What makes a good cardio routine?

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Question:

Hi Marc,

I just recently encountered your podcast and have really found you advice helpful and encouraging! I wanted to inquire about the cardio based workout from your first podcast regarding abs. For 4-5 days a week, I spend about 20-25 mins on a treadmill and use a stair maching for another 25 mins. Do you happen to know if this is a good cardio regiment?

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks!

Sincerely,

Bryan

Answer:

Bryan,

In a nutshell, training in your heart rate zones is the most efficient and quickest way to any cardio type goal.

So if you are doing those 20-40 minutes in some type of zone, you’ll get the best benefits.

What I personally do is 2-3 days, just cruise at a Zone 2. Nothing fancy. But the other couple of days, I get myself into a HIIT routine and do 205-40 minutes of heart interval training.

That makes a very efficient cardio routine.

CardioCoach is something I talk about a lot only becuase it makes HIIT training very easy (because Sean tells you what zone to be in) and I have a heart rate monitor so it’s very easy to just look at my heart rate and get it into the right zones.

You will find a very detailed heart rate zone calculator on Sean’s CardioCoach website. So you’ll know what Zone 1-4 really means to you.

Thanks Bryan,

Marc


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What’s the difference between protein and amino acids?

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Question:

I am definitely a hardgainer. I’m considering taking some sort of supplement, but don’t want to pour a ton of cash into it.

Would you recommend I take a protein shake supplement after workouts or amino acid pills?

Thanks,
Trev

Answer:

Trev,

Just stick with the protein shakes. Protein is made up of amino acids. In my opinion, an amino acid pill or liquid aminos, are not much more then an expensive protein shake.


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When is the best time to consume protein?

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This is a guest post by Nick Nilsson is Vice President of BetterU, Inc., an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company.

Question:

When should I consume my protein?

Answer:

1. Immediately After A Workout

If you only take protein once per day, this is the absolute best time to take it. Immediately after you finish your workout, your body needs raw materials to rebuild and recover with. If you don’t supply the raw materials through eating, your body will break down muscle from elsewhere in your body in order to rebuild the damaged areas. This is very counterproductive as you can well imagine. By taking in some protein (20 to 30 grams or so) within minutes after exercise, you provide your body with the raw materials it needs to recover without breaking down it’s own muscle tissue.

2. An Hour After A Workout

About an hour following a workout, your body has settled down from the excitement and is ready to really start rebuilding. The protein that you took in immediately following the workout has been metabolized and your body is looking for more. Another protein shake at this time is a good way to help speed recovery. Try to take in another 20 to 30 grams about an hour after working out.

3. First Thing In The Morning

Immediately upon waking, or as soon after that as you can manage, take a scoop of protein powder. Your body has just been through an (approximately) 8 hour fast and is hungry for nutrients. Feed your body! Protein powder is more quickly assimilated than solid food and gets into your muscles faster. This protein shot gives your metabolism a boost, which can help with fat loss. Be sure to follow it with a good breakfast, of course.

4. Last Thing At Night

Prepare your body for the long overnight fast by giving it a little something to work with. A good combination for this purpose is to mix a scoop of whey protein in with a small glass of milk. Whey is what’s known as a “fast” protein, meaning that it’s digested quickly, while milk protein (casein) is what’s known as a “slow” protein, meaning it’s digested relatively slowly. At night, you want your protein to be metabolized slowly so that your body gets a more even supply over the course of the night. By mixing “fast” and “slow” proteins, you get the benefits of the higher-quality whey with the slower digestion time of the milk.

5. In-between Meals

A quick protein shake can be a great snack in between meals. It helps keep your body supplied with protein all day long. This is especially useful if you tend to have long periods of time in-between meals. It could mean the difference between losing muscle and building or keeping muscle!

6. With Meals

Taking a protein supplement with meals is a handy way to increase the protein content of a meal. This is perfect for when you make a meal that is somewhat low in protein.

