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That's "Doctor Vendetta" to you
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This is the FAQ / sticky thread for any fitness and health questions you have.

I will add any knowledge I have as well as any helpful hints I have come across over the years.
I will continually add new information or update this thread to add new research or methods.
The same rules of the Bone Closet apply to this thread, no flaming, no useless comments, and act mature.

PLEASE read this entire thread before starting another thread on fitness, your question may well be answered already somewhere in this thread.


Can I spot reduce fat?
No, you cannot spot target adipose tissue. This means that you cannot do 1,000 crunches a night and expect your gut to go away. You cannot do 1000 squats and expect your leg fat to disappear. YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT. Your body chooses to lose fat from predetermined locations, determined by your genetic code.

When your body loses your fat from your stomach (or anywhere else) is up to your body. Only through healthy eating and effective training will you lose fat—and where it comes from is decided by your body.

Where can I go to have my workout plan or diet plan critiqued?
Post it in the forum with a descriptive title (“please critique my diet/workout plan” works) and we will try to help you.

Note that we are not registered dieticians so we can only help you on nutrition from experience. Same goes for training, no one that I know of (besides me) is a CPT so any recommendations are from experience and personal research—which doesn’t mean it’s wrong. A lot of people on these boards know their stuff.


Weight Training
Although there are many different ways of training, they all focus around one type of particular goal—muscle building, toning, sport/event preparation, and fat loss.
There are different ways to train to work towards all three of these goals, recommendations are given blow.

How do I train to gain muscle?
Typically, gaining muscle is a simple workout process. You tend to want to pick an exercise that allows you to move the heaviest weight—your best ‘leverage’. Additionally, exercises that are called “compound exercises”, movements that work multiple muscles, particularly large ones, are preferred for gaining muscle. Typical compound exercises are the squat, the dead lift, the clean/jerk, leg press, etc.

For beginners (I would say less than 2 years of training experience) I recommend a 3 day on, 1 day off program that targets all the muscle groups. An example is found on

As you get more and more experienced, you can change your split. One preferred method of splitting up for experienced trainers is muscle prioritization.

What is muscle prioritization?
Inevitably, you cannot train one muscle without another. It is impossible. However you can target a muscle as much as possible with one workout, and then give it considerable rest. This is the logic behind muscle prioritization. An example of this workout is as follows:

Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Back and Abs
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: Shoulder and Abs
Day 5: Biceps and Triceps
Day 6&7: Rest

This is only an example, you can split it up anyway, 4 on, 2 off, 4 on, 1 off, whatever. However no matter what, muscle prioritization requires at least a half a week rest for each body part (I prefer a week), and is only recommended for experienced trainers.

How do I train to tone?
Toning is a relative either activate your muscles, or you don't activate your muscles. If you have a relatively low body fat percentage, around < 22% for males, than I would recommend a fat loss program based that also has some hints of traditional strength gaining programs, since the weight you have to lose is not significant.
When you "tone" you train in a fashion to target the red fast twitch muscle fibers, best stimulated by sets of 12-15 reps. But really, gaining muscle/losing fat all gives the effect of what people consider "toning". Set number can vary, but I go from 3-5 sets per body part, including warm-up.

Ideally in this fashion you want as little rest as possible, since the weight you are using is not significantly heavy. An example of this workout method is found on

I want to lose fat but keep my muscle, what can I do?
Inevitably you lose muscle when you diet and train to lose fat. However, after a few trial and error segments I have found a method that seems to both hold onto as much muscle as possible, while burning fat.

When you diet, you need to make sure you get healthy carbs and optimum protein intake, in order to save as much muscle as possible.

Then, I prefer to do a variety of sets…the first 3 or 4 sets in an exercise I go as heavy as I do in a mass gain phase, but the final set I drop the weight down and do a final set of 25 reps. I do this for each exercise, and it seems to help in retaining muscle.

How do I train my core?
The squat and the deadlift

What is “overload training”?
There are many variations of overload training, also known as max-OT training. The one I use is a strength increasing, mass gaining method of weight training.

Essentially, you are doing an exercise and you are lifting 100% of your maximum of a 4-6 rep set (NOT a 1RM). If you can get 6 reps on this set, it is time to increase the weight. The rest of the sets look like 85% maximum for 6-8 reps, and 90-95% max on the second set for 6 reps. Until you reach 6 reps on the heaviest weight possible, stay at that weight.

What is “antagonistic multi-set training”?
I mentioned earlier that it is impossible to train one muscle without inevitably using another. Antagonistic muscle training is a shock method of training muscles that do not impact one another.

