dtlv

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dtlv last won the day on April 17 2015

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About dtlv

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    Raleigh, NC
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    Nutritionist

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  1. The thing with BCAAs is that while they do signal muscle proteins to retain mass and even to grow, that growth won't take place without all the other Essential Amino Acids also being present, so taking BCAAs without the other EAAs is akin to switching on a lamp that doesn't have a light bulb attached. Lots of evidence now to suggest BCAAs as not being useful in real world settings.
  2. If you've bought them then use them up, and no issues using them together. Provided your diet is adequate though there's no additional benefit to taking either of these unfortunately.
  3. No typo, but its 4000mg of bisglycinate, not actually 4000mg of elemental magnesium! The actual elemental content is around 480mg.
  4. Exercise selection looks good and is actually very similar to one of my bread and butter routines. If this is a new routine for you, stick with it for at least eight weeks and give it your best trying to increase the load on each exercise at least every 2-3 sessions.
  5. Over the years I've tried a ton of things, but have whittled the list of things down to just a handful. To aid training performance I take Beta Alanine (5g daily), Citruline Malate (6g daily) and Creatine Mono (5g daily). I take all three of these together, half if each daily amount with breakfast and half with my evening meal. For BA and CM I always follow a loading protocol if I start retaking after not taking for more than a couple of months. For general dietary support I just take 40g of a protein blend of whey isolate, casein, egg protein (40/40/20%) 30 mins pre workout, and then sometimes another later in the day too if meals have been lower than I'd like on protein. I don't take a post workout shake because the pre-workout and my meal timing around my workouts eliminates the need. For general well-being I take a 50mg Zinc Picolinate every three days with my last meal of the day, and then 4000mg Magnesium Glycinate every other day just before bed. There are other supp's I consider useful (caffeine, taurine, l-tyrosine, GABA, fish oils) but they aren't necessary for me as regulars. Other people with specific dietary restrictions may benefit from other things too.
  6. Bayesian Bodybuilding is a good site - I know a couple of the authors from there and they put a lot of work into making sure the articles they put out properly represent the research. In regards to time of day training I think it definitely does make a difference to ease of performance when you train. For me personally I'm dreadful at a.m. exercise - my average mile time for a run in the afternoon is just over 7 mins but if running at 8 or 9a.m. then it's closer to 8 mins and I feel far more tired. Likewise with resistance training, if too early in the day I simply can't maintain intensity through the session and just feel way more fatigued. In part I'm sure this is down to a non-optimal pre workout feeding pattern when training early, but I think the evidence confirms that bio-rhythmic variations in core temperature and neurotransmitter and hormone secretions likely play a role too. I know many Olympic level coaches in many sports try to time training activities to the results from this kind of research also.
  7. I'm largely with @Mingster on this - generally you do far better by doing a limited number of movements but doing them as best you can than by doing a lot of exercises per session volume and therefore being forced to have a multiple body part split with a relatively low training frequency. Being assisted does increase per session capacity, and there is definitely a difference between individuals for how much volume they can handle or need per session though. Also, I think it's pretty clear that not every muscle has exactly the same capacity for volume, nor would exactly the same frequency be optimal for all muscles equally. That said though, for most people, training the same muscle every 3-5 days with a small number of quality exercises with moderate volume (possibly doing slightly different volume per muscle group according to individual need) and intense training is the best general formula for training for hypertrophy.
  8. The typical definition of NEAT is the energy we expend that isn't BMR (basic metabolic rate), DIT (diet induced thermogenesis), energy expended while sleeping, or energy expended during intentional exercise. There's also EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which sometimes falls between the cracks and gets lumped in either as NEAT or BMR, even when perhaps it should really be tagged with intentional exercise. From that definition though technically intentional walking to burn kcals should really be counted as intentional exercise but, that aside, intentionally keeping active and moving around definitely is an important thing to be mindful of when trying to lose fat or limit fat gain in a lean bulk situation. It varies between individuals but one thing that invariably happens to everyone when they drop calories significantly, unless they are highly conscious of trying to counter it, is a drop in NEAT. This happens mostly in a way that people aren't aware of - they fall asleep a little earlier at night and wake up a little later; they are slower moving around in the morning and more sluggish mid afternoon and evening. People fidget less and become more likely to sit for longer and stand up for less, and are more likely to slouch or lie down than sit up. Motivation to do things also reduces. It's subtle but it adds up, and is one reason why when dropping calories by a certain amount people don't quite see the rate of weight loss they expected because they forgot to realise that the 'calories out' side changes slightly when calories are reduced. The response therefore is either to adjust your maintenance figure accordingly to reflect the estimated difference or be vigilant to try to counter the instinctive changes to reduce energy output.
