How to improve your 40 yard dash- Part 2

In Part I of this article readers were introduced to the concept that strength = speed.  Specifically, football players wishing to decrease their 40 yard dash time were told to focus on strengthening their lower back, hamstring and VMO muscles (teardrop muscle found on the inside of the quadriceps).  Part I reviewed the best exercises for strengthening lower back and hamstring muscles, so let’s move on to the top three exercises for developing VMO strength:  squats with chains, wobble board split squats and sled dragging.

Exercise #1 – Squats with chains

If you improve your speed during the first 10 yards of your 40 yard dash then half your battle is over.  In the first 10 yards, it’s all about quads and glutes so choose exercises that specifically work these muscle groups.  SST suggests squats with chains.

When SST says “squats”, we don’t mean those quarter or 90 degree squats that most trainers advocate, we mean good old-fashioned rock bottom squats.  Why?  It’s simple; rock bottom squats do a better job of developing glutes and quads (especially the VMO).

To further increase the effectiveness of the squat, SST has their athletes perform squats with chains.  During a squat an athlete is strongest in the top position and weakest at the bottom.  By using chains, SST compensates for the strength curve by matching weight to strength levels.  For example, say you’re squatting 300lbs plus 50lbs of chains.  At the top, when you are your strongest, the chains are hanging so you are lifting 350lbs. As you squat down and your strength level decreases, you are only lifting 300lbs because the chains are resting on the ground.

Results:        Increase VMO strength, decrease ground contact time, improve strength & speed during first 10 yards of the 40 yard dash

Description:             Start with chest out and lower back arched.  Begin to drop hips to ground by first bending knees as far forward as possible and then lowering hips until hamstrings cover calves.  Pause for 1 second at bottom.  Lift up through legs while maintaining arched back.  Feet must remain flat on the ground at all times.

Variations:    1 ¼ squats, front squats with and without chains, back squats with bands and jump squats

Exercise #2- Wobbleboard Split Squats

You’re probably thinking “What the heck is a split squat”.  Split squats are a lunge without the explosiveness. What’s a wobbleboard?  Imagine a small board with a hard ball stuck under it (it’s not exactly that, but you get the idea).  By performing split squats on a wobbleboard you are training your leg muscles from the hip joint down in an unstable environment.  Destabilizing your leg muscles ensures that your VMO gets blasted…in a good way of course.  It also allows you to recruit more leg muscles than you would have had you been training in stable environment.

Results:        Increase VMO strength, stabilize muscle strength in legs, decrease ground contact time

Description:             Starting position: place foot of non-dominant leg on wobbleboard.  With chest out and shoulders back, move hips forward and downward while remaining upright.  Allow the front knee to travel over toe of front foot until hamstring is covering the calf.  Pause for a second then push off heel of front foot back to starting position.  Repeat.  The challenge is to keep the sides of the wobbleboard from touching the ground.

Variations:    sitfit split squats, wobbleboard/sitfit split squats with dumbbells (only when you are good enough at balancing) and split squats with low pulley cable for added resistance

Exercise #3- Sled Dragging

Sled dragging is a great way to increase functional strength if you don’t have a weightroom facility at your disposal.  Mind you, SST does not advocate running with a sled behind you because it will alter your running form.  The various sled exercises used by SST for speed training are too numerous to list in the article, thus we will focus on two of our most popular: walking backwards on the balls of your feet and walking lunges.

Results:        Increase maximum speed and decrease ground contact time

Description: Walking Backwards – fasten harness around waist.  Keep chest over feet.  Maintain arched back.  Bend hips and knees.  Begin by taking slow, deliberate steps backwards.  Move arms in a running motion. Word to the wise, this exercise will feel really easy for the first ten yards but by the time you reach forty yards, your quads (especially your VMO) will be screaming. Once you are able to cover 100 yds with ease slowly add weight to the sled.

Walking Lunges – fasten belt around waste and attach rope from harness to belt.   With sled dragging behind, perform a lunge with front leg.  Upon landing explode upwards and out.  Do not just pop up, the key is to push up and forward.  Coaching Tips:  keep your front heel down, maintain an upright posture and EXPLODE!

