Fats for fuel

It seems like there is an endless list of weight loss supplements on the market, each promising high energy and fat loss in a quick and easy solution. I often get asked when prepping what I use for my “cutting phase”. While diet and cardio are honestly your essentials, and there’s really no way around that, there are always a few things we can supplement to help. One supplement I like to use when dieting,based on available and reliable research is carnitine. Carnitine is synthesized naturally from the amino acids lysine and methionine. It is required for the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria and the mitochondrial matrix (energy centre of the cell for those non science geeks), during the breakdown of fats for energy. Carnitine has been found to improve high intensity work capacity, increase athletic performance, aid in recovery time, and improve brain function. All essential when diet if, especially with the dreaded foggy prep brain, often brought on by low carb diets. It’s also essential in the prevention of oxidative stress, which can lead to long term health problems, like inflammation, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Again, another huge benefit of carnitine, due to the inflammation that comes with excessive cardio. So, on top of preventing excessive bodily stress, how can carnitine help you burn fat? By raising levels of muscle carnitine you support the fat burning process, and as your body becomes more efficient at fat burning, your energy levels should rise proportionately. This is also beneficial because with elevated carnitine levels you spare glycogen, important for looking full and recovery, as well as clearing lactate, responsible for that day after soreness, and optimizing hormone balance. When taking carnitine it’s also important to supplement with omegas, such as fish oil, not only is the important for cell health, but they increase metabolic rate by increasing cell activity. Carnitine, as mentioned earlier shuttles fat into the cell, therefore facilitating this process, and preventing the fat from being deposited elsewhere. Combining omegas and carnitine has also been shown to lower lipid levels in blood, result in higher cellular energy production which can also support fat loss, as energy needs fuel. Again, I’d like to emphasize that just taking any supplement without putting it work is not going to help, in order to mobilize lips and create energy demand, work such as HIIT is still required, but you can get the most out of your time of the stepper with just a little extra aid.

Your fitbetch,
JP xoxo

Patience and pain

One morning I was lamenting of how incredibly and painfully sore I was, one of my coworkers looked at me and responded with “you still get sore”?! To which I responded, of course, always and forever. This baffled her. Just because I’ve been working out for years does not mean I’m immune to muscle soreness. If you’re constantly challenging yourself, upping weights, playing with tempo, and just essentially changing up anything you do, you should be getting sore, soreness is an indicator of muscle tissue damage, it is the product of lactic acid build up. For anyone looking to build or shape your body, given you’re resting and eating properly, this is a good thing. I’m sure I’ve touched on this before, though honestly I often can’t recall what I’ve blogged versus my everyday rants. Personally, at 4 weeks out right now I’m trying to “bring in” my legs. I’ve always been of the thick thigh persuasion, and my my legs are both solid and substantial, it’s really hard for me to get them to tighten up to the point where there are visible cuts and striations. I have your normal tear drop, quad hamstring line, tie in, and what I like to call my side butt indent, but damn I’d love to see my quads separate more. So, back to the topic at hand, when presented with this challenge I was preparing myself for a whole new world of sore. At this point I’m no longer looking to out on size in my legs but signal for them to buuuuuuuurn like hell fire, we’re talking serious volume, and while I’ve been working with a combination of heavy, volume and posterior chain days, it was time to kick it up once more. The days of heavy struggle have been put aside for the dreaded playo, running stairs, steady state cardio and sets with unimaginable high numbers, we’re taking 80-100 leg extensions, puke (quite literally). Even I have fallen into the trap that you need to lift heavy weight to be sore, but I can promise you, just my upping my volume, trying some new moves like sissy squats, and drop setting like no tomorrow, I can say that I woke up annihilated. Much like the debated of compound weighs vs cables for size versus shaping, that’s another day friends, right now my focus has shifted from size to shape. It much like a sculpture or a painting (not comparing myself personally to set here). You start with a large peace of rock or granite, or big brush strokes, and as your progress you add the subtle finishes and minute details that make it beautiful and unique. This is once of the most beautiful aspects of the sport of bodybuilding that others often fail to notice. Prepping is about more than just dieting down, you also have to change how you workout to create symmetry, shape, definition, and those beautiful fine lines. This is what judges look for and make an individual stand out. We obviously aren’t all blessed with the same genetics, so for me, my upper body comes in incredibly hard and quickly while my legs are a stark contrast. As we develop as do our physiques as well, so from prep to prep our challenges change. But there is beauty in this adversity, and apparently a whole lotta pain. So here’s to 4 weeks of walking like a duck, trying to graceful run stairs, patience and pain.

Your fitbetch,
JP xox