Are You Drinking Enough Each Day? Probably Not…

We all know how important staying hydrated is. Despite this, I would hazard a guess to say not nearly enough of you drink enough water each day.

Staying hydrated is not just good for overall health reasons, but for athletic performance as well.

How much water you need to drink is obviously going to differ depending on a number of factors. Sex, weight, weather, etc.

You’ve probably heard the general 8 glasses of water per day rule. But, this may be undershooting it for you.

A more accurate calculation is to times your body weight by 0.0.35. This is easy enough to do, grab the calculator on your phone, type your bodyweight x 0.035 and done.

So, if you weight 70kg, this would be about 2.5 litres you need to drink EACH day.

How Much Should You Drink During Your Workouts?

A body water reduction in excess of 2-3% is considered to adversely affect performance. So, if you weigh 70-80kg, this is only a drop of 1.5kg.

How do you know how much to drink during your workout? Here’s 3 easy steps.

  1. Weigh yourself before you start your workout
  2. Weight yourself at the end of the workout
  3. If you weigh less at the end of the workout, you have to drink that equivalent in water weight.

So, if by the end of the workout, you weigh 500g less than when you started, you have 500ml of water you have to make up for, as 1 litre of water is equal to 1kg.  Obviously you should be drinking and staying hydrated during your workout. This is just calculating if you’ve had enough during the workout and if you need to make up for anything at the end.


Protein Quality: Even more important as you get older

Two beautiful things happen to our bodies as we get older

  1. It’s harder to lose the fat


  1. You lose muscle

Yep. Pretty much the exact opposite of what we are going for.

But all’s not lost!

With careful attention to what you eat – along with your exercise – you can help get the best of both worlds.

One of the most important macronutrients in maintaining your hard earned muscle and even stimulating MORE muscle growth is Protein.

Unfortunately though, it’s not as simple as just getting the right amount of protein each day. You also need to keep in mind the QUALITY as well.

When it comes to protein, quality is measured in two ways

  1. How much protein is present per 100g i.e. % of protein content
  2. How quickly the amino acids are absorbed in to your system and stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis (it’s Leucine content)

Amino acids are the little building blocks that make up all of the proteins that our bodies use. And of the 20 or so amino acids that go to building all of these proteins, there are 8 of these amino acids that our bodies can only get from ingestion. These are called ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. Essential meaning our bodies can not make them and we must get them from the foods we eat.

As it turns out, the very act of eating protein, actually stimulates your body to MAKE protein. That’s right, eating protein really does actually help you gain muscle. And, more importantly, at least hold on to it keep it while you are losing fat.

The main amino acids that are responsible to stimulating this Muscle Protein Synthesis are the ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. More specifically, one called Leucine. Now, it’s not important you remember these names, just the effect that eating good quality protein has.

The best sources that get you ALL of your essential amino’s in one hit are termed COMPLETE proteins. Protein sources that lack one or more of the essentials are termed INCOMPLETE proteins.

To keep things a little simplified, the general rule of thumb is:

1) Animal proteins = complete proteins

2) Plant proteins = incomplete proteins

This kind of makes sense when you think about it. It you want flesh of your own, you literally have to eat the flesh of another animal to give you everything you need.

It turns out, some sources of animal protein are even better at doing this than others.

Whey protein, for example – you know that type of protein in all protein powder – is an excellent source of protein. Not only is it a COMPLETE protein, but it is also rich in ESSENTIAL AMINO acids. The main one being LEUCINE.

So, it has a high protein content. It is a complete protein. It is absorbed quickly in to the body and is a rich source of Leucine, meaning it will stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

There was even studies that compared feeding ESSENTIAL amino acids in a bolus dose vs NON ESSENTIAL amino acids only. The essential amino acid group stimulated muscle protein synthesis, the non essential group did not. So, make sure the quality of your protein sources tick the boxes above.

Other sources of animal proteins that fulfil this criteria are:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Different types of fish…

You know, the usual suspects.

