I eat eggs, I’m sure you do too. I mean they are a excellent source of protein and the sight of chicken in the morning isn’t that mouthwatering. So you eat the whites and only the whites right? Well when I diet, I certainly do since it reduces my calories but should you fear the yolk? What’s the truth about eggs and your cholesterol?
You know how it is. You’ve dieted for awhile and you’ve made some great gains then it stopped. You amp up the cardio, workout more and drop your ever decreasing calories and see a tiny, if any, result then it happens all over again. Why do you have a slow metabolism and what do you do about it?
A quick search on google for the term “burn body fat” brings up over 1 million search results so information in plentiful. Unfortunately though, most of the information is your standard article that tell you to do any of the follow
-Do high intensity cardio
-Eat less carbs
-Eat more healthy fat
Remember back to ’74( I wasn’t alive then) and you can recall the buzz that was in the air when the U.S. national academy of science declared that zinc benefits were so powerful that zinc needed to be an essential nutrient. Wait, no you don’t because zinc still doesn’t cause much of a big stir in the health and physique community.
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She grabbed my arm tight and pulled me back. I didn’t know what to expect, I never thought that this women had an aggressive bone in her body. She caught me off-guard so I spun around and in a nice, situation defusing tone, ask “What’s up”? She continued, not that spot, this is the spot as she grabbed her lower stomach and questioned “how do I get rid of this”? A scene that has played in my head over and over again, from both men and women, is the answer to questions that revolve around how to lose lower stomach fat or more importantly how to lower cortisol.
Are teflon pans a danger to your health? How dangerous are teflon pans. Over one year ago the FDA strongly urged companies to immediately stop the production and usage of perfluorooctanoate acids (PFOA). These chemicals are found in teflon pans which is causing everyone to wonder just how dangerous teflon pans are. Recently two Johns Hopkins University studies found that PFOA may contribute to decreased size fo newborn babies. While that isn’t much concern for someone who’s looking to get six pack abs, you need to know that your no matter what six pack diet you use, you won’t get results if you don’t follow this advice.
Lee Haney, the only 8-time Mr.Olympia used to say “assimilate don’t annihilate” when he was talking about volume in a training session. Lee would often tell people that it was at nighttime that that you grew. Then research started coming out showing that muscle protein synthesis was high for upwards of 24 hours post exercise. So people started to think about what they could do to take advantage of their nighttime nutrition.
Nighttime Nutrition 101
After all, if we just trained a muscle, it’s possible to focus on that muscle with your nutrition and ensure that you grow. So if we recover and grow while we’re sleeping them why do we ignore it? Why would we ignore the seven to nine hours and completely miss our bedtime nutrition? Without proper nighttime nutrition our body will need amino acids for energy and if we don’t feed our body then where do you think those amino acids are going to be pulled from? That’s right, our muscles. Don’t take your nutrition at night for granted.
Nighttime Nutrition Step One: Make sure that you’re sleeping enough. No amount of protein or supplements will help you recover and grow if you aren’t getting adequate sleep. No, sleep after you’re drunk doesn’t count. Most people have no clue how delicate the relationship between a healthy metabolism and sleep is, if we sleep less our metabolism gets screwed up.
Look at sleep as two phases (there’s actually five), REM sleep, not Michael Stipe, and deep sleep. Once we hit deep sleep our body will start changing hormone patterns and will put us into a even deeper sleep, almost like a coma. It’s during this period that that our body will try to repair, recover and grow. Once we progress to REM sleep we actually start to wake up, our body starts go through more normal functions (blood pressure increases as does heart rate).
Nighttime Nutrition Step Two: After we assured that we are actually getting a good nights sleep then the next option is to manipulate our hormones naturally. Research shows that testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1 are all elevated at nighttime. So what can we do to make sure that we aid them in increasing? For one, we need to make sure that we aren’t eating any sugar pre-bed. We don’t want our blood sugar levels to fluctuate during the night, instead we want a steady pulse of blood sugar. To accomplish this, make sure that your last meal consists of healthy fats, protein and fiber.
What protein is better and how much protein do you need? Click that link and look deeper into that issue. In short, I really don’t think it matters that much if you choose whey or casein. I would say that to be on the “safe” side, you should go with casein and whey mix.
How to increase growth hormone at night
There are select nutrients which have been proven to increase your growth hormone at night such as
- Arginine is the most popular supplement for nighttime GH boosting but in reality most forms stink. Stick with alpha-ketoglutarate arginine and keep the dose to around 800mg to 1 gram
- Ornithine is another popular amino acid that has been shown to have some nighttime GH boosting benefits but I’m not too sold on it alone. As a matter of fact, pairing it with arginine increases the effectiveness of both amino acids
- CDP choline is a new star for growth hormone release and the science is promising.
I’ve found a formula from Life Extension that works very well for boosting your growth hormone at night and it happens to have all three of these nutrients plus additional supplements in a safe delivery system. For more information check it out here.
Bedtime nutrition for a better body
Nighttime Nutrition Step Three: Now we need to make sure that you’re hydrated. Going to bed dehydrated is like wearing high water pants today. It just isn’t cool. All of the cell processes that happen at night require the cell to be hydrated for optimal work. A hydrated muscle cell is a anabolic muscle cell. Look into adding taurine and glutamine into your diet as well as just drinking enough water throughout the day.
Does eating late at night cause weight gain?
