Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

Q & A with Team True Alpha member Eric Broser

Q. I am extremely ectomorphic. My goal is to gain as much bulk as possible, but I don’t want to get too fat. I weigh about 155 and wish to get to about 185 in the next year. Should I be doing cardio along with my weight training?

A. I was in a very similar situation as you when I first started, although I was even skinnier if you could believe that! I weighed a paltry 125 lbs when I first wrapped my hands around a barbell! So, in other words, I feel your pain, and can fully appreciate your question. As for my response…I would have to say no, you should not do any cardio at this time. As an ectomorph struggling to add muscle and bodyweight the last thing you want to do is burn more calories and further increase your already racing metabolism through cardio. You want every calorie you ingest to be pointed toward muscle repair and growth, even if you store a little bodyfat along the way. The best way to avoid adding too much extra adipose tissue while gaining size is to make sure that you are eating a relatively clean high calorie diet. Try to get the bulk of your calories from foods like steak, eggs, milk, chicken, fatty fish, protein powders, rice, pasta, potatoes, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables. While the occasional pizza, ice cream and pancakes will not hurt you, make foods like this the exception and not the rule. Another point about cardio and the ectomorph that I want to make is that in my experience, those with this body type tend to have more limited recovery ability than most…not as much in regards to individual muscles as to systemic recovery. This means that as an ectomorph, overtraining is more of a concern than with other body types. Thus, the addition of cardio on top of weight training is not a good idea for us naturally skinny types (at least in the early bulking stages), as too much exercise will make too far an inroad into our recovery ability, which will all but bring gains in muscle to a screeching halt!

So, my advice to you is to train hard and heavy no more than 4 days per week, eat at least 6 clean, high calorie meals per day, and to sleep 7-9 hours every night. That is your simple, yet most reliable equation for muscle growth.

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TEAM ALPHA Q & A with Eric B

Q. I hear mixed things about glutamine. Some say it works and others say it is a scientifically non-proven supplement. I trust your opinion Eric. What do you say?

A. I just want you to know that I truly appreciate that you trust me, and the info I put forth. Thank you.

Now…on to the question at hand. There are only a few supplements that I use 365 days per year. Those include a multivitamin/mineral, BCAA’s, and yes, glutamine! Glutamine has proven itself to me over and over again, with myself, and my personal training clients. Very often there is far more reliable evidence in the “real world” than what is seen in a laboratory. The reason that some people fail with glutamine is because they either expect to achieve immediate gains (yes, prohormones spoiled everyone while they were available), or they simply do not use it consistently enough, or in high enough amounts to get the desired effect. Another problem is that many trainees take L-glutamine along with protein, which pretty much assures that it will not be absorbed efficiently. L-glutamine needs to be taken on an empty stomach, about 30 minutes before each meal to be utilized properly. Now, it is true that the gastrointestinal tract is a “glutamine hog,” and will horde much of what you take for itself, which is why I said that you need to take a fairly large amount to reap the benefits. For most, this means 25-50 g per day. I strongly believe in glutamine’s immune system enhancing effects (can’t train when your sick, right?); its positive effects on protein synthesis; its ability to help with glycogen storage; it’s anti-catabolic effects; and it’s GH inducing abilities as well.

I take glutamine along with BCAA’s at least four times per day, and when dieting, up to 6-7 times per day. Each dose is no less than 5-10 grams.

Remember, just because you do not gain 10 lbs of muscle in two weeks does not mean glutamine is not working. Glutamine is what I call a “long haul” supplement. This simply means that over the long haul, it will certainly help hasten your progress. So be patient, and let glutamine work it’s magic a little at a time.

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Rest = Recover = RESULTS!

Sleep is a rarely considered piece to the total fitness puzzle, but is one of THE most important aspects of becoming a muscular, lean, mean, fit machine! Going to the gym and putting in intense, gut-busting workouts day after day acts only as the stimulus for gains in muscle size, strength, and power, as well as decreases in body fat. Proper nutritional intake is then necessary to provide you the building blocks needed to actually create new lean tissue and melt ugly adipose. However, all of this will be meaningless if you do not allow your body the time and opportunity to “work” this magical process. When does your body do 99% of its building and repair work? WHEN YOU SLEEP! During sleep all other body processes slow down and an intense recovery period takes place. The conscious mind is allowed to “chill” while the subconscious keeps us entertained. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sleep Your Way to a Better Body!

