Debbie Potts Coaching

Are you prioritizing your protein?

Get stronger by changing HOW you train and WHAT you eat as well as WHEN!

Fueling Tips:

Kion Essential Amino Acids Protocol

Endurance Athletes: 

Note: aminos pre and intra for aerobic activity are primarily for energy source, to prevent muscle breakdown, and muscle fatigue. Aminos pre for strength training prime muscles for MPS and prevent muscle breakdown. Post strength is for MPS.

Endurance training if less than 3 hours:

  • Pre-training: 5-15g
  • Intra training: 5-10g every additional hour of training (can be sipped throughout)
  • Post-training: 5-15g (benefits are linear up to 15g and start to flatten out beyond 15g)


During endurance training if over 3 hours:

  • Post endurance training workout: 10-20grams



Fasted EASY Aerobic Training in Morning (below MAF) if ate dinner 12 hours before

  • Pre-workout: 5g-15g
  • LMNT or ReLyte in water or Quinton Hypertonic
  • Post training: 5-15 g

Strength training protocol

  • Pre-strength: 5-15 grams
  • Post strength workout: 5-15 grams

Debbie’s Post Training Recovery & Repair shake stack:

  1. Kion Whey protein or Equip Beef Protein (unsweetened)
  2. Kion Essential Aminos
  3. Kion Colostrum
  4. L’Glutamine
  5. Redmond’s Real Sea Salt
  6. Frozen Avocado (1/2)
  7. Mushroom adaptogens as Lairds, OM or Four Sigmatic
  8. Maca and ashwagandha mix
  9. Raw nut butter as sunflower
  10. MCT oil if need meal replacement- more fat

Sleep Optimization for recovery and repair:

  1. Kion Sleep 3 caps
  2. Stack with (N = 1 experiment so track with OURA or WHOOP)
  3. BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough
  4. Thorne Glycine 5g

Kion Note: 

  • We do not recommend Aminos before going to bed for the purpose of improving sleep.
  • High amounts of leucine as is in Kion Aminos is great for muscle protein synthesis and recovery but does not have proven benefits for sleep and intuitively seems contradictory to sleep (as leucine competes for the same pathway as tryptophan).
  • We recommend Kion Sleep for sleep which is an amino acid formulation specifically for sleep (tryptophan, gaba, and theanine) that has extensive clinically proven benefits.
  • We only encourage people to take Kion Aminos before bed if their goal is maximizing MPS at the potential expense of restful sleep.


Every person’s body is different and they should follow what works for them.

Suggestions above by Kion CEO, Angelo Keely

The Lyon Protocol: Meal Ideas and Timing

Prioritize protein 30-50 grams per meal

 Protein Synthesis Tips:

  1. Build muscle by lifting heavy weights (foundation training first)
  2. Prioritize protein by eating 30-50 grams each meal -spread out.
  3. Avoid eating 3 hours before bed
  4. Wait to eat in morning to break-fast
  5. Add in bone broth for gut health and repair
  6. Add in Essential Amino Acids (Kion) pre and post workout
  7. Add in Protein Shake as Kion Whey or other to get more protein and superfoods for gut repair.

Check out Robb Wolf’s Food Matrix:

Meal plan for a week example: pick a protein and vegetable as per the list

  1. Homemade Grass Fed Meatballs – half chorizo/half beef
  2. Turkey burgers + iceberg lettuce wrap + avocado +
  3. Steak -+ Zucchini Noodles with Ghee
  4. Salmon + Roasted Broccoli + Pesto
  5. Chicken skewers + Coleslaw
  6. Pesto Noodles + Shrimp
  7. Cobb Salad = hardboiled egg, bacon, chopped meat, avocado
  8. Crab Louie Salad – shrimp, crab, lobster
  9. Cauliflower Meatza Pizza
  10. Grilled or BBQ Chicken with sweet potato fries

For menopausal women looking to support muscle protein synthesis and overall recovery after a workout, it’s essential to provide the body with adequate protein intake.

