Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Keep Those Muscles Guessing

There are countless ways to mix up a weight training routine.  From the overweight 60-year old woman to the professional body builder, the goal is to continually confuse the muscles.  When muscles are trained with the same or similar stimulus for an extended period of time, they adapt and gains become non-existant.  By mixing things up you throw the muscle for a loop and make it work much harder against the stimulus. 

Any personal trainer worth his salt should have a huge variety of ways for you to mix up your training.  If you are training on your own, you should expect to change a routine every 4-6 weeks to maximize muscle growth and all the benefits that come with it, i.e. fat loss. 

The key to continual muscle confusion is hitting the muscle from a different angle, at varying weights, with varying repetitions and sets.  It’s all about keeping your routine as fresh as possible.  In my own gym, I see the same people doing the exact same lifts, the exact same way they have been doing them since last yaer.  This is simply a waste of time.

Understandably, not everyone is well-versed in exercise science as others.  Wondering how to change up a routine is often one of the biggest guesses a person may have.  No longer do you have to play guessing games in the gym.  Share It Fitness has you covered; try this workout strategy when it’s time for you to change up your current routine.

The 12-12-10-8 method works really well.  This works especially well if your muscles are used to doing 3 sets per exercise.  In the first two sets you are performing 12 repetitions apiece.  Keep the weight about 70% of your 1 rep max, i.e. if your bench press max is 225, you should be performing 12 sets with roughly 160lbs.  Bump the weight up to 80% of your max on the next set of 10 repetitions.  Follow this by a set at 90% of your max for 8 reps. 

You want to follow the 12-12-10-8 method for each and every exercise.  This is guarenteed to get you over a plateau and keep your muscles growing.  Just keep in mind, while the gains are going to be significant at first, they will slowly taper off as they will with any program.  After 4-6 weeks is up, come back to Share It Fitness for another way to keep those muscles guessing.

Gut Dysbiosis

While the common person knows very little about “Gut Dysbiosis”, it is actually a very wide-spread condition that is affecting the ability of millions of people to lose weight.  The condition essentially disallows a person from properly digesting their food, and in turn, contributes towards poor eating habits.

“It’s amazing that such a widespread problem goes so widely undetected,” said Dr. Chad Oler, a Naturopathic Doctor at the Natural Path Health Center. “Especially since the long-term effects can be so significant.”

Gut Dysbiosis, in lay terms, is essentially an imbalance of flora (helpful bacteria and yeast) living in your digestive tract.  The flora are responsible for maintaining chemical balance in your body, maximizing immunity, improving digestion, and eliminating waste. Helping your body create nutrients it needs to break down food and eliminate toxins is a key responsibility of GI flora. 

When there are shifts in the balance of flora in the digestive tract, dysbiosis can occur.  Some factors that may shift the balance include, certain medications, alcohol, infections, stress, food chemicals and preservatives, and outside pollutants.

People suffering from Gut Dysbiosis often complain of stomach pain, acid reflux, bloating, and indigestion.  When improper digestion occurs, the brain signals that you are still hungry and must eat more.  Unfortunately, you don’t get the full nutritional value from your food, just the calories.  It is a deadly cycle which repeats itself time and time again.

Some people maintain a healthy diet despite Gut Dysbiosis.  Unfortunately for them, the inability to break down and absorb nutrients from these healthy foods will leave your body nutrient starved.  The more nutrient starved you become, the more weight you put on.

The condition also leads to food sensitivities.  As a result of improper digestion, a damaged stomach lining, or other immune dysfunctions, food sensitivities can occur.  A number of symptoms result from a sensitivity.  Runny nose, congestion, energy depletion, bone pain, headaches, and indigestion are frequent.

Unfortunately, once these sensitivities occur, the body often craves the foods that it has become sensitive to.  The immune attacks these foods like the are a foreign invader in the body.  Biochemical changes in your body are responsible for this paradox. 

Further, when these sensitive foods are eaten, the brain releases several chemicals which include endorphins, cortisol, and serotonin.  When this happens, our body is not only missing out on important nutrients, it has started craving all the wrong types of food.

