Do We Owe Carbs and Apology?

Just wanted to share an interesting study that sport nutritionist Dr. Layne Norton posted on his twitter account the other day (twitter.com/biolayne). First off, if anyone doesn’t know Layne, he earned his PhD from the University of Illinois in Nutritional Sciences and is without a doubt one of the most knowledgeable people in the world when it comes to sport nutrition or nutrition in general. Throughout the whole low carb craze that swept the nation since the Atkins diet, Layne was telling anyone that would listen that carbs aren’t bad and that ‘don’t eat carbs after X time or else it will turn to fat’ theories and thoughts was a crock of shit. Well, once again, Layne was spot on.

As for the study…the researchers had 78 police officers on a low calories diet for 6 months, with one group consuming almost all of their carbohydrates at dinner while the other group consumed carbohydrates earlier the day. After the 6 month period, the group that ate the majority of their daily allowance of carbohydrates at dinner saw a greater amount of weight loss, a greater decrease in waist circumference, and a greater decrease in overall body fat.

Take home message…carbs, no matter when you eat them, don’t make you fat. If you’re fat, chances are you eat too much in general, not that you eat too much carbs or that you eat carbs at night. So the next time your personal trainer tells you not to eat carbs after a certain time or that carbs are the root of all evil, fire his ass, cause he has no idea what he’s talking about!

Carbs!!

Motivation and Inspiration from Will Smith

I have to give Alwyn Cosgrove credit for posting this, but it’s great and deserves as much run as it can get. Nothing crazy, just a handful of clips from interviews with Will Smith over the course of his career, but some real motivational and inspirational stuff. Whether or not you like him as an actor, after watching this you’ll certainly have a new level of respect for him.

4 Minutes to A Better You

If you’re anything like me, and most of you are, the one thing you hate most about training is conditioning. Not many people enjoy pushing a prowler around, spending a half hour at the track running sprints, or wasting an hour of your time on the elliptical when you could be actually doing something useful. What if I were to tell you that you could get a GREAT conditioning session done in 4 minutes with the same or even better results? Enter Tabata.

Simply put, Tabata is an interval protocol performed on a bike that has been shown to highly improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacity in numerous scientific studies. The Tabata protocol calls for 20 seconds of ALL OUT sprinting followed by 10 seconds of active rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Pretty straight forward, but difficult to say the least.

I, for example, perform Tabata a couple times a week. I’ll jump on the bike, perform a 1 minute warm up followed by the 4 minute Tabata protocol and then another 1 minute cool down for a total of 6 minutes. Remember, this is after a strength training session so my body is warm and ready to go, therefore the 1 minute warm up is more or less just getting comfortable on the bike and maybe a little bit of a stall tactic.

Do yourself a favor and add 1-2 Tabata sessions a week after your regular strength training like I have. If done right, the protocol is a quick, intense, and mentally challenging interval session that will eat away at those love handles. It’s tough, but it’s will be one of the best fat burning sessions you’ll encounter, and it’s over in only 4 minutes!

Things to Read to Get You Over the Hump – 10/19

Here’s a few good reads from the last week to keep you busy while trying to get through another productive day at work:

4 Lies the Fitness Industry Tells You

Nothing here that hasn’t been said before, but all things that need to be said over and over until it actually hits home with the general population. It seems like I read stuff like this all the time yet continue to hear and see all the same old stuff from people at gyms. Good stuff from Steve/Laura.

Why You Need More Strength

A great read from Chad Waterbury, who by the way is a pretty smart guy. It’s a little bit longer than some of the other reads but if you have time to sit down and read you’ll find some pretty good stuff in there. Plus, theres nothing better than a little motivation to get as strong as you can.

 Strength Training Programs and Life: Change is Imminent

Good stuff from Eric. When I was reading this I could see myself through what Eric was saying and I’m sure many others can as well. Sometimes its hard for people as they get older to realize that their not 16 years old anymore and can’t do a ton of stupid crap and wake up the next day and feel like a million bucks. Train smarter, not harder.

Q&A: These are A Few of My Favorite Things

If you’re looking for a little more bang for your buck and start doing movements that will actually work, Tony’s got everything you need. Tony breaks down just what you need for certain body parts/movement patterns so you can make more of your time in the weight room. A few of his recommendations are exactly what you think they would be but he also throws a couple curve balls in there that I doubt you would see coming.

