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Guest: Chris Swart
Release Date: 2/28/2022
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom and wealth. I am your host Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. In today’s episode, I have Dr. Christopher Swart. Join me to discuss misconceptions in the industry.
From both weightlifting perspectives and nutritional perspectives. You can find Dr. email@example.com AR T on Instagram. He is a Ph.D. in exercise physiology and he teaches Exercise Science at a college in Massachusetts. Dr. Swart helps me go over static versus dynamic stretching, what exactly is going on with the muscles and ligaments and tendons during this process? When do we use one over the other? What are the misconceptions surrounding it soreness and sweating? Are these effective indicators of a really good workout? Or should we be concerned with this? What exactly are the misconceptions around creatine? Its class of supplement what it’s doing in the body? Are there any negative side effects to using creatine? What do we know about fasted cardio, the anabolic window protein amount versus quality? Individual macronutrients are one is one more important than the other starvation mode, muscle size. Also, hypertrophy and power is our correlative or causal relationship between those and a host of other very intriguing industry myths and misconceptions.
He breaks down the science behind these and we have a great conversation, Dr. swart, and I probably could have talked for about four hours. And I can’t wait to have him on the podcast again to discuss something else in health and fitness industry. With no further ado, here’s Dr. Christopher Swart. Chris, thank you so much for joining the Trulyfit podcast, why don’t you give the listeners in the audience the background, a summary on you and what you do in health and fitness. And from an educational standpoint?
Chris Swart: Yes, thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate your time. I appreciate you allowing me to come onto your platform and speak. My name is Dr. Chris Swart. I have a PhD in exercise physiology. So I currently teach at American International College, which is in Springfield, Massachusetts. And the bulk of what I do is mainly physiology-type courses.
So I teach courses ranging from exercise physiology, I teach sport nutrition, I teach a kind of what we would call health, health professions course, which is like a developmental course on Okay, doesn’t matter where you want to go in the health field. What do you need to know to be a successful professional? How do you network? How do you look for internships? How do you write a resume and cover letter so I do all that type of stuff. I’ve taught courses in like the medical physiology realm, my main background is in sport performance.
I got into this field because I was an athlete as a young, you know, as a young human, and I loved being an athlete, I did you know, I was a football player baseball, basketball, I mean, you name it, I did it. But one thing that I realized was, you know, I didn’t develop as much as some of the other kind of peers that I had, I wasn’t as strong, I wasn’t as fast. I wasn’t kind of building as much muscle as other people.
So I fell in love with lifting weights and exercising. And, you know, just the benefits that health and fitness played in my life, I knew that I wanted to pass that message along to the masses. And I was, you know, a decent athlete, but I was never going to be a professional athlete. And I knew that very early on. And so I felt that my general skill set was centered around, I felt like I could take really complex topics and simplify them for athletes to know and buy in to what they were doing and kind of, you know, really get that extra boost, so to speak. So that’s kind of what I where I came from.
So I worked for three different universities, in their athletic department, all Division One, mainly with football, but I’ve dabbled in other sports as well. Now, since I got my PhD, I’ve taught in the classroom for the last seven years. So I’ve had four different faculty roles. Not only do I teach I also in the internship coordinator, so that’s kind of where that health professions class comes in. I really try to help out and kind of grow these students professionally.
And like I said, just give them the need to know before they get into the field, and make, you know, try to help them not make the same mistakes that I made. Because let’s face it, we all as professionals make mistakes along the way. And I want to give back to the field from the classroom perspective. So that’s kind of what I do. Just as a side tangent. I also work for another company where we oversee like fitness and nutrition for people who have struggled with alcoholism or drug addiction. So I kind of helped them as they kind of transitioned back into society.
So that’s been a very rewarding job for me, that I do outside of the classroom and then I also work for another coach, Jason Brown coaching, where we do a little bit of like, you know, courses and helping people with program design and that type of stuff. So I try to play an active role, like I said, not only in the classroom, but be in the field as well. And then on the side, I dabble in just a little bit of nutrition coaching. And that’s basically kind of where I’m at at this at this point.
Steve Washuta: Well, there is so much crossover between what you do and what this podcast covers. And I can tell you while you’re speaking, my my brain is firing, thinking this could be a four hour podcast, but I’m going to be because we’re going to make sure that it’s we’re very direct here, but I’m probably going to have to have you on at least one or two or three more times to unpack all of those other subjects. Before I forget all of those things, I just want to quickly touch on a few things.
One, one of my good friends and mentors. His name is Chris Scott, he runs something called Fit recovery. And he helps people who are also recovering from alcohol addiction. And he does it through, you know, a bio psychosocial approach. But really, he deals with the nutrient side. And he deals with understanding what is going on with the body biochemically. And there was a really great podcast I did with him the biochemical approach to recovering from addiction.
And I would love to connect you guys because I think you guys probably have a lot to share with one another and in your process. But you mentioned Springfield, Massachusetts, I’m pretty sure that is where a basketball was developed, or at least the gentleman who developed basketball went to Springfield College. Is that correct?
Chris Swart: Yes. So the Basketball Hall of Fame is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Yes. Yeah.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. So I had a buddy who played football there, actually. So I’ve visited there a few times. And then lastly, I have to, you know, make make you unpack this a little bit more, because I found it very interesting. Did you say it was a major or just a class in which you’re helping people develop these networking skills and this ability to form their resume better? And just from a, I guess, you would call like a macro health perspective, learn all the little things to help them in any industry?
Chris Swart: Yeah, so it’s, it’s just one course. Now, it it actually is kind of like an introductory course for freshmen and sophomores that we also have a course within exercise science. So the department I teach in is exercise science. And there’s another course in our exercise science department, we have an introductory course that I teach that they’re freshmen and sophomores.
Now, they don’t have to be what’s interesting about our program in this particular course, they don’t have to be an exercise science major to take that course, we actually have it as a general elective that anybody on our campus can take. Because there’s a lot of students that are, you know, they’re experiencing the negative effects of, you know, not living a healthy lifestyle, and they want to help other people and get into the field. I mean, I, there’s a ton of students that we’re getting to come over to an apartment like ours, you know, in that general sense, but the bulk of the course, like I said, it is something that is a huge necessity, because this is the fourth institution that I’ve taught at.
And it’s a huge, huge point where students are not getting enough information along the way of how to professionally develop themselves. Yeah. And so I take the time to share my experiences, because I think that’s what they need to hear more than anything else. Like, yeah, we can, as professors, we could put up PowerPoints and at nauseum give them all this advice, but I think they have to connect it to something that I’ve been through as the person that’s, that’s helping them along the way and the person that’s standing up in front of the classroom, and then I try to relate it to something current to like today’s day and age.
Because sometimes they just need to connect those dots just simply from that standpoint. And I think it really helps tremendously. And so some of the weaknesses are definitely cover letter and resume. Unfortunately, this is just my general experience of what I’ve seen, we’re getting to a point where I think students are losing the ability to really write effectively. And there’s a lot of other forms of communication. Now we have text message, we have social media, we have lots of different things like this, right more video and podcast type formats, but they still need to know how to write. So I still focus on that writing a good cover letter writing a good resume.
And then what is the difference between a cover letter and resume because I think a lot of students don’t even know. They simply take their resume and like almost just take the bullet points and copy paste it right onto their cover letter. Yeah. So what I do right from the start is how do you develop a cover letter that says what your resume can and then we just in general, go through all the different avenues of the field. And what I try to do is create a roadmap.
So here are all the different avenues and I guess I can’t say the word all because there’s always every year there’s like a new position that one of my students gets that I’m like, Hey, I didn’t even realize like that could be a viable option this field so it’s always growing. That’s why I love this field. yield. But I try and develop a good road map of here’s all the potential opportunities, here’s the certifications you would need. Here’s some professionals in the field I can connect you with. And I’ll tell you, Steve, it’s been a great thing to have in our program because students finally have some direction.