Weight gain is the typical result.  As mentioned above, Gut Dysbiosis causes bloating.  Many people who have discovered offending foods have lost 2-6” off their midsection.  Inflammation in the gut is removed, thus lowering your waist circumference.

To make matters more complicated, the reactions that occur after eating an offending food often don’t occur until days later in some instances.  The term “delayed onset food allergies” applies here.  Without testing, determining the offending foods is difficult.

Blood tests at your doctor’s office is the most effective way to determine which offending foods are causing your symptoms and weight gain.  Once you have identified which foods are behind the symptoms, the healing process has already begun.  Transforming your diet and avoiding those foods for some time is recommended.  The flora in our GI tract can be rebuilt over time.  After a while, the detrimental foods can be gradually reintroduced to the diet.


100 Rope jumps

21 Knees-to-elbows

50 Push ups

15 L-Pull ups

100 Rope jumps

15 Knees-to-elbows

35 Push ups

12 L-Pull ups

100 Rope jumps

20 Push ups

9 L-Pull ups

Working Past an Injury

There is no avoiding the unavoidable.  Whether you have been injury free your entire life or not, sooner or later you are going to get bitten by the injury bug.  This might happen while you are working out, running, or simply doing some other daily activity. 

Often times, an injury will destroy the fitness plan of even the most motivated individual.  They feel there is nothing they can do, and slink back into their sedentary lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this happens far too often as most people think they are powerless to an injury. 

Whenever there is a strain, pull, or otherwise unnatural sensation in our bodies we need to ask ourselves some basic questions.  Keep in mind our bodies are designed to give us helpful information and feedback, as to prevent further damage.  Some things to consider are:

  1. Have I just started a new workout program?  Perhaps the “injury” is simply a sore muscle from starting a program that is initially too intense.
  2. Did I practice an adequate warm-up leading up to my training session?  Did I make a post-workout stretch a priority?
  3. What is my life like outside of the gym?  Are you sitting at a desk all day or doing heavy manual labor?  Maybe you have been cramped into a planet seat for many hours ona  cross-country business trip.  You want to determine whether you have been excessively sedentary or active leading up to your injury.
  4. Has intensity of my workouts increased suddenly?
  5. Does one side of my body feel tighter, or unbalanced, compared to the corresponding side? 

By answering these questions, it will help us avoid potential injuries.  Use common sense and take things easy if your body is already particularly stressed.

Once an injury has occurred, don’t allow yourself to fall into a panicked state.  Keep a few things in mind so that you may continue a healthy, and active lifestyle.  Keep in mind however, it is ALWAYS best to speak to your doctor first and follow their advice on such matters.

  1. Sometimes a or pain in a particular region is not a result of an injury in that region.  For instance, a knee pain may actually be a result of a problem in your hamstrings or glute muscles.  Neck pain may be related to a tweaked nerve in your lower back.  Avoid focusing on the source of pain and examine your body as a whole.
  2. Work above and below the injury source.  If you are experiencing a hip injury, try working on upper body exercises, and lower limb exercises.  Always listen to your body and if pain persists, stop what you are doing.
  3. Strains in the body are often mitigated by movement.  Our first reaction when dealing with a strain is to limit movement.  This is not always the best strategy.  Low-impact activities such as using an elliptical or swimming are great for relieving the pain associated with strains.
  4. Training with an injury may require us to lower our load and/or volume.  Lower the weight until you are at a level that does not cause further discomfort.  The key is to stay in your routine and be as consistent as possible.  This will make getting back into the swing of things easier when they injury has cleared up.

Workout Like Tiger

Although Tiger Woods has been in the headlines recently, it has not been for his famous golf swing. But, what makes this golfer’s endurance and strength at the top of his game? In Fitness magazine Woods describes his workout routine as more intense than anyone would believe. While scheduling his workouts around time with his family, Tiger engages in workouts that can last up to 3 hours, 6 days a week. To find out more here is an in depths look at Wood’s fitness regiment that has enabled him to maintain the number 1 status in the world of golf.

Keith Kleven, Wood’s personal trainer proclaimed, “pound for pound, I put him with any athlete in the world.” Tiger Woods has added nearly 30 pounds of muscle to his body since he first started out in the golf world back in 1996. Kleven works hard with Woods and says that his resistance for repetitions is extremely high – higher than most athletes he has seen.

