Here are also some questions/answers
THE LOST POLIQUIN FILES VOL. I
Low Carbs For Athletes?
Q. I understand you put your athletes on low carb diets and then gradually reintroduce carbs into their diets. Why is this? I thought low carbs decreases performance? While we’re on the subject, you’ve stated that you like to have your male athletes between 4 and 8% body fat and that female athletes perform best below 12%. I understand that an athlete doesn’t need to be fat, but what’s the point of having a hockey player see his abs?
A. I put 50 to 75% of my athletes on low carbs. About 25% are kept on high carb diets. It is a very individual thing which is prescribed based the athlete’s present condition, desired goal etc. Those 25% are the lucky ones who can enjoy carbs while staying lean. Like Boyer Coe, who in preparation for the Masters Mr. Olympia would eat an entire carrot cake every night before going to bed so he would not lose muscle mass.
The reason why I have my athletes strive to achieve those bodyfat figures is that various physiological parameters such as endurance and speed are enhanced by having lower body fat values. For example your maximal oxygen consumption capacity increases just by decreasing bodyfat, as one will not need to oxygenate those tissues during muscular work, thus allowing the more functional tissue to use the available oxygen.
Speed is greater at lower bodyfat percentages because of decreased intra-muscular friction and because you simply don’t have to carry that excessive baggage.
The low carb decreases performance is only true for people who have higher carbohydrate requirements. I have plenty of clients who fare better on the international sporting scene using a low carb diet. However, you must also know that these athletes use a four-one ratio of low carb days to high carb days. That is four days low carb, one day high carb.
The high carb day can have as much as 70% of the caloric needs met through carbohydrate intake. We use the percentage of bodyfat, and the athlete’s state of well being as the gauge for carb intake. If the athlete is for example 5% bodyfat, is having a day off from training, we may use such a high carbohydrate intake. If he is at 9%, as is not at optimal speed for his speed, we may use only half a day of carbing up.
Also sudden drops in bodyweight may warrant changes in that ratio. All in all, it is something that needs fine tuning over time, and the athlete is educated on when to carb up or not. But again, some athletes do best on very low fat diet, high complex carbs, moderate protein. It is a very individual thing, and certainly is worth experimenting with.
Q. The article achieving structural balance was great; however, it only included the upper body. Got any general lower body suggestions?
I have had a lot of demand for this sort of data, even though I do have have collected excellent pertinent data on the matter, I have decided not to present it in written format because:
The technical explanation for each exercise go beyond the scope of an article or this column. In a seminar setting, it takes about 4 hours to learn.
The norms are more appropriate to determine the orientation of training of athletes not for the audience of Testosterone, which is composed mainly of recreational bodybuilders.
The data is very much sport specific. For example, ham-quad ratios that are optimal for getting a medal in the Alpine Skiing World Championships will not do much to achieve international results in 100 sprinting.
Q. I really enjoyed your article about pull ups, I have a few questions on how can I make progress with pull ups considering my circumstances. I notice a few of the progressions from the articles require a partner to push the legs and waist while you pull up. Due to working crazy hours, the only time I get to workout is late at night, so I work out alone. I am able to do 5-6 wide grip (palms away) pull ups but would like to be able to do more. Considering I don’t have a workout partner who could help me perform the necessary 12 pull ups, what should I do? Should I perform the maximum amount of pull ups that I am able to do at this time (5-6 pull ups) then do eccentric pull ups. I gather it is still too early in my development to start holding on to dumbbells while I attempt pull ups?
A. I would recommend this system for improving your pull-ups. From experience, this system can increase the performance on this exercise in record time. It is basically a variation of the German Volume Training.
If you can only do 5-6 pull-ups, strive to do 10 sets of lets say 2 reps on your first workout. Every workout, strive to increase the total number of pull-ups by at least one. The key to success of this progress is the total volume of work, not all sets of pull-ups are obviously done to failure. But for your first workout, you will have done 20 reps on the pull-ups, within no time your pull-up performance will increase. Shoot for 10 sets of 6 pull-ups before your retest your maximal performance for reps on a single set. Make sure to pair antagonists muscles to be time efficient. You can pair a pressing exercise or a external rotator cuff exercise or both.
