Tag Archives for " resistance training "
On this episode, Coach Allan discusses some intermediate resistance training strategies to boost the effectiveness of your weight training.
Today, I want to take some time and talk to you about some of the more intermediate and advanced resistance training, things that you can do. And these are some of these things that are appropriate for people over 40. So I'll kind of emphasize this that if you're new at training haven't been doing something for more than a year, this episode is probably not going to be for you. You might learn a few things about muscle resistance training and things like that, but just recognize that the strategies and tactics that we're talking about here today are not for the new training.
If you haven't been training for at least six months and maybe a year or more, you might not want to look into these, but this is something, if you're really interested in weightlifting resistance training, you might find interesting. So I do want to start this episode off with a caution. If you're new, if you're new to this, then yeah, definitely think twice before trying some of these. These are not things that you do, particularly for if you're just bored with your program. If you're bored with your program, change up some of the exercises, change up your sets and reps do those other things that change up the workout and make it different and more interesting.
These are not something that you want to do if you're under trained, and that means, yes, probably about a year or so of consistent training, and then you kind of plateaued and you're not seeing the improvements that you wanted to see. Most people are going to be able to get enough benefit out of just basic weightlifting that they don't really need to do these things. You can build strength and muscle without these tools without these strategies, but just recognize that, yes, if you want to optimize your growth, optimize your strength, optimize your power.
These can be very powerful tools in your tool chest. And then the other side of it is when you implement some of these things because of the additional volume because of the way you're working, you do increase your risk of injury. I do take that into account. Injury is a very important thing. It's rule number one in resistance training, do not injure thyself, and so you do not want to injure yourself. So you really have to be very thoughtful about how you approach intermediate resistance training.
To start this conversation, I really want to get into volume because that's what we're really doing when we're doing these processes, we're trying to increase the volume of work or we're trying to increase the volume of intensity for what we're doing when we're doing these exercises. So just recognize that normally we could do weights, reps and sets, and that's going to be enough for us to improve or increase the volume of the work that we're doing. If I do one more set than I did before, then I've increased the volume.
If I've added more reps, I've potentially increase the volume. And obviously, if I'm doing the same number of reps and sets and I've increased the weight, you know that I've increased the volume and each of those is specific to how you're trying to train. So are you trying to train strength? Are you trying to train for muscle growth? Are you trying to train for muscular endurance or stamina or power? And so as you look at the way you're lifting, recognize that the way your lifting needs to align with what you're doing and the volume increases that you do also have to align with that.
So there are different ways. Like I said, we can do this. We can do more work per week. We can do more work per workout. We can increase the time that it takes for us to do each exercise. It's called time and attention, and we'll get into that in a minute. But what you do, what we're doing here is we're basically in most of these, we're trying to increase the volume of work, the volume of work that the muscle has to do. And so we'll get into a lot more detail in that as we go forward, but just recognize, I'm going to keep coming back this term volume and just realize that volume just means more work.
It means more work for the muscle, either in reps, set, time under tension or the weight we're lifting. Before you get started on a program like this, it's really important for you to define the purpose of why you're doing what you're doing, because each of these strategies helps a certain aspect of muscular development. And so you don't want to do something that's going to improve your strength if you're absolutely actually trying to increase power, and you may not want to increase muscle mass if you're trying to increase power.
So in looking at what you're trying to accomplish, recognize that the goal, the purpose drives the strategy that makes the most sense for you. Probably the most common way to increase volume. And the one that I would usually start with someone who's approaching the intermediate lifting stages, meaning they've done some lifting. They're comfortable with the full body workouts. It's an hour or so of work, and they get the reps in. They get the sets in, and as a result, they're seeing some benefit. But a lot of times what happens is then that kind of plateaus, and we need to add volume and a lot of times it's really hard to add volume to a single workout.
Meaning if I have you doing one exercise, two exercises for legs, one for chess, one for back, one for shoulders, and a little bit of core work. That's practically an entire hour workout already. To add more time to that workout isn't practical for a lot of people.
So one approach is to do splits. So typically a split. What that means is that you're splitting up the work across different body parts so that you can do more work each workout. But you're also going to have to do more workouts each week.
So a very common split is the upper and lower split. So what we'll do is we'll come in, say on Monday, and we'll do a lower body workout, so that's mostly leg work. So squats, leg press, lunges, split squats, maybe a little bit of machine work. And that's your leg workout. You'll hear the term leg day called out a lot. So you do a leg workout on Monday, and then on Tuesday, you come back in and you do an upper body workout. So that's where you're doing pushups, bench press, pulls, rows, different things like that.
You you might even throw up in some arm workout, some shoulder workout, and that's your upper body work. And so you've split into an upper lower Monday, Tuesday, maybe you take Wednesday off. You come back Thursday, Friday, and you do another lower upper. As a result, you hit your legs twice in the same week, which is what you would have done before. But now you've actually added more volume because you had more time to do more exercises, more exercises, then more sets and more reps for each of those parts. And as a result, they're getting more volume.
The other common split is called a push pull legs. And the way that works is you would come in and let's say on Monday, you go ahead and do your push and push is where you're moving away from your body. So you think of pushups bench press flies overhead, press that type of thing. So you're mostly working your chest and shoulders and then probably your triceps. A pull is when you're pulling something towards yourself. So you're doing a rows, you're doing lat pull downs and then potentially some other movements where you're working your biceps.
So that would then be the pull. And then your legs obviously is just a lower body workout, and you do a leg workout. Now the advantage of pushpull legs is then you've already given yourself the full two days off from that push workout. You could come right back the next day and do another push and you can rotate this all the way through and not have a day off effectively. Although I'd still encourage you every once in a while. Do take recovery day. There's a lot of volume.
So at some point it's probably worth taking a day off. So if I'm going to do a push pull legs, I'll do a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then I take Sunday off and that's six days of lifting. Each day I'm working a different part of my body. I'm getting each body part in twice per week, which is what I was doing mostly when I was doing full body, and so it gives me the opportunity to add a lot more volume by doing the split.
But it also means you're dedicating a lot more time to the gym than you would if you were just doing two 1 hour full body workouts. Now you're in the gym up to 6 hours a week, which can be quite a bit of time. So recognize to get more volume, you've put more time in.
Now, one way to get around this little bit of volume and time is to mix in a thing we call super sets or monster sets. Now, this is where you're going to do two exercises pretty much in a circuit, and the two exercises work different body parts so effectively you can get an exercise in faster because your rest period is effectively when you're doing a different exercise.
So an example of that would be if I wanted to do bench press and then I wanted to do dumbbell rows. And so I would do my bench press. As soon as I finish my bench press, I turn around and do my set of rows. And then as I moved back to the bench and make sure I'm getting enough rest between exercises. But you can kind of see how because I did it that way. I cut out a rest period that I would have had in between each exercise.
And as a result, I could get a lot more done. A monster set is where you put three or more exercises together in a circuit. And I don't want you to get this confused with circuit training, where you would walk in and there's a series of machines and you're just doing these eight different exercises in the circuit. This is when you're going heavy. If you're intermediate lifting, you're doing a lot more weight than you would be doing on those machines. You're probably working with free weights.
And so you would put together potentially three exercises that could be again, it could be the bench press. It could be a dumbbell row, as I said. And maybe your third exercise is squats or something for your legs. And so you do that monster set, and then now you can go right back into another round, and you basically have eliminated the need for those rest that'll allow you to get more volume in a shorter period of time. So you don't necessarily have to split your workout in multiple days.
You can add super sets and monster sets to reduce the amount of time, which allows you to do more sets or exercises for each body part in the same amount of time. It also can be very fatiguing. And I found that super sets and monster sets really aren't for me because I don't recover from the cardiovascular perspective of just exercise exercise. I need that little bit of rest time to get myself fired back up to really be able to optimize the weight that I'm doing. And another aspect of this is it is really hard in a commercial gym to set up a series of super sets without really just being all over the gym.
And in an age of COVID, that's even worse if someone's trying to work out in a gym and you're taking up three or four pieces of equipment at a given point in time, it's really hard. Unless you're going to a commercial gym when no one else is there off hours or like me, own the gym, then you can go in and do it when you want to. But it's really hard in a commercial gym to do super sets and monster sets effectively without a lot of planning and doing it at times that are just more appropriate for that.
But that is a way to add more volume that you can do. So ways to add Volume Right now, we have split and we have super sets. And I mentioned earlier time under tension.
So when we're doing our normal workout and we're starting out, you probably notice a lot of muscle growth and you probably know, I mean, maybe not physically muscle growth, but you notice that you got stronger pretty quick. You might have started with five pound dumbbells and you're almost within a month, you're up to ten pound dumbbells.
That's 100% increase that's huge. What's typically happening during that period of time is not that you're piling on a bunch of muscle and getting a lot stronger. What you're doing is your brain and your muscles are beginning to communicate more effectively. So your brain is trying to fire off enough muscle fibers to do the movement that you're asking it to do. And as you go to do that movement, you get more efficient and that efficiency of the communication where your brain can know what a weight is and can fire off just the right amount of muscle fibers is a really cool thing that allows you to get stronger. Now, by doing time under tension, which just basically means slowing down our tempo.
So you think normally if you were going to do, let's say push up, you would go down a count of one, you go up. So it's really almost like up up up up right. Now, to do time under tension, I'd say slow that down to maybe 2 seconds, 3 seconds. So it's 3 seconds down 3 seconds up. Another way that you can put time under tension is when you're in that down position, maybe you stay there for a pause and that pause training will keep you fired. The muscles firing longer.
That will help your brain and your muscles talk much, much more. Because as you're trying to do the movement slower, the muscle is going to have to fire off more and more muscle fibers to keep the weight under control and moving. So time under tension is a very effective way of building muscle and strength. But time under tension is not beneficial if you're training for power. So if you're trying to do something like sprints and you want to be able to sprint faster, I would not do time under tension training for your legs because you're training your muscles to fire slowly and consistently, and that's not the kind of thing you need if you're trying to build power.
So if you want to build a little bit more muscle mass and you want to get a little stronger and you're looking for a way to kind of bump up the volume of what you're doing. Time under tension is a really good tool to do that. You can take a smaller amount of weight and make it harder for your body because you slowed down your body's, firing off more muscle fibers, and that's causing more stimulus, which will cause more growth in both the muscular and the strength aspects.
Another interesting approach is called variable resistance training, and you can do variable resistance training even as a beginner. But when you really want to kind of leverage some things, this is where a variable resistance training becomes really, really good. Basically, variable resistance training just means that you're providing a variable level of resistance based on where your strength points are in a movement. So to give you an example, because there's a certain amount of muscular leverage in working each bit of weight. If you think about a bicep curl.
So you're holding a dumbbell by your side and you want to bring that dumbbell up to basically your front deltoid to curl and use the bicep to do that. At the very bottom, you're at your worst leverage point. And so the weight that you can start at that bottom is much lighter than the way you could do. If you had your hands say just six inches away from your shoulder, you're at that point have a much better leverage point and can do a lot more weight.
