Posted on Augsust
Written by WildernessAthlete on July 10, 2012
Don’t sacrifice your muscle when trying to lose weight!
Have you ever seen the TV show MythBusters? It’s dedicated to replicating situations that either prove or disprove longstanding myths. One of the myths I see in my profession is that of the individual who doesn’t want to participate in strength training exercises for fear of getting “bulky”. Women tend to say this more often than men, but the comment is in fact a myth and a complete distortion of the truth.
I’m a strong proponent of strength training, especially as we age. This isn’t because I relish a world of muscle-bound knuckle draggers and equally massive egos. Instead, it really boils down to the simplest of clichés: “Use it or lose it”. Muscles that are not exercised in some form or fashion will atrophy at an alarming rate. Ever had a cast put on your arm or leg? It’s amazing to witness what happens to a limb that has been immobilized for even a brief period of time.
If you read the last issue ofWestern Hunter, I wrote about circuit training, which is a highly effective and efficient time-saver for total body conditioning. Circuit training strings together several exercises, usually 5-10, that are performed with a predetermined number of repetitions followed by limited recovery, which taxes the muscles as well as the cardiovascular system. This is an excellent way to get in shape for hunting as you can include movements that simulate the hunt itself.
For this issue, I’d like to address the more traditional approach and misconceptions of “strength training”. First, let me be clear: I promote strength training for the most basic reason possible – to keep you strong, not to pack on muscle or have the carrying capacity of a mule. The average person loses 6-10 lbs. of muscle per decade. This actually has a technical name, sarcopenia (the muscle counterpart to the bone degenerative disease Osteopenia). Lack of exercise, poor diet, reduction in natural hormone production, and other lifestyle factors all contribute to this slow slide into what usually results in a physical “train wreck”.
Secondly, did you know that 3 lbs. of muscle burns approximately 1 lb. of fat per month? Muscle amounts to a physiological furnace and is your best friend when it comes to maintaining a leaner physique.
I’m now 53 years old and need more muscle like I need a hole in the head. However, I do understand that I need to remain active and incorporate some strength training to “retain” the muscle I currently have. Basically, he or she who keeps the most muscle the longest wins! This is true for the 6’5”, 240-lb. lumberjack as well as the 5’0”, 105-lb. secretary. Your musculature is your structural foundation upon which all activity is built.
I might add that one of the major contributors to muscle decay in the U.S. is a self-inflicted disease called “dieting”, also known as “weight management”. The drill generally goes like this: Individuals desiring to lose weight severely restrict their caloric intake in a desperate attempt to undo in three months that which took them three years to accomplish. Dieting as our country defines it destroys precious muscle and sets the body up for accelerated muscle loss, thereby making the problem even worse! Americans unquestionably worship at the altar of the scale, but the scale will never be an accurate reflection of true health. The key is to focus on muscle management and how you look, rather than what you weigh. Burning fat while feeding and exercising your muscles is where it’s at!
Back to Strength Training
Strength training results from performing exercises – not unlike circuit training – but with more intensity (greater resistance) followed by a longer period of recovery between sets or exercises. This extra recovery time, usually between 2-3 minutes, allows the muscle to recover adequately so that you can then perform another set with maximum effort while trying to attain a pre-established number of sets and repetitions.
The vast majority of strength training focuses on the larger muscle groups of the body, chest, back, legs, shoulders, and arms. Also, whereas circuit training focuses on minimal resistance, higher repetitions, and limited recovery contributing to a muscle conditioning effect, strength training allows for an increased tension load) to be placed on the muscle. This tension forces the muscle to adapt, and in actuality, to be traumatized. With proper nutrition and rest, this traumatized muscle then heals itself and becomes stronger.
I encourage you at certain times of the year, generally off-season, to get involved in at least a twice-per-week total body strength program. The workout should take around one hour and due to the extended recovery between sets, it’s okay to combine (superset) body parts that don’t impact each other. For example, I recommend super-setting chest with back movements, followed by super-setting shoulders and arms and then finishing with legs. Due to the large volume of muscle mass in the legs, it’s generally sound judgment to train them by themselves.
The sets and repetitions that are used in a strength program usually fall into the range of 3-5 sets per exercise and 1-10 repetitions per set. The classic set/rep for collegiate athletes is five sets of five for strength development. I recommend starting with three sets of 8-10 reps per exercise for four weeks to build a base then switching to four sets of five. It’s important to note that these sets do not include warm-up sets.
Suggested Exercises per Body Part
Chest:Bench press, incline presses (dumbbell or Barbell), weighted pushups;
Back:Chin-ups, lat pull-downs, single dumbbell bent rows or barbell bent rows;
Shoulders:Overhead presses (barbell or dumbbell), barbell upright rows, plate raises;
Biceps:Standing curls (barbell or dumbbell), seated alternate dumbbell curls;
Triceps:Close-grip bench press, single dumbbell overhead presses, bench dips;
Legs:Squats, front squats, step-ups, alternate or walking dumbbell lunges.
Lat pulldowns are a basic and important exercise for strengthening your back. Keep a nice, wide grip and pull down to your chin for a full range of motion.
