Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Muscle memory, pregnant models, and fat bodybuilders

I always do my best to be straight up and down with people regarding the advances they can make with training. I don't sell anyone a six pack abs myth, although I do remark upon the amazing amount of definition I achieved in my mid-section last year after I had been doing a ton of kettlebell swings.
In the spirit of that I wanted to take a moment to clear up some common misconceptions about what goes on in the fitness industry and training in general. Whenever you are doing a study, you want to look at all the angles, and also be very aware of your study subjects. Some trainers will have early success utilizing a certain training protocol, and then stick to that come hell or high water. After all, it worked before, so why would it not be a constant? The problem with this is that either their study subjects consisted of them and their buddies, or of people who had previously been fit or were brand new lifters. If you have never lifted weights and I have you hold a sack of potatoes over your head and squat, you will probably make great gains. This is more along the lines of GPP (general physical preparation) than specific training. At this early point in training, periodization is most likely not even necessary for a while. This is also why so many people stick to the same program forever, because it worked for so long.
Now we look at another angle, which is muscle memory. Your body remembers the condition it used to be in. If a trainer works with someone who used to be in great shape but became deconditioned, similarly they will most likely meet with quick success. Unfortunately, this is nothing to base a system of training on. I want to address the widest possible audience, and be prepared for any contingency.
People often mention to me the before and after photos they see for training programs on tv, or diet pills. Some of these are legit, but for the most part it is trickery. You will notice with many of these 'fat men' they have well developed arms. This is because they are simply bodybuilders in a bulking phase where they happen to have a gut from eating a ton to get bigger. Hydroxcut is notorious for this. They could have lost that weight without the pills, and most likely many of them do. The steroids help them achieve this. A while back Hydroxcut even got popped for having a female model who was PREGNANT in her before photo. Well, duh.
My whole point here, is not to be discouraged if your progress is slower than these miracle photos. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are always looking for a quick fix or a miracle diet or pill, you will always fail. You will succeed by eating right, training hard, and being committed for the long haul. Don't look at exercise as something you have to do for a while to get in shape, but look at it as a healthy part of your life.
The fact is, that this works. If you are training properly, getting enough rest, and lifting, pushing, swinging, or dragging progressively heavier objects, you MUST get stronger. If you are not, fix your program. If you are working hard, and burning calories, you must lose weight. There's no way around it. The amount of people out there with 'glandular problems' who cannot lose weight are far, far fewer than the number who claim to be.
You know what you need to do to be happy, and no one can do it for you. The effort, and developing the fortitude to get the job done will give you a sense of satisfaction that will be a reward in itself.

1 comment:

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