Tiger Woods routine starts with 40 minutes of stretching, core exercises, and running for 7 miles, and/or speed running for 3 miles. Woods claims that he has never hurt himself in the weight room or developed an ego with his training. He says he doesn’t even know what it feels like to have an injury resulting from weight lifting. He claims, “I’ve been sore but I’ve always been able to function and do whatever I wanted to.” He has a great attitude when it comes to gym, and says that its best to listen what your body is telling you, and push it when it needs to be pushed. So many people over push solely from ego and the result is injury.

In the weight room Woods uses smaller weights with higher repetitions, but his trainer Kleven claims he is off the charts when it comes to how much he can actually lift. Especially for a golfer, Kleven sees more reps at higher levels of endurance from Woods than in any other golfers. He claims his resistance to be higher than the norm. Kleven also focuses on balance and posture with Woods. Now that you know some of Tiger’s tricks, can you swing a club like Tiger Woods can?

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New Superfruit?

What’s the latest in the new line of superfruits? We’ve already had the Acai and Maqui Berries make their grand entrance into the world of superfruits, and now market experts predict the Cassis Berry is all set to tantalize palates and quench America’s thirst for newer and better superfruits to add to the wide array of superfruits that already exist in the market today.

The Cassis berry has an intriguing history. In the early 1900s, cultivation of the Cassis berry was banned in America. Though very popular back then, the Cassis berries were wrongly considered a threat to the logging industry. As a result, cultivation of these rich berries was discontinued for almost a century! In 2003, New York was the first state to right the wrongs done to this benevolent berry. The ban was lifted and other states have quickly followed suit. Because of this, Cassis berries are not as well known in the United States as they are in Europe where they enjoy tremendous popularity and status. Americans are just beginning to discover the wonders of their new berry friend.

The Cassis berry or Black Currant as it is often called is a native shrub (ribes nigrum) of Northern Europe and Northern Asia. The berries have a sweet, astringent flavor, similar to that of black grapes. The berries grow in clusters and have a thin skin. Underneath the skin is a gelatinous, nutrient-dense green pulp.

With a deep purple outer-coloring, the Cassis berry doesn’t appear to offer much more than the Acai or Maqui berry. But don’t let looks fool you. Underneath its ordinary appearance lies an incredible array of nutrients ranging from a wide assortment of B vitamins, Vitamin C, and essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. It’s also got a substantial amount of fiber, amino acids and essential fatty acids called gamma linolenic acid. Just 100 grams of the Cassis berry offers 300 percent of the daily RDA of Vitamin C in our diet! In fact, Cassis berries were used as a substitute for oranges in World War II, with a Vitamin C potency four times that of oranges! Rich in anthocyanins and twice the antioxidant power of blueberries, the Cassis berry is all set to compete for the next superfruit crown.

How different is the Cassis berry from the Acai and Maqui?

Taste. The Cassis definitely fares best in taste.

Nutrition. All three pack a pretty mean punch of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fiber (100 gms of Cassis berry can provide 30 percent of the RDA of dietary fiber). The Cassis and Acai, however, contain essential fatty acids which make them good for heart health as well.

Antioxidant potency. The Maqui still reigns, but the antioxidant potencies of both the Cassis and the Acai are not to be overlooked, considering they are still higher than many other superfruits.

Scientific research. The Cassis Berry has been around in Europe and Asia and so extensive research is available. Preliminary data shows that the Cassis Berry is good for bone health with an ideal calcium and magnesium ratio of 2:1. Specific anthocyanins in the Cassis berry show positive influence on heart health and eye health. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. The uniqueness of this berry is its benefit to brain health. Anthocyanins in the Cassis berry are believed to act as neuro-protective agents. Traditionally, the Cassis berry is known to be a detoxifier. It cleanses the tissues of oxidative stress and also stimulates liver functions. It is also known to relieve menopausal symptoms and improve venous circulation. Even the leaves of the Cassis berry have medicinal properties and are used in herbal tea preparations.

