BodyWorks: Just Get Fit.

Quick & easy: how do you know when you’ve achieved Nutritional Ketosis?

Checking whether or not you’re in Ketosis isn’t much of a chore, nor need it be daunting and complicated.

Many people either seem to believe that they don’t need to check that they’re in KETO [WRONG], that they can just ”know” or feel that they are (maybe they can, maybe not); or that finding out if they are in KETO is a complicated matter, like becoming a freemason [WRONG again].

The two Ketone Bodies that you’re concerned with are Acetoacetate and BetaHydroxyButyrate (BHB).

The simplest one of these two to find is Acetoacetate, the chemical that causes your breath to smell of acetone. This brings up the point that the odour of acetone on your breath is a very easy practical way to tell if you’re in Ketosis. In other words, it rarely gives you a false positive and you can use it quite happily as an indicator.

  • If your breath smells like acetone, you’re in.
  • If your breath doesn’t smell of acetone, does that mean you’re out? NO. Some people are just more susceptible to this type of bad breath than others (probably due to certain characteristics of their gut microbiome).
  • If you’re not using the smell of your breath to find your status, the other easy way is to use KETOstix or a similar brand to easily test the level of acetoacetate that your body is excreting in urine. You can buy a little packet or canister of these handy little tool on Amazon for about £10.

Now, for geeks, like myself, blood BHB meters are widely available online for about £50. These involve pricking your finger with a little microchipped lancet and having the device analyse your blood for any BHB molecules swimming around in it. Not necessary, but fun (at least for people like me).

During the day, there are two optimal times for testing:

  1. Before breakfast
  2. An hour or two after supper and prior to bed.

Be warned, testing after the gym quite often leads to disappointment. This is usually because exercise will break down any glycogen stores that still may be clandestinely stored in little packets around the body, releasing enough glucose in the bloodstream to boot you out of Ketosis for a while.

Being a Mad Scientist and Experimenting on Yourself is often Fun and can be Educational.

Besides Food & Weights, What Else Is Important For Building Muscle?

It often requires more than a single tool.

Certain qualities of the mind, i.e. things available in your mental and emotional tool chest:

  • The habit of focusing and staying focused
  • Your stubborn refusal to quit
  • A predilection for forgoing short term satisfaction in favor of long term gains
  • A ruthlessly positive mindset
  • The capacity to learn from your mistakes
  • Resiliency: your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Sometimes old tools can do the job that new tools can’t.

Understanding your body type and diet for muscle building

Taking into account your own body type and nutritional needs is key to building muscle and getting lean in the gym. Diet and nutrition is as much a part of muscle building as simply pushing weights, so a well-rounded approach of eating right and training hard yields real results. Your training program will depend on your body type, what end results you’re aiming for, and your current abilities, so taking into account all of these factors will combine into a well-oiled gym and lifestyle programme. Bodyworks Gym in Guernsey is here to tell you how to ensure the right nutrition for muscle building dependent on your body type.

Weight Training: The Three Main Body Types

In a weight training gym, you will typically notice three main body types. These body types determine how you should approach your training and nutrition:

The ectomorph body type is a hard gainer with a typically petite body and long limbs, a low percentage of body fat, and slow weight gain. Visible muscle gain comes more difficult to this body type because of their lighter frame and lower mass. The ectomorph needs carb-heavy nutrition in order to build mass and a calorie surplus of healthy fats, fruit, vegetables, and high levels of protein.

The endomorph type is a soft gainer with a rounded, broader physique with wider hips in both men and women. Fat deposits are quickly gained around the waist, hips, and thighs. The endomorph body type has a slow metabolism but fast development of muscle mass and fat deposits. The endomorph is the body type that needs to carefully discipline their nutrition because of their higher probability of gaining weight and fat, but fast ability to develop muscle. A diet low in carbs and fat is strongly advised, but high amounts of protein in meals are a must for building muscle whilst leaning up.

The mesomorph body type is typically an athletic body type with broad shoulders, powerful arms and legs and a slender waist. They have high muscle mass and are usually very athletic, so they have rapid success when building muscle. If you have a mesomorph body type, you also need a carb-heavy diet during the day, but reduced carbs in the evening and, as always, plenty of protein and fluids too.

