Posts Tagged ‘Carbohydrate’

It’s about that time again…I don’t have one specific topic that I’m going to talk about in this blog, but rather some random thoughts/answers to questions that I get quite often.  There is so much information available out there, it’s hard to sort through it all.  There are many factors that go into the biggest question of all – How do I obtain the best possible physique?  Diet, training, cardio, carbs, rest, supplements, and the list goes on…

First off, and this is no surprise, everyone is different and you MUST find what works for you.  But, how the heck do you do that and where do you even start?  If you’ve been training for awhile and have done some homework, you may already know the answer to some of these questions.  Here are my thoughts on some of the biggies (especially if you are just starting out):

  • Stay away from the “Extremes” – If there is a “No” or a “Super Low/High” in front of it, I’ll move on.  I’ve probably tried every diet and training scheme there is and I always find my way back to balance.  I can’t do low carb/no carb for any length of time, forget intermittent fasting, and if the rep range on any exercise is over 25 I’ll pass on that too.  I’m not saying I never do any of these things, I just don’t base any long-term nutrition or training program on them.  Again, these things may work for some, but I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re just starting out.  And unless you have an allergy or intolerance, don’t eliminate food groups (fruit, dairy, etc.).
  • Carbs are NOT the enemy – Carbs are anabolic, carbs provide energy/fiber/valuable nutrients, and a whole host of other benefits.  And frankly, they can taste pretty darn good.  Keeping fruits, vegetables, and whole/unprocessed carbohydrates in your diet is a good thing.  Heck, even the occasional “bad” carbohydrate, if timed correctly, can add some benefit.  Oh, and by the way, eating carbs at night won’t kill you either!  An easy rule of thumb I follow is this:  I generally consume slower digesting carbohydrates about an hour or two before my workout (and will have these at other mealtimes too depending on whether I’m cutting or building), and faster digesting/other carbs post-workout – these have even included cold cereal, pretzels, low-fat/baked chips, and even candy.  I keep carbs in my diet all the way up to contest time – I just vary the type and amount depending on my progress.  Keeps my body happy and my mind sane!
  • Cardio – I know I’ve touched on this topic before, but I find that too many mistakes are made when it comes to cardio.  Think of cardio as a “supplement” to proper diet (# 1) and proper resistance training (# 2).  Just because you CAN do more, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Less is generally more, and HIIT is definitely the way to go:  sprints, intervals on the bike, elliptical, or anything else.  HIIT should definitely not be done everyday as it is very taxing and 20-30 minutes at a time is all you’ll need.  What about fasted cardio?  My thoughts; go ahead and do it if you like, but it is not necessary (especially if you are doing HIIT).
  • Rest – One of those dreaded 4 letter words, right?  Yes and no.  I may be a little crazy, but I LOVE to train.  Rest days are tough for some but completely necessary.  Without proper rest, no gains will be made and injuries can happen.  This also includes the proper amount of sleep at night (without it you have reduced growth hormone activity and a decline in performance).  Just getting an extra hour of sleep can make a huge difference.  I have personal experience with this one:  at certain points in the year, the only time I have to get to the gym is 5 a.m.  This puts me at a loss of about 1.5 hours of sleep if I continue to go to bed at the same time.  I am much weaker, have less endurance, my recovery slows down, and I tend to get nagging aches/pains.
  • Eat enough but not too much!  Calories in vs. calories out – yes, it matters!  If you want to lose fat, you must be in a deficit.  If you want to gain muscle, you must be in a surplus.  Unless you are extremely genetically gifted or pharmaceutically enhanced, you will fare much better if you focus on one goal.  There are other important factors that I believe make a difference like timing of nutrients (carbs/protein pre- and post-workout, fats at other times) and supplements, but get the foundation right first!  Don’t forget if you eat too much of a surplus, you will get fat!  Eat in too much of a deficit, and you’ll lose your precious muscle.
  • Long-term fitness/motivation – Do what you enjoy and do it for you!  Although I feel that at least some resistance training is necessary, if you absolutely hate it, find something that you will enjoy:  yoga, cycling, team sports, races, the options are endless.  But I’ll bet the ranch – if you stick with weight-training long enough to see and feel the benefits, I think you’ll love it as much as I do!

