Part 2: Protein

Protein, protein every where!

What To Eat To Build Muscle

(SOURCE: This image came from here.)

When I first started working out and eating healthier, I did not really know what I was doing. I just focused on eating protein because I knew that you needed protein to build muscles and be in an anabolic state–not catabolic.

I had protein cereal, protein bars, protein chips, regular food sources of protein, greek yogurt, protein powders–you get the point! Anything that was high in protein was for me! The more, the better, right?! WRONG.

This was NOT good. Too much protein overwhelms your kidneys and body system. Too much protein is harmful to your organs! Too much of anything isn’t good for you. Needless to say, I’ve cut back on protein immensely to give my poor kidneys and body a break!

I weighed about 110 pounds, and I was consuming over 180 grams of protein or more per day. Now, being more educated, I consume around 117 grams of protein per day (1 gram per pound of body weight) or even less!

>> Now let’s look into some science on the mighty macronutrient! <<

There are two types of protein: Complete and Incomplete!

Complete proteins meet all of the amino acid needs of the body. These are foods like milk products, eggs, meat, and fish.

Incomplete proteins do not meet all of the amino acid needs, but still have some amino acids. These are foods like nuts, legumes, seeds, vegetables, and grains.

(Source: Image source found here.)

We need the essential amino acids to build the non essential amino acids. Proteins also supply nitrogen.

(SOURCE: This image came from here.)

Daily intake is recommended to be between 0.8 g per pound of body weight to 1 g per pound of body weight. —More on the lower side for those not training or exercising, and on the higher side for those who train and exercise to help keep the body in an anabolic condition.

HOWEVER, it is important to have all the amino acids present at the same time for protein synthesis to occur. This means, eating just legumes or nuts or any other incomplete protein won’t allow your body to synthesize the protein. Although you could eat a combination of incomplete proteins to get all the amino acids to create the proper conditions for protein synthesis.

Also, there must be adequate amounts of fat and carbohydrate in the diet, otherwise the protein will just be used as fuel and protein synthesis will NOT occur.

Protein will be synthesized when intake exceeds break down. (Anabolic hormones (aka steriods) will also increase protein synthesis of course.)

Vegetarians need to be careful to consume all the essential amino acids to ensure protein synthesis!

(SOURCE: This image came from here.)

So, while protein is made out to be the big man on campus for building muscle. Carbohydrates and fats are still necessary for protein synthesis, AND all the aminos must be present for proper synthesis.

Be sure to consume carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat post workout for proper recovery and to make sure your body can have a positive nitrogen balance to build those muscles!!!


That’s all for today folks!

God Bless ❤

Fitgirlfab 🙂

Protein will be broken down in times of stress, infections, burns, or injury.


Nutrition Series: Carbohydrates


All carbohydrates we ingest come from plants except for some found in milk sugars and minimal amounts in meat.

There are complex carbohydrates consisting of longer chains called polysaccharides found in vegetables and grains. There are also simple carbs consisting of monosaccharides and disaccharides–found in fruits, sugar, milk, etc.

(SOURCE: This image came from here!)

Two types provide fiber:

  1. Cellulose in plants provides insoluble fiber–the kind we cannot digest and gets passed as the “bulk” of our stool.
  2. There is also pectin that provides soluble fiber–the kind that reduces blood cholesterol.
  • Fiber is good because it helps us move waste out of the body and helps us to feel full when eating. Fiber is fermented in the colon where bacteria feed on the waste products and help synthesize vitamin K and B12. Good gut bacteria is essential! That’s why too many antibiotics can be harmful. The antibiotics can kill your good bacteria that help synthesize certain vitamins.

(SOURCE: This image came from here!)

However, the big guy on campus is GLUCOSE.

Glucose is used in all cells to produce ATP. Our body can also use fat to provide energy but glucose is particularly essential to neurons and red blood cells for their energy needs. **Even a temporary shortage of glucose to the neurons can depress brain function and lead to neuron death! –So our bodies have many mechanisms to cautiously monitor glucose levels. **

Excess carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the liver or muscles to be used in times of need, or it is stored as fat.