Protein is crucial for repairing and building muscle tissue.

Here are some protein sources…ideas!

  1. Animal Protein Meats: Animal sourced meats like chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef or pork are excellent sources of high-quality protein. They are also relatively low in fat, making them suitable choices.
  2. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel not only provide protein but also healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can support muscle recovery.
  3. Plant-Based Proteins:
    • Legumes: Foods like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are rich in protein and fiber. They can be included in salads, soups, or stews.
    • Tofu and Tempeh: These soy-based products are excellent sources of plant-based protein. They can be incorporated into various dishes, including stir-fries and sandwiches.
    • Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. It’s a versatile option for salads, bowls, or as a side dish.
  4. Dairy or Dairy Alternatives: Low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are rich in protein and can be consumed as part of a post-workout meal or snack. For those who prefer dairy alternatives, options like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk fortified with protein can be considered.
  5. Eggs: Eggs are a protein powerhouse, and the protein in eggs is highly bioavailable. They can be enjoyed boiled, scrambled, or as omelets.
  6. Nuts and Seeds: While not as protein-dense as some other sources, nuts (e.g., almonds, peanuts) and seeds (e.g., chia seeds, pumpkin seeds) can provide additional protein and healthy fats to a post-workout meal or snack.
  7. Protein Supplements: If getting enough protein from whole foods is challenging, protein supplements like whey protein or plant-based protein powders can be convenient options. They can be mixed into smoothies or consumed with water or milk.
  8. Hydration: Don’t forget to hydrate after a workout. Water is essential for overall recovery and optimal muscle function.
  9. Balanced Meals: Aim for balanced post-workout meals that include not only protein but also carbohydrates and healthy fats. Carbohydrates help replenish glycogen stores, and healthy fats support overall health.
  10. Timing: It’s generally recommended to consume protein within a few hours after your workout to support muscle protein synthesis effectively. However, the overall daily protein intake is more critical than the exact timing of post-workout protein consumption.


How do you make collagen peptides a complete protein?

Collagen peptides, in their natural form, are not considered a complete protein because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed by the body. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.
Collagen protein is particularly low in two essential amino acids: tryptophan and methionine.

To make collagen peptides a complete protein, you would need to combine them with other protein sources that complement their amino acid profile.

Here’s how you can achieve this:

  1. Combine Collagen with a Complementary Protein Source: Pair collagen peptides with another protein source that is rich in the essential amino acids missing in collagen. Some options include:
    • Whey Protein: Whey protein is rich in essential amino acids, including those that are deficient in collagen. Mixing collagen peptides with whey protein can create a complete amino acid profile.
    • Egg Whites: Egg whites are another protein source that contains a good balance of essential amino acids. Combining collagen with egg white protein can help fill in the amino acid gaps.
    • Plant-Based Proteins: Some plant-based proteins like pea protein, rice protein, and hemp protein can be complementary to collagen. However, you may need to combine multiple plant-based sources to ensure a complete amino acid profile.
  2. Dietary Diversity: Consuming a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of protein sources can help ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids your body needs. Collagen supplements can be part of this overall dietary strategy but should not be the sole source of protein.
  3. Supplementation: If you’re using collagen peptides primarily for their other benefits, such as joint health or skin health, and you are concerned about the amino acid profile, you can consider taking essential amino acid supplements separately to ensure you meet your daily amino acid requirements.

Keep in mind that collagen peptides are primarily valued for their unique benefits, such as supporting skin, hair, nails, and joint health, rather than serving as a primary source of protein for muscle building. If your goal is to increase protein intake for muscle growth, it’s generally more effective to rely on complete protein sources like animal products, dairy, and plant-based protein blends that already contain all essential amino acids.

Does collagen protein intake count towards total protein intake for muscle protein synthesis?

