Carbohydrates: main things you need to know

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and at the same time the most controversial product. It seems that society is balancing somewhere between the belief that carbohydrates are bad and should be excluded from the diet, and the idea that carbohydrates are important for maintaining energy levels, and therefore they should not be afraid of, because everything consumed will immediately burn.

Let’s try to understand this subject and structure all the information a little.

Basic facts about carbohydrates

1. Carbohydrates are essential

Carbohydrates are our main fuel. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose and other substances. It is glucose that is used as fuel for cells.

Carbohydrates provide energy to all the vital functions of your body, support your brain, and accumulate in your muscles as a ready-made source of energy.

The form of glucose stored in this way is called glycogen, and when you are physically active, it can fuel your body for about one or two hours, depending on the intensity of your workouts.

When you start feeling tired, it means that your glycogen stores are depleted. After you have eaten, your body replenishes these reserves in the muscles again.

2. There are three types of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are molecules containing carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. They can be simple (sugar) or complex (starch and fiber), it depends on how many molecules are bound together, as well as their different types.

1) Simple carbohydrates are small molecules. This means that your body digests them quickly. They cause “sugar euphoria”, but this energy is very quickly consumed. As a result, you feel tired and crave more, which is not good.

Examples are sugar, syrups, sweets, sweet breakfast cereals, and cakes. This category also includes products made from white flour-bread, pastries, pies. White flour does not contain sugar per se, but because it is made from grains stripped of all the outer shells and most of the nutrients, and then ground to a fine powder, your body digests it very quickly, and it acts on it in the same way as sugar.

In reality, you don’t need these carbohydrates, except when you’re doing an intense workout, climbing a mountain, or running a marathon. Then they provide a much-needed quick boost of energy.

In a “normal” life, it makes sense to abstain from simple carbohydrates to avoid ups and downs of energy, as well as unwanted weight gain.

2) Complex or starchy carbohydrates combine many molecules in very long chains, so your body slowly breaks them down and gradually releases glucose. This is the best source of energy that will be released during the day, so you should choose these carbohydrates.

They are found in whole-grain foods such as whole-grain bread, oats, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and sweet potatoes. These foods are a storehouse of healthy substances — their complex carbohydrates contain fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

This means that they give you healthy energy, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and are good for your digestion and overall health.

There is absolutely no reason to avoid these carbohydrates. They should be the foundation of your every meal.

3) Fiber is a diverse group of many types of complex carbohydrates that we can’t digest. Fiber is important because it supports gut health by feeding the beneficial bacteria that live there, slows down the release of energy from foods, and regulates blood sugar and fat levels.

Fiber is absolutely essential for a healthy diet. The good news is that it is an important component of whole plant foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds), so if you base your diet on them, you won’t have to worry about a lack of fiber.

3. Sugar is addictive

When you eat sugar, your brain releases the hormone dopamine, which makes you feel good and makes you want to repeat this pleasant experience. This stems from our evolutionary history, because sweet food is a good source of energy, which used to be crucial for our survival.

But now there is too much sugar everywhere, and this joy for the brain is a kind of trap. Many addictive drugs work in a similar way, but the dopamine response to sugar is not as strong as it is to hard drugs. This means that your sugar cravings have a biological explanation, but also that getting rid of the sugar habit is not so easy.

The sugar-responsive brain is one side of sugar addiction, the other is our taste buds – in other words, the level of sweetness we’re used to. It will take time to change it, but once it does, you’ll be surprised how much your taste has changed.

Some people decide to completely abandon sugar, some-just reduce its amount to a minimum. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s up to you to decide, but gradually cutting back on sweets implies a softer transition than a decisive refusal once and for all.

If you now add a teaspoon of sugar to your tea or coffee, try adding half a teaspoon, and after three weeks, reduce the amount of sugar by half again. Why three weeks? This is how long it usually takes to form a new habit.

4. Low-carb diets are dangerous

Low-carb, ketogenic, or paleo diets are usually based on foods high in protein and fat and strictly limit carbohydrate intake. This causes your metabolism to change priorities and get energy mainly from fat and protein, which causes a decrease in hunger and can lead to weight loss.

Your body may function in this mode for a while, but it’s not the natural way your metabolism works. This is why these diets are only effective for short-term weight loss, but if followed for a long time, they have a number of unpleasant side effects, such as: constipation, headaches, kidney failure, bad breath, increased cholesterol, increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and even premature death (Bilsborough and Crowe, 2003; Farhadnejad et al., 2019; Mazidi et al., 2019).

Key statements

We have evolved to eat complex carbohydrates, so it is best to build your diet on their natural sources, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (lentils, beans, peas), which gradually release their energy and promote good health by providing us with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

On the other hand, refined carbohydrates, such as: white bread, pastries, processed snacks, cakes, sweets, carbonated and sugary drinks, have negative consequences, as they quickly turn into sugar and can contribute to weight gain, the occurrence of heart disease, diabetes and some other chronic diseases. If you use them from time to time, this is not a problem, but they should not become your daily choice.

Our body exists at the expense of carbohydrates, so do not avoid them. Choose good carbs, and you will feel great both physically and mentally, having plenty of energy for the whole day.

