Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Ep 118: Q&A – Macro Splits, Lean Bulking, Hunger, Muscle Over 40, Aggressive Fat Loss Strategies

October 31, 2023 Philip Pape Episode 118
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Ep 118: Q&A – Macro Splits, Lean Bulking, Hunger, Muscle Over 40, Aggressive Fat Loss Strategies
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Show Notes Transcript

What is the most effective macro split for building muscle? Is it necessary to drink electrolyte mix, or is water enough? 

Find out the answers to these questions and more from the free Wits & Weights Facebook community and emails and messages from listeners.

I will tackle your burning questions on the most effective macro splits for muscle building, especially for women in their 40s, and debunk some myths along the way. I discuss the importance of electrolytes versus plain water during workouts and how to navigate hunger when transitioning from maintenance to a bulk. Plus, I get into the specifics of lean bulking and how to set your macros for optimal results.

Then, I am doing a rapid-fire Q&A based on questions from our recent rapid fat loss challenge, covering everything from the impact of high-intensity cardio on muscle growth to the most satiating foods when calories are tight.


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Today you’ll learn all about:

[2:09] Two five-star reviews for the show
[3:33] What is the most effective macro split for building muscle?
[6:20] Is it necessary to drink electrolyte mix vs. water?
[8:03] What are your thoughts on hunger when transitioning from maintenance into a bulk, when you have reached your calories?
[11:31] Managing hunger and increasing calories for maintenance
[14:03] To transition to lean bulking, do I continue my current maintenance or find my new maintenance and set to gain? What are the macro recommendations?
[16:46] Rapid fire Q&A on the rapid fat loss challenge
[25:54] Outro

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Philip Pape:

