DON’T JUST DO IT – DO IT RIGHT

Weight training has now become the fastest growing form of exercise on the planet as the benefits of building muscle mass and strength have become undeniable and obvious to the general population and as a result there has been a huge surge in the number of gyms and health club chains in the last decade all trying to cash in on membership sales.

Ironically bodybuilding was always ridiculed and frowned upon back in the 70’s and 80’s and when I first started working as a gym instructor the council run leisure centres discouraged bodybuilders and strength athletes by removing weight training equipment from their clubs. Now everyone is beginning to realise the importance of muscle and how it relates to good health, metabolism function, anti-ageing and improving your performance.

Due to this recent rapid growth in the fitness industry many private training companies have formed to take advantage of this boom in business and offer fast track courses to become a personal trainer. Whilst some maintain a high level of excellence through complete and continuing education of students, others unfortunately do not and are just in the business of making money by selling certification courses. Knowledge is not power unless you can apply it and this requires extensive practise and experience. Certification is not qualification in this domain. Experience and evidence is.

As a beginner at the entry level it is essential you obtain the right instruction and advice from the outset. I have been teaching my own way of training for the last 30 years and during this period I have helped literally thousands of men and women get into great shape, build muscle, burn fat and improve their health and performance. By increasing muscle density and mass you develop a stronger more efficient metabolic rate. This requires working specific muscle fibre types and in a specific way and is classed as AN-AEROBIC exercise. AEROBIC exercise or cardio on the other hand cannot achieve this highly desirable effect on metabolism function because it is not intense enough to stimulate the type of muscle fibres which can grow or “hypertrophy” and produce this increase in muscle density and mass. It all comes down to building muscle and there is only one way to do that.

Diet Planning / Weight Control

This is still one of the most misunderstood subjects in the health and fitness industry. Even today some state registered dieticians still fail to understand the function of muscle mass and its impact on metabolism (BMR). The key to achieving success on any diet plan aimed to either reduce or gain weight is to understand what metabolism is and how the metabolic rate is affected by simply reducing or increasing calories. A reduction in calories can be disastrous to your health and performance and unless measures are put in place to counteract the catabolic effect or muscle tissue wasting this practice causes, your attempts to get in shape will fail long term. When caloric intake is reduced to beneath the metabolic maintenance requirement level the body switches from an anabolic environment, or a positive nitrogen balance (anabolism), into a catabolic environment (catabolism) which is a negative nitrogen balance. This is the exact opposite of anabolism and it puts the body into stress mode and catabolic hormones like cortisol are produced. When catabolic hormones are produced it is not a healthy environment for the body to be in because it weakens the immune system and destroys muscle tissue rapidly as it is broken down to fuel energy demands. Cells go into a state of protection and this negative nitrogen balance will cause muscular atrophy or muscle tissue loss and will suppress the metabolic rate permanently. A suppressed metabolism will cause weight/fat gain, lethargy, a lack of energy and depression. It also means you are unable to fight infection and you will become ill as a result. All traditional and conventional weight loss diets cause this catabolic effect which is why when they are finished most dieters will regain fat at a faster rate. This is due exclusively to the drop in the metabolic rate and the reduction in the bodys’ ability to burn calories. Understanding anabolism and catabolism is essential to success on any diet aimed to control weight and reduce bodyfat.

Bodyfat Reduction

The secret to looking good and getting in great shape is not based on how much you weigh but how much bodyfat you carry. To achieve a leaner, more defined figure or a more muscular ripped physique you must reduce adipose tissue (FAT). This is achieved with the correct ratio of proteins, carbs and fats you consume combined with the right kind of training. There is no one size fits all approach to this either and it requires specifics obtained from repeated trial and error to ultimately find out what works for you. Bodyfat reduction requires a very high protein, low carbohydrate, low glycaemic diet. Higher protein diets are essential for this and some high specification proteins like my Keto-pro™ or the less expensive alternative to this, the 100% WHEY ISOLATE, provide 65% more nitrogen retention than any other animal, dairy, plant or vegetable protein offers. These proteins are anabolic agents and if used correctly they are superb for reversing catabolic effect and building muscle.

