Cori (00:15):
Hey guys, this is Cori from Redefining Strength. Welcome to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. This is the show where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m not going to ever fill this episode with sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a review or leave a five star rating or even better share it with somebody you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone. So let’s jump right in.

Cori (00:28):
Alright, we’re talking muscle gains, overrated versus underrated. Of course, when I made the note about gains, I had to have the Zs on there to make it extra gnarly, but I’m so excited for Michelle and I to really discuss what we feel are the best practices and the worst practices, things that we often turn to that maybe aren’t as valuable as we think. So Michelle, jumping right in. Let’s talk about creating that calorie surplus to build lean muscle overrated or underrated.

Michelle (01:00):
So I’m a ruffle some feathers, but I think it’s one of the biggest things that’s majorly underrated When your goal is to actually gain muscle, you have to have the energy or the calories to be able to do so. It requires material to be able to build.

Cori (01:18):
So my feathers are ruffled by that. Just kidding. But I totally see your perspective in that. Often it is hard to increase calories if you’ve been in a calorie deficit prior to lose fat. It’s very hard to increase, but you need to gain muscle. However, I am actually going to argue the opposite and say that it is overrated, and this is coming from background. Seeing a lot of people do the dirty bulks and go into these extreme calorie surpluses saying, Hey, I need extra calories to building muscle. You don’t need as many extra as you think and your glycogen stores can only store so much glycogen. So I will argue overrated because there is nuance to it. Yes, you need extra energy as you build muscle. What used to be a surplus will probably shrink and become a deficit even potentially, or at least maintenance. And so you’ll need to increase further to add more lean muscle, but you don’t need to go crazy with it. So breaking things down, you mentioned underrated, I mentioned overrated. We both agree that you need to be strategic in it. How would you recommend that someone strategically creates that calorie surplus so that they aren’t making it overrated or not eating enough to actually fuel that growth?

Michelle (02:27):
Well, and you bring up an excellent point because the bottom line is you still have to have the building material right to actually be able to repair the muscles because as we build the process of building muscles means we’re going to actually tear the muscles and then have the repair come in, and that’s how we actually grow the muscle. So the biggest issue is a lot of people I think confuse body recomposition with muscle gains. And you can do both. You can have both, but if your sole focus is truly that pure muscle gains and you’ve lost the fat and you’re ready to build it is going to require that surplus. And as you mentioned, what is that surplus? How much does it actually need to be? And this is where people kind of mess up because they start looking online at what someone else is doing.

And a lot of times they’re looking at people that already have a high amount of muscle on them. So they’re trying to compare their eating habits to someone that they want to look like. And the problem with that is is they already have the muscle that’s requiring more metabolic demand. So they’re burning more with that. So their calorie surplus, even though they probably are eating way more than what you are right now, is probably not as big of a surplus as you actually think given the amount of muscle they have on. So you have to be a little bit strategic here. And it truly, like you said, it really doesn’t take that much again to be anywhere from 200 to 300 calories extra, which let’s be honest, that’s really just an added snack to your day. But we do also of course want to make sure that we’re adding the right calories from the right sources. So this is really where we’re looking at making sure we’re getting those necessary amino acids from protein sources, we’re getting the correct amount of carbohydrates so that we can protect that muscle mass when we are working it even further.

Cori (04:20):
And going back to your underrated, because as much as I said overrated, I totally get that underrated perspective, especially if someone has been in a deficit, it’s scary to first come out of it because you feel like you do see that scale jump, which you will because you now are no longer depleted. So when you’re coming out of the deficit, especially if you’re fearing gaining fat, you’re fearing increasing those calories, but you want those muscle gains, you got to do it slowly because you do have to retrain your body to eat more. As you mentioned, someone who already has more muscle on who’s eating higher calories might have been at maintenance and is now going into that calorie surplus from their maintenance to add more muscle on top of that. But they have transitioned first to maintenance. So simply coming out of that deficit, moving towards maintenance slowly might be your first step. And in that process you might even see muscle being built because you somewhat trained your body to function off of less. So with the increased calories, your body has the extra fuel to be able to add that lean muscle. And then with adding lean muscle, your body will need more. So just know that it is a slow transition out of that deficit if you’ve been in a fat loss phase. But you can’t fear seeing that scale go up a little bit because you’re no longer depleted.

