Friday, November 28, 2008

...and again

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Nice personal story from a former client of mine on the topic of meal frequency.

Check it out

Jc had a blog called Fitness Food Porn, which later turned into the more politically correct Fitness Food Blog. He revamped his site completely and now has lot's of new content. Worth spending some time there.

Also, check out his killer cheesecake recpie in the Recipe section.

I'm a fool for cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meal frequency again

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This just in from Lyle.


Meal Frequency and Energy Balance - Research Review


I’d note, tangentially and I’ll come back to this below, that there is no data in humans that skipping a single meal or even a day’s worth of meals does anything to metabolic rate. Human metabolism simply doesn’t operate that quickly and various research into both fasting and intermittent fasting show, if anything, a slight (~5% or so) increase in metabolic rate during the initial period of fasting. The idea that skipping breakfast or a single meal slows metabolic rate or induces a starvation response is simply nonsensical.

Very comprehensive article on meal frequency, go read it. Lyle is a pillar of common sense and integrity, a rarity in this industry, and you can find my reviews of his writings here.

I've written about meal frequency on this site before:

Here

And I've discussed the matter with Tom Venuto (who is a proponent of high meal frequency):

Here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back at it

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I've been knee deep in client work, which is why I haven't updated in a while. I'm also now managing my own column in the one and only swedish bodybuidling mag we got here www.body.se. Also been working on the book, or at least trying to fit it in when I can.

Jesus, can't believe it's been two months since last update. I'll get better.

I just threw together some questions people sent me these last few weeks, enjoy.

For those new to the site or intermittent fasting, my approach is described here:

Interview with Leigh Peele
- This interview covers a lot of issues about intermittent fasting and how I prefer to go about it.

Intermittent Fasting Roundtable
- General discussion, also featuring Brad Pilon and Mike O'Donnell.

Sure-Fire Fat Loss
- How to lose fat with intermittent fasting, the fast and smart way.

Excerpt from Knowledge and Nonsense
- A piece I wrote for Jamie Hale, about the basic principles of the approach.

You can also click the "Interview" tag for miscellanous discussions regarding intermittent fasting.

And finally, you can see how well my approach works in practice by viewing client results, my transformation and various testimonials.


Intermittent Fasting FAQ November


A few random questions people sent me the last few weeks.

Q: Can intermittent fasting be combined with PSMF?

PSMF, which stands for Protein Sparing Modified Fast (or Protein Strictly Mother Fucker), is the nefarious invention of Lyle McDonald. PSMF is decribed in the The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook. My Review is here.

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A: Yes – in fact, the earliest creation of my system were more or less days of post-workout overfeeding combined with PSMF type days (though not quite as extreme). For some people, including me, PSMF spread over 3 meals eaten within 8 hours feels a lot less restrictive vs the default high meal frequency approach.


Q: What’s the maximum amount of fructose allowed in the post-workout meal?

A: I’m probably going to have specific guidelines in the book, but you can’t go wrong on this one if you don’t do something completely retarded for your post-workout meal (too much processed junk).

Even so, fructose isn’t all that bad in moderation, according to a recent study*. In this particular study researchers gave a) 90 g carbs in the form of 30g fructose and 60 g glucose or b) same amount, all glucose, and found no difference in muscle glycogen synthesis after testing (post-workout).

Basically, fructose and glucose in a 1:2 ratio replenishes muscle glycogen just as well as pure glucose due to different metabolic pathways. Sucrose, which is part fructose and part glucose, should therefore not be completely shunned post-workout.

The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach to Leangains rules in favour of a starch based meal followed by a sugary treat for those high carb feasts I always include post-workout.

* Wallis, et al. Postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis with combined glucose and fructose ingestion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct;40(10):1789-94.


Q: Why is protein kept so high on rest days?

A: Protein is kept high for three reasons.

1) Highest TEF* of all macronutrients; 20-25% of the energy gets wasted as heat, making the true metabolic impact closer to 3,25 kcal/g** (carbs and fat have a TEF around 2-4%, making the effect negligible).

* = Thermic Effect of Feeding.

** = Livesey. Metabolizable energy of macronutrients. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Nov;62(5 Suppl):1135S-1142S

2) Greatest effect on satiety.

3) Spares muscle protein stores. While, 1 g/lb may be adequate assuming energy balance, it is not so during dieting conditions. In a calorie deficit, de novo gluconeogenesis, which is the conversion of dietary protein or muscle protein to carbs, is greatly accelerated. Having an ample supply of protein available from the diet, ample in this case being much more than enough (>1 g/lb), prevents amino acids from muscle being used in the dnl process.

You'd want to maximize these three factors to lose fat while preserving muscle mass, but even so I generally recommend a higher than adequate protein intake for anyone wanting to maximize lean gains and avoid fat gains regardless of energy balance (more so for reasons 1 and 2 when in energy balance).