7. In The Middle Of The Night

This is a trick that bodybuilders sometimes use in order to keep their muscles supplied with protein throughout the night. Keep a pre-mixed protein shake right beside your bed. Although some trainers have been known to set alarms to wake up to drink it, I prefer to have it there waiting just in case I wake up, but I don’t try to wake up on purpose. If I don’t wake up, it’s right there ready for me to drink first thing in the morning! This strategy is more targeted for muscle growth rather than fat loss.

WARNING! Never drink a protein supplement immediately before working out! Some people do this thinking that it will give them an energy boost or give them a head-start for post-workout recovery. Basically, all it does is sit in their stomach and bloat them up. Valuable blood that should be going to working muscles gets sent to the digestive system to try and digest it. The same warning goes for taking protein during a workout. Don’t do it!

By following these protein-intake recommendations, you will increase the effectiveness of your supplementation. Even if you choose to take advantage of only one or two of these timing techniques, you will certainly see an improvement in your recovery ability.

Nick Nilsson is Vice President of BetterU, Inc., an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company. Check out his latest eBook “The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of” at http://www.thebestexercises.com or visit http://www.fitstep.com

When is the best time to take creatine?

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Question:

Hi Marc,

Is it better to take recommended dosage (3-5g/day) all at once or spread throughout day rather uniformly? Either way of taking it, I would take some or all post-exercise and in the mornings of my off days. I think in the report it didn’t address this directly. In addition, I got conflicting advice for usage from two creatine products (Life Extensions Micronized Creatine Powder vs. GNC Creatine Monohydrate).

FYI: I guess including fat and protein with creatine would cause slower absorbtion, so I am leaning towards taking it all at once.

Thanks for your time on clarifying this issue for me.
Sincerely,
Charles

Answer:

Hi Charles,

Oh I’ve done it both ways.

I took it partially before my workouts and then after.

I took it all before.

I took it all after.

Didn’t make any difference to me. As long as I had creatine and had excess, I was strong, felt good and my workouts were better.

I noticed absolutely no difference taking it in segments, pre/post workouts.

At this time I take it 30 minutes before my workout. I’m using a product called V12 which is a creatine transport.

Now as far as conflicting advice from 2 different products. Go with the product recommendations. There really seems to be no perfect or right way to do this.

As I said, done both. I noticed the benefits of creatine period but didn’t see any better performance from taking it before/after or mixing it up.

I didn’t recover faster. I didn’t feel better. Just nothing.

So to me, it doesn’t matter.

But of course, there’s this viewpoint from AST…
Part 1:

http://www.ast-ss.com/articles/article.asp?AID=246

Part 2:

http://www.ast-ss.com/articles/article.asp?AID=243

Don’t pay attention to the product plugs. You can adapt what they are saying to any creatine product.

However, they really get into the science of creatine. Maybe too much?

If it’s all too confusing, just take the recommended dosage, once per day… and see if you like the results.

Then if you like creatine and it’s working you can get all funky with all these various methods that people preach.

Don’t get too caught up into the science. It works. It’s got a lot of research behind it and while there are about 30% of people that don’t respond, if you do, you will know.

I’d just start taking it via the recommended instructions per the product.

Then cycle off it about 8 weeks.

Then read these articles and see if you can adapt it into what you are doing. You might notice better results. You might notice nothing at all.

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

A protein shake for the “not wanting to get fat girl”

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Question:

Hi I recently started to listen to your podcast and find it very interesting. I have been working out for a couple of years but only doing hard cardio for about 8 months. I have noticed that I have much more definition but am losing muscle mass on the whole. I was told it is because I am not getting enough protein and I am doing too much cardio (can this be true?). So what I was wondering was is there a protein powder out there that would help me get my muscle mass back with out losing my definition or increasing my body fat %?

Thanks,

Heather

Answer:

The reason you are losing muscle mass is simply becuase you can’t maintain it! Could doing all that cardio be the culprint? Sure.

Let’s just say you need 2000 calories a day to maintain what you have. Let’s assume that you cut 10% via your nutrition in order to burn some fat.

