5 Minutes with... Craig McNulty

Holla! Sorry for not writing for so long, I have been SO busy with uni work, crossfit and the gym. Though everything is going well and the blog will be right back on track now. This week's interview was with Craig McNulty, who I was lucky enough to interview at university this week. Here is a little blurb about Craig on his LinkedIn page:

"I am a Bachelor of Exercise Science graduate of Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, completing an Honours research year for 2013.My thesis will be focused on forming a new understanding of first order VO2 non-linear kinetics. I have completed a one year internship program with Western Region Academy of Sport which saw me training and coordinating the overall health and fitness of 31 pre-elite athletes. This program has developed my skills in S&C coaching, athlete testing, and athlete monitoring and recovery. Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with some elite coaches and academia, not only deepening my knowledge and understanding of sports science, but giving me goals to work towards in the years to come.


Below is my interview with the wonderful Craig, please feel free to comment or ask questions! 

How often do you think someone needs to exercise to lose weight?

In my opinion, it is completely up to the person. The more they can fit in the better… though in saying that, if they start to feel down, tired, exhausted – obviously they need to cut down the training hours a bit. If you’ve got a goal to reach, or whatever reason it is then the more exercise the merrier.

Do you think a rest day is necessary?

Once again, only if you feel that you need a rest day. Your body will tell you straight away if it’s tired or if it’s exhausted… it will let you know. Over-training tends to happen in athletes with sleep deprivation and a bad diet (due to being on the road all the time). Day-to-day person, your body will let you know if you’re over doing it.

Do you believe that women should lift weights and do resistance training? Or do you think it will make them ‘bulky’?

I think that is one of the biggest myths and questions in the sport science field to date.

Women should be taking part in resistance training more than men – for the simple reason that they tend to have a lot less bone density, especially post menopause. As you know, the bone works exactly with the muscle – if you put stressors on it, it will increase the bone density. As well as that, it is also a very functional aspect for training, in day to day activities. As far as getting bulky is concerned, most women have very minimal amounts of testosterone which is the key part to getting ‘bulked’. So NO, unless you are a female bodybuilder competitor looking to get big, you’re not going to get big.

Is it true that resistance training burns nearly as many calories as cardio does?

The research says definitely more. As far as your long, slow distance or your moderate cardio training is concerned, it’s good for cardiovascular fitness – 100%. BUT

unless you are an endurance athlete, there is really no need to be running an hour on a treadmill.

Would you still recommend resistance training even if your main goal was to lose weight?

Yes, more so. Bigger metabolic load from resistance training then what you’d get from cardio. Mass increase in metabolism is the main thing. Research has shown that, and even if you go have a big resistance training session in the morning… six hours later and you’re sitting in front of the TV, your body will still be working at a higher metabolic rate than it would be an hour after a big cardio session.

What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight?

A big one would be dieting, there are definitely a lot of fad diets out there. This ‘cutting the fats’ out of the diet or ‘cutting the carbs’ out of the diet doesn’t work. They all work together, they are the three main macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates)

that need to be in the system to work together.

Cutting one out is just going to make the body overcompensate and either put your body in starvation mode or you’ll start burning the wrong fuels. It will make you feel tired, while still not achieving the weight loss you’re after. A healthy, well-balanced diet is key as opposed to a lot of the fad diets out there.

Do you recommend the use of any supplements?

If you’re resistance training, or moderate-high intensity cardio training protein supplementation is a must. Everyone thinks people use it to get ‘big’ but you use it as a recovery tool more than anything. When you’re doing the muscle contractions during exercise, you are breaking the muscle fibres apart – that’s how you get sore the next day. Basically, the protein gets into those muscle fibres in liquid form and starts the repairing process. Protein should be taken directly after a training session or even during.

Would you say anything like a PWO (pre-workout) or BCAAS is necessary?

No, far from it. I live off protein and green tea. Water is another massive one that you need to focus on.

Increase your water amounts during training, the whole ‘8 glasses a day’ is out the window now. You should be sipping on water constantly throughout the day, and having at least 4L a day.

What foods should be avoided all the time, whether you are trying to lose weight or build muscle?

Definitely sugar, any types of food containing corn starch – that’s a massive killer. Like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS), basically anything that is sweet contains corn syrup. Excessive consumption of a lot of processed carbohydrates should also be avoided.

What is your opinion on fruit and losing weight?

My opinion is that you definitely should have fruit in your diet, but I’d probably restrict them to before midday. So when you come out of starvation mode out of sleep, drink 500mL of water (to get rehydrated) and get your natural sugar levels back up through fruit and some vegetables. I don’t see it as a big issue to be honest, but there have been small amounts of researched that have revealed that fruit later in the day can interfere with fat loss.