When listening to this podcast, do you ever feel that you have some things you really would like to ask Ted? Do you want to get answers from Ted Ryce to your wellness and health-related questions?
Well, in this new Real Talk Friday episode, we are going to bring back the listener’s question segment!
Ted Ryce will answer the listener’s questions about building muscle and losing fat at the same time, cardio or weights, which one comes first, how to calculate your macros for weight loss, and much more.
These answers are packed with the latest scientific research, so there’s no fluff here. It’s all backed by science, in addition to Ted’s 20 years of experience coaching thousands of clients and his own expertise testing everything available on the market.
So, if you want to hear Ted’s answers to the listener’s most requested questions, listen now!
- Can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time?
- Does Ted eat 200 grams of carbs on his off days?
- If you are certain that you are in a caloric deficit, but your body fat percentage hasn’t changed, what should you do?
- Cardio or weights: Which comes first?
- How to calculate your macros for fat loss?
- Does it make any difference if you split training up over the day?
- What does overtraining really mean? Should you worry about it?
- And more…
Follow me on Twitter @ted_ryce
Episode Transcript: About Building Muscle and Losing Fat, The Right Amount of Carbs to Eat, Concurrent Training, The Best Way to Calculate Your Macros, Splitting Training Up Over the Day, What Overtraining Really Means & More
Ted Ryce:What is up, my friend? Welcome back to another episode of the Legendary Life podcast. And if you’re just tuning in for the first time, my name is Ted Ryce, I’m the host of the show and also a coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and other high-performing professionals. What we do here on the show is we break down science-based information for you, to get you clear on what works, what doesn’t, and what you should be doing in your pursuit of a healthier, fitter body, and healthier, fitter life.
On Fridays, however, we take a different approach; we just have a conversation about things—stuff and things. And also, once a month, I’ve started doing this answering listener questions. And most of these are from Twitter; most active there on social media on, you know, the various social media platforms. I post some stuff on Instagram, but it’s just fun stuff, like when I went skydiving recently. I also do some things on Facebook.
But I really loved the vibe over on Twitter, which if you’re kind of listening to that, and you’re scrunching up your face, like you just ate lemon, like, “What do you mean? Twitter is like the worst of all worst when it comes to social media platforms?” I used to think that too. But if you curate the right following and make the right connections there, I’ve actually found that it’s the best social media platform.
So, take that for what it is, my experience, my perspective. And if you want to connect with me and ask a question over there, my handle is @ted_ryce. And if you’ve got a question, shoot it over to there
So today, we’re gonna do another installment of listener questions. I love these, because it shows me where people are with their thinking, with what they are struggling about, and such great questions
So, let’s get to it. The first one is from someone who’s “39 years old, strength train three to four times a week, hitting his macros on most days, but sometimes hard to get the calories up to where I need them. Some days 1500 to 1600, can I continue to build muscle in that calorie range? Amazing how full I get on whole food and high protein.”
Now, the first thing I say to a person when they’re like this is, what is your body fat percentage? Because if you can’t see your abs, if you’re 15% or more with, you know, let’s just say over 15% with body fat—and we’re just talking in general, we’re generalizing things, right? I don’t want to get into it, but how do we know how accurate is the DEXA scan, right?
We’re not going to get into that, but just in general, if you can’t see your abs, better to focus on fat loss first. And you don’t have to be ripped. That’s not what I mean, or veins on your abs, like I used to talk about a few months back when I was super ripped—which I’m getting back to that, by the way.
But I’m talking about like, if you can’t even see the outline of your abs, if you’ve got a belly, then what you should worry about is fat loss. Focus on fat loss. Trying to build muscle and losing fat at the same time, which this individual was trying to do, he’s like, “Oh, no, actually, I’ve got a lot of fat to lose, I need to lose maybe 10/15 pounds, something like that.” I said, “Listen, focus on fat loss, forget about building muscle.”
And this is a mistake that I made myself. In fact, I don’t think I’ve talked about it much. But I got, you know, after I stopped doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, training so much, and I had some other things go on in my life, I decided to say you know what, my new thing is, I’m going to get big, all right? I’m going to get big and muscular. And what actually happened—and I followed a program for that, by the way—what actually happened to me is I did get big but I gained a lot of fat.
My health went to the toilet, went into the crapper, and it wasn’t good. So I would never do that again. I followed, actually, a person who I still respect and follow today, John Berardi, but he had this program where you’re basically just stuffing yourself with food.
