You’ve done hours of cardio!
You’ve been counting calories diligently!
You’ve even purchased a fitness product only to learn that you’ve not inched even that much closer to your goals!
First, do you have a goal? What was your goal? Did you stick with it? However small or ambitious, did you make it there?
Second, answer each one of the above for yourself!
Third, think about why you train? And why you train hard? The answer could be anywhere from: fat loss, increasing flexibility, busting depression, building stamina and strength, and breaking one’s own PRs, etc. But to see and sustain the difference strength training brings, one needs to understand the science behind the training.
I post about strength training to pay it forward. Too many young women in an attempt to lose weight or simply get stronger are signing up not grasping the fundamentals behind the routines and causing long-term damage. I’m hoping this post will be of some merit to warrant a read from anyone interested in understanding why they do what they do.
Placing our trust in a certified trainer is almost second nature to most of us since we believe they know more than us. After all, they happen to be in the business of “knowing.” I can’t tell you how false this belief is. I can point out instructors who don’t know squat about form or nutrition but will push baseless claims to their clients all in an attempt to get more business. Clients, in turn, will lap this up because they know no better.
Simply put, make it your business to know that %^&*
Most instructors or personal trainers have what I call the gift of the gab. They are trained in the art of convincing you to “buy” into their philosophies of training and nutrition. All that is well and good provided he or she knows what they are selling to you. I particularly like this video by Daniel because everything he says holds true about spotting an ill-informed instructor.
Keep you mantra simple: Be your best instructor. Everyone else is an aid!
Today we talk straight: Eat clean and lift heavy!
Whatever your reason to get into strength training, the one thing you must absolutely do is eat clean and lift heavy. What on earth does that mean? Before we start lifting anything at all, we must first understand how muscles work.
Muscle tissues are made of fiber, the cells that make muscles. Muscles essentially are either slow twitch fibers (Type 1) or fast twitch (Type II).
There is a full read on muscle fibers, and it does get rather complicated. But the basic idea works somewhat like this: Each time you stress your muscles while training, you create a ‘micro tear.’ Each time muscle tears, satellite cells are waiting in statis to fix the tears; they build the muscle up thicker than they were before to prevent further damage to the tissue. This process of making denser muscle fibers is called hypertrophy.
The type 1 fibers are what come in handy during endurance sports and the type II for sprinting and jumping. Your genetics determine the type of tissue fibers you end up with, and that is why you will notice some people can do the 800 mts with ease while others are adept at sprinting. A strength-training program requires both fast and slow twitch fibers. For example, plyometric exercises require fast twitch muscles and Isometric or static contractions require slow twitch.
Hypertrophy and atrophy are basic terms in strength training that you must understand if you want to learn how the body burns fat and rebuilds muscle tissue. If you are serious about getting in shape and staying there, then understand how muscle tissues and fibers rise like the Phoenix.
Trainers often explain what happens when we stress our muscles using the following two terminologies:
Hypertrophy ⇒ Muscle growth (grows each time it is stressed)
Atrophy ⇒ Muscle shrinkage (shrinks back to its original size when not stressed over a long period)
So each time you stress muscles, they go into a repair phase and require amino acids, which the body derives from proteins. Protein becomes a quintessential component in the nutritional plan for anyone lifting weights to ensure that the recovery is fully carried out. (The general rule of thumb for protein requirements is 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.)
Rest and proper nutrition become crucial during the recovery phase. So when your instructor tells you about rest days between workouts, he says it for a reason. Over training your muscle is counterproductive and damaging. So establishing that routine where you get sufficient recovery time is crucial.
If for any reason adequate nutrition and rest are depleted, then the muscles begin to shrink and go into “atrophy.”
I suppose this will be a good place to let you rest and recover from all the reading. Mull over this until my next post on how the body uses the fuel you supply after a post workout routine. And whoever said muscles aren’t built in the gym, but in the kitchen, had his or her head screwed on right.
The second part of this post will stress on the necessity to fuel a post workout routine. As you get done with your routine, your muscles go into a recovery phase almost immediately. Interestingly, your body at this stage is like a black hole. You could wolf down a large meal and still feel like you are empty. This anabolic state
Together, the anabolic and catabolic cycles complete the metabolic cycle of a human being. When the body moves into a repair phase where damaged tissue is restored, it goes into an anabolic state and when the body breaks down food to generate energy, it moves into a catabolic state.