BodyWorks: Just Get Fit.

What Motivates You To Work Out When Other X-BBuilders Your Age Have Quit?

What’s this supposed to be? A veiled insult? Ha ha, well hopefully not.

I’ll be brief here. An unusual tact for the usual wordy author of this blog, I know.

But it may work in this case.

The things that motivate me to workout now are the same things that motivated me to work out then. In fact, they are the same things that always have, ever since I was 17 or 18:

Fear, lust & love of the chase:

  1. The fear of age, decay and decrepitude.
  2. The lust to survive & thrive.
  3. The love of the pursuit of the highest quality of life that I can set in my sights before time finally manages to lock me in its crosshairs.

Pretty simple, huh? That’s gonna be just about it.

I keep training for the simple reason I aim to give looking like this a miss, if I can.

Is there any sense in trying to get fit, if you’re over 45y?

You must be joking?

Is there even a whisper of a chance that you’re serious?

I am going to assume that this is actually a serious question asked by someone sincerely wanting a plausible answer and is not looking for excuses? Furthermore, he or she has probably not spent much time in a gym or has had much previous athletic experience…of any sort.

I will also take for granted that you’re not just some simpering troll out for a glib Hump Day stroll about our website.

The reason that I am hazarding this guess this is easy: a person who has spent any appreciable time in a gym would have seen a lot of guys (and gals) over 45 years old (some way, way over) sporting with plenty of muscle.

If they had seen this with their own eyes, the question need not have been asked.

So, allow me to me to kneel down before you, raise my right hand toward the heavens and testify!

But, before doing this, I’ll rephrase this question for a better fit:

Would it be possible to build muscle at 45y or older, if you have never touched a weight or been within shouting distance of a gym?

Yes, sure. Of course it is. Don’t be silly.

However, as is the case with learning any other skill at 45+y, there’s a toll to pay. A great deal of reaching outside your comfort zone, hard work and perhaps a little humiliation will probably be the cost of doing business.

I’ve recently answered a similar question on a  Quora forum from a member who is 60+y (and listen to me, doing it at 45 is going to be a damn sight easier, let me tell you). I include some of the same photos that I used there. I’ve also had a look at the backlog of similar questions around cyberspace and my, there certainly are a lot of them. 

So then, this is perhaps a popular important question that has yet to find a satisfactory answer.

Let me attempt one.

At first blush, my answer may appear a little harsher than it was for the 60y+ guy. It is, it is supposed to be. You are 15 (or more) years younger. If I do say so, myself 15 years, when you are on the wrong side of 40, make for a rather big advantage.

Here are some photos (not because I’m an OCD, narcissistic selfie taker bent on foisting particularly photogenic images on poor, defenceless members of the General Public…simply as a small parcel of credible evidence that may be useful to back my claims) from just a standard guy uncomfortably thrashing around on the wrong side of 40.

Greece 2013. Age 55y.

Agadir, 2014. Age 56y.

2014. In my office at BodyWorks. Age 56y.

2015 Morro Bay. Age 57.

…and so on and so forth. And all this from a guy who has a lot of spare hardware installed in various key-locations of his anatomy (I won’t bore you with ugly photos of these items, unless there is a call for it).

2016. Explaining the benefits of LandMine Squats for people with back injuries at BodyWorks, my gym in Guernsey. Age 58y.

If we take a sharper blade and slice a little deeper, we should be able to do a bit more damage to this question, as we have already decided it is an important one, but one that we should direct inwardly, toward our own hearts.

Simple questions so often are best answered in this fashion.

Should I be swayed by other people’s and Society-at-Large’s opinion of when the right time to throw up my hands is?

Is it reasonable to say I quit and forever become a skinny, pencil-necked non-person with no future prospects?

Should I let someone else be the odds maker for my further progress and happiness in life? Even if he or she decides my chances are as being between nil and none? Do I let someone else decide my absolute status until such a time as I shall pass away without even so much as asqueak? Because…why? It’s less hassle? Requires less energy and involves less risk? Does throwing out the white hanky and coming out with my hands up score me valuable points and make me a more likeable bloke, easier to be around with with my mates down at the local bar?

Hell, man (or woman), I wasn’t a very easy or likeable guy when I was on the right side of 45y, why start now?

Why let someone else throw you away?

Why waste limited and precious time asking pathetic questions like this and prevaricating? Do you really need my or anyone else’s permission? Our unvetted and untested advice on a matter of such significant import concerning the only tools in life that matter? Your own flesh, your own blood & your own soul?

Why entrust your fate to the careless hands of strangers? Why are you of such slight value and another’s opinion worth so much? Why indulge yourself in the dubious luxuries of timidity and self doubt in the face of two stubbornly malicious adversaries like Age & Decay? You do not have the time for such indulgences. No one does.

Undoubtedly, one day these two forces of devilment and disaster will take you out. They are likely to creep up on you and !wham! when you least expect it. But, as long as you remain vigilant, it won’t be today and probably not tomorrow and when they do come in for their sinister date with you, they’ll scurry out of their deep, dark, dank holes and by sly cunning strike from behind when you’re looking the other way.

