How To Manage A Torn Callus

Yes! You’ve just finished your last set of deadlifts, and better still, you beat your previous best. But wait a second, everything is not as dreamy as it seems…

You glance down to your left ring finger and nearly lose consciousness. Yup, you’ve torn a callus – blood is oozing down your finger and onto the floor. Your deadlifting days are over…

Before you hang up your soft suit for good, there is hope for you still, read on. Here’s what to do:

Immediately after –

  • Give the area a quick clean under running water to clear out any dirt and blood.
  • Powder some chalk over the broken callus to aid with clotting.
  • Clean up areas of blood spillage around the gym.
  • Finish your workout. Don’t be disheartened if you can do as much as you usually would, this is normal.

When You Get Home –

  • Remove the loose skin flap using scissors. Try to ensure you cut as close as you can to the edge to ensure you don’t leave an area which is likely to catch on things throughout the day.
  • Clean the area with soap to remove dried blood and bacteria. Note – this will sting!
  • Soak the affected area in salt water for 10 minutes. Note – this will also sting.
  • Allow the area to dry out.

Later That Day –

  • Cover the area with a bandaid or taping. Ensure a non-adhesive strip goes over the area of broken skin to allow optimal healing.
  • Be wary of circulation if the torn callus is on your finger. There is no need to tape around the entire circumference of the finger, leave a section open.

Now What?

Continue to clean, soak and tape for the next 3 days, or until it begins to seal. After this, taping is only necessary when lifting or carrying out laborious tasks with your hands. Otherwise, let that baby breathe!

Things To Keep In Mind

Certain lifts, mainly deadlifts, will be impaired in most cases. No matter how much taping, the broken down skin will have an impact on your ability to pull. In order to prevent re-tearing of the area, you should:

  • Reduce overall deadlift volume.
  • Use straps.
  • Re-tape after every work set if necessary as the tape tends to shift.

Preventing Disaster

If you’re one of the lucky few who hasn’t suffered a callus blow out, here are some tips to reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

  • Get your deadlift grip right. Make sure the barbell is sitting as shown in the top two images, right at the base of the fingers as opposed to the ones below, closer to the centre of the palm.
  • Shave down your calluses regularly using a nail file, pumice or similar. Aim to smooth down thickened areas so it is not overly raised or protruding. Once every 2 weeks is a good guideline.

400px-Proper_GripGrab My Strong Hand Child

By following this plan you’ll be able to continue lifting and decrease the chances of it occurring again. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below.

By Andrew Cammarano

Fat Cheat Sheet

Unfortunately we’ve come to the end of the Macronutrient Cheat Sheet Series. Here, are parts one and two. The finale covers the most maligned macronutrient of all time, Fat. Choke back those tears, here we go!

What Role Do They Play In The Body?

“Why isn’t it obvious Andrew, they make you fat”. Not so fast little Johnny, that is a huge misconception. Let me lay down the facts. Or should I say, lay down the fats.

Some of the functions of Fat include:

  • Digestion of Vitamins – The likes of Vitamin’s A and D, for example, are referred to as fat-soluble. They require fat in order to be absorbed into the body. As a consequence, a lack of dietary fats can result in nutrient deficiencies.
  • Hormone Regulation – Certain fats are required in order to produce hormones.
  • Cell Structure – Fats help to form cell membranes, thus ensuring maintenance of cell integrity and optimal function.
  • Energy – Should there be a lack of carbohydrates, fats can be converted to energy.

Are There Different Types?

I’m glad you asked. There are four types of dietary fats:

  1. Saturated – These guys are solid at room temperature, an example of which is coconut oil.
  2. Trans – A process known as hydrogenation (making the oil easier to cook and less likely to spoil), produces this particular type of fat. These can be found in processed foods like chips.
  3. Monounsaturated – Think olives and nuts.
  4. Polyunsaturated – This includes fish and flax seed oil.

Are There ‘Good’ Fats and ‘Bad’ Fats?

This is where much of the confusion arises. Rather than categorising fats, many tend to bunch them together and label them collectively as ‘bad’.

When deciding if a Fat is healthy or unhealthy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the product come from a whole food?
  • What is the degree to which the product is processed?

By answering these questions, it becomes clear that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the good guys (nuts for example undergo no processing and are a whole food), while saturated are slightly worse, and perhaps the most misunderstood. Finally, trans fats can be deemed theĀ  baddies.

How Much Should I Eat?

Fats should make up approximately 30% of your dietary intake. Remember though that Fat has a higher caloric density compared to carbohydrates and protein (9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram). This means that total quantity should be considerably lower than the other macronutrients but certainly not non-existant.

Of this 30%, attempt to get the vast majority from whole food products like; seeds, nuts and avocado. Saturated fats should be obtained through dairy and meat (organic rather than factory farmed where possible) and should be consumed to a moderate degree. Trans fats should be kept to an absolute minimum.

When Should I Eat It?

As you’ve probably guessed, a portion with every meal works best. Fats help to ensure a feeling of fullness, much like protein, therefore reducing the likelihood of snacking.

The Skinny on Fats

That’s the end of that chapter! Keep it simple when it comes to Fats – try to get the bulk of your dietary fats from unprocessed, natural goods. As always, any comments or questions, feel free to leave below!

“It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

By Andrew Cammarano

 

References

Protein Cheat Sheet

Welcome to another cheat sheet installment where you will learn about the humble protein macronutrient. Grab a pen, some paper and make sure the teacher ain’t watching, here’s the scoop!

What Role Do They Play In The Body?

