My road to become an IFBB Pro

I thought I’d share my story with you guys, how I got here where I am now.

My prep actually started end of February. I was 79kg, and I was getting ready for the Nabba Worlds in June in Italy. I was very keen, had the passion burning inside me. I wanted to win! Last year I finished 2nd at the Nabba Worlds in Russia and I really wanted to prove myself this year. Athletes would know that a contest prep is not easy, but you can always step it up when you’re keen, so I went all in.

So June came, and I went to Italy to compete. Finished 2nd again – not gonna lie, I was pissed off. We planned another competition a couple of weeks after that, Portugal or Spain, but I said no. I knew what improvements I had to make and I needed a bit more time to make them happen.

So after my first comp mid June I went straight into prepping for the second one in November. First I wanted to go to Poland but then we learnt that the @ironrebelshow was gonna be organised again in November – and we went there with @abe.superman In May when he competed, so I changed my mind and I registered for Denmark.

I had to bring up my shoulders, especially my rear delts, so I started training them 3x a week. My glutes and hammies needed more shape, so that meant glutes and hammies 2x a week, and quads/full legs with glutes 1x a week. Are you keeping score? That meant Ꭵ hᎪᎠ ᏆᎾ ᏆᏒᎪᎥᏁ ᏆᎳᎥᏟᎬ Ꭺ ᎠᎪᎽ ᏆᎳᎥᏟᎬ Ꭺ ᎳᎬᎬᏦ… and this is exactly what I did for 6 months to get into the shape I needed for the @ironrebelshow in Denmark last weekend.

The first pic was taken 2 weeks into my prep in March. The second pic was 1 week before the second comp last weekend. I’m proud of this package, I’m proud of the improvements I’ve made and the condition I’ve got myself into. I know there’s more to come, but so far that was my best ever shape.

About HIIT cardio

The competition season is upon us, many of you guys do endless cardio to lose body fat. Sometimes we go through phases when the weight loss stops and it seems almost impossible to get it going again. The body is trying to hold on to that little bit of fat – it’s a normal survival mechanism.

When weight loss stops, it’s a sign that your body has adapted to your current training and diet, and you just need to change something to kick it off again.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to switch up your cardio from steady state to HIIT. Many bodybuilders are scared that HIIT training will make them lose muscle. If you use it wisely, that can be avoided.

First of all you don’t need to do it all the time. If you do cardio 1x or 2x a day, you shouldn’t do HIIT both times. Actually, doing HIIT increases your metabolic rate for the next 24 hours, so you could even do it only every other day and on the other sessions stick to steady state cardio. And don’t forget: your body adapts to HIIT cardio, too, so after some time (could be about 3-4 weeks) you can change back to normal cardio again.

Now let’s see how we do HIIT cardio:

The essential framework of high-intensity interval training is always the same: Brief, all-out work periods, separated by rest periods. The work-to-rest ratio can vary from 1:1 (for example, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) to 1:4 or more, and the rounds can be just a few or 15 or more. Always try and gradually progress: either by reducing the rest periods, extending the work periods, adding one more round at the end or all these 3.

Don’t forget to supplement with BCAA before and after your cardio to minimise catabolism.

@wawannutrition WBCAA or Ronnie Coleman series Aminotone are a good choices for your BCAA supplementation

@wawanbahrain

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About Casein protein

One of the top sources of long-lasting amino acids, casein protein provides easy-to-digest protein in a similar fashion to whey. One of casein’s greatest advantages is the timing of how it’s absorbed, plus how long it lingers in the body. Both factors make it beneficial for building muscle fast and preserving the body’s lean muscle tissue.

When it comes to nutrient timing, the type of protein matters. Casein protein hits your bloodstream very quickly — plus its amino acids stay where they need to be in order to help build muscle tissue for many hours, as opposed to being flushed from the body relatively quickly.

Derived from milk, just like whey protein, casein protein is actually a naturally more abundant source of BCAAs. That’s why it’s sometimes simply called “milk protein,” since around 80 percent of the protein found in cow’s milk is casein — and it also makes up 20 to 40 percent of human breast milk.

