Carbohydrates play two key roles in muscle building. The first is energy. Your body needs maximum energy to perform at maximum level. If you don't get enough energy from complex carbohydrates you will not be working as hard as you can and this will limit your muscle building potential. Simple carbohydrates will not cut it either, you may get 10min of energy from a chocolate bar but after that you're left feeling tired and run down.
Insulin spike post workout. Insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the human body and drives nutrients from the bloodstream into muscle cells. When you finish your workout your muscles are desperately trying to repair and rebuild and are crying out for energy and nutrients. This is the only time when simple carbohydrates will benefit you for muscle building. A quick dose of simple carbohydrates post workout will raise depleted insulin levels which speeds up the process of protein synthesis (rebuilding of muscle tissue). Complex carbohydrates will not do the job here because they take longer to be absorbed into the body. An excellent source of simple carbohydrates post workout is a banana. Eating a banana will give you 25-30 grams of fast acting simple carbohydrates.
When you need carbohydrates:
As mentioned, you need simple carbohydrates straight after your workout to increase insulin levels. But what about your energy levels throughout the day? You should kick off the day with a good serving of protein and carbohydrates. When you wake up your body has just had eight hours without any nutritional intake and is crying out for food. Another time when complex carbohydrates are very important is pre-workout for energy. Try and have a good meal filled with complex carbohydrates and protein about 1 hours to 45 mins before
The thing you must remember with carbohydrates is that your body only uses what it needs and stores the rest as fat. This is why you need to spread your carbohydrate intake out over the day for optimum energy levels and minimal fat storage. Most bodybuilders eat between 5-8 meals per day consisting of a high amount of protein and moderate complex carbohydrates. The "3 meal a day" trend is starting to shift as people realise it's much better to eat less, more often, for both weight loss and weight gains.
Types of carbohydrate supplements:
Carbohydrate supplements come in powdered form. There are two basic types that are used by athletes; blends and pure. Blends are your typical "weight gainers". They consist of mostly pure carbohydrates with proteins, fats and sometimes other supplements added. Pure carbohydrate supplements are exactly that, pure. 100% pure carbohydrates. Athletes often mix these supplements in with post-workout shakes for insulin spike. Pure carbohydrate supplements are much better because the bodybuilder can control the amounts he/she wishes to consume at any one time.
Supplements vs real carbohydrates:
At the end of the day, nothing beats real food. And because good complex carbohydrates are readily available, cheap and easy to consume in large amounts. carbohydrate supplements are not as common as protein and creatine which are much harder to consume in high amounts. The best (and only) time you can really benefit from carbohydrate supplements are post-workout. Pure carbohydrate supplements are formulated to give you a maximum insulin spike.
Ultimate Training Tips from guest contributor: Charles Poliquin
1. Be as Strong as You Look
I’ve had the opportunity to train arms with a whole slew of pros, and I can generally handle more weight than they can, using stricter form, even though they’re usually up to 70 or 80 pounds heavier than I am. The secret to my superior relative strength comes from the regular use of maximal weights. Most bodybuilders stick religiously to a 6 to 12 rep range when training arms. On the other hand, there are plenty of strongman contest competitors with massive arms who are every bit as strong as they look.
What’s the difference? Strongman competitors train using few exercises, done for multiple sets of low reps with long rest intervals between sets.
2. Splits Still Beat Full Body Routines
I’m the first one to want to improve on any training system, but I do not know anyone successful in the strength coaching business who uses full body routines exclusively. In bodybuilding, I don’t think Ronnie Coleman trains whole body three days a week. I’ve never known a successful bodybuilder, even the low set guys like Dorian Yates, to do whole body training. Every single Olympian I’ve trained used split routines. I’ve been in this profession for 26 years and no one has ever convinced me, by their results, that full body routines are the only way to go.
3. The Rep Rules
The rep is the mother of all loading parameters. All loading parameters are a function of the number of reps you choose to perform. It dictates the rest intervals and the amount of sets you’re going to do. Once you’ve decided that, it limits which exercises you can do. For example, the power clean should never be done for high reps because that’s a high coordination lift.
4. Variety is the Main Ingredient of Training Success
Unless you’re involved in this business full-time, you tend to adopt certain exercises and do them over and over again, to the exclusion of all others. We tend to adopt the same habits in other aspects of our lives. We tend to eat at the same restaurants, frequent the same stores, and call the same girls at 2:00 in the morning after we’ve had a few too many drinks and ask, “Hey, what are ya’ wearing?” We are creatures of habit. In training, though, it’s imperative that we break out of these ruts. We have to try new movements or try different ways of doing the same old movements. Variety is not only the spice of life; it’s the main ingredient of bodybuilding and strength training success.
5. Dumbbells are a Better Choice
The more you stick to what we were designed for as animals — lifting rocks, carrying carcasses, and generally just fighting against gravity — then the better off you are. What that means is using free weights over machines. One problem with machines is the fixed pattern of movement. For that same reason, I think dumbbells are a better choice for most exercises than barbells, particularly if you’re dealing with an athletic population. I went to the Soviet Union in 1982.
It was astonishing how little variation of equipment they had. They had a lot of barbells and a lot of dumbbells, but there was nothing very sophisticated. It’s what you do with the equipment that matters!
6. Cables Do Not Count as Machines
Cables are basically re-directed dumbbells. In my opinion, cables are the same thing as free weights, plus they allow you to re-direct resistance where dumbbells are limited. For some exercises, cable pulleys are superior. For example, for rotator cuff training you’re very limited in the angles you can train it when using a dumbbell. The options are endless though, when using a pulley. A multi-functional cable unit is the same thing as a dumbbell. I don’t consider it a “machine.”
