It’s difficult to get reliable fitness advice when there are so many different “truths” out there, assuring you that this is most certainly the best way to get the results you want. Our society has become overly obsessed with instant gratification and has forgotten the simple fact that real results don’t come in a day – I don’t care if your mother breastfed you with protein shakes or if you snort 3 scoops of pre workout before the gym.
Seriously, the promise on your shiny protein powder label that says “Massive Growth & Freakishly Fast Results”, or that it’s “Used by Mr. Olympia”, or my all-time favorite, “All Natural Ingredients” is lying to you.
The fact is – we all want real results we can actually trust.
Which is why we met up with Guy Levy (@thtfitguy), certified personal trainer, fitness & nutrition coach, exercise physiologist, and Twinlab® Athlete, and had him spill 8 of his most surefire tips and tricks on how to demolish fitness goals, surpass mental and physical obstacles, and maintain progress. Guy regularly reps Twinlab® gear and his recommended pre workout is MVP FUEL™ from Twinlab’s Pro-series collection.
LET’S GET FOOKIN SHREDDED BRAH:
“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.” -Norman Vincent Peale
What do you think about when you lift? Do you focus on your arms? The bar? The chick by the weight rack?
Where you place your focus will determine the success of your workout – if you’re focused on that car payment, your girlfriend’s whereabouts, etc. while you’re lifting – you might as well join the chicks on the stair-master.
It’s time to get emotionally pumped. Become your strength & let your strength become you. That means there’s no room for weakness.
[divider]Before you lift:[/divider]
-Put on a song that makes you want to rip someone’s throat out, gives you a rush of adrenaline, gets you in the zone, etc. This can’t be a normal song.
-Visualize your end result clearly
-Look at yourself in the mirror and do what you have to do. Give yourself a pep talk. Call yourself a pussy.
-Analyze the gym and identify your competition. Compete with others. Compete with yourself.
-As Jim Conroy once said: “Just remember, somewhere, a little Chinese girl is warming up with your max.”
-Imagine the gym as your playground of demolition. When you put your headphones on, it’s you and the iron.
If your main objective is growth, you must lift heavy.
Muscle mass requires your body to exert more effort and work in order to sustain, and as a survival mechanism – your intelligent body always looks for a way to put itself under the least amount of strain. Also, increased muscle mass adds more weight and actually decreases range of motion and mobility.
[divider]So why lift heavy? [/divider]
It’s called the overload principle – basically, it’s the body’s adaptation to stress in order to survive when put under a stimulus (increased stress) that it isn’t used to.
Your muscles are made up of two types of muscle fibers — (1) slow-twitch and (2) fast-twitch. All your muscles have both types, but the type of fiber activated during an exercise depends on your exertion level.
Lifting weights so heavy that you can’t quite manage 10 reps requires fast-twitch muscle fibers for explosive power. Muscular endurance, gained by lifting lighter weights for more reps, helps with extended cardio activities such as long-distance running and cycling. Lifting heavy weights also burns more body fat than lifting light weights, and the heavier the weight, the more calories you burn with each rep.
Also, fast-twitch fibers tap into fat stores in your body for energy, since it’s available more quickly than oxygen.
Volume refers to the total amount of work being done.
[divider]Reps x Sets x Weight = Volume[/divider]
There are several ways to measure volume, such as:
- How much volume is being done per muscle group/body part both per workout AND per week.
- How much volume is being done per exercise.
- How much total volume is being done per workout.
- How much total volume is being done per week.
Keeping track of the total volume is one of the key factors that influences how effective your workout is.
- If you do too much volume, you run the risk of hindering (or completely destroying) your body’s ability to repair and recover at an ideal rate. And if the repair/recovery process isn’t happening at the ideal rate, the results you want probably won’t be happening at all.
- If you do too little volume, you run the risk of not providing enough of the training stimulus required to signal your body to actually make the changes/improvements you want it to make.
There’s a little something called the exercise volume threshold, which is a theoretical level of physical exertion that when your body passes, small physical efforts beyond the threshold will yield a SIGNIFICANT increase in benefits. So, pushing your body beyond that threshold and gradually increasing your limits it will give you SERIOUS results.
Squats: 7 reps for 3 sets with 100lbs = 2100 in volume OR 3 reps for 7 sets with 100lbs = 2100 in volume. If you barely finish either methods, this means that 100lbs has met the threshold of stress on your body.
Squats: 21 reps for 50 sets with 2lbs = 2100 in volume. Unfortunately, 2lbs isn’t strenuous enough of weight to cause any survival-necessary muscle growth. Even though your type 2 muscle fibers (aerobic energy system) will benefit from this exercise, your type 1 (anaerobic) muscle fibers will not be working as much.
Muscle confusion seems to confuse not only muscles, but most people in general.
In preschool terms, muscle confusion is the regular practice of changing things up in your workout routine. This means using different exercises, set and rep schemes, rest periods, and modes of activity.
[divider]What it does: [/divider]
Basically, it keeps your body “guessing”. When you do the same exercises with the same sets and reps month after month, year after year, the muscles adapt to the predictable stimulus and cease to grow bigger or stronger (plateau). By changing training variables, your body is challenged to keep up with the demands placed upon it, and has no choice but to change. This is similar to the adaptation concept we discussed earlier.
Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and that’s where success awaits.