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Fitness

Random Fitness Thoughts

Before we begin I wanted to share the epic post-game soundbite by Richard Sherman that had me geekin’ out for a solid 30 minutes after it happened.

fitness reads
lol!

 

WOW. 100% raw emotion about 20 seconds after he made the play of his life in Testosterone-supercharged sport, could you expect much different? Anyways, I don’t understand how people pass so much judgement on a short clip.

Back on point—things have been growing rapidly at Bach Performance from the Facebook page and  six new online training clients to big things at Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance and I haven’t written as many new posts as I’d likeWithout as much new material here’s the fitness thoughts I’ve read lately to keep the wheels turning.

Extension Based Back Pain is a Bitch by Tony Gentilcore

Back pain afflicts roughly 80% of people at some point—and it’s miserable. Flexion based back pain get’s most of the extension, but often forgotten is extension. Tony G dives deep into the issue to keep you moving and feeling great.

Hyrid Paleo Diet by Nate Miyaki

It should be clear now: Paleo is great, but to get the best high-performance muscle building gains starchy carbs are necessary. Nate Miyaki drops the hammer and tells you what you need to hear.

How to Build A Bully: Inside the Stanford Football Strength Program by Max Rausch

Not all programs are built on 40 times and bench press numbers. As great as numbers are there are more important factors to increasing sports performance. This article dives headfirst into the specialization that has revitalized the Stanford Football program.

A Horrifying Picture of what Sleep Loss will do to You by Laura Schocker

How much sleep have you averaged the last three nights? Sleep deprivation is far-too common and can ruin. This infographic shows exactly what poor sleep does to your body. P.S., here are tips to Hack Your Sleep and get back on track.

Identify Weak Points and Destroy Them by Charles Staley

We all have weakpoints in training. It could be too little volume, a poor diet, or lack of recovery. Finding and hammering these weakpoints in key to making consistent progress—here’s how. 

Training with Purpose: Strength Training Considerations for Athletes by Gabriel Naspinski

It’s easily forgotten that athletes are training for their sport, not to be sprinters or powerlifters.  Each skill has it’s own set of requirements for optimal performance that must be followed… not just strength.

Why People Must Squat Differently by Ryan DeBell

Everyone has unique anatomy that requires individualization for each exercise. Rather than forcing everyone to perform exercise in certain positions find what works best for different anatomy. Neglecting bony structure is a sure-fire way for injury and best avoided. 

What on Learned on the way to deadlifting 500lbs by Greg Nuckols

Gettin’ incredibly strong is something Greg knows a few things about. Here, he sheds light on lessons learned that will help you break your next goal.

 

Stronger, Shredded, Athletic,

Eric

Busy Man’s Carb Cycling: The Uber Convenient Way to Shred Fat and Build Muscle.

pizza

Carb cycling may be the best way to maximize the muscle building benefits of carbs while maximizing insulin sensitivity and minimizing fat gain.


The Problem?

A strict dietary regimen of counting calories, managing multiple menus, and analyzing every diet decision down to the gram isn’t practical for most people. Save for the elite physique or bodybuilding competitor, harping over every dietary decision is a first class ticket to frustration and overwhelm, not a better-looking body. 


It doesn’t have to be so complicated and in this article, I’m going to clear the air on how to simplify carb cycling so you can reap the same physique changing benefits without the frustration. 


And while you’re burning fat, here’s a free workout to maximize fat loss and retain lean muscle so you look, feel, and perform your best  Thanks for being here.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

-Eric


Building muscle while losing fat to unveil a lean, ripped body.

That’s what we’re all after, right? Recomposition, the process of losing fat while building muscle is the single biggest goal of most gym goers. The problem is, most folks tend to either build muscle easily but can’t lose stubborn belly fat. The others?
They have the metabolism of a hummingbird on meth and despite their efforts, can’t build a lick of muscle. 

Fortunately, carb cycling has been used for physique enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders for decades and is one of the most effective ways to keep you lean and muscular. 

So…What is Carb Cycling? 

Carb cycling is the planned manipulation of carbohydrate consumption to maximize workout performance, build lean muscle, and minimize fat gain. It’s an advanced strategy that can do wonders for preventing fat loss plateaus and maximizing insulin sensitivity.   

