In today’s digest we bring you articles on Eating to Increase Your Metabolism [Pt 3], Become a Better Butter Burner – Women’s Running, Arnold Schwarzenegger: Do You Train Too Hard? – Fitness and Power and Maxx Charles Shows Photos For Final New York Pro Prep, Proving He Should Have Placed Higher. Hope you enjoy them…
Eating to Increase Your Metabolism [Pt 3]
If you read Part 2 of this series you will have a solid action plan to get your metabolism back to normal levels. In the process, you may add a touch of body fat, but will be in a much stronger position to get lean for summer. This post will outline how to keep your […]
If you read Part 2 of this series you will have a solid action plan to get your metabolism back to normal levels. In the process, you may add a touch of body fat, but will be in a much stronger position to get lean for summer.
This post will outline how to keep your metabolism healthy while systematically getting in shape for summer.
By the time summer hits, the ideal situation is to be lean without destroying your body’s ability to burn calories. In other words, lean with a high metabolism.
Long-Term Low Calorie Diets Suck the Life Out of You
A lot of people can look their best after a short term aggressive diet. I’m not against short term low calorie diets. I believe they are fine for 1-3 months. The problem happens when they are extended past that point.
It is pretty easy to miss out on vital nutrients when calories are drastically cut back…and here are some of the negatives.
- Dry skin.
- Dry and brittle hair.
- Digestive problems.
- Lack of color to your skin.
- Lack of sex drive.
- Low testosterone.
- Muscle loss.
- Rebound fat gain.
Note: The older you are, the more of these issues you will experience with long term calorie restriction.
The 6 Month Outline
Months 1-2: Follow the guidelines I outlined in Part 2.
Months 2-4: Increase activity levels to lose fat without drastically cutting back in calories.
Month 5: Cut back calories a bit and increase activity levels. Fine to go low carb and use various strategic diet strategies.
Month 6: One month of being super active and tighten up your diet further. Can go really aggressive during this time if you still have a decent amount of fat to lose.
[The absolute best scenario would be to keep the low calorie period of time as short as possible leading up to summer.]
You can’t expect to eat as much as Michael Phelps training for the Olympics, but my advice is to add in more activity, instead of cutting back calories during this time.
In the first 2 months your body will increase the ability to burn calories even when you are at rest (increased metabolism). In months 2-4 we want to turn your body into a calorie burning machine.
Eat plenty of good food, limit omega 6 oils, limit sugar, and train at least 4 times per week.
The main difference here will be to limit food consumption a bit. I know this advice sounds old school, but try and make your dinner meal a bit lighter than normal during this month.
Cut back in the carbs a bit during the week and try and workout 5 times per week, if time permits. It is fine to add in a higher calorie day, but not an all-you-can-eat type of cheat day.
This would be the time to do a short term aggressive fat loss diet if needed. A better solution here would be to increase activity levels and just clean up the diet a little. Do your best to eat nothing but clean organic whole foods during this time.
[Pro soccer players are so active they would probably have a tough time eating enough to put a substantial amount of fat on their body.]
…but “You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet?”
Right, but this is not a bad diet. What we are doing here is almost a “metabolism detox”.
The idea is to get your body into calorie burning mode, by giving it plenty of whole foods and nutrients. Then we cut back in calories just a bit to create a calorie deficit, while eating more than what it used to take to get into a calorie deficit.
Finally…we keep the body in fat burning mode, while dropping the calories down low for the final month before summer.
Flood Your Body With Activity & Nutrients for 6 Months
The biggest causes of health issues in our society are from not getting enough exercise and lack of proper nutrition.
I honestly believe that anyone who increases their activity levels along with increasing good nutrients, will look younger and more vibrant within a few months.
What are the Best Workouts?
Obviously I’m biased when it comes to workouts for men and women, but I’m not closed-minded.
There are countless effective workout routines: CrossFit, body weight circuits, bodybuilding splits, Zumba, etc. Same with diets: Paleo, carb back-loading, vegan, raw food, etc. I am simply suggesting you use the principles laid out in this 3 part series to fit your circumstances.
[Strategic cardio routines work well any time after the first two months.]
What About Supplements?
