Tag Archives for " weight lifting "

October 4, 2021

Intermediate resistance training over 40

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On this episode, Coach Allan discusses some intermediate resistance training strategies to boost the effectiveness of your weight training.


Let's Say Hello

[00:00:45.420] – Allan
Hey, Raz, how are things going?

[00:00:48.240] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:00:50.140] – Allan
I'm doing well. We're recording this a couple of weeks in advance, so I'm still on my trip in the United States, kind of rounding down the Miami area, finishing out the last couple of stops up further north in Florida and then into Mississippi. But by the time this goes live October 4, I should be back at the Bed and Breakfast in Bocas Del Toro and trying to get things back into some semblance of normal.

[00:01:20.850] – Rachel
Right. Well, good. I hope you've had a good time visiting all your family and friends.

[00:01:24.490] – Allan
Yeah, it's tiring. And then a friend of mine, he's doing a YouTube channel and he asked me to go out there and like it and comments and do things like that to help him get his YouTube channel going. I went out there and he had a video where he's eating at the restaurants that I would usually be eating at, talking to friends that I would normally be talking to. And so it kind of got me a little homesick, which is strange. I'm in the United States visiting family, but I'm home sick to get back to focus.

[00:01:54.190] – Rachel
Sure. How long have you guys lived in Panama?

[00:01:57.310] – Allan
we're approaching three years.

[00:01:58.820] – Rachel
Oh, my gosh. That's a long time. That's definitely your home. I can totally see that. Yeah.

[00:02:04.790] – Allan
Yeah. So our dogs are there and our place is there and then something happens like this guy, apparently, I don't know. He just decided he wanted to throw a flower pot at the window of the gym and bust the glass. And I did bust it open open, but he busted the glass and so it's now get that fixed. And the guy came back and apologize for doing it and said he would make it right. You pay for it. But it's not my building. So we're, like manager, insert my message.

[00:02:31.580] – Allan
We got to get that window fixed, so just stop. You know, it's like if you're there, those kind of things are not hard to deal with, but when you're over 3000 miles away, it's a little bit more difficult.

[00:02:43.600] – Rachel
Oh, for sure. My goodness. Well, I'm glad you've had a good time visiting family and friends. That's the most important part. It's a long trip for you, though, but I think 4000 miles.

[00:02:53.570] – Allan
You know, when we're getting done with get done with this, we'll put over 4000 miles on a rental car. Yeah. So Tammy is gonna drive down to Key West. I think tomorrow, and I'm not gonna go. She's gonna go down there and hang out with a friend and spend the night and then drive back the next day. But, yeah, I'm not doing that part of it. I'm gonna step here and hang out my family here. So we'll put on over 4000 miles on that rental car before we return.

[00:03:20.050] – Rachel
Amazing. My gosh.

[00:03:22.730] – Allan
So it'll be a long month, long five weeks, but good stuff.

[00:03:28.000] – Rachel
Yeah. I'm glad you got to spend the time here.

[00:03:31.270] – Allan
How are things up there in Michigan?

[00:03:33.320] – Rachel
Oh, good. Good things are good. You know, one of the great grand prizes for turning 50 is a colonoscopy. So I will be prepping for that in the next few days. And hopefully by the time this air, I'll have some good results to share. But this will be my first colonoscopy.

[00:03:50.940] – Allan
That sounds like a show.

[00:03:52.390] – Rachel
It is. It's actually, it's not terrible. The prep work, I'm sure it's going to be real thrilling later, but I'm kind of excited to have this done. Colon cancer does run in my family, and since I've hit that age, it's just one of those things I can check off the list like a mammogram, which I do every year anyway, but, yeah, it's just one of those things that will give me a little peace of mind.

[00:04:16.370] – Allan
Okay. Well, good. I hope it all comes out good.

[00:04:20.820] – Rachel
Good one. Yeah, it'll be fine. But I'll be sure to share my results once I know them.

[00:04:27.600] – Allan
Good. Are you ready to talk about some resistance training?

[00:04:30.880] – Rachel
Yes. Let's do this today.


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.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:27.880] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:32:29.160] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. I do love to talk about resistance training, and sometimes I often use the word weight training, but I do my fair share of weight training and body weight training. But whenever I think about increasing what I'm doing or making things a little bit harder, I just simply think about adding weights or adding more weight to what I'm doing.

[00:32:52.800] – Allan
And for most of us, that's exactly the approach to take. You get to a certain strength level where you feel good about the amount of weight you're moving, then you're good. You're maintaining muscle, you're maintaining strength. And as long as you're not struggling with that same weight, then you're staying about where you need to, because that's quite frankly, no reason for anyone to be able to put 160 pounds over their head. The most you're ever going to probably ever try to put over your head is 25 pounds and that's just putting luggage

[00:33:22.920] – Allan
The overhead bin on an airplane. So if you want to be independent and be able to do that and then being able to open a jar, so there's things that you're going to want to do for independence purposes, but you're not going to have your body weight that you're trying to put into an overhead bin. That's just unless you're bringing a person with you, we don't want to talk about that. But just realize a functional level of strength for most of us is all we need.

[00:33:50.570] – Allan
Now I have set up to do a tough Mudder in August of 2022, and you can go to 40plusFitnesspodcast.com/Chicago. I'm on the 10 to 10:45 run of that. And so if you're interested in doing a tough Mudder, there's one in Chicago I'll be doing it. I'd love to see you. If there's enough people that are interested in, we might do a little meet up or something afterwards, have a couple of beers and have some dinner or whatever. So yeah, if you're interested in maybe doing a tough Mudder, the classic is the one I'm doing.

[00:34:23.940] – Allan
There's also a 5K in 10K. There's shorter versions of it. If you don't think you're going to be quite up to that. But that said, my training for the tough Mudder is going to fundamentally alter the way that I approach training. I'll be using several of these intermediate principles of ways to increase the volume of what I do. I'll definitely be using splits because for me to get done what I got to get done, I won't be able to get it done. Just doing two to two and a half workouts per week, on average, just doing full body, and then I'll be doing a lot of things and there'll be a lot of two days kind of things where I'll do the weight training in the morning and then later on I'll do some endurance work to get myself to a point.

[00:35:12.570] – Allan
But the way I do my training will change because I'm trying to affect different things. I'm trying to affect strengthen some places, I'm trying to affect power in others and then muscular endurance and others. And so as I go through my training more so towards the back end of it is I'm starting to specialize for that sport, if you will. But on the front end, there will be some basic things that I'll be doing to build up core competencies and strength, power and endurance so that I'm able to get that done.

[00:35:42.350] – Allan
And it won't be about muscle mass. So I'm not going to try to become a body builder for the sake of doing this event because that won't benefit me at all. In fact, the goal will be to actually get stronger and smaller, so it will change a little bit about what I do. But again, that's where these kind of these intermediate level things come in, because I will be specializing. I will be doing something different as you're doing longer runs, looking at doing an ultra or anything like that crazy stuff you did this weekend with the five K, ten K half and then full marathon, four days in a row, that kind of mileage.

[00:36:19.630] – Allan
Do you really want to have leg training in your full body workout? The Monday after you do all that and short answers? No.

[00:36:28.070] – Rachel
Definitely no. Yeah.

[00:36:31.360] – Allan
So you have opportunities to use some of these principles is intermediate principles to have volume where you need it and specialize it for the types of things you need where you need it.

[00:36:42.620] – Rachel
Well, that's exactly right. My goals right now are a little different than yours, but that's the whole point about putting these types of plans together based on your goal. And you mentioned you're not going to be adding muscle mass. You want to be leaner. So you're gonna choose activities that correspond with that goal. In the offseason, I'll probably spend a little bit more time in the gym not gaining mass. Like you said earlier, the keyword for me is maintaining strength. And so in the winter, when I'm not running as often, I can do some more of those leg days to keep some strength.

[00:37:23.240] – Rachel
And yeah, it just fluctuates with what my schedule is. And just like you, you've got your eyes set on this tough Mudder, so you'll be putting your training together to address those goals.

[00:37:34.660] – Allan
Yeah. And so in that specialization, and that's where this stuff really becomes critical as a beginner. It's really just about building fundamental skills when you first start lifting weights and to go back to the whole weight training because I will go back and forth. But just recognize, I know when I say weight training is like we don't want to go pick up iron bars in a gym. If all these sweaty guys grunting and all that stuff, it's about resistance is the end game of it. It's a little bit more technical term for what we're doing.

[00:38:05.300] – Allan
We're applying resistance to build strength, muscle endurance or muscle mass or power. And so if I use one interchangeably to me, it's all the same. But I understand that some people get turned off by terms like bodybuilding and weight lifting and all that. So just realize it's all resistance training just how you decide to do it, whether it's your body weight or its weight or its resistance bands or chains, whatever it is, it's still the same are generally the same. But the perfect example would be there's an obstacle called Everest, and it's basically it's a ramp that as you get to the top of it, it gets steeper and steeper until it's straight up.

[00:38:47.950] – Allan
And to get up this thing, you have to sprint, you have to sprint and you have to keep running. And then you reach out and try to grab the edge. Now, truly athletic people can run up, grab the edge, pull themselves up and over. But because this is a tough mudder and not a competition, there'll be plenty of people that will be sitting up there ready to help you. Oh, you reach your arms out as you're running up this thing, and they'll reach down and credit grab you and help you over.

[00:39:13.950] – Allan
So it's a very helpful, very cool vibe there. But that said, I'm not a sprinter from perspective of being 56 years old at that time and trying to sprint, I'm going to have to build some speed. I'm going to build some power into my legs. And that means when I get on like a squat or a leg press, I'm not going to have a whole ton of weight on there. And I'm not going to go slow, like time under tension, like I would normally do for muscle mass.

[00:39:41.210] – Allan
It's going to be about quick, high rep, low weight stuff to get my legs faster, pumping get with the strength relative to weight that I need to build the power so that a sprint will help me at least get myself halfway up that wall and then hopefully the other half of my body up his body length. And so hopefully at that point, I'll be able to grab the edge. And then I'll probably need one or two of those guys up there to help me over. And then I'll reach out and help the person behind me, which is what it's all about.

[00:40:15.370] – Allan
So it's a very different type of training. Then I would be doing otherwise because otherwise, like you, I'd be like, okay, add more weight, slow down time under tension splits to add volume. I'm not a big fan of super sets and monster sets. That's just not something I've ever really enjoyed when I was trying to put on muscle mass. Those were actually valuable for me, and I've used them, but I'm not a fan because I actually like to lift. I like to rest. For heavy weights,

[00:40:52.210] – Allan
I will easily take two minutes to three minutes off between each set so that I've got the maximum amount of energy to apply into the next one. And that really helps me for building muscle mass. But that's not again, not the type of training I'm going to be doing here. If I did a monster set, it would be because one I didn't feel like I had enough time to get everything in or it would be where I was actually just trying to do something fast. Again, building power in parts of my body.

[00:41:18.490] – Allan
So for my legs, I might put together a period of time where I did. I'm probably not a monster set, but a super set with two exercises that were working my legs in different ways and then just the quick back and forth between the two. So there's limited rest and trying to just raise my energy level for that. But each of these has their place. But probably the only one I'd say is just don't do is the Occlusion training. There's not a lot of reason unless you're going to try to do some kind of Masters level body building or something like that.

[00:41:58.970] – Allan
Occlusion is not safe. Unless you do it wrong. You can do it really wrong. So it's not one of those things I would encourage most people to try. I've done it before when I was trying to put on mass, and again, it shouldn't have been putting on mass because I was also training for a sport, but I don't always do the right things, but there's a lot to this stuff. There's some books, ebooks, volumes of books on how to do this stuff. So simple is good.

[00:42:32.620] – Allan
And then over time adapt because most of my clients all train for a while and it's like they get that neuromuscular connection and they start getting a lot stronger and that feels good. And then now you're starting the Plateau and you're like, oh, no. What am I going to do? And then I'm like, okay, well, you're just going to change the workout up a little bit, give you something new, some workouts, some exercises that are going to complement what you've been doing and build strength in a slightly different way.

[00:42:59.410] – Allan
And then you just keep doing that. And that can work for most people almost all the time. But then there's others. They'll say, okay, I want to take it to that next level, and that's where splits and time under tension and variable resistance. All of those things can come into play at one level or another. Not all necessarily at the same time, but at different points in time, we're going to do it. I will definitely be doing negatives. I talked a little bit about negatives. I will definitely be doing negatives to build strength in my back for pull ups.

[00:43:32.130] – Allan
there's gonna be pulls. So I will do like, I think I said it in there, that I'll climb on a ladder or step, and I'll get my chest up to the bar. And then I will hold myself in that position and slowly lower myself down as a function of trying to build more strength in my back and arms.

[00:43:53.630] – Rachel

[00:43:54.770] – Allan
It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt a lot. And I'll have DOMS the next day. But over time that's going to build a lot more strength in my back. I'll be able to hold positions that I wouldn't normally be able to hold because there's there's all kinds of, like monkey bars and swings, and that. So there's a lot of upper body strength required climbing ropes, all of that. So I'll want to build that that up to a really high strength level and one of the fastest ways for me to get there,

[00:44:27.350] – Allan
again, someone who's lifted for a while will be these negatives. But I would not encourage most people to do negatives unless you just really want to hurt or you want to build a much stronger back than you would normally have if you became a goal. Like Rachel, you said, okay, I want to do ten foot pull ups. I want to be able to do ten pullups. We would start with just you using doing lap pull downs and some other rows to get your body basically strong. And then we'd get a resistance band, and we would use that resistance band to assist you or have Mike stand behind you and give you a little bit of assist on your pull up, and you'll be able to start being able to do pull ups.

[00:45:06.560] – Allan
You'll get to a strength level, you can then it's just a function of doing more volume to get to where you can do. The ten that you want to do is your goal that if that is the goal, but a way to get past even that would be then as an intermediate lifter to start looking at negatives or effectively, maybe even attaching weight to your torso or your legs. So you're pulling more weight up than just your body weight. So then that might be again, another strategy that I use to increase the strength that I have in my back.

[00:45:41.560] – Rachel
Wow, that all sound like really wonderful methods that we could try to employ in the gym when it's time to do something different.

[00:45:50.460] – Allan
But not all at the same time.

[00:45:52.240] – Rachel
I know. One thing at a time, right?

[00:45:56.790] – Allan
I don't want you having straps around your biceps, and then you're doing variable resistance, negatives and trying to stay time under tension the whole time. Don't.

[00:46:09.680] – Rachel
But this is great because like I said earlier, whenever I think about making any advances in the gym, I'm sure a lot of people think the same way. Just add pounds, just add weight to your weights. And obviously there's a lot of other tactics that could be employed.

[00:46:26.300] – Allan
And no, like I said earlier, that's a perfect approach if you're getting there. But there's a point you're saying, okay, I did X weight, and then I did X plus five, and then I did that plus 5. And then it's like, okay, now I'm stuck at this weight. And so let's say your original weight was 40 pounds, and then you're doing 45, and then now you're doing 50. But now you just don't seem to be able to go past that. Every time you try to put 55, you get stuck, you're like, okay, I wanted to do this many, and I didn't.

[00:46:58.580] – Allan
And I can't yet. I can't yet. And so the question will be is, what can we do then, to get you past that? Because just adding more weight won't necessarily get you there. If you can't move that weight so we can look at things that would change it up a little bit and be a little bit different, taking long, sometimes even taking a longer rest before you try to do the next set can be all that you need to get that weight moving. But you can look at some of these strategies and say, okay, what's a way for me to do this.

