Tag Archives: protein

My Favorite Protein Powder

I’m now 34 years old and have been drinking protein shakes on a regular basis for about 15 of those years I’ve been alive, so I feel like I can really provide some value on this very important topic for anyone that lifts and wants to supplement with some extra protein in their diet.

It goes without saying that most protein powders are disgusting and shouldn’t even exist, and some may even legitimately be trying to poison you, but the one I’ve enjoyed the most of the years is hands down Optimum Nutrition’s protein powder.

For the best flavor of this majestically delicious protein powder, it’s probably a toss-up between double rich chocolate and extreme milk chocolate.

Of course you should make up your own mind and try out a bunch of weird flavors too, but I generally recommend sticking to vanilla or chocolate when you’re buying a 5lbs tub of protein powder for 50 bucks. If you purchase an exotic flavor, get a smaller tub… because most likely you’ll grow tired of it.

Xmas Gift Ideas for People Who Work Out

If you’re looking for gift ideas for people you know that are into lifting or exercise in general, here are mine. You could also add these to your own wish list or simply buy them for yourself. I have broken them down by price.


$1 – $20

First off, an ab wheel. This is easily one of the best tools to develop your abdominal muscles. For slightly under $13 with free shipping, you can’t go wrong. It’s also rated 5/5 on Amazon with 81 reviews (when I checked).



And who doesn’t want a Superman t-shirt? For $13 with free shipping, you can’t beat it.



Next up… a pair of yoga blocks for just under $13 with free shipping. 5/5 based on 165 reviews when I checked. These are terrific for yoga (obviously), stretching, self-myofascial release, etc.



Lacrosse balls are just about essential for self myofascial release. I would suggest getting three: One for trigger point release and two as a lacrosse ball peanut (to work on thoracic extension). You can get three white ones for $17.95 with free shipping (the cheapest color is blue at $18.95 with free shipping for 3 balls).  If you end up buying only one, most of the colors cost $6.95. Note: The ‘size’ option on the page is actually just how many balls you want. The balls are all the same size. They are standard lacrosse balls.


Foam rollers are awesome for recovery work and you can get one for under $20! The one below got rated 5/5 with 1,014 reviews (at the time I’m writing this) and you can get the 36 inch version for $19 with free shipping. You could also go to a home improvement store and buy a PVC pipe for $3, but it will hurt a lot more. 🙂 If you’re new to foam rolling, this is likely a better option. I’ll add some more expensive foam rollers that are also excellent in the price categories below.


Lifting chalk is awesome to keep a grip on those heavy barbells. Under $13 with free shipping for a pound of the stuff is a great deal. 5/5 rating with 161 reviews makes this stuff a no-brainer, if you even lift.


The eco ball is my favorite chalk alternative. It’s like regular chalk, except it doesn’t leave a mess. $5.95 with free shipping makes this an awesome, yet inexpensive, gift for any lifter or climber. 5/5 rating with 66 reviews. I personally use this, because my gym doesn’t allow normal chalk, and love it.


Liquid Grip is a liquid chalk that doesn’t leave a mess. You can get the 1.5oz bottle for $5 with free shipping or you can get an 8oz bottle for slightly under $20 with free shipping.


Under Armour t-shirts are awesome for keeping relatively dry when you’re sweating your ass off. Usually they cost slightly more than $20, but some size and color combinations can be had for less than $20!


Similarly to the Under Armour t-shirts, UA boxers will keep you from having epic swamp ass. For under $20 with free shipping and a 5/5 rating from 210 reviews, you can’t go wrong with these. I wear them to the gym all the time.


Lifting straps are usually good to have. You can get them for under $6 with free shipping.


Other gift ideas under $20: Deadlift Slippers for $13.95 with free shipping | Bacon Socks for $9.90 with free shipping | Shaker Bottle for under $8 with free shipping | 600g of Optimum Nutrition creatine powder for under $15 with free shipping

$21 – $50

I’ll start this price category off with some Under Armour shorts, which you can get for just under $25 with free shipping. 5/5 rating based on 145 reviews.


Fat Gripz are awesome to make your grip stronger. You can grab some for under $40 with free shipping. Rated 5/5 based on 222 reviews.


