About MCT oils

"MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. Coconut oil is one great source of MCTs.

MCTs are missing from our modern diets because the public has been led to believe that saturated fats are bad. However, recent research has shown a lot of evidence about the real benefits of saturated fats.

We now know that ideally MCT oils should actually be consumed every day. Certain saturated fats, especially MCTs and other healthy fats found in things like coconut oil or grass-fed beef, are in fact easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and might even have more benefits related to heart health, obesity prevention and brain health, too.

MCTs are digested easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect. That’s why MCTs have been claimed to be burnt by the body for energy, instead of being stored as fat.

Medium-chain fatty acids are capable of helping you:

• Maintain a healthy weight — since they make you feel full

• Specifically reduce stored body fat — since they also raise your metabolic function

• Have more energy

• Think more clearly

• Experience better digestion

• Balance hormone levels

• Improve your mood

• Fight bacterial infection and viruses

• Absorb fat-soluble nutrients from various foods

EHPLabs Oxywhey contains 300Mg of MCT oils, as well as essential and non-essential amino acids andBCAAs, and a blend of whey protein, isolate and micellar casein which makes it an ideal supplement, especially during Ramadan, to provide you with fast and slow absorbing proteins that will see you through the fasting hours.

How to step up your training – increase intensity

If you go to the gym on most days and you do the same workouts day in day out, not only you will get bored of it but your body will adapt to it, too. That means you will not see changes from the same workout after a while.

There are different techniques for the advanced athletes to step up their training and shock their bodies.
Go to failure: muscle failure is when you cannot do any more full reps with that weight. Most people don't go to this extent because this is when the going gets tough. When we say you need to do 8 - 12 reps for muscle hypertrophy that means you cannot do more reps than 8 - 12. So if you could do another 3-4 reps with that weight, increase it.
Drop set: that means you do your regular reps with your weight and when you cannot do any more reps (you reach muscle failure) you drop the weights by 20-30% and continue the set until failure. For eg: you are doing bench press with 100 kg, you rep out to failure and when you cannot do any more full reps you strip off 20-30% of the weight (70-80 kg) and continue the set until failure.
Forced reps: you will need a training partner for this, unless you do certain exercises where you can self spot yourself: for eg one arm dumbbell curl. You do your set to muscle failure and when you cannot do any more full reps your training partner helps you with the concentric part of the lift.
Negatives: again, you will need a training partner for this. You only do 3-4 reps with this technique, not the full 10-12 reps. You load the weight heavier than you normally do. For eg: if you do bicep curls with 15 kg dumbbells for 12 reps, then you will use 17 kg or even 20 kg for this exercise. Your training partner helps you with the concentric part of the lift (ie: curling up) and you lower the weight yourself slowly. We are a lot stronger on the eccentric part of the lift, than on the concentric part of the lift, that's why you need a partner to help you with the concentric part.
These are just a few ideas you could try, if you didn't know about them.
For a personalized training plan please contact me:
hello@tamaramakar.me or KIK: tamaramakar
For personal training/coaching/contest prep FOR MEN AND WOMEN: please book an appointment in advance and see me at True Gym Mohandeseen.
#spacefitness #panatta
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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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Bye Bye Gold’s

Another year has passed. I arrived to Egypt end of March, started lecturing at Gold's Gym Academy in April and got a job at Gold's Gym Egypt in May. It was a very happy period indeed. I felt loved and appreciated. Then the months passed and things have changed. It is not shocking at all that most people are not what they show themselves to be. With time and age you get used to it and you just move on. In the past few months it has escalated to a level where I started feeling stressed and pushed. It will always be beyond me why certain people feel that they have to do things to try and make others feel less or as miserable as they are, although they haven't got much to show up for themselves. Ignorance? Jealousy? Or just simply bad manners? Not important. It's not worth any more space in my life or on my blog.

The only thing that is important that I have put an end to it yesterday – and I feel free again. It's like a breath of fresh air, a big relief for me. Finally I can focus on something that I actually like doing: body building and teaching body building/fitness to people who are interested and want to learn.

Finally I am free to do body building seminars anywhere and I can have my private clients as soon as I sort out a gym to train them. I am also available for any guest posing or guest appearance in any gym in Cairo/Egypt. Please get in touch for more details: tamara@tamaramakar.me

Watch this space because big things are going to happen very soon. I have a few competitions lined up for 2015, and I also have my plan B.

Keep people in your life that truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, inspire you, enhance you and make you happy and get rid of the negative shit - job is done, look forward to a happier chapter in my life.

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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!

The different body types – ectomorphs

When it comes to training and nutrition, it is very important that you know your body type. The different body types need different nutrition and they respond to training in different ways.