And as a result, I blew up to 210 pounds, and I was muscular in the sense that if I put on my shirt, and my back and biceps were stretch... you know, I’d looked like someone who lifted, but then I took my shirt off and I was a little fat. And it’s not even about the aesthetics, although I think those are important too, but it’s also about the health problems. I started getting sleep apnea. I couldn’t fall asleep on my back because the snoring would wake me up.
I also had the cholesterol, out of whack, my cholesterol levels were out of whack and my blood sugar was high. And I was eating mostly low carb too, folks. So, something to consider. Having excess body fat is really bad for people who are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes, which apparently, I am, right? Because I was 24% body fat. I wasn’t super obese. But yet, here I am—there I was, rather. I’m not there now. But there I was on the cusp of diabetes.
So, what am I saying? Lose fat, it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. It’s not even the losing fat, I think, to be honest, it is also about the things that you do to lose the fat. You just eat better, you feel more in control over your nutrition, because you start learning about nutrition in a new way. So that’s what I would tell you.
Now, can you build muscle and lose fat at the same time? The only people who do that successfully are people who have, you know, they’re a few years behind on their workouts. So if you’ve been training hard, get lean, see your abs, start to see the outline of your abs, lose some of that excess body fat and then turn the corner and start to build muscle. It’s the best advice I can give you. In general, that is what works, okay? It works great. And not only will you have better health, but you’ll look better too.
Next question: “Hi, do you eat 200 grams of carbs on your off days?” So this person asked me—because I said I was eating 200 grams of carbs when I got super lean. And people are like, “What do you mean, man? Carbs make you fat?” No, they don’t; too many calories make you fat, okay? If you’re still believing that, man, I feel bad for you. I’m not here to convince you otherwise, because I don’t get paid enough to do that. Kind of kidding.
But seriously, I don’t have enough time to do that. You’ve got to convince yourself. Do the potato hack diet, and then tell me if carbs make you fat, all right? That’s where you just eat potatoes. And they’re so satiating that people can’t eat that many of them, and they go into a calorie deficit, they end up losing weight, just eating potato.
So, look that up and test it for yourself, or look up the Masters Cleanse Diet. So that was a bit of a tangent. But to answer the question: well yeah, I eat 200 grams of carbs on my off days, for sure. I don’t really pay that much attention to the calories that come from fat and from carbs because I eat enough carbs to fuel my performance. But, hell yeah!
Now listen, though, I want to say this: how many calories you eat, and whether those calories come from carbs or fat or protein, it depends on a lot of things. And the best way to—I’m not going to get into it now, but if you want to learn more about this, go to my Episode 445: The Absolute Best Diet for Fat Loss, and I explained to you some of what I do with my clients for free. So go and listen to that one now, if you’re confused about what I just said.
Okay, number three: “If I’m certain that I’m in a caloric deficit 200 to 500 calories - I count everything in My Fitness Pal. I’ve been doing it for years - but I’ve not lowered my body fat percentage for about three to four weeks now. What would you change? First few percentages, 15% to 12% went easy.”
So in case you’re a little taken aback or they’re struggling to understand what the hell this person is talking about. What they’re saying is this, “Hey, listen, I track my calories in My Fitness Pal. I’ve been doing it for years. When I first started doing it recently, I went from 15% body fat to 12% body fat. That was pretty easy to do. But for the past three or four weeks, my body fat percentage hasn’t changed, but I’m sure that I’m in a caloric deficit by 200 to 500 calories. What would you change if you were in my situation?”
So, basically, that’s what they’re asking, right? So, number one, the mistake this person is making is assuming that because they’re tracking things that the numbers are accurate. You may have heard me say like, “Hey, it’s your bank account, a business bank account. You know how much money is coming into your bank account, you know how much is leaving your bank account. Well, that’s kind of how your body is and blah, blah, blah. I’ve said that before.
But that’s just a way to help other people understand it. It is not exactly how it works. Because with the calories, you’re tracking everything but you can never be sure. The only way you can actually be sure if you’re in a calorie deficit is that you’re losing body fat. And if you’re not losing, let’s say, a pound a week on average, then you’re not in a caloric deficit. If you’re not making results, then you’re not in a caloric deficit. I don’t care how often you’ve tracked.
This is what I do with my clients, people think... I want to say this for you, and I’m a bit... I’ve learned how to track... I never tracked before, until I hired my coach, and my coach taught me how to do this. And my coach is not just some bro from the gym, he’s finishing up his PhD in nutritional biochemistry or metabolism, I forget what his PhD is in. But he’s a super knowledgeable guy, and he works with people who are getting ready for fitness competitions.
