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General Questions

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    These are my best tips for dealing with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS):

    • Always stretch after your workouts – there are conflicting opinions about whether or not stretching has an effect on muscle soreness, but it certainly can’t hurt, and it has other benefits.
    • Even though it hurts to move, do some light exercise – a walk or some gentle swimming would be perfect.
    • The longer you spend sitting in one position, the more you’ll stiffen up. So if you have a job where you sit at a desk all day, make a point of getting up and moving around regularly. Also do some gentle stretches.
    • Take some L-glutamine – it’s important for muscle repair and may be helpful in easing the soreness more quickly. If you already take L-glutamine, consider increasing the dose for a few days.
    • Add some Vitamin C to your supplementation regime – it’s a natural anti-inflammatory.
    • Keep up your water intake.
    • Epsom salts in a warm bath are soothing and can ease the pain a little. If you don’t have a bath, a nice hot shower will do.
    • Some gentle massage can help – if you don’t have someone to help out, just massage whichever parts you can reach yourself.
    • Sports rubs are also helpful, if you can stand the smell.
    • If the pain is severe, ice the affected muscles and/or use an anti-inflammatory gel.
    • If it’s really severe, consider using analgesics or oral anti-inflammatories.
  • I am doing Body-for-LIFE. Should I stop drinking water for my final photos?

    Reducing your hydration levels before your photo's is very effective for the final look - but only if your body fat is low enough.  If you are at 15% body fat and you dehydrate yourself then you're simply wasting your time.  The theory behind this is that when your hydration levels are lowered, your skin appears to be "tighter" and thus exhibits more definition in your physique.

    An effective way of doing this is to slowly increase your water intake. Eventually you would want to be aiming for consistently drinking 4-5L of water per day. Then, about 3 days out from your photo's increase this to 8-9L of water. The day before your photo, limit your water to about 3L (this is quite the struggle after conditioning your system to handle large amounts of water). Then, about 18 hours prior to your shoot, cease any water intake. Ice cubes or even sipping on small amounts of water will do.

    A word of caution though, if you dehydrate yourself to any considerable extent then you will be placing a strain on your system - particularly your kidneys. I didn't go crazy with it...some people do. It's a personal choice though.

  • I'm a female about to start a BodyBlitz challenge. I am completely new to training and want to lose 12-15 kg. What do I do and do I need protein supplements?

    What's best for you depends on a few things - what your goals are, where you're starting from, what you've been doing previously in terms of exercise AND how much time you have to devote to this challenge.

    I gather that fat loss is your main goal, so just remember that diet is absolutely crucial to getting good results. You need to eat well 90% of the time, and a good mix of protein and low-GI carbs would be best. You can drop the carbs from your evening meal if you like, but don't go cutting them out earlier in the day or you'll wind up tired and crabby and probably find yourself eating the entire contents of the pantry by late afternoon.

    As for protein drinks - get as much of your nutrition as possible from real food. Have a protein drink each day if you like - they're convenient. But they can make your digestion sluggish to say the least...so try not to be having too many. I find more than one leaves me in real trouble with pain and bloating and ....well, things just not moving, if you know what I mean. - It seems to be a common problem amongst a lot of people.

    If you're fairly new to weight training, I'd suggest scheduling 3 sessions each week - perhaps split into upper and lower body, but you could start with a whole body workout if you like. Don't overdo the cardio. Have a rest day in between each weights session too. 3 short (20-30 minutes) sessions each week of interval training will do wonders for your fitness, and then you can add some lower intensity stuff - like walking. If you can devote an hour each day to exercise, you can get good results - more is OK if you have the time, but not essential.

    There are some great articles on Amino Z worth reading too.

  • I am half way through BodyBlitz and am impressed with my results. When I finish, how do I maintain my muscle mass and eat more normally without putting on excess weight?

    It's great to hear that you're so happy with your results over the 12 weeks and want to maintain your new physique.  Since you have now made all the lifestyle changes required and thus established new eating/exercise habits, the hard part is over - maintenance is simply following through with those habits.

    To maintain your muscle mass, you would basically want to stop any further hypertrophy (building of muscle) to result from your training.  This is what's known as a "plateau" - something that bodybuilders dread.  You no longer need to force your body to adapt to new loads (ie. build muscle), rather you should consider sticking to your current weights and reps when lifting weights.  If you are weight training excessively at present, you can look at scaling it back to a level that you feel more comfortable with (maybe once or twice a week).  Note that if you stop your weight training altogether, your body will no longer require your new muscle mass and it will ultimately disappear.

    Now with your eating habits, I can understand not wanting to live to a 100% clean diet your entire life.  Of course if you want to keep your physique in top condition, you will have to have a relatively healthy diet.  However every now and then if you do want a "cheat" meal, this isn't going to be a big deal.  You can cut out other calories from the day to compensate for the additional calorie intake.  If you plan on eating a significant amount of calories in addition to what you're eating at present, then an increase in cardiovascular exercise might be in order.  The goal is to find a happy medium between cardio, healthy eating and "cheat" foods that you can enjoy whilst being happy with yourself.

    Hope this is of help and all the best with your BodyBlitz challenge!

  • Do you think it's worthwhile hiring a personal trainer for my 12 week challenge?

    When I embarked upon my challenge I did hire a personal trainer. This was about a year ago, but I think a trainer can be a very good investment no matter what level of experience you are at. A trainer can be a great source of information and motivation.

    Because I did have experience in the gym prior to my challenge, I hired an online trainer which worked out great. Basically I was told what to do and I went ahead and did it - simple. Ultimately this helped me to win BodyBlitz (the whole reason I'm doing online coaching now).

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