Small Changes for Better Results

One of the most common goals for many people stepping into a gym, especially in women, is losing weight. You hear it time and time again about how so and so are trying to get to “X” weight before an upcoming vacation, wedding, or various other events. Women also seem to always have a certain look that they are after, a celebrity that they feel has that perfect body.

All this is well and good, as there is no reason to not have a “look” that you’re trying to attain or a goal that you’re looking to achieve before a certain date or event. The problem comes with the actual goal (i.e. a certain weight) and how women go about reaching their goals or desired look. Here are a few ideas on how a few small changes can lead to big changes in your physique.

Perform Resistance Training

Go back to that look that you are trying to achieve. I can almost guarantee you that the physique you have in your mind was achieved through some type of resistance training because no one wakes up, looks at a marathon running and says to themselves ‘that’s what I wanna look like’. One of the biggest myths most women believe is that resistance training will make you big and bulky, which couldn’t be any further from the truth. I can definitively say, after working with women in both a gym setting and a university setting, that women who perform resistance training do not get all big and bulky. I could bore you with science, but let’s just say women don’t naturally have the needed hormones running through their systems to get big and bulky.

Stop the Endless Cardio

I’ve touched on this before but it’s something that’s worth mentioning again. Stop with the endless elliptical and treadmill sessions. You’ve probably been doing them for years with so-so results. Why would you keep doing the same thing, over and over again, and then expect different results? For the next 3-4 weeks try doing some interval training. I’m willing to bet you’ll see some better results and spend half the time when compared to what your currently doing. For some ideas take a look at THIS.

 

Eat More Protein

Most women eat like rabbits, staying away from any type of protein. Just like resistance training, most women feel that consuming protein will do nothing but make you big and bulky. If you suggest that women combine eating protein with the resistance training and most will think that they are well on their way to look like a middle linebacker in the NFL. Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone that is active, whether a male or a female, should be consuming at minimum 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. You won’t get fat and you won’t looking like you just finished a cycle of steroids, you’ll actually look better with your new and improved body composition.

Get Off the Scale

This is something that women seem to stress on when in reality there is no reason to obsess on what the scale says every morning. For starters, depending on what you ate the day prior and/or the amount of fluids you may have consumed, your weight can fluctuate from day to day leaving you nothing but frustrated. What you should be doing is focusing on other things, things that are more important like how your clothes are fitting and how you feel. Simply put, stop chasing a number and start chasing that look, whether that means you weigh 140lbs, 120lbs, or 100lbs. the bulimic 95lb look isn’t all that hot anyway. The scale is a tool to measure your success, not the end all be all.

Do yourself a favor and try to implement some of these ideas so that you can reach your goals before you know it. At UNH, our girls resistance train 2-3 times a week, don’t perform any long cardio sessions, actually consume a healthy diet, and are healthy, lean women. I’m willing to bet you’ll see the same types of results.

Single Leg Training

In the world of strength and conditioning, whether in a college/university setting or a private setting, single leg training has become a staple, and for good reason. No matter what your goals are, be it to gain lower body strength, enhance athletic performance, or just have a pair of legs you can be proud of come bikini season, single leg training can help you reach those goals. Despite this you’ll be hard pressed to walk into most commercial gyms and actually see someone performing any type of single leg training.

The reasoning behind single leg training is pretty straight forward. For starters, running/walking/skating etc. are all essentially a single leg movement as you hop/bound/stride from one leg to the other. That means that an athlete is essentially controlling his or her own body weight on one leg each and every time they take a stride. When you really stop and think about, very few athletic movements are done seated or done on both legs simultaneously. With that said, if an athlete, whether recreational or competitive, wants to enhance their performance why wouldn’t they incorporate single leg training into their programs? It seems like a no brainer.

To add to the support, single leg movements are safe due in part to the fact that you simply aren’t as strong on one leg as you are on two legs, meaning less spinal loading for exercises like squats. You’d be surprised at the small amounts of weight needed to blast your legs when performing a single leg movement, and most beginners find some single leg movements to be challenging enough without any added weight.

Without further ado, here are a few basic single leg movements:

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Pistol Squat

Single Leg Squat

Single Leg DB RDL

Single Leg Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Single Leg Good Morning

With all that being said, I am still an advocate of bilateral training and don’t feel that bilateral training should be completely cut out of any program. I want to make it clear that I am not saying people shouldn’t squat or deadlift because they are bilateral movements. What I am saying and advocating is that instead of hitting the leg press or doing some leg extension after squatting, try adding some single leg movements…you’ll be challenged like never before and your lower body strength will skyrocket.