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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

Hey guys, Sean Nalewanyj here,
and this is part 5 of my bodybuilding and fat loss Q&A. As always you can use the links
in the description box below to access all of the other Q&A’s that are available, there’s
a lot of very useful information there so make sure to go ahead and check that out after
you’re finished with this video, and let’s get started. So question #1 is, what are the
very best cardio exercises for burning fat in the most effective way? Well, ultimately,
cardio is simply a calorie-burning tool that you use in conjunction with proper diet for
the purpose of maintaining an ongoing consistent calorie deficit over time, and the truth here
is that ANY form of exercise that increases your heart rate and that allows you to generate
a reasonable amount of overall intensity over a sustained period of time is going to be
an acceptable form of cardio exercise when it all comes down to it. And so for that reason,
my recommendation here is to just choose your cardio method or methods, with the overall
goal of adherence in mind first and foremost. In other words, just go with the forms of
cardio that you enjoy the most and that you’ll be most likely to stick to over the long term.
You’ll still end up getting the same basic results in the big picture this way, not to
mention that it will turn your day to day training program into something that you’ll
actually look forward to and have fun with as opposed to something that you just have
to “get over with”. So if that means using regular traditional gym equipment like treadmills
and stair steppers and bikes then that’s totally fine, but it could also mean other
activities as well, things like swimming or jumping rope or heavy bag work, it could mean
playing sports a couple times a week, it could mean drop-in classes like spin or kickboxing
or even fast paced yoga. Just make sure to use some basic common sense here if building
muscle size and strength is a central goal of yours just by making sure that whatever
form of cardio you do choose doesn’t interfere with your actual weight training workouts.
So for example, you wouldn’t want to do a rock climbing session before training back,
or heavy bag work before training say chest and triceps. Question #2, how should a training
plan be structured if the goal is to build just a modest amount of muscle and achieve
a more “athletic” look as opposed to a bulky “bodybuilder” look? Well, whether
someone is aiming to get as big and strong as they possibly can or just put on a more
modest amount of muscle, the basic workout plan that I’d give to either person would
ultimately be the same and it would still be based on increasing muscle size at the
fastest possible rate, and this is because achieving significant muscle growth as a natural
trainee is a very slow and very gradual process, and intentionally trying to slow down your
rate of progress because you’re afraid that you’ll get “too big” is really just
going to be counterproductive. A standard rate of actual lean muscle growth for a complete
beginner is probably going to be somewhere around half a pound per week, and so there’s
absolutely no realistic scenario where you’re going to suddenly wake up one day to realize
that you’ve accidentally “gone too far”, and instead, you’re always going to see
your muscle gains unfolding from a mile away and you’ll be easiy able to modify your program
as those gains come depending on your preference. So again, just focus on maximizing your overall
rate of progress by centering your workouts around big basic compound exercises, by training
with a reasonably high level of overall volume and intensity and frequency, sticking to a
moderate rep range and placing all of your focus on achieving progressive overload over
time. Question #3, what are your top recommendations when it comes to pre-workout supplementation?
To be honest, I really don’t recommend a whole lot here. This is a category of supplements
that’s gotten completely out of control over the past few years, and most trainees
place way too much value on them and spend way too much money on them. The majority of
popular pre-workout products that are available these days hide their ingredient dosages behind
a proprietary blend, and even those that do list the specific amounts are typically under-dosed
anyway. On top of that they usually contain way more ingredients than is actually necessary
a lot of which aren’t even backed by good supportive research, and they’re usually
overpriced as well. The reality is that a very high percentage of the benefits that
you get from most pre-workout products is just a result of the caffeine content anyway,
and so you can very easily make your own perfectly effective homemade pre-workout blend using
a few simple ingredients and for way less money. My favorite “basic” pre-workout
combination is to just go with 100-200mg of caffeine anhydrous paired up with 1-3 grams
of l-tyrosine and taken 30-45 minutes prior to training, and if you do have a high tolerance
for caffeine you can increase that to 300mg. The caffeine will increase your energy levels
and your mental focus as well as reduce muscular fatigue, and the l-tyrosine will work downstream
from the caffeine to boost its effects further without causing additional jitters. If you
do want a slightly more potent combination, then you can also consider adding in 1-2 grams
of acetyl l-carnitine and/or 6-8 grams of citrulline malate as well, however, this just
depends on your individual tolerance and preference and how much money you want to spend on this
area of your supplement plan. Question #4, what are the best carbohydrate sources for
muscle building or fat loss diets? So proper carbohydrate selection really doesn’t need
to be anywhere near as complicated as most people make it out to be, and there are only
a couple of basic “rules” that I would recommend you follow. So first off, just keep
in mind that when it all comes down to it, carbohydrates are really just sugar. So whether
you consume a bowl of rice or an apple or a chocolate bar, it all gets eventually broken
down into basic glucose one way or another, and the only important factor to pay attention
to here is the fact that those carbs are packaged up in different ways. So some are found in
high fiber, nutrient dense food sources (so things like fruits and vegetables) and others
are found in foods that might contain little or no fiber or real nutritional value at all,
so things like sugary drinks or other typical “junk food”. Now since consuming an adequate
amount of fiber and vitamins and minerals and other phytonutrients is an important part
of optimizing your bodybuilding and fat loss results, your main goal here should just be
to get the bulk of your overall carb intake (so I’d say at least like 80%) from minimally
processed, higher fiber sources, so things like fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, rice, potatoes,
whole grains etc. After that, to just get some extra insurance that your body’s micronutrient
needs are being fully met, aim to get in 2 servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of
fruit per day as part of that total, and then from there, as long as at least 80% of your
carbs are coming from those types of foods, the rest can be made up of whatever sources
you’d like as long as it fits into your daily totals. And it’s really as simple
as that. As long as you’re following those 3 basic guidelines then I’d say that that’s
really all you need to worry about when it comes to carb intake, and there’s really no
need to analyze it any further. And question #5, just how big of a role do genetics play
when it comes to building muscle? So the simple and the honest answer hereis that, as with
most things in life, yes, genetics do play a reasonably significant role in determining
how quickly or how slowly someone will gain muscle. Now there are many different factors
that are going to come into play here, including muscle fiber type, testosterone levels, growth
hormone levels, metabolic rate, and recovery ability just to name a few. And on top of
this, certain genetic factors will also play a role in determining how your actual physique
will look once you’ve put on a significant amount of muscle, so things like muscular
shape, your muscle insertion points and your bone structure. Now that said, there are two
important things that I would point out here. First off, even though there are some people
out there with exceptionally “good” muscle building genetics as well as people with particularly
“bad” muscle building genetics, the vast majority of the population, so most of the
people watching this video, are still going to fall somewhere in the middle. So don’t
let your perception be thrown off by muscle magazines and by what you see online, fitness
model type bodies with six pack abs all year round only represent a very, very select minority
of the population, like the absolute upper percentile, and many of those people aren’t
even natural athletes to begin with. And secondly, no matter what your individual genetic capacity
for gaining muscle is, the truth is that it really has no practical relevance to your
program anyway. Unless you have some underlying health condition that makes it very difficult
for you to put on muscle, virtually anyone can build a significant amount of size and
strength given enough time and given enough consistency, and for some people it just might
take a shorter or longer period of time than average. So, the whole concept of “genetics
and muscle growth” is really just irrelevant, and your only job is to train hard, eat right,
stay focused, stay consistent, and just make the best of what you have. So that’s all
for today, thanks for watching this video lesson, I hope you found this Q&A useful here
today. If you want to learn everything you need to know to structure a complete muscle
building or fat burning plan that maximizes your results, along with concrete step by
step training, nutrition and supplementation plans that you can follow, make sure to head
over to and grab my complete “Body Transformation Blueprint”
System by clicking the icon at the top of the video or using the link in the description
box below. If you did enjoy the video, as always, please make sure to hit the LIKE button,
leave a comment and subscribe to stay up-to-date on future videos. And make sure to check out
my official blog over at for all of my latest articles, tips and other updates.
Talk to you again soon.

