Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


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Boozing My Gains Away…? Fitness Friday 22

Does alcohol really make you fat?

This video inspired this post, yes another one from Jeff Nippard because I’m obsessed with all his research focused training and nutrition talks.

Jeff does a great job of summing up to the answer to the above question so I didn’t really need to add much. I recommend you watch the clip but if you really don’t want to, heres the highlights:

~Physically, the alcohol itself doesn’t not lead to weight gain. Just like other macronutrients (which, no, alcohol is not a nutrient), alcohol does contain calories that need to be accounted for. It has ~7kcal to be exact. So, if we are talking calories, if you take in enough alcohol on top of your food intake to go over your nutrient needs, then yes you can gain weight. But it’s not specifically the alcohol itself, its the fact that you went over your intake.

Remember how much additional calories come from the drink mixes themselves!

~If fat loss is your goal and you want to learn how to ‘factor in’ alcohol to not go over your caloric needs, then Jeff states that it is best to reduce your fat intake (rather than carbs, which some do) to compensate for the alcohol. This swap is easier if your are tracking, as you can simply swap the calories, but if you are like most who don’t track, than just keep in mind to eat a lil bit less fat throughout the day. This doesn’t mean starve yourself! Just go for more filling and voluminous foods that are lower calorie.

~Why fats rather than carbs? Jeff said this nicely, but basically alcohol is treated in the body like a poison and, because of that, it is given top priority for metabolic processing. With that being said, lipid (or fat) oxidation than decreases substantially while the liver is busy with the alcohol, which than makes the fat that you consume more likely to be stored. NOTE it’s the calories from fat being stored, not the calories from alcohol. Carbohydrates are not as easily stored as fat (more so used when they are consumed, unless is excess), and therefore it’s best to focus on fat for caloric compensation.

This is of course not necessarily a big issue if you are in a deficit as then storage is not an issue. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 9.37.15 PM.png

~While alcohol doesn’t seem to affect testosterone significantly, it does in fact negatively affect protein synthesis. If you are considering recovery from training, Jeff gave a percentage of about 37% from a study looking at the effect of alcohol on post training muscle protein synthesis. That same study did find that if you supplemented with protein shortly after training that this effect is somewhat stunted (down to 24%), but it is something to keep in mind for effective recovery.

Disclaimer: Jeff provided all of the studies in his video for the things and papers he discussed, so if you want references, see his video

So what does all this say?

Alcohol doesn’t technically make you gain weight any easier than another macronutrient, provided you don’t go into a caloric surplus due to your consumption. It can affect your recovery the next day if you were to train via affecting muscle protein synthesis to a degree. He also commented on the other factors of recovery that may be negatively affected such as cognitive function which would impact your performance.

What I take from that is the fact that you will probably go into your workout and have a crappy lift because you lack concentration, are probably dehydrated and most definitely just aren’t feeling on par. If you cannot push as hard or reach the same intensity, your overall session will not be optimal. That’s just the way it is.

That being said, once and a while you really don’t have to worry. It’s not going to affect you in the long run. However, you may want to think about it more if you happen to go drinking all weekend long starting Thursday night and are wanting to ‘make gains.’

Another paper to take a peek at is this one by Suter and Tremblay (2005) as they discussed the associations between the degree of consumption and weight gain. They talked about the alcohol vs. alcohol calories point in addition to the fact that it appears that alcohol creates a potential for positive fat gain due to reduced fat oxidation and thus causing excess fat calories to than be more likely to be stored. This stored was also notably more in the abdominal area.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I have a very happy Friday friends!




No Whey?!? Fitness Friday 21

My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…

How much protein do I need to get swole…

When do I take my protein to get swole…

What is the best protein to get me swole…


Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE).  Perhaps it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.

1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein

No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.


protein types.png

Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.

Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.

So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.

On that topic…

Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.

veg protein.png

….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…


Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.

As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.

…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough. 

2. What about timing?

So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?


Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..

But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.

…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..

Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!

Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..

timing.pngIn this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.

Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it will be sent to where it needs to be. 

One final interesting finding…

Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.


RE= resistance exercise, so what they are saying is that you may have less of a time to get in the adequate nutrition to fully take advantage of the muscle protein synthesis response (MPS)

I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.

Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a highly debated set of numbers right here.


Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…

But that’s just my thoughts.

And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I still believe that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh. 

Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend

Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.



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Gotta Keep That Metabolism Firing…Fitness Friday 20

I’m sure we have all heard this..

Gotta eat every few hours to keep that metabolism chuggin along.

Well guys, this idea is FALSE.

How often you eat has no effect on muscle gaining and/or fat loss so eating more often doesn’t mean your metabolism is tickin faster either….



I’m going to introduce this post with a video I watched recently that inspired this topic. Eric Helms is featured and discusses the controversial topic of meal frequency and explains how it has no effect on metabolism.  Instead, it’s more about what fits your life best. Click the video below and take a listen!

Eric Helms is a very prominent figure in the sports and exercise field.  He has multiple degrees in exercise and nutrition (BS in fitness and wellness, MS in exercise science, and MS in sports nutrition), is a natural bodybuilding Pro and coach, often writes for excise and nutrition journals and even speaks at Universities and other events sharing all of his knowledge.

Some Highlights

~No specific number of meals is associated with greater or less muscle gain/fat loss

~Studies have shown that number of daily meals MAY be associated with satiety and therefore diet adherence (which in the context of weight management is the most critical component). It appears that having less then 3 meals (the average number of meals most people eat) may be associated with greater hunger. BUT that being said, if you have way more than 3 (one study even did 14 daily feedings) that hunger was also greater.

~Tips for success: Find a number of meals around 3ish or slightly more that fits your schedule and leave you feeling the most satisfied. Spread your protein across these meals for additional satiety.

I think the message here is clear. As with many things, it’s not a specific one-size-fits-all protocol for how many meals you should eat, it’s about what will fit your lifestyle best and allow for you to reach your goals while not overthinking and becoming obsessed with food.


So lets address this well known myth that was discussed in the video:

You need to eat X number of times a day because if you don’t, your metabolism will slow down to a crawl and you will get fat.

I swear every generic personal trainer will preach and preach this like it’s going out of style. You should be eating 3 square meals and 2-3 snacks every day because if you’re not eating every 2-3 hours, your metabolism will not be running as fast as it can be.


Well ain’t that a lot of time in your day spent eating…


Well don’t worry, unless that is how you like to live your life, it ain’t necessary. You want to eat 3 times a day, do it. You want to eat 14 times a day, do you. It doesn’t matter.

Here’s some research to back up my words because I like to be accountable and prove that I ain’t just spewing iissshhhh

~An article co-written by Eric himself discussed the current research in nutrient amount, nutrient timing and meal frequency in body builders and specifically highlighted that no studies have shown that more frequent meals leads to greater thermogenesis (which is a factor that affects metabolism). Studies that have been done, which have been tightly controlled, looked at meal numbers anywhere from two to seven and found no difference.

~An early review (1997) by Bellisle et al addressed the idea that ‘nibbling’ is better for ones’ metabolism during dieting than ‘gorging,’ or, in other words, eating more frequently during the day is beneficial for greater fat loss over less frequent, larger meals. From their review, they failed to find a relationship and concluded that if any study did find a small difference that it was probably due to intake records (ie. under-reporting their nibbles during the day).


~A 2008 study by Smeets and Westerterp-Plantenga looked at the effect of having 2 vs. 3 meals on things like diet induced thermogenesis, 24-hour energy expenditure, exercise-induced thermogenesis and sleep expenditure. Overall they found no relationship between the number of meals and these outcome variables of interest.

One of their findings warrants further discussion and will conclude this discussion is this:

“The same amount of energy divided over three meals compared with over two meals increased satiety feelings over 24h”

I believe that this is the main point of this all: SATIETY! What will ultimately affect your weight management the most is whether you are satisfied or not. If you are starving trying to eat only 2 meals a day, then you are likely to go over your calories because you will over eat at some point or binge outside your 2-meal schedule. On the other hand, if ‘snacking’ your way through the day never leaves you satisfied you may find yourself picking away too much and over eating your calorie needs.

So to re-state the message a lil bit more simply
Meal frequency means nothing. Do what works for both your schedule and satiety/sanity. If you enjoy eating large meals and 3 leaves you able to live your life and feel good than have 3 square meals. If you feel better having 3 meals and 2 snacks, than do that.

