Gluten Free Fitness

Gluten Free Sports Supplements: Muscle Milk

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Protein shakes abound these days. You can choose ready to drink (RTD), powders, whey isolate, whey concentrate, a blend, micellar casein, milk isolate-and for our dairy sensitive brethern and sisters we have gemma (pea) protein, rice protein, hemp protein-even beef isolate. (I have to admit I have not tried that and am not likely too-just seems weird to have something derived from beef taste like chocolate or fruit punch. But I digress.)

Muscle milk

Muscle Milk is yummy.

Muscle Milk is yummy.

A very popular brand of protein is the Muscle Milk family, which includes Muscle Milk light. These generally have slightly or significantly higher calorie content as they do include some fats. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, just as always check your labels, and make sure it fits into your nutrition plan for the day. (If you want more information on setting up a nutrition plan, sign up for the free guideline at the bottom of this post or the top right hand side of the home page.)

I have to admit I have only tried the chocolate flavor of Muscle Milk Light. I’m a chocolate girl, what can I tell you. The Muscle Milk powder is available in these flavors:

Bananas N’ Creme, Blueberries N’ Creme, Brownie Batter, Cake Batter, Chocolate, Chocolate Banana Crunch, Chocolate Caramel Pecan, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Mint Chip, Cookies and Creme, Dark Chocolate, Mocha Latte, Orange Creme, Peach Mango, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberries and Creme, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla Creme, and White Chocolate Mousse. Whew!

Muscle Milk Light comes in Banana Creme, Chocolate Milk, Chocolate Mint, Cookies N Creme, Creme Brulee, Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry Milkshake and Vanilla Creme.

(BOLDED FLAVORS ARE NOT GLUTEN FREE!)

I contacted Muscle Milk regarding gluten free status, and Jeff gave me this reply:

Our Muscle Milk and Muscle Milk Light pre-mixed Ready-to-Drink shakes are gluten free (all flavors).

Our Muscle Milk and Muscle Milk Light powders are gluten free except for the following flavors: cookies ‘n crème, chocolate malt, and chocolate banana crunch.

Whoohoo!!!

That’s a lot of yummy sounding flavors to try, people! As always, double check labels, read the nutrition facts and make it fit into your nutrition plan.

Shakes and powders can be a convenient and portable snack making it easy to get in some nutrition. Add an apple, carrots and some almonds and you have a portable, on the go meal.
Have you had any of these-if so what did you think? Any other gluten free protein shakes you enjoy?

Let me know!


UPDATE: 7/17/12: From Rex, a reader:

Hi -Thanks for taking the time to put information on the web. I stumbled across your page by accident and saw your GF Muscle Milk review. I called CytoSport directly to verify the GF information (date on the page was 2009) and was told by customer assistance that the entire line of powders is now gluten free (except the chocolate malt flavor which they are discontinuing soon.) I specifically asked about cookies and cream and was told they use gluten free cookies. As always please verify the information for yourself, but I’m in the process of ordering a couple of flavors, for further testing.

Kelly Baker: Gluten Free Athlete Profile

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I first ran into Kelly on a bodybuilding/fitness message board. She keeps a journal there, and with gluten free in the title-I was intrigued. Kelly always keeps a positive outlook and has encouraging words for others. Here she is!

Kelly Baker

Kelly Baker

Kelly Baker

Age 31, resides in Columbus Ohio.

National Physique Committee Figure Competitor, Women’s Tri-Fitness Competitor

I was diagnosed July 21, 2008, and oddly enough it was an attempt at finding the best diet for my body. A training partner had undergone the test, received a Celiac diagnosis, and had had the most staggering transformation I’d ever seen. I figured it was worth a shot as I had thought myself lactose intolerant for years.

I didn’t have a true “trigger” so much as I was becoming more symptomatic over time. I’ve probably always been like this.

Training Program

I use the P/RR/S (Power, Rep. Range, Shock) system, combined with plyometrics, and various forms of cardio. I try to be as sports-specific as possible depending on what I’m competing in. My husband and I are looking to do some serious cycling next summer, so I will be more cycling focused between NPC shows.

Nutritional philosophy

I have other major intolerance’s in addition to Celiac Disease in the forms of soy, dairy, eggs, and most nuts and seeds. I stick with lean protein sources and lots of vegetables, fruit, and gluten-free grains. I avoid processed foods as much as absolutely possible. The more ingredients it has the less I trust it.

For pre and post workout nutrition, I have chicken and a rice cake for both. Sometimes I eat Steel Cut oats in place of the rice cake.