Not if you have proper nutrient balance. As a matter of fact, your quality of sleep matters more,
Nighttime Nutrition Step Four: So we’re getting enough quality sleep, we’re not eating sugar before bed and we’re drinking a whey and casein protein shaker with some essential fatty acids and fibers pre-bed as well as just being hydrated. What else can we go in our pre-bedtime nutrition to ensure that we build muscle and lose fat? Well, we can make sure that our immune system is healthy. Why do we care about our immune system?
A healthy immune system decreases catabolic processes and improves protein synthesis. So how do we improve our immune system. Aside from getting sleep, consuming whey and casein protein as well as glutamine and vitamin C on top of a moderate fat, high protein and low carb diet. A good six pack diet is a great place to start if you are unsure of what type of diet you need to be on.
What foods to eat at night?
Are there specific foods that are better to eat at night? I go back and forth on this issue often. On one hand you have the argument that I’ve been making all article and that is that as long as your calorie consumption is balance throughout the day then you can choose to eat whatever you want at night. Provided you’re carbohydrates and fat are not exceeding your metabolic demands then you’ll be ok. On the other hand I’ve found numerous clients whom I’ve worked with that just do not have the ability to not eat before bed time. For one reason or another, they just need to eat before bed. I’m not captain creative with my meals but here’s some foods to eat at night that won’t cause fat gain.
Nighttime nutrition shake: 30 grams of chocolate whey protein, 1 cup of skim milk cottage cheese, one scoop of natural peanut butter mixed with either water or grass fed skim milk.
For those individuals looking to optimize growth hormone levels pre bed: 10-15 grams of whey protein mixed with a greens product.
Just looking to feel full before bed? Get some fiber in you with a fruit cocktail of 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberry and 1 cup pineapple.
As many things in the fitness and strength field, methods are taken for granted. People eat too many calories for too long, use the same high volume approaches for months and lift with the same intensity for years. While these are obvious statements and identify why many of use dislike the general gym population, the physique enthusiast in us isn’t too far removed from blame.
Sure, we cycle our training and aim to increase muscle mass while losing body fat. We focus on proper nutrition and aim to get more protein in every single day but are we making a cardinal sin by overlooking our cardio?
Without a doubt, yes!
Most people want to cycle their carbs, calories and training but almost no one even considers cardio cycling. Do you ever remember reading a article or talking to someone that was going to cycle their cardio and follow a program like 2 days low then 3 days high then 2 days off? Never!
Everything we do in the gym is a way to manipulate and change our bodies. Want a more musclar back? Well then you’d work to use weight on your pull-ups and increase your deadlift, maybe changing from a floor deadlift to a rack pull, right? Then why do we treat cardio like a constant evil instead of a powerful tool to change our bodies?
We’ll all agree that doing more is the simplest and most basic way of progression right? We can get by with just doing more with weight training for a small period of time. More reps, more weight, it works for a short period of time. Now consider doing more with cardio, aside from the momentary benefits, it doesn’t aid us in losing body fat a whole lot.
Since most of us do cardio while we’re dieting, we need to factor in that our overall training volume is higher in addition to a lower basal metabolic rate as well as decreased anabolic hormones. By using the same form of cardio or the same duration, our bodies become more efficient at doing that work which reduces our energy expenditure. So the only way to off-set this almost guaranteed adaptation is to make the cardio more difficult.
What’s more difficult? There’s actually four different method of cardio cycling to burn more calories
1) Use a different piece of cardio equipment.
Research has shown acute rises in the fat burning hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine when subjects alternated different pieces of cardio equipment. Think about it from a logical perspective for a second. We know that different foot, hand and joint positions during weight training will work the muscle differently and may affect central nervous system fatigue as well. Why wouldn’t we get the same changes with our cardio. We’ll use different muscles on the treadmill versus the stairstepper right?
2) Use more volume
This is the typical approach that is used and as previously mentioned, will be helpful for only so long. A typical volume progression would look like this
Week 1: 30 minutes
Week 2: 35 minutes
Week 3:40 minutes
Not bad if you are just starting out but as mentioned above, your body will become more efficient at performing the cardio thus burning less and less calories per session. So after awhile, you’ll have to do more time to burn the same calories. Not a good model after a few weeks.
3) Increase the intensity
If you are performing steady state cardio all you need to do is steadily increase the intensity level that you work at.
Week 1: You’d work at an intensity level of a 3 for 25 minutes
Week 2: You’d work at an intensity level of a 4 for 25 minutes
Week 3: You’d work at an intensity level of a 5 for 25 minutes
If you’re performing interval training then you can either increase the level of your work interval or reduce the time in your rest interval.
4) Add more weight
This is done for the crowd that likes bodyweight or track training. Simply throwing a X-vest or any other weight vest on will allow you to slowly increase the load that’s used during your training.
When To Cycle ?
Now comes the whole point of the article, when to cycle. See, it’s not just about getting more out of your cardio. It’s about burning more bodyfat. Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to a general population that is just following a strict Atkins type of diet. Most athletes or physique enthusiasts will at some point vary their eating habits. Most individuals will consume their carbohydrates with breakfast and post workout and will vary calorie amounts based on what they are training in the gym.
In that case, the most effective time to perform more intense cardio would be on a low carbohydrate day. Provided enough protein is eaten, you won’t be at the risk of losing muscle and you’ll further enhance your fat burning state that you are in due to your nutritional requirements that day. If you wanted to build your quads, for example, then the quad day would be a high carbohydrate day followed by a short amount of lower intensity cardio or a day completely off of cardio, done in an attempt to ensure that those nutrients are pushed toward building your quads.
That’s cardio cycling..
Here’s a good podcast explaining how to cardio cycle for six pack abs in greater detail.