How Can I Work On My Stamina, Endurance & Put on Some Buff at the Same Time? You Know, Just Like Rocky.
Well, that depends on what your current status is, how much time and effort you want to put into the project and whether you believe in luck.
The physiological pathways for each of these activities are startlingly dissimilar. Perhaps, in many ways even antagonistic.* [See Footnote Below]*.
Although we haven’t yet determined the ultimate limitation of the human body and brain, we can safely assume the existence of some of them by observation, measurement, and experimentation. Human beings often have the annoying habit of breaking the things that we assume were unbreakable. Reality is the hand that rolls the dice and the dice come out the way reality rolls ’em. A little chat about some of the players in the game needing to be considered to see what might work.
is a protein involved in a myriad of physiological functions relating to the bio-synthetic generation of muscle tissue and is stimulated during resistance training. mTor is not happy when it’s hungry and likes to be fed.
is another protein, it comes out to play after you complete a bout of cardiovascular or endurance training. AMPK is intimately involved in the processes of and . AMPK likes to go hungry and tends to disappear when you stop at McDonald’s for that Double McCheese, McCoke & McFries. This is because, a long time ago, when Man had to beware of all those Sabre-Toothed Whatever-They-Were’s and run away ASAP when they appeared on the scene, AMPK rightly surmised that if you had the time, presence-of-mind and leisure to stop for a Big Mac, its services were no longer in demand or required.
Basically, the gang of processes run by the gang leader mTor doesn’t get along with the AMPK gang boss and his gang of processes. Sometimes they do cooperate on jobs or drug deals, but usually, they are unfriendly to each other, prefer to fight and like to do battle for the neighborhood turf.
Now, what all this means to us normal guys (and gals) is that we are going to have to play at being policemen to keep the practicable peace. We need to ensure that these two gangs interfere as little as possible and stay as far apart as we can get them to stay.
And here is how, as simply as possible, we might attempt to do that:
- Schedule your Resistance training on alternate days to your CV/Endurance training. Ensure that your resistance-trained-self remains well fed, before and after your date with the pumping iron.
- The more time that you can place between your CV/Endurance/Distance training and your Resistance training, the better.
- The more feedings that you can manage to place between your bouts of resistance training and CV/Endurance training, the better. This is especially true, if you are going to ignore Point 1 above or run into time management problems that require same-day training.
- If you just can’t manage to separate the different animals of your training menagerie, consider incorporating a 20 minute HIIT add-on as an alternative to LSD (Long, Slow Distance).
- Keep your CV/Endurance self as hungry as possible. AMPK initiates fat-burning processes and continues its work for hours after your run. Who really enjoys running on a full stomach or scarfing down a Chinese takeaway directly after an exhausting run, anyway?
- It’s convenient and tempting to get it all in an MMA-style training session, i.e. run, bike, swim, punching frozen sides of beef, kicking walls, wrestling trees into kindling and lifting all in one big, tough, grueling session. You want to be Rocky, and you think that’s the way Rocky trains. Only in the movies. So use your head.
The suggestions above are just that, general suggestions. The mechanics and their specifics will be where the work is. YOUR WORK! And hard, tough, disciplined work it will be.
Remember, you’re not training for your next $ million $ UFC championship bout. You’re trying to run a marathon and put some buff on.
FOOTNOTE: Hopefully, no real scientist will bother to read this answer, as I have had to simplify a lot of things to make my point for practical use.
Should I, however, be so unlucky as to catch a real researcher or professional sports scientist killing some reading time here, he is quite likely to send me over a very nasty scolding indeed about the irresponsibility of my dumbing things down. And quite rightly, too!
Motivation, what exactly in the name of Horus is it, anyway?
Why it’s just the golden gossamer sprinkles of fairies’ dust on the delicate edge of angels’ wings.
Or is it?
The question for the average pragmatic Jane or Joe remains: “where to find it, how to get it and keep it?” I need it handy, always at the ready when the fancy strikes me. I want to keep my motivational lucky charm in my pocket, along with my keys. I want to keep it close, to feel the warmth, sure that it is there, safe and secure, always.
Ah well, mi companero,
He/She has to, it’s a worm eat worm jungle out there.