Just go out, train hard and get some muscles.

A warrior’s prime duty is to ensure his spirit remains unbroken.

It’s your call, the clock is ticking and we’re paying by the hour.

Ojai 2016. Age 58y. Age is just a number? Yeah, shame it’s such a big one.

*NOTE*

As has been pointed out, the assumption here is that we are starting with a novice. The more interesting and difficult problem of getting additional muscle onto an already healthy, fit and experienced 45+ year old individual is an entirely separate and different question.

What time is the best to eat if you are following the OMAD (one meal a day) system?

The correct (or rather, the more correct) answer to this question has to do with the way that you are wired and what your lifestyle choices are.

If it’s only gonna be one, make it a good one!

I have no problem skipping breakfast, a little trouble missing lunch (if I’ve already skipped breakfast) but when it comes to no dinner, I go a bit nuts.

As far as I am aware, the results seen from the OMAD version of intermittent fasting have little chance of being heavily influenced by the time of day that you choose to dine. Let your conscience (or an organ located closer to the ground, your stomach) be your guide. If you are unused to this type of fasting, why put yourself through further stress by worrying about non-issues which are unlikely to have much bearing on outcome?

If you’re the type who likes to experiment, as I do, try varying your feeding times and see what happens.

If a flat stomach is going to make you happy, this is the one to get you there.

Is it possible to lose enough weight to a healthy BMI by just doing a keto diet without exercise?

A rather predictable but risky question to ask a guy who runs a gym, isn’t it?

Well, I won’t answer it predictably, then. I’ll answer it briefly and honestly:

Yes, of course it is possible.

A properly designed Ketogenic Diet will certainly do the job as specified.

But is it desirable?

The role of exercise in this type of diet would be to maximize the benefit, reduce the loss of lean muscle mass and modify some of the other possible negatives or residual effects of a diet of this type which the practitioner may encounter.

Just as an aside, as long as you are going to go to the trouble to put a keto diet in play, it seems a bit of a shame not to get the maximum benefit from your task by avoiding a little iron pumping.

If weight loss is your only concern  in life, then a well designed diet will be sufficient. But most of us want to look good and be functional, too.
If weight loss is your only concern in life, then a well designed diet will be sufficient. But most of us want to look good and be functional, too.

Can I ingest all my daily protein requirement in one go?

As is the case with a majority of questions, it depends on how you go about it and what your goal is.

Most athletes, bodybuilders among them, like the idea of numerous protein feedings throughout the day, distributing a minimum amount of amino acids evenly, more or less, to the body for modifications and repair as the body requires building blocks for these purposes.

Furthermore, athletes like the idea of about 2+g complete protein/kg body weight, say around 200g average intake per day.

Practically speaking, 200g of protein at a single sitting, while sounding simple and certainly doable, may be a bit uncomfortable as a daily habit.

There is also a question of whether the body will efficiently assimilate the quantity of protein at one go. What is likely to happen is that a higher percentage of the protein than is the case with smaller, divided protein portions, is converted and stored as fat.

Then again, in circumstances like a Ketogenic Diet, an ”all-in-one” might just work out to your advantage.

For most people, at least ones interesting in conserving and perhaps increasing lean muscle mass, splitting up their protein feedings is going to be a better choice.

SQUATS: Full Vs. Half

Squats: The Queen of Leg Movements?

Back in the day, when I was both less and more: less injured , less experienced, less wise, less cynical, yet more confident that I knew more than I actually did, I was in the habit of proclaiming to training partners, clients, interested relatives, friends and basically anyone else who would listen to me that

Full range of motion is the golden fleece of bodybuilding training and always, always, always is the right way to train in the gym!

Anything else was just tripe and junk information put out by anybody who was ignorant and too lazy to know any better than to have any other viewpoint that wasn’t mine.

All these years (and all these injuries)later, my experience, further learnings and whatever tiny slivers of wisdom that I’ve managed to wrest from the cruel onslaught of time have reliably informed me that I will, under certain circumstances, have to change my viewpoint a little.

FULL SQUAT pros:

  • You get better at doing full squats than if you don’t.
  • You get slightly more glute and hip flexor/extensor involvement , so if glutes are a prime concern this is one (but not the only) of the ways of getting to them.
  • More Quad involvement (except for the Rectus Femoris muscles)

FULL SQUAT cons:

  • Increased risk of injury, wear and tear (Lower Back , Knees and Hip connectors/connections.
  • Does not significantly improve hamstring conditioning .
  • Difficult to do with back and knee injuries

HALF SQUATS pros:

  • Less Risk of Injury
  • Less wear and tear on the lower back and knees.

HALF SQUATS cons:

  • Not as stimulating to Quads & Glutes (but close enough).
  • Like Full Squats, little benefit to the hamstrings.

So, there you have it.

If you’re injury free and want maximum gluteal and hip flexor stimulation then FULL SQUATS are your weapon of choice.

If you are dealing with a back, knee, hip and/or connective tissue issues then HALF SQUATS will be the movement of choice, if you want to do squats at all.

Can You Furnish An Example Of How Genes Influence Choice of Training Programme Design?