18 thoughts on “Bodybuilding Q&A Pt.5 (best cardio exercises, “bulky” muscle, pre-workouts, carb sources, genetics)

  1. I get excessive leg cramps atleast 1 or 2 a week, primarily after work or a leg workout in my quad(the tear drop portion). Is this related to the fact that i supplement 400mg of magnesium a day? I drink about a gallon of water a day so i dont know why it happens so easily.

  2. heavy bag work is very catabolic i heard ! also if im doing upper lower off push pull off off, when is it best to do boxing as a cardio? i stopped it cos a trainer said its ultra catabolic ! i love boxing ! i also look forward to these videos ! you need more recognition ! great work !

  3. Thanks for the vid Sean. Always bringing reality and reason to body building in simplistic terms everyone an understand. 

  4. about pre-workout. Do you think it's fine not to use a pre-workout at all? I have never used one and I wonder would taking it really change anything? Would just normal coffee before working out have some valuable effect? 

  5. I have a pretty complex question, I have been working out for 3 years consistently, (am 19 at the moment) and put on a decent amount of size compared to what I was, (120-180, 12% body fat) but I never tracked my macros/calories at all. I recently got injured and didn't work out for 3 months straight, BUT during that time I created a meal plan with my macros and a new routine etc. immediately for when I come back to the gym. I got pretty chubby during the 3 months from not working out (body fat 15-18%!) , so I made a calorie deficit diet below my maintenance of 500 calories. I started working out again 2 weeks ago. Everything is good, I am losing fat and starting to look like my old self (muscle definition starting to show), but am SUPER WEAK compared to what I was before the injury. My question is, should I change the meal plan to BULK up and regain my strength, then cut??? Or should I continue ''cutting'' to lose some more fat I gained over the 3 months and not worry about what I used to lift? (6-12 Rep range, FAILURE always) THANK YOU, PLEASE REPLY!!! #SmartestCoachOnYoutube

  6. Hi Sean, you have very detailed and supported answers as usual. I really would like more people to follow you and learn actual facts about fitness.

    I got a question maybe you can answer in Q&A or just here, or maybe someone in the public can:

    What about alcohol intake. For example beer, wine or hard drinks. We know that alcohol contains calories we should track as well when going out for some drinks. But do alcoholic drinks have micro-nutrients or  have no actual contribution at all? Which frequency of alcohol intake can affect mass gain or fat loss programs even by tracking their calories in the process?

  7. Sean I have a question about curls. I have sensitive wrist. when I try to do straight barbell curl, it stresses my wrist, so I use a ez bar. when I even do straight bar pull up it stresses my wrists, so I always use slightly tilted one for pull ups. when i even do  dumbbells curl, I make my wrists slightly tilted like 20 ~ 30 degrees to not stress my wrist. Should I try to make them 180 degree in order to make more progress ? and go a lot lighter ? does it really matter using straight bar curl or ez bar ? in other word, angle of wrist. thank you sean ! Have a good day !

  8. I want to cut but not by decreasing calories. In order to do that, I have to increase my cardio to allow me to be in a deficit. Should I do those cardio on rest day or just after weight lifting days? And if I do them after weight lifting days, should I eat the same amount of calories that I eat during the training days?
    Thanks for everything! 😁

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