How's everybody doing so far this summer? Keeping dry, I hope!

This month I decided to broach the controversial subject of supplementation, so let's get right to it, shall we?

My answer to this question may shock you. In a nutshell: No. I don’t feel supplements are necessary

I am not the kind of trainer who pushes supplements. The only one you will ever really hear me kind of push is a multivitamin. I think everyone can probably benefit from a multi, but I believe we should try to get our nutrients from whole foods when we can.

Due to issues like depletion of nutrients in our foods and our soil where we grow the foods, steroids being injected into our animal food supply, pesticides, pollution, genetic altering, etc., it is hard to know what or how to eat. Therefore, I look at a good multivitamin as insurance.

I still think you should try to get your nutrition through food rather than popping a pill or drinking a magic potion of any sort. I believe a proper diet will negate the need for most supplementation. So, as far as supplements like metabolism enhancers, creatine, fat loss pills and such, I do not condone them nor do I recommend them to any of my clients.

However, the closest I will come to recommending any supplement is with protein supplementation in the form of a good quality whey powder. I think this may be acceptable if you are finding it difficult to get your required amount of protein in the form of food.

Keep this in mind: To supplement protein above and beyond your required needs in effort to build muscle is a fallacy and one that can be detrimental to your health.

So How Much Protein Do We Really Need?
The average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight (2.2 lb.) each day. Exercising individuals may need more like 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight.

Here’s the equation to figure your needs. Your weight in lbs._____ ÷ 2.2 = weight in kilograms. Your weight in kilograms _____ x (anywhere from 0.8 to 2.0, according to your activity level) = _____ protein requirement per day.

For example: I weigh 140 lb.
140 ÷ 2.2 = 63 kg.
63 kg x 1.2 = 75 and 63 kg x 2.0 = 126 grams of protein daily.

Therefore, I figure if I get anywhere from 75 to 126 grams of protein daily, that should be plenty. Like I said earlier, I vary it according to my activity level on a day-to-day basis. Does one have to be that picky about it? Probably not, but I already admitted to being a bit obsessed. It sort of goes with the territory. What can I say?

So you need to decide your activity level and how much protein you think you need. However, keep this in mind: Too much protein may cause weight gain, kidney and liver stress, and loss of urinary calcium.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Contrary to popular belief, protein is not a primary source of energy, except when you do not consume enough calories or carbohydrates. If you fail to eat enough calories, then protein is stripped from the muscle and used as an energy source instead of being used for its intended job of building tissue, enzymes, hormones, etc. This is not good and obviously something you want to avoid.

The trick is finding the right balance. First of all, find your daily caloric intake and then experiment with what works best for you.

You can weigh, do girth measurements, along with body fat assessment and keep track of your progress weekly.

Is protein supplementation necessary?
In my opinion, only if you cannot get enough protein in your diet through smart food choices.

Many times I drink a protein smoothie right after a strength training session, especially if I am squeezing my workout between my clients’ sessions. I try to replenish my protein and carb stores within an hour after strength training, preferably immediately.

Remember, there is no magic pill or supplement. Bodybuilders and supplement companies will swear that you need all kinds of supplements, but there is no real documentation that I’ve read that shows any of them truly work.

In fact, most research shows they just produce very expensive urine. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my money on a good gym membership and expend the effort on a well-structured workout routine that produces real results I can see and feel rather than flush it down the toilet. Ya know what I mean? In fact, you could use that money on a great fitness trainer! Know any? I do!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

What looks good in a bathing suit? A beautiful upper back that makes your waistline look smaller and your butt look in perfect proportion, right?

Primary Muscle Group Worked:
Upper back or lats. Secondary muscle groups are pretty much the rest of your upper body and arms-when done right!

For a video demonstration of this exercise, click here and watch the very first exercise in the video.

Preparation: Set the bar on the Smith Machine at desired height. (The lower the bar, the greater the difficulty.) Take a wide, overhand grip keeping elbows in soft lock at bottom of move. Lie beneath the bar with the bar just above the chest. Keep body straight from head to toe with a soft lock (slightly bent) in knees throughout.

Execution: Exhale as you slowly bend arms and raise body towards the bar nearly touching chest to bar. Inhale as you slowly return to start position for desired number of reps.

1) Keep elbows flared throughout exercise.
2) Keep slight arch in lower back and keep upper back flat with shoulder blades retracted throughout.
3) Basically, keep your entire body in a straight line with a soft lock in the knees.
4) Do not jerk upper body up towards bar or allow butt to drop or lurch in either direction.

Control the speed, keep elbows flared, and body in straight line! Good luck!

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration that can only come from things that make you realize what a special world we live in!

This has to be one of my favorite Idols memories --yes I am an American Idol fanatic and I don't care who knows it! This was from a year or two ago, but watch the children throughout this video. Look at their faces and notice their precious smiles of pride and happiness, especially when Josh reaches down and touches the shoulder of one of them a little over midways through the song.

Oh shoot, the whole thing makes tears flow for me. We are truly so blessed yet we moan and groan about the pettiest things. Look how happy these kids seem with so much less than we can even imagine.

Plus, I just love Josh Groban!

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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