Interval fasting: 6 great effects on the body

Interval fasting is a topic that has been actively discussed in the last 2-3 years. A unique method of weight loss, based on periodic regular refusals from food. The technique is used to reduce weight and normalize overall well-being.

What is interval fasting?

Interval fasting is understood as a special nutrition program, in which meals are strictly scheduled in time.

Several types of interval fasting have been developed, from which you can choose the appropriate one.

14/10 and 16/8 are the most popular versions of the program. The first number indicates the time period when you don’t eat. The second – the period when the food is allowed.

Some programs contain daily intervals that imply a whole day without food. A person once a week should be without food for a day, taking but with abundant drinking.

The human body has special mechanisms that allow you to periodically starve: the accumulation of glycogen, fat, the synthesis of glucose from amino acids, the effect of hormonal substances, the depletion of fat reserves.

The essence of interval fasting

A 2016 study, “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Interval Eating for Health and Longevity,” suggests that people are becoming more “autonomous,” their bodies no longer rely on glucose for energy, and are free to use their own fat.

The task of fasting is to master the source of fuel, the supply of which we have in excess. The body begins to create glucose from improvised materials, and not to require new and new food for this.

Physiological mechanisms of interval fasting

During interval fasting, insulin decreases, fat-releasing hormones are activated, triglycerides float out of fat depots (adipocytes) and are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol.

New glucose is synthesized from glycerol, and fatty acids provide the body with energy during the period without food.

So you lose weight, there is absolutely no hunger, sugar is stable, and all this is simply because you have developed the habit of staying without food for a long time.

Reduction of oxidative stress

The most active exploitation of the body is nutrition and physical activity.

In both cases, a lot of decomposition products are formed as a result of serious metabolic processes involving oxygen. Coping with free radicals is difficult when exploitation is always at its maximum. This is the oxidative damage.

A pause in food is a respite in the work of the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

How to practice?

You can test yourself and look for the most convenient break during the day. It may be convenient for you to just have breakfast at 12.00. Or perhaps finish all the day’s meals early.

Just analyze your daily routine and you will see what time gap is convenient for you to fast.

It seems to me that it is optimal to make three meals from 10.00 to 18.00. This will be 16:8 program.

I would choose high protein and sugar-free food, because sugar creates jumps in appetite.

Protein and fiber, on the other hand, make it easy to forget about food for a long time.

Interval eating benefits

1. Weight loss.

This process accelerates fat burning and helps you successfully lose weight without strictly following the layout of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as with a normal diet.

When we eat constantly, the body primarily burns glucose as an energy source.

When we pause, the fat starts to be used.

2. Lowering the level of insulin and blood sugar.

With interval fasting, in most cases, blood sugar spikes stop, and the situation with insulin, cholesterol, and other metabolic markers improves.

A big plus of fasting is the restoration of insulin sensitivity.

3. Heart protection.

Interval nutrition reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that interval fasting causes an increase in adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a protein involved in the metabolism of fat and sugar and protects against heart disease.

4. Reducing the level of inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is usually associated with metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

5. Protecting the brain from dementia.

Pauses between meals deactivate certain proteins involved in the aging process of the brain.

Improves memory, increases the ability to learn.

6. Appetite control.

This mechanism is linked to leptin, the satiety hormone. It is produced by fat cells and sends a signal to the brain to stop absorbing food.

Interval feeding normalizes leptin levels and returns the brain’s sensitivity to its signals. You eat your fill on time.


If you suffer from eating disorders, bulimia and compulsive overeating, then you should refrain from fasting.

People with reduced thyroid function are not recommended to follow fasting programs. Any problems with the thyroid gland suggest that you need to eat regularly, because thyroid hormones are extremely sensitive to food experiments.

Do not start abruptly following the program. It is necessary to gradually accustom the body to reduce the amount of food. If you want to follow the system for a long time, it is better to consult with doctors.

Omega-3: main types and functions in the body

Omega-3 is a group of fatty acids that protect human cell membranes and internal organs from destruction.

Without these compounds, the full functioning of the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems, hormone synthesis and proper metabolism are impossible.

In addition, they suppress inflammatory processes, improve the condition of the joints, fight emotional disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome.

Omega-3 is a group of fatty acids that are not produced in the body, and when they are not enough, a variety of biochemical and physiological disorders occur.

Therefore, we should eat food rich in this nutrient.


  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is a part of the gray matter of the brain, cell membranes, eye retina, sperm, and testicles.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It stimulates the regeneration of cell membranes, normalizes the mechanisms of lipid transport in the blood, and activates the immune system.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This type of fat helps in the fight against stress, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin, hair, and nail problems (dryness, seborrhea, and delamination).

EPA and DHA lipids are found in the tissues of marine life. They are the most useful for the human body, because they do not require a lot of enzymes to digest, unlike plant foods enriched with ALA.


Omega-3 triglycerides are the most important nutrients for humans, since they perform bioregulatory, structural, energy and storage functions.

Omega-3s have a wide range of positive effects, we will list only the main ones:

1. Promote efficient metabolism.

Accelerate the growth of lean muscle mass and reduce the fat layer.

Increased sensitivity to insulin by slowing the movement of food contents through the gastrointestinal tract.

Thus, carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly, without creating concentration peaks that cause desensebilization of the insulin islands.

