Academic Position Interviews – Endurance Testing

I’ve interviewed at a number of positions and now having talked this through about what it is like to interview with my GA, I realize I need to put my thoughts down on paper. When you are applying to an academic position (in my case faculty positions that involve teaching and research) your first contact with the school will likely be to schedule a phone interview.

The phone interview will be comprised of the search committee or at least parts of it. Figure they are recording what you are saying just so they can go over your answers after you finish. Before this interview, sit down with a pen and paper along with look through the school’s online course catalog, take a look at the job posting, and just do your due diligence of looking through the department website for more information about what they are doing and who works there.

When you get on the call they are going to typically ask you:

Why are you interested in our position?

What classes can you teach in our department?

What research are you looking to do? What equipment will you need?

What is your teaching philosophy?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What would your students, fellow faculty, and/or department chair say about you (they will check your references and potentially call people in your department be aware of this)?

Then they will open up for your questions. Good questions here tend to impress a committee, so based on what you have found online, now is the time ask questions about it. Sometimes they can tell you about pay and start ups (money for research equipment), but frequently this is a conversation to be had on the next phase of the interview with the dean or department chair.

Figure for the phone interview they are going to interview 10 or less candidates, so making it to this stage should make you happy. The next stage is the on campus interview which is an endurance test. Typically the top three or less candidates make it to this stage. The on campus interview is a weird and long horse and pony show. It typically goes as follows: travel to the campus by some combination of plane flights and driving. Have dinner the night before with parts of the committee and then get dropped off at a hotel. Get up and have breakfast with the committee or parts of it. Go to campus and in no particular order; get a campus tour, meet the dean, meet the department chair, interview with the committee, tour their department facilities, give a teaching presentation, give a research presentation, meet with other support personal like the grant office and the teaching development offices on campus, maybe meet with a librarian and potentially meet with the provost. Also you have the chance of meeting with assistant deans and provosts. Typically this day lasts for 8 hours or more and you will get lunch at some point. You will also maybe get a break, but potentially the break will always be with someone from the department walking around with you. Each meal will be with people from the department or the committee.

The best advice I can give anyone for going through this is simply to be yourself, but be your best self. If you try to act like someone you aren’t you are doing yourself a disservice. First, you are setting a precedent for you to have to act in a different way than you normally do for your entire career. Second, if at some point the real you starts to come out that is going to leave a strange impression with your committee. When they go to compare notes they will have different impressions about who you are. Try to be direct and succinct when you are asked questions, and take notes so you can ask them other questions. If you have other questions about this, please let me know and as always thanks for reading.

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Remembering Nick Hostler

Image may contain: 3 people, including John Lehnen and Nick Hostler, people smiling, night and indoor

Nick Hostler was a number of things. To me he was a friend, coach, and teammate. I met Nick by random chance when I was in my undergrad at a little shindig that he and John Lehnen threw at their apartment. It was talking with him and the other guys and gals on the cheer squad that talked me in to coming out for the cheerleading team. I was an awkward guy and early on it was Nick who would keep inviting me out to open gyms which was an awesome new world for me.

Cheerleading

Nick was one heck of a cheerleader. He might not have been the most powerful stunter, but he had great technique and he was an awesome tumbler. He spent hours upon hours of his own time helping me become a better stunter and learn how to tumble among many others. He would let me come to his open gym and spend tireless hours teaching me how to do a back tuck and do basic stunts. I was not very good at either, but he was patient with me and kept encouraging me.

His friendliness

Nick was the type of guy that if he was throwing a party, everyone was invited. It was actually a party at his and John Lehnen’s apartment that I happened by and was invited in to that got me in to cheer leading. He was the type of guy that would let anybody join in and make sure that everyone felt invited. That friendliness was never lost on me and I will always greatly appreciate that part of him.

His patience

Not only did Nick help coach gymnastics but he worked with special needs children and truly enjoyed the work. He would help anyone he could when it came to coaching and was always patient when folks couldn’t get it right the first or the one hundredth time. He always would find something to help coach them on and do his best to keep people positive even during trying times.

