Daily Archives: Jul 23, 2011
Supplements have really revolutionised the way we train today, and more importantly, the rate at which we make progress! Supplements give us the edge, they support our gains by around 20% in my opinion, and they enable you to reach new limits which perhaps you couldn’t before. However, one time of the day I am a huge believer in using supplements, is right before bed. Whilst many people do understand the importance, there are many more that don’t, so here I am, trying to show you why you should use supplements before bed!
First of all, you need to understand that whilst you are asleep your testosterone and growth hormone levels peak, therefore your body is able to repair itself, as well as grow at its fastest rate! So doesn’t it make sense to ensure it has all the nutrients it needs in order to carry out the repairs to your muscle fibres? I think so, and that is why before bed I am using a multi-blend timed release protein.
Most people will opt for a whey isolate protein as their ‘all rounder’ but I think we have become wise to the fact that one protein just won’t cut it anymore. Personally, I don’t see the sense in taking an ultra fast digesting protein right before bed. Your body simply won’t have time to assimilate many of the nutrients.
The benefits of a multi-blend timed release protein are that it ‘drip feeds’ your muscles through the night, giving them a constant supply of amino acids. Amino acids are vital as they act as building blocks to your muscle cells, and its very important to have a range of amino acids available for different purposes. It is also seriously worthwhile using a slow release protein blend before bed, because your nitrogen retention is dramatically enhanced. If you can maintain a good nitrogen balance, your anabolic activity is increased, leading to better protein assimilation and in turn, better recovery and growth!
Finally, obviously when you are asleep for 8 hours you are essentially fasting. In my opinion, this will lead to a degree of catabolism; there is no way of getting around that. However, if you use a fast digesting protein before bed, this still won’t do much because within 2 hours it will have been digested. Now if you were to take a multi-blend, containing Casein, you will find that studies support that fact that it can feed your muscles for up to 6 hours! That is a whopping difference, and that right there could be the difference between gains, and great gains.
SO which protein supplements would I advise before bed? Personally I used Gaspari Myofusion. However, PhD 6Hr blend and CNP Pro-Peptide are equally as good and I would recommend you use of these before bed as well as during the day! To get your tub delivered for FREE simply follow the relevant link below!
In a nutshell, that is why I believe you need to open your eyes and have protein for different times of the day. For sure, a whey isolate is superb for mornings and post-workout, but before bed you really need a different blend all together!
Gaining lean muscle mass is all about eating the right food, that is the first fundamental command you must adhere to in the ‘muscle building bible’! Of course, everybody is different, therefore different foods work better for different people. However, these are 5 foods which I recommend 95% of athletes need in their diet to really grow and gain lean muscle mass!
Lean Beef –
Lean cuts of beef are fantastic for promoting muscle growth! The fatty acids which beef is enriched with stimulate your natural testosterone levels; therefore your overall anabolic activity is enhanced. Beef is a slower digesting protein source due to the density of it and the fat content; therefore it is ideal for supplying a constant drip feed of essential muscle building amino acids to your muscles! Make sure to make your evening meal consist of lean beef and watch your muscles blossom!
Yes, on documentaries you see ‘meat heads’ scoffing down 15 egg whites and 5 whole eggs for breakfast like a Dyson eats up dust. It is almost cliché, that eggs are part of a muscle building diet. However, there is a very good reason that they are regarded so highly among the health and fitness community. The amino acid profile in eggs optimise muscle growth almost like no other whole food. Again, like lean beef they are rich in quality fats as well, which is essential for promoting muscle growth. The reason athletes part egg yolks from egg whites is because there is also bad cholesterol in the yolk. Therefore as a rule of thumb you don’t want to ingest more than 3 whole eggs a day! However, with 3g of ultra high quality per egg white, and 9g per egg, this food makes for a blinding breakfast to kick start muscle growth for the day!
