Q&A: July 2022

by on July 21, 2022

Just had a super quick question about pump day;. Do you still do intra workout carbs and EAA? Do you reduce those amounts from normal training days? Thanks so much for your time.

Cris Edmonds
Ok, so this is a great question and I handle this two different ways. 9x out of 10 if you are doing a pump workout for a bodypart, its bc it is weak and needs to grow. So I would never pull carbs back here. I tend to always leave it the same or even increase carbs based on the level of volume and if we are using insulin on this training day.

On the other, if you are someone who tends to gain bodyfat fast, I may pull the carbs back a touch, but will leave EAA the same. So let’s say on a normal training day you are having 2 scoops Recovery, I would pull that back to 1 or 1.5 scoops based on how long soreness is there for you.

I tend to leave peri-workout loaded with carbs, but will reduce food outside of that window if I need to pull back on cals for a client on pump days.

Just wondering your opinions on straight sets vs. pyramiding. For example, I don’t like to pyramid on arms just warm up and stick to weight for 3-4 sets and I get a good pump but for my chest, I feel the pyramid technique works better.

Cris EdmondsI tend to love pyramiding sets on the first exercise of a muscle group, then on the following exercises use feeder sets to get to my top end load of my work sets.

This just feels so amazing (I connect to the bodypart, get a pump, lube up the joints and get my mind right for the work ahead) to me pyramiding up on exercise #1, then the next 3-4 exercises I don’t need to waste energy with pyramiding up.

Do you feel glutamine has any real benefit?

from John Meadows
The benefits are probably overbilled. There is some evidence that it will help with glycogen resynthesis and cell volumization. For glycogen resynthesis the data I have seen recommends 8 grams post exercise. Something else worth mentioning is that it’s Glmate that can help with gut mucosa.

Cris Edmonds
When I started bodybuilding (early 2000s) this was touted as an absolute recovery machine. Sadly, so many still view it this way today.

But as John taught me, EAA and cluster dextrin will do more for reducing soreness and recovery than 100g glutamine would.

I personally love to give my clients glutamine fresh out of bed at 10g to help restore gut health. You will be shocked by how well this works if you are consistent.

Here is a video on my entire morning concoction if you all are interested:

I have two questions:
I want to know what is the best time to eat carbs during day I don’t do weigh training ? I used to skip it completely, do you think there is benefits to skip it and to eat only, protein, healthy fats and veggies?

I know that when your goal is to lose weight, you have to keep your blood sugars low and stable, I was wondering, when I do cardio or play basketball, I want some performance, but I always keep in mind that I want to drop my bodyfat. So, when should I eat carbs in these terms?

from John Meadows
I would probably forego carbs in meal 1, but I don’t really think it matters that much to be honest. Eat them whenever you feel like eating them. I would eat less carbs and more fat on off days though generally speaking. There is nothing wrong with eating carbs to support performance. I prefer people eat 60% all the way up to 80% of their carbs around workouts. So construct your plan in this way.

Cris Edmonds
If you look at any of the diets I post of my clients or me personally, you will find carbs in almost all plans, especially heavy on training days. To me, carbs are vital around your workouts to boost performance, get pumps and to feel amazing. So many want to pull out all carbs to “lose fat faster,” but their workouts turn to complete garbage. I have always found if you, at minimum, have 50g before, 20g during and 50g after you will be shocked at how well the body does with this approach.

Carbs are not the enemy. I challenge you to add them in, put the food to good use when training and then the rest of your day can be protein, fats and veg.
On your off days from training, do not be afraid to go zero carb there, but keep protein high and fats at least moderate.

I know you don’t advocate flax seed oil, but what about actual ground or milled flax seeds? I make a home brew peanut butter with 2 cups of walnuts, 1 cup of organic milled flax seeds. I throw in 75 grams of Organic coconut oil to lubricate it some, and 2 tbsp. of grass-fed butter. It tastes amazing! So, if flax seeds are a no no, I will just keep it all walnuts.

Andrew Berry
I think the controversy might be where people use flaxseed exclusively for their omega 3’s. I think flax is great, but I like include another source of omega 3’s that will more readily convert to DHA. Some people naturally have a low conversion rate so it’s important to include a variety of Omega 3 sources. Fish oil in particular is good. Also, remember that as we age, the body’s ability to covert to DHA gets decreases which is also worsened when there are nutritional deficiencies in minerals and vitamins (involved as co-factors in the conversion process). So, have your flax but also include other sources of Omega 3’s.

I’ve been pursuing my Nutrition Science Degree with a minor in Sports Science (my school doesn’t offer a major in exercise science, but the classes will carry over for an exercise science degree + like 2 more classes later on) like you told me to. Now even though I would like a career in the fitness industry I’m wondering what’s out there and what kind of careers you recommend for the Nutrition Science degrees. I’ve looked at Strength and Conditioning Coaching so far but that’s more of an Exercise Science job. What jobs should I be looking at from this degree? Thank you.

