The Training Dilemma Part 2!

I have found out the hard way that more is not always better. I have also discovered that training specifically to look like a bodybuilder is not always the best way to develop the best body. Here is my story about how I changed to less days per week.
I have found out the hard way that more is not always better. I have also discovered that training specifically to look like a bodybuilder is not always the best way to develop the best body. What I mean by that is most natural bodybuilders (and I need to clarify right now I ONLY deal with natural or non-steroid athletes. I have learned the hard way of the absolutely devastating effects steroids can have on your body AND mind. So if killing yourself and destroying relationships is your thing, it's your choice. I just have nothing relevent for you) are less developed in certain areas than sprinters and skaters. I believe that it's not the actual sprinting or skating that has led to these muscular physiques, but the training these athletes have done in order to get better at their sport.

I have always been known for a pair of great legs, even at the national level my legs stood out. I have done some leg workouts that were from another dimension (just read The Kill), but that is not all I have done for legs. I have run many stadium stairs, many mountainous terrains and tried to break every Stairmaster I came in contact with. I actually have had a Stairmaster chain snap under that pressure I was putting on it.

In preparation for the last Mr. America I entered, I had a nasty little workout for definition that consisted of sprints, push-ups, sit-ups, jump ropes, kicks-punches and plyometrics! Talk about separating the men from the boys! I don't mean to be sexist because quite frankly the women I put through it almost always fared better than the men. My point is that an overall conditioning type of hardness and refinement happened to my body that basic bodybuilding would not have accomplished. When we train like an athlete we almost always reap the benefits of greater cardiovascular conditioning as well as more everyday energy. I always wanted to win every bodybuilding contest I was entered in, but I also wanted to know that if we had a race to the top of the mountain I would be right up there also!!

I'm certainly not suggesting that we convert from iron warriors to track athletes, but there is a benefit in this type of supplementary training. Iron workouts are and always will be the key to added mass. Just how many days a week and how many sets certainly does vary from individual to individual. My experience has taught me that cycling intensity-duration is a safe and effective way to continued progress. Now I will admit that one of the most productive building times in my life was a year of total mind blowing intensity.

If you read my article on The Kill Leg Workout, then you remember my friend and training partner Craig Toth. If not, let me re-iterate. When Craig and I started training together he weighed around 217 pounds with really impressive arms but not much back width or leg size. Craig was a hardcore believer in six days a week, but I knew that he was overtraining. I suggested that we train on my schedule of four days a week: Mon - Tues - Thurs - Fri. Well, Craig's response was a classic.

"Alright! I'll try it for eight weeks but then I'm going back to six days a week!"

I just smiled, happy that I got my way (for at least 8 weeks) and we began training. Now I admit that sometimes our form wasn't the best but we did forced reps, negatives, drop sets, high reps, low reps and all in the same workout BUT the results were astounding. Craig put on twenty pounds that first eight weeks. We were both taking in as many calories and as much protein as we could stand. Craig would buy that cheap Weider weight gainer they used to sell in the 5 lb bag, add milk and raw eggs and chug it down over the sink because he'd be fighting barfing it up while he was forcing it down. We were both hyper loading Creatine and training crazy!!

Soon I realized something was going to have to give and it wasn't going to be us! So I told Craig, okay, now we need to drop down to three days per week. And guess what he said? Yep.

"Alright man! I'll try it for six weeks then I'm going back to four days per week!"

So little trust! Well, the results continued and soon Craig was topping the scale at around 260. The only bummer was when we started I was bigger and stronger than Craig but by this time he was the biggest and strongest. Oh how I hate superior genetics. Anyway, by the end of the year we were training one day on, two days off. Practically two days a week in the gym. Mentally, it's tough. You just long to be in there more, but after awhile (once the phsychological addiction is broke) the free time really is awesome.

Just to update you, Craig still trains one on, two off all these years later and if you saw him, you still think the guys on drugs but no way. I mean no stinking way. He's never touched them and never will. I still vary my workouts. If I'm maintaining and playing I'll go 4 - 5 days with medium intensity, but any time I up weight and add intensity I drop workout days. I had a BAD wreck on a mountain bike almost a year ago and messed my shoulder completely up. It's healing really well but I've had to work slowly into heavy bench. I'm back to 225 for 20 - 30 reps and 275 for an easy 10. My goal is 315 for 20 and 405 for 10 so I'll keep you updated. I'm on four days a week right now but I'm almost read to drop to three. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. If need be, I'll be back to one day on, two days off.

Well that's a preview of my thought process on this training dilemma, time and intensity. Next time I'll outline some of the workouts and the time of our workouts. I'll also start keeping a log and diary of my current progress so you can keep track!! God Bless and remember, a man with experience always out does the guy with only an opinion!

God Bless...