The Science of Fitness Blog

Science of Fitness 1The purposes of this article is to help people understand the science behind fitness so they can reach and exceed their goals. The truth is that it’s very simple when it comes to losing weight and putting on weight. If you want to put on weight you need to consume more calories than you consume, and if you want to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. The issue here for some people is that they either have a fast metabolism or a slow metabolism which can make it harder to reach their goals. This is why it’s so important to count the calories you consume (in addition to your macros) which includes your proteins, carbs and healthy fats. Once you have a very accurate idea of how much you consume, you can then adjust the amount in increments of 100+ calories a day until you find what works for you. All professional bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts do this, because it’s the only way you can truly gauge your progress – the same way you note your progress in the gym.

The Correct Macro Ratio’s

When counting calories it’s important to keep in mind the following:

  • Carbohydrates make up 4 calories per gram.
  • Fats make up 9 calories per gram.
  • Proteins make up 4 calories per gram.

Now in terms of people looking to get fit, the general consensus is to consume around 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight, and 0.65g of healthy fat per lb of bodyweight. This partly ensures you maintain muscle while you lose weight, and build muscle when putting on weight. The difference is usually made up entirely in carbohydrates and determines whether you’re in a caloric deficit or a surplus. Having said that, the quality of food you consume is vital which is why there is a popular saying that “you are what you eat”.

Rather than eating any fats, rely on healthy fats such as those found in salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds for instance. Instead of eating simple carbs like sweets and certain fruits you should consume complex carbs such as whole grains like oats, brown rice, as well green vegetables (i.e. broccoli), starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, corn, and legumes like chickpeas, beans, peas etc. Lastly, when it comes to protein it’s good to try eat lean protein without too much fat so it’s easy to count your calories. And when you choose a protein powder you have fast absorbing proteins like whey which are great for pre-post workout drinks, and casein which is slow acting and great for slow absorbing protein throughout the day, or while you sleep (pre-bed protein shake).

Lastly, you can use a macro calculator to help provide a basic guideline to start with.

Supplements that Help

Science of Fitness 3There are a myriad of supplements on the market that many people have wasted money on. In fact, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry and while some supplements really do live up to the hype there are others (perhaps the vast majority) that are pure marketing hype. Now, short of finding anabolic steroids for sale, you’re not going to find a supplement that will make a drastic difference to your progress, but they can help you along. Of course the most popular “supplement” is protein powder which many people don’t consider a supplement as it’s so common. However, people should try and get all the calories they can from healthy food before resorting to supplements. Protein powder is simply there to help people reach large protein consumption goals that would otherwise be difficult to reach through natural means.

Having said all that, there are a few popular supplements that serious fitness enthusiasts should consider:

Creatine is made up of three amino acids called arginine, glycine and methionine. While there are many different types of creatine powders and pills, arguably the most common type is creatine monohydrate which people take in doses of roughly 5g before and 5g after workouts. If choosing this form it’s important to follow a “loading” phase which means using more of the supplement for a few days so the muscles can absorb it before dropping back to the recommended maintenance dosage above.

The role of creatine is that it actually helps the body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the fuel your muscles need to contract at the cellular level. There is more science to it than that, but this is the short of it. As mentioned, there are many different types of creatine so you may experiment with a few brands and types until you find one that works best for you. When you start taking creatine, you should notice that it helps your muscles look “fuller” and also allows you to get one or two extra reps out of each set which is leads to more muscle growth or a more strenuous workout. As a trip, try to consume creatine with a fruit juice as this will your body absorb more of it.

BCAA’s stand for “branched chain amino acids” and are made up of three amino acids that your body can’t produce on it’s own. These are leucine, valine and isoleucine. Of the 20 amino acids that the body needs to build and repair muscle, 8 of these cannot be made within the body and must be consumed through food or supplementation. By supplementing with BCAA’s, you are helping your muscles get the fuel they need to repair. Many people consume BCAAs during their workouts to prevent catabolism, although they can also be used both before and after.

Glutamine is another amino acid that the body needs in order to create proteins, hormones, enzymes and otherwise keep you in good condition. Of all the amino acids, bodybuilders consider glutamine to be one of the most important when it comes to building muscle as it can also boost energy levels and even the body’s production of human growth hormone (no need to go looking for hgh for sale). It often comes in a tasteless powder format that can be added to protein shakes, and is even included in certain BCAA drinks due to it’s important role.

While there are countless other supplements, these three are argumentatively the most important if you are going to shell out. It’s also common to take a good multivitamin and source of omegas (which will include fish and flaxseed oil) to help your body stay healthy and repair itself when you rest. Those who are looking to lose weight should try and do so without the need for harsh stimulants like Clenbuterol or cutting steroids. Some natural supplements that can help curb appetite and/or speed up the fat burning process include African mango, caralluma fimbriata, garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract, maqui berry, mangosteen and others. Though it’s always important to read reviews and take it slowly when trying a new supplement to ensure you have no adverse reactions.

Your Workout Routine

Science of Fitness 2The other part of the equation on how you reach your goals depends on the type of workout routine you have. Those who are looking to lose weight will focus heavily on exercises that elevate the heart rate. This can include steady state cardio activities such as jogging, rowing, using the elliptical machine etc. at a moderate pace for 30-60 minutes at a time; or HIIT (high intensity interval training) activities which may include interval sprints, circuit training, hill sprints or other training routines that involve short bursts of high activity followed by shorts breaks or moments of low activity. Of course, it’s vital to also partake in weight training during times of cutting to maintain muscle mass and even help to define your body as you lose fat. In doing so, you may opt to have weight training on one day, followed by cardio the day after – but just make sure you have at least one or two days off per week to rest as with all workout routines. Weight training also burns a lot of calories so it’s a wonder why many people skip it when they want to lose fat.

Those looking to build muscle or strength should limit their cardio so that it’s purpose is to keep your heart healthy rather than burn too many calories. If your goal is to build muscle then you should focus on hypertrophy training which includes keeping exercises in the 8-12 reps x 3 or 4 set ranges. While those who are looking to build strength should focus more on compound exercises for lower reps and higher sets – such as the popular 5x5 program. Of course, as with everything related to fitness, there are countless programs out there so it makes sense to research and experiment to find what works best for you, as well as the time you have available to you. This can include workout out a muscle group one day per week, full body workouts a few times a week, or push pull routines. There are also programs designed for athletes with a focus on strength and conditioning. With these you’ll see exercises which include sled dragging, rope training, utilizing plyometrics and so forth. We’ll go more into detail on the different types of training in the next article as there is so much to cover.
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