To promote muscle protein synthesis effectively, you typically want to include complete protein sources in your diet. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids in sufficient quantities. Common examples of complete protein sources include:

  1. Animal Products: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are excellent sources of complete proteins.
  2. Plant-Based Combinations: While most plant-based sources are incomplete on their own, you can create complete proteins by combining different plant foods. For example, rice and beans or peanut butter on whole wheat bread can complement each other to provide a full range of essential amino acids.

While collagen protein may not be ideal for muscle protein synthesis on its own due to its amino acid profile, it can still have other benefits. Collagen is known for supporting skin, hair, nails, and joint health. Therefore, you can include collagen protein as part of your overall diet, but it’s advisable to combine it with complete protein sources to ensure you’re meeting your essential amino acid needs for muscle growth and repair. If your primary goal is muscle protein synthesis, you should rely on more complete sources of protein.

Why do we (or not) need exogenous carbohydrates to maximize fatty acid uptake by the mitochondria (aka fat burning during exercise) for women over men?

Exogenous carbohydrates, in the form of glucose or glycogen, play a crucial role in maximizing fatty acid uptake and fat burning during exercise, especially in aerobic activities like endurance running or cycling.

This concept is often referred to as the “carbohydrate-fat interaction” or the “glycogen sparing effect.”

Here’s why exogenous carbohydrates are needed:
  1. Energy Substrate Hierarchy: During exercise, your body relies on a hierarchy of energy substrates to meet the energy demands. Carbohydrates (in the form of glucose or glycogen) are the most readily available and efficient source of energy. As exercise intensity increases, the body’s reliance on carbohydrates becomes more pronounced.
  2. Glycogen Availability: When you start exercising, your body primarily uses glycogen stores (the stored form of glucose) as a fuel source. These glycogen stores are found in the muscles and liver. As glycogen is broken down into glucose, it can be used immediately for energy.
  3. Role of Insulin: Carbohydrate ingestion triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that facilitates glucose uptake by cells, including muscle cells. Insulin helps transport glucose into muscle cells more efficiently during exercise, ensuring a readily available energy source.
  4. Glycogen Sparing: When carbohydrates are available, your body tends to “spare” its glycogen stores. In other words, it uses the exogenous carbohydrates you consume (e.g., sports drinks or gels) rather than depleting its internal glycogen stores. This preservation of glycogen is important for maintaining exercise intensity and endurance.
  5. Fat Burning: As long as there is an adequate supply of carbohydrates, your body tends to prioritize burning them for energy because they can be converted into ATP (the body’s primary energy currency) more rapidly than fatty acids. This leaves fatty acids available for other important functions, such as maintaining cell structure and function (?)
  6. Exercise Intensity: The relationship between carbohydrate and fat metabolism during exercise is influenced by exercise intensity. At lower intensities, the body relies more on fatty acids for fuel, but as intensity increases, the reliance on carbohydrates grows.

In summary, exogenous carbohydrates are needed during exercise, particularly at moderate to high intensities, to spare glycogen stores and maximize performance. While the body can utilize both carbohydrates and fatty acids for energy, carbohydrates are the preferred and more efficient fuel source, especially when they are available. This allows fatty acids to be conserved for essential functions and prolonged endurance during exercise. However, it’s essential to balance carbohydrate intake with individual needs and exercise goals, as excessive carbohydrate consumption can lead to gastrointestinal issues or hinder fat adaptation for endurance athletes.

Ingesting carbohydrates before exercise can help increase fat metabolism in female athletes through several mechanisms, primarily by optimizing energy availability and sparing glycogen stores.