7. Want Great Abs? Then Do Your Squats!
Abdominal specialization for athletes? It could happen, but the abs actually have very little potential for strength increases when compared to other muscles like calves. Along with the grip, the abdominals are the least likely to improve with training. Some of these guys can claim all these poundages used in ab training, but it’s actually the psoas doing the work. If you truly isolate the abs, after six to eight weeks an athlete will plateau the rest of his life. Research has shown that the most coordinated athletes master the most difficult abdominal exercises in six to eight weeks. The only things that increase abdominal improvement are squatting and deadlifting.
8. Give “Super Squats” a Try
The classic 20-rep squat routines are certainly worth a try. To do this program, one takes 3 deep breaths in between each rep. And, of course you’re only supposed to do one set. What’s really happening is that you’re doing 20 single-rep sets with 10 seconds between each rep. This 10-second pause, while taking the 3 deep breaths, allows you to recruit higher-threshold motor units than if you did the 20 reps in a slam-bam fashion. Hence the greater-than-normal motor unit recruitment. When performed with the right load, you’ll cough up a lung at the end of the set (which is a real badge of honor among hardcore trainers). If you’re underweight and have low-work capacity, I strongly encourage you to try 20-rep breathing squats. But, like any other routine, it will work only until you adapt to it.
9. Best Reps for Hamstrings
For hamstring hypertrophy, do low reps in a leg curl machine and higher reps in stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian dead, reverse hyper, and back extension. The reason why is because when you’re working your hip extensors you’re also working your glutes and erector spinae and those tend to be higher rep muscles.
In other words, if you’re using the leg curl machine you should be using eight reps or less. Someone with a higher training age may only need three reps, but use a higher amount of sets, like 10 sets of 3.
10. Stretch Your Quads, Blast your Hams
Always stretch the quadriceps between hamstrings sets. Increasing the range of motion of your quadriceps prior to a leg curl exercise will increase the amount of motor units used in the hamstrings during the exercise and therefore the effectiveness of the chosen exercise. Since the quadriceps is the antagonist muscle to the hamstrings, and that stretching will allow it to relax, the force of the contraction in the hamstrings will be much greater in the subsequent contraction.
11. Bench Press Overrated?
Some guys grow with the bench and some don’t. But go to the world championships in powerlifting and you’ll see plenty of guys with big pecs, and all they do for their chest is bench. But I’d say that if you’re pressed for time, any type of dumbbell press will be more efficient (all factors being equal). Now, some coaches recommend a very wide grip for barbell bench presses to bring more focus onto the pecs, but this just leads to achy joints. The widest your grip should be is 90 degrees between the upper arm and forearm when in the bottom position of the lift.
12. Better than the Barbell Row
One problem with the barbell row is that it’s really hard for people to just use the lats and elbow flexors. They always unconsciously start to drive with the quads and use their glutes and lower back. The second thing is that the bar either hits your gut or your chest, which restricts your range of motion. The better way to do it is to just use the one-arm dumbbell row.
13. Chins: The Upper Body Squat
The chin-up and its variations should be considered an “upper body squat” because of its mass-building qualities and its ability to quickly increase functional strength. Chin-ups involve the sternal portion of the pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid, the rhomboids, the middle and lower portions of the trapezius, and the elbow flexors. A chin-up specialization program will not only build impressive width and thickness to your back, but will also pack solid inches on your arms by promoting growth on your biceps, brachialis, brachio-radialis, and pronator teres.
14. Close-Grip Chins Get your Biceps Growing Again
Throughout my career, I’ve met a lot of people who’ve packed inches on their elbow flexors simply by doing chinning exercises. Grasp the chin-up bar with a close, supinated grip. The palms of the hands should be facing you, and your pinky fingers should be 4 to 6 inches apart. Hang below the bar and then pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. This movement should be done very slowly, on the order of about 15 seconds or so. Then, slowly lower yourself to the start position. Don’t short-change yourself by not coming all the way down. Like it is for any exercise, range of motion is critical. If your arms haven’t grown for a while, consider adopting this movement. It’s a sure-fire mass builder.
15. Pressdowns are for fluffers
Pressdowns are the most popular triceps movement. They’re great because they put you in a position that makes it easy to scope out that lingerie model doing cable crossovers. Unfortunately, that’s about all pressdowns are good for. Have you looked at the triceps of powerlifters and strongmen competitors recently? They’re plenty massive, but very few of them will waste their time on pressdowns. Now look at your average gymnasts: most have massive triceps that were built largely by doing dips and pressing motions. Ditch the pressdowns and use these instead:
Close-grip bench presses
Decline close-grip bench presses
Seated EZ-bar French presses
Decline dumbbell triceps extensions
16. Grow Your Traps or be a Geek
The trapezius normally has a very rapid growth response, so much so that if you can’t grow traps, you’re truly destined for geekhood. I’d rank the power snatch as the top trap builder, then power cleans and the different forms of shrugs. Most people limit their range of motion though by using barbell shrugs. It’s best to do them with a dumbbell one arm at a time so the trap can have a few inches more range. Do three weeks of that, then alternate it with an Olympic-style lift such as power cleans or power snatch.
17. Pack an Inch on your Calves in 30 Days
I’ve found that in order to build calves, you need some frequency of training and some volume, but you can’t have both high volume and high frequency. Therefore, I advise training them twice over a five-day cycle, one workout being very high sets (16) and high total reps (250-510 reps); and the other being low sets (3) for a low amount of total reps (90). I’ve known people to gain in between 5/8 of an inch to a full inch with this routine in as little as 30 days.