Generally most people will perform in progress better with higher carbs. And I would say, especially women over 40 Because of the energy, the reduction in stress relative to your hormone health, and I realized that there is this mythology out there somehow that you know, women in perimenopause or post menopause need to be on a low carb diet, but I don't buy it and nor does the evidence support it. And at the end of the day, see for yourself. Welcome to the Wits & Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in Wits & Weights community Welcome to another solo episode of the Wits& Weights podcast. In our last episode 117 Starting strength the novice effect and barbell lifts with Cody anino Cody and I talked about the transformative power of barbell training, we covered the principles and benefits of starting strength, some common misconceptions about strength training and the crucial novice effect. We compare different training methods, how barbell training impacts mental health, and how to get your form checked online. Today for episode one, eight tene we're doing a q&a to answer questions from the free Wits & Weights Facebook community and emails and messages from listeners. I will tackle your burning questions on the most effective macro splits for muscle building, especially for women in their 40s and debunk some myths along the way. I discussed the importance of electrolytes versus plain water during workouts and how to navigate hunger when transitioning from maintenance to a bulk. Plus I get into the specifics of lean bulking and how to set your macros for optimal results. Then I'm doing a rapid fire q&a based on questions from our recent Rapid Fat Loss Challenge, covering everything from the impact of high intensity cardio and muscle growth to the most satiating foods when calories are tight. Now each episode I do like to highlight the latest reviews on the show. So here are two short five star reviews from this week. The first one is from the fallible man. Real talk good advice. I appreciate Philips show, it sounds like the same thing I would tell my clients as a certified personal trainer, there's so much trash out there, it's awesome to find the show is such great advice, Phillip shares real, measurable, achievable goals for real people who are looking to change their lives. As always, thank you I appreciate when other coaches and trainers listen to the show and gain value out of it. Because that really means a lot to me. And it helps us all lift up the industry as a whole. The second reviews from three buoys helpful episodes, I enjoy learning about ways to feel better in my body, and appreciate the episode on weight training after 40. Thanks. Again, thank you as well short but sweet. And it means a lot to me. As always, I am grateful and listeners take the time to write a review for the show. I'm always happy to feature them here as well. So if you write a review, please screenshot it and tag me on social media. So I can reshare it for you and give you a shout out on social media but also on the show if you'd like. With that. Let's jump into today's q&a. All right, so first, we have three questions from n z. And again, if you want to send me multiple questions all at once, I'm happy to answer them. So you don't take advantage of that. The first one is, what is the most effective macro split for building muscle. I eat high protein but wondering if the balanced or low carb approach is better for a female in her 40s to build muscle. I'm strength training four days per week. And I walk Thank you love the podcast. All right. So and is obviously doing a lot of things right. She is training. She's moving. And she's concerned, you know, she's eating high protein, and she's concerned about her fat carb split. And this is where I would say, why don't you experiment for yourself, use some biofeedback and other data and see what the right level of carbs is. For you. I could say that for most people, a higher or balanced or a higher level of carbs is going to give you more performance, it's going to help you recover better. It's going to help with your hormones, all the things whether you're male, female, under or over 40 It's generally a more effective approach when you're trying to build muscle for most people. But again, it's going to depend. So assuming you're already getting around a gram per pound of protein. I would start with this balanced approach. Some people will call it high carb, but for me and my clients is just the norm where fats are around 25% of calories and then carbs make up the rest and so when you're at maintenance or when you're bulking that'll be a decent amount of carbs for many people that'll be anywhere from like 200 to 500 grams of carbs somewhere in They're depending on your expenditure, how big you are, and so on. And then what you want to do is assess how those carbs affect your outcomes. Are your lifts going up? How strong do you feel in your sessions? How drained or not? Are you afterward? How sore or not? Are you? How are you sleeping, how's your stress? If you feel great, like if all of these things are going up, and all these things feel wonderful, then you're obviously okay with that level of carbs. And it's probably for you. If something feels off, like your digestion, or you know, your performance, your energy, Something's just not quite right. After you've given a good four to six weeks, then try the higher fat lower carb option, right. So again, if you're using macro factor, you can set that up, when you set up the macro plan, you can tell it to do a low carb or even a Keto level type diet. Now, again, generally most people will perform and progress better with higher carbs. And I would say, especially women over 40, because of the energy, the reduction in stress, relative to your hormone health, and I realized that there is this mythology out there somehow that you know, women in perimenopause or post menopause need to be on a low carb diet. But I don't buy it. And nor does the evidence support it. And at the end of the day, see for yourself what we say what we call n equals one experiment for yourself. So that would be my advice there. And okay, so then her second question, totally different question. Is it necessary to drink electrolyte mix versus water, I generally drink straight up water. But I also don't sweat a ton during strength workouts. So here's my take on this, is it necessary, maybe not like hydrate adequate hydration is going to get you most of the way there. And if you're eating plenty of whole foods, especially fruits, and other fruit foods that are high in electrolytes, then you get you get quite a few from your diet, like this is why I love bananas, especially pre workout, I'd recommend even having said that, if you want to try it out and see if you feel any better or more hydrated. having either a mix