Steve Washuta: And we talked on the front end, prior to recording how important it is to marry what I would call like science. And then like personal anecdotes, if you really want to get through to teachers, and I always shamelessly plug my book fitness business one on one, there’s actually two different colleges now in Arizona, both randomly that don’t even know each other, who use my book in their course.
Basically, it helps personal trainers understand the personal side of training, right? This isn’t just about what is going on with your body. And from a Kinesiology standpoint, it’s how do I deal with clients? How do I deal with the day-to-day scheduling of things? What do I do if there is an issue with the equipment? How do I understand the again, sort of a I call it like a zoom out the macro perspective of the career itself, and by you talking to your students and explaining, Hey, I’ve been there done that worked in all these different jobs, I know exactly what needs to happen and not just, you know, sort of spilling it out on a paper. I think that’s that’s how students learn. And that’s, that’s how they’re, that’s they’re going to take more from your course there than they will any kinesiology course they take.
Chris Swart: And I Steve, I say that all the time, right? Like, the biggest thing that I can give to my students is teaching them how to communicate and how to motivate because we deal with humans, our field is it there’s a personal connection there, it’s relationship building, that’s what we do in the health and fitness space. So if you can’t motivate someone, and you don’t have strong communication skills, then you’re already at a massive disadvantage. I don’t care how much you’ve memorized chapters in certain textbooks, and how much knowledge that you have in relation to the X’s and O’s of health and fitness and physiology. It’s relationship building.
And once you develop that, and learn those skill sets, then everything else kind of falls into place, and you learn as you go. And so I really am happy to teach a course like that, because it is very, very rewarding to share my experiences and my mistakes along the way. So they don’t have to do the same thing for
Steve Washuta: sure. Yeah. And then you being able to see all of the different avenues that you just talked about some new jobs you didn’t even know existed that are popping up allows you to direct your students based upon their individual skill sets. So for example, if somebody is what I call a very direct teacher, they’re smart, they understand the Kinesiology but they’re a little awkward right there that math, engineering science brain and they don’t have that sort of pizzazz, well, then maybe they’re better in sort of a Ph.D. field where they’re where they get to study things more, right.
And they’re research-based, or they’re they’re doing, they’re building assessments with clients, and maybe they’re not working one on one as much, right? There’s, there’s different career fields that you can work in based upon your expertise. Now, of course, we should always try to be good communicators. But there are some people who are just born with this dynamic skill set to do this. And there’s some people who have that, that math brain and there are jobs in the health and fitness industry for everybody based upon your skill set.
Chris Swart: 1,000% Oftentimes, I’ll tell people that in Exercise Science degree, and this is how I phrase it a lot is like a spider web degree, like you can do so many different things with exercise, fitness, nutrition, you know, it’s just a matter of networking, which we’ve already talked about, and you know, finding, you know, your little niche within the field.
And, you know, I’m very happy to teach a course like that, because I am helping a lot of students develop that niche, and that, you know, where is the area that they are most interested in, to have success and be passionate, because at the end of the day, you know, if you’re a professional in whatever field you’re in, I hope you’re passionate about what you do. Like, that’s, you know, you got to find that area within the field that you’re most passionate about, for sure.
Steve Washuta: Now, as I stated on the front end, Chris, I think you and I could sit down over a few beers and solve all the world’s problems in health and fitness, and talk about all these different tolerances. But for the, for the sake of time, we are going to be a little bit more narrow here in our approach. And we’re going to talk about what I would call industry misconceptions, or maybe even just topics that are often referenced, but maybe reference in a way in which there is confusion, or there are multiple viewpoints on it.
We just want to kind of expand on those through your knowledge. So we’re gonna jump right into it here. And first I want to talk about stretching, specifically dynamic versus static. We knew in the 1970s and 80s and 90s, even into the early 2000s. If you went to gym class, the teachers were telling you we got to stretch before we run here. That all went out the window and we started to do more dynamic stretching. Can you explain what exactly is going on and dynamic versus static and and maybe when and why we started to switch over to more dynamic pre workout.
Chris Swart: Yeah, so you know, it’s a question that comes up so often Often in my students always asked me about it because when they go out on internships, they see different things. And you know, my general statement to them is, when we look at stretching, just when we look at a workout in general, most people in the general public want the work, they want the workout to be as efficient as possible, they don’t want to spend, you know, a two hours in a fitness center, most people don’t have that amount of time.
So the misconception that I see a lot, Steve, is when people get out into the, into the kind of general fitness setting, they feel like they need to static stretch for 2030 minutes, I see people like in the corner of a gym, you know, and they’re doing the same things over and over. And it just doesn’t pan out in the long run, right. So we do know that static stretching if you’re going to use it, it seems to be better off post-workout or just in general, you can do it anytime, you know, from the end of your workout to before your following workout.
Dynamic stretching is just better, it’s going to increase blood flow better, it’s going to a range of motion is basically the same, but you’re taking the muscles, the ligaments, the tendons through the active range of motion of what you would actually use within that workout session. So I always try to make sure that people understand that technically, if you really want to get specific with it, each workout you do, like if it’s an upper-body day, your dynamic stretching should be probably a little bit different than if it’s a lower-body day. And I think a lot of people just don’t even think about that just a simple thing like that.
They just think here’s my dynamic stretches. I do the same thing every day. And I want to get people to, you know, kind of focus on Well, what muscles are my using? Or what movements Am I using in this workout? And how can I do some dynamic stretching with that we know any type of dynamic stretching is going to increase body temperature, it’s going to decrease pH a little bit, which is actually beneficial for helping your enzymes break down carbs, fats, and proteins to be able to get energy quicker, it basically fires up the nervous system a little bit more effectively, all of these positive benefits that we get from dynamic stretching, prior to actually working out.
So I just don’t want to see people spend a ton of time which I see it all the time with static stretching. Now the last thing I’ll throw out there is with static stretching, we do see a decrease in something like sprint performance or power production, there’s a little bit there. However, there’s a little nuance to that, because if I did a bunch of static stretching, but yet, I added some dynamic movements before I went and actually did some power production type of things, it would probably go down and it basically that that effect would be minimized. And you wouldn’t see as much of a decrement.
But that’s why people are necessarily not touting the static stretching prior is because of that right there. Is it a massive decrease, probably not, it might be some of the stuff that I’ve read, it might be five 10%. But if you’re looking to optimize, that could be a pretty decent difference. You know what I mean? So those are kind of my general thoughts, when it comes to the whole static dynamic, you really want to make sure you’re doing dynamic prior static posts, static posts,
Steve Washuta: that’s great information. And I’ll just want to add from sort of the personal trainer side, static dynamic mobility work, whatever you’re doing with your clients, you know, the time isn’t sort of, we’re not in a vacuum here. So if if your client is obese, and their goal is weight loss, doing a 15-minute dynamic warmup, and then a 15-minute cooldown means that now you only have a very small window in which you’re actually working out and getting your clients your goals.
So yeah, of course, it’s important to do static stretching and dynamic stretching, but how important based on their specific goals and the timeline that they have? Could they be doing it on their own before or after? Could you maybe negate doing a ton of let’s say, lower body dynamic stretching on the day where you’re only working the upper body? Much like Chris said, you really have to think through these things. Do I want to have dynamic stretching, and then myofascial release, and then, you know, and then some other work, and then waste, not waste, but then use 30 minutes of my hour session for that if my client’s goal is weight loss, let’s
Chris Swart: say the only thing I’ll add to that to Steve is like the intensity and the duration of the stretch matters too, right. So like if I did a static stretch, so let’s say for example, I just a forward fold, I just bend over and try and reach my toes. And I hold that for three minutes.
That’s a lengthy static stretch hole that’s going to decrease, you know, something like your power production, or what we call rate of force development, which is how quickly you can produce force, you’re going to get a pretty significant effect.