Visiting Springfield after being gone for years

I came to Springfield in the fall of what was likely 2013 after not having been in the town for probably three or four years. On the way down I shot him a text message and I met him out on the town for the entire weekend like we had never skipped a beat. I cherish the picture of him, John Lehnen, and myself in a video game bar in Springfield. Nick was a great friend and always such a nice guy. I’m lucky to have met him and I’m sad that he is gone.

How much carbohydrate do you really need?

Building on how much protein you need, how much carbohydrate do you need each day? Well first off the goal here is to look at different athletic needs, not to get in to a long and large conversation about fiber and how it is important for your health. Also, keep in mind these posts are about needs, not wants. You can always go over these recommendations because you want to or to fill in your discretionary calories, but we are talking about base requirements for performance here.

Homer Simpson (sedentary person) needs – No carbohydrates. – You actually don’t need a single carb in order to live (a few exceptions here) since your liver can make all of the glucose you need as long as you are getting in enough fat and some protein in the diet. These days the ketogenic diet has become quite popular with a number of outspoken evangelists on social media singing its praises. It can work for some people, but most folks will find this type of living to be incredibly restrictive.

Resistance Training Athlete – 0-8g/kg of body weight – You can still get away with not taking in any carbohydrates if you are a ketogenic athlete in any setting, but if you are looking to perform you will likely need some carbs, specifically if you are working hard in the 15 seconds to 2 minute range for certain resistance training style sports like strongman or CrossFit. The intake level here would typically be set at about 3-5 grams per kg, but if you are doing some cardio on top of this your demands might go as high as 8g/kg. The basic idea here is that you should always track how you feel and perform. If you are bonking out and crashing during a training session then you need to likely increase your carbohydrate intake and doing so pre, peri (during), and post exercise will help replenish the glycogen (storage form of carbs in your muscles) as quickly as possible. Carbs around exercise and after exercise are your best bets when it comes to loading and speeding up recovery.

Aerobic Athlete – 0-12g/kg of body weight – The greater the amount of aerobic work you are doing at a high intensity the more carbs you will need. If you only are running for an hour or less each day you are still only looking at those 3-5g/kg recommendations, but if you are doing 2 hours of work your demands can then go up to 5-8g/kg and if you are doing legitimate hard training for 3 or more hours per day you can hit that high end. Same ideas of timing to replenish carbs rapidly, and just for the sake of your GI you should split them up over the day. You can be an aerobic athlete that doesn’t use any carbs, but they tend to not be successful in anything other than stupid long endurance events like ultra marathons.

 

  • Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Position of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine and the Dieticians of Canada. Med Sci Sports Excerc. 2015; 48:543-568.
  • Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci. 2011; 29 (Supp 1): S17-27.

How much Fat do you really need?

The final segment on the macronutrient intake requirements is going to be all about fat. To start off, fat does not make you “fat”. Too many calories, specifically from fat or carbs, is what makes you fat. Fat is incredibly important in the body since it is literally what makes up the membranes that keep our cell from falling apart. It is incorporated in to our nervous system heavily, serves as energy reserves, padding, and much more.

The big issue with fat understanding is that not all categories (monos, polys, saturated, and trans) are simply “good” or “bad”. Individual fatty acids can have different effects on health and performance inside of the same category. My goal isn’t to give a rundown of that, but just to make sure that everyone has a basic appreciation for how important fats are, and how complex this macronutrient class can be for the forms it can come in. Also, I won’t be going in to cholesterol, but this is important for a variety of hormones in the body specifically all the steroid class hormones which a short list of them are; testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and aldosterone. So getting in enough cholesterol is a good thing, and high intakes of cholesterol if you don’t have the genetic trait for being responsive to it, won’t cause your level to go through the roof.

Base fat needs

Well the research out there is often based on a percentage of your total calories, which normally places it at about 20-35% of your daily caloric intake. So, if we are looking at the calorie needs for a moderately active female weighing 60kg or 132lbs which are ball parked at 2000 calories this gives us at the 20% a total of 400 calories from fat. This then converted in to grams of fat gives us 44.5 grams of fat each day. Which then in grams per kg of body weight we are now talking about:

.75g/kg of body weight each day.