Now you introduce more cardio, longer, harder and more intense.

You now need 2300 calories a day, minus the 10% in order to burn the fat.

But you don’t up the calories! You were still figuring in the 2000 based on what you were doing before.

Now you are at a 23% deficit.

Too much. Your body begins to hold onto it’s fat stores and burn any available carbs for energy and muscle. You body doesn’t need the muscle to survive and it can’t keep it. You start to lose muscle.

Now are you getting enough protein? That’s another question.

And really both answers are quite simple.

Grab a copy of the Top 12 Beginner’s Mistakes report and do 2 things IMMEDIATELY!

1) Figure out how many calories a day you need to reach your goals. You probably need to adjust because of the added cardio sessions.

2) Do the simply math on how much protein you need a day to ensure you are getting enough to support new muscle growth.

It’s that easy.


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Should I train differently if I’m older?

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Question:

I’ve got two questions I’ve never received a knowlegable response to:

1)What effect does being 61 yrs of age have on training, expectations, etc.?

2) What percentage of calories consumed are actually absorbed by the body? Does exercise affect this percentage?….in a 61 year old body?

Thanks,

Steve

Answer:

Great question and it’s simple really.

No you shouldn’t train any differently! If you are healthy, then you should engage in the same training anybody else would for a particular goal. Now granted, the weight you use might be different depending on your strenght but I’ve seen plenty of older gentlemen, 61+, doing deadlifts and squats with more weight and in better form then many younger people.

As far as training goes, you just do the same things. You can do super-sets, drop sets, rest pause.. whatever.

The main difference is recover times.

As you get older, your recovery time is longer and hence, it takes longer for you to recover from a workout to be able to do it again. So you might have to be smart in how you workout and not just do marathon sessions (which I wouldn’t advise anyway).

As far as nutrition goes (calories), you again do the same thing. Taking into account metabolism and activity levels for an older person.

But you still need to do the same calculations.

It’s quite possible to build muscle at age 61. It will be harder but it can be done and many people prove it every day.

In fact, if you want a really inspiration read, you might wander over to a site called FitOver40

These individuals are all over 40 years of age and some are quite muscular and fit.

Fit Over 40 is NOT just a health and fitness “how to” book for the over 40 crowd, filled with exercise, nutrition and fitness tips. Fit Over 40 is also an inspirational e-book, profiling 50 amazing human beings who defied the odds and created bodies and levels of fitness and health that would be envied by people 20-30 years their junior!


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Can I get results on a Bowflex or similar type machines?

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Question:

Hi Marc:

I have a question… would I be able to attain the result you talk about if I train mostly with a bowflex… the only other equipment I have are dumbells up to 40 pounds and a ball where I do abs and some chest exercises. I’ve been training for a long time and I am in pretty decent shape for my age.

Thanks for your feedback… and thanks for the information you send.

Mike Daigle

Answer:

Not exactly. If your goal is to get lean and fit, then I would agree those type of machines work quite well.

But if you are looking for results like size and mass, then you are going to be forced to use free weights and do some different kinds of workouts that don’t simulate movements but are the actual movements.

Let me explain…

Doing a bench press on a Soloflex or Bowflex is not the same in terms of how it feels to press an actual weight. Those machines do a wonderful job of stimulating and simulating the movement and the muscle involved but if your goal is to get bigger, you are going to have to hit the iron.

Case in point, none of the models you see on those ads only workout with machines. They have all used free weights, body weight exercises and variety to get where they are.

Now I’m not saying those machines don’t work. They do. If your goal is to get fit and gain a little muscle. But if you want to get big, gain a lot of muscle and make some significant changes, you will have to workout with free weights and use more weights then you currently have available.

It really comes down to your goals.


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All about Creatine

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Question:

Dear Marc,

Creatine. I’ve read the articles in fitness magazines, I’ve even read some of the journal articles on the subject. There’s allot of conflicting info out there so I still have questions.