Bench press is a strength training staple. Work for 8-10 reps and have a spotter whenever possible
For those willing to start a strength program and dedicate more time, I recommend what is called a “4-Day Split Routine”. In doing so, you can apply more focused effort on fewer body parts and achieve even greater results. I would recommend the following split, but this is certainly not etched in stone:
Monday and Thursday:Chest, Back, and Arms
Tuesday and Friday:Shoulders, Legs, and Abs
Bleed It. Feed It. Rest It.
I use a little three-point phrase with my athletes that you might find a little over the top, but then I am a little over the top. It’s a philosophy designed to keep it simple yet drive home a point.
“Bleed it” refers to working out with enough intensity that you feel physically whooped when you’re done. “Feed it” refers to giving your body the best chance to get stronger by supplementing properly. “Rest it” obviously refers to the importance of quality downtime, allowing the body the sleep & rest it needs to repair itself.
Supporting Supplement Recommendations
Don’t underestimate how important supplements are for improving and healing your body. Four Wilderness Athlete supplements to maximize your results would include:
W.A. Multi-Vitamin: This is the cornerstone product that fills in all of your nutritional gaps and allows the remaining products to perform optimally.
W.A. Ultimate Pre-Workout. This is the only product on the planet that incorporates the power of Arginine combined with the most powerful adaptogenic herb known to man, Moomiyo! Moomiyo was a Soviet trade secret for the past 40 years and was a cornerstone product for enhancing the performance of not only Soviet athletes but also the Red Army and the Cosmonaut program as well. I interviewed the top performance experts in Russia and their brief explanation as to what moomiyo actually does includes:
Allows the body to deal with physical, environmental, and emotional stress;
Helps promote a natural release of growth hormone by crossing the blood brain barrier and stimulating the pituitary gland.
Not sure! Crazy, but they simply don’t understand how a plant that grows high up in the mountains can create such an amazing physiological response in the human body.
It’s also a very powerful anti-oxidant as well as a natural anti-inflammatory.
The arginine, through the conversion to nitric oxide, allows the blood vessels to relax, allowing for much more efficient blood flow systemically, and we all know, “Where the blood flows, the Moomiyo goes”! Do yourself and your workouts a huge favor and use this pre-workout product.
W.A. Hydrate and Recover/Energy and Focus. If I were looking to improve the quality and intensity of my workout, I’d unquestionably mix up a combination of one serving of each of these. You have to understand, in order to get stronger, you have to bring some juice to the party! Going through the motions without focus and intensity, is just a waste of time –and it’s no fun.
W.A. Meal Replacement & Recovery Shake. This actually serves two purposes. First, if you haven’t eaten within four hours of training, you’re going to need some substantive nutrition that will boost your blood sugar and also provide some circulating proteins for muscle support. You could consider just a half serving of this excellent product to fuel your workout.
Secondly, the one-hour recovery phase immediately following your workout needs to be taken advantage of, and this is the perfect time for a full serving of the W.A. Shake. In doing so, you’ll significantly reduce muscle soreness while feeding the body what it needs for muscle repair and strength gains to be realized.
Daily Protein Requirements
A final note on what the latest research says in regard to daily protein requirements for the wilderness athlete looking to make performance improvements. The following recommendations apply for BOTH resistance and aerobic training:
1.0 gram per kilogram of bodyweight per day for sedentary individuals.
1.5-2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for athletes.
Calculating Your Protein Needs
I weigh 250 lbs., so I just divide 250 by 2.2 (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) to get 114kg. I then multiply 114×1.5=171 and 114×2.0=228. Therefore, my daily protein intake should reflect an overall consumption of between 171-228 grams of protein to fuel my workouts.
It appears that the body’s ability to digest and utilize protein is limited to around 20-30 grams per sitting. The reason this is important to know is that looking at my protein requirements and actually meeting in the middle at 200 grams per day would mean I should ingest 30 grams six or seven times per day.
This is where high quality supplementation really pays off. W.A. just released our new Chocolate Protein, which, along with our Vanilla Protein, is perfect for adding a few convenient servings per day to ensure your overall protein requirements are being met. I can’t begin to tell you how many protein shakes I’ve consumed in my lifetime and I can assure you the quality and palatability of W.A. protein is the best on the market.
I hope this article was a help in regard to getting you started on a strength program or even if it only served to clarify the difference between circuit training and strength training. Remember, it truly is as simple as USE IT OR LOSE IT! Choose your exercise and “don’t let the perfect destroy the good”.
I recently saw a cartoon that illustrates my point. Picture a doctor standing in his office wearing his stethoscope and looking at results from a patient’s physical. He looks at the patient and says, “What fits your busy schedule better – exercising an hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”
Hunt long; hunt strong. ~ Coach P
This entry was posted inAthletes,Energy & Focus,Hydrate & Recover,Mark Paulsen,Meal Replacement Shakes,Multi-Vitamin,Ultimate Pre-Workoutand tagged inendurance workouts,hydration drinks,Mark Paulsen,meal replacement,multi-vitamin,performance nutrition,running nutrition,wilderness athlete,workout tips,workouts.
Comments will be approved before showing up.