So, he gets him super-duper ripped for fitness competitions more ripped than I’ve ever been, or ever want care to be it, to be honest. And one of the conversations that we had was, “The numbers aren’t real, you can’t treat the numbers as real, you have to use them as a way to dial in the direction that you’re going. But the numbers aren’t real.” And if you’re like, “I am sure I am in a caloric deficit, I did all my calculations, and according to the calculations, they’re...”
No, I mean, you may have done all the calculations, but your data is incorrect, and you have to always take that into consideration. Measurements, by the way, are always incorrect, there’s always a degree of error. But when we’re talking about the—unless you’re scanning every bit of food with some device from the future, because it doesn’t currently exist.
Unless you’re scanning your food with some device that tells you exactly the macronutrient breakdown of that particular piece of chicken or slice of lasagna, then you just have a guesstimation of how many calories are in it. So the answer here is if you’re struggling, you’ve got to lose—you’ve got to either...
Now, this is a more tricky situation here, because… But I would try to lower calories first. And I wouldn’t lower them from protein, that should be...Again, if you don’t know why I’m saying that, then listen to my Episode 445. I’ve done a lot of things on protein. But that’s probably the best one where I talk about it. So again, lower the calories.
Now the other thing here is sometimes you can lower the calories so low, that your body starts to fight back and you start to become very sedentary without realizing it. No, that isn’t starvation mode. I’ve been actually having discussions about starvation mode all morning on social media. And it’s ridiculous, the things that people believe.
So, you’ve got to understand, listen, if you lower your calories too low, what happens? It’s not just about the calories coming in, but the calories going out on the other side. And if you end up lowering your calories so low, that you unconsciously stop moving, right? In other words, let’s say your steps drop from 10,000 to 4,000 and you don’t even know it because you’re not tracking your steps, then eating more can help you get your activity back and going. So it’s either about adding more calories or we’re taking them away, and you’ve got to experiment to see what works.
So, let’s move on to next question number four: “I perform incline walking at a brisk speed of 3.4 on the treadmill. Is it better before or after a workout with weights? Goal is strength, but I want to add cardio for health benefits? And here’s the thing: I did an entire episode on this, where we talked about concurrent training. And so that would be the best place to learn from.
And as I’m talking here, trying to type up to get that exact episode for you. And it’s Episode 451: Concurrent Training, The Ultimate Cardio Strategy. And I talked about how concurrent training can actually help you build more muscle, but this person is talking about well, should you do it before/after workout with weights?
So, here’s the thing: for me, 3.4 on the treadmill, couple things here. This person isn’t saying, okay, well, what’s your heart rate? Because that’s what we’re really talking about, what intensity are you going at? And also, how long are you doing it? Because if it’s for 20 minutes, then you can do it either before or after—probably doesn’t matter that much. But if you’re doing it for an hour, then you want to keep that to afterward. So, the more intense/or long your cardio session is, you want it to come afterward, especially when your goal is strength or building muscle.
Number five: “How do I figure out what my macros should be? Fat loss is the goal.” Again, Episode 445 is what you want to listen to, but I’ll give you the crash course right now, a good starting point—and again, a good starting point, it doesn’t mean it’s going to give you exactly the results that you want—but take your weight in pounds, multiply it by 10, that’ll give your total calories.
For example, if I’m 185, I’m going to multiply my weight by 10, that gives me 1850 calories, to start to lose fat. And that’s a good starting place. And then if you are overweight, multiply your weight in pounds by point, let’s say seven. And that will give you how many grams of protein you have that you want to hit every day. And then the rest of the calories, it really doesn’t matter whether it comes from fat or from carbs, but the goal is to track it, okay, the goal is to track it.
Let’s move on to number six. “Is it okay? Does it make any difference if I split training up over the day, for example, 10 to 20 minutes in the morning, and 10 to 20 minutes in the evening? Or is it better to train all in one go.” In fact, there’s some research that I read recently on this, and it shows that splitting your routine up can actually lead to better results.
Now, not for 10 to 20 minutes. This was, they split up a workout that were eight sets for each exercise. And they split up the workout into two workouts per day, on the workout days. And then four sets were in one session, four sets were in another session. And those people got better results than the people who they compared it to who just did it all in one go.
And this is a common thing, right? The common question, and people are always asking me this, “Hey, does it matter if I do a little bit of train now and then train later?” Listen, for cardiovascular training, it really matters, you’ve got to kind of do it all in one go, it seems, right? It seems. From the latest research that I’ve seen, you’ve got to get it all in one go. And it needs to be at least 30 minutes and maybe even better to do it like 40 minutes.