Here’s how this process works:

  1. Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels: Consuming carbohydrates before exercise raises blood glucose levels, leading to an increase in insulin secretion. Insulin helps shuttle glucose into muscle cells, where it can be used for energy. While this initially promotes glucose utilization, it also has an indirect effect on fat metabolism.
  2. Glycogen Sparing: When carbohydrates are available in the bloodstream, the body tends to spare its glycogen stores. Glycogen is stored glucose in the muscles and liver and serves as an essential energy source during exercise. By sparing glycogen, the body can conserve these stores for later stages of exercise or for high-intensity efforts.
  3. Reduction in Carbohydrate Oxidation: Elevated insulin levels resulting from carbohydrate ingestion reduce the oxidation (burning) of carbohydrates for energy. This reduction in carbohydrate oxidation encourages the body to rely more on fatty acids for fuel, as carbohydrates are being preserved for higher-intensity efforts or later in the exercise session.
  4. Improved Endurance: By providing a continuous supply of energy from ingested carbohydrates, athletes can maintain exercise intensity for longer durations. This sustained effort at moderate intensity allows the body to utilize a higher percentage of fat for energy compared to high-intensity efforts that primarily rely on carbohydrates.
  5. Preventing Hypoglycemia: In some cases, particularly during prolonged exercise, low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) can occur. This can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and a decrease in performance. Ingesting carbohydrates before exercise helps prevent hypoglycemia by maintaining blood glucose levels within an optimal range.
  6. Enhanced Lipolysis: The presence of carbohydrates in the bloodstream can stimulate the release of hormones like epinephrine, which can increase the breakdown of stored fat (lipolysis). This means that the body releases more fatty acids from fat stores, making them available for energy production.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of carbohydrate ingestion before exercise in increasing fat metabolism may vary among individuals and depend on factors such as the type and amount of carbohydrates consumed, exercise intensity and duration, and an individual’s metabolic response. Additionally, the benefits of carbohydrate ingestion may be more pronounced in longer-duration endurance activities compared to shorter, high-intensity workouts.

For female athletes, the timing and amount of carbohydrate ingestion should be personalized based on individual goals, exercise duration, and preferences. Consulting with a sports nutritionist or dietitian can help female athletes create a tailored nutrition plan that optimizes fat metabolism while supporting overall performance and energy needs.

Dr. Stacy Sims suggests for Aging Female Athletes…

Suggestions for fueling in and around workouts doesn’t need to be a lot.  Goal for 100-150 calories with 15 grams of protein + 20-30 grams of carbohydrates to bring fuel on board for your key workout when doing metabolic condition or cardiovascular work or protein for resistance work …or combine protein + carbohydrate fuel when doing a combination workout of metabolic conditioning with resistance training.

  • Banana + nut butter
  • Real food protein bar (Lairds, SFuels or Kion)
  • Gluten Free (my choice) sourdough bread with nutspread (olive oil + sea salt)
  • Nuts

POST WORKOUT we want to start the anabolic process so add in protein 20-40g around 30 minutes after your workout.

  • Quick and easy whey protein shake (ice, water and protein) until you can eat a real food meal
  •  Real food meal when ready to eat as grass fed beef, wild caught fish or free range poultry with healthy fats and organic vegetables or berries when possible


  • The consumption of combination of nutrients, primarily protein and carbohydrate, in and around an exercise session. 
  • We want to fuel for our exercise session we are doing and to aid in the recovery process afterwards
  • Goal to understand HOW we recover from a workout session and how we get STRONGER 
  • We want to MAXIMIZE our body’s ability to ADAPT to the stress created from our exercise session (acute stress- hormesis) to maximize the exercise induced muscular adaptations and to facilitate REPAIR
  • We don’t want our body to stay in the CATABOLIC – BREAKDOWN state – then we do not adapt to the training and we signal the brain (hypothalamus) that we are in a LOW ENERGY STATE …which if you do this regularly then we are creating the signal of stress and down regulate our THYROID!!!
  • Our body needs the right type of nutrients/fueling in post workout to signal the body that the exercise stress is complete and now we can begin the repair process to create the adaptations to that stressor (hormesis) and get stronger – ad ready for the next time we experience that type of stressor = how we get more fit and gain strength!

