T Nation

Bring It On...with Jen Heath

Jen Heath here…

Now that the contest is over and I am getting myself into an off season groove, I want to open the floor for discussion.

Any and all peoples…send your nutrition, training and exercise, mental side, just whatever, to the table for discussion. You could even send pictures if they apply to the discussion you have!

I SO much value the questions you all send, because it really opens up an opportunity for EVERYONE to learn.

In my Shred Thread, it became sort of a physique, contest thread, but the element of question and answer in there was not only educational…it was fun.

I loved the return factor, and that you all feel comfortable and confident that I am genuinly interested in what’s going on with you.

You all have certainly proved you are interested in me so I think we should keep things rolling.

I run threads in MWA, AND at the same time, I am an old school bodybuilder at heart, so I’ll look forward to some good bodybuilding discussion in this new thread. Let’s take that GREAT “mutual feedback forum” we created in my rate my physique thread and have a good time with it.

Jen

Hmm, do you vary your post workout carbs? I’ve been experimenting with 15 grams 30 grams and 50 grams of either malto or FTS (fucking table sugar). This also determines my carb intake for the day from 150 to 175 to 200.

I’m losing about 2 pounds per week while still gaining strength. Only effect I see in performance is I fall asleep after my workout on the 50 grams day.

Hi Jen,

you seem to favor 3-4 day of low carbs then you carb up for about 2.5 days, OBVIOUSLY this is working really well for you.

my question…

have you tried different strategies like for example…

2 days low carb, 1 day hi harb

or

1 day high, 1 day low, 1 day med

the reason I ask is because, I do what you do…I have been going about 3 days of low carbs then I carb back up…seems to work well, but I feel very drained by the 3rd low carb day…

the other 2 options I listed above seem to be a bit easier in that you dont have to go three days in a row with no/low carbs…

I am going to give those 2 different approaches a shot myself…but just wandering if you have played around with them?

thanks for your time!
mt

[quote]coloradosteve wrote:
Hmm, do you vary your post workout carbs? I’ve been experimenting with 15 grams 30 grams and 50 grams of either malto or FTS (fucking table sugar). This also determines my carb intake for the day from 150 to 175 to 200.

I’m losing about 2 pounds per week while still gaining strength. Only effect I see in performance is I fall asleep after my workout on the 50 grams day. [/quote]

If you are losing 2 lbs per week and not losing strength, that is a pretty good indicator that your diet and supps are right on. Of course beware of you lose strength…:wink:

Haha about the falling asleep. They tend to have that effect, particularly for me if the carbs the previous afternoon werenerly out of fibrous only.

I have never experimented with table sugar :slight_smile: As far as varying my post workout carbs, I alternate between Surge if I am in a hurry, or just plain whatever I want. If I HAVE to have skittles, I just do it…lol

But mostly I like to eat, so I use oats, or fruit and lots of it too :wink:

Jen

[quote]mtotry wrote:
Hi Jen,

you seem to favor 3-4 day of low carbs then you carb up for about 2.5 days, OBVIOUSLY this is working really well for you.

my question…

have you tried different strategies like for example…

2 days low carb, 1 day hi harb

or

1 day high, 1 day low, 1 day med

the reason I ask is because, I do what you do…I have been going about 3 days of low carbs then I carb back up…seems to work well, but I feel very drained by the 3rd low carb day…

the other 2 options I listed above seem to be a bit easier in that you dont have to go three days in a row with no/low carbs…

I am going to give those 2 different approaches a shot myself…but just wandering if you have played around with them?

thanks for your time!
mt[/quote]

I have done all of the methods, in fact I only do the 4 low three high thing when I am in the 3rd quarter up to a contest, when I want to keep increasing strength and lose lots of fat. Regular carb cycling is a SMART idea regardless of how you do it, becuase it keeps the body’s metabolism guessing and working hard for you overall.

Sometimes I cut for 2 weeks and maintain/build for 3-4 weeks. I will cycle things within that scheme as well. If you want your body to keep changing consistently, you have to change what you put in consistently as well!

Jen

If you are reading this and want discussion on any of what you have going on…then post!

Talk is NOT cheap around here :wink:

Hey Jen,

I enjoyed your article a couple of weeks ago…You have great knowledge and passion…i like it…

When your goals are losing bodyfat while maintaining your muscle what training/cardio methods do you use? How does this vary based on what the current condition the person is at (trying to go from 12% to 8% vs. 20% to 15%).