2. Improvement of the rheological properties of blood, due to a decrease in viscosity, which reduces blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.

3. Raises the overall tone, increases endurance and neuro-muscular function. A study conducted in 2015 demonstrated an improvement in all of these qualities in men during exercise compared to a placebo control group that used olive oil.

4. Improve brain function, lift your mood. The brain matter is 60% fat, and especially needs Omega-3 fatty acids to function properly.

5. Enhance the production of hormones, including testosterone.


For the full functioning of the body, it is important to consume at least 0.65 grams of omega per day.

Factors that provoke a lack of essential triglycerides in the body:

  • prolonged fasting; unbalanced diet;
  • compliance with strict mono-diets;
  • digestive tract dysfunction.

Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency:

constant thirst;

dry skin;

brittle nails;

hair loss;


pain in joints, muscles, tendons;

increased blood pressure;

impaired memory,


fatigue, weakness.


The content of Omega-3 in foods

In fact, the best source of omega-3 fats is seafood.

Omega-3 fats are also found in flax seeds, oat germ, wheat germ.

Soy, pumpkin, hemp oil, and walnut oil also contain omega-3 fats.

Fiber: types, benefits and sources

Fiber is an important product for modern people.

We live in a world where food is absorbed fast, the body does not have time to adequately respond to the increase in sugar after eating refined and high-calorie food.

Sugar rises slowly with two components:

  1. Fat
  2. Fiber

Pure protein must necessarily be “diluted” with fats and vegetables and other vegetable products (preferably fresh). Some amino acids also turn into glucose. It can be a delayed increase in sugar after a decent portion of lean protein.

Types of fiber:

Soluble fiber.

Helps to balance the pH of the intestine, prevents constipation, improves the absorption of nutrients. Food for beneficial bacteria.

Insoluble fiber.

Does not dissolve in water, is not fermented by bacteria. It’s just a kind of mechanical stimulator of the intestine.


Best sources of fiber:

1. Avocado. A good source of potassium, vitamins E and C, B6, folic acid.

2. Pears. A source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Digestive stimulant.

3. Different berries. Vitamins A, C, E, K, folic acid, minerals (manganese, potassium). Useful antioxidants.

4. Coconut. Coconut flour is a very good choice for alternative baking.

5. Figs. Dried fruit is probably too sweet, but fresh contains not so many calories and a huge amount of nutrients: potassium, pantothenic acid (B5), copper, B6.

6. Peas. In 150 grams of cooked food – about 9 grams of fiber.

7. Pumpkin. A source of vitamins A, C, K, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus.

8. White cabbage.  Source of vitamins C, K, B2, B6, B1, folic acid, manganese.

9. Beans. Contain good vegetable protein, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid.

10. Chickpeas. Protein, copper, folic acid, manganese, and even omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

11. Lentils. A source of protein, iron, folic acid and phosphorus.

12. Nuts. Vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, a good set of omega-6 fatty acids.

13. Flax seeds. A source of protein, thiamine, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids.

14. Chia seeds. For lovers of jelly and all sorts of puddings.  A source of phosphorus, calcium, manganese, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

15. Quinoa and buckwheat. A source of iron, vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium.

16. Bananas.  A good source of potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese. But, I would say, too much sugar.

17. Oatmeal.  A source of manganese, thiamine, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.


Main fiber benefits

1. Weight loss. Foods high in fiber are absorbed slowly and provide a long satiety, protect against spikes in blood sugar. Appetite decreases naturally.

2. Support for the heart and blood vessels.

4. Normalization of blood sugar levels. Studies have linked fiber intake to a 20-30% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

How to gain muscles if you have a skinny complexion

Why it is difficult for you to gain muscle mass

Scientists have noticed that the ability to build muscle mass is different for everyone. So, some people in 12 weeks of training can gain 1.6 kg of muscle, and others in the same time will not add at all.

And it’s not just about eating habits and the amount of exercise. You’re just out of luck.

The role of muscle struction

    • You have fewer type II muscle fibers — those that work without oxygen, get tired quickly, and add a lot of volume.
    • Your muscles have fewer receptors that respond to testosterone-the hormone without which they will not grow.
    • You don’t have new ribosomes created so quickly. These are the organelles of the cell that take amino acids and, according to the instructions of the mRNA, make a protein out of them. The ribosome factory is located in the nucleolus of the cell, and your company is slightly behind in terms of production volumes.

But this does not mean that you will not be able to build muscle mass. The mechanism of muscle growth is the same in all people. You just have to spend more time and money on food and a sports pit than those who won the genetic lottery and go all so athletic.

How to train to gain muscle mass

When the muscles contract, their fibers experience mechanical stress, the receptors feel it, and a chain of molecular reactions is triggered, which ends with protein synthesis. He completes the muscles, increasing their volume.

Of course, the muscles contract in any work — for example, when you get up from a chair or run a marathon. But in the first case, the tension is too small for growth, and in the second, mainly type I muscle fibers are involved, which are reluctant to increase in volume. For noticeable muscle growth, you need to work fast type II fibers (which you already have a little). And to make them do it, you need to pull iron.

How many times a week to train

Post-workout protein production increases from 24 to 48 hours. If you re-load the muscle before the synthesis drops to its previous values, some of your effort will be lost.