[00:47:31.880] – Allan
I probably should have put in here now that I'm thinking about it. And that's called drop sets. And so let's say you're trying to do deadlifts and you're doing 50 and you want to be able to do 55. I might tell you. Okay, put the two and a half on the outside of the callers, start doing them, and then maybe you only get three done. Pull those two and a half off and finish your set. And so that drop set there again. It's just a strategy.

[00:47:59.340] – Allan
There's a lot of them. But I should have probably covered that one, how they think about it. But it's just there's these strategies. And so if you're struggling with something, particularly with your weight lifting, in this case, because we're talking about, come on to the Facebook group, ask that question, say, hey, I'm stuck at this or this isn't working the way I wanted it to or I want to understand this concept a little bit better. That's why we have the Facebook group. You can go to 40PlusFitnesspodcast.com/group

[00:48:27.890] – Allan
and ask any of those questions. I'm on there regularly. I've been on there less, of course, over the last few weeks because I'm spending time with family and taking some vacation and doing that. So I haven't been out there nearly as much as I was. But as this goes live, I'm there. I'm there for you. So if you have questions about weightlifting, resistance training, all of that, just feel free to come out there and give us a call. Let us know what's going on.

[00:48:51.480] – Rachel
Perfect. And you've got so much experience in the gym. I appreciate all your insight on this. This is great.

[00:48:57.690] – Allan
Well, thank you. But I'm serious about that colonoscopy. So we're going to get you on the line. We're going to have a conversation about your experience there. And because it is something we all need to be considering. I'm looking forward. I'm actually looking forward vicariously experiencing this three.

[00:49:16.750] – Rachel
I appreciate that. I'll take copious notes and I'll let you guys know how it goes.

[00:49:23.140] – Allan
Awesome. Well, Rachel, you'll enjoy your week and I'll talk to you next week.

[00:49:26.590] – Rachel
Thanks. Bye now.


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


July 26, 2021

How to do weight lifting progression over 40

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On today's episode, we're going to talk about weight lifting progression over 40. But before I get started, I wanted to send out a special thank you to the folks in the Facebook group. I asked the question, what were some topics that folks would be interested in learning about weight lifting and weight lifting progression? And man, you guys just came out and I really appreciate it. So if I say your name wrong, I apologize. But I wanted to put out that special thanks to John Dachaeur, Lindsey Dreibelbis, Christopher Joseph, David Norvell, Yared Negussie, Richard Searle, James William Langford, Jeff Baiocco, and Jessica Belzyt.


This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, I am really glad to have Haka Life Nutrition as a sponsor. Omega-3 is one of the few supplements I take regularly. But even with years of experience and having interviewed hundreds of experts in the health and fitness field, I have struggled to find a great solution, until now.

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Let's Say Hello

[00:04:02.900] – Allan
Hey, Raz. How are you?

[00:04:04.790] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:04:07.540] – Allan
I'm doing good. We have finished construction.

[00:04:11.820] – Rachel
Yey. That's so wonderful. Congratulations.

[00:04:16.340] – Allan
Yeah. Yeah. Lula's is now the construction is over and now we're just trying to get it used to living in and figuring it out because all of our crates and everything were stored in our part of our living space or pulling those out and getting them organized the right way. And then because we now have a fence set up, it was funny because apparently the police were looking for somebody last night and they came up just as my dog was waking up.

[00:04:43.820] – Allan
And I told Tammy, I said, since we have the fence set up, I'm just going to open up the gate door and let him out. It just happened just as I let him out. The police drove up on their motorcycle, shined the flashlight because they were looking for somebody that had darted off the road right by our house. And so the dogs barking. And I'm like, and so anyway, we bring them back in.

[00:05:04.340] – Allan
And long story short, I was up at three o'clock in the morning. And he was in the back. He was in the yard and everything was fine. And then he found a way out and we just some waited. We didn't know he could manage to get out, but he managed to get out. So I'm chasing him down the road. He just thinks it's the funniest thing, he just stays just arm's length away from me and he just wags his tail.

[00:05:27.510] – Allan
He's running around in the dark and it's so much fun to him at three o'clock in the morning to be chased by daddy.

[00:05:34.770] – Rachel
Not fun.

[00:05:36.300] – Allan
So it took me a few hours before I could actually get back to sleep, but I did get another sleep cycle in, so I'm OK. But it was not the night I thought it was going to be.

[00:05:47.010] – Rachel
Wow. Yeah. What a night. My goodness.

[00:05:50.070] – Allan
How are things up there?

[00:05:51.390] – Rachel
Oh, good. We're doing good. July is a busy month for us. We have a ton of birthdays. We just celebrated our daughter's birthday. Mike and I have birthdays at the end of the month and my dad and his twin and cousin of ours. And it's just a busy month full of fun. So, yeah. Having a good time.

[00:06:10.340] – Allan
Awesome. All right. Are you ready to talk about weight training?

[00:06:14.130] – Rachel
Yes. Yes. This is exciting.


Really appreciate the questions that you guys set out there. I'm definitely going to do this type of thing again. And if you're interested in helping me make this podcast better, I'd really like to have you in the group. So come to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group and join the 40 plus fitness group today.


Do you feel like you're getting weaker as you age? Here's a hint. The jars aren't any tighter than they were in the 1990s.

If you're not doing weight lifting or resistance training, you are getting weaker. And there's a study I'm going to have a link in the show notes that cites that the number one reason we lose our independence as we age is because we get weaker, we lose our strength. Our enemies are sarcopenia and osteopenia. And if you're not progressing with your weight lifting, you're likely regressing. And we'll go into that in a lot more detail as we get into what progression really is and how you can do it and how you can keep it going to the point that you need it.

So get out your pens, because we're about to get really, really deep into weightlifting progression over 40.


In my wellness roadmap book, I talk about having a wellness GPS and in the Wellness GPS, the G stands for grounding and that's your reason why you're training, why you're dieting, why you're doing any of this. And the vision is also a really important part of this overall commitment to what you're doing. You have to have an idea of who you want to be.

And in reality, almost every single person I talk to about vision, one of the core elements is they want to be stronger. And they want to be more athletically looking, more athletic looking, and so they might use words like toned or fit, but they want that that's a part of this vision of who most of us want to be as we age. We don't want to be frail. We want to be strong. We want to be athletic.

We want to look good. And most of us need all of that. So we lift weights to get there. So with resistance training, I say the term resistance training, sometimes that's a little confusing. So I want to take a step back. Sometimes you're going to hear this as weight training, which is what I used for the title. I tend to use the term resistance training because it's a little less threatening than saying strength training, weight training or body building.

And the reality is they're all very similar. They're all using some form of resistance to affect the muscles in your body. And so for most of the time, you're going to hear me use the term resistance training. And I use it interchangeably with weight training, with strength training, with bodybuilding. You're going to have your own specific goals of what you're trying to accomplish, but you're going to probably do it with some form of weight training, resistance training or strength training, OK. For a muscle to grow, it needs three things.

It needs a stimulus. Now, that stimulus is typically us getting under some form of resistance, under some weight, doing a weight training episode of some sort. Now, it doesn't have to be that we went to the gym to do a workout or we did a workout round. It could be doing yard work. And you might notice after a day of doing some hard yard work and carrying, you know, bags of mulch around, you've got some aches and pains. You feel it. That's the stimulus. You give in your muscle a reason to change.

The second thing that you need is protein and carbs. And yes, we do need carbs for muscle building. We don't have to have them. But if we want to optimize our weight training gains, we definitely want to make sure that carbs are a mix of what we're eating. But protein is really kind of the core and protein kind of gets this really weird discussion when we get into weight training and bodybuilding and all of that.

And so all these little things have come about, these rules of thumb. This broscience. And there's one broscience myth that's out there that you can only consume or absorb 30 grams of protein per meal. Absolutely not true. There's other myths that say you need to spread your protein out throughout the day so that you're, you know, giving your body all the amino acids while it's repairing. And there's also even some myths that say you need to eat right before right after a train like you have some anabolic window.

And the reality is that some people saw great success. So with anecdotal evidence, they ran off and did this. But I actually have linked to a study that shows we don't really know what the upper limit for our protein absorption is. And there's a lot of variables. How much fat did you eat with that meal? How empty was your stomach? And just basically variations between people. I also have a link to a study in the show notes to talk a little bit about that.

They deep dove into it really good. And they linked to a lot of other studies. So what we do know is that the human body can absorb more than 30 grams of protein per meal. But the question comes down then is how much protein should I really be getting? As a general rule of thumb with my clients that are training, actually lifting, doing weight training, I recommend that they get one gram per pound or about half a little less than half a gram per kg the way that works out.

So whichever way you like to handle weight, that's there. Now, one other question that comes up is, well, what if I'm overweight? What if I'm carrying and, you know, instead of being the normal 220, I should be I'm 290. Do I need to be eating 290 grams of protein? And the short answer is probably not. So, you know, as a general rule there, if you feel like 290 grams of protein is too much, you can tap that down a little bit.

So, for example, if someone is overweight, they weigh about 290 kind of estimating what they would weigh without their body fat. We're probably saying, you know, that's a good, what, 70, 80 pounds, 90 pounds maybe of fat so they could try 200 grams. Again, this is if you're training hard, try 200 grams and then just see how you recover, see how your body reacts. Are you getting enough protein to stimulate the anabolic effect of muscle growth?

So if you don't feel like you want to try to eat the 290 and again, you don't have to distribute it across six meals or whatever across the day, you quite literally can have more than 30 grams of protein in any given meal. So it's not that hard to get up to a 180 to 200 grams, which is probably as much as many of us would need, we're not professional bodybuilders, but you can take that protein down a little bit and see. But again, just as a general rule, if you're trying to put on strength, trying to put on some muscle mass, I recommend one gram per pound.

the third thing that you need for muscle growth is rest. For many of this, this is actually the hardest part. The lifting is not already. Eating is not hard. It's when it comes to the rest. Now, there's going to be rest between each set in most cases, depending on how your workouts put together.

But in general, there's going to be rest between sets. Now, that rest time is when your body is taking its energy stores. Basically, the mitochondria that fire the muscle need ATP. So ATP is effectively the fuel for our muscles and our body can regenerate ATP. It just needs a little time to do that. So if we lift, we do a set and then we rest. The longer we rest, the more we allow the ATP to develop.

Now we don't want to wait too long or the muscle cools down and it's not really even the same workout anymore. But you do a good lift. You rest for anywhere from 60 seconds to three minutes and I would never recommend more than three minutes. But for most of us, 60 seconds, 90 seconds, maybe two minutes is going to be enough time between sets. And I'd say as a beginner, try 60 seconds and then see how your second set goes.

If you're almost fully recovered, you might not be fully recovered. Then you're hitting into the sweet spot. So the way I kind of look at is so if I can do 90 percent of what I did for the first set during the second set and then I'm less, you know, just 90 percent less than on a third set. And if I do a forty fourth set, then again, 90 percent less, it's just a little bit harder each set.

I might have to lower the weight a little bit, but in a general sense, I know I'm giving my muscle the stimulus it needs and then the rest it needs between sets rest between workouts. You know, a lot of people that are lifting and training all the time, they have really high recovery rates. They're in their 20s. They're doing great. If you're over 40, though, that's less likely that you're going to recover that fast.

And if you're not doing something like anabolic steroids or some other enhancement, you might find that it's you're going to need some time. I typically like to take at least two days before I work a body part again. So if I did a really good leg session on Monday, I'm probably not going to lift legs again until at least Thursday. And then you can play that by ear and just see how fast you recover. But you're going to need a couple days.

So the folks that go to the gym every single day and do the same workout every single day, they're not giving their body the rest between sets and therefore they're not doing things as intensely and will get into intensity and volume in a minute. But if you're doing an intense good workout that's giving you the proper stimulus for muscle growth and muscle and strength gains, then you're going to need a couple of days for that to happen. And then the final bit of rest is sleep.

Sleep is a very important component because sleep is when all of our hormones are kind of resetting and reorganizing. It's when we're healing internally. And so sleep is a very important component for strength gains, for muscle mass. If you're not getting good sleep, you're probably not going to recover as fast. So making sure that you're getting your rest is it's really important. So, again, the three things that you need for muscle growth is the stimulus that's lifting the weights.

It has to be appropriate. We'll talk about that a minute. You need the protein and carbs, but mostly the protein and make sure you're getting enough of it and then you need the rest. And again, making sure you're getting good quality sleep. You're taking time and breaks between each set and you're taking time in breaks between each workout for a given muscle group.

This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, you know, the benefit of Omega-3 reduced inflammation, which helps with joint pain and heart health.

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So what is progression? Progression is basically where we're getting stronger or we're gaining more muscle and we're doing that generally consistently over time. Now for someone who's over 40, that looks a little different than someone who's a teenager or in their 20s.

Those individuals that are teenagers and 20s, they have a ton of testosterone and they have the opportunity to put on a great bit of muscle mass and a great bit of strength if they go through the proper training and do the rest and the other feeling and do all that stuff. When we get a little older, though, muscles aren't going to grow as fast, predominantly because we don't have the testosterone and also because we don't generally recover as fast.

So not recovering as fast means we can't lift as often. And not having the testosterone generally means we're not going to be able to lift as much and we're not going to be able to, again, recover as fast. So both of those are kind of against us when we're over 40 for, you know, getting tons of strength gains and muscle mass and all of that. So progression generally just means that we're continuing to build muscle and maintain muscle mass, maintain bone density and be strong up to the point.

We need to be strong. OK, I tore a rotator cuff a few years ago and so what I recognized was, OK, what I was doing was, I was trying to push to 80 pound dumbbells over my head from a seated position. And the struggle was not the pushing it over my head. The struggle was getting the dumbbells into the position. I needed them to start the lift. And that's where I hurt myself, where I tore my rotator cuff.

After that event, it really got me to thinking, do I ever have a situation where I would be putting one hundred and sixty pounds over my head for any reason whatsoever? And the short answer is no. I would ask for help so I don't need to be able to lift one hundred and sixty pounds over my head. I don't need to be able to deadlift 500 pounds. So the things that I was doing back then aren't really my priority.

Again, we talked about vision and I do want to be strong. I want to be strong enough to help my wife around if she needs it. I want to be strong enough to carry things that I need to carry for her. So, you know, we just moved into a bed and breakfast and I've got all my stuff in there and it's all in these bins. And some of them are quite heavy. And so my wife wants to go through those bins and she's like, get that bin for me and bring it in here.

I want to be strong enough to do that for her. So I don't have to hire somebody to be that person. So you're going to find strength the way you needed to find strength. You're going to define muscle mass and the look that you want and then you're going to want to work to progress to that point. And then after that point, the progression is really about just making sure we're building a cross or building a good platform. So we're not just strong in one direction, we're strong across all of it.

So we have that support. So there's less injury, less everything else. So progression, as I stated, is not necessarily that you just keep getting stronger and stronger and stronger or you just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It's kind of a combination of just making sure that you're resilient and you're strong enough. So one question that comes up a lot is, well, should women do what men do? You know, we go and we start looking at exercises.

And, you know, women typically will approach the gym very differently than men until they actually get in there and figure a few things out. And then those women realize that the lifts the men are doing work just as well for them. In fact, what I have found is most women can get stronger than men pound for pound if they train hard. Women have a capacity to put up with stuff. They have a capacity to train hard. And while they don't have the testosterone to get as strong as a man or to get as big as a man, they do have some.

And so they are able to get very strong. They are able to get very fit. And so from a training perspective, there's not a real reason for a woman to train differently. With one caveat, women's knees tend to be a weak spot. Women have knee problems a lot more than men. They have hip problems a lot more than men. And so if you have a structural dysfunction, you want to make sure the way you're training is not causing you problems where you're going to injure yourself.

