Get ready for some knowledge to be dropped because it's time to Ask a Coach! You have the questions and we have the answers. If we don't know your answer we will find someone who does. You can trust us with your questions, so let's get started!
This month we have not one but two questions aimed at each of our LFT coaches. Take a knee and listen up BOOmers.
Our BOOMer questions are:
Part 1 -
“What is the best fitness tracker/device/app for the type of workouts we do at LFT?”
Part 2 -
“What are your thoughts on when to drink a protein shake? Pre, post, during the workout? I’ve read mixed reviews.”
Both are fantastic questions! Take it away coaches!
Coach Gonzo -
Part 1 - This might begin to sound pretty redundant, but going back to last weeks question, not only do I choose to not use straps, belts, etc., but I also choose to not partake in any of today’s bits, gadgets, or fitness devices. Now, this doesn’t mean I am hating on anyone who chooses to use this tool to help them figure out that data they need to elevate their game to the next level, it just isn’t for me. Why? It all goes back to what I said last time. I’m a big believer in SELF AWARENESS, and knowing oneself well enough to know not only what works best for you, but how your body responds to not only your workouts, but nutrition as well. Now, if you’re using these tools to help y’all bride the gap from where you are, to where you desire to be, then great, but don’t just rely on these to do the calculation for your. Get extremely good at becoming self aware for this is not only the solution to owning your workouts and diet, but life itself.
Part 2 - Throughout the years I’ve seen this question tossed around more times than I can count, and I’m sure by next week the science will change again, but for now my answer remains the same as it was 15 years ago, post workout. To keep things extremely simple, every time we workout we tear down our muscle fibers, which in turn build back up to leaner and meaner muscles through proper supplementation, nutrition, AND timing. To better understand this science in depth, I’d recommend anyone to chat with Coach LG1 before, or after a BOD as he’s the mad scientist of the bunch!
Till then, slam them shakes like a boss!
Coach Lance -
Part 1 – To preface this I believe it will be helpful to briefly cover what a fitness tracking device can assist with and what some of the current limitations are. These devices are a handy way to at, a glance, see where you are in terms of heart rate/general exertion level during and after workouts. They are, however, not necessarily super accurate both in terms of heart rate tracking and more importantly calories burned. Nearly all devices tend to substantially over estimate calories burned both during workouts and throughout the day. They can be a good tool for comparing relative intensity between tracked workouts, but given the current technology limitations it’s not a great tool for objectively determining exactly how hard you are working and how many calories you are burning. I think the type of device (if you want one since you can still get an awesome workout without one) depends on what the goals for the device are as well as budget. Outside of something that is durable enough to get banged around a little most of these goals are going to be based on how you want to use it outside of the Boom Room. Do you want to be able to track runs? Do you want to be able to swim with it/track swimming workouts? Etc.? There are a variety of options from FitBit, Apple, Polar, Garmin, and several others that all will do the trick. Personally, I use a FitBit Ionic since I wanted something that I did not have to be super careful with, is water proof, that I can use to track runs without my phone, and that looks nice enough to wear as an everyday watch. Now if you like emerging technologies (guilty as charged) there are some interesting new options geared around estimating daily stress/strain and recovery/readiness to train. These devices use a combination of basic heart rate tracking combined with HRV (heart rate variability) along with data analytics to provide their metrics. It’s definitely interesting and as a tool to help hold you accountable to recovery best practices like body work and getting enough sleep it can be useful. It’s not likely to provide you any earth shattering data though since if you worked out really hard the day before, had a stressful day at work, and slept for 3 hours you are probably going to feel like you are pretty wrecked…which the device highly likely to confirm. WHOOP is one of the leaders in this space and would be my recommendation if you are interested in that sort of thing and/or just like cool gadgets.
Part 2 – If we are limiting the scope to workout recovery, which technically we would call protein synthesis, there is not really a magic bullet here. From a practical perspective I think post workout is generally the best way to go. I base that recommendation on that consuming a shake pre, and for sure intra, workout can be tricky from a digestive perspective as well as can potentially impair performance. Our body generally tries to optimize for the task(s) that it is presented so when we present multiple tasks that can have some interference we will get mixed results. My wife swears that she feels a little cold after she eats. That is because after we eat blood is directed towards the digestive system and away from our muscles. That does not sound like something we want to happen if we are about to, or are in the middle of, a workout, right? That being said, nutrient timing is a relatively insignificant factor in protein synthesis (aka gainz) and focusing on making sure we are getting enough protein and calories throughout the day to support our body composition goals should be a more primary concern. The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. The little stuff we can work on after that. 😊
For the science nerds out there, myself included, here are a couple of studies on this topic you may find interesting –
If anyone has any specific questions on nutrient timing or how to best estimate protein and calorie needs feel free to hit me up!