Casein is made up of various “building blocks” called essential and non-essential amino acids. The human body is able to make certain amino acids on its own (called non-essential) while others it cannot (called essential), making the essential kinds crucial to get through the foods you eat. Since plant foods don’t always provide the complete set of essential amino acids we need, animal foods — and sometimes convenient protein powders — are one way people make sure they cover their protein bases.

Casein protein powder is created in a lab from dehydrating parts of milk — the problem is that many forms are denatured and isolated, and may cause health issues. You’ll want to try to find casein protein that is from A2 beta-casein rather than A1 casein (see the difference below).

Whey protein and casein protein differ in terms of their bioavailability and effects on muscle synthesis. Although whey protein has many of the same benefits, it’s believed to cause more of a fast “amino acid spike” compared to casein.

There are certainly benefits to consuming both faster- and slower-releasing proteins; it really just comes down to your goals and schedule.

At the molecular level, within a protein source like casein various amino acids are branched together. Casein protein has a lower percentage of branched-chain amino acid compared to whey protein, which is one reason it’s slower to digest and also tends to work for longer. Because of its utilization and timing, casein increases protein synthesis a bit less than whey does.

On the plus side, it better stops the body from breaking down amino acids it already has available within your muscles. Whey protein also has more sulfur than casein, which can also change the way the body uses it.

Compared to casein, whey is a fast protein source, which means it provides amino acids quickly after ingestion — however they also leave the body sooner than when you consume casein.

Both casein and whey protein can supplement your workouts well and include all the essential amino acids you need, but whey has more branched-chain amino acids and, therefore, might be slightly better at facilitating muscle protein synthesis.

The good news is this: After comparing the effects of both proteins on body composition and performance in female athletes, researchers from the Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory at the University of South Florida found that whey and casein had similar positive effects. Females were found to experience benefits using both supplements, including an increase in performance markers from consuming protein after resistance training and a decreased body fat composition.

The benefits of casein protein:

• Building new muscle tissue and promoting lean muscle growth (5)

• Repairing broken-down muscle fibers after a workout while you sleep

• Preserving muscle you already have (making it anti-catabolic)

• Restoring nitrogen balance during muscle recovery

• Curbing your appetite

• Regulating blood sugar levels

• Helping prevent overeating

• Potentially helping with weight loss/maintenance

The Best Times to Use Casein Protein

Ideally, you want to use casein protein before bed (if your goal is to build muscle and potentially gain weight) or as a meal replacement/snack between spaced-out meals. Remember that casein is digested slowly, which means following a workout it will take longer than other types of protein (such as whey) to reach your muscles.

Since you want to supply your damaged muscle tissue with nutrients ASAP following exercise, using casein over faster-acting protein sources won’t give you the benefits of an immediate rush of amino acids that you’re after. Because whey protein is so quickly absorbed and digested, it makes the better choice following a workout. Your muscles are searching for a rapid supply of nutrients after you train in order to carry out muscle synthesis, so hold off on having casein to better speed up this.

Nutrition facts

A serving of casein powder has around:

• 120 calories

• 23 grams protein

• 1 gram fat

• 1 gram sugar

• 450 milligrams calcium (45 percent)

Different Types of Casein Protein: A1 vs. A2 Casein

Milk is composed of about 85 percent water and 15 percent sugar (called lactose), protein, fat and minerals. Among the protein compounds in milk, there is more than one kind. A2 beta-casein is the type that has been produced naturally by animals for thousands of years, even before they were first domesticated more than 10,000 years ago. It’s believed to be easier to digest, and some research suggests it has much fewer effects on human health than the other type, called A1 casein.

A1 is the “newer type of casein,” which first developed sometime in the past few thousand years following animal domestication. It came about after certain genes caused proteins to change, resulting in proline amino acids changing over to histidine. Today, A1 beta-casein is more abundant in dairy cows that are used to produce the vast majority of milk in the U.S. and even Europe.