(SOURCE: This image came from here!)

Dietary guidelines suggest  45-65% of your total caloric intake should be made up of carbohydrates. However, there are populations like the Inuit who mainly eat fats and proteins, and there area populations that eat high amounts of carbohydrates.

Without carbohydrates our central nervous system can continue to survive through gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is creating glucose from non-carbohydrate sources and ketogenesis refers to ketone bodies that are by products from breaking down fats for fuel.

My personal opinion on carbohydrates: Do NOT fear them. Carbohydrates are like fuel for a car. If you fuel the car properly at the required times (when you’re running out of gas), the car will continue to run. If you over fuel the car, it won’t make the car go any faster or any better (you’ll just get fat). If you do not fuel the car, the car won’t be going anywhere on its own, but you’ll be able to push the car around/tow the car (if you don’t eat carbohydrates you can function–but not at optimal capacity to endure any type of demanding activity).

Activity to try: Limit your carbohydrates for a few days. Maybe lower them to around 100 grams for a few days. Continue to go to the gym and workout and see how you feel. Most likely you’ll feel tired and lethargic. Your muscles won’t work as efficiently as before. After those few days, slowly add more carbohydrates back into your diet each day. As you go to the gym, take note on how you feel. Are you energized and lifting well? –That’s a good number of carbohydrates. Do you feel like superman or woman and could continue to workout all day? –That could mean you’re eating too many carbohydrates for your activity level and can lead to weight gain. 

(SOURCE: This image came from here!)


It’s all about trial and error! Every one is an individual! Find what works for YOU and YOUR body and activity level!!!


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(SOURCE: This image came from here!)

Next time we’ll talk about fats in this 3 part series!

God bless!  ❤

Fitgirlfab 🙂

** All of this information came from my anatomy and physiology textbook, “Anatomy and Physiology 4th edition” by Elaine N. Marieb and Katja Hoehn **

What is Paleo?!

154.7 million Americans are overweight or obese.

The top causes of death in America are as follows:

—Heart disease: 597,689
—Cancer: 574,743
—Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
—Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
—Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
—Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
—Diabetes: 69,071
(SOURCE: —The center for disease control.)

But we never use to be so overweight and obese. We use to be lean and muscular.

What is Paleo?

  • —According to professor Loren Cordain, Paleolithic ancestors are those who lived 750,000 to 10,000 years ago.
  • —They hunted their food and gathered their food.
  • —It is suggested that this diet was the healthiest and the one we are most genetically adapted to consume.
(SOURCE: I got this picture from here.)
Why Should I care what I eat?
—“It is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” Robb Wolf, biochemist.
(SOURCE: I got this picture here.)
  • —Humans back then were lean, tall, muscular, agile, and versatile.
  • —Humans now are sleep deprived, overweight, stressed, and dying from preventable disease!
  • —The agricultural revolution led to overconsumption of grains which led to overweight and obese Americans.

As explained by Robb Wolf, picture a 100-yard football field.

The first 99.5 yards are all the time Homo-sapiens have spent hunting and gathering. The last 0.5 yards are Homo-sapiens after the agricultural revolution.

Our diets have dramatically shifted, but our genetics have not changed!

**Our ancestors had: No cardiovascular disease, no type II diabetes, no coronary heart disease!**
(SOURCE: I got this photo from here! and here!)
You can compare our ancestor’s pyramid to our modern pyramid and see how dramatically our diets have shifted!
A bit of Science…
  • —Grains turn into sugar or glucose.
  • —Any glucose that isn’t used is turned into fat.
  • —Our bodies are not made to handle such a large influx of sugar!
  • —Storage for carbs is limited but fat stores are unlimited!
  • — ”Sugar causes an energy spike and crash in your system, turns to fat unless it’s used immediately, and wreaks all kind of havoc on our bodies.” Mark Sisson.