Favorite sports supplements

The following from ALR Industries; Chain’d Out, T-X, Zero-Stim, Hyperdrive 3.0, ProAnabol, WTF Pump’d, Primed Ultra, Poison, Comatose, and Lean Dreams. For cycling related power-ups GU Chomps work very well.

(Editor note:I have contacted ALRI in an attempt to obtain a listing of their gluten free products and have not yet received a response. Kelly notes she has never has an issue with their products.)

Upcoming competitions/training plans

I competed in my second Figure show on October 3rd, which will be followed by some medical testing to determine the extent of an injury to my knee. I plan to compete next March in Figure, take most of the summer to do some serious cycling (75-100 mile rides) and compete in two more Figure shows in October 2010.

Advice for other gluten free athletes

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. In some ways it is harder for us to function nutritionally, but in a lot more ways it is easier. We must give our systems quality fuel, and we think about what goes “in” much more than a normal person would. For anyone competing in Bodybuilding or Figure it makes the diet a lot easier. Our diets are cleaner to begin with which means less rebound between shows so returning to show conditioning is easier for us to do.

Final notes to share

July 21, 2008 I got my life back. I’d always been fatigued no matter how much I slept, suffered from low blood sugar crashes several times a day, and couldn’t make the gains I was working so hard to make. That day, I found out that 90% of my diet, pristine by conventional nutrition standards, was toxic to my system.

Once my diet changed the fatigue drained away, the hypoglycemic incidents stopped, and I no longer agonized over the way I’d react to anything that went in my mouth. Discoering I was a Celiac along with my other intolerances was freeing. For nearly 30 years, I had no idea what it was like to actually feel good. and I would not trade any of this for the world.

Thanks for sharing Kelly-best wishes with your knee and your future plans!

Editor note: Read this article about how celiac can help improve you awareness of proper nutrition and thus your diet.

Top 10 Misconceptions on Getting Fit and Healthy

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In no particular order, and this is my opinion. There’s certainly more than 10.

Fit. Healthy.

These words may mean different things to different people. Actually, I am sure that they do, as well all have our own frames of reference. Here’s what I’m referring to here in the context of this article.

Fit and healthy means having the physical ability to do the things you want to do without getting out of breath.

It means being able to open a heavy door, carry bags of groceries, go up and down stairs. (By the way-this is the definition according to Erin-this is not Webster’s by any stretch of the imagination.) It means being able to play with your kids-really play with them, not lie down on the floor and let them climb on you because you don’t have the energy or ability to do anything else. It is the ability to live your life and do what you want to do, without self-imposed, changeable physical limitations. Are we straight? OK, here we go!

Top 10 Misconceptions on Getting Fit and Healthy

1) I have to exercise a lot.

This is not true. Actually, I should clarify. It depends on what you call “a lot.” If 30 minutes daily or at least 6 times a week is “a lot”, then maybe yes. However, you do not have to do all structured exercise-meaning going to the gym, lifting weights, or doing cardio. It can be activity-take the dog for a walk, throw the football, play frisbee, whatever.

The most important thing is to get off your duff and move. Don’t sit when you can stand, don’t stand when you can walk. Get up and walk around the house or office every 20-30 minutes. Go window shop. Clean the house-talk about getting immediate gratification and burning a bunch of calories. I wanted a cleaning service until I wore the Bodybugg and cleaned the house. (My fiance was very happy, because I dropped asking about getting a cleaning service after I learned that.)

Cleaning house can easily burn 200-300 calories-depending on the size of the house and exactly what you do, of course. Pace while you’re on the phone. The moral of the story is just move.

2) I have to eat 6 times a day.

Nope. You can if you want to, but you don’t have to. Research has shown that a isocaloric diet (same amount of calories and composition) shows no “metabolic advantage” as far as calorie burn goes, to eating more often. You don’t have to “stoke the metabolic fire.”

Some people find that they feel better eating smaller meals more often. Some like a few larger meals. Some like meals and small snacks. Have at it! Any of it! Whatever will help you eat consistently well, and fits into your lifestyle, is what you should do.

3) I don’t have time to exercise.

Really? Now this is not going to win me any fans, but would you ever say you don’t have time to brush your teeth? Take a shower? You find time to do the things that are important to you. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, we all have responsibilities and things we have to do. If something is important-you figure it out and make it happen.