Datamonitor notes the rise in new products containing the Cassis berry in recent years ever since the ban on its cultivation was lifted. This demand is linked to consumer hype for antioxidant-rich superfruits. Having been hidden from our eyes for 100 years though, Americans know very little about the Cassis berry. More public awareness campaigns and promotional literature detailing the rich health benefits of the Cassis berry could help in driving the Cassis berry to greater heights of glory.

The Cassis berry market has an extremely high potential for growth. It can be used as an individual supplement or combined with other ingredients. The end-product can be manufactured as capsules, tablets, powders or liquids. This leaves open opportunity for cassis berry manufacturers to cash in on yet another great superfruit!

How to Break a Sugar Addiction

Asked by Eve Combemale, Bridgehampton, New York

Open quote
Is there any way to help break a sugar addiction that’s as powerful as an alcohol addiction without going into rehab? I’ve been trying for four years and can’t seem to break free. It’s destroying my body but I can’t seem to stop with basic discipline. Clearly there is an emotional component to addiction but therapy doesn’t seem to help. Any recommendations? Thank you.Close quote


Dear Eve: As someone who struggles with the same issue, I feel your pain. Increasingly, scientific studies suggest that eating activates the same brain areas that are the primary targets of drugs of abuse, and foods high in sugar, fat and certain carbohydrates are especially likely to stimulate our brain in ways that can become addictive. It is not for nothing that the modern Western diet –which is higher in sugar than any diet in history — has taken the world by storm. Across the long years of human evolution sweet things were hard to find so we have all evolved a keen appreciation for these items that tends to betray us in the modern world.

Your question is too brief for me to get a clear sense of how deep your problem goes, but if you are seriously thinking of some type of rehab environment I am going to assume that you are struggling with a worst-case scenario in which you binge on, and consume, very large amounts of sweet items. I’m thinking, for example, of a patient I treated for years, who would eat an entire angel food cake whenever something stressful or upsetting happened in her life.

There is no doubt that this kind of eating arises from an emotional component. In addition to stimulating brain reward centers, sweet food markedly affects stress hormones in ways likely to provide a sense of temporary reprieve from anxiety. Of course, in addition to all the health problems linked to binge eating, the eater is likely to end up in a worse spot, much as the alcoholic who drinks to forget that he has an drinking problem. As the tone of your question attests, out-of-control eating can be a profound source of shame and frustration and can therefore contribute psychologically to the development of depression.

But the problem goes deeper. While processed sugars may produce a brief emotional high, several lines of evidence indicate that they affect our biology in ways that promote depression. For example, rates of depression in a country rise in lockstep with per capita sugar consumption. Sugars — which are found in all sorts of processed foods we don’t typically think of as sweet — promote obesity, and obesity is a very powerful risk factor for the later development of depression.

So I don’t need to tell you the problem is a bad one. The question — your question — is what to do about it. Actually we all know what to do about it: eat less sugary foods. The question is how to find the willpower to do this when sugar is everywhere and the emotional strains of life push us so consistently into its orbit.

Much experience over the years has taught me that nature abhors a vacuum. If you are going to take sugar out of your diet, it will need to be replaced with something else. This law of human nature often makes it the case that it is easier to do big things than to do little things. For example, it is easier for an alcoholic to stop drinking completely than to just drink a little. I want to suggest that the same approach might benefit your attempts to break the sugar addiction.

Assuming that you binge on huge amounts of sweets, I want to suggest that changing your entire dietary pattern might be easier than just stopping this one maladaptive behavior. I say this for two reasons. First, if you are going to give up sugar you are going to have to replace it with something very active and positive. And second, it is increasingly clear that even people who don’t binge on sweet foods suffer significant health problems just from eating the standard American diet that most of us consume every day.

I want to suggest that you attempt to rid as many processed and packaged foods from your diet as possible, and replace them with a diet replete with natural foods. By natural foods, I mean food that humans evolved to benefit from: fruits, vegetables, some whole grains and meat from animals that are fed grass (not grains and antibiotics). To eat this way requires making a commitment to shop smart and to cook smart. These are both challenging and exciting activities that might help you organize an emotionally satisfying life beyond the grasp of your sugar addiction.