Gluten and Lectin

  • —Grains also contain gluten.
  • Gluten is a protein in rye, barely, and wheat.
  • —About 83% of the population develops observable gut inflammation after eating wheat gluten (Bernardo et al., 2007).
  • —Lectins are toxins in grains that the grains have developed to keep us from eating them! Lectins cause damage to the gut by making little holes in the intestine.


  • —Numerous studies have proven we can reverse these killer diseases!
  • —You can reverse and prevent diseases just by avoiding: grains, sugar and processed foods.
  • —You can fill your diet with meat, fish, vegetables, starchy tubers (potatoes), healthy fats, fruits, nuts and berries.
  • —Our bodies are efficient and will turn to burning fat for fuel!

Albert Einstein sums it up best, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”


❤ fitgirlfab

How my Diet kept me from my best!

Hey Fit Fam !

I do not have time to write a full post today, but I’ve made time to tell a quick story!

You could call this story an introduction to my next post… I’ll be delving further into my diet and why/how I choose to eat “Paleo“.

All my life I’ve had this awful pain in around my lower right medial soleus or along the medial side of my tibia. It would subside only when I would stop running for a few weeks. If I tried to run it would hurt SO bad. The only type of cardio I could do was biking and the elliptical–even the stair master hurt sometimes!

(SOURCE: This image came from this website)

I was angry. I was frustrated. I just wanted to be able to run pain free.

I had tried every option possible. I had custom made orthotics, I tried stretches, and I even did some physical therapy–NOTHING worked!


I began eating a paleo diet. A paleo diet mostly consists of vegetables (but no legumes or lentils), minimal fruit, nuts, seeds, fats (coconut, avocado, olive oil, walnut oil, some nuts, and other healthy sources), and lots of grass-fed or wild caught protein sources.

(SOURCE: this image came from this website.)

Within 1 week of starting the new way of life, my leg pain had dramatically subsided. Within 2 weeks of the diet, my pain was almost gone, and by week 3 I had NO PAIN and NO need for my custom made, EXPENSIVE, orthotics!!

I could not believe that my diet was what was causing a pain in my lower leg! How was that even possible?

What you eat REALLY does affect every. single. cell. in your body.

Maybe I was allergic to gluten? Maybe I had leaky-gut syndrome? Maybe I was eating too many carbohydrates that were causing inflammation? Maybe all of these were combining together? –I’m still not exactly sure what exactly went down biochemically in my body. I do know, however, that I feel better than I’ve ever felt following the paleo diet.

I assume something of this sort went down: grains cause little holes to form in your intestinal lining–this is called “leaky gut”. My intestines were inflamed and leaky after years of dealing with IBS (which btw has also been eradicated by this new diet!), wheat or gluten proteins were seeping through my intestinal lining into my blood stream and causing my body to attack these proteins as foreign invaders. (My problem surfaced in my leg, but some people have inflammatory responses in other bodily organs–it just all depends! But any inflammatory response in the body is your body enacting your immune system to kill “foreign invaders”.) –Sorry if that is confusing; I’ll better explain this in my next post. 

I have more energy, strength, stamina, and just about never get sick. I am pain free and can run for the first time in years. I thank God every single day that I found out about the paleo diet and gave it a shot!

(SOURCE: This image came from this website.)

I’ll be explaining more about paleo in my next post, but if you’re too impatient check out Robb Wolf’s website here, and give paleo a shot for 30 days to see how you feel! Who knows, maybe that pain in your arm or stomach or leg or anywhere will disappear?

You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!!! 🙂

God Bless!

fitgirlfab ❤


Optimal Post Workout Nutrition

Everyone knows nutrition is essential to muscular hypertrophy and meeting/maintaining fitness goals!

Training is the easy part. You go to the gym, pick up heavy things, put them down, and work in a little bit of HIIT cardio here and there.