Squat to Stand – OL

One of the most underrated attributes of an offensive lineman is flexibility. This can often get lost when evaluating an athlete because they can be so big and so strong. When you get to the higher levels, the first test they want to see offensive athletes perform is an overhead squat. A lot can be said about an athlete when looking at how good of a squatter they are; it can give insight on athletic ability and their range of motion to determine if they can take the pounding that football places on your body. I have discussed with many college coaches it is very easy to get players stronger and faster, it is much more difficult to get them more flexible. That’s why with all of my offensive line athletes I constantly make them do a movement called Squat-to-Stand.

This movement works by doing the following

  1. Reaching down and touch your toes (or as far as you can)
  2. Then letting your but slowly come down to the squat position. Keeping you chest up nice and big.
  3. Followed by putting one arm up at a time above your head
  4. Then standing up
  5. Repeat 2 sets of 12

I preach to the kids that they should be doing this before every single one of their workouts and a couple sets before they go to bed at night. If done over a period of time you will definitely see an improvement in lower body flexibility.

Jamie Lalonde

thebigchill@sstcanada.com

How to improve your 40 yard dash- Part 1

If you want to go places in football, then you had better work on your 40 yard dash. While the forty yard dash is probably the most overrated test, it’s also the test that most coaches rely on when scouting a player. Given the emphasis that is placed on this one test, I am surprised at how many athletes come to combines and camps unprepared. I see athletes wearing the wrong shoes or the wrong clothes and I can tell that many of them don’t know the proper starting technique or running mechanics. Furthermore, it’s obvious that most players haven’t done any effective speed or strength training leading up to the big day. I tell my athletes that they have to consider the forty yard dash as a job interview that could land them a scholarship or millions of dollars when their stock goes up in the draft. Remember that first impressions mean everything, so plan ahead and be prepared to run like a professional. Don’t get me wrong, running a great 40 yard dash doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a great football player, but it will turn heads and give you the chance needed to show universities or professional teams what you can do on the field.

When training for the 40 yard dash, players tend to forget how important it is to be STRONG! I have yet to see a weak player run a great forty yard dash. As a Sports Performance Coach I know through personal experience that players who speed and strength train on a continuous basis will experience dramatic gains over those who only focus on speed training. One athlete who followed SST’s 12-week speed and strength training program went from a 5.05 to a 4.62 at the National football combines this year.

There are three main factors that SST considers when designing a strength training program for football players who want to decrease their forty yard dash time. First, we assess the player’s experience and abilities. Factors such as age, previous training experience, fitness level and amount of time available for training are considered. Next, we evaluate the player’s 40 yard dash to determine weaknesses. Do we need to improve his start, decrease his ground contact time or work on reaching maximum speed? Lastly, we focus on strengthening the player’s weakest muscles. As a general rule SST has found that football players tend to have weak lower back, hamstring and VMO muscle (VMO, or vastus medialis, is the teardrop muscle found on the inside of the quadriceps), therefore for the purpose of this article we will highlight , what we believe to be, the top six exercises designed to strengthen these muscles.

In Part I of this two part article, I will explain the first three exercises: snatch grip dead-lifts, tire flipping and Olympic lifts and their derivatives. These exercises strengthen lower back and hamstring muscles which are key components for achieving maximum speed.

Exercise #1 – Snatch Grip Dead-lifts

If I had to choose only one strength training exercise to improve a player’s 40 yard dash time, I would pick snatch grip deadlifts because they work the entire posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). Snatch grip dead-lifts are a bit different than your traditional deadlift in that they recruit more of the hamstrings due to the angle of the trunk and a wider grip.

Results: improve start, increase maximum speed

Description: Starting position- feet are shoulder width apart. Grip is wider than your traditional grip. Elbows are turned out. Shoulder blades are retracted. Knees over the bar. Chest and shoulders over the bar. Lower back is arched. Initiate lift with hamstrings and lower back. Maintain lower back arch throughout. Keep bar path straight.

Variations: snatch grip dead-lifts off a podium, snatch grip dead-lifts with chains and traditional dead-lifts.

Exercise #2 – Tire Flipping

Tire flipping is not your traditional weight room exercise but it’s a functional way to develop the posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). This is a grueling exercise that has lot of return for its effort.

