Monthly Archives: May 2010

Top Six Nutrition Tips to Lose Fat

I thought it would be appropriate to write an article on fat loss as the weather begins to get nicer. After all who wouldn’t want to lose some extra fat they are carrying around? See if you can incorporate as many as these tips as possible in the upcoming months and watch the fat disappear.

Tip # 1- Frequent Eating – People sometimes act surprised when I tell them to actually eat more times a day when they are looking to lose weight, but it’s true.  Now I am not recommending you visit the Old Country Buffet every hour but our bodies are programmed to burn fat and build muscle best when we consume 5-7 smaller more frequent meals.  This keeps our metabolism running at full velocity and also keeps our body in a positive nitrogen balance which holds of catabolism (muscle wasting).  However this doesn’t mean you need to be sitting at the table eating whole food at each meal. I recommend investing in a high quality meal replacement powder to have between whole food meals. A simple protein powder will work great.

Tip # 2 – Drink More Water – Water can be considered the most important nutrient to consume. But the fact is most people do not consume enough. Our bodies are 70 percent water and need proper hydration to function properly. I am going to leave out the dehydration factor and save that for another time but just remember if you’re thirsty you need water! The main point I am trying to make here is the metabolism requires water to function properly, when water intake is too low the metabolism slows down. Bottom line: drink more water throughout the day and keep your metabolism functioning properly. P.S that’s why I have water with me at all times!

Tip # 3 – Consume lean protein with each “Meal” – Consuming lean protein in each feeding is important for a number of reasons. First, protein is the most thermogenic of all of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) meaning it is harder for the body to process. Secondly, as I said earlier having a protein source at each meal will keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance which helps maintain muscle. Remember the key is to lose fat not muscle. Muscle takes more calories to maintain meaning it burns more calories so we want to keep what we already have and build upon it. Lastly and most importantly for fat loss, consuming protein along with carbohydrates keeps insulin levels from rising. Insulin is a signal to store fat so it is important to keep it stable. That is why I do not recommend consuming sugar because it spikes insulin which leads to fat storage. Have some chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, cottage cheese, fish, protein powder or lean red meat at each “meal”.

Tip # 4 – Do not cut calories too fast – This tip goes back to the metabolism (reoccurring theme). When you rapidly cut calories the metabolism in turn slows down because it perceives a time of starvation. This is also a good way to lose muscle. You should not be starving while trying to get leaner. Remember you are not dieting you are making lifestyle changes to lose fat. The better approach would be to start out slowly and when progress stops then adjust you calories to maintain losing fat.

Tip # 5 – Emphasize complex carbohydrates – When selecting carbohydrates make sure you are selecting the right ones. What I mean by this is selecting slow burning complex carbs that do not spike insulin levels. Good examples of these are oatmeal (plain oats not the flavored kind), sweet potatoes, brown rice and vegetables. Bad carbohydrate selections are of the white variety, white rice, white bread, white pasta, and of course sugar.

Bonus Controversial Tip # 6 – Cut out fruit juice – Ok this is the one that causes some controversy. People always ask me “I thought fruit juice is healthy?” and I replay it is as long as you get the 100% juice variety but even then I don’t recommend it on a fat loss diet. The reason for this is simple; there is a difference between healthy eating and eating for fat loss. While fruit juice might be “healthy” for your body with loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants there just is not room for it on a fat loss plan. A fat loss plan is going to have a set amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. The question I normally ask is “would you rather have that 8oz of juice or that large bowl of oatmeal with your eggs at breakfast? “ each item is around 40g of carbohydrate but the oatmeal is a much more complex,  slower acting and won’t cause an insulin spike leading to fat storage.

I challenge you to use some of these tips in the next few weeks and let me know how they work for you!

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Interview with MMA fighter Ryan Makitra

MMA fighter Ryan Makitra

Bio

Born – August 22, 1983

Born in – Riverside California

Current residence – Corning New York

Fighting Organization – Knockout Promotions

Height – 5ft 4 in

Weight- 125lbs at fights, 135lbs offseason

Amateur MMA record: 1-0

Ryan is married with two kids and works a full time job at Dresser Rand.

