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Author Topic: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)  (Read 14275 times)

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Offline wolflet7

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Allow me to introduce myself, to those of you who don't know me or to those of you who do know me but don't know about my love for exercise. 

I started working out my freshman year.  I was a lean bean back then and even now I'm not that big.  I've just packed on some muscle.  Exercise has always been my passion and I strive to learn more about it every day. 

I've bought some books about exercising and working out and they have proven to be very resourceful.  I want to be a personal fitness trainer/coach/whatever, along with being a pastor.  Nice combination huh?  :P

Anywho, I will do my best to answer any questions you have.  But I need to remind you that I am still learning about this stuff, so I might not be able to answer every question, but I will to the best of my ability.  This also includes work outs that I could give you, any questions you have about sets or reps, any exercises for any body part that you want, etc.

So...ask away!  I will be more than happy to answer your questions for you.

P.S. Its hard to tell you everything that I know, for fear of losing something out.  And most people's bodies work in different ways and everybody's situation is different.  You will find out that the answer to most exercise questions will start with "it depends".

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Offline Cally

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What's the best way to train yourself for deep (as in, really deep) squats? I mean, can you recommend a specific sort of routine?

I'm asking because I tried doing a strength workout with heavy weight (for the 3-5 rep range) for 4 sets and those muscles that you work only in deep squats--such as the groin area--felt a bit overworked. I mean, they were REALLY sore just about every time.

So if I want to get good at really deep squats, what's the best way to integrate them into a workout day?

Secondly, what's the ideal post-workout carbohydrates? I've been doing about 35+ grams of whey protein isolate along with some oats (I'm still trying to lose weight).

I'm sure I'll have more and more questions for you wolflet. Thanks for offering your advice.

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Offline wolflet7

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Cally,
You are probably right.  You might be over training those muscles.  A really important fact about concentrating on building muscle or strength in a single area is to remember that you should train all of your muscle groups every week, just emphasize the muscle groups you want to work on.  For example, this handy little guide will help you to pair muscle groups together...

Work this......................with this

Chest........................Back 
Shoulders..................Lats
Biceps........................Triceps
Quads........................Hamstrings and Glutes
Core...........................Upper Body
Core...........................Lower Body
Upper Body................Lower Body

Ex. You might do a set of bench presses followed by a set of inverted rows, or concentration curls with overhead tricep extensions.  Now you don't always have to "super set" exercises like that, but it's a good rule of thumb. 

So let me answer your question.  Let's pretend that you begin your work out with basic Squats, which work your Quads, super setted with Deadlifts, which work your Hamstrings and Glutes.  You do 4 sets of each, going back and forth between the exercises.  1 set of Squats and immediately after, with adequate rest, 1 set of Deadlifts, and then back to another set of Squats, until you do 4 sets of each exercise.  Then you could do another exercise that work the Quads alone, not super setted.  Let's pretend those are Jump Squats.  So after your Squat and Deadlift super sets, you do 4 sets of Jump Squats alone, not super setted with anything. 

This idea is the same with building your arms, shoulders, chest, back, core, etc.  If you want to build strength or muscle in a particular area, train all parts of your body at least once a week while emphasizing more exercises with that particular area you want to build. 

Did that answer your question Cally?

Offline Cally

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I've mostly followed this routine for the past few months:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/power-muscle-burn-5-day-powerbuilding-split.html

I'm not sure if I know what a jump-squat is. I've had some really good gains in many muscle groups while others are a bit underwhelming. My leg press and squat doubled in six months and I'm slowly becoming able to do more pull-ups . . . etc. Plus, I've been losing weight which has been from a diet fairly low on carbohydrates which, I realize, doesn't really help for strength gaining--I've been trying to strike a balance there too.

In general it seems like some days are fantastic and others just not so great.  ::shrug::

But about the squats, are you basically saying that doing deadlifts and jump squats sort of warm up and train for DEEP squats? I'm not sure I'm following about that. Lately my best plan was to sort of gently train the deep squat muscles and movements (i.e. high reps low weight) just to generally TRAIN those areas.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: Sat May 07, 2011 - 16:05:22 by Cally »

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Offline wolflet7

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Hmm...are you talking about deep squats as in getting lower in your squats?  If so, there are a couple options that come to mind.

1) You can train your fast twitch muscle fibers (FTMF).  Your FTMF are your ticket to the fastest muscle gains.  You can activate these FTMF by doing explosive movements, such as the jump squat.  The Jump Squat is just what it sounds like.  Instead of bending your knees at a 90 degree angle, you simple bend them half way, then jump off the ground, and do it again in rapid succession until you have done all your reps.

