Fitness and Nutrition Questions

Training Question

A few weeks ago I sent out an email asking if you had any questions regarding training, nutrition, or even motivation and work. If you didn’t get the email, here’s how to get in the mix and become a part of something awesome, and get some cool free stuff too: The Real Thor Workout

The response was huge. A lot of emails and great questions came flooding in and there were some really great questions as well. And I really appreciate the massive response. Many were similar, which makes sense as we struggle from a lot of the same things. So if you don’t read your specific question on the blog, you will see one that’s very similar.

There were too many to answer in one blog post, so we’ll have to break it up into a series.

If you didn’t get a chance to send a question, please ask it in the comments section, I’ll answer all of them.

So here we go.


1. How does one actually determine if they’re a hardgainer? And since nothing in life is binary, how hard a hardgainer? It’s hard to tell just how much rest is enough rest, but 3x a week just feels like too little in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.

Great question. The answer stems from the notion that the human physique is split into 3 categories or somatotypes. These can then be broken down further, but we won’t get into that. For now, simply determine which of the physiques above is most like yours by answering these questions:

  1. My bone structure is typically described as: Large, Medium to Large, Thin/Frail (wrists and ankles are great measuring points).
  2. As a child I was: Chubby, Normal, Too thin
  3. My body tends towards: Carrying too much fat, Being lean and muscular, Too skinny
Check out more questions here: somatotype test.

When it comes to rest and recovery, you really have to listen to your body and figure out what works best for you, but I like training 4 days a week. 3 days is okay when you’re a beginner, but like you said, it feels like you’re not doing enough and it can get pretty boring.

Instead of worrying about the amount, worry about the quality of recovery time. For more tips on recovery check out this article:

2. What would you recommend as good carb sources? I use to eat yams, sweet potatoes but now with the need for carb (caloric) surplus was looking at other carb sources. Between rice and oats what would be a good choice nutritionally? Leaning towards oats instead of rice due to fiber content but am open for suggestions.

Also what would be a good carb source in the post workout shake. I like fruit (bananas or honey) but was afraid of getting too much fructose and not enough glucose.

I love oatmeal, it’s a great carb source and if I don’t care what I’m eating (taste), I’ll have oatmeal accompanying almost anything. But if I’m after taste I’ll go with yams or whole wheat pasta. Having these before or after a workout can be a great meal. Quinoa is also a great alternative, it just takes a while to make.

Post workout carbs: I use Waxy Maize. It’s a carbohydrate blend in powder form, but I’ve also had chocolate milk, fruit or gatorade powder mix (a really cheap and great alternative). All in all you’ll spend just as much on fruit as you will with the powder, so I’d go with the powder. It absorbs faster and will carry the other nutrients to your muscles faster than a conventional carbohydrate.

3. I work 24 hour shifts on an ambulance so somedays im pretty beat. What are some tips to get the most out of my workouts despite the strange schedule?

This is a tough one and a question that I get a lot. Much of it is mental, so identifying why you want to get to the gym is important. Make it emotional. But sometimes this just isn’t enough every single day. Here are a few things that I do/use:
  • Extreme Rush: This supplement will not only wake you up, but it’ll help get your blood flowing. You’ll get bigger pumps, have more energy, and will be more likely to kill your workout. I love this supplement.
  • A nap: A 20-minute nap can be great before or after a workout. If you’re finding it tough to get the energy, take a 20-minute nap (don’t go over) and head directly to the gym.
  • Lift for 30 minutes, no more. If you know you’re only going to be in there for 30 minutes you’re going to be less likely to dread the upcoming workout. To do this, minimize rest periods and combine sets into supersets, giant sets, and quad sets. Check out “How to Get Ripped” for examples.
  • Don’t rest. I just mentioned it, but I figured I’d mention it again. Really minimize your rest periods. If we’re tired and worn down, a rest period that goes on just a bit too long can absolutely ruin a workout. We’re also trying to break down as much muscle as possible, then repair it. Less rest will help you do this.
Check out this article for more tips: How to Get in Great Shape on a Busy Schedule.

4. How (or is) my training different at age 50 than it would be if I was 25? 

Can I still make gains at this age? ~ John

It shouldn’t be different at all. Train according to your goals. Just like a 25 year old has to, make sure you’re pushing yourself without going overboard. Pay attention and listen to your body, and make the necessary adjustments.

Yes, you can still make gains at your age. One thing you’ll have to keep an eye on is testosterone production. Have a look at this article: Testosterone Diet. As we age our testosterone production diminishes, but we can combat this.

Your metabolism is also going to slow which will actually help your gains in a way. Make sure you’re listening to your body, allowing proper recovery time, and eating the right things at the right time. Age, especially 50, shouldn’t be detrimental to your health or physique, just work hard and smart.

5. I’m still in high school so I really don’t cook, but I was wondering if you had any examples of quick healthy meals/snacks that contain all the right amounts of proteins, good carbs, and good fats needed. ~ Gus

Depends when you’re eating. But here are a few great examples and when you should eat them.

Pre/Post Workout: French Toast.

Ingredients: 2 slices whole wheat bread, 8-12 eggs whites, cinnamon, all natural maple syrup.

Snacks: Nuts.

Almonds and Brazil nuts are a great snack before bed as they help boost our testosterone levels. If you’re in a rush, cottage cheese is also a great snack to have that’s high in protein.

Breakfast: Eggs.

Try scrambling your eggs with vegetables. As a treat I’ll add in sun dried tomatoes (oil and all) into the mix. Cut up an avocado to go along with your breakfast as well. High fat and protein breakfasts that are low in carbs don’t have the negative effect of raising insulin levels in the morning which also feeds our fat cells. High fat content boosts testosterone levels as well.