I met Ryan while I was working at Snap Fitness in Corning, New York. He was a regular in the gym and immediately his strong work ethic and determination stood out to me. I knew his style of training was exactly what huntfitness is all about. Before long we were getting together for training sessions on a consistent basis. Now Ryan is training for his upcoming fight against Dennis Brown June 19 in Salamanca at 125lbs. Here is a question and answer session we had following a wrestling workout we did this afternoon.

Q (Kyle) – Ryan, let’s start by telling everyone how you got into MMA.

A (Ryan) – Well I always used to watch UFC on T.V when I was a kid back in California and I still love watching the fights to this day. So I would have to say watching the fights on T.V got me into MMA.

Q. How long have you been training specifically for MMA?

A. Really not that long. I started a few weeks before my first fight in early March of this year.

Q. How long have you been involved in weight training?

A.I first started lifting weights when I was a junior in high school so around eleven years.

Q. What got you into the weight room?

A. Building muscle and strength has always been my reason to lift weights. Since I am a smaller guy (5ft 4 in tall and 125 lbs) I at least wanted to have quality muscle and strength. Plus I have always been strong for my size.

Q. I understand where you are coming from there (Ryan and I are the same height).  How has the time in the gym paid off in your fighting career?

A. I feel like the added strength and explosive power helps in most aspects of fighting.

Q. I completely agree. What is your favorite exercise?

A. That’s a hard question. It’s probably between Squats and Deadlifts.

Q. Those are two of the best exercises out there. How about your favorite and least favorite muscles to train?

A. My favorite would be shoulders and my least favorite is definitely biceps.

Q. What is your favorite workout routine?

A. That’s an easy one, our legendary leg days. I always get a great workout after we do legs. I normally can’t even sit down the next day!

Note. Ryan and I meet together to train legs once per week. These workouts are intense and brutal. Here is a bonus look into a typical “legendary leg day”.

  • Squats 4 sets 8-12 reps * drop set on 4th set
  • Leg Extension 4 sets 8-15 reps * 2 forced reps on last 2 sets and last set is a drop set
  • Dumbell Walking lunges 3 sets 8-12 reps * we walk across the gym and back
  • Romanian Deadlifts 4 sets 8-12 reps
  • Lying Leg Curl with cable machine 3 sets 8-12 reps * 2 forced reps and drop set on the 3rd set
  • Standing Calf Raise 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise 3 sets 12-15 reps

Some times to add intensity we super set two exercises together. Talk about a tough workout.

Q. What is your current training routine?

A. Currently it is something like this.

Mon – (A.M) Chest, shoulders, Calf’s (P.M) Hit heavy bag and pads, ground and pound heavy bag and cardio.

Tue – (A.M) Legs and Abs (P.M) Tractor tire flips down street, wood sled sprints.

Wed – (A.M) Circuit training and cardio (P.M) Ground training

Thru – (A.M) Light cardio (P.M) Wrestling Practice

Fri – (A.M) Circuit training and cardio (P.M) Hit heavy bag and pads

Sat – Wrestling practice, tire flips and sled drags

Sun – Rest

* During our wrestling practices Ryan and I go over technique and do live wrestling. They normally last around two hours.

Q. Where do you do your training?

A. I weight train and do cardio at Snap Fitness in Corning New York. I also have a home gym at my house with a bunch of equipment.