18. No-Bull Exercises for Calves
I like the Donkey Calf Raise because it places your gastrocnemius in a superior stretched position. Seated calf raises are fine, but they’re geared to working the soleus. For complete calf development, you need to work both the soleus and the gastrocnemius. If your gym doesn’t have a donkey calf raise, or if you’re reluctant to have someone of the same sex straddle you like a horsey, your best alternative would be the Dumbbell One-Legged Calf Raise. Another problem posed by donkey calf raises is figuring out how much resistance to use. For instance, how many fitness bunnies equal one Roseanne?
19. Break Plateaus with Doublé Training
Doublé is a French term that means to do something twice. I learned it from Pierre Roy, who’s probably Canada’s best weightlifting coach. Basically it involves doing the same exercise twice in the same workout. Whatever lift you want to improve, you do it twice. So for example if your squat is weak, you squat at the beginning of a workout, then you squat again at the end. It’s a great plateau buster that can work for strength specialization or hypertrophy specialization.
Let’s say you have shitty calves. You can do ten sets of calves at the beginning of the workout, then train chest and back, then do ten sets of calves at the end.
Author: Charles Poliquin
8 tips to a shredded you
Getting cut and defined isn’t just about calorie counting. Heck, if that were true, anyone and everyone could get lean easily. While modifying your total calorie intake certainly plays a major role, the key to successful fat loss lies in strategies that actually alter your body’s metabolism.
Most think of altering the metabolism as “boosting it,” but there are things you can do that also change the way the body handles food. For example, simply by taking a fiber supplement, you can alter the way your body handles carbohydrates. Fiber stimulates carbs to bypass fat storing pathways, which in turn means they ultimately head down other pathways for muscle fueling or building. There you go – a simple nutrition step to modify your metabolism. Here are eight more such steps you can take to cut up and lower your bodyfat. Coupled with controlling your calories, they can transform your metabolism and help you get shredded.
1 Increase Your Protein
If you struggle with bodyfat, you should stress protein–more chicken, eggs, fish, beef, low-fat dairy and protein powders. Why? Not all calories–carbs, protein and fat–are equal in their efficiency to be stored as bodyfat. Protein exerts a greater metabolic-boosting effect than carbs or dietary fat. When calories drop, protein saves muscle, which helps keep the metabolism (calorie burning) elevated. Protein also helps to keep hunger down, which assists you in holding down your calories without losing your mind. Aim for 1 1/2 grams per pound of bodyweight daily spread over five, six or even seven smaller meals.
2 Manipulate Your Carbs
Carbohydrates help retain muscle (and muscle is a metabolic booster), yet they can also stimulate fat storage. Following a modified low-carb diet–three consecutive days of consuming 100-125 g a day, followed by a single day of taking in 300-400 g, offers muscle support minus the fat storage. How so? When you eat fewer carbs and replace those carbs with protein, in general, the body ramps up fat-mobilizing enzymes and hormones resulting in accelerated fat loss. However, a prolonged period of lower carbs can leave your muscle looking flat, since glycogen (the storage form of carbs in muscle) pulls water into the muscle. When you go low carb, the muscles get depleted of their glycogen and lose some water and therefore their fullness. Therefore, load back up on carbs every fourth or fifth day.
3 Stack Carnitine, BCAA’s & Caffeine
Cardio is a good way to trigger fat loss. The ideal time is after workouts, as research shows that you burn more fat when you do cardio after a weight workout. However, another good time, to do cardio is in the morning before eating. Why? That’s when sugar levels in the blood are eat their lowest. If you perform cardio when your blood sugar and insulin are low, fat burning is maximized. One drawback: cardio can burn muscle. Using 5 g of branched chain amino acids, 1-3 g of carnitine and 200-400 milligrams of caffeine 30 minutes prior to cardio helps block muscle breakdown, preserves metabolic-driving muscle tissue and boost hormones that break down bodyfat. The supplement combo can even preserve testosterone, the muscle-building hormone that often declines with cardio activity.
4 Eat More Fish
When calories are controlled, the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, trout and sardines may promote speedier fat loss. One study revealed that dieters who ate fish on a daily basis lost more weight than those who ate fish just once a week. One possible reason–omega-3s are thought to make the receptors on fat cells more sensitive to the fat-liberating effects of norepinephrine (also known as NE), a main fat-burning hormone. In other words, fish fat makes NE work better. The other possible reason is that omega-3s tend to promote the storage of carbohydrates into muscle as muscle glycogen. If carbs are kept busy producing glycogen, they cannot stimulate or participate in the fat-storing process.
5 Take Creatine For Cuts
Creatine–the muscle-building supplement–can also aid fat loss. Creatine exerts an increase in metabolism when combined with weight training, to the tune of 100 calories a day. So, make sure you get in 3-5 g with your pre-and postworkout meals.
6 Cook With Garlic
Mother Earth’s flavor enhancer stimulates adrenaline (epinephrine) and uncoupling proteins (UCPs). Adrenaline triggers fat breakdown; UCPs increase calorie burning. Garlic also controls cortisol levels, which can support muscle retention in a dieting bodybuilder. Use fresh bulbs in cooking or give supplements a try.
7 Support The Thyroid
It’s the fitness world’s most frustrating irony: When you eat less and try to drop bodyfat, a lot of times your metabolism adapts to the change and burns fewer calories. One way to get around the slowdown is with phosphates. In one study, a combo of 537 mg of calcium phosphate, 107 mg of potassium phosphate and 25 mg of sodium phosphate given to strict dieters yielded a metabolic rate that was 12-19% higher compared to that of dieters who did not use phosphates. The amino acid tyrosine is also effective in turning a moderately calorie burning thyroid hormone called T4 into a more potent calorie burning one called T3. Three thousand mg of L-tyrosine taken before training or cardio will do the trick.