There are 3 different basic body types:
* Ectomorph
* Mesomorph
* Endomorph

Generally people are not just one clear type, but a combination of 2 or sometimes even all 3 body types.
Let's look at these body types one by one:
Ectomorph – the hardgainer
Characteristics:
* small frame
* small joints
* usually tall with small waist
* very low bodyfat
Ectomorphs usually lose weight very quickly if they skip meals or their caloric intake is too low. They have very fast metabolism, they burn up everything quickly.
Ectomorphs are hyperactive, therefore if they want to put on some muscle they need to slow down, and get some extra sleep/rest. They need to reduce stress – don't we all? They definitely have to avoid overtraining. They respond best to brief workouts and they have to allow plenty of recovery between training sessions.
Generally they don't need to do much cardio, and they should really keep that to a minimum. They should make an effort to keep their caloric intake high with a moderately high carb intake and never miss a meal. Using additional supplements is highly recommended for ectomorphs to help gain and keep muscle.

Personalized nutrition and training plans are available, plese contact me for details: hello@tamaramakar.me

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Dehydration – water retention

Your body dehydrates if your fluid intake is less than what your body puts out. You lose fluids by breathing, sweating, exercising, urinating, vomiting etc so when your body doesn't have enough fluids to carry out its normal functions, you get dehydrated.

The common causes of dehydration are: vigorous exercise or exercising in hot weather, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating. It is very important to replace any fluids that you've lost before you get dehydrated.

The symptoms of mild dehydration are:
* thirst
* dry sticky mouth
* sleepiness or tiredness
* decreased urine output
* dry skin
* headache
* constipation
* dizziness

When the colour of the urine is darker, it can be an indication that you're getting dehydrated.
What to do? Increase the fluid intake! Pay attention when the hot weather comes that you need to drink enough water throughout the day. When you exercise, always drink water to replenish the fluids you lose by sweating.

It's worth mentioning that sometimes water retention can be an indication that you're not drinking enough fluids. When you drink less water than what you put out, your body is trying to balance it by retaining some water to prevent dehydration. When you experience mild dehydration what you need to do is start drinking more water slowly to replenish the lost fluids.

This is not the only cause of water retention though. It could be just as simple as having too much salt, spices or sugar in your diet.

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About fat loss and supplements

Let me spare some thoughts on weight loss and supplements. I've heard this several times: I want to lose weight,I can't take supplements. It depends on what supplements we are talking about. Whey protein? Well I believe that you can get away with not taking whey protein. If your main goal is to lose bodyfat then I would say try and stick to real, clean food. Why? Because the main aim of any whey protein is to get digested and absorbed quickly and easily. You see where I'm going with this? If it is easily digested then the body don't need to put effort into digesting it = it won't use much energy (calories) to digest it. However when you eat clean food – ie chicken, tuna, turkey etc – your body will burn more energy by just simply digesting the food. So I would say if you need to lose a lot of weight you can stay away from whey protein. Where will you get your protein from you may ask? First of all from your food – that should be the main source. Clean food: eggs, chicken, tuna, fish, red meat, turkey etc The second most important source should be amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. There are 20-22 standard amino acids, 8-10 of which are considered essential. That means you need to supplement these because your body cannot synthesize them. There are around 14 non-essential amino acids and a lot of other metabolites that are derived from these 8 essential amino acids.
Amino acids can be used for energy. When they're used for energy, they cannot be used for building tissue and performing their other metabolic functions. Ladies, you don't need to put on too much muscle, but you still need to understand that the more muscles you have the higher your metabolism is, which means you burn more energy even when resting. So some muscles will not only look good on you but will increase your metabolism which also means you will need to eat more, too. Quite handy, isn't it?
During starvation the body releases amino acids from muscle issue to be used for energy. This also occurs during exercise and when the body runs out of carbs fuel from the diet or from glycogen stored in the muscles and liver. Unless proteins are present in the diet aminos are released, even if the body has fat for fuel.
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are used by muscles to supply a limited amount of energy during strenuous exercise. These are isoleucine, valine and leucine. Leucine is depleted the most frequently. Trained person's muscles use up some amounts of leucine even at rest. Complete proteins are proteins that contain the essential amino acids in amounts that are sufficient for maintenance. Incomplete proteins are usually deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids.
So my advice: regardless of your aim in training (losing weight or putting on muscle) supplementing with amino acids and BCAAs is essential.

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What kind of a nation….?

What kind of a nation is that who screw over each other? Their own and the foreigner?