Andrew Berry
We tackled this question in the Team Talk this month but let me continue my thoughts on the question. I was in the same exact situation with a Nutrition Science degree to go along with a Dietetics degree. Most of the people in that situation go on to do a dietetic internship to get their Registered Dietician (RD) certificate. This was never an interest of mine because most of these career paths delt with treating illness and disease. I wanted to do more in the human performance arena aka help people build muscle, lose fat and get faster. I went into personal training and did the NSCA Strength and Conditioning certificate to go along with an ISSA personal training certification. This served me well as I was able to work with athletes of all ages in the gym but also write nutrition and supplement plans to help them really get results.

Now, I chose this path because I like to be the master of my own destiny. I can work as hard as I want to further my career and knowledge. At the end of the day, people can have all the certifications and credentials in the world, but can they put it to work and get results. That’s the question. And to be able to do that, you need to have a good deal of experience yourself. Nothing beats experience. I don’t care what professors and experts have to say about it. If you haven’t been sub 4% bodyfat yourself, there’s no way you can tell someone else what to expect in that same state, let alone get them there.

Anyway, coaching was the right platform for me as I gained the experience. I put the years of training, competing, learning in the classroom, learning outside of the classroom and carved out a niche for myself. If you are a go getter, I think with your education background you will be able to do the same. You might need to spend some time in a career path that isn’t all that inspiring to you but as you do this, never stop thinking and imagining what the ideal job is that you want. Like many industries, fitness has a million and one jobs and I’m sure you can carve out your own niche.

I recently watched a video where Layne Norton said many people, body builders especially, over train the nervous system and under train the muscular system. I was curious as to what your thoughts on that were. Also, I’ve been told power lifting style training has a place in bodybuilding due to the potential to recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers and their potential for growth. I know explosive training recruits these fibers. But what’s your opinion on entire powerlifting days mixed into a bodybuilding routine?

Andrew Berry
So, this is an ongoing debate I have with a lot of friends and coaches. Is it that people are overtraining or are they under-recovering? What I mean is this…
Are they getting adequate sleep?
Are they under eating, particularly in the peri workout window?
Are they structuring their training to allow the trained tissues to be recovered by the time they hit it again?
Are they not doing recovery modalities like cryo, foam rolling, stretching etc. etc.?

So, is it really a matter of over training or is it that they are not taking the recovery aspect of bodybuilding seriously?

Now in terms of over taxing the nervous system, yes this can happen. We can get stuck in fight or flight, but I see this in women more so than men. Usually, re-structuring training and pointing out the above recovery variables takes care of this. If needed, a de-load and rest can be added.

With the powerlifting, it definitely has a place in bodybuilding, especially early on when a lot of your newbie gains come from getting stronger in basic movements. Actually, the majority of your new strength comes from the nervous system- the connection of the brain to the exercising tissue vs muscular strength alone. We need to remember though that powerlifting is basically training the lift and not the muscle while bodybuilding is the opposite. To get maximum muscle development, one needs to train to recruit most fibers possible, not just get a bar or set of handles from point a to point b.

Here’s a great example…someone might have a great low bar squat and still have crappy quads. Why? They have placed the load so as to target the glutes, upper hips and hams more than the quads. They might have to lower the weight and do some serious recalibration on the exercise to target the quads.

I’ve been riddled with injuries over the past year years with my elbows with ulnar nerve issues which has caused me to take time out. What would you say is the best way to train injury free to put size on? I was thinking maybe German volume or the ramped sets you mentioned, thinking this may be the best approach. I would increase weight until hit near failure and then hit 3 working sets all with perfect form 3:1:3

Also, my triceps are now lagging due to my elbow problems-is there any exercise you could recommend me that’s not going to bash up my elbows/give me tendinitis?

Andrew Berry
First of all, I would look into a good PT that understands training. I have been lucky to find one that uses all sorts of modalities to fix issues. Next, I would consider your exercise sequence. Often times re-ordering exercises will allow us to train pain free. An example is skull crushers. Everyone used to like to do them first for triceps, but they also would get tendinitis very easily. Try doing some press down movements first and save the skull crushers for last and see if this helps. Additionally, look at wrist positioning. Using the skull crusher example again, most people do them with an EZ curl bar. Try using DB’s or KB’s instead. Just a slight variation that allows more wrist mobility might be the key here. Lastly, look at experimenting with all the variables. Try a lower volume approach for a while for the arms and see how your elbow feels. Remember that the elbow is getting stimulus from arm work, back work and push/upper work as well. That’s a lot of friction. Next, you can look at rep ranges. I treat arms as a pump muscle. I am not trying to actively get stronger in any lift for the arms and tend to keep rep ranges in the 12-20. I think looking at a number of variables will be the key here.

Is Casein Hydrolysate the fastest absorbing protein? I am in my training for lifetime and the teacher claimed that whey hydrolysate is. I just wanted to clear up the confusion.

Andrew Berry
It depends on the percent of the product that is hydrolyzed. An 80% hydrolyzed whey will be faster absorbing than a 50% casein product. If both are the same percentage, than casein will be the fastest.

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