1. Is it safe, what are the side effects?
2. As I understand it, one of the things that creatine does is make your muscles retain some water, is this correct, and isn’t this just “retaining water” i.e. weight!!! (something I’m trying to reduce)
3. Assuming it’s save and won’t hurt my weight loss attempts, how is it best taken? I have the powder, can I add this to my after workout protein shake?

Thanks! (sorry for the multipart question).

Dave

Answer:

Dave,

No problem. Many people wonder what the heck creatine is? Is it safe? Should you take it? I’ve even had people argue that creatine is a steroid!

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Will Brink has put together an absolutely wonderful resources on the subject. Not only is it part of my Beginner’s Guide package (a secret bonus item) but it’s just a great report period.

You’ll need Abobe Acrobat to read this but it will be worth it.

Get the Creatine Report Now

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Help me get motivation to go back to the gym

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Question:

Marc,

I have hit a two week slump. I started working out and it lasted a bout two weeks and the then I got frustrated. I Am in the Kuwaiti Desert. Not alot of time for the gym with my crazy schedule of 12 hr days. But I tried. Bad food also, if you rememeber. Gut a lot of junk out of my diet. Lost some weight a felt good. I was going to the gym when ever I could and was doing real well. Then I started to weight myself and I was 229 (6ft 1in) I was excited. Then It seemed like like was gaining weight. I got up to 240+. I was like I could not be gaining muscle with the few times I was hitting the gym. So here is the question. How do I know if I losing weight and gaining muscle. I know that muscle will burn fat so you will get slim. How much fat is burned by the muscle. How do you guage the gain/loss ratio. How do I know that the work I am doing in the gym is actually building muscle.

Thanks again for all your help.

James,

Ps. The kick in the A is to get me back in the gym. With the desert heat and the long 12hr days I get burned out quickly. So I have to take breaks between normal rest cycles and trying to to fit the gym into my weekly schedule.

James

Answer:

James, it all comes down to passion.

I’ve received the question about motivation to workout several times. So many in fact that it’s included in my book, a free eReport, and now this post. A bit back, I emailed a fellow who simply wished the question of motivation could be answered. I’m including my response in this post.

I think the 2 most frequently asked questions that I address in my Beginners’ Guide to Fitness and Bodybuilding are:

1) How do I get motivated?
2) How soon can I expect to see results?

After doing some research today, I think the ultimate key to motivation is:

Passion

Yes, p-a-s-s-i-o-n

Without that burning desire to succeed, most things will elude you. Desire comes from an interest that can grow into passion.

If you have a passion for something, you’ll do whatever it takes to be successful. Without it, you’ll only be partly committed and only partly successful.

Take a look at any major sports star or entertainer, the passion they have for their sport is obvious. It is what drives them to succeed and motivates them to give 100%. Without it, they would just be average.

To be successful in the pursuit of fitness, it needs to become a passion. So if you don’t have a strong interest in becoming fit, I suggest you find other activities you do enjoy. Getting fit isn’t something anybody does well as a passing interest.

But do realize that you need to know more about fitness in general before you can develop a real enthusiasm for it. In my case, as I kept learning more and more about training, nutrition and supplements, my interest really started to grow.

And understand that you don’t need to be obsessive about working out. You can be very successful just doing 45 minutes a session, 3 times a week. You don’t need to live in the gym or spend every second thinking about working out.

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At what point will my muscles start to shrink if I can’t workout?

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Question:

At what point (timeframe) in your opinion, will the muscle begin to shrink if you do not or cannot workout?

Let’s say you travel for a month and for a period of time you can’t workout. What’s the absolute minimum you should do to keep the muscles?

Thanks,

Gunnar

Answer:

The bare minimum you should do is:

1- Keep as active as possible in whatever capacity you can

2- Get enough protein daily to maintain the muscle mass you currently have

After about 3 months the muscle will start to shink due to inactivity and non-use. But the best thing you can do is to make sure your body is in an anabolic state.


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