8 Try Fenugreek
This is one of those herbs that longevity buffs have been using forever, no pun intended. Used heavily in cooking curry dishes or even in supplemental form, Fenugreek is extremely effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar levels associated with carb consumption thanks to its active ingredient 4-hydroxyisoleucine. Carbs cause the amount of sugar in the blood to rise, which can trigger fat storage. This herb buffers the rise so that sugar levels remain steady. Steady sugar translates into improved sustainable energy minus a rise in fat-storing enzymes or hormones. In short, fenugreek helps fuel your body without making you fatter. Take 300-600 mg of 4-hydroxyisoleucine or 1 1/2 g of fenugreek daily.
As much as we’d like to report otherwise, you won’t achieve the physique you want just by counting calories and training religiously. Your metabolism has to be on board with your efforts. These eight simple strategies should put the twist in your metabolic rate to provide a real return on your training and nutrition investment.-CA
If your trying to lose weight, put on muscle, or simply maintain your body the way it is, it’s critical that you know precisely how many calories your body needs. Although body weight isn’t solely controlled by calories in vs. calories out (hormones play a major role), calorie levels are still the main driver of weight fluctuations.
The most accurate formula to calculate your maintenance calorie level, or the number of calories you should eat to maintain the same weight, is called the Katch-McArdle Formula. This is the most ideal formula because it takes into account a persons body composition when calculating calorie needs. Because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, a person with a higher % of muscle mass will typically need more calories than someone who weighs the same but has more fat mass. A 170 lb male with 10% body fat will burn more calories than a 170 lb male with 20% body fat (more on this in a moment).
Before we do the calculation, you must find your body fat %, or estimate it if you do not have access to a caliper/way of measuring it.
Once you have found your approximate body fat %, calculate your lean mass. Multiply your weight in pounds x (1-body fat %).
I weigh 170 pounds with 8% body fat. My lean mass is 170 x (1-.08 or .92) = 156.4lbs of lean mass
Convert your lean mass in pounds to kilograms. Divide your lean mass by 2.2.
For me, I have 156.4 lb/2.2 = 71.09kg of lean mass.
Next, you must calculate your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories that your body uses to sustain basic life functions such as breathing, regulating temperature, keeping your heart beating, liver and kidney function, etc.
BMR = 370 + (21.6 x lean body weight in kilograms)
My BMR = 370 + (21.6 x 71.09kg) = 1905.56 calories
My body burns 1905.56 calories per day just to keep me alive, thus I should never eat less than this number.
The final step is to multiply your BMR by your TDEE multiplier or Total Daily Energy Expenditure multiplier, which gives you your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Refer to the chart below and assess which category you fall into. WARNING: Be honest with yourself. If you exaggerate your activity level you’re going to end up with a calorie level that’s above your true maintenance level, thus you would gain weight. So don’t! My advice is to underestimate if you’re unsure. If you feel that you’re in between two categories than you can use a multiplier that lies in between.
I workout 6x/week for at least one hour so my TDEE multiplier is 1.725.
My Total Daily Energy Expenditure is 1.725 x 1905.56 = 3287
The calorie requirement to maintain my current weight is 3287 per day.
Calculating Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Amount of Exercise Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Little or No Exercise, Desk Job, Student TDEE = 1.2 x BMR
Light Exercise, Sports/Workout for ~1 hour, 1-3x/week TDEE = 1.375 x BMR
Moderate Exercise, Sports/Workout for ~1 hour, 3-5x/week TDEE = 1.55 x BMR
Heavy Exercise, Sports/Workout for ~1 hour, 6-7x/week TDEE = 1.725 x BMR
Very heavy exercise, Physical Job/Athlete or Training 2x/day ~1 hour each, 6-7x/week TDEE = 1.9 x BMR
To show you the impact muscle mass can have on daily calorie expenditure, consider my calorie needs if I instead had 18% body fat (I still weigh 170 lbs).
My lean mass in pounds would be 170 x .82 = 139.4
Converted to kilograms = 63.36kg
BMR = 370 + (21.6 x 63.36) = 1738.65
My TDEE = 1738.65 x 1.725 = ~ 3000
My daily caloric allowance to maintain my weight is ~ 3000 calories.
This is ~ 300 calories less than my daily caloric allowance with 8% body fat!
If I wanted to lose 1 pound/week I would just need to subtract 500 from my TDEE. My daily caloric allowance to lose 1 pound per week is 3287-500 = 2787 calories/day.
If I wanted to lose 2 pounds/week I would subtract 1000 from my TDEE. My daily caloric allowance to lose 2 pounds/week is 3287-1000=2287 calories/day.
If you’re trying to put on weight I’m assuming you’re trying to build muscle, not fat. Contrary to popular belief muscle doesn’t have the same amount of calories as fat. Many people trying to gain muscle simply eat as much food as possible. Yeah you’ll gain muscle doing that, but you’ll also put on a boatload of fat.
You should aim to eat 200-300 calories/day above maintenance when trying to build muscle.
If I want to build muscle I should consume 3287 + 200 = ~3500 calories/day
Better results in less time. What's not to love about HIGT training?
The Ultimate 8-Week
HIGT+ High Intensity Group Training
This novel form of cardio intersperses intervals of high-intensity exercise (such as sprinting) with intervals of either low-intensity exercise (such as walking at a slow pace) or complete rest. This style is a departure from continuous steady-state (slow and steady) cardio that most people do at a moderate intensity for 30 to 60 minutes.
