Power Nutrition Q&A - Part Four!

In this issue of the power nutrition q & a you will learn about healty, protein rich cereals, all about the amount of protein you should consume and its importance, which protein bars are right for you and more...
Note: This is part four, click here to view all parts!

My question is in regards to breakfast cereals. I really like eating them in the morning as it is quick and helps keep me going throughout the day. One thing that I noticed is that most cereals even some of the healthier ones out there are pretty low in protein. Are there any new high protein cereals out there that would be good for powerlifters?

If you can let me know that would be great because you always seem to have all the answers. If you could let me know which ones you recommend to your clients I would really appreciate it. Thanks for providing us with so much nutritional insight, as I have to agree it is no doubt the most overlooked area in powerlifting.

So you like a nice bowl of cereal in the morning do ya? Actually you are right, it's quick and if you get a good brand it will be healthy as well. You are in luck today, as I will lay out for you the 411 on high protein breakfast cereals. If you have ever looked at the nutrient breakdown on the box of most cereals you will see that they are very deficient in protein. Now this can be off shot with a protein shake on the side or an omelet, but what do you do if you still want to get more protein from your cereal?

The key here is to get a high protein cereal that will provide you with a high quality protein source. There a now many different kinds of high protein cereals on the market. You just have to know which ones to look for. Below I have laid out a chart of several different kinds of high protein cereals as well as many of the mainstream cereals that you most likely are familiar with and their protein breakdown for a 300-calorie serving size.

High Protein Cereals Grams of Protein
New Paradigm Foods 14.2
Soy-N-Grits 25.8
Kashi Go Lean 14.2
Soy-N-Energy 20
NeXtra Protein Crunch 40.2
Cranberry Protein 36.4
Regular Protein Crunch 50
Nutlettes 53.6
Mainstream Cereals Grams of Protein
Smart Start 5
Total 8.6
Special K 16.6
Cheerios 8.6
Corn Flakes 5.8
Shredded Wheat 9

As you can see there are quite a few high protein cereals available so if you are interested in boosting your protein intake from your cereal you now have the option to do so. You may not be able to find all of these in your grocery store, as many are only available at health food stores. I hope that I have given you the info that you needed to get a boost of protein with your newfound cereals.

I read your column all the time and I will say that you are really trying to change the way powerlifters eat. What's up with that? I just wanted to let you know that I really disagree with all your nutritional theories for powerlifters. I saw that you recommend at least 1 gram of protein per pound of weight for the serious powerlifter.

I have read that you need more than half a gram per pound that you weigh to maintain your health. So what gives, why are you recommending so much protein in your nutrition plan? I have never consumed a gram of protein per pound but I can't see how it could make that much of a difference. Why would you recommend more than the RDA recommends? Wouldn't they know best?

It's nice to see someone out there wants to pull my chain a little. Ok you can disagree with me but where is your proof that eating such little protein will get the job done. First off the RDA was set up to give you the minimum amount of nutrients that you need to sustain life for a sedentary individual. It is hardly what a serious hard training powerlifter would need to squat upwards of 800 pounds or to take 500 pounds out of the rack and press it over and over.

Yes I do recommend at least 1 gram of protein per pound of weight for healthy powerlifters. What you have to consider here is that you cannot compare a 300-pound sedentary couch potato with a powerlifting superstar like Garry Frank. Nor can you compare a sedentary 165-pound pencil neck geek with a powerhouse like Angelo Berdanelli. To do so would be like comparing apples to oranges. It wouldn't take much of a brain to realize that the nutrient needs for the two examples are completely different.

There is no way you can compare a serious powerlifter who trains 5 days a week, who throws around thousands of pounds of tonnage per workout with someone who's most strenuous activity of the day is struggling to get the lid of his pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Yes you may disagree with my theories but at least use some common sense when you ask a question. The amount of protein that sedentary individuals need, compared with hard training strength athletes, is like night and day.