Understanding the role of testosterone, growth hormone, insulin and thyroid production is also essential to success when attempting to slim down and maximise metabolism function. I provide all the information, instruction and advice you need to help you work out your training, diet and supplement requirements. I also calculate your daily macronutrient intake down to the gram, so you know exactly how many calories you need to consume and how many grams of carbohydrates, fats and proteins you need to take in each day to create a strong anti-catabolic environment and reduce bodyfat levels.

Muscular Strengthening

Improving muscular strength and endurance requires progressive resistance training and an anabolic environment created by the correct use of diet and supplementation. This requires high intensity weight training (AN-AEROBIC exercise). Properly performed, weight training can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being and at any age. You will move better, look better and feel better by gaining strength and increasing muscle mass and muscle density. Cardiovascular conditioning is not intense enough to achieve this effect.

Increasing Muscle Mass and Muscle Density

The more dense the muscle fibre becomes the more energy it burns, the more powerful it becomes and the more fuel it needs to sustain itself daily. The calorie burning furnace increases as muscle density increases. Muscle burns calories – lots of them! The effect on metabolism from aerobic exercise however is only temporary and as soon as you stop exercising the calorie burning furnace dies out. Cardiovascular conditioning is good for improving heart and lung function, maintaining healthy circulation and burning off extra calories but it has no effect on muscle growth. By building muscle density and increasing muscle mass the effect on metabolism is permanent if it is maintained. Maintaining muscle mass is much easier than building it.

Increasing muscle density/mass and then conditioning it is the same as taking 5 steps forward while you grow and then taking 2 or 3 steps back while you cut, shape and define the body. At the end of this process you are still 2 or 3 steps ahead. You take small incremental steps forward with this approach, but they are constant. Over time and with hard work, patience and persistence the results can be very impressive and they are permanent. Developing a positive mental attitude is also essential to achieving this.

Progressive resistance is the basis behind all productive physical training. Provided the stress level from working out is more than what the body is used to and the effort or force created is intense enough, the muscle fibres are stimulated at the cellular level and are torn apart and broken down. Then the body restructures itself in relationship to this new perceived stress and new muscle is grown as an adaption to this. This is how you build muscle density. Provided the stress level constantly increases then the body regenerates and grows accordingly so building strength and improving performance is an essential part of the growth process. This stress, adaption and recovery process underpins all living things and is how all life grows and evolves. A positive nitrogen balance is essential for muscle tissue recovery, repair and growth and requires an anabolic environment (anabolism). This can be achieved with the correct diet and supplements – you do not need drugs to create this anabolic effect either. It is unbelievable how many beginners think that building muscle is only achievable with steroids. The actual look you want, or your condition, however is all down to the diet and that is the hardest part. This is where mind set or your attitude is tested and this is when many people give up and fail. This is where self-discipline and will power (the non physical aspect of training) comes into play and determines the outcome.

Cardiovascular Conditioning

This type of exercise is of a much lower intensity in nature when compared to weight training. It will help to improve heart and lung function and is a good way to improve respiration (breathing) and circulation. This is classed as AEROBIC exercise. It is a good way to help burn off calories and if performed in a carbohydrate depleted environment when blood sugar levels are very low, for example immediately after a weights workout or first thing in the morning before breakfast, it can be very effective for reducing adipose tissue (BODYFAT). However it cannot build muscle mass. The most effective way of performing cardio is to use a high intensity interval training technique (HIIT). This combines a short burst of high intensity effort followed by a minute of exercise performed at a much lower effort level, you don’t need to be in a gym for this either – you can sprint at an all-out effort level and then jog or walk for a minute to let the heart rate come back down so you can recover ready for the next interval. This is the most effective and efficient way to condition the heart and lungs and will burn the maximum amount of calories possible. The Concept2 rower or the Stairmaster are good for a pre-workout warm up and also for post workout HIIT cardio to burn those extra calories off. These machines are great for getting the heart rate up and are good for building aerobic strength and endurance and muscular endurance too.

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