Michelle (05:30):
Yes, and I think that’s honestly one of the biggest things is when you are truly solely focusing on the gains and not necessarily body recomp, the scale is not going to be your friend. Measurements are, but the scale won’t be.

Cori (05:46):
And macro is still matter a lot. There is no debating that. I’m not even going to give Michelle an opportunity to say overrated or underrated. Macros still matter a lot. We’re actually going to touch on once macro specifically in a second, but before that I want to jump to a workout overrated or underrated heavy weights for building muscle. Michelle, your opinion

Michelle (06:06):

Cori (06:09):
Alright, and so I’m going to argue with you here just a little bit and for a good reason because I do agree weights are very important and I’m doing this more to present the nuance in things and the opportunity in things, but I’m going to say overrated. And the reason why is weights are the easiest way to create progression, especially when you’re starting back, especially as an advanced lifter. Yes, you need to challenge yourself with loads, but the more advanced we are, the more we’re going to be hitting that upper limit potentially in what we can lift with different moves. So we’ve got to see opportunity in other progressions to keep driving that same stimulus for muscle growth. We’ve got to use different training techniques, different tempos, different tools. We can’t just get caught up in lifting heavier because there might be a point where we can’t truly add that much weight or add that many more reps with the same weight. So we can’t lift that many more loads without unique training techniques or equipment. But I do want you to break down why you very aptly said underrated because heavyweights are very important when we want to create that easy progression.

Michelle (07:08):
And I think I took it kind of from the perspective of someone that’s new to trying to gain muscle. So when you are new to the game, of course everything you’ve said was absolutely a hundred percent correct and there’s a lot of different ways that you can grow muscle. It doesn’t have to just be heavy lifting, but I think a lot of women specifically shy away from heavy lifting. And the problem with that is you do have to be a little bit more smart about how you go about trying to gain muscle if you are not trying to lift heavy. So it’s maybe a little bit, I don’t want to say the lazy route, but it makes it a little bit easier if you’re new to the game and you are just starting to try to lift heavier and progress with your weights that way.

And this is really just because it is going to create that muscle tension or even that time under tension that your body requires to actually be able to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. So by just creating that heavier lift or doing a heavier lift, you are going to be able to get there quicker. And it’s the same with also just having that progressive overload, being able to lift heavy and as you mentioned, progress and, sorry, excuse me. Get to that next point where you’re even lifting heavier that is going to be able to actually have a bigger effect on your body to be able to signal for muscle growth. And of course you’re going to have more muscle tears, which is going to require more rebuild or more repair. So there’s a lot of benefits to lifting heavy, but as you mentioned, we can’t get completely stuck into it’s the only way. But if you’ve been shying away from it for fear of that you’re going to get too bulky or for fear or just women in general who sometimes we don’t always lift heavy things, I would definitely encourage you to start lifting heavy and challenge yourself at actually trying to progress to heavier weights.

Cori (09:05):
I love that you mentioned that specifically because not even talking just about purely muscle gains. Heavy weights are so important for us being functionally fit to our final day on this planet. And I think as women fearing getting bulky or even the fearing of getting older and lifting heavy, that is definitely a fear I’ve seen popping up, oh, I’m too old, I shouldn’t lift as heavy. No, you need to challenge yourself even more because if you’re not creating that stimulus for growth, that stressor in your training, you are not going to cause your body to build and repair because as we get older, it does get harder to build and retaining muscle. So we need that same stimulus. We cannot fear lifting heavy, it’s use it or lose it. And so the heavier we lift, the more we can handle loads in everyday life. So not even just talking about muscle gains from an aesthetic standpoint, but that functional strength we need. Lifting heavy is so important even as we become more advanced and might have to use those other drivers of muscle growth, the other forms of progression to really see those muscle gains Going into the next topic, meal timing, overrated or underrated?

Michelle (10:06):
I’m going to go overrated on this one.

