George Hackenschmidt, circa 1900
I get a ton of emails and question and while I try to get back to as many as I can. it reaches a point where it becomes unsustainable. Plus I am only helping one person at a time, so I decided to post this Q and A of some awesome fat loss and lean muscle gain questions for all of you.
They are a bit random, but these are questions I get all the time and I want to help dispel all the crap information that is out there in the process.
Sit back, read on, and enjoy -Mike N
1) Lifting for fat loss: If fat loss is the priority, should the main goal of weight lifting be to preserve muscle tissue, not grow it. (in terms of bodycomp,strength would presumably increase for an beginner or intermediate trainee)?
What will grow tissue is the same thing that will keep it.
2) Steady Cardo: We know high intensity interval training has all those magic benefits but if you’re already hitting the weights hard, intense sprint work, KB work feels like a lot to add. Do I man up and make time for more intense interval work?
It all depends on how you do it and your outside stress level and recovery (sleep, nutrition, etc). Most can add more though
3) Or would you support easy jogging/walking to compliment hard weight lifting sessions 4x per week?
That can work, but my preference is to add lifting first. Some lower intensity work can help parasymp recovery thought (as measured by HRV)
4) Which brings me to “Catabolism”
Do we truly know a lot about catabolism or is it a mystery? I see people promoting the idea of NOT eating right after a workout if the goal is fat loss. Give it a couple hours and then eat to maximize the fat burning effect. It is quite hard to study in the lab, so there are not many acute studies and I am using catabolism here in the bodybuilding way of muscle breakdown,.
we must also remember that the effects of food post training are probably dampened a bit since other hormonese are high. For example, GH normally goes up when insulin is low (fasting) but post training GH can still be high even when insulin is high.
5) The Hodge Twins had a video where they quoted a stat that the body wont start metabolizing muscle for 48 hours which contradicts other stuff I’ve read.
I have no idea who they are. Should I know about them? 48 hours is pretty accurate. 32-72 hours is the range, but we must keep in mind that the body is constantly tearing down protein AND building it up. Stu Phillips showed that strength training, even when fasted, is an acute ANABOLIC event (via MPS), but we can further increases this with protein post training. My bias for most is pro/cho pre training, only whey protein post training (20-40 grams) and then a normal meal if fat loss is the goal.
6) How critical is it to get that protein shake in within 30 minutes? Thinking of doing BCAAs only for a couple hours after training, then eating.
Not that critical based on the current research. I do into detail on this in my upcoming Advanced Metabolic Flexibility Fat Loss Lean Muscle Gain E-Class. Protein synthesis is upregulated for up to 48 hours.
7) I’d love to learn more about this topic if you have any resources you could point me to.
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Currently I am fasting from food and drink during daylight hours was thinking about getting some weight lifting in or an easy jog but I don’t want to lose muscle.
Depends on how often you are fasting and what you are doing for strength training. My preference is to have my clients/athletes work up to 1 longer fast of 24 hours once a week and long term still strength train on those days. Even fasting for 1 day will not result in noticeable muscle/strength loss.
Think of it this way, if you teach your body to fat for a fuel (ala metabolic flexibility), why would it want to burn the walls down (structural protein) just to heat your home? Some people have worked with lately think that if they fast more frequently or for longer periods it is even 3Xs better and that is NOT the case. Don’t be afraid to fuel your training on the days you are working hard in the gym.
8 ) Any thoughts on fitness while completely fasted (No bcaas, fluid or food of any kind)
See above. While I think BCAAs can be effective and have their place, once your body is efficient at burning fat they are not needed. I do a vast majority of my 24 hour fasts (hat tip to my boy Brad Pilon) with just black coffee, green tea and water.
Let me know YOUR thoughts by posting a comment below. I want to hear from you!
Mike T Nelson