BodyWorks: Just Get Fit.

Should I cycle off of protein and other muscle building/workout supplements every other month to protect organs?

Protein? No, it’s not a drug like say, Oxycodone.

In fact, if you decide to completely ‘’cycle-off’’ protein, i.e. remove it from your diet for long enough, it is quite likely to result in rather dire consequences.

One of them would be the protein deficiency disease called kwashiorkor and the other? Is, of course, death.

Whether it is wise to cycle-off other supplements that you may be taking really depends on the supplement, it’s pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.

How Many Times A Week Should You Deadlift & Squat?

*Note* This has been one of my most popular posts on Quora, I thought it ought to also work for the website, so I’m re-blogging it here.

Both of these multi-joint exercises exert incredible stresses on the spine, individual vertebrae and intervertebral discs, as well as core muscles, postural muscles and main drivers.

If handled intelligently, qualities like fortitude, dedication and willpower are good and beautiful tools. Like any good tools, they’re reliable but only guaranteed to build and not cause injury if applied within their measured tolerances. When these qualities are applied to training and pushing yourself beyond your body’s limits, even more so.

Obsession is a very overused term. It is often mistaken for the previously mentioned set of qualities. Letting obsession get out of hand conjures up a whole Pandora’s box of high-risk outcomes from activities that have potentially devastating consequences if pushed too far and too hard for too long.

The body is a many-faceted machine, resilient and magical, but it’s a relatively soft one. Its owner must proceed with caution, with an eye on the clock and respect for his or her future self.

OK, detour finished and on to a simple answer to your question: if your sessions are brutal, high-intensity, kick-a*s types of events, a maximum of once-per-week should be about right.

 Less intense, lighter, perhaps higher volume training schemes could be run more often. But, then whether this type of training suits you is based a great deal on genetics. *You will have to experiment to discover if these types of sessions produce results. If they do, this will significantly reduce your risk of injury and chronic conditions in the future. Don’t take someone else’s word as law before you spend the time necessary for evaluation yourself. This is not an area where shortcuts always pay dividends.

Yeah, INTENSITY, that electrically charged “I don’t care if it kills me” attitude, it works, it surely does. Ocassionly with truly astounding results.

But there are potential risks as well as the costs involved for running it at too high a current:

 

All photos from my collection.

 

The photo above is an example of some of the functional outcomes of decades with this training outlook and ethic.

And here are examples of some of the downsides keeping with the “fuck it, I’ll do this if it kills me” mindset:

Sure, the point here may appear a little dramatic, perhaps overly so. Outcomes will vary. Of course, it won’t be the same story for everyone.

Ah, I hear you saying to yourself: ‘’Who here is really dumb or timid enough to believe that scare tactics like this work?’’

”Not me!” I hear you boast.

In the long game, trying to shame or bully people doesn’t change anyone’s behaviour or achieves nothing worth much.

Telling people what they would rather no hear and don’t want to believe just pisses them off, or else, they just ignore it and continue, business as usual.

For what it’s worth, I’m probably just waving around a magic reality wand and crying over spilt milk in the hope that a blog like this might perhaps modify someone’s behaviour enough so that they might avoid some common mistakes.

Sometimes, by grabbing the sharp edge of good intentions and taking a positive thing to the extreme, the sharp edge catches up with you.

If you want to get anywhere important in Bodybuilding, it is absolutely crucial that you train intensely. Hard, big exercises like deads and squats are phenomenal for creating this intensity.

But…it is also critical for you to spend the required time to recover from the resulting inevitable stress & damage that your tough training sessions bring about.

If you’ve managed to read this far and can tolerate a guy who once thought he was superman, climbing onto his pulpit to confess that he’s discovered otherwise, stick with me a bit longer.

Was injury just bad luck? Perhaps.

Was it Fate or Destiny? Who knows? But most likely my level of success would have measurably improved, and Fate might have worn a kinder smile, by affording myself an attitude a little less driven, a little less reckless, proceeding a little more cautiously and spending my recovery time a little more wisely. Pain? What was pain? Way back in the day and at the time…The pain was just a signal to throw open a door that you walked right through…not letting it hit you on the ass on the way through it.