Q: Martin, am I allowed to drink any fluids during the fast?

A: Of course, this ain’t Ramadan. You're free to drink unlimited water, coffee, diet pop or other non-caloric beverages during the fast.


Q: Can I change the feeding window on a day to day basis or can I the 16-8 split on weekdays while eating normally on weekends?

A: Yes, but there are benefits to using a fairly regular eating pattern on all days - regular in this case meaning if you're used to feeding between 1-9 pm you'd be well served trying to stick to it when possible.

Ghrelin, a hunger hormone which is partly regulated by anticipatory feeding, is why people get hungry on times they're used to eating - regardless of actual need (one reason the 6-meal-a-day crowd get hungry again shortly after having eaten).

When you change meal pattern you're also "reprogramming" ghrelin to a certain extent and shitfting back and forth too much may mess with this adaptation to some degree. Not a big deal, worst thing that can happen is you get a bit hungry - and real world experience tells me that nothing bad happens if you resort to a regular eating pattern a few days (i.e 16-8 split on weekdays, regular on weekends). Problems, which in this context means a grumbling stomach, only seems to arise if you move the feeding phase back and forth on a daily basis (1-9 pm one day, 4 pm-12 am the other day etc).


Q: I want to try intermittent fasting, but I'm not sure it will work for me. Does intermittent fasting work for everyone? Have you identified a body type that does better or worse with intermittent fasting?

A: Probably not, but I'm surprised how well the 16-8 split works and the fact that almost everyone likes it. I've only dealt with a handful of people for whom the 16-8 split was challenging to maintain, and in those cases it was more a question of external factors (irregular shit work, extremely high energy expenditure that made it impractical to eat a few, very large meals etc). In the beginning, when I used to recommend 16 hours of fasting across the board, some women didn't do as great as men; this was solved by shortening the fast to 14 hrs for women.

If I were to pinpoint a certain body type, assuming we can put such a label on people, I would have to say endomorphs do exceptionally well on the approach. Exceptionally well meaning it works very well for fat loss in these cases and endomorphs meaning people that usually struggle to maintain a normal weight and always have problems getting lean and staying there.

General

Q: How should I train?

A: I'm biased towards lower volume, higher intensity, compound based workout routines and I think you can go a long way just pressing, squatting, deadlifting and chinning.

I believe the great majority will do better just trying to get as strong as possible; if aestethics is a high priority, maximizing relative strength will go a very long way towards a lean, muscular physique. This is a core principle of my training ideology. Adding 10 lbs to your bench is not impressive if you also added 10 lbs of body weight, but adding 10 lbs to your bench, or 15-20 lbs to your deadlift, while only adding 5 lbs of body weight will go a long way to ensure most of the weight gained is lean mass (exception being the rank beginner where strength gains will be rapid due to neural adaptation).

As for how to train more specifically, well that's probably another blog post in it's own, but if I were to recommend a few resources that has influenced my thinking on the subject, I should mention Mark Rippetoe and Stuart McRobert. The former for his sensible, tell-it-like-it-is approach to training and coaching, and the latter for opening up my eyes to the key princples beyond effective training. It wasn't until I read Beyond Brawn I actually started seeing consistent progress.

Starting Strength



"Starting Strength is a unique approach to coaching weight training, written by coaches and designed specifically for training beginners. Learn how to effectively and safely coach the basic core lifts and their programming in an easy to do, step-by-step process. Featuring the most heavily illustrated exercise chapters in print, Starting Strength shows the reader not only how to teach the lifts, but how to recognize and correct technique errors..."

- Starting Strength Wiki


Practical Programming



Practical Programming offers a different approach to exercise programming than that typically found in other exercise texts. Based on a combined 60+ years of academic expertise, elite-level coaching experience, and the observation of thousands of novice trainees, the authors present a chronological analysis of the response to exercise as it varies through the training history of the athlete, one that reflects the realities of human physiology, sports psychology, and common sense.

-Starting Strength Wiki


Brawn



Beyond Brawn

The sequel to Brawn. If I were to recommend only one book on the topic it would be this one.



A great book, very comprehensive and highly influential on my own training. I was surprised when I checked out the review section and found an old review from the highly criticial Lyle McDonald where he gave it 4 out of 5 stars:

"At just under 500 pages, BEYOND BRAWN is, bar none, THE most comprehensive book I've ever read on the topic of bodybuilding, and I¹ve read several hundred books.
BEYOND BRAWN is written in very non-technical language. With 22 total chapters, no aspect of productive weight-training has been overlooked.."

And I'll cosign on that.




My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

Welcome to the Internet's leading resource on intermittent fasting and all things related.

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