Thursday, February 17, 2011

Training Goals

Sunday morning at the gym I stopped to talk to Allan about Ricardo Ricco. Allan was a runner in the 1974 Olympics, so he and I occasionally chat about Olympic athletes pitfalls and stupid moves. I met him shortly after I joined the club, someone was saying something about me in a joking way, and he looked right at them and said "Kristy? She's the fittest woman in this place!"

We have been friends ever since!

He was telling me how many of the German and Bulgarian women athletes were obviously on steroids, and we talked about all the drugs in the cycling world.

A woman walked by and he shook his head and laughed saying "Now that's something I just don't get!"

He didn't have to tell me what he "didn't get" because I don't get it either. She has cultivated a look that many women, unfortunately strive for. These women think that men like the look, and while I know a few men that do, I honestly question their integrity for actually wanting a woman to look this way.

And what is this way? "Anorexic Barbie with lots of surgery" is the best I can say to describe it.

The woman in question is thin, painfully thin. Her legs are so thin, my upper arms are just slightly smaller in circumference than her thighs (OK, I am exaggerating but only a tiny bit).

Her arms are straight and thin, wispy looking, and she has no fat on her body.

Her face has had much work done, the lips protrude out from some sort of plumper or filler, they look rather "duck-like".

Then, the breasts. The huge, round, full breasts that are proportionally incorrect, they are way too big for her small, 12 year old sized body.

Allan told me with a laugh that one day this woman was giving him some lip as he used one of the machines. He looked straight at her, pointed his finger at her chest and said "Tell me! Could you not have done something better than THAT with $6,000.00!?"

I about fell over laughing when he told me this. Needless to say, they aren't good buddies.

"And the make-up!" he said, "why is she wearing make-up?" It was 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I am not sure why she had a full face of make-up on either.

Although I think this woman looks comical, and ridiculous, she probably thinks the same thing about me with all my muscularity.

What is my point anyway? What does this have to do with training goals?


You need to know what you want your body to look like before you can embark on a training program.

Now if you are just plain too fat and want to lose weight all over, by all means stick with that trainer who has you doing all the cardio circuits and dynamic training, the ones who make you sweat so you think you are getting a work out.

Keep balancing on that bosu ball and using those little round purple plastic things so your feet slide about (???)

But when you have lost a lot of excess weight and you want to see changes, you need to tailor your training to your goals.

In the picture above I am enjoying my dinner and I have my training binder and papers and some books spread out all over. I am writing up my new workout, I change it every three to four weeks, it varies depending on the program I am on. I never do the same program over and over, the human body adapts very quickly, you will not show gains if you continue on the same path every single day. I think about what I need to change, what my goals are, I add different grips in or reduce weight and increase volume.

What I never do is spend a lot of time doing cardio and playing with tiny little weights, you will never gain any strength or muscle this way, ever.

That woman? She does lots of cardio everyday, and then she lifts weights that never go over 25 pounds (and I am talking lat pull downs here).

She will remain skinny and emaciated, with no muscle to speak of.

My goals? Muscle hypertrophy. That means lifting weights, heavy weights. There are two types of hypertrophy, there is sarcoplasmic or myofibrillar.

Typically the bodybuilder trains for the sarcoplasmic, muscle size but no corresponding strength gains. Smoke and mirrors, that's all they care about. This is usually weights in the higher rep range (say 10 to 15) , less resting in between and sub maximal load.

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is characterized by strength gains with small increase in muscle size. This involves less reps (usually no more than 6) with longer rest periods. Weights as heavy as you can go.

In both cases, you always use heavy weights, when you are training for sarcoplasmic hypertophy, your weights should still be so heavy that your really cannot lift them more than your 10 to 15 reps.

Long story short, I incorporate both into my training, and it depends on the time of year and what my upcoming competitions are.

Think about your goals when you plan your training. Just because something works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you.

Just like investing and anything else you want to become good at, you need to read, study and research. You need to understand.
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