People get so caught up with ‘loading’ their body’s with protein and carbohydrates that they overlook the ever important process of digestion! If your body is unable to digest the foods you are eating effectively, then you will struggle to gain. You will also constantly feel bloated and uncomfortable! Pineapple is naturally enriched with first class digestive enzymes therefore it is a must for anybody looking to gain muscle mass! In fact, it makes for a perfect breakfast food because the sugar content helps increase your insulin sensitivity, which is important first thing in the morning. Pineapple is also a perfect food post-workout!
It is no secret carbohydrates with a low glycemic index are the best sort for building muscle tissue as well as promoting body fat. Oats certainly have a low G.I score; however they are also fantastic for promoting healthy digestion and maintaining a healthy blood pressure. As you will be eating plenty of red meat and whole eggs, ensuring your cardiac system remains healthy is of utmost importance! For sure, Oats provide a great calorie source to pack on lean muscle mass!
Low Fat Cottage Cheese and Almond Butter –
Low fat cottage cheese may come as a bit of surprise to you; after all dairy food is ‘bad’ for us isn’t it? Well, no I wouldn’t say so at all! Of course, if you are dieting to lose body fat, you have to be strategic as to when you consume dairy foods. But when you are packing on lean muscle tissue, don’t be shy to have a healthy serving of low fat cottage cheese with a tablespoon of almond butter right before bed. Low fat cottage cheese is rich in casein, a slow digesting protein and it contains an array of fantastic amino acids. This will help ensure your muscles don’t go without during your sleep. The fats in the almond butter with slow down the digestion of the cottage cheese, prolonging the release of the nutrients. This is ideal when you are trying to maximise the time your muscles are fed for!!!
There are 5 foods which I would recommend just about everybody should have on their lean muscle gain diets! Of course, we all have our own preferences but I feel the nutritional content of these foods provide a solid foundation for you to make some sizeable gains! Now hit the supermarket aisles and eat up!!!
It was Blur who stated ‘Modern life is rubbish’ for their 2nd album title. Well it sometimes doesn’t help when it comes to eating! Here’s a bit of food for thought (pardon the pun…)
Know when it’s over…..
An open plan kitchen can also make dinner open plan. Many people no longer have that clear defined eating time sat around a dining table. When dinner was finished, you washed up, moved to another room, turned the light off in the kitchen and eating time was over. Very often food is now eaten in front of the TV, or very late, the kitchen is right next to you and suddenly you’re going back and forth from the kitchen picking at food and adding extra calories to your day’s intake. A little here and there can add up to a lot, if you catch my drift….
Try to cook a meal, take time to let it digest, talk to people you’re with (not tapping away to your ‘we’re good mates but never met’ Facebook friend). Take your time and try to finish your meal properly and close down the kitchen!
Snacking while cooking BEFORE dinner is also common one. I can put my hands up to this in the past. My mother always had roasted salted cashews, raisins, thick white farmhouse loaves of bread or little snacks dotted around here and there in the kitchen. When I was younger we’d get dinner ready and without realising it I picked at foods here and there. A large 250g bag would easily disappear without thinking about it (and perhaps a couple of slices of bread with salad cream on it……mmmm……try it to love it) Know what half that bag of cashews is….? 726kcal. 58.8g fat. 37.7g carbs. 20g protein. Whoa…no wonder I was a chubby child!
If Jamie can do it….
Cooking for yourself can be so rewarding and not to mention money saving! Unfortunately, the industries that make food don’t actually care about your health. They care about business, selling the product and making money. They will market food so that you buy it. Simples. Low fat? Maybe, but usually high in sugar. A celebrity endorsement? This does not mean if you eat that product you will look like them! They are paid to show it off and make you believe they eat it too. They will add preservatives, fats, oils, sugars, salt and who knows what else, but if you choose to eat it and you get fat…..they will put their hands up and say ‘not our fault!’.
Try a healthy simple recipe book and learn some tasty easy to cook meals. Like I said you can save money, make it exactly how you like it and know exactly what’s in it!