So that's one of the disadvantages of fixed weights like dumbbells and kettlebells. And things like that is that they aren't variable, whereas you can use bands or chains or the cambers on certain machines to change up the resistance throughout the movement. So here's an example, let's say I had that same dumbbell in my hand, and instead of just the dumbbell, I had a chain draped over that dumbbell so that as I lifted the dumbbell closer to my chest, on my shoulder, as the dumbbell came up, more chain is off the floor, meaning there's more resistance against the movement.
So that at the top, I have a much higher resistance than I did at the bottom. Cables do the same thing. I mean, sorry, bands do the same thing. That's probably what you've experienced as you stretch a band. It provides a variable resistance. And then some machines, you may notice that if you're looking at the mechanism, the camber that's lifting the weight, that it typically spins and it's pulling typically a strap or something, it's pulling that and as it turns, if that's just around camber or around pulling, it's a very straight resistance if they put a camber on there where it's like lopsided that can provide variable resistance.
The NATOs machines were really famous for this in the 70s and 80s, as they provided this kind of variable resistance through different movements. So it's very common now to see those on machines. The cool thing about resistance training when it's variable resistance is that it is providing you the maximum amount of resistance or at least a better range of resistance as you do a lift. As you get that muscular leverage going, looking for ways to add variable resistance to an exercise can help a lot. So one way that you can do this is you can use bands.
So if you strap a band to something or you're doing the band curls that's band movements that's one thing. I talked about the chains. So you'll be doing a bench press and you can have chains over the bar. So the bar goes up, more chain is off the floor and therefore more resistance. And then there are bands that you can use to assist you on, like pull ups. So you take one of those bands, you wrap them over the bar, you put your foot in that band.
And then as you go down and you're in your weakest position at the bottom, then the band is fully extended. Therefore, it's giving you resistance up to help you. And as you get closer to the top, there's less pull on that band, and it's giving you less assistance. So there's lots of different ways to use variable resistance in assisting you to have the maximum amount of weight effectively resistance in an exercise. So you're increasing the resistance based on your strength profile and the leverage of your muscles.
So variable resistance is a pretty cool tool, and it can even be used by some beginners. And if you're using bands for your workout, then you've experienced some of that.
Another one is called negatives. And I'll explain this in a little bit more detail, because sometimes it really confuses people. But in every movement, you're going to be constricting muscle. Tighten a muscle to affect that movement. And so basically, if you're doing a curl, a bicep curl we talked about you are shortening your bicep. In shortening, it that is the concentric portion of the movement.
As you shorten your bicep, that brings the dumbbell up as you go back down, that's the eccentric portion of the movement. In the eccentric portion of the movement, you are resisting that resistance. Okay, that sounds weird, but your muscle is preventing the weight, the resistance from going where it wants to go. It's fighting gravity. And that's the point where your body is building core strength, getting really stronger and that you're firing off the things you need to be stronger to hold that weight against that resistance.
So a negative is effectively where you're doing a time under tension thing, but you're only doing it during the eccentric portion of the movement. Let's say I want to improve my pull ups, and I know I can do a few, but I want to be able to do more. I want to get stronger in the pull up. What I can do is I can get myself a little step ladder, and I can step up to a point where the bar is at my chest, and then I can let my body go down slowly fighting that resistance.
So I'm working through the negative portion of that exercise. The eccentric portion of that exercise. And I can tell you that don't do this unless you really want to have DOMS, because this is one of those situations where DOMS is going to happen if you're doing this. Another way that this could be done is you could be doing a dumbbell curl or barbell curl, and someone can help you get the bar up and then you fight it going down. And so that's another very common negative resistance training that people will do.
But again, this is is very extreme. It's a lot of volume and does some damage. So you just be aware that if you're using this as a means for building strength or some mass, but mostly strength, it's a really good tool to break through some Plateau. So if you're struggling with pull ups and you've been lifting for a while and you've been doing pull ups and doing other polls and things like that to build some strength, a negative approach, getting someone to help you through the positive or using step ladder in some cases can be a good way of getting a little bit of extra volume in there.
But again, be careful because this is bordering on more of the advanced stuff, and it is something you have to manage.
Another one I wanted to bring up, and I almost didn't want to talk about this one because it's one, it's a little controversial. And two, it's not entirely safe. You be very careful with this one. And it's called Occlusion. Now occlusion is basically where we're blocking blood flow to a muscle, and then we're doing work. And there's been some studies that basically show if you're looking to build muscle mass, Occlusion can be a good tool for allowing you to add that volume of that work and changing the nature of that work.
So the muscle does some different things. So basically what you do is let's say I wanted to do a bicep curl. I would put a strap on my arm above that bicep and tighten it just enough to slow down or reduce the blood flow to my arm. And then I would do those bicep curls. I've tried Occlusion before. It's moderately effective. It's not great effective. So it's not like some of the other things that we've talked about today, but for the advanced lifter that's looking to add a little bit more mass to a limb, because obviously there are certain parts here you just can't exclude.
So it's mostly used for arms and legs. And if you're looking to add a little bit more mass to those, this could be something you do, but I doubt there's very many people over the age of 40 that really ever need to consider Occlusion training. But I wanted you to know it was out there because you might see someone doing it and wonder what it's about. Now, by no means was this an exhaustive list of all of the things that you could find in a bodybuilding magazine or a power lifting magazine?
But I wanted to put this out there from the perspective of just understanding. There are additional strategies to mix this up. People who've been lifting for years don't necessarily still just go in and do the full body workout. And if you go into a gym, you might see some people doing some relatively strange things. And I wanted to just give you an idea of why they might be doing those things. If you have any questions, I do encourage you to come message me. Let me know what's going on.
If you have a question, you see someone doing something in a gym and you're just interested in why they might be doing that thing. Just let me know now, don't videotape them, but maybe you can just describe to me what you saw them doing.
So let me kind of summarize all this. If you've gotten into resistance training and you've lifted for a while and you find yourself beginning to Plateau with the workout that you have and you want to mix it up, that's cool. Mix it up. Add additional exercises, just pull out an exchange exercises.
Make sure you're covering all your bases. Don't be the guy that doesn't lift with the legs. You need that too. You need to at least make sure you're doing something for your legs. So if you're a runner and you want to build some more upper body strength, cool, do that. But make sure what you're doing is a balanced training based on what you're trying to accomplish. Now, when you're ready to do something more and you want to move into some of these more advanced lifting approaches, you're going to have to manage the volume.
You do not want to jump into these things full board. When I mentioned negatives, I'll only do negatives for one set. So I'll do my sets pull ups or whatever I'm doing. And then if I want to do negatives, it's only going to be pretty much on the last set. So I'm finishing out and I'll do that. Manage the volume. We're over 40. We don't want to get injured. So as you're increasing volume, do it responsibly and then have a purpose. So don't just go into this and say, I want to just try these different things for the sake of trying them.
Understand each of these different approaches has a different benefit. So don't just do something for the sake of doing it. Have a purpose, a mission, a reason why you want to do a certain thing. Time under tension is great, but not for power. It's great for muscle and strength. Negatives are really good for strength. Occlusion is good for additional muscles. So just understand what the work you're doing is going to do potentially different things and do the things that help you do that. Pick the right approach.
Like I said, don't just jump in and do something. Pick the approach or approaches. And I would recommend one at a time. So you see how it works for you. Make that change. Try it. If it doesn't work, check it. It's working for you. Then maybe you keep it. But don't pile on all of these. There's no reason for you to be doing variable resistance training, time under tension, negatives and Occlusion all at the same time. There's absolutely no reason for you to do that.
So find the thing that works for you and start working it in. And if it works, then keep it. If not, toss it out and then know when to say when. I was talking to a client, and he was asking the question, when am I strong enough? When is this enough? And the reality of it is it is enough when you can live the way you want to live now. I mentioned earlier in one of the earlier episodes that I'm planning to do a tough Mudder, and so now I have very specific purposes for my training, which is what I kind of needed.
So as I go into my training, I need to build strength, particularly in my ability to pull, because a lot of the tough Mudder activities are climbing related. So the ability to pull my body weight, it also means, yeah, I got to kind of lose a little bit of body weight and I get to build some stamina and then this one other little caveat, which is probably going to be the biggest challenge for me overall. Is there's one obstacle called the Everest. And it's a ramp that you have to run up and then jump and grab.
They do have a rope there, but I'm not sure about that, but they didn't have that when I did the first one. But running and jumping requires some speed. It requires some athleticism. And so I've got to do some work to build up a little bit of speed. So my training is going to be very specific to that. Now I know that doesn't relate to this whole process of talking about intermediate weightlifting, but just recognizing that to run faster, I need power in my legs. I don't need a lot of strength in my legs.
I need power. So I need strength in my upper body. I need grip strength. I need power to be able to run a little faster for at least a sprint. And those are the things that I'll be working on as I build what I got to build, to be able to be competitive and do what I want to do in this tough mudder. And I say you need to do the same. But also then know when to say when if you get into splits and you're working out every day of the week, eventually you're probably going to break yourself so kind of build in those rest days, build in those recovery periods and then pay attention to your body because your body is going to tell you when things are not going well, and you just have to be open minded and check the ego and listen to when your body tells you to stop.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how to get strong after 40.
Hello and welcome to another solo episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast. Today, we're talking about a topic that is actually my favorite topic, How to Get Strong After 40. Now, I wrote a blog post about this a few days ago and I asked some questions on Facebook. So I may use a lot of that material here just as kind of a based as we have this conversation.
I really did want to take the time to dive in a little bit deeper into some of the topics that I just didn't feel like I got deep enough on on the blog post. So go check out that blog post on the website.
But, you know, most people who come to want wanting to get healthy and fit are typically starting with weight loss as a goal. And, you know, the basic number out there is lose the weight, then gain the muscle.
It sounds good. And in fact, it actually works a little bit because when you focus on one thing, it's obviously easier. But if you're over 40, that's not a good strategy at all. You know, people don't want to lift weights because they're afraid that they're going to get big. They're afraid they're going to stop their weight loss. And the reality of it is the exact opposite. The size of muscle relative to fat is is just tremendous.
If you've ever seen a picture, a meme on Facebook, you know, the fat is seven, eight times bigger pound for pound than muscle. So you're not going to get really, really big, you know, and the other side of it is, you know, people look at bodybuilders and think that's what strength training does. And the reality of it is entirely different. Bodybuilders don't train for strength. They train for muscle mass. So they train very differently.
They eat very differently and they're trained a lot more. Strength training doesn't have to be a profession. You can get a lot done in a little bit of time. And the other thing when you're looking at a bodybuilder is to recognize that many of them, even if they're generally natural, are still using some performance enhancing drugs to get to the size that they're at. They're training a lot harder and to be able to do that. Many of them are using steroids, peptides and SARMs to get those gains.
And so you can't look at a bodybuilder and think that's what you're going to get out of strength training. The other side is most of those folks are putting on that muscle in their 20s and through their 30s.
If you're over 40, you're not going to have the capacity to put on that much muscle, but you can get stronger. And another thing, you know, as we're getting into thinking about weight loss, because, you know, if you're coming at this, still wanting to lose weight, but you're believing you need to do some strength training, which is great is yes, your scale might change a little bit when you first get started, because a damaged muscle, which is part of what we're doing when we're doing the work, we're straining and stressing the muscle.