And I'm going to get into that in a minute because I think this is really, really important. So there's not a real reason for a woman to train different than a man other than playing your game. Don't don't necessarily feel like you have to do a certain lift just because the men can do it or are doing it. Recognize if you have a weakness, you have a movement dysfunction, don't play that game. But otherwise there's no reason a woman can't train just like a man.

Circuit training is another topic that comes up quite often, and I'm going to be honest with you, I'm not a huge fan. Circuit training is great for really one good reason that it gets people moving and it gets a workout done quickly. And if it's supervised and managed properly, it can be effective at building muscular endurance. It's typically not very good at building strength. And I'll get into that in a minute. There's a basic structure for most of the circuit training.

So you're going to go in and in some gyms, there's actually a set of equipment that set you just go through the loop and as soon as you finished with one, you move to the other and then the other and then the other. There's two basic approaches to this. One is the big muscle, little muscle. So you might start with leg press and some leg workout. Then you're going to move to maybe your back and then you can move to your chest and are going to move to your shoulders and then you can move to your arms.

And so there's kind of a circuit. You go around, you do when you move to the next machine, you can also do that would have that set up with dumbbells or barbells or whatever. But that's one way that a circuit would work. And there's another one and it's called peripheral hard action. And that's basically where you work a lower body and then you work in upper body. And the premise of circuit training is because you're working a different body part.

You don't have to take that break between sets because you're already automatically taking it, because you're not working that body part again until you come back around for another round. So a circuit can save a lot of time. You can get an hour, hour and a half workout done in less than 30 minutes in a circuit training setup. But there are some problems to it. OK, three reasons that I really don't like circuit training as we're talking about strength and building muscle is that one.

It splits your focus. And so you're going to end up lowering your weight and you're going to end up lowering your time and attention. OK, and I'll get into those topics in just a minute. But just that I call it kind of the Barbie workout and you'll see it where they're not really carrying any real weight. And you can tell they're not really resisting, they're not really struggling. They're just flop in their arms. And now they might do it in really good form and it might, you know, look like they're doing something.

But because there's not enough resistance and there's not enough time and attention, they're not getting the stimulus that we talked about. So, you know, if you go in and you do that, you're typically not optimizing the weightlifting elements of that circuit. If you do put the weight on there and you're doing it fast with the weight. Again, so we're we're doing it pretty quickly. That's more about power and so powers which are after at a given weight.

That's great. You can do that. And so most people are trying to work through the circuit quickly because that's they're thinking about the cardio component of this circuit and they're going through it. So they're not really developing really any core strength. And for a lot of people, when they're going through it, they tend to use the same weight every time. So they know I'm on peg eight, I'm on peg two, I'm on peg three. I'm on peg eight.

And they go around the circuit that way and every workouts the same. And in many cases, like I said, they come back every day and do that same workout. The final thing reason I'm not a big fan of circuit training is when you take speed and you add a load, you increase your risk of injury. So you might be on a machine. And that's great for avoiding injury a lot of times. But when you're moving fast, you're not necessarily paying attention to your form and the risk of injury goes up.

And so there's just a few reasons why I'm not a huge fan of circuit training as a way of getting stronger or building muscle mass. It's just not that effective and the risk is just too high.

So let's talk about resistance. When we're doing resistance, there's two types of resistance, there's fixed resistance and there's variable resistance now fixed resistance is using something like a dumbbell or your body weight or a kettlebell. It weighs the same through the entire length of the movement.

Now, one thing about our muscles is pur muscles are designed with different output capabilities at different points in a movement. So an example I can give you would be this. If you completely straighten your arm out and you grab a weight, you try to pull that weight up from the bottom of that movement. It's very difficult as you get closer to your shoulder to basically curl that weight, your bicep gets shorter in that angle for the lever gets better and you're able you're a lot stronger.

So you're stronger in one part of the movement. And that's where things like resistance bands providing a variable resistance can be actually sometimes as effective or not more effective than the free weights. So there is, for the most part, fixed and variable resistance most of the workout. So we're going to do unless you work with resistance bands and some of the things like chains and some of the other ways that you can create that variable resistance, some machines do it.

But most of the work week we tend to do in the gym or at home and with body weight particularly is fixed. OK, so what kind of resistance work can we do when we're talking about this? There's bodyweight, as I mentioned, resistance bands. There's machines, there's free weights and free weights can include barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells and the like. So which one is the best? And I kind of have a few answers for this.

First is, what do you have? I mean, obviously, I could tell you that, you know, if I could tell you that Dumbell and a barbell would be one of the best pieces of equipment for you to own to make your legs stronger. If you don't have it, you don't have it. So you're not going to be able to do that work. So, yeah, having it is kind of important. Next is what can you get?

So, you know, if I could go to a gym, I don't have to have it. I can go to a gym. So I effectively now have access to it or I can buy it and put it in my home gym and I have it. So, you know, if you can get it, then that's great. Have a plan for that. And then but the real answer I want to get to is that the best is the best tool for the job.

So I'll give you an example. If you wanted to open up a drain and it had a common head screw or three common head screws, you know, you'll be in a movie and you'll see someone take a paper clip and they're able to open that. Well, it's not hard. It's not easy using a paper clip to open a screw, but it can be done. If you had an electric screwdriver, you'd be done with that job in a matter of seconds.

So it's really, really important for you to have the tools you want, which builds all the way back to the vision. You can get yourself very, very strong with body weight, but with some of the implements that you might have access to in a in a gym membership or in a home gym, that you really work well to outfit, you might be able to get results faster. So just thinking about the investment that you want to make relative to the vision you have, you can you can build something.

And so I'm not going to say that body weight is less attractive or worse than dumbbells, but the flexibility you get with having both is better. So the better equipment you have, it's going to make the job easier. So it's just about having the right tool. So let's get into some of the meat of what we're talking about when we're getting into weight training, you'll hear the term reps and sets and I'll define those for you. The reps are repetitions that are the number of times that you move the weight through a certain movement pattern that you're doing for that workout.

So for a body weight squat, you're lowering your butt you're bending your legs down and then you're squatting down and you're getting to parallel below, and then you're coming back up to the starting position standing. That's a repetition. A set is the number of times you're going to do that repetition. So I could give you a workout. And the first exercise is body weight squats. And I'm going to say, I want you to do three sets of ten repetitions, so you're going to do ten repetitions, you're going to take a rest, say 60 seconds, and then you'll do your second set and then a rest and then your third and final set.

And that would be your sets across that exercise. So your reps and sets are that. The other way that we add to a workout and make it a better stimulus as we change the time under tension. So if you're looking to add muscle mass time under tension is your friend. Time and attention is simply the amount of time the muscle is working during each repetition. So the way that looks is I set a tempo for the lift of I'm going to bring the weight down slow.

So I says I'm doing my squat, I'm going to squat down slow for a count of three and then I'm going to squat up slow for a count of three. And I think you'll find if you try that right now, I don't know if you can do if you're driving, don't. But if you can try that, try just doing a quick little squat and feel what that feels like and then trying to do it when you go down for a count of three and then back up for a count of three.

And I think you can see how much more difficult adding time under tension makes that exercise. So sometimes it's not about adding more weight to an exercise, it's merely about slowing down and increasing the time and attention. Now, when we take the reps and the sets and the time and attention and the weight and we add those all up, we come up with what we call workout volume. OK, so for any given body part, your body is going to be capable of doing a given volume at a point in time.

And progression is merely being able to increase that volume. OK, we can do it by increasing the reps, we can do it by increasing the sets, we can do it by increasing the time under tension, and we can do it by increasing the weight. We never want to do all four at the same time. In fact, we only want to do one at a time. So typically, as you're putting a workout together or you're working with a trainer, you'll probably notice that you'll have a fixed workout with a set weight and you'll do that.

And then the next time you come in, if you got stronger, could handle the volume. They added more weight. That's the typical way we do this. But they might also add another setnce you get stronger, they might add a little bit more a few more reps are in or they might change the time and attention. All of those are ways that we can change the workout and increase the volume. And that's that's how we're getting the progression.

Now, one word of caution. When you're doing this weight training and you're over 40, you have to do gentle nudges, OK? And so the number one rule of weight lifting and if you take nothing else away from this episode, take this away. The most important part of weightlifting is to not injure yourself, because if you enjoy yourself, you're not weight training anymore, at least not with that body part. So the number one rule of weight training is do not hurt yourself.

And we do that with the gentle nudges. So a couple of things that are a little confusing as we get into this. So I'm asking you to add volume. I'm asking you to add a stimulus and do this. And typically you're going to recognize that that stimulus happened through pain. It's unfortunate, but it's normal. While you're doing the lift, you might feel a little bit of discomfort and afterwards you might. So when you feel pain after a workout and it's immediate, you need to be paying attention to two things.

Was it a muscle pain or was it a joint pain? If it's a muscle pain, that's probably something you just want to take off a little bit. If it's a joint pain, that's something you probably want get to some help for straight away. Joints don't have the ability to recover the way muscle does, but a terrible muscle is a bad thing, too. So if it's super intense, acute, go, go seek some medical attention.

It's a couple of days later you start feeling really, really sore or maybe even just the day later. That's called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). And that's not a bad thing or a good thing either. So you may experience DOMS when you're lifting and that's that doesn't mean you had a great workout. It just means yes, you did have the stimulus we're talking about, but you may not always have DOMS as you go through your workout.

So that should never be your focus, never be your intent. OK, as you're lifting and we talked about your vision, you really need to be thinking about what your intent for that lifting section is. OK, do you want to get stronger? Do you want to put on some more mass? This is called hypertrophy or do you just want to build some more power? So the ability to do something quickly with load is power. So in thinking about that vision that you had, what does that look and feel like?

So for most of us, over 40, it's about building strength. And maybe some muscular development. So as we're putting together your workouts, that's knowing that intent will help you do the workout the right way. OK, and know that you're getting the right result. If you don't have a target, you won't know when you're there. So when you get started, you might experience something called Newbie gains. And so that's usually for the first two to four months as someone comes in and starts lifting.

They notice that they get stronger a lot faster. So you may go in and say, OK, the first time I did this lift, I could really only do 10 pounds. And by two weeks later I've doubled that. And then four weeks later, I've tripled that. And it's like, you know, I went from 10 pounds to 30 pounds over the course of a month. And you're like, wow, I might be a power lifter for Olympics.

I don't know. The reality is no, that's just newbie gains. It will level off. There's a couple of reasons why newbie gains happen. The first is every time you try to use a muscle, your brain has to fire off for that muscle to fire and use certain muscle fibers. It almost never uses all of the muscle fibers at one time. It uses some of them and it uses just enough for what it thinks it needs to do to do that lift.

So if you are trying to pick up 10 pounds, it struggles with that at first. How many do I fire off? And then once it knows how many to fire off, it gets better at that and then get a little stronger and you can start increasing the weight as you increase the weight. Your brain again is learning how to fire new muscle fibers to do that. So you're basically teaching your muscle and your brain how to talk to each other.

That's basically the neuromuscular communication and that's a big part of what Newbie gains are. And then after that, it's the muscular development. And in many cases, that muscular development comes from a little bit of what I would like to call muscle memory. If your body was more muscular at one time, it knows how to get more muscular a little bit faster. It will turn the muscle fibers thicker. It will actually start adding muscle fibers less so when we're over 40.

But it will activate more muscle fibers and you will grow stronger and a little bit more muscular faster during those first two to four months. And then it's going to kind of level off. And when it does that level off, we call that a plateau. Now, you're probably much more familiar with plateau's from a weight loss perspective. That's a normal part of your body balancing and trying to save you from starving to death. With muscular growth, It's a very similar thing in that it's just not a linear process.

You're not just going to continue to get stronger until you can lift a car. This is not how it works. So at some point you will plateau that exercise that you're doing. You're going to find your peak PR, personal record. And for the most part, you're going to play around there for a long time. And if that's strong enough for that lift for what you're trying to do for your vision, then full stop. You did it. You're good.

OK, but if we want to break a plateau. The biggest and best way to do that is through a process called periodization.


With periodization is kind of where we put all this stuff together. So we talk about the different exercises that we're going to do. We talk about the weights and the reps and the sets and the time and attention or tempo. And you've been doing a particular workout and maybe you do that workout for a number of months and then you get to your plateau.

Periodization is a way that we can avoid ever getting to a plateau. And the way a periodization works is we'll do a particular workout for six to eight weeks and then we'll switch it up, will change the exercises, will change the way you do it. So instead of doing say you were doing 100 pounds for 10 reps, we might change it and say you're going to do one hundred and twenty pounds for six reps. So, you know, the volume is very similar.

It's just a different lift. It's a much heavier weight and the reacts to your body tends to be a little different. OK, so a good periodization does a few things for you. One, it does help you prevent the plateaus that are inevitable. It won't prevent all of them, but it's a really good start. The other thing is it also works very well to improve the variety of your workouts. OK, so if you want some more variety to your workouts, you can do a standard six week deal.

You can even do it more often if you want to. But one of the things I find is if someone is changing out their workout all the time, they're not really getting the sense that they're any stronger. What you're experiencing is, OK, I can bench press 100 pounds and then I move over and I'm doing another exercise. So I still don't know if I'm getting stronger on the bench press. In all likelihood, you are.

But until you cycle back around and start doing bench presses, you really won't have that bad experience. You won't see it. So if something's working, my advice is typically leave it in, stick with it. But if you want to avoid plateaus and you want some more variety, you can mix that in and just recognize you might not see the gains, if you will, that other people will. So that's one of the things like a crosthwaite style workout where they're constantly varied in their workouts.

It's sometimes hard for them to measure where they are relative to how they were before. And unless they do the same workout again later. So they might do a workout like Murf and, you know, for Labor Day. And then a year later, after being in Crossfit for an additional year, they do murf again and they may find that they did a better they had better performance at it. Now, Murf is not necessarily a strength or a muscle mass thing, but it's just when you have that constant variety, you don't necessarily get that feedback that you've done something better.

So doing the same workout, doing those gentle nudges, feeling and seeing yourself get stronger, there's a lot of value to that as far as motivation and keeping you going.

Action. OK, none of this happens, I just taught you a ton of stuff, and if you had the pencil out, like I told you, you've probably been writing down feverishly. If you don't do it, it doesn't it doesn't help. It doesn't happen. You've got to be in the gym.

You've got to be consistent. OK, and I want to leave you with a tool that helps you do that, OK? And it's a tool that I learned from business coach, but I see it works just as well for what we're trying to do here. And it's called the Be do have model. OK, so Be OK. So the people that are like the vision you want to be, when you think about their vision, your vision, I mean, what are people that already have that look like?

what are they doing? What are strong and fit people doing? Well, they train, they actually it's not that they become gym rats per se, but it becomes ingrained in their lifestyle, they're training. They're working. They're in the gym and they're doing it. They're in their home gym and they're doing it. They're in their hotel room doing it, OK? And they grow to love it. That's the one thing that I've found for most people that are healthy and fit and exceptional fit.

They just love it and they're doing it every day. So the Be part is you just have to have that mindset of I'm going to love the process as much as I love the result. The Do part is training and that's just being consistent. So the Be is in your head. You've got to love it, you've got to want it, you've got to mean it. The Do is your training and then the Have is you'll get the strength, you'll get that look and you'll be your vision.

And so start with your vision. Develop your training around that. I gave you a lot of information about how that works. I'm going to be doing a call next week, I mean, this week on the group. And so if you're part of the group 40PlusFitnessPodcast.Com/Group, I do a Facebook live and I announce the Facebook live. So if you can't make the live, then at least go on to the invitation for the live for the event and leave some comments, leave some questions.