Really trying to get at research to show what is the minimal amount of fat to take in each day is really difficult to find. I wasn’t able to find some good studies looking in to this, since the problem frequently in America is too much fat and calories in the diet, not a lack of them. I’ve heard of some lifters dropping lower than .6g/kg each day when trying to lean out for a competition, but rarely does anyone actively choose to go that low and this is done with the understanding that it is at the expense of health.

You can always take in more fat and you might find this helps with your recovery. Keep in mind that the type of fatty acids always matter. Also, Trans fats for the most part are straight garbage for your body so avoid them. When you are taking in more calories in the diet taking in more fat is natural and if you are going to pick a class of fats to take in greater amounts of your best bet is to go with monounsaturated fats. Thanks as always for taking the time to read this and have a great day.

https://www.foodpolitics.com/2011/08/where-did-the-2000-calorie-diet-idea-come-from/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-fat-to-eat#section5

https://www.healtheuniversity.ca/en/cardiaccollege/Eating/Fats/Pages/how-much-fat-do-you-need.aspx

One Armed Man Training Program

A student of mine recently dislocated his elbow and when this occurred it tore his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). He is having surgery soon (or already has had it at this point). The goal is to put together a programming for him based on my one arm man days to allow him to do some training without causing extra damage. My pec and labrum surgery went well and I have made a total recovery (except my pec is now in a slightly different spot). Not everyone is so lucky and if you go too aggressively too soon you can reinjure yourself and risk going under the knife again. With this knowledge my goal for him is to get back to being healthy and first and foremost listening to his doctors about what he can and can’t do then as he can train more incorporating the ideas in here to his programming. This program is only meant for the other parts of his body that aren’t injured, we will not be touching any programming for his injured arm.

Directly after surgery – don’t do anything you aren’t allowed to do. No lifting for likely 1-6 weeks. Now, with that being said you still need to move. My advice is to go walk as much as can be tolerated. Once you can do more here is the basic menu of exercise that I would suggest:

Modality Sled Dragging Stationary Bike Hiking/walking
Duration 10-30 minutes 10 minutes on 2 minutes off for up to half an hour 30 minutes on up
Intensity Moderate load that is aerobic, but still hard Max resistance but only keep a 20-30RPM cadence Just enjoy getting outside, feel free to wear ankle weights or other weights if this can be tolerated.

 

Resistance Training Options

Once he is approved to start training again, the basic goal is to hit the lower body hard and do what is tolerated by the upper body. He is a good lifter, so we will get him to get after it as tolerated. Start with taking it easy, then build your way up to higher intensity and effort as you go.

Lower body

Day 1 2 3
Movement Safety bar back squats (SSB) Speed SSB squats Safety bar Bulgarian split squats
Sets x Reps @ Percent Week 1, 5×5 at 80% of 5RM

Week 2, 1 x 5 at 80%, 1 x 5 @ 85%, 3 x 5 @ 90% of 5RM

Week 3, build up to new 5RM and then 2 x 5 @ 80% of that

Week 4 deload

Week 1, 8×3 @ 65% of 5RM

Week 2, 10×2 @ 67.5% of 5RM

Week 3, 12×2 @ 70% of 5RM

Week 4 deload

Week 1, 5 x 10 @ 35% of squat 5RM

Week 2, 5 x 10 @ 40% of 5RM

Week 3, 5 x 10 @ 45% of 5RM

Week 4 deload

Movement Belt Squat or leg press SSB Lunges SSB good mornings
Sets x Reps @ Percent 4 x 20 4 x 12 each leg 4 x 20
Movement Glute ham raises Back extensions (use machine or band tension) Body weight hams
Sets x Reps @ Percent 3-5 x 8-12 3-5 x 20 3-5 x 6-8
Movement Machine abs Sit ups GHR sit ups
Sets x Reps @ Percent 3-5 x 10-20 3-5 x 10-20 3-5 x 10-20
Movement Sled drag forwards SSB bar shrugs Sled drags backwards
Sets x Reps @ Percent 4 heavy trips 3-5 x 10-20 4 heavy trips
Movement Calf raises standing Calf raises Sitting One leg standing calf raises
Sets x Reps @ Percent 5 x 20 5 x 20 5 x 20

 

Upper body – all movements done one arm. Super set and triset accordingly. Be very slow with your progressions and really focus on letting the health arm do all the work and not radiating tension through your body.

