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Common Training Questions – Answered!

As an athlete and national level figure competitor, I am often approached by people at the gym with various questions pertaining to training and nutrition. Here are some of the common questions people have about training and nutrition:

Question:

Is it important to take a day off from training and cardio?

Answer:

Absolutely!!! The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts – not when you’re actually training – and continuous training can actually weaken even the strongest of athletes. Rest days are also critical to sports performance. Recuperation is necessary so that muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. In the end, not enough rest can lead to overtraining, which can be a difficult condition to overcome.


Question:

Does one benefit from taking branched chain amino acids?

Answer:

The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Besides boosting your energy levels by being used as a direct fuel source for muscle fibers, BCAAs also enhance energy by reducing the amount of tryptophan (an amino acid that causes drowsiness) that gets into the brain. BCAAs also help to boost brain function by reducing fatigue. In addition, they have the ability to enhance muscle growth and strength. They do this by directly stimulating muscle protein synthesis, which is a buildup of muscle protein. BCAAs also alter levels of anabolic and catabolic hormones, and help keep cortisol levels from rising. The lesson here, take your BCAAs!


Question:

Should I do cardio on leg days?

Answer:

Actually, it’s not a bad idea. For starters, I believe that you cannot do cardio the day before you train legs with weights. Your leg muscles and glycogen stories need to be replenished after hard cardio. You cannot expect a good performance in the gym if you go all out on cardio 12-24 hours earlier. Also, you must decrease the cardio intensity in the days following a leg workout. Delayed onset muscle soreness is at its worst in the 48 hours following a hard training session. So after you destroy your legs on leg day, the two days following your leg day you can introduce slow, relaxed cardio. All that said, however, my best advice is after an intense leg workout, your legs are already trashed – so step onto the stair stepper or stairmill right after your leg routine. You might as well get the most possible gains out of the day’s workout by torching them even more at that given time.


Question:

How many meals should I eat on a given day? And how often?

Answer:

Severely cutting your calorie intake is not the key to permanent weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Instead, you should be eating 5-6 small meals a day for maximum weight loss. Men should try to take in 6 meals, while women should aim for 5. Eating 5-6 meals daily will boost your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories all day long. In fact, by eating super clean, high protein foods at each of your meals, you will find that your metabolism goes into overdrive, becoming extremely efficient at burning off calories. So don’t be afraid to eat that many times per day. Space your meals every 2 to 2-1/2 hours apart and your body will thank you!