  9. Many people, especially some men, tend to dislike consuming fruit and veg in large quantities - there's a kind of macho culture about starchy carbs and huge cuts of meat combined with a disdain for anyone who eats salads or who enjoys fruit and veg that actually is kind of pathetic IMO. Ten portions a day is certainly more than most westerners of this generation are used to eating, so for most people who want to change to this it will usually take a gradual approach over a decent amount of time to actually stick as a habit, but it's definitely worth it. I think a lot of people who don't see the value fall into the group of people who normally only consume say one or two portions a day, have tried adding one or two more for a week or two and saw no benefit so therefore assume it's an overhyped idea and waste of time. The thing is though that that doesn't work because it simply isn't doing enough or doing it for long enough. The data supporting increasing fruit, veg, nuts and whole grain intake way above the normal levels standard western diet is actually pretty decent. It's of course not going to make everyone live to 200 years old and be immune to disease, but it likely will have a meaningfully beneficial effect on health over a long period if followed properly. It also doesn't mean some processed stuff is bad either.
  10. The reason that there are so many different claims on the protein amount you need is because there are so many individual studies on this topic that have results slightly different to each other and you can find a plausible article written about any one or group of them to suggest almost anything. The trick therefore is to find the most recent meta analyses (where lots of studies are combined, cross referenced, 'bad data' is removed, and an overall set of values determined) out there on this topic and to see what they say. At the moment the best data suggests that, with a confidence rating of 95 (meaning 95% of the population will do perfectly well in this range), you can achieve optimal muscle growth and general health if you consume 1.2 - 1.6g protein per kg of body weight each day. In grams of protein per pound of body weight, this works out at slightly less than 1g protein per 1lb of body weight. If you want to consume more however, it's perfectly ok, and there may be some different advantages to doing so such as appetite suppression. For how to consume it, while the body can absorb and utilize much higher amounts of protein than this per meal (ignore the 'you can only utilize 30g protein per meal' nonsense, it's been disproven so many times), splitting your total daily requirement of protein into fairly equally spaced 30-40g feeds throughout the day may have a small anticatabolic advantage over having larger feeds less often. This is nothing like as important as getting the total amount of protein right, but more data than not suggests it does make a small beneficial difference on top of consuming the right amount. Finally, anticipating some common questions, it doesn't seem to matter very much whether you consume your protein as solid food or liquid form in a real world situation. So long as you go for higher quality protein sources, you'll be fine however you consume it. Also, you may read that high protein intakes are bad for the kidneys or cause bone wasting. While this myth isn't directly true at all, a very high protein intake when also combined with a very low carb intake, higher fat intake and no mineral supplementation there might well increase some risk factors here. Note the increased risk is not specifically caused by the high protein on it's own though, it's the absence of the kind of nutrients that only really come from regular fruit and veg intake combined with the high protein and fat intake that may lead to potential problems. A balanced diet that contains high protein and where regular exercise is performed won't put you in any increased risk of these issues.
  11. Meditation in all it's different forms is still seen as pretty much a hippy thing, or a pretentious wanking exercise by many people, but there's now a fairly large body of scientific evidence showing a clear and direct link between regular meditation and an improved immune system, lower levels of anxiety and improved mood, lower blood pressure, higher pain tolerance and even possibly a slowing of certain features of cellular aging. Meditation is also directly observed to increase grey matter in the brain and slow the progression of some degenerative brain diseases. I've played around with quite a few styles of meditation over the years and find that different techniques affect my mood and sense of being in different ways. Some of the styles most heavily tied up with spiritual concepts are probably a little too out there for anyone not interested in that side of things, and some styles are just hard and slow to learn, but things like Mindfulness Meditation are pretty easy to master if you are willing and show benefit pretty quickly. I did a really quick Youtube search for a couple two specific lectures on meditation that I wanted to share but couldn't find either, but two guys who are pretty good at explaining the how of it are Eckhart Tolle and Jon Kabbat-Zin, and I'd suggest a search on those for anyone really interested.