Day 1 2
Movement 1a KB push press Dumbbell bench press
Sets x Reps @ Percent Week 1, 5 x 10 @ 80% of 10RM

Week 2, 1 x 10 at 80%, 1 x 10 @ 85%, 3 x 10 @ 90% of 10RM

Week 3, build up to new 10RM and then 2 x 10 @ 80% of that

Week 4 deload

Week 1, 5 x 10 @ 80% of 10RM

Week 2, 1 x 10 at 80%, 1 x 10 @ 85%, 3 x 10 @ 90% of 10RM

Week 3, build up to new 10RM and then 2 x 10 @ 80% of that

Week 4 deload

Movement 1b Lat pull downs Dumbbell rows
Sets x Reps @ Percent 5 x 10 5 x 10
Movement 2a Chest press Dumbbell Z press
Sets x Reps @ Percent 5 x 10 5 x 10
Movement 2b Chest Supported Rows Sit ups
Sets x Reps @ Percent 5 x 10 5 x 10
Movement 2c Dumbbell laterals Dumbbell bent over laterals
Sets x Reps @ Percent 5 x 10-20 5 x 10-20
Movement 3 Arm work Arm work
Sets x Reps @ Percent Pump up Pump up

 

Supplementation

Here is a list of things to try and use. This may help improve recovery, but at worst won’t slow it down. That being said, only do this if you have the disposable income. Getting in extra sleep and eating a higher protein diet with good fats and enough carbs is the bigger key here.

Supplement Dosage
Collagen Protein 10 grams or more per day. Feel free to divide dosages over the day.
Omega 3 fatty acids Aim for 1g of EPA and DHA each per day, can go higher but watch your tolerance
Cissus Quadrangularis 3.2 grams at night before bed.
Curcumin (from Turmeric) A number of ways to take this, I would suggest using this as a primer: https://examine.com/supplements/curcumin/
Glucosamine (and other joint support supplements) Follow the typical dosage or double it for most joint support supplements.

 

It isn’t much but it is a start, hopefully this helps and he will be back to good quickly. The goal is to get him back to Olympic lifting, but this program will hold him over for at least the first 4-6 months post-surgery. Get better soon Connor and see you on the platform soon enough.

Stacey’s Training Program Updated

This is the second iteration of the training program for a young lady in her 30s with a career, kid, and all the other things going on in her life. The goal with the program is to gain strength. She has good mobility and aerobic ability but has never really had a high amount of strength at any point in her life. The goal with this program is to build the skill of strength and also to help build a bit of muscle mass. Due to her busy schedule she can only go to a gym two times per week which is not optimal, but it is something. So we will be doing a lot of bodyweight exercises outside of the gym along with the two training days in the gym to help her increase her total body strength.

Two days per week in the gym:

The goal is simple but effective compound strength movements with barbells and dumbbells since she doesn’t have these options at home. The periodization for this will be simple since she hasn’t been on a hardcore program really at any point, but we will treat her more like an intermediate when it comes to progress since she has a lot of other things going on in her life than being able to solely focus on getting bigger and stronger. The new wrinkle is she is getting strong enough that she is starting to feel like she needs a spotter to really test herself, so I am moving around exercises where you can “miss” with a bit more dignity. Also, there should only be one week where she really needs a spotter on the old exercises now.

Day 1 2
Movement Back squats Front squats
Sets x Reps x % Week 1 5×5 @ 80% of heaviest set of 5 done

Week 2 5×5 @ 85% of heaviest set of 5

Week 3 4×5 @ 90% of heaviest set of 5

Week 4 Try to beat old 5 rep max then do two back off sets of 5 at 80% of it

Week 5 2×5 at 80% of heaviest set of 5 done

Week 6 go back to week 1 programming

Build up to one heavy set of 5 and try to increase it each week. On week 5 take it easy.
Movement Military Press Sumo Deadlifts
Sets x Reps x % Follow the back squat periodization Build up to one heavy set of 5 and try to increase it each week. Use a moderate stance and think about squatting the weight up. Week 5 take it easy
Movement Lat pull downs Bench Press
Sets x Reps x % Week 1, 4 x 10

