More Q&A With The Physique Transformation Expert
By Russ Yeager
Physique Transformation Expert, Russ Yeager, covers low carb diets, whole food vs. supplements, body symmetry and getting back into shape after a long lay off in this installment of Q&A!
Q: I was wondering if you could possibly help me out. I am currently on a low carb/cutting diet less than 100 grams per day. My question is, on my once a week re-feeds (Sundays) what percentage of my daily calorie intake should be carbs, protein, & fat.
I read that a good rule of thumb when refeeding is:
Calories- 10 x bodyweight + 10
I just wanted to get your opinion and see what your thoughts were. Thanks for all the articles you put out. They are definitely good info. Thanks for your time.
A: I'm glad that you enjoy my articles. I have tried the type of diet you are referring to in the past. I lost a lot of body fat, but I also lost a lot of muscle and my energy levels suffered.
I got as lean as I have ever been in my entire life, around 4-5% body fat, while continuing to gain/maintain strength in the gym following a low volume high intensity workout program, and a nutrition program that consisted of lots of high quality protein every day, which comprised about 50% of my total daily calories. Remember, that protein builds muscle, and the more muscle you have the higher your resting metabolic rate will be, which leads to more fat-burning and a leaner physique! Carbohydrates made up approximately 40% of my diet and the remaining 10% was from healthy, unsaturated fat. As I strived to lose more body fat and get leaner, I simply reduced the number of calories I was taking in each day, but I did not change the percentages from each macronutrient.
When dieting, it really comes down to the number of calories burned vs. the number of calories ingested. Ultra low carbohydrate diets can be effective at decreasing body fat, but I believe a better approach is to use a macronutrient ratio similar to the one I described above, and simply reduce the number of calories you are taking in each day based on the results you are seeing. This method will allow you to spare a lot more of your hard earned muscle mass!
Q: I was just taking a look at the current nutrition program you have listed on your website, and I am curious about the ''drastic'' change of your diet? You seem to be eating a lot more solid food now, and ditched most of your protein supplements.....what are the reasons?
A: I wouldn't call the changes to my nutrition plan "drastic", but you are correct that I have added more whole food. I feel that my previous diet was relying on too many meal replacements and protein supplements in place of whole food. While I am a big believer in the benefits of high quality supplementation, I think it is important to remember that "supplements" do just that, supplement your nutrition plan. Meal replacements are great for convenience, but there are several specific reasons I eat more whole food meals now, especially during contest dieting.
The body's digestive system has to work harder to process whole food as compared to meal replacements, and also causes a greater increase in metabolism each time you eat a meal. This allows me to get leaner while getting ready for a contest. Fibrous vegetables are especially effective at raising the metabolism, and I will add in more vegetables to my diet as I get further into my contest prep. The other reason I eat more whole food while dieting for a contest is because I am limiting the number of calories I am eating each day, and I really love to eat, so sometimes a meal replacement just won't cut it!
I still manage to spend plenty on my supplement bill (in addition to my food bill) each month. As I have mentioned before, my favorite supplement to use are whey protein before and after my workout, certain, glutamine, and a multivitamin. I also use a good Ephedra Free fat-burner and CLA during contest prep to facilitate fat-burning. I also have 1 strategically placed meal replacement (about 1 ½ hours after my weight training session) each day, and keep a supply on hand for "emergency" situations or if traveling.
Q: I have always had the problem of my left pec being a lot bigger than my
right pec. It has been like this for almost 2 years and it has never
been fixed. I have tried so many things...I have even used dumbbells for the
past 8 months. I really need to fix this problem. What should I do? Please help!
A: Relax. I know that it can be frustrating when a body part is disproportionate to the same body part on the other side of your body. However, almost NO ONE is totally symmetrical. My right bicep has always been bigger and more defined than my left even though I train both arms exactly the same. Of course I notice it, but no one else really does, and I bet that others do not notice that your left pec is bigger than your right either. Barring any exceptional circumstances or gynecomastia, your pec development should even out more as you continue to train and develop muscle maturity.
Now, if it is so bad that you just can't stand it, or think you may have gynecomastia, then I would suggest you see your doctor. Otherwise, just keep training hard and follow my advice above.
Q: I read with great interest your article about tall guys, "Towering Muscle", and I need some advice. I am 34 years old, 6'7", about 260lbs, with a 40 waist, and played hoops in college. I look more like a former football player, as I am obviously not skinny. My goal is this: I'd like to be about 250-260, but get back to a 38 waist, or at least have the 40 be loose! I DO NOT want to just do cardio and get a skinny neck and be a tall pencil! I want to be a big V- big upper body, tapering at the waist, fit legs, not bulky ones, as I still play hoops 2-3 days a week from November to July. Here's what I have thought of, please let me know what you think:
I have started a low-carb diet, plenty of the right fats, lots of proteins, low carbs.
I have started taking the low-carb creatine, to assist with muscle growth.
I have started following your program for adding mass, from your "Towering Muscle" article, specifically for the upper body areas.
My questions are: does the above idea make sense? Also, how much cardio do I need to help me lose some fat in my midsection, while not stopping me from making some nice gains in my strength?
Thanks for any advice you can pass along, and thanks for the information. You look super. Good luck with the continued training. It's good to see a big guy looking fit!
Oh yeah, will the creatine just make me look puffy from the water?
A: I'm glad that you enjoyed my article. I see so many tall guys who give up on building a lean, muscular physique because they feel that it just cannot be done with our genetics, but I am living proof that it can be done!
I believe the two most important factors for you to reach your goals are 1) An effective heavy weight training program and 2) a sound nutritional program. You should also perform some cardio exercise as well to help get rid of the body fat, but with heavy weight training and proper nutrition, I promise you will not become a skinny neck or tall pencil!
I am not crazy about low carb diets, especially when you are trying to build lean muscle mass. Carbohydrates play a very important role in the muscle-building process and it is important to eat the right types of carbs at the right times to maximize muscle gains.
One thing that will help reduce any negative effects of cardio on your muscle-building is to space cardio out from weight training at least 8 hours. Basketball is an awesome cardio workout! I played quite a bit back in the day!
I also encourage you to read through all of the information on training, nutrition, and supplementation on my www.russyeager.com website.
Good luck and stay focused. I know how tough it can be for tall guys to build muscle, but it is my job and my mission to help you get it done!
P.S. No, creatine should not make you look puffy. Just make sure to drink lots of water!
© Russ Yeager's Health and Fitness 2006 All rights reserved. Use of this article is permitted for your newsletter, website, or other publication as long as the content is not altered including all active links.
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About the Author
Russ Yeager has been called a "Physique Transformation Expert." His passion is helping others make dramatic improvements to their physiques, health, and level of life happiness. Russ is a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT), writer, amateur bodybuilder, nutrition and fitness coach, and owner of Russ Yeager's Health and Fitness. For more information visit http://www.russyeager.com
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