As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want the fat content of your meat too high, as this actually lowers the protein quality slightly. The higher fat content means it is absorbed a little slower. This can sometimes be desirable, but again, we’re keeping it simple for now.

So, just as a recap, good sources of protein are:

  • Dairy (some better than others)
  • Eggs
  • Lean Meat
  • Whey protein

If you want the best quality protein, it is a good idea to get it from a variety of sources, as each of these also contain other benefits that are crucial for optimum health.  For example, you will get iron, zinc and creatine from beef. So, don’t think you can go and have protein shakes all day.

In your quest for fat loss, don’t forget you need to keep as much muscle as you can during the whole process. This comes from eating the right AMOUNT of protein each day, but, more importantly, the right QUALITY of protein.

Call it Yo Yo Dieting. Metabolic Damage. Set Point Theory. Call it what you want, you’re still going to get fatter.

I remember back in the 80’s, fad diets were all the rage.

In short, people would go on these crazy short term diets that would cut out groups of foods completely, dramatically drop down their overall food intake, and get awesome short terms results.

The problem was, as soon as these people came off their “diet” and returned to their normal eating habits and normal calorie intake, they would end up FATTER than before!

(Any of this sound familiar?? It should…)

The best way they used to combat this, was to go on another diet. Maybe even a different one this time. Maybe the grapefruit diet. Or the Garth Brooks Juice Diet (ok, maybe that one was from a movie, but you get the drift).

This gave rise to the term YO YO DIETING. Peoples weights would go up and down according to which fad diet they were on. But in the end, they would end up bigger than before. Even when they went back to the same calorie intake!

Again, if any of this is sounding familiar, that’s because it is. We have precisely gone no where over the past 30-40 years when it comes to mainstream consumption of dieting BS and our expectations of what a “diet” can achieve.

In the last couple of years, we gave it a different name. Metabolic Damage.

There’s even talk in the literature again on the Metabolic Set Point Theory. Almost as if these people have reinvented the wheel. When people were talking about this years and years ago.

Here’s the quick breakdown of the Metabolic Set Point Theory:

  • Your body has a natural “set point” or level that it likes to keep its weight at. This is determined by a number of factors including lifestyle, genetic, metabolic factors, etc.
  • Just like your body temperature, your body naturally regulates it’s weight fairly accurately over the long haul. You have in built mechanisms to match your energy intake and output to kind of maintain the status quo – or homeostasis – as scientists like to call it. So, just say your set point is at 2000calories. Your body likes to keep its input and output around that point, so it all evens out.
  • If you drop your energy intake too low for too long a period, your body will fight against it in order to try and keep things the same. To do this it will deliberately slow down your “metabolism” to accomodate this.

Congratulations, your new set point is now 1500calories

Guess what happens when you’ve finished your “diet” and return to your normal eating habits of the 2000 calories again? That’s right. You get fatter than before. Even if you just go back to what you were eating before you started your diet!

That’s Yo Yo Dieting in a nutshell. That’s Metabolic Damage in a nutshell. That’s learning nothing over the last 40 years of diet fads.

Again, it’s important to note your “Set Point” is influenced by many factors:

  • Genetics
  • Neurological Factors
  • Hormones
  • Calorie Intake
  • Body Composition
  • Gut Health – micro biome

And the list goes on…

You can’t just try and fix ONE thing and think you’ve fixed the whole problem. BUT, you can still influence the Set Point back to a positive way and not be stuck in the negative.

The Solution??

  • As tempting as it is to “get results quicker” you should never make big sudden drops to your energy intake.
  • Don’t ever “diet” for extended periods – comp dieters I’m mainly looking at you. NO, you can’t maintain comp conditioning all year round. NO, you shouldn’t compete back to back seasons for years consecutively. NO, not everyone was designed to step on the competitive stage and bean shredded AF.
  • Same for coming out the other end, it takes time for your body to adapt and recover. Give it time.