So exercise two or three times a week and don’t do two days of training in a row.

By exercising more often, you will not only not get the benefits for muscle growth, but you can also overwork the central nervous system. This will reduce your performance, and therefore the incentives for muscle growth.

How many and what exercises to perform

At each workout, perform 4 to 8 strength exercises on different muscle groups. Be sure to include multi-joint movements, that is, those that involve several joints and muscle groups: squats, lunges, deadlift, bench lifts, and others. They train the whole body, improve coordination, allow you to work with large weights and give the right incentive for muscle growth.

However, it is not necessary to build a training session only on such activity. So you risk to tire the central nervous system and reduce the indicators. Dilute the mentioned exercises with single-jointed ones: flexing the arms on the biceps, extending the arms on the triceps, bringing the arms together in the “butterfly” simulator (chest), and others.

In addition, at each training session, perform one exercise to strengthen the abs and back extensors. These muscles help you keep your balance and perform all the movements without harming your spine.

How many sets and reps to do

Perform the exercises in 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps. Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. The final approach can be performed before the muscles fail: when you can no longer do a single time.


    • Exercise 2-3 times a week.
    • Perform 4-8 strength exercises on different muscle groups.
    • Include both multi-joint and single-joint movements in one workout.
    • Do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.
    • Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. Do the last approach until the muscles fail.

How to eat to gain weight

To gain weight in general, you need to eat more, and to grow exactly the muscles — to monitor the amount of protein.

How many calories to consume

First, calculate your daily calorie intake using the Mifflin-Geor formula:

For men: (5 + (10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years])) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

For women: ((10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years]) – 161) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

Increase your calorie intake by 15%. This is how much you will need to consume every day.

That an increase of 15% will not necessarily help you gain weight. It all depends on your metabolism. Eat this way from two weeks to a month and, if there is no progress, increase the calorie content by another 15% (from the original norm). During the first month, you will get used to eating more, so it will not be so difficult to add the next portion of calories.

How many calories should come from protein, fat, and carbohydrates

To gain muscle mass, you need everything. The protein will be used as a building material and a signal for muscle growth.
Carbohydrates will help to produce the hormone insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, without which the muscles will not grow. And they will also give you the strength to train. Fats are needed for the production of hormones, including testosterone.

Your daily diet should consist of 25% protein, 20% fat, and 55% carbohydrates. In this case, the protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more protein as a result of the calculations, add the remaining calories in the form of carbohydrates.

Let’s say your daily calorie intake is 2,500 kcal (a 30-year-old man weighing 70 kg). You add up 15% (2 500 × 0,15 + 2 500 = 2 875 kcal). To calculate, you need to remember that 1 g of protein or carbohydrates contains 4.1 kcal, and 1 g of fat-9 kcal.

Thus, a man from the example should eat 140 g of protein (70 kg × 2) per day. At the same time, 25% of its daily caloric content will be 718 kcal. In order not to exceed the protein norm, we calculate this way: 718-574 kcal (140 g x 4.1 kcal = 574 kcal) = 144 kcal. Add this amount to the carbohydrates. Now we consider the norm of fat and carbohydrates: 64 g of fat (2,875 kcal x 0.2 = 575 kcal-9 kcal in 1 gram of fat) and 420 g of carbohydrates (2,875 kcal x 0.55 = 1,581 kcal + 144 kcal, remaining from protein-4.1 kcal).

How many times a day to eat and when to do it

Divide your daily meals into an equal amount — for example, six meals. Each of them should contain at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.

It is not necessary to consume a dose of protein immediately after training. You can do this for 1.5-2 hours before it, calmly work out for 1-2 hours, drive home and eat again. In this case, the anabolic response will be no less than when taking supplements directly in the gym.


    • Calculate your calorie allowance and add 15% to it. Eat like this for 2-4 weeks. If there is no progress, add another 15%.
    • Determine the calories you need to get from macronutrients: 25% protein, 20% fat, 55% carbohydrates.
    • Count the grams of macronutrients (1 g of protein or carbohydrates — 4.1 kcal, 1 g of fat-9 kcal).
    • Protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more, add the rest of the calories to the carbs.
    • Divide all the grams by the number of meals. Each time, eat at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.


Proven: gadgets lead to weight gain

The result of the research

There is a direct connection between gadgets and weight gain, which was established in a recent study. It was conducted jointly by scientists from the Netherlands (University Medical Center) and Brazil (Federal University of Lavra). The results were published on the pages of the journal Physiology & Behavior.

In addition, extra pounds can appear in fans of reading during eating. Experts say that using gadgets, watching videos or reading books does not allow the brain to estimate how much food has already been eaten. Therefore, overeating occurs. Also, people imperceptibly choose products with higher calories.

When you are distracted you consume more

This distracting effect is especially noticeable in young people. The experiment was conducted on a group of men and women aged 18-28 years. Some of them could take their smartphone or an interesting book to the table, while others had to eat without being distracted. It was found that those who were distracted during a meal consumed an average of 15% more calories.

General recommendations

Marcio Gilberto Zangeronimoa, one of the researchers, believes that if you set a goal to control weight, it is most effective to protect yourself from your phone, laptop, tablet and books during meals. If it is impossible to completely get rid of this habit, then you need to choose more useful products in advance and not put them on the table in large quantities, as well as note any fluctuations in your weight.


