This is something I talk to my face to face clients about a great deal. Especially when they ask me questions like…
“Why don’t we stretch at the end of the session?”
“Shouldn’t we do a warm down so I don’t ache as much?”
The fact of the matter is simple
“STRETCHING AT THE END OF YOUR TRAINING SESSION IS A WASTE OF TIME AND PROBABLY WILL MAKE YOU MORE SORE”
Now as with all the articles I write, this is not just me making stuff up because it suits my purpose. There is a pretty significant amount of evidence around to suggest that this is the case. Check out the links in the reference list at the end of the post to take a look at some of the most up to date research on this subject.
Warm Up Versus Cool Down
So having read the introduction, I’m pretty sure you know where I am going with this one and I will get straight to the point. The warm up is potentially the most important part of your training session and should take up about a third of your training time.
At Faster Fitness Solutions, we are a big advocate of short sharp and intense training sessions to build muscle and drop fat. Our average sessions last around 45 mins so 15 minutes of this will be dedicated to a warm up. Why? Because a well thought out warm up that includes dynamic stretching with a gradual build up in intensity has been proven to improve functional performance (power output, speed, strength and co-ordination) as well as helping you to avoid injury.
I just Want to train to get leaner and more muscular. How does this affect me?
Well the answer to this one is simple. In order to get you more muscular, help you to reduce body fat and help you look more defined we need to be achieving 2 things.
1. We need to get you performing to the best of your ability in every training session. Giving you the ability to lift more, produce more power and go through bigger ranges of motion in all your exercises will ensure you get greater benefits from your training.
2. We need to keep your training consistent and keep you injury free. Being persistent and consistent with your training will ensure you can keep on getting better. Keeping you injury free is a massive part of that. A superior quality mobility and warm up routine will ensure you can achieve optimal technique for all the exercises in your program, making sure you target the right muscles and preventing you from getting injured.
Post Stretching and DOMS
Magrath, Whitehead and Caine, 2014
Herbert, Noronha, Kamper, 2011
Dawson et al, 2005
Dynamic Stretching and the warm up
Ramachandran et al, 2014
Herman et al, 2008
Little and Williams, 2006
Macmillian et al, 2006
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5 Reasons a high protein breakfast will accelerate your muscle building and fat loss...
So you have all probably heard the sayings
“Six packs are made in the kitchen”
“We are what we eat”
“Eat big to get big”
“You cannot out-train a bad diet”
Well unfortunately these all ring true. The mere fact that you are reading this blog post tells me that to at least some degree, you want to drop body fat and build muscle mass. If that is the case then your diet and the things you put into your mouth are a vital ingredient in how successful you will be. When I talk to clients, they all seem to get this point. They know, as I am sure you do that nutrition is important. What they find difficult however, is understanding what works and how they can fit this into their lifestyle so they can stick to it and create sustainable and long-term changes.
Breakfast is a hugely important part of any nutrition regime especially when it comes to getting bigger and leaner. So here are my top 5 reasons why we need to ditch the cereals and instead go for tasty high protein breakfasts that will get our results motoring.
1. High protein breakfast make you feel fuller for longer. In a study by the AJCN (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) it was found that high protein breakfasts reduced the secretion of Ghrelin (the hormone responsible for hunger stimulation) which will stop you feeling hungry and prevent you from craving high carbs/sugar snacks.
2. High protein breakfasts help you target belly fat. It has been found in a study by Loenneke et al (2012) that high protein diets lead to a targeted loss of abdominal fat. So guys, if you want to get rid of that beer belly, then I suggest that it’s time to make the switch.
3. Your body starts to catabolise protein as you sleep. Basically your body starts to go into a fasting state in the final hours of your sleep. This is where the term “break-fast” comes from. A high protein breakfast will help you quickly reverse the effects of this and put you in a position where you can get your metabolism firing faster, putting you in the right state to burn fat and build lean muscle
4. You need to consume a higher intake of protein to stimulate muscle growth. Dependant on your goals, anything up to 2g of protein per Kg of body weight is required to stimulate muscle growth. For the average guy, around 1.5g/kg will do the trick. Getting started early in the day means that this is a much more achievable target compared to eating a carb based breakfast
5. High protein breakfast recipes are usually healthier all round. So not only do these recipes have higher concentrations of protein, they are usually accompanied by other good food choices such as fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses that have a huge number of other health benefits. So making this change will mean that you are not just helping yourself to hit your protein targets, you are also helping yourself to pack your bodies full of amazing vitamins and mineral to further ensure you stay healthy and feel ready to train harder.
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How integrated training will help you get a six pack without having to spend ages doing crunches or leg raises
At Faster Fitness Solutions we specialise in helping guys who are short on time get quick and effective workout that helps them maximise their results. With this in mind, I thought I would ask the question…
Do we really need to be wasting time lying down and training our abs at the end of a workout?
Now there is nothing wrong with doing this other than the fact that it isn’t very time efficient also, when we look at the relationship between traditional core stability exercises and their effect on athletic performance the research doesn’t really support their effectiveness. In fact most of the research suggests that traditional core training may only play a slight role in performance improvements but certainly does not warrant spending a significant amount of time on (Okada et al 2011, Shamrock et al 2011, Thomas, Nesser and William 2009).
So, let’s be straight, I am not saying the core isn’t important and if we are honest, we all want a six pack don’t we? What I am saying is there are ways of integrating and training your core in far more functional ways that you can directly include in your workout. By simply adding some movement and functional tweaks into your training you can target your core while still getting great strength and muscle building training into the rest of your body.
Check out the video below where I take you through an uneven barbell training matrix that will not only give you a great six pack but also give you a great shoulder and leg workout in a very small amount of time. So there will be no need to waste time on endless crunches, planking or sit ups.
Uneven Barbell Matrix
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Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.