We’re MOVING!!!

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Greetings friends, fans, visitors new, and old. I am excited to announce that HYBRID FITNESS is moving.  Starting today (and moving forward) you can find us at our new on-line location TRUTH NOT TRENDS.

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T.N.T. will be home to our brand new PODCAST on Effort-Based, evidence based A.K.A. H.I.T. exercise. Every week we’ll offer useful, and informative content to help you achieve your fitness goals in the safest most efficient, and effective manner possible. We will also be featuring awesome guest interviews as well as continue our tradition of putting out high quality blog content on all aspects of health & fitness.

So come on over and see our new home on the web. While you’re there don’t forget to subscribe. New episodes available on Google Play & iTunes NOW!.

And remember TELL A FRIEND!!

PAU for NOW
TAKU 

P.S Thanks to all of my friends, new and frequent visitors, as well as valued content contributors for all of your support over the last ten years. Rest assured that T.N.T. will be a worthwhile destination in your quest for useful and informative health and fitness content on the web.

Click any of the links to visit our new WEBSITE immediately!!!

The Science of Strength: As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

The Science of Strength

As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

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1. Progression: Making the workout or exercise more challenging over time. This could be adding weight to strength exercises, or running faster or longer with cardiovascular training. Either way if you are not challenging your body no improvement will happen.

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2. Overload: Is when the body is challenged through intense exercise and the muscles are worked passed their current capacities. This training “environment” is what sets the scene for improvement.

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3. Recovery: After the muscles have been overloaded they need time to adapt and get stronger. This process takes between 48* – 96 hours +.

So the science of getting stronger is as follows:

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1. Train as hard as you can on each exercise to make sure overload takes place.

2. Allow the body to rest and recover. You can’t rush improvement.

3. When you return to the weight room try to add weight or repetitions to each exercise.

The science of getting stronger is really easy to understand. It is the application that is challenging. There are no secret routines or special exercises, just simple things that need to be done a certain way, for an extended period of time.

Train Hard!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

(*minimum recovery period for athletes with optimal recovery ability).

S.P.I.C.E. things up

A common question that comes up with coaches and athletes is how do I make sure my strength and conditioning program is “sports specific”? There are only three things you need to think about improving.

  • Force enhancement via strength training
  • Energy system improvement via sport-related conditioning runs or drills
  • Skill improvement via sport-specific skill training

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. Sports skill development, on the other hand, is the specific learning of how to best coordinate and apply these forces.

In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas sports skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice on “the field”.* As a result, a powerful athlete is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically on “the field”.*

Unless you are competing as a power-lifter, Olympic style weight lifter etc, anything you do in the weight room will have zero direct transfer to what you are doing on “the field” of play.*

With the above in mind, here is a simple formula to keep your training on the right track.

Key points to remember too S.P.I.C.E. things up

1. Strength train in order to reduce injury, and resist fatigue in the safest method possible.

2. Practice your skills

3. Improve flexibility- perform a proper stretching routine to increase range of motion around a joint

4. Condition the energy systems used to play your sport (running intervals, cardiovascular exercises and speed training)

5. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water to ensure the body has the proper amount of nutrients in order to grow stronger.

 

These five basic concepts will go a long way in keeping your training simple, safe, and focused on success.

PAU for NOW

TAKU 

TAKU’s NOTE: *(“The field” implies any athletic playing space the wrestling mat, tennis court, Fighting cage, boxing ring etc.)

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Hey there…thanks for stopping by. Due to some family obligations I am temporarily not adding any new content. There are literally hundreds of articles to choose from in my archives, going all the way back to 2008. Please take a moment to look around, I am sure you will find stuff worth exploring.  I’ll be back soon with new content for you to enjoy.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Workout Frequency Revised

By Jim Bryan

Early in my weight training career I was training an average of six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. I was involved in competition in Olympic Lifting, Power Lifting, and Body Building . Sometimes there were non-sanctioned Strongman type competitions. At this time I was chemically assisted but I never felt that it helped. Others did and saw areas of big improvements. But like I said I never felt it helped and don’t recommend it.

Somewhere in 1970 I met Arthur Jones and was exposed to shorter and harder workouts. I was already training hard but the workouts took a long time to complete. I hadn’t learned to “focus” my training yet. Arthur convinced me to stop depending on chemical assistance and showed me how to train harder in a shorter time frame. He also told me about “infrequent training.” After, I was training only three days a week for about 30 to 60 minutes. At first it was mostly on free weights and some machines at Christensen’s Health Club, and on mostly free weights and early prototypes of Nautilus Machines in Deland. When I first met Arthur, Nautilus didn’t exist in reality. It was only in Arthur’s mind. Thus, we didn’t have anything special in the beginning to train on. Free weights, Universal machine, Nautilus Pullover Prototype that’s pretty much it. I was happy to be only training 3 days a week and to me this was “Infrequent Training.” Today you have trainers bragging about only working out now and then, or once a month. It has been accepted that this is “Infrequent Training.” I believe things have gotten out of hand with this thinking.

My thoughts on “Optimal Training”

Three days a week training: I feel that this is the best way to go for most people. It works for body composition, lean muscle improvements, strength, and conditioning. Most people don’t train hard enough to run the risk of over training and three days is not that hard to get in. This can be all weights or a mix of weights and body weight training. Throw in some implements to make things interesting and on your off days get outside and enjoy being active. Don’t be afraid to be active. Practice sensible eating and you should do well.