With HIGT, you'll be running (or jumping rope or whatever) like a bat out of hell for brief stretches, but the net effect when all's said and done is better results in less time.
Growing Body of Evidence
HIGT has crossed over to the fitness industry due to beneficial results established through both anecdotal reports and published research studies.
In fact, studies comparing HIGT to continuous steady state exercise have shown that HIGT is far superior for fat loss, despite requiring less time to complete.
One of the first studies to discover that HIGT was more effective for fat loss was done in 1994 study by researchers at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada). They reported that young men and women who followed a 15-week HIGT program lost significantly more body fat than those following a 20-week continuous steady-state endurance program. This, despite the fact that the steady-state program burned about 15,000 calories more than the HIGT program.
The research has continued along the same lines:
DROP 2% BODY FAT IN 8 WEEKS
A 2001 study from East Tennessee State University demonstrated similar findings with subjects who followed an 8-week HIGT program (subjects dropped 2 percent in percent body fat) as compared to those who followed a continuous steady-state program (subjects had no percentage drop in body fat) on a treadmill.
LOSE 6 TIMES MORE BODY FAT
A study from Australia reported that females following a 20-minute HIGT program, consisting of 8_second sprints followed by 12 seconds of rest, lost six times more body fat than the group who followed a 40-minute cardio program performed at a constant intensity of 60 percent of their maximum heart rate.
The major reason that HIGT works so well to drop body fat to a greater degree than continuous steady-state cardio appears to be due to the greater increase in resting metabolism following HIGT:
A 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) reported that subjects who followed a HIGT workout on a stationary cycle burned significantly more calories during the 24 hours following the workout than those who cycled at a moderate steady-state intensity.
LOSE 100 MORE CALORIES
In a study presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine by Florida State University (Tallahassee), researchers reported that subjects who performed HIGT burned almost 10 percent more calories during the 24 hours following exercise as compared to those whole performed continuous steady-state exercise, despite the fact that the total calories burned during the workouts were the same.
INCREASE FAT LOSS
The 2001 East Tennessee State University study mentioned above also found that subjects following the HIGT program burned almost 100 more calories per day during the 24 hours after exercise.
In addition to the increase in resting metabolism, research confirms that HIGT is effective at enhancing the metabolic machinery in muscle cells that promote fat burning and blunt fat production:
FAST BURNING MUSCLE
The Laval University study that found a decrease in body fat with HIGT also discovered that the HIGT subjects' muscle fibers had significantly higher markers for fat oxidation (fat burning) than those in the continuous steady-state exercise group.
DECREASE YOUR FAT ENZYMES
A study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim), reported that subjects with metabolic syndrome who followed a 16-week HIGT program had a 100 percent greater decrease in content of the fat-producing enzyme fatty acid synthase as compared to subjects who followed continuous moderate-intensity exercise.
30% INCREASE IN OXIDATION
A 2007 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that young females who performed seven HIGT workouts over a two-week period experienced a 30-percent increase in both fat oxidation and levels of muscle enzymes that enhance fat oxidation.
And yet another way that HIGT appears to work has to do with getting the fat to where it will be burned away for good:
A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology sheds some light on another way that HIGT burns more body fat. Researchers reported that 6 weeks of HIGT increased the amount of special proteins in muscle that are responsible for carrying fat into the mitochondria (where fat is burned away for fuel) by up to 50 percent. Having more of these proteins in muscle means that more fat can be burned up for fuel during workouts and when resting.
Cardio done at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time will not only help you maintain your muscle, but can actually help you build muscle mass. When you train at a slow and steady pace for a longer period of time, you are training your muscle fibers to be more aerobic and have greater endurance.
Do you know how muscle fibers adapt to becoming more aerobic and gaining greater endurance? By becoming smaller and weaker! The smaller a muscle fiber is, the less time it takes for nutrients to travel within the muscle fiber. This speeds up the rate that the nutrients can be burned for fuel.
But even if you think of this from a common sense perspective, it makes perfect sense. Stating that slow and steady cardio for longer periods of time is best for maintaining muscle mass is similar to saying that curling 5 pound dumbbells for 30 minutes straight will build more muscle than curling 40 pound dumbbells for sets of 10 reps with 2 minutes of rest between sets. See, the higher-intensity workout clearly builds muscle better. If you think about it, weightlifting is actually a form of HIGT and I have been sharing it's benefits with anyone that would listen!
The research backs this up:
One study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported that male subjects following a 6-week HIGT program (done for 15 minutes per day at a ratio of 2:1 for exercise-to-rest, 3 days per week) while supplementing with beta-alanine gained over 2 pounds of muscle—despite no weightlifting during the program.
INCREASE YOUR TESTOSTERONE
BY 100% WITH
In another study, New Zealand researchers had competitive cyclists complete 4 weeks of HIGT training involving 30-second sprints on a stationary cycle separated by 30 seconds of rest. One group sprinted with high resistance on the pedals, making it harder to pedal, while the other group used a lighter resistance, which was easier to peddle. Both groups peddled as fast as they could during the 30-second sprints. They found that the men peddling at the highest resistance increased their testosterone levels by almost 100 percent, while the group peddling at a lighter resistance only increased test levels by about 60 percent. Since testosterone is critical for boosting muscle size and strength, this means that doing HIGT with greater resistance can aid muscle growth and strength.
HIGT also helps you to maintain your sanity by getting you done with cardio quicker. I can't think of anything more monotonous than being stuck on a treadmill, stairmaster, stationary cycle, or elliptical machine for a good 30 minutes straight! With HIGT the intensity bursts may be more grueling, but they are short and challenging. That makes the workout more "fun" and makes it over quicker.