When it comes to things like this, its always about calories in and whether that is higher then your needs that will ultimately affect your weight status.

So don’t over think it, just do you.

Disclaimer: This is for the generally healthy individual. There may be some medical benefits of eating more frequently for individuals with health conditions like diabetes, although more research is needed as results are mixed. Look here (potential benefit) vs. here (no relationship)


How many meals do you eat a day?



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Something Salty…Fitness Friday 19

If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease. ~Blood Pressure UK

Hmmmm…Salt is bad eh?

Did you know that 80% of the salt you eat every day is “hidden” in the processed foods you eat? ~also Blood Pressure UK

Ahhh there we go.


Hiya Friends! Okay today I wanted to touch on yet another controversial topic in nutrition, which is …


So we have all grown up hearing how bad salt is for you and how it basically will cause heart attacks. Is that actually true though?

Think for a second…Salt is natural. Our ancestors ate salt and I’m pretty sure they didn’t die from consuming it. I always think about these types of things in this way:

If it comes from nature, it’s probably A-okay. The bigger problem is how we choose to use it these days that makes it a ‘health risk.’

Yes, salt, or sodium chloride to be more specific, causes the body to hold onto water, but that actually is an important function (and not it’s only function) for a number of reasons.

~Muscles need it to be able to contract, including our heart.

~Nerves need it to send signals

~Blood volume levels are maintained with the help of salt

~Chloride is integral for digestion as it forms HCL (or your stomach acid)

~Chloride also help keeps acid balance in the body

And many more functions.

So why are we always told to limit it?

Well you see if we didn’t have packaged foods and we simply sprinkled salt on our foods, salt would never be a problem because our taste buds just can’t handle an excess of straight salt poured on our foods. The issue is the fact that, like said above, most of the sodium that we take in is hidden and almost tasteless in processed foods. The simplest of boxed items are filled with the stuff and so then as the amount of sodium creeps up and then yes, you may start to overload and may see negative consequences.

There is no such thing as ‘you can’t have too much’ even in beneficial things. So while salt is essential for you, when you start going way too high, it has negative consequences in the body.

Our bodies are not used to dealing with all this processed crap we force it to break down. So we can’t just pee it out and say its all good.

So this is controversial yes, but really it’s just another simple case of how humans have taken something natural, processed the crap out of it and now its black listed.


It’s not evil. Case closed. 

Also, I felt the need to touch on this because of it’s importance in athletes. You see, many athletes don’t tend to eat much of the processed stuff because they have learned that they feel better and perform better on whole foods. This is a good and a bad thing. Good because they are eating more wholesome foods and getting more vitamins and minerals BUT bad because often they forget about salt. If you neglect salt in your diet, you can actually potentially harm yourself.

Take a track athlete for example.  During a hot day, they are running their event and sweating like crazy. Well in that sweat is salt…

Following their event, they run to grab the first bottle of water they can find and down a good amount of it. After a few minutes, they start to feel a lil dizzy and out of it and next thing they know they are on the ground and have their coach leaning over them with a fan in one hand and a Gatorade in another. 

They just experienced hyponatremia, or abnormally low serum salinity. They drank water to rehydrate, but diluted their blood saline because they didn’t replace the electrolytes they lost. Too little sodium in the blood then can lead to dizziness, nausea, or even worse neurological and/or muscle complications. Read more about exercised-associated hypernatremia here.

So yes, salt is essential. You need it. As a result, stop seeing salt as evil. If you are thinking that you need to cut back, starting taking a look at those boxed products and not at the pure stuff. More importantly, if you don’t eat much processed food, don’t forget that you need salt in your food somewhere. I made that mistake and used to feel light headed during my training.


So to conclude, a good quality sea salt (try pink salt!) has great benefits, so go ahead and sprinkle away to your taste. Instead of giving it the stank face, give that boxed food the cold shoulder.


PS a good crack or three of pink salt on peanut butter oatmeal is kinda the **it.

Try it out!

Did you ever fear salt?




Sweatin’ Saturdays…?

My friends,

Deepest apologies for the lack of a Fitness Friday last night. I got some not so nice news yesterday morning at the doctors regarding my health situation and I was struggling a bit to not feel sorry for myself that day.