I'll be glad to during the live answer your questions. If you're on the live, I'm going to try to answer your questions. I want to make sure that this is more of an interactive podcast when we're doing these types of things, whether it's a solo show and I'm trying to teach and encourage and get you going, because if you want to be stronger and you want to have more mass and you want to be, you know, once your bone density to be where it is and you just want to be fit and tone.

those are not really words, but I'll use them anyway. You want to be that person, you've got to do the work and you've got to know the right way to do it. And you've got to follow rule number one, which is anybody? Right, don't injure yourself and you've got to know what you're doing to not injure yourself, and you've got to use gentle nudges and it's all of that. So there was a lot in this podcast episode.

If you have any questions whatsoever, please reach out to me. I'm on the Facebook group. I'm on Facebook. You can email me. You can even comment on the post for the show notes. As I mentioned, there were a couple studies that we got into. So if you have questions, I'm here for you. I thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

Post Show/Recap

[00:48:20.330] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:48:21.740] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was really a great discussion and weightlifting over 40 or the progression of weightlifting over 40, that was really helpful.

[00:48:30.290] – Allan
Yeah, I was really thankful for the folks that were on Facebook, you know, in our group at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/group, because they asked some really great questions that, you know, if I had not asked them that question, there were bits that I would have probably left out that I shouldn't, now I can talk about weightlifting for months, like our books about it, obviously, you know. And so, you know, it's more than you can cover in any one podcast.

[00:48:58.520] – Allan
And so I've covered strength training before and we've had other, you know, people on authors and whatnot to talk about weight training, resistance training and like. And so it was just good to kind of go in and say, OK, you know, everybody is telling you to lift weights and then lift more weights and lift more weights. And, you know, like Rich, you know, he asked, when is progression too much? What have you done too much?

[00:49:21.560] – Allan
And or, you know, how do you stop or do you stop and, you know, what do you do? And and the reality is, you know, once you become a lifter. You think of yourself as a lifter, you know, you know, the gym becomes or your home gym becomes kind of a part of your training, a part of your daily life. It's you brush your teeth, you lift weights, you know.

[00:49:43.300] – Rachel
That's right. Yeah.

[00:49:45.500] – Allan
And so, you know, I was it was good to be able to go through that and get into it. But I would always preface this with, you know, I said the number one rule of weightlifting is to not injure yourself. And that happens if you follow rule number two, typically, and that is use good form. Whatever training you're going to do, I think it is really important for you to be strategic and really take your time to learn the movements.

[00:50:17.450] – Allan
Machines can seem really, really easy because it's really only one direction. You can push the way and only one direction. It can come back, but you can still injure yourself on the machine. And if that machine isn't aligned to you properly, you're pushing against a resistance in a way that your body's not designed to do it. So, you know, the seat height, for example, on a press machine can mean the difference between using your chest muscles and overly using your shoulder muscles, which can lead to an injury.

[00:50:50.220] – Allan
So even with machines, it's important for you to be strategic and know what you're doing and if necessary, find someone at the gym that knows what they're doing. You know, someone that works there, coach or hire a personal trainer.

[00:51:04.130] – Rachel
Oh, those are great tips. Years ago when I lived in Florida, I did have a gym membership and I would go in and I would just use the machines, just lighter weights. But just like you mentioned, I never always took the time to adjust the seats or maybe play around with different weights. I just kind of wanted to do my thing, get in and get out. But along that same line, though, I never had any personal trainers, anybody at the gym or any of the staff anyway, come up and teach me anything or show me.

[00:51:33.830] – Rachel
And there's some machines out there that I don't even know how to sit in, let alone me. It was probably there's some crazy devices out there.

[00:51:40.850] – Allan
There are. And you see and you see the videos on YouTube all the time how not to do it. And so, yeah, I've seen some pretty crazy things at the gym. The reality is a good gym that has trainers. The trainers should be walking the floor and offering suggestions. If you're in a gym that doesn't have active trainers and again, they're not getting a lot of times they're not getting paid for those hours that they're walking around the gym.

[00:52:07.160] – Allan
It's just expected as a part of their their contract to train people there is that they're walking the floor. It serves to help the people that are working out. It also serves as a sales opportunity because they can see that you need some guidance. And so at least they're there to step up and say, you know, come on in for free consult or something so we can make sure you don't hurt yourself again, rule number one.

[00:52:33.890] – Rachel
Well, that would be great. And there's no shortage of YouTube videos and articles and things out there that teach us how to do certain things. But there's no guarantee that the person showing you how to make that move or do that, that movement knows what they're doing. And even with the NSAM training that I've had, I feel more educated. I feel more aware of what I should and should not be doing. And as far as weightlifting goes, but there's still a few moves that I wouldn't touch.

[00:53:02.060] – Rachel
And the deadlift is one of them. I'm so concerned about doing it with perform, I'd be a lot more comfortable having somebody show me how to do it and teach me how to do it properly, just just to make sure I don't hurt myself at that particular one.

[00:53:14.540] – Allan
Yeah, the key to a deadlift that most people mess up is they think it's just like a squat with the bars in a different place. And it was nothing like the squat, but the deadlift is a hip hinge movement. You're literally all you're trying to do is hinge your hip and you do that by leaning forward more than you would on any kind of squat. And you literally drag the bar up your leg so your shins should be vertical, your shins should be vertical in this lift, whereas squat they won't be they're going to be at an angle out.

[00:53:56.390] – Allan
And so if your shins are straight and you're bent down, your whole center of mass is now well behind the bar. So you're talking a foot or more away from the bar and then you want to drag that bar up. You're up a good session for me that i've got bloody shins. Oh, it just is. The bevils on the bar that they rub up against that I don't wear high socks, you know, I'm not that girly girl yet, but I'm just.

[00:54:30.050] – Allan
Just drag it all the way up your legs, if it gets away from your legs, you're losing it and you need to lower the weight. And so if I'm going to work with someone and teach them the deadlift, it's let's start with a PVC pipe. Quite literally, it weighs next to nothing. Then I'll pick up one of those spin lock bars that weighs about 15 pounds. And that's a good time for them to at least feel a little bit of weight to it, drag it up along their leg, have a little bit more of that bevil I was talking about.

[00:54:59.450] – Allan
So they kind of feel that roughness as it's going up. And I understand what people are afraid of the deadlift because they keep being told that deadlifts are going to hurt your back. But I'm of the principle that you hurt your back because you're not doing deadlifts. The history of the deadlift as this is, is actually it was a technique taught to people to move human bodies, dead bodies. When people were having to remove dead bodies, they were they were hurting themselves doing it because the human body is heavy, especially when it's solid and it's awkward.

[00:55:34.580] – Allan
So they were teaching them how to lift a dead body without hurting themselves. And that's where the deadlift technique as lift came to be in the dead lift. So but they don't want you to hurt your back. And if you and reach over to lift up something heavy, like you want to, you know, lift up one end or pick up one end of a dresser, if you and someone else remove dresser or it's a hip hands movement because you can't get your knees underneath it, you're behind it, you're beside it.

[00:56:03.800] – Allan
So you have to use a hip hinge properly or you're using your lower back and that leads to injury. So learning good technique, even if you're not going to go super heavy on the deadlift, learning good technique for a given comfortable way isis valuable to not injuring your back. And so you should easily be able to do sets of of deadlift at half your body weight.

[00:56:27.620] – Rachel
Oh wow.

[00:56:28.160] – Allan
Think about the other things that you might want to lift.

[00:56:31.270] – Allan
OK, and that fits in like a bag of dog food. We have a fifty five pound bag of dog food because we have two hungry dogs. To pick that up, I have to use the Hip hinge deadlift and to pick up the dog food at least to get it up to waist high. But so it's a movement that we do and it's good for us to generally know how to do it safely and up to a specific level of strength.

[00:56:59.330] – Rachel
Yeah, that's a good one. And we were talking about squats to squats are another one. A lot of misconceptions apparently with that one.

[00:57:07.160] – Allan
There are. Because, you know, you'll hear your toes should be pointing directly forward and about shoulder width apart and then you'll hear your knees should never go beyond your toes and all of these other things. But the reality is all of us have different length legs. So depending on how long your shin bones are relative to the upper part of your leg, you're going to have a different lever system.

[00:57:31.880] – Allan
It's going to work and it's going to look different. So you can watch a guy do squats and you'll see it. Someone who's got a leaner frame can have their legs practically right beside each other. And just you'll see, it's more common in Asian countries. But one of the resting positions is literally to just squat down and the butt is right up against your heels sitting on the ground. And they're comfortable sitting in that position because they have the mobility.

[00:58:03.410] – Allan
They've small frames so their legs can be very close together and they can get down in that position. My hips are wider, so I have to spread my legs wider or I can't get my hips down without shifting motion, my synonomous forward. So if I'm going to shift it now, I'm more in a hip hinge, but the weights on my back, my shoulders. So that puts me at a bad place for my back.

[00:58:29.270] – Allan
So for me to keep my back in a neutral position, I have to spread my feet and I do point my toes out slightly and then the knees should always just track over the toes. And when I say over, they may go to the toes, they may go slightly past it again. The core of it is just to make sure that it's a smooth motion and that your knees are lined up properly with your toes. And then when you go down, you always want to go to parallel or below.

[00:58:58.430] – Allan
And there's a very important reason for that. When you go down to parallel or below, you have to fire your glutes. OK, prior to that, everything is being basically slowed down or controlled with your quadriceps. So if you can imagine having let's just say you put half your body weight on your shoulders and you start to squat down and you want to stop that movement, suddenly you're only using your quadriceps to do it. And that puts pressure on the knees.

[00:59:32.460] – Allan
OK, that's why there's knee pain for a lot of people doing squats is they do half squats. They don't know three quarter squats. If you get down to parallel or below, the quadriceps are out. They can't do anything. So the only way you stop that weight is to fire your glutes. And you use the glutes, one of the strongest muscle in your body. That used not much when we're sitting around, fire that off and that stops the momentum going down and can restart the momentum going up, therefore not putting pressure on your knees because the glutes are able the quadriceps on the front of your legs are able to relax and let the glutes take the weight.

[01:00:15.690] – Allan
So it's a handoff that happens right about parallel. So it's important to get to parallel so the glutes can fire. And one way I tell my clients that they want to really make sure that they feel that is to imagine that you have one hundred dollar bills squeezed between your butt cheeks. And if you hold on to it through the whole lift, you get to keep it.

[01:00:37.870] – Rachel
Oh, nice. That's a good trick. Good tip on that one. And that's an important movement. And I like to lift weights and do body resistance training and squats are always in my wheelhouse. I'm moving the glutes. Strengthening the glute is the most important thing for runners since more runners should spend time in the gym, that's for sure.

[01:01:00.550] – Allan
Well, yeah, because it balances you out. You know, if you're running, it's great. That's great. Cardiovascular stamina work. You do build leg musculature, but it's a muscular endurance. It's not a muscular strength. And then with weight training, you know, you can now start working in laterals. You know, you can do side lunges and you can do other work that's going to complement your legs and keep your knees healthier.

[01:01:27.580] – Allan
And you can find those movement issues that if running, you know, if running is going to hurt you over time, it's going to be either because you have an overuse injury or it's because you let other muscle groups get weaker. And, you know, remember, I had, was it John Vanquish. We talked about how weight lifting would be superior to cardio overall over time for weight loss. And that was predominantly because, again, yes, you don't have any muscular musculature in your if you're doing endurance running.

[01:02:04.690] – Allan
They have almost no musculature in their upper body because there's no usage of it. They're swinging their arms. But then that's not doing anything for them. So building a little bit of muscular strength makes you functional outside of running and building core strength and muscular strength in your legs, outside of just the running muscles of the quadriceps and the hamstrings, quite literally, will help you run faster. So, you know, particularly in the sprint. So if you get to the final hundred yards and you're like, you know, you're seeing that clock ticked down and there's a PR on that clock.

[01:02:37.720] – Allan
Yeah, I'm going.

[01:02:40.690] – Allan
And that's that extra strength and extra power that you're building by doing resistance training is going to help you do that.

[01:02:47.030] – Rachel
Oh, absolutely. I also want to point out one more thing you mentioned in your podcast about what did you say that the cans aren't getting any harder to open? The pickle jar? You know, and it's funny because, you know, it's not any harder, but I was that strong enough to begin with. But, you know, it's those types of functional movements. You know, it's one thing to be a well rounded, rounded runner. That's fine.

[01:03:11.830] – Rachel
But it's the functional movements of day to day life that could be enhanced by doing a little bit of resistance training, whether it's the dumbbells or the bands like you mentioned, or body weight like I do on occasion, you know, just that type of activity could make just daily tasks just that little bit easier.

[01:03:29.950] – Allan
it does. I mean, when you think about like we talked about the deadlift, OK, so what do you have to do with the deadlift when you're grabbing the bar? You have to have the grip strength. And for most people who work the deadlift up to a point, they realized that the limiting factor for them becomes their grip, not how much they can deadlift. And so then and now it's grip strength. And you'll see people if you go into a gym, you may see people using wraps where they strap on or hooks or something.

[01:03:59.410] – Allan
So it's taking away the requirement that they hold the bar for their lift. OK, which means then for the deadlift they can deadlift more because they've removed the single point of failure. But rather than get their grip strength stronger, they do that. So then so then you come up with terms like raw and ated and things like that. So there's deadlifts that people have done with straps that could deadlift more typically than someone deadlift without. And the prime factor of that is that they're using the straps to end a grip is not failing in that lift.

[01:04:34.840] – Allan
So but you do make your grip stronger. When you're doing it, I mean, just because you're walking around, you're holding something heavy, a dumbbell, a barbell or something, or you're doing a pulling movement every time you grab a bar, every time you grab something and you're having to hold that, that's grip strength. And so that's going to help you open that pickle jar.

[01:04:57.520] – Rachel
I sure hope so. That's my plan.

[01:05:00.520] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I'll talk to you next week, OK?

[01:05:03.430] – Rachel
All right. Take care. Thanks, Allan.


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Another episode you may enjoy


June 7, 2021

The resistance training revolution with Sal Di Stefano

Apple Google Spotify Overcast Youtube

In the battle to lose weight, you might be better off doing resistance training. Sal Di Stefano from Mind Pump Podcast tells us why.


Let's Say Hello

[00:02:00.830] – Allan
Hey Raz, how are things going?

[00:02:02.240] – Rachel
Good, Allan, how are you today?

[00:02:05.000] – Allan
I'm on a mend, I'm starting to feel a little bit better, still have almost a whole nother week of quarantine. The way they do it here is, you if you test negative, I mean, test positive, then, yeah, I passed. Then you have to spend two weeks going through quarantine. So, I mean, I have been pretty much locked upstairs at the bed breakfast for a little over a week and a half now. So we're on kind of the wind down days.

[00:02:37.010] – Allan
We're recording this on a Monday and so on Thursday, technically, I think she can go in and get tested. And then Friday would be my day to go back in and get tested. So I'm not sure if we're going to try to go together or how exactly that's going to work out. But anyway, we'll go back and get tested and hopefully everything will be negative then. And we can resume our lives. But yeah, feeling better and slowly getting back on my feet.

[00:03:02.990] – Rachel

[00:03:03.530] – Allan
Getting things done. Fell way behind on everything.

[00:03:08.210] – Rachel
For sure.

[00:03:08.990] – Allan
But you know, because you can't sleep 20 hours, 16 hours a day and be productive.