Think of the nutritional demands that training day in and day out with massive poundage places on the human body. So after considering all that do you still think that an elite powerlifter will have the same daily nutritional requirements as a couch potato that lounges around all day? Not only will these strength athletes need more protein but their intake of the other macronutrients, which are carbohydrates and fats, will also need to be increased as well. Let's not forget the micronutrient demands that training at that level causes as well.

I know that I am probably wasting my time responding to such a stupid question but I did any ways to let the readers know some of the mentalities that I sometimes have to work with. Just to let you know the earth is not flat. I thought I would throw that in just in case you had some other intelligent questions for me.

I know that you are big advocate of drinking protein shakes. My question is what is your opinion of protein bars? Are they just as good? What should I look for when buying one?

I am busy going to school and workings, so it is much more convenient for me to have a bar on the run instead of blending up a protein shake. How many can I have a day? Please get back to me so I know if I am doing something good or bad here.

I know exactly what you mean. I remember being back in university running from class to class, lab to lab, basically running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I can fully understand that when you are always on the run it can be hard to get in your protein shakes on time. Now protein bars are one of those tricky foods that you have to be careful of. There are a few reasons why this is true.

You always have to check the label when purchasing any type of protein bar. The first thing to look at is how many grams of protein it has. For the aspiring powerlifter it should have a minimum of 25 grams per bar. Otherwise you may have to eat two of them to get the protein that you need. Second if the bar has more carbohydrates then protein, leave it on the shelf.

This type of bar would be fine for those trying to go up a weight class as long as it has the minimum grams of protein that I recommended above. This is not the case though with many of them. Some may contain 35 grams of carbohydrates and only 10 grams of protein. Stay away from these types of bars as they are pretty useless for powerlifters and are more geared towards endurance athletes.

Next you want to see the type of protein that the bar contains. If it is mostly whey concentrates or isolates or Miscellar Cassein then this is good. If it is mostly soy based with a cheap casein protein than this is not your best choice. Next take a look at if it contains any gelatin protein. Some unscrupulous companies try to get away with giving you the lowest source of gelatin protein so that they can save money. If it has gelatin in it leave it alone.

Next take a look at the amount of carbs it contains and their sources. If the carbs come from complex sources like rolled oats, brown rice, and grains than this is good. But if you look at the label and the main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and glucose don't buy it. Yes it may taste good but in reality it would just be a candy bar with a little protein thrown in for good measure. This is not what you want.

Check the micronutrient spectrum on the bar as well. Does it contain a nice dose of vitamins and minerals? Taste is another factor as well. I know it can be hard to get all the above in a good tasting bar but there are a few good ones out there. When you find one that meets all my criteria there is no problem having 1-2 per day when on a busy schedule.

You have to be careful when choosing a protein bar because if you just go by what tastes good you may be setting yourself up for very little nutritional value and a thicker waistline. If you want to find out which bars that I recommend than email me and I will give you the real deal so that you don't end up eating a glorified candy bar.

I eat out quite often since my job requires me to drive quite a bit. I hate to admit it but I eat a lot of fast food even though I know its way too high in saturated fat and cholesterol. I know sooner or later its going to catch up with me so I need some advice. I want to eat healthier because I am worried about the health consequences down the road and I still want to be competitive on the platform.

What can I eat while on the run that would still be healthy and provide the right nutrients to help my powerlifting ambitions? I eat a lot of burgers and fries almost on a daily basis and I know its not doing me much good as my waist size has really increased over the last few months. Please help me out here, as I need some healthy alternatives to the horrible junk that I have been eating recently? Thanks for all your help

I work with between 10-15 athletes every day and I am always on the go. Even though half of my time is in my office, I still go from one client to another making sure that all my athletes are getting the results they need. The main thing here is that you still have to eat decently to keep your health in order. You also want to make sure that your performance isn't going to suffer due to your poor eating habits.

