Protein and Protein Powder

Protein and Protein Powder

Let’s talk protein.

Any weight loss program, as well as all exercise programs, rely on a protein-rich diet. Why you wonder?

Well, first off I think that I need to start at the beginning and explain the basics about protein and then build from there.

Importance of protein
Protein is found in every cell, muscle, tissue and organ in our body. The body needs protein for:

  • Growth (as in muscles)
  • Maintenance and repair of our cells
  • Metabolism (as in an increased one)
  • Digestion
  • To help transport nutrients and oxygen within the blood
  • Fight against infection
  • And, on a more aesthetic level it is the main nutrient that keeps our hair shiny and healthy, our nails strong, our skin looking fresh and glowing and our bones strong and healthy. (

What is protein?

Protein itself is actually chains of other molecules called amino acids. There are 22 amino acids in total in the body.  Thirteen of them non-essential, meaning our bodies are capable of making these little guys on their own, and nine which are deemed essential because we need to ingest these aminos through the foods that we eat.

When we eat the right foods, these nine amino acids will get reassembled to form the different types of protein that our body needs.  (



What foods contain these nine essential amino acids?

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • And, soybeans provide all nine amino acids and are therefore called “complete proteins”.

Plant sources, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, grain products and many vegetables have some, but not all, of the nine amino acids, and are so termed “incomplete proteins.” When combined, though, it is possible to get all nine without having to eat any animal products (great news for all you vegetarians out there).

A diet high in protein is a very successful weight loss technique, and a tried and true method for fitness-enthusiasts looking to maintain a lean body weight and a high muscle mass.

In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their daily diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost about 11 pounds over the 12-week study – and that was without employing any other dietary measures! (

Worried about what all that extra protein in your body might do to your heart and vessels, though?

No need to. In another study, this time at John Hopkins University, they found that a diet in which roughly a quarter of the calories came from lean protein sources actually reduced blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides better than a traditional higher-carb diet.  (

However, if you have any kidney or liver problems it’s best to seek the advice of a nutritionist before increasing your daily protein.

[bctt tweet=”Calories from protein affect your appetite control center so you are more satiated and satisfied. “]

How much protein should you be taking?
To get the number of grams of protein per day that you should be eating use the following formula:

For women:

  • If you’re not very active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 0.8
  • If you’re active or pregnant: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.3
  • If you’re extremely active & in training: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.8

For men:

  • If you’re not very active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.0
  • If you’re active: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 1.5
  • If you’re extremely active & in training: multiply your body weight (in kg) by 2.0

(Tip: To find your body weight in kg divide your weight in pounds by 2.2)

Easiest way to get protein
Protein powder is the easiest way to introduce 20-30 grams  of pure protein into your system. A quality protein powder will have all the essential and nonessential amino acids that your body needs.

Wondering why we would need those nonessential amino acids, when our bodies are already capable of making them on its own?

Well, let me remind you that when we exercise, we place a great deal of stress on the body and need to supplement to offset this stress. The body can’t do it all on it’s own when outside it’s normal parameters – you need to give it some help. This is also true if you lead a high stress lifestyle, or are ill, or do not practice proper nutrition. In fact, the unhealthier you are, the more you need protein.

Protein powder is also convenient and has a very high bioavailability (BV). Foods, especially protein sources, are rated by their “bioavailability” – how useful that food is to the body. The theoretical highest BV of any food source is 100%, an egg being the standard measurement that all protein sources are held to. BV refers to how well and how quickly your body can actually use the protein that you just consumed.

funny protein shake photo


Eggs (whole) 100%
Eggs (white) 88%
Chicken/Turkey 79%
Fish 70%
Lean Beef 69%
Cow’s Milk 60%
Unpolished rice 59%
Brown rice 57%
White rice 56%
Peanuts 55%
Peas 55%
Whole Wheat 49%
Soy beans 47%
Whole-grain wheat 44%
Corn 36%
Dry beans 34%
White potatoe 34%


Whey Protein Isolate 100+%
Whey Protein Concentrate 90%
Casein 80%
Soy 74%
Rice Protein 59%

Let’s talk protein powder.

Whey Protein Powders

Whey protein is a dairy derived product. It is the ‘leftovers’ after milk coagulates and is the byproduct of the process of cheese making. It is, by far, the most popular of all of the protein powders.