When you bench press, your triceps are also working—this is what you are trying to avoid. Antagonistic training is a high intensity hardcore workout, and a typical plan is as follows:


This allows you to ‘superset’—doing one exercise followed right by another, because the second muscle group targeted is not doing any work during the first muscle group’s exercise. So, doing a bench press and doing a bent over barbell row can superset since the muscles of the back were not targeted during the bench press.

What is a “muscle fibre”?
Muscle fibers (or fibre) make up muscles. They are classified into three categories, white fast twitch, red fast twitch, and red slow twitch. How many of each you have is genetically predetermined, and the percentage of each differs throughout the body.

White fast twitch muscle fibers are best suited for Olympic style weight training and power lifting. Red fast twitch fibers are best suited for speed and endurance, while red slow twitch are best suited for extreme endurance, like marathons.

Although no muscle fiber acts alone when you train, you can ‘prioritize’ and train for a specific muscle group.

White fast twitch: sets of 4-6 reps
Red fast twitch: sets of 12-15 reps
Red slow twitch: sets of 20-25 reps

So if you are training for a basketball tournament, a game requiring a bit of endurance and speed, you would train your red fast twitch fibers.

What are motor units?
A motor unit is a collection of muscle fibers.

How can I get a 6-pack?
Well you actually already have them; they are just hidden beneath a layer of fat. Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. The reason you can’t see your abs is because your body fat percentage is not low enough.

Train for fat loss, do some cardio (preferably HIIT) and most importantly, check your diet. With these three things you will see your abs.

Can you shape a muscle?
It is physiologically impossible to shape a muscle. Actually, pain in a particular muscle group can be misleading—for instance, having a pain in your upper chest does not mean the upper chest muscle is being stimulated—muscles grow across the entire muscle fibre, not just where the pain is. In addition to this, you cannot work one muscle without inevitably hitting another. Because of this there is little need for ‘isolation’ movements for size/strength increase. You can use them for higher rep cutting routines for extra calorie burn.


What is HIIT?
HIIT is a method of cardiovascular training which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Traditional fat loss methods require slow/moderate pace at a very long duration to ensure calories for energy are taken from fat cells instead of the liver or muscle storage—which typically happens when you quickly do cardio. HIIT combines low-intensity and high-intensity at different intervals of the cardio session, combining the best of both worlds of cardio training.
A good site as an overview on HIIT is

When is the best time to do cardio?
If you want to train for maximum fat loss, it’s best to do your cardio in the early morning, on an empty stomach. This is because your body has been fasting all night long while you slept, and your body’s glycogen stores in the liver and muscle are quite depleted. When your body looks for energy to fuel the early morning cardio, the only prominent storage facility for that energy is the fat cells.


What is creatine monohydrate and what does it do?
The main source of energy for your muscles is ATP, and it is stored in tissue cells and is used for immediate work, like picking up an object or running 100 yards. Your muscles have roughly 4 seconds worth of stored ATP. Once this is used, creatine phosphate combines with the used ATP (which is ADP) to create more useable ATP. This gives you roughly 25-30 seconds of useable energy after the 4 seconds.

Supplementing with creatine equals more readily available sources of creatine for ADP ATP conversion. This means you can usually lift longer and harder and usually use more weight.
A side effect is water retention, and your muscles act like a sponge with creatine and water is taken in-between them—giving you a bigger look.

What is whey protein?
Usually powder form of milk-based proteins

I heard about ‘post workout shakes’, what are they and why is it good to have one? What goes in them?
A typical post workout shake looks like below:
50 grams whey protein
50 grams dextrose or 25 grams dextrose, 25 grams maltodextrine
10 grams creatine
10 grams glutamine
5 grams BCAA powder

This is only an example
When you train, your body has used most of the glycogen from your muscles. Now typically, ingesting a sugar is bad because of the insulin spike (meaning fat gain). However, after you train, since your muscles are direly in need of replenishment, you take a post workout shake that includes sugar.

This sugar spiked nutrient shake triggers an insulin response. The insulin shuttles the nutrients into your muscles—and since they are starving, they act like a sponge and take up the nutrients quickly. It’s the really only beneficial time of the day to ingest large amounts of sugars.

What are steroids?
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones. “Anabolic” refers to muscle-building, and “androgenic” refers to increased masculine characteristics. “Steroids” refers to the class of drugs. These drugs are available legally only by prescription, to treat conditions that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone, such as delayed puberty and some types of impotence. They are also prescribed to treat body wasting in patients with AIDS and other diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass. Abuse of anabolic steroids, however, can lead to serious health problems, some irreversible.

