How helpful are BCAA/HMB/Creatine supplements for preserving muscle mass if you are running a caloric deficit?
BCAAs (particularly L-Leucine supplemented with Vitamin B6) and HMB become more efficacious (i.e. useful, practical and important) as anti-catabolic agents when in a situation of calorie deficit, a conclusion that has been supported in a number of relatively solid scientific investigations. My own opinion during 40 years of experience as a trainer and gym owner, as well as a competitive bodybuilder, also supports this claim.
The further addition of creatine, especially in conjunction with a good resistance training scheme and not-too-much-cardiovascular and endurance training, will guard against the inevitable and real threat of catabolism and subsequent muscle loss that most people succumb to when dieting.
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 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.
A very real & difficult problem, indeed.
And BTW, you are not the only one to have asked this question.
In my 40+ years in the field, I’ve found only one unequivocal solution to the very real and pressing issue of permanent weight loss. Believe me, I have explored every avenue, chased down every lead, no matter how obscure or far-fetched, in the attempt to assist clients, customers, associates and members of the gym.
The only solution to permanent weight loss, one that you don’t have to fret or worry about and requires no further self-discipline, action or lifestyle modification on your part is…
5 lbs. of What?
- 5 lbs.of Muscle?
- 5 lbs. of Fat?
- 5 lbs. of H2O?
- All muscle? 1 lb. of protein (muscle) is about 454 g. And at 4 Kcal/g, we can estimate this equivalent to roughly 1816 kcal. Let us further assume that you haven’t lifted much, let’s call this Pumping Iron Naive, you’re a relative weight lifting virgin. Let’s go on to think that you have access to a hotshot trainer with 40 years of experience in getting people into shape as quickly & efficiently as possible. We will believe that he/she is competent and knowledgeable about the nutritional angle required for your project. In this case, your trainer will guide you and facilitate the avoidance of excessive fat gain along with your muscle hypertrophy. The best case scenario for a natural, non-PED enhanced subject like you should be around 5–6 weeks. You will be required to eat something over 9080 kcal above what you burn off to support this amount of mass gain.
- You don’t care about muscle and instead want to gain 5 lbs. of fat? No problem! This fat gain will be charged out at a rate of about 9 Kcal/g., or 4086 kcal/lb. For a total of approximately 24,000 Kcal excess calorie intake. No specialized knowledge is required here; anyone who has a taste for pizza, beer, and/or ice cream was born with the ability to gain fat effortlessly. From personal experience, this can be done during a weekend with the use of a little determination.
- Muscle, fat…whatever! You really don’t care! You just want to put on the pounds ASAP! Then gaining 5 lbs. Excess water weight will probably be the easiest and quickest way to gain weight if this is your only goal. 1 quart of H2O weighs about 2 lbs. So, go out and eat some salty foodstuffs; enough to make you very thirsty (pork rinds, crisps, beef jerky, etc. should be helpful) along with a little less than 3 quarts of water. This will do the trick. No more than an afternoon need be spent in pursuit and attainment of this goal. Try not to piss, as this will just elongate and slow down the process.
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:
- Before breakfast
- 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.
Taking into account your own body type and nutritional needs are key to building muscle and getting lean in the gym. Diet and nutrition are 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 program. 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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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?
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,  varying between regions, from less than 10% in Northern Europe, to as high as 95% in parts of Asia and Africa. 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 fatherson 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.
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.