Solution: Fueling Tips to improve our Performance Gains & Body Composition

  • Nutrient timing before workout = 100 to 150 calories of 15g protein + 30g carbohydrate 
  • Nutrient timing post workout for recovery, rebuild and repair = 30-40g of protein with a little bit of carbohydrate to DECREASE CATABOLIC BREAKDOWN STATE

Research shows about Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS)

  • Exercise (type) improves glucose control and homeostasis as we can pull glucose into the muscles via exercise and post exercise without depending on insulin 
  • Post resistance training, HIIT/SIT training and endurance training sessions – our body needs the essential amino acids to promote muscle protein synthesis
  • We need an external stressor as exercise + amino acid intake = promote muscle protein synthesis (resistance training + protein)
  • Nutrient timing in and around workouts reduces our risk for LEA (low energy availability)
  • Even if we eat enough the rest of the day, if we don’t eat post-exercise training session then our body perceives the STRESS as being in a low energy state.
  • Protein timing and distribution – doses throughout the day is key for MPS (Dr. Lyon suggests as high as 1g protein per lb of ideal body weight) = 30-40 grams of protein each meal spread out throughout the day.
  • For MPS to occur, we need a “specific leucine amino acid trigger” = 2.7 to 3.5 grams of leucine post exercise to create the signal to the muscle to start muscle protein synthesis.
  •  A continuous feeding of protein doesn’t help with MPS – spread out your protein dose throughout the day 3-4 hours to improve metabolism, promote lean mass growth and encourage decrease in body fat
  • Choose REAL FOOD over packaged and processed bars -and only use shakes and bars as a supplement until you can get to a real food meal.

What About the Window?

For years, athletes have been told to consume protein as soon as possible after training to take advantage of the “anabolic window,” which is thought to be the optimal time to enhance muscle gains and recovery through nutrition. Recently, some have been asserting that the anabolic window post-exercise has been disproven.

But the window isn’t closed on that conversation…or the concept of the anabolic window.

The assertion that the anabolic window isn’t relevant arose from a meta-analyses on resistance trained individuals (which has several methodological issues, as do most meta-analyses- read more here) and other studies reporting that total protein intake across the day should count first, then the timing is an additional means of maximizing adaptations.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

There are two primary goals of post-exercise nutrition, 

  • Glycogen recovery

Muscle protein breakdown is only slightly elevated post-exercise, but rapidly goes up soon after;  with some studies indicating ~50% increase still apparent three hours post-exercise. 

  • Once protein has been consumed, anabolism is increased for about three hours (with a peak at about 45 to 90 minutes), negating that three-hour peak muscle protein breakdown (as soon as you eat, it stops the breakdown).
  • After those three hours post-food, muscle protein synthesis drops even though blood amino acid levels remain elevated.
  • Resistance training increases sensitivity to MPS for up to 24 hours, the agreement is there are likely advantages in consuming protein in close proximity to finishing exercise.
  • Endurance exercise = total body protein oxidation, thus consuming a leucine-rich fast release protein (e.g. whey isolate) as close to the end of exercise as possible enhances overall metabolic recovery.

Note here however, there is still very limited research on women, and we need to consider important sex differences.

  • Women return to baseline much faster, and have different protein needs depending on their hormonal status. 
  • Protein oxidation during exercise appears to be greater during the mid-luteal phase. 
  • Females also require more lysine during the luteal phase than the follicular phase with a lower ability to uptake and utilize amino acids for protein synthesis. 
  • Women who use oral contraceptives (OC) have a different blood amino acid profile than naturally cycling women (the major influencer on protein metabolism and muscle adaptations is the generation of the progestin contained in the OC). 
  • Peri and post-menopausal women are increasingly resistant to muscle protein anabolism due to a lack of response to exercise and amino acid uptake (due to the change in the ratio of estrogen:progesterone and sensitivity of receptor sites). 
  • So, the picture is more complex for female athletes.

After intensive searches of the literature, we found that pre-menopausal, eumenorrheic, and oral contraceptive using female athletes should aim to consume a source of high-quality protein as close to beginning and/or after completion of exercise as possible to reduce exercise-induced amino acid oxidative losses and initiate muscle protein remodeling and repair at a dose of 0.32–0.38 grams per kilogram of body weight. 

