cross-training

How to Pick a Protein Powder

Most at some point wonder if they need a protein powder to help their training efforts, and that depends on your goals and current diet. Endurance based athletes have different needs from power/strength based athletes. Due to this I decided to write a post detailing what protein powder is, if you need it, and how to pick a safe protein powder.

Sponsored post by Naked Nutrition, all opinions are 100% my own

What Are Protein Powders?

Protein powders come in various forms. If you stop by your local health store and you’ll see rows of protein powders. The main ones are whey, soy, and casein protein. Of course, there are many others, but these tend to be the most common, specifical whey due to it being a water-soluble protein.

Along with types of protein powders they also come with varying price points, and this is due to the varying quality of the protein powders. For the casual athlete who doesn’t have a specific need at a certain time, the less expensive and more commercial proteins will be enough.

For those understand certain training schedules protein powder can be useful. They’re an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality protein.

When Use Them?

When you’re growing. A teenager is going to need more protein to help fuel his workouts because his body is still growing and using more protein in general

When you’re starting a workout regimen. If working out is new to you and you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would.

When you’re amping up your workouts. If you normally work out for thirty minutes a couple times a week, but you’ve switched to training for a half-marathon, your body will naturally require more protein.

When you’re recovering from an injury. Athletes with sports injuries will need more protein to help aide the body in the healing process.

If you’re going vegan. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle end up eliminating a majority of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.  

Protein Math

Even though the above are valid reasons for trying to incorporate more protein into your diet, it may not be necessary. It doesn’t take that much protein to achieve the average goals. Most Americans already get about 15% of their daily calories in protein. To build a pound of muscle, the body needs between 10 and 14 additional grams of protein per day. Which really isn’t a lot, especially since some powders have 80 grams of protein per serving. You don’t need that, your body can’t even process that much in a serving.

So how can you tell if you’re getting enough? Do the math.

The following recommendation come from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
  • Those taking part in recreational athletics need 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
  • Competitive athletes need 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and those involved in ultra-endurance sports may need up to 2.0g per kilogram per day.

Say you’re an adult athlete who wants to build muscle mass, and you weigh about 75 kilograms (165 pounds). The most protein you would need per day is 150 grams. That sounds like a lot. But one 4-ounce hamburger contains 30 grams of protein, 6 ounces of tuna has 40 grams, and a single ounce of cheddar cheese has 7 grams.

How to Use Protein Powders

If you calculate your intake and determine that you’re not getting enough for your athletic needs (some signs of too-low protein intake: you’re unusually fatigued, feel weak when lifting weight or doing other strenuous activity, or are recovering from injuries slowly) how can you best use protein powders to help you improve your performance?

First, ignore those who say to take protein right after a workout. Before, during, and after a workout your body needs carbs. They fuel your body and it’s what your muscles run on. This isn’t to say protein isn’t important, but research is showing that at that point the body needs fuel with a 4-1 to 5-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Given that most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per scoop, you’d need about 80 grams of carbs to go with that scoop to get the proportion of nutrients right.

It’s due to this ratio that many recommend chocolate milk after a workout since it hits this ratio. 

How to Pick a Safe On

When choosing your protein powder the type (whey, casein, soy, etc.) depends on when you plan to consume it. Beyond that, there are other criteria that are a bit more important. 

For example, some protein powder’s have fillers, lack essential amino acids, and don’t use quality ingredients in general. Because of this, I trust Naked Nutrition to deliver the purest ingredients with all of the essential amino acids without any artificial sweeteners or colors. 

My personal favorite is the Naked Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder. It tastes great and mixes perfectly into my post-workout smoothie. Since adding the Naked Chocolate PB to my recovery routine I’ve noticed a difference in my recovery time between training sessions, and when coming back from an injury this is even more crucial than normal. So if you’re looking for a quality protein poweder that you can rely on, I highly recommend one form Naked Nutrition.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Amazing Health Benefits of a Stationary Bike

Have you ever felt the need to strengthen your lower body or felt like having an equipment that could take care of your fitness needs even when you were feeling lazy in the gym? If your answer is yes, then there is an exercise machine to answer these questions for you – spin bike!