It’s daunting. Absolutely daunting, when you consider just how many millions of points on the internet supply influential advice on this particular topic ala Tony Robbins, Oprah & Co.
So, here it is. My paltry $0.02 contribution, tossed irresponsibly into the humungous and still growing bank balance of confusion:
I started working out at home, a little two-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica off of Ocean Ave. with something called awhen I was 16 or 17 years old. I was just this scrawny, ugly, spotty kid in very bad shape, the proverbial 98 lb. weakling living with his mom. I bought it off of the local QVC FITNESS TV channel for $20. A lot back then, in fact, all I had.
I began to train randomly, cluelessly, stubbornly, slowly, desperately trying to learn how to be healthy and strong. I trained ceaselessly as if my life depended on it…as it most certainly did.
Yes, it’s really kind of funny how things turn out. Now at 60, living in the UK, still training, still pushing, still assuming the best stuff isn’t behind me, I have done it this way, pretty much non-stop for the last 40 years or so…You know, Old dogs & all that malarky. Oh, yes I run afor a living. I’ve been doing this for the last 30 years or so. I have no plans for retiring anytime soon. Although to be totally honest, I am not quite sure that I’ve ever had a real job, whatever that might be. Ok, so enough of ancient histories.
Most of us believe (or hope, or pray) that motivation is like a bus that schedules its stops right outside our houses, happily beeping its horn while patiently waiting around until we get it together enough to saunter on out, the pleasantly smiling driver politely holds that bus door open for us, just because we’re special.
Not in my experience. No, not the way it works at all, as far as I know. Let’s be a little cocky today and say that Motivation is more like a pit-bull chasing down a postman. The postman is scared out of his wits, we think it’s the dog, but it may be something else. That poor bastard postman, with his silly hat on backward, all-hell-bent-for-leather madly pedaling away as fast as he can go on his rickety old bike. You can just see it, can’t you?
Lest it grows dull and worn, motivation is the allegorical blade that one is obliged to keep sharp, day after day after day. It is an ephemeral and temperamental weapon, only useful in proportion to the ability of the one who wields it to ensure it’s shininess, brightness and sharpness.
‘Sup, man. So, just how are you supposed to keep this all-mighty blade so nice, so sharp, so shiny, holmes?
Well readers, an answer to that one, but one that by no means is likely to satisfy or attract many likes (and probably even fewer loves), is this:
It depends on what you have at hand. Perhaps it’s a rock, a bootstrap, another piece of metal, a diamond, your shirt sleeve, the bark of a tree. Or perhaps it’s the thought of the respect of a potential loved one, the painful memory of the bully whose idea of a good time was a boot in your face, or simply blind ambition…or maybe it’s just a cheap, cheesy thing bought off late-night TV long ago when you were 17.
First, a couple of quotes to kick off this short discussion from two of my favorite icons, as my real intention is to use this question to look at slightly larger, more broadly defining issues.
Old age ain’t no place for sissies. Betty Davis
Nobody wants to get old. But the common alternative sucks. Keith Richards
For some types of individuals, the use of testosterone replacement is a resolutely safer and more preferable choice than the alternative. Someone’s Goal is to exert enough pressure to get you into that golden rocking chair and thinking “ oh well, at least you get wiser as you get older,” arguably a piss-poor rationalization for the loss of a set of youthful qualities & characteristics that most of us would prefer not to trade up from.
Mama Nature is more concerned with the endgame of preserving your gene line than She is of preserving you. More or less finished with you and ready to cast you out on your own and to fend for yourself somewhere deep into your 30’s, She has a disheartening habit of bringing attention to this disappointing evolutionary configuration in a variety of particularly nasty & unpleasant ways. Gradually switching your override nervous system from a parasympathetic (feed & breed, anabolic) setting to a more sympathetic (fight or flight, catabolic) orientation by, amongst other diabolical machinations, slowly shutting down the efficiency of your endocrine machinery. This is just for starters. No need for me to go on talking the whole long depressing litany of potentially looming malfunctions and quality-of-life degradations awaiting you, is there? We’d all be crying into our beers in no time.