Results: improve grip strength, decrease 40 time (after 12 weeks SST athletes decreased their 40 time by up to 3 tenths)

Description: Start in a deadlift position and grab the tire from underneath (fingers under the tire). Lift the tire using your legs and pop your hips forward. Flip your hands around (palms on the tire) and push the tire away from you in an explosive manner. You must keep your back arched throughout the entire movement to prevent lower back injuries.

Exercise #3 – Olympic Lifts and Derivatives

Olympic Lifts consist of power cleans, hang cleans and snatches. These exercises must be done explosively which means as fast as possible. The amount of weight doesn’t matter as much as the speed of the bar. Of all the Olympic lifts the snatch uses the most muscles in the body. People tend to shy away from this exercise but I have found it to be the most effective and easier to teach than cleans. In order to achieve maximum results and avoid injury it’s important to employ proper technique and use the right weight when performing Olympic lifts. If you are not familiar with Olympic lifting and their derivatives call your local weightlifting club or email me at sst@sstcanada.com

Results: faster starts and less ground contact time

Description: An explanation of hang snatch from thigh will be provided because it is the most applicable. Starting position – feet are shoulder width apart. Grasp bar with hook grip. To determine the distance between hand placements measure your elbow to elbow distance with arms straight out to sides. From this point move the bar explosively from thighs by extending the hip, knee and ankle joints in a jumping action. This is also known as “triple extension” of the joints. Keep the bar close to the body. This is a very important element and should be perfected. At maximum plantar flexion (up on the balls of the feet), shrug the shoulders, flex and pull with the arms. Pull the bar as high as possible. As the bar reaches maximum height, flex and then rotate elbows around and under the bar. Then fully extend the elbows and lock the bar overhead. Catch the bar with knees and hips flexed and squat down slowly and under control. The hang snatch is a complicated exercise that should only be performed in the presence of a qualified coach.

In Part II, I will explain the remaining three exercises that focus on increasing VMO strength: squats with chains, wobble board split squats and sled dragging. Strengthening the VMO muscle will help decrease ground contact time which is vital in order to increase speed. The less time a player spends on the ground, the faster he’ll be!

Larry Jusdanis is the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. SST has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports. SST’s no nonsense approach to training has been used by thousands of athletes’ from a variety of sports all over the nation!

Larry Jusdanis

Owner, Sports Specific Training

Sstcanada.com

Director of the National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE)

.

DAWG’S – 3 tips for BELLY FAT LOSS- Part 1

This is the time of year everyone is on the New Year’s Kick and their resolution. As many of you know I am not big believer of this and offer specials etc.

Why? It takes 30 days to form a habit and 80% will fail.

One of main reasons is that people like to be accountable to someone (I will have more on this later)

Tip 1

Can’t eat after 7pm and not again till noon the next day

Why is this important- 2 reasons:

  1. Intermittent fasting (IF) works- I believe we as a society indulge too much – right or wrong. I am not saying that you can’t indulge but I inform my clients that they can indulge 20% of the time.

Some of the benefits of IF include:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity.
    • The body becomes more sensitive to the effects of insulin… less insulin secretion per meal… lower blood glucose and insulin levels!
  • Promotes autophagy.
    • Regular bodily process where damaged, old, and dysfunctional proteins are consumed by the body. Think of renovating your kitchen, you need to tear away all the old culverts before installing new ones!

  • Elevates Growth Hormone production.
    • GH is very important hormone for body composition, because it releases stored fat and preserves muscle during fasting.

 

  • Reduced systemic inflammation
  • Inflammation occurs in the body after exposure to a variety of stimuli, including viruses, injury, certain foods, and even exercise. Chronic inflammation is a precursor to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and other harmful diseases

A great method when using IF is too fast for 24 hours once per week- doing this will melt that body fat!

Tip 2- Increase GH levels

Another reason I firmly believe that you need to stop eating at 7pm for reason #3- Increased Growth hormone (GH) production.  Elevated GH production burns body fat!  The best methods to increase GH are thru intermittent fasting, sleep and strength training!  If you are having a hard time sleeping maybe review your eating habits at night- any sugar consumption late at night STOPS GH production!

