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General Questions

  • Hey Jay. I'm in the USA and there's all kind of crap over our televisions advertising the latest products. I get really upset about this. Do you get as upset when you see these commercials as I do?

    YES!  These big companies are preying upon uninformed consumers.  Low fat, high fat, high protein, good fats, bad fats, low carb, long-lasting energy...you name it, they've advertised it.

    Over here we have a cereal that is advertised as "high in protein for building muscle and carbo's for energy to last throughout the day!" (mind you, it has a GI of 66 and the protein comes from grains...good luck building muscle on that!).  But it's not only restricted to the television, pick up the latest magazine, newspaper or even walk into the gym and see this crap everywhere you go.

    I get very annoyed myself - it's no wonder that people complain when they don't get the results they were expecting.  The whole reason why I set up Amino Z to hopefully provide some insight to those that are uninformed.

  • If I stop lifting weights, will my muscle turn into fat?

    No!

    This is one of the fallacies of the fitness world that has plagued the industry for years.  Muscle tissue is completely different to fat tissue.  A synonymous question would be 'can fat turn into bone?'.

    Both tissues have completely different functions.  Primarily, muscle generates force whilst fat stores energy within the body.  Both tissues can increase or decrease in size.  So, you either lose/gain fat mass OR lose/gain muscle mass.  The two are completely separate from one another.

    This misunderstanding is due to many bodybuilders becoming fatter when they cease their training.  Their muscle mass will decrease and no doubt their activity levels will too.  As a result, their body will require less calories every day to sustain themselves.  But, if they were to maintain a large diet they will acquire body fat - which is often the case.  (As a rule of thumb, the heavier you are, the more calories you require on a daily basis and muscle mass requires more energy than fat mass).

  • I've got some body fat callipers to determine my body fat. How do I calculate my fat loss and muscle gain simultaneously?

    There is a mathematical method, but to make matters easy I've put up a calculator that does it all for you here.  It's proved very helpful to me whilst both my cutting and bulking.

    Also remember that body fat callipers aren't 100% accurate so there will be a slight error in your readings.

  • Hi Jay, you have been a great inspiration. I have been reading all your articles and have decided that I will follow your cardio, weights and nutritional techniques for a 12 week challenge. If you have any advice I'd love to hear it!

    Thanks for the kind comments!  Firstly, congrats on deciding to begin the challenge.  I've gotta take my hat off to you for actually doing your research because it seems like you really know what you're doing.  You'd be surprised how many people will walk into the gym without any idea at all.  You're without a doubt on the road to success.

    The vast majority of information you'll need should be contained within this website.  The best advice I can give you is to stay focussed and evaluate yourself regularly.  If things aren't working out then you'll need to change something.

    Hope to see your progress up on the forums!

  • I'm doing a 12 week challenge and when I have a rest day my mind goes into melt-down mode. I really feel that I've stuffed up my program by having a day off. Please help!!

    I can completely relate to you and I know exactly where you're coming from.  Whenever I took a day off the gym I thought that fat would accumulate and undo my previous weeks work.  Wouldn't life be grand if our bodies didn't require rest?  We could exercise all day and all night long, reaching our goals practically in a matter of days!  Well, our bodies don't operate like that unfortunately.

    Every time you exercise to any significant degree, you will put a strain on your system.  The harder you exercise, the greater the strain.  A very common theme on this website is that you need to exercise intensely enough as to put enough strain on your system to allow your body to adapt.  It will adapt by becoming more efficient, for example becoming fitter or stronger.  An example here is a typical natural bodybuilder - if you are going to build up a muscle group, you need to allow that muscle to recover before hitting it again.

    Let's say you perform cardiovascular exercise over a week and place a significant strain on your system.  But rather than taking a day off to allow your body to recuperate, you continue to strain your system.  This will ultimately work against you - your body can no longer adapt to the physical demands, it is now simply trying to return to a satisfactory state of health.  This is when you over-train - you become sick, your hormones jump all over the place, you can't sleep correctly and you become injury prone.

    I'll be the first to say that even by knowing all of this information, this still doesn't stop those mind games inside your head when you are sitting down relaxing and recovering on your rest day.  What you need is a plan of attack.  Something that sets out exactly what you need to do in order to reach your goals.  For example:

    MON: Cardio
    TUE: Weights
    WED: Cardio
    THU: Weights
    FRI: Cardio
    SAT: Weights
    SUN: Rest

    If you write that down for the week, then it's there in black and white.  You cannot change your mind or 'feel' like doing something else.  Generally speaking, if it's not on the plan then you don't do it - simple.

    Honestly a similar approach to this got me through my 12 weeks.  I had everything written down.  By doing this, there was no subjectivity left to my training - it was straight forward and I just did what had to be done.  Rest HAS to be done - there is no question about it.  It is just as important as your training and your diet.

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