What if you traded in that post-workout shake for a mug of bone broth?
Yes, it may sound a little far-fetched, but stick with me: Bone broth is filled with vitamins, minerals, and beneficial amino acids. Translation: It has the ideal foundation for post-workout nutrition.
Whether you're a CrossFit competitor, yogi, or regular weekend warrior, you could see results from combining your athletic training with bone broth. In fact, supplementing workouts with bone broth could help you lose weight, repair muscles, and strengthen your joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Below, we explain why you should add bone broth into your wellness routine to achieve weight loss. In addition, we'll share a number of useful tips and strategies to use bone broth for weight loss.
First, What Is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is a powerful liquid made by simmering animal bones and other connective tissues with acid, herbs, and water. Bone broth takes an incredibly long time to make — upwards of 12-24 hours — allowing beneficial nutrients to be extracted from the animal bones.
Even in prehistoric times, people used bone broth as a healing agent (and a means to reduce food waste). After a hunt, our ancestors refused to let any part of the animal go to waste. Therefore, they collected bone marrow, ligaments, skin, and other connective tissues, and simmered the bones in water to make a nourishing elixir.
Bone broth is commonly used in soups and stews to help heal the gut and boost the immune system. (Lightbulb moment: Now you know why you were fed chicken soup when you came down with a cold or flu bug as a child.) Recently, bone broth has caught a second wind in various health communities, becoming extremely popular amongst CrossFit athletes, paleo and keto diet followers, and holistic nutritionists.
While research is still growing, there is a good amount of scientific evidence that shows our ancestors had a few things right — that sipping bone broth can help you lose weight, boost your immune system, and improve your digestive health.
What Are the Health Benefits of Bone Broth?
Health communities praise bone broth for its health benefits because it contains collagen — the most abundant protein found in the body. When you simmer bones for a long period of time, it releases collagen into the liquid. When cooled, collagen transforms into a gelatin (which is why bone broth can have a Jell-O-like consistency when cooled).
Collagen is found in your bones, your ligaments, and even your skin. Collagen provides support to your connective tissues, reduces inflammation, and even leads to glowing hair, skin, and nails. In addition, collagen can help protect and repair the lining of your digestive system, helping to protect against leaky gut syndrome.
Your body naturally produces collagen. Unfortunately, your natural collagen production declines as you age. This leads to a host of issues, like brittle bones, weak muscles, dry hair, and wrinkly skin.
Fortunately, you can supplement with collagen to help replace some of your collagen lost due to aging. You can do this by pouring collagen peptides into your morning coffee or post-workout shake, or by drinking bone broth regularly.
Bone Broth for Weight Loss: Why Bone Broth Can Help You Lose Weight
In order to lose weight or become a well-rounded, healthy, and fit individual, I always recommend following a balanced wellness routine. In other words, while I am an advocate for the healing powers of nutrition (like in bone broth), drinking bone broth alone will not help you lose weight.
Instead, I recommend following a healthy nutrition plan, participating in regular exercise (like CrossFit, yoga, or HIIT workouts), and being diligent about your recovery work. Below, I share how bone broth can help you achieve weight loss when combined with a balanced fitness routine.
1. Bone Broth Can Help You Build Muscle
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn — even at a rested state. In other words, simply by adding muscle to your body, you are better equipped to burn fat, even without making any diet plan changes. (And now you know why resistance training is the first pillar of 4 Legs Fitness.)
The collagen in bone broth can help you build muscle mass in a number of ways. In one study, participants were given collagen peptides after their workouts for 12 weeks. After the study, consuming collagen post-workout was shown to increase muscle mass, increase strength, and decrease overall fat mass.
2. Bone Broth Can Help You Recover Post-Workout
Every time you work out, tiny muscle fibers tear themselves apart. In order for your muscles to grow bigger and stronger, you need to 1) consume protein — ideally within 30 minutes following your workout — and 2) give your muscles time to repair.
In fact, many people who hit a plateau — whether in their weight loss efforts or gains at the gym — do so because they aren't recovering their muscles properly.
If your weight loss efforts have stalled, sipping bone broth could help. The collagen in bone broth contains a certain amino acid called glycine. Glycine is connected to a number of health benefits, including preserving lean muscle mass, improving athletic performance, reducing fatigue, and even preventing a loss of cartilage. In regards to muscle recovery, glycine has been scientifically shown to reduce muscle wasting, thereby helping your muscles rebuild post-workout.
3. Bone Broth Can Help Prevent Athletic Injuries
A weight loss journey is not a linear path — a single burst of progress can easily be followed by plateaus and setbacks. But if there's one thing you can be sure of, it's this: Nothing will stall your progress more than an injury.
Drinking bone broth can help prevent you from getting benched from your workouts. In various studies, collagen has been shown to increase bone density, which can prevent stress fractures in your workouts. If you are someone who participates in high-impact activities — including running, HIIT workouts, or CrossFit, drinking bone broth can help strengthen your bones, thereby preventing overuse or overtraining injuries.