If someone said they’d give you a million dollars if you exercised, I bet you’d find a way to get it done. And again-it doesn’t have to be organized exercise, although it can be. It early in the morning, before the day gets crazy, before the kids/husband/wife/significant other/dog gets up is the only time-do it! If you can get out at lunchtime-do it! To quote Nike: just do it. Pick a time, and do it. Go. NOW!

4) I don’t have time to cook.

See number 3. Also, cooking can be much less expensive, as well as much better for you. If you shop smart, buying sale items, stocking up, you can eat healthfully for a reasonable expenditure. You can also cook large amounts of staple items so you have good food ready to go.

Click here for a post on planning ahead. Make good friends with your slow cooker. And again-you make time for what is important to you.

5) People that are fit are just lucky/genetically gifted/freaks of nature.

This, personally, drives me insane. If someone says to me-“You’re so lucky” I tell them:

Actually, luck has nothing to do with it. Time, consistency, and a lot a hard work and good nutrition do.

Yes, we all have different and unique genetics. However, that does not limit you from becoming the most healthy and fit person you can be. If you have concerns, see your doctor to rule out health issues. Then get moving!

6) I don’t want to get bulky.

This comes from women. I promise you, you will not get bulky. You can-but it would be very intentional, and wouldn’t happen overnight, and may require exogenous hormones.

I hate to say it, but what many people refer to as “bulky” is most of the time just fat.

If you got leaner, you wouldn’t think you had too much muscle on your thighs anymore, I can almost guarantee it. When fat covers muscle, that is when the perception of bulky occurs. For the most part. There are very few women who are genetically blessed to put on muscle easily. This is NOT the majority. Chances are very good it’s not you.

I promise you, I lift as hard and as heavy as I possibly can, and I am not bulky. Unless I’m carrying too much fat. Then I could be bulky-but it’s fat-not muscle, and when I lean down viola-not bulky. Leigh Peele, whose work I respect and enjoy, has written on this subject and you can read up on it here.

7) I don’t like healthy food.

Nobody really likes boiled chicken and broccoli. However, that is not what you have to eat. You do not have to suffer to lose weight and/or get fit/be healthy. There’s a big wide world of food variety to try!

You can add flavor to foods with spices, herbs, citrus, marinades, rubs, various preparation methods-the world is your oyster (or clam, or shrimp, or salmon-get it?)

Branch out, read food magazines or sites, wander around the farmers market or grocery and try something new. There are a metric ton of wonderful resources-and many food blogs that are specifically gluten free.

If you see a recipe you like-take a look and see how it can be modified, if necessary, to meet your nutrition goals. After you do this a few times it becomes very easy and second nature. I get ideas from the Food Network, and then modify as needed for gluten free and healthy. There’s no reason for you to eat anything you don’t like. There are many options.

8) I can’t live without _______ (chocolate ice cream, bacon, deep fried onions, candy etc.)

You don’t have to.

Just make an indulgence just that-an occasional indulgence. Set aside a Saturday dinner to eat what you want or what you’ve been craving. When you’ve been eating well all week, you can have that bit of indulgence with no guilt and no repercussions.

If you haven’t been eating well all week, then you may want to reconsider. Figure if you eat well 80-90% of the time, take that remaining percentage and have a little bit of an indulgence. That doesn’t mean a whole bag of Pamela’s Chocolate Chip Simplebites (been there.) Have a few, enjoy them, put them away. In the freezer if necessary. Then enjoy guilt free again the following week.

9) I have to get in shape before I start going to the gym.

Nope, just go. No one there cares, they are all too busy worrying about themselves. Just start, give yourself permission to begin.

I am always inspired to see people who are new to exercise and the gym, or who are coming back from a layoff. It takes a big decision to make that first step. Little bits at a time, but start. Just begin. Preferably today. Go for a walk. The article will be here when you get back.

10) It’s too hard.

Well, I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. But what is harder-making a change, or staying the way you are?

Changing behavior first requires a change in perspective. Are you truly satisfied and content with your currrent health and fitness status, your appearance and weight? If so-then stay the same, that’s awesome. If not-make a change.

Choosing to make a change is probably the hardest part. Actually taking the first few steps to change is pretty hard too. But then it’s like a snowball effect-you start to feel/look better, you have more energy, so you want to do more to improve your life. Inertia is very powerful. You can’t escape physics-a body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Get in motion, and give it time to have inertia kick in.

Act now

So for today-take 1 step, make 1 choice to help you achieve your goals. Don’t give in to the misconceptions and poor information that is so pervasive. Get educated, make your own decisions. Move forward.

What misconceptions have you heard or seen? What steps have you taken? Do any of these ring true for you? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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