But as far as muscle growth is concerned, it actually might even be better to split up your sets because it’s not about how much you do and how short of a period of time. It has to do with how much you do over the course of the week, is a better way of looking at it— a week’s an arbitrary measurement of time, but it’s something we can all relate to.
So, it’s better to measure your training over the week, how many sets you do for that muscle group over the week, not even for the same exercise, but for the same muscle group. So if you’re doing incline bench press, dips and bench press, those would all count to sets for your chest and for your triceps as well. And it’s better to break those workouts up.
Like I’ve said before, one of the things that I love to do is high frequency training. I don’t do that many sets per workout, but I train more frequently. My body feels better, I get better results. And people ask me if I’m taking steroids, or not really steroids, they ask me, “Are you on TRT?” It’s like, “You’re 44 years old, you look great.” It’s like, “No, I am lean and I know how to work out and you don’t. You’re still doing the bro split, where you’re doing chest on Mondays, back on Tuesdays, legs on Wednesdays, forearms and pinky fingers on Thursdays and whatever else, abs, toenails on Fridays, whatever it is.
Sorry for the cockiness or the, you know, I’ve been there, is what I’m trying to say, I’ve made these mistakes before. It’s just, I’m so far away from that person that I used to be. And that’s why I kind of make the jokes. So, no offense intended, just kind of teasing you there.
But really, try this stuff, please! You’ll get so much better results. You’ll be so much happier when you get better results. And so many people, they don’t get good results simply because their approaches are subpar, they’re suboptimal, they’re not good, right? And I don’t mean... Hey, look, if you’re off the couch and in the gym, that’s great. I’m happy for you. I’m proud of you.
But as long as you’re there, why not look at ways to get more return on your investment of time. That’s all I’m saying. By the way, and if you’re fine with what you’re doing, great, I’m happy for you, okay, but then why are you listening to this podcast? That’s all we talked about. You’re probably bored out of your mind.
So, we’re always talking about how to do things better, how to get more bang for your buck, and splitting your training up. It can really be, you know, instead of doing those really long 90-to-2-hour workouts some people do sometimes, keep your training to 45 minutes and try to do more, or even 30 minutes and try to do more.
All right, number seven: “I’m 50 years old. I’m lifting three to four times per week mid rep range—which I don’t really know what that is—can I add some pushups, pull up several times a week. Increase muscle mass and strength are my goals. To me, as I get older, it feels like a balance between train hard and don’t stop i.e. the less you run, the harder it is to run. But I’m wary of overtraining, which I’ve done in the past.”
So, it’s a great question. So first of all, I just want to say this: people throw out the word “overtraining.” Overtraining is a specific syndrome. It’s like saying, I have clinical depression, right? But then I went to the beach one day—and I just need to get outside more, and my depression went away.
>And what I’m saying is, people with depression, clinical depression, don’t go to the beach and take a vacation for two days, and then come back and they’re fine. It takes more work than that. And overtraining is the same. Overtraining is not the right word, it’s overreaching. Because if you can take a week off, or even two weeks off, and then you bounce back to normal, you’re not overtrained, you’re overreaching. That is the proper terminology. And I think it’s important because there’s a lot of hyperbole and over exaggeration.
And I’ve said this too, I’ve talked about—oh, gosh, let me tell you this: I’m so lucky that social media wasn’t this popular when I was in my 20s, because I would be eaten alive with some of the stuff that I used to say. And for people like me now like, “Hey, you’re an idiot, shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just 25. And you’re ripped, because you’re broke, so you can’t afford to go out to eat, you got no kids, you’re out in the club every night trying to get women, right? So you’re dancing, trying to show off your peacock feathers, whatever.”
So I’m so lucky that I wasn’t there—that social media wasn’t a popular thing in my 20s, because I used to say a lot of ridiculous things that I would be critical of now.
So, forget about overtraining, you don’t overtrain. And really, overtraining comes into play with professional athletes or endurance athletes. But if you’re just in the gym lifting, you can kind of burn yourself out a little bit, overreach a little bit, but you’re not overtraining, okay? Overtraining syndrome is kind of a big deal, and it takes a long time to get rid of.
Now that said, this person brings up a great point. I feel like in other words, he gave the example of the less you run, the harder it is to run. It’s like, “Oh, I shouldn’t run too much, because I might train too much.” But then you go out running and it gets harder.
