat mass, while they also increased their lean muscle mass. The supplemental group also saw a decrease in cortisol. Fatty fish can often be difficult to eat regularly so fish oil supplements are recommended. Make sure the fish oil supplements you choose are mercury tested and free of any additives, like the ones we sell here. 4. Eggs Eggs are among one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are a virtual powerhouse when it comes to health, weight loss and muscle recovery. Studies have repeatedly shown eggs to have greater satiation than other foods, meaning they should leave you feeling fuller for longer. Some of these benefits may be due to the protein, some due to the fats and some due to the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants naturally occurring in eggs. Whatever the reason, staying satiated is sure to reduce your calorie intake which may help to maintain your body composition goals. In one study where they compared eggs in the diet matched in calories to other foods, the egg group lost 65% more fat than the placebo group over 8 weeks. We recommend eating 3 – 4 eggs a day, 3 – 5 days a week to support health and fat burning. Try to buy free range pastured eggs where possible and don’t throw away the yolk - half the protein is in there and 90% of the nourishment. 5. Protein Some of the fat burning benefits of eggs and fatty fish come from their protein content. This is because protein is more satiating than other foods and increases your resting metabolic rate by 25% more than other foods. Protein stimulates satiation hormones like PYY and GLP-1, which may result in you eating less due to hunger control. However, studies have also shown that high protein diets lead to more weight loss than low protein diets even when calories are controlled. When overweight adults increased their protein intake from 15% to 30% of their daily calories, they saw an average 5kg of weight loss in 12 weeks. Choosing the right protein for the right time may prove to be critical. Studies have shown plant proteins are more satiating because they take longer to digest and use more energy in digestion. This difference in calories in and calories burned may result in considerable fat loss. We recommend getting as much of your protein through the day from food. However, if a meal is low in protein use a diverse plant protein like Protein Switch™ as your daytime option if weight loss is your goal. After exercising you would think Whey Protein would be the best option due to its fast digestion. However, free form amino acids (which require zero digestion) could be superior. For this purpose, we recommend Amino Switch™ after exercise for complete muscle recovery. 6. Green Tea Extract Again, not generally thought of as a food, green tea extract is often added to supplements and foods. In addition to providing a small amount of caffeine, green tea is rich in a catechin called Epigallocatchin gallate (EGCG). This compound is responsible for promoting fat burning and a reduction in belly fat. In a study of cyclists who consumed GTE (Green Tea Extract) before or a placebo, the cyclists increased fat oxidation (burning) by 17% more than placebo and saw a decrease in insulin by 13%. This means you GTE is not only capable of burning fat but supporting carbohydrate metabolism, which may reduce weight gain in the first place or the regaining of body fat. GTE also has some pretty powerful health benefits and has been shown to reduce oxidation and support heart health. For these reasons and more you will find GTE in Thermal Switch™ and Vitality Switch™. We recommend consuming Thermal Switch™ prior to exercise or whenever you need a boost and Vitality Switch™ once a day with food to enhance your daily nourishment. 7. Probiotics Probiotics are live microorganisms that have psychological and physiological benefits in your body when consumed. You will find probiotics naturally occurring in fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir etc. Our gut contains over 100 trillion microorganisms. Some are helpful and others are harmful. Some help get the calories out of your food and some get the micronutrients out of your food. There are two main types of good bacteria in the gut: bacteroidetes and firmicutes. Body weight seems to be connected to the balance of these two families of bacteria. Because firmicutes are responsible for breaking down and absorbing the calories from the food you eat they may contribute to weight gain and obesity. Overweight people tend to have less diverse gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome becomes less diverse if you eat a less diverse range of fruits and vegetables. Too much processed food or sugar can also decrease diversity as the bugs that love sugar over run the ones that don’t. Then as they become overpopulated, they demand more sugar and this is how the cravings start. We recommend cutting back on sugar to keep it around 5% of your total calories per day. Increase the diversity of wholefoods, fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Also add in 1 serve daily of Vitality Switch™ which provides 33 different botanicals and 3 carefully selected probiotics that can support a balanced gut microbiome. 8. Apple Cider Vinegar Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can reduce appetite and lower blood sugar levels and insulin in type 2 diabetics. In one 12 week study where 144 subjects added 2 Tbsp of ACV per day they lost around 1.7kg of weight. ACV contains acetic acid and good bacteria that can kill pathogenic bacteria and may also help balance the gut microbiome to support better weight management. We recommend starting with 1-2 Tsp of ACV per day and increasing slowly to 2 Tbsp over 4-6 weeks. 9. Turmeric Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice used in Asian and Indian cuisine. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Most of turmeric’s medicinal and fat burning properties are due to a naturally occurring compound called curcumin. Recent studies suggest that curcumin may be beneficial in fat loss. In fact, curcumin may help promote weight loss, reduce fat tissue growth, curb weight regain, and enhance your sensitivity to insulin. Furthermore, one study found that supplementing with curcumin for 30 days assisted individuals to lose body fat who were previously unable to lose weight. You will find C3® curcumin in Estro Switch™ and HydroCurc® in Coffee Switch™ to help support your brain function, health, wellbeing and fat loss. 10. Chocolate This might sound counterintuitive because people think eating chocolate is what makes them fat. It’s not the cacao in chocolate contributing to weight gain. It is most likely the combination of fats and sugar. However, if you could get the theobromine from the Theobroma cacao (cocoa bean) then you would see a very different result. Theobromine which is naturally found in chocolate, is a neurostimulator, appetite suppressor and vasodilator. It has similar structure to caffeine, so it’s no surprise that it will help with weight management and energy. Theobromine works by reducing cravings and enhancing beta oxidation (breakdown of fats for fuel). You will find theobromine naturally occurring in cacao nibs, dark chocolate (70%+), Thermal Switch™, Power Switch™ & Coffee Switch™. Summary There are many foods that can contribute to weight gain but there are some that can prevent or even reverse weight gain. It is important to focus on the right foods, supplements and nutrients. Get plenty of fibre in your diet (30g daily) from leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and colourful fruits with the peels on where possible. Try to by spray free or wash your fruits and veges thoroughly. The pesticide found on the food you eat can kill the gut bugs resulting in dysbiosis (gut microbiome imbalance). This dysbiosis can contribute to weight gain or an inability to lose weight. In fact, Sucralose (commonly used artificial sweetener) was developed as a pesticide and kills off the good microbes in the gut. This means even the artificially sweetened fat burner you are using could be making things worse long term. Therefore, we recommend buying supplements that are naturally sweetened with stevia or monk fruit like Switch Nutrition. Use Coffee Switch™ in the morning as a coffee replacement. Try Thermal Switch™ before exercise and Keto Switch™ between meals. Consider 4000mg a day of fish oil and 1-2 Tlbs a day of ACV. Make sure you eat more protein and less carbs while consuming good quality fat from coconut, grass fed butter, avocado, and olive oil. If you can’t meet your protein needs of 30% of your daily calories or 1.5g per kg of body weight, then consider supplementing with Protein Switch™ to keep you satiated and boost your metabolism. Remember, healthy choices lead to healthy results and make sure any changes you implement are enjoyable as that will ensure sustainability.

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  • Stress Fat - Is Stress Causing Your Belly Fat And Tiredness?

    Stress Fat - Is Stress Causing Your Belly Fat And Tiredness?

