Saturday, 27 December 2014

Common Gym Mistakes and Simple Solutions to them - Part 16

16. I Want to Get Fit, Strong, Big and Loose Fat all at the Same Time.

As you have hopefully learned by now your training has to be specific to your goals. If you have too many goals then you can not be specific.

You can be fit but fat, you can be thin but unfit, you can have big muscles but be weak, you can have strong muscles but small muscles. What defines this is partly DNA but mostly specific diet and specific training.

What most people do is join a gym and start a diet at the same time. They then do lots of cardio (See No 5) to burn fat and weights to get big and strong all at the same time. This is WRONG.

Lets use an example to prove the point. You normally eat 2500 cal a day and go on a diet reducing your calories to 2000 a day. You have also joined a gym and go 4 times a weak burning 300 cal per session.

The maths shows that you are now eating 3500 cal a week less, over a days worth of food, and are also now burning 1200 cal per week in the gym. That is a cal difference of 4700!!!! Do you really think that is healthy let alone productive? You will initially loose weight doing this but within about 10-14 days you will be exhausted, probably get ill and then rebound (get fat). If you join a gym do not reduce the calories too, clean up your diet ( reduce cr@p, not calories) and adjust to suite. And that’s just the calories side of things, now the exercise bit.

I wont repeat what I wrote about Cardio in Part 5, please re-read it.

To get strong you need to lift heavy weight for 3-5 reps with a rest period of approx 3 mins between sets and will mainly use the creatine phosphate energy system. 
To get big you need to lift medium to heavy weights, 6 - 12 reps with a rest period of 60-90 seconds and use the lactic acid energy system. 

They are different training systems, different energy systems and strength training also requires more co-ordiantion, power, CNS and is partly governed by individual biomechanics. Therefore, trying to do both at once will always be a compromise and how big a compromise will depend on DNA, Form, Diet and so on.

So what is the answer? Periodisation of course.

In simple terms (for the average gym goer) this is just training once element at a time, in sequence to optimise gains.

So your average newbie to gym who wants to loose fat, gain muscle mass and get stronger could now train like this:

Week 1          -           Light cardio, stretching, mobility
Week 2          -           Light cardio, stretching, mobility
Week 3          -           Medium cardio, stretching, mobility
Week 4          -           Medium-Hard cardio, stretching, mobility
Weeks 5-8     -           Hypertrophy (build muscle size)
Weeks 9-12   -           Strength/Power
Week 13        -           De-load, low intensity cardio/weights

So whats the logic in all this? I think its simple, but its my job so it should be for me. We start by getting the body moving, nothing fancy and a low risk of injury. We then gradually increase the intensity getting the heart and lungs working harder. As we move into the hypertrophy phase the heart and lungs are still working as we build muscle. Finally, we use our now (slightly) bigger muscles to move some big weights. After this we have active rest, we deload and train light to recover.

Each training phase compliments the next training phase where as the original example has all the training contradicting itself.

Whatever your goal or starting point periodisation is the way to go about it. Work in cycles of 6-12 weeks, deload, adjust, repeat.  For an excellent book on periodisation check out Periodisation Training for Sports by Tudor Bompa.