CHANGE IS GOOD

Research changes, experience changes and so opinion should change to. It's how we grow after all. I pride myself in staying up to date with what works (and what doesn’t) in the health and fitness industry. Today I want to share with you a few things I've changed my mind about in the past year or more.

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TRAINING

First up, i'm going to share some points surrounding Training from a guy I highly respect; Brad Schoenfeld. He is one of the most prolific researchers in my industry- so when his opinion changes, we (fitness professionals) should listen. A few of these changes from the ’norm’ have taken place over the past few years not just the past 12 months, but I think they’re important to mention.

  1. Muscle growth can occur through a much broader range of reps (not the magical 6-12 range as previously thought).  For those unaware:

    1-3 reps are considered the relative strength range
    3-6 reps = strength-hypertrophy range
    6-12 = hypertrophy range
    12-15= strength endurance (WERE previously associated with little chance of growth)
    15+ WERE considered a waste of time.

    In short, rep ranges for hypertrophy are a bit more fluid.

    Things to consider:
    -Progressive Overload still reigns supreme when it comes to continual growth. Your training plan must respect this fundamental rule to progress.

    -The weight must still be challenging for the rep range you are aiming for.

    -No you still wont add any significant amounts of muscle by only partaking in long bouts of cardiovascular fitness.

    -Personally I find Quads and Upper-traps respond particularly well to very high (challenging) reps; 20+

  2. The bro-split (one muscle group per day) each week at the gym is not the most effective way to illicit change (strength and muscle growth). Try to hit each muscle group at least twice a week for the best response. Frequency over a week is far more important than obliterating a muscle group once a week.

    - This is why since conception or all my PR1MEBODY plans, there are no bro-spilts (You wont find an ‘arm’ day unless it’s for a bit of fun).
    - Splits of full body sessions work if you only have 1-2 days a week to train. Splitting your training into upper and lower sessions work well for those with 2-3 days to train per week.  For those with 3-4 days to train I like a split of either Upperbody Vertical exercises, Lowerbody, and Upperbody Horizontal exercises on alternative days. Another option is Upperbody all pull movements, Lowerbody and Upperbody all push movements. On the 4th session of the week, you start the cycle again. 5 days of training can include an Upper, Lower, Upper Pull, Legs, Upper Push split.

    Obviously each option of program split should also be dependent on your goal. 

  3. The post workout shake! So this has been BS for a while but many still believe it. No you wont lose all your gainz if you don’t take in a protein shake 3.4 seconds after you finish your workout. If you think logically it’s also not a very sensible evolutionary adaptation that we immediately burn through muscle tissue when we don’t eat.
    BUT I still advise clients to take a protein shake after a workout because a) It does no harm, and b) it helps ensure they’ll cover their overall protein intake for the day, which many don’t. Active individuals are still advised to eat at least 1.8-2.2 per kg of body weight. This hasn’t changed despite governmental recommendations for sedentary individuals and mocumentaries claiming we need less.

  4. NO CHANGE: Starting a plan but then modifying it yourself or not sticking to it is still not the best way to elicit change and progress. Shocker.
    Stick to the program and trust the process.

SLEEP

This isn’t a change of mind as such , but certainly of importance. I’ve always been a big fan of getting the full 8 hours, but after reading Matthew Walkers ‘Why we sleep” its made me realise the importance of sleep may very well be more important than the training and nutrition itself! Walker:  “I was once fond of saying, ‘Sleep is the third pillar of good health, alongside diet and exercise.’ I have changed my tune. Sleep is more than a pillar; it is the foundation on which the other two health bastions sit. Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective.” 

Effects of sleep deprivation

  • higher mortality, risk of cancer, heart disease, weight gain, rate of infection, Alzheimer’s, irritability, inflammation.

  • lower productivity, social fluidity, rational decision making, memory recall, emotional control, testosterone, immune system function.

  • in the extreme, chronic sleep deprivation causes death.

  • even the apparent increase in wakeful time to be productive is balanced by lower productivity and creativity.

In short, insufficient sleep duration and/or quality is EXTREMELY BAD FOR YOU. Read or Listen to this book.

NUTRITION

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I’ve been a big fan of Intermittent Fasting (IF), and I still recommend it as an advanced strategy to clients and in my online plans. However, it turns out most of the benefits of fasting can occur on any diet which incorporates a calorie deficit. If you are overweight, losing excess fat using which ever method suits you best will improve overall health and give you almost all the benefits that intermittent fasting would. It’s currently thought that IF may provide a more potent hit of these benefits however. IF is a great method to re-establish a balanced intake and cater to unique preferences in terms of portion size and energy during the day. In short, if it works for you, even if only on a few days a week, do it! If you're goal is fat loss and another method of dieting works, do that! I still don't recommend Intermittent Fasting if your goal is to add muscle/weight. You need higher turnover of calories/ particularly protein and omitting a meal or two only limits this. For more on Intermittent Fasting, I wrote about it here



BREXIT

No, I haven’t changed my mind on this. It’s still a bad idea.

I could go on! The more topics I think about the more ‘myths’ that pop up in my mind. If you have any questions on anything else you want clarification about , leave me a comment!

Best in Health,

TIM 


PR1MEBODY

The ultimate programme for motivated men and women to achieve better movement and gain the right amount of strength and muscle to use it in just 12 weeks. This is so they can look, feel and move better as well as be more confident in the gym without the fear of wasted gym hours, added unnecessary life admin or lifestyle restraints. A common-sense approach to way you eat works in partnership with your training and abs are just the side effect.