Two Helen's Disagree - my 2 trainers conflict - who's right?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 01, 2008 11:23 PM GMT
    I used to have a trainer at a private gym in Corona del Mar, CA. She was a competitive female body builder. My current trainer isn't a body builder but she is ripped, fit and has a degree in exercise physiology. Trouble is, the things that they have told me to do in terms of my cardio / lifting routine conflict with each other. I was hoping someone here could offer up some clarification and sort out the contradictions.

    Trainer 1:
    always work out in the morning on an empty stomach - you don't want needed blood being diverted to the stomach for digestion just before a work out

    Trainer 2:
    never work out on an empty stomach & morning or night doesn't matter - always drink 1/2 a carb shake before work out mixed with a bananna (not necessarily protein - though commercial mixes can't really be separated ) and then the other half of the shake after work out.


    Trainer 1:
    your body will first burn what's in your stomach, then look for energy in fat stores, then move to muscle

    Trainer 2:
    you body will go to the stomach first, but not exclusively, next it will go to lean muscle and then 3rd to fat ( she disagreed with Trainer 1 but was never clear. If the body goes to muscle second, then how do you trick the body into burning fat as opposed to lean muscle instead? If this sequence is true, does anyone know how to do it?)


    Trainer 1: you can't effectively build bulk and reduce fat at the same time with the same routine - for best results, separate the two goals into distinct parts of the year. Work 80% on cardio to burn fat part of the year, with 20% on lifting - then switch to 80% lifting and 20% cardio for the remainder of the year

    Trainer 2: nonsense - you can do both simultaneously (so I again asked for clarification on what you have to do in order to get the body to burn fat instead of muscle. Naturally I don't want to undermine my weight lifting efforts by burning the new lean muscle that I just worked my ass off to get. The answer she gave was vague and muddled. I don't even know how to repeat it.)


    Trainer 1: you can do a short cardio warm up to get blood flowing before weights (5 minutes) but other than that, you should always do cardio AFTER weights

    Trainer 2: it doesn't make any bit of difference, before or after is fine


    Trainer 1: smaller muscle groups (most of the upper body) you should do 10-12 reps 3 cycles, lower body and large muscle groups, 8-10 reps 3 cycles

    Trainer 2: there is no distinction between large or small muscle groups. You should do 12-15 reps for 4 cycles for all muscle groups


    About the only thing they agree on is that "Gym is good",
    Oh, and that 3 exercises per muscle group with a typical mix of one machine and 2 free weight exercises is best.

    My situation is that I'm trying to:
    - lose 10 pounds - 180 to 170
    - get my body fat (caliper based) down from 26 to 15-18
    (seems high - I think she might be trying to sell me the gyms products)
    - add some muscle mass to get more definition, tone & firmness
    (I'm not concerned about massing / bulking in any way disproportionate to my modest frame)
    - improved cardio fitness for endurance - primary sports hiking & tennis

    Can anyone help me sort out the contradictions between my two trainers?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 02, 2008 1:52 AM GMT
    Which one is scarier? Go with her.

    I was reading in men's health that although an empty stomach may burn more at the time, your workout might suck, which will then make you burn less over all. But that is just the first part of your many part question.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 02, 2008 3:48 AM GMT
    To burn fat, you need to approach ketosis. Your growth hormone is highest; you blood sugar is lowest first thing in the morning. Growth hormone also encourages lipid metabolization. Every so often, I hit ketosis (I can check it with Ketostix, from any pharmacy.) and folks tell me when I do I smell like almonds (ketones). Kinda' weird.

    In my own personal experience, interval training with just enough carbs to think straight and about 40grams of protein first thing in the morning seems to melt the fat off of me. Then, I train with weights later in the day, and at day's end, do additional intervals if I'm not feeling lean enough. This year, I was down to around 3.5% (you can see pictures of my legs in my profile). I find that just plain old caffeine makes a world of difference, for me, in this process. I love green tea, too.

    I usually do 20 minutes of intervals, but, sometimes 30. I NEVER do more than 30 minutes of intervals. Endless hours of cardio are stupid, just burn me out so bad. To much cardio will hinder your efforts to add muscle. Doing intervals will actually effect your fast twitch in a positive way, as well as increase your cardiac threshold, which will help your intensity levels in your lifting (perceived levels of exertion).

    I live about 500 feet from an outdoor sports complex (baseball, football, soccer fields, a park and golf courses). I often walk the shoreline off season (saving me 20 minutes to and from the gym). I sometimes run lines (suicides) for interval training here. Approaching 18 weeks out from contest time, I'll do interval starting at level 6 on the stair machine and in peak condition level 12 on the stair machine. I bring my calories UP as I go into a show, to support the added activity and keep my metabolism optimized.

    There's a fine line. I do know that I've done the cardio routine, and the interval routine, with the intervals being vastly more effective in fat loss, my endurance, and preserving muscle.