It has the highest BV rating of any of the other powders
– Easiest powder to find at the grocery store and health food store
-bMixes well with water, juice, milk and milk substitutes
– Is fat-free

There are 3 types of whey powders on the market: concentrate, isolate & hydrolyzed:

Concentrate forms are low in fat & cholesterol, but your body only absorbs 55-60% of it (concentrate has the lowest BV of the whey protein powders). This is also the cheapest powder that you can buy.

Isolate forms
are a purer form of protein and have been processed less than concentrate forms. Isolate also has a very high BV rating (100%) and it won’t bloat you or give you gas like the lower quality concentrate will. However, you will pay for these benefits.

protein powder is isolate, but with a facelift. The whey protein is cut into smaller chunks called “peptides”. These peptides absorb into your body fast, offering a quick jump-start to repairing those muscles and a very high BV. But this is also the most expensive protein powder. Think of hydrolyzed as your porterhouse steak, isolate as your sirloin and the concentrate as your flank. I love isolate powders personally. But, if you find you get bloated, or feel “too full” after a shake then hydrolyzed is your powder.


  • High amounts of protein should not be taken by people with pre-existing kidney problems
  • If you have an allergy to diary, consult with a dietician, or your doctor, before taking whey protein
  • If you are increasing the amount of protein in your diet, be sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day – protein uses a lot of water within the body to metabolize.


Casein Protein Powder

  • Milk consists of three main components – water, fats and proteins. The proteins are whey and casein.  Casein, however, is structurally different than the whey protein and it is responsible for the white, opaque appearance of milk.


  • Casein is extremely slow at digesting
  • This makes it the best protein powder for right before bed, or anytime when you are not going to be eating for seven or more hours. A drink with 20-30 grams of casein powder will help prevent muscle catabolism and keep you satisfied.


  • Same as the pro – it is slow-acting, so not the best choice for right after a workout, or as a morning meal.

Soy Protein Powder

  • Soy protein comes from, surprise, soybeans


  • Great alternative for people who cannot, or will not, eat whey protein
  • The vegan choice for powders


  • If you can, I would recommend staying away from soy protein powder. It has a low BV rating and is high in allergens.
  • It has also been researched that more soy we eat, the more likely we can develop allergies to it.
  • Soy was once considered a waste product in the soy oil industry and fed to cows.
  • If you need to, or want to, eat a vegetarian-based protein supplement, then I recommend chlorella, hemp seed, or spirulina. These three are considered “super foods” because they contain the proper ratios of the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. I, personally, take 3 grams of spirulina a day and 4-6 grams of chlorella (more during the flu season to up my immunity), in addition to an isolated whey protein shake.

Rice Protein Powder

  • Standard cooked rice has a protein content of only 5%-7%. To make concentrated rice protein, whole brown rice is ground into flour and then mixed with water. Natural enzymes are then added to break down and separate out the carbohydrates and fibers from the protein portion of the slurry.


  • Rice protein is high in the amino acids cysteine and methionine
  • Great for vegans


  • Other than cysteine and methionine, rice protein is low in the other 6 essential amino acids


When is the best time for a protein shake?

I prefer mine right after my workouts. When you workout you are actually creating tiny microscope tears to the muscle tissue. Because solid food takes time to digest, and I want those amino acids found in protein to build the muscle tissue ASAP that I just broke down, so a protein shake is my answer.

Protein, in particular the branched chained amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine, are key at re-building the muscle tissue.

Recent research also suggests that there is a 30-60 minute window of opportunity to get the greatest benefit, and since it only takes about 30 minutes for my body to break down the protein chains in a powdered form, this leaves me assured that my shake is delivering the nutrients that I need, at a time that my body needs them most.(

What brands do I use?