I know there are bad people everywhere in the world. It doesn't have to be a specific country. However I have travelled the world and I've never met so self centered, two faced people, or at least not so many in one place!
At work some people want to control everything - and usually the most stupidest ones! Obviously the ones who cannot even see through what it would take.

Competitive athletes screwing each other over money for gear - as if the contest prep would not be expensive enough for everyone.

People offer you their help so that they can kick you even more when you're down and you really need that help.
Very very bad experiences in the last few weeks and I don't feel that happy anymore! If this is what's going on here then it's easy to tell why this country is where it is at.
Single minded, self centered, ignorant people. Not everyone but after a point you just don't know who you can trust. I always thought I'm a friendly, open, happy and very helpful person but I think I need an attitude adjustment. Quick.

There are always exceptions to the rules - and those people know who they are. As for the others, my message is: what goes around comes around! If I'm lucky enough karma will let me see it...
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How to burn stubborn bodyfat?

We have adipose tissue all over our bodies. This tissue is made of adipocyte (fat cells) and its sole job is to store energy in the form of fat. There are generally 2 types of bodyfat:
  • visceral – surrounding the organs,
  • subcutaneous – beneath the skin, 80% of bodyfat.
Body fat comes in different colours:
  • white is the fat that makes up 90% of your bodyfat. It has a very low metabolic rate, so it doesn't burn calories therefore it is more like a storage unit for calories.
  • brown fat can burn calories because of its rich blood supply. Unfortunately we have very little of them.
  • beige fat is in between white and brown in terms of calorie burning capacity.
Losing stubborn bodyfat is not easy. According to some studies: spot reduction does occur, however it occurs on such a marginal level that it is insignificant. Your body will burn the fat from areas where it’s easier to get rid of it. That’s why when you start a diet and exercise program, some of your areas in your body look leaner and you can recognize the progress quicker and easier, and there are other areas that look ‘unchanged’. Your body burns the fat all over, but burning the stubborn fat is more difficult and takes more time.
Stubborn fat is physiologically different than other fat. There are 2 different types of receptors in fat cells: noradrenaline and adrenaline. These hormones bind receptors in fat tissue that send the signal to speed fat release of slow fat release.  These receptors are the alpha and beta-receptors. Alpha receptors slow down the fat release. Beta receptors speed up the fat release. Stubborn fat has a high density of alpha-receptors compared to betas, is more insulin sensitive and receives less blood flow than less stubborn fat. Subcutaneous fat is more stubborn than visceral fat or intramuscular fat (fat in your muscle). The most stubborn areas of fat are hips, butt, thighs of women, and the love handles for men.
To burn fat you have to release it from a fat cell (lipolysis). That fat then has to be brought inside of another cell and be burned. That’s why the blood supply to and from the tissues is important. Stubborn fat releases its fat more slowly than non-stubborn fat. Stubborn fat is more insulin sensitive (or less insulin resistant) than regular fat. A fat cell that’s more insulin resistant stores less fat and releases more of it. Other hormones have an effect on fat release, too. Thyroid activity ramps up beta receptor activity and turns down alpha receptor activity. Estrogen increases the alpha receptor activity – that’s why during the female cycles stubborn fat is more stubborn.
Stubborn fat has less blood flow, therefore even if it gets released it doesn’t get moved out of the area to be burnt easily. Alpha receptors impact blood flow. More alpha receptors = less blood supply. Also, stubborn fat is in areas that are harder for the body to heat up: love handles are further away from the center of the body.
One of the things people tend to do when they want to burn stubborn body fat is they go on a diet and exercise more. It can work out at the beginning, when you clean out your diet, start counting your macros and start an exercise regime. However if you’re not preparing for a competition, then you need to think of other ways because this way in the long run you only reduce your BMR (basic metabolic rate) which means you will need less and less calories and eventually your body will go into ‘starvation’ mode and start storing the fat instead of burning it. To come off the diet you can either eat less and exercise less (ELEL) or  right the opposite: eat more and exercise more (EMEM).
  • ELEL allows a very low calorie or low carb diet because you reduce your resistance training and cardio during the week therefore you don’t need high calories but you don’t burn that many calories either because of the lack of exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to sit in front of the TV all day. You should still go for a walk and do low impact cardio on a daily basis. The key word here is ‘low impact’.
  • In the EMEM approach you increase your calorie intake but you also increase the intensity of your workouts. This approach is better and more healthy because high intensity workouts and more food will also increase your metabolism and your fat burning.
You need to bear in mind that metabolism is very reactive and adaptive. It differs from person to person how long it takes your body to adapt but sooner or later it will. To avoid this you need to cycle your diet and that keeps your metabolism guessing.