But carb cycling isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. For most people, carb cycling is downright overwhelming and a first class ticket to saying “fuck it” to yet another diet. If you’re preparing all of your own meals, building separate menus of high/low carb days, and calculating nutritional requirements, carb cycling is extremely time-consuming. 

And if you have business dinners, have multiple people to cook for, and feel overwhelmed by the amount of “perfect” diets plastered all over the internet then another cumbersome diet plan then carb cycling is the last thing you need.

Fortunately, I have your back. You too can implement carb cycling to lose stubborn fat, build muscle, and transform your body without measuring and tracking calories.

I’ve refined and tweaked this process with hundreds of my clients to help them boost performance and look better naked.  It worked for them and can work for you, too. 

 Picture This: It’s early fall and Saturday around noon. College football season has arrived. You’re at your local alumni sports bar with your buddies. Everyone’s ordering, microbrews, nachos, chicken wings, and fries..food galore, a gluttonous paradise.

Carb Cycling

 

The waitress makes her way to you, what do you do?

The decision shouldn’t be whether you can crush a few nachos and beer with your friends, it should be “ did I earn my carbs today?”

Luckily, you crushed front squats and your quads are smoked. You order the double bacon bison burger, fries, a side salad, and a Hercules Double IPA. Now, this isn’t an everyday occurrence, but you’ve earned the right to splurge. That’s one of the beauties of carb cycling–the freedom to enjoy some of your delicious, higher carb, and sometimes less healthy options with less damage to your diet.

The key to this high effective strategy? Insulin.

Insulin and Carb Cycling

Insulin is an extremely anabolic hormone that can help you lose fat and build muscle if manipulated correctly. Too little and you’re doomed to flat muscles, poor recovery, and pre-shrinking your affliction t-shirts to look jacked. Too much and you’ll resemble the Michelin Man and suffer from myriad health problems.
 
Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas that plays a major role in metabolism and regulates nutrient entry into your cells. When insulin is seldom elevated (like long-term low carb diets) you won’t gain much muscle. Conversely, a higher carb intake when your body is more sensitive to insulin such as the hours after a workout triggers rapid tissue repair, protein synthesis, and muscle growth.
On the flip side when your body is not sensitive to carbs, such as non-training days and being excessively overweight, spending your afternoons at the pasta buffet will lead to carbs behind stored as body fat. As you can see insulin is a double edged sword. Through proper timing and fluctuations, carb cycling empowers you to control insulin and strip off body fat and build lean muscle faster. 

Carb Cycling Made Easy

Carb cycling is as easy as it sounds. Cycle carbohydrates on weight training days (high carb) and non-workout/cardio days (low carb). Rather than giving you a plethora of calculations and impractical menus we’ll simplify the process. 

Lifting heavy and with high training volume? It’s a high carb day. 

Due to the repeated muscle contractions during resistance training, your body will have an increased insulin sensitivity. With this increased response to carbs your body will drive nutrients into your muscle cells, aiding them in repair, growing them, and providing you with more energy. 

On lifting days you’ll be consuming fruits and starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and oats) as your carbohydrate sources. If you’re trying to build muscle like the Minimalist Muscle course or have long, grueling workouts then have starches during all meals and during your workouts.
If you gain fat easily or have shorter, less intense workouts like a 30-minute bicep blaster, use moderate starches. This would mean carbs during your workout and with your first meal post-workout.

Taking a day off or hitting a low volume workout? Keep the carbs low.

On non-lifting days keep carbohydrates low because there isn’t the same increase in insulin sensitivity. Carbs consumed when your body is less sensitive may lead to additional fat gain. Let’s minimize that, shall we? By minimizing carbs a few days per week your body becomes more receptive to insulin. This means on the days you do consume carbs, your body becomes hypersensitive and  shuttles carbs towards building muscle rather than being stored as fat.  

If you hit a light workout or interval session get your carbs from fruits or veggies throughout the day. It’s fine to keep carbs during your workout or in the meal after, but keep them lower overall. 

Lifting? Carb up and support your muscle-building workouts. More volume in the gym means more carbs. 

Intervals or taking the day off? Avoid most starchy carbs, improve insulin sensitivity, and burn more body fat.  