Avoid the wreckage…
Don’t crash diet. I repeat. DON’T CRASH DIET. Seriously, what is the point? You’ll be miserable while you’re doing it. A moment or two of ‘yay I lost weight!’ then miserable when you come off it and put it all back on. All sorts of quick fixes will be thrown at you and guess what? They want to make money by selling an impossible dream. ‘Eat nothing but grapefruit for 2 weeks and lose weight!’ Can you do that for the rest of your life??? I don’t think so.
Now listen carefully, I shall say this only once…..Change Your Lifestyle!
Once you’ve decided your goal, set your target, change for good. If you go on a diet you will at some point come off. Make permanent changes, incorporate clean eating and training into your lifestyle and watch your body change. Then you get to keep it that way. Happy days.
Keep it real…..
Now explain this to me……I’m in a very well known health food shop. As I went to pay for my purchases there was a thing called a ‘fruit roll’ by the tills at the checkout. The packet said ‘contains 100% real fruit’. Now tell me this….Why not eat an actual real life, not reconstructed, regurgitated, piece of wound up string when you can EAT A REAL PIECE OF FRUIT. Cheaper, healthier, natural. Something your great grandmother would recognise as food.
The best thing you can do for you body is to eat real, natural food. If it ran or swam, eat it. If it grew out of the ground. Eat it. But don’t be a bore! You can create amazing meals using natural ingredients, herbs and spices for flavour, oils for good fats, beans and meats for protein and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. The world seems to be obsessed with pre packaged overpriced, processed and ready made food. Time to be blunt. These will not do you any good. Being addicted to salt and sugar hidden in mass produced food will promote all sorts of health issues. Have respect for your body! You have been blessed with the most astonishing biological wonder. You owe it to yourself to respect it. Not everyone has that privilege…..
Abusing your body with (again to be blunt…) crap poor excuses for food will not safeguard a healthy functioning body for your future. The choices you make now will change everything. At the end of the day, you’ll only have yourself to blame if you choose to misuse the blessing of health.
The fitness industry is kind of split into 2 seasons, ‘get ripped season’ and ‘pack on loads of mass season!’ However, as I have learnt more and more off various experts in the muscle and fitness industry I have found that with the correct approach and balancing act you can achieve both! By following the 5 simple steps 90% of people will be able to shed body fat whilst simultaneously building lean muscle tissue!
When you are looking to burn body fat AND build muscle it is of utmost importance your protein intake is at least 1.5g of per pound of body weight. This will enable your body to recover effectively whilst also enabling it to develop new muscle tissue. Protein also promotes fat loss as it helps stabilises your blood sugar levels!
Don’t starve your body of carbohydrates because you will run the risk of becoming catabolic! I would personally advise at least you first 3 meals of the day to contain a serving of low G.I carbohydrates, in the quantity of 1.5g per pound of body weight. By doing this you are fuelling your body with nutrients which help ensure your muscle glycogen levels remain full. If your muscle glycogen levels become depleted for too long your body will begin to break down muscle tissue! This is terrible news for you if you want to maintain and build muscle mass!
Train heavy and intense!
People will often tone down the weight they use and just ‘rep out’ when their primary aim is to burn fat. Don’t do this! If you want to build lean muscle tissue and burn body fat lift heavy as you possibly can with good form, don’t hold back! I always advocate at least 1 very high rep week every 3 weeks, especially when you want to maximise growth, recovery and fat loss! This is because of the results I have personally experienced using Yoda 3 Training, as well as seeing so many other people achieve great results!
Correct supplementation is key!
Burning body fat and building muscle at the same time is a balancing act! There are certain supplements which aren’t important, they are absolutely crucial! BCAAs, multi-blend protein, protein whey isolate blend, creatine, l-glutamine, l-carnitine and a multi-vitamin. These supplements help promote fat loss, but they also promote anabolism and prevent the onset of catabolism! Don’t worry about any water retention creatine may cause, because you can always come off it a week before the end of your transformation! Personally, I find creatine helps keep water inside the muscle, not under the skin which is great!