Another benefit of HIGT is that you can do it almost anywhere with any piece of equipment—or without any equipment at all! Although it can be, HIGT does not have to be done on gym cardio equipment. The possibilities are virtually limitless. You can use it with a jump rope, with weights, with strength bands, with your body weight.
So consider doing less slow and long workouts in the cardio area and do more HIGT
DROP 2% BODY FAT IN 8 WEEKT. The benefits will be maximal fat loss due to a ramping up your resting metabolism and fat burning enzymes, while building muscle, all in a minimal amount of time.
The Beginner-To-Advanced 8-Week HIGT Program
The following program can take you from HIGT beginner to HGIT stud in 8 short weeks.
It starts with a work:rest ratio of 1:4 in Phase 1 for a total workout time of just under 15 minutes.
Phase 2 bumps up the amount of time in the "work" phase, bringing the ratio up to 1:2 and the total workout time to 17 minutes.
In Phase 3, the rest ratio is cut in half, bringing the ratio up to 1:1. The total workout time increases to 18.5 minutes.
Finally, in Phase 4, the rest ratio is cut in half again, raising the ratio to 2:1 and the total time at 20 minutes. This will put you in the advanced ranks for HIGT.
The suggested time of each phase is just that—suggested. If you need to spend more than two weeks at a particular phase before moving up, go for it. Ditto if a phase seems too easy and you want to jump right up to the next phase.
You can do these workouts using tools, such as a jump rope, or simply doing jumping jacks, or sprinting, or working on a stationary cycle. Use your imagination. Just follow the work-to-rest intervals as indicated.
Phase 1 (1:4): Weeks 1-2
15 seconds High-Intensity Exercise
60 seconds Rest or Low-Intensity Exercise
Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 15-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 14 minutes
Get A Printable Log Of Phase 1 (1:4): Weeks 1-2
Phase 2 (1:2): Weeks 3-4
30 seconds High-Intensity Exercise
60 seconds Rest or Low-Intensity Exercise
Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 17 minutes
Get A Printable Log Of Phase 2 (1:2): Weeks 3-4.
Phase 3 (1:1): Weeks 5-6
30 seconds High-Intensity Exercise
30 seconds Rest or Low-Intensity Exercise
Repeat another 11 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 18.5 minutes
Get A Printable Log Of Phase 3 (1:1): Weeks 5-6.
Phase 4 (2:1): Week 7-8
30 seconds High-Intensity Exercise
15 seconds Rest or Low-Intensity Exercise
Repeat another 25 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.
Total time: 20 minutes
Manipulating certain nutrients and their amounts can significantly increase gains in strength and size and burn body fat.
Your training is on point, your supplement program is sound and you eat all of the right foods including good amounts of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. But what if you could be better? What if you could tweak your diet to make even more significant gains?
Enter meal timing. Meal timing is the practice of taking in specific macronutrients at specific times regarding training, goals and time of day. Many trainers and nutritionists recommend the standard practice of ingesting a certain amount of proteins, carbs and fats throughout the course of the day. Recent research has shown that manipulating certain nutrients and their amounts can significantly increase gains in strength and size and burn body fat.
Get Your Whey In Early
Immediately upon waking the body has just undergone a six to eight hour fast void of muscle building blocks of protein. Protein should be the first thing on your mind after such a hiatus. Fast digesting whey protein is the perfect fix to set your body into a positive amino balance once again and will hold off catabolism until you can get those eggs cooked! Take around 20-30 grams of whey first thing in the morning.
Another wise move is to take in a good amount of complex carbs in the morning to help refuel your glycogen stores for the day ahead. This will not only give you energy for your training later in the day, but will also stoke your metabolism to switch into high gear helping you to turn on that fat-burning furnace. Anywhere between 40 - 60 grams of a complex carb source such as oatmeal or Ezekiel cereal are great choices.
Another time to keep a close eye on is the mid/late morning blood-sugar crash. Many of us at jobs tend to forget our important muscle-building meals during hectic times of day that we neglect our guidelines to keep us on track. A great (and quick) solution is to pop a protein shake and some healthy fats. This can easily be accomplished with a quick shake of whey and water and around one ounce of nuts such as almonds. Not only will this feed your muscles with the much needed protein boost (not to mention convenient), but will also provide healthy fats to keep blood-sugar levels steady until your next solid meal.
One of the most critical times to actually start the recovery process after a training session is before you even step into the gym. Saturating your muscles with protein prior to training can actually provide not only energy for the grueling session to come but can also provide key amino acids to muscles because they will be readily available for recovery. This will give you an advantage regarding performance and rebuilding for your next intense training bout. Try 30-40 grams of whey protein.
In addition to quality protein you must also consider complex carbs prior to training. Carbs are a must if you want to make any substantial gains at all. Not only will they provide a steady flow of energy, they will also spare protein to be used as energy. 40-60 grams of a quality carb source should be taken with whey protein 30 minutes to an hour prior to lifting. Good sources include oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread, rice or a medium sized apple.
We all know by now that post-workout nutrition is of utmost importance for muscle/strength gain. This crucial time has a limited window of opportunity, so it behooves the trainer to take full advantage of this important meal. After a brutal training session the body is starving for nutrients. This “window” which only lasts around an hour or less is the perfect time to down a whey protein shake to shuttle in amino acids as fast as possible to ramp up the recovery process. 40 grams of whey will do the trick.