These three body types are by no means meant to pigeonhole weight trainers, but instead to help most understand how their natural physique influences their tendency or lack thereof to put on weight, build muscle mass, and the rate at which their body changes visibly and in performance ability.

Your Relationship to Carbohydrates and Proteins

Protein is essential to building muscles. It doesn’t just build muscle, but it supports your body during recovery and regeneration.  Nobody needs to tell you this, because as a gym-goer this isn’t news to you. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, shouldn’t be a dirty word in the gym. Carbs fuel your body and are the main source of energy for your muscles. Only with the proper intake – even for endomorph body types – can you sustain permanent progression during weight training. In diets that need a more controlled intake, saving some of your carbohydrate intake for pre-gym fuel is a good way of ensuring your muscles are powered whilst you still keep a close handle on your nutritional intake.

Weight training is a discipline that requires drive, grit, and power, so naturally you also need to have a disciplined and conscious nutritional intake too. At Bodyworks Gym we are not only weight training gym in Guernsey focussed on your perfected performance, but we also take nutritional advice very seriously. Join us today to amplify your power.

Which muscles are the most limited by genetics? Some of mine seem to grow a lot slower than others.

Perhaps the question ought to be:

Which one isn’t?

You’ve probably heard this before, but ”it is depends on your genes’ and it depends on the proteins and other assorted growth factors that they express.

So therefore we must point our shotgunat the target, pull the trigger and hit all of them.

The concept of Anatomical Variation is a ubiquitous, highly influential factor dictating the shape, symmetrical & size characteristics of many anatomical features (or even, if a muscle is there at all) and displays some truly astonishing examples of differences in the general population.

Let’s take as a small example, the palmaris longus. In 86% of the population it is a tiny muscle on the underside of the lower forearm, proximal to the wrist. The unlucky minority of the rest of us (me included) lack it. Oh, well…I guess that we don’t really need it, anyway.

But gee, it sure looks good.

Palmaris Longus

No Palmaris Longus ☹️

Another example is the pyramidalis, nice little triangular shaped muscles in the lower abdomen located bilaterally on either side of the linea alba.

Tragically, 20% of us don’t have them.

Some people only have 6-packs, others 8.

Only two simple examples of muscles limited to non-existence by genetics. Missing muscle groups are really not that uncommon, but you can’t build what’s not there. As far as bodybuilders are concerned, absent muscles are the cruelest punishment for Original Sin that Great-Anatomist-In-The-Sky could possibly dish out to us.

Now the other hand, there are other, exceedingly rare cases, that result from an alteration (mutation) to a single nucleotide polymorphism (snp) affecting the MSTN gene, resulting in the absence of myostatin,.

Individuals with this genetic mutation have few limitations that put a limit or restrict muscle growth. This absence of a governing factor results in a proportionally large number of fast twitch muscle fibres and double-musculature. This blessed occurrence of genetic divinity , as far as bodybuilders are concerned, is the muscle-head’s equivalent of The Holy Grail or The Lord’s Provision of Manna (Exodus 16:14).

Just take a look at this guy in the photo below:

Behold here what the power of a single genetic mutation has wrought!

Consider this magnificent creature for a moment: he appears as a sort of impossible, heavily muscled prehistoric beast of epic mythic proportion. His immense size, all this muscle has been created without the hoisting of so much as a single bench press, deadlift or squat! (He really is a very lucky guy…well, at least until the local butcher shows up looking for a some Prime Cut).


Astounding, isn’t it?

Is it really true that you can only absorb 25g of protein at a time?

Monsters are not limited to 25g of protein per serving.

There’s a variety of urban myth out there which attempts to convince the gullible public that human beings are confined to a protein absorption threshold limit of 25g per meal.

This is far from clearly established. The actuality of this ‘’limit’’ has not been reconciled with anything resembling a properly conducted scientific study, the opposite in fact is probably the case.

The origin of this 30g protein limit comes from some work done on protein powder absorption administered in isolation from other nutrients (no carbs or fats), suggesting that the percentage of amino acids oxidised (for our purposes = wasted or possibly stored as fat) increases with increased amounts of protein supplemented.