How certain amino acids affect the body

The importance of amino acids

The topic of the importance of amino acids for muscle recovery (and muscle mass growth) after exercise is well studied. And we usually consume different amino acids together when we eat protein-rich foods — meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, and so on.

But modern technologies allow the production of isolated amino acids.

Key neurotransmitters are synthesized from amino acids — for example, serotonin (its low level is considered one of the main factors in the development of depression) is formed from tryptophan.

Therefore, the use of individual amino acids can affect the brain and hormonal balance in a way that the use of a mixture of different amino acids will not affect. In the latter case, they will compete to overcome the blood-brain barrier, which will not significantly increase the level of a particular amino acid.

Can some amino acids in isolated form affect performance in sports, changing the ” brain chemistry” and hormonal balance? And what research is there on this topic?

Amino acids and affection on performance


It is a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, and in theory, its consumption should have a positive effect on functioning under stress. But the results of studies with athletes are mixed.

In one case, cyclists in very hot conditions took 150 mg of tyrosine per kilogram of body weight 60 minutes before the test, and this improved the time “to failure”. The study’s authors concluded that tyrosine helped cyclists cope with the physical stress of heat and exercise; and reduced levels of tyrosine in the brain impair performance in sports in hot conditions.

And another study did not show an improvement in athletic performance, but there was an improvement in memory and information processing, so the author concludes: for those who are important for cognitive functions in difficult conditions, tyrosine can help. These are, for example, ultramarathoners, participants of adventure races, etc.

Another study in military personnel found no positive effects from the use of tyrosine before exercise.


Not so actively researched in the light of exercise. But there was something: it showed a significant effect on fat burning during exercises with submaximal intensity when taking 3 g of phenylalanine before them.

Although it can be useful at the beginning of the season for fat burning, this approach is not recommended when participating in competitions, when you need maximum results and the intensity is also maximum, and the availability of carbohydrates plays an important role.


It is added to many drinks and is claimed to have an effect on focus and performance. But there is no convincing evidence. 6 grams of taurine did not help runners in one study improve their performance in high-intensity exercise, just as 1.7 grams did not help cyclists in another study.

A relatively recent review of seven studies showed little effect on performance in endurance sports. And there is no evidence about the effect of taurine on mood, cognitive function, or performance in sprints or high-intensity exercise.


It is found in small amounts in tea. It has a positive effect on cognitive function, especially when combined with caffeine. It has been proven that 100-200 mg of theanine, coupled with 50-150 mg of caffeine:

– improve mood and cognitive function;

– promote the concentration of attention on external stimuli and reduce distraction;

– contribute to increased vigilance during the execution of task on attention.

Although further research is needed, there is already evidence that theanine with caffeine before exercise can be beneficial for athletes who need skills, attention, and concentration combined with physical effort.

General recommendations

Those who compete in challenging environments and who value cognitive function may benefit from taking tyrosine supplements. Phenylalanine may promote better fat burning during submaximal-intensity endurance exercises, but it definitely won’t help and can hurt during high-intensity exercise. Athletes in endurance sports may get small benefits from consuming taurine, but the evidence for its effectiveness is weak. Theanine in combination with caffeine can be useful for athletes who need concentration, visual processing, and motor skills — for example, during training, learning new movements and skills.


How to make training with your own weight more effective

In this article, we will look at four ways to change training with your own weight to increase its effectiveness for gaining strength and improving your body structure. In addition, we will give you some nutrition tips to support your workouts.

Are self-weight training effective?

Before we dive into the subtleties of increasing the intensity of training with your own weight, we will dispel one popular misconception — that such training is suitable only for “beginners” and can not provide serious results. This is a completely baseless claim.

It is based on the assumption that training with your own weight is less effective than strength training, since you do not exert yourself as much. Obviously, the last statement is true. However, this omits the fact that training involves more than just gaining strength.

There are different types of power. And if training with your own weight is really not the best option for increasing the result by one repetition, then they can be incredibly effective in improving muscle endurance and metabolism. In addition, they can significantly increase the time of muscle tension, ensuring muscle hypertrophy and improving such indicators as stability, balance and coordination.

Don’t underestimate training with your own weight. If you “lack” them, then you just need to increase their intensity. You need to change the exercises so as to increase their complexity. In the long run, simply increasing the number of repetitions will not be effective in training with your own weight.

Four ways to Optimize your Own Weight Training for Muscle Strength and Volume

There are a few simple changes that you can make to your own weight training to gain strength and increase muscle hypertrophy.

Change the pace
A certain pace of exercise is a great way to increase the time of tension of the desired muscle groups. You should set a target time for performing the exercises and stick to it to increase the time in tension. By increasing this time, we load the muscles more and strain the muscle fibers, which can increase hypertrophy.

To set the tempo, use the following four-number diagram to set the target levels for performing the movements. For example:

Temp: 4110

4 seconds-eccentric force/downward movement
1 second-pause at the bottom
1 second-concentric force/upward movement
0 seconds-pause at the top

For more hypertrophy, increase the time for eccentric and concentric effort. To gain strength, extend the pauses.

