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Ask Strength System!

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Here's a list of user-generated fitness and nutrition related questions, answered by the Strength System coaches!

Have a question you'd like us to answer? Write to us!

September 2, 2020

Question: "What's a good post/ pre-workout meal?"

If you're on a caloric deficit (eating lesser than you need to, to drop fat), eating a mix of protein and carbs pre/post workout is a good idea. Whey protein, eggs, yogurt are good protein sources and fruit, toast, oatmeal and cereal are good protein options. If you're eating enough calories overall, getting adequate protein throughout the day, pre/post workout nutrition becomes less important!

August 12, 2020

Question: "How much strength should I expect to have lost during the lockdown/if I take a break from training for a few months?"

Before we go into the details, let's clarify that there's no need to panic! Some studies show that there is less than 15% decrease in strength levels after even 30 weeks off from training in intermediate lifters.

While this goes to show that there definitely will be some amount of reduction in strength and size, its reassuring to know that we can quickly pick up from where we left off with just a few weeks of training.

This is NOT to say that within a couple of weeks of training, you’re going to be back to lifting what you were before you took the break. If it's taken you a certain number of weeks to lose strength and size, it's going to take at least close to the same number of weeks to gain it back, but only that the process might be slightly easier this time!

July 29, 2020

Question: 'I've been losing weight during the lockdown and I'm pretty sure I'm also losing muscle along with fat. Should I be concerned? What are some ways to maintain muscle?'

We're glad you want to preserve all that muscle you worked so hard to build! That said, its fairly hard to build/ maintain muscle without some sort of consistent resistant training. We understand your concern, but our honest answer is don't worry right now and do your best to stay on track with your home workouts and focus on staying healthy until you're able to hit the gym again!

Some ways to maintain muscle:

(1) Ensure you're getting at least 1 gram - 1.5 grams protein per kg body weight. This will help retain any muscle you've already built!

(2) Increase resistance as much as you can on your home workouts. If not dumbbells and kettlebells, use a backpack filled with books/ water bottles.

(3) Add hypertrophy (muscle building) techniques to your home workouts - add tempo, pauses, rest pause sets (go to failure on any particular exercise, 15 seconds rest, go to failure again, 15 seconds rest, go to failure!), drop sets (keep dropping weight on an exercise till you reach failure) where ever possible.

(4) Throw in some low intensity cardio like walking. This will promote fat loss.

July 15, 2020

Question: ‘How to lose stubborn fat’

We assume ‘stubborn fat’ here refers to the fat that tends to accumulate around the mid-section - in particular, the lower abs and around the sides of the waist. Folks often find that even when they lose fat, it’s not uniform and that often the extremities seem to lose fat quicker.

The first and least helpful answer is that you might just need to spend more time in a caloric deficit. While you might see general fat loss fairly quickly, it might take time for this to ‘trickle down’ to the more stubborn areas like the mid-section.

Assuming that’s taken care of, the next level is looking at overall stress and sleep patterns, There’s some evidence that stress can influence fat storage and anecdotally, water retention does seem to be more common among sleep-deprived and high-stress individuals. So at a minimum, ensuring that you’re getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep and that psychological stress is not out of control will go a long way.

A couple of other things that might be helpful:

(1) Making sure you are getting in 30-45 minutes of low-intensity cardio (could be as simple as a brisk walk) daily. This can help stimulate blood flow to the stubborn areas.

(2) Hydrating well, along with eating plenty of vegetables and fruits will help to ensure that fluid balance is not out of whack.

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