Q. What supplements do you take? What is your favorite one?

A. Mainly I just take a protein drink and creatine. If I could only have one it would be the protein powder.

Q. What is your current nutrition plan?

A. Right now it looks like this.

Meal 1 (after morning workout) – Protein drink, oatmeal and banana

Meal 2 – 6oz Lean meat, baked potato, veggies

Meal 3 – 1 cup cottage cheese, whole grain baked crackers

Meal 4 (after afternoon workout) – Protein drink, Gatorade

Meal 5 – 6 oz lean meat, 1.5 cup orzo pasta, veggies

Meal 6 – Protein drink, oatmeal, peanut butter

Q. What is your favorite meal?

A.  Protein drink with oatmeal

Q. How about your favorite cheat meal?

A. Vanilla bean ice cream with protein powder and peanut butter.

Q. How does your nutrition plan change as you start preparing for a fight?

A. I increase protein and carbohydrates. My main goal is to take in enough calories to maintain muscle and have enough energy to train.

Q. What is on the horizon for Ryan Makitra in the future?

A. Well my main goal is to become a pro fighter. I would like to make it into the WEC (the UFC’s sister organization).

Q. I know with your work ethic you are well on your way. We are going to do whatever it takes to get you to the top. Thanks for sitting down with me today.

A. No problem. Thanks for having me.

Secret to six pack abs

One thing you are almost certain to see when walking into a gym is people doing endless crunches on the floor in an effort to achieve a well defined midsection. Why is this so common? Well it’s because abs are the ultimate show muscle and doing endless crunches is going to get me a ripped six pact to show the ladies. Ok sounds like we need a lesson on how to properly train our abdominal region.

First, before we even get into proper abdominal training I feel it is necessary to give away my secret right up front. The key to having great abdominals is having a low body fat. If you have a high body fat it really doesn’t matter how well conditioned your abs are they will likely be covered by a layer of fat. If this is the case you need to concentrate on lowering your body fat first. Nutrition is going to play a huge part in this along with a cardio routine that includes some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to help facilitate more fat burning effects. Once you get your nutrition and cardio geared towards losing fat, an intense ab busting routine will put you well on your way to the midsection you want.

The main component of training the abdominal region includes four areas to be specifically targeted; upper abs, lower abs, oblique’s, and core. When training the abdominals it is important to remember how muscles in general respond best to training. With abdominals like any muscle there must be continued progression.  An endless rep of crunches day after day is not the answer. There needs to be added resistance, something to force your abdominals to work harder than they are accustomed to. Added resistance during ab exercises can come from holding a weight plate, kettle bell, medicine ball, using a cable station or roman chair to perform you exercise on.  Also adding instability in the form of an exercise ball can provide added benefit to your ab training.

A good ab program has to include an exercise from each of the four specific areas; upper, lower, oblique’s, and core. This style of routine should be done 2 or 3 times per week with rest days in between, remember your abs need time for recovery in order to make improvements just like all of your other muscles.

Sample Abdominal Plan

  • Rope Cable Crunch 3 sets 12-15 reps (upper abs)
  • Hanging Knee Raise 3 sets 12-15 reps (lower abs)
  • Weighted rotation on exercise ball 3 sets 12-15 reps (oblique’s)
  • Plank holds 3 sets 45-60 sec holds (core)

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My top bodybuilding supplement picks

1. Protein powder- The staple in every bodybuilders supplement bag. Very versitile can be taken anytime during the day. I reccommed a whey isolate/ hydroslate blend around workout times such as Beverly International’s Muscle Provider. This is a protein powder that is fast acting and tastes great! At other times of the day such as between meals and before bed a protein powder with a mix of whey and casein is best. I use Beverly’s Ultimate Muscle Protein at those times.

2. Glutamine and BCAAs- How can you go wrong, two supplements in one. The combination of amino acids glutamine, leucine, valine and isolucine make a potent cocktail that can be consumed before, durning or after training. Helps speed up the recovery process.

3. Creatine- This supplement speaks for itself. Increase strength, increased muscle force, delay of muscle fatigue, the benefits are endless. Still the most scientifically proven form is creatine monohydrate.

4. Pre workout- Nothing helps you get through a tough workout like a good pre workout supplement. The combination of caffine and N.O stimulating supplements is a perfect pre workout combination. Be carfull of the “fillers” and “propetary blends” that supplement companies use to make there products at a cheper rate.

