Monday, October 06, 2008

Charles Staley Interviews David Barr

Charles Staley is a well-known strength coach based in Phoenix, AZ. He has trained many elite level athletes and is one of the founders of the International Strength Sciences Association (ISSA), the organization that I am certified with.

Here Charles interviews David Barr, a rising star in the fitness world.

Charles Staley Interviews David Barr

I recently sat down with our resident supplement guru Dave Barr. We talked about protein, supplements, carbs, insulin, leucine, and what he's got in store for us for next week's teleconference.

Read on Dave's forgotten more about nutrition than most people will ever know, and you can take his advice straight to the bank…

CS: Dave thanks for the interview! First, I know you're joining us for a teleconference on October 8th- what's the most important question I could ask you?

DB: The question you could ask me is: "What's the most important piece of information you can gather for someone who's interested in changing their body or performance?"

That piece of information is whether the person is happy with the current progress.

People I talk to from the site are not, which can actually be a good thing. It means that they're not complacent and they expect more. At the same time we need to look at why results aren't coming as quickly or easily as they'd like. Then we work to get them where they want to be.

Remember: you work too hard to settle for mediocrity.

CS: If you could take only 3 supplements, what would they be and why?

DB: This is a great follow up question to my article entitled: "3 Supplements You Should Be Using".

#1 would be fish oil. Always. Always. Always.

The sheer number of physiological effects this nutrient subtype can have on our body is nothing short of amazing. The more I learn, the more I want to run to my fridge and start guzzling my lemon flavored oil.

The problem is that people don't use enough to experience the most dramatic effects.

#2? Creatine. I just like the cell swelling from an aesthetic standpoint, and the performance enhancing effects are well documented. There are also health benefits, as well as the enhanced ability to perform high-level thinking (although I've occasionally been accused of not needing this benefit). It may be too simple to say that "it makes you smarter", but it's not completely inaccurate.

#3 is tough. I've been learning a lot about both acid-base balance and the nervous system, which is where Greens products and carnitine come into play respectively.

I'll go with the Green because it's next to impossible for people (read: ME) to get enough fruits and vegetables. This isn't just for health, but fat loss and muscle growth/recovery as well.

As an athlete I'd cycle in carnitine for short intense training periods and competition.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that whey protein was not a consideration on this list because I consider it more of a nutritional staple than a supplement.

CS: Carbs- good or evil?

DB: For most people they're patently evil. We just don't need them in the quantities that they're being used, and our physiques (not to mention our health) are suffering as a result. It pains me to say that because there's nothing I love more than carb-laden sweets, but in this industry I don't think the word "moderation" can be thrown around enough!

CS: Can you expand on that?

DB: Look, fat loss is all about insulin control, and the predominant mediator of this is carbs. Control the carbs and you're going to lose weight.

And I can't comment on this topic without bringing up the archaic notion that we need to load carbs after training. People have been doing this for more than a decade, but is it helping our physiques and performance? Come on.

I'd like to add the caveat that carbs are great for people with very high training volumes, and skinny people looking to improve muscle mass and strength, but this is a small subset compared to the rest.

CS: Protein- good or...sorry, I mean, how much?


Protein is the best "bang for your buck" calorie source for pretty much anyone. It can help with both muscle building and weight loss. Guys in lab coats like to point out that protein can also be stored as fat, but they need to wake up to the reality that compared to carbs and fats, that idea is a joke. People aren't getting fat off of protein.

Whey protein itself is particularly beneficial, so I like to see people consuming the standard 1g/lb to start (with whey supplementation). Once this becomes easy and people want to ramp up their results, this should be increased to 1.5g/lb. This comes at the expense of some carbs, but mostly it's the addition of Calories in the form of protein. It's called protein stepping or protein ramping, and I'll explain how to do it during the Training Summit.

For those on low-carb diets, 2-3g/lb is not unheard of, but bear in mind that all of this is within the context of the persons lifestyle. In others words, we need to find a compromise between 100% dystopian ideal and what's realistically possible for you.

CS: At a recent nutrition conference in Vegas, all the scientist-geeks were talking about Leucine - to the point of saying "don't even worry how much protein you eat, worry about how much Leucine you ingest." Anything to that?

DB: Hey I'm a science geek! But I just remembered that you're a martial arts expert so I'll back off and answer the question.

I agree that leucine supplementation is incredible and I'm looking forward to sharing a new protocol with people next week! The problem with such a blanket statement however, is that it ignores two KEY points:

1) The main problem for people not gaining muscle/strength isn't a lack of "muscle building" stimulus; it's calories! And where should that extra caloric energy come from? Protein!

2) As discussed above, protein is the best source of calories for people on fat loss diets as well. Although leucine can preserve, or even build, muscle during this process, ignoring the importance of protein would lead to catastrophic failure.

CS: Any closing thoughts?

DB: I'd like to reiterate that if people are happy with their current results and progress then that's great! But if you're on this website, you're not simply content. You want more, and well you should -you deserve it. Raise your expectations and then let's figure out how you can do it.

About The Author

His colleagues call him an iconoclast, a visionary, a rule-breaker. His clients call him “The Secret Weapon” for his ability to see what other coaches miss. Charles calls himself a “geek” who struggled in Phys Ed throughout school. Whatever you call him, Charles’ methods are ahead of their time and quickly produce serious results. His counter-intuitive approach and self-effacing demeanor have lead to appearances on NBC’s The TODAY Show and The CBS Early Show.

Currently, Charles competes in Olympic-style weightlifting on the master’s circuit, with a 3-year goal of qualifying for the 2009 Master’s World Championships.

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