The truth about sports, nutrition and pain!

Posts tagged ‘Weight loss’

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 (
  • 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!!


  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

Does eating late make you gain weight?

Most people out there think that eating food quite late or just before going to bed is going to make you gain weight, but that´s really not true. You gain weight because of calories not because of ¨TIME¨. The thing is, that most people have had their share of calories during the day and that extra meal you are going to eat before going to bed is going to add to the already enough calories you have consumed during the whole day. So let me put up an example to clarify things.

Imagine your body consumes or burns 2,000 calories (2.000 in Europe) a day. This means that if you  eat  more than 2,000 calories a day you will probably gain weight and if you eat less than 2,000 calories you will lose weight. So now imagine you have not been eating anything during the whole day and just before going to bed you decide to have a burger, with bacon , fries and everything you can imagine. If that meal you are going to eat has 1,500 calories, you are still going to lose weight because you still have a 500 calorie deficit when you go bed. Now this doesn´t mean I recommend that you have a heavy meal before going to bed, and i usually never recommend this to my clients. But I want people to understand that CALORIES make you gain weight not time.

Now once this is clarified I do want to state that the body has a biological clock that helps time our sleep patterns, alertness, mood, physical strength and blood pressure. Usually we experience a 24-hour pattern of light and dark, and our clock uses this signal to align biological time to the day and night. What this means is that under normal conditions our blood pressure decreases, body temperature drops and we get tired, meaning our metabolism slows down. Which is one of the reasons why I don´t recommend eating heavy before going to bed.

So in conclusion: CALORIES make you gain weight not time, but eating heavy meals at night is usually not a good idea.

I have done 3 blogs about diet, so now I will change topics and start talking about sports, in particular about cardio training. So until next time.


Each week I will talk about one of three main topics that this blog is about, meaning sports, pain or diet. So I have decided that this week I will talk a little about diet since there are so many myths and questions about it.

Let´s start with some basic stuff everyone should know about:

1 gram of fat contains = 9 calories

1 gram of  protein = 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories

1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories (empty calories)

1 pound of fat contains around 3,500 calories, for my European friends 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds, so that means that one kilo of fat is more or less 7,700 calories.

An active man burns about 2,800 calories per day naturally, followed by active women  and sedentary men at 2,200 calories and sedentary women and older adults at  1,600 calories.

Given all this information we can see that loosing ¨FAT¨ is quite hard because it contains a lot of calories. So when you hear or read about these miracle diets that say ¨lose up to 8 pounds (3,6 kilos) in one week¨ or some other promise, you have to be careful because losing weight and losing fat is not the same thing. A lot of these diets cause you to lose weight because of water loss or protein (muscle) breakdown, not just because of fat. Remember ,1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories, so if you wanted to lose 8 pounds of fat in one week that would mean that you would have to burn 28,000 calories!! That´s 4,000 calories a day!! It´s almost impossible, unless you are running a marathon every day. So remember people, there are not such things as miracle diets and if you want to lose weight the ideal would be to lose around 1-2 pounds a week.

My next post will be about the metabolic rate. You always hear people saying ¨well I´m fat because I have a slow metabolism¨ or ¨I´m skinny because I have a fast metabolism¨, but does that really exist? I will talk about it in my next post.

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