Shortly after, I left that job I loved at the hand of dollar signs an elaborate promises, only leaving me with grief, sadness, and this feeling I had lost my purpose in the world. After much deliberation and mental dismay, I left my new, high paying job, terrified of the future, grasping on to the only thing that had been a constant throughout my life, which was of course, exercise science.
The reason that I went to grad school in the first place was simply because I owed it to myself to at least humor this whisper of a calling that’s always been in my mind. At the time I thought (and still do), almost everything in my life has come from this desire and passion to understand how and why our bodies respond to exercise and nutrition.
When I got home, I changed this website to what it is now. I was terrified of the future with this notion of how little direction I actually had. It was a shot in the dark and since that day, I’ve spent most of my days questioning if it was the right move. I had these delusions of what would be necessary for success and when they didn’t pan out, I searched high and low for a scapegoat to blame even though I simply needed to step in front of a mirror.
Much of this frustration has come from uncertainty and fear. In the landscape that is our media, it’s hard to put yourself out there. In the fitness world, people are viscous and I’ll be the first one to admit that ignoring the opinions of names on a screen are easier said than done. I’ve spent much of my time in this venture afraid of people. Afraid of putting myself out there. Afraid of actually trying to make a difference. Afraid of listening to the voices in my head.
On New Beginnings
Recently, I came to a realization that this website wasn’t my vision. I turned it into some an outlet to make money and somewhere along the way, I lost what I had built nearly half a decade ago.
When I started this website as optimal-living 6 years ago, I’m not even sure why I started it to be honest. At the time, I was motivated and hungry and exercise science just interested me. I never wanted to be a personal trainer, but I knew that there was some aspect of this industry that I was drawn to. Something about learning these complex ideas fascinated me. To be able to begin to hope to understand the complexity of the human body and the fact that you can manipulate the stress you place on it to change it how you desire, was just too good to pass up. Further, I've often considered myself to be quite blessed with an inkling of an ability to write. It's one of the few things I feel good about doing, and it allows me to provide information to others that they might not have otherwise received.
That’s the spirit of this website, even if I haven’t conveyed that properly. But it’s going to change. A few weeks ago, I made the decision to delete Boss Strength. It’s not happening yet, but it’s coming and to be honest, I’m fucking ready.
Next month, I’m going to be unveiling my new website: Muscle Science Academy.
Muscle Science Academy is going to take this website back to its roots, which is education. While I never knew the exact purpose of this website, I’ve always known that I wanted it to be a platform for free expression and exploration of the unknown. It’s my vision that this website will foster the minds of tomorrow to make this world a little stronger and healthier. It’s my vision that everyone from a beginner to an established scholar will be able to both use and contribute information on the website.
Truth be told, I never wanted this to be mine, but rather a resource for everyone to make himself or herself a little better and a little smarter. And really, that’s what I’m hoping comes of it. It’s my hope that with this new website, you’ll have the ability to learn from as many perspectives as you can imagine.
At the end of the day, I don't want you to come here because you feel obligated or because I'm trying to get money from you. This website is for you to learn. It was always supposed to be and from here on out, it will be. If people happen to give me something in return, so be it, but it's not expected.
On My Future
The idea to scrap a years worth of work is one that has weighed on me heavily, but one that was necessary. In order to truly build what I had envisioned, this was the only way. I’m not angry and I’m not concerned about the time wasted, simply because it wasn’t. It got me here, which by all measures is much better situation than a year ago. Will this be my major contribution to the world? Will it just be my first? Will it fail, again?
Maybe, but quite frankly, it’s one of the first times I’ve ever been excited about something that isn’t a sure thing. Heck, I have no idea if any money will ever come of this or if I'll get a single contributing writer. But that’s okay. Money was never the point and I'm a firm believer that if you're genuine and put out great work, most will recognize that. Overall where I’m going with this, I wanted to announce my new beginnings, simply because I was tired of waiting. But I also wanted to use it as an example for yourself.
I’m only 26 years old. Truth be told, I don’t know shit about the world or life, but I like to think that knowledge is growing. What I can say is that I took a leap of faith on something I wasn’t even excited about and things turned out alright.
Stop waiting and succumbing to the fear that you’ll fail. It’s so fucking cliché but by god is it true.
Whether or not I’ll make a serious contribution to this world, really I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell going to try and I encourage you to do the same if you have the ability. Fear could literally be what’s standing between you changing the world and living a mediocre life of regret.
Who gives a shit if you fail because chances are, something new will come along, or you’ll win.
Jump first and learn to fly on the way down.
Fortunately, we live in a society and age where literally any piece of information you're looking for, chances are someone has covered the topic and provided either their opinion, the science or both.
Over the past year or so, especially after attending grad school, I realized just how little I really know. Not just in the field of exercise science but really, just how the world and it's many parts, actually work. There is so much to learn and so little that we already, truly understand as individuals and as a species.
Even with a Master's degree in the field of exercise science, I'm often humbled by new information that I read or hear, especially because many times I just never really considered it.
This sentiment of being open to opposing ideas is one that is learned. The ability to think for a second that the information you "understand" may be incorrect or that there may be some additional piece to the puzzle that changes your outlook on a given theory, idea or opinion, is one that comes with time and in my opinion, knowledge.
That's how we get to the whole point of this brief blog post.
What was once considered to be a field filled with broscience and bullshit has since shifted towards one with less broscience and an increasing number of "scientific elitists" which chastise others for combining common knowledge with experience and context.
What I'm Getting At
In light of brevity, let me get to the point of this rant.
Earlier while watching a youtube video (which can be found here) someone in the comments section went on about providing studies and empirical evidence that a dumbbell fly is in fact an isolation movement. Said person demanded to see studies and that until these studies were provided, the information in this video would be considered "broscience."
In fact, here's a picture of said comment:
The problem with this comment extends much further than the fact that technically, he's wrong. Why? Because realistically, a fly movement would be an isolation, single joint exercise, given that the elbow remains stationary. Surely, other muscles are involved such as the bicep, forearm musculature and deltoids, since they act as stabilizers and secondary movers but overall, it's an isolation movement for the pectoral musculature.
Realistically, any person who has done a DB fly, does so under the pretense that you'll be affecting the pec muscles, with that being the primary purpose of using the movement.
But the issue, in my opinion is much greater than the fact that this person doesn't really know what they are talking about (even though they want to seem like they do, an increasingly prevalent issue in this field). The problem is that they are taking the "evidence argument" too far.
If you're making sincere claims like meat causes cancer and that insulin is the reason behind obesity, then maybe you need direct evidence since extrapolation can get a bit hairy at times. Essentially, the magnitude of your claim drives the required amount of evidence.
The Problem With Demanding Evidence
Let me be clear. My practice and beliefs are evidence based. Of course I have my own opinions about subjects but those beliefs are almost always at some level, based on scientific evidence.
