TechGenix FitITproNews

Vol. 01, #07 - October 25, 2017 - Issue #0007

FitITproNews: Best of both worlds

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Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter we discuss the matter of whether it's better to focus on building muscle or losing weight, and whether weightlifting or cardio are better for general health. Your Editor gives you his own take on these questions which are hotly debated in the fitness community. We also have an exercise tip to help get you going, a nutrition tip to whet your appetite, some links to fun videos, and take a peek into our Fitness Toolbox.

Remembering our newsletter theme of "real fitness for real IT pros" we redirect you to the following Dilbert comic strip that reveals how warped the appetite of an IT professional can often be:

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness professional or nutritionist so take any suggestions made here "as is" with a grain of salt and a heaping supply of your own judgment. Please read our full disclaimer at the bottom of this newsletter. 

Subscriber preferences: As a WServerNews subscriber we're sure you'll enjoy reading FitITproNews each week as much as you enjoy reading WServerNews. But if you'd rather not receive FitITproNews any more, just go to the bottom of this issue and click Update Newsletter Preferences to change your subscription preferences. And by the way, we also have two other TechGenix newsletters you can subscribe to: our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles. Why not subscribe to all of them today?

Ask Our Readers: Need help or advice concerning fitness, weightloss, exercising or nutrition? Why not tap into the huge collective expertise of our IT pro readership from all around the world! Send your questions to us today by emailing us at [email protected]

From the Mailbag

I've tried many different exercise programs and workouts since I got serious about losing weight and getting fit seven years ago. I've had periods of time ranging from weeks to months where I've done only weightlifting and done only cardio, and I've shifted my goals between building muscle and losing weight.

The holy grail of fitness of course is to lose weight AND gain muscle at the same time, but that seems to be easier said than done. For example, I've found that if I do only resistance training (e.g. weightlifting with barbells or dumbbells, kettlebell exercises, resistance bands etc.) then my appetite shoots through the roof and I need to eat about 3,000 to 3500 calories per day, and if I don't then I either experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or get downright ornery or both. I have to eat a lot of protein of course to feed my muscles or they won't grow, but I also need to eat a good amount of carbs or I simply can't recover properly before my next workout, and the heavier the weights I use the more carbs I need to consume. Obviously this approach to working out isn't helpful if your goal is also to lose weight.

On the other hand if I do only cardio (e.g. biking, running, boxing, etc.) then my hunger actually goes down and I'm satisfied eating about 2000 to 2500 calories per day. Since this is below my caloric maintenance level, I start losing weight which is terrific if weightloss is my main goal. But the problem is my muscles don't get properly worked out using this approach and if I carry this on for an extended period of time I may actually start losing muscle mass. This happened to me in the beginning of my fitness journey when I did cardio and ate around 2000 cal/day for nine months. This resulted in some impressive weightloss (over 50 lbs!) but at the end I found I had less strength than when I started. My arms went from being flabby "smokies" to wimpy "european wieners" which was rather disconcerting!

Having lost so much weight in the beginning I then turned to doing mostly weightlifting and I gained about 15 pounds over the course of the next year. While some of that gain was clearly muscle (since I was growing stronger) much of it was regained bodyfat. So having bought new pants to celebrate my stunning success in losing weight, I then had to buy new ones again to accommodate my growing girth which was disappointing to say the least.

How was I ever going to have a body like Greg Plitt? What was the secret to building muscle AND being lean enough so my abs would pop out like Greg's?

Well I'm certainly not yet there, and maybe I never will be since I began my fitness journey much later in life than Greg did in his tragically short life:

But I have found an approach that seems to help me stay at the same weight while gradually adding more muscle to my body. In other words, it's a way you can more or less get the best of both worlds: losing (or at least maintaining) weight while also building muscle. Here's what has been working for me these last two years:

Do high-volume full-body resistance training using moderate weights for 3-4 days in a row. Then do legs only, either cardio or bodyweight leg exercises, for the next two days. Finish with a day of rest if needed before restarting the cycle--but only have a rest day if you really, really need it.