Is it Mind Over Matter? Or, just Genes that matter?

Great question, I was hoping that somebody would ask me one like it!

People struggle with all the conflicting ”expert” training advice that they are so often exposed to. Champion A tells us that 3 hour training sessions, twice a day, are the way to go; while Champion B let’s us know that Champ A’s training methods are laughable and that only 30 minutes every other day are required. As long as you train like a bat out of hell, the way that he trains.

The simple answer may be that both could be right. Each champion might actually be telling us the truth that, as long as you have his genetics, training like him will provide his results.

There is one particular Gene designated ACTN3 R577X  that is highly involved with whether you will respond to heavy weight/low rep volume vs. light weight/high rep volume.

If you ar a member of the majority of the population possessing either of the two versions of this gene that remain functional, you’re in luck (roughly 2/3 of world population).

The lucky individuals who possess RR and RX variants are very likely to respond well to low volume with heavier weights or, alternatively to get more from HIIT type of workouts and be better at sprinting. This is because they will often have a preponderance of Fast Twitch Type II Muscle Fibres. Along with these features, RR and RX variants will suffer less muscle damage and require less time to recover from their training sessions.

Now the rest of the world (roughly 1/3 of our total population), and I am one of these, who have the XX, or knockout allele will not respond favourably to heavy weights or HIIT type of training. We will have to use other strategies (High Volume/Lower Weight or LSD, Long Slow Distance) to achieve their fitness goals.

Are you doomed to failure, if you are one of the unlucky XX Knockouts? Who never might develop herculean strength and size and may have to put longer hours in at the gym and see fewer results?

No, not outright. You may still have a relatively good chance to be successful. As long as you are willing to try harder, work harder, learn more and make maximum use of your smarts.

Footnote Reference:

A Gene that affects the quality and quantity of muscle fibres and response

How to train?
Consult your DNA.

Is Morning, Afternoon or Evening the Best Time to Train?

Here is an instance where ‘’knowing yourself’’ is advantageous.

Are you one of these people who throw themselves out of bed at the crack of dawn and yell ‘’HELLO WORLD!’’ at the top of your lungs, going from 0 to cruising speed in a heartbeat?

Then taking advantage of what early risers inevitably like to call the ‘’best part of the day’’ will be the option you choose as your hour of power to maximize your potential.

On the other hand, if like me, you’ve got everything it takes to be a Rock & Roll Star (except the ability to sing or dance) and the only way you will ever see the dawn is by staying up all night to do it, perhaps later in the day will be best.

If you are a square peg, my advice is to keep your edges nice and sharp and not round them off in order to succumb to a fashionable belief that round holes are better than square ones.

If you try to maintain a schedule that doesn’t suit your particular style, predilection and aptitude…failure, fatigue and disappointment will be the likely outcomes.

Looks pretty uncomfortable.

Everyone says that Sugar Alcohols are OK on a Keto Diet if you’re looking for that sugar fix but also want to maintain Ketosis. Is this right?

Caveat Emptor.

Everyone is usually a damn fool.

Whether the sugar alcohols (polyols) will kick you out of KETO or not depends on which one(s) and amounts that are in the ingredients list (this goes for those delicious ”No Carb” Protein Bars, too).

For instance, Malitol, the most ubiquitous of the commercial grade polyols has about a 35/100 value on the glycemic index (glucose rates an even 100) and this polyol will certainly boot you out of KETO.

However, due to the way a particular sugar alcohol is called Erythritol is metabolized (it isn’t, your body excretes it virtually unaltered) it is one that won’t affect your KETO in any appreciable amount. Some manufacturers will incorporate Erythritol in their product, but along with it, will usually use others, as well.

There’s quite a bit of false or misleading advertising when it comes to these ‘’non-carbohydrate’’ carbs, so watch it.

Cooking with Virgin Olive Oil (VOO) is the way to go for Bodybuilders, Health & Fitness People, right?

Quite a few people appear to think so.

But as far as most of its health benefits, particularly for VOO or X-VOO, in practice doesn’t really work for anything other than dishes requiring relatively low level cooking temperatures. Especially when frying at high temperature, as it has a relatively low smoking point temperature.

Even at lower temperatures, levels of oxidation are great enough to make the reasons for cooking with it, other than perhaps taste, invariably disappear.

Cooking with Virgins is usually a tricky business.

Canola (rapeseed here in Europe) oil, which uses expeller methods of processing, on the other hand, is fairly robust, even at high cooking temps (194-235 Centigrade) and resistant to significant levels of oxidation (unless you tend to overcook and burn things like I do).

Although, I’ll be the first to admit, perhaps not quite as tasty as VOO & X-VOO. It is usually much less expensive and a better tool for searing and quick cooks when you want the griddle nice and hot for a quick fry up.

Virgin Olive oil (along with true balsamic vinegar) is best saved for those cold, raw and the more delicate dishes and served cold.

*To set regular readers of this blog minds’ at ease, Alex’s Corner is NOT turning into a cooking blog.

The last few questions we’ve received have been on cooking and nutrition related topics.*