Before we get to the nuts and bolts of frequency, here’s today’s workout (56 total reps for each exercise, we’ll break down the goals when you get here – it’s very customizable for fat loss or strength). Also, today’s Surf n’ Turf Boot Camp will be the Deck of Cards Workout! Sign up for either class, here.
RFG. It’s not a Russian fighter pilot or South Central gang, it’s an acronym we use daily for our workouts to make writing, “reps for goal” a lot easier.
As you might start to notice, I am a big fan of always teaching my clients the “why” behind everything we do. Call me crazy, but I don’t believe people are mindless kamikaze pilots. I think people perform better and execute efficiently when they know why they are being told to do something. Agree?
Two aspects of training in which we’ll continue to coach you guys are the questions of frequency and weight.
“How often should I get my ass to the gym and how much weight do I do when I get here?”
As I generally answer for every question that comes my way, “it depends”. There are rarely any absolutes in training and nutrition since it’s all relative to what you are trying to accomplish, your current level of fitness, how you’re currently eating, how many hours of online gaming you normally do, how many burritos you’re currently crushing, if you’ve performed weight training previously, etc. There is no possible way to answer that question with a blanket statement and any place or person that tells you differently is spewing bullshit.
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t paint a pretty good guideline for you to plan from.
Let’s go over the most common goals we’ve seen from the goals questionnaires completed by our members.
- I’m trying to lose fat and tone
- I’m trying to add muscle
- I’m trying to increase my strength
- I want a bit of absolutely everything
“I’m trying to lose fat and tone”
For those members whose focus is primarily on burning fat and developing and revealing toned muscle.
Classes per Week: 4-5 (2 Daily Challenges, 2 Surf n’ Turf Boot Camps)
Rest Days: 2-3. Avoid training three days in a row if two of them include weights as you need to give your body rest and time to recover, however this goal does require the least amount of rest.
Load (aka ‘Weight’): Lighter weight and higher reps. You want to be performing at least 15 reps at every station or exercise with weights that allows you to maintain that fast pace consistently. Your 12th rep should look a lot like your 2nd rep.
Don’t Forget About: Strength – it is incredibly important and remember that strength and muscle growth are not the same thing. Improving strength is not only functional for daily life, it also ensures you will never plateau in your fat loss goals.
Don’t Go Thinking: that traditional low and slow cardio is going to get it done. In order to take off fat and both develop and preserve muscle, you’re going to need to do interval training (which is why our classes our founded on it). Consider that in 1994 Angelo Tremblay of the Quebec’s Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory proved that High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) burns NINE TIMES the amount of fat than steady endurance training.
Your Plate Looks Like: Minimal complex carbohydrate intake. High protein. Tons of veggies. Little fruit and dairy. No sugar. Save the weekends for alcohol and limit your cheat meals to few and far between. Commit.
The name of the game for fat loss and muscle toning is maintain a high heart rate and perform a high number of reps for every station. It is incredibly important to note that you cannot burn fat and improve muscle tone to the best of your ability without using resistance (weights). Weight training improves insulin sensitivity and the release of human growth hormone, both critical processes for your body to get lean and maintain it.
“I want to build muscle.”
These are the folks who prioritize building muscle above any other goal. They want to pack on muscle while not adding body fat. While this is a tough task it is certainly achievable with proper diet and training application.
Classes per Week: 4 (all Daily Challenge)
Rest Days: 3.
Focus: You want heavier weights and mid-range of reps; performing around 10 reps at every station or exercise. You don’t want to be at the heaviest possible weight for muscle growth since it’s crucial you complete enough reps for sufficient muscle tearing, nutrient delivery (blood flow) and rebuilding.
Don’t Forget About: Cardio -Don’t turn into a meathead that just wants to pack on muscle. Make sure it’s sensible muscle and accompanied with a respectable capacity for aerobic activity, and that can easily be achieved through any of our classes. Simply adjust the weight to heavier and perform the frequency we coach you for this goal and you’ll be good.
Don’t Go Thinking: That curls and triceps extensions are going to pack on muscle. At all. Like, any. For starters, they don’t work enough muscles to trigger an adequate hormonal release. You are going to need to do some serious movements: pull-ups, cleans, deadlifts, squats, press, sprints; and you’re going to need to consistently engage your legs. Legs are large muscles. Large muscles release anabolic hormones you need to grow muscle.
