Hunter Labrada’s Definitive Guide To Training For Fat Loss

It's time to get serious about training for fat loss. No more guessing! Here's your efficient, effective program for getting the results you've always wanted.

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

You are what you can recover from!

The number 1 strategy you can implement into your training immediately to increase your capacity to recover, and thus train harder, more frequently.


The nuts and bolts of what you need to know…

  • Training is the catalyst to which results stem from – without training, there are no results

  • Your progress is limited by your ability to recover from your training – if you can’t recover from the workload you’ve subjected your body to, progress will be suboptimal at best

  • Recovery starts BEFORE you train – not during, or after, so it’s in your best interest to get a head start on things before you bust your ass in the gym

If training is the catalyst to which are results stem from, then recovery is essentially the key to unlocking our potential for maximal results. Unfortunately, many people fail to make this connection, and when results begin to stagnate (AKA plateau), these same people, paradoxically, will increase their workload in an attempt to break new ground in terms of results. What they fail to realize is that, if the body is not able to recover from the work that you’re doing, which is what caused the plateau in the first place, how does it make sense to subject the body to perform more work? Doing more of what caused the problem does not fix the problem! It only digs the hole you’ve gotten yourself into, even deeper.

Since our progress is dependent on our ability to recover from our training, it only makes sense that our focus should be on taking the appropriate measures to ensure our body has everything it needs to recover from the work that we do, and this should take place far before the workout begins. While there are a seemingly endless supply of recovery strategies out there, I’d like to shine light on one that has worked tremendously for me over the past few months, and it has to do with what are called “highly branched cyclic dextrins.”

gym training

Highly Branched Cyclic What?

John Meadows, who I deeply admire and respect, has talked a lot about the usage of a certain type of carb, taken intra-workout, which he claims has solely increased his capacity to train hard, and heavy, at a high frequency. This type of carb is labelled – “highly branched cyclic dextrins.”

John Meadows talking about the use of intra workout carbs to facilitate recover.

The next 6 paragraphs (including this one) is my current understanding, based on the work of Bill Willis (PhD), explaining the reason why anyone would want to include carbs before, and during their workout – which is because they deliver a (rapid in some cases) steady state of blood sugar to your hard working muscles, along with harnessing the power of the most anabolic hormone, insulin. This optimizes your capacity to perform at your best, while maximizing protein synthesis and at the same time minimize protein degradation – a double whammy muscle building effect. Generally quick digesting proteins, and carbs like dextrose are used to promote this effect, as complex carbs need to be broken down into glucose first before they are absorbed, whereas glucose is absorbed rapidly.

There is just one defect with using simple carbs to accomplish this however, and it has to do with what are called “osmoreceptors,” which are located in the small intestine and sense the density of nutrients, or rather the concentration of stomach contents (AKA “osmolarity”), as they exit the stomach. The information gathered by the osmoreceptors then relays the information to the brain which then triggers a cascade of hormonal events the control the rate of gastric emptying. The higher the osmolarity, the more delayed the emptying process is.

Osmolarity is the measure of the concentration of a solution, and in this case the solute would be the carbs themselves, while the solvent would be the water you’re using to dissolve them in a shake. Upon consumption, the stomach senses the concentration of the contents and regulates how quickly they are allowed to pass (gastric emptying) into the small intestine.

Here’s the reason why dextrose and simple sugars are a no-go in your workout ritual.
Click To Tweet

The problem with dextrose and simple sugars is that even though they’re absorbed rapidly in the small intestine, they have a very high osmolarity (unless they are very dilute), which delays gastric emptying into the small intestine where they are absorbed. Therefore, these types of carbs are ill-suited before, and during the workout, as carb and protein (if included in a shake at the same time) delivery is delayed – which is not optimal for getting amino acids delivered to the muscles in a timely manner.

A lot of people think, and with good reason, that carbs like dextrose, which have a high GI (glycemic index) rating are exempt to this delayed gastric emptying, but that’s not the case. What happens is glucose gets stuck in the stomach, which delays its rate of absorption in the small intestine, but once it gains entry it is rapidly released into the blood. Glucose in this case is akin to the rabbit in the old fable about the tortoise and the hare, in that glucose behaves like the hare – taking his sweet time getting started, before sprinting across the finish line. So even though absorption is delayed, once glucose enters the small intestine it is rapidly released into the blood, and blood sugar levels are not sustainable with massive surges of sugar entering the bloodstream. This results in a large insulin response which only decreases the blood sugar, usually to the point of hypoglycemia due to the overwhelming insulin response. Not only is gastric emptying delayed, protein absorption is as well, and even stomach cramps are a side-effect if ample quantities are consumed.