I’m going to list supplements that I have found to make a difference. You can take all, some, or none of these and get good results.
- Omega 3 Fish Oil – This goes to the top of the list, when it comes to repairing a damaged metabolism. Think of this as counteracting the small amount of omega 6 vegetable oils that you will inevitably wind up eating. It is hard to avoid these omega 6 oils completely.
- Leptin Sensitivity Supplement: This supplement was created to make sure your metabolism doesn’t slow down while dieting. It makes your body more sensitive to leptin (which is our goal here). This isn’t cheap, but they do have a “buy 4 get 2 free” promo if you want to take all 6 months. If money is an issue, add this in once you reduce the calories a bit.
- Pre-Workout Caffeine Fat Loss Combo: I like caffeine supplements that are created with natural ingredients to take right before exercising, to maximize fat release during intense training or cardio. This is something you would begin taking 60-90 days before summer. A cup of black coffee works as well, but this is a bit more effective.
- Creatine: This is something to take 1-2 months before summer…if you want to add size to your muscles. I recommend you use this as a quick muscle boost while dieting or right after dieting (when the muscles look a little flat).
Note: Give this game plan a go, especially if you are over 30 and have a bit of flab you haven’t been able to shake.
This is also a great game plan for anybody who is “skinny fat”…more nutrients and more activity is just what the doctor ordered!
Eating to Increase Your Metabolism [Pt 3] was originally published at LINK
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Become a Better Butter Burner – Women’s Running
Most modern day athletes spend the day burning bagels. It wasn’t always so for runners. In the 60s, legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard’s runners did their long runs fasted, as this was the norm for the day. They took only water during the hilly 22-mile Waiatarua Route and worked up an appetite that was […]
Most modern day athletes spend the day burning bagels. It wasn’t always so for runners.
In the 60s, legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard’s runners did their long runs fasted, as this was the norm for the day. They took only water during the hilly 22-mile Waiatarua Route and worked up an appetite that was quenched at local breakfast buffets. The end result was fat adaptation and recruitment of fast-twitch oxidative fibers in a glycogen-depleted state.
In the 1970s, Dr. Phil Maffetone focused on aerobic training in relation to fat burning. Maffetone had a more proactive nutritional approach. Never having bought into the high-simple-carb and low-fat mantra of the day, he encouraged healthy fats, little to no grains, and removing processed “junk” food. This was not absolutely “low carb” for the elite but a healthy 40/30/30 (40% carb/30% fat/30% protein).
For Lydiard and Maffetone athletes, high mileage weeks with long, slow distance training was the norm. Only after the base was built was intensity added. The base built mitochondria, capillaries, enzyme processes to oxidize fat, tissue adaptations, and countless other physiological changes aligning with health and fitness. Modern methods which attempt to hack this slow but necessary process—emphasizing intensity over quantity—have become the trend in training.
Higher speed, intense intervals and constant “hard cardio” necessitate an immediate need for carbohydrates. An entire sports-nutrition industry of high glycemic bars and goos has been born to supply this need.
What Is Metabolic Efficiency?
Why care about the ability to use more fat for energy while using less carbohydrate? At best a trained runner can carry only 1,500–2,000 calories of carbohydrates (less for the many insulin-resistant or pre-diabetic/diabetic athletes) but at least 50,000 calories of fat—even the leanest runners. It does not make sense that carbs are our preferred fuel.
If you’ve driven a hybrid car, you’ve watched the subtle shifts between gas and electric on the dashboard. Your body is a similar, two-energy-source hybrid. Your engines (muscles) run on a mixture of gas (sugars) and electric (fats). Utilizing gas or electric power depends on the effort.
Imagine you are starting the race with ten gallons in the gas tank—assuming you have eaten a nice meal the night before with a light breakfast top off. If you race in all gas mode, your engines will run about 1.5 hours at a strong pace…then you are out of gas. If your effort is mostly electric you can run for hours, but not as swiftly.