Regulation of your Set Point is a complex multifactorial issue, but ALL of which can be influenced by the big 4 pillars of fat loss:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Stress Management
  4. Sleep Quality

You don’t have to just drop calories to affect your set point. You don’t just have to then increase calories to affect your set point. Every girl seems to think they should be able to eat over 2000 calories per day. Every guy thinks they should be eating over 4000 calories per day. It’s just not as simple as that.

Forget the quick fixes. Forget the fad diets. Focus on meaningful long term change. And long term change only happens with the small things done consistently. You are the only yard stick you should ever measure anything against. No one else.

So each day, each little step, each little meal, each little training session. Over the long term, they will bring you the results you are after.

The Rapid Response program is built around these 4 pillars of fat loss. Looking at key indicators that are measurable and achievable. By maximising each of these factors and you can get fast results with positive changes, not just “quick fix” solution of just dropping down calories.


How to Choose the Best Quality Protein Sources

High quality protein. You all know you should be having it. But what exactly makes a protein high in quality?

When researchers talk about protein quality, they are essentially referring to the proteins ability to provide Essential Amino Acids to you. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up a protein. Your body uses about 20 different types of amino acids. Some of these amino acids can be manufactured by your body if needed, others can not. The only way you can get these other “essential” amino acids is through the foods you eat. There is no other way. It just so happens the Essential Amino Acids are the most important ones for your health and your body composition results.

The quality of a protein is therefore determined by its Essential Amino Acid content.

The best natural sources of protein that contain all of the Essential Amino Acids are termed “complete proteins” and – sorry vegans – complete proteins come from animal sources of protein. Think meat and dairy.

Quite simply, if you want muscle, you have to eat muscle!!

Funny how eating the flesh of another animal magically gives you everything you need to make flesh of your own. And I don’t care if it runs, flies or swims, nature made it really simple for you. Per 100g of raw weight meat, you are ALWAYS going to get about 20g of quality protein. So, if you’re goal is 40g of quality protein, that’s 200g meat. Easy done. I don’t care if it’s deep sea Perch or Bison roaming the Savannah’s of the America’s, it’s always going to be the same.

It’s simply not good enough to have a “daily total” protein target as muscle protein synthesis is actually determined on a “per meal” basis, not on a “I just hit my goal of protein for the day”. Have you heard about the Dose / Response effect of protein? This is essentially it. And it is definitely not the same as “complementing” your rice and beans together over the course of a day to try and get some balance (sorry again vegans).

Of the essential amino acids, Leucine (one of the Branched Chain Amino Acids) looks to be one of the most important and is required to optimise protein synthesis. At least about 2-3g has been found to maximally stimulate protein synthesis. You want to know why having a scoop of whey post workout is so important? It just so happens to give you the right amount of essential amino acids to optimise muscle protein synthesis.

At the end of the day, about 20-35g of high quality protein per meal is needed to optimise muscle protein synthesis, depending on the source used. As most of my clients know, I will rarely, if ever (EVER) go under this minimum amount for ANYBODY.

If you want a good quality protein source you MUST ensure it:

  • Contains Essential Amino Acids to optimise muscle protein synthesis – aiming for about 2-3g Leucine at least. Consume “complete” proteins as a priority
  • Consume 20-35g (as a minimum target) whole protein per meal to optimise Muscle Protein Synthesis
  • Need to consume it about every 3-4 hours – Muscle Protein Synthesis rates peak about 45-90min following a meal and return to baseline levels about 3 hours after the meal
  • Lean sources of protein are better than high fat choices as you maximise the digestion rate and protein density of the food. It’s been written a million times over, but think whey, eggs, milk, chicken, extra lean beef, etc.
  • Vegetarian sources of protein are inferior quality as they are usually lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids. No soy is not good enough!
  • It’s simply not good enough to just have 3g of Leucine and think you’ve done your job! If you want to maximise the duration of Muscle Protein Synthesis, you need a whole meal!


Don’t ever be one of those people who use arrogance as an excuse for their ignorance. (if you’ve read this far, you’re probably not one of those people anyway)


Nutrient Timing – The Future of Sports Nutrition

Nutrient Timing – The Future of Sports Nutrition

In this series of nutrition articles I will be covering such topics as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, supplements, etc.

