Train Well: Sports Nutrition Basics

Living Lean with Dr. Victor Prisk

Published: May 7th, 2012
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Everyone has an opinion on the latest or greatest ways to lose weight and live lean.  How do you know what is going to work best for you?  I turned to GNC Medical Advisory Board member, Dr. Victor Prisk (@victorprisk) to share validated fitness and weight loss tips for women (and men).  He is a former NCAA gymnast, competitive bodybuilder, and orthopaedic surgeon.


When is the best time to workout?

Working out in the morning can have several advantages:

For one, getting the workout done before you start your day will help to make sure you get one in.  The day could become hectic and too busy to stop and get to the gym.  If your workout is already done, then no worries.

Another benefit is that working out in the morning can help prime your mind for the day.  It is a way to avoid that stressful waking up late and rushing to work, forgetting your cell phone on the counter.  Getting an early start to your day allows you to have a less stressful morning.  If you want to try this, go to bed a little earlier so you get adequate sleep.

Lastly,some research has shown that another benefit of morning workouts is that you may be able to force the body to use fat to fuel exercise in a fasted state (before having breakfast in the morning). After a night of sleep the availability of carbohydrates in the body is limited and the body is forced to turn to fatty acids as the fuel for powering your morning workout.  By avoiding simple sugars pre-workout you may be able to maximize your fat burning efficiency.

Working out in the evening is a great way to burn off the stress of the day:

Let out some of your frustrations on the weights.  Stop at the gym on the way home.  If you get to the couch first, chances are you aren’t going to workout.

Splitting up you cardio and weights can help maximize goals to maintain lean muscle and lose fat.  Some research has shown that strength training is more effective in the afternoon. Doing resistance training in the evening after you have fueled your body with some lean protein and complex carbs can improve your performance in the gym.

All that said, the bottom line is that strength training and cardiovascular training are the musts for achieving a lean physique.  With the crazy schedules that many of us live by these days, just finding any time at all can be a challenge.  Find time(s) for exercise that you are able to commit to and make exercise as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

What type of exercise blasts fat?

High intensity interval training can be an incredible igniter of your metabolic rate.  In fact, just adding in some short bursts of sprints to a light jog can boost your metabolism.  Just remember that sweat is fat crying.

What may cause a woman to bulk up when beginning a lifting or weight training regimen?

Bulking up is hard to do unless you are over-eating.  If your diet consists of lean proteins, veggies, and complex carbs and staying within your calorie needs, you will maintain your lean muscle tissue. If you want to put more muscle on, train heavy and eat more meat.  It is very hard for most women to “bulk” up on a clean diet.  Don’t be afraid of putting on some muscle, it is empowering and boosts metabolism.

Is there a different type of training (resistance or strength training) that would prevent bulk up?

Keep your rep ranges above10 reps to exhaustion.  Lifting so heavy that you can’t make more than 6 reps is going to put some muscle on like a powerlifter.  But you’ll only look “bulky” if you pound the food just as hard.  Keep your intensity up, with short rest periods and try circuit training (mixing several exercises in sequence with little rest in between)

Cutting calories works to lose weight but how do we the prevent muscle loss?

Preventing muscle loss is the key to successful dieting.  Consuming muscle sparing BCAAs pre-workout and whey protein post workout can boost muscle protein synthesis, and minimize protein breakdown.

Diet will make or break physique goals, what kinds of foods should we avoid and consume?

Consuming lean meats such as white fish, natural chicken breasts, and very lean turkey or beef can help maintain muscle while trying to lose fat.  Avoid simple sugars at all costs.  This even means having fruits in moderation, while relying more on veggies for phytonutrients, vitamins, and fiber.  Take a GNC UltraMega Women’s Multivitamin to make up for any possible deficiency in key nutrients and maximize metabolism.  Avoid high salted and processed foods which can cause water retention and other medical problems.  Shop the periphery of the grocery store.  The closer to the middle you go, the more processed the foods become.

Do you recommend many small meals throughout the day or the standard 3 meals/day?

I believe that 5 small meals a day is the best way to keep your energy levels up while avoiding hunger and over eating.  I usually recommend 3 food meals and 2 supplemented snacks.  For example:

Breakfast: Egg white omelet with broccoli and oatmeal

Mid Morning Snack: Some almonds and whey protein shake

Lunch: Chicken breast, oil and vinegar salad, and a piece of fruit

Mid Afternoon Snack: A protein drink or low fat greek yogurt (preferably post-workout)

Dinner: A low carb, lean protein dinner (avoid too many carbs before bed)

What supplements/ingredients would you suggest for a relatively healthy woman (or man) to use to boost metabolism, improve your body composition and fuel lean muscle?

For boosting your metabolism, thermogenic supplements like GNC GenetixHDMeta-Ignite or GNC Total Lean Burn 60 feature clinically studied ingredients shown to increase calorie burning before, during and after exercise.

If your goal is to optimize your body composition, CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid that has been studied and shown to improve lean mass, which is certainly part of working toward that perfect physique. GNC Total Lean™ CLA is an awesome CLA that contains a premium and clinically studied form of CLA.

To fuel lean muscle, a high-quality whey protein such as GNC Pro Performance® 100% Whey Protein or GNC Pro Performance® AMP Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60™ are most beneficial within 30-60 minutes post-exercise or first thing in the morning. Also, if muscle is the goal, don’t be afraid of creatine.  Products like GNC Pro Performance® AMP Amplified Creatine 189™ or GNC Pro Performance® Creatine Monohydrate are great options if you are interested in trying a creatine supplement.

If you’re looking for a product that boosts metabolism, enhances body composition AND fuels lean muscle, a preworkout formula that includes Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), CLA and a thermogenic like GNC GenetixHD™ Pro-Sculpt™ can help, plus it enhances workout efficiency.


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