Coach Barry "Biscuits" -
Part 1 - I can only speak to the apple watch. It is the only product I have used and it works great! It has a lot of different features and tracks a lot of different information. It also looks good and fits well. However, they are very pricey!
Part 2 - I don't think it matters. I found a great article for you guys to read here!
Coach Johnny -
Part 1 - I don't have much experience with fitness trackers, as I have never used one myself, but I did a little digging and I found a fitness tracker that fits the bill. The Fitbit Charge 3 gives you the ability to change the type of activity you are doing to better estimate the number of calories burned in each workout. This one in particular has a strength training mode that monitors your heart rate and uses a mathematical formula to determine how much energy your body is using during that activity. Here is the best review I found if you are interested in reading it:
Part 2 - The most ideal time to throw down a protein shake is within a couple hours post workout. The myth that you must drink your shake within the 30-minute "anabolic window" has been debunked numerous times. However, drinking a protein shake within a few hours after your workout does help repair your trained muscles. Strength training increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis, which is the process of rebuilding your muscle tissue, and stays elevated for 4-6 hours post-workout. So it's safe to say that as long as you drink your shake within this timeframe, the protein will be utilized to its greatest potential.
It is important to understand that although having a protein shake during this timeframe optimizes the use of the protein, the most important factor to consider is your total daily protein consumption. Getting your protein from whole food sources like chicken and tuna throughout the day is just as important (if not, more important) than throwing down a vanilla shake after a gnarly bench session. Protein shakes should be used as a tool to help increase your total daily protein intake. A great rule of thumb to determine how much protein you should have each day is 1 gram per pound of body weight. This number can obviously be adjusted depending on your fitness goals, but if you are meeting this mark day after day, you will without a doubt be consuming enough protein to get stronger and build better booty and boulder shoulders!
Coach Loni -
Part 1 - I use my apple watch for my fitness tracking. The specific apps I use are the "activity" app that comes with the watch and "zones" which tells you your average intensity by %, average heart rate, kcals and the amount of time you spent in each zone (peak, cardio, fat burn, warm up). I'm someone who likes to gather information and track progress so I use it pretty much every workout. While the exact calories are probably over or underestimated (the technology isn't perfect) I like to use it as a baseline to see how much effort I'm putting in. I'm very conscious of not being obsessive about it. We all know how annoying it is when you're halfway through a workout and realize you didn't start your tracker....but you guys trust me, it still counts. Just like if you go out and have an amazing experience and don't post it on social media...it still happened. What I'm working on currently is letting go of the reigns bit by bit so that I don't feel so reliant on the trackers (both activity and nutrition). It's great information and I also don't want to be a slave to it. So wish me luck!
Part 2 - When it comes to protein, I make sure to have a high quality, fast-digesting whey protein shake after my workout. I don't freak out and down it immediately but I aim to drink with within an hour after my workout. You need that protein to repair the muscles you just ripped apart. You can read a thousand different articles that say a thousand different things but as long as you get some protein in within an hour or so you're fine. The more elite the athlete the more the timing matters and every little bit counts. For the average person working out for heath and wellness, you don't need to stress it a ton. I will say that the majority of people don't get even close to enough protein in their diets. While it varies depending on your goals (weight loss, maintenance, muscle growth) you want to make sure you're getting enough quality protein throughout the day from real food. How do you know if it's "real food"? Ask yourself, "Does it have a mother or grow in the ground?" Quality is SO important and not all protein sources are created equal. If you need to figure out the right amount of protein for your weight, activity level, lifestyle etc just reach out to one of us coaches for help.
There you have it folks! You asked and we answered! Keep those questions coming and always remember, knowlege is potential power, it's the action that matters most.
Until next time! See you in the Boom Room!
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Coach Loni also runs the LFT blog, bringing you informative, uplifting and motivating articles and videos to help you achieve your goals and live your best life.