Do one and a half reps
Another great way to increase strength and tension time is to do one and a half repetitions. The implication is that you do a full repeat, then another half-repeat, and count it all as one repeat.

For example, doing push-ups you go down in the normal way, then do not rise to the top just to the middle,and then go down again , and then a rise. And it all counts as one” one-and-a-half ” repeat. An incomplete repeat can also be done at the beginning of a general repeat. For example, when squatting, you can go down to the middle, stand up, then perform a full squat, and count it all as one repeat.

Training with your own weight on power
Training with your own weight is very effective for increasing power. The necessary exercises are safe and involve almost no risk of injury, as they can be easily changed as necessary. For example, you can change the height of the jump when squatting with a jump so that you jump to a convenient height for you to avoid injury.

To increase the power when training with your own weight, simply add an element of increased body distance from the point of contact (ground). When doing push-ups, push off from the floor so that your hands leave the ground. When squatting and lunging, jump up until your feet are off the ground.

To increase the difficulty and power of your own weight exercises, slow down the eccentric phase until it comes to a complete stop, then quickly perform the concentric phase. For example, when squatting with jumps, go down slowly and stop, keeping control of the body, then push off the ground sharply and powerfully.

Endurance training with your own weight
In addition to increasing repetitions, how else can you increase muscle endurance when training with your own weight? Here are two great ways to achieve this.

First, do the combined movements. To do this, simply combine two or more exercises. It’s like doing a circular workout, where you do one exercise after another in a deliberate and purposeful way, but there are some small differences. With a combined movement, one complete repetition consists of repetitions of individual exercises.

For example, one squat, one push-up, and one lunge count as one total rep. This approach is convenient because the total number of repetitions is reduced.

Secondly, limit yourself in time. This is a relatively simple change. Focus not on the number of repetitions, but on the time. To increase endurance, you need to do more in the same period of time.

Let’s say we want to increase the endurance of the lower body and for this we decided to do squats and lunges. Usually we will set a goal for repetitions with the allocation of time to rest. When you focus on the time we will just keep doing the exercises, occasionally pausing to rest. For example, with a goal of 15 minutes, you need to do a squat and lunge constantly, resting only when you have no strength left at all.

Four Nutrition Tips for Training with Your Own Weight

Since training with your own weight is effective for developing strength, improving physical fitness and body structure in the vast majority of trainees, they deserve the same attention to nutrition as regular training.

We will not discuss the subtleties of nutrition before and after training. Let’s just take as a basis the fact that we need sufficient recovery and energy to make progress. Many fall into the trap of delusions about training with their own weight: “They are so simple, they can be done more often and do not think about nutrition after training.”

This logic can lead to some problems, so it is definitely worth eating well and maintaining the body. If you regularly do thoughtful workouts with your own weight, then use these three tips.

1. Maintain consistency
At first, this advice may seem strange, but try to keep the same meal schedule and diet as with normal strength training.

The simpler, the better. Eat natural and high-quality foods, try to make your meals rich in nutrients.

2. Remember about protein
Supplements can help with intense training with your own weight. As with traditional strength training, protein is important for muscle recovery and growth. If you don’t feel like you’re eating enough protein every day, try a protein shake that gives you the right amount of calories and essential nutrients.

3. Try Creatine
Creatine is an excellent supplement for increasing strength, endurance and power. Although weight training may not seem as heavy as traditional strength training, creatine can still be useful if you want to improve your overall fitness.

Creatine is easily absorbed. In addition, it is one of the few supplements on the market, the benefits of which are described in many studies.

‌‌‌‌4. Consider taking BCAAs
If you want to enrich your diet with amino acids and are looking for a delicious drink that will provide the body with essential amino acids and help in the fight against hunger, then you should definitely consider BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids. They can help increase your intake of leucine, an amino acid thought to play a role in muscle protein synthesis.

Note: Before you start a new type of training, change your diet, or start taking new supplements, you should always consult your doctor!

General recomendations

Training with your own weight is an effective way to increase your strength, power, endurance, and overall tone. Do not think that they are suitable only for beginners. Be creative and increase their complexity — and they will be effective for you, too. Treat them like regular workouts and don’t forget about proper nutrition and adequate recovery.


Follow these 10 steps and lose weight forever

How magic diets mislead us

Let’s start right away with honest and truthful information and stop misleading ourselves. Please, remember this and do not be fooled by the tempting headlines of articles, videos, and other advertising products.

There is no quick way to lose weight. Weight loss requires a well-informed effort to change your habits and lifestyle.

The word “diet” is misleading; in fact, diets don’t work. They can help you lose weight for a while, but after they are over, patients gain weight again and often even more than before.

Sure, a popular shake diet or a prescription weight-loss drug can help you lose weight quickly, but what happens after the diet is over? Is it possible to stick to a shake diet for the rest of your life? Will your doctor be able to tell you that you can safely take stimulants all the time?

Your plan should be effective and realistic in the long run. An effective way to maintain a reduced weight is to change your lifestyle. And any diet book, trick, trick, cocktail, or supplement that tries to convince you otherwise is just an advertisement designed to convince you to buy such products.

Don’t let yourself be deceived.

10 tips based on practical experience that will help you lose weight and not gain it again.