Two Days a week training: This also works and for very busy people it may be ideal. Also, for the rare few (and I mean few) that train the way we used to in Deland, this is or can be a good frequency of training. Again, you can do all weights or mix with body weight training. It becomes more important to stay active on your non – training days if you are after a “lean look.” You can accomplish your goals of adding strength and maintaining muscle on two days a week training. Some will even add muscle but you need to make these workouts count. Focus your training and try to do as much as you can in the space of your workout. Training should take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Some really hard workouts can be completed in 15 minutes and change.

When you are training only twice a week, “conditioning” starts to suffer in my opinion. I recommend participating in some kind of out door activity. Something like jogging, water skiing, swimming, soccer, surfing, boogie boarding, walking, or biking. Get outside, burn some calories, stay fit and stay active. Twice a week can work but you have to practice sensible eating if you want to shed some fat.

Once a week training: I don’t find this to be optimal. Sometimes you can’t help it. Life gets busy and you can only get one a week in. I feel that you can continue to add strength on one training session a week as long as you REALLY focus on weight progression in your exercises. I feel that body composition suffers for most people. You will tend to get fat and your conditioning will suffer, as well as your “work capacity.” You’ll really have to cut your calories if you want a lean look. So much so, that you may find you don’t have enough energy for a HEAVY workout. Your strength can suffer also. It’s around this area that “Infrequent Training” starts to become too infrequent. You better be active as heck if you only workout once a week or you will become…………………………………fat.

Less than once a week training: Look! I’m going to be honest here. I don’t care how many books or articles you have that say you can succeed on this. What you will end up with is ………Books and Articles.

You’ll have very little muscle, and your conditioning will be zero. You just can not do it in five minutes a day whenever you feel like it as some would have you believe, and you can not do it with workouts that never happen. Having the best Fitness Library means zilch if all you ever do is read and talk your workout. You have to work out! You have to raise your heart rate. You have to spend some sweat and effort. You have to be consistent. You have to pay attention to what and how much you eat. All the best intentions in the world will not make up for lack of effort in the gym.

AND neither will the latest “Fitness Craze.” The experts on the Internet will go on and on about “I use this and I use that” but the bottom line is weight training works. Combine weight training with body weight training and conditioning and just do it. It has worked for over 50 years as I know it and continues to work. Gimmicks come and go but Sensible Strength Training will go on and on. BUT you have to show up, work out, and be consistent! Argue less on the Body Building sites and you will probably find the extra few minutes needed to “Just go lift.” I don’t care how you do it or who’s method you use, “Just go Lift.”

All said and done if you have been training consistently and regularly, don’t be afraid to take some time off to recharge now and then. Best effort equals best results. Not everyone will end up developing “Huge Muscles.” Some will and some won’t. It depends on your potential and effort. AND!!! Women don’t end up looking like a man because they lift weights. So just throw that excuse out the window. Women look good with some lean muscle on them.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my friend Jim Bryan for once again sharing his insights with us.

START YOUR NEW YEAR’S RIGHT…

 STRENGTH TRAINING FOR BUSY PEOPLE

Well it’s that time again…NEW YEARS!! One of the many things that occurs around this time of year is that people make plans to get fit. For all these good intentions, many people quickly give up on these plans, often because they feel they don’t have the time to dedicate towards this seemingly daunting task. If you are on of those people who feels they don’t have time to read this article, let alone set aside time to work out, then this program is for you.

WHY?

Why Strength Train? The primary purpose of strength training, or strength exercise, is to improve muscle function. It will help you develop stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments, enabling you to perform better in all physical activities. Strength training reduces your risk of low back pain, illnesses such as diabetes and degenerative problems such as osteoporosis. It also helps you reach and maintain a proper body composition by boosting your resting metabolism and thereby burning more calories throughout the day, even at rest.

HOW?

The Strength Training program below has been designed using research performed by Dr. Wayne Westcott and Rita LaRosa Loud, along with their staff at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. In an effort to make exercise more appealing to those who are truly in need of its tremendous benefits, Dr. Westcott set out to prove that strength gains can come with minimal time and commitment. The number one complaint and excuse for discontinuing a strength training, or exercise regimen, is TIME. As you will find in this article, Dr. Westcott and his colleagues were able to prove that significant changes can occur in a person’s musculature and strength with a program lasting as little as 24 minutes, performed just two to three times a week.

 RESEARCH OVERVIEW:

Over the past several years, Dr. Wayne Westcott and his colleagues have conducted several research studies with adults, seniors, and children consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. With every study, Dr. Westcott has continued to uncover protocols that deliver results to the masses. In every program, the participants experienced excellent gains in muscle strength and impressive improvements in body composition. On average, the adult exercisers in these particular studies increased their muscle strength by over 40 percent, added about two and one half pounds of muscle, and lost about four and one half pounds of fat over an eight week training period.

The results from the shortened programs are at least as good as those attained using other exercise protocols, indicating that a basic and brief strength training program can be highly effective. Perhaps just as important, participants have been pleased with both the exercise process and the training product, with over 90 percent continuing their strength workouts after completing the program.