Your Plate Looks Like: Moderate complex carbohydrate intake; Absolutely after every time you train and at breakfast. Best options are sweet potatoes and quinoa. Very high protein. Tons of veggies. Moderate fruit and dairy. Some sugar is okay after training. Eat a ton of whole, clean foods at all times per day. You need quality calories to grow.
Do not forget about nutrition if this is your goal. It is physically impossible for most people to pack on muscle without eating a surplus of clean, unprocessed calories. Make sure you pack enough food at work to eat at least three times while at your desk, and supplement with pre and post-workout shakes. Don’t go thinking you can eat shitty food just because your goal is muscle.
“I want to increase strength”
Classes per Week: 3 (all Daily Challenge classes)
Open Gym Time: 1 (on Saturday)
Rest Days: 3
Focus: You want HEAVY weight at a low range of reps; performing around 4-6 reps at every station or exercise. At this combination of weight and reps, you are not targeting or stimulating muscle growth. You’re going after strength. What’s the difference? 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”.
Don’t Forget About: Rest. Never train back to back days if your goal is PURELY to increase strength. Rest is the best decision you can make to drastically improve your strength.
Don’t Go Thinking: that you need to train every single day in order to increase strength. In fact, just the opposite is true. To really increase your strength dramatically, you need to be resting the day after you train heavy otherwise you will be cannibalizing your efforts from the previous day.
Your Plate Looks Like: Moderate complex carbohydrate intake; once per day after training. High protein. Tons of veggies. Moderate fruit and dairy. No sugar. Eat when hungry.
“I want to improve absolutely everything”
(The P360 Recommended Approach)
The most successful folks are those that incorporate everything into their workout and periodize different focuses over different days or weeks. These are people who want to look and feel good while performing at a high level.
For example, training for strength once a week will not be fighting against your efforts for your fat loss. In fact, you will help them. A lot.
Conversely, mixing in a healthy circuit is not going to take so much away from your muscle growth or strength training that you want to abstain altogether.
Would you rather be able to deadlift 500 and not be in any aerobic shape and most likely carrying unnecessary body fat, or would you rather be able to deadlift 300 – 400 pounds and be in good aerobic condition, athletic, lean and energized on a daily basis?
Wouldn’t you rather be lean AND strong, while avoiding that bulky, puffy look? We’re not taking anything away from the bodybuilder look, it’s just not what we are trying to achieve nor coaching people towards at Performance360.
Strength, fat loss and muscle growth training all compliment each other and work towards the ultimate goal reaching your lean genetic body potential.
A Note on Overtraining
You can train up to five times in a week if you are still feeling fresh and energized, however there is such a thing as overtraining, and if you are a current member whom we feel is at risk we have already suggested to you in person that you pull back a bit (this is only a handful of people).
You will notice a theme throughout all of the goals…REST. Rule number one – your body will tell you when it’s time to mix in an off day and if it doesn’t, then you need to force it. If you feel as if you are run down, chances are you are. Our workouts are meant to be challenging, efficient and not crazy enough in duration that it taxes your ENERGY for the next day (soreness is okay). However, recharging your batteries and letting your metabolic pathways and muscles take the occasional breather is not just okay, it is highly, HIGHLY recommended.
If any of these symptoms are occuring, it might be time to scale it back. (Except for soreness. I do not believe that to be a symptom overtraining, more an indication of advancements being made for yourself. Just so long as you do not frequently train hard after days you are particularly sore)
Training is supposed to improve your life. Don’t overdo it to the point where it becomes obsessive, counterproductive and hazardous to your overall healthy. Train hard for various goals four days per week, never train twice per day (unless it’s for an event: triathlon, competition, etc) and get plenty of sleep with proper diet.
So, there you have it guys. Hopefully this was a good guide for what you should be doing and how often you should be doing it.
While this article was comprehensive, don’t over think things. Hit it hard roughly four times per week, target your goal along with mixing in some secondary goals, come to a variety of classes, eat according to your goal and rest as needed. Follow those rules and you’ll be on your way to a leaner, stronger, more fit and better performing version of yourself.
Let us know if you have any questions and we can talk you through it.