    Switch Nutrition, 18 July 2021

    Have you ever asked one of the following questions… “how do I just shift fat off my belly?” or, “I can’t lose weight no matter what I do” or “I lose weight and it comes straight back!!!”. Did you know STRESS could be the major culprit? Being in a calorie deficit is important and so is monitoring your macro’s, however your hormones and looking after the glands that produce them are equally important. In fact, your thyroid controls your metabolic rate. It regulates how many calories you burn and store. STRESS is a major contributor to thyroid or metabolic dysfunction. So, what is the major stress hormone that is a problem? Cortisol: This life sustaining stress hormone released by your adrenal glands has many benefits acutely to get you out of danger and improve your response to stress. However, chronically may lead to many health concerns including… Weight Gain Inability To Lose Weight Muscle Loss Slow Thyroid Function Estrogen Dominance Blood Sugar Issues (Type 2 Diabetes) Leaky Gut Lowered Sex Drive Skin Breakouts Hair Loss Low Energy Anxiety Constipation or Diarrhea Loss Of Happiness Lack Of Motivation How does stress (cortisol) effect thyroid function and result in weight gain? Cortisol works on a negative feedback loop with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. The hypothalamus signals the pituitary to tell the adrenals (HPA Axis) to release cortisol. So, when cortisol is in the blood the body tells the hypothalamus to slow down. The problem is the Hypothalamus also controls the thyroid gland and as it slows so does your thyroid. This makes sense because in a state of stress (cortisol) your body wants to conserve energy, so slowing your thyroid function which slows your metabolism, achieves this survival mechanism. You have two major types of thyroid hormones… T4 (Inactive) and T3 (Active). Your thyroid produces exclusively T4 and then your body converts it to the active T3. However, elevated cortisol reduces the enzymes responsible for this conversion. So even when your levels of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and T4 are normal (within range), you may still have low T3 and a slow metabolism resulting in weight gain, tiredness and an inability to lose weight. Reverse T3 (RT3) is the antagonist (opposite) to T3. The best way to think about this relationship is T3 is an accelerator for your metabolism and RT3 is the brakes. RT3 binds to the same thyroid receptors on the surface of cells preventing T3 attaching. Stress increases the production of RT3 keeping the brakes on your metabolism and fat burning. With stress comes inflammation, insulin resistance, tiredness and a lack of motivation. This can reduce your desire to exercise and your body’s ability to use carbohydrates effectively. This leads to carbs storing as body fat. Inflammation also causes the release of cytokines which reduces thyroid receptor sensitivity so any circulating free T3 can’t fully activate your metabolism. Chronic release of cortisol also leads to Estrogen dominance. Excess estrogen increases the number of fat cells in your body. The accumulation of this fat is generally around the belly, hips butt and thigh. Excess estrogen also increases Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). TBG is a protein that helps thyroid hormone travel through your body, but when T4 is bound to too much TBG it is inactive and can’t convert to Free T3. Stress can affect gut permeability causing leaky gut. Leaky gut has been linked as a cause of auto immune disease which may manifest as Hashimoto’s otherwise known as ‘thyroid auto immune disease’. When your immune system starts attacking your thyroid gland you are sure to experience negative effects to your metabolism, sleep, mood, skin, hair, weight gain and overall energy and health. Think of stress (cortisol) as the starting domino that knocks over the others. STRESS -> Thyroid Dysfunction -> Estrogen Dominance -> Weight Gain -> Tiredness Here are 12 steps to reduce cortisol, boost your metabolism, reduce belly fat and get your energy back. 1. Sleep Getting adequate amounts of sleep is critical for hormone balance. 7.5 hours unbroken sleep is preferential. However, taking naps away from your main sleep cycle to catch up is a good idea if you cannot get 7.5 hours. If you have difficulty switching off, try Adrenal Switch™ after dinner. It’s a delicious treat that will curb your sugar cravings and support a restful and restorative night’s sleep. You will have more energy the next day and feel motivated to achieve. 2. Selenium Make sure you are getting enough of this micromineral. The enzyme that converts T4 into the active T3 is selenium dependent. You will find selenium in Estro Switch™ which combines with a number of all-natural herbal and nutritive ingredients to support your metabolism, manage stress, balance hormones, support energy and improve hair, skin and nails. 3. Meditate, Yoga, Breath Work or Mindfulness Having time to yourself away from the daily grind and constant stimulation can be the most important thing you can do for your health and metabolism. Reducing anxiety with breath work and slowing your breathing can quickly reduce your stress. 4. Greens Eat them, drink them… just make sure you get them. Leafy greens are a great source of phytonutrients that are precursors to thyroid hormones and other critical hormones and enzymes. They also help chelate toxins out of the body for improved metabolic health. Vitality Switch™ is an award winning, great tasting source of polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In fact, 1 serve is equivalent to 8 serves of veges. This is a daily non-negotiable. 5. Zinc More than 75% of the population is Zinc insufficient. This mineral is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body including the conversion of T4 to T3 like selenium. Zinc is also critical in balancing sex hormones and improves insulin sensitivity. It can be found in Adrenal Switch™, Alpha Switch™ & Estro Switch™. 6. Tyrosine This non-essential amino acid makes up the backbone of thyroid hormones. The ‘T’ in T4 stands for Tyrosine and the 4 is the amount of iodine attached. You will find Tyrosine in the natural thermogenic Thermal Switch™ or Keto Switch™ for this reason, and to help boost your metabolism, focus and energy. 7. Avoid Fluoride This compound is a halide that displaces or competes with Iodine and may prevent sufficient iodine being available to make your thyroid hormones. 8. Salt and Sun in the Morning Pink salt or Himalayan salt in your water first thing in the morning helps kickstart your adrenals and enhances the production of cortisol. This is a good thing as this is the time when cortisol should be at its highest. Bright sunlight on your skin and eyeballs (don’t look directly into the sun) can also help as an early morning ritual to manage stress & weight. 9. Coffee The most consumed beverage on the planet is loaded with antioxidants and metabolic boosting compounds. However, having a coffee too close to bed can disrupt your sleep. You can now get coffee (like Coffee Switch™) that is loaded with adaptogens and nutrients to help provide more focus, alertness and mood elevation that may result in a lowered stress response and greater weight loss. 10. Alcohol Although alcohol seems like a sedative and a relaxant, it often contains extra calories and can disrupt your deep (delta) sleep. This is the sleep that is restorative, fat burning and muscle building. This is also the sleep that reduces responsive stress. Therefore, minimising belly fat and increasing energy the next day. 11. Music Listening to nostalgic music that makes you happy and gets you singing is scientifically proven to boost your mood and lower your cortisol (stress hormones). If you want to burn some extra calories… dance! As you can see there is a very real relationship between stress and a lowered metabolism (thyroid function), leading to body fat accumulation (especially around the belly) or an inability to burn fat no matter how hard you try. In fact, if you continue to exercise vigorously in this state of dysfunction you may cause further damage and extend recovery time. Controlling cortisol by implementing these strategies may help increase your energy, fat burning, boost mood, focus and general health while reducing your stress and hormone imbalances. PRO TIP: Having Adrenal Switch™ as a dessert by mixing 1 serve into coconut or Greek yoghurt is not only delicious but helps reduce sugar cravings and supports better quality regenerative sleep where you wake up feeling amazing. Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.

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  • Choc Vitality Bircher Muesli

    Choc Vitality Bircher Muesli

    Switch Nutrition, 18 July 2021

    Ingredients 1 serve Vitality Switch - Chocolate 1 Cup Rolled Oats ¼ Cup Shredded Coconut 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds 1 Tbsp Pepitas 1 Cup Milk (Almond or Coconut) Method Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir through milk, cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve topped with yoghurt, fresh fruit and extra seeds.

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  • Fudgy Mocha Brownies

    Fudgy Mocha Brownies

    Switch Nutrition, 12 July 2021

    Fudgy Mocha Brownies INGREDIENTS ¼ cup Greek yoghurt 1 sachet Coffee Switch – Cafe Mocha ¾ cup whole wheat flour ¾ cup cocoa powder ¼ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil (cooled slightly) 2 eggs at room temp 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ cup maple syrup Drizzle 5 tsp confectioners-style stevia 1 sachet Coffee Switch – Cafe Mocha METHOD Preheat oven to 150 degrees and lightly coat an 8” square baking tray. Stir the Greek yoghurt and instant coffee in a small bowl until smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix the Greek yogurt mixture into the egg mixture until no large lumps remain. Stir in the maple syrup. Mix in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated and smearing out any clumps of cocoa powder alongside the bowl. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 150 degrees for 15-19 minutes. Cool completely to room temperature in the pan and let the brownies sit for at least 3 hours at room temp for the fudgiest brownies before serving. To prepare the drizzle stir the stevia and coffee in a small bowl and drizzle on top of the individual brownies just before serving.