BASIC STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM:

Participants performed one set of each exercise, with a weight load that could be lifted between 8 and 12 repetitions. Each repetition was performed at a moderate movement speed (about 6 seconds) and through a full movement range. When 12 repetitions were able to be completed in proper form, the weight load was increased by a small amount (5 percent or less). The participants chose to train either two or three days per week depending on personal preference. The studies have shown almost 90 percent as much benefit from twice-a-week training as three day-a-week training.

The basic training program used is relatively time efficient, depending of course on the recovery period between exercises. Assuming about a minute to perform each exercise and about a minute between exercises, the workout requires only 24 minutes for completion.

20 SECOND STRETCHING BETWEEN EXERCISES:

The flexibility component of the program generally consisted of interspersing stretching exercises with the strength training movements. The participants experienced excellent results by performing a 20-second stretch for the muscle group just worked. For example, the leg curl exercise was followed by a 20-second static stretch for the hamstrings muscles.

The research has shown that adding stretching exercises to the workout may have duel benefits, enhancing both joint flexibility and strength development. The participants who did static stretches following their strength training exercise had greater increases in hamstrings flexibility and strength than the participants who did strength training exercises only. Because the participants typically took a 1-minute break between exercises, the 20-second stretches did not lengthen the overall workout duration.

STRENGTH TRAINING GUIDELINES:

 FREQUENCY

Train two to three days per week on an every-other-day schedule. Taking back-to-back strength training workouts is counterproductive because the muscles do not have sufficient recovery or building time. Two training days per week produce about 90% as much strength and muscle gain as three weekly workouts.

DURATION

Train with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions on each machine. At 6 seconds per repetition a set of strength exercises should take about 50-70 seconds. When the proper weight-load is used, this provides excellent stimulus for strength gains. The Strength Training Circuit should take approximately 25-30 minutes to complete once you know what adjustments and weight you need for each movement or machine. Until then, it could take 45 minutes or so to complete the circuit.

 INTENSITY

The weight-load should be heavy enough to fatigue the target muscle group with 8-12 repetitions.

 SPEED

Perform all movements slowly, approximately 6 seconds per repetition. Take two seconds to lift the weight-load, and take four seconds to lower the weight-load. Slow training increases the strength building stimulus and reduces the risk of injury.

RANGE

Perform all exercises through a full range of pain-free joint movement. Full-range training ensures greater muscle effort, joint flexibility, and performance power.

 PROGRESSION

Gradually increase muscle stress by adding approximately 5% more weight whenever you complete 12 repetitions in good form. Progressive resistance is the key to continued strength development.

 CONTINUITY

Proceed from machine to machine, or exercise to exercise in order and in a timely manner. Work the muscles from larger to smaller groups, which aids in efficiency, and provides better overall training effect.

MAINTAIN REGULAR WORKOUTS

Consistency is perhaps the most important variable in developing and maintaining physical fitness. Two or three non-consecutive workout sessions per week on a regular basis are recommended for maximizing muscular fitness.

Well that’s all you need to know. For more ideas on how to create efficient workouts check out these past articles: One and Done I Want It All 

Thanks to Dr. Wayne Westcott for allowing me to share his research here on my blog.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Ten Commandments of Training

1. Have a Plan

It is important to have a list of goals and the steps to reach the goals. Doing this is the key to self confidence and motivation. Keeping a log of how you do in following your plan helps to see what does and does not work for you. This will help you to create better plans in the future. The best logs include not only information about strength and cardio training but nutrition, sleep and motivation as well.

 

2. Train in cycles

Plan a 6 – 12 month training cycle. It is difficult to maintain top shape or train at maximum levels all year around. We all need periods of physical and psychological recovery. Build an adequate base of endurance and strength before adding work. Peaking for sports performance means increasing workout intensity as well as sharpening technique. This type of training is only used for short periods of time, (4 to 12 weeks), to prepare for competition. After a period of competing there should be a period of reduced training, rest and recovery leading into another cycle of base and strength building which should see you improving on your previous personal bests.

3. Use the Hard/Easy system

For training effect to take place, a period of overload needs to be followed by a period of rest, during which the actual adaptation to the stress takes place. Exercise physiology research has shown that the hard/easy cycle for training needs to be 48 hours or more. It has also demonstrated that alternating hard and easy workouts is more effective training than doing the same workout each day. Thus alternating hard and easy days is appropriate training for all fitness participants and can maximize results while minimizing burnout. The most common beginner mistake is to do the same intensity and the same duration every day.

4. Train specifically

Ask yourself, does this training make sense for the activity I’m planning to do? If not, do something that makes sense. Adaptation needs to be specific to attain your goals. You must train duration specific energy transport systems and you must train volume and intensity specific neuro-muscular responses. This means if you are a boxer, don’t train like a marathon runner. And if you are a marathon runner, don’t train like a power lifter.

5. Don’t train any more than you have to

Efficient trainers are healthy trainers. There are no bonus points for doing a longer workout than you’d planned. Most injuries seem to occur when people feel good and over do it. Remember that how you feel is a poor physiological measure of how you are. Err on the side of conservatism. If you feel bad, do less. If you feel good, stick to your plan. Don’t do more. Always emphasize quality over quantity.

