ATHLETIC CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT -
INSIDE THIS ISSUE…
- "A better approach to working out."
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- "Get Lean! Lose fat and gain muscle."
"First, there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter
expression that fits all involved parties, in the sports
training world at least. It is never a smart move to accept
generalized exercise prescriptions, training percents, program
protocols, and so forth. Training MUST be adhered to at
an individual specific level!" Dietrich Buchenholz
Fat Loss Guidelines from
If you watch TV or read the newspaper you've
probably heard about Dr. Phil McGraw's new book on fat loss.
We sincerely hope that Dr. Phil's book helps thousands of
people take the steps toward fat loss and healthier living.
If you, or anyone you know reads his book, please let us
know how it is via email.
Dr. Phil has identified 7 key factors in his
book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight
1. Right Thinking - You have to believe you can do it.
2. Healing Feelings - Avoid emotional eating.
3. A No-Fail Environment - Throw away the junk food.
4. Mastery Over Food and Impulse Eating - This sounds
like one of the most difficult steps. It requires the
reader to avoid binge eating.
5. High-Response Cost, High-Yield Nutrition - Eat healthy.
6. Intentional Exercise - Schedule exercise into your
7. A Circle of Support - This is the number one factor
determining successful weight loss in women!
For more details on healthy eating and exercise
routines, check out the manuals at www.workoutmanuals.com
- Get Lean! Lose fat and gain muscle. This site has been
mentioned in Men's Health magazine and features "The Executive
Muscle-building Nutrition from John Berardi
John Berardi is world renowned for this nutrition, supplement and training advice. After 10 years of nutrition and exercise consultation and over 100 published articles on these topics, John founded Science Link, Inc. - Translating Research into Results and www.johnberardi.com - Human Performance and Nutrition Consulting.
Through his consulting businesses, John works with a diverse client population including high-level athletes wanting to win medals and championships. Furthermore, John will be completing his PhD with a specialization in exercise and nutritional biochemistry in the fall of 2003. To say that this guy knows his stuff is an understatement.
In this issue, we've decided to question this guy about what it takes to get big.
CB: John, over the years you've helped thousands of readers "get big" without getting fat. Can you give a synopsis of your philosophy?
Thanks for being so generous with your words. I think one thing I have been able to do is reach a lot of individuals and help them understand the science and art of "getting big". My nutritional philosophy (whether you're after weight gain or weight loss) is made up of 3 central tenants:
1) The human body best responds to structure. You'll successfully gain weight or lose weight only when you learn to structure your training and nutritional intake in such a way that your eating and training behaviors are consistent from one day to the next.
2) Reaching your goals requires an integrated approach. Training programs, nutrition programs, and supplement programs should be highly integrated in such a way that they all work well together. If there is no integration, it's a case of the left arm not knowing what the right is doing. This component of success is the hardest for most people to grasp because expertise in all 3 areas is rare. A fully integrated approach usually requires a coach.
3) It's true that managing total calorie balance is critical to success. Both exercise and nutritional intake affect total energy balance (energy spent vs. energy ingested). It's true that if you want to gain weight, you simply have to eat more and/or train less. And if you want to lose weight, you simply have to train more and/or eat less. But since we're not interested in weight gain or loss but the gain of lean mass and the loss of fat mass, we can improve this relationship by paying close attention to the types of foods we eat and the timing of this ingestion.
CB: What type of training do you integrate into your overall programs?
As most experts would agree, there is not a single type of program that's effective for increasing muscle mass. In my clients, I've found that some guys gain mass rapidly on the conventional 3 sets of 10 reps, "bodybuilding" style programs. Others do much better on more conventional 5 sets of 5 reps, strength type programs. Unfortunately, it's difficult to know who will respond to each type of program without some trial and error.
With most clients, I find that their muscle strength and power is a major limiting factor in their quest for bigger muscles. As a result, we usually start them out on hybrid strength and power program incorporating exercises like cleans, snatches, push and drop presses, and speed dead lifts for power and squats, bench presses, deadlifts for max strength.
After their muscle strength and power improves tremendously (and it always does), we re-assess their goals. If they want to continue working on strength and power (most guys LOVE this type of training), we continue on this path. If they want to focus on size exclusively, we then begin to incorporate programs that are 25-50% devoted to strength and power, and 50-75% devoted to "bodybuilding" training. We rarely ever drop the strength and power movements entirely.
Take, for example, a client of mine who just competed in the Canadian National Bodybuilding Championships. I had this guy doing cleans and snatches right up to the week before the show.
In the end, though, you can have your training optimized but if you aren't eating properly, you won't gain a pound.
CB: Okay, now for the inside stuff. What are some of the secrets that you have uncovered in the lab and with practical experience over the years when it comes to optimal muscle hypertrophy gains?
After optimizing your training program, the next step is optimizing your nutritional plan. While conventional dietetics suggests that all one needs to do is focus on total energy intake, that idea is far too simplistic.
Sure, most athletes chronically under eat - to their detriment - but it's no surprise why they under eat. Conventional nutritional strategies ensure that when an athlete eats enough, fat gain will go hand in hand with the muscle gain. I've tried to discover ways of allowing an athlete to eat enough without promoting a lot of fat gain. Here are a few strategies I've used with great success.