powder, or as simple as a fresh, fresh squeezed lemon plus salt in your water, what some people call homemade Gatorade. And do that once a day, before or during or after your workout. You could always do more if you're very active if you're sweating a lot if you're feeling dehydrated, but just make sure you're at least getting the water at least right and that that's not the issue. And also food sources like bananas and other fruit. And once you do, then adding some of these other mixes could be helpful. You know, a subset of electrolytes includes magnesium and I would spike that out separately and say that most people should be supplementing magnesium, which is one of the electrolytes but then in general for electrolytes, you can get powder like Dr. Berg's element, which is the letters element T, or even first form, brand electrolytes. Now I'm an affiliate of first form. So if you want to support me go to first form.com/wits & weights or click the link in my show notes. They also sell electrolytes. Okay? And then her third question is, what are your thoughts on hunger, even when you've reached your calories when transitioning from maintenance into a bulk? Okay, so this is an interesting one, this is hunger, not in a fat loss phase. But hunger while you're in maintenance, and you're getting ready to go into bulk. I had a few times where I've been hungry and know my metabolism is likely continuing to adjust as I gain muscle, should I eat something since I'm not cutting during these times when I'm hungry, if I'm eating at maintenance, but still have hunger in the evening, and even overnight, does that mean that I need to increase calories? Well, it's going to depend on if you just came out of a fat loss phase and then switched to maintenance, there could be some emotional or psychological hunger that's being triggered, because you're eating more calories and probably more frequently. And so just be aware of that. But when you're bulking and I know you're not bulking yet you're maintenance. But when you are bulking you should have much less hunger, and your metabolism will slowly adapt upward. And you can eat more and more. And eventually, most people don't have any issues with hunger, and eventually get kind of sick of eating food when they're on a longer book. But I would still use the fundamental principles of meal planning, prioritizing protein and fiber, being aware of physical versus psychological hunger and so on. No matter what phase you're in, it's always a helpful skill. Now, hunger itself is a pretty complex thing. And before I just assume you need to increase calories, because you're going into a bulk in other words, what you're asking me and should I just start upping my calories now? Well, I mean, if you're not trying to be in a bulking you want to be a maintenance, we'll we'll know you don't want to increase your calories. But it's also good to listen to your body and energy availability, or lack thereof can be a very legitimate reason that your body is saying you're hungry. And so this is why I recommend being on what I call the top side of maintenance, which means aim for maybe 50 calories over your calorie target each day even when you're that maintenance, okay, 50 calories isn't that much, it's almost in the noise. But it gets you to ensure that your body is avoiding being in an accidental deficit. So if you just try to stay at maintenance, but then your body, let's say dips in terms of its, or increases as expenditure, and all of a sudden, you're kind of in a slight surplus, you're not getting all the energy you need, that could cause you to be hungry. But if you overshoot your calories just a little bit while you're maintenance, even though it might result in the tiniest of gains over time or a long time, you'll ensure full energy availability, and that could also mitigate hunger. Also, of course, always be sure that you're covering the basics. Are you eating mostly nutrient dense whole foods like 80% and 80 to 90% of your food choices? Are you targeting at least point eight grams per pound for your protein? If you're around there, you might want to get point nine or 1.0 grams or maybe 1.1 or 1.2 and get some extra satiety that way, without having to increase your calorie you just shift the macro balance a bit. Are you eating enough carbs? Right? Because this could be another indication of sufficient energy and keeping calorie density, lower, just getting enough carbs as opposed to too much fat, right? Because we have too much fat and calorie density could mean that you're not getting as much volume and you're not feeling as full? And then are you staying hydrated and using electrolytes? Just to answer your last question we talked about. And finally you're getting plenty of sleep. So it's all the things right to make sure that you've addressed those before saying that it's a hunger issue. So assuming these are covered, then here's some more advanced things you can look at number one is meal timing, you might want to shift calories more toward your workouts, shift carbs towards your workouts, or add or shift calories toward the low energy times of day, when you would otherwise be tempted to reach for a snack. Maybe this is later in the evening, right before bed, something like that. What do you say, it's really more physiological hunger, because of your habits. And now you're just going to shift calories and kind of satiate that need satisfy that need, and still hit your calories. And then of course, if you want to evaluate whether it's emotional versus physical hunger, I do have a hunger scale guide and diary that you can find at wits& weights.com/free. I also have a hunger hacks Guide, which is a long list of things that you can do to mitigate hunger, whatever phase you're in. And one of those might stick out with you as Oh, you know, I'm not really doing that. But if I did, maybe that would solve the problem. So it's kind of a complex topic, but it doesn't have to be if you're putting all these things in place. And if you're at maintenance ready to transition to a bulk, I would take care of all these other things first, to see that it's, you've mitigated the hunger as much as you can, before considering actually just increasing the calories. But if you're gonna go no surplus anyway, there's no need to wait. Really, so you could do that. So again, if you want to get the hunger hacks guide, or the hunger scale guide and diary, just go to wits & weights.com/free. Hey, this is Philip. And I hope you're enjoying this episode of Wits & Weights, I started Wits, & Weights to help people who want to build muscle lose fat and actually look like they lift. I've noticed that when people improve their strength and physique, they not only look and feel better, they transform other areas of their life, their health, their mental resilience, and their confidence