That effort on the muscle causes metabolic waste and that metabolic waste has to be flushed out. So whenever you do injure part of your body or you lift weights, yes, sometimes muscle will go in, water will go into the muscle. But recognize that weight is water weight and not not in any way your actual weight. And then once you're training regularly, you know, you won't even notice that, it's going to be kind of built into the formula.
So don't let weight loss be the reason that you're not doing strength training. It is really hard to get strong after 40. And you're going to have to do some work and you need to do that. The reason strength training is so critical, particularly after 40, is this thing called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is an aspect of muscle that over the course of each year we lose about one percent of our muscle. And after the age of 65, that loss accelerates.
If you're not strength training, you are definitely losing muscle and you're definitely losing strength. And in fact, in many cases, you're probably also losing bone density due to osteopenia. So strength training is going to help you maintain and maybe even gain some muscle.
But this is really about strength training. So to get strong after 40, you're going to do some training. If you don't do the training, you're going to get weak and weak and weak. And what that leads to is the potential loss of independence.
If you've ever tried to open a jar and struggled to open it, that's a loss of independence. You either had to do without what was in that jar or ask somebody else for help. Now, that's going to reverberate through your entire life as you don't have the strength to accomplish things like getting up from a toilet. You're definitely losing your independence on that one. So strength training is important and it's so important as we get older because we want to be able to continue to do the things we're doing and so few people do and they lose their independence and they don't want that to happen to you.
If you want to get strong after 40, you got to follow a few protocols. Your body's not going to be as forgiving as it was when you were in your 20s and 30s. You're going to have to be a little bit more careful and you're going to have to be a little bit smarter. So the very first thing to consider when you're getting ready to do any kind of lifting is to make sure that you warm up first.
I remember having a an instructor when I was in college that was, you know, the physiology and exercise class. And he he just really didn't believe warm ups were important and prove it to us. One day he was you know, he's in his 60s. He just started jumping up and down on his chair from the ground to the chair and back and forth. And then he was breathing heavy after a couple of minutes of that. And he said, see, I'm warm.
I didn't have to warm up before I did that. But I advise you to warm up. A cold muscle has much more likelihood of getting pulled or broken. And then the other problem is that your ligaments and tendons don't necessarily get good blood flow. So a good warm up is going to go a long way towards helping you prevent injury and just have better performance when you're lifting.
You'll want to make sure when you're lifting that your body is in a good position to move and do the right things. And that means that you have to have good mobility for those of us that have had office jobs for much of our lives with a lot of sitting, or if you're driving, you're sitting. If you don't spend a lot of time moving around, you've probably lost some of the mobility. Now, there are a few different ways that you can improve your mobility to include stretching and other things. I want to go briefly through a few things with regard to that.
Dynamic stretching is the most advisable kind of stretching when you're going to be doing strength training. Dynamic stretching is where you basically move through a range of motion. You start very slow and then as the muscle warms up, you're able to move a little bit faster, a little bit faster, and you kind of build up some some opportunity to work the full range of motion and get that muscle warmed up and going. OK, that gets good blood flow to the muscle, to the ligaments, to the tendons, and everything's good to go.
If you have a movement problem, you know, perfect example. Most people have very tight calves. You probably need to do some static stretching for those muscles. Static stretching is basically where you put the muscle into a stretched position. So it's at one range of the full range of motion. And you basically put a little bit of pressure on it such that that muscle is forced to lengthen.
That lengthening is important because if a muscle can't properly lengthen, it's going to affect the kinetic chain. For every muscle that you move contracts to move the weight, you have other muscles that are basically required to lengthen to allow you to move through that range of motion. And if some of those muscles are tight, they're going to keep you from completing the movement in a good form. And we're going to talk about that in a minute too. So make sure that you have a good pattern of movement.
If anything's inhibiting you from doing that, you want to stretch that muscle now, you don't stretch all the muscles because of a muscle is already loose. It doesn't need stretching. Dynamic stretching will be enough because you'll get blood flow to it and it'll be ready to go. You only want to statically stretch the muscles that are inhibiting your movement or keeping you from having a good range of motion because static stretching will reduce your strength.
If you do static stretching on a muscle that you intend to work, you're going to lose performance. And then, of course, if you're not doing as much weight on an exercise, you're not building as much strength, so if you want to get strong after 40. Don't statically stretch the muscles that you want to work.
There are a couple different ways, other ways that you can improve your overall mobility if static stretching and dynamic stretching don't quite get you there. One of those is Self Myofascial Release or SMR. You may have heard this called rolling or smashing.
I don't like the term rolling because I think people do it wrong. You know, the object of self myofascial release is not to roll something over the muscle that stimulates the muscle. What you want to do is find those spots on the muscle that are tight and pressed into them. So smashing is probably a better depiction of what you want to do is press into that for about 30 to 60 seconds and then you'll feel the muscle release. This is a natural protective mechanism of a muscle.
If it were to get too tight, it doesn't want to break. So it has an automatic release and you want to kind of make that happen. And self myofascial release is a way to do that. If you've ever had a joint injury or something that's preventing you from moving, flossing is a way that you might be able to go about releasing that. And so, like, you know, if you sit a lot, you may have some hip issues where you're not getting your your upper leg, where it fits into the socket on your pelvis.
You might not be getting a full range of motion there and I mean a full mobility there. And if that's what's holding you up, flossing could be something. But self myofascial release and flossing are not for everybody. And if you're going to get into it, I would work with a professional coach to make sure that you get good advice and good guidance on how to do that properly because you can enjoy yourself if you're not flossing regularly, not flossing properly.
I've said it before, but I'm reiterate this, and this is very important. One of the most important rules here, and that's always use good form. If you don't know what good form is, find out. Don't just put weight on yourself. If you're not able to do the exercise properly, good form is going to be full range of motion. There's very few exercises when you're training for strength that you're going to do in a partial range.
You want to make sure you're doing a full range of motion and you also want to make sure that you have control of the weight. There's a lot of people like to throw a lot of weight around and they're not actually building strength. They're building something else, building power. So I want to switch this a little bit, when we're talking about lifting, we have three actual movement patterns that a muscle will do while while we're lifting.
The first is isometric. And that's basically where the force that we're applying to the weight is equal to the weight so the weight doesn't move. OK, so you can think of something in terms of like doing a plank where once you're holding a position, you're holding your core in a position and it's the gravity fighting against you, but you're holding it there. So you're applying just as much force as the gravity is in that instance to hold that pose. OK, that's an isometric movement.
A concentric movement is when you're moving a weight against the gravity. So you're moving a resistance against itself. So an example of that would be when I am curling my arm up. So if I'm bringing my fist up towards my shoulder. I'm curling. I'm having a concentric contraction in my bicep muscle. If you were doing a push up, when you're pushing your body away from the floor, your chest and triceps are doing a concentric movement to move you against that gravity.
An eccentric movement is when your body is still generally resisting gravity, but you're letting gravity kind of have its way of lowering. So if you in the top position of a push up and you slowly lowered yourself to the ground, or if you're in a top position of a bicep curl and you slowly let the weight go back down to the ground, that concentric movement is usually a power movement.
That's not exactly where you're building the most strength. It's the eccentric portion of the movement where you're building the most strength. So having control of the weight and not just dropping it after you get it moved up is really, really important. If you want to get strong after 40, that's where you're really building the strength is in that control of the eccentric portion of the movement.
OK, the final bit is that you should be trying to make sure that you maintain core endurance throughout the lift. Many of the lifts that you'll do will require you to have your core braced. And only way you can really properly do that is if you do have good core muscle endurance.
You build muscle endurance by holding positions for a period of time. And you want to think of your core, not just as your rectus dominates the muscles in the front, but the whole part of your body, the core of your body, so that's the back, the sides and the front. You want to think of it like a can.
If you thought a can of soda and you want to add a cinderblock and put it on top of that can, if the cans full, it can pretty much hold that cinder block, even if the cinder block is a little off whack. If you empty the can of fluid and you put it there, now it's a little bit more cumbersome. You could still set that cinder block on top. You have to be a little bit more careful.
And if it's a little bit off, it could crush the can. And if the can has a dividend in it anywhere and you try to put a cinder block on there, it's going to crush the can. So if you think of your core in that way, you want to have a good solid core and that requires some training of your core. So core work should be a regular part. And it's not just doing a function of hyper extensions and sit ups and things like that. You want to focus more on maintaining endurance.
So the endurance comes from those isometric moves we talked about. So, you know, doing bird dogs and doing planks and, you know, some other types of exercises that you hold a position that's helping you build that core endurance. And many of the exercises that you're doing, as I said, require that core endurance. So you're building you're building some of that there, too. So but core training should be a part of your strength training to help you maintain good form.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness podcast is sponsored by Best Self, I'm sure you've heard me extolling the value of journaling. Beyond the value of expressing gratitude and checking in with yourself, journaling is the best way to get more things done. If improving your health and fitness is important to you, you need the Self Journal by Best Self. This 13-week goal planner, backed by science and success psychology is designed to optimize your day, tackle your goals and live a more fulfilled life.
The Self Journal will help you set, plan and track progress towards your biggest goals, be more productive, overcome decision fatigue and focus on what matters most and prioritize your workload, build good habits and make every day count. Go to 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/bestself and use the discount code 40plus for 20% off sitewide. And while you're there, check out all the other great products. They have your discount code. 40plus is good for 20% sitewide. 40plusfitnesspodcasts.com/bestself.
Next, I want to shift to talking about nutrition. The first thing that you want to make sure, because everything, every function in our body requires water and electrolytes to function properly. You want to make sure you're properly hydrated. So drinking plenty of water, you know, all day, not just during your workout or not just before your workout, but making sure you stay good and hydrated is going to help your muscles perform better. And when you talk about hydration, again, it's not always just about the water.
If you have issues with electrolytes, if you're sweating a lot and or if you're breathing a lot and even, you know, some dry, cold days can cause you to dehydrate a little bit. So making sure you stay hydrated requires you to make sure you're getting your potassium, magnesium, sodium and zinc. And it also requires you to make sure that you're getting plenty of POW plain old water. Don't overfeed.
If you came at this to lose weight and now you want to get strong, a lot of people have the tendency to think they need to overeat. You know, they'll tell you you need a calorie surplus to build muscle. And that's not actually completely true. Yes, if you have a calorie surplus, you'll put on more muscle faster for sure. But we're not worried if we're trying to get strong about actually putting on a whole lot more muscle.
What we just do is we want to build muscle to make it stronger. So you don't necessarily want to overfeed and you can still be at a slight calorie deficit and gain some muscle strength and gain some muscle mass. Even to do that, though, you've got to make sure that you are feeding the muscle. So you will if you're if you're lifting and particularly lifting heavy and you're lifting often, you're going to make sure that you're getting enough protein.
And as a general guideline, I typically try to target about a half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. So me sitting at about 200 pounds. That means I'm going to want about 100 grams of protein every day to make sure that I'm giving my muscles what they need to to build. On days that I train heavier, I'll probably add a little bit more protein on the days that I'm not training, I may eat a little bit less, but in general, I'm trying to average about 100 grams per day, half a gram per pound.
