There are a million ways to get big and a million ways to get lean and depending on your particular sport, a billion ways to condition yourself. The difficult and tricky task is figuring out which exercise and diet program is for you.
Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to discover what workout and nutritional program is best for you. The quest for this can be maddening, but there is an answer. A simple way of looking at this and discovering the most suitable program for you is to learn a few terms and discover a few scientific facts.
Most exercise and diet plans are geared around being two simple concepts. You are either getting lean or you are gaining mass. You cannot put on lean muscle mass alone.
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The Difficult And Tricky Task Is Figuring Out
Which Exercise And Diet Program Is For You.
Anabolic Vs. Catabolic
There are two states that the body can be in. The process of anabolic means to gain mass and size, and the opposite of that is a catabolic state. Contest preparation (the idea of getting lean) also refers to the catabolic state. Off-season and building mass relates to the anabolic state.
Don't be fooled into thinking that you can do both at the same time. The body's set up with your enzymes and other body chemicals to either gain weight or lose weight, not to do both simultaneously.
- Anabolic state: To obtain more calories than you are using as fuel on a daily basis.
- Catabolic state: To burn more calories than you are taking in on a daily basis.
- Static state: To take in the exact same calories that you are burning off.
Basic stuff right? Well, keep it that way and stop asking questions like: "Dr. Ryan, how can I gain muscle and burn fat?" You can't defy the physiology (laws of science) associated with the human body. No pill, no protein, no diet, no exercise, no steroid, is going to change that law of science.
So, the next time you read something that calls for gaining, "Build muscle and lose fat," a red light should go off in your head and you should realize it is marketing BS.
However, you have to understand that if you are burning your own fat as a fuel, it is possible to take in lower calories and still gain muscle mass. This only applies to individuals who have a significant amount of body fat. If you are a lean person (less than 20% body fat) you are not going to have enough fat to make much of a difference.
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The Process Of Anabolic Means To Gain Mass And
Size, And The Opposite Of That Is A Catabolic State.
I think most of the mail I deal with from Bodybuilding.com relates to this simple issue. Hormonally there are some alterations to the aforementioned ratios, but not very much. Another concept to understand is how intense you are into an anabolic or catabolic state.
If you are intensely into a catabolic state and you are dieting very hard, then you will obviously gain no muscle mass and are at risk to losing muscle mass if you remain in that state too long.
This applies to many of you who are reading this article; if you are trying to look lean and remain lean, then you are not likely to gain muscle mass. When you take on the high protein, low carb diet recommended for competition, or by many trainers - you will lose weight to a point, but then it will result in toxic levels of ammonia building up in your body.
Once this occurs, you will not look healthy and you skin, hair, and breath will be the first to show the problem.
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If You Are Trying To Look Lean And Remain Lean,
Then You Are Not Likely To Gain Muscle Mass.
On the other end of the spectrum are some folks who over indulge in excessive caloric intake and obviously gain excessive amounts of body fat. It takes a great deal of time to turn this process around.
During the anabolic phase, you want to gain muscle and minimize fat gain, but make no doubt about it, that some fat gain is healthy and necessary for proper development and other normal body functions. Too much fat causes an excessive clogging of many of your major body functions.
The Importance Of Your Diet:
You might be wondering why all I am talking about is just diet in this article. That is a simple answer again; the major factor that affects your body is related to your diet... more than what exercise you do. Diet is even more related if you are a female. Sorry girls.
If you don't get the diet down, then it won't matter what exercise you are doing, you won't get the results you want. Most women will over train trying to achieve the look that they want. This is why women spend more time in the gym than men do and wonder why they can't sleep at night or they are always tired. If you don't have a period as a female, then you are likely over trained.
Two examples of this are people who exercise and exercise, then eat one meal a day, then wonder why they can't lose weight. Another common thing is the bodybuilder who refuses to do cardio (because his knees are bad) and drinks beer and eats pizza, then wants to know why his abs are not visible.
Let's face it, you can run around in circles with no changes at all. We all know people we've seen in the gym for years, and they haven't changed their body shape or size. I know you people, and I talk to you and listen to what you have to say.
