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  • 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.

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

    Whether you're looking at building muscle, losing fat and/or increasing fitness, correct eating is essential to achieving that goal.

    I have heard theories just like the one you have quoted. There is also the idea that resistance training on an empty stomach encourages testosterone production, thus encouraging muscle gain. Another concept with cardiovascular exercise is to work on an empty stomach in order to 'tap into' your fat stores. Personally I'm not a believer in any of these theories for a number of reasons.

    By not eating prior to your workout, your body will be in a starved state. If your body cannot access the right nutrients in order to perform the desired exercise load, guess what's going to happen? Intensity suffers - period. There's a tonne of articles on Amino Z as to why intensity is a key factor in assisting fat loss, muscle gain or fitness improvements.

    Meanwhile let's assume you complete your workout. Your body is now in a state of catabolism - it's breaking down muscle and fat tissue in order to recover properly. Again if you don't feed your body, you are starving it of essential nutrients required for effective recovery. This will inhibit protein synthesis (ie. building muscle), slow down your metabolism (thus slowing fat loss) and run your body down significantly (decreasing fitness improvements amongst other things).

    In my opinion, one of the most important meals of the day is IMMEDIATELY after your workout (post workout). I recommend this to all of my clients. A serving of fast acting protein (eg. whey protein isolate) and carbohydrate (eg. dextrose) is an essential tool for getting your body back on track to build muscle, lose fat and/or increase fitness. I also recommend a pre-workout meal or shake in order to allow your body to perform at it's peak during the workout.

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