Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Q + A: Protein Crash Course -- My 20 Fav Protein-Packed Foods + Top 3 Protein Powders!

Q: Matt asks “I am wondering what kind of protein you use? My mom is looking for some advice and since I don’t know anything about girl health I wanted to know what’s good!”

A: Girl Health.... lol. Don't you worry, Matt... I don't think you're the only guy out there who isn't a "girl health" expert. ;)  

Keep in mind that I am not a certified nutritionist or prep coach and my advice and opinions are simply what has worked for me. It has been recommended to me, by my trainer, for my body type and fitness goals, and this isn’t necessarily what is right for everyone. That being said…… :) 

There are two different basic ways to get your protein – food sources and protein powders.

Food-Based Protein
Food-Based Protein Sources
While my diet changes a bit when I am prepping for a contest, I generally stick to these foods --->>>  which are mostly great lean, clean choices. The “most efficient” (in terms of reducing body fat, building muscle, getting the bodybuilder/bikini babe “look”) and richest food-based protein sources are meat and dairy and for this reason, that’s mostly what our diets look like. But! I will take a second to mention that there are plenty of other vegan and whole food sources that are great too -- (beans, lentils, etc)… I just don’t really see a lot of them lately :) lol

Protein Powders
As for protein powders, I really wouldn’t really say the key to success is in choosing the “right” one as there are SO MANY different flavors and brands out there and many are very similar. Yes, you need to find one you like so that you’ll stick to your diet plan (if you are following one) but other than that, I would say as long as you’re around about 120 cals/scoop, and 30 g of protein, you’re in great shape. Now here comes the epic protein debate.. natural vs. “mass market” protein powders. My best friend, Christal, swears by the North Coast Naturals, and for good reason – it ROCKS! However, our styles are a little different - she is also a bit more strict in sticking to a 100% natural diet, whereas I’ve found that this is definitely harder with my show prep dieting, so I also use some of the more “mainstream” proteins. Here are a few of my favs:  

My 3 favs are:
Quattro by MAGNUM – Chocolate Love
This one is seriously a gamechanger.. !! I am pretty sure this is my all-time fav.. it doesn’t have any chemical-y sweetener taste, and it’s a perfect balance between mild and “intense” .. if that makes any sense? Blends fantastically with water,  Seriously, try it.. it is BOMB!

North Coast Naturals – Chocolate
This one’s really good to throw into the mix because it’s aaaaaall natural, which I LOVE! Has a super mild flavor and is not super sweet like so many of the other powders out there.  This one’s also very great for baking because it really just ups the protein value of your recipe and has a light cocoa-y taste, instead of the more intense “protein powder” flavor you get with some of the other ones. I buy this one in the Organic section at Superstore (which seriously is a TOTAL goldmine!) for $32.99 a jug. Smaller jug, but lower price too.

Isoflex by ALLMAX - Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate
These two are pretty basic and pretty popular but have def been one of my good, dependable go-tos.

[BONUS] Isoflex actually has a new line called “Chiller” that I got a sample of from my supps store (Guaranteed Nutrition on Ellerslie + 91st) and it’s ICED TEA flavored! Yeah.. seriously. I know!! Ha ha I got the Peach Iced Tea sample and it was seriously amazing.. especially during prep when my diet usually consists of a protein shake for 3/6 of my meals. I find that it’s pretty easy to get sick of just downing milky powdery drinks all day so this one was really great because it’s actually clear and really tastes like Iced Tea! I had a bit of trouble with it mixing nice and smoothly, but I didn’t have my normal shaker and didn’t add any ice, so I’m sure that problem would be easily solved. Absolutely worth checking out, I would say!
My FAV! Quattro 4 Choc Chunky Monkey Shake. <3 

Lastly, there are many different types of proteins out there (hemp, soy, pea, whey, etc) but I stick to a whey isolate for my normal everyday use, and casein as my “before bed” go-to. Whey is quicker digesting and simpler, so it’s great for pre and post-workout as well as throughout the day, paired with a healthy fat or carb source. Casein is a slow digesting protein and definitely a bit thicker, so it is great for the last “meal” of the day as it will keep your body from burning your muscle while you sleep and help prevent you from feeling starving when you wake up.

Overall though, to get that lean, tight bikini bod, just meeting your protein requirements or just taking “cutters” really won’t work. In order to really look and feel fantastic, it takes consistency, discipline in diet and a properly structured training plan, and a whole lot of patience! J

Until next time, remember… “It’s never too late to be, what you could have been.”

Have a sweaty, fit and fantastic day!!

xo Brooke

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