So let me tell you this: I’m a really big fan of higher frequencies. And I just talked about this, but it bears repeating. Higher frequencies, folks, lower intensities, especially with cardio, lower intensities, higher frequencies. I would tell you go workout every day. And my two favorite workout program templates, is you train four times a week with weights, you do, let’s say on Monday you do six exercises, two sets, and they’re going to be like your major exercises, push, pull, legs, push, pull, legs. So, two pushing exercises, two pushing exercises, two pushing, two pull, two leg exercises on one day.
Then the next day, you actually come back and you do the same thing. And you add your isolation exercises. The other thing I would do here is I would go maybe 6 to 12 reps on that first day and the second day with isolation exercises, I would do more like 15 to 20 reps, somewhere in there. And then you take a day off and then you repeat that today.
So you do that first workout, the 6 to 12 rep workout, two sets, 6 to 12 reps workout on Monday. Come back on Tuesday, do your six exercises have two sets and 15 to 20 reps, take a day off and then repeat it, then take two days off. And on those days off, don’t take days off, do cardio and do cardio 30 to 60 minutes and go easy; no high intensity interval training, super over… I use high intensity interval training, but there’s a way to do it and it’s not just to throw it in.
In general, spend more time in lower intensities. Just walk for 30 minutes. And if you don’t want to do cardio, just walk outside 30 to 60 minutes. If you want to do cardio, get on the bike, walk on the treadmill with incline, do the elliptical, something low impact, better for your joints. But that’s how I would do it.
Now the other schedule I like is just total body workout, then cardio the next day. Just alternate that, and if you need a day off, take a day off, but train more frequently, but train less intense, do less volume. In other words, two to three sets on your weightlifting days. And then on your cardio days, do 30 to 60 minutes, but just pay attention to how you feel. Train less frequently, but spend less time in the gym for your workout. Don’t spend more than an hour. And keep that up. That’s what I would tell you.
And that wraps up all our questions for today. I hope you enjoyed another installment of listener questions. I love these. I get so many. These are all great questions. They’re all great. That’s why I included them here for you today, I hope you learned something, I hope it gave you some perspective. And again, I just love doing these Real Talk Fridays, it gives us a chance to have more of a conversation, instead of me going through the important scientific details of some concept.
And we’ve got great things coming for you. We’ve got some trainings that we’re preparing, that we’re going to release soon. So, we’re basically in the midst of hiring a team. Great stuff coming for you. I hope you’re enjoying this. And if you are, make sure you hit subscribe, wherever you listen to podcasts so that when this podcast goes live, you’ll be the first to know.
And that’s all I’ve got. I hope you have an amazing weekend. Do something fun. Here’s what I would challenge you: do something fun that doesn’t necessarily involve food or watching TV. Go out do something fun! And then watch TV afterward. I love watching TV. I’m big into series. Huge superhero movie fan: Marvel, of course, right? DC just hasn’t quite got it together in my perspective. But Marvel superhero movies, superhero series? Oh, I love it!
But I prioritize the other stuff. We’ve got to have a balance of things. Right now, most people are, if you’re overweight or out of shape, you can’t walk up several flights of stairs without feeling like, “Oh, better have 911 on speed dial,” right? Then you want to prioritize your health more. Not because you’re going to look better, although that is a worthwhile reason to take your health seriously, to take fitness seriously.
But you feel amazing when you’re in better shape, your body works better. It’s like having a car with rusty parts and old hoses and nasty gas and your alignment’s off and then you start to clean everything up, and it’s just a pleasure to drive. And it’s a pleasure to be in a healthy, fit body. And you can do all the things that you want to do.
I had some delicious banana cream pie. I don’t know it was a Brazilian dessert. But it was like you know, it had that sweetened condensed milk and banana flavor and delicious pie crust. So, I still do all this stuff, I just have more of a balance so that I stay lean and healthy in spite of some of these things, and we know that it’s not healthy to eat dessert, but it’s not something you can say is healthy physiologically.
But it’s good to spend time with people and to share a meal, and you know, we ate some dessert.And you can achieve that, too. And the way you achieve it is by showing up, listening to this podcast and actually taking action on what you hear.
That’s what I want to challenge you with. So, what is something you can do this weekend? What is something you can do right now, even, or today, right now, this weekend, tomorrow? What is something you can take action on? The more action you take, the better you are going to feel.
So that’s the thought I want to leave you with. Have an amazing weekend. Love you lots, and speak to you on Monday!
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