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  • 5 surefire ways to increase energy all day

    5 surefire ways to increase energy all day

    Switch Nutrition, 12 July 2021

    5 SUREFIRE WAYS TO INCREASE ENERGY ALL DAY In a world where being highly motivated, focussed and energised are daily requirements to succeed, we need all the help we can get…and some days coffee alone just doesn’t cut it! In this article we will look at the top 5 ways to increase energy all day. 1. Sleep Sleep – This might sound strange but sleep duration and quality is the most effective predictor of energy the next day. If you are feeling lethargic, tired or irritable, sleep should be your priority. Simply achieving 7.5 hours of unbroken quality sleep can be life changing for daily energy and motivation. Here are some quick tips to get the best sleep. Sleep before midnight is 2x more beneficial than after midnight. Plan to be in bed 8 hours before you need to wake up. 30 mins to doze off and get settled. Use Magnesium which has been shown to improve sleep quality and increase energy through the day. Read a book to wind down. Don’t rely on digital games, social media or watching TV. Don’t eat within 2 hours of bedtime. The digestion and blood sugar fluctuations can prevent getting to sleep and staying asleep. Don’t drink too much water before bed. Getting up to go to the toilet can disrupt quality sleep. Reduce alcohol. Even though it is a sedative it can reduce deep sleep where recovery happens. Reduce caffeine and stimulants after 2pm. Caffeine will still be in your system 6-8 hours after consumption. Use Ashwagandha. This Ayurvedic herb has been shown to reduce cortisol and promote better sleep quality. Pro Tip: Switch Nutrition Adrenal Switch™ is your go to product containing Ashwagandha and Magnesium to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase energy the next day! 2. Caffeine Still KING for energy… however, you can get too much of a good thing and certain forms are better than others. Yes, caffeine boosts energy, alertness, focus, motivation, and performance. However, too much caffeine can cause a crash, tiredness, diarrhoea and an increasing dependence or addiction. It is not uncommon for people to start with 100mg (1 cup of coffee) and before long need 300mg (triple shot) to get the same benefit. This is called adrenal resistance. Your body is producing adrenaline in response to the caffeine, but you are not responding to it as well. This can be unhealthy as your adrenals are working overtime to call up the energy, but your brain and muscles are not picking up the phone. Natural caffeine provides all the benefits of synthetic caffeine anhydrous but has a smoother, longer lasting feeling without the crash or chemical residues of synthetic caffeine. You will find natural caffeine in Switch Nutrition Coffee Switch™ (for your coffee lovers), Power Switch™ (Pre-Workout) and Thermal Switch™ (for the fat burning energy chaser). 3. Move Regular exercise is far more effective at boosting energy than a remaining sedentary and conserving energy. Moving at regular intervals helps boost blood flow and improve insulin sensitivity which results in more energy being utilised by your working muscles and your brain. In fact, one study found that sedentary people with persistent tiredness and fatigue reduced their tiredness by 65% with regular exercise. In another study just 10 minutes of walking increased energy more than a sugary snack. So, get away from your desk for 10 minutes each hour and go for a walk or do some movement that increases your heart rate and improves your blood flow. 4. Nootropics There is a new class of botanical compounds that help enhance focus and mental energy while reducing fatigue. They are called Nootropics! Nootropic is the term given to a compound that boosts cognitive function. Some nootropics are gabanergic (calming) and others are adrenergic (excitatory). Some boost mood, focus, mind-muscle connection, and others enhance learning or memory recall. EnXtra&reg EnXtra® - Alpina Galanga is the source of this NEW patented natural compound that amplifies the benefit of caffeine by 30% for up to 5 hours without jitters or a crash. It is thought to act as an adaptogen allowing your body and brain to respond positively to stimulants and stress. EnXtra® boosts dopamine receptors and down regulates adenosine. This means it may enhance motivation, happiness, satisfaction and focus while reducing fatigue and tiredness. EnXtra® has been shown to increase alertness with or without caffeine by 100% over placebo. In 2019 it won the prestigious Nutraingredients Best New Ingredient Award. You should make sure this ingredient is in your next pre-workout or focus supplement. Hordenine Hordenine – Found in Hordeum vulgare, this neuro stimulant works by inhibiting MAO (MonoAmine Oxidase). This inhibition reduces the metabolism and breakdown of catecholamines (adrenaline, dopamine etc). Simply put, Hordenine keeps you focused and motivated for longer. In a 2009 study hordenine showed to peak energy at 60 – 90 minutes after consumption and significantly increase energy burned over placebo. You will find hordenine in Thermal Switch™ & Power Switch™. Theobromine Theobromine – Found in Theobroma cacao (chocolate), this unique stimulant also possesses vasodilating benefits. This means it may boost your energy and focus while enhancing blood flow for greater muscle performance and recovery. In addition to this, Theobromine has bronchodilation benefits that may support better respiratory performance. Theobromine can be found in the following big hitting energy formulas… Coffee Switch™, Thermal Switch™ & Power Switch™. NeuroFactor® NeuroFactor® - Coffea Arabica Fruit Extract is the source of this highly researched ingredient. It has been shown in clinical trials to boost BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) by 143%. BDNF is a protein peptide that helps improve the architecture of the brain to boost its processing speed and memory recall. In fact, as we age, lowered levels of BDNF is thought to result in lowered mental performance and potential onset of age-related cognitive decline and a decrease in mental energy. Neurofactor® may be more helpful for learning and memory. However, it does help support focus and energy so it’s a nice addition to your pre-workout (Power Switch™), thermogenic (Thermal Switch™) or nootropic coffee supplement (Coffee Switch™). Ketones Exogenous Ketones are a recent supplement super star. They entered the market in 2017 and have continued to show promise in study after study. They work by essentially putting your body into a temporary state of ketosis even if you aren’t following a ketogenic diet. Once the ketones are circulating in your body they not only provide energy to your cells but they signal certain processes to occur. Up Regulate Mitochondrial Biogenesis – Ketones signal your body to produce more new healthy mitochondria. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells. This is where your energy gets converted from fats and some carbs. Down Regulate Ghrelin – Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. Ketones have the ability to reduce ghrelin which can significantly reduce cravings and hunger. This may stop you looking for that quick fix snack. Increase BDNF – Like NeuroFactor®, ketones can boost brain function, and like MCT oil, they pass through the blood brain barrier providing energy to your brain to boost alertness and focus without stimulation of your central nervous system and without an increase in blood pressure or heart rate. You will find Ketones in Keto Switch™ or a precursor to ketones in MCT Oil Powder. They both help boost mood, focus, energy and productivity. 5. Eat Wholefoods Nutritious healthy balanced meals can make all the difference to your daily energy needs. When you eat rubbish, you will feel rubbish. What goes up must come down. What I mean by this is too many simple carbs or sugary foods can temporarily boost energy and will increase blood sugar. However, once insulin comes in and disperses the sugar into storage (sometimes fat cells), your blood sugars crash, your mood crashes, your energy crashes and you become grumpy, tired and less productive. Eating meals high in quality protein (30% total calories), good fats (30% total calories) and a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates (40% of total calories) with around 5 – 10g of fibre (per meal) and loads of colourful veges and some fruit, will set you up for consistently good energy all day. If you can’t get enough greens or plant diversity in your diet, then consider supplementing with a great energy superfood formula Vitality Switch™. The name says it all… VITALITY!! All day energy and exuberance for life. It’s also worth mentioning certain artificial colours and preservatives have been linked to fatigue, tiredness, loss of performance and overall health decline. Be sure to minimise the bright colour artificially sweetened drinks in favour of natural options where possible. Pro Tip: Do not consume caffeine or a combination of caffeine and other nootropics too close to bed as they can disrupt your sleep. Quality sleep leads to quality brain function, less sugar cravings, better cortisol rhythm and greater energy. 😊 Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy. Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods must not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone consuming prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by a qualified health care provider.

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  • The Ultimate Guide To Protein