Nutrition, however, is confusing. Everyone has a different opinion on what to eat pre and post workout. There are all types of diet techniques–IIFYM, carb back loading, intermittent fasting, paleo diet, primal diet, standard body-building diet, the zone diet, and SO MANY MORE. 

So, what’s right and what’s wrong?!

Well, unfortunately, nothing is right or wrong. Everyone is unique and different, so what works for Arnold or your favorite bodybuilder might not work for you.

BUT! We can look at the FACTS from scientific studies, and then we can do our own studies on ourselves–trial and error until you find what works for YOU and YOUR BODY.

Let’s look at the research!

Study numero uno! (You can read the full study here if you’d like.)

“In general, protein supplementation pre- andpost-workout increases physical performance, training session recovery, lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy, and strength. Specific gains, differ however based on protein type and amounts. Studies on timing of consumption of milk have indicated that fat-free milk post-workout was effective in promoting increases in lean body mass, strength, muscle hypertrophy and decreases in body fat. The leucine content of a protein source has an impact on protein synthesis, and affects muscle hypertrophy. Consumption of 3-4 g of leucine is needed to promote maximum protein synthesis. An ideal supplement following resistance exercise should contain whey protein that provides at least 3 g of leucine per serving.”

In summary: This study suggests that 3-4 g of leucine, an amino acid, be consumed with post workout protein along with maltodextrin or glucose (simple carbs that help spike insulin and help leucine be more effective) to increase muscle hypertrophy.

This study also suggests that pre-workout meals should consist of essential amino acids and dextrose (another simple sugar).

Foods high in leucine include egg whites, tuna fish, and turkey!

Study number 2! (You can read this full study here!)

The second study I found compared consuming milk or a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink post workout in untrained men (ages 18-25).

The study found that both the group that consumed milk and the carb-electrolyte group gained muscle mass. However, the milk group tended to show a greater increase in fat-free soft tissue mass than the carb-electrolyte group.

Study number 3 (You can read this study here!)

“Athletes should aim to achieve carbohydrate intakes to meet the fuel requirements of their training programme and to optimize restoration of muscle glycogen stores between workouts. General recommendations can be provided, preferably in terms of grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of the athlete’s body mass, but should be fine-tuned with individual consideration of total energy needs, specific training needs and feedback from training performance. It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods and to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks to provide a good source of protein and other nutrients. These nutrients may assist in other recovery processes and, in the case of protein, may promote additional glycogen recovery when carbohydrate intake is suboptimal or when frequent snacking is not possible.”

Summary: This study made a lot of sense. Athletes need to fuel for their individual needs. If you are training twice per day and have less than 8 hours between workouts, you should consume a greater amount of carbohydrates with a moderate to higher glycemic index. If not, however, you should eat enough carbohydrates to recover from your program and structure your greater intake of moderate to high glycemic carbs closer to your post workout period. Fat intake was not shown to benefit post workout recovery.

Moderate to high glycemic index foods include: raisins, honey, potatoes, muesli, watermelon, bagels, white rice, parsnips, bran flakes, and many more!

Study number 4 (You can read this study here!)

This study didn’t tell us anything new. This study said that protein is the most important for post-workout recovery and muscle hypertrophy. It said whey protein is optimal because of its fast absorption and amino acid profile, and that 20 grams of protein should be consumed either immediately following resistance training or during training for maximum protein synthesis.

Study number 5 (You can read this study here!)

“It has been observed that muscle glycogen synthesis is twice as rapid if carbohydrate is consumed immediately after exercise as opposed to waiting several hours, and that a rapid rate of synthesis can be maintained if carbohydrate is consumed on a regular basis. For example, supplementing at 30-min intervals at a rate of 1.2 to 1.5 g CHO x kg(-1) body wt x h(-1) appears to maximize synthesis for a period of 4- to 5-h post exercise. If a lighter carbohydrate supplement is desired, however, glycogen synthesis can be enhanced with the addition of protein and certain amino acids. Furthermore, the combination of carbohydrate and protein has the added benefit of stimulating amino acid transport, protein synthesis and muscle tissue repair. Research suggests that aerobic performance following recovery is related to the degree of muscle glycogen replenishment.”


