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Q - "Zahir, will the program include reps and sets?"
Z - "Yes. The programs will have a very specific SCIENCE based format. I guarantee you results if you follow the plan. This includes reps, sets, rest periods, number of total exercises (volume), hydration, and the number of days you rest. Your muscles DO NOT grow in the gym. They grow with diet, rest, and sufficient sleep."

Q - "What equipment will I need to follow the plan(s)?
Z - "In an ideal world, you will have access to a gym with a variety of equipment. But I will show you alternatives so if something is not available, for example, a T-Bar row, what other equipment you can use to work the same muscle group. A home workout program is also available (for free) for those who wish to do a bodyweight workout from the comfort of their own homes."
​​

Q - "How is the program presented?"
Z - "The program is downloadable after purchase and is in a PDF format. The exercises are all numbered and will include a detailed description of how to perform the exercises safely and effectively. Each exercise will also have an accompanying video where I will show you how to do the exercises, how to modify if you have a history of back pain and how to do an alternative based on equipment restriction."

Q - "I have heard Hugh Jackman say that 70% of getting in the right shape is diet. So what can I eat to help me alongside the workout?"
Z - "The Wolverine is indeed wise. The Workout plans will include an eating plan that you can follow. You can modify the eating plan very easily to accommodate the goal. The eating plan asks for the consumption of around 2000 calories per day. If you are a male, weighing around 70-74 kg and wish to lose weight, simply following the plan as it is will help you achieve this goal (with time and perseverance). If your goal is to stay the same weight you can modify by increasing portion sizes so you consume 2500 calories per day. If you wish to put on size and weight in the form of lean muscle mass, you increase the portion sizes and add healthier snacks. All of this information in more detail is available alongside the workout plan."

More Q&A's below.

 

Q - "How exactly do muscles get bigger?"

Z - "Because this may be an introduction for some people, I am going to use as simple terminology as possible. Apologies in advance for the oversimplification." 

 

"When you work out by lifting weights, you create small microscopic tears in the cellular proteins of muscle. Let's say that you create tiny tears in the muscle. These tears and/or trauma has developed as a result of you overloading your muscles. This is why it is important to lift heavy. If the weight is too light, there are no tears and there is nothing for your body to adapt to so your muscles do not grow."

 

"So say you have overloaded your muscles and you have created these microscopic tears. The next stage is to feed these muscles so they repair and come back stronger. And bigger. This is done via the protein from your diet. The protein helps your muscles repair."

 

"Think of this another way. Your muscles are protein (again I am intentionally oversimplifying). The protein from your diet attaches to the protein in your muscles and the individual protein strands multiply and you get bigger and stronger. BUT, without weight training, the extra protein from your diet will not know where to go. So it sits patiently until it converts to fat around your belly. If you work out however and say your chest is sore, the protein now knows where to go. So your body uses the soreness of your chest to direct the protein and begin a cascade of events that eventually leads to muscle growth."

Q - "How long does it take to see visible results? I have a date on the weekend."

Z - "You may need to get yourself a baggy jumper there Romeo. If only the process was that quick. I personally noticed changes pretty soon when I first started to lift weights. But I was lean (I had been doing a ton of cardio and Thai boxing to lose weight). I was also eating a lot even though I was naive regarding protein synthesis. After the initial gains are when I struggled. But back to the question, the answer is going to be very unique to that individual and the base level of strength and fitness you have before embarking on the new programme."

 

What does the science say? - 'However, the time course for this hypertrophy is relatively slow, generally taking several weeks or months to be apparent (Rasmussen and Phillips, 2003)'.

 

"Changes won't occur right away, but they will. My experience training myself and clients, plus the vast supporting scientific literature tells us that you will gain muscles if you follow the guidelines. These guidelines are all set out in the programme."

A review on just how muscles grow was done by Young sub Kwon, M.S. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

This was their summary.

"Resistance training leads to trauma or injury of the cellular proteins in muscle. Several growth factors are involved that regulate the mechanisms of change in protein number and size within the muscle. The adaptation of muscle to the overload stress of resistance exercise begins immediately after each exercise bout, but often takes weeks or months for it to physically manifest itself. The most adaptable tissue in the human body is skeletal muscle, and it is remarkably remodeled after continuous, and carefully designed, resistance exercise training programs".

Q - "How much protein do I need per day?"

Z - "Hmmm. Tricky question. Annoyingly it all depends on who you ask. We always have to be careful who we ask and what we research. There is a difference between RDA (recommended dietary allowance) and the recommended optimal intake if you are trying to put on lean muscle mass. Generally, the RDA that we read about (perhaps set by the institute of medicine) refers to the minimum amount of dietary protein required to meet indispensable amino acid requirements, establish nitrogen balance, and prevent muscle mass loss. So the 0.66-0.88 grams of protein per kg of body weight (per day) that you might read about, or are told about is simply the minimum requirement to maintain optimal health. So what is the recommended intake if you are trying to put on muscles mass?

