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Posts tagged ‘Muscle’

Does training on a empty stomach burn more fat?

Another typical question I get asked is ¨Does training early in the morning before I have had anything to eat  burn more fat?¨. And the answer to that is ¨ it is complicated¨. You see, when you wake up early in the morning there is a reduction in circulating blood sugar due to the fact that you haven´t had anything to eat during 6 to 8 hours. This causes glycogen (stored carbohydrates) levels to fall. This means technically that your body has to rely more on fat, rather than glucose, for energy. So you do burn more fat calories during that training session but, as I have stated before in different blogs, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is superior for fat loss than steady-state exercise (1-5).  But, have you ever tried doing HIIT with an empty stomach? I bet you didn´t get too far. You see, to perform high intensity exercises, your body needs  glycogen (quick energy). If you haven´t had anything to eat in 6-8 hours your glycogen levels are depleted, meaning you WON´T be able to train at a high intensity.  Also, if you decide to train on a empty stomach you increase the amount of tissue proteins (muscle) burned for energy during exercise (6-7), that is a big NO NO if your aim is to lose fat.

So to clarify things a bit:  if your workout consists of a slow to a brisk walk then yes, you will probably burn more fat calories if you are on a empty stomach but, you should look at the big picture. A slow to fast walk won´t burn too many calories and won´t cause you any post-exercise oxygen consumption (click here), meaning after the training you won´t be burning more calories. HIIT does produce post-exercise oxygen consumption(8) (up to 72 hours) and you need energy for that!! So my recommendations are:

 

Hope you like, until next time

 

 References
  1. Tremblay A, Simoneay JA, Bouchard C. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8.
  2. Stephen H. Boutcher. High_ Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. J Obes. 2011; 2011: 868305.Published online Nov 24, 2010. doi:  10.1155/2011/868305
  3. Smith, A. E., et al. Effects of β-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6:5, 2009.
  4. Talanian, J. L., et al. Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. Journal of Applied Physiology 102(4):1439-1447, 2007.
  5. Tjonna, A. E., et al. Superior cardiovascular effect of interval training versus moderate exercise in patients with metabolic syndrome. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39(5 suppl):S112, 2007.
  6. Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the international society of sports nutrition 2013,10:5
  7. Greenhaff PL,  Karagounis LG,  Peirce N,  Simpson EJ,  Hazell M,  Layfield R,  Wackerhage H,  Smith K,  Atherton P,  Selby A,  Rennie MJ: Disassociation between the effects of amino acids and insulin on signaling, ubiquitin   ligases, and protein turnover in human muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2008,  295(3):E595-604.
  8. Treuth, M. S., et al. Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 28(9):1138-1143, 1996.

 

 

onathan P Little, Adeel S Safdar, Geoffrey P Wilkin, Mark a Tarnopolsky, and Martin J Gibala. A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms. The Journal of Physiology, 2010; DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743

 

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How to lose FAT properly

Before I start this blog I first want to explain a couple of terms that are quite important.

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate– this is the amount of energy you burn at rest every day just to maintain normal body functions such as breathing, circulation, digestion and so on. Basal Metabolic Rate usually accounts for the largest part of your total daily calorie expenditure-about two thirds!  This is very important and something people forget!
  2. Lean Body Mass–  Is the total weight of all your body tissues excluding fat. This includes not only muscle but also bone and other fat-free tissues. Since muscle is the largest component of lean body mass, tracking your LBM can tell if you´ve lost or gained muscle. Muscle burns more than fat so if you have a higher lean body mass your basal metabolic rate is going to be higher.
  3. Activity Level– The more active you are, the more calories you burn. If you sit behind a desk all day and relax on the sofa all night, you don´t burn much.
  4. Weight–  The bigger you are, the more calories you require to sustain and move your body.
  5. Age– metabolic rate decreases with age
  6. Gender– Men burn more than women.

TOTAL DAILY ENERGY EXPENDITURE– is the total number of calories your body burns in 24 hours, including basal metabolic rate and all activities. To calculate TDDEE you have to add basal metabolic rate + activity level + weight + lean body mass+ age+ gender.