Week 2, 5 x 10

Week 3, 5 x 8

Week 4, 6 x 8

Week 5, 2 x 10

Week 6, go back to week 1 programming

Use the same programming from the back squats here. Can switch to the incline here or dumbbells, but stick with each for a full 5 weeks at least
Movement RDLs (Romanian deadlifts), use a wide grip with pointers on the rings of the bar or wider (meant to be snatch grip) Bulgarian split squats (BSS) or lunges holding dumbbells
Sets x Reps x % Week 1, 3 x 10

Week 2, 3 x 12

Week 3, 4 x 10

Week 4, 4 x 12

Week 5, 2 x 8

Week 6, go back to week 1 programming

Week 1, 4 x 12 each leg

Week 2, 4 x 15 each leg

Week 3, 4 x 17 each leg

Week 4, 4 x 20 each leg

4 weeks of lunges then 4 weeks of BSS, add weight each week

Movement Hanging leg raises, toes to bar Ab wheel
Sets x Reps x % 50 total reps 50 total reps

 

After you get done with the heavy training feel free to do any extra bodybuilding single joint work you might want to (curls, skull crushers, etc). Be sure to always warm up for each exercise and if you aren’t able to start with the barbell on some of them then start with a dumbbell then work your way up. Figure you will need 2-5 warm up sets before your heavy work on the first three exercises and the rest of them you should be able to just jump right in. Do some dynamic stretching and steady state cardio to help yourself warm up in the beginning of the workout.

There is also the possibility of a day 3, if this happens here is how I want it to go. Keep in mind that this day is meant to be skipped on occasion as long as days 1 and 2 are still happening.

Day 3
Movement Back squats
Sets x Reps x % Week 1, 3×10 @ 60% of heaviest set of 5 done

Week 2, 4×10 @ 60% of heaviest set of 5

Week 3, 4×10 @ 65% of heaviest set of 5

Week 4, 5×10 @ 70% of heaviest set of 5

Week 5, 2×10 @ 50% of heaviest set of 5 done

Week 6, go back to week 1 programming

Movement Dumbbell Incline Press
Sets x Reps x % 5 x 10, pyramid up in weight and try hard to break your record on the 3 set then work back down.
Movement Chest Supported Rows, or Dumbbell Rows
Sets x Reps x % Week 1, 4 x 10

Week 2, 5 x 10

Week 3, 5 x 8

Week 4, 6 x 8

Week 5, 2 x 10

Week 6, go back to week 1 programming

Movement Glute ham raises or back extensions (start with bodyweight)
Sets x Reps x % Week 1, 3 x 10

Week 2, 3 x 12

Week 3, 4 x 10

Week 4, 4 x 12

Week 5, 2 x 8

Week 6, go back to week 1 programming

Movement Planks (front, side, side, back)
Sets x Reps x % Start at :30 each way and then build up to 1:00 by just adding a few seconds each workout. Just one set each way.

 

 

Bodyweight work at the house

Now the bodyweight work at the house is meant to be a simple circuit that you can do each day and try to increase the total number of reps you do in each exercise by 1 each day. Break up those reps in to as many sets as you want (you can do one set of 10 or ten sets of 1). You do not need to do them all in a row, but aim for perfect technique and control each time. You can do this at any point in the day and do a little bit at different times in the day, and don’t worry about doing them on the days you are able to get to the gym. When you are able to progress them to a harder version drop the reps back to the starting numbers. Only run this for 3 months and then we will reassess and modify things and give a set number of reps instead of increasing volume.