Today, athletes and others abuse anabolic steroids to enhance performance and also to improve physical appearance. Anabolic steroids are taken orally or injected, typically in cycles of weeks or months (referred to as “cycling”), rather than continuously. Cycling involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a specific period of time, stopping for a period, and starting again. In addition, users often combine several different types of steroids to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing negative effects (referred to as “stacking”). Source:

What is cell-tech? What is nitro-tech?
Cell-Tech and nitro-tech are supplements made by the company MUSCLETECH. They are high quality, decent supplements—but they are incredibly overpriced. They are simple supplements based on simple, effective research/results—and are extremely expensive.

Cell-Tech is simply flavoring, ALA, dextrose/maltodextrine, and creatine. It is a simple formula that you can buy individually and create your own cell-tech for much cheaper. Nitro-tech is just a high quality whey protein.

What are BCAAs?
BCAAs are branch chain amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids form roughly 50-60 percent of all muscle tissue. So far, we think these acids are used by muscle tissue to create cellular enzymes for energy production. Since these enzymes are depleted during exercise, they require replenishment. With sufficient BCAA supplementation, other amino acids within the cell can be used by the body for protein synthesis (muscle generation) and energy production.


What are body types?
There are three ‘body types’, or ways in which your body tends to grow. These three types are ECTOMORPH, or extreme difficulty putting weight of any kind on—muscle or fat (also known as ‘hard gainers’), MESOMORPH, the ‘blessed’ body type in which you gain muscle easily but not a lot of fat, and ENDOMORPH, you gain weight easily, but often a predominance of fat.
People are rarely just one or the other, but often a mix of two.

How can I eat to gain muscle?
This depends a lot on your body type. If you are a endomorph, you have to eat right and follow the same carb and meat choices you should on a cutting diet—you should just eat a little bit more of them.

Same goes for mesomorphs—good, wholesome carb and meat choices (showed in the next question). You can cheat every so often because you have the ideal body type for training.

Ectomorphs have a bit more leeway when it comes to diet. Often times they can’t gain weight on normal, healthy foods no matter how much they eat. This is when more calorie-dense foods become more helpful…olive oils, avocados, peanuts, peanut butter, etc.—all are great for adding extra calories. Ectomorphs can cheat often, but this isn’t a license to eat junk food whenever you want.

How can I eat to lose fat?
A typical diet:
Meal 1: Post workout shake
Meal 2: Lean chicken breast, 1 piece wheat bread with sugar free jelly
Meal 3: Carb-free protein bar (I’m usually in class)
Meal 4: Can of tuna, one bowl oatmeal (1/2 cup, no sugar added)
Meal 5: 2 slices wheat bread, fat-free/sugar-free lunch meat (so lean lunch meat) and fat free cheese
Meal 6: Chicken breast, 1 cup mixed greens
Meal 7: Pre-bedtime protein shake (egg/casein protein)

Basic diet tips to lose fat:
Cardio on an empty stomach if possible
Eat low-moderate GI carbs, from the GI index. These are oatmeal, wheat pasta, wheat breads, and sweet potatoes.
No carbs after 8 o’clock if possible
Eat every 2.5-3.5 hours
Cycle carbs, I go three days 150 carbs, then one day 300-400, repeat. Sort of tricks your metabolism.
Lean proteins: tuna, chicken, fish, extra lean beef if you can afford it.
Get your EFAs, your essential fatty acids. Avocados, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and natural peanut butter are good sources of this. I also supplement with CLA.
Calculate your BMR, add for your daily expenditures, and eat 400-500 less than that. This should balance out to 1-2 lbs of fat loss a week.
Eat breakfast. Just eat something without sugar in it

What happens when I eat a carbohydrate?
When you ingest a carb, it passes through your system to the small intestine. The amylases enzymes break down the carb into simple sugars (like fructose and glucose) and then these sugars get absorbed through the small intestine into the blood stream.

The first place this sugar goes is the liver, and the liver transforms all these sugars into glucose, the energy source for the body. One of the liver functions is to monitor blood glucose levels. If the supply of the new sugar from the carbs is too high, the blood sugar level is too high and the liver must fix this.

The pancreas then releases insulin which shuttles the sugars elsewhere--the next stop is the muscle. However if the muscle stores are full (which is typically their state) the next stop the insulin carried glucose goes is back to the liver. However the liver can only hold 300-400 calories at one time, and if it’s full the insulin must move on. The final place the insulin carried sugar goes is to be stored as fat--and unlike the muscle and liver, fat cells store blood glucose quickly.