[00:03:14.810] – Rachel

[00:03:17.630] – Allan
I was eating or sleeping. That was pretty much it for about three or four days there, so.

[00:03:24.430] – Rachel
Wow. Well, I'm glad you're feeling a little bit better, and that's good.

[00:03:28.550] – Allan
How are things up there?

[00:03:29.870] – Rachel
Oh, good. We're finally getting some good weather. I'm he acclimating getting ready. I'm looking at my taper now for my fifty miler will be coming up in a couple of weeks. It'll probably be very close to when this airs. So I'm kind of looking at the taper phase right now, just taking it down a notch and getting used to running in the heat so that it's been good.

[00:03:51.050] – Allan

[00:03:52.220] – Rachel
Yes, lots and lots.

[00:03:55.010] – Allan
Hydrate. Hydrate. And if you need to go back and listen to the last couple episodes, because, you know, there's a couple out there and hydration is one of the keys for making sure that you're in a good state to get your fifty in.

[00:04:08.180] – Rachel
That's for sure. Yeah. Thanks so much.


[00:04:48.290] – Allan
Sal, welcome to the 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:50.900] – Sal
Awesome. Thanks for having me on.

[00:04:52.250] – Allan
Yeah. You know your book, The Resistance Training Revolution. I think if we stopped right there, you'd lose a lot of people. But then you had this subtitle, so really cool subtitle that says The No Cardio Way to Burn Fat and Age-Proof Your Body in Only 60 Minutes Per Week.

[00:05:08.660] – Sal

[00:05:09.230] – Allan
That rings a bell.

[00:05:11.120] – Sal
Yeah. You know, it's funny, the publisher, actually the publisher really wanted that in on the cover. And I was slightly, no pun intended, resistant to it because it sounds a little bit like a lot of the stuff we hear from the fitness space whenever they're trying to market a new diet or new workout plan. But I knew I could back it up with the information in the book. And you're right, resistance training, you know, to people like us in fitness, we know what that means.

[00:05:39.140] – Sal
But the average person. Probably doesn't have an idea, or if they do, it's not the right idea in terms of what I'm talking about. So, we put the whole thing there. So it made sense to people who had it who didn't know.

[00:05:51.190] – Allan
Yeah. And when you get into the book, it'll make a ton of sense to you. Why he put it that way and exactly what we're after here. But let's just kind of dive right on it. You know, a lot of people will hear terms like weightlifting and workout and, you know, they walk into a weight room and honest truth, most of them never make it past the treadmills. You've run a gym. So, you know, the treadmills are always in the front of the gym because that's about as deep as three quarters of the people are going to make it.

[00:06:20.380] – Allan
And they don't really see changes in their body or their health or their fitness over the course of even maybe years of only going that deep into the gym. Why is resistance training so good for us?

[00:06:33.280] – Sal
Well, resistance training, first off, to define it right. It's utilizing resistance in a specific way to build strength and muscle. So it's not just using resistance. Right. It's using it in a way designed to build specifically strength and muscle. So you could, you know, walking uses resistance because you're using your body. So does running, so does swimming. But none of those are done in a fashion to really focus on building strength and muscle. So resistance training, that's kind of the umbrella term.

[00:07:05.830] – Sal
And there's lots of different ways to perform resistance training. In that way, you can use just your body weight, just your body weight can provide most people with sufficient resistance, especially with the right workout plan to elicit those types of things that talk about strength and muscle. You could also use, of course, weights, dumbbells and barbells. You could use machines and resistance bands and pretty much anything that'll give you resistance that you can use in the ways that I outlined can be classified as resistance training.

[00:07:37.570] – Sal
Now, why is it so valuable? Resistance training elicits an adaptation response in the body that is extremely protective and directly counters all of the chronic health issues that are result of the modern lives that we live in. So if you look at modern societies, and especially if you were to compare modern societies to pre modern societies, you would see that we have some pretty unique chronic health issues. The most obvious being obesity. Obesity was largely a non-issue for most of human history.

[00:08:16.930] – Sal
It wasn't a problem. We didn't die from eating too much or having too much body fat just didn't happen. But because we've made food so easily accessible and palatable and because our lives are so extremely sedentary and because and I talk about this in the book, we've become very weak with very little strength and muscle. Obesity now is a reality for a majority of people that live in modern societies. And obesity contributes to quite a few chronic health issues. Diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer's, heart disease, the list goes on.

[00:08:56.080] – Sal
And then even without obesity, dementia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, there is a significant portion of people who will suffer from those things who are not obese, but they are also oftentimes the result of modern life. And so understanding this and there's much more that goes into this, right. So modern life is very busy at sedentary. Most people will not dedicate more than two or three days a week of exercise in their schedule. It just doesn't work for most people.

[00:09:24.250] – Sal
I've learned this through decades of training people. When you consider all these factors, there's only one form of exercise that really is effective at helping us. And it's not the one that most people do or the one that most people pick or even the one that most doctors have recommended in the past. The one form of exercise that's best for all of this is resistance training. And of course, a lot of people, when they hear that, especially when I say lifting weights, they picture bodybuilders or people with extreme bodies.

[00:09:54.430] – Sal
And that's unfortunate. And really, that's the result of a lot of misinformation, stereotypes and stigma that are almost entirely false, that really don't apply to the average person. So the goal with the book was to illuminate that to change, to get the average person to understand the value of resistance training and to pick up some weights or do some form of that exercise in pursuit of improving their health or even just to look better.

[00:10:21.820] – Allan
Yeah, and being over 40, you know, you brought this up in the book as well. There's things happening in our body that weight training, resistance training is going to specifically address, such as hormone imbalances, particularly with testosterone. It's going to address some other issues like osteopenia. Can you go a little bit into those benefits,

[00:10:41.900] – Sal
yeah, so let's start with bone loss or bone weakening, which is actually quite a big problem, even it affects men, affects more women, but it also affects men.

[00:10:51.070] – Sal
So this is the weakening of bone, osteopenia. And then, of course, when it gets real bad, it becomes osteoporosis and this can become quite a big problem. Resistance training, remember the the the primary adaptation that resistance training causes in the body. And this is, by the way, a good conversation that we can get into a little later in terms of when you view exercise, you want to look at the workout and then understand the adaptations that the exercise or workout is causing in the body, rather than just looking at the calories burned while performing the exercise.

[00:11:24.640] – Sal
So when we look at the adaptations, which are to build strength and muscle, it also directly does that to bone because muscle anchors at bone. So studies will show that most forms of exercise have some positive effect on bone, but usually it's very little. For example, people with osteopenia, if they run or walk or cycle, they'll notice a little bit of an increase in bone mass in the lower extremities, not much in the upper extremities swimming you'll see really small incremental changes with resistance training.

[00:11:59.860] – Sal
It's like, night and day, like nothing comes close to the bone strengthening effects of resistance training. Now, you mentioned hormones. A lot of people like to hear about this one because, you know, as we get older, we start to feel differently. Maybe libido drops a little bit. It's not as easy for us to burn body fat our skin. Does it look the same? We don't have the same vigor. And some of that is a result of just getting older.

[00:12:25.570] – Sal
And some of that as a result of changes in hormones, for example, and men, testosterone levels start to decline right around in our thirties. And it just continues that way until the day we die. Men and women, aside from menopause, they still get imbalances with estrogen, progesterone. They also have issues with their own testosterone, both men and women. Growth hormone, which some doctors will call the youth hormone, will decline as we get older.

[00:12:55.300] – Sal
And so a lot of people are interested in ways to naturally improve our hormone profile because it makes us feel good, right? If you give an older man testosterone, he starts to feel amazing and younger and has more vigor. If you balance out a woman's hormones artificially through either utilizing estrogen, progesterone or even growth hormone, she'll feel the same way. She'll feel more vigor, younger, more energy. So a lot of people are interested. How can I do that naturally?

[00:13:25.630] – Sal
Well, improving your health generally well can positively affect those, but it's not a huge effect. In fact, some forms of exercise tend to have a negative effect on hormones. For example, cardiovascular activity has been shown in some studies to lower testosterone quite reliably in men, in my experience. And women, especially when women are already present with some hormone imbalances or symptoms of hormone imbalances, cardiovascular activity can actually make that much worse. Resistance training is the only form of exercise that has been shown to reliably raise testosterone in all men.

[00:14:03.190] – Sal
So whether your testosterone is low in the middle or even high, you'll get a raising of testosterone. Not only that, but it also increases the density of androgen receptors in the body. So these are the receptors that testosterone attaches to. So you want to think of testosterone. It's like a key and the receptor is a lock. And if you have a lot of testosterone but you don't have very many of these locks, it's not going to do much in your body.

[00:14:26.890] – Sal
So more androgen receptors makes your testosterone just more effective. Well, resistance training not only raises testosterone, but also increases androgen receptor density. In women, It's been shown to balance out estrogen and progesterone. In both men and women, It raises growth hormone levels, brings them up to more youthful levels. In both men and women, muscle is by far the most effective way to improve insulin sensitivity, which is a very important thing, right? Insensitivity is insulin or insulin resistance ultimately causes things like diabetes.

[00:15:04.060] – Sal
It leads to cognitive dysfunction, excess body fat storage, especially in places that may be in store body fat before. So if you notice, as you get older, you as you gain weight, you notice your body fat is kind of being stored a little bit differently, could be result of hormone imbalances or insulin resistance. And so resistance training positively affects all these things. And so you might wonder why why does why does lifting weights or using resistance bands or doing body weight exercises to build muscle strength, why does that have such a positive effect on our hormones.

[00:15:38.620] – Sal
Again, it has to do with the specific adaptations that it asked the body to do so resistance training really is the only form of exercise that we could categorize as being pro tissue. So pro tissue in the body. Most other forms of exercise and in particular cardiovascular exercise, which includes running, swimming, cycling and those kinds of workouts. Those are anti-tissue. They tend to be, they want your body to get rid of active tissue. So let's start with that for a second.

[00:16:14.530] – Sal
So what does that mean? When you do lots of cardiovascular activity, when do you do any form of exercise? Your body aims at becoming better at that form of exercise. And so it adapts. That's an adaptation process, right. So if you go running and it's your first time, it's really challenging. A half a mile is very exhausting to you. Your muscles burn, your lungs burns really hard. Your body senses this. It's a stress.

[00:16:40.180] – Sal
It's a stress on the body. And everybody says, OK, we need to get better at doing this so that next time the same insult, the same stress won't bother us as much. And so you become more fit. You get better at that type of exercise. That's what adaptation is. Now, what does specifically speaking, what does what happens to the body when your body is trying to get better at endurance type activity, which is what cardiovascular exercise is, whether you're on an elliptical or running or riding a bike.

[00:17:13.050] – Sal
In order to get better at endurance exercise, it does a few different things. One is it learns to become more efficient with energy or more efficient with calories, OK, because cardiovascular activity burns a lot of calories during the time that you're doing it. So during an hour of cardio, you're going to burn more calories than doing an hour of other forms of exercise. So within that hour of exercise, you're burning all these calories. Your body's like, OK, we need to get better at being efficient with calories, not unlike a car that could adapt to your driving habits, becoming more of a hybrid or a one cylinder engine trying to burn less gasoline.

[00:17:52.980] – Sal
Also simultaneously, your body says we need stamina, but we also don't need strength. We just don't need much strength at all. We just need endurance. And so what your body does is it actually reduces muscle mass. Studies are very, they show this very clearly that if you lose weight through diet and cardio, so if that's your formula, that roughly half of the weight that you lose will be muscle mass. So in other words, if you lose 10 pounds, five of it will be body fat.

[00:18:25.950] – Sal
Five of it will be muscle. And what this does is it slows down the metabolism, makes you more efficient with your calorie burn, and it makes you better at cardiovascular activity. And so over time, your body burns less calories. You'll notice at first you lost weight and then you stop losing weight and you plateaus how people experience cardio with diet when it comes to weight loss and they end up with a slower metabolism. But nonetheless, one of the primary adaptations is even right out the gates is to reduce muscle mass to make you better and more efficient at this particular activity.

[00:19:00.190] – Sal
So it's anti tissue. OK, now think of the hormones that are involved with reducing muscle mass or at the very least, what hormones would combat muscle loss. Right. What hormones get in the way of losing muscle? Well, testosterone. Testosterone makes your body want to keep muscle. So this may be why cardiovascular exercise or endurance exercise in men has been shown to reliably lower testosterone. Your body wants to get rid of muscle so it can't have all this testosterone floating around.

[00:19:30.360] – Sal
Growth hormone is another one. You start to see over time a reduction in growth hormone. In women, you see a spike in cortisol. Cortisol is great for energy, but it's terrible for muscle. So when your cortisol goes up, you get a little bit hyped and energy. This is the fight or flight hormone, but over time it burns away muscle, making you more efficient at your activity. So anti tissue. OK, now let's look at resistance training, resistance training while you're performing, you don't burn a ton of calories, at least not in comparison to other forms of exercise.

[00:19:58.140] – Sal
But that's OK because we're not worried about the calories we're burning in that hour of workout. In fact, even with cardio, it's still insignificant, even though it's more still not that big of a deal. Well, we want to look at is how is this telling my body to change? What are the signals that it's sending to my body? So with resistance training, my body's sensing we need strength and we need muscle. That's what we need right now.

[00:20:19.800] – Sal
We're not worried about being efficient with calories. We're not worried about tons of endurance. We need strength and muscle. And so you end up building muscle as a result. Now, studies show that resistance training in combination with diet. So a lot of these are the same studies you see on cardio. And so we'll compare the two resistance training and diet results in all fat loss or in some cases, you'll see fat loss with a little bit of muscle gain.

[00:20:47.610] – Sal
So if you lose ten pounds doing resistance training, it's all body fat or you might actually gain some muscle in the process. Right. Now, think of the hormones that are involved with building muscle. You need testosterone. You need growth hormone. You need to be sensitive to insulin. Insulin can actually build muscle or when you utilize it efficiently, effectively. We can't have cortisol levels that are too high all the time. And in women, we need a balance of estrogen and progesterone.

[00:21:19.830] – Sal
So through the the adaptation signal, the direct adaptation that resistance training is asking the body to engage in, your body optimizes its own hormones in order to adapt. So resistance training from a hormonal standpoint is incredible. It's superior. So if you want if you're getting older and you want to feel younger through the method of having more youthful levels of hormones, resistance training stands head and shoulders above any other form of exercise.

[00:21:55.140] – Allan
Yeah. Now as we get into this, for someone that hasn't lifted before, I think basic terms can be really important. But beyond that, you had some specific thoughts on pretty much each of the terms that I'm going to bring up. Can you talk a little bit about reps and sets? And why those are important or how we would use those?

[00:22:15.580] – Sal
Yeah, I'm glad you brought this up, too, because I did write the book for there's a few different people that I thought of when I wrote the book, a few avatars. One of them are the coaches and trainers as a way to arm them, because this is something that we're constantly having to communicate and battle with whenever we're talking to potential clients. So it's a great tool. I also thought about primarily the average person, the average person who, when they think of exercise, if their doctor tells them to workout or whatever, they don't think of resistance training.

[00:22:45.130] – Sal
They think of going for a walk or running, swimming or cycling. So they don't know what these terms are. They might have heard reps and sets, but they don't know what they are. So a repetition is when you perform one full motion of the exercise. So let's say I'm doing a curl, right. This would be a curl, like a rep would be bringing it up and then bringing it down. So that's one. So one repetition.