    If you're 46, HIV+, and holding 26% fat, that's pretty amazing. You should try to be below 21%, if possible. If you aren't already, I'd sure talk to the doc about getting on AAS, which will make you feel better, give you a general sense of well being, markedly change your body composition, help with your endurance, and, of course, preserve your lean muscle mass, and allow you to work out an intensity that will allow you to get lean, as well as protecting you against diseases of aging, and minimizing the effects of the HIV. Your doctor should have no issues putting you on AAS, if you aren't already on them. I'm surprised that you calipered at 26%.

    I typically don't get above about 15% at my fattest.

    Bodybuilding has debunked many of the so-called wisdom about a lot of this stuff. Trainer 1 is probably more in tune with what actually works, while trainer 2 has learned about theory and fat people. Trainer 2 is right about getting leaner and gaining some muscle, but, you have to really have your diet tuned in to pull is off. It can be done, but, for someone 46, and if you aren't on anti-aging / AAS it's going to be very difficult.

    You really have to do your own discovery on this.

    I have one friend who competes at the national level that was doing ZERO carbs Monday to Friday. He has degree in nutrition. He felt like shit, and looked stringy. We finally got him eating some carbs, and he went up a weight class.

    Me....I actually find that I lean out by bringing my calories UP, and doing more activity. Most folks, though, don't have the way to do 18 weeks of three a day workout to be at the level I am.

    I'd try the intervals first thing in the morning. It works with most folks I've met. Keep your blood sugar fairly stable, except post workout, where you want to take advantage of the golden hour (sugar is just fine then) I eat candy post workout to get myself carbed back up. Apple juice, orange juice, creatine with a sugar push, are all things I do PWO, even going into a show. HOWEVER, to get super lean... I eat 22grams of carbs every two hours...complex carbs with no fat: grits.

    I think you should have your fat test re-done. 26% seems high, especially for someone HIV+.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 02, 2008 4:32 AM GMT
    Here is my two cent's worth:

    Point 1 I'm with trainer 2. Your muscles need fuel to operate efficiently. Working out on an empty stomach will give you a sub-par workout. Conversely you shouldn't work out immediately after eating either. Your body is using energy to digest that food. Wait about 1/2 an hour.
    Point 2
    As for your question about fat burning the body is essentially lazy or "efficient" in not having to expend any more energy than it has to. Fat requires more effort to burn, so while you are resting the body burns fat. Once it is no longer efficient to do so (as in workout intensity increase), your body switches to carbs, then proteins. This is where all those "fat burning zones" on the cardio machines come from. The thinking behind this is that if you work out at a lower intensity, you will burn a higher percentage of fat. The reality is that technically this is true, but if you work out at a higher intensity you will burn more total calories, but a smaller percentage of fat from a larger pie.
    EG: you work out in fat burning zone and burn 100 calories with 10% from fat. This means you burned 10 fat calories. If you work out at a higher intensity and burned 300 calories, but only 5% from fat you still burned 15 fat calories. In its simplest form, that's how fat burning works.

    Point 3
    Increased muscle mass means higher metabolism, means increased fat burning. So yes you can simultaneously build muscle and burn weight. The trick to keeping your hard-earned muscle is keep the body sufficiently fueled so that it doesn't resort to burning muscle. You need the proper nutrition but also you need to make sure that you don't over train either.

    Point 4
    I agree more with trainer 1. Yes, you can do cardio before your workouts, but you are burning energy (see above) that in my opinion is better used for muscular development. The other alternative is to do cardio on another day altogether. The important thing is that you do some cardio.

    Point 5
    The smaller muscle groups fatigue faster than the larger ones, but they assist the larger muscle groups. If you train the smaller ones first, the larger muscle groups won't get as a good a workout. That would be the major distiction between the two. Higher reps are more for endurance, lower reps are for building strength and size. I am more with trainer one on that one too. Increasing muscle mass will net you increased fat burning.

    Always make sure that you check your bodyfat percentage before working out and about 2 hours after eating. Try to be consistent with times you check it too.
    Your muscles adapt to exercises so the recommendation for variety in changing up your exercises is sound.

    Chuckystud or PSBIGJOEY can chime in with more detail I'm sure.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 02, 2008 4:41 AM GMT
    Is it cold in OFK? :-)

    Yep. It depends on your priorities and what works for each person.

    Some folks swear by one way, others by another.

    This is really one of those trial and error things.

    I have one trainer (Sagi Kalev) who has me cycle my carbs. This year, I trained with Jesse Leyva did my own diet, and did not cycle my carbs, and got shredded to the bone, but, I also did intervals instead of cardio.

    You just have to find what works for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2008 5:12 PM GMT
    I know that if I work out on an empty stomach I always want to leave the gym prematurely because I can't do anything and feel wiped out. I usually just eat a banana or two and it works fine- a banana is not that hard to digest. A banana will make you insulin go up somewhat though so isn't conducive to fat burning. I'd see how you do on some light yogurt.

    frankly I think you should put them both in a big jar, shake it, then see who emerges victorious and go with their advice
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2008 7:15 PM GMT
    Thanks everybody for your feedback... helps a lot.