For example, I'm of the belief that you can build muscle using light AND heavy weight. It's just that both need to stress the muscle to an extent to drive an adaptation. Further, the amount of weight you use will probably drive the specific adaptation (heavier will bring about greater strength and lighter will bring about fatigue resistance and strength endurance).
In the above example, I can provide evidence. In fact, here's an excellent study revealing just this information.
But for a moment, lets flex our brain a bit.
Lets say for example, that the above study did not specifically determine that they weight you use will determine the primary adaptation (endurance or strength). Based on the information that would have been provided and also using context, we could probably assume that they weight you use plays a role in the adaptation that occurs. I mean, is it really surprising that training with heavy weight would produce an adaptation to help you lift more heavy weight?
Despite the fact that in the above scenario, we don't have exact evidence (we do in reality, click the link above), it's safe to extrapolate based on the evidence provided. That's not to say that if contradicting evidence was provided that our idea wouldn't change. It's just the fact that we can't always wait for "evidence," to progress the field forward.
In fact, extrapolation like this is exactly what progresses science ahead. In the example above, if Schoenfeld and his team never revealed that the weight you use stimulates a certain adaptation, then it's likely a future study on the subject would be carried out.
This isn't any different from assuming that a DB chest fly would be considered an isolation movement. Based on context and actual biomechanics, a DB chest fly would typically be considered an isolation movement.
Evidence Matters, But Context Does Too
So really, my argument is not to avoid evidence, but rather, embrace it and extrapolate in smart ways. It's okay to think differently than other people do, using the information that is available.
If you're making sincere claims like meat causes cancer and that insulin is the reason behind obesity, then maybe you need direct evidence since extrapolation can get a bit hairy at times. Essentially, the magnitude of your claim drives the required amount of evidence. With relation to the above comment, we probably don't need 5 unbiased studies to determine that a DB fly would be considered an isolation movement.
Realistically, science would never progress if we needed to wait for concrete, empirical evidence. It's okay to extrapolate, but you need to be willing to pivot your stance if the eventual evidence demands it.
Acting like an elitist for ridiculous reasons doesn't help anyone and surely doesn't progress the field. Use your head, extrapolate from current evidence in smart ways and follow new evidence when it's presented. Think for yourself and don't be afraid to formulate your own opinions, even if others in your field overwhelmingly have a different opinion.
Starting Weight: 231
Current Weight: 222.6
Diet day calories: ~2300
Re-feed day calories: 2900-3000
Total Lost: ~9 lbs
Total Lost from last week: ~2.5 lbs.
Im approaching around week 4 of my 12 week dieting cycle and just wanted to give an update along with some insights I've attained throughout the process.
The nutrition side of things
Surprisingly, I've been able to keep my deficit amount fairly stable throughout the course of the diet, around 2300 calories. However, what I am noticing is that I need much more frequent re-feeds, where I increase calories back up to around the calorie intake I had prior to beginning the diet...
Today's blog is to just give a bit of an update with regards to my diet. If you haven't had the chance to read my previous blog post title "My Reality Check," please stop what you're doing and go check that out. Inside you'll find the back story to what I'm doing along with everything that I am doing to help fix the issue of some un wanted weight gain.
Despite only being about 21 days in, I've lost some weight and learned a bunch. Not only confirming some of my theories (and theories that are not my own) but also overcoming some mental setbacks by recognizing physiology and thinking through changes rationally and logically.
1 week ago, I posted my tell all blog "My Reality Check." If you haven't had an opportunity to read it, please do so.
It highlights the struggles that I have endured for most of my life with regards to weight management and also touches on my most recent decision to try to fix some unwanted weight gain.
Additionally, it provides exclusive insight into exactly what I am doing to change it. How I'm eating and how I'm training are all included. This post is to give an update so that if you do decide to apply some of the same principles, you'll know what to do as time goes on.
About 4 or 5 months ago, I made the decision that I was severely under eating for my goals. A combination of being comfortable fasting for hours on end and an extremely stressful job lead to many days with a single, sub par meal leaving me depressed and unable to recover from the high volume, high intensity training I was doing and always have done.
That's always been one of my biggest downfalls. I love to train and I love to train hard. I'm not a fan of taking days off. Not because I'm hardcore or something arbitrary like that, just simply that I enjoy working hard. I enjoy the mental and physical demands of testing the limits. Training to me isn't training, it's part of my life just as much as brushing your teeth is to yours. But I digress.
I was severely under eating and I knew that If I wanted to get bigger and stronger, I needed to begin eating more.
So that's what I did. In fact, I even bought some Icon Meals so that way I would have quality meals already made for me. That way I had no excuse. Eventually it got me on the track of eating more regularly. Fast forward 4-5 months later, the eating coupled with some new training techniques and I'm literally the strongest I've ever been in my life.
No seriously, I feel fucking strong. I set PR's every time I go into the gym, and they are big ones too. I've put about 80 lbs (belt-less) on my squat and I've set new bench press records every time I lift in terms of weight AND reps. It's awesome to say the least.
There's one catch: I've gotten fat.
You know I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I know you probably hear that mamby pamby bullshit all the time, but it's true. It's the reason I got into it in the first place. I figured, since I was overweight, I'd do something about it. Luckily I was exposed to a great gym and trainer which encouraged me to lift hard and heavy, which turned me into who I am today.
I've gone up and down with my weight. When I was a laborer, I often got close to that elusive 10% body fat range. It was awesome. But now, times have changed, and I don't do that anymore. The food I eat has a much bigger impact on a day to day basis since I spend so much on my time static (I have a standing motorized desk, thank god).
For a couple months, I've noticed myself putting on weight. My shirts getting smaller, etc. the whole bit. But my training was conducive of putting on muscle. The strength was there so I ignored it and just rode the lightning.
Well last night, I took a progress pick just to make sure I wasn't lying to myself. Turns out, I was.
I'm not going to post a picture, because I wouldn't expect you to do the same. And quite frankly, I'm embarrassed. Likely the same feeling many of you feel, all the time.
Last night after I took a long hard look at my picture, I began to have all of these thoughts run through my head. All of the tricks I had up my sleeve, all of the diets, all of the new training I could do.
-Fasting, cut out carbs, begin tracking, increase protein, increase veggies, do hiit, buy clenbuterol....
All of this bullshit running through my head along side of my shame and anger and disgust.
Then I decided, I needed to practice what I preach. I spend all of this time writing and suggesting ways that people can make sustainable changes, but I often don't do them myself. Last night was a perfect example.
If I wasn't educated on this subject, today would likely include the following as days have in the past:
I'm no exception. These things run through my head all the time despite the fact that I know it's not optimal. But, there is a difference in that I'm not going to do those things, at least at first.