Last but not least, if you try and hold a stretch that you feel like on a scale of one to 10 as far as like discomfort, it’s like a seven or an eight or a nine it’s getting closer to that like higher-level discomfort and yeah, that’s all gonna decrease performance a little bit more as well. So not only is it you have to take into account what you’re doing, but what’s the intensity of that stretch? And what’s the duration, because those things play a massive role for sure.
Steve Washuta: That’s great information, especially for those who are working, let’s say, with athletes, or people who are pre-competition where that matters a lot more, right, you have to make sure that they’re optimally adjusted for lack of a better term prior to that event, as opposed to just general population.
So we’re gonna move on to the next thing here, I’m going to talk about soreness and sweating. People think that is not only the excuse me, not only a but sometimes the indicator of an effective workout. Do you agree with that or not agree with that. One caveat here is I hate when people say no pain, no gain. I believe that pain is bad. In a lot of instances.
Chris Swart: Yeah. So I agree with that. Steve 100%. I think if you’re out there, and you’re working out and you’re trying to chase soreness, or you’re trying trying to chase sweating, I think you’re already losing the battle. Because let’s just take soreness, for example, right? soreness, when you feel sore, that’s a disruption, there’s a there’s some stress there that your muscle tissue went under, and it has to repair itself. So you get like these little micro-tears, and we have these, without getting too technical.
There’s something called satellite cells that swoop in, and they help repair your muscle tissue. So soreness is an indicator that, okay, I did something different. There’s a novel stimulus that I implemented to my body, and I need to take note of that. But as a person that’s exercising on a regular basis, you also have to realize that there’s a certain recovery pool, so to speak, or resources that your body has. And if you’re always sore, you’re literally just getting your body back to ground zero every time and not actually making progress.
And that’s something that’s really problematic. And that it, this conversation goes into protein intake, and nutrition and all those types of things. But you want to avoid being sore all the time. Unfortunately, I have friends, I have family members that will say, Oh, that workout was wasn’t that great. You know, I don’t really feel that sore this morning, you know, and it’s like, man, it’s just not a good way to look at it. Because not all exercise sessions are meant to create disruption for your muscle tissue.
Like there’s, there’s certain things that you’re going to do that are simply just coming in one day, you might be at, let’s say, on a scale of one to 10 your exercise. As far as level of difficulty, that session might be like a five or six, right? We all take D load weeks or you know time to kind of bring it down. So don’t chase soreness. On the sweating side of it. Let’s face it, if it’s a hot, humid day out, you can just go stand outside, and you’d be sweating.
Does that mean that you’re getting a better? Does that mean that you’re working out? Obviously not? So sweating is the same thing. It’s a stress to my body? It’s a mechanism that I used to cool my body. Can you correlate if I work harder in the same temperature environment? I would I would I sweat a little bit more, because I need to cool my body down, of course, right, you’re probably going to sweat more if you compare those two. But that doesn’t mean that that workout was better for you in the long run, you just burn more calories, or you did more overall work.
But then we also have to look at things like the adaptation process that happens like throughout the course of the rest of the day, you know, your metabolic rate could drop a little bit. So yeah, you pushed yourself you burn some calories, but it compensates for it on the back end. And that extra effort that you put in day after day, time after time might get to a situation where you’re just not recovering as effectively you’re not seeing the progress.
People get to what they call a plateau and then they’re panicking. Well, what do I do you just you redline that you pushed it too much. You chased soreness, you chased sweating. And that’s something that I just want to see people avoid. Because, you know, some of the best workouts I’ve ever had are the days that I I go in there, it might only be a 20-minute workout might not have sweat that much. I got a few good working sets in and boom, I’m out the door. Because I know that that’s what I needed for that day. Not every day has to be pedal to the metal.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I echo all those thoughts. And just to add to that, I always try to think of how I can use this information and sort of repurpose it to get trainers to use it in the right way for their clients. And I think the the parlance, and the directives in which you use with your clients are very important. So you talk about the scale one to 10. I think that’s great asking them.
Okay, where are you one to 10 I also think it’s imperative that we trainers or people who work out often, or who are working with the general population need to understand that they’re not going to always use the same terminology as we all it’s important. It’s kind of really ask a lot of questions. My wife is a physician, she talks about like, and what else so she’ll say that 10 times patient and what else and what else? And what else until she has all the information.
Now we need to do that too with our clients. Because what happens is they describe something, let’s say as pain or soreness. But that’s not really what they meet. Sometimes, you know, like we’re talking about, let’s say nerve pain is much different than like muscle soreness, which is much different than a scrape, we have to really dig in and make sure that we understand what they’re talking about when they say soreness because they might not be talking the same language as we are, huh.
Chris Swart: I think the other thing worth just throwing out there too, when it comes to like when I teach exercise physiology, like every person has different sweat rates. So like the sweat rate can change. You have different distribution of sweat glands throughout your body. So some people just, you know, are more of what we call wasteful sweaters that’s just genetically they put more water out onto their skin.
Does that mean that because they’re, you know, heavy sweaters that they always get a better workout now? Yes. You know, like, so you just have to be careful with some of these things. You know, sweating and soreness indicate certain things they’re worth paying attention to, but they are not your main indicators of progression or good workouts it by any stretch of the imagination,
Steve Washuta: the comedian from King of Queens, Kevin. His last name names I think, Kevin James, I haven’t James Yeah. And one of the stand up says something to the extent that he like he walked into a store. He was sweating profusely and some lady was like, hey, what kind of workout did you do? He’s like, I just killed an orange. Yeah.
Chris Swart: So King of Queens is one of my favorite shows. I love that I love that show for
Steve Washuta: jazz classic. And obviously he makes fun of himself because he’s a hyper sweater without having to do anything. So yeah. So on to the to the next topic here. Creatine. As far as National Academy of Sports Medicine, we learn very little bit about supplements as a whole, but certainly about how they, let’s say mechanistically act inside the body.
We just start taught like, yeah, you can, you can use these for muscle building something something vague to that extent. A lot of people associate creatine, let’s say with danger, maybe they group it in with that class of steroids and things of that nature. Describe to me not only what creatine does, but what the misconceptions are, and why you think there are these misconceptions?
Chris Swart: Yeah, it’s too bad because I think there’s I think creatine in certain circles gets such a bad rap and it shouldn’t. And the first thing I always tell people about creatine, it might be creatine and whey protein, I mean, those are the two most widely studied, they’re safe supplements to take, provided you get them from a good source. So that’s always a caveat, right? You have to make sure if you’re getting a creatine supplement, it’s got to be third party tested, make sure you do a little bit of homework, but that’s a separate conversation.
Creatine in general, is helping you increase strength and power. So creatine is a combination of three amino acids and amino acids are just Lego. So essentially, for building muscle, they’re building blocks. And so creatine is natural, it’s within your body, it’s within you know, things like red meat and fish animal based products. And what creatine in for in my classes, I tell my students think about creatine like an Uber driver. And what it’s doing is it’s picking up something known as a phosphate, which we don’t need to get technical with it, but it’s literally just picking up something. And as part of the cell that brings it to the part of muscle that contracts to let that happen faster and more efficiently.
So for people who want to, like I said, Build more strength and have a little bit more power, creatine can be very beneficial. So it really helps people with high resistance or explosive type movements. Now with creatine, one of the things that I think is really important is we’re seeing research from a creatine perspective that’s benefiting brain health. We’re seeing creatine benefit, bone health, cardiovascular health. So creatine has a lot of other applications, in my opinion, that go well beyond just simply muscle strength and power. But here’s where I think people worry about creatine.
And here’s where the misconception is. Oftentimes, people will say, you need to cycle creatine in this the second that word cycle gets thrown out there. People think, Oh, my God, you just said it’s going to build muscle, you just said the word cycles. So this is a steroid and I want to avoid it, or a parent of a youth athlete may think that because of what they hear, and I want that to be, like, crushed right away. Now, do I think that everybody needs creatine? Absolutely not it do. I think that it’s safe and you can look into it 1,000% But once you say the word cycle, that’s where the problem starts to come in.