  • Quest – this one contains sucralose, but tastes great with just water. I have also mixed the Strawberry in mny plain Greek yogurt to liven it up.
  • Vega – this one is vegan and needs milk, milk sub like almond milk to make it taste good. I also find it needs to be put in the blender with some ice too. This is the cleanest protein powder on the market, however not the tastiest.
  • Cellucor – this one contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium. So, not a “clean” powder, but tastes great mixed just with water. All the others need almond milk – or whatever milk sub you drink – to make the shake taste good.
  • North Coast Naturals – they carry a whey as well as a vegan formula and it does not taste great in water alone either. Mixed with a milk or milk sub, though, it’s really good.
  • Promisal – this is the powder II have used in the past! It tastes amazing in just water. I recommend the soft-serve vanilla, dutch chocolate and the cookies and cream. You can buy this online, or at GNC.
  • Devotion – hands down this is the BEST powder I have had in the 20 years of purchasing protein powder. It mixes amazing-balls with water alone. It is creamy, mixes well and tastes amazing.
  • One tip though, purchase the one sweetened with stevia. The other, sweetened with sucralose, is super sweet. I much prefer stevia.








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30-Minute Total Body Tubing Workout

30-Minute Total Body Tubing Workout

An amazing client and FWPJ member requested a tubing workout so that she and her loving husband could keep up with their fitness while travelling.

Wow. How could I say no to that??

Today’s Tough Love Tuesday Workout is the BEST workout to do while travelling, or if you can’t/don’t want to purchase equipment (like dumbbells) for your home.

Tubing is:

  • Inexpensive
  • Packs well
  • Is lightweight
  • Does not take up a lot of space

I always travel with my tubing, my tubing door attachment, my GymBoss timer and a skipping rope. It’s a no-brainer when I pack.

Total Body Tubing Workout

For this workout, and whenever working with tubing really, I recommend a tubing door attachment.

These handy little attachments will enable you to turn a door into a full workout area. You can do so many more exercises when using a door attachment with your tubing.

To purchase, head to your local fitness store, you will find them there running for less than $10. Click here to check them out and I also chat about them at the beginning of the workout video.

As for exercise tubing, I only use this brand. It is, hands down, the best type of exercise tubing that you can buy. The resistance is steady and the handles and tubing are sold separately, so you can really adjust the intensity and resistance for each exercise. It’s the same tubing I use in the video below.

These are also awesome workouts to do when travelling:


Total Body Tubing Workout - Fitness with PJ full workout

Have you seen my new Sunday blog series, A Trainer’s Weekly Menu?

Each week I am now blogging what meals I planning, what I am prepping and all the recipes I am using. In addition, I also have a free download to help you with your weekly meal planning.

 Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 4

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 4

Meal planning is a must if you are busy, like to eat healthier, want to avoid the “what am/we going to eat tonight” and keep the inches off.

For over 20 years I have used Sunday as my planning and prep day (however I have now moved it to Saturday for this blog), and I credit this one weekly act to me being able to fit in the same size pants as I did when I was 30, at 45.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here. <<<

Notes about last week’s meals

  • Read Week 3 blog here.
  • The Blueberry Lemon Quinoa cereal was AMAZING!! This is now going to be a regular part of my breakfast rotation. It made 4 servings, so next time I will add a 1/4 cup more quinoa and 1/2 cup almond milk to give me the full 5 days of prep.
  • Vegan Chili in the slow cooker was also a hit. However, loving husband had to douse his in ketchup, and add a half a sleeve of crackers to eat it. I told him to suck it up, though, cause it made enough for another night’s meal and to expect it again in the near future. He was thrilled.
  • I also loved my lunch choice for the week, Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoe Chicken & Quinoa Soup. It was so easy to make. One thing, though, mine was more like a stew than a soup. I didn’t measure out the 5 cups of broth like the recipe stated. I just poured a 1L tetra box in, but apparently this is not even close to 5 cups. But, I still ate it and I will definitely make it again – but not anytime soon. It made a TON and I froze about another week’s worth for the future.

TRAINER TIP: People are loving this sandbag workout I released last week. Click here to check it out.




  • What to prep for this week’s breakfast was a no-brainer. I am going to make my Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal that I released on Friday.
  • I think I may add a couple of scoops of vanilla protein powder too.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal - Fitness with PJ