It is somewhat more plausible that there exists daily (24–25 hr) limit for protein absorption of roughly 2.2–2.5 g/kg of body mass. At these levels, the anabolic effect of further increased protein intake may not be completely cost effective. But this is conclusion is also not entirely clear and appears to depend on all sorts of other individual variables such as:

  • the nature of other macronutrients and foods taken at the same time
  • age
  • health status
  • drug intake (all sorts of drugs (other than anabolic steroids) will have influence on protein metabolism
  • Physical activity (yes,bodybuilders and other athletes do have an increased need for protein)
  • Stress levels
  • Gender
  • Individual microbiome (gut microbiota present within each individual).
This thing sure looks like more than a mouthful of protein!

If Humans Have Been Drinking Milk For Ages, Why Does It Seem That Recently There Has Been A General Rise In Allergic Reactions To It?

Don’t look at us…we didn’t do it!

It is lactose intolerance, (the lack of the ability to digest the sugar lactose found in dairy) that you are probably interested in here, not the allergy to the various protein fractions contained in milk, that’s another (and much more serious) matter entirely.

An average of roughly 65% of the world population falls under the classification of lactose intolerant[1] varying between regions, from less than 10% in Northern Europe, to as high as 95% in parts of Asia and Africa.[2] This intolerance looks to be the default gene setting in many populations, with the exception of relatively smaller percentage of dairy-dependent populations whose gene mutations seem to have selected in favour of the conservation of the mutation of a lactase persistent set of genes. Members of these lactase persistent populations maintain the ability to manufacture roughly 10 times the average amount of lactase (the main enzyme responsible for the digestion of lactose) than that which is produced by individuals in the lactose intolerant population. These fortunate individuals routinely and happily consume large amounts of milk and associated dairy products with no problem whatsoever.

It has often been suggested that modern processing methods like homogenization, pasteurization, etc. are directly responsible for the supposed rise in intolerance. This is nonsense. As, mentioned above, the causative factor is almost entirely the result of a default gene mode, i.e. a dominant genetic trait for the underproduction of the lactase enzyme. The basic issue here is of completely genetic origin, not some menacing technological frankensteination of an earlier, supposedly more innocent, beautiful and pristine food product.

Technology, food technology particularly, may have the sins of the fathers[3]on its collective conscience and blood under its well manicured fingernails, history provides countless examples of its f**kups, but technology also tends to provide salvation in the form of the tools with which to clean up its messes… and no, this is not one of them.

Caveat Emptor

The drinking of milk and consuming of associated dairy products dates from roughly 8000 BC.. This habit coincides with the advent of agriculture and the beginning of the domestication of farm animals. I think that it would be fair to say that the ability to digest dairy products could be considered a helpful survival adaptation. Individuals who do not carry this ability to digest lactose might not necessarily be in a advantageous position should other types of food sources become scarce or depleted.

Estimates for the total world population 10,000 years ago run around 5 millions. Currently, in 2019, the world population is 7.7 billion. That makes the current population 1540 times greater now than it was in 8000 BC.

If 65% of the current world pop. is lactose intolerant, that’s just over 5 billion currently labeled with this condition. A rather alarmingly large amount of people to have walking around with embarrassing digestive problems, unpleasantly biliousness, presumably making a significant contribution to global warming through their intense methane and H2S production, isn’t it?

Not quite as bad as burning the Amazonian Rain Forest to a cinder or lighting up Arabian Oil Fields, but still, giving all the poor methane producing farm creatures those Militant Vegetarian Extremest have been indicting and pointing their boney fingers at a reason to point back.

So, to wrap this up and answer your question, the reason that it seems that milk intolerance is on the rise is the same reason it appears that incidences of gluten and peanut intolerances are on the rise, arguably more access to the products that cause these conditions, along with easier claim to media streams that allow the affected individuals a louder voice, enabling them to express themselves effortlessly, making these issues more explicitly available to the general population.

The processing methods of Modern Food Technologies for these foodstuffs are not to blame for the rise in perceived cases of Lactose Intolerance in this instance. Other than perhaps making these items more universally available, cheaper and easier to access, bringing to light the 65% of the population who are genetically predisposed in this direction.

Not just for coffee.

Footnotes:

[1] Lactose intolerance – Wikipedia

[2] Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management

[3] http://Euripides (c. 485-406 B.C…

I’m a little confused. Is a movement like pull-ups a compound movement or an isolation exercise?