Eumenorrheic women should aim for the upper end of the range ingestion during the luteal phase due to the catabolic actions of progesterone and greater need for amino acids.  

With peri and postmenopausal athletes, the dose is more specific, and we’re looking for high essential amino acid (EAA)-containing (~10 g) intact protein sources or supplements to overcome anabolic resistance.

Let’s Start With Eating Enough

  • When it comes to nutrition, the VERY FIRST need for all athletes, regardless of age, hormone profile, or sport, is getting enough energy in to meet the demands of life.
  • We are seeing such an uptick in low energy availability (LEA) across all levels of athletes, it is paramount to understand what LEA is, and how it can contribute to Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs).
  • Remembering that LEA is the exposure, and REDs is the outcome.

There are currently no scientifically established guidelines for optimal energy availability for female athletes, but conceptual models show that energy needs are likely to vary between training days and training blocks, as well as with varying amounts of non-purposeful physical activity expenditure (i.e. everyday movement).

It’s also important to assess the training stress and recovery needs at the beginning of a season (lower fitness) and during high travel and competition blocks to gain insight into how to manipulate energy intake to

1) ensure needs are met,

2) maintain competitive body composition and health.  

Nutrient timing is critical for reducing the discrepancy between training energy expenditure and energy intake and avoiding LEA.

  1. By eating in and around the training load, athletes can maximize their adaptive responses while at the same time dropping exercise-induced increases of cortisol and epinephrine (which can reduce acute immunity changes). 
  2. When taking hormonal fluctuations into consideration, naturally cycling women experience a slight increase in energy needs (~150-300 calories/day) and protein requirements (~12%) in the luteal phase due to the increased demand for building blocks for the endometrial lining.
  3. Women using hormonal contraceptives need to be diligent regarding their energy intake and knowing the signs of LEA because contraceptive use can mask changes to the menstrual cycle (signs of early LEA) due to the downregulation of ovarian hormones.
  4. Peri- and postmenopausal women may have difficulty discerning the difference between LEA and menopausal transition signs and symptoms, thus leaning into nutrient timing and energy needs will reduce the risk of LEA.

Putting Carbohydrates in the Spotlight

  • Eating sufficient carbohydrates can help athletes avoid LEA, so the paper details the specifics around carbohydrate needs, which is increasingly important as this macronutrient continues to be demonized in many areas of the mainstream media and on social media. 

There are significant sex differences and sex hormone influences on carbohydrate and lipid (aka fat) metabolism.

  • Women are inherently more metabolically flexible (both at rest and during exercise) than men.
  • But that doesn’t mean we don’t need carbohydrates.
  • We need exogenous carbohydrates to maximize fatty acid uptake by the mitochondria (aka fat burning during exercise).
  • We recommend that female athletes be sure to meet their carbohydrate needs across all phases of their menstrual cycle according to their training needs.
  • We recommend tailoring carbohydrate intake to hormonal status, aiming for greater carbohydrate intake and availability during the active pill weeks of oral contraceptive users and during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when sex hormones can more notably suppress glycogen breakdown and glucose availability during exercise. 
  • A realistic starting recommendation is to take in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during exercise lasting 90 minutes or longer to offset menstrual cycle effects on glucose kinetics/exercise metabolism.
  • This will also limit potential gastrointestinal distress, immune disturbances, and protein breakdown.
  • Speaking of GI distress, female athletes should track their menstrual cycle/hormone status to identify any times of increased GI issues across the cycle and if their carbohydrate intake affects these symptoms.
  • If GI distress is a concern, start at 30 grams of carbohydrate per hour and avoid exceeding the upper limit of carbohydrate ingestion (>60 g·h−1).
  • When it comes to recovery, replenishing your glycogen stores after high volume and/or multiple sessions in a 24 hour period is essential to optimize performance.

By improving your carbohydrate availability, you can promote positive training adaptations and health.

Dr. Stacy Sims Blog

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