What's the strategy behind this approach? After one day of resistance training my muscles are pumped but not sore because I'm using only moderate weights. After three or four days of miscellaneous resistance exercises however my whole body is feeling sore, and I've probably been eating around 3500 calories a day but my workouts have utilized most of the calories I've consumed.

Then I take a couple of days break from weightlifting and do only cardio or other leg work like kickboxing, spinning, or running up stairs. I do enough cardio to work up a sweat, and the result is that I don't feel much like eating afterwards so I don't put on any weight and may in fact lose any weight I gained from overeating on my weightlifting days. But since I'm only exercising my legs for these two days, the rest of my body muscles get a chance to recover and rebuild, so at the end of my two days of leg exercises my arms and shoulders feel more muscular and I can even feel the muscles in my back and pecs more.

Because I'm using only moderate weights for my resistance exercises and not overdoing the cardio, I really don't need any recovery days where I just sit around and do nothing. In general I've found that it's on y recovery days that my willpower collapses and my diet falls to shreds. So unless I'm sick or too busy at work I simply don't take any recovery days, I just do a half-hour of cardio because legs can take a beating every day and still function well.

Now this may all sound good in theory but in practice I have experienced a few hiccups. For one thing, following the same exercise program year in year out gets BORING. So there are times when I do something different for several days or even weeks just for the variety to keep myself sane. And of course then there are birthdays, weekends, unexpected visitors, and days at work when you're running around putting out fires and you want to reward yourself at the end of the day by eating a whole pecan pie.

Still it's been working pretty well for me. I've doubled my arm strength over the last eight months when it comes to doing rope pressdowns for triceps. And I can now do 6 reps of bicep curls with 40 lb dumbbells while I couldn't even do a single rep with these about a year ago. So I'm making progress in the strength department which means my muscles are growing, yet I haven't put on a single pound (on average) over the last 12 months.

What about you? Do you have an approach that has helped you build muscle while also losing or at least maintaining your weight? Email me at [email protected]

Today's workout

For my workout this morning I started with 5 minutes light work on the exercise bike to warm up. Then I did four tri-sets (supersets of three different exercises) of the following exercises:

  • Rope pressdowns for triceps
  • Standing dumbbell curls
  • Goblet squats using kettlebell

I increased the weight/resistance with each superset, repping out until I couldn’t do any more reps. I rested only about 10-15 seconds between exercises within a superset, but I rested longer (about 2 minutes) between supersets.

My workout lasted about 40 minutes in total.

See my Exercise Tip of the Week in this issue for more on doing supersets.

Got a workout? Have you developed a workout that you enjoy doing and feel has been contributing to your health and which you'd like to share with our readers? Email us at [email protected]

Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of FitITproNews? Email us at [email protected]

Fitness Toolbox

Products and services we think you shouldn't be without!

GOT ANY exercise equipment, nutritional supplements, personal training services, fitness websites, or anything else you would like to recommend for our readers? Or for that matter do you have any IT products or services you would like to promote or recommend? After all, our target audience here is mostly IT pros! Email us at [email protected]

Mailscape 365 - Your Key To Simplifying Office 365 - Gain real-time visibility into on-premises Exchange, Hybrid, & Office 365. It monitors your entire hybrid environment in real-time and provides 100+ reports to help you gain visibility into developing issues.

Cyclemeter is free on the iTunes store and can be used to track not only cycling  but also walks, runs, and other fitness activities:

Everlast punching bags come in a variety of sizes and configurations for all your workout needs:

BLACK BOMBS is designed for competitors who put everything on the line to remove fat without losing hard-earned muscle:

Exercise tip of the week

Best order for full-body supersets

Full-body supersets involve doing two exercises, one targeted your upper body and the other your lower body, with minimal rest between the exercises. For example, your upper body exercise could be dumbbell flyes or military presses or curls, while your lower body exercise could be bodyweight squats or step-ups or Romanian deadlifts. The question is, which exercise should you do first in a full-body superset, the upper body exercise or the lower body one?