6. When doing cardio, Focus more on speed and intensity over distance and time

The risk of injury from over-training must always be factored against the gains made. By focusing your “aerobic” training on speed and intensity over distance you will receive the maximum physiological improvements possible in the minimum time. You train all the energy transport systems you need for aerobic endurance by alternating bouts of more intense speed-work with active recovery periods, during any cardio activity. By combining intervals alternating slow periods and short fast periods you avoid the risks (not to mention the boredom) associated with the high stresses of long drawn out cardio training sessions.

7. Add variety

Varying a number of aspects of your training avoids injury and keeps you mentally interested. For strength training try experimenting with different modalities such as resistance bands, sand bags, medicine balls etc. For cardio training as well as trying different equipment you can vary pace, distance, courses, terrain etc. For an intense and challenging twist try cross training by combining alternative cardio and strength activities into brief, intense and challenging circuits. This type of training can directly increase your overall fitness and resistance to injury and burnout allowing you to train consistently for long periods.

8. Make your training enjoyable

If you are not enjoying the training, you will not be able to maintain your commitment. Variety, mentioned above, will help. Also consider things like a once a week fitness “adventure” where you try something you have never tried before. Take a class you have been curious about or explore a martial art. Join a sports team an outdoors training group or a run for fun group.

9. Hire a Coach or Personal Trainer

At least educate yourself on training techniques and your body’s responses so that you can coach yourself. If you cannot follow the rules and need more help, hire a Trainer or Coach. A Trainer / Coach should help you set up and follow a program based on your ability and your goals. A Couch / Trainer’s primary goal should be to keep you healthy and motivated.

10. When in doubt, rest

This is the golden rule of training. Do unto your body as you would have it do unto you. Listen to your body. If it is saying, “I’ve got a problem, what now?” The usual answer should be to take a day off, either your head or your anatomy need it.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

 

CONDITIONING 101:

By TAKU

No matter what sport you engage in from Golf to Ice Hockey, American Football to international Futbol (that’s soccer to all you Americans)…all athletes will benefit from a simple solid conditioning program. In fact, even if you are not currently practicing any sport in particular, a simple conditioning plan will benefit everyone when it comes to total fitness.

Most folks who have been reading my work for a while know that I am a proponent of interval style training programs. I know that interval training has become cool of late, but I have actually been recommending brief intense conditioning plans since the late 1980’s.

Interval training plans for sports are often designed with specific distances such as sprint for 60 meters, recover for a specified time, and repeat. Rather than use distance as a goal, I prefer to use time. Using time instead of distance will help people of varied fitness levels and body types stay within the desired range. If you are a 300 lb. Offensive lineman playing american Football, running 100 meters may take you a little longer than it would a 160 lb. striker playing World Futbol. By using specific times (instead of distance) we can insure similar energy systems being activated and keep the work consistent. for everyone. Finally using time instead of distance allows us to choose from a broad array of training tools or modes both indoors and out.

Most athletes will utilize a wide variety of energy systems along the intensity continuum. Remember this is a general conditioning program. It will help build a base of conditioning for almost any activity. Participants playing such sports as American Football, Basketball, Field Hockey, Rugby, Lacrosse etc. may all benefit from this type of program, especially in the off-season.

Once you are nearing the pre-season or are in-season, the playing and practicing of your specific sport should take precedence. Practicing specific sports will always be the best way to prepare for those specific activities. For instance someone training for pure speed such as a 100 meter sprint specialist, will first and foremost want to polish technique and running mechanics. The actual practice of sprinting is designed to be an all-out 100% maximum effort. To prepare for running at full speed, one must practice running at full speed. To allow this to occur maximum recovery between bouts will be required.

Below I have outlined an 8-WEEK Conditioning Program. It is set up with specific work to rest ratios. Each week we will increase the volume of sprints while reducing the actual exertion times. Your goal is to go at the most brisk pace you can tolerate, and still maintain work for the desired time. As you progress through the program (and your conditioning improves) you should be striving to go as fast and as hard as possible during the work phase of each bout of intervals. During the recovery period just walk (or pedal etc.) very slowly while you catch your breath and prepare for the next work phase.

If you are an open field athlete I highly recommend that you do your best to perform this workout on a running track or sports field.

For general fitness enthusiasts, any tool of choice may be used. Recommended tools include but are not limited to:

Bicycle
Rowing Ergo-meter
Step-Climber
Elliptical Cross-Trainer
Jump-Rope

8-WEEK CONDITIONING PROGRAM

In this program I recommend that you perform the conditioning program on two, non-consecutive days in your training week such as Monday and Thursday. You may do strength and conditioning on the same day, or you may separate them. Here are two examples of ways one might combine these types of training in an overall S&C plan:

EXAMPLE 1:

Monday: Conditioning
Tuesday: Strength Training
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: Conditioning
Friday: Strength Training
Saturday / Sunday: REST

Wash – Rinse – Repeat

EXAMPLE 2: 

Week One

Monday: Conditioning
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: Strength Training
Thursday: REST
Friday: Conditioning

Saturday / Sunday: REST

Week Two 

Monday: Strength Training
Tuesday: REST
Wednesday: Conditioning
Thursday: REST
Friday: Strength Training

Wash – Rinse – Repeat

Note: The prescription is written so that the work period is first, followed by the rest period. For example in week one, day one you will work for two minutes, followed by a rest period of 4:00 minutes.  After completing the first week of the program, when successive bouts are called for you will complete the specified number of bouts at a given work to rest ratio, then rest three to five minutes before moving on to the next series.

