So, the thread on muscle build rate got me thinking about the following info, but I didn't want to drift it. Though I'm not a fitness professional, I was at one time (briefly) a certified personal trainer and I am constantly increasing my fitness knowledge just for myself. Mainly, to make my workouts as efficient and effective as possible so I can free up time for my life.
It kills me to see people putting in the effort knowing what they are doing is largely a waste of time (and that is most people I see "working out.")
First, if all you care about is your shape (dimension, how you look), it is 90%+ nutrition. For most people, the best way to get "toned" is just to lower your body fat % to reveal what is already there. This post isn't about nutrition though.
So for fitness, step one is to identify your goal and purpose for working out. Is it general health? Performance? Looks? No wrong answer. Most people get this far, but don’t take the next step.
Step two-refine that goal. Health-just general health or is there a particular focus? (heart/cardio, bone density, flexibility?) Performance....what kind? Strength? (limit strength, strength-endurance, relative strength, combination?) "Cardio"? (anaerobic or aerobic or both?) Appearance? (look like a skinny model? Fitness model? Bodybuilder? -or at least make progress towards one of these)
Most people do it for looks, then don't take step two and refine it. Thus, we end up with a woman who wants to get "toned" hoping to look more like Hollywood female action star not realizing the high-rep Barbie weights (combined with good nutrition) would have them looking like a starving actress instead. Light weights for high reps will never build "muscle tone" which is residual tension in the muscle that comes from building strength.
I hate to see people wasting time going through the motions when for less time they could build some real performance.
In the early 2000’s I noticed the emergence of a “tactical” fitness trend and “tactical” athlete training. Yes, the term is over-used, but this was a great development! The performance needs of military, fire-fighters, and police are very similar to each other, yet totally different than any sport and certainly way different than bodybuilding! Those needs are also great for general fitness, self-defense and emergency preparedness (and more than check the “health” and all-around functional fitness boxes).
I think of fitness in terms of attributes and energy systems. A distance runner just needs the attributes of lower body muscle-endurance and a high level of aerobic conditioning.
A first-responder OTOH, needs the attributes of limit (absolute) strength to lift that heavy item, carry/rescue that person. They need strength-endurance (and steady-state cardio) to move cross-country, carry gear, chase a suspect, run up stairs or (a citizen) to get away or even escape a fire via the stairs. Relative strength (strength to weight ratio) to climb the obstacle, quickly move their body. Finally, anaerobic conditioning to strike, sprint to cover etc. and quickly recover heart rate to shoot, move, communicate after or repeat. Aerobic conditioning (steady-state cardio) is also improved with anaerobic training so there is no need to train that on its own (perfectly OK if you do).
Tools, Techniques and Methods:
This is what people love to argue about, but that’s like arguing about what tree is better, Poplar? Pine? Aspen? You can make a forest (that you missed ) out of any of them, it doesn’t matter…it’s all in how you arrange them.
Take dumbbells as a tool for instance. Lift really heavy ones at 85-100% of your 1 rep max for low reps (1-5) to build raw “limit” strength. Lift heavy ones at 70% or more of your 1 rep max for higher volume (multiple sets of 6-12 reps) to build muscle. Lift medium ones in a little higher 12-15 rep range and get a mix of mass/strength and strength-endurance. Lift medium-light ones for high reps in intervals, get strength-endurance and anaerobic conditioning. Lift really light ones for really high reps steady-state, get aerobic conditioning.
Body-weight only for limit strength? Well, until you can do multiple sets/reps of 1-arm: pull ups, pushups, handstand pushups and squats...you aren’t even beginning to reach the raw strength potential of just your weight and gravity as resistance.
Running? Vast difference in energy systems and muscle mass between a distance runner and a sprinter as well as attributes of power, strength, and endurance.