What I'm actually going to do (and am doing).
Rather than jump the gun and doing all of these crazy things. I'm first coming up with a plan of action. This will not only put things in perspective, but also ease some of my anxiety. Knowing you have a plan of action and goals to meet will literally dissolve your anxiety, or the fear of the unknown.
My plan: Current Bodyweight - 230 lbs.
This right now is my plan. It went from crazy, disoriented thoughts to an actionable, reasonable and logical plan that I can work with and execute.
These are things that everyone, (including myself) should be doing. This also goes for increasing muscle mass and strength. I should have thought out a plan 4-5 months ago. If I had I probably wouldn't be in the situation I am in.
Remember that even people who spend their whole lives dedicating themselves to fitness and nutrition can struggle. This shit is hard and we aren't all Instagram hard bodies.
The truth is, some people were dealt a good hand. For some people, losing body fat or maintaining a low percentage came relatively easy. Some people worked their ass off. For me, I was gifted with being pretty strong, but I still had to work my ass of for it.
If you are frustrated with where you are, do something about it. Make an actionable plan and make daily steps to achieve it. You know all of those people you follow and loathe because they have great bodies? They are out there working on it, not sitting on Instagram wishing for it (something I often find myself doing).
Your body transformation goals are 100% attainable and likely something you can achieve in a couple month's time. Don't let your fear of the unknown prevent you from even starting. A couple months down the line, you'll thank yourself.
As a side note, If you are interested in some direction, be sure to check out our 1 on 1, online training options. No matter your goal, I'm happy to help you reach it.
This year, before you indulge in one of the best meals of the year, be sure to put all those extra calories to use. Below, I give you the ultimate pre-thanksgiving meal upper body workout:
And there you have it. The ultimate upper body, pre-thanksgiving workout. Feel free to share with a friend that needs to earn that meal. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Hey all. I would first like to apologize for the lack of content for quite some time. As many of you know, I've been in Florida pursuing my Master's degree (which is finished now) in addition to basically working full time and spending time in human performance lab at the University of Tampa. In addition, I began writing for a website called us.myprotein.com which was a paid position, so most of my time writing went towards that. If you are interested in reading those articles (which provide good, up-to-date evidence based information) please head over to MyProtein and check them out.
Other than that, now that I am done with the degree, I'll have a little bit of extra time to write and get you all the content that you know and love. I've had some amazing opportunities to learn and work with some great minds this past year and I know that you will love the content I have in store for all of you. Some cool topics include:
- Why basing your training and supplement usage off of hormones is (almost) entirely pointless (unless you use steroids)
- Why bros tell you that you shouldn't run if you want gains and why they are probably right.
- Theoretical ways to combine endurance training and strength training (and best practices)
- The fasted training myth, and why your preferences should dictate if you do so or not (because there is no inherit benefit)
Please stay tuned, and again thanks to all of you that choose to come here for your information.
The Question: Okay, so I am a 29 year old fat woman who wants to run her first 5k before she turns 30. That 5K is on January 2nd.
So here's the details. My highest weight ever was 325 (5'8"), and I am currently around 278. I am doing 3 full body strength training workouts each week, and then doing my runs alternating 3 days a week, with one day of rest. I also walk at least another 2-4 miles a day during my work breaks. I am also eating at a caloric deficit using My Fitness Pal, and getting plenty of protein.
So here's my question. I have completed the couch to 5K program in that I can successfully jog for 3.11 miles without needing to walk or stop. My problem is that I am very, very, very slow at it. My current best time is around 53 minutes. I would love to get at least somewhat faster by the time I do the 5k.
What kinds of things can I do to get faster at this in the 8 weeks before the race? In the end, being able to complete the race jogging/running without stopping is my goal (Something I've never done in my life), but I'd love to be able to really do my best.
A good approach is to do something called undulating periodization. It's typically a method used for resistance training and because its endurance training (running for distance) you wont be periodizing in it's normal sense. However, you can undulate the distance you run and the speed at which you run it. "Undulating" means that you vary those variables (duration, distance and intensity) from session to session .
Think of your training as peaks and valleys of a mountain range. some peaks are high and some are moderately high, while valleys may be very low or moderately low. However, these peaks and valleys aren't perfectly one after another, often varying from one to the next.
For example, one workout, you can run for 1.5 miles at a moderate intensity (somewhat difficult, but not too bad). The next time you can run 3 miles at a low intensity (very easy pace). Next run .5 miles at a higher intensity (you really push your limits of shuffling, but not to the point of being sick or injured. Just faster than you would for a longer duration). Next bump, the distance to 3.25 miles at a moderate pace. etc. (This is just an example).
By undulating the distance, duration you run, and the intensity you run them at, you can start to train different facets that contribute to running performance such as different energy systems, aerobic capacity (ability for your body to keep up with energy demands), V02 max (how much oxygen cells can take in and use). Plus, you provide yourself with a novel stimulus (which drives adaptation and growth) each time, yet learn how to run more efficiently (i.e. just get better at running or shuffling).
Running for different distances such as above and below 3 miles, gives you an opportunity to sometimes push your limits and sometimes back off and recover.
What is a dog? A dog is something special. More than simply an animal, yet less than a human. A dog is sentient yet, less than human. A dog gives and feels love as we would define it yet, less than human. A dog is capable of emotion on levels we can’t understand, for others of their own kind and those different yet, less than human. But a dog is more than a sum of it’s parts. A dog provides us with an intimate opportunity to watch it grow and progress in ways we don’t entirely understand. From its birth, we have the opportunity to watch it learn and thrive based on the combinations of it’s surroundings, master and primal instinct. However, as the years progress, we have the privilege of observing its loyalty and love to us both unparalleled and unconditional in a way that is more than human.
Today, I lost one of my best friends, Sophie. Sophie was more than a dog. Sophie was a beloved friend that provided me with a love that some don’t often experienced, paralleled only by that of love from close family and significant others. Sophie passed today and I wasn’t there to comfort her. I wasn’t there.
I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in heaven. So I don’t have the opportunity to believe that she is in a better place, simply because I don’t believe she is. Sophie’s time with my family and I provided both of us with an unbelievable experience filled with love and fun. Her welcome home greetings were that of kings and it was always one of the better parts of my day. Sophie’s place was in our home and her purpose was executed flawlessly. Sophie was always in a better place.
As silly as it sounds, her death has given me an opportunity to evaluate what death is, especially when its that of a loved one. I’ve often wrestled with the idea of death, considering my own and the impact that other’s have on me. Death is a part of life. It’s just simple biology. Sophie, like many other dogs and humans, succumbed to the grip of cancer and it baffles me that something as simple as unchecked replication of cells, consuming all of the organism’s energy could be so vicious. Seemingly “taking’ something from us. A loved one, a friend. But again, I must realize that these things happen in biology. It would be easy to be angry at someone or something for taking my beloved Sophie from me. It would be easy to place blame and feel as though both her and I were slighted. But we weren’t. Sophie wasn’t taken. Sophie was a part of a biological process that we just haven’t had the opportunity to fully understand, and that resulted in death.
