Do your own epidemiological studies

Take a look around where you are.

Next time you’re at they gym on a busy day, take a look at the cardio area. You know, the zone cordoned off that is full of silly machines where people slave away for hours, sweating and generally looking miserable. Trudging through their workout, trying desperately to lose that belly. Do they look happy? Do they look relaxed? Do they look lean and in shape? Or are most of them muscle-less, weak, tired, zombies?

Then, take a look at the free-weight area of the gym. There are a couple types of people you should notice:

The first type will be running around, vigorously high-repping out a few sets of this, then running to the next machine or set of weights to do another high-repping set of that. They’re trying to keep their HR elevated in the futile persuit of fat-burning. What’s their body composition look like? Do they look relaxed? Are they in great shape? Or do they look a lot like the people in the cardio area?

The second type of person I want to you look for are the ones who are hanging out talking to each other. Casually conversing as they rest in between sets. When they feel ready, they get a heavy weight, and do a handfull of reps. These people look like they are working really hard to push that weight to failure. They usually have the best body composition. They are relatively lean. These are men AND women. They spend less time running around sweating, and a little more time relaxing and having a good time, trying to beat one another’s best lift, or beat a personal record. These are the people I respect, because they got it right, whether they know it or not.

I don’t know about you, but I know where I want to be.

When it comes right down to it

Most people have no idea what they are doing in terms of eating right or working out right. They just blindly follow the conventional wisdom in the hopes that “Eat less. Move more” is actually all it takes. They avoid fat and salt, snack all day on grains, and don’t get enough complete proteins. Then they slave away on the treadmill for hours a day…

I don’t see this working for anyone in my little corner of the world. How long does it take ’til you realize, “this isn’t working”?

Then there are the few that understand. That’s us.

[Strethcing is for dummies], [cardio is for dummies], [high-rep weight training a waste of time], [heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health for everybody!]

 

Is carb loading or carb-refeeding necessary for big muscles?

In every circle of body builders and body science experts there are folks trying to find shortcuts for getting bigger and stronger in less time. Protein timing, meal timing, workout timing, carbo-loading, etc, it’s all scrutinized and debated into the ground.

One of the most common things you’ll hear is that carbohydrates after exercise is “absolutely necessary for protein synthesis”, or that “carbohydrates increase protein synthesis beyond what can be achieved with protein supplementation alone”.

What’s the reason for this belief? I think a lot of it stems from conventional wisdom. You know, that driving force that keeps everyone following the USDA dietary guidelines, stuffing themselves with cheap sugar calories in the form of bagels, pasta, and “hearthealthywholegrains” (they do form the base of the food pyramid, by the way).

Another driving force is the fitness and health industry, people who are licensed to parrot that conventional wisdom to anyone who is willing to pay for their “training advice”. Most of the things that are taught through personal trainer licensing programs and dietitian programs, etc, teach these people basic weighing and measuring of carbs-protein-fats. They even teach them formulas to calculate the exact amount of carbs you will need for your given activity level. This, again, makes carbs appear to be a necessary part of our lives.

The final and possibly most influential force in the belief that carbs are needed for big muscles? The big-muscle guys themselves. Again, it’s merely conventional wisdom rearing its ugly head. Something so basic and incorrect can be repeated a million times by huge influential dudes in the community, and that thing suddenly becomes truth, because it’s been repeated over and over. But where’s the proof?

I think one thing that drives people to accept this theory lies in the fact that carbs (and sugar) cause a spike in insulin secretion. Insulin is a growth hormone that forces nutrients into cells (as long as you aren’t insulin resistant like most Americans). Forcing nutrients into cells is what body builders want, because it initiates growth and repair of damaged muscle tissue. That’s exactly how you get bigger muscles, faster.

But wait, is that all there is to it?

Did you know that protein initiates an equal, if not larger amount of insulin to be secreted compared to carbohydrates? That’s pretty interesting to know, because that fact by itself disproves the idea that carbs are required because of the insulin effect. Given enough protein ingestion, there will be plenty of insulin response to get your tissues growing.

Now, what about replenishing those lost glycogen stores after our brutal workout?

Well, if you are already eating a Paleo type diet, high in vegetables, starchy tubers, and some fruit, your daily diet will supply enough “carbs” to easily refuel your lost glycogen. It can even be replenished across a few days. Your liver even takes care of this via gluconeogenesis if you are on a very low carb diet.

And, if you are sticking to a fairly moderate exercise plan, about 3 times per week and no longer than an hour each, there is no need to “carb up” so rapidly, since you really aren’t draining your glycogen stores that much. If you are doing lots of HIIT (more than once or twice a week) or you are an endurance athlete, this changes a bit, as you may want to have more carbs in your diet, but I’m not talking to you marathoners right now.

There is one caveat to all this carb loading stuff. If you are doing occasional carb-refeeds or some sort of other carb-cycling protocol like Leangains to get rid of that last few percentages of stubborn body fat. There is a time and a place for that, but it really does not relate to the purpose of this discussion (which is whether or not carbs are required for protein synthesis or increased protein synthesis).

Bottom line, carb-refeeding or cab-loading is not necessary, and carbs are not required, for normal or increased protein synthesis.

Let’s look at the proof.

Here is a study that looked at just that. They compared protein synthesis post workout after ingestion of 20 grams of protein. They then compared it with the same amount of protein+some carbohydrates. The outcome? Nada. None. No difference in protein synthesis.

This study looked at the difference in protein synthesis and growth hormones after consumption of protein OR carbohydrate, and strangely enough, found no difference in protein synthesis versus consumption of just protein or just carbs. They did not state whether or not the subjects had fasted before hand, so they very well could have already eaten and had some amount of amino acids already floating around in their blood, waiting to be used. This seems to suggest that had you eaten at all that day, eating anything at all after workout will stimulate a similar amount of growth. Huh!

This last study can be confusing because of their wording. They tried to make it appear that carbs were necessary to facilitate increased protein synthesis. The problem is, they were comparing Protein+Carbs to Carbs only. The protein+carbs group had a higher myofibrillar, but not mitochondrial protein synthesis. And the amount of carbs in both groups was small at 25g. Having more grams total in the P+C group is likely the major contributing component.