Ideally, large amount of carbs would be released into the small intestine for rapid absorption into the bloodstream, but not so fast that a huge surge of insulin is released to counter this, so that blood sugar levels can be sustained, and not reach such high peaks and valleys. Fortunately, there is a kind of carb that provides these very specific benefits, and it comes by way of high molecular weight glucose polymers – which are glucose molecules linked together. This lowers their osmolarity, which allows them to be emptied from the stomach at a much faster rate. However, because high molecular starches are relatively large, digestive enzymes in the small intestine are needed to hydrolyze them into free glucose before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Basically the increased branching controls the access of the intermolecular glucose linkages to digestive enzymes, extending the absorption time in the small intestine. The end result is an ideal carb source which passes through the stomach rapidly, providing a quick and sustained release of glucose into the blood. This desired effect has lead to the development of highly branched cyclic dextrins, which are ideal during the workout for maximizing performance by way of increasing your fatigue threshold.

Long Story, Short

To recap, you are what you can recover from, and recovery starts before you train. In fact, recovery is 24/7, as your results don’t take days off – the body is always preparing for what’s next based on current/recent demands.

In terms of dosage, this should also be based on what you’re doing as squats, and deadlifts, are more demanding than wrist curls, and calf raises. Therefore, on lower body days I include 80 grams in my pre-/intra-/post-workout shakes (note: this is one shake, not 3 separate shakes with 80 grams each time), 50 grams when performing upper body compound lifts (chest or back days), and 30 grams when performing upper body isolation lifts (arm and shoulder days). If I take too much, I get bloated, so it’s important to adjust the quantity based on the demand of the work being performed so that the body actually requires the fuel.

This stuff is fairly cheap, as it is just over 12 bucks where I get it from, which can be found here (link below)

This stuff has enabled me to recover faster between sets, perform more sets per workout, and recover faster between workouts, and based on many of the reviews out there, I’d expect it to do the same for you!

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

It Doesn’t Have to be an Exhaustive Workout – Increasing Physical Activity Just as Effective as Strength, Endurance or Combined Exercise to Lose Fat and Build Muscle

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using the bike instead of the car and other means to increase your regular daily physical activity are just as effective as three workouts per week for you or overweight clients who cut their energy intake to lose body weight.

What’s the reasons your clients’ and friends’ exercise efforts fail? They are too ambitious. The all-or-nothing approach combined with the expectation that the belly they’ve build over decades will fade away in weeks is a combination that programs them to fail.

Against that background, the results of a recent study from the Technical University of Madrid are extremely important. After all, the scientists were able to show that a mere increase in daily physical activity is as effective in boosting obese subjects weight loss efforts as “serious” exercise. The aim of the study was simple: To compare the effects of different physical activity programs, in combination with a hypocaloric diet, on anthropometric variables and body composition in obese subjects.

Don’t worry about skipping fasting when your’re dieting!

Breakfast and Circadian Rhythm

Does Meal Timing Matter?

Habits Determine Effects of Fasting

Breaking the Fast & the Brain

Does the Break- Fast-Myth Break?

Breakfast? (Un?) Biased Review

To this ends, the researchers recruited ninety-six (!) obese (men=48; women =48; age range 18-5
years) participants, who took part in a supervised 22 week program. The subjects were randomized into four groups (the details are described further below):

  • strength training (S, n=24),
  • endurance training (E, n=26),
  • combined strength + endurance training (SE, n=24), and as previously hinted at
  • physical activity recommendations (C, n=22).

In addition, all groups had to followed the same hypocaloric diet for 22 weeks. The diets contained between 5 028 and 12 570 kJ (1,201.72-3,229kcal | that’s a deficit of -32% / -41% / -32% / -35% for the S, E, SE and C groups compared to their previous intakes, which were obviously too high to keep weight stable) and were prescribed individually for all participants by “expert dieticians” at the Department of Nutrition, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid.

“The diet was designed to provide 30% less energy than the baseline total daily energy expenditure (DEE), as measured using a SenseWear Pro Armband accelerometer (Body Media, USA). Some 29-34% of energy came from fat, and 50- 55% from carbohydrates, according to the recommendations of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC, according to its Spanish initials, and 20% from protein (beyond that outlined in the above recommendations) in order to achieve the body composition benefits observed in different studies and examined in a recent meta-analysis” (Benito. 2015).

Dietary counselling was given at baseline and at 12 weeks to resolve questions and to motivate participants sufficiently to comply with dietary advice. All subjects were instructed on how to record their dietary intake using a daily log, and given recommended portion sizes and information on possible food swaps. In addition, nutrition education sessions were given by the dieticians. The goal was to equip the participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve gradual but permanent behaviour changes.