I have experimented with low carbs during the week (less then 50 per day 100 with Surge on workout day) and a moderate amount of the weekends. Is this similar to an approach you have used?

Thanks,

[quote]amsch23 wrote:
Hey Jen,

I enjoyed your article a couple of weeks ago…You have great knowledge and passion…i like it…

When your goals are losing bodyfat while maintaining your muscle what training/cardio methods do you use? How does this vary based on what the current condition the person is at (trying to go from 12% to 8% vs. 20% to 15%).

I have experimented with low carbs during the week (less then 50 per day 100 with Surge on workout day) and a moderate amount of the weekends. Is this similar to an approach you have used?

Thanks,[/quote]

The main difference I see in someone trying to go from 20% to 15% versus someone trying to go from 12% to 8% is the deficit that is tolerable witout losing too much muscle. The more body fat you have to lose, the more of a calorie deficit one can inflict on themselves without sacrificing a lot of muscle.

Muscle maintenance requires either mid volume (which with the correct caloric intake will actually build muscle) or lower volume, heavier sets. Regardless of your body fat, some heavy lifting roughly 2 time per week (again, varying determined by what kind fo a lifting split you are on) is a necessity.

As far as cardio goes, I say do some. Periodize in some smart HIIT or steady state, or both, maybe like 3-4 sessions per week. Like I said before, the more fat you have to lose, the more deficit you’ll be able to encounter. The danger in doing too much cardio is that when you are already at sub levels (i.e. a woman at 10% goign lower) the body will teand to eat at muscle if the deficits are too high.

However, I found that this last time around, I was able to PUMP in the BCAA’s and creatine around the clock, and even at 1000 calorie deficits, I was retaining mass, which is a great accomplishment at bf levls under 10%. So, proper supplementation is essential in the lower ranges, imo.

As far as carb cycling goes, low during the week and moderate to high on the weekends is the natural winner it seems, and if you can really beat yourself silly in the gym on Friday, it actually proves to be one of the smartest things you can do for building a lot of muscle quickly. I hope this helps!

Jen

Thanks, Jen for your response! This is great.

I am currently at 12% body fat tring to get to 8 so this very helpful…

It would seem that cycling the carbs (higher on weekends,lower during the week) should enable your BMR to stay relatively high even as you’re leaning out? The more traditional route of reducing calories further and further with your diet could set someone up for having to very slowly build the BMR back up to pre diet levels when they return to a normal daily caloric intake.

I would assume this more zig-zag approach may lead to slower but more consistent progress in lowering BF while maintaining mass.

Any particular foods you would avoid on a diet phase? I usually get most of my protein from eggs, cottage cheese, chicken,protein powder, salmon and tuna…the carbs all fibrous during the week (except for post workout Surge) and I have some oatmeal,fruit and whole bread on the weekends. fats- mainly fish oil, olive oil, flax oil and almond butter… anything else I should be thinking about adding??

Thanks,

[quote]amsch23 wrote:
Thanks, Jen for your response! This is great.

I am currently at 12% body fat tring to get to 8 so this very helpful…

It would seem that cycling the carbs (higher on weekends,lower during the week) should enable your BMR to stay relatively high even as you’re leaning out? The more traditional route of reducing calories further and further with your diet could set someone up for having to very slowly build the BMR back up to pre diet levels when they return to a normal daily caloric intake.

I would assume this more zig-zag approach may lead to slower but more consistent progress in lowering BF while maintaining mass.

Any particular foods you would avoid on a diet phase? I usually get most of my protein from eggs, cottage cheese, chicken,protein powder, salmon and tuna…the carbs all fibrous during the week (except for post workout Surge) and I have some oatmeal,fruit and whole bread on the weekends. fats- mainly fish oil, olive oil, flax oil and almond butter… anything else I should be thinking about adding??

Thanks,

[/quote]

You know, any clean foods are game in dieting. The main thing is to maintain your proper deficit and maintenance levels, so I would avoid anything you KNOW you will go overboard on…i.e. peanut butter for me :wink:

You could even have a piece of bread if you fit in the macros and calories, but for me, if I eat bread…it is SO OVER. So, I just don’t eat it.

Your fats look good. Cooking with coconut oil is also good, but not a necessity by any means…

I personally like having red meat from time to time. There is just something about it that makes it an amazing food. Venison and turkey breast are about the leanest sources of protein on the planet, and I also LOVE shrimp. You can get an enourmous amount of protein from shrimp with little calories.