Stiffen your backbone a little and pause to reflect, gird your loins and begin to consider a more optimistic life outlook involving a mental orientation encompassing the possibility of a shift to another, more robust set of gears. Don’t be a knavish slave to those “commonly known facts” purloined and made too accessible by the common ken. No matter how seemingly insurmountable and profoundly disappointing these facts may seem at close range, overpowering in the potency of the noxious aroma of ignorance and mindless repetition, however depressingly dark the seepage of the eternally simmering soup cauldron of public knowledge turns out to be, don’t lose hope. There are always opportunities for out-of-the-box action experiences. The world is filled with second chances to re-direct the destiny that someone else may envision for you, but you have other plans for. Hang tough.
Supplements such as Bulbine, Long Jack, Horny Goat Weed, D-Aspartic Acid are possible testosterone boosters but may be of questionable value for upgrading the flagging resources of aging males. Here also lies the utility of Bio-identical hormone replacement technologies like testosterone replacement. These, the coming SARM technologies and developing gene therapies hold promise as reasonably good protocols to be used as weapons in our battle arsenal to stave off the relentless onslaught of time & despicable decrepitude. Hang tough.
Sure, it may turn out to be a double-edged sword, containing certain caveats and risks inherent in the use of these things. Learn to make informed choices, learn as much about the subject matter as you can tolerate. Knowledge is always good for decreasing the chance of mishaps and silly mistakes as well as a boon to increasing your levels of fitness and floating high above the water line. Curiosity and self-education are vital survival skills, as well as often turning out to be fun and full of surprise activities.
Exercise, nutritional and supplemental strategies, proper sleep and breathing techniques, the whole cornicopiac arsenal of proper mental and physical hygiene practices are going to be required, also. Do not be foolishly lazy in your endeavors. Remember, your opponent is no slouch. Apply the tools at hand constantly and with ruthless intention.
Mistah Grim’s job is to get you. The hooded mystery man on his awful steed steadfastly gallops full tilt in your direction and has well and truly mastered the savage administration of his dark arts and lethal tasks. Don’t underestimate him or take things naively for granted, he’s fond of his work and relentless in its pursuit. Don’t be a sucker, give the matter the attention that it warrants.
Don’t give the man what he wants, the resolution of such weighty matters depends on the strength of your refusal.
How difficult you decide you’re gonna make His Unnerving Presence’s hatchet job, of course, is up to you. The choice that you can “just give up” because it makes things easier is always lurking obliquely, crouched sinisterly, close at hand.
I won’t discuss whole food sources of protein here. Not because I don’t like them or want to slap Mother Nature in the face, the simple reason is that these sources offer up a protein that is wrapped in a more complex type of packaging. This packaging consisting of fats, carbohydrates, fibers and other materials is not inherently bad, in fact quite the opposite, but it often decreases the alacrity of the processes used to digest it. It also makes for a topic that can fill a book and some people might say that this blog is already much too long, as is.
When I began to train in the 1970s, the main sources of protein powder back in the day were calcium caseinate and egg albumin. In the US, there were two main commercial suppliers of these products: Joe Weider and RheoBlair. As a result of this limited choice, the commercially available products were mediocre tasting (I can still remember the heady aroma permeating my little bedsit after popping the top off a new can of the stuff), lactose laden mixes that you could, with lots of milk added, just about be able to digest. Although, probably not without producing enough natural gas to run a small power plant.
Yes, as with other technologies, food processing tech has come far.
What usually (but not always) is the problem with digesting the various forms of dairy protein (arguably, the most convenient and highest bio-available protein source) is the difficulty for the majority of us to digest lactose satisfactorily.
While food processing technology is commonly considered the devil’s handmaiden, mischievously compounding a whole cornucopia of health and environmental havoc with its modern host of Frankenfoods, sometimes it does manage to furnish the discriminating consumer with useful solutions.
De-lactosed pre-digested hydrolyzed whey protein isolate is one of the more beneficial solutions that high-tech food processing makes available and is hard to beat, as far as a rapidly, easily digested protein source is concerned.
I want to spend as much time fasting as possible. Could I still put on muscle by just allowing myself a 2-3 hour eating window?
Nutrition is not a black or white proposition. It is more like a rainbow of possible opportunities and pathways, at the end of which, as long as you get it right, a nice reward, or even a 6-pack awaits you!