1) Try to avoid meals that are high in both fat and carbohydrate. In other words, meals that contain combinations like steak, eggs, home fries, and toast are not the way to maximize your lean gain to fat gain ratio. A good rule of thumb (and, of course this rule is a bit flexible) is to try to eat less than 10g of fat when eating a high carb meal and less than 15g of carbs when eating a high fat meal. Each daily meal should be rich in protein. *As a side note, while some experts think this first strategy is "nutritional hocus-pocus", consistently positive results speak louder than their theoretical objections.
2) Eat most of your carbohydrates within 6 hours of training. One of the best ways to gain lean mass while avoiding fat gain is to eat most of your dietary carbohydrates during the 6 hours after training. During the rest of the day, the diet high in protein and good fats. Veggies are also a must during this time. A small amount of fruit is acceptable during this time as well.
3) Workout Nutrition! Sip a drink containing whey protein and carbohydrate during training. Also sip a drink of the same composition after training. A good starting point is to consume 0.4g/kg protein and 0.8g/kg carbohydrate during the workout and another 0.4g/kg protein and 0.8kg carbohydrate directly after. Then, 1 hour later, eat a meal containing the same nutritional breakdown. For a 180lb guy, that's about 32g protein and 64g carbohydrate.
CB: How can a Men's Health reader apply your knowledge to his everyday routine, considering he might be "chained" to his phone and desk for 10-12 hours each day in addition to a 2 hour round trip commute?
While this lifestyle presents a challenge, it's not impossible to eat properly, train hard, and balance work and family.
One strategy is to hire a food preparation service. In most cities, if you look hard enough, you can find a caterer who will provide made-to-order meals for health conscious individuals. While many people balk at the cost, I propose this question - how much is your health worth to you? Forget muscle mass, most guys in situations similar to what you've described, aren't even eating well enough to prevent disease.
Beyond this scenario, protein drinks do come in handy although I prefer it if people can eat mostly real food. If you absolutely refuse to find a way, though, most people can find time to prepare and eat 3 meals per day. In addition to these meals, 3-5 additional liquid meals can round out one's muscle gain strategy as follows:
Snack: 2 scoops protein + ˝ cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon flax oil
Snack: 2 scoops protein + ˝ cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon flax oil
Workout Drink: 1 scoop whey protein + 2 scoops Gatorade
Post-Workout Drink: 1 scoop whey protein + 2 scoops Gatorade
Snack: 2 scoops protein + ˝ cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon olive oil
CB: Let's look at another example
- an advanced bodybuilder that wants to add another 10 pounds
of muscle prior to pre-contest preparation. However, this
guy thinks he's stuck; he's tried all avenues. What approach
do you have him take?
Check out this scenario. One of my competitive bodybuilders hired me after winning a provincial bodybuilding championship in Ontario. Since he had about 10 weeks to prepare for Canadian Nationals he wanted me to help him get leaner for the next show.
But since I knew his main weakness was muscle mass, I convinced him that we would spend the first 6 weeks getting him bigger and the last 4 getting him shredded. Upon hearing this and then seeing his first program, I think he was re-thinking his decision to hire me. However, after some encouragement, he bought into my strategy. The result - he entered his show noticeably leaner, drier, and 3 lbs heavier than his last show, only 10 weeks prior.
So, what did we do? Well, I immediately switched his routine to a strength and power program including all the exercises discussed above. The first week was comical, as he had never done a clean or a snatch before. However, he was a fast learner. In addition, rather than conventional cardio, I had him doing high intensity interval sprints on a bike and a rowing machine. Furthermore, I added the workout nutrition strategies from above. The first 6 weeks were very successful as he gained about 10-12 lbs.
With 4 weeks to go, he was a little worried about his conditioning so, at this point, we dropped the workout nutrition (to eliminate extra calories), we put him on a low carbohydrate diet, and we increased his workout frequency to 2x per day (higher volume lower intensity). This worked wonders and he entered the show in the best shape of his life, with a net muscle gain of at least 5-7 lbs in 10 weeks of contest dieting! And for the record, no drugs were used during this process!
CB: Let's do one more case study
for University athletes. Can these athletes gain muscle
while playing once a week and practicing 4 times per week?
Any pre-game or game time tips for performance nutrition?
They certainly still gain muscle. In fact, as you may have noticed, many of them can certainly gain fat during the season. With training volumes reduced from pre-season, many athletes actually detrain a bit and spend some of the season in positive energy balance. Since the season is hectic, their diet is usually crappy and therefore they gain fat. By focusing on good food selections, appropriate meal timing, and supplemental workouts in the gym, these athletes can easily improve throughout the season.
Getting into a full program is probably beyond the scope of this interview. Simply, if they follow the strategies from above (i.e. not eating lots of carbs and fats together, eating most carbs during the 6 hours post-workout, and using proper workout nutrition), they will be on the right track.
Furthermore, I usually have my athletes add 3-5 gym workouts in per week. Two of these workouts are strength workouts while the rest are cardio work designed to maintain fitness and keep body fat low. This strategy is unique to the athlete and his/her needs, though.
As far as pre-game strategies, there isn't anything magical there. It takes a consistent eating program to ensure good performance on game day - no magic elixirs can remedy a week of poor training and nutrition.
CB: Thanks for the wonderful insight John. You can
also check out John's thoughts on post-workout nutrition
John provides a wealth of information about
training, nutrition, and supplements at www.johnberardi.com.
if you're interested in consulting with JB and www.johnberardi.com/seminars
if you're interested in finding out more about his dynamic
and information-packed seminars.