Now, the other problem with creatine is people will say, well, it causes you to be puffy and you retain a lot of water. And what we now know is yes, if you take creatine you will gain some weight, right? But that weight is water, but it’s going in the pool. areas it’s not it’s not fat tissue, don’t think that you’re gaining fat by taking creatine, you’re putting water into the muscle cell to make it basically bigger, right? It’s just part of the part of that whole overall process. So it’s pulling water in the good area, not the bad area.
So those are some misconceptions that I think, you know, related to crazy now can creatine cause things like some slight nausea or gastrointestinal issues with very small portions of the population? Yes, but it typically goes away, once you’ve taken it for some amount of time. The last thing I’ll throw out there is you don’t need to load creatine. So a lot of times people will say, Well, you need to take 15 to 20 grams for five to seven days.
And then you know, that’s going to be your your best way to get creatine in, you can do it that way, it can get loaded up pretty quickly. But if you just take a general maintenance dose three to five grams throughout, you know, a month or so you’re going to get to the same finish line, you can just load it and get there quicker. And I’ll go ahead, I’ll let you kind of add anything to that. And then I’ll spin off there. Yeah, I
Steve Washuta: think a few things. Number one, a lot of that loading initially, in at least from my perspective came from the companies who obviously want you to use more of their creatine so that you can buy it again. So of course, they’re going to have you load because you’re taking more of it quicker.
They didn’t they didn’t explain why, again, mechanistically it was advantageous, they just told you to do it, and you did it. So that’s something to look into. And then as far as I guess, I have a few questions for you. Now, you know, and a lot of my audience’s personal trainers, so they understand sort of at least the basis between like the ATP to ADP re phosphorylation process, and that we need to use this more so from like a power standpoint, it’s it’s advantageous, at least this is what we’ve been taught.
So you can correct me if I’m wrong, if I’m doing let’s say, a set of four of heavy leg squat or bench, as opposed to me running a marathon, because of the energy systems that I would be using in that case would be that ADP, ADP, as opposed to let’s say, anaerobic or something. Yep.
Chris Swart: So there’s a energy system known as the phosphagen energy system, right. And obviously, probably a lot of your listeners are already aware of that. And creatine is basically just amplifying the effect of that phosphagen energy system. And it’s immediate.
So typically, we’re looking at basically activities lasting anywhere from maybe, you know, three seconds, upwards of 15 to 20 seconds. So think of things like a 40 yard dash, you know, 200 meter sprints something along those lines, or if I’m doing like a set of five repetitions as heavy as I possibly can. These are these are ways that you want to use creatine, is creatine going to be beneficial if you want to go run a marathon or a 10k? Probably not, although there’s, I guess, stay tuned on that, because I think we might change our tune on that.
And a few years down the road, there might be some slight benefits there. But by and large, it’s mainly the strength and power of the phosphagen energy system producing, you know, you know, energy really, really quickly. That’s what the phosphagen energy system does, but it doesn’t last long. So it’s kind of like a drug. It’s a drag racing car is basically what that energy system is super fast and powerful, but it’s gonna run out of gas very quickly. And then other energy systems, you know, kind of tap in from there.
Steve Washuta: I anecdotally had cramping issues a long time ago with creatine, I don’t anymore could have been in the dosing could have actually not been related, right. It’s not like I was hooked up to a bunch of machines like Ivan Drago and had doctors telling me exactly what was going on. I was, you know, 22 and just assumed it was the creatine. I’ve had. I’ve heard other people also talk about this. Does that make sense? From a body mechanistic standpoint? If we’re if those cells are taking in more water, does it throw off some sort of sodium ratio?
Chris Swart: Yeah, you know, it’s see that’s the thing where it becomes very individualistic. So on a population level, not necessarily, but yeah, individual cases can deal with those types of things. The other thing that I think is worth just me throwing out there, sometimes creatine gets a bad rap because it increases something known as creatine and creatine is a breakdown product of creatine. So sometimes like you might go to get a physical and your physician looks at you know, your general bloodwork and they see an elevated Creatinine level.
And if they don’t know that you’re taking creatine, technically to them if they know nothing else, that could signify some kidney problems, but it’s within the normal range, it’s a little bit higher. So one thing that I always educate people on if you’re going to take creatine and you know, if you go get some basic blood work, make sure you let your physician know and that’s just general good practice.
Always, you know, you should be letting your physician know all supplements you’re taking everything you’re doing, but make sure they’re aware because it sometimes people freak out about creatine because it can raise creatinine levels a little bit in the bloodstream and it’s the job of the kidneys to be able to filter that out. So sometimes that raises red flags. But it’s not something that is problematic once they realize, oh, you lift weights, you take creatine, okay, me as the physician, if I was that would make sense, right?
Steve Washuta: That’s very important. I’ve never thought of that. But yeah, I mean, if if a physician is reading your labs and sees creatine kinase high, they’re gonna think that there’s some sort of damage in your body and your kidneys are overworked. Because they’re, they’re, they’re cycling through that damage.
So you’ll see people let’s say, like, in car accidents, who have high creatine kinase afterwards dealing with like internal organ issues and things of that nature. So let’s move on to the next thing here. fasted cardio I’ve I have to admit here, I already know your answer, because I looked at your answer here. So I think it’s interesting talk about fasted cardio and what you believe are the misconceptions.
Chris Swart: So I am not against fasted cardio for somebody who wants to do it because they feel like that works for them, that’s perfectly fine. But I am against people doing fasted cardio, because they think that it’s giving them a benefit in the grand scheme of things when it comes to overall fat loss. And here’s what you got to think about. So if I do so fasted cardio would be I had dinner at night, I go to bed, I wake up in the morning, I’m not gonna eat breakfast, and I and I go do this, I do go do a cardio session.
Now, during that cardio session, because I didn’t eat breakfast, and I don’t have, you know, calories that came in, I’m going to burn more of my percentage of calories I’m going to burn is going to come from fat. So that is 100%. Fact, in relation to fasted cardio. The problem is, as the day goes on, calorie, the total calories that you eat is still plays the biggest role of everything. So when you eat, you know, throughout the rest of the course of the day, you’re just going to literally replenish more of that fat that you lost during that fasted cardio, and at the end of the day, as long as calories and protein are equal, you’re going to be in the same spot.
So it’s kind of a misconception from the standpoint of, yes, fasted cardio burns fatter acutely. But when you look at it chronically, and you look at the end of a week, so to speak, as long as the calories are equal, it’s the same. So if it works for you, and it’s a strategy that you like, go ahead and do it, but don’t do it from the standpoint of this is a fat loss hack. And I’m going to burn more fat throughout the rest of the day. And I’m going to be leaner because I’m doing fasted cardio, it still comes down to calories, it still comes down to protein.
Now, I’ll just throw this out there because I think this is important, and not enough people talk about this. fasted cardio does have a pretty good benefit for mitochondrial health. So you know, it’s worth doing for some people. I mean, everything’s individualistic. So I can’t give anybody specifics, but it is worth doing for some people because especially if you’re a runner or some type of robotic athlete, if you do fasted cardio from time to time, your ability of your mitochondria to burn fat will increase for sure. So, you know, you might be a little bit better fat burner if you do some fasted cardio from time to time.
So I can’t like I said, I can’t be specific, it’s going to be individual based on the person, but I know of plenty of athletes that toy around with it as long as they feel okay with it to maybe get some of that benefit. But you have to understand that, you know, at least from my perspective, you do not have the same performance. If you go into an exercise session fasted on a population level, are there people that might maybe, but on the whole, if you don’t eat, if you don’t have any fuel in your system, your performance is going to go down. So if you’re a person that’s working out for pure performance, and you want to optimize things, fasted cardio just is not going to be good for you.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that at the end, because that was sort of my my next question or pitch to you is that, yes, one could work out, hypothetically fasted and let’s say run two miles, and maybe they’re pooped at two miles. But if we all agree, which we should that calorie, equal energy is so far as in talking nutrition parlance, well, then if you have more calories, you have more energy.