Sophie was more than just a dog. She gave me the opportunity to reevaluate how I treat others. As silly as it may sound to you, Sophie’s love caused me to reconsider how I love those around me. Sophie never yelled at me. Sophie never got mad at me. And when she was wrong, she admitted it and made things right, only to be her happy fun loving self within moments afterwards. When I was wrong she never thought for a moment to forgive me. She showed me that love doesn’t have to be conditional. Love can and always will be superior to anger and sadness.
Her life wasn’t exactly a long one, but I can’t imagine that in the days prior to the cancer, that there was ever a day filled with sadness. Her death has only reinforced the idea that we are finite. As humans, we have the opportunity to learn and teach and make this world a better place, as cliche as it sounds.
Make the most of your days and make sure to let those around you, human or not, know the love that you have for them.
Here’s to you Sophie bug. Thank you for the love you gave me and the happiness you provided. I am forever grateful.
At around the 45 minute mark, there are some really amazing thoughts that can apply to everyone. A lot of the time, we judge and discriminate without considering that many of the same things we chastise others for, we've done ourselves. Further, we often only consider what is happening now, disregarding the past that brought us all here. Some are fortunate and others are not and we would all be better off findings ways to better assess situations and people.
Really fantastic message. Give it a listen and let me know your thoughts.
Over the past couple months, I have spent a significant amount of time doing some intense research in the UT lab on Intermittent fasting. As such, I have learned a lot and realized how little I actually knew/know about nutrition and metabolism. Since it is my responsibility to provide the most current, up-to-date information to all of you, I am going to be editing a number of my previous articles/blogs on nutrition, especially those including information on intermittent fasting. Since some of the information may be inconsistent, I will be removing the bad information and replacing it with more current information and more optimal ways to implement it in your life.
As science and research grows, I will grow along with it. I hope that you as the reader understand that my previous work was based on what I believed to be the most up to date information. I am not infallible and sometimes my information may be inconsistent. However, rest assured, I am committed to bringing you information that is backed by science and can bring you results. What follows is the first of many articles that I edited to include the most up to date information. In the very near future, I plan to fully update all of my information regarding intermittent fasting as that Is my primary field of interest. Again, I appreciate all of you. Please do not hesitate to ask any and all questions.
Reader Q & A: Should I shift my carbs to training days while intermittent fasting?
"So I intermittent fast, and I generally workout Thursday-Sunday due to my school schedule. So my question is, since I am also in a calorie deficit, should I reallocate my carbs to be less on Monday-Wednesday and increase them on Thursday-Sunday, or have them consistent throughout the week? Would it make a difference?" -Mike
That is a great question. And the answer is contingent on a couple of different things. First of all, it depends on the type of workouts that you do as well as your goals. I am going to guess that you are interested in losing as much body fat as possible while maintaining or possibly gaining muscle mass. If this applies to you and you are completing pretty intense workouts (using moderate to heavy weights with moderate to high reps such as 8-12 repetitions close to failure for multiple sets), then it may be a good idea to shift more carbohydrates towards the days that you train. If you are training in a way that will be depleting some of your muscle glycogen, your body will not only use the excess carbs as fuel for the muscle (instead of storing it as fat), but it can also help increase the amount of glycogen that your muscle can store, plus the water that goes with it. This means that your muscle will not only be stronger and bigger, but it will look fuller.
From a fat loss standpoint, it may be a good idea to keep the amount of weekly carbohydrates that you are ingesting currently at the same amount or reduce them slightly, while shifting intake to consume more on training days as opposed to off days. It may also be in your best interest to monitor your physique and see how this shift is affecting your body. In fact, a good friend of mine Sean Golden of buildingaleanbody.com actually found that while using this sort of protocol, he was actually able to increase his total amount of carb intake to roughly 300 grams a day while still dropping body fat! However, this was only done after careful monitoring and ensuring that his workouts were ample enough to be able to use this amount of carbohydrate. Careful monitoring is very important because while you may see some physique changes simply by cycling your carb intake, there is a good possibility that you will eventually hit a plateau. Once you notice that fat loss has stalled, it would be a good idea to either begin being in a total caloric deficit or increase your current deficit further.
Since you are already intermittent fasting, you understand that one of the main concepts of intermittent fasting is placing the majority, (if not all) of your food in the post-workout window. This is primarily because of two things that occur. First, you can induce a large insulin spike in response to reintroduction of food post workout, especially when ingesting foods such as carbohydrate and whey (Nilsson et al., 2004). This allows for the ingested carbohydrate to be transferred to the muscle to be stored as glycogen. Second, you have a large amount of GLUT-4 translocation in response to muscle contraction (such as what occurs during resistance training). GLUT-4 is a glucose transporter that transfers glucose from the blood into the muscle to be stored as glycogen. Muscle glycogen not only provides fuel for your workouts but also allows for storage of water in the muscle as well so your muscle looks and feels full. Further, the interesting thing about the GLUT-4 transporter is that it works independent of insulin, meaning that it doesn’t need insulin to work. That is an important detail for the context of this question because if muscle contraction does not occur (such as on an off day), you need insulin to be elevated to transfer glucose from the blood to the muscle and the potential of ingested carbohydrate to be stored in the muscle is decreased. Further, having elevated GLUT-4 translocation allows for glucose to be more likely stored in the muscle rather than converted to fat for storage. In essence, during the post workout period, you can ingest a large amount of carbohydrate and utilize both insulin and the GLUT-4 transporter, which increases the likelihood that the ingested carbohydrate will be stored as muscle glycogen rather than being transported into adipose tissue and then transformed into fat.
One last bit of advice. If you choose to take this route, it would be in your best interest to consider the following:
In closing, if you are trying to lose body fat and gain muscle at the same time, then it may be a good idea to shift your carbs towards your training days. It will not only help you look great, but it may help your performance all while helping you lose fat.
Collier, G., Greenberg, G., Wolever, T., & Jenkins, D. (n.d.). The Acute Effect of Fat on Insulin Secretion. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 323-326.
Nilsson, M., Stenberg, M., Frid, A. H., Holst, J. J., & Björck, I. M. (2004). Glycemia and insulinemia in healthy subjects after lactose-equivalent meals of milk and other food proteins: the role of plasma amino acids and incretins. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(5), 1246-1253.
As many of you know, I am a very big proponent of the lean gains style of Intermittent Fasting. For those of you that do not know, let me give you a brief rundown of the style, and why from a scientific standpoint, it may be beneficial for fat loss and moderating body composition.