Food is not a church, although many nutritional evangelists seem to want to get you down on your knees to pray and make believe it is. Foodstuffs are not inherently Good or Evil, at least not without a proper context. Nor is Nutrition a science. At least not yet. There are still too many unknown variables and shaky hypotheses, too few concrete theories. But one of these days it is likely to be a science, as the mechanisms of genes become more explicated and the genome superhighway gets better sign-postings.
Too many questions about nutrition are framed in a wrong-headed, black or white, back-to-front manner. Question like: “am I a ______________(good, bad, evil. unhealthy…you fill in the space) person because I had a beer last night”, “will I be damned and on the fast lane to Food Hell if I eat_________ (donuts, gummy bears or non-organic bananas, etc) ?” “or will I shrink down to the dimensions of a pencil-neck-geek if I don’t like to eat T-bone steaks at least 3 times-a-day?”
Human nutrition comes in all the colours of a rainbow. It has many if-and-&-but” sorts of questions which apply. A multitude of points need to be taken into consideration when trying to figure out a best-practice strategy of organizing things.
Back to the point, a simple answer to your question is, yes you can. But the question which might be better asked is “is this the most optimal, efficient & efficacious way to eat for the particular goal that I want to achieve?”
If the main goal is to get leaner, the answer is “yes”. If the main goal is putting on as much muscle as possible in the least amount of time, the answer then is “probably not.”
Genetics has a great deal to do with how you respond to various nutrients and eating patterns. The issue here is probably going to be the size of the feeding or meal that will be necessary. A day’s worth of proteins, carbs, and fats are going to have to be wolfed down at a rather high rate of speed in order to climb through the window of eating opportunity that you’ve drawn for yourself.
If the “Seldom but Big” meal pattern happens to work for you, great. But do ensure that it is working and that you’re not simply making believe something is working. Keep a record of things. And, should it turn out to work…
…the proof’s in the pudding.
You don’t, you just try to lose more fat than muscle tissue on the way down.
The “Bulk-Up to Cut-Down” is a classic, Old Skool tried-and-truely-bro-tested method made famous by bodybuilders such as Lee Priest.
Offseason the Blond Myth was rumoured to tip the scales at the top end of 300lbs. and then grind down to step onstage at around 210lbs. At a stature of 5′5″, this truly qualifies him as one impressive myth, blond or otherwise!
But there are also many, many bodybuilders who either never bounced their body weight, or never made a serious habit of using this technique in their contest prep during their professional careers. Other bodybuilders, including myself, may have indulged from time to time in a little piggishness after a competition, gained 10-20 kilos, got sick of looking and feeling liked stuffed hogs, lost the chub and a month or two later were back in the saddle and right back to work after our fat little holiday. The alternative strategy that these builders used was to gradually climb up the weight ladder, slowly putting on quality lean muscle to topout on the big day. This technique ensured that an athlete was in good shape, ready for a photo op all year around.
Unless you are rather genetically gifted and/or highly chemically-enhanced, I think that the best one can hope for is a 75/25compromise when talking about muscle gain vs fat loss. I think that this ratio, at least for most of us mere mortals, is going to be at the frontier of the achievable.
Here’s how it goes (with a little good luck angel perched loyally on your shoulder and a lot of intestinal fortitude, cunning and hard work one might be able to best this):
Bulking Best Can Do: for every kilo of weight gain you get 750g muscle MAX and 250g fat MIN.
Cutting Best Can Do: for every Kilo cut, you lose 750g fat MAX and 250g muscle MIN.
Be aware of three things: . 1) The faster you gain weight, the higher the likelihood this weight gain will be more fat than muscle; 2) The quicker you lose weight, the higher the probability most of that weight loss will be lean muscle mass; and 3) this is a heuristic, one that is true according to me and my paltry personal and professional experiences (not scientifically proven facts). But, with over 40 or so years in the business, there isn’t anyone that I have come across or can think of who has bested this observation. They might claim to. But after a little deeper scrutiny, these claims don’t hold up. Sorry, not much in the way of free lunches concerning this matter.