    The Ultimate Guide To Protein

    Rebecca Willet, 12 May 2021

    Protein. It’s been a buzzword in the fitness industry for a long time. Speak to any gym junkie about what supplements they take, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear protein powder at the top of the list. But, there’s so much conflicting information about health and fitness supplements. Why do we need protein and when should we take it? Why are there so many types of protein powders and what are they for? It’s overwhelming - and trust us, we get it. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to protein. If you’re starting a fitness journey or if you’re keen to learn more about what protein can do for your progress in the gym - keep reading, ‘cause we’ve got you covered. What is protein? Okay, let’s get down to the basics. Protein is a macronutrient, just like fats and carbohydrates. This means the body needs to consume large quantities of protein throughout the day, in order to function effectively and efficiently. Proteins are commonly described as the ‘building blocks of the body because they’re a part of everything. From our hair, skin and nails, to our muscles, bones and cartilage - we’d be a big blob of goo without them! Our bodies have trillions of cells, and each cell has thousands of proteins inside it, telling the cell what to do and making sure it does a good job of it, too. Did you know? Proteins aren’t just inside human beings. They’re in all living things, from viruses and bacteria to insects and plants - we’re all made of proteins. What is a protein made of? Now, you might be wondering, if we’re all made of proteins - what are proteins made of? - (We hope you’re comfy, ‘cause this is where we start getting into the real science stuff). Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in total and these little guys are made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulphur. Amino acids can be split up into 9 essential amino acids (amino that can’t be produced naturally and must be absorbed from food) and 11 non-essential amino acids (amino that is made by the body naturally). Amino acids are powerful, organic compounds that work together to keep you fit, healthy and strong. They’re involved in regulating all sorts of biological functions and processes, like your mood, sleep, energy, muscle repair, muscle growth and immunity. We’ve put together a little breakdown of all the amino acids in the human body and their specific functions. Essential amino acids Histidine - immunity, digestion, sexual function and sleep cycles Isoleucine - metabolism, immunity and energy Leucine - muscle repair, muscle growth, wound-healing and blood sugar levels Valine - muscle growth and energy Lysine - hormone regulation, immunity, energy and elasticity of the skin Methionine - metabolism and detoxification Phenylalanine - involved in the production of dopamine and other amino acids Threonine - metabolism, immunity and elasticity of the skin Tryptophan - involved in the production of serotonin which regulates, appetite, mood and sleep. Non-essential amino acids Alanine - immunity and energy Arginine - blood flow and circulation Asparagine - used in protein synthesis Aspartic Acidhormone regulation, muscle growth and energy Cysteine - immunity, energy and detoxification Glutamic Acid - learning and memory Glutamine - intestinal health and tissue repair Glycine - muscle growth and hormone regulation Proline - wound-healing, immunity and detoxification Serine - involved in the production of other amino acids Tyrosine - attention, energy, focus and mood. How much protein should you consume daily? Our macronutrient requirements differ from person to person depending on all sorts of factors, such as our height, age, gender, general health, and how active we are throughout the day. However, the average recommended daily intake of protein for women in New Zealand is 46g and about 64g for men. Alternatively, it can be calculated by body weight - anywhere between 0.5 and 1g of protein per kilogram of body weight, will do the trick. But, there are exceptions to the rule. Protein requirements are usually higher for professional athletes, pregnant women, growing teenagers and people recovering from injury and illness such as cancer, as the body is working a lot harder to repair and grow. What are the benefits of protein? We simply can’t stress enough how important it is to get plenty of protein in your diet, to feel, look and perform to the best of your ability, day-in and day-out. And if you’re physically active, trying to lose fat or build muscle, it’s even more important that you get plenty of protein in your diet - but, we’ll get into that later. Just in case you’re still not convinced, we’ve put together a few reasons why protein is incredibly beneficial to the body - let’s take a look! Increased muscle mass and strength Do you know that feeling the day after an intense workout when your muscles seem to scream in pain with every movement? Yeah, those nasty aches are a sign of muscle protein synthesis. During training, your muscle fibres break down and become temporarily damaged from the physical stress your body is put through, whilst exercising and weight-training - this is called catabolism. Now, that might sound scary, but in fact, it’s completely necessary for your muscles to get any bigger than they were before. So, fuelling your body with protein after a workout, helps your body to replenish its protein levels, back to where they should be. When this happens, your muscles use the protein to repair and regenerate, resulting in muscle gain and this is called anabolism. Makes sense, right? Research shows that as long as you consume a protein-rich meal immediately after a workout, your muscles will grow in strength and size a little bit more, every time you workout. On the flip side, if you don’t consume enough protein in the following 24 hours after a workout, your muscles will struggle to heal and repair and they may begin to deteriorate. This means a slower time to recover, risk of losing muscle and potentially suffering from an injury - yikes. Reduced appetite, hunger and cravings Protein keeps you satiated. That means it’ll keep you satisfied after a big meal and feeling fuller for longer, compared to most other food sources. According to research, increasing your intake of protein to 25% of your daily calorie intake can reduce cravings by a whopping 60%. This is great for anyone who struggles with late-night snacking or sugar cravings throughout the day - try replacing some of the carbs and fats on your plate with extra protein, and feel the difference. Improved muscle retention If you’re trying to lose weight and in a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than you’re expending as energy) or involved in a lot of cardio training, believe it or not, you’re at risk of losing muscle, too. However, studies have found that consuming enough protein each day will ensure your muscles stay preserved, whilst you work hard to shed those few extra kilos - woo-hoo! Boosted metabolism and fat-loss High-protein foods are known for having thermogenic properties. Food is considered thermogenic, when the body burns more calories digesting it, than the number of calories within the food itself. You know how people say that eating a stick of celery burns off more calories than what’s in it? Well, it’s true. Thermogenic foods have negative calories because they generate heat during digestion and help to burn off fatty cells in the body - crazy right!? Research shows that eating more protein may encourage fat loss by boosting your metabolism and helping your body become more efficient at using food for fuel, in the long term. Speedier recovery after injury Like we keep reminding you, the primary role of protein in the body is to rebuild and repair muscle, bone and organ tissue. So, it makes sense that research tells us to up our protein intake after an injury, whilst we’re in rest mode. Plus, protein also helps to strengthen the immune system, so no matter what’s holding you back - protein will give you the helping hand you need to step-up your game. Good for your bones Studies have shown that as people age, our bones become fragile, thin, and prone to breaking. Protein works to strengthen the bones and improve overall bone density, which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Low blood pressure Research also proves that protein works to reduce insulin levels in the body, and over time, can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. That means protein consumption may reduce your risk of heart attacks, diabetes, stroke and kidney disease, pretty impressive, huh? What foods are high in protein? No matter what your dietary requirements are - if you’re vegan, a flexitarian, on a ketogenic diet, or if you enjoy intermittent fasting, protein is needed by everyone. But, you’re probably thinking - if it’s so important to eat protein, then what foods should I be including in my diet? Well, don’t worry, there are heaps of protein-packed foods that’ll help you bump-up your protein intake throughout the day - just keep reading. What animal-based foods are high in protein? Animal products are particularlyhigh in protein. This makes them more appealing to athletes, as you can consume less of them, to get the same nutritional value as plant-based foods. However, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, this isn’t an option for you - so, feel free to skip this part and head to the plant-based section, instead. We recommend opting for organic, grass-fed and pasteurised meat and dairy products, to avoid any of the nasties that can be found in animal products. Processed meats such as deli meats (ham, salami and pepperoni), beef jerky, bacon and sausages can be high in protein, but research has proven they’re also full of trans fats, additives, artificial flavours, growth hormones and harsh chemicals - and we don’t want that. White meats / 24g of protein per serving such as chicken and turkey breast, however, avoid the dark cuts of meat like wings, drumsticks and skin as they’re high in fat Fish / 23g of protein per serving such as salmon and tuna are also high in healthy fats like omega-3 for improved heart health Shrimp and prawns / 25g of protein per serving are low in fat, we recommend buying frozen for better value Lean beef / 22 g of protein per serving -  also high in b-vitamins and zinc Lean pork / 21g of protein per serving remember to trim off any fat before cooking and grill or broil to reduce your calorie intake Egg whites / 26g of protein per cup are a low-calorie alternative to using whole eggs in cooking and baking, plus you can buy chilled egg whites from the supermarket to save on waste Low-fat cottage cheese / 14g of protein per serving also a great low-calorie snack, filled with probiotics Low-fat Greek yoghurt / 23g of protein per serving is much higher in protein compared to regular yoghurt Low-fat milk / 8g of protein per cup - also high in protein. What plant-based foods are high in protein? There's a common myth that plant-based diets are low in protein. This was especially thought of in the fitness industry - for many years, animal products were deemed the best and only source of protein. But, this simply, isn’t true. When eliminating an entire food group from your diet, there’s no doubt about it, your body will have limited access to the nutrients it needs. However, research has proven that plant-based diets are just as effective at providing athletes with the nutritional support needed to repair, build and strengthen their muscles when undergoing rigorous training, so long as you’re consuming enough high-protein, plant-based foods, of course. Take a look at some of our favourite plant-based, high-protein foods: Tofu and edamame beans / 12g of protein per serving are sourced from soya beans and are popular substitutes for meat products - they’re also high in calcium and iron