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  • I want to put weight on but can't seem to! I have a clean diet and lift weights.

    Well mate it's a really common problem, many guys have been in this situation.

    Thing is, if what you're doing now is not helping you toward your goals, then something (or some things) need to change.

    Building mass is a function of many things, the major factors being:


    • Sleep
    • Diet
    • Exercise

    Sleep - very important for building lean muscle mass. During sleep your body secretes a host of hormones responsible for building muscle. Aim for 7-8 hours each night.

    Diet - your nutrition is extremely important and complex. Without going into too much detail, you need good quality carbohydrates, proteins and fats in your diet. All three are equally as important to consume...if you neglect any one of these then you will not build muscle mass, period. Aim to stick to natural foods (meats, eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains) as much as possible.

    If you are maintaining your weight, then this may mean that you do not have enough of a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. So, you need to eat more. Eating more is not just eating a Big Mac....but rather eating more good foods, in their respective proportions, in order to gain mass.

    Timing of meals is important too. Aim for multiple meals every day (5 absolute minimum). Fast acting proteins and carbohydrates are very important right after your workout. This is where you may want to consider a protein shake.

    Exercise - okay, you can have the sleep and diet in check, but if your exercise component is lacking, then you're not going to build muscle mass. You need to ensure that your training is conductive of your goals. For example, bicep curls every day, 7 days a week is going to be about as effective as not performing them at all with respect to building muscle.

    That's everything in a nutshell. I would recommend that you read a series of articles I have available at:


    This may be a good starting point for building mass.

    Also try searching up "build muscle" on the amino z array of articles and Q&A's available.

  • When building muscle, should I do weights and cardio together, or in the morning and evening?

    Well there are pro's and con's to doing cardio and resistance training together.

    The major advantage is only doing the one session per that's a convenience factor. Another advantage is, if you limit the total workout duration, the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) produced can be limited. Cortisol inhibits protein synthesis, or, the muscle building process. I have read that performing 2 high intensity workouts a day can increase cortisol production by 4x, relative to a single high intensity workout.

    Disadvantage wise, upon the completion of your resistance workout, if you choose to perform cardio, you will be "starving" your muscles for a longer period of time. For example, if you perform heavy sets on back day and then spend 15 minutes performing HIIT cardio, that's an additional 15 minutes of increased catabolism (muscle breakdown) in your back muscles.

    The other major problem with combining the two forms of training is the different stimuli. If you are training for muscle mass, then your weight training would be relatively heavy and thus stimulate protein synthesis. Conversely, HIIT cardio is primed at improving muscular lactate threshold, VO2 max, anaerobic fitness, fat metabolism and so on. The two don't work optimally together. It's like telling someone to multi-task: you cannot focus 100% on either task and therefore not receive 100% results.

    In addition to all of the above, combining cardio (for fat/fitness) and resistance training (for muscle) will have a much more significant negative impact on males than females due to hormonal differences between the sexes.

    Weighing up everything, ideally, you would want to separate your cardio and resistance training by 8 hours. Many athletes train this way. However you do need to take other factors into consideration, such as your lifestyle, energy levels, level of fitness etc.

  • I am a beginner and I want to get fit. How do I exercise and how do I eat?

    I know exactly how you feel at this point in time, because before I began bodybuilding (a few years ago now), I was completely clueless just like you. It can be so amazingly overwhelming not knowing how to achieve big results for your own body - especially considering that every man and his dog has a different approach to success.

    I'll begin by saying that in order to make a significant improvement in your physique, this requires education, consistency and dedication. You need to know the fundamentals to your nutrition and exercise routine. You then need to apply this theory into a consistent training and eating regime. From there you must remain dedicated and focussed - it is all too easy to undo your hard work by slacking off.

    Because everyone is just so different, and I don't know your specific goals, it is very difficult for me (or anyone for that matter) to advise you to do A-B-C. For example, to become fitter, what would this entail - becoming stronger or building muscle or being able to sprint faster or being able to run for longer distances? Depending upon your specific goals, your training would vary significantly.

    Your nutrition will also follow a similar path. If you wanted to build muscle, you would need to consume more than if you wanted to lose fat, for example. I can say however, for general health, the more natural your diet is, the better you will feel within yourself. Disregarding supplementation, if you attempt to eliminate as much processed food from your diet, you will generally achieve health and fitness goals faster. For example - dumping the processed breads, cakes, packaged foods etc. for natural vegetables, fruits, grains, meats, dairy and eggs.

    Whilst I realise that this is a very vague answer, as a fitness professional, it is near impossible for me to provide you with an effective plan as mentioned above. I can however suggest that you begin with a course that I am publishing to assist with your education. This will help you to understand the basics of both exercise and diet - and how to implement these into your lifestyle in order to achieve your goals:

    I hope this helps.  If you would like some specific plans drawn up with support, I do offer both face-to-face and online personal training services.  Click here for more information.

    All the best.

  • What foods contain Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fats? What are these good fats used for?

    Omega 3

    Fish oil is recommended for a healthy diet because it contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), precursors to eicosanoids that reduce inflammation throughout the body

    Omega 6

    Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are required by the body for growth and development, and must be obtained from the diet. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in the omega-6 family that is found primarily in plant-based oils.

    Omega 9

    Olive oil, avocados and various nuts (like peanuts, almonds and macadamias) are rich omega-9 sources. Omega 9 fatty acid is a monounsaturated fat that is also known as, oleic acid. Omega 9 is not technically an essential fatty acid because the body can produce a limited amount, provided the essential fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, are present. If your diet is low in these essential fatty acids, then your body can't produce enough omega 9. In that instance, omega 9 becomes an essential fatty acid because your body will need to get it from your diet.

  • Jay, do you eat a cheat meal? What is your rationale behind a cheat meal in a healthy diet?

    You know I used to be addicted to the fast food...remember McDonalds family meals?  2 cheeseburgers, 2 big macs, 4 chips and drinks?  I used to go through all of that in 1 sitting.  Same deal with pizza and yeah you guessed it, KFC.

    Okay that's a good 5 years ago...but as soon as I tried eating a well balanced diet, I realised that the health promoting effects of a "clean" diet just made me feel so much better within myself.  It was like taking an internal bath every meal, and still to this day that's why I enjoy eating a half a kilogram of veggies twice a day as opposed to a big mac.

    I also changed my way of thinking so now I'm turned off the idea of a big mac.  Rather than focussing on the short-term benefit, ie. the taste of the hamburger, I now focus on the after-effect - how I will feel as a result of eating that food.

    Every now and then I do eat a cheat meal of some description, which I do believe is important psychologically to just let loose and not go insane with an all-out healthy eating approach.  But it's funny, every time I do eat a cheat meal like a dessert (which is pretty rare), my body just doesn't agree - as much as I enjoy the taste of it.

    Plus I found that once I began taking my exercise seriously - continually setting challenges for myself, every "clean" meal is a deposit into my fitness account.  Like for example, now I'm trying to build muscle mass.  So every "clean" meal is like taking 1 step forward toward my fitness goals.  If I decide to consume a cheat meal on the odd occasion, I may have taken 50 steps forward and only a few steps back - so there really is no guilt involved.

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