Almost all gyms have a spin bike in them and it looks like a usual exercise bike, which is a stationary cycle that comes with a saddle, pedals, handlebars and a display monitor that shows your heart rate, calories burnt, speed and other details. Apart from this, spin bikes have amazing health benefits which we will share with you in this article.

Great For Cardio Workout

Cardio does not mean just running on the treadmill, sometimes you do need a change. If you do the same exercise daily, your body will become immune to it and it will start having less effect on your metabolism. Cycling on a spin bike can be a great option for your cardio workout as it has great cardiovascular benefits and helps to strengthen your heart and respiratory system without going overboard with it.

Increases Strength in Lower Body

Cycling mostly focuses on strengthening the muscles within your lower body. You can choose to increase or decrease the resistance level depending on your level of comfort. This will help in effectively strengthening and training the lower body. When you start cycling on a spin bike on a regular basis, it will help you in burning fats and exerting your muscles easily. Cycling leads to constant expansion and contraction of your muscles and helps to build the muscles in your lower body.

Lose Weight Faster

Everyone wants to lose weight these days to look fit and reduce their love handles. Cycling on a spin bike will help you in toning down the excess fats in your body and burn the large number of calories. It also helps to strengthen and build your muscles. All you need to do is regularly cycle on a spin bike for close to 20-30 minutes daily, and maintain the consistency.

4.  Improves motion of joints

Cycling on a spin bike helps to improve your joint mobility especially in areas of your knees, ankles, and hips. Everytime you paddle, these joints rotate and helps to strengthen the mobility in the long run.

5. Toned lower body

You might have seen how toned and beautiful the legs and butt of a cyclist are. If you cycle regularly, it will affect the areas of your quads, calves and glutes and help you in sculpting them to shape. Cycling helps to tone down the muscles of your lower body, primarily focusing on your inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, shins and glute muscles.

6. Energy booster

Spin bikes are also called mood lifters. They help in improving the user’s mood and also boosts their level of energy to a considerable extent. It also helps one in reducing stress. You can cycle on a spin bike even when you are watching your favourite show on TV or talking to someone. It further improves the user’s mental health.

Cycling on a stationary bike such as a spin bike not only helps you to loss weight and strengthen your muscles but overall improves your health. Research says that those who cycle regularly, tend to live two years longer than a non-biker and also suffer from 15% less chronic illness. Apart from improving your cardiovascular health, it also helps in improving your overall internal health.


Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Get Ready To Improve Your Running Performance With A Bike

When it comes to running, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, there are some plenty of tips that you didn’t even think you needed. We have touched on the most obvious of them in a previous article on runningsolegirl.com. For a start, a healthy runner, needs to pick the right attire, which means that you need to choose shoes that can absorb the shock and protect your knees and ankles from getting injured. When you run, you need to accept that you are investing in your health. Consequently, you have to be ready to pay the full price for a pair of shoes that will help you to prevent injuries. But naturally, embracing the running side of life doesn’t stop there. Your body goes through a lot, especially if you decide to run long distances. You need to adapt your diet to your workout requirements so that you can fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform. However, you can also improve your running performance with a bike. Want to see how? Read below.

Pick the Right Bike for Your Needs

Just like running requires the right equipment, cycling does too. However, the kind of bike you need will depend on your cycling abilities and preferences. Are you a road cyclist or are you an off-road enthusiast? If you fancy the idea of cycling along natural tracks in the countryside, you might need to studies some of the mountain bike reviews from mountainbikesreviewed.com to find out everything you need from brake power to suspension. As a rule of the thumb, runners need a light to a medium-light bike that is suitable for road and slightly out of the beaten track trails so that you can follow your usual running route. Stay away from heavy bikes, and pick instead bikes that offer a responsive, stable and smooth riding experience.

Bikes Offer a Friendly Training Option

Contrary to running, cycling offers a joint-friendly alternative, that is very helpful if you’re recovering from an injury or if you suffer from painful joints. In truth, cycling regularly can help your joints to become stronger and can gradually help you to prevent the development of long-term weaknesses such as arthritis. More importantly, it keeps your muscles active even through a recovery period, which makes it the ideal activity to maintain your strength without causing your body any further damage.