Tip 3- SLEEP!

A long term study (16 Years!) of more than 68,000 women found those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night. In fact, the women who slept less than 5 hours per night gained 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period

Sleep is so important for increased GH production and decreased cortisol levels.   We have already discussed the importance of increased GH levels.   Lack of sleep increases cortisol production as it is a major stressor on your body.   An increased level of Cortisol has a direct correlation with storage of abdominal fat.  I have some bad news for Women who already have bigger midsection – they tend to produce more cortisol. SORRY!!

As we mentioned in the intro – Goals are better achieved with accountability.  Especially, with Nutrition and fitness. One way to help you this is my NEW VIP Fat Loss program.  You will work personally with me and only me to achieve your results in 12 weeks.  What else is great about this: I want you to join with a friend – 2 for 1!   Thus you have TWO people to be accountable too…trust me it works.  The only limitation is this- I can only take on 8 clients- 8 ONLY- If you are interested please private message me at ljusdanis@sstcanada.com.

To find our more details please click here (write up will come).

Next week I will bring you part 2 of the Dawg’s tip of Belly Fat loss!

QB Canada – What the Dawg looks for in a qb?

In a series of blogs I will review what I and many other coaches in the pros and college are looking for in a QB.  Let’s be honest we all perceive the QB position to be glamorous and at times it is.  In all truthfulness QB’s have a lot of expectations and demands on them.  To the point where people may think they are over maligned.

Unfortunately this is not going to go away and this leads me to what I look for in a qb.  I have had the privilege to coach some great ones including Nathan Rourke, Dan Brannagan and Michael Faulds.  Other than their exceptional physical traits one thing stands out about these qbs and top level qbs:

TOUGHNESS and I do not only mean physical toughness but more mental toughness.   Qb is not an easy position to play. The demands more so mentally are draining but the good ones are able to handle this.   How can we develop toughness?

  1. For every action there is a consequence- as a QB more so then any other position. What I like to do in practice sessions is demand more from my qbs then a game.  How do I do this…one way is to expect perfection on all on air throws and sessions.   Why?  If a qb can’t handle the pressure of just throwing on air without a defense, how can I trust them in a game against 11 players trying to take their heads off?
  2. Off season training- IT’S a must – I expect my qbs to be first and last out of each session. I want them to be the leader of their team.  This starts in their off season workouts.

Next week’s blog I will discuss some of the physical traits that’s a must for a qb to be successful.

To find out more about my upcoming qb camp and private sessions please private message me.

Larry “Big Dawg” Jusdanis

ljusdanis@sstcanada.com

Top 10 Gifts Ideas for Athletes & Fitness Fanatics (+ 1 Extra!)

There is SO much to love about the Holidays: delicious food, the much-needed break from work or school, and time with family and friend. With the Holidays may come the pressure to get the perfect gifts for your friends and loved ones.

While we may not be able to force you to hit the gym over the winter break or keep your hands off the cookies, we can ease the stress of finding a gift for your fitness-fanatic girlfriend, beer-loving brother, CrossFit-obsessed buddy, and new-to-it-all parent!

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide to help make your loved one’s workouts awesome this year!

1. Foam Roller 

Foam rollers are great for EVERYONE on your fitness gift wish list. Self-myofascial release (the technical name for ‘rolling’). Is a safe, inexpensive and VERY effective technique that involves applying sustained pressure into the body’s connective tissue to help improve flexibility, recovery, and athletic performance.

Foam rollers, roller strips, rumble rollers, roller balls, peanuts are all inexpensive and make GREAT stocking stuffer!

2. Bands

Strength bands, minibands, bands with handles, ALL THE BANDS!!Bands are inexpensive a great addition to any athlete’s gym bag.

Bands are a great way to take your dynamic warm-ups to the next level. Bands allow you to warm-up sport specific muscles groups and movements like pitching arms before you throw, glutes before you hit the ice, hip flexors before you hit the track. They are light-weight, inexpensive, portable and great in a Christmas morning stocking!