[00:23:06.670] – Sal
A set is a number of repetitions that are performed together before I rest to perform another set. So let's say my workout today consists of 10 reps of the curl. So then I'll do my ten reps. Once I'm done with my 10th rep, I put the weight down. That is a set. So if your workout says, do you know three sets of ten reps of bicep curls, you know, you're supposed to perform this exercise with four, ten reps rest and that's one set.

[00:23:39.790] – Sal
And then repeat that two more times.

[00:23:42.010] – Allan
OK, another phrase you got into was range of motion. And I think this is an area that's really, really important because using proper range of motion can be huge. And I see so many people in the gym that they don't. And so can you talk a little bit about what range of motion is within the doing the exercise and how that's important to us?

[00:24:04.330] – Sal
Yeah, so range of motion really just refers to when you're doing the rep, you know how far you go down, how far you go up. So just to put it quite plainly, right. So again, to do the curl all the way down, all the way up, that's my range of motion. Now, range of motion, there is an ideal range of motion for every exercise, but there's also a range of motion that's individual to the person when they're working out. The best way to get the best results, to gain the best results, the best benefits, all the benefits of resistance training,

[00:24:39.370] – Sal
You want to train in a full range of motion that you own for your body. In other words, the range of motion that you have control and stability over. OK, so if I'm doing a squat, for example, and I can go all the way down and go all the way up, but with good control, good stability, I have you know, I'm connected to my muscles and I feel like I'm in control in the entire rep, then that's the best range of motion for.

[00:25:06.550] – Sal
Now, let's say you're doing a squat and I could go all the way down and all the way up. But at the bottom, my low back rounds and my knees cave in a little bit and I just don't have lots of stability at the bottom. Well, that's a range of motion. You shouldn't train and we're going to stop you and have you trained above that. So essentially, you want to train within your fullest range of motion to the fullest range of motion that you have the most control and stability in.

[00:25:30.820] – Allan
now doing so, you'll gain strength within that range of motion. And if you find that you can't perform a full range of motion because you don't have the control and stability over time, challenging yourself again within reason will elongate your range of motion and will increase the range of motion. So there's a common myth around resistance training that it is not a good form of exercise for flexibility. It's not a good form of exercise for mobility. And it makes us tight.

[00:26:02.860] – Sal
Right. People say, oh, if you lift weights or you do lots of resistance training, it's going to make you really stiff and tight. In that myth. And it is a myth. It's a complete myth. Probably comes from the extreme bodybuilders that work out and they move around like they can't move very well. And in popular media probably doesn't help when bodybuilders or people with big muscles are depicted in movies, are typically depicted as being very stiff and very tight.

[00:26:28.750] – Sal
The truth is, resistance training is one of the best forms of exercise for functional flexibility. OK. So functional flexibility is the flexibility that you have strength and control over. Right. So flexibility is just range of motion. Functional flexibility is, do I own that range of motion? Am I strong in that range of motion? So to give you an example, I have a six month old baby at home. Right. So new baby, six months old.

[00:26:58.870] – Sal
He's very flexible, like most babies. I mean, I could take his legs and I can put them up by his head and put them in the splits. And it's no problem. But he has very little functional flexibility. In fact, he's very unstable. So although I can take his legs and bend them all over the place, he would be prone to injury if you were to try to move within those ranges of motion or even with load, right.

[00:27:19.310] – Sal
He's got very little control. Resistance training because you're training with resistance to strengthen your body as you train within your ranges of motion and as those ranges of motion improve and increase, you own them, you control them and you're strong within them. So it's the difference between somebody who can sit in a squat versus someone who can sit in a squat and their kid can jump on them and it doesn't hurt them or they can jump out of the squat and it doesn't bother them or they can hold something or they can do it with load.

[00:27:49.970] – Sal
So functional flexibility, which is the kind of flexibility that you need when none of us need extreme ranges of motion, you know it's not doing the splits is cool. But the average person, there's really not a lot of value in doing the splits, but there is a lot of value in being able to twist and turn and bend over and lift a box and move the couch and play with your kids. And, you know, you step off a curb and catch yourself.

[00:28:15.650] – Sal
Those are all functional flexibility. And that's what resistance training provides that other forms of exercise really don't. They don't provide resistance within ranges of motion, or at least not in a way that builds strength within those ranges of motion.

[00:28:28.670] – Allan
Yeah, the way I like to put it is I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105, you know, which is a twist and it's a stand up from a seated position all on my own without a bar, without assistance. So and I think that's really important because as we look at strength training through the full range of motion means every rep, you're going to get more value out of it.

[00:28:51.230] – Sal

[00:28:51.520] – Allan
Not wasting energy, going in there, doing half motions.

[00:28:54.380] – Allan
You're actually getting the most out of that exercise. Another term that I think is really important when we're talking about the value of a rep is tempo. Can you talk about tempo?

[00:29:05.390] – Sal
Tempo is just refers to the speed that you perform the repetition, really. So back to the curl, right, if it takes me three seconds to go down, three seconds to go up and maybe a one second pause at the top or whatever, that would be referred to as a three one three tempo or whatever, we don't get that complicated. The average person does, it's not that not super important. What's important is to know that you want a controlled tempo.

[00:29:32.790] – Sal
When you do resistance training, OK, so there are definitely cases where a fast tempo is valuable, but really that's relegated to athletes who need speed and power. The average person, there's not a ton of value in doing fast repetitions. They tend to increase risk and oftentimes decrease what's called the tension on the muscles of someone not as good a results. Right. So you want a controlled tempo. I tend to tell people you want to take at least three seconds on the way down and at least three seconds on the way up.

[00:30:08.290] – Sal
Just you want to be controlled. So if I'm doing an overhead press, I'm pressing like this and then coming down, rather than throwing it up and down and having kind of this loose tempo and tempo is important. Like I said, it reduces risk and it stimulates the muscle and the body in a more effective way. So generally speaking, for most people, for most people's results, especially if your goal is fat loss, health, sculpting your body, you want a controlled tempo.

[00:30:35.350] – Allan
Yeah. Because otherwise momentum's doing a lot of the work for you and you're not really in control of that weight, which is kind of dangerous. And then the final one where I think people really struggle is the concepts of intensity and failure. And I kind of lump those two a little bit more together. But you talked about them separately in the book. Can you talk a little bit about intensity and failure and why we've got to find the right mix of those and why failure isn't really the goal?

[00:31:03.550] – Allan
Like you would have heard this in the past. No, no pain, no gain. You know, you've got to train to failure if you want to grow. All those were kind of mantras in the gym 40 years, 30 years ago. And I still hear them today. And so that's kind of what's kind of scary is even in my 40s and 50s, there's still people training that way.

[00:31:23.800] – Sal
Yeah, intensity is an important factor in your workout, right. Because it needs to be hard enough. So that your body thinks that it needs to adapt in order to get better, otherwise your body has no reason to adapt and adaptation takes energy, it changes your body. And your body doesn't do that for no reason, especially not building muscle. Muscles are expensive tissue. You're only ever going to have as much muscle and strength as your body thinks you need.

[00:31:51.490] – Sal
You'll never have more than it thinks you need. It costs calories. It takes up energy. Remember, we evolved for the most part in environments where calories are very difficult to come by. So your body doesn't want to just make you burn more calories for no reason. It's going to need a reason to. So intensity is important because I have to give my body a reason and intensity is part of the formula in order to change. OK, so that's true.

[00:32:19.420] – Sal
So there's a vein of truth in the no pain, no gain slogan. Now, the problem is people take it way too far. And the problem is that the intensity is quite individual. And what I mean by that is if I take somebody who's never worked out, it takes very little intensity to get their body to change. Their body is used to doing nothing. And so a few sets of body weight squats at a moderate intensity where they can feel it a little bit, they can feel their legs burn a little bit.

[00:32:48.130] – Sal
That's about it. That's enough. That's enough to get their body to change. Now, somebody who's extremely advanced, who's been training for years, who's very strong or very fit and gotten their body to a very high level, to get their body to change even more, they're probably going to have to train much harder than the person I talked about earlier, because their bodies again, it needs a reason. It's already adapted to a certain level of intensity and whatever.

[00:33:14.590] – Sal
To go any further, I need to find ways to train harder or to send a different signal. By the way, and this is true for intensity, but also for how long you work out, how many exercises you do and all that stuff. The right dose for your body is going to get you there the fastest. More than that won't get you there faster. In fact, it'll get you there slower. And sometimes you won't get there at all.

[00:33:40.680] – Sal
And less than that will get you there slower. So it's the right dose. More not good, less not good. And the right dose is different from person to person. And it's different for you as your fitness improves, as you start to get better at the workout. So remember that. So the when you go into workout or you're working out your training, think about what have I done before, oh, I'm just getting started. It's not going to take much.

[00:34:08.280] – Sal
Now, some people have trouble with this. And they said, well, how do I gauge, you know, the right intensity? One way to know that you might have gone too hard is by if you're sore, if you get muscle soreness. Now, most people think muscle soreness indicates that they had a good workout. So if I get really saw that was a great workout. I worked out my legs and I can barely walk today. That means I must have had a great workout.

[00:34:33.690] – Sal
It's actually the opposite. You should you should feel no to little soreness after your workout. In fact, my goal with people is to have them feel no soreness when they're training. Now, that's pretty hard because once you're kind of testing the intensity, you might go over a little bit and get a little sore. And that's OK to get a little sore. But if your soreness lasts longer than a day, you went too hard. You need to back off a little bit.

[00:34:56.050] – Sal
Now, you mentioned failure. Failure is a term that's used in fitness and resistance training to mean that you lifted a weight or didn't exercise until you could no longer perform another repetition of that exercise. Right. So back to Curls, right. If I did Curls to failure, well, I'm just going to keep going until I can't curl the dumbbell with good form anymore. And so now I've hit failure. And so the value that has been preached around failure is well, if you're trying to figure out what the right intensity is, then, you know, you've at least hit it if you've gone to failure because there's nothing beyond that.

[00:35:32.560] – Sal
And so you're going to be OK. But remember what I said. If you go too hard, you'll get there a little slower. Now, studies also show that failure, even for people who train at an advanced level, is usually too much intensity. In fact, it stresses the body too much and it results in this prioritization of healing rather than adaptation. So what are those two things? Healing is recovery. OK, so let's step away from exercise for a second and let's just talk about skin.

[00:36:04.330] – Sal
So let's say I handle a rough object and I, I scratch my skin or I make my skin a little raw on my hand so my body will heal the skin. That's the healing part. That's the recovery part. And then when it's done with that, my body may say, let's make this skin tougher so that next time it's not going to cause the same damage. And so then I start to develop a callus. Right. The callus is adaptation.

[00:36:34.360] – Sal
The healing was just getting me back to where I was before. Well, if you train with too much intensity or too long or too hard for your body, your body will only prioritize healing because that's what it has to do. It has to heal. And it can't even think about getting resources to add new tissue, to add muscle or to get you to adapt. And so what ends up happening when you do this is you end up getting really sore or tired and then you heal and then you go back to the gym again and do the same thing over and over again and you never improve.

[00:37:07.360] – Sal
So it's like I get sore, my soreness goes away, I work out, I get sore, soreness goes away. Nothing changes. I don't get stronger. I don't really build any muscle. I don't really burn body fat. I'm just cause it's like, again, like the skin. I'm just constantly waiting for it to heal and then I mess with it again, never allowing my skin to develop a callus. So that's why it's very important to be judicious with your intensity and to apply the right intensity.

[00:37:34.840] – Sal
If your goal is to get your body to change and adapt, then do it smart. Don't just do it hard.

[00:37:42.710] – Allan
Now, I want to get into one more concept before we get into the actual what the workouts are kind of about in this, I thought I thought this was brilliant in talking about why people don't follow through. You know, they'll start a training program. They'll say they want to lose weight. And then they don't necessarily follow through. In the first day, you know, they sign that gym membership and they buy the 12 lessons and, you know, they're ready to go.

[00:38:08.330] – Allan
And they make the first lessons and then they're ready to quit three weeks. You called this motivation versus discipline. I mean, you know, the two concepts of why motivation doesn't serve us, but discipline does. Can you talk about those two concepts and how we can put that and get the right mindset going into the gym or in our home gym?

[00:38:27.710] – Sal
Yeah. We're especially when it comes to fitness, we are obsessed. The average person is obsessed with motivation and the fitness industry doesn't help this. It promotes motivation is the key to long term fitness success. So everything is market around that. It's exciting. It's fun. It's motivating. We're here to inspire you and all that stuff. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with motivation. I love feeling motivated like anybody else. It's an incredible feeling.

[00:39:01.760] – Sal
But like any other state of mind, it's fleeting, OK? It doesn't exist permanently. You can't permanently stay motivated. So the challenge is never, how do I stay consistent with my workout? How do I stay consistent with my nutrition when I'm motivated? That's never an issue. Never. That's not a problem. Never had to convince a motivated client to workout or to eat right? Right. The challenge is when that state of mind goes away like it always does.

[00:39:35.120] – Sal
It always will. It's inevitable. OK, so how do we maintain long-term success? Well, it's not through focusing on motivation. Now, you can welcome motivation when it comes. Have fun with it. That might be when you push a little harder. That might be when you get a little bit more dedicated. That's probably when you can have the most fun doing what you're doing. But really, we want to focus on how do we stay consistent when that goes away.

[00:40:03.830] – Sal
And the way to do that is through developing the skill of discipline. So the good news is that what will keep you consistent is the skill. It's called discipline. And like any skill, you can work on it and make it better. You can actually develop it so that you can have a tremendous sense and skill of discipline. So someone might ask, how the heck do I do that? How do I develop the skill of discipline? Well, to put it plainly, when you're ready to get started and there's a little bit more complexity to this, but I'm going to simplify it. When you're ready to get started on working out, when you're ready to get started with, you know, looking at your diet and maybe cleaning it up, ask yourself the following.

[00:40:51.860] – Sal
What is one step or change I can make now that I know I can maintain forever? And you want to use the context of forever. It's the only way to do this. And you have to be very honest with yourself. OK, remember, by the way, when you're doing this, you're probably in a motivated state of mind. So when people start to do this, they're in that motivated state of mind. Remember that you're in that motivated state of mind.

[00:41:16.880] – Sal
OK, if you ask somebody what their goals are when they're motivated, they're always different than when they're not so motivated. I'm super hyped and, you know, I want to build a business. And what's your goal? I want to be a Millionaire in the next year. And then you ask him five months later on, the motivation goes away and you find that it's much different. Same thing with fitness. Right. So you might remember that you might be motivated state of mind.

[00:41:38.330] – Sal
So talk to your normal self and ask yourself what's one step I can take that I know I can maintain forever now? It still needs to be challenging. So it can't be like an easy step for you because otherwise it doesn't have any meaning. It has to have some kind of meaning, but it does need to be something, you know, you can maintain forever. Start there once you do that consistently and once that becomes something that is now easy and doesn't really require you to utilize your skill of discipline, then you move on to the next step.

[00:42:13.700] – Sal
And this looks very different from person to person. You know, I've had clients where the first step that we took was to have them drink an extra two glasses of water a day. Like that's the first step that we took where I've had clients, where the first step was to read one page from a nutrition book or to do fifteen minutes once a week of exercise. That's the first step that they had. But as you work on this, you actually start to get this kind of

[00:42:41.410] – Sal
a snowball effect, and it starts to happen faster and faster, and what you'll find is, although you won't get those fast initial results like you might when you're hyper motivated and you throw everything at yourself but the kitchen sink, what you'll find is the results have a snowball effect. So although initially you might have seen this with your results, like, oh, I lost 10 pounds and then I plateaued and then, five months later gained it back and then some with this you might start real slow, but then it starts to accelerate, accelerate as if it's fallen off a cliff and then it's permanent and then it becomes permanent.