Nevertheless, should you decide to go the Way of the Bulk, here are a few light suggestions:
- Go Keto. But not classic Keto. A modified Low-Carb plan would be the best diet discipline to use in this case. However, you will want a higher intake of protein than the classic ketogenic diet allows. Some of this protein may be transformed in your body to carbohydrate (a process known as gluconeogenesis), but it is expensive and your body spends a great deal of calories to do this. Maintaining a high protein profile may kick you out of ketosis, but staying in Keto is not your main objective, maintaining lean muscle tissue is. Consider supplementing with commercially available keto-salts, they taste like 3-day-old bilge water, but have the potential to be quite useful here.
- Experiment with cortisol controlling, stress reducing activities and anti-cortisol supplements (check out a website such as , or otherwise do some research and experimentation.Don’tjust take for granted things that guys on Quora or YouTube tell you. Your job is to make sure that things that people tell you will work, actually do work! Most often people don’t want to use any elbow grease or spend the necessary to make sure it does what it says on the tin.
- If you’re going to go for a run or do some cardio, make it aHIIToriented type of activity rather than LSD or DOA (long, slow distance or drawn out activity, as the less intense, longer duration activities do seem to me better at chewing up valuable muscle mass than accelerating the loss of fat tissue during dieting.
Why do people who don’t train seem to think it’s pretty easy to get muscles and hard to lose them? I think what they think is just dumb.
Yes, it does indeed sometimes seem the less that people know about a subject, the surer they are about it.
The opposite of hypertrophy is atrophy and it is much easier to reverse muscular hypertrophy than to instigate it.
Oddly enough, having big muscles is not a fundamental survival attribute in most environments. It also appears to be a pretty metabolically expensive tissue to support. In fact, it has been so important in the past for the body to limit the production of muscle tissue, there are a set of genes that 95%+ of the population carries encoding a special protein called Myostatin, whose only function is to limit muscle growth. Bummer! Bummer big time.
In times of starvation, whenever the body is forced into a fasting state when the intake of protein is suboptimal (as in instances of Kwashiorkor), it preferentially uses this type of tissue first, prior to moving on to fat stores. It is well to remember this next time you want to jump on a crash diet.
If you immobilize muscle, as is the case of a broken arm or leg for which a cast is required, or you are forced into an extended bout of bed rest due to ill health, it is incredible how quickly atrophy is evidenced.
Stroke, paralysis and certain diseases that compromise the nervous system (i.e. M.S., M.E., etc.) have profound effect on muscle growth, muscle tissue support and are major causative factors contributing to muscle atrophy. Oh, yes and don’t forget the disease of Old Age and its handmaiden, sarcopenia.
Just sitting around the house for a little too long while binge-watching G.O.T. and popping the tops off a few too many beers will also usually do the same trick.
Anyway, to finally answer your original question: your non trainers are simply practicing a mindset called cognitive dissonance.
Sometimes. It can raise testosterone levels, although only for relatively short periods of time. As far as it causing more of a hypertrophic response than some other approach, well that depends on many things, including your genetics.
There is not a simple association between lifting heavy weights and increased testosterone, no simple corollary exists. Science hasn’t confirmed the hypothesis, as it presently stands. Of course, some studies have shown a transient or temporary response, but even this seems to fit a Bell Curve type of response. Much more likely to increase your Test levels are whether your team won the local football match or that bone-headed turkey on the next bar stool pinches your girlfriend’s behind.
Physiological response to the lifting of heavy weights is complex and multifaceted, dependent on many components: nutritional status, age, training history, injury status, drug use, sex, mindset, session time, rest/sleep condition and genetics to name but a few of these variables.
The ultimate potential to respond via a rise in testosterone to anything, including heavy weights, can pretty confidently be associated with several genes and their combinations existent in your genotype. You are challenging the body’s homeostasis when you start pumping heavy iron. Some will respond to this threat better than others and at least part of this response will certainly have a hormonal component.
During intense training, you will see a testosterone curve initially rise, continue training and you will see it decline and then a cortisol curve will take over. This is just how the body responds and attempts to deal with stressors and perceived threats, a general adaption syndrome (thank you,).
My guess is that, should science ever establish a verifiable long-term relationship, it will have more to do with gene expression and adaptation to factors dependent on an individual’s lifestyle modifications with regard to consistent, heavy resistance training which may be just one, amongst many factors that ultimately influence how buff you get.
Q: Does cryotherapy, things like cold packs, cold showers, ice baths and jumping into the sea when it’s 12C or below interfere with muscle hypertrophy?