Firstly, the evidence is clear that increased protein intake contributes to greater strength and muscle mass gains when coupled with resistance exercise1

 

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (per day) to add lean muscles mass. So putting that into numbers, I weigh 75kg. The ACSM recommends that I eat between 90-127.5 grams of protein per day. For some perspective on this, an average chicken breast has around 30-40 grams of protein.

The International Society for Sports Nutrition also recommends protein intake at levels higher than the RDA, for physically active individuals the number is 1.4–2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.

Finally, a meta-analysis in 20172, which is a study of a whole bunch of studies on the same subject, recommended that you eat 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day and any more won't help you build muscles any faster. 

So how much do you weigh in kg? Times that number by 1.6 and that is how much protein you want to be eating per day. Spread throughout the day.

Q - "How much Protein do you consume?

Hmm. I have significantly more protein that the figure above. I usually have over 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. A little too much I hear you say? I am a carnivore to be fair but this figure is derived from a review by Hector and Phillips in 20183 which recommends 1.6-2.4 g/kg/day. So putting into numbers, I tend to eat around the upper end and consume 170 grams of protein per day.

 

BUT that is me. Not you. I have been training for years and my goal will be different to yours. My recommendation to you is to stay around the 1.6g/kg/day range.

Q - "How much Protein too much?"

An analysis by Guoyao Wu in 20164 summarised as follows - 

"Protein undernutrition results in stunting, anemia, physical weakness, edema, vascular dysfunction, and impaired immunity. Based on short-term nitrogen balance studies, the Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for a healthy adult with minimal physical activity is currently 0.8 g protein per kg body weight (BW) per day. To meet the functional needs such as promoting skeletal-muscle protein accretion and physical strength, dietary intake of 1.0, 1.3, and 1.6 g protein per kg BW per day is recommended for individuals with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity, respectively. Long-term consumption of protein at 2 g per kg BW per day is safe for healthy adults, and the tolerable upper limit is 3.5 g per kg BW per day for well-adapted subjects."

1) Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. - Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM Nutrients. 2018 Feb 7; 10(2):.

2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28698222/

3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29182451/

4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26797090/#:~:text=Long%2Dterm%20consumption%20of%20protein,abnormalities%20and%20should%20be%20avoided.

Q - "My mum says a high protein diet will cause me Kidney damage."

Z - "Mums are generally right but your mum is not correct on this one I'm afraid. Just don't say that to her face. A meta-analysis was done in 2018 (reviewing 40 articles) and found that high protein diets did not effect the function of the kidneys1.

Furthermore, common criticisms of greater protein intake include the potential for detrimental effects of protein on bone, renal function, low-grade inflammation, cardiometabolic disease, and cancer risk. These concerns are generally unfounded according to the research and evidence2.

A 2016 review by Phillips, Chevalier and Leidy3 added; "Despite persistent beliefs to the contrary, we can find no evidence-based link between higher protein diets and renal disease or adverse bone health."

Most of this is what we thought we knew decades ago.

1) https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/148/11/1760/5153345

2) Changes in Kidney Function Do Not Differ between Healthy Adults Consuming Higher- Compared with Lower- or Normal-Protein Diets: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Devries MC, Sithamparapillai A, Brimble KS, Banfield L, Morton RW, Phillips SM

J Nutr. 2018 Nov 1; 148(11):1760-1775.

-Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Shams-White MM, Chung M, Du M, Fu Z, Insogna KL, Karlsen MC, LeBoff MS, Shapses SA, Sackey J, Wallace TC, Weaver CM. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jun; 105(6):1528-1543.

-Plant protein and animal proteins: do they differentially affect cardiovascular disease risk?

Richter CK, Skulas-Ray AC, Champagne CM, Kris-Etherton PM. Adv Nutr. 2015 Nov; 6(6):712-28.

-Dietary Protein Consumption and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies.

Tian S, Xu Q, Jiang R, Han T, Sun C, Na L. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 6; 9(9):.

-Dietary Protein Sources and Incidence of Breast Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.

Wu J, Zeng R, Huang J, Li X, Zhang J, Ho JC, Zheng Y. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 17; 8(11):.

-Dietary Protein and Changes in Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort.

Hruby A, Jacques PF. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 May; 3(5):nzz019.

3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26960445/

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Akram Hot Yoga 2018, Stretched into position by Dan James