3. Better Nutrition

Athletes are no different from anyone else—eating properly is tough. It’s a never-ending battle to keep ourselves fueled up and eating well, while also doing our best to fight off temptation.

Better nutrition impacts athletes in a number of ways—improved energy levels, a stronger immune system, faster recovery, and of course, better performance.

While nutrition fads come and go, the basics of good, solid nutrition remain. Investing in nutrition counselling, meal prep supplies, recipe books, and even cooking classes is a great way to help your athlete performance their best!

4. Supplements

Supplements are essential to any athlete or individual looking to get the most out of their workouts and bodies. Protein, weight gainer protein (for those who need it), BCAA’s,

electrolytes, creatine and omega-3 fish oils are the supplements that will give you the best results, have the  scientific backing and will aid in performance and recovery.

Come into SST Mississauga to check out our AWESOME Holiday Supplement bundles and deals! (Sorry, shameless plug!)

5. Shaker Bottle

Shaker bottles do not just have to be for the gym , I use mine every day, everywhere I go! They are great for supplements and your daily water intake at work, gym, or on the go!

Some great feature to look for are separate compartments to store supplements, blender lids, and clips that make it easy to attach to your gym or work bag.

6. Lifting Straps

Lifting straps are a great addition to any athlete’s gym bag. As an athlete gets stronger they may begin to find that the strength of their legs or arms starts to surpass the strength or endurance of their grip. Straps are used to support grip and allows an athlete to hold more weight than their grip can handle or can assist when grip has been exhausted in previous working sets.

Personally, I prefer a Lasso style strap made of a strong cotton or nylon. Leather, figure 8, single loops, and hook straps are also options available.

7. Bluetooth Headphones

If you have EVER done a workout in silence you know how awful and unmotivating it can be. Music is a way to shut the world out and get you focused on what needs to get done…LIFT!

Bluetooth headphone are a great innovation for any gym goer as it keeps the pesky cord out of your way while you are trying to lift, run, stretch and even bust the odd move!

8. Music Streaming Subscription

A great addition to those awesome headphone your already have wrapped and under the tree is a music streaming subscription. Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play are all great options to bring some excitement and motivation to your loved ones workout AND everyday life!

9. Fitness/Workout Journal 

A workout journal is a great way to help your loved one set goals, keep them accountable, track their progression, and help them reach their goals. A workout journal does not need to be complicated, a lined notebook can work great.

 

But if you’re looking to get them something a little more detailed there are great athlete and fitness specific journals on the market. They help track sleep quality, nutrition, workouts and more.

10. Gym Bag

Now that you have outfitted the athlete on your list with the great gear above they are going to need something to store and carry it to the gym in! A gym bag is essential to hold an athletes workout gear, recovery tools, supplements and water, pre/post-workout food, extra socks, headphone, training journal, etc.

Some features to look for are easy to use zippers, external pockets to for easy access and storage options, over the shoulder strap, light weight and durable material, and size big enough to hold everything they need!

Plus one Extra AWESOME gift for those on your list

An SST Gift Card

Shameless plug alert!! If your loved one looking for an advantage to their athletic performance or is new to the whole workout thing, an SST gift certificate is a great way to get them started or push them to their potential.

We have programs for every age and every fitness level. Gift certificates can be used for SST memberships, supplements, assessments, nutrition consultations, Butts and Guts, FAST Camp, and even personal training sessions.

Get yours before December 25th and get a FREE one-on-one personal session with one of our incredible SST Coaches; that’s a $120 value!

Check out our Facebook & Instagram pages for the latest SST news and more great Holiday & New Year deals!

Courtney Plewes BSc. Kin, CSCS

Director of Sport Performance /

Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach 

Sports Specific Training Mississauga 

1081 Brevik Place

Mississauga, ON L4W 3R7

P: (905) 624-6240

 

Can Coffee Enhance Recovery Post-Workout?

Coffee is one of the most widely used pre-workouts, due to caffeine’s stimulating effects on the central nervous system. I recently covered exactly why coffee can be a useful pre-workout supplement (click here to read).

What about drinking a coffee after your workout??