Edit 4/18/12: Also, another reason that carbs are not required to fuel muscle building!Branched chain amino acids, which are found natrually in the protein of animal products and also as a workout supplement off the shelf, can convert to glucose as your body demands. This is great for those of us who do fasted training, because taking BCAA’s pre workout will stop our bodies from breaking down precious muscle mass to produce glucose for fuel. It’s the isoleucine and valine that convert to glucose, while leucine converts to ketones. So there is absolutely no need to consume “carbs” before or after workout to prevent muscle breakdown!

So there you have it. Carbs necessary for protein synthesis or body building? Nope! Just get plenty of protein and nutrients, and you’re golden!

Like this post? Leave a comment!

Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Stretching is for dummies

Stretching won’t prevent injury or sore muscles before or after exercise. Stretching won’t even help you “warm up”. So what is stretching good for?

People like to stretch. It feels good. It makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body. If you look around the gym and pay attention – where most people have no idea what the heck they are doing – you see people stretch as if it’s expected of them. It has been programmed into us from a young age throughout school gymnasiums.

Everyone assumes that stretching is the right thing to do. But how useful is it really? Well, it just so turns out….

 

Stretching won’t prevent muscle soreness:

Researchers looked at 10 relevant randomised trials looking at the effect of stretching before or after physical activity on muscle soreness. The studies produced very consistent findings – there was minimal or no effect on the muscle soreness experienced between half a day and three days after the physical activity.

The best available evidence indicates stretching does not reduce muscle soreness. However there are other justifications for stretching,” they wrote. “Some evidence suggests that once muscle soreness has developed stretching may provide a transient relief of soreness: some people stretch to reduce risk of injury, others stretch to enhance athletic or sporting performance, and yet others stretch because it gives them a sense of well-being. The current review does not provide any evidence of an effect or otherwise of stretching on risk of injury, performance, or well-being.

Authors’ conclusions:
The evidence derived from mainly laboratory-based studies of stretching indicate that muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults.

[Here’s more about stretching and reducing muscle soreness]

[Even more: Link, ]

Stretching won’t prevent injury. Stretching actually promotes injury:

Most of the studies that show increased flexibility and range of motion with stretching fail to address one thing: The problem with stretching is that muscles become too loose, and weaker, allowing the associated joint to move in a wider range of motion.

That’s extremely bad, since heavy lifting usually employs your full range of motion, you need your muscles to be able to stabilize the joint in place, not give it more range. I can see now how easy it would be for many lifters who stretch to get rotator cuff damage from heavy bench presses. Increased range of motion puts more stress on the joint, increasing the risk of injury.

Damaging the muscle through stretching can also have an adverse affect on an athlete’s gait. The loss of smooth efficient movement puts stress on virtually all structures – ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. They body tries to compensate for this irregular movement, and in doing so uses up more energy, reducing ones performance.

A recent study showed how stretching can result in poor running economy. increasing energy consumption during an endurance event, and decreasing performance.

Stretching will reduce muscular power:

In this study, acute bouts of static stretching have been shown to impair performance. Most published studies have incorporated static stretching that stressed the muscle(s) to the point of discomfort (POD). There are very few studies that have examined the effects of submaximal intensity (less than POD) static stretching on subsequent performance.

Ten participants were pre-tested by performing two repetitions of three different stretches to assess range of motion (ROM) and two repetitions each of five different types of jumps. Following pre-testing, participants were stretched four times for 30 s each with 30 s recovery for the quadriceps, hamstrings and plantar flexors at 100% (POD), 75% and 50% of POD or a control condition. Five minutes following the stretch or control conditions, they were tested post-stretch with the same stretches and jumps as the pre-test. All three stretching intensities adversely affected jump heights.

With data collapsed over stretching intensities, there were significant decreases in jump height of 4.6% (P = 0.01), 5.7% (P < 0.0001), 5.4% (P = 0.002), 3.8% (P = 0.009) and 3.6% (P = 0.008) for the drop jump, squat jump, countermovement jump (CMJ) to a knee flexion of 70 degrees , CMJ using a preferred jump strategy and short amplitude CMJ respectively. An acute bout of maximal or submaximal intensity stretching can impair a variety of jumping styles and based on previous research, it is hypothesized that changes in muscle compliance may play a role.

[Here’s more about stretching and how it reduces muscular performance Link, Link, Link, Link, Link]

[More reasons not to stretch before exercise]

So, when is stretching beneficial, if at all?

One thing some studies do show, is that stretching with no other exercise following is able to significantly improve performance.

Note: Statistical significance – means the likelihood that a finding or a result is caused by something other than just chance. (i.e. not a large amount, but just enough to matter) Just sayin’…

This study showed that, in the ascence of any other exercise, stretching has some benefit. Simply stretching the muscles had a training effect. The trainees got faster, stronger, and more flexible. The article suggests that stretching may be a good introduction for those who are out of shape or just beginning an exercise routine, or for those not yet fit enough to do other types of training.

[Article: Static stretching improves exerxcise performance]

Conclusion: “This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances”

My opinion is that stretching should be done only by those in rehab or those who are unable to do regular training. If you are able to train, however, you probably should train, since results will likely be much greater than just static stretching. Plus, stretching just sucks!

Just sayin’….

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

How many calories does it take to build muscle or lose fat?

How many calories does it take? Here’s a simple way to figure it out!

At the risk of being redundant – yah yah I know – Here’s another rant about calories…[Read my last one]

First, you need to understand what a calorie is. It’s an arbitrary number assigned to food by the “powers that be” in order to make it easier for the average person to eat enough (or not too much). It is literally just a measure of temperature, or heat, given off by burning a certain amount of sugar. woop-dee-doo.

It doesn’t matter how many calories you eat. If you don’t fulfill your body’s requirement for nutrients, you will always be hungry.

Calories. Dont. Matter.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to build some muscle. You go to the gym, you work out hard. Now how much do you have to eat? lets make up a number. How bout 3000 calories? That sounds good…

Everyone says you need caloric excess to build muscle. That’s the “common knowledge” of bro-science. If it takes a caloric excess to build muscle, you could eat 3000 calories of brownies. What’s going to happen if you eat 3000 calories of brownies?