Ok, now that we have cleared up these terms let´s talk about how to lose fat properly. Most people don´t realize there is a great difference between losing fat and losing weight. They are completely different things and while losing fat is usually great, losing weight on the other hand can have horrible consequences if not done properly. I have already established in my other post that, to lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit. So, what people usually do is they go on these horrific diets and create a caloric deficit and lose weight. But the problem is that the body doesn´t know the difference between starvation and diet, it thinks it´s the same thing. So, the body protects itself. First thing it does is it burns muscle because muscle consumes more calories and the body doesn´t want that when in a calorie deficit. In other words, you have lost weight but just ruined your BASAL METABOLIC RATE, which is how you burn most of your calories. On top of that you now weigh less, which you may think is better, but remember the more you weigh the more calories you consume. So once you get off the diet and start eating ¨normal¨ your basal metabolism rate is going to be slower than before. Other horrible things that diets do are:

  1. It can increase hunger – The body wants to protect itself so it is going to tell you the whole day that you are hungry
  2. Diets decrease your energy and work capacity – Less energy, the less you move around, the less calories you are going to burn
  3. Diets can decrease thyroid hormone – Thyroid levels help regulate your metabolic rate, so it is not good if we mess with that
  4. Diets increase cortisol – Cortisol is the stress hormone and is also a catabolic (muscle wasting), big NO NO.

That is why diets usually don´t work!! What works is a lifestyle change, meaning you eat more properly and you exercise more.

I´ll finish by giving some tips on how to lose fat:

  • Build muscle or at least don´t lose the muscle you already have
  • If you go in a calorie deficit, eat more protein and fiber
  • Eat natural whole foods
  • Move more
  • Instead of seeing how much weight you have lost, check how much fat you have lost

Seems quite simple, no?

References

Tomiyama JA, Mam T, Vinas D, Huner, M J, DeJager I, Taylor E S. Low calorie diets increase cortisol. PsychosoMed May 2010:72(4):357-64.

Mann T, Tomiyama AI, Lew AM, Westling E, Chatman, Samules B. The search for effective obesity treatment. Should medicare fund diets? American Psychologist 2007; 62:220-33.

Korkeita M, Rissaren A, Kaprio I, Sorensen TI, Koskenuvo M. Weight loss attempts and risk of mayor weight gain: a prospective study in finnish adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999; 70: 965-75

Wadden TA1, Mason G, Foster GD, Stunkard AJ, Prange AJ.Effects of a very low calorie diet on weight, thyroid hormones and mood. Int J Obes. 1990 Mar;14(3):249-58.

 

 

Proteins and Carbohydrates – When to eat them, before or after the workout?

This has to be up there with the questions I get asked more often. Everyone always wants to know, what they should be eating before a training or what they should be eating after a training?  It´s an important question because, as we are about to see, it could influence your objective. What I am going to talk about in this blog regards all those that are looking to build up muscle. Aerobic exercise is different from resistance exercise and the intake of protein- carbohydrate is also different. Let´s first explain some certain things.

Glycogen- Glucose is stored in the  muscles and liver as glycogen. Glycogen is what gives you the energy when you do resistance training. One study even said that as much as 80% of ATP production during such training is derived from glycolisis (1). And different studies have shown that, after high volume bodybuilding workouts involving multiple exercises and sets for the same muscle (2-3), there is a depletion of glycogen in those muscles. Also, various studies have proven that a low muscle glycogen level impairs anabolic (building) signaling and muscle protein synthesis (3-4). And to top that off, another study has shown that glycogen availability also has been seen to slow muscle protein breakdown (5). So, it is pretty safe to recommend a high intramuscular glycogen content at the beginning of the training.

But what about after the training? Well, according to a recent study (6) it depends. They say that ¨consuming post-exercise carbohydrate does not meaningfully enhance anabolism. Moreover, unless you are performing two-a-day workouts involving the same muscle group(s), glycogen replenishment will not be a limiting factor in those who consume sufficient carbohydrate over the course of a given day¨. In other words, it is recommend to eat carbohydrates 2-3 hours before the training, if you do this then you should not worry about eating carbohydrates right after training, you still have a 3-4 hour window. If you train on a empty stomac (which I don´t recommend), it would be wise to eat  something as soon as you are done with your training.

