Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Training Evolution (March '08)

Fred Fornicola and I talk often. Much of the conversation involves what we are doing now and what adjustments we have made to accommodate our training as things come up. Often it’s about HIT (High Intensity Training) and what we have learned as we go along in life. I have this conversation often with older trainees who are facing the fact that things are changing.

Some Background:
I was an original trainee with Arthur Jones. Most know that but I just needed to say it again. When I first got involved with training with him it was great! I had more time to do other things besides training. This was all new to me. I was used to being in the gym, day and night. BUT it was very hard training, very hard. At first we got every rep we could…………..NO MATTER the form, or the time it took to do it. You squeezed all you could into the set. I was young and could take it then. Later we became more strict with our form and didn’t heave and throw as much………..till we didn’t heave and throw at all. We used free weights (Yes, you Internet experts, we sure did) and a few machines at first. That’s how it was. No lab coats, no secret handshake, no passwords. Just training. Hard Training. Simple as that.

Now, I don’t train as hard. I still do failure training but not as much. I still use one set sometimes. If you do single set training, you better be pushing the set toward your limits or you will not be doing enough. On days when my intensity is not as high, I do more than one set. The extra work helps me feel like I have given a good effort. The extra sets also (during low intensity) help me burn a few more calories and also help build my “work capacity.” My philosophy is this: The higher the Intensity, the less sets I do and also overall less volume. The Lower the Intensity, I use more sets and more exercises. I think the reason some fail on HIT or whatever you want to call it, is that they don’t know how to put the effort into their training. They end up doing low volume AND low intensity.

As you age and get more mileage on your body it makes sense to monitor the intensity you use. This is why I now use more volume because I don’t “put out” like I used to. I’m also more concerned with overall “work capacity” and conditioning. I do other things for exercise too. Body weight conditioning is a big part of my training. I feel that it complements my weight work. When I use the weights (Machines and free weights) one day I’ll train heavy and use few reps. Other days I’ll train lighter and use at least 20 reps……….going as high as 50 sometimes. Sometimes single sets and using a good effort or multiple sets using less effort but more work. I just keep things simple. This is how I prefer it. I pay little attention to the latest “Fitness King or Queen,” Or the Latest Scientific Breakthrough. I got news for you. Most of it is pure marketing crap. What the heck does standing on a ball do for you other than get you ready for the circus? Core? Your whole body should be the “core” of your training. Head to toe, dam* straight.

On the Internet people want you to “Spell it out” give you all the reps, sets, exercises. Then they look at it and move on to the next thread, or they argue………………..and argue…………and argue. Time would be better spent in the gym, doing PRODUCTIVE work.
It seems to me many would rather talk about training than actually training. – Jim Bryan