Posted by Ben Disseldorp in Health / Nutrition
Estimated reading time: 11mins
For many of us, lockdowns have given us no motivation to keep healthy and get outside. In addition, working from home has made it harder for many as home-schooling has become the new reality. This still applies to some of us; however, everything is starting to open up again including gyms!
The most important thing in my perspective is not to be harsh on yourself be nice. Yes, you may have gained weight and you may have more fat than normal but that is okay this can be fixed. For most cases this has been a year all out of your control as working from home eliminates all the incidental exercise that you get for example travelling to work, walking around the office and going outside during your breaks. This over the day can easily reach up to 5000 steps.
The same applies to your training in the gym, muscle breakdown has occurred unless you were extremely lucky to own any gym equipment. Most didn’t have an opportunity to train as equipment was so inflated on eBay going for 100s and thousands of dollars for basic equipment. In most cases, everyone had an excuse not to do weights.
I do have some good fitness news for you. We are primed to make progress in the gym again thanks to muscle memory.
Bickel (2011) reports from the National Library of Medicine and found that dropping your training volume to 1/9 has shown that muscle mass is maintained on average for 32 weeks. For many of us, we would have been close to this just by doing bodyweight workouts on basic dumbbell movements. Given our lockdown lasted from March till October give or take was approximately 28 weeks. We are well and truly covered by this theory.
Another part of the research to prevent muscle loss was dependant on how many calories you consumed and how much protein was in your diet.
We would have been in a calorie surplus for many of us Wedge to not moving as much or going to the gym and remove as much or go surrounded by food in the pantry. The good news is that you would have prevented muscle loss if you were eating at maintenance or in a calorie surplus.
To determine what your maintenance calories are for fat loss or muscle gain, head here, How to determine calories for a lean bulk and The guide to kick-starting your summer fat loss diet.
Protein, as we know, is the building block of muscle growth however you may be over or under consuming this macronutrient. I found for a long time especially as a youth I was overconsuming this macronutrient and under consuming carbohydrates on the myth that carbs will make you fat. Oh, boy was I wrong. Caspero (2020) recommends that active adults have between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, to boost recovery after training and to promote the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
For example, an 80kg male should have at least 160g of protein per day at 2.0grams per kg of bodyweight.
70kg female should have at least 84g of protein per day at 1.2grams per kg of bodyweight.
Both these numbers are generic to both females and males. Females may need more depending on their type of exercise. However, males generally need more protein than females.
This is where protein supplements are convenient to have. No one has the time to be over the stove cooking extra protein sources late at night to meet your protein targets for the day. There is absolutely no need to get all your protein from meat despite what you might see in the mainstream bodybuilding magazines.
Let’s take a look at the Bulk Nutrients range. Here is a quick snapshot of the protein option. A good place to start is a whey protein of any kind. The breakdown is as follows;
Once the protein is in check, your diet must have a range of complex carbohydrates such as;
Don’t forget to add in some healthy fats;
Just be very mindful of the calorie count on these as without tracking these, they can quickly add up, comprising 9 calories per 1g of fat.
This may not apply to everyone; however, this may be your chance to overlook what you are doing to accelerate your results and not spin your wheels yet again for another year. One of the most important factors is progressive overload. In short, progressive overload refers to the process of gradually overloading the body with either volume, intensity, frequency, or time to reach a specific goal.
Volume is the number of sets and reps lifted. Not all volume is equal due to weight and intensity and compound moments such as the back squat, which incorporates your hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves and core. However, as a general guide, you need to make sure you are changing up the volume in some way to ensure progressive overload. An easy way is to add an extra set if you can’t increase weight any further without compromising form. Ideally, keep a workout log on your phone or paper, but you can keep track of it in your head; however that process has plenty of flaws.
Frequency is the number of times you train a muscle group per week. “When comparing studies that investigated training muscle groups between 1 to 3 days per week on a volume-equated basis, the current body of evidence indicated that frequencies of training two times per week promote superior hypertrophic outcomes compared to one time.” For example, a push/pull/legs split will achieve hitting body parts multiple times a week, or an upper/lower/rest split will work.
Intensity can be harder to track, especially if you aren’t tracking the time of rest you are getting between sets. However, intensity includes how you execute the reps within a set. If you are sticking to your volume and can’t progress weights or sets, try adding slower reps or pause reps. This will add that extra workout stimulus to keep progressive overload.
Suni (2020) from Sleep Foundation writes about guidelines for how much sleep we need. He advises that “healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep powers the mind, restores the body and fortifies virtually every system in the body”. I am certainly guilty of this being a shift worker and working night shifts. He writes on the importance of sleep hygiene that includes your bedroom setting and sleep-related habits. Here are his tips for a better nights sleep;
The most important tip for me is about switching off electronic devices. We are all guilty of this. your Instagram feed will still be there in the morning. Suni (2020) confirms that scientists have found the light from electronics has the potential to disrupt sleep because it sends alerting signals to the brain. In particular, the blue light from mobile phones and laptops has been shown to delay the release of melatonin.
If you struggle to find issues with your sleep and can’t find a routine that works, Bulk Nutrients are here to help with their sleep products in focus ZMA.
ZMA Complex Capsules is a mineral supplement containing Magnesium, L Aspartate, Zinc Picolinate and Vitamin B6. The use and effectiveness of supplementing with ZMA have been widely documented. A study on American Footballers by Lorrie Brilla, PhD found that ZMA had various positive effects on the athletes. A group of 12 competitive NCAA football players who took ZMA nightly during an eight-week training program had their muscle strength and functional power measured and the athletes that supplemented with ZMA nightly over an 8-week period had 2.5 times greater strength gains and doubled the functional power gains compared to the placebo group.
That is a wrap for this article, I hope you all have taken something from this article and it can motivate you to find a better you in the coming year. My two goals for next year is to closely track progressive overload and lose my phone at least 30 minutes before I go to bed.
Happy New Year to everyone and hope everyone has enjoyed their break over these summer holidays!