Not only is coffee a popular pre-workout beverage, but I know many early birds that like to have a cup of coffee after their morning gym session on the way to work. I’m willing to assume that post-workout recovery is not the reason behind the coffee, but what If I told you there is some evidence that suggests caffeine can enhance recovery after intense training?

At first thought, it may seem counter-intuitive to receive your “boost” once your workout is already over. However, there may be at least 2 distinct functions of caffeine that can serve as a post workout recovery enhancer.

  1. Caffeine increases muscle glycogen resynthesis.

Muscle glycogen is the main fuel source during training, and the degree of depletion depends on the intensity of the workout. The more intense the workout, the more glycogen is burned, the more carbohydrate we need to eat to replenish. A study from 2008 found that individuals that co-ingested caffeine with carbohydrates following intense training had 66% more glycogen resynthesis 4 hours after exercise then the group that ate carbs alone.

 

  1. Caffeine helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness

DOMS generally lasts 24-72 hours after a hard workout, and can negatively impact exercise performance and range of motion in the following days, as well as providing overall discomfort. Caffeine is known to reduce feelings of pain and exhaustion during training, but it wasn’t until this year that its effects on pain after training have been studied. A paper published a few months ago (March 2017) in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, reports that caffeine reduces feelings of perceived soreness in the days following an intense endurance cycling event.

These findings indicate that drinking coffee after your workout may be more beneficial then we initially expected!

Just a cautionary note… if you are already consuming coffee/caffeine before your workout and want to do so after as well, be mindful of how much you are having.

Stop by SST and try our highly rated Butts & Guts boot camp, and stay for a coffee and chat with one of our excellent coaches! For any sport specific training or nutritional inquires, contact me directly and we can get started with a complimentary nutritional assessment. Also, give us a follow on social media for more training & nutritional advice! @sstburlington

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com    

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You? Part 3

Current nutritional guidelines recommend we eat 0.8g of protein per kilogram bodyweight. I weigh 64.5kg (142lbs), meaning that I should be eating about 52g of protein per day. To put into perspective how easy this is, the Walmart chicken breast I ate for lunch contains close to 50g of protein!

See where I’m going with this?

The truth is that even without supplementation, the majority of us will have no trouble meeting our daily “recommended” protein requirements with our normal 3+ meals. This begs the question, what happens if I exceed my recommended daily intake? Is too much protein bad for you?

I recently debunked 2 of the biggest myths associated with high protein diets; increased risk of developing kidney disease (click here) and deterioration of our bones (click here). A third major concern is the development of cardiovascular disease.

Where does this concern originate?

  1. Diets rich in protein are usually accompanied by high saturated fat and cholesterol intakes.
  2. Also, countries with low rates of ischemic heart disease tend to have low protein intakes.

Is there any merit to this claim?

High Protein Diet Myths Part 3: High Protein Diets Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Once again, there does not seem to be any actual strong human evidence that links increased protein intake with CVD (trials in rabbits and rats have found negative impact of high animal versus plant protein consumption). In fact, replacing carbohydrates with protein in human diets has been found to lower LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride concentrations and actually increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

In a prospective study of over 80,000 women, a higher protein intake was actually associated with a slight decreased risk of ischemic heart disease after a 14 year follow-up period. This data is in accordance with other research showing improved blood lipid profiles after replacing high carbohydrate diets with high protein, assuming calories are kept the same of course. In addition, studies have reported either neutral or positive effects of high protein diets on cholesterol in humans.

In summary, it does not appear that eating large amounts of protein every day in an attempt to build muscle or lose weight negatively impacts any of the following:

  1. Kidney Health
  2. Bone Health
  3. Risk of CVD

Continue on including lots of protein from a variety of sources, both animal and plant, in your diet worry-free!

If you have any inquires stop into SST today and talk with a very knowledgeable coach about healthy ways to start eating more protein without gaining weight. Also, try our amazing RESULTS ORIENTED Butts & Guts boot camp and email me directly for a complimentary nutrition assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You? Part 2

Last week, I started discussing the versatile role protein plays in the human body and how high protein diets are being prescribed in both sports nutrition and weight management settings (click here to view). As a result, a growing concern exists about the negative health consequences that may arise from eating too much protein. One of those concerns is the over-stressing of the kidneys leading to renal disease and eventually renal failure. This does not seem to be the case in healthy adult populations; however, high protein diets can accelerate the progression in those who already have existing kidney disease.