Next, I want to talk about rest and recovery. In between each lift you need to take a short break. Short break. These rest breaks in between each set is when your body basically is rebuilding the energy store inside the muscle. It's called APT. And the body can regenerate some APT in a very short period of time so that you're able to do a heavier lift the next time. So let's say you're doing three sets.
First starting out. You might find that a minute is a long enough rest period for you to be able to go back and do the same weight almost as many times as you did the first time, and then maybe the third time a little bit less than you did the first and second. But you generally want to make sure that you're still lifting in your desired rep range and staging your rest to allow that to happen is really, really important. So one minute works for most people.
If you're lifting heavier or you're going a little bit more intense with stuff, you might want to go to two and a half minutes, but you seldom need to go more than three. And I say that because you don't want to cool down. And if you're just sitting on your phone for five minutes, you probably want to do a little bit of warm up again before you get back into it. So, you know, a good one to two and a half minute break in between each lift.
Try to be consistent with it so you can at least monitor how the rest is working for you. And then you can, you know, ratchet up, ratchet it down as you go. But you want to give yourself at least a minute to allow your body to rebuild its energy stores. And then we're going to talk about recovery. OK, so recovery is the time between workouts. I don't know how many times I've been in the gym and seen, you know, the same person come into the gym, do the same workout every single day.
The thing is, they're not building any strength. They haven't allowed their body to recover. They haven't allowed the muscles to rebuild. The way muscles, muscle and strength works is you do the stimulus, which is the lifting. After you do the stimulus, you make sure you've got the food. So we're getting plenty of protein and we're staying hydrated.
And then we give our body 48 to 72 hours to rebuild that muscle. The stimulus tells the muscle that it needs to be able to do something. And so its response is going to be to make itself stronger. And that's how this whole thing works. And it works whether you're in your 20s all the way up to your 80s and past. If you want to get strong after 40, you need to lift and you need to rest. And that recovery time is really, really important.
A lot of folks, when they first start out, can do a full body. If you think about it in those terms, that just means if you work out on a Monday, you come back in on Thursday, you come back in on Sunday, you come back in on Wednesday. So you're getting two to two and a half workouts per week, and that's plenty of stimulus, particularly in the beginning, to give your muscles what it needs to know, that it needs to grow.
If you find that you want to do more volume because you're getting conditioned, you can do more volume, but you're probably going to have to break up your workouts in what we call splits. And we'll talk a little bit more about exercise selection and things like that and later on. But just kind of give you an idea of how a structure would work.
You need to make sure you're giving your body at least 48 hours to recover and pay attention to it, because some people do recover a little faster. Some some muscles recover a little slower. My upper body recovers much faster than my lower body so it can take on more volume than my lower than my lower body can. But sometimes I need the whole 72 hours for my lower body.And I take that into account based on how hard I'm training.
OK, the next thing I want to talk about is consistency. You can't lift once a month and get strong after 40. It just, that just doesn't work that way. Consistency takes three things. It takes patience. You know, as you go to the gym each day, you're going to have days that are great and you're going to have days that are actually not so great. This can be because of a myriad of things.
It might be your immune system might be dealing with a virus. You might just be a little bit lower energy that day for one reason or another, because your thyroid, because you didn't sleep well, a lot of different things could be going on. You may not have fully recovered, but and so your workouts aren't quite as good. So you're going to have this this thing happening where it's not necessarily a linear thing.
If you have the persistence, which is the second “P” here, you keep showing up and you keep doing it. And what happens over time is you do see a trend to get stronger. And at first it's actually pretty cool because your brain is learning the exercises. It's learning how to fire more and more muscles to muscle fibers to make that movement happen.
A lot of people early on see really good strength improvement and then that kind of seems to plateau. So you have to have the patience and then the persistence to keep pushing on. And that's where the other one comes in, the other “P”, progression.
Progression is about getting stronger. It's about putting more on. You want to do that in a smart way. I call it gentle nudges. So you shouldn't ever increase the weight from one workout to the other more than, say, 10% or so. And sometimes that's hard. I know if you're dealing with dumbbells and it's a 15 dumbbell and now you're ready to move to the next weight and the next weight is a 20, I get it.
That's, that's a lot more than 10%. And so sometimes you're going to be stuck with what you have, but in a general sense to get a really good progression and a strength workout, you want to just try to move up no more than 10%. So a couple of pounds on an exercise is a progression. And when you can get those the full sets in and the reps in and use good form, that's when you want to progress.
I've talked about people coming into the gym. They do the same workout every time they set the weights on the same thing, every time they're not getting stronger because, one they're not stimulating their muscles, because they're not progressing, they're not adding weight to that workout. And then, of course, they're not recovering. But they didn't do the work to need to recover. So they just they're coming in and they're doing a workout, which is great.
I'm glad you're there. I'm glad you're moving. Movement is important, but you're not getting stronger and you're not building strength. So that's what we want to do. We don't want to just stay where we are. We want to get a little bit stronger. We want to add a little bit more muscle mass, because if Sarcopenia kicks in, it's going to start reducing that muscle mass. And as it does, the more muscle you have and start with, the better you're going to be when you start going against that even heavier. So patience, persistence and progression lead to consistency and consistency leads to results.
Now, the next thing I want to talk about in this lineup is exercise selection, and this is really, really important because so many people love to come in and do work that makes them feel good. And that's awesome, but again, it's not going to help you really get stronger. If you see a lot of people coming to the gym and they just blast their arms with these isolation movements. And that's fine. Isolation exercises where you're really just working one muscle and that's fine. If you want to have bigger biceps, you have bigger triceps. That's great to work those muscles, but it's not really helping you get a lot stronger because they're not muscles that you're going to be doing.
What was the heaviest thing that you lift up to your mouth from a low point. And then reality is you're going to find that you're just not using your biceps that much to lift a lot of weight. Now you are using your back and you are using your chest and you are using your legs. So focusing on compound movements now, compound movements are movements that move multiple muscles.
A push up is requiring you to move your chest and your triceps. So it's working multiple muscles. A squat is requiring you to use your quadriceps and your glutes. And deadlift is causing you to use your your glutes and your back and your hamstrings.
So compound movements are going to be your bread and butter for strength exercises. And so as you're doing this exercise selection, a good starting point for most beginners. If you look at most beginner workouts, they're going to involve a squat. There probably can involve a lunge or a deadlift. They're going to involve a push up or a bench press, and they're going to involve a pulling movement like a row or pull up. And then finally, they're going to involve some form of overhead press.
That's a basic five exercise compound movement workout. Three sets of ten start very low in weight. And, you know, as you get good form and you feel good about it, you can begin to do that progression. But all of those are compound movements. Now, if you find that you know your triceps are what's keeping you from being stronger when you do your base workout, maybe you want to add some tricep work in there just to strengthen them a little bit more, because you don't want anyone body part being the laggard that's keeping you from optimizing the strength in other muscles.
So you may do some of that. You may split this up and start doing more of that. And then the final point I want to talk about as far as exercise selection is a term called periodization. When you do the same thing over time, initially, yes, your brain connects with the muscles. It learns how to use more muscle fibers to affect the movement. And your strength gains are pretty good. After that now we're really into the muscle building.
Now we're into the, you know, really focusing on the muscle becoming stronger, not just the neuromuscular connection being firmer. We're actually now strengthening the muscle at many points in time that can stall. That can feel like it's just not going anywhere, and you might feel like you've plateaued. That's where periodization can help. You can set up periodization in any kind of schedule you want. I'm a big fan of either four weeks or eight weeks.
I found that, you know, after about four weeks strength training, you know, that's where they start to see kind of that flattening out by eight weeks. Most people are flattened out. And so if you change up the exercises, in many cases, you're going to spurring more connections for your brain to your muscle fibers and you're building additional strength in those muscles.
So about once every eight weeks, you're probably going to want to change up your program to incorporate different exercises that basically accomplish some of the same tasks. So an example would be, let's say you started out with a back squat where the bars on your back and you're doing that for eight weeks. You may want to switch up and for the next eight weeks do a front squat.
This changes the dynamic of the movement. You're at a slightly different angle. And what I found is for a lot of people, once they learn the front squat, get really good at the front, squat, their back squat naturally gets stronger because they have better core positioning and they feel better under the bar. But understanding these progressions and understanding periodization is really, really important. If you want to continue to see progress and get stronger after 40. The final thing I want to talk about is about getting help.
Weightlifting is it may feel like a very solo sport because it's just you against the weight, but in reality, it should not be a solo sport. The first thing I want to preach here is safety. You do not want to be under a weight that you can't control or that you can't lift if that way it's going to come down on you. So exercise is like the squat and the bench press and in some cases, maybe even the overhead press are things that you just want to be very, very careful with.
Having someone there, or at the very least having a safety rack is really important. I'm going to put a link in the show notes of this podcast where you can go in and see video that I've done about safety rack and how you can use a safety rack for safety. I used one, I basically did three exercises as part what we talked about the squat, the bench press and the overhead press.
On each of those exercises, I use the safety rack to provide safety so that if I couldn't complete the lift, I could get out from under the bar without it, you know, being on top of me. So having someone there to spot you is is really, really important if you don't have access to a safety rack.
In most gyms, when you're working out, if you need a spot, ask for a spot. And people will love to come over and help you as long as it's not something that's, you know, too long, too much. But just, you know, tap a guy and say, hey, do you mind spotting me?
And most people in gyms are going to be more than happy to come over there and help you get that lift done safely. Or you can hire a personal trainer. Now, I want to take just a moment to step away from, you know, working with a personal trainer to say there are personal trainers and there are coaches. And it's kind of important to understand who you're hiring if you're going to hire one or the other.
A personal trainer is really good about meeting you in the gym at a certain time, giving you a workout, making sure that you're getting good periodization, good exercise selection, again, which was very, very important, that they're timing your rest, they're counting your reps and they're there to spot you on your lifts. And, you know, in some cases, yes, that's even nice that they're there to help you load and unload machines or weights. But personal trainers, really that I mean, they're in the gym giving you, and most personal trainers are not going to be attentive to you or really care too much about what you're doing outside of the hour, two hour, three hours per week that you spend with them.
A coach, on the other hand, is someone who is going to want to spend more time with you. They're going to want to know what you're doing for the rest of the week. They're going to talk to you about nutrition. They're going to talk to you about rests. They're going to talk to you about sleep. They're going to talk to you about a lot of things to make sure that you're doing things outside the gym that will benefit what you're doing in the gym.
And then again, the coach, if they're there with you, is counting reps. They're looking at your form. They're giving you cues. So a coach is more than a personal trainer. It's truly a coach that's there to help you win. And so, you know, if you're looking for a coach, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/programs-guides-challenges. I have a few different ways that you can work with me.
And I'm a coach. I'm not a personal trainer anymore. We focus on a lot more than just here's your workout, here's your thing. Most of what I do is custom for you. So if you come in to work out, there will be some space workouts. But in a general sense, we're going to talk. And if we decide you need to make some changes in your nutrition, your sleep, your rest, your stress or your lifting or the things you're doing outside of lifting, then, you know, we make those changes.