Get enough sleep!Can you sleep your way to a better body? Sleep is essential if you’re a guy involved in an intense resistance training program like Alpha Wave Basic Training. Tough physical exertion requires full replenishment of lost energy and recuperation of broken-down body tissues.  If you want a better ratio of muscle to fat, you have to make sure that your endocrine system is effectively releasing growth hormone. Deep sleep is when your body’s hormone release becomes most active and lively.

According to experts at the National Institute on Aging, deep sleep is vital for aging men and the release of muscle-building hormones. Less deep sleep, independent of age, can play a part in lower growth hormone levels in middle age and beyond. Research conducted at the University of Chicago suggests that lack of sleep may also play a huge role in age-related testosterone loss. Scientists found that the more sleep mature male subjects got, the higher their testosterone levels the next morning. 

Most sleep experts recommend that adults get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night to help maintain optimum health. True Alpha Males engaging in an intense physical fitness regimen like the Alpha Male Challenge might need even more. Gauge how energized you feel during the day and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.

Now go hit the pillow!

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What not to eat … after your workout!!

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!  A brand new article posted by Dr. Joseph Mercola is entitled “Two Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat After Exercise.”  He asks, “Did you know that what you eat directly after exercising … can have a significant impact on the health benefits you reap from your exercise?”  The question’s a great one.  It’s his answer that misses the mark.  If you’re looking to get the most out of your workouts, that is! Read the rest of this entry »

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My Favorite Protein Shake

I created this recipe in 2005 after a fellow Dietitian brought chocolate mint leaves to work. No one wanted them except me. Although I wasn’t sure what to do with them at first. But being resourceful, I put them to optimal use in my Chocolate Mint Protein Shake.  To this day, this is still my favorite protein shake. I hope you like it too! If you don’t like chocolate, well, you’re just crazy, but feel free to omit the cocoa and use vanilla protein powder. It’s still very yummy!

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How Many Days A Week Do I Need To Workout To Get In Great Shape?

As a fitness professional, my livelihood depends on me being in the gym just about everyday. I usually weight train about 5 days a week, but I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I always make sure to avoid overtraining.

Most people don’t have the available time to train more than a few times a week and even 3 days a week can be tough to fit into a schedule. This is why it is important to make the most out of the days when you can train and why you must make sure to give each workout session absolutely everything you’ve got.

I don’t train 5 days a week because it’s what I need to do to get/stay in great shape. I usually train only one muscle group per workout. I could easily Read the rest of this entry »

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Weight Training Injuries – How To Deal With & Prevent Them

One of the most common injuries for a person working out with weights is tendonitis or joint soreness. This is usually because strain is put on the bones and connective tissue and/or you are experiencingt what are referred to as, overuse injuries.

In order to relieve this situation, there are some things that you can do. First off, if you’re not sure about just how injured you might be, do yourself a favor and seek medical advice immediately. If you know that you simply strained yourself or feel overly sore, in my opinion, ice is one of the very best ways to… Read the rest of this entry »

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“Pre-Hab”: An Ounce of Prevention for Shoulders and Low Back

By Dr. Michael Camp, DPT, CSCS, PES

Dr. Michael Camp, DPT, CSCS, PES, specializes in manual manipulative medicine. He has been involved with rehabilitating and improving the performance of athletes from the PGA, MLB, NFL, NHL, NCAA, minor league baseball, tennis, and Olympic hopefuls. Dr. Camp currently treats numerous IFBB bodybuilders, figure competitors, mixed martial art fighters, and various high school and college athletes.

One of the goals of Alpha Male Challenge is to get guys off the couch and back on their feet.  Many of you may have already had shoulder or low back pain or injuries – two very common problem areas. Most of you will have developed these problems due to bad posture habits over many years. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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