This column is far too short for me to describe how to go about doing this, but fortunately excellent sources of information on this topic are already in print. Let me recommend two books to you by Michael Pollan. “Omnivore’s Dilemma” is an eye-opening expose of how we came, as a society, to eat so much sugar in everything, and “In Defense of Food” spells out how to go about extricating ourselves from the unhealthy Western diet to which most of us adhere.

Expert Bio PictureMental Health Expert

Dr. Charles Raison Psychiatrist,
Emory University Medical School

Build Muscle AND Lose Fat?

The goal of many bodybuilders is to gain muscle/lose fat whilst doing so simultaneously. Unfortunately, for most who’ve been training for any amount of time, training with this goal in mind is typically just a surefire way to stand in one place spinning your wheels for months, if not years on end. It’s often noted that bodybuilders tend to be extremists. Whether this is just a natural personality tendency among us, or it is a result of the habits with which it takes to induce noticeable and lasting physical changes in our physique, it does ring true for a large majority. Even when taking training out of the equation, what other group of people, or athletes, puts themselves through the dietary rigors of a bodybuilder? Eating enough to feed a small country while on a bulking phase yet turning around and barely subsisting on enough calories to feed a bird while on a cutting phase.

Anyone who’s ever truly been on a real bulking phase or a cutting phase will know exactly what extremes I’m talking about. In order to gain muscle the body needs food and lots of it coupled with a reduction of all extraneous activities. In order to shed fat after building this muscle the body needs much few calories and lots more tedious cardiovascular type exercise. To try and embark on a mutual compromise between bulking and cutting typically brings compromising results in either direction.

However, with science, information, and understanding on how the various systems of the body function, we can better understand and apply correct exercise and nutritional timing to better enable us to achieve the goal of increasing muscle mass and losing fat simultaneously. The plan I am about to unfold here is, as only a bodybuilder would have it, a bit extreme. However, if dedicated to and followed, it will enable you to achieve these 2 mutually exclusive goals simultaneously by taking advantage of nutrient and exercise timing.

What we are going to do is take advantage of the body’s hormonal state as it pertains to day to day circadian rhythms, exercise, and nutrient timing. The plan involves periods of both rather extreme underfeeding for fat loss, and rather extreme overfeeding for muscle gain coupled with both training for fat loss (cardio, HIT) and training for muscle gain (heavy weights). Basically what will be happening is you’ll be in a fat burning mode the majority of the time eating lower carbs and calories and performing fat burning activities like regular cardio and HIT cardio to help in this aspect.

The rest of the time you’ll either be sleeping, hitting the iron heavy and hard, or eating like a madman to drive protein synthesis, build muscle, and take advantage of the anabolic hormones induced by the weight training and feeding schedule. So let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of the program.


Some form of cardio should be done 3-6 days per and alternated between longer, slow duration cardio, and HIT cardio. Walking on a slightly inclined treadmill for 45 minutes is an ideal form of the longer duration cardio which should be performed on weight training days (up to 3x per week) and sprinting outdoors, on a treadmill and/or cycling is an ideal form of HIT cardio which should be done on weight training off days (2-3x per week). For the HIT portion there are many different methods of implementing this.

I like to keep the work:rest intervals a little longer than most at 1:2. As an example, after a 4 minute slow jog/cycle warm up perform 20 seconds of all out sprints followed by 40 seconds of jogging repeated for 8-12 sets with a 4 minute cooldown of slow jogging at the end. If there is one key to HIT cardio it is to keep it creative. Basically, the more you struggle with fat gain and/or loss, the more cardio and HIT sessions you’ll need to perform with 3 cardio and 3 HIT cardio sessions being the max. Those somewhere in the middle of the metabolic continuum should perform 3 HIT sessions and ditch the regular cardio sessions. Those with excellent metabolisms might find they need only 1 or 2 HIT sessions per week.

Weight Training

The actual content of your weight training sessions is not nearly as important as the timing. It is important for this program that your weight training sessions be done sometime in the late afternoon/early evening to allow you to burn fat throughout the day as this is the time when you’ll be eating a lower calorie/low carb diet. Also make sure you schedule the weight training early enough in the evening so that you are allowed a minimum of 6 hours between your weight training session and bedtime as this is the time you will be overfeeding to drive protein synthesis and replenish glycogen stores. Doing so too early in the day would halt fat burning for the rest of the day and put a damper on our training and fat burning economy.