Running utilizes about 1 kcal/kg/km. So for a lean marathoner of 80 kg (175 lbs) you need about 3360 kcal (80 kg x 42 km) to make it to a marathon finish line. Even fully carbo-loaded, your stored liver glycogen (300–500 kcal), muscle glycogen (1000–1500 kcal), and blood glucose (less than 20 kcal) don’t add up to enough. Glucose is easy to access for ready energy, but your stores add up to less than 2000 kcal.
The fat-utilizing pathway is the electric. In marathons you must be in hybrid mode to make it. Hybrid mode is where your energy is coming from both fuel sources. Conserving the gas and using electric early in the race is critical.
Many runners are in great “10K shape” (an all-gas event). They train in all-gas mode, start their marathon in the all-gas mode…and crash. Glycogen-sparing strategies need not apply in races of less than an hour as long as you had a good pre-event meal to fill the tank. In marathons and ultras, however, top-end anaerobic fitness matters little and can only be applied very near the finish.
If you’re going long, you must tap into the fat-burning tank. Enter an old concept called the “Crossover Point”—the point where the effort rises to the level where we’re burning more carbs than fat.
Below this point, easy efforts can be almost all electric (fat-burning) for a healthy athlete. Below the aerobic threshold (AeT) the body is primarily using fat as fuel. As the intensity of exercise increases, your body prefers to use more carbohydrate for fuel and you will exceed your AeT. Like a switch, the body shifts from fat to sugar—but your brain may not be aware. The best signal for the AeT is an increase in ventilation: You need to start breathing harder and faster.
This threshold is lower than the aerobic threshold (AT). Most of us know this as the “red line” above which acidosis occurs and fatigue sets in quickly. This is also called “lactate threshold” or “tempo” training pace. By the time you reach the intensity of the AT most runners have passed the crossover point and are burning more carbohydrates than fat.
How Do You Teach Your Body to Be a Better Butter Burner?
What are the nutrition and training principles needed to move the crossover point to the right, where you burn more fat and less carbs at a given effort and speed? The key is tailoring your macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) along with adjusting aerobic exercise pace to increased fat utilization.
The nutrition component has a largest effect on your fat-burning capacity and you must make changes to your diet to see results. Bob Seebohar, exercise physiologist and sports dietician, says that your nutrition and diet account for 75% of your metabolic efficiency, with exercise only 25%.
Junk food, sweetened beverages, and simple sugars/starches are off the table. The problem with these is that they spike your blood sugar levels higher than your muscles can burn, which, when you are at rest, causes the body to release excess insulin, whose role is to store those extra carbs. Insulin also shuts off fat burning, which is not needed in the presence of excess carbs.
Some athletes will even experience hypoglycemia with an insulin spike, especially those with highly active muscles and fit athletes with insulin sensitivity. The blood sugar goes up fast, the pancreas releases insulin, but the exercising body over-compensates and the sugar now drops quickly, leaving the athlete feeling depleted. Without insulin the sugar does not drop.
Instead of sugars, eat “slow carbs” of natural sources, tailored to the training volumes and the individual’s carb tolerance. You don’t need a calorie-deficient diet. Healthy fat is the foundation along with healthy amounts of real-food protein. Athletes require good amounts of protein—about 1 gram/pound of body weight is not excessive.
You can eat healthy and safe carbohydrates on this plan. Lots of above ground and colorful veggies, even some legumes—just get rid of the grains. Be cautious with sweet fruit and cut starchy veggies.
By keeping insulin low, fat burning rules the day and night, whether you are exercising or sleeping. Fiber from quality fruits and vegetables can stabilize blood sugar and add what some refer to as “fertilizer” for the healthy bacteria in your intestines (the microbiome). Focus on nutrient density and learn to cook for joy and variety. You can find an abundance of low carb cooking sites and books.
Build an Aerobic Base
To change your metabolism, you must, however, adjust diet and exercise together. Eat more healthy fat, eat few to no refined carbs—and slow the heck down!
When you have a large aerobic base your body can use fats AND carbohydrates more efficiently. Depending on the fuel available and the effort, an aerobically developed athlete can have metabolic flexibility.
How do you build this flexible-energy aerobic base? The work of renowned sports scientist Dr. Stephen Seiler has shown that the best athletes across endurance sports have mostly applied the “80/20” rule, meaning at least 80% is easy aerobic with less than 20% intense work.