You ask me questions and I give you answers and the facts don't change just because you don't like them or the way that I present them to you. Main rule of thumb: eat right to look right.
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If You Don't Get The Diet Down, Then It Won't Matter What
Exercise You Are Doing, You Won't Get The Results You Want.
Well here it is... and several of you have skipped to this part of the article, thinking you can just read this and get all the information. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Stop being spoiled and let's try to commit to this article at 100% and read or re-read the diet portion.
There are some simple rules about exercise and some basic definitions you need to learn. The primary function of a muscle is to do work, not to just look good. It is an energy storage center if you train it to be one. Keep that basic concept in mind and let's look deeper into the forms of exercise.
There are different muscle types on that topic. Some muscles are designed to provide strength and others are designed to provide endurance activities, while others are designed to provide a balance of both.
To determine the right exercise - in relation to several variables, such as: amount of weight used, sets, reps - frequency of workouts are directly related to the type of muscle fiber involved and the eventual work output you are looking for. Genetics obviously play a huge factor in this equation - I have spent most of my life training people to play sports to enhance or correct their genetic issues.
Forms Of Exercise:
- Isometric: Resistance without movement
- Isotonic: Resistance with movement at a constant speed
- Isokinetic: Resistance with a fixed resistance, but a variable speed
- Plyometric: Resistance that has less resistance and focuses on acceleration
- Combinations: Any combination of the previous exercises
- Cardiovascular Training: Exercise that last longer than 1:45 seconds without rest
Now getting back to the anabolic and catabolic issue with respect to exercise. It is a simple math equation. Don't run away, it is only math and it isn't that bad.
Exercise caloric loss + Diet Caloric Gain + Genetic (hormonal) Response = What your body looks like. In other words, how many calories you eat vs. how many calories you burn off, mixed in with how fast your metabolism is, results in your body's mass.
So what kind of exercise program do you choose? Any exercise that is less than one minute and 45 seconds in duration is geared towards anabolic fitness. Most fitness conditioning programs will start with a workout geared towards setting an "Aerobic Base."
The reason for this is very simple; a properly developed cardiovascular system allows for any athlete to recover from higher intense levels of training. Most training programs will allow for 4 weeks of aerobic conditioning, prior to beginning any sport-specific training.
Sets Vs. Reps
This has been a long standing question for many years. Bodybuilding.com and myself answer tons of emails and often at the heart of the questions is an informational request about how many sets and reps.
The first thing to consider is that the muscle is an energy storage unit. It obviously produces work and you often do that when you are lifting weights or performing in a sport. It is very important to realize that all muscles are not created equal; however, they often fall into 3 groups.
It may take a while, but I feel that you should review an article called "Fiber Type Training." This article will show you how to determine which muscle type your body is primarily composed of.
Repetitions And Muscle Type:
The obvious truth is that performing 3 to 4 sets of any particular exercise is necessary to achieve 100% stimulation of the fibers. That is your main
A younger more inexperienced athlete will find that doing one to two sets is plenty and that is enough to stimulate them during the first thirty days. This is, again, related to that "Aerobic Base" and their ability to recover from a workout program.
Repetitions are relative to the muscle type and the given sport's requirements. If you are a track athlete and run the 1500 meters, you should be training 40-50 reps. If you are a 100 meter sprinter, then lower reps will provide the resistance to make strength gains.
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Performing 3 To 4 Sets Of Any Particular Exercise Is
Necessary To Achieve 100% Stimulation Of The Fibers.
Getting A Pump:
The general rule for fitness/bodybuilding training is to switch the reps up. The lower end is 1-6 reps and the higher end is 30-50 reps. Some folks pick an average and make it 10-12 for their upper body and 12-15 for their lower body. The whole idea is to get a pump, if you want to stimulate 100% of your muscle, then you need to get a pump.
If you want your muscle to grow, then you need a pump. If you just want to get strong, and you don't care about muscle bulk, then you do not need to feel a pump. A pump is the feeling that your muscles get after you lift weights.