in everything they do. And since you're listening to this podcast, I assume you want the same things the same success, whether you recently started lifting, or you've been at this for a while and want to optimize and reach a new level of success. Either way, my one on one coaching focused on engineering your physique and body composition is for you. If you want expert guidance and want to get results faster, easier, and with fewer frustrations along the way to actually look like you lift, go to wits & weights.com, and click on coaching, or use the link in my show notes to apply today. I'll ask you a few short questions to decide if we're a good fit. And if we are, we'll get you started this week. Now back to the show. Okay, now we have a question from Lin M. Lin says I'm wanting to start lean bulking. So here's another one where someone's transitioning into potential surplus. Okay, a lean bulk is just a very, very slight surplus over time. Do I start at my prior maintenance, or find my new maintenance for a week and then start gaining and she uses macro factor at my recommendation, and so she would set it to gain weight without putting on fat does 25% protein 35% and the resting carbs sound? Right? Okay, so again, do I start at my prior maintenance or find my new maintenance for a week then set to gain? Okay, so the more that I've done this with clients, the more that I lean toward end with myself, the more that I lean toward going to maintenance for a few weeks first, so two to three weeks for it. So you recover straight to your current dynamic maintenance. Whatever your current expenditure is, you recover right to that as soon as you can. knowing that that maintenance was is actually going to go up a bit as you recover, because it's been lowered to metabolic adaptation during your fat loss phase, right. So I would go to maintenance for a few weeks, maybe two to three. And that way, it's not such a huge shock to your system to try to go all the way into a bulk from from a deep fat loss phase, for example, which might have you jumping, you know, 700 900 1200 calories, whatever deficit you were in, and now you're going to a surplus, it would avoid that shock. But it also lets you get through that initial scale weight bump that you're going to get from the extra carbs and the fluid and glycogen that come in, you're gonna get that you kind of get through that allow your body to normalize, get to a true new maintenance allowed to recover. And what I just said didn't answer to your last question or into Ann's question, stay on the top side of maintenance. And that we're not really in a bulky yet, but you're kind of getting there. So to do that, in macro factory, instead of setting it to maintenance, I would set it to gain weight. Okay, two options, either set it to maintenance, like three pounds higher about higher than where you ended the cut, so that it's pushing your calories up toward that instead of holding you back, or I would set it to gain but set the rate of gain to very, very, very, very low, like barely above zero. So again, still you are trying to be at the top side of maintenance. Okay, as for the macros, I don't like percentages of protein, I prefer basing protein on your target weight, like we've talked about point eight to one gram per pound, then about 25 to 30% from fat, I wouldn't necessarily go as high as 35% Unless just That's a fat preference of yours. Because then the rest go to carbs. And I'd like to have a nice solid amount of carbs when going back to maintenance or when going into a book. Okay, now, I'm going to answer 12 questions from the recent shred Tober Fat Loss Challenge. This is a Rapid Fat Loss Challenge I talked about in episode 116. So if you missed it, go check that out. And today I'm going to answer these questions rapid fire style. So really quick answers to really quick questions. Here we go. Does high intensity cardio negatively impact muscle growth during a calorie deficit like the one used in the challenge? All right, there is evidence that doing too much cardio, in addition to training during an aggressive calorie deficit deficit can impair muscle growth and strength, because of all the extra stress the extra demands on your body. So I like to limit cardio. Thank you, Mike Matthews, to no more than half the time spent training. That's a general guideline. Next question, what is the evidence on optimal protein intake for maximizing muscle retention and satiety during aggressive fat loss phases? Very simply, I would aim for one gram per pound, the research shows us that that's a good upper limit. If you really want to play it safe, set it to 1.2 to 1.5. And really push yourself to get a lot of protein and see how it does with your retention of muscle in a deficit. It also enhances your satiety. So two birds with one stone, how accurately can wearables and fitness trackers estimate calorie expenditure? And what are better methods? All right, pretty terribly accurate. So terribly inaccurate, I should say studies show most wearables are inaccurate for estimating calories burned by up to 40 to 80%. So they're useless. A better method is going to be tracking your food intake and your weight changes over time, which you can do very precisely if you use macro factor. Download it use my code Wits & Weights, get an extra free week on your free trial, and you'll never turn back. Let me know how that goes. Let me know if I can help. You're gonna love it. What foods have been shown to be most satiating per calorie. Okay, so this is a good one foods higher and protein, fiber, and water. That's where you're going to look for if they're high in protein, fiber and or water, they're probably going to be the most filling per calorie. So this is lean meats, legumes, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, oats, there's really a lot that fit into those categories, you can still have a sustainable, balanced, delicious diet, focusing on those and that's great during fat loss. How does the order of macronutrients consumed affect blood sugar regulation? Is this important for non diabetics? The order of what you consume really doesn't significantly affect blood sugar and non diabetics. It's really the total meal composition, and your strength training and activity. So if you're, if you're lifting weights, and you're walking, those are the most important things you could do for your blood sugar. And then the meal composition is, is also somewhat important, but not it doesn't matter as much, because again, if you're maintaining some good muscle mass and you're moving, that's all going to use that glycogen in the way the body intended and you're not going to worry about it. What are effective strategies for dining out and eating at social occasions while adhering to a structured diet plan, while planning ahead, being selective with your