2) You can train unilateral, which means one side, or in this case, one leg, at a time.  Split squats or Bulgarian split squats work wonders on your legs because they are very difficult.  In a Split Squat, you place one leg behind you while you squat with the one in front of you.  In a Bulgarian Split Squat, you raise that leg behind you on a chair or something around that height.

3) You can pause during your squats.  Do a normal squat, but stop for 5 seconds during each "phase" of a squat.  For example, bend your knees slightly, then pause for 5 seconds.  Bend them even more, and pause for 5 more seconds.  Repeat for a couple of "phases" in the squat until you finally pause for your last 5 seconds in the "squat" position.  Doing this helps remove all the elasticity in your leg muscles.

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Offline Cally

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Hmm...are you talking about deep squats as in getting lower in your squats?  If so, there are a couple options that come to mind.

1) You can train your fast twitch muscle fibers (FTMF).  Your FTMF are your ticket to the fastest muscle gains.  You can activate these FTMF by doing explosive movements, such as the jump squat.  The Jump Squat is just what it sounds like.  Instead of bending your knees at a 90 degree angle, you simple bend them half way, then jump off the ground, and do it again in rapid succession until you have done all your reps.

2) You can train unilateral, which means one side, or in this case, one leg, at a time.  Split squats or Bulgarian split squats work wonders on your legs because they are very difficult.  In a Split Squat, you place one leg behind you while you squat with the one in front of you.  In a Bulgarian Split Squat, you raise that leg behind you on a chair or something around that height.

3) You can pause during your squats.  Do a normal squat, but stop for 5 seconds during each "phase" of a squat.  For example, bend your knees slightly, then pause for 5 seconds.  Bend them even more, and pause for 5 more seconds.  Repeat for a couple of "phases" in the squat until you finally pause for your last 5 seconds in the "squat" position.  Doing this helps remove all the elasticity in your leg muscles.

This is interesting wolflet. I think I'll try this tomorrow as warm-ups for my usual squat/calf day.

I'll do them without weight at first . . . is that what you had in mind? (no weight?)

I watched some demonstrations of a jump squat and most of them went really low.

Offline wolflet7

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I do my jump squats with a little weight (about 35 lbs. or so), but no weight works just as well I assume.  Get the motion down first and then start using weight in about a week or two. 

Hope this helped :]

Any more questions Cally?

Offline Cally

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I do my jump squats with a little weight (about 35 lbs. or so), but no weight works just as well I assume.  Get the motion down first and then start using weight in about a week or two.  

Hope this helped :]

Any more questions Cally?

Yeah that's good wolflet. I did all of those squat exercises (jump, split, bulgarian) last time and I think I'll be adding that to my leg routine from now on.

My leg press went from 240 to about 530 in about six months, so I feel good about the progress in the lower body. I'm pretty underwhelmed by my upper body progress though. My chest press is about 185 right now (I talked to somebody today about proper technique that I'll be remembering next time I do them). My bicep curls and shoulder presses aren't doing so hot either.

Okay, question: What's the best bicep exercise? I've been doing pinwheel curls (kind of uncomfortable exercise, keeping the weight away from the body) and my right arm is WAY stronger than my left--like I can lift a dumbbell five pounds heavier in the right arm.  ::shrug::

It's just that, in general, many workout days are just absolutely lame, although the leg days are usually really good. I'm trying to figure out what I can do about it. What's more, my energy levels have just been weird. I must be the only guy I've ever seen yawn after a heavy exercise that elevates my heart rate.  ::shrug::

My next questions pertain to proper diet. I've lost 30 pounds in the past year (not including whatever got replaced with muscle) and I'm still fighting to get everything off.
« Last Edit: Wed May 18, 2011 - 23:15:49 by Cally »

Offline wolflet7

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In response to your bicep question:

The best bicep exercise, you ask?  Well, it may seem out of the ordinary, but pull ups and chin ups have worked wonders on my biceps.  I used to do countless bicep curls ever since I've started working out, but once I got used to doing pull ups and chin ups, my biceps have been very packed since. 

Typically pull ups and chin ups work your lats (latisimis dorsi), but they also activate your biceps a TON.  If you haven't already, add pull ups as a back exercise to beef up your guns.  3 sets of as many repetitions as you possibly can for each set should give you the results you want in a few months or even weeks.


As for your "lame" workout sessions...hmm...