Peanuts / 26g of protein per serving - also high in healthy fats for improved heart health Almonds / 6g of protein per serving - also high in vitamin E for protection from free radicals Spirulina/ 8g of protein per tablespoon is made from algae and is also rich in vitamins and minerals - usually comes in a powdered form and can be added to smoothies or sprinkled over food Quinoa / 8g of protein per cup - also filled with iron and fibre Hummus/ 12g of protein per cup - also a great source of fibre to support regular bowel movements Hempseed / 6g of protein per serving comes from the cannabis plant and is also full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron - best sprinkled on smoothies, muesli and salads Oats / 6g of protein per cup are perfect for breakfast or can be added into baking for an extra boost of protein Nutritional yeast / 9g of protein per serving has a cheesy, nutty flavour and can be sprinkled on top of mashed potatoes, pasta or popcorn - also super-high in b vitamins Most green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peas and kale also contain protein. What’s the difference between animal-based protein and plant-based protein? Now, remember when we told you that protein is made of amino acids and amino acids are in charge of all sorts of important functions in the body? Well, we’re going to dive a little bit deeper, so that you can understand the real difference between animal and plant proteins. Like we mentioned earlier, animal products have a much higher protein content compared to plant products, but not only that, they also have what’s called, a complete profile of amino acids. Studies show that animal products contain all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs to extract from food - remember, the ones the body can’t produce naturally. Plant products, on the other hand, contain different variations of amino acids, however, they usually lack one or two essential amino acids and therefore - plant protein is considered incomplete. According to research, this doesn’t mean plant protein isn’t effective, you just need to eat a variety of plant foods to get the right nutrients you need. There are loads of supplementary proteins (plant proteins which, when eaten together, create a complete amino acid profile) such as rice and black beans, hummus and pita bread or whole-wheat bread and peanut butter. So, as long as you’re pairing up the right plant-based foods, you’ll be able to achieve the same results as somebody with a diet consisting of meat and dairy products. And, the same principle is applied when making plant-based protein supplements. Manufacturers combine protein from different plant-based sources to provide you with a perfect blend of all 9 essential amino acids - but, hold that thought. We’re about to get into the nitty-gritty of protein supplements - so, make sure you stick around. What are protein supplements? Protein shakes are fast, easy and super-tasty plus, they can be pretty affordable, too. Protein supplements usually contain about 20-25 grams of protein per serving and they’re a great way to hit your macronutrient requirements, without having to consume large amounts of food throughout the day. Protein supplements usually come in a powdered form and can be added to smoothies or made into a shake by simply adding water or milk. Perfect for anybody on a weight-loss journey - you can have a protein shake as a complete meal replacement with added ingredients such as spinach, fruit, chia seeds and honey. Protein shakes are also ideal for athletes who are trying to bulk up and want to add in extra sources of protein throughout the day. Throw in some healthy, calorie-dense ingredients like nut butter, avocado, low-fat greek yoghurt, oats and flax-seed oil for added mass gain. You can also add protein powder into homemade bliss balls, sprinkle it on baked fruit, or into pancakes and cake mixture, for a delicious and creative way to get your protein intake up. Protein powders come in typical ‘milkshake’ flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry but most brands these days, come out with all sorts of unique-tasting flavours like cake batter, cereal milk, s’mores, mocha and cookies ‘n cream - um, yum!? You can also get protein bars, which are super-convenient for throwing in your gym bag, car or office desk for a protein-hit on-the-go. Protein bars come in all sorts of mouth-watering flavours, that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. Who should take protein supplements? Protein supplements are ideal for all active individuals - no matter what exercise you’re involved in, whether it be weight-lifting or endurance activities such as sprinting, cycling, swimming and circuit training. Sports scientists have found that people who exercise for at least 30 minutes four times per week, may need to eat up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight - that’s double the average NZ recommended daily intake. If you’re looking for more ways to get protein into your diet, we highly recommend that you check out incorporating a protein supplement into your diet. When should I take protein supplements? According to research, there are different reasons for taking protein supplements at different times of the day. As mentioned earlier, protein is needed immediately after exercising to help with recovery. So, it’s usually best to have a shake within 30 minutes of a workout - this is called the anabolic window. It’s also super-important that you consume protein when you first wake up in the morning, as the speed of muscle protein breakdown increases overnight. So, to reduce the risk of losing muscle, you need to have a decent serving of protein with breakfast. And, you can also consume protein shakes anytime throughout the day as a high-protein, nutritious snack. We recommend spreading your protein consumption throughout the day and having a serving of protein with each meal, or every three hours. Why might you ask? Well, if the body gets too much of anything, it’ll start to process the unwanted nutrients as waste. So, if you’re consuming too much protein in one sitting, the body will simply pass those extra amino acids through your urine, clever, huh? On the other hand, studies have also found that the body may choose to store excess protein as fat, which isn’t helpful at all, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. In a nutshell, it’s best to stick to your recommended daily intake of protein - it isn’t necessary to consume massive amounts of protein, because your body will only use what it needs, anyway. What protein powder is right for me? Most protein powders on the market are made from milk - as a by-product of the cheese-making process, it’s relatively cheap and easy to make. The protein content in milk is approximately made up of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. Whilst the milk is heated, enzymes are added to the milk, causing the casein to thicken and separate from the whey. Both are then dried up, turned into powder and sold to supplement companies to turn into marketable products. Pretty simple, huh? Now, if you’re an expert, you’re likely to know the differences and benefits of whey protein and casein protein. But, for anyone feeling a little bit confused, keep reading - ‘cause we’re about to break them down, just for you. Whey protein You know that watery layer that sometimes sits on top of yoghurt if it’s been left a while? Yeah, that stuff is called whey. There are so many benefits to whey, which is why it’s a global best-seller in the supplement industry. But, what we like the most, is that whey protein has high bioavailability, compared to most protein powders. That means it's easily and quickly absorbed by the intestines - making it the perfect pairing for post-workout consumption to enable recovery. Whey protein comes in three forms: Whey protein concentrate usually contains about 80% protein, it also contains lactose and fat, which makes it the best-tasting form of whey protein Whey protein isolate has a much higher concentration of protein (around 90%), however, be mindful, as it can be pricey Whey protein hydrolysateis a pre-digested protein, which makes it ideal for people with sensitive stomachs or conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Casein protein Casein is the primary form of protein found in milk. However, it’s much slower to digest, compared to whey (it can sometimes take up to 6 hours to fully digest in the body!) - this is known as a time-release protein. Casein’s also much higher in calcium. We recommend having casein protein right before bed, as the amino acids are released slowly whilst you sleep. It’ll also help to fuel your body as you go without food for so long overnight - bonus! Plant-based protein Plant-Based Protein Powders such as pea protein, soy protein and rice protein are an excellent option for vegans, vegetarians or anyone with an allergy to dairy products. The only downside to plant-based protein powders is that they’re renowned for having a slightly grittier texture, compared to milk-based proteins. We’re not sure why this is, but we can only assume it’s because they’re made from plants. And, plants aren’t exactly known for being smooth and creamy, are they? However, sports supplement brands are working constantly to come up with new-and-improved formulas - and trust us, plant-based protein has come a long way from what it used to be, that’s for sure. We’re finding that more and more people are opting for plant-based protein to help fuel their workouts and recovery - and we think that’s great! As we all know, the dairy industry can be pretty destructive to the environment, and making a conscious effort to reduce your intake of dairy products is a big help to save our planet. Egg white protein Egg white protein is a great alternative to dairy-based protein powder, plus, it’s also super high in protein. Egg whites are naturally low in calories and are perfect for vegetarians, anyone with lactose intolerance or on a paleo diet. Conclusion So, we hope this article has helped you learn a thing or two about protein. We’re not saying load-up on a ridiculous amount of protein so that you’re only eating chicken breasts and egg whites for breakfast, lunch and dinner - but making sure you’re getting a serving of protein with each meal, will go a long way in helping you recover properly and bounce-back after a tough workout. It’s pretty easy to slack off with nutrition, but that’s our job - to remind you how important it is to take care of yourself, from the inside out, to see effective results in the gym. We recommend trialling different protein powders to figure out which one is best for you and your specific health and fitness goals, or simply contact us - we’d be more than happy to give you some advice. Key takeaways Protein is a macronutrient, which means we need to consume lots of it to survive Proteins are the ‘building blocks of muscle, bone, cartilage, hair, skin and nails They’re made of amino acids, which are responsible for many critical functions in the body such as immunity, muscle repair, energy and metabolism Men have higher protein requirements than women Protein consumption has many benefits, such as increased muscle mass, strength, muscle retention, reduced appetite and cravings, boosted metabolism, fat loss, speedier recovery after injury, reduced risk of osteoporosis and low blood pressure It’s best to stick to eating organic, grass-fed, pasteurised animal products as a source of protein (to avoid the added nasty stuff!) Plant proteins aren’t complete - which means, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you need to consume the right foods to get the same results as somebody on a meat-eating diet Protein supplements are a convenient, low-cost and tasty way to up your intake. We’d love to hear from you. What are your favourite high-protein meals and recipes? Share them below, so that we can give them a go!