1. Exclude the reasons related to any health problems

Before you start a weight loss program, you should visit your doctor. You will need to discuss their plans for the weight loss, getting approved to regular workout and tested for the presence of certain health problems. A simple blood test is often used to check for diabetes and thyroid problems, and several more tests may be required to make sure that you are healthy enough to start a weight loss program, and that you do not have health problems that contribute to weight gain.

Also, be sure to discuss with your doctor the medications that you take regularly, as some medications can contribute to weight gain.

2. Determine how much weight you are overweight

Before you begin to lose weight, it is very important to determine whether you are really overweight and how much it is. As one of the tools for determining a person’s normal weight, almost all doctors use the body mass index (BMI):

BMI = weight in kilograms divided by height in meters

A BMI of 25 to 29 is rated as “overweight”, 30 and above corresponds to” obesity”, and 40 and above is defined as”pathological obesity”. Note that this formula does not take into account the weight of the muscle mass. For example, bodybuilders based on the calculation of BMI can get the result “pathological obesity”, although they certainly do not have it. Therefore, despite the fact that BMI is a useful tool, if you have a large muscle mass, you should treat the results obtained by this method with caution. There are many useful online calculators to help calculate BMI.

Another way to estimate your weight (and track the results) is to measure your waist circumference. Instead of standing on the scale, look at how your clothes fit. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches (76 cm) in women and more than 40 inches (101 cm) in men is associated with an increased risk of overweight-related health problems.

3. Set yourself short-term and long-term goals

How much weight do you need to lose? Ask your doctor what your ideal weight should be, but also set yourself an initial goal for weight loss and other intermediate goals. Set realistic short-term goals, because if you expect to lose too much weight too quickly, it can cause unnecessary frustration.

Studies show that in people who are obese or overweight, even a 5% weight loss has a positive effect on health. This number becomes the very first goal for many people. In general, plan to lose 0.5-1 kg per week. Slow and steady. If you try to lose weight faster, then there is a high chance that you will gain it again just as quickly.

4. Take small steps

When starting a long-term weight loss plan, start with small changes. If you set realistic goals and gradually achieve them, you are more likely to succeed in the long run. For example, if you consume lemonades or juices, consider giving up only these products for the first week or two. Then, after you’ve done that, try switching from white, starch-rich bread to whole-grain bread, for example. Over the next couple of weeks, try to start walking for 5 minutes every other day. And so on.

If you try to do too much quickly, it increases the likelihood that you will abandon your plan altogether. Make a list of all the small steps and changes you need to make. Then do them one by one. The race is won by the one who acts steadily, but slowly.

5. Reduce your portions

Even if the diet consists only of vegetables and fruits, it can still lead to weight gain if you eat too much of them. Therefore, it is very important to observe the correct portion size. Half of the contents of your plate should consist of vegetables, a quarter – from a source of pure protein (skinless chicken, turkey, fish), and cereals or starchy foods should be no more than a quarter.

One of the easiest ways to reduce portion size is to simply use a smaller plate. Another way is to eat slowly, so that your brain has more time to process the process of eating and enjoy it longer, which creates a greater sense of satiety.

6. Limit your carbs

The most harmful products often have a liquid form — lemonades, juices and alcohol. These drinks contain an excess of calories and should be discarded. Other culprits are bread, rice, tortillas, beans, potatoes and pasta, everyday foods that are consumed in too large quantities.

Make sure that your portions of carbohydrates are rational in size, try not to take up more than a quarter of the plate. And instead of products containing white starch, choose products from whole wheat, complex carbohydrates. That is, instead of white rice, choose brown rice. At first, you may not be very tasty, but over time you will get used to this change.

Extremely low-carb diets (less than 60 grams of carbohydrates per day), such as the latest fashion trend — the ketogenic diet, will really help you lose weight. But is it possible to stick to them for a long time? For most people, no. If you decide to stick to one of these low-carb diets, it is very important to choose a source of healthy proteins and fats — you do not want to exchange weight loss for the formation of plaque in the blood vessels and heart disease.

7. Choose sources of healthy fats and proteins

Choose sources of healthy fats and proteins — such as peanuts, nuts and seeds, avocados, and soy. When cooking, use olive oil or cooking spray instead of higher-fat vegetable oils or butter. Avoid fried food. Switch to 1% fat milk or even skim milk. Limit your consumption of red meat by eating skinless chicken, turkey, or fish instead.

Be careful about salad dressings, always read the information on the label, because they often contain too much fat or carbohydrates. Consider using only lemon juice or vinegar.

8. Eat fiber

Fiber gives you volume and gives you a feeling of fullness for a long time. According to research, people who consume a lot of fiber are at a lower risk of obesity throughout their lives, as well as a lower risk of diabetes.

Adults should consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day. However, most people consume it in insufficient quantities. Aim to consume at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Choose wholegrain foods (100% wholegrain wheat bread, brown rice, etc.) instead of refined foods (white bread, white rice, etc.). If you can’t get enough clippings from your food, consult a dietary supplement. However, you should increase the amount of fiber consumed gradually, otherwise, if you immediately start consuming it in large quantities, this can lead to undesirable symptoms from the gastrointestinal tract.