While I've always been one to fast every single day, I've been doing a lot of research on the subject (specifically AMPK) and I've began to consider that while I think that it is is an amazing protocol for fat loss as well as longevity, it may not be (entirely) optimal for maximum hypertrophy of skeletal muscle. Also, let me preface that the next couple arguments I make are more based towards those that are of an advanced training status. If you are obese and untrained, it may be more beneficial for you to follow this protocol every day if it is something you chose to employ. Further, there are other forms of intermittent fasting that you could always consider (cheat mode, alternate day fasting, carb backloading, etc.)
If you're a trained individual, you know how hard it can be to pack on muscle. Further, if you are lean, you also know that it can be increasingly more difficult to shed those last couple of pounds of fat, while maintaining lean mass. If so, this may apply to you.
When you are untrained, the protein synthetic response for skeletal muscle post workout is very long. Possibly with a duration of up to 48 hours!. However, as you become more trained, that synthetic response becomes drastically shortened. Potentially to as little as 8 hours. As with anything in training, your body responds to insult (training stimulus) in order to adapt the stress. That's why you get stronger and build muscle in short. You train --> that is an insult to your body --> your body grows or gets stronger in order to adapt, so that the next time it happens, you'll be better prepared. Well the same thing happens with the protein synthetic response. As you become more trained, your body becomes desensitized to the stimulus and then doesn't respond as strongly (as in the "need" for an increased protein synthetic response is lessened, in the eyes of your body).
For the trained individual, considering the last paragraph, it becomes increasingly more important for you to maximize the time of elevated protein synthesis. Now, if your fasting throughout the morning and training in the late afternoon, this elevated protein synthesis may transcend into the next day. (See where I'm going with this?). If you go right into the next day and begin fasting, you may be wasting precious time that your body is in a protein synthetic state, further decreasing the time that you are actually "building muscle."
So what's a bro to do then? Well, if I'm not mistaken, Sean over at buildingaleanbody.com already considered this. It may be a better idea to train and fast in a cyclic nature. This would be especially beneficial while actually in a dieting phase. By having a cyclic IF/Training cycle, you not only can reduce the training frequency (which is prudent when on a caloric deficit, since you have less calories to fuel growth and recovery), but you can maximize the times of protein synthetic elevation, as well as the times that you would want to have increased AMPK activation, lipolysis and fat oxidaiton (16 hours prior to training).
Here is an example of what I mean:
You get the picture. This cyclic style may allow those who are trained to reap the benefits of Intermittent Fasting, while maximizing the times of decreased protein synthetic response. This will not only allow you to effectively lose some body fat, but you could at least take advantage of the training stimulus in an optimal fashion, and potentially put on some muscle (that is not guaranteed).
Further, this schedule may be manipulated based on when you train. If you train around noon, it may not be necessary to follow this cyclic style. If you are well trained, it may be the case that by the time you wake up the next morning (<16 hours post training), the protein synthetic response could be decreased. Unless you have access to regular biopsies and blood testing, you'll have to decide for yourself. Further, this style is simply a suggestion and a hypothesis. Always remember that most effective diet is one that you'll actually stick to. If you are more concerned with maximizing fat loss in the quickest amount of time, then it may be more optimal for you to IF every day. You'll have to make that decision on your own.
When counting protein macros do you count the protein within a carb source for example pasta? Or do you only count protein from direct sources such as meat,eggs etc?
It's more of a question of whether or not the protein source has a complete amino acid profile. If not, then it would depend on if you are consuming the other essential AAs along with it from other sources. If you were just consuming nuts for example exclusively for protein then I would think that yes it would have caloric significance but not provide you with ample protein for actual protein requirements. If you consume different types and are concerned only about caloric significance, then yes, track it.
Some protein sources (typical plant based, nuts, legumes and grains) have an incomplete protein source. This means that they do not include all 9 essential amino acids as do sources like meat, dairy, eggs, etc. Further, this means that they do not have biological significance when it comes performing the duties of protein in the body such as cellular and muscular repair, as well as energy in the absence of carbohydrate (glucose in the blood or lack of stored glycogen, both in the liver and muscle). Fortunately, if you are a vegan or vegetarian and are at risk of inadequate protein, a good majority of incomplete protein sources can be stacked together to make a complete source, and thus have biological significance.
After much deliberation, I decided that I needed to take a formal stance on the subject of the many riots that have occurred during the past year. While this may not be a fitness related post, I felt as though this was a more optimal route rather than jumping into a sea of Facebook comments, only to have my point of view taken out of context, leading to a war of keyboard weaponry.
In order to avoid any confusion, I am white. I truly do not know what it is like to grow up in an impoverished community. I don’t know what it is like to grow up in the middle of seemingly endless crime while living in a society that often condones it. I don’t know what it is like to not have loving and supporting parents, which while also can be the case for white people, seems to be all too prevalent in the black community. I don’t know what it is like to have police officers wrongly (or rightly) accuse me of a crime and use unnecessary force in order to have me comply. In essence, I don’t know what it is like to experience discrimination. Further, I don’t know what it is like to be black.
Let it be known, this isn’t a public service announcement to say, “Don’t break the law, and you wont get arrested!” Everyone knows that. This is more of an assessment of this terrible situation that seems to be picking up steam. No one is denying that these riots are doing more harm than good. Further, it is undoubtedly pushing the white and black communities further apart, creating more racism. On the black side, we see rioting. On the white side, we see rednecks wielding assault rifles, burning buckets of kfc and pouring out grape soda. While you may have laughed at that last sentence, it’s a real thing and it only increases the divide between these two communities.
The biggest problem is that as of yet, these riots haven’t shown up in many communities. But if they continue at the rate that they are, it WILL happen in yours. People may think it is out of the scope of capabilities, but we are on a fast track to somewhat of a civil war and it needs to stop.
Are police officers to blame for this situation? Maybe. Was Freddie Gray a criminal? According to every source I’ve seen, yes. Was Freddie Gray taken in to custody for having a weapon, which may have prompted force by said police officers? Maybe. Did the police officers use unnecessary force? Maybe. These are all questions that I’m guessing a good majority of those rioting in Baltimore didn’t ask before taking to the streets. What I’m guessing happened was a diffusion of responsibility. For those of you that don’t know, that means that as individuals, we lose the feeling of responsibility during situations if we are in the presence of others, specifically, in a crowd. That’s what has happened in Baltimore. People have lost sense of responsibility, which has been acquainted with a loss of moral judgment.