Now, I did get a few questions on Facebook. One of them related to training as a runner and runners are really interesting because a lot of runners don't really want to weight train. And I get it, because if having the best time is what's really important to you, you have to think about your strength versus mass, OK, or power versus mass.
So if you actually are lifting and gaining weight, gaining pounds of muscle, which can happen, what you might find is that that actually slows your time. So you don't necessarily want to get bigger and put on muscle mass if you're a runner. But lifting can be a good adjunct to your running and areas where I see that most runners can benefit from strength training is in the core work and the lateral work.
So exercises that are not just going and then most runners need to do more upper body training. They don't you know, they don't get any work on their arms while they're running. And as a result, they don't see, they basically don't have enough muscle mass up there to have the things we're talking about to build strength. But you can work and build strength and be a runner, too. It just takes training again, a little bit smarter. If you're doing long runs, obviously, you don't want to do a leg day before a long run, so you have to time your rest and recovery better.
Those are some basic aspects there, you know, as far as someone just getting started out. I'd really encourage you to to consider hiring a personal trainer or coach, because if they can show you how to do the exercise properly, you're going to use good form. You're not going to injure yourself. And by all means, if you do ever find yourself that you have an injury, don't don't try to power through it all pain, no gain is actually doesn't work that way.
If you hurt yourself, you're out of the game and you're not going to get stronger. So if you're over 40, I strongly encourage you and you haven't lifted before. I strongly encourage you to get a coach. Someone will teach you how to do the exercises properly. Someone will pay attention to your movement patterns and make sure that you're doing the right things in the gym and away from the gym to get strong after 40 and optimize your results in time.
You know, if you spent hours in a gym each week, you want to make sure you're getting a benefit for that time. If you're eating extra protein and you're, you know, working on your sleep and your health, all those different things, you want to make sure you're getting your results.
And so you don't want to be injured. You want to make sure you're doing it right, and you want to make sure there's someone there to kind of push you and hold you accountable. So hiring a good coach is really, really important if you want to get the optimal results.
Post show with Rachel.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Debbie Ralston||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Barbara Costello||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Bill Gioftsidis||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|
|– Deb Scarlett||– Leigh Tanner|
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
Let John Little help you make the most of the time you spend doing resistance training. On this episode, John and I talk about his book, The Time Saver's Workout.
Allan: 02:45 John, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
John: 02:48 Thank you Allan. Pleasure to be here.
Allan: 02:50 I'm really excited to have you here. Uh, you know, I had Dr. McGuff on to talk about some of his books, including Body By Science. When I was first doing my first interviews. I was usually kind of a little star struck when I met him the first time. And I'll have to admit just, you know, reading your books, I'm a little star struck talking to you too.
John: 03:08 Well no need for that, Doug. I can understand. Yeah, I consider Doug one of the brightest minds in exercise science.
Allan: 03:15 And I think you are too. That's you know, it's just, based on the research that you've done. I mean, I, you know, you've, this is a very well researched book. We're talking about The Time Savers Workout, which I think is actually pretty cool because most of us, if you ask people why they're not working out, they'll say most of the time they'll say, I don't have time. So giving us the workout that is, I guess biohackers like to call the minimum viable dose is really, really cool.
John: 03:43 Oh, well thanks. Well, I mean it in, from my vantage point, I just think the most valuable commodity in our lives is time. Once spent, it's irretrievable, you can't get it back and nobody on their death bed is going to say, Geez, I wish I'd spend more time in the gym because life offers way more than, you know, what a gym does is that the purpose of a workout really is to be an adjunct to your life, not the reason for it. And so, you know, doing any more than is minimally required, seems to me time that could be better spent.
Allan: 04:17 Yeah. I know when I was, I was in my twenties and you know, in college I Kinda had this time like, so I'd, I'd finished my final class, you know, around 1/1 30 and then I would go to the gym and I'd get my workout done and then I would just sort of hang out. And typically it was the owner would say, Hey Allan, you know you're going to be here for another hour I know, I'm going to get my lunch. You know, just if you're okay to hang around, that'd be cool. And I'd hang around eventually just started, give me the gym membership for free cause I would do that stuff for him. But I loved being in the gym. You know it was fun. I had a lot of friends there and it was really cool. But like you said, now I'm kind of a little bit more time restraint sometimes. And I go into the gym and it's funny because you'll walk into the gym and the folks who are working out typically just doing, you know, the, the arms, you know like I'll see someone workout and I'll go in and do a full body workout and leave. And they're still, they're still working those little bycepts.
John: 05:14 Yeah. Oh for sure. For sure. Well I think back when you and I, because we are approximately the same age had started training. It was like a cause celeb that we were behind. We wanted it to be bigger and stronger individuals, you know, in the worship of muscle was the church. And uh, anyone who was in gym was a compadre, you know, we were, we were all part of the same belief and put a value on looking like professional bodybuilders that uh, you know, and looking back was probably uh, misplaced, but that at the time it fueled our young imaginations. That's what we wanted to do. And every hour we could spend in a gym or among people that shared our belief was we might learn something or it might advance us a little closer toward our goal. And I think eventually over time and after banging your head against a brick wall in terms of and arrested development, that is not progressing despite the efforts, many of us began looking for another way.
We didn't want to give up the cause entirely, but eventually we kind of recognize that, well, maybe what we were told wasn't completely true and well that maybe, you know, you know, our diligence and the money that we throw out the window every month on supplements and protein powders in order to achieve this look, that was never going to come. Maybe we'd been duped. And consequently, I think a lot of people who were of our antiquity probably just wash their hands of the enterprise at a certain point in their lives and either, you know, in despair stopped doing anything like that or, or went into some other form of activity that was at least enjoyable and didn't promise unrealistic rewards for their time. And so certainly in my case, I was lucky too recognize that there was an alternative out there. And that was mainly through the influence of people like Mike Metzler and people that said as much, you know, that, you know, number one, you're never going to look like, you know, a champion bodybuilder. It's not the genes, but number two, there's still a lot to be gained from this enterprise. And so my interest, especially as I got older, shifted more onto the benefits that proper resistance training could impart to a person as opposed to the cosmetic component.
Allan: 07:30 Yeah. You know, I've talked to a lot of people in a, in a, and I've even in my book I kind of said, you know, when I talked to you about fitness, when I say fitness, you know, I'm not, I'm no longer talking about the kind of fitness that you want to be a professional hockey player or you that you want to be Arnold Schwarzenegger or that that's what you've kind of, you fitness to me, fitness now, once we get over 40 should be more about living the life that you want to live. And I think anyways, resistance training is an absolute imperative for us to do that.
John: 08:04 Yeah. To be able to do the things that you enjoy doing. The things that give your life, meaning. You have to be strong enough to, you know, to be able to do them. And the natural process of, of aging is entropy. You know, we're going to lose fibers, not lose them, but downsize them to the point where we can lose the ability to use them. And that suddenly restricts the circle in which we can move in terms of things we can do. So anything we can do to keep that balloon in the air in terms of full fiber health and function for as long as possible is a step in the right direction because it's coming down. You know, it's just, that's the natural, you know, entropy of human existence. You know, when you're born you're kind of, it's kind of like a bullet that shot in the air and it reaches the peak height at about age 25, but then it starts to return to earth and, um, you know, up until 25, you know, you've got bigger and stronger just as part of the natural growth process.
And so you would have gotten bigger and stronger by taking garbage out every week. Didn't really matter what you did. But, um, once you pass a certain age, typically once we exit our twenties, our body becomes like a very stingy board of directors and they want to know why they're investing this energy into keeping these muscle fibers preserved and hanging around that you simply never use. I mean the fight or flight fibers, the fast twitch fibers, the ones coincidentally that happened to have the greatest potential for the size increase that infect that affect our health the most dramatically are the first to go typically because cost the body the most energy to keep them on the payroll. So if you autopsy a 90 year old, you're going to find slow twitch fibers that are very well preserved, but the intermediate fast twitch are going to be decomposed at an alarming rate unless you do something to convince your body to keep them.
Allan: 09:54 Yeah, I know I was, I was reading a study and they had done um, some biopsies of older runners, you know, runners that had run their whole lives. They compared those two active runners in their twenties and thirties and found that from a, you know, from the, like you said, the, the fast twitch muscles, I got that right. Slow twitch muscles. I guess they retain those and they literally their look. So from a, from a muscular perspective, they had stayed very similar and the same can actually be said for people that do resistance training. Right?
John: 10:28 Right. Yeah. I mean that if you do a type of resistance training that calls upon fast twitch fibers and intermediate twitch fibers, you will preserve them. They're still going to be a loss. There's just, you can't buck up against nature, you know, and definitely, but, you know, whatever it can be done to preserve them, we'll preserve them and the thing that can be done to preserve them as to use them to give your body a reason to keep them on the payroll and uh, you know, otherwise, the natural course of things is simply to downsize them. Um, so when you do a type of resistance training, the cool thing about resistance training is that it hits all three classes of fibers, generally speaking, it gets slow twitch, intermediate twitch and fast twitch. And so your body is given a very strong prompt to hold onto those despite the aging process. And I think that's very important, not only for our functional ability but also for our metabolic health because each of those fibers contain metabolic pathways that he rode with the muscle. If you don't do something to preserve them.
Allan: 11:24 Now, one of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is that they go in the gym and there they get a program. And here's a program where they see all the images, you know, the before and after, before and after. Uh, and some of those that are before and after, they're, they're in their forties and 50s, and you see them, they kind of put on a good amount of muscle, but someone else will do the same program and not quite get the same results. And you kind of talk about in the book about how we kind of each have our own individual response to how things work.
John: 11:57 Right? Absolutely. And there was a study that I quoted by a physiologist named Van Etten. And what was interesting about this is they had two groups. One that was mesomorphic are quite muscular and the other thinner ectomorphic and they put them on an identical exercise program for a period of 12 weeks. And then they monitored the results. And at the end of the study it was discovered that the mesomorphic or the group that was muscular before the workout experienced significant gains in muscle mass while the ectomorphic group experience no significant improvement at all. You know, so the takeaway from that is those who are inordinately muscular to begin with who have that genetic gift will gain size and strength from the bodybuilding efforts to a much greater extent. Then those who are not, you know, who don't share that morphology.
And of course the bodybuilding industry ignores this, But it also looks, when we think back on our early training careers, and you mentioned Arnold, I mean he was the guy, right? So we went into the gym and we bought Arnold's book, the education of a body builder. And we followed his program as best we could. We never got Arnold like results. But if you look at a picture of Arnold when he was 18 or 17, I mean we would have been happy to look like that, you know, when he started. But um, you know, it just isn't in the genetic cards. So to ape, you know, a popular bodybuilders program, the very fact that you're looking to look different than you do with strongly suggest that you don't have the genes to look the way that you want.
Otherwise even a little bit of training would suggest that potential. So, you know, anytime you see a bodybuilding magazine, and I used to write for bodybuilding magazines, the articles in there really have zero application to you, zero. So, and it's like trying to copy an Olympic athletes training program. You know, good luck with that. I remember Mike Mansour, who was perhaps the most honest bodybuilder I ever encountered in my career saying, you know, someone had asked him that, Sarah had mentioned that Roy Callender, who was another famous bodybuilder who is known for his density of muscles, that he did something like a hundred sets for his chest. And Mike said, well you try doing a hundred sets for your chest and see what happens. He said, you'll end up looking like a jockey. He said, because most of these bodybuilders would look like jockeys were not for the amount of steroids and take, and that was never discussed in the magazines really back in the day.
