Home Columnists Nigel Pearson: Fasting, lifting and eating – some of your questions answered

Nigel Pearson: Fasting, lifting and eating – some of your questions answered

Nigel Pearson has done a Q&A
Nigel Pearson has done a Q&A

Thanks for all the Questions you sent in. This is part 1 of a two-part blog series.

I suppose, I just want to say that the answers below are very general.

It’s impossible to give specific advice without knowing more information on the person asking it. If you have a specific question please feel free to get in touch and I will try to get back to you.

  1. How can I speed up my metabolism?

Ok, to talk about nutrition firstly, protein is the nutrient that will require the most energy to break down, digest, absorb etc. and as a result boost metabolism.

In general, the more real the food is the more your metabolism must work. It’s important to outline that the boost in metabolism with regards to calories burned is minute.

Also, important not to drop calories too low if your goal is fat loss. The less you eat, the less your body will burn. If fat loss is your goal, you need to discover the sweet point with regards to your calorie consumption – i.e. eat the maximum calories you can whilst still the seeing changes you want to see.

All types of training will boost your metabolism but some will do so more than others. HIIT and resistance training will give you more bang for your buck as there’s a greater EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption effect).

  1. How to eat for hypertrophy?

Biggest rule of thumb is that you don’t want to gain too much too quickly as that will create more potential to gain fat tissue. My advice is to gain a half to 1 and a half % of your body weight monthly.

Normally, I get my clients to track their calories for 7 days, weigh themselves at the start of the seven days and at the end. This helps us to get a baseline of calories and if they’ve gained weight they are eating surplus calories, maintaining weight is maintenance calories and if they’ve lost weight they are in deficit calories.

This gives us a rough idea of where calories need to go. We then take it from there with regards to altering calorie intake. Another thing I would advise is to try to keep your protein to at least 1.8g per kg of body weight.

  1. Does intermittent fasting work for fat loss?

IF, from my experience as a coach, works more for men than for women.

There’s so many ways you can IF, generally whatever fits your lifestyle is what works. I start conservatively with something like a 12 – 16 hour fast once a week and then take it from there.

In general, it’s not something I normally do with my clients.

  1. How can I increase the weight I am squatting?

There’s so many variables to this Question. Firstly, I would look at your technique. Secondly, I would look at your weekly frequency, volume and intensity.

Generally, if you want to improve your squat you need to be squatting at least twice a week

It also important to pick auxiliary / supplementary squat exercises (e.g. pause squat) to work on your specific weakness within the squat pattern. Weakness could be anything from a weak range of motion to a particular weak muscle group.

  1. How often should be lifting my x1 rep max in squat, bench or deadlift?

Simple answer is that you plan it. You build it into your program so that you hit your max on the platform or in the gym after 8-12 weeks, for example, of working on a particular program.

I wouldn’t usually recommend testing your max too often, like every 4 weeks for example, as it’s usually not long enough time on a program to build strength.

I would however, sometimes, test a 3RM with clients as it’s less fatiguing and I can estimate their 1RM based off their results.

On a side note, volume PRs are a good estimate of strength progression, e.g. a new 5×5 at 180kg on squat, well then, we can with pretty good accuracy, predict that your 1RM has increased as a result.

That’s my answers to some of the most common Qs you guys asked. As I said above, I’ll be back soon with answers to the rest of them.

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