Monday, 8 September 2008

Bry Naylse wants to shed fat and build muscle

A cricket colleague of mine, Bry, sent me the following message

Alreet Paul, how's it going? I was just wondering if you could give me a few ideas when I'm at the gym? I want to gain muscle, but I want to lose weight first, so I was just wondering if you could help me out a bit and give me advice on what to do? Cheers, Naylse.

Hi Bry,
Losing weight is a simple matter of calories eaten versus calories used. Simple? Not quite. There are other factors involved. Age, exercise history, health issues, current training, injuries, and your genetic make up. Your genetics determine your body size and shape and your looks, good or otherwise. Usually you'll bear some resemblance to your parents, both in shape and looks. Where bodyfat stores are concerned, this is often pre-determined by genetics. Most importantly, is how your body deals with excess calories in your food that is key to your success. Metabolic rate determines how much energy is used up at rest. Some people have a high metabolism which burns up any food eaten, and stores hardly any fat. Others slow right down at rest, feel cold all the time, and store fat more readily.

The solution, however your body operates, is to limit the amount of spare calories available, at any moment, for the body to store as fat; and, while a low calorie diet is certain to reduce bodyweight eventually, this is difficult to sustain through a normal and active life.

The best solution is to eat smaller, regular meals through the day, comprising a wide variety of fresh and whole foods, including meat, fish, chicken, eggs and a full range of cold and cooked fruit and vegetables. For example, every time you eat, a small portion of peas and sweetcorn is a staple of goodness that will boost your energy and give you loads of energy, and its cheap. However, the PORTION SIZE must be calculated so as not to leave you with an excess in the stomach that will quickly store as fat. Better, to reduce the size of each meal, while increasing the number of meals. At any one time you feel satisfied, never hungry, but also never stuffed. In between these 6 "meals" you can eat almonds, dried fruit, fresh fruit, apple juice, and water. Plenty of water! This all takes some organisation and planning, but these good habits will become normal for you once established.
Best avoid all meals that leave you feeling stuffed and bloated, which usually means avoiding too much bread, rice and pasta. As part of a varied and nutritious meal, some of this high energy stuff is fine, but it must not dominate the meal as carbs tend to do in most meals.

Secondly, do a 3-mile run every day for 3 weeks.

Thirdly, while a general strength circuit is very beneficial, try training just a couple of body parts each time you do weight training. This means that each muscle part - say shoulders and legs - get a thorough fatigue, rather than a general workout for all parts which produces a less intense effect on each muscle, and reduced gains in strength and toning. While your age puts you in a controversial bracket for weight training, it is still, nevertheless, the case that your muscles and bones are there to do work, and as long as you are not trying to win Mr Olympia next year, you can make steady progress on your muscle size and tone. Be prepared to invest several years in the area of muscle toning, because the muscles do not change overnight, and any gap of more than a month can see the muscles lose serious mass. If you start in January and get ill in February, you will return to normal pretty quickly, and lose heart, having been at it for 8 weeks without success. Set a 12-month goal to increase your biceps circumference by 20%. So if they measure 12 inches now, you want them to measure 14+ inches by next year. The long term nature of your goal allows you to ride any pitfalls and illnesses you'll come across in daily life.
Fourthly, ensure a highly nutritious meal is eaten more or less straight after any training session. This will optimise recovery and "results" much better than a Snickers and a Quarter pounder. Try drinking, immediately after a workout, a protein or 'recovery' shake, a pint or two of water, and follow it up with a nutritious meal as soon as you get chance, including a mix of vegetables and some protein source as described above.

That should do for starters. Next time I see you we'll talk it through. If you have any more questions, let me know.
Paul

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