A: Possibly. And here’s why:
Cryotherapeutic techniques can be beneficial if you sprain your ankle or tear a muscle, reducing the body’s tendency to overcompensate inflammatory responses in case of injury. Ice baths, cold showers, compresses may be exhilarating, reduce post-training pain, but probably achieve this at a price.
You may be able to shed some weight and toughen yourself up through the hormetic (reminder: topic for another blog) effect of these activities. But, there is also the real possibility of interfering and suppressing the actions of intrinsic precursor catabolic processes necessary to stimulate subsequent anabolic, muscle building outcomes that these processes depend heavily on to initiate.
Have a look at this ink fromsome back up for this statement. It discusses the negative effects of ice baths after resistance & strength training. You are going to need to tread carefully, think about what’s happening when you’re bombing, blitzing and blasting your way through a workout. Consider the hows, whys and wherefores of the body’s adaptation to stress and damage and then weigh the advantages vs the disadvantages of using anti-inflammatory measures to get in their way, whether it be by using supplements (anti-oxidants, VitC & E), anti-inflammatories (aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylex, etc.) or cryotherapies.
You’re gonna have to pay your pain and inflammation dues in order to avoid singing the hypertrophy blues.
Lets just call it the cost of doing business in the world of muscle. And leave it at that.
Everybody Tells Me That It’s Better To Eat and Train After I Wake Up as Early in the Morning as Possible and I’m A Loser If I Don’t Do As They Say.
Well, sometimes everybody’s just a damned nincompoop.
There are those of the tribe of early risers who will assure you that the best part of the day is before 06:00 and that they are in some sure but unspoken way superior to all who are not up, as they are, with the crowing cocks.
Everybody knows that morning training is better, and the early, the better right? It seems that unless you’re in a rock & roll band, those early birds are going to catch the worms and the rest of us are just out of luck.
Historically, both getting up and eating late have been considered “BAD”. You are just a lazy, dozy, self-indulgent no-good so-and. You will never amount to anything, most probably winding up on skid row with a wine bottle in your hand and vomit on your shirt if the sun is up before you are.
Assuming that training and eating after you wake up in dawn’s crack is better than training (at least, as far as resistance training goes) and eating before you go to sleep is like pretending that Mick Jagger sings because he’s a good worm catcher. It’s just bullocks on stilts.
Early risers vs. night owls, individuals vary wildly in determining that sweet spot when they feel that are at their best. And so, the best time to train and eat that all important post-training meal depends on your lifestyle, biorhythms, previous experience and genetics.
I’ve been in bodybuilding since I was 17 years old and have seen or met many champions who have trained in the morning (Reg Park, Bill Pearl and Frank Zane), in the afternoon (The Metzners, Dave Draper, Ronnie Coleman, Ken Waller) and late at night (Sergio Oliva, Serge Nubret, Pete Grimkowski, Vince Taylor). And of course, the great Arnold, who in his prime would train twice a day for 2-3 hours at any time that he could fit it in his busy schedule. Arnold would go on to say that never allowing his body to get used to any habit was the secret to his success.
Enough of the testimonial thing and telling stories, I don’t want to be accused of “bro-sciencing” anybody. So, let’s see what science has to say about it:
Resistance-type exercise performed in the evening augments the overnight muscle protein synthetic response to presleep protein ingestion and allows more of the ingested protein-derived amino acids to be used for de novo myofibrillar protein synthesis during overnight sleep.
In plain english, this study in fact indicates that training and ingesting protein afterwards before sleep increases the synthesis of new muscle fibres.
Ok, still not convinced, here’s another one:
Pre-Sleep Protein Ingestion to Improve the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise Training.  When applied during a prolonged period of resistance-type exercise training, protein supplementation prior to sleep can further augment gains in muscle mass and strength. Recent studies investigating the impact of pre-sleep protein ingestion suggest that at least 40 g of protein is required to display a robust increase in muscle protein synthesis rates throughout overnight sleep. Furthermore, prior exercise allows more of the pre-sleep protein-derived amino acids to be utilized for de novo muscle protein synthesis during sleep. In short, pre-sleep protein ingestion represents an effective dietary strategy to improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, thereby improving the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training.
A wise man will often make more opportunities than he finds.
Sir Francis Bacon.