The weight training should be done 3x per week on alternate days, M/W/F or Tu/Thu/Sat being ideal. The training sessions should consist of heavy, basic compound movements with some overlap. In other words, don’t make any sessions arms only as you want workouts that stimulate a lot of anabolic hormones and muscle mass. As an example here is how I currently have my 3x per week routine set-up. My training is usually done with mixed goals of performance and vanity so it tends to be a bit unconventional for many but it’s just an example.

Monday (chest and back focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Wednesday (legs focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Friday (shoulders, traps, and arms focus) – 3 sets of 8-12 reps

I normally like to keep sets per exercise around 4-6 and reps between 4-8 and use antagonistic supersets when possible.

In my case, I do smaller muscle groups such as forearms, abs, calves, and rotator cuff on my weight training off days, however, this is definitely not something that needs to be done. Do abs and calves whenever you want, just make sure your workouts are hard, heavy, intense, and cover your entire body.


Now for the really interesting part, the diet! The diet is divided up into 2 separate phases, the low calorie low/carbohydrate portion and the high calorie/high carb portion. Here are the guidelines:

Low calorie/low carb portion

    Duration – All day on weight training off days and ½ day on weight training days.
    Caloric intake – 10-12 x bodyweight
    Macronutrient ratio – 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate

High calorie/high carb portion

    Duration – on weight training days only. From the beginning of the weight training session until bedtime.
    Caloric intake – The same amount as you would take in during a normal low calorie day but these calories are to be consumed in a time span of 6-8 hours. ( 10-12 x bw or 1600-1900 calories for a 160 lb individual)
    Macronutrient ratio – 20% protein 5% fat and 75% carbohydrate

Maintenance calorie/carb portion

    Duration – weekends
    Caloric intake – 15 x bodyweight
    Macronutrient ratio – 50% protein 30% fat and 20% carbohydrate

Daily Schedule

    Monday – AM cardio PM weight training*
    Tuesday – HIT cardio performed anytime
    Wednesday – AM cardio PM weight training*
    Thursday – HIT cardio performed anytime
    Friday – AM cardio PM weight training *
    Saturday – HIT Cardio done anytime maintenance calories
    Sunday – no training/maintenance calories

* (AM cardio optional depending on individual)

So lets take a trial run through the program. At a bodyweight of 160 lbs our hypothetical trainee needs 1600-1920 calories on the low carb/low calorie day. At a 50p/30f/20c ratio this will mean 200 grams of protein/80 grams of carbs and 53 grams of fat. Lets first use and illustrate a weight training off day, Tuesday as an example.

Preferably sometime in the late afternoon or early evening perform HIT cardio or sprinting. The timing for the HIT on weight training off days is not terribly important but keep in mind the evening is usually a time when the metabolism begins to slow. By performing intense exercise at this time we stimulate the metabolism so the metabolic rate over the course of 24 hours is greater. After this have a protein drink along with some liquid carbs which would be equivalent to about ½ of the total 80 gram allotment of carbs for the day. Since the body is most responsive to carbohydrate consumption following activity try to get more carbs in postworkout, regardless of when you perform it. Throughout the rest of the day the body would be in a hard-core fat burning state. Diet would consist of mostly lean meats, fibrous veggies, and quality fats about every 3 hours throughout the day.

Again our hypothetical trainee gets up and this time does the optional slower/longer duration cardio for 40 minutes such as walking on a slightly inclined treadmill at a pace not so fast that it leaves him out of breath, but just fast enough so that it would be a little difficult to carry on a conversation. After this have a protein/carb drink. The amount of carbs would be less than the preceding days HIT cardio post-workout consumption, maybe 20 grams since the longer duration slower cardio is less taxing on the glycogen system.