For example your workout will look this:
Set 1 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 1 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 2 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 2 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 3 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 3 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 4 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 4 of antagonist work (Dumbbell external rotator exercise 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 5 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 5 of antagonist work - change of exercise (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 6 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 6 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 7 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 7 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 8 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 8 of antagonist work (Incline Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 9 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 4010, rest 90 seconds)
Set 9 of antagonist work - change of exercise - (Flat Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3010 rest 90 seconds)
Set 10 of Pull-ups (Wide grip pull 2 reps, tempo 3110, rest 90 seconds)
Set 10 of antagonist work (Flat Dumbbell Presses 8-10 reps, tempo 3110 rest 90 seconds)
Q. I compete in combat jiu-jitsu. I have a problem with endurance and poor gripping strength. Any training protocol that would help solve that? I live in a rural area and don’t have access to fancy equipment like your athletes do.
A. First let me say that I am not a big believer in high-tech machines. All my athletes train on the most basic tools like barbells, dumbbells, chin-up bars, AND squat racks.
Here is a very low-tech approach to solving that problem. All you need is a sand bag and a platform that is three to four feet off the ground – the back of pick-up truck or a picnic table will do fine. I suggest you do it after doing your regular leg strength workout as a ‘finishing off’ exercise. Here is a twelve workout progression.
Stand in front of the platform with a sandbag at your feet. Bend over and pick up the sandbag and put it on the platform. Pause momentarily. Pick it up again and put it back on the ground. Repeat until 50 reps are completed. Make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set every workout, and shoot for a personal best every workout. The first time you do it, you will be quite tempted to cough up a lung. No matter how painful it is, shoot for a record time. Of course, you will probably have to pause longer between reps as the set is nearing its end. Only stop the sets when 50 reps are completed.
For this part of the cycle, back up four feet further away than the previous workout. Stand facing the platform with the sandbag on your right side, on the ground. Turn around, face the bag and bend over and pick it up. Lift the bag and place it on the left side of the chosen platform. Being further away will force you to have to lunge towards the platform.
Pause momentarily. Pick it up again and put it back on the ground on its original resting spot. This will bring a diagonal and rotary component to the drill. Repeat until 25 reps are completed for the right side. Then start over and do 25 reps with the bag being on the left side in the starting position. Again, make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set, every workout, and shoot for a personal best each workout.
Stand facing the platform on which a plastic glass filled with water is placed on the middle of it. Stand with the sandbag on your right side. Turn around face the bag and bend over and pick up the sandbag. Now you are going to lift the bag up and over the plastic glass of water, continuing the motion, deposit the bag on your left hand side (the left side of the platform). Pause momentarily and reverse the process. Do 25 reps going in each direction. Once again, make an effort to do it in minimal time. Record the time needed to complete the set every workout, and shoot for a personal best every workout.
After these twelve workouts you can be sure that your endurance will have reached appreciable new heights and you will be sporting a pair of forearms that would make Popeye envious. Another added benefit is that all the trunk muscles involved in throws and takedowns will receive an appreciable overload that will transfer directly to improved performance on your dojo mat.
Q. You have a reputation as being a stickler to proper form. What are some of the recommendations you make on proper training form?
A. For the readers who have their eyes and ears open for the truth, here some recommendations regarding exercise performance. People with low self-esteem refuse to live consciously.
Trainees who use proper form usually have high levels of self-esteem. They show it by:
Their interest is progression, not in theatrics.
Lifting for themselves, not for others. They are not concerned about what the other guy thinks of him lifting somewhat lighter loads.
Knowing that lifting big loads with improper form will not get you to lift big loads with proper form as quickly as lifting in proper form at all times.
IS THE FOLLOWING A NEW SET OF RULES?
- You should attempt to find ways that will an exercise harder, not easier.
For example pausing the bar on the floor between reps on the deadlifts creates more overload on the neuro-muscular system than bouncing the plates off the floor. Successful bodybuilders feel the muscle not the weight!
- Never sacrifice style for increased poundage.