Week 1

Day 1 – 1 x 2:00 / 4:00 & 2 x 1:00 / 2:00

Day 2 – 2 x 2:00 / 4:00 & 3 x 1:00 / 2:00

Week 2

Day 1 – & 2

6 x 00:20 / 01:00

Week 3

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:36 / 01:48

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:18 / 00:54

Week 4

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:36 / 01:48

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:18 / 00:54

Week 5

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:34 / 01:42

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:16 / 00:48

Week 6

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:32 / 01:36

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:15 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

Week 7

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:30 / 01:30

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:14 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

Week 8

Day – 1 & 2

4 x 00:30 / 01:30

3-5 minutes rest

8 x 00:14 / 00:42

3-5 minutes rest

6 x 00:07 / 00:21

*Rest 3-5 minutes between each series.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

P.S. My personal S&C program is very similar to that shown in example # 2. above

Resistance Training is Medicine:

By Wayne L. Westcott, PhD

Introduction       

Not long ago, the muscle-building activity known as weight training generally was considered to be the domain of exceptionally strong men who competed in sports such as powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding, and football. It was obvious that these athletes required high levels of strength and muscularity to excel in their chosen sport and that their mesomorphic physiques responded favorably to heavy resistance training with barbells and dumbbells. Average individuals saw no reason to engage in weight training, and participants in other sports typically felt that lifting weights actually would hinder their athletic performance.

As American lifestyle became more sedentary and heart disease became the leading cause of death, regular exercise was promoted for attaining physical fitness, desirable body weight, and cardiorespiratory health. However, the overwhelming emphasis was on aerobic activity with little encouragement for resistance training. More recently, attention has been given to age-related muscle loss and associated physiological problems such as bone loss, metabolic decline, fat gain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and all-cause mortality. Given the serious problem of sarcopenia in an increasingly sedentary and aging population, and the accumulating evidence that resistance exercise promotes muscle gains in men and women of all ages, it is understandable that leading researchers have advocated a public health mandate for sensible resistance training.

The series of events that seem to be associated with a large number of illnesses, injuries, and infirmities are 1) muscle loss, 2) leading to metabolic rate reduction, 3) followed by fat gain that places almost 80% of men and 70% of women 60 years of age and older in the undesirable categories of overweight or obese. These percentages are based on body mass index calculations that do not account for age-related sarcopenia. It is therefore likely that an even higher percentage of the older adult population has excess body fat (above 22% for males and above 32% for females).

Muscle mass declines between 3% and 8% each decade after age 30, averaging approximately 0.2 kg of lean weight loss per year. Muscle loss increases to 5% to 10%each decade after age 50, averaging approximately 0.4 kg per year after the fifth decade of life. Skeletal muscle, which represents up to 40% of total body weight, influences a variety of metabolic risk factors, including obesity, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Muscle tissue is the primary site for glucose and triglyceride disposal, so muscle loss specifically increases the Muscle protein breakdown and synthesis largely are responsible for energy expenditure in resting muscle, which is approximately 11 to 12 calIdj1Ikgj1 of untrained muscle tissue. Consequently, muscle loss is the greatest contributor to the age-related decline in resting metabolic rate, which averages 2% to 3% per decade in adults. Because resting metabolism accounts for about 65%to 70% of daily calorie use among sedentary men and women, reduction of muscle mass and resting metabolic rate may be accompanied by increased fat weight.

Reversing Muscle Loss

Numerous studies have demonstrated that relatively brief sessions (e.g., 12 to 20 total exercise sets) of regular resistance training (two or three nonconsecutive days per week) can increase muscle mass in adults of all ages through the 10th decade of life. Many of these studies showed lean weight gains of about 1.4 kg following approximately 3 months of resistance training. A representative large-scale study with more than 1,600 participants between the ages of 21 and 80 years revealed a mean lean weight increase of 1.4 kg after 10 weeks of resistance training incorporating 12 total exercise sets per session. Training frequencies of 2 and 3 day / week produced similar lean weight gains, and there were no significant differences in muscle development among any of the age groups.

Recharging Resting Metabolism

Resistance training stimulates increased muscle protein turnover and actually has a dual impact on resting metabolic rate. First, as a chronic response, resistance training results in greater muscle mass that necessitates more energy at rest for ongoing tissue maintenance. A 1.0-kg increase in trained muscle tissue may raise resting metabolic rate by about 20 cal / day. Second, as an acute response, resistance training causes tissue microtrauma that requires relatively large amounts of energy for muscle remodeling processes that may persist for 72 h after the training session. Research has shown significant increases in resting metabolic rate (approximately 7%) after several weeks of resistance training. However, more recent studies have revealed a similar elevation in resting energy expenditure (5% to 9%) for 3 d following a single session of resistance training. Participants who performed a high volume resistance workout (8 exercises x 8 sets each) averaged an 8% (trained subjects) to 9% (untrained subjects) increase in resting energy expenditure for 3 d after the exercise session. Beginning participants who performed either a moderate-volume resistance workout (10 exercises x 3 sets each) or a low-volume resistance workout (10 exercises x 1 set each) averaged a 5% increase in resting energy expenditure for 3 d after their respective exercise sessions.