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  • Nutrition & Supplements: How to fit the pieces together

    Nutrition & Supplements: How to fit the pieces together

    Jake Campus, 26 May 2020

    A healthy, nutritious diet should be one that provides your body with the correct amount of protein, carbs, fats, calories, micro and macro nutrients along with vitamins and minerals for the purpose of optimal health and function.  To achieve this, the bulk of your nutritional needs should be met through a variety of whole foods, always choosing the least processed and most natural forms of food.  But what about supplements? How do these fit into the equation? Are they good or bad? Better or worse for me? The word 'supplement' is exactly that; to supplement your daily diet, which should be made of the above listed whole foods. Then, if some of your needs are met through supplementation, that’s a great way to “top up” your nutritional needs.  Needs for each individual will vary - the mum of 2 will not need as many raw materials (carbs, proteins, fats, calories) to recover from her 3 classes per week compared to the elite level athlete who will be expending and recovering at a much higher rate needing more raw materials to recover so make sure you understand your goals first or talk to someone who can help you understand this first.  A great initial supplement most people can benefit from is Protein Powder. Whether you’re a vegan and need a plant based protein, or can use regular whey protein concentrate or isolate protein powders, this supplement can make meeting your protein needs much easier, cheaper on your food bill and a sweet alternative to a mostly savoury macro. Protein powder can be used in many different ways: As part of a meal, such as adding a scoop with your morning oats or cereal To assist recovery by adding in after a training session. As a snack for a low carb replacement, a protein shake is great For a more balanced meal you could have with a piece of fruit that will assist getting in some vital vitamins and minerals. Proteins are the “building blocks” of all tissue and are needed to repair and recover muscle, skin, hair and nails. They also will keep you the fullest in terms of satiation of all the macros.  Another great addition is to use a Greens Powder if you're not getting in a lot of greens and fruit. Loaded with nutrients, these will assist in hitting all your vital nutrients and aid immunity - keeping your health on form.  Protein Bars are great for a sweet treat, to use as a snack or to replace a chocolate bar when cravings hit. A much better choice than energy dense and nutrient deficient chocolate bars, protein bars will hit the spot and assist your body with some vital protein and nutrients.  Lastly, if performance is your goal, supplements really can give you an edge. Recovering from a training session is the key to building muscle, and keeping performance high across the training week. Protein powder to maximise the amount of protein you're getting is number 1. To take it a step further I would also add in 1 serve of a BCAA EAA blend powder providing all the amino acids to stop muscle breakdown and increase muscle protein turn over (recovery). Taken during or right after a training session can lead to greater recovery and overall performance. If strength is your goal, give a micronised Creatine Monohydrate a go. This helps to increase stored creatine in the muscle, allowing for more available cell energy (ATP) leading to more strength, more volume of work to be performed and better recovery. It is also one of the most studied supplements that has great results and safety around the product.  Always ensure you get the majority of your nutrition from good whole foods, eat a balanced diet and plug in these key supplements as needed based on your goals and budget.  Jake Campus is the Director at Jake Campus Nutrition, a nutritionist and professional athlete. With over 10 years experience in the industry, he manages a team of qualified nutritionists to help people all over the world get results and maintain them.

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  • BSN AMINOx: Benefits of this Endurance & Recovery Agent

    BSN AMINOx: Benefits of this Endurance & Recovery Agent

    Steph Hofer, 22 March 2019

    In need of more energy and endurance at the gym? Tired of dealing with the agony and frustration of post-workout soreness?Today we’re checking out the features and benefits of the amino acid product: “AMINOx” courtesy of Illinois supplement company “BSN.” AMINOx is a stimulant-free, BCAA supplement designed to support endurance during your workout and aid in muscle recovery post workout. But before we jump into the benefits and features, lets see what makes this innovative supplement tick: What Are BCAAs And How Can They Help My Performance In The Gym? Amino acids are sometimes referred to as the building blocks of protein and lean muscle. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) in particular refer to three specific amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. These amino acids can be used by your muscle cells as an energy source, which helps to fight muscle fatigue during intense exercise and aid with repair after you workout. Many users have found this dramatically decreases the amount of soreness and pain they experience following an intense workout, and as a result BCAAs have become incredibly popular with athletes and bodybuilders alike. BSN’s AMINOx product comes packed with a 10g blend of BCAAs, as well as other essential amino acids including: L-Alanine, Taurine and L-Citrulline. The fact that AMINOx contains 10g of BCAAs per serving is also a point of difference, as most brands will only give you around 5g. The Benefits Of Using AMINOx: Recover faster - no more skipping the gym because you’re still sore after yesterday’s workout. AMINOx will have you feeling surprisingly good following intense exercise.Workout harder - as well as helping with recovery, AMINOx also helps you to perform at your peak - giving your muscles the endurance to push past your limits in the gym.Mixes easy, tastes great - AMINOx mixes with little effort, won’t leave nasty clumps and is available in a range of different flavours to suit your taste.Higher BCAA content - with 10g of amino acid content per serving, AMINOx has nearly twice the BCAA content compared with other competing brands.Great value for money - AMINOx is also great value for money when considering cost per gram of BCAAs. The amount you’re paying is on par with cheaper BCAA supplements and brands. AMINOx Is Also Designed To Support: Protein synthesis / anabolism. Glycogen resynthesis. Insulin sensitivity. Anti-catabolism / muscle sparing. Recovery from training sessions. Muscular endurance. Resistance to muscular fatigue. Who Should Use AMINOx? AMINOx is suitable for just about anyone looking to take their fitness or gym game to the next level. Whether you’re looking for more energy to push through those intense workouts, or a little relief to minimise soreness post workout - AMINOx is a scientifically proven solution that works. With AMINOx in particular, you’re also getting great bang for your buck based on the amount of BCAAs per serving. If you’re interested in getting your hands on AMINOx, or if you simply want to know more about this innovative product, feel free to check out AMINOx and other great Amino Products in the Sportsfuel store.

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  • Best Protein Bars

    Best Protein Bars

    Gemma, 31 August 2017

    Protein bars are a convenient high protein snack that can help us reach our daily protein requirements. It can be hard to know what the best protein bars are to buy - there are so many available! We've compiled a list of the best protein bars for you can buy today.

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  • Which is More Effective? Plant vs. Animal Protein to Build Muscle

    Which is More Effective? Plant vs. Animal Protein to Build Muscle

    Gemma, 24 July 2017

    Basic nutrition teaches that you need protein to build muscle. But protein can come from different sources. Find out which source can work best for you.

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  • 4 Reasons You Need to Buy Whey Protein to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

    4 Reasons You Need to Buy Whey Protein to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

    Sportsfuel, 25 March 2017

    4 Reasons You Need to Buy Whey Protein When you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, the key is protein. We're sharing the 4 reasons why you need to buy whey protein in this post! Read here!Transforming your body has as much to do with vitamins and minerals as it does with actually working out. Vitamin deficient but still hitting the gym? Your gains or weight loss goals are probably out of reach.That's partly because the human body needs 0.8 g of protein per pound of bodyweight to build muscle.It doesn't seem like much, though the reality is most people couldn't even guess how much protein they eat per day.The uncertainty is one reason why people buy whey protein to supplement their weight loss and workouts. Buy Whey Protein: It Reduces Post Exercise Eating Losing weight takes a combination of many different factors. Admittedly, it's no easy task. Though one thing you can easily hone in on is reducing your post exercise meal. It's tempting to over eat after you've just expended energy. Don't!Instead, drink your whey protein. A study found that whey protein intake after exercising reduces subsequent energy intake. Less food means fewer calories, fats, and eventually less weight. Not only are you getting protein, but you're getting full. It's "Complete" Whey protein contains all the essential and nonessential amino acids. This means it's "complete," in the sense that your muscles are getting the maximum benefit.Your body also can utilize 100 percent of whey protein. Another notch on the "complete" scale.This efficiency is especially important because other proteins offer much lower absorption rates.Think you're getting all the protein you need from foods? Think again. It's Proven Whey protein has been used for years and years in both the bodybuilding and weight loss industries.Why? Well, because whey protein works. Studies have proven that whey protein helps increase fat loss while sparing lean muscle mass. We also have evidence that whey protein in conjunction with exercise promotes muscle hypertrophy and enhances gains in both untrained and trained individuals.If you want the scientifically backed supplement that'll boost up gains and shed your pounds, buy whey protein. It's Versatile Whey protein comes in a standard powdered form that's usually mixed with water and consumed.However, those of us using whey on a consistent basis might want to make our intake methods a little more interesting.If that sounds like you, you'll be glad to know that whey protein can actually make a great cooking ingredient.You can use it to make baked goods, soups, salad dressings, ice cream, pancakes, mashed potatoes and more. Any extra treat you want can become supercharged with protein after only a few easy adjustments to your recipes. Conclusion If you're looking to increase your muscle mass, or lose weight, buy whey protein. The supplement does wonders for anyone looking to get fit.Though if you're still not convinced, check out our store. We stock a large variety of supplements, including whey protein. There's no better way to get acquainted with whey protein than to shop its different varieties and try a few out for yourself.Trust us, you won't end up disappointed.