4. Bone Broth Can Help Strengthen and Prevent Joint Pain
Strengthening your joints is imperative to your athletic performance and weight loss goals. Mobility, recovery work, and sipping bone broth can lead to healthy joints — which increases your range of motion and decreases your risk of injury.
Studies show that collagen can help relieve joint pain. Throughout a 24-week study, supplementing with collagen allowed participants to experience less joint pain when lifting heavy objects (like resistance training), standing, and even at rest. In addition, if you're prone to having joint pain, whether from arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or stiffness, bone broth can help.
5. Bone Broth Helps Improve Gut Health
If you want to lose weight, you need to have a healthy gut.
Bone broth helps heal leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), two conditions linked to damage in your stomach lining. With leaky gut, holes in your gut cause nutrients to "leak" into the bloodstream, rather than being absorbed. This leads to a host of health problems, including bloating, fatigue, constipation, and malnutrition.
Fortunately, supplementing with collagen through bone broth can help repair your stomach lining. This can help you better absorb nutrients and reduce inflammation in the body.
The Bone Broth Diet: How To Lose Weight With Bone Broth
There are a number of ways to use bone broth for weight loss. You can consume bone broth in place of your morning coffee, sip on it after your workout, or take part in a bone broth fast. Below, I share a number of ways to supplement with bone broth to lose weight.
1. Consume Bone Broth as a Meal Replacement
Some individuals sip a steaming mug of broth instead of a typical meal. You can enjoy a mug of hot beef or chicken bone broth in the morning, in place of your cup of tea or coffee. Otherwise, you can enjoy it in place of your post-workout protein shake, after your CrossFit or yoga class.
Bone broth has plenty of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and amino acids, making it a suitable meal replacement — even after a fast or while exercising.
2. Practice Bone Broth Fasting
Intermittent fasting is connected to a host of health benefits, helping people reduce inflammation, lose weight, lower blood sugar, and even lengthen their life span.
To practice intermittent fasting, you will consume food in your "eating window," and not eat during your "fasting window." Your fasting window can be a short, 16-hour mini fast (where you only consume food for eight hours, such as 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), or an extended, 24-48 hour fast.
Those who practice intermittent fasting are sometimes participants in "bone broth fasts," where they only consume bone broth, water, and black coffee or tea during their fasting window. This allows them to stay more energized, hydrated, and alert than when participating in a regular fast.
3. The Bone Broth Diet
The original bone broth diet plan emerged with “The Bone Broth Diet” book, published in 2015 by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D. In the original bone broth diet, individuals follow a whole foods diet, similar to the paleo diet. This way of eating eliminates grains, legumes, refined sugar, and processed foods. Instead, their meal plan focuses on plenty of veggies, high-quality, grass-fed protein, low-carb, natural sweeteners, and fresh fruit.
In the bone broth diet, you will consume a whole foods diet for five days of the week, followed by two fasting days. On your fasting days, you will only consume bone broth, water, and black coffee. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci claims the bone broth diet offers a number of anti-inflammatory, gut-healing, and weight loss benefits.
How To Consume Bone Broth: Bone Broth Recipe
Most bone broth products found on store shelves — particularly those labeled as simply "chicken stock" or "chicken broth" — are not actual bone broth. Therefore, I always recommend making your own. (If you're looking for a reputable bone broth brand, I recommend Kettle & Fire, which is sold on Amazon and in some grocery stores.)
Chicken Bone Broth Recipe
To make bone broth, you will need a large stock pot or a slow cooker, animal bones preferably from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, water, and fresh herbs. Here is the bone broth recipe I recommend:
- 1 lb. of chicken, turkey, or beef bones
- 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium celery stick, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups filtered water
- Any other preferred herbs or vegetables (like carrot, lemon, etc.)
Instructions (Incredibly Simple!)
- Place animal bones, vinegar, seasonings, and vegetables in a slow cooker. Cover with water.
- Place the slow cooker on low for 12 hours.
- Strain the vegetables, bones, and other ingredients with a cheesecloth, and discard. Store the broth in an airtight container (such as a mason jar) up to one week in the fridge.
Consume Bone Broth for Weight Loss and Overall Health
Bone broth is a nourishing elixir that’s been consumed for generations. Pork, turkey, chicken, and beef bone broth have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and gut-healing properties, leading to improved skin health, joint health, and gut health.
Supplementing with bone broth can help you lose weight or improve your athletic performance. It can prevent athletic injuries, reduce inflammation, decrease fat, and increase muscle mass, thereby leading to weight loss. To use bone broth for weight loss, you can replace your post-workout smoothie with bone broth. Otherwise, you can follow the bone broth diet — which consists of a grain-free, gluten-free diet five days a week, followed by two bone broth fasting days.
While I'm an advocate of the healing powers of bone broth, I recommend combining bone broth with a well-balanced fitness routine. To maximize your weight loss results, follow a balanced exercise plan with both resistance and cardio workouts, be diligent about your recovery work, and consume a healthy nutrition plan.
The Build Bullet-Proof Health program encompasses all of the above — nutrition, cardio, strength, and recovery work. If you can handle simmering bone broth for 12 hours, I can assist you with the rest, leading to improved overall health.
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