Now that you have mastered the basics thanks to Fitness Definitions Pt. 1 – it is time we dive into some more complicated and advanced terminology.
No need for a fancy introduction, I don’t want to delay the knowledge bombs about to rain down (ok, maybe soft water balloon bombs). Spoiler alert, we’re really excited for the last one – Progressive Overload!!
Hope that fitness IQ jumps up at least 1 point after reading this. Enjoy!
Not an excuse to eat as many carbs as you can on a given day, while suffering through most other days. Also is not going to be your ticket to rapid fat loss.
Carbohydrates are our body’s first choice for tackling fuel. We can easily tap into our glucose stores to provide us with energy to accomplish all tasks, especially hard workouts. However, if our body has no need for those delicious carbs, it will go ahead and store them as fat … whether we like it or not!
In a “nutshell”, Carb cycling is a great way to break through fat loss plateaus and tap into stored energy (body fat). Low carb days limits the readily available glucose & glycogen need to fuel our body’s, so it then goes after stored body fat. High carbs days help replenish that glycogen and leverage insulin to preserve muscle tissue. Remember though, that the key factor to any weight loss program is Calorie In Vs. Calories out. Studies also show that undulating (aka carb cycling) your calories is a great way to impede your body from adapting to the same daily protocol.
You ever do legs on a Saturday & walk out alive but then come Monday you literally can’t get out of your seat? Your legs feel like they were hit repeatedly with a bat? Yup, that was me this past Monday. What I experienced is DOMS aka Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. And it is the devil!!!
Every individual will vary, but DOMS can come into play as soon as 6 hours but can peak as far out as 48 hours.
The really sciency explanation for DOMS is “DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.” Shout out to Schoenfeld and Contreras. A simple explanation is that DOMS is connective tissue microtrauma and is more often than not brought about by exercises that favor the eccentric phase or the lengthening/stretching phase.
DOMS does not necessarily mean gains though. It more than likely means you went a little too hard. Studies are lacking that make the connection between DOMS and muscle growth. Deep down though, I dig the DOMS … little extra water and carbs is just what the doctor ordered.
What some will tell you is “very bad” and the cause of the “burn.” Lactic acid has gotten a really bad and undeserved reputation over the years. It’s been made out to be the villain and what derails your workouts. The culprit of muscle fatigue, burn and DOMS. We need to “flush from our systems” with a massage or resting with our legs propped up on a wall ASAP!
Well, thankfully for Lactic Acid, the truth shall set you free. The burn is actually caused by your body using glycogen for energy. Pyruvate is produced (one of many compounds) which turns into hydrogen ion … the trigger for the burn. This then creates lactic acid in the muscles.
Lactic Acid is actually great! The more we produce, the more Growth Hormone (GH) we release – which is super awesome for gains! Secondly, the production of pyruvate creates an acidic environment in our muscles, Lactic Acid fights against this. Lastly, new studies have shown that our body actually reuses lactic acid as a form of energy. Go lactic acid!
Those evil betches that wreak havoc in our bodies. They take us on emotional roller coasters from happy to sad to anxious to stressed in a heart beat. Emotions isn’t the only thing hormones are responsible for, they also play a HUGEEEE factor in beaucoup gains. It’s such an intricate world that we could easily write a 6 part series on it, or more. But we won’t.
We did our best to condense the heavy hitters in our HORMONES 101 article. From Testosterone to Cortisol to Growth Hormone and many more. Learn and learn some more about them if punching a one-way ticket to Gainsville or Shredsville is your goal.
Time Under Tension
Only the mentally strong will survive this journey. Your muscles will tell you to stop. But how bad do you want it?
Time Under Tension or also known as TUT has been one of our favorite training protocols. The concept is to put your muscles under added stress per rep/per set to promote extensive muscle breakdown. The average set of 10 reps take maybe 15 – 25 seconds, depending on the exercise. Lets say 2 seconds per rep, 1 second on the concentric and 1 second on the eccentric (negative).
As you read in last week’s fitness definitions, the negative is what separates the men from the boys. How about next time you do some arm curls hit a 3/1 tempo. Or next time you do squats, try going down in 5 seconds and then exploding up. You’ve taken two exercises, and jacked the time that your muscles are experiencing the load (weight) from 20 seconds to about 45-60 seconds. Give it a shot and drop us a line on what you think!!
Drop Sets vs Super Sets
Two more fantastic principles to add to your arsenal. Completely different but totally effective. These are principles that have been around long before the days of Ahhhnold.
Drop sets refer to the concept of dropping weight from one set to the next (back to back). If I’m doing Squats at 225lbs, I will go till failure or close to it. Then rack the weight, drop down to 135lbs & pump out more reps till failure. By no means should your whole workout be comprised of drop sets. But sprinkling them in will make your muscles hate you but the gains love you. They’re great because they help increase blood flow into the muscles, get the heart pumping and most importantly, fatiguing the muscles to ensure muscle hypertrophy.
Supersets are doing one exercise and when you’re done, immediately going into another exercise. Supersets are a great way to ramp up the intensity, fire up the heart rate and provide a slight uptick in metabolic activity. They also allow you to go in and crush a workout in limited time. Given the nature of supersets, best to recommend utilizing these towards the end of a workout – especially if you’re trying to hit maximum weights.
By far, in Eat . Whey . Love’s opinion, this is the holy grail of principles and in terms of fitness definitions, should be memorized. Something that should be central to all of those chasing improvement day over day, month over month, year over year.
Our body was created with the purpose of surviving and adapting – to most things thrown it’s way. One thing many of us throw at it, is weights (figuratively). Resistance training is a stress that deep down our body does not want. However, it learns, grows and adapts to most resistance training. What was heavy on week 1 will most likely not be heavy on week 5 or week 10. If no new stress or no new overload is presented to the body in those weeks, then it has to need to illicit more change (adapt by way of beautiful new muscles).
The human body will not change unless it’s forced to
Progressive Overload is a steady upwards trajectory of introducing new “stress” to the body. To promote more gains, you must continuously increase the demands on the musculoskeletal system. In order to get bigger and stronger, you must work hard! When I say work harder, I do not mean spending 1.5 hours in the gym now versus your previous hour. There are much simpler ways to work harder.
(any Pokemon fans out there?)
Progressive overload is a beautiful equation that is the sum of all of your efforts within a workout. This means everything from reps, to sets, to resistance, training frequency, volume (reps x sets x weight) and even rest times. Week over week, you should aim at increasing or improving in one of these areas to ensure you’re keeping with that upward trajectory of Progressive Overload.
And that is all people! All the fitness definitions we have for now. If you have questions shoot us an email or reach out to us via the Coaching section. Now go out there and put this newfound knowledge to use. Happy gains hunting!