I know people who increased their bench presses by 60 lbs in one month! They simply do it by adjusting their form: lifting hips off the bench: + 25 lbs, bouncing in the bottom position: + 10 lbs, increasing width of grip: +10 lbs, not coming up to lock-out: + 15 lbs. This is one of the reasons I recommend YOU change the exercise every 6 workouts or so. When you are just about to hit a plateau, it is time to move on to another exercise.
- Lower weights slower than you lift them.
When weight training, you control the weight, the weight does not control you. Even though you are stronger in eccentric contractions than in concentric contractions, you recruit only half the fibers when lowering a load, so the actual tension on the fibers recruited is double. So, you will benefit more from your set by maximizing the overload on the eccentric portion of every rep.
Q. I have poor hamstrings development because of years of I train only what I can see in the mirror syndrome. I am embarrassed to wear shorts. Please help!
A. The following guidelines will help you achieve your training goal of more hypertrophy in the hamstrings:
Put an emphasis on stretching. Often have seen a new growth spurt in advanced trainees legs after embarking on a stretching program. Why? Possibly because the fascia surrounding the muscles is too tight and does not allow the hamstrings enough room to grow. If you need some ideas on how to effectively stretch the hamstrings, please consult the following books published by Human Kinetics: Science of Flexibility and Stretching (2nd Edition), Michael J. Alter and Facilitated Stretching: PNF Stretching Made Easy by Robert McAtee.
Train the hamstrings first in your leg workout, when your energy is highest. There is plenty of empirical evidence that muscles trained early in the workout make greater strides of progress than the ones trained at the end of a workout. Joe Weider takes credit for it as the “Weider Priority Principle”. For all I care, a lumberjack barbell set owner from Vladivostok could have come to the same conclusion.
Allow for plenty of recovery. The hamstrings have a high fast-twitch make-up, thus take a long time for recovery. A 30 day hamstrings specialization cycle for someone with great quads would look like this:
Day 1: Hamstrings (15-16 sets) and Calves (6-8 sets)
Day 6: Hamstrings (6-8 sets), Quads (3-5 sets) Calves (8-10 sets)
Day 11: Hamstrings (15-16 sets) and Calves (6-8 sets)
Day 17: Hamstrings (6-8 sets), Quads (3-5 sets) Calves (8-10 sets)
Day 22: Hamstrings (10-12 sets) and Calves (4-6 sets)
Day 29: Hamstrings (4-6 sets), Quads (1-3 sets) Calves (6-8 sets)
Notice that the number of sets is significantly LOWER during the last two workout days of the cycle. Why? To comply to the unloading principle, if one lowers the volume after the third week but yet keeps up or even increases the intensity, super compensation (gains) will be of a greater magnitude than if the volume was kept constant. The exact physiological mechanism is not entirely clear, but it appears that it is of a neuro-endocrine nature.
Q. I am very much interested in achieving overall fitness, and was recently at the gym doing a ballistic stretching routine I knew from my tae kwon do classes. I was then approached by a physical therapist to stay away from it, that I was putting myself in danger, blah, blah, blah. What is the dealeio?
A. Ballistic stretching has unfortunately been given an undeserved bad reputation, thanks to physical therapists and athletic trainers who have frowned upon it, claiming it was a sure way to injure oneself.
If ballistic stretching was so stressful every martial artist who emphasizes kicking in his style (i.e. Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Savate) would be in a wheelchair. So would every rhythmic gymnast, artistic gymnast, ballet dancer and diver, as ballistic stretching is a staple of their physical preparation. Interestingly enough when the 76ers won the NBA championships in 1986, their strength and conditioning coach was a ballet teacher who used plenty of ballet type movements to teach the basketball players how to use the concept of acceleration and learn to relax the antagonistic muscles.