Cori (10:09):
I really wavered on this one as to whether or not I was going to say overrated or underrated because I think meal timing in general is very overrated and paid far too much attention to other than finding the meal schedule that’s right for you. But I also think that in this day and age where people are really pushing intermittent fasting and different things like that, it can be something that we ignore as holding us back from seeing the muscle gains we want because we did a specific meal timing potentially to lose the fat and that same meal timing doesn’t work now for muscle gains. So I’d love to sort of hear why you said overrated

Michelle (10:45):
And you brought up good points. Honestly, truthfully, I wasn’t even thinking that intermittent fasting route where so many people are doing that. So I’m really interested to hear that perspective. Now you’ve got my brain thinking on that one as well, but I went with overrated only because again, when people first start trying to gain muscle or even any health journey, they start looking at areas that aren’t the most important pieces. So when it comes to eating overall, yes, timing can affect things, but the biggest thing is at the end of the day, are you actually getting your needed macros? Are you actually hitting your needed caloric goal? And everyone’s a little bit different. What’s going to work for someone isn’t going to work for someone else? And a lot of times it’s really this niche area that I see a lot of people trying to follow because that’s what an athlete does and it’s because they’re trying to perform at their peak performance during their workouts or during a game or a race or whatever they’re doing athletically.

And the biggest problem I see is we get so up in the surrounding of like, oh, I need to eat this right two hours before or I need to recover within 30 minutes with this. And we get so stressed out about that that we’re forgetting about the rest of the day. Those things are great and I definitely want to encourage people to do those things, but at the end of the day, if all you did was take care of what surrounded your workout, but you didn’t adequately fuel the rest of the time, you’re not going to do yourselves any favors. And it’s almost like, okay, yeah, you had a couple good meals around your workouts, but we still aren’t hitting what we need to hit and we’re not providing the proper fuel by the end of the day for your body as a whole.

Cori (12:32):
I love that you mentioned we stress ourselves out with details that aren’t as important because that is really why I sort of wavered in my opinion on this because I think we turn to meal timing or we freak out about, oh my gosh, my muscles are going to melt off if I don’t eat within a certain time. And that’s really not the case. Meal timing is about optimizing, about allowing us to hit our macros more easily, feel fueled for our workouts, which I think is where I also wavered on saying it was a little underrated because often if someone has done intermittent fasting potentially for their training, they can yes, still time enough carbs, enough calories that at night to be fueled for that workout, but are they fueled optimally? Especially if they find that they’re a hard gainer if they’re first coming out of that deficit and especially based on the training that they’re doing, sometimes we’re not as energized as we could be.

And to really build a muscle, especially the more advanced you are, you have to have that fuel to push and be very uncomfortable in your training. So it might be a time where we have to adjust the meal timing or let go of a previous meal timing we’ve done to now have that pre-workout meal or adjust our meal timing to now break our fast a little bit closer or even extend our eating window out because we’re having to eat more calories and it’s harder in that fasting window. So I think that’s where my brain went of there’s so much nuance to what mealtime is really best, that it’s both overrated and that it’s the first thing we turn to over just hitting our macros. But it’s also underrated in that we don’t think to adjust it with a new goal where it can really pay off.

Michelle (14:05):
And I completely agree with that too. There’s definitely a lot more nuance to it.

Cori (14:11):
So next topic, jumping back to the training, training frequency, like training more than once a week, only once a week, is training frequency overrated or underrated?

Michelle (14:22):
I went underrated on this one.

Cori (14:25):
I have to 100% agree, especially because I’ve seen so many of the bodybuilding type workouts where people are training a body part once a week popping up and studies have truly proven that two to three times a week is optimal to stimulate muscle growth is especially for stubborn areas. And I think so often we think do more in one day over spreading that volume out over more days so that we can really be fresher and do more quality over the course of the week hitting those stubborn areas a little bit more frequently to drive that stimulus from muscle growth in different ways. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts too as to why you mentioned underrated. I was not surprised that we agreed on this because of the progressions we create, but

Michelle (15:07):
Yeah, so definitely you have to be able to progress. The point is, again, we have to be able to tear the muscle down to be able to build it up and one time once a week isn’t going to be enough. But what I also wanted to add for this too is the importance of actually being able to not just hit the body parts but also make sure that you’re giving the correct amount of recovery. So you mentioned three to five times a week of lifting and actually working the muscle groups, but the flip side of that is making sure that you’re having the correct recovery in between so you’re not just constantly tearing your body down without giving it the opportunity to repair. So often when I hear people are ready to hit and gain muscle, they try to put themselves through these really vigorous workouts every single day.