All of these studies basically make the same point.

No matter what your goals consume moderate to high glycemic index carbohydrates post workout to maximize muscle synthesis and recovery post workout.

If you are doing two workouts per day consume more carbohydrates than you normally would. If you find your performance is suffering consume more carbohydrates post workout for recovery.

If your goals are to gain muscle, add calories preferably in the post workout window in the form of carbohydrates and protein. You should be eating in a caloric surplus.

If your goal is to lose weight you should limit your carbohydrate intake during the day, BESIDES POST WORKOUT. Post workout carbohydrates are essential to recovery NO MATTER WHAT YOUR GOAL.

Protein intake should be 1-1.2 grams per pound of body weight.

Fat intake isn’t as crucial to muscle growth and recovery, however, we DO still need to intake healthy fats–ESPECIALLY FEMALES. DO NOT FEAR FATS. Our bodies need essential fatty acids that it cannot create. We can only get these through diet.



Work out hard, eat clean, nutritious foods, and results are bound to follow!!!


❤ God Bless you all!


Endocrine Glands Part 2

The endocrine system is pretty complex, but by far one of the most interesting systems in the body because of all the different bodily functions that are affected by the endocrine system.

In you brain, there exists the hypothalamus. It’s basically the king of all hormones. It releases inhibiting and releasing hormone to the gland below it, the pituitary gland.

(SOURCE: This image came from The Mayo Foundation)

“Though she be but little, she is fierce,” William Shakespeare.

It’s hard to believe that tiny area of your brain and the neuroendocrine hypothalamus and pituitary gland can have such a large influence over our entire bodies!

The pituitary gland actually has two sides to it–the glandular anterior pituitary gland and the neural posterior pituitary.

(SOURCE: This image came from Medical Look)

In the image above, you can see all of the hormones produced by each side of the gland and a few of the different glands or tissues these hormones effect.

I know this is a bit complicated, so lets do a quick summary thus far:

The hypothalamus releases inhibiting and releasing hormones to the anterior pituitary (AKA the adenohypophysis). The hypothalamus also sends neural signals to the posterior pituitary gland (AKA the neurohypophysis).

The anterior releases mostly stimulating hormones–> thyroid stimulating hormone, growth hormone, POMC, melanocyte stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone,  and growth hormone.

The posterior releases two hormones–> Antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin.

These hormones released from the pituitary gland usually effect other glands or just effect the tissue.

For example, thyroid stimulating hormone affects the thyroid gland, while growth hormone just effects the muscles or bone directly.

Here’s a quick chart to reference for some of the hormones to see what glands they affect and their effects in the body:

(SOURCE: This image is from the University of Miami website)

How can we use this information to benefit our every day lives and training?!

As mentioned in the previous post, some of these hormones follow a daily cycle.

Cortisol release peaks in the a.m. and helps you wake up and get going.

Growth hormone and melatonin peak before bed time and during sleep.

Thyroid stimulating hormone peaks during the night.

Knowing this information, it would be best to train most likely in the morning while cortisol levels are already naturally elevated. Exercise can induce cortisol release if it is prolonged or extremely intense. Inappropriate cortisol release can lead to fat storage around the midsection, restless nights of little to no sleep, and also copious urine output during the night.

We would not want elevated cortisol levels because high levels of cortisol can make it impossible to get rid of midsection fat and lead to sleep disturbances, which further inhibit muscle growth because growth hormone release would be effected.

Growth hormone peaks during the night, making a good night of 8-9 hours of quality sleep vitally important to muscle hypertrophy and recovery in general.

You should also try to limit large meals at night because the thyroid hormone can raise your body temperature, making sleeping uncomfortable and more difficult.

I realize I mentioned these aspects of hormones in my last post, but I wanted to go further in depth into the science behind these hormones and glands.