High Protein Diet Myths Part 2: High Protein Diets are Bad for Bone Health

The metabolism of sulfer containing amino acids (methionine & cysteine) creates a highly acidic environment within the body, resulting in a lower blood pH. If the acidic load is too high for the kidneys to handle, the belief is that the skeleton (a major calcium storage organ) releases calcium to act as a buffer and neutralize the acidic environment. This results in decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mass. This notion is supported by findings of increased 24h-urinary calcium excretion and lower urinary pH after high protein intakes.

Not so fast!

Two of the most recent comprehensive reviews and meta-analysis (published in 2009 & 2011) examining protein intake and BMD found that dietary protein is not harmful to bone health and may actually INCREASE BMD!

The acidic load created by high protein diets are buffered by our lungs (increased ventilation) and kidneys (increased filtration) to keep our blood pH within very narrow normal limits, and the increased urinary calcium does not alter calcium balance (high protein diets usually accompanied by high phosphorus intakes, which retains calcium).

Ok, so we’ve established that high protein diets being bad for bone health is a myth, but what about the part where it might actually increase bone mass?

That’s correct; a small, positive effect of protein supplementation on increased lumbar spine BMD in randomized placebo-controlled trials supports this claim. It is important to note that more recent findings suggest that if calcium intake is inadequate, this positive effect may not be seen (dietary calcium serves as the acidic buffer from high protein diets).

How does protein improve bone health?

Several mechanisms help explain this:

  1. Increased production of insulin-like growth factor: IGF-1 increases osteoblast activity (bone formation) and may also promote bone matrix mineralization.
  2. Increases the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestines.
  3. Suppresses parathyroid hormone production – PTH causes bones to release calcium into blood and kidneys to retain calcium.
  4. Increasing muscle mass – stronger muscles allow for more effective and heavier weight-bearing, strengthening your bones.

If you would like strategies on how to effectively increase your protein intake without gaining weight, stop into SST and try out our excellent Butts & Guts bootcamp with a complimentary nutritional assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You?

High protein diets are necessary for athletes needing to build or maintain muscle mass during intensive training schedules. High protein diets are also used as dietary interventions for overweight individuals that need to lose weight and body fat without losing muscle. There are millions of proteins in our bodies serving a wide variety functions, including; serving as the building blocks for muscle tissue, making enzymes necessary for metabolism, acting as anti-bodies helping to protect the body, etc.

If high protein diets are so good, then why aren’t more people doing it?

When I first started training several years ago, there was a major concern about the side-effects that high protein diets have on the body. Research has since debunked a lot of these myths, some of which I will be covering in the next upcoming blogs.

High Protein Diet Myths Part 1High Protein Diets Lead to Kidney Disease

Nitrogen is one of the bi-products of protein metabolism. In an attempt to filter out the excess nitrogen from high protein diets, the liver creates urea to serve as a carrier for nitrogen. Urea and nitrogen are filtered out and excreted by the kidneys. Logically, it makes sense that consuming large amounts of protein may lead to over-stressing the kidneys and therefore malfunction.

Higher rates of glomerular filtration rate and blood urea nitrogen are common with high protein diets. However, these quantities remain within normal physiological limits. In a study where bodybuilders consumed 2.8g/kg of protein per day, no negative changes were seen in any kidney function tests. In fact, a cross-sectional study from 2016 concluded that higher protein diets were associated with lower adiposity and HDL cholesterol and no impairment in kidney function in healthy adults! There does not seem to be any actual existing evidence that high protein consumption leads to kidney malfunction in HEALTHY adults.

However, higher protein diets may accelerate the progression of kidney failure in individuals with EXISTING kidney disease. For this reason, those with kidney disease are recommended to eat about half of the RDA of 0.8g/kg/day.

Stay tuned, next week I will debunk another myth associated with high protein diets.

If you would like strategies on how to effectively increase your protein intake without gaining weight, stop into SST and try out our excellent Butts & Guts bootcamp with a complimentary nutritional assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

chico7@sstcanada.com