My interpretation of pain, my relationship to its signals and frames of reference, while still ambivalent, is significantly different these days.

At this point in my life, the constant, familiar, repeating and never-ending message that pain sends echoing back to me from my once-upon-a-time younger, dumber, more fearless but impatient and incautious self, has lost its power. Through year-upon-year of waging war against it, pain loses much of its value to prevent the harm that it once may have represented. The only thing it does now is to produce a continual weariness and constant fatigue.

This, I sometimes say to myself, is just the way it goes, just the way some shit happens to some stubborn, pig-headed people.

If I had the chance to do it over again?

Ridiculous speculation, because no one ever gets that chance.

I’d unquestionably take more time off to adapt, recover and recuperate.

The harder and more intensely you train, the less frequently you need to, or in fact, should train.

Assuming that this rule-of-thumb won’t apply to you often carries with it dire consequences.

This blog was not intended to be a sermon.

I am not saying “quit-before-you-get-hurt” or here to instil doubts about attempting difficult tasks with balls-to-walls determination…that would just be pathetic, the folly of losers.

My intention is merely to produce a cautionary tale designed to supply some good, old-fashion, backwoods-home-truth adhesive for application as the reader may see fit.

When I started to answer this question, I didn’t start off meaning to point in this direction, it just kind of evolved into a kind of  ‘‘but there you go: here is curated, well-packed lesson delivered directly to the door!”

Should you decide it is a worthwhile one and care to sign for it after pressing the learn-it button.

Courtesy of Steve Chauvel and BodyWorks

I get really sore after a good workout. Is it okay to use ice and/or ibuprofen to recover after I lift?

Image result for doms

Sure, should you strain your ankle or pull a hamstring muscle.

However, need to be a little careful utilising either of these strategies for just post training soreness or DOMS.

This is because both reduce/interfere with the post training inflammatory response that is a necessary part of the body’s natural adaptation process. A process as important to building muscle or increasing fitness levels as the actual training itself.

So, that post training “soreness” is actually a signal that you’ve trained with enough intensity to give the body notice that it needs to initiate a cascade of responses to repair the damage you’ve inflicted to the system.

Best to just relax, take a hot bath, apply good nutritional strategies that perhaps include HMB, BCAA, creatine and a balanced intake of macros.

I sometimes kick back in a jacuzzi or hot tub with a small glass of red wine and admire the stars after a good meal.

This also seems to do the trick.

Image result for pain after weightlifting

”Struggle breeds character?” Well, maybe or maybe not. But post training soreness is a good indicator that sufficient training intensity was applied and maintained  to initiate hypertrophy.

 

When Maintaining Ketosis, How Do You Prevent Gluconeogenesis?

You Don’t.

At Least Not 24/7 forever and ever. There will be occasions that GNG is going to happen, whether you like it or not.

By sticking to the Keto and becoming Keto Adapted, however, you will reduce and all but eliminate these instances.

You will find occasionally, that a particularly intense cardio or rigorous resistance training session will move you temporarily out of ketosis and into GNG, but this is not unusual and is more-or-less prevalent depending on your genetics, your level of Keto Adaptation, intensity & duration of exercise.

I have also found a dose or two of MCT Oil very useful for getting myself back on the wagon quickly.

I bought some creatine, put it in the cupboard and forgot about it. It’s now passed the expiry date. Is it still safe to use?

Creatine Monohydrate is quite stable and as long as it is kept dry and not exposed to high temperatures, won’t quickly degrade and will be good well past its BBE or sell-by date.

Putting it into solution, getting it wet, on the other hand, will cause conversion to creatinine, degradation, loss of potency and possibly fungal growth.

creatine

So, although time eventually will affect your product, moisture and heat are your real enemies here.

I’ve heard that the act of writing is like building muscles. How’s that work?

I’m delighted that someone has finally gotten around to asking me this question.

I am reasonably certain I could continue to write a piece lasting 20–30 thousand words or more trying to get at the heart of an answer to this question, dropping any number of semi-interested readers into a semi-conscious, soporific haze along the way. But let’s try to keep it short (and hopefully) sweet and still get it close to right.

