I want To Drop Fat and Build Muscle… Which System is Best?
So this is something I here all the time, when I am coaching clients and even when I am tutoring other personal trainers. They all want to know, which training system is best to get results. Now before we go on, I am going to give you a very honest answer. It will be a definitive answer but it may not be the one you want to hear.
In the above picture, there is a list of different training systems that are taught to all sports science students and personal trainers across the world (there are many more than this by the way). All of them have been designed by very clever people at universities who have designed and tested a variety of ways to build muscle mass and strength.
Guess what? All of them work really, really well. As for which one is best, “I genuinely have not got a clue”. This is the answer I give to all my clients and students.
The results of each different method will vary from person to person. What I do know however, “Is that the body will stop adapting and your progress will slow unless you challenge it in a variety of different ways.”
So what exactly does this mean???
In short, variety is king, your body’s nervous system is the cleverest thing on planet earth by a million miles, it adapts very quickly and becomes conditioned to things it is used to. That’s why you need to change things up regularly. Here are my top tips on how to do just that.
1. Make some changes every 2-3 weeks
Now this does not have to be hard, simply changing your reps by 2-3 per set, adding an extra set, shortening your rest periods by 20-30 seconds or just increasing your weight will keep the body guessing and keep you making progress.
2. Add Testosterone boosting exercises to your workout.
These are exercises that use the whole body. Stuff like the clean and jerk or snatch, or combo drills like adding a bent over row or an overhead press to a lunge or a squat thrust to a press up. These will get you out of breath and get more testosterone pumping around your body. It will jack up your metabolism leading to better fat loss and better muscle growth.
3. Move in a different direction
Add some functional variations to the exercises in your program. Change foot positions in a squat, hand positions in a press up, lunge in a different direction other than forwards or backwards or add rotation and/or lateral movement to shoulder presses or any other exercise.
As well as making your training way more fun, these tweaks will get you targeting muscle fibres in different ways. Ways that your nervous system is completely unprepared for and they will need to reconfigure themselves to adapt to the new movement patterns.
4. Make a big change every 6 weeks or so
So this could be changing your split routine into whole body workouts, completely changing the design of your sessions from super sets to pyramid training or negative reps. Basically making wholesale changes to make your body adapt in a big way.
5. Program in a rest week every 8 week or so
FACT! We do not grow in the gym. As you know our training sessions are responsible for breaking down proteins in our muscles to help them re-grow bigger and stronger. It is our recovery time when our muscles repair that our body is really changing.
A lower impact rest week will help recharge your batteries and help prevent injury. So I’m not saying do nothing but maybe drop the weights down a little and reduce the number sessions you do for that week.
Trust me! Your body will thank you for it and it will really help in the long-run.
Sorry it’s not the straight forward answer you were hoping for. If you think about it though, it really makes sense. There are thousands of so-called experts out there who all claim to offer the most amazing solution and the best system ever. There are simply loads of disagreements in the industry as to what works best. Which really means, nobody knows.
Although many of look like meatheads, the whole, personal trainers and fitness coaches are a pretty clever lot. If there really was one method to rule them all then we would all be doing the same thing.
So I try to take a different route, instead of telling you how wonderful I am or how amazing my training systems are I am simply honest.
“ I will help you make sense of the confusion, work with you to figure out what your goals are and come up with a good place to start. Then we can figure out the right time to vary your program and your nutrition in order to keep you progressing. I will also make sure I offer you the right advice to and guidance to ensure you stay on track, as nothing screws up your results like inconsistency.”
So if that makes sense, and you would like a little help to get your training and nutrition heading in the right direction, why not hit the button below and book a free 30 minute call. That way we can work together to establish a defined and clear path to get you working towards your goals with direction and purpose.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
So this is a part of the training process that still has some contentious issues. Most notably, whether stretching will help you recover after exercise. What is absolutely nailed on in terms of science though is the 15-20 minute window we have to consume the right combination of protein and carbs to help us establish better protein synthesis and ultimately better muscle growth and fat loss.
So let’s try and put everything together so we can come up with a definitive list of what exactly works. What will help you recover faster, ache less and stimulate as much muscle growth and fat loss as possible.
1. Don’t Stretch post workout
This is basically a waste of time. It will probably make you sorer and won’t really make any difference to your muscle building or fat loss results. Check out the link to one of my previous articles where I talk a little bit more about stretching and what works best (click here). So basically you can skip this and spend less time in the gym, meaning more time to recover, relax and grow.
2. Get a good combo of protein and carbs into your system as soon as humanly possible.
Now the research into how much varies but as a rule, anything between 2-40g of protein and 40-60g of carbs will do just fine. You can do this through food but after a really tough session most people don’t really feel like consuming a meal. This is where a good recovery shake can come into play.
There are a number of these on the market but I tend to go with this one from The Protein Works which has really given me and my clients good results.
If you would like to purchase Recovery Protein from The Protein Works or find out more, click the link below
The Protein Works Recovery Protein
3. Move more: Get in some active recovery
This is a big one, recovering from a high intensity workout means there will be a lot of lactic acids and waste products floating around your system that you need to get out. One of the jobs of the muscular system, especially in the legs is to aid blood flow and removal of waste products via the lymphatic system. Activities like underwater running, and low grade dynamic mobility drills have been proven to aid this and help speed up active recovery between bouts of high intensity training.
Sounds obvious but we need to be getting around 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. When we sleep we are in the best possible state to promote both physical and mental repair. This amount will not only help our bodies recover between training sessions but also keep our metabolism at optimum levels for fat loss. Another benefit of this amount of sleep is that it helps out brains repair mentally too. Helping our stress levels to stay low, keeping our cortisol levels down and our testosterone levels up.
5. Train Smarter
Keep your training programs short sharp and intense and don’t over-train. 40-50 mins of high intensity training about 3-4 times per week is optimal to develop good improvements in fitness and body composition. Most of us are just normal guys who want to stay in shape and we can get pretty awesome results without feeling like we live at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is to compete in body building or any other sport at a high level then you are going to have to train more than this but to get lean and strong, this amount of sessions and time will be enough. In fact, one of the ways I helped my client Greg get in awesome shape was by doing just this. Limiting his training to no more than 4 sessions per week and cutting down the amount of time he was spending in the gym (click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to check out his results).
So I hope this has helped clear a few things up for you and helped you get some clarity into not only what works well for recovery but also how to structure your gym visits to avoid overtraining and allowing your body enough time to recover sufficiently to promote fat loss and growth.
I would love to help…
If you like the content of the blog and would like even more help to get you to your training goals I would love to talk to you. Click on the button below to get in touch and schedule a free strategy call.
Here I can help you set out meaningful and achievable goals and give you a blueprint of how exactly you can achieve them.
I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
In the video below I take you through some of my top mobility drills to help mobilise your ankles and hips to allow you to squat deeper, keep good form and ultimately go heavier.
I know the squat is a pretty individual exercise with everyone having slightly different mechanics and compensatory patterns, so while these drills may not work for everyone, they have proven to be a really effective base in helping a lot of my clients get better at squatting.
Integrate them into your warm and perform them regularly for best results and please let me know how you get on in the comments below.
See you next time, Darren
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.