Another important thing to remember is, since this is a weight training day and this training session is around 3 pm, he’ll only be eating the low cal/low carb portion for approximately ½ day so the macronutrient total needs to be adjusted since those #’s are based on a full days total. Instead of 1600 calories 200 grams of protein/80 grams of carbs and 53 grams of fat we need to cut those in half and eat about 800 calories/ 100 grams of protein/40 grams of carbs and 26 grams of fat from breakfast until 3pm.

Once 3pm hits is when the anabolism (and the fun) begins! Just prior to the workout we’d have a serving of some type of stimulant and begin sipping on a carb/protein drink. (dextrose/maltodextrin/whey) or (BCAAs, dextrose, malto). After the workout we would have another high carb/protein drink of dextrose/maltodextrin and whey and head home for more great FOOD and CARBS! The macronutrient total from 3 pm until bedtime will total approximately 1600 calories /300 grams of carbs/80 grams protein/and 9 grams fat for a 160 pounder, so this pretty much means any low-fat carbohydrate sources are fair game.

Although complex carbs such as white potatoes, rice, oatmeal etc. are ideal due to their effects on replenishing muscle glycogen, it’s ok to have some cereal, low fat pastries, etc. during this time as well. Keep fruit and fructose consumption to a minimum and definitely make sure you stay away from fat. Having high insulin levels coupled with fat intake will drive that fat directly into storage. Continue to pig out on carbs until bedtime and then wake up the next morning for another 1.5 days of dieting before hitting the workout and overfeed all over again.

Why It Works?

The weight training and preceding dieting phase not only burns fat but also puts the body into a glycogen depleted state which heightens insulin sensitivity so the body is ready to suck up on all the nutrients delivered during the short-term carbohydrate overfeed. In addition to increasing cellular hydration, which is important for protein synthesis, the body responds to this overfeeding by increasing levels of the anabolic hormone insulin.

Having high insulin levels ALL the time could be a bad thing and lead to fat gain, but for such a short period of time after an intense workout we’re able to maximize the anabolic power of insulin for anabolism and muscle building with little danger of spillover into fat storage. Studies have shown that carbohydrates consumed during massive short-term carbohydrate overfeeding have a very small effect on de novo lipogenesis, or conversion to fat from carbohydate.

Also, during this time and after, the body will respond to this short-term overfeed with larger amounts of the hormones testosterone, thyroid, and leptin. Leptin is the hormone which normally drops during a diet and causes our fat loss efforts to reach a stand-still and causes our body to begin cannibalizing muscle tissue. By boosting leptin through over-feeding, we also ensure that our fat loss efforts continue unhindered throughout the plan while all the other hormones are optimized for muscle gain. Regular cardio is done earlier in the day not only to burn more calories and fat but, more importantly, to give a big metabolic stimulus throughout the day. Diet is optimized to allow fat burning during these times.

Likewise, the timing of the weight training sessions coincides with the time when the body would normally begin to go from an anabolic to a catabolic state. By doing our weight training and HIT in the afternoon/early evening we are able to boost anabolic hormones and sensitivity to these hormones at a time when they naturally begin to decline while also stimulating the metabolism at a time when it begins to slow down. Following the weight-training workout with a high carbohydrate overfeed gives solid, round the clock hormonal and dietary management of both muscle gain and fat loss.

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Double the Effects

The benefits of adding muscle to your body are tremendous.  You develop a lean, shapely appearance, your metabolism rises, and your body burns more calories than an untrained body.  These are all fantastic ways to lose body fat, and build a healthy, happy body.  In order to build muscle fastest, the most efficient and effective training program should be undertaken. 

A sure-fire way to add muscle to any frame is to do a split weight training/plyometric routine.  By combining both, you are activating muscle motor units in a way they have never seen.  The gains are often dramatic in the first several weeks. 

Plyometrics are not strictly for the well-trained athlete, rather, they MAKE a well-trained athlete.  Men, women, teenagers, and the elderly can all benefit from plyometric exercise.  The exercises can be tailored for the beginner to the advanced, and require little more than your body weight in my instances, making this a perfect at home supplement.

By itself, plyometrics will not add the lean body mass that you are seeking.  Weight training is a key component to several areas that plyometrics misses.  The same is true for plyometrics.  By combining both you are making sure you receive all the possible benefits of training.  Further, when you combine the two, muscle fibers adapt to the stimulus and produce more of the “hybrid” fiber types that are great for strength as well as endurance.

