As promised in last month’s blog on my own nutrition, this month I am going to give you a more in depth look into my own training. So again lets set the background, I had recently suffered a pretty extreme injury, and after an MRI the diagnosis wasn’t looking good. 2 slipped discs and a torn gluteus maximums meant I wasn’t able to train myself, or even my clients for a short period of time, but I took every step possible to aid and speed up my recovery.
My own lack of training, plus some rather stupid comfort eating, mostly of high sugar foods like cereal, jellies, chocolate, ice cream, (you name it, I ate it) led to some pretty substantial body fat gain and bloating of the stomach.
Before I begin to describe my own training I will say that I am training an extremely long time. I’ve taken part in numerous sports competitively and have a very extensive gym training background and history as well. The style and intensity I used isn’t for the feint hearted or anyone lacking serious experience. More importantly I know my body, how it responds to different factors and what works well for me. I would encourage everyone to keep training logs of all workouts and over the months and years you too will discover what is best for you!!
When my nutrition is on point, and I am getting enough sleep, my body responds extremely well to very high volumes of training. Some people may consider my plans over-training, and that’s fine if they do, but this is what works for me!
My favourite training principle for dropping body fat is fasted cardio. Again this opens up more debates. Should you perform high intensity or will you lose muscle? Should you eat before cardio, again so you don’t lose muscle? Is low intensity for longer duration, better than high intensity for short duration? The questions and debates are endless….. But here is what I did.
I trained almost completely fasted each morning 6 days per week. What I mean by “almost” is that I do consume a drink containing BCAA’s and L-Glutamine. These are essential amino acids for the repair and growth of muscle, however they do trigger the brain into believing it is in a “fed state” rather than a “fasted state”. I felt the pro’s outweighed the con’s in this case with me preserving muscle by consuming these products, and I felt if my cardio was of sufficient intensity I would still burn plenty body fat. On top of this I would also consume either a black coffee, green tea or caffeine supplement. Caffeine is a proven fat burner and also gives you an energy spike when you are faced with rolling right out of bed and into a training session. I began with a 3 day rolling plan for my fasted cardio:
|Monday||H.I.I.T Cardio – 12 x 2 minute rounds of skipping||36 Minutes (including rest)|
|Tuesday||L.I.S.S Cardio – 6km walk outdoors||56 Minutes|
|Wednesday||Home Core Workout||26 Minutes|
|Thursday||H.I.I.T Cardio – 12 x 2 minute rounds of skipping||36 Minutes (including rest)|
|Friday||L.I.S.S Cardio – 6km walk outdoors||56 Minutes|
|Saturday||Home Core Workout||26 Minutes|
Unfortunately this process only lasted for 2 weeks out of the 5 week cut. Again injury struck and I tore my right calf muscle. Rather than admit defeat or feel sorry for myself I pushed on with additional L.I.S.S workouts and Core Workouts as I was completely unable to skip, run or do any form of explosive movement using my legs due to the injury. As well as the obvious fat burning effects of training first thing in the morning I also find it puts me in the right frame of mind for each day. My L.I.S.S workouts were always outdoor walks in the Regional Park in Ballincollig. This gave me an hour to gather my thoughts, and plan my day ahead. Having a goal and remaining positive about achieving it has a massive benefit on your performance and creates self motivation and inspiration to achieve that goal.
For my resistance training, I split my workouts into shorter sessions with usually just one muscle group per workout to ensure they were completed in under 45 minutes. I also rotated through 3 phases for each muscle group. Doing 1 session with lighter weight and higher reps, over 100 on some exercises, with lots of additional drop sets, super sets and other intensity techniques. The second session would be the more standard 4 sets of 10 – 12 reps. Then the final session would be heavy compound exercises with about 5 or 6 reps per set.
|Monday||Chest (Light)||Back (Light)|
|Tuesday||Shoulders (Medium)||Arms (Medium)|
|Wednesday||Quads (Heavy)||Hamstrings & Calves (Heavy)|
|Thursday||Chest (Medium)||Back (Medium)|
|Friday||Shoulders (Heavy)||Arms (Heavy)|
|Saturday||Quads (Light)||Hamstrings & Calves (Light)|
Below is an example of a bicep workout I would have completed on my light day. It starts first with a Tri-Set of 3 exercises, with weight increasing as the rep ranges dropped lower. Then biceps would be finished with the FST-7 technique of stretching and contracting the target muscle between sets rather than taking any complete rest. This bicep workout would then be coupled with triceps to complete an arm workout in under 45 minutes. Why not give this workout a try, it should only take about 20 – 25 minutes max!
At times during the 5 weeks of this cut it felt like I was training all day constantly and doing nothing else. Between returning to work and being able to coach my clients again. Prepping athletes for bodybuilding contests and photo-shoots, and of course training myself 3 times each day. This can be a little overwhelming for people if you do not have the right experience. It is important to find a balance between training, work and your own personal life. For me, luckily, training and nutrition is my career as well as my hobby. Every week there was improvements in my own physique, and also in my clients’ physiques. This gave me huge motivation to continue at the intensity I was going and to strive for as much progress as possible in just 5 weeks.
I am a firm believer that the more work you put in, the better your end result will be. Yes, each individual might have his/her limit as to how hard they can train, for what duration, and how often per week. But I have come across very few people that find that limit. Very few people that are willing to push the boundaries. Don’t be afraid of over-training! Set an early alarm, get up, get your cardio in. Eat right all day to aid recovery and then hit the gym for an hour. Again once your workout is complete, eat for recovery. Your food is your fuel and is an essential part of achieving any health and fitness goal. Then get to bed early and dream big about what you are going to achieve the next day!