  • I am going to prep one of my favourite kale salad recipes (next to this one from week 1), Asian Kale Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod (I adore this blog).
  • Instead of Newman’s Own Dressing (like the recipe states) I use Tamari Sesame Dressing by Tan-J, and I will use baby kale as I find it is not as “rough” as regular kale.
  • As for the edamame, you can buy them already shelled and cooked in the freezer aisle – brilliant – so I just pull, thaw and add to the salad right away.
  • In addition, I will bake some tofu and add to the salad when I plate it each day.
  • I am addicted to baked tofu! To make it it is quite easy:
    • Drain a block of firm or extra firm tofu. To drain the tofu (and therefore ensure that you have crispy, baked crouton-like tofu pieces), I place the block of tofu in a towel and wrap the towel around it, then I place a large book on the top, with a five pound dumbbell on top of that. I let it sit for 15-minutes to an hour and viola! Drained tofu.
    • Cube tofu and place in a ziplock baggie.
    • In baggie add: Bragg’s Soy Seasoning, sesame oil (just a little bit), grated ginger and garlic and let it marinate for as long as you can in the fridge (sorry, I do not measure any of this. I freehand it all, baby.)
    • When ready to bake, place on a non-stick cookie sheet, preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
    • One block will last me for 4 lunch meals.

Asian Kale Salad – Two Peas and their Pod





  • We did take-out last night (it was PIZZA night!!), so tonight will be low key and light and easy. You see, I am all about checks and balances. If I eat a little poorly one meal I eat fairly clean the next. I love me a good cheat night and they are not there to reward me for eating well the rest of the week. I love eating well all week too. I want people to think of food as a pleasurable act, not a reward system for working out, or eating kale salad all week. Eat well and your body will only crave good food. You will not crave salt, sugar or crap. That’s how I roll and after SO many years on a diet I am loving my new philosophy and have not been more fit or healthy because of it.
  • I am going to make some Garlic Avocado Toasts for me (another recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod) and use 2 slices of Squirrelly Bread from Silver Hills Bakery (the only bread I eat, when I eat bread), and add a poached egg on top. Click here for the easiest way to poach an egg in the microwave.
  • For loving husband I will make him two fried egg sandwiches (he does not like his yolk runny, nor will he eat Squirrelly bread or touch an avocado, let alone eat one smashed all over his crappy brown bread.).
  • Don’t freak out cause I wrote the word fried, either. I simply spray my frying pan with some EVOO and fry the eggs. That’s it.


  • Meatless Monday has arrived, or as loving husband likes to think of it, “his worst day of the week”.
  • Once again Mr. Meat Eater and picky-as-hell loving husband will have to suffer with veggies and in tonight’s case the leftover Vegan Chili from last week.
  • However, he did tell that he is still recovering from the fact that he almost ate a mushroom last week, when we had the chili. I did what any loving wife would do and rolled my eyes and walked out of the room before I could throw something at him.

>>> Download your FREE weekly meal planner here. <<<



  • I work late Wednesdays so I always need fast and easy for our Wednesday night dinners.
  • Salmon burgers are on the menu using my favourite rub that I bought at Coastal Olive Oil.
  • Loving husband will get a bun and I will use use a bib lettuce leaf instead. I try to avoid bread, pastas and rice. I find this is the quickest way to stomach bloat, a general feeling of yuck and inches added around the waistline. All of which does not make me feel good.
  • On Sunday I will bake some baby potatoes in rosemary to re-heat as a side dish. And, I will also add a scoop of a kale salad to our meal so that loving husband at least gets one vegetable serving today.

TRAINER TIP: looking to add some more cardio into your life, but hate running? Try this workout. You can do it in your living room and it will get you just as sweaty as a 40-minute run. Trainer’s promise.

[bctt tweet=”Your body is a result of the choices you make. #healthylife”]



  • I have one serving of spaghetti sauce in the freezer, so I will make loving husband his favourite meal (I may even buy him some meatballs from the local butcher at Thrifty Foods. If I do, I surely will win Wife of the Year this time. Never won it yet though in 21 years.).
  • This will keep him happy while I try this recipe, Creamy Avocado-Spinach Pesto Zoodles, from The Iron You. This is one of the few food blogs out there written by a guy, and he’s cute as a button too. I’ve been reading his blog for a while and it is one of the best out there. I, also, love his avatar. You don’t see younger guys in a suit tie much anymore.
  • Anyways, this recipe looks really good and I love me a good spiralizer recipe.
  • Of course, my whole meal is going to gross loving husband out. In fact, he claims he can’t even watch me eat tomatoes and says he is still traumatized from the time I used real Roma tomatoes to make a spaghetti sauce. Sigh.

Creamy Avocado-Spinach Pesto Zoodles – The Iron You

Read more:


Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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