The Stick is a great recovery tool. Depending on which one you pick, you can get it for slightly under $28 with free shipping.


A ton of the mobility tools available at Rogue can be purchased for under $50. What I’d specifically recommend would be: Monster Bands, lacrosse balls, Voodoo Floss Bands and a Knobber.


Other gift ideas under $50: 13 inch Grid foam roller for $39 with free shipping | 12 inch Rumble Roller for $45 with free shipping | 2lbs of Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder for $28 with free shipping | Rehband Knee Sleeves for $43 with free shipping

$51 – $100

For around $60, you can get a nice powerlifting belt with a lever.


A blender to make some badass shakes can be had for under $80 with free shipping!


Whether or not you get the blender, Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder is a great choice because you can mix it into water or milk with just a spoon. It tastes great and boosts your daily protein intake with ease. Under $54 for 5lbs of the stuff is pretty damn good!


$60 with free shipping gets you a nice food dehydrator, so you can make your own jerky and dried fruits. Apple chips are delicious!



This is where all the really awesome gift ideas will be of course. I’ll start with the Excalibur food dehydrator. You can get one for $255 with free shipping to make homemade beef or turkey jerky, dried fruits, dried herbs, etc.


For just over $100, you can get yourself an Olympic barbell. The best start to any great home gym.


For $450 you can get an awesome Vitamix blender. Pricey, but arguably the best blender out there. I’m not sure who argues about blenders though…


Need more ideas?

If you need more fitness-related gifts and found nothing you liked in my list, browse through the Rogue site and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. I wish I could buy almost everything on there…


My Favorite Protein Powder

I don’t usually endorse a lot of supplements, but when it comes to protein powder… you really can’t go wrong if it helps you hit your protein requirements and tastes fucking delicious like this stuff.

Optimum Nutrition Natural Whey

The regular ON whey is delicious as well and awesome, but it does contain some artificial sweetener and flavors. Their natural whey does not.


It comes in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors. Natural flavoring limits the selection of flavors, so get the regular ON whey if you want some crazy flavors.

It blends awesomely into water or milk with just a spoon to stir it in, but you can also toss it into a shaker cup or blender to make yourself a fancy shake.

Protein Supplements

As I covered in the Nutrition 101 article, you need about 0.82g of protein per lbs of body weight each day to achieve optimal muscle growth (for the average natural lifter). If you’re having trouble reaching this amount on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to buy a protein supplement. It’s not better than eating chicken, steak, fish, eggs, etc., but it is an easy way to get some extra protein in your diet without any hassle. My personal favorite is Optimum Nutrition whey (usually Double Rich Chocolate flavor). Amazon always has it fairly cheap and  you tend to get free shipping.

Nutrition 101

As always, I’m going to keep this basic. If you disagree with anything in this article, please leave it in the comments. This won’t be a diet plan for one specific individual, instead it will be a rough guideline to get you started and headed in the right direction from a nutritional standpoint. I invite everyone to read the sticky threads in the nutrition forum over at bodybuilding.com (particularly this one). You’ll notice all of the information I’m providing here in an as-brief-as-humanly-possible format is covered in more detail there.



This is basically your fuel. If you want to grow, you need to eat more. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less. That being said, calorie requirements will differ from person to person based on their natural metabolism, age, gender, body weight (total mass and lean mass), hormones, daily activity. etc. You’ll notice it’s fairly difficult to make a blanket statement for everyone. Whenever I help someone put together a diet plan (including myself), I simply start with 15 calories per lbs of body weight per day.

For example, if you miraculously weigh 100lbs, I would start you at 1500 calories per day. 100 x 15 = 1500. That makes it really simple to find a starting calorie count for just about anyone. Considering that your nutrition should be part of your lifestyle (thus making it a long term thing), it’s not going to make a big difference… because the number will be tweaked.

To tweak caloric intake, I like to keep things basic again. Record your weight, take tape measurements and snap progress pictures (same lighting, same pose, same place) weekly to accurately track progress. If you’re heading in the direction you want to go (whatever that may be), continue to eat like you have been until progress stalls. If you aren’t making progress, you need to tweak daily calories. I.e. if your goal is fat loss and you’re gaining weight, measurements are increasing in areas they shouldn’t and you’re looking fatter in progress pictures, you need to adjust your calories down a bit (roughly 100-200 calories/day should do the trick for this scenario).