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  • How to Choose Protein Powder

    How to Choose Protein Powder

    Sportsfuel, 25 July 2016

    Talk to an athlete, a body builder or a fitness enthusiast about what type of sports nutrition products they use, and you're almost guaranteed to hear "protein powder" on the list. Protein powders are truly one of the most popular sports nutrition products on the market today and for good reason - they can provide a multitude of benefits for people who are training, working out and trying to lose weight or build muscle.Because protein powders are so popular, the manufacturers of dietary supplements offer many different kinds. Their goal is to offer the perfect protein powder for everyone who requires one. That's a good thing because it ensures there is a product out there that is just right for you, but actually finding it? That can be a little challenging with such a vast number of products to choose from.But don't give up! This guide will introduce you to all of the most commonly used types of protein powder and tell you what they are and what benefits that they provide. You can use the information to make a more informed decision about shopping for protein powders and will find it much easier to choose a supplement after reading. The Three Main Protein Classifications Up to 80 percent of muscle mass without water is comprised of protein. Without protein, your muscles can't function properly, so you need to ensure you have enough of the nutrient in your body prior to workouts. Protein has also been shown to support gains in muscle size, to assist with recovery, to increase strength and to improve athletic performance.Adding a protein powder to your diet can help you to ensure that you're getting the protein needed to support you as you work toward your fitness goals, but you need to know that not every protein powder on the market is the same. There are three main types of protein supplement classifications that you need to be aware of: 1. Protein Concentrate A protein concentrate is made by removing other non-protein substances from a food. The amount of actual protein will vary based upon their protein percentage. As an example, an 80% protein concentrate is 80% percent protein and 20% carbs, nutrients, water and fat. Most protein concentrates are 70 to 80 percent pure protein. 2. Protein Isolate A protein isolate is produced by isolating the protein in a food and will contain more pure protein than concentrates as a result. Most protein isolates contain around 90 percent protein. 3. Hydrolysates A protein hydrolysate has been hydrolyzed, meaning that it has been partially processed to include peptides, important protein building blocks. These partially digested proteins may be better able to supply the body with amino acids that are needed for muscle development and other functions. Selecting Protein Types Knowing what the different classifications of proteins are is the first step to picking the right product. Next, you need to carefully consider which type is right for you. Here are the most common options: 1. Whey Protein Whey is the best selling protein powder on the market and has been shown in studies to be very beneficial for people hoping to increase muscle mass and lose body fat. Compared to other proteins, whey is broken down and absorbed at a faster pace, so it's the best option for pre and post workout protein supplementation.Whey accounts for roughly 20 percent of the protein in cow's milk. Rich in branched chain amino acids needed for muscle development, whey provides an optimal balance of leucine, isoleucine and valine with a 2:1:1 ratio. Because it contains a complete amino acid profile and an ideal BCAA ratio, whey protein is considered the Cadillac of proteins by many dietitians. 2. Casein Protein Casein is the most abundant protein in cow's milk, and it is digested and absorbed by the body very slowly. It can take 6 hours or more for your body to put casein to full use, making the protein a popular one for nighttime supplementation when your body needs a continuous supply of amino acids. While casein does not pack the same muscle-building punch as whey protein, it does contain branched chain amino acids and glutamine. 3. Milk Protein Pure milk protein supplies you with about 80 percent casein protein and 20 percent whey protein, giving you the benefits of both fast and slow absorbing protein forms at once. These types of protein powders can be good choices for breakfast as well as for mid-day snacks and after workout supplementation. Most of the milk protein products on the market are isolates and concentrates. 4. Egg Protein If you're lactose intolerant, whey and casein protein aren't the best options for you, as they could cause digestive discomfort. Egg protein made from egg white isolate is an excellent alternative that still provides a complete amino acid profile. A serving will provide all of the amino acids that are needed by the human body, and most people don't have difficulty digesting egg protein. 5. Pea Protein Vegans and vegetarians who don't eat eggs and people who are allergic to eggs and lactose intolerant need a plant-based source of protein, and pea protein typically comes out on top among the vegan and vegetarian options. Pea protein is hypoallergenic and generally considered the best choice for anyone with dietary sensitivities. It's also more readily digestible than other plant-based proteins with around 98 percent of it being usable by the body.In terms of protein quality, pea protein is high. It is very rich in branched chain amino acids and because it's readily digestible, your body can benefit from the isoleucine, leucine and valine that it contains fully. Also, pea protein does not contain hormones like soy, which is a concern for some men and women. Getting the Most Out of Protein Powders Most medical experts and dietitians agree that protein is essential for people who work out frequently. Generally, it's usually best to get about 20 to 30 per cent of your daily total calories from protein. You can also calculate your protein requirement by taking 1 gram for every pound that you weigh or for each pond based on your ideal body weight. As an example, someone who weighs 185 pounds would need about 185 grams of protein per day.Getting enough protein is important, but so is eating the right amount at the right time. A simple way to approach timing is to try to eat about 20 to 30 grams of protein once every 3 hours. Doing so will help to keep your body's supply of protein constantly maintained, so that you can be continually building and repairing new muscle cells.There are three times during the day when protein is most important: 1. Breakfast While you sleep, the speed of muscle protein breakdown increases, and it's possible to lose as much as 15 grams of muscle mass when you're sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, you need to give your body a massive dose of protein and carbohydrates to help offset this and get your body back into producing muscle instead of breaking it down. To do so, try to consume about 20 to 35 grams of protein during your morning meal. 2. Pre and Post Workout Exercise can lead to muscle protein breakdown when you work out at high intensities, and you can reduce the risk of muscle loss by ensuring that your body has enough protein. Try to consume about 20 to 35 grams of protein either right before you hit the gym or immediately afterward, or after 10 to 17 or 18 grams of protein before and after. 3. Bedtime As already explained, a lot of muscle protein breakdown occurs at night, but your body is less likely to burn muscle if it has free amino acids from proteins available for muscle recovery. To give your body a dose of protein before bed, try to take at least 20 grams of casein protein or a casein and whey blend before bed or to combine another protein powder with branched chain amino acids or leucine to provide your body with some fuel for muscle repair while you sleep. A Word About Spiking Recently, it has been revealed that some supplement manufacturers are inflating the protein counts of their products by spiking their products with amino acids that don't provide much additional benefits. To spot one of these products, look for words about added taurine or glycine on the product label. You can also check the amount of leucine in a product to gauge its quality. Whey protein should contain at least 2 grams of leucine per serving while casein and other proteins should be about 8 per cent leucine per serving.If you'd like assistance selecting protein powders for your diet, our team here at Sports Fuel is ready to help. Contact us today for personalised shopping assistance.

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  • Guide to Supplement Stacking