Each cow has a certain genotype of A1/A1, A1/A2 or A2/A2 that ultimately affects the milk it produces. It’s preferable to consume milk products, including all dairy foods and whey/casein protein supplements, made from cows (or goats) that predominantly contain A2 casein. How come?

When A1 beta-casein caused a switch from proline to histidine amino acids, it resulted in problems with humans digesting and properly metabolizing milk. In fact, most people who are intolerant of cow milk are actually sensitive to one of the proteins found in it, A1 casein. They essentially lack the ability to digest A1. This intolerance is now linked to a wide range of illnesses, including autoimmune reactions, food allergies, digestive issues, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and more. A1 is also thought to promote inflammation, however milk that contains mostly or exclusively A2 casein produces far fewer (or zero) inflammatory effects. Usually the grass fed whey products contain less A1 casein.

Source: https://draxe.com/casein-protein/

About oats

Fit Oatmeal

Oats are a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. They have a lot of health benefits:

⁃ lower blood sugar levels

⁃ Reduce the risk of heart disease

⁃ Reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Oats are a good source of carbs and fiber and they’re rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a role in keeping blood pressure low by increasing nitric oxide production.

Oats also contain beta-glucans, which is a soluble fiber and it helps with:

⁃ reduced levels of bad cholesterol

⁃ Reduced blood sugar and insulin response

⁃ Increased feeling of fullness

⁃ Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

Fit Oatmeal also contains 30gr of slow and fast releasing protein making it a very healthy and protein rich meal replacement snack when you’re on the go.

Available at any branch @wawanbahrain

About the different types of proteins

There are 4 common types of protein:

  • When protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Hydrolysed whey protein
  • Casein protein

All whey proteins are easily digestible, therefore they break down in your body quickly, hence they can be a very essential part of your breakfast (after the fasting hours of your night sleep), and after your workout.

Whey protein concentrate is one of the most basic forms of protein.  This is probably the most common protein for anyone who works out. This is a great starting point for beginners, it’s slightly cheaper than the other types and it does the job. It has around 75-80% of protein in it (which means in a 100gr of powder you get 75-80 gr of protein), and it’s reasonably low in fat and carbs. However some people might have some gastric discomfort from this protein especially if they have any digestive issues already. For those people I recommend they try the other types of protein below.

The next level is the whey protein isolate. This protein has been filtered further than the concentrate, and therefore it’s lower in carbs and fats, lactose has been removed as well, therefore it usually doesn’t give any digestive issues. Its protein content is a bit higher, too, you can expect about 85-90% of protein in 100 gr of powder.

Hydrolysed whey protein is the clearest form of protein. It has no fat or carb content, therefore it’s almost 100% protein (around 90-95%). It’s very quick to absorb in the body.

Casein protein is different from whey protein. It breaks down slower in your body, over the course of 5-7 hours therefore it makes it a great ‘snack’ before you go to sleep. It also has high glutamine content, which is great for recovery.

WAWAN ISO Tamrya is made from EU sourced grass fed Cross-Flow Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate, which makes it a great choice for breakfast or after workout.

About diabetes – part 1

There are 3 main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: results from the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes: a condition of defective insulin signalling
  • Gestational Diabetes: a condition where women without previously diagnose diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

When insulin isn’t produced or acts ineffectively, glucose remains circulating in the blood, leading to a condition known as hyperglycemia. Long term hyperglycemia can result in the dysfunction and failure of various organs and systems, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.

The key players in diabetes are the pancreas and the liver.

The pancreas is both an endocrine and exocrine gland.

Exocrine means that it’s a gland that release its contents through a tube from inside to outside the body. It helps with digestion by producing important enzymes that break down food, which allows the body to absorb the nutrients.

The endocrine function primarily involves the secretion of the 2 primary hormones relevant to diabetes management: insulin and glucagon.

Insulin increases the storage of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in cells and tissues and is considered an anabolic hormone. Insulin is a key player in the storage and use of fuels within the body.

