TRAINING- CARDIO, WHEN AND WHY?

THERE ARE TWO TIMES OF DAY WHEN THE BODY’S ABILITY TO UTILIZE BODY FAT AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY (AKA LIPOLYSIS) IS AT IT’S PEAK. THE FIRST BEING IN THE MORNING RIGHT OUT OF BED ON AN EMPTY STOMACH AFTER HAVING FASTED FOR SEVERAL HOURS WHILE SLEEPING (HOPEFULLY). HOWEVER, I DO HIGHLY RECOMMEND DRINKING A LITER OF WATER, AND IDEALLY, ADDING SOME BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS TO ENSURE MUSCLE CATABOLISM IS HELD TO A MINIMUM (CURRENTLY STUDIES ARE SHOWING THAT FASTED CARDIO IS NOT THE END ALL BE ALL TO FAT LOSS, AND THAT ACTUALLY ADDING BCAA’S CAN INCREASE THE LIPOLYTIC EFFECTS INDUCED BY AEROBIC EXERCISE). THE KEY HERE IS TO MAINTAIN A HEART RATE OF NO HIGHER THAN 130 BEATS PER MINUTE (FOR MOST, GENERALLY SPEAKING) TO REMAIN IN AN AEROBIC ZONE. REMEMBER, FAT IS AN INEFFICIENT SOURCE OF ENERGY, THEREFORE IT’S PREFERRED DURING LOW INTENSITY EFFORTS WHERE THERE IS NO NEED TO BE EFFICIENT.
THE OTHER TIME WHEN CARDIO IS MOST EFFECTIVE TO BURN FAT IS FOLLOWING RESISTANCE TRAINING. DURING TRAINING ONE PERFORMS REPS BY REPEATED MUSCULAR CONTRACTIONS WHERE GLYCOGEN IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF ENERGY. CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, YOU WON’T ACTUALLY DEPLETE GLYCOGEN LEVELS THAT MUCH UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN UNDERGOING DAYS ON A CARB DEPLETION. HOWEVER, BLOOD GLUCoSE LEVELS WILL BE LOWERED, HENCE THE OCCASIONAL BOUT OF LOW BLOOD SUGAR FOLLOWING AN INTENSE WORKOUT, DESPITE NOT FEELING ALL THAT GREAT, THE BODY’S LIPOLYTIC ABILITIES BECOME HEIGHTENED DURING THIS TIME; PROVIDED THE HEART RATE STAYS WITHIN THAT AEROBIC ZONE (65-75% OF MAX TARGET HR). ONE IMPORTANT THING I WANT TO POINT OUT IS THAT WHILE YOU MAY BURN A FEW HUNDRED CALORIES DURING A PARTICULAR CARDIO SESSION THE REAL BENEFIT COMES FROM YOUR ELEVATED CALORIC EXPENDITURE FOR THE OTHER 23 HOURS OF THE DAY. BE CONSISTENT, FOLLOW A HEALTHY NUTRITION PROGRAM, AND ABIDE BY THESE TWO SIMPLE RULES AND YOU’LL BE SURE TO INCREASE YOUR FAT BURNING ABILITY IN NO TIME.

NUTRITION- PRE/POST WORKOUT MEAL PLANNING

I LIKE TO THINK OF PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION AS THE BOOKENDS TO YOUR TRAINING SESSION; WITH THESE IN PLACE THE BODY IS STRONG AND STURDY, WITHOUT THEM THERE’S NO FOUNDATION. PRIOR TO RESISTANCE TRAINING YOU WILL WANT TO AVOID CARBS THAT ARE DRASTICALLY HIGH ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX DUE TO THE FACT THAT A RAPID SPIKE IN ENERGY WILL TRANSLATE TO A RAPID CRASH IN ENERGY. FOR MOST ATHLETES EATING A MEAL AN HOUR TO AN HOUR AND A HALF PRIOR TO TRAINING IS IDEAL. THIS ALLOWS FOR GLUCOSE TO ENTER THE BLOODSTREAM AND TO MAINTAIN ENERGY LEVELS THROUGHOUT THE WORKOUT. A FEW OF YOUR IDEAL PRE WORKOUT CARB CHOICES ARE OATMEAL, BROWN RICE, PASTA(YES DURHAM SEMOLINA IS ON THE LOWER END OF THE GI SCALE), AND SWEET POTATO JUST TO NAME A FEW. ONE PRINCIPLE THAT I USE WITH MY CLIENTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN PERFORMANCE BASED ACTIVITIES OR EVENTS, IS WHAT I CALL CARB STACKING. WITH THIS APPROACH I LIKE TO BLEND A MIXTURE OF HIGH AND LOW GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES, THIS ALLOWS FOR IMMEDIATE AS WELL AS SUSTAINED ENERGY TO ASSIST THE TRAINEE IN ACHIEVING PEAK PERFORMANCE THROUGHOUT THE DESIRED ACTIVITY. YOUR PRE WORKOUT PROTEIN INTAKE IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS RESEARCH TELLS US THAT 80% OF THE GLYCOGEN NEEDED DURING INTENSE TRAINING IS SYNTHESIZED THROUGH AMINO ACIDS. A LEAN MEAT SUCH AS CHICKEN OR A WHEY PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT WOULD SERVE QUITE WELL IN THIS SITUATION. ADDING A PROTEIN SOURCE WILL ALSO SLOW THE BREAKDOWN OF CARBOHYDRATES INTO GLUCOSE, THUS ALLOWING FOR A SLOWER, MORE CONSISTENT RISE IN BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS, RESULTING IN A MORE BALANCED RATE OF INSULIN SECRETION BY THE PANCREAS. INDIVIDUAL’S WITH A FASTER THAN NORMAL METABOLISM, GENERALLY ECTOMORPHIC BODY TYPES, MAY WANT TO ADD IN SOME ADDITIONAL CARBOHYDRATES, DUE TO THE ELEVATED RATE OF GASTRIC EMPTYING. ON THE FLIP SIDE, THOSE WITH SLOWER METABOLISMS MAY BENEFIT MORE BY ADDING MORE FIBROUS CARBOHYDRATES LIKE GREEN VEGGIES TO FURTHER SLOW THE BREAKDOWN FROM THE STARCHY CARBS, IN ORDER TO REGULATE INSULIN SPIKES TO A GREATER DEGREE. MY IDEA OF A PRE WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE A GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST, A MIXTURE OF WHITE AND BROWN RICE, AND A SMALL AMOUNT OF STEAMED BROCCOLI.
THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE WITH PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION IS WHERE YOUR PRE WORKOUT MEAL CONSISTS OF A SLOW DIGESTING OR A BLEND OF CARBOHYDRATES. POST WORKOUT SHOULD CONSIST OF A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB AS WELL AS AN EASILY DIGESTIBLE LIQUID PROTEIN SUCH AS A WHEY ISOLATE TO START THE RECOVERY PROCESS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. A HIGH GLYCEMIC CARB WILL REPLENISH GLYCOGEN LEVELS TO STARVING MUSCLES READY TO SOAK THEM UP LIKE A THIRSTY SPONGE. A LIQUID PROTEIN SOURCE WILL GET VITAL AMINO ACIDS TO THE MUSCLE FASTER THAN SOLID FOOD, WHICH ULTIMATELY BECOMES A LIQUID THROUGH THE DIGESTION PROCESS ANYHOW. MY IDEA OF AN IDEAL POST WORKOUT MEAL WOULD BE WHEY PROTEIN POWDER MIXED WITH WATER AND A BAKED POTATO OR WHITE RICE. AFTER THAT I WOULD NOT WAIT LONGER THAN 2 HOURS TO HAVE YOUR POST/POST WORKOUT MEAL. USE THESE “ANABOLIC WINDOW’S” TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO MAXIMIZE YOUR RESULTS, THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN CONTINUOUSLY TAKING ONE STEP FORWARD AND TWO STEPS BACK. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR HARD WORK BY BECOMING MORE AWARE OF YOUR BOOKENDS!! NOTE** WHEN STRIVING SOLEY TO REDUCE BODY FAT WHILE MAINTAINING LEAN MASS…MANY BODYBUILDER’S ONLY CONSUME PROTEIN AND ESSENTIAL FATS AFTER TRAINING. THIS APPROACH, WHILE NOT IDEAL FOR THOSE TRYING TO ADD THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF MASS, DOES HAVE IT’S PLACE IN ANY NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOL ARSENAL WHEN THE MAIN GOAL IS TO REDUCE ONES BODY FAT!

SUPPLEMENT REVIEW — CREATINE!!… THE MOST RESEARCHED SPORTS SUPPLEMENT EVER!!

CREATINE MONOHYDRATE- In my experience when talking to coaches, parents, and fitness professionals creatine is one of the most controversial supplements pertaining to athletes. Over the past few years a number of variations of creatine have been developed. For our purposes I will be referring exclusively to creatine monohydrate as it is the most heavily studied sports supplements to date. In layman’s terms creatine is simply a chain of 3 amino acids; Arginine, Glycine, and Methionine. Creatine can have many positive benefits to an athlete. First off creatine draws fluid into the muscle cell creating cell volumization. Greater cell volume means better nutrient synthesis which leads to a positive nitrogen balance therefore preventing catabolism. Creatine monohydrate also is catalyst to ATP production in the mitochondria of the cell. ATP is what gives the cell energy output allowing for greater contractile force over longer periods of time. The biggest issue against creatine I hear most often is that it causes muscle cramps and strains, and in some cases gas and bloating. My response to this is to keep in mind that with any supplement it’s a foreign object to the body and the body has two choices either to accept it or reject it. I believe that a high quality brand of creatine monohydrate will eliminate many of the stomach and intestinal irritation. As I stated, creatine works through cell volumization, so yes, you must keep your water intake elevated. Personally, I believe most muscle strain associated with creatine is from dehydration and probably would have occurred anyway. Creatine monohydrate is the most studied sports supplement and has yet to show any toxicity to the body. Foods that are naturally high in creatine are red meat, fish and poultry.

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