For your BCAAs and whey isolate protein I advise you use PhD’s supplements! PhD Whey HT+ and their BCAAs are awesome!
For your multi-blend timed release protein and your multi vitamin I would recommend Gaspari Myofusion and Anavite.
For your creatine I would certainly recommend MST Cre-O2, you guys know how much I love this stuff!
On my transformation I have being using a L-carnitine supplement from Reflex and I have found it has worked wonders! Reflex also do an awesome L-glutamine!
For the purposes of fat loss and building muscle you need to be doing low impact cardio! This is probably the most effective form of cardio for promoting fat loss, and it is also the best way to maintain muscle tissue. If you were to do H.I.I.T I would suggest it will cause a degree of muscle loss. This is because your body adapts to its environment, and high impact cardio is very intense on the body. Therefore it will aim to shed weight it doesn’t need to make moving at high intensity easier! This is just my opinion, but I have to say I have experienced fantastic gains by sticking to low impact cardio and intense weight training!
There are 5 points you should aim to incorporate into a plan if you want to build lean muscle mass and shed body fat! Some say you can’t do both at the same time, I would beg to differ! If you are feeding your muscles enough nutrients to remain anabolic, and you are training intense enough then your muscles will be forced to grow!
Below is a fantastic article for men, outlining foods which enhance your overall health! The author is a very respected and knowledgable member of our FitForum so pay attention lads!!!
Blueberries are a fruit that have been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer, thanks to their high levels of proanthocyanidins. However, blueberries’ positive benefits for men don’t stop there, as studies have also suggested that blueberries may be effective in reducing risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and age-related memory loss; a condition more prevalent in men than women.
Whole grains are great for our health thanks to their high levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Most whole grains, including brown rice and oats, are particularly rich in B vitamins, which are good for general wellbeing and can also help alleviate depression. Individual B vitamins can also benefit male health in various ways. Studies have suggested that folate (vitamin B9) can keep sperm healthy, while biotin (B7) may help hair loss. Silica, also present in whole grains, could also help with healthy hair growth.
3) Brazil nuts
Snacking on nuts is great for heart health and good skin. However, Brazil nuts are particularly beneficial for men as they are packed with selenium; a powerful antioxidant which studies have suggested can boost sperm health and motility. Furthermore, selenium is also great for lowering “bad” cholesterol levels, preventing blood clots and lifting your mood.
Broccoli – along with other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and sprouts – contains a strong cancer-fighting chemical, sulphoraphane, which research has suggested may reduce men’s risk of developing bladder cancer (a cancer more commonly affecting women than men), prostate cancer and colorectal cancer.
Oysters are the highest natural source of zinc; an essential requirement for men’s fertility and sexual health. Zinc not only helps to maintain healthy testosterone levels in men, but it is essential for healthy sperm production. On top of this, zinc deficiency may be responsible for hair loss in men, so an increased intake may benefit men’s appearance as well as health.
Tomatoes are possibly one of the best “superfoods” around, and the popular fruit has particular benefits for men. Studies have suggested that the lycopene found in tomatoes may reduce risk of colorectal cancer, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease; the leading cause of death in men. Research has also shown that men who frequently eat foods rich in lycopene may drastically reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.
For men suffering from hair loss, eggs may also provide the perfect solution. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for hair growth, as well as being rich in biotin (vitamin B7). Egg yolks are also a good source of iron, which some studies have suggested can alleviate hair loss, which can be caused by anaemia.
8) Pomegranate juice
Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and research has suggested that drinking the juice of this “superfood” can help lower cholesterol – which can be high in many men as young as their 20s – and prevent hypertension. A study has also found that drinking just one 8oz glass of pomegranate juice a day could dramatically slow down the progress of prostate cancer.
Garlic is well known for boosting heart health, and a study on the effects of garlic consumption on males has shown that regularly eating garlic could help lower men’s cholesterol levels. Furthermore, research findings published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute have suggested that regularly eating garlic and onions could help lower men’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
Salmon is not only a great source of protein, but it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help address many of men’s most common health complaints. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lowered levels of “bad” cholesterol and can also reduce risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and depression.