And while I’m not here to rain on anyone’s prey, that working out is fantastic. But if you’re jumping into that, there’s a couple of issues. One, the sustainability of it because you are going to beat yourself down if you’re not allowing yourself that proper recovery. But on the flip side of that, you are also probably not doing it with a game plan. And I think this is the most important part is actually having that game plan of what muscle groups you’re going to work and laying it out so you’re not just hitting not only just one area over and over again so that we’re able to stay balanced, but you’re able to give that area recovery time as you work a different area

Cori (16:44):
That is truly so key. If you’re training five days a week, how you’re going to break things up is going to be very different than if you’re training three days a week. And in that training frequency, you have to consider training intensity, training volume because doing a ton of volume, just thinking well more is better is not really the case because again, you’re going to hit a point of diminishing returns, you’re not going to be able to recover from it. But you want to think about how can I vary the intensity and the way I’m working areas. So this isn’t like I’m going to train my glutes, my hamstrings and I’m going to do deadlifts the same deadlifts three times a week. You want to think, okay, I want to train my glutes and my hamstrings. What are the joint functions? What are the muscle actions?

Okay, I might do a heavy barbell lift to start the week knowing that’s going to make me more sore, but do that when I’m freshest. And then later on in the week I might do a unilateral variation. Maybe I’m going to do more of a metabolic stress movement that uses a band to work my glutes or a move that is a shorter range of motion for my hamstrings or instead of the hip dominant movement to work the hamstrings, more of a knee movement. So if you think about the hamstrings, because they are worked by both hip extension and also knee flexion, you think about how could I include maybe something that’s in an extended hip position with knee flexion or in a flex hip position with knee flexion. So there’s a lot of different ways to work a muscle and we want to include that diversity over the week. So now jumping into the next topic, bringing it back to nutrition and bring it back to macros, carbs, overrated or underrated.

Michelle (18:11):
I went underrated on this one.

Cori (18:15):
Same question. I 100% agree not to interrupt you, but I 100% agree because I think especially in this day and age of low carb diets being all the fad for weight loss, we got to let go of what worked for one goal to move to another. So please share underrated why.

Michelle (18:31):
Yeah, I was ready to fight you on this one if you went overrated. Mainly as you mentioned, a lot of people just fear carbs when we’re trying to be in a deficit, when we’re trying to lose weight, that’s usually the first area that people start to restrict and I totally get why because we do live in a world where carbs are very easy to over consume. And the problem with that is once we have that fear and you have that transformation, you’ve achieved weight loss and all of a sudden we are really trying to focus on that muscle gain, we tend to leave out the carbs still. And the problem is, is it is our primary source of energy. I mean your muscle is full of glycogen, which is carbs. Your body is going to break it down into, and so it’s that energy for your muscles to actually be able to use for you to go into a workout and push yourself, you are going to be using up that glycogen.

Now the biggest problem with this is as we use up that glycogen, once it’s depleted, your body’s actually going to turn to a protein source. And one of the biggest things in your body is your muscle. So if we’re not giving our body that adequate amount of carbs to protect our lean muscle tissue, then your body’s going to start actually utilizing it for energy. And this is two things, right? This is why we focus so much on a higher protein diet because of course we want those amino acids to be able to rebuild the muscle, but it’s also to kind of help protect ourselves from when we do push things too hard and all of a sudden our body has depleted that muscle glycogen. We want to have that extra cushion with the needed amino acids. But again, this is why it’s so important to focus on that carbs because it is a protein sparing energy source as well.

Cori (20:22):
I think carbs often get demonized, especially for someone looking to lose weight. But I’ve had comments say, well, there are no essential carbs, there’s essential fats, there’s essential amino acids, but they’re not essential carbs. And I thought that was an interesting thing because it is an energy source and it is protein sparing and you do need it to really be able to push in your training. But we also see as people push in their training, this fear of cortisol levels rising. And we also see women especially having different hormonal issues because of trying to push really hard in their training and not only under fueling but potentially restricting carbs too much and in different stages ages, we might find that different carb intakes work for us and that timing our carbs becomes something we strategically need to do if we do function better on lower carb ratios.

But I can tell you I see so many women saying I’m suffering from thyroid issues like adrenal fatigue because they’re pushing hard on their training but not truly giving their body the fuel that they need. And a lot of these issues can be solved by yes, valuing that calorie surplus, but also by valuing carbs to truly fuel the training that you’re doing. And it’s not just that we’re doing this for weightlifting, but a lot of times we’re doing the weightlifting to try and gain muscle. But if you are an endurance athlete, if you are doing a little bit more cardio and you want to keep those things in, we hear you can’t gain muscle and do your cardio, but it’s also about the way you fuel to find the balance in doing things you enjoy while trying to reach your aesthetic goals.