9. Increase your physical activity

Mathematics tells us that to correct weight, you need to use less energy than you spend — there is no other way. The most successful weight loss programs include not only dietary changes, but also physical activity. Even though dieting alone is more effective at reducing weight than exercise alone, it’s best to use both. In addition, routine exercises contribute to the long-term preservation of the results of weight correction and, of course, have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.

Again, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, start with small steps (and this is not a joke). Start with very short walks (non-stop) for 5 minutes almost every day. After that, increase their duration to 10 minutes, then to 15 minutes, and so on, until you reach 30 minutes of continuous cardio training. Please note that when “cardio training” your heart should beat fast, and you should sweat.

It is ideal to combine cardio training with endurance training.

10. Reward yourself

Periodically reward yourself for great efforts and achievements with a meal that you like, but no more than once a week and by controlling the portion size. If you try to completely abandon your favorite food, then you are more likely to abandon your weight management plans.

Treat yourself with something special, because after all the effort and hard work, you undoubtedly deserve it.


All you need to know about creatine

Creatine and it’s functions

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found mainly in muscle cells in the human body. Creatine is obtained from food, mainly from meat and seafood, a small amount is produced by the body.

Without the supplementation of creatine in the muscles, as a rule, be around 60-80%. Vegetarians don’t get enough creatine from their diet, so they tend to have even lower creatine stores in their muscles, which is why creatine supplements are all the more beneficial.

The main function of creatine is to replenish the stores of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that is used for energy production in cells. During short, intense sets of exercises, the ability to quickly restore ATP is partially limited by the creatinine available in the muscles.

Creatine has been extensively studied since 1980. More than 1000 studies have been published. The main benefit of taking creatine supplements is to improve performance in the gym and in life. Most studies that have studied performance enhancement have found that taking creatine during high-intensity exercise improves performance by about 10-20%.

For example, in a study of strength training in men, the group that received creatine was able to perform an average of 1-2 additional repetitions in each of the five bench press sets before muscle failure. It may seem that 1-2 additional repetitions is not much, but over time, the ability to do 10-20% more repetitions leads to an increase in endurance and muscle mass.

Does creatine work for everyone?

Although creatine has been studied primarily in men, most studies involving women seem to show similar benefits of creatine for women. In addition, many studies have been conducted on the effects of creatine on the elderly, and similar results have been obtained. Unfortunately, the effect of creatine is not universal. The response may vary from person to person, ranging from an almost complete lack of performance improvement to a very pronounced improvement.

Is creatine harmful?

Creatine is one of the most studied performance-enhancing supplements. Data on it has been collected for more than 30 years. So we have a lot of evidence to support his safety. There have been claims that creatine can lead to dehydration and muscle cramps, but the best research does not support this information.

In addition, there is a misconception that creatine can contribute to kidney problems. Studies of both short-term and long-term creatine intake in different populations among young and healthy people, as well as among patients and the elderly, have not shown any negative effects of creatine.

Are there any side effects?

The only side effect that is mentioned in all the studies is a small weight gain-mainly due to an increase in the amount of water in the muscles. Not everyone gains weight from creatine, but most studies have shown an average weight gain of just over 1 kg in people who weigh about 75 kg. Weight gain ranges from < 1 kg to > 3 kg.

How do you take creatine?

Creatine is available in different formulations. The cheapest, most popular, and most well – studied is creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is usually available in tablet and powder form, which are equally effective. The effect of creatine becomes noticeable only when the muscles become sufficiently saturated with creatine. There are two options for taking creatine: “loading” and “no loading”.

Loading: 0.3 g / kg body weight 5-7 days, then 5 g daily. Loading allows you to saturate the muscles with creatine in about a week, when the results will become noticeable. The disadvantage of the loading method is that you have to take a lot of creatine a day.

The most reliable scientific studies do not show a tendency to the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders on the background of creatine intake. However, the authors of one study suggested that the incidence of gastrointestinal disorders is higher at a dosage of more than 5 g at a time.

Without loading: take 5 g per day. As a rule, muscle saturation with creatine occurs within about 3-4 weeks. Please be patient.

The timing of creatine intake regarding training is often discussed, however, there is no strong scientific argument about what time creatine intake is most useful. If you usually consume a protein shake after a workout, you can add creatine to it for potential benefits, but do not worry if you are used to taking it before a workout.

Unlike supplements such as caffeine, to which the body develops an addiction and their effectiveness decreases over time, the effect of creatine is permanent and the intake of creatine in cycles is not required.

Some advocate the use of creatine in combination with a large amount of carbohydrates to improve absorption and increase the total supply of creatine in the muscles. It is true that carbohydrates help to deliver creatine to the muscles, but studies have not been conducted to prove the positive effect of such a strategy on improving performance.

In addition to creatine monohydrate, there are other forms of creatine, such as creatine hydrochloride (HCl) and creatine ethyl ether. The idea of the advantage of these forms over creatine monohydrate is not confirmed in the modern scientific literature.

The main advantage of creatine hydrochloride is that it is easily soluble in water, although it costs a little more. Some claim that the total required dosage of creatine HCl is lower than that of monohydrate, but this has never been studied. Finally, creatine ethyl ether does not appear to be as effective as creatine monohydrate. Its effectiveness is equal to the placebo effect.