Monday, April 22, 2019

Do I Need a Calorie Surplus to Gain Muscle Mass

 If you are new to lifting, let's say less than 18 months, you can gain significant muscle mass while being in a calorie deficit. The training stimulus outweighs the body's reactions to being in a calorie deficit state.  This is especially true if you are overweight to begin with. Many of my clients, and many studies show, and I have demonstrated,  that this is very possible, if not common.

 Once you have accumulated some training years, you probably will need to be in a slight calorie deficit to gain any appreciable mass.  The key thing is to increase your calories judiciously. You don't want to accumulate fat as you go.  Further, the amount of protein that you consume is key. Not only will high protein consumption reduce muscle loss while in a calorie deficit, it is the key to muscle protein synthesis as you go into surplus.   1.6 to 2  grams of protein per kilogram of body weight on a daily basis should be sufficient for most athletes.

Also of note is that the branched chain amino acid leucine seems to act as an on off switch for muscle protein synthesis. Recent research has shown that a minimum dosage of about 2.5 g of Leucine is needed to start the muscle building process, maybe  slightly higher for adults over 40.  You should get about this amount in a standard scoop of whey protein. Other protein sources will not be so high in this key amino acid.

 Optimally, you should be getting your protein in at least 3 to 4 separate feedings per day. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Help, My Strength and Muscle Gains Have Stalled.

If you have been training regularly for more then twelve months, periodic plateaus are inevitable.  The longer you train, the more often you will hit plateaus.  Assuming your sleep/recovery and nutrition are adequate, the only real answer is to press on.

Sure you will see all kinds of recommendations about specific rep and set schemes, frequency of workouts, etc, but they all come down to this: "keep working and don't give up."  A little experimentation is a good thing and there is no perfect answer for every person.  In fact, what breaks a plateau for you this month, is likely not the same thing that will help you through that sticking point next month, or next year.

I've been at this, fairly successfully, for 46 years now.  Don't over complicate things. The only things that matter in the long run, are these: work hard, be consistent, never quit. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

I'm Cutting Weight and am too Tired all the Time

Without more input it's difficult for me to tell if your daily 2200 calories is just too low and contributing to your level of fatigue.  Note that continue fatigue, and depression, is definitely a byproduct of a prolonged calorie deficit.

As well, you're not providing any data on the overall macro percentages of the calories you are taking in.  I have found that taking carbs too low will definitely lead to fatigue and am just not in favor of ketogenic diets mixed with hard training, particularly bodybuilding training.

Of further note, I can't see anything about the overall quality of your diet.  Is it high quality whole foods with lots of veggies, fruits and lean protein? Or, is it calorie dense food with lots of added sugar?

Don't underestimate the role of quality foods and the micronutrients they contain, in helping to keep energy levels high.

Good luck with your training and continued cutting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What's the Best Workout Plan and Diet

Work hard.  Eat well.  Recover sufficiently. Repeat. 

The key is hard work and consistency.  You may see quick progress and you may not, but if you stick with it, you will improve. A workout you will do is better than the perfect workout that you won't.  The "perfect" diet that you cannot stick to, does you no good.  

Don't worry about supplements, esoteric routines, contest prep, etc. until you're already near your genetic potential and you're seeking that last 1 or 2 percent improvement.

At the same time, if a new routine or a new diet plan provides you incentive to work harder and more consistently, leverage that to make gains.  Just never stop.

Just like there is no such thing as a "perfect" diet, there is no such thing as a "perfect" workout.  There's lots of wiggle room if you keep working, day after day, year after year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Should I use HMB. I have seen some promising recent reports.

I'll have to read these new HMB studies/reports. 

I have tried HMB in the past and have seen zero discernible results.  My current supplementation is limited to creatine and beta alanine which have very noticable effects on my workouts and sports performance, and fish oil, vitamin D3, and a multi, which I take just for "insurance." 

Also, I find it difficult to hit my protein targets within my calorie limits without using whey and casein, depending on time of day.

I have used many more products in the past but have personally experimented to see what really works for me and have eliminated most products.

At the same time, if something works for you, by all means continue, no matter what science or your fellow trainers might tell you.

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Progress Seems so Slow. Should I Quit?

I think you're making great progress.  Some body parts are always harder to develop than others and that will vary from person-to-person.  The real key is consistency and hard work  Sounds like you have the hard work part down. 

Just stick with it and don't be afraid to experiment; different exercises, rep and set schemes, rest between sets, volume, nutrition. etc.  Bodybuilding should be a life-long pursuit and love, but you gotta stick with it to see how far you can really go. Over time you'll find things that work for you, even your stubborn body parts.

I sometimes have to work on a particular body part for a year to 18 months to see a noticeable difference.

You may never be great, but you can always be better.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm a beginner but don't want to do whole body workouts. Can I split?

Some workout programs are better than others for your/anyone's current stage of development or goals.  The primary factor in making long term progress is using a routine that you're going to do, consistently, whether it is optimal or not.  The so so routine you will do is far better than the optimal routine you won't do.

If you don't want to do whole body workouts, don't.  If you want to repeat a 3 way split, twice per week, do it.  Just make sure you're working all of your body parts evenly/proportionally, over time.

Experiment.  Over time you'll find what works best for you, both mentally, and physically. Consistency and a continued focus on making progress will get you where you want to go.