Another key nutrient at this time is simple carbs. Simple carbs taken with your whey protein will raise insulin levels to help shuttle in more nutrients directly into the muscle. Even though higher insulin levels are related to fat gain, you won’t have to worry about that during your post-workout meal. The higher insulin levels are key in regulating hormone levels and nutrient absorption. Take in around 40 - 80 grams of simple carbs such as Gatorade depending on your goals.
Take advantage of these times to maximize gains and minimize muscle breakdown. These are just a few simple guidelines to try on your quest to a more muscular and leaner physique.
Nutrition is 80%...HERE ARE THE BASICS.
10 Nutrition Rules from AbFitt......Never Ignore The Importance proper eating Plays In Achieving A lean muscular Physique
Remember getting the results & the body you want is all about simplifying things.
With the dedication and effort required to stay muscular and lean, the last thing you need is for the details to be overly confusing (carb cycling, keto diet, high/low carb days). Take your nutrition for example. We could go on and on about fat-soluble vs. water-soluble vitamins, the different types of saccharides and all the intricacies of gluconeogenesis, but what would be the point? It would just complicate the matter and get you no closer to the body you want. So let’s break it down to the nuts and bolts the basics, to just the vital information you really need to build more muscle and become leaner than ever before.
The key is a series of rules, a list I call the 10 Nutrition Rules for Beginners. Follow all 10 and not only will you not be bogged down with scientific jargon but you’ll also be well on your way to a bigger upper body, better abs and a massive set of legs. How’s that for simple?
#1 Have A Meal Every 3 Hours
Getting leaner, building muscle, getting faster & stronger boils down to nutrient delivery, and nothing beats eating every 2-3 hours, which works out to 6-8 meals a day. Frequent feedings ensure a constant influx of protein, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids required to maintain an anabolic state. Following the three-hour rule, you should eat at least the same amount and up to twice as many carbohydrates as protein at most meals, along with a smaller amount of healthy fats at most meals (more on specific macronutrient intake in later rules). Because you’re eating every three hours, don’t overstuff yourself; keeping each meal relatively small enhances nutrient absorption while simultaneously allowing you to sidestep gains in bodyfat.
“Eating smaller, more frequent meals creates an environment inside the body in which blood sugar levels don’t elevate and drop as drastically as when you eat fewer larger meals. Elevated blood sugar levels cause the body to increase insulin production in an attempt to store that sugar for later.
When insulin is present, fat-burning is blunted. Lowered insulin levels and steady blood amino acid levels (a product of eating relatively small, frequent meals throughout the day) help fight against this situation.”
#2 Load Up On Protein
A meal should never go by without a sufficient amount of protein being consumed. To maximize muscle-building, you’ll need to consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. (This means 200 grams of protein daily for a 200-pound person.) In order to provide your muscles with a continuous influx of amino acids–the building blocks of protein–throughout the day, you’ll divide your daily protein by the number of meals you consume. For example, if you eat six meals per day, 200 grams of protein divided by six meals would mean at least 30-40 grams of protein per meal.
Your main protein sources should be lean animal sources, such as chicken, beef, turkey, fish, eggs and dairy (more on red meat and fish in later rules), and, as with your training regimen, variety is crucial.
Sticking to the same one or two protein sources each day may not be as effective as mixing it up and including the widest array of protein sources available. “There’s a phenomenon in the body called the all or nothing principle, in which all amino acids must be available for proper utilization of digested protein. Many proteins can be made by the body; those that cannot are called essential amino acids and must be derived from nutritional sources. You’ll need to mix various sources of protein to ensure that all essential amino acids are consumed.
#3 Hydrate Yourself
The importance of drinking plenty of liquids goes beyond the obvious benefits of staying hydrated; at a much deeper level, it’s all about pushing more water into muscle cells. The more water that’s inside muscles, the better they’ll function and the greater their strength and size capacity. “The consensus in the bodybuilding community is that high water storage within muscles helps act as an anabolic factor. This allows the muscles to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which directly impacts muscle growth.”
And if you’re supplementing creatine, glutamine and BCAAs, your muscles will have a greater capacity to store water, because when muscle cells are stocked with these nutrients, more water is actually drawn into the muscles. Consume at least 1 gallon of water every day, and drink around 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during training.
#4 Carb Up The Right Way
When it comes to carbs, too few can shortchange your gains in mass and too many can transform you into a bulked-up softie. A good rule of thumb is to consume 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body-weight per day when trying to add mass. And as with protein, you’ll want to divide this between however many meals you eat daily, with the exception of two times during the day: breakfast and your postworkout meal.
“These are two times when the body is somewhat inefficient at manufacturing bodyfat from carbohydrates, so feel free to bump up your carb intake at these times of day".
“Breakfast and the postworkout meal are also vital in aiding muscle growth because the higher carb content boosts one of the anabolic hormones responsible for driving nutrients into muscles, thereby producing a favorable hormonal environment that kick-starts recovery.” At most meals (pre- and postworkout notwithstanding, as you’ll learn in rule No. 7), you should consume slow-digesting carbs such as wholegrain breads and pastas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruits and vegetables, rather than fast-digesting sources such as white breads and sweets. The former help build muscle and provide sustained energy.
#5 Eat Red Meat
Steaks and beef patties often scare people off because of the high fat content found in many cuts. But when you’re looking to build muscle, shunning red meat is the last thing you want to do: It’s high in B vitamins, including [B.sub.12], which supports muscular endurance and growth, and yields, gram for gram, more iron, creatine and zinc than any other source of protein. These nutrients play important roles in muscle recovery and growth, so if you’re sticking with chicken, turkey and protein powder, you’ll likely fall short of your hypertrophy goals. Red meat is a great slow-digesting source of protein that can aid in nitrogen retention and sustained elevation of amino acids in the blood. Red meat can be used for all seasons, not just mass phases.”