Dynamic stretching involves fast movements which place muscles under a rapid but very short-lived stretch. Opponents of dynamic stretching will argue that the imposed stretch is too small in terms of time to be beneficial and increase the likelihood of muscle pull. But, what these people fail to understand is that the correlation between dynamic flexibility and static flexibility is quite poor (r= 0.42). In other words, it is possible that someone who barely touch his mid shins in a sit a reach test (static stretch) can kick you in the face (dynamic stretch). In the same way that someone who can go beyond his feet in a sit and reach test can barely kick you in the navel. In the dynamic expression of flexibility, there is more than the ability to relax the muscles and connective tissue, there is also the ability to activate the antagonist muscle to place the muscles in a rapid stretch. So, in our kicking example, you may able to stretch your hamstrings well in slow sit and reach test, but not be able to activate the quadriceps at high speeds to place the hamstrings in a rapid stretch.
There is, however, a correct way to do ballistic stretches: it is called the pendulum method. In this method, you do not try to reach maximal range in the first stretch but rather build up to it. So for example in a warm-up for kick, you would kick at the ankle level for starters, then aim at mid-shin, then knee cap etc. until you reach your maximal kicking height. You would definitely not start with your best impression of a Jean-Claude Van Damme kick.
In my opinion, the only real disadvantage of ballistic stretching is that the gains are very short term, more precisely, you will retain the flexibility gained for only 4 to 6 hours. However, if complemented with other stretching methods like static or P.N.F stretching, the gains will become more long-lasting.
Q. I’ve been trying to adopt your nutritional techniques that I read in an article you did with Peakhealth. You described this diet as a 25 day start up phase where all (or most) of the carbs came from vegetable sources. I have avoided fruits and kept my protein at roughly 1q/lb bodyweight. I have also incorporated 10-15 fish oil capsules/day. I feel like I have tried every diet known to man and I can’t seem to figure out how to lean out. I am 5’10" 208 w/ about 11%-12% BF. My goal would be to get down to roughly 7% BF and I figured I’d try your dietary suggestions.
The problem that I’m encountering is that I can’t seem to get all my carb req’s from just veggies. I am eating 2 big salads/day and as many green veggies (broccoli, green beans, zucchini) as possible, but I can really feel the fatigue setting in. At 40/30/30 I need to eat roughly 45g of carbs each meal and that alone is almost 2 full bags of broccoli/meal. I can’t eat that much. I don’t think the training is the problem but rather the diet. I think I haven’t been eating enough for years. I have forwarded my diet that I currently doing.
At this point I just can’t figure it out. I think I just don’t have the educational background to identify the problem. Since I am currently working with the diet you outlined I ask for your help. Note: I have changed the above diet to include all veggies and incorporated fish oil. I know I have muscles under the flab, I just can’t see them as much as I want. I need guidance and I know I can make this happen.
Hopefully you can point in the right direction. Your articles and routines have taught me so much up to this point. I am a typical mesomorph, as they say, and if putting on weight was the issue I’d have no problem. I have an incredible appetite, but I’m just doing it wrong.
A. There is a few things can help you readily:
Increase your protein intake to 2 grams/lb of bodyweight.
Stay away from meal replacements products containing maltodextrin or glycerin.
For post-workouts, stick to a high quality protein and 50 grams of glutamine to restore your glycogen stores.
Every 5th day, you can have a cheat meal. Once your bodyfat is 8% or less then you can have a full cheat day.
By incorporating the given above steps you should lean out fairly quickly. You can also read Mauro Di Pasquale’s book the Metabolic Diet which shows you how to customize your carbohydrate requirements.
Q: I am interested in training for Strongman competitions. As these events gain popularity, I’m sure the training will become more clearly defined, but right now I can find no solid information on how one would combine weight room training with the actual event training. How would you mix the two given the high physical demands these events require?
A. The best way to train for those events would be to alternate cycles of general preparatory work with cycles of specific work. A 3 to 2 ratio would probably give you optimal results. Therefore you would 3 weeks of strength work concentrating of basic compound exercises such as squats, chins, deadlifts, presses and of course some grip work.
Then, for two weeks you practice the actual events 4 days a week. Don’t be afraid to lose strength when practicing the actual skills of Strongman competitions. In fact you will be surprised to see that your actual weight room lifts will go up once you return for a 3 week stint of more classical strength work.