The black conversation needs to happen. I can’t speak for others, but I certainly hear the black community. I think it really sucks that people have to live with discrimination when it’s a seemingly pointless tactic. Do I sometimes become fearful when black individuals approach me? You betcha. Now before you go on a rant about how I’m a racist asshole, hear me out. That fear is prevalent due to association with events such as what’s happening with Baltimore, inaccurate media portrayal, and the lack of personal exposure to black individuals. Throughout my short life, I’ve experienced black individuals whom were unpleasant to be around and also black individuals who became pretty good friends of mine. I’m sure that the same can be said for black people’s experience with white individuals. Either way, one individual doesn’t paint the picture in either direction. I’m a big believer in respect. If I’m given it, I will reciprocate. If I’m not given it, I won’t actively let it be known that I’m not given it either, but I won’t go out of my way to associate with that person. Further, this goes for any race that I associate with because I’d rather give people the benefit of the doubt, since I would like to receive the same.
In all honesty, I don’t have a solution to this problem. All I know is that the black community does need to be heard. Is the way they are going about this the only way that conversation will start? I don’t think so, but it clearly has already started. We can’t change what has happened, but we can surely prevent it from happening again. Violence and looting certainly isn’t the answer and I have to believe that those participating know that as well. Black people are just that, people. No better or worse than any white person. They have a voice that is certainly speaking and it needs to be heard. How will those voices be answered? I don’t have an answer to that, but it certainly shouldn’t be answered with an increase in racist tendencies. This isn’t a “lets hold hands for peace” announcement. Black people and white people are different. That’s never going to change. However, that difference should be celebrated. The whole reason that people travel the world is to experience culture different from they’re own. Black and white factions have differences that should be embraced, rather than discriminated against. Every race, country, individual has skeletons in their closet, but that shouldn’t be the crux of our opinions on each other. Either way, the riots need to be stopped so that we AS A COUNTRY can figure out a reasonable solution to the racism problem. If we don’t I fear this will turn into much more than just riots trending on Facebook.
It seems like every other month, there’s a new story coming out about how Dr. Oz is under investigation or being kicked out of whatever faction he is a part of. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon. However, this is likely not what you know him for. Chances are you know him because you’ve seen him on the Oprah Winfrey show preaching to countless stay-at-home moms about the power of alternative medicine and the “latest no workout, no effort, fat busting supplement.” You probably know him also as an avid non-GMO fanboy.
I have always been an opponent of the man’s wild claims and I felt that it was necessary to explain why.
The primary reason that I am in opposition of Dr. Oz is because he is a cardiothoracic surgeon. Yes, you read that right, because he is a surgeon. Let me explain. There is no doubting that in order to become a heart surgeon you need to be educated. No one is denying that. However, Dr. Oz is educated in being a heart surgeon, not fitness related information. Sure, he probably has read a few peer reviewed articles in his day, but based on the claims he has made in the past years, he is certainly not educated in the field enough to give dietary advice to nearly 2 million viewers each day. That would be like Alan Aragon, arguably the best dietary research reviewer and nutritionist giving millions of people advice on the best way to go about performing heart surgery. Perhaps that is a little obscene, but you get the picture. Dr. Oz really has no place giving nutritional advice, (especially on the scale that he does), simply because he is not even close to being adequately educated on the subject. The problem is that since he is a doctor, people view him as an authority so they take his advice verbatim and never think twice about it. This sort of nonsense not only undermines information that is given by real experts in the field, but also leads millions astray due to their ignorance and willingness to listen to an authority figure.
When it comes to nutritional and supplemental research, such research is pretty scarce. Fortunately for me, since I’m going into the field, but unfortunately for others, this field is still in its infancy. This not only leaves room for continuing research and discovery, but it also leaves room for people to prey on other’s ignorance. When it comes to adding any supplement or training program into one’s life, much of the evidence for doing so is anecdotal. That means that the idea is either logically sound or through experience, that logic has been confirmed. If we as a community had to wait for sound research on every subject to arise, then we would never make any progress. Yes, using evidence-based practices is of utmost importance, but sometimes you have to use better judgment and at least search for some research. The problem with Dr. Oz’s supplemental advice is that the majority of the supplements he backs are well, pretty lame. Supplements like raspberry ketones and green coffee bean extract, as it turns out, are fairly cheap supplements, which makes them very easy to promote. These are just a few supplements that Oz has promoted in the past few years. Take a doctor, promoting cheap supplements claiming to be backed by science, to a bunch of overweight stay at home moms looking for a quick fix, and you’ve got quite the cash cow. The problem is that he probably doesn’t realize that he is doing more damage than just taking a couple dollars from people. He is willingly leading innocent people astray, which probably results in those people experiencing mental dismay when they don’t “lose 18 pounds in three weeks” by taking green coffee bean extract. He claims that supplements like these are backed by science, and while he may be correct when it comes to one study, he is either willfully not using his better judgment or he doesn’t know the implications that come along with interpreting study results. When it comes to supplements, the only things that “really work” are steroids. Yes, substances like green tea extract for example may increase metabolic rate or something similar, but when it comes down to it, if training and dietary interventions are not sound, the actual effect of that supplement will be nil. Any person who has experience in this field knows this, and while it may be nice to suggest to people that something like green tea extract may be a nice additive to a sound diet, at the end of the day, taking a supplement like this will not be “the magic pill for fat loss.” It is even worse when someone is doing it for financial gain, which is very likely in the case of Dr. Oz.
The reason that you should likely take any mainstream advice such as from Dr. Oz with a grain of salt, is because chances are if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Especially when it comes to nutritional supplements. Further, the term “alternative medicine,” a motto of Oz, should always be a red flag. The reason that any real medicine is prescribed is because it has empirical evidence backing it. Do doctors over prescribe medications? Absolutely. Can medicine be dangerous, even when taken as prescribed? Absolutely. Is it possible that much of big pharma thrives on making people sicker in order to get them to buy more drugs? In my opinion, that’s a stretch, and I hope for everyone’s sake is false. However, chances are that real medicine is prescribed because it works. If you choose to use alternative medicine, that is your choice and you’ll have to live with the possible consequences. But that is your choice. You shouldn’t try preaching to others that alternative medicine is the key, especially if you’re in a position of authority unless your claims are consistently backed by evidence. The key is to educate yourself so that you can make informed decisions and question everything. Let it be known that some people are just in this game to make a buck. Don’t let that happen to you.
I love going high weight, low reps to build strength. But it is almost summer, so I want to eat lean food and be a little healthier. Do I have to switch to low weight high reps to define? Or will dieting and cardio be enough if I continue to use high weights. Thank you for the time.
Continuing to train with heavier weights is essential while on a diet. If you do not give your muscle and strength abilities a stimulus to be maintained, then it wont be. Having muscle is metabolically costly. As such, on a diet your body would prefer to get rid of that first in order to effectively provide enough energy. By using heavier weight, you give your body a reason to maintain any muscle that you have gained, and you're likely to maintain or even increase your strength.
