Losing weight and building muscle by eating less food, and taking supplements
If you're like me, you worry a lot. And that worry tends to go into your stomach. And when worry goes into my stomach, it feels like it's tied up in knots, and even the thought of food makes me feel ill.
Yeah, I know most people aren't like that. Whatever is going on in their life, most people can always eat a second helping of waffles. Ever since I was a kid, I've been jealous of those people. Their digestive juices are always working correctly, they can eat no matter what.
It's not the same with me. If I'm worrying about something (and there's always something to worry about!), I can't eat. That's why I was such a skinny kid. That's why I was made to sit at the table long after everyone in my family had left in order to eat my food. I would sit there, and sit there. Eventually I was excused from the table. And I got thinner and thinner.
Of course now that I'm a middle-aged man (which is what I will call myself through my 100s), there's no need for me to be always eating to keep my weight up. My metabolism has slowed down enough that I'm carrying a respectable amount of body fat now. And so for me, to this day, I can lose weight by eating less food. But not eating food makes me nervous, because I'm training for muscle, and I want my body to have what it needs to rebuild after a workout. So I'm taking supplements.
My preference is to take them in capsules. So I have 1) Branched Chain Amino Acids 2) Glutamine, 3) Creatine and 4) L-Tryptophan. I also take a protein shake.
• BCAA. The Branched Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. They go right into your body and not only support muscle growth, they help with overall rebuilding of bones and brain (I could use that!). The capsules I have are 1000 mg (I gram) and the correct dose for a man like me is 4-10 grams a day. I usually take two capsules before a workout and two capsules afterwards. I also get BCCAs in my protein shake (see below).
• Creatine. Creatine wasn't around when I started training back in the '80s, but it's all the rage now. I take two capsules before a workout and two after, and that gives me the daily 4 grams that I need.
• Glutamine. This supplements the BCAAs. I take two capsules before a workout and two after, and this gives me a total of 4 grams a day.
• L-Tryptophan. This is part of my night-time regimen, which includes an over-the counter sleeping pill and an Naproxem Sodium (Aleve). The Tryptophan is also a basic amino acid, which promotes calm mood and enhances sleep. And since it's an amino acid, it's supporting muscular repair. Your muscles grow at night, you know, and by taking Tryptophan I don't feel the need for an additional protein meal before bed.
• Protein Shake. I'm a big believer in protein shakes. I used them very successfully in my late twenties to help me gain weight, and now I use it to be sure that my body gets some solid nutrition when I really don't feel like eating much. I mix it with 1% milk (which, in spite of the name, has a large amount of fat and calories) in a shaker cup, and keep two of them in the refrigerator. That way I can always reach into the fridge and grab one. Sometimes I'll have a meal of some cheese, some crackers, and my protein shake. And sometimes that all I can do. In the course of a day I'll drink two cups of milk along with two scoops of my protein shake, which gives me over 50 grams of protein.
My goal for January 15th is to have my visible six-pack abs again. I'm not one of those people who needs to do hours of cardio to lose weight, so I can just continue on with my weight training, which I do every day. I will continue to supplement as it not only helps to rebuild my muscles, it keeps me encouraged and enthusiastic. I don't want to think that I'm tearing myself down when I know that I'm supposed to be building up.
I also take a daily vitamin, fish oil (two 1200 mg capsules), a digestive pearl, and usually a couple of ibuprofen or more, depending on how sore I feel. I take a 325 mg enteric aspirin daily for blood thinning (which also helps with pain) and a prescription medicine for cholesterol and high blood pressure.
My attitude towards my body is the same one that I have for my garden. I'm a big believer in supplying nutrition, and I'm kind of a sucker for just about any type of thing that will supplement growth. How well it works I really don't know, but I like the idea of doing all that I can.
Posted by Brad Hall