The Coach in association with Improve You Workout is here to help and provide expert advice on everything from training plans to nutrition and supplementation.
All of your emails are now in for March and ‘The Coach’ has chosen the top 3. Over the next few days The Coach will announce the winners and answer their training and nutrition questions here on The Zone, so let’s get down to business! Our 3rd place letter this month was sent in by Greg Davies….
I’m a 29 year old male, 6ft 4in tall and I currently weigh in at 97Kg. I’ve been working out for a short while now, but seem to have hit a brick wall. I mainly do weight training and only take Kre Alkalyn and Impact Whey Isolate for my supplements. However, I have cut back on all sugars, starchy carbs and all junk food to get rid of that stubborn lower belly fat and mix in a bit of cardio in my workouts. The problem I’ve got is that I’m not making the gains I’d expect to be getting in the gym and still not shifting that belly fat.
Should I be concentrating on one rather than both together? Should I continue with my diet (mainly just veg, meat and fish) and cardio to lose the little bit of fat first then go onto weight training or vice versa or continue what I’m doing?
The Coach response
Your problem is a very common concern. Most people want to add lean muscle and still lose body fat at the same time. However, as you are experiencing, it can be very slow progress and hard work and hitting a ‘brick wall’ happens to pretty much everyone after the initial growth stage as their body becomes accustomed to the training and workouts it is being put through.
As you suggested there are varying techniques which you can use, however, everyone will experience different results. Some people do prefer to dramatically increase their calories to ‘bulk’ up. Using these additional calories to help repair and build muscle and then cut back down again at a later date. This approach can produce very good results due to the increase in calories, but it is also incredibly hard work trying to shed the added body fat and will take a longer amount of time to achieve.
There are 3 changes you should make which will yield very good results:
1) Change up your workout. The body adapts incredibly quickly to training and as a result, the workouts which used to work, won’t have the same effect anymore. Try to change your workout every 8 weeks to keep your body guessing and stimulating new growth. Keep the rest between each set to a maximum of 90 seconds to ensure an elevated heart rate and perform your cardio after weight training. Resistance training will deplete your glycogen levels, so by performing 20 minutes of intense cardio after a workout, your body won’t have the glycogen reserves to use as energy and instead will use your fat deposits.
2) Increase your nutritional intake. Your diet of veg, meat and fish is a good start, but don’t be afraid to add in carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body needs these calories to help build muscle tissue. Add in sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal as well as almond and peanut butter, which will increase muscle hypertrophy without adding any fat.
3) Add to your supplementation regime. Kre Alkalyn and Impact Whey Isolate are a great base to build on, but your body needs all the help it can get and often, no matter how much food you consume, you won’t be able to get everything you need from whole foods. There are essential supplements you should take which will help increase lean muscle tissue as well as shed unwanted body fat. BCAA’s are vital for increasing protein synthesis within your body and increasing growth. L Glutamine is a vital amino acid needed post-workout to help your body and nervous system recover from the stress of your workout and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has a dramatically positive effect on protein and fat metabolism within your body.
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