But genetics are the big ones. They are what will determine how much muscle, if that's your interest you can put on and it determines everything else from your height to your hair color. I mean it is the, you know, the Great Oz. It's the one that makes the, you know, the declaration as to how far you can go. And for most of us, we're going to bump up against our genetic potential in terms of muscle size, which is a more discernible, easily discernible indices of potential, usually within a year, at the most two years of training. And it's interesting being older now, my sons have friends who were at the age I was when I got into bodybuilding or in the strength training and the friends are into it and you can see it, you know, a real difference in their physique over the course of one year, maybe even a year and a half.
And then boom, that's the end of the road. And they're frustrated because, you know, their first year of training, they were experiencing this transformational benefit cosmetically of doing these workouts. Muscles were big, muscles became bigger and as a result, they're metabolic rates. Increased body fats tended to come off the body a little easier and they want to keep it going. And I recognize that as, you know, an attitude that was president of myself at that age, but it doesn't, and then they started looking for other things that can help them. You know, maybe they need more protein, maybe they, they need to change their program to one more closely resembling that of a, a bigger type of bodybuilder, but they're not going to get any bigger. And you've been around long enough to know that you've probably observed the same phenomenon. It just, there is a genetic cap that's put on these things. We don't know what it is ahead of time, but we do know that the, the best gains most of us ever had were first year of training, you know, serious strategy.
Allan: 15:58 Or after that coming back, I mean if you, if you trained as a, you know, when you were in your 20s or 30s and you, maybe you got untrained because you just, you know, life got in the way. Like with me, when I came back in the gym, it was like, okay, boom. You know, things looked really, really good. And then like you said, it Kinda plateaued. So you'd go to the trainer and said, okay, you know what, let's mix this up. Let's try something different. But yeah, general sense. You could refine it a little bit, but you just really couldn't go beyond that, that line.
John: 16:28 Well, you can't transcend. Yeah. You can't transcend it. So the thing is you, you go to training for a while, your muscles be conditioned, they atrophy, you get back into training, they come back again and you notice the difference. But you know, as far as some of these older guys that appear in the magazines, I mean, it's clear that there's some chemical enhancement going on there. Uh, you know, no, 65 year old has 2% body fat and a 17 in chart, you know, and suddenly built at age 60, you know? Yeah. I mean, it just doesn't happen unless you're, and the thing is steroids are an interesting thing. It's not that dissimilar for, or from what they know, you know, euphemistically called testosterone replacement therapy. You're still getting synthetic exogenous hormones put in your body. You know, you're not producing. And the problem is that nobody knows what the long term ramifications of this is.
I mean, most of the bodybuilders that I grew up being fans of in the 70s are either dead or have had serious coronary problems. And because there's never been studies done on steroids long term because they were originally not intended to be used for cosmetic purposes cause they were used to treat burn victims, you know, to facilitate the production of tissues. But then we found out, you know, about this great muscle building component and that became the priority. But there was never longterm studies done to know what the problems are. I mean step and think after, you know, several hundred thousand years of evolution, maybe there's a reason that's 70 year old guys aren't producing the same level of testosterone they did it 17 you know, and when we know that if someone gets certain types of cancers, the first thing doctors will do is, is try and cut out any testosterone in the body at all because that causes the cancers to spread, to metastasize.
So there's tumors that can be awakened in your body, let's say from certain endocrine responses that may not be, you know, a good thing to awaken. We don't know. We're kind of, we're playing with nature a little bit with that. But like I say, there's, there's probably a reason after all these years of evolution, that our bodies tend to reduce testosterone production. So when I see a guy in a magazine who claims to be whatever, 70 years old and he's got he's got a physique that more closely resembles that of a steroids taking 20 year old, that doesn't impress me, that tells me, hey, I have a very insecure seven year old who, who thinks you know that life is all about from the neck down. You know, you don't see pictures of these guys writing novels. You don't see pictures of them painting great paintings or, or composing music.
They just sit there and in a speedo and say, look at me. And that's the extent of their, you know, their enthusiasm for life. I knew a guy in California, he used to hang on to Joe Leader's office quite a bit and uh, he always claimed to be older than he was. And because he thought he looked more impressive physically. If he told people he was 75 or whatever, he was maybe late sixties but heavy steroid user and would be open about it and say how great he looked. And uh, and then, you know, it wasn't enough that he was married. He had to try and impress younger women. And I mean, nothing the guy said appealed to me at all. I didn't find them cool. I didn't find them. Uh, oh Geez, I want to be like this guy. I mean, to me, you know, the fake 10, the capped teeth, the perfectly quaffed hair and fake muscles, basically. It's Arthur Jones old line about a little boy in a gorilla suit. And this was an old man in a gorilla suit and the gorilla suit wasn't that big to begin with.
Allan: 20:02 Yeah, I think the key of it is, and you know, and that's what I really like about the listeners of this I have on the show, is they're not looking for necessarily the vanity look, they're not going for that approach. This truly is about wellness and what can we do and how can we use resistance training to enhance our wellness? And one of the concepts that you had in the book that I think is really, really important for us to understand is this conservation of energy and how that impacts how our muscles grow or how we lose weight. Can you kind of talk through a little bit of this cconservation of energy and our bodies kind of do that?
John: 20:42 Yeah. Well, it's a funny phenomenon. I've labeled it the conservation of energy phenomenon or CEP just so I can have a moniker for it, but it's just the natural course of action of the body to conserve energy every step of the way. Energy is one of the most vital resources that we have apart from air and water for without it, we die. So very early on in our species history, our bodies discerned to means by which it would learn to control the amount of energy that it was outputting from the body for any tasks that we have to undertake. Since all of the tasks were muscular in nature, therefore impacted the muscular system. So you can, for example, the most common example I use is the first time you ever drove a standard automobile standard trans mission. It was exhausting. You know, every muscle group was fully engaged and as well as your consciousness, as you check the mirrors and your work to clutch and the shift and the brake and the gas, that by the time you finished your first session learning how to drive a standard automobile, you were exhausted.
But then fast forward, you know, about a month or two and you find yourself zip and down the highway changing gears while you're changing the radio. It's effortless. And it's, it's not that the, you know, the first time you did it, that was a real workout, but it felt like it. But later what happened was your body recognized that it over mobilized its forces. It used way more muscle fibers and thus way more energy than a required in order to to accomplish this task that you've set before that of changing gears and working the clutch. So over time it learned to pull back and just use the precise amount of fibers at the precise time that they were required rather than all together at once. And consequently, your heart and lungs and your metabolic system where no longer servicing 100% of the tissue they use, they were two months previously when you first started, maybe it was on the order now of 15% so it's not nearly as demanding.
But then I could see that application to every physical activity we did. For example, runners who let's say in the northeast when the snow comes, they have to run indoors on a treadmill cause they don't wanna run on the ice. So they, you know, tick along on their treadmills and they believe their cardiovascular systems in pretty good shape. And then the snow goes away in the spring and they say, okay, time to run on the road. Well, invariably their first road run feels like they've never run before in their lives. You know, their hearts going like a trip hammer their sweating, pouring sweat through their chest is heaving. Their muscles ache for days after the first run. But they do it again just like the guy in the standard automobile and they do it again and they do it again and they do it again. And Lo and behold, that same route run at the same speed. You know, less than a month later. It's effortless. The older pulse rates barely leaving a baseline. They're not no nearly as sore, they're not breathing nearly as heavy. And they pat themselves on the back saying, I've really improved my cardiovascular system. Well, no. What happened was the CEP stepped in again. So now, you know, rather than the first time running where your heart ones, we're servicing the working 100% of the tissue. Maybe now it's on the order of 25% maybe less. So of course your pulse rates are not going to be driven up. You know, of course the amount of fibers brought into play won't be as much. But now I see it in everything. I see it in everything we do from lifting a Coffee Cup to working out and the body's means of conserving energy.
And they did a fascinating study that I cite in the book where they tested the calorie burn or the energy of people walking and they got a value of that. And then they put them in an exoskeleton or a mechanical suit that altered their gait to the way their, their strides so that it was more demanding, was a little more challenging and to nobody's surprise, they burn more calories. But the very next time they put on the Exoskeleton, they were right back to the calories that they were burning before the body have made the adaptation. So it occurs, you know, probably quicker than we think. But you can see that that has preservation value.
We kind of have two things that are hardwired into our consciousness with regard, maybe even to our DNA as regard to energy. And one is if you come upon energy, consume it because it may not be there tomorrow. And the second one is if you don't have to output a lot of energy, don't because you may not get it back out of your environment. Now this has a lifesaving value to the species such as ours that live for eons in a environment of food scale because it'll allowed us to conserve energy until we got to an area where there may be a little more food to sustain us. But the only thing that's changed does not our biology over this time, but our, our environment, I mean we now live in an environment of food abundance. Consequently these two impulses are still at play. So if there's energy, we opt to consume it. And there's still almost a primal fear that you know, it may not be there tomorrow. And the other thing is when it comes to exercise, all of us instinctively load high energy output activity.
And it could simply be because there's a part of our biology, it says you may not get that back. You know, don't work quite so hard, especially if you don't have to. So given that most people aren't physiologists, they don't know the workings of the body when they hit their forties I think, Geez, something's changed. Like I just saw a snapshot of me on holiday and I look like a beached whale. I've got to do something. I've lost whatever. You know, I used to be strong, I used to have muscle, I want to get that back so they know they have to do something psychologically. But the biology says, and I don't like this all out, you know, effort in the gym. That's a, it would be like, you know, running hurdles on the track. It's not a pleasant activity, but it's that type of activity that is necessary to activate and engage and stimulate and thus preserve those three classes of muscle fibers.
If you can do something that our psyches like, like going for a walk, you're only gonna use slow twitch fibers and over time you send a message to your body that the other two classes of fiber are dead weight because you're not using them. So it hastens their deterioration. So it's important to do a type of activity that we might initially perceive as being unpleasant in terms of its effect. Lactic acid burns, not pleasant breathing heavily, is not, it's not pleasant, but they there, it's just basically getting comfortable with your biology. You know, the heavy breathing and the lactic acidosis is simply a byproduct. It's the exhaust system of fast twitch fibers. So the more comfortable you get with your biology and you recognize there's nothing threatening going on, you know, the healthier you will be and the easier it is to train in a manner that is necessary to preserve all of those fibers and the metabolic functions.
Allan: 27:26 And that's what I really liked about this was when you kind of got into it and I was thinking, you know, most people are looking at resistance training and saying, okay, well this is going to get me stronger. This is going to improve my bone density. I may gain some muscle mass. But it goes well beyond that in that if you're training appropriately with resistance training, as you mentioned in the book with what you call the high energy output, you are tapping into your glycogen stores through all three types of muscle fiber and as a result you're actually setting yourself up to be metabolically advantage. So if you're struggling with high blood sugar like prediabetes or diabetes, if you're struggling with weight gain, that actually resistance exercise done the right way can actually go a long way towards helping you with taht.
