A collection of frequently asked questions from interested clients as well as current coaching clients. Got another question? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do check ins work?
Depending on the type of programming you choose to commit to, check ins are usually completed through my online client portal. You log in to your personal client page and sync your food log app (either My Macros+ of My FitnessPal) and optionally FitBit (for sleep and weight), provide your weekly measurements, and answer a few short questions about your week in review. Once your check in has been submitted, I then receive notification of your completed check in and I'm able to review and reply. Check ins are required on a weekly basis.
Do you customize training programs around injuries?
At the moment, the only custom training programming that I offer is with the 24-week plan, and that's powerlifting specific. That doesn't mean that you have to be a powerlifter or plan to do a meet, but the base of this programming is focused on the three main lifts (squat, bench press and deadlift). So in short, yes, I can customize training programming around existing and current injuries.
What is your typical response time?
Response time for client emails is almost always within 12 hours, with a few rare exceptions. Majority of my clients check in weekly with me on Sunday mornings, and those are responded to within a couple hours, depending on my schedule. My Sundays are usually spent working with my client check-ins. I receive emails to my phone and always have my phone with me, so I'm good at a prompt response time. My clients do have access to my cell number as well, so that's usually a quicker response if they have a quick question.
Do you have any sample programs or plans that you can share?
I don't currently offer any sample plans.
Are workouts and meal plans updated weekly?
As for my style of programming, I follow a flexible dieting approach, so clients do check in on a weekly basis, but I'm not as concerned about WHAT they eat; so there's no set meal plan for me to provide or adjust on a regular basis. In the initial programming, I will provide the client with a sample meal plan based on the provided macronutrient intake that I set, just so the client can get another idea of how to compile the foods they like within a day. Again, it's just a sample plan and by no means has to be followed. Macros are adjusted when the client plateaus or when I feel like an adjustment needs to be made in order to continue towards their goals, in a safe and healthy way; not necessarily on a weekly basis. Workout plans are either in 4-6-8 week intervals, depending on the program that the client chooses. This way I can see their numbers, see how they progress, and adjust if necessary.
What are your thoughts on cheat meals/cheat days, or untracked days?
I don't necessarily believe in cheat meals (unless a client is drastically cutting for something like a bikini or figure competition, but I don't coach for those), but there are cases where I will set up scheduled refeed days in a couple scenarios (if the client has a history of binging, if the client's metabolism isn't responding accordingly, or if the client strongly requests it). Most of the time I don't feel the need for these, as in my experience with clients and from research, they are likely set-ups for binge-fests, which I try to avoid and move beyond that with clients. I do not promote any form of eating disorders with my coaching practices. That being said, I wouldn't tell a client they cannot have one if they really want one. We just work out what will help them reach their realistic goals, while maintaining a balance.
What are your thoughts on progress photos?
For my coaching and my clients, progress photos are optional. They are not something I require for check-ins, but if you're planning to do them for your own references, I would suggest a relaxed position. This way, there is no variables such as how much better you get at posing or angling your body in front of the camera. If you go on my Instagram (instagram.com/courtneyforlife_) you'll notice some progress photo comparisons and all of my photos are in the same location, same clothing, and same angles. No posing or flexing. I keep it simple and suggest you do the same.
Do you offer vegan meal plans?
Because I follow a flexible dieting approach with my clients, I don’t set meal plans. Flexible dieting is about eating what you want, as long as you hit your macro intake for the day. I am able to customize your initial sample meal plan that I do provide all of my clients with during their introduction package, but again, it’s just a sample of what you would possibly eat to hit your goals, while consuming the foods you commonly consume and enjoy. But for the most part, it’s about eating what you want, and not what I tell you to eat.
What type of protein powder should I use?
Buying protein powder can be stressful. The chosen one is usually the cheapest, but that’s not always the best option for your goals. Not all powders are alike, and the right one for you will be based on what you’re using it for. Here are a few things to consider when looking for your best protein powder.