Michelle (21:50):
Yeah, I love that you brought up the fatigue issue. That’s probably one of the most common complaints I hear is that people are feeling tired and they’re worried about like, well, is it my macros? What is it? And it’s usually that they’re restricting their carbs. And I did find it interesting that you mentioned that there’s no essential carbs and the reason why is because carbs all break down to something pretty similar in the body that your body’s going to use. So it doesn’t necessarily, there are good, better, best carb sources and we want to have quality carb sources, but it is true, there is no essential carb, all carbs are going to be utilized in pretty much a very similar fashion. The reason why I love that is because I’m going to probably again cause some issues here, but a lot of times people get so stressed on the type of carbs that they’re consuming that they forget that the type of carb needs change depending on how close you are to your workout or if you are in a workout.

So for example, you mentioned the cardio person. If you are someone that is doing a lot of cardio because you’re training for something and you are avoiding carbs, not only is this going to be detrimental, but if you’re not consuming quick carb sources during your training, you are going to have more detrimental effect on your muscle itself. So that’s really where what others would consider a bad carb choice, like a quick Jolly rancher or something or hard candy or even candied, something that’s going to break down fast into glucose is going to be a bigger beneficial for you or the biggest benefit for you. So the biggest thing I just wanted to add to that is the source of your carbs is going to be dependent on what your goal is and when you’re working out and the type of working out you’re doing that we do want to make sure that we are having adequate carbs

Cori (23:55):
And micros are very important, but you bring up a super important point that there’s got to be a balance and that so often we just demonize something without seeing the value in it and the opportunity in it. And it actually made me think about how a lot of times bodybuilders different athletes would eat jelly beans because they were a quick carb source and I was like, oh, jelly bellies are delicious. Anyway, complete side note, but moving on to number six, I want to talk about progression. How key is it? Is it overrated or underrated? And we’re talking about workout progression and designing that weekly schedule.

Michelle (24:29):
So I went underrated on this one

Cori (24:33):
And I one a hundred percent agree and I am very biased in saying this, or maybe not biased, but very adamant in saying underrated because I see so many people saying I’m working hard, I’m doing really hard workouts, I’m doing workouts of the day and there’s no clear progression. And then they’re wondering why their pull-ups aren’t improving or they see improvement one week but not the next week or they don’t fully see muscle gains. And it’s because when you don’t have something you can track, when you don’t have something you’re doing consistently that you can build off of, you can’t really know if you’re increasing weight because if you do a deadlift on one day and deadlift on a completely different day after other moves and other workouts, what you can lift might be very different, but it’s impacted by what you’ve done. But you can’t create that clear progression to know if you’re truly challenging yourself in the way that you need. So throwing it back to you, you mentioned that it’s also underrated you thoughts.

Michelle (25:20):
So my biggest thing with this, and I was the type of person that was like, I get bored with doing the same workout for multiple weeks in a row. I wanted that changeup, but then I really did discover that that consistency and the stimulus to that specific muscle doing that specific move is really going to be what’s going to cause your muscle to adapt and to actually grow. So by repeating the workouts, you provide that consistent stimulus to encourage that muscle adaptation and changing workouts just too frequently. It can actually prevent you from seeing some of that, those big gains. So again, this is coming down to, well, how quickly are we wanting to get you to that end goal? And I truly believe if you’re not approaching it with a progressive plan, you’re going to find that it’s going to take you a lot slower because as you mentioned, you’re not going to be able to really know how to even or what you’ve done so that you can push yourself and lift a little bit heavier. So it’s really about also being able to track that progress so that you know how to push yourself to get that gain

Cori (26:28):
And then pair your nutrition with it. Not to mention going back to your whole, I get bored with things thing. I think that is a common feeling. You can create a weekly schedule that is very interesting over the week and has a lot of diversity over the week. You just want to repeat that and it doesn’t have to be repeated for months on end, even just three weeks can build and then a strategic change and maybe some of the variations you’re implementing or slight training techniques. So it can be that slow progression where it doesn’t have to be super rigid, but it has to be something week over week where you do repeat it for a few weeks to see that progress but also not make yourself as sore or broken down because the first week of doing something new, you are going to be sore from all that new.