It’s an absolutely smashing day here on the island of Guernsey. Thought we’d better sort this out before the beach.

It’s classed as a compound movement, As it is spread over a range of muscle groups.

Although it’s fashionable and convenient to label exercises into a groups like isolation and compound, it’s probably a little misleading. If you are going to do this, it is possibly more useful to substitute functional in place of compound.

Rarely, if ever, is isolating a single muscle in the human body possible. There will always be a certain amount of assistance and involvement from adjacent attachment and opposing muscle groups.

Although not precise, It is often useful, especially for something like bodybuilding, to act and think of it as being possible. This mental construct allows us to focus on the least amount of muscle area while attempting to exert maximum stress on a smaller portion.

We can achieve a better muscle fibre overload, thereby increase muscle hypertrophy more effectively.

Gym R(x): Self Sufficiency or How to Deal with Things Like Tendonitis & Other Minor Chronic Inflammatory Ailments.

Pain ain’t nothin’ but weakness leavin’ the body.

Widely used U.S. Marine Corps Recruitment Propaganda

Yeah,well, at least in times of war, most of those newly minted recruits don’t last long.

But what about the rest of us? The ones that don’t plan ever to quit? Certainly just not let themselves fade away. What about us, the ones in it for the long haul? Whether we’ve put our shoulders against the doors of life and shoved…or just sat on our asses and observed? We, who usually end up with aches and pains that stick around long after the party’s over? We, who seem to rack up these nasty niglements that suck up our time and energy and are so exceedingly hard to shake?

What about us? The ones who don’t want to think of themselves as sheep, but as lions?

What are we supposed to do?

Tendonitis, joint pain and other chronic inflammatory conditions are commonly experienced as the dark side of intense fitness training. Most athletes will just shrug their injured rotator cuffs and tend to chalk it all up as the wages of sin or the cost of doing battle.

These painful episodes often cause even the most motivated and hard working athlete to cry and scream in pain when no one’s looking, to take more time off training than they are ready for.

Issues like these can not only become exceedingly painful, but many athletes will grow concerned with, or fearful of, the question of potential longer term damage or chronic disability. Scary stuff for individuals who live through their physicality.

A trip to a medical professional may or may not work as a ”one off”. Most of us can’t afford the time and expense of constant and unending trips down to see our good ol’ GP or Physio with little or no result. Or worse yet, only to receive condescending, unhelpful advice to ”knock the gym on the head for a while”, ”quit lifting those heavy weights”, or some equally simple minded, churlish pearls of wisdom for our pains.

Are we likely to take their expensive advice which will result in probably getting fat and out of shape? No Thanks! It’s too damn hard to get back in shape. Did I really just pay £80 for that bit of depressing news? Next time I’ll be sure to spend my money more wisely…say like flushing it down the toilet.

So, what to do? What to do? Should you just throw your hands up, say I quit and console yourself to banishment over an unending river of pints down at your local? A hasbeen, boorishly declaiming to anyone within earshot the sad story of how fit you used to be? Christ, I think that I’d rather swallow my own tongue or gouge out an eye.

Ok, let’s get back to reality.

My best, my most reasonable advice in the first instance here is: keep healthy and don’t get injured. Do whatever it takes to not put yourself in a desperate situation. Be disciplined, be cautious, don’t get cocky, don’t show off or let yourself get too complacent.

Injury is like a big, terrible, stealthy, dangerously ugly cat lurking in the shadows and ready to pounce…on anybody…don’t foolishly rely on your up-to-now string of luck, or anything else that you can’t control.

A possible way forward and the one that I almost obsessively dish out to any client who has an injury and will listen to me, any customer who comes in to see me desperately seeking insight into issues of pain & injury, has been to try to convey the necessity to build up some body-knowledge and self-sufficiency. To take the problem into his or her own hands and take responsibility to try to find a workable solution, however daunting this must seem at first blush.

My advice is to take a proactive approach, aggressive in its goal and intention. It is advice to fully investigate various physical, mental and nutritional healing techniques available to anyone who is intent on surviving bad luck and/or the onslaught of years and to figure out what works and what is essentially just snake oil. And you need to be really clear with this mindset, because if you are not careful, snake oil might be what you’re offered, at a price you can’t afford.

