Why you don’t need to live in a gym or starve
Many people struggle with weight loss because of certain misconceptions regarding the systems they’re working with. For people who start in a highly deconditioned state they often get very noticeable improvements early on. This is because they’re so inefficient at the tasks being asked of them that the body has to work extremely hard to accomplish them. When they combine this hard work with better nutritional practices they get a result of some sorts but it isn’t always what they want or what they expected. There is still a way to go to reach their goal.
One of the mistakes people make at this point is to expect a continued progression at the same or similar rate, by following the same exercise, sleep and nutritional practices. Hence the picture at the top of Milo of Croton. He’s become both poster child of progressive overload and to exemplify the mythological aspect of linear progression. While overload is needed for ongoing improvement there is a ceiling on it. To push past that ceiling you have to understand a little bit about adaptation principles and why someone is being held back from an anatomical perspective.
If you aren’t carrying bulls for a living you can think of it in terms of an equation or program where you have changed some of the values and end up with a different result. That’s the new normal. To get a better new normal, you once again have to change some of the values in the equation. Some people realise this and just add more workouts. This can work, however, some people are already investing most of their free time in exercise and still aren’t where they want to be. Although a great option, it just isn’t a luxury that everyone has. Another solution is to reduce the nutritional intake once again. This can also work but can lead to a downward spiral with energy, sleep and mood. It really isn’t good to feel hungry all the time and to deprive the brain of glucose longterm.
So if you don’t have time to add further sessions and you don’t feel that you have the willpower, nor is it advisable to go into a greater nutritional deficit, what can you do? One thing you can do is to increase the intensity of what you are doing. Strength and speed athletes can tax their systems to an extent that is very expensive from a calorific point of view. They can do this because they are able to generate a lot of force and this puts a great demand on the central nervous system. To be able to tap into this ability however, you have to be able to chose exercises which optimise your ability to use the CNS, without the risk of injury that higher loads and intensities usually entail. At anatomy gaps we teach trainers how to customise Primary lifts to the individual. Further to this, you have to have an understanding regarding what holds you back. There is a reason why not everyone can do what elite athletes can do. Most of the time, the elite athletes don’t know why they can do it themselves. If you understand whether a particular joint, particular muscle weakness or tissue restriction is holding you back, you can address it and improve it. Yes, inefficiency means you can work hard but that isn’t somewhere you want to live. If climbing up the stairs takes you to 90% of maximal heart rate on a monitor is that a good thing? By following anatomy gaps programming principles, you will understand what to work on, how to vary, how to improve and how to retain. By getting a balance between specificity and variety, you will stay ahead of the adaptaion curve by constantly taking your athlete or client from inefficiency to efficiency. There are reasons why you adapt to exercises and reasons why you need to change them. You can embrace the benefits of that inefficiency but you need to understand how and when to do it. Don’t forget though, if you are efficient at using force that can be expensive too. The difference is now you are strong / fast or both. At anatomy gaps we teach corrective conditioning and corrective strength & hypertrophy. As a trainer you can learn to use posture and movement analysis to safely work clients and athletes as hard as possible, while mitigating the chances of injury. You can learn how to iron out weakness and deficiencies by evaluating their cause and converting them into strengths.
Another way you can get more work done in less time is improving work capacity. Getting stronger itself will increase work capacity. But you can do more. Patiently and purposefully, you can make someone work progressively harder over time if you are watching for the right things. If you understand the system you are working with you can tweak a given task to make it harder within the same amount of time. Try to do cardio with only nose breathing and see the difference. Or take someone who is used to relying on their quads to get through 20 minutes of cardio and get them to do 10 minutes where they have to rely on their glutes and hamstrings. Take a weights exercise where they rely on potential energy and loading a bony structure. Make them do the same exercise where the tension is only ever on the muscle and if it is on the tendon it is in a way that is targeting that tissue for improvement down the line. Joint actions and speed of movement will tell you how they are trying to get out of it. That will tell you how to make things harder and often in a shorter space of time.
One of our favourite ways of maximising the time available is through our Hybrid Lifts. Once again, you tailor them to the athlete and client, increase their results, address their weaknesses and improve their work capacity. You have to make sure that the tasks you are asking of client don’t interfere with one another. But by combining distinct tasks which don’t impinge on one another, but put a greater strain on the system, you do more work and reap greater benefit in a smaller timeframe. The coordinative demands will ask questions of the nervous system, while the peripheral heart action demand means more work is done in a shorter time. More weakness are addressed than you would normally be able to, which in turn means you are stronger and healthier.
To learn more about our programming principles, custom primary lifts, corrective conditioning, corrective strength and hypertrophy and our hybrid lifts, look for upcoming anatomy gaps courses on our website.
Or, if you just want to get in touch, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.