Q & A With Randy Herring!

Check back often for updates to my frequenly asked questions from the viewers of Bodybuilding.com. This week I focus of nutrition questions. Learn the importance of eating right, eating frequency, and what ketones are!
Click Here For Part 2 - Training.
Part 3 - Injuries & Recuperation

Part 4 - Training Tips & Traveling Nutrition

    I realize that a large part of gaining weight is eating right. I have been doing that but have not seen any noticeable results.

You are correct in saying eating right is a large part of gaining lean mass. Regularly eating the right foods often at the right times is an absolute necessity and requires effort around the clock on a daily basis. In the gym we stimulate muscle to grow. Training is relatively the easy part. Getting to the gym for most people to exercise and focusing on the purpose of getting fit is easier than eating right outside the gym. Outside the gym we have a life, a job, or a family to attend to. In our life outside the gym distractions are going all around that tend to pull us this way or that way. In the gym we become naturally focused on getting fit because that is why we are there.

Training in the gym makes up roughly 20-40% of the effort for muscle building. Outside the gym is when muscles actually grow, granted that you've supplied the body with the right nutrients and correct amounts and rested sufficiently to aid in growth. Building muscle outside the gym makes up more than half the equation to complete the muscle building process, thus, requiring more effort and discipline - 60-80%.

Consume 5-6 small frequent meals throughout the day. A protein drink (preferably taken as a pre-workout meal) would constitute a meal. If you feel 5-6 meals is too much on non-training days you can limit yourself to 4 or 5 meals. However, even though the body may not need the extra calories on non-training days it may in fact need them for the recovery and recuperation process that lasts from 48-72 hours under normal circumstances. Based on an individual's recuperative ability it may take less or longer. A muscle can only fully recover if it has been fed the proper nutrition on a daily basis because you may never know when the body may need the nutrition for assisting muscular growth.

    I am a female, 56 years old, recently retired and would like to firm up my body and improve my lifestyle. I want to start with knowledge of the correct nutrition, training routines, supplements, etc.

Congratulations for using bodybuilding to getting fit! The same nutritional and training rules apply at any age or fitness level for weight training, but with slight modifications. Good habitual eating is good but taking supplements is necessary to meet daily dietary allowances and enhance physical performance. What the body cannot do by food alone supplements help. Consume a protein supplement as a pre-workout meal that contains at least 25 grams of protein. Choose one that works best for you, one that contains all 22 amino acids (the building-blocks of protein), and one that does have any side effects, such as making you bloated or getting you fat in a few short days. It might be a good idea to ask your doctor before taking supplements, including vitamins and minerals.

Eat 4-6 "small frequent" meals daily. Eating small frequent meals a day is a great way of elevating the body's metabolism since it must use energy to digest the food. You might want to consider writing down everything you eat and how many grams consumed in an "Eating Journal" for at least two weeks or more to get an idea of your own weight maintenance, gain or loss. Do not count calories. Count grams of protein, carbs, and fat. After you've counted your nutrient (protein, carbs, fat) grams multiply those figures by their respected calories per gram. This would constitute your total calories consumed.

If your body does not expend more energy (protein, carbs, fat) cut back on your total caloric intake by adjusting protein, carb and fat amounts. To get an idea of your ratios divide protein, carbohydrate and fat calories by total calories consumed.

For a safe and effective weight gain Lean Body Mass (muscle) should be no more than 2 pounds per month. Fat loss should be no more than 4 pounds per month. Any more would constitute lean mass (muscle) loss. Lean mass gains or fat loss will always be greater at the start of an exercise program and level off thereafter. You hit a key element for exercising - to improve one's lifestyle. That is why it is important not to turn exercising into a gaining or losing weight game. Besides, "losing weight" is a negative goal. Maintaining one's (goal) weight is a positive one. Focus on your goal maintenance weight. It is easier to focus and accomplish positive goals than negative ones. Too much or too little of anything, even for the body, is not healthy. Ideally nutrition, training, and recuperation must be in balance for you to take control of managing your own weight and also your destiny!

One important note when we age: the body's metabolism decreases 3% each year. Health professionals refer to this as "creeping obesity". Eating the same amount of food year after year welcomes this. Regular exercise offsets this by elevating the body's metabolism, even 24-48 hours after exercise at rest. Did you catch that? AT REST.

Regardless of age or fitness level the Reverse Pyramid applies the same with a slight modification of rep range.

If you prefer to do a circuit weight training program after your initial 10-15 minute warm-up begin your first set with a weight you can handle for at least 14. Decrease the weight and do 16 reps on your second set. Decrease the weight for the third and final set and do 18 reps. If you want to follow the reverse pyramid by not following a circuit training regimen simply decrease rep range that best suits you for what you want to get out of it. Maybe start off with 10 reps, then 12, and finally 14 or 15. If you want to build lean mass and burn fat (through added lean mass) and not so concerned about strength I think this rep range is ideal.

    What are ketones? Is being in a state of ketosis (by following a high-protein / low carb diet) safe for the body to metabolize and burn fat?

Ketosis is the result of carbohydrate deprivation. Your body requires adequate amounts of carbohydrates in order to properly metabolize body fat. As the saying goes, "fat is burned in the furnace of carbohydrate." The primary symptom of ketosis is ketonemia, the appearance of ketone bodies in the body. Ketone bodies are the product of the incomplete burning of fats. Ketones can be used in place of glycogen for energy production but they are not nearly efficient in fueling exercise as glycogen.

In a prolonged state of ketosis, you tend to be sluggish, your mental processes suffer, and your body gradually becomes dehydrated, and it it is easy to confuse the loss of water weight with loss of body fat. Worse, in the absence of carbohydrates your body begins to metabolize larger and larger amounts of amino acids (protein) for additional energy. This is highly counterproductive for anyone trying to build or maintain muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass means fewer calories burned, a decreased metabolism, and obvious fat gain. Purposely putting your body in a state of ketosis is NOT the WAY to health and fitness. Being in a state of ketosis is only reserved for the competitive bodybuilder to be sure!

    Is it possible to add mass and get defined at the same time without using any types of drugs?

Yes, it is. Taking drugs is an artificial and phony means of getting big. You only cheat yourself and endanger your health. High-performance sports nutrition combined with Ergogenic Aids is the ultimate in gaining lean mass and staying cut at the same time. Exhibit a strong-willed attitude and use your mind to produce the natural effort to get big.

This is more gratifying in life. In addition, know what portion amounts are necessary to balance your protein, carb, and fat needs in order to exceed the body's metabolic expenditure and training hard and smart to obtain both.

There is more discipline outside the gym than inside when you are "training" to add mass (outside the gym) while stimulating muscle and staying defined (inside the gym). You spend at least one hour at the gym. That leaves 23 hours outside the gym to undo the progress made in the gym.

The body is fueled by three (3) sources of energy:

All burning simultaneously at the same time. Why not use or "transfer" that energy to make the body more efficient in burning energy and making it more productive? Simply transfer these three sources to build muscle. After all, muscle is energy and is the source for burning adipose tissue (fat). The more muscle you have the more fat you burn, even AT REST. So adding more mass to your body will allow you to burn MORE fat than you had been before when you were carrying less lean mass weight prior to beginning your weight training regimen!

Click Here For Part 2 - Training.
Part 3 - Injuries & Recuperation

Part 4 - Training Tips & Traveling Nutrition