What happens when I eat a protein?
When you ingest a protein, it moves to the stomach where the enzyme pepsin braeks the protein down into peptides. Then these peptides move into the small intestine and broken down by proteases, trypsin and chymotrypsin, into individual amino acids.

You need to ingest complete proteins every 3-4 hours to insure the availability of all possible combinations of amino acids for cellular uptake. Since the body cannot store individual amino acids, they are collected and exchanged in the liver, blood, and spaces of muscle fibers.

AMINO ACIDS CANNOT BE USED FOR CELLULAR PROTEIN SYNTHESIS UNTIL THE ENTIRE COMBINATIONS ARE PRESENT AT ONCE. If the missing amino acids for this are not provided within 3-4 hours of their ingestion, the amino acids are deaminated and no longer useful.

What happens when I eat a fat?
Fats are broken down by lipolytic enzymes, and are turned into phospholipids, triglycerides, and cholesterols. These are then packaged into chylomicrons, and then they are then released into the bloodstream (bypassing the liver).

The fat is then either taken up by fat tissue or broken down into their original three forms in the liver. The broken down chylomicrons have different functions--the phospholipids go to the blood to transport cells for structural membrane formation. Triglycerides are either broken down into fatty acids, which are a great source of energy, or converted to glycerol which is stored as glycogen. The cholesterols are released and are responsible for plaque formation in the cardiovascular tissue.

What are ‘good fats’?

Also called ‘essential fatty acids’, "Good" fats include monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oils, peanuts and other nuts, peanut butter, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats lower total and "bad" LDL cholesterol--which accumulates in and clogs artery walls--while maintaining levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from artery walls and delivers it to the liver for disposal.

Last edited by Vendetta; 01-27-2012 at 07:28 PM..
Old 07-03-2004, 07:37 PM Vendetta is offline  

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Omega-3 fatty acids--polyunsaturated fats found in coldwater fish, canola oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts--also count as good fat. Recent studies have shown that populations that eat more omega-3s, such as Eskimos (whose diets are heavy on fish), have fewer serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. There is evidence that omega-3 oils help prevent or treat depression, arthritis, asthma, and colitis and help prevent cardiovascular deaths. You'll eat both monounsaturated fats and omega-3s in abundance in all three phases of the diet. Source:,00.html

What is CLA?
CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. It is a free-form fatty acid found naturally in milks, cheeses, and meats. However normal farming processes does not have significant amounts of CLA, so people choose to supplement with it. CLA has been shown to be beneficial for cancer treament, as an immuno-therapy supplement, helps maintain muscle while dieting, and helps mobilize fat for greater fat loss

What is the GI index?
The GI index is a list of numbers that associate to the rate of digestion of carbs and subsequent blood glucose level in the body. The higher the GI rate, the higher the blood glucose level. You want to stay away from high GI sources of carbohydrates, under normal circumstances.


What should I do to stretch?
There are stretching techniques that can be used as part of a warm-up, between sets, and as a cooldown. You can stretch before lifting/cardio activity, but it should be MILD, and held no longer for 20-30 seconds--[I]especially[/] when done before training.

Remember tendons are not elastic, and can be easily injured during dymanic movements when your muscles are cold. So, it is possible (and I do recommend) a light warmup stretching session before activity--not hard, not extensive, and not long.

Moving on to actual warm-up exercises, my organization recommends a simple warm-up routine that can be used before every workout. You can start with an exercise bike for 5-10 minutes, ensuring low-level activity. Secondly you should do a set of slow, concentrated crunches. Finally, compound that with antagonistic exercise the deadlift. Make sure its light. Antagonistic muscle groups are forced to stretch and relax, so combining the two will stretch out your base core.

Links :: Great site with plenty of research into the actual science of bodybuilding and nutrition. :: Another huge site, mega store and forums along with articles about bodybuilding. :: Great supplement distributor site :: Slightly more expensive than DPS, but has a great article for each product it sells. :: Nutrition supplement site :: Nutrition Supplement site :: Weight training equipment supplier :: Free Fitness Tracking Journal

New Research/Findings:

Not research, but news: President Bush today signed into law a bill banning popular andro supplements, dubbed steroid "precursors" It is no longer legal to manufacture and sell prohormones. This comes just a few months after the ban on ephedra products in the United States.

Last edited by Dominion; 07-12-2007 at 05:48 PM.. Reason: added link
Old 07-03-2004, 07:37 PM Vendetta is offline  

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