menu choices, you know, having having a plan in your head for what you're going to do using it apps like macro factor to estimate things or look at databases or restaurant menus. You know, having doing leftovers, I love leftovers, you don't have to eat everything you could take, take some leftover and then heat it up later for lunch, and focusing more on things like the social experience rather than the food itself. All of these are good strategies for dining out and eating social occasions. What is the impact of refeed days during fat loss in terms of physiological and psychological benefits. So just real quick, a refeed days when you jack up the calories by increasing carbs, and you get back up to your maintenance calories for one, you know, one day or two days during fat loss? Well, refeeds have been shown to help restore leptin, glycogen, restore your metabolism a little bit, restore your hormones, just temporarily, though, they're gonna get back to where they were before. But temporarily, they do that. And so as a result, you get a psychological boost. And this is the real important part. They give you this mental break, they replenish your motivation, and they might actually get you some physiological performance boost in the gym the next day. What is the evidence that tracking and logging food intake consistently improves fat loss and body composition? outcomes? This is unequivocal numerous studies show that tracking is linked to greater weight loss and more successful maintained weight loss compared to not tracking it improves awareness and compliance period. There is no issue if you don't have a history of some sort of disordered obsession with tracking. And it's more of a problem that requires medical help. Tracking can only help because of the awareness than not tracking period. How long does it take the body to normalize water weight and glycogen levels after refeed days, this is important because during the challenge, we had two refeed days and each time that happened, the participants would say oh, no, look at this big bump in my weight the next day. Yes, that's to be expected. And then what do you find out two or three days later, for most people, it came right back down to where it was and continued. In reality, it could take anywhere from two to five days for the body to normalize water and glycogen levels after a large increase in carb intake. Again, most people I see a drop back after about two days. But it could take a little bit longer. What are effective strategies for transitioning from an aggressive fat loss phase back to a sustainable nutrition plan? And I do want to take a little exception to that question the way it's worded because an aggressive fat loss phase can still be based on sustainable nutrition principles. But it's a short term extreme of pushing the limits based on those principles that you would not do for very long. So in that sense, it's not something you would sustain forever, but it can be based on sustainable nutrition principles. All right. So that's the question, what are the strategies? Okay, gradually increasing your calories. So not, not reverse dieting, but like going to maintenance and then going to a bulk might be a good strategy, or increasing them in a way that feels good for you and your digestion, maintaining that higher protein intake, that just like you had in fat loss, continuing to keep that continuing to track macros, and then reversing anything that you kind of put on hold during fat loss because calories were tight. And you might have had fewer indulgences and things like that. It's it's okay to reintroduce some of those extra little treats and indulgences, just because it scales with your higher level of calories you've got to work with now, what training adjustments should be made during extreme calorie deficits to maximize muscle retention. All right, the big thing here is to reduce volume while maintaining intensity and frequency. We want to keep the load on the bar high we want to keep the frequency the main thing is we want to get those high number of you know some people call them effective reps. Whether you agree with that model or not. It's it's training hard, you know, within a few reps shy of failure. Similar intensity Do you would when you are not in a fat loss phase, but the volume might come down. So you're going to focus on compound lifts, and you're gonna reduce isolation exercises, you're gonna reduce cardio, to balance everything, give yourself sufficient recovery. And then the last question How can bloodwork biomarkers be used to monitor health during and after aggressive dieting? Alright, so if you're really big into this and you want to get some bloodwork, I would look at typical panel with lipids, blood glucose. And once the other thing I'm thinking of just just the typical planet panel you'd get with your GP, but I might also get testosterone and other hormones leptin, CRP vitamins, even like if you want to look at vitamin deficiency and malnutrition versus not malnutrition, but, you know, insufficiency in aggressive dieting versus when you're back recovered. I think they all can be helpful. So it depends on what your goals are, but those are what I would recommend. Okay, those are all the questions for today. And if you want your question answered in an upcoming q&a episode, the best way to do that is just send me a message on IG at Wits. & Weights or Facebook. You can DM me or you can go to the free Wits & Weights Facebook community and reach me there. Those links are always in the show notes. In our next episode 119 reclaiming the joy of running after 60. With Barry coach, we dive into Barry's transformative journey from burnout to vitality through the power of running. Yes, you heard that right. I know I hardly ever talk about running on the show. Sometimes I give running a bad name. And this guy is going to inspire you if you're interested or do enjoy running. I always say run if you enjoy it, right. It's all about your values and your goals. So he's going to talk all about running, he's going to share how reclaiming his love for running in his 60s became more than a strategy for weight loss it morphed into a philosophy for life. Whether discussing the secret to lasting motivation, or how to defy the limitations of age. Barry's insights offer sound principles for anyone looking to seize control their health at any stage of life. As always, stay strong. And I'll talk to you next time here on the Wits & Weights podcast. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits & Weights. If you found value in today's episode, and know someone else who's looking to level up their Wits & Weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them. And make sure to hit the Follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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