Jen

[quote]Jen Heath wrote:
mtotry wrote:
Hi Jen,

you seem to favor 3-4 day of low carbs then you carb up for about 2.5 days, OBVIOUSLY this is working really well for you.

my question…

have you tried different strategies like for example…

2 days low carb, 1 day hi harb

or

1 day high, 1 day low, 1 day med

the reason I ask is because, I do what you do…I have been going about 3 days of low carbs then I carb back up…seems to work well, but I feel very drained by the 3rd low carb day…

the other 2 options I listed above seem to be a bit easier in that you dont have to go three days in a row with no/low carbs…

I am going to give those 2 different approaches a shot myself…but just wandering if you have played around with them?

thanks for your time!
mt

I have done all of the methods, in fact I only do the 4 low three high thing when I am in the 3rd quarter up to a contest, when I want to keep increasing strength and lose lots of fat. Regular carb cycling is a SMART idea regardless of how you do it, becuase it keeps the body’s metabolism guessing and working hard for you overall.

Sometimes I cut for 2 weeks and maintain/build for 3-4 weeks. I will cycle things within that scheme as well. If you want your body to keep changing consistently, you have to change what you put in consistently as well!

Jen[/quote]

thanks for the info!

btw I tried doing calves the way you described on another thread…where you do 1 leg then the other leg…then both…it works GREAT!

mt

Hey!

I’ve been dieting down from 117kgs in December to 104kgs now (about 258lbs to 229lbs) in April. I’ve been doing kardio daily (mix between interval training at a bike, stair-run intervals and long walks with a backpack). So far, so good.

I guess I was at 20% ++ in December, hopefully down at 16-18% somewhere now. So far, 2600kcal pr day has been ok, I notice a slowing down now, what do you think is best, up the kardio amount or just drop lower on the kcal?

I feel that I’m quite low on the kcals already, maybe I should try just move them around a bit (more prot/fat, less karbs?). This is the first time I’m dieting down, not planning any kind of contest-shape. I’m just a FFB that want to continue at 12-15% fat.

Hi, Jen. First of all, you’re smokin’ hot. You’ve done a great job on your body.

Second, my question is along the lines of some others here.

My longterm goal is to achieve the lowest possible bodyfat that I can without literally killing myself (of course, maintaining or increasing lean muscle along the way).

I edited my question because you’ve answered so much of it already in this thread. My question is what new challenges met you as you progressed downward toward microscopic body fat? You mentioned that high amounts of BCAA and creatine as you got into single digits helped you to maintain muscle with a high deficit diet. What other nuggets of info can you share for the progression? How much skill is involved as you get below 10%, or 5%?

Thanks for any feedback!!!

[quote]Adamsson wrote:
Hey!

I’ve been dieting down from 117kgs in December to 104kgs now (about 258lbs to 229lbs) in April. I’ve been doing kardio daily (mix between interval training at a bike, stair-run intervals and long walks with a backpack). So far, so good.

I guess I was at 20% ++ in December, hopefully down at 16-18% somewhere now. So far, 2600kcal pr day has been ok, I notice a slowing down now, what do you think is best, up the kardio amount or just drop lower on the kcal?

I feel that I’m quite low on the kcals already, maybe I should try just move them around a bit (more prot/fat, less karbs?). This is the first time I’m dieting down, not planning any kind of contest-shape. I’m just a FFB that want to continue at 12-15% fat.[/quote]

Best thing to do when you slow down like that is to take a week and eat maintenance calories. Try keeping your training the same and eating your BW x 14 or 15 for one week. Then just start dieting again. If that doesn’t work I’d be super surprised!

Let me know -

Jen

Hey Jen-

I’ve been out for a while…school is WAY too busy. I can barely get on here. :frowning: Congrats on your competitions!

I need some refreshed advice since I’m injured. :frowning: Your past advice was working great…I was SUPER active, eating about 2000 cals, and gaining slowly with little fat.