Speaking of behavioral changes,…

While diet was one pillar of the weight loss success of the study participants, exercise was another. You already know that there were three groups. What you don’t know, though is what exactly the subjects who had been randomly assigned to the previously listed groups actually did (I quote from th paper by Benito et al., 2015):

  • The exercise groups (training 3x per week): The S group followed a circuit involving eight exercises: the shoulder press, squats, the barbell row, the lateral split, bench press, front split and biceps curl, and the French press for triceps. Running, cycling or elliptical (self-selected) exercises were the main components of the session for group E, while group SE followed a combination of cycle ergometry, treadmill or elliptical exercises intercalated with squats, rowing machine, bench presses and front split exercises (15 lifts per set or 45 s for the SE endurance phase).

    The exercise training programs were designed taking into account each subject’s muscular strength (MS) and heart rate reserve (HRR). MS was measured in the strength program subjects (S, SE) using the 15-repetition maximum (15 RM) testing method every other day during the week before the intervention period. The volume and intensity of the three training programs were equal and increased progressively during the study. In weeks 2-5, exercise was at an intensity of 50% of the 15RM and HRR, and lasted an overall 51 min and 15 s. In weeks 6-14, exercise was performed at an intensity of 60% of 15RM and HRR, again with a duration of 51 min and 15 s. Finally, in weeks 15-22, exercise was performed at an intensity of 60% of 15RM and RR, with a duration of 60 min. 

All groups gained the same amount of lean mass! I find it quite remarkable that all groups gained 5% lean mass – even the endurance and the “control” group which did no prescribed exercise at all, but simply took the stairs and were only “made aware” of the rest of the activity recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
  • The get active in your everyday lives group: The C subjects followed the hospital’s habitual clinical practice for achieving weight loss: dietary intervention – the same as followed by the exercise training groups -plus being made aware of the general recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) regarding physical activity.

    Thus, the C subjects were advised to undertake at least 200-300 min of moderate-intensity physical activity per week (30–60 min on most, if not all, days of the week). The C subjects were also advised to reduce their sedentary behaviour (e.g., watching television or using the computer) and increase daily activities such as brisk walking or cycling instead of using a car, or climbing stairs instead of using the lift etc.

At baseline and at end of the intervention, dietetic and physical activity variables were assessed using validated questionnaires. Anthropometric variables were recorded along with body composition
variables measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry techniques.

Figure 1: Relative changes in weight, waist and total body fat over the 22-week study period (Benito. 2015).

As the data in Figure 1 indicates, there were significant improvements in all groups: All subjects lost ~9-10kg body mass (S: -9.21±0.83 kg; E: -10.55±0.80 kg; SE: -9.88±0.85 kg; C: -8.69±0.89 kg) and reduced thir total fat mass by ~5kg (S: -5.24±0.55%; E: -5.35±0.55%; SE: -4.85±0.56%; C: -4.89±0.59%). In view of the research question, this is a very important result. After all, the scientists were not able to detect a significant inter-group-difference between the four study groups.

The lack of inter-group differences in body composition is probably a direct consequence of the fact that the total physical activity per week during the intervention increased similarly, but not identically in all groups (S: 976±367 MET-min/week; E: 954±355 MET-min/week; SE: 1 329±345 MET-min/week; C: 763±410 MET-min/week). in view of the lack of statistical difference between th exercise groups which got – on average – more exercise than the control group, it is thus not surprising that the 22-week changes in body composition did not differ, either.

Figure 2. The macronutrient intake (in g/day) in both groups was virtually identical (Benito. 2015).

Overall, the study at hand does thus – just as the scientists say – “shows that, when combined with a hypocaloric diet, exercise training and the following of physical activity recommendations are equally effective at reducing body weight and modifying body composition in the treatment of obesity” (Benito. 2015).

This may be because we are (a) dealing with an increase from basically zero in many obese indiviuals (the relative increase is thus exorbitant) and is may (b) be a consequence of the “higher frequency” of physical activity you can achieve with moving more everyday vs. sitting around for 4 days and working out “like a maniac” (compared to your regular activity level) on 3 days | Comment on Facebook!


  • Benito, Pedro J., et al. “Change in weight and body composition in obese subjects following a hypocaloric diet plus different training programs or physical activity recommendations.” Journal of Applied Physiology (2015): jap-00928.

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

Exercise Guides: Weighted Suitcase Crunch, Male

8X-024 Weighted Suitcase Crunch (M) FINAL v2

Tags: Exercise Database
Date: 2015-01-23

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

Exercise Guides: Clam, Female

8X-025 Clam (F) FINAL v2

Tags: Exercise Database
Date: 2015-01-23

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

Exercise Guides: Clam, Male

8X-025 Clam (M) FINAL v2

Tags: Exercise Database
Date: 2015-01-23

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles

Exercise Guides: Neck Bridge Supine, Male

8X-027 Neck Bridge Supine (M) Final

Tags: Exercise Database
Date: 2015-01-23

from bodybuilding1

Leave a comment

Filed under Build Muscles