Fitness Spotlight: Coach Cala of Protein Punks

Certified Sports Nutrition Coach Cala of Toronto, Canada, took some time out of his busy schedule to help introverts and intuitive types who are too consumed with existential angst to make it to a gym.

Photo of Health and Fitness Coach Cala of Protein Punks and Nutrient Dieting.

If you are like me, just thinking of the term, “gym rat,” will make a line from a Smashing Pumpkins song repeat in your mind all day: “despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”

But not to worry. With the right motivation and guidance, it’s easy enough for introverts to work-out at home where no one infringes on your personal space.

Resistance training is what he recommends as the best exercise “bang for your buck.” Much of Coach Cala’s advice also centers around protein and what he calls “high volume nutrition.”

Cala hosts a Podcast/You Tube channel called “Protein Punks.” In fact, he advises a target protein of between 40 to 60 percent of a person’s total intake. He also used to be in a band having worked in the Canadian music industry for more than a decade. (So he was used to a different kind of volume).

Cala transformed his own body and is now helping others. While not a fan of the trendy diet fads, he cleared up some of the common misconceptions we have about our diet and exercise:

Q- How long do plateaus usually last and how should a female deal with frustration when weight remains the same even though she is doing all the right things?

A- Weight-loss plateaus can be due to a variety of reasons, and even more for women. Weight-loss isn’t linear. There’s a lot of water retention going on; more muscles being built so the number on the scale is not the most reliable way to measure progress.

Are clothes fitting better? Are waist measurements lower? How are your energy levels? Are you comparing progress photos?

Q-What’s the best way to manage calories without obsessing on calorie counting.

A- Calorie counting can be intimidating, though ideal when it comes to precision and learning the nutrient content of food. Though, if it’s not going to work for someone, having a good idea of which foods are high in protein and lower in calories is ideal for weight loss. Lean animal foods like skinless poultry, veal, wild game meat, white fish. Pair that with some low-calorie, high-nourishing veggies.

Q-Any glaring mistakes you see women make with regard to getting skinny?

A-Focusing too much on weight loss and not enough on fat loss. By that I mean building a stronger body is a better mindset  vs. trying to get skinny.

For exercise, he suggests weightlifting, powerlifting or bodyweight exercise.

“The reason is simple,” he says. “Not only are you burning calories during this activity but during rest your body continues to burn more calories as it repairs muscles. Women will not appear bulky or too muscular. They will simply become stronger, healthy and confident.”

In one of his recent Protein Punks You Tube videos, Coach Cala talked to Dr. Ted Naiman, MD, the co-author of “The P:E Diet” which stands for Protein/Energy. Naiman and another participant, engineer Marty Kendall, discussed how modern humans become fatter as they moved away from protein and toward refined carbs.

People in the Paleolithic period consumed more protein — but the percentage went down with agriculture and then down even further with the Industrial Revolution. Now, food manufacturers and food engineers formulate foods for taste, addiction and a dopamine response. The answer? Dial up protein percentage and boost fiber as well as micronutrients.

Coach Cala attributes his success to treating refined carbs and fats like the enemy and creating a higher satiety on fewer calories. We just recently looked at the Genetics of Satiety — and specific gene alleles that belong to people who take longer to feel satisfied during meals.

One of Coach Cala’s weight loss tips intrigued me as an INFJ. He said to compare progress photos. I know very few INFJs who are into taking “selfies.” But I can see the logic even if you don’t share with your negative 5 million un-social network un-followers.

Studies show introverts prefer to exercise alone and don’t like to share their fitness success with others while many extroverts like group fitness and sharing results. Thinking types care about credentials while feeling types choose to work with people who make them feel comfortable.

Most MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) system experts say the sensing types are more athletic and skilled at improving body physique. Intuitive types reach their weight loss goals more quickly by working with people who nudge them to live in the present with concrete, realistic goals.

Isometric exercises as well as low resistance, high repetition works well for those of us who like ballet. And, many INTJs and INFJs go hiking outdoors to contemplate philosophical questions in the midst of nature. I can see the benefit of adding in weight training.

My biggest takeaway from Coach Cala was to amp up my protein even if it’s a plant-based protein because I’ll feel less moody and better about my physical being while in the material realm.

Check out more of certified online sports nutrition coach Cala’s great advice about being the best you, you can be. See his High Volume Nutrition newsletter.  Visit him on You Tube at Protein Punks or his website Nutrient Dieting. His Twitter is Cala@GreaterForever.

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