After completing my last competition in February, I weighed a whopping 89.1 kg. I was more than happy with the lifts, which consisted of 3 British records and more importantly 3 personal bests on the squat, bench press and total. It took me a step closer to the big 900kg total that I have been chasing for the last 3-4 years.
One problem – I lift in the 83kg class! I was 6.1kg overweight. The strongest I have ever been, but fatter.
The EPF European championship is being held on May 9 in Pilsen, Czech Republic. As the reigning champion at 83kg I need to make sure I am in the best shape of my life to have a chance of retaining my position. To achieve the goal I need to get my body fat lower and retain the muscle mass that I have currently. This led me to researching methods to make that happen. What I found was nutrient timing. Nutrient timing is a fairly new concept on the timing of specific nutrients during and post training to maximize muscle anabolism and increase fat oxidation.
By taking in a carbohydrate and protein drink during the training session a number of things happen:
- Glycogen stores are replenished throughout the workout minimizing glycogen depletion within the working muscles thus increasing endurance by up to 57% compared to water alone.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) circulate in the blood stream making the process of exercise more anabolic and less catabolic by minimizing muscle damage. The most important of which is leucine, which on its own causes protein synthesis.
- Limits immune system suppression which is a cause for concern with high volume training programs
- Blunts the negative effect of cortisol (the catabolic hormone) which again becomes an issue in training sessions that last longer than 45 minutes. This effect has been shown to be 80% better than water at blunting cortisol.
- Primes your body for the upcoming insulin spike post training.
Immediately post training the body is in a predominantly catabolic state. It is key that anabolism (muscle building) gets promoted during this time. Post training the body is incredibly sensitive to insulin; carbohydrate is the key nutrient in having the anabolic insulin spike. There is a 45 minute rule to adhere to though. Wait any longer and the desired of effect will be diminished. Again the key is a carbohydrate and protein drink:
- Sharp increase in insulin, one of the most anabolic hormones in the human body. Insulin basically shuttles nutrients to the worked muscles and the more insulin present the greater the effect.
- Twice as much glycogen stored in the working muscles than if carbohydrate is taken 2 hours post training.
- Protein synthesis from free amino acids 25% greater than when protein is taken 2 hour post exercise.
- Net protein balance (rate of protein synthesis minus protein degradation) 50% greater than consuming the same beverage 3 hours later.
- Enzymes involved in fat oxidation increase activity by 70%.
As you can see from the above, by using a carbohydrate and protein drink during and post training I can simultaneously increase muscle mass and decrease stored body fat. In most popular literature this is considered to be something of a myth, the ability to gain muscle but decrease body fat at the same time. But by using this method you can manipulate the body to do just that.
Kinetica provide a supplement which luckily achieves all of these requirements. Recovery contains high quality carbohydrates and proteins. Depending on the type of session I complete depends on the amount of the supplement I consume. On a heavy day I will limit the amount to 1 scoop per 500ml during and post training due to the small amount of volume completed. On my accessory days I will consume 2 scoops during and post training as the volume may be up to 5 times that of a heavy training day.
The second concept I looked into was my training regime. The amount of training that is required to get to the level I am on at present consists of a fair amount of volume and frequency, but my body fat has also been creeping up. My only solution is to add more training to increase my metabolic rate. The training schedule I had prescribed for myself consisted of 5 days of training with a day off after the first two training sessions and another day off after the next three. I needed to begin training on those two “off” days to increase my metabolic rate. I couldn’t add any more weight training sessions so I had to look at other methods of training. The aim of which was to increase my metabolic rate, but not have a lasting residual fatigue that would hinder the weight training sessions that would follow. With that in mind I started looking at high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a method of interval training at 90% of a person’s V02 Max; a session would consist of 6-10 x 30-60s sprints on a bike/cross trainer/rowing machine/treadmill with the equivalent rest time between sprints.
Quite hard especially for a Power lifter!
The benefits of HIIT are listed below:
- Increase in resting metabolic rate
- Increase in fat oxidation
- Increase in insulin sensitivity
All of these things were exactly what I was after and upon completing the sessions I found the following day that my legs were not sore or heavy, but almost felt fresh and ready for the training that day. I was concerned about residual fatigue, but I actually feel better for completing the HIIT sessions. It is fairly anecdotal, but I believe that HIIT offers a form of active recovery that is an added bonus when lifting weights 5 times per week.
As I write this blog I am currently down to 87.5kg after 3 weeks of training the aim is to lose 0.5kg per week so I am on task to make the European Championships at 83kg leaner and stronger than ever.
I hope a 900kg total is on the cards, I believe by following this protocol I can achieve my goals.
European Power Lifting Champion