Q. My bench press poundages has not improved in weeks. My training partner pointed out that I always encounter a sticking at about 2-4 inch’s off my chest? Any suggestions to solve my training problem. It is getting very frustrating.
A. Getting stuck in the bottom portion of the bench press is function of two issues: technique and strength ratios. Lets look first at technique.
Velocity of the descent: The best bench pressers in the World have been shown to have slower descent than less qualified lifters, controling the eccentric contraction will permit you to control more efficiently the bar pathway.
The Flaring the Lats Trick: Flaring the lats in the bottom position, as in the front lat spread, allows you to raise the bar 1/2 to 1 inch places at a better mechanical advantage. Practice this trick initially with loads lower than 70% of your one rep maximum, as it requires focused attention.
Second, lets look at strength ratios: If you have a weak start in the bench, you could either have weak pecs or weak serratus anterior muscles or a combination of both. When the given above muscles are weak, you have poor initial acceleration in the concentric range in the bench press. So to overcome your weakness, you want to give these exercises a try:
If you pecs are weak, the best exercises that will to improved bench press performance would be cambered bar bench presses and flat dumbbell presses palms facing each other.
If you serratus anterior is weak it is normally also reflected by a poor performance in the military press exercise. You should be able to military press 70% of your bench press performance. In other words, if you bench press 300 lbs, you should be able to do a seated military press with 210 lbs.
Spending a few weeks specializing on this exercise should remedy the situation. You may also include supine incline front raises as a remedial exercise in your bench press routine.
Incline Front Raises: This exercise will increase the strength of the serratus anterior, which is the main muscle that rotates the scapulae upward and helps you get out of the bottom position. Make sure that the elbows are bent 5-10 degrees to take away the stress on the elbow joints.
Q. I am being trained by a very enthusiastic young college student who is majoring in exercise physiology. His birthday is coming up, I would like to give him something around 50.00 dollars that would further his education. Any suggestions?
A. A very good gift for that price range would be the video by Paul Chek entitled Controversy and Current Concepts of Pulling Exercises. It puts to rest many of the trendy seminar bullshit concepts on upper back training that is creating more business for physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons than the leg extension machines.
Paul Chek provides once and for all sound biomechanical and neurological data on how to properly train the upper back musculature. I would say it is must-view for all personal trainers and strength coaches. Your personal trainer will surely be grateful for this gift. To purchase it contact Paul Chek seminars at 800/552.8789.
Q. I have a very weak back, mainly because I have only used geeky cables (I am pretty pissed that I didn’t read your article, “back to the basics”, earlier). However, I am not able to do even one wide grip pull-up (very long arms, to high BF, too much geeky back training), not even an eccentric one! I can however, do a couple of close grip chin ups (palms facing me). So here is what I am thinking about doing on my back only day:
Shoulder width chin-ups doing singles for a total of 20 reps.
Wide grip pull-ups 4x3 with partner holding my ankles.
Cable row 8, 6, 4.
Barbell row 8, 6, 4.
I have to do barbell rows and cable rows because of the program my training partner and I are doing. I have a couple of questions. One - is the chin-up part of the routine ok? And, two - how long a break do you have to take between the singles? (I kinda have to do all my 20 singles when my partner does his 4 sets). BTW, I am natural, on a gaining eating cycle, eating 500 cals above maintenance.
A. Answer to question 1: First, how can you be on a gaining eating cycle while you are also stipulating that you have high bodyfat. I don’t know anyone who has ever eaten anything by accident. First things first, get rid of the fat.
Second, no ankle holding bullshit chin-ups. How can you not even perform a single eccentric wide grip pull-up. Did you grow up in Chernobyl? Even Roseanne Barr can do one.
Answer to question 2: I suggest that you do close grip, semi-supinated (palms facing each other) chins, resting 90 seconds between sets.
Q. What would you say, if pressed for time, would be the best triceps exercise?
A. Any of the following three exercises would do the task on putting mass on the triceps:
Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions with Chains. Since the triceps have an ascending strength curve, using chains added to the bar will help match the strength curve. Make sure that when the arms are fully extended the chains are about 1 cm from touching the floor.