5. Multivitamin- You can’t lift heavy in the gym if your sick. Cover all of your micronutrient needs with a good sports complete multivitamin.

Honorable mention: Carnitine and Omega 3

A little info on energy pathways

            In the human body energy production is centered around ATP. Our muscles can generate ATP by the use of three metabolic pathways. These pathways are the ATP/CP pathway, Glycolytic pathway and Oxidative pathway. Muscle cells can use one or a combination of the three pathways to generate energy. Different forms and durations of exercise cause different demands on the body leading to different ways the body has to generate ATP.

            The ATP/CP pathway is anaerobic meaning it does not require oxygen to produce the energy. This pathway is used in exercise that requires quick explosive movements that are high intensity but short in duration. Examples include throwing, jumping, and weightlifting. Since a limited amount of ATP is stored in muscle cells the body must replenish ATP through the ATP/CP pathway. All forms of exercise use this pathway first regardless of the intensity or duration but it only takes under 2 seconds for ATP stores to become depleted and less than 60 seconds for the CP stores to become completely depleted.

            The Glycolytic pathway is the second pathway that comes into play. Similarly to the ATP/CP pathway the Glycolytic pathway is also anaerobic. This pathway works by breaking down stored carbohydrates in the muscle cells (glycogen) or available glucose in the blood stream to convert ADP to ATP. The limiting factor becomes the byproduct of the ADP-ATP conversion which is lactic acid. This pathway is the main form of energy production between the 60 and 80 second mark. The Glycolytic pathway is used mainly during weight lifting repetitions, repeated jumps or throws lasting under 80 seconds in duration.

            Finally the Oxidative pathway, the only pathway that is aerobic meaning it requires oxygen to produce ATP. This process produces the most ATP however it also takes the longest. Endurance training uses this form of energy. Long distance running, biking or rowing will cause this energy pathway to come into use. This pathway will continue for the duration of the exercise breaking down carbohydrates and fat until they are no longer available and then it will start breaking down muscle (amino acids) for energy.

Common fitness myths

In the fitness industry there is a lot of misinformation out there. With all this incorrect information on the internet, magazines and advertisements it can leave people very confused. One of the most common myths I hear is “more is better” in terms of exercise. This of course is not the case. One of the reasons people think this is the case is because of the perception it takes an excessive amount of training to see results. The truth is muscles require recovery, without recovery no progress will be made. People should workout for 3-5 day per week for anywhere from an hour and a half to eight hours total. The second most common myth is lifting heavy weights will make women get bulky. I hear this one all of the time. The truth is women do not naturally have enough testosterone and other muscle building hormones to build muscle enough to become bulky. The images of female bodybuilders with physiques like men are a result of steroid use. Another important fact is building muscle takes time. A woman is not going to wake up one day after lifting heavy weights to discover she has twenty inch biceps. Weight training is a great way to build a shapely feminine physique and should not be feared by females in every gym in the world. The issue of spot reduction is another major myth that is very popular in the advertising world. The fact is the body uses fat stores evenly throughout the body. Working one area does not mean you will lose fat in that specific area. Fat loss is a result of a negative calorie balance plain and simple. To go along with spot reduction another popular training myth is the belief crunches are the key to great abdominals. I see people who do hundreds of crunches a day but still do not have anything resembling a six pack. The reason for this is their abs are hidden under a layer of fat. It does not matter if someone has amazing abs if their body fat is too high they will not be visible. Also a good abdominal routine will include more than crunches. Crunches only hit the upper abs neglecting the lower and oblique muscles. Finally the idea that the scale is the best indicator of progress is another myth in the fitness industry. People who want to lose fat sometimes get discouraged because their weight has stayed the same despite noticeable differences in their body. When someone gains 5 pounds of lean muscle and loses 6 pounds of fat the scale only says 1 pound loss. The reality is there was an eleven pound difference! Their physique would look much better and the person would be and feel healthier without a large amount of weight dropped according to the scale.

First post

Well this is my first post. I am going to be putting up training and nutrition posts up real soon including videos. Stay sharp