[00:43:16.720] – Sal
And I know people when they hear me say it takes a little longer initially to think, oh, my gosh, I don't want to wait any longer. I'm ready right now. You know, it's not as long as you think. It's definitely not as long as you think. Little changes, boy, do they add up over a period of time. You know, if I took two parallel lines that were perfectly parallel and I moved one a half a degree away from the other one just a half a degree, you wouldn't even be able to tell by looking at the lines with the naked eye.

[00:43:44.260] – Sal
But if you followed them for a mile or two miles, boy, the distance would start to become quite massive. So that's how you develop the skill of discipline. Slowly pick one thing at a time, wait for it to stick. Oh, that feels good. I think I'm ready for the next step. And by the way, again, this is the only way that I have ever seen as a trainer, and I've trained people for four decades,

[00:44:07.600] – Sal
This is the only permanent way for success. All the other hyper motivated. Let's do this and crush it and whatever. I'm that's it, I'm starting five days a week and I'm doing this crazy diet. That approach has a 90 something percent plus fail rate. OK, everybody fails doing it the other way. So it's a guarantee. So even if you you're thinking yourself like, oh, you know what? I just want to get those quick results, you'll fail.

[00:44:37.040] – Sal
So it's a waste of your time. It's complete waste your time. And I'll even add that when you fail, each time you fail doing it that way, you set your body up for more challenges in the future through slower metabolisms, less muscle, more hormone issues. And psychologically, if you failed at losing weight four times through that old method, at some point you're just going to want to give up. I don't want to do that anymore.

[00:45:04.130] – Sal
I know what happens every time I do it, it sucks and I disappoint myself. So I'm not doing it. Develop a skill of discipline. Take your time. And again, there's a little more to this than what I'm saying. But this is very simple explanation. And your chances of success are significantly higher.

[00:45:21.910] – Allan
Absolutely. Now, the resistance training revolution workouts, you have three kind of different levels there. One of them is body weight. Only one of them is body weight with dumbbell. And then the third one is with a little bit more equipment, like a squat rack and a bar and so a little bit more advanced. But something I think that's really cool because someone can get started with pretty much just themselves and a few little implements that you can pick up practically anywhere.

[00:45:50.470] – Allan
Amazon will have it at your door tomorrow kind of stuff. And I think one of the cool things I liked about the exercise is that I want you to kind of get into as you get into it, is you use this concept called priming. This is not like they go warm up or go stretch before you do these exercises. But we're going to do some specific work before we do the work to make sure that we're in the right posture and right range of motion and all of it to be able to perform this work safely.

[00:46:18.850] – Allan
Can you talk a little bit about the workouts and in particular why priming would be so important?

[00:46:23.610] – Sal
Yes, all the workouts are traditional resistance training. They're all designed to give you those benefits that I talked about earlier. Right. Speeding up the metabolism, making your body more efficient, fat burning machine so you burn more calories, balancing your hormones, shaping sculpting your body. You're all designed to do that. But I gave three workouts because I wanted to make sure that people who had no equipment had a workout that they could perform. And then I did workouts with basic equipment because as you become stronger and more advanced, you may want to utilize weights to augment your workouts.

[00:47:01.000] – Sal
And free weights in particular are extremely versatile. They fit and mold any body, whether you're young or old or whatever. And again, they're very, very inexpensive and effective. So I gave three workouts so people have those options. Now, and by the way, dumbbells and barbells, very inexpensive pieces of equipment. It's incredible how much money people spend on ineffective, crappy pieces of equipment and how inexpensive a pair of dumbbells is. I mean, I used to tell my clients, this as a trainer.

[00:47:32.860] – Sal
You know, I'd say you can have the most fancy gym in the world. Give me a pair of dumbbells and a bench and I'll train anybody and I'll get them in phenomenal shape. And any good trainer will know exactly what or will agree with me and they'll know exactly what I'm talking about. All right. So let's talk about priming. So priming is another term for warm up. Now, the reason why I don't say warm up is because it's different.

[00:47:54.640] – Sal
Now, the goal of a warm up in a lot of people don't know this, right? People think when you're warming up, what you're doing is you're making the muscles warm. Therefore, it makes them more elastic or more pliable so I won't hurt myself. That's really not what's happening. Your muscles are not made out of rubber, so they don't become more elastic or less elastic because of hot or cold. Unless you froze your muscles, you went in subzero temperatures, actually froze your body.

[00:48:23.290] – Sal
If you're if you're alive, you're that's not what's happening to your muscles. What actually happens, and the reason why when you get warm or warm up, your body feels looser. And when you're not warmed up, you feel tired or whatever. Really what's happening has very little to do with your muscle and has everything to do with your central nervous system. So the central nervous system, which includes your brain, really is the control center for your muscles.

[00:48:49.330] – Sal
So any time you move a muscle, it's the central nervous system that's telling the muscle to do something. And warming up is trying to get the central nervous system to be ready for exercise. Priming just does this in a superior way. So we'll talk about, for example, the more common way that the average person probably tries to warm up, which is just static stretching. Right. So in classes do this still to this day. Right.

[00:49:19.660] – Sal
So I'm going to work out or I'm going to run or whatever. Let me do some hamstring stretches. Let me, so I touch my toes, let me stretch my quads. So I'll grab my ankle, pull it back and let me stretch my calves and I'm going to be warmed up or whatever. Well, first off, not a great way to warm up, but you may be wondering. Well, I do get more flexible. I know when I stretch my hamstrings, I all of a sudden can if I hold that position, I can touch my toes more after about thirty seconds.

[00:49:49.990] – Sal
Well, what that's doing is it's sending a signal to the central nervous system that's telling central nervous system to kind of relax that muscle and allow it to elongate a little bit. OK, so now you have muscles that allow themselves to elongate more. You increase the range of motion. Why this is not a good thing before you exercise, and studies actually show static stretching increases risk of injury is because you don't want a larger range of motion that your central nervous system isn't entirely connected to.

[00:50:21.430] – Sal
So the reason why you get more flexible as you're holding that stretch is because the central nervous system is to put, I guess, to it's not entirely working this way, but this will explain a little bit. It's disconnecting a little bit or relaxing. It's signal is turning off and allowing that muscle to stretch. You don't want your central nervous system to be turned off when you're exercising. You want it to be on, because if you move in that range of motion or you have to do something quick or you're lifting a weight or whatever, you want it to be connected, because if it's not connected, that's how you hurt yourself.

[00:50:53.500] – Sal
That's how you end up injuring yourself. Like the example of my baby son, like I told you about earlier in this podcast. So the best way to warm up really is to prime your central nervous system. To turn it on and to turn it on in ranges of motion and larger range of motion so that when you exercise, it's safer, so that when you exercise, you're connected to the exercise so you can activate the muscles that you're really trying to target so that when you're squatting, if you want to feel it in your glutes, you can feel it in your glutes.

[00:51:29.110] – Sal
If I'm shoulder pressing, I want to feel it in my shoulders. If I'm doing an overhead press, my back doesn't hurt because my core is active in my central nervous system's telling my core to stabilize my body. Priming does this. OK, so what is priming look like? There's lots of there's an almost infinite number of priming exercises. I put some of my favorite ones in the book in the workouts. But to give you like a simple example, we'll use the example of, like, the hamstring stretch.

[00:52:03.530] – Sal
Right. So let's say you sit on the floor, you put your hamstring straight or your legs straight out in front of you and you go to touch your foot rather than sitting in that position, what I'm going to do is I'm going to stretch in that position and then I'm going to push down with my leg to activate my hamstring, and then I'm going to pull up with my leg to activate my hip flexor all while holding that stretch will give an example.

[00:52:25.820] – Sal
So what I'm doing is I'm although I'm stretching the muscle, I'm telling central nervous system to connect to this new range of motion, not to relax, but rather to allow me to stretch, but then also to connect to this range of motion. So priming does this. And I gave an example of I didn't even put that movement in the book because that's a silly priming exercise. There's much better ones. Ninety ninety is a good example of one.

[00:52:50.710] – Sal
There's Frager's and lots of other exercises that are excellent. So in the workouts, what's included are your 5 to 10 minute priming sessions that then prepare you for your workout and they make the workout safer and more effective.

[00:53:05.800] – Allan
OK, Sal, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:53:15.230] – Sal
OK, so wellness requires balance, it requires balance, you can be too extreme with fitness and nutrition, and that's dysfunctional and unhealthy and you can also be too extreme in the opposite direction. So for me, wellness is always meant balance. OK, so one step to achieve balance is to enter into an exercise program or nutrition program from the mindset of self care and self-love. So I'm doing this workout not because I hate my body, not because I think I'm fat and I'm gross or whatever, but rather I want to take care of my body.

[00:53:53.910] – Sal
I want to take care of myself because I'm someone that deserves those things. Now, why does that provide balance? Because taking care of myself most times means I'm exercising. Most times it means I'm eating pretty healthy. I'm not eating lots of junk food. I'm not drinking less alcohol. But sometimes taking care of myself means I'm not exercising. Sometimes taking care of myself means I'm enjoying some pizza with some beer or I'm enjoying some time with my friends not being active and having some drinks or whatever.

[00:54:29.360] – Sal
So when you go from the state of mind to self care, then you naturally start to find some balance which leads to wellness. What's another thing that I think another step for wellness? Remember that wellness is a sphere that includes much more than just exercise and diet. Wellness includes the relationships that you have with the people around you. It includes the relationship you have with yourself. How do you feel about yourself? How do you treat yourself?

[00:54:57.140] – Sal
It includes a spiritual practice which can look like organized religion. It can look like meditation. Essentially, it's a forty thousand view of forty thousand foot view of the world and life. And what is the meaning behind why and what I'm doing and that'll get you through the tough parts of things. And then the third thing is to remember that challenge actually is what gives our lives meaning. And challenge is actually a component of happiness. If you look at the studies on happiness, you'll find that we need to be challenged in order to be happy.

[00:55:38.750] – Sal
And that just frames our lives. That just puts us in a different position because life is hard for everybody. And if you accept challenge, it's still hard. So I'm not going to say it makes it easy, but accept it and understand that it brings you meaning and purpose and it's a component of happiness, then you might not add a layer of resistance to it.

[00:56:02.640] – Allan
Thank you. So if someone wanted to learn more about you or the book, The Resistance Training Revolution, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:56:10.730] – Sal
So the book you can find any bookstore, you can find it anywhere they sell books or you can go to the resistancetrainingrevolution dotcom. You can find me on my podcast that I host with my two co-hosts, Mind Pump, and that's on all podcast platforms. And you can also find me on Instagram.

[00:56:28.520] – Sal
That's the social media of choice that I use. And my name on Instagram is Mind Pump Sal.

[00:56:34.630] – Allan
awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/489 and I'll be sure to have the links there. Sal, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:56:44.330] – Sal
I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on.

Post Show/Recap

[00:56:50.770] – Allan
Welcome back, Raz.

[00:56:52.430] – Rachel
Hey, Alan, you know, I am the first one to say that resistance training is super important, but this is the first time I think that I've ever heard it being better than cardio or anything else, for that matter.

[00:57:06.850] – Allan
Well, I think where a lot of people kind of lose the math on this and it can go both ways as one. Yes. If you have more muscle mass, your body is going to burn more calories at rest. It's going to burn more calories in everything you do because your body is supporting more mass. In mass times distance is power. I mean, that's where all the stuff's coming from. All this energy is going is moving you around, keeping you there, keeping that mass on.

[00:57:36.490] – Allan
Now, if you were to try to use just weight lifting and I'm just going to lift weights and try to lose weight, that's probably not actually going to happen. So there's still some nutritional things that you have to focus on. The weight loss is going to happen in the kitchen. It's not going to happen in the gym. And I think that's really the message of all this. Now, what type of exercise would be best for reducing body fat?

[00:58:06.310] – Allan
OK, not weight, not weight, fat.

[00:58:10.630] – Allan
And I think it's it's pretty simple to see that, yes, you can run. And if you're taking care of your nutrition, you're going to lose weight and you're going to lose some fat, but you're also going to lose muscle mass. There's not a marathoner out there, you look at the professional marathoners and they are bone thin. They have just enough muscle to run.

[00:58:37.570] – Rachel

[00:58:38.320] – Allan
And if you sat down and put them on a bench press, probably not one of them could bench press their weight because they've never been asked to do that. That's not a part of who they are. Whereas you can look at a sprinter and you can look at them and say, OK, that individuals carrying a lot of muscle mass because they're going shorter distances and they're sprinting and they're getting that done. And so that's a different type of work and it requires a different body type to be good at it.

[00:59:05.390] – Allan
OK, you could take a marathoner and have them run a sprint and they'd be OK. Or you could have someone who's a sprinter and they could probably run a marathon. But again, they're just going to be OK, the body type to do those things. And sometimes that's self-selecting. If there's a lot of conversations out there about how yoga, all these, you know, long lean women and men are doing yoga.

[00:59:33.190] – Allan
And the reality is most of them are self-selecting to do yoga because they're they're lean and thin and long limbed. And they're just naturally moved towards things you're good at. Everybody does that. You know, if you're good at lifting weights, you're going to want to lift more weights. If you're good at running, you're going to want to run. That's just natural. But when we start talking about your body's ability to burn fat, if you have more muscle mass, you're going to burn more fat in general.

[01:00:03.280] – Allan
So there is some math to it from that perspective. But the amount of muscle mass and the amount of calories that muscle mass burns is not this huge, huge number, but it's a little number over a long period of time. So if you're working to maintain muscle mass, you're putting yourself in a good position to burn fat. So you're retaining muscle mass and you're burning fat. So you've got to find that balance of those two. And that means your nutrition has to be spot on.

[01:00:34.300] – Allan
You have to be getting adequate protein to maintain muscle mass. And you've got to be lifting, you've got to be lifting heavy stuff to have that muscle mass. Otherwise your body is going to say you're a runner. You really don't need this extra muscle on your torso. It's not helping you run and your body will start to get rid of that. If you're not doing other side to side stuff and doing other lifting, certain leg muscles are going to atrophy over time.

[01:01:04.420] – Allan
And, the muscles that you use to run are going to be really strong and lean. And they're going to do what you want them to do for the running you're trying to do. And that's where your optimization is, at least from an athletic perspective.

[01:01:18.850] – Rachel
Yeah. Yeah. I can't think of any sport that doesn't spend some amount of time in a weight room lifting weights or doing or body weight training, doing some sort of resistance training. And even runners, especially when you reach my age bracket. Forty plus it's important because by doing these types of resistance training, you're putting more, I guess, focus different muscle groups, which support that sport for me, it's running, but I'm sure baseball players, football players, you know, everybody spend some amount of time in the gym.

[01:01:56.390] – Allan
Yeah, they do. But you'll notice, OK, you're not going to see this hugely muscular guy playing tennis. Right. You know, they're going to have some muscle definition, but they're not going to be a bodybuilder look, they're not going to have that look because that's not conducive to their sport. And so, you know, if you're going to do this, you're going to do come across training, you are going to do resistance training.

[01:02:24.320] – Allan
You just have to think of it in those lines. If you're naturally inclined to add a lot of muscle mass for certain sports, it's not going to make you better. I was, generally I have the frame and the musculature of a sprinter, not very fast, but so I'm a very slow sprinter. But I basically have that musculature. So when I was running marathons, I was this weirdo. You know, I didn't look like them.

[01:02:53.390] – Allan
They were all pencil thin, lean guys. And I'm coming up, and they're like, OK, you should be, you know, Body-building, you shouldn't be running Ultra's. And I agree with them, I was getting way too much muscle mass to be good at marathons.