  12. Here's a thing to consider. When you train to failure on a set, it's not just at all the case that your muscle fibers all work perfectly until the final rep and then suddenly all fail. Rather what happens is the fibers start failing earlier in the set in groups or 'units', then the CNS recruits new fiber units until those start to fail too and there are no strong enough units left able to lift the load. So well before you hit failure (we'll call this 'total failure'), you have already caused many fibers to fail - unless we are talking about a very heavy/extremely close to one rep max load of course. Now the next question is, although more total fibers fail when you go to total failure in one set than compared to one set if you don't, and also that by going to total failure on one set you are more compromised and can do fewer reps on following sets than if you don't quite go to failure, would you gain more total fiber failure by a) going to total failure on three sets, or b ) by doing four sets at not quite to failure? Arguably, by cutting short just shy of failure but then doing a little more volume with an extra set you would likely bring more individual fibers and fiber units to failure. This isn't absolutely proven to be the case, and some people like those who love HIT will passionately argue against it, but it does appear to be the best supported argument by science at the moment and is probably the best approach for most people even if you can always find an exception. The next question though is does this apply to all loads and rep ranges? The answer here, again if you go by the science, seems to be a pretty clear 'no'. Putting together data from a few different studies the evidence suggests that if you train higher rep (sets above 12-15 or so) then you'd do best to always or almost always go to failure on every set. With lower rep heavier loads however you might well do better concluding your set a rep or two shy of total failure but doing a little more volume. So what about 'beyond failure' techniques like forced reps, negative only reps, assisted reps and drop sets? Any use at all, or just ego training? Well, there's no direct evidence to suggest that, under normal circumstances, these things will increase gains beyond normal training if normal training is already working your muscles sufficiently. Some will even argue that doing these things regularly is actually counter productive in that beyond a certain amount of muscle damage and fatigue all you are doing is increasing the need to recover and using up extra protein to repair the muscle. There is probably some validity here as it's well established in studies that no matter how much damage a muscle takes in one go, it's ability to actually adapt and grow bigger is limited to a maximum value (related to something called the fractional synthetic rate), so no matter how much more you try and stimulate it, a muscle simply doesn't have the cellular machinery to add more protein to it's fibers and just has to use more and more resources to repair damage, which may even compromise the adaptive ability if things like amino acid supply and energy are in short supply. Now note I said 'under normal circumstances', because there may still be a couple of circumstances where beyond failure training can still give a better result. The first is with the use of steroids, which give that cellular machinery that adds protein to skeletal muscle tissue a massive increase in ability to add and hold proteins. Steroids are both anabolic and anticatabolic, and also help to bolster recovery. The second circumstance, which is more available to everyone no matter their stance on PEDs, is in periodized training, and during a brief and planned period of intentional overreaching. There is some evidence, and plenty of anecdotal support, to suggest that cycling your training intensity and gradually building to to brief one-three week periods of failure and beyond training every 2-3 months (both figures depending on your own recovery ability and ability to do justice to that kind of intensity), then following with a week or two of deloading and then gradually building back up again, might well give you longer term continual gains than just constantly maintaining a flat intensity all the way. The idea here is that a periodic blast of very high intensity, while unsustainable and counter productive if used for long periods, will, in the short term, force a bunch of temporary adaptations (increased mitochondrial density, increased oxidative and lactate capacity etc) that will then rocket you through for the first few weeks of back to normal training before those temporary adaptations disappear again. If however you've periodized your training right though, just as they disappear you are building back to another high intensity period to bring them back again.
  13. You sound like someone who already follows a pretty organized and consistent approach to macros and energy balance, and with that being the case you will probably be just fine however you decide to approach things!
  14. Having a higher contribution of refined sugar to total energy intake when in an energy deficit is less of a problem than most people think. While high added sugar intake can contribute to several health issues when part of a chronic energy excess, this isn't necessarily at all the case when in a deficit because the deficit ensures that the sugar is metabolized quickly rather than being stored in high quantity and displacing fat oxidation. This speedier metabolization leads to different hormonal patterns and blood lipid profiles as a response compared to eating lots of sugar when in an energy excess. The main reason to avoid higher intakes when cutting is simply that high sugar foods (just like high fat foods) provide a lot of calories for relatively little eating or food volume, and that can get people feeling unsatisfied. High sugar foods also score as being highly palatable and promote dopamine secretion, making them extra appealing and harder to limit intake of when stressed - and being in a continual energy deficit is pretty stressful! Different people have different abilities to control their appetite in response to such foods and if you are someone who has problems then avoidance may be the best tactic. If not however then no issue. Dietary fiber is generally important to consume whatever your energy balance because of it's role in various processes - balancing blood sugar, increasing satiety due to it's bulk in the intestinal tract, and keeping intestinal bacteria populations healthy. All three of those things influence appetite in different ways. The need for dietary fiber to be balanced against sugar intake is more pronounced in an energy excess in regards to health issues, but still a good thing to look to do in a deficit simply because of the independent benefits of a good intake of dietary fiber. In simple terms try to eat foods that contain natural sugars and fibers but are relatively unprocessed - fruit, veg, cereals, grains. If most of your carb calories come from such foods then you don't really have to worry too much about the amounts of natural sugars within them, especially when in an energy deficit.
  15. Ensuring decent fiber intake alone will certainly go a long way. Digestive issues can have so many potential causes, but the two most common are food intolerances (usually undiagnosed) and not having an optimally healthy gut microbe population, and having an inadequate fiber intake significantly contributes to the second issue. Is best to eat your fiber from whole foods simply because high fiber foods also provide a vast range of minerals, vitamins and beneficial phytonutrients as well as providing a greater range of pre and probiotic foods, but if that's really something you don't want to or can't do then supplementing fiber is the next best thing.