There are many different things that you can do to eat well even though your time is limited. With your type of schedule making your meals the night before is a must. There is no way that you are going to feel like cooking for an hour when you are up at 6 o'clock in the morning. Let's face it, unless you possess an unbelievable amount of dedication you are not going to do this day in and day out. Cook your foods ahead of time so that you won't run into this problem.

One thing that I like to do is to cook a good amount of food on a Sunday night so that for the next 3 days my food is basically taken care of. I will grill up a dozen chicken breasts, broil some fish, boil a big pot of brown rice, steam all my vegetables and voila. You now have enough food for a few days without having to go crazy trying to prepare all of them each and every day. This way you can still stick to your nutrition plan without having the stress of having to put it all together on a daily basis.

When time is of the essence you have to plan ahead to make sure that you can still get the nutrients that you need to succeed. Put all the foods in Tupperware containers and then store them in the fridge. Get another set of Tupperware that you bring with you while you are on the go. Another idea is to bring foods and supplements that are easy accessible while you are out.

Bring some hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit. These are all healthy foods that are quick but will still allow you to get the nutrients that you need. Bring your protein shakes with you so that all you have to do is add water to the shaker bottle and you have it all ready in less than a minute. When eating out there are still many health choices that you can have without having to worry about an increased cholesterol level.

At most restaurants or even fast food chains you can easily get a grilled chicken sandwich or chicken salad. A chicken pita or fajita can also serve as a healthy alternative to the burger and fries that you have been so accustomed to. Some fast food chains even have a "healthy menu" so that people can still eat somewhat healthy even while on the go.

Bring some protein bars with you and throw them in your lunch box. They can really come in handy when you are in a bind. Just make sure that you follow the guidelines that I laid out above. There are many things that you can do to eat a power packed meal even when time is not on your side. Give these ideas a go and let me know if you need any more suggestions to keep your plan on track.

I have a question in regards to your nutritional consultation services. My training partner started one of your 16-week nutritional consultation packages and he has completed the first 8 weeks at the moment. He has seen some unbelievable results in only 2 months. His squat is up 50 pounds and he has put 30 pounds on his bench. His body fat percentage has come down by 9% and his energy level is better than ever.

He has really increased his volume workload per workout and he is recovering from his workouts much faster than before. I knew that you work with many of the best powerlifters in the world so you must be doing something right. He mentioned to me that you are launching a new nutrition system and you were going to run some type of contest with the program? Is this true?

I was wondering if you could let me in on what's going on, as I would definitely like to keep up to date on any new program that you have designed. Since he has done so well on your program I would like to come on board and work with you if you have any openings. I know that you are really busy but if you could slide me in I would really appreciate it.

I'll tell you the truth, when my training partner started your program I thought all your nutrition mumbo jumbo was a crock. But after seeing my friend's progress I guess I have to eat my words because you proved me wrong. I have a competition coming up in 20 weeks and I really want to give your program a shot. Please get back to me as soon as possible because I don't want to waste any time.

It's good to hear from you and I am happy that your friend has gotten such good results using my nutrition program. You forgot to mention his name though. I can understand how you may have thought that my theories for Powerlifting Nutrition were a crock since there is very little information on this topic. I am glad to hear you have seen it first hand for yourself, not just reading about it in the magazine.

It is true that I will be launching a new nutrition program called the Nutrition XP3. This program will be truly a one of a kind nutrition system developed just for strength athletes. I know that you must be sick and tired of seeing tons of different nutrition programs for the chronically obese or the competitive bodybuilder only to leave you guessing on what powerlifters should do to maximize their performance.

With this unique program all the guesswork will be eliminated. No more wondering what you should eat for all your meals or how to layout a proper sports supplementation program, to help you achieve your goals. No more wondering what you should be consuming for your pre and post workout meals. No longer will you have to go to a competition and find out the hard way that you ate the wrong things that had a devastating effect on your performance.

Note: This is part four, click here to view all parts!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write me at aricciuto@x-tremepower.com.