As the supplement industry advances year on year there is always the ‘latest’ and ‘best’ way to make them accelerate your progress! In the last couple of years intra-workout supplements have become very popular. In my opinion, Gaspari SizeOn Max Performance is in a league of its own and I would be lying to you, which I wouldn’t ever do, if I said there were other alternatives. This is just my opinion, but the scope of this supplement far exceeds anything else on the market in its class!
The idea behind taking supplements during your workout is quite simple; it is to keep your muscles replenished! If you can keep your muscles fresh during a workout it stands to reason you should be stronger, more energetic as well as less catabolic! Therefore I believe intra-workout supplements to be a great idea for any modern athlete!
Gaspari SizOn Max Performance
Gaspari have really set the bar for intra-workout supplements with their new and improved SizeOn Max Performance! This new blend contains a unique creatine blend with creatine monohydrate, magnesium creatine chelate and disodium creatine phosphate. These are all high end quality creatine compounds which enable the athlete to replenish their depleted ATP levels during a workout. If your ATP levels drop off then your strength and muscular endurance will suffer, this is why the PhosphoDrive Endurance matrix in SizeOn Max performance is so important!
Gaspari have also added a very fast digesting protein into SizeOn Max Performance. Whey protein hydrolysate is a premium protein source specifically designed to get into the muscle cell very quickly. During a workout this is vital in order to stimulate your protein synthesis levels and promote recovery! The 5g of L-leucine found in SizeOn Max Performance is also very effective because this really helps promote recovery within your muscles, and it also helps improve overall muscle performance!
The Outlast Insutropin Matrix in SizeOn Matrix is phenomenal because it has the ability to recharge your muscle cell during your workout, keep your muscle glycogen levels high and in turn promote anabolism! Another great perk is muscle volumisation, and the fact that during the workout you will be able to see before your eyes your muscles ballooning!
Finally, OsmoDrive Advanced Hydration Complex is there to get you through fatigue and to ensure your muscles don’t give up before they should! So often people will begin to struggle during a workout and then it gets to a point where it is no longer productive! This component within SizeOn Max Performance is there specifically to get you past your normal fatigue threshold, taking your workouts to the next level!
Overall, Gaspari have delivered on a new level with SizeOn Max Performance! This product is really the ultimate supplement to use during any workout session, whether it is weight training, circuit training, MMA or even rugby! Just sip this supplement during your workouts and it wont take you long to see the massive difference in your intensity and overall gains!
I am going to start using this product very soon because I know that I am missing out by not using it! When a product is this good, there really is no excuse for you not to take it, if you are serious about getting to that next level!
Previously you will have read about the benefits of creatine and why a lot of athletes have begun to use it more often than ever today! However, among all the scientific explanations you can easily lose ‘real life’ perspective of exactly what a supplement can do for you! Here is a guide, pointing out the 3 MAIN benefits of supplementing creatine!
Benefit Number 1 Increased Endurance–
In your body you will have a certain quantity of naturally occurring creatine which your body gets from foods such as red meat and some white fish. The creatine us utilised by your body to help resynthesise the production of ATP, which is your primary energy system during anaerobic exercise. Unfortunately, on average your natural levels may only last for 8-10 seconds of a working set, meaning that for about 10-20 seconds of a set your ATP levels are depleted! By supplementing on creatine you can significantly increase your ATP production, thus leading to extra reps per set. Typically, your ATP replenishment takes up to 3 minutes, by supplementing on creatine this time can be decreased therefore your endurance levels increase naturally! Of course, over time this will inevitably equate to additional muscle growth!
Benefit Number 2 Increased Strength –
ATP is anaerobic energy system which is perfect for ‘power training’ such as weight training. By taking creatine to increase your overall ATP output your strength levels can increase dramatically. It is not uncommon for people to experience strength increases in the region of 20%! Add this to enhanced endurance in the gym and you have a recipe for smashing through plateaus!