So maybe you could have ran three miles and then burn the equivalent amount of calories anyway, that you burned off from eating that food. So you know, it’s all it you have to still take into account that the calories themselves could help you perform better and longer, which in turn will burn off those calories that you ate.
Chris Swart: Yes, yes. By and large. You know, like I said before, most people are going to do so much better, adequately fueled, making sure that they have calories in before their workout. Definitely.
Steve Washuta: But I do like how you said, it does depend on the person and what’s going on. I will wake up in the morning sometimes, and maybe I’ll have a cup of black coffee and I’m just I’m not hungry yet, but I decided to go jog two miles. Well, to me, that is not difficult, right? I can jog two miles at an eight-minute pace. And for my capacity of exercise, for lack of a better term that is very easy. That’s a three on the one to 10 scale.
So I don’t need energy. I don’t need extra energy to do something like that. But I’m somebody who doesn’t power lift. So if I were to go do an Olympic lift day, at seven in the morning, I couldn’t do it fasted. So I think it’s it’s understanding your body, understanding your client’s body, and what they’re good at, what they’re not good at, and really making sure that that that fasted or lack thereof, approach is implemented only when they’re able to do the exercises themselves.
Chris Swart: Hmm, I agree. 1,000%
Steve Washuta: the anabolic window. People talk about it a lot. Is this a complete myth? Or is there some truth to it?
Chris Swart: So it’s kind of in between. So this is one of those things where there’s some truth, and then there’s some some false misconceptions that are out there that I just can’t stand. So I love talking about the anabolic window, because I fell into this trap. That’s why I really, I love talking about stuff that I did wrong. And I remember being a young professional telling people, you have to eat a, you know, a protein source or get a get a protein shake in. If it’s not within 30 minutes, you know, you didn’t get you’re not getting the optimization or the benefit of that workout.
And, man, I wish I didn’t tell that to people, because here’s what the truth is, if you’ve got a good meal in, so let’s say for example, an hour or two before you worked out, and that’s different for every person. But if you got a substantial amount of carbs and protein in before your workout, and you had a good pre workout meal, your post workout window isn’t as important. Now if you went into exercise, fasted, so I’m glad we piggyback the fasted onto this one because if you went into exercise fasted, then that anabolic window or that post workout window becomes so much more important.
Because that’s, you know, that’s when you need to allow your body to get some glucose, get some amino acids into those into that muscle tissue. And to be honest with you, that’s when the muscle is pretty much most sensitive to it anyways. But by and large, you don’t need to panic and rush to get a meal in. If it’s 60 minutes instead of 30. You didn’t lose the benefit of your workout, especially if you had a good pre workout meal.
Now, is it better to get a meal in as close to the end of your workout almost across the board? I’d say me personally, my opinion, yeah, it doesn’t hurt. So anything that doesn’t hurt, I always try and push people to do that. So any clients I’ve had, you know, any athletes I’ve worked with, I always tell them, you know, it is a good practice to try and eat or get some calories in especially protein and carbs as close to your workout as possible.
But please don’t be the person that thinks if it’s 60 minutes, or even an hour and a half, two hours for some people don’t think that your workout is is wasted in you’re not getting any benefit from that, to be honest with you. For some people, that window could be as long like muscle protein synthesis, the initiation of that process could be peaked for four or five, six hours for certain people. So you’re not missing a ton. If you had a good workout, a pre-workout meal. That’s where the real caveat is.
Steve Washuta: It’s very interesting. And I always find it. I don’t know kind of funny when I watch bodybuilder-type people who have like their turkey sandwich on whole wheat and like a protein shake with waxy maize. And the second they’re done with their last set. They’re in the locker room downing this food, I mean, like minutes afterward. So I mean, if some people think the anabolic window is minutes,
Chris Swart: yeah, so I’ll throw this out there. So with my nutrition clients, basically what I tell them just to kind of across the board, the most basic general guidance is somewhere between one to two hours prior to your workout, try to get about 20 to 40 grams of carbs and 20 to 40 grams of protein, I keep the number the same because I think it’s easy, especially if you’re working with the general public to just, especially if they start to pay attention to Macros, it’s easy for them to remember 20 To 4020 to 40.
And then the same thing post, you know, I’ll tell them okay, same concept get about 20 to 40 grams of carbs 20 to 40 grams of protein. Could some people do better with more, of course, a lot of individualistic kind of conversations there. But I think from a broad spectrum shotgun approach, that’s an easy way for them to just say, okay, that’s what I need to know or that’s what I need to hit and they do it consistently.
And as we know consistency is everything. So once they start to develop their pre and post-workout meals, because in my opinion, that’s the most important part of the day for people who exercise on a regular basis that like you know, around that workout window, the better you can optimize them. and put some time and effort into good quality nutrients, the better off your overall progress is going to be. So I hyper-focus on that when I work with nutrition clients, and keep it as simple as just that general reference range.
Steve Washuta: And just to again, repurpose some of your great info for the personal trainers day to day, if you don’t know what your clients are eating prior to coming to the session, that’s a problem, you should know what they had. Because if your workout, let’s say for that day is some very intense hit workout, and it’s at 4pm. And they haven’t eaten since 8am.
Well, that might be a problem for your client. So make sure that you know, we can’t necessarily control what they eat that is kind of above our pay grade. But we can make general recommendations and we can talk to them about what they’re eating. And we can certainly talk about when they’re eating that is totally fine to talk to our clients about when they’re eating.
Chris Swart: So since there’s a lot of trainers that listen to this podcast, the one thing I want to throw out there just as kind of, you know, a strategy that I used when I was training, and I don’t do as much hands on training anymore. I’m kind of more in the classroom. But when I was training, every single client that I had, I would ask them three questions at the beginning of every session, and they always knew it was coming. I always ask them How’d you sleep last night, that was my first thing because I think sleep is the most important of anything.
So that was my first question. They walk in the door, they knew I gotta go tell Chris How I slept always every day. And then the second question I would ask them is, what’s your stress like today? How was work? You know, how’s the family, I just want to know, a general gauge of how stressed they are coming into that session.
And then the third one was always what do you eat today? How’s your nutrition bend the last 24 hours, I think as a trainer in that that can take for some people that might be less than a one-minute conversation, a newer client, you might spend 510 minutes, who knows or longer, but when they know those questions are coming, you’re beating that drum so often, where it just becomes ingrained to them sleep, nutrition, stress, sleep, nutrition, stress, it becomes habit for them. So I encourage all trainers to ask those three questions at the beginning or end of every session. So you can kind of keep track of it.
Steve Washuta: Great information, I call it the update phase, you have to do it before each session starts or maybe while they’re doing their dynamic warm ups. Let’s say you do it. And another reason why I think it’s very important is that it’s your job as the fitness professional to then adjust accordingly based on their answers. So Chris may say, Hey, how’d you sleep? And they go, my toddler was up three times last night I slept four hours ago, how’s your stress at work? They fired seven people in my department, I may be next, well, gee, I didn’t eat anything.
Okay, well, with those answers, we’re not doing what I thought we were going to do today. Instead, we’re going to go to the pool, we’re going to work on your form for swimming. Right? So like, you’re going to have to adjust accordingly. That’s also why those answers excuse me, those questions are very important to kind of pry at your client’s life because you have to develop the program around all of their, their sort of like lifestyle habits or lack thereof.
Chris Swart: I think one of the best markers of professional growth as a trainer is when you finally develop the confidence to ask those questions and have the ability to rip up what you prepared for that day. As hard as it is, from an ego perspective. You know, I put this great workout together, sometimes we got to scratch it, start from ground zero, change some things up and do that on the fly.
