Supplements for Bodybuilders and Powerlifters

Supplements for Bodybuilders and Powerlifters

Body Composition, Sports
When it comes to bodybuilding and powerlifting, we all know that training, rest and nutrition, in general, should be prioritised above supplementation. If you are looking to optimise your body composition and performance though, it makes sense to take advantage of any benefit you can. And while supplements might not be necessary to see great results, there are certain situations where they can help improve your results. This post is going to list common supplements used in the bodybuilding and powerlifting community and how they may or may not be beneficial. Creatine Creatine is one of the most well-studied supplements that consistently provides benefits. It is a naturally occurring non-protein amino acid that is found in foods such as red meat and seafood. But typically, people do not consume the…
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Nutrition For Strength Athletes

Nutrition For Strength Athletes

Body Composition, Sports
Strength and power athletes are typically looking to enhance power relative to body weight. This means some sort of resistance training is going to be a big part of their training. As with any type of training, proper nutrition has a significant impact on how well your body responds to and recovers from training. In strength training, nutritional objectives include: meeting caloric needs providing the optimal ratio of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) incorporating specific timing of meals/nutrition   providing optimal micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) ensuring sufficient hydration Energy, nutrient needs, and nutrient timing can differ vastly from person to person or in the context of different sports and training modalities. Just a few of the factors that come into consideration are age, gender, height, weight, level and intensity of training or…
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Are Refeeds or Cheat Meals Beneficial for Fat Loss?

Are Refeeds or Cheat Meals Beneficial for Fat Loss?

Body Composition
Refeeds or cheat meals/days typically involve either a day or meal that is significantly higher calorie than what is regularly being consumed. Generally, they are undertaken during a dieting phase where you are consistently in a calorie deficit. And from what I see, they are most often performed once per week, often on a weekend. A cheat meal is typically just a high-calorie meal which is generally high in carbs and/or fat. A cheat day or refeed day is a day that is usually either a day at maintenance calories (instead of a calorie deficit) or a calorie surplus. Refeeds and cheat meals/days are pretty much interchangeable phrases, although I prefer the term refeed since that implies that it is being utilised for purposes beyond just a break from the…
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How Large Should a Calorie Surplus Be for Muscle Gain?

How Large Should a Calorie Surplus Be for Muscle Gain?

Body Composition
One of the biggest questions in the fitness space is how to gain muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible. And while a calorie surplus is not always necessary for gaining muscle, no matter how you look at it, a calorie surplus is going to be a necessary step for doing it in the most efficient way possible. If the goal were just to gain muscle as quickly as possible, it would make sense to utilise a large calorie surplus. But this is where efficiency comes in. A large calorie surplus is likely going to lead to a lot more fat gain and an unfavourable ratio of fat to muscle gain. This then either leads to more time having to be spent dropping body fat down the line, or just…
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Pros and Cons of Protein Powder

Pros and Cons of Protein Powder

Body Composition
Protein powder is one of the most commonly utilised sports supplements. While it has a wide range of potential applications, it’s typically used by people aiming to improve their body composition through increasing muscle mass and/or decreasing body fat. It isn’t necessary, but it can have some utility if used well. Pros Convenience In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain the optimal amount of protein through food. Protein powder can be a tool to help reach this target. It also can be useful for times when you want to consume protein, but it would be inconvenient due to schedule or appetite. For example, if you are on the go, a protein shake is going to be more convenient than a meal. Or if you have just finished a…
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What Is Metabolic Adaptation and Why Does It Occur?

What Is Metabolic Adaptation and Why Does It Occur?

Body Composition
For a long time, people have been aware that total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) changes during phases of dieting. Personally, my first insight into this phenomenon was when I saw the phrase “metabolic damage” a bit over 5 years ago. This was at some stage in my nutrition degree at university. My understanding of the concept was that if somebody was aiming for weight-loss and was in a calorie deficit for an extended period, their “metabolism” (which I didn’t fully understand at the time) would slow down. My take on the main difference between metabolic damage and metabolic adaptation is that ”damage” indicates that there is an issue, whereas adaptation indicates that the body is making an adjustment. Damage could indicate that the metabolism is broken and needs to be…
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The Vertical Diet: A Dietitians Review

The Vertical Diet: A Dietitians Review

Body Composition, Sports
Outside of the niche community of serious strength athletes, The Vertical Diet is pretty unknown. But due to quite a few elite-level athletes following the diet (including Hafthor "The Mountain" Bjornsson), there is a large reputation behind it. Another massive influence on this is that the founder Stan Efferding is very charismatic (and jacked) and creates compelling arguments as to why a lot of the aspects of this diet are beneficial for health and performance. As a dietitian who specialises in working with strength athletes, with a focus on powerlifting specifically, I get quite a few questions about The Vertical Diet. Due to that, I thought I would go through some of the pros and cons. What is The Vertical Diet? The Vertical Diet is a diet that is based…
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Diet Breaks for Long Term Weight Loss

Diet Breaks for Long Term Weight Loss

Body Composition
If you are attempting to lose a significant amount of weight, I highly recommend implementing a strategy involving diet breaks. Dieting for a long period of time can be mentally taxing, but there are also metabolic adaptations that occur. These adaptations result in reduced total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This could also be interpreted as having a slower metabolism. The combination of these two things and other factors can make it difficult to consistently make progress over the long term. One way around this is a diet break, where you eat at your maintenance calories for a certain period of time. This timeframe is generally 1-2 weeks, but it could be longer. The MATADOR Study The first major study that brought diet breaks to my attention was The MATADOR Study.…
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3 Things to Focus on That May Help You Lose Weight and Maintain the Weight-Loss

3 Things to Focus on That May Help You Lose Weight and Maintain the Weight-Loss

Body Composition
There are a lot of ways to achieve weight-loss, but the below tips are 3 things that I have found to be an effective way to maintain that weight loss. These are things I have learnt through a combination of an excessive amount of time interpreting research papers, combined with seeing countless clients in practice on a day-to-day basis. 1) Eat more vegetables. The vast majority of people don't eat nearly enough vegetables for general health purposes anyway, but the key reason I recommend this though is for appetite purposes. If you eat more vegetables, you will be filling yourself up with a lot of low-calorie foods. 2) Eat more lean protein sources - potentially including lean meat. This is counter-intuitive but I believe it is a massive key to…
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Is Protein One of the “Secrets” for Weight Loss?

Is Protein One of the “Secrets” for Weight Loss?

Body Composition
A few weeks ago, I presented at a small conference on protein for weight-loss as I feel like it is a subject that is undervalued by a lot of dietitians. Since I am a Gary Vee fanboy and love his idea of pillar content, I figured I would also turn aspects of that presentation into this blog post and share it on a larger scale. My background prior to studying nutrition at university started with an excessive amount of time reading the forums on bodybuilding.com during 2012, followed by even more procrastination in the form of being an active member of a niche bodybuilding/powerlifting forum from 2013-2014. I feel like this has given me a different perspective to other dietitians who have come from different backgrounds. There was a lot…
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