Benefit Number 3 Cell Volumisation! –
Creatine is a ‘cell volumiser’ which means that it helps draw more water into the muscle cell. There are a few key benefits to this side effect of creatine use. Additional water in the muscle cell should equate to more nutrients been transported to the muscle cell, potentially increase the rate of nutrient uptake in the muscle cell. This is how creatine can stimulate faster rates of muscle recovery! Secondly, due to the increased level of water in the muscle, you will appear significantly fuller which is always a good thing if you like posing!!!
There you have 3 very good reasons to supplement on probably the best performance enhancing supplement you can buy!!! My personal choice is Millennium Sport Technologies Cre-O2 but I do also highly rate Gaspari SizeOn Max Performance and PhD Micronised Creatine from personal experience!
‘’Am I carbohydrate sensitive?’’ This is a very common question for a lot of people who struggle to lose body fat. If you are genuinely carb sensitive then it can be a nightmare for you to shed much body fat because your body doesn’t metabolise the carbohydrates you eat very well. You look bloated, you feel bloated and you can also suffer from bad water retention.
So, are you carb sensitive or not? There is no easy way to answer this question and in my opinion WAY too many people think they are carb sensitive when they are not! The only way to know if you are is to experiment with different diets over a period of time, stick with them to the end and evaluate the results. For example, I suggest trying a diet with a moderate level of carbohydrates for 12 weeks, cycling them and then decreasing the amount per day as you get closer to the end. For most people this works, however, if this doesn’t work for you it could indicate that you are perhaps a little carb sensitive! What I would say though, make sure the carbohydrates you eat are CLEAN and HEALTHY sources. It never ceases to amaze me what people perceive as ‘quality’! Eating a wholemeal BLT sandwich from Tesco’s isn’t a good idea, the level of saturated fats and sugar carbohydrates hidden inside will completely hinder your progress. Here are the carbohydrates I would say are ‘quality’ –
If you find that even with moderate levels of high quality carbohydrates there is no progress and you feel bloated then you could be forgiven for wanting to try something new. The Keto diet is often the alternative and I do believe it does have its place, AS LONG AS you have tried a balanced diet first! Remember, we are not promoting a ‘’diet’’ but instead a lifestyle change, so a diet which gets you ripped doesn’t necessarily equate to a diet you can live on all year round! Therefore, opposed to an ‘’all out’’ Keto diet I would advise a very low carb diet, with higher fats! Something like this –
(This is based on a 200lbs male athlete)
Breakfast – 50g oats, ½ banana, 50g frozen berries, 2 scoops of chocolate or Vanilla PhD Whey HT+
Mid-morning – 200g sweet potato, 150g chicken breast, 1 whole egg
Lunch – 180g chicken breast, 100g broccoli, and 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
Mid-afternoon – 200g white fish, 100g broccoli, 1 chopped carrot, 1 tablespoon of Udo’s Oil
Post-workout – 1 kiwi fruit, 2 scoops of PhD Whey HT+
Supper – 200g LEAN minced beef, 2 whole eggs, 100g broccoli, tin of LOW sugar tomatoes, 2 sliced mushrooms
Before bed – 2 scoops of Gaspari Myofusion and 1 tablespoon of almond butter
As you can see this isn’t a ‘’keto’’ diet because there are carbohydrates during different times of the day. However, I would suggest this diet is relatively healthy because you are getting your vitamins and minerals from fruit and veg, your healthy fats from eggs, nuts and oil and your proteins from lean meats and fish. The carbohydrates in meal 1 and 2 will help get your metabolism firing and they should also help fill your muscle glycogen levels to prevent catabolism. Personally, I feel this kind of diet is one you could follow all year round with a cheat meal per week as a reward. This should work for people who are carb sensitive but more than that, it should still offer them a healthy diet opposed to a diet designed just to get them ripped, potentially at the expense of their health.