When the media describes a new fitness trend or training method, they advertise that this is the best new way to train. Whether it is long duration/low intensity, high intensity interval training or weight training only, each proclaim to be the best. Running from one extreme or another inevitably leads to short-term gain but long-term ruin. Let’s look at the facts versus the fads
1. SAID means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand. This means “you get what you train for and nothing else.” For example, if all you do is lift weights and do not train for any form of endurance, you will be able to work up to two minutes and then fatigue out. The same is true for endurance-only training in a steady state; you are not powerful at any level.
2. Flexibility, but more precisely being able to move within a greater range of motion, is wonderful. But if you have no strength in that range of motion, all you have done is stretch ligaments and joint capsules and have not created a strong and stable joint to increase range of motion.
3. Neurological adaptation is a principle that says the more you perform a movement, the more efficient you become at that movement. The more efficient you become, the less calories you burn at that activity.
4. The larger your muscle, the more calories you burn, the better you look and the better bone density you have. So where does this leave us? Here are some principled suggestions to change your training regime:
Balance what you do. Do less intense cardio one to two days a week for 45 minutes or longer. Do cardiovascular intervals, going to a higher heart rate, up to two days a week. Lift weights to failure two to three days a week. Work on some type of range of motion training one to two days a week.
Train using periodization. Have a goal for a 12-week training cycle. Within that cycle, make two week micro cycles where you vary your workouts with a specific purpose. The first two weeks can be focused on stability (Yoga, lighter weights and stability ball work, Pilates.) The second two weeks can be focused on strength building by doing sets to failure. The third two weeks can be power movements (Olympic lifting, HIIT and Spinning.) Then you repeat the three phases.
REST! Every athlete needs an off-season. Rest and recovery is sometimes the thing you need after training hard for an event or an 8-12 week workout cycle. Recover by also doing massage, trigger point or Rolfing. Resting between intense bouts of exercise is needed, so make sure you have a rest day somewhere in your week.
Balance in exercise, diet and lifestyle is key to longevity and happiness. Any of our personal trainers would be happy to meet with you and talk about what kind of balance works best for you. Please contact Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training, or look through our Personal Training page for more information.