Counting calories is the easiest thing to do in order to make sure you have continuous progress. It gives you a good number to work with and also gives you an idea of how much you’re eating overall.



The main things you’ll want to track from a weight loss/gain perspective will be macronutrients. The macros are protein, fat and carbohydrates. While some people swear by low carb (and high fat) diets and others swear by high carb (and low fat) diets, I’m just going to cover very basic requirements here that leave you with an option to head in either direction. Or you can be like me and simply eat a moderate diet. Maybe test a few different ways of eating to see which you like best. In the next couple of paragraphs, I’ll outline some basic requirements for macros.

Protein: 0.82g of protein per lbs of body weight. You’ll hear a lot of people stating that you need to hit 1g per lbs of body weight, but there is no science behind that it seems. Going back to our utopian example of a 100lbs person, they should eat 82g of protein each day. Can you go over that? Yes, but it likely won’t make a difference in your muscular growth (or maintenance), unless you’re using anabolic steroids or have abnormal amounts of specific hormones present in your body that allow you to assimilate muscle tissue faster than normal human beings. Good protein sources are meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy and beans.

Fat: Moving on to fat. 0.5g per lbs of body weight is the minimum requirement for most people to maintain good health. So 50g per day for a 100lbs person. Healthy fat sources would include fatty meat, fatty fish, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, avocados (mmm guacamole) and nuts. You’ll want to avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils (found in way too many processed foods).

Carbohydrates: The rest of your calories can come from carbohydrates, protein or fat. This will depend on your preferences or possibly a specific type of diet you’re following. Most of your carbs should come from rice, potatoes and fruits. Possibly things like oats and milk. Bread, pizza and other baked goods in moderation (if at all). Try to avoid candy, processed snack cakes, chocolate and things of that nature as much as possible.

Putting it together: Personally, I weigh around 187lbs most of the time and would like to maintain that weight, so I tend to hit about 150g of protein, around 100g of fat and the rest carbs within the context of a daily intake of 2800 calories. I like to eat more calories and more carbs on days I lift, so my calorie intake isn’t always the same, but it averages out to around 2800 calories or so (which is the important thing to maintain my weight).

Other nutrients: There are certainly other nutrients you could track aside from protein, fat and carbohydrates that may be important to you. Some examples would be vitamins, minerals and fiber. And everyone should drink plenty of water (I drink more than mentioned in the article and most people who exercise should as well in my opinion). Here is a good thread to read about nutrients.


Tracking Calories and Macronutrients Online

I use MyFitnessPal (free) and a digital kitchen scale to weigh my food. It’s fairly easy to do and allows you to keep track of what you’re putting into your body.


Food Choices

This is where it gets tricky for some people. You mainly want to stick to whole foods. And by that I mean things that aren’t processed. I’m not saying you can never eat processed foods again, but you should certainly limit them in your diet. The 80/20 guideline is what I try to stick to. I’ll eat 80% whole foods and then I’ll have 20% to eat things like ice cream, chocolate or cake. If you have certain food intolerances (i.e. gluten is fairly common), it limits your food choices further (i.e. nothing that contains flour, if you have a gluten intolerance).

I could go into great detail about various intolerances, but this is supposed to be quick. General rule of thumb: If you want to figure out if you have a gluten intolerance for example, eliminate it from your diet for a month. See how you feel. If you feel better than before, there is a decent chance you’re intolerant. To test that theory, add gluten back into your diet and see how you feel then. If you notice a negative difference, it might be a good idea to stop eating gluten. Otherwise the occasional piece of bread probably won’t kill you.

Some whole foods most people can eat: Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits,  fish (including fatty fish like salmon), seafood, meat (including organs and fattier cuts), potatoes, rice, nuts and beans. Variety is usually good to mix things up and to make sure you’re getting all the important nutrients you need to be healthy and strong. Frozen foods are usually better than canned or boxed, if you can’t get something fresh.


And that about sums it up. As always, it’s just my opinion on the matter. I’m not a nutritionist or doctor. I will cover supplements in another article, but I will say that I don’t think you need them to be strong and healthy. Some may provide benefits however. Most are crap.