Exercise Starting reps Progression Rep increase
Close Grip Push ups 10 From feet instead of knees, then elevate the feet 2+ each day
Pistol squats 10 each leg To a lower box, then no box, then sit up to squat on this 1+ each day
Pull up negatives 5 Lower yourself as slowly as possible then hold isometric positions 1+ each day
Bodyweight low rows 10 Work up to feet elevated 2+ each day
Hip thrusts, shoulders elevated on the couch with feet on the floor 10 Do them on one leg 2+ each day

 

Other notes

Remember that strength is a skill so the goal is to practice the skill over and over again to get better at it. With the weights do the heavy hard work first and if you have to skip the second part that is ok, just make sure that you are making up what you can. Be sure spend some time stretching out and doing some foam rolling and other recovery type work if you get a chance. This program shouldn’t be beating you down, but you will have some soreness. There is now a deload built in to the heavier movements, but the previous deloading rules are still in effect. Be sure to deload your lifting about once every 1-3 months, let your body be your guide in that you deload when you are just feeling sluggish and not making progress. Cut the reps on your daily calisthenics in half for that deload week too. Don’t be afraid to do other physical activity like sports, cardio, etc. when you are following this program.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and have a great day.

10,000 Hour Rule Thoughts (short post)

I have posted before about my thoughts on the 10,000 hour rule. Remember this is the basic idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything (plus or minus 10,000 hours). Recently, I talked with some coworkers about students that are struggling in classes and how they manage their time. When a number of my students are sitting around before class I typically see them on some type of social media. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I recently learned about the screen time app and get to see the reality of how many hours each week I am spending on certain apps and my phone for that matter. What I express to my students, and is quite simple, is to track how many hours they spend actually studying compared to being on social media or their devices. The ones that do, quite frequently are surprised at how many hour they spend scrolling through Instagram or otherwise.

Now to be fair, these kids are busy. A number of my students have to work part time to full time jobs to help pay for school and give them a quality of life that doesn’t involve eating cat food. Also, at the end of the day, it is nice to take breaks on occasion and free up some brain space by mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. What I suggest to them is for them to really look at how they are using their time, and to start to follow some of the scientists and researchers that are engaging with social media to help them learn more about topics in classes. There are a number of great podcasts out there in the fitness space also, do be careful since there are a number of charlatans and snake oil salesmen out there. For every minute and hour counts, the more time they can spend seeing the material, and from different perspectives the more likely they are to be successful.

Cheerleading team training program Spring 2019

Here is the current off season training program we put together for the entire cheer team. Since there is a huge variation in training age and how strong the athletes are this is meant to be about building general strength and a little bit more muscle. If they had great adherence to coming to workout then we would start to specialize the training even further in to bases and flyers, but for now this is what we are working with. The goal is to push the weight on the exercise up once the athlete can perform all of the reps in a given set. This program would be ran for about 2-3 months and then we would make some changes and dial things in again, but at that time we will be having tryouts again so a returner and a freshman program will probably be written.

Day 1

Box jumps 5×3

Back Squat 3×5

Push Press or HSPU 25 total reps

Bulgarian split squats 4-5×10-15 each leg

back extensions 3×20 reps, hold weight at chest level

push ups 50-100 reps

bodyweight low rows, same amount of reps at push ups

Day 2

medball scoop throws 5×3

sumo deadlift build up to a heavy set of 5

bench press or dips 25 total heavy reps

lunges (big steps) 3-5×8-20 reps each leg

reverse hypers 4×20 hold each rep at the top

overhead triceps 5×10

pull ups 15 total negatives or 30 total reps

Day 3

dumbbell or barbell  snatch 5×4

front squats/goblet squats 3×10

close grip incline bench press 3×10 (pointer fingers on the smooth part of the bar

step ups 3×10 each leg

glute ham raises 3×10

handstand holds/walks one total minute

dumbbell rows 4×10 each arm

The first movement each day is meant to be a power exercise so don’t worry about being too aggressive with the loads on this, challenge yourself but don’t miss reps. The next movement is meant to be a strength builder so go heavy but be sure to use a full range of motion. With the later exercises where you are doing a total number of reps be sure to break that in to as many sets as you need to. You don’t need to do them all at once. Finish with whatever ab work you want, I suggest doing hanging leg raises and the ab wheel. Take a warm up set or two before you heavy weight sets that count especially on the first few exercises and do some cardio and general warming up before you even touch the weights. Record your weights on each training day and look to improve them each week. Try to take a day off between each training day, in a perfect world this training program is Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please let me know.