Bikes Can Develop Your Endurance

Last, but not least, cycling offers an ideal combination of strength and endurance; which can help you to improve your performance. Cycling long distances with periods of sprints is a preferred training method for runners who want to maximize their endurance. Since it gradually develops your muscles to sustain a bigger effort. Additionally, there’s no denying that cycling helps your lung capacity to grow; which is exactly what you need when you are running long distances. You will find yourself feeling less out of breath and able to tackle more sizeable running challenges. As surprising as it might sound; one of the best training approaches for a marathon is to go cycling, a lot!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Guest Post: Why Every Runner Needs Proper Cross-Training

So you want to become faster this year? What should you? Most people simply start running more. However, unless you’re an elite athlete, you don’t really need to run more than three (or maybe four) times a week.

So in addition to running, you should do some proper cross-training as well. Cross training will surely keep you motivated to get all of your workouts complete. There are numerous advantages of cross training, including (but not limited to) avoiding burnout and injuries.

What’s more, if you start focusing on a completely different group of muscles (that you may not work enough when you’re running) will ensure that you will become a better and stronger athlete from top to bottom.

But is every cross training technique helpful? As it is with anything in life, cross-training has its downsides. So before you start hitting the gym, you need to ask one question – does this exercise involve moving your pelvis?

The Proper Movement of the Pelvis

This is simply the most important part of healthy running. The frontal and transverse planes of your pelvis need to move properly (it moves sort of like a seesaw, from side to side).

If you spend too much time on exercises that hold it still, you’ll eventually start moving more slowly and become more prone to injuries. Also, keep this in mind – your brain memorizes movements. So if you manage to strengthen your muscles and learn all the right movements, then you’ll be both strong and mobile enough to run better.

Naturally, if you want to cross-train properly, you need to make some serious lifestyle changes, including changing your diet, timing your meals and getting used to careful meal prep.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand – first you need to learn about the right exercises – because if you learn and practice the wrong ones, even if you manage to strengthen the right muscles your training will still be useless. So let’s look at a short list of some cross-training activities, and see how they’ll help you become a better runner.

Why Every Runner Needs Yoga

  • The Big Benefits

Yoga can improve your strength and mobility, especially of your hip joints and core, especially in warrior poses and sun salutations. And if you pay special attention to all the different kinds of movement your pelvis makes, and allow it to move more, yoga will be even more effective.

  • The Possible Downsides

While there are no huge downsides of yoga, you don’t actually need to spend more than two to three hours a week practicing yoga. Only a small amount of it will do the job – so don’t overdo it.

Why Every Runner Needs Swimming

  • The Big Benefits

Freestyle swimming is great for runners for one main reason – it helps them line themselves up from foot to head. But you’ll maybe have to consult a trainer; because you’ll need to do everything properly (proper freestyle involves rolling side to side and lengthening one side first and then the other).

  • The Possible Downsides

However, the effectiveness of swimming mostly depends on what stroking technique you use. For instance, some strokes that doesn’t involve a lot of turning like the butterfly and especially breaststroke are actually not beneficial at all.

Why Every Runner Needs Strength Training

  • The Big Benefits

Most strength enhancing exercises involve spiral movement, balance and of course, turning – all of which are essential to running. And when it comes to pelvis movements, one great exercise for this is pulling a cable and creating resistance while you turn – this will move your pelvis a lit and strengthen your core.

  • The Possible Downsides

On the other hand, you need to pay special attention to small details, because training on machines that don’t move your pelvis at all can be bad for your running abilities. So before you start using certain machines, you’ll need to evaluate the equipment and learn what it does for your body.

Final Thoughts

Those are just a couple of reasons why every runner needs strength training. So what do you think about our list? Do you maybe have a different cross-training routine? If you do, you should definitely leave a comment in the section bellow and share it with the rest of us.

3 Tips For Cross Training

A common mistake I see many people make is that they don’t cross-train. I get it; it’s not fun, but it’s super important. For example, if you’re a runner, you obviously need strong legs, but you also need a strong core, strong glutes, and even strong arms. Which is why even though running is great, it shouldn’t be all that you do. Here are my three tips for cross-training without spending hours in the gym.

Read the Post

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Latest from Instagram

Copyright © 2018 · Theme by 17th Avenue