I like to think that we have a blend of a lot of different forms of fitness, most notably a little bit of CrossFit, a little bit of traditional strength training and non traditional cardio, some sport-performance, a few parts athleticism and mobility and a whole lot of circuit and interval training geared towards removing unnecessary body fat, improving strength and optimizing daily performance.
Among may service offerings and training options we provide our members, the most popular and our core focus are the group classes. We pick a workout of the day that we call the Daily Challenge, and every class performs this workout with an adjustment made for each individual level of fitness.
These workouts are tough, but they are incredibly effective and most importantly they get results for our members.
Every class is going to work towards creating lean bodies that are well conditioned, strong, healthy and energized for the rest of the day.
However, regardless of how well-rounded we believe the workouts to be, it is impossible to have a workout simultaneously address all fitness goals equally and at once. This is why we create workouts that can easily be adjusted for your specific goal, and we have compliment days in which we’ll coach you to target the following areas.
Fat Loss & Toning
This is a popular goal amongst many members who want to be in excellent shape, who might not place a huge emphasis on strength or muscle size. We find that the majority of our female clientele tend to follow this route (with some mandatory strength training mixed in:) ).
For members who want to focus on fat loss and toning, we set the weight to bit a bit lower and the rep count a bit higher. We’re going to use DB lunges as a benchmark to illustrate how each exercise would be different for goal. Those working towards fat loss would want to probably be in the range of 10-15 pounds and doing as many reps as they could for the alloted time. In 60 seconds you would most likely shoot for over 20 total reps and the focus would purely be on heart rate and maintaining a steady flow of repetitions for the entire set or station.
Those who know my philosophy well know that I am a huge advocate of strength training. Does this mean you have to hit 90 minute sessions every day and completely maximize your genetic strength potential? No. Don’t be a freak about it. Aside from strength work being incredibly functional for daily life, it also pays unbelievable dividends for your body composition (which I’ll explain later) so it’s definitely something I recommend you compliment any program.
First, let me address the difference between strength training and training for muscle growth. It’s a fine line but a very real difference and important that we clarify. Strength training essentially works heavy weight at a low rep count. So, for the aforementioned DB lunges you might be between 30-40 pounds and focusing on six solid reps per side with much more rest in between stations and sets.
One question that I received a lot yesterday was, “what’s the different between training for growth and training for strength?”, and it’s a great question.
In a nutshell, training at that type of heavy weight and rep count associated with traditional strength training targets your type II muscle fibers (fast twitch) and contractile proteins. Type II muscle fibers do not store as much water as type I muscle fibers (slow twitch), thus do not experience the “puffy” effect of growth. The “cross-sectional” area of the muscles are worked in strength training which creates a more dense muscle capable of forceable contraction. Further, at that “low” of a rep count your muscles do not go through as much physcial trauma as your nervous systems comes more into play, so you body does not send as much blood to deliver repair and nutrients which means less “pump”.
Now, as I said it does have an unbelievable effect on body composition in the following area: it allows to to add more weight to circuits, which will bust plateaus and ensure your body is always positively responding to workouts.
Let me explain..
You are Jane who wants to lose fifteen pounds of fat and develop that lean, toned look. Great. Your first month you go through your workouts you might decide to work solely for fat loss and toning. You’re eating well and workout out three times a week and end up losing nine pounds in that first month. Wooo!!!!
But, over the next few weeks you might notice that the pounds come off a lot slower than initial nine. While this is attributable to a variety of reasons, one of the primary factor is that your body is plateauing and no longer responding as positively as it did with the lighter weight you’ve been using (remember the fat loss & toning rep count?). The way to fix this is by simply mixing in a week of strength training. It’s not going to put any weight back on you, but the next time you get back to the circuits you’ll be able to do slightly more weight at the same previous rep count.
Your plateau has been busted and you’re back on the desirable weight loss and body “recomposition” trend.
Did I lose you? Probably, but that’s okay.
The important thing to note is this: heavy weight and low reps targets a different type of your muscle more responsible for performance than composition, and should be incorporated every few weeks at a minimum in order to avoid a plateau.
Now, in contrast training for muscle growth (hypertrophy) will target the type I muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are most responsible for storing water, so when you work at a rep count of about 12 reps, you tend to feel that “pump” or increased size of the muscles (it also a rush of blood to that particular spot of your body) and tends to effect composition a bit more than performance. You also create more trauma at the micro level in a particular group of muscles, and that microscopic tearing of the muscles associated with growth training requires your body to usher in immediate nutrients and repair. That is the “pump” you feel.
While it’s certainly true that training for growth will get you a bit stronger, and vice versa, it’s important to note the discrepancy between strength training and muscle growth training. The difference is slight but very noticeable.
Fat Loss & Toning: 15+ reps, light weight, fast pace
Muscle Growth Training: ~12 reps, medium weight, moderate pace
Strength Training: ~6 reps, heavy weight, slow pace
So, what does this all mean and how is it relevant to our training?
Our workouts are designed to be adaptable and interchangeable depending on your specific goal. You can come into our classes and target one goal throughout the course of your whole membership and most likely get excellent results for that goal. However, the most successful of our members will change up their goal every now and then, listen to our suggested micro and macrocycles and incorporate a weekly mix of a few goals to create a well-rounded, high-performing body.
We help each individual member figure out which route to take to ensure that results are achieved and your training is actually working for you, not against you.
Let me know what questions you have, and keep working hard.