In my experience, it is often necessary to combine and mix or ‘shotgun‘ one, two or more of the following techniques to solve problems that might otherwise put you out of action, not only temporarily, but for good.

PHYSICAL/MENTAL STRATEGIES & TECHNIQUES:

  • Cryotherapy (icing);
  • Thermal or heat application;
  • compression (using a neoprene sleeve or other binding methods);
  • Application of medicated ointments and liniments
  • Application of DMSO (controversial in some jurisdictions);
  • Acupressure and or dry needling;
  • Cupping;
  • Moxibustion;
  • Self Massage;
  • Soaking in a hot tub using bath salts and/or essential oils;
  • EMS (electrical muscle stimulation);
  • Infrared and or ultrasound applications;
  • Mindfulness, meditation and focus techniques;
  • Self-Hypnosis
  • Pressure balls and rollers
  • various stretching techniques

NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES:

  • Omega Fish Oils (and no, COD Liver, although cheap, is not what I am referring to);
  • Chondroitin Sulphate, Glucosamine, MSM preparations;
  • Capsicum (amazing how much pain a properly prepared, extra hot mexican dish or eye-wateringly spicy curry can kill! );
  • Various exotic spices, condiments, roots, herbs and oils like turmeric, ginger, garlic, saffron, cbd oils, etc.;
  • Reduction of pro-inflammatory foods and substances such as processed meats, alcohol, trans fats, HFCS and table sugar.

The above is only the short list, by no means does it pretend to be exhaustive.

This short post offers noone a panacea. Neither is it designed to substitute as professional medical advice or masquerade as a satisfactory answer to all issues arising from the multiplicity of causes that may manifest involving injury and chronic conditions.

But you have to start somewhere. And if you’re unlucky and the professional help that you require is not forthcoming…you need to make your own luck.

You need help yourself.

I want to add 20kg. of lean muscle mass. Can I accomplish this on a Vegetarian Diet?

Vegetarian bodybuilding is doable. However, it will require a little extra work and planning in the nutritional tactics and strategies departments than will diets incorporating meat products. Although, I would not say it was an optimal diet for gaining muscle. But, if you are going vegetarian for philosophical, compassionate or possibly other reasons, more power to you.

Now, let’s look at the 20kg. of muscle part of the question.

The answer to this is…Who knows?

That much muscle mass would be difficult to gain on any kind of diet, vegan, carnivore, steroid or otherwise. What is important to know is that muscle gain can be experienced through various types of nutritional pathways, if protein intake is kept at a required level. Let no one tell you that it is impossible. It may very well be difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Two bodybuilders come to mind when talking Vegan Muscle, one good and one great: Andreas Cahling and Bill Pearl.

Andreas in his prime, Santa Monica circa late 1970s
Andreas 2015 or 2016, looking a little like a very buffed out medieval muscle guy.
Iconic Bill Pearl, Mr. Universe in his 40s.
Bill in his 50s in the gym.

Is a lack of sleep related to muscle hypertrophy?

If what you mean is does the lack of sleep have a negative effect on muscle hypertrophy, the answer is yes, quite clearly.

As you’re probably already aware, the body is filled with various physiological clocks and timing devices, hormonal, chemical and neurological wound or unwound by multitudes of genetic, nutritional, environmental and lifestyle factors.

These timing devices are the harbingers of anabolic and catabolic pathways that dictate whether you are awake or asleep, growing or shrinking, living or dying.

Sleep is not a game!

In the last couple of decades the amount of knowledge that we have accumulated with regard to the significance and profundity of the effects of sleep (or the lack of it) on the brain and body is staggering.

As far as muscle growth is dependent on Growth Hormone which is pulsed, for the most part, in the deeper (Stage 3) levels of sleep, the lack of deep and restful sleep will interfere with your anabolic processes more dramatically than any other single factor, other than perhaps, starvation.

This fact, along with the seemingly paradoxical effect that the lack of sleep has on fat distribution in the body (higher cortisol secretion will support catabolism and increased rate of fat storage), makes even the most powerful steroid pale in comparison to it.

Hypnos: The All-Powerful-God-of-Sleep.