Proteins are made up chains of amino acids. They can be described as the building blocks of the body. Their function varies greatly and include:

  • Forming antibodies which defend the body from foreign invaders like bacteria.
  • Make up structures like collagen in tendons, and keratin in hair.
  • Transport various molecules around the body.

Are There Different Types?

There are in fact 2 basic types of amino acids:

  1. Essential amino acids – This amino cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained from specific foods in our diet. Leucine, for example, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and is found in beef and peanuts, as well as other foods in varying quantities.
  2. Non-essential amino acids – You guessed it, the body manufactures this type on its own. They can be also found in different food sources, though there consumption is not a necessity. Alanine, contained within oats, helps to produce lymphocytes, which form a key part of your immune system

When Should I Eat Protein?

A portion of protein should be consumed with every meal. This not only ensures a feeling of fullness, but also aids in maintaining consistent blood sugar levels, compared to the ‘spike’ which occurs when eating a carbohydrate source on it’s own.

With this in mind, ensure you make a concerted effort to consume protein around a weight training session. Although the stimulus of resistance training promotes protein synthesis (building up of amino acids to form a specific protein), it also throws the body into protein breakdown state, whereby breakdown overpowers synthesis. This is of course the polar opposite to what one wants to achieve from this form training, where the goal is growth.

By consuming protein around a workout, it shifts the balance in favour of protein synthesis.

Won’t I Turn Into Arnold Schwarzenegger If I Eat Protein!?

I wish!

Although protein coupled with weight training, among other factors leads to muscle growth, you will not turn into a hulking figure by eating a reasonable amount of protein. The likes of Arnie in his heyday, took steroids as well as other supplements, giving him an incredible capacity to recover from the trauma of resistance training, thus allowing him to grow bigger than is possible naturally. He also worked incredibly hard in the gym.

How Much Should I Eat?

For the individual who is relatively sedentary and doesn’t carry out resistance-type training or high intensity physical activity, you should shoot for roughly 1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight per day. For example, a 60kg person should consume 60g. This is enough to keep a protein balance between synthesis and breakdown.

For the active individual carrying out regular high intensity training, the bar is set higher as a much greater demand is placed upon the body. Aim for around 1.5-2g per kilogram, so 90-120 grams a day for a 60kg person. These parameters are suited to promoting protein synthesis rather than maintenance.

Show Me The Chicken!

That brings us to the end of another cheat sheet, hide your notes from teach! As always, any comments, questions or queries, leave them in the section below.

“I’m on my own version of the protein diet, but there ain’t no protein in it. It’s a Krispy Kreme doughnut between two Cinnabons. And you soak it overnight in Red Bull. Then you chase it with a Snickers”

-J.B. Smoove

By Andrew Cammarano

References

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein#Cellular_functions

http://biology.about.com/od/molecularbiology/a/aa101904a.htm

http://www.aminoacidsguide.com/Leu.html

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/alanine-an-amino-acid-energy-source.html

Carbohydrate Cheat Sheet

This little doozy of an article will provide some quick guidelines about the often misunderstood macronutrient, carbohydrates.

What Role Do They Play In The Body?

Carbohydrates are effectively fuel for the body. In it’s simplest form, carbs become sugars which float around the bloodstream providing us with energy. With this in mind, the speed at which carbohydrates are broken down is dependent on its composition.

Are There Different Types?

Carbs can be broken down into 3 categories –

  1. Fibre-rich – Legumes, fruit and vegetables. These foods are made up of a high portion of fibre as well as being low in simple sugars, meaning absorption occurs slowly and blood sugar levels are maintained at a steady level (which is desirable). Furthermore, the fibre content coupled with the fact they are loaded with nutrients, helps to control hunger.
  2. Starchy carbs – Potatoes, oats, pasta and quinoa (apparently not pronounced kwee-no-ah). This poor guys cops the brunt of the harsh criticism around carbs. These foods are slightly lower in fibre and nutrient content when compared to their ‘fibre-rich’ brothers, though are extremely useful around a workout.
  3. Refined sugary carbs – Processed nutrition bars, sports drinks and dried fruits. These cats are packed full of simple sugars whilst being low in fibre and nutrients. Unfortunately, supermarkets are burgeoning with this type of carbohydrate, so be wary.

When Should I Eat Them?

Fibre-rich carbohydrates should form the base of your carb pyramid and can be eaten at anytime.

Starchy carbs are ideal during the 3 hour window following a workout, training or relatively heavy physical activity. Muscles are most responsive during this time and will use the macronutrient most effectively, for purposes such as glycogen replenishment.

Refined sugary carbs should be kept to a bare minimum. However, if you must get your Oreo fix, try to do so in that post-workout period.

Regardless of the type, carbohydrates should always be eaten in combination with a serving of healthy fats and protein. This helps to ensure a balanced macronutrient uptake, while also helping to prevent sharp blood sugar level spikes.

How Much Should I Eat?

Quantity of carbohydrates differs from person to person due to a number of factors. Individuals who should consume higher quantities include:

  • Those who are lean (low body fat) and have a high level of physical fitness.
  • People who perform frequent physical activity – laborious work, workout daily…
  • Those who perform intense physical activity – heavy resistance training, sprinting…

Of course, lower carbohydrates should be consumed by those who don’t fit into the above framework, i.e.:

  • Those with higher levels of body fat and lower physical fitness.
  • Individuals who work a sedentary job, such as desk work.

That’s A Wrap!

Ehrmm…

I hope this provides you with a better insight into the energy packed macronutrient. Please post in the comments below if you have any queries regarding the content. Stay tuned for other cheat sheets!

“The lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy”

-Tom Hardy

By Andrew Cammarano

References

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrient-timing

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/carbs.html