 

Sample Workout Schedule and Carb Intake

Monday: Lower Body Training (high volume) /High Carb

Tuesday: Upper Body Focus (low volume) /Moderate Carb

Wednesday: Off Or Sprint Work

Thursday: Upper Body Focus(high volume) /High Carb

Friday: Lower Body Focus/High Carb

Saturday: Upper Body Focus/High Carb

Sunday: Off Or Sprint Work

Low Carb Day

Breakfast: 4 egg scramble, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 avocado

Snack (Optional): Handful nuts and carrots

Lunch: Mediterranean salad w/cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, chicken, feta cheese w/balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Workout: One banana with protein shake

Dinner: Sirloin steak, broccoli, and a small salad. Optional: One sweet potato

High Carb Day

Breakfast: 3 egg scramble with spinach, 1 cup oatmeal with blueberries

Snack (Optional): Shake with 1 scoop vanilla protein, 1 cup berries, 1/2 cup cottage cheese

Lunch: Sandwich loaded with lean meat and veggies

Dinner: Sweet potato, barbecue rubbed chicken thighs and cauliflower

Snack (Optional): Shake with 1 scoop chocolate protein, 1 orange, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup cottage cheese

 

Common Issues and Questions

Do Calories Still Matter if I go Low Carb? 
Yes. The idea that dropping carbs will miraculously drop body fat is false…unless you’re burning more calories than you’re eating. Now, carb cycling can improve insulin sensitivity and over time lead to better fat loss, but if you’re eating more calories than your body burns you’ll still add fat. Sorry, butter in your coffee can still make you fat. 

How Low is Low Carb?

This depends on your size and body part percentage. With some clients, I’ll shoot for under 100 grams of carbs on low carb days for fat loss. A simple trick is to replace the grains/starches you eat with leafy, fibrous greens.

I’m not looking to build muscle, only lose fat. Is Carb Cycling still for me?

Yes! Carb cycling is great for a fat loss diet. When you’re consistently low on calories and carbohydrates you may see reductions in metabolic rate, thyroid hormones, sympathetic nervous system activity, energy levels, and sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen (Berardi and Andrews 368).

This leads to a plateau that stops your fat loss in its tracks, yikes!

When you cycle carbohydrates and calories back into your diet you raise leptin levels a powerful fat burning hormone that down-regulates when calories are low. Essentially, you trick your body into burning more fat by keeping it out of starvation mode.

Can I pig out on High Carb Days? You did use examples of fries, beer, and wings….

Although carb cycling does afford my flexibility in your food choices this isn’t a pass to go eat pizza, burgers and fill the gaps in with crappy protein powder.  You can indulge occasionally but stick to mostly high-quality foods and supplements like Grass-fed whey and a greens powder (here’s mine) if you hate veggies. As tasty as it is, the combination of high fat, high carb, high alcohol containing meals is a perfect recipe for gaining weight. Sorry IIFYM folks, junk food is still junk food and will come back around to harm your body in the future. 

That’s a Wrap

Carb cycling works–that’s been shown by coaches a long time ago.  For starters, you’ll improve insulin sensitivity and strategically maximize the power of insulin around your workouts to build muscle. Psychologically, my friend and fellow coach Ben Johnson points out carb cycling helps you pay more attention to what foods you’re putting into your body, leading to better food choices. In both cases, approaching your diet with awareness and timing carbs around your workouts is a no-brainer for losing fat, building muscle, and improving performance in the gym.

It doesn’t need to be complicated, just focus on eating healthy food options and staying true to your carb cycling schedule to reap the rewards of proper nutrient timing.

P.S. Looking to drop 8-10 pounds in the next month? That’s exactly what people have been doing in our 30-Day Fat Loss Contest. Apply today, spaces are limited. 

 

Citations:

Berardi, Jon, and Ryan Andrews. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Second. Precision Nutrition Inc., 2012. 368. Print.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. “Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes.” Bethesda, MD: , 2013. Web. 

 

Precision Nutrition Certification Review

Like any certification the number one question I have received after getting my PN1 is “Was it worth the Money?”

To make it easy the answer is yes, yes it was. The Precision Nutrition Certification strikes gold for coaches looking for top-notch results with their clients. The PN system delivers what few other certifications and educational courses can: Up-to-date information and a delivery system to implement change in your clients.