I personally feel that the upper body exercise should be done first followed by the lower body exercise. My reason is because lower body exercises tend to wipe me out more than upper body ones, so after a lower body exercise I need a longer rest period. Now if your goal in doing supersets is simply to build muscle then taking longer rest intervals between exercises is fine. But if your goal is general fitness and the time you have available for working out is limited, then you want to get your heart rate elevated and keep it up as much as possible. In that case minimizing your rest intervals as much as possible is desirable, and based on my own personal experience doing the upper body portion of a full-body superset first allows you to accomplish this best.

Nutritional tip of the week

Meat and nuts breakfast

Charles Poliquin, a well-known strength coach, believes that a meat and nuts breakfast is the best kind of breakfast for improving your body composition. He explains his theory behind this approach in the following blog post:

Also watch the following video from his Strength Sensei website:

My own take on this approach when I've followed it is to eat pickled whole herring and deluxe mixed nuts together for breakfast. I don't feel tired after eating this kind of breakfast and I don't experience any bloating either. The thing is though to go easy on the nuts. It's better I think to eat a mix of different nuts than just ones like cashews which I love so much I could continue wolfing them down until I explode.

Got tips? Do you have any exercise or nutritional tips you'd like to share with other IT pros who are trying to lose weight and get more fit? Email us at [email protected]

Fun stuff

What are some of the crazy things people eat? Let's find out!

10 Weird Things People Actually Eat

8 Insanely Dangerous Foods That People Actually Eat

French Man Eats Metal & Glass - Monsieur Mangetout

5 People Who Only Eat 1 Thing

Product of the Week

Free Tool: Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory 


SolarWinds® Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory™ gives you instant visibility into user and group permissions and a complete hierarchical view of the effective permissions and access rights for a specific NTFS file folder or share drive – all from a user friendly desktop dashboard.  Browse permissions by group or individual user, and analyze user permissions based on group membership combined with specific permissions.  Unravel a tangled mess of file permissions: network share, folder, Active Directory, inherent, explicit, calculated and more.

Download the Free Permissions Analyzer Tool Today. 

About FitITproNews

FitITproNews is the only weekly newsletter in the world that is entirely devoted to helping IT pros get fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily stresses and workload of being in the gristmill of the IT profession. FitITproNews is brought to you by TechGenix and is created each week by the same all-star editorial team that brings you WServerNews, the world's longest running IT pro newsletter focusing on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to FitITproNews today! And while you’re at it be sure to also subscribe to our other TechGenix newsletters such as our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles!

Editorial Team

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written numerous articles and whitepapers and has authored or been series editor of more than 50 books for Microsoft Press. Mitch also successfully made the transition from being a typical "fat IT pro" to becoming fit by losing almost 50 lbs through a combination of resistance training, cardio exercises, and proper nutrition. Mitch's passion with FitITproNews is to help other IT pros do what he has been able to accomplish by sharing his personal story and lessons learned.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of FitITproNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. She is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program. Ingrid is also committed to personal fitness and is a believer in clean eating and proper supplementation for optimal health and longevity.

Mitch and Ingrid are also the editors of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. For more information about Mitch and Ingrid see their website.


This newsletter is designed for informational purposes only and the health and fitness information presented in it are based solely upon the personal experience of its editors and of any guests or readers who contribute content to it. Nothing in this newsletter is intended to be or should be construed to be professional medical, fitness, or nutritional advice. Always consult a physician or other health care professional before starting an exercise or nutrition program to determine if it is appropriate for your personal needs. Do not follow any of the suggestions in this newsletter if your physician or other health care professional advises against doing so. If you are exercising or dieting or taking supplements and experience any dizziness, faintness, pain, or shortness of breath, you should stop immediately and seek medical help. The use of any information presented in this newsletter is solely at your own risk.

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