Check out my interview with Sports Nutrition Insider!

SNI:   You’ve recently earned the CISSN certification (ISSN’s sports nutrition certification).  Which is more important in attaining a lean physique?  Diet or Exercise?  (Or neither?)

Melissa: I like to use Alwyn Cosgrove’s reference here of the hierarchy of fat loss:

  • Nutrition
  • Resistance Training
  • Intervals, conditioning, metabolic work
  • Cardio

What you put in your body is a direct correlation to how you look and feel. It is a lot more complicated than that really but for the general population this is a phenomenal rule of thumb.

SNI:  What are your fabulous five supplements that all individuals should take to maintain a lean physique?

Melissa: My top five fabulous supplements, in addition to good nutrition and training protocols of course, are :

1.                  Fish Oils

2.                  BCAA/EAA

3.                  Protein Powder

4.                  Creatine Monohydrate

5.                  Greens Supplement

SNI:  Would you take nutrition advice from someone who is overweight?  Or would you laugh endlessly? :)

Melissa: That is a toughie because there are so many factors to why some people may be slightly overweight. I am never one who is quick to judge, but obese is another story, no excuse there and than yes I would turn and run. If the individual is somewhat overweight but I know has the healthy lifestyle of being active and practices moderation in their eating habits and has produced results for themselves and/or others, than I would at least hear them out but make my own decisions. I know of many people who are jacked year round but don’t know even the slightest thing about healthy eating so just looking the part is not always a tell tale sign of who is legit or not.

SNI:  If you had only 20 minutes to exercise, what workout would YOU do?

Melissa: I am a bit of a sucker for punishment so I would have to say any variation of a complex (dumbells, kettlebells, barbells). You can get a killer full-body metabolic workout by performing a few rounds and believe me if you can do more than 20 minutes, than you are clearly not working hard enough and need to up the intensity ie. resistance.

SNI:  Do you recommend working out in the morning on an empty stomach?  Or do you suggest consuming a meal/food/supplement?  Why?

Melissa: Man this is such an “it depends” question! Everyone is different and has different biochemistry so that would ideally determine this answer (as well as the goal) but for the sake of not writing a novel here, there are times in a properly planned program when working out on an empty stomach can be beneficial but I suppose since I would have you taking bcaa/eaa and fish oil prior to and bcaa/eaa during that it really ISN’T on an empty stomach per se. This should typically be saved for people who are looking to get to extreme low body fat levels for a show or shoot and have EARNED this by packing on some muscle (as you will often lose a little lean mass) and have already gotten to a fairly “athletic” level of body fat with good nutrition practices. I would keep the intensity (in regards to cardio) lower during these times too to prevent as muscle lean mass loss as possible.  The general population or those involved in athletics of any kind, no I would not recommend it.  Research shows that the greater the intensity of your workouts, the greater overall fat loss and muscle gain, even with shorter workouts. Depending on the goal, the person, the period in their training cycle, I would suggest having a light meal of some healthy protein, fat and carbs about an hour before so you can actually put out the intensity needed.

Originally posted here July 11, 2011: SNI Interviews Expert Sports Trainer and Nutritionist, Melissa Traynor, CISSN, CPT-HFS

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