Those are the exercise and fitness professionals that I see had the most success, the ones that view coaching as an art, not necessarily a hard science, the science is great. But there’s a lot of art to coaching and that humanistic level in developer relationships with clients and having the confidence in your coaching ability to say, hey, based off of what you just told me, I can’t do what I planned for today, let’s do this. Instead, I listened to a podcast, I don’t I forget what podcast I was listening to.
But one of the trainers said, sometimes he would just take his clients out for coffee, you know, not on a regular basis. But every now and then they’d be that stressed or they’d be that, you know just kind of overwhelmed with life where it doesn’t matter what you’re going to do in that exercise session, probably too much. Let’s do some mental stuff. Let’s go sit and chat about you know, healthy habits. And you know, let’s talk about your nutrition. And that can provide just as much value if not more than obviously the exercise session in and of itself. So just be adaptable as an exercise professional. It’s really, really important. I
Steve Washuta: couldn’t agree more. I’ve taken many of walks with my clients where they decided they’re paying. So they decided to spend their 30 or 60 minutes venting and I was there for them as the fitness professional. And I think, again, I go on this tangent a lot but working with seniors, gets you into your development phase that Chris is talking about much faster, because they’re going to come in with more problems than A 22-year-old housewife.
Let’s say, and very, you’re going to have to adapt quickly, they’re going to come in if you’re working with a 72-year-old, who has a bilateral hip replacement, and, and, and COPD, and osteoarthritis where you’re, they’re going to have more issues on a day to day basis. And you are going to have to take that information in, and then quickly think on your feet and go through this process. So I really do recommend working with the entire level of age in all populations, and not just working with, let’s say, young athletes. Yeah,
Chris Swart: the more you can diversify your clientele, especially as a young professional, the better you’re going to develop skills. You know, I agree with that. 100%.
Steve Washuta: So on to the next potential myth, or maybe not. People talk about the protein amount you just mentioned, we should have 20 to 40, maybe two hours prior to the workout, a lot of people have this number they say to hit, let’s say you weigh 180 pounds, they say, we’ll try to get 180 grams a day. Why is it not just the number but also the quality that matters? If you do believe that?
Chris Swart: Yeah, it’s definitely so the hierarchy that I talk about in my classes is first and foremost, total protein intake, is by far the most important factor when you look at protein per day, right? Now I do like with my nutrition clients, the way I approach it, I do like the one gram per pound of bodyweight. But typically, I’ll give them a range of like more like point seven to one. So it doesn’t have to be one one might be a little bit more for certain people.
But it is important, I think, for people to understand, especially trainers were like, protein has a high thermic effect. And what that means is, you know, basically 25% of the calories in this rough ballpark of the protein, the calories and the protein that you take in, gets utilized in the process of digestion and absorption. So you’re not utilizing all those calories. So that’s important in and of itself. So for people who are looking to like lose weight, high protein diets or higher protein diets, I think art can be very, very beneficial.
Somewhere between point seven to one gram per pound of body weight is a general guideline that I like to give, we also know that protein is very satiating, and it makes you feel fuller longer. So that’s another benefit to having, you know, obviously, kind of more on the higher end, as far as protein, once you look at total district, or excuse me total protein throughout the course of the day, then I think the next important factor is distribution.
So it’s pretty obvious now based off of the research that we’re seeing, you kind of have to muscle growth in the process of building muscles kind of like a light switch. So you have to get enough protein in per feeding, to turn on that light switch. And that’s why I like the 20 to 40 grams, because, you know, that’s a good general range, some people might be upwards of 50, once you go above 50 grams of protein in one meal, especially if you’re a smaller person, like that’s just added calories, you’re not doing something with that, from the standpoint of muscle growth, it’s it’s getting burned for energy at that point.
But you do absorb all the protein that you take in, technically you’re going to, or at least the vast majority of it, it’s gonna get ultimately into the bloodstream. So distribution matters after that, there is something known as leucine. So I do have to throw this out there. Obviously, Leucine is an amino acid that really triggers that light switch. And so it’s not, you know, you don’t just want to get a good protein source. And you got to make sure it’s got some good leucine to that stimulates what’s known as mTOR, which is basically your main muscle-building pathway within muscle fibers.
So that’s important, then it comes into something like protein quality. So that’s where we want to look at, you have essential amino acids, and you have nonessential amino acids. And basically, the nonessential amino acids are what my body can produce. So there’s, you know, part of the protein part of these proteins that I’m taking in, that my body can make to build muscle or do whatever it needs to. But protein quality is really important from the standpoint of, you know, I’m not against vegans are any type of, you know, vegetarian diet, but animal-based proteins just seem to for a lot of people, you know, kind of spiked muscle protein synthesis a little bit better, it’s absorbed a little bit better plant-based proteins are not absorbed the same, they’re digested a little bit different.
But it doesn’t matter whether you are a vegan or vegetarian or you are more animal based protein. At the end of the day, it’s the number that’s important. And if you do have plant based sources of protein, you probably just need a little bit more. And it’s probably going to take a little bit more homework on your end to make sure you get those essential amino acids in because the essential ones that you can’t necessarily build that your body can’t build. You need those through obviously dietary sources, animal based products.
Ducks are the easiest to get that are like something like whey protein is a great source that has a complete profile of the amino acids. But you can absolutely do it from a plant based source as well, then it comes into timing timing would be the last factor protein timing. And that’s where we get into things like you know, that anabolic window and being specific with it, you know, do you need protein right before bed or close to bed, I’m a big fan of protein intake within a few hours of bedtime. I do think it helps with the recovery process for most people, some people, it kind of doesn’t work out in the grand scheme of things.
But most of my clients, that’s been very beneficial. The last thing I’ll throw out there real quick, Steve is one of the things that I talk about so much is people just associate protein with muscle building, please realize that protein in my opinion is the king of all macronutrients, it should be your starting point, right? Like, you know, once you figure out total calories, protein should be next. And protein is important for neurotransmitters.
Protein is important for your immune system. Proteins are important for building enzymes to break down carbs, fats, and amino acids and things like that, you know, we use protein to build hormones. So I just want people to know, that protein and that macronutrient goes way beyond just structural benefits. There’s a whole host of benefits basically, in all areas of physiology, that I think most people don’t even think about, especially the general public.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting. I’ve always been a I guess you would call it a verbal or a vocal proponent of that there is like a biological value to proteins. And there are proteins that are better than other proteins. I know, there are studies. Again, there they’re vegan and vegetarian push studies that say that that’s not the case.
And that how we analyze it is like, some obscure way through like how it gets digested in the duodenum. And all of these, like, you know, very in-depth things, and maybe that’ll change down the road. I don’t know, but I can tell you anecdotally, it does seem like and the evidence we do have that there is a biological value to better proteins, and that, you know, casein protein would be better off than a pea protein insofar as how much your body digests, is that correct?
Chris Swart: Yeah. 100%. And I’m, I’m a huge proponent of you know, as long as you’re okay with it as a client, you know, I push a lot of people towards animal-based products. And, you know, that kind of complete proteins. It’s just so much easier from a general perspective, as far as like making sure you hit those targets, making sure that it stimulates you know, the muscle growth that you’re looking for whatever processes that you’re looking for, and, and kind of get towards your goal. But yeah, I think you’re 100% right there for sure.
Steve Washuta: So, you just mentioned that the macronutrient, the king of macronutrients may be protein. So that leads us to our next question. People are very macronutrient centric, though. And there, they’re focused sometimes only on one or one or the other. And they think that one is going to cause an issue of meaning. I can’t have any fats, I can’t have any carbs, right? Or I’m worried about too much protein. Can you explain why you believe or don’t believe that? It’s not any individual macronutrient that’s causing, let’s say, weight gain, but rather your approach to all of them?
Chris Swart: Yeah. When it comes to weight gain, you know, for sure, it’s total calories, right? So we’ve talked about that. That’s the first thing you got to be aware of. So it’s not protein. It’s not fat. It’s not carbs. Carbs get such a bad rap, too. In certain circles in the fitness industry, people think carbs just automatically lead to fat gain. So here’s kind of my thought process on all this.