This is the best resource for healthy, great tasting meals and snacks: the Metabolic Cookbook

Ask more questions! I’ll answer them in the comments section.

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  • Mullins

    I was curious about when you said no carbs in the morning in a previous post because I workout in the morning between 6am and 7am and you said we need carbs as a source of fuel during workouts. what would you suggest I do since I workout so early?

    • Chad Howse

      In this case have some carbs before and after your workout. Your body needs something to burn while you're training or else you're more likely to release cortisol and burn muscle.

      You're going to use most of these carbs regardless so don't worry about the fat gains.

  • Daniel

    I workout around 6 a.m. myself. My stomach doesn't handle food early (or right before a workout) very well, so I get around it by sipping on a protein/carb shake from waking until the end of my workout. I get my fuel, my stomach's happy, and I'm happy. I'll eat a large brunch 2-3 hours later when I can handle it.

    Question for Chad–I thought I was an endomorph since I struggled with weight for so much of my life, but now I'm not sure. I have no problem keeping the fat off, but I have to seriously stuff my face to put muscle on. Could this be because I have "corrected" a metabolism screwed by past poor dieting? It's fascinating to me that I was fat for 20 years and now I have to near-binge to gain muscle. Weird.

    • Chad Howse

      Hey Daniel, we change a lot over our lifetime. Usually it's the other way around where our metabolism slows down, but you could have just lost a lot of 'baby fat'. Sometimes we have a hard time getting rid of it and don't do so until much later than most people.

      Make sure you're really taking care of the meals before and after your workouts. Make sure they've high in good carbs and lean proteins. And if you're not gaining mass, odds are you're either training too much (or not doing the right stuff) or not eating enough. It sucks, but a lot of time that's the case.

  • atiba

    Any tips on how to help a vegetarian gain muscle mass? I eat all the foods I can which provide protein (beans, nuts, eggs, legumes etc.), but the grams of protein I get are around half of what I should be getting. (assuming 1 gram / pound of body weight)

    Any tips?

    • Chad Howse

      Vegetable proteins are often not of the same quality as meat proteins, so you might need a bit more than 1g per lbs of bodyweight (our body doesn't absorb them as we do animal proteins).

      Also, make sure you're getting enough calories. Like in response to the last comment, make sure you're eating enough carbs and LEAN proteins before and after your workout.

  • Sean Hyson

    haha love the illustrations of the body types! Did you draw those, Chad? 😉

    • Chad Howse

      haha they're just a bit too scientifically accurate for my liking! 😉

  • Chad Doncsecz

    Hey Chad,

    Just picked up my first tub of Waxy Maize. What nutrient ratio do you use post workout? I'm 6'0 190lbs, if that helps. Thanks bro!

    • Chad Howse

      Go 2:1 carbs to proteins. So if you're taking 35 grams of protein go 70 grams of carbohydrates.

  • Rupert

    Chad, I've been reading your articles and I like a lot of what you have to say. I'm interested in trying out your program, but I have one major question. It sounds to me like your program is designed specifically for Ectomorphs. I'm an endomorph — if I'm not actively working to keep weight off, I am putting it on. Is your promgram right for me and if not — since you seem like an honest broker — can you suggest one that would be. Thanks.

    • Chad Howse

      Hey Rupert,

      Good question. It's definitely good fit for you. I have meal plans for any goal, and the weight training will definitely help you get ripped.

      It's marketed as a muscle building program because of my story of how I gained lean muscle with it. But it fits both ends of the spectrum. It's a great program man. Definitely grab it. If you don't like it I'll give you a refund, I'm that confident in it.

      Check it out here:

      Ask any other questions you have.

  • Lisa Carbonelle

    You can get weight loss also by knowing your own body type. Because different body type has different diets.

    • Chad Howse

      Indeed they do. I’d say difference schedules have different diets as well. There’s no one way to eat for everyone. On this site alone I talk about 5 or 6 different methods. Take your pick.

      Search “nutrition” in the search tab and have a look at what works best for you.

  • Frank Sparticus

    Didn’t read it all, stopped at post workout carbs.

    “Post workout carbs: I use Waxy Maize. It’s a carbohydrate blend in
    powder form, but I’ve also had chocolate milk, fruit or gatorade powder
    mix (a really cheap and great alternative). All in all you’ll spend just
    as much on fruit as you will with the powder, so I’d go with the
    powder. It absorbs faster and will carry the other nutrients to your
    muscles faster than a conventional carbohydrate.”

    As I mentioned previously, fruit is fructose, which goes straight to your liver. Fructose is Devil sugar. Milk has lactose and the gatorade mix has High Fructose Conr Syrup or some derivative (man made Devil sugar). Use Dextrose. You can find it in the brewery section of your supermarket (in Australia at least, not sure about other countries) and it’s cheap.

    • Chad Howse

      Post workout you want to raise your blood sugar as fast as possible. In the battle between fructose and dextrose, dextrose takes the cake. BUT, we’re getting to the nitty gritty here. The VERY nitty gritty (why I mentioned waxy mayze).

      Frank, great comment, love all your comments and really appreciate them. This one you’re right, dextrose is better post workout. Fructose replenishes liver glycogen, not glycogen stores in the muscle. Dextrose is far more fast acting. But this is up to you. I stick with my fruit and it does the job.

      I’d rather have fruit – a natural source of carbohydrate – than cotton candy, powderade, nerds, or any other source of dextrose you can find. I have used dextrose post workout and it’s great. Anyone reading this, it’s up to you. Head to your supermarket or supplement store and give either a try.

      In my mind, it’s not a massive difference or one fretting about. But Frank brings up a great point, one worth mentioning.