Disorders in insulin production and signalling have widespread and devastating effects on the body’s organs and tissues. Glucagon is a peptide hormone produced by alpha cells in the pancreas. The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar levels fall too low. It opposes the action of insulin by raising the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Dietary carbs are not essential, however, the body needs glucose. The brain typically needs about 130 gr of glucose every day. Not all glucose has to come from the diet because the liver has the ability to synthesise it.

The liver serves as a warehouse for glucose storage and production. It can also produce fatty acids under certain conditions.

As blood glucose and insulin levels increase, the liver increases its absorption of glucose. Glucose is stored as glycogen. The amount of glycogen stored depends on circulating insulin and glucose levels. When blood glucose levels drop, insulin production falls. The shortage of insulin signals the liver to release its assets by sending glucose back into the blood to keep the body nourished.

When carb intake is restricted, it lowers blood sugar and insulin levels. As insulin levels fall and energy is needed, fatty acids leave their respected fat cells and enter the bloodstream. From here they’re taken up by specific cells and metabolised. Ketone bodies are molecules created in the liver, that are pushed into the blood stream where they’re utilised by skeletal and heart muscles cells as fuel. Also, the brain begins to use ketones as an alternate fuel source when blood levels are high enough to cross the blood-brain barrier. When this happens a person is said to be in nutritional ketosis.

Ketogenic diets are very popular because they suppress insulin and that seems to be very effective in the treatment and management of obesity and T2D. However the severe restriction of carbs (often below 30 gr) may increase the potential for hypoglycaemia of people with T1D.

Lipogenesis is creating fat within the body from glucose or other substrates. It takes place mostly in the liver. Lipogenesis occurs in the liver during times of calorific excess and overfeeding. The liver converts excess glucose to fatty acids. These fatty acids can be stored in the liver or transported via lipoproteins (carriers) to muscle and fat tissue for future fuel use or storage. The ratio that is stored or used is highly dependent on energy intake vs. energy expenditure.

In a healthy liver, insulin halts the production of glucose and instead promotes glycogen storage or generates fatty acids during times of energy excess.

The liver of a person with T1D has no internal break system. Insulin deficiency allows glucose production in the liver to go uncontrolled leading to hyperglycaemia and ketoacidosis if unmanaged. When there’s not enough insulin available, glucose cannot enter the cells for use as energy. Therefore the liver produces even more glucose in an attempt to provide energy for the starved cells, but because insulin is not available, none of this glucose can enter the cells. It builds up and starves the cells even further. Consequently, administration of insulin medication is needed to facilitate the entry of glucose into cells.

Insulin increases glucose uptake in the liver by facilitating the creation of glycogen and decreases glucose output.

Prolonged elevations in insulin that result from an energy surplus increase the body’s ability to produce fat via the process of lipogenesis.

Source:

Phil Graham: Diabetic Muscle

The benefits of HIIT training

The benefits of HIIT training

There’s an ongoing debate about cardio: which one is more beneficial? HIIT or steady state cardio? It depends on your goal and even your bodytype. Some people can get away with the mind numbing steady state cardio – which is a lot more comfortable, let’s be honest. However it doesn’t work for everyone. If you have been doing that for quite some time it might have stopped working for you – because let’s be honest, your body will get used to most things and will adapt in time. Then it might be a wise idea to step it up to HIIT cardio.

Anyone can benefit from HIIT cardio: elite athletes and everyday people who just want to lose a bit of weight.

So what are the benefits of HIIT?

#1 When you perform high intensity training, glycogen is your preferred fuel that is stored in your muscles. To do more high intensity workouts we need a bigger reserve of muscle glycogen stores. This will allow you to train harder for longer. In addition it will allow for a greater carbs tolerance which means you can eat more carbs and store them as refuel, instead of fat.

#2 Improved aerobic fitness: your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles, enabling you to perform faster for longer.

#3 Greater fat burning: some time ago it was the ‘fat burning zone’ on the cardio machine. If you wanted to burn fat, you had to be in the fat burning zone. HIIT burns more fat, because the quicker you deplete your muscle glycogen stores, the sooner your body will tap into your stored fat for fuel. HIIT training depletes muscle glycogen stores because the main fuel for HIIT is glycogen.