[01:03:12.110] – Rachel
yeah, there's probably a point of diminishing returns, but I think it's still definitely important to spend some time in the gym somehow doing some body weight or weight training.

[01:03:23.000] – Allan
Yeah. And I think that's really the message I'd like to get to is unfortunately or fortunately, because, you know, this is the way gym life goes, is people will buy a gym membership, OK. And a percentage of those people will go in and they'll find themselves at the treadmills because they're the most commonly used piece of equipment. We put those in the front. OK, and then the next layer is going to be machines and then the final layer is going to be the free weights.

[01:03:51.680] – Allan
Now, that's that's in most gyms. If they have the capacity to structure their gym, that's how they're going to structure it, because they know that 80 percent of the people are never going to make it past the treadmills and ellipticals that they're going to walk in and that's their workout. Now, the other side of what we also know is after three weeks of not seeing any benefit from being on the treadmill, 45 minutes to an hour every day, five days a week, they stop coming. They just signed a contract.

[01:04:21.060] – Allan
So you're making that payment. That money keeps coming out of your checking account. And then because you get comfortable with that money coming out of your checking account, you never even bother to cancel when the year's over. And so they have a constant supply of money coming into the gym for you to not use their equipment. And so that's how most gyms are structured financially. That's how they make it. That's how they're successful is by you coming in, getting on the treadmill, not seeing results and then leaving and not coming back.

[01:04:51.780] – Allan
And well, what Sal's trying to say, what I'm trying to say is if you work for yourself a little bit deeper into the gym and start doing some other exercises, you're going to see not just an advantage for weight loss. You're going to see other general advantages in your life when you're strong enough to do things that you couldn't do before. Now, you're not dependent on someone else. And so if you've had to have someone else open a jar of pickles for you, that's a clear indication your grip strength wasn't strong enough and you lost and you're losing independence.

[01:05:30.110] – Allan
You're now dependent on someone to open jars for you. And that's just one indication that you could be stronger and you could be independent, you could do those things for yourself. You just have to focus on realizing that strength training is a very important dynamic. It's one of the first dynamics that causes people to lose independence.

[01:05:54.050] – Rachel
Yeah, that makes total sense.

[01:05:55.700] – Allan
You know, you lose strengthen your muscles and bones. You fall, you break something. And for a lot of people done and I don't really have a nice way to say it, but, you know, for a lot of people, breaking a hip in their 60s is really the end. They've literally just written the script for the last chapter of their life with that fall. So taking some time, getting yourself stronger. Look, working on those modalities that aren't calorie burning, you know, because, it can't all be about weight loss, you know, your whole life, your whole fitness and health and cannot all be about weight loss.

[01:06:39.370] – Allan
When you get into that mindset, you're kind of losing, you're losing so much of what this whole formula is about that, you know, you win or lose on one bet, you know, I'm all in on weight loss and then the weight loss doesn't come, we've lost that. Whereas if you can sit down and say, well, my goal was to get stronger, lose some body fat and feel better. Aand you do get stronger and you know, you're lifting more weight and you find yourself in an everyday situation using that strength.

[01:07:16.680] – Allan
that's that wins. Maybe you didn't lose the weight you wanted. Maybe you wanted to be down at one hundred and twenty pounds or a hundred thirty pounds. And, you know, you're stuck at 150. You're you're still stronger. More capable. You have all of these other wins and things. You've got more energy. You know, energy is life. And so, you know, yes, weight loss can be important factor for a lot of people.

[01:07:44.250] – Allan
And also I was really trying to say is don't stop at the treadmills.

[01:07:49.430] – Rachel

[01:07:49.500] – Allan
Go a little deeper into the gym. There's no reason for you to feel intimidated by that. And if you are, message me and we can have some conversations about how to feel more comfortable in that part of the gym, because, you know, a lot of that is you've never done this. You don't know how that machine works. You don't know how that equipment can be used.

[01:08:09.840] – Allan
You don't have a workout. You don't have all these things. But the reality is that's the easy part. The hard part is literally walking past that treadmill and going a little deeper. That's the hard part. Once you get that done, you can learn everything else.

[01:08:25.650] – Rachel
Well, for sure. You know, I've been that person, though. I've been that person who has had a gym membership, walks in the gym and like, you know, everything just escapes my head. I don't even know where to start. What do I do with this? But, you know, if there's personal trainers like yourself and myself and I'm sure the gym has personal trainers on staff, but if you go in there with some sort of a goal in mind or, you know, something purposeful and you can learn, learn how to lift weights and emotion that makes your arm stronger or legs stronger or core stronger, I mean, if you have a plan would be helpful and then seek strengths from that or with that in mind.

[01:09:03.300] – Allan
Yeah, and that is important is the plan. And then the other side of it is, I will say this for weightlifting and this weightlifting is probably one of the few things that where you shouldn't just play to your strengths.

[01:09:15.630] – Rachel
Good points.

[01:09:16.560] – Allan
So many people will go in there and, you know, you'll see the pictures of the guy who's really muscular upper body and has bird legs. That's a thing. That's what actually happens because people get to where they're focused on what one part of them, their strengths are.

[01:09:33.750] – Allan
Or maybe they're always doing like, I know I went to the YMCA when I was in my 20s and there was this one guy I'd come in and he was an older guy. And like, I was just he was so, so freakin strong in the bench press. But that's all he ever did. He really came in the gym and he did bench press and then he would skip a day and he'd be back in the next time.

[01:09:58.070] – Allan
Bench press and they need to skip a day and then the next day he'd be in. Bench press. And don't get me wrong, at the time, the guy could bench press as much as I could squat, but I doubt he could squat as much as I could bench press because he never used his legs. He never lifted. He only did bench press. And it looked you could see it. I mean, literally, he came and he looked worked.

[01:10:19.750] – Allan
He looked deformed a little bit. And I know, unfortunately, you know, at his age and a little bit older, he probably started having back problems, started having some issues where those imbalances are going to start playing against you. So, you know, I will just say is have a plan, please. Have a plan. Don't just go in there and start throwing things around. Right. Feels good. Don't get me wrong.

[01:10:40.720] – Allan
Throwing ahead and planning around feels great. Just get in there and start throwing stuff around and you feel like you're accomplishing something. Maybe sore as crap the next day, you know, and you're going to feel like you did something which is one of the cool things about weightlifting is one of the ways of working out where after doing the workout, not only are you tired then, but three days later you're still feeling it. Most other ways of working out don't give you that feedback, not necessarily the right feedback, but it is feedback.

[01:11:12.280] – Allan
So I'm just saying, have a plan, find a simple program, go in. If you don't know how to use a certain piece of equipment or don't know how to use a particular exercise, take some time to talk to somebody. Who knows, it can be an online trainer like Rachel or myself. It can be someone at the gym that's scheduled to do that. And, is there available to show you? But learn the form, learn how to do the exercises and know which exercises you need to do which days and and how that works for getting the work done, getting the recovery.

[01:11:46.030] – Allan
But yeah, Sal's not wrong and saying that the treadmill is not your friend for weight loss.

[01:11:53.020] – Rachel

[01:11:53.560] – Allan
Because again you're sending signals everything you do, everything you eat, everything every movement you do, every thought you have is a piece of information for your body. OK, and so if you're giving your body the wrong information, you're going to get the wrong result. It's quite literally it works that way. So if you're training your body that you have to run every day, that's cool.

[01:12:18.040] – Allan
Your body is going to adapt to be a runner's body. And if you like, the look of the marathoner. And that's the body shape you want to have and you feel good doing it then, Run. Do it outside, though, you know. Treadmill's fine, but, you know, come on, get outside, have some fun, get some sunshine. There's other health benefits to being out in nature, in the sun and all those things.

[01:12:45.330] – Allan
Plus running outdoors is different than running on a treadmill. Very, very different. So, being a good treadmill runner does not make you a good runner at all. It can help. It can help build endurance. But it's not making you an overall better, more balanced runner. So just realize the treadmill is going to send signals to your body and it's not going to retain muscle because that's not the signal. That's not what you're telling your body.

[01:13:11.490] – Allan
So the information you put in, which is the work you do or the food you're eating or the thoughts that you have is the starting of the conversation. And then your hormones are going to pick up that messaging and their balance and everything that they're doing is going to work around that to get you where the message is sending it. So, yes, your testosterone will probably go down if you're just a chronic runner. That's because you don't need the testosterone, because you're not building muscle.

[01:13:45.060] – Allan
If you're lifting heavy weights, the signal in to your muscles are bigger and testosterone has to ratchet up a little bit to make that happen. Now we're over 40, so our testosterone is not going to be like a 20 year olds and therefore our musculature is not going to be like a 20 year old unless we're doing something in the middle to affect that signaling like testosterone therapy, steroids, his arms, those types of things. There are things you can do to disrupt that chain, put something in the middle of it, but in a general sense,

[01:14:27.100] – Allan
You're not going to get big and muscular if you're a runner, you're not necessarily going to signal to your body to lose body fat either, because there's a reason there's a term called Tofi. Which is thin on the outside, fat on the inside. You know that there's a signaling there. And so if you're chronically running, your body's getting signaling to potentially be a Tofi if you're not focused on your nutrition and other health aspects as well.

[01:15:00.380] – Rachel
Well, for sure. I totally tell everybody that resistance training is important to be a good runner. But I think it's also important for just aging and having the strength to just to live an active lifestyle as we do get older. So I think everyone should spend some time doing some sort of resistance training of some sort.

[01:15:20.090] – Allan
I obviously agree. And I would also say, if you're not working on if you're just lifting and you're not working on your stamina, you're also leaving something off the table that you should have. So you find that balance, find that thing that's going to make you the balanced person that you really want to be. And that's the strength, the bone and muscle density and thickness and mass and also having some stamina, you know, to be able to move that mass of where you needed to be when you need it to be there because, you know, you never know.

[01:15:57.500] – Allan
And have to go and do something that's going to require a lot more stamina. So building all of those to be the person that you need to be is really where all of this comes together. So don't necessarily listen to Sal or me or Rachel about what we want for ourselves. You need to have all of it. You need to have it in the right proportion to who you want to be, because fitness is not a look. Fitness is fit for tasks.

[01:16:25.760] – Allan
So decide who you need to be and then build your fitness programming around that.

[01:16:32.310] – Rachel
That's perfect. Yeah, that's very individualized.

[01:16:36.620] – Allan
Absolutely. All right, Rachel, we can talk next week.

[01:16:40.130] – Rachel
All right. Take care.

[01:16:41.570] – Allan

[01:16:42.320] – Rachel
bye now.


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– Anne Lynch– Eric More– Leigh Tanner
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Thank you!

Another episode you may enjoy


February 24, 2017

The essentials of mass building

When our weight lifting objective is mass building, there are three key phases to consider: work, food, and rest. All three phases are very important, as you cannot properly build mass without focusing on all three.

Work Phase

This is what most people think of when building muscle mass—doing the actual work or exercise. Pick particular muscle groups that you want to work. This work tends to be more single-joint movements that will isolate muscles. Reps for each set should be in the six to 10 range, with three to four sets total. The weight with the movements are slow and controlled to create time under tension combined with this volume of reps. That combination will give the stimulus to grow the muscle.

Food Phase

After each workout, you will need to consume certain foods to assist in building mass. A little bit of carbs after the workout will restore the glycogen used during your workout. You will also need protein, so consider 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain an overall healthy, nutritious diet.

Rest Phase

Between sets, be sure to rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Slowing down will give you energy and intensity to put into your sets. For most people and muscle groups, a proper rest period between workouts is about 48 to 72 hours. Even if you’re still experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), as long as you’ve given yourself the proper rest period, you should be okay to proceed. Make sure to get quality sleep, usually seven to nine hours per night.

Remember to focus on all three phases to put your best foot forward in building muscle mass.


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How to of strength and mass

Body by science | Dr. Doug McGuff

December 19, 2016

11 best weight lifting tips

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:

My best weight lifting tips

Warm up

Move your muscles through a full range of motion before working out. Consider walking on a treadmill or doing jumping jacks.

Address mobility

Lifting weights can improve your mobility and help you stay injury-free.

Have a plan

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.

Good form

Bad form can lead to injury. Study the correct form and execute it properly.

Safety first

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.

Nutrition and supplements

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!

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11 Reasons to lift weights

November 18, 2016

11 Reasons to lift weights

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:

  1. Strength – As we age, we lose strength. If you don’t have the strength to perform basic functions, you may lose your independence. Lifting weights builds this strength.
  2. Mass – Lifting weights will allow you to maintain and build back any muscle lost over time. Don’t worry, you won’t get bulky!
  3. Body composition – Building muscle mass through lifting weights will protect you from building body fat, which will lead to a better body composition.
  4. Makes you better at other things – Lifting weights could make you a better runner, athlete, or it may simply give you the ability to play with your grandkids.
  5. Resilience – You will build the right muscles, leading to appropriate muscle balance. Make sure you have a balanced program through a full range of motion.
  6. Can boost testosterone – This will help maintain lean muscle and promote a healthy libido.
  7. Satisfaction – Lifting weights makes you feel that you have done something good for yourself and boosts your confidence.
  8. Community – You may form lasting bonds with others at the gym. This is a great support network to learn from and encourage.
  9. Longevity – Studies have shown that the more muscle mass you have, the longer you may live.
  10. Stress reduction – Vent some frustration, relieve stress, and get rid of some of that cortisol.
  11. Variety – Mix weight lifting with modalities such as speed or cardio. This will allow you to work your muscles in different ways.

Lifting weights offers many benefits throughout your health and fitness journey. Get started today!

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September 23, 2016

Pause training – mix things up with a pause

Pause training is thought of as an intermediate to advance technique, but I think there are some good applications even for the beginner.  In this episode, we'll discuss pause training and how you can use it in a safe and effective way.

Benefits of pause training:

  1. Increase intensity
  2. Improves strength through the full range of motion
  3. Often safer than other methods

This method works for two basic reasons:

  1. It increases the time under tension.  Most beginning trainees focus on the number of repetitions and sets.  Added together these represent the total number of repetitions for any given exercise.  Yet, there is one other dimension in weight lifting, which is the time the weight is being moved.  Increasing this time variable ramps up the intensity.
  2. It removes momentum from the lift.  Many lifters have a natural bounce at the bottom of a lift.  This allows them to build momentum, which reduces the total intensity of the exercise.  Using a pause reduces or eliminates this momentum.

Two use cases for pauses:

  1. Sticking point.  A sticking point is where you are weakest with a range of motion.  For many lifters, this is the bottom of bench press or when your arm is fully extended in an arm curl.  By lowering the overall weight used and pausing around the sticking point, you'll build more strength around that point in the range of motion, allowing you to lift more through the entire range of motion.
  2. At the bottom of the range of motion.  I will use pauses at the bottom of a range of motion to help build flexibility and control at that point of a lift.


I use pause training in two different types of exercises.

  1. For isolation movements like the bicep curl or triceps extension.  In isolation movements, you can use a pause to either eliminate momentum or work through a sticking point.  Be careful as isolation movements typically use one muscle group and one joint and the added stress of the pause can cause an injury if not properly supervised.
  2. For compound movements like the squat or push up.  I used the technique for both momentum reduction and range of motion work.  You'll still want to watch your form, but this is the safest use of pause training.

Example of pause training:

Squat to the bottom and hold for improved range of motion:

  • Use 50 – 70% of your normal weight for the lift.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Use a timer, it is difficult to count seconds to yourself when you get fatigued.
  • Drive out of the bottom using good form.

Body by science | Dr. Doug McGuff