That's not to say that you can't do other types of training as well. Metabolic resistance training seems to be an effective route for fat loss along with high intensity interval cardio. It seems as though combining these two types of training would be optimal for a fat loss diet, while preserving your hard earned muscle and strength, given that your also in a caloric deficit.
I want to start lifting but I'm having trouble with ankle mobility. During normal squats, my heels come off the floor and I want to fall backwards. I tried lifting with weights under my heels but I still overcompensate with leaning forward. Thus, using more quads than glute. However, when I widen my stance and turn my feet out, I am able to achieve a much deeper squat.
Is it ok to replace normal squats with sumo for the time being until I get more ankle flexibility? Will it still target the same muscle groups? Should I be careful with my knees coming in? I need overall advice. Can't afford a trainer. Thanks so much!
I personally am a very big proponent of adjusting your stance in order to achieve a greater range of motion. Not only does ankle mobility play a role in the problem that you have, but also, the structure of your skeleton may actually impede the ability to efficiently move throughout the entire range of motion during a "normal" olympic style squat.
Firstly, you should adjust your technique based on how well you are able to perform the movement throughout the full range of motion. If that means that you need to widen your stance and point your toes out, then that is a pretty easy fix for the problem you are having. It then also makes sense to try to increase your technique for this specific movement. You're other choice is to spend a significant amount of time and energy working on ankle mobility and hope that fixes your problem while not squating. In my opinion, it would make more sense to work on ankle mobility while widening your stance in order to squat correctly through a full range of motion, and then when the time comes after you've been squatting for quite some time and your ankle mobility has increased, work on your "normal" squat. There's no sense in not squatting, because you're forced to widen your stance.
There have been some comments here on bar placement. It does hold true that bar placement will effect the width of your stance. If the bar is higher on your back, you should likely have your stance narrower. If the bar is lower on the back, the feet should be wider. This is due to the need to have the bar movement in line with the body's center of gravity. If the bar is high on the back with a wide stance, unless you have crazy hip mobility, it is likely that the bar will drift forward over the your bodies center of gravity, which will likely cause your hips to shoot up first, and place more strain on your lower back. The same holds true for the opposite. If the bar is lower, you will need to have a wider stance, and bend more at the hip in order to keep the bar in line with the center of gravity. If the stance is too narrow, the bar will likely drift behind the center of gravity and will through you off balance.http://www.scienceforfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/6a0128769a61e7970c0168e9a8292d970c-pi.jpg
As for the muscle groups they target, a wider stance will place more stress on the abductors. However, I wouldn't worry about not hitting either your quads or hamstrings sufficiently. If you train often enough and through a full range of motion, with correct technique, You should adequately work the thigh muscles. It does seem that a wider stance may place more emphasis on your hamstrings but not to the effect that your hamstrings will get huge while your quads wont. Due to the biomechanics of the body, both the quads and hamstrings will be worked. Hope this helps.
Secreted by the pineal gland, melatonin is the master of circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). As the day progresses into the night, melatonin levels rise (given they aren’t impeded by the blue light emanating from your iPhone), until increased concentration eventually causes you to sleep. Using supplemental melatonin is a great way to regulate this cycle. By supplementing with melatonin, you can in essence, teach your body to optimize endogenous (from within the body) melatonin production so that you can fall asleep at the same time and also wake at a certain time. Not only can you teach your body to wake at a certain time (such as the time you wake for work), but you’ll be more likely to wake feeling refreshed, rather than groggy, desperately searching for that first sip of black gold.
Timing does however seem to matter. I was once told that the best time to take melatonin was around sunset, the time in which melatonin levels were beginning their ascent to maximum levels. This may have been a good suggestion 100 years ago prior to the never ending onslaught of melatonin impeding artificial light. Now a days, it seems as though attempting to avoid such artificial light is quite impossible unless you have no one to talk to or rather, no reason to use any piece of technology, which I would guess is unlikely. However, I am quite convinced that if one is to supplement with melatonin, you not only can set your circadian rhythm, but also teach your body to produce adequate amounts of endogenous melatonin, or at least optimize production, despite technology attempting to thwart any and all attempts on a restful night’s sleep. Further, I would argue that apart form circadian rhythm effects, an acute burst of melatonin (such as 5-10mg 30 minutes before bed) would have a positive effect on sleep latency (the time it takes to actually fall asleep). However, this is purely theoretical.
Not only does melatonin aid with sleep and circadian rhythmicity, it has been shown to have a myriad of other health benefits. If you’d like to read more about melatonin, try out some of the following links:
I've been lifting since July, though I am not thrilled with the results, though I do know why; I've not been following a proper program nor have I been eating well. I have only recently started squatting and deadlifting, and am looking to get into good shape by the time I start college in September.
I currently weigh around 175lbs and am around 6ft tall and my lifts are as follows: Bench: 135lbs 5x5 Squat: 10lbs 5x5 (with dodgy form) Deadlift: 175lbs 1x5 (with dodgy form).
I am planning on following Ice Cream Fitness, but I am not sure where to start. How far should I go down on my lifts, and for how long to perfect my form? Also, should I bulk or cut from where I am at the moment? Moreover, is it worth getting creatine, bearing in mind my father is bald? Also, I will be starting next week, so are there any stretches or movements I can do at home in the meantime that will help my form when I start?
As for your form on the main lifts, it is a good idea to use a full range of motion. The squat in particular gets the most discussion on whether or not going to parallel is enough to be considered full range of motion. It really depends on the bar placement as well as how far apart your legs are. Mechanically, it makes sense that if your legs are closer together you will likely be able to squat further down than if your legs are further apart. Deciding which width to go with is personal preference. However, I would suggest going on youtube and watching pro lifters, such as the animal athletes or the guys over at supertraining gym. That way you can get a good visual of what the form on the big lifts should be.
As for bulking or cutting first, I think since you're still fairly new and have yet to have a structured program or diet change, you shouldn't worry about strictly "bulking" or "cutting." A good route for you to take is to find a program (like ICF) and stick to it for a significant amount of time and really work on progressing. Keep logs of your training so that you always know if you're progressing. In time, if you stick to it, you'll likely begin to see the changes that you desire. Just remember that seeing real changes in your body and strength takes time and consistency. Find a program and stick with it. Don't bulk or cut, simply get structured and set smaller goals for yourself such as finding a program and sticking to it. (read this too: http://optimal-living.weebly.com/blog/reader-qa-should-i-bulk-or-cut-first)
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the planet. It has been shown time and time again to be quite effective (for the majority of the population) to increase muscular power output for reasons that are out of the scope of this comment (if you want more, read this http://optimal-living.weebly.com/blog/reddit-fitness-forum-answers-3). That being said, you don't necessarily need it. Rather than focusing on taking supplements to get you stronger or in better shape, you should focus on simply trying to making better choices when eating and increasing performance in the gym.
