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Posts tagged ‘Strength training’

Carbohydrates- part 1

I´m a big fan of carbs and I usually eat quite a lot of them. From bread to pasta, to rice, I love them. Although lately they have been getting a bad rap and most people when losing weight are trying to take them out. Even though different studies have shown that the most important factor in these types of diets is the percentage of proteins you eat. In other words, it really doesn´t matter if you go on a low fat diet or a low carb diet, both of them will be more or less effective if you keep your protein intake high (1-3). But anyway, let´s try to explain carbs in simple way.

Carbs are your body´s preferred and most efficient energy source for intense training. Carbs can be stored in the muscle and in the liver as glycogen. Carbs can be divided into two groups more or less, SIMPLE CARBS AND COMPLEX CARBS:

  • Simple Carbs: consists of a single sugar molecule (monosaccharide) or two molecules linked together (disaccharide)
  1. Monosaccharides: Include fructose, glucose and galactose.
  2. Disaccharide:  Which is formed by a combination of two monosaccharide molecules. So for example sucrose (which is table sugar) is formed by the combination of fructose and glucose. And lactose (dairy sugar) is composed of lactose and glucose.

*Simple  Carbs are digested quickly and cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, but they also cause a rapid fall after. Meaning you eat these and after a while you are again hungry! That is why you should be careful with simple carbs, especially if they are not natural. Now this doesn´t mean you shouldn´t be eating fruits. Fruits have a lot of fiber and this cause that the rise in blood sugar to go more slowly and on top of that fruits have a lot of phytochemicals (lots of healthy things ;).

  • Complex Carbs: Also know as polysaccharides. Most complex carbs contain fibre and they provide sustained energy without the highs and lows you get after eating simple carbs. You can divide the complex carbs into two groups.
  1. Starchy Carbs : Which include potatoes, yams, oats, beans, brown rice, lentils, green peas, corn, pumpkin, whole wheat.
  2. Fibrous Carbs: Which include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions, peppers, mushroom, aubergine, lettuce .

We should try to eat more fibrous carbs because of the fibre. Like I said before, fibrous foods take more time to chew and swallow and they have a low calorie density!!

So to summarize, carbs are not that bad and we SHOULD be eating them. The only thing to watch out for is make sure these carbs are ¨NATURAL¨ and not processed, and when eating carbs remember the word ¨dark¨, meaning, you should be eating ¨dark¨ bread, ¨dark¨ pasta and ¨dark¨ rice. And if you want to lose weight try to switch from starchy carbs to fibrous carbs!!

Hoped you enjoyed it!!

 

References

  1.  Hu T, Mills K, Demanelis K, Eloustaz M, Yancy W, Kelly N T, He J, Bazzano L.  Effects of Low carbohydrated diets versys Low-Fat Diets on Metabolic Risk Factors: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 October 1; 176: S44-S54
  2. Loria-Kohen V, Gomez-Candela C, Fernández-Fernández C, Pérez-Torres A, Garcia-Puig J, Bermejo LM. Evaluation of uselfulness of a low calorie diet with or without bread in the treatment of overweight /obesity. Clin Nutr.2012 Aug;31 (4): 455-61.
  3.  Soenen S, Bonomi AG, Lemmens SG, Scholte J, Thisjssen MA, van Berkum F, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Relatively high-protein or ¨low-carb¨energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance. Physiol Behav 2012 Oct 10;107(3):374-80.
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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.

Rest Interval – How much time should you rest in between sets

¨When I´m doing an exercise, how much time do I have to rest in between sets?¨, it´s probably one of the questions I get asked most often. And the answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, but first, let me explain what repetitions and sets are. Repetitions are the number of times you  are going to perform an exercise. So, if I tell you to give me 10 push-ups, 10 are the repetitions. Once you are finished with the 10 repetitions, that would be called a set. So, if you did 3 x 10 repetitions, that would mean you have done 3 sets and each of those sets consisted of 10 repetitions. Ok, now that we got that out of the way let´s answer the question.

Well, the answer is ….it depends on your objective (also intensity and volume are very important but I will not get into that today). You see, depending on what your objective is (losing weight, gaining muscle, gaining strength) you will rest more or less. So, resting too long or too short can negatively affect your results.

Rest intervals can be classified into 3 categories: (Resistance Training)

  1. 30 seconds or less,
  2. 1-2 minutes,
  3. 3 minutes or more.

Resting 30 seconds or less – is beneficial for endurance and size because  metabolic accumulation increases and this enhances the body´s anabolic (building) environment.  The bad thing is that short rest intervals do not allow enough time to regain your strength. And according to different studies, a loss of 50% in strength in the following sets is seen when rest intervals are limited to 30 seconds. Meaning, it is difficult to build a lot of muscle(1-2).

Resting 1-2 minutes – allows you to recover most of your strength and according to different studies, is the best way for developing more muscle. In other words, this is best for hypertrophy (1-3)!!

Resting 3 minutes or more – allows your muscle to completely restore its strength on a given exercise. Full recovery allows you to train with the heaviest weight. On the other hand, any metabolite buildup that may have been created disappears over the course of the rest period, this is good for strength but not for size(1-3).

So to summarize:

  •  I would rest 30 seconds or less if I wanted to build up endurance and gain a bit of muscular size. Resting 30 seconds or less keeps your heart rate up and will lead you to burn more calories. High Intensity Interval Training bases itself a little on this method (https://sports-diet-pain.com/2013/10/18/high-intensity-interval-training/)
  • It´s been scientifically proven that for muscle building the best is to rest in between 1-2 minutes(1-2).
  • And if I wanted to gain strength I would rest 3 minutes or more.

Rest Interval is very important to obtain your goal, but it´s only a small piece of the puzzle. Intensity (the amount of weight lifted), volume (the total amount of repetitions), effort (the energy you expend during a set), tempo (the velocity in which you do the exercise), frequency (the number of exercise sessions you perform in a given period of time), and exercise selection (the exercises you decide to do) are equally important! Work on all these pieces and you will obtain your goal!!

References:

  1. Willardson J. A brief review: Factors affecting the length of the Rest Interval Between Resistance Exercise Sets. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2006;20(4):978-84.
  2. de Salles BF, Simão R, Miranda F, Novaes Jda S, Lemos A, Willardson JM. Rest interval between sets in strenght training.Sports Med.2009;39(9):765-77.
  3. Schoenfeld B. The Max Muscle Plan. Human Kinetics.2013

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