And if you aren’t conscious of that, you’re not going to repair from it or recover from it. And that’s going to make you see a point of diminishing returns. Constantly being sore is not an indicator that you worked hard enough, it’s an indicator that you’re potentially have under recovered or that you’re just doing a ton of new things and in that soreness you change the way the muscles are activating, you change the way that you’re able to push in subsequent workouts. So while something might feel tough to truly create muscle, you have to create progression. And that means working in what’s truly your a hundred percent intensity, not 90% because you feel burned out. So when you’re doing different things feeling sore and you’re feeling burned out, yeah, you’re pushing hard, but is it as hard as you really could push to truly create that growth? So it’s something we want to consider that that progression allows us to recover. It allows us to not feel as sore. It allows us to see those incremental adjustments and know that we’re truly doing what we need to challenge ourselves to create that change. So moving on to the final topic we have for today, supplements for muscle building, and I did bring up creatine with this, but I want to touch on some other ones if you have any thoughts on them. Are they overrated or underrated for gaining muscle?

Michelle (28:16):
So this is the one that I was really flip-flopping on because truthfully I think they are overrated, but I also think they’re underrated. So just to kind of explain really quickly, you can get the results you want without any supplementation, however supplements are there to supplement a diet so it can be easier on you if you are supplementing and specifically protein and creatine itself. Those are two very well tested, very well researched supplements that do help with muscle gains. So it’s one of those things like do you have to have it? No. Does it make it easier? Yeah, it can make it easier specifically if you are someone that is struggling a little bit with your nutrition intake.

Cori (29:03):
I wavered on this one too because it goes back to the, it’s overrated in that it’s things that people worry about first when they don’t have their macros dial in when they don’t have a clear workout progression and supplements will not change a broken system. That’s like putting a piece of gum in a dam that’s busting open with this hole, right? It’s not going to stop the water from coming out. You need to truly patch it. Don’t go do that anybody, but you do want to consider it because if you are a more advanced exerciser, if you are getting older going through hormonal changes where there is more chronic inflammation or you are not utilizing protein as efficiently because you’re getting older and you’re struggling to gain that lean muscle supplements can be that boost and that fixing of those nutritional gaps that despite our best efforts, we can’t always address because we simply need more even while eating in that calorie surplus, even while tracking our macros. So I think it’s a lot of opportunity to make improvements and things that we should look at. But you cannot out supplement a bad diet. You can’t out supplement a broken workout plan.

Michelle (30:09):
Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s so key to keep that in mind is, and I know it’s cliche, but I’m going to say it again. Supplements are there to supplement. They are not there to fix, like you mentioned a broken system. And I am going to kind of touch a little bit more on creatine specifically because that is something that I do think a lot of people don’t actually utilize when it can be very helpful for muscle protein synthesis. And again, there’s a lot of research out there that’s going to back this up, but having creatine does actually help stimulate the muscle protein synthesis itself because it does draw in water. Now having said that, that means if it’s drawing water into the muscle, your muscle actually will look a little bit larger because you are drawing in that muscle. But again, and I said this earlier, this is not a time where the scale is necessarily your friend because if you are also drawing in that extra water, you are going to probably see some bump in the scale if all of a sudden you start supplementing with creatine. So that’s something to be aware of that it’s water, but it’s also doing a lot of good things for you. It does improve recovery. There is some research that actually does show that it helps with the insulin-like growth factor. So the hormone that actually is relevant to muscle growth is going to improve as well

Cori (31:34):
Improve. So I have to throw in an extra one because it’s come up a couple times and I think it’s really important that we slightly harp on this. The scale for muscle gains overrated or underrated.

Michelle (31:48):
I’m going overrated on that one.

Cori (31:50):
I am going to 100% agree and I honestly brought it up because I knew you were going to say that, and I think that that’s a really important point. Going back to even the creatine in that we have to embrace the scale going up because if you add muscle, even if you don’t add fat and you just maintain your level of leanness, you’re going to see the scale increase. If you gain two pounds of muscle, even as you lose one pound of fat, you’re going to see the scale increase as you come out of that deficit and you’re no longer depleted. You’re going to see the scale increase with creatine and water retention, which you need, especially as you store glycogen to then fuel your workouts, help muscles repair and rebuild, you are going to see the scale increase. So if you get caught up in that number, you’re going to hold yourself back from seeing those muscle gains. So I would recommend you step off the scale, you don’t worry about it until you’re at the weight you want to be or the look you want to be at, and then you can step on it and see what that is to now represent the body comp you want. But you track with measurements, you track with the clothing items and see how they fit your thoughts