Don't overthink it. Find a program, stick to it, and work hard. This takes a lot of time, but if you're consistent, you'll start seeing the changes you desire.
Does it matter when you take your whey protein throughout the day?
It depends on your goal. If you're looking to build some muscle rather than lose fat, it may not be important. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose and you are concerned with insulin sensitivity, it may be a better idea to save the whey until pre and post workout. Whey promotes an insulin spike similar to that of white bread (very high). This would be beneficial around the workout, but not so much during other times when you are sedentary. As for just consuming protein in other forms (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.) the timing is not as relevant, but depending on your goal, the timing of whey protein may be significant.
My creatine bottle (I usually take tablets) says subjects who took 1.25g of creatine increased their leg press 1RM by 54lbs, subjects who took 5g increased by 52lbs, and subjects who took the placebo didn't increase. So, less is more with creatine?
Creatine doesn't have an acute effect. Its efficacy is dependent on whether or not the muscle is saturated with it. Taking creatine, in effect, will increase the amount of creatine phosphate in the muscle, in order to donate the phosphate to ADP to make ATP.
Regarding your question, once the muscle has become saturated, the dosing protocols used in your question are more to maintain the levels of creatine phosphate being stored rather than dosing to bring about more of a desired effect. Again, creatine's effectiveness is dependent on the muscle being saturated, rather than how big of a dose you take at any given time. 3-5 grams is recommended once the you've reached saturation, with the higher end being for individuals with a higher amount of lean muscle tissue.
Creatine is one of the most highly research supplements on the planet. It has also been shown to be quite effective for a myriad of different effects that go further than just increased muscular power output. To reiterate, it is safe and effective and likely has a place in your supplement cabinet. As mentioned above, muscle needs to be saturated with it in order for it to be effective. You can go about this in two ways: 1. Load it for a week by taking 20 grams/day (four 5 gram doses throughout the day) or 2. take 5 grams per day post workout continuously for as long as you want. Creatine doesn't need to be cycled either.
As for type, just get monohydrate. There are many different types out there, but the studies on mono seem to be the most reliable and it is also the cheapest. Don't go for big name brands that have small servings, claiming their product is superior. It probably isn't. You can find bulk creatine monohydrate on amazon.com for very reasonable prices.
Im 5'8'', 170lbs. I have a gut(I love beer). I was wondering if I should eat at a deficit for a little while until I lose this excess fat and then start my bulk. Is this completely stupid?
Based solely on your measurements, it is likely that you don't have a large amount of weight to actually lose. That being said, it may be in your best interest to at least find out what your maintenance calorie intake is and then continue hitting that number while training how you would for your "bulk." Chances are that your training volume and intensity are not extremely high, thus you probably have room to increase the amount of work you are doing. IMO, in your situation, rather than delegating specific time periods to "cutting" and "bulking" it may be a better idea to simply train the way you would during your "bulk" while maintaining the amount of food you are eating and see how your body composition changes. There is a lot of research now showing that eating around maintenance or slightly above will yield similar results as that of a diet with significantly higher calories. However, the diet at or slightly above maintenance groups show much less fat gain.
If I was in your situation, I would begin tracking intake, find maintenance, and then begin training in the same way that I would if I was doing a "traditional bulk." I'd do it for a significant amount of time, evaluate my body composition, and then decide if I need to subtract some calories, or increase my workload in the gym.
Hey everyone, I'm a 28yo M who has been on the heavier side ever since starting college. Currently I'm 6'1", 280lbs with about 33% body fat. I'm not looking for necessarily a super fast transformation as it is not healthy most likely, and I want this to become a lifestyle change for me. Ideally, I'd like to be below 250lbs by May 16th when I get married. Here is what I've been doing thanks to Fittit:
First of all, congrats on starting a path to healthier lifestyle. A lot of people think that counting calories isn't necessary, but imo, if you are actually serious about trying to get lean, it makes perfect sense to track. I think once you get comfortable with tracking regularly, it would make sense to move towards tracking macronutrients more than simply total calories. This way you can be more in control of how much fat, carbohydrate and protein you are taking in and munipulate one or other with ease in order to reach your goal. For instance, you could be consuming 3000 calories consisting of high fat, high carbs and low protein or you could be consuming moderate fat, moderate protein, and moderate carbs and still have the total be 3000. Except with the first scenario, you may have difficulty losing weight, whereas the second may be more optimal for fat loss in your situation.
When it comes to micronutrients, the only time that it would become a concern is if you were to strictly consume the same type of foods everyday. A good way to avoid micronutrient deficiency is to simply consume a wider variety of foods. (By tracking macronutrients as discussed above, this becomes quite easy).
As for lifting, it really depends on what your MAIN goal is. If your main goal is performing well during the 10k, it still makes sense to do some resistance training often on the days you don't run. However, if your primary focus is the running, it makes sense to not over do it with the weights, since if you're very sore and fatigued, you wont be able to perform well during your run training. If you primary goal is to get in better shape, then it makes sense to do more weight training than running. Muscle is much more "energy costly" than other tissues in the body. As such, if you're using compound movements often, you're incorporating much more muscle, which will "burn more energy." Also, once you begin to acquire more muscle, you will have a higher energy expenditure both during rest, and during movement, will likely result in increased fat loss.
As for pushing yourself, I would say go as far as you can until you start to experience negative side effects. And by negative side effects, I mean, if you experience sleeplessness, or feel perpetually fatigued, or too sore. Don't wait until you've injured yourself to take a step back.
As for a final opinion, I think alot of people rely entirely too much on cardio for losing weight. That's not to say what you're doing is wrong (I think whatever you will consistently do, is what will get you results). I just simply think that incorporating more weight training will do more for than you think. A lot of people jump on the treadmill and then "Burn off" 250 calories or so, when they could have just subtracted that same 250 calories from their diet, and used the time you spent running, doing weight training. I think at your size it certainly makes sense to do cardio and weight training, but the level at which you do either, will be dependent on your primary goal. Hope this helps.
I recently was asked if I would like to write health and fitness articles for a website called TodaysKnockout.com. As such, I am looking to all of you for any ideas related to strength training, muscle building, nutrition, supplementation, and just about anything else fitness, that you would be interested in seeing addressed in future articles. Is there a question on training and nutrition that you want answered? Unsure if certain supplements are worth your time and money? Want to know some different ways to train? Then let me know. These ideas may not only benefit you, but many other readers looking to become their best self to date. After the success of the first Q&A segment on this blog, I realized that some of the best ideas for articles will come from your interests, in addition to my own. The majority of articles on this website were written because they were of personal interest to me, but I want to know what interests you as well! Please feel free to comment underneath with ideas or shoot me a personal message. You're idea may be end up getting picked for an article. Thank you in advance for any and all ideas that you have, and thank you all for your continued support.