Does weight training have any direct effect on fat-burning?
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Definitely. And the reason has to do with the muscle fibers, the basic element of the muscle. Muscle fibers are divided into three types: slow-twitch (also called slow-oxidative (SO) or Type I), fast-twitch oxidative-glycolytic (FOG or Type IIa) and pure fast-twitch (FT or Type IIb). The slow-twitch fibers contract slowly. But they can sustain their contractions for long periods without fatiguing. These fibers are used more in endurance activities such as long-distance running or swimming.
Genetically, athletes with a predominance of slow-twitch fibers perform well in endurance competition. Slow-twitch fibers get most of their energy from burning fat, a process that requires oxygen. This is further kindled by the fibers’ ample supply of blood vessels, mitochondria (cellular furnaces where fat and other nutrients are burned) and glycogen and blood fats inside their cells. The pure fast-twitch fibers are different. They contract rapidly but fatigue more easily. Their energy comes from burning glycogen. There are fewer mitochondria in the cellular make-up of fast-twitch fibers. Athletes who excel in speed or power events such as sprinting or weight lifting appear to have a higher percentage of fast-twitch fibers. Fast-twitch oxidative-glycolytic fibers contract quickly too, but they do not fatigue as fast. This may be because they have more mitochondria than the pure fast-twitch type but less than the slow-twitch fibers. But like the slow-twitch variety, fat can be burned by the fast-twitch oxidative-glycolytic variety for energy. Interestingly, you can change pure fast-twitch fibers into fast-twitch oxidative fibers by high-volume training such as long duration aerobics or intense high-intensity training.
Furthermore, this type of training actually increases the number of mitochondria in fast-twitch fibers to levels higher than those found in slow-twitch fibers. With more mitochondria in muscle cells, the fast-twitch muscle fibers burn more fat. Through high-volume training your body literally becomes as fat-burning machine. If you want to burn more body fat, I suggest that you do high-rep work using heavy poundages. Work out intensely – so that you are breathing hard each time you finish a set. Increase the frequency and duration of your aerobics too. This regimen is precisely how competitive bodybuilders train to lose fat before a contest. It’s an all-out approach that verges on over-training. But that’s what you have to do to change the fat-burning capacity of your muscle fibers. Remember too that you must follow a high-calorie, nutrient-dense nutrition program (food and supplements) as outlined in the Parrillo Performance Nutrition Program to fuel this level of intensity.
Is there such thing as the “Perfect Supplement” and what is it?
As bodybuilders and athletes, we’re continually on the trail of the perfect nutritional supplement. What is the “perfect supplement” and does it exist on the market? The answer to both of these questions is YES! To begin with, it’s formulated to build mass and burn bodyfat. It provides all the essential and protective nutrients your body needs for peak health, including protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The perfect supplement is a slow-release energy source, one that builds and re-builds glycogen stores for endurance and stamina as well as for repair and recovery. It also has the ability to increase your metabolism. And, it contains fiber to keep your digestive system in good working order. This supplement also contains amino acids, including the branched chain aminos, to help synthesize protein for muscular growth. What’s more, it helps prevent sports anemia, electrolyte imbalances, and other conditions associated with hard training. Is there such a supplement…one that does it all…one that will transform your physique and boost your performance to never-dreamed of levels? You bet. And it’s called “FOOD.”
Think about it. Food really does all these things. It is the “perfect supplement.” For starters, it does build mass and keep you lean — as long as you choose foods that partition to muscle and energy stores and not to fat depots. Your food should come from lean proteins, starchy carbs and fibrous carbs. In the growth-season you need at least one gram of protein from a lean protein source, such as white meat chicken or turkey or fish, per pound of bodyweight. You should obtain an additional .25 to .5 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight from carbohydrates. Protein supplies amino acids for growth and are the building blocks for every cell in the body.
Starchy carbohydrates include such foods as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, rice, oatmeal, and other unrefined cereals, beans and legumes. In addition to supplying vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these foods give you energy to train and the ability to recover quickly. Fibrous carbs include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, spinach, salad vegetables, and other high fiber, low calorie vegetables. Besides providing fiber, these foods also supply an abundant amount of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants. During pre-contest dieting, you can adjust your intake of starchy carbs and fibrous carbs to help burn more bodyfat. Next on the list of food “musts” are fats. Each day, take one teaspoon to one tablespoon of unsaturated oil. Safflower, sunflower, linseed, flaxseed or Hain All-Blend are excellent choices. These supply vital nutrients called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) which are involved in many biological functions.
It’s one thing to select the right foods and yet another to know how to properly combine them to build metabolism. Each meal should include one lean protein source, one or two starchy carbs and one or two fibrous carbs. This combination of foods is critical. The protein and fiber slow the digestion of starchy carbohydrates, giving you consistent energy levels throughout the day. You should structure your meals so that you eat five, six or more meals a day, spaced two to three hours apart. By eating multiple meals in this manner you give yourself a constant supply of nutrients so your body can grow and get big. Your meals should total between 2,000 and 10,000 calories or more a day. Your individual requirements will vary, depending on your sex, age, size, level of conditioning, metabolic status and proximity to your next contest. Do not jump in at the highest caloric level, however! You must gradually increase your daily calories. If you plateau and are not making gains, gradually add in between 300 to 500 calories to keep putting on weight. The point is, food is the foundation. There’s no supplement that has ever come close to providing everything you get from food. That’s not to say that you don’t get results from supplements — you do. But you have to start with food first. When you add the right supplements to the proper nutritional foundation, you’ll be bowled over by the progress you can make.
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