Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Video! A introduction about myself and the page.

This is the first of many new videos that I'll be adding to the site weekly/bi-weekly. Thanks again for all the support, you guys make everything possible!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cardio? Are we doing it all wrong?

I think it's safe to assume that everyone on this page has heard of the term cardio. For some of you it means dreaded countless hours upon hours of burning calories trotting along on a treadmill, but is there a better way? While you may think that more is better, but that might no necessarily be the case.

There are 3 main energy systems in the body, each with a different function. To effectively understand how to best train you have to understand each of these systems, and the conditions under which they function.

The ATP-PC System is the shortest term energy system in the body, mainly used for sprinting activities lasting under and up too 10 seconds. This is the main system used for things such as powerlifting or 100m sprints. While these energy stores run out quickly, they are also quickly replenished by the body.

The Anaerobic System is the next shortest term energy system in the body. It's used predominately in exercises lasting under 2 minutes. This system produces lactic acid as a by product, which for many people is the "burn" they experience when lifting weights. This system is used in weight training, and shorter distance running (1/2-1 mile)

The Aerobic system is the long term energy system in the body. Providing nearly 98% of the energy for a marathon runner this system is the one most commonly trained as "cardio". Sustained exercise for more than 2 minutes is training mainly this system. *note that these systems don't work independently, and cannot be trained as such. When describing activity it is not which energy system is working but which predominates.

While training that is mostly aerobic in nature has it's benefits, such as increases in mitochondrial growth, and better fat utilization it has drawbacks as well. After 45 minutes of sustained aerobic training the body begins to produce cortisol, which causes your body to break down muscle for energy. This is a widely overlooked NEGATIVE side effect to aerobic training. Cortisol also stops the production of testosterone which also negatively impacts muscle size and strength. If you're looking to gain muscle, and keep it on.. keep the cardio short and sweet!

Studies have shown * that anaerobic training has all the same benefits as aerobic training, but without all of the negative effects on muscle size! Doing high intensity interval training increases anaerobic, as well as aerobic capacities. The time of the individual events and the rest in between determines which systems are effectively used. As a basic rule of thumb, rest 5-6 times longer than your work periods. So for a 10 second sprint, you would rest 1 minute and repeat that. It is very important in any type of interval work that the power output for each work segment of the interval is consistent. This means taking the full rest, even if you feel you do not need it.

 *(Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power. J Appl Physiol. 1999 May;86(5):1527-33.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hormones and Muscle Gains.

If you're going to want to gain muscle, you're going to need testosterone. There are many natural ways of boosting testosterone to increase your gains, but there are also some things you do not want to do if you're trying to gain muscle.

First major thing is to keep your workouts short and sweet. Ideally under 2 minutes of rest per set, and no more than 45 minutes per session. After 45 minutes of hard training the body begins to produce cortisol, which is a catabolic, or muscle destroying hormone. This will mitigate any muscle gains you're trying to put on if you're constantly in a state of cardiovascular stress. Keep the cardio high intensity for short intervals and you'll see the same effects of long, slow cardio.. without the diminished muscle size!

Another major component to keeping your hormones in balance is your diet. Healthy fats, like those found in Olive Oil, Avocados, Lean Meats, and Fish are naturally testosterone boosting. High Glycemic carbs, or "bad carbs" as you will commonly hear them called (white breads, rice, sugars, potatoes) cause your body to have a cortisol response, which has a negative impact on muscle gains. Keep your diet clean with low glycemic, high nutrition value carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

These are just a couple tips to help you maximize your muscle gains, I'll be writing more about hormones and their effects on training in the future. As always, stay strong and informed!