To cap this post off, below is a great approach (just one, there are infinite ways) to efficiently develop all the attributes of a “tactical athlete” that I think are also perfect for an all-around fit citizen as well. It can be a ~20 min workout 3x per week, no more than 45 mins including a good warm up and cool down. (As contrasted with the extremely equipment intensive and time-consuming bodybuilding split routines followed by "cardio" that is so pervasive)
Circuit training with medium resistance (can use body weight, free-weights, whatever). Set up a circuit and super-set 4 different exercises back to back with no rest alternating between upper body, lower body and core. You need an upper body push, upper body pull, lower body push and pull and core stability. Pick 2 sets of 4 exercises. Do 3 sets of the 1st 4 exercises with either 1 minute or 30s rest between super sets (start with 1 min). Then, rest another 1 min or 30s and do 3 sets of the 2nd 4 exercise superset. Pick resistance levels you can do 12-15 reps with, go lighter than you think you need to in the beginning.
Dumbbell press on stability ball (substitutes; floor press, bench press, any variation of pushups)
Squat (bodyweight or holding DBs etc.)
Bent Row (subs-barbell row, pull ups, "aussie" pull up)
Russian twist (hold a DB, kettlebell, med. ball or nothing)
Overhead press-one arm or “military” style with barbell (substitutes; DBs, KBs or barbell, Pike push up, handstand pushups)
Glute Bridges any variation https://redefiningstrength.com...ips-activate-glutes/
Pull up (subs-“aussie” pull ups-hip height bar, chin ups, make it different than what you did for superset #1)
Mountain climbers (sub jumping jacks, jump rope, supine bicycle)
EDIT: Feel free to post Qs about how to use a certain tool, method, or how to build a certain attribute you are interested in developing and myself and members (I sure as heck don't know everything!) can chime in.
|Tinker Sailor Soldier Pie|
Pretty good stuff. Socrates approves of this post.
Acta Non Verba
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Family, Guns, Country
"My guns are always loaded."
What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure.
Oops, forgot to put that in the OP!
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates
|Good enough is neither |
good, nor enough
This post is spot on. I recently lost 150 pounds using nutrition, lifting 3 days a week and cardio 2x a week. Every time I am at the gym, I want to walk up to the people going through the motions and explain to them it is 90% nutrition and they are pretty much wasting their efforts at the gym if the don’t have the discipline in the kitchen.
I am actually now trying to see what my body is capable of - loving learning more about nutrition and new lifts and variations so I don’t get bored and continue to challenge myself.
There are 3 kinds of people, those that understand numbers and those that don't.
If your email is in your profile may I contact you regarding this?
"There are FOUR lights!"
Sure, no problem.
So you're saying I should not have just eaten those cookies?
This is where my signature goes.
In my experience it’s 95% eating right. You can’t out run a bad diet especially when you start to get older.
I'd like to keep this thread about fitness and performance not diet, that's why I started it. Too few really think about why they are working out and what attributes of fitness they should develop. We could do a different one on nutrition.
Strambo's post is spot on.
I want to emphasize a point he makes: nutrition goes a long way to improving your look/decreasing your dimensions, but you need exercise to get stronger and faster.
My wife is rail thin owing to her eating habits, but is absolutely pathetic by any other measure of fitness because she is completely sedentary.
I use to compete in Figure competitions (in conjunction with the Bodybuilding competitions). My husband is a nutritionist for athletes. I am at a point in my life where I am "getting older", I don't compete anymore, I realize some of the specific health concerns that run in my family & being female. I train with weights twice a week & do cardio twice a week. This is in addition to how active I am in general. My goals are purely for bone strength & heart health, & to not injure myself in the process. My husband is always telling me to "enjoy your workout" but I always tell him, it's hard to enjoy my workouts when I'm not training the way I actually want to. I am training for specific goals. I absolutely love lifting heavy, but my goal of not injuring myself limits just how heavy I go & the exercises I do. Certain exercises that I tend to like to lift heavy on, sometimes sets me back from working out at all, cos I injure myself & end up having to take a month off altogether. That does not match up with my long-term goals, so now I don't lift what I consider heavy. Getting old sometimes sucks, but my goal is to get really old!
|If you see me running |
try to keep up
Good post, one observation from personal experience. I know more thin people that are in bad health than fat people like me. People that are skinny mistake their being lean with being healthy and the majority I now do not exercise at all and eat poorly. I personally know much more people that were/are thin that have had heart attacks and strokes than I know fat people. I have been overweight all my life but that has also kept me exercising my whole life. I started eating Paleo about a year ago and I lift weights three times a week and ride my bike 5-6 times a week. My goal is to stay out of the hospital although I just had my gall bladder removed yesterday (they claim gall stones are caused by yo-yo dieting which until last year I have done all my life). Every time doctors or nurses ask my medical history they are amazed that at 48 (and considered obese at 6 foot and 255) I do not take any medication.
|Nosce te ipsum|
I made the diet switch in May, after a customer commented upon my soft protrusions. I'm down about 20#. Chicks dig it.
