The length of a workout is dependent on multiple factors. To build muscle a workout may last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. When lifting to grow muscle, the attempt is not to exhaust the cardiac muscle, but to strategically break down muscle tissue through moving objects against gravity. The average rest time between sets may be anywhere from 1 -2 minutes; allowing the muscles to re-oxygenate and allowing for maximal effort in every set. If the attempt is to burn fat and increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance, effective techniques are supersets, tri –sets, and shorter rest duration; between 30-45 seconds.
Working the core every day is a bad idea. The abdominal muscles are a thin layer of muscle that needs recovery time like any other muscle. The core is used during every movement of the body, so to continually break down the muscle is counterproductive. To maximize each workout, train the abdominals intensely like any other muscle group.
It is important to understand the difference between cardio and burning fat; many people confuse the two. Cardio is strengthening the cardiac muscle (heart). The body burns fat in two ways: 1) Long and slow bouts of energy expenditure or 2) high intensity/short in duration interval training (sprints, sled pulls, and running stairs). To answer the question posed, cardio every other day is appropriate. Cardio is a workout, and just like lifting weights, muscle is broken down and the body produces cortisol (hormone use to convert muscle into energy source); so it is important to allow the legs to recover before breaking them down again.
A rest day is just that, a day to do nothing but eat and allow your mind and body to rest. The mind controls hormone regulation in the body; therefore, it is essential to allow the body time to recover and regain balance. When the body is constantly worked with no rest it can fall into a state of over training. Over training is easily identifiable:
• Prolonged muscle soreness
• Strength loss
• Muscle strain/pains
• No muscle gain
If cardio as discussed earlier is being completed, it should be done on its own as a workout. If a person is attempting to complement their nutrition by burning a few extra calories, then anytime of the day is good. However, if it is done in the morning a person must understand they have to combat the hormone cortisol that is being produced due to the fast of the night. The ways a person can offset this hormone is to take BCAA or hydrolyzed whey protein to blunt the effects of the hormone. If done after a workout (not recommended) it’s important to understand the body is producing cortisol; therefore a hydrolyzed whey (protein peptides broken down to allow for faster absorption) should be used. This blunts cortisol but does not interfere with the bodies GH (growth hormone) production.
Neither is more important than the other, rather they complement one another. Diet without exercise will leave the body absent of shape and tone. Exercise without proper nutrition is counterproductive because for the body to repair itself, the nutrients and elements used have to be replaced. When these elements or nutrients aren’t replaced the body will use muscle tissue and bone minerals as a substitute.
Bottom line, a flat stomach or washboard abs are both made in the kitchen. Everyone has abs but what separates a flat stomach from a fat stomach is adipose tissue (belly fat). A proper nutrition plan is the only way to a flat stomach.
This is a two part answer so let’s start with what to eat if you are doing weight training. A common myth is that after a workout a simple carbohydrate should be consumed. This is a myth because the scientific studies conducted that led to this conclusion were inappropriately evaluated and applied; all of these studies where comprised of runners. For a weight lifter hydrolyzed or micronized whey protein should be consumed to allow the body’s growth hormone to stay elevated. For an endurance athlete a simple carbohydrate is appropriate to replenish glycogen stores depleted during the event.
There are so many possible reasons that it would be impossible to determine without proper evaluation, but here is a list of possible reasons:
• Lack of a plan
• Lack of sleep
• Poor nutrition
• Poor training form
• Over training
I can’t answer for every athlete, but I can explain what sports enhancement drugs do and then I’m sure everyone can form their own opinion. These drugs are not miracles; these athletes still have to eat clean, train hard, and recover.
Sports enhancement drugs are synthetic hormones that speed up the body’s natural abilities to repair muscle fibers, metabolize food, and suppress other hormones that are counterproductive to muscle growth. They are not legal nor are they advised, but they do not take away from the hard work, discipline, and desire of an athlete who is willing to put it all on the line for their dream of being the greatest at their craft.
Written by: Kwesi Keller,
CutAndJacked.com interview with Kwesi Keller