Proteins- The building blocks of our muscles. Whenever we train we ¨damage¨ our muscle, so there is a breakdown in proteins. Studies have shown that muscle protein breakdown is only slightly elevated after the post exercise but rapidly rises after that. On an empty stomac this increase is even bigger. When we are building muscles, we don´t want this, we want the opposite, that is why training on a empty stomac is horrible for muscle building.

Insulin- When we eat, the insulin level rises in our blood. Insulin has been demonstrated to reduce protein breakdown (8). And consuming a combination of carbohydrates and proteins has been shown to elevate insulin levels more than just eating carbohydrates alone. So it would make sense to eat (or drink) carbohydrates-protein after the workout. But, if we had eaten something 2-3 hours before our workout those insulin levels would still be high and there wouldn´t be such a rush to eat something right away after the training. You see, when we eat something, insulin concentrations rise up over time. So, for example, if you ate a 45g dose of whey protein it would take approximately 50 minutes to cause blood amino acid levels to peak (9). If you would add carbohydrates to that, the insulin leves would even stay elevated longer.

So to summarize this in plain English: It is recommend for muscle building to eat carbohydrates and proteins 2-3 hours before the training. If you do this then you don´t have to worry about eating (protein-carbs) right after the training!!! You still have a 3-4 hour window space to eat those proteins and carbohydrates. If for whatever reason you train on a empty stomac (which you shouldn´t for muscle building), then it is recommended to eat those carbohydrates-protein right after the training, waiting would just cause more protein breakdown!!!

Hoped you enjoyed it. Until next time.

References

  1. Lampbert CP, Flynn MG. Fatigue during high-intensity intermittent exercise:application to bodybuilding. SPorts Med 2002,32(8):511-22.
  2. MacDougall JD,  Ray S,  Sale DG,  McCartney N,  Lee P,  Garner S.  Muscle substrate utilization and lactate production. Can J Appl Physiol 1999,  24(3):209-15.
  3. Robergs RA,  Pearson DR,  Costill DL,  Fink WJ,  Pascoe DD,  Benedict MA,  Lambert CP,  Zachweija JJ. Muscle glycogenolysis during differing intensities of weight-resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 1991,  70(4):1700-6
  4. Churchley EG,  Coffey VG,  Pedersen DJ,  Shield A,  Carey KA,  Cameron-Smith D,  Hawley JA.  Influence of preexercise muscle glycogen content on transcriptional activity of metabolic and myogenic genes in well-trained humans. J Appl Physiol 2007,  102(4):1604-11.
  5.  Dennis PB,  Jaeschke A,  Saitoh M,  Fowler B,  Kozma SC,  Thomas G. Mammalian TOR: a homeostatic ATP sensor. Science 2001,  294(5544):1102-5.
  6. Lemon PW,  Mullin JP.  Effect of initial muscle glycogen levels on protein catabolism during exercise. J Appl Physiol 1980,  48(4):624-9
  7. Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the international society of sports nutrition 2013,10:5
  8. Greenhaff PL,  Karagounis LG,  Peirce N,  Simpson EJ,  Hazell M,  Layfield R,  Wackerhage H,  Smith K,  Atherton P,  Selby A,  Rennie MJ: Disassociation between the effects of amino acids and insulin on signaling, ubiquitin   ligases, and protein turnover in human muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2008,  295(3):E595-604.
  9. Power O,  Hallihan A,  Jakeman P: Human insulinotropic response to oral ingestion of native and hydrolysed whey protein. Amino Acids. 2009,  37(2):333-9.

Massage- what does it really do?

Everyone always wants a damn massage, and they always ask me, especially my family. Even though I studied physical therapy and massage is only a tiny little piece of what we do, everyone associates physical therapy with massage. So, of course, I get asked all the time for a massage. The worst thing about it is that no one ever gives me a massage, so I don´t even know what it feels like anymore, but I do know the benefits of a massage. So what does a massage really do? Lets find out.

