Bang for Your Buck

Chest training, minimalist squat training, fiber, and muscles


I hate squats, and leg extensions and presses bother my knees. Do you have any alternatives to develop thighs without hitting the squat rack every workout?

Although it’s inspiring to read about the hardcore training of advanced professional bodybuilders, it’s unrealistic to expect continual improvements on a frequency of two to three times a week per muscle group while holding a regular job and being exposed to other life stresses.

Let me offer you a compromise— squat once every third workout. On the first day do sled work, pulling or pushing a weighted sled for sprints of up to 60 meters. For the next three days don’t do any leg work; then on Day 5 do lunges or split squats. Take three more days of rest; then on Day 10 do squats. Rest three more days; then repeat the cycle again.

How important is fiber in fat loss? Do I need a supplement?

High-protein diets can be healthy
and effective for long-term weight loss, but you need to get enough fiber every day. Without adequate fiber, inflammatory markers rise, compromising health and body composition. For example, a study published in 2011 in the journal Circulation found that C-reactive protein (a primary marker of cardiovascular inflammation) and LDL cholesterol both increase in a high-protein diet that doesn’t contain adequate fiber.

The researchers suggested that the best diet for body composition and health is high in protein and fiber (along with low-glycemic carbohydrates). However, because fiber is commonly deficient in high-protein diets, the researchers said they would rather see people eat a higher-carbohydrate diet because it will automatically be higher in fiber and will have a greater positive impact on cardiovascular and overall health, even if more body fat is present. The best solution is to eat a high-protein diet that is high in fiber from low-glycemic vegetables and fruit—you should avoid carbohydrate-rich cereal fibers because they can persistently elevate insulin levels that lead to fat gain and possibly diabetes. Varying the fiber supplement is a good idea because the body will adapt very quickly to certain fibers. As a general guideline, shoot for about 25 grams a day of a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Most important, be sure to titrate up slowly to that daily dosage. Best results for lipid profile improvements are seen with taking the fiber mix at night before retiring for sleep.