If you are yawning after a heavy lift, you might be at a sticking point, especially if you aren't going up in weight.  Try this:

Put 5 more lbs. on that lift and add another set, but take away a few reps, or do as many reps as you can.  You see, your body doesn't grow to stimuli that it can handle.  Once you add weight and a set, your body stimulants growth because it knows it can't lift it as many times.  It's kind of like a defense mechanism built into your body.  Your body only builds as much muscle as it needs, no more.  But if a stimuli is too much for those muscles, the body stimulants growth so that the next time you lift that weight, you can actually lift that weight!  Does that make any sense?


As for the diet question...I'm still learning about different foods for weight loss.  My only recommendation is that you should stay away from added sugars.  The average male's metabolic rate burns about 11 calories multiplied by the number of pounds per day.  So if you weigh 180, you would multiple 180 * 11 and you would get = 1980, and that's just from sitting on a couch watching tv.  Throw in proper exercise and some cardio, along with watching your calorie intake should give you the results you want.

Offline Cally

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I think you're right about pull-ups. I've been doing those for a while, and I like to keep widening the grip to work the lats.

But my chest press is making me absolutely nuts. My deadlift is 305 right now, and my bench press is 175! The proportions are just ridiculous. I've been trying to make sure to tuck in the shoulder blades, wide grip, above the lower chest--which are some corrections I've made lately, so maybe I need to give it time. Shoulder Presses have plateaued for ages too.

Knowing my amateurish lifting technique, I'm probably still doing something wrong in the gym.

I guess weight loss hasn't been all bad. It's just been a hair-pulling experience, because I just store fat with a hair-trigger, it seems. I'm down to about 178 right now and March of last year it was about 215. I keep look for better and better ways of finding a perfect lean-bulking diet.

Offline wolflet7

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #10 on: Fri Jun 10, 2011 - 21:58:17 »
178 is not bad at all Cally!  I'm about 5 foot 11 inches and I weigh around 160 and I'm not ashamed to take my shirt off.  I have a noticeable 8-pack and people say that I look "muscular".  I'd say that you're doing really good!

You should know that chest/bench presses work your chest (duh), triceps, front deltoids (front part of your shoulder) and your core.  Deadlifts work pretty much all of your leg and groin muscles, so the difference in weight is not so peculiar.  It just simply means that your lower body is more than likely stronger than your upper body.  If you want to boost your bench press, there are a couple options you can do. 

1) add 5 more lbs., add a set, and drop a few reps.  Your body should adjust to the change in a matter of weeks. 

2) work your triceps harder and your shoulders harder, since they assist your chest in the chest/bench press.  As for your shoulder presses, I would recommend using dumbbells instead of a bar next time you do them.  Try to mix things up with your exercises so your body doesn't adjust to your workout.  Make changes every 3-6 weeks to keep your body "guessing", stimulating growth.

3) do iso-metrics.  I've found that doing iso-metric explosive push-ups have done wonders on my chest. 


Offline Cally

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #11 on: Sun Jun 12, 2011 - 21:42:17 »
Yeah, I'm fixing to get as lean as possible. I've read that a man can go down to as low as 2% bodyfat (I'm down to about 13% right now). I really want high strength-to-weight ratios!

I think I'll remember to do explosive push-ups. I've done them before, but I think I'm going to make sure to keep it up on chest days. What do you think of decline bench presses?

After my last gym visit I think I understand what I've been doing wrong all this time with the bench presses. I needed a wider grip and tucked-in shoulder blades in order to actually work the chest and not just the shoulders and triceps.  ::doh:: That, and keeping the bar above the lower chest. I felt sore (worked) in the right places last time.
« Last Edit: Sun Jun 12, 2011 - 23:01:23 by Cally »

Offline wolflet7

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #12 on: Mon Jun 13, 2011 - 10:55:49 »
There are different variations of explosive push-ups that you can do.  There is the original, there is one where you clap your hands, there is one where you push your whole body (including your feet) off of the ground and clap your hands, there is the explosive crossover push-up which is where you have your right hand on a weight plate and when you push yourself up off the ground, you move so that your left hand is on the weight plate when you land, and there is the isometric explosive pushup, which has you pause in the down position for 5 seconds before pushing yourself back up.  I find the isometric explosive pushup to do wonders on my chest.

A tip that I've read about on the bench press is to squeeze your butt cheeks together as you bench, as weird as that might sound.  Now I haven't tried it, so I'm not sure if it will work, but it's worth a shot. 

