Supplement Savvy: More Questions, MOHR Answers - 3-29-06!

Here are answers to some of the most common and sometimes not so common questions. Today I answer questions about lifting programs and stalled weight loss.

[ Q ] Hi Chris. I am interested in your lifting programs. I'm wondering what lifting program you would suggest for linemen? I not only want to improve my strength but my footwork and speed, too. What types of cone drills are most helpful? I have started doing one of your programs and love it, but should I change reps and sets each week or stay at what you have on the site?

The program I'm doing is in your football diaries site. I would greatly appreciate your comments and hope to here from you soon. Thank you for your time.


A: Glad you like the program. I would follow the program as I have on the site; typically folks do stagnate after 4-6 weeks, depending on the different variations in their program. Depending on your level of experience, too, you may also be able to handle the same stimulus for a longer period of time.

For example, if you're a novice in the gym (which I'll define by saying training for 12 months or less), you'll continue to respond to the same stimulus for a longer period of time. On the other hand, if you've been in the iron game for a bit longer, you'll stagnate much more quickly and have to change something about your routine more often.

The best (and only) way to monitor your training progress is to keep a training journal. This way, week after week you can see how you're doing - weights, are they increasing? Are you getting stronger? Can you do more reps with the same weight? The list is endless, but you want to have that journal to keep an eye on things.

Also keep in mind that it's not only reps and sets that need to be changed, but you can vary things like the angle of the exercise you do (think incline dumbbell press at a 45 degree angle, then at a 10 degree angle, for example); the equipment you use; the exercise itself; the order of exercises, rep scheme (3 sets of 10 for a specific time frame, then try 10 sets of 3, for example).

There is virtually no limit to the amount of variation that can be done to alter the stimulus to your muscles, so you continue to grow. Of course keep in mind that you need to focus on the nutrition aspect of things too, to enhance recovery and ensure that you're growing stronger.

I highly suggest a post-workout recovery beverage and more recent research is suggesting that a pre-workout drink may be just as, if not more important, than a post-workout beverage. Regardless which you use (or both), they should provide anywhere from 2-4:1 ratio of carbohydrate:protein, meaning 2-4 grams of carbohydrate for every 1 gram of protein.

There are a number of products on the market already, but another great product is low-fat chocolate milk. In fact, a study just came out in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, showing that chocolate milk was a more effective recovery beverage than one of the popular ones on the market.

[ Q ] My husband is on a diet and is probably eating about 1000 calories per day. He needs to lose approximately 30 pounds. He lost several pounds the first week or so. Now he seems stalled & I thought maybe his metabolism has gone into the starvation response. What do you think?


A: That is a very low caloric intake. Sure, he (or anyone) will lose weight, but the weight will be from fat, water, and a lot of muscle. The goal is to maintain as much muscle as possible while still losing fat; the way to do that is to make sure you're feeding the body properly - I've posted articles in the past discussing how to determine your caloric needs for weight loss.

Of course, it's not only important to focus on calories, but where those calories are coming from. When trying to lose weight healthfully, it's important to focus on all food groups - whole grains, loads of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Vegetables, in particular, should be the cornerstone of sound weight loss programs; they are loaded with nutrients, but help fill you up, when trying to cut back on calories. Therefore, things like salad with chicken breast, salmon, or tuna with olive or flax oil would make an excellent meal. Try loading up egg white omelets with different veggies.

I like to tell people to divide their plates into three parts. First, divide the plate into half. Next, divide one of the halves into half again (so 3 unequal parts). The largest part should be filled with vegetables and/or fruits. The next part should be whole grains. And finally, the third part should be lean protein. This is a very simple way eat an overall healthful diet, get the nutrients required for health and maintenance of lean body mass, and also lose weight.

Of course, exercise can't be left out of the equation. There was no mention of exercise in your question, but that's a very important piece to the puzzle as well. Your husband should definitely include some resistance training (using circuit type training and large muscle movements, such as squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, etc.) and also some cardio work.

I, personally, prefer higher intensity intervals, such as sprints on a bike, treadmill, track, etc. However, not everyone is in that type of shape, so if that's the case, have him stagger the intensity of his workouts, meaning higher than normal (within his limits) interspaced with some recovery activity.