I pride myself in staying positive and I really hate being a debbie-downer ever because you get what you give out in the world, but I just couldn’t shake it and was quiet for the rest of the day, which is very UNLIKE my normal social and smiling self.

My housemates and friends came to the rescue and brightened me up with a night of bowling


Wow I look like the biggest creep in this picture with them brows…

…and I can only appreciate how amazing they are to try their best to get me out of my funk. I love them so much

So I didn’t get my post up BUT in the name of fitness, the sweat must continue so I decided to throw a quick lil bodyweight/weighted circuit that you can really do anywhere you have a lil space. I wrote up a list of bodyweight exercises for a nice older gentleman at the gym because he felt he was going to be ‘off his fitness game on vacation’ but you don’t have to be! Just be a lil creative.

So without further rambles, here you go!

I hope you enjoy it. 


So here are some tips guys! 

I want some weight on you (if you can!) so take your backpack and put as much stuff as you feel comfortable with. Take the backpack off for exercises that you cannot complete the repetitions with when you have the extra weight.

For the clean and press, take a peak at the picture below. Instead of a sandbag, you are simply pressing your backpack (or a purse or even textbook) if that is easier to hold.


For the twisting side plank, remember to keep those hips up and your core tight and go for as long as you can. Do both sides. Aim for 30 seconds

Take a breather and then repeat!

I want it to be challenging so make sure your heart rate is up and you need that breathing time in between rounds. If you find it too easy, add more weight to your backpack. Easy peasy to adjust for your current level.

Let me know if anyone tries it out!



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50g Of Protein?!?…Thinking Out Loud

My friends, welcome to the end of the first full week of school!


Not too shabby for 4th year eh?

I have to admit I’m still adjusting. Them Tuesdays and Thursdays are killer for someone who trains in the morning…Hello five am, you came too soon. But hey, when you have the rest of week as usual (ie. off) then I really can’t say much I suppose.

Chattering time, special thanks to Amanda for the chatline hook-up!


1.My prof this morning said…

You really only need 50g of protein. Maaayyybe a bit for more athletes…

Are you kidding me? I would die. Maybe not actually, but I’m pretty sure mentally I would ( I love protein…) and physically I would be suffering. A large chicken breast is almost that amount so what, no more for the rest of the day? Guys I eat a ridik amount compared to this on a daily basis (not because of some weird bro-science “the more protein the better” notion but because it’s something my body seems to tolerate for a higher amount when fats and carbs are a bit tricky right now) and I can’t imagine cutting down.

But no. I may not be a dietician yet, but I’m sorry 50g is too low. Someone has been following the Food Guide a bit too much. However, even that says to have more then that. Geesh…

Please review this amazing article about UP TO DATE SCIENCE AND PROTEIN NEEDS. Sorry for shouting but this low protein diet BS needs to stop!



Protein shouldn’t be understood as percentages of energy intake because those at lower intakes would not be getting enough. 

Protein should be higher the the RDA recommendations because it not only is for building and repairing but also been found to help with certain disease and illness states.

Current perceptions are that protein is an expensive nutrient with limitations in the food supply and are reinforced by outcome measures that are based on strict cost/benefit approaches to diet formulation. This concept stems from animal science goals to maximize growth with the least expensive foodstuff. <-THANK YOU FOR FINALLY SAYING THIS OUT LOUD! Protein is said to not be needed as much because of money not because of health. 

Phew I’m all hot and bothered now…

2. Is it weird that I can eat in a class discussing enteral tubes no problem…?

I’m just gunna happily eat away while you’re talking about how to shove a tube down someones throat, or gasp, through an open part of the skin. I may feel differently if those words turned into pictures tho…

3. I’m excited for my courses!

Specifically, the assignments. I have lost you haven’t I? I have all nutrition courses this semester for once and I have clinical case studies (where you act as if you are a working dietician and go through the nutrition assessment and treatment process) to look forward to doing in addition to creating my own program to target a group of individuals. Last night I came up with the idea to target the female athlete triad for this and I’m kinda excited to do it!

4. Accept the strap…

Yup, buckle up cuz on a day where my life is on my back, it needs to be distributed well.


SnapChat is lilmisscross91 if anyone cares

Good thing I could care less what others think of my attire…

5. Enough about school, it has arrived!!


Delicata is now found at my grocery store and I lit up like a fire cracker….