Parallel or V-Bar Dips. Dips are excellent for packing mass on the triceps, look at the triceps development of Olympic gymnasts. Please don’t do the dork version : hands behind back, feet and hands on a bench. People who do those normally have an IQ of 5 and it takes 6 to bark.
Overhead French Presses. This one is particularly good if your long head of the triceps is lagging. This can be done with a single dumbbell, a rope tied to a low pulley, or you can use an EZ bar.
Q. I am very interested in learning more about building muscle mass. In your opinion, what are the top five authors I can learn from on building mass.
A. I would strongly suggest that you read the works of the following authors listed in alphabetical order.
Mauro Di Pasquale M.D. He is the foremost expert on nutrition and ergogenic aids. I personally refer a lot of my clients to him. His knowledge on building strength is immense, as he is a former World Powerlifting Champion. Consequently, he has written more on nutrition and ergogenic aids, than he has on training methodology. Dr. Di Pasquale can be found pretty much everywhere, and has written for countless publications including a few of his own books (The Metabolic Diet).
Anthony Dittilo. You will find him in old issues of IronMan and current issues of Milo.
Michael G?ndill. He has a refreshing look at hypertrophy routines. He can be found in IronMan, and also has valuable insights on nutrition.
William Kraemer. He can be found in Muscular Development. William is excellent at bridging the gap between the lab and the weight room.
Bill Starr. Is a very accomplished powerlifter and Olympic lifter, which is a rare combination. He can be found in IronMan and Muscle Mag International. He was the first author to really explain the need for full squats, and destroy the mythology around it.
Q. I currently train 4 days a week, I do not, however, train on weekends due to the fact that I also enjoy socializing. My question is this - Does getting drunk on the weekends hinder my progress significantly in terms of mass gains? And do you have any suggestions as to how to reduce the damage alcohol drinking does to my weight training efforts? Thanks.
A. There is plenty of scientific evidence which demonstrates that drinking and staying up late will hinder your bodybuilding progress.
First, even if you don’t drink, staying up late is harmful to the training process. Studies on circadian cycles show that staying up late on a Friday night will mess your circardian cycles till the next Tuesday. Therefore quality of sleep, which is one the most essential recovery tools for the natural trainer will be impaired.
Second, alcohol to the point of being drunk can severely suppress testosterone. One drink a day is fine, and has been shown to have many health related benefits, such as improving HDL levels. But getting drunk is definitely out of the question. Alcohol in excess will slow down your muscle mass gains by:
Interfering with energy production in your accumulation workouts by inhibiting certain enzymes.
Again, messing up your sleep patterns. The reduced quantity and quality of sleep will minimize your recovery for the following workout.
Decreasing your natural testosterone production, which is one of your main anabolic hormones. A study in Finland has shown that the occasional alcohol binge decreases your natural testosterone production for a period as long as three days.
I have seen many times over, people stuck at a x level of development. After changing their lifestyles, they experience a sudden spurt in growth in muscle mass and training poundages. When a kid is referred to me by a sports agency, and he is on the verge of making the pros, the first thing I insist on is abstinence from alcohol. It is all a matter of priorities. What is most important to you?
In regards to negating some of the negative effects of your partying, loading on a good anti-oxidant blend may help, but will never completely off-set the effects of partying.
Q. In the last year, I became addicted to a Diet Coke or two per day (I know–Bad girl!) This is my only caffeine for the day but I’ve now switched to caffeine-free. Anyway, I work out as usual and eat the same but it appears than my subcutaneous fat layer is increasing substantially. Is there anything about this change that could be contributing? Thanks so much.
A. Definitely, caffeine does have lipolytic effects; in other words it helps you lose fat. Plus caffeine in an effervescent medium such as Diet Coke is better absorbed than the one in coffee. Your consumption of caffeine was not excessive. In fact, studies on caffeine consumption showed than caffeine consumers had healthier gallbladders AND had sex on a more frequent basis than people that abstained from caffeine. The people that think caffeine is ultra-dangerous also tend to believe in the astrology of vitamin therapy, genetic blue-print through aura manipulation and other new age bullshit.
So relax and enjoy your Diet Cokes!