- "Protein: Facts and Recommendations"
- "Abdominal Training: The Cable Chop Exercise"
- "Injury: The Mental Side of Recovery"


Protein intake has long been a source of confusion and controversy. Let us start with basic protein information:

Protein composition

* nitrogen-containing amino acid structure

* 8-9 amino acids are traditionally considered as essential to consume within the diet

* meat & dairy products are complete proteins (contain all amino acids) while complementary proteins (beans + rice) may provide all the essential amino acids when eaten together

Protein digestion

* the breakdown of protein to peptides and amino acids begins in the stomach

* peptide and amino acid absorption occurs in the small intestine through transport systems

* amino acids travel through the circulation to enter many biochemical pathways

(i.e. protein synthesis, energy production, etc.)

Protein function

* enzymatic & structural functions (growth, repair, and energy production)

* has a limited role as an energy source (if carbohydrate and fat supply is inadequate)

* skeletal muscle may be broken down (catabolized) to provide amino acids for energy production (i.e. in times of starvation)

* the use of protein as an energy source should NOT be a desired effect in any training OR weight-loss program

* the excess amino acids provided by excess dietary protein can:

a) be oxidized for energy

b) be converted to and stored as fat

c) be a stimulus for an increase in protein synthesis (desired by athletes!)

Protein intake requirements

* depends on the type, intensity, and volume of exercise

* depends on protein quality (i.e. complete vs. complementary; whey vs. casein) & carbohydrate/calorie intake

* low muscle glycogen (energy) levels occur with a low-carbohydrate intake, after a prolonged fast, OR a after a previous exercise bout

* the low glycogen levels will increase protein metabolism (breakdown), therefore demonstrating the importance of a sufficiently high-carbohydrate diet for individuals that train consistently

The protein requirements (RNI) of active individuals are shown in research to be greater than that of sedentary individuals (0.8g/kg/day). Dr. Phillips believes that athletes and strength trainers should not sacrifice or substitute the necessary carbohydrate intake with excess protein consumption. Here is a method recommended by Dr. Stuart Phillips for estimating the theoretical maximum protein requirements for a "mass-gaining" individual.

Calculations for a 70 kg male:

* assume the individual gains 22 lbs (10 kg) of muscle in one year

(a difficult task, especially without the help of CB ATHLETIC!)

* 10 kg of muscle is composed of 75% water (7.5 kg) and 25% protein (2.5 kg protein)

* 2.5 kg of protein (PRO) = 2500 g PRO

* 2500 g of PRO gained in 1 year = 2500 g/70kg/365days

Therefore requiring an EXTRA 0.1 g protein/kg/day.

* assuming that the RNI (0.8 g of PRO /kg/d) is adequate to meet all other requirements and that 100% of additional PRO consumed becomes muscle tissue:

0.8 g PRO /kg/day (RNI) + 0.1 g PRO /kg/day (EXTRA) = 0.9 g PRO /kg/day


* assume only 25% of additional PRO consumed becomes muscle tissue, then:

0.8 g PRO (RNI) + 0.4 g PRO/kg/day (4 times the above EXTRA) = 1.2 g PRO/kg/day

* dietary recommendations   : PROTEIN

- 1.2g/kg to 2g/kg (depends on training)


- 40-60% of caloric intake


Standing cable chops

Stand sideways to a cable column with your left shoulder closest to the weight stack. Grasp the handle with both hands at the highest pulley setting with the arms extended (a slight bend in the elbow). Your hands should be over your left shoulder like you were throwing me over your shoulder into a swimming pool.

Without bending at the elbows, twist and flex the trunk at the waist and bring the left shoulder across the body to the right foot in a "wood-chopping" motion. This exercise requires a powerful rotation of the trunk and uses all the "core" muscles and requires stabilization by the legs and lower back. Perform for 15 repetitions to one side then switch. 

I suggest using a weight that allows the performance of 10-15 "perfect-technique" repetitions. Like any other muscle group, the abdominals should be trained with resistance to increase strength. As well, the abdominals should not be trained every day as they too require time to recover and develop into the "6-pack". The "cable-chop" is extremely beneficial to the performance of many sport moves from the slapshot to the golf swing, and from the soccer kick to the release of a bowling ball, etc. Enjoy.


Mental strength is essential to physical recovery from any injury. Do not ignore a minor injury because it may develop into a complete tear or more serious problem and treat each pain accordingly. Do not compare your injury with the injury experience of someone else because no two injuries are the same. When you do return to action, tread cautiously and aim for general improvement, BUT/ be prepared for sacrifice and failures on the road back.

Steps to a Speedier Recovery

1) Concentrate on elements of recovery within your control such as the rehabilitation program provided by a professional.

2)  Allow for feelings of frustration, anger, etc.

3)  Build a support network to talk about the injury with.

4)  Expel negative self-talk and maintain a positive attitude.

5)  Set realistic goals and identify your priorities.

6)  Identify other skills you have because physicality represents only a portion of each individual. Take a physical and mental vacation from the sport, especially if over-training caused the injury.

7)  Acknowledge the injury. Ignoring the injury sets you up for failure and re-injury.

8)  Visualize returning to full capacity to replace memories of the trauma.

Most importantly, use your training knowledge to prevent injury. Accidents will happen! BUT with proper strength and conditioning, injury risk can be reduced.

CB Athletic Consulting, Inc.
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