By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
(Third of three parts)
Every year, we hear and make the same New Year’s resolutions, and invariably health and wellness make the list. Most people make losing weight or getting back to the gym a priority—until around February, when people at the gym start dropping like flies and the only ones left are those who were there the year before.
To help you stick to your resolution and excel in health and wellness, the Birmingham Times turned to Kevin Brown, founder of downtown Birmingham’s Xtreme Fitness and Performance, and one of his fellow trainers, Valie Slater.
BT: Let’s talk about some recent fads and trends, such as protein shakes.
Slater: All of them aren’t created equal so you have to do your research or consult with somebody that may have a little bit of knowledge about the right ones to get. Most of them are just taking your money.
Brown: The supplement game is a multimillion-dollar industry, so you have to think about the fact that they’re not all created equal. When I’m looking for a protein [shake], I want to make sure it’s not loaded with sugar; a lot of them are just buckets of sugar. At the end of the day, supplement companies are in business to make money, so a lot of the things in these bottles and jugs just don’t need to be in them.
It’s all about healthy eating. You have to make sure you’re putting the proper fuel and food in your body. Protein shakes are just a supplement. You don’t say, ‘I’m not going to eat these meals and I’m going to do protein shakes.’ [Protein shakes] are something quick you can do, say, right after your workout and if you’re not going to have your next meal until maybe an hour or so after your workout.
When we look for protein shakes, we make informed choices: they are National Science Foundation (NSF) stamped, trusted for sport, and contain no banned substances; we also ensure that what’s on the label is exactly what’s in the product. Always make sure you do your research or get with someone who is knowledgeable about what you need and what needs to be in the particular protein shake.
When you work out and exercise, you’re basically ripping your muscles apart, so protein is a building block to help those muscles repair themselves. Let’s say we have a client who wants to build muscle, that’s the best way to do it: we rip those muscles up with resistance training, so [they need to get] good protein. The average person is not going to sit around and eat a lot of chicken every day to get the proper grams of protein they need in their body, so that’s where a good supplement fits in.
BT: What about veganism and vegetarianism?
Slater: Just being honest about the whole meat thing, it’s a secondary source of protein anyway. Let’s say you eat beef, you’re getting the protein the cow ingested from eating all those leafy green vegetables. So, to be honest, that’s our biggest and main source of protein. You don’t necessarily have to look toward meat for protein. At the same time, [if you choose to not eat meat], you have to educate yourself, which can be a little more time consuming because you have to do research and find the proper vegetables to eat on the regular to get the proper amounts and types of protein.
For more information about Xtreme Fitness and Performance, call 205-687-0090 or visit their downtown Birmingham location: 1509 3rd Ave. S, Birmingham, AL 35233.