What is the best exercise routine?
This is part one is a series of blog articles to help you get the best results from your fitness routine. It should really be about results, based on you, your body type and your goals. Please comment any questions below and I will happy to answer them!
You are at the gym ready to work and you look over and see someone with the body you want. They may be in the middle of a complex series of routines, or it may be training a certain body part you want to tone up. You think to yourself, “Self, now that is what I should be doing. I’m going to copy them and that routine (or ask them about it) and then I will get what I want.”
There is a tendency to immediately want to emulate what they are doing, based on the “sight” test hoping for the same results that they have acheived. This is generally a bad idea, and today I am going to talk about why.
Why DNA matters, and most workouts really don’t do anything for you fitness goals
Separating the forest from the trees
Often in the fitness world, someone who appears to have above-average physical characteristics is assumed to be a legitimate authority.
In simple terms, they’re DNA tends to give them these traits and not their exercise routine, making it useless for you.
For instance, if you look out over a canopy of trees you will probably notice one or two trees rising up above the rest and it’s human nature to notice things that stand out in such a way. In much the same manner, we take notice of people who possess superior physical capabilities, and when we do, there is a strong tendency to identify these people as sources of authority.
To make matters worse, many people who happen to possess such abnormal physical capabilities frequently misidentify themselves as sources of authority, taking credit for something that nature has, in essence, randomly dropped in their laps. So, just because they look a certain way, or can “lift” a certain amount of weight, they assume they are knowledgable in the field of exercise and strength conditioning. Many of these tend to have severe weaknesses in many areas (core strength, endurance or the “He skipped leg day” syndrome.)
On the flip side, many times trainers themselves may be extremely knowledgable, but they themselves may carry extra weight, or not have “the look” expected of someone in the fitness industry. Let’s put this all together.
What exercise routine is best?
In a proper exercise routine, either you apply a stimulus to the muscle which creates an adaptation, or you do not. In other words, either you train a muscle(s) to the point where the body reaches the need to add new muscle, due to a noticed deficit in strength, brought on by that stimulus, or you do not.
Lets simplify more. Many “bootcamps” and “pump” style fitness classes utilize small weights and exercises for the purpose of “toning.” There is no such thing! A muscle can either grow, atrophy, or remain the same. If you are using weights that allow you to complete each rep, and fail to introduce a new stimulus to that muscle, you have accomplished nothing.
It is my belief that the best routine is one that meets the following the criteria.
1-Each muscle (full body) must reach momentary failure, each workout, so that a proper stimulus has been applied.
2-The intensity level of each exercise must be high enough, where the proper stimulus is applied within a desired range (40-90 seconds) of time under load. Body by Science, Mcguff
3-If this occurs, the cardiovascular effect is also reached, with individuals lifting in this manner recruiting multiple muscles to failure, many times reaching exertion levels that are far higher than that of a traditional “cardio” workout. Many times the participant will have to stop, sit and recover for several minutes, even though the strength workout is supposed to be known as not being a workout where the cardio affect is achieved. This is quite often in our setting occurring to people who are runners, and in typical standards do all of the “cardio” they could possible need. However, under a serious strength workout, they find that their endurance is left wanting.
4-The proper rest and recovery allows for the rebuilding of the body after the workout.
IF the proper stimulus is applied, and IF the demand for increased strength is met, many processes occur in the body that are beneficial to the fitness level, aside from the desired increase in muscle mass, enhanced metabolic conditioning and the faster metabolism that can result as the body adds additional muscle mass.
This occurs regardless of the individuals DNA, and each trainee who utilizes the proper training will see the best results possible for their body type, enhancing their own individual DNA to the best it can be.
Some people will add muscle faster based on that DNA, but the proper program will enhance the fitness and strength levels of each participant to the degree that they can.
These are the reasons why our strength days are so important at our facility, because that stimulus, applied in the right dosage (much like medicine) is the vehicle used to created the results that each member is seeking. More muscle, faster metabolism, less body fat.
Why should I do it
These ideas and training principles have been applied to hundreds of clients, who in the last several years have lost thousands of pounds, adding muscle, decreasing body fat levels and receiving favorable blood work reports from their doctors, all while improving overall strength, movement and achieving full-body transformations.
I believe the focus on full-body strength, the gaining and retention of muscle mass and the use of intervals (like in kickboxing) for fat loss is the key to achieving the best individual results from a fitness program. Many times exericse programs are simply to complicated, when a simple formula can provide the absolute best results.
Points to remember:
Every body looks and feels better with more muscle and less body fat, regardless of their DNA, body type shape or size.
The only workout that can introduce a stimulus that will produce an effect that will change your body shape must be a strength workout applied the right way. A cardio workout will not change the musculature of the body. It also does not burn the calories you think it does (more on this later)
Don’t worry about what someone else looks like! Work to be the best you can be, for your body and your genetics. If you apply the right workout, you will see the best results. Be the best you can be.
As always, we are constantly scanning the globe for the best in fitness training and results based exercise, broken down in a way that people can understand and apply. If I can help you or answer any questions please let me know.
Allen Branch, CPT, SCS, SNS, NASM-PES
Fitness One Training Systems, Kernersville NC.