Offline Cally

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #13 on: Sun Jun 19, 2011 - 23:55:54 »
That's good I'll do that. I think I'm more on the right track more recently with bench presses and chest workouts, and the explosive push-ups are important too.

I'm trying to get down and dirty with the post-workout shake right now. There's the whey and glutamine, of course, but how about the carbs? I've heard people say to use maltodextrin and dextrose 50/50. Any thoughts? I mean, I want to get lean above all right now, but I've mostly been doing a LITTLE dextrose with some bread and my experience confirms that it indeed does not cause fat storage post workout like it would any other time.

Some people will just eat a banana or something.  ::shrug::

Offline wolflet7

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #14 on: Fri Jun 24, 2011 - 19:40:55 »
Now that I'm not sure of.  I haven't done much research on post workout foods, shakes, and food overall to eat and whatnot, so I don't know how to answer your question. 

An important thing to remember, though, is to not cut off ANY food groups.  Some people cut off carbs completely and that is not healthy at all.  Now limiting your intake is fine, but don't cut off entire food groups. 

I've heard of putting a banana in your protein shake.  Maybe that would help.

Offline Cally

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #15 on: Thu Jul 14, 2011 - 16:36:07 »
You know, I got really fed-up with some of my plateaus. I started doing about 35g of dextrose and 35g of maltodextrine with my pwo shake of 35g hydrowhey (the other major change). I also started eating more protein.

I started making some really good gains. AND I PUT ON SOME FAT!!!!!!  ::frustrated::

For my age, weight, etc. I should be getting around 2,800 a day. I get around 2,000, and yet I still gain weight. It shouldn't be possible, but that's what happens.

I've heard guys talk a lot about "bulking" phases and "cutting" phases, like they go on and off. But right now I'm just not cracking it. I can't understand how I could still be in a calorie deficit and manage to be storing fat. Maintaining my weight seems to require that I feel miserable and hungry all the time. Should I just get used to that or what? I truly don't understand it.

Offline P.F.

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #16 on: Thu Jul 21, 2011 - 19:06:15 »
I have heard getting less calories than you require can put your metabolism in starvation mode and can lead to weight gain.

Offline wolflet7

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #17 on: Sat Jul 23, 2011 - 19:20:24 »
P.F. is right.  Eat your daily amount of calories; but just put in the work.  If you want to lose weight, then do compound exercises, such as bench presses, squats, pull-ups, dead lifts, etc.  Exercises that work multiple muscle groups.  You'll burn more calories that way.  A very good exercise for losing weight are squat thrusters http://www.ehow.com/video_2359309_how-do-squat-thrust-exercises.html

In this video, he just stands back up.  The way I first learned them, you had to jump explosively, as high as you can.  Either way would work just fine. 

A word to the wise on protein shakes, don't drink shakes that all mostly sugar.  I can almost say for a fact right now that sugary products such as Gatorade do not work for muscle building.  Athletes drink these products to get more energy from the sugar, so they don't tire in competition.  Weight lifting and sugar do NOT mix. 

From what I've heard about the protein shake you are taking now, I would advise switching to another product.  This one sounds like it has a ton of sugar.  Anything that rhythms with "gross" should be a no-no. 

Some people think that to cut back on food and starve yourself to death will help you lose weight.  I will tell you something right now that will blow your mind away.  You can eat a lot and still lose weight!  You just need to know what foods to eat.  Eat lots of protein, such as red meats and fish, along with other protein sources such as peanuts.  But don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies as well.  Milk is a good source of both protein and calcium.  Eating a healthy breakfast actually helps you burn more calories than not eating breakfast.  The average male's metabolic rate burns roughly 11 calories per pound of body weight per hour, so that's just from sitting on the couch.  I don't know your body weight and what you do daily, so do the math  ::smile::

Don't eat 3 big meals a day.  Instead, eat 6 smaller meals a day, still watching what you eat and your calorie intake.  Drink at least one protein shake a day and don't stuff yourself full.  When you exercise, your metabolic rate should go up, meaning that you are hungrier than usual.  This is completely normal, so don't worry too much about it.  Hope this helped!

Offline Cally

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #18 on: Sat Jul 23, 2011 - 22:51:16 »
^Yeah, you're right wolflet. I have been doing most of what you're saying, and I think I freaked out prematurely. The dextrose/maltodextrine+protein pwo shake made a HUGE difference in my strength gains lately, and I had just started reintroducing things like fruits and nuts into my diet.