    Guide to Supplement Stacking

    Sportsfuel, 30 June 2016

    Whether your goal is to add muscle or lose weight, it's important to compliment your diet with the right nutrients from supplements. Figuring out which supplements are right for your needs is just the first step. It's equally important to figure out how to take each product and what time is best to take it!This guide to supplement stacking is designed to provide you with a brief overview of when to take some of the most popular types of sports nutrition supplements and how much the experts recommend taking at different times of the day. Early Morning Supplements: The following supplements are ideal to take before you eat your breakfast or while you're enjoying your first meal of the day:  Whey Protein Whey protein is a great way to replenish your body's supply of fuel first thing in the morning. Your body can rapidly absorb this milk-derived protein and begin using its complete profile of amino acids quickly to get you moving. To get the best results from your morning whey, have some carbohydrates with your meal, like whole grain toast, quinoa cereal or fresh fruit. The combination of carbs and whey protein will provide both immediate energy and sustained energy.Recommended dosage: 20 to 30 grams with breakfast, preferably one with carbs  Fish Oils Rich in the nutrients EPA and DHA, fish oils provide you with a potent dose of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that most adults don't get enough of in their diets. The nutrients help to fight inflammation to aid in recovery after workouts. Plus, they are shown to promote a healthy cardiovascular system and support brain function, making them an overall health supplement, not just one that's great for athletes.Recommended dosage: 2 grams enjoyed with breakfast  L-carnitine L-carnitine is an amino acid that your body stores in your muscle tissue. When you exercise, l-carnitine helps your body metabolise fats to supply you with energy. This makes it an incredibly beneficial supplement for individuals who are working out to get lean. Studies show that l-carnitine's benefits are enhanced when it's consumed alongside carbohydrates.Recommended dosage: 2 grams taken with carbs at breakfast  Conjugated Linoleic Acid Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is another essential fatty acid, but its benefits are different than the fatty acids found in fish oils. Research has shown that CLA promotes fat burning and supports the production of new muscle cells. Like l-carnitine, the supplement is commonly used by people who are working out primarily for fat loss and muscle gain.Recommended dosage: 4.2 grams per day. You can take it all at breakfast or divide it between each of your three meals of the day Pre-Workout Supplements: A number of supplements can help you give it your all at the gym and enhance the effectiveness of your workouts. The following supplements have all been shown to be beneficial prior to workouts. You can take them as standalone products or purchase pre-workout supplements that contain combinations of them.Recommended time to take: 1 Hour Before the GymThese supplements take longer to be absorbed by your body and begin providing benefits. Take them one hour before the gym for best results: Caffeine Yes, the thing in your coffee or tea that gives you an energy boost can be an important part of your supplement routine. Naturally derived caffeine is often used to keep energy levels high during workouts. Plus, the substance has been shown to activate the nervous system, which can boost the rate of fat burning.Recommended dosage: 150 to 300 milligrams Green Tea Extract Green tea extract provides a dose of caffeine, plus a second beneficial natural chemical: epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). An antioxidant, EGCG is believed to support fat metabolism and complement the actions of caffeine. Most people choose to take caffeine or green tea extract. Stacking both could over-stimulate you, particularly if you're prone to jitters if you drink coffee or tea.Recommended dosage: 500 to 1000 milligrams. Look for a supplement with a minimum of 30 per cent EGCG L-arginine L-arginine is an amino acid that is used to produce nitric oxide, making it responsible for helping to keep the blood vessels dilated during workouts. Enhanced blood flow helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to keep you energized and fight fatigue. There is also evidence that l-arginine might stimulate the release of human growth hormone, which in turn can help to support muscle growth.Recommended dosage: 5 to 10 grams Citrulline Malate Citrulline is another sports nutrition solution that increases nitric oxide levels in the body to support blood circulation throughout intense workouts. Studies show that this nutrient can enhance the benefits of branched chain amino acid supplementation as well. In addition, citrulline malate helps to remove ammonia from the bloodstream during physical activity, cutting down on the soreness that develops due to exertion and reducing fatigue. Citrulline is an added ingredient in most preworkouts.Recommended dosage: 6 grams taken 30 minutes before exerciseThese supplements are absorbed more quickly and are best taken 30 minutes before you exercise: Beta Alanine Beta alanine is an amino acid that is used to produce carnosine, which in turn is shown to reduce fatigue during workouts. The amino acid also helps to keep pH levels balanced within your muscles while you workout, decreasing the risk of lactic acid build-up and the uncomfortable burning that accompanies it. There is also evidence to suggest that beta alanine can support gains in lean muscle mass and help bodybuilders perform more reps. In addition, studies show that beta alanine can complement or enhance the benefits of creatine monohydrate.Recommended dosage: 3 to 6 grams split into 2 servings with the first 30 minutes before exercise Beta-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate Beta-hydroxy-B-methylbutyrate (HMB) is derived from the amino acid leucine. In clinical studies, it has been found to increase strength and help people produce more explosive movements at the gym. The nutrient is also shown to cut down on post-workout soreness. The benefits of HMB seem to be more pronounced in beginners, so supplements that contain it are usually recommended for those who are just starting to train.Recommended dosage: 3 grams split into three 1-gram servings with the first 30 minutes before exercise. Glutamine Glutamine plays a vital role in protein synthesis and is needed to keep the immune system running at peak capacity. When you work out, your body's needs for glutamine increase, and supplementation can help to ensure that you get enough to keep your body running at its best. There is also evidence to suggest that glutamine and branched chain amino acids can encourage the body to produce new muscle tissue when stacked.Recommended dosage: 20 to 30 grams total, but have at least 5 grams after your workout to support recovery. Inter-Workout Supplements: There's one supplement that is great to grab in the middle of your workout: Branched Chain Amino Acids Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) include the amino acids isoleucine, valine and leucine. These nutrients are needed to help your body produce and utilise proteins. As a result, they play an important role in supporting recovery following exercise by assisting with the repair of strained and damaged tissue. When you take BCAAs in the middle of your workout, they can help to delay the onset of fatigue, so that you can finish your workout strong.Recommended dosage: 10 to 15 grams. Post-Workout Supplements: This supplement is a winner when used after your workout: Creatine Monohydrate Creatine is one of the most popular sports nutrition supplements on the market because of its proven benefits for promoting the accumulation of new muscle cells. This nutrient stored primarily in your muscle tissue provides energy to your muscles during workouts. Scientists believe that increasing creatine monohydrate levels helps bodybuilders work out harder and therefore see enhanced results from workouts.Recommended dosage: 5 grams taken with carbs and with 20 grams of whey protein Before Bed Supplements: Great supplement that is best to take close to bedtime: Casein Protein If you're looking for the perfect bedtime snack, a casein protein smoothie or shake is the perfect solution. Your body absorbs this protein at a very slow pace, and when absorption occurs during sleep, it can help to counteract the natural protein loss that happens while you sleep as your body repairs muscle tissue and produces new cells.Recommended Dosage: 20 to 30 grams of casein protein plus a second dose of omega-3 fatty acids with 2 more grams of fish oilsKeep in mind this guide to supplement stacking is just a general guide. Not all of these supplements are ideal for everyone, and you might need more or less of some of them, depending on your workout goals. Your physician, a trainer and our team at Sportsfuel can all help you put together a supplement regimen that is tailored specifically to your needs.If we can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us! We'll be glad to recommend supplements or answer your questions about sports nutrition.

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  • Protein Supplements and Strength Training for Women

    Protein Supplements and Strength Training for Women

    Sportsfuel, 15 March 2015

    One of the most widely spread myths in the fitness world is that women should not consume protein supplements or lift heavy weights, because doing so will cause them to bulk up and take on a manly physique. This is simply not true. In order to burn excess body fat and gain lean muscle, women must lift weights on a consistent basis while supplementing with a good quality protein powder. The bulking up myth Men are able to pack on pounds of muscle due to their high levels of a sex hormone called testosterone. Although women produce testosterone as well, it is in much lower amounts, therefore preventing them from bulking up because of strength training. When a woman lifts heavy weights, her muscles will tone up and provide her with a lean, slender figure. Why use a protein supplement? Protein supplements have been proven to help reduce excess body fat and stimulate lean muscle growth (when used in conjunction with exercise). A recent study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed the effects whey protein had on obese women. A group of 150 women between the ages of 25 and 50 years were divided into a placebo group or a whey protein group. The individuals in the protein group were given 20 grams of whey protein per day over a period of 12 weeks. The individuals who consumed protein maintained more muscle mass and lost a higher percentage of body fat than those in the placebo group. Types of protein powder Although there are many types of protein supplements available marketed towards women, most protein powders contain very similar ingredients. When looking to purchase a protein supplement, check the ingredient list to ensure it has the right amount of macros to suit your goals. A few of the most common types of protein supplements include whey, casein and powdered egg. Any of these supplements can help to develop lean muscle, but only if it is used in conjunction with a consistent exercise routine. Beneficial strength training exercises A few of the most beneficial strength training exercises are ones that work both large and small muscle groups together. Not only will these burn more calories in the end, they will also give your cardiovascular system a boost. Squats are a very popular strength training exercise, and with good reason. They not only work the muscles in the legs, squats are a complete lower body workout. When performed correctly, they can tighten and tone every area of the lower body. Combine this move with a good quality protein supplement to blast away excess body fat and get toned, shapely legs in the process. Another great strength training exercise is the bench press. It tones and shapes the upper body all in one movement. When combined with a quality protein powder, you can tone your arms and chest muscles and feel confident in a tank top or short-sleeved shirt. Protein supplements are a great way to burn body fat and promote lean muscle growth, but only when used in conjunction with strength training exercises. By combining the two, you can achieve the toned, lean physique you want without the worry of bulking up.

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