#4 Improved capacity for exercise: if you’re doing high intensity – or I could call it metabolic type – weight training, HIIT can increase your capacity for exercise. By increasing our aerobic capacity we can go harder for longer which can help you burn more calories = lose more weight.

#5 Improved insulin sensitivity: One major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is reduced insulin sensitivity. If you have normal insulin sensitivity, then insulin can help you shuttle the carbs into your muscles, instead of your fat cells.

#6 You boost your metabolism and get an afterburn: Resistance training has a different effect on your body opposed to endurance training. Resistance training increases excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOS). EPOS describes the calories you burn immediately after the training session, also known as the ‘afterburn’ effect.

If you want to step up your training, want to lose weight or just need a change in your training routine, get in touch!

Bespoke metabolic type resistance training plans are available hello@tamaramakar.me

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Answering some common questions 1.

I have been receiving a few questions related to my previous posts and in general. I will answer them on here regularly, so keep them coming.

What are electrolytes:

Electrolytes are mineral salts dissolved in the body’s fluid. They include:

* sodium,
* chloride,
* potassium and
* magnesium,
and help to regulate the fluid balance between different body compartments (for example, the amount of fluid inside and outside a muscle cell), and the volume of fluid in the bloodstream.

The water movement is controlled by the concentration of electrolytes on either side of the cell membrane. For example, an increase in the concentration of sodium outside a cell will cause water to move to it from inside the cell. Similarly, a drop in sodium concentration will cause water to move from the outside to the inside of the cell. Potassium draws water across a membrane, so a high potassium concentration inside cells increases the cell’s water content.

 

What are glucose polymers and maltodextrins?
Between a sugar (1– 2 units) and a starch (several 100,000 units), although
closer to the former, are glucose polymers (maltodextrins). These are chains
of between 4 and 20 glucose molecules produced from boiling corn-starch
under controlled commercial conditions.
The advantage of using glucose polymers instead of glucose or sucrose in a
drink is that a higher concentration of carbohydrate can be achieved (usually
between 10 and 20 g/ 100 ml) at a lower osmolality.

 

What are multiple transportable carbohydrates?
This term refers to a mixture of carbohydrates (e.g. glucose and fructose;
maltodextrin and fructose) in sports drinks. These carbohydrates are
absorbed from the intestine by different transporters, and using a mixture
rather than a single type of carbohydrate in a sports drink overcomes the
usual limitation of gut uptake of carbohydrate.

 

I would like to bulk up, how can I do that?
As you probably know, putting on muscle (or shredding fat) lies in your diet/nutrition. If you’d like to put on muscle mass, first thing you need to do is to revise your protein intake. Do you know how much protein you take in? 100 gr of chicken breast contains 25-30 gr protein, 100 gr of white fish has about 24 gr, 100 gr of steak has about 25 gr of protein, 100 gr cottage cheese about 10 gr. Endurance athletes usually take about 1.2 – 1.7 gr protein/kg of bodyweight/day, and bodybuilders take a lot more than that to build muscle. Then you need to revise your carbohydrate intake as well. Carbohydrates/muscle glycogen is the primary energy source when training. If you don’t have enough muscle glycogen, your performance will suffer (less intensity, lighter weights = less muscle), and your body will use amino acids to convert to glycogen (less muscle building). The amount of carb you need to eat depends on a lot of factors: your insulin sensitivity and the rate of your metabolism. People with high metabolism can eat more carbs, and people with high insulin sensitivity (and low metabolism) have to watch their carb intake otherwise they will put on a lot of fat as well along with the muscle.

Keep the questions coming, I will reply to them regularly on here!
hello@tamaramakar.me

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Hercules Olympia and England

Had a fabulous weekend in England last weekend. It was all rush and not enough time for anything, but it was nice to stand on stage again and meet some of my friends, even only briefly.

