Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Training, where do you start?

I was asked to write about training- what exercises to perform, how many sets and what to train together.

This can be all over the board depending on your skill level, your goals, your starting point, existing injuries or limitations, access to equipment, time available to exercise, I think you are getting my point, it will be different for each of us.

I think it may be best to start using myself as an example because I can describe what I am doing and why I am doing it, along with my goal at the time.

My goals change quite a bit, but are always extremely specific, for instance, I discussed my “Bring me a butt like Beyonce” program I was on last year (see Glute Day in April). That was specifically designed to build up my glutes. While I didn’t neglect everything else at the expense of my glutes, I focused on them and trained them longer, harder and more often than I usually would. I did this because I needed to bring up my glutes, because when you diet down for a competition, you lose fat and muscle, it's bound to happen, so I had to build up the muscle as much as possible so the end result would be full glutes still. By the way, the term "bring up" is bodybuilder speak to mean you are trying to make a body part bigger or more prominent.

Look for a weekly post on my specific training, and then ask the questions around that. I will attempt some suggestions for the people who want to train three days a week, but that’s hard for me as I train 6 days myself, so it will require some thought.

Make sure you are formulating a goal of your own if you don’t already have one. Decide if your goal is general fitness; lose body fat or gain lean body mass, this will determine how you move forward.

Unless you are a ripped freak, it is an accepted fact by most authorities that you are either in a state of losing (weight = lean body mass and fat); gaining (weight = lean body mass and fat); or maintaining (weight = lean body mass and fat). I know that you can gear your training so that you lose more fat than muscle, but you have to be prepared that you are bound to lose some of that hard earned muscle if you embark on a rigorous cardio regimen.

Without the “help” of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), most people are not able to build a great deal of lean body mass while losing body fat at the same time, you really need to pick one or the other. There are plenty of illegal drugs out there that will help you to accomplish this if that is your goal, but not one I can offer any advise on, I am afraid I do it the hard way, I practice good nutrition, supplementation and exercise everyday.

By the way, the word anabolic comes from the Greek anabolein, "to build up", and the word androgenic from the Greek andros, "man" + genein, "to produce".

My recommendation for a person new to all of this whose focus is to lose some body fat and build up lean body mass would be to start lifting weights as often as possible, always focusing on form over anything else.

A person with more lean body mass will burn more calories at rest which means if you weigh 125 pounds and have more muscles than the 125 pound woman next to you, you are burning more calories than she is while you are sitting, sleeping, resting, anything you are doing. This also means that you can ingest more calories than she can and not gain weight as easily because you need more calories just to support your resting body.

In addition, one pound of fat is larger in volume than one pound of muscle, so while those two women may both weigh 125 pounds, one of them might wear a size 2 jean and the other might wear a size 8.....something I think is interesting enough to make you hop off that treadmill and start pumping some heavy iron.