The Breakdown

Precision Nutrition Certification Review
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/415651103/

Precision Nutrition contained two distinct portions of this certification. The first portion of the textbook and lectures was based on nutritional science. This portion covered topics such as cell structure and function, energy transfer and metabolism, energy balance, macro/micronutrients, special populations, and hydration status.

The information is up-to-date, and extremely thorough. Precision Nutrition does a phenomenal job breaking down difficult topics such as the Krebs cycle with both in-depth explanation, workbook questions, and video lectures to fit all learning styles.

The Best Part

The scientific based parts of the certification are great, but the practice, coaching, and implementation are even better. The practice portion of the certification contains extremely thorough client prep and information collecting, how to interpret this information, nutritional supplementation information, setting realistic and achievable goals, and how to provide continuing education and support for clients.

 

Advanced Strategies

Because PN does such a great job analyzing behavior and making change stick, advanced strategies are much easier to master. PN covers the following topics in-depth, providing calculations and estimations based on individual goals and body types for the following:

  • Carbohydrate cycling
  • Calorie cycling
  • Athlete sports nutrition as it relates to immune function
  • Nutrition for injury and rehabilitation
  • Supplementation to speed healing of injuries
  • Plant based diets
  • Eating disorders
  • Nutrition and cardiovascular disease
  • Nutrition and diabetes

These advanced strategies are an awesome addition to any repertoire of nutritional knowledge bombs. They might not apply to the majority of clients, but they are extremely thoroughly and helpful to the advanced clients that do dictate the strategies.

Why It’s Better

The Precision Nutrition Certification is NOT the only nutritional certification available to fitness professionals, but it does offer an entire section based on implementing change with clients. Too often certifications leave the coach with a wealth of information without the tools to successfully carry out the strategies into practice. This is where the PN system separates itself from the others. Dr. John Berardi has the hands on knowledge and experience from years of working with clients ranging from elite professional and Olympian athletes to non-athletes and average-joes.

If you are a fitness professional looking to take your business to the next step then I strongly recommend the PN1 Certification and Precision Nutrition.

For more information go check PN out at http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ and explore the wealth of information they have to offer. Specialized programs such as PN Lean Eating as well as Scrawny To Brawny programs are available to guide you towards your specific goals.

For information on how I implement the Precision Nutrition System with my clients please contact me through my newsletter and pick up your free gift here ==> Hook me up!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

18 Ways to Build Muscle, Lose Fat, and Rule the Freakin’ World

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1. Be goal oriented

Pick a goal and go all in towards that goal. Start small and keep your goals written down somewhere visible where you see it each day.

2.  Perform Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are grueling hard work that simultaneously toughens your body and mind. Start at 2 days of 4-6 60-80 meter hill sprints to build a chiseled physique and regain your athleticism.

3. Train Movements First, not muscles

Train the body through a variety of movements such as squatting, hip hinging (deadlift), vertical pressing, vertical pulling, horizontal pushing, horizontal pulling, lunging, jumping, hopping, and skipping. Bringing up lagging body parts through assistance work can be beneficial especially if your goals are aesthetics only, but everyone should be able to perform these movements with some proficiency.

4. Perform Soft Tissue Work

Foam rolling and other soft tissue work is one of the best ways to improve your movement quality and decrease pain. Soft tissue work improves the quality of the muscle to support better mobility and flexibility.

5. Perform Glute Work

Low back pain can be crippling, especially if you are looking to rule the world. The most common reason for low back pain is inactive and weak glutes. Train that booty with hip thrusts, lunge variations, bridges, and squats and feel it working!

6. If something hurts, stop doing it

Pain is a warning sign that something is not right, we can all agree on that. Unfortunately, most gym goers think no pain no gain. WRONG! If your Ferrari started smoking under the engine and the check engine light ison would you say screw it? Hell no you get it fixed.

7. Jump

Jumping is a great way to maintain explosive power, quickness, and coordination. You can jump rope, perform jumping jacks, box jumps, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you perform some variations of jumping!

8. Train Outside

Training outside is liberating and refreshing. Perform hills sprints, a bodyweight circuit, or grab some sandbags, kettlebells, and some friends and see what you come up with. Get creative and have fun!