Getting in to grad school

So now your goal is to get in to grad school. I hope you have a reason for doing this, and likely you do. This is something to start thinking about earlier in college (sophomore year), but it can always happen later on. Here are some basic things you can do to help yourself get in to grad school.

Grades

You need good grades, go figure. Specifically you need them in your major area classes along with the classes that are prerequisites to get in to grad school. Be sure to do well in your classes, talk to your professors if you are struggling. If you go in during the professors office hour and ask them questions about what you are struggling with or why your grades on an exam where what you received you should get some good feedback. Go talk with them and make sure they know who you are and this will give you an advantage in the rest of the class. Also ask the students who have taken the class from the professor beforehand and you will give yourself another advantage for being successful.

Recommendations

Getting recommendations from professors and other folks to help you get in to grad school is very useful. Make meaningful relationships with faculty and people in the area of employment that you are looking to go in to. Volunteer to help them with whatever tasks you can and you will in then be able to get a good recommendation. The earlier you start these relationships the better a recommendation you can hope for. Also do this with the goal to being useful, not to make your relationship transactional.

Test Scores

You need to do well on whatever standardized test you need to take to get in the grad school of your choice. Do yourself a favor and find a way to study for the exam. It takes time and paying good money for test prep classes can be worth the investment. Do yourself the favor and do research in to how you can best prepare and excel at the test you need to, success leaves clues and the internet is full of them. Figure out your weaknesses on those tests and then hammer them hard.

Other activities

Have more going on in your life than just classes and killing it at exams. Have a job, club, or activity that shows you can work with other folks and potentially even have a leadership role. Take your time and pick something to use your spare time (if you have it) with things you really enjoy and will help you relax and not exhaust you. For example, I help coach cheerleading after hours and have a little philanthropy that I do that helps me relax and feel like I am making a better impact on the people in my community. If you have any other questions about how to get in to grad school just leave a comment below.

How much protein do you really need?

A question that I get on occasion is how much protein do you really needs. Like most questions with health it is typically followed up with “it depends” aside from obvious health problems like kidney dysfunction where you want to get in low amounts of protein to avoid further renal damage, here are some basic recommendations based on what I have seen in the research. All dosages are based on your bodyweight. You can overeat protein without really any major health repercussions (EXCEPT IF YOU HAVE KIDNEY ISSUES), so have fun with it if you want. That being said protein is typically expensive, especially high quality, so just take a look and see where you fall.

Homer Simpson (normal person) – If you aren’t physically active and you just need the bare minimum in order to help replace the skin cells, immune cells, GI cells, and other proteins in the body that get broken down on a daily basis your needs are quite low.

.8g per kilogram of bodyweight (.8g/kg) or .36g per pound of bodyweight (.36g/lbs.)

Aerobic athletes – This is for someone that is a runner, tri athlete, swimmer, etc. If you goal is to just help your muscles recover from the hard work you are doing, but you aren’t looking to get bigger muscles this is the range you want to occupy. Most athletes will get in enough protein in this category just due to the higher volume of food intake from all of the work they are doing.

1.2-1.5g/kg or .55-.68g/lbs.

Strength athletes – This is someone that lifts weights, plays football, rugby, etc. You are trying to be powerful and need to have larger muscle mass than your average person along with you do lots of damage to your muscle s that needs to be repaired on a daily basis.

1.5-1.8 g/kg or .68-.82g/lbs.

Athletes that are cutting – if you are a bodybuilder leaning up for a show or someone that is losing weight but wants to keep your muscle mass you have the highest protein needs of any group. This makes things rough since depending on how big of a deficit you are in you are going to need to decrease your carb and fat intake due to all the calories from protein you are having to eat.

2.0-2.5g/kg or .91-1.14g/lbs.

A few final notes on protein intake: Divide it up equally over the day, specifically in to at least four different meals seems to be the point of diminishing returns where doing five and six meals don’t seem to give you any advantage you didn’t already have. All grams of protein matter, but animal sources are the easiest to digest in take in typically. Taking protein immediately post workout might help a little with recovery, but the key is to divide it equally over the day for the greatest effect. If you have any questions about what I posted here just let me know.