Separate Training Goals
If your trying to chase two training goals in the same workout, you will be massively impacting your progress. This has been my biggest realization in training, changing my focus from just more, to a very specific goal of every individual workout.
If you learn how these different training stimuli affect your workout, you will have so much more control over the outcome of your workouts. Try get away from sticking to a workout for more than 4 weeks, change the angles, change the stimulus and challenge your body. There is no way your muscles are going to grow unless you expose them to new stimulus, and this cannot be done from your comfort zone.
Alright, let’s get straight into it. These three training phases are:
- Strength Phase (More of a CNS/Neurological stimulus)
This phase is primarily focused on building more explosive contractions and forcing a nervous system adaptation.
- Hypertrophy Phase (Cell swelling/Chasing the pump)
This is your more typical training phase, comprised more of a cell swelling and blood flow within the muscle, driving more blood into the cells and causing a hypertrophy of the cell.
- Metabolic Phase (HIIT Style training/Lactic Acid Accumulation)
This is more of a fat burning phase, we are trying to upregulate mitochondria. Their primary role being to convert nutrients into energy.
Without getting into the complicated chemical processes, these are very different stimuli on the body, and with that, comes very different nutrition requirements and recovery factors in order to be most effective.
As you could imagine, heavy mechanically damage workouts will break down a lot more muscle tissue and will require more protein but doesn’t burn through nearly as much glycogen.
Metabolic work on the other hand will burn through much more glycogen and will actually become a more effective fat burning furness if you use more carbs in this phase of training.
One of the crucial factors here are the MTOR and AMPK enzymes that both play an integral role in whether the body builds muscle or breaks down fats/sugars for fuel.
Both of which are important when trying to improve body composition.
So why is this such a massive realization you might ask…
Think about how many times you have just finished a strength workout and you feel like a quick “sweat” so you throw in a little circuit or cardio after.
You have completely contradicted your training goal.
First, you’ve told it to adapt to a CNS heavy load stimulus, then you’ve turned around and tried to tap into a bit of fat burning.
So rather than finishing up your strength workout and allowing your body to recover and adapt to the heavy loads you have pushed hard to max out on. Your body now has needed to breakdown further to provide energy to perform further intervals. So the MTOR enzyme has shut down to allow the ramp up of the AMPK enzyme which is responsible for telling your body to break down nutrients as fuel, because of the metabolic stress.
Now AMPK is still something you want to happen, especially when trying to cut body fat. Just as both styles of training are effective, and both should be used to improve body composition. However, meshing them together in the same phase is going to diminish your progress.
So big take home message:
Separate your training goals to allow for maximal results from your workouts, by allowing your body to recover from one training stimulus at a time. This becomes especially important when cutting down into a show as nutrients are much lower and you want to be squeezing out every last bit of work and know that this is being utilized effectively.
Common practice would have you jumping on the treadmill post training to try “burn some extra calories”. This is not a weight loss competition “losing weight” is a hell of a lot easier than getting shredded while holding the maximum amount of muscle humanly possible! You’re a physique athlete, not an over-weight patient.
Hopefully now, you can see the massive importance of solid program design. Planning out each phase of training might take some time, but it will be one of the biggest assets when trying to optimize body composition, especially in the case of building muscle.
Be smart in your approach and max the most of every single workout.