Sneak peak of what my next post will include…

Post workout nutrition is also vital to muscle hypertrophy and recovery.

( huge spinach salad complete with fresh veggies  from the farm down the street chicken breast and nutritional yeast, apple and paleo wraps! EAT TO GROW, EAT TO PERFORM)

Post workout nutrition should include a complex carbohydrate and a serving of protein. Most bodybuilders and fitness junkies think that simple carbs are best post workout, however, this is not the case. Numerous studies published on PubMed and other sites have found that you DON’T need to overly spike your insulin levels to recover from exercise or induce muscle hypertrophy. The only athletes that should be consuming simple carbs or sugar post workout are those who are either involved in endurance sports that are highly glycolytically demanding or workout twice or more per day. Otherwise, the benefits are inconsequential.

Next time I will go into some studies regarding post workout nutrition and the endocrine glands of the pancreas and liver that affect glucagon and insulin production!

What do you guys eat post workout? What’s your favorite post workout meal?

God Bless! xoxo

Fitgirlfab ❤

Taking Advantage of your Endocrine System

Hello everyone! It’s been a while! 🙂

I’ve been learning a lot lately about the endocrine system. I’ve always found the endocrine system so interesting because of how it can affect nearly every part of our bodies and every single one of our cells!

(SOURCE: this image came right from my text book, Marieb, Anatomy and Physiology, 4th edition)

This internal communication system that regulates our body can be our best friend or worst enemy when trying to meet and maintain fitness goals.

I won’t go into a super in-depth explanation just yet. I decided to do a little, short series on different endocrine glands because I feel it is important that everyone have a better understanding of these very CRUCIAL glands so that we can TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER. 😉

Today we will focus on the pineal gland!

(SOURCE: this image came right from my text book, Marieb, Anatomy and Physiology, 4th edition)

This tiny, little gland may be the reason you’re an insomniac; it may be the reason you toss and turn at night; it may be the reason you wake up at the same time every day–even when you want to sleep in on the weekends.

The pineal gland mainly secrets melatonin. I’m sure you’ve all heard of melatonin. Maybe you’ve even taken a small dose of melatonin before to help induce sleep.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that is derived from serotonin. It is released in a daily cycle–highest at night and lowest around 12 or noon time.

Melatonin’s benefits extend beyond sleep. Melatonin has been recently shown to help migraine sufferers, protect the body against free radicals, protect lipids and proteins, and even help cancer patients have a better response to chemotherapy drugs to better fight the cancer. (You can read more on the study and benefits at this site!)

How can I use this information to my advantage?

The pineal gland receives input from your eyes!

The more light it is exposed to, the less melatonin it releases. Along with the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, it is referred to our biological clock.

You can actually offset your “biological clock” by continuously exposing yourself to light at night and influence physiological processes that work with the clock to regulate sleep, appetite, and body temperature!

In animals, melatonin even mediates mating and size of gonads.


  1. Shut off all electronics and sources of bright light at least an hour before bed.
  2. Sleep in a dark, slightly cooler room.
  3. Get at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night.

Other tips related to sleep and the endocrine system but not the pineal gland…

  • Don’t eat big meals before bed. Stop eating at least an hour before bed because TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is also released in higher levels at night, causing your body temperature to rise. The metabolism of food also raises body temperature. This could interrupt your sleep,  and the digestion of the food can also cause sleep disturbances.
  • Try to work out earlier in the day, such as the morning because cortisol release is highest in the morning and helps you deal with “stressors”. It is lowest right before bed in the evening. If you workout at night, you could spike your cortisol levels if your workout is more glycolytically demanding, causing sleep to be more difficult.
  • During sleep, growth hormone is released in the highest amounts! SO MAKE SURE YOU SLEEP TO GROW.

Sleep is essential to leading a health, functional lifestyle. You will function better in general, and your body will thank you!

Train hard, eat clean, and educate yourself!

Hope this helps!

God bless!