In a 2009 SportsScience article, Seiler summarizes: “Research on the impact of interval and continuous training with untrained to moderately trained subjects does not support the current interval craze, but the evidence does suggest that short intense training bouts and longer continuous exercise sessions should both be a part of effective endurance training.” He adds: “The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice model for development of endurance performance.”
A good simple rule of thumb is to keep 80 percent of your running below the AeT or ventilatory threshold. Practically speaking, this is the pace where you can carry a comfortable conversation. If you’re able to breathe through your nose then you’re hybrid. If you’re breathing faster, and are reduced to short, gasping sentences, you’re using mostly glucose as fuel.
Higher-intensity work demands carbohydrates as easy access fuel; this produces more carbon dioxide which needs to be expired—that is the reason you breathe faster at higher paces. Slow efforts have a lower respiratory exchange ratio, which means your tapping fat and expiring fewer carbohydrates. Therefore you can talk at these slower paces.
Many runners minimize the importance of aerobic foundation because we don’t see the immediate results as we often do in speed training. Hard efforts produce some great positive adaptations, but compared with the aerobic work, don’t improve fat burning. Build the aerobic first then add on the intensity. Or, as Lydiard put it, intensity is “the icing on the cake.”
If you reduce carbs and go long, you might feel a bit sluggish on these early no-gas runs (relying on the “electric” fat-burning), but you will soon be making your own internal fuel from your fat. If you’re not overloading your system with fast-acting carbs, and insulin is low, the body can generate glucose from non-carbohydrate substrates—which is a good thing if you want consistent sustainable energy. You do not need to eat glucose to maintain blood glucose, your body will make it, if you train it to.
How long does fat adaptation take? Dr. Stephen Phinney showed with fit athletes it can happen in four weeks. With older, more insulin-resistant athletes it often takes longer. Everyone adapts differently to training stimuli.
Months and even years of this healthy, sustainable training increases mitochondrial density, mitochondrial enzymes, and capillaries to deliver oxygen, and lymphatics to “take out the garbage.” By avoiding “fast carbs” and keeping insulin response low, we are able to exercise longer and make it through the day and night with fewer calories, reducing the need to consume sugars and increasing utilization of our internal body fat.
For runners who have a medical issue such as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the ability to use fat as fuel is critical for health not just performance. For more on this topic see Mark Cucuzzella’s recent post on the use of continuous glucose monitors for self assessment.
Mark Cucuzzella is the author of Run For Your Life: How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain or Injury and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Do You Train Too Hard? – Fitness and Power
Even after all of the lengthy discussions based on scientific results, overtraining is still one of the hottest issues in bodybuilding. Is it real, or is it just another myth? Should we see it as an extreme medical condition or simply toss it away altogether? It’s true that some people feel like they’ve over-trained when […]
Even after all of the lengthy discussions based on scientific results, overtraining is still one of the hottest issues in bodybuilding. Is it real, or is it just another myth? Should we see it as an extreme medical condition or simply toss it away altogether? It’s true that some people feel like they’ve over-trained when they have only severely fatigued their muscles, which is kind of the point of a heavy workout, but what about the muscle loss caused by long periods of heavy training sessions with little time for recovery in between? In the hopes of demystifying this phenomenon, we looked for guidance from one of the ultimate legends of this sport as we know it – Arnold Schwarzenegger. What does the Austrian Oak have to say about it? Read to find out.
You mean undertraining, right?
Schwarzenegger’s view on modern bodybuilding training routines is that they’re a bit of a joke, compared to the level of bodybuilding effort that was typical during his glory days.
In other words, even if someone has a great training program, if their execution is lousy and unmotivated, they will leave the gym with a lot less than optimal results and their progress will be undoubtedly slow. We’re talking about having poorly organized workouts that fail to target the muscles whose growth is supposed to be emphasized, taking way too long breaks and ending the session before reaching a decent amount of fatigue. In Schwarzenegger’s opinion, in today’s gyms, cases of undertraining are far more common than cases of overtraining.