Now I really CAN’T do legs. :frowning: I hurt my left knee and the glute on the right side is STILL bad. :frowning: I can’t do cardio, I can’t lift, I can’t do ANYTHING. It SUCKS. I’ve done nothing for a week and already I lost 2 lbs…don’t know where it went so fast. My legs are sticks. I’ve been trying to eat 1600-1800 cals but I always end up eating more. :frowning: I gained fat on my abs but my legs just go away SO fast. It’s just the way I am. :frowning: What type of diet and exercise plan would you recommend for me right now? I’m 111 lbs now and still need to gain, but I can’t be doing the proper exercise to make it good weight. :frowning:

What type of c/p/f breakdown and cal level would you do, and how often can I train upper?

Thanks Jen! You’re always such a help and your advice has really been great!

Jen

Quite a few ladies ask me what they should do to “get in shape” but very few actually have the motivation to stick to anything

What would you say gave the best bang for buck, and won’t discorage them, basically some tips for the busy soccer mum

[quote]sarah1 wrote:
Hey Jen-

I’ve been out for a while…school is WAY too busy. I can barely get on here. :frowning: Congrats on your competitions!

I need some refreshed advice since I’m injured. :frowning: Your past advice was working great…I was SUPER active, eating about 2000 cals, and gaining slowly with little fat.

Now I really CAN’T do legs. :frowning: I hurt my left knee and the glute on the right side is STILL bad. :frowning: I can’t do cardio, I can’t lift, I can’t do ANYTHING. It SUCKS. I’ve done nothing for a week and already I lost 2 lbs…don’t know where it went so fast. My legs are sticks. I’ve been trying to eat 1600-1800 cals but I always end up eating more. :frowning: I gained fat on my abs but my legs just go away SO fast. It’s just the way I am. :frowning: What type of diet and exercise plan would you recommend for me right now? I’m 111 lbs now and still need to gain, but I can’t be doing the proper exercise to make it good weight. :frowning:

What type of c/p/f breakdown and cal level would you do, and how often can I train upper?

Thanks Jen! You’re always such a help and your advice has really been great!
[/quote]

I would say that you really need to find a recumbent bike!! I would work upper body every other day. On the first workout I would alternate higher reps with lower reps.

If you CAN find a recumbent cycle, I would do hat as often as you like. I think you should be eating a FULL MAINTENANCE calorie diet. Try this…If you don’t exercise, eat your bw x 11 plus 250 for being up. If you train lightly eat bx x 13 plus 205, if you train really hard, eta bw x 15 plus 250 for being up.

Honestly, as far as ratios, it’s not too critical for you. Try and stay around a 30/40/30 C/P/F scheme. See how that helps!

Good to see you sarah and sorry you are injured!

Jen

Is there a secret to getting lower abdominal fat off? I mean is it cardio every day? Sprints everyday? Low calorie? Lifting heavy? Smoking crack? Ok just kidding on that last one.

I need some serious direction on how to get the damn fat off before I lose my damn mind.

I’ve gone from 220 lbs. to 185 lbs. Still had the damn lower ab fat. I lift heavy. I can run several miles if I need to. I can run sprints. I’ve done Velocity dieting, I’ve done carb cycling, etc… I feel like I’ve tried it all but I just can’t reach that goal that I want to reach. Am I gonna have to spend $2K on a damn trainer to reach my goals? I’ve already spent that and more in supplements, gym memberships, etc… I’m getting tired of not hitting my goals.

[quote]HogLover wrote:
Is there a secret to getting lower abdominal fat off?
[/quote]

Well a strict cardio regimen always helps, especially if you couple it with hard weight training and endless situps. But we know that already right? What you might not know is that…

Fish oil will help a whole lot if you have not already started using it. I noticed a dramatic reduction in belly fat (that had been hanging around since pre-teen days) once I started taking it 1-2 years ago as I was in my senior year of college.

I have diabetes as well so it is even harder for me to get rid of some of that “last layer of belly fat” (same thing you probably have right now) as I take so much insulin.

The reason for fish oil helping remove bad fat? Omega fatty acids assist in the cellular uptake / processing of other fats. There was a nice paper a few years ago showing off some new fluorescence technique by ‘discovering’ that omega fatty acids actually acted as molecular transporters for saturated fats, allowing them to enter cells and be digested.

Without the omega fats to assist, the saturated ones would just sit there outside their cell cultures.

Today I murdered myself in the gym! Intense Full Body Weights, then O-Lifts, then cardio and a LONG stretching session. Sometimes it just feels good to thrash. It was nice after taking a little bit of time nad intensity off after the competition.

I am enjoying some higher cals today (yes…all clean :wink: to take advantage of this time to put on some muscle. Post Comp is always the best time to do it!

Jen