The whole process of building muscle, how well and how much of it you can gain and maintain, is a chaotic, complex, multifaceted process which lends itself to all sorts of vagaries, inputs, avenues of development and defeat, disciplines, tacit fields of knowledge and so on, ad infinitum.

But leaving genetics out of it (in the literary world genetics might be considered the equivalent of talent), getting muscles is the systematic application of stress applied at the point of impact for a specific quantity of focused time and with a frequency required to obtain the effect desired.

The act of writing, at least for me:

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

works in this pretty similar vein.

When doing deadlifts why do some people drop the barbell?

Funny you should ask.

This question undoubtedly already has a whole waiting line of sober answers strewn pellmell across the Netosphere.

After spending a good portion of my life in The Church of the Pumping Iron, here’s my view:

  1. Because competitive powerlifters do it.
  2. Because YouTube influencers do it.
  3. Because every Tom, Dick, Harry & little Johnny do it and often in the gym, it’s Monkey See, Monkey Do.
  4. Because of a misunderstanding of the biomechanical value of eccentric movements and negative repetitions.
  5. Because it’s a commonly known fact that lowering a weighted bar in a well-controlled fashion, utilizing good form is how The Great Satan schemes to injure careful, reasonable and experienced bodybuilders who presumably know what they’re doing.

It appears that this ‘’let ’er go!’’ phenomenon has cropped up on the lifting scene in the last 5–10 years or so and subsequently spread like a bro-science Frankensteinian virus throughout the popular lifting culture.

Back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s if you were training in any established gym and dropped the bar, you probably would have been given the benefit of reasonable doubt and had a friendly reminder thrown at you that you were, in fact, training in a professional establishment.

But, If you nevertheless still stubbornly insisted on carrying on in this embarrassing, annoying and idiotic manner, a

‘’Hey, Bozo!

Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out’’ policy would have probably come into effect to help usher you back home to your mama.

Well, the times they are a-changin’, I suppose.

I’ve been diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis. I have a 6.25 curvature in my spine. Is weightlifting dangerous for me?

It depends on the lifts.

While a ‘’6.25′’ is relatively mild as these things go, there is undoubtedly potential to aggravate an existing condition, particularly if you don’t strategize and approach the job from the right angle.

The problem is simply this: most of the truly heavy ‘’functional’’ multi-joint lifts like squats, deads, and military presses exert pretty massive compressive forces on the spine in the sagittal plane. They’re great core work activities but can be murder on individuals with spinal issues like scoliosis, herniated vertebrae, slipped disks and so on.

However, to bypass the incredible value that resistance training can offer you for fear of the relatively minor risks involved (as long as you do your homework and proceed cautiously) would be folly.

If you’re not already a bit of a fitness geek, you might consider becoming one. Try to think of it as an engineering problem. Educate yourself in force dynamics. It’s a mistake to see things either too rosily or to catastrophize them. Attempt to see things realistically, so you can try to impose your will on and control them.

Should you find these technical issues just too dull & boring, at least get some experienced & professional advice. Doing this allows you to approach the physical problems at hand not only with your heart but also with your head as well.

How helpful are BCAA/HMB/Creatine supplements for preserving muscle mass if you are running a caloric deficit?

Everyone keeps talking about either strength training or cardio for fat loss. What role does muscular endurance training (lighter weights, higher reps) have in fat loss mechanisms?

The Mitochondria.

The reason that the answer to your question is not going to be a straightforward one is that it depends on the number of factors, particularly the type of muscle fibers that you possess, specifically Type I myofibres.

In direct contrast to Type II (fast-twitch), Type I (slow-twitch) fibers contain a much higher volume of mitochondria within the cellular cytoplasm, use more oxygen and produce less force. The main function of these mitochondria is to produce and supply energy for cellular metabolism, sustaining an increased level of endurance. Cells with more mitochondria are more efficient at burning fat (as opposed to glycogen) and will determine the rate and the extent to which you will spend calories.

Therefore, yes: in some individuals, muscular endurance training can certainly play an important fat-burning role, individuals whose muscle fiber percentages are tilted in favor of Type I muscle fibers. In others, with a preponderance of Type II fibers, this type of training will be much less beneficial as far as fat burning goes.

Various characteristics of the two main muscle fiber classes.