Supplement Savvy: More Questions, MOHR Answers - 4-07-06!

Get the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. Today some of those questions have to do with using HIIT and weightlifting and paying more attention to nutrition and gaining mass.

[ Q ] Hello Chris, I have a question pertaining to your HIIT cardio you have talked about. I am willing to give it a try. However, I do not have much time at all to do it separately from weightlifting. I would like to but due to my schedule I only have one time of the day I can to any workouts.

Would it be ok to do HIIT cardio after weights, or will that sacrifice my muscle? How about a small protein shake (20-25g) right after workout and then to the cardio, then my carb/protein shake after that... would that work? Your time and answer is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


    A: Great question. If you're limited on time, as many folks are, I would suggest doing the HIT cardio after a workout, as you suggested. I'm not sure what your goal(s) are, but if you're trying to lose fat, I would also make sure you ramp up those weight workouts.

    Include exercises that require a lot of muscle, meaning compound exercises where movement is over more than one joint (e.g., squats instead of leg extensions or leg curls). I also would like to see you alternate exercises so you're going between upper body and lower body movements to keep that heart rate elevated.

    Again, this is if you're trying to lose fat. If you do this, with minimal rest between sets (30-60 seconds) followed by HIT cardio and a sound diet, you can lose fat quickly.

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    With regards to the protein shake; there has been some research to suggest that having a carb/protein shake during a workout is effective for boosting the muscle building hormones, such as testosterone and suppressing cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone.

    Similarly, this same drink can enhance protein synthesis, which is normally "overpowered" by proteolysis during a workout, and also boost energy through the carbohydrates. So, with that said, I'd sip a carb/protein drink during the workout and also have the same carb/protein drink immediately after working out to facilitate recovery.

[ Q ] Hi Dr. Mohr. I've come across several of your articles on and just found this link to your site. I've been lifting weights on and off for many years, with pretty good results. However, I've never taken my diet seriously. I feel I've reached as far as I can get with my genetics, without focusing on food.

I think with a proper eating plan, I could take my body to where I want it to be. I am 6'2" and weigh 225 pounds, at (I'm guessing) 15% body fat. I'd like to get up to 240 (at 6--10%bf). I've had diets made for me before, but they only would give me one day of eating that I was supposed to follow for the whole month.

I just got too bored after a few days and gave up. So, I'm looking to get a meal plan made up for me, for adding mass, that has 4 or 5 days worth of choices. Also, I'd like to do it in as heart healthy a fashion as possible. Anyway, if you think you can help me out, please get back to me at your earliest convenience.

    A: This question is very common - so I'll provide some basics here. First, without knowing anything about your training, it's difficult to provide too much info. But, for the sake of ease, let's pretend you are training properly and, like you mentioned, the one thing holding you back is the food, or lack thereof.

    Basically, what you're telling me is that you want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. You say you want to add mass, but you also want to lose 5-10% body fat. Some may disagree with me, but I would focus on one goal at a time. Decide what you want more and which you want first.

    Since you specifically said gaining mass in the question, that's what I'll focus on doing. Remember, diet is at least 75% of the problem; if you're solely lifting and not focusing on your diet, you're getting about 25% of the results you can be getting. Now, I know, those percentages aren't exact, but just a ball park figure.

    Take a look at the foods you're eating... is your diet focused on high sugar, high fat foods? Are you relying solely on supplements?

    Let's start with a typical day. First start with breakfast - NEVER train on an empty stomach or you'll have no energy to lift hard. If you train in the morning, wake up extra early to have a solid breakfast, meaning foods like oatmeal, fruit, egg white or eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc (not all at once, but pick and choose).

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    Have some down time before your workout, sip some green tea, and you'll be off to kicking a** and taking names at the gym.

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    When you're workout is over, immediately have a post-workout shake... chocolate milk works great, as I've said before, or there are a bunch of others that are good too.

    Then throughout the remainder of the day, focus on eating only whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and loads of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you're snacking.

    Remember, you're trying to gain lean body mass, so you need to feed the machine and continue to eat; have an additional glass of milk with every meal, a yogurt, handful of mixed nuts, etc; each of these foods can add up to be a significant amount of calories by the end of the day, which is the way to gain muscle.

    I like to tell folks that if you can be on schedule for approximately 90% of the time, you're good to once in awhile, have some "fun foods," but just don't go crazy with it.

    I have written specific weight gain meal plans on here; these may helpful in terms of specific meal plans or ideas to follow.

    Weight Gain Plans:

    Good luck!!