It's simply the rough process of figuring out what foods I need to eat and for what reasons--it's no simple matter to figure out! And I actually eat quite a bit, now that I know better how to use what foods for what reasons. I dropped some weight back off pretty easily and I'm taking it slow to lower body fat as I prioritize a "bulking" diet right now.

Best of all, I'm feeling GREAT from all of the changes!  ::smile::

Offline sharoof

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #19 on: Thu Nov 01, 2012 - 23:51:37 »
This idea is the same with building your arms, shoulders, chest, back, core, etc.  If you want to build strength or muscle in a particular area, train all parts of your body at least once a week while emphasizing more exercises with that particular area you want to build.

paul1965

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #20 on: Mon Nov 19, 2012 - 04:40:46 »
Hi everyone,
I,ve just started reading this thread and may be able to help you all a little. Just so you know, I'm a former state and national level full contact martial artist and I write fitness articles for online and printed magazines with over 200 published articles.
I'm currently studying for my Personal Trainers and Pastors Certification The same as you Wolflet! Great minds think alike.
I've also just started a Christian Health and Fitness blog which I cant tell you about here because I'm only a newbie.

Quote
I have heard getting less calories than you require can put your metabolism in starvation mode and can lead to weight gain.
This is true. You need to eat your BMR requirement PLUS your expenditure requirement every day to maintain weight.
So if your BR is 2500 and you burn say 500 calories through work or exercise, you actually need to eat 3000 calories for that day. If you eat a LITTLE less, no problem, but a lot less will set your metabolism to starvation mode and store fat after about 3 days of continual large deficits. (anything 500 and over is a large deficit)

What split are you using on your macro nutrients BTW. This is really important depending on your goals at the moment and I didn't see it mentioned in the earlier posts. By split I mean the % of your calories from Fat, Protein and Carbs. If the split isn't right for your goals, it sabotages all the hard work you're putting in and all the supplements in the world wont help.

For building lean muscle your ratio should be around 30% Protein /30Fats/40Carbs
You can tweak this a little to around 40 Protein 25 Fat 35 Carbs. Don't go under 20%
fat. Your body needs fat for lubricating joints, some amino acids and enzymes AND to digest food and to help absorb Micro-nutrients. That means if your not eating enough fat, your expensive supplements are going down the toilet Literally :(

I also didn't notice any mention of cardio work? Do you do cardio or not? I'll wait for your reply before getting into it
Blessings to you all.

paul1965

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #21 on: Mon Nov 19, 2012 - 05:31:12 »
Oh, I just noticed this

Quote
^Yeah, you're right wolflet. I have been doing most of what you're saying, and I think I freaked out prematurely. The dextrose/maltodextrine+protein pwo shake made a HUGE difference in my strength gains lately, and I had just started reintroducing things like fruits and nuts into my diet.

When you started reintroducing  fruits, did you reduce the dosage of dextrose / maltodextrin you were using? This is important, both of them but especially maltodextrin are nearly pure carbohydrate (malto is 94% carb) if you increased your narural carb intake through fruits and veges, without reducing your supplemental intake, you might be eating an excess of carbs which will be stored as fat.

Do you use these before ,after or during your workouts? Again this can have a big effect on your goals.

Another thing you mentioned was "yawning after a workout", can you give some details of your energy level pre and post workout? This can be related to mutodextrin / dextrose.
paul

Offline troody

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #22 on: Wed Jan 30, 2013 - 22:33:59 »
This idea is the same with building your arms, shoulders, chest, back, core, etc.  If you want to build strength or muscle in a particular area, train all parts of your body at least once a week while emphasizing more exercises with that particular area you want to build.

Offline JohnDB

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Re: All your exercise questions, answered here (to the best of my ability)
« Reply #23 on: Thu Jan 31, 2013 - 09:40:55 »
consuming a small snack of some kind of protein (preferrably a complete protein) after a workout can dramatically help you gain muscle mass. (which in turn helps burn more calories)


It can be cheese, eggs, meat, or some other kind. But you must eat it within 20 minutes of your workout. (So the protein will be available in your bloodstream)


The reason being is after a workout your muscles are looking to prepare for more work. There are processes which start after a workout that begin to look to building the muscles larger and more capable. When they go to the bloodstream to look for building block components (comprised mostly of proteins) and they only find sugars...well...they ain't gonna use them and the process is abandoned. The sugars are converted into fats and even though you are working out you may still end up gaining unwanted weight.


Yes, the fats stored in your body can turn into fuel but they do not turn into proteins. And that is what the muscles in your body need to grow.




 

     
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