Allow me to apologize for not having written a blog in two weeks. Family and career-related commitments absorbed a huge chunk of my time. I hope everyone’s enjoying the last few days of summer. Fall season is on the horizon so let’s try to soak up as much vitamin D as we can!
And if you’re a football fanatic like myself, it means the weekend is about to get entertaining again with college and NFL football seasons kicking off over the next two weeks! Can’t wait!!
In today’s blog, I present to you my first ever installment of ‘Rapid Fire’ where I briefly address some of the pressing issues in the fitness industry. Unlike my blog format, I’ll only be devoting a few sentences (no more than two paragraphs) to each topic I write about. I will address no less than 3 and no more than 5 topics per ‘Rapid Fire’.
So without further ado, I present to you Rapid Fire : Installment 1
1. No Such Thing As ‘Exercises For Men’ & ‘Exercises For Women’: By now we are all aware of the health benefits of resistance training. It has been historically documented well enough. However a topic of discussion often heard in fitness circles around the world is the notion that certain exercises favor men and some favor women. Nothing is further from the truth! The male and female musculoskeletal systems are created with equal parts. Why then should a woman train differently from a guy? Who came up with the idea that women had to perform resistance training with very light weight for endless number of reps? There is no reason why women shouldn’t be doing barbell squats, bench press, deadlift, overhead press with challenging resistance for a moderate amount of reps. Not only will these exercises burn tons of calories due to their compound nature, they also allow for maximizing of time. Women will see leaner and better sculpted physiques.
No matter how intensely hard a woman trains with weights, she will never be able to achieve the level of hypertrophy a guy can. This is based on the primary male hormone testosterone. It is what allows a man to have a deeper voice than a woman, broad shoulders and larger cross-sectional tissue size. For this reason alone, men are already at an advantage over women for strength and mass. Those bodybuilding and powerlifting women you see on TV and magazines inject themselves with testosterone and other anabolic enhancers to achieve the size that they have. Conversely, exercises like the machine hip abduction/adduction that are considered for women only can in fact help improve a guy’s squat and deadlift by strengthening certain hip external and internal rotators.
2. The Idea Of Muscle Confusion Makes No Scientific Sense: If you happen to have seen those P90X commercial ads, you’ll know that there’s a phrase the creators use constantly when marketing the product: Muscle Confusion. For those of you who’ve never heard of P90X, it is a home-based workout program created by celebrity trainer Tony Horton with the sole objective of transforming your body in 90 days. You perform selected workouts several days a week via DVDs sent to your home. As a fitness professional trying to spread the gospel of health and fitness to as many as possible, I have no problem with this. The issue I have with confusing the body often with different exercise is that it never gets to adapt to a stimulus over time. In sport science and strength training, there’s a term called the SAID principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand). It simple states that when the body is exposed to some kind of stress or load, it starts to make adaptations that will allow the body be able to withstand that stress over time.
This means if you want to get stronger in the barbell back squats, you’ll have to consistently increase the stress and load so the body can continue to adapt. All of a sudden, your 225lbs for 10 reps becomes a bit easier after a week weeks. Before you know it, you’re squatting 255lbs for 10 reps. If you’ve been biking for years and your speed and endurance hasn’t changed much, it means you’re not stressing the body enough for an adaptive change. Maybe your legs and core need better work or you need a tougher terrain to challenge the body. If we constantly confuse our bodies by frequently performing different workouts, we will fail to build adaptation which means little to no improvement in our strength, muscle gains and endurance. Calories will still get burned if the body is confused because any physical activity does that. It is from that standpoint alone that Tony Horton’s P90X will certainly help a person burn fat and lose some weight.
3. Protein Before Training Doesn’t Help Much: Protein supplements are arguably the most consumed dietary supplements in the world. We know about it’s impact on the body specifically with muscle gain, recovery and health of bones, cartilage, skin and blood. But consumption of protein prior to a workout session has little to any impact on training mainly because carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel. The USDA recommends 45% to 65% of our daily calories to come from carbohydrate sources. Part of this reason is due to the fact that carbohydrates and fats are have plenty of storage in the liver and muscle and are readily and easily called upon by the body for energy. The body does not store protein so chugging a glass of protein shake prior to a workout won’t do anything because protein’s primary objective in the body is to repair tissue after a workout and facilitate growth.
Because carbs provide the body with the most readily available fuel, they should be consumed before training or recreational activity. Protein is best consumed after a training session and on less active days. Both are vital for optimal functioning of the human body but it is important to know the different roles that they play. If you’d like to read more about the importance of carbs, check out this blog I wrote a few months ago.