John: 28:16 Oh absolutely. More so than any other activity really. And that is probably the only reason, apart from safety considerations, that resistance training moves to the form. It comes from the front of the line, those the preferred form of exercise, number one, it's a low force and if you run, you've got anywhere from three to five times body weight coming down on the joints with a single foot, you know when you're running. And then you also have the other issue that every time you do an activity, be at weight training, running, lifting a coffee cup. It's like a rope going over the face of a rock in terms of joints and where in terror. Now the hinge joints in your knees or the hinge joints and your elbows are not that dissimilar from the hinge joints in a door. In that they have a lifetime of normal use built into them, exceed that normal use quantity and your on a fast track to a replacement.
So when someone goes out for a bicycle ride, let's say, which was a seemingly innocuous activity, at the very least, they're going to open and close the hinge joints in their knees 10,000 times at the very least. So it's not that dissimilar to going to your door and opening and closing at 10,000 times over and above the normal use of that door. And if you do it three or four days a week, you've got a multiplier to put on it as well. So it's not a coincidence that people who are heavily involved in athletics, for example, and have, you know, two or three practices a week and maybe one or two games a week through a varsity career or high school and college, all of them end up arthritic. I can't think of anyone I knew who was on the varsity football team or hockey team that now has either had a knee or hip replacement or severe arthritis.
And it's overused and I think the earlier we're cognizant of this in our lives, the less problems we're going to have down the road. The benefit from exercise comes from a deep fatiguing of the muscles. That's the prompt cause the body to make an adaptation, whether it's in terms of endurance, which essentially is more glycogen storage and a muscle or strength in a muscle and you know, shy of that. There's not really a hell of a lot more you can get out of exercise anyway. So when people say, well, I'm going to do this for my cardiovascular system as if running for example, you know, the muscles involved in running where somehow divorced from resistance training or when you do resistance training. But the problem with that is when the CEP kicks in, you now have to change that running program in order to get the same benefit, the same stimulus, same effect, same fiber involved.
And that typically equates to running greater distances so now or cycling greater distances. So in the case of the cyclist, those 10,000 opening and closings now have to be extended to 20,000 to 30,000 to 50,000. And so that rock or sorry that rope goes over that rock face that many more times. And again, all to reach the end goal, which is to fatigue the muscles meaningfully enough that the body produces a positive adaptive response. And that's, that's what it is. If you think about, um, the best example of fiber recruitment stimulation and the effect would be cycling. Again, if you're cycling on the flat, and let's say you went out with a buddy, you could converse for as long as you want it to, an hour, hour and a half back and forth while you're riding on a flat surface because you're only using slow twitch fibers. You're not even really aware of your legs moving.
But then you come into a hill and as you start to go up the hill gravity, and I'll start to pull you back the other way. So the muscles have to work harder, uh, to keep you moving upward or up to grade. And consequently, at some point at the lower base of the hill, you begin to feel something's going on metabolically in my muscles, now I'm aware of it. Maybe we're not going to converse at quite the same rate that we were prior to this. But you continue on and as you get closer to the summit, your legs are on fire. You know, you're breathing very heavily. You all, you have to stand up now because it's very difficult to complete the revolutions of the pedals and maybe even you have to stop and get off the bike and walk it up the rest of the way.
But once you, once you do that, you notice that your breathing continues the heavy breathing for a protracted period, there's a tremendous cardiovascular stimulation far greater than what you had for writing for an hour on the flat surface, just from maybe 30 seconds to a minute of demanding muscular work, high energy output, muscular works. And so with resistance training we can manipulate certain variables. The load, the time of the muscle's underload and we can also control the forces, which is very important for our joint hill. But you know, when you finish a proper set of squats or leg presses or whatever lower body exercise you choose to do, it should feel like you just rode your bike to the summit of that hill from a cardiovascular and metabolic standpoint.
Allan: 33:01 Yeah. As I was getting into that part of the book, I was thinking, okay, well you're kind of talking about high intensity interval training, but I guess the problem with high intensity interval training is typically there's also the forces involved. But when you go to the resistance training, you're able to control the force.
John: 33:17 Well, right? I mean in high intensity interval training, there's lots of ways you can do it. Typically it's done on a a bicycle or a stationary bike. At least that's what most of the studies have been done on because it's easier to test vo two Max and things like that in a controlled environment. But, uh, you know, when you pull back big enough and take a more macro view of things, you see that in both cases it's demanding muscular work and resistance training. I mean, that could be another definition for it as demanding muscular work. And so the more demanding the muscular work you do, the brewery for your such exposure to that type of work has to be, and that's simply because you run through fibers at a quicker rate and you exhaust them just like the, you know, the faster you run, the less distance you can run.
So demanding muscular work is good and it gives us the benefit that we touched on at the beginning of freeing up more time. You don't have to be riding your bike for four hours, three or four days a week because of getting all of our, all of our adaptations are fixed. They're kept, and that includes cardiovascular adaptations. That's why not all of us can be Lance Armstrong's, we just don't have that genetic fifth year that lance had that allowed them to excel in cycling. He's perhaps not our best example because lance took a lot of other things as well to become a great cyclist. But genetically he had the [inaudible] to be an exceptional cyclist. You before he veered off into chemicals and other peoplehave that gift to be great Hockey players. The best example of that would be, I think I mentioned the book is Wayne Gretzky. He is bar none, the greatest hockey player in history because of the amount of records that he set.
And let's say you've been studying physiology and exercise science for 30 years, and the parent comes to you and says, Allan, I want you to train my son for hockey. I want you to get on as strong as possible because he's going to be playing a midget level hockey next year and you'll see you okay, I can share with them what I know. But right after he leaves, he gets a phone call from Wayne Gretzky says, Hey, I'll train your kid. Who's it going to go with? Most parents are going to go with the athlete because he knows this guy's been there. He's got the trip, the tips and secrets to make them a superstar. So interestingly enough, Wayne Gretzky was made the head coach of the Phoenix coyotes team in the NHL some years back, and he was the head coach for a period of five years.
So for five years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each of those players had the full benefit of his wisdom, his whatever tips and secrets Wayne Gretzky had to impart, and they finished dead last every one of those years and didn't produce one player of the caliber of Wayne Gretzky, which tells me at least Wayne had a gift. It was genetics. He can't tell you why he was the greatest hockey player in the world. It just worked out for him. You know, uh, just happened to be that way. He had the right genes to excel in the sport of hockey, whereas most, most people don't, which is why most people never make it to the NHL level, let alone, uh, you know, shatter all the records in the NHL. But you can see that right across the board that in athletics,
Allan: 36:19 When I was playing football, you know, you had Herschel Walker and walks out and he's just this huge specimen of a man and you're like, holy crap, what is he doing? You know? He's like, what is he doing? I want to do what he does. He's, he's just doing pushups and sit ups. Yup. And you're like, he had the gift. I could do pushups and sit ups, you know, kind of look like that. I'm not going to be that fast. I'm not going to be that strong. You know, there's just, yeah, there's just some aspect, he doesn't know what it's like to be a little guy.
John: 36:52 Well, and the reality is, I mean, whether you're Herschel Walker's coach or Wayne Gretzky's peewee coach. I mean he trained and played his players exactly all the same. And, and yet Wayne Gretzky came out of that. So if you wanted to hang up a shingle and say, you know, send your kid to me. I trained Wayne Gretzky in peewee and look where he is now. He probably would have made a lot of money, but the reality is everybody that trained in the same way that Wayne Gretzky did went nowhere on his peewee team. So it's just, it's these guys falling through the genetic cracks that excel because they have this genetic gift. Herschel Walker is a perfect example. Bo Jackson was another example. Jim Brown before him was another phenom who just had the genetics to be an exceptional football player. And these are the ones that make it to the top. And it's the very fact that they are exceptional. That is far different from the norm that has caught our attention in the first place and what distances them from ourselves. They are how we would love to be, but we won't be well, you know, we'd like to entertain that thought as long as possible because who would want to be Herschel Walker?
Allan: 37:58 But you know, I came back to kind of what we can be, you know, cause we're, we're all now well past that point.
John: 38:06 Welcome to the club.
Allan: 38:07 Yeah. Uh, even thinking that's possible. But I do want to get into this because you've, you've got some training protocols in the book and I really want to help someone understand how when we talk about this deep fatigue or you know, the high energy output. How does that relate to a workout? And then why does that then result in us spending actually less time in the gym.
John: 38:32 Will you spend less time in the gym because of the nature of how the programs are engineered. Number one, you want to use all three classes of fibers and we want to do what's called a sequential recruitment, which means you go from a slow twitch to intermediate twitch the fast twitch and for that to happen, there has to be a meaningful load imposed upon the muscles so that it doesn't, all the work isn't done by slow twitch fibers if the weight is too light. Since we have a type of fiber slow twitch, which is very slow to fatigue and very quick to recover, they're the same fibers you use on a walk, for example. It's very easy for the fibers that you initiated the exercise with to recover. By the time you've completed a certain amount of repetitions and therefore you never break out of that cycle.
It's slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, slow twitch, but the load is meaningful. That's like you ride in the bike up the hill. Now you're, you're going through these fibers at a rate quicker than they can recover at and the body has no choice but to recruit the next order of fibers in line. So we move on to the intermediate twitch and have those fatigue out before the slow twitch fibers that you started with fatigue out. Then we'll move onto the final class, which is fast twitch and that's where you'll notice, you know the difference in respiration and the burn and, and all of these things. So the protocols are, because they're demanding because they cycled through fibers at a quicker rate. You're basically out of gas after about a minute and a half to two minutes of work. So it's, it's like you starting your, your bike ride up the hill halfway up the hill, you're just flipping off the hour you did on the flat, which didn't really do much except recycled slow twitch fibers.
But there are also done with an eye toward minimizing wear and tear or opening and closing of the joints. One protocol in the book, which is called done in one requires, but one repetition just performed incredibly slowly and can take up to two minutes to complete, you know, a full extension and contraction of a muscle. Other protocols such as the Max Pyramid will burn you out really quickly and in fact is so demanding that you might not need, need more than two exercises in a given workout to reap the full benefit because you simply won't have, you'll want to give 100% but you won't have 100% left to give for a third exercise let's say. And the protocol that I tend to start most people with is, is an old one and um, you know, went back to the 1940s. It was designed by the physiologist Forman Watkins.
And the reason I put it in there, it's because it's time tested. It's probably put more muscle on more people than any other protocol combined. And indeed I would venture to say that most other protocols since then have been footnotes to Dolores and Watkins method and it's pretty standard. It's three sets, approximately 10 reps per set is very light and as strictly a warm up that utilizes some slow twitch fibers. Second set is heavier, it uses what's left of your slow twitch and uh, some intermediate twitch. But then the third sets, the work set, it's the one that allows you to incorporate or to activate all three classes of muscle fiber. And so it's just three sets of 10. That's most basic fundamental training protocol and the history of resistance training.