9. Include Low Rep Training in your workouts

Training with lower reps 1-5 and higher intensity will build strength and explosiveness, two very important traits in having a healthy, athletic, world dominating physique.

10. Deadlift

Learn to do it correctly and it is the most “Functional,”badass movement you can perform. Picking heavy things off the ground is vital!

11. Focus on Posture and Form

Never ever ever ever ever round your shoulders or lower back when lifting or doing anything else. This will lead to injuries when lifting and poor posture with everything else. Use a flat back and big chest.

12. Eat Dead Animals

Nuff’ Said

13. Warm Up

Perform a warm up of foam rolling, jump rope 100x, 3-D Lunges, pushups, medicine ball throws, and jumps. These will loosen you up, increase blood flow, improve movement quality, and ramp up your nervous system to increase your strength.

14. Challenge your grip

A strong grip and forearms are awesome, who doesn’t envy Popeye? Use Fat Gripz, Grip 4orce, plate pinches, farmer walks, or wrap towels around bars and dumbbells.

15. Stop Performing Burn-outs

Performing exercise to failure on a consistent basis just leads to a fatigued CNS and eventual burn out and injuries. Performing sets to failure is okay on occasion, but keep it to every few weeks.

16. Pick out an exercise program and stick to it

Switching from program to program will keep you from your goals. Learn to spot a good program such as 5/3/1 and stick with it for 12 weeks minimum. Pick productive basic exercises and master them.

17. De-load

Take a week every 4-8 weeks (more frequent if you lift heavy), and back down the volume, intensity, or both. This will keep you motivated while preventing injuries and burnout.

18. Keep in touch with Friends and Family

Maintaining relationships with the people who helped mold you is a great way to relax and keep a good perspective on life. Healthy relationships are vital to a healthy body and mind.

Total Body Exercise Selection

Total body workouts are the most time efficient manor in which to design a resistance training program. The entire body is designed to work in synchrony, with some muscles stabilizing while others contract to create movement.

Most trainers and trainees look for a list of muscles stating whether they are prime movers or stabilizers to design a body part split. Unfortunately, this fails to recognize that the role of muscles often change depending on the bodies position and the joint in action.

This leads to un-balanced programming issues such as imbalances in flexion versus extension, more upper body pushing than pulling, and neglecting deeper muscle tissues and focusing solely on the superficial muscles of the body.

To combat against poor programming total body workouts are designed based upon movement patterns.

Some of the patterns I typically use are as following:

Upper Body

Horizontal Pushing

Vertical Pushing

Horizontal Pulling

Vertical Pulling

Lower Body

Knee Dominant

Hip Dominant

*** Also included are various unilateral variations of each movement, core stabilizing (mostly anti-rotation exercise), additional mobility work and total body combination exercises such as a clean and jerk or thruster.

A sample program I may design would be based upon having an upper body push, upper body pull, and a lower body lift.

Day 1:

1a.Pull (Horizontal) – 3 Pt Dumbbell Row

1b. Core Stabilization- ½ kneeling cable lift

2a. Lower Body (Knee Dominant)-Front Squat

2b. Mobility- Wall Ankle Mobilization

3a. Push (Vertical) – 1 arm Standing DB Press

3b. Upper back work- Rope Face Pulls (90% of all trainees could use more!)

Conditioning Work

Body weight circuits, sled work, strongman circuits

Day 2:

1a. Push (Horizontal) – Low incline bench press

1b.Mobility/Corrective Movement- Scapular Wall Slides

2a. Lower Body (Hip Dominant) – Conventional Deadlift

2b.Core Stabilization- Squat Stance Palloff Press

3a. Pull (Vertical) – Neutral Grip Chin Up

3b. Upper back work/rear delt- DB Rear Lateral Raises

Conditioning Work

Stairs, Sled Pushing/ Pulling

Upper Body workouts are my preferred method of program design for most populations. I have seen good success on as few as 2x per week using this template, but have also gone up to 4x per week with more trained individuals.  Mix and match exercises to get a well rounded workout and include necessary non-fatiguing assistance work to bring up weak areas. Use multiple rep ranges for each body part to hit more muscle fibers and develop a well rounded and trained body.

Copyright 2012 by Eric R Bach.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be duplicated or distributed without written consent from the author.

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