If you read any of the fitness publications, in print or online, then chances are you’ve seen the hundreds of different exercises, rep schemes, body part splits and on and on it goes.
Articles that say it is best to do push and pull in the same workout. Or hit each body part once a week. Possibly twice. All the while doing long, slow cardio to minimize muscle loss and enhance fat burning. Or maybe do some intervals. Make sure to do it on an empty stomach, or full, or have a whey shake before. Or don’t.
My personal fave is the most logical and you simply focus on building muscle in the 14 day waxing period of the moon’s cycle, and make cutting your priority during the two weeks the moon is waning. Make sure to partake of plenty of fresh goat’s blood and sleep with your feet facing magnetic north. That last part is crucial to your success in the gym.
Obviously I’m kidding about that last one. Although it would work. Just like all the other ones would. You see, as complicated as many journalists with backgrounds in various sciences try to make things, every approach to body re composition works.
Of course some work better than others. It makes perfect sense that every trainee has somewhat different goals and those goals will most likely shape the method of training that will be most beneficial. German volume training may not be the best place to start if you’re trying to improve your endurance for long distance running and a spin class probably isn’t the greatest thing for a skinny teenager looking to put some size on.
Getting back to those folks with the degrees in various sciences that seem to love to make the process so very difficult, there are three truths that apply to the athlete trying to get bigger, stronger or leaner. They are respectively: recruiting muscle and then working it in a progressively more intense manner so that adaptation must happen will cause muscle growth. Lifting progressively heavier weights, thereby forcing a neural adaptation to occur whereby more muscle fiber can be recruited, will cause strength gains. Lastly, a caloric deficit will force the body to burn it’s own stored energy for fuel, resulting in fat loss.
It’s really that simple. Science hasn’t brought anything to the table that has made us question the above information. The nature of the goal will for the most part dictate the course to follow. If getting strong is the plan then I bet you don’t need someone to tell you to work in the lower rep range. It sort of stands to reason that adding five pounds to your three rep set of squats is probably a good sign your getting stronger. More so than adding five more reps to a set of 30 cable triceps extensions.
That logic will work with building your muscles of course. You’re going to want to work the muscle using a wider variety of exercises if growth is the goal. Squats alone will build a great set of quads to a points but there comes a time when sissy squats, front squats, leg extensions, presses, step ups and lunges will be needed to further your quad development and work on the three distinct areas needed for a full quad.
The range of reps will also be greater simply because you are trying to really get into the muscle. While you aren’t just training to get a pump, it’s a good indication that you’re isolating and working a muscle. That extra fluid pumped into the muscle will help repair the inflammation caused by the working of the muscle also.
With fat loss there needs not even be made mention of what exercises to do. Or which cardio is best. When you have fewer calories than what is needed in order to maintain your current weight, then you’re going to lose some of that weight. The more exercise you do, the greater the deficit. Yes at some point your going to burn muscle and your metabolism will adjust in your body’s attempt to thwart your efforts, but in my experience it is best to follow your instincts. If you’re exhausted, then you’re probably doing too much. If you’re getting really weak, then the same applies. If you’ve stopped progressing then, it’s time to step it up a bit.
Not very scientific I know and what I’m trying to get across is that if you possess even an average grasp of the principles of training and diet, then there really is no mystery. The latest studies all seem to debunk what was the thing to do just a short while ago and the next studies will likely debunk these new studies too. So take solace in the knowledge that everything will work. Until your body gets used to it that is.
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