Based on the findings from these studies, regular resistance training may increase energy expenditure at rest by 100 cal / day or more. Reducing Body Fat Excessive body fat is associated with risk factors such as elevated plasma cholesterol, plasma glucose, and resting blood pressure, which contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In their review article, Strasser and Schobersberger concluded that resistance training is recommended in the management of obesity and metabolic disorders. With respect to overall body fat, several resistance training studies that showed approximately 1.4 kg of lean weight gain also reported approximately 1.8 kg of fat weight loss. With respect to abdominal adipose tissue, research has revealed significant reductions in intra-abdominal fat resulting from resistance training in older women  and older men as well as only one-third as much visceral fat gain in premenopausal women over a 2-year study period (7% resistance trained vs 21% untrained). Hurley et al. have identified increased resting metabolic rate, improved insulin sensitivity, and enhanced sympathetic activity as possible means by which resistance training may decrease intra-abdominal fat stores. Increased resting metabolic rate would seem to be a major factor in fat loss. A 20-min circuit resistance training program may require approximately 200 cal for every performance and may use 25% as many additional calories (50 cal) for recovery processes during the first hour following the workout . Furthermore, over the next 72 h, resting energy expenditure may remain elevated by 100 cal /day for muscle remodeling processes. Assuming two 20-min circuit resistance training sessions a week, the associated energy utilization would approximate 5000 cal /month (eight workouts / 250 cal + 30 days 100 cal).

Facilitating Physical Function

Aging is accompanied by a gradual reduction in physical function that negatively affects the ability to perform activities of daily living. Research has revealed that resistance training can reverse some of the debilitating effects associated with inactive aging, even in elderly individuals. In one study, nursing home residents (mean age = 89 years) performed one set of six resistance machine exercises, twice a week, for 14 wk. At the end of the training period, the participants increased their overall strength by 60%, added 1.7 kg of lean weight, and improved their functional independence measure by 14%. Other studies support resistance training by older adults for enhancing movement control, functional abilities, physical performance, and walking speed.

Resisting Type 2 Diabetes

As the obesity problem increases so does the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. It is predicted that by the middle of this century, one of three adults will have diabetes . In their review article on aging, resistance training, and diabetes prevention, Flack et al. concluded that resistance training may be an effective intervention approach for middle-aged and older adults to counteract age-associated declines in insulin sensitivity and to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. This position is supported by numerous research studies, including those demonstrating improvements in insulin resistance and glycemic control. As presented in the previous section, resistance training also has been shown to reduce abdominal fat, which may be particularly important for diabetes prevention. This is because insulin resistance seems to be associated with abdominal fat accumulation in aging adults. Based on their literature review, Flack et al. suggested that resistance training programs incorporating higher-volume and higher intensity protocols may be more effective for improving insulin resistance and glucose tolerance compared with lower-volume and lower-intensity exercise protocols. This recommendation is consistent with the resistance training guidelines of the American Diabetes Association to exercise all major muscle groups, 3 days / week, progressing to three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions at high intensity.

A meta-analysis by Strasser et al. revealed that resistance training reduced visceral adipose tissue and decreased glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in people with abnormal glucose metabolism. The review authors concluded that resistance training should be recommended for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders. According to Phillips and Winett, resistance training is associated with improved glucose and insulin homeostasis because of increases in muscle cross-sectional area and lean body mass, as well as qualitative improvements in muscle metabolic properties, including increases in the density of glucose transporter type 4, glycogen synthase content / activity, and insulin-mediated glucose clearance. There also is evidence that resistance training may be preferable to aerobic exercise for improving insulin sensitivity and for lowering HbA1c.

Improving Cardiovascular Health

A 2011 literature review by Strasser and Schobersberger concluded that, ‘‘resistance training is at least as effective as aerobic endurance training in reducing some major cardiovascular disease risk factors’’. The reported findings related to cardiovascular benefits of resistance training included improved body composition, mobilization of visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat, reduced resting blood pressure, improved lipoprotein-lipid profiles, and enhanced glycemic control. This section addresses the effects of resistance training on three key physiological factors associated with cardiovascular health, namely, resting blood pressure, blood lipid profiles, and vascular condition.

Resting Blood Pressure

Approximately one-third of American adults have hypertension, which is a major factor in cardiovascular disease. Several studies have demonstrated reduced resting systolic and / or diastolic blood pressure following two or more months of standard resistance training or circuit style resistance training. One study reported resting blood pressure changes in more than 1,600 participants (ages 21 to 80 years) who performed 20 min of resistance training and 20 min of aerobic activity 2 or 3 dIwkj1 for a period of 10 weeks. Subjects who trained twice a week significantly reduced resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings by 3.2 and 1.4 mm Hg, respectively. Those who trained 3 days /week, significantly reduced resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings by 4.6 and 2.2 mm Hg, respectively. A study by Kelemen and Effron also demonstrated significant blood pressure reductions from combined resistance training and endurance exercise.

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by Kelley and Kelley concluded that resistance training is effective for reducing resting blood pressure. A more recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that blood pressure reductions associated with resistance training averaged 6.0 mm Hg systolic and 4.7 mm Hg diastolic and were comparable with those associated aerobic activity.

Blood Lipid Profiles

According to a recent report of the American Heart Association, approximately 45% of Americans have undesirable blood lipid profiles that increase their risk for cardiovascular disease. Several studies have shown beneficial effects on lipoprotein-lipid profiles resulting from resistance training, whereas other studies have not demonstrated significant changes in blood lipid levels. Some investigators have found that resistance training and aerobic activity produce similar effects on blood lipid profiles. A review by Kelley and Kelley reported modest improvements in blood lipid profiles resulting from resistance training, with the exception of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which did not change significantly. According to the American College of Sports Medicine position stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults (3), there is evidence to suggest that resistance training may increase HDL cholesterol by 8% to 21%, decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 13% to 23%, and reduce triglycerides by 11% to 18%. In a study with elderly women (70 to 87 years of age), resistance training significantly improved triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol profiles. A 2009 review by Tambalis et al. revealed resistance training to be an effective means for reducing LDL cholesterol, but there is evidence that combined resistance training and aerobic activity improves blood lipid profiles better than either exercise performed independently. After a careful review of the research literature and their own studies, Hurley et al. suggested that lipoprotein-lipid responses to resistance training likely are to be genotype dependent, indicating that genetic factors may determine the degree to which resistance training influences blood lipid profiles

Vascular Condition

Vascular condition refers to the ability of arteries to accommodate blood flow, which directly affects blood pressure. Research studies are inconsistent regarding the effects of resistance training on vascular condition. Some studies indicate that resistance training reduces arterial compliance, some studies show no effect of resistance training on arterial compliance, while other research reveals enhanced vascular conductance and condition with resistance training.

As Phillips and Winett concluded in their literature review, further study is necessary to determine the relevant role of resistance training in vascular adaptations. Based on the research reviewed, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that resistance training may enhance cardiovascular health, as well as reduce the risk of predisposing metabolic syndrome. Although resistance training alone seems to provide cardiovascular benefits, a combination of resistance training and aerobic activity generally is recommended for healthy adults and for older adults. Resistance training also has been shown to produce positive effects in post coronary patients. Numerous studies indicate that resistance training is a safe and productive means for maintaining desirable body weight, increasing muscular strength, improving physical performance, and enhancing both self-concept and self-efficacy in cardiac patients.

Increasing Bone Mineral Density

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million American adults (8 million women) have osteoporosis, and almost 35 million others have insufficient bone mass or osteopenia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 30% of women and 15% of men will experience bone fractures due to osteoporosis. Research reveals that muscle loss (sarcopenia) is associated with bone loss (osteopenia). Adults who do not perform resistance training may experience 1% to 3% reduction in bone mineral density (BMD) every year of life. Logically, exercise interventions that promote muscle gain also may be expected to increase BMD, and the majority of studies support this relationship. Several longitudinal studies have shown significant increases in BMD after 4 to 24 months of resistance training.

A meta-analysis by Wolfe et al. indicated that exercise programs prevented or reversed approximately 1% bone loss per year (femoral neck and lumbar spine) in adult and older adult women. A more recent review by Going and Laudermilk revealed that resistance training increased BMD between 1% and 3% (femoral neck and lumbar spine) in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Conversely, other longitudinal studies have failed to show significant increases in BMD following 4 to 32 months of resistance training. Cussler et al. have identified several possible reasons for the inconsistent study results, including small sample sizes, short intervention periods, low completion rates, lack of randomized exercise assignments, and different resistance training intensities. Other variables that may influence BMD research results are growth hormone administration in men, hormone replacement therapy in women, dietary protein intake, and calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

A 2-year study by Kerr et al. indicated that resistance training resulted in a 3.2% improvement in BMD compared with the control group. However, studies show that termination of the resistance training program leads to reversal of BMD gains. Although much of the research on resistance training and bone density has been conducted with older women, there is evidence that young men may increase BMD by 2.7% to 7.7% through resistance training. The range of BMD change is related to different responses in different bones because the musculoskeletal effects of resistance training relatively are site specific. The majority of studies in this area support the conclusion in Layne and Nelson’s review that resistance training appears to be associated positively with high BMD in both younger and older adults and may have a more potent effect on bone density than other types of physical activity such as aerobic and weight bearing exercise.

Enhancing Mental Health

According to a comprehensive research review by O’Connor et al., the mental health benefits of resistance training for adults include reduction of symptoms in people with fatigue, anxiety, and depression; pain alleviation in people with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and low-back issues; improvements in cognitive abilities in older adults; and improvements in self-esteem. While there is considerable evidence that appropriate resistance training reduces low back pain, arthritic discomfort, and pain associated with fibromyalgia, this section will address the effects of resistance training on cognition and psychological measures. Concerning cognition, much of the research has been conducted with older adults, and most of the studies have featured endurance exercise alone or combined aerobic activity and resistance training. However, studies using only resistance training interventions have shown significant improvement in cognitive abilities.

In a meta-analysis by Colcombe and Kramer, aerobic activity plus resistance training produced significantly greater cognitive improvement in inactive older adults than aerobic activity alone. According to O’Connor et al., self-esteem, as a global concept of one’s perception of himself or herself, relatively is stable over time and less likely to be affected by physical training than other psychological measures. Nonetheless, positive changes in self-esteem as a result of resistance training have been reported in older adults, younger adults, women, cancer patients, and participants of cardiac rehabilitation. With respect to other psychological measures, studies by Annesi et al. have shown 10 week of combined resistance training and aerobic activity to improve significantly physical self-concept, total mood disturbance, depression, fatigue, positive engagement, revitalization, tranquility, and tension in adults and older adults. Depression is a serious mental health issue that may be associated with decreased functionality, especially in older adults.

In their comprehensive review, O’Connor et al. noted that at least four studies have examined the effects of resistance training on depression levels in clinically depressed individuals, and at least 18 studies have examined the effects of resistance training on depression symptoms in healthy adults or adults with medical problems. Although these trials produced mixed results, the review authors concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support resistance training as an effective intervention for reducing depression symptoms in adults with depression .

Singh et al have researched the effects of resistance training on depression in elderly individuals. In a classic study, they found that more than 80% of the depressed elders who performed three weekly sessions of resistance training were no longer clinically depressed after just 10 weeks of exercise. Based on these studies, it would appear that resistance training is associated with reduced depression levels in older adults.

Reversing Aging Factors

Finally, some interesting research has been conducted on resistance training effects on muscle mitochondrial content and function. There is evidence that circuit (short rest) resistance training can increase both the mitochondrial content and the oxidative capacity of muscle tissue. Another study, using standard resistance training, showed a reversal in mitochondrial deterioration that typically occurs with aging. After 6 months of resistance training, the older adult participants (mean age of 68 years) experienced gene expression reversal that resulted in mitochondrial characteristics similar to those in moderately active young adults (mean age of 24 years). The favorable changes observed in 179 genes associated with age and exercise led the researchers to conclude that resistance training can reverse aging factors in skeletal muscle.

Evidence Based Exercise recommendations for resistance training.

Training exercises:
Perform 8 to 10 multi-joint exercise that address the major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms, hips, legs).

Training frequency:
Train each major muscle group two or three non-consecutive days per week.

Training sets:
Perform two to four sets of resistance training for each major muscle group.

Training resistance and repetitions:

Use a resistance that can be performed for 8 to 12 repetitions (or 60-90 seconds of TUT).

Training technique:

Perform each repetition in a controlled manner through a full range of motion. Exhale during lifting actions and inhale during lowering actions.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my friend and mentor Wayne L. Westcott, PhD for this week’s article. The full article is titled: “Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health”. References and footnotes were removed for brevity.

Train Smart: Learning to use R.P.E.

By TAKU

If you have read or used any of my interval training programs, then you know I often recommend creating your own personal R.P.E. scale as a means of measuring both exercise intensity as well as overall performance progression.

R.P.E.

Creating an R.P.E. scale allows the exerciser to subjectively rate his / her feelings during exercise, taking into account personal fitness level, environmental conditions, and general fatigue levels. Perceived exertion ratings correlate highly with measured exercise heart rates and calculated oxygen consumption values. The R.P.E. scale has been found to be a valuable and reliable indicator in monitoring an individuals exercise tolerance and is often used by fitness professionals while conducting graded exercise tests. Here is an example of how to create your own personal R.P.E. scale. We’ll use the numbers ** 0-10 where 0 = nothing at all (the feeling of sitting at home watching TV) and 10 = Very, very hard (the feeling of running as fast as possible for 100-400 meters). You can actually use this R.P.E. scale as a way to measure both intensity and progress. If you are training on a machine* at resistance level 5 and you feel you are at an “8” on your personal R.P.E. scale, you know you have improved when your R.P.E. for the same exercise and resistance level has dropped to a “6” after several sessions. In the following program I will make suggestions for R.P.E. intensity levels to work towards and it will be up to you to match those levels of intensity to your current ability using your personal R.P.E. scale.

Example R.P.E. Level Rating:

1. I’m resting on the couch

2. I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long

3. I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder

4. I’m sweating now, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly

5. I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily

6. I can still talk, but am slightly breathless

7. I can continue at this pace with some discomfort, talking in short bursts

8. I can only nod in response to your questions and won’t last long at this pace

9. I am very uncomfortable, losing focus and finding it almost impossible to continue

10. I physically cannot continue or I will surely collapse

EXAMPLE WORKOUT: (Use Mode or Tool of choice)

The protocol consists of a graduated, three-minute warm-up, which will elevate the level of perceived exertion to a seven on the RPE scale, as identified in the example above. Following the warm-up phase, perform three-minute work intervals, followed by one minute of rest. During each work interval, (depending on the mode or tool you are using) adjust speed, incline, and / or, resistance in order to achieve a maximal effort that may be sustained over the three minute period. The work / rest intervals should be repeated three to five times, depending upon your level of fatigue. Stop the workout when you feel you have reached a point at which you cannot continue.

During each rest interval ask yourself what is my perceived exertion based on the rating system described above. Do your best to distinguish between overall perceived exertion, and the perception of effort in only the legs. In this way, one may more accurately gauge the overall workout R.P.E..

So remember an R.P.E. scale is simply a reference scale designed to provide exercisers with easily understood  guidelines regarding exercise intensity.

Take the time to create your own R.P.E. scale and start getting more out of your training.

Train Smart = Win Easy.

Pau for Now

TAKU

*Use any tool you prefer: For example

Jump Rope
VersaClimber
Tradmill
Rower