Without starving myself, I'm probably at my weight unless I increase exercise. Right now, it is only sit-ups maybe 5x a day. I'll use this sheet in 2018 to keep track:
Can you elaborate more on this?
So are you saying do the 4 exercises right in a row, then rest for a minute and do them all again? Then rest and repeat and again? Then switch to the next 4 exercises and do it again?
Also I have never heard of some of the substitute exercises. I guess I should do some googling.
Thanks for posting this stuff
Pretty much my whole fitness training is to keep me in shape for my hobbies, which require a certain amount of fitness. I also enjoy competition so its fun (IMO) to push myself now and again
But, the only item I would add to your post (which is excellent) is that for a first timer or someone getting back into it after a very long hiatus, get a personal trainer/coach, a good one will keep you from hurting yourself early on.
|Victim of Life's|
This is my old man recipe for keeping core strength. I use a standard size whirlpool bathtub and while it is filling with water I do situps. The back wall of the tub keeps me from going all the way back so it's about like a crunch. I do my age plus 1 or 67 at a minimum. Somedays it's a struggle and somedays I do 100 reps.
Then I lie on my back and do bicycle reps with my legs. They are easy so I do about 100 and then do about 20 leg lifts lifting both legs at same time as high as I can. that gets a belly burn going.
Last I have a pair of 5lb dumbells and I use them like a cycle machine doing at least 67 revolutions and generally do as many as I can.
I started doing this at age 60 when I weighed 245 and had 42" waist. Now pushing age 67 I weigh 210 and 38s fit good. My balance and flexibility is much improved. I'm moderately active work wise and most always get in a 20-30 min brisk dog walk every day.
Money will buy you a fine dog but it takes love to make that dog wag its tail.
Yes, you have it right! A "superset" just means doing 2 or more different exercises back to back without rest between them. The idea is that the muscle group worked in exercise A gets an active rest when you go on to exercise B. Your heart however doesn't, so your strength training becomes "cardio" at the same time.
The classic way of working out, for example doing say 3 sets of bicep curls followed by 3 sets of tricep curls is really inefficient. Doing 3 supersets of a bicep curl immediately followed by a tricep curl (the antagonist bicep getting an active rest during the tricep exercise) would nearly cut the workout time in half.
The circuit I outlined is known as a "peripheral heart action" circuit because it switches between upper and lower body and core exercises forcing the blood to flow to different areas. It is very taxing cardio-wise.
Of course, approach it at your level and modify as you see fit. Start with really easy exercises just to test it out. Rest as much as you need.
Great post -- something I've been thinking about lately.
I'm 52 and used to run an average of eight miles three times a week, but plantar fasciitis got me, so I don't do that anymore.
At the beginning of the semester I started swimming and using weights and other things at the Univ. Rec Center. I'm looking for strength and endurance -- what I need to keep up with my three under eleven boys -- plus a little toning. Please critique my three-times-a-week workout (sorry don't know nomenclature):
Mile swim (25 yd pool) -- 20 laps free continuous (flip turns), 2 laps breast, 10 laps free continuous (flip turns), 2 laps breast, 2 laps free sprint (35 min).
three reps of 10 on butterfly machine (85)
three reps of 5 on bar push down (175)
Eight minutes of rowing machine (Concept 2 level 8, avg 34 strokes)
three reps of 5 leg push (265)
three reps of 10 push-up machine (85)
Nine minutes of stair machine (alternate 10/11 level)
three reps of 10 pull down bar (110)
three reps of 5 lift over head machine (80)
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I appreciate the information.
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