Do you want something dairy-based (derived from cow’s milk) or plant-based? Dairy-based proteins:
• Concentrate (quick absorption; 75-85% protein and 15-25% carbs/fats; most affordable; considered the king of protein)
• Isolate (undergone additional filtration; 90-95% protein; best for post-workout)
• Casein (slow absorption; ideal for evening/pre-sleep consumption)
• Hydrolyzed (undergone further breakdown; easy absorption; considered hypoallergenic – can be taken safely when dairy/lactose/soy allergens are present)
• New Zealand whey (more isolated and pure protein content; NZ cows are grass-fed, antibiotic-free; healthier & produce better quality whey)
Plant-based proteins: pea, soy, brown rice (less potent/effective; ideal for vegans/vegetarians)
Vegan diets come with a bad rap because they don’t provide the essential amino acids that we need in order to make up a complete protein. Without a complete protein, our muscles aren’t getting enough nutrients in order to repair and grow.
A complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) and is comprised of: tryptophan (7mg), threonine (27mg), isoleucine (25mg), leucine (55mg), lysine (51mg), methionine+cysteine (25mg), phenylalanine+tyrosine (47mg), valine (32mg), histidine (18mg); per gram of protein.
Canadian Protein offers an excellent variety of vegan proteins that contain the amino acids that are necessary in order to repair building muscles.
• Pea isolate protein: excellent vegan option; great for avoiding food allergies (gluten, dairy/lactose.) Provides essential and non-essential amino acids (30g serving: P25 C1 F2) Flavour: unflavoured
• Egg white protein: (technically not 'vegan' but vegetarian approved) safe for dairy-free diets; moderate rate absorption (slower than an isolate.) Considered a complete protein (30g serving: P25 C1 F0) Flavour: unflavoured
• Brown rice protein: contains protein and starches and very high in nutrients; organic sources. Provides essential and non-essential amino acids (30g serving: P24 C2 F1) Flavour: unflavoured
• All natural premium vegan blend: contained pea isolate, brown rice, hemp. Considered a complete protein (30g serving: P21 C6 F2) Flavours: chocolate, vanilla; sweetened with stevia
Other important factors to consider:
• Different powders can help build muscle, aid in workout recovery, and serve as a healthy/quick meal
• Look for a cold filtration powder (preserves nutrients/protein molecules)
• Check the amino acid content (usually the more aminos the better the protein; look for BCAAs and glutamine)
• Try different flavours to find your best match (CP offers sample packs in all varieties)
• Don’t get suckered into fancy ‘proprietary blends’ (added flour to saturate servings) or packaging (marketing gimmicks)
What is citrulline malate?
A recent clinical study (Goron, Arthur, et al. 2017*) determined that a dosage of ~12g/day of citrulline can increasoverall endurance and exercise-induced protein synthesis. By adding malic acid (which creates citrulline malate) you can expect a more efficient absorption of citrulline. When you increase malate levels while increasing your nitric oxide (blood flow) with citrulline, you increase your muscular energy production.
Citrulline malate is effective in any pre-workout stack (like in C-PRE) or on its own.
*Clinical study was performed in rodents, although results accurately translate into humans.
What is a good pre workout powder?
C-PRE is an effective pre-workout supplement to boost your energy before a demanding workout. It's minimal ingredient list includes:
• caffeine (we all know how great caffeine is!)
• beta-alanine (an amino acid; enhances anaerobic endurance; boosts muscle mass; prevents lactic acid buildup)
• creatine monohydrate (increases ATP and provides fuel for muscles)
• AAKG ("l-arginine alpha keroglutarate"; an amino acid that enhances hormone production like HGH and testosterone; enhances blood circulation similar to nitric oxide)
• citrulline malate (an amino acid to improve tolerance to demanding exercises; minimizes fatigue and allows you to perform longer)
• piper niger ("black pepper extract"; found to enhance metabolism)
C-PRE flavours are true to Canadian Protein's BCAA flavours, so it's easy to combine them for pre and intra workout drinks.
Do fat burners work?
The problem with many fat burners is that they claim to flush unwanted body fat in rapid time, but most claims are based on rat studies. Many athletes have tried at least one ‘fat-burning’ supplement in the past, myself included. The common ECA stack (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) has been proven effective, yet is very intense and sometimes banned for athletes; definitely not recommended for everyone. Canadian Protein's C-BURN is a complex aimed to assist with increased fat metabolism, which I find comparable to ECA, based on my research. I tried C-BURN and here’s my opinion:
• Ingredients are natural and blended as safe dosages (listed below.)
• No side effects (some burners cause nauseousness, elevated heart rate and/or uncomfortable muscle twitches.)
