Welcome to the first edition of 'ASK the Fitness Super Brain' (FSB for short) where all of life's tough questions are answered! The FSB is here to answer questions about life, love, fitness, business, and sexiness to help you live your most awesome life. Today we are going to answer 2 great questions that were submitted by you guys! And if you have a question, make sure to submit it HERE. Don't be shy, you can remain anonymous!
"I bought protein powder because I don't like to eat a lot of meat. My question is when do I drink it before workout or later? Also can I have protein powder twice in a day? What happens if I take protein powder & don't workout that day?? So many questions smile emoticon"
These are all great questions and I'm glad to answer all of them! First you must understand that protein (whey, soy, casein, etc.) are all considered 'food supplements' meaning they are used in place of food when you can't get enough of a certain nutrient (protein in this case) from normal foods. In this way, food supplements are basically used to 'fill in the gaps' in a normal healthy diet.
That said, protein powder is a delicious alternative to meat if you aren't getting enough protein in your diet. The recommended daily intake should be roughly .7-1.0 x your bodyweight in grams. For example, if you weight 150lbs you should aim for 105-150grams of protein each day. The lower end is okay on non-workout days and if you only workout once or twice a week and are relatively sedentary most of the day. If you are an athlete, highly active, or on a low-calorie diet it is important to aim for the upper number to maintain and build muscle mass and aid in recovery.
If you have trouble hitting that number while you are decreasing overall caloric intake then having a shake twice a day is a-okay! There are no adverse effects to consuming protein twice a day or on non-workout days as long as you aren't consuming TOO MUCH protein which would be over 2.5x bodyweight in grams and even then that would have to be on a daily basis. Most people will never have to worry about getting too much!
Having a protein shake circa your workout (e.g. before or after) is personal preference. Research has shown that the timing of shakes isn't that important and ultimately your daily/weekly/monthly intake will be a better indicator of overall results. If you tend to get hungry before/during your workout I recommend having a shake beforehand and if you tend to get hangry post-workout then wait till after. Protein helps keep you satiated and stave off hunger so you won't crave eating a dozen donuts!
One caveat is that protein still contains calories so if you aren't decreasing overall caloric intake from the other nutrients (fat and carbs) the extra calories will still add up. REMEMBER, CALORIES COUNT!
"Ok! Sex is a big unspoken topic! Craving sex and certain foods are connected. Please explain. Help me with the food part and I'll work on the other!"
- Shy Superhero
Your body has cravings which are likely due to nutritional deficiencies, bacterial deficiencies, emotional or physical deficiencies. All of these deficiencies send signals to your brain to bring in what is needed most. Hormones or chemicals are the messenger for the deficiencies.
More specifically our "sex" hormones are big players in our food cravings. According to research on the effects of sex on our brain, during a positive sexual experience your body releases many chemicals:
Dopamine- is the "feel good" chemical
Serotonin - can regulate mood and act as an anti-depressant. You feel happy and well balanced when this is released.
Adrenaline - this increases your heart rate and dilates arteries to increase blood flow to your muscles during sex.
Prolactin - disengages you from sex after an orgasm, allowing you to think of other things besides the fact that there is a naked body in front of you.
HGH and DHEA - are released during orgasim to help repair, renew and rebuild cells.
Testosterone - rules your sexual drive before and after sex.
Phenylethylamine - will trigger the release of dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain making you feel blissful and excited.
Oxytocin - is known as the "cuddling hormone" because it causes you to want touch and connection with your partner.
Endorphins - neurotransmitters that deliver feelings of euphoria and pleasure, and an overall calming sensation.
Now how do these chemicals affect hunger cravings....
With a mixture of these hormones and chemicals a feeling or sensation of a high can occur. Mind you, this is with positive sexual encounters and sex where you have an orgasim.
Everyone is different when it comes to how they feel after sex.
Sex can be a common occurrence for you and a breeze, where you are left feeling happy, calm and sleepy. Cravings for food could be to replenish energy levels (especially after a rigors romp in the sack). Craving for carbs could appear to give a quick burst of energy or you associate sleepy and calmness to increased carb intake.
Then again, sex with your partner may not be so easy, and it could be a stressful situation. These hormones and chemicals play out differently then. Stress can result in higher cortisol levels which can lead to you craving food as comfort after sex. If you don't reach an orgasim then chemicals like oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins may never be released. Which may NOT leave you in a calm and relaxed state.
"I feel my cravings are never the same!"
All in all we are all different creatures and have different sexual encounters. People may crave certain foods after sex, while others may not. These craving could very well have a strong connection to your hormones. If you are really interested in figuring out your cravings and where and why they occur, then keep a cravings journal.
Have the journal with you and whenever a craving hits at any time of day, write how you feel, where you were, what was happening and what the craving was. You may be able to pick up on craving triggers in your life.