|Watch Out: Those Darn Absolutists Are Ruining Your Workouts|
by Marc David
It's my way or the highway!
I mean, if you don't do exactly what I'm telling you, you might as well pack it up, quit the gym and go home. You'll never make any progress doing whatever you are doing if it's not what I say.
Come on... you know those damn absolutists?
They (website, gurus, articles, companies) that tell you if you don't do something precisely like they tell you, you won't get the progress you want.
Have you heard this before?
* if you don't lift heavy, your muscles won't grow
* if you do 45 minutes of regular cardio over HIIT, good luck with the fat loss
* if you do 15+ reps, it's for endurance and ballon like arms aren't in your future
* you must do at least 12 sets for chest, 12 sets for legs and 8 sets for arms
* if you train any body part more than once a week, you are overtraining
* if you don't drink a protein shake IMMEDIATELY after your workout, your body is just using it's own muscle for repair
* and the list goes on with the rules you must follow or else you are just blowing it every time you step food in the gym
PLEASE... spare me the absolutists.
Listen and listen closely.
The person that says you must do it this way or else...
Is the list, website, CD, book, tape or show that you want to walk away from.
There are rules and fundamentals that generally apply to people like performance nutrition, or recommended rep ranges, weight to be lifted and recovery times.
Fundamental = Of or relating to the foundation or base
Rule = A generalized statement that describes what is true in most or all cases
For example, a fundamental or rule is:
* eating 5-6 times a day enhances your metabolism and provides your body with a continual flow of nutrients that is essential to any performance program (weight loss or mass building)
* if you don't eat enough calories per day, you will find it impossible to put on weight
* if you don't get enough protein to support muscle growth, you will find it difficult to gain muscle mass and preserve the muscle you already have today
* improper form can lead to injury. You should know how to do an exercise before attempting to do it
As you can see, that generally applies to us all, no matter our goals or situations.
It's hard to argue that point but technically you still can. There's evidence to suggest that even Arnold Schwarzenegger in his Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding only ate 3 meals a day.
Worked for him. He's an exception to the rules but my point is...
Nothing in bodybuilding and fitness is so set in stone that it must apply to you under all circumstances.
Nobody is the same and nobody responds to the same stimuli the same way 100% of the time.
Without going into great details on those vast subjects (not because I don't want to or cannot but because that's not the purpose of today's lesson) there's a different with rules and fundamentals and absolute theories.
Here's a real shocker!
* you can build some serious muscle by doing a lot of reps AND you can use relatively heavy weight
- Do you know Tom Platz? A quick Google image search will reveal his pictures (granted the guy is s genetic freak) but the point is... he used to do squats at 225 lbs for 10 minutes. Not all the time but as a variation for his training.
- Do you think Platz followed a set standard of RULES for his training? He followed general principles and fundamentals but he didn't always lift heavy and he didn't always do 12 sets for his chest.
- Have you ever seen a picture of Tom Venuto? He does plenty of supersets, tons of variation, higher reps, unique movements and he's a mass of muscle. Doesn't sound like he follows the lift heavy or die mentality. I'm sure he's done his fair share of heavy lifting but he's making strides and gains I'm jealous of and he's not sticking to the rules.
Before I get ahead of myself, this isn't any bash on lifting heavy or any routines whatsoever.
In fact, I hope you see that VARIETY is really the key.
One more example and I swear I'll lay off. :-)
* Max-OT is a very popular program by a company called AST. The likes of Skip LaCour use it. It preaches heavy lifting, 4-6 reps and only 6-9 heavy sets per body part.
- This program worked wonders for me! It was different than anything I'd ever done before. I've never used it again and I'm still making phenomenal gains and breaking personal bests.
Again, I hope you get my point that variety is the key. Doing something like a routine or a set rep/weight scheme or lift heavy or go home mentality is the quickest way to long term injury and burn out.
Use ALL the principles you are leaving about (heavy weight, supersets, variable rest intervals, HIIT training, moderate cardio, free weights, machines, dummbells) to make the best gains.
Sometimes you need to break the rules.
If it works for you, great! Keep doing it. If not, throw the theory out and try something else. Just because Tom Platz can squat 225 lbs for 10 minutes doesn't really help me in my situation.
But the fact that he did, tells me that great gains can come from hard workouts that challenge your body.
The next time somebody tells you "it's my way or the highway," tell them to take a hike.
Copyright 2006 Marc David
About The Author:
Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the "The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding" method on www.Beginning-Bodybuilding.com. He can show you how to reduce your body fat thru diet, how to gain weight or create more muscle thru an abundance of workout tips by training LESS! Not more. He dispels many "bodybuilding myths", tells you what most people never realize about nutrition, and what the drug companies DON'T WANT YOU to know. Go to: http://www.Beginning-Bodybuilding.com to find out more about The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding.
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