Allan: 41:44 Yeah. And you, and you can pretty much do these with just some full body exercises like the, the dead lift the leg press, the squat, bench press, overhead press. And in a sense you'll get a full body compound movement workout with three to four exercises. And you know, if you're doing that and you're not taking big long rests between this and then basically you can get through a workout and you know, less than 20 minutes
John: 42:09 For sure. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Most of our clients don't, uh, worked out longer than 12 minutes and that's, that's at the high end. Some that some can be as low as six, but the idea really isn't to look at a clock to see whether or not you exhausted your muscles. You're gonna know if you've exhausted them by the effort you've put forth. And we keep progress charts and notes so that you know there is no waste of time. We know what weights you can use and we know, you know how long in the case of using a stopwatch you can sustain that contraction or how many repetitions you can perform so that when you come in the next week, we know exactly where to where to start just so you're not wasting any time and I think that again, time is such a big thing.
We don't think of it an exercise because we know we're used to seeing people get better by doing something more. You know, you got better at the piano by practicing more, you get better at stick handling in hockey by practicing more. You know, all of these things require more time to lay down certain neural pathways to perfect a skillset. But conditioning training is a completely different animal. It's not a skill set, although there's some motor learning involved. It is. It is a metabolically demanding high energy output activity. And when you're tapping fiber such as the fast twitch fibers, you know, they were not, you know, they're not on our bodies as a, as something that, uh, we needed to use on a daily basis when you, our ancestors didn't have fight or flight situations imposed upon them, you know, every day from 11 until two, you know, like people at the gym, these were sporadic occurrences maybe every seven to 10 days.
And consequently our body's never evolved. A means by which the fast twitch fibers or the fight or flight fibers required a really quick recuperation before they can be brought into service again. And so they don't, it takes time for those fibers to recover. And it takes time for those fibers to adapt and slow twitch fibers and fast twitch fibers do not share the same recovery profile. So while you can go for a walk for an hour using slow twitch fibers and upon your return home you could probably go out for a walk again because you've recovered from that very low. You know, it's not a high energy output activity, but you do a set of reasonably heavy squats to the point of muscular failure where you can complete another rep, try and do another set right away. You won't have the inclination, all of your energy and resources have been called upon at a very, very high level. And then you just have to give your body and nature, if you will, time to make the necessary adjustments. So the next time you perform such an exercise in such a fashion that's not nearly as demanding physiologically as it was the last time you did it.
Allan: 44:49 Yeah. That's one of the beginner questions I get all the time is should I just do the same workout every day? And I'm like, no. If you did it right the first day, you don't want to do it the next couple of days.
John: 45:00 And you don't want to do it again until you really have to. I mean there's two factors. One, the immediate after effect of a workout is a depletion. You get weaker. Energy was used up, glycogen was burned up, which is an energy selling them in a muscle and in some cases fibers or damage. So when that happens, you're not, you're not looking to do that again, you're, you're, you're essentially tripping the growth and repair mix. He doesn't have the body into motion by doing these workouts. And that's the same mechanism that comes into play. If you should ever cut yourself or burn yourself and the next time that should happen, just informally observe how long it takes for that little bit of skin or Dermis to bridge the wound. And that's just a little bit, it's usually seven to 10 days anyway. So the, the healing process, which is where the benefit that we're after occurs takes time.
It's not a, it would be the, like the workout is the stimulus, which is like when you cut your hand, well that's a stimulus to your body to produce new tissue, to close the wound. And when you work out with weights its extinguished your body to produce a little more, you know, a thickening of the muscles. But you don't hasten the process by recutting your hand every day, you know, you delay it. And the same is true with a workout. And I remember speaking with Doug McGuff about this and he said, interesting point, he said, but did you know that the skin repairs itself through the ectodermal germline, whereas muscles come from the Mesodermal germline? And I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. So I said, no, I didn't know that. And he said, well, here's what you need to know about.
He said, the active Dermal Germline, which you mentioned with the cut, which takes over seven to 10 days to heal, he goes, it is a germline that heals much, much quicker that muscle does. You said so if you scratch your cornea can be pretty well on its way to repair in 12 hours, so if you're going to be doing a very demanding workout, don't beat yourself up. If seven days ticked by and you haven't been back to the gym yet, you know you may need the extra day or two for full recovery because again, it comes from a metabolic line that is not quick and turning over proteins necessary for a rapid repair.
Allan: 47:08 Okay. John, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
John: 47:19 Hmm, that's interesting because it's an interesting definition because consists of three completely unrelated conditions that are under one umbrella term, but each is important to consider. Fitness is your ability to function, to do things that you want to do. Health is simply the absence of disease and happiness is a subjective term is what makes one person happy, might bore another person to tears. But I believe that the type of training that we've been discussing, high energy output training will look after the first condition you mentioned and to some extent it will positively impact your health as well. It won't cure a disease, but it might help prevent your health from deteriorating to the point where your body can't combat certain elements that might lead to diseases such as say, diabetes and perhaps the ability of your body to carry out the dictates of your mind in terms of doing things you really want to do and enjoy doing might lead to happiness of a sort and stave off conditions such as depression to some degree, which in fact the medical literature is indicated about resistance training. But only you can infuse your life with purpose depending upon your individual psyche and that will give you peace of mind to some degree.
Happiness is an interesting topic because as a perpetual state is foreign to human beings, and I'm not sure that it would be desirable as there is a vast spectrum of human emotions that collectively make up what we could call the human condition and some of them are the furthest thing from pure happiness, but to experience them all to live your life within each nerve fully exposed during this brief go round that we have is to experience the totality of your humanity. And according to some philosophies, at least your experience of a particular emotions opposite tends to heighten your experience of that emotion when you experience I again, as you know, you often only know things through contradistinction.
So after all, what would darkness mean if you only ever knew light, but to your point, given that the studies have shown that your health can be preserved with proper resistance training, given that the studies have shown that your functional ability can be tremendously enhanced through proper resistance training. And given the fact that studies have also shown an interrelationship between psyche and Soma. For example, if you're constantly worried and stressed, you can get a physical condition known as an ulcer. You have to think that would also work in reverse. So whatever it is that makes you happy, usually it's an activity or something that you enjoy. You need your muscles to get you to it or to perform it. And this was a means by which you will enhance and preserve your ability to do those things that you enjoy and to do it, you know, as best you can in the absence of the disease better than any other activity. And certainly fire quicker and more thoroughly than any other activity.
Allan: 50:04 Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with you because, you know, I think, you know, if you kind of go back to some of the happiest times in your life, it typically involves you spending time with someone that you care about, like a grandchild or something like that. And your ability to be engaged with them and doing the things that need to be done. So I agree with you there. And then, you know, if you're really doing this workout the way you're supposed to, it's not going to be the most pleasant day of your life. So you're going to be very unhappy for that 12 minutes.
John: 50:35 But yeah if you can get comfortable with being uncomfortable for, you know, six to 12 minutes a week in order to have all of the benefits of resistance training can give you, you know, maybe it's a deal worth taking.
Allan: 50:50 I think it is. I really do. So John, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the books that you've written and the things that you're doing, where would you like for me to send them?
John: 51:00 Well, I don't really have a dedicated website about any of that. Certainly for the books, they can go to any of the online bookstores. They're available there. Amazon carries all my books and that will at least be able to give them a means to see what I'm interested in, what I'm working on. And as I tend to publish quite a few of those and if they're on Facebook, feel free to look me up and say hello.
Allan: 51:23 Okay, well you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/388 and I'll be sure to have links to the books and also to John's Facebook.
John, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
John: 51:38 Well thank you Allan. It was a pleasure to speak to you.
I hope you enjoyed that conversation with John Little, you know, it's, um, it's always good to get the most out of our time working out so that we're getting the best benefit in the shortest amount of time. Bang for the buck, right? So go back and listen to that again. Go ahead and get his book, The Time Savers Workout. Really good book as well. I did want to let you know, again, I do have those slots for one on one training. You can email me Allan@40plusfitnesspodcast.com and I'll send you an application. But if you're just on the fence with this and you're just not quite sure, why don't we schedule a 15 minute consult? You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min and we can schedule a 15 minute consult. We can talk about what your needs are. We could talk about what your goals are. I can give you a little bit on the phone there just to kind of give you a taste, a little taste of what it's like to be working with me. One on one. So go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/15min. Thank you.
As we age, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass. To counteract this loss, most people should incorporate weight lifting into their fitness routine. Here are some of my favorite weight training tips:
Move your muscles through a full range of motion before working out. Consider walking on a treadmill or doing jumping jacks.
Lifting weights can improve your mobility and help you stay injury-free.
Have a goal and a plan to get you there. Understand what your focus is for the day, including which exercises and weights you’ll use.
Bad form can lead to injury. Study the correct form and execute it properly.
Always use safety rack or spotter, especially when doing squats or using the bench press. Make sure you are using the equipment properly.
Compound movements involve multiple muscles through a general range of motion, while isolation movements only use one muscle. When starting out, focus on compound movements to get more bang for your buck.
You won’t see progress unless you’re working out consistently. Slowly build and maintain muscle over time.
Change your workout focus every so many weeks. This adds variety and ensures you will keep seeing the benefits of the work you do.
You can get every bit of nutrition from whole, real food. There is no magic pill.
Make sure you’re resting enough between workouts and getting adequate sleep.
Reaching your goal may take months or years of training. Make weight training a regular part of your lifestyle.
By following these tips for weight training success, you will see a positive impact along your health and fitness journey!
Resistance training with weights or body weight is a key component of one’s fitness routine. This involves taxing the muscles through a range of motion so they are pushed to a point where they will regrow stronger and bigger. Here are 11 great reasons why you should lift weights:
Lifting weights offers many benefits throughout your health and fitness journey. Get started today!
Today we're going to talk about resistance training.
A very common question about resistance training is “why would I want to do resistance training if I am trying to lose fat?”
Fat-loss is all about what and how much you eat. And if you are trying to use exercise as a way of burning more calories, you probably pushing yourself to a point that is unsustainable. And when you go back to your normal lifestyle, your metabolism will have slowed. Good weight loss is when the loss is done on a sustainable eating plan. The ideal way is to set small goals like losing one or two pounds per week. Resistance training allows you to retain lean body mass while you lose body fat. This will lead to a better body composition after you've lost the weight.
Lifting weights can help us in three different modalities; muscle strength, muscle mass, and muscle endurance. What many people don’t know is after you turn 35, you start to lose muscle every single year. So, if you look at the older people who did not do resistance training and as a result, they don’t have as much muscle mass. That can be a big problem.
You may not feel comfortable lifting weights. I say you don't have to lift weights; you can actually use your own body weight.
Body-weight exercises like squat and pull-ups are things that can help you get really stronger. Two major advantages of bodyweight exercises are that you can do it anywhere and with limited injury risk.
If you choose to do weights, my typical choice would be free weights. Free weights are better for functional strength. The advantage of machines is that they are easier to learn and use. Regardless of whether you go free weights or machines, always ensure you use good form to avoid injury.
It is difficult to fully cover this topic in 15 minutes. Still, I hope you understand the value of resistance training and don't neglect this very important fitness modality.
Music used for the podcast Intro and Outro: http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music