This is very important in the recovery phase of weight training. Proper weight training puts a lot of stress on the muscles and the body. You are damaging muscle fibers that need to be rebuilt and reinforced. The weight training is just the stimulus for muscle growth. The real growth and repair of the muscle comes when you are out of the gym resting. The rest is what causes them to grow and get stronger. Much like a battery needs to be recharged once in a while so does our bodies. We need to take a few days off after about every two months of intense training. This should be at least five days, preferably seven days.
Do absolutely nothing involving weights, aerobics, or cardio. Nothing. Zilch. Don' t even go to a gym unless it is to tan, relax in the Jacuzzi, or shower. YOU NEED TO COMPLETEL YREST. You need this time to let your body recover and recuperate from the time you have spent training so hard. After three days of not doing anything real physical, you will feel more energized. Do not worry about becoming unmotivated and fearful you might stop going to the gym. The opposite is true. After five or so days of straight rest, you will be so full of energy that you will want to bust down the door to the gym to get inside. It happens. When you rest your body often, you can expect it to recover from these intense workouts better. If you have been working out for quite some time, such as two to three months, and you don' t feel the least bit fatigued on some days, I may have to question if you are working out with the utmost intensity. Intense and demanding workouts will, sooner or later, start to wear you out. If you do not get enough rest, your body' s immune system will force you to take some time off (by becoming sick). Think about what stress does to your body. Stress can make you sick. In lab research, scientists subject rats to electric shocks at various times of the day so that the rat has no idea when the next shock is coming. Talk about stress. Guess what happens. The rat develops ulcers and dies. Although not on the same level, weight training is still a form of stress to the body. You must allow your body to recuperate fully or the residual effects of long-term weight training will shut it down.
These are the fundamental principles behind this program. Remember that simplicity and efficiency are keys to creating an effective and result-producing exercise program. Progressive overload is the only reason a muscle has to get bigger and stronger. If it is not subjected to heavier weight, it has no reason to respond and adapt. It is that simple. We have now learned the way to effectively increase lean muscle mass, which is a large part of the toning equation.
I have described on the next few pages an experience I had last year regarding the principles I have discussed here. It involved a young gentleman that I have recently started training at a local college. It puts into perspective how important simplicity and efficiency are in weight training.
In evaluating Brian's current fitness level and where he wanted to be, I had him explain what it was he used to do and what it was he was now doing. He had told me he had hit a plateau and couldn't increase his weights on any exercise, in fact, on a few of them, he was going down in weight. He was taking steps backwards. Some of the best gains as far as increasing muscle mass and losing fat Brian had ever noticed came at a time when he literally knew very little about fitness and weight training.
Here is where the simplicity part comes in. When he first started weight training, he did the simple exercises because he really didn't know anything else. He did bench press, incline press, barbell and dumbbell curls, shoulder press with dumbbells, and squats, just to name a few. He did very simple, simple exercises. And his gains skyrocketed.
Because he was still in school and busy playing sports all the time, he could only weight-train once in a while, like three times a week. And guess what, his gains continued. And when he did train, he went at it like a mad man (INTENSITY) not knowing when he could get back into the gym. Even thought he could only make it into the gym for about forty-five minutes after practice, he was seeing better results than the guys who spent two hours in the gym. He would not waste time in the gym when he was there. He would go from each exercise very focused and determined to outdo himself every single time he touched the weights. So he noticed that he really didn't have to spend a lot of time in the gym as long as the time he did spend was well used (EFFICIENCY). Even though he was doing very basic, simple exercises, he was seeing better results than those who were doing everything and anything for exercises.
Then the unfortunate and the inevitable happened. He got a little cocky, figured he knew a lot about weight training, but that he wanted to know more. So he read more. More muscle magazines and other publications with a hundred different programs from a hundred different people. He talked to everyone and anyone about weight training and fitness, and got plenty of different answers. He figured the more he knew the better off he was. So he tried this new exercise and that new exercise. He also figured that if he was seeing good results by going to the gym three times a week, if he doubled the time, he would double his results. He also figured he could double the amount of time for each workout and double his improvements. Boy, he couldn't wait to show everybody that, because he knew more, he was going to do more and be more. So what happened? His gains came to a screeching halt. He got weaker and couldn't lift as much as he previously could a month earlier. He started getting sick more often. He was fatigued a lot. He just figured that was the price he had to pay for getting into better shape. He really didn't know any better. It got to the point that he was getting tired of weight training and doing anything fitness related. He figured he had seen all the gains he was going to, so fitness kind of fell by the wayside. Then one day I started talking to Brian and he had asked me to do some work with him. He had told me that he had made the best gains when he was completely new, but as he "knew" more about weight training and tried to incorporate everything he learned, the results disappeared. I told him I was not surprised by this, knowing that there was only one thing that actually caused a muscle to grow (increased overload). With all of the new things Brian had learned, his approach had moved away from the simpler, compound movements that created maximum overload to the muscles. He was now trying what everyone else was doing, all the fancy, isolation exercises that were not overloading the muscle. I told him if he wanted to look like everyone else, do what everyone else was doing. If he wanted different, he needed to do different. I had created a program for Brian based on the "simplicity" and "efficiency" principles, much of which is in this book. I decided to simplify things for Brian, get back to basics, and make his time in the gym the most efficient time possible while still achieving the results he wanted.
From there, he has not looked back. He didn't realize exactly how wrong he was going about things. After a month on his new "program" he had seen better results than a years worth of previous training. He was achieving significantly better results than he ever had. His weights he lifted went up and so did his energy. He was only spending 2-3 hours a week working out now and was getting better results!
Needless to say, Brian has a new outlook on training, a more simpler, efficient one.
1. Your current weight-training program.
2. Your current cardio/aerobic routine.
3. Your current eating habits.
I guarantee if you look at each one of these three areas, the problem lies within.
You need to look at each of these three areas and see if what you are currently doing is in line with what I am going to be discussing. People often ask me which of the above three areas is the most important one to focus on. I say all three are the most important. Focus 100% on each area to get great results because that is probably why you are not getting the results you want right now, one area (or more) is not getting the attention it deserves.
If what you are doing RIGHT NOW is not getting you what you want, does it make sense to do it differently?
Here is how to structure your weight training routine to optimize efficiency and effectiveness:
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