Before I do, however, it is essential that you understand a few key concepts. The first one being that it’s not only what you eat, but WHEN YOU EAT IT that’s important.

High GI foods, low GI foods, fast acting proteins, slow acting proteins…one is not better than the other in a strict sense. But one definitely serves a better function dependent upon what phase you muscles are in at that specific time.

There are 3 important phases in nutrition, and your understanding of them is crucial if you’re seeking to gain lean hard muscle and / or strip some unwanted body fat.

The 3 phases of muscle growth:

  1. Energy Phase
  2. Anabolic Phase
  3. Recovery Phase

1) Energy Phase

This phase is the one that is active while you are working out. Just think about, during this phase you’re working hard, straining under a heavy load, digging deep to bust out those few extra reps or finish your sprints. What do you think your muscles are concerned with here? Recuperating?! No way! There focus at the moment is contracting, producing energy, force, etc in order to do your workout. The bottom line, during the energy phase of muscle growth, your priority is on providing the mechanical work for the workout. If you’re doing at least a half decent workout at a high enough intensity, this means that your muscles are dipping into your stored intra muscular glycogen stores and liver glycogen stores. That simply means that during high intensity workouts, your body supplies fuel predominantly in the form of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles and liver. High intensity exercise also involves the breakdown and depletion of stored amino pools in the muscles (something we want to decrease if lean mass is our aim).

So what does this mean for you? In order to fuel your workouts and to prevent the catabolic (breakdown) nature of your workouts, your goal during this phase of muscle growth is to supply the right nutrients to blunt these effects.

What works? Sipping on a carb drink (such as gatorade) and be sure to mix in some Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and Glutamine.

2) Anabolic Phase

So, you’ve just finished your gruelling workout. You pushed it hard, lifted heavy and have just depleted your muscles glycogen stores. Where to now? The Anabolic Phase is the most critical phase and this becomes the time for your most important meal of the whole day.

During this phase, think of your muscles as sponges. Sponges that are ready to soak up any bit of carbohydrate that you can get into your system fast enough.

You have a 30-45min window of opportunity to kickstart your muscle building effects into overdrive and stop your body from eating into itself. During this window, your muscles are highly sensitive to insulin and are calling out for fuel to replenish lost stores.

So what does this mean for you? Your amino pools and carb pools are depleted, your body’s priority is to replenish these. Yes, even if this means breaking down muscle in order to try and replenish lost carb stores.

What works? Immediately post workout get yourself a nice fast acting protein, for example whey protein in the form of a shake so that it is absorbed quickly. Within that 30-45min window, you’ll also need to get some high GI carbs. That’s right. Get some high GI carbs into your system to elevate insulin levels and take advantage of the fact that your muscles are highly insulin sensitive and your muscles are screaming for carbs.

If you miss out on this window, over the next few hours, your muscles actually become insulin resistant!! So make sure you get this meal in there.

3) Growth Phase

This is in between workouts. This is where your body is continuing to refuel and repair itself in readiness for the next workout.

What does this mean for you? During this phase you want a slow trickle of nutrients into your system to provide a nice steady and stable environment. A constant flow of nutrients keeps your body in a positive nitrogen balance crucial for muscle building. You need to keep supplying raw materials at a constant rate to optimise growth and recovery.

What works? Eat every 2-3 hours with a mixture of both slow acting proteins and carbohydrates. This is where low GI carbs are extremely important, but also slow absorbing proteins. A slow acting protein is one that takes a little longer to digest, a whey protein shake for example is absorbed quickly while a chicken breast takes a little longer to digest.

From the above, you can see that what you eat and at what time can be critical for your results from training. As we go over the macronutrients in the coming articles, keep in mind the critical aspect of timing in determining where they fit into the success of your personal nutrition plan.

If you have any questions regarding the content above or are interested in getting your diet plan looked at, The Courage Corner is also available for these services.