Left Cairo Thursday afternoon, my flight was scheduled at 5.30 pm. On the way to the airport there was a traffic jam on the road – what a surprise! I was getting a bit anxious therefore I tried to check in on my phone so that I don’t miss that. When I logged on the application to check in, it told me that I couldn’t because the check-in was not available anymore as the flight was at 4.45 pm. It turned out that because the clocks went back a few weeks ago (in the UK, not in Egypt) therefore they changed the time for the flight – although they don’t tell this to you to warn you. So I was running really late and I was even checking my other options when I could travel if I’d missed this flight. But fortunately I got there in the very last minute and checked in. Going through security I’ve met some lovely people, one of them is Ramy who is training in MMA.airportRamy

Finally I got to London Heathrow at around 10 pm and made my way to Colchester on the train. I got to the hotel around 1 am, very exhausted. The next day I got up and went for a walk in the town centre. It is a lovely place, I really liked the atmosphere of the town. There was a market on the high street, and all the shops you can ask for. I realized how much I missed all these commodities and the green countryside. Cairo is very hot most of the year, even wintertime it’s only mild, not cold. You see the sun 24/7 almost, and the downside of it is that there’s not much rain, therefore there’s a lot of dust everywhere. It’s lovely to see the sun most of the time, and it truly makes up for most things: your mood is instantly better.

Anyway, so I tried to rest a bit on Friday , put a coat of tan on, had my wine in the evening and was waiting for Saturday to come.

Saturday was one of the longest days in my life. The registration was at 8 am at the venue, then we had a physique check where the judges checked all the ladies’ classes if everyone was in the right class, then we had an orientation meeting. This finished aorund 10.30am and the show started at 12pm. A break was planned to be at 4-5 pm, but when 4 pm came the show had not been even halfway through the classes that they planned on judging before the interval. That was a bit disappointing as my class was the second to the last after the interval. I was told the event was supposed to finish around 8 pm, and if there’s a delay then maybe around 9 pm. Well, eventually I got on stage at 10 pm, very tired and thirsty. Thankfully one of my friends was there with me and tried to distract me from all this.

There were 2 physique classes, open and masters and I entered the masters class, but because the event was running so late they merged the 2 classes and we ended up competing in the open class. In the open class I came 4th, but a few days later they posted the results for all the classes, so in the masters class I came 2nd. All the ladies looked great, really nice line up!

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After the competition I went to fill up a bit on some food and water. Enjoyed some sweets and a pizza (only one slice, I don’t know why I keep buying pizzas after a competition when I don’t even eat it 🙂

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The next morning we went to Harvester to have an all you can eat breakfast – something that I miss here in Egypt 🙂 the food was fabulous, I really enjoyed the pancakes and toast, although the bacon and sausage was a bit too salty for me after a competition diet.

After breakfast we made our way down towards Heathrow and we stopped in Cheshunt to pay a visit in my favourite gym, Monster Gym. I felt I had to use all those extra calories so I had a wicked back workout there. I was also happy to see that my photos are still on the wall 🙂

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After training we headed to Langley to meet some friends and have my long awaited steak at the Harvester – yes, I know, it was my favourite place and I really miss it!

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The next day I was flying back to Cairo. I had a lovely weekend there and I’m planning on going back in July or August as I couldn’t get to my stuff I left in London, because of the lenght of time and also because my friend who keeps them safe for me was away for work on that weekend.

Back to training now, preparing for the next competition. Watch this space!

Thank you Space Fitness and Panatta for making this trip possible!

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Muscle Mania registration

Yesterday I went to Balance Gym Tagamo to help register a friend of mine for Muscle Mania, and met a lot of other great athletes there, too.

Balance gym is a very well equipped gym in 2 locations in Cairo: in Tagamo and Sheraton. The Tagamo branch is the newer one with brand new Cybex equipment. I always liked training around in different gyms and I never mind travelling for a good gym to train certain body parts there. In the UK people always thought I was crazy because I used to travel an hour for a good gym for legs – well, probably you can see why… The results talk for themselves. When it comes to my training, I don’t compromise.

Muscle Mania Middle East will be held in Cairo next Friday (3rd April) and I really look forward to meeting all these phenomenal Egyptian athletes. Here are a few photos from yesterday:

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Feel free to come and say hi when you see me there!