Weight Training

  • 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 day...so 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.

  • How do I lose weight? I want to lose the excess fat but I love my food!

    Weight loss and weight gain is often misunderstood. It essentially comes down to the following:

    Food is your primary source of CALORIES IN.
    Exercise, incidental activity, bodily functions are your primary sources on CALORIES OUT.

    If your CALORIES OUT is greater than your CALORIES IN, you will lose weight. Conversely, if your CALORIES IN is greater than your CALORIES OUT, you will gain weight.

    This is true for the general population. Of course, in exceptional circumstances (eg. those with a particular medical condition), this may not always be the case.

    So essentially if you are seeking to lose weight in the form of fat, you need to either decrease your CALORIES IN or increase your CALORIES OUT.

    A decrease in the CALORIES IN could come from a reduction in the portion sizes of your meals. Try eliminating calorie rich foods such as breads, sweets, oils, fruit drinks and so on. Try replacing these with low calorie foods such as salads, vegetables and fruits. In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, you also need to ensure that you are having adequate protein intake (meat, dairy, eggs, fish, soy etc.) and carbohydrate intake (grains, dairy, fruit). Also a little fat in your diet - some good sources are from nuts, avocado, LSA mix or flaxseed oil.

    Meanwhile you can increase your CALORIES OUT by increasing the amount of exercise you perform. It doesn't have to be running on a treadmill for an hour each day (particularly if you don't enjoy this!). Try jogging outside, going for walks, joining a gym, participating in a sport club, playing golf, undertaking more physical leisure activities on the weekend and so on. You need to find something that you really enjoy in order to stick to it in the long term.

    Finally, incidental activity is also a great way to increase your caloric expenditure. Park further away so you have to walk a little more. Rather than driving up the street, walk up the street - even take the scenic route. Do a little more walking when you go shopping. Take one shopping bag in at a time - not all of them at once. All these little tweaks can significantly increase your CALORIES OUT and thus increase the amount of weight lost.

    On my website I have a whole array of tools that you may find helpful. To begin with, we have a huge nutritional database of foods so you can see how dense in calories foods are compared to others:


    If you are unfamiliar with reading the basic elements on a nutritional label, you may find it of great interest to read up on a beginners course that I published entitled "Introduction to Physical Freedom":


  • I read that you should not eat before or after a cardio workout to assist weight loss (ie. perform cardio in a fasted state). Is this true?

    I really have to disagree with the information that you have read on this issue.  It seems to be a very common belief that exercising in a fasted state, or not eating after exercise will be of benefit to your weight loss goals.  However it can be extremely detrimental.

    Exercising in a fasted state does require you to break down tissue from your body (simply because you don't have any nutritional fuel available).  The tissue that will be broken down will be a combination of fat and muscle tissue.  The breakdown of muscle tissue can be of great concern - as this will reduce the amount of calories required per day (ie. your basal metabolic rate) and thus slow down your weight loss progress.

    Another factor to consider when exercising in a fasted state is the level of intensity you can invest.  If you're running on an empty-tank (so to speak), then you are going to feel relatively tired and fatigued.  Therefore you cannot put as much effort into your workout.  As a result, less energy in means less calories expended.  Less calories expended means that less fat is burnt as a result.

    Consuming food after your workout is undoubtedly one of the most important times of the day to eat.  Essentially a workout places undue stress upon your body.  This physical stress forces your body to change (eg. weight loss, increased fitness etc.).  Now if you don't allow your body to recover from the stress that it must endure, this can have significant effects upon your progress.  You may feel excessively fatigued, nauseous, dizzy etc.  You can become extremely run down and as a result your immune system can become very weak.  This is because your body does not have access to the right nutrients in order to repair itself effectively.  Plus, the lack of recovery as a result of this starvation will inhibit the intensity of future workouts.

    I have a few articles available on Amino Z for further information on this subject which you may find of interest:

    Myths Under the Microscope - Fasted Cardio (this is a more advanced article on the subject)

    After a very intense initial workout, I was nauseous and shaking. Should I eat carbs? Won't this cause fat gain?

    I was told that you should not eat after weights because it will draw blood away from your muscles. When should I eat?

  • I have tried all sorts of low carbohydrate diets to lose weight and can never last more than 2 weeks without binging!

    Yeah I know exactly what you are talking about and have written a few articles on the subject. Dieting through self-deprivation is, in my opinion, very self destructive. Sure you can lose a lot of weight in a couple of weeks...but the urge to binge builds and builds until eventually you will crack. This is the biggest problem with fad diets - something I do not recommend...ever.

    Low carbohydrate diets are one example of a fad diet. Unfortunately carbohydrates are completely misunderstood as a result of the media attention given to such diets as the Atkins diet. Recently, it is as if fat has been replaced with carbs as the "evil" nutrient in foods...this could not be further from the truth.

    I'll take my eating habits as an example. I consume far more carbohydrate than I do fat or protein on a weight for weight basis. The reason that I have a very low level of body fat is not because I have cut out carbs. It is because I monitor what I consume in a healthy, well-rounded eating plan that I actually enjoy.  Carbohydrates actually play a very important role in my fat loss, fitness and muscle building efforts - contrary to popular belief.

    If you are serious about losing weight long-term in a healthy and far more enjoyable way, I would strongly suggest that you consider undertaking the services of a personal trainer.  Please click here for more information on the personal training services I provide.

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