So yes, I think protein is by far the macronutrient King. That’s the first thing you want to kind of look at now. High protein. And that’s a whole separate bag of worms, like we talked about the kidney issues type of thing I want everybody to know because it is a myth, like high protein diets do not lead to kidney problems, per se, provided you are starting with a healthy kidney or healthy kidneys.
But once you go beyond protein, when you look at fats and carbs, if your goal is weight loss, it almost doesn’t matter what your distribution of fats and carbs are, from what I’ve seen and my general opinion, as long as you hit a minimal threshold for fats, because that’s super important, right? Like, you don’t want to be too low on fats where you don’t have enough, you know, fat to build certain cholesterol-based hormones and fat based hormones and those types of things. So you can really do some damage there. If you’re fat is really, really low, but my general philosophy is protein first.
Then the second macronutrient when I work with my clients that I work on would be fat, and typically it’s like somewhere around maybe point six ish grams per kilogram of body weight and maybe a little bit above that. So that’s kind of my lower threshold. And then whatever’s left over, I fill in with carbohydrates. Now, the carbohydrate conversations really important, because depending on what your workouts look like, obviously, some people need more carbs than others. If your workout is high intensity, I think it’s really important that people realize carbohydrates, I can break down very quickly anaerobically without oxygen necessarily, as part of that chemical process.
So if I’m doing something like interval training, if I’m weightlifting, resistance training, I mean, these are things sprint work. I mean, these are things where I need a good amount of carbohydrates. So be careful with that, you know, like low carbohydrate diets can work in certain cases.
But just make sure that you’re paying attention as the coach or the trainer to the intensity and duration of those workouts, because that’s going to impact obviously your macronutrient distribution. But for me protein, once I figure out fats, whatever calories are leftover, I just basically divide that by four, because we know every gram of carbohydrates is four calories about and I simply just put that amount of carbs in and then tweak those numbers from there. That’s generally how I approach it.
Steve Washuta: What about maybe let’s just sort of the quality of those, though, are you talking to your clients about let’s say that the quality of their carbohydrates, because unless unless you don’t believe there is a difference, then you can you can sort of unpack that?
Chris Swart: No, there’s certainly a difference. You know, when it comes to the quality of carbohydrates, I typically send my clients a list of good like complex, high fiber, good, micronutrient dense carbohydrate sources, because one of the obvious mistakes that people make is they go to the carb sources that don’t have a lot of fiber, that don’t have a lot of vitamins and minerals, they’ve cut the calories, but they’re not providing you with the overall health benefits that those other sources do.
So I’m a huge fan of I mean, just rundown some of my favorites, like, you know, I’m always preaching Keen was and sweet potatoes and multi grain breads, and whole grain pastas, and all those types of things, beans, you know, I want people to get those types of carbohydrates in. Now post workout. So you know, when we talk about like workout windows and things like that, a post workout window, that’s a good time to get a simple carbohydrate in, that’s going to basically, you know, get into your bloodstream quickly and be utilized to, you know, take advantage of that kind of sensitivity that the muscle has post workout for sure that that can be a very beneficial thing.
But always I try and get my clients to lean more towards the complex carbohydrate sources that are going to give you a lot bigger punch than just the calories in the carbs. They’ve got all those other things that go with it, because fiber is something you know, fibers kind of like people talk about alcohol is the fourth macronutrient. Not that I’m calling fiber, a macronutrient. But like, it’s like the it’s right below those three, right. So it’s like protein, fats, carbs, and then I’m wearing about fiber right after that. And the only you know, one of the key ways to do that is good carbohydrate sources and the importance of fiber, that’s a podcast in and of itself.
Steve Washuta: And you had mentioned fats and how they relate to hormones and things of that nature, I just want to sort of, again, shamelessly plug, one of our podcasts we did is called fats one on one, with a dietitian nutritionist basically broke down the difference between unsaturated and saturated, and poly and mono and the fats, we can find better magazine and why it’s important, let’s say in the Western diet to look for particular omegas because we’re low in some and high and others.
So if anyone needs to learn more about fats and quality of fats that I would, I would recommend that listen. So speaking of fats, holding on to fat, people are always talking about that, and they talk about this in association with starvation mode. Is this a complete myth? Or is there some truth to it?
Chris Swart: It’s kind of similar to the anabolic window. There’s, it’s it’s false, but yet, there’s some truth to it. I, I don’t like the term starvation mode. Even though I’ve in full disclosure, I used it as a younger professional. So I think one of the things that I can do when I do podcasts like this is, like I said earlier, is to share with people the mistakes that I made, I made the mistake of telling people, oh, if you eat too little, all of a sudden your body goes into this starvation mode, and it holds on to all this fat, and you’re just making the situation you know, 10 times worse.
And there’s some truth to that. So there’s a term known as metabolic adaptation. And that term is essentially referring to what is your predicted metabolic rate, for example, so if we put your height and your weight and all that type of stuff into an equation, then there’s a ton out there, we can get a general guideline or kind of starting point for how many calories you burn from Over the course of the day, we call that total daily energy expenditure when you add your metabolism on top of obviously, you know what you’re burning in your activity and other factors.
Now metabolic adaptation would be, well, my actual number is less than what’s predicted. And typically, it’s only about 10 to 20%. From what I’ve seen. So what I mean by that is, yes, you’re probably going to have if when you go through the dieting phase, you are going to experience most of the time some level of metabolic adaptation. So your metabolism is probably going to drop, let’s say 10 to 20%, it could be more for some people, and it’s less for others. But it probably is going to drop a little bit to kind of your body’s going to combat that stress.
Dieting is a stressor. And people need to realize that before they go into the dieting process, and it’s something that I always harp on with fitness professionals and people that I work with, you need to develop a roadmap for your clients and let them know they’re going to experience this. So there is a little bit of this Metabolic adaptation that occurs. Now, there are some ways that you can mitigate this in in kind of help yourself out. Number one is high protein, high protein is very beneficial in the dieting phase, for the reasons we’ve talked about before, you want to resistance train, obviously, keeping lean mass will keep your metabolic rate higher, you want to make sure that, you know, other areas of nutrition, hydration, but one thing that I like to use is our diet breaks.
So what I what I use a diet break for is, you know, maybe every four weeks, three, four weeks could be longer could be every six weeks, I’ll put them back at maintenance for a week or two. And there’s some good recent studies that have come out where it’s not a strategy that has to be used for everybody, but it makes the dieting process easier, there’s probably going to be for some people a little bit less metabolic adaptation, it gives them this little break and kind of pedal off, you know, they can kind of take their foot off the gas pedal a little bit, it makes the process more enjoyable, and the fat loss will most likely continuously come.
Because you’re not overstressing for like a super short time period. That’s what I see a lot of people make the biggest mistake of when they try to lose weight, they just try and do it too quickly, they get more metabolic adaptation than they really wanted to. And then it creates, you know, a lot of problems. So you know, creating a calorie deficit is important, you can’t go too much. And you have to do it slow over time rate of weight loss is really important.
Steve Washuta: This next question is going to be a bit leading because I think I know your answer. And most people who have your level of education have the same answer here. I don’t say I disagree. But I’ve found that anecdotally, with myself and my clients, it works, although there’s no science to prove it. So all in packet here, the eating frequent meals multiple times a day. I don’t know your thoughts on that. I spoke with a bunch of professionals, including Danny Lennon of sigma nutrition. He’s a big podcaster.
And he’s a registered dietitian in Ireland and talked about how that that you know, all the studies show that that doesn’t necessarily help, I guess my perspective is that what it can do is shrink your appetite. Because your stomach should shrink. If you’re not eating large meals, if you’re eating frequently throughout the day. So then you don’t make bad decisions to eat large meals, or you don’t get these like hangry hunger pains where you come home at six o’clock and decided to open a bag of chips while your chicken is cooking in the oven. So what are your thoughts on that? And sorry, that it’s a bit leading?