When choosing an appropriate type of red meat, select primarily leaner cuts such as ground round and sirloin, looking for meat that’s at least 93% lean.
#6 Eat Fish
people seem to live on fowl and low-fat beef, but salmon, trout, bluefish and tuna offer advantages other sources of protein can’t–namely, they’re sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can indirectly make you leaner and bigger. Omega-3s help the body make glycogen, the storage form of carbohydrates that gets socked away in muscle tissue. Glycogen is the main source of energy for training and, generally speaking, adequate levels are a marker for muscle growth and repair. Omega-3s also fight muscle inflammation in the body and spare the loss of glutamine, a vital amino acid that plays a backup role in the muscle recovery process by boosting the immune system. You don’t have to go overboard, but including fish in your diet a few days a week will go a long way toward promoting lean muscle gains. All in all, don’t be afraid of fat–20%-30% of your daily calories should consist of healthy dietary fat.
“Fish is an excellent source of protein, with an amino acid profile very beneficial to enhancing muscle growth. “Omega-3s can increase the insulin sensitivity of the tissues, creating an environment in which less insulin is necessary to shuttle nutrients around the body, which benefits you getting leaner.”
#7 Protect Muscle Mass With Pre- And Post-Workout Meals
The catch-22 with training is that stress hormones, namely cortisol, can run amok and blunt muscle-building to the point that getting back on track is not as simple as following the basic rules. The solution? Eating and supplementing with the right foods in the pre- and post-training meals. This is where whey protein is essential–it gets into the blood faster than any other source of protein, providing amino acids that muscles harness for growth and interfere with cortisol uptake. A slower-absorbing protein such as casein takes longer to combat cortisol levels.
Throw in some fast-acting carbs–those that digest quickly such as Gatorade, fat-free Pop-Tarts, cream of rice cereal mixed with jam or a toasted bagel–and you benefit further. These carbs, when combined with whey protein, are extremely effective at almost immediately halting muscle breakdown. I have done what I call “sandwiching” your workout with protein and carbs causes greater protein synthesis and inhibits muscle protein breakdown.
Consume at least 20 grams of whey protein before and 40 grams after training, a slow-digesting carbohydrate (refer to rule No. 4 for the best sources) 30 minutes before training and a fast-digesting carb Immediately afterward, along with your whey. As for dietary fat, pre- and postworkout are the two times of day when you want to forgo eating foods high in fat. They’ll slow the absorption of protein and carbs, which will delay the muscle recovery process.
#8 Schedule A “GET BIG” Day
While eating a sound diet by implementing the steps above is the foundation for growth, taking one out of every 7-10 days and eating far above and beyond your typical dally food intake–increasing protein, carbohydrate and overall calorie intake–can trigger new muscle growth by driving up your body’s levels of growth hormones. Some people call this a “cheat day.When you occasionally overeat, the body responds by increasing the release of naturally occurring growth agents, such as growth hormone, insulin like growth factor-1, thyroid hormone and possibly testosterone. Since even a small boost in one or all of these can impact recovery and muscle growth, it makes sense to harness them, and temporarily eating “really big” can do just that.
“Eating relatively clean all the time can lead to boredom and compromised adherence to. Periodic spikes in calorie consumption are a great way to achieve a net caloric surplus that can speed muscular growth and strength. To avoid large gains in bodyfat, make sure ‘once every 7-10 days’ doesn’t turn into cheating on most days.”
#9 Supplement The Big Four
As you become more advanced in your training and nutrition knowledge, try a variety of supplements to help improve strength, size, energy, fat loss and overall health. But for now, just stick to the basics: creatine, beta -alanine, glutamine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), four of the most effective and affordable supplements on the market. Creatine & beta alanine has been shown in numerous studies to boost muscle power, strength and size; glutamine is a key amino acid in preventing muscle breakdown and boosting the immune system; and BCAAs also thwart muscle wasting and delay the onset of fatigue during training.
Take these dosages both before and after working out: 3-5 grams of creatine, 5 grams of beta alanine, 5-10 grams of glutamine and 5-10 grams of BCAAs. Adding these supps to a diet full of protein and complex carbs will ensure that you reap all the benefits from your training.
#10 Don’t Fear Late Night Feeding
In the 7-9 hours you sleep every night, your body is more or less in a fasting state, taking aminos from your muscles to fuel your brain in the absence of food–not an ideal situation if your goal is to pack on muscle. However, you can offset this by eating right before you turn in for the night. The key is eating a slow-digesting protein source along with a moderate amount of fat so amino acids feed your muscles gradually throughout the night. At bedtime, consume approximately 30 grams of casein protein or 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese along with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, an ounce of walnuts or mixed nuts, or 2-3 tablespoons of flaxseed oil. Casein is a slow-digesting protein (as is cottage cheese) that comes in powder form, and the healthy fats found in peanut butter, nuts and flaxseed (almost exclusively unsaturated, by the way) will help slow the absorption of protein even further.
I also recommend consuming protein, and even carbs, in the middle of the night if you happen to get up to use the bathroom. “That’s the perfect time to have a shake. If gaining body fat is no issue, have 50 grams of protein mixed with 50 grams of liquid carbs such as a meal replacement shake that contains both protein and carbs, or mix the protein in fruit juice. If you’re struggling to control body fat, though, skip the carbs. This round-the-clock nutrient delivery will keep the body in an anabolic state.
Stick with & master these very basic guidelines and watch as your results change drastically.