Kabocha will always be my first love but this baby takes up my fridge in the fall.

6. Unfortunately that is not all that has arrived…


Hands up if you agree!

Too bad life doesn’t allow for that…

FML winter is arriving.


Some things of interest on the inter web that have attracted my eye lately..

7. Passions stick. Superficial reasons fail.


Time and time again I will repeat this because it is so true. Find what you love to do and focus on enjoying that and getting better with that rather then an outcome attached to your physical appearance.

8. Science.


I enjoy listening to Layne Norton because he gives legit scientific information that is up-to-date. He gives some interesting basic information in this quick response vlog about carbohydrates and effects on blood sugar.

9. Speaking of science…

Been loving all of Jeff Nippard’s latest lifting videos.

He shows his workouts but then gives the science behind why he may use different movements over others based on studies looking into optimal muscle activation. Interesting stuff, definitely something to watch if you’re all into fitness and such.

10. One final IG gem to cap off this chatter post…


Loved this. There is never too much love you can give, never too much kindness and although we think over enthusiasm can be annoying, it’s just us being jealous that they found something they are highly passionate about.

Shine on and throw all of those amazing qualities at everyone you meet. They make you an amazing person and shouldn’t be something to tone down ever!


Happy Friday Eve friends

Whats a quality that you felt you had too much of? Sometimes being too empathetic and feeling what others are feeling too much can seem burdensome but in hindsight, I believe that its been a good thing. It makes me more understanding relatable in the end. Sometimes I wonder if that is what makes many feel they can share things with me without really knowing me too well.



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A Weekend Of Wedding Snap Shots

My Friends! Happy Monday, first full week back at school for all of us students. Hopefully you are fresh and motivated to make it a great week!

I started off this weekend with a trip back home to celebrate the joining of my cousin Frisco and his beautiful bride, Cassandra on Saturday at their wedding


Sorry blurry picture of their first dance.

I’m not going to be too wordy with this post and just let the memories and beauty of it all be shown through the pictures that I managed to snap. My parents and I chauffeured my Nana and Papa to this grand Italian event (she is Italian, so a big wedding filled with food and love!) and it was such a fun time. I’m so happy to see my cousin so happy and to see the way they look at each other when they are together just speaks of their excitement to continue to live each and every day moving forward together.

I wish them all of the love, support, laughter and joy for their continued lives together as husband and wife.

Now let the photo reel begin


Snapsies in the car on the way to the wedding…


The attire..yes I wish my dress wasn’t black but them bright lips tho…


A girl’s gotta have a twirlin dress!


My new best friend, otherwise known as my second-cousin-once-removed (I hate these drawn out titles) or my cousin Chantal’s daughter, Lucy. She helped me touch up my lipstick and added some gloss.

Thanks for making me nice and pretty Lucy.


Waiting for the wedding to start…

And down comes the beauty!


After a lovely ceremony at the church (I did reading from the book of genesis for it), we then headed off to the reception…


Family portrait of 2016?

Gotta get a famjam shot.


Nana and Papa and proud grandparents of the groom.

The venue!


I loved the blue, white and silver theme. So many candles and blue roses. It was so pretty.


They had a Photo Booth stand. I love those things!

After a full multi-course meal, the dances were done, the speeches were spoken and the party began.


Smiles with the bride.

And with my cousin Cassie.


Love her and wish we could spend more time together! Soon, soon we will make it happen.

One special cousin that I didn’t get to snap with because he was busy being best man and all, was the grooms younger brother, Devon. We literally haven’t seen each other since my Nana and Papa brought all three of them up to my place one summer when I was really young to spend most of those days together. I remember the close friendship and bond I had with him but with a few things going on in life, we haven’t seen each other since. I loved being able to see him this weekend happy with where he is at and I had this huge urge to run up and full on catch up with life.

Unfortunately we had to leave a bit earlier as we had precious cargo to escort back home (I.e my Nana and Papa), but he promised to come back (he’s in out of the province :-() sooner this time and I will hold you to that Devon if you eventually read this on your work break!

And remember your promise associated with a shout out! Ahaha

So overall my weekend was a fun one. I love opportunities to see people happy and coming together, plus dressing up once and a while is fun too.

Gotta get this girl out of gym clothes and Pj’s once a while amirite?