• Created, tested and used by athletes, not lab rats.
• Caffeine: natural stimulant that can improve physical & mental energy; initiate thermogenesis.
• Synephrine: (AKA bitter orange extract) high doses of BOE can cause headaches and discomfort, but a healthy and safe dosage (like in C-BURN) can safely elevate heart rate, like caffeine. It is similar to ephedrine, yet much safer to consume and is not considered a banned substance, as is by most athletic federations. It can aid in decreasing GI disorders and regulates fat levels in the blood.
• White willow bark: works as an anti-inflammatory (like Aspirin) and can help settle the stomach.
• Piper Nigrum: (AKA black pepper extract) aids in increasing metabolism; also improves brain function, which is crucial during fat loss to ensure mental health stays optimal.
Remember that there's no supplement that can replace what a balanced diet and proper exercise can do. A solid combination of natural and safe supplements like that found in C-BURN may provide an extra metabolism boost and exercise improvements, but remember losing body fat is not just taking a pill and skipping out on the hard work. And just like macros and workouts, results will to vary for everyone, so just because a stack works for someone doesn't always mean that it will work for you.
What is melatonin?
Getting enough sleep is just as important for good health as balanced nutrition and proper exercise. Melatonin is one of my favourite daily supplements. Not only is it a fantastic sleep aid, but can also enhance overall mood and brain function. Melatonin is a natural hormone that can be produced internally by the brain. It helps a person’s sleep and awakening patterns. Some people may have troubles falling asleep or even just getting their brain to relax at night, which is why melatonin can really help to relax your mind and get a deeper sleep. Melatonin can also help with the prevention and treatment of migraines and increase muscle mass.
What are BCAAs?
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein molecules and are comprised of 3 essential aminos: leucine, valine and isoleucine. BCAAs assist with protein synthesis, crucial for growth and repair of muscle tissue. Isoleucine is known to assist with fat mobilization and utilization in the body, making BCAAs a great tool to aid in fat loss (in coordination with balanced nutrition and proper strength training). Valine converts into glycogen, which is the muscle’s primary source of energy, therefore helping boost metabolism and assisting with greater energy production.
Canadian Protein's BCAAs offer a 2:1:1 amino ratio and come in a variety of flavours; my favourite is fruit punch!
What is C-JOINT?
A complete joint protection supplement from Canadian Protein; with proven effective ingredients:
• Turmeric: anti-inflammatory, reduces joint swelling
• Glucosamine sulphate: can help lubricate joints, increases cartilage protection
• Chondroitin sulphate: improves connective tissue
What is C-PROTECT?
It’s an essential blend that helps defend your body against intense strength sessions (which can cause stress and damage to your cells).
• L-Glutathione: an amino acid present in every cell; protects against toxins and free-radicals; repairs damaged cells
• DL-Alpha Lipoic Acid: natural anti-inflammatory; helps the body absorb more nutrients
• CoQ10: protects cells against oxidation; strengthens immune system
• Resveratrol: protects against oxidation; promotes cardiovascular health
• Lycopene: protects adrenal glands, colon, liver; promotes healthy vision
• Vitamin C: strengthens immune system
• Vitamin E: boosts immune system; protects the cells
Do I need creatine?
Creatine is one of the most researched and effective supplements. It’s great to help push muscle growth, after application of both balanced nutrition and proper strength training have been placed.
Benefits: increase muscle mass; greater workout ‘pumps’; improve brain health and function; increase energy
Timing: 5mg daily (timing or cycling isn’t necessary; it may have mild effects of water retention, so slowly increasing dosage may occur)
What about digestive enzymes?⠀
Digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to help break down proteins, starches and fats to be converted into energy. Protease helps break down proteins; amylase helps break down carbs; lactase helps break down lactose (sugar in milk.)
Benefits: protease helps with muscle recovery; amylase helps covert to glucose for the body to replenish energy; lactase can help people who are lactose intolerant
Timing: immediately before eating (it is recommended to avoid large amounts of liquids during the meal, as it can dilute the enzymes)
It’s important to be aware of active levels for these enzymes, and @canadianprotein’s levels are highly approved. (per 500mg capsule: protease 45,000 HUT, amylase 7,000 DU, lactase 500 ALU.)