Michelle (32:47):
And track with the picture. The picture is going to be the biggest thing. I am going to say this, and it’s actually, you mentioned this before to me, we get, even with clothes, you have to recognize that your clothes are probably going to fit differently. So I know you had mentioned a story about, I think it was a client or maybe you, I don’t remember where they were saying that their pants didn’t fit and eventually you came to the realization that it was because they had been working on their glutes, so their butt was bigger, but if they actually looked at their waistband, the waist itself was smaller. So you have to recognize there’s going to be changes even in your measurements, but the goal is to gain. So you’re looking at hopefully gaining a larger bicep at some point, probably a bigger glute. So clothes are going to fit differently on you and that’s not always a bad thing. So as you mentioned, looking at yourself physically via picture or just being able to look at yourself in the mirror and realizing and putting a more emphasis on this is how you want to look versus this is what you want the number on the scale to say.

Cori (33:58):
I think it’s so key to bringing back to the point you mentioned about the close fitting differently because often people will be like, well, I gain weight. How do I know if it’s fat or muscle? And the measurement changes in the right areas, the muscular areas that you’re working on increases there show that you’re gaining muscle increases, say in your waist circumference where you’re not trying to necessarily build that out. That’s where you might want to say, okay, am I putting on a little bit of fluff? Do I need to assess my progression? Do I need to assess my macros? Do I need to assess my calorie surplus or deficit? Well in this case surplus, but potentially even take it back a little bit, maybe even do a mini cut for a deficit, which is a conversation for a whole nother day, but assessing where you’re seeing those measurement changes can really impact how you might interpret the results. Michelle, any closing thoughts in terms of tips if someone’s really seeking those muscle gains?

Michelle (34:52):
Just really quick because I feel like we covered a lot and definitely a lot of good information for everyone, but if you are someone that is sitting there and you’re being like, okay, they talked about progressions, they talked about the training frequency and you were struggling with even kind of understanding when we were talking about how you would actually plan that out, that is not something, it’s not the easiest thing to learn on your own. You can, but it’s going to take a lot of time and trial and error. That is really where I think the best education you can have is actually going and getting that coaching so that you have someone in your corner who’s also able to provide that guidance for you. And even with nutrition too, because you mentioned it’s so hard, the hardest thing I have with clients that have lost and they’ve gotten to the point that they want as far as being able to lose the fat and now they’re looking for that muscle gain is it really is a complete mind shift. And you’re going to have days where you are really struggling on the mental side knowing that you are doing things correctly. And so just having that person that’s in your corner or that community that’s in your corner that’s going through the same process is really going to benefit you and getting you to your success a lot sooner.

Cori (36:14):
I think that’s such a key point, the mindset behind it. Because a lot of times in our society there is an emphasis on fat loss, weight loss, and I’m all for looking exactly the way you want, whatever that means in terms of your body recomp. But I think there is a emphasis on looking smaller. And so with that being said, it can be hard and challenging to embrace seeing the scale go up when you’ve always been taught to look for it to go down. It can be hard feeling bigger or seeing changes in your body that you’re not used to. So the more you do have that security to trust in the process and not throw out something that’s working because you see something you’ve kind of always fought against in a weird way, like the scale increasing, that can be very helpful. And I want to bring it back to the progression for just a second because when I was talking about training techniques in the group the other day, someone mentioned, oh, I see these in the workout progressions sometimes the best way to learn the training techniques that work for you as you research them is to have a plan laid out.

The best way to learn what macro breakdowns is to have macro ratios laid out because then you’re testing with a strategic way of implementing. So don’t be afraid to follow a program, see what works for you, and then take from that as you’re learning about different things on your own because it can help you sort of narrow your focus so you’re not distracted by every option out there because there are a lot of different things that can work in a good way, but you don’t need all of them, and especially you don’t need all of them all the time. So make sure to stay really focused, track what you’re doing, but set that clear plan in place before you get started.

Cori (37:40):
Thanks for listening to the Fitness Hacks Podcast. Again, this is the place where I share all my free workout and nutrition tips. I’m never going to run sponsorships or ask you to buy anything. All I ask in return is if you’re enjoying the podcast to leave a rating review or share it with someone you think it might help. This will only take a few minutes and it would mean the world to me and possibly change the life of someone.


*Please Note: this transcript is auto-generated and there may be some errors in the transcript