Brownies don’t = muscle, that’s certain. You might actually lose lean mass. (Actually, I’m certain you would). Because you will be malnourished.

What does it take to “lose weight”? Well you could eat a hypocaloric amount of brownies, lets say 1000 calories below your RDA, and you’ll likely lose weight. BUT IT WON’T BE FAT YOU’RE LOSING, it will be mostly lean mass, making up for your malnourishment. Now you’re skinny fat. Congrats.

So all it takes to “lose weight” is to be malnourished. That’s pretty clear.

So how do you build muscles and lose fat?

To build muscles you don’t need calories. To build muscles you need protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. You need to get enough to satisfy your body’s need for basic function and tissue repair and avoid a catabolic state. It’s the nutrients that matter, not the calories. If you are lifting heavy things, you will be more hungry, because there is more tissue in need of repair. Your body is a reactionary mechanism that adapts to change. If you are not lifting, you will not need so many nutrients, and you won’t be as hungry. Simple.

So, how do you measure what your body needs for nutrients if we ignore calories?

You have to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. (because individual nutrient needs are difficult to measure, plus counting all those nutrients is downright tedious!)

In order to hear your body correctly, you need to make sure your hormones and inflammation are in check, so that your hunger and satiety signals will function properly to deliver the right signals. When you are hungry, eat. When you are not hungry, don’t friggin eat!

Eating Paleo keeps inflammation in check, and keeps positive hormones flowing. It also ensures you are getting the nutrients you need, while avoiding food toxins that throw your signals off track.

If you are overweight, Paleo will correct your body’s regulatory mechanisms and bring bodyweight to an appropriate level. If you are creating the need to build more muscle tissue by working out, you will need more nutrients and will be more hungry. Simple. So what do we eat?

Eat Paleo. Lose fat. Build muscle. It’s that easy. Your body is able to regulate itself, you just have to listen.

Paleo for one year: My results thus far & Understanding the Paleo concept.

It’s been exactly one full year since I stumbled across my first learnings of Paleo ideas and lifestyle. Many things have changed since then, all of them for the better.

First off, understand that paleo is not a “diet” or a “fad”, it’s more of a way of integrating our knowledge of human evolution and biology into a modern context, so that we can improve our quality of life. This integrates knowledge of biochemistry, human biology, fitness, evolutionary psychology and general health, in order to make us healthier, stronger, better looking, and longer-living.

My personal experience has given me the following benefits as I’ve progressed through the past year:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased mental clarity and focus
  • Increased muscle mass and recovery **(this is a huge one!)
  • cured chronic heartburn
  • cured ambiguous gastric issues
  • Less illness
  • cured eczema
  • cured bad acne
  • Better sleep
  • Boundless energy

And the list goes on. Needless to say, I feel as though I’ve found the fountain of youth. And I will continue to do this as long as I live, Paleo that is, because of what it has allowed me to accomplish over the course of just one year, especially the ability to put on muscle pretty much effortlessly!

Edit 2/9/12: One more thing I’d like to mention: my teeth and gum health have drastically improved. My dentist made a comment last visit that my gums look “much better than they did 6 months ago“. I used to have pretty inflamed painful, bleedy gums at the dentist, and sometimes when I brushed my teeth. Now my dentist will tell you my gums got better because “I started to brush and floss more”, but the truth is, I lied. I actually brush once a day, if I brush at all. And hardly floss. I don’t have bad breath anymore so it’s really not necessary. See? Emulating a hunter-gatherer diet lets your body take care of itself!

Now there’s a new buzzword floating around recently. It’s an idea that encompasses everything we do relating to Paleo, and combines it with modern ideas to improve ourselves beyond just “Paleolithic” nutrition and fitness, and surpass everything from the Neolithic environment that holds us back: Hyperlithic. Sounds cool right?

Here’s the post from Evolify:

Think Like a Geek.

Intelligence is sexy. It confers both survival and reproductive advantage, and was certainly selected for in our paleolithic ancestors. It’s woven throughout so many levels of our evolutionary past that it’s hard to reduce it to one thing. In this context, it carries the implication of the very word paleolithic itself — the reference to tools. Thinking like a geek helps us choose tools and develop tools.

Eat Like a Hunter.

The fuel we provide to our biological systems has effects that ripple through every aspect of our individual life. From mental acuity to mood to structure to disease, our choice of fuels is crucial. Thinking about food from the angle of a paleolithic hunter quickly provides answers to questions science is unable to efficiently adjudicate. This is not about pure carnivory, but a nod to optimal foraging theory. Once we understand something about the strategies of a paleolithic hunter we can begin to merge our ancient food system with our modern food system. If we lose either perspective, we will quickly go astray.

Train Like a Fighter.

This gets into a mess of words and concepts. Ignoring the “hunter-gatherers don’t train” bit for a moment… This is about training as a fighter fights, and not training to be a fighter per se. It is also about adopting modern tools with the intent of unlocking parts of our DNA that lay dormant within sedentary humans anesthetized by economically abstracted violence. Humans fought their own battles prior to the rise of agriculture. Being able to pay for violence to be conducted on our behalf appears to be a moral and physical benefit, but the signals and interaction between our genes and our environment are not easily faked and not easily replaced. Our physical and mental potential as individuals is not always aligned with those of industrial agricultural civilization.

Look Like a Model.

Because “look” embodies multiple tenses in the English language, this one is open to much ambiguity. My meaning is primarily in a passive sense. If you think like a geek, eat like a hunter, and train like a fighter, then you will [more or less] automatically “look like a model” in terms of phenotypic expression. It is also important to note that “model” means many things. There are many inputs for advertisers deciding on models, but I’m specifically not talking about three types of models. 1) Men as advertised in men’s magazines. 2) Women as advertised in women’s magazines. 3) Fashion models of either sex. Without going into too much detail today, it has been shown that men pictured in men’s magazines tend to be more muscular than the ideal women find attractive, and women in women’s magazines tend to be thinner than men find attractive. Advertisers manipulate us according to evolved heuristic biases.

I use “model” to imply something closer to an ideal attractiveness influenced by Darwinian sexual selection (inter-sexual). The intent is to get at things that are relatively generally attractive to the opposite sex. This is contrasted to the use by advertisers of intra-sexual selection… or… competition with others of the same sex. Our brains do not analyze these questions in a rational way, but in a way that tracks markers of health in the context of evolutionary time. “Look good naked” is a great goal. Unfortunately, our intuitive self-assessments of looking good are likely biased to the point of being counterproductive.

Common Threads

All of the above are related to the ecological context of us as individuals. The interaction between our genes and our environment is implied in each level. The association with gyms and training with the active physical components of health is similar to synthetic and isolated components being packaged and sold to us as “food”. Real food is not enough. We need real life as well.

The impact on our psychology is entwined in each of these concepts as well. We know that points of attractiveness shift depending on the ecological context of the beholder. Some use this as a refutation of attractiveness as an evolved psychological component. However, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of human ethology. I am not interested in mimicking the optimal attractiveness ratings of people influenced by sub-optimal (resource depleted, etc.) environments. A better question is this: What is optimal for humans in an optimal environment? We need to answer other questions to say what environments are optimal, and they are not easy questions. They are also not so difficult that we should be flummoxed by those who descend into relativist or quasi-relativist arguments representative of myopia.

 

 

 

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

 

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

 

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

 

Control your gene expression.

 

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

 

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

 

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

 

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

 

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

 

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

 

 

 

My Progress 2/08/2012 and breaking the plateau.

I’ve done it again! Week-on-week gains have been a walk in the park for me these past 2 cycles.

I’ll post my updated logs below, but first I want to go off on a tangent about…

The Dreaded PLATEAU

I have friends that complain about hitting “plateaus” in their workouts. They just can’t lift any more weight, or get past a certain point in body composition. I wonder what the cause is? My gut tells me they’ve hit the plateaus because of poor diet, and their body just can’t support any more muscle mass with their mediocre nutrient intakes. Or they have some systemic inflammation going on, and recovery from the gym is just secondary to their body’s need to fight that inflammation.

One of my close friends follows a low carb plan (weakly though). He’s got decent definitiion, but seems to get bored easily. I think the boredom has to do with his lack of gains recently, and that exacerbates the problem. He complained to me once that he just couldn’t get past “this one lift”.

Another of my gym-going friends says he pays attention to what he eats, but it really is a shit-poor diet of grains and lean meats. So in reality, he’s eating what everyone else in the weight-lifting world eats. He also started with the “bulking then cutting” bodybuilding mentality, and has paid for it with piss-poor body composition for years. Granted, he CAN leg press 1000 lbs, but that’s just genetic luck on his part. He also seems to have some boredom issues with regards to getting into the gym and lifting. He’s also plagued by constant joint pain and various lifting related injuries that have held him back and caused regressions here and there. The injuries were obviously preventable, but it’s taken him a long time and he still has not fully recovered. This has definitely played a role.

Both friend A and friend B don’t have the same pumped up mentality they used to when we all started out “back in the day”. They do train to failure, and friend A even uses the same Musclehack routines that I do. Again, boredom comes to mind with regards to lack of gains or results in the gym, but I think it all comes down to one thing: they’ve lost their capacity to make further changes in body composition, and lost their capacity to recover.

So what’s holding them back?

Both friend A and friend B continue to eat grains and sugars and all that crap. And the lack of gains is making them lose interest and get bored.

Friend B has a “personal trainer” that no doubt whispers sweet nothings in his ear about “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” and “healthywholegrains”. He trains hard and does the classes and the spinning and all that, but it’s been about a year, and he’s still got that gut. Every time I talk to him about Paleo all he says is “I need my carbs”. Ok buddy, how’s that workin’ for ya? His injuries have also been slow to heal. My experience with this tells me that his “high-carb” attitude has him guzzling grains like a factory-farmed-cow. The immune response from all those lectins and inflammation is undoubtedly keeping his recovery slow, not to mention nutrient deficiency which is absolutely critical to recovery from injury and illness!

Friend A has a wife who loves to cook. Need I say more? Paleo seems like a pretty big life changer for their situation. It would take me a lot of convincing to get both of them to switch. Damn, marriage really does take a toll on your health!

So how do I help my friends? They’ve been stuck in a rut and brainwashed by “professionals”! Meanwhile I’m surpassing them. Huh funny how that works….

Speaking of surpassing

Here’s my latest log update. Keep in mind, most numbers in the spreadsheet are PER SIDE, and don’t include the bar.

Workout Log 1-20-12 to 2-7-12

My biggest lift pundage totals so far

Overhead Press 120 x 8

Smith Shrugs 250 x 10

Leg Press 690 x 8

Bench 175 x 7

Deadlift 245 x 9

Cable Curls 80 x 8

Tricep Pushdowns 145 x 7 (not sure if this is actual weight or what, its one of those cable machines so it could just be a “resistance” measurement)

So there you go! That’s why I never get bored. My body doesn’t plateau because it’s not busy fighting inflammation. [Eat good]. [Train hard]. [Do it right.]

Heavy strength training IS a required aspect of long term health. For EVERYBODY.

Lifting heavy things every once in a while IS absolutely necessary to longevity, health, and “taking care of your body”. No matter your age or your gender.

Only lifting heavy things creates structural adaptations in muscle and bones to keep us strong and resistant to injury for our entire lives. You may not be thinking the same thing when I say “intense strength training”, but my routine is far from intense. I spend between 30-45 minutes, M-F lifting weights. I see progression each week. Consistently. But the only intense part is that it’s hard work, and I train to failure. There are many ways to train, but you need to realize that taking care of your body the right way is not ever going to be easy. If you want to be lazy and not work hard, your goals will be severely hampered.

If you’re a woman, and you are concerned about “getting bulky” or looking “too intense”, take a gander at these videos of natural women lifters. It’s their livelyhood to lift weights, yet in the absence of steroids, they just look like they are in great shape. You wouldn’t even look twice if you saw them on the street ( I would, but for reasons I won’t say 😉 ).

2007 American Open.

108 lb woman clean-and-jerks twice her bodyweight

Woman Lifter

Notice how all these lifts are functional, meaning that they assist your every day life and ability.

For comparison, here’s a couple videos of “jacked up” women bodybuilders. The movements they are doing are not as functional, and are focused on “getting big”.

Lisa Moordigian

Brenda Smith

Notice how there is no agile athleticism involved in these movements. These two are focusing on individual muscles for size, and not utilizing skill techniques that would actually be useful in real life.

Now why is lean muscle mass so important?

Our ultimate goal in eating a functional Paleo diet and moving around a lot is to achieve positive gene expression, functional strength, optimal health, and extended life expectancy.

Lean body mass is healthier than adipose tissue. Generally, the more lean mass a person has, the longer and better they live. But to simply increase lean mass to get “bulky” at the expense of agility and function is counterproductive. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about functional, sexy, lean mass.

Have you ever heard the phrase “died of old age” or “died of natural causes”? Basically that means the person died as a result of the end of the logical aging process, the diminishment of organ reserve and muscle mass that once supported their functional life.

Muscle provides a metabolic reserve!

Muscle produces proteins and metabolites in response to physical trauma. This response is essential to the body’s efforts to achieve recovery and resume homeostasis. With the loss of muscle mass, we lose this metabolic reservoir. Lifting heavy things also causes a poitive adaptation in bone tissue. Heavy loading causes your body to react, depositing more calcium where you need it most. If you want to prevent osteoperosis and bone fractures, especially if you are a woman, heavy lifting early in life will help you reach that goal of stronger bones and a life resistant to injury.

Organ reseve refers to the functional capacity of our organs to support life. Interestingly, lean muscle mass and organ reserve have a correlation: skeletal muscle mass and organ reserve tend to correspond throughout life.

The diminishment of organ reserve and lean muscle mass is somewhat genetically influenced, but the expression of your genes depends on the interaction between your genetic blueprint and your personal environment and lifestyle. This means that our efforts throughout life to build and maintain muscle mass tend to improve or retain not just muscle mass but the function of other tissue as well, including the function of vital organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver. And vice-versa. It’s a widely accepted assertion that 75 percent of our health and life expectancy after age 40 is determined by environmental factors, including the impact of our daily lifestyle choices. Now there’s a reason to get off the couch.

 

What are the best ways to maintain lean body mass throughout life?

Men and women should work out the same way,

as long as you have the same goals: functional strength, promoting lean body mass over fat mass, and improving overall health. Hormonal differences between men and women, as well as diet, will change how your body reacts to heavy lifting, but the end result is the same: increased strength to body weight ratio that is crucial to long term health and fitness, muscle that makes sense, fat burning muscle that fits you. Muscle that will preserve your good looks and shape for your entire life!

Check out these older-age CrossFitters. They are all over 50! And they will continue to feel and look great for a long time following Paleo diet and lifting heavy things!

Carrie Gym

You can also check out these really amazing success stories at Marks Daily Apple. There are a ton of men and women of all ages (many over 50) who have made drastic changes in health and body composition. I can tell you one thing…they look a lot better than those “Weight Watchers success stories”.

They do basic strength exercises that focus on function and aesthetics. Those women do not look “bulky”. And those guys look like they are in pretty damn good shape. I think they are setting themselves up for long term health and resistance to injury, don’t you?

Got more questions? Something I missed? Let me know below!

Progress 1/20/2012

Here’s my latest progress report. My logs below are from 12/5/11 to 1/19/12. I decided out of boredom to change it up a little early, rather than waiting the entire 10 week cycle. So I am beginning today on a lower rep range-higher weight cycle (6-8 reps for most lifts). I also started to hit a little plateau with my gains, either due to boredom or the fact that I just switched gyms. So I’m hoping the change will help me blast through.

Things happen in the process of moving. I missed a couple workouts. Although I have to say my new place is a huge improvement. 10 car garage, nice lake views, and plenty of room in the basement to lift heavy things (really for Thursdays, since Planet Fitness *cough gay cough* doesn’t allow big weights hitting the floor). So I’m doing deadlifts at home. It’s better this way. I get really noisy doing deads, and I wouldn’t want to scare off all the little girls on the eliptical machines… 😉

So here we go.

Workout Log 12-5-11 to 1-19-12

Yep, lots of numbers. But I do weigh 171lbs now. I think that’s a great improvement in muscle mass for me. Last time I checked I was 165. I also didn’t put on any fat. Good job brah!

I’ve also been taking an herbal testosterone booster called Endotest by San. It’s primary ingredient is Trubulus terrestris, and Vitus Agnus. On top of that I have been supplementing with D-Aspartic Acid, another natural test booster. It’s an amino acid that acts as a precurser. 1.5g daily. It’s been 2 weeks, which is the point you are supposed to start noticing changes. I already feel more drive, if you know what I mean 😉

Also, for the past 2 weeks all of my workouts have been fasted. And I have been intermittent fasting successfully. I’m really trying to get down to single digit bodyfat numbers for summer. My fasts have been from 8PM to 12 noon. I have also been eating less frequently, with about 2 large meals per day, protein directly after workout, and an occasional small meal of eggs with almonds or maybe some whole yogurt mid day. My largest meal is after my workout in the evening. So far so good!

To keep energy up at the gym I have been supplementing with caffeine, arginine, BCAA powder, beet powder, carnitine, beta alanine, and creatine before each workout. I know some of this stuff isn’t “Paleo”, but it’s also not harmful, either, and really helps me get the most out of my fasted training sessions.

Last Sunday I started interval training again. I’m using the Tabata Method, which is really hard core, but you feel like a million bucks after, and it only takes 4 minutes! Damn son! I’ll begin doing this once every weekend.

I’ll post up pics of my hotness as soon as I’m done triceps today

Drop the Pink Weights! Women Should Deadlift!

Here is what proper heavy lifting, and deadlifts, can do for your butt.

Please, stop with the fluffy pink weights! Do something USEFUL!

This woman doesn’t look “bulky”, she looks HOT.

It’s time everyone started getting it right!

Picture Credit

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles!

Deadlift technique

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol.

Biceps 12/23/2011

Bicep day was yesterday. I am continuing to make great progress in increasing the weight each week. I am now up to 75×11 on the cable curls, which means it’s time to add 5-10 lbs next week (I’m actually beyond the recommended rep range by one rep). Last week, I was at 65×11, so to jump 10 lbs in one week makes me really happy.

Keep in mind that I also do back exercises first on this day, so after the barbell rows and pull-ups, my biceps are already worked. If I was not doing back, I think my curls would be in the 80’s.

Bis and tris are pretty much the only isolation exercises I do, and they seem to be contributing to arm size fairly well, when coupled with the compund moves I do the rest of the week.

Check. Me. Out!

There you go! Always lift to failure, then do it again! Merry Christmas, ladies! haha.

Triceps 12/16/11

Tris, after Tri-day Fri-day. I’m up to 55×10 on the decline bench french curls (EZ bar, including bar. I think the bar is 15, but it could be closer to 30)

I like this move. I decline to about 35 degrees, and allow the bar to come a bit behind my head. I keep my arms from going totally vertical on the contraction so that my muscle is constantly under tension. Going behind the head also works the lats a little and gives the tris a larger stretch at the bottom, allowing more “full” range of motion.

Lifting in a Fasted State, and Pre Workout Protein

From Health Correlator

The idea that protein powders should be consumed prior to weight training has been around for a while, and is very popular among bodybuilders. Something like 10 grams or so of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is frequently recommended. More recently, with the increase in popularity of intermittent fasting, it has been strongly recommended prior to “fasted weight training”. The quotation marks here are because, obviously, if you are consuming anything that contains calories prior to weight training, the weight training is NOT being done in a fasted state….

Read the rest here

This is something I have been practicing for a long time. Fasted training has numerous benefits, including more fat burning.

Progress 12/14/2011

Since my last update, I have added substantial weight to all of my major lifts. Note that in my logs for this month, the first few entries are blank or ioncomplete. This is because of schedule changes, I found it easier to switch from M,W,F to a 5 day M through F, halfway though the cycle. This cut each session down to about 30 minutes, and changed the order of things a bit. It’s great since I’m not at the gym as long.

 

Top Image taken 12/13/11

Bottom Image taken 11/21/11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice I have about a week of rest between major muscle groups to allow for recovery. This has worked wonders so far. I find that between 5 and 6 days of rest works well for me. I actually notice more strength gains on this M-F routine compared to the 3 day split. It could also be related to more energy at the gym, since I’m not doing more than 2 muscle groups at a time. I get in, rage out, and still have energy after to cook, eat, and do-the-nasty 🙂

Before you look at them, keep in mind that MOST of my weights listed in the spreadsheet are PER SIDE. That is, when using dumbbells, barbells, leg press, or the smith machine, the weight is multiplied times 2, then you have to add the weight of the bar if applicable. It’s just easier to do the math in the gym that way.

Here are the totals for some of my biggest lifts. This is the first set in each session. Listed as pounds x number of reps.

Leg press went from 540 x 11 to 630 x 10

Bench press went from 145 x 11 to 165 x 9 (includes 45 for the bar)

Smith shrug went from 235 x 8 to 255 x 11 (includes 15 for the bar)

Overhead press went from 35 x 10 to 50 x 10 (dumbbells. per side)

Deadlift went from 265 x 6 to about 285 x 6 (includes 45 for the bar).

I started to lose form a little bit on the deadlifts, and tweaked my back one day, so I had to take it easy for 2 weeks, focusing on form and lighter deadlifts. I then decreased my deadlifts to 245 for a while before I felt comfortable loading the plates to 285, where I am now.

Remember, the numbers I have listed in the spreadsheets are PER SIDE, unless it is a stacked plate machine like cable curls or tricep pull dows, in which case the number is the total weight, or whatever arbitrary number is on the plates.

Here are my workout logs for the 3 day split

Workout Log 8-17-11 to 11-04-11

 

Here are the workout logs for the 5 day split I switched to

Workout Log 12-5-11 to 12-14-11

I am somehow missing the log for the time in between, but I was still working out, and you get the general idea of the progress I’m making.

How (not) To FAIL At The Gym. (Get Muscles, Burn Fat Faster) III

 

This is part III. Make sure you read part I and part II.

Muscle growth is a defense mechanism. To speed growth you must force change.

Given the proper diet, your body will make more muscle as a result of certain environmental “threats” or stressors. To create the fastest muscle growth, you need to work your mucles to failure (I mean motherfucking cruel, unforgiving, uncomfortale, 100% absolute FAILURE) within a certain timeframe, or “time under tension”. Usually this is no longer than 60 seconds, and between 6-12 reps. That is why heavy weights are required! This ensures that all your muscle fibers are recruited before lactic acid buildup causes premature muscle failure.

Performing sets for too long with high reps does not allow you to reach the actual limit of your strength. With high reps, we are forced to stop, as lactic acid becomes too much for the muscle to handle, and ATP production becomes limited. Your muscles simply run out of energy before the limit of their strength is reached. There will be growth, but it is slower, and recovery takes longer. Therefore, high reps are a WASTE OF TIME, mang!

So, we lift heavy, and lay the foundation for muscle growth through adaptation.

We also eat right, to speed recovery and promote positive gene expression, while maximizing cognitive ability and testosterone production. We get sun (Vitamin D baby!), and we get plenty of rest.

Recovery is just as important as lifting heavy things

Rest between each set allows ATP to recover, and lactic acid to leave the muscle. If you aren’t resting for a few minutes between sets, you may as well be doing one of those stupid high-rep workouts like everybody else!

Rest days are just as important, because once you kick your own ass in the gym, you gotta heal up, baby! During a lifting session, you are actually in a catabolic state, but you are triggering something that comes after: the anabolic state! Adaptation can only happen if you give your body time to build new tissues and recover.

If you keep picking a scab, does it ever heal?

Don’t get confused by magazine programs and other useless crap.

Strength, power, size, mass, toning. Whatever you call it, IT IS ALL THE SAME. Building muscle and burning fat happen SIMULTANEOUSLY given a proper diet. I seriously hate anyone who says “I don’t want big muscles, I just want to tone”. Give.me.a.fucking.break! It is all the same, the only thing that matters is how fast you get there. Anyone with an elementary education should say “I want to change my body as fast as possible, and not waste hours in the gym every day”. If that’s not you, why are you reading this? 

I wrote this in “How To FAIL At The Gym pt II”.

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Over time, our goal is to overload the muscle by increasing the weight a little bit each week. Basically, once you reach about 12 reps for a certain exercise, add a little weight the next week. This keeps you within the anabolic threshold, while making sure you get measurably stronger. And if you’re getting stronger, you’re making PROGRESS. (fun fact, muscle strength is directly proportional to muscle size. Stronger IS bigger).

Strong is the new skinny.

How does this all relate to burning fat?

With a clean Paleo/Primal diet and lifting heavy, our muscles grow, and our metabolism gets better at burning fat. More muscle = more mitochondria, and more mitochondrial adaptation to fat burning. A common misconception is that we go to the gym to get big or burn fat. What actually happens at the gym? We are causing an adaptation, so that our muscles grow later on (recovery), and we burn fat all day long instead of glucose (#Winning).

Cardio has limited potential for changing body composition and burning fat, because it does not push your body to it’s limit and force adaptation. What we do in the gym should cause positive adaptations and changes LATER ON. Doing intense lifting workouts, along with high intensity interval training, or Tabata Sprints every once in a while, is going to give us more fat burning. Sprints rapidly deplpete your glycogen stores. The rapid glycogen depletion makes your body realize that your need for energy (ATP) has become much greater, and forces your body to create more mitochondria. This also forces the mitochondria to learn to burn fat for energy rather than glycogen. THIS is the outcome we are looking for: fat burning ALL DAY LONG, not just in the gym.

The side effect of this is greater stamina. A marathon runner who trains their body to burn fat will find it more difficult to “hit the wall”, or “bonk”. This is a good thing.

A good method for intervals or sprints is a quick warm up sprint, at about 80% effort. Once you feel ready, you will have to go ALL OUT with 100% effort. Pretend you are running for your life away from a hungry lion, or whatever.

You will sprint with all your soul and effort for about 20 seconds, then rest for 3-4 minutes. Do it like this a handfull of times, between 4 and 6 reps. You can do this on machines too set on high resistance, just don’t try it on the treadmill!

Ask me how I’m so awersome! yup!

I follow the free MuscleHack Gym Routines. Scientifically proven to work, dammit! (I’ll never promote name brands or anything that costs money. I don’t have anything to gain from promoting things. If it friggin works, I’m gonna friggin tell you about it! Because I’m that cool).

Tell me what you thunk about my post! And then? Go lift heavy shit brah!

How To FAIL At The Gym (There Are No Shortcuts) II

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

The sooner you understand this one simple concept, the sooner you can thank me.

I see this every time I go to the gym. The people that HALF-ASSEDLY do any “workout”, incomplete, poor form, partial range of movement. They don’t track their progress. They don’t follow a consistent routine. They don’t fucking lift anything heavy. Explain to me how that can POSSIBLY do you any good? How can you PROGRESS without pushing your limits? You have no idea where you are going or what you are tryng to do, picking up random weights and swinging things around as if you’re actually working your muscles properly.

It goes the other way too. Huge guys come in, who got huge by eating everything in sight. They may have made progress, but their body composition is in the shitter. Yah, sure you can bench 220 for few reps, but your fat ass still hangs out of your shorts. Then there’s another guy, with a 55 pund dumbbell in each hand, swinging his body back and forth violently, as he completes half-assed reps, barely working his full range of motion, and definitely NOT really lifting that 55 lbs. These guys might be big (looking), but its mostly fat on top of muscle, and I don’t see them losing it any time soon.

It might be easy to blame the rag-mags, or the media for the mis-information. The conventional wisdom promoted by the “professional”. You want the real culprit? YOU are at fault for your laziness. Yah, the truth hurts. Now do something about it! Educate yourself, get some biology in ya! I consider it my duty to my body to understand how it works, reacts, grows, heals, and thrives. Besides that, it should be COMMON SENSE that the only shortcut to better body composition is HARD WORK.

Hard work creates progress that you can see and feel. Hard work is the only shortcut.

Hard work means pushing your limits to make your body adapt. Hard work means following a consistent routine that causes measurable growth and fat loss (including diet). Hard work means good form, heavy weights, and pushing yourself to 100% failure.

Hard work does NOT mean doing endless reps with little weights. Your body is a reactionary mechanism. It adapts and heals as a reaction of the stressors you place on it. (Your immune system is a perfect example). Lifting light weight does not create functional strength, because you are not forcing an adaptation. Doing 100 bicep curls with a 5lb weight will do nothing more than reinforce your ability to lift……can you guess?………FIVE POUNDS! Holyfuckamoly Batman! What use is that in your everyday life? What use is that in an emergency situation? (It is really useful for wasting a lot of time at the gym, though).

Hard work does NOT mean lousy form. If you have to use swinging momentum to curl that 50 pounder, you aren’t doing work, YOU ARE CHEATING. Don’t be a wuss! Stop trying to show off. You’re not impressing anyone. (I’ll get into gym etiquette with another post). Find a weight that allows you to use proper form, and you’ll find out how strong you actually are. Push yourself to failure within the anabolic rep range. Eventually you WILL grow and be able to curl that 50 punder the right way!

Hard work allows you to minimize your time at the gym, so you have more time for the fun stuff; sex, playing music, fixing your car, or writing a blog….

Women AND men should focus on functional strength. Strength is sexy.

It’s attractive. Muscle ALWAYS looks better than fat. (Muscle forms the foundation of your outward appearance, and you can control which aspects you change. Muscle enhances your metabolic flexibility, immune system, endurance, and resistance to injury). Now, I’m not saying that I’m attracted to women who are jacked like bodybuilders. I’m talking about natural shape, aesthetically pleasing form, that can deadlift AT LEAST their own bodyweight, or perform a handfull of decent pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Ah, the perfect example. Stacie Tovar, CrossFit champ. She lifts heavy and pushes her limits. This shows her change after going CrossFit.

Take a look at Lauren Plumey. She’s a good lookin’ CrossFitter too.

Now leave some love! In the form of comments. I also accept other forms of love. heh.

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

How To FAIL At The Gym. (Health Is Common Sense)

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

I have a complaint.

Is it the media, a lack of information, or just plain LAZINESS that makes people run on a treadmill for an hour and a half, every day, and STILL they can’t manage to change their body composition?

I see them every day, at the YMCA. They run with terrible form, heel slamming, joint killing form. They jump up and down on the elliptical (terrible machines), only doing about 50% of the work they THINK they are actually doing. They pedal carelessly on a bike, while their guts spill over into their laps and they read “Food and Wine” or “People” or some other God-awful publication that’s bound to be contributing to their utter useless lifestyle.

I’ve managed to motivate myself to change permanently for the better, with no other forces at work other than pure determination, and the knowledge that I will not spend, I REFUSE to spend the last 10 to 15 years of my life in decrepitude. The problem with society is that we’ve been programmed, BRAINWASHED into thinking this is normal. Apparently, even though we are still genetically identical to our wild ancestors, we have to accept the fact that we are different, that we can not live without disease and degenerative disorers that render us utterly useless to ourselves, left in the care of our offspring as we lose the ability to MOVE and ACT and have FUN.

BULLSHIT I say. You can change your falsely pre-determined future. Its so friggin easy people, all you have to do is realize that you are poisoning your body slowly over the entire course of your life by feeding yourself food toxins [1] [2], by being lazy, by hiding from the sun, and by listening to the government tell you what is healthy. These problems largely do not exist in the wild! Paloelithic human beings didn’t have to deal with cavities, heart attack, obesity, cancer, etc. Know why? They hunted, sprinted, lifted heavy things, ate animals, vegetables, and fruit. They didn’t sit around playing Halo on Xbox 360. They didnt eat 7-11 servings of birdseed (grains) every day! They didnt have soy. They didnt have veggie oils. They fasted. They didn’t eat every 2-3 hours trying to “keep blood glucose elevated” (fuckingstupid). They were lean, fit and HEALTHY throughout their lives. Don’t believe me? Modern anthropology continues to find evidence of this. GO TO A MUSEUM you fool.

Health is common sense. Most, if not at least 80% of body composition and total health, is determined by what you EAT. Movement only constitutes about 10%. The rest is lifestyle. If you don’t change what you eat to REAL FOOD (animals, vegetables, fruits), you will never know true health.

However, if you realize that there is no science behind the FAT-PHOBIA, CHOLESTEROL, FOOD PYRAMID, HEARTHEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS, you will live largely sickness and disease free, and you will change your body composition. You will lean out and gain more muscle. You will become more attractive naked. You will emit a positive attitude. To everyone around you, you will appear to be unstoppable, full of energy, immune to whatever virus is floating around the office.

Your brain will fucntion at optimum efficiency, soaking up all the information and beauty around you. You will feel ultimate clarity. It’s like a permanent high. Engergy on-tap, whenever it is needed. Power to have explosive workouts at the gym. Speed to spint to your car after work. Drive to make-your-bed-rock (ooooh yeaaaah). Recovery to do it all again. Your immune system will function at top efficiency because you will not have chronic inflammation, you will not get sick, you will recover from your brutal lifting sessions faster. You won’t waste time consuming fillers made of grain or soy, so there will be more room for amino-acids and fatty-acids to build and construct new tissues, bigger muslces. You will train your body to burn fat for energy by promoting mitochondial adaptaion. You will be a FUCKING SUPER HUMAN!!!11 YUP!

Did I mention I feel really really good today?

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

Meal Frequency, and Getting Enough Protein?

Tired of counting grams of protein? I was. Then I found a simple way to make sure my intake was adequate for muscle growth, without having to go online and account for every bite of food I ate.

Yum

Eat one pound of beef a day. One pound of beef, coupled with eggs at breakfast and possibly one protein shake, contains enough protein to meet your basic lean mass needs for the day.

One pound of 90% lean ground beef contains 118 grams of protein. That makes it so easy! 1/2 a pound at lunch, 1/2 a pound at dinner. A few eggs at breakfast and a protein shake somewhere in there, I’m golden!

I’m an average size guy, at 165 lbs, so if I get lazy and don’t eat enough, my protein count can go way down. I used to get worried in the middle of the day, have to log on to Paleo Track, and check what I ate to make sure I didn’t have to fill myself to the breaking point all at dinner. So much easier now to just portion out my meal, and know what I have to eat at each sitting.

Cook it up with some broccoli, make it extra spicy if you want. I know I like it to melt my face off! Mmmmm spicyyyyy.

I’d also like to talk about my meal frequency. A lot of bodybuilding and fitness people say you need to eat 6 times a day “to keep the meabolic fires burning”. This is total hogwash. There is no science to support the claim. There is no metabolic advantage to eating many times per day, and in fact, it actually hinders your body from burning fat for energy, and reduces satiety.

I eat a maximum of 4 times per day. I do not snack because I do not get hungry between meals, not in the least. On non-workout days I sometimes fast until 11AM, and eat dinner no later than 7PM. This practice of Intermittent Fasting keeps up your metabolic flexability, and has a number of other advantages.

Numerous animal and human studies done over the past 15 years suggest that periodic fasting can have dramatic results not only in areas of weight (fat) loss, but in overall health and longevity as well.

I think that’s a good introduction into IF (intermittent fasting). It’s a topic I will keep bringing up, because it serves a purpose not only for fat loss, but it has it’s place in bodybuilding too.

Progress

This is my progress so far. I don’t concern myself with body measurements. I know I am making progress when my biggest lifts at the gym go up. I can see the way my clothes fit. I notice when my suit needs to be re-tailored because the shoulder area is now way too small.

Compared to 3 weeks ago…..

Not the same picture angle, but I can see a definite difference in ab definition, shoulder striation, and chest size.

I added 10 lbs to my bench.

I added 10 lbs to my squat.

I added 10 lbs to my deadlift.

I added 5 lbs to my press.

Added a couple lbs or so to all other isolation and compound lifts.

Special note: I always, ALWAYS lift to absolute 100% muscle failure within 8-12 reps. EVERY set, EVERY time. Then I lower the weight slightly, and do it again. It’s the key principal to making your body grow, it is a reactionary mechanism, btw.

If you want to see the logs I have been using for the past year or so, check out MuscleHack! Download the freeTHT version 4.0. Killer program!