Take a look at these results if you are still skeptical of the benefits of plyometrics:

Effect Of Squats & Plyometrics On Vertical Jump
 Exercise Type                              Vertical Jump IncreaseOnly Squats                                                  3.30 cm

Only Plyometrics                                       3.81cm

Squats + Plyo                                               10.67cm


The result of combination training is clearly beneficial to your goals of adding muscle.  Below is a sample weight training/plyometric routine to help get you started.

  1. Bench Press – 3 x 10
  2. Power Drop – 3 x 15
  3. Squats – 3 x 10
  4. Box Jumps – 3 x 15
  5. Lunges – 3 x 10
  6. Double Leg Tuck Jump – 3 x 15
  7. Wide-grip Pullups – 3 x 10
  8. Plyometric Pushups – 3 x 12
  9. Military Press – 3 x 10
  10. Single Arm Overhead Throws – 3 x 12

Cardio Before Weights, or Weights Before Cardio…

This is the age old question so many people who exercise have wondered.  When your at the gym, it’s nice to be able to knock everything out in one day.  By doing your 60 minutes of weight training and 40 minutes of cardio, you are able to squeeze in more exercise, and maximize your efforts.  Repeat this 3-4 times  a week and you are really on the track towards success.  However, many people have their theories on this.  Theories are often times based upon this month’s issue of men’s health or some simple bro science from the meatheads in the corner ; two useless forms of fitness advice.

Let us intervene and shine some light on the subject.  Never again will you have to play guessing games as to which way you should be working out.

When you work out, whether it is weight lifting or cardio, your body burns fuel.  The preferred fuel of the human body is carbohydrates (glucose).  The average body has roughly 400 grams of carbohydrate stores ready for use as fuel.  When these stores begin to dry up, the body turns to burning fat as fuel.  This is an important point to remember as it will help us make our decision about the sequence of our workout later on. 

Jumping on the treadmill and doing 40 minutes of jogging may burn up to 600 calories.  The components making up the 600 calories may be part fat, part glucose, and part blood glucose.   A rough estimate would say you have used one quarter of your glucose stores.  If you are like some people and have a sports drink or power bar while you work out, you will replenish these stores and be only slightly less depleted than you were when you walked in.

Lifting weights, particularly as heavy as you can handle, is terrific for sapping your body of its energy stores.  Muscles love using glucose for energy.  When you perform those heavy lifts, your body goes into overdrive to support the muscular system.  A solid hour of moderate to high intensity training while almost completely deplete your body of its preferred energy sources. 

What does this mean?  Well, when your body has no more glucose to fuel movement, it must turn to fat to keep the engine running.  By completely depleting yourself of energy stores in the first hour of weight lifting, your body turns to burning fat when you begin cardio.  Cardio later in a workout will burn almost exclusively fat cells.  For those that are interested in weight reduction and fat loss, this is a very good thing.

Forget what you have been told about “fat burning zones”.  While more fat is burned at a lower intensity, more calories (and fat calories) and burned when you exercise at a higher intensity.  Look at it like this:

At a low intensity (jogging) you burn 60% fat/40% glucose.  At a high intensity (sprints) you burn 30% fat/70% glucose. 

  1. Jogging for 30 minutes – 180 calories burned – 108 calories of fat burned
  2. Interval sprinting for 30 minutes – 500 calories burned – 150 calories of fat burned

While you can see that the ratio of fat calories burned is higher in the low intensity cardio, for practicality purposes, more fat is burned by doing high intensity cardio.

Focus on doing your lifting right when you get to the gym.  Go hard with your lifts, then focus on doing cardio 100% for 40 minutes afterwards.  This will allow your body to immediately jump into fat burning mode.  The one exception to this is if you are lifting legs on any given day.  You should try to split up your cardio and leg lift days for the simple fact that you will over train and get less benefit from the workout.

Hopefully this helps you stop playing the guessing game about which comes first, cardio or weight training.  The goal for all overweight individuals is to burn fat.  The best way to do so is to deplete energy sources and make your body run off of fat cells.

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