In next week’s blog, I’ll return to some more of my training-specific information so stay tuned!

Hey all!  Just wanted to write a few quick thoughts about where I am in my contest prep.  I have been “officially” dieting for about 3 1/2 weeks now and have made some great progress.  I’ve seen some changes on the scale, in my body-fat measurements, how my clothes are fitting, but most of all…what I’m seeing in the mirror and in progress photos.  The last 2 are by far the most important measures for me.  I also do measurements with the tape measure but only a few times during my prep.  Thus far, my diet has included plenty of carbs, dairy, and even fruit (just about daily).  I have not been overly hungry or fatigued up to this point.  So, here’s a quick run-down of my current program regarding nutrition, training, and supplementation:

Nutrition:  My carbs/protein/fat ratio is a little bit variable, but on most days it looks like this: 35C/40P/25F.  I try to plan most of my carbs around workout time.  I’ll have a slower digesting carb an hour to two hours before my workout (unless I’m training super early in the morning) and a post-workout meal containing protein and carbs (I’ll usually have some fruit with this meal).  I will occasionally have my carbs in the evening…it just depends on how my macros are working out for that particular day.  This is what works for me…I have found that if I drop my carbs too low, I have no energy for my workouts and I’m much hungrier throughout the day.

Training:  Right now I weight-train 6 days a week.  Here is my current split:

  • Sunday:  Shoulders & Traps; 20-30 minutes light cardio with a few minutes of abs after cardio
  • Monday:  Quads & Calves; 20 minutes of HIIT cardio
  • Tuesday:  Back & Biceps; 20-30 minutes light cardio & abs
  • Wednesday:  Chest & Triceps; 20 minutes of HIIT cardio
  • Thursday:  Weak Point Training, weighted abs, and 20-30 minutes light cardio
  • Friday:  Glutes and Hamstrings; 20 minutes of HIIT cardio
  • Saturday:  Complete Rest or Yoga

So, with this schedule, I’m currently doing cardio 6 days a week but no more than 30 minutes (some days I do skip it).  For me, cardio is an adjunct to proper nutrition and resistance training.  As my prep continues, I will adjust it (up or even down) as necessary.  I will say this though…you will not find me doing hours on end.  I usually top out at 30, maybe 45 minutes.

Supplements:  I am a proud member of Team Top Secret Nutrition and I use a lot of their supplements everyday.  Here is my current stack:

  • Twice per day (usually morning and afternoon):  TSN Digestive Enzymes, Fish Oil & CLA, Advanced Joint Support, Concentrated Red Palm Oil, ActiveXtreme Mulit (a.m. only), and InterDerm (p.m. only)
  • Before each meal:  TSN Garcinia Cambogia Extract (to support weight loss, appetite control, and it affects caloric absorption)
  • Before Cardio:  If I’m doing morning cardio:  TSN Cardio Igniter;  If I’m doing my cardio in the evening:  I will take either TSN’s Extreme Jitter Free Fat Burner or the new L-Carnitine Plus Raspberry Ketones Liquid
  • Pre-Workout:  Right now I take a combination of TSN Cardio Igniter, Creavar, and Astravar 2.0 BUT I will be starting the brand-new Pump Igniter Pre-workout as soon as my shipment arrives!  Stay tuned for updates and reviews!

Pump_Igniter_Render-Red_Raspberry_W

  • Intra-Workout:  TSN BCAA Hyperblend Energy
  • Post-Workout:  If I don’t have a whole-foods meal, I will drink a protein shake (TSN 100% Whey)

For more information on Top Secret Nutrition products, you can check out the following links: