Ask me your fitness questions

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tvenuto
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Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:00 am

I almost never read the "off topic" section, but decided to peruse it and figured I could add something (replying to Evil D's PF post made me think of this).

I've worked in fitness for the past 5 years, and I own my own training business. I'm no "guru" but in that time I've worked with hundreds of clients and have learned from some of the best minds in the business (not the most famous ones).

So, what do you want do know about fitness? Seriously, any question at all. Warning: be prepared for me to tell you that you're asking the wrong question.

Disclaimer: ask your doctor before implementing anything I say, because his pudgy a$$ knows better than me, obviously. But seriously, in general my advice is best used by folks without some sort of "abnormal" health condition. I'm not responsible for your use of this information.
Last edited by tvenuto on Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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eidah
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby eidah » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:41 am

Which is better? Carb nite or a full ketogenic diet to loose fat? What do you think of hi fat, low carb moderate protein diets?
What ciardio is better for fat loss and health, steady state or hiit?


Thanks

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tvenuto
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:53 am

eidah wrote:Which is better? Carb nite or a full ketogenic diet to loose fat?


If you're talking about straight up losing fat I'd have to say that the ketogenic diet would be "better." Just don't expect oodles of athletic performance, or to be doing a ton of volume of intense training. Also those first 2-3 weeks are going to be rough if you're used to eating a fair amount of carbs, so be ready for that (foggy brain, irritable, etc). Also, you're going to want to be conscious of getting enough cals. Often when people slash carbs severely we see them not eating enough, mostly due to less stuff being available, so you're going to have to prepare in advance, and not be afraid of eating fat.
eidah wrote:What do you think of hi fat, low carb moderate protein diets?
I think that diet is highly individualized to both the person and their health/fitness/athletic goals. This is probably how you could describe my diet in general (solid meals), however I do a bit more with post-workout that would skew the ratios a bit, so timing is a factor as well.
eidah wrote:What cardio is better for fat loss and health, steady state or hiit?
I guess it depends how you mean these things, but this is one of those where I'd really answer "neither." A lot of long slow distance is going to cause an increase in cortisol, which will make you hold onto some weight ("skinny fat" or "runner's belly"). If by HIIT (high intensity interval training) you mean something like Insanity or Bodypump, or just a ton of reps of bodyweight stuff, then you'll probably see more improvement at the outset, but might have the same issue in the long run if you're constantly making yourself sore. Again HIIT requires more definition though as it's been thrown around so much. For most people I'd say resistance training is going to be most effective at IMPROVING BODY COMPOSITION, which is more than just fat loss. The book "German Body Composition" by Charles Poloquin is a good one on this, but here's a free article which describes it adequately (warning: silly pictures over at T-nation, although the articles are often very good). Poloquin uses the old standby bodybuilding exercises, and I think we've improved on things a bit since he came up with this from the standpoint of exercise selection, but this is a great place to start if you work out in the standard Gold's gym or similar. As an aside, I think that the "cardio for fat loss" concept is one of the most tragic lies that's been foisted (and continues to be foisted, see: fitbit) on the American public. Cardio training (to a point) certainly benefits the cardiovascular system and will make you more healthy, but it's not the place to start for fat loss.

Thanks for the questions!

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby eidah » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:13 am

Thank you so much for the very detailed answers :) Can you recommend me a three day full body program?
Thanks much

Edit: been going on and off to the gym for years. I would say I am an intermediate lifter. Last program was a push pull 4 days split but its too complicated for my busy life now. Was contemplating the icecream fitness program by Jason Blaha.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:32 pm

eidah wrote:Thank you so much for the very detailed answers :) Can you recommend me a three day full body program?
Thanks much

Edit: been going on and off to the gym for years. I would say I am an intermediate lifter. Last program was a push pull 4 days split but its too complicated for my busy life now. Was contemplating the icecream fitness program by Jason Blaha.
Wow ok, just from what you've mentioned thus far and what I can imply about your goals (improve body composition) from that, I'd say try the German Body Comp program. There are several different programs in there for a variety of levels, and both 3 and 4 day programs. This will be a good program for overall fitness and if you actually follow the prescription you should see some decent body composition improvements.

If absolute strength is your goal, then Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe is a phenomenal book and program. I briefly perused the Icecream fitness program and it's basically "borrowed" from the concepts in Starting Strength with some more exercises added in. Doesn't get more simple than squatting and adding weight every workout, and this will get you strong (again if you actually follow the prescription). I went from back squatting 3 sets of 5 @ 185# to 3 sets of 5 @ 325# with nothing more than determination and consistency (and food, lots of food). However this is not the program for someone looking to lose weight, although your body composition will definitely improve due to muscle gain.

However, I'm of the opinion that programs, ideally, should be written custom to the person with their goals and experiences in mind. Just from what I can glean from your posts about your goals, fat loss and body composition are your primary concerns, so the GBC program seems like the most in line with that. That being said, if you're 5'10", 165#, with a 185# 1 rep max squat, and think you're "fat" maybe you need a perception change and a basic strength program (Icecream or SS), but I can't see that from here. Also, it's been my experience that people place themselves a bit farther along the "novice->intermediate->advanced" ladder than they actually are. Having lifted off an on in the past may not mean you're intermediate, but once again I can't see that from here.

Edited to add: Really far more important than picking the "ideal" program is staying consistent with whatever you do decide. Sticking with a bad plan is far better than sitting on the couch and musing about a perfect one.
Last edited by tvenuto on Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Surfingringo » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:50 pm

Ok, I'll fire out a few questions. I've always stayed pretty fit through surfing and kayaking but a few years ago I found myself carrying a bit too much weight. I'm 5'10" and my weight got up close to 185. Wasn't fat (certainly not by u.s. Standards :rolleyes:) but was starting to get a little extra belly fat. So I made some det changes and got back down to 165-170 range over a couple of months. Basically I just cut out a lot of carbs and tried to eliminate sugar.

Once I got to what I feel is my ideal weight and body fat I just got a little less strict with the carbs and I've been able to maintain that weight. I don't feel like I lost much muscle and feel strong and generally better than I did before. My question is about strength and endurance. I have noticed that I don't have the same level of paddling endurance as I did a number of years ago. I'm sure some of that is because I'm 45 instead of 35 but I'm curious if there is anything particular I can do with diet or training to help maintain peak performance as long as possible.

My main diet is lots of fish and protein. A few clean carbs and lots of veggies. Also eat a lot of yogurt, oats, granola and nuts. And yeah, I still like some Doritos and corn chips! :) All I really do for exercise is paddle my surfboard and pedal my kayak. Feel pretty good but I'm open to suggestions from someone who knows what they're talking about because I'm pretty much just winging it.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:49 pm

What are your opinions on crash diets and diets in which the person eats one or two types of food, and alot of water, with the idea that they will:

1 lose weight quickly
2 save money on food because they are only purchasing a restricted amount of food types

An example: The Subway Sandwich diet that was advertised some time back. That guy Jared Fogle who lost weight on the Subway diet is an example.
I knew of a situation where someone tried that particular diet, and lost like forty pounds in a relatively short time (few weeks) but gained it back because they were unable to stay on that diet eating those sandwiches only.

Second question:

From your experiences and knowledge, are weight loss and weight gain more about the genetic-metabolism and genes someone is born with, or, more about lifestyle and calorie consumption and exercise?

A real life example of this: I knew a man who in high school would eat four entire trays of highly-caloric food, and never gained a bit of extra weight. Ofcourse, he was also on the football and wrestling team, so that helped, but he claimed he was born with a metabolism able to do that.

Other people I have seen can eat a little bit and put on weight easilly. So is it more of a physical activity and calorie consumption issue, or, a genetic issue, or both?

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Surfingringo » Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:36 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:What are your opinions on crash diets and diets in which the person eats one or two types of food, and alot of water, with the idea that they will:

1 lose weight quickly
2 save money on food because they are only purchasing a restricted amount of food types

An example: The Subway Sandwich diet that was advertised some time back. That guy Jared Fogle who lost weight on the Subway diet is an example.
I knew of a situation where someone tried that particular diet, and lost like forty pounds in a relatively short time (few weeks) but gained it back because they were unable to stay on that diet eating those sandwiches only.

Second question:

From your experiences and knowledge, are weight loss and weight gain more about the genetic-metabolism and genes someone is born with, or, more about lifestyle and calorie consumption and exercise?

A real life example of this: I knew a man who in high school would eat four entire trays of highly-caloric food, and never gained a bit of extra weight. Ofcourse, he was also on the football and wrestling team, so that helped, but he claimed he was born with a metabolism able to do that.

Other people I have seen can eat a little bit and put on weight easilly. So is it more of a physical activity and calorie consumption issue, or, a genetic issue, or both?
Good questions SEF!! I have my opinions but I will keep them to myself until tvenuto answers. :)

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tvenuto
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:05 am

Surfingringo wrote:Ok, I'll fire out a few questions. I've always stayed pretty fit through surfing and kayaking but a few years ago I found myself carrying a bit too much weight. I'm 5'10" and my weight got up close to 185. Wasn't fat (certainly not by u.s. Standards :rolleyes:) but was starting to get a little extra belly fat. So I made some det changes and got back down to 165-170 range over a couple of months. Basically I just cut out a lot of carbs and tried to eliminate sugar.

Once I got to what I feel is my ideal weight and body fat I just got a little less strict with the carbs and I've been able to maintain that weight. I don't feel like I lost much muscle and feel strong and generally better than I did before. My question is about strength and endurance. I have noticed that I don't have the same level of paddling endurance as I did a number of years ago. I'm sure some of that is because I'm 45 instead of 35 but I'm curious if there is anything particular I can do with diet or training to help maintain peak performance as long as possible.

My main diet is lots of fish and protein. A few clean carbs and lots of veggies. Also eat a lot of yogurt, oats, granola and nuts. And yeah, I still like some Doritos and corn chips! :) All I really do for exercise is paddle my surfboard and pedal my kayak. Feel pretty good but I'm open to suggestions from someone who knows what they're talking about because I'm pretty much just winging it.
Let me start by saying that you lead the healthiest life of anyone I know, myself included, so good on you. Few people, scratch that, few AMERICANS, are living life this in tune with how we evolved: moving naturally, being outside, acquiring your own food, getting up and going to bed with the sun, obsession with edged tools, etc.

To your question: by "paddling" I assume you mean with your arms on your surfboard, while paddling out to catch waves. Endurance just means to "keep doing what you're doing" and the physiological demands depend on the nature of what's being done. So the nature of the fix depends on what's causing you to say you lack paddling endurance:
1. The very first wave you try to get out to, you feel like you "run out of juice" when paddling vigorously sooner than you used to (single effort length)
2. After catching a wave you feel like you have to take longer rests before going out to another one (time between efforts)
3. You feel like you tire out after less waves than you did previously (overall effort length)

Now, I'm sure that you're probably feeling a combination of these things, and growing older is just a fact of life. However, "hard work beats talent when talent won't work hard" is a good way to think about this. Usually people say this when comparing two different people, but you can also say it about your past self. With some hard work you can be as good or better than your past self if "he" was just riding his favorable hormonal circumstances.

So, looking at #1, this is what we call "local muscular endurance" and assuming you can do a single push-up, is what limits a maximal set of push-ups as an example. Now there's a lot going on physiologically but you don't need to understand all that, to improve it, you need to do it. The motion that most mimics paddling is pull-ups so I'll use that here. Test your maximal set of pull-ups; for this example well go conservative and assume 5. Now you want to do sets of pull-ups that are submaximal, but have you "feeling the burn." Assuming you have a pull-up bar at your house, you could do 3 sets of 3-4 reps of pull-ups, with 1.5-2min rest between sets. You could do this multiple times per day even, the shoulder is a smaller complex, so it responds well to frequent sessions without tiring out your CNS. Add sets for a while, then add reps, then you could even get more tricky with it. Lets say you increased from 5 to 7, now you could start doing "clusters." You do 2 reps, rest 20sec, do 2 reps, rest 20sec, and so on until you've done 8 total reps. You rest 2-3 min, and then do that again. You can start squeezing the time between doubles or doing more clusters of them. All this stuff works with push-ups as well, or any other shoulder dumbbell/barbell movement. In short, do things that have you feeling the burn but not going to failure, as many times as is convenient per day. Try to do things that challenge the lats, as this is the complex most used in the actual paddling motion.

Looking at #2, your recovery between efforts is largely controlled by your aerobic or cardiovascular system. Now, given your lifestyle, I have to think that you are very aerobically fit, since you are active at a moderate level for long periods of the day, many times per week. Also, your aerobic system, if maintained, doesn't drop off as much as you age (reason you see white haired ultra runners, no white haired sprinters). However, your recovery between efforts is also largely dependent on the perceived intensity of the effort. So, lower the intensity of the individual efforts and the required recovery time will drop. Working on #1 will lower the perceived intensity of the effort, that is if 30 strokes used to tire you out, and now 50 do, the 25 stroke effort won't seem nearly as hard and will require less recovery. However you could also work on making higher level efforts more sustainable, which we call "aerobic power." If I were to do this, I'd use a concept 2 rowing machine, because it gives great data, but you could easily run or bike or whatever. Do 1min of work, and 1min of rest, for 10 sets, attempting to maintain the level of work you do in each interval. So if you run 200m in the first min, make sure you're still running 200m in the last min. You can improve this by squeezing the time between efforts, or by attempting to do a little more in each effort. We want the efforts to be shorter here, where you can produce a relatively high output. ALso, the reason we use run/bike/row is that these challenge the aerobic system (for MOST people), and aren't limited by a local muscular complex (just try doing 1min on 1min off x 10 with push-ups and you'll notice the difference).

Looking at #3, of course there could be components of #1 and #2 within that, but when it comes to overall effort duration, you could be running into a fueling issue. Obviously this wouldn't come into play in a half hour, but over several hours of intermittent high effort it could be. This might be compounded by your care to avoid carbs in general now that you're older and you've tightened down the diet a bit. Those things like "Gu" (energy gel) or Gatorade are highly overused by a sedentary population, but some quick uptake carbs might stave off fatigue in a longer surf session. If you want to go the natural route, a small snack of fruit could work well. Although the inefficiency of converting fat and protein into energy is what we want most of the time to stay lean, refined carbs are the fastest way to replenish muscle glycogen (the sugar stored in your muscles), which is the stuff that gets depleted with repeated high intensity efforts (the "burn" is the byproduct of converting this stored sugar to energy). Also, if you're using it to replenish lost stores, it's not going to be stored as fat.

So sorry for the length, but I hope there's some info in there that people find useful.

I see your question SEF, and I'll get to it later on today hopefully.

Keep 'em coming guys, having fun answering these questions, and nice to see people acknowledge how important diet is when it comes to overall health/athletic performance!

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Surfingringo » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:41 am

Hey Tvenuto, that's great info and much appreciated. To give you a little more info, surfing is pretty much like long distance jogging with occasional full out sprints. When the surf is good you are almost constantly paddling, either to get out past the break or to paddle against the current or reposition from peak to peak. I can still do this for hours on end but the real work is the sprints. Sometimes sprinting back out to make it under a big bomb. Sometimes sprinting to get closer to one side of the peak or the other, and you are always at full sprint when catching a wave. This is where I lose my muscle endurance. So let's say an hour into a session I'm already getting a bit tired and I have to sprint out past the waves and immediately a wave comes and I have to sprint again to get into position. After 20-30 seconds of that I turn to take off on a wave and there's just nothing left in my shoulders. They are jelly. So I guess what I'm talking about is more of a muscle strength/endurance issue than cardio.

Are there any dietary (fuel) changes I can make to help with that? Would the pull up/strength training excercises you outlined be the best way to improve here? I have to be careful too about over working my shoulders. They are both taxed pretty hard just from all the surfing so i might need to be careful about putting even more stress on them with other shoulder training. I guess? Not really sure how that works. Anyway, thanks again for the detailed response and suggestions.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:04 pm

Surfingringo wrote:Are there any dietary (fuel) changes I can make to help with that?
Perhaps. Creatine Monohydrate is a dietary supplement that may be helpful in this instance. It helps muscles recycle energy, and has been show to improve muscular endurance efforts. We already get it from our diet, and red meat has the highest concentration. I'm actually not sure how much creatine is in fish, and if it's low perhaps you could benefit from supplementation. The awesome thing is that creatine is crazy cheap, and you only take one teaspoon a day (~5grams). Also, it's been studied out the wazoo, and as I said you're already getting it from your diet, so it's very low risk.
Surfingringo wrote:Would the pull up/strength training excercises you outlined be the best way to improve here? I have to be careful too about over working my shoulders. They are both taxed pretty hard just from all the surfing so i might need to be careful about putting even more stress on them with other shoulder training. I guess? Not really sure how that works. Anyway, thanks again for the detailed response and suggestions.
I think so, from what you're describing. I'm sure that surfing has a "season" there, and I'm sure you notice that you're rusty at first and that you get back into it as the season progresses. So surfing itself is a form of training. As such I would indeed be somewhat careful over-training the shoulders on surfing days, but as I said the shoulder is a small muscle group and training it doesn't really tax the CNS heavily so you don't really need to worry about "over-training" in the broad general sense. Also, at first you'll be somewhat sore but once you get used to the training volume that should subside.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:24 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:What are your opinions on crash diets
Generally negative, however if your goal is to qualify for Junior Nationals in Olympic Weightlifting, and your lifting total is only good for the weight class down from your current weight, I would say that a drastic diet change for a short time for a specific effect is a good idea. So, as usual, context is everything.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:and diets in which the person eats one or two types of food, and alot of water, with the idea that they will:

1 lose weight quickly
2 save money on food because they are only purchasing a restricted amount of food types

An example: The Subway Sandwich diet that was advertised some time back. That guy Jared Fogle who lost weight on the Subway diet is an example.
I knew of a situation where someone tried that particular diet, and lost like forty pounds in a relatively short time (few weeks) but gained it back because they were unable to stay on that diet eating those sandwiches only.
I'll start off by saying that Americans don't drink enough water, so feel free to get up and get a glass of water now. Also, drinking "a lot" of water will likely displace other things that are bad to drink, such as soft drinks or sweet tea, so in general drinking water is a good thing. [takes water break]....[/water break]

Second, I would say that people often confuse fitness with "weight loss." Of course, IN GENERAL, Americans are probably too heavy. However we're also too slow, weak, inflexible, and mentally soft, but Subway Sandwiches aren't sold to cure those ills. I would say a more accurate goal would be to IMPROVE BODY COMPOSITION which is to increase your muscle and lose your excess fat. When viewed this way, it's obvious that you can attack the problem in multiple directions and hopefully frees you from just looking at the scale as your ultimate report card (just because it's easy to measure). Again, though, this doesn't sell sandwiches.

But to stop dodging the question, the real issue is this: for health and fitness, a diet is just what you eat all the time, not something you "go on." Kind of like when a weatherman says "we have some weather coming." The weather is here all the time, just like your diet. Crash diets don't (generally) work, because the person is just riding willpower to severely restrict calories, not actually learning to make good sustainable choices and habits. Of course, it's possible that a person latches onto some "fad diet" at the outset, which spurs them on to actually care about their health in the long run, so far be it from me to categorically condemn Jared and Subway, but it's certainly not the recommendation I'd make for anyone looking to improve body composition.

As far as the "saving money" thing. An old saying: pay the butcher, or pay the doctor. It's actually FAR more true today than whenever someone first said that. For reasons dating back to the great depression, our government policy has been fixated on creating the most calories for as cheap as humanly possible. Ever wonder why you can get 1,000 Calories of Pepsi cheaper than you can get 100 Calories of green pepper, and Pepsi still has enough money to run Superbowl ads? It's the same reason that in America, the poor people are the fat ones. For a good documentary on the subject, I recommend watching King Corn.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Second question:

From your experiences and knowledge, are weight loss and weight gain more about the genetic-metabolism and genes someone is born with, or, more about lifestyle and calorie consumption and exercise?

A real life example of this: I knew a man who in high school would eat four entire trays of highly-caloric food, and never gained a bit of extra weight. Ofcourse, he was also on the football and wrestling team, so that helped, but he claimed he was born with a metabolism able to do that.

Other people I have seen can eat a little bit and put on weight easilly. So is it more of a physical activity and calorie consumption issue, or, a genetic issue, or both?
This one is quite a "rabbit hole" to go down, as one of my mentors would say. Obviously the nature v nurture debate is a hot one and one that may never be fully solved, and certainly won't be solved here. First I'll address the calorie thing, then the genetic thing.

There is another old saying: you are what you eat. This one is actually wrong. You are what your body does with what you eat. A Calorie of fat isn't going to the same place as a Calorie of carbohydrate as a Calorie of protein. Eating is a hormonal event! By the composition of what you eat, you're telling your body what to do: release insulin, glucagon etc. The reason I get into all of this is that yes, everyone's body does respond differently. HOWEVER! The real difference is that the people who don't gain excess fat are just the people who intuitively know what they need to eat. From speaking with coaches who work with elite athletes, they all say exactly the same thing. Various athletes have wildly different diet, workout, and sleep habits, but one thing's for certain: it works for them.

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As far as the genetic thing, the human body is the most incredibly malleable thing. You know what the difference is between an ultra marathon runner and a Olympic weightlifter (besides 50lbs of muscle)? The difference is the decision to be an olympic weightlifter or an ultra marathon runner! Now, of course there are genetic components to what we call "innate ability" or "talent" and I'm not saying if you were born very short you can be in the NBA, or that people don't have abilities that lend more to one athletic pursuit than another. However, a while back they declared that they had found the "elite sprinting gene" and goodgollygosh only half of elite sprinters actually had the gene! I'm **** sure that every single one of them had the "determination to be an elite sprinter gene" that we haven't yet discovered.

In my late 20's I was playing Aussie rules football at a bodyweight of 168# and could easily run a 6min mile but could only squat about 200#. 2 years later I squatted 468# at a bodyweight of 210# on my way to becoming a state champion powerlifter, but it would have taken a cattle prod to get me to even attempt a full mile run. Now 2 years later I sit at a much healthier than either of those 188#, and can squat almost as much as I could at 210 and run almost as fast as I could at 168. I can tell you that at each of those stages, my diet and training looked completely different. I was cut from my high school soccer team, twice, and I ran cross country and was excited to break 30min for my final 5k of the season. To call me "nothing special" as a natural athlete would be generous. Now I ask you: which of those performances were my genes responsible for, and which ones was I responsible for? I don't expect you to have an answer, as I don't know it myself, but I tend to think that we choose our own path.

I'll also say this, the mind is a powerful thing. Your high metabolism friend BELIEVED that he had that high metabolism, that is how he identified himself. How often do the other type of people you describe, the "easy gainers," say: "look at you with that hamburger, if I even look at that burger I gain weight." That's how they identify themselves as well, so we have a chicken and egg problem, which came first? My dad always said: whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. You can't discount how big of a part the mind plays.

So in the end, both, but I tend to think lifestyle and personal choices play the larger role. And it's abundantly clear that you aren't a slave to your genes. There's a whole field of study called epigenetics (literally: above genetics) that is concerned with how our bodies activate or deactivate certain genes depending on the environment/our actions/etc.

Leave it to SEF to throw out a doozie! I know I barely even scratched the surface of these topics but I hope some of that was helpful.

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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Surfingringo » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:49 pm

Hey SEF, I was going to chime in with my thoughts after tvenuto but he didn't leave me with much to say other than "I agree". :). And tvenuto, I think you did a pretty good job of going right down that rabbit hole. Personally I might give slightly more weight to genetics than he does but wholeheartedly agree about how powerful the mind is and that none of us are slaves to our genetics. But different people do have different metabolisms just as surely as different horses, cows or dogs do. A positive attitude and mental strength can go a long way and can even trump genetics...but it doesn't negate genetics. Every now and then we get to witness what it looks like (often in elite athletes) when the perfect mind, tenacity, will and genetics all come together in one human being. And boy when it all comes together it is a sight to see!
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby DRKBC » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:15 pm

Thank you for sharing so much great information.

Here is my situation;

- I am 6' 173lbs 54 years old. In my early years I was kind of a chubby kid, got interested in Skiing and cycling in my teens and have been an avid cyclist and skier ever since. I have had a gym membership since I was in my early 20's and my weight and body composition has stayed pretty much the same since I was 18.
- I mountain bike about 4 days a week from April thru September, 1 to 2 hours of cross country 3 times a week and 1 day of downhill lasting about 4-6 hours which is more of light cardio but strong core resistance type training. During this time of year I work out weekly 1 to 2 days a week but it is less consistent than in the winter as it is dependent on how much I am riding.
- I have a very physical job in the summer so there is lots of long days in the hot sun this can sometimes replace my gym and riding for fitness as I don't have a lot of gas left at the end of a 14 hour day. But I do need the physical strength and endurance for my job so it is important that I don't let either slip.
- In the winter my work becomes more of an office job. This time of year I downhill ski 2 days a week and work out 4. If its a bad ski day we typically snowshoe so that adds a bit of cardio but in general my cardio drops off fairly dramatically in the winter, weight training goes up and then in the spring the opposite takes place when I go back to riding and reduced gym time.
- My diet is pretty good, I cut out alcohol 2 years ago, I don't eat a lot of bread or starches, no fried foods but I am not perfect. I have the odd bagel, crackers and cheese and I eat sweets sometimes daily sometimes not, if I have a craving that's what it is. I don't sit down and eat a box of donuts but I will have a cookie, or a few pieces of chocolate that type of thing. In general I eat fairly clean vege's chicken, salmon very little red meat or pasta. Very few supplements other than a Vega Bar daily prior to or after a work out.

So that's my background and here is my fitness problem. I would like to reduce my body fat and add some lean muscle but I always carry some extra weight around my mid section. My gym work outs are split routines using lower reps and heavier weights, I change up my routine and I eat reasonably well I have gone months of eating extremely clean but I still can't seem to gain weight without gaining fat in my lower abs and hips at the same time. I presume it is to do with my diet, a combination of what foods I eat and when I eat but I am at a loss to figure it out. Like I said I did carry extra weight as a kid and it just doesn't really feel as though I have ever been able to completely get rid of that last few pounds, even when I was a competitive cyclist in my early 20's riding 3-400k's a week I still had weight in that area of my body. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Last edited by DRKBC on Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:50 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Donut
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Donut » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:23 pm

Is your rotator cuff a muscle?
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Skidoosh
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Skidoosh » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:26 pm

Really good stuff. I'm 43 and am able to be pretty active in running during the summer but I find myself gaining weight during winter. I don't have gym access or much room for exercise other than dumbells. I am loosing muscle and gaining fat. I need a very simple bodyweight workout that may include pull ups and dumbells to lean out and help my sanity too! Thanks

TomAiello
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby TomAiello » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:29 am

Skidoosh, check out "Convict Conditioning". It's simple, uses bodyweight only and can be done in very limited space.

Enkidude
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby Enkidude » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:22 am

I have a few questions.

#1. What are your thoughts on artificial sweeteners/zero calorie sweeteners?
#2. What are your thoughts on Thermogenics?
#3. Do you think body weight exercises (and a healthy diet) are sufficient for building lean muscle and weight loss?

Thank you for your time and generosity. I've really enjoyed this thread so far!

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tvenuto
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:47 am

DRKBC wrote:- I am 6' 173lbs 54 years old. In my early years I was kind of a chubby kid, got interested in Skiing and cycling in my teens and have been an avid cyclist and skier ever since. I have had a gym membership since I was in my early 20's and my weight and body composition has stayed pretty much the same since I was 18.
- I mountain bike about 4 days a week from April thru September, 1 to 2 hours of cross country 3 times a week and 1 day of downhill lasting about 4-6 hours which is more of light cardio but strong core resistance type training. During this time of year I work out weekly 1 to 2 days a week but it is less consistent than in the winter as it is dependent on how much I am riding.
- I have a very physical job in the summer so there is lots of long days in the hot sun this can sometimes replace my gym and riding for fitness as I don't have a lot of gas left at the end of a 14 hour day. But I do need the physical strength and endurance for my job so it is important that I don't let either slip.
- In the winter my work becomes more of an office job. This time of year I downhill ski 2 days a week and work out 4. If its a bad ski day we typically snowshoe so that adds a bit of cardio but in general my cardio drops off fairly dramatically in the winter, weight training goes up and then in the spring the opposite takes place when I go back to riding and reduced gym time.
- My diet is pretty good, I cut out alcohol 2 years ago, I don't eat a lot of bread or starches, no fried foods but I am not perfect. I have the odd bagel, crackers and cheese and I eat sweets sometimes daily sometimes not, if I have a craving that's what it is. I don't sit down and eat a box of donuts but I will have a cookie, or a few pieces of chocolate that type of thing. In general I eat fairly clean vege's chicken, salmon very little red meat or pasta. Very few supplements other than a Vega Bar daily prior to or after a work out.

So that's my background and here is my fitness problem. I would like to reduce my body fat and add some lean muscle but I always carry some extra weight around my mid section. My gym work outs are split routines using lower reps and heavier weights, I change up my routine and I eat reasonably well I have gone months of eating extremely clean but I still can't seem to gain weight without gaining fat in my lower abs and hips at the same time. I presume it is to do with my diet, a combination of what foods I eat and when I eat but I am at a loss to figure it out. Like I said I did carry extra weight as a kid and it just doesn't really feel as though I have ever been able to completely get rid of that last few pounds, even when I was a competitive cyclist in my early 20's riding 3-400k's a week I still had weight in that area of my body. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
A few notes to start us off:
Note #0: Your body is always seeking homeostasis (equilibrium) based on its own perception of your environment and the need to survive there in the most efficient manner possible
1. The middle of the body (your center of gravity) is the most mechanically advantageous place to carry weight, so in general that will be the last place to lose fat
2. Your body views your fat stores as your gas tank (NOT your stomach), so you're telling it that it needs that size gas tank either via diet OR exercise or a combination of both
3. As you age, being underweight is actually more dangerous than being moderately overweight (assuming non-diabetic)
4. As I mentioned in a previous post, the "cardio for fat loss" concept is one of the more misleading and frustrating "common knowledge" fitness concepts foisted on the general public

You're doing a lot of cardio and this is great training for your aerobic system, and you'll reap the benefits whenever your work puts these sorts of demands on you. The relatively low intensity yet high volume work certainly does "burn lots of fat." However, you've been telling your body that large bouts of fat burning work are on the menu, so you'll have to excuse it for making sure that energy is available for that work. Also, the very large calorie demand of this kind of work keeps your body in what is known as a catabolic state: a state of breaking down muscle (or any large internal molecule) to produce energy. The opposite of this is anabolism, a state of building muscle (at the expense of energy). Unfortunately for us, the body is quite resistant to building muscle, not only does it cost resources to build in the first place, but it takes constant feeding and upkeep. To your body, building muscle is like buying a boat, a money (calorie) pit. To convince it to buy that boat, you need to turn it into a fisherman. And by that, I mean you need to resistance train.

As you mentioned, you do in fact resistance train. However, I think we could tweak those workouts to support your goal of gaining muscle. Your weightlifting workouts are lower reps with heavier weights, which are great for training the CNS (central nervous system) and great for absolute (one rep max) strength, but may not be optimal for hypertrophy or muscle growth. I'm posting a chart below from the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe to show the various effects of different rep ranges. As you can see, if you work somewhere between 8-15 reps of a given exercise, you can get a lot of bang for the buck. You'll be in the sweet spot for (sarcoplasmic) hypertrophy, but the weights will still be heavy enough to garner the secondary benefits of bone density etc. Although these sorts of rep ranges have gotten somewhat of a stigma due to the ridiculous marketing of "toning" workouts, if you're doing things like squats, deadlifts, overhead press, weighted lunge, etc you will be WORKED by these things.

Also, you might want to consider subbing one of those long aerobic sessions for something a bit more high intensity. That is, do some sprints (run or bike), which will still challenge the aerobic system, but will be massively lower in volume and will force you to produce some power. Plus, if you're periodically telling your body that it has to move FAST, it might not be so eager to add more weight, as that weight isn't useful for that type of explosive work (the mechanisms are more complex than this, but I find it's a good way to look at it). Just take care to warm up for these efforts VERY thoroughly and don't push yourself to 100% until you're used to the demands.

Another great resource is Dan John, who is a coach and former thrower, who like many has become increasingly concerned with what you need to do to age powerfully as an athlete. He has written prolifically, and here is one article I found quickly on the subject. Just a warning that he writes very stream of conscious and as though he was speaking, so it can be a bit hard to read at first. He believes strongly in hypertrophy and power as the prime goal for the aging athlete. Increased muscle mass will result in more organ reserve (the amount of liver, for example, you have above and beyond what you need at a minimum to survive), and that means protection against a sickness or injury putting you down for the count. For another great resource from an ex athlete who is aging amazingly, check out Marks Daily Apple (an article about organ reserve here).

So in summary, I would say:
1. Mod your lifting workouts to higher rep ranges, use challenging weights, and use large, systemically challenging movements
2. Maybe sub one of the longer rides for sprints and hills, and really try to keep the overall volume of work low on those days
3. Don't stress about cycling/skiing too much, you obviously enjoy these activities and the stress relief they provide is immensely beneficial
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tvenuto
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Re: Ask me your fitness questions

Postby tvenuto » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:54 am

Donut wrote:Is your rotator cuff a muscle?
It's a whole complex of muscles. Rotator cuff.

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