Still, overtraining does exist
Back in the day, bodybuilders weren’t really familiar with the concept of overtraining – when Schwarzenegger and his training buddies felt especially run-down after a period of hard training, they would simply take few days off the gym to allow their bodies to fully recover. They didn’t waste a single thought on the supposed complexity of such a condition and usually came back even stronger.
This is because real overtraining is not a very common thing – in fact, it’s very difficult to overtrain. The guys who have a potential to overtrain are usually those who engage in long, strenuous sessions seven days per week or are preparing for a competition with a combination of rigorous dieting and extra heavy training routines. In such cases, overtraining can really happen and lead to serious damages in terms of mass and strength. But for all others, it’s almost impossible, and modern bodybuilders should focus on training harder instead of worrying about their potential for overtraining.
How to recover
If you notice that your muscles are constantly sore and fatigued, and you don’t seem able to make any real progress in your training, there is a decent chance that you’ve overtrained.
However, there’s no need to make a big deal out of it. Simply take a longer break off the gym, make some adjustments in your program and then perhaps try taking a “deload” week during which you should handle lighter weights than usual. Even if you haven’t overtrained, Schwarzenegger suggests having one week of lighter training (or being completely off the gym) every six weeks. This will allow your body to recover properly, prevent possible overtraining and let you come back revitalized and motivated. And that’s pretty much it.
Now go pump some iron – and don’t be afraid to push your limits. According to the Austrian Oak, it’s better to be sore for a week than chronically underdeveloped.
Maxx Charles Shows Photos For Final New York Pro Prep, Proving He Should Have Placed Higher
Many fans felt that Maxx Charles should have been the one to walk away from the 2020 New York Pro victorious. Shortly after the contest his coach, the legendary Milos Sarcev, released some photos of his final days of prep, that further add to his case. This year’s New York Pro was a unique one, […]
Many fans felt that Maxx Charles should have been the one to walk away from the 2020 New York Pro victorious. Shortly after the contest his coach, the legendary Milos Sarcev, released some photos of his final days of prep, that further add to his case.
This year’s New York Pro was a unique one, that ultimately ended in controversy. Instead of taking place in New York, the contest actually went down in Tampa, Florida. Several big names in the sport showed up, but in the end it would be Iain Valliere that would walk away with the victory, which came as a big surprise to many fans who felt that there was a lot lacking in his physique. Following the show, he has been getting a ton of negative comments of those who felt like his calves, chest, and triceps left a lot to be desired, and someone else should have won.
One of the biggest names that fans felt got slighted by the judges, is longtime bodybuilding veteran Maxx Charles. Most people felt that he was by far the most conditioned athlete there, and even if you did not think he should have won, he absolutely deserved better than the fifth place score he received. In the days following the event his coach, Milos Sarcev, posted to Instagram, giving a glimpse into the final days of prep before the show, and it does a great job to illustrate how jacked his physique was, heading into the contest, while explaining the difficulties he had in preparing for this show.
“@maxx_charles day before (last 3 pictures were from 2 days before) New York Pro. People that don’t know Max would not ever believe that Max did not train in the Gym from March, when Corona Lockdown started in New York. First time he went to Gym is when Big Steve opened his @bevsgym – so many days ago. It is actually mind boggling that Max could get in this kind of shape pretty much training in the room with few dumbbells, bench, barbell and a leg-press machine…He is absolute genetic freak and destined for bodybuilding greatness. This year so far didn’t go too much in his favor – but I am sure he made millions of true bodybuilding fans around the world as he is epitome of ‘bodybuilders bodybuilder’.”
There is no denying that Charles was in the best shape out of those who were there. On the other hand, Iain was easily the most muscular athlete on stage. Nevertheless one can make the case for Maxx having a better midsection than 3rd place winner Jon Delarosa, and the best conditioning of anyone else competing, which makes his fifth place position all the more baffling.
One of the biggest complaints fans will always have about bodybuilding is how unfortunately subjective it is. Where the judges saw and appreciated the physique of Iain Valliere, the fans were more intrigued by the package Maxx Charles delivered. In the end, while Maxx likely should have scored higher, it is hard to say that Iain was not the rightful winner.
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Maxx Charles Shows Photos For Final New York Pro Prep, Proving He Should Have Placed Higher was originally published at LINK