Chris Swart: No, I like that question a lot, Steve, for sure. Because I think I’m I’m under the philosophy of with the people that I’ve worked with anywhere between three to six meals I’m very comfortable with, right? And if you look at the research people will say Yeah, almost, you know, meal frequency doesn’t necessarily matter. You know, people have great success on intermittent fasting and they might only one meal a day, I get all that right. And I understand what the science says. But from a practitioner standpoint, from you know what I’ve seen, I see people do better with more meals on average. So I agree with you on that for 100%.
But what I think is important is you got to be careful, you don’t want those meals to be too small, where it tends to lead to like especially as the day goes on that like later afternoon night binging type of thing because the meals might have been too small or just not a good quality. So one of the strategies that I use which should be used for everybody anyways, is if you’re going to separate your meals and have like six more frequent meals throughout the course of the day.
Make sure you’re doing things that are obviously going to add volume to your stomach. So something like you know adding vegetables that for lower calories, you know something like broccoli, green beans, you know these things. Pepper You know, these things take up more volume in your stomach to give your brain that association of, okay, there’s more food in my stomach, you don’t have as much hunger, and it seems to lead to better success in the overall long run. So I’m with you, I think that three to six meals, you know, is generally my starting point, the more the better for on average for most people.
Steve Washuta: When I was younger, I did a diets, this is very random. And it was a macro nutrient separation diet, where I had, let’s say, 40% of my calories from protein 40%, from carbohydrates, 20%, from fats, very clean foods, but I never mixed fats and carbohydrates. So I had protein with each individual other macronutrients. But I never mix fats and carbohydrates.
And I guess the thought process again, this was just something I read. I was I think I was 19 when I did it, is that if your body’s digesting one it’s holding on to the other, and that you’re actually you know, I don’t know, digestion wise, it’s much easier on your body. If you’re not mixing those. Do you? Have you heard of that diet? Is there any credibility to that?
Chris Swart: I don’t have any information on that. Steve. I just from like, my, my first initial reaction, I disagree with that, from what I know, I think it’s better to like, I like the, like whole food meals that have the combination of everything. Yeah. You know, that whole food matrix, they all Interplay off each other, um, that that would be the camp that I’m on. But I’m always happy to learn more and do more research on it. But yeah, I’m on the side of get them all in every meal for the most part.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, it was one of those things that worked for me. And at the same time, I was running five miles every morning and lifting and I had the metabolism and the muscle of a 19 year old. So it’s like, Oh, of course. I mean, I could have probably been eating Domino’s Pizza every day, that would work. Right?
Chris Swart: I was just gonna say that.
Steve Washuta: Okay, so the last thing I want to talk about here is I’m going to lead the way here because this is one of my, I guess, misconceptions that that I have to deal with a lot in both with clients and with personal trainers is that people believe the muscle size, like hypertrophy has like a direct causation with strength and power. And I know there’s a correlation.
But I don’t believe there is necessarily a causation because we have so many other things involved, right? Sort of like arthro or osteo. Kinematics, like how your how your joints are moving and how your bones and that process. And they I guess you would call it like muscle memory and the efferent afferent neurons and how they fire and how many times you’ve done something.
So regardless of how strong Chris’s let’s say, he’s way stronger than me and pressing exercises, if I give Chris a pressing exercise he’s never done, and I’ve done it 6000 times, there might be a chance that I actually lift more than him in that pressing exercise, because he doesn’t have that sort of the those neural pathways developed. Can you speak to why it’s not just the size of your muscle that makes it stronger? Powerful?
Chris Swart: Yeah, no, it’s a great, great point. And a great question. Because yes, bigger muscles are correlated with more strength. 1,000%. But, you know, I know, just myself in general, you know, I remember being a high school and college athlete. And there were people that were 20 3040 pounds heavier than me that I had more strength and more power than them, even though they had more size.
So the point here is a lot of this comes down to the nervous system. So when you look at strength, for example, you have the nervous system that’s obviously communicating with muscle, there’s something known as rate coding. So not only am I impacting like, if I were to do a one RM squat, so I’m going to lift the most amount of weight I possibly can. The goal is to recruit as many motor units as possible.
And what I mean by that is a motor unit is the nerve and then all the muscle fibers that it’s going to communicate with, the more I can recruit those, the better off, I’m going to be to recruit more muscle fibers to produce more force. So a lot of it comes down to the nervous system, and how many fibers muscle fibers you can fire at once. So the size of the muscle isn’t necessarily the most important factor. In some cases, it’s the ability of the nervous system to do that, then you have something known as rate coding. So rate coding is the frequency at which the brain and nervous system is going to send a signal to the muscle itself.
So what we see is at some point, you know, you’re going to be you’re going to recruit as many motor units as you possibly can or you’re going to get closer and closer to that limit. Then the next thing that’s really pushing strength development would be something like the rate coding, for example, that is allowing the frequency to go up, which will improve your overall strength. So the nervous system is a massive component in a massive conversational piece when you look at strength, so the muscle size is a factor, but it’s not the only factor.
Steve Washuta: That’s really interesting. I wonder if there’s a way scientifically to look at some of these athletes through the rate coding, and through the efficiency and see is like, where is their optimal? Where is that final baseline? If I’m a boxer? How do I know when my cross is exactly as powerful as it can be? And then I can just stop working on that power? Because I’ve already hit that threshold. Is there a way to measure that? Or how do they measure things like that?
Chris Swart: I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head, like, are we at the point where we see like, what’s a good way to assess somebody’s limit? I don’t know if there’s a good method out there. I’d be interested in learning if there is a good method out there.
But I think it’s going to be the same conversation as far as like strength, right? Like a lot of times strength conditioning coaches will say, Okay, this person’s as strong as I need them to be. Maybe they could get stronger, but I’m happy with where they’re at. I want to develop other bio motor abilities. So you know, it I don’t really know the full answer to that. But I’d be interested in learning more, because, you know, it would be a great metric to know as a coach or a trainer, you know, how much more room do I have to progress this? Yeah. And
Steve Washuta: then I can just stop. I mean, I, I’m a big martial arts fan. But I always wonder, okay, what some of these martial arts practitioners continue to work on things in my, in my estimation, when I look at them, they’re already perfect. Why are you working on this high tech? It’s absolutely perfect.
You’re never going to generate more power, you’ve already thrown 10,000 of them, you’re never going to be more efficient work on something else. But I guess, you know, until we know, what is that optimal? So we have a measure, I guess people always think I can kick a little faster, I can be a little bit more efficient, I can kick a little bit harder. So this was fantastic information. Where can the listeners find more about you? Dr. Chris, where can they maybe reach out to your directly, their fitness professionals, let’s say and they they’re intrigued about what you do and maybe want to follow in some of the pursuits that you follow down? How do we find everything Dr. Chris for?
Chris Swart: So the best way to reach me is Instagram. It’s just what I use the most. It’s really the only platform that I’m very active on. I dabble in Twitter. I’ve dabbled in some other platforms, but I like Instagram a lot. So my Instagram handle is at Dr. Dot Swartz. So the actual doctor voc TLR dot swart, SW AR T. And that’s probably where you’re going to get a response from me the fastest.
But obviously, you can go to the American International Colleges website, you can click on exercise science, my bios up there, my emails up there, so you can email me directly through AIC. But I always tell people, Instagram is going to be the best by far. That’s how I’ll get back to you the quickest.
Steve Washuta: Looking forward to having you on again. My guest today was Dr. Swart. Thank you for joining us.
Chris Swart: Yes, thank you, Steve. I just want to say real quick, I appreciate your time. I appreciate you letting me join. This was excellent. And I’m happy to join it at any point in the future. I really enjoy doing stuff like this. And giving people kind of the longer winded response is not just the quick-hitting things that they see on social media and actually have a little bit more in-depth conversation. So I appreciate your time students are
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.
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