Massage reduces depression and massage reduces anxiety, and it does this because it is relaxing (1-2). It is also said to reduce blood pressure (3) and help people to sleep, even when under stress. Massage also helps patients with sub-acute or chronic lower back pain, but not with acute back pain!(5). And that´s about it, folks. Scientifically, those are the only things that massage has been proven to do, nothing else! (It may help with other diseases but it´s usually due to one of these factors I just mentioned) But, what about all those other things we always hear massage is good for? Like, for example, it helps with circulation, it detoxifies and so on. Well, they are basically myths!! So let´s start talking about those myths.

Circulation – massage helps with circulation but very, very, very, VERY little!! If you want to improve your circulation go for a walk, it´s cheaper and MUCH more effective in increasing circulation (6-7,10).

Detoxifies or gets lactic acid out – Massage doesn´t do either of these, in fact it could do the opposite! When we give a massage we produce a mildly toxic state know as rhadomyolysis(8-10).

Massage helps with muscle soreness – Like I stated in my last post (https://sports-diet-pain.com/2013/11/17/stretching-is-it-useful/), almost nothing helps with muscle soreness and that includes massage.

Massage helps you recover after an exercise – Actually it doesn´t!! This may surprise more than one (including me), but the evidence says that ¨massage significantly impairs lactic acid and hydrogen ion removal from muscles after strenuous exercise by mechanically impeding blood flow¨(9-10).

Massage releases ¨fascia¨-  First let me explain what fascia is. Fascia is the connective tissue that wraps around all of our muscles and is heavily interconnected with muscular function. Fascia is also very, very, strong. In a study done in 2008, Chauldhry found that forces outside the physiological range would be required to produce just 1% compression and 1% shear of the fascia lata and plantar fascia. In another study done in 2012, Simmons and Martinez found that the relatively low level of forces used by manual therapists is not enough to cause significant deformation of collagen in the fascia. In other words, massage does not release or change fascia, fascia is too tough for that to happen! What may happen, and this is still a hypothesis, is that myofascial release is thought to stimulate intra-fascial mechanoreceptors, which cause alterations in the afferent imput to the central nervous system, leading to a reduction in the activation of specific groups of motor units. So, in plain English what this means is that whenever we touch a patient we are giving information to the central nervous system, and how the central nervous system perceives this information will affect the fascia.

And the last myth about massage is when the therapist giving you the massage tells you ¨You are really tight¨. I have also done this lots of times, but research tells me I was wrong. First, tissue texture correlates poorly with pain(11)  and second we, therapists, are bad at detecting the painful side just by feel (12). So, next time you get a therapist and he tells you how tight you are…..just play along with it…..because we all do it 🙂

In conclusion: a massage is GREAT and probably helps us with a lot of our physical problems, including stress, anxiety and may even help with pain.  There are also things that massage doesn´t do and that I mentioned in this blog, but the good thing with a massage is that you can almost never go wrong. Even if the therapist tells you that he will ¨detoxify¨ you (which he won´t), you probably will come out feeling great!! So go out and get yourself a massage but please don´t ask me 😉

  1. Hernandez-Reif et al. High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywokr & Movement Therapies.199
  2. Cady et al. Massage therapy as a work place intervention for reduction of stress.Perceptual & Motor Skills 1997.
  3. Shulman et al. The effectiveness of massage therapy intervention on reducing anxiety in the work place. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.1996
  4. Moyer. Affective massage therapy.. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork 2008.
  5. Furlan et al. Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.2008
  6. Hovind et al. Effect of massage on blood flow in skeletal muscle.  Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 1974.
  7. Ramos-González et al. Comparative study on the effectiveness of myofascial release manual therapy and physical therapy for venous insufficiency in postmenopausal women.  Complementary Therapies in Medicine,2012.
  8. Wiltshire et al. Massage Impairs Post Exercise Muscle Blood Flow and “Lactic Acid” Removal. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.2009
  9. Cheung K, Hume P, Maxwell L. Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors Sports Med. 2003;33(2):145-64.
  10. http://www.association.quebec.aqtn.ca/files/scientific-literary-review-massage.pdf
  11. Andersen et al. Increased trapezius pain sensitivity is not